Изображения страниц

of his own answers to them, in Sir William Hamilton's writings." He appeals, indeed, to the “ analogy of his philosophy,” and asserts an identity in result between the conclusions of Hamilton and the conclusions of Berkeley ; but this is an extension of the scope of a philosophy to results which the originator of that philosophy not only never contemplated, but always even formally denied—denied, indeed, as precisely those results the refutation of which had been his single and sole aim. To Hamilton, as we have seen, the doctrine of Berkeley was but a “clumsy hypothesis,” a “ ruder” as opposed to a “finer" form of idealism, and we confess that it seems strange to hear Professor Fraser complimenting Hamilton on having brought up, not back, the problem of philosophy to the Berkeleian standpoint. We do not mean to say that the position of Hamilton is superior to that of Berkeley—on that we pronounce no opinion. Neither do we mean to say one word against the considerations of Professor Fraser; they relate to the deepest and most interesting problems of philosophy; they are, indeed, beyond Hamilton. But we do mean to say, as between Hamilton and Berkeley, that the cre position is diametrically opposed to the other. Berkeley said, for example, what we perceive, we perceive where it is—that is, in the mind; and the opinion of “natural or real”—that is, crass, outer, independent, matter behind what we perceive, is unnecessary and absurd. Hamilton, on the contrary, said, "I see no reason why we should not have been created able to perceive—directly perceive this 'natural or real’ matter, however crass, however outer, however independent.” Such is the testimony of consciousness,—there opinion and perreption coalesce, and such to my belief is the fact. We may recall the fact that Reid conceived the primary qualities of matter not to be conreyed through sensation, but to be immediately suggested on occasion of sensation. Hamilton censures this word suggested; but Reid really meant by it—and it seems even picturesquely to communicate—that direct spontaneous intuition of a real outer claimed by Hamilton himself. This, then, is the truth. Professor Fraser separates, indeed, the perception from the opinion—the perception, that is, of the res idealis, so to speak, from the belief in the actual existence of a res realis behind it; but Hamilton expressly forbids this. He will not have the single act of perception so doubled: he denies perception of a res idealis at all; he asserts perception only of a res realis that exists, as consciousness affirms, externally to, and independently of, ourselves.

It is only by this separation, then, only by this surrendering of the natural conviction of consciousness, that Professor Fraser can be enabled to convert the res realis of Hamilton into the res idealis of Berkeley, or, if the adjectives be disliked, to convert simply the res of the former into the res of the latter. But why, then, the confine

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ment to Hamilton ? The res of common opinion is instantly converted into the res of Berkeley ; the moment any belief in an independent outer behind the res, or that is the res, is withdrawn. There is the same warrant, then, for asserting a virtual agreement between Berkeley and the vulgar, as between Berkeley and Hamilton.

Again, Hamilton's knowlege of mind is conditioned, so far as its substance is concerned, quite in the same way as his knowledge of matter. Shall we infer, then, that “the analogy of his philosophy would lead him (Hamilton) to say that, unperceived and unconceived [Mind] exists only potentially, or rather substantially ; and that of this substantial existence we know nothing positively, except when contained in, and as it appears in its passage through, consciousness ?” Shall we infer that Mind too, like matter, when unconceived and unperceived, “ lapses as it were into unconditional existence ?” This, surely, is as legitimate an inference as the other. But in the one inference, if we are taken back, or up to Berkeley, we are, in this inference, taken back, or up to Hume ; for Hume, according to Reid and general opinion, did for Mind precisely what Berkeley had done for Matter. Both inferences being accepted, indeed, what is Matter but Mr. Mill's “permanent possibility of sensations,” and what Mind but the same philosopher's “permanent possibility of thoughts ?”

Let us bring home the lesson here. From Hume, in consequence of his queries in the Treatise of Human Nature, there have descended two lines of thinkers in Great Britain: one irenical, culminating in Mr. Mill; one polemical, culminating in—shall we say?-_Sir William Hamilton. But of both lines the efforts have been nil; both return exhausted to the queries of the Treatise of Human Nature; and as Hume left Philosophy in Great Britain, so in Great Britain Philosophy remains.

This, then, is our conclusion in general ; while that in particular is that, on the whole, the Natural Realism of Hamilton is as thoroughly opposed to the Dogmatic Idealism of Berkeley as the former himself believed it to be, and that any attempt to identify them would have produced greater surprise in no one, probably, than in Hamilton himself.

It is impossible, at the same time, to deny either the depth of Professor Fraser's own reflections, or at once the candour and the piety of his procédés towards the departed master, whose memory he, in common with so many others, holds in admiring and affectionate regard.


[ocr errors]





THE VICTORY OF THE VOLUNTEERS. " It is a saving of six charges of Austrian ammunition,” said Pericles.

Vittoria stared at the scene, losing faith in her eyesight. She could in fact see no distinct thing beyond what appeared as an illuminated copper medallion, held at a great distance from her, with a dead man and a towering female figure stamped on it.

The events following were like a rush of water on her senses. There was fighting up the street of the village, and a struggle in the space where Rinaldo had fallen ; successive yellowish shots under the rising moonlight, cries from Italian lips, quick words of command from German in Italian, and one sturdy bull's roar of a voice that called across the tumult to the Austro-Italian soldiery, “ Venite fratelli come, brothers, come under our banner!” She heard Rinaldo !" called.

This was a second attack of the volunteers for the rescue of their captured comrades. They fought more desperately than on the hill outside the village: they fought with steel. Shot enfiladed them; yet they bore forward in a scattered body up to that spot where Rinaldo lay, shouting for him. There they turned,—they fled.

Then there was perfect stillness, succeeding the strife as quickly, Vittoria thought, as a breath yielded succeeds a breath taken.

She accused the heavens of injustice. Pericles, prostrate on the floor, moaned that he was wounded. She said, “ Bleed to death !” “It is my soul, it is my soul is wounded for


Sandra.” "Dreadful craven man!” she muttered.

" When my soul is shaking for your safety, Sandra Belloni !” Pericles turned his ear up. “For myself—nothing; it is for you,

for you.”

Assured of the cessation of arms by delicious silence, he jumped

to his feet.

[ocr errors]

“Ah ! brutes that fight. It is immonde ; it is unnatural !”

He tapped his finger on the walls for marks of shot, and discovered a shot-hole in the wood-work, that had passed an arm's length above her head, into which he thrust his finger in an intense speculative meditation, shifting eyes from it to her, and throwing them aloft.

He was summoned to the presence of Count Karl, with whom he found Captain Weisspriess, Wilfrid, and officers of jägers and the Italian battalion. Barto Rizzo's wife was in a corner of the room. Weisspriess met him with a very civil greeting, and introduced him to Count Karl, who begged him to thank Vittoria for the aid she had afforded to General Schöneck's emissary in crossing the Piedmontese lines. He spoke in Italian. He agreed to conduct Pericles to a point on the route of his march where Pericles and his precious prima donna—“our very good friend,” he said, jovially—could escape

the risk of unpleasant mishaps, and arrive at Trent and cities of peace by easy stages. He was marching for the neighbourhood of Vicenza.

A little before dawn Vittoria came down to the carriage. Count Karl stood at the door to hand her in. He was young and handsome, with a soft flowing blonde moustache and pleasant eyes, a contrast to his brother, Count Lenkenstein. He repeated his thanks to her, which Pericles had not delivered; he informed her that she was by no means a prisoner, and was simply under the guardianship of friends——“though perhaps, signorina, you will not esteem this gentleman to be one of your friends.” He pointed to Weisspriess. The captain bowed, but kept aloof. Vittoria perceived a singular change in him : he had become pale and sedate. “Poor fellow, he has had his dose,” said Count Karl. “He is, I beg to assure you, one of your most vehement admirers."

A piece of her property that flushed her with recollections, yet made her grateful, was presently handed to her, though not in the captain's presence, by a soldier. It was the silver-hilted dagger, Carlo's precious gift, of which Weisspriess had taken possession in the mountain-pass over the vale of Meran, when he fought the duel with Angelo. Whether intended as a peace-offering, or as a simple restitution, it helped Vittoria to believe that Weisspriess was no longer the man he had been.

The march was ready, but Barto Rizzo's wife · refused to move a foot. The officers consulted. She was brought before them. The soldiers swore with jesting oaths that she had been carefully searched for weapons, and only wanted a whipping. “She must have it," said

" Weisspriess. Vittoria entreated that she might have a place beside her in the carriage. “It is more than I would have asked of you ; but if you are not afraid of her,” said Count Karl, with an apologetic shrug.

Her heart beat fast when she found herself alone with the terrible


Till then she had never seen a tragic face. Compared with this tawny colourlessness, this evil brow, this shut mouth, Laura, even on the battle-field, looked harmless. It was like the face of a dead savage. The eyeballs were full on Vittoria, as if they dashed at an obstacle,



not embraced an image. In proportion as they seemed to widen about her, Vittoria shrank. The whole woman was blood to her gaze.

When she was capable of speaking, she said entreatingly-
“I knew his brother."
Not a sign of life was given in reply.

Companionship with this ghost of broad daylight made the fluttering Tyrolese feathers at both windows a welcome sight.

Precautions had been taken to bind the woman's arms. Vittoria offered to loosen the cords, but she dared not touch her without a mark of assent.

“I know Angelo Guidascarpi, Rinaldo's brother,” she spoke again.

The woman's nostrils bent inward, as when the breath we draw is keen as a sword to the heart. Vittoria was compelled to look away from her.

At the midday halt Count Karl deigned to justify to her his intended execution of Rinaldo—the accomplice in the slaying of his brother, Count Paul. He was evidently eager to obtain her good opinion of the Austrian military. “But for this miserable spirit of hatred against us,” he said, “ I should have espoused an Italian lady;" and he asked, “Why not? For that matter, in all but blood, we Lenkensteins are half Italian, except when Italy menaces the empire. Can you

blame us for then drawing the sword in earnest ?” He proffered his version of the death of Count Paul. She kept her own silent in her bosom.

Clelia Guidascarpi, according to his statement, had first been slain by her brothers. Vittoria believed that Clelia had voluntarily submitted to death and died by her own hand. She was betrothed to an Italian nobleman of Bologna, the friend of the brothers. They had arranged the marriage; she accepted the betrothal. “ She loved my brother, poor thing !” said Count Karl. “She concealed it, and naturally. How could she take a couple of wolves into her confidence ? If she had told the pair of ruffians that she was plighted to an Austrian, they would have quieted her at an earlier period. A woman ! a girl! -signorina, the intolerable cowardice amazes me. It amazes me

you or any one can uphold the character of such brutes. And when she was dead, they lured my brother to the house and slew him; fell upon him with daggers, stretched him at the foot of her coffin, and then—what then ?_ran! ran for their lives. One has gone to his account. We shall come across the other. He is among that volunteer party which attacked us yesterday. The body was carried off by them ; it is sufficient testimony that Angelo Guidascarpi is in

n the neighbourhood. I should be hunting him now but that I am under orders to march south-east."


« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »