that comes from them is simple, well-bred, ably have made him the wealthiest farmer unimaginative, destitute of ideas and emo- in the neighborhood; and he was, to tions. And yet I know that these same boot, a stalwart fellow on whom nature men are capable of the most tenacious pas- bad lavished all her gifts of health and sions, the suddenest self-abandonment to comeliness. Unluckily, he loved a girl of overmastering impulse. It

whom his uncles disapproved as a match though their concentrated life in village for such a youth of consequence. One homes had made them all of one piece, Saturday evening, as the custom is here, which, when it breaks or yields, splits ir- be went to pay his addresses by stealth to retrievably to fragments.

this maiden of his choice, and returning I will tell some stories which prove that early next morning, he was upbraided by the Swiss peasants, though they look so his interfering uncles. I do not know stolid, have in them the stuff of tragedy. what he replied ; but certainly he made Thero was a lad in a valley called Schaufigg, no scene to speak of. When the uncles not long ago, who loved and was betrothed left him, he unhocked his gun

from the to a girl in the Hinter Rheinthal below wooden panelling of the house-room, went Splügen. She jilted him, having trans- out alone into the copse hard by, and put ferred her affections to another, and he a bullet through his brain. went to take a formal farewell of his sweet- That is the sort of things of which these heart in her home. Everything passed youngsters, with their heavy gait and scorn decorously : so much so the girl's brother ful carriage, are capable of doing. The put his horse into the cart and drove the masks they wear for their faces are no in. rejected lover with his own sister down to dex to the life that throbs within. Thusis. The three had reached that


Well, I am digressing from Ilanz and sage of the Via Mala where the Rhine the Ligia Grischia. After the concert loses itself in very deep, narrow gorge. there came the banquet, and after the banIt is called the “Verlosene Loch,” and is quet came the ball. About three in the spanned by a slender bridge thrown at morning, having smoked many pipes with right angles over the river. Here, as they friends in homespun, I retired to my wellwere spinning merrily down-hill, the lad earned rest and slept soundly, although stood up in the cart, sprang to the parapet the whole inn was resonant with fifes and of the bridge, and dashed himself at one violins, and stamping, shonting burschen. bound into the grim death of jagged rocks You should have seen the last dregs of the and churning waves below them. It was orgy, the petits crevés of Ilanz, when I a stroke of imaginative fancy to comunit came down to breakfast at eight. Some suicide for love just at this spot. And of them were still dancing. now a second tale of desperate passion. A Next day we took a sleigh and drove up rich man in the Prättigau had two chil- the valley of Lungnez. Such a silent snow dren, a daughter and a son. The daugh- scene under the steady flooding sunshine ! ter wheedled him into allowing her to Tbe track between wood and precipice marry some peasant, who was poor was just broad enough for our runners till unequal match in social station. Then his we came close to Villa. There the valley son set his affections upon a girl equally expands, yielding a vast prospect over the ineligible. The father stormed ; but the mountains-passes which lead to Splügen youth was true to his plighted troth. Dur- and to Olivonema wilderness of fcraggy ing a temporary absence of the son, his peaks and billowy snow-fields, all smoothfather contrived to send the girl off to ed and softened with clear sunshine and America with a round sum of money. On blue shadows.

can paint, no his return, after hearing what had hap- words can describe, that landscape. It pened, the lad said nothing, but went must be seen and then it will never be down to the Landquart water in the even- forgotten. A baronial family, De Mont, ing and drowned himself there. And were lords of Villa in old days, and now now a third tale. Last spring, in a village they keep an inn there in one of their annot three hours distant from Davos, lived cestral houses. Portraits of generals and a young man who was an orphan. He had ladies look down upon the casual guest, inherited a considerable estate, and ex- among

einblazoned scutcheons with fainous pected more from two uncles. Life, could quarterings – Scharenstein, Castelberg, he have managed it prudently, would prob- Toggenburg - discernible by specialists

and an

No one

who (like myself) love to trace a nation's very pine-woods have been swept away by history in its heraldries. Photographs of avalanches and the violence of armies, each more recent De Monts, abroad in the world, massive bole told a peculiar story. I have a modest place beneath these canvases thought of the young men, whose athletic upon the planks of Cembra-pine which forms and faces like masks impressed my form the panelling. It is by no means fancy, and something breathing from the uncommon in this country to find the homes leafless ashes spoke to me about them. of people whose ancestors were counts or Here was the source of their life's poetry ; barons of the Empire, nobles of Spain and a poetry collected from deep daily comFrance, and whose descendants could bear munings with Nature in her shyest, most such titles if they chose, turned into hos. impressive moods ; a poetry infused into telries. I sometimes wonder what they their sense unconsciously ; brought to a think of American and English tourists. point and gathered into some supreme When I make inquiries about their former emotion by meetings with a girl in such a state, and show some knowledge of their place as this—the hours of summer twifamily, it is always appreciated in the light, when the ash-trees are laden with grave, dignified way these people of Grau- leaves, and the mountains shrink


bebünden have with thein.

fore the rising moon, and the torrent The chief attraction of Villa—letting clamors in the gorge below, and the vast alone the annals of Lungnez, of which I divine world expresses its meaning in one have not here the time to speak—is an old simple ineffaceable word of love. I church, at Pleif, built on a buttress of the seemed, as I sat upon the wall there in the hills far up above the torrent. It occupies snowy, sunny silence, to understand a lita station which would be singular in any tle more about the force of passion and the land ; and it commands a view of peaks, external impassiveness of this folk, whom passes, glaciers, and precipices wbich even I dearly love. I felt why those three lads in Switzerland is rare. Once it was the of whom I spoke had thrown their lives only church in the vast upland region it away for an emotion, breaking to pieces surveys. The tolling of its bell brought because the mainspring of their life was stalwart Catholics from far and near, troop- broken--that which moved them, for ing under arms to join their forces with which they had grown up to manhood, the men of Ilanz, Trons, and Dissentis, through which the dominant influences of and then to march with flying flags on nature on their sensitive humanity had beChur. That was in the times when Grau- come manifest in an outburst of irreversbünden struggled in religious strife be- ible passion. Then I remembered how a tween Catholics and Protestants, partisans friend of mine from Trius talked to me of the French and Spanish sides. The once about the first thoughts of love building is large and of venerable antiquity. evoked in him, just in a place like this. On its walls hangs a huge oil-painting- It was on the top of a hill called Canasurprising to find in such a place—a pic- schàl, where there is a ruined castle and a ture, clearly by some Venetian artist, of prospect over both the valleys of the Rhine, the battle at Lepanto, just such a canvas and the blending of that mighty river's as one sees in the Ducal Palace on the La- fountains as it Hows toward Chur. He goons. The history of this picture, and was a boy of fifteen, my friend, when he why it came to Pleif, seems to be forgot- saw the simple thing of which he told ten ; but we know that the Grisons in the at the age of twenty-three. A pair of sixteenth century were stout allies and ser- lovers were seated on the cliffs of Cana. vants of St. Mark's.

schàl—the lad and the girl both known It was not the inside of the church at to him-and he was lying in the bushes. Pleif which attracted my notice, but the It was the sight of their kisses which ingraveyard round it, irregularly shaped to formed bim what love was ; and the way suit the rocky station, girt with fern- in which my carpenter-friend spoke of the plumed walls, within which were planted experience seven years afterward made me ancient ash-trees. A circuit of gnarled, conceive how the sublime scenery and solibent, twisted, broken ash-trees. In West- tudes of these mountains may enter into moreland or Yorkshire they would not have the soul of lads who have nothing to show had the same significance ; but here, where the world but masks for faces. all deciduous trees are scarce, where the I give this here for what it is worth.


We have heard much of the Swiss in for- criticism may be defined as the science of eign service dying of home-sickness at the the work of art regarded as a sign. The sound of the Ranz des Vaches." We development of these ideas in a lengthy hare also learned the proverb, “ Pas d'ar- and patient analytical investigation taxes gent, pas de Suisse."

' I think that the the reader's attention pretty severely, for education of young men in these Siren some of Hennequin's views are decidedly mountains— far more Siren than the mer. audacious, and require to be examined maids of Sorrento or Baiae, to any one with caution. Well, I had reached Chur who once has felt the spirit of the Alps- on my homeward route, and was spending combined with their poverty, their need the evening in the little hotel I frequent of making money to set up house with, there. It has a long, low, narrow room accounts for the peculiar impression which with five latticed windows, and an old they make on town-bred foreigners, and stove of green tiles, for its stube, or place for their otherwise inexplicable habit of of public resort. Here I went to smoke wedding the uncomely daughters of the and read M. Hennequin's book on critiland.

cism. Three diligence conductors and a I will not linger over our drive back postilion, excellent people and my very from Ilanz. One sleigh-journey is like an- good friends, were in a corner by the other, except for the places one stops at, stove, playing a game of yass ; and after the postilions one talks to, the old wooden exchanging the usual questions with these rooms one drinks in, the friends one visits acquaintances, I took my seat near them on the way, and the varieties of the grand and began to study. About ten o'clock scenery one sweeps through.

they left, and I was alone. I had reached It has been my constant habit for many the point in Hennequin's exposition of years to do a considerable amount of bard what he somewhat awkwardly termed esstudy while travelling. It would be diffi- thopsychologie, which is concerned with cult to say how many heavy German and the theory of national literature taken as a Italian books on history, biography, and sign of national character. This absorbed criticism, how many volumes of Greek my attention, and nearly an hour must bare poets, and what a library of French and passed when I was suddenly disturbed by English authors, have been slowly perused the noisy entrance of seven hulking fellows by me in railway stations, trains, steamers, in heavy great-coats, with, strange to say, wayside inns, and Alpine châlets. I en- eight bright green crowns upon their heads joy nothing more than to sit in a bar-room instead of hats. I write eight advisedly, among peasants, carters, and postilions, for one of them wore two wreaths, of oak smuking, with a glass of wine beside me, and bay respectively. and a stiff work on one of the subjects I In a moment I perceived that a gymnasam bound to get up. The contrast be- tic performance, or Turnfest, must have tween the surroundings and the study adds taken place ; for I recognized two of the zest to the latter, and when I am tired of men whom I knew to be famous atbletes. reading I can lay my book down and chat They came up, shook hands, introduced with folk whom I have been half-con- to me their comrades, and invited me to sciously observing.

drink a double-litre of Valtelline wine. I On this short trip I had taken a remark- accepted with alacrity, shut up my treatise able essay, entitled La Critique scientifique, upon criticism, and sat down to the long by a young and promising French author central table. Meanwhile, the gymnasts -now, alas ! no more, M. Emile Henne- had thrown off their great-coats, and stood quin. The writer tries to establish a new displayed in a costume not very far remethod of criticism upon a scientific basis, moved from nudity. They had gained distingished from the aesthetical and liter- their crowns, they told me, that evening ary methods.

He does not aim at appre- at an extraordinary meeting of the associciating the merit of works of art, or of the ated Turnvereins, or gymnastic clubs of means employed in their production, or of the canton. It was the oddest thing in the the work itself in its essence, but always world to sit smoking in a dimly-lighted, in its relations. He regards art as the in- panelled tap-room with seven such comdex to the psychological characteristics of panions. They were all of them strapping those who produce it, and of those whom bachelors between twenty and twenty five it interests and attracts. His method of years of age ; colossally broad in the chest


and shoulders, tight in the reins, set mas- big fellows, stripped to their sleeveless sily upon huge thighs and swelling calves ; jerseys and tight-fitting flannel breeches, wrestlers, boxers, stone-lifters and quoit- strengthened the illusion. I felt as though throwers. Their short, bull-throats sup- were waiting there for slaves, who ported small heads, closely clipped, with should anoint their hair with unguents, bruised ears and great big-featured faces, gild their wreaths, enwrap them in the over which the wreaths of bright, green, paludament, and attend them to receive artificial foliage bristled. I have said that the shouts of “ Ave Imperator”' from a the most striking thing, to my mind, band of gladiators or the legionaries of the about the majority of young faces in Gallic army. When they rose to seek anGraubünden is that they resemble masks, other tavern, I turned, half-asleep, into my upon which character and experience have bed. There the anarchy of dreams condelved no lines, and which stare out in tinued that impression of resuscitated stolid inscrutability.

These men illus- statues-vivified effigies of emperors, who trated the observation. Two of them had long ago perished by the dagger or in masks of wax, smooth, freshly-colored, battle, and whose lineaments the craft of joining on to dark, cropped hair. The a declining civilization has preserved for masks of three seemed to be moulded out us in forms which caricature the


and of gray putty, which had hardened with- strength of classic sculpture. out cracking.

The sixth mask was of Next day I found myself at Davos sculptured sandstone, and the seventh of Platz, beginning my work again upon acexquisitely chiselled alabaster. I seemed cumulated proofs of Gozzi and the imto be sitting in a dream among vitalized possible problem of style. statues of the later emperors, executed in This is literally a page of my life, a the decadence of art, with no grasp on in- page extracted and expanded from my dividual character, but with a certain rem- desk-diary. I have done what I promised iniscence of the grand style of portraiture. the Editor of the Fortnightly Review. In Commodus, Caracalla, Alexander Severus, conclusion, however, I must remark that I the three Gordians, and Pertinax might do not altogether like this novel idea of have been drinking there beside me in the making a man interview himself.-Fort. pothouse. The attitudes assumed by these nightly Review,


The secret of Mr. Tupper's success in joke implying something of a jeer. They selling his only very successful work was, resent surprise as we shonld resent a new we believe, only this,—that the less edu- taste in the loaf. Fifty years ago, minds cated middle class is far less thoughtful in the condition of these shop.girls were than it appears to be. A contributor, in the majority among the middle class, whom we know to have an unusually ex- and even now they are more numerous tensive and practical experience of the sub- than is suspected, no modern art having ject, recently explained in our columns one been so successfully and generally acquired of the literary needs of shop-girls, factory- as that of concealing your mental backgirls, and other young women in their wardness; and it was their possessors who mental condition. A book to attract them bought, and who, when they happen not must be what critics would call a poor to be aware that their betters ridicule the book,- that is, a book full of well-worn book, still buy " Proverbial Philosophy." thoughts, strung together in the most or. Scores of thousands, for example, of Amdinary manner, with commonplace inci- crican farmers' wives bought it, and so dents, and reflections of the regular copy. did the uncultivated but fairly prosperous book kind. Anything which is not simple wives of the well-to-do tradesmen in Engpuzzles and slightly worries them ; any. lish country towns, people with many thing allusive is unintelligible to them ; duties, usually strictly performed, much while anything original creates in them the observation of a kind upon the facts of faint irritation with which a certain class life, but no power of independent thinkof mind receives a joke, and especially a ing or desire for it. One of the inost suc

cessful business men we have known kept country clergymen would not have read the book in bis desk, and whenever work the Psalms as they used to do. We take was slack read it, as he said, to recover this half-page, for example, absolutely at his inind. Such people genuinely admire random, as the one at which a new copy the book, and until the storm of contempt opened :uous criticism grew as unbearable as the ridicule of the clergy man is to superstitious

For all things leave their track in the mind ;

and the glass of the mind is faithful. conntry-folk, they expressed their admi- Seest thon much mirth upon the chcek? ration aloud. There is a theory now prev

there is then little exercise of virtue ; alent that this adiniration was never gen

For he that looketh on the world, cannot be uine, that the book was, by pure accident,

glad and good :

Seest thou much gravity in the eye? be not accepted as a proper and harmless book,

assured of finding wisdom ; and that it was only purchased to be given For she hath too great praise, not to get away to growing girls ; but we cannot ac- many mimics. cept that theory. The present writer saw

There is a grave-faced folly ; and verily, a

laughter-loving wisdom ; it forty years ago on too many tables, and

And what, if surface judges account it rain heard too many angry declarations that it

frivolity? was an admirable book, to believe that ex- There is indeed an evil in excess, and a field planation, even if it were not contradicted may lie fallow too long; by two admitted facts. The American

Yet merriment is often as a froth, that man

tleth on the strong wind : farmers, who give nothing away, were its And note thon this for a verity,- the sublargest purchasers, and its reception modi- tlest thinker when alone, fied, though perhaps only in the sense of From ease of thoughts unbent, will laugh exaggeration, the whole character of its the loudest with his fellows:

And well is the loveliness of wisdom mirauthor. He was probably by nature a

rored in a cheerful countenance, vain man, or rather, one full of the simple

Justly the deepest pools are proved by dimconfidence in himself which the book itself pling eddies ; reveals ; but from the date of its siiccess, For that, a trne philosophy commandeth an

innocent life, hę became immovably convinced that he was a great author. He was by no means

And the unguilty spirit is lighter than a

lipnet's heart : a fool, and he did not dcduce this judg. Yes, there is no cosmetic like a holy con. ment from its sale merely-as a still more

science ; illustrions and successful author is said to

The eye is bright with trust, the cheek

bloomed over with affection, do—but from the reams of letters, all lau

The brow unwrinkled by a care, and the lip datory and somo worshipping, which

triumphant in its gladness." reached him from all parts of the Englishspeaking world, and from men as well as That will seem to the educated almost

His correspondents were neither childish, but it is quite intelligible-with joking nor seeking to curry favor ; they a reserve about the false use of the word genuinely and heartily enjoyed his work, “cosmetic''--it is perfectly true, and the and it is not difficult to perceive why they idea it conveys is one greatly to be com

The book is, if viewed through mended. These were the very qualities a proper medium, a great deal better than the buyers of “Proverbial Philosophy'' critics who hunt in books for force or wished for, it may be from ignorance and originality, or instruction of some sort, vacancy of mind, as our contributor becan bring themselves to allow. There is lieves of the shop-girls ; or it may be, as no poetry in it, or depth, or height, or we should be inclined to think, from these strength of any kind. But then, there are and from a certain lazy-mindedness such plenty of ordinary thoughts, usually true as tempts the educated on a holiday to ihoughts, platitudes in fact, expressed in read over again stories and books of rethe most intelligible English, with words flection which they know already by heart. so arranged that if you adopt the sing-song The buyers wished for commonplaceness, in which the half-educated usually read if only to see that an author, a man who aloud, the sentences acquire a certain slow could get his words into print, thought and monotonous cadence, which must be just the same thoughts as they did, and pleasant to many ears, or all parish clerks expressed them in just the same didactic, of the elder kind -passed now, Heaven be not to say pompous, way. They were thanked ! into the Ewigkeit-and many quite proud to understand him so wellNEW SERIES. – VOL. LI., No. 1.



did so.

« VorigeDoorgaan »