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THE MURDER OF THE INNOCENTS.
A SECOND EPISTLE TO DOLOROSUS.
So you are already mending, my dear was the same Lord Russell, by the way, fellow? Can it be that my modest epis- who, when he met a beggar and was imtle has done so much service ? Are you plored to give him something, because he like those in valids in Central Africa, who, was almost famished with hunger, called when the medicine itself is not accessible, him a happy dog, and envied him too straightway swallow the written preserip
much to relieve him. From some recent tion as a substitute, inwardly digest it, remarks of your boarding-house hostess, and recover? No,-I think you have my friend, I am led to suppose that you tested the actual materia medica recom- are now almost as well off, in point of apmended. I bear of you from all direc- petite, as if you were a beggar; and I tions, walking up hills in the mornings wish to keep you so. and down hills in the afternoons, skim- How much the spirits rise with health! ming round in wherries like a rather un- A family of children is a very different steady water-spider, blistering your hands sight to a healthy man and to a dyspeptic. upon gymnastic bars, receiving severe What pleasure you now take in yours ! contusions on your nose from cricket- You are going to live more in their manballs, shaking up and down on hard-trot- ner and for their sakes, henceforward, ting horses, and making the most startling you tell me. You are to enter upon innovations in respect to eating, sleeping, business again, but in a more moderate and bathing. Like all our countrymen, way; you are to live in a pleasant little you are plunging from one extreme to suburban cottage, with fresh air, a horsethe other. Undoubtedly, you will soon railroad, and good schools. For I am make yourself sick again ; but your pres- startled to find that your interest in your ent extreme is the safer of the two. offspring, like that of most American parTime works many miracles; it has made ents, culminates in the school-room. This Louis Napoleon espouse the cause of lib- important matter you have neglected long erty, and it may yet make you reason- enough, you think, foolishly absorbed in able.
making money for them. Now they shall After all, that advice of mine, which is have money enough, to be sure, but wisthought to have benefited you so greatly, dom in plenty. Angelina shall walk in silk was simply that which Dr. Abernethy attire, and knowledge have to spare. To used to give his patients: “Don't come which school shall you send her? you ask to me, - go buy a skipping-rope.” If me, with something of the old careworn you can only guard against excesses, expression, pulling six different prospecand keep the skipping-rope in operation, tuses from your pocket. Put them away, there are yet hopes for you. Only re- Dolorosus ; I know the needs of Angemember that it is equally important to lina, and I can answer instantly. Send preserve health as to attain it, and it the girl, for the present at least, to that needs much the same regimen. Do not school whose daily hours of session are be like that Lord Russell in Spence's the shortest, and whose recess-times and Anecdotes, who only went hunting for vacations are of the most formidable the sake of an appetite, and who, the length. moment he felt any sensation of vitality No, anxious parent, I am not joking. in the epigastrium, used to turn short I am more anxious for your children than round, exclaiming, “ I have found it!”
On the faith of an ex-teacher and ride home from the finest chase. It and ex-school-committee-man,- for what respectable middle-aged American man I remain not one minute after them,) the but has passed through both these spheres pen or the book is always in my hand." of uncomfortable usefulness ? I am ter- Our own time and country afford a yet ribly in earnest. Upon this point as- more astonishing instance. Theodore Parserted, — that the merit of an American ker, to my certain knowledge, bas often school, at least so far as Angelina is con- spent in his study from twelve to sevencerned, is in inverse ratio to the time giv- teen hours daily, for weeks together. en to study,-I will lay down incontro- But the result in all these cases has sadly vertible propositions.
proved the supremacy of the laws which Sir Walter Scott, according to Carlyle, were defied; and the nobler the victim, was the only perfectly healthy literary the more tremendous the warning retriman who ever lived, -in fact, the one bution. suitable text, he says, for a sermon on Let us return, then, from the practice health.
You may wonder, Dolorosus, of Scott's ruined days to the principles what Sir Walter Scott has to do with of his sound ones. Supposing his estiAngelina, except to supply her with nov- mate to be correct, and five and a half el-reading, and with passages for impas- hours to be a reasonable limit for the sioned recitation, at the twilight hour, day's work of a mature brain, it is evifrom the “ Lady of the Lake.” But that dent that even this must be altogether same Scott has left one remark on record too much for an immature one. « To which may yet save the lives and reasons suppose the youthful brain," says the of greater men than himself, more gifted recent admirable report by Dr. Ray, of women (if that were possible) than An- the Providence Insane Hospital, “ to be gelina, if we can only accept it with the capable of an amount of work which is deference to which that same healthiness considered an ample allowance to an of his entitles it. He gave it as his de- adult brain is simply absurd, and the atliberate opinion, in conversation with Ba- tempt to carry this fully into effect must sil Hall, that five and a half hours form necessarily be dangerous to the health the limit of healthful mental labor for a and efficacy of the organ.” It would be mature person. " This I reckon very
wrong, therefore, to deduct less than a good work for a man,” he said, — add- balf-hour from Scott's estimate, for even ing, “ I can very seldom reach six hours the oldest pupils in our highest schools; a day; and I reckon that what is written leaving five hours as the limit of real after five or six hours' hard mental labor mental effort for them, and reducing this, is not good for much.” This he said in for all younger pupils, very much farther. the fulness of his magnificent strength, It is vain to suggest, at this point, that and when he was producing, with astound- the application of Scott's estimate is not ing rapidity, those pages of delight over fair, because the mental labor of our which every new generation still hangs schools is different in quality from his, enchanted.
and therefore less exhausting. It differs He did not mean, of course, that this only in being more exhausting. To the was the maximum of possible mental la- robust and affluent mind of the novelist, bor, but only of wise and desirable labor. composition was not, of itself, exceedIn later life, driven by terrible pecuniary ingly fatiguing; we know this from his involvements, he himself worked far more own testimony; he was able, moreover, than this. Southey, his contemporary, to select his own subject, keep his own worked far more,- writing, in 1814, “I bours, and arrange all his own conditions cannot get through more than at present, of labor. And on the other hand, when unless I give up sleep, or the little exer- we consider what energy and genius have cise I take (walking a mile and back, for years been brought to bear upon the after breakfast); and, that hour except- perfecting of our educational methods, – ed, and my meals, (barely the meals, for how thoroughly our best schools are now graded and systematized, until each day's tors do not disagree is the destructive eflessons become a Procrustes-bed to which fect of premature or excessive mental all must fit themselves,- how stimulating labor. I can quote you medical authorthe apparatus of prizes and applauses, ity for and against every maxim of dietethow crushing the penalties of reproof and ics beyond the very simplest; but I defy degradation, - when we reflect, that it is you to find one man who ever begged, the ideal of every school, that the whole borrowed, or stole the title of M.D., and faculties of every scholar should be con- yet abused those two honorary letters by centrated upon every lesson and every asserting, under their cover, that a child recitation from beginning to end, and could safely study as much as a man, or that anything short of this is considered that a man could safely study more than partial failure,- it is not exaggeration six hours a day. Most of the intelligent to say, that the daily tension of brain men in the profession would probably demanded of children in our best schools admit, with Scott, that even that is too is altogether severer, while it lasts, than large an allowance in maturity for vigorthat upon which Scott based his estimate. ous work of the brain. But Scott is not the only authority in the Taking, then, five hours as the reasoncase ; let us ask the physiologists. able daily limit of mental effort for chil
So said Horace Mann, before us, in the dren of eight to fourteen years, and one days when the Massachusetts school sys- hour as the longest time of continuous contem was in process of formation. lle finement, (it was a standing rule of the asked the physiologists, in 1840, and in Jésuits, by the way, that no pupil should his next Report printed the answers of study more than two hours without rethree of the most eminent. The late Dr. laxation,) the important question now reWoodward, of Worcester, promptly said, curs, To what school shall we send Angethat children under eight should never be lina? confined more than one hour at a time, nor Shall we send her, for instance, to more than four hours a day; and that, if Dothegirls' Hall ? At that seminary of any child showed alarming symptoms of useful knowledge, I find by careful inprecocity, it should be taken from school quiry that the daily performance is as altogether. Dr. James Jackson, of Bos- follows, at least in summer. The pupils ton, allowed the children four hours' rise at or before five, A. M.; at any rate, schooling in winter and five in summer, they study from five to seven, two hours. but only one hour at a time, and heartily From seven to eight they breakfast. cxpressed his “ detestation of the practice From eight to two they are in the schoolof giving young children lessons to learu room, six consecutive hours. From two at home.” Dr. S. G. Howe, reasoning to three they dine. From three to five elaborately on the whole subject, said they are allowed” to walk or take other that children under eight should not be exercise, - that is, if it is pleasant weathconfined more than half an hour at a er, and if they feel the spirit for it, and time, -" by following which rule, with if the time is not all used up in sewing, long recesses, they can study four hours writing letters, school politics, and all the daily”; children between eight and four- small miscellaneous duties of existence, teen should not be confined more than for which no other moment is provided three-quarters of an hour at a time, hav- during day or night. From five to six ing the last quarter of each hour for they study; from six to seven comes the exercise in the playground, — and be tea-table; from seven to nine study again; allowed six hours of school in winter, or then bed and (at least for the stupid ones) seven in summer, solely on condition of sleep. this deduction of twenty-five per cent. for Eleven solid hours of study each day, recesses.
Dolorosas! Eight for sleep, three for Indeed, the one thing about which doc- meals, two during which out-door exerMrs. Bury made a grave mistake in rors, she was greater than ever. Whenchoosing for her second début her great ever, in her part of Lady Macbeth, she part of Juliet; for she had outlived the came to the sleep-walking scene, that possibility of playing it as she played it shadowy neutral ground between death at that period of her life when her soul and life, where the perturbed, burdened readily melted in the divine glow of spirit moans out its secret agony, she youthful passion and flowed into the char- gave startling token of the genius which acter, taking its perfect shape, rounded had electrified and awed her audiences and smooth and fair. Through long of old. A solemn stillness pervaded the years of sorrow and unrest, she had now house; every eye followed the ghostto toil back to that golden time, - and like gliding of her form, every ear hung there was a sort of sharpness and hag upon the voice whose tones could sound gardness about her acting, a singular the most mysterious and awful depths of tone of weariness, broken by starts and human grief and despair. bursts of almost preternatural power. Except in scenes and sentiments of pathos, It was during the first season of her where she had lost nothing, the last, fine, reappearance that Mrs. Bury went to evanishing tints, the delicate aroma of Drury Lane, on an off-night, to witness the character, were wanting in her per- one of the latest efforts of Garrick as sonation. It was touched with autumnal Richard the Third. He was, as usual, shadows,— it was comparatively hard and terribly great in the part; but, in spite dry, not from any inartistic misapprehen- of his overwhelming power, Zelma found sion of the poet's ideal, but because the herself watching the Lady Anne of the fountain of youth in Zelma's own soul night with a strange, fascinated interest. ran low, and was choked by the dead This part, of too secondary and negative violets which once sweetened its waters. a character for the display of high dra
She felt all this bitterly that night, ere matic powers, even in an actress who the play was over; and though her au- should be perfect mistress of herself, was dience generously applauded and old borne by a young and beautiful woman, friends congratulated her, she never new to the London stage, though of some played Juliet again.
provincial reputation, who on this occaYet, even in the darker and sterner sion was distressingly nervous and illparts, in which she was once so famous assured. She had to contend not onshe was hardly more successful now. In ly with stage-fright, but Garrick-fright. losing her bloom and youthful fulness “ She met Roscius in all his terrors," of form, she had not gained that stat- and shrank from the encounter. The uesque repose, or that refined essence fierce lightnings of bis dreadful eyes of physical power and energy, which seemed to shrivel and paralyze her; sometimes belongs to slenderness and even his demoniac cunning and persuapallor. She was often strangely agitated siveness filled her with mortal fear. Her and unnerved when the occasion call- voice shook with a pathetic tremor, beed most for calm, sustained power,-at came hoarse and almost inaudible; her times, glancing around wildly and pite eyes sank, or wandered wildly; her brow ously, like a haunted creature. Her was bathed with the sweat of a secret passion was fitful and strained, -- the fire agony; she might have given way utof rage fickered in her eye, her relaxed terly under the paralyzing spell, hard not lips quivered out curses, her band shook some sudden inspiration of genius or with the dagger and spilled the poison. love, a prophetic thrill of power, or a Her sorrows, real and imaginary, seemed memory of her unweaned babe, come to to have broken her spirit with her heart. nerve, to upbear her. She roused, and
But in anything weird and supernat- went through her part with some flickural, awful with vague, unearthly ter- ering flashes of spirit, and through all her painful embarrassment was stately enough in one place to weary of it -- the and graceful by the regal necessity of peaceful sights and sounds of rural life her beauty. The event was not suc- tranquillizing and refreshing her soul, as cess, was but a shade better than utter the clear expanse of its sky, the green failure; and when, soon after, that beau- of its woods and parks, the daisied swell tiful woman dropped out of London dra- of its downs refreshed and soothed her matic life, few were they who missed her eye, tired of striking forever against dull enough to ask whither she had gone. brick walls and struggling with smoke But Zelma, whose sad, searching eyes
and fog. saw deeper than the eyes of critics, rec- Then May came round, — the haunted ognized from the first her grand, long- month of all the year for her. The hawsought ideal in the fair unknown, whose thorn-hedyes burst into flower,—the highname had appeared on the play-bills in ways and by-paths and lanes became small, deprecating type, under the over- Milky Ways of bloom, and all England whelming capitals of “ MR. GARRICK” was once more veined with fragrance. -"Mrs. Siddons."
She looked upon They were in the North, when one that frightened and fragile woman with morning Zelma was startled by hearing prophetic reverence and noble admira- the manager say that the next night they tion : and as she walked her lonely cham- should play at Walton. It was there ber that night, she said to herself, some- that Lawrence Bury died; it was there what sadly, but not bitterly,—“ The true he slept, in the stranger's unvisited grave. light of the English drama has arisen at She would seek out that grave and sink last. •Out, out, brief candle !""
on it, as on the breast of one beloved,
though long estranged. It would cool Season after season, year after year, the dull, ceaseless fever of her art to Zelma continued to play in London, but press it against the cold mound, and to never again with the fame, the hom- whisper into the rank grass her faithful age, the flatteries and triumphs of a remembrance, her forgiveness, her ungreat actress.
All these she saw at last conquerable love. accorded to her noble rival. Mrs. Bury But it was late when the players had shone very acceptably in a doubt- reached Walton; and, after the necesful dramatic period, — first as an in- sary arrangements for the evening were spired, impassioned enthusiast, and after concluded, Zelma found that she had as a conscientious artist, subdued and no time for a pilgrimage to the parish saddened, yet always careful and ear- churchyard. She could see it from a nest; but, like many another lesser light, window of her lodgings;- it was highshe was destined to be lost sight of in walled, dark and damp, crowded with the long, splendid day of the Kembles. quaint, mossy tomb-stones, and brooded
Yet ome again the spirit of unrest, over by immemorial yews. In the deepthe nomadlic instinct, came back upon ening, misty twilight, there was something Zelma Bury, - haunted her heart and awful in the spot. It was easy to fancy stirred in her blood till she could resist unquiet spectres lurking in its gloomy no longer, but, joining a company for a shadows, waiting for the night. Yet Zelprovincial tour, left London.
ma's heart yearned toward it, and she The health of the actress had been murmured softly, as she turned away, long declining, under the almost unsus. “ Wait for me, love !" pected attacks of a slow, insidious dis- The play, on this night, was “ The Fair
She was more weak and ill than Penitent." In the character of Calista she would confess, even to herself; she Mrs. Bury had always been accounted wanted change, she said, only change. great, though it was distasteful to her. She never dreamed of rest. Week after Indeed, for the entire play she expressed week she travelled, -never tarrying long only contempt and aversion ; yet she play