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often engaged in literature or science to es- | teresting and even inspiring, yet not so cape the pressure of anxiety, which strenu- splendid as to be overwhelming. We know ous mental labor permits us, at least tempo- from his conversations that he was quite rarily, to forget; but the circumstances which aware of the value of those little centres of surround us have invariably an influence of culture to Germany, and yet in one place he some kind upon our thinking, though the speaks of Béranger in the tone which seems connection may not be obvious. Even in the to imply an appreciation of the larger life of case of Goethe, who could study optics on Paris. “Fancy," he says, “this same Bérana battle-field, his English biographer recog- ger away from Paris, and the influence and nizes the effect of the Frankfort life which opportunities of a world-city, born as the surrounded the great author in his childhood. son of a poor tailor, at Jena or Weimar; let “The old Frankfort city, with its busy him run his wretched career in either of the crowds, its fairs, its mixed population, and its two small cities, and see what fruit would many sources of excitement, offered great have grown on such a soil and in such an attemptations and great pasture to so desultory mosphere." a genius. This is perhaps a case wherein cir- We cannot too frequently be reminded cumstances may be seen influencing the di- that we are nothing of ourselves, and by ourrection of character. . . . A large continuity selves, and are only something by the place of thought and effort was perhaps radically we hold in the intellectual chain of humanity uncongenial to such a temperament; yet one by which electricity is conveyed to us and cannot help speculating whether under other through us—to be increased in the transmiscircumstances he might not have achieved it. sion if we have great natural power and are Had he been reared in a quiet little old Ger- favorably situated, but not otherwise. A man town, where he would have daily seen child is born to the Vecelli family at Cadore, the same faces in the silent streets, and come and when it is nine years old is taken to Venin contact with the same characters, his cul- ice and placed under the tuition of Sebastian ture might have been less various, but it Zuccato. Afterwards he goes to Bellini's might perhaps have been deeper. Had he school, and there gets acquainted with anbeen reared in the country, with only the other student, one year his junior, whose changing seasons and the sweet serenities of name is Barbarelli. They live together and nature to occupy his attention when released work together in Venice; then young Barfrom study, he would certainly have been a barelli (known to posterity as Giorgione), different poet. The long summer afternoons after putting on certain spaces of wall and spent in lonely rambles, the deepening twi-squares of canvas such color as the world had lights filled with shadowy visions, the slow never before seen, dies in his early manhood uniformity of his external life necessarily and leaves Vecellio, whom we call Titian, to throwing him more and more upon the work on there in Venice till the plague stays subtler diversities of inward experience, his hand in his hundredth year. The genius would inevitably have influenced his genius came into the world, but all the possibilities in quite different directions, would have an- of his development depended upon the place imated his works with a very different spirit." and the time. He came exactly in the right
We are sometimes told that life in a great place and precisely at the right time. To be capital is essential to the development of gen-born not far from Venice in the days of Belius, but Frankfort was the largest town lini, to be taken there at nine years old, to Goethe ever lived in, and he never visited have Giorgione for one's comrade, all this either Paris or London. Much of the sanity was as fortunate for an artistic career as the of his genius may have been due to his resi- circumstances of Alexander of Macedon were dence in so tranquil a place as Weimar, where for a career of conquest. he could shut himself up in his "gardenhouse" and lock all the gates of the bridge over the Ilm. "The solitude,” says Mr.
LETTER III. Lewes, “is absolute, broken only by the occasional sound of the church clock, the music TO AN ARTIST WHO WAS FITTING UP A MAGNIFIfrom the barracks, and the screaming of the
CENT NEW STUDIO. peacocks spreading their superb. beauty in the park." Few men of genius have been
Pleasure of planning a studio--Opinions of an outsider-Saint
Bernard-Father Ravignan--Goethe's study and bed-room happier in their surroundings than Goethe.
---Gustave Dort's studio-Leslie's painting-room-Turner's He had tranquillity, and yet was not deprived opinion-Habits of Scott and Dickens-Extremes goodof intellectual intercourse; the scenery with
Vulgar mediocrity not so good-Value of beautiful views
to literary men-Montaigne-Views from the author's in excursion-distance from his home was in-|
NOTHING in the life of an artist is more, don't you see that it was just because Goethe agreeable than the building and furnishing of had imaginative power of a strong and active the studio in which he hopes to produce bis kind that he cared nothing about what surmost mature and perfect work. It is so pleas- rounded him when he worked? He had statant to labor when we are surrounded by ues and pictures to occupy his mind when it beauty and convenience, that painters find a was disengaged, but when he wrote he pre large and handsome studio to be an addition ferred that bare little cell where nothing was to the happiness of their lives, and they usually to be seen that could distract his attention for dream of it, and plan it, several years before an instant. Depend upon it, Goethe acted in the dream is realized.
this matter either from a deliberate and most Only a few days ago I was talking on this wise calculation, or else from the sure instinct very subject with an intellectual friend who of genius." is not an artist, and who maintained that the Whilst we were on this subject I thought love of fine studios is in great part a mere illu- over other instances, and remembered my sion. He admitted the necessity for size, and surprise on visiting Gustave Doré in his for a proper kind of light, but laughed at painting-room in Paris. Doré has a Gothic carved oak, and tapestry, and armor, and the exuberance of imagination, so I expected a knicknacks that artists encumber themselves painting-room something like Victor Hugo's with. He would have it that a mind thorough- house, rather barbarous, but very rich and ly occupied with its own business knew noth- interesting, with plenty of carved cabinets, ing whatever of the objects that surrounded and tapestry, and biblos, as they call picturit, and he cited two examples Saint Bernard, esque curiosities in Paris. To my surprise, who travelled all day by the shore of Lake there was nothing (except canvases and Leman without seeing it, and the père Ravig- easels) but a small deal table, on which tubes nan, who worked in a bare little room with a of oil-color were thrown in disorder, and two common table of blackened pine and a cheap cheap chairs. Here, evidently, the pleasure rush-bottomed chair. On this I translated to of painting was sufficient to occupy the artist; him, from Goethe's life by Lewes, a passage and in the room where he made his illustrawhich was new to him and delighted him as a tions the characteristics were simplicity and confirmation of his theory. The biographer good practical arrangements for order, but describes the poet's study as “a low-roofed there was nothing to amuse the imagination. narrow room, somewhat dark, for it is lighted Mr. Leslie used to paint in a room which only through two tiny windows, and fur- was just like any other in the house, and nished with a simplicity quite touching to be had none of the peculiarities of a studio. hold. In the centre stands a plain oval table Turner did not care in the least what sort of a of unpolished oak. No arm-chair is to be seen, room he painted in, provided it had a door, no sofa, nothing which speaks of ease. A and a bolt on the inside. Scott could write plain hard chair has beside it the basket in anywhere, even in the family sitting-room, which he used to place his handkerchief. with talk going forward as usual, and after Against the wall, on the right, is a long pear- he had finished Abbotsford, he did not write tree table, with bookshelves, on which stand in any of its rich and noble rooms, but in a lexicons and manuals. . . . On the side-wall simple closet with book-shelves round it. again, a bookcase with some works of poets. Dickens wrote in a comfortable room, well On the wall to the left is a long desk of soft lighted and cheerful, and he liked to have wood, at which he was wont to write. A funny little bronzes on his writing-table. sheet of paper with notes of contemporary his- The best way appears to be to surround tory is fastened near the door. The same ourselves, whenever it can be conveniently door leads into a bed-room, if bed-room it can done, with whatever we know by experience be called, which no maid-of-all-work in Eng- to be favorable to our work. I think the land would accept without a murmur: it is a barest cell monk ever prayed in would be a closet with a window. A simple bed, an arm- good place for imaginative composition, and chair by its side, and a tiny washing-table so too would be the most magnificent rooms with a small white basin on it, and a sponge, in Chatsworth or Blenheim. A middling sort is all the furniture. To enter this room with of place with a Philistine character, vulgar any feeling for the greatness and goodness of upholstery, and vulgar pictures or engrav. him who slept here, and who here slept his ings, is really dangerous, because these things last sleep, brings tears into our eyes, and often attract attention in the intervals of makes the breathing deep."
| labor and occupy it in a mean way. An artWhen I had finished reading this passage, ist is always the better for having something my friend exclaimed triumphantly, “There!) that may profitably amuse and occupy his eye when he quits his picture, and I think it | southward that became like the aniline dyes is a right instinct which leads artists to sur- of deepest purple and blue, when the sky was round themselves with many picturesque and gray in the evening-all save one orangebeautiful things, not too orderly in their ar- streak! Ah, those were spectacles never to rangement, so that there may be pleasant be forgotten, splendors of light and glory, and surprises for the eye, as there are in nature. sadness of deepening gloom when the eyes
For literary men there is nothing so valua- grew moist in the twilight and secretly drank ble as a window with a cheerful and beautiful their tears. prospect. It is good for us to have this re- And yet, wonderful as it was, that noble freshment for the eye when we leave off work and passionately beloved Highland scenery ing, and Montaigne did wisely to have his was wanting in one great element that a study up in a tower from which he had exten | writer imperatively needs. In all that natusive views.
ral magnificence humanity held no place. • There is a well-known objection to extensive Hidden behind a fir-clad promontory to the
views, as wanting in snugness and comfort, north, there still remained, it is true, the gray but this objection scarcely applies to the es- ruin of old Kilchurn, and far to the southpecial case of literary men. What we want west, in another reach of the lake, the islandis not so much snugness as relief, refresh- fortress of Ardhonnel. But there was not a ment, suggestion, and we get these, as a gen- visible city with spires and towers, there eral rule, much better from wide prospects were only the fir-trees on the little islands than from limited ones. I have just alluded and a few gravestones on the largest. Beto Montaigne,-will you permit me to imitate yond, were the depopulated deserts of Breadthat dear old philosopher in his egotism and albane. describe to you the view from the room I Here, where I write to you now, it seems as write in, which cheers and amuses me con- if mankind were nearer, and the legends of tinually? But before describing this let me the ages written out for me on the surface of describe another of which the recollection is the world. Under the shadow of Jove's hill very dear to me and as vivid as a freshly-rises before me one of the most ancient of painted picture. In years gone by, I had European cities, soror et æmula Roma. She only to look up from my desk and see a noble bears on her walls and edifices the record of loch in its inexhaustible loveliness, and a sixty generations. Temple, and arch, and mountain in its majesty. It was a daily and pyramid, all these bear witness still, and so hourly delight to watch the breezes play do her ancient bulwarks, and many a stately about the enchanted isles, on the delicate sil- tower. High above all, the cathedral spire is very surface, dimming some clear reflection, drawn dark in the morning mist, and often or trailing it out in length, or cutting sharply in the clear summer evenings it comes across it with acres of rippling blue. It was brightly in slanting sunshine against the a frequent pleasure to see the clouds play steep woods behind. Then the old city arabout the crest of Cruachan and Ben Vorich's rays herself in the warmest and mellowest golden head, gray mists that crept upwards tones, and glows as the shadows fall. She from the valleys till the sunshine suddenly reigns over the whole width of her valley to caught them and made them brighter than the folds of the far blue hills. Even so ought the snows they shaded. And the leagues and our life to be surrounded by the loveliness of leagues of heather on the lower land to the nature surrounded, but not subdued.
past, but almost as much in our own era, that CHAPTER I.
knowledge which conduces to personal well
being has been postponed to that which brings WHAT KNOWLEDGE IS OF MOST WORTH? applause. In the Greek schools, music,
poetry, rhetoric, and a philosophy which, unIt has been truly remarked that, in order of til Socrates taught, had but little bearing uptime, decoration precedes dress. Among on action, were the dominant subjects; while people who submit to great physical suffering knowledge aiding the arts of life had a very that they may have themselves handsomely subordinate place. And in our own universitattooed, extremes of temperature are borne ties and schools at the present moment the with but little attempt at mitigation. Hum- like antithesis holds. We are guilty of someboldt tells us that an Orinoco Indian, though thing like a platitude when we say that quite regardless of bodily comfort, will yet throughout his after-career a boy, in nine labor for a fortnight to purchase pigment cases out of ten, applies his Latin and Greek wherewith to make himself admired; and that to no practical purposes. The remark is trite the same woman who would not hesitate to that in his shop, or his office, in managing his leave her hut without a fragment of clothing estate or his family, in playing his part as on, would not dare to commit such a breach director of a bank or a railway, he is very of decorum as to go out unpainted. Voyagers little aided by this knowledge he took so many uniformly find that colored beads and trinkets years to acquire-so little, that generally the are much more prized by wild tribes than are greater part of it drops out of his memory; calicoes or broadcloths. And the anecdotes and if he occasionally vents a Latin quotation, we have of the ways in which, when shirts or alludes to some Greek myth, it is less to and coats are given, they turn them to some throw light on the topic in hand than for the ludicrous display, show how completely the sake of effect. If we inquire what is the real idea of ornament predominates over that of motive for giving boys a classical education, use. Nay, there are still more extreme illus- we find it to be simply conformity to public trations: witness the fact narrated by Capt. opinion. Men dress their children's minds as Speke of his African attendants, who strutted they do their bodies, in the prevailing fashabout in their goat-skin mantles when the ion. As the Orinoco Indian puts on his paint weather was fine, but when it was wet, took before leaving his hut, not with a view to any them off, folded them up, and went about direct benefit, but because he would be naked, shivering in the rain! Indeed, the ashamed to be seen without it; 80, a boy's drillfacts of aboriginal life seem to indicate that ing in Latin and Greek is insisted on, not bedress is developed out of decorations. And cause of their intrinsic value, but that he may when we remember that even among ourselves not be disgraced by being found ignorant of most think more about the fineness of the them—that he may have “the education of a fabric than its warmth, and more about the gentleman "—the badge marking a certain cut than the convenience--when we see that social position, and bringing a consequent rethe function is still in great measure subordi spect. nated to the appearance-we have further rea- This parallel is still more clearly displayed son for inferring such an origin.
in the case of the other sex. In the treatment It is not a little curious that the like rela- of both mind and body, the decorative element tions hold with the mind. Among mental as has continued to predominate in a greater deamong bodily acquisitions, the ornamental gree among women than among men. Origi: comes before the useful. Not only in times Inally, personal adornment occupied the atten.