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only it was a somewhat different feel- he makes; he flings himself up as it ing-a pleasure of a pensive kind with were before your footsteps out of the something of mystery in it. He did brown heath and pale tall grasses and not sing, even on those bright days or old dead bracken, and goes off as if hours in January which caused such blown away by the wind and resilent ones as the corn bunting and turns to you as if blown back, and pied wagtail to break out in melody. hovers and goes to this side, then to The bell-like tinkling strain he utters that, now close to you, a little sombre when soaring up and dropping to earth bird, and now in appearance a mere is for summer only: it is that faint dead leaf or feather whirled away by fairy-like aerial music which you hear the blast. During this uncertain flight on wide moors and commons and and when, at intervals, he drops on to lonely hillsides. In winter he has a rock close by, he continues to emit no language but that one sharp sor- the sharp sorrowful note, and if you rowful little call, or complaint, the listen it infects your mind with its most anxious sound uttered by any lit- sadness and mystery. You can even tle bird in these islands. It is a sound imagine that the wind-blown feaththat suits the place, and when the ered mite is not what it seems, a pipit, wind blows hard, bringing the noise of but a spirit of the place in the shape of the waves to your ears, and the salt a mournful little bird-a spirit that spray; when all the sky is one gray cannot go away, or die, or ever forget cloud, and driving mists sweep over the unhappy things it witnessed in a the earth at intervals blurring the out- pain of pity and terror long ages gone, line of the hills, that thin but penetra- when an ancient people, or a fugitive tive little sad call seems more appro- remnant, gathered at this desolate end priate than ever and in tune with Na- of all the land; so old a tragedy that ture and the mind. The movements, it was forgotten on the earth and all too, of the unhappy little creature who had part in it turned to dust thouhave their share in the impression sands of years ago. The Saturday Review.
W. H. Hudson.
THE RETIREMENT OF LORD CROMER.
As to some men who have accomplished notable work, and enjoyed a high reputation amongst their contemporaries, it may be permissible to doubt whether their fame will be enduring. When a record is scrutinized by posterity it sometimes appears that the doer of great things has been aided by accident, has blundered into the right path, or profited without acknowledgment by other men's labors. No such uncertainty can be felt about Lord Cromer. Modern Egypt is of his making. He took up the task when the Valley of the Nile lay in the anarchy left by the Arabi rebellion and
but partially controlled by the unacknowledged, half-tentative British occupation. He guided the feeble and hesitating steps of Tewfik, and sat calmly, waiting for the chance that seemed never to be coming, when the Soudan was abandoned to barbarism. During the vacillations and ignominious rushes, first forwards and then backwards, that resulted in Gordon's hopeless adventure and tragic end, the imperturbable administrator bided his time. Neither Turkish intrigue nor Nationalist agitation could shake him in the saddle, and he defeated the dexterous and persistent diplomacy of
France by his unrivalled capacity for sitting tight. As he impressed civilized adversaries by quiet doggedness. so he puzzled tricky Orientals by his absence of guile. He was a man, they found, who could not be deceivedsubtler than the subtlest amongst them-yet he never employed the arts in which he was their master.
His coolness of judgment and tenacity of purpose were shown first when he gave young Abbas Pasha the schooling which he required, and firmly made him understand the conditions on which he was retained on the throne. His courage and adroitness were displayed, to those who stood behind the scenes, first in the Fashoda crisis, when the very life-blood of Egypt was threatened at its source by an adventurous French captain, and again last year, when Turkey attempted to establish itself in the Sinaitic peninsula and threaten the lost province on its flank. Once again we stood on the verge of war with a great military Power, but the crisis was passed almost before the peril had been realized. Whether he was dealing with Lord Rosebery, Lord Salisbury, or Sir Edward Grey, he always inspired absolute confidence in his Chief, and thus the Foreign Secretary was enabled to bear down the opposition of hesitating or recalcitrant members of the Cabinet. "This is Lord Cromer's advice"-the Minister who could use these words had carried his point. And the singular influence which he wielded over his countrymen, without distinction of Party, was acknowledged by foreign statesmen. Step by step he induced the Powers who claim some interest, near or remote, in Egypt to stand aside and let him carry out his plans for the reorganization of order and industry in Lower Egypt and for the recovery of the Soudan. was a remarkable and continuous feat in unpretentious diplomacy-a triumph
of character over cleverness. His last Report, published not a fortnight ago, explains his scheme for modifying the worst features of the Capitulations system. We may hope that his successor, Sir Eldon Gorst, an able son of an able father, and trained for sixteen years under Lord Cromer's eye, may be able to complete the work of his great Chief. He has had experience in that country second only to that of the retiring diplomat himself, and he may doubtless be trusted to continue his policy. But whether he is the best man that could have been chosen to cope with the rising tide of Nationalism remains to be seen. It cannot be ignored that beneath the calm which appears upon the Egyptian surface there lurks a danger against which Lord Cromer, in his valedictory despatch, has warned the Government to be prepared.
Nor is it fair to ignore the acknowledgment paid by the retiring administrator to the present Government. It is clear that the only reason for his retirement is the one assigned. We all hope that his health may soon be restored, and that he will spend many happy years in the literary studies to which he has devoted some of the leisure snatched from labors enormous in the sheer amount of work accomplished and exhausting because the sense of responsibility could never be shaken off. True, that he was well served, because he had the gift of choosing good men and training them to their task. But in the troublous and uncertain crises through which he guided his chosen people, success and safety often depended on his personal prestige. It has been said that Egypt is the Nile and the Nile is Egypt. For nearly a quarter of a century Lord Cromer has been Egypt and Egypt has been Lord Cromer. There are no honors or rewards, if he cares for either, which would be excessive for the be
nevolent despot who has now withdrawn into private life. It is one of the interesting anomalies of our time that the man who has exercised for so many years an authority more absolute than Tsar, Kaiser, or Mikado, held no higher function than that of ConsulThe Outlook.
General in a land over which we have not even asserted a Protectorate. True Englishman as he was, a typical maker of Empire, Lord Cromer cared nothing for the name so long as he had firm hold of the substance.
THE CHANGELESSNESS OF CHARACTER.
We hear a good deal nowadays about changes in character, about dual personality, the mental results of accident and illness, and of moral metamorphoses of all kinds. No doubt many of these phenomena cannot be denied. On the other hand, they are of such rare occurrence that the discussion of them is more or less academic. The most permanent element in life is, af ter all, the element of character. Indeed, it is the only thing upon which, among the changes and chances of life, we can count at all:
The earth (great mother of us all), That only seems unmoved and permanent,
And unto Mutability not thrall,
Yet is she changed in part and eke in generall.
In nine hundred and ninety-nine cases out of a thousand, men and women do not change, except outwardly. The man we knew ten years ago and know now is the man we shall know ten years hence if we are both alive. He may make a fortune or he may lose one. He may succeed or he may fail. His wealth or his poverty may take him into a new society or into new surroundings, it may give him a new manner, but it will not make him a new man. We may send him away because he is a scamp to somewhere where scampishness does not obtrusively show. But men are not made saints by climate or by the absence of
civilized restraints; neither are they made sinners, though their natural tendencies sometimes find fuller scope in a freer world. A man may grow stronger or feebler in health as the years go by, he must grow older, he may grow wiser, but in character he is most unlikely to change. We do not deny that the experience of life has some effect upon the proportions of character. Circumstances may develop a man's will at the expense of his judgment, or his power of discrimination to the detriment of his power of decision. Trouble may sharpen his sympathies or luck increase a natural buoyancy. But these changes are, so to speak, functional; they are not organic. There are always possibilities) of improvement and deterioration, but these take place almost always along strictly prescribed lines, and tend to accentuate rather than to obliterate the natural characteristics. The impulsive man will not become cautious, or the cautious man rash, though education may do something to make both of them more reasonable. It looks sometimes as though there were not tears enough in the world to quench the hopes of the naturally hopeful, or happiness enough to inspirit those who are naturally depressed. After each separate satisfaction the discontented man "falls back," as Dr. Johnson said, "into the habit of wishing," and after each rebuff of fortune the cheerful fellow resumes his habit of thankfulness.
The only thing which seems really to modify character is a serious change of conviction, and even that change, unless assisted by religious emotion, has seldom any very marked effect. While they are still young, men often entirely alter their political opinions, but as a rule they turn to those views which best befit their character, having received the discarded set at second hand and without serious consideration from their parents. The man who was early taught that the world exists to supply a certain section of society with comfort, amusement, and an outlet for their energies, and to consider the good of the many only so far as is expedient in the interests of the few, and who attained to years of discretion before he questioned his creed, may become-in accordance with his character-a philanthropist and a democrat. On the other hand, a man who at twenty, or even at twenty-five, believed that all questions, both moral and social, could be settled by counting heads, may become-again in accordance with his character-a firm believer in the government of the wise. The effects of upbringing last longer with some than with others. We can well imagine that the experience of a war might turn a youth at the University from a peace-at-any-price Little Englander into a Jingo Imperialist. The same war upon another under-graduate might have an exactly opposite effect. Their characters would not be changed, but a great event would have brought each man to himself, and forced him to shake off his inherited prejudices, or should we say pre-judgments? Nevertheless, the exception exists. A man who at the height of his powers deliberately changes his mind goes through a terrible mental ordeal, one which leaves its mark upon every part of his being; but, as a rule, the change owes little to circumstances. Sudden reve
lations and sudden disillusionments do occur, and then, as it were, the continuity of character is broken, and we do not know for good or evil what will happen next; but those common joys and sorrows to which flesh is heir have no such revolutionary effect. Sometimes when our friends have had some great blow or some great stroke of fortune we feel almost afraid to see them. We have a vague fear that they will be different; but almost always we say to ourselves, as we think over the dreaded moment, that they were "just like themselves."
If we discuss women as apart from men, it is almost more true of them than of their husbands and brothers that they are as they were made. How often does a frivolous woman become serious, or a hard one kind, or vice versâ? Did any one ever know a candid woman who became deceitful, or a schemer who became simple? If we know her only slightly, we may mistake the light heart of youth for frivolity, or a discontented spirit for a thoughtful disposition, or take tact for subtlety or subtlety for tact; and so we may think as the years go on that a radical change has taken place in her character. But ask her family or her intimate friends. They have fallen into no such error. Again, among women opinions may be said to be almost invariably the outcome of character, always admitting that those who have, as Pope said, "no character at all" are yet as a rule well supplied with ready-made opinions. The woman who thinks will always think the same. Not that women are less charitable than men. The best women are far more so. Perhaps no man is as well able as some women to hold absolutely to a given view while appreciating fully the mind and the motives of some one who holds the direct opposite. There are cases where a woman's want of logic assists her
judgment in a marked degree. The exceptional woman may force herself to it; but she has not as a rule any great desire to look into the evidence on the opposite side. Who has? tain men belonging to the intellectual class to whom continuous and ordered thinking has given the courage to risk a conviction, and in whom mental gallantry is the splendid flower of mental discipline. No one else. It is said that it is always a woman who makes a home, and we think it is partly because women supply at every turn the element of permanence we all long for. They may not be open-minded, but, in spite of the poets, they are constant.
After all, what amount of evidence can produce the certainty which is often produced by knowledge of character? How often do we stake our all upon the fact that So-and-so is "safe" and will keep our secret, or honest and will not take our money, or honorable and The Spectator.
will not repeat our careless words. If it were not so, if changes in character were really common, civilized life would be impossible. To look at the lighter side of the picture, what amusement could life afford to quiet, respectable people who desire smiles and not excitement if it were common for all the actors whom they from their corner can see upon the stage of life to play out of their rôles? Life would not be a drama at all. It would be a horrible medley of half-seen acts and broken dialogue. It is the strict limitation which the changelessness of character puts upon the mutability of things which makes life both dear and entertaining, which mitigates the terrible sense of chance and instability that occasionally makes the heart of the strongest man stand still with terror, and supplies to men and women that never-ending source of recreation and enjoyment which we call "human interest."
WORDS TO CONJURE WITH.
Thought transference, or clairvoyance, or second sight is a mode of motion very easy to believe in. It might be argued that it owes its revived popularity in some measure to wireless telegraphy. If a sound-wave that can only be detected by an intensely delicate instrument may traverse immense distances along the roadway of the mysterious ether, why should not the vibrations involved in the process of thought pass from one brain to another attuned by some accident to these particular notes?
Star to star vibrates light. May soul to soul
Strike through some finer element of its own?
Men of science pretend to have discovered that the brain is distinctly hot
ter when a man, for example, reads poetry to himself than when he reads it aloud, but whether this be true or no it is quite certain that intense thinking is accompanied by internal vibration and it is logically possible, one may almost say likely, that the message of this vibration should be detectable if any instrument were sensitive enough. So it happens that the world lends a ready ear to the marvels of clairvoyance. In a little book1 just published, clairvoyance is said to have been invented by Robert Houdin, the conjurer in the forties of the last century, but though he may have been the first to use the phrase "seconde vue," similar tricks, if they are tricks, have been practised from very early
1 "Thought Reading." By Frederick Wicks London: Simpkin, Marshall. 1s.