Page images

not ultimately succeed, is the extraordinary | tress with her, and was apprehended with change it produces in the appearance of its the old man, and they were tried together. inmates. Putting out of the question their He was acquitted; she was found guilty. look of cleanliness and health (which may be Her sentence was six months' imprisonment, regarded as a physical consequence of their and, on its expiration, she was received into treatment) a refining and humanizing altera- the Home. She was appallingly ignorant, tion is wrought in the expression of the feat- but most anxious to learn, and contended ures, and in the whole air of the person, against her blunted faculties with a consciously which can scarcely be imagined. Teachers, slow perseverance. She showed a remarkain Ragged Schools have made the observation ble capacity for copying writing by the eye in reference to young women whom they had alone, without having the least idea of its previously known well, and for a long time. sound, or what it meant. There seemed to A very sagacious and observant police magis- be some analogy between her making letters trate, visiting a girl before her emigration and her making artificial flowers. She rewho had been taken from his bar, could mained in the Home, bearing an excellent detect no likeness in her to the girl he re- character, about a year. On her passage membered. It is considered doubtful whether, out, she made artificial flowers for the ladies in the majority of the worst cases, the sub- on board, earned money, and was much liked. ject would easily be known again at a year's She obtained a comfortable service as soon as end, among a dozen, by an old companion. she landed, and is happy and respected. This girl had not a friend in the world, and had never known a natural affection, or formed a natural tie, upon the face of this earth.

The moral influence of the Home, still applying the remark even to cases of failure, is illustrated in a no less remarkable manner. It has never had any violence done to a chair or a stool. It has never been asked to render any aid to the one lady and her assistant, who are shut up with the thirteen the year round. Bad language is so uncommon that its utterance is an event. The committee have never heard the least approach to it, or seen anything but submission; though it has often been their task to reprove and dismiss women who have been violently agitated, and unquestionably (for the time) incensed against them. Four of the fugitives have robbed the Institution of some clothes. The rest had no reason on earth for running away in preference to asking to be dismissed, but shame in not remaining.

Case number thirteen was a half-starved girl of eighteen, whose father had died soon after her birth, and who had long eked out a miserable subsistence for herself and a sick mother by doing plain needlework. At last her mother died in a workhouse, and the needlework "falling off bit by bit," this girl suffered, for nine months, every extremity of dire distress. Being one night without any food or shelter from the weather, she went to the lodging of a woman who had once lived in the same house with herself and her mother, and asked to be allowed to lie down on the stairs. She was refused, and stole a shawl, which she sold for a penny. A fortnight afterwards, being still in a starving and houseless state, she went back to the same woman's, and preferred the same request. Again refused, she stole a Bible from her, which she sold for two-pence. The theft was immediately discovered, and she was taken as she lay asleep in the casual ward of a workhouse. These facts were distinctly proved upon her trial. She was sentenced to three months' imprisonment, and was then admitted into the Home. She had never been corrupted. She remained in the Home, bearing an excellent character, a little more than a year; emigrated; conducted herself uniformly well in a good situation; and is now married.

Case number twenty-seven was a girl supposed to be of about eighteen, but who had none but supposititious knowledge of her age, and no knowledge at all of her birth-day. Both her parents had died in her infancy. She had been brought up in the establishment of that amiable victim of popular prejudice, the late Mr. Drouet, of Tooting. It did not appear that she was naturally stupid, but her intellect had been so dulled by neglect that she was in the Home many months before she could be imbued with a thorough understanding that Christmas Day was so called as the birthday of Jesus Christ. But when she acquired this piece of learning, she was a quiet and good manner, aged nineteen. amazingly proud of it. She had been appren- She came from a watering-place, where she ticed to a small artificial-flower-maker with had lived with her mother until within a three others. They were all ill-treated, and couple of years, when her mother married all seemed to have run away at different again and she was considered an incumbrance times; this girl last, who absconded with an at a very bad home. She became apprenticed old man, a hawker, who brought "combs and to a dressmaker, who, on account of her staythings "to the door for sale. She took what ing out beyond the prescribed hours one night she called "some old clothes" of her mis- when she went with some other young people

Case number forty-one was a pretty girl, of

A specimen or two of cases of success may be interesting.

to a Circus, positively refused to admit her or give her any shelter from the streets. The natural consequences of this unjustifiable behavior followed. She came to the House on the recommendation of a clergyman to whom she fortunately applied, when in a state of sickness and misery too deplorable to be even suggested to the reader's imagination. She remained in the Home (with an interval of hospital treatment) upwards of a year and a half, when she was sent abroad. Her character is irreproachable, and she is industrious, happy, and full of gratitude.

hop season, and wandering about the country
at all seasons, and was unaccustomed to
shoes, and had seldom slept in a bed. She
answered some searching questions without
the least reserve, and not at all in her own
favor. Her appearance of destitution was in
perfect keeping with her story. This girl was
received into the Home.
Within a year,

there was clinging round the principal Super-
intendent's neck, on board a ship bound for
Australia-in a state of grief at parting that
moved the bystanders to tears-a pretty little,
neat, modest, useful girl, against whom not a
moment's complaint had been made, and who
had diligently learnt everything that had
been set before her.


Case number fifty was a very homely, clumsy, ignorant girl, supposed to be about nineteen, but who again had no knowledge of her birthday. She was taken from a Ragged Case number fifty-four, a good-looking School; her mother died when she was a young woman of two-and-twenty, was first little girl; and her father, marrying again, seen in prison under remand on a charge of had turned her out of doors, though her attempting to commit suicide. Her mother mother-in-law had been kind to her. She had had died before she was two years old, and been once in prison for breaking some win- her father had married again; but she spoke dows near the Mansion-house, having in high and affectionate terms both of her nowheres as you can think of, to go to." She father and her mother-in-law. She had been a had never gone wrong otherwise, and partic- travelling maid with an elderly lady, and, on ularly wished that to be wrote down." her mistress going to Russia, had returned She was in as dirty and unwholesome a condi- home to her father's. She had stayed out tion, on her admission, as she could well be, late one night, in company with a "commisbut was inconsolable at the idea of losing sioner" whom she had known abroad, was her hair, until the fortunate suggestion was afraid or ashamed to go home, and so went made that it would grow more luxuriantly wrong. Falling lower, and becoming poorer, after shaving. She then consented, with she became at last acquainted with a ticketmany tears, to that (in her case) indispensa- taker at a railway station, who tired of the acble operation. This deserted and unfortu- quaintance. One night when he had made an nate creature, after a short period of depres- appointment (as he often had done before) and, sion, began to brighten, uniformly showed a on the plea of inability to leave his duties, very honest and truthful nature, and after had put this girl in a cab, that she might be remaining in the Home a year, has recently taken safely home (she seemed to have inemigrated; a thoroughly good plain servant, spired him with that much enduring regard), with every susceptibility for forming a faith- she pulled up the window and swallowed two ful and affectionate attachment to her employ- shillings' worth of the essential oil of almonds which she had bought at a chemist's an hour before. The driver happened to look round when she still had the bottle to her lips, immediately made out the whole story, and had the presence of mind to drive her straight to a hospital, where she remained a month


before she was cured. She was in that state

Case number fifty-eight was a girl of nineteen, all but starved through inability to live by needlework. She had never gone wrong, was gradually brought into a good bodily condition, invariably conducted herself well, and went abroad, rescued and happy.

Case number fifty-one, was a little ragged girl of sixteen or seventeen, as she said; but of very juvenile appearance. She was put to the bar at a Police Office, with two much older women, regular vagrants, for making a disturbance at the workhouse gate on the previous night on being refused relief. She had been a professed tramp for six or seven years, knew of no relation, and had no friends but one old woman, whose very name she did not appear to be sure of. Her father, a scaffold-builder, she had "lost" on London Bridge when she was ten or eleven years old. There appeared little doubt that he had purposely abandoned her, but she had no suspicion of it. She had long been hop-picking in the

of depression in the prison, that it was a matter for grave consideration whether it would be safe to take her into the Home, where, if she were bent upon committing suicide, it would be almost impossible to prevent her. After some talk with her, however, it was decided to receive her. She proved one of the best inmates it has ever had, and remained in it seven months before she emigrated. Her father, who had never seen her since the night of her staying out late, came to see her in the Home, and confirmed these particulars. It is doubtful whether any treatment but that pursued in such an institution would have restored this girl.

Case number fourteen was an extremely come home from work of a night he tells me that pretty girl of twenty, whose mother was I shall every 9 years com Home if we live so married to a second husband - a drunken long please God, but I think that he is only makman who ill-treated his step-daughter. She ing game of me. Honnoured Ladies I can never had been engaged to be married, but had feel grateful enough for your kindness to me and been deceived, and had run away from home the kind indulgences which I received at my in shame, and had been away three years. Home and see that happy place again once more happy home, I often wish that I could come Within that period, however, she had twice and all my kind friends which I hope I may one returned home; the first time for six months; day please God. the second time for a few days. She had also been in a London hospital. She had also been in the Magdalen; which institution her father-in-law, with a drunkard's inconsistency, had induced her to leave, to attend her mother's funeral and then ill-treated her as before. She had been once in prison as a disorderly character, and was received from the prison into the Home. Her health was impaired and her experience had been of a bad kind in a bad quarter at London, but she was still a girl of remarkably engaging and delicate appearance. She remained in the Home, improving rapidly, thirteen months. She was never complained of, and her general deportment was usually quiet and modest. She emigrated, and is a good, industrious, happy wife.

This paper can scarcely be better closed than by the following pretty passage from a letter of one of the married young women.

No comments or arguments shall be added to swell the length this account has already attained. Our readers will judge for themselves what some of these cases must have soon become, but for the timely interposition of the Home established by the Ladies whose charity is so discreet and so impartial.

Lebahn's" Faust."'*

This is a useful book, and a great deal of pains Goethe's Faust, which is selected by Dr. Lebahn must have been expended on its compilation. as a vehicle for conveying instruction in the German language, is printed entire, and is followed by a sort of syntax. The examples of the syntax are taken from Faust alone; and as they are sufficiently numerous to exhaust the whole poem and are invariably translated into English, the reader may go through a complete course of Faust, not only with a literal translation, but This intellectual journey he may perform from also with a perpetual grammatical comment. opposite starting-points, thanks to a double system of figuration. If he takes Faust in hand, and yearns for a grammatical explanation, there are numbers placed against the lines to direct him to the pages of the syntax. If, on the other hand, his genius is more philological than poetical, and, starting from the grammar, he needs authority for his examples, there are numbers placed against the rules to direct him to the pages of the tragedy.

But while Dr. Lebahn thus laudably works up a classical German poem into a book of grammatical teaching, what dæmon has tempted him to limit the sphere of his popularity by the introduction of certain theological remarks that can gratify nobody and may offend a great many? Priestcraft is doubtless a very bad thing in its way, but we do not see why a German grammarian, the object of whose book is to teach Englishmen his native language, should indulge in anti-clerical orations that will surely cause his work to be shunned at Oxford. Neither do we see why the orthodox British student should be annoyed by a Voltairian scoff at the miraculous ascent of Elijah, simply because Faust and his familiar sail through the air on a cloak. We fear Dr. Lebahn has so identified himself with Faust that he has had a Mephistopheles at his elbow. - Spectator.


of us.

I have again taken the liberty of writing to you to let you know how I am going on since I last wrote Home for I can never forget that name that still comes fresh to my mind, Honnoured Ladies I received your most kind letter on Tuesday the 21st of May my Mistress was kind enough to bring it over to me she told me that she also had a letter from you and that she should write Home and give you a good account Honnoured Ladies I cannot describe the feelings which I felt on receiving your most kind letter, I first read my letter then I cried but it was with tears of joy, to think you was so kind to write to us Honnoured Ladies I have seen Jane and I showed my letter and she is going write Home, she is living about 36 miles from where I live and her and her husband are very happy together she has been down to our Town this week and it is the first that we have seen of her since a week after they were married. My Husband is very kind to me and we live very happy and comfortable together we have a nice garden where we grow all that we want we have sown some peas turnips and I helped to do some we have three such nice pigs and we killed one last week he was so fat that he could not see out of his eyes he used to have to sit down to eat and I have got such a nice cat-she peeps over me while I am writing this. My Husband was going out one day, and he heard that cat cry and he fetched her in she was so thin. My tow little birds are gone - one dide and the other flew away now I have got none, get down Cat do. My Husband has built a shed at the side of the house to do any thing for hisself when he

copious Notes, Grammatical, Philological, and *Faust: a Tragedy, by J. W. von Goethe. With Exegetical, by Falck Lebahn, Ph. Dr. Published by Longman and Co.

[ocr errors]

From the Spectator.

Glasgow, and inspire thoughts and sensations
for which the poet is grateful. Still, the repe-
tition of these things fatigues, and we expect
from the poet a more novel and subtile inter-

ALEXANDER SMITH's volume contains a poem


in dialogue, which he entitles "A Life-pretation of the nature whose priest he aspires Drama,' some short miscellaneous poems, to be. Let Alexander Smith take counsel of and a few sonnets. Most if not all of the the Pre-Raphaelites, who, by a simple exercise volume has appeared within the last twelve- of their own senses, have given a new interest month in the pages of a literary London Jour- to the commonest scenes, and have taught us nal, but it will probably be new to the general that Nature is not yet exhausted by the Acadpublic. Those among this miscellaneous body emy, royal or otherwise. But the absence who watch with interest the dawning of genius, from the Life-Drama of any sense of the and are able to discern in the luxuriant blos- human beings among whom life is passed, of soms of the spring the golden promise of the any delight in any human relation except that autumn, will detect in Alexander Smith, young between young men and beautiful women, is a and undeveloped as he unquestionably is, the more serious blot; and one that in an older marks of a true poet. His senses receive from man would in itself be a bar to his noble amoutward objects impressions finer and keener bition of setting the age to music. That man than those of ordinary men, and these impres- has no sound and healthy heart to whom only sions set him singing with enjoyment, and are one phase of human life has charms, and who, reproduced in phrases and lines of singular when that is over, can find nothing in the beauty, melody, and power. Nothing is world worth living and caring for; and this harder to predict than the course of genius, tendency of our new poet will require to be subject as it is to the accidents of fortune, overcome by thought, self-control, and expephysical organization, and social intercourse; rience, before he can write poems that any but, so far as comparison can guide us, it is to but mere boys will read with unmixed satisthe earlier works of Keats and Shelley alone faction. If he would instruct the world, he that we can look for a counterpart in richness must be wise and loving himself, and must of fancy and force of expression to the Life- learn that it is not the young and the lovely Drama; unless we appeal to a printed but un- alone that are capable of poetic interest. We published juvenile work of Tennyson, entitled should imagine that Keats and Shelley, and The Lover's Bay,' - far superior, in our poets of that class, have been too exclusively opinion, to anything that actually appeared in his favorites, and should recommend him to his first volume, though even in that the study rather the more practical and manly "Recollections of the Arabian Nights" allayed English poets. He is evidently an admirer of somewhat old "crusty Christopher's" storm Tennyson, and has caught some of his beauties of ridicule. and mannerism; he should take a long, deep draught of the older poets, especially the drainatists of Elizabeth and the Stuart period, nor would the sense and terseness of Pope and Dryden be a bad study; and, like all poets, he should read the best prose writers, and learn himself to write terse and idiomatic prose. He has quite sensibility enough, quite enough impressibility to beauty, is rather too sensuous, sometimes not quite reticent enough in the matter of sensations; let him think more, learn more facts, care more about what objects are in themselves and less about the amount of pleasure they are capable of giving him, and we venture to hope that he may be among England's great names.


The title of Life-Drama" is quite misplaced. The poem is a collection of passages purely lyrical for the most part, though in the form of dialogue. It is studded with fine lines, but it is difficult to find striking passages of any length. Our selection is rather at random, as one might gather a handful of pearls from a heap.

Alexander Smith has this advantage over both Keats and Shelley, that he never runs into absolute nonsense. On the other hand, he is more of a sensational poet than either of them. His sensations are so keen, so thrilling, that they seem to overpower his perceptions. He feels that something intensely beautiful is before him, but he is so drunk with the beauty that he can convey no clear impression of its details to another, only that he is delirious with enjoyment; and his descriptions, instead of impressing their object on the reader's imagination, expand into circling waves of simile, flashing and radiant with rapturous sensation. Nor are the objects with which he is familiar very numerous or various. In nature, the sea and sky in their broadest and most obvious appearances are his stock in trade for simile and description, especially the starry heavens on a cloudless night. Vastness, freedom of movement, and purity, strike most the man who is habitually confined and choked in cities; and the stars will on clear nights shine down even on such a hive as

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]




And, in the fulness of his marriage joy,

She asked him but to stand beside her grave -
He decorates her tawny brow with shells, She said she would be daisies and she thought
Retires a space, to see how fair she looks, 'T would give her joy to feel that he was near.
Then, proud, runs up to kiss her. All is fair She died like music ; and, would you believe't,
All glad, from grass to sun! Yet more I love He kept her foolish words within his heart
Than this, the shrinking day, that sometimes As ceremonious as a chapel keeps

A relic of a saint. And in the spring
In Winter's front, so fair ’mong its dark peers, The doting idiot went !
It seems a struggler from the files of June,
Which in its wanderings had lost its wits,
And half its beauty; and, when it returned,

What found be there?
Finding its old companions gone away,
It joined November's troop, then marching past ;
And so the frail thing comes, and greets the world Laugh till your sides ache !

Oh, he went, poor With a thin crazy smile, then bursts in tears,

fool ! And all the while it holds within its hand But he found nothing sare red trampled clay A few half-withered flowers. I love and pity it! And a dull sobbing rain. Do you not laugh?

Amid the comfortless rain he stood and wept, My heart is beating with all things that are,

Bare-headed in the mocking, pelting rain. My blood is wild unrest ;

He might have known 't was ever so on earth. With what a passion pants yon eager star Upon the water's breast !

The remorse of Walter, the hero, is painted Clasped in the air’s suft arms the world doth with genuine if somewhat overstrained pathos. sleep,

The phraseology is strong, and less encumAsleep its moving seas, its humming lands ; bered with simile than in most parts of the With what an hungry lip the ocean deep

poem. In fact, fine promise of a true dramatLappeth forever the white-breasted sands !

ic excellence is indicated in the scene from What love is in the moon's eternal eyes, Leaning unto the earth from out the midnight which the following extract is taken, as well skies!

as in the passage quoted above. Thy large dark eyes are wide upon thy brow,

Good men have said Filled with as tender light

That sometimes God leaves sinuers to their sinAs yon low moon doth fill the heavens now, He has left me to mine, and I am changed ; This mellow autumn night!

My worst part is insurgent, and my will On the late flowers I linger at thy feet.

Is weak and powerless as a trembling king I tremble when I touch thy garment's rim, When millions rise up hungry. Woe is me ! I clasp thy waist, I feel thy bosom's beat My soul breeds sins as a dead body worms !

O kiss me into faintness sweet and dim ! They swarm and feed upon me. Hear me, God! Thou leanest to me as a swelling peach,

Sin met me and embraced me on my way : Full-juiced and mellow, leaneth to the taker's Methought her cheeks were red, her lips had reach.

bloom ; Thy hair is loosened by that kiss you gave,

I kissed her bold lips, dallied with her hair :

She sang me into slumber. I awoke It floods my shoulders o'er ;

It was a putrid corse that clung to me, Another yet! Oh, as a weary wave

That clings to me like memory to the damned, Subsides upon the shore, My hungry being with its hopes, its fears,

That rots into my being. Father ! God !

I cannot shake it off ! it clings, it clings ! My heart like moon-charmed waters, all un

I soon will grow as corrupt as itself. [A pause. rest,

God sends me back my prayers, as a father Yet strong as is despair, as weak as tears,

Returns unoped the letters of a son Doth faint upon thy breast !

Who has dishonored him. I feel thy clasping arms, my cheek is wet

Have mercy,

Fiend ! With thy rich tears. One kiss ! Sweet, sweet, Thou Devil, thou wilt drag me down to hell! another yet!

0, if she had proclivity to sin The next quotation is a proof that Alexan- Who did appear so beauteous and so pure, der Smith has dramatic power in the germ. Nature may leer behind a gracious mask, The conclusion affects one with something of And God himself may be — I'm giddy, blind ; the terrible beauty for which Ford is fanious. The world reels from beneath me.

(Catches hold of the parapet. Between him and the lady of his love

(An Outcast approaches.) Wilt pray for me? There stood a wrinkled worldling ripe for hell. When with his golden hand he plucked that flower,

GIRL (shuddering.)
And would have smelt it, lo! it paled and shrank, 'Tis a dreadful thing to pray.
And withered in his grasp. And when she died
The rivers of his heart ran all to waste ;
They found no ocean, dry sands sucked them up.

Why is it so ?
Ludy, he was a fool! - a pitiful fool.

Hast thou, like me, a spot upon thy soul, She said she loved him, would be dead in spring - That neither tears can cleanse, nor fires eterne?


« PreviousContinue »