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quite incapable apparently of of impossible villainy, attribuunderstanding the mischief she ted to one of the most respecthad done, or of waiting pati- able characters in the book. ently till her husband had It combines the sordid meanencountered its results. No; ness of a procuress, the craft she made up her mind with the of a criminal, and the malice of egoism of insanity that she was a fiend. now a dead creature : her hus. The result is that we are in band had ceased to love her, for pandemonium from the beginshe had wrecked his career and ning to the end of this unsatisdestroyed her own happiness. factory tale. It purports to His mother had long been alien- be a picture of social relations ated. Her own mother was amongst leading and influennothing to her. Matters were tial people, comprising in their ripe for the reappearance of ranks leading statesmen and Cliffe, to whom she told her high dignitaries. It is a scene wretched incoherent story, “of of the wildest extravagance, which the mere telling in such where social life is represented an ear meant new treachery to as being without aim or digWilliam and new ruin for her- nity or moderation, every one self.” And then she is represen- thirsting to be in the midst of ted as following his un principled a whirl of excitement which is guidance, conscious of a mag- unceasing and without limit. netism and force against which The upshot of it all is that she struggled in vain. She the heroine dies at the age of writes to her husband to tell twenty - four of remorse and him all about it, and that her physical and nervous exhauswill is like wax in his hands, tion. Cliffe, of course, turns but stipulating for £500 a-year out to be a tyrant, and is if she is divorced. All, however, eventually murdered in Venice was not quite settled, though at the instance of an Italian Lady Tranmore warns her son woman whom he has deserted that his wife will either go with for our heroine. Then follows Cliffe to the fighting lines in Lady Kitty's desire of forUpper Bosnia, or return with giveness from her husband, her. Finally, in answer to an her meeting with her halfappeal from her husband, she sister on terms of mutual redecides to retire to Verona with pulsion, and a final meeting her maid for two days of soli- by accident between the hustude and reflection to make up band and wife in a remote inn, her mind. Mary Lyster learns where she dies in his presence the secret of her retreat from after mutual explanations beher mother-in-law, and, under tween the two. There is a every circumstance which can certain tragic dignity about blacken treachery, forges a note this scene, wild and improbfrom Kitty to Cliffe, inviting able as it is, and ridiculous as him to Verona. The plot cul- it might easily have been made. minates in this astounding piece They console themselves with
the reflection that they had lineating social or matrimonial both been the victims of a life without any ray of light crime as hideous as any which can relieve the sombre murder. Kitty had found out, monotony of vicious extravain spite of her prostration, or gance and incessant excitegot people in Venice to find ment, untempered by any sense out, who had sent the message of personal dignity or selfwhich brought Cliffe to Verona ; control. The whole thing is “and I know the man who overdone — as much overdone took it. I suppose it would be as the agonies of an agnostic pathetic if I sent her word parson in a former work by the that I had forgiven her. But same authoress. If it could be I haven't.” And so the tale is accepted as in any degree a brought to an end. There is faithful picture of life, the only not a respectable character in inference would be that society it who is allowed to have the has reached a low depth of least influence or control over degradation, that matrimony its course. The few who are is an institution which all credited with any virtues at all should avoid, and that the are quite subordinate in im- Divorce Act of 1857 is the portance, and helpless in their most remedial and most beneinsignificance. There is neither ficent legislation which the last art nor common-sense in de- half century has produced.
pathetic it suppose it man who contromiso
ON THE GENTLE ART OF BLAZON.
BY SIR HERBERT MAXWELL, BART.
FEW domiciles could be more silk; otherwise I warrant she elaborately ornate and osten- would not stay long on that tatiously luxurious than the rectilinear garden-seat. There bedroom of a great railway is no objection to her sprawlhotel in which I was landed ing—it shows off her shapely this morning before the spar- figure, trim hose, and dainty rows began to twitter; yet no slippers; but what does offend dwelling could be more heart is that the artist, desiring, I less, or seem so utterly indiffer- suppose, to indicate the dament about the individuality of sel's aristocratic connection, has its inmate. Be you maid or introduced a stone gryphon bematron, bachelor or benedict, side the terrace steps, support“ tenth transmitter of a feeble ing a shield displaying wholly face” or self-made man, your impossible bearings. There is identity is eclipsed from the a cross, as there might well be; moment you enter this room, only it is not a heraldic cross and you become No. 32, just as quartering the escutcheon, but hundreds have done before and a sepulchral cross, such as hundreds more will do after might adorn the outside of a you. It is hardly conceivable church hymnal; and there is a that a feeling of home could be bend surcharged upon the cross achieved here by dint of resid- —a bend sinister, too; that is, ence, however protracted. One crossing the shield diagonally ought to be grateful for warmth, from the upper left corner light, cleanliness, and a good (right as you look at it) to breakfast. Well, so I am, but the right flank. Now the bend how am I to feel it? “Mine sinister is one of the rarest of host” being a limited liability all charges; not because it is, company, relations with him as commonly supposed, a mark are necessarily impersonal and of illegitimacy—that is to conmutually deficient in warmth. fuse it with the baton sinister, Instead of exchanging greeting which is not an honourable with him, I yield to peevishness “ordinary” like the bend—but and fault-finding. Before me, an abatement of honour; it is as I write, hangs a print from rare simply because in ninetya modern—very modern-pic- nine cases out of a hundred the ture, showing a young person bend dexter is displayed. Apart with an empire waist sprawling from that, anybody with the in an arbour and smelling at a slightest knowledge of heraldry rose as if her life depended on will perceive the impossibility it. She has taken the pre- of such arms as are here decaution of bringing with her a picted. Heraldry is a Christian cushion covered with sprigged science - art - craft — call it
what you will: it originated positions beyond his power. in Christian society, and was Nobody blames him who gives codified for the exclusive use of way to strong language under Christian chivalry; wherefore the affliction of a mangled the cross was ever esteemed the sonata : may not a murmur be most honourable ordinary, and allowed to one who witnesses it would be an unpardonable the desecration of the chivalsolecism to surcharge it with rous science ? an ordinary of inferior honour. Oh, I know how I shall be The painter of this picture, set down. “Art for art !” cries then, has blundered badly in the painter; “criticism of your dabbling with a gentle craft kind is puerile. False heraldry whereof he has not mastered well painted is finer art than the rudiments. Heraldically, the most accurate heraldry in he does not know his right a bad picture. Let the critic hand from his left, and has mell only with conception and perpetrated an affront upon execution.” Very well; so be the figure of highest dignity it. Set the marriage feast at in the art of blazon.
Cana in Galilee with wine in Now, why all this fuss, asks glass bottles with corks; repthe reader, about a picture by resent your knights with sword an unknown artist? Why or lance in their left hands; can't you look at the pretty pour the rays of the setting young lady and leave out the sun through the eastern apse heraldry ? This invites the re- at vespers ; let the snows of tort, why could not the painter Manchuria whiten the plain leave it out? We suffer fools in your great picture of the gladly, so long as they have surrender of De Wet and his the tact not to thrust their Boers. Enforce “art for art” folly under our noses. Paint- as the universal canon, and ing, it is true, has this advan- you sound the knell of historic tage over the sister art of painting and commemorative Music, that nobody need look sculpture, thereby stripping at a picture unless he choose, the Muse of one of her noblest while the sensitive ear is al functions. But don't be surways liable to outrage from prised if plain folks say discord or iteration. All the unkind things behind your same, pictures invite inspec- back. tion: they are only painted to However, that is all outside be looked at; and offence by my present theme, which is the painter who represents suggested by certain signs of things falsely—who attempts reviving interest in British to depict what he has never heraldry. Were the world too studied-is as direct to the eye busy to take any note of that and intelligence as that offered in which, three hundred years to the ear and temper by the ago, any educated person would pianist who fills the house (and have felt ashamed not to be perhaps the next house) with well versed, one might hesitate excruciating renderings of com- to stir the dust which has gathered upon it since the The fashion sprang up among days of the Commonwealth. schoolboys in the late 'FiftiesWere all people of means so whether it be creditable to our well provided with occupation system of education that it for their abundant leisure as should have become a passion to despise any pursuit which among grown persons is a quescould not be described as con- tion which one man may put, tributing to the advancement and another shirk the obligaof learning or knowledge, one tion to answer. Æsthetically, might be content to allow there seems more to be said the charming craft of heraldry for the naked black's cupidity to slumber undisturbed save by for beads. To the extent and antiquaries and scrupulous his- violence of the passion let torians. But neither business the following anecdote testify. nor pleasure interferes with the A few years ago one of my devotion of a prodigious amount friends in the House of Comof energy and money to, say, mons, who is now no more, philately—the science of post- told me that he had just had age stamps,-a pursuit which, his collection of stamps valued compared with heraldry, seems at £35,000. frivolity itself; for it can fur- “I suppose you mean to nish the historian with no realise ?” said I. grist for his mill, the antiquary “No,” he answered; “I shall with no problems for his learn- bequeath it to the nation.” ing, seeing that seventy years And sure enough the collecago there was not a postage tion is now in the British stamp in existence. Surely in Museum. a civilised community a used Well, all this would have and defaced penny stamp might little enough connection with stand as the very type of in- heraldry were it not that out trinsic worthlessness; yet such of the craze for stamp-collecting has been the fictitious value sprang the far more intelligible created for such trash, that, (I dare not say intelligent) one as I am assured by one who of collecting book-plates; and knows, five pounds may be whereas the majority of bookhad for a defaced black penny plates represent the armorial stamp of the early 'Forties; bearings of their owners, a new while for a clean, unused one interest has been awakened in there are plenty of people long-neglected lore. Those who ready to plank down fifty take up the study of heraldry pounds. Ten years ago, post- find that it has this advantage age stamps issued in the Sand- over other subjects, -it is prewich Islands in 1852 were cise and finite. Precise, though quoted at £65 apiece, and the jargon seems formidable at those of the Mauritius for the start; but the number of 1847 have brought as much terms is strictly limited, the as £380 apiece in public whole of them may be learnt auction.