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deplore, that the march of evolutionary science has robbed the world of its illusions, its beauty, its aspirations, and given in their stead naked fact, mechanical order, pedestrian reason? It is true, rather, that each new ideal, each new generalisation, pushes out the old, ruthlessly tearing the fair fabric of imagery and allegory which drapes it round. Man cannot live without some ideal, any more than he can live without some sense of beauty ; but it is with the ideal as with beauty, for beauty does not rest in untruth, nor is the loveliness of a landscape less appreciated by reason of a knowledge of perspective. The knowledge which destroys false beauties enthrones new ones, while it brings certain desirable and ideal conditions nearer present realisation.

In the eternal problems of 'fate, foreknowledge, and freewill,' the old predestinarianism is in some measure reinforced by what may be termed scientific Calvinism, which, by the way, is by no means inconsistent with the argument of ultimate design, though the 'general providence admissible is of course inconsistent with special providences.' But two points must be noted : one, that such determinism lays stress on the value of motives and their cultivation, leaving responsibility in a practical form, and insists anew from the positive side on the value of education and training; the other, that it is a popular fallacy to suppose that evolution aims at a society where the strong and ruthless alone shall possess the land. Natural selection no doubt works in the state of nature by battle and extermination, but as society grows the struggle becomes that of an organised army, where the social and helpful qualities lend a new strength to the larger unit, and the original struggle is suspended within the social organism. Human society in the midst of the cosmos may be compared to an eddy in a river : it is part of the main stream, yet with its own current running counter to the immediate direction of the parent stream.

Immortality it leaves where Archbishop Whately found it, but at least it would aim at no stunting or starving of this life, for purely transcendental reasons. ' Is there no second life? Pitch this one high ’ it might cry with the poet, and it ventures to find positive grounds for many virtues formerly justified on intuitive or transcendental grounds. Indeed it finds the origin of such intuition, and of the necessary forms of thought, as it finds the origin of instinct, in the agelong impressions of experience, which have hereditarily affected structure. The experiences of the ancestor have, so to say, become the presuppositions of the descendant. Dazzled by no

millennial anticipations and working within the limits imposed by time and space, he who has drunk of the new spirit may find life, with all its pain and grief, still starred with constant beauty, with unquenched hope, with ideals not wholly past the scope of man to carry out, whatever lies beyond. People were right when they were stirred by the enunciation of the new teaching. The movement which issued from Darwin's work has swept away much that hampered or distorted human development; if at the same time it swept away some things which seemed to make life worth living in its own despite, it has given a solid base from which to proceed anew. Not least, it has furnished fine types of character. One of its finest assets is the spirit in which the work was done. The achievement was very great because the man was yet greater. The work is built deep into the foundations of the future; the worker stands out as an example of the ideal by which his successors also must shape their life and work. Therefore it is that praise of his intellectual achievement is not enough, but a warm and stirring personal note must always mingle with the commemoration of Charles Darwin.






For nearer forty than thirty years I have been a whole-hearted admirer of Charlotte Brontë's genius. I have a distinct memory of reading “ Jane Eyre' as a boy, and of realising with a boy's impulsiveness the elemental force of feeling which gave the weird mystery life. The fiery glow of the impassioned language worked like magic on my youthful mind, and the impression has never faded from me.

Nor did my juvenile enthusiasm for Charlotte Brontë stop with her work. Mrs. Gaskell’s sensitive pen taught me the grey pathos of the novelist's domestic distresses, which had a gloomy fascination for my early thought. In my young days, long before the Brontë Society was contemplated, I made a solitary pilgrimage to Haworth ; I drained a glass to Charlotte Brontë's memory at the Black Bull Inn, sat there in the ill-starred Branwell's chair, and wandered in Charlotte Brontë's footsteps across the windy moor. I well remember how my interest was stimulated by reading on their first appearance Mr. Swinburne's fiery ‘Note' and Sir Wemyss Reid's sober monograph, both of which came out in 1877. I make no claim to have kept abreast of the vast sequel of critical and biographical literature which has since circled round Charlotte Brontë's head. I respect the untiring labours of recent explorers; I have essayed no excavations on my own account. My old enthusiasm has been checked neither by independent research nor by close study of the ever-expanding commentary. Zeal, which is untutored by the new learning, may seem a poor credential for one who speaks to a band of learned disciples. In arrest of judgment on what may appear presumption, I offer two pleas of justification. In the first place, I happen to be, for the time being, through

I the indulgence of my colleagues, the chairman of the Trustees of Shakespeare's Birthplace at Stratford-on-Avon. Comparison

Address delivered at the fifteenth annual meeting of the Brontë Society, which was held at Harrogate on January 23, 1909.

between Shakespeare and Charlotte Brontë is profitless. I merely urge that Shakespeare's Birthplace Trust has in a very general sense an aim in common with the Brontë Society. Both institutions endeavour to keep alive national interest in all that survives of two homes of genius. The problem of genius is insoluble, and speculation has as yet failed to account for the miracle of its birth. It comes into being in most unexpected places, more often in the cottage than in the palace, more often in the house of the poor parson than in the mansion of the rich merchant. Its manifestations are rare and mysterious. But with all emphasis should it be said that, at whatever hearth it take living shape, it is to the spiritual benefit of men and women to sanctify the place. It is good for every human being to recognise the obligation to reverence genius, and that sense of reverence will always be stimulated at any rate in matter-of-fact minds, which are in the majority-by preserving haunts which genius has illumined. Haworth and Stratford-on-Avon may well be mentioned in the same breath, because the care locally bestowed on surviving memorials of their native heirs of genius draws visitors to both places from afar. The Brontë Society and the Trustees of Shakespeare's Birthplace engage in cognate work, in the work of quickening the national reverence for inspired writers. I am glad of the opportunity of offering a greeting to the Guardians of the Brontë Museum from the Trustees at Stratford-on-Avon.

My second justificatory plea descends to a somewhat lower plane of argument. On March 31 next, fifty-four years will have passed away since Charlotte Brontë died. The number of

persons who saw her face to face is now small; her intimate associates are now dead. Those who can boast acquaintance with her at second hand, who have heard of her from her personal friends, are happily still numerous. Many beside myself have learnt something of her from those who spoke with her and grasped her hand. But it was my good fortune to enjoy through great part of twenty years close relations with one who not merely presided over Charlotte Brontë's short feast of fame, but was the unconscious model of the most attractive of all the full-length portraits of men in her great gallery. Mr. George Smith, Charlotte Brontë's publisher, closed a long and honoured life nearly eight years ago. His publishing activities filled near six decades. Charlotte Brontë's friendly relations with him synchronised with the first decade only ; my relations belonged to the last two. An amply filled interval of thirty years and upwards divides the publication of ^ Jane Eyre from the planning of the “ Dictionary of National Biography.' But Mr. Smith's powers of memory throughout his career were alert and vivid. In the comparatively recent period of my association with him, I gathered much from him of his early experience. Nor did his vigour know change or decay in his later years. In all essential features he was, I am persuaded, the same manly, keenminded, sympathetic figure in my day as in Charlotte Brontë's. I therefore believe that I may without immodesty bring some personal knowledge and impressions of my own to bear on those classical episodes in the story of Charlotte Brontë's life and work in which Mr. George Smith played a foremost part.

Another friend of mine who saw Charlotte Brontë and talked with her is the daughter of the great novelist, Thackeray. Lady Ritchie, Thackeray's daughter, is still in all the vigour of a sympathetic personality, which speaks illuminatingly of her father's genius. Concerning the impressions which Charlotte Brontë gave and received when in London, I can cite testimony which I owe to two first-hand witnesses, Lady Ritchie and Mr. George Smith. There are no higher authorities on the topic. I have no secrets to divulge. In all its main features the story of Charlotte Brontë in London has often been told before. But it has features of perennial interest, and perhaps I may be able to tell it again in a somewhat differently refracted light.


Much has been written of the place which Charlotte Brontë's friendship with Mr. Smith fills in her biography. Less has been said of the station it claims either in his biography or in literary history. Yet, to take the last aspect first, it throws a very broad and healthy light on an important tract of literary territory. I have elsewhere styled Mr. Smith's association with Charlotte Brontë, 'a publishing idyll.' It is rare that the epithet ‘idyllic' figures in the joint chronicles of publishing and authorship. Publishers and authors are usually held to be linked together by no tie more sentimental than desire to make money out of one another. There are notable exceptions; but experience bears witness that few publishers and authors of eminence have throughout their working days been bound together in firm unbroken links of amity and trustfulness. It is a common failing on the part of publishers and authors to regard each other as mutual foes and preys. Yet the facts of Charlotte Brontë's connexion with Mr. Smith, her publisher, show

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