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with the details of getting and keeping it, he always treats in magnificently contemptuous fashion. His well-born heroes have generally a plurality of expectations from generous relatives, receiving the cheques and allowances all the same whether they are in high favour or disgrace. Here the staunch friend and admirer, whom Diana ultimately marries, starting with a very few thousands and no sort of financial experience, rapidly amasses a fortune in railways, and figures as an English Jay Gould, though without soiling his fingers. Yet he has all the qualities of a knighterrant of romance, starts fasting on a long night-ride to save his lady's reputation ; and if his speeches as chairman or director were as epigrammatic as his ordinary talk, he must have mystified any meeting of shareholders. There is a pleasant mingling of romance and common sense in the closing love scene, when the storm-tossed Diana finds a shelter at last in the strong arms of the prosperous capitalist.

"She bad a slight shock of cowering under eyes tolerably hawkish in their male glitter, but her coolness was not disturbed. . . . She was up at his heart, fast-locked, undergoing a change greater than the sea works-her thought one blush, her brain one fire-fount. This was not like being seated on a tlırone.'

But the fact is that in that novel of 'Diana,' and notably in the discreditable and inconsistent episode of selling the secret confided to her by trusting friendship, Mr. Meredith drew upon his fancy, although not in the way we should assume. It was tolerably notorious that the prototype of the fascinating beauty of the novel was a lady who sparkled in London society, and that the admirer she betrayed was a well-known minister who held high office in the Cabinet, The scene was suggested, not by facts, but by calumnies which were exposed and refuted, though for a time they obtained circulation and a certain credence.*

We observe with regret that the late Sir William Gregory, in his interesting autobiography, has revived a calumnious and unfounded anecdote, to which Mr. Meredith had previously given circulation in this novel. We are enabled to state, and we do state from our personal knowledge, that the story is absolutely false in every particular, and that the persons thus offensively referred to had nothing to do with the matter. The intention of the Government to propose the repeal of the Corn Laws was communicated openly by Lord Aberdeen to Mr. Delane, the editor of the Times.' There was no sort of intrigue or bribery in the transaction,

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with the details of getting and keeping it, he always treats in magnificently contemptuous fashion. His well-born heroes have generally a plurality of expectations from generous relatives, receiving the cheques and allowances all the same whether they are in high favour or disgrace. Here the staunch friend and admirer, whom Diana ultimately marries, starting with a very few thousands and no sort of financial experience, rapidly amasses a fortune in railways, and figures as an English Jay Gould, though without soiling his fingers. Yet he has all the qualities of a knighterrant of romance, starts fasting on a long night-ride to save his lady's reputation ; and if his speeches as chairman or director were as epigrammatic as his ordinary talk, he must have mystified any meeting of shareholders. There is a pleasant mingling of romance and common sense in the closing love scene, when the storm-tossed Diana finds a shelter at last in the strong arms of the prosperous capitalist.

"She bad a slight shock of cowering under eyes tolerably hawkish in their male glitter, but her coolness was not disturbed. ... She was up at his heart, fast-locked, uudergoing a change greater than the sea works-her thought one blush, her brain one fire-fount. This was not like being seated on a throne.'

But the fact is that in that novel of · Diana,' and notably in the discreditable and inconsistent episode of selling the secret confided to her by trusting friendship, Mr. Meredith drew upon his fancy, although not in the way we should assume. It was tolerably notorious that the prototype of the fascinating beauty of the novel was a lady who sparkled in London society, and that the admirer she betrayed was a well-known minister who held high office in the Cabinet, The scene was suggested, not by facts, but by calumnies which were exposed and refuted, though for a time they obtained circulation and a certain credence.*

* We observe with regret that the late Sir William Gregory, in his interesting autobiography, has revived a calumnious and unfounded anecdote, to which Mr. Meredith had previously given circulation in this novel. We are enabled to state, and we do state from our personal knowledge, that the story is absolutely false in every particular, and that the persons thus offensively referred to had nothing to do with the matter. The intention of the Government to propose the repeal of the Corn Laws was communicated openly by Lord Aberdeen to Mr. Delane, the editor of the Times.' There was no sort of intrigue or bribery in the transaction,

* The Egoist, a Comedy in Narrative,' as befits a comedy, is in lighter vein. But as there was a mystical introduction to ‘Diana,' so there is a frolicsome prelude’ to the comedy. We select a sentence or two, and, so far as we can judge, they lose little in intelligibility by being torn from the context.

' For verily we must read what we can of it [comedy] if we would be men. One, with an index to the book, cries out in a style, pardonable to his fervency: The comedy of your frightful affliction is here, through the stillatory of Comedy, and not in Science nor yet in Speed, whose name is but another for vivacity. Why, to be alive, to be quick in your soul, there should be diversity in the companion. throb of your pulse. Interrogate them. They limp along like the old lob-legs of Dobbin the horse, or do their business like cudgels of carpet-thackers expelling dust, or the cottage clock pendulum touching the infant hour over midnight simple arithmetic. This, too, in spite of Bacchus. ... Monstrous monotonousness has enfolded us as with the arms of Ampliitrite!' But having got over these simple and lucid definitions of the functions of comedy, we find in the Egoist himself a delightful and delicately shaded piece of satire. Sir Willoughby Patterne is a provincial satrap, flourishing before the days of agricultural depression, rich beyond the ordinary dreams of avarice, and nursed in his hereditary self-importance. Like Feverel he has never had the discipline of a public scbool, nor been in contact with either superiors or equals. As it pleases Mr. Meredith to express him, he has a leg.' So the lady whom he most seriously sets himself to win is defined by a woman of the world as 'a dainty rogue in porcelain,' and we fancy we can follow out Mr. Meredith's thoughts, which are meant as a running commentary on his comedy. Sir Willoughby, supercilious and superb, is charmingly unconscious of his ingrained selfishness. He is helped to misconceive himself by confounding prodigality with generosity. He has been befooled and flattered to the top of his bent, and he enjoys nothing more than the luxury of condescending patronage. He reveals his selfishness with intense naïveté, and never more so than when he is most in earnest. With that leg of his he prides himself on his success with women; he well knows how much he has to bestow on a wife. Three times he fancied himself in love, and thrice he is jilted or rejected. Even the vanity he wears as armour of proof is pierced by the aggravations of his humiliation, for he is baffled by rivals who are either poor or dependent on him. It will be seen that there is ample material for laughter, and Mr. Meredith

VOL. CLXXXI, NO. CCCLXXI.

with light-hearted cynicism makes the most of it. The baronet holds to his second and most serious engagement, when the perverse young lady is struggling to break away, not only because he is fascinated by her beauty, but because his pride is deeply engaged. It is characteristic that he would rather undergo any amount of secret mortification than have his final discomfiture proclaimed to the world. But as "The Egoist’ is professedly a comedy, it ends, contrary to Mr. Meredith's usual fashion, in something approach. ing burlesque. The curtain descends in a cross-shuffle of the characters and their circumstances; and the supercilious baronet is wedded to a deserving young woman, whom he had long regarded as a chattel and a slave, and who had blindly bowed to his caprices, as she had been dazzled by the radiance of his smiles. To be sure, that dénouement is made more probable by her being provoked into asserting her feminine dignity, when refusing a belated offer of the Egoist. Withdrawing herself beyond his reach, she became a prize worth the courting and winning. By the way, Mr. Meredith in his sarcasms does not spare himself, for when he makes one of his characters exclaim, ‘How you must enjoy a spell of dulness !' we can hardly doubt that he had his readers in his mind.

Mr. Meredith, with all his gifts, is neither a Shakespeare nor a Garrick. He cannot identify himself with the gravediggers as easily as with Hamlet, or play low comedy so as to bring down the house he has been moving to tears with his pathos in tragedy. The lot of his · Emilia in England' is cast among a family of wealthy parvenus, struggling hard for a position in county society. But they are all too refined and brilliant for their parts and, in spite of themselves, will show the instincts of refined ladies and gentlemen. We need hardly say that they sparkle in their talk, and excel in the subtleties of social diplomacy. They worship Mammon, but they worship after a fashion which might bring that vulgar diplomacy into decent repute. The satire, which is fanciful and somewhat far-fetched, is apparently drawn from the author's disagreeable experiences of suburban capitalists. The interest and ingenuity are in the presentation of the characters, who are to be evolved and transformed under very different circumstances in the sequel, · Vittoria.'

For some reason, the original title of • Emilia in England' was afterwards changed to 'Sandra

Belloni.' Emilia is a gifted child of nature, the incarnation of childlike simplicity and musical genius. She has one of

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