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twenty-five hundred uncalled-for copies of In Darkest Africa. It is difficult to say how long a book will live. Often, one book of an author is in constant demand, and another is entirely relegated to the dark lower regions. Browning's Asolando, issued on the day of the poet's death, brought twelve shillings instead of the publisher's price of five shillings.
Mr. Mudie must have derived many of his strong qualities from his Norse forefathers away up in the Orkney Islands. His ancestors were laid out, not buried, in a sea cave, where some peculiarity of the air preserved the bodies from decay, and kept them as intact as the stone knights on old English tombs. Mothers in those weird, seagirt places hushed their children with the words, "Be still, or the dead Mudies will catch you," until, about a hundred years ago, one of the living Mudies, a prim old lady, thinking it a disgrace to have dried ancestors, up and buried them like other commonplace folk, with all the rites of bell and book. On one of the marble lions of the Venice Piazzetta, a Mudie soldier, who came down with the Normans, carved his name in runes which may yet be read. But, joined to his strong northern qualities of energy and initiative, Mr. Mudie had the genial grace of a nature "sloping to the southern side," open to all that was best in men of every nationality and opinion. He was Tennyson's friend and Schliemann's friend, but he was also the friend of the Tyrolese villager who every year drove the happy family through byways of Italy and Austria. His home came to be a centre for the flower of artistic, scientific, and literary London. Seapieces by Henry Moore, tender early bits by Fred Walker, Dogberry's Charge to the Watch, which enabled Stokes to marry, and many another picture by young artists whose future he discerned graced the walls of the golden drawing-room which was the realization of his wife's girlish dreams. The men and women whose books he sold and circulated loved to gather there, and Mazzini, with other lonely exiles, found this genial atmosphere a sunny Italy of sympathy in the midst of gray London fogs. Figliuolo Learns to Read.
- Figliuolo was a disgraceful illiterate, to begin with; there was no doubt about that. As he turned the sixth milestone, it was growing to be a notorious scandal, over which the chief
courtiers held frequent and serious debate. Not that he actually knew nothing, or cared nothing, for the immortal heroes of the nursery. Quite the contrary. From earliest infancy he had splashed in his bath amid the goodly company of the Waterbabies. As fearless and frisky as Adjidaumo himself, he had been almost daily an unwearied companion of Hiawatha's huntings and fishings.
There was in the palazzo a shabby old black traveling-bag, to which clung lovingly strange pasted bits of Turkish hieroglyph and numberless other illegible inscriptions. It was a relic of the days when there was no Figliuolo, and the prime minister had tasted the salty sweets of exile, known the weariness of Capri's rock-cut stairs and of many another clamber in farthest Bohemia. The magic of an unjaded imagination had easily converted this bag into the birch canoe. Propelled by a pair of weary-looking battledoors, Figliuolo swept proudly across the wide-wayed nursery to the conquest of the great sturgeon Nahma, or to desperate strife with the deathless Mudjekeewis. As Odysseus' raft-boat, the same craft endured perils and disasters more manifold than Zeus' wrath or Apollo's vengeance could devise. Or, again transformed by yet bolder creative fancy, it was paddled to rescue from his lonely rock that best beloved fellow-rebel and fellow-captive, Prometheus, tied up for meddling with the fire. Becoming in turn a sled, it had borne Figliuolo with Andersen's gentler children through the ice-palaces of the north, or floated, as Däumelinchen's leaf, down the ever-flowing river of childish imagination.
Indeed, that was just the trouble, or a large part of it. Madonna, like the rest of the household, was familiar with the theories of modern pedagogy. Various modifications of the picture method had been called to his highness's languid attention often, already, through the long years. But of all the illustrations in the Father's great picture-book, the twenty-six "grievous emblems" (Iliad vi. 168) had retained, to his mind, the minimum of picturesqueness in their slow evolution from Egyptian or Phonician House and Camel to plain Saxon B or G. They appealed, indeed, as it seemed, far less to this vagrant fancy than had the ten digits of our Arabian inheritance.
Finally, the subject matter itself of the elementary textbooks drew down the prompt
and righteous contempt of the far-wandered scholar. "Why should I care if the cat has the rat, or has not the rat? That is the kind of thing in all children's reading-books'? Yes, and I do not care for such things. I have decided never to learn to read at all. I do not care if the Lady Alicia" (a contemporary and a cousin) "has learned. She may care for such stories, and she may read them. I like what older people read to me a great deal better."
Here the subject lapsed, from lack of material for effective retort, if (as Just says) "the truth must out." But for several days there was great and general dearth of leisure at story-time and reading-hour, until the princely appetite had whetted itself to its keenest edge. Then one day Madonna sauntered in from town, and dropped a wide, flat package, without remark, on the "Round Table of the nursery." To strip off the paper was a privilege hardly requiring renewal by special grant. From within appeared, like a resplendent chrysalis, an abridged baby version of Alice in Wonderland. The cover alone was a blaze of color. The illustrations were copious and brilliant, the type of the largest, the words enticingly monosyllabic.
"Oh, it's mine, is n't it, Madonna ?" "No, indeed, Figliuolo, it is my own."
Why, you don't care for such a book as that, do you, Madonna ? ”
The next pause was a weighty one, and the following query, though spontaneous, quivered with suppressed excitement: "And
if I did learn to read it, Madonna, would you be willing to give it to me?"
"Well, yes, I think if you should really read it through, every word, you would deserve to own it."
So the struggle began anew, with the important difference that the full strength of a will not "broken"- was enlisted on the affirmative side of the argument. Into the next weeks some rain did fall, some days were darkened, but never to the verge of despair, nor was there ever a hint of desertion. The languid efforts of the past were not all wasted. Even the cat, if not the rat, found her proper place, after all.
Soon the difficulty was to repress the eager efforts at following out the laws of analogy; to check, without too rude discouragement, the mind so rational that it assumed that cough would be spelled like off, or pronounced like hiccough. Some of these problems, indeed, exhausted the philological resources of the realm. The multitudinous origins of English speech were discussed with interest. The superfluous w of sword was apologized for as a survival from German Schwert, etc. Still, Funk and Fauntleroy would easily have gained in those days a doughty third champion of Fonetics.
"Yes, indeed; it is a very fine story, and very funny besides.”
The great fight, however, was won. A few months later, the trophy, itself sadly "And will you read it aloud, so I can hear dimmed and worn in the struggle, passed,
duly inscribed, into the conqueror's unques
"I don't think I shall have any time for tioned possession. The next summer was that."
During a pause that followed the pictures were appreciatively studied, and even the large, clear type received tolerant notice.
"But, Madonna, this seems like a book that I should like a great deal more than you."
"It would n't be of any use to you, because you can't read it, and you are never going to learn."
spent among the mountains. On the first rainy day, when even the shifting fringes of the great cloud-curtain that overhang Mount Lafayette were beginning to grow monotonous, there appeared from the wellstored trunk of the king's own treasures a new copy of the complete Alice. Many an hour was spent over it from that day on, with only an occasional audible chuckle from his quiet corner to remind us of the "Pre
and the functions of the royal taster have
“Would it have been mine if I knew how sence." There are still books and books, to read?" “Well, yes, I think perhaps it might have never been delegated; but Figliuolo is a been."
A Magazine of Literature, Science, Art, and Politics.
VOL. LXXVII. - MAY, 1896.- No. CCCCLXIII.
LETTERS OF D. G. ROSSETTI.
LIFE seems to me strangely varied this sunny January day, as, sitting at my desk in the parlor of a pleasant villa on the outskirts of the little town of Alassio, I look beneath palm-trees upon the blue waters of the Mediterranean, and listen to the measured beat of the waves on the sandy shore. Lying open before me are copies of the letters which Dante Gabriel Rossetti wrote to his friend William Allingham. In the table drawer are copies of another set of letters, which, more than a century and a half ago, Swift wrote to an Irish country gentleman. This double correspondence, written by men wide as the poles asunder, I have brought from England to edit in Italy for readers on the other side of the Atlantic. Have I not good reason for finding a strange variety in life?
Delightful as is this spot where winter seems to have gone a-maying, yet it better suits a poet or a painter than an editor, who needs long shelves of books far more than trees laden with oranges and bushes weighed down with roses. From England and libraries I have been driven far away by weakness of health. In editing Rossetti's letters that part of my twofold task to which I have turned first I have had the help of friends at home. Mr. W. M. Rossetti has read the whole of the correspondence, and has furnished me with elucidatory notes. These are indicated in each case by the addition of his initials, to distinguish
them from the passages which I quote from his interesting Letters and Memoir of his brother. My old friend Mr. Arthur Hughes, who, though not one of the seven Preraphaelite Brothers, lived in great intimacy with many of them, has let me draw on his reminiscences. More than forty years ago he was painting in Rossetti's studio; his hand, happily, has lost none of its exquisite skill. Mrs. Allingham, whose pictures of English cottages are not surpassed in refinement and in beauty by the best of her husband's verses, enables me to give a brief sketch of that graceful poet's uneventful life. He had made some beginning in writing his autobiography. From what he had written she sends me a few extracts. Some day, I am told, a memoir of him will be published. It will be delightful indeed if it contains the full records he kept of his long talks with Tennyson and Carlyle. Of Carlyle he saw much more than most of that great man's friends, for during some years scarcely a week went by in which they did not walk together. Strange to say, this intimacy has been passed over in total silence by Mr. Froude. In the four volumes of his hero's Life there are sins of omission as well as of admission.
William Allingham was born at Ballyshannon, County Donegal, in March, 1824, of a good stock, for he was sprung from one of Cromwell's settlers. Ballyshannon he gives the following de
scription: "The little old town where I was born has a voice of its own, low, solemn, persistent, humming through the air day and night, summer and winter. Whenever I think of that town I seem to hear the voice. The river which makes it rolls over rocky ledges into the tide. Before spreads a great ocean in sunshine or storm; behind stretches a manyislanded lake. On the south runs wavy line of blue mountains; and on the north, over green, rocky hills rise peaks of a more distant range. The trees hide in glens or cluster near the river; gray rocks and boulders lie scattered about the windy pastures. The sky arches wide over all, giving room to multitudes of stars by night, and long processions of clouds blown from the sea, but also, in the childish memory where these pictures live, to deeps of celestial blue in the endless days of summer. An odd, out-of-the-way little town, ours, on the extreme western verge of Europe; our next neighbors, sunset way, being citizens of the great new republic, which indeed, to our imagination, seemed little, if at all, farther off than England in the opposite direction."
Of the cottage in which he spent most of his childhood and youth he writes: "Opposite the hall door a good-sized walnut-tree leaned its wrinkled stem towards the house, and brushed some of the second-story panes with its broad fragrant leaves. To sit at that little upper window when it was open to a summer twilight, and the great tree rustled gently, and sent one leafy spray so far that it even touched my face, was an enchantment beyond all telling. Killarney, Switzerland, Venice, could not, in later life, come near it. On three sides the cottage looked on flowers and branches, which I count as one of the fortunate chances of my childhood; the sense of natural beauty thus receiving its due share of nourishment, and of a kind suitable to those early years."
Allingham's schooling was far too brief
to satisfy his thirst for knowledge. He was scarcely fourteen, if indeed quite so old, when he was placed as a clerk in the town bank, of which his father was mar ager. The books which he had to keep for the next seven years were not those on which his heart was set. He was a great reader. Year after year he kept adding to the
scanty stock of learning which he had brought from school, til in the end he had mastered Greek, Latin, French, and German. His father, proad though he was of his son's intelligence, had little sympathy with his constant crav ing for knowledge. In the bank manager's eyes, it was not the scholar, but the thor ough business man who ranked highest. From the counting-house the young poet at last succeeded in escaping. "Heartsick of more than seven years of bankclerking, I found a door suddenly opened, not into an ideal region or anything like one, but at least into a roadway of life somewhat less narrow and tedious than that in which I was plodding." A place had been found for him in the customs, as it was found for another and a greater dreamer on the other side of the Atlan tic.
"In the spring of 1846 I gladly took leave forever of discount ledgers and ear rent accounts, and went to Belfast før two months' instruction in the duties of Principal Coast Officer of Customs, a tolerably well-sounding title, but which carried with it a salary of but £80 a year. I trudged daily about the docks and timber-yards, learning to measure logs piles of planks, and, more troublesome, ships for tonnage; indoors, part of the time practiced customs bookkeeping, and talked to the clerks about literature and poetry in a way that excited some aston ishment, but on the whole, as I found at parting, a certain degree of curiosity and respect. I preached Tennyson to them. My spare time was mostly spent in reading and haunting booksellers' shops, where, I venture to say, I laid out a good deal more than most people, in
proportion to my income, and managed to get glimpses of many books which I could not afford or did not care to buy. I enjoyed my new position, on the whole, without analysis, as a great improve ment on the bank; and for the rest, my inner mind was brimful of love and poetry, and usually all external things appeared trivial save in their relation to it. Yet I am reminded by old memoranda that there were sometimes overclouding anxieties: sometimes, but not very frequently, from lack of money; more often from longing for culture, conversation, opportunity; oftenest from fear of a sudden development of some form of lung disease, the seeds of which I supposed to be sown in my bodily constitution." This weakness he outgrew.
Having gone through his apprenticeship, he returned to Donegal, where he was stationed for some years. Close to his office he had a back room, where he kept all his books and where he read for hours together. Here, no doubt, he covered many a sheet of paper with verse. From Mr. Arthur Hughes I have the following account of the young poet:
"D. G. R., and I think W. A. himself, told me, in the early days of our acquaintance, how, in remote Ballyshannon, where he was a clerk in the customs, in evening walks he would hear the Irish girls at their cottage doors singing old ballads, which he would pick up. If they were broken or incomplete, he would add to them or finish them; if they were improper, he would refine them. He could not get them sung till he got the Dublin 'Catnach' of that day to print them, on long strips of blue paper, like old songs; and if about the sea, with the old rough woodcut of a ship on the top. He either gave them away or they were sold in the neighborhood. Then, in his evening walks, he had at last the pleasure of hearing some of his own ballads sung at the cottage doors by the crooning lasses, who were quite unaware that it was the author who was passing by."
He liked, his widow tells me, to see all sorts of people and all sides of life. round Ballyshannon. When she visited He knew every cottage for twenty miles the place with their children, after his death, "very many," she writes, the friendly greetings we had from folk 66 were sought for sympathy outside the narrow who remembered him kindly." He limits of this secluded spot. he says, "for literary correspondents, "I had," Leigh Hunt, George Gilfillan, and SamF. [one of his cousins], whose handwrituel Ferguson, and for love correspondent ing always sent a thrill through me at the first glance and the fiftieth perusal.” In June, 1847, he paid his first visit to London, and called on Leigh Hunt.
some minutes to look round at the book"I was shown into his study, and had cases, busts, old framed engravings, and table, diligently marked and noted in to glance at some of the books on the the well-known neatest of handwritings. Outside the window climbed a hop on its the genius loci, a tallish trellis. The door opened, and in came the genius loci, a tallish young old man, in dark dressing-gown and wide turneddown shirt collar, his copious iron-gray friendly brown eyes, a simple yet finehair falling almost to the shoulders. The greeting as to one already well known to toned voice, easy hand-pressure, gave me him. Our talk fell first on reason and instinct. He maintained (for argument's sake, I thought) that beasts may be equal nestness of manner, a toleration for alor superior to men. He has a light earmost every possible different view from interesting men. Dickens, a pleasant his own. I ask him about certain highly fellow, very busy now, lives in an old house in Devonshire Terrace, Maryleing lives at Peckham, because no one else bone. Carlyle, I know him well. Browndoes! He's a pleasant fellow, has few readers, and will be glad to find that you admire him (!!).
"In 1850 I ventured to send my first volume of verse to Tennyson. I don't