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have good characters, and who hoped to get into good families again. Their licentious and disgusting conversation, the brutal and stupid pleasure they seemed to take in the destruction of furniture, linen, and so forth, for which they were not responsible ; their impudent and disobliging manner, and above all the awful (lies, we would hope,) in which they indulged concerning the families they had left, made her tremble at the idea of their being received amongst decent people ; and yet on application their “characters” would be found satisfactory; because the restraint of their position, and the distance at which their mistresses had held themselves, had prevented any insight into their true nature. All this frightful evil must be grappled with. We must not expect to get hold of the best in our attempts at reform—nor must we be discouraged if some turn out devils incarnate on our hands. We must examine into them more closely, and of course naturally will not be surprised to find latent evil which might escape detection in the superficial bond which commonly exists between mistress and servant. Any one received into our family in the capacity of a household servant ought to be treated as a fellow being, not as an inferior ; the discipline may be as strict as it will, the work may be as severe as it will, it is not on such points we would interfere; but the party hired to fill that position ought to be received as a member of the family, as having for the time a unity of interest with it, as an object of care and regard to the head of the family who has hired her, bound by a tie of fellowship, not of mere work and wages. This may sound Utopian, but there is no other secret whereby good and faithful servants are to be made. They are placed in a subordinate situation, and have a right to a paternal interest and governance at the hands of those they serve. They cannot be kept subordinate, and left to shift for themselves at the same time. If the masters and mistresses, from a coldblooded indolence, a disgust to the manner and language of servants as they now exist, shrink from all communication with their domestics, wrap themselves up in indifference to all that concerns them, keeping aloof at an impassable distance, looking only to the regularity with which their household work is performed, they can expect nothing better than what they now meet with. Servants are not so trained that they may with safety be thrown on their own self-governance. It is not mere bodily consideration that they require. The kindness of a superior to an inferior, of a benefactor to a beggar, that is not the sort of thing that is required at all ; it is horribly grating, and will not produce the desired result of an attached and faithful servant. The grand thing required in our social relation with our servants is, that they shall not feel themselves isolated—with no interest in the family, and no affection or human feeling expected from them, and none felt towards them ; nothing required from them, except their work. Nobody can conceive the desolate effect of such a position unless they have tried it: the better part of human nature cannot flourish under such circumstances, and does not ' This state of things works its own avenging, as all evil does. Masters are the victims to the vices of their servants when they chance to be bad, and the slaves to them when they possess a modicum of good qualities. When they do nothing outrageously bad, they are humoured and their caprices studied, to keep up a mercenary sort of good humour; lest, knowing their own value, they should take pet, and leave their offending masters to the mercy of the fraternity. Servants know quite well that there is no heart-kindness in all this, and value the indulgence at its true worth. One half the trouble expended in scheming and humiliating expedients for keeping a useful servant in good humour, would, if done with a different spirit, suffice to attach them for life and death. If we were to treat with servants, not as beings far down at a telescopic distance in the social scale, but as fellow beings associated with us by the accidents of life, with their interests combined with ours, “Chubb locks and patent detectors." would become superfluities. The servants in England are, as a body, the very worst in the whole world; and why Because they are treated as inferior, until they are made inferior. The servants on the Continent look at their master's family with a very different feeling to what they do in England: they feel bound up and identified with them : they feel members of the family: their manners are more pleasing, and their tone is altogether superior. They are naturally no better, but they are considered and spoken to as fellow creatures—not as “menials” and “inferiors.” No substitute can be found for fellow feeling, no patent German silver benevolence can supply the place of the genuine human heart. It behoves each and all of us to put our hand to this needful work. We may meet with stupidity and ingratitude, and seem to labour in vain ; but patience will work wonders, and, if we persevere, we shall have less complaint of the depravity and worthlessness of servants. We must be tolerant of short-comings—very like our own ; and whether we see fruits of our labour or not, we must recollect that it is not an optional duty, which we may take up and lay down as we will, but one wide and deep as Humanity itself, and entailed on all who are in a position to keep domestics, from the one maid-of-all-work up to a ducal establishment. “Mais c'est qu'on veut que le pauvre soit sans défaut ;” and it is not in nature that masters are to be allowed to monopolise “les défauts" with impunity.
WIT AND HUMour, selected from the English Poets, with an Illustrative Essay and Critical Comments. By LEIGH HUNT. Post 8vo. London : SMITH, ELDER & Co.
The title of this book is exceedingly carefully drawn out, and requires an accurate appreciation in the reader. “Wit and Humour, selected from the English Poets, with an Illustrative Essay.” We think some injustice has been done to the author by not properly considering what he has promised in his title-page, and what were his intentions. To comprise within three hundred and fifty, by no means very closely printed, pages, anything like a full specimen of English wits and humourists, together with a commentary on the infinite variety of modes in which they have manifested their genius, was beyond even the condensing powers of this accomplished and practised critic. After a life devoted to the elegant literature of all ages and countries, and with remarkable powers of appreciation and talent, Mr. Hunt, very fortunately for the rising generation, determined to give the fruits of his o and experience in a series of illustrated essays on the chief modes in which the literary genius manifests itself.
It is part of the destiny of mankind that they shall be wrought upon by action and reaction. By the action of facts and sensations, and by the reaction of the effects of these potentialities as reverberated (if we may use the expression) in the brains and bosoms of their more perfectly formed fellow-creatures. From the idiot to Newton, from Bernardine to Shakespeare, range an infinite gradation of capacities to understand and to feel. Yet we know not how much of the powerful ratiocination of the one, and the infinitesimal delicacy of apprehension of the other, was owing to original formation, and how much to some happy circumstance, which woke their faculties and their sympathetic powers. The progress of civilisation shows us how much is done by the contact of sharp intellects, and every man knows that his apprehension is capable of improvement, and that he perceives the relations of things much more clearly as his observation is sharpened by experience, or stimulated by his interests. Criticism, or rather commentary, therefore, such as penetrating and powerful minds like the present author and his class give us, is an artificial experience, and their lively illustration and agreeable treatment supply a stimulant that arouses and awakes the reader's faculties. A guide to a joke ma seem to be an absurdity; but it is, nevertheless, sometimes needful, and though dull men are generally left by the quick-witted to slumber in their ignorance, yet it has been said that there is no difference but that of time between the wittiest and the dullest; and so far as mere apprehension of purely intellectual or reasoning forms are concerned it is o true. Mathematics are but slow wit, and the satisfaction that the calculator enjoys at finding his result is akin to the pleasure experienced in finding the fitness of two apparently antagonistic ideas brought into junction by the wit. To trace, therefore, the relations of the ideas which have been uttered by poets, philosophers, and wits, is to open schools for adult children, and to put spectacles and microscopes within the reach of those whose mental vision is weak, or who know not how to set about the examination.
Mr. Hunt has the loftiest views of the duties and office of such a critic; and he has shewn it in the mode in which he treats the subject, which he has divided into three portions; Imagination and. Fancy forming the first, Wit and Humour the second, and Action and Passion the third. The first and second we have, the third is yet to come. These certainly comprise all the matériel with which genius operates: to the enlightenment and elevation of mankind. It is by the exercise of these portions of humanity that the poet “wakes the soul by tender strokes of art; ” and without which the ratiocination of philosophy, and even the revealments of religion, would be inoperative. Man is more than a reasoning being: certainly, “noble in reason,” but “infinite in faculties;” “in apprehension like a God;” and has more in him. than this muddy vesture o clay will permit fully to be developed. It would be a great service to those seeking intellectual culture, if some one would give us another volume or two, to match the present, on the reasoning and religious nature of the human being. e should then be near to a system of metaphysics, given in the most satisfactory forms and with the most understandable of illustrations. Treatises, like the present, styled Philosophy and Fact—Religion and Faith—Sympathy and Affections—would open to us a knowledge of ourselves, that could not but be beneficial. }. are living authors who would satisfactorily finish the series thus, and almost with an equal charm of style and fullness of knowledge as the present. Mr. Hunt has never yet. touched on these subjects elaborately, though he must have reflected on them. They should be equal to the present volumes, for if they “came tardily off,” they would be worse than useless: as preventing any further attempts of the kind.
Thus much we have thought it absolutely necessary to say, that the true end and purport of Mr. Hunt's labours may be understood and appreciated. We shall now proceed to a more particular notice of this volume. In the preface we find regrets that the nature of the work prevents selection from the prose writers, (except in the preliminary dissertation) and also complaints of the perplexities that beset the Editor in his task, from the superabundance of materials; we also find an announcement that will be cordially greeted, namely, that he is “ o for ublication a volume apart from the series, and on quite another plan: its object being to produce such a selection from favourite authors, both in prose and verse, as a lover of books, young or old, might like to find # in the parlour of some old country house.” After the “Essay on it and Humour” of some seventy pages, we have separate brief dissertations, with illustrative extracts from Chaucer—Shakespeare—Ben Jonson—Beaumont and Fletcher—The Author of “the admirable old song; full of the gusto of iteration, and exquisite in variety as well as sameness,” and which Mr. Hunt thinks must be the product of Dekker opioi...o.o. ips—, Pope—Swift–Green—Goldsmith—Wolcot. Certainly, this is but a small portion of our Wits and Humourists—both Gower and Heywood, and numerous smaller writers previous to Elizabeth's reign, might have found admittance, and from that period to the Restoration, many poets, including all the writers of the Cavalier songs, have a claim to notice. From the Restoration to the sentimental times of Anne, a long rout of bacchanalian gentlemen, headed by Tom Durfey, clammer for a place, and a front one too. Then come the greatest of all our humourists, Fielding, followed by Shebeare, perhaps equal in degree though not in amount; and Smollett, whose Humphrey Clinker can never go out of print. But these were prose writers: but not so men of more recent date. The Smiths—and greater than all, Hood—yet to be fully appreciated—and now living, some two or three whose style is perfectly their own, and whose power and abundance fully equal to their great predecessors. But no blame to Mr. Hunt. He has been cruelly circumscribed in space. But he has so whetted our appetites for the glorious and abundant banquet that awaits us, that we trust some merciful bookseller will immediately commence, in conformity with the taste of the age, a full and ample selection from these stores, in a shilling monthly issue, under his superintendence. In all cases the works (for instance, Fielding's and Smollett's) could not be given; but still a pregnant, brief and stirring commentary on each might be substituted. We long for magnums—these demi-semi-quavers of extracts are but a drop to our thirsty souls. We want not to lunch, but to dine and carouse. Would it could be ; we promise not merely to notice, but far more, to purchase a copy ourselves. The Illustrative Essay almost commences with a splendid quotation