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to pick out three of his books, as the best worth reading, they would be ‘The Professor,’ ‘Elsie Venner, and “The Guardian Angel.” They have not the impeccable art and distinction of “The House of the Seven Gables,’ and “The Scarlet Letter,’ but they combine fantasy with living human interest, and with humour. With Sir Thomas Browne, and Dr. John Brown, and —may we not add Dr. Weir Mitchell?—Dr. Holmes excellently represents the physician in humane letters. He has left a blameless and most amiable memory, unspotted by the world. His works are full of the savour of his native soil, naturally, without straining after ‘Americanism : ' and they are national, not local or provincial. He crossed the great gulf of years, between the central age of American literary production—the time of Hawthorne and Poe—to our own time, and, like Nestor, he reigned among the third generation. As far as the world knows, the shadow of a literary quarrel never fell on him ; he was without envy or jealousy, incurious of his own place, never vain, petulant, or severe. He was even too good-humoured, and the worst thing I have heard of him is that he could never say ‘no’ to an autograph hunter. This brief notice does not pretend to say a tithe of what should be said about Dr. Holmes. Of his private biography I know nothing; presumably it will be given to the world. For analysis and minute criticism of his chief novels, and of his poems, I have not space. I have confessed that there was a time when I relished his causeries more than I do to-day, but the fault may be in the reader, not in the writer. ...”
THE STOLEN CHILD.
O WITHERED autumn leaves that dance,
But through the glade and through the wood
A child's hands pluck about my hood,
O little fairy-folk that ride
I heard your feet at my bedside
Was none to name the Holiest,
I felt them drawing from my breast
And chrisom waters, ye are clear,
I was too weak to save my dear,
The russet leaves dance on in flight, Dance with a fearful joy. But who shall break the spell of might, And give me back my boy P - KATHARINE HINKSON. Wew Year's Day, 1894. *
vol. 89 (Ix-NEW SERIES). 3 . NO. 527.
VISITORS to Italy have a way of leaving the land just when it is at its full beauty, which is in May and June. It is then that occur in Florence two festas, both of which are full of charm and local colour. The one is that of St. John the Baptist, Florence's patron saint, which falls on the 24th of June; the other is the anniversary of San Zanobi's death, which occurs on the 25th of May, at the period when the Tuscan city is one mass of roses, when sight and smell are gladdened with an abundance of the lovely flowers. On that day, whoever goes out early enough—for at that time of the year it is already hot and one must go out early—will see in front of the cathedral huge baskets full of bouquets of roses for sale, and will note that no one enters the church without buying at least one bunch. Indeed, many buy several, to give to their friends or relations who could not be present themselves. For at a certain moment in the Mass these roses are blessed by the priest, and are then supposed to be endowed with healing properties, wherefore they are often sent as offerings to the sick. All this is done in honour of San Zanobi, whose name is a household word in Florence. This favourite Tuscan saint was born in the fourth century in Florence, probably on the 17th of January, of the noble family of the Girolami, as is proved by a very ancient inscription in Gothic characters on the tower of the Girolami, which stands in the Via Por San Maria, near the Ponte Vecchio. This inscription runs : “The family of Girolami endow in perpetuity half of the rent of this tower for offerings to San Zanobi their relative.' The shrine which adorns the outside wall of the tower is annually decorated with wreaths of fresh flowers on the 25th of May, and has always a lamp burning in front of it. A characteristic story is told of a ring which belonged to San Zanobi, which was sent as a precious relic to the ‘Most Christian King, Louis of France, to satisfy his devotion,’ and was returned to the family in a casket of gold thickly studded with precious stones. With the price of these jewels the heirs of the saint endowed a canonicate in the Duomo, under the title of San Zanobi. This anecdote is well in keeping with the character of the monarch, so full of contradictory motives, strange impulses and ideas. The sender of the ring was Lorenzo de Medici. He accompanied it with a letter, which we quote in extenso, as it is very short.
“To the most Christian Majesty of the Franks.
graces, and, obeying the command of your Majesty, I have decided to send to you Bernardo Donati, my good friend, one of the most noble youths and of the best families of this city, that he may give information to your Majesty of that of which you ask in your letter, and may bring you the ring of San Zanobi, and the little cross and all the other things pertaining, bearing to your Majesty the offering of a relic which performed in this city wonders and miracles, in the past and the present, as the said Bernardo, who has witnessed divers of them, will describe particularly to your Majesty, whom I beseech to accept my diligent care in this thing, believing, what is the truth, that I have as great care of this affair as of my own salvation, since in the Salvation of your Majesty consist all my safety and welfare. I recommend myself most humbly to your Majesty.
‘Florence, the eleventh day of February, 1482.
‘Your most Christian Majesty's most devoted servant,
This letter, of course, was written centuries after the death of the Florentine 'saint, but it is interesting as a specimen of the kind of epistles exchanged in those days between two of the most subtle, political schemers in Europe. +
To return, however, to the life of our saint. His father's name is said to have been Luciano, his mother's Sofia. In those days Florence was still pagan, and under the protection of the god Mars. The parents of Zanobi were ‘followers of the Gentiles,' and they took pains that their son should be carefully educated in the learning which was the fashion of the time. He early gave proofs of distinguished talent, and became so proficient in Greek as to give rise to a tradition, in part due no doubt to the Greek sound of his name, that he was a Greek by birth. “As if,’ says Crocchi, his biographer, “in those times no
one could have a name that was in use among the Greeks, or know perfectly the Greek language, without being a Greek.’ It may, however, be, seeing the frequent intercourse between the nations, that his ancestors, perhaps even his parents, came from Greece, which circumstance may have originated the tradition. One of the saint's biographers avers that the study of philosophy led him to know Christianity. He grew desirous to embrace the faith of Christ, and applied to S. Teodoro, then Bishop of Florence, to be admitted as a neophyte. From this we gather that the new religion had made some progress in Florence. As at the time of the saint's birth Constantine the Great was Emperor, hence the official proclamation of Christianity as the State religion may have reached Florence before the child grew up. That he was no longer a child when his conversion occurred is proved by the fact that his parents were desirous he should marry, and had chosen him a consort admirable for beauty, and for moral gifts worthy of admiration and love. ‘He, however, refused to enter into any earthly tie, and sought admission, instead, among the catechumens of S. Teodoro, who baptised him into the Christian faith. A life of the saint, written by S. Simpliciano, Archbishop of Milan, the successor of S. Ambrose, gives a short discourse, said to have been spoken by Zanobi when applying to the bishop for admission to baptism. ‘These modest words and this firm determination to renounce the worship of his fathers produced the purest joy in the holy Bishop Teodoro, who was thus enabled to enroll among the elect of the law of Jesus Christ a youth so virtuous, of such blameless character, of such perspicacity and furnished with such knowledge as to arouse hopes that he would become one of the most luminous candelabra in which should shine the resplendent light of the Church, and a valiant champion of Evangelical Doctrine. Teodoro, convoking all the Florentine clergy, sprinkled him with the sacred water, regenerating him to new life, and sealing him on the forehead with the holy sign of the follower of Christ. No sooner had the parents and friends of the new-made Christian heard of his act of abjuration than they were fired with indignation. Although Christianity was tolerated, it was certainly not considered as on an equality with the ancient religion. In those days it was held no small disgrace to be among those who cast off the old faith. and enrolled themselves among the followers of the Nazarene. It was matural also that the parents of the young lady whose hand the