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Facilities for Colonization.
The purchase of land by English capitalists must be the first step in such a scheme of colonization. It has been the aim of the liberal party to secularize the ecclesiastical estates during the last nine years; and there can be no doubt that the agitation of this question would lead the monasteries to sell cheap, while arrangements might without difficulty be made with the new Government for a legitimizing of titles thus transferred.
Without the infusion of new blood, Moldo-Wallachia can advance but little. The people are neither energetic nor enterprizing. The villages are an aggregation of barns; and the towns are worse than any in European Turkey itself. The roads hardly admit of traffic for heavy waggons: and it will be remembered that the Austrian army, during every thaw, has been compelled to suspend their evacuation of the Principalities because the inequalities of the roads only permitted them to move their artillery over a frozen surface! A thousand other such indications of the character of the population might be mentioned. MoldoWallachia has her wants not less than her facilities. What we desire to see now established, is the reciprocal alliance of Turkey and the Principalities by means of a separate polity for each province and a Government so stable, so just, and so liberal, as to give effect to foreign enterprize. Private energies will then do the rest. We shall then have laid the base of a future civilization, as the result of the recent war. To accomplish this eventual object, it must now be our aim, by a union of foresight and temper, to neutralize as far as possible the conflicts and jealousies of existing interests, by giving existence to a constitution as practically good as the circumstances of the case will admit.
ART. V.-Two Years Ago. By C. KINGSLEY. Three Vols. Macmillan and Co.
HOMEWARD HO! We welcome Mr. Kingsley as an old friend, on his return to England and the nineteenth century. It is some years since he left us, and left his opinions of us also, in Alton Locke and Yeast, which were no pleasant keepsakes. Our readers will recollect that he then gave no flattering testimony to our social condition. We suspect it was his ill-concealed disgust of the French novel sentimentalism, which brooded like a malaria over our drawing-room society, and the stubborn finality spirit, which fixed our practical counting-house men in a catalepsy, so that they would neither be coaxed nor spurred into his novel
plans for the cure of our social malaise, which drove him upon his long and adventurous tour. What wonders he has seen, what experience he has gained, in his wild aërial travels, are they not contained in Hypatia and Westward Ho?
With an easy flight he passed to the shore of the Nile, and into the dim antiquity of the fifth century. Opening there the dazzling lights of his imagination, he dispersed the thick mists which shrouded that awful scene, and we see before us, as though we were bodily present, the tremendous spectacle of the empire's decay, and the gigantic towering growth of the Christian Church, which bursts from the rotting folds of the huge imperial system, as the awakened Lazarus from his grave-clothes. The broad, fat, yellowish Nile, swells and flashes down from fabulous deserts, haunted with frightful ogres and monsters of every goblin shape, through the plains of Egypt to the Delta and the city of Alexandria. Along its banks, and in that city, Mr. Kingsley pictures the death of the Old World, with its Paganism and Philosophy, and the birth of the New. And he could have chosen no site on which the relics of the fading past, and the germs of the dawning future, are brought into more startling contrast-in which the hubbub and seething turmoil of that transition epoch are more fearfully exhibited. We look up a quiet valley, and see there cells of monks scooped out in rows from the rock on either side, and the dull hermits are hoeing in the fields between; while on the hill above, against the purple haze of the setting sun, there stands the spectral wreck of a mighty Temple, old as the time of Noah's sons, on whose rents 'the red light rests, like dying fire on defiled altars.' In Alexandria, Mr. Kingsley has heard Hypatia, the beautiful Pythoness, the last and most glorious teacher of the proud stoicism and Elysian dreams, which were woven together like a rich flowery damask in Neo-Platonism. He has conversed with Orestes, the polished effete sensual governor of Alexandria; has watched his scheme of revolt against the Roman Emperor; has seen him lure Hypatia from the tranquil heights of philosophy by the too tempting promise of making her Empress of Africa, and crushing for ever this frenzied faith in a crucified Jesus. He has stood in the presence-chamber of Cyril, the stern prelate, who laughs at the writhing impotency of Orestes, and explodes, by a touch, his hollow schemes of revolt and empire. He has looked from a balcony upon the legions of Nitrian monks rushing at midnight through the streets of Alexandria (like a lava torrent), under the ruddy glare of torchlight, till Cyril's message hushed the storm, and recalled them to their grated dormitories. And all the other mirabilia of that eventful age, surely he has
Mr. Kingsley's Adventurous Travels-his Return Home. 401
seen them ere he described them with such vivid accuracy and thrilling power in Hypatia. He fought with Heraclitus on the scorched campagna of Rome, hunted jerboas and ostriches with Syrenius-argued about the Song of Solomon with Augustine, Bishop of Hippo; and then we lost him, nor heard more of his adventures, till suddenly we learnt that he had come to the reign of our good Queen Bess, and was revelling in the wild romance of those days when the discovery of the New World awoke the old Viking temper lurking in our Norse blood; when the great battle of Protestantism and spiritual liberty was fought by England for the world; and when, amidst the splendour and exaltation of these events, as Emerson says, 'the English mind flowered in every faculty,' and Shakspeare, Ben Jonson, Hooker, Raleigh, Bacon, were the familiars of their age. And now, after years of wandering, we welcome our somewhat errant genius as he lands on the Devon coast, to visit again the modern times, and the civilized England, which he forsook in scorn years ago.
Friends ask us how he looks after his dire and perilous voyage through so much time and space. And what does he think of us now? In answer to the first of these questions we have to say, he likes us now much better than he did; and therefore, we frankly own it, we like him much better. We fancy he has seen hard times abroad; he has seen bloated wealth and pining poverty in other times and lands than ours. These sights have softened him; he has come back a wiser man, to settle contented, even amidst the horrid clank of machinery, and the screech of our steam-engines, which make the nineteenth century such an intolerable bore to chivalrous spirits like his. Moreover, the war has redeemed our character in his eyes. It has proved irrefutably that the men of England are not a set of manufactured Guy Fawkeses, sewed up with packthread, stuffed with cotton rags, and goggling with inky eyes, only fit, like all shams, for the terrible burning. Mr. Kingsley has found out that, even among such, there are men who have real souls in them, and can shed real blood too, if need be, in defence of truth and honour.
Let the foregoing be our proemium to the short outline, and shorter criticism, of Mr. Kingsley's story we shall now lay before our readers, and which we hope may serve to introduce them to the three volumes themselves. The opening scene of the tale is laid in Aberalva, a fishing-village on the Devonshire coast. In fact, in this little place most of the mischief is brewed, if love-making, of which there is abundance in every variety, may be so termed; and if not, yet there is mischief of another kind, which ends at last in a woful tragedy.
Mr. Kingsley is never weary of painting scenes from the home
of his childhood. In Westward Ho! in Glaucus, and again in these volumes, the shores of Devonshire crusted with shells, its upland wolds golden with gorse blossoms, and the lush fragrant vegetation of its meadows and hedge-rows, are described again and again with enamoured fondness, as if he felt these earliest impressions of nature to be the purest and most blessed-for Heaven lies about in our infancy'-and would lovingly expend his best art to reproduce the scenes which first awed and thrilled his imagination with a sweet enthusiasm,
'More bright than madness or the dreams of wine.'
Some of our readers may have strolled through Aberalva (though we cannot discern its real name under this pseudonym) two years ago, i. e., in the month of July, 1854. If so, there and then the story begins. The houses lie in a long line along the cove, and then rise stragglingly up the hill towards Penalva Court. They are all basking beautifully in the hot sunshine, for yesterday they were whitewashed, and adorned, as is the pleasure of the inhabitants, by freshly-coloured stripes or buttresses of pink and blue. In front of most of them there is a small garden, surrounded by bright green palings, and stocked with the gaudy flowers which bloom in that genial climate. There are large fuchsia trees, ten feet high, set against the dazzling white walls, and sparkling all over like magnificent candelabra with the million crimson lights that twinkle and blaze amid their foliage. 'What a sweet spot for a summer lounge!' you exclaim, as you walk up the street, smell the rich fragrance of the mignionette, and then turn round to see the blue, blue sea lying before you, till it is lost in the hazy, olive-coloured rim of the southern sky. There is but the faintest swell at times on its broad azure breast, as if it were rocked breathlessly asleep under the glistening heat of the sun. Just the place,' you add, to read, write, or live a dreamy, luxurious romance. Not such, however, is Mr. Kingsley's. Down upon the shore there is the usual mid-day scene in such places of trawlers and fishing-boats lying aslope on the sand, their dark rusty sides shining in the warm sunlight-of spars of timber, idle masts, &c., heaped together, upon which the sailors are squatting, pipe in mouth, with their elbows on their knees and their fists squeezed against their chins-of children swinging themselves in and out the boats, or paddling in the little pools. The pier, with its gaunt skeleton frame of tarry beams, runs out into the sea, and you may hear the waters lapping and washing underneath it with an endless moan. Beside the pier on the one side sits the heroine of the tale, Grace Harvey, the village schoolmistress. Her character is peculiar and excep
403 tional, but we aver that it is drawn from nature, and that, in the circumstances of her training, it is not an impossible or improbable character. It therefore satisfies the rigorous condition of truthfulness, which is the supreme law of art, though grossly violated in the caricatures of some of our most popular writers; and we accept the description of her character, together with the history of its development, as one of the chefs-d'œuvre of Mr. Kingsley's genius. She is sitting among a group of scholars, telling them one of her strange, saintly tales, when we are thus uncourteously introduced to her:
'Let us leave the conversation where it is, and look into the face of the speaker, who, young as she is, has already meditated so long upon the mystery of death that it has grown lovely in her eyes.
'Her figure is tall, graceful, and slight; the severity of its outlines suiting well with the severity of her dress, with the brown stuff gown and plain grey whittle. Her neck is long, almost too long; but all defects are forgotten in the first look at her face. We can see it fully, for her bonnet lies beside her on the rock.
'The masque, though slim, is perfect. The brow, like that of a Greek statue, looks lower than it really is, for the hair springs from below the bend of the forehead. The brain is very long, and sweeps backward and upward in grand curves, till it attains above the ears a great expanse and height. She should be a character more able to feel than to argue; full of all a woman's veneration, devotion, love of children-perhaps, too, of a woman's anxiety.
The nose is slightly aquiline; the sharp-cut nostrils indicate a reserve of compressed strength and passion; the mouth is delicate; the lips, which are full, and somewhat heavy, not from coarseness, but rather from languor, show somewhat of both the upper and the under teeth. Her eyes are bent on the pool at her feet; so that we can see nothing of them but the large sleepy lids, fringed with lashes so long and dark, that the eye looks as if it had been painted, in the eastern fashion, with antimony; the dark lashes, dark eyebrows, dark hair, crisped (as west-country hair so often is) to its very roots, increase the almost ghost-like paleness of the face, not sallow, not snow-white, but of a clear, bloodless, waxen hue.
'And now she lifts her eyes-dark eyes, of preternatural largeness; brilliant, too, but not with the sparkle of the diamond; brilliant as deep clear wells are, in which the mellow moonlight sleeps fathomdeep, between black walls of rock; and round them, and round the wide opened lids, and arching eyebrow, and slightly wrinkled forehead, hangs an air of melancholy thought, vague doubt, almost of startled fear then that expression passes, and the whole face collapses into a languor of patient sadness, which seems to say, 'I cannot solve the mystery. Let Him solve it as seems good to Him.''
In this portraiture, though by no means in Mr. Kingsley's best