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The PARthe NON.
the architecture seemed to me to throb in unison, and audibly to hymn themselves. It is but a half-step from such seen symmetry and harmony to harmonies audible and heard symphonies. Surely these architects were more than builders. They were musicians; and, like the other great tone-masters, they send the key-notes and sub-tones of harmony thrilling through you in presence of their work, until you feel new meaning in the coldly perfect phrase, “Architecture is frozen music.” Spare, nervous, thin of face, restlesseyed, quick and energetic of speech, is the modern Athenian. The groups of men who seat themselves toward evening at the little tables which fill the streets before the principal cafés, as they talk politics over their little cups of black coffee or their glasses of water and wine, gesticulate with that energy of action in conversation which marks the passionate son of the South. Often the Athenian carries in his hand a string of beads, not for religious purposes, but that he may relieve himself of excessive electricity by shifting them through his singers as he bargains and talks—a safety-valve and a re-assuring process akin to the Yankee's whittling. He is keenly sensitive to every
word you utter, quick to take your meaning, and polite as a Frenchman in ready deference to your expressed opinion; but none the less he holds firmly to his own belief unless you have convinced his reason. This he may not tell you. He may leave you to infer that you have won him over ; and thus he has sometimes laid himself open to the charge of duplicity and deceit where he meant only to be credited with politeness. The modern Greek has the Russian readiness in acquiring languages, and the German's patience in investigation, if some slight results can be seen as he works. But, like the hungry Yankee who gave up the attempt to earn a promised dinner by beating on the end of a log with the head of his axe, in his literary and antiquarian work the Athenian “must see the chips fly.” Partly to this desire for immediate results, partly to the necessity of self-support, but still more to the utter lack of means and money for prosecuting researches and excavations, and publishing results, at government expense, is due the fact that the Germans have come to be regarded as better authorities upon the sites, the antiquities, and the history of Greece than are the Greeks themselves. Even a short residence at Athens, and the most superficial acquaintance with her university and its professors, will serve to convince one that many a German reputation has been built largely upon work done by Greeks, and that Athens does not lack for Greek scholars and antiquarians who, with such support in money and facilities for publication as the Germans receive, would soon become world-famous authorities, as they now are acknowledged masters in their departments, among those who know them. There is, unfortunately, a spirit of personal rivalry and petty jealousy among Athenian scholars, which has had a disastrous effect in preventing any united effort to present to the world connected results of Greek investigations. With a university where fifteen hun
AN ATHENIAN GIRL.
dred students are instructed by an able faculty of sixty professors, with a high school for boys and another for girls, with a constantly improving system of primary schools, practically free, so that threefourths of her children between the ages of five and sixteen are in school, Athens seems to be in no danger of undervaluing education. Pallas Atrutone, the Unwearied Power of Intellect, is still devoutly worshipped in the city over which preside the beauteous ruins of her matchless temple. Many of the charges which have been brought against the good faith of the modern Greek, I believe to be purely the result of ignorant prejudice. Others may be traced to dishonest and defeated rivals in trade. The proverb sometimes heard in the Levant, “It takes two Jews to cheat a Turk, two Turks to cheat an Armenian, two Armenians to cheat a Greek,” is not intended to be strictly complimentary to the honesty of the modern Greek. But in the East no trader ever asks the price for his goods which he expects to receive. Every bargain is presumed to be the result of a gradual approach of buyer and seller, who set out from the most widely separated limits, and make alternate concessions, until, after much arguing and gesticulation, with intervals of quiet smoking, common ground is reached at last, and the bargain is concluded. In no way could you so surely make a Levantine merchant miserable as by paying him all he at first demands. I have seen more of deliberate overcharging and barefaced dishonesty attempted in a day at Paris than I saw in two months while in Greece. Of the glory of ancient Athens, of the world's great debt to Greece, every modern Athenian is keenly conscious. Memories of her glorious past have always been cherished religiously, kept alive during centuries of oppression. Athens suffers from an excess of intellectual activity. The city is overstocked with brains. Its hands are idle. Greece has no great manufactories; it has no system of roads. Among the many failures of King Otho's reign, perhaps none was more injurious than his failure to provide any means of ready intercommunication between the provinces of Greece. Of course the topography of Greece——her mountain ranges and deep-reaching gulfs and bays—renders the task of road-building a difficult one. But national unity and material prosperity can not come without good roads. To-day, all Greece has but five miles of railroad, and hardly more than fifty miles of good carriage roads. Finding no outlet in the development of the country's material resources, all the energy of the marvellously active Greek mind has been turned to trade, to study, and to politics; and chiefly to politics, always a passion with the Athenian. With a territory but three-fifths as great as that of New York, with a population of nearly two millions, with universal suffrage, and with a monarchy so limited that the government is in reality a democracy in the administration of its internal affairs, the Greek nation of to-day devotes ten times too much energy to governing itself. This concentration of force within narrow limits begets heat at Athens. Un
der such pressure, the political friction is something enormous. Athens supports from thirty to forty newspapers. Political clubs are more numerous than in classic days, and as influential. Every man of prominence has his newspaper, his club of personal followers, his petty party. When the death of Delegeorges, ex-Prime Minister, was announced on the street to a group of Athenian gentlemen with whom I was talking, the first remark was, “Ah, now Kurie So-and-So' (naming a politician of little influence) “will form a party, will he not ?” Room for one more aspirant to office, with his organized clique of followers, was the argument.
Salaries for public services are of course pitifully low. Criticism of all official acts, and of every measure advocated by the government, is bitter and ceaseless. This spirit of criticism is not merely a healthful concern for the public welfare; it is the constant effort to induce a public, ever prone to change its political leaders, so to clamor as to put the “ins” out, and to give to other men a chance at what must be for them too a brief tenure of power. Acrimonious attacks upon men and motives abound. The newspapers give room to angry opponents for virulent personal diatribes against political rivals. The irrepressible life and mental activity of the nation preys upon itself.
Give Greece a mission; let her hope for that influence in the re-adjustment of power after Turkey's approaching dissolution (if the chronic ‘‘sick man” is indeed soon to die) which justly belongs to her as the most intelligent, the most enterprising, the most highly civilized race of the Levant; extend her boundaries, as we hope the great powers will soon do; give but a gleam of distant hope to such enthusiastic patriots as joined the club some time since organized at Athens by Makrakes, a shrewd political and religious agitator, which professes for its object to place Prince Constantine, King George's oldest son, on the throne of all Greece at Constantinople—and the truly great qualities of this wonderful race, which were proved to be still hers by the gallant, unflinching heroism displayed in her struggle for independence, but which have suffered a temporary eclipse since that struggle closed, will once more be displayed to a world which has so often been inspired by the words and deeds of the Greeks of ancient times.
To first occasion on which the decorated ware of Cincinnati was shown in a quantity to be specially remembered was in May, 1875, at the “International Entertainment” given by the “Women's Centennial Executive Committee of Cincinnati,” in the old Elm Street Exposition Building, on the site of which the College of Music now stands. In the general aim of this committee to make a creditable addition to the work of women at the Centennial Exposition, the specialty of china-painting, then exciting - some interest among the women here and in v Attory of PLAQUES.–[see PAGE 840.] other parts of the country, was looked upon as promising a possible field of lucrative work for women. The exhibit, prepared by a few ladies of Cincinnati for this occasion, consisted of several dozen pieces—cups and saucers, pitchers and plates. The excellence of its execution excited attention, and many of the articles, together with subsequent work, were sent to the Centennial Exposition the next year. The newspapers of that day (May 23, 1875) gave the following as the list of ladies who prepared this first exhibit of china-painting: Mrs. S.S. Fisher, Miss Clara Fletcher, Mrs. L. B. Harrison, Mrs. William Hinkle, Mrs. E. G. Leonard, Miss M. L. McLaughlin, Miss Lincoln, Mrs. A. B. Merriam, Mrs. Richard Mitchell, Miss Clara Newton, Mrs. Maria L. Nichols, Miss Rauchfuss, and Miss Schooley. These ladies were invited to prepare the work by the Centennial Committee, who provided the china and the firing; the decorators gave their work. The articles were sold at auction during the entertainment, bringing good prices, the highest being twenty-five dollars for a cup and saucer; thirty-five cups and saucers were sold, aggregating three hundred and eighty-five dollars. The origin of the movement can not be more precisely told, perhaps, than by saying that in the summer of 1874 Mr. Benn Pitman, of the Cincinnati School of Design, started a class of ladies (who had had some practice in water-color painting) in chinapainting. The specialty of china-painting was not included in the curriculum of the School of Design, and could not, under the rules, be taught there. Mr. Pitman procured the necessary materials, invited the ladies to meet at his office for instruction, and engaged the late Miss Eggers as teacher. The ladies forming the class were Mesdames William Dodd, George Dominick, and E. G. Leonard, and Misses Charlotte Keenan, Florence Leonard, M. Louise McLaughlin, Clara Newton, and Georgie Woollard. At that time Miss Eggers and Mr. Hartwig were the only persons to be found in the city who practiced and taught china-painting. Although some of the class generously insisted on sharing the expense of this experiment, Mr. Pitman declined their assistance, and bore it entirely himself.
The work shown on the occasion referred to in 1875 was for the most part the outgrowth of this experiment, and although imperfect, when compared with later results, it was unquestionably the most extensive and satisfactory exhibit of amateur overglaze decoration made up to that time in the United States. The work was deeply interesting as so many carefui experiments. Each one made her own trials, and gained knowledge and courage from her failures. as imperfect as all other means and appliances ; but the interested workers were undismayed by difficulties and mistakes, and eagerly pressed on to higher degrees of excellence.
Prominent among the ladies whose work gave character to this early ex
hibit in 1875 were Mrs. E. G. Leonard
and Mrs. Andrew B. Merriam, whose interest has continued unabated, and whose delicate and finished overglaze work has caused their names to be well known among the best amateur artists of the country. Among the efficient means of popularizing china decoration in Cincinnati at an early day were the establishment of a small oven, and the teaching of overglazed painting, by Mr. Edwin Griffith, in the spring of 1877. He visited the New Jersey potteries, learned something of the processes of using the oxides and of firing, and being skillful in the use of the brush, and pleasant in his ways, he became a successful teacher. The classes of Mr. Griffith were taught, and the process of firing was carried on, in the third story of the old building on the southwest corner of Fifth and Race streets, above the carving school of Messrs. Henry L. and William Fry. The house has since been removed. Mr. Pitman was instrumental in starting Mr. Griffith in this work. From 1874 to 1877, the attention of the ladies was exclusively given to overglaze painting. In 1877, Miss M. Louise McLaughlin, who had been among the foremost in her success in china-painting in 1875, published a hand-book on china-painting, for the use of amateurs in the decoration of hard porcelain, and also began to experiment in her search for the secrets of the Limoges faience. The first results in this direction shown in Cincinnati were in the fall of 1877.
Modes of firing were
In the next year specimens of this work were sent to the Paris Exposition. At about the same time, or soon after, Miss McLaughlin painted the first successful piece of blue underglaze on white ware. It is said that unsuccessful efforts have been made in different parts of Europe to imitate or reproduce the faience of Limoges. However this may be, there is no doubt that in the United States we are indebted to the intelligent interest and persistence of Miss McLaughlin for its accomplishment. Months of labor and considerable money were spent before success was achieved : the preparation of clays, the adaptation of colors, suitable firing for underglaze decoration, were all matters of vital importance in the accomplishment of the new decorative process. Down to this time there were no facilities for firing decorated wares beyond the very imperfect means used for firing the overglaze work of jars, and the ordinary kilns of the potters. During the process of her experiments in 1877–78, the work of Miss McLaughlin was done at the pottery of P. L. Coultry and Co., where special pride was felt in the matter by members of the firm and employés, and where everything in their power was done to insure success. In giving credit where credit is due, it may be added that Mr. Joseph Bailey, Sen., and his son Joseph, of Mr. Dallas's pottery, gave her many practical suggestions, derived from their long experience in the business. It required the union of the knowledge of the artist, the chemist, and the potter to conduct the experiments to a successful termination. The glaze used was that of Messrs. Coultry and Co., and was found to be admirably adapted to the decorative process which Miss McLaughlin had discovered. The clays, of which she used a variety, were brought from different parts of Ohio; the vases, jugs, etc., many of them her own designs, were at that time made by the firm of Coultry and Co. In the latter part of 1879, two kilns for firing decorated wares were built at the pottery of Frederick Dallas, one for underglaze, the other for overglaze work, the latter said to be the largest of its kind in the United States. The cost of these kilns was advanced by two ladies, respectively Miss McLaughlin and Mrs. Maria Longworth Nichols. During the year 1879, the work of Miss McLaughlin