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first by the refusal of his brother's toys, into it; and Childhood shortened does and then when Freddy is carried off by not imply youth prolonged. The pace of a somewhat ostentatious permission to life is too quick for even the feeling of play with them, lays bare the whole prin- youth to remain in undisturbed quiet posciple of contradiction without a pause to session. The young man has no pleas. take breath : “I don't want it, now tres to wait for. The only possibility of Freddy is gone, and I shall want it when man forgetting the flight of time is to he comes back again ; and Freddy shall have something to do more engrossing have it when he is naughty, and he shan't than what is called pleasure. Business have it when he is good; and when he work of some kind – is absolutely ne. wants it he shan't have it, and when he cessary to sustain the feeling of youth; doesn't want it he shall have it.” Where for work keeps up the idea of learning there is no easy natural check, such a and incompleteness. The distinctions of tantrum miglit set a formal long-worded youth, what it excels in, are not accommachinery of admonition at work, or, if plishments that improve; the only hope left to itself, possibly issue in a temper and endeavour is to maintain them at really formidable. The child, among a their present level. The beauty of a seacrowd of equals, finds his level, learns to son or two has too many observers countgive and take; subdued to reason and ing them up not to be aware of the pasforbearance by the friendly force and sage of time ; it becomes a haunting idea pressure of circumstances. Admonition when it interferes so conspicuously with in its place is excellent, but the most tell- the prestige and hopes of life. There is ing teaching of all is that which the a trepidation, a watching for signs when child acquires for himself from the fa- the first exultant pride of beauty in its vouring influences about him, and this freshness is over. Georges Sand makes teaching is most effectual – is, we may one of her heroines scream at the first say, the prerogative of middle station. faint suspicion of a wrinkle. And while
But if childhood finds its most con- its glory lasts there is naturally an eager genial home in middle station, it may be craving for its appreciation, a conscious granted that Youth shows in greatest sense of a prize to be caught ere it passes splendour when set off by rank and which disturbs that poetic idea of carewealth and fashion. It is the period less, gay, dazzling youth so dear to the the one age — which may be said to need fancy. The celebrated Lady Townsend room, a broad, well-lighted theatre, for – fortunate in another string to her bow its more brilliant display. If people could — wit succeeding to beauty expressed be always young and sustain unchecked herself anxious to see George the Third's their powers of receiving and imparting coronation, as she had never seen one. pleasurable excitement, they would choose “ Why, Madam, you walked at the last." well (for this world at least) in choosing " Yes, child,” was her answer, “but I saw to be lords and ladies. Society is a the- nothing of it; I only looked to see who atre planned for their interest and to looked at me. show them to the highest advantage. And there is a premature prudence enThe heir of fame and name and fortune, gendered by this exaggerated sense of the every grace of person and manner sedu- Heetingness of youth as well as a self-ablously cultivated, all the world indulgent, sorbed vanity in conscious possession. deferential, solicitous to admire, has only Nature makes the blossoming season to be willing to please to out-top all ri- short; but, precipitating, hastening on vals; and if the heir - what of the heir- the time of bloom, makes it shorter still. ess ? all art, all fancy, is inspired by high- The girl ceases to feel a girl in bigh rank born beauty in its early prime of imperial much sooner than in a middle condition ; loveliness. Earth has not anything to high and low alike, through different show more fair to the painter or the poet causes, entering early upon the dry exthan the brilliant glorified youth of the perience of life. It is those who rank great ; — of youth and maiden, trained in neither with rich nor poor, who have to the school of gracious manners, in all recognize waiting as a condition of youth, the traditions of sentiment and home of and to be patient under it, who, by the a cultivated, far-descended aristocracy; holding out of expectation, feel young the with broad manors and marble halls in longest. Society by no means arranges ample conformity to their high deserts. itself for the especial convenience of the But the pity is that this reign is short- youth of the middle classes. They have iived. The vista to this golden glory is to bide their time and to live upon hope. too brilliant not to tempt to undue hurry'Horace Walpole commends to his friend
the good sense of his niece Charlotte'on | as the only one in which he can hope to occasion of her receiving proposals from be acceptable, and yet which he feels Lord Dysart, whom she did not know by slipping out of, with a banter which is sight, and who wanted to marry her with only yearning, in disguise. My resoluin a week. She said to her sister Walde- tions for growing old and staid are admiragrave a very sensibly," " If I was but ble. I wake with a sober plan and intend nineteen I would refuse him point blank. to pass the day with my friends, then I do not like to be married in a week to comes the Duke of Richmond and hura man I never saw. But I am two-and-ries me down to Whitehall to dinner ; twenty ; some peopie say I am handsome, then the Duchess of Grafton sends for some say I am not; I believe the truth is me to loo in Upper Grosvenor Street; I am likely to be large and to go off soon before I can get thither I am begged to - it is dangerous to refuse so great a step to Kensington to give Mrs. Anne match." "She came and saw this impe- Pitt my opinion about a bow window; afrious lover, and I believe was glad she ter that I am to walk with Miss Pelham had not refused him point blank, for they in the terrace till two in the morning, bewere married last Thursday – that is, in cause it is moonlight and her chair is not a week.” It is not nature here that makes come. All this does not help my mornyouth short-lived ; a girl unhackneyed is ing laziness, and by the time I have breakstill a girl at twenty-two, fresh, full of fasted, fed my birds and my squirrels, hope and expectation, with her life before and dressed, there is an auction ready ; her, no airs of stale worldly wisdom taint-in short, Madam, this was my life last ing the sense of spring and hope. It is week, and is, I think, every week, with not nature that hurries life out of its the addition of forty episodes ; so pray spring; it is the work of men and women, forgive me; I really will begin to be bea plot against reason which possesses a tween forty and fifty by the time I am frivolous society from first to last, mak- fourscore." The age between forty and ing youth everything till all the rest of fifty is a capital working age, but when life is mourned over as a falling-off, a more than half these years have been weary task, the day after the fair. Youth spent in precisely the same round, the catches the tone, shortening its own span, pleasure may well be dashed with forechattering about broken illusions, and bodings, for it is a late age to take to beasking
ing serious. What his real feelings are
we learn from a letter to his friend Ah, what shall I be at fifty, Should nature keep me alive,
George Montagu written two days later. If I find the world so bitter,
“ The less one is disposed, if one has any When I am but twenty-five ?
sense, to talk of one's self to people that
inquire only out of compliment, the more Horace Walpole in his own person is satisfaction one feels in indulging a selfa representative example of this tone, as complacency, by sighing to those that his early life is an example of the brilliant really sympathize with our griefs. Do spring which belongs to youth among the not think it is pain that makes me give high-born who are fitted by manner, wit, this low-spirited air to my letter. No, it and wealth to illustrate and enjoy it. Age is the prospect of what is to come, and is his bête noire; he cannot forget it; the sensation of what is passing that whether he jests or is serious we see it a affects me. The loss of youth is melanprevailing dread. He adores the young, choly enough, but to enter into old age they constitute the charm of society, yet through the gate of infirmity, most dishe hopes for no tenderness or sympathy heartening." He suffered, it will be refrom them, and is afraid of their contempt. membered, from gout. “ I have not the He worships the memory of his own conscience to trouble young people when youth, its sparkling wit and social suc- I can no longer be juvenile as they are, cesses; he recognizes no gains from and I am tired of the world, its politics, thought and exper.ence, no compensa- its pursuits, and its pleasures, but it will tions, and describes life about him or be- cost me some struggles before I submit to fore him as only a repetition of old joys be tender and careful. Christ! Can I ever from which the spirit has fied, but which stoop to the regimen of old age ? I do he yet prefers to all maturity of thought not wish to dress up a withered person, or graver interests can offer. In society nor drag it about to public places, but tó of ladies, addressing them in graceful sit in one's room clothed warmly, expersiflage, the thought is still uppermost. pecting visits from folks I don't wish to To Lady Hervey he describes the old life i see, and tendered and flattered by relaLIVING AGE.
tions impatient for one's death. Let the the neighbouring, villages, to see the gout do its worst. . . . Nobody can have princess and the show, the moon hining truly enjoyed the advantages of youth, very bright, I could not help laughing as health, and spirits, who is content to ex- I surveyed our troop, which, instead of ist without the two last, which alone bear tripping lightly to such an Arcadian en. any resemblance to the first.” It is the tertainment, were hobbling down by the success, prominence, and brilliancy of balustrades, wrapped up in cloaks and his youth that is answerable for this tone. greatcoats for fear of catching cold. The The busy worker has a succession of earl, you know, is bent double, the springs. Walpole can only look back. countess very lame; I am a miserable “Unlike most people that are growing walker, and the princess, though as old, I am convinced that nothing is strong as the Brunswick lion, makes no charming but what appeared important to figure in going down fifty stone stairs. one's youth, which afterwards passes for Except Lady Anne, and by courtesy Lady follies. Oh! but those follies were sin- Mary, we were none of us young enough cere ; if the pursuits of age are so they for a pastoral. These jaunts are too are sincere alone to self-interest. This 1 juvenile. I am ashamed to look back and think, and have no other care than not remember in what year of Methuselah I to think aloud. I would not have re- was here first.” It is a very formidable spectable youth think me an old fool." penalty of rank and greatness never to be And the gloom increases as years ad- allowed to sink into rsonal insignifi
At sixty-six he describes himself cance. Quite apart from vanity must as a ruin. “Dulness in the form of indo- come the longing, when crowds come to lence grows upon me. I am inactive, see, to be something worth seeing. It is lifeless, so indifferent to most things that enough to account for the misanthropy I neither inquire after nor remember any of some royal fops and belles, when selftopics that might enliven my letters. It flattery can no longer give the lie to the would be folly in me to concern myself mirror's home truths. about new generations. How little a way can I see of their progress.” And yet he
Shall I believe him ashamed to be seen? lived fourteen years after this, feeling
For only once, in the village street older and older, though in the full posses
Last year, I caught a glimpse of his face,
A grey old wolf, and a lean. sion of his faculties and even of his style. Can any one suppose that under different Industry, in whatever rank, keeps off circumstances, under the stimulus of the sense and dread of age. It is perwholesome, because necessary, occupa- haps some decay of brain power in the tion, no careless, insolent triumph of indolent or idle which suggests it. The youth to look back to, no peerage reveal- great leaders of parties know better than ing how long that youth was past, no to put such ideas into other people's consciousness of being an object of curi- heads; but also they have no leisure for osity or observation when no longer speculation upon the mere progress of worth looking at, Horace Walpole time. They accept work as the proper would not have been a younger man at necessity of middle life, and the period forty-seven and sixty-seven respectively, of middle life lasts long where the facul. than these revelations show him ?
ties are all kept employed, and are found Youth, which is graceful in its golden equal to the demands on them. The prime, too often develops or collapses busy man, whether statesman or shopinto awkward unsightly proportions. Sen- keeper has his mind, thoughts, plans all sitiveness as well as vanity suffers under fixed on the future. He looks forward, the contrast. Who would not rather be which is the habit of youth, and thus one of the crowd of lookers-on than the keeps up the sensation when the fact is observed of all observers on the occasion long past. But where the prizes of life of the visit to Stowe he celebrates, where come with youth without pains or care, he was invited to meet the Princess comparatively few recognize the charm Amelia, and an al fresco entertainment of work. It looks like duty only, if inwas arranged in the stately gardens and deed it is that, to people who have allamp-lit grotto ? “ The evening being, as ready what most men work for. It is will happen, more than cool, and the des- only the middle and lower classes who tined spot anything but dry, as our pro- are driven to it on pain of want or loss of cession descended the vast flight of steps self-respect; and perhaps it is in the into the garden, in which was assembled middle class especially that it acts as an a crowd of people from Buckingham and 'elixir. The poor age and fade under
their toil, and can't help feeling, and say- bright soul go through the fire and water of ing that they do, when strength and the world's temptations, and seductions, and agility fail them, and back and limbs ache corruptions, and transformations, and alas for under burdens that once were easy.
the insufficiency of nature ! alas for its powerVigour of mind outlives vigour of limbs. lessness to persevere, its waywardness in disThe lawyer and keen man of business are has become age, and not more different is the
appointing its own promise! Wait till youth not reminded from within by the loss of miniature we have of him when a boy, when power that the descent of the hill has every feature spoke of hope, put side by side begun, till long after the cottager and with the large portrait painted to his honour his wife look and call themselves old when he is old, when his limbs are shrunk, his man and woman. Of course there are eye dim, his brow furrowed, and his hair grey, dangers in this unconsciousness. Men than differs the moral grace of that boyhood should always bear in mind that they are from the forbidding and repulsive aspect of mortal, but the fret and moan of dissatis- his soul, now that he has lived to the age of faction, the murmur that youth is
For moroseness, and misanthropy, and
gone, leaving nothing else worth living for, is selfishness
, is the ordinary winter of' that
spring. no better preparation for death than the loins girded and the lamps burning ; than Exposed to the test by which age is strenous activity, even in temporal duties. tested, surely all these excellencies of If the poet, conscious that his leaf is youth which issue in so dreary a winter sere, as he bids “ fall, rosy garland, from will prove not only transient but illusory: my head,” can look forward
– seeming and no more. Youth is the Yet will I temperately rejoice;
cunningest of all disguises, – looking
back, we see the faults of the man to so may the middle life of the great middle have been there all the while ; the noble class, so long as the world keeps it busy. aspiration and generosity, judged by this
It is not the poetical view of youth that key, vain self-confidence; the elastic we are combating, but the cynical view of cheerfulness, mere animal spirits; just all the rest of life, which with so many is as the misanthropy of later years resolves either an affectation or a needless gloom. itself into bile. Man is so complex a Experience rarely fits in with the ideal - being — presents so may sides and aswe scarcely think it does with the follow- pects, that a hundred dissimilar portraits ing tender monody which we find in Dr. may all be living likenesses. Newman's sermon entitled the Second memory responds to this picture with Spring; but unquestionably youth under some gracious answering image, it canits more charming aspect is the most not deny or refuse its tribute in illustralovely spectacle granted to mortal eyes, tion of a directly opposite one. There is and as such should be pictured and sung. no selfishness so blind, remorseless, and
How beautiful is the human heart when it merely animal as youthful selfishness in puts forth its first leaves, and opens and re- some terrible instances. The preaching joices in its spring-tide. Fair as may be the of consequences does sometimes tell upon bodily form, fairer far, in its green foliage and such natures ; they are more tolerable at bright blossoms, is natural virtue. It blooms fifty. Some touch of sympathy awakes in the young, like some rich flower, so delicate, in them. Experience humanizes them. so fragrant, and so dazzling, generosity, light.“ Wisdom and experience," says Swift, ness of heart and amiableness, the confiding which are divine qualities, are the propspirit, the gentle temper, the elastic cheerful. erties of age, and youth in the want of ness, the open hand, the pure affection, the them is contemptible. But I do not say noble aspiration, the heroic resolve, the romantic pursuit, the love in which self has no
this to mortify or discourage young men. part — are not these beautiful ? and are they I would not by any means have them not dressed up and set forth for admiration in despise themselves, for that is the ready their best shapes, in tales and in poems ? and way to be despised by others, and the ah! what a prospect of good is there! Who consequences of contempt are fatal. For could believe that it is to fade; and yet as my part I take self-conceit and opinionnight follows upon day, as decrepitude follows ativeness,” which he assumes to be the upon health, so surely are failure, and over- leading characteristic of young men, and throw, and annihilation, the issue of this their stock-in-trade,“ to be of all others natural virtue, if time only be allowed to it to run its course. There are those who are cut the most useful and profitable qualities off in the first opening of this excellence, and of the mind. It has to my knowledge then if we may trust their epitaphs, they have made bishops and judges and smart lived like angels ; but wait' awhile, let them writers, and pretty fellows and pleasant live on, let the course of life proceed, let the companions and good preachers.” The
truth is that youth admits of as many in-1 of the days and nights of my life spent terpretations as there are interpreters. with the greatest content, and that which I The genius and temper of the observer can but hope to repeat again a few times in give it its colour, and that temper, in all my whole life." And a day or two after, but the satirist, is indulgent. We are counting up the cost, - This day my satisfied with youth if it only enjoys it- wife made it appear to me that my laté self and frankly takes the good the gods entertainment this week cost me above provide, without reflecting that the boy £12, an expense which I am almost is more often father to the man than his ashamed of; though it is but once in a opposite : only his errors have a way of great while, and is the end for which, in seeming transient; things don't look the the most part, we live, to have such a same. What a different impression would merry day once or twice in a man's life." Froissart's picture of himself make if he Worldliness is assumed to be the one was describing the tastes of his maturity; vice needing time for its development, yet the same easy joyous selfishness Youth, conventionally speaking, is genshows in boy and man. “Well I loved erous ; middle age calculating and worldto see dances and carollings, well to hear ly. How often experience antedates the minstrelsy and tales of glee, well to at- exhibition of this quality, each observer of tach myself to those who loved hounds life must determine for himself. Some and hawks, well to toy with my fair com- whose business has been the study and panions at school, and methought I had delineation of human nature, affirm with the art well to win their grace. My ears confidence that selfishness shows itself quickened at the sound of uncorking the equally betimes with the darker plaguewine flask, for I took great pleasure in spots of humanity. Lord Lytton has lately drinking and in fair array, and in delicate set men speculating on the age of murand fresh cates. I love to see (as is derers. Murderers, he says, are generally reason) the early violets and the white young men, and for the reason that it and red roses, and also chambers fairly belongs to youth to begin the habit of lighted; justs, dances, and late vigils, miscalculating its own power in relation and fair beds for refreshment; and for to the society in which you live. We my better repose a night draught of learn from the newspapers that the felclaret or Rochelle wine mingled with lows who murder their sweethearts are spice." Youth, which everything be- from two to six-and-twenty; and persons comes, can be poetically selfish, which who murder from other motives than love, cannot be managed in later years when that is, from revenge, avarice, or ambireason and calculation come in. Pepys tion, are generally about twenty-eight. had exactly the same tastes as Froissart. Twenty-eight is the usual close of the But, instead of obeying his instincts with active season for getting rid of one's felout question, he explains matters to him- low-creatures. No man, he tell us, ever self. “ The truth is,” he writes at thirty- commits “ a first crime of a violent nature, three, when conscious that youth was such as murder, after thirty.” It is sometaking wing, “ I do indulge myself a little thing for the middle-aged man to feel the more in pleasure, knowing that this himself out of the range of the more viois the proper age of my life to do it; and lent excesses ; but in fact as men mostly out of my observation that most men that feel young long after they cease to be so, do thrive in the world do forget to take the immunity is not realized. pleasure during the time that they are We say that most men feel younger getting their estate, but reserve that till than they are, and this is perhaps bethey have got one, then it is too late for cause most men have not fulfilled in any them to enjoy it.” But though more cal- degree their vague expectations for themculating he is less selfish as he gets older. selves, because they have as yet no sense The especial virtue of middle life – hos- of performance. Their shyness and reserve pitality, redeems his indulgences from keep up a feeling of youth, while the being mere personal gratification. In- faculty of effective, vehement expresstead of feasting at other people's ex- sion, of compelling notice, or a hearing, pense he entertains at his own. He de- makes people feel old. We have already scribes an entertainment to his friends, said that premature distinction, any cirbeginning with dinner at noon, dancing cumstances disorganizing life's machinjigs and country dances till two o'clock ery, a rush into publicity from whatever in the morning, finally lodging all his cause, separates from childhood, and inguests for the night, and so broke up duces a sense of youth long left behind. with extraordinary pleasure, as being one The author, whose first book, wriiten in