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they are right, there is a mauvais quart d'heure for such as have pulled down three or four farmhouses and thrown the fields into one large holding. If landlords be compelled to reverse a policy to which they have been pledging themselves for so long, they may find that it was an evil day for them when they began to burn one house to warm another.'
But the labour market. Oh, the labour market! there's the rub! There stands the ominous fact that for years an exodus has been going on from the country villages of the best and most ambitious of the labouring class; it is going on still. Village life. has ceased to present charms to the sons of the soil. There have been many causes operating to bring this about; no one remedy can be trusted to meet the evil. But yet something may be done.
Men do not run away in shoals from homes where their childhood, was happy and their youth blessed with joyous memories, and in which they may look forward in their turn to pass their best years in some decency, comfort, and self-respect. They do run away from the odious thought of living and dying in a squalid hovel with a clay floor and two dark cabins under the rafters, reached by a rickety ladder; in the one of which sleep father and mother as best they can, while in the fætid air of the other their offspring of both sexes huddle, sometimes eight or nine of them, among them young men and young women out of whom you are stamping all sense of shame. Yes! people do run away from a life like this; leaving it behind them as a dreadful past wbich they remember only with indignation, or rebelling against the prospect of it as a future too hideous to be entertained except with scorn. I, for one, do not blame them.
THE ARAB MONUMENTS OF EGYPT.
NEARLY fifty years ago, Edward Lane, in his admirable work on the Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians, noticed symptoms of decay in the art of the Arab people, and predicted the decadence which was even then imminent. The causes which have brought about this decline are various and complicated. The seeds of corruption may have been sown shortly after the Arab conquerors had occupied the country and brought with them the luxury and refinement which resulted from more settled habits of life; but the culture and civilisation they adopted when they relinquished their nomad habits have left an enduring mark, which the lapse of time and the apathy of successive governments have not been able entirely to obliterate.
It is to Turkish misrule and the pseudo-civilisation which has accompanied it that we must look for the downfall of living Arab art. Some of its monuments have been spared, but the spirit which animated the designer is no longer there. Under the stress of a debasing tyranny—the more odious from the fact that it has aped and assumed certain babits of modern civilisation—the instinct of beauty implanted in the people has been sapped, whilst they are themselves hardly conscious of their loss. If they are ever to emerge from this debasement, it must be by a process of introspection which their unaided efforts are hardly likely to bring about. The most that can be expected from a people so circumstanced is that they may be brought to regard with sympathy and respect the efforts of foreigners to preserve from further decay the rich legacy inherited from their forefathers.
It is a strange feature of modern civilisation that whilst we hoard up in our museums such treasures as can be carried away,
the sites that have been ransacked, and too often desecrated, are allowed to pass
into oblivion and decay, and thus the reverence for the past, the religio loci so indispensable to true culture and advancement, are allowed to lapse and give way before the trivialities of modern fashion.
It may be argued with some plausibility that it is the privilege of a few to explore the native home of the rare and costly objects
wbich are carried to Europe and America, and that the large majority who stay at home should have within their reach examples of the art of distant countries. This is doubtless true, but it in no way militates against the furtherance of a scheme for protecting the architectural monuments of a city or preserving the general contour of its streets and buildings so far as is consistent with the requirements of health and genuine civilisation.
The rule of the present dynasty in Egypt may be regarded as the catastrophe so far as Arab art is concerned. Into the social and political state of the country at the time of the accession of Mohammed Ali it would be out of place in this brief essay to enter at any length. The power exercised by the Memlooks had doubtless reached an excess which became unbearable, and afforded a plea for carrying into execution projects of reform and a system of government having within it certain elements of justice which found favour in Europe at the time, although the means adopted to carry out these changes could not be palliated.
The preservation by means of endowments of the mosques and the schools attached to them had hitherto sufficed to arrest their decay, but by a process not altogether unknown in Europe these resources had been diverted from the intention of their founders and devoted to other purposes.
The advancement of education upon a European basis became the watchword of the party of progress, and the astute ruler of Egypt knew well how to avail himself of the sounding cry which he shaped to his own ends, regardless of the traditions and prejudices of his adopted country. Hungry adventurers followed in the wake, and profited by the disruption which secured for them advancement and emolument, and it is hardly a matter for wonder if the interests of native art were made to suffer.
A project which should aim at the preservation of the Arab monuments of Egypt ought especially to recommend itself to the attention of all who take an interest in Oriental art, and that this interest is widespread and on the increase none can doubt who regard the objects displayed in our museums and private collections, the subjects selected by the painters of the day, and the influence it has exerted upon decorative art both in this country and on the Continent of Europe.
The native art of India, too long disregarded, is beginning to receive the attention of the cultivated minority who view that vast country as something more than the battle-field of conflicting races, in which the older civilisation must necessarily give way and be moulded according to the will and caprice of the conqueror. The Saracenic monuments of India are of the highest interest from their intrinsic beauty, and also as affording an instance of the tenacity with which the Arab race have clung to their early traditions when transplanted into a foreign soil. Their rule has long been at an end, but it is a healthy sign of genuine progress that the monuments they have left behind them are beginning to be estimated at their true value. In Egypt, where their faith still endures, it might have been expected that the fostering care of a Mohammedan government would have saved from destruction these relics of the past, even if they have not the wit to create afresh or to imitate a style not glaringly at variance with their early traditions. The condition of Cairo is a melancholy proof that the present rulers of Egypt are unworthy successors to the inheritance which has become theirs by right of conquest, but which they hold on sufferance, and would long since have forfeited had not the mutual jealousy of the European Powers afforded them a grudging support.
The Arab people, emasculated by long years of oppression and misrule, have now scarcely a voice in shaping the destiny of their country; but if they carry to excess the resignation that is enjoined by their religion, they are by no means bereft of some of the nobler qualities that once adorned their race, and if the sentiment of patriotism could be aroused they might yet waken from the lethargy that threatens their extinction.
The potent influence, both for good and evil, of the Muslim faith upon Arab art, deadening and almost nullifying in the case of painting and sculpture, but elevating and ennobling when brought to bear upon their architecture, renders it difficult to assign to it a just position. In this respect the art of the ancient Egyptians, of Greece and Rome, and the development and application of art in India and China, present a marked contrast. In these latter countries the religious faith of the people has greatly influenced their treatment of painting and sculpture, and in the case of the Greeks especially has afforded to it a vitality which has exerted a powerful influence over the culture and civilisation of the world. Christian art, subjected, at least in modern times, to trammels similar in kind, though less in degree, to those imposed upon the Arabs by their religious prejudices, has never lost its hold upon the nations of Europe, nor has Puritan zeal even in Protestant England succeeded in effacing the influence it yet continues to exert. Thrown back upon the resources which were yet at their command, the Arabs concentrated their energies upon architecture, and their inventive faculties developed almost a new art in the style of decoration which lends so much grace and beauty to their buildings.
It is a significant fact that the obstacles which have arrested the full development of art amongst the Arabs should have fostered the growth of a style of architecture so admirable in its adaptability to the ends which it subserves, and yet appealing at the same time to the sympathies of men alien to the creed and to the institutions under which it flourished.
Persian art, less under the influence of these restrictions, inasmuch as it admits under a modified form of the rendering of natural objects, has never, at least in architecture, reached the perfection attained to by the Arabs, who have made Egypt a central point for the erection of their noblest monuments.
The mosques of Cairo and the examples of domestic architecture which yet remain are evidences of the high position attained to by their designers, and justify the dismay with which their neglected condition fills the mind of all who are capable of appreciating their beauty. It is a sad commentary upon the boasted civilisation of a century now drawing to a close that no hand has yet been lifted to avert the doom of some of the choicest monuments existing in the world.
The surpassing interest attaching to the remains of ancient Egypt has to some extent thrown into the shade the products of a later phase of civilisation. The mystery which enshrines the monuments of a race so long extinct, their simple grandeur, and their enduring strength, have drawn towards them the attentive study of some of our highest intellects. The key to the right understanding of their inscriptions has been eagerly sought after, and the almost unlooked-for success attending their anxious search has afforded a fresh impetus to the prosecution of labours to which the Government have lent their tardy support. Thus we no longer hear of temples quarried out in order to provide material for a tawdry palace, or of their columns being burned for lime--a proceeding connived at by several of the late Viceroys of Egypt.
The enlightened zeal of Mariette Pasba,' the able Director of the Boulak Museum, has been devoted mainly to the preservation of the ancient monuments of Egypt. The engrossing nature of his pursuit, the limited funds at his disposal, and the apathy with which all appeals for the protection of the Arab monuments have hitherto been listened to, have all contributed to concentrate his attention and that of his colleagues upon one absorbing topic. It remains for others to arrest, whilst there is yet time, the ravages of long years of neglect, and to neutralise the imbecile endeavour to Europeanise a city once a typical example of what the Arabs were able to achieve in architecture.
Twenty years ago much might have been done in this direction. The city of Cairo was not yet under the spell of a · Haussmann' destined, as the silly projectors of these improvements fondly believed, to rival the Paris of the Second Empire. Who, amongst those who were fortunate enough to have visited Cairo before this insane mania took its rise, can fail to remember the impression produced by a ride
| The recent decease of this eminent archæologist will cause a feeling of deep regret amongst all who have had an opportunity of appreciating his well-directed labours,