LIPPINCOTT’S MAGAZINE OF POPULAR LITERATURE AND SCIENCE
Volume XVII, No. 97
TABLE OF CONTENTS
THE CENTURY: ITS FRUITS AND ITS FESTIVAL. I.–GENERAL PROGRESS.
UP THE THAMES
THIRD PAPER by EDWARD C. BRUCE.
LINES WRITTEN AT VENICE IN OCTOBER, 1865 by FRANCES ANNE KEMBLE.
SKETCHES OF INDIA.
LADY ARTHUR EILDON’S DYING LETTER by THE AUTHOR OF “BLINDPITS.”
THE HOUSE ON THE BEACH by REBECCA HARDING DAVIS.
A DEAD LOVE by F.A. HILLARD.
GENTILHOMME AND GENTLEMAN by G. COLMACHE.
SPECIAL PLEADING by SIDNEY LANIER.
THE ATONEMENT OF LEAM DUNDAS by MRS. E. LYNN LINTON CHAPTER XVII. WHAT MUST COME.
CHAPTER XVIII. RECKONING WITH LEAM. CHAPTER XIX. AT STEEL’S CORNER.
CHAPTER XX. IN HER MOTHER’S PLACE.
AT THE OLD PLANTATION.
TWO PAPERS.–I. by ROBERT WILSON.
OUR MONTHLY GOSSIP. ’76. by LATIENNE.
OBER-AMMERGAU, Bavaria, Oct. 4, 1875.
A STATE GOVERNOR IN THE ROLE OF ENOCH ARDEN
THE PALATINE LIGHT.
LITERATURE OF THE DAY.
HAMPTON COURT–WEST FRONT.
HAMPTON COURT–LOOKING UP THE RIVER. ENTRANCE TO WOLSEY’S HALL.
MIDDLE QUADRANGLE, HAMPTON COURT.
ARCHWAY IN HAMPTON COURT.
PORTICO LEADING TO GARDENS.
HAMPTON COURT–GARDEN FRONT.
GATE TO PRIVATE GARDEN.
RIVER SCENE, THAMES DITTON.
WOLSEY’S TOWER, ESHER.
A DWELLING AT MAZAGON.
HINDU TEMPLE IN THE BLACK TOWN, BOMBAY. JAIN TEMPLES AT SUNAGHUR.
THE VESTIBULE OF THE GRAND SHAITYA OK KARLI. SCULPTURED FIGURES IN THE VESTIBULE OF THE GREAT SHAITYA OF KARLI.
[Illustration: The CENTURY: ITS FRUITS and its FESTIVAL.]
THE CENTURY: ITS FRUITS AND ITS FESTIVAL.
This of ours is a conceited century. In intense self-consciousness it exceeds any of its late predecessors. Its activity in externally directed thought is accompanied by an almost corresponding use of introverted reflection. Its inheritance, and the additions it has made, can make or will make thereto, supply an ever-present theme. It delights to stand back from its work, like the painter from his easel, to scan the effect of each new touch–to note what has been done and to measure what remains. It is a great living and breathing entity, informed with the concrete life of three generations of mankind the most alert and the most restless of all that have existed. This sensation of exceptional endowments is self-nourishing and ever-growing; and our little nook of time is coming to view all the paths of the past, broad or narrow, direct or interlacing, straight or obscure, as so many roads laid out and graded for the one purpose of leading straight to its gate. It sounds its own praises and celebrates itself at all opportunities. But with all this there is a wholesome recognition of responsibility. Nobility obliges, it is prompt to confess, and to act accordingly. It sees flaws in its regal diamonds, spots that still sully on its ermine; and is not slow to address itself to the duty of their removal.
If the century understands itself, it may be said likewise to understand the others better than they did themselves. It collects their respective autobiographies and their mutual criticisms. The real truths, half truths and delusions each has added to the accumulating common stock it sifts and weighs, mercilessly piling a dustheap beyond Mr. Boffin’s wildest dreams, and rescuing, on the other hand, from the old wastebasket many discarded scraps of real but till now unacknowledged value. Busy in gathering stores of its own, it is able to find time for digesting those bequeathed to it, and for executing both tasks with a good deal of care. It brings skepticism to its aid in both, and subjects new and old conclusions to almost equally close analysis. Each new pebble it picks up upon the shore of the Newtonian ocean it holds up square and askew to the light, and cross-examines color, texture and form. Now and then, being but mortal after all, it chuckles too hastily over a brilliant find, but the blunder is not apt to wait long for correction. Just now it appears to be overhauling its accounts in the item of science, taking stock of its discoveries in that field, balancing bad against good, and determining profit and loss. Some once-promising entries have to undergo a black mark, while a few claims that were despaired of come to the fore. This proceeding is only preparatory, however, to a new departure on a bolder scale. Scientific progress knows only partial checks. Its movement is that of a force _en echelon_: one line may get into trouble and recoil, while the others and the general front continue to advance. Theory does not profess to be certainty. It is only tentative, and subject necessarily to frequent errors, for the elimination of which the severely skeptical spirit of the laws to which it is now held furnishes the best appliance. Modern science possesses an internal _vis medicatrix_ which prevents its suffering seriously from excesses or irregularities. When it ventures to touch the shield of the Unknowable, it is only with the butt of its lance, and the inevitable overthrow is accepted with the least modicum of humiliation.
In that science which assumes to marshal all the others, philosophic and judicial history, ours ought to be the foremost age, if only because it has the aid of all the others. It does more, however, than they can be said to have contemplated. It widens the scope of history, and more precisely formalizes its functions. It makes of the old chroniclers so many moral statisticians, fully utilizing at the same time their services as collectors of material facts. The deductions thus arrived at it aims to test by the methods of the exact sciences. It invites, in a certain degree, moral philosophy to don the trammels of mathematics and decorate its shadowy shoulders with the substantial yoke of the calculus. Such is the programme of a school too young as yet to have matured its shape, but full of vigor and confidence, and a very promising outgrowth from the elder and more stately academy of abstract historical inquiry and generalization. The latter has redeveloped and freshened up for us the pictures of the ancient story-tellers, and has furthermore had them, so to speak, engraved and scattered among the people, until we have come to live in the midst of their times and enjoy an intimate knowledge of the actual condition of human polity and intelligence at any given period. Through the long gallery or the thick portfolio thus presented to our eye we may trace the common thread of motive under the varying conditions of time and circumstance. This thread able hands are aiding us to discover.
To what segment of time shall we assign the name of Nineteenth Century? In A.D. 1800 there was dispute as to which was properly its first year, the question being settled in favor of 1801. Having thus struck out the first of the eighteen hundreds, we may take the liberty of similarly ostracizing the last twenty-four or twenty-five, which are yet to come, and start the nineteenth century as far back in the eighteenth. If we look farther behind us, the centuries will be found often to overlap in this way. Coming events cast their shadows before, and the morning twilight of the new age is refracted deeply into the sky of the old one. Of no case can this be more truly said than of that in point. Not only America, but Christendom, may safely date the century’s commencement about 1775 or 1776. The narrowest isthmus between the mains of past and present will cover those years.
England and France were then both at the outset of a new political era, sharply divided from that preceding. The amiable and decorous Louis XVI., with his lovely consort, had just ousted from Versailles the Du Barrys and the Maupeons. George III., a sovereign similar in youth and respectability of character, had a few years before in like manner improved the tone of the English court, and, after the first flush of welcome from his subjects, surprised and delighted to have an Englishman and a gentleman once more upon the throne, was getting over his early lessons in adversity from the birch of Wilkes and Junius, and entering upon a second series from that of Washington, all preparatory to the longest and most brilliant reign in British annals. Frederick II. was an old man, occupied with assuring to the power he had created the position it now holds as the first in Europe. Clive, in the House of Lords, was nursing a still younger bantling, now an empire twice as populous as Europe was at that period. Under the equally rugged hand of the young princess of Anhalt-Zerbst, Russia was having her Mongolian epidermis indued with the varnish Napoleon so signally failed to scrape off, and was for the first time taking a place among the great powers of the West. The curtain, in short, was in the act of rising on the Europe of to-day. Anson had lately brought the Pacific to light, and Cook was completing his work. The crust of Spanish monopoly in the trade of four-fifths of the North and South American coasts had been broken, and England was preparing to replace it, at some points, by her own. This was, of itself, a New World, geographical and commercial.
Under Linnaeus and Buffon, another world, wider still, was unfolding its wonders and subjecting them to a classification which has since been but little changed, vast as have been the subsequent accessions of knowledge and attainments in methods of interpretation. Before them, the study of the organic creation can scarcely be said to have existed. The inorganic was as little reduced to system, and in its broadest aspect was not even looked at. Buffon’s acute but for the most part empiric speculations on the structure of the globe were a step in advance; but the science of geology he did not recognize, and left to be shaped a very little later by Hutton. Priestley, Cavendish and Lavoisier were dissecting the impalpable air and making the gaseous form of substances as familiar and manageable as the solid. Hence true analytic chemistry. Astronomy, an older science, had derived new precision from the first observed transit of Venus, imperfect as were the data obtained and the calculations made.
Contemporaneous with this sudden apparition of new fields of scientific discovery and enlargement of the old was an intellectual movement of a more general character than that necessarily involved in the progress of natural philosophy. The French Encyclopaedists took hold of social, moral and juridical questions with an unsparing vigor that could not be gainsaid. The art of criticism was simultaneously introduced, perfected and applied. Many of the wrongs and follies that paralyzed thought and industry were dragged to light. Hoary absurdities that smothered law and gospel under the foul mass of privilege and superstition, and made them a curse instead of a blessing, shrank before the storm of ridicule and denunciation. Those which did not at once succumb were placed in a position of publicity and exposure in which they could not long survive. The great upheaval of which the French Revolution was a part was thus originated.
Sounder political ideas were brought within reach of the masses, till then not recipient, it may almost be said, of any political ideas at all. Statesmen and governments were similarly enlightened, Adam Smith’s declaration of commercial antedated by two years Mr. Jefferson’s of political independence. The atrocities of the English criminal code, approaching those of Draco, were put in process of correction, though, as usual in British reforms, it took half a century to effect their complete removal; a woman having been, if we recollect rightly, hanged for a trifling theft in the last years of George IV. This same slowness of that conservative but persevering people is calculated to blind us to the operation among them of deep-seated and active influences. Hardly till 1815 can we discover in England any fervor, much less efficiency, in the demand for an extension of popular rights and relaxation of the grasp of privilege. Irish manufactures continued to be distinctly and rigidly repelled from competition with English by formal statute; Jewish and Catholic disqualification was maintained; the game-laws and the rotten-borough system, which conferred on the nobility and gentry arbitrary power over the purse and person of the commonalty, were determinedly upheld; counsel was only nominally allowed to the defendant in criminal cases; chancery withheld or plundered without resistance or appeal; and there can be no doubt that life and property were better protected by law in France at the fall of the First Napoleon than in Great Britain. Nevertheless, the movement had begun in the latter country forty years before. A generation had passed since the battle of Culloden, and the island was at length indissolubly and efficiently one. It shared fully in the intellectual impulse of the day. Victorious in all its latest struggles and freed from all sources of internal danger, it might naturally have been expected to enter at once on a career of improvement more marked than in the case of its neighbors. It is not easy to assign reasons for failure in this respect, unless we seek them in disgust at the subsequent dismemberment and disturbance of the empire by the fruits of popular agitations in America, Ireland and France. The reaction due to such causes was probably sufficient to defeat all liberal efforts. The leading English writers of the Revolutionary period were strong Tories. Such were Johnson, the Lake poets after their brief swing to the opposite extreme, and Scott. All these except the first belong as well to the time of successful reform, and Johnson may be claimed by the eighteenth century; which serves to illustrate the blight cast upon British literature by the prolonged resistance of British statesmen to the prevailing current–a resistance which took its keynote from the dying recantation and protest of the Whig Chatham.
The opening of the epoch, then, was as marked in Great Britain as elsewhere. Only in special fields she afterward fell behind, and lost something like half the century. In others she kept abreast, or even in advance.
Criticism was not content to exercise its new powers and apply its newly-framed laws exclusively in the investigation of any branch of philosophy. It brought them to bear upon the arts. The discovery of the buried cities of Campania aided in attracting renewed attention to the art-stores of Italy, ancient and modern. The principles of taste and beauty which they illustrated were searchingly analyzed and carefully explained. Painting and sculpture began slowly to emit their rays through the eclipse of more than a century. The allied art shared in this second and secondary renaissance. Haydn was in full fruit, Mozart ripening, and Music watched, in the cradle of Beethoven, her budding Shakespeare. A fourth Teuton was studying the symphonies of the spheres; and within the first five years of the century, while the “crowning mercy” of Yorktown was maturing, a planet that had never before dawned on the eye of man took its place with the ancient six, and “swam into the ken” of Herschel.
We have said enough to vindicate our assumed chronology and justify our readjustment of the calendar. Europe may well be invited to celebrate her own political, social and material centennial in 1876, as truly as that of America. Her intellectual revival indisputably contributed, through Franklin, Laurens, the Lees and others who were immediately within its influence, to bring on the American movement; and her thought, in turn, has since that juncture as certainly gravitated, in many of its chief manifestations, toward that of the New World. Hers is the jubilee not less than ours. The humblest cot on her broad bosom is the brighter for ’76. By no means the least fortunate of the beneficiaries is Great Britain herself. Contrast her present position as a government and a society with what it was when Liberty Bell announced the dismemberment of her empire. Her rank among the nations has notably improved. The population of England, Scotland and Wales was then estimated below eight and a half millions–a numerical approximation, by the way, to the three millions of the colonies not sufficiently considered when we measure the stoutness of her struggle against them with France and Holland combined. Of the continental powers, the French numbered perhaps twenty-two millions, Spain twelve, the Low Countries six, Germany thirty, Prussia seven, and so on. From the ratio of one to nearly three, as compared with France, she has, if we include pacified and assimilated Ireland–an element now of strength instead of weakness–advanced to an equality. She has equally gained on the others, except Prussia, with its aggregation of new provinces. She may, furthermore, in the event of an internecine conflict with a combination, count upon the unwillingness of America to see her annihilated; not the least just of Tallyrand’s observations expressing his conviction that, though the two great Anglo-Saxon powers might quarrel with each other, they would not push such a dispute for the benefit of a third party. But, dismissing the question of mere brute strength, Britain’s sentiment of pride is conciliated by the spectacle of an advance in the numbers speaking her tongue from eleven or twelve to eighty millions within the century, and that in considerable part at the expense of other languages; millions of foreign immigrants, parents or children, having abandoned their vernacular in favor of hers.
Let us now essay a light sketch of the stream at whose source we have glanced. Light and superficial it must be, for to attempt more were to confront the vast and many-sided theme of modern civilization. The nineteenth century, the child of history, has the stature of its progenitor. It would fill more libraries. Conditions, forces, results,–all have been multiplied. But a few centuries ago the world, as known and studied, was a corner of the Levant, with its slender and simple apparatus of life, social, political and industrial. Later, its boundaries were extended over the remaining shores of the same landlocked sea. Again a step, but not an expansion, and it looked helplessly west upon the Atlantic: its ancient domain of the East almost forgotten. Then that long gaze was gratified, and Cathay was seen. With that came actual expansion, which continued in both directions of the globe’s circuit until now. At length the world of thought, of inquiry and of common interest is becoming coincident with the sphere.
In the direction of international politics progress during the century has not kept pace with the advance in other walks. We are accustomed to speak of Europe as forming a republic of nations, but that cannot be said with much more truth than it could have been in the middle of the sixteenth century. A sense of the value to the peace of the continent of a balance of power was then recognized; and the object was attained in some measure as soon as the career of Charles V., which had inculcated the lesson, admitted at his abdication of an application of it. Treaties were then framed, as they have been constantly since, for this purpose, and the observation of them was perhaps as faithful. The passions of nations, like those of men, furnish reason with its slowest and latest conquests. The great wars of the French Revolution, and the short and sharp ones which have, after an indispensable breathing-spell, recently followed it, were as causeless and as defiant of the compacts designed to prevent them as those of the Reformation period or of the Thirty Years. They were so many confessions that an efficient international code is one of the inventions for which we must look to the future. It is something, meanwhile, that, with the extinction of feudalism and the concretion of the detached provinces with which it had macadamized Christendom, the ceaseless fusillade of little wars, which played like a lambent flame of mephitic gas over the surface of each country, has come to an end. The petty sovereignties which made up Germany, France and Italy have been within a few generations absorbed into three masses–so many police districts which have proved tolerably effective in keeping the peace within the large territories they cover. The nations, thus massing themselves for exterior defence, and maintaining a healthy system of graduated and distributed powers, original or conferred, for the support of domestic order and activity, have cultivated successfully the field of home politics.
In that the change for the better is certainly vast. It is difficult for Americans, whose acquaintance with European history is usually derived from compends, to realize what an incubus of complicated and conflicting privileges, restrictions and forms has, within the century, been lifted from the energies of the Old World. The sweeping reforms in French law are but a small part of what has been done. All the neighbors of France, from Derry to the Dardanelles, have shared in the blessing. We may be assisted to an idea of it by turning to the experience of our own country, whose condition in this regard was so exceptionally good at the beginning of the period in point. The constitutions of our States have been repeatedly altered, and they are now very different in their details from the old colonial charters, liberal and elastic as these for the most part were. Yet American innovations are but child’s play to those of Europe, which has not reached the position we held at the beginning, and has a great deal still to do. In France the people are not trained to local self-government, but they have an excellent police, and the rights of person and property are well protected. In Italy, which has only within a few years ceased to be a mere geographical expression, municipal rights and the independence of the commune are on a stronger basis, but the police is bad, though far better than when the Peninsula was divided among half a dozen powers. Both have but commenced arming themselves with the chief safeguard of Germany, popular education. The great fact with them all is, that, despite the drawbacks of external pressure and large standing armies, they are at liberty to pursue the path of domestic reform as far as they have light enough to perceive it or purpose enough to require it.
All this is an immense gain. It reflects itself in the improved social condition of the people–a result, of course, not wholly due to it. Crime, though the newspapers make us familiar with more of it than formerly, has notably diminished. The savage classes of the great capitals, populous as some of the old kingdoms, are controlled like a menagerie by its keepers. A residuum of the untamable will always exist, inaccessible to education or “moral suasion,” and amenable only to force. This force seems sufficiently supplied by the baton of the constable, and we may hope that even in volcanic Paris an eruption of barricades will henceforth cease, unless simply as a somewhat flamboyant expression of political sentiment, the gamin throwing up paving-stones and omnibuses as the independent British voter throws up his hat at the hustings. But it will not do to expect too much from any ameliorating cause or chain of causes. Race-characteristics cannot be annihilated. Man is an animal, and the Parisian turbulent. The Commune has done its worst probably, and the Internationale, which threatened at one time to loom up as a modern Vehmgericht, has subsided. Whatever may hereafter come of such slumbering perils, the beneficent forces which so largely repress and reduce them are none the less real.
The marked advance of the masses in physical well-being is a great–some would say the greatest–item in social profit and loss. Food is everywhere better in quality and more regular in supply. The English record of the corn-market for six centuries shows a remarkable alteration in favor of steadiness in price. The uncertainties of the seasons are discounted or neutralized by the average struck by increased variety of products and multiplied sources of supply. Famines become infrequent. That of 1847 in Ireland, bad as it was, would have been worse a hundred years earlier. A given population is more regularly and better fed than one-fifth of its number would at that time have been. A city of four millions would then have been an impossibility. Dress and lodging are better, and relatively cheaper. Hygiene is more understood, imperfect as is its application. Some diseases due to its disregard have disappeared or been localized. As a result, men have gained in weight and size and in length of life.
In the character of their recreations–a thing largely governed by national idiosyncrasy–the masses have advanced. And this we may say without losing sight of the devastations of intemperance since the distillation of grain was introduced, about a century and a half ago. With an enhanced demand upon man’s faculties civilization brings an increased use of stimulants. There are many of these unknown to former generations. In noting those which attack the health by storm we are apt to overlook others which proceed more stealthily by sap. Of these are coffee, tea, chocolate, the rich spices and more substantial accessions to the modern table, all stimulating and inviting to excess, but all, as truly, nutritious and apt to take the place of other aliment, thus adapting the measure of their use, as a rule, to the demands of the system. The consumption of opium, the one dissipation of the Chinese till now unadded to the three or four of the Caucasian, is said to be extending. If so, a _Counter-blast_ to it from king or commonwealth will be as ineffectual as against its allied narcotic. Prohibitory laws will be even more unavailing than in the case of ardent spirits. It will run its course–a short one, we trust–and be followed or joined by new drugs contributed by conscienceless trade.
Intemperance–we use the word in its special but most common signification–is debasing. Compensation, so far as it goes, is found in the abandonment by those communities among whom it is most rife of certain gross amusements, such as cock-fighting and the prize-ring. Bull-and bear-baiting, too, so prominent among the _deliciae_ of England’s maiden queen, have died out. Isolated Spain, fenced off by the Pyrenees from the breeze of benevolence wafted from the virtuous and bibulous North, still utilizes the Manchegan or Estremaduran bull as a means of conferring “happy despatch” on her superannuated horses and absorbing the surplus belligerence of her “roughs.” She seems, however, disposed to tire of this feast of equine and taurine blood, and the last relic of the arena will before many years follow its cognate brutalities. For obvious reasons, bull-fighting can be the sport, habitually, of but an infinitesimal fraction of the people. They share with the other races of the Continent the simple pleasures of dance and song. These enjoyments, as we go north and are driven within doors from the pure and temperate air by a more unfriendly climate, form an increasingly intimate alliance with strong drink, until in the so-called gardens of Germany Calliope and Gambrinus are inseparable friends. Farther still toward the Pole the voice of the Muse gradually dies away upon the sodden atmosphere; and she, having outlasted her successive Southern associates, wine and beer, in turn gives place to brandy pure and simple–a beverage itself frost-proof and only suited to frost-proof men.
The long nights and indoor days of the North are favorable to another and more desirable trait of modern social progress–education. The potency of such a meteorological cause in making popular a taste for knowledge the instances of Iceland, Scotland, Scandinavia and North Germany, to say nothing of New England, leave us no room to doubt. It is, of course, not the only cause. Ability to read and write is as universal in China and Japan, as in the countries we have named. In the case of the Orientals it cannot be ascribed, either, wholly to that conviction of the importance, as a conservative guarantee, of elevating the popular mind and taste, which belongs to the enlightenment of the day. Instinctive recognition of this need manifests itself in a simultaneous move in the direction of universal education at government expense throughout the two continents. All the populations snatch up their satchels and hurry to school. Athens revives the Academe and reinstates the Olympic games under a literary avatar. Italy follows suit. Hornbooks open and shut with a suggestive snap under the pope’s nose, and Young Rome calculates its future with slate and pencil. Gaul, fresh from one year’s term in the severest of all schools, adversity, joins the procession, close by John Bull, who, _more suo_, pauses first to decide whether the youthful mind shall take its pap with the spoon of orthodoxy or heterodoxy, or neither. With him the question between Church schools and national schools is complicated by one which is common to other nations–whether attendance shall be compulsory or voluntary only. The tendency is toward the former, which has long been in practice in some of the States of the Union; and it seems not unlikely that Christendom will, before many years, revert, in this important matter, to the Spartan view that children are the property of the state.
Lavish beyond precedent are the provisions made by governments and individuals everywhere for the promotion of this great object. Private endowment of schools and colleges was never before so frequent and liberal, and nothing so quickly disarms the caution of the average taxpayer as an appeal for common schools. From California eastward to Japan it is honored along the whole line, the unanimous “Yea” being the most eloquent and hopeful word the modern world emits. Of the slumbering power that till recently lay hidden in coal and water, and which has so incalculably multiplied the material strength of man, much has been said; but we fail to appreciate the unevoked fund of intellect upon which he has additionally to draw. The highest expectation of results to be witnessed and enjoyed by the approaching generations involves no postulate of human perfectibility, It finds ample warrant in what has been accomplished under our eyes. A century ago only Scotland and two or three of the American colonies could be said to possess a system of common schools. From those feeble and smouldering sparks what a flame has spread! The space it has covered and the fructifying light and warmth it has produced may in some measure be gauged by the newspaper press and the vast bulk of popularized information in book-form created since then. This shows the increase in the numerical ratio of readers to the aggregate of population.
A difficulty exists in the provision of officers for this great army of pupils. They cannot always be raised from the ranks. The thoroughness of a teacher’s knowledge is not acquired by the requisite proportion. Normal schools demand more and more attention. But here we arrive at a field of detail that would lead us far beyond the limit of these articles. We pass naturally from the subject of education to what is, in the narrower but most generally accepted sense of the word–mental training— its leading object of pursuit.
If, in the broader and truer meaning of education–that which assumes the impalpable part of man to be something more than a sponge for facts— the slender phalanx of _the men who know_ will ever remain, proportionally, a small band, it is at least certain that in acquaintance with natural phenomena and their relations the masses of the nineteenth century stand out from their forefathers as eminent philosophers. Our age may be almost said to have created rather than extended science, so mighty is the bulk of what it has added by the side of what it found.
In mathematics, the branch which most nearly approaches pure reason, least advance has been made. There was least room for it. Newton, when, at quite a mature period of his career, Euclid was first brought to his attention, laid the book down after a cursory glance with the remark that it was only fit for children, its propositions being self-evident. Yet to those truisms Newton added very little. His work lay in their development and application. Laplace and Biot belong to our own day; but their task, too, consisted in the employment of old rules. The most effective tools of the mathematician are framed from the Arab algebra and Napier’s logarithms. The science itself without application is, like logic, a soul without a body.
The field most fruitful under its application is that of astronomy. Here, progress has been great. A measuring-rod has been provided for the depths of space by the ascertainment of the sun’s distance within a three-hundredth part of that body’s diameter. The existence of a cosmic ether, a resisting medium, has been established, and its retarding influence calculated. Many of the nebulae have been reduced, and others proved to be in a gaseous condition, like comets. The latter bodies have been chained down to regular orbits, followed far beyond those of the old planets, and brought into genealogical relations with these through the links of bolides and asteroids. The family circle of planets proper has been immensely increased, a new visitant to the central fire appearing every few years or even months. Newton connected the most distant points of the universe by the one principle of gravitation: the spectroscope unites them by identity of structure and composition. Improved instruments have detected the parallax of a number of the fixed stars, and traced motion in both solar and stellar systems as units. Coming homeward from the distant heavens, the advances of astronomy diminish as we near what may be called the old planets and our pale companion the moon. The existence of a lunar atmosphere and the habitability of Mars are still debated; with, we believe, the odds against both. But the star-gazers make their craft useful in a novel way when it reaches the earth. Upon the precession of the equinoxes they erect a fabric of retrograde chronology, and set a clock to geologic time. Here Sir Isaac is brought to grief. His excursions beyond the Deluge are proved blind guides. He misleads us among the ages as sadly as Archbishop Usher. The profoundest of laymen and the most learned of clerics are equally at sea in locating creation. That successive phases of animate existence were rising and fading with the oscillations of the earth’s inclination to its orbit never occurred to him to whom “all was light.” To probe the stars was to him a simpler process than to anatomize the globe upon which he stood.
This is the less remarkable when we reflect what a hard fight geology has had. A generation after Newton’s death fossils were referred for their origin to a certain “plastic power” in Nature–mere idle whittlings of bone that had never known an outfit of flesh and blood. Then came a long and motley procession of cosmogonies, every speculator, from John Wesley down to Pye Smith, insisting warmly on what seemed good in his own eyes. The last stand was made on the antiquity of man, and it is only a dozen years since the ablest of British–perhaps since Cuvier of modern–geologists, Sir Charles Lyell, yielded to the preponderance of evidence, and confessed that the era of man’s appearance on earth had been made too recent. A few determined skirmishers still linger behind the line of retreat, like Ney at the bridge of Kowno, and fire some fruitless shots at the advancing enemy. This is well. Tribulation and opposition are good for any creed, scientific or other. It weeds out the weak ones and strengthens those that are to stand.
The mapping out of extinct faunas and floras and assigning pedigree to existing species are by no means the whole province of geologists. Productive industry owes to them a vast saving of time and cost in searching for useful minerals. They distinguish the same strata in widely separated districts by means of the characteristic fossils, and are thus enabled to guide the miner. A geological survey of its territory is one of the first cares of an enlightened government, and a geologist is the one scientific official the leading States of the Union agree in maintaining. The science has moved forward steadily from its original office of studying buried deposits and classifying extinct organisms, until the hard and fast line between fossil and recent has disappeared, the continuous action of ordinary causes in past and present been established, and an unbroken domain assigned to the laws of the visible creation. Deep-sea soundings have extended inquiry, slight enough as yet, to that immensely preponderant portion of the globe’s crust that is covered by water. Penetrating the ocean is like penetrating the rocks, inasmuch as it introduces us to some of the same primal forms of life; but it presents them in an active and sentient state. Neptune’s ravished secrets vindicate the Neptunists, while Pluto is relegated to the abode assigned him by classic myths, where he and his comrade, Vulcan, keep their furnaces alight and project their slag and smoke through many a roaring chimney.
Upon (as beneath) the deep, science is erecting for itself new homes. It tracks the wandering wind, and moves at ease, calmly as a surveyor with chain and compass, through the eddies of the cyclone. It maps for the sailor the currents, aerial and subaqueous, of each spot on the unmarked main, and sends him warning far ahead of the tempest. It divides with the thermometer the mass of brine into horizontal zones, and assigns to each its special population.
A hundred years ago, only the surface of the land was studied, and but a small part of that. All beneath its surface was a mystery, and the lore of the sea was untouched. Now, knowledge has penetrated to the central fire, and of the sea it can be no longer said that man’s “control stops with its shores.” The pathway of his messenger from continent to continent he has laid deep in its chalky ooze, while over it silt silently, flake by flake, as they have been falling since aeons before his creation, the induviae of the earliest creatures.
And this his messenger at the bottom of the sea is back in its old home. First hidden in the electron cast up by the waves of the Baltic, it was left there, uncomprehended and barren, till our century. During all that time it was calling from the clouds to man’s dazzled eye and deafened ear. It pervaded the air he breathed, the ground he trod and the frame which constituted him. It bore his will from brain to hand, and guarded his life, through the (so-called) spontaneously acting muscles of the thorax, during the half or third of his life during which his will slumbered. At length its call was hearkened to intelligently. Franklin made it articulate. Its twin Champollions came in Volta and Galvani. Its few first translated words have, under a host of elucidators, swelled to volumes. They link into one language the dialects of light, motion and heat. The indurated turpentine of the Pomeranian beach speaks the tongue of the farthest star.
The sciences, like the nations and like bees, as they grow too large for their hive are perpetually swarming and colonizing. Not that colonization is followed, as in the case of the similitude, by independence. Their mutual bonds become closer and closer. But convenience and (so to speak) comfort require the nominal separation. So electricity sets up for itself; and chemistry, the metropolis, swells into other offshoots. So numerous and so great are these that the old alchemists, unlimited range through the material, immaterial and supernatural as they claimed for their art, would rub their eyes, bleared over blowpipe and alembic, at sight of its present riches. The half-hewn block handed down by these worthies–not by any means
Like that great Dawn which baffled Angelo Left shapeless, grander for its mystery,
but blurred and scratched all over with childish and unmeaning scrawls–has been wholly transformed. Chemistry no longer assumes to read our future, but it does a great deal to brighten our present. Laboring to supply the wants and enhance the pleasures and security of daily life, it makes excursions with a sure foot in the opposite direction of abstruse problems in natural philosophy. It analyzes all substances, determines their relations, and tries to guide the artisan in utilizing its acquisitions for the general good. To enumerate these, or to give the merest sketch of chemical progress within the century, would fill many pages. It has enriched and invigorated all the arts by supplying new material and new processes. Illuminating gas, photography, the anaesthetics, the artificial fertilizers, quinine, etc. are a few of its more familiarly known contributions. It has aided medical jurisprudence, and so far checked crime. Besides enlarging the pharmacopoeia, it has promoted sanitary reform in many ways, notably by ascertaining the media of contagion in disease and providing for their detection and removal. Its triumphs are so closely interwoven with the appliances of common life that we are prone to lose sight of them. From the aniline dye that beautifies a picture or a dress, to the explosive that lifts a reef or mines the Alps for a highway, the gradations are infinite and multiform.
Heavy as is the draft of the material sciences upon the thought and energy of the century, it has not monopolized them. No trifling resources have been left for mere abstract investigation. If meta-physics stands, despite the labors of Stewart, Hamilton, Hegel, Comte, very much where it did when Socrates ran amuck among the casuistical Quixotes of his day, and left the philosophic tilters of Greece, the knights-errant in search of the supreme good, in the same plight with the chivalry of Spain after Cervantes, the science of mind, and particularly mental pathology, has made some steps forward on crutches furnished by the medical profession. The treatment of insanity is on a more rational and efficient footing. The statistician collects, and invites the moral philosopher to collate, the records of crime. The naturalist studies the life of the lower animals, and gives the _coup de grace_ to the uncompromising distinction drawn by human conceit between instinct and intelligence.
In the walks of comparative philology much has been accomplished. Sanskrit has been exhumed. Aryan and Semitic roots are traced back to an almost synchronous antiquity. The decipherment of the Egyptian inscriptions seems to bring us into communication with a still more remote form of language. More recent periods derive new light from the Etruscan tombs and the Assyrian bricks. Linguists deem themselves in sight of something better than the “bow-wow” theory, and are no longer content to let the calf, the lamb and the child bleat in one and the same vocabulary of labials, and with no other rudiments than “ma” and “pa” “speed the soft intercourse from pole to pole.” As yet, that part of mankind which knows not its right hand from its left is the only one possessed of a worldwide lingo. The flux that is to weld all tongues into one, and produce a common language like a common unit of weight, measure and coinage, remains to be discovered. A Chinese pig, transplanted to an Anglo-Saxon stye, has no difficulty in instituting immediate converse with his new friend, but the gentleman who travels in Europe needs to carry an assortment of dialects for use on opposite sides of the same rivulet or the same hill. However, as the French franc has been adopted by four other nations, and the French litre and metre by a greater number, one and the same mail and postage made to serve Europe and America, and passports been abolished, we may venture to picture to ourselves the time when the German shall consent to clear his throat, the Frenchman his nose, the Spaniard his tonsils and the Englishman the tip of his tongue–when all shall become as little children and be mutually comprehensible. Commerce at present is doing more than the philosophers to that end. While the countrymen of Wilhelm von Humboldt and Max Mueller persist in burying their laboriously heaped treasures under a load of black-letter type and words and sentences the most fearfully and wonderfully made, the skipper scatters English words with English calico and American clocks among all the isles. A picturesque fringe of pigeon English decorates the coasts of Africa, Asia and Oceanica. It might be deeper, and doubtless will be, for our mother-tongue will very certainly be supreme in the world of trade for at least a couple of centuries to come. If we were only half as sure of its being adopted by France as by Fiji!
If almighty steam and sail must remain unequal to this task, wondrous indeed are their other potencies. They have contracted the globe like a dried apple, only in a far greater degree. In 1776 three years was the usual allotment of the grand tour. Beginning at London, it extended to Naples and occasionally Madrid. It often left out Vienna, and more frequently Berlin. In the same period you may now put a girdle round the earth ninefold thick. You may, given the means and the faculties, set up business establishments at San Francisco, Yokohama, Shanghai, Canton, Calcutta, Bombay, Alexandria, Rome, Paris, London and New York, and visit each once a quarter. The goods to supply them may travel, however bulky, on the same ship and nearly the same train in point of speed with yourself. Nowhere farther than a few weeks from home in person, nowhere are you more remote verbally than a few hours. The Red Sea opens to your footsteps, as it did to those of Moses; and the lightning that bears your words cleaves the pathway of Alexander and the New World for which he wept.
It is really hard to mention these innovations on the old ways, so vast and so sudden, without degenerating into rhetoric or bombast. The spread-eagle style comes naturally to an epoch that soars on quick new wing above all the others. We have it in all shapes— equally startling and true in figures of arithmetic or figures of speech. Any school-boy can tell you, if you give him the dimensions of the Great Pyramid and state thirty-three thousand pounds one foot high in a minute as the conventional horse-power, how many hours it would take a pony-team picked out of the hundreds of thousands of steam-engines on the two continents to raise it. He will reduce to the same prosaic but eloquent form a number of like problems illustrative of the command obtained over some of the forces of Nature, and their employment in multiplying and economizing manual strength and dexterity and stimulating ingenuity. When we come to contemplate the whole edifice of modern production, it seems to simplify itself into one new motor applied to the old mechanical powers, which may perhaps in turn be condensed into one–the inclined plane. This helps to the impression that the structure is not only sure to be enlarged, as we see it enlarging day by day, but to grow into novel and more striking aspects. Additional motors will probably be discovered, or some we already possess in embryo may be developed into greater availability. These, operating on an ever-growing stock of material, will convince our era that it is but introductory to a more magnificent and not far distant future.
Magnificent the century is justified in styling its work. What matter could do for mind and steam for the hand it has done. But is there any gain in the eye and intellect which perceive, and the hand which fixes, beauty and truth? Is there any addition to the simple lines, as few and rudimental as the mechanical powers, which embody proportion and harmony, or in the fibres of emotion, as scant but as infinite in their range of tone as the strings of the primeval harp, which ask and respond to no motor but the touch of genius? Have we surpassed the old song, the old story, the old picture, the old temple?
Such questions must be answered in the negative. The age, recognizing perforce the inherent capabilities of the race as a constant quantity, contents itself so far with endeavoring to adapt and reproduce, or at most imitate, such manifestations of the artistic sense as it finds excellent in the past. The day for originality may come ere long, and nothing can be lost in striving for it, but a capacity for the beautiful at first hand cannot come without an appreciation of it at second hand. With the number of cultivated minds so vastly increased as compared with any previous period, the greater variety of objects and conditions presented to them, the multiplicity of races to which they belong, and consequently of distinct race-characteristics imbedded in them and brought into play, and the impulse communicated by greater general activity, the expectation is allowably sanguine that the nineteenth century will plant an art as well as an industry of its own. Wealth, culture and peace seldom fail to win this final crown. They are busily gathering together the jewels of the past, endless in diversity of charm. Museum, gallery, library swell as never before. The earth is not mined for iron and coal alone. Statue, vase and gem are disentombed. Pictures are rescued from the grime of years and neglect. All are copied by sun or hand, and sent in more or less elaboration into hall or cottage. In literature our possessions could scarce be more complete, and they are even more universally distributed. The nations compete with each other in adding to this equipment for a new revival, which seems, on the surface, to have more in its favor than had that of the cinque-cento.
UP THE THAMES
[Illustration: HAMPTON COURT–WEST FRONT.]
Today our movement shall be up the Thames by rail, starting on the south side of the river to reach an objective point on the north bank. So crooked is the stream, and so much more crooked are the different systems of railways, with their competing branches crossing each other and making the most audacious inroads on each other’s territory, that the direction in which we are traveling at any given moment, or the station from which we start, is a very poor index to the quarter for which we are bound. The railways, to say nothing of the river, that wanders at its own sweet will, as water commonly does in a country offering it no obstructions, are quite defiant of their geographical names. The Great Western runs north, west and south-east; the South-western strikes south, south-east and north-west; while the Chatham and Dover distributes itself over most of the region south-east of London, closing its circuit by a line along the coast of the Channel that completes a triangle. We can go almost anywhere by any road. It is necessary, however, in this as in other mundane proceedings, to make a selection. We must have a will before we find a way. Let our way, then, be to Waterloo Station on the Southwestern rail.
[Illustration: HAMPTON COURT–LOOKING UP THE RIVER.]
Half an hour’s run lands us at Hampton Court, with a number of fellow-passengers to keep us company if we want them, and in fact whether we want them or not. Those who travel into or out of a city of four millions must lay their account with being ever in a crowd. Our consolation is, that in the city the crowd is so constant and so wholly strange to us as to defeat its effect, and create the feeling of solitude we have so often been told of; while outside of it, at the parks and show-places, the amplitude of space, density and variety of plantations, and multiplicity of carefully designed turns, nooks and retreats, are such that retirement of a more genuine character is within easy reach. The crowd, we know, is about us, but it does not elbow us, and we need hardly see it. The current of humanity, springing from one or a dozen trains or steamboats, dribbles away, soon after leaving its parent source, into a multitude of little divergent channels, like irrigating water, and covers the surface without interference.
It would be a curious statistical inquiry how many visitors Hampton Court has lost since the Cartoons were removed in 1865 to the South Kensington Museum. Actually, of course, the whole number has increased, is increasing, and is not going to be diminished. The query is, How many more there would be now were those eminent bits of pasteboard–slit up for the guidance of piece-work at a Flemish loom, tossed after the weavers had done with them into a lumber-room, then after a century’s neglect disinterred by the taste of Rubens and Charles I., brought to England, their poor frayed and faded fragments glued together and made the chief decoration of a royal palace–still in the place assigned them by the munificence and judgment of Charles? For our part–and we may speak for most Americans–when we heard, thought or read of Hampton Court, we thought of the Cartoons. Engravings of them were plenty–much more so than of the palace itself. Numbers of domestic connoisseurs know Raphael principally as the painter of the Cartoons.
A few who have not heard of them have heard of Wolsey. The pursy old cardinal furnishes the surviving one of the two main props of Hampton’s glory. An oddly-assorted pair, indeed–the delicate Italian painter, without a thought outside of his art, and the bluff English placeman, avid of nothing but honors and wealth. And the association of either of them with the spot is comparatively so slight. Wolsey held the ground for a few years, only by lease, built a mere fraction of the present edifice, and disappeared from the scene within half a generation. What it boasts, or boasted, of the other belongs to the least noted of his works–half a dozen sketches meant for stuff-patterns, and never intended to be preserved as pictures. Pictures they are, nevertheless, and all the more valuable and surprising as manifesting such easy command of hand and faculty, such a matter-of-course employment of the utmost resources of art on a production designed to have no continuing existence except as finished, rendered and given to the world by a “base mechanical,” with no sense of art at all.
[Illustration: ENTRANCE TO WOLSEY’S HALL.]
Royalty, and the great generally, availed themselves of their opportunities to select the finest locations and stake out the best claims along these shores. Of elevation there is small choice, a level surface prevailing. What there is has been generally availed of for park or palace, with manifest advantage to the landscape. The curves of the river are similarly utilized. Kew and Hampton occupy peninsulas so formed. The latter, with Bushy Park, an appendage, fills a water-washed triangle of some two miles on each side. The southern angle is opposite Thames Ditton, a noted resort for brethren of the angle, with an ancient inn as popular, though not as stylish and costly, as the Star and Garter at Richmond. The town and palace of Hampton lie about halfway up the western side of the demesne. The view up and down the river from Hampton Bridge is one of the crack spectacles of the neighborhood. Satisfied with it, we pass through the principal street, with the Green in view to our left and Bushy Park beyond it, to the main entrance. This is part of the original palace as built by the cardinal. It leads into the first court. This, with the second or Middle Quadrangle, may all be ascribed to him, with some changes made by Henry VIII. and Christopher Wren. The colonnade of coupled Ionic pillars which runs across it on the south or right-hand side as you enter was designed by Wren. It is out of keeping with its Gothic surroundings. Standing beneath it, you see on the opposite side of the square Wolsey’s Hall. It looks like a church. The towers on either side of the gateway between the courts bear some relics of the old faith in the shape of terra-cotta medallions, portraits of the Roman emperors. These decorations were a present to the cardinal from Leo X. The oriel windows by their side bear contributions in a different taste from Henry VIII. They are the escutcheons of that monarch. The two popes, English and Italian, are well met. Our engravings give a good idea of the style of these parts of the edifice. The first or outer square is somewhat larger than the middle one, which is a hundred and thirty-three feet across from north to south, and ninety-one in the opposite direction, or in a line with the longest side of the whole palace.
A stairway beneath the arch leads to the great hall, one hundred and six feet by forty. This having been well furbished recently, its aspect is probably little inferior in splendor to that which it wore in its first days. The open-timber roof, gay banners, stained windows and groups of armor bring mediaeval magnificence very freshly before us. The ciphers and arms of Henry and his wife, Jane Seymour, are emblazoned on one of the windows, indicating the date of 1536 or 1537. Below them were graciously left Wolsey’s imprint–his arms, with a cardinal’s hat on each side, and the inscription, “The Lord Thomas Wolsey, Cardinal legat de Latere, archbishop of Yorke and chancellor of Englande.” The tapestry of the hall illustrates sundry passages in the life of Abraham. A Flemish pupil of Raphael is credited with their execution or design.
This hall witnessed, certainly in the reign of George I., and according to tradition in that of Elizabeth, the mimic reproduction of the great drama with which it is associated. It is even said that Shakespeare took part here in his own play, _King Henry VIII., or the Fall of Wolsey_. In 1558 the hall was resplendent with one thousand lamps, Philip and Mary holding their Christmas feast. The princess Elizabeth was a guest. The next morning she was compliant or politic enough to hear matins in the queen’s closet.
The Withdrawing Room opens from the hall. It is remarkable for its carved and illuminated ceiling of oak. Over the chimney is a portrait of Wolsey in profile on wood, not the least interesting of a long list of pictures which are a leading attraction of the place. These are assembled, with few exceptions, in the third quadrangle, built in 1690. Into this we next pass. It takes the place of three of the five original courts, said to have been fully equal to the two which remain.
[Illustration: MIDDLE QUADRANGLE, HAMPTON COURT.]
The modern or Eastern Quadrangle is a hundred and ten by a hundred and seventeen feet. It is encircled by a colonnade like that in the middle square, and has nothing remarkable, architecturally, about it. In the public rooms that surround us there are, according to the catalogue, over a thousand pictures. Leonardo da Vinci, Paul Veronese, Titian, Giulio Romano, Murillo and a host of lesser names of the Italian and Spanish schools, with still more of the Flemish, are represented. To most visitors, who may see elsewhere finer works by these masters, the chief attraction of the walls is the series of original portraits by Holbein, Vandyck, Lely and Kneller. The two full-lengths of Charles I. by Vandyck, on foot and on horseback, both widely known by engravings, are the gems of this department, as a Vandyck will always be of any group of portraits.
[Illustration: ARCHWAY IN HAMPTON COURT.]
Days may be profitably and delightfully spent in studying this fine collection. The first men and women of England for three centuries handed down to us by the first artists she could command form a spectacle in which Americans can take a sort of home interest. Nearly all date before 1776, and we have a rightful share in them. Each head and each picture is a study. We have art and history together. Familiar as we may be with the events with which the persons represented are associated, it is impossible to gaze upon their lineaments, set in the accessories of their day by the ablest hands guided by eyes that saw below the surface, and not feel that we have new readings of British annals.
Among the most ancient heads is a medallion of Henry VII. by Torregiano, the peppery and gifted Florentine who executed the marvelous chapel in Westminster Abbey and broke the nose of Michael Angelo. English art–or rather art in England–may be said to date from him. He could not create a school of artists in the island–the material did not exist–but the few productions he left there stood out so sharply from anything around them that the possessors of the wealth that was then beginning to accumulate employed it in drawing from the Continent additional treasures from the newly-found world of beauty. The riches of England have grown apace, and her collectors have used them liberally, if not always wisely, until her galleries, in time, have come to be sought by the connoisseurs, and even the artists, of the Continent.
[Illustration: PORTICO LEADING TO GARDENS.]
The last picture-gallery we traverse is the only one at Hampton Court specially built for its purpose; and it is empty. This is the room erected by Sir Christopher Wren for the reception of the Cartoons. It leads us to the corridor that opens on the garden-front. We leave behind us, in addition to the state apartments, a great many others which are peopled by other inhabitants than the big spiders, said to be found nowhere else, known as cardinals. The old palace is not kept wholly for show, but is made useful in the political economy of the kingdom by furnishing a retreat to impecunious members of the oligarchy. Certain families of distressed aristocrats are harbored here–clearly a more wholesome arrangement than letting them take their chance in the world and bring discredit on their class.
[Illustration: CENTRE AVENUE.]
Emerging on the great gardens, forty four acres in extent, we find ourselves on broad walks laid out with mathematical regularity, and edged by noble masses of yew, holly, horse-chestnut, etc. almost as rectangular and circular. We are here struck with the great advantage derived in landscape gardening from the rich variety of large evergreens possible in the climate of Britain. The holly, unknown as an outdoor plant in this country north of Philadelphia, is at home in the north of Scotland, eighteen degrees nearer the pole. We are more fortunate with the Conifers, many of the finest of which family are perfectly hardy here. But we miss the deodar cedar, the redwood and Washingtonia of California, and the cedar of Lebanon. These, unless perhaps the last, cannot be depended on much north of the latitude of the _Magnolia grandiflora._ They thrive all over England, with others almost as beautiful, and as delicate north of the Delaware. Of the laurel tribe, also hardy in England, our Northern States have but a few weakly representatives. So with the Rhododendra.
[Illustration: HAMPTON COURT–GARDEN FRONT.]
When, tired of even so charming a scene of arboreal luxury, we knock at the Flower-Pot gate to the left of the palace, and are admitted into the private garden, we make the acquaintance of another stately stranger we have had the honor at home of meeting only under glass. This is the great vine, ninety years or a hundred old, of the Black Hamburg variety. It does not cover as much space as the Carolina Scuppernong–the native variety that so surprised and delighted Raleigh’s Roanoke Island settlers in 1585–often does. But its bunches, sometimes two or three thousand in number, are much larger than the Scuppernong’s little clumps of two or three. They weigh something like a pound each, and are thought worthy of being reserved for Victoria’s dessert. Her own family vine has burgeoned so broadly that three thousand pounds of grapes would not be a particularly large dish for a Christmas dinner for the united Guelphs.
[Illustration: GATE TO PRIVATE GARDEN.]
We must not forget the Labyrinth, “a mighty maze, but not without a plan,” that has bewildered generations of young and old children since the time of its creator, William of Orange. It is a feature of the Dutch style of landscape gardening imprinted by him upon the Hampton grounds. He failed to impress a like stamp upon that chaos of queer, shapeless and contradictory means to beneficent ends, the British constitution.
Hampton Court, notwithstanding the naming of the third quadrangle the Fountain Court, and the prominence given to a fountain in the design of the principal grounds, is not rich in waterworks. Nature has done a good deal for it in that way, the Thames embracing it on two sides and the lowness of the flat site placing water within easy reach everywhere. This superabundance of the element did not content the magnificent Wolsey. He was a man of great ideas, and to secure a head for his jets he sought an elevated spring at Combe Wood, more than two miles distant. To bring this supply he laid altogether not less than eight miles of leaden pipe weighing twenty-four pounds to the foot, and passing under the bed of the Thames. Reduced to our currency of to-day, these conduits must have cost nearly half a million of dollars. They do their work yet, the gnawing tooth of old _Edax rerum_ not having penetrated far below the surface of the earth. Better hydraulic results would now be attained at a considerably reduced cost by a steam-engine and stand-pipe. At the beginning of the sixteenth century this motor was not even in embryo, unless we accept the story of Blasco de Garay’s steamer that manoeuvred under the eye of Charles V. as fruitlessly as Fitch’s and Fulton’s before Napoleon. Coal, its dusky pabulum, was also practically a stranger on the upper Thames. The ancient fire-dogs that were wont to bear blazing billets hold their places in the older part of the palace.
[Illustration: BUSHY PARK.]
Crossing the Kingston road, which runs across the peninsula and skirts the northern boundary of Hampton Park, we get into its continuation, Bushy Park. This is larger than the chief enclosure, but less pretentious. We cease to be oppressed by the palace and its excess of the artificial. The great avenues of horse-chestnut, five in number, and running parallel with a length of rather more than a mile and an aggregate breadth of nearly two hundred yards, are formal enough in design, but the mass of foliage gives them the effect of a wood. They lead nowhere in particular, and are flanked by glades and copses in which the genuinely rural prevails. Cottages gleam through the trees. The lowing of kine, the tinkling of the sheep-bell, the gabble of poultry, lead you away from thoughts of prince and city. Deer domesticated here since long before the introduction of the turkey or the guinea-hen bear themselves with as quiet ease and freedom from fear as though they were the lords of the manor and held the black-letter title-deeds for the delicious stretch of sward over which they troop. Less stately, but scarce more shy, indigenes are the hares, lineal descendants of those which gave sport to Oliver Cromwell. When that grim Puritan succeeded to the lordship of the saintly cardinal, he was fain, when the Dutch, Scotch and Irish indulged him with a brief chance to doff his buff coat, to take relaxation in coursing. We loiter by the margin of the ponds he dug in the hare-warren, and which were presented as nuisances by the grand jury in 1662. The complaint was that by turning the water of the “New River” into them the said Oliver had made the road from Hampton Wick boggy and unsafe. Another misdemeanor of the deceased was at the same time and in like manner denounced. This was the stopping up of the pathway through the warren. The palings were abated, and the path is open to all nineteenth-century comers, as it probably will be to those of the twentieth, this being a land of precedent, averse to change. We may stride triumphantly across the location of the Cromwellian barricades, and not the less so, perhaps, for certain other barricades which he helped to erect in the path of privilege.
Directing our steps to the left, or westward, we again reach the river at the town of Hampton. It is possessed of pretty water-views, but of little else of note except the memory and the house of Garrick. Hither the great actor, after positively his last night on the stage, retired, and settled the long contest for his favor between the Muses of Tragedy and Comedy by inexorably turning his back on both. He did not cease to be the delight of polished society, thanks to his geniality and to literary and conversational powers capable of making him the intimate of Johnson and Reynolds. More fortunate in his temperament and temper than his modern successor, Macready, he never fretted that his profession made him a vagabond by act of Parliament, or that his adoption of it in place of the law had prevented his becoming, by virtue of the same formal and supreme stamp, the equal of the Sampson Brasses plentiful in his day as in ours among their betters of that honorable vocation. His self-respect was of tougher if not sounder grain. “Worth makes the man, and want of it the fellow,” was the motto supplied him by his friend and neighbor, Pope, but obeyed long before he saw it in the poetic form.
[Illustration: GARRICK’S VILLA.]
Garrick’s house is separated from its bit of “grounds,” which run down to the water’s edge, by the highway. It communicates with them by a tunnel, suggested by Johnson. It was not a very novel suggestion, but the excavation deserves notice as probably the one engineering achievement of old Ursus major. We may fancy the Titan of the pen and the tea-table, in his snuffy habit as he lived and as photographed by Boswell, Mrs. Thrale, Fanny Burney, and their epitomizer Macaulay, diving under the turnpike and emerging among the osiers and water-rats to offer his orisons at the shrine of Shakespeare. For, in the fashion of the day, Garrick erected a little brick “temple,” and placed therein a statue of the man it was the study of his life to interpret. The temple is there yet. The statue, a fine one by Roubillac, now adorns the hall of the British Museum, a much better place for it. Garrick, and not Shakespeare, is the _genius loci_.
[Illustration: RIVER SCENE, THAMES DITTON.]
This is but one, if the most striking, of a long row of villas that overlook the river, each with its comfortable-looking and rotund trees and trim plat in front, with sometimes a summer-house snuggling down to the ripples. These riverside colonies, thrown out so rapidly by the metropolis, have no colonial look. We cannot associate the idea of a new settlement with rich turf, graveled walks and large trees devoid of the gaunt and forlorn look suggestive of their fellows’ having been hewn away from their side. The houses have some of the pertness, rawness and obtrusiveness of youth, but it is not the youth of the backwoods.
Bob and sinker are in their glory hereabouts. Fishing-rods in the season and good weather form an established part of the scenery. From the banks of the stream, from the islands and from box-like boats called punts in the middle of the water, their slender arches project. It becomes a source of speculation how the breed of fish is kept up. Seth Green has never operated on the Thames. Were he to take it under his wing, a sum in the single rule of three points to the conclusion that all London would take its seat under these willows and extract ample sustenance from the invisible herds. If perch and dace can hold their own against the existing pressure and escape extinction, how would they multiply with the fostering aid of the spawning-box! We are not deep in the mysteries of the angle, but we believe English waters do not boast the catfish. They ought to acquire him. He is almost as hard to extirpate as the perch, would be quite at home in these sluggish pools under the lily-pads, and would harmonize admirably with the eel in the pies and other gross preparations which delight the British palate. He hath, moreover, a John Bull-like air in his broad and burly shape, his smooth and unscaly superficies and the _noli-me-tangere_ character of his dorsal fin. Pity he was unknown to Izaak Walton!
At this particular point the piscatory effect is intensified by the dam just above Hampton Bridge. Two parts of a river are especially fine for fishing. One is the part above the dam, and the other the part below. These two divisions may be said, indeed, in a large sense to cover all the Thames. Moulsey Lock, while favorable to fish and fishermen, is unfavorable to dry land. Yet there is said to be no malaria. Hampton Court has proved a wholesome residence to every occupant save its founder.
[Illustration: WOLSEY’S TOWER, ESHER.]
The angler’s capital is Thames Ditton, and his capitol the Swan Inn. Ditton is, like many other pretty English villages, little and old. It is mentioned in _Domesday Boke_ as belonging to the bishop of Bayeux in Normandy, famous for the historic piece of tapestry. Wadard, a gentleman with a Saxon name, held it of him, probably for the quit–rent of an annual eel-pie, although the consideration is not stated. The clergy were, by reason of their frequent meagre days and seasons, great consumers of fish. The phosphorescent character of that diet may have contributed, if we accept certain modern theories of animal chemistry as connected in some as yet unexplained way with psychology, to the intellectual predominance of that class of the population in the Middle Ages. That occasional fasting, whether voluntary and systematic as in the cloisters, or involuntary and altogether the reverse of systematic in Grub street, helps to clear the wits, with or without the aid of phosphorus, is a fixed fact. The stomach is apt to be a stumbling-block to the brain. We are not prone to associate prolonged and productive mental effort with a fair round belly with fat capon lined. It was not the jolly clerics we read of in song, but the lean ascetic brethren who were numerous enough to balance them, that garnered for us the treasures of ancient literature and kept the mind of Christendom alive, if only in a state of suspended animation. It was something that they prevented the mace of chivalry from utterly braining humankind.
The Thames is hereabouts joined from the south by a somewhat exceptional style of river, characterized by Milton as “the sullen Mole, that runneth underneath,” and by Pope, in dutiful imitation, as “the sullen Mole that hides his diving flood.” Both poets play on the word. In our judgment, Milton’s line is the better, since moles do not dive and have no flood–two false figures in one line from the precise and finical Pope! Thomson contributes the epithet of “silent,” which will do well enough as far as it goes, though devoid even of the average force of Jamie. But, as we have intimated, it is a queer river. Pouring into the Thames by several mouths that deviate over quite a delta, its channel two or three miles above is destitute in dry seasons of water. Its current disappears under an elevation called White Hill, and does not come again to light for almost two miles, resembling therein several streams in the United States, notably Lost River in North-eastern Virginia, which has a subterranean course of the same character and about the same length, but has not yet found its Milton or Pope, far superior as it is to its English cousin in natural beauty.
For this defect art and association amply atone. On the southern side of the Mole, not far from the underground portion of its course–“the Swallow” as it is called–stand the charming and storied seats of Esher and Claremont.
Esher was an ancient residence of the bishops of Winchester. Wolsey made it for a time his retreat after being ousted from Hampton Court. A retreat it was to him in every sense. He dismissed his servants and all state, and cultivated the deepest despondency. His inexorable master, however, looked down on him, from his ravished towers hard by, unmoved, and, as the sequel in a few years proved, unsatisfied in his greed. Gardiner, bishop of Winchester, was called upon for a contribution. He loyally surrendered to the king the whole estate of Esher, a splendid mansion with all appurtenances and a park a mile in diameter. Henry annexed Esher to Hampton Court, and continued his research for new subjects of spoliation. His daughter Mary gave Esher back to the see of Winchester. Elizabeth bought it and bestowed it on Lord Howard of Effingham, who well earned it by his services against the Armada. Of the families who subsequently owned the place, the Pelhams are the most noted. Now it has passed from their hands. That which has alone been preserved of the palace of Wolsey is an embattled gatehouse that looks into the sluggish Mole, and joins it mayhap in musing over “the days that we have seen.”
Claremont, its next neighbor, unites, with equal or greater charms of landscape, in preaching the old story of the decadence of the great. Lord Clive, the Indian conqueror and speculator, built the house from the designs of Capability Browne at a cost of over a hundred thousand pounds. His dwelling and his monument remain to represent Clive. After him, two or three occupants removed, came Leopold of Belgium, with his bride, the Princess Charlotte, pet and hope of the British nation. Their stay was more transient still–a year only, when death dissipated their dream and cleared the way to the throne for Victoria. Leopold continued to hold the property, and it became a generation later the asylum of Louis Philippe. To an ordinary mind the miseries of any one condemned to make this lovely spot his home are not apt to present themselves as the acme of despair. A sensation of relief and lulling repose would be more reasonably expected, especially after so stormy a career as that of Louis. The change from restless and capricious Paris to dewy shades and luxurious halls in the heart of changeless and impregnable England ought, on common principles, to have promoted the content and prolonged the life of the old king. Possibly it did, but if so, the French had not many months’ escape from a second Orleans regency, for the exile’s experience of Claremont was brief. We may wander over his lawns, and reshape to ourselves his reveries. Then we may forget the man who lost an empire as we look up at the cenotaph of him who conquered one. Both brought grist to Miller Bull, the fortunate and practical-minded owner of such vast water-privileges. His water-power seems proof against all floods, while the corn of all nations must come to his door. Standing under these drooping elms, by this lazy stream, we hear none of the clatter of the great mill, and we cease to dream of affixing a period to its noiseless and effective work.
[Illustration: CLIVE’S MONUMENT.]
If we are not tired of parks for today, five minutes by rail will carry us west to Oatlands Park, with its appended, and more or less dependent, village of Walton-upon-Thames. But a surfeit even of English country-houses and their pleasances is a possible thing; and nowhere are they more abundant than within an hour’s walk of our present locality. So, taking Ashley Park, Burwood Park, Pains Hill and many others, as well as the Coway Stakes–said by one school of antiquarians to have been planted in the Thames by Caesar, and by another to be the relics of a fish-weir–Walton Church and Bradshaw’s house, for granted, we shall turn to the east and finish the purlieus of Hampton with a glance at the old Saxon town of Kingston-on-Thames. Probably an ardent Kingstonian would indignantly disown the impression our three words are apt to give of the place. It is a rapidly–growing town, and “Egbert, the first king of all England,” who held a council at “Kyningestun, famosa ilia locus,” in 838, would be at a loss to find his way through its streets could he revisit it. It has the population of a Saxon county. Viewed from the massive bridge, with the church-tower rising above an expanse of sightly buildings, it possesses the least possible resemblance to the cluster of wattled huts that may be presumed to have sheltered Egbert and his peers.
[Illustration: PRINCESS CHARLOTTE.]
A more solid memento of the Saxons is preserved in the King’s Stone. This has been of late years set up in the centre of the town, surrounded with an iron railing, and made visible to all comers, skeptical or otherwise. Tradition credits it with having been that upon which the kings of Wessex were crowned, as those of Scotland down to Longshanks, and after him the English, were on the red sandstone palladium of Scone. From the list of ante-Norman monarchs said to have received the sceptre upon it the poetically inclined visitor will select for chief interest Edwy, whose coronation was celebrated in great state in his seventeenth year. How he fell in love with and married secretly his cousin Elgiva; how Saint Dunstan and his equally saintly though not regularly beatified ally, Odo, archbishop of Canterbury, indignant at a step taken against their fulminations and protests, and jealous of the fair queen, tore her from his arms, burnt with hot iron the bloom out of her cheeks, and finally put her to death with the most cruel tortures; and how her broken-hearted boy-lord, dethroned and hunted, died before reaching twenty,–is a standing dish of the pathetic. Unfortunately, the story, handed down to us with much detail, appears to be true. We must not accept it, however, as an average illustration of life in that age of England. The five hundred years before the Conquest do not equal, in the bloody character of their annals, the like period succeeding it. Barbarous enough the Anglo-Saxons were, but wanton cruelty does not seem to have been one of their traits. To produce it some access of religious fury was usually requisite. It was on the church doors that the skins of their Danish invaders were nailed.
[Illustration: WALTON CHURCH.]
[Illustration: KINGSTON CHURCH.]
Kingston has no more Dunstans. Alexandra would be perfectly safe in its market-place. The rosy maidens who pervade its streets need not envy her cheeks, and the saints and archbishops who are to officiate at her husband’s induction as head of the Anglican Church have their anxieties at present directed to wholly different quarters. They have foes within and foes without, but none in the palace.
Kingston bids fair to revert, after a sort, to the metropolitan position it boasted once, but has lost for nine centuries. The capital is coming to it, and will cover the four remaining miles within a decade or two at the existing rate of progress. Kingston may be assigned to the suburbs already. It is much nearer London, in point of time, than Union Square in New York to the City Hall. A slip of country not yet endowed with trottoirs and gas-lamps intervenes. Call this park, as you do the square miles of such territory already deep within the metropolis.
London’s jurisdiction, as marked by the Boundary Stone, extends much farther up the river than we have as yet gone. Nor are the swans her only vicegerents. The myrmidons of Inspector Bucket, foot and horse, supplement those natatory representatives. So do the municipalities encroach upon and overspread the country, as it is eminently proper they should, seeing that to the charters so long ago exacted, and so long and so jealously guarded, by the towns, so much of the liberty enjoyed by English-speaking peoples is due. Large cities may be under some circumstances, according to an often-quoted saying, plague-spots on the body politic, but their growth has generally been commensurate with that of knowledge and order, and indicative of anything but a diseased condition of the national organism.
But here we are, under the shadow of the departed Nine Elms and of the official palace of the Odos, deep enough in Lunnon to satisfy the proudest Cockney, in less time than we have taken in getting off that last commonplace on political economy. Adam Smith and Jefferson never undertook to meditate at thirty-five miles an hour.
EDWARD C. BRUCE.
LINES WRITTEN AT VENICE IN OCTOBER, 1865.
Sleep, Venice, sleep! the evening gun resounds Over the waves that rock thee on their breast: The bugle blare to kennel calls the hounds Who sleepless watch thy waking and thy rest.
Sleep till the night-stars do the day-star meet, And shuddering echoes o’er the water run, Rippling through every glass-green, wavering street The stern good-morrow of thy guardian Hun.
Still do thy stones, O Venice! bid rejoice, With their old majesty, the gazer’s eye, In their consummate grace uttering a voice, From every line, of blended harmony.
Still glows the splendor of the wondrous dreams Vouchsafed thy painters o’er each sacred shrine, And from the radiant visions downward streams In visible light an influence divine.
Still through thy golden day and silver night Sings his soft jargon the gay gondolier, And o’er thy floors of liquid malachite Slide the black-hooded barks to mystery dear.
Like Spanish beauty in its sable veil, They rustle sideling through the watery way, The wild, monotonous cry with which they hail Each other’s passing dying far away.
As each steel prow grazes the island strands Still ring the sweet Venetian voices clear, And wondering wanderers from far, free lands Entranced look round, enchanted listen here.
From the far lands of liberty they come– England’s proud children and her younger race; Those who possess the Past’s most noble home, And those who claim the Future’s boundless space.
Pitying they stand. For thee who would not weep? Well it beseems these men to weep for thee, Whose flags (as erst they own) control the deep, Whose conquering sails o’ershadow every sea.
Yet not in pity only, but in hope,
Spring the hot tears the brave for thee may shed: Thy chain shall prove but a sand-woven rope; But sleep thou still: the sky is not yet red.
Sleep till the mighty helmsman of the world, By the Almighty set at Fortune’s wheel, Steers toward thy freedom, and, once more unfurled, The banner of St. Mark the sun shall feel.
Then wake, then rise, then hurl away thy yoke, Then dye with crimson that pale livery, Whose ghastly white has been the jailer’s cloak For years flung o’er thy shame and misery!
Rise with a shout that down thy Giants’ Stair Shall thy old giants bring with thundering tread– The blind crusader standing stony there, And him, the latest of thy mighty dead.
Whose patriot heart broke at the Austrian’s foot, Whose ashes under the black marble lie, From whose dry dust, stirred by the voice, shall shoot The glorious growth of living liberty.
FRANCES ANNE KEMBLE.
SKETCHES OF INDIA.
“Come,” says my Hindu friend, “let us do Bombay.”
The name of my Hindu friend is Bhima Gandharva. At the same time, his name is _not_ Bhima Gandharva. But–for what is life worth if one may not have one’s little riddle?–in respect that he is _not_ so named let him be so called, for thus will a pretty contradiction be accomplished, thus shall I secure at once his privacy and his publicity, and reveal and conceal him in a breath.
It is eight o’clock in the morning. We have met–Bhima Gandharva and I–in “The Fort.” The Fort is to Bombay much as the Levee, with its adjacent quarters, is to New Orleans; only it is–one may say _Hibernice_–a great deal more so. It is on the inner or harbor side of the island of Bombay. Instead of the low-banked Mississippi, the waters of a tranquil and charming haven smile welcome out yonder from between wooded island-peaks. Here Bombay has its counting-houses, its warehouses, its exchange, its “Cotton Green,” its docks. But not its dwellings. This part of the Fort where we have met is, one may say, only inhabited for six hours in the day–from ten in the morning until four in the afternoon. At the former hour Bombay is to be found here engaged at trade: at the latter it rushes back into the various quarters outside the Fort which go to make up this many-citied city. So that at this particular hour of eight in the morning one must expect to find little here that is alive, except either a philosopher, a stranger, a policeman or a rat.
“Well, then,” I said as Bhima Gandharva finished communicating this information to me, “we are all here.”
“There stand you, a philosopher; here I, a stranger; yonder, the policeman; and, heavens and earth! what a rat!” I accompanied this exclamation by shooing a big musky fellow from behind a bale of cotton whither I had just seen him run.
Bhima Gandharva smiled in a large, tranquil way he has, which is like an Indian plain full of ripe corn. “I find it curious,” he said, “to compare the process which goes on here in the daily humdrum of trade about this place with that which one would see if one were far up yonder at the northward, in the appalling solitudes of the mountains, where trade has never been and will never be. Have you visited the Himalaya?”
I shook my head.
“Among those prodigious planes of snow,” continued the Hindu, “which when level nevertheless frighten you as if they were horizontal precipices, and which when perpendicular nevertheless lull you with a smooth deadly half-sense of confusion as to whether you should refer your ideas of space to the slope or the plain, there reigns at this moment a quietude more profound than the Fort’s. But presently, as the sun beats with more fervor, rivulets begin to trickle from exposed points; these grow to cataracts and roar down the precipices; masses of undermined snow plunge into the abysses; the great winds of the Himalaya rise and howl, and every silence of the morning becomes a noise at noon. A little longer, and the sun again decreases; the cataracts draw their heads back into the ice as tortoises into their shells; the winds creep into their hollows, and the snows rest. So here. At ten the tumult of trade will begin: at four it will quickly freeze again into stillness. One might even carry this parallelism into more fanciful extremes. For, as the vapors which lie on the Himalaya in the form of snow have in time come from all parts of the earth, so the tide of men that will presently pour in here is made up of people from the four quarters of the globe. The Hindu, the African, the Arabian, the Chinese, the Tartar, the European, the American, the Parsee, will in a little while be trading or working here.”
[Illustration: A DWELLING AT MAZAGON.]
“What a complete _bouleversement_,” I said, seating myself on a bale of cotton and looking toward the fleets of steamers and vessels collected off the great cotton-presses awaiting their cargoes, “this particular scene effects in the mind of a traveler just from America! India has been to me, as the average American, a dream of terraced ghauts, of banyans and bungalows, of Taj Mahals and tigers, of sacred rivers and subterranean temples, and–and that sort of thing. I come here and land in a big cotton-yard. I ask myself, ‘Have I left Jonesville–dear Jonesville!–on the other side of the world, in order to sit on an antipodal cotton-bale?'”
“There is some more of India,” said Bhima Gandharva gently. “Let us look at it a little.”
One may construct a good-enough outline map of this wonderful land in one’s mind by referring its main features to the first letter of the alphabet. Take a capital A; turn it up side down; imagine that the inverted triangle forming the lower half of the letter is the Deccan, the left side representing the Western Ghauts, the right side representing the Eastern Ghauts, and the cross-stroke standing for the Vindhya Mountains; imagine further that a line from right to left across the upper ends of the letter, trending upward as it is drawn, represents the Himalaya, and that enclosed between them and the Vindhyas is Hindustan proper. Behind–i.e. to the north of–the centre of this last line rises the Indus, flowing first north-westward through the Vale of Cashmere, then cutting sharply to the south and flowing by the way of the Punjab and Scinde to where it empties at Kurrachee. Near the same spot where the Indus originates rises also the Brahmaputra, but the latter empties its waters far from the former, flowing first south-eastward, then cutting southward and emptying into the Gulf of Bengal. Fixing, now, in the mind the sacred Ganges and Jumna, coming down out of the Gangetic and Jumnatic peaks in a general south-easterly direction, uniting at Allahabad and emptying into the Bay of Bengal, and the Nerbudda River flowing over from the east to the west, along the southern bases of the Vindhyas, until it empties at the important city of Brooch, a short distance north of Bombay, one will have thus located a number of convenient points and lines sufficient for general references.
This A of ours is a very capital A indeed, being some nineteen hundred miles in length and fifteen hundred in width. Lying on the western edge of this peninsula is Bombay Island. It is crossed by the line of 19 deg. north latitude, and is, roughly speaking, halfway between the Punjab on the north and Ceylon on the south. Its shape is that of a lobster, with his claws extended southward and his body trending a little to the west of north. The larger island of Salsette lies immediately north, and the two, connected by a causeway, enclose the noble harbor of Bombay. Salsette approaches near to the mainland at its northern end, and is connected with it by the railway structure. These causeways act as break-waters and complete the protection of the port. The outer claw, next to the Indian Ocean, of the lobster-shaped Bombay Island is the famous Malabar Hill; the inner claw is the promontory of Calaba; in the curved space between the two is the body of shallow water known as the Back Bay, along whose strand so many strange things are done daily. As one turns into the harbor around the promontory of Calaba–which is one of the European quarters of the manifold city of Bombay, and is occupied by magnificent residences and flower-gardens–one finds just north of it the great docks and commercial establishments of the Fort; then an enormous esplanade farther north; across which, a distance of about a mile, going still northward, is the great Indian city called Black Town, with its motley peoples and strange bazars; and still farther north is the Portuguese quarter, known as Mazagon.
As we crossed the great esplanade to the north of the Fort–Bhima Gandharva and I–and strolled along the noisy streets, I began to withdraw my complaint. It was not like Jonesville. It was not like any one place or thing, but like a hundred, and all the hundred _outre_ to the last degree. Hindu beggars, so dirty that they seemed to have returned to dust before death; three fakirs, armed with round-bladed daggers with which they were wounding themselves apparently in the most reckless manner, so as to send streams of blood flowing to the ground, and redly tattooing the ashes with which their naked bodies were covered; Parsees with their long noses curving over their moustaches, clothed in white, sending one’s thoughts back to Ormuz, to Persia, to Zoroaster, to fire-worship and to the strangeness of the fate which drove them out of Persia more than a thousand years ago, and which has turned them into the most industrious traders and most influential citizens of a land in which they are still exiles; Chinese, Afghans–the Highlanders of the East–Arabs, Africans, Mahrattas, Malays, Persians, Portuguese half-bloods; men that called upon Mohammed, men that called upon Confucius, upon Krishna, upon Christ, upon Gotama the Buddha, upon Rama and Sita, upon Brahma, upon Zoroaster; strange carriages shaded by red domes that compressed a whole dream of the East in small, and drawn by humped oxen, alternating with palanquins, with stylish turnouts of the latest mode, with cavaliers upon Arabian horses; half-naked workmen, crouched in uncomfortable workshops and ornamenting sandal-wood boxes; dusky curb-stone shopkeepers, rushing at me with strenuous offerings of their wares; lines of low shop-counters along the street, backed by houses rising in many stories, whose black pillared verandahs were curiously carved and painted: cries, chafferings, bickerings, Mussulman prayers, Arab oaths extending from “Praise God that you exist” to “Praise God _although_ you exist;”–all these things appealed to the confused senses.
The tall spire of a Hindu temple revealed itself.
[Illustration: HINDU TEMPLE IN THE BLACK TOWN, BOMBAY.]
“It seems to me,” I said to Bhima Gandharva, “that your steeples–as we would call them in Jonesville–represent, in a sort of way, your cardinal doctrine: they seem to be composed of a multitude of little steeples, all like the big one, just as you might figure your Supreme Being in the act of absorbing a large number of the faithful who had just arrived from the dismal existence below. And then, again, your steeple looks as if it might be the central figure of your theistic scheme, surrounded by the three hundred millions of your lesser deities. How do you get on, Bhima Gandharva, with so many claims on your worshiping faculties? I should think you would be well lost in such a jungle of gods?”
“My friend,” said Bhima Gandharva, “a short time ago a play was performed in this city which purported to be a translation into the Mahratta language of the _Romeo and Juliet_ which Shakespeare wrote. It was indeed a very great departure from that miraculous work, which I know well, but among its many deviations from the original was one which for the mournful and yet humorous truth of it was really worthy of the Master. Somehow, the translator had managed to get a modern Englishman into the play, who, every time that one of my countrymen happened to be found in leg-reach, would give him a lusty kick and cry out ‘Damn fool!’ Why is the whole world like this Englishman?–upon what does it found its opinion that the Hindu is a fool? Is it upon our religion? Listen! I will recite you some matters out of our scriptures: Once upon a time Arjuna stood in his chariot betwixt his army and the army of his foes. These foes were his kinsmen. Krishna–even that great god Krishna–moved by pity for Arjuna, had voluntarily placed himself in Arjuna’s chariot and made himself the charioteer thereof. Then–so saith Sanjaya–in order to encourage him, the ardent old ancestor of the Kurus blew his conch-shell, sounding loud as the roar of a lion. Then on a sudden trumpets, cymbals, drums and horns were sounded. That noise grew to an uproar. And, standing on a huge car drawn by white horses, the slayer of Madhu and the son of Pandu blew their celestial trumpets. Krishna blew his horn called Panchajanya; the Despiser of Wealth blew his horn called the Gift of the Gods; he of dreadful deeds and wolfish entrails blew a great trumpet called Paundra; King Yudishthira, the son of Kunti, blew the Eternal Victory; Nakula and Sahadeva blew the Sweet-toned and the Blooming-with-Jewels. The king of Kashi, renowned for the excellence of his bow, and Shikandin in his huge chariot, Dhrishtyadumna, and Virata, and Satyaki, unconquered by his foes, and Drupada and the sons of Drupadi all together, and the strong-armed son of Subhadra, each severally blew their trumpets. That noise lacerated the hearts of the sons of Dhartarashtra, and uproar resounded both through heaven and earth. Now when Arjuna beheld the Dhartarashtras drawn up, and that the flying of arrows had commenced, he raised his bow, and then addressed these words to Krishna:
“‘Now that I have beheld this kindred standing here near together for the purpose of fighting, my limbs give way and my face is bloodless, and tremor is produced throughout my body, and my hair stands on end. My bow Gandiva slips from my hand, and my skin burns. Nor am I able to remain upright, and my mind is as it were whirling round. Nor do I perceive anything better even when I shall have slain these relations in battle, I seek not victory, Krishna, nor a kingdom, nor pleasures. What should we do with a kingdom, Govinda? What with enjoyments, or with life itself? Those very men on whose account we might desire a kingdom, enjoyments or pleasures are assembled for battle. Teachers, fathers, and even sons, and grandfathers, uncles, fathers-in-law, grandsons, brothers-in-law, with connections also,–these I would not wish to slay, though I were slain myself, O Killer of Madhu! not even for the sake of the sovereignty of the triple world–how much less for that of this earth! When we had killed the Dhartarashtras, what pleasure should we have, O thou who art prayed to by mortals? How could we be happy after killing our own kindred, O Slayer of Madhu? Even if they whose reason is obscured by covetousness do not perceive the crime committed in destroying their own tribe, should we not know how to recoil from such a sin? In the destruction of a tribe the eternal institutions of the tribe are destroyed. These laws being destroyed, lawlessness prevails. From the existence of lawlessness the women of the tribe become corrupted; and when the women are corrupted, O son of Vrishni! confusion of caste takes place. Confusion of caste is a gate to hell. Alas! we have determined to commit a great crime, since from the desire of sovereignty and pleasures we are prepared to slay our own kin. Better were it for me if the Dhartarashtras, being armed, would slay me, harmless and unresisting in the fight.’
[Illustration: JAIN TEMPLES AT SUNAGHUR.]
“Having thus spoken in the midst of the battle, Arjuna, whose heart was troubled with grief, let fall his bow and arrow and sat down on the bench of the chariot.”
“Well,” I asked after a short pause, during which the Hindu kept his eyes fixed in contemplation on the spire of the temple, “what did Krishna have to say to that?”
“He instructed Arjuna, and said many wise things. I will tell you some of them, here and there, as they are scattered through the holy _Bhagavad-Gita_: Then between the two armies, Krishna, smiling, addressed these words to him, thus downcast:
“‘Thou hast grieved for those who need not be grieved for, yet thou utterest words of wisdom. The wise grieve not for dead or living. But never at any period did I or thou or these kings of men not exist, nor shall any of us at any time henceforward cease to exist. There is no existence for what does not exist, nor is there any non-existence for what exists…. These finite bodies have been said to belong to an eternal, indestructible and infinite spirit…. He who believes that this spirit can kill, and he who thinks that it can be killed–both of these are mistaken. It neither kills nor is killed. It is born, and it does not die…. Unborn, changeless, eternal both as to future and past time, it is not slain when the body is killed…. As the soul in this body undergoes the changes of childhood, prime and age, so it obtains a new body hereafter…. As a man abandons worn-out clothes and take other new ones, so does the soul quit worn-out bodies and enter other new ones. Weapons cannot cleave it, fire cannot burn it, nor can water wet it, nor can wind dry it. It is impenetrable, incombustible, incapable of moistening and of drying. It is constant; it can go everywhere; it is firm, immovable and eternal. And even if thou deem it born with the body and dying with the body, still, O great-armed one! thou art not right to grieve for it. For to everything generated death is certain: to everything dead regeneration is certain…. One looks on the soul as a miracle; another speaks of it as a miracle; another hears of it as a miracle; but even when he has heard of it, not one comprehends it…. When a man’s heart is disposed in accordance with his roaming senses, it snatches away his spiritual knowledge as the wind does a ship on the waves…. He who does not practice devotion has neither intelligence nor reflection. And he who does not practice reflection has no calm. How can a man without calm obtain happiness? The self-governed man is awake in that which is night to all other beings: that in which other beings are awake is night to the self-governed. He into whom all desires enter in the same manner as rivers enter the ocean, which is always full, yet does not change its bed, can obtain tranquillity…. Love or hate exists toward the object of each sense. One should not fall into the power of these two passions, for they are one’s adversaries…. Know that passion is hostile to man in this world. As fire is surrounded by smoke, and a mirror by rust, and a child by the womb, so is this universe surrounded by passion…. They say that the senses are great. The heart is greater than the senses. But the intellect is greater than the heart, and passion is greater than the intellect….
[Illustration: THE VESTIBULE OF THE GRAND SHAITYA OK KARLI.]
“‘I and thou, O Arjuna! have passed through many transmigrations. I know all these. Thou dost not know them…. For whenever there is a relaxation of duty, O son of Bharata! and an increase of impiety, I then reproduce myself for the protection of the good and the destruction of evil-doers. I am produced in every age for the purpose of establishing duty…. Some sacrifice the sense of hearing and the other senses in the fire of restraint. Others, by abstaining from food, sacrifice life in their life. (But) the sacrifice of spiritual knowledge is better than a material sacrifice…. By this knowledge thou wilt recognize all things whatever in thyself, and then in me. He who possesses faith acquires spiritual knowledge. He who is devoid of faith and of doubtful mind perishes. The man of doubtful mind enjoys neither this world nor the other, nor final beatitude. Therefore, sever this doubt which exists in thy heart, and springs from ignorance, with thy sword of knowledge: turn to devotion and arise, O son of Bharata!…
“‘Learn my superior nature, O hero! by means of which this world is sustained. I am the cause of the production and dissolution of the whole universe. There exists no other thing superior to me. On me are all the worlds suspended, as numbers of pearls on a string. I am the savor of waters, and the principle of light in the moon and sun, the mystic syllable _Om_ in the Vedas, the sound in the ether, the essence of man in men, the sweet smell in the earth; and I am the brightness in flame, the vitality in all beings, and the power of mortification in ascetics. Know, O son of Pritha! that I am the eternal seed of all things which exist. I am the intellect of those who have intellect: I am the strength of the strong…. And know that all dispositions, whether good, bad or indifferent, proceed also from me. I do not exist in them, but they in me…. I am dear to the spiritually wise beyond possessions, and he is dear to me. A great-minded man who is convinced that _Vasudevu_ (Krishna) _is everything_ is difficult to find…. If one worships any inferior personage with faith, I make his faith constant. Gifted with such faith, he seeks the propitiation of this personage, and from him receives the pleasant objects of his desires, which (however) were sent by me alone. But the reward of these little-minded men is finite. They who sacrifice to the gods go to the gods: they who worship me come to me. I am the immolation. I am the whole sacrificial rite. I am the libation to ancestors. I am the drug. I am the incantation. I am the fire. I am the incense. I am the father, the mother, the sustainer, the grandfather of this universe–the path, the supporter, the master, the witness, the habitation, the refuge, the friend, the origin, the dissolution, the place, the receptacle, the inexhaustible seed. I heat. I withhold and give the rain. I am ambrosia and death, the existing and the non-existing. Even those who devoutly worship other gods with the gift of faith worship me, but only improperly. I am the same to all beings. I have neither foe nor friend. I am the beginning and the middle and the end of existing things. Among bodies I am the beaming sun. Among senses I am the heart. Among waters I am the ocean. Among mountains I am Himalaya. Among trees I am the banyan; among men, the king; among weapons, the thunderbolt; among things which count, time; among animals, the lion; among purifiers, the wind. I am Death who seizes all: I am the birth of those who are to be. I am Fame, Fortune, Speech, Memory, Meditation, Perseverance and Patience among feminine words. I am the game of dice among things which deceive: I am splendor among things which are shining. Among tamers I am the rod; among means of victory I am polity; among mysteries I am silence, the knowledge of the wise….
“‘They who know me to be the God of this universe, the God of gods and the God of worship–they who know me to be the God of this universe, the God of gods and the God of worship–yea, they who know me to be these things in the hour of death, they know me indeed.'”
[Illustration: SCULPTURED FIGURES IN THE VESTIBULE OF THE GREAT SHAITYA OF KARLI.]
When my friend finished these words there did not seem to be anything particular left in heaven or earth to talk about. At any rate, there was a dead pause for several minutes. Finally, I asked–and I protest that in contrast with the large matters wherof Bhima Gandharva had discoursed my voice (which is American and slightly nasal) sounded like nothing in the world so much as the squeak of a sick rat–“When were these things written?”
“At least nineteen hundred and seventy-five years ago, we feel sure. How much earlier we do not know.”
We now directed our course toward the hospital for sick and disabled animals which has been established here in the most crowded portion of Black Town by that singular sect called the Jains, and which is only one of a number of such institutions to be found in the large cities of India. This sect is now important more by influence than by numbers in India, many of the richest merchants of the great Indian cities being among its adherents, though by the last census of British India there appears to be but a little over nine millions of Jains and Buddhists together, out of the one hundred and ninety millions of Hindus in British India. The tenets of the Jains are too complicated for description here, but it may be said that much doubt exists as to whether it is an old religion of which Brahmanism and Buddhism are varieties, or whether it is itself a variety of Buddhism. Indeed, it does not seem well settled whether the pure Jain doctrine was atheistical or theistical. At any rate, it is sufficiently differentiated from Brahmanism by its opposite notion of castes, and from Buddhism by its cultus of nakedness, which the Buddhists abhor. The Jains are split into two sects–the _Digambaras_, or nude Jains, and the _Svetambaras_, or clothed Jains, which latter sect seem to be Buddhists, who, besides the Tirthankars (i.e. mortals who have acquired the rank of gods by devout lives, in whom all the Jains believe), worship also the various divinities of the Vishnu system. The Jains themselves declare this system to date from a period ten thousand years before Christ, and they practically support this traditional antiquity by persistently regarding and treating the Buddhists as heretics from their system. At any event, their religion is an old one. They seem to be the gymnosophists, or naked philosophers, described by Clitarchos as living in India at the time of the expedition of Alexander, and their history crops out in various accounts–that of Clement of Alexandria, then of the Chinese Fu-Hian in the fourth and fifth centuries, and of the celebrated Chinese Hiouen-Tsang in the seventh century, at which last period they appear to have been the prevailing sect in India, and to have increased in favor until in the twelfth century the Rajpoots, who had become converts to Jainism, were schismatized into Brahmanism and deprived the naked philosophers of their prestige.
The great distinguishing feature of the Jains is the extreme to which they push the characteristic tenderness felt by the Hindus for animals of all descriptions. Jaina is, distinctly, _the purified_. The priests eat no animal food; indeed, they are said not to eat at all after noon, lest the insects then abounding should fly into their mouths and be crushed unwittingly. They go with a piece of muslin bound over their mouths, in order to avoid the same catastrophe, and carry a soft brush wherewith to remove carefully from any spot upon which they are about to sit such insects as might be killed thereby.
“Ah, how my countryman Bergh would luxuriate in this scene!” I said as we stood looking upon the various dumb exhibitions of so many phases of sickness, of decrepitude and of mishap–quaint, grotesque, yet pathetic withal–in the precincts of the Jain hospital. Here were quadrupeds and bipeds, feathered creatures and hairy creatures, large animals and small, shy and tame, friendly and predatory–horses, horned cattle, rats, cats, dogs, jackals, crows, chickens; what not. An attendant was tenderly bandaging the blinking lids of a sore-eyed duck: another was feeding a blind crow, who, it must be confessed, looked here very much like some fat member of the New York Ring cunningly availing himself of the more toothsome rations in the sick ward of the penitentiary. My friend pointed out to me a heron with a wooden leg. “Suppose a gnat should break his shoulder-blade,” I said, “would they put his wing in a sling?”