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nual session. The country is divided Turkey again temporized. France and into eighteen nomarchies, or provinces. England disagreed as to methods of pro
The administration of the government cedure with Turkey, and did nothing. At is in the hands of the cabinet, of which last, in 1881, Greece secured only a litM. Tricoupis, the most statesmanlike tle more than half of the territory which Greek of the century, is the president. had been granted to her by the Powers, He is Minister of Finance and War. three years before. She gained ThessaHe was put into power on a platform of ly, but not Epirus. reform, high taxation, and reduction of Constantinople is written on the heart the debt. He is more secure in his po- of the Greeks. They desire to be the sition than any previous prime minister successors of the sick Turk. This they of Greece, and Greek political affairs do not require immediately ; but they have never been so wisely managed. would like to gain Epirus and Crete, at
The civil service has been as bad as it once. They claim the lands inhabited by well could be. Not only every postmas- Greeks. The better informed among ter, but every school-teacher and forest- them know that Greece alone is no match er has expected dismissal at the acces- for Turkey, whose armies have been sion of a new ministry. The numerous trained in war, while no Greek officer has men who wanted office labored to over- had any experience in actual battle ; but throw the cabinet, with no principles at they seek for diplomatic combinations stake, but moved simply by desire for which will secure them their end. office. Thus the administration was Only a few years ago the critics of changed two or three times in a single Greece were fond of saying that she had year, and the most valuable government failed to improve her freedom, and had officials preferred to take places in pri- made but little progress. This criticism vate business, where their work would is no longer just. The constitutional be harder and their pay less, but where government of Greece really dates only the situation would be more perma- from 1864, and her king was then not nent.
yet twenty years old. Since 1870, the The expenses of the government are advance has been very rapid. The counabout twenty million dollars annually, try now has more miles of railway than including interest on the public debt. it then had of common highway; bridges Heavy taxes and duties are imposed. have been built, harbors have been imAbout one-fourth of the revenue is de- proved, the canal across the isthmus has rived from import duties, which are suf- been dug, preparations are making to ficient to defray the cost of the army of drain marshes. The number of acres of 27,000 men. The public debt amounts ground devoted to agriculture has largely to more than one hundred million dol- increased. The population of Athens lars. This is a load and a grievance. has doubled. Many Greek families which Of the early loans, half a century ago, have long resided out of Greece are now only a small part actually reached Greece returning to their country, bringing with and was used for her benefit.
them both energy and capital. The peoThe frontier fixed for Greece by the ple are better educated. Extensive arProtecting Powers was never satisfactory chæological excavations have been conto her. More Greeks remained outside ducted; the museums have been enriched. of her limits than were included in her The land has been made far more atkingdom. The treaty of Berlin, in 1878, tractive and accessible to foreigners. granted to Greece a “rectification of the Brigandage has been put down. The frontier,” giving her Thessaly and Epirus kingdom is ruled by a ministry more with 500,000 new inhabitants. But Tur- prudent and more firmly established key declined to surrender the territory. than any which have preceded. The land In 1880 the Berlin Congress met again is still suffering from poverty and from and determined the new boundaries, af- bad political habits; but with the frugalter careful study of the mountain ranges, ity and temperance of the people, it must water-courses, and strategic conditions. gain wealth, dignity, and authority.
A LETTER TO A YOUNG GENTLEMAN
WHO PROPOSES TO EMBRACE THE CAREER OF ART,
By Robert Louis Stevenson.
ITH the agreeable there be any exception and here des
frankness of tiny steps in-it is in those
a primary activity of the senses, he calls point of some up before memory the image of transpractical impor- acted pains and pleasures. Thus it is tance to yourself that such an one shies from all cut-andand (it is even dry professions, and inclines insensibly conceivable) of toward that career of art which consists
some gravity to only in the tasting and recording of exthe world : Should you or should you perience. not become an artist? It is one which This, which is not so much a vocayou must decide entirely for yourself ; tion for art as an impatience of all all that I can do is to bring under your other honest trades, frequently exists notice some of the materials of that de- alone; and so existing, it will pass cision ; and I will begin, as I shall prob- gently away in the course of years. ably conclude also, by assuring you that Emphatically, it is not to be regarded ; all depends on the vocation.
it is not a vocation, but a temptation; To know what you like is the begin- and when your father the other day so ning of wisdom and of old age. Youth fiercely and (in my view) so properly disis wholly experimental. The essence couraged your ambition, he was recalland charm of that unquiet and delight- ing not improbably some similar passage ful epoch is ignorance of self as well as in his own experience. For the temptaignorance of life. These two unknowns tion is perhaps nearly as common as the young man brings together again the vocation is rare. But again we have and again, now in the airiest touch, now vocations which are imperfect ; we have with a bitter hug ; now with exquisite men whose minds are bound up, not so pleasure, now with cutting pain ; but much in any art, as in the general ars never with indifference, to which he is artium and common base of all creative a total stranger, and never with that work ; who will now dip into painting, near kinsman of indifference, content- and now study counterpoint, and anon ment. If he be a youth of dainty senses will be inditing a sonnet: all these with or a brain easily heated, the interest of equal interest, all often with genuine this series of experiments grows upon knowledge. And of this temper, when him out of all proportion to the pleasure it stands alone, I find it difficult to he receives. It is not beauty that he speak ; but I should counsel such an loves, nor pleasure that he seeks, though one to take to letters, for in literature he may think so; his design and his (which drags with so wide a net) all his sufficient reward is to verify his own ex- information may be found some day useistence and taste the variety of human ful, and if he should go on as he has befate. To him, before the razor-edge of gun, and turn at last into the critic, he curiosity is dulled, all that is not actual will have learned to use the necessary living and the hot chase of experience tools. Lastly we come to those vocawears a face of a disgusting dryness tions which are at once decisive and difficult to recall in later days ; or if precise ; to the men who are born with the love of pigments, the passion of spend their lives, if the result be redrawing, the gift of music, or the im- garded, utterly in vain : A thousand arpulse to create with words, just as other tists, and never one work of art. But and perhaps the same men are born with the vast mass of mankind are incapable the love of hunting, or the sea, or of doing anything reasonably well, art horses, or the turning-lathe. These are among the rest. The worthless artist predestined ; if a man love the labor of would not improbably have been a quite any trade, apart from any question of incompetent baker. And the artist, success or fame, the gods have called even if he does not amuse the public, him. He may have the general voca- amuses himself; so that there will always tion too: he may have a taste for all the be one man the happier for his vigils. arts, and I think he often has; but the This is the practical side of art : its inmark of his calling is this laborious expugnable fortress for the true pracpartiality for one, this inextinguishable titioner. The direct returns—the wages zest in its technical successes, and (per- of the trade--are small, but the indirect haps above all) a certain candor of the wages of the life—are incalculably mind, to take his very trifling enter- great. No other business offers a man prise with a gravity that would be his daily bread upon such joyful terms. fit the cares of empire, and to think the The soldier and the explorer have mosmallest improvement worth accomplish- ments of a worthier excitement, but they ing at any expense of time and industry. are purchased by cruel hardships and The book, the statue, the sonata, must periods of tedium that beggar language. be gone upon with the unreasoning good In the life of the artist there need be no faith and the unflagging spirit of chil- hour without its pleasure. I take the dren at their play. Is it worth doing ? author, with whose career I am best ac—when it shall have occurred to any quainted; and it is true he works in a artist to ask himself that question, it is rebellious material, and that the act of implicitly answered in the negative. It writing is cramped and trying both to does not occur to the child as he plays the eyes and the temper; but remark at being a pirate on the dining-room him in his study, when matter crowds sofa, nor to the hunter as he pursues upon him and words are not wanting his quarry; and the candor of the one -in what a continual series of smali and the ardor of the other should be successes time flows by ; with what a united in the bosom of the artist.
sense of power as of one moving mounIf you recognize in yourself some tains, he marshals his petty characters; such decisive taste, there is no room for with what pleasures both of the ear and hesitation : follow your bent. And ob- eye, he sees his airy structure growing serve (lest. I should too much discourage on the page ; and how he labors in & you) that the disposition does not usu- craft to which the whole material of his ally burn so brightly at the first, or rath- life is tributary, and which opens a door er not so constantly. Habit and prac. to all his tastes, his loves, his hatreds tice sharpen gifts; the necessity of toil and his convictions, so that what he grows less disgusting, grows even wel writes is only what he longed to utter. come, in the course of years; a small He may have enjoyed many things in taste (if it be only genuine) waxes with this big, tragic playground of the world ; indulgence into an exclusive passion. but what shall he have enjoyed more Enough, just now, if you can look back fully than a morning of successful work? over a fair interval, and see that your Suppose it ill paid : the wonder is it chosen art has a little more than held should be paid at all. Other men pay, its own among the thronging interests and pay dearly, for pleasures less desirof youth. Time will do the rest, if de- able. votion belp it; and soon your every Nor will the practice of art afford thought will be engrossed in that be- you pleasure only; it affords besides loved occupation.
an admirable training. For the artist But even with devotion, you may re- works entirely upon honor. The pubmind me, even with unfaltering and de. lic knows little or nothing of those lighted industry, many thousand artists merits in the quest of which you
are condemned to spend the bulk of less tempting to exclaim against the igyour endeavors. Merits of design, the norant bourgeois; yet it should not be merit of first-hand energy, the merit forgotten, it is he who is to pay us, and of a certain cheap accomplishment that (surely on the face of it) for services which a man of the artistic temper that he shall desire to have performed. easily acquires—these they can recog. Here also, if properly considered, there nize, and these they value. But to is a question of transcendental honesty. those more exquisite refinements of To give the public what they do not proficiency and finish, which the ar- want, and yet expect to be supported: tist so ardently desires and so keenly we have there a strange pretension, and feels, for which in the vigorous words yet not uncommon, above all with paintof Balzac) he must toil “like a miner The first duty in this world is for buried in a landslip,” for which, day a man to pay his way; when that is quite after day, he recasts and revises and accomplished, he may plunge into what rejects—the gross mass of the public eccentricity he likes; but emphatically must be ever blind. To those lost pains, not till then. Till then, he must pay suppose you attain the highest pitch of assiduous court to the bourgeois who merit, posterity may possibly do jus- carries the purse. And if in the course tice; suppose, as is so probable, you of these capitulations he shall falsify his fail by even a hair's breadth of the talent, it can never have been a strong highest, rest certain they shall never one, and he will have preserved a betbe observed. Under the shadow of this ter thing than talent-character. Or if cold thought, alone in his studio, the he.be of a mind so independent that artist must preserve from day to day he cannot stoop to this necessity, one his constancy to the ideal. It is this course is yet open : he can desist from which makes his life noble; it is by art, and follow some more manly way this that the practice of his craft of life. strengthens and matures his charac- I speak of a more manly way of life, ter; it is for this that even the seri- it is a point on which I must be frank. ous countenance of the great emperor To live by a pleasure is not a high callwas turned approvingly (if only for a ing; it involves patronage, however moment) on the followers of Apollo, veiled; it numbers the artist, however and that sternly gentle voice bade the ambitious, along with dancing girls and artist cherish his art.
billiard markers. The French have a And here there fall two warnings to romantic evasion for one employment, be made. And first, if you are to con- and call its practitioners the Daughters tinue to be a law to yourself, you must of Joy. The artist is of the same family, beware of the first signs of laziness. This he is of the Sons of Joy, chose his trade idealism in honesty can only be support- to please himself, gains his livelihood by ed by perpetual effort ; the standard is pleasing others, and has parted with easily lowered, the artist who says “ It something of the sterner dignity of will do,” is on the downward path; man. Journals but a little while ago three or four pot-boilers are enough at declaimed against the Tennyson peerage; times (above all at wrong times) to and this Son of Joy was blamed for confalsify à talent, and by the practice of descension when he followed the exjournalism a man runs the risk of be- ample of Lord Lawrence and Lord Cairns coming wedded to cheap finish. This is and Lord Clyde. The poet was more the danger on the one side; there is not happily inspired ; with a better modesty less upon the other. The consciousness he accepted the high honor; and anonyof how much the artist is (and must be) mous journalists have not yet (if I am a law to himself, debauches the small to believe them) recovered the vicarious heads. Perceiving recondite merits disgrace to their profession. When it very hard to attain, making or swallow- comes to their turn, these gentlemen ing artistic formulæ, or perhaps fall- can do themselves more justice ; and I ing in love with some particular pro- shall be glad to think of it; for to my ficiency of his own, many artists forget barbarian eyesight, even Lord Tennyson the end of all art: to please. It is doubt- looks somewhat out of place in that assembly. There should be no honors for tion and comfort are most needful, the the artist; he has already, in the prac- writer must lay aside at once his pastime tice of his art, more than his share of and his breadwinner. The painter inthe rewards of life; the honors are pre- deed, if he succeed at all in engaging empted for other trades, more laborious the attention of the public, gains great and perhaps more useful.
sums and can stand to his easel until a But the devil in these trades of pleas- great age without dishonorable failure. ing is to fail to please. In ordinary oc- The writer has the double misfortune to cupations, a man offers to do a certain be ill-paid while he can work, and to be thing or to produce a certain article incapable of working when he is old. It with a merely conventional accomplish- is thus a way of life which conducts diment, a design in which (we may almost rectly to a false position. say) it is difficult to fail. But the artist For the writer (in spite of notorious steps forth out of the crowd and pro- examples to the contrary) must look to poses to delight: an impudent design, be ill-paid. Tennyson and Montépin in which it is impossible to fail without make handsome livelihoods; but we canodious circumstances. The poor Daugh- not all hope to be Tennyson, and we do ter of Joy, carrying her smiles and finery not all perhaps desire to be Montépin. quite unregarded through the crowd, If you adopt an art to be your trade, makes a figure which it is impossible weed your mind at the outset of all deto recall without a wounding pity. She sire of money. What you may decently is the type of the unsuccessful artist. expect, if you have some talent and The actor, the dancer, and the singer much industry, is such an income as a must appear like her in person, and clerk will earn with a tenth or perhaps drain publicly the cup of failure. But a twentieth of your nervous output. Nor though the rest of us escape this crown- have you the right to look for more; in ing bitterness of the pillory, we all court the wages of the life, not in the wages of in essence the same humiliation. We the trade, lies your reward ; the work is all profess to be able to delight. And here the wages. It will be seen I have how few of us are! We all pledge our- little sympathy with the common lamenselves to be able to continue to delight. tations of the artist class. Perhaps they And the day will come to each, and even do not remember the hire of the field to the most admired, when the ardor laborer ; or do they think no parallel shall have declined and the cunning will lie? Perhaps they have never obshall be lost, and he shall sit by his de- served what is the retiring allowance of serted booth ashamed. Then shall he a field officer; or do they suppose their see himself condemned to do work for contributions to the arts of pleasing which he blushes to take payment. more important than the services of a Then (as if his lot were not already colonel ? Perhaps they forget on how cruel) he must lie exposed to the gibes little Millet was content to live ; or do of the wreckers of the press, who earn a they think, because they have less genlittle bitter bread by the condemnation ius, they stand excused from the display of trash which they have not read, and of equal virtues ? But upon one point the praise of excellence which they can- there should be no dubiety: if a man be not understand.
not frugal, he has no business in the And observe that this seems almost arts. If he be not frugal, he steers dithe necessary end at least of writers. rectly for that last tragic scene of le Les Blancs et les Bleus (for instance) is vieux saltimbanque; if he be not frugal, of an order of merit very different from he will find it hard to continue to be Le Vicomte de Bragelonne; Denis Duval honest. Some day, when the butcher is is not written with the pen of Esmond; knocking at the door, he may be temptand if any gentleman can bear to spy ed, he may be obliged, to turn out and upon the nakedness of Castle Dangerous, sell a slovenly piece of work. If the obhis name I think is Ham : let it be ligation shall have arisen through no enough for the rest of us to read of wantonness of his own, he is even to be (not without tears) in the pages of Lock- commended; for words cannot describe hart. Thus in old age, when occupa- how far more necessary it is that a man