aneous posterity, one would think it might be a younger nation judging an older one.
Yet how little did the American reputations of fifty years ago afford any sure prediction of permanent fame in respect to English writers!
True, we gave early recognition to Carlyle and Tennyson, but scarcely greater than to authors now faded or fading into obscurity,—Milnes (Lord Houghton), Sterling, Trench, Alford, and Bailey.
No English poem, it was said, ever sold through so many American editions as Festus; nor was Tupper's Proverbial Philosophy far behind it. Translators and publishers quarrelled bitterly for the privilege of translating Frederika Bremer's novels; but our young people, who already stand for posterity, hardly recall her name.
I asked a Swedish commissioner at our Centennial Exhibition in 1876, Is Miss Bremer still read in Sweden?
He shook his head; and when I asked, Who has replaced her?
he said, Bret Harte and Mark Twain.
It seemed the irony of fame; and there is no guara
? Does he stand up for everything American, through thick and thin, as he used to do in Florence?
Turning upon my neighbor with this unexpected supply of ammunition, I was met with the utmost frankness.
He owned that while in Europe he had defended all American ways, through loyalty, and that he criticised them at home for the same reason.
I shall abuse my own country, he said, so long as I think it is worth saving.
When that hope is gone, I shall praise it.
In the once famous poem of Festus, recalled lately to memory by its fiftieth anniversary, there is a fine passage about the uselessness of indiscriminate censure:—
The worst way to improve the world Is to condemn it. Men may overget Delusion, not despair. For example, I cannot help admiring the patient fidelity with which my old friend Professor Norton holds up everything among us to an ideal standard, and censures what he thinks the vanity of our nation.
But those who think with me that behind that apparent vanity the