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grades as that which flourishes here. The relative physical and moral advantages, therefore, which promote the peculiar enthusiasm and intelligence of American labour will persist, the first entirely, the second, probably, in a high degree, and it is idle to shut our eyes to the fact that in many branches of industry, in many markets, we shall find ourselves definitely passed.
Yet there are things to be remembered which afford ground for sober encouragement. For a considerable time to come much the larger part of American manufacturing production in many departments will be required to meet the demands of the vast and ever-growing home market. British manufacturers, therefore, and British artisans have time, not to waste, indeed, in the vain hope that the industrialism of the States will wear itself out before setting itself to capture all our markets, but to prepare themselves for such a struggle as neither they nor their fathers have ever known. It is surely conceivable that, in view of the approaching danger, British employers should recognise the urgent need of welcoming all suggestions of improvement in methods and processes, from whatever quarter, and especially from their own workmen, and should abandon the shortsighted selfishness involved in cutting piece-rates in such fashion as actually to discourage activity and devotion in their employés. There can be no doubt, in view of the testimony of eminent British engineers, that this kind of folly has been practised here to an extent which in America would be absolutely impossible. Let our artisans, on the other hand, recognise that it is only by throwing themselves, with some approach to the American intensity of zest, into co-operation with the most improved mechanical appliances, that they can give the trades on which they depend any chance of holding their own in presence of an ever-advancing competition. And, finally, let both capitalists and artisans and all the nation recognise that only a race of employers edocated at once liberally and practically, and a soundly and breedle instructed people, can hope to maintain a rivalry fær the commercial primacy of the world.
ART. IX.-1. Lettres d'Abélard et Héloïse. Traduites par
M. GRÉARD. Paris : 1895. 2. Lettres portugaises. Ed. EUGÈNE Asse. Paris : 1873. 3. Letters of a Portuguese Nun. Translated by E. PRESTAGE.
London: David Nutt. 1897. 4. Letters of Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin. London: edition
of 1798. 5. Letters of Keats to Fanny Brawne. Edited by Buxton
FORMAN. London: 1878. 6. Lettres à l'Étrangère. H. DE BALZAC. Paris : 1899. 7. Lettres à une Inconnue. PROSPER MÉRIMÉE. Paris :
1889. TOR how many sins—the desire for the forbidden being - implanted in the heart of fallen mankind is not the Decalogue mainly responsible? And it may be asked with equal plausibility how many publications have owed their popularity to the fact that a stricter censorship of good taste would have placed them upon the Index? There is an unwritten law which prohibits the proclamation in the market-place of a man's private feelings. It forbids the presence of the public-a shadowy third-at the door of the confessional, be the sinner never so distinguished, the sin never so psychologically interesting, the penitent never so willing, and the priest never so complaisant. It dictates in diary, journal, and correspondence the depreciatory opera‘tion of asterisks and blanks. It refuses the surrender of a man's intimate emotions to that promiscuous confidant, the general reader.
With what result? Indefensible, irrational, but strictly human, the prohibition has enhanced the value of the confidences withheld. Curiosity has been stimulated by erasures, and the speculative interest of the world at large has been riveted upon the blotted page of the suppressed utterances of loves, passions, or remorses. Or, when neither blot nor erasure intervenes to efface the record, we mostly read what we concede ought never to bave been printed, listen to what should never have been spoken aloud, with only that pleasant sting of the conscience of good taste which gives zest to the illicit gratification of our wishes.
Some such glamour—the glamour of forbidden fruithangs over the volumes which purport to contain the loveletters, spurious or genuine, of men and women of our own
such glamtification of our good taste whinly
day and generation. No happier advertisement could have been found for one of the most popular of recent works than the prefatory note implying that the anonymity of the ‘Loveletters of an Englishwoman' is necessitated by the fact that they represent not fiction but actuality, and are, what they profess to be, letters written with no thought that they would be read by anyone but the person to whom they were addressed.'
It must, however, be at once allowed that in the case of genuine love-letters of modern date the temptation to editorial indiscretion lies rather in the demand of the public than in the merits of the letters themselves, as far as we have been made acquainted with them. Love-letters proper, as they strike a contemporary, do not usually count among a man's most felicitous epistolary efforts. They rarely evoke any regret in the mind of the reader for the termination of those periods of separation which occasioned the correspondences of lovers. Undoubtedly they are a work of exceptional difficulty, so far as regards the world outside the world of the two persons immediately concerned. Terms of endearment (and such terms, however minimised, are almost a necessity of the situation) are in themselves, when no haze of past fashions of speech dissociates them from modern life, a snare for the pen of the unwary, and jar the imagination with reminiscences of documentary evidence in the breach of promise case of yesterday's newspaper. Si tu m'aimes,' wrote Victor Hugo to his Adèle, “tu sais quelle a été ma joie
... mon Adèle, pourquoi cela ne s'appelle-t-il que de la 'joie ?' Yet the dictionary provides no substitutes and no alternatives. We have more or less by common consent eliminated the legacy of the sonnet-writer of earlier days from the vocabulary of lovers: those words,' as Addison tells us, which even at his time have always a place in ' passionate epistles, as flames, die, darts, absence, Cupid, 'heart, eyes, hang, drown, and the like,' have been consigned to the limbo of the unavailable. We have been, for a season at all events, educated out of them, and there are hints that kisses and tears are possibly about to follow them into their retreat. For, as a poet, Mr. Wilfrid Blunt, pertinently asks, how shall a man distinguish between his tears and those of the shopboys
Who would weep
They are, and truly; but how much they must have facilitated the composition of the love-letter of authors born before shopboys bad been allowed the privilege of crying, and before kisses had become the democratic birthright of the plebeian, before the protestations of the mutual devotion of lovers had taken upon themselves the accents of the penny valentine or the associations of transpontine melodrama, we can regretfully divine!
The process of elimination, although the use of the asterisk was still in full force, was incomplete when the most notable volume extant of English love-letters, written this time in sober earnest by an Anglo-Irishwoman, was published posthumously in 1798. They came, by one of those singular tricks with which fate plays its part in history, from the hand of the spiritual ancestress of the strongminded sisterhood of to-day, Mary Wollstonecraft, author of the Rights of Woman.' No life-chronicle, real or fictitious, contains so vivid a record of a woman's passion, staking all for all in the game of games where the dice are loaded and the cards marked for mischance. They tell their own story as clearly as those series of genuine and spurious · Lettres portugaises' which had won so popular a place in the literature of seventeenth-century France. They tell it without aid of notes or commentaries. It is the story of Mary Wollstonecraft's wrongs, of her love for Imlay—the love foredoomed to disaster, of a woman with a heart which was blind linked to a brain which saw; where all the illusions of an idealist were supplemented by the ruthless, clear-sighted judgements of an intellect at once keen, cultivated, and mature. Perhaps nothing more profoundly pathetic exists in letter form than the earlier pages of the little volume viewed in the light of the sequel; when, as the series opens, Imlay is still at hand, her lover in love's halcyon days, with all the volcanic storms of the French Revolution surging round the barriers,' where—the letter is dated Paris, 1793the lovers are to meet next day. She writes, past midnight, from her obscure lodgings
"I obey an emotion of my heart which made me think of wishing thee, my love, good night ... You can scarcely imagine with what pleasure I anticipate the day when we are to begin almost to live together, and you would smile to hear how many plans of enjoyment I have in my head now that I am confident my heart has found peace in your bosom. ... Yes, I will be good, that I may deserve to be happy, and whilst you love me I cannot again fall into that miserable state which rendered life a burthen almost too heavy to be borne. But, good night—God bless you! Sterne says that is equal to a kiss, yet I would rather give you a kiss into the bargain, glowing with gratitude to heaven and affection to you. I like the word affection,' she adds—and the touch is characteristic of the nature of her hopes and desires —
because it signifies something habitual, and we are soon to meet to try whether we have mind enough to keep our hearts warm.' It was not, however, so much 'mind' as an even more important factor in happiness—character—that was wanting so far as Imlay was concerned. And though in Mary's first letters she confesses to a rational prospect of as much • felicity as the earth affords,' already she has divined something of the man's baser nature, has guessed that his protestation of constancy is a bankrupt cheque.
"I have found out that I have more mind than you in one respect, because I can find food for love in the same object much longer than you can. ... The way to my senses is through my heart; but, forgive me, I think there is sometimes a shorter cut to yours. ... I do not know how I fell into these reflections, excepting one thought produced it—that these continual separations were necessary to warm your affection.' 'I do not know why this letter bears a later datel, but I have more confidence in your affection when absent than present; nay, I think you must love me, for, in the sincerity of my heart let me say it, I believe I deserve your tenderness.' ...Be not too anxious to get money, for nothing worth having is to be purchased,' is a warning that follows shortly, and belongs to those light words that jest at his 'money-getting face.' And soon there comes the letter whose tenour we anticipate :
'I was very low-spirited last night, ready to quarrel with your cheerful temper, which makes absence easy to you. And why should I mince the matter? I was offended at your not even mentioning it. I do not want to be loved like a goddess, but I wish to be necessary to you. God bless you !' Then, true woman as, with those soft, wistful brown eyes of hers Opie painted, she most veritably was-she, the sinned against, asks pardon of the sinner:
"You perceive,' [she pleads, excusing her just upbraiding] “sorrow has almost made a child of me, and that I want to be soothed to peace. I thought that if you were obliged to stay three months at
- I might as well have been with you. Well, well, what signifies what I brooded over ? let us now be friends. But the gleams of joy grow few and far between. In the autumn of 1794, though they met again, his desertion of her, and of the child born to her that spring, had begun. She