« PreviousContinue »
men and women. After saying that a true friendship between two women is an honourable and lovely sight, she proceeds :
• Not less so the friendship-rare, I grant, yet quite possible—which subsists between a man and woman whom circumstances, or their own idiosyncrasies, preclude from the slightest chance of ever" falling in love.” That such friendships can exist, especially between persons of a certain temperament and order of mind, and remain for a lifetime, utterly pure, interfering with no rights, and transgressing no law of morals or society, most people's observation of life will testify; and he must take a very low view of human nature who dares to say that these attachments, satirically termed “ Platonic,” are impossible. But, at the same time, common sense must allow that they are rare to find, and not the bappiest always, when found; because, in some degree they are contrary to nature. Nature's law undoubtedly is, that our nearest ties should be those of blood-father or brother, sister or mother- until comes the closer one of marriage; and it is always, if not wrong, rather pitiful, when any extraneous bond comes in between to forestall the entire affection that a young man ought to bring to his future wife, a young woman to her husband. I say ought-God knows if they ever do! But, however fate, or folly, or wickedness may interfere to prevent it, not the less true is the undoubted fact, that happy above all must be that marriage where neither husband nor wife ever had a friend so dear as one another.
• After marriage, for either party to have or to desire a dearer or closer friend than the other, is a state of things so inconceivably deplorable—the more erring the more deplorable—that it will not bear discussion. Such cases there are; but He who in the mystery of marriage prefigured a greater mystery still, alone can judge them, for He only knows their miseries, their temptations and their wrongs.
• While allowing that a treaty of friendship, “pure and simple,” can exist between a man and woman-under peculiar circumstances, even between a young man and a young woman-it must also be allowed that the experiment is difficult, often dangerous; so dangerous, that the matter-of-fact half of the world will not believe in it at all. Parents and guardians very naturally object to a gentleman's “hanging up his hat” in their houses, or taking sentimental iwilight rambles with their fair young daughters. They insist, and justly, that he ought to
“Come with a good will, or come not at all,” namely, as a mere acquaintance, a pleasant friend of the family, the whole family -or as a declared suitor. And though this may fall rather hard upon the young man, who has just a hundred a-year, and, with every disposition towards flirting, a strong horror of matrimony; still, it is wisest and best. "It may save both parties from frittering away, in a score of false, sentimental likings, the love that ought to belong but to one; or, still worse, from committing or suffering what, beginning blamelessly on either side, frequently ends in incurable pain, irremediable wrong.
• Therefore it is, generelly speaking, those further on in life, with whom the love-phase is past, or for whom it never existed, who may best use the right, which every pure and independent heart undoubtedly has, of saying: “I take this man or woman for my friend; only a friend-never either more or less—whom as such I mean to keep to the end of my days.” And if more of these, who really know what friendship is, would have the moral courage to assert its dignity against the sneers of society, which is loath to believe in anything higher and purer than itself, I think it would be all the better for the world.'
We heartily think so too. A better education for women, and more recognised employment for them in daily life, will do much to place intercourse between honest people of different sex upon a better footing.
Among the incidental illustrative passages of the book, one of the pleasantest is the following anecdote of Dor worship, which we have either read or heard before :
'Strange how much people will sacrifice-ay, even women will—to this Moloch of the world! It reminds me of an infantile worship, which a certain friend of mine confessed to have instituted, and officiated as high-priestess of, at the age of three-and-a-half. She used to collect from her own store, and levy from unwilling co-idolators, all sorts of childish dainties, together with turnips, apple-parings, &c., and lay them in a remote corner of the farmyard, as an offering to a mysterious invisible being called Dor, who came in the night and feasted thereon; at least, the sacrifice was always gone the next morning. A pious relative, finding her out, stopped with great horror the proceedings of this earnest little heathen: but for years after, nothing would have persuaded my deluded young friend that the awful Dor was, in tact, only a chance wind, a hen and her chickens, or a hungry old sow.'
The chapter on 'Growing Old’ is very pleasant, and here and there very touching. A few sentences upon dress, when a woman is on the
In this matter of dress, a word or two. There are two styles of costume which ladies past their première jeunesse are most prone to fall into: one hardly knows which is the worst. Perhaps, though, it is the ultra-juvenile, such as the insane juxtaposition of a yellow skin and white tarlatane, or the anomalous adorning of grey hair with artificial flowers. It may be questioned whether at any age beyond twenty a ball-costume is really becoming; but after thirty, it is the very last sort of attire that a lady can assume with impunity. It is said that you can only make yourself look younger by dressing a little older than you really are; and truly I have seen many a woman look withered and old in the customary evening-dress which, being unmarried, she thinks necessary to shiver in, who would have appeared fair as a sunshiny October day if she would only have done Nature the justice to assume, in her autumn time, an autumnal livery. If she would only have the sense to believe that grey hair was meant to soften wrinkles and brighten faded cheeks, giving the same effect for which our youthful grandmothers wore powder; that flimsy, light-coloured dresses, fripperied over with trimmings, only suit airy figures and active motions; that a sober-tinted, substantial gown, and a pretty cap, will any day take away ten years from a lady's appearance; above all, if she would observe this one grand rule of the toilet, always advisable, but after youth indispensable, that though good personal “points” ure by no means a warrant for undue exhibition thereof, no point that is positively unbeautiful ought ever, by any pretence of fashion or custom, to be shown.
• The other sort of dress, which, it must be owned, is less frequent, is the dowdy style. People say, though not very soon, “Oh, I am not a young woman now; it does not signify what I wear.” Whether they quite believe it is another question; but they say it, and act upon it when laziness or indifference prompts. Foolish women! they forget, that if we have reason at any time more than another to mind our "looks," it is when our looks are departing from us. Youth can do almost anything in the toilet ; middle-age cannot; yet is none the less bound to present to her friends and society the most pleasing exterior she can. Easy is it to do this when we have those about us who love us; and take notice of what we wear, and in whose eyes we wculd like to appear gracious and lovely to the last, so far as nature allows: not easy when things are otherwise. This, perhaps, is the reason why we see so many unmarried women grow careless and sold-fashioned ” in their dress-" What does it signify- nobody cares.”
*I think a woman ought to care a little - a very little - for herself. Without preaching up vanity, or undue waste of time over that most thankless duty of adorning one's self for nobody's pleasure in particular-is it not still a right and becoming feeling to have some respect for that personality which, as well as our soul, heaven gave us to make the best of? And is it not our duty-considering the great number of upcomely people there are in the world—to lessen it by each of us making herself as little uncomely as she can.'
The author, supposing herself to address chiefly unmarried women in this chapter, closes it and the volume in this way:
'Yet there is a solitude which old age feels to be as natural and satisfying as that rest which seems such an irksomeness to youth, but which gradually grows into the best blessing of our lives; and there is another solitude, so full of peace and hope, that it is like Jacob's sleep in the wilderness, at the foot of the ladder of angels.
“All things are less dreadful than they seem." And it may be that the extreme loneliness which, viewed afar off, appears to an unmarried woman as one of the saddest of the inevitable results of her lot, shall by that time have lost all its pain, and be regarded but as the quiet, dreamy hour “between the lights;" when the day's work is done, and we lean back, closing our eyes, to think it all over before we finally go to rest, or to look forward, in faith and hope, unto the Coming Morning.
• A finished life, a life which has made the best of all the materials granted to it, and through which, be its webb dark or bright, its pattern clear or clouded, can now be traced plainly the hand of the Great Designer; surely this is worth living for! And though at its end it may be somewhat lonely; though a servant's and not a daughter's arm may guide the failing step; though most likely it will be strangers only who come about the dying bed, close the eyes that no husband ever kissed, and draw the shroud kindly over the poor withered breast where no child's head has ever lain; still, such a life is not to be pitied, for it is a completed life. It has fulfilled its appointed course, and returns to the Giver of all breath pure as He gave it. Nor will He forget it when He counteth up His jewels.'
We will not quarrel with the author for that pure as He gave it,' nor ask her if she has not here used the word life in two senses—first to signify a continuous fact, then as a principle of being. We will offer her cordial thanks for a book which seems likely to find an unimpeded path for usefulness into any circle where books are read at all, and commend the volume to our readers as excellent for private reading, and for giving away to young ladies. One word more—it is peculiarly well adapted for the purposes of Christian ladies who may meet classes of young women to read to them edifying books, with occasional comments of their own. We trust this hint may not be lost.
We cannot close our notice without referring to the steadiness with which this author maintains one claim of hers upon our respect, which is very rare in these days. The “Author of John Halifax, Gentleman,' is one of the few modern writers who have preserved their intellectual integrity, and fallen into no degenerate imitations of other people's manner of thought and writing. We account this a great merit, and we are sure it is an uncommon one in these times !
The Present Tactics of the Jesuits.*
By Dr. J. OVERBECK, A ROmish Ex-Priest,
It is undeniable that the one vital principle of humanity and the world is religion. In proportion as this principle becomes active in any particular nation, or at any particular time, the more does a peculiar degree of life force itself upon our attention ; for all other levers which move men, such as science, art, industry, are no means of true progress, and of healthy vital action, when, instead of serving as handmaids to religion, they lay claim to independence. If we look around us we cannot but observe a remarkable fermentation in men's minds, which, inasmuch as it relates to the religious element, is destined to lead to grand results; for we see the nations stirred up, not on the surface, but in the depths, in their vital principle, their religion. A struggle for truth is being waged against a twofold foe; against mate. rialism on the one hand, which, since it robs man of his God, and sinks him into a beast, destroys his high dignity and destiny; and, on the other hand, against a well-organized camp, which, with the harshest exclusiveness and bigotry, pretends to monopolize the truth, and aims, by means of crafty strategy, to defend and propagate it. In short, we see arrayed against each other a newly-awakened and powerfully active evangelical faith and life, and the power of the Catholic Church, revived by means of and in the spirit of Jesuitism.
For a long time there was a truce between the Catholics and the Protestants. This was certainly in itself matter for congratulation. Still, no reasonable man would wish to be left alone by the physician in a case of dangerous sickness. Caustic and the knife would be better in such a case.
It was in this sense that Christ also wished to send the sword on the earth, and to create enmity between those who ought to have remained united in the tenderest bonds. Thus professing Christians lived in peace whilst the ulcer of unbelief, or of indifference amidst belief, was gnawing at their hearts. Then arose Archbishop Clement Augustus of Cologne, and by his attack on mixed marriages sounded the alarm to both creeds, and drew more clearly the line of demarcation between them. Every controversy embitters men's minds ; and, accordingly, the hatred between the two confessions engendered by the discussion of this question remains undiminished to this day. But, at the same time, we witness a rich and blessed revival amongst Christian believers which justifies the fairest hopes. Nevertheless, unbelief and immorality, vigorously attacked by the revived Church and cast out of the temple, vowed vengeance, clustered more closely around some of their leading spirits, and, in 1848, led their legions into the fire to overturn throne and altar. The believers of both creeds
The valuable paper, of which this is a free translation, first appeared in Gelzer's Protestantische Monatsblätter (Protestant Monthly Journal) for Sept. 1857.
joined their forces, and, with God's help, smote down the malignant foe. Now came the division of the spoil, and the antithesis at once reappeared. The Catholics got the largest share. They obtained the privilege of unlimited self-government in their ecclesiastical concerns, and, besides this, a concession was granted them which short-sighted Protestants deemed should be allowed them as a trifle of no moment in the bargain—this was the introduction of the Jesuits. In the heart of the Catholic world they had been banished. But now the fugitives, driven away from other quarters, returned into the free German empire, again opened to them. Germany had long forgotten the Jesuits : it was wont to marvel from afar at their imposing power, and now it willingly received them with a compassion which even an enemy cannot refuse to the poor exile. How were men surprised to see in them unpretending, simple persons, and to remark no polished address, no courtly manners, no obtrusive interference in families ! The Protestants were bitter upon Spindler, Eugène Sue, and others who had painted such deceptive caricatures, abandoned themselves to utter unconcern, and said, “What a mean opinion we must have had of ourselves and of the pure cause of the gospel had we been afraid of such people as these. The Catholics are quite right in saying that must be a weak cause which is afraid of ruin from a handful of Jesuits. It is, therefore, not to be wondered at, that amongst the Protestants themselves the Jesuits found their panegyrists, and many even who were willing to avail themselves of their instructions. Thus the Jesuits came in, modest and humble. They commenced missionary operations very successfully, routed sinners out of their vicious life, awakened their interest in religion, and soon became the favourites of the people, especially of its female portion. Everybody who looked deeper into the matter could not but see in this latter circumstance alone a masterstroke of policy pregnant with important results ; for woman carries the key of the family, and great as is the man's influence without, yet the unseen power of the woman, her boundless influence within, is a thousand times greater. The future does not depend on the public activity of the man, even on that of a William Pitt or a Richelieu, but on what passes within the quiet, hidden sphere of maternal infuence. This psychological tact of the Jesuits, who aim before all things to win the women, brings with it a sure victory, greater than all Napoleon's put together. This feature of the Jesuitical plan was easily overlooked, since it was worked out underground. Further, the character of their missionary preaching was worthy of the Jesuits. Their order was called into existence for the purpose of doing battle with Protestantism ; they are a polemical body by virtue of their creation. And yet there was no controversy in their sermons. This won the goodwill of the Protestants and attracted them. But this is what the Jesuits wanted in order to gain their end, viz., to ingratiate themselves with the Protestant nations and princes, and so to blind them to their real purpose and plan of action. It may here be said, the best, most dignified, and most successful style of controversy, is a calm and clear exhibition of one's own views, without meddling with the opposite doc