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Religious Novels, and Woman Versus Man

(A review of: Hornehurst Rectory.  By Sister Mary Frances Clare.  New York: 1872;
2. Mrs. Gerald's Niece.  By Lady Georgiana Fullerton.  New York: 1870
3.  The House of York.  New York: 1872)

Brownson's Quarterly Review, January, 1873
THE first of these works is by the "Nun of Kenmare," the writer of several works which have been well received by the English-speaking Catholic public, among which may be mentioned "An Illustrated History of Ireland," and "A Life of St. Patrick." She is a convert from Anglican-ism, and was, prior to her conversion, for five years an in-mate of a Puseyite sisterhood, playing at religious. Her experience during that period, though first published sepa-rately, is, for the most part, incorporated into the volume before us, and is both interesting and instructive. Sister Mary Frances Clare is a very prolific writer, and at the rate she goes on, will, in a few years, furnish us quite a library. She possesses considerable intellectual powers, which must have been carefully cultivated ; she writes with vivacity and vigor, with earnestness and power; but in those of her writings which we have read, we miss that meek and sub-dued spirit, that sweetness and unction, that we naturally expect in a daughter of St. Clare. We miss in them the spiritual refinement and ascetic culture we look for in a relig-ious, and their general tone strikes us as somewhat harsh and bitter, sarcastic and exaggerated.

The main design of Sister Mary Frances Clare in "Horne-hurst Rectory," is to expose the ignorance and cruelty of the superiors and directors of the Puseyite sisterhoods, or Protestant nunneries. As a novel, the book does not amount to much, and has only an indirect relation with the rectory from which it takes its title. The work loses more than it gains by mixing up fiction with historical fact; a simple, straightforward, truthful narrative, eschewing all appeal to fictitious persons and events, would have been more in-structive, satisfactory, edifying, and even more attractive to the serious reader; while what may be called the novel or romantic part is too slight and too little exciting to com-mand the attention of the confirmed novel-reader.

"Mrs. Gerald's Niece" is of a different type, and indicates a genius, an artistic taste of a higher order, and a more prac-tised hand, as well as superior religious and intellectual culture and refinement. Lady Georgiana Fullerton has done her best to blend in artistic unity the romantic and the serious parts of her work. As a novel, it is ingeniously de-signed, skilfully treated, and might be read with deep interest for its own sake, while the graver part, as the history of the trials and struggles of ingenuous souls, touched with a glimpse of Catholic truth, first in trying to catholicize Anglicanism, which will not be catholicized, and then in working their way upward to the light,-leaving home and breaking from old friends and endearing associations, from all that has hitherto made the charm of life, and in entering the Catholic Church, which is new and strange to them, un-certain as yet if they are not following an illusion, and yet borne onward by a power not their own, which they are un-able to resist, and which they hardly dare trust,-has a charm and an interest of its own, which needs and receives nothing from the romance mingled with it, or, rather, placed in juxtaposition with it. The author with all her genius and skill cannot make the two currents coalesce and flow together in one and the same channel, or render con-gruous things which by their nature are incongruous.

One thing must be said of Lady Georgiana Fullerton: she rarely requires her readers to associate with vicious, yul-gar, or disagreeable people; she has no such characters as Miss Dodds, Lady Rossmont, Rev. Mr. Humbletone, or the Rev. Mr. Thundertone, in "Hornehurst Rectory." Such charac-ters may be drawn faithfully from real life-and we doubt not that they are so-but no reader is made better by fa-miliar acquaintance with them. It is a grave objection to the "Tales of the O'Hara Family," though full of genius, that the reader is compelled to associate with vicious and criminal companions, thieves, cheats, swindlers, and vagabonds, from beginning to end. Even the amiable and gifted Gerald Griffin is not seldom, though in a far less degree, open to the same objection. The same objection lies against the novels of Dickens, the Trollopes, and the whole schoo1 of modern popular novelists who profess to paint real life. From all objections of this sort Lady Georgiana is almost wholly free, as is our own Fenimore Cooper, who, if not a Catholic, had at least the tastes and instincts of a gentleman; yet is she no less but even more real than Dickens.

Both of these works deal with Puseyism. Lady Georgi-ana, in the graver part of her work, treats us to a very full discussion of the points in controversy between the catholi-cising party in the Anglican establishment and the Catholic Church; and Sister Mary Frances Clare exposes the sad fail-ures of the attempts of the Puseyite sisters to imitate the Catholic religious. Both show ability and skill in accom-plishing their respective objects; but in reading them we cannot help feeling that we are having quite too much of this. It is natural that those who have been brought up in Anglicanism, become familiar with Puseyism or ritualism, and are in constant relations with it, should attach more im-portance to it than we do; but we have never felt attracted by the alleged revival of Catholic feelings and usages in the Anglican establishment, and have never attached much im-portance to it. The Church of England is not and never has been any more to us than any other Protestant sect. It is not Anglicanism that sustains Protestantism, or that is the centre of its life and influence. Protestantism has life only in the Calvinist sects, Presbyterian, Congregationalist, Bap-tist, Methodist, or the sects usually denominated by them-selves "Evangelical," because they are as far removed as possible from the Gospel, but all holding directly or indi-rectly from Calvin, with modifications, developments, and differences, indeed, yet all animated by the Calvinistic or satanic spirit.

The so-called Catholic revival in the Church of England, in operation for the last forty years, has been, no doubt, the occasion of many conversions, and of giving to the church some of hor brightest ornaments and most efficient servants. We need mention, in proof, only a Newman and a Manning among the living, a Faber and a Wilberforce among those who have gone to their reward; but for one who has been converted, who can say how many Catholicly disposed indi-viduals it has held back and detained in heresy by the delu-sion it has encouraged, that they can be Catholics without changing their position, and they ought to remain where they are and labor to bring their Anglican communion up to the Catholic level in doctrine and ritual, so as to render some day a corporate union with the Church of Rome feasi-ble  Even among those who have conformed from the movement to the church, very few, if any, though they felt constrained to abandon it, ever give evidence that they did so because they felt that salvation was not attainable in Anglicanism, and that not merely by virtue of invincible ignorance. All their publications that we have seen giving their reasons for conforming to the Catholic Church, appear to concede that the Church of England contains truth enough, with the grace that accompanies it, to save the soul. They seem always to cherish the conviction that the Church of England, though in schism, and perhaps in heresy, is yet a church with valid orders and real sacraments.

If this is so with those who have conformed or been con-verted, how easy it must be for Puseyism to persuade its disciples that it is not necessary for the soul's salvation to conform at all; nay, to satisfy them that it would be very wrong for them individually to go over to Rome and leave the good work they are doing in catholicizing their own communion,-deprive the cause of the service they can ren-der it by remaining in it, countenance the charge that the movement is a romanizing movement, and thus increase the popular prejudice against it! Lady Georgiana has set forth with great force and clearness this line of argument in "Mrs. Gerald's Niece," and shown its unmistakable effect in de-taining souls craving the light, freedom, privileges, and helps of the Catholic Church, in the darkness and death of the Anglican communion. The leaders of the movement seem to us to incur the sentence pronounced by our Lord against them who "neither enter into the kingdom of heaven them-selves, nor suffer those that would to enter;" and we agree that it is with truth they allege that their efforts to revive Catholic doctrines and usages in their church, instead of sending people to Rome, are the most effectual means of retaining them in the Anglican communion. If they can find, or be persuaded that they can find, their Catholic wants and tendencies met and satisfied bv the realization of the assumed capabilities of Anglicanism, why should they leave it? Why should they not rather remain in it, and help on the realization?

There is no doubt in our minds, that the Puseyite move-ment originated in what we may call a gracious reaction of the Catholic spirit against Protestantism, but the so-called Catholic party in the Church of England and her American daughter have sought to turn it to their own advantage, or to prevent the reaction from having its legitimate termina-tion, in which they have not been unsuccessful. Dr. Pusey is probably the best friend Satan has in the Anglican estab-lishment. He labors under the delusion (certainly a satanic delusion), or at least does his best to carry away others by the delusion, that the Church of England is really a church, holding not merely from the civil government, but through the apostles and fathers from Christ himself, and therefore it is only necessary to revive the doctrines and usages which a long predominance of unchurch views and tendencies has suffered or caused to fall into abeyance, to make it a living branch of the Church Catholic. But this is a delusion. Were the whole Catholic faith preached in all Anglican pulpits, and the whole Catholic ritual carefully observed in all An-glican churches, it would avail nothing to make the Angli-can Church Catholic, or a branch of the Catholic Church. You may dress a monkey in unexceptionable man's apparelr but it does not by that become a man, or any the less a monkey. The dress does not abolish the difference of species. The difficulty is, that the Church of England is no church at all, and has in herself not a single church element; she has no orders no bishops, no priests, no sacraments, no- church life. The ritualists are simply dressing and decorating a ghastly and grinning skeleton, under the delusion that it is a living body, or will be when completely dressed and decorated. As we know no chemistry by which life can be extracted from death, we have never hoped any thing from the movement for the conversion of England, still less for the catholicizing of the so-called Church of England. To us, Puseyism is no more than any other form of heresy; we might almost say, than any other form of gentilism.

The "House of York" is an American novel, and differs widely from both of the others on our list. It is by a Boston lady, and a convert, not from Anglicanism or Episcopalianism, but, we should judge by the internal evidence of her book, from Boston transcendentalism. She lacks the polished ease, the gentle repose of manner, the intellectual refinement, the spiritual culture, and the feminine delicacy and grace of Lady Georgiana, and has certainly spent fewer hours in prayer and meditation at the foot of the crucifix. Her style is fresh, vigorous, and at times brilliant, but un-polished, affected; and we find in her novel too evident traces of her Protestant education, and of her transcenden-talist reading and associations. Her taste is not always cer-tain, but she has rare ability, and shows artistic skill of much merit; yet she is far from being, like Lady Georgiana, free of her craft. She has made a good beginning, as it would be difficult to name a novel of the class to which hers belongs, written by an American woman, that is, upon the whole, superior or even equal to the "House of York." In one respect the "House of York" compares favorably with "Mrs. Gerald's Niece." It is free from sentimental-ism, and its converts do not whimper and break their hearts at the thought of breaking away from old associations, old ties, old friends, to enter upon the life of faith and joy, peace and love, in the Catholic Church. This is probably owing to the fact that there is more individualism, and that old associations and social ties are weaker in this country than in England.

But whatever the merits of the work before us, neither it nor "Mrs. Gerald's Niece" disposes us to approve the class of works to which either belongs. We are not opposed to all novels, nor even to religious novels, if neither dogmatic nor controversial, and if written out from a heart that is thoroughly imbued with the religious spirit, and, as it were, transformed by it. Religious novels in this sense may be both attractive and edifying. They would tend silently to lift the life of the reader to a higher plane, and really serve in some degree the purposes of spiritual culture. The ro-mance is not wanting, hut it is informed with the pure and holy spirit of the Gospel of our blessed Lord, and elevates the natural sentiments and affections to the sphere of the super-natural. Such novels would be really religious novels in the highest sense of the term, though we were never shown the heroine at her morning and evening prayers, or engaged in earnest endeavors to convert heretics or unbelievers. Such novels would do much to supersede, or to counteract, the pernicious popular literature of the day, by creating a taste, a relish for a better, purer, and more elevating litera-ture. But only genius of the highest order, informed by a thoroughly Catholic understanding, and directed by the most assiduous and truest ascetic discipline, which at once chastens and strengthens the soul, can produce them. Lady Georgiana Fullerton aims at a novel of this sort, and suc-ceeds better than any other novel-writer we know, but fails to realize completely our ideal of what a truly religious novel should be. The writer of  "Hornehurst Rectory," as well as the author of the" House ofYork," does not appear to have aimed at any thing of the kind.

But the dogmatic and controversial novel which aims to explain and defend Catholic faith and morals in connection with a story of love and marriage, strikes us as a literary
monstrosity, which is equally indefensible under the relation of religion and that of art. Novels of this sort are intended as an antidote to the impure and corrupting sentimental and sensational novels with which we are flooded; the worst of which are written, strange to say, by women, and to which no little of the infidelity and immorality, the vice and crime of the age, must be ascribed. But we doubt if these novels serve as any such antidote at all. In the first place, serious--minded people, who will read the graver part, the contro-versy, the exposition and defence of Catholic doctrine and morals, find the story, the love and marriage portion, an annoyance of which they would prefer to be relieved; and those who read for the story are equally annoyed by the graver part, and usually skip without reading it. The fact is, the reading of either part indisposes one to read the other part. The state of mind produced by reading the one part is quite different from that necessary to relish the other. The parts do not cohere and produce unity of impression. In the second place, the romance part of these novels seldom differs except in degree from the objectionable popular novels. We take, for instance, the "House of York." It contains a love story, in fact, several love stories, and any number of marriages, differing from those usually found in popular works of fiction only in being not so high-wrought, tamer, and less attractive; but the interest or excitement-what there is of it-is of the same kind, and is less likely to satisfy the fresh and ardent imagination of youth, than to create a taste for more and more exciting reading of the same sort; a taste, indeed, which only the most exciting and sensational novels can satisfy. We think, therefore, that these religious novels, in so far as they are novels at all, only create in their readers a taste for the highly-spiced and poi-sonous literature they are intended to counteract or super-sede.

There are, moreover, very few of our authors of religious novels, even when they know their religion well enough to avoid all grave errors in the serious part of their productions, who have so thoroughly catholicized their whole nature, consecrated their imaginations, and conformed their tastes, mental habits and judgments, sentiments and affections, to the spirit of Catholicity, that when they write freely and spontaneously out from their own imaginations, they are sure to write nothing not fully in accordance with their religion. They do not habitually live and breathe in a Catholic atmosphere; grace, prayer, meditation have not trans-formed, so to speak, the natural man, and supernaturalized their indeliberate thoughts, and affections, and the whole interior operations of their souls. As romance or novel writers, as far as they go, they have been formed by the popular literature of the day, and copy its tone and spirit.

The writer of the "House of York," in the romantic or fic-titious part of her work, in the spontaneous treatment of love and marriage, gives no evidence that her interior soul is not as Protestant or as transcendental as it was before her conversion. Indeed, the authoress evidently, in treating of love, is treating of what to her is an unknown world. She shows in the conduct of her lovers great lack of delicacy and refinement, and we suspect that, prior to her conversion, she had some tendency, at least, to be a "strong-minded woman." But this is not precisely what we mean. She makes her heroine, while betrothed to one man, seek on all occasions the society of another, and actually fall in love with him, and break the heart of the honest and noble--minded young man, to whom her faith is pledged; and this, too, when she is ready to go through fire and water to secure baptism to a dying infant. It is true she tells him she will marry him, but he does not wish to marry one who does not love him, and whose heart is hopelessly another's. He generously releases her, and leaves her free to marry the imbecile but rich and highly connected rival she is in love with. In his self-depreciation and humility, he tells her, on giving her back her word, that he had always felt that he could never make himself worthy of her; whereupon she turns upon and abuses him, like an old fishwife, for having, when he so felt, gained her promise, and caused her years of suffering. But the authoress consoles him for his disap-pointment by making him a priest, as if the priesthood were a hospital for disappointed lovers.

In this we detect another instance of the cruelty of our women novelists to their own sex. Nothing can exceed the cruelty of the women writers of fiction to woman. They strip her of all her charms and lovable qualities, and paint her as heartless, capricious, despotic, intriguing, greedy of power, and indifferent to the ruin and misery she may bring upon those she is bound by every tie of nature and religion to love and cherish, if they come between her and her purpose. Neither hopes of heaven nor fears of hell can divert her from the passionate pursuit of the end she has once resolved upon. Fickle, capricious, variable as the wind in all else, she is hard as adamant, as rigid as iron, as inflexible and as inexorable as fate, when it concerns having her own will. In effecting it,-if we may believe these feminine novelists like Holme Lee and Florence Marryat (if she be the authoress of "Woman against Woman "), Mrs: Southworth, and the anonymous authoress of" Ebb Tide,"-she recoils from no meanness, no falsehood, no treachery, no crime. The moral mischief these feminine novelists do individuals and society is incalculable. "The age of chivalry," exclaimed Burke, when Marie Antoinette was conducted to the guillotine, "is gone;" and that it is gone, women have chiefly themselves to thank.

There is, as I have elsewhere written (Mrs. Gerald's Niece), something chi-valric in the heart of every young man not yet corrupted by the other sex, that makes him regard woman as something mystic and almost divine, that surrounds her with awe, and makes him shrink from profaning her as he would from profaning the shrine of the Divinity. For him, she is made of finer materials than the red slime of the earth from which his own rude sex is made, and he regards her as a being apart, and to be worshipped as a star in the distant heavens, but not approached,-as we are told the knight in days of chivalry worshipped his "ladie-love." A noble, a generous sentiment it was which woman, as the symbol of the beau-tiful, could inspire, of which she could be the object, but which she was never supposed capable of sharing. Our feminine novelists have obliterated this sentiment. They have disrobed woman of her divinity, divested her of the mystery that surrounded and protected her, have laid bare the secret of womanhood, and shown that woman is after all made only of ordinary clay, and is no less mortal flesh and blood than man himself. They have stripped her of all illusion and rendered her incapable of inspiring the chivalric sentiment the young man naturally cherishes for her, or real respect for her womanhood. The male youth of to-day spurn the old maxim, "Honor woman;" and while they seek her as an instrument of pleasure, they inwardly despise her.

It is a sad day for the morals of any country when wom-an ceases to be held sacred by the other sex, when she is brought forth from her shrine in the adytum of the temple, and exhibited unveiled in the market-place. We tell those feminine writers,-who are so fond of making
their toilet in public, and divesting their sex of its
sacred mysteries, who have done their best to deprive woman of all honor and respect,-that their names should be execrated. We de-nounce them in the name of true manhood, in the name of true womanhood, in the name of· our mothers and sisters, our wives and daughters, as the enemies of their sex and of the human race. The disgusting realism made popular by your Dickenses, Trollopes, Ainsworths, and others, and pushed to a still greater extreme by their feminine imita-tors, has not only destroyed the last vestige of chivalry, but has obliterated from the non-Catholic world the last trace of Christian morality. We set our face against Charles Dick-ens from the very beginning of his literary career, before we had become a Catholic, and have regarded his popularity as one of the worst symptoms of the age in which we live. He had wit and humor, if you will, but no elevation of mind, no lofty aspirations; his nature was low, grovelling, and sordid, and his morality a vague and watery philan-thropy. Thackeray has great faults, but him we can endure; for, though apparently a realist, and cynical even, he had at bottom a rich and gushing human heart, and aspirations above the world he too faithfully painted. He was an ideal-ist as well as a realist, and his idealism redeems his realism. But Dickens had no redeeming quality; his good people are remarkable only for their insipidity.

We are far enough from pretending, and should be sorry to be thought to imply, that the writer of the "House of York" treats her sisters as cruelly as do the authors of the feminine novels with which the English-speaking world is just now inundated, and which the excellent Madame Craven seems to regard as immeasurably more moral, but which we regard as far more immoral, than the popular novels of France. A novel is not moral because the heroine goes to church and is careful to say her prayers night and morning, or because the hero is a handsome, graceful, and accom-plished young curate of ritualistic tendencies. All we say of the "House of York" is, that its tendency is to lessen the respect of the reader for woman. There may be real char-acters represented, of that we say nothing; but not a true, noble, high-minded woman, one whom we could love and honor, is presented us in its pages. As far as she goes, the writer follows in the traces of those feminine novels that depreciate the character of woman, and deprive womanhood of that sacredness and honor which are the best natural safe-guards of the morals of the family and of the community; yet we grant she does not go far in this direction.

Unconsciously, also, the gifted authoress, to some extent at least, countenances the mischievous doctrine which per-vades all modern literature and forms the basis for the de-mand for the abolition of Ohristian marriage, and the recog-nition of divorce ad libitum, or free-love; namely, that love is an affection not under our control, that we love where we must, not where we will, nor where it is our duty to love. It was the duty of Edith in the "House of York" to love her betrothed, and while engaged to him not to love another, and yet she does not love him, though she esteems him, and does love another, and without any blame by the authoress, apparently with her approval. Edith's resolution, in spite of her love for another, to marry Dick Rowan, at the ex-pense of a life of misery, is no real keeping of her word. She really only gambles on Dick's generosity, for she knows he would die sooner than hold her to her promise, if he knew that it had become painful to her to keep it, which in the sequel proves to be the fact. Why did she suffer her-self to fall in love with Carl while Dick holds her word? The only answer is that love goes where it will, is uncon-trollable by reason and will, and is not amenable to a sense of duty-an answer anyone who has proved unfaithful to husband or wife might equally well allege as a valid defence. It is this doctrine that love is involuntary, irrational, nees-sary, that wars so effectually against Christian marriage, and makes its indissolubility seem so hard and cruel. If we cannot control our affections, love where we should, and re-frain from loving where we should not love, we have no right in marriage to promise to love one another until sep-arated by death; and the reasoning of the advocates of free love is conclusive, for no one has the right to promise what it is not in his power to perform.

But this view of love, which is that of all modern popu-lar literature, and indeed of the whole modern world, is a dangerous, and, in relation to marriage, a wholly false view, and not to be entertained by a Christian moralist. There is, no doubt, a sentiment, a passion, called love, which springs np involuntarily as an affection of the sensitive nature. This does not depend on our will; and all we can do in relation to it when opposed to duty, is to resist it, refuse to yield to it or indulge it, and keep out of the way of temptation. It may be a very charming sentiment while it lasts; but a young couple marrying on the strength of this sort of love, or under its illusion-for illusion it is--seldom find it sur-vi- ving the honeymoon, if so long.  Hence so many unhap-py marriages; and unquestionably far more unhappy mar-riages in a country where marriages are arranged by the young and inexperienced parties themselves, than where they are arranged by the parents. There is far more domestic affection, virtue, and happiness in France, than in Great Britain and the United States. As for mercenary marriages, no French mother or guardian could keep a sharper eye to the main chance than the a verage New York girl that has reached the mature age of sixteen, though she may sometimes be taken in, as the sharpest may.

Every Catholic who has been instructed at all in regard to the spiritual life, knows that what the masters call "sensi-ble devotion" is of no account. Mere sensible love, or love as an affection of the sensitive soul, counts for just as little in domestic life. The Lord says, "My Son, give me thy heart:" He does not say, "Give me thy feelings," which are not under the control of the will, and therefore not ours either to give or to withhold. The only love worth naming, whether of wife or husband, parents or children, friends or neighbors, is the love of the heart, which in the Holy Script-ures always means an affection of the rational soul, and therefore under the control of free will. It is a rational and voluntary affection. This is wherefore Christian mar-riage, with the grace of the sacrament, is always practicable, and wherefore it is lawful to make the promises it exacts. For infidelity of either party to the marriage vows, for gross neglect of duty, or extreme cruelty, the church allows a sep-aration, a rnensa et thoro, but never a vinoulo rnatrirmonii; and this is all the relief that either party cau reasonably demand.
Far be it from us to say or to imply that the gifted au-thoress of the" House of York" goes, or would in any case go, in depreciating women or in making love an affection of the sensitive nature, and therefore irrational and involun-tary, to the lengths of modern feminine literature; and our censures are in the main designed for that literature, not for her, and are offered, a  propos of the "House of York," with the good-natured design to put her on her guard against any and every tendency that favors it; for it is the Weltgeist, and in the very air we breathe.

The object of the Catholic novelist, or cultivator of light literature, is not or should not be to paint actual life, or life as we actually find it, but to idealize it, and raise it, as far as possible, to the Christian standard, not indeed by direct didactic discourses or sermonizing, which is out of place in a novel; but by the silent influence of the pictures pre-sented, and the spirit that animates them. The true artist never paints the actual landscape that unrolls before his bodily eye, but the ideal landscape which he sees with the eye of the soul, which after all is the more real landscape. So the literary artist does not paint actual life, which is simply mimetic, but the higher and more real, or, as says Plato, methexic life, in which the actual has its type and possibilities. One should always be true to nature, but not to that nature which is only imperfectly realized in the act-ual. The Catholic should aim in his literary productions to be true, not only to this higher and more real nature, but to this nature elevated by the infused habits of grace above itself to the plane of the supernatural. It is this truth that gives to Christian art its immense superiority over all pagan art, or Grecian models-which our contemporary artists make so much ado about-and makes its creations not unfit ornaments of our churches. The study of pagan models, or even models presented by actual nature, and the attempt to copy or imitate them, have nearly destroyed Christian art and art itself. Art has deteriorated just in proportion as men have lost the Ohristian faith and the Christian ideal, till it has nearly ceased to  deserve the name of art, by em-bodyIng no thought or conception above the actual.

The popular literature created by most of our women novelists as well as by Dickens and his imitators is as faulty under the relation of Christian art, as it is under the rela-tion of Christian, or even natural, morality. The influence of woman as wife and mother, as natural mother or spiritual mother, is most blessed and cannot be overrated; but there are only exceptional individuals of the sex, like Mother Juliana, St. Teresa, and St. Catharine, that should ever step out of their domestic sphere or their convent, and at-tempt to form the literature of a nation or an age. The corruptest epochs of all history are those in which women aspire to play the part of men, and men abdicate their mas-culine superiority and consent to play second fiddle to wom-en. A queen of France once asked a duchess of Bur-gundy, why it is that the reign of queens is generally more successful than that of kings? "Because under a queen men govern, while under a king women govern," was the true as well as the witty answer of the duchess. Hercules at the distaff is not a picture we love to dwell on.

lt is not against the "House of York" or "Hornehurst Rectory" that our remarks are directed, for their offences are comparatively venial, and are offences of omission rather than of commission; but against the modern realistic school, as it is called, which piques itself on painting life as it act-ually is, which eschews the ideal, and whatever tends to ele-vate the soul, or to inspire high and noble aspirations, and which we regard as the most corrupting and infamous school of literature that has ever existed. Better, a thou-sand times better, for the morals of the community, the ex-travagant and improbable romances of fabled knights-errant, so unmercifully ridiculed. by Cervantes in his "Don Qui-xote," than the modern three-volume novels copied from the "Police Gazette" or the" Newgate Calendar." This school familiarizes us with vice and crime, makes us the compan-ions of thieves, robbers, swindlers, and social outlaws of either sex, heedless of the fact that "evil communications corrupt good. morals," hardly less effectually in the high-wrought pages of a book than in actual social intercourse. The works the school sends forth serve only to enfeeble in-tellect, to corrupt the heart, to debase the character, and to render our youth of both sexes mean, low, grovelling, and sordid. It "brushes the flour from the blossoms of their hearts, initiates them into mysteries of which they should remain ignorant, checks all pure, lofty, or noble aspirations, and unfits their souls to receive, or profit by, the sacred truths or holy inspirations of the Gospel of our Lord.

We cannot, then, as a Catholic reviewer, do otherwise than set our face against all works of fiction that in the re-motest degree tend to create a taste for this sort of litera-ture. We believe that the greater part of our so-called re-ligious novels, as well as most of the reading prepared for our children, directly or indirectly tend to create such a taste, and therefore we must, as a rule, discourage them as we do all popular novels, especially those written by wom-en. If women must write, let them write history or, rather, biography, where the nobility or sanctity of the subject will keep them within bounds, while full scope is given to their keen insight into character, and for their nat-ural tendency to admire and venerate what is manly, generous, and heroic. If we could make any exception, it would be in favor of Lady Georgiana Fullerton, who has an artis-tic taste, and who, the older she grows, becomes the more and more deeply imbued with the Catholic spirit.

If we have seemed to speak disparagingly of woman as a writer of fiction and creator of popular literature, it is not of Christian woman, far less of womanhood. We are old, with old-world notions on most subjects, which this age re-gards as ridiculous and absurd. We were brought up to honor woman, and to reverence womanhood, and we retain traces at least of our early training, and should like to see something of the old chivalric love revived in the masculine heart. We honor woman, we recognize her worth, as long as she remains a true woman, but we cannot, and God for-bid that we should, mistake her for a man. It is the true woman, moving in and contented with her appropriate sphere and cheerfully performing the important and noble duties that Providence has attached to it, that we honor, and all but worship. When we see such a woman, we are young again; but we turn with loathing and ineffable disgust from the woman who, forgetting her sex, and throwing aside the veil of modesty, ascends with brazen face the platform, and spouts at political meetings, at reform clubs, or in lecture rooms, political nonsense and unblushing heresy, or down-right atheism.

In the woman's rights movement in this country and Great Britain, a movement inaugurated by Mary Wollstone-craft, continued by Frances Wright, and supported by weak, silly, or designing men, women abnegate their womanhood, and forfeit the respect of every man whose respect is worth having. As far as women favor this movement,-which is a movement not only for female suffrage and eligibility, but for free-love and sensual indulgences,-to reverse the sen-tence of the Almighty on woman, "Thou shalt be subject to thy husband, and he shall have dominion over thee," they war against their own rights as well as interests as women; turn their backs on their high and sacred duties as wives and mothers, as daughters and sisters, and attack society in the very source and seat of its life. Nothing can better, than this shameful woman's rights movement, show the fatal ten-dency of modern literature out of which it grows, or the fearful abyss into which non-Catholic society has fallen. It, however, is the legitimate effect of the rejection of Christian marriage by the so-called reformers, and the false democracy after which the age hankers, and which was not improperly denounced by the American statesman and orator, Fisher Ames, as an "illuminated hell," only it is hell in its darkness without the illumination: for there is no light, not even phosphorescent light in it. The age supplies the prem-ises from which it is the logical conclusion.

All true women, all women who retain any thing of the natural modest and shrinking delicacy of their sex, should not only be on their guard against doing any thing to favor the movement, which springs from a satanic illusion, but should in their own proper sphere do all in their power to counteract it. The Holy Scriptures are full of warnings against "strange women" who lure men to their destruction, and whose ways lead directly to hell. It is hardly less nec-essary to warn women, and men, too, enfeebled as they are by the feminine literature and perverted female influence of the day, against "strong-minded women" who are even more dangerous, and in heart equally impure, and whose influence, if not resisted in season will precipitate society, the nation, in to hell.