The conflict is supposed to lie now between science and the Church. Well, stated simply I would say, let scientists become theologically founded, and let theologians become scientists. At first blush this may sound like a paradox; but it is not. If theologians would honestly strive to master scientific theories, there would be less danger of hasty action on their part. Many of them would not stand committed, as they do, to a condemnation of evolution, while on the other hand it was not their business to sanction it; and if scientists had not allowed themselves to become narrow-minded in their studies, they would not have similarly placed themselves in a false position by trying to make their legitimate discoveries bear upon matters not within their range. The point is, that a Catholic, whether scientist or theologian, should not allow himself to be alarmed by the rash utterances of individuals; but, conscious of a right purpose and true faith, pursue his track to the end, knowing that natural truth cannot clash with supernatural; if at times it appears so, then he knows that this is only temporary, and that in the end difficulties will clear away. Charity on each side will go a long way. However, I think the Church has forborne remarkably in these matters, not committing herself to any precise attitude, but awaiting the issue of the struggle. No idea could be falser than that the scientist would hamper himself in submitting to the Church. Quite otherwise. He would, by this step, secure a central pillar of support, and thence venturing could go further than any of them now dream of. The separation of science and the Church is the distinctive evil of the day. Both would gain, in strength and freedom, by a union, and the progress of the next century would thus redouble that of this.
HUGH P. MCELRONE.
[B] Newman's "Apologia," pp. 274, 275.
Honor to the Germans.
Letters from those missionaries in Annam, who have escaped the fate which has befallen so many of their flocks, agree in charging the representatives of France with a negligence, which, under the circumstances, assumes the very gravest aspect. Pere Dourisboure, for instance, writing from the Seminary at Saigon, where he has taken refuge, declares that the presence of French vessels at some of the ports, and the firing of a few shots without hurting any one, would have been the means of saving the lives of some thirty thousand Christians, and securing their homes and possessions against injury. Formerly, he says, the mandarins contented themselves with putting missionaries and the leading converts to death; but this time, the persecution and hatred of France, rather than of Christianity, has been the cause of what can only be called a war of extermination, and France has done nothing for those who have suffered for their supposed loyalty to her. When the news of the massacre at Qui-Nhon, where there were seven thousand Christians, reached Mgr. van Camelbeke, he at once requested the commandant of the Lyon, which was lying at that port, to see to the safety of Father Auger and Father Guitton; but that officer replied that his instructions would not allow him to fire a single shot in defence of the missionaries or the native Christians, and all representations and entreaties on the subject proved ineffectual. In this difficulty aid came from an unlooked-for quarter. Deserted by their own countrymen, the missionaries applied to the captain of a German merchantman, which was in the port, and the request being acceded to, two of the Fathers and five German sailors rowed ashore, armed to the teeth, to arrange for the escape of as many Christians as possible. They were met by three mandarins, one of whom was the bitterest enemy of the Christians. These the sailors captured and put in irons on board their vessel, and secure in the possession of these hostages, they proceeded to bring off some seven hundred Christians, the utmost number which the ship could contain, forcing the natives to assist in the work. One of the mandarins was then sent ashore charged with a message that any act of violence against the Christians would be visited upon the two who remained in the custody of the Germans. Pere Dourisboure's narrative ceases with the safe arrival of the seven hundred Christians at Saigon; but we may well hope that the brave Protestant sailors on their return to Qui-Nhon found that their device had proved effectual.
* * * * *
A WRITER in the New York Commercial gives facts and figures to prove that there is no quarter of the globe so much in need of missionary enterprise as New England. The Puritans have ceased to be a churchgoing people.
From the German of Reinick.
"Why lingerest here in the greenwood, All day in a childish dream, Toying with leaves and flowers, Watching the wavelets gleam, While a world grown old and hoary With the spirit of change is rife, And the outworn past and the present Are grappling in deadly strife?"
Still here will I dwell in quiet, Tho' without the tempests rave; And while all things reel and totter, Will seek me an oaken stave, Plucked from a tree that has weathered The storms against it hurled, While into the dust are crumbling The props that uphold the world.
Yes, I'll choose this silent garden Tho' around me deserts lie, And bask in the ancient glories Of earth and sea and sky. While alone on dark thoughts of ruin Your pulseless bosoms brood, I'll build me a bower of roses, And rejoice in my solitude.
"Rejoice! Verily we've forgotten The sound of so strange a word; Nowadays notes of scorn and anger May well in youth's songs be heard; For the woes of our earthly existence Should find a voice in your rhyme, Since the word of the poet is ever The mirror of his time."
No, no, in the heart of the poet Can no scornful spirit live— He is wroth at human baseness, Can over the sorrows grieve That round this old earth are woven Like some fateful web of doom, And he weeps that bright gleams of radiance So seldom pierce the gloom.
But whenever a ray out-flashes, Drink it in with heart and mind, And a hopeful premonition Of the future in it find:— Rejoice, when the sun is shining! Joy purifies the breast, And whoso with pure heart rejoiceth, Even here below is blest!
"What! you believe in the bliss of Heaven In a happiness yet to be? Your faith, like your other emotions, Is mere childish fantasy. Remain as you have been ever, A child from your very birth, Unworthy with men to hold counsel On the woes and the welfare of earth."
Yes, I believe in the word of promise, I believe in each holy word, In the power that clothes the lily, And that feeds the nestling bird; "Be like unto children, of such is God's Kingdom." Ah! well, in sooth, If all were as little children In purity and in truth!
To the weal and the woe of the nations I do not seal my breast, Tho' my Motherland is dearer To me than all the rest. If to fold universal being, 'Neath its wings the mind aspires, Still the heart needs narrower limits For the growth of its sacred fires.
REV. JOHN COSTELLO.
* * * * *
JULES JANIN, a witty French writer, nicknamed lobsters "Naval Cardinals." He probably imagined that lobsters in the sea are as red as they are when served on our tables or placed in the windows of our fishmonger's shops. Curiously enough sailors call the ships used to carry our red-coated soldiers from one part of the world to another, lobster-boxes.
Tracadie and the Trappists.
The flourishing village of Tracadie, in the county of Antigonish, Eastern Nova Scotia, well sustains for its French inhabitants, the prestige, as industrious husbandmen, which their ancestors' contemporaries established in Western Nova Scotia—the land sung of by Longfellow in his "Evangeline;" and the much-vaunted superiority of the Anglo-Saxon, reads like a melancholy sarcasm, in the face of the fact that the lands from which the inoffensive Acadians were mercilessly hunted, are, to-day, far, very far, removed from the teeming fertility, which charmed the land-pirates in the last century. Simple-minded folks are wont to say, that the lands of the dispersed Acadians, languish under a curse, nor need we, of necessity, dissent from this theory, if we consider the manifestation of the curse to be shown, in a lack of skill, or industry—or mayhap both—in the descendants of those who profited by that infamous transaction. Certain it is, that these lands are now much less fertile than of yore.
Arriving at Tracadie, as we drive from the Eastern Extension Railway Station, we notice as a curious coincidence of alliteration, the sign,—
- HALF-WAY HOUSE. H. H. HARRINGTON. -
and remark that with the super-addition of "Halt Here," the signboard would be an unique curiosity.
Leaving the hospitable farmhouse of Mr. DeLorey, on a bright October Sunday, after hearing Mass in the neat and commodious parish church dedicated to St. Peter, a pleasant drive of three miles, bring us to the Trappist Monastery of Our Lady of Petit Clairvaux, the buildings of which are of brick, and form a quadrangle, of which one side has yet to be erected.
Ringing the porter's bell we are admitted and handed over to Brother Richard, the genial and amiable guest master, who is most assiduous in his attentions to us.
The monastery was founded as a Priory, early in the present century by Father Vincent, a native of France, and was raised to the dignity of an abbey nine years ago, when the present Abbot, Father Dominic, was consecrated. The community at present number thirty-seven, of whom sixteen are priests and choir-religious, the remaining twenty-one being lay brothers; the monks being chiefly Belgians, with a few from Montreal, and a few from this vicinity.
The abbey is surrounded by four hundred acres of land, tolerably fertile, though rough in part, and has excellent limestone quarries—the monks burning as much as one hundred barrels of lime at once in their kiln; they also manufacture all the bricks required for the multifarious works which are incessantly in progress. Their domain is well watered by a stream upon which the indefatigable monks have had a mill erected. At the date of our visit, they had just finished a new dam composed of immense blocks of limestone, and had almost completed a new and larger mill—to supersede the old one—and which in addition to the ordinary grist grinding will also be utilized, simultaneously, for carding, sawing boards, and sawing shingles. The new mill has dimensions of 150 x 40 ft., and the main barn 220 x 40 ft. The latter building now accommodates fifty heads of horned cattle, including some Jersey thoroughbreds and Durhams and six horses. We were also shown some Berkshire thoroughbred pigs, enormous, unwieldy brutes, one rather youthful porker being estimated to weigh nearly six hundred pounds.
The monks make a large quantity of butter, all the year round, the sale of which forms an important item of their revenue. The abbey has made its repute all through the surrounding country, and it is scarcely possible to over-estimate the benefit of this model farm to the inhabitants of adjacent lands; combining as it does the latest improvements in agriculture with the untiring industry of the Trappist Monk. For several years, their grist-mill was the only one for a great distance, and even now wheat is brought in, for grinding, from a radius of fifteen miles.
The monks contain among themselves all the trades necessary to their well-ordered community, ex-gr two blacksmiths, two tailors, two millers, a baker, shoemaker, and doctor, not forgetting the wonderful Brother Benedict, who is at once architect, carpenter, mason and clockmaker. In the last-mentioned capacity his ingenuity is shown by a clock which has four faces; one visible from the road approaching the abbey, the second from the chapel, the third from the infirmary, and the fourth from the refectory, where the modest table service of tin plates and wooden spoons and forks, offer but few attractions to those who overlooking the final end of all created things, look at life from the animal point of view.
We are also taken to the dormitory, and look into the narrow compartments, where the good brothers sleep, with easy consciences, upon their hard beds; and are also shown the discipline, which, though no doubt a wholesome instrument of penance, does not in any way resemble the article of torture under which guise it masquerades in the average anti-Jesuit novel.
Descending again we are taken to the neat cemetery where the brothers are deposited in peace after life's course is run, covered only by their coarse serge habits, and without coffins. Every grave has painted in white letters, on the black ground of a plain, wooden cross, the name in religion once borne by him, whose mortal remains rest below.
In the centre of this final resting-place stands a tall cross, and near by we observe a bare skull, whose mute lips powerfully preach the folly of worldliness, and like an accusing spirit warns all beholders of the dread day when every wasted minute, as well as every useless word, must be strictly accounted for.
The costume of the monks, in its coarseness and simplicity, would not commend itself to our modern dudes; but, then, life is a terrible reality to these brothers, who, hearing the voice of God, have hastened to follow his call, fully realizing, that without the one thing necessary, all else is vanity.
These reflections are interrupted by the abbey bell, calling us to Vespers, which are chanted by the monks (the music being supplied by the organist Father Bernard), upon the conclusion of which, we take our departure, deeply and favorably impressed with our visit to this monastery, which stands alone, in the Maritime Provinces of the Canadian Dominion, and sincerely grateful, for being enabled to see with our own eyes the works of those much-abused monks, who in general are so frequently defamed by the thoughtless boys who write for the secular press, and by the equally empty-headed old women—of both sexes—who write for that class of periodical which by a curious misnomer is designated religious. These are the people, who, it is to be feared, shut their eyes to the truth, lest they should be compelled to acknowledge it.
In the face of so much prejudice, it is pleasant to be able to record that quite recently some Protestant clergymen visited the monastery, and did not refrain from expressing their honest and undisguised admiration for what they beheld.
J. W. O'RYAN.
Gladstone at Emmet's Grave.
HOW THE UNMARKED TOMBSTONE OF THE MARTYR LOOKED.
The day Mr. Gladstone went to Dublin to receive the freedom of the city, which the town council had unanimously agreed to confer upon him, he spent a day in the docks and courts and in visiting St. Michael's Church—a place full of historical interest. On the vestry table lie two casts of the heads of the brothers Shears, who were beheaded in the rebellion of 1798. Such are the properties of the soil in the cemetery that the bodies of those are as perfect as the day on which they were hanged.
The church itself is eight hundred years old, having been built by a Danish bishop during the ascendency of his race.
Mr. Gladstone examined the communion plate, some of which came out of the spoils of the Spanish Armada.
But these were light trivialities! The grave of Robert Emmet is here. "Let no man mark my tomb," said he, "until my country takes her place among the nations of the earth."
Mr. Gladstone stood beside the rough granite, unchiselled, unlettered, silent slab. No name, no date, no word of sorrow, of hope. The sides are clipped and hacked, for emigrants have come from afar to take to their home in the new world bits of the tomb of Robert Emmet. How he comes to lie here is simply said. When his head was cut off in Thomas Street, his body was taken to Bully's Acre,—what a name!—and buried.
Rev. Mr. Dobbyn, a sympathizer in the cause, was then Rector of St. Michael's; he ordered the body to be disinterred that night, and he placed it secretly in St. Michael's church-yard. A nephew of Robert Emmet, a New York judge, corroborated this statement some years ago. But Emmet is not the only rebel that lies here in peace.
Oliver Boyd sleeps here, with God's noblest work, "an honest man," written on his tombstone. Here, too, is the grave of the hero, William Jackson, who was tried, convicted and sentenced to death. While the judge was still pronouncing the awful doom, the man grew faint and in a few minutes fell down dead. He had swallowed poison on hearing the verdict from the jury. In this vault, over which Mr. Gladstone peers anxiously, you can see a group of heads, all of 1798 men and there on one of them, is the hangman's crape as it stuck in the wounded neck since the day on which it and its owner parted company. Mr. Gladstone is silent as he sees all this and at last mournfully moves away.
Is there ever a tragedy in which clown is wholly absent? As he steps over the graves, up comes a man as drunk as a goat, and cries out, "Ah! Mr. Gladstone will you take the duty off the whiskey?" Upon which he of Hawarden Castle turns him round and says slowly—"My friend, the duty does not seem to stand much in your way."
JOHN W. MONAHAN.
That part of Limerick formerly known as Englishtown, and at present localized in city ordinances and surveying maps as King's Island, consists of a knot of antique houses crowding thick around a venerable cathedral. An ancient castle, its dismantled tower within easy bow-shot, overrun with weeds and ivy, overlooks the noble river, whose expansive sweep of waters is at this point of passage spanned by an old, but still substantial bridge. In the shadow of the cathedral and within hearing of the river, Gerald Griffin, dramatist, poet and novelist, was born on the 12th of December, 1803. His father, who had succeeded to a goodly estate, a considerable fortune and an honored name, sold the fee simple of his landed inheritance, and removed to Limerick, that his children might enjoy all the advantages of a good education, which at that period were best obtainable in large towns and great cities. He established himself in the business of a brewer; and, as in every speculative walk of life where personal energy is not well supplemented by judicious management and long experience, time alone was needed to diminish his capital by rewarding his unremitting industry with profitless returns. The natural disposition of this good man presented a medley of those attractive qualities which secure for their fortunate possessor an immediate share of the sympathetic good-will alike of the friend and the stranger. He had a kind heart and a winning manner. He could enjoy and exchange a good joke, and to the end of his life was a sterling and an uncompromising patriot. Yet his admiration for valor and virtue was circumscribed by no political limits, by no narrow-minded prejudices. An ultra-volunteer in '82, and an O'Connellite in '29, he was enthusiastic over the victory at Waterloo, and wept at the melancholy fate of Sir Samuel Romilly. Gerald's mother was a gentle and accomplished lady, whose affection for her child was tempered and regulated by the treasures of a refined and cultured mind, and by a sensitively religious disposition. When he was in his third year, Mrs. Griffin, with her family, removed to a country district, which, from local association with the escapades of lepracauns and phookas, had inherited the significative title of Fairy Lawn. The new home was romantically situated amid the umbrageous woods and pastoral meadow-lands through which the Shannon flows at its confluence with the little Ovaan River. His infancy thus cradled in a landscape rich in the diversified picturesqueness of storied ruin and historic tradition, what wonder that Gerald at a very early age should feel the inspiration of his poetic surroundings as he looked towards the winding river, the green fields, the islands mirrored in the tributary Fergus, and the solemn shade and cloistered loneliness of ruined abbeys and gray cathedrals. To the careful training of his good mother he was indebted for the exquisite taste and truthfulness with which he interpreted nature; for the nice sense of honor which distinguished him through life, and which often rose to a weakness; for the delicate reserve which made absence from home a self-imposed hermitage; and for the deep, devotional feeling and healthy habit of moral reflection which ever shaped and inwove the pure current of his thoughts and writings.
A visiting tutor gave Gerald an elementary knowledge of English until the year 1814, when he was sent to Limerick. He remained in the city attending a classical school till he had acquired a familiarity with the works of the great Latin authors. At an age when it is scarcely customary to emancipate children from the prim decorum and polite restraint of the nursery, young Griffin was pouring with unmixed delight over the pages of Horace, Ovid and Virgil. Of the three, he preferred the sweet pastoral of the gentle poet of Mantua, and to the end of his life retained this partiality. Inspiration caught from so pure a source wrought itself into innumerable songs and sonnets, which Gerald managed to write clandestinely, when some new frolic drew away the attention of his brothers and sisters, and left him in the enjoyment of a peaceful hour and a quiet corner. During these intervals of busy writing he was insensibly acquiring that light and graceful style, by the gentle charm of which the most sober strain of serious thought became the most acceptable kind of agreeable reading. Though still young, he could well realize how indispensable a good style is for literary success. He lived at a time when books were comparatively scarce, in a district remote from easy access to well-filled libraries; when the cost of transportation often equalled the advertised price for the newest canto of "Childe Harold," or the latest novel by the "Great Unknown." But what would have been disadvantages to many a beginner proved to have been of incalculable benefit to Gerald Griffin. His knowledge of books and authors was limited to the extent of his mother's library, and it contained, among other choice works, the writings of the inimitable author to whose graceful allurement Washington Irving owed half his fame and all the classic sweetness of his fascinating style. He copied out whole chapters of the "Vicar of Wakefield," and rarely went out of doors without bringing for a companion a copy of the "Animated Nature."
In the boy, pensive and serious beyond his years, might be traced the different characteristics of mind and heart which eventually made up the texture of his later manhood, the yearning desire for retirement, the habit of sober reflection, the trait of gentle sadness, and the passionate love for home and country. The years of his childhood passed unattended by a single sorrow. Time, however, brought a change, which broke rudely in upon the even tenor of his happy life. The pretty homestead on the banks of the Shannon was to be broken up, old poetic haunts had to be forsaken, and the sheep of the little fold were to be dispersed.
In the year 1820 his father suffered such heavy losses that a slender competency was all that remained at his disposal to resume, if he had been willing, a business which had hitherto been productive of only disappointments and regrets. The family, not wishing to run further risks, set sail for America, and settled in another Fairy Lawn, in Susquehanna County, Pa., leaving Gerald and two younger sisters to remain with their brother, a physician, who was at that time living in the town of Adare. Here Gerald remained for two years, pounding drugs and manipulating pills, ostensibly to study medicine, but in reality to devise plots for projected dramas, and to sketch character and incident for tales in prose and poetry. The pathway of his future career had already been carefully mapped out. He had long pined in secret for a literary career, and years only whetted his eagerness to put his unspoken wish into practical execution. Like poor Kirke White, he felt the irresistible influence of an unmistakable destiny drawing him, as he fancied, from lowly walks to ways of loftier prospect and more uncertain enterprise. In the prophetic fervor of anticipated triumph, he foresaw himself the lion of the literary coterie, the courted favorite at titled levees and fashionable dinner parties. He occasionally contributed short essays and fugitive poems to the Limerick Reporter, a sheet of news on which were wont to be chronicled the gossip of the city, critiques of provincial dramas, statistics of the Baldoyle steeplechases, or the latest speech by the Liberator. Sometimes he ran into the city to have a chat with a young man, who had begun to be recognized in the circuit of provincial journalism as a literary star of rising magnitude. The young man was John Banim, whose noble services under trying circumstances Gerald had reason some years later to experience and appreciate. During the two years immediately preceding his departure for London, he devoted his attention almost exclusively to dramatic composition. Banim's "Damon and Pythias" appeared in 1821, and the success which had at once raised its obscure author into prominence, must have had no slight influence in confirming the resolution which Gerald had already made. A religious motive, too, entered into the spirit and outlined the object and policy of his work. His plays, when they should be produced, were not to terminate with uproarious applause and calls for the "gifted author" at the fall of the curtain. The spirit of the drama had at this time wofully departed from the sphere of its legitimate function received from historic tradition. The design of the great dramatic master had been in his own words to hold the "mirror up to nature." The interest of London stage-managers led them to pander to public taste, and crowd the boards with sensational makeshifts and spectacular unrealities. Otway's "Venice Preserved" and Heman's "Vespers of Palermo" could not attract a pit full; while scenes introducing battlefields, burning forests, and cataracts of real water crowded the houses to overflowing. It was at this juncture that Griffin hoped to bring about his dramatic revolution. It was with this object in view that he composed a tragedy and read it for his brother, who, seeing that it contained much that was excellent and much that gave evidence of future success, no longer withheld his permission for Gerald to try his future in the heart of the English metropolis.
One cold morning, in the autumn of the year 1823, Gerald Griffin found himself a bewildered stranger in the streets of London. The sense of utter loneliness, the feeling of timid embarrassment, which overpowered him in the bustle and uproar, amid the winding streets and smoky labyrinths of the densely populated Babel, had been experienced by many another aspiring adventurer, whom the glitter of a great name and the hope of literary preferment had drawn from happy retirements to battle through adversity to fame and fortune. His first object on his arrival in town was to seek the shelter of respectable lodgings; his next, to introduce himself, to explain his projects and to submit his tragedy to the manager of a London theatre. The manuscript was returned after some months delay, with the intimation that it was too poetic and too didactic, and would require extensive revision before it could be brought upon the stage. Accident, rather than good luck, threw Banim across his path, and he proved to be a valuable and a faithful friend. In the little sanctum at the rear of No 7 Amelia Place, Brompton, where Curran had written his speeches and Banim had composed his tragedies, Gerald sat down to reinspect the returned work, and at the suggestion of his friend to omit whole scenes, to substitute others, to lop off epithets which were too glaringly poetic, and to abbreviate speeches which were too discursively long. But despite all the author's revision and Banim's abler experience "Aquire" was fated never to occupy the boards. No amount of labor could redeem the fault of a drama which conveyed moral precepts in the classic solemnity of select and studied periods. Despairing, at length, of ever having it produced, Gerald withdrew it in disgust; but what he did with the manuscript, whether it was purposely destroyed, or accidentally lost, we are unable to say. "Aquire," however, must have contained many excellencies, judging from other poetical work of the author written at the same time, and from the testimony of his accomplished brother, whose excellent literary taste made him a competent judge. "Gisippus," a tragedy written at this period, was produced with great success two years after the author's death, Macready sustaining the title role. A series of continued failures to satisfy the wants of exacting stage managers, slightly altered the plan, though not the purpose, of the work which Griffin had set himself to accomplish. He was compelled to give up writing tragedies, and write for a livelihood; but London was overcrowded with impecunious journalists, and he received the merest pittance in return for the most arduous species of literary drudgery. The author of "Irene," on his arrival in London, was not more incontestably the literary helot at the mercy of Cave, Millar, and Osborne, than was Gerald Griffin the typical booksellers' hack amid shuffling reviewers and extorting publishers. Johnson at the outset of his literary career received but five guineas for a quarto English translation of "Lobos Voyage to Abyssinia." Griffin, after working for weeks received two guineas for a translation of a volume and a half of Prevot's works. But he was not to be easily dismayed by first reverses of fortune. He had long ago made himself familiar with the catalogue of miseries in the literary martyrology beginning with Nash and Otway, and ending with his friend Banim. Early intimacy with distress and disappointment would but stimulate him the better to conquer both. He would sacrifice everything, consistent with a stainless name and an honorable career, in the attainment of his cherished end—the society of friends, the little luxuries of a frugal table, the modest though comfortable room in which he had hitherto lived and toiled. Poor Gerald! he had yet to learn when his most ambitious yearnings had been fully realized, that worldly honors do not satisfy the cravings of a Christian heart, that the most imperishable coronal of true success is woven of deeds little, lowly, and seemingly contemptible, and that labor spent in purely secular pursuits is labor spent in vain. But the nobler promptings of his nature were as yet unheard amid the discord in which he lived.
He now removed to a miserable garret in a lonely corner of a lonely street in the loneliest part of London. The forlorn solitude of his dreary room was, however, somewhat cheered by the thought, that in such dizzy eeries, amid the eccentric gables and rheumatic chimney pots of great capitals, works were often composed which were destined eventually to confer lasting honors on their obscure authors. Goldsmith had written his "Vicar of Wakefield" in the memorable, dingy eminence at the head of Breakneck Steps. Pope, walking with Harte in the Haymarket, entered an old house, where mounting three pair of creaking stairs he pointed to an open door and said: "In this garret Addison wrote his 'Campaign.'" Gerald Griffin, however, had yet to experience all the hardships which were endured by Goldsmith before his landlady threatened eviction, and by Addison before he received the fortuitous visit of Henry Boyle, Lord Chancellor of the Exchequer. He wrote prose and poetry for which he was often glad to get sufficient money wherewith to purchase a cup of coffee and a crust of bread. He studied Spanish, and when he had so mastered the language as to be able to translate fluently, his publisher said that on second consideration he would prefer to receive original contributions. And now commenced a period in Griffin's life, which, for exceptional want and misery, might claim a certain pre-eminence in the long list of hapless victims, who made up the literary hecatomb of the Johnsonian era. Without the grosser elements, which enter into their methods of living and disfigure their character, the abject squalor of vulgar surroundings, the love for pot-houses and low companionships, the utter disregard for personal respect, he otherwise underwent all the pain, the want and uncertainty of their impoverished condition. But the roughness of the road was unthought of in the anticipation of a rich reward at the end of his journey. He would redouble his efforts to ensure its nearer approach. He abandoned old companionships; invitations to dinners and literary soirees, which came from his friends Banim and McGinn, were politely declined. He locked himself in his lonely room and wrote through the hours of an unbroken day. Only at night when the lamps were lit, and the crowds had left the street, would he venture out of doors, and then merely to take a ten minutes' walk to ease his aching head, and to rest his wearied eyes. Once he remained three whole days without tasting food, till a friend accidently came to see him and found him pale and faint but still writing. Yet in all the sunless gloom of this dreadful time his letters home were most cheerful. The want of actual nourishment he felt, the evil influences by which he was surrounded, the chances of certain success which awaited him if he would but do violence to a certain portion of his scrupulous orthodoxy, counted for nothing with one whose good sense could see no grave inconsistency between temporary poverty and the first efforts of struggling genius. Nor is poverty so fatal to the efforts of genius as a superficial thinker would suppose it to be. To a noble nature it presents no feature of degradation or terror. Its supposed evils are, for the most part, begotten of the pride of those who are its victims.
If it forbade Griffin to ask or receive favors from those who were able and willing to help him, it thereby conferred self-independence and ceaseless energy, the constant forerunners of inevitable success. His industry was speedily rewarded, and in a manner which seemed the result rather of good luck than of strenuous effort or personal merit. One day Gerald made bold to write an article after the manner of those in the great reviews. He sent it anonymously to the proprietor of a leading periodical, and in return received unsolicited a cheque for a handsome sum of money, with an invitation to continue sending contributions of a similar kind. This was the first hopeful speck in the horizon of a brilliant future. The benevolence of the kindly publisher did not end here. He sought out the anonymous writer, invited him to dinner, treated him handsomely, and obtained for him the editorship of a new publication. "It never rains but it pours," is a true old maxim attributable with equal propriety to good and evil happenings. Hitherto he had been unable to make his time profitable either in a literary or pecuniary sense. His later contributions had all at once begun to attract attention, and the amount of time at his disposal seemed too short to enable him to satisfy all the requirements of numerous engagements. He was employed as a parliamentary reporter and as a writer of short plays for the English Opera House. He reviewed books which were published, and revised books which were unpublished. He contributed essays, stories and poetry to the News of Literature, the European Review, and the London Magazine, for the smallest one of which he received more money than for the huge translation of Prevot two years previous. He was now enabled to take more comfortable chambers; but he miscalculated his powers of endurance; when in such a stage of mental anxiety and mental application he would remain up at literary work till he heard the church clocks strike four in the morning. The evil results of this abuse of health soon made themselves manifest. He had lost all appetite for food. His rest was broken by fits of insomnia, during which his heart would beat so loud as to be distinctly heard by his brother in the same room. In the streets he would be suddenly attacked by swooning fits, during which he would have to support himself by leaning on gate posts and sitting on door-steps. At the earnest solicitation of his good brother he set out for Ireland with the hope of recruiting his failing energies by a few months' leave of absence. His vacation was productive of literary as well as of sanitary results.
He returned to London with a volume of stories for the press, and sold the copyright to the Messrs. Simpkin Marshall & Co., for L70. The work appeared in December 1826, under the title of "Hollandtide Tales." It was well received. The style was original, graceful and easy. The three novels, which comprised the series, were interesting and free from the taint of grossness and immorality, so erroneously deemed essential when describing the habits and customs of the poorer classes. It was an eloquent vindication of a much-wronged portion of the Irish peasantry, and like Banim's contemporary writings, it was hailed with universal exultation in Irish literary circles. The success of his first work was so immediate and decisive that he resigned his editorship, abandoned the magazines and reviews, and continued with few interruptions to appear annually before the public as a novelist. "Tales of the Munster Festivals," which appeared in two series, and for which he received L250, was the title of his next work. In 1858 appeared "The Collegians" which placed him with one bound in the fore front of the great writers of his country. It was not only the best Irish novel that had appeared previous to its first publication, but is admittedly the best that has ever been written since.[C] "The Invasion," "The Rivals," "The Duke of Monmouth," and others which he wrote subsequently, are all far inferior when placed side by side with this great master-piece of fiction. In it may be seen to best advantage the wonderful power and versatility of Griffin's genius as a great novelist, for within its single compass he has touched with a master hand the whole gamut of human passion and human affections. As a literary artist of the "dark and touching mode of painting," which Carleton has set down as the chief characteristic of his brother novelist, Griffin has few equals and no superior. To depict the more sombre tints of human nature, to trace the unbroken events linked together in a career of crime, from the first commission of evil till its last expiation in the felon ship, or on the gallows, he especially delights. He does not delay the progress of the plot to impress upon his reader the exact frame of mind in which his hero felt at certain trying conjunctures. This suggests itself unconsciously, in occasional snatches of vague and emotional distraction, in half uttered replies, in the joke that mechanically escapes the lips, in the capricious laugh that best discovers the anguish preying on the mind and the despair eating at the heart. But it is in the ingenuity with which he makes local surroundings play such an important part in the drama of human destiny, that Griffin excels to a remarkable extent. What reader of the "Collegians" has not realized all the perils of the windy night and the stormy sea with trepidation and horror scarcely surpassed by the occupants of the little craft tossing amid the boiling breakers—Eily, the hapless runaway, Danny, the elfin hunchback, and Hardress, the conscience-stricken victim of conflicting thoughts and passionate impulses? How much more tragic the finding of the dead body of Eily, the "pride of Garryowen," since it occurs on the hunting field, surrounded by the half maudlin squires, and before the bloodless face of the horrified murderer? But Griffin deserves mention other than as a dramatist and novelist. It is saddening to know that in an age where so much weak sentiment, scarcely discernible in its wealth of verbose ornamentation, is so easily imposed upon the public under the name of poetry, that so much really good poetry should be forgotten and unread. One is often provoked to regret that the scalping knife has become blunted in the hands of the "buff and blue," and that the race of useful parodists should seem to have expired with the wits of "Fraser." As a poet Griffin is comparatively little known; and yet, to make a seeming paradox, few poets have been more universally popular. The exquisite songs, "A Place in Thy Memory," "Schule Agrah" and "Aileen Aroon" have been read and sung wherever the English language is spoken. Yet very few young Irish ladies and gentlemen are aware that Gerald Griffin is the author. The religious spirit which exhibits its moral influence through the thread of his stories appears more extensively and more perceptibly in his poetry. If his shorter poems are the best of all he has written, the best of all his short poems are those which breathe a religious spirit. To verify our assertion we need only mention, "Old Times, Old Times!" "The Mother's Lament," "O'Brazil" and "The Sister of Charity." It is a matter for much regret that Griffin should have written so little poetry. Had he devoted more exclusive attention to this department of literature, he would undoubtedly have become the Burns of his country; for his muse had taught him a kindred song, and given him to write with equal tenderness and simplicity.
In the year 1838, Gerald Griffin had attained a popularity which would have satisfied the wishes of the most ardent literary enthusiast. He was no longer the literary hack, the despised minion, the swindled victim at the mercy of harpy publishers and newspaper knaves. He could now write at his leisure, and be handsomely rewarded for his labor. Positions from which much emolument might be derived were offered him, but he answered them with a polite refusal. Contributions were solicited to no purpose. The desultory articles written under pressure of hunger in the confinement of the garret near St. Paul's were hunted for by publishers, who were too happy to pay a handsome premium for any thing printed over the name of the now popular author. To those who have never tried to realize the working of divine grace in the hearts of the pure and virtuous, Gerald Griffin would now seem to have nothing more to wish for, no unacquired honor to enkindle a new aspiration, no need of money to compel him once more to write for a living. The wisdom of advanced years, and a religious discernment guided by the spirit of God, and becoming more devotional day by day, began at last to discover the sophistry and the deceit of human glory and human praise. He still yearned after a mysterious something which he began to realize could never be found amid the jarring discord and empty distractions of the secular world. A new light irradiated the thick gloom by which he had long been encompassed. Gradually the mist and shadow of doubt and difficulty rolled away, disclosing at length the gray walls of a silent monastery in spirit of unpretentious work and pious exercise, far sequestered from the busy haunts of worldly men. Step by step he was approaching the humble cell of recollection and prayer, in the religious solitude of which he was to find true peace and lasting happiness. From the cottage cradled on the Shannon's breast to his later home in the poetic solitude of sweet Adare; from the three-cornered garret in the London back street to the tables of the rich and the titled, he had experienced every vicissitude between the antithetical extremes of joy and sorrow. When, at length, the final step was taken, it was not the rash or eccentric choice of momentary impulse, but the matured result of wise and cautious deliberation. He prepared to enter the noble order of the Christian Brothers, whose humble office it is to instruct the children of the poor, and whose labors in the cause of Christian education have been of incalculable benefit to the Irish race. One morning previous to Gerald's final departure, an elder brother entered his bedroom. He found him in a kneeling posture holding the last fragment of a charred heap of manuscript over the blazing fire. He had made the final sacrifice to God of all that could wed his heart to future worldly honors. In the year 1838 he entered the Christian Brothers at Cork, and after a short novitiate received the habit and the vows by which these holy men consecrate themselves to the service of their Maker and the spiritual welfare of their fellow men. But the splendid genius of the new Brother was not destined to remain idle. It was now to be exercised more energetically than ever, consecrated as it had been to the service of religion and the glory of God. He had just completed a small number of Catholic tales, written in his happiest vein, when a fatal attack of malignant fever struck the pen from his hand. Every remedy that the skill of great physicians could devise, every attention that loving confreres could bestow was procured for him during his last illness. But the invisible decree had gone forth, and the near passing was inevitable. He lingered but a few days, edifying his attendants by his fervent piety and resignation under suffering. He died consoled by the rites of Holy Church on the 12th of June, 1840. In the humble cemetery, of the monastery at Cork, a modest grave, unnoticed amid rows of similar ones, is surmounted by a small cross. The cross bears the name of Brother Joseph, the grave holds all that was mortal of the good and gifted Gerald Griffin.
Oxford, N. J.
JAMES H. GAVIN.
[C] Mr. Justin McCarthy, speaking of "Irish Novelists" at Cork, in September, 1884, said: "We have some Irish novels which ought to be classic, and about which I have over and over again taxed all the critical experience I can summon up why they have failed to become classic in the sense of Sir Walter Scott's novels. I cannot understand why Gerald Griffin's 'Collegians' fails to take a place in the public estimation beside the best of the novels of Sir Walter Scott."
Rev. Father Fulton, S. J.,
Condescended to notice the ravings of Mr. Robert Ingersoll, at Boston College Hall, on the evening of the 11th of November. We should be pleased to publish a full report of the lecture, but our limits will not permit us to do so. We merely give a few extracts: "Once upon a time there was a person named Scholasticus, who suffered by death the loss of his child, to whose obsequies came the people in great throngs. But our friend, instead of receiving their expressions of condolence, hid himself blushing in a corner, and, on being expostulated with, and asked why he was ashamed, replied: 'To bury so small a child before so large an assembly.' This lecture is the child, and the concourse is the audience before me. I have been engaged on matters foreign to literary and scientific pursuits, and have had no time to prepare a regular lecture, but I think it will not need much time to demolish Mr. Ingersoll. I will take his book on 'Orthodoxy,' in which he declares that 'he knows that the clergy know that they know nothing.' Mr. Ingersoll is not a philosopher, nor a theologian, though he may be, as we hear, an orator of matchless voice and gesticulation. He is witty, as any one may easily be who attacks what we most revere. Let us look at his scholarship. He has no argument whatever, except the old objections brought up in the schools. In the whole book there have been no references nor authorities cited. His only method of reasoning is that by interrogation, why? why? why? Suppose I answer I don't know! The proper test of an argument is to put it in syllogistic form, which is impossible with Mr. Ingersoll's arguments. Again, the very importance of the subject demands a respectful and reverential treatment, which Mr. Ingersoll denies it. I will try to make a synopsis of the work. Mr. Ingersoll declares himself sincere in his belief, thereby insinuating that they who believe in Christianity are hypocrites. Then follows an examination of the Congregational and Presbyterian creeds, under the supposition, absurdly false, 'ex uno disce omnes.' 'Infidelity,' says Mr. Ingersoll, 'will prevail over Christianity.' This does not prove that Christianity is not the true religion, for infidelity may triumph only because the intellect is obscured by passion. 'The Christian religion,' says he, 'is supported only because of the contributions of some men.' Would those men have supported it had they not firmly believed in it? Again, Mr. Ingersoll says the Christian religion was destroyed by Mohammed, and yet no one knows it. Nor were the crusades unjust and destructive wars, for the land which they fought for was one dearest to them; their Saviour died there. Was it not a just war? And this war saved all Europe, for the power of Mohammed was rising rapidly and was about to inundate all Europe. But the war was carried into the enemy's country, and by the attack all Europe was saved. Again, we were freed from the ignorance of the dark ages (dark, as I may say, only because we have no light on them), by the introduction into Italy of some manuscripts, according to Mr. Ingersoll. But the truth is, all the learning of that period was centred in the church, and by her alone were erected seats of learning. It was from the barbarian that this ignorance arose. Nor has the church been inimical to the sciences, more particularly to astronomy and its promoters, for among the most able astronomers of Europe are to be found Catholic priests." The lecture was delivered to a large audience completely filling the College Hall.
Private Judgment a Failure.
It is a common fallacy of Protestants that the scepticism, which is so prevalent, affects the Catholic Church equally with Protestant sects. Now, this is a great and pernicious error, for it tends to divert sincere inquirers from seeking true, infallible doctrine in the church. When I witness the strenuous efforts made by Protestant writers against scepticism, and their ill success, I am led to execrate the miscalled "Reformation." Had that horrible event not taken place, instead of the desultory warfare by detached guerillas, we should have had the full strength and power of an organized, disciplined, compact army, against scepticism. To speak even of the learning displayed by Protestant writers is to suggest how much more vast the learning, that would now be the portion of England, if the church property were in the hands of the Abbots of former days instead of being held by its present possessors. In force of reasoning, too, Protestant vindicators of religion are at an immense disadvantage. They are hampered by principles, which they should never have adopted. Private judgment is to them what Saul's armor was to David, ill-fitting, and cumbersome. To borrow an illustration from Archbishop Whately, "They are obliged to fight infidelity with their left hand; their right hand being tied behind them." One of the specialties of this age is "historical research." The application of the historical criticism inaugurated by Niebuhr has dealt Protestism a fatal blow, while, on the other hand, it has been favorable to the cause of Catholicity. This has happened for the reason that the Catholic Church is not founded exclusively on the Bible, as Protestantism is. Catholics take the Bible as an authentic history. This authentic history establishes the divine mission of our Lord, and the institution of the church by His divine authority. This church, "the pillar and ground of truth," attests the divine authority of Holy Scripture. There is no circulus vitiosus in our argument. With us the individual must bow to the collective wisdom of the church, divinely established. Protestants cut a pretty figure with private judgment. In political elections, and in clubs, meetings, and so forth, the Protestant very properly allows that the voice of the majority must prevail. This is common sense; and yet in religious matters forsooth, the private judgment of an ignorant and illiterate individual must be permitted to overrule the decision of the collective wisdom of learned theologians. This shows how far men are liable to be blinded by prejudice. In fact, if men had an interest in denying that "two and two make four," they would unquestionably do so. We may also deduce from this violent aberration in religion an argument to prove the doctrine of original sin, and the existence of evil spirits exercising a malignant influence on the souls and minds of men.
Physicists experience that longing for religion natural to man; and hence they endeavor to patch up some sort of a religion from the shreds of truth that are found in physical science, "rari nantes in gurgite vasto." Unfortunately, they are unacquainted with Catholic doctrine, and they see in the conflicting sects of Protestantism no good ground to base their faith upon. Accustomed to deal with matter, they are unable to elevate their minds to the supernatural. They dissect the human corpse, and stupidly wonder that in a dead body they cannot discover a living soul; they search the empty tomb for the resurrected Saviour.
The minds of those men are set in a wooden, mechanical way. They are impervious to logic at the very time that they are asserting their loyal adherence to its rules. They have a horror of Catholic conclusions as, it may be also remarked, have Protestants likewise. On this account, both classes prefer rather to accept the most untrustworthy theories of physical science, even when they verge on gross and laughable absurdity, than to grant the conclusions of Catholic theologians.
It must be borne in mind that the Bible is not one book, as popular Protestantism regards it. It is seen now in the light of historical criticism, that the amount of knowledge requisite for the proper exercise of private judgment on the Bible is immense, and such as can only be acquired by a few, comparatively speaking. Protestantism is, therefore, moribund. Infidelity is to be combated by the church; by this only can it be conquered. Nor is it hard to conquer. We should see it disposed of very soon, if it ventured to put forth a system. But its strength lies in grumbling. It asks, like Pontius Pilate, What is truth? And goes away without waiting for an answer.
Burlington, N. J.
REV. P. A. TREACY.
* * * * *
HIS Holiness the Pope having written a letter to the Mikado of Japan thanking him for the kindness extended by him to the Catholic missionaries, his Majesty has replied in cordial terms, assuring the Holy Father that he would continue to afford them protection, and announcing the despatch of a Japanese mission to the Vatican.
Priests and People Mourning.
The Great and Gifted Redemptorist Father, Rev. John O'Brien, Deceased—Beautiful and Appropriate Tributes to his Memory.
A pillar of the Lord's temple, a lustrous light of faith departed, a glorious soldier of the church militant on earth, is the sorrowful, but withal grateful, subject of our memoir. Taken from this life suddenly in the very bloom of a magnificent manhood, and from the career of his saintly priesthood, fragrant with thousands of tests of the divinity of his ordination; aye, taken from the multitudes who so much needed his spiritual guidance and support, may we well exclaim that the ways of our Almighty Father are wondrously mysterious and hidden beyond the ken of our feeble understanding. The great and gifted young priest was truly of that royal race of him, Boroimhe, who was slaughtered by the hand of a desperate assassin, as he prayerfully knelt in his tent, on the battle-field, offering thanks to the Lord of Hosts for victory over the hordes of northern barbarian invaders. He of Clontarf was king, soldier and saintly Christian. His descendant, transplanted in his youth, as if by divine ordination, from Ireland to America, was soldier, Christian, king of hearts and saver of souls. Majestic in person, gentle in deportment, tender of heart, Rev. John O'Brien, C. SS. R. through wondrous graces of mind and soul won upon all; brought the wayward into the paths of holy places, and readily summoned sinners to repentance. He achieved miracles, temporal as well as spiritual. It will be recollected how agreeably our whole community was startled by the corroborated recital, not so very long since, that the young daughter of Col. P. T. Hanley, of Boston Highlands, was healed of her chronic lame infirmity through the efficacy of his ministrations and her own pure prayers and strong faith. How heroic he was in "apostolic zeal and saintly fervor," like one of those heroic, primitive soldiers of the Cross, the martyrs of the catacombs, his reverend and eloquent panegyrist attests, when he reminds us how little terrors for him and his pious associates had the murderously-inclined orangemen and other bigots of Newfoundland, when these Fathers were there not long ago on the mission.
Rev. Father O'Brien had been for some years connected with the Redemptorists' Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, at Boston Highlands. He was in his thirty-sixth year at the time of his decease, which occurred suddenly on November 8th, from rheumatism of the heart, at Ilchester, Md., the parent house of the order. He had, only a few days previous to his death, closed a most arduous but successful mission in Philadelphia, where, but a short time previously, Rev. Father McGivern was taken with his fatal illness through overwork in his missionary labors. The remains of Father O'Brien were conveyed here by Mr. Cleary, one of our undertakers, and reposed in the main aisle fronting the altar of the Tremont Street basilica, during the evening and night of November 11, where many thousands visited them in tears, and rendered upward their silent and heartfelt prayers for the purposes which animated his sanctified soul. The emblems of mourning in the edifice, the varied and beautiful and artistic floral tributes, the grief depicted on the features of young and old of the people, and many other evidences, attested most unerringly the great bereavement which the Catholics of Boston sustain by his death.
On the morning of the 12th, at 9 o'clock, the Redemptorist Fathers' Church was thronged with a great congregation, and hundreds were unable to get in when the office of the dead was recited. Over fifty priests participated in the sanctuary devotions. The clergymen offering up the Solemn High Mass of Requiem were as follows: Celebrant, Rev. Father Welsh, C. SS. R.; deacon, Rev. Father Wynn, C. SS. R.; sub-deacon, Rev. Father Lutz, C. SS. R.; master of ceremonies, Rev. Father Licking, C. SS. R.; Father Licking also preached the panegyric. The Reverend Father took for his text:
ECCLESIASTES xii. 5 and 7. "Man shall enter into the house of his eternity, and the mourners shall go roundabout in the street.... And the dust shall return to the earth from whence it was, and the spirit shall return to God who gave it."
He began most impressively and substantially as follows: "What shall I say to you on this sad occasion? How shall I find words to express the sorrow and sadness, which I see depicted on your countenances? The zealous, the learned, the whole-souled Redemptorist, Rev. John O'Brien, is laid low on the bier of death. A young warrior has fallen on the battle-field of duty. A strong worker has sunk beside the vines he was preparing for the heavenly kingdom.
"Oh, brother, if thou hadst not died in the prime of youth! If thou hadst not within thee the strength and energy to labor long and successfully in thy sublime vocation! If thou hadst grown gray in the service of God, I should congratulate you on this day, the day of thy espousals to Jesus Christ. I should say to thee: well done thou faithful servant, thou hast labored long and well in the service of thy maker. Thou hast gone to thy well-merited reward." Father Licking continued at some length in this strong strain of apostrophe to the name and memory of his beloved brother, and then entered into reminiscences, in which he said, "I remember well when first I met the departed. It was in the year 1870. We were then students at the preparatory college of the Redemptorist order. He was even then the picture of health, and a model for every student. Never was he known to infringe upon the slightest rule of the institute; never (and this is saying a great thing), never did he lose a single moment of time. Always at his books by day and by night, even stealing from his well-merited rest some hours in order to acquire knowledge which he might employ in after years in the service of God and for the good of souls. So well pleased were his superiors with his conduct, that they appointed him, together with the late lamented Rev. Father McGivern, overseer of the college boys in the absence of their superiors."
He received the habit of the order in 1875, with Rev. Fathers Beal and Licking. The panegyrist made most feeling allusion to the occasion, when the lamented dead took "the profession of those holy vows, those tremendous vows, those eternal vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.... Thank God, he kept those vows to the end."
Father O'Brien was next sent to the Redemptorist Theological Seminary of Ilchester, Md., to further pursue the great studies that fitted him for his calling.
"It often required an express command of his superiors to take him from his books that his body might not succumb, and the mind gain the necessary rest. So exact was he in all his ways, that we, his fellow students, could, at any hour of the day, point out the very spot where he might be found, either going through the Way of the Cross, or praying before the Blessed Sacrament, or reciting his rosary, or studying at his books. Is it a wonder, then, that God should allow him to die on a spot which had so often been the witness of so much piety and so many of his good works."
He was ordained priest in 1880, and the following February found him at the Boston Highlands in the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Here he administered for the first time the Sacrament of Penance; here he preached from the pulpit of his panegyrist his first sermon; here he entered upon "that career of zeal and usefulness which made his name proverbial in every family of the parish." ... "He possessed a powerful and comprehensive mind, a prodigious memory, and a most fertile imagination; and, above all, a most generous spirit and tender heart. Graced besides with every form of manly beauty, strength and vigor, of a powerful frame, nothing seemed wanting to him. It might be said of him as the poet sang of the ancient hero:
"'He was a combination and a form indeed, Where God did seem to set his very seal, To give the world the picture of a man.'"
Father Licking dwelt at length upon the great extent of the work done in the parish by the beloved deceased. "Every interest in the large parish received his particular attention." All were participants of his zeal and charity. In 1883 he passed through his second novitiate after a retirement of six months, which fully equipped him for the missions. "And now his soul rejoiced, indeed, in the Lord."
"It is related," said the preacher, "of a Southern officer, that when he returned from a successful expedition, the first question he put to his general always was: 'Where is the next blow to be struck? Send me there!' So it was with the young warrior of the Cross, whose death we mourn. His zeal knew no bounds except those of obedience. Hardly had one mission been finished when he hastened to another.... North, South, East and West were witnesses of his Apostolic zeal and saintly fervor. The cold weather, the fierce storms, and still fiercer spirits of hostile sects in Newfoundland, had not terrors enough to deter him, and the hottest sun of July and August could not draw from him a single word of complaint, when engaged in arduous task of giving retreats. And though comparatively a young man, when only four years had elapsed since his ordination, his superiors trusting in his zeal, his prudence, and his wisdom, selected him, from out of many, to the important office of giving retreats to the clergy of the land." ... "I see among the floral tributes one bearing the letters 'Apostolic Zeal.' It shows me that you have understood his spirit."
In the panegyrist's recital it was told that six weeks before his death he was returning from missions in Pennsylvania. He saw in New York the very Rev. Provincial, who told him that the Fathers at work on the missions at Philadelphia were becoming exhausted, and that even then the Rev. Father McGivern was on a dying bed there. Father O'Brien stood up, and stretching himself to the full height of his massive frame, he exclaimed, "Look at me! Am I not a strong man? Send me. I'll do the work for them!" "Does it not remind you of the brave general who said, 'Where is the next blow to be struck. Send me there.'" When that, his last mission, closed, the Fathers had heard thirty-five hundred confessions, and he retired to Ilchester for a cursory visit, where the joy he experienced in meeting his old Alma Mater superiors was beyond description. While there he remarked: "Father, this would be a nice, quiet and holy place to die in." That night he was attacked with the fatal malady. His limbs became racked with pain. The rheumatism reached his great heart, and he is found at five o'clock in the morning insensible. The last sacraments were administered, and at seven o'clock his noble soul took its flight from its mortal abode.
With an eloquent peroration, Rev. Father Licking closed by craving the prayers of the faithful for the departed hero of the Cross.
The pathetic musical services were rendered by the regular choir of the church, and comprised the Gregorian Requiem Mass, Miss Nellie M. McGowan, organist. The twelve pall-bearers were Colonel P. T. Hanley, Frank Ford, John J. Kennedy, M. H. Farrell, Thomas Kelly, E. J. Lynch, James McCormack, Thomas O'Leary, James B. Hand, William S. McGowan, John Reardon and Timothy McCarthy. Mount Calvary Cemetery was the place selected for the interment. In His Grace Archbishop Williams' vault the body will repose until the completion of work now in progress on a lot specially intended for Father O'Brien. It is estimated that the services at the church were attended by over twenty-five hundred people, and the funeral was likewise largely attended. Every kind attention was paid to his bereaved mother, father, and sister, who came on here from New York State.
In Memory of Father John O'Brien, C. SS. R.
How short is life, a flitting cloud Before the blast. The storm wind roars, the thunder rolls Then, peace at last.
Oh! Brother, life to thee was short; A summer's morn A floweret blooming in the sun, Then, left forlorn.
Thy heart was fired with zealous love, Thy courage high. But list! Thy Captain softly calls And thou must die.
No more thou'lt lead His forces on To victory grand; No more thou'lt join with beating heart That glorious band.
Thou'rt fallen on the battle field With burnished arms. O soldier, sleep in peace, secure From war's alarms.
O glorious life! Thy heart was free From aught of earth, From glittering gold, or bauble fair Of little worth.
Thy gaze was fixed on Heaven's courts, Thy heart's desire On Calvary's top where Jesus burnt In love's fierce fire.
O noble champion of the cross, Thy course is run. Like heaven's light, thy soul returns To heaven's Sun.
O beauteous death! No worldly grief Is blustering there, The Church's voice, her tender plaint Scents all the air.
How sweet to die, when voice of prayer Doth rend the skies. Released from earth, the soul ascends In glad surprise.
And what is left? The house of clay Where dwelt the soul. That temple grand, where hymns to God Did often roll.
Ah! guard it well, its blessed walls Will rise again. Again the soul in heaven will chant Its glad refrain.
His tomb will blossom fair with flowers— A mother's tears. In memory's halls, his name will live Through countless years.
Sleep on, brave soldier, sleep And take thy rest. Like John thou sleepest now On Jesus' breast.
Crown and Crescent.
A great event was witnessed on the evening of Monday, November 23, when the new electric crown and crescent, which adorn the statue of Our Lady on the dome of the university, were lit up for the first time. There, lifted high in the air—two hundred feet above the ground—the grand, colossal figure of the Mother of God appeared amid the darkness of the night in a blaze of light, with its diadem of twelve electric stars, and under its feet the crescent moon formed of twenty-seven electric lights. Truly, it was a grand sight; and one, which, though it is becoming familiar to the inmates of Notre Dame, must ever strike the beholder with awe and reverence, realizing as it does, the most perfect expression, in a material representation, of the prophetic declaration of Holy Writ: And there appeared a great wonder in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.
It must, indeed, have been an inspiration, or a prophetic foresight of the great advance soon to be made in the domain of science, that, a few years ago, caused the venerable founder of Notre Dame to conceive the grand idea which to-day we see so perfectly realized. In 1879, when the new Notre Dame was being raised upon the ruins of the old, comparatively little progress had as yet been made in electric lighting. In particular, the great problem of the minute subdivision of the light remained unsolved. Edison had not then begun his experiments, and the incandescent light was not even dreamed of. To employ the arc light around the statue was out of the question, not only because the necessary appliances would detract from the beauty of the figure, but also on account of the daily attention which the lamps would require.
But the idea had taken possession of the mind of Very Rev. Father Sorin, and was tenaciously clung to, in spite of discouraging report through the years that followed, until, at length, the success of subsequent experiments, and the invention of incandescent electric lighting, revealed the complete practicability of carrying out the grand design of the venerable founder.
Now, twelve of the Edison incandescent lamps encircle the head of the statue, while at the base are three semi-circles of nine lamps in each, which form the crescent moon. These, together with the lights in the halls of the college, are fed with the electric current by a powerful dynamo, situated in the rear of the building. Thus the visitor to Notre Dame, as he comes up the avenue at night, or the wayfarer for miles around, can realize and revere that glorious tribute to the Queen of Heaven, the Protectress of Notre Dame, as he sees her figure surrounded with its halo of light, typifying the watchful care she constantly exercises, by night as well as by day, over the inmates of this home of religion and science, which has been specially dedicated to her honor.
Notre Dame (Ia.) Scholastic.
Four Thousand Years.
Four thousand years earth waited, Four thousand years men prayed, Four thousand years the nations sighed, That their King delayed.
The prophets told His coming, The saintly for Him sighed, And the Star of the Babe of Bethlehem Shone o'er them when they died.
Their faces toward the future, They longed to hail the light, That in after centuries Would rise on Christmas nights.
But still the Saviour tarried In His Father's home, And the nations wept and wondered why The promised had not come.
At last earth's prayer was granted, And God was a child of earth, And a thousand angels chanted The lowly midnight birth.
Ah! Bethlehem was grander That hour, than Paradise; And the light of earth, that night, eclipsed The splendors of the skies.
ABRAM J. RYAN.
A bill "for the Abolition of Barmaids" sounds like a joke from "Alice in Wonderland," or from one of Mr. Gilbert's burlesques. Nevertheless it is a serious legislative proposal now pending before the Parliament of Victoria. It is actually in print, and makes it penal for any keeper of a public house to employ women behind the counter. Of course, the advocates of this astonishing idea have their arguments. They do not go quite as far as Sir Wilfrid Lawson, who would disestablish not only barmaids, but barmen and bars; they would not shut up all dram-shops; but they would make them as dreary as possible, so as to repel impressionable young men. In Gothenburg the spirit-drinker is served by a policeman, who keeps an eagle eye upon him that he may know him again, and refuse him a second glass if he asks for it before a certain interval has expired. The Victorian reformers have a corresponding idea of diminishing the attractions of intoxication by surrounding the initial stages with repellent rather than enticing accessories. Instead of the smiling Hebes who have fascinated the golden youth of the colony, men will serve as tapsters, and without note or comment hand across the counter the required draught. The effect may be considerable, as male drinkers do undoubtedly take a delight in the pleasant looks and bright talk of the young ladies who, as the French say, "preside" at these establishments. But should not the Victorian apostles of abstinence go further? It is well to replace girls by men, and thus subdue the bar to masculine dullness; but could not the Act of Parliament go on to declare that none save plain, grim-visaged males should be tolerated as assistants? The most inveterate toper might hesitate to enter twice if he were always met by the ugly aspect of some dark, forbidding countenance. A kind of competition might take place for the posts, which might be given to the most repulsive people the Government could select. Fearful squint would be at a premium; scowls would be valued according to their blackness and depth; a ghastly grin would be desirable; while a general cadaverousness might be utilized as suggesting to drunkards the probable end of their career. The gods of Olympus laughed loudly when the swart, ungainly Vulcan for once replaced Hebe as their cup-bearer; but it would be no joke for the young idlers of Melbourne to find stern, grim men frowning over the counters where once they were received with "nods and becks and wreathed smiles."
Christianity in China.
The arrangement which the Pope has made with the Emperor of China promises to be productive of the happiest results, and to open the Flowery Kingdom fully to the spread of the gospel. For many years the French assumed the position of protectors of Christian missionaries in barbarous countries. The first expedition to Annam was avowedly sent to put an end to the murders of missionaries and converts so frequent in that country; and for a time it did serve to put a check on the ferocity of government and people. In the treaty of Tienstin it was stipulated that the French Government should have the right to protect missionaries in China. For a time that seemed to work well. But the many complaints made through the French consuls, and the punishments inflicted on Mandarins at their demand, served to irritate the Mandarins and the populace. The indiscretion of some French missionaries, who interposed to protect converts not always deserving of protection, and who flaunted the flag of France in the faces of the Mandarins in their own courts, increased the irritation. Some of the missionaries boasted also in letters, which the Chinese saw when published, of the respect for France which they instilled into their converts. The consequence was, that, although the missionaries are from all nations, the Chinese learned to regard them as French; and when the French made the late war on China, to regard all Chinese Christians as traitors. Formerly the government persecuted the Christians. Latterly Chinese mobs massacred the Christians and destroyed their churches, convents, schools, etc., and the French scarcely made an effort to protect them even in Tonquin. The Holy Father, in the letter which we published some time ago, assured the Emperor that the missionaries who are of all nations are of no politics and desire only to preach the Christian religion, and begged the Emperor to protect them. It has now been arranged that the Pope shall hereafter be represented by a Legate at Pekin to whom the rank, etc., of an ambassador will be given, and who will receive any complaints the missionaries may have to make and will seek redress for them. Thus the interests of religion will, in the minds of the Chinese, be entirely dissociated from the interests of all foreign countries, and the feelings which now prevail will subside in time. The French Government infidel, though it is, will not like, it is thought, to be thus put aside; but if the missionaries cease to appeal to its agents it will be powerless.
There was plenty of gambling in London at the end of the last century, and ladies took a prominent part in it. Faro was then a favorite game, and ladies who were in the habit of keeping a bank used to be called "Faro's Daughters." Of these, Lady Archer and Lady Buckinghamshire were the most notorious, and Mrs. Sturt, Mrs. Hobart, and Mrs. Concannon were also noted gamblers. The usual method was for some great lady to give an entertainment at which faro was played, when the lady who took the bank gave her L25 towards the expenses. St. James's Square was the scene of many of these revels. The Times of April 2, 1794, stated that "one of the Faro Banks in St. James's Square lost L7000 last year by bad debts." The same number tells us that "Lady Buckinghamshire, Mrs. Sturt, and Mrs. Concannon alternately divide the beau-monde at their respective houses. Instead of having two different hot suppers, at one and three in the morning, the Faro Banks will now scarcely afford bread and cheese and porter." The lady gamblers were considerably alarmed at certain hints they received, that they would be prosecuted; and in 1796 the Times said, "We state it as a fact, within our own knowledge, that two ladies of fashion, who keep open houses for gaming at the West End of the Town, have lately paid large douceurs to ward off the hand of justice." But in the following year Lady Buckinghamshire, Lady Elizabeth Lutterell, and Mrs. Sturt were each fined L50 for playing faro at the house of the first named. The evidence proved that the "defendants had gaming parties at their different houses by rotation," and that they played until four or five in the morning. The fines seemed light enough, for an extract from the Times in the same year says:—"The expense of entertainments at the Gaming House of the highest class, in St. James's Square, during the eight months of last season, has been said to exceed 6,000 guineas! What must be the profits to afford such a profusion?" In modern times backgammon is not usually associated with very desperate gambling; but a captain in the guards is said to have lost thirteen thousand guineas at that game at one sitting in 1796. He revenged himself, however, by winning forty-five thousand guineas at billiards in a single night shortly afterwards.—Saturday Review.
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NEVER use water that has stood in a lead pipe over night. Not less than a wooden bucketful should be allowed to run.
A CHILD'S DAY.
When I was a little child It was always golden weather. My days stretched out so long From rise to set of sun, I sang and danced and smiled— My light heart like a feather— From morn to even-song; But the child's days are done.
I used to wake with the birds— The little birds wake early, For the sunshine leaps and plays On the mother's head and wing; And the clouds were white as curds; The apple trees stood pearly; I always think of the child's days As one unending spring.
I knew where all flowers grew. I used to lie in the meadow Ere reaping-time and mowing-time And carting home the hay. And, oh, the skies were blue! Oh, drifting light and shadow! It was another time and clime— The little child's sweet day.
And in the long days waning The skies grew rose and amber And palest green and gold, With a moon's white flame. And if came wind and raining, Gray hours I don't remember; Nor how the warm year waxed cold, And deathly autumn came.
Only of that young time The bright things I remember: How orchard bows were laden red, And blackberries so brave Came ere the frost and rime— Ere the dreary, dark November, With dripping black boughs overhead, And dead leaves on a grave.
The years have come and gone, And brought me many a pleasure, And many a gift and gain From near and from afar, And dear work gladly done, And dear love without measure, And sunshine after rain, And in the night a star.
The years have come and gone, And one hath brought me sorrow; Yet I shall sing to ease my pain For the hours I must stay. They are passing one by one, And I wait with hope the morrow; But indeed I am not fain Of a long, long day.
It is well for a little child Whose heart is blithe and merry To find too short its golden day— Long morn and afternoon. So many flowers grow wild, And many a fruit and berry: Long day, too short for work and play,— The night comes too soon.
It was well for that little child; But its day is gone forever, And a wounded heart will ache In the sunlight gold and gay. Oh, the night is cool and mild To all things that smart with fever! The older heart had time to break In the little child's long day.
KATHARINE TYNAN, in Merry England.
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WHEN little Willie L. first heard the braying of a mule in the South, he was greatly frightened; but, after thinking a minute, he smiled at his fear, saying, "Mamma, just hear that poor horse with the whooping-cough!"
A LITTLE grammar is a dangerous thing: "Johnny, be a good boy, and I will take you to the circus next year."—"Take me now, pa; the circus is in the present tents."
THE CHRISTMAS TURKEY.
Grandfather Patrick lived a long time ago; in the days when all the grandfathers wore white wigs with little tails sticking out behind.
One day he went into the back yard where an old Turkey Gobbler lived, and said to him:
"Mr. Turkey Gobbler: Next week comes Christmas and I want you to come into the house with me, and help us have a good time. You are such a fine, fat fowl, I am sure you will be just the one we want."
Mr. Turkey Gobbler was a vain bird, and when he heard Grandfather Patrick say this, he spread out his tail, stuck up his feathers, and stretched his wings down to the ground. Then he said: "Yes, I know I am a fine fowl, and I want to get away from this low, mean yard, into the grand house, among grand people, where I think I belong."
"And so you shall," said Grandfather Patrick. "You shall leave this cold yard and come in to the stove where it is warm. You shall come to the table with us all on Christmas Day. You shall be at the head of the table, and the boys and girls will be glad to see you, and they will say how fat you are, and how good you are, and how they wish they could have you at the table every day."
Mr. Turkey Gobbler was so pleased at all this that he went into the house with Grandfather Patrick and Aunt Bridget.
And all the little chickens looked on, and they said to each other: "Why cannot we go into the grand house, and come to the table the same as Mr. Turkey Gobbler? We are just as fine as he."
"Be patient," said Grandfather Patrick; "your time will come."
THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.
"Dear Santa Claus," wrote little Will in letters truly shocking, "I's been a good boy, so please fill a heapen up this stocking. I want a drum to make pa sick and drive my mamma cra- zy. I want a doggie I can kick so he will not get lazy. I want a powder gun to shoot right at my sister Annie, and a big trumpet I can toot just awful loud at granny. I want a dreffle big false face to scare in fits our ba- by. I want a pony I can race around the parlor, maybe. I want a little hatchet, too, so I can do some chopping upon our grand piano new, when mamma goes a-shopping. I want a nice hard rub- ber ball to smash all into flinders, the great big mirror in the hall an' lots an' lots of winders. An' candy that'll make me sick, so ma all night will hold me an' make pa get the doctor quick an' never try to scold me. An' Santa Claus, if pa says I'm naughty it's a story. Jus' say if she whips me I'll die an' surely go to glory."
THE CHRISTMAS CRIB.
From the French of J. Grange, by Th. Xr. K.
There still subsist, in certain provinces of France, old religious customs which are full of charming simplicity. May they endure and ever hold out against the icy breath of skepticism, the cold rules of the beautiful, and the wearisome level of uniformity.
In the churches of Limousin, between Christmas and the Purification, is found a rustic monument called crib. The crib is generally a straw hut, thatched with branches of holly and pine; on these branches are scattered little patches of white wadding, which look like snowflakes. Inside the house, on a bed of straw, lies an Infant Jesus made of wax. All these Infants look alike and are charming; they have blond hair, blue eyes, pink cheeks, and a silk or brocade gown, with gold and silver spangles. To the right of the Child is the Blessed Virgin; to the left, St. Joseph. These are of wax or even of colored pasteboard. A little behind the Holy Family, and forming two distinct groups, may be seen the kings and the shepherds. The shepherds are like peasants of that part of the country, with long hair, big felt hats, and blue drugget vests. Most of them carry in their hands, or in baskets, dairy or farm presents,—fruits, eggs, honey-comb, a pair of doves. As for the kings, they are superbly clothed in long gowns, whose trail is carried by dwarfs. One of them, called the king of Ethiopia, is black and has kinky hair.
In certain cribs, simplicity and exactness are pushed to such lengths, as to represent the ox and the ass, with the rack full of hay. There may be also seen, but less frequently, in the kings' group, camels and dromedaries, covered with rich harness, and led by the bridle by slaves. If you want to do things right and leave nothing out, you must skilfully arrange above the crib a yellow-colored glass in which burns a flame, which represents the star that the Magi perceived and which stopped over the grotto at Bethlehem. Candles and tapers burn before the crib, which is surrounded by some pious women, and a number of children, who never grow weary of admiring the Holy Family and its brilliant retinue.
I was one day in a church where there was one of these cribs. I was hidden by a column and was a witness, without any wish of mine, of the impressions which the little monument made on visitors.
A gentleman, a stranger in the locality, entered the church with a young lady, about eighteen years of age, who seemed to be his daughter. The gentleman took off his hat, put on a smoking cap, and began to visit the church with as much carelessness of demeanor as though it were a provincial museum. The young lady dipped the tips of her fingers in the holy water, sped through a short prayer, and hastened to rejoin her father, with whom she began to chat and laugh.
When they came in front of the crib, the father adjusted his eye-glasses, the daughter took her opera-glass, and for a few minutes they gazed on this scene, new to them.
After gazing a little while, the gentleman shrugged his shoulders and asked:
"What are all those dolls?"
"Papa," replied the daughter, "that is the Stable of Bethlehem, and a simple representation of the birth of Jesus Christ."
"Simple?" exclaimed the father, "you're indulgent to-day, Azemia; you should say grotesque and buffoonish; that it should be possible to push bad taste so far! It is not enough that their mysteries are incomprehensible; here they're trying to make them ridiculous!"
"Goodness, papa," said the young lady; "just think! for the common people and peasants"—
"I tell you, Azemia, that it is absurd and shocking, and that the peasants and the natives themselves must laugh at it. Let us go! I feel myself catching cold here, and dinner must be ready."
They had hardly left the church, when a lady entered with a charming four-year-old baby. The child ran to the crib where the mother joined him after a prayer which seemed to me less summary and more serious than that which the young lady had said.
"Oh! mamma," the child said half aloud; "look at the little Jesus, and the Blessed Virgin, and St. Joseph. See the kings and the shepherds. Oh! mamma, see the star the kings followed and that stopped over the Stable of Bethlehem."
And the child stood on tip-toe and looked with wide-open eyes.
"Mamma," he went on, "see the ass and the ox that were in the stable when the little Jesus came into the world. Oh! the beautiful gray ass! and that ox that is all red; it looks like an ox for sure, like those in the fields. Say, little mother, could I throw a kiss to little Jesus?"