Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

think, as we come out into the open air, exclusively to be found outside: there is perhaps with a new, keen sense stirring at sunshine, and that too of the best sort, our hearts, of the beauty of the outer within those walls we have just left behind world, and the preciousness of personal us. liberty, that after all, the sunshine is not

[From Macmillan's Magazine,

NORMAN MACLEOD.

BY ALEXANDER STRAHAN.

On the 20th of June, I followed to his fatigable, worker for his brethren's weal in grave, in Campsie Churchyard, Dr. Nor- this life and beyond this life; and moneyman Macleod, the most manly man I ever making Glasgow struck work in the middle knew, the most genial, the most many- of the week to show that it felt it had lost sided, and yet the least angular. In his its best citizen. Had one of the members funeral sermon on his kinsman, Dr. John of the Royal Family, who looked upon him Macleod Campbell, he said, “I have had as a friend, and gracefully manifested their the happiness of knowing, and of meeting estimate of him at the grave, been the oconce in his house, the late Mr. Erskine of cupant of the hearse, the pavements, the Linlathen, the late Principal Scott of windows, the housetops of the funeral route Owens' College, Manchester, and Pro- could not have been more densely throngfessor Maurice; and such men of culture, ed, or with sincerer mourners. both of intellect and of spirit, such 'out- I esteem it no common honor to have built,' holy, living men, breathing an atmos- known such a man as intimately, I believe, phere of such lofty thought and deep devo- as any one outside his family circle knew tion, I cannot hope again to meet together him. My acquaintance with him began in on this side the grave.” This sermon was this way. When I was a young man of printed in the May part of Good Words, twenty-four, quite unknown, I formed a with this note appended to the passage project of starting a magazine to contain quoted : “Alas! since this was written, (as Dr. Arnold puts it), not so much arthe great and good Professor Maurice has ticles of a religious character, as articles of departed !

a general character written in a religious • They are all gone to that world of light.?”

spirit. But where was I to find a fit edi

tor for it? Whilst I was pondering this Short was the time during which the difficulty, I chanced to read in the Scotswriter of that pathetic note had to

man a report of a chat on “Cock Robin," “alone sit ling’ring here." .

and other nursery ballads and stories, He now is one of those wltose

which Dr. Macleod had had with children, “Very memory is fair and bright.”

at the close of an examination in an Ayr

shire school-room. His words seemed to A more impressive funeral than his I me so kindly, so wise as well as wittynever witnessed. From all parts of Scot- there was so much broad humanity in his land, from all parts of the kingdom, those huinor-that I said to myself, “ Here's the who reverenced him—some of them forced, man, if I can but get him." by his manly talent, faithful conviction, and I offered the editorship of my embryo goodness, to reverence him, in spite of great periodical to Dr. Macleod. He drolly rediversity of opinion—had mustered to pay plied, that his only qualification for the the last tribute of respect to his remains. post was the fact that for ten years he had Norman Macleod was no mere paper and conducted the Edinburgh Christian Magapulpit and platform good man, putting all zine, with heavy loss to himself and all his goodness into books and sermons and concerned. This did not frighten me, howspeeches. Where he was best known— ever. I continued to importune him, and known as standing the crucial test of the at last prevailed. “I'll become the cap“dreary intercourse of daily life"—there tain,” he said, “ provided you become the he was most respected and beloved. Glas- sailing-master. More than this I dare not gow had known him for many a year as a undertake, in face of my heavy pulpit and most unpretentious, and yet most inde- parish duties."

Good Words did not please him as a well known. One of the most distintitle when I first suggested it to him. His guished novelists of the day, a personal religion was of a robust type, and he friend of his own, was engaged to write a thought it sounded too “goody-goody." story for it. When Dr. Macleod received However, I hunted up the “worth much the MS. and read it over, he wished it to and cost little” motto from Herbert, and be returned to the writer, because a clerDr. Macleod consented to take the com- gyman was in his opinion unfairly satirized mand of my venture when launched and in it; and this was done accordingly, alchristened as Good Words.

though it involved a loss to the magazine His agreement with me was characteris- of £500. Again, when our common tic—to wit, that there was to be no agree- friend, Mr. George MacDonald, was about ment; I was to pay him much or little, to write “Guild Court," Dr. Macleod was according to my estimate of what the very anxious that no “ heterodox” views magazine could afford. Such verbal agree on the subject of future punishment ments, as a rule, prove unsatisfactory should be introduced into it. For hours to both parties ; but we had no more defi- the two discussed the matter in the pubnite agreement down to the end, and yet lishing office with friendliest warmth. At no question ever arose as to meum and last in tripped a little girl, and by her simtuum, nor did any cloud, even of the size ple wise prattle, not only put an end to the of a man's hand, appear to darken our controversy, but actually became the model horizon.

for the most interesting character of the It so happened that Part I. of Good story. Before his death Dr. Macleod had Words was published on the same day as adopted Mr. Maurice's stand-point on this Part I. of the Cornhill Magazine. The lat- question, as he emphatically made maniter sprung into fame and popularity at fest in the last sermon I heard him preach once, the former had an uphill battle to at Balmoral. fight for a year or two. Yet, when Dr. I have heard him preach scores of times, Macleod went to India, in 1867, he wrote and cannot call to mind one sermon of thus to me :-“Go where I will I am re- his that was dull. Many preachers soar ceived with open arms. Good Words is now and then in their discourses, and then everywhere, and is a magical open sesame come down with painfully flapping wings; for me."

but when Norman Macleod went up he The rancorous opposition Good Words kept up with a strong, steady flight that had to struggle against-perhaps, though, never Hagged. I have often heard him “rancorous” is rather too strong an adjec- preach under exceptional circumstances, tive, since sometimes " things are not what in Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Vienna, they seem," and, as Carlyle says, even cant Rome, Athens, Alexandria, Constantimay be sincere—the opposition, then, Good nople, Jerusalem, and Damascus,—but Words had to breast and buffet before we the most striking of these exceptional serfought it up to the first place in point of vices were when he preached on board a circulation among monthly magazines- Peninsular and Oriental steamer in the all that is an old story, and I have no wish Mediterranean to a congregation of foreto revive unpleasant bygones. The fable castle-men—the shaggy-breasted tars all of the Viper and the File might be alluded crying like children; and again, when, on to, were it not that I do not believe that the banks of the Caledonian Canal, he the bulk of the assailants of Good Words addressed the crews of half a hundred were really venomous; and, though Dr. fishing boats. I have said “ preached," Macleod could give and take as well as but in neither case was it a set sermonany man, a hard, rasping file is the last simply friendly talk, made eloquent by its thing any one who knew him would think earnestness. of likening him to. He had Celtic fire, Dr. Macleod liked to see a man, and Celtic sarcastic wit, in his composition, had a warm place in his heart for soldiers but also too much Celtic love of the liking and sailors. He would sing his own warof others, to suffer him to lapse into pas- song, “Dost thou remember!" to a comsive cynicism.

pany of old soldiers; and “The Old How anxious Dr. Macleod was to make Lieutenant and His Son” and “ Billy Good Words answer to its title in the Buttons” show how sympathetically he strictest sense is not, perhaps, sufficiently could limn old salts. An absurd report, by-the-bye, has been spread that the latter sions. How much all this implied can only story was plagiarized from Bret Harte, the be known by those who are in some way fact being that, although only recently acquainted with the fierceness with which republished in a book, “Billy Buttons" ap- the ecclesiastical battle raged, which, for peared in a Christmas number of Good better for worse, rent Scotland in twain, Words long before the publication of “The dividing family from family, parent from Luck of Roaring Camp."

child, and brother from sister. I well re“Wee Davie" was his own favorite member the eagerness, too, with which he among his works. It was rattled off at a accepted for Good Words a poem sent to sitting. But he thought very little of his him by the daughter of one of the doughwritings, and full of shrewd observation, tiest champions of the Free Church, lively description, and good humor, in two and one of the hardest hitters amongst its senses, as they are, there can be no doubt leaders. that Norman Macleod was infinitely His stand on the “Sabbath question” greater in his life than in his books. The has taken much of the irrationalism out of last thing of his that he saw published was Scotch opinion on that subject-loosened a sermon preached before the Queen, on the grave-clothes, and washed the face of Christ blessing little children; it was print- that sublime gift of God, the day of rest. ed in the June part of Good Words. His And many men of other communions first children will remember that coincidence, began to respect Presbyterianism when they for a fonder father there never was, as all became acquainted with Norman Macwill admit who were privileged to see him leod. surrounded by his little ones, telling them In literature, (besides Good Words) The his wonderful “once-upon-a-time" stories Contemporary Review, The Sunday Magaby the hour together. The Scottish cha- zine, and Good Words for the Young can racter is thought to be rugged, but it holds, call him father, for without his generous like honey hived in rocks, a rich fund of aid and encouragement at the beginning tenderness. To speak only of Scotsmen and all through, I could never have projectof our own day, in no men has this store ed or established any of them. been richer than in George MacDonald, And his life-long championship of the John Brown, and Norman Macleod. But poor bas had fruitful results. He did much it is not for me to touch on his domestic by his own personal exertions, and also by life. The beauty of it, in all its relations, his little work, “ How to Help our Deservwill, I trust, soon be portrayed by a conge- ing Poor," but he did more by directing nial hand.

our common friend, the Rev. W. Fleming Sunny is the best epithet for his social Stevenson, into this path, and by getting life. At a public dinner, in a private draw- him to write such papers as the one on ing room, in a cosy tobacco-scented tête-d- “ Dr. Chalmers at Elberfeld,” which aptête he radiated enjoyment. He was full of peared in the first Part of Good Words, and fun-full to overflowing. And one of the to which can be directly traced all the great readiest ways in which his abounding spirits Charity Organization movements of the found expression was at the point of his day. pencil. Almost all his letters to me were illustrated with little whimsical drawings, What more need be said ? Writing for -very slight, but showing artistic faculty a critical journal, I feel that some recogniof the highest kind.

tion of Dr. Macleod's fine faculties, and The favorite student and devoted ad- some attempt to estimate them, cannot be mirer of Dr. Chalmers, he nevertheless had dispensed with even from the least capable to fight manfully against his old master at of his comrades. the time of the Disruption; and yet Dr. The word falls from the pen not infeliciMacleod did more, perhaps, than any other tously. A noble comrade! That was what man to breathe a spirit of comprehensive Dr. Macleod was, and it is a type of charcharity into all the churches. More than acter not too often exemplified in circles to once have I seen his stalwart form bent for- which any such word as “evangelical” is ward in deep interest as he listened to the usually applied. There is a “song of partdebates in the Free Assembly Hall; and ing" by one of the truest poets of our time, he devoted the entire profits of his " Earnest of which in the chorus the recurring words Student" to the Free Church Indian Mis

are:

“ The love of comrades,

scientiousness and reverence were, in comThe life-long love of comrades,

parison to theirs, mountainous in height, The manly love of comrades, The high-towering love of comrades."

and volcanic in force. He had in his

nature the “great strong stock of common And who can help thinking of this chorus sense" that each of these distinguished men when the image of Norman Macleod carried about with him ; and he had much arises in his mind? He was the comrade too of Thackeray's equalizing humor. His of all good things. There are pioneers, and humor, like Thackeray's

, was largely, too, camp followers, and leaders, and the rest. the humor of comradeship. Dr. Macleod had much of the soldier in

Dr. Macleod, however, had infinitely him, and would have struck a good stroke more tenderness than either of the three in the very van, but it was not his character- men I have named. This quality is istic to want to hurry in advance of his abundantly shown in his writings, especialcompany. There is a rather conservatively in what he has written for children and French'epigram which says, “The better about children. The love of the young is is the enemy of the good"--and it has its a quality which may stand for a great many truth. Dr. Macleod would not thank me things. Sometimes it is strong, and yet for trying to elevate him at the expense of there is nothing to lay hold of but the bare any human being; so I need not depreciate instinct, which is as strong in monkeys and any lonely fanatic or pioneer of the better, birds. Sometimes it is cynicism turning in when I say that he was the comrade, rather upon itself to get a taste of geniality. But than the fighting man of the good. Having occasionally, as in Norman Macleod, it is put his hand to the plough—and manlike- a much more comprehensive quality, and deep were the furrows he made, and straight much more of an index. For example, it also,-he was not one to look back; but may point to natural simplicity and comhe liked to abide with his own people, and plete truthfulness of character. Then, he did. It was in the spirit of a Christian again, no one can write with much symcomrade that he did his best work.

pathy about children who has not really Dr. Macleod was a striking example of lived with them; and this requires both solidarity of character. You cannot sepa- patience and compassionateness. There is rate in him, even hypothetically for purposes something deeper still. When the devil of criticism, the morals from the intellect, and his angels have done their worst, no or either from the religious currents of his one can mix much with children without nature. Admitting that his creed does look feeling that man was made for God and a little outside of him, his entire simplicity goodness ; in their society the most unsoprevents this from being in any way un- phisticated play of the better impulses comes pleasant. If there were things in his so easily to the surface, and so unconsciousopinion which did not “mortice in” or ly, that we can kindle our own torches anew “splice” with exactitude, the discovery, at their little lamps, even in the gustiest when you made it, struck you as it might weather of this weary world. From all have done, if you had made it in the mind these points of view it is easy to discern of a big good boy.

that Norman Macleod loved the young, The burden and the mystery had made and the fact is full of significance. marks on him, as on the rest of us, and he Incidentally, it may be added that Dr. avows it in his writings; but he enjoyed Macleod had, in perfection, one great sign life very much—his soul lived, if one may of simple solidarity of character—he could so say, with a very full, very strong, very sing songs, and, what is more, sing his own complex life. If you add a double portion songs, in such a way as really to heighten of the Celtic religious fervency and glow to the pleasure of a social gathering. The something of Sydney Smith, something of gift is not a very rare one among the Scotch, Thackeray, and even something of Lord in whom the minstrel type is always cropPalmerston, you have gone some way ping up; but among the English, especially towards reconstructing Dr. Macleod. He the cultivated English, the faculty of social loved work, but he took hold of things by song-singing in such a manner as not to their smooth handle. His mind went straight throw a cold blanket over the listening circle to its conclusions in ways which irresistibly is much more rare. remind one of the buoyant canon and also All he did in literature was good, and of the buoyant prime minister ; but his con- like him. But he had no self-competing

ambitions, and never pushed any specialty When the cordage of his strong heart beyond a certain point of excellence, which cracked to pieces, and the signal for demay be called the domestic. It was in parture came, it found Dr. Macleod alcompanionship that his best broke into ready on the way, for he had practised flower. He had always a happy pencil of himself in dying-no trifling science. No his own, as I have said, but the sketches pilgrim ever gazed on Jerusalem more intended only for the eyes of his mote in- eagerly than he did when he first saw it timate friends were the most humorous and from the brow of Neby Samwil; but soon effective that he ever drew. Great humor his conversation turned from the old Jeruhe had, but this, too, was domestic; his salem to the new—the earthly city seem"humor of comrade," as a Frenchman ing to suggest the abiding city rather than might put it, was good, but his more do anything else. And when we left Jerusamestic humor was better still, and his very lem, and turned our last lingering look finest playfulness was unreported and un- upon it, he was lost in the contemplation reportable. It thus happens, that whilst of the idea of departure, which contains on the one hand the first thing that strikes all infinite ideas. It might have been exone, on looking at the character of Dr. pected that the abundance of his thoughts Macleod, is the breadth and reach of the would have made him live more intensely, lines upon which it was built, the second and consequently rendered death more is undoubtedly the fact that his very best difficult and strange. But it was not so, was always something intimate and do- as is well known to all who noted how mestic. Nor does this for one moment frequently his conversation treated of the lessen the greatness of anything that he after life and the boundless possibilities of did for the Church, or for the State, or for enjoyment in it,—how in his most brilliant Indian missions; for whatever he did, the talk (and who could be so brilliant in talk fulcrum of his activity never changed. His in this generation ?) he, giving free play to nature was of the radiant order, and though his imagination and ignoring the limits of it could and did project heat and light to time and space, soared to "worlds not very far off

, you required to get near the realised,” and wandered at large in the "ingle-nook” to know the best of it. His fields of immortality. And when Death mind was not of the order that makes walked straight up to the strong man, and wide circuits from intellectual or mixed laid him in the dust, it found him ready, points of view, and returns upon its moral with the humble peace which is the centre every now and then for more force; most magnificent ornament of that solemn it was, as I have said, a radiating mind, moment. and the world has gained accordingly.

[From Contemporary Review,

LITERARY NOTICES.

THE FORMS OF WATER IN CLOUDS AND Rivers, leading object of the enterprise to present the

ICE AND GLACIERS. By John Tyndall, LL.D. bearings of inquiry upon the higher questions of New-York: D. Appleton & Co.

the time, and to throw the latest light of science To an American— Professor Youmans-himself upon the phenomena of human nature and the eminent as a popularizer of science, belongs the economy of human life.” honor of devising and initiating a series of works The excellence of this plan is patent, and "goes designed to bring the most authoritative thinkers without saying,” but much of the value of the and workers in the various fields of science into series will depend of course upon the manner in direct connection with popular scientific culture all which the plan is carried out ; in other words, upon over the world. The “International Scientific the character of the writers to whom the work is Series," of which The Forms of Water is the first confided. It is gratifying to know that in this revolume, will consist of compendious scientific spect, also, Prof. Youmans has been completely treatises, representing the latest advances of successful. Many of the subjects are already anthought upon subjects of general interest, theoret- nounced, coupled with the names of the authors ical and practical, to all classes of readers. “While who have promised to treat them; and in looking the books of this series," says the preface, “are to over the list, the reader will find that almost every deal with a wide diversity of topics, it will be a subject is in the hands of the man who, above all

« AnteriorContinuar »