« VorigeDoorgaan »
All unawares indeed, these, our horny-handed brothers, are moulded by their contact with the out-door world; nevertheless their hopes and sympathies are bound up in the hopes and sympathies of the nature that they know; they belong to it in a special manner; this earth which they cultivate is connected with every phase of their lives.
on the bank beside them, or even the trees. When he wanders with his lass leafy thorn boughs. Ned and Jack roar beside the pleasant hedgerows ΟΙ at them occasionally between their through the teeming fields, do not the lumps of bread and cheese, but they sunshine and the green leaves and the nevertheless contrive to snatch a singing of the larks add zest to his delicious mouthful from time to time, courting? And when the old man and are in some manner refreshed spins yarns in the chimney-corner when they go on again, plodding up about the gallant days of his youth, the furrow, or rattling the noisy will they not abound in details as to machine. The brown fields take on "th' time o' year" and the aspect of wondrous tints of copper and purple the country? at sunset-time, the green plain is a very sea of gold, every upstart hair on Boxer's or Smiler's back is a-glitter with its own tiny aureole; the homely figures of the laborers are transfigured in the evening glow. And when Maggie or Jinny leans over the hedge with the breeze ruffling her hair, her rosy cheeks look rosier than ever, and her whole commonplace little personality is invested with glamour and poetry. Indeed it is perhaps in this enforced recognition of the magic and the glory of common things that lies the chief charm of country life. With this light, these free open spaces, this air-never languorous here in our bonny north there is beauty and savor everywhere; even when we find no blossom in the hedge, are there not red-brown buds, or curled baby leaves, or red points of light making gleaming outlines to the thorny twigs, or, best of all, delicate glittering frost tracery? And when the hay and clover are "carried," and the lime-trees are hung with seed-pods in knotted fringe, the damp earth has a sweetness of its own, and the russet sea of dying bracken yonder, under the yellowing woodland, sends forth waves of curious spicy fragrance pleasant to the nostrils.
The tillers of the soil, incapable though they may be of giving voice to the impressions produced on them by their surroundings, are nevertheless strongly, if unconsciously, affected by them. As a laborer tells you it is "nice and dowey" when he sets to work at four o'clock in the morning, you see by his contemplative eyes that he is recalling the wonder of the dawn; he is actually feeling the cool, moist freshness, he sees the glory of the sun behind the
The first conscious sensation of the peasant-babe is that of rolling on the sunny sod, the smell of the crushed herbage in his nostrils, his tiny fingers clutching at clover-blooms. Next, he proudly sallies forth to carry dinner to father or brother, with little head scarcely reaching mid-way up the hedge, and round eyes wandering over a brown wilderness till they descry an expectant figure leaning on spade or plough-handle. Later on, promoted to share the labors of the elders; guiding the horses up and down the long furrow-small heavily-shod feet sinking deep at every step, short arms aching as the day wears on; later still, "delving"-spade glittering in the sunlight, breeze fluttering unfastened shirt-sleeves and exposing muscular young arms, young blood leaping with sheer joy of life.
In a few years comes marriage; and the husband and father looks to the soil, his providence, bountiful and kind, for bread for the little mouths at home.
The seasons come and go, and the man's back grows rounder, and his limbs stiffen. Nearer and nearer the earth stoops he, and at last she clasps him to her bosom. He has labored all his days for hire; now he shall possess land of his own. Early and late has he
toiled, hard and long; now he may fold his hands and rest. O, ye visionary reformers, behold the realization of your dreams! behold in this lord absolute of six feet of soil your peasant proprietor! Here, even here, in this city of the dead, he has found Utopia! M. E. FRANCIS.
From Le Monde Moderne. ABOUT FEASTS AND HOLIDAYS.
We can no more imagine a people without holidays than a people without religion.
It is with holidays that religious observances begin, by holidays they are confirmed, developed, revived, and in holidays they end.
Certain festivals survive long after they have been left behind by the evolution of religion. Druidism is dead, but in more countries than one the mistletoe is held sacred to the new year. Paganism is dead but the Carnival is perennial, and though buried by Ash Wednesday every year, it revives as regularly at the appointed season.
All about us, unperceived, new feasts are perhaps announcing new phases of religious feeling destined in the future to a magnificent development. The religion of patriotism, of hero-worship, of labor and that religion of human solidarity which embraces them all these have yet a message to deliver.
At present the word religion suggests fixed dogmas, regular and exclusive institutions. A ritual of pre-arranged and codified forms. But this, after all, is only the body of religion. The soul eludes, because it is within us. As individuals we tend to separate ourselves from others rather than to mingle with them. Once make an effort in the opposite direction, an effort after the things which reconcile and unite, and we shall begin to understand all religions, even that of the future, and to enjoy all festivals, even those of the past.
The egotist, on a day of public rejoicing, stays at home. The business man shrugs his shoulders, and bewails
time lost and money ill-spent. The manufacturer sulkily stops the machinery whose slave he is, hating that men should be idle when times are good. The professional pleasure-seeker always prefers private fètes. The gaiety of the masses annoys him. He thinks it lacks reserve; and the moralist, though for very different reasons, is of the same mind. Seamstresses, dressmakers, cabmen, musicians, and all manner of traffickers in the open air rejoice in public festivals and loudly proclaim the fact. They would like one every day,which would be a little too much. But happy in any case is the man who is able to get out of his rut, stand clear of his daily occupations and his official opinions, and say his homo sum and the rest of it, in all sincerity of heart!
The foremost of the established religions, however strong in the traditions of its own past, has always shown a remarkable power of assimilation in the matter of feasts. Saint Gregory the Great, advised his missionaries in Germany and Britain to adopt the holy days and places of the barbarians, and accommodate them to Christian practice. Christmas is not merely the feast of the nativity of Christ. The time of its celebration and the popular usages which attend it prove it to have been also an astronomical festival common to both Celts and Germans. The yulelog symbolizes the return of the sun after the winter solstice. The Christmas-tree, and the ivy used in decorating the house have a similar significance. The feasts and junketings of the season were once sacrifices to Freyr-the Sun who fructifies the Earth. In the month when the sun scorches, came the Feast of Fagots.-afterwards transformed into the Feast of St. John the Baptist. The solstitial character of this feast persisted for a long time, in spite of Episcopal ordinances and Parliamentary injunctions. As late as the 11th of April, 1785, the Parliament of Paris forbade the curé of Saintines in Valois to celebrate matins on St. John's day earlier than four o'clock in the morning, and the people of the parish to remain in the church later than nine
to Versailles before this time, and it was only his gardens, not his house, which were thrown open.
Montesquieu is rather sarcastic on the subject of holidays. He regards them strictly from their legal obligatory and utilitarian point of view. "When a religion," he says, “ordains the cessation of labor, it is the needs of mankind that ought to be considered rather than the greatness of the being to be honored." He then quotes Xenophon, who complains of the excessive number of holidays at Athens as a great hindrance to business. Xenophon, however, was an aristocrat, besides being an economist. "Protestant and Catholic countries," Montesquieu goes on to say, "are so situated that more labor has to be performed in the former than in the latter. Hence the suppression of holidays becomes a matter of convenience in Protestant lands." This is true no doubt, but there are other and stronger reasons for the difference. A man cannot renounce an established religion without changing the whole tenor of his life. If he can be made to do this, he is converted. If he clings to his old habits, nothing is accomplished. The Lutherans, however, retained a good many more holidays than the Calvinists, and even instituted some new ones,-as the "Feast of the Reformation." Climate also is an important
There is no need, however, to go stumbling in the dark among antique mythologies. Glance at the history of the French monarchy. It was always the king's birthday which was the great national fête. The date was fixed by the monarch's baptismal name. Now, five out of twelve of the sovereigns of the second dynasty were Louis, and of the third, thirteen out of thirty-three not counting Louis-Philippe, who considered St. Philippe his patron, and not St. Louis. The name of Louis is, however, only another form of Clovis, the name of our first Catholic sovereign. The canonization of Louis IX. by Boniface VIII. transformed our principal civic festival-August 26th, into a feast of the church. It is still brilliantly celebrated by the town of Cette-a creation of Louis XIV.-as the day of its patron saint. Under the old régime in Paris, the Carmelites always went in procession to the Tuileries on that day, inviting the mayor and aldermen, and in fact, the whole town to join them. They presented each of these gentlemen with a bunch of flowers and a piece of "pain bénit," and in crossing from the Place Maubert to the Tuileries, they As to the suspension of industry. always halted at the Rue de la Montesquieu was not the only moralist Feerronerie on the spot where Henry who complained of the abuse of the cusIV. fell, to sing a De profundis. St. tom. Witness the plaint of the cobbler Louis' day was the only one when the in one of the most charming fables of Tuileries gardens were open to ill- La Fontaine:— dressed folk; and it was the same with the Luxembourg, the King's Garden (Jardin des Plantes), and the Place Royale. A certain royal censor named Jèze, who wrote a book about Paris in
Le mal est que toujours
(Et sans cela les gains seraient assez honnêtes)
Qu'il faut chômer. On nous ruine en
1760, felt it his duty to apologize for this Le mal est que, dans l'an, s'entremêlent act of condescension on the king's part, which was not approved by "nice people." "It is but just," he wrote, "that the house of the common father of all Frenchmen, should be open on his birthday to the entire populace." The "com- De quelque nouvean saint charge toujours
mon father" had, however, withdrawn
L'une fait tort à l'autre, et Monsieur le
This fable was written in 1679, and it distributed holidays. Such vacations have become the student's exclusive privilege. What might not be the gain to the modern workman, in health, in courage, and even in money, if his seasons of rest only could be determined and assigned in advance from January to December. Regular vacations, my good cobbler, are the pledge of steady work, and your gains might have been less "honnêtes" if you had worked Sundays and feast-days, for your fellow-cobblers would have done the same, and you would have had to turn night into day. And since there would have been no more feet to be shod than before, you would not have had to lower your price again and again, and get less for a job the harder you toiled. You would have had to stop singing altogether, and your only resource against the injustice of things would have been to accuse the avarice and hard-heartedness of man. Who knows whether you would not even have come, through spite and fatigue, to bungle your own work-feeling sure that your customers could not better themselves-and thus have lost that consciousness of duty accomplished and a job well done which once enlivened your shop, and disturbed nobody's rest but that of the capitalist.
is historic: Twelve years before, Louis XIV. by the advice of Colbert, had caused Harlay de Champvallon, the valiant Archbishop of Paris, to suppress no less than seventeen holidays. The Parliament of Paris, so docile for the most part, after the end of the Fronde, protested against this suppression and Sauval tells us how commissioners were to be seen tramping the streets, "half of them opening doors by order of the archbishop, and the other half closing them, by order of the Parliament." Parliament actually succeeded in recapturing four of the condemned festivals, but only so far as regarded their own attendance at the palace. But Pope Clement IX., who had not been consulted, remarked shortly afterward to the Abbé le Tellier that he should be obliged to rescind the order of the bishops unless they preferred to undo their own work." If we may believe the good cobbler this was exactly what was insensibly accomplished. Even if the suppression had been maintained the laborer would still have had seventy-nine "off days" in the year, including Sundays, but not including Easter-Monday, the Monday after Pentecost, and other Mondays equally uncanonical. The festival of Saint Bartholemew, one of those which were suppressed, and a truly accursed anniversary if ever there was one, was certainly among the holidays restored in the seventeenth century.
In our own day, the "off-work" question has assumed an entirely new aspect. In most industries and trades, no-work is merely the reverse of overwork. The year is no longer "studded" with appointed days of rest, whereof the workman, whoever he may be, is apprised by the calendar. Instead there are prolonged "dead seasons" recurring every year, and always tending to depress, demoralize and ruin him. They vary, however, according to the nature of the business, and the general activity of trade. It would be superfluous to enumerate the reasons why those who control great industries cannot now revert to a system of regularly
It is impossible, however, when all is said, and even in a highly centralized country like France, essentially to modify, by means of legal holidays, the temper of the people. Real festivals are born of public spirit, they are powerless to create it. There will always be cockneys in plenty to attend patriotic or sentimental parades. But, as Merlin de Thionville once said with remarkable good sense, we have been too much in the habit of confounding the national fête with the national show. At the latter people merely listen and gaze. In the former they take an active part. In the one they expect to be diverted; in the other they divert themselves. The spirit which enables them to do this, however, is not to be infused by any mysterious virtue of the calendar. When Napoleon I. decreed a festival to celebrate the sanguinary victory of
Eylau, Tallyrand went the rounds of the tearful countries saying: "Come, come. ladies and gentlemen! The emperor is quite in earnest! He intends you to be amused! But forty years later from his seat in the Constituant Assembly the Abbé Lamennais let fall this aphorism: "Holidays are not made, they make themselves." The lesson, whether given in jest on in earnest, is one to be remembered.
Translated for THE LIVING AGE.
From The Fortnightly Review. PHILIP II. IN HIS DOMESTIC RELATIONS. It was the misfortune of Philip II. that he was forced by the circumstance of his birth into a position for which his character and abilities rendered him entirely unfit. He succeeded to the leadership of a cause which could only be made successful by boldness, personal sympathy, celerity of resolve, rapidity of action, and agile adaptability; by such a character, indeed, as enabled Henry IV. to weld France once more into a homogeneous Catholic nation. Philip's own nature was the very reverse of this. It has fallen mainly into the hands of enemies to write his history, and for three centuries the mists of hatred and bitterness raised in his lifetime have not been entirely dissipated. But the facts, after all, are simple. Here was a timid, distrustful, narrow-minded man, absolutely without imagination, a man who would have made an excellent minor official, forced to champion the maintenance of what was considered the very basis of society. It is easy for us, seeing as we do, how groundless were the fears entertained of the threatened changes, to condemn the severity employed in the attempt to withstand them; but we must not forget that the claims advanced by civil and religious reformers were then looked upon much as we regard the most extreme of the subversive doctrines which threaten our present social system. There is no doubt that
Philip, according to his Own lights, thought that he was best serving God and humanity in trampling down without mercy those whom he considered the enemies of religion and society. A man with some imagination would have sickened of the horrors the process entailed, a man of wider views and sympathies and less tenacity might have found some diplomatic way of securing the success of his cause, but Philip was outwitted and outmanoeuvred at every point but one by his more nimble opponents; and the allied causes of Catholic domination, of personal despotism, and of Spanish empire, were lost in a great measure through the character of the mao whom his ill-fate chose to lead them.
I have said that Philip succeeded in one particular; and here his success was so complete as to have continued to the present day. The hellish cruelties of the Inquisition, the fires, and racks and torture, claimed their tens of thousands of victims; but they saved Spain from the religious dissensions which desolated other countries, and the fact remains that, dreadful as appears to us the tyranny exercised by Philip, cold and unsympathetic as his personality seems to have been, he was beloved and revered by his Spanish subjects as few of their monarchs have been before or since.
The struggle between the old and new orders of thought in which Philip was engaged was a war to the knife; and the antagonists on both sides did not scruple to use any weapon, fair or unfair, that came to their hands. Political methods and religious dogma were not alone the objects of attack. The personal characters of the principal parties in the struggle were blackened without pity or remorse. No moral crime was bad enough to be excluded from the charges brought by Catholics against Elizabeth and Orange. Half the calumnies even yet lingering over the name of the great queen, owe their origin to the industrious imagination of Father Parsons, and the crowd of English and Scotch Catholic refugees who were main