Here I close the book, not because there is not much more in it that well deserves notice, but because I hope that what has here been said of it will induce the thoughtful reader to study it for himself, and because I have space to write no more. It is a May afternoon; not that on which the earliest pages of my article were written, but a week after it. I have gone at the ox-fence at last, and got over it with several contusions. Pardon me, unknown author, much admired for your ingenuity, your earnestness, your originality, your eloquence, if I have written with some show of lightness concerning your grave book. Very far, if you could know it, was any reality of lightness from your reviewer’s feeling. He is non ignarus mali: he has had his full allotment of anxiety and care; and he hails with you the prospect of a day when human nature shall cast off its load of death, and when sinful and sorrowful man shall be brought into a beautiful conformity to external nature. Would that Man were worthy of his Dwelling-place as it looks upon this summer-like day! Open, you latticed window: let the cool breeze come into this somewhat feverish room. Again, the tree-tops; again the white stones and green graves; again the lambs, somewhat larger; again the distant hill. Again I think of Cheapside, far away. Yet there is trouble here. Not a yard of any of those hedges but has worried its owner in watching that it be kept tight, that sheep or cattle may not break through. Not a gate I see but screwed a few shillings out of the anxious farmer’s pocket, and is always going wrong. Not a field but either the landlord squeezed the tenant in the matter of rent, or the tenant cheated the landlord. Not the smoke of a cottage but marks where pass lives weighted down with constant care, and with little end save the sore struggle to keep the wolf from the door. Not one of these graves, save perhaps the poor friendless tramp’s in the corner, but was opened and closed to the saddening of certain hearts. Here are lives of error, sleepless nights, over-driven brains; wayward children, unnatural parents, though of these last, God be thanked, very few. Yes, says Adam Bede, ‘there’s a sort of wrong that can never be made up for.’ No doubt we are dead: when shall we be quickened to a better life? Surely, as it is, the world is too good for man. And I agree, most cordially and entirely, with the author of this book, that there is but one agency in the universe that can repress evil here, and extinguish it hereafter.
LIFE AT THE WATER CURE
[Footnote: A Month at Malvern, under the Water Cure. By R. J. Lane, A. E. R. A. Third Edition. Reconsidered—Rewritten, London: John Mitchell. 1855.
Spirits and Water. By R. J. L. London: John Mitchell. 1855.
Confessions of a Water-Patient. By Sir E. B. Lytton, Bart.
Hints to the Side, the Lame, and the Lazy: or, Passages in the Life of a Hydropathist. By a Veteran. London: John Ollivier. 1848.]