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nearest habitable place, isn't it, William ?"

"Miles," agreed that gentleman. "There's only the farm, and I doubt if there's such a thing as a parasol there; the vicar's a bachelor. They might have come up in a boat, except that boats never get as high as this if they've got women on board."

"Damn," observed Talbot from the middle of his train of thought.

Charles who had been listening with a kindling eye made no attempt to disguise his satisfaction. "Quite a godsend," he remarked. "We must get to know them and have them to tea."

"Whom? The parasols?" asked the Admiral.

"Only a pretty girl would camp out with a parasol," pursued Charles ignoring him. Then a thought struck him and his eye involuntarily wandered towards the house-boat.

It was

a fortunate circumstance that he had brought that suit of clothes.

"They'll be an infernal nuisance," grumbled Talbot. "How can men be expected to camp out in comfort where there are a lot of women always about?"

"They're a good distance off, that's one comfort," said William.

"And on the further bank of the back-water," Majendie put in, "so we've got two streams between us and them."

"What's a mere river to a wilful woman?" asked Talbot indignantly.

"Under the fountains and over the waves,' quoted the Admiral. "But, seriously, as Talbot says, it will be a real inconvenience if they come wandering about much. It is not what we had a right to expect. What did you say it was the quietest bit of river in England for?" He looked accusingly at William.

"So it used to be," was the answer. "This is the fourth time I've been here,

and I've hardly seen a soul before except the rustics."

"Pity it's got so populous in the interval," said Talbot, whose temper was evidently seriously tried by the news. "I'll tell you what we could do," suggested Majendie, "if they make themselves too obnoxious; we could move our quarters. I found a creek a mile down stream which would do very well."

"There's a better one still, about two miles up," said William after a little thought. "The river divides in two there, and it's right in the woods."

Charles felt it his duty to comment on this proposal. "That's all very well," he said persuasively, "but where are you going to get your provisions from? Butter and milk don't grow in the woods, and here we've got them at our very door, so to speak, to say nothing of drinking-water. You don't want to walk a mile and a half carrying buckets every morning."

"A lot of water you drink," said Talbot with ferocity.

"I always take water with my whiskey," returned Charles with mild dignity.

"There's a good deal in what Charles says," admitted William. "At any rate I think we had better see what happens. Things may not be so bad after all, and we don't know for certain yet that the parasols do belong to the tents." The others, inclined to ease after a hard day, agreed that hasty action would be unwise, and Charles, now that his tongue had done its work, again fixed his eyes complacently on the house-boat.

Talbot caught the look and in a measure it helped to restore him to good humor. It was a fortunate circumstance that Charles no longer had his suit of clothes. Then he rose. "Any of you fellows want the boat?" he asked, and the others shook their heads. "Let's go and put a fly over

the mill-pool, then," he said to Majendie. "I want to get one of those big chub, if the petticoats haven't frightened them all away." And the two were soon pulling down stream towards the lock.

"Let's go for a stroll, Admiral," said Charles innocently.

Macmillan's Magazine.

"Which way?" asked the Admiral. Charles's gesture included the half of the compass in which lay the backwater, but he said, "Oh, I don't mind; any way you like."

"I'll wash up," said William, "and then I'll have a bathe." And so this most ungallant scene ended.

(To be continued.)


The Longfellow centenary, celebrated in the United States February the 27th, is a notable event from more points of view than a merely literary one. As a direct literary influence Longfellow has practically ceased to exist at the present time-that is to say, he does not influence the men who write for writers. Modern journalists, of course, have no time to read anything but ephemeral literature: they are begining to discover a better trick than the study of Addison. Still, the bare idea of Mr. Ches terton, for example, settling down at his fireside to read "The Village Blacksmith" or "The Reaper and the Angel" is a little funnier, perhaps, than the supposition that he has really read the Brontës, in whom he so glibly discovers precisely the same "abysm" (colored red or blue to taste) as he finds in Dickens, Charles the Second, Max Beerbohm, "Paradise Regained," Mr. George Shaw (we absolutely refuse to call him Bernard), Little Tich, and the Fathers of the Church. Of course, he is quite right. Our point is, that it must save him and his like a good deal of unnecessary delving into Thomas Aquinas and Longfellow. To know Little Tich is to know all, from Homer nay, from the Megatherium-onwards. Yet the name of Longfellow is one to be shunned in print by a modern critic who values his reputation. The abysms-to use an unusual colloIcation of words-in the case of Long

fellow will hardly suggest the requisite alibi. Hardly is it possible for the most epigrammatic of moderns to approach his name, even through the most careful series of paradoxes. To the merely æsthetic critic it is impossible. On almost any page of an Arthur Paul Pater or a William Butler Maeterlinck Moore the mere name of Longfellow would be worse than a loud and prolonged fit of sneezing by a very shy man's wife at a very solemn moment in a very silent and crowded church. Yet cowards die many times before their deaths; and, assuredly, Longfellow is very like Death. No one can escape

him. You may read some decadent little volume and sally forth to taste Life at a London music-hall; but it is quite on the cards that the old mole will "work i' the earth so fast" as to greet you from the stage. Some low comedian in enormous pantaloons will advance displaying his biceps and announcing, amid roars of laughter from the congregated "æsthetes and London nighters," that "under a spreading chestnut-tree the village smithy stands." Nor does the fact that Longfellow is the standing butt for the cheaper sort of parody mean that he is ceasing to be taken seriously. "Excelsior" and "The Wreck of the Hesperus" are recited to-day by "beautiful pink children" in thousands of schoolrooms. "The Courtship of Miles Standish" is delivered at hundreds of penny

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readings. Illuminated by music, "Hiawatha" and "The Golden Legend" attract enormous audiences at the Albert Hall, whence the sorrows of Elsie and Minnehaha are sent abroad anew into thousands of homes. Moreover, Longfellow more than holds his own with any drawing-room song-writer of the day, and his work is on a very much higher level than that of the troubadour who inspired maidens and matrons with a wild desire for antennæ and six legs we mean the famous author of "I'd be a butterfly!" Longfellow is the real origin and inspiration of the sentimental and often very pretty verses about scythes, arrows, and angels (considered in relation to snow, flowers, rain, clouds, and silver linings) which are to be found in the "cosy corners" of newspapers, parish magazines, home journals, girls' gazettes, and even some quite superior periodicals at the present day. He is the first and only authority on the exact connection between the footprints of Time and the sands of the hour-glass; and he alone knows the real necessity for always fighting bravely "in the bivouac of life" without even that previous application to the canteen which one would suppose to be the cause of so heroic a demonstration. He has introduced Heine to the burly bosom of the British matron, who now knows all about the sea and its pearls. He has guided the feet of the million into the Inferno of Dante, and prepared them not only for appreciating the illustrations of Gustave Doré, but also for relishing the hells of the Adelphi. He is represented in an enormously large proportion of self-respecting poetic almanacs, birthday books, Yuletide cards, funeral mementos, tombstones, and Christmas crackers. Charles Baudelaire that supreme artist in words who seems to unite the gloomiest powers of John Ford with the gorgeous coloring of Keats in his odes and the

profundity and breadth of Wordsworth in his greatest sonnets-has plagiarized from Longfellow's most famous lyric, and, in order to make a complete poem of it, has coupled his booty with another little appropriation from Gray. Mr. Kipling has used him with great effect in some of his finest work; and, in spite of this unique record, it is as much as an English critic's reputation is worth to mention his name except as a cat-call! For Longfellow-alas!-has been branded with the word which, above all others, during the last twenty years has been "defamed by every charlatan, and soiled with all ignoble use"-the grand old name of Philistine. Still, he was born a hundred years ago, and his hold on the public to-day is greater than ever. Let us briefly examine his case. He is not, of course, a great poet, nor to be compared for a moment with Wordsworth, Tennyson, or Swinburne. Yet the gulf between him and those great names is insignificant in comparison with the abyss between him and the latter-day English decadents, from whose "Celtic" or "Symbolistic" contempt hardly the greatest names of the nineteenth century have been safe. Longfellow was not, perhaps, a great man; he was only a noble-hearted man, and a sincere man. He was not a master of technique in poetry. He is usually too easily satisfied with a rough sketch of what he wanted to say. He is often, consequently, mixed in his metaphors, and crude in diction. He never wrote one of those great inevitable lines, like Shakespeare's

In cradle of the rude imperious surge,

or like Wordsworth's marvellous lines on the skylark

Leave to the nightingale her shady wood,

A privacy of glorious light is thine.

But, then, have our modern deca

dents written any lines like these? One thing Longfellow had in common with the great poets-sincerity; and we do not mean merely that his intentions were good, or that his "magic mirror" was nothing but his own manifest heart. His literary workmanship was sincere. Even his worst poems are written along the lines of the true development of English literature. It was possible for "The Tales of a Wayside Inn," or for "The Golden Legend," to be better written and to be great. It is impossible for some of the little poetic palpitations of the latter-day disciples of Verlaine or for the fluttering little fancies of Celtery to be better written, despite all their cunning and furtive avoidance in eccentricity of the real difficulties of verse; and it is also impossible that anything great should ever be produced in that line of work. Longfellow had none of those artificial conventions which, by supplying one with an extra vocabulary, a readymade "strangeness," and a reach-medown "renascence of wonder," make it so easy to hide deficiencies in technical mastery, and to produce a kind of smoky flashlight lyric, where a great poet, like Wordsworth, working in calm and splendid obedience to those laws of art "whose service is perfect freedom," would have revealed that Power

Whose dwelling is the light of setting


-that Power which is itself

The Light that never was on sea or land,

The consecration, and the poet's dream.

The writing of most of our decadents is what Rossetti called "intellectually incestuous,"-poetry seeking to beget its own offspring on itself. It is a much easier matter, for instance, to write about "passionate white women"

than to create a Cleopatra, or to reveal the beauty and passion incarnate, clothed, as it were, with the soft flesh and tender color of the verse. It is a very easy matter indeed, in comparison with the writing even of a "Psalm of Life," to write a poem like this:

Oh, passionate woman, I hear
The drip of the rain!
Your ivory body is bare!
Loosen your dream-heavy hair!
Oh, passionate woman, I hear
The drip of the rain!

That is, of course, extempore; but it is to be hoped that the reader will note the "minute ecstasy of rhythm" and subtle shifting of the accent in the fourth line; for a Celt, in editing Spenser, has recently declared it is in these little matters that the great poets of the past are so deficient. Inasmuch, too, as we followed his advice and wrote that lyric offhand "in contemplative indolence, playing with fragile things," we feel it is quite as good as most of the decadent poems that are thought worthy of occupying each a page with enormous margins at the present day; and in twenty-four hours one could write, say, twenty-four feverish little volumes of such fancies, all of which would be commended by certain sections of the press. week's thought-we are allowing in charity the very utmost limit-half a dozen decadent books on a more elaborate scale could be produced: such books as would be greeted with wouldbe-morbid ecstacy by certain wouldbe-artistic, long-haired, anti-Philistian Bohemians or Bulgarians, with five smatterings of fifteen arts and a furtive heart-hankering after the mouth of Jenny Gioconda, Velvet Coats, and the Cities of the Plain. But it would be a very different matter to face the real difficulties of craftsmanship in verse as Longfellow faced them even when he failed. It would be a very

With a

different matter to produce even half a dozen stanzas like the following, mediocre though it be:

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,

And our hearts, though stout and brave,

Still, like muffled drums, are beating Funeral marches to the grave.

Ferdinand Brunetière once remarked that all kinds of preciosity are really forms of burlesque: they aim at surprising the reader by a false novelty. It is much easier, for instance, to write a hundred thousand lines of an epic in Esperanto after this fashion

Strange parfume nittles hath beneath big lune,

When meandereth beetles 'tween their twisty stalks;

-much easier than to write one little poem like Longfellow's admirable "Fire of Drift-Wood." Burlesque and paradox, they have their day. But well may we call, after hearing such strains, to the lovelier Muse in that immortal cry of Shakespeare which itself outsings and annuls all the strange sounds emitted from the "screaming wryneck"

O mistress mine, where are you roaming?

However lowly a worshipper he may have been, it was on the altar of this Muse that Longfellow strove to lay what he simply and sincerely felt. It was, therefore, as we said above, at least possible for him to do great and worthy things; and so it happened that, though he never achieved the greatest, he more than once did write a poem which outweighs all the productions of those latterday symbolist, Celtic, and sham archaic schools which, nevertheless, have the impertinence to treat him with their ineffable contempt,a contempt which, with the word

"Philistine" for their chief weapon, they are ludicrously endeavoring to display towards Tennyson's boots (the only part of him that is on a level with their eyes),-a contempt which soon, in their ignorance of literary history and despicable subjection to every little ebb and flow, every little action and reaction, they will be endeavoring to extend to Swinburne.

Perhaps the best product of the Celtic school is a little lyric called "Innisfree." It is a jingle whose triviality is only hidden by its artificial and meretricious atmosphere. Metrically it is that old enemy of English verse, that old degenerate Alexandrine with the extra syllable, the well-known Elizabethan doggerel form, This is the penultimate line of the lyric under our notice:

When I stand in the roadway, or on the pavements gray.

We venture to say that in his lyrics Longfellow never wrote so bad a line as that, with its assonances on the a sound all through, its semi-rhyme at the cœsura, its final inversion, and its loose metrical carpet-slippers.

Fi du rhythme commode, Comme un soulier trop grand, Du mode

Que tout pied quitte et prend!

Now Longfellow, as we said above, had no meretricious atmosphere to hide his failings; he had no artificial conventions to supply him with a double vocabulary. To put our meaning very crudely and in algebraic symbols, as it were, if he had required a rhyme for "green" he might have been obliged to use a somewhat Philistine or eighteenth-century "scene." (Considerations of literary history beneath the notice of the diseased critics come in again here.) But a Celt in search

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