December 29, 1883
Vol. XXVIII, No. 26
I've wandered east, I've wandered west,
Through many a weary way;
But never, never, can forget
The love of Life's young day!
The fire that's blawn on Beltane e'en,
May weel be black gin yule;
But blacker fa' awaits the heart
Where first fond love grows cool.
O dear, dear Jeanie Morrison,
The thoughts o' by-gane years
Still fling their shadows o'er my path,
And blind my een wi' tears!
They blind my een, wi' saut saut, tears,
And sair and sick I pine,
As memory idly summons up
The blithe blink o' lang syne.
Oh! mind ye, love, how aft we left
The deavin' dinsom town
To wander by the green burn-side,
And hear its water croon?
The simmer leaves hung ower our heads,
The flowers burst round our feet,
And in the gloamin' o' the wood
The throssil whistled sweet.
The throssil whistled in the wood
The burn sang to the trees,
And we with nature's heart in tune,
And on the knowe aboon the burn,
For hours thegither sat
In the silentness o' joy, till baith
Wi' very gladness grat!
Aye, aye, dear Jeanie Morrison,
Tears trinkled down your cheek
Like dew-beads on a rose, yet nane
Had ony power to speak!
That was a time, a blessed time,
When hearts were fresh and young,
When freely gushed all feelings forth,
I marvel, Jeanie Morrison,
Gin I hae been to thee,
As closely twined wi' earliest thoughts
As ye hae been to me?
Oh, tell me gin their music fills
Thine ear as it does mine;
Oh, say gin e'er your heart grow a great
Wi' dreamings o' langsyne?
I've wandered east, I've wandered west,
I've borne a weary lot;
But in my wanderings far and near,
Ye never were forgot.
The fount that first burst frae this heart,
Still travels on its way;
And channels deeper as it rins,
The love of life's young day.
O dear, dear Jeanie Morrison,
Since we were sindered young,
I've never seen your face, nor heard
The music o' your tongue;
But I could hug all wretchedness,
And happy could I dee,
Did I but ken your heart still dreamed
O' by-gone days and me!
William Motherwell, the author of this song, was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1797. From the time he was able to read, he evinced a decided preference and taste for poetry, and in 1819 he became the editor of a quaint little publication called "The Harp of Renfrewshire." In the same year he was appointed sheriff clerk deputy of Renfrew — a position which he held for sixteen years. He was an enthusiastic antiquarian and devoted many of his leisure hours to the early history of Scottish literature — particularly poetry. In 1827 he edited and published a collection of Scottish ballads, with an historical introduction to the same, which at once set aside many popular but erroneous statements which had prevailed in connection with many of those interesting relics of a by-gone age. He also established a magazine in Paisley, to which he contributed a number of his finest songs, but which has long since ceased to exist. While busily engaged in collecting materials for a life of the poet Tannahill, he died suddenly in a fit of apoplexy at the age of thirty-eight. He was greatly beloved by a large circle of friends for his superior talents, tastes and qualities. A collected edition of his poems was published shortly after his death, and the warm acknowledgment it received from the public showed the respect in which the author had been held by all classes. There are very few Scottish songs of modern date that can equal in tenderness and feeling the one entitled "Jeanie Morrison." The heroine was a real schoolmate of Motherwell's, whose beauty and childish companionship left so indelible an impression on his young heart that he retained his love for her during all the future years of his existence. They parted when both were very young, and did not meet again until the above song made its appearance, nearly thirty years later.
But time and circumstances had then nearly obliterated from the memory of Jeanie Morrison "The Love of Life's Young Day." She had been married for many years and lived in the enjoyment of a happy home and in the possession of another sweet little Jeanie Morrison, who was a living picture of the one who had so captivated the heart of the school-boy lover. They, however, continued to be very warm friends until the death of the poet in 1835 parted them forever.
The little dinner, to be a success, should consist of from six to twelve, well chosen guests, bright, clever, sociable people, who will keep the ball of conversation rolling, changing the topics from "grave to gay, from lively to severe." The room well lit, well warmed, and with a pretty, well arranged table, will alone give a sense of bienêtre to people coming in from the outside cold. The dinner for a small party ought to be small. Clear soup, fish, two nice entrées (a white and a dark), a joint, well hung saddle of mutton, being the best, game and two well-chosen sweets, one being an iced soufflé, and a savory will be quite enough. But everything should be well cooked, as hot, if not hotter than possible, the meat well hung, and the soup, fish, and entreés perfect of their kind. Let a dinner like this be served at a round table, and the wine be of the best quality of its kind; and what man, aye, and woman, too, but will say, "Fate cannot harm me; I have dined to-day." All this to be well done must entail trouble on the mistress of the house. But, if she is the right sort of woman, these cares will be pleasures; and if she is not of the right sort, no little dinner will ever be a success in her house, even with a round table. The table decorations are alone a test as to the capabilities of the mistress of the house. This is with some women an inborn gift; some have no artistic faculties whatever. A pretty arrangement at this time of year is a piece of peacock blue plush in the centre of the table, with low masses of maiden hair fern and large white or yellow Japanese chrysanthemums; and, if I had my way, no dessert should ever be put on the table. A clearly written menu to each guest. And let the dinner be helped with "feast of reason and the flow of soul," much being in the power of the hostess, if a bright, intelligent woman, able to start topics, and keep the conversation going without seeming to do so. Then let the dinner finish with a little dessert, some Chateau Margaux with the chill off, and good coffee well made. Most people after this will be in a genial mood when they reach the drawing-room, and will be ready to be entertained and to be entertaining.
It has been the misfortune of most of us to experience quite another sort of little dinner, where from first to last everything goes wrong. As we enter the door, a dire foreboding of our fate comes over us, as a mingled smell of cooking, grease and other abominatiens [sic] greet our olfactory nerves; the servant shows us into a cold primly furnished drawing-room, where the fire, half out, vainly struggles with the gloom of the badly-trimmed evil-smelling lamps. The mistress of the house is handsomely, but untastefully dressed, and from the higher regions come shrieks of woe. We go down to dinner; the soup is thin, the salmon is either half raw, or boiled to rags; the entreés, evidently from the pastry cook, consist of a vol-au-vent, with the legs of the chicken from last night's ball supper, a dish of cutlets evidently a rechauffé; the joint is tough and under-cooked, and the game not fit to eat; sweets, ill chosen and worse served. This is a little dinner at which the male element is gloomy, and the female bored. The mistress of the house leaves things in the hands of an incompetent staff of servants. We have all suffered like this at the hands of our friends, and registered a vow never to suffer the like again, if it is in our power to prevent it. Now, if the menu had only consisted of good soup, well-cooked fish, a good leg of mutton, a fruit tart and cream, with a bit of good cheese to finish up with in a well-warmed room, very few would have found anything to grumble at.
The little dinner is, if well done, a bright and cheerful episode in our life. But, if it is not in the power of the mistress of the house to have it well done, she had better leave it alone. When I say well done, I by no means intend that it must be a cause of great expense to the giver. It will be found quite possible, with care and good management, to have a faultless little dinner which both entertainer and entertained will feel much brighter and better for, without the cost being at all beyond the means of the sort of people I am referring to.
The great art of dinner giving is, never attempt more than your own staff can do well; have no dishes you have not proved your own cook can do, and let house, table, dinner, all show that every care has been taken by all concerned to make the little dinner a success. And if madame does ask her lord and master for a little more money for the month's bills, he knows he has got something for it; and, feeling how much social enjoyment he gives and receives, he will not grudge the expense, but will hardly grumble at its not infrequent repetition.
The stage has its vices as well as the audience. One of the worst of them is the slovenly enunciation of many of the actors of the present day. They do not pronounce their words with anything approaching distinctness; they do not take the trouble to speak loud enough to make all the audience hear. They mutter and mumble and shuffle off their words as if they were in a hurry to get through. Probably the "combination" system, with its demoralizing sameness, is largely responsible for this, though it is sometimes seen among the younger members of established stock companies. It is a refreshing contrast to this slipshod work when a well-trained actor — very often a young actor — appears, articulating his words distinctly and speaking in a tone, whether low or loud, that carries them to every part of the house. These careless players ought to remember that they are neglecting a detail which is one of the first requisites of success.
Another little stage vice which seems to be in vogue now is that of actors' reappearing to acknowledge applause after an exit during the progress of a scene. This completely destroys the illusions, and is in violation of the rules of art. Yet it has been seen during the past week in one of the best of the few stock companies in New York.
As for the vices of the audiences, their name is legion. The people who come in late, the people who talk loud, the people who talk in a sibilant whisper that is worse than talking aloud, the women who wear big hats, the men who go out every time the curtain drops, climbing over a whole row of persons to do it, and come back with bar-room odors clinging about them; the people who take the seats they are not entitled to and cause confusion and noise when they must be turned out — these are some of the criminal classes in a theatre audience.
"Yes, sir," continued the conductor, "we railroad men have some funny adventures with the tramping fraternity. Nearly all of those who beat their way have money and prefer taking the risk incident to stealing a ride than pay their fare. In an accident some years ago a beat was killed who had on his person over $500 and papers showing him to be the proprietor of a livery stable in California. It is remarkable how persistant some can be. Some of them secreted themselves in the water tank of a 'dead' engine that was being hauled in the middle of a freight train, and when discovered refused to come out, and told the conductor that they would like to see him crawl in there and put them out. A better plan suggested itself — that of pulling the engine up to the tank and drowning them out. They capitulated, when about six inches of ice-cold water had been soused on them, and all came forth like drowned rats, with the exception of a big Irishman, who could not force himself through the hole until he had removed his clothing and the engineer had lubricated him with black oil.
"The engineers on a Western division were compelled to blow their engines out quite frequently, owing to the bad water. This is done by opening a cock that lets the water and steam out directly under the cab. While one of the express trains was rushing along in the night, the engineer found it necesssry [sic] to 'blow her out,' and opening a cock, a most unearthly scream went up from under his feet. Jumping to the air brake and reversing the engine, the train was quickly stopped, and all hands rushed back to ascertain that unusual cry. There, on the track, torn to pieces by the wheels and scalded beyond recognition, was the remains of a man who had been stealing a ride on the brake beam of the engine tank, so as to be near the heat of the fire box, and had received the full charge of the steam and hot water on his body and been blown from his insecure seat, without a moment's warning, into eternity, adding one more to that great list of 'missing.'"
LONDON, Dec. 1
MR. ALFRED DE ROTHSCHILD has had his carriage illuminated by electricity stored in accumulators under the B. T. K. system.
COUNT GLEICHEN is at work on a bust of Miss Anderson. There may be some risk to him. Pygmaylion [sic] and Galatea may be paraphrased.
ANOTHER cable company has been formed in New York to lay two cables between England and America.
PREPARATIONS are, it is stated, nearly completed for the establishment of a new illustrated paper, to be "run" on the lines of the famous American illustrated magazines.
SOME journalists are about to get up a club on a joint-stock principle. The shares are to be £5 each, and people who read and do not write will be permitted, as a favor, to subscribe.
ONE of the extraordinary arguments used against the proposed underground railway from Paddington to Westminster is that it would kill all the roots of the trees and seriously affect the Serpentine. Prodigious!
THERE were nearly 300 competitors for the prize offered by the directors of the Alhambra Theatre for the best address in rhyme to be spoken at the opening of the theatre on Monday. The successful candidate is Mr. Vernon de Montgomery.
IT is understood that Sir Charles Dilke's visit to Windsor Castle this week was in consequence of a command from the Queen strongly indicative of Her Majesty's interest in the condition of the London poor.
A CURIOUS report got about a few days ago to the effect that Mr. Wilkie Collins was about to publish a novel in the Times, of all papers in the world. This was palpably absurd. The novel is to appear in certain weekly newspapers and in monthly parts in time.
THERE is no doubt that the ballet of "Excelsior" will be produced at Covent Garden Theatre this year. We are told that "all the arrangements are complete," and arrangements manifold there must be to bring out such a monster entertainment as this ballet is.
SHALL we have pensions for schoolmasters? The School Board for London proposed it. The National Teachers' League opposes it. This body must not be confounded with the Fair Trade League. Its original purpose was to put down co-operation, which Mr. William Morris wishes to make compulsory.
THERE will be an agitation next year against house property reverting to landlords who have leased land for eighty to ninety years for building purposes, also against the present method of assessing dilapidations, and making exorbitant landlords' claims on the expiration of leases for seven, fourteen, or twenty-one years.
CINDERELLAS are all the fashion as public subscription dances. Instead of the cotillon, for which there is no time, as the early closing idea is de rigueur, a jolly game of hunt the slipper might be introduced to wind up with, and would be quite in keeping with the Cinderella title.
THE outcry on behalf of better homes for the poor has caused the vestries to move for very shame. That of St. Matthew's, Bethnal green, has ordered the landlords of 300 dilapidated tenements to put them in proper order. The power to take this step existed long ago, but vestrydom has not moved, and, unfortunately, it will cease to do its work the moment public opinion grows quiescent.
THERE is a growing impression in theatrical circles that Mr. Irving's American tour is a mistake. It means, of course, a profit of £30,000, but artistically it is certain to be productive of much disappointment and vexation to him. The leading American papers pay him respect, as we see from the favorite criticisms telegraphed over here, but the smaller fry of journalism are treating him very badly indeed.
MR. CHARLES T. NEWTON, the keeper of Greek and Roman antiquities, has completed the arrangement of the new gallery at the British Museum. It contains the marbles of the Mausoleum, formerly scattered throughout the collection, but now for the first time brought together. This gallery, which is being decorated, it is hoped will be ready in the spring to receive visitors.
TRAMWAY companies have been casting a longing eye on the level stretch of roadway from Hammersmith to Piccadilly Circus. Wood pavement has just been laid down at an enormous cost and it would constitute a singularly easy surface on which the Tramway engineer might operate. It would be quite child's play to put down rails when the rate-payers had paid the bill for much of the previous necessary work.
BY-AND BY, somebody will have to lay down precisely what may be considered a fair showance of wines to each guest at a luncheon. The question has just been raised where twenty-one municipal officials disposed of forty-two bottles of champagne at the Mayor's luncheon — exactly two bottles per head. It was decided in this case, after a little discussion, that two bottles a head was not an extravagant supply.
FEW persons have ever witnessed so magnificent a meeting as that at the Mansion House to discuss the Transvaal question in view of the demands of the delegates of the Boer Government. When Mr. Forster declared that, though born a Quaker, he would sooner fight than concede the principal demands of the delegates, the enthusiasm of the audience knew no bounds. The Government will have to be very careful what they do in this matter.
THE Bar is alarmed at Lord Selbourn's new Bill for establishing District Courts, which has been published during the last day or two, and one of the first duties of the new Bar Committee now in course of erection will be to fulminate against it. Lord Selborne himself does not like the measure, which is, in fact, Mr. Joseph Cowen's Bill over again; but as he plausibly puts it, what is he to do? He is between the upper and the nether mill-stone. The provinces are clamoring for continuous sittings.
THE Marquis Tseng says he does not understand the rage for old china. Why the French, for example, should prefer Chinese embroidery and porcelain to their own, which are daily improving in quality, he cannot understand. It is natural enough that old China should not be inestimably precious in the eyes of a Chinaman. He is able to see that in many respects the bric-â-brac [sic] of Europe is superior to the cups and saucers of his own country. But fashion has ordained that Chinese ware shall be chic, and the Marquis Tseng notwithstanding, people will continue to live up to their Chinese teapots.
"Is it possible that Mr. Godfrey is up and at work, and cured by so simple a remedy?"
"I assure you it is true that he is entirely cured, and with nothing but Hop Bitters; and only ten days ago his doctors gave him up and said he must die!"
"Well-a-day! That's remarkable! I will go this day and get some for my poor George — I know hops are good."