Imatges de pÓgina

motherly enough to rejoice in training their servants to be fellowworkers with them in all offices of mercy?

And what if, in doing this, our ideal of service became somewhat altered? What if we learned to seek less for minute skill and exactitude in handiwork, or strictness of discipline in a regular routine, and more for good sense, sound judgment, and warm-hearted activity? What if our own life came to be somewhat simplified, so as to allow of greater freedom of mind and hands? Would it be not worth any struggle to free ourselves from the bondage which lies so heavy upon many of us-bondage to an exaggerated standard of perfection in our furniture and surroundings? Wealth and fashion have brought our tables, our dress, and our household appointments of all kinds to such a pitch of luxurious cultivation, that it becomes a matter of very serious difficulty to provide for and maintain the necessary care and skill in domestic work. The extreme elaboration and complication of the machine which has to be worked by servants in these days, goes far to account for the common complaints against them. Real hospitality would require a manner of living at once simpler and more bountiful than is common in these days. Certainly, the fresh current of life which is brought into a house by a succession of poor guests is not easily combined with exact mechanical precision in details. Something a little more rough and ready, more accidental and various and cheerful, something human and living, blossoming and rejoicing, gradually takes the place of anxious attention to chintzes and china, to trains and costumes, soups and entremets. Servants who are one's fellow-helpers in works of charity and kindness have something better to do than to bring one's frills and bric à brac up to the highest pitch of crispness and polish. Invalids to be waited on will sometimes interfere with minute punctuality in serving those who are well. Both mistress and maids, in short, when occupied with the larger and simpler concerns of life, grow of necessity less precise and fidgety about trifles-with what unspeakable relief from fretting care, need not be told. And if the service rendered loses something in mechanical precision, it gains correspondingly in willingness and heartiness and impulse. As I have said, poor guests are delighted to lend a hand in the house or needlework, and one gets abundance of willing service, if not upon one precise and uniform pattern. And then what pains one's own servants will take to please one: how they will bestir themselves to gratify one's little tastes and hobbies (such as the love of flowers, pets, &c.), much more to forward one's serious objects, when they love one: and how sure they are to love one when one works hand to hand with them in a good cause; a cause which touches their feelings, as does the service of the poor and the sick, especially in one's own home.

That is the great thing-to win their hearts; a thing strangely

and touchingly easy, but for the difficulties we ourselves have made. Custom and want of thought have allowed the growth of a strange and deplorable barrier between mistresses and servants. I have actually heard mistresses-kindhearted, good women too-speak of its being a great mistake to make friends of one's servants'! Just think of what is implied in this too common feeling (for numbers of ladies who would not go so far as to call it a mistake, think of it as altogether out of the question). Think of the deliberate abandonment of one of the richest opportunities of influencing and blessing those for whose welfare we are peculiarly responsible, and the extraordinary theory implied in it about the nature of servants. What inconceivable species of human beings can they be supposed to belong to who will work better (for of course such mistresses are not thinking of their faring better) in the house of those whom they do not love! Or else, what in the name of common sense can be the objection to their being our friends? Love is a present for a mighty king.' I can understand the fear that we may not succeed in winning it, but not to desire it, from the members of our own household, seems to me an almost incredible infatuation. It can only be a part of that strange idea that there is safety for the upper classes in keeping at a distance from those below them, which one meets in so many forms, and which seems to imply so sad and so dangerous a blindness.

But apart from this, I do believe that there is a radically wrong ideal of the relation between mistresses and servants, which is widely accepted in these days, and which throws our energies into quite wrong channels. The accomplishment of merely mechanical work, and the observance of a certain strict outward form of propriety, assume an altogether disproportionate place in the mistresses' minds. The tendency to look upon servants as machines is sadly common, with the natural result of finding them exceedingly unsatisfactory machines. If mistresses desired to have in their servants not mere household machines, but true fellow-workers-if they appealed to a deeper part of their servants' nature--they would not only elicit a response which would surprise them, but they would have far less need to concern themselves with discipline. Give women a healthy exercise for their affections, and plenty of work for others, with the joy of giving, and ministering to the necessities of those poorer than themselves, and there will be much less trouble about this and that not being my place,' much less stickling for petty privileges, or offence taken where none is meant. It is the difference between a fresh stream of bright sparkling running water, carrying everything before it, and the same water in a half-stagnant condition, creeping along so slowly that every straw or twig is an obstacle. The difference is not in the water, only in its channel. And so with our servants. It is not human nature, but the unnatural position made

for them, which is chiefly to blame for their shortcomings and their indifference. What is wanted to bring things right is not a painful effort, a sustained struggle against evil, so much as the unsealing of a spring which has been choked up; the turning of a key which has grown rusty in the lock.

To turn this key and set this fountain playing, I do not believe that any better method can be found than that of joining hands to serve the poor-either the poor in our own neighbourhood or the strangers whom we may invite from a distance, or more likely both. But I am suggesting no violent or irrevocable step which any one need be afraid to take. An invitation given to any poor stranger pledges you to nothing more than that one visit; and even a course of such invitations can be discontinued or suspended at any time. So that the experiment may be easily tried, and the amount of your hospitality exactly adjusted to your means and your inclinations.

But the principle, once grasped, of enlisting our domestic servants in works of mercy, is one which can be turned to account in all sorts of ways. It is only an extension-but what a vast extension it might be !-of the plan which has been found to work so well, of employing district nurses, and Bible and mission women, and other poor visitors among the poor, each under a lady superintendent. The mission woman or district nurse, being herself of the same or nearly the same class as those whom she visits, brings to bear on their wants and circumstances a very different kind of knowledge from that supplied by the lady who superintends her work, and both supplement and correct each other. The lady's habit of looking forwards. and of referring to general principles, her tact and gentleness, and command of various resources, are admirably combined by this plan with the working woman's practical experience, knowledge of details, sharpsightedness, and plainness of speech. And so it might be and is with mistress and servant, where both work together for the poor.

The particular advantages of hospitality over other forms of charity are: first, that it can do no human being any possible harmno one can by possibility be pauperised by any kindness received in the character of an invited guest; secondly, that it is essentially homework-it can interfere with no domestic duty, on the contrary, it may heal the grievous breach between parlour and kitchen as nothing else could do, and fill many a dull and sad house with life and sunshine, and joyous activity, and free both mistress and maids from the trammels of petty corroding carefulness about trifles, and selfish absorption in the luxury which deadens and hardens; thirdly, it goes straight to the heart as few other forms of beneficence can do. When you take the poor and the weary and the suffering into your own house, you open the door, very likely unawares,' to such strangers as you may well thank God for allowing you to entertain. You have the

joy of welcoming and cherishing-one of the joys that are dearest to women's hearts. And it speaks to others with an eloquence beyond that of any kind of almsgiving. Distributing relief is, to receiving strangers, what giving a child a penny is to taking up the little one into your arms and blessing it. Both are good, but we know which is the more natural and delightful to a woman; and which tells the most of that love which it is our highest privilege to show forth in every act-which having freely received, it should be our joy freely to give.



The Works of Charles Dickens.
The Works of W. Makepeace Thackeray.

IN putting at the head of this paper the names of two distinguished English novelists whose tales have been collected and republished since their death,' it is my object to review rather the general nature of the work done by English novelists of latter times than the contributions specially made by these two to our literature. Criticism has dealt with them, and public opinion has awarded to each his own position in the world of letters. But it may be worth while to inquire what is and what will be the result of a branch of reading which is at present more extended than any other, and to which they have contributed so much. We used to regard novels as ephemeral; and a quarter of a century since were accustomed to consider those by Scott, with a few others which, from Robinson Crusoe downwards, had made permanent names to themselves, as exceptions to this rule. Now we have collected editions of one modern master of fiction after another brought out with all circumstances of editorial luxury and editorial cheapness. The works of Dickens are to be bought in penny numbers; and those of Thackeray are being at the present moment reissued to the public with every glory of paper, print, and illustration, at a proposed cost to the purchaser of 33l. 128., for the set. I do not in the least doubt that the enterprising publishers will find themselves justified in their different adventures. The popular British novel is now so popular that it can be neither too cheap nor too dear for the market.

Equo pulsat pede pauperum tabernas
Regumque turres.

I believe it to be a fact that of no English author has the sale of the works been at the same time so large and so profitable for the first half-dozen years after his death as of Dickens; and I cannot at the moment remember any edition so costly as that which is now being brought out of Thackeray's novels, in proportion to the amount

The Collected Works of Charles Dickens. In 20 volumes. Chapman & Hall.
The Collected Works of W. M. Thackeray. In 22 volumes. Smith, Elder,

& Co.

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