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and certainly Tupper has the merit of in- course quite involuntarily, for he wantcd telligibility-and to agree with him so of- to enlighten all mankind-succeeded in
apten; and till they were shamned out of it, pealing. they quoted him, as all Asiatics and most We wonder if there is any book which English agricultural laborers to this day is to the educated what“ Proverbial Phi. quote proverbs. We think it is Mr. Har- losophy” was to the half-educated of forty dy who describes the delight with which a years ago. The question, of course, can rural postinan or carrier, or some such per- never be answered, because to be in the son, hears the sentence : More people position of an admirer of Mr. Tupper, one know Tom Fool than Tom Fool knows." must be too incapable of criticism to give The postman bad never heard it before e ; or even to think of an accurate reply. It it was perfectly intelligible to him ; he requires, too, a little more audacity than had thought the same thing often by him- the majority of reflective men possess, or, self, and he repeated the aphorisin all day, at any rate, will acknowledge. If we bad and for weeks afterward, with a chuckle such audacity, we would make clear our; of what was genuine literary delight. He dim suspicion that there does exist in the felt like a member of a suburban “Parlia- higher regions of thought a philosopher ment when he finds his last opinion in whose position bears a close analogy to the Times. That was the precise mental that of the deceased maker of aphorisins, position of the devotees of Mr. Tupper, who, in fact, instructs the educated as Mr. and though their standpoint has since been Tupper instructed the ignorant, and who elevated, that will be their position when will share his literary fate ; but plainness the next book arrives which shall “ fetch'' on such a subject cannot be required of them, but seem to critics, whose stand- any man. We may, however, as he bas point has also risen, almost too inferior joined the majority, be permitted to refor comment. Fortunately, such books mark that Emerson in his flatter bits does must always be rare, because they require sometimes suggest Tupper, and that men too many combined conditions, --an an
seem to us all very wise, but thor who can write such a one in confident whom an advancing criticism will reject, simplicity and without writing down to must exist, and, indeed, must be common his audience, a publisher who is in the enough. If not, why do so many popular mertal position of the ordinary buyer of books of wisdom die? If the law of such a book-now becoming a rarity, ex- progress extends to the intellect, and “the cept perhaps in the religious-book world, thoughts of men are widened with the and we feel nu certainty even of that--and process of the suns,'? much of the literaan accidental failure of all true critics to ture we now think great will seem to succatch the ear of the critics who are near ceeding generations either inexpressibly enough to the multitude to be rapidly commonplace or simply silly. We cannot effective. The author, we must add, fully prove that arguinent from books, must be as good as well as goody as because the books rejected retreat into Mr. Tupper, who never wrote an injurious holes and corners, and are gradually forsentence in his life. He may perhaps be gotten- the only one we can think of as a little more worldly. wise, shrewdness be- sure to be familiar to our readers is the asing the quality first developed in cities, tonishing collection of pompous rubbish where more than half our people now live ; known as “Blair's Sermons”—but just but he must not be cynical, nust on no ac- let any critic who doubts our proposition count be witty, and must heartily agree turn to the old files of any newspaper with the kind of creed--a compound of which has stood the storms of two or three genuine Christianity and rampant respect- generations, and see what he thinks of the ability-wbich the mass of Englishmen wit and wisdom of its early articles. He and Americans still in their hearts think will often find himself unable even to comthe only safe guide for human life. It is prehend the mental position of their writan excellent guide in the absence of a bet- ers, and coinpelled to doubt, in a fashion ter, and it is not unpleasant to think that which is quite unreasonable, whether they the author who disregards it, still more ever did attract or guide the men of their the author who derides it, will not have generation. They did, nevertheless ; it is the success of Mr. Tupper in reaching the only the standpoint which has altered ; stratum of society to which alone hemof and we may all learn from them a little
hunnility, and a little tolerance, too, for added nothing, certainly we can point to the people, so curious and unintelligible to no such addition,; but he had done it no us, who honestly believed that Mr. Tup- harm, and that, as the shoals of books inper had quite beaten Solomon, and had crcase, will be by and by much to say. added perceptibly to the world's store of Spectator. wisdom and experience. He had perhaps
THESE fine mornings the Arabs often vertisement, “a complete morning's encome up with their packs on their backs, tertainment." and open a little private shop of their own The merchants themselves--it would be for our special benefit under the wbite sheer desecration to call those noble Oripiazza of this very villa.
entals peddlars—are in their own persons I will frankly admit, however, that delightful studies of enstern life, costume, herein I have followed to the extreme let. and character. There is one fat Moor who ter the Horatian precept, and dashed at often comes, round, sensuous, and chubonce in medias res with what may, per- bily sinooth faced ; a thrifty, oily, perbaps, be considered by formal minds un- suasive man, one that sleeps o' nights, and due precipitancy.
Let me hark back once with vast command of shrugs and nods more and start over again from the begin- and insinuating glances ; he seems to emning, by performing the function of the body and personify in his own frame the First and Second Gentlemen, who suc- ideal Turk, the long product of polygamy cinctly explain in a short dialogue to the and harems, redolent of musk, garlic, and attentive audience the state of affairs at stale Latakia. Damascus embroideries are the raising of the curtain.
what he oftenest brings, relieved at times The villa, then, stands on a bright Al- by carpets from Stamboul, and exquisite gerian hill-side, with a magnificent view needlework from the villages of Crete or across the ravine to the wine-press oppo- the Greek islands. He wears baggy white site, and a glimpse down the valley toward trousers, a green embroidered jacket, an the distant peaks of the dim blue Atlas on oleaginous smile, and an ample muchthe eastern horizon. It is white, and wreathed yellow turban. Then there is Moorish, and deliciously African, and it the philosophic Kabyle, again, from the has horseshoe arches, and tiled façades, snow-clad mountains, own brother to and a squat Alat roof after a fashion to de- Jacques in “ As You Like It.” light the most enthusiastic orientalist. In nothing in particular that I can remember place of a porch, there is a covered piazza, except a corn-sack or a night-shirt--I am open toward the sun ; and here, when uncertain to which of the two species I fitting weather permits such commercial ought to refer that one nondescript garventures, Ben-Marabet the Arab unrolls ment : but his handsome, listless face, his his stock of Tlemcen prayer-rugs, or stately big, dreamy blue eyes, his lithe figure, Abd-er-Rahman, from the recesscs of the and his blond hair mark him out at once Djurjura, sets out his neat and unique col- in dirt and rags as a descendant and reprelection of red and black hand-made Kabyle sentative of the old aboriginal Berber race, pottery. Then all the world of the villa the primitive " white men” of antique turns out in force to chaffer, cheapen, and North Africa. Jewelry and metal-work bay the curious wares ; and, as business form his stock-in-trade. A melancholy here is by no means conducted with punc- smile is his best advertisement. And tuality and despatch, on the American pat- there are the Arabs, once more, the real, tern, the purchase of a few little tortoise- unadulterated Semitic sons of the desert, shell kons-kous spoons, or the acquisition magnificent fellows, with grand, stately of a pair of inlaid black-and-steel Moorish forms and keen black eyes, true princes daggers, suffices to afford us, in the mod. by birth, in long bernouses, but, unhapest language of a London newspaper ad- pily, reduced by the pressure of adverse
circumstances under infidel rule to gain an direction of your selected pile, you inquire, honest livelihood in the itinerant rug trade. as if for abstract reasons merely, in an off. I've no doubt they would greatly prefer hand tone, your Moslem friend's lowest robbery with violence : but the present cash quotation for the lot as it stands. régime cruelly compels them, poor souls, Two hundred francs is the smallest price. to content themselves soinehow with mere Mohammad Ali paid far more than that thieving
himself for them. He sells simply for ocSometimes two or three of these wan- cupation it would seem. Look at the dering native tradesmen at once invade the work, monsieur. All graven brass, not yilla, and open their shops side by side on mere repoussé metal ; or real old chainthe piazza, or even overflow into the paths stitch, alike on both sides—none of your of the garden. To see them install them- wretched, commonplace, modern, machineselves is a comedy in miniature. Slowly, made embroidery. and with dignity, Mohammad Ali unfastens You smile incredulous, and remark with his manifold bags and packs and bundles, a wise nod that your Moslem friend inust while Omar, his attendant, receives the surely be in error. A mistake of the knives and portières and brass lamps at press. For two hundred francs, read fifty. his bands, and lays them out temptingly Mohammad Ali assumes an expressive on the red-tiled Hoor beside him. One attitude of virtuous indignation, and reby one the ingenious boxes and rolls and sumes his tobacco. Fifty francs for all rugs are taken from inside each other in that lot! Monsieur jests. He shows endless confusion, till the entire stock is himself a very poor judge indeed of values. finally displayed. Then Mohammad Ali Half an hour's debate, and ten successquats himself bazily in front, and waits sive abatements, reduce the lot at last to a with Oriental patience for custom to come fair average price of seventy. Mohammad in Allab's good time, while Omar sprawls Ali declares you have robbed him of his his lean legs at full length in the sunshine, profit, and pockets his cash with inarticuand dreams that Fatma, and Meriem, and late grumblings in the Arab tongue. Next the gazelle-eyed Mouni are leaving over day, you see in the Rue Bab-Azzoun that him, obsequious, with coffee and kous- you have paid him at least twenty francs kous.
too much for your supposed bargain. By and by custom in due time arrives. That, however, is a very small matter. Allah is great, and news spreads rapidly. I prefer the picturesque orientalism of the The children of the villa rise all agog when marchand chez soi to the mere Western tidings reach the school room that “ The commonplace of a shop counter, a cash Arabs have come !!! A mighty shout railway, and a fixed price ; and I am pregoes up to heaven. The polite manual of pared to pay a trifle extra for the luxury French conversation finds its dog-eared of being waited upon by a descendant of leaves turned face downward on the table, the Prophet. It has such an Arabian and the Latin grammar falls with its acci- Nights' Havor about it when the merchant dence unheeded on the African floor, while unrolls his shining bales before my very ingenuous British youth rushes out wildly eyes, that I agree with the children in to enjoy that ever-fresh excitement of the their profound devotion to the peddling eastern merchants. Maturer age strolls system. What matters a shilling or two slowlier afield, and conducts its negotia. more or less if the Bagdad of the Caliphs tions with due hesitancy. Time in the can still be with us at so low a rate for one East was made for slaves.
A pipe on such brief half hour ? I grudge not Hassan or occasions affords a most useful solace and Hamid his dishonest penny. It is worth refuge. You, select your goods with slow all the money to see the rugs spread out deliberation, pile them up together casually beneath the shade of the palin-tree, and in a little heap, eye them askance with an the glistening eyes of the shrewd old Arab inquiring glance, and take a contemplative gleaming keen and bright from under the pull or two at the inspiring weed in sol. many folds of his embroidered turban at emn silence.
Mohammad Ali responds the proffered coin. with a puff from his cigarette in grave Of all the work the merchants bring for concert. Then you walk once or twice sale the most interesting perhaps is the up and down the piazza slowly, and, jerk- Kabyle jewelry and the Kabyle pottery. ing your head with careless ease in the These Kabyles themselves are a romantic
people, the last relics of the old aboriginal tune to our handsome Kabyle in exchange Berber population, the leavings of Cartha- for these pretty, glittering red-and-blue ginian, Roman, Vandal, "Arab, and Otto- baubles. As I raise my eyes from my
From the beginning of time, a paper, indeed, in search of hints, they fall light-haired, blue-eyed, European-looking upon an ostrich egg suspended lampwise race has inhabited the mountain country from the Moorish arcade of the window in of North Africa. These are the Numid- front of me--a half ostrich-egg, hung by ians and Mauritanians of Massinissa and light silver chains from a beam of Atlas Juba, the people whom the Phænicians cedar, and decorated all round by pointed found as autochthones when Dido landed crescents and dangling pendants of black her first boat's crew at Carthage-a race steel, and this simple coral-work. No as white as most Europeans, and a good prettier or more natural lamp-stand can deal whiter, if it comes to that, than Ital. possibly be imagined, and it is all African, ians, Spaniards, or Provençal Frenchmen. egg and metal-work and coral and decora They are the remnants of the old Christian tion. population which produced Augustine and Kabyle pottery, too, is quaint and pretty Symmachus, and so many confessors, in its own wild way ; but this you can martyrs, and heretics. The Arabs came seldom buy from Hassan or Ali at the and drove the white men up into the moun- villa door. You must go down for it as tains ; but there they remain unaltered in a rule to one of the dimly-lighted Moorish appearance to this very day, outwardly shops in the old town, where you will find Islamized to be sure, yet in instinct and large stocks of it stored away carelessly in feeling the same primitive European white- an upper chamber, looking down into the folk as ever. They still retain many hab- arched and tile-covered courtyard. Com its and traditions of the old native and posed entirely of coarse friable clay, it is Phænician art, and the things they make too fragile for the itinerant merchant to are more original and naïve, smack more deal with largely. But the shapes -oh, of the soil, than anything produced in the endless ! Rough big pots of simple red coastwise towns by sophisticated Moorish earth, daubed with yellow and black by or Arab workmen.
ancestral pigments, in those bars and lines Our Kabyle often brings a lot of their and geometrical forms, which alone the metal-work for our approbation-pretty creed of Islam allows its faithful, to the little black trays of haminered steel, exclnsion of all graven images or other adorned, by a rude but effective decorative representations of anything that is in art, with knobs and bosses of coral and leaven above or in earth beneath or in the lapis lazuli. These knobs or beads are first waters that are under the earth. Some of let into the black-enamelled background, them are tall and lean and lanky, coarse and then surrounded by pretty coils of and hand-made, with a charming disregard wire and steel spring, so as to produce of straightness or accuracy that would altogether a most curious but beautiful drive a Štoke Newington housewife franbarbaric tracery. I have never seen any tic. Some of them consist of three vases of it for sale in New York or London. rolled into one, like Mrs. Malaprop's CerEqually quaint and antique in type are berus, or bulge in the middle to form a their brooches and buckles, and the clasps clandestine union, a sort of fictile morof their belts, sometimes in silver, and ganatic marriage, with some other pot of sometimes in the same effective combina- alien size and shape and pattern. Here tion of steel and coral, but always mod- are lamps of the old famijar Roman sort, elled on graceful and simple traditional in forins handed down traditionally from patterns. The brooches in particular be- the earliest Greek and Phænician antiqlong for the most part to that very primi- uity ; here are funny little jars, like lintive stone-age type which survives into the steady amphoræ ; here are beakers a little age of bronze and iron as the “ Tara one-sided or groggy on the legs ; here are clasp," and which is common in all carly weak-kneed tazzas, and symmetrical Celtic remains, besides being diffused over mugs, and jugs that deviate most disthe whole world in tumuli and urn burials. tinctly from the perpendicular. But all Its nltimate elements are a pin and ring, are instinct with native art for all that fastened over, buckle fashion, by a slit in no two alike, each one the product of a the circle. We have wasted a small for- thinking brain and cunning hands, and cheap withal, so that for a few francs you products. It replaces, in fact, as a barcan lay in a small illustrative collection of binger of fortune, the familiar horseshoe North-African faïence. Even the four- of northern Europe. You may see it in penny plates are all different in design and houses, displayed upon the door ; you pattern. Not one but has some special . may see it on tombs, on furniture, on little flight of fancy ; not one but has ornaments, on stables. It serves to drive given the clever designer individual pleas- away the bad spirits, who object to red ure in the work of her fingers. -for it is hands, it averts the effects of tbat evil the women of Kabylia, not their lords and eye concerning whose influence the Arabs masters, who make all these beautiful bar- and Moors are so supremely nervous. So baric products.
far as my own experience goes, in more Let us return once more to our friends civilized communities it is the evil tongue in the piazza. See, Hassan holds up to rather that does all the mischief. us temptingly a musical instrument, the ... One subfusk old fellow, a very dark oldest and simplest ancestral form of barp, M'zabite from the borders of the desert, or lyre, or guitar, or fiddle. It is noth- who has sustained a severe injury to bis ing but a tortoisesbell, the carapace of the left eye, and whom we all know, therefore, common Greek tortoise that scours at will by the Arabian Nights' name of the onethe neighboring dry hill-sides (why should eyed calender (in order, as Dick Swiveller
tortoise be debarred from scouring ?), remarked, to make it seem more real and covered with a bit of dried skin, and fitted agreeable), comes often up to our hill-side with a handle and a couple of strings over home, with a lordly store of fine old brassa bridge in the centre. This is the true work, and unfolds his stock beneath the original and only genuine testudo, the cover of the piazza. Trays, big and small, father of all existing stringed instruments. engraved and repoussé, the one-eyed calBut the turbaned negro from the extreme ender presses eagerly with oriental com. south will take one of these primitive and mendation upon our notice. Some of the quaint-looking violins, and, running over þest and oldest have the Arabic letters of the notes rapidly with his dusky fingers, their rich design inlaid in silver ; and will grind out a rapid plantation melody these are really extremely beautiful. They in a way to excruciate the most savage come for the most part nowadays from ears. Every visitor to Algiers buys one Tunis, that surviving home of Arab art, of these tortoiseshells. I don't know why, for real old Algerian work is at present but they somehow exert an inexplicable getting almost priceless. But even the charm over the Western taste. All our cheap and common trays of the country people at the villa have invested in an in- are exceedingly pretty in a humbler way : strument, and at every waking hour of the their design is always good and intricate, twenty-four yon may listen and catch the and their workmanship, though coarse, is sweet strains of some simple song labori- honest and effective. The ornament inously twanged out in double-slow time variably just fits itself to its object and its from half a dozen rooms in bewildering field. There are beautiful shops in Algiers discord.
town where Arab workmen still produce, There is another form of musical instru- under French masters, fine brass trays of ment on sale at the door, not quite so adunirable design; and the English archipopular ; it consists of a sort of early tect, who builds the big Mauresque villas drum or ancestral tambourine, copiously that dot the hill-sides for rich runaways adorned with semi-savage decorations in from our hateful wet northern winter, has the shape of hanging strips of colored a lovely collection of the real old article leather. Its chief claim to attention, how- that is enough to make the poor
amateur's ever, is derived rather from the bloody mouth water. I postpone buying more hand which it bears as cognizance, for a than a single specimen or two of these, sign of good luck on its parchment face. however, till after we have got American This open red palm, with extended fingers copyright, or say more succinctly till the
- like the bloody hand of Ulster, still Greek Calends. Such things at present worn as part of the armorial bearings of are far too dear for mere authors. English-baronets (for barbaric details cling Te pierced -brass lamps for hanging in to the barbaric aristocracy of England) - halls are also extremely graceful and decofigures everywhere " for luck” on Arab rative-indeed, everything here is full of