The Gentleman in Literature

by William A. Quayle

Humor is half pathos and more. This sword has two edges. On the one, shining like burnished silver, you may see smiles reflected as from a mirror; on the other, tears stand thick, like dews on flowers at early morning of the later spring. Humor is a dual faculty, as much misconceived by those who listen as by those who speak. We do not always have wit to know the scope of what we do. Thoughts of childhood, says the poet, are long, long thoughts; but who supposes childhood knows they are? Nor is this altogether a fault. To feel the sublime sequence of all we did would burden us as Atlas was burdened by holding up the sky. Life might easily come to be sober to somberness, which is a thing unwholesome and undesirable. Sunlight must have its way. Darkness must not trespass too far; and every morning says to every night, "Thus far, but no farther."

To many readers, Don Quixote seems fantastic, and Cervantes a laughter-monger. Cervantes had suffered much. His life reads like a novelist's tale. He belonged to the era of Spenser and Shakespeare; of Philip II and William the Silent; of Leicester and Don John of Austria; of The Great Armada and the Spanish Inquisition; of Lope de Vega and Cervantes—for he was, in the Hispanian peninsula, his own greatest contemporary—and to this hour this battle-scarred soldier of fortune stands the tallest figure of Spanish literature. His was a lettered rearing, and a young manhood spent as a common soldier. At Lepanto he lost hand and arm. In five long, weary, and bitter years of slavery among Algerine pirates, he held up his head, being a man; plotted escape in dreams and waking; fought for freedom as a pinioned eagle might; was at last rescued by the Society for the Redemption of Slaves; sailed home from slavery to penury; came perilously near the age of threescore, poverty-stricken and unknown, when, like a sun which leaps from sunrise to noon at a single bound, this maimed soldier sprang mid-sky, impossible to be ignored or forgotten, and disclosed himself, the marked Spaniard of his era; and on the same day of 1616, Cervantes and Shakespeare stopped their life in an unfinished line, and not a man since then has been able to fill out the broken meaning. This man had not wine, but tears to drink. Yet he jests, and the world laughs with him; though we feel sure that while his age and after ages laugh and applaud, Miguel Cervantes sits with laughter all faded from his face, and the white look of pain settled about his lips, while tears "rise in the heart and gather to the eyes." Tears sometimes make laughter and jest the wilder. Men and women laugh to keep their hearts from breaking.

Cervantes has ostensibly drawn a picture of a madman, and in fact has painted a gentleman. What his intent was, who can be so bold as to say? What part of his purpose was, we know. He would excoriate a false and flippant chivalry. Contemporaneous chivalry he knew well; for he had been a common soldier, wounded and distressed. He had seen what a poor triviality that once noble thing had grown to be. Institutions become effete. Age is apt to sap the strength of movements as of men. Feudalism and the Crusades had commissioned the knight-errant; and now, when law began to hold sword for itself, the self-constituted legal force—knight-errantry—was no longer needed. But to know when an institution has served its purpose is little less than genius. Some things can be laughed down which can not be argued down. A jest is not infrequently more potent than any syllogism. Some things must be laughed away, other things must be wept away; so that humor and pathos are to be ranked among the mighty agents for reform. And one purpose Cervantes had was to laugh a tawdry knight-errantry off the stage. In long years of soldiery, I doubt not he had grown to hate this empty boast, and his nursed wrath now breaks out like a volcano. This was his apparent purpose—but who can say this was all his purpose? "King Lear" has a double action. Mayhap, Don Quixote has a double meaning. We are always attaching meanings to works of genius. But you can not tie any writer's utterance down to some poor altitude. Great utterances have at least a half-infinite application. Tennyson felt this, saying—as we read in his son's biography of him—regarding explanations of his "Idyls of the King:" "I hate to be tied down to 'this means that,' because the thought within the image is much more than any one interpretation;" and, "Poetry is like shot-silk, with many glancing colors. Every reader will find his own interpretation according to his ability, and according to his sympathy, with the poet." What is true of poetry is true of all imaginative literature. An author may not have analyzed his own motive in its entirety. In any case, we may hold to this, Don Quixote was a gentleman, and is the first gentleman whose portrait is given us in literature. We have laughed at Don Quixote, but we have learned to love him. The "knight of the rueful countenance," as we see him now, is not himself a jest, but one of literature's most noble figures; and we love him because we must. Was it mere chance that in drawing this don, Cervantes clothed him with all nobilities, and shows him—living and dying—good, courageous, pure; in short, a man? This scarcely seems a happening. Seas have subtle undercurrents. I venture, Don Quixote has the same, and marks the appearance of a gentleman in literature, since which day that person has been a recurring, ennobling presence on the pages of fiction and poetry.

A gentleman is a comparatively recent creation in life, as in letters. Christ was the foremost and first gentleman. After him all gentility patterns. With the law of the imagination we are familiar, which is this: Imagination deals only with materials supplied by the senses. Imagination, in other words, is not strictly originative, but, rather, appropriative, giving a varied placing to images on hand, just as the kaleidoscope makes all its multiform combinations with a given number of pieces. Imagination does not make materials, is no magician, but is an architect. Admitting this law, we can readily see how the creation of a gentleman does not lie in the province of imagination. Homer's heroes are the men Homer knew, with a poetic emphasis on strength, stature, prowess. His era grew warriors and nothing else, and so Homer paints nothing else. Human genius has limits. Man is originative in character; and poets—"of imagination all compact"—catch this new form of life, and we call the picture poetry. All civilization, to the days of Jesus, produced but one character, so far as we may read, worthy to be thought entire gentleman, and this was Joseph, the Jew, premier of Egypt. He is the most manly man of pre-Christian civilizations. Or probably Moses must be listed here. Classic scholarship can show no gentleman Greece produced. Greek soil grew no such flowers beneath its radiant sky. Plato was a philosopher—not gentleman. Socrates was an iconoclast, but not a manly man and helpful spirit. Greek heroes were guilty of atrocious and unthinkable sins. Test them by this canon of Alfred Tennyson: "I would pluck my hand from a man, even if he were my greatest hero or dearest friend, if he wronged a woman or told her a lie;" and, so tested, where must Greek heroes be classified? Greece and Rome produced heroes, but not gentlemen. Julius Caesar was the flower of the Latin race. Nothing approximates him. Great qualities cluster in him like stars in the deep sky. But his ambition was like to that of Milton's Satan, and his lust was a bottomless pit. As a national heroic figure, Julius Caesar is dazzling as a sun at summer noon; but as a gentleman he cuts poorer figure than Lancelot or Sir Tristram. The gentleman is not an evolution, but a creation. Christ created the gentleman as certainly as he created the world.

Now, literature is what Emerson says genius is, a superlative borrower. The state of a civilization at a given time will gauge the poet's concept. He can not pass beyond the world's noblest notions to his hour. If Greece and Rome produced no man, settle to it that Greek and Roman literatures will produce no man. Sculptor, as Phidias; statesman, as Pericles; dramatist, as Aeschylus; general, as Themistocles; stern justice, as Aristides,—Greece can show; and such characters the historians, dramatists, and epic poets will delineate and celebrate. Horace is a looking-glass, and holds his genius so as to catch the shadows of men passing by. This poets do, and can do no more. They are not strictly creative. We mistake their mission. God has somehow kept the creative power in his own possession. Men can appropriate; God can create. So what we find is, that ancient literature never attempted depicting a gentleman. Those days had no such persons. But Christ came and set men a-dreaming. He filled men's souls to the brim with expectation and wonder akin to fear and anticipation of impossibilities; and what he was, men fondly and greatly dreamed they might aspire to be. And thus the gentleman became a prospective fact in life and after life, in literature; for we think it has been fairly shown how literature produces no type till life has produced it first. Literature is not properly productive, but reproductive; not creative, but appropriative. As men climb a mountain on a dark, still night, to watch a sunrise, so the race began to climb toward manhood. The night was long, and this mountain taller than Himalayas; and man slept not, but climbed. His groping toward this sunrise of soul is the epic of history. Dante knew not a gentleman, and could not dream him therefore. Mediaevalism learned to paint the Madonna's face, but not manhood's look. Character is the last test of genius. Man saw gray streaks of dawn, rimming far, ragged peaks, and still he climbed; and, on a morning, beheld the sunrise! And if you will note, 't is Don Quixote standing on the mountain's crest.

Some things can be adequately represented in marble. For "the Laocoon" marble is probably the best method of expression. Fear, superhuman effort, anguish, brute strength mastering human strength,—these are the thoughts to be expressed, and are brought out in marble with singular clearness and fidelity. For some things color is a necessity; and marble would be totally inadequate. "The Greek Slave" may be put in stone; the bewildering face of a world's Christ can never be seriously attempted in marble, the futility of such attempt being so apparent. Color, lights and shadows are essential to give hints of deep things of deep soul. Hoffman must have canvas and colors. You must paint the Christ. And some facts can not be painted. They are abstract, and can not be intimated by anything short of words. You can paint a man—Saul of Tarsus, or Charlemagne—but can not paint a gentleman; for he represents no single majesty, but an essential and intricate balance of all useful, great, and noble qualities. He can be painted only by words; so that literature is the solitary means of making apparent the shadow of that divine thing, a gentleman.

Don Quixote becomes intensely interesting, then, as a new attempt in creative genius. But dare we think a gentleman could be ludicrous and fantastic? for this the don was. We revolt against the notion that so gracious a thing could be grotesque. Yet is this our mature thought? Do not the facts certify that from this world's unregenerate standpoint manliness is grotesque? Was not Christ looked upon as mad? Did not his ideas of manliness appear as nothing other than fantastic, when he would substitute love for might, meekness for braggadocio, and purity of heart for an omnipresent sensuality? What were his ideals of manhood but battling with windmills or being enamored of a myth? Tested by standards of this world's make, his notions and conduct were sheerly fantastic. As recorded on one occasion, "They laughed him to scorn;" and this they did many another time, covertly or openly. Indeed, grasping the state of civilization as then existing, and comprehending Christ's non-earthly idea of what a gentleman was, we can not be slow to perceive how ludicrous this conception would be to the Roman world. Tall dreams seem madness. Hamlet's feigned madness puzzles us even yet. Many an auditor heard Columbus with a smile ill-concealed behind his beard. All high ideality sounds a madman's babble. To see a true life live truly will strike many as a jest, and others as pathos too deep for sobs.

Don Quixote conceived a man ought to live for virtue. To be self-dedicated to the help of others; to be courageous as an army which had never met defeat; to be self-forgetful, so that hunger, pain, thirst, fatigue, become trifles; to have love become absorbing; to fill the mind's unfathomed sky with dreams outshining dawns; to count honor to be so much more than life, as that honor is all and life is naught; to interpret all men and women at their best, and so to expect good and not suspicion evil; to meet all men on the high level of manhood; and to love God with such persistency and eagerness as that the soul's solitudes are peopled with him as by a host,—if this be not a gentleman, we have misconceived the species. Read this history of his early and later battles for right, and you will not find an impurity of word, suggestion, thought. God's lilies are not cleaner. I confess that the knight's love for Dulcinea del Tobosa moves me to tears. I never can smile or jest at him when his heart and lips hold with fealty to an ideal love. His love created her. He found her a clod, but flung her into the sky and made her a star. Is not this love's uniform history? Blinded, not of lust or ambition, but of ideality. Saul met Christ at noon, and was blinded by his vision; and would not all brave men covet blindness thus incurred? And better to be blinded, as Don Quixote, by a ravishing ideal, than to see, besotted in soul and shut out from God. That humorous figure astride lean Rosinante, esquired by pudgy, sensible Sancho; eager for chances to be of use; faithful to his love as dawn to sun; strong in his desire of being all eyes to see distress, all ears to hear a call for succor; sitting a dark night through in vigil, tireless, courageous, waiting for day to charge on what proved to be fulling hammers, making tumult with their own stamping; or, again, asleep in the inn bed, fighting with wine-skins and dreaming himself battling with giants,—this does not touch me as being humorous so much as it does as being pathetic, unspeakably pathetic, and manfully courageous. I see, but do not feel, the humor. I have followed Don Quixote as faithfully as Sancho Panza on his "Dapple;" have seen him fight, conquer, suffer defeat, ride through his land of dreams; have seen his pasteboard helmet; have noted melancholy settle round him as shadows on the landscape of an autumn day; have seen him grow sick, weaken, die; but have known in him only high dreams, attempted high achievings; have found him honor's soul, and holding high regard for women; have been spectator of goodness as unimpeachable as heaven, and purity deep, like that which whitens round the throne—a human soul given over to goodness, and named, for cause, "Quixada the Good." And his goodness seems a contagion.

For two and a half centuries since Cervantes painted this picture of a gentleman, literature has given less or more of heed to similar attempts; though as result, as I suppose, there are but two life-size pictures which unhesitatingly we name gentlemen as soon as our eyes light on them. Profile or silhouette of him there has been, but of the full-length, full-face figure, only two. Shakespeare did not attempt this task. Aside from Hamlet—who was not meant to sit for this picture, though he had been no ill character for such sitting—there is not among Shakespeare's men an intimation of such undertaking. Would this princely genius had put his hand to this attempt, though, as seems clear to me, Shakespeare did not conceive a gentleman. His ideas were not quite whitened with Christ's morning light enough to have perceived other than the natural man. Shakespeare's men are always "a little lower than the angels;" whereas a gentleman might fittingly stand among angels as a brother. This one star never swung across the optic-glass of our great Shakespeare. That spiritual-mindedness which is life he scarcely possessed. This was his limitation. Spenser stood higher on this mount of vision. He conceived and executed a picture of pure womanhood, and, had he attempted, might have sketched a wondrous face and figure of a gentleman. Even as it was, he gave intimations of this coming king. He seems one who gathers fuel for a fire, but never sets the flame. His figures shift, and present no central character of manhood who grows and furnishes standard of comparison. Milton's genius was cast in a cyclopean mold, and needed distances remote as heaven and hell to give right perspective to his figures, and his supreme art concerns itself with Satan, and archangels, and God.

Of this ideal gentleman we have had growing hints. Literature, more and more, concerns itself with spiritual quantities. The air of our century is aromatic with these beautiful conceptions, as witness Jean Valjean, Dr. MacLure, Deacon Phoebe, Sidney Carton, Daniel Deronda, Donal Grant, Bayard, Red Jason, Pete, Captain Moray, John Halifax, and Caponsacchi. Some of these pictures seem more than side views. But a gentleman should be, must be, nobly normal. He is a balance of virtue. Symmetry impresses us in him, as when we look at the Parthenon. All his powers are in such delicate balance as that they seem capable of easy perturbation, yet are, in fact, imperturbable as stars. The gentleman in life is becoming a common figure. We have known such—so strong, quiet, heroic, calm, sure of the future, knit to God, big with fidelity and faith, that they translated into literal speech the holy precepts of the Book of God. So tested, this world grows surely better. Man has lost in romantic glitter of costume and bearing, but has gained immeasurably in manhood. The gospel is peopling the world with men. To suppose God meant to change men to saints was a misconception. St. Simeon Stylites was that old misconception realized. We can but honor him, so vast his hunger, so noble his strife, so courageous his attitude, when he shouts, "I smote them with the cross;" but St. Simeon did not realize God's notion. Goodness is fraternal, accessible, genial. John Storm, in Hall Caine's "The Christian," is susceptible to the same criticism. He is not balanced. He means well, but is erratic, fitful, lacking center. He is like a bird lost in storms, flying in circles. He thought to be a saint, whereas Christ did not come to make saints, but to make men; and the sooner we realize that a "saint" or a "Christian" is not the end of the gospel, the better will it be for Christianity. Christianity is God's method of making men; and Christianity is not an end, but a means. When God gets his way, he wants to have this world populated with men and women. Whether Caine meant John Storm for an ideal Christian we can not say. There is strength here, as in all he has written; but Storm's lacks are many and great. He is enthusiast, but flighty. He means well, but is spasmodic in its display. Storm might have grown into a hero had he lived longer, and, as a flame, leaped high at some point in his career. Both as man and Christian, he disappoints us. Red Jason, in "The Bondman," is a worthier contribution to the natural history of the gentleman. View him how you will, he is great. His moral stature lifts itself like the mass of a mountain. His nature seems a fertile field seeded down to heroisms, and every seed germinating and growing to maturity. Jason has virtues vast of girth as huge forest-trees, but he is scarcely companionable. Glooms gather round him as night about a hamlet in a valley. He is moral, imposing, heroic, yet is there something lacking—is it voice, self-poise, what?—lacking of being quite a gentleman. Nor was he shaped for such a role by his creator, but was meant to sit for the portrait of a hero. And such he is to the point of moving the spirit, as by the lightning's touch, Goethe was not capable of conceiving a gentleman. His "Wilhelm Meister" and himself fall so low in the scale of worth as to preclude his seeing so serene a face. Goethe's sky was clouded, and fine lines of finest character are only brought out under unhindered sunlight. Manhood is a serene thing. Though storm-bolts rain about it thick as hail, the quiet of deep seas reigns in it. And Dumas's men are each a bon vivant, save the son of Porthos. These dusty and bloody guardsmen had not enough moral fiber to fill a thimble. They think the world of men and women a field for forage. This physical dash and courage, this galloping of steeds, and sabers pummeling steeds' sides, stands instead of character. In "Marius the Epicurean," Walter Pater has given, as I think, a true picture of one who in the Roman era aspired to be a man. He is cold, and in consequence barren; but such is an accurate reading of Roman attempts at manhood; for ordinary Epicureanism was fervid to sensuality, and the Stoic was frigid. To heathen conception there was no middle ground. The warm color on cheek, the morning in the eyes, the geniality in the hand, the fervor at the heart, the alert thought, the winged imagination, the sturdy will, the virile moral sense, the responsive conscience, the courage which laughed to die for duty,—these could not be amalgamated. Heroic qualities have always been native to the soul as warmth to the south wind. All history is rich with tapestries of tragic and colossal heroisms, so as to make us proud that we are men. Heroisms are harsh, but manliness is tender. And in this seeming irreconcilability lies the difficulty of constructing a gentleman.

But attempts thicken. In our century they group together like violets on a stream's bank fronting the sun in spring. Literary artists, knowing how difficulties hedge this attempt, hesitate. There are many hints of the gentleman. Let us be glad for that, seeing we are enriched thereby. "Rab and His Friends" gives so strong a picture of stolid strength in love's fidelity, which knows to serve and suffer and die without a moan or being well aware of aught save love. And Dr. MacLure is a dear addition to our company of manhood, shouldering his way through Scotland's winter's storm and cold because need calls him; serving as his Master had taught him so long ago; forgetting himself in absorbing thought for others; lonely as a fireless hearth; longing for friendship which would not fail; reaching for Drumsheugh's hand, and holding it when death was claiming the good physician's hand. We could easily conceive we had been seated at the deathbed of a gentleman. Deacon Phoebe stands as a character in Annie Trumbull Slosson's "Seven Dreamers," a book which, outside Cable's "Old Creole Days," is to me the most perfect series of brief character-sketches drawn by an American author, and entirely worthy to stand by "A Window in Thrums," and "Beside the Bonnie Brier Bush," and "In Ole Virginia." Deacon Phoebe has forgotten himself. Unselfishness does not often rise to such heights. This "dreamer" of "Francony Way" is full brother to Sidney Carton, born across the seas. Self-forgetfulness, so beautiful as that even name and sex become a memory dim as a distant sail upon an evening sea,—this must be a sight fitted to bring laughter to the heart of God. Deacon Phoebe is one trait in a gentleman. Sidney Carton is of the same sort, save that the hero element stands more apparent. His is a larger field, a more attractive background, thus throwing his figure into clearer relief. Deacon Phoebe was the self-abasement of humility, Sidney Carton is the supreme surrender of love; but the end of both is service. There ought to be a gallery in our earth from which men and women might lean and look on nobilities like Sidney Carton. That beatified face; that hand holding a woman's trembling hand, what time he whispered for her comfort, "I am the resurrection and the life," as the crowded tumbrel rattled on to the guillotine, and he faced death with smile as sweet as love upon his face, and love making a man thus divine,—this is Sidney Carton, who stirs our soul as storms stir the seas. Bonaventure, as drawn by Cable, is of similar design. He is unconscious as a flower; but had learned, as his schoolmaster-priest had taught him, to write "self" with a small "s;" so an untutored soul, lacerated with grief, pierced by suffering, gave himself over to goodness and help, becoming absorbed therein. Such is Bonaventure. He was what Tennyson has said of "the gardener's daughter," "A sight to make an old man young."

Love has learned to work miracles in character. Rains do not wash air so clean as love washes character, whiting "as no fuller on earth can white" it. And how constantly manhood neighbors with love is a beautiful and noteworthy circumstance. Here place Pete, in "The Manxman." You can not over-praise him. Some esteem him a fabulous character; but knowing his island and people well, I feel sure he is flesh and blood, though flesh and blood so uncommon and superior stagger our faith for a moment. It is the glory of our race that at rare springtime it bursts into such bloom that painter and poet are both bankrupt in attempting to copy this loveliness. Pete is such an effort of nature. His letters to himself, written as from his wife, to cover her shame and desertion, present a spectacle so magnanimous and pathetic as to upbraid us that we had never learned nobilities so sublime. Love made him great. And Macdonald, in Donal Grant, has shown us a strong, pure soul of moral strength, religious appetencies, determined goodness, of elevation of character, of strength and wisdom, so that in his accustomed walk he might have met Sir Percivale or Sir Launfal. Good, and given over to God, he was found out by love; and love did with him as with us all—love glorified him. In his clean life is something sturdy you might lean on, as on a staff, and have no fear. So is Enoch Arden made hero by love. In love, remembrance, and absence of self, he is manhood. We have all wept with Arden, finding our faces wet with tears, though not knowing we wept. His story never grows trite. Each time we read, new light breaks from this character as if it were a sun. The sight of him when he, like a poor thief, looking in at the window,

  "Because things seen are mightier than things heard,
  Stagger'd and shook, holding the branch, and feared
  To send abroad a shrill and terrible cry
  Which in one moment, like the blast of doom,
  Would shatter all the happiness of the hearth.

  And feeling all along the garden wall,
  Lest he should swoon and tumble and be found,
  Crept to the gate, and open'd it and closed
  As lightly as a sick man's chamber door
  Behind him, and came out upon the waste;"

and when,

         "Falling prone, he dug
  His fingers into the wet earth, and pray'd,—"

the sight of him is as unforgettable as a man's first look upon the woman he loves. The poet was right. Arden was a "strong, heroic soul," and when he woke, arose, and cried, "A sail! a sail!" it was God's nobleman who sighted it.

"Daniel Deronda" and "John Halifax, Gentleman," may wisely be classed together as attempts of competent artists to sketch a gentleman. Whether they have failed in the attempt I would not make bold to say, but for some reason the characters impress me as being scarcely adequate. Both faces are open, and lit as by a lamp of truth; their lives are sweet as meadows scented with new-mown hay; we become sworn friends to both without our willing it; they have nothing to take back, because words and deeds are faithful to their best manhood; they are strong, and women lean on them, which, aside from God's confidence, is the highest compliment ever paid a man. Deronda is a man among aristocrats, Halifax a man among plebeians and commercial relations; but manhood is the same quality wherever found; for God has made all soils salubrious for such growth. But these do not compel, though they do charm us. Bayard, in "A Singular Life," may fall in with Deronda and Halifax. Tragedy darkens at "the far end of the avenue." Bayard is a social reformer in attempt, though of the safe and right type, meaning to change men, that there may be wrought a change in institutions. He runs a tilt with Calvinian orthodoxy as Methodism does, and loves God and his fellow-men and a good woman, and finds no toil burdensome if he may be of spiritual help and healing. "A singular life" he lives; but singular because it is the gospel life, and he merits the name the slums gave him, "The Christ-man." He is helpful, few more so, and knows power to stir us, which in the event is the superb quality in character. Captain Moray, in "The Seats of the Mighty," and Henry Esmond, in "Henry Esmond," are gentlemen of military mold, and we love them both because they make for lordly inspiration in the soul. Esmond must always keep his hold on men as a hero. These two soldiers need no one to remind us they know how to die; and know that other, larger thing—how to live. Esmond, over a long stretch of life lying in our sight, walked ever as a prince. Any national literature might be glad for one such as he. Our imagination takes wings when we think of him. Such cleanness, such lack of self, such self-poise and firmness, such singleness of love and devotion, such inaptitude for anything not noble, such tense heroic purposes, such stalwart intention to make himself a man! He is greatness, and his story to be read as a tonic. He recruits heroisms in the heart, and rests us when we grow weary. Thackeray is reported by Anthony Trollope to have called his creation, Esmond, "a prig." He might better have called him a gentleman; for such he is, or narrowly lacks of being. Indeed, did not Thackeray present another who is altogether gentleman, Esmond would be catalogued as this ideal character; for he misses it so little, if at all, and is by odds most magnetic of Thackeray's creations. And Browning's "Caponsacchi" and Hugo's "Valjean" have the true instincts of gentlemen. Valjean redeemed himself from worse than galley slavery—from debauched manhood to spiritual nobility, bewildering in holy audacity and achievement. Were there a pantheon for souls who have struggled up from the verge of hell to stand in the clear light of heaven, be sure Valjean would be there. Volumes are requisite for his portrait, and we have only room for words! Of Caponsacchi, take the pope's estimate as accurate, "Thou sprang'st forth hero." And Pompilia conceived him rightly, for he minded her of God. What farther need be said? Is not that panegyric enough for any man? Because he was so strong, so fearless, so pure, so gifted with great might to love, so keen to see Pompilia was pure as a babe's dreams, and the light on his forehead falls from the lattices overhead—the lattices of heaven—we love him. Had his figure been fully drawn we should have had a gentleman. Nor are we sure he ought not to be so catalogued; as he is, we find no fault in him. He minds us of the morning star.

Two characters in literature since Don Quixote are life-size gentlemen, and these are Colonel Newcome and King Arthur, as drawn by Thackeray and Tennyson, men of one era and pure souls. In these characters is evident deliberation of intent to create gentlemen. This article has given no heed to biography or history, because these concern themselves with truth as observed, and are therefore not imaginative. What we are considering is an ideal person, fashioned after the pattern discovered in good lives, which happily grow more and more plentiful as years multiply. Besides, biography can never get at the real man; for biography is a story of doing, while what we need is a story of soul. In Boswell's "Johnson" or in Anthony Trollope's "Autobiography" there is approach to what we care to know; but in the life of Jowett or Tennyson, though both are admirable specimens of biography, what man among us but closed those books with a sense of, not dissatisfaction, but unsatisfaction? What we were really hungry for was not there. What Jowett was, which made him a part of the life-blood of English thought and Englishmen—who found that out? Some things never can be told, unless the poets or prose dramatists tell them. Poetry and fiction do what history and biography fail to do—make us interior to a soul's true life.

Colonel Newcome is all gentleman. He hangs a curtain of silence over one room in his life. To his wife, mother of his beloved Clive, he will make no reference. Not bad, but frivolous and weak and querulous, she was; but Colonel Newcome never whispers it. What had made many misanthropes, made him a better man. No bitterness tainted his spirit. Pure women put him in a mood of worship, as they ought to put us all. He could, in conduct, if not in memory, forget hurts and wrongs, which is one mark of a large spirit. His was, his biographer affirms, "a tender and a faithful heart." In him paternity and maternity met, which is a conjunction we have not given heed to as we ought in thinking on the heart. Motherhood is in the best fatherhood. Not long since I met a minister who, on my mentioning a black and scrawny village, said, with lovelit face and ringing, jubilant voice, "O yes, that is where my boy was born!" How true hearts do remember! And Colonel Newcome loved his son with such sweet and wide fidelity as makes the heart covet him for father. All those days of separation from his son, he thought of him "with such a constant longing affection." And his joy on seeing his son once more is the joy of one getting home to heaven. "To ask a blessing on his boy was as natural to him as to wake with the sunrise, or to go to rest when the day is over. His first and last thought was always the child." He expects good of people, will say no ill of any, can not understand Sir Brian Newcome's frigid reception, and is hurt by it as by a poisoned arrow shot by the hill tribes in far India; he can not tolerate foul thought or speech, burns hot with righteous wrath against Captain Costigan when he sings a vile song, thundering, "Silence!" "'We ought to be ashamed of doing wrong. We must forgive other people's trespasses if we hope forgiveness of our own.' His voice sunk low as he spoke, and he bowed his honest head reverently." How unostentatious his bravery, and riches puffed him up not a trifle! How alert to love, how open to enjoyment, how young his heart and how pure! What simplicity and what grave courtesy, particularly to women! How wide those windows of his soul open toward heaven! How magnanimous, how sad his face and heart, how sensitive his nature, to any lack of love on dear Clive's part! Though to his own heart he will not admit such lack exists, sitting above in his cheerless room, listening to his son's merry-making, that son glad to be left free of his father's presence,—how bravely he bore poverty when financial ruin came, not missing wealth for himself, but for him he loved, and how he grieved for those who had lost through him! He was not faultless. Men are not often that; but his anger rose from his heart. His indignation was for those he loved. We can see him now, as if he lived among us yet. His honest, melancholy face; his loose clothes hanging on his loose limbs; sitting silent, with his sad eyes; a bankrupt, giving over his pension for reimbursing those who had lost by him; and his eagerness for wealth for love's sake, always thinking of somebody else,—such is this gentleman who trusts in God. And thus simple, noble, unhumiliated:

"I chanced to look up from my book toward the swarm of blackcoated pensioners, and among them—among them—sat Thomas Newcome. His dear old head was bent down over his prayer-book; there was no mistaking him. He wore the black gown of the pensioners of the Hospital of Grey Friars. His Order of the Bath was on his breast. He stood among the poor brethren, uttering the responses to the psalm. . . . His own wan face flushed up when he saw me, and his hand shook in mine. 'I have found a home, Arthur,' said he; for save this he was homeless. As death came toward him his mind wandered, driven as a leaf is driven by wandering winds. He headed columns in Hindustan; he called the name of the one woman he had loved. In death, as in life, his thought was for others, for Clive, dear, dear Clive. He said, 'Take care of him when I 'm in India;' and then, with a heartrending voice, he called out, 'Leonore, Leonore!' She was kneeling by his side now. The patient voice sank into faint murmurs; only a moan now and then announced that he was not asleep. At the usual hour the chapel bell began to toll, and Thomas Newcome's hands, outside the bed, feebly beat time. And just as the last bell struck, a peculiar sweet smile shone over his face, and he lifted up his head a little, and quickly said, 'Adsum!' and fell back. It was the word we used at school when names were called; and lo! he, whose heart was as that of a little child, had answered to his name, and stood in the presence of his Master."

Small wonder if, in India, they called Thomas Newcome "Don Quixote."

And King Arthur is Alfred Tennyson's dream of a gentleman. Arthur is manhood at its prime. He was strong, a warrior, a self-made man, since the foolish questioned, "Is he Uther's son?" Mystery and miracle mix with his history, as is accurate, seeing no life grows tall without the advent of miracle. He is rescuer of a realm from anarchy, founder of the Round Table—an order of knighthood, purposed to include only pure knights—was not spectacular; for we read that others were greater in tournament than he, but he greater than all in battle, from which we see how great occasions called out his greatness. He measured up to needs. Though often deceived, he was optimist, hoping the best from men. He counted life to be a chance for service. There was a hidden quality in him, as when he, unknown to all, went out from Camelot to tilt with Balin and overthrew him. His life was pure as the heart of "the lily maid of Astolat," and demanded in man a purity as great as that of woman. His love was mighty, unsuspicious, tender. He was himself a king, born to rule, fitted to inspire. No littleness sapped his greatness. He rejoiced in others' strength, prowess, victory. His was an eye quick to discover merit in woman or man, as in Lynette. His heart was tender, and a cry for help awoke him from deep sleep. He hated foulness as he hated hell. He was like a sky, so high, pure, open. Himself makes an era, for his age clusters about him as if he were a sun to sway a system. Like Cordelia, in "Lear," he is a figure in the background; yet, despite his actual slight participancy in the "Idyls of the King," he always seems the one person of the poem. What is Lancelot matched with him, or pure Sir Galahad? If knighthood misconceived King Arthur then, men do not misconceive him now. A great spirit must not murmur if misconceived. The world will cluster to him hereafter, himself being God's hand to lift them to his Alp of nobleness. Arthur's life upbraids men for their sin. His very purity alienated Guinevere. Goodness has tempests in its sky, and storms make morning murk as night; and one true knight. King Arthur, goes sick at heart to battle with rebels in the West. Lancelot and Guinevere are fled; Modred has raised standard of rebellion; some knights are dead, slain in battle or searching for the Holy Grail; some have left off knighthood,—and King Arthur is defeated! Nay, this can not be. He rides into the battle, having forgiven Guinevere "as Eternal God forgives"—the battle where

          "Host to host
  Shocks, and the splintering spear, the hard mail hewn,
  Shield-breakings, and the clash of brands, the crash
  Of battle-axes on shatter's [shatter'd?] helms, and shrieks
  After the Christ, of those who falling down
  Look'd up for heaven, and only saw the mist."

And, the battle ended, Arthur moans, "My house hath seen my doom;" but he has not forgotten God, nor hath God forgotten him. God is his destination, and he trusts him now as in the golden yesterdays:

  "I have lived my life, and that which I have done
  May He within himself make pure!"

And Arthur found, not sorrow nor defeat, but victory; for

  "Then from the dawn it seem'd there came, but faint
  As from beyond the limit of the world,
  Like the last echo born of a great cry,
  Sounds, as if some fair city were one voice
  Around a king returning from his wars."

And one of earth's gentlemen was welcomed home to heaven.