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forsaken, her first impulse is to follow breaking revelation to Leonard of the her faithless lover, her next to seek the disgrace that rests upon his mother and refuge of death in the dark pool where on himself

, and the hard struggle to live the water-lilies grew. But as the angel which erring women encounter. of the Lord met Hagar by the fountain in We may say here, once for all, that in the wilderness, so he met Ruth in her its rigor of social law against wantonness despair upon the moor, and brought her we believe the world is right. There are back by the hand of a poor, deformed, men and women always ready, always Dissenting minister: to reason and re- willing to mitigate the law and receive to pentance, and trust in God, and the pa- mercy those who, like Ruth, have sinned tient bearing of that cross of shame, by in ignorance, passion, and youth. But means of which, out of her weakness they distinguish. Few hearts would not she was made strong to endure persecu- be pitiful to such a case as hers. It is not tion, to resist temptation such as few “snow pure” simplicity that slips oftenendure, few resist.

est into sin. There are those whose And bere begin the moral difficulties vanity and idleness court temptation; of the story. Thurstan Benson, and his there are others with vicious proclivities sister Faith, moved by the true spirit of who cannot be kept out of it; and for Christian charity, agree to carry their these, perhaps the majority, the social compassion into active exercise, to take law may justifiably be left as it is, will Ruth into their home, to comfort her in assuredly be left as it is, while Christian her misery, to shield her in her distress— ideas of morality and English ideas of but with a reservation. Fear of their honor hold their ancient ground. But world, represented by Mr. Bradshaw, a as individuals, it will be good to bear in hard, self-righteous, prosperous church mind that we can never do amiss in member, perverts their honesty into restraining harsh and bitter speech to the gross deceit, and to screen Ruth and her tempted, lest we urge mere weakness to unborn child from the penalties exacted wickedness, or in holding out a hand to from such as they, she is introduced to help the fallen to a chance of redemption. their friends at Eccleston as a near rela- To the unforgiving severity of virtuous tion, early left a widow. Their old ser- women is commonly ascribed the ban vant Sally, a capital character, detects which excludes their erring sisters from the imposition at a glance; but others all hope of being restored to honor and are less shrewd, and it succeeds for sev. good fame on this side of the grave ; eral years, during which Ruth cultivates but Mrs. Gaskell, with a truer observation her mind until she is fitted for a gover- of what passes in real life, makes Ruth's ness, in which capacity she is received chief adversary a pharisee amongst reinto the family of Mr. Bradshaw. Her ligious men ; one who values purity in his conduct here is that of a modest, gentle, wife and daughters and truth between refined, cultivated woman. Love for her neighbors as pearls of price inestimable, child, gratitude to those who have suc- but has no spark of that divine compascored her, have matured in ber the seeds sion which was the light Christ brought of good. When Mr. Bellingham sees into the world when he came to seek and her again, it is in this respected and 'to save those that were lost. trusted position; and he thinks she must Ruth's life, from the time she stands have played her cards very well. She is forth to the little world of Eccleston as lovelier than ever, and he would fain the betrayed mother of a bastard child, is lure her back into sin, he even offers her exquisitely sorrowful, exquisitely touchmarriage, but all her heart is now treas- ing. The good minister, his sister, and ured up in their son, Leonard, and to old Sally love her and guard ber as good save him from his father, she has fortitude Christians guard and love souls they have to withstand all his pleadings, and her saved from death. Her child loves her own weakness of tender remembrance. with passionate devotion. She seeks Close upon this follows the discovery of work here, there, everywhere, and finds her false character, and Mr. Bradshaw it, at last, in helping as she has been drives her from his house with violence helped, in tending the sick, the poor, all and contumely. Then ensues a heart- that are in misery. And in the midlst of

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this work, God calls her home-"one trusted to him professionally, have fallen. of those who have passed through great Dunster is a reserved man, very persisttribulation and have washed their robes ent in having things exactly done ; and and made them white in the blood of the his precision proves a constant vexation Lamb, and are before the throne of God to his superior, who finds it easier byforever.” We are touched with so much and-by to admit him to partnership and pity at the last, that we are almost moved responsibility than to keep him in his to erase our previous strictures. But let subordinate place. Such is the position them stand.

of the chief personages of the story when In “A DARK Night's WORK” we the dark night's work is done which have another story of a deception-a de- gives it a name. ception so much stranger than fiction Mr. Dunster returns from a dinnerthat we are inclined to believe it founded party with Mr. Wilkins to talk over on fact. A long and rather tedious pre- business matter ; a disagreement arises, amble brings us acquainted with Mr. and Wilkins strikes his adversary a sudWilkins, a country attorney, the son den blow-a fatal blow. Down from and grandson of attorneys, respectable her chamber comes Ellinor, and finds practitioners in the town of Hamley, Dunster dead on the floor of her father's employed by the county magnates from study; and they two, at the suggestion generation to generation. Educated at and with the assistance of Dixon, Mr. Eton, handsome, elegant, a man of Wilkins's factotum, bury the body in the taste, refinement, and ambition, polished flower-garden. The police of Hamley do by foreign travel, he falls reluctantly not appear to have been very shrewd into the hereditary groove; until his detectives, for they and everybody else marriage with the pretty daughter of credit the first rumor explaining Dunsa méssalliance, who is also niece to Sir ter's disappearance—namely, that he has Frederick Holster, wins him a precarious decamped to America with so much of footing amongst the county gentlefolks ; his principal's private and professional which bis eminent social qualities ena- property, that his affairs are thrown into ble him to retain after he is left a irretrievable confusion. But the three widower with one beautiful child, Ellinor, who have conspired to conceal what was whose deep affection for him, and his no crime-or, at the worst, manslaughter for ber, are most tenderly and touchingly have spoiled their lives utterly. Terdepicted.

rors assail them on every side ; their The story proper does not begin until home is become a haunted place. Ellinor Ellinor is of an age to be wooed by a loses her lover, Mr. Wilkins dies insolvyoung gentleman of family, Ralph Cor- ent, and seventeen years after, when, in bet, who comes to Hamley during the making a cutting for a railway, Dunster's Oxford vacations to read with Mr. Ness, body is discovered, Dixon is arrested and the vicar. He is a lover whose intellect tried for murder. The old servant keeps

a has always the mastery over his affec- counsel so far as to let himself be contions, but Ellinor's sweetness captivates demned to death, but Ellinor flies to the him completely, and the disapproval of rescue, and things are so pleasantly arhis own people confirms him in his at- ranged in the end for the survivor's of tachment, which passes through all the the dark night's work, that it seems as phases of courtship into an avowed and if Dunster were only rightly served for admitted engagement. Ellinor is in- making himself disagreeable. It is true tensely happy, and in her happiness is that their consciences have been irksome; hardly observant enough of her father's but, for the public good, it has been gradual deterioration of conduct and found so essential to supplement the character. His always liberal expendi- work of conscience with penal inflictions, ture has become lavish, his easiness in that we feel troubled in our sense of jusbusiness has become neglect, and a clerk tice, when Mrs. Gaskell lets off assassins from London, Dunster by name, has and their accessories without any pains been installed in the attorney's office to and penalties beyond what looks most educe order out of the confusion into like the dread of being found out; for in which his affairs and those of others en- this instance, the torment of conscience

does not lead to confession--the only mary causes other than those she sets trustworthy sign of a real repentance. a

forth to account for the family tragedy Shortly after the death of Charlotte she has to record. We should ascribe Bronté, in 1855, Mrs. Gaskell was re- to the needless privations and hardships quested to write the life of that gifted of their early childhood, rather than to woman; and in the biography she pro- the neglects of Cowan Bridge, the founduced, we have one of the fullest yet dation of that physical debility which simplest and most touching records in marred the brief lives of all the Bronté our language—a record known and pop- girls, and to the absence of due paternal ular wherever our language is spoken. care and guidance in boyhood, the going She had a subject in which all the world astray of their unhappy brother. It is to could feel an interest—a woman pos- be observed that in the selection made sessed of the highest intellectual power, from Miss Bronté's letters, we have no whose conscientiousness and family affec- word of causes, but only of consequences ; tion withstood every temptation wbich that she lays no blame anywhere, and extraordinary literary success throws in offers no plea in extenuation of the misthe way of women; ambitious and world. conduct which made her home worse famed, yet living and suffering obscurely; than a prison-house. Whether it was the moral of her life, “the unconquera- fair to reveal a half-truth with insinuable strength of genius and goodness." tions, where it was impossible to reveal

Mrs. Gaskell's fine appreciation of the whole truth, is a matter for private scenery, especially of the wild, bleak, rather than for critical opinion. In a hill-country of Yorkshire and Lancashire, literary point of view, we think the interenables her to set before us in vivid re- est and reality of the life might have lief the moorland parsonage of Haworth, been retained with much less of painful where Charlotte Bronté was born and reflection upon persons beyond

the four died, where her great faculties found walls of Haworth parsonage. But with their nurture, and where all the love of all its over-statements or under-stateher passionate heart was garnered up. ments, the work undoubtedly remains The biography was almost universally what it was pronounced to be at the accepted as tender, just, and true, and it time of its publication, “one of the best it has appeared to some that the happy, biographies of a woman by a woman,” tempered, genial, motherly writer did that we possess. not get at the core of the recluse, all We come now to Mrs. Gaskell's novels whose joys were spiritual, all her miseries in her last manner, “Sylvia's LOVERS," physical and external, it may arise from and “ WIVES AND DauguTERS,” with the the fact that their personal intimacy was exquisite short story of “Cousin Philnot close, more than from the lack of LIS” between. In “Sylvia's LOVERS,” sympathy. A biography, written so im- we are carried back to the war-time at mediately on the death of its subject, the end of the last century, and to Monksrisks many perils, and of these it cannot haven, a town on the north-eastern be said that Mrs. Gaskell steered quite coast, which a hundred delicate descripclear even of the most obvious. Reading tive touches enable us to identify with the book now, we are impressed with the Whitby. We are made as well acquaintintense pain and mortification it musted with its amphibious population as have inflicted on living persons, and with with the operatives of Manchester, and the absence of the judicial spirit which Sylvia Robson, the bonnie only child of would have discerned that there must be a man who was a little of a farmer, a something to be said on the other side little of a seaman, a little of a smuggler, of those matters of fact of which we are is as real to us in her joys and sorrows as shown but one. In later editions the Mary Barton, or any of the factory lasses defects arising from prejudice or from with whom Mrs. Gaskell was personally partiality have been abated ; and coming familiar. She has the art of thoroughly to the story with a calm mind, after the clothing her conceptions in flesh and lapse of ten years, we are not always so blood, of putting into their mouths articfar influenced by Mrs. Gaskell's power of ulate speech, individually appropriate, so narrative that we cannot perceive pri- that we are impressed by them, and

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moved as by the doings and sufferings topped t' brow, as she did naught but bid of men and women with whom we have thee think twice afore settling on scarlet.' actually known. As we read, they are

“Ay! but mother's words are scarce, and not fictitious characters to us, but per- talk a deal o rubble; but mother's words are

weigh heavy. Feyther's liker me, and we sons whose sentiments, motives, con

liker to hewn stone. She puts a deal o' meanduct, we feel inclined to analyze and ing in 'em. And then,' said Sylvia, as if she discuss as if they had a literal bearing was put out by the suggestion, she bid me upon our own. Sylvia Robson is a char-ask Cousin Philip for his opinion. I hate a ming rustic lassie for a heroine, and is man as has gotten an opinion on such-like first introduced to us perplexed with the things.? prettiest and most innocent of feminine this day, either for to sell our stuff and eggs,

“* Well! we shall never get to Monkshaven vanities, the choice of a new cloak—shall

or to buy thy cloak, if we're sitting here it be scarlet, shall it be grey ? Her young much longer. T sun's for slanting low, so love for a bit of gorgeous color inclines come along, lass, and let's be going !' to scarlet, but her mother has spoken up " ' But if I put on my stockings and shoon for grey. She is on her road to Monks- here, and jump back into yon wet gravel, l’se haven, with Molley Corney, a neighbor's not be fit to be seen,' said Sylvia, in a padanghter, to sell her butter at the Market like. She stood up, her bare feet curved

thetic tone of bewilderment, funnily childCross, and by the way the girls debate round the curving surface of the stone, her the purchase which is to follow the sale slight figure balancing as if in the act to of the butter.

spring.

•• Thou knows thou'll just have to jump “ The girls were walking barefoot, and car

back barefoot, and wash thy feet afresh, withrying their shoes and stockings in their hands

out making all that ado; thou should'st ha' during the first part of their way, but as they

done it at first, like me and all other sensible were drawing near Monkshaven they stopped folk. But thou's gotten no gumption.' and turned aside along a foot-path that led Molly's mouth was stopped by Sylvia's down from the main road to the banks of the hand. She was already on the river's bank Dee. There were great stones in the river by her friend's side. about here, round which the waters gathered

" • Now dunnot lecture me; I'm none for and eddied and formed deep pools. Molly a sermon hung on every peg o' words. I'm sat down on the grassy bank to wash her feet, going to have a new cloak, lass, and I cannot but Sylvia, more active (or perhaps lighter- heed thee if thou dost lecture. Thou shall hearted with the notion of the cloak in the have all the gumption, and I'll have my distance,) placed her basket on a gravelly bit

cloak.'' of shore, and giving a long spring, seated herself on a stone almost in the middle of the

A great event in Monkshaven-the stream. Then she began dipping her lit- coming into port of the Resolution, the tle rosy toes in the cool rushing water, and first whaler of the season, from the whisking tbem out with childish glee. Greenland seas_delays the purchase of

*** Be quiet wi' the', Sylvia. Thou'st splash- the cloak, but it is accomplished at last, ing me all ower, and my feyther'll noane be and scarlet wins the day, in spite of the so keen o' giving me a new cloak as thine is advice of the shopman—that cousin Phiseemingly.'

** Sylvia was quiet, not to say penitent, in lip, in Sylvia's contemptuous dislike of a moment. She drew up her feet instantly, whom we feel inclined to sympathize, as if to take herself out of temptation, she from the moment we hear that he was turned away from Molly to that side of her a serious young man, tall, but with a stony seat on which the current ran shallow slight stoop in his shoulders, and a long and broken by pebbles. But once disturbed in her play, her thoughts reverted to the upper lip, which gave a disagreeable great subject of her cloak. She was now as

aspect to a face that might otherwise still as a minute before she had been full of have been good-looking. gambolling life. She had tucked herself up Sylvia's sweet warm-heartedness and on the stone as if it had been a cushion, and sympathy are beautifully brought out in she a little Sultana. Molly was deliberately the events that ensue on the arrival of Washing her feet and drawing on her stock- the whaler, down upon whose newly reings, when she heard a sudden sigh, and her turned men-husbands, fathers, sons, companion turned round so as to face her, and said 'I wish mother had'nt spoken up for

lovers-pounces the press-gang. These

legalized kidnappers furnish the tragedy "Why, Sylvia, thou wert saying as we of the story, which needs all the bright

t' grey.

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pictures strewn along its pages to lighten affecting scene within twenty-four hours and relieve the ever-deepening gloom of , after their engagement where she betrays the back-ground.

this, and bespeaks Philip's patience. Sylvia's lovers are her cousin Philip Hepburn, and Charley Kinraid, speck- “Sylvia sat down on the edge of the trough, sioneer to the whaling-ship Good Fortune, and dipped her hot little hand in the water. who has made himself a hero in other beautiful eyes to Philip's face, and with a look

Then she went in quickly, and lifting her eyes than hers by his gallantry in resist

of inquiry - Kester thinks as Charlie Kining the press-gang, in the course of raid may have been took by the press-gang.' which resistance he received a severe “ It was the first time she had named the wound. He is carried to Moss Brow, name of her former lover to her present one nursed into health and strength again, since the day, long ago now, when they had and during this process it is that he and quarreled about him; and the rosy color

flushed her all over; but her sweet, trustful Sylvia grow into love with each other.

eyes never flinched from their steady unconPhilip prosecutes his suit by teaching scious gaze. Philip's heart stopped beating ; Sylvia to read and write against her in- literally, as if he had come to a sudden preclination, and by insinuating evil stories cipice, while he had thought himself securely against his rival—a method of courtship walking, on sunny greensward.

He went which fails, as it deserves to fail, while purple all over from dismay; he dared not Kinraid's prospers without an effort.

take his eyes away from that sad earnest look The girl's aversion to the young draper, before them and drew a veil before his brain,

of hers, but he was thankful that a mist came who is so pious, proper, and demure that He heard his own voice saying words he did everybody else approves of him, is a just not seem to have framed in his own mind. instinct. He sees the press-gang lurking "* • Kester's a d-d fool,' he growled. in ambush for Kinraid, has the chance “ ' He say's there's mebbe but one chance of warning him, and does not do it; he in a hundred,' said Sylvia, pleading, as it were, sees the luckless fellow caught and car

for Kester; but oh, Philip, think ye here's ried off to a man-o-war's boat; he even

just that one chance ?'

" "Ay, there's a chance, sure enough,' said accepts a message from him to give to Philip, in a kind of fierce despair that made Sylvia—“Tell her I'll come back to her. him reckless what he said and did. “There's Bid her not forget the great oath we took a chance, I suppose, for every thing i' life as together this morning; she's as much my we have not seen with our own eyes as it wife as if we'd gone to church ; I'll come

may not ha' happened. Kester may say next back and marry her afore long.” But because we none on us saw him — '

as there is a chance your father is not dead, when he hears that the specksioneer is

Hung,' he was going to have said, but a supposed to have been overtaken by the touch of humanity came back into his stony tide and drowned on the shore, because heart. Sylvia sent up a little sharp cry at his his hat has been found drenched with sea words. He longed at the sound to take her water, he holds his peace, and lets Sylvia in his arms and hush her up, as a mother with the rest, though he sees her griev- hushes her weeping child. But the very longing all the day long, believe her lover ing, having to be repressed, only made him

more beside himself with guilt, anxiety and dead.

rage. They were quite still now. Sylvia “When sorrows come, they come not looking sadly down into the bubling, merry, single spies but whole battalions.” Dan- flowing water; Philip glaring at her, wishing iel Robson gets into a fight with the press- that the next word was spoken, though it gang to release some seamen whom they might stab him to the heart. But she did not have captured very treacherously; an offi- speak.

“At length, unable to bear it any longer, cer is killed, and Robson being, brought he said, Thou sets a deal o' store on that to trial, as leader of the fray in which

man, Sylvia.' the disaster occured, is condemned and • If that man' had been there at that moexecuted. The forlornness of his widow ment, Philip would have grappled with him, and poor Sylvia makes Philip Hepburn's and not let go his hold till one or the other opportunity He can give them protec

were dead. Sylvia caught some of the pastion and a good home, and for her mo

sionate meaning of the gloomy miserable tone ther's sake Sylvia consents to marry him

of Philip's voice as he said these words. She

looked up at him. -her heart yearning all the time with

"I thought yo' kuowed that I cared a tenderest regret for Kinraid. There is an deal for him.'

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