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agination. These faculties had attached themselves, together, to small things and to great: to the misery, the simplicity, the piety, the patience, of the unemancipated peasant; to all the natural wonderful life of earth and air and winter and summer and field and forest; to queer apparitions of country neighbors, of strange local eccentrics; to old-world practices and superstitions; to secrets gathered and types disinterred and impressions absorbed in the long, close contacts with man and nature involved in the passionate pursuit of game. Magnificent in statue and original vigor, Turgeneff, with his love of the chase, or rather perhaps of the inspiration he found in it, would have been the model of the mighty hunter, had not such an image been a little at variance with his natural mildness, the softness that often accompanies the sense of an extraordinary reach of limb and play of muscle. He was in person the model rather of the strong man at rest: massive and towering, with the voice of innocence and the smile almost of childhood. What seemed still more of a contradiction to so much of him, however, was that his work was all delicacy and fancy, penetration and compression.
If I add, in their order of succession, “Rudin,” “Fathers and Children,” “Spring Floods,” and “ Virgin Soil,” to the three novels I have also in their relation of time) named above, I shall have indicated the larger blocks of the compact monument, with a base resting deep and interstices well filled, into which that work disposes itself. The list of his minor productions is too long to draw out; I can only mention, as a few of the most striking — “A Correspondence,” “ The Wayside Iun," “ The Brigadier,” “ The Dog,” “ The Jew,” “ Visions," “Mumu,” “ Three Meetings," "A First Love,” “ The Forsaken,” “ Assia," “ The Journal of a Superfluous Man,” “ The Story of Lieutenant Yergunov," “ A King Lear of the Steppe." The first place among his novels would be difficult to assign: general opinion probably hesitates between “A House of Gentlefolk” and “Fathers and Children.” My own predilection is great for the exquisite “ On the Eve"; though I admit that in such a company it draws no supremacy from being exquisite. What is less contestable is that “ Virgin Soil” — published shortly before his death, and the longest of his fictions — has, although full of beauty, a minor perfection.
Character, character expressed and exposed, is in all these things what we inveterately find. Turgeneff's seuse of it was the great light that artistically guided him; the simplest account of him is to say that the mere play of it constitutes in every case his sufficient drama. No one has had a closer vision, or a band at once more ironic and more tender, for the individual figure. He sees it with its minutest signs and tricks, — all its heredity of idiosyncrasies, all its particulars of weakness and strength, of ugliness and beauty, of oddity and charm ; and yet it is of his essence that he sees it in the general flood of life, steeped in its relations and contacts, struggling or submerged, a hurried particle in the stream. This gives him, with his quiet method, his extraordinary breadth ; dissociates his rare power to particularize from dryness or hardness, from any peril of caricature. He understands so much that we almost wonder he can express anything; and his expression is indeed wholly in absolute projection, in illustration, in giving of everything the unexplained and irresponsible specimen. He is of a spirit so human that we almost wonder at his control of his matter; of a pity so deep and so general that we almost wonder at his curiosity. The element of poetry in him is constant, and yet reality stares through it without the loss of a wrinkle. No one has more of that sign of the born novelist which resides in a respect unconditioned for the freedom and vitality, the absoluteness when summoned, of the creatures he invokes; or is more superior to the strange and second-rate policy of explaining or presenting them by reprobation or apology,—of taking the short cuts and anticipating the emotions and judgments about them that should be left, at the best, to the perhaps not most intelligent reader. And yet his system, as it may summarily be called, of the mere particularized report, has a lucidity beyond the virtue of the cruder moralist.
If character, as I say, is what he gives us at every turn, I should speedily add that he offers it not in the least as a synonym, in our Western sense, of resolution and prosperity. It wears the form of the almost helpless detachment of the shortsighted individual soul; and the perfection of his exhibition of it is in truth too often but the intensity of what, for success, it just does not produce. What works in him most is the question of the will; and the most constant induction he suggests, bears upon the sad figure that principle seems mainly to make among his countrymen. He had seen — he suggests to us — its collapse in a thousand quarters; and the most general tragedy, to his view, is that of its desperate adventures and disasters, its
inevitable abdication and defeat. But if the men, for the most part, let it go, it takes refuge in the other sex; many of the representatives of which, in his pages, are supremely strong - in wonderful addition, in various cases, to being otherwise admirable. This is true of such a number — the younger women, the girls, “ heroines ” in especial — that they form in themselves, on the ground of moral beauty, of the finest distinction of soul, one of the most striking groups the modern novel has given us. They are heroines to the letter, and of a heroism obscure and undecorated: it is almost they alone who have the energy to determine and to act. Elena, Lisa, Tatyana, Gemma, Marianna we can write their names and call up their images, but I lack space to take them in turn. It is by a succession of the finest and tenderest touches that they live ; and this, in all Turgeneff's work, is the process by which he persuades and succeeds.
It was his own view of his main danger that he sacrificed too much to detail; was wanting in composition, in the gift that conduces to unity of impression. But no novelist is closer and more cumulative; in none does distinction spring from a quality of truth more independent of everything but the subject, but the idea itself. This idea, this subject, moreover, — a spark kindled by the innermost friction of things, — is always as interesting as an unopened telegram. The genial freedom — with its exquisite delicacy-of his approach to this “innermost” world, the world of our finer consciousness, has in short a side that I can only describe and commemorate as nobly disinterested ; a side that makes too many of his rivals appear to hold us in comparison by violent means, and introduce us in comparison to vulgar things.
VOL. XII. - 26
RICHARD JEFFERIES, an English essayist and novelist, born in Swindon, Wiltshire, Nov. 6, 1848; died at Goring, Sussex, Aug. 14, 1887. He wrote early for local newspapers, and contributed tentatively to Frazer's Magazine. In 1877, still under thirty, he settled at Surbiton near London, in order to take up the literary career for better or worse. He wrote for the Pall Mall Gazette, Longmans' Magazine, and like periodicals; his essays attracting attention by their individual note, fresh spirit, accurate descriptions, and loving feeling for nature.
Although dying comparatively young, Jefferies was a voluminous writer, his list of published works numbering twenty-four, including “ The Goddards of North Wilts” (1873), a local family history; “ The Scarlet Shawl” (1874); “Restless Human Hearts" (1875); “The World's End” (1877); “ The Dewy Morn,” “ Wild Life in a Southern County” (1879), a volume of descriptive sketches; this was followed by similar books, notably, “Round about a Great Estate”; “The Life of the Fields”; “The Open Air”; “The Amateur Poacher" (1879); “Hodge and his Masters ” ; “The Game Keeper at Home"; etc. His later works were “Green Ferne Farm” (1880); “ Wood Magic" (1881), a fanciful animal story ; “Bevis” (1882), a tale of childhood ; “The Story of My Heart” (1883), by many pronounced his masterpiece; “Red Deer" (1884), a description of Exmoor ; “ After London " (1885); “ Amaryllis at the Fair” (1887), a novel of country life; and some fugitive essays and sketches. “Field and Hedgerow” was published posthumously.
THE BREEZE ON BEACHY HEAD.
(From "Nature Near London.") THE waves coming round the promontory before the west wind still give the idea of a flowing stream, as they did in Homer's days. Here beneath the cliff, standing where beach and sand meet, it is still; the wind passes six hundred feet overhead; but yonder, every larger wave rolling before the breeze breaks over the rocks; a white line of spray rushes along them, gleaming in the sunshine; for a moment the dark rockwall disappears, till the spray sinks.
The sea seems higher than the spot where I stand, its surface on a higher level, - raised like a green mound, — as if it could burst it and occupy the space up to the foot of the cliff in a moment. It will not do so, I know: but there is an infinite possibility about the sea; it may do what it is not recorded to have done. It is not to be ordered; it may overleap the bounds human observation has fixed for it. It has a potency unfathomable. There is still something in it not quite grasped and understood, something still to be discovered, a mystery.
So the white spray rushes along the low broken wall of rocks, the sun gleams on the flying fragments of the wave; again it sinks, and the rhythmic motion holds the mind, as an invisible force holds back the tide. A faith of expectancy, a sense that something may drift up from the unknown, a large belief in the unseen resources of the endless space out yonder, soothes the mind with dreamy hope.
The little rules and little experiences — all the petty ways of narrow life -- are shut off behind by the ponderous and impassable cliff; as if we had dwelt in the dim light of a cave, but coming out at last to look at the sun, a great stone had fallen and closed the entrance, so that there was no return to the shadow. The impassable precipice shuts off our former selves of yesterday, forcing us to look out over the sea only, or up to the deeper heaven.
These breadths draw out the soul; we feel that we have wider thoughts than we knew; the soul has been living as it were in a nutshell, all unaware of its own power, and now suddenly finds freedom in the sun and the sky. Straight, as if sawn down from turf to beach, the cliff shuts off the human world, for the sea knows no time and no era; you cannot tell what century it is from the face of the sea. A Roman trireme suddenly rounding the white edge-line of chalk, borne on wind and oar from the Isle of Wight towards the gray castle at Pevensey (already old in olden days), would not seem strange. What wonder could surprise us coming from the wonderful sea ?
The little rills winding through the sand have made an islet of a detached rock by the beach; limpets cover it, adhering like rivet-heads. In the stillness here, under the roof of the wind so high above, the sound of the sand draining itself is