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less face: he put his hand lightly on Marie's shoulder, and drew her into the room: he shut the window, and began to trim the evening lamp with his deft hands. And from behind the lamp I saw Marie's grand figure passing to and fro, as she hushed her child to sleep: there was silence in the room, and in the blessed stillness I knew that she would gain strength and calm—that peaceful calm that steals its way into a woman's soul, when she holds in her firm arms the sacred burden of a sleeping child.
When the snow had melted, and the tender blades of grass had sprung out from the brown mould in the fields and hedges, and small buds had dotted the slender shoots of the trees, I went to bid farewell to the villagers of Villefranche. It may be in the coming years I shall see them again in times of peace and plenty, when war is no longer devastating the rich gardens of the Ardennes, and fever and famine are passed away as a tale that is told. But never can 1 forget France as she appeared to me then, " beautiful amid her woes," her proud spirit unbroken, her faith in her old prestige unshaken, her children silently suffering in her cause: how bright, how patient, how proudly uncomplaining they were; how soft, how winning, how warm-hearted; what quick sensibilities, what flashes of keen humor, what dignity and grace. Are the French indeed so callous and frivolous ?—these earnest, devoted husbands, these tender, helpful wives, supporting with their united, unwearied efforts large families of brighteyed children? What a rich study were the faces of the old men and women! Life had not slipped idly past them; their old age was stored with rich memories. We wept for their sufferings, but no tears came from their eyes; they suffered in silence waiting and hoping it was but a black cloud passing over the blue breadth of their sky,—it would break and disperse, and France would appear from behind it brighter, greater, more glorious than be
fore. So thought the simple peasants as they faced starvation in their ruined homes.
I found Marie's old mother sitting spinning outside the door, in the checkered sunlight. "And so you too are going, and Heinrich has gone: nothing is left,— c'est la guerre, e'est la guerre."
Within, Jacques was seated at a table, having a writing lesson; Marie stood at his elbow, guiding his pen.
"It is never too late to mend," said Jacques, as he rose to give me his chair. "I ought to know how to write: I ought to have written to Marie when I was away. She has told me all. I do not blame her; the fault was mine."
I put into his hand a letter that I had just received from an unknown correspondent, announcing the death of Heinrich, who had been shot at Orleans. When he was dying he asked his doctor to write me a few lines : "he wishes you to know that he his at rest, Marie, and that his last prayer was for happiness for you and Jacques."
Marie wept as she read the letter. Jacques drew her close to him, and sheltered the tear-stained face. "Marie," he said gently, " I suffer such pain, such constant gnawing pain, that I sometimes wish I too had been killed outright."
Marie quickly raised her head; the hot tears ceased to flow.
"No, dear Jacques; no, it is much better as it is."
She supported him to a couch, and, sitting down beside him, held his thin suffering hand in hers.
"When you touch me, Marie, the pain seems to pass away from me."
"I am so glad," she whispered, bending over him her wistful smiling face.
I went out softly, I bade them no farewell; but as I left, I, too, like Heinrich, prayed that Marie and Jacques might be happy, with such happiress as God gives to those who do not question, nor struggle against destiny, but work and wait earning that long rest which is the end of life.
PIKE COUNTY BALLADS.'
Of the four Pike County Ballads which commence this volume, and are certainly much the best things in it, two, namely, Little Breeches and Jim Bludso, which have now attained to the honors of an illustrated edition, have already appeared in these columns; indeed, we were so struck by their great humor, that we copied them out of the New York Tribune, where they first saw the light. Still, though our readers are probably familiar with Mr. John Hay's two most successful efforts, and neither of the other two Pike County Ballads can be said to reach quite the same high level, yet there is sufficient excuse in their formal acknowledgment by their author, as well as in the publication of other illustrations of his power, for a few criticisms on these. fresh and vigorous ballads. If we take no nonce of the more sentimental poems by which they are followed, it is not because they are in any way unworthy of their author, but because we have too many poems of the sort in England, and they pass too little beyond the Jine of average ability attained by clever men who write verse at all, to make them specially interesting to us. We learn from them that Mr. Hay shares strongly the liberal sympathies of all republicans in relation to European affairs, that he has no slight tincture of the romantic in his nature, and that what he feels he can say with more than the average amount of freshness and force. But it would not be true to speak of the bulk of the poems which follow the Pike County Ballads as in any way remarkable. It is by the class of ballads of which "Little Breeches, " "Jim Bludso," "Banty Tim," and "The Mystery of Gilgal" are as yet the only specimens, that Mr. Hay seems at present most likely to win his place in American literature.
It is not the specially distinguishing characteristic of these Pike County Ballads, but rather of all humorous American verse, from the Bigelow Ballads to Bret Harte's, HansBreitmann's, and Mr. Hay's,
* i. Pike County Ballads, and other Poems. By John Hay. Boston (Massachusetts) : Osgood.
2. Jim Bludso and Little Breeches. By John Hay. Illustrated. London: Trubner. Boston: Osgood.
that they treat with a certain grim familiarity and audacity the most serious and even awful scenes and topics, not necessarily irreverently, for some "of their authors (notably Mr. Lowell and Mr. Hay) seem generally to find their humor bubbling up most in the very effort to engrave a certain unconventional and intense moral faith on the cut-and dried conscience of an insincere world,—but if riot irreverently, at least with a startling selfpossession and absence of self-abasement and self-humiliation which a like spiritual faith generally implies in the old world. An admirable example of this kind of offhanded, easy going faith is the ballad of "Little Breeches" itself, with its throwoff repudiating the notion of "going much on religion," and its condescending explanation of why, though the supposed writer "don't pan out on the prophets, and free-will, and that sort o' thing," yet he has "b'lieved in God and the angels ever sence one night last spring." The ballad relates how the narrator's four-yearold little boy was carried off from an inn ■ door by the alarmed team of his wagon, which dashed into the deep snow of the prairie during the driver's momentary absence in the inn,—how the wagon' was found upset and the horses buried in snow, and the child was discovered in a neighboring lambfold sitting quite snug among the lambs, and chirping "as peart as ever you see,"—
"I want a chaw of terbacker,
Thereupon the ballad concludes :—
"How did he git thar? Angels.
He could never have walked in that storm.
To whar it was safe and warm.
And bringing him to his own,
Than loafing around The Throne."
There is clearly nothing irreverent in angels "scooping down and toting" a little boy to where it is safe and warm, though the phraseology is undoubtedly of a free and-easy kind, and implies no awe of those supernatural beings; indeed,— far from awe,—there is a disposition to dispute with the angels their proper function in life, and to warn them off the contemplative joys usually allotted to them in the spiritual world, which seems to bespeak a mind extremely satisfied with itself, and by no means disposed even to repent of the style of education deliberately bestowed on "Little Breeches," who, we are told, was
"Peart and chipper and sassy,
Always ready to swear and fight,—
"Peart and chipper and sassy" is the exact description, not only of Little Breeches, but of the whole Pike-County race described, and even of their religion. When "Jim Bludso" was called to his account, "the night of the Prairie Belle," —note that his individual judgment, the scrutiny of his soul, is characteristically described as a "passing in of his checks," —his biographer, though he makes a strong claim for him on the ground of his unflinching discharge of duty at the cost of his own life at the last, is not only at no pains to make him appear otherwise than "peart and chipper and sassy," but is rather disposed to found his admiration for Jim on these qualities :—
"He weren't no saint,—them engineers
Is all pretty much alike,—
And another one here in Pike;
And an awkward hand in a row,
I reckon he never knowed how.
"And this was all the religion he had,—
To treat his engine well;
To mind the pilot's bell;
A thousand times he swore,
Till the last soul got ashore."
The sub-feeling clearly is that men who live a life of something like license, if there be a law within that license for which they will, when required, sacrifice all, are all the better for the complete absence of that temptation to hypocrisy and ostentation to which men of more regular l.ves are liable.
But this is by no means the whole account of the charm which the "peart and chipper and sassy" tribe have for these American humorists. Unquestionably, the easy and perfectly self-possess
ed treatment of subjects which inspire a natural awe has in it a strong humorous fascination of its own, though we are by no means sure that it.is a healthy fascination. Can anything be more strikingly "peart and chipper and sassy" than the following account of a furious and deadly fray about nothing, called the "Mystery of Gilgal" (pronounce it Gilgaul),—in which there is no trace of a moral motive, nothing but the curiously grim humor involved in the treatment of a quite purposeless yet wholesale tragedy, as if it were a matter-of-course affair, of no more importance than a school boy snow-balling :—
"THE MYSTERY OF GILGAL.
"The darkest, strangest mystery
"I've heern the tale a thousand ways,
"Tom Taggart stood behind his bar,
"At last come Colonel Blood of Pike,
"Tom mixed the beverage full and far.
"Phinn to the drink put forth his hand;
"No man high-toneder could be found
"He went for his 'leven-inch bowie-knife :—
"They carved in a way that all admired.
"Then coats went off, and all went in;
"They piled the stiffs outside the door;
"I've sarched in vain, from Dan to Beer-
Notice the still-life background of the story :—
"The neighbors round the counter drawed, And ca'mly drinked and jawed."
The two combatants quietly "meandering in" and "remarking" "a whiskeyskin,"—mind, they do not order it, but drop their wish casually, so indifferent do they appear to be to the subject of this deadly strife,—and the criticism on Judge Phinn that no man could be found hightonoder than he, as he remarks majestically that "the tribe of Phinns knows their own whiskey-skins," are full of the special" cynicism of American humor. And then when the duel commences, what a wealth of contempt for life is contained in that favorite Americanism for sword-dueling.—" They carved in a way that all admired," and in the verse which describes the pile of dead and the solitude of the young women during the ensuing winter. The whole humor of this ballad,—and it seems to us great,—is in the wonderful grimness of its familiarity with violence and death. The Pike County Ballads are "peart and chipper and sassy" not only with Angels and Judgment, but with Death itself. They afford an example of the type of humor which was strong in Charles II. (though this naturally is of a freer and coarser kindj, of which the favorite illustration has always been his grim apology to his courtiers for being so inconveniently long in dying. The soldier who is supposed to tell the story of "Banty Tim" is humorous in precisely the same fashion when he tells of his disablement on the glacis of Vicksburg :—
"When the rest retreated, I stayed behind
But the striking feature of these ballads is not only in the grim familiarity of their treatment of guilt, danger, judgment, death, and the supernatural world; they are full of brief, graphic touches, marvellously vivid and picturesque. What can be more effective than the account of the cause of the fire on the Prairie Belle ?—
"All boats has their day on the Mississip,
And her day come at last, —
But the Belle she wouldn't be passed.
The oldest craft on the line—
And her furnace crammed, rosin and pine."
There is twice as much vividness in that verse, as in the by no means bad picture of " the nigger squat on her safety-valve" which appears in the illustrated edition, for in the picture you only see the nigger enjoying his danger, but here you see the race and the darkness, and the blazing furnace beneath the boiler; and then when the fire bursts out, what a strongly painted picture there is in the second of these lines,—
"The fire burst out as she clared the bar, And burnt a hole in the night ;"
and again in the lines,—
"Through the hot black breath 0/ the bumin' boat.
Jim Bludso's voice was heard,
It was a great stroke of modern realism to make it Jim Bludso's "cussedness,"— or, as we should say in our much less expressive phraseology, his "devil,"—and not his sense of duty, in which they had tnist. Again, in " Banty Tim," what can be more graphic in its delineation of a farmer's scorn than the final statement to the Democratic meeting :—
"You may rezoloot till the cows come home,
To "rezoloot till the cows come home" is a most happy and vivid delineation of a perfectly fruitless Democratic amusement, indulged in solely for its own sake, and not from any regard to consequences.
The Pike County Ballads are not only, then, "peart chipper and sassy,"—i. e., grimly humorous, both in relation to natural and supernatural perils,—but they are full of sharp, graphic touches, which bring the vividest scenery, physical and moral, before your eyes. All we need for the perfect delineation of the fast devilmay-care life of the borders of civilization and its snatches of rude faith, is more in quantity, and this is, we trust, a deficiency which Mr. John Hay will neither be unable nor unwilling to supply.
Of all arts, that of working in gold is perhaps the most ancient. The brilliancy of the metal when it was washed down by mountain streams, or found on the surface of the earth, attracted the eye of the savage, and charmed his taste, in preference to other metals, which must be sought for underground, and though perhaps more useful, had no splendor to recommend them. For ages, the workers in gold have occupied a distinguished position ; and through all the changes of empires, they have improved and carried on their art, depending on the patronage of kings, the munificence of nobles, the authority of the church, and the general prosperity. The genius of civilization ever lent it vigor, so that it has been justly named li the favorite art of princes, the brilliant symbol of great reigns." Besides which, there can be no doubt that it led to the birth of engraving, and in some degree to the discovery of printing by means of movable types of metal. It was the adjunct of all the arts ; for if the goldsmith were not capable of designing his own models, he called in the assistance of sculptors, painters, and engravers; but much more frequently, in the middle ages, he himself handled the painter's brush, the sculptor's chisel, the architect's compass, the graver's burin, the philosopher's crucible: he was essentially an artist.
Nor were the merits of such artists unrecognized. Among the guilds of handicraftsmen, kings granted them the precedence. To their care was committed the keeping of the crown jewels and regalia; and on those joyous occasions when royalty made their solemn entrance into their capitals after their accession to the throne, or their coronation, the goldsmiths had the care of the buffet of plate. Philip de Valois granted them arms, as the insignia of nobility: a cross inlaid with gold, two cups and two crowns of gold, bearing the device, "In sacra inque coronas," seme with fleurs-de-lis—a mark that the escutcheon was a royal concession, duly registered by parliament. These arms were sculptured or painted, not only on their banner, but on the walls of their guildhall, there chapel, and their workshops. In an age when the feudal nobility showed themselves so
jealous of their rights, this concession proves that working in gold was looked upon as a noble art, which, far from degrading the gentleman, raised the commoner. There was a proverb well known in the middle ages, "Orfevre ne doroge pas;" and we find many goldsmiths who exercised public functions either at court or in the king's councils, some adopting the professional surname, still common among us, of Goldschmidt or Goldsmith.
It is evident that their work was distinctly divided into two sections, the religious and profane: those who assisted the ornamentation of edifices and articles dedicated to religious worship ; and those who were engaged by kings and nobles in the decoration of their palaces and persons. The first, who have always been the faithful servants of the Roman Catholic religion, received the greatest impulse from the spread of Christianity. As soon as it was permitted the free exercise of its rites, it distinguished itself by the pomp of its ceremonial; and resting on the enthusiasm and veneration of its new converts, it made immense efforts to dazzle the eye and strike the imagination of its adepts. If the first altars were but the tombstones of saints and martyrs, and the first chalices made of glass or wood, it was owing to the fact that the persecuted Christians were compelled to hide themselves in forests or catacombs to celebrate their holy worship. But when a general belief had overthrown the idols and their temples, extinguished pagan sacrifices, and dispersed the priests of false gods, churches and monasteries rose on all sides, and henceforth displayed a magnificence unknown to idolatry. The gospel preached humility and poverty to men, bvit it commanded them to devote all to the glory of God. The clergy encouraged the most costly offerings to Christ and the Virgin, by attaching to them indulgences and blessings both for this life and the next.
Constantine the Great, as being the first Christian emperor, led the way, which was quickly followed by the people of Italy and Gaul. It is evident that the weight of metal used was more thought of than the artistic workmanship, as a very