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eried attendant, a list in his hand, came "I'm afraid I can't say there has to them with the information that Mr. been much improvement," he Wilson's case had been reached.

wered. "Mr. Wilson's heart doesn't “Who's the Chairman ?" asked the seem to be in his work. I'm sure he angel almost on the threshold.

has plenty of ability, but it seems as if "Medwin-Jones, I think," whispered he can't, or doesn't care to, bring it to Mr. Worth. “I'm afraid he's rather a bear on teaching. His class is steadily Tartar."

deteriorating-order, attention, work. “I hope he's the one that drops his Many of the boys like him personally, aitches!” exclaimed the angel gleefully. but they are getting quite out of hand, "An ideal Chairman for an education and that, of course, affects the other committee."

classes."

"Yes, of course; quite so," said the VII.

Chairman, drumming with his fingers The case did not take many minutes on the table. “Is it an exceptionally -the list was long and the time short. difficult class ?” he asked. The committee-room was large and "No, I should say not," answered Mr. well-lighted. At a very big table sat Worth. the Committee, the Chairman in the “I suppose you have talked things middle. Opposite him, at a little dis- over together?" tance from the table, were two chairs "Oh yes; time after time." -one for the angel, and one for the While this little conversation was headmaster. Room was made at the going on, the angel was looking round table for the Rev. Mr. Cobbe, who the room with quick, keen glances, acbustled in late. A number of chairs at knowledging Mr. Turton with a nod one end of the room accommodated and a smile, passing quickly from face quite a crowd of official-looking person. to face, easy, alert, and apparently ages, among them Mr. Turton.

cheerful. His eyes came back to the The Chairman, a clean-shaven, dark, Chairman as Mr. Medwin-Jones adhatchet-faced man, with pince-nez and dressed him again. the manner of one who is desperately "Well, Mr. Wilson, you see what our driven but resolutely methodical, took position is. We are ultimately responup a printed paper and gave what he sible for the efficient working of the intended for a lightning-glance at the educational machine, and we can't alassistant teacher.

low the work of a school to be thrown "Mr.-er-Wilson?” he asked.

out of gear because one wheel won't, The angel nodded amiably.

or can't, run smoothly." Mr. Medwin-Jones consulted some He paused for a moment, and the notes, then he said, speaking in a thin, angel interposed with a delightful air tired voice:

of sweet reasonableness. "Well, Mr. Wilson, this is a very un- “No, indeed. That would be very happy and unsatisfactory state of af- hard on the other wheels." fairs. These reports now-we don't The Chairman stared hard at this want to be hard on you—we quite un- most unusual type of delinquent. If derstand that you haven't had much such a thing were not incredible, he experience, but there doesn't seem to be could almost have thought he was any improvement. What have you got making fun of the whole affair. to say, Mr. Worth, as to that?" he "I am glad you appreciate the seriadded, turning to the headmaster, who ousness of the situation," he said, with looked more miserable than ever. a distinct tightening of his lips. "The

was

question is, are you really suited to be Mr. Worth. “If you had taken a difa teacher?"

ferent line they would have let you "To tell you the truth,” answered the have another try.” angel, “I don't think I am.”

“But I didn't want it,” answered Mr. The mingled frankness and bon- Wilson. “I was going to resign a homie with which this answer week ago, only I wanted to see what given seemed to stagger the Chairman. the Sub-committee was like. It was He consulted his notes, looked up and tremendously interesting. I'm very then down again, and at last stam- glad I waited.” mered helplessly:

"What are you going to do? Have "It seems -er-appears—a-- you anything else to go to ?” hopeless position."

The headmaster was as much mysti"Absolutely," smiled the angel, lean- fied as the Chairman, but he had a liking back in his chair, and once more ing for the young fellow, and was wonstudying the Committee.

dering whether he had been too hard "What's to be done, then?"

ex

on him. He certainly had plenty of claimed Mr. Medwin-Jones irritably. pluck.

"Ah, Sir," said the angel, with a The angel opened his Telegraph and graceful little bow; “I think it would pointed to a long, large-print review. be impertinent for me to make any “It looks as if that's going to be my suggestion,"

line,” he said. “I've got a regular job Do you want to leave the profes- on The Trumpet, besides." sion, Mr. Wilson?” asked the Chairman Mr. Worth looked. “The Elementary abruptly.

School under the Microscope,” it was "Well, to be quite candid," answered headed, and at the foot of the page the angel, “I am rather tired of it." was the title of the book reviewed

“This, in fact, is a resignation," said "Temperton Street-A Provided School," the Chairman.

and the name of the author—"By A. W. “And I needn't write a letter," added Wilson." Then he glanced at the first the angel, with an air of great relief. lines of the review.

"You must settle that with the cor- "Many of these sketches," it ran, respondent,” answered the Chairman "appeared in the columns of The Trumshortly. He could not rid himself of pet, where they excited a great de:t of an uncomfortable feeling that he was interest. Brought together, and grouped being scored off by this imperturbable, with a large amount of new material, smiling young man. Yet there was noth- they make an even stronger impresing to lay hold of. "It's been a very un. sion. Read singly, they might be fortunate business all along," he classed as brilliant journalism; read tosnapped, “but there's nothing more to gether as an artistic unity, they are say now. Next case."

evidently literature. Mr. Wilson has an The angel rose and bowed to the eye for significant detail and a vivid Committee.

sense of broad humor that recall Dick"Good morning, gentlemen,” he said ens in his early days. There is no risk with a courteous smile, and walked out in prophesying success for such a book of the room.

as this."

Mr. Worth looked up, a trifle dazed. VIII.

“Do you mean to say it's you they're Qutside of the committee-room he talking about?" was soon joined by the headmaster. The young man opened a parcel he “What made you do that?” asked was carrying under his arm, and took

LIVING AGE VOL. LIX. 3128

out two copies of what looked like a six-shilling novel.

“I hope you'll accept one," he said. "There isn't so very much Chignett Street in it. I don't think I've been spiteful—I oughtn't to be-you've be

The Cornhill Magazine.

haved splendidly to me. This other copy I meant for the managers. Would you mind giving it to them for me?"

This was how they came to recognize that they had been entertaining an angel unawares.

B. Paul Nouman.

THE LAUREATESHIP.

Macaulay once observed that any came a regular incident of Court life fool could say his Archbishops of Can- and the Bays were recognized as "the terbury, backward or forward; but the learned shepherd's meed," and were obligation of the intelligent schoolboy handed on with traditional responsiin this respect where the laureates of bilities, duties, rites, ceremonies, and England are concerned has never been emoluments first to Davenant and then precisely ascertained. There is un- to . Dryden. These three laureates, doubtedly a certain amount of obscur- and Rowe, Cibber, and Tennyson subity as to the origin and succession of sequently were buried in the Abbey. the office. That a Versificator Regis After Dryden the laureateship deexisted in England from Plantagenet clined sadly to the servitude of party times and that, like the Master of the politics and a strange dynasty; and, as Revels or the Court Jester, he enjoyed whiggism is the negation of all prina prescriptive right to some kind of ciple, so the panegyrical exploits of emolument in which the grant of a the paid whig bards involved the netierce of canary or a butt of sack gation of true poetry. Shadwell as from the Royal Cellar played a con- Og" had been unsparingly satirized spicuous part has never been expressly by Dryden; his deviation into sense denied. A picture, such as the brush had been despaired of, and he cerof pre-Raphaelite delighted to tainly did little to falsify the predicfeign, of Chaucer reading his poems

tion when he came to occupy the chair aloud to the assembled court may have of his mighty predecessor. On Shadhad its counterpart in "cold physical

well's death at Christmas, 1692, by fact." Pope's “beastly Skelton," Ed- the interest of the Chamberlain, Lord mund Spenser, Daniel, and Drayton Dorset, Nahum Tate, the new Psalmist are sometimes represented as “volun

and botcher of King Lear, was apteer laureates"; some of them enjoyed pointed to occupy the vacant place. pensions, but it will not do to inquire As the laureate of Queen Anne, Tate too closely into the mode of their elec- produced a notable panegyric on tea tion or the tenure of their appoint- which he described, more probably as ment. Ben Jonson seems to have been a concession to the reigning fashion the first regular occupant of the lau- than as a matter of personal convicreateship as a fixed and salaried post tion, as "Panacea." He is described under letters patent, usually dated as an honest, quiet man, with a downFebruary 3, 1616. He was jostled a cast face, somewhat given to fuddling. good deal, it appears, by rivals both at Southey pronounced him the lowest of Court and in the City, and the pay- all laureates, with the possible excepment of his pension was irregular; tion of Shadwell. On the death of but henceforth the appointment be Queen Anne poor Tate encountered the

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lot of Dryden; he lost his salary, his Next Whitehead came, his worth a butt of sack, and the post of historio

pinch of snuff, grapher which often accompanied the

But for laureate he was good laurels; and there was every reason to

enough. suppose that henceforth

In accordance with the advice usually laureates

tendered by heads of houses to poets would come in and go out with successive ministries. This was only pre

in those days Whitehead attached him. vented, we may be sure, by the long

self to a person of quality and died in

dignity for a laureate, as an inmate unbroken period of Whig ascendancy. For the time being the office gained

of Lord Jersey's family, in 1784.

Beneath this stone a Poet Laureate considerably in credit by the accession

lies, of George I. and Nicholas Rowe, who

Nor good, nor great, nor foolish, nor was a stanch Whig, and who, if the

yet wise, well-known story be true, had cer- Not meanly humble, nor yet swellid tainly no strong inducement to put with pride, faith in the patronage of Tory minis- He simply liv'd-and just as simplyters. Southey, always a loyal son of

died. the Church, must have forgotten Eus

After Whitehead, upon Mason's reden when he described Tate as lowest

fusal and the deafness of the authoriof the laureates. Notable as a syco

ties to Gibbon's suggestion that the phant even among the clerical chap

office had become an anomaly and had lains to the nobility in that age, Eus

better be abolished, the laureateship den won the distinction on Rowe's

certainly acquired merit by the accesdeath, in 1718, by the most unblushing

sion of Thomas Warton, who, if not a flattery to the Duke of Newcastle and

great poet, was a great connoisseur his relatives. He surpassed even Rowe

and historian of Poetry. When he died, in the regularity and unction of his

in 1790, no rival was forthcoming to birthday odes, but developed for the

contest the appointment of Henry rest into the drunken parson much be

James Pye, a gentleman respectable, mus'd with beer of the Dunciad. He

as Scott affirmed, in everything but figures less prominently, however, in

his poetry. Pye was fitted to shine as Pope's Inferno than his successor the

a police magistrate, and he did in fact astute and dexterous Colley Cibber,

write a useful compendium of the who was at any rate a man of the

duties of a justice of the peace. IC world and whose odes Jonson charac.

while still of tender years he could teristically preferred to those of his

have been induced, like Blackstone, to successors. When Cibber died the

utter a "Lawyer's Farewell to · his post was offered as a sinecure to Gray;

Muse" we might have been spared but Gray, with his fastidious timidity,

many examples of the art of sinking refused to have anything to do with

in poetry. As a poet Pye sank below

Whitehead and even Eusden. His rethe Bays, and William Whitehead, on

puted magnum opus was a lengthy epic his appointment in 1757, was called

called “Alfred.” As lyrist and laureupon to exert his muse in the annual

ate he was sober, reliable, punctual, fashion which had now become con

ornate, and patriotic. His birthday secrated by usage. The monotony and

odes were distinguished by their unbathos thus laid bare to all elicited

varying allusions to vocal groves and his "Pathetic Apology for all Lau. feathered choirs, whence the familiar reates” and he obtained a contemp- impromptu of the ribald George Stetuous

veus:

When the Pye was opened 1843, when it was conferred by ac-
The Birds began to sing,

clamation upon William Wordsworth, Wasn't that a dainty Dish

who took the Bays, as he said, with To set before a King?

palpitating hand and bound them on But the great event of Pye's laureate- his locks of snow. He inscribed a sonnet ship was the commutation which he

upon the occasion marked by that negotiated and brought about of the

strange inversion of modesty which much derided tierce of canary. When, repelled Hazlitt and at times staggered on the accession of James II., in 1685,

Lamb, it became necessary to reappoint the

There shall ye bide, till he who follows officers of the Royal Household, includ

next ing the Poet Laureate, the King di- Of whom I cannot even guess the rected that the annual grant of a butt

name, of sack should be discontinued; and so

Shall by Court favor or some vain poor Dryden had to sul it to a dearth

pretext

Of fancied merit, desecrate the same of canary until he was displaced by the

And think, perchance, he wears them obsequious Shadwell in 1688. On the

quite as well accession of William III. the grant of

As the sole Bard who sang of Peter wine appears to have been resumed,

Beli. and continued to he sent annually to The Premier of the day as we know succeeding Laureates until the crown- had not heard of Tennyson a few ing of Henry James Pye. He, with

years

before Wordsworth's death, exemplary prudence, elected to accept when he was induced to read “Ulysa yearly sum of £27 in place of the

ses,” and as a result conferred a civil wine, which amount is paid to the list pension upon the poet in preferPoet Laureate by the Lord Stewart's ence to Sheridan Knowles. This now department for a "butt of sack,” the

forgotten dramatist was still the fabalance of the emolument amounting, vorite of some of the profession, such it is stated, in recent times to no more as Lytton, when in 1850, upon the rethan £72 per

exiguity fusal of Rogers, the chaplet was conwhich fully justifies the successive al- ferred upon Tennyson, for so many teration of the Court uniform, nar

years the God of the Golden Bow, if rowed for Wordsworth and then again not the Zeus among gods and poets elongated for Tennyson.

on his summit of Parnassus. The inOn the death of Mr. Pye in 1813 fluence of Prince Albert as an admirer Scott refused the office, but so man- of "In Memoriam," is said to have aged with his usual tact and good been paramount in the appointment. nature that it was offered in an ac- But the offer of the Court poet's place ceptable manner to the excellent Rob

was made in the most delicate and ert Southey, whereupon, as is well

flattering terms, the maintenance of known, for the space of eighty years the office being grounded, first, on anor so the laureateship took on a lustre

cient use and precedent and, secondly, to which it had long been a stranger. upon the Queen's wish to retain a link Southey discontinued the birthday between St. James's and Parnassus. odes, but wrote numerous odes upon

There is something pleasing about the current events—to the no small profit conception of the Court as a microof Byron, Macaulay, and other of his cosin of human society, with its jester, enemies in the gate. The laureate- its satirist, its historian, its almoner, ship was not effectually raised above and the Court poet. As the jester the dust of faction and party until bad his cap and bells, so the poet had

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