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a group of children, he took and communicated enjoyment; and their sports were actually sport to the hunter of the tiger and hippopotamus. Even while these reminiscences are passing through the mind, a little group, with subdued voices, are recalling his kindly romps, and especially that occasion when an illustrious table was spread for him in vain, because it was a gala-day, and he could not drag himself from the genuine enjoyment he felt in the sports of a group of children who were making the long passages and hiding-holes of a quaint old house ring with their shouts and their laughter.
This genial assimilation with young folks and their enjoyments was a very pleasing feature, but it was one of many that went together to form the noble simplicity of his nature. This was shown powerfully in the way in which he bore his honours. Both when he returned triumphant, and when he issued the wondrous narrative of his difficulties and their conquest, the great lionising world was roaring at his heels, demanding him as its prey, but he heeded it not. He did not, like vulgar repudiators of popularity, let it overtake him that he might conspicuously repel it, but he kept quiet at his work and among his friends, avoiding all occasions of notoriety. To this line of conduct he made one characteristic exception. Like many Englishmen who become famous, he had a little world of his own in his own county of Somerset, where his social position was possibly an object of as much real pride and satisfaction as his wide fame. He belonged to an old county family of worshipful repute for many centuries. So when one of the Spekes of Jordans became famous over the world, his fame was part of the property of the district, in which its inhabitants must partake ; and in his kindly nature he submitted with the best grace to the ovation offered him in his native district, knowing that to evade it would be a sore mortification to old friends and good neighbours.
One who had risen so high could not escape the fate of eminence to bring forth carpers and detractors. A solemn silence will now pervade the field of strife. We refer to it merely for the purpose of dropping a word of explanation on what seemed the most plausible charge brought forward by his censors that in his books he has not done full justice to other persons who have laboured meritoriously, though with imperfect success, in the field of his triumph. It might be a sufficient answer to any such charge, that he does not profess to write the history of African exploration and discovery, but merely to narrate what he himself did and saw. But all who personally knew him would acquit him of any design to be even passively ungenerous. Every one who reads his fresh narratives will see that he has not been trained in the art and mystery of professional book-making. The book-writer, like the lawyer and the actor, has certain traditional conventionalities, and among them one of the most tiresome is the acknowledgment of obligations to intelligent assistants. If you analyse and estimate the rounded sentences in which these acknowledgments are usually expressed, you will invariably find that they tend to uplift the glory of the author. They place him in that rank most envied of all the niches in the temple of fame—that of the master-mind that can find good human tools wherewith his fame and fortune are to be hewn out. There are no better samples of insolent condescension to be found than these acknowledgments of assistance as they are commonly expressed. Speke was not sufficiently adroit in the craft of book-making to be acquainted with the method of that form of pride that apes humility ; nor, if he had been instructed in it, would it probably have commended itself to his accept ance. He told his own story plainly and frankly, and left others to tell theirs. Before the world he thus put in no claim to the reputation of
generosity; and the world did not know, and had no right to judge, whether generosity was or was not among his qualifications.
Those who came close to him saw that he possessed it in large measure, and that nothing could be more contrary to his nature than to be penurious or unjust to any man. He was a cheerful giver. All men have their defects, and it was easy to see that careless profusion and inability to say “No," were among his. Without the unamiable antithesis attributed to the great Roman revolutionist of being alieni appetens, he had a disposition to be sui profusus. He was penurious to no one but himself. When saving funds for his great enterprise, he lived for some time with a parsimoniousness scarcely prudent; and, on the other hand, when he thought the Government had not dealt with proper generosity to his black assistants, he rewarded them liberally from his own resources.
Our own readers have had the privilege of a longer and fuller acquaintance with Captain Speke than the rest of the world has enjoyed. It was here that, some six years ago, he gave the stirring narrative of his first adventures in Africa, and announced the dawning of his great discovery.
In giving to the world a narrative of events so distant and marvellous, and so utterly out of the reach of all the ordinary checks on accuracy, everything depended on the character of the narrator; and the editor was thus brought into a communion with him much closer and more personal than is usually necessary in the communications of contributor and editor. The better he was known, the stronger became both the respect and the attachment he inspired. The two had many friendly communings, and one especially left an impression never to be effaced. It was a pleasant summer evening, and both were strolling together under the shadow of trees smoking and talking over the great project. It was remarked to him that he had already risked his life to an extent far beyond the average dangers which the human being is likely to escape, and he should consider the feelings of those to whom he was dear-of his parents especially-before setting forth again. With a light in his eye never to be forgotten, he expressed the inner force that was driving him on to his destiny. He knew, he said, that he had hit on the Source of the Nile ; he must complete his work. How would he feel if any foreigner should take from Britain the honour of the discovery A-rather die a hundred times! In this and many other conversations, he communicated so much confidence in his indomitable nature to his auditor, that when the months passed on without tidings, and the world gave him up as lost, there remained in one breast, at least, a faith that he would return, and return triumphant, as he did. It is fortunate for the world that the triumph preceded the catastrophe. It is the remaining consolation of his friends that no man of the age is safer for immortality. He who achieved what mankind had been struggling after for three thousand years, is sure to be remembered as long as the earth exists and is inhabited.
Printed by William Blackwood & Sons, Edinburgh,
It is a queer sensation, that of for doing it in, that the business awakening, after a long potent sleep, left over might actually be overin the steamer to which you have taken in that last available day? committed yourself for removal A slight reactionary depression is from work-day life to holiday life. produced by so sudden a contrast, The sensation is one not belonging but it wears away before the lively to the railway or any kind of land- sensations caused by leisure, freetravelling. While in that, you are dom, and novelty. liable to telegrams, or you have un- Now begin the projects of the easy sensations about some import- ramble to shape themselves in the ant matter forgotten, which it is mind — I approve not deep-laid still possible to return and put plans framed beforehand. They right. In a steamer, however, you are a gratuitous addition to the inare fairly off, and irreclaimable, evitable cares and toils of home either to the call of your own nerv. life, and they generally fall to ous apprehensions about properly pieces. Project nothing more at fulfilled duties, or the demands of the beginning than to get the Gerthe public-unless, indeed, just be- man Ocean between you and your fore starting, you may happen to own special world, and then choose have perpetrated so picturesque a your pleasure-ground. Inclination murder that a fast-sailing Govern- gravitated, as usual, towards mounment steamer must be sent after tain scenery; and on this occasion you.
fixed itself on the corner of the The first touch of the new sensa- Alps where Austria and Bavaria tion affects personal identity. With meet. not a single ounce of the weight of He who is at large for enjoycares lately pressing on you, can ment will cheat himself of it if he you be actually the same person establish some goal and rush at it who, when you awoke yesterday like a courier on urgent business. morning, passed from laborious There is a good deal to be seen and dreams to grapple with the possi- enjoyed between the ocean and the bility of so adjusting what was to Alps; and I must admit that my be done to the hours and minutes interest in the intervening terri• VOL. XCVI.—NO. DLXXXIX.
tories was considerably refreshed may or may not let a stray arrow fly by the consideration that, since I at a neighbour who has done somelast saw them, my old friends the thing offensive, but we never cease Germans had come out in a some- lashing ourselves with the penitenwhat new character. Discarding tialthongs. And in ourattacks on our their reputation for innocence and neighbours we have ever systematisomnolescent virtue, they had shown cally exempted Germany. There unexpected capabilities for cruelty, are political reasons for this. Ever perfidy, and rapacity. So do sur- since the conclusion of the Thirty prises sometimes occur in indivi- Years' War adjusted the partition of dual life, when very quiet colour- Europe between the old and the less people suddenly exhibit “a new Church, the natural allies of spice of the devil" in their na- Britain on the Continent were the tures. There is, for instance, that Dutch and the Protestant States of neighbour with the simple, punctual, Germany. Then, in later times, inoffensive habits. It is almost pain- and after the unpopularity of the ful to you to contemplate the uni- earlier Georges had worn away, a form regularity of his walk, the feeling of kindly reverence arose dreary monotony of his life,-until for that portion of Europe which the delusion is dispelled when the was set apart as the nursery of our hue and cry is raised on him for royalties, and the feeling that there having bolted with the funds of a was nothing but goodness and gensavings-bank, and the property of tleness in Germany gained strength half-a-dozen widows. So also of by the example given us in the life that picturesque cottage under the of that good prince so lately detrees which, every time you pass it, parted. refreshes you with the perfume of From such and other perhaps woodbine, the laugh of merry chil- more occult causes, it happens that dren, or some other token of rural while denouncing the vices of manenjoyment-there is little appear. kind-our own especially and emance of activity, enterprise, or phatically-we have generally passwealth about it; but you feel, no ed over Germany. See how our doubt, that it is the abode of inno- respectabilities abuse the working cence and peace,—until all at once classes for their drunkenness and it acquires notoriety as the scene of culpable extravagance. See how a renowned murder. In either case, these and their friends retaliate, those who look back upon anteced- calling upon the wealthy consumer ents find that a high type of crim- of port and claret to pluck the inality did not sprout out at once, beam out of his own eye before he without premonitions visible to vexes himself about the mote in that those who had occasion to look of his unwashed brother. While the into the inner recesses of the do- contest rages, Herman takes his pot mestic organisation. There is one and pipe in peace, no one saying thing we shall almost ever find to him, in Irish phrase, “ black's when private families thus burst the white of your eye.” Nay, he out into notoriety for crimes or is even kindly patted on the back, scandals, that there has been going told that he enjoys the bounties of on within them an under-current of Providence as a wise man should, sensuality, in the midst of which and held up to the admiration of evil passions have been silently our debased and brutal population nurtured and matured.
as a type of excellence. It seems We of Britain, whether we see the to me that in this we have in some failings of other people or not, are measure resembled the anchorite, sure to see and to proclaim our own. whose prayers and confessions are When will there be an end of our rife with acknowledgments of his denunciations of our notable vices, frailties and sins, and proclamations especially of our drunkenness? We of the hold which the lusts of the flesh have taken on him, while his ful nourishment. This is one of easy neighbour, who is ten times as the chief elements of mischief in amenable to the same charges, goes those affairs where historians tell on sinning at large without disturb- us of hardy and temperate soldiers ing his own conscience or the rest enervated by the indolent and of the world about the matter. The luxurious habits of the people they raving there has been among us have invaded — as in many inof late about narcotics and stimu- stances, from Hannibal's army in lants has, in fact, confused our Italy downwards. Their poverty, vision and our faculties of discrim- but not their will, consents in the ination. In their rage against the general case of communities underworking man for offending them feeding themselves; where there with the smell of his alcoholic com- are the means, the defect is apt to pound and his bad tobacco, the be on the other side. Nor do the respectables will not fairly measure fasting ordinances of the Church of bis failings with those of the rest Rome do much to avert the evil. of mankind. But if we take aver- Setting aside a portion of Ireland, ages, I am disposed to question Brittany, and some parts of Scandiwhether he is much worse than his navia, where there is extreme poneighbours, and especially whether verty- keeping in view only the the average German is so much portions of Europe where the peoabove him as many of our own ple are well off, and adjust the people maintain him to be.
scale of their living more by choice On the contrary, looking upon and taste than from necessity-I our working population, head-work- have no doubt that the people of ers as well as hand-workers, as the Scotland are the most frugal feedstamina of the country, and taking ers in Europe ; and if we look for them as they are with all their de results, among what people shall fects, I see them elevating our we find a better development, country to an amount of material whether of brain or muscle ? wealth and greatness far beyond We have been accustomed in the the possible attainments of any North to speak of the Englishman other portion of the world. Be our as a great eater, but in comparison defects what they may, other coun- with the German he is naught, and tries have graver. In Germany espe- in a general estimate of the glutcially, I find four heavy weights tonous propensities and capacities call them domestic, social, or by of European nations, I think it any other name you like—which likely that he would hold a modepress down the population, and rate place. He is apt to be fussy while tolerated as they are, will and talkative as to his eating, and ever prevent it from achieving any to be loudly confessorial and dehigh position either of greatness or precatory about it, as about all his of goodness. These weights are other defects. Accustomed to being 1. Excess in eating.
twitted by his northern neighbour 2. Excess in beer-drinking. on this head, he feels a diffidence 3. Excess in smoking.
about taking note of brother Her4. Excess in the inhaling of foul man's wonderful performances at air.
table ; but a Scotsman feels himAs to the first, there is no doubt self free to record his amazement a point up to which it is good both that the human frame should be for his body and his mind that man trained to the accomplishment of should feed. There are instances such achievements in gluttony. only too abundant of degeneration Take an average man of business caused by insufficiency of food. in London or Liverpool. At ten But there is mischief also from the o'clock he is delivered at the scene habitual consumption of an excess of his labours, say in the public over the quantity suited for health- service or in his own. From that