« AnkstesnisTęsti »
around in fragments, and continued his course, each flank decked with a superb banderilla.
Words cannot describe the intense excitement of the scene. The air was darkened with a storm-cloud of hats, while a steady shower of cigars fell on the arena, which were picked up by the Gordito, who shared them with his comrades. One other scene which caused an uproar, was occasioned by a banderillero, who, at the moment when the death note sounded, was seized with the unfortunate ambition to inflict another pair of banderillas on the bull, but, making a false step, fell face downward. Notwithstanding the efforts of the chulos, he was lifted on the horns of the animal, and carried twice around the arena. Fortunately he fell to the ground, and his captor continued his course, carrying at the points of his horns some rags of satin. The man had been caught up by the vest, and, to the astonishment of the spectators, had escaped without a single scratch.
visitors were assailed by a murmur like the sound of ten thousand swarms of bees. Here they found numerous workers, whose hands were employed in rolling cigars with an activity only surpassed by the ceaseless clamor of their voices. As the visitors passed from place to place the busy tongues were arrested for an instant, but the whisperings soon commenced again with redoubled vigor. The Maestra said that if the workers were compelled to perform their tasks in silence, every one of them would leave the factory rather than submit to such tyrrany. Another strange sound mingled with the whisperings was caused by hundreds of scissors, tijeras, all in motion at the same time, cutting the points of the cigars; these are so indispensable to the cigarreras as to be called their bread-winners.
One or two of the best workers were able to turn out as many as ten packets or atados a day, each one containing fifty cigars, making a total of five hundred, an exceptional number, as few of the cigarreras make above three hundred cigars a day, and the majority not so many. The price paid per hundred is one franc, twenty-eight centimes, and the earning for an average day's toil is a little over two francs.
Later in their journeyings the travelers attended a corrida at Aranjuez, to witness a fight between a bull and a tiger. The course, however, did not last long. The tiger, in spite of the exciting cries of the crowd, remained perfectly still, displaying nothing in his attitude to denote the ferocity of his race. The bull, on the contrary, though small in size, was bent on war. Thus he advanced on his foe, and tossed him into the air. The tiger, without attempting to resent the insult, calmly crawled off to his cage, leaving his adversary master of the field.
Between beggars and bull-fights, one might conclude that the larger part of the population of Spain spent its time very lazily or very unprofitably. There, too, There, too, are the traveling musicians, who are to be encountered everywhere, and who are but one remove from beggars. Still there are industrious men and women to be found in Spain as well as elsewhere, and among them are workers in the tobacco manufactories. There is a very large establishment of this description at Seville, which was founded by an Armenian, Jean Baptiste Carafa, ast long ago as 1620. This factory contained eighty-four courts, as many fountains and wells, and more than two hundred mills drawn by horses. Passing through the rooms where the leaf is crushed and triturated, the visitors were half choked by the poignancy of the air, to which, however, the workers were so accustomed as to experience no inconvenience whatever.
Entering a long gallery, the ears of the
The people employed in making cigars are the aristocracy of the trade, known under the established name of pureras, that is to say, makers of puros, the name generally given to cigars to distinguish them from cigarettes, or cigarros de papel. Spanish cigars, as a rule, are of very large dimensions, and the largest are sometimes named purones; the inside is made up of Virginia tobacco, while the outer cover, or the capa, consists of a leaf of Havana tobacco. An enormous number of cigars and of cigarettes is smoked in Spain, but the pipe is rarely seen unless on some parts of the coast in Catalonia, and in the Balearic isles. Although tobacco may be bought cheaply at the estancos or sales, yet it is asserted that large quantities are smuggled into the country, chiefly by way of Gibraltar, that great entrepôt for contraband goods.
Before reaching the exalted position of cigarrera, the worker, who usually enters the factory at the age of thirteen, has to serve as an apprentice, and has to pass through the different degrees of the hierarchy; first she is occupied in selecting the finest sides of the palillos, or leaves of the tobacco. Later she is advanced to making the cigar, to hacer el niño-to make the chubby-cheeked boy-according to their own peculiar lan
guage. She gains but little for some years, and from her slender earnings has to sacrifice a portion to pay for the espurta, the basket, designed to receive the tobacco leaves, the scissors, and the tarugo, an instrument used to round the puros.
The cigarreras take their meals with them to the factory, the rooms being twice a day transformed into huge refectories, redolent with the mingled odors of garlic, fish, sardines, red-herrings,-black as ink-and slices of broiled tunny-the materials which make up the cigarrera's simple bill of fare.
While the work of cigar-making is reduced to a system, this description shows that the Spaniards have not yet learned the advantages of bringing in machinery to aid them in the production of cigars. Everywhere through the country one constantly comes upon the rudest methods of performing the simplest operations. Even in the streets of Madrid may be seen carboneros weighing sacks of charcoal or coke on roughly constructed steelyards. Both steelyards and coke are hung on one end of a long pole, while two or three carboneros, throwing their weight on the other end of this pole, raise the sacks clear of the ground until the weight of their contents is determined.
and to revive some of the singular fables of antiquity which there abound; but our space forbids more than a mere allusion to them. There is Toledo, for instance, whose history has been the subject of such absurd conjectures. In the architecture of the city there are innumerable evidences of its prolonged occupation by the Arabs. Not the least notable among the ruins are the wells, of one of which we give a representation. The Cathedral of Toledo is one of the finest, and, without doubt, the richest in Spain. It was begun in the thirteenth century, and for nearly two centuries the work of its construction was carried on without intermission. It was completed at the end of the fifteenth century. In the time of its greatest prosperity, between three and four centuries ago when Philip II. made it his capital-Toledo numbered more than two hundred thousand inhabitants. Now it can hardly count fifteen thousand.
"Is it all written?" "Even so,
Behold." She saw not, for her sight Was dim with pain; and in despite Her woman's tears began to flow.
Here we must take leave regretfully of this most entertaining and valuable volume. Pen and pencil are rarely put to better use than in preserving the traditions and perpetuating the characteristics of a country and of a people whose past has been so full of the most profound interest, and from the present condition of which so much instruction may be derived. Such books as this are not likely to become too numerous.
Then through her tears she looked again, And saw the word all written fair; And smiled and sighed, and with her hair Toyed, crying: "Love?' but love is pain;
"Yet Thou, dear Christ, hast shown me how
To die for love; let others wear
The angel bent his stately head,
And bade her bless him as he bowed; "For though my name and state be proud
I am no peer to thee," he said.
FRENCH AND AMERICAN CURRENCIES.
IN comparison with the United States in 1861, France was financially well prepared for war in 1870, so far as her monetary condition was concerned. In the summer of that year, at the outbreak of the Prussian war, the circulation of the Bank of France was 251 million dollars, with a specie reserve of 229 millions-equal to 90 cents on the dollar.
The banks of the United States, on the other hand, had, at the commencement of the late war, a circulation of 207 millions, with a specie reserve of 83 millions, equal to but 40 per cent., or less than half that of the French currency. This statement, however, by no means conveys a full idea of the relative strength of the two monetary systems. The difference between what are in this country termed "deposits," but which the Bank of France more justly calls "accounts," that is, what the bank actually owes on account, is very marked and significant. For example, the aggregate of these "accounts" in the Bank of France was, at the time mentioned, but 140 million dollars. If to this we add its circulation of 251 millions, we have 391 millions as the total immediate liabilities of the bank, against which were held the aforesaid 229 millions of bullion, equal to 58.6 per cent. The banks of this country, in addition to their circulation as just stated, had 253 millions of " deposits," that is, what they owed on account, with but 83 millions of coin, giving them a reserve of but 18.4 per cent. In proportion to immediate liabilities, the Bank of France had a specie basis, nearly three times as large as that of the banks of the United States. The most important fact in regard to American currency, as compared with all European currencies, seems always to have been overlooked by those who have instituted a comparison between them. In the former, there has ever been a far greater indebtedness in the shape of accounts or "deposits," socalled, than in any other country in the world! This point should be well considered and its consequences fully appreciated, or no correct idea can be formed of the most striking characteristic of American banking as compared with banking in other countries.
In France, the only anxiety is to protect the circulation by prompt redemption, but
here it is deposits that cause danger and create alarm.
The suspensions in the United States in 1837, '57 and '73 were accompanied by a call for payment of deposits, not for the redemption of notes. So it has always been, and always must be, under a system in which the amount owed by the banks on account is much larger than that of their notes, since the former can only be gradually returned, while the latter, being payable in the chief centers of trade, may, and, when there is any severe pressure, will, be called for at once.
Why there should be such an immense excess of these "deposits" is well understood by those familiar with American banking. In general, every man who keeps an account at bank, and expects loans-"accommodations,"-is compelled by the law of custom to have a certain balance at all times standing to his credit. In the aggregate, these balances amount to an immense sum; at present, in the National Banks, to over 600 millions, and these the banks mostly loan out to their customers, to the very men who make them. It is one of the modes by which the income of the banks is largely increased, but, as experience shows, a very hazardous one. American banks on an average owe two dollars on account, for one
Such large deposits are artificial. They do not arise in the legitimate transactions of trade. They are virtually to a large extent compulsory, as testified before the Bank Committee of Congress at its last session.
There is still another view of the subject which presents in stronger relief the disparity between the French and American systems.
By referring to the returns of the Bank of France at the breaking out of the late war, we find, as before stated, that the amount it owed "on account," was but 140 million dollars, while, if it had been as great as that of the American banks, its indebtedness would have amounted to 690 millions, to which if we add the circulation of 251 millions, we have an aggregate of 901 millions. Had the Bank of France been thus indebted, on instant demand would it have been able to assist the Government, as it did, in its hour of peril? Surely not. It must have suspended, like the American
banks, on the first alarm of war, and France, like the United States, would have been thrown upon an irredeemable, depreciated currency with which to sustain its conflict with Germany.
Another important difference in favor of the French people, so far as the stability of their currency was concerned, is to be seen in the fact, that up to the war of 1870, the National Bank (and there was no other bank of issue) had no notes of less than 100 francs ($20); consequently, all the circulation under that denomination was metallic. This added immensely to the strength of their currency, as compared with that of the United States, because it appears from the Report of the Comptroller of the Currency for 1872 that 69 per cent. of the entire paper circulation of the United States was in notes of less than 20 dollars.
This was undoubtedly an unnatural proportion of small notes, owing to the anxiety of the banks to keep out as large an amount of such notes as possible; but, if we suppose the natural proportion to be but 50 per cent., as is probably the case, the circulation in France under 100 francs must have been 250 millions; and that amount is essentially the increase that has taken place in the volume of its circulation. Thus it appears that specie to that extent was liberated by the temporary issue of these small notes, and formed a large part of the amount that has gone to Prussia, as a portion of what M. Wolowski calls the "war-fine." France, as a stern necessity, was compelled to reduce the quality of her paper circulation from 90 to 52 per cent.
It is still, however, of a high standard as compared with the notes of the National Banks of the United States, which, by the authority just quoted, had but 21 millions of specie against 333 millions circulation-a specie reserve of some seven cents on the dollar. Such is the contrast between the actual quality, or value element, of the currencies of the two countries; one at the end of but three years from its great struggle, the other after the lapse of ten years. And,
to the credit of France, it should be added, that effective measures are being taken for the gradual withdrawal of all circulation under the denomination of one hundred francs.
From the foregoing statements it will be perceived that France was as well prepared for war, so far as its monetary affairs were concerned, as any nation having a mixed currency could well be. Indeed, she has ever since the commencement of the present century preserved a more uniform and substantial circulating medium than any in existence, having in it any degree of the element of credit. She has ever been far ahead of England in the regularity and stability of her banking operations. Her affairs, financial and monetary, have been kept in the hands of men who well understood, both in theory and practice, the great interests intrusted to their care-in the charge of men who were placed in their responsible positions because qualified for the duties that would devolve upon them, not because they belonged to a particular political organization, or resided in a section of the country that must have "its share" of the public offices, whether it could present men suitable to fill them or not.
The results are before the world. France is in a high and honorable position, its currency at par with gold, its credit untarnished, its industry uninterrupted, its commerce rapidly extending, and every material interest in a healthy condition.
But what reasonable explanation can be given for the wide disparity between the financial and monetary condition of the United States and that of the French Republic at the present moment, except that the currency of the latter stood upon the strong basis of 90 cents on the dollar at the beginning of its conflict with Prussia, and was therefore sufficient to meet the shock of war with comparatively little embarrassment or damage, and that its finances have been intrusted to men of high intelligence and capacity?
A SCIENTIFIC VAGABOND.
THE steamer which as far back as 1860 passed every week on its northward way up along the coast of Norway was of a very sociable turn of mind. It ran with much shrieking and needless bluster in and out the calm, winding fjords, paid unceremonious little visits in every out-of-the-way nook and bay, dropped now and then a black heap of coal into the shining water, and sent thick volleys of smoke and shrill little echoes careering aimlessly among the mountains. It seemed, on the whole, from an aesthetic point of view, an objectionable phenomenon -a blot upon the perfect summer day. By the inhabitants, however, of these remote regions (with the exception of a few obstinate individuals, who had at first looked upon it as the sure herald of doomsday, and still were vaguely wondering what the world was coming to), it was regarded in a very different light. This choleric little monster was to them a friendly and welcome visitor, which established their connection with the outside world, and gave them a proud consciousness of living in the very heart of civilization. Therefore, on steamboat days they flocked en masse down on the piers, and, with an ever-fresh sense of novelty, greeted the approaching boat with lively cheers, with firing of muskets and waving of handkerchiefs. The men of condition, as the judge, the sheriff, and the parson, whose dignity forbade them to receive the steamer in person, contented themselves with watching it through an opera-glass from their balconies; and if a high official was known to be on board, they perhaps displayed the national banner from their flag-poles, as a delicate compliment to their superior.
But the Rev. Mr. Oddson, the parson of whom I have to speak, had this day yielded to the gentle urgings of his daughters (as, indeed, he always did), and had with them boarded the steamer to receive his nephew, Arnfinn Vording, who was returning from the university for his summer vacation. And now they had him between them in their pretty white-painted parsonage boat, with the blue line along the gunwale, beleaguering him with eager questions about friends and relatives in the capital, chums, university sports, and a medley of other things interesting to young ladies who have
a collegian for a cousin. His uncle was charitable enough to check his own curiosity about the nephew's progress in the arts and sciences, and the result of his recent examinations, till he should have become fairly settled under his roof; and Arnfinn, who, in spite of his natural brightness and ready humor, was anything but a "dig," was grateful for the respite.
The parsonage lay snugly nestled at the end of the bay, shining contentedly through the green foliage from a multitude of small sun-smitten windows. Its pinkish whitewash, which was peeling off from long exposure to the weather, was in cheerful contrast to the broad black surface of the roof, with its glazed tiles, and the starlings' nests under the chimney-tops. The thick-leaved maples and walnut-trees which grew in random clusters about the walls seemed loftily conscious of standing there for purposes of protection; for, wherever their long-fingered branches happened to graze the roof, it was always with a touch, light, graceful, and airily caressing. The irregularly paved yard was inclosed on two sides by the main buildings, and on the third by a species of log cabin, which in Norway is called a brewhouse; but toward the west the view was but slightly obscured by an elevated pigeon cot and a clump of birches, through whose sparse leaves the fjord beneath sent its rapid jets and gleams of light, and its strange suggestions of distance, peace, and unaccountable gladness.
Arnfinn Vording's career had presented that subtle combination of farce and tragedy which most human lives are apt to be; and if the tragic element had during his early years been preponderating, he was hardly himself aware of it; for he had been too young at the death of his parents to feel that keenness of grief which the same privation would have given him at a later period of his life. It might have been humiliating to confess it, but it was nevertheless true that the terror he had once sustained on being pursued by a furious bull was much more vivid in his memory than the vague wonder and depression which had filled his mind at seeing his mother so suddenly stricken with age, as she lay motionless in her white robes in the front parlor. Since then his uncle, who was his guardian and nearest relative, had taken him into his family, had