Page:Genius, and other essays.djvu/189
the beau sabreur, the gentleman and gentlewoman of the old school, and here the youths and maidens of to-day,—a choice assemblage, with not a prig, a bore, or a vulgarian among them.
Some of the most attractive portions of this selection, therefore, have to do with the quaint people of a time gone by, and with the treasures they have bequeathed to us. But the author is an artist of the present, and his work a product of to-day. Its modernism is a constant charm. There are in England and France so many lovely relics of a refined, alluring age! In England, the canvases of Sir Joshua and Gainsborough, the old houses with their souvenirs of teacup-times,—brocade and chintz, deftly garnished mantels, tapestried and lavendered chambers, box-bordered lawns and garden-plots. In France, the dark hangings and polished floors of stately mirrored rooms in turreted chateaux and peaked mansions. Never so much as now have the artists availed themselves of these materials, and of the riches of galleries and museums close at hand. But one looks to the poet to catch the sense and soul of these things, the aroma that clings about them. The fashions that most readily appeal to Mr. Dobson are those which are so far bygone as to be again desired and new. What more odious than the mode we have just discarded? What so winning as that of a time earlier than our memory, and thoroughly good in its time? The movement which has given expression to all this, on both sides of the ocean, is like a new taste. Mr. Dobson is the instinctive and born interpreter of its sentiment, and