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The Recreations of a Country Parson
Chapter VIII. Concerning the Moral Influences of the Dwelling

WHEN the great Emperor Napoleon was packed off to Elba, he had, as was usual with him, a sharp eye to theatrical effect. Indeed, that distinguished man, during the period of his great elevation as well as of his great downfall, was subject, in a degree almost unexampled, to the tyranny of a principle which in the case of commonplace people finds expression in the representative inquiry, “What will Mrs Grundy say?” Whenever Napoleon was about to do anything particular, or was actually doing anything particular, he was always thinking to himself, “What will Mrs Grundy say?” Of course his Mrs Grundy was a much bigger and much more important individual than your Mrs Grundy, my reader. Your Mrs Grundy is the ill-natured, tattling old tabby who lives round the comer, and whose window you feel as much afraid to pass as if it were a battery commanding the pavement, and as if the ugly old woman’s baleful eyes were so many Lancaster guns. Or perhaps your Mrs Grundy is the good-natured friend (as described by Mr Sheridan) who is always ready to tell you of anything he has heard to your disadvantage, but who would not for the world repeat to you any kind or pleasant remark, lest the vanity thereby fostered should injuriously affect your moral development But Napoleon’s Mrs Grundy consisted of Great Britain and Ireland, Russia, Prussia, Austria, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, the United States; in brief, to Napoleon, Mrs Grundy meant Europe, Asia, Africa, and America. And really when a man is asking himself what the whole civilised world will think and say about what he is doing, and when he feels quite sure that it will think and say something it is excusable if in what he does he has an eye to what Mrs Grundy will think and say.

Accordingly, when the great Emperor was forced to exchange the imperial throne of France for the sovereignty of that little speck in the Mediterranean, his first and most engrossing reflection on his journey to Elba was, What will Mrs Grundy say ? And many thoughts not very pleasant to an ambitious man of unphilosophical temperament would be suggested by the question. He would naturally think, Mrs Grundy will be chuckling over my downfall . Mrs Grundy will be saying that I, and all my aspirations and hopes, have been fearfully smashed. Mrs Grundy will be saying that it serves me right for my impudence. Mrs Grundy will be saying (kindly) that it will do me a great deal of good. Amiable and benevolent old lady 1 Mrs Grundy will be saying that I am now going away to my exile in very low spirits, feeling very bitter, very much disappointed, very thoroughly humbled,—going away (only Napoleon had not read Swift) in the extremity of impotent fury, to “die in a rage, like a poisoned rat in a hole.” Mrs Grundy will be saying that when I get to Elba finally, I shall lead a poor life there; kicking about the dogs and cats, swearing at the servants, whacking the horses viciously, perhaps even throwing plates at the attendants’ heads. Such, the Emperor would think, will be the sayings of Mrs Grundy. And the Emperor, not a man of resigned or philosophical temper, would know that in all this Mrs Grundy would be nearly right But at all events, says Napoleon to himself, she shall not have the satisfaction of thinking that she is so. I shall mortify Mrs Grundy by making her think that I am perfectly jolly. I shall get her to believe that all this humiliation which she has heaped upon me is impotent to touch me where I can really feel. She shall think that she has not found the raw. And so, when Napoleon settled at Elba,—stamped upon his coin, engraven upon his silver plate, emblazoned on his carriage panels, written upon his very china and crockery,—there blazed forth in Mrs Grundy’s view the defiant words, Ubicunque felix!

Now, had Mrs Grundy had much philosophic insight into human conduct and motives, she would have known that her purpose of humilation and em-bitterment was attained, and that all her ill-set sayings had proved right It was because in Elba the great exile was a bitterly disappointed man, that he so ostentatiously paraded before the world the assurance that he was “happy anywhere.” It was because he thought so much of Mrs Grundy, and attached so much importance to what she might say, that he hung out this flag of defiance. If he had really been as happy and as independent of outward circumstances as he said he was, he would not have taken the trouble to say so. Had Napoleon said nothing about himself, but begun to grow cabbages and train flowers, and grown fat and rosy, we should not have needed the motto. But if any man, Emperor or not, trumpet forth on the housetops that he is ubicunqucfclix; and if we find him walking moodily by the sea-shore, with a knitted brow and absent air, and a very poor appetite; why, my reader, the answer to his statement may be conveyed, inarticulately, by a low and prolonged whistle; or articulately, by an advice to address that statement to the marines.

If there be a thing which I detest, it is a diffuse and rambling style. Let any writer always treat his subject in a manner terse and severely logical. My own model is Tacitus, and the earlier writings of Bacon. Let a man say in a straightforward way what he has got to say; and the more briefly the better. And above all, young writer, avoid that fashion which is set by the leading articles of the Times of beginning your observations upon a subject with something which to the ordinary mind appears to have nothing earthly to do with it. By carefully carrying out the advices here tendered to you, you may ultimately, after several years of practice, attain to a limited success as an obscure third-rate essayist.

Napoleon, then (to resume our argument after this little excursus), paraded before the world the declaration that it did not matter to him where he might be; he would be “happy anywhere.” What tremendous nonsense he talked! Why, setting aside altogether such great causes of difference as an unhealthy climate, stupid society or no society at all, usefulness or uselessness, honour or degradation,—I do not hesitate to say that the scenery amid which a man lives, and the house in which he lives, have a vast deal to do with making him what he is. The same man (to use an expression which is only seemingly Hibernian) is an entirely different man when put in a different place. Life is in itself a neutral thing, colourless and tasteless; it takes its colour and its flavour from the scenes amid which we lead it. It is like water, which external influences may make the dirtiest or cleanest, the bitterest or sweetest, of all things. Life, character, feeling, are things very greatly dependent on external influences. In a larger sense than the common saying is usually understood, we are “the creatures of circumstances.” Only very stolid people are not affected by the scenes in which they live. I do not mean to say that an appreciable difference will be produced on a man’s character by varied classes of scenery; that is, that the same man will be appreciably different, morally, according as you place him for days on a rocky, stormy coast; on a level sandy shore; inland in a fertile wooded country; inland among bleak wild hills; among Scotch firs with their long bare poles; horse-chestnuts blazing with their June blossoms; or thick full laurels, and yews, and hollies, thick to the ground, and shutting an external world out. I do not mean to say that ordinary people will feel any appreciable variation of the moral and spiritual atmosphere, traceable for its cause to such variety of scene. A man must be fashioned of very delicate clay, he must have a nervous system very sensitive, morbidly sensitive, perhaps, if such things as these very decidedly determine what he shall be, morally and intellectually, for the time. Yet no doubt such matters have upon many human beings a real effect If you live in a country house into whose grounds you enter through a battle-mented gateway under a lofty arch; if the great leaves of the massive oak and iron gate are swung back to admit you, as you pass from the road outside to the sequestered pleasance within, where the grass, the gravel, the evergreens, the flowers, the winding paths, the little pond, the noisy little brook that passes beneath the rustic bridge, are all cut off from the outer world by a tall battlemented wall, too tall for leaping or looking over,—I think that, at first at least, you will have a different feeling all day, you will be a different man all day, for that arched gateway and that battle-mented wall. You will not feel as if you had come in by a common five-bar gate, painted green, hung from freestone pillars five or six feet high, and shaded with laurels. It is wonderful what an effect is produced upon many minds by even a single external circumstance such as that; nor can I admit that there is anything morbid in the mind which is affected by such things. A very little thing, a solitary outward fact, may, by the influence of associations not necessarily personal, become idealised into something whose flavour reaches, like salt in cookery, perceptibly through all life. “You may laugh as you please,” says one of the most thoughtful and delightful of English essayists, “but life seems somewhat insupportable to me without a pond—a squarish pond, not over clean.” You and I do not know, my readers, what early recollections may have made such a little piece of water something whose presence shall appreciably affect the genial philosopher’s feeling day by day, and hour by hour. The savour .-of its presence (I don’t speak materially) may reach everywhere. And if there be anything which that writer is not, he is not morbid; and he is not fanciful in the sense in which a fanciful person means a chronicler of morbid impressions. And we all remember the little child in Wordsworth’s poem, who persisted in expressing a decided preference for one place in the country above another which appeared likely to have greater attractions; and who, when pressed for his reasons, did, after much reflection, fix upon a single fact as the cause of his preference:—

At Kilve there was no weathercock;
And that’s the reason why.

No one can tell how that weathercock may have obtruded itself upon the little man’s dreams, or how thoroughly its presence may have permeated all his life. I know a little child, three years and a half old, whose entire life for many weeks appeared embittered by the presence of a dinner-bell upon the hall-table of her home. She could not be induced to go near it; she trembled with terror when she heard it rung: it fulfilled for her the part of Mr Thackeray’s famous skeleton. And I am very sure that we have all of us dinner-bells and weathercocks which haunt and worry us, and squarish ponds which give a savour to our life. And for any ordinary mortal to say that he is ubicunquefelix is pure nonsense. Napoleon found it was nonsense even at Elba; and at St Helena he found it yet more distinctly. No man can say truly that he is the same wherever he goes. That sublime elevation above outward circumstances is not attainable by beings all of whom are half, and a great many of whom are a good deal more than half, material. We are all moral chameleons; and we take the colour of the objects among which we arc placed.

Here am I this morning, writing on busily. I am all alone in a quiet little study. The prevailing colour around me is green—the chairs, tables, couches, bookcases, are all of oak, rich in colour, and growing dark through age, but green predominates: wmdow-curtains, table-covers, carpet, rug, covers of chairs and couches, are green. I look through the window, which is some distance off, right before me. The window is set in a frame of green leaves: it looks out on a quiet comer of the garden. There is a wall not far off green with ivy and other climbing plants; there is a bright little bit of turf like emerald, and a clump of evergreens varying in shade. Over the wall I see a round green hill, crowned by oaks which autumn has not begun to make sere. How quiet everything is! I am in a comparatively remote part of the house, and there is no sound of household life; no pattering of little feet; no voices of servants in discussion less logical and calm than might be desired. The timepiece above the fireplace ticks audibly; the fire looks sleepy; and I know that I may sit here all day if I please, no one interrupting me. No man worth speaking of will spend his ordinary day in idleness; but it is pleasant to think that one may divide one’s time and portion out one’s day at one’s own will and pleasure. Such a mode of life is still possible in this country: we do not all as yet need to live in a ceaseless hurry, ever drive, driving on till the wom-out machine breaks down. By and by this life of un-feverish industry, and of work whose results are tangible only to people of cultivation, will no doubt cease; and it will tend materially to hasten that consummation when the views of the Times are carried out, and all the country clergy are required to keep a diary like a rural policeman, shewing how each hour of their time is spent, and open to the inspection of their employers. Now, in a quiet scene like this, where there is not even the little noise of a village near, though I can hear the murmur of a pretty large river, must not the ordinary human being be a very different being from what he would be were he sitting in some gas-lighted counting-house in Manchester, turning over large vellum-bound volumes, adding long rows of figures, talking on sales and prices to a hundred and fifty people in the course of the day, looking out through the window upon a foggy atmosphere, a muddy pavement, a crowded street, huge drays lumbering by with their great horses, with a general impression of noise, hurry, smoke, dirt, confusion, and no rest or peace! It would be an interesting thing for some one equal to the task to go over Addison’s papers in the Spectator, and try to make out the shade of difference in them which might be conceived as resulting from the influences of the place where they were severally written. It is generally understood that the well-known letters by which Addison distinguished his essays referred to the places where they were composed; the letters in the Cuo indicating Chelsea, London, Islington, and the Office. Did the sensitive, shy genius feel that in the production dated from each scene there would be some trace of what Yankees call the surroundings amid which it was produced? No doubt a mind like Addison’s, impassive as he was, would turn off very different material according to the conditions in which the machine was working. As for Dick Steele, probably it made very little difference to him where he was: at the coffee-house table, with noise and bustle all about him, he would write as quietly as though he had been quietly at home. He was indurated by long usage; the hide of a hippopotamus is not sensitive to gentle influences which would be felt by your soft hand, my fair friend. But in the case of ordinary educated men there is no greater fallacy than that suggested by that vile old subject for Latin themes, that coelum, non animum mutant\ qui trans mare currunt. Ordinary people, in changing the caelum, undergo a great change of the animits too. A judicious man would be extremely afraid of marrying any girl in England, and forthwith taking her out to India with him; for it would be quite certain that she would be a very different person there from what she had been here; and how different and in what mode altered and varied only experience could shew. So one might marry one woman in Yorkshire, and live with quite another at Boggley-wollah; and in marriage it is at least desirable to know what it is you are getting. Every one knows people who are quite different people according as they are in town or country. I know a man—an exceedingly clever and learned man—who in town is sharp, severe, hasty, a very little bitter, and just a shade ill-tempered, who on going to the country becomes instantly genial, frank, playful, kind, and jolly: you would not know him for the same man if his face and form changed only half as much as his intellectual and moral nature. Many men, when they go to the country, just as they put off frock coats and stiff stocks, and put on loose shooting suits, big thick shoes, a loose soft handkerchief round their neck; just as they pitch away the vile hard hat of city propriety that pinches, cramps, and cuts the hapless head, and replace it by the light yielding wide-awake; do mentally pass through a like process of relief: their whole spiritual being is looser, freer, less tied up. Such changes as that from town to country must, I should think, be felt by all educated people, and make an appreciable difference in the moral condition of all educated people. Few men would feel the same amid the purple moors round Haworth, and amid the soft English scenery that you see from Richmond Hill. Some individuals, indeed, whose mind is not merely torpid, may carry the same animus with them wherever they go; but their animus must be a very bad one. Mr Scrooge, before his change of nature, was no doubt quite independent of external circumstances, and would no doubt have thought it proof of great weakness had he not been so. Nor was it a being of an amiable character in whose mouth Milton has put the words, “No matter where, so I be still the same.” And even in his mouth the sentiment was rather vapouring than true. But a dull, heavy, prosaic, miserly, cantankerous, cynical, suspicious, bitter old rascal would probably be much the same anywhere. Such a man’s nature is indurated against all the influences of scenery, as much as the granite rock against sunshine and showers.

I dare say there are few people who do not unconsciously admit the principle of which so much has been said. Few people can look at a pretty tasteful villa, all gables, turrets, bay windows, twisted chimneys, verandahs, and balconies, set in a pleasant little expanse of shrubbery, with some fine forest-trees, a green bit of open lawn, and some winding walks through clumps of evergreens, without tacitly concluding that the people who live there must lead a very different life from that which is led in a dull smoky street, and a blackened, gardcnless, grassless, treeless house in town; very different even from the life of the people in the tasteless square stuccoed box, with a stiff gravel walk going up to its door, a few hundred yards off. If you are having a day’s sail in a steamer, along a pretty coast dotted with pleasant villages, you cannot repress some notion that the human beings whom you see loitering about there upon the rocks, in that pure air and genial idleness, are beings of a different order from those around you. You feel that to set foot on that pier, and to mingle with that throng, would carry you away a thousand miles in a moment; and make you as different from what you are as though you had suddenly dropt from the sky into that quiet voluptuous valley of Typee, where Hermann Melville was so perfectly happy till he discovered that all the kindness of the natives was intended to make him the fatter and more palatable against that festival at which he was to be eaten. And no wonder that he felt comfortable, if that happy valley was indeed what he assures us it was:—

There were no cares, griefs, troubles, or vexations, in all Typee. There were none of those thousand sources of irritation that the ingenuity of civilised man has created to mar his own felicity. There were no foreclosures of mortgages, no protested notes, no bills payable, no debts of honour, in Typee; no unreasonable tailors or shoemakers perversely bent on being paid, no duns of any description; no assault and battery attorneys to foment discord, backing their clients up to a quarrel, and then knocking their heads together; no poor relations everlastingly occupying the spare bedchamber, and diminishing the elbow-room at the family-table; no destitute widows, with their children starving on the cold charities of the world; no beggars, no debtors’ prisons, no proud and hard-hearted nabobs in Typee; or, to sum up all in one word—no Money! That root of all evil was not to be found in the valley.

In this secluded abode of happiness there were no cross old women, no cruel step-dames, no withered spinsters, no love-sick maidens, no sour old bachelors, no inattentive husbands, no melancholy young men, no blubbering youngsters, and no squab ling brats. All was mirth, fun, and high good humour.

It is pleasant to read such a description. It is like being carried suddenly from the Royal Exchange on a crowded afternoon, to a grassy, shady bank by the side of a country river. Probably most of us have travelled by railway through a wild country; and when we stopped at some remote station among the hills, have wondered how the people there live, and thought how different their life must be from ours. Nor is it a mere fancy that takes possession of us when we look at the pretty Elizabethan dwelling, the thought of which carried us all the way to the South Pacific. If people are calm enough to be susceptible of external impressions, life really is very different there. I do not say it is necessarily happier; but it is very different. Habit, indeed, equalises the practical enjoyment of all lots, excepting only those of extreme suffering and degradation. Whatever level you get to in the scale of advantage, you soon get so accustomed to it that you do not mind much about it When I used to study metaphysical philosophy, I remember that it appeared to me that this thought supplies by far the most serious of all objections to the doctrine (as taught by nature) of the Divine benevolence. It is a graver objection than the existence of positive evil. That may be conceived to be in some way inevitable; but why should it be that to get a thing instantly diminishes its value to half? I can think of a reason why; and a good reason too: but it is not drawn from the domain of philosophy. A poor fellow, toiling wearily along the dusty road, thinks how happy that man must be who is just now passing him, leaning back upon the cushions of that luxurious carriage, swept along by that pair of smoking thoroughbreds. Of course the poor fellow is mistaken. The man in the carriage is no happier than he. And, indeed, I can say conscientiously that the very saddest, most peevish, most irritable, and most discontented faces I have ever seen, I have seen looking out of extremely handsome carriage windows. Luxury destroys real enjoyment There is more real enjoyment in riding in a wheelbarrow than in driving in a carriage and four. Who does not remember the keen relish of the rapid run in the wheelbarrow of early youth, bumping and rolling about, and finally turning a comer at full speed and upsetting? Who does not remember the delight of the little springless carriage that threatened to dislocate and grind down the bones? But it is indeed much to be lamented, that merely to get near the possession of any coveted thing instantly changes the entire look of it: it may still appear very good and desirable: but the romance is gone. When Mr John Campbell, Student of Theology in St Mary’s College, St Andrews, N.B., was working away at his Hebrew, or drilling the lads to whom he acted as tutor, and living sparingly on a few pounds a year, he would no doubt have thought it a tremendous thing if he had been told that he would yet be a peer—that he would be, first Lord Chief-Justice and then Lord High Chancellor of England— and that he would, upon more than one great occasion, preside over the assembled aristocracy of Britain. But as he got on step by step, the gradation took off the force of contrast: each successive step appeared natural enough, no doubt: and now, when he is fairly at the top of the tree, if that most amiable and able judge should ever wish to realise his elevation, I sup* pose he can do so only by recurring in thought to the links of St Andrews, and to the days when he drilled his pupils in Latin and Greek. Student of divinity, newspaper reporter, utter barrister, King’s Counsel, Solicitor-General, Member for Edinburgh, Attorney-General, Baron Campbell of St Andrews, Chief-Justice of England, Lord Chancellor of Great Britain—each successive point was natural enough when won, though the end made a great change from the Manse of Cupar. And when another Scotch clergyman’s son, from a parish adjoining that of Lord Campbell’s father, also went up to London about the same time, a poor struggling artist, he and all his family would doubtless have thought it a grand elevation, had they been told that he was to become one of the most distinguished members of the Royal Academy. There is something intensely affecting in the letters which the minister of Cults (it was a very poor living) sent to his boy in London, saying that he could, by pinching, send him, if needful, four or five pounds. But before Sir David became the great man he grew, old Mr Wilkie was in his grave: “his son came to honour, and he knew it not” No doubt it was better as it was; but if you or I, kindly reader, had had the ordering of things, the worthy man should have lived to see what would have gladdened his simple heart at last.

Still, making every deduction for the levelling result of getting used to things, a great deal of the enjoyment of life, high or low, depends on the scenery amid which one dwells, and* the house in which one lives—I mean the house regarded even in a merely aesthetic point of view. It needs no argument to prove that if one’s abode is subject to the grosser physical disadvantages of smoky chimneys, damp walls, neighbouring bogs, incurable draughts, rattling windows, unfitting doors, and the like, the result upon the temper and the views of the man thus afflicted will not be a pleasing one. A constant succession of little contemptible worries tends to foster a querulous, grumbling disposition, which renders a human being disagreeable to himself and intolerable to his friends. Real, great misfortunes and trials may serve to ennoble the character; but ever-recurring petty annoyances produce a littleness and irritability of mind. And while great misfortune at once engages our sympathy, petty annoyances ill borne make the sufferer a laughing-stock. There is something dignified in Napoleon smashed at Waterloo; there is nothing fine about Napoleon at St Helena, swearing at his ill-made soup, and cursing up and down stairs at his insufficient allowance of clean shirts.

But I am not now talking of abodes pressed by physical inconveniences. It is somewhat of a truism to say a man cannot be comfortable when he is uncomfortable; and that is the sum of what is to be said on that head. I mean now that one’s home, aesthetically regarded, has much influence upon our enjoyment of life. It is a great matter towards making the best of this world, (and possibly, too, of the next,) that our dwelling shall be a pretty one, a pleasant one, and placed amid pleasant scenes. It is a constant pleasure to live in such a home; and it is a still greater pleasure to make it. I do not think I have ever seen happier people, or people who appeared more thoroughly enviable, than people who have been building a pretty residence in the country. Of course they must be building it for themselves to have the full satisfaction of it; also it must not be too large; and finally, it must not be bigger nor grander than they can afford. The last-named point is essential. A duke inherits his castle—he did not build it; and it is too large and splendid for the peculiar feeling which I am describing. It has its own peculiar charms: the charm of vastness of dwelling and domain; the charm of hoary age and historic memories, and of connexion with departed ancestors, and of associations which the millions of the parvenu cannot buy. But it lacks the especial charm which Scott felt when* he was building Abbotsford; and which lesser men feel when sitting on a stone on a summer morning, and watching the walls going up, listening to the clinking of the chisel, planning out the few acres of ground, and idealising the life which is to be led there; seeing with half-closed eyes that muddy wheel-cut expanse all green and trim; and little Jamie running about the walk which will be there in after-days; and little Lucy diligently planting weeds in the comer where her garden will be. Here, surely, we think, the last days or years may peacefully go by; and her? may we, though somewhat scarred in the battle of life, and somewhat worn with its cares, find a quiet haven at last To me it is always pleasant reading when I fall in with books about planning and building such homes as these. At the mention of the Cottage, and even of the Villa, (though I don’t like that latter word, it sounds vulgar and cockneyfied and affected; but I fear we must accept it, for there is no other which conveys the idea of the modest yet elegant country-house for people of refinement, but not of great means,) there rises up before the mind’s eye, as if by an enchanter’s wand, a whole life of quiet enjoyment Surely, life in the cottage or the country-house might be made a very pleasing, pure, and happy thing. In that unbreathed air, amid those beautiful scenes, surrounded by the gentle processes and teachings of nature, it is but that outward nature and human life should, on some fair summer-day, be wrought into a happy conformity; and we should need no other heaven. Take the outward creation at her best, and for all the thorns and thistles of the Fall, she would do yet!

I find a great pleasure in reading books of practical architecture: and I have lately found out one by an American architect, one Mr Calvert Vaux, which carries one into fresh fields. It is a large handsome volume, luxurious in the size of its type, and admirable for the excellence of its abundant illustrations. I have more to say-of its contents by and by, and shall here say only, that to read such a book with pleasure, the reader must have some little imagination and a good deal of sympathy, so as not to rest on mere architects’ designs and builders’ specifications, but to picture out and enter into the quiet life which these suggest. Everything depends upon that. Therein lies the salt of such a book. The enjoyment of all things beyond eating and drinking arises out of our idealising them. Do you think that a child who will spend an hour delightedly in galloping round the garden on his horse, which horse is a stick, regards that stick as the mere bit of wood? No: that stick is to him instinct with imaginings of a pony’s pattering feet and shaggy mane, and erect little ears. It is not so long since the writer was accustomed to ride on horseback in that inexpensive fashion, but what he can remember all that the stick was; and remember too how sometimes fancy would flag, the idealising power would break down, and from being a horse the stick became merely a stick, a dull, wearisome, stupid thing. And of what little things imagination, thus elevating and enchanting them, can make how much ! You remember the poor little solitary girl, in the wretched kitchen of Sally Brass, in the Old Curiosity Shop. Never was there life more bare of anything like enjoyment than the life which that poor creature led. Think, you folk who grumble at your lot, of a life whose features are sketched by such lines as a dark cellar, utter solitude, black beetles, cold potatoes, cuffs, and kicks. Yet the idealising power could convey some faint tinge of enjoyment even into the cellar of House of Brass. The poor little thing, when she made the acquaintance of Mr Richard Swiveller, inquired of him had he ever tasted orange-peel wine. How was it made, he asked. The recipe was simple: take a tumbler of cold water, put a little bit of orange peel into it, and the beverage is ready for use. It has not much taste, added the little solitary, unless you make believe very much. Sound and deep little philosopher 1 We must apply the same prescription to life, and all by which life is surrounded. You are not to accept them as bare prosaic facts: you must make believe very much. Scott made believe very much at Abbotsford; we all make believe very much at Christmas-time. Likewise at sight of the first snow'-drop in springs after we have begun to grow old; also when hawthorn blossoms and lilacs come again. And what a bare, cold, savourless life is sketched by the memorable lines which set before us the entire character of a man who could not make believe:—

In vain, through every changing year,
Did nature lead him as before;
A primrose by a river’s brim,
A yellow primrose was to him,—
And it was nothing more!

Let me recommend to the man with a taste for such subjects, Mr Sanderson’s Rural Architecture, a neat little manual of a hundred pages, with a number of drawings and ground-plans of labourers’ cottages, pretty little villas, village schools, and farm-steadings. And any reader may call it his upon payment of one shilling. -To the man who has learned to make believe, there will be more than a shilling’s worth of enjoyment in the frontispiece, which is a plain but pretty Gothic cottage, surrounded with trees, a little retired from the road, which is reached through a neat rustic gateway, and with the spire of a village church two hundred yards off, peeping through trees and backed by quiet fields rising into hills of no more than English height A footpath -winds through the field towards the clump of wood in which stands the church. The book is a sensible and well-informed one. Its author tells us, but not till the seventieth page of his hundred, that he is “simply desirous of having an agreeable half-hour’s chat with the reader, who may take a fancy to indulge in the instructive pastime of building his own house, and who does not please to appear thoroughly ignorant of the matter he is about.”

Mr Sanderson appears from his book to have but a poor opinion of human nature. He is by no means a “confidence-man.” The book is full of cautions as to the necessity of closely watching work-people lest they should cheat you, and do their work in a dishonest and insufficient manner. I lament to say that my own little experience leads me to think that these cautions are by no means unnecessary. I do not think that builders and carpenters are as bad as horse-dealers, whose word no man in his senses should regard as of the worth of a pin; but it is extremely advisable to keep a sharp eye upon them while their work is progressing. Work improperly done, or done with insufficient materials, will certainly cause much expense and annoyance at a future day; still, the constantly-recurring statements as to the likelihood of fraud, leave on one’s mind an uncomfortable impression. Our race is not in a sound state. But perhaps it is too severe to judge that a decent-looking and well-to-do individual is a dishonest man, merely because he wall at any time tell a lie to make a little money by it.

There is a satisfaction in finding confirmation of one’s own views in the writings of other men; and so I quote with pleasure the following from Dr South-wood Smith:—

A clean, fresh, and well-ordered house exercises over its inmates a moral, no less than a physical influence, and has a direct tendency to make the members of the family sober, peaceable, and considerate of the feelings and happiness of each other; nor is it difficult to trace a connexion between habitual feelings of this sort and the formation of habits of respect for property, for the laws in general, and even for those higher duties and obligations the observance of which no laws can enforce. Whereas, a filthy, squalid, unwholesome dwelling, in which none of the decencies common to society—even in the lowest stage of civilisation—are or can be observed, tends to make every dweller in such a hovel regardless of the feelings and happiness of each other, selfish, and sensual. And the connexion is obvious between the constant indulgence of appetites and passions of this class, and the formation of habits of idleness, dishonesty, debauchery, and violence.

There is something veiy touching in a description in Household Words of the moral results of wretched dwellings, such as those in parts of Bethnal Green, in the eastern region of London. Miseiy and anxiety have here crushed energy out; the people are honest, but they are palsied by despair:—

The people of this district are not criminal. A lady might walk unharmed at midnight through their wretched lanes. Crime demands a certain degree of energy; but if there were ever any harm in these well-disposed people, it has been tamed out of them by sheer want. They have been sinking for years. Ten years ago, or less, the men were politicians; now, they have sunk below that stage of discontent. They are generally very still and hopeless; cherishing each other; tender not only towards their own kin, but towards their neighbours; and they are subdued by sorrow to a manner strangely resembling the quiet and refined tone of the most polished circles.

Very true to nature! How well one can understand the state of mind of a poor man quite crushed and spirit-broken: poisoned by ceaseless anxiety; with no heart to do anything; many a time wishing that he might but creep into a quiet grave; and meanwhile trying to shrink out of sight and slip by unnoticed! Despair nerves for a little wiiile, but constant care saps, and poisons, and palsies. Nor does it do so in Bethnal Green alone, or only in dwellings which are undrained and unventilated, and which cannot exclude rain and cold. Elsewhere, as many of my readers have perhaps learned for themselves, it has shattered many a nervous system, unstrung many a once vigorous mind, crushed down many a once hopeful spirit, and aged many a man who should have been young by his years.

I suppose it is now coming to be acknowledged by all men of sense, that it is a Christian duty to care for our fellow-creatures’ bodies as well as for their souls; and that it is hateful cant and hypocrisy to pray for the removal of diseases which God by the revelations of Nature has taught us may be averted by the use of physical means, while these means have not been faithfully employed. "When cholera or. typhus comes, let us whitewash blackened walls, flush obstructed sewers, clear away intermural pigsties, abolish cesspools, admit abundant air and light, and supply un stinted water:—and haring done all we can, let us then pray for God’s blessing upon what we have done and for His protection from the plague which by these means we are seeking to hold away from us. Prayers and pains must go together alike in the physical and in the spiritual world. And I think it is now coming to be acknowledged by most rational beings, that houses ought to be pretty as well as healthy; and that houses, even of the humblest class, may be pretty as well as healthy. By the Creator’s kind arrangement, beauty and use go together; the prettiest house will be the healthiest, the most convenient, and the most comfortable. And I am persuaded that great moral results follow from people’s houses being pretty as well as healthy. Every one understands at once that a wretched hovel, dirty, ruinous, stifling, bug-infested, dunghill-surrounded, will destroy any latent love of neatness and orderliness in a poor man; will destroy the love of home, that preservative against temptation which ranks next after religion in the heart, and send the poor man to the public-house, with all its ruinous temptations. But probably it is less remembered than it ought to be, that the home of poor man or well-to-do man ought to be pleasing and inviting, as well as healthy. If not, he will not and cannot have the feeling towards it that it is desirable he should have. And all this is not less to be sought after in the case of people who are so well off that though their home afford no gratification of taste, and even lack the comfort which does not necessarily come with mere abundance, they are not likely to seek refuge at the alehouse, or to take to sottish or immoral courses of any kind. It makes an educated man domestic, it makes him a lover of neatness and accuracy, it makes him gentle and amiable, (I mean in all but very extreme cases,) to give him a pretty home. I wish it were generally understood that it does not of necessity cost a shilling more to build a pretty house of a certain size, than to build a hideous one yielding the like accommodation. Taste costs nothing. If you have a given quantity of building materials to arrange in order, it is just as easy and just as cheap to arrange them in a tasteful and graceful order and collocation, as in a tasteless, irritating, offensive, and disgusting one. Elaborate ornament, of course, costs dear: but it does not need elaborate ornament to make a pleasing house which every man of taste will feel enjoyment in looking at Simple gracefulness is all that is essentially needful in cottage and villa architecture. And in this aesthetic age, when there is a general demand for greater beauty in all physical appliances; when we are getting rid of the vile old willow-pattern, when bedroom crockery must be of graceful form and embellishment, when grates and fenders, chairs and couches, window-curtains and carpets, oilcloth for lobby floors and paper for covering walls, must all be designed in conformity with the dictates of an elevated taste, it is not too much to hope that the day will come when every human dwelling that shall be built shall be so built and so placed that it shall form a picture pleasant to all men to look at It is not necessary to say that this implies a considerable change from the state of matters at present existing in most districts of this country. And I trust it is equally unnecessary to say what school of domestic architecture must predominate if the day we wish for is ever to come. I trust that all my readers (excepting of course the one impracticable man in each hundred, who always thinks differently from everybody else, and always thinks wrong) will agree with me in holding it as an axiom needing no argument to support it, that every building which ranks under the class of villa or cottage, must, if intended to be tasteful or pleasing, be built in some variety of that grand school which is commonly styled the Gothic.

I know quite well that there are many persons in this world who would scout the idea that there is any necessity or any use for people who are not rich to make any provision for their ideal life, for their taste for the beautiful. I can picture to myself some utilitarian old hunks, sharp-nosed, shrivelled-faced, with contracted brow, narrow intellect, and no feeling or taste at all, who would be ready (so far as he was able) to ridicule my assertion that it is desirable and possible to provide something to gratify taste and to elevate and refine feeling, in the aspect and arrangement of even the humblest human dwellings. Beauty, some donkeys think, is the right and inheritance of the wealthy alone; food to eat, clothes to wear, a roof to shelter from the weather, are all that working men should pretend to. And indeed, if the secret belief of such dull grovellers were told, it would be that all people with less than a good many hundreds a-year are stepping out of their sphere and encroach ing on the demesne of their betters, when they aim at making their dwelling such that it shall please the cultivated eye as well as keep off wind and wet Such mortals cannot understand or sympathise with the gratification arising from the contemplation of objects which are graceful and beautiful; and they think that if there be such a gratification at all, it is a piece of impudence in a poor man to aim at it It is, they consider, a luxury to which he has no right ; it is as though a ploughman should think to have champagne on his simple dinner-table. I verily believe that there are numbers of wealthy men, especially in the ranks of those who have made their own wrealth, and who received little education in youth, who think that the supply of animal necessities is all that any mortal (but themselves, perhaps) can need. I have known of such a man, who said with amazement of a youth whose health and life premature care w’as sapping, “He is well-fed, and well-dressed, and well-lodged, and what the capital more can the fellow want?” Why, if he had been a horse or a pig, he would have wanted nothing more; but the possession of a rational soul brings with it pressing wants which are not of a material nature, which are not to be supplied by material things, and which are not felt by pigs and horses. And the craving for surrounding objects of grace and beauty is one of these; and it cannot be killed out but by many years of sordid money-making, or racking anxiety, or grinding want The man whose whole being is given to finding food and raiment and sleep, is but a somewhat more intelligent horse. We have something besides a body, whose needs must be supplied; or if not supplied, then crushed out, and we be brought thus nearer to the condition of being mere soulless bodies. Mr Vaux has some just remarks on the importance of a pleasant home to the young. It is indeed a wretched thing when, whether from selfish heedlessness or mistaken principle, the cravings of youthful imagination and feeling are systematically ignored, and life toned down to the last and most prosaic level. Says Mr Vaux—

It is not for ourselves alone, but for the sake of our children, that we should love to build our homes, whether they be villas, cottages, or log-houses, beautifully and well. The young people are mostly at home : it is their storehouse for amusement, their opportunity for relaxation, their main resource; and thus they are exposed to its influence for good or evil unceasingly: their pliable, susceptible minds take in its whole expression with the fullest possible force, and with unerring accuracy. It is only by degrees that the young hungry soul, bom and bred in a hard, unlovely home, accepts the coarse fate to which not the poverty but the indifference of its parents condemns it. It is many many years before the irrepressible longing becomes utterly hopeless: perhaps it is never crushed out entirely; but it is so stupined by slow degrees into despairing stagnation, if a perpetually-recurring blank surrounds it, that it often seems to die, and to make no sign: the meagre, joyless, torpid home-atmosphere in which it is forced to vegetate absolutely starves it out; and thus the good intention that the all-wise Creator had in view, when instilling a desire for the beautiful into the life of the infant, is painfully frustrated. It is frequently from this cause, and from this alone, that an impulsive, high-spirited, light-hearted boy will dwindle by degrees into a sharp, shrewd, narrow-minded, and selfish youth; from thence again into a prudent, hard, and horny manhood; and at last into a covetous, unloving, and unloved old age. This single explanation is all-sufficient: he never had a pleasant home.

I trust my readers will conclude from this brief specimen of Mr Vaux’s quality, that if he be as thoroughly up in the practice of pleasant rural architecture as he is in the philosophy of it, he will be a very agreeable architect indeed. And, in truth, he is so, and his book is a very pleasant one. It is a handsome royal octavo volume of above three hundred pages; it is prodigally illustrated with excellent w*ood-engravings, which shew the man who intends building a country-house an abundance of engaging examples from which to choose one. Nor are wre shewn merely a number of taking views in perspective; we have likewise the ground-plan of each floor, shewing the size and height of each chamber; and further we are furnished with a careful calculation of the probable expense of each cottage or villa. Nor does Mr Vaux’s care extend only to the house proper: he shew's some good designs for rustic gateways and fences, and some pretty plans for laying out and planting the piece of shrubbery and lawn which surrounds the abode. America, every one knows, is a country where a man must push if he wishes to get on; he must not be held back by any false modesty; and Mr Vaux’s book is not free from the suspicion of being a kind of advertisement of its author, who is described on the title-page as “Calvert Vaux, Architect, late Downing and Vaux, of Newburgh, on the Hudson.” Then, on an otherwise blank page at the end of the volume, we find in large capitals the significant inscription, which renders it impossible for any one who reads the book to say that he does not know where to find Mr Vaux when he wants him:—

“Calvert Vaux, Architect,
'Appleton's Building, 348 Broadway.”

American architecture appears to stand in sad need of improvement Mr Vaux tells us, no doubt very truly, that “ugly buildings are the almost invariable rule.” In that land of measureless forests there is a building material common, which is little used now in Britain—to wit, wood. Still, wood will furnish the material for very graceful and picturesque houses, even when in the rude form of logs; and the true blight of housebuilding in America was less the poverty and the hurry of the early colonists, than their Puritan hatred and contempt of art, and of everything beautiful Further, the democratic spirit could not tolerate the notion of anything being suffered to flourish which, as was wrongly thought, was to minister to the delight of only a select few.

There is something amusing in reading the introductory discourse upon the construction of country-houses, with which Mr Vaux’s book sets out It is odd to witness the trimming, we had almost said the sneaky fashion, in which your Yankee writes about “my country,1” when- he has anything to say in its dispraise. He dares not say what he thinks about America and its people. He must mingle a great deal of insincere compliment with anything in the nature of fault-finding. He writes in mortal terror of the blackguard portion of the press, and he never forgets the great principle, as laid down by Colonel Chollop to Martin Chuzzlewit, that “we air a great people, and we must be cracked up.” Mr Vaux is manifestly of opinion, that Yankee bigotry, stupidity, dollar-worship, want of education, want of taste, and vulgar jealousy of people who are so well off as to be able to cultivate art, have prevented and are preventing any great improvement in domestic or any other architecture. But whenever he has timidly ventured to hint as much, he instantly backs out with every appearance of trepidation, and hastens to make up for his delinquency by some extravagant eulogy of “our people and our institutions.” It should seem that there is in America a cry for an original and purely Afnerican style of architecture; some bold spirits object to the notion of being indebted to the Old World for anything whatsoever, and thus modestly does Mr Vaux suggest to such that they are talking nonsense;—

Webster and Clay were orators of originality, but their words were all old. Their stock-in-trade is common property in the form of a dictionary, and the boundary lines over which neither ever ventured to pass are fairly set forth in a good grammar. Any desire on their part to invent a bran-new language would have been absurd, and any wish to produce a brand new style of building is, without doubt, an equally senseless chimera.

It is not, by the way, entirely true that the Yankees have been content to take the old words of England, and aim at originality only by the new arrangement of these hackneyed materials. They have really made some progress in the invention of a “brand new language,” but it may be doubted whether it is as good as the old.

It appears that there are various respects in which American houses differ materially from those of Britain. A most uncomfortable and unpleasant arrangement is that dining-rooms are generally in the basement; story; that is, they are a sort of cellars underground, lighted solely by area 'windows. In town or country, but even, more in the country, a more cheerless and disgusting plan could hardly be conceived. It comes of the essentially Yankee belief that a dining-room is merely a place of shelter into which people are to rush wildly, bolt huge blocks of food with breathless haste and in total silence, and then rush out again whenever the necessities of nature have been supplied. They have no notion over there of the social, genial, refined, and elevating “Art of Dining.” And not knowing how to dine, of course they do not know how to provide a fitting scene for that civilised and civilising usage. Well says Mr Vaux:—

The fact is, that the art of eating and drinking wisely and well is so important to our social happiness, that it deserves to be developed under somewhat more favourable circumstances than is possible in a basement dining-room.

Another peculiarity of the domestic architecture of the States is, that the houses must be very compact, and the distances within the walls short, on account of the extreme badness, inefficiency, and insolence of the servants. Not servants, by the by; they repudiate any such title of subjection—they are “helps.” Great pains must be taken to consult their feelings and lighten their work, otherwise they are likely to remind you of the fundamental principle ol the American constitution, that all men (except niggers) are equal (equal, of course, in stature, in strength, in speed, in talent, in education, in good luck, in dollars); and so to walk off and leave you to do your house-work for yourself. Then it appears that various appliances essential to comfort, which in England are found in the residence of the poorest gentleman, are in America comparatively rare. They would probably cause a man to be suspected of aristocratic tendencies, and lead to his being scarified in the New York Key-hole Listener, or the New York Daily Stabler. In what country but America would it have been regarded as a noble spectacle, when the President lately, on reaching a hotel at the end of a journey, declined to wash in a private bed-room, and insisted on taking his turn at a spout in the hall, and his share of the common soap and the grimy towel 1 Would not the disgusting claptrap have anywhere else met the contempt which it richly deserved? Again, a peculiar influence is exerted on architecture and architects by the fact that when a spry Yankee wishes to build a house, he very generally thinks to overreach his architect and builder by pretending that he wants much less accommodation than he is resolved to have; thinking that, the contract once made, and begun to be executed, he will be able to squeeze more work out for the same price. It is gratifying to know that in such cases he usually meets his match, and has to pay smartly; and then for the remainder of his life he goes about grumbling that architects’ plans cost much more money to execute than their employers are led in the first instance to believe will be necessary. How lamentable that the exercise of a noble art should ever be degraded into a conflict between a couple of rogues, each trying to outwit the other!

American houses are for the most part square boxes, with no character at all. They are generally painted white, with bright green blinds: the effect is staring and ugly. In America, a perfectly straight line is esteemed the line of beauty, and a cube the most graceful of forms. Two large gridirons, laid across one another, exhibit the ground-plan of the large towns. Two smaller gridirons represent the villages. Mr Vaux is strong for the use of graceful curves, and for laying out roads with some regard to the formation of the ground, and the natural features of interest But a man of taste must meet many mortifications in a country where the following barbarity could be perpetrated:—

In a case that recently occurred near a country town at some distance from New York, a road was run through a very beautiful estate, one agreeable feature of which was a pretty though small pond, that, even in the dryest seasons, was always full of water, and would have formed an agreeable adjunct to a country-seat A single straight pencil line on the plan doubtless marked out the direction of the road: and as this line happened to go straight through the pond, straight through the pond was the road accordingly carried, the owner of the estate personally superintending the operation, and thus spoiling his sheet of water, diminishing the value of his lands, and incurring expense by the cost of filling-in, without any advantage whatever; for a winding road so laid out as to skirt the pond would have been far more attractive and agreeable than the harsh, straight line that is now Rcored like a railway track clear through the undulating surface of the property; and such barbarisms are of constant occurrence.

No doubt they are, and they are of frequent recurrence nearer home. I have known places where, if you are anxious to get a body of men to make any improvement upon a church or school-house, it is necessary that you should support your plan solely by considerations of utility. Even to suggest the increase of beauty which would result would be quite certain to knock the entire scheme on the head.

Some features of American house-building follow from the country and climate. Such are the verandahs, and the hooded windows which form part of the design of every villa and every cottage represented in Mr Vaux’s book. The climate makes these desirable, and even essential. Such, too, is the abundance of houses built of wood, several designs for such houses being of considerable pretension. And only a hurried and hasty people, with little notion of building for posterity, would accept the statement, that in building with brick, eight inches thick are quite enough for the walls of any country-house, however large. The very slightest brick walls run up in England are, I believe, at least twelve inches thick. The materials for roofing are very different from those to which we are accustomed. Slates are little used, having to be brought from England; tin is not uncommon. Thick canvas is thought to make a good roof when the surface is not great; zinc is a good deal employed; but the favourite roofing material is shingle, which makes a roof pleasing to American eyes.

It is agreeably varied in surface, and assumes by age a soft, pleasant, neutral tint that harmonises with any colour that may be used in the building.

I am not much captivated by Mr Vaux’s description of the representative American drawing-room, which, it appears, is entitled the best parlour:—

The walls are hard-finished white, the woodwork is white, and a white marble mantelpiece is fitted over a fire-place which is never used. The door is covered with a carpet of excellent quality, and of a large and decidedly sprawling pattern, made up of scrolls and flowers in gay and vivid colours. A round table with a cloth on It, and a thin layer of books in smart bindings, occupies the centre of the room, and furnishes about accommodation enough for one rather small person to sit and write a note at. A gilt mirror finds a place between the windows. A sofa occupies irrevocably a well-defined space against the wall, but it is just too short to lie down on, and too high and slippery with its spring convex seat to sit on with any comfort. It ia also cleverly managed that points or knobs (of course ornamental and French-polished) shall occur at all those places towards which a wearied head would naturally tend, if leaning back to snatch a few moments* repose from fatigue. There is also a row of black walnut chairs, with horse-hair (!) seats, all ranged against the white wall. A console-table, too, under the minor, with a white marble top and thin gilt brackets. I think there is a piano. There is certainly a triangular stand for knick-knacks, china, &c., and this, with some chimney ornaments, completes the furniture, which is all arranged according to stiff, immutable law. The windows and Venetian blinds are tightly closed, the door is tightly shut, and the best room is in consequence always ready—for what? For daily use ? Oh, no ; it is in every way too good for that For weekly use? Not even for that; but for company use. And thus the choice room, with the pretty Anew, is sacrificed to keep up a conventional show of finery which pleases no one, and is a great, though unacknowledged, bore to the proprietors.

I am not sure that we in this country have much right to laugh at the folly which maintains such chilly and comfortless apartments. Even so uninhabited and useless is many a drawing-room which I could name on this side of the Atlantic. What an embodiment of all that is stiff, repellent, and uneasy, are the drawing-rooms of most widow ladies of limited means! My space does not permit another extract from Mr Vaux, in which he explains his ideal of the way in which a cottage parlour should be arranged and furnished. Very pleasantly he sketches an unpretending picture, in which snugness and elegance, the uiile and the dulce, are happily and inexpensively combined. But even here Mr Vaux feels himself pulled up by a vision of a hard-headed and close-fisted old Yankee, listening with indignation, and bursting out with “This will never do!”

I may remark, in passing, that Mr Vaux has no earthly idea of the way to build a church. He says, no doubt with truth, that nothing can be more revolting to any man of taste than the meeting-houses which are found throughout the States, which are generally in the shape of “a wooden caricature of a Grecian temple.” He insists, very justly, that the house of God ought to be “ the purest, the noblest, and the best architectural work our minds can conceive and our hands execute.” And then he gives a view of a design for a church which strikes me as being the ugliest and most unmeaning I have seen for a long time. I can say honestly that, after the deepest meditation, I cannot for my life guess whether Mr Vaux intends his church to be Gothic or Grecian. The truth is, Mr Vaux knows no more how to design a church than I do how to find the longitude. It is impossible that any man in the United States should know how to build a church, for no man -who has lived there all his life has ever seen a decent church. In America, ui> happily, there is no National Church, and accordingly the means are lacking which should cover the land with solemn and beautiful ecclesiastical buildings, whose existence should be a spur even to the erectors of dissenting meeting-houses to struggle at some cheap imitation of them. And do you think that a thrifty republican would give his dollars to build York Minster or Canterbury Cathedral! No; he would flare up at such monstrous waste, as Judas grumbled at the waste of the ointment.

We talk about houses, my friend; we look at houses; but how little the stranger knows of -what they are I Search from cellar to garret some old country-house, in which successive generations of boys and girls have grown up, but be sure that the least part of it is that which you can see, and not the most accurate inventory that ever was drawn up by appraiser will include half its belongings. There are old memories crowding about every comer of that home unknown to us: and to minds and hearts far away in India and Australia everything about it is sublimed, saddened, transfigured into something different from what it is to you and me. You know for yourself, my reader, whether there be not something not present elsewhere about the window where you sat when a child and learned your lessons, the table once surrounded by many merry young faces which will not surround it again in this world, the fireside where your father sat, the chamber where your sister died. Very little indeed can sense do towards shewing us the Home, or towards shewing us any scene which has been associated with human life and feeling and embalmed in human memories. The same few hundred yards along the sea-shore, which are nothing to one man but so much ribbed sea-sand and so much murmuring water, may be to another something to quicken the heart’s beating and bring the blood to the cheek. The same green path through the spring-clad trees, with the primroses growing beneath them, which lives in one’s memory year after year with its fresh vividness undiminished, may be in another merely a vague recollection, recalled with difficulty or not at all.

Each in his hidden sphere of joy or woe,
Our hermit spirits dwell and range apart;
Our eyes see all around in gloom or glow,
Hues of their own, fresh borrow’d from the heart.

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