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No. 3360 November 28, 1908.
DUBLIN REVIEW 515
HINDUSTAN REVIEW 521 1
Hardy-on-the-Hill. Chapter VI. By M. E. Francis (Mrs. Francis
PALL MALL MAGAZINE 539 VI. Peter's Wife. By Lilian Gask
IDLER 544 VII. The Prime Minister's Patronage. By Michael MacDonagh .
CHAMBERS'S JOURNAL 548 VIII. A Jubilee Day at Lourdes. By H. H. Bashford
CORNHILL MAGAZINE 553 The International Congress on Roads.
NATURE 660 X. Thanksgiving. .
SPECTATOR 563 XI. The Downfall of the Democratic Party.
NATION 566 XII. The Republican Triumph.
ECONOMIST 568 XIII. Mr. Taft's Election.
TIMES 570 XIV, The American Presidential Election.
A PAGE OF VERSE
XV. In the Cascine. By Eden Phillpotts
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IN THE CASCINE.
The far horizon—all together brought
Under the ragged Apennines—have 1.
wrought Here Shelley wrote; the immemorial
This gold and azure cup wherein he trees
drank at will. Have felt his passing through each dene and glade;
V. Have bent and whispered while the
Not so the hour when from his spirit mysteries Of deathless things were woven in
The solemn anthem of the great west their shade.
wind. The wind that turns the shivering pop- Then, through red gloaming and the lar white,
stormy close The nightingale that throbs upon the
Of autumn, he went forth in might night,
to find Still haunt the shadows where a
The river burdened with her latter poet's soul hath strayed.
Earth's thickened breath lie heavy on
the plains; And I have moved upon the self-same
And open to his cry the immortal earth
Mother's mind. He trod, have gazed upon the golden tide
VI. Of Arno, where her far-flung, rippled mirth
Harper of all the ages, giant free, Meets with Mugnone, leaps and Roaming on earth's deep bosom as of broadens wide.
yore, By banks of emerald and sandy beach Greater than thou is this he wrote of She dims and shrinks again, long reach
thee. on reach,
Enduring as thyself for evermore, While the tall slender trees fade off Shelley's melodious miracle shall reign on either side.
For generations' joy, and still main
Whilst thou dost herd the cloud and The tasselled hyacinth caressed his
bring the wave to shore. feet;
The Outlook. The great reed rose and rustled
where he stood Upon the river's brink; in dingle sweet The young leaves bowed before him through the wood.
THE MOOR GRAVE. Peace was about his passing; heaven's
I lie out here under a heather sod, light
A moor-stone at my head; the moorFell cool upon his gracious forehead
winds play above. bright,
I lie out here-in graveyards of their And saw that he was fair, and knew
God that he was good.
They would not bury desperate me IV.
who died for love.
I lie out here under the sun and moon; The dome of blue whereon his winged Across me bearded ponies stride, the soul
curlews cry. Wheeled like an eagle through the I have no little tombstone screed, no ether still;
“Soon The plains that melt and glow and on- To glory shall he rise!”—but deathward roll;
less peace have I. Carrara's mist and marble, where
John Galsworthy. they fill
PLOTS AND PERSONS IN FICTION.
It is very common for a beginner in he rarely let you know anything at all fiction to be advised to give his atten- as to how his own work was done. tion and study chiefly to his plot. Two volumes of letters, two more of "Make your plot quite clear before you diary, seven of biography—that is begin: write out the whole of your eleven voiumes in all-are at our displot before you make a start.” And posal, telling us much about Sir Walter yet this does not seem to have been as a man but hardly anything about the method of many of our favorite the novelist. Two volumes of George novelists. Scott, Thackeray, George Eliot's letters give only one valuable Eliot and Trollope have, for example, hint on the matter. Thackeray has all accused themselves with more or half a page in Roundabout Papers: and less blame of not working out their in all these cases it is on the question plots clearly before hand; and Scott of plot that they can and will talk. and Thackeray especially confess to And in doing so they throw side lights having left the working out of the plot on the deeper questions of inspiration to luck or to fate. Dumas is a strong
and the laws of art. instance on the other side and supplies Thackeray with a contrast to himself;
Having ended the second volume of
Woodstock (writes Sir but then Dumas is emphatically a nov
night, I have to begin the third this elist of adventure, and the characters
morning. Now I have not the slightof his amazing heroes are at once above
est idea how the story is to be wound and below humanity. Again, the works
up to a catastrophe. I am just in the of Gaboriau or the Adventures of Sher- same case as I used to be when I lost lock Holmes, however great they are in myself in former days in some country their own way, are examples of imagi
te which I was a stranger. I always native work in which we know that
pushed for the pleasantest road, and
either found it or made it the nearest. individual character is willingly sacri
It is the same in writing, I never could ficed for the sake of the story. In the
lay down a plan, or, having laid it hovel of character and manners, on
down, I never could adhere to it; the the other hand, whether historical or
action of composition always diluted modern, however great the drama may some passages and abridged or omitted be, however well the history is un- others; and personages were rendered folded, I think we may believe the iluportant or insignificant, not accordopinion of M. René Bazin—"The char
ing to their agency in the original conacters of a norel,” he writes, “are
ception of the plan, but according to
the success, or otherwise, with which I mostly much older in the reserved
was uble to bring them out. I only tried places of the mind than the plot in
to make that which I was actually writwhich they are grouped."
ing diverting and interesting, leaving It is interesting to consult the Eng- the rest to fate. I have been often lish novelists already mentioned, be- amused with the critics distinguishing cause their confessions support each some passages as particularly labored, other to a curious extent, and also be
when the pen passed over the whole as
fast as it could move, and the eye never cause they so rarely give us any confi
again saw them, except in proof. Verse dences as to their own work. Sir
I write twice and sometimes three Walter Scott would tell you anything times over. This may be called in about his dogs, his guns and the man Spanish the dar donde diere mode of who was carving his study table, but composition, in English hab nab at a
renture; it is a perilous style I grant, quiet. He never will show off when but I cannot help it. When I chain I want him. Sometimes, he goes at a my mind to ideas that are purely im- pace which surprises me. Sometimes, aginative-for argument is a different when I most wish him to make the thing-it seems to me that the sun running, the brute turns restive, and leaves the landscape, that I think away I am obliged to let him take his own the whole vivacity and spirit of my time. I wonder do other novel-writers original conception, and that the results experience this fatalism? They must are cold, tame and spiritless. It is go a certain way in spite of themselves. the difference between a written ora- I have been surprised at the observation and one bursting from the unpre- tions made by some of my characters. meditated exertions of the speaker, It seems as if an occult power was which have always something of the moving the pen. The personage does air of enthusiasm and inspiration. I or says something, and I ask, "How would not have young authors imitate the Dickens did he come to think of my carelessness, however; consilium non that?" (Thackeray, Roundabout Papers, currum cape.
Trollope, less great as a creator, has The following quotation from Thack
a good deal of the almost opposed gift eray is even more interesting, because
of analysis, and he has an admirable it bas a more personal note, and one
chapter of advice to novelists very sunot without pathos. I give it entire,
perior to the admonitions they somealthough it does not at once touch upon
times receive. He writes thus in it: the point, as it would be a pity to shorten it:
I have never troubled myself much
about the construction of plots, and I tell you I would like to be able to am not now insisting specially on thorwrite a story which should show no oughness in a branch of work in which egotism whatever-in which there I myself have not been very thorough. should be no reflections, no cynicism, I am not sure that the construction of no vulgarity (and so forth), but an inci- a perfected plot has been at any time dent in every other page, a villain, a within my power. But the novelist battle, a mystery in every chapter. I has other aims than the elucidation of should like to be able to feed a reader his plot. He desires to make his so spicily as to leave him hungering reader so intimately acquainted with and thirsting for more at the end of his characters that the creatures of his every monthly meal.
brain should be to them speaking, movAlexandre Dumas describes himself, ing, living human creatures. This be wheu iuventing the plan of a work, as can never do unless he know those ficti. lying silent on his back for two whole tious personages himself, and he can days on the deck of a yacht in a Medi- never know them unless he can live terranean port. At the end of the two with them in the full reality of estabdays he arose and called for dinner. lished intimacy. They must be witb In those two days he had built his plot. him as he lies down to sleep, and as he He had moulded a mighty clay to be wakes from his dreams. He must cast presently in perennial brass. The learn to hate them and to love them. chapters, the characters, the incidents, He must argue with them, quarrel with the combinations were all arranged in them, forgive them and even submit to the artist's brain ere he set a pen to them. He must know of them whether paper. My Pegasus won't fly, so as to they be cold blooded or passionate, let me survey the field below me. He whether true or false, and how far true has no wings, he is blind of one eye and how far false. The depth and the certainly, he is restive, stubborn, slow; breadth, and the narrowness and the crops a hedge when he ought to be gal- shallowness of each should be clear to loping, or gallops when he ought to be him. And as here, in our outer world,
we know that men and change, become worse or better as temptation or conscience may guide them,
should these creations of his change, and every change should be noted by him. On the last day of each month recorded, every person in his novel should be a month older than on the first. If the wouldbe novelist have aptitudes that way, all this will come to him without much struggling, but if it do not come I think he can only make novels of wood.
It is so that I have lived with my characters, and thence has come whatever success I have obtained. There is a gallery of them, and of all in that gallery I may say that I know the tone of voice, and the color of the hair, every flame of the eye, and the very clothes they wear. Of each man I could assert whether he would have said these or the other words; of every woman whether she would then have smiled or so have frowned. When I shall feel that this intimacy ceases, then I shall know that the old horse should be turned out to grass. That I shall feel it when I ought to feel it, I will by no means say. I do not know that I am at all wiser than Gil Blas' canon; but I do know that the power indicated is one without which the teller of tales cannot tell them to any good effect.
Whether it is right or advisable to create beings like Heathcliff (wrote Currer Bell of the hero of Ellis Bell] I do not know: I scarcely think it is. But this I know; the writer who possesses the creative gift owns something of which he is not always mastersomething that, at times, strangely wills and works for itself. He may lay down rules and devise principles, and to rules and principles it will perhaps for years lie in subjection; and then, haply without any warning of revolt, there comes a time when it will no longer consent to “harrow the valleys or be bound with a band in the furrow" —when it "laughs at the multitude of the city, and regards not the crying of the driver"-when, refusing absolutely to make ropes out of sea-sand any longer, it sets to work on statue-hewing, and you have a Pluto or a Jove, a Tisiphone or a Psyche, a Mermaid or a Madonna, as Fate or Inspiration direct. Be the work grim or glorious, dread or divine, you have little choice left but quiescent adoption. As for you—the nominal artist-your share in it has been to work passively under dictates you neither delivered nor could question—that would not be uttered at your prayer, nor suppressed nor changed at your caprice. If the result be attractive, the World will praise you, who little deserve praise; if it be repulsive, the same World will blame you, who almost little deserve blame.
Charlotte Brontë in a deeply-touching Preface to Wuthering Heights insists, to what might be considered almost a dangerous degree, on the helplessness of the “nominal artist" when "statue hewing." Was she not also conscious as she wrote of the strange judgments and condemnations which her own work had provoked as well as that of her dead sister? There is a singular pathos in this review and defence of a work of genius which had met with no success during the author's life. In it we can see that the successful sister is sore at heart that Emily had passed unrecognized out of a world that had been singularly sad and lonely for them both. It is also a fine bit of criticism.
A great work of fiction, in which the construction appears to have been well blocked out except for its last chapters, is Adam Bede. It has the unity and the development of a great musical composition, the proportions of Gothic Cathedral, the merciless grandeur of the laws of nature. Yet we know from one of George Eliot's letters that the only materials with which she was conscious of setting out on her great task were the personality of Dinah Morris and the scene in the prison. No doubt there were in the recesses of her mind all the experiences that went to make up Adam himself, Mrs. Poyser,