Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 5, No. 22, June, 1860 by Various

Part 2 out of 5

Adobe PDF icon
Download Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 5, No. 22, June, 1860 pdf
File size: 0.5 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

his own soul with the Devil, in the other the hero plays and wins a
wife,--and to beg for a chess-story _minus_ wives and devils; but such
grumblers are worthless baggage, and ought to be checked. The Chess Library
has now become an important collection. Time was, when, if one man had
Staunton's "Handbook," Sarratt, Philidor, Walker's "Thousand Games," and
Lewis on "The Game of Chess," he was regarded as uniting the character of a
chess-scholar with that of the antiquary. But now we hear of Bledow of
Berlin with eight hundred volumes on chess; and Professor George Allen, of
the University of Pennsylvania, with more than a thousand! Such a
literature has Chess collected about it since Paolo Boi, "the great
Syracusan," as he was called, wrote what perhaps was the first work on
chess, in the middle of the sixteenth century.

But such numbers of works on chess are very rare, and when the reader hears
of an enormous chess library, he may be safe in recalling the story of
Walker, whose friend turned chess author; seven years after, he boasted to
Walker of the extent of his chess library, which, he affirmed consisted of
one thousand volumes _minus_ eighteen! It turned out that eighteen copies
of his work had been sold, the rest of the edition remaining on his hands.

Though these old works are like galleries of old and valuable pictures to
the chess enthusiast, they contain very little that is valuable to the
general reader. Their terms and signs are to the uninitiated suggestive of
a doctor's prescription. But the anecdotes of the game are, many of them,
remarkable; and we believe they are known to have less of the mythical
about them than those told in other departments. One who knows the game
will feel that it is sufficiently absorbing to be woven in with the
textures of government, of history, and of biography. It is of the nature
of chess gradually to gather up all the senses and faculties of the player,
so that for the time being he is an automaton chess-player, to whom life
and death are abstractions.

How seriously, even religiously, the game has always been regarded by both
Church and State may be judged by the account given by old Carrera of one
whom we have already named as probably the earliest chess author, as he
certainly is one of the greatest players known to fame. "In the time of our
fathers," says this ancient enthusiast, "we had many famous players, of
whom _Paolo Boi_, Sicilian, of the city of Syracuse, and commonly called
the Syracusan, was considered the best. He was born in Syracuse of a rich
and good family. When a boy, he made considerable progress in literature,
for he had a very quick apprehension. He had a wonderful talent for the
game of Chess; and having in a short time beaten all the players of the
city, he resolved to go to Spain, where he heard there were famous players,
honored and rewarded not only by noblemen, but also by Philip II., who took
no small delight in the game. He first beat with ease all the players of
Sicily, and was very superior in playing without seeing the board; for,
playing at once three games blindfold, he conversed with others on
different subjects. Before going into Spain, he travelled over all Italy,
playing with the best players, amongst others with the Pultino, who was of
equal force; they are therefore called by Salvio the light and glory of
chess. He was the favorite of many Italian Princes, and particularly of the
Duke of Urbino, and of several Cardinals, and even of Pope Pius V. himself,
who would have given him a considerable benefice, if he would have become a
clergyman; but this he declined, that he might follow his own
inclinations. He afterward went to Venice, where a circumstance happened
which had never occurred before: he played with a person and lost. Having
afterward by himself examined the games with great care, and finding that
he ought to have won, he was astonished that his adversary should have
gained contrary to all reason, and suspected that he had used some secret
art whereby he was prevented from seeing clearly; and as he was very
devout, and was possessed of a rosary rich with many relics of saints, he
resolved to play again with his antagonist, armed not only with the rosary,
but strengthened by having previously received the sacrament: by these
means he conquered his adversary, who, after his defeat, said to him these
words,--'Thine is more potent than mine.'"

Some of the earliest writers on chess have given their idea of the
all-absorbing nature of the game in the pleasant legend, that it was
invented by the two Grecian brothers Ledo and Tyrrheno to alleviate the
pangs of hunger with which they were pressed, and that, whilst playing it,
they lived weeks without considering that they had eaten nothing.

But we need not any mythical proof of its competency in this
direction. Hyde, in his History of the Saracens, relates with authenticity,
that Al Amin, the Caliph of Bagdad, was engaged at chess with his freedman
Kuthar, at the time when Al Mamun's forces were carrying on the siege of
the city with a vigor which promised him success. When one rushed in to
inform the Caliph of his danger, he cried,--"Let me alone, for I see
checkmate against Kuthar!" Charles I. was at chess when he was informed of
the decision of the Scots to sell him to the English, but only paused from
his game long enough to receive the intelligence. King John was at chess
when the deputies from Rouen came to inform him that Philip Augustus had
besieged their city; but he would not hear them until he had finished the
game. An old English MS. gives in the following sentence no very handsome
picture of the chess-play of King John of England:--"John, son of King
Henry, and Fulco felle at variance at Chestes, and John brake Fulco's head
with the Chest-borde; and then Fulco gave him such a blow that he almost
killed him." The laws of chess do not now permit the king such free range
of the board. Dr. Robertson, in his History of Charles V., relates that
John Frederic, Elector of Saxony, whilst he was playing with Ernest, Duke
of Brunswick, was told that the Emperor had sentenced him to be beheaded
before the gate of Wittenberg; he with great composure proceeded with the
game, and, having beaten, expressed the usual satisfaction of a victor. He
was not executed, however, but set at liberty, after five years'
confinement, on petition of Mauritius. Sir Walter Raleigh said, "I wish to
live no longer than I can play at chess." Rousseau speaks of himself as
_forcene des echecs_, "mad after chess." Voltaire called it "the one, of
all games, which does most honor to the human mind."

"When an Eastern guest was asked if he knew anything in the universe more
beautiful than the gardens of his host, which lay, an ocean of green,
broad, brilliant, enchanting, upon the flowery margin of the Euphrates, he
replied,--'Yes, the chess-playing of El-Zuli.'" Surely, the compliment,
though Oriental, is not without its strict truth. When Nature rises up to
her culmination, the human brain, and there reveals her potencies of
insight, foresight, analysis, memory, we are touched with a mystic beauty;
the profile on the mountain-top is sublimer than the mountain. But we must
heed well Mr. Morphy's advice, and not suffer this fascinating game to be
more than a porter at the gate of the fairer garden. Only when it secures,
not when it usurps the day, can it be regarded as a friend. There is a
myriad-move problem, of which Society is the Sphinx, given us to solve.

He who masters chess without being mastered by it will find that it
discovers essential principles. In the world he will see a larger
chess-field, and one also shaped by the severest mathematics: the world is
so because the brain of man is so,--motive and move, motive and move: they
sum up life, all life,--from the aspen-leaf turning its back to the wind,
to the ecstasy of a saint. See the array of pawns (_forces_, as the Hindoo
calls them): the bodily presence and abilities, power of persistence,
endurance, nerve, the eye, the larynx, the tongue, the senses. Do they not
exist in life as on the board, to cut the way for royal or nobler pieces?
Does not the Imperial Mind win its experiences, its insight, through the
wear and tear of its physical twin? Is not the perfect soul "perfect
through sufferings" for evermore? For every coin reason gets from Nature,
the heart must leave a red drop impawned, the face must bear its scar. See,
then, the powers of the human arena: here Castle, Knight, Bishop are
Passion, Love, Hope; and above all, the sacred Queen of each man, his
specialty, his strength, by which he must win the day, if he win at
all. Here is the Idea with reference to which each man is planned; it
preexisted in the universe, and was born when he was born; it is King on
the board,--that lost, life's game is lost. By his side stands the special
Strength into whose keeping it is given, making, in Goethe's words, "every
man strong enough to enforce his conviction,"--his _conviction_, mark!
Pawns and pieces form themselves about that Queen; they are all to perish,
to perish one by one,--even the specialty,--that the King may triumph. Over
our largest, sublimest individualities the eternal tide flows on, and the
grandest personal strides are merged in the general success. The old author
dreamed that the heroes of the Trojan War were changed by Zeus into the
warriors of the mimic strife in order that such renowned exploits should be
perpetuated among men forever: rather must we reverse the dream, and
apotheosize the powers of the board, that they may appear in the sieges,
heroisms, and victories of life.

* * * * *


Creep slowly up the willow-wand,
Young leaves! and, in your lightness,
Teach us that spirits which despond
May wear their own pure brightness.

Into new sweetness slowly dip,
O May!--advance; yet linger:
Nor let the ring too swiftly slip
Down that new-plighted finger.

Thy bursting blooms, O spring, retard!
While thus thy raptures press on,
How many a joy is lost, or marred
How many a lovely lesson!

For each new sweet thou giv'st us, those
Which first we loved are taken:
In death their eyes must violets close
Before the rose can waken.

Ye woods, with ice-threads tingling late,
Where late was heard the robin,
Your chants that hour but antedate
When autumn winds are sobbing!

Ye gummy buds, in silken sheath
Hang back, content to glisten!
Hold in, O earth, thy charmed breath!
Thou air, be still, and listen!

* * * * *


The present sanitary condition of our great cities is a reproach to our
intelligence not less than to our humanity. Our system of self-government,
so far as regards the protection of the mass of the dwellers in cities from
the worst physical evils, is now on trial. The tests to which it is exposed
are severe. We may boast as we like of our national prosperity, of the
rapidity of our material progress,--we may take pride in liberty, in wide
extent of territory, in the welcome to our shores of the exiled and the
poor of all other lands, or in whatsoever matter of self-gratulation we
choose,--but by the side of all these satisfactions stands the fact, that
in our chief cities the duration of life is diminishing and the suffering
from disease increasing. The question inevitably arises, Is this a
consequence of our political system? and if so, is political liberty worth
having, are democratic principles worth establishing, if the price to be
paid for them is increased insecurity of life and greater wretchedness
among the poor? If the origin of these evils is to be found in the
incompetency of the government or the inefficiency of individuals in a
democracy, a remedy must be applied, or the whole system must be changed.

The intimate connection between physical misery and moral degradation is
plain and generally acknowledged. We are startled from time to time at the
rapid growth of crime in our cities; but it is the natural result of
preexisting physical evils. These evils have become more apparent during
the last twenty years than before, and it has been the fashion to attribute
their increase, with their frightful consequences, mainly to the enormous
Irish immigration, which for a time crowded our streets with poor, foreign
in origin, and degraded, not only by hereditary poverty, but by centuries
of civil and religious oppression. This view is no doubt in part correct;
but the larger share of the evils in our cities is due to causes
unconnected in any necessary relation with the immigration,--causes
contemporaneous with it in their development, and brought into fuller
action by it, rather than consequent upon it.

More than half the sickness and more than half the deaths in New York (and
probably the same holds true of our other cities) are due to causes which
may be prevented,--in other words, which are the result of individual or
municipal neglect, of carelessness or indifference in regard to the known
and established laws of life. More than half the children who are born in
New York (and the proportion is over forty per cent. in Boston) die before
they are five years old. Much is implied in these statements,--among other
things, much criminal recklessness and wanton waste of the sources of
wealth and strength in a state.

In Paris, in London, and in other European cities, the average mortality
has been gradually diminishing during the last fifty years. In New York, on
the contrary, it has increased with frightful rapidity; and in Boston,
though the increase has not been so alarming, it has been steady and
rapid. [Footnote: The facts upon winch these statements are based are
recorded in the Report of the Sanitary Commission of Massachusetts,
1850,--in the Annual Reports of the Boston City Registrar,--in the Annual
Reports of the New York Society for Improving the Condition of the
Poor,--and in other public documents.

It appears that the ratio of deaths to population was,

In New York, in 1810, 1 in 46.46
" 1840, 1 in 39.74
" 1850, 1 in 33.52
" 1857, 1 in 27.15

In Boston, in 1830, 1 in 48
" 1840, 1 in 45
" 1850, 1 in 38
" 1858, 1 in 41

It is probable that the ratio for the year 1858 showed somewhat more
improvement even than appears from the above figures. The proportion is
based on the population as ascertained in 1855. Up to 1858, the population
was somewhat, though not greatly, increased, and any increase would serve
to render the proportion in 1858 more favorable to the health of the
city. But it was a year in which the number of deaths was less than it had
been since 1850; it was, therefore, an exceptional year; and the change in
the ratio of the deaths is, we fear, not the sign of the beginning of a
progressive improvement.]

But more and worse than this is the fact, that in these two cities the
average duration of life (and this means the material prosperity of the
people) has of late terribly decreased. While out of every hundred people
more die than was the case ten, twenty, thirty years ago, those who die
have lived a shorter time. Life is not now to be reckoned by its
"threescore years and ten." Its average duration in Boston is little above
twenty years; in New York it is less than twenty years. [Footnote: In
Boston, from 1810 to 1820, the average age of all that died was 27.85
years; in 1857, leaving deaths by casualty out of the calculation, it was
but 20.63 years; in 1858, it was 21.76. In New York, from 1810 to 1820, it
was 26.15; for the last ten years of which the statistics are known, it was
less than 20.] Is the diminution of the length of life to go on from year
to year?

This needless sacrifice and shortening of life, this accumulating amount of
ill health, causes an annual loss, in each of our great cities, of
productive capacity to the value of millions of dollars, as well as an
unnatural expense of millions more. This is no figure of speech. The
community is poorer by millions of dollars each year through the waste
which it allows of health and life. Leaving out of view all humane
considerations, all thought of the misery, social and moral, which
accompanies this physical degradation, and looking simply at its economical
effects, we find that it increases our taxes, diminishes our means of
paying them, creates permanent public burdens, and lessens the value of
property. An outlay of a million of dollars a year to reduce and to remove
the causes of these evils would be the cheapest and most profitable
expenditure of the public money by the municipal government. The principal
would soon be returned to the general treasury with all arrears of

The main causes of this great and growing misery are patent. The remedies
for them are scarcely less plain. The chief sources of that disease and
death which may be prevented by the action of the community are, first, the
filthy and poisonous houses into which a large part of the people are
crowded; second, the imperfect ventilation of portions of the city,--its
narrow and dirty streets, lanes, and yards; and, third, the want of
sufficient house and street drainage and sewerage. It is important to note
in relation to these sources of evil, that, while the poverty of our poor
is generally not such complete destitution as that of many of the poor in
foreign cities, their average condition is worse. The increase of disease
and mortality is a result not so much of poverty as of condition. "The pith
and burden of the whole matter is, that the great mass of the poor are
compelled to live in tenements that are unfit for human beings, and under
circumstances in which it is impossible to preserve health and life."

To improve the dwellings of the poor, to make them decent and wholesome,
is, then, the first step to be taken in checking the causes of preventable
disease and death in our cities. This work implies, if it be done
thoroughly, the securing of proper ventilation, sewerage, and drainage.

Most of the houses which the poor occupy are the property of persons who
receive from them a rent very large in proportion to their value. No other
class of houses gives, on an average, a larger return upon the capital
invested in it. The rents which the poor pay, though paid in small sums,
are usually enormous in comparison with the accommodation afforded. The
houses are crowded from top to bottom. Many of them are built without
reference to the comfort or health of their occupants, but with the sole
object of getting the largest return for the smallest outlay. They are
hotbeds of disease, and exposed to constant peril from fire. Now it seems
plain that here is an occasion for the interposition of municipal
authority. In spite of the jealousy (proper within certain limits) with
which governmental interference with private property is regarded in this
country, it is a manifest dereliction of duty on the part of our city
authorities not to exercise a strict supervision over these houses. The
interests which are chiefly affected by their condition are not private,
but public interests. There are legal means for abating nuisances; and
there is no reason why houses which affect the health of whole districts
should not be treated in the same way as nuisances which are more
obtrusive, though less pernicious. In some of the cities of Europe, in
Nuremberg, for instance, there is a public architect, to whom all plans for
new buildings are submitted for approval or rejection according as they
correspond or not with the style of building suitable for the city. What is
done abroad to secure the beauty of a city might well be done here to
secure its health. Again, by legal enactment, we have prevented the
overcrowding of our emigrant ships: the same thing should be done in our
cities, to prevent the overcrowding of our tenement-houses. No house should
be allowed to receive more than a fixed maximum of dwellers in proportion
to its size and accommodations. These are simple propositions, but, if
properly carried out by enactment, they would secure an incalculable good.

[Footnote: Since writing the preceding sentences, we have been gratified to
see that a bill proposing the creation of a Metropolitan Board of Health
has been introduced into the Legislature of New York. If the bill becomes a
law, as we trust it may, the board will be invested with power "to enact
ordinances for the proper government and control of buildings erecting or
to be erected, ... to compel the lessees or owners of dwellings to put the
same in proper order, and to provide sufficient means of egress in case of
fire." The New-York Evening Post of March 23, in giving an account of this
bill, says,--and there is no exaggeration in its statements,--

"The nearly one million of souls of this great city are left to take care
of themselves,--to be crowded mercilessly by landlords into houses without
light, air, or water, and without means of egress in case of fire; and the
street filth is allowed to accumulate till the city has become as the
famous Pontine Marshes, to breathe whose exhalations is certain
disease. All this results, as is proved by comparison with other cities, in
the unnecessary loss of five thousand to eight thousand lives annually, and
of many millions of dollars expended for unnecessary sickness, and the
consequent loss of time and strength,--all of which might be saved, as they
are actually saved in other and larger cities, by the application of
sanitary laws by intelligent and efficient officers.

"And yet our Common Council are unmoved to apply the corrective, and the
Legislature postpones action upon the numerous petitions of the people upon
the subject. How long these bodies will be suffered to abuse the patience
of our citizens we cannot tell; but the breaking out of a pestilence which
shall sweep a thousand a week into the grave, and bring this city to
financial ruin, will be but a natural issue of the present neglect. The
Health Bill now before the Legislature has been prepared under the auspices
of the Sanitary Association. Its provisions are sweeping; but the
importance of the subject, the uniform filthy condition of our streets, and
the wretched and unsafe condition of our tenement-houses imperatively
demand changes of the most radical nature. The general provisions of the
bill seem to cover the points most requiring legislation; and while in some
of its details it could probably be improved, it is difficult to imagine
that the present state of sanitary regulations could be made worse, and
certain that the proposed reforms, if carried out, would be of great

In Massachusetts, statutes have existed for some years, giving to the
Boards of Health of the different cities or towns powers of a similar
nature to those granted by the bill proposed for New York, but of far too
limited scope. By Chapter 26, Sec. 11, of the General Statutes, which are to
go into operation this year, the Boards of Health are authorized to remove
the occupants of any tenement, occupied as a dwelling-place, which is unfit
for the purpose, and a cause of nuisance or sickness either to the
occupants or the public,--and may require the premises, previously to their
reoccupation, to be properly cleansed at the expense of the owner. But the
penalty for a violation of this article is too light, being a fine of not
less than ten nor more than fifty dollars. To secure any essential good
from this law, it must be energetically enforced, with a disregard of
personal consequences, and an enlightened view of public and private rights
and necessities, scarcely to be expected from Boards of Health as commonly
constituted. We require a law upon this subject conveying far ampler
powers, enforced by far heavier penalties. It should embrace oversight of
the construction as well as of the condition of the dwellings of the
poor. Until we obtain such a law, the community is bound to insist upon a
rigid enforcement of the present imperfect statute.

[The bill above alluded to by our correspondent has since been rejected by
the Legislature of New York.--EDS. ATLANTIC.]]

Still, however much may be done by public authority, the condition of the
dwellings of the poor must be determined chiefly by the interest and the
legal responsibility of their individual owners. That men may be found
willing to make fortunes for themselves by grinding the faces of the poor
is certain; but there are, on the other hand, many who would be willing to
use some portion, at least, of their means to provide suitable homes for
the destitute, could they be assured of receiving a fair return upon the
property invested. It has been a matter of doubt whether proper houses
could be built for the dwellings of the lower classes, with all necessary
accommodations for health and comfort, at such a cost that the rents could
be kept as low as those paid for the common wretched tenements, and at the
same time be sufficient to afford a reasonable interest upon the
investment. Toward the solution of this doubt, an experiment which has been
tried in Boston during the last five years has afforded important results.

In the spring of 1853, a number of gentlemen having subscribed a sufficient
sum for the purpose of building a house or houses on the best plan, as
Model Dwellings for the Poor, a society was formed, which, in the next
year, received an act of incorporation from the Legislature under the style
of "The Model Lodging-House Association." A suitable lot of land having
been obtained upon favorable terms, at the corner of Pleasant Street and
Osborn Place, the Directors of the Association proceeded to erect two brick
houses, of different construction, each containing separate tenements for
twenty families. The plans of the buildings were prepared with great care
to secure the essentials of a healthy home,--pure air, pure water,
efficient drainage, cleanliness, and light. In their details, strict regard
was had to the most economical and best use of a limited space, and ample
precautions were taken to reduce to its least the risk of fire. In each
house, double staircases, continuous to the roof, (and in one of them of
iron,) and two main exits were provided; and more recently, the two
buildings, which are separated from each other by a passage-way some feet
in width, have been connected by throwing an iron bridge from roof to roof,
by which, in case of alarm in one of them, escape may be readily had
through the other. Each house was, moreover, divided in the middle by a
solid brick partition-wall.

The houses are five stories in height, not including the basement or
cellar, with four tenements in each story. The reduced plans, on the
opposite page, exhibit the general arrangements of the houses, and show the
complete separation of each set of apartments from the others, each one
opening by a single door upon the common stairs or passage. Their relation
is scarcely closer than that of separate houses in a common continuous
block. Each tenement, it will be observed, consists of a living-room, and
two or three sleeping-rooms, according to the space, a wash-room, with sink
and cupboards, and a water-closet. The stories are eight feet and six
inches in height, which is ample for the necessities of ventilation. In one
of the buildings, each tenement is provided with shafts for dust and offal,
communicating with receptacles in the cellar. The roofs of both are fitted
with conveniences for the drying of clothes, properly guarded; and in the
cellars of both are closets, one for each tenement, to hold fuel or
stores. In the basement of house No. 1 there are also two bathing-rooms,
which have been found of great use.



It would be difficult, after some years' experience, to pronounce which of
the two houses is the best fitted for its object. Their cost was nearly the
same. The plan of No. 1 is original and ingenious; its large open central
space is valuable for purposes of ventilation, and as affording opportunity
for exercise under cover in stormy weather for infants and infirm
people. This advantage is perhaps compensated for in the other house by the
fact of each tenement reaching from back to front of the house, thus
securing within itself the means of a thorough draught of fresh air. Both
plans are excellent, and may be unqualifiedly recommended.

The houses were ready for occupation about the beginning of 1855, and since
that time have been constantly full. The applicants for tenements, whenever
one becomes vacant, are always numerous.

The cost of these two buildings was a little over $18,000 each, exclusive
of the cost of the land upon which they stand. The land cost about $8,000;
and the whole cost of the buildings, including some slight changes
subsequent to their original erection, and of the lot on which they stand,
would be more than covered by the sum of $46,000.

The rents were fixed upon a scale varying with the amount of accommodation
afforded by the separate tenements, and with their convenience of access.
They run from $2 to $2.87 per week. By those familiar with the rents paid
by the poor these sums will be seen to be not higher than are frequently
paid for the most unhealthy and inconvenient lodgings. The total annual
amount of rent received from each house is $2,353, which, after paying
taxes, water-rates, gas-bills, and all other expenses, including all
repairs necessary to keep the building in good order, leaves a full six per
cent. interest upon the sum invested.

A portion of the land purchased by the Association not having been occupied
by the two houses already described, it was determined to erect a third
house upon it, of a somewhat superior character, for a class just above the
line of actual poverty, but often forced by circumstances into unhealthy
and uncomfortable homes. This was accordingly done, at a cost, including
the land, of about $26,000. The house, of which the plan is well worthy of
imitation, contains a shop and nine tenements. These tenements, which form
not only comfortable, but agreeable homes, are rented at from two to three
hundred dollars a year, and the gross income derived from the building is
about $2,500.

During the five years since the first occupation of the houses no loss of
rents has occurred. For the most part, the rent has been paid not only
punctually, but with satisfaction, and the expressions which have been
received of the content of the occupants of the tenements have been of the
most gratifying sort. The houses, as we know from personal inspection, are
now in a state of excellent repair, and show no signs of carelessness or
neglect on the part of their occupants. Few private houses would have a
fresher and neater aspect after so long occupancy. The tenants have been,
with few exceptions, Americans by birth, and they have taken pains to keep
up the character of their dwellings.

One of the Trustees of the Association, a gentleman to whose good judgment
and constant oversight, as well as to his sympathetic kindness tor the
occupants of the houses and interest in their affairs, much of the success
of this experiment is due, says, in a letter from which we are permitted to
quote,--"From my experience in the management of this kind of property, I
believe that it may in all cases with proper care be made _safe and
permanent for investment_. But what I think better of is the good such
houses do in elevating and making happier their tenants, and I much rejoice
in having had an opportunity to test their usefulness."

As a comment upon these brief, but weighty sentences, we would beg any of
our readers, who may have opportunity, to look for himself at the
substantial and not unornamental buildings of the Association, with their
showier front on Pleasant Street, and their imposing length and height of
range along the side of Osborn Place,--to see them affording healthy and
convenient homes to fifty families, many of whom, without some such
provision, would be exposed to be forced into the wretched quarters too
familiar to the poor,--and then to compare them with the common
lodging-houses in any of the lower streets or alleys of Boston or New York.

A similar work to that performed by the Boston Association was undertaken
shortly afterward by a society in New York, who in 1854-5 erected a
building containing ninety tenements of three rooms each, under the name of
"The Working-Men's Home." The cost of this enormous building, which was
well designed, was about $90,000. It is fifty-five feet in breadth by one
hundred and ninety feet in length; it is nearly fireproof, and is provided
with double stairways. It has been occupied from the first by colored
people, and we regret to learn that it has not proved a success, so far as
regards the annual return upon the property invested. After paying the
heavy city tax of 1 3/4 per cent., and the charges for gas and water, the
sum remaining for an annual dividend is not more than four per cent.

This want of success is not, we believe, inherent in the plan itself, but
is the result of a want of proper management and supervision. We learn that
the tenants often leave without paying rent, and that the building is more
or less injured by their neglect. The class of tenants has undoubtedly been
of a lower grade than that which has occupied the Boston houses, and the
habits of the blacks are far inferior to those of the white American poor
in personal neatness and care of their dwellings. But we have no doubt,
that, in spite of these drawbacks, a good revenue might be derived from the
rents paid by this class of tenants. The success of the Boston experiment
is due in considerable part to the employment by the Association of a paid
Superintendent, living with his family in one of the buildings, who has a
general oversight of the houses, collects the rents, and determines the
claims of occupants of the tenements. Such an officer is indispensable for
the proper carrying on of any similar undertaking on so large a scale. We
trust that no effort will be spared in New York to bring out more
satisfactory results from this great establishment. Benevolence is one
thing, and good investments another; but benevolence in this case does not
do half its work, unless it can be proved to pay. It must be profitable, in
order to be in the best sense a charity.

The effect which the Boston houses have already had, in proving that homes
for the poor can be built on the best plan for the health and comfort of
their inmates and at the same time be good investments of property, is
manifest in many private undertakings. Several large houses have already
been built upon similar plans; old lodging-houses have been in several
instances remodelled and otherwise improved; blocks of small dwellings for
one or two families have been erected with every convenience for the class
who can afford to pay from three to six dollars a week for their
accommodations. The example set by the Association promises to be widely

Much, however, yet remains to be done, and associate or private energy is
needed for the trial of new and not less important experiments than that
already well performed. The means for some of them are at hand. It will be
remembered that the late Hon. Abbott Lawrence, to whose beneficence during
his life the community was so largely indebted, and whose liberal deeds
will long be remembered with gratitude, left by will the sum of $50,000 to
be held by Trustees for the erection of dwellings for the poor. This sum
will in a short time be ready for employment for its designated purpose,
and it may be hoped that those who control its disposal will not so much
imitate the work already done as perform a work not yet accomplished, but
not less essential. The houses of the Association are, as we have stated,
not occupied by the most destitute poor,--and it is for this lowest class
that the most pressing need exists for an improvement in their
habitations. If the cellar-dwelling poor can be provided with healthy
homes, and these homes can be made to pay a fair rent, the worst evil in
the condition of our cities will be in a way to be remedied. It is very
desirable that a house should be erected in one of the crowded quarters of
the city, and at a distance from the buildings of the Association, in which
each room should be arranged for separate occupation. The rooms might be of
different sizes upon the different floors, to accommodate single men who
require only a lodging-place, or a man and wife. Perhaps on one floor rooms
should be made with means of opening into each other, to supply the need of
those who might require more than one of them. The house should be heated
throughout by furnaces, to save the necessity of fires in the rooms; and as
no private meals could be cooked in the house, an eating-room, where meals
could be had or provisions purchased ready for eating, should form part of
the arrangements of the house in the lower story. There can be no doubt
that such a house would be at once filled,--and but little, that, if
properly built and managed, under efficient superintendence it would pay
well, at the lowest rates of rent. Even with a possibility of its failing
to return a net annual income of six per cent upon its cost, it is an
experiment that ought to be tried,--and we earnestly hope that the Trustees
of Mr. Lawrence's bequest will not hesitate to make it. Putting out of
question all considerations of profitable investment, it would be, as a
pure charity, one of the best works that could be performed.

We must restore health to our cities, and, to accomplish this end, we must
provide fit homes for the poor. The way in which this may be done has been

* * * * *


The campaigner marched out of a lawyer's office in Nassau Street, New York.

"Shyster," said our old man, as he called me into his own den, or rather
lair,--(for den, I take it, is the private residence of a beast of prey,
and lair his place of business. I do not think that this definition is
mine, but I forget to whom it belongs,)--"I suppose you would not dislike a
trip into the country? Very well. These papers must be explained to General
Van Bummel, and signed by him. He lives at Thunderkill, on the Hudson. Take
the ten-o'clock train, and get back as soon as you can. Charge your
expenses to the office."

"What luck!" thought I, as I dashed down-stairs into the
street,--determined to obey his last injunction to the letter, whatever
course I might think fit to adopt about the one preceding it. No one who
has not been an attorney's clerk at three dollars a week, copying
declarations and answers from nine A.M. to six P.M., in a dusty, inky,
uncarpeted room, with windows unwashed since the last lease expired, can
form a correct notion of the exhilaration of my mind when I took my seat in
the railroad-car. The great Van Bnmmel himself never felt bigger nor

It was in that loveliest season of the year, the Indian summer,--a week or
ten days of atmospheric perfection which the clerk of the weather allows us
as a compensation for our biting winter and rheumatic spring. The veiled
rays of the sun and the soft shadows produce the effect of a golden
moonlight, and make even Nature's shabbiest corners attractive. To be
out-of-doors with nothing to do, and nothing to think of but the mere
pleasure of existence, is happiness enough at such times. But I was looking
at a river panorama which is one of Nature's best efforts, I have heard;
and on that morning it seemed to me impossible that the world could show
anything grander.

It was very calm. The broad glittering surface of the river showed here and
there a slight ripple, when some breath of air touched it for a moment; but
wind there was none,--only a few idle breezes lounging about, waiting for
orders to join old Boreas in his next autumnal effort to crack his
cheeks. The bright-colored trees glowed on the mountain-sides like beds of
living coals.

"How the deuse," thought I, as I stared at them, "can a discerning public
be satisfied with Cole's pictures of 'American Scenery in the Fall of the
Year'? You see on his canvas, to be sure, red, green, orange, and so on,
the peculiar tints of the leaves; but Nature does more (and Cole does not):
she blends the variegated hues into one bright mass of bewitching color by
the magic of this soft, golden, hazy sunshine. I wish, too, that the great
company of story-tellers would let scenery rest in peace. The charm of a
landscape is entireness, unity; it strikes the eye at once and as a whole.
Examination of the component parts is quite a different thing. Who ean
build up a view in his mind by piling up details like bricks upon one
another? Most people, I suspect, will find, as I do, that, no matter what
author they may be reading, the same picture always presents itself. A
vague outline of some view they have seen arises in the memory,--like the
forest scene in a scantily furnished theatre, which comes on for every
play. The naked woods, trees, rocks, lake, river, mountain, would have done
the business just as well, and saved a deal of writing and of printing. The
most successful artist in this line I know of is Michael Scott, whose
tropical sketches in 'Tom Cringle's Log' are unequalled by any
landscape-painter, past or present, who uses pen and ink instead of canvas
and colors."

My trance was broken by the voice of the brakeman shouting, "Thunderkill,"
into the car, as the train drew up at a wooden station-house. Jumping out,
I asked the way to General Van Bummel's. A man with a whip in his hand
offered his services as guide and common carrier. I determined to
experience a new sensation,--for once in my life to anathematize
expenditure, and charge it to the office. So, climbing into a kind of
leathern tent upon wheels, I was soon on my way to the leaguer of the
General. A drive of a mile brought us to two stout stone gateposts,
surmounted each by a cannon-ball, which marked Van Bummel's boundary. We
turned into a lane shut in by trees. While busily taking an inventory of
the General's landed possessions for future use, my attention was drawn off
by loud shouts, the sound of the gallop of horses and the rattling of
wheels. Imagining at once that the General's family-pair must be running
away with his family-coach, I eagerly urged my driver to push on; but the
cold-hearted wretch only laughed and said he "guessed there was nothing
particular the matter." At last, we _debouched_ (excuse the word; I have
not yet got the military taste out of my mouth) upon a lawn, across which a
pair of large bay horses, ridden postilion-fashion by one man, were
dragging a brass six-pounder, upon which sat another in full uniform.

"What the Devil is that?" said I.

"That's the Gineral and his coachman a-having a training," answered my

As he spoke, the officer shouted, "Halt!"

Coachy pulled up.

"Unlimber!" thundered the chief; and, aided by his man, obeyed his own

"Load!" and "Fire!" followed in rapid succession.

I saw and smelt that they used real powder. This over, the horses were made
fast again, John, bestrode his nag, the General clambered on to his brazen
seat and down they came at a tearing pace directly towards us. Luckily I
had read "Charles O'Malley," and knew how to behave in such cases. I jumped
from the wagon, and, tying my handkerchief to the ferule of my umbrella,
advanced, waving it and shouting, "A flag of truce!" The General ordered a
halt and despatched himself to the flag. As he approached I beheld a stout,
middle-aged, good natured looking man, dressed in the graceless costume of
Uncle Sam's army; but I must say that he wore it with more grace than most
of the Regulars I have seen. Our soldiers look unbecomingly in their
clothes,--there is no denying it,--a good deal like _sups_ in a procession
at the Bowery. A New-York policeman sports pretty much the same dress in
much better style. You hardly ever see an officer or private, least of all
the officer, with the _air militaire_. I also noticed with pleasure that
the General had not on his head that melodramatic black felt,
feather-bedecked hat, which some fantastic Secretary of War must have
imagined in a dream, after seeing "Fra Diavolo" at the opera, or Wallack in
Massaroni. In place of this abomination, a cap covered with glazed leather
surmounted his martial brow. When we met, I lowered my umbrella and offered
my card, with the office pasteboard. He took them with great gravity, read
the names, and requested me to fall back to the rear and await orders. Then
rejoining his gun, he was driven slowly towards the house,--my peaceful
_ambulance_ following at a respectful distance. When I reached the door,
the six-pounder had disappeared behind a clump of evergreens, and the
General stood waiting to receive me. His manner was affable.

"How d'ye do, Mr. Shyster? Glad to see you, Sir. Walk into the library,

I complied, and while the General was absent, engaged in carrying out some
hospitable suggestions for my refreshment, I examined the room. It was
large, and handsomely furnished. I looked into the bookcases: the shelves
were filled with works on War, from Caesar's Commentaries down to Louis
Napoleon on Rifled Cannon. In one corner stood a suit of armor; in another
a stand of firearms; between them a star of bayonets. On the mantelpiece I
perceived a model of a small field-piece in brass and oak, and, what
interested me more, a cigarbox. I raised the lid; the box was half full of
highly creditable-looking cigars. My soul expanded with the thought of a
probable offer of at least one.

"None of your Flor de Connecticuts," I thought, "from the Vuelta Abajo of
New-Windsor, but the genuine Simon Puros."

A second glance at the inside of the lid caused grave doubts to depress my
spirits. I beheld there, in place of the usual ill-executed lithograph with
its _fabricas_ and its _calles_, three small portraits. The middle one was
the General in full uniform; I recognized him easily; the other two were no
doubt his aides-de-camp;--all evidently photographs; they were so ugly. I
dropped the lid in disappointment, and turned to the side-table. On it lay
a handsome sword in an open box lined with silk. Over it hung, framed and
glazed, the speech of the committee appointed by his fellow-soldiers of the
county to present the sword to the General, together with the General's
"neat and appropriate" answer and acceptance.

I began to be a little astonished. I certainly did not expect anything of
this sort. Our old man called him General, to be sure; but General means
nothing, in the rural districts, but a certain amount of wealth and
respectability. It has taken the place of Squire. But here was I with a man
who took his title _au serieux_. What with the uniform, the cannon, and the
coachman, I began to feel like an ambassador to a potentate with a standing

Here the General reappeared, bearing in his august hands a decanter and a
pitcher. After due refreshment, I produced my papers, made the necessary
explanations, and executed my commission so much to his satisfaction that
he invited me cordially to dine and spend the night, instead of taking the
evening-train down. I accepted, of course,--such chances seldom fell into
my way,--and was shown into a nice little bedroom, in which I was expected
to dress for dinner. Dress, indeed! I had on my best, and did not come to
stay. Novel-heroes manage to remain weeks without apparent luggage; but a
modern attorney's clerk, however moderate may be his toilette-tackle, finds
it inconvenient to be separated from it. However, I did what I
could,--washed my hands, settled the bow of my neck-tie, smoothed my hair
with my fingers, and thought, as I descended to the drawing-room, of the
travelling Frenchman, who, after a night spent in a diligence, wiped out
his eyes with his handkerchief, put on a paper false collar, and
exclaimed,--"_Me voici propre!_"

The General, in a fatigue-dress, presented me to Mrs. Van Bummel, a
good-looking woman of pleasant dimensions,--to Miss Bellona Van Bummel, who
evidently thought me beneath her notice,--and to the Reverend Moses Wether,
whose mild face, white cravat, and straight-cut collar proclaimed him. As I
came in, his Reverence attempted to slip meekly out, but was stopped
energetically by the General.

"How is this? Mr. Wether, you know you cannot leave, Sir."

"But, my dear General, I only dropped in for a few moments; and really I
have so much to do!"

"I am sorry, Sir," rejoined the General, sternly, "but you cannot be
excused. You accepted the position of Chaplain to the Regiment. You
neglected to attend the last two reviews. You were condemned by a Court
Martial, over which I presided, to twenty-four hours' arrest, which you
must now submit to."

"But, my dear General," feebly expostulated the man of prayer, "you know I
thought the nomination a mere pleasantry; I had no idea you were serious,
or I should never have listened to the proposition."

"Can't help that, Sir. You accepted the commission, you neglected your
duty, and you must take the consequences."

Just then, as the poor perplexed parson was about to make another attempt
for liberty, a side-door swung open; a well-built, comely servant-girl,
dressed like Jenny Lind in the "Fille du Regiment," appeared. Bringing the
back of her hand to her forehead, she said,--

"General, dinner is ready."

Van Bummel muttered something about "joining our mess," and led the way to
the banqueting-hall. I was too hungry to be particular about names, and did
ample justice to an excellent spread and well-selected tap,--carefully
avoiding eating with my knife or putting salt upon the table-cloth, which I
had often heard was never done by the aristocracy. As I kept my eyes upon
the others and imitated them to the best of my ability, I hope I did not
disgrace Nassau Street.

The evening passed quickly and agreeably. I played chess with the reverend
prisoner. The man of war read steadily folio history of Marlborough's
campaigns, making occasional references to maps and plans. As the clock
struck nine, an explosion on the lawn made the windows rattle again. I
jumped to my feet, but, seeing that the rest of the company looked
surprised at my vivacity, I sat down, guessing that the six-pounder and the
coachman had something to do with it.

"Don't be alarmed, Sir," said the General, "it's only gun-fire. We retire
about this time."

I took the hint, requested to be shown to my room, undressed, jumped into a
camp bedstead, and tried to sleep. Impossible!--the novelty of my day's
experiences, the beauty of the night, (for the full moon was shining into
the windows,) or perhaps a cup of strong coffee I had swallowed without
milk after dinner because the others took it, kept me awake. Finding sleep
out of the question, I got up and dressed myself. My chamber was on the
ground-floor, and opened upon the lawn. I stepped quietly out into the hazy
moonlight, lighted a cigar, and walked towards the river. It was a
remarkably fine evening, certainly, but a very damp one. Heavy dew dripped
from the trees. I found, as my weed grew shorter, that my fondness for the
romantic in Nature waned, and slowly retraced my steps to the house,
muttering to myself some of Edgar Poe's ghostly lines:--

"I stand beneath the mystic moon;
An opiate vapor, dewey, dim
Exhales from out her golden rim,
And softly dripping, drop by drop,
Upon the quiet mountain-top,
Steals drowsily and musically
Into the universal valley."

I was about entering, when a figure advanced suddenly from behind a pillar
of the veranda, holding a something in its hand which glittered in the
moonlight, and which rattled as it dropped from the perpendicular to the
horizontal, pointing at me.

"Who goes there?" said the apparition, in a hoarse voice. "Stand, and give
the countersign!"

I recognized the voice of the soldier-servant of the morning. There he was
again, that indefatigable coachman, doing duty as sentinel with a musket in
his hands. Not knowing what else to say, I replied,--

"It is I, a friend!"

My good grammar was thrown away upon the brute.

"The countersign," he repeated.

"Pooh, pooh!" said I, "I do not know anything about the countersign. I am
Mr. Shyster, who came up this morning, when you and the General were doing
light-artillery practice on the lawn. Please let me go to my room."

But the brute stood immovable. As I advanced, I heard him cock his musket.

"Good God!" thought I, "this is no joke, after all. This stupid stable-man
may have loaded his musket. What if it should go off? If I retreat, I must
camp out,--no joke at this season;--rheumatism and a loss of salary, to say
the least. This will never do."

And I screamed,--

"General! General Van Bummel!"

"Silence! or I'll march you to the guard-house," thundered the sentinel.

Luckily the General lay, like Irene, "with casement open to the skies." He
heard the noise. I recognized his martial tones. I hurriedly explained my
situation. He gave me the word; it was Eugene; countersign,
Marlborough. This satisfied the Coach-Cerberus, and I passed into bed
without further mishap.

The first sound I heard the next morning was the rat-tat-too of a
drum. "There goes that d----d coachman again," I said to myself, and turned
over for another nap; but a shrill bugle-call brought me to my seat.

Running to the window, I saw two men on horseback in dragoon equipments.
The horses were the artillery-nags of yesterday; the riders, the General
and his man-at-all-arms. Hurrying on my clothes, I got out of doors in time
to see them go at a gallop across the lawn, leap a low hedge at the end of
the grass-plot, and disappear in the orchard. Thither I followed fast to
see the sport. They reached the boundary-line of the Van-Bummel estate,
wheeled, and turned back on a trot. When the General espied me, he waved
his sabre and shouted, "Charge!" They galloped straight at me. I had barely
time to dodge behind an apple-tree, when they passed like a whirlwind over
the spot I had been standing on, and covered me with dirt from the heels of
their horses. I walked back to the house, very much annoyed, as men are apt
to be, when they think they have compromised their dignity a little by
dodging to escape danger from another's mischief or folly. At breakfast,
accordingly, I remonstrated with the chief; but he only laughed, and asked
me why I did not form a hollow square and let the front rank kneel and

"As soon as you have finished your coffee," he added, "I will take you into
the trenches, and there you will be out of danger."

I could not refuse. The trenches were at the bottom of the garden, near the
entrance-drive. I had seen them yesterday, and in my ignorance thought of
celery; now, I knew better. This morning, a tent was pitched a few yards
from a long low wall of sods; and between the tent and the sods there was a
small trench, about large enough to hold draining-tiles. Pointing to the
wall, the general said,--

"There is Sebastopol," (pronouncing it correctly, accent on the _to_,) "and
here," turning to the tent, "are my head-quarters. My sappers have just
established a mine under the Quarantine Battery. In a few moments I shall
blow it up, and storm the breach, if we make a practicable one."

Here the Protean coachman made his appearance with a leather apron and a
broad-axe. He signified that all was ready. A lucifer was rubbed upon a
stone, the train ignited, bang went the mine, and over went we all three,
prostrated by a shower of turf and mud. The mine had exploded backward, and
had annihilated the storming party. Fortunately, the General had economised
in powder. Gradually we picked ourselves up, considerably bewildered, but
not much hurt. Van Bummel attempted to explain; but I had had enough of
war's alarms, and yearned for the safety and peace of Nassau Street. So I
bade the warrior good-morning, and took the first down-train, _multa mecum
volvens_; "making a revolver of my mind," Van Bummel would have translated
it. I knew that our soil produced more soldiers even than France, the
fertile mother of red-legged heroes; but I did not expect, in the
Nineteenth Century and in the State of New York, to have beheld an avatar
of the God Mars.

* * * * *


The tide will ebb at day's decline:
_Ich bin dein!_
Impatient for the open sea,
At anchor rocks the tossing ship,
The ship which only waits for thee;
Yet with no tremble of the lip
I say again, thy hand in mine,
_Ich bin dein!_

I shall not weep, or grieve, or pine.
_Ich bin dein!_
Go, lave once more thy restless hands
Afar within the azure sea,--
Traverse Arabia's scorching sands,--
Fly where no thought can follow thee,
O'er desert waste and billowy brine:
_Ich bin dein!_

Dream on the slopes of Apennine:
_Ich bin dein!_
Stand where the glaciers freeze and frown,
Where Alpine torrents flash and foam,
Or watch the loving sun go down
Behind the purple hills of Rome,
Leaving a twilight half divine:
_Ich bin dein!_

Thy steps may fall beside the Rhine:
_Ich bin dein!_
Slumber may kiss thy drooping lids
Amid the mazes of the Nile,
The shadow of the Pyramids
May cool thy feet,--yet all the while,
Though storms may beat, or stars may shine,
_Ich bin dein!_

Where smile the hills of Palestine,
_Ich bin dein!_
Where rise the mosques and minarets,--
Where every breath brings flowery balms,--
Where souls forget their dark regrets
Beneath the strange, mysterious palms,--
Where the banana builds her shrine,--
_Ich bin dein!_

Too many clusters break the vine:
_Ich bin dein!_
The tree whose strength and life outpour
In one exultant blossom-gush
Must flowerless be forevermore:
We walk _this_ way but once, friend;--hush!
Our feet have left no trodden line:
_Ich bin dein!_

Who heaps his goblet wastes his wine:
_Ich bin dein!_
The boat is moving from the land;--
I have no chiding and no tears;--
Now give me back my empty hand
To battle with the cruel years,--
Behold, the triumph shall be mine!
_Ich bin dein!_

* * * * *


No art is worth anything that does not embody an idea,--that is not
representative: otherwise, it is like a body without a soul, or the image
of some divinity that never had existence. Art needs, indeed, to be
individualized, to betray the characteristics of the artist, to be himself
infused into his work; but more than this, it needs to typify, to
illustrate the character of the age,--to be of a piece with other
expressions of the sentiment that animates other men at the time. It must
be one note in the concert, and that not discordant,--neither behind time
nor ahead of it,--neither in the wrong key nor the other mode: you don't
want Verdi in one of Beethoven's symphonies; you don't want Mozart in
Rossini's operas. No art ever has lived that was not the genuine product of
the era in which it appeared; no art ever can live that is not such a
product: it may, perchance, have a temporary or fictitious success, but it
can neither really and truly exert an influence at the moment of its
highest triumph, nor afterwards remain a power among men, unless it reflect
the spirit of the epoch, unless it show the very age and body of the time
his form and pressure.

All greatness consists in this: in being alive to what is going on around
one; in living actually; in giving voice to the thought of humanity; in
saying to one's fellows what they want to hear or need to hear at that
moment; in being the concretion, the result, of the influences of the
present world. In no other way can one affect the world than in responding
thus to its needs, in embodying thus its ideas. You will see, in looking to
history, that all great men have been a piece of their time; take them out
and set them elsewhere, they will not fit so well; they were made for their
day and generation. The literature which has left any mark, which has been
worthy of the name, has always mirrored what was doing around it; not
necessarily daguerreotyping the mere outside, but at least reflecting the
inside,--the thoughts, if not the actions of men,--their feelings and
sentiments, even if it treated of apparently far-off themes. You may
discuss the Greek republics in the spirit of the modern one; you may sing
idyls of King Arthur in the very mood of the nineteenth century. Art, too,
will be seen always to have felt this necessity, to have submitted to this
law. The great dramatists of Greece, like those of England, all flourished
in a single period, blossomed in one soil; the sculptures of antiquity
represented the classic spirit, and have never been equalled since, because
they were the legitimate product of that classic spirit. You cannot have
another Phidias till man again believes in Jupiter. The Gothic
architecture, how meanly is it imitated now! What cathedrals built in this
century rival those of Milan or Strasbourg or Notre Dame? Ah! there is no
such Catholicism to inspire the builders; the very men who reared them
would not be architects, if they lived to-day. And the Italian painters,
the Angelos and Raphaels and Da Vincis and Titians, who were geniuses of
such universal power that they builded and carved and went on embassies and
worked in mathematics only with less splendid success than they
painted,--they painted because the age demanded it; they painted as the age
demanded; they were religious, yet sensuous, like their nation; they felt
the influence of the Italian sun and soil. Their faith and their history
were compressed into The Last Judgment and the Cartoons; their passion as
well as their power may be recognized in The Last Supper and The Venus of
the Bath.

There is always a necessity for this expression of the character of the
age. This spirit of our age, this mixed materialistic and imaginative
spirit,--this that abroad prompts Russian and Italian wars, and at home
discovers California mines,--that realizes gorgeous dreams of hidden gold,
and Napoleonic ideas of almost universal sway,--that bridges Niagara, and
under-lays the sea with wire, and, forgetful of the Titan fate, essays to
penetrate the clouds,--this spirit, so practical that those who choose to
look on one side only of the shield can see only perjured monarchs
trampling on deceived or decaying peoples, and backwoodsmen hewing forests,
and begrimed laborers setting up telegraph-poles or working at
printing-presses,--this spirit also so full of imagination,--which has
produced an outburst of music (that most intangible and subtile and
imaginative of arts) such as the earth never heard before,--which is
developing in the splendid, showy life, in the reviving taste for pageantry
that some supposed extinct, in the hurried, crowded incidents that will
fill up the historic page that treats of the nineteenth century,--this
spirit is sure to get expression in art.

The American people, cosmopolitan, concrete, the union, the result rather
of a union of so many nationalities, ought surely to do its share towards
this expression. The American people surely represents the century,--has
much of its spirit: is full of unrest; is eminently practical, but
practical only in embodying poetical or lofty ideas; is demonstrative and
excitable; resembles the French much and in many things,--the French, who
are at the head of modern and European civilization,--who think and feel
deeply, but do not keep their feelings hidden. The Americans, too, like
expression: when they admire a Kossuth or a Jenny Lind, a patriot exile or
a foreign singer, all the world is sure to know of their admiration; when
they are delighted at some great achievement in science, like the laying of
an Atlantic Cable, they demonstrate their delight. They make their
successful generals Presidents; they give dinners to Morphy and banquets to
Cyrus Field. They are thoroughly imbued with the spirit of the
age. Therefore they are artistic.

How amazed some will be at the proposition,--amazed that the age should be
called an artistic one,--amazed that Americans should be considered an
artistic nation! Yet art is only the expression in outward and visible form
of an inward and spiritual grace,--the sacrament of the imagination. Art is
an incarnation in colors or stone or music or words of some subtile essence
which requires the embodiment. We all have delicate fancies, lofty
imaginings, profound sentiments; the artist expresses them for us. If,
then, this age be one that requires expression for its ideas, that is
practical, that insists on accomplishing its designs, on creating its
children, on producing its results, it is an artistic age. For art works; a
poet is a maker, according to the Greeks: and all artists are poets; they
all produce; they all do; they all make. They do just what all the
practical men of this practical age are doing, what even the Gradgrinds are
doing: they embody ideas; they put thoughts into facts. A quiet,
contemplative age is not an artistic one; art has ever flourished in
stirring times: Grecian wars and Guelphic strife have been its fostering
influences. An artist is very far from being an idle dreamer; he works as
hard as the merchant or the mechanic,--works, too, physically as well as
mentally, with his hand as well as his head.

This is all statement: let us have some facts; let us embody our ideas. Do
you not call Meyerbeer, with his years of study and effort and application,
a worker? Do you not call Verdi, who has produced thirty operas, a worker?
Do you not imagine that Turner labored on his splendid pictures? Do you not
know how Crawford toiled and spun away his nerves and brain? Have you not
heard of the incessant and tremendous attention that for many months Church
bestowed on the canvas that of late attracted the admiration of English
critics and their Queen? Was Rachel idle? Have these artists not spent the
substance of themselves as truly as any of your politicians or your
soldiers or your traders? Can you not trace in them the same energy, the
same effort, the same determination as in Louis Napoleon, as in Zachary
Taylor, as in Stephen Girard? Are not they also representative?

And their works,--for by these shall ye know them,--do they reflect in
nothing this fitful, uneasy, yet splendid intensity of to-day? Can you not
read in the colors on Turner's canvas, can you not see in the rush of
Church's Niagara, can you not hear in the strains of the Traviata, can you
not perceive in the tones and looks of Ristori, just what you find in the
successful men in other spheres of life? Rothschild's fortune speaks no
more plainly than the Robert le Diable; George Sand's novels and Carlyle's
histories tell the same story as Kossuth's eloquence and Garibaldi's
deeds. The artists are as alive to-day as any in the the world. For, again
and again, art is not an outside thing; its professors, its lovers, are not
placed outside the world; they are in it and of it as absolutely as the
rest. You who think otherwise, remember that Verdi's name six months ago
was the watchword of the Italian revolutionists; remember that certain
operas are forbidden now to be played in Naples, lest they should arouse
the countrymen of Masaniello; remember, or learn, if you did not know, how
in New York, last June, all the singers in town offered their services for
a benefit to the Italian cause, and all the _habitues_, late though the
season was, crowded to their places to see an opera whose attractiveness
had been worn out and whose novelty was nearly gone. You who think that art
is an interest unworthy of men who live in the world, that it is a thing
apart, what say you to the French, the most actual, the most practical, the
most worldly of peoples, and yet the fondest of art in all its phases,--the
French, who remembered the statues in the Tuileries amid the massacres of
the First Revolution, and spared the architecture of antiquity when they
bombarded the city of the Caesars?

Consider, too, the growing love for art in practical America; remark the
crowds of newly rich who deck their houses with pictures and busts, even
though they cannot always appreciate them; remember that nearly every
prominent town in the country has its theatre; that the opera, the most
refined luxury of European civilization, considered for long an affectation
beyond every other, is relished here as decidedly as in Italy or France. In
New York, Boston, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, and New Orleans, there are
buildings exclusively appropriated to this new form of art, this exotic,
expensive amusement. These opera-houses, too, illustrate most aptly the
progress of other arts. They are adorned with painting and gilding and
carving; they are as sumptuous in accommodation as the palaces of European
potentates; they are lighted with a brilliancy that Aladdin's garden never
rivalled; they are thronged, with crowds as gayly dressed as those that
fill the saloons of Parisian belles; and the singers and actors who
interpret the thoughts of mighty foreign masters are the same who delight
the Emperor of the French when he pays a visit to the Queen of Great
Britain and Ireland. Orchestras of many instruments discourse most eloquent
music, and involuted strains are criticized in learned style, in capitals
thousands of miles from the seashore. And there is no appreciation of art
in all this! there is no embodiment of the love of the age for material
magnificence, there is no poetry incarnated into form, in this combination
of splendors rivalling the opium-eater's visions! The Americans are a dull,
stupid people, immersed in business; art has no effect upon them; it is
despised among them; it can never prosper here!

The stage, indeed, in its various forms, seems more fully to manifest and
illustrate the artistic influence among Americans than any other art. It
often addresses those whom more refined solicitations might never
reach. Those who would turn from Church's or Page's pictures with
indifference are frequently attracted by the representations in a theatre.
The pictures there are more alive, more real, more intense, and fascinate
many unable to appreciate the recondite charms of the canvas. The grace of
attitude, the splendid expression, the intellectual art of Ristori or
Rachel may impress those who fail to discover the same merits in colder
stone, in Crawford's marble or the statues of Palmer; and they may
sometimes learn to relish even the delicate beauties of Shakspeare's text,
from hearing it fitly declaimed, who would never spell out its meaning by
themselves. The drama is certainly superior to other arts while its reign
lasts, because of its veriness, its actuality. He must be dull of
imagination, indeed, who cannot give himself up for a while to its
illusions; he must be stupid who cannot open his senses to its delights or
waken his intellect to receive its influences.

Neither can a taste for the stage be declared one which only the ignorant
or vulgar share. Though away in the wilds of California a theatre was often
erected next after a hotel, the second building in a town, and the
strolling player would summon the miners by his trumpet when not one was in
sight, and instantly a swarm peeped forth from the earth, like the armed
men who sprang from the furrows that Cadmus ploughed,--though the wildest
and rudest of Western cities and the wildest and rudest inhabitants of
Western towns are quick to acknowledge the charms of the stage,--yet also
the most highly cultured and the most intellectual Americans pay the same
tribute to this art. We have all seen, within a few years, one of the most
profound scholars and most prominent divines in the country proclaiming his
approbation of the drama. We may find, to-day, in any Eastern city, members
of the liberal clergy at an opera, and sometimes at a play. The scholars
and writers and artists and thinkers, as well as the people of leisure and
of fashion, frequent places of amusement, not only for amusement, but to
cultivate their tastes, to exercise their intellects, ay, and oftentimes to
refine their hearts. The splendid homage paid in England not long ago to
the drama, when the highest nobility and the first statesmen in the land
were present at a banquet in honor of Charles Kean, is evidence enough that
no puerile or uncultivated taste is this which relishes the theatre. Goethe
presiding over the playhouse at Weimar, Euripides and Sophocles writing
tragedies, the greatest genius of the English language acting in his own
productions at the Globe Theatre, people like Siddons and Kean and Cushman
and Macready illustrating this art with the resources of their fine
intellects and great attainments,--surely these need scarcely be mentioned,
to relieve the drama from the reproach that some would put upon it, of

New York is, perhaps, more of a representative city than any other in the
land. It is an aggregation from all the other portions of the country; it
is the result, the precipitate, of the whole. It has no distinctive,
individual character of its own; it is a condensation of all the rest, a
focus. Thither all the country goes at times. Restless, fitful, changing,
yet still the same in its change; like the waves of the sea, that toss and
roll and move away, and still the mighty mass is ever there. New York, in
its various phases and developments, its crowded and cosmopolitan
population, its out-door kaleidoscopic splendor, is indeed a representative
of the entire country. It has not the purely literary life of Boston, nor
so distinctive an intellectual character; it is not so stamped by the
impress of olden times as Philadelphia; but it has an outside garb
significant of the inward nature. It is like the face of a great actor,
splendid in expression, full of character, changing with a thousand
changing emotions, but betraying a great soul beneath them all. New York is
artistic just as America is artistic, just as the age is artistic: not,
perhaps, in the loftiest or most refined sense, but in the sense that art
is an expression, in tangible form, of ideas. New York is a great thought
uttered. It is like those fruits or seeds which germinate by turning
themselves inside out; the soul is on the outside, crusted all over it, but
none the less soul for all that.

And New York illustrates this idea of the drama being the representative
art of to-day. The theatre there, including the opera, is a great
established fact,--as important nearly as it was in the palmiest days of
the Athenian republic, or on the road to be of as much consequence as it is
in Paris, the representative city of the world. Fifty thousand people
nightly crowd twenty different theatres in New York. From the splendid
halls where Grisi and Gazzaniga and La Borde and La Grange have by turns
translated into sound the ideas of Meyerbeer and Bellini and Donizetti and
Mozart, to the little rooms where sixpenny tickets procure lager-beer as
well as music for the purchaser, the drama is worshipped. And this not only
by New-Yorkers: not only do those who lead the busy, excited life of the
metropolis acquire a taste, as some might say, for a factitious excitement,
but all strangers hasten to the theatres. The sober farmer, the citizens
from plodding interior towns, the gay Southerners, accustomed almost
exclusively to social amusements, the denizens of rival Bostons and
Philadelphias all frequent the operas and playhouses of New York. When the
richer portion of its inhabitants have left the hot and sultry town, or, in
mid-winter, are immersed in the more exclusive pleasures of fashionable
life, even then the theatres are thronged; and in September and October you
shall find all parts of the country represented in their boxes and
parquets,--proving that this is not an exclusively metropolitan taste, that
it is shared by the whole nation, that in this also New York is truly

Boston typifies a peculiar phase of American life; it is the illustration,
the exponent, of the cultivated side of our nationality; its thought, its
action, its character are taken abroad as symbols of the national thought
and action and character, in whatever relates to literature or art. The
Professor said truly, Boston does really in some sort stand for the brain
of America. Well the brain of America appreciates the stage. It is but a
few months since the culture and distinction of Boston nightly crowded a
small and inferior theatre, to witness the personations of the young genius
who is destined at no distant day to rival the proudest names of the drama.
The most brilliant successes Edwin Booth has yet achieved have been
achieved in Boston; scholars and wits and poets and professors crowd the
boxes when he plays; women of talent write poems in his praise and publish
them in the "Atlantic Monthly"; professors of Harvard College send him
congratulatory letters; artists paint and carve his intellectual beauty;
and fashion follows in the wake of intellect, alike acknowledging his
merits. Boston recognized those merits, too, when they were first presented
to its appreciation; and now that they verge nearer upon maturity, her
appreciation is quickened and her applause redoubled. It cannot be said
that the taste or culture of the nation is indifferent to histrionic
excellence, when absolute excellence is found.

No other art is yet on such a footing among us. Neither is this because of
our partially developed civilization. It is equally so abroad; where the
nations are oldest and best established in culture, there, too, a similar
state of things exists. No school in painting, no style of sculpture, no
kind of architecture has made such an impression on the age as its music,
as its dramatic music, its opera. This speaks to all nations, in all
languages. No writer, though he write like Tennyson, or Longfellow, or
Lamartine, or Dudevant, can hope for such an audience as Verdi or
Meyerbeer. No orator speaks to such crowds as Rossini; no Everett or
Kossuth, or Gavazzi or Spurgeon, has so many listeners as Donizetti. For
the stage is the art of to-day,--perhaps more especially, but still not,
exclusively, the operatic stage; the theatre in its various forms
represents the feeling of the time so as Grecian and Gothic architecture
and Italian painting have in their time done for their time,--so as no
pictures, no architecture, no statuary can now do. Painting and statuary,
when they do anything towards representing this age, incarnate the dramatic
spirit; the literature that has most influence today is journalism,--the
effective, present, actual, short-lived, dramatic newspaper, where all the
actors speak for themselves: other literature has its listeners, but it
lags behind; other art has its appreciators, but it cannot keep pace with
the march of armies, with the rush to California, with the swarm to
Australia; there is no art on these outskirts but the dramatic. That
travels with the advancing mass in every exodus; that went with Dr. Kane to
the North Pole (he had private theatricals aboard the Resolute); that alone
gave utterance immediately to the latest cry of humanity in the Italian

Neither can it be said that the theatre has no more consequence now than it
has always enjoyed. At the time when Gothic architects and Italian painters
expressed the meaning of their own ages, there was nothing like a real
drama in existence, and the Roman theatre was never comparable with
ours. The Greeks, indeed, had a stage which was an important element of
their civilization, and which took the character of their time, giving and
receiving influence; but their stage was essentially different from that of
the moderns. Its success did not depend upon the individual performer; its
pageantry was perhaps as splendid as what we now see; but the play of the
countenance, that great intellectual opportunity offered an actor by our
drama, was not known. In this see also a characteristic of the present
age. Individuality is a distinctive peculiarity of the nineteenth century;
it has been for centuries gradually becoming more possible; but every man
now works his own way, acts himself, more completely than ever
before. Therefore appropriate is it that the drama should give importance
to the individual, and allow a great actor to incarnate and illustrate in
his own form and face feelings and passions that formerly were only hinted
at; for remember that the Greek players usually wore masks, while their
amphitheatres were so large that in any event the expression of the
features was lost.

With this individuality, this opportunity for each to develop his own
identity and intensity, the nineteenth century strangely combines another
peculiarity, that of association. All these units, these atoms, so
marvellously distinct, are incorporated into one grand whole; though each
be more, by and of himself, than ever before, yet the great power, the
great motor, is the mass. The mass is made powerful by the added importance
given to each individual. And you may trace without conceit a state of
things behind the scenes very similar to this in front of the
footlights. In the theatre, also, the many workers contribute to a grand
result. The manager would be as powerless in his little empire, without
important assistants, as a monarch without ministers and people. What makes
the French army and the American so irresistible is the thought that each
private is more than a machine, is an intellectual being, understands what
his general wants, fights with his bayonet at Solferino or his musket at
Monterey on his own account, yet subject to the supreme control. And the
theatre, with all its actors and scene-painters and costumers and
carpenters and musicians, is only an army on a different scale. The forces
of the stage answer to the generals and colonels, the marshals and
privates, all marching and working and fighting for the same end. Those
splendid dramatic triumphs of Charles Kean were only illustrations of the
principle of association,--only illustrations of the readiness of the stage
to adapt itself to the times, to seize hold of whatever is suggested by the
outside world, to appropriate the discoveries of Layard and the revelations
of Science to its own uses,--illustrations, too, of the importance of the
individual Kean, as well as of the crowd of clever subordinates.

That the theatre feels this reflex influence, that it appreciates all that
is going on around it, that it is not asleep, that it is penetrated with
the spirit of the century, whether that spirit be good or evil, the
selection of plays now popular is another proof. In France, where the
success of the histrionic art now culminates, a contemporaneous drama is
flourishing, the absolute society of the day is represented. That society
has faults, and the stage mirrors them. "La Dame aux Camelias," "Les Filles
de Marbre," "Le Demi-Monde" reflect exactly the peculiarities of the life
they aim to imitate. And these very plays, whose influence is so often
condemned, would never have had the popularity they have attained in nearly
every city of the civilized world, had there not been Marguerite Gautiers
and Traviatas outside of Paris as well as in it. Another attempt, perhaps
not an entirely successful one, but still a significant attempt, has been
made in this country to produce a contemporaneous drama. "Jessie Brown" and
"The Poor of New York," and other plays directly daguerreotyping ordinary
incidents, at any rate show that the drama is an art that responds
instantly to the pulses of the time.

But it ia not necessary for the stage to daguerreotype; it mirrors more
truly when it embodies the spirit. And never before was there an age whose
spirit was more theatrical, in the best sense of the term; full of outside
expression, but also full of inside feeling; working, accomplishing,
putting into actual form its ideas; incarnating its passions; intellectual,
yet passionate; lofty in imagination, yet practical in exemplification;
showy, but significantly showy,--theatrical. An art, then, that is all
this, surely expresses as no other art does or can the character of the
nineteenth century,--surely is the representative art.

* * * * *



I have already, in a former article, spoken of some of the superstitions
belonging to the Church which are prevalent in Italy; but there are other,
and, so to speak, _lay_ superstitions, which also claim a place,--and to
them this chapter shall be dedicated.

It is dangerous ground, a twilight marsh, where the will-o'-wisps light us,
over which I propose to lead you; and had I not armed myself with all sorts
of amulets, I should shrink from the enterprise. But the famous weapon with
which Luther drove away the Evil One is at my side, potent as evil, I hope,
so long as a pen can be put into it,--and Saint Dunstan's friend is in the
corner, ready, at a pinch, for service; and having shut out all those
spirits which so sorely tempted Saint Anthony, and locked my door to dark
eyes and blue eyes and dark hair and blonde hair, I may hope to get through
my dangerous chapter, and--

Strange fatality!--one of Saint Anthony's spirits tempts me from the other
room, even at the moment I boast; but I resist,--manfully dipping my pen
into Luther's stronghold,--and it vanishes, and leaves me face to face
with--the Evil Eye. Yes! it is the Evil Eye, the _Jettatura_ of Italy, that
we are boldly to face for an hour.

This is one of the oldest and most interesting superstitions that have come
down to us from the past; and as it still lives and flourishes in Italy
with a singular vitality and freshness, it may be worth while to trace it
back to some of its early sources. Its birth-place was the East, where it
existed in dillomnt forms amongst almost every people. Thence it was
imported into Greece, where it was called _Baskania_, and was adopted by
the Romans under the name of _Fascinum_. Solomon himself alludes to it in
the Book of Wisdom. Isigonus relates that among the Triballi and Illyrii
there were men who by a glance fascinated and killed those whom they looked
upon with angry eyes; and Nymphodorus asserts that there were fascinators
whose voices had the power to destroy flocks, to blast trees, and to kill
infants. In Scythia, also, according to Apollonides, there were women of
this class, "_quoe vocantur Bithyoe_"; and Phylarchus says that in Pontus
there was a tribe, called the Thibii, and many others, of the same nature
and having the same powers. The testimony of Algazeli is to the same
effect; and he adds, that these fascinators have a peculiar power over
women. We have also the testimony of Aristotle, Pliny, and Plutarch, who
all speak as believers, while Solinus enumerates certain families of
fascinators who exerted their influence _voce et lingua_, and Philostratus
makes special mention of Apolloius Thyaneus as having been possessed of
these wonderful powers. Indeed, nearly all the old writers agree in
recognizing the existence of the faculty of fascination; and among the
Romans it was so universally admitted, that in the "Decemvirales Tabulae"
there was a law prohibiting the exercise of it under a capital
penalty:--"_Ne pelliciunto alienas segeles, excantando, ne incantando; ne
agrum defraudanto._" Some jurisconsults skilled in the ancient law say that
boys are sometimes fascinated by the burning eyes of these infected men so
as to lose all their health and strength. Pliny relates that one Caius
Furius Cresinus, a freedman, having been very successful in cultivating his
farms, became an object of envy, and was publicly accused of poisoning by
arts of fascination his neighbors' fruits; whereupon he brought into the
Forum his daughter, ploughs, tools, and oxen, and, pointing to them,
said,--"These which I have brought, and my labor, sweat, watching, and
care, (which I cannot bring,) are all my arts." Let those who consider the
moving of tables as wonderful listen to the surprising statement of Pliny
as to an occurrence in his own time, when a whole olive-orchard belonging
to a certain Vectius Marcellus, a Roman knight, crossed over the public
way, and took its place, ground and all, on the other side. [Footnote:
Plinii _Nat. Hist._ Lib. xvii. cap. 38.] This same fact is also alluded to
by Virgil in his Eighth Eclogue, on _Pharmaceutria_ (all of which, by the
way, he stole from Theocritus):--

"Atque satas alio vidi traducere messes."

"Now," says the worthy Vairus, who has written an elaborate treatise on
this subject in Latin, well worthy to be examined, "let no man laugh at
these stories as old wives' tales, (_aniles nugas_,) nor, because the
reason passes our knowledge, let us turn them into ridicule, for infinite
are the things which we cannot understand, (_infinita enim prope sunt
quorum rationem adipisci nequimus_); but rather than turn all miracles out
of Nature because we cannot understand them, let us make that fact the
beginning and reason of investigation. For does not Solomon in his Book of
Wisdom say, '_Fascinatio malignitatis obscurat bona'?_ and does not Dominus
Paulus cry out to the Galatians, '_O insensati Galatoe, quis vos
fascinavit'?_ which the best interpreters admit to refer to those whose
burning eyes (_oculos urentes_) with a single look blast all persons, and
especially boys."

It seems to have been a peculiarity in the superstitions as to the
_fascinum_, that boys and women were specially susceptible to its
influence; and in this respect, as well as in some of the symptoms of
fascination, it bears a curious resemblance to the effects of modern
witchcraft as practised in New England. Dionysius Carthusianus, speaking of
the nomad tribes of the Biarmii and Amaxobii, who, according to him, were
most skilful fascinators, says that they so affected persons with their
curse that they lost their freedom of will and became insane and idiotic,
and often wasted away in extreme leanness and corruption, and so perished:
"_ut liberi non sint nec mentis compotes, soepe ad extremam maciem
deveniant, et tabescendo dispereant._" Olaus Magnus agrees with him in
these symptoms; and Hieronymus says, that, when infants suddenly grow lean,
waste away, twist about as if in pain, and sometimes scream out and cry in
a wonderful way, you may be certain that they have been fascinated. This,
to be sure, looks mightily like a diagnosis for worms; but we would not
measure our wits with the grave Hieronymus. Still, as an amulet against
such fascination, "Jaynes's Vermifuge" might be suggested as efficient, or
at least a grain or two of _Santonina_.

In Abyssinia, it is supposed that men who work in iron or pottery are
peculiarly endowed with this fatal power of fascination, and in consequence
of this prejudice they are expelled from society and even from the
privilege of partaking of the holy sacrament. They are known by the name of
_Buda_, and, though excluded from the more sacred rites of the Church,
profess great respect for religion, and are surpassed by none in the
strictness of their fasts. All convulsions and hysterical disorders are
attributed to these unfortunate artificers; and they are also supposed to
have the power of changing themselves into hyenas and other ravenous
beasts. Nathaniel Pearce, the African traveller, relates that the
Abyssinians are so fully convinced that these unhappy men are in the habit
of rifling graves in their character of hyenas, that no one will venture to
eat _quareter_ or dried meat in their houses, nor any flesh, unless it be
raw, or unless they have seen it killed. These Budas usually wear earrings
of a peculiar shape, and Pearce states that he has frequently seen them in
the ears of hyenas that have been caught or trapped, and confesses, that,
although he had taken considerable pains to investigate the subject, he had
never been able to discover how these ornaments came there; and Mr. Coffin,
his friend, relates a story of one of these transformations which took
place under his own eyes. [Footnote: Herodotus makes the same statement as
to the Buda. "They are said to be evil-minded and enchanters," he says,
"that for a day every year change themselves into wolves. This the
Scythians and Greeks who dwell there affirm with great oaths. But they do
not persuade me of it."--Herod. Lib. iii. cap. 7.

See on this subject _Life and Adventures of Nathaniel Pearce_, and _Nubia
and Abyssinia_, by Rev. Michael Russell. Petronius's story of a Versipelles
is well known.]

This is the old superstition of the were-wolf, which existed also among the
Greeks and Romans. Those endowed with this power of transforming themselves
into beasts were called _Versipelles_. Pliny makes mention of them, and
cites from a Greek author the case of a man "who lived nine years in the
shape of a wolf"; but, credulous as he is, he says that the superstition
"is a fabulous opinion, not worthy of credit." For myself, I can say that I
have known many men who were wolves; and we all remember what Queen Labe
used to do with her lovers.

Fascination was of two kinds, moral and natural. Those in whom the power
was moral could exert it only by the exercise of their will; but those in
whom it was natural could but keep exercising it unconsciously. And these
latter were the most terrible. It is generally explained by ancient writers
as being a power of the spirit or imagination, (as they termed it.)
exhibited in persons of a peculiar organization, and diffusing _radios
salutares vel perniciosos_. Though the terms employed by them, as well as
their notions of its origin, are very unphilosophical and vague, it is
plain that they considered it as a species of mesmeric or biologic power,
operating by nervous impression. The fascinator generally endeavored to
provoke in his victims an excited and pleased attention, for in this
condition they were peculiarly predisposed to his influence. And inasmuch
as persons are thrown off their guard of reserve and attracted by praise,
those who flattered excessively were looked upon with suspicion; and it was
a universally recognized rule of good manners and morals, that every one in
praising another should be careful not to do so immoderately, lest he
should fascinate even against his will. Hieronymus Fracastorius, in his
treatise "On Sympathy and Antipathy," thus states the fact and the
philosophy,--and who shall dare gainsay the conclusions of one so learned
in science, medicine, and astrology as this distinguished man?--"We read,"
he says, "that there were certain families in Crete who fascinated by
praising, and this is doubtless quite possible. For as there exists in the
nature of some persons a poison which is ejaculated through their eyes by
evil spirits, there is no reason why infants and even grown persons should
not be peculiarly injured by this fascination of praise. For praise creates
a peculiar pleasure, and pleasure in turn, as we have already said, first
dilates and opens the heart and then the spirit, and then the whole face
and especially the eyes,--so that all these doors are opened to receive the
poison which is ejaculated by the fascinator. Wherefore it is most proper,
whenever we intend to praise a person, that we should warn him, and use
some form to avert the ill effects of our words, as by saying, 'May it be
of no injury to you!' There are, indeed, some, who, when they are praised,
avert their faces, not to indicate that praise in itself is unpleasant, but
to avoid fascination; it being thought that fascination is often effected
by means of praise";[1] or in other words, the poison being given in the
honey of flattery. Now in order to close up this _dilatationem_ or opening
of the system, a _corona baccaris_ was worn, which, by its odoriferous and
constipating qualities, produced this effect, as Dioscorides assures us.[2]
Virgil, in his Seventh Eclogue, alludes to the same, antidote:--

"Aut si ultra placitum laudant, baccare frontem
Cingite, ne vati noceat mala lingua futuro."

[Footnote 1: Hier. Fracastorius, _De Sympathia et Antipathia_,
Lib. i. cap. 23. See also Vincentius Alsarius, _De Invid. et Fasc. Vet._,
in Graevius, _Thes. Rom. Antiq._ Vol. xii. p. 890.]

[Footnote 2: Lib. iii. cap. 46, confirmed also by Athenaeus, _Deipnos_.
Lib. iii.]

Tertullian, in his work "De Virginibus Velandis," states the same fact as
Fracastorius, and says that among the heathens there are persons who are
possessed of a terrible somewhat which they call _Fascinum_, effected by
excessive praise: _"Nam est aliquod etiam apud Ethnicos metuendum, quod
Fascinum vocant, infeliciorem laudis et gloriae enormioris eventum_."

To avert this evil influence, every well-mannered person among the ancients
said, "_Proefiscine_," before wishing well to another,--as clearly appears
from the following passage cited by Charisius [Footnote: _Inst. Gram._
Lib. iv.] from Titinius in "Setina." One person exclaims, "_Paula mea,
amabo----_" Whereupon a friend who stands by says, "He was going to praise
Paula!" "_Ecce qui loquitur, Paulam puellam laudare parabat!_" And another
friend present cries out, "By Pollux! you should better say,
'_Proefiscini_,' or you may fascinate her": "_Pol! tu in laudem addito
Proefiscini, ne puella fascinaretur_." [Footnote: See also Turnebi
_Comm. in Orat. Sec. contra P.S. Rullum de Leg. Agrar._ M.T. Ciceronis.]
This same custom exists at the present day among the Turks, who always
accompany a compliment to you or to anything belonging to you with the
phrase, _"Mashallah!"_ (God be praised!)--thus referring the good gifts you
possess to the Higher Spirit. To omit this is a breach of courtesy, and in
such case the other person instantly adds it in order to avert fascination;
for the superstition is, that, if this phrase be omitted, we may seem to
refer all good gifts to our own merit instead of God's grace, and so
provoke the divine wrath. The same custom also exists in Italy; and the
common reply to any salutation in which your looks or health may be
complimented is, "_Grazia a Dio!_" In some parts of Italy, if you praise a
pretty child in the street, or even if you look earnestly at it, the nurse
will be sure to say, "_Dio la benedica!_" so as to cut off all ill-luck;
and if you happen to be walking with a child and catch any person watching
it, such person will invariably employ some such phrase to show you that he
does not mean to do it injury, or to cast a spell of _jettatura_ upon
it. The modern Greeks are even more jealous of praise, and if you
compliment a child of theirs, you are expected to spit three times at him
and say, [Greek: Na maen baskanthaes], ("May no evil come to you!") or
mutter [Greek: Skordo], ("Garlic,") which has a special power as a
counter-charm. So, too, in Corsica, the peasants are strict believers in
the _jettatura_ of praise, which they call _l'annocchiatura_,--supposing,
that, if any evil influence attend you, your good wishes will turn into
curses. They are therefore very careful in praising, and sometimes express
themselves in language the very reverse of what they intend,--as, "'_Va,
coquine!'_ says Bandalaccio, in M. Merimee's pleasant story of "Colomba,"
'_sois excommuniee, sois maudite, friponne!' Car Bandalaccio, superstitieux
comme tous les bandits, craignait de fasciner les enfans en les addressant
les benedictions et les eloges. On sait que les puissances mysterieuses qui
president a l'annocchiatura ont la mauvaise habitude d'executer le
contraire de nos souhaits._" Perhaps our familiar habit of calling our
children "scamp" and "rascal," when we are caressing them, may be founded
on a worn-out superstition of the same kind.

But it is not only praise administered by others which may inflict evil
upon us,--we must also be specially careful not to have too "gude a conceit
of ourselves," lest we thereby draw down upon us the fate of a certain
Eutelidas, who, having regarded his image in the water with peculiar
self-satisfaction and laudation, immediately lost his health, and from that
time forward was afflicted with sore diseases. During a supper at the house
of Metrius Florus, where, among others, Plutarch, Soclarus, and Caius, the
son-in-law of Florus, were guests, a curious and interesting conversation
took place on the subject of the _Fascinum_, which is reported by Plutarch
in one of his Symposia. The existence of the power of fascination was
admitted by all, and a philosophical explanation of its phenomena was
attempted. In reply to some suggestions of Plutarch, Soclarus says there is
no doubt that their ancestors fully believed in this power, and then cites
the case of Eutelidas as being well known to his auditors, and celebrated
by some poet in these lines:--

"Eutelidas was once a beauteous youth,
But, luckless, in the wave his face beholding,
Himself he fascinates, and pines away." [1]

[Footnote 1: Plutarchi _Symp_. V. Prob. VII.]

Fascination was excited by touch, voice, and look. The fascination by touch
was simply mesmerism, or rather the biology of the present day, in an
undeveloped stage. There were said to be four qualities of
touch,--_calidus, humidus, frigidus, et siccus_, or hot, cold, moist, and
dry,--according to which persons were active or passive in the exercise of
the fascinum. Its function was double, by raising or by lowering the
arm,--"_modo per arteriae elevationem, modo per ejusdem submissionem_" says
the worthy Vairits; "for," he continues, "when the artery is thrown out and
is open, the spirits are emitted with wonderful celerity, and in some
imperceptible manner are carried to the thing to fascinate it. And because
the artery has its origin in the heart, the spirits issuing thence retain
its infected and vitiated nature, and according to its depravity fascinate
and destroy."

This power of touch is recognized in all history and in all climes. All who
saw Christ desired to touch his garment, and so receive some healing
virtue; and his miracles of cure he almost always performed by his
hand. When the woman who had the issue of blood came behind him and touched
him, Jesus asked who touched him, and said,--"Somebody hath touched me; for
I perceive that virtue is gone out of me." It has always been a popular
superstition that the scrofula could be cured by the touch of a king or of
the seventh son of a seventh son. The old belief that the body of a
murdered man would distill blood, if his murderer's hand were placed on
him, is also of the same class.

Descending to the sphere of animals, we find some curious facts having
relation to this power. The electrical eel, for instance, has the faculty
of overcoming and numbing his prey by this means. And among the Arabs,
according to Gerard, the French lion-killer, whoever inhales the breath of
the lion goes mad.

Dr. Livingstone, in his interesting travels in South Africa, makes a
curious statement bearing upon this subject. He was out shooting lions one
day, when, "after having shot once, just," he says, "as I was in the act of
ramming down the bullets, I heard a shout. Starting and looking half round,
I saw the lion just in the act of springing upon me. I was upon a little
height; he caught my shoulder as he sprang, and we both came to the ground
below together. Growling horribly close to my ear, he shook me as a
terrier-dog does a rat. The shock produced a stupor similar to that which
seems to be felt by a mouse after the first shake of the cat. It caused a
sort of dreaminess, in which there was no sense of pain nor feeling of
terror, though quite conscious of all that was happening. It was like what
patients partially under the influence of chloroform describe, who see all
the operation, but feel not the knife. This singular condition was not the
result of any mental process. The shake annihilated fear, and allowed no
sense of horror in looking round at the beast. This peculiar state is
probably produced in all animals killed by the _carnivora_, and, if so, is
a merciful provision by our benevolent Creator for lessening the pain of

The next method of fascination was by the Voice. Aristotle speaks of it as
the cause of fascination, and says that the mere sound of the fascinator's
voice has this wondrous power, independently of his good or ill will, as
well as of the words he uses. And Alexander Aphrodisiensis calls the
fascinators poisoners, who poison their victim by intently looking at him
_carmine prolato_, "with a measured song or cadence." The same peculiarity
is observable in all experiments with the moving tables or rapping spirits,
which are more successful when accompanied by constant music. Circe
fascinated with incantation; and the Psalmist alludes to it as a means of
charming. Serpents, as well as men, are thus charmed. Virgil says, that, if
to this incantation by words certain herbs are joined, the fascination
works with more terrible effect:--

"Pocula si quando saevae infecere novercae,
Miscueruntque herbas et non irmoxia verba,
Auxilium venit, ac membris agit atra venena."

It is related of a certain magician, that, when he whispered in the ear of
a bull, he could prostrate him to the earth as if he were dead; [Footnote:
Vairus, _De Fascino_. p. 24.] and in our own time we have had an example
of the same wonderful faculty in Sullivan, the famous horse-whisperer,
whose secret died with him, or, at least, never was made public. Pliny also
relates, that tigers are rendered so furious by the sound of the drum, that
they often end by tearing themselves limb from limb in their rage; but I am
afraid this is one of Pliny's stories. Plutarch, however, agrees with him
in this belief.[Footnote: Plut. _Praecepta Conjugialia_.]

And next as to the Evil Eye ([Greek: ophthalmos baskanos]). From the
earliest ages of the world, the potency of the eye in fascination has been
recognized. "Nihil oculo nequius creatum" says the Preacher; and the
philosopher calls it alter animus, "another spirit." "It sends forth its
rays," says Vairus, "like spears and arrows, to charm the hearts of men":
"veluti jacula et sagittae ad effascinandorum corda." And it carries
disease and death, as well as love and delight, in its course: "Totumque
corpus inficiunt, atque ita (nulla interposita mora) arbores, segetes,
bruta animalia et homines perniciosa qualitate inficiunt et ad interitum
deducunt." Vairus relates that a friend of his saw a fascinator simply with
a look break in two a precious gem while in the hands of the artist who was
working upon it. Horace thua alludes to it:--

"Non isthic obliquo oculo mea commoda quisquam
Limat; non odio obscuro morsuque venenat."

Among the diseases given by a glance are ophthalmia and jaundice, say the
ancients; and in these cases, the fascinator loses the disease as his
victim takes it A similar peculiarity is to be remarked in the superstition
of the basilisk, who kills, if he sees first, but when he is seen first,
dies. No animals, it is said, can bear the steady gaze of man, and there
are some persons who by this means seem to exercise a wonderful power over
them. Animals, however, have sometimes their revenge on man. It is an old
superstition, that he whom the wolf sees first loses his voice. Among
themselves, also, they use this power of charming,--as in the case of the
serpent, who thus attracts the bird, and of the toad, the "jewels in whose
head" have a like magical influence. Dr. Andrew Smith, in his excellent
work on "Reptilia," gives the following interesting account of the power of
the serpent, and of other animals, to fascinate their prey. Speaking of the
_Bucephalus Capetisis_, he says,--

"It is generally found upon trees, to which it resorts for the purpose of
catching birds, on which it delights to feed. The presence of a specimen in
a tree is generally soon discovered by the birds of the neighborhood, who
collect round it and fly to and fro, uttering the most piercing cries,
until some one, more terror-struck than the rest, actually scans its lips,
and, almost without resistance, becomes a meal for its enemy. During such a
proceeding, the snake is generally observed with its head raised about ten
or twelve inches above the branch round which its body and tail are
entwined, with its mouth open and its neck inflated, as if anxiously
endeavoring to increase the terror, which it would almost appear it was
aware would sooner or later bring within its grasp some one of the
feathered group.

"Whatever may be said in ridicule of fascination, it is nevertheless true
that birds, and even quadrupeds, are, under certain circumstances, unable
to retire from the presence of certain of their enemies, and, what is even
more extraordinary, unable to resist the propensity to advance from a
situation of actual safety into one of the most imminent danger. This I
have often seen exemplified in the case of birds and snakes; and I have
heard of instances equally curious, in which antelopes and other quadrupeds
have been so bewildered by the sudden appearance of crocodiles, and by the
grimaces and distortions they practised, as to be unable to fly or even
move from the spot towards which they were approaching to seize them."

The fascination which fire and flame exercise upon certain insects is well
known, and the beautiful moths which so painfully insist on sacrificing
themselves in our candle are the commonplaces of poets and lovers. They are
generally supposed to be attracted by the light and ignorantly to rush to
their destruction; but this simple explanation does not fully account for
all the facts. Dr. Livingstone says, that "fire exercises a fascinating
effect upon some kinds of toads. They may be seen rushing into it in the
evenings, without even starting back on feeling pain. Contact with the hot
embers rather increases the energy with which they strive to gain the
hottest parts, and they never cease their struggles for the centre even
when their juices are coagulating and their limbs stiffening in the
roasting heat. Various insects also are thus fascinated; but the scorpions
may be seen coming away from the fire in fierce disgust, and they are so
irritated as to inflict at that time their most painful stings."

May it not be that flame exercises upon certain insects and animals an
influence similar to that produced upon man by the moon, rendering them mad
when subjected too long to its influence? Is not the moon the Evil Eye of
the night?

A curious story, bearing upon this subject, is told in one of a series of
interesting articles in "Household Words," called "Wanderings in India."
The author is talking with an old soldier about a cobra-capello, which has
been known to the latter for thirteen years.

"This cobra," says the soldier, "has never offered to do me any harm; and
when I sing, as I sometimes do when I am alone here at work on some tomb or
other, he will crawl up and listen for two or three hours together. One
morning, while he was listening, he came in for a good meal, which lasted
him some days."

"How was that?"

"I will tell you, Sir. A minar was chased by a small hawk, and, in despair,
came and perched itself on the top of a most lofty tomb at which I was at
work. The hawk, with his eyes fixed intently on his prey, did not, I fancy,
see the snake lying motionless in the grass; or, if he did see him, he did
not think he was a snake, but something else,--my crowbar, perhaps. After a
little while, the hawk pounced down, and was just about to give the minar a
blow and a grip, when the snake suddenly lifted his head, raised his hood,
and hissed. The hawk gave a shriek, fluttered, flapped his wings with all
his might, and tried very hard to fly away. But it would not do. Strong as
the eye of the hawk was, the eye of the snake was stronger. The hawk, for a
time, seemed suspended in the air; but at last he was obliged to come down
and sit opposite the old gentleman, (the snake,) who commenced with his
forked tongue, and keeping his eyes on him all the while, to slime his
victim all over. This occupied him for at least forty minutes, and by the
time the process was over the hawk was perfectly motionless. I don't think
he was dead,--but he was very soon, however, for the old gentleman put him
into a coil or two and crackled up every bone in the hawk's body. He then
gave him another sliming, made a big mouth, distended his neck till it was
as big round as the thickest part of my arm, and down went the hawk like a
shin of beef into a beggar-man's bag." [Footnote: _Household Words_,
Jan. 23, 1858, vol. xvii., P. 139.]

The same writer, in another paper, relates a case in which he was cured of
a violent attack of _tic-douloureux_, from which he "suffered extreme
agonies," by the steady gaze of a native doctor, who was called in for the
purpose. He used no other method than a fixed, steady gaze, making no
mesmeric passes; and in this way he cured his patients by "locking up their
eyes," as he termed it. His power seemed to have been very great; and what
is curious is, that, "with one exception, and that was in the case of a
Keranu, a half-caste, no patient had ever fallen asleep or had become
'_beehosh_' (unconscious) under his gaze." He related several cases, one of
which was of "a sahib who had gone mad," drink-delirious. "His wife would
not suffer him to be strapped down, and he was so violent that it took four
or five other sahibs to hold him. I was sent for, and at first had great
difficulty with him, and much trembling. At last, however, I locked his
eyes up as soon as I got him to look at me, and kept him, for several
hours, as quiet as a mouse. I stayed with him two days, and whatever I told
him to do he did immediately. When I got his eyes fixed on mine, he could
not take them away,--could not move."

All these different kinds of fascination have now become united together
and go under the general name of _Jettatura_, in Italy, though the eye is
considered as the most potent and terrible charmer. The superstition is
universal, and pervades all modes of thought among the ignorant classes,
but its sanctuary is Naples. There it is as much a matter of faith as the
Madonna and San Gennaro. Every coral-shop is filled with amulets, and
everybody wears a counter-charm,--ladies on their arms, gentlemen on their
watch-chains, lazzaroni on their necks. If you are going to Italy,--and as
all the world now goes to Italy, you will join the endless caravan, of
course,--it becomes a matter of no small importance for you to know the
signs by which you may recognize the fascinator, and the means by which you
may avert his evil influence; for, should you fall in his way and be
unprotected, direful, indeed, might be the consequences. Sudden disease,
like a pestilence at mid-day, might seize you, and on those lovely shores
you might pine away and die. Dreadful accidents might overwhelm you and
bury all your happiness forever. Therefore be wise in time.

"Women," says Vairus, "have more power to fascinate than men"; but the
reason he gives will not, I fear, recommend itself to the sex,--for the
worthy _padre_ feared women as devils. According to him, their evil
influence results from their unbridled passions: "_Quia irascendi et
concupiscendi animi vim adeo effrenatam habent, ut nullo modo ab ira et
cupiditate sese temperare valeant_." (Certainly, he _is_ a wretch.) But it
will be some consolation to know that the young and beautiful have far less
power for evil than "little old women," (_aniculas_,) and for these you
must specially look out. But most of all to be dreaded, male or female, are
those who are lean and melancholy by temperament, ("lean and hungry
Cassiuses,") and who have double pupils in their eyes, or in one eye a
double pupil and in the other the figure of a horse. Perhaps Mr. Squeers
and all of his kind come within this class, as having more than one pupil
always in their eye,--but, specially, this rule would seem to warn us
against jockey schoolmasters, with a horse in one eye and several pupils in
the other. Those, too, are dangerous, according to Didymus, who have
hollow, pit-like eyes, sunken under concave orbits, with great projecting
eyebrows,--as well as those who emit a disagreeable odor from their
armpits, (_con rispetto_,) and are remarkable for a general squalor of
complexion and appearance. Persons also are greatly to be suspected who
squint, or have sea-green, shining, terrible eyes. "One of these," says
Didymus, "I knew,--a certain Spaniard, whose name it is not permitted me to
mention,--who, with black and angry countenance and truculent eyes, having
reprimanded his servant for something or other, the latter was so overcome
by fear and terror, that he was not only affected with fascination, but
even deprived of his reason, and a melancholic humor attacking his whole
body, he became utterly insane, and, in the very house of his master, next
the Church of St. James, committed suicide, by hanging himself with a
rope." [Footnote: The passage from Didymus is this: "Macilenti et
melancholici, qui binas pupillas in oculis habent, aut in uno oculo geminam
pupillam, in altero effigiem equi,--quique oculos concavos ac veluti
quibusdam quasi foveis reconditos gerunt, exhaustoque adeo universo humore
ut ossa,--quibus palpebrae coherent, eminere, hirquique sordibus scatere
cernuntur,--quibus in tota cute quae faciem obducit squallor et situs
immoderatus conspicitur, facillime fascinant. Strabones, glaucos, micantes
et terribiles oculos habentes quaecumque et iratis oculis aspiciunt fascino
inficiunt. Et _ego_ hisce oculis Romae quondam Hispanum genere vidi, quem
nominare non licet, qui cum truculentis oculis tetro et irato vultu servum
ob nescio quod objurgasset, adeo servus ille timore ac terrore perterritus
fuit, ut non modo fascino affectus, sed rationis usu privatus fuerit, et
melancholico humore totum ejus corpus invadente, ita ad insaniam redactus
fuit, ut in domo sui heri prope ecclesiam Divi Jacobi sibi mortem
consciverit et laqueo vitam finiverit."]

_Moral_.--If you ever meet with such an agreeable person as this Spaniard
appears to have been,--look out!

In this connection, the reader will recall the similar power of Vathek, in
Beckford's romance, who killed with his eye,--and the story of Racine, whom
a look of Louis XIV. sent to his grave.

The famous Albertus Magnus, master of medicine and magic, devotes a long
chapter to the subject of eyes, giving us, at length, descriptions of those
which we may trust and those which we must fear, some of them terrible and
vigorous enough. From among them I select the following:--"Those who have
hollow eyes are noted for evil; and the larger and moister they are, the
more they indicate envy. The same eyes, when dry, show the possessors to be
faithless, traitorous, and sacrilegious; and if these eyes are also yellow
and cold, they argue insanity. For hollow eyes are the sign of craft and
malignity; and if they are wanting in darkness, they also show
foolishness. But if the eyes are too hollow, and of medium size, dry and
rigid,--if, besides this, they have broad, overhanging eyebrows, and livid
and pallid circles round them, they indicate impudence and malignity."
[Footnote: Albertus Magnus, _De Anima_.] If this be not enough to enable
you, O my reader, to recognise the Evil Eye at sight, let me refer you to
the whole chapter, where you will find ample and very curious rules laid
down, showing a singular acuteness of observation.

Things have, indeed, somewhat changed since the days of Didymus, in this
respect, that men are now thought to be more potent for evil _jettatura_
than women; but his general views still coincide with those entertained at
the present time in Italy. Ever since the establishment, or rather
decadence, of the Church in the Middle Ages, monks have been considered as
peculiarly open to suspicion of possessing the Evil Eye. As long ago as the
ninth century, in the year 842, Erchempert, a _frate_ of the celebrated
convent of Monte Cassino, writes,--"I knew formerly Messer Landulf, Bishop
of Capua, a man of singular prudence, who was wont to say, 'Whenever I meet
a monk, something unlucky always happens to me during the day.'" And to
this day, there are many persons, who, if they meet a monk or priest, on
first going out in the morning, will not proceed upon their errand or
business until they have returned to their house and waited awhile. In Rome
there are certain persons who are noted for this evil power, and marked and
avoided in consequence. One of them is a most pleasant and handsome man,
attached to the Church, and yet, by odd coincidence, wherever he goes, he
carries ill-luck. If he go to a party, the ices do not arrive, the music is
late, the lamps go out, a storm comes on, the waiter smashes his tray of
refreshments,--something or other is sure to happen. "_Sentite_," said some
one the other day to me. "Yesterday, I was looking out of my window, when
I saw ---- coming along. 'Phew!' said I, making the sign of the cross and
pointing both fingers, 'what ill-luck will happen now to some poor devil
that does not see him?' I watched him all down the street, however, and
nothing occurred; but this morning I hear, that, after turning the corner,
he spoke to a poor little boy, who was up in a tree gathering some fruit,
and no sooner was out of sight than smash! down fell the boy and broke his
arm." Even the Pope himself has the reputation of possessing the Evil Eye

Facebook Google Reddit Twitter Pinterest