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implicitly asserts that there is no such thing as a national character, but only a class character, and is at variance with the leading facts of history; while, as applied to England, it presents this especial difficulty. The quality of hardness, now supposed to be growing deficient, was specially the quality of the class which has now come into power. No one was so hard, so little moved by sentiment, so unforgiving, as the English peasant or worker of the towns. We are, therefore, on this theory, in presence of the phenomenon that a nation has not only become softer, but has become so because its hardest class has risen to the top. That is not likely, to say the least of it; and as an increase of apparent softness in Englishmen is undeniable, we are driven to inquire whether national character ever does really change; so change, that is, that it will, when under strong emotion, or from any cause acting instinctively, take a totally unexpected course. The question is one of great difficulty, because so many of the more ancient peoples of mankind have mixed their blood; but we should say that, on the whole, the answer must be in the negative. The Jewish character, for example, seems to resist all pressure of circumstance, and to be substantially what it always was, -the character, that is to say, of a singularly stubborn or stiff-necked'' people, very earthy in their desires, though full of capacity; not spiritual, yet able to produce from time to time men of lofty spiritual gifts; not artistic in temperament, vet possessing in the most marked and special degree the organization which enables those to whom it is given to surpass mankind in music, whether as composers, singers, or instrumentalists. A A certain receptivity has, it is alleged, come upon the Jews, who everywhere, except in England, acquire a veneer from the country of their adoption; but it is acknowledged that the essential Hebrew character is never lost, and receptivity of a kind marked the nation always. One object of the Mosaic law was to keep the Jews separate; their chiefs were always afraid of Canaanitish or other Gentile influence; the Babylonians during the Captivity did materially alter Jewish theology, and the tendency of Hebrews to
Grecize"-recollect, nothing is so opposite as Hebraism and Hellenism-was in the time of Josephus the subject of angry comment and complaint among themselves. The Arabs, nearly as pure a race as the Jews-not quite, we fancy, for the Jews had not the Arab wealth of slaves, and were not brought into such contact with the Negro-appear, from the account of all travellers, to be precisely the people they were when, twelve hundred years ago, they burst upon the decaying Roman world. We will not speak of Greece,-first, because the Greeks are deeply crossed with Slav and other blood; and secondly, because when Englishmen speak of Greeks, they mean the thirty or forty thousand families of Attica who displayed for a moment in history matchless intellectual qualities, and then in all human probability died out; and we can only say of the Romans, who can hardly be proved to be the ancestors of modern Italians, that for a thousand years they exhibited an unchanged type,-strong, narrow, resolute business-men, determined to govern, but almost superstitious in their reverence for law. may, however, quote the French as evidence of unchangeableness. They are to-day in all essential qualities the Gauls whom Cæsar conquered, and Taine could still describe his countrymen in the great Roman's words. Where is the change in Welshmen since they gave up the fight for independence; or can any one point out the characteristic German trait which throughout her history can be proved to have died out in Germany? The Spaniard remains the man he was in all but his fierce energy, and that may have declined only because those who possessed it transferred themselves almost en masse to the New World, where the Spaniard has made an impression in many respects as wonderful, though possibly not as enduring, as that made by the Saxon. The evidence is not perfect, because we know so little of the past outside Greece and Rome, and because of the existence in so many States of the slave system, which corrupts, or, at all events, mixes the blood; but there is a heavy balance of probability that national character changes less than language, and is always, under all circumstances, in its essence the
Even faith changes it very slowly, the barbarians who accepted Christianity remaining for ages the half-tamed savages that they were before.
Then, can anything be added in the course of the ages to character so as materially to modify its manifestations? That is a subtle question, requiring a wider knowledge, perhaps, than any one man can possess ; but we should say that it could. The singular tolerance or placability of the Italians, which weakens all their jurisprudence and much of their statesmanship, is entirely modern, yet is regarded by all foreign observers as a main factor in the Italian character. It is difficult to believe that the history of France could have gone on as it did for nearly a thousand years, had the passion of envy so dominated the people as it does now; while in England the quality of sympathy for suffering which now affects the whole people is of less than two centuries' growth. Up to 1700, and probably much later, the people, though not exactly cruel, and comparatively free from the thirst for blood, were entirely callous to suffering not their own, thought an outrageous code of punishments quite natural, felt nothing for slaves, did nothing to relieve the sufferings of the mass of the feeble poor, and tolerated scenes of brutality which now would drive whole cities mad. Now, sympathy with suffering, especially the suffering of the weak, has grown so strong, that it disturbs the judgment, interferes with the repression of crime, threatens many of the rights-we mean the moral rights-of property, and constantly makes the whole nation doubtful as to its freedom to use force. A masterful race bears rebellion if justified by allegations of suffering; a fierce people scarcely endures the punishment of death; and a nation singularly given to
the subjugation of others, is uneasy whenever it acquires more subjects, or is told that others had better be enfranchised. The feeling is so powerful, that it modifies all action as much as if it had modified national character; but still, as we conceive, it has not done so. Sympathy is a superaddition, and therefore liable to disappear whenever events are rough enough or the provocation is direct enough to cause it to be inconvenient. When Hindoos murder officers, or Socialists threaten shops, or Invincibles assassinate popular men-that is, when the people are really stung, actually feel loss, or injury, or insultthe old character seems to us to revive at once, and there is as little pity in the punishment as weakness in the fighting. We do not see that unpopular murderers are let off the gallows, or that open rebels are allowed to win, or that there is any hesitation in using armed force in repressing insurgent Socialism. If Ireland rose in rebellion, Ireland would be quelled; and if the rebellion involved. massacre, the repression would for a time be pitiless. The nation has become merciful to weakness not through a change of nature, but through an acquired sense of sensitiveness to others' pain; and the moment the new sense produces visible evil instead of good, it is laid aside or repressed, and the genuine character, which is hard both to inflict and to suffer, reappears in all its strength. The people, in fact, is English, though in its new rest from pain it has begun to feel sympathy for the pained; but the sympathy, as an active force, would not survive keen suffering. At least, that is how we should read phenomena which are not a little puzzling, but the reality of which has as yet hardly been tested by events. -Spectator.
ONE of the chief employments of an Italian witch is to attacare persons. A lover may pay her more for a single charm, but those who want to attacare somebody else are her steady customers. The purpose of this spell is to render a person incapable either of all thought,
action, and reason, or of using one of his faculties. Thus those who have a lawsuit pay a witch to bind the tongue of an advocate who has to speak against them. This does not mean that he is to be struck dumb-that would frustrate the whole design-but merely that he is
to be rendered incapable of speaking effectively or to the point. When a man is entirely bound, he must remain in the position he happens to be in at the moment or assume another at command; he loses all consciousness. After hours he awakes from his trance, and continues the movement he began before it fell upon him. To leave a man in such a condition would obviously be simple murder, and in due time he is always unbound, at least in the popular stories. Whether the charm would in time lose its effect if it were not retracted seems a rather doubtful point. Among the believers in magic opinions differ, and tales might be cited in support of either view.
Some persons are born with a capacity for exercising this occult power, and it is no sin in them to use it; but most of them fortify their natural gift by the use of secret words in which the Devil is invoked as if he were the Almighty, and all witches can learn to exercise this influence to a certain extent. In witchcraft, as in medicine, however, the higher masters generally become specialists, and the old lady who devotes herself to love-charms is apt to be a little impatient if she is asked to show her skill in some other branch of her art in which she perhaps is conscious of being by no means so great an adept.
In the last generation no Neapolitan had so great a natural capacity for, and such acquired skill in, the art of binding as a man who bore the nickname of Lupone. All students of medieval literature must have noticed the strong distinction which is there made between a magician and a witch. The former by an inborn faculty or deep study commands the spirits, and there is nothing essentially wrong in the exercise of his art, though it implies great temptations, as the possession of exceptional powers always must. The witch, on the other hand, has sold herself to the spirits; she is their servant, not their ruler, and is really doing their work when she gratifies her own wicked propensities and those of others. One is often inclined to suppose that the former belongs essentially to the realm of chivalrous romance, and the latter to that of the popular ballad and legend. Now, Lupone is an essentially popular figure.
He was a Neapolitan fisherman, and his name has probably never been mentioned among the cultivated circles of his fellow-townsmen. Yet his power and the use he made of it seem to have partaken rather of the nature of magic than of that of the black art. To the imagination of the fishermen who talk about him, he appears as a strong, skilful, just, and magnanimous character, not by any means as a man who has said Evil be thou my good.
It is true that he was by no means a saint; he had a strong habit of selfassertion, and occasionally played rough practical jokes on his associates. He was one of the greatest fishermen of the day, and was prouder of this than of any of his other accomplishments. advice was usually begged with deference, and his company regarded as an honor as well as an advantage; but once a party set out without inviting him for a rather distant and important fishing excursion. He felt the slight, rowed out after them alone in a small boat, and spoke some words. hands fell helplessly on their nets; they could not continue to lay, nor could they draw them. Then he rowed back to Naples, and after a time unloosed them. They never treated him with such disrespect again.
In another tale he appears to greater advantage. Under the Government of the Bourbons the Coastguards, whose only legitimate business with the fishermen was to see that they paid their taxes and did not smuggle, took to plundering them. The younger men of the watch would launch their boat, go to the high seas, and demand the fish that had been caught. If any opposition was attempted, the fishermen were soundly beaten, and no effective resistance could be made, because the guards were armed. Only large parties of men, who were known to be determined and to carry their knives with them, were safe. This excited the anger of Lupone ; so he went out to fish alone, and when he had made a great catch he was assailed. He put his spell on his opponents, beat them, and took away their weapons, which he hid in his own house. When he was in safety he undid the charm. The members of the Coastguard were in despair at the loss
of their arms, because they could not say how it had occurred without betraying their own evil practices; so they consulted Manetta, like our hero, a halfhistorical and half-legendary personage, whose life and adventures cannot be related in a parenthesis. Manetta said he could do nothing for them; the fact is that he was the friend of Lupone. Afterward the culprits sent their parents to beg the forgiveness of the injured They offered him large presents if he would restore the arms; but he replied, I have no weapons; how should I overcome six armed men ?'' Then they began to entreat him; they urged that their sons would be ruined if they appeared unarmed at parade, and promised that their raids on the fishermen should cease. On this condition he gave up the arms; but he told them that their sons had felt his power once, and, if they broke their word, they would feel it more painfully the next time.
This Lupone is interesting, as the stories told about him really embody the ideal of the fishermen of Mergellina, and afford a picture of what they would like to be; but he must not be considered an unsubstantial myth. His son has hardly passed the prime of life, and several of his familiar acquaintances are still alive. Here is an anecdote that may possibly be perfectly true. There can be little doubt that Lupone was largely engaged in smuggling; at any rate, the Coastguards always kept a sharp eye upon him, though they were somewhat afraid of offending him-he had so many friends. One day they found him alone, spreading his nets on the sandy shore of Bagnoli, and they arrested him. He said he would go quietly with them if they allowed him to beach his boat, to finish drying his nets, and to give them into the keeping of an old man who was standing on the shore. They were pleased that he was so quiet, and agreed to the proposal. Lupone had foreseen that a great storm was coming up, and was as dilatory as he could well be. At last he was obliged to go with the Coastguards; but they had hardly left the shore when the storm broke, and they became quite unable to manage their boat, on which they begged Lupone to take the helm.
He made for Nisida. We want to go to Pozzuoli'' (in the opposite direction), said the chief officer. "If you can steer better than I can, take my place.' This silenced all opposition. When they were close to the island, but not under its cover, Lupone said: "You want to go to Pozzuoli, and I want to land here. You are six armed men, and can kill me if you like; but I can drown you all. Which of us is to have his way?" The guards capitulated, and he brought the boat into safety. After this the authorities never interfered with him.
All these stories have various forms. No two persons tell them in quite the same way. In some accounts of this adventure, for example, all mention of the storm is omitted, and the escape of Lupone is attributed entirely to his magical power. In the narratives here given the clearest or apparently best authenticated form has been chosen. Gallo Gallo seems to have belonged to an earlier generation than Lupone at least his name is less familiar, and the stories told about him are at once more marvellous and more disconnected. They seem to be either a conglomerate of separate tales, or the scattered remnants of some old fisher's romance.
Gallo Gallo once found a child crying by the roadside when he was passing through the old Grotto-the tunnel excavated by the Romans, which even before the time of Petrarch was supposed to have been bored by the magician Virgil and the demons under his command in a single night, and which is mentioned in Marlowe's Faustus. pity he took the little thing up to carry it to Bagnoli, to which village he was going, but with each step it grew heavier, till at last he was obliged to put it down, and go his own way. It was not a child, but a spirit. (It may be remarked that the word used by the narrator in this case was not manaciello but spirito.) The next time he passed through the Grotto, he remembered the circumstance, and found a can filled with oil on the very spot where he had left the child. He took it up, and it seemed light at first, but soon became so heavy that he was compelled to leave it by the side of the road. Shortly after this he was fishing with a number
of others near the coast off Lago Patria, beyond Cumæ, when bad weather set in, and they were detained for several days. He had all the money destined for household expenses with him; one of the great festivals-either Christmas, or Easter-was at hand, and he knew his family could not keep it properly unless he returned. He, therefore, tried to persuade some of his companions to walk back with him, while the others took care of the boats and nets; but this they refused to do, so he started alone. On the shore of Cuma he met a robber with a dog and a gun, who
demanded his money, which he gave at once. There was, however, something in his face which displeased and frightened the brigand, so he resolved to kill him, and bid him dig a grave. This the fisherman did, but in the mean time he worked a spell on him and his dog. He compelled the former to lie down silently, and remain motionless in the grave, and rendered the latter incapable of moving or barking. Then he took back his money, and went home. When he was in safety, he undid the charm. Saturday Review.
THE DECLINE OF THE DRAMA.
BY HENRY QUILTER.
Lady Froth.-" Then you think that episode between Susan the dairymaid and our coachman is not amiss...?"
Hamlet.-" O, reform it altogether. And let those that play your clowns, speak no more than is set down for them; for there be of them, that will themselves laugh, to set on some quantity of barren spectators to laugh too; though, in the mean time, some necessary question of the play be then to be considered: that's villanous; and shows a most pitiful ambition in the fool that uses it. So, make you ready." WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE.
THERE are few peculiarities of the present day more marked than the increased attention given to all theatrical matters, and the concern which is manifested in the social status of the actor.
The number of theatres in London has been nearly doubled within the last twenty-five years; the salaries of actors and actresses in that time have been at least trebled in amount; and the minute attention now given to every detail of mounting, scenery, and accessories of a play has had no parallel in any age of the world.
The actor and actress are now to be met in houses to which in the last generation they could have had no possible access; and the exalted rank conferred upon them may be said to have reached its highest social apotheosis in the visit of Mr. and Mrs. Kendal to Osborne, and the distinguished reception awarded to them, after their performance, by the Queen herself.
It is by no means impossible that the day will come when a knighthood will be bestowed on a favorite tragedian, and we have already reached the time when comic singers are entertained by the
Heir-Apparent at the private supper parties at Marlborough House.
All this seems to betoken a vastly increased interest in stage affairs, and a much higher estimate of the people engaged in histrionic matters. There is, however, one slight drawback to be made to this otherwise golden progress, and that in a matter which we are apt to consider as of grave importance. For though theatres multiply, and actors rise to a giddy height of social eminence though managers reap golden profits, and the theatres are crowded nightly : though ladies of title grace the boards,' "and Royalty smiles from the
boxes," in the midst of all this histrionic progress the drama itself seems to languish-nay, almost to die. If we look at the performances of our most popular theatres-and, be it understood, by this I am referring only to the picked theatres of the metropolis, especially of the West End; what is the kind of entertainment that we find offered to the public? and what evidence does it afford that dramatic literature is flourishing in proportion to the development of all other theatrical matters? The