Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“

a

tation. Take any one of our performances of Italian headedness of the Philistines. I take it that any one opera in recent years and consider for a moment the who goes to the Metropolitan Opera House and hears absurdities of the audience heaped upon the absurdi- such noble masterpieces as “Tristan,” “ Die Walküre,” ties of the stage. We have each act interrupted by ap- or “Die Götterdammerung" goes away profoundly plause half a dozen times, and for the most frivolous impressed with the dramatic story. There, at least, no reasons. When the chief singers of the evening come singer is allowed to notice the audience while the act upon the stage for the first time the house breaks is going on, and not one of the noted German artists out into applause, no matter what is going on at whom we have had among us of late years — Frau the time; when the soprano shrieks out her highest Lehmann, Herr Niemann, Herr Fischer, and others note and the ushers trot down the aisle burdened pays the slightest attention to the indiscreet applause with floral harps, ships, anchors, and other devices which greets their entrance upon the stage for the first of the kind known in newspaper vernacular as tro- time during the evening. Nevertheless the practice of phies, the Juliet, Lucia, or Amina of the evening allowing the singers to come forward at the end of an forgets her despair long enough to receive the flowers act in order to bow their thanks to the audience still with an expression of counterfeit amazement and many obtains. It seems to me that this also should be done smiles of gratitude. The same performance is gone away with. If we object to the audience breaking in through by the tenor, and perhaps by the baritone. upon the music and drowning it out with their applause, Viewed seriously, it is a farce, for which nothing can it is because such vicious practices destroy the illusion be said. Thanks to Wagner's protests, many attempts which the poet and the composer are striving to prohave been made to remedy these absurdities; but, out- duce. Does not the appearance of the singer between side of the notable performances at Baireuth and some the acts destroy this illusion ? Take any one of Wagother German towns, little has been effected. In New ner's dramas. We have persons supposed to be in love York, until recently, we have had to suffer under the with each other, or in deadly enmity, coming forward worst of such abuses. Under Mr. Mapleson's régime hand in hand between the acts; and in the case of we had the flowers, the applause right in the middle many of the master's works we have, at the end of the of an act, the ten or twelve recalls after the perform- opera, a lot of dead persons waking up in order to bow ance.

their thanks again and again. This winter, in the course of the French plays at In order to maintain the poetic illusion, there ought Palmer's Theater, the same thing was observed. Pos- to be no appearance of the singers or actors of the evensibly in the case of a theatrical performance there ing except during the acts and in their characters. is less to be said in excuse than where an opera is Neither between the acts nor after the final fall of the concerned, for music implies something peculiarly curtain ought the singers to be seen; they ought never artificial. Think of the absurdity of it all. Take, for to remind us that we have not been listening to Wotan, instance, Dumas's “ Camille." Here we have a dram. to Siegfried, and to Brunnhilda. We ought not to be atist striving to create an illusion. We have a young compelled to take into consideration Herr Fischer, woman who dies of grief and consumption after a Herr Niemann, or Frau Lehmann. I admit that many stormy career. The play traces her life through some persons will cry out that this is unfair to the public of its most stirring and pathetic passages. Every act and to the artists. How are these admirers of Wagner's closes with a dramatic incident. Notwithstanding that operas and of the work done by these great singers to the whole work of the dramatist and the actors is in- testify their admiration? This is very true; and yet tended to produce in the audience an illusion, the cur- the public ought to be trained to rest satisfied with tain is raised after every act, and Camille appears bowing applause at the end of an act or at the end of a performand smiling, evidently in the best of spirits and full of ance. In the case of an opera the conductor may be good-will towards every one. In other words, what considered as the representative of the performers, and has just been built up with so much care and hard work Herr Seidl may bow his thanks. In the case of a is knocked down again. If we take the case of opera, symphony concert the members of the orchestra do the same criticism holds good. The singers work hard not rise to answer the applause. If any one can make to fill us with sympathy for some unfortunate person out a valid defense for such sins against art as the who goes mad and dies, as does Lucia, or who stabs appearance of the dead Siegfried and Brunnhilda himself, as does Edgardo. But after harrowing up the bowing and smiling at the end of “ Die Götterdamfeelings of the audience, these people come forward merung,” I should like to hear it. and virtually say that it is all a joke, and that Lucia is going forth to refresh herself with beer.

Philip G. Hubert, Jr. Against such absurdity Wagner inveighed. He tried to the best of his ability to make his art a serious one. YORK CATHEDRAL.--On page 731 of the March That he succeeded no better is no proof of the fallacy CENTURY a distant view of Durham Cathedral was acci. of his position, but rather of the persistent wrong- dentally inserted as a view of York Minster.- EDITOR.

a

a

[ocr errors]

A

Arcady. (ON SEEING THE WORD IN A BOOK OF CRITICISMS.) RCADY! the word has made

The rain, the mist, the rabble sade, And in a corner of a copse, Playing on his oaten stops, Tityrus ripples rounds of song Forever to a tiptoe throng. 'T was in a book of empty phrase Where truth was hunted through a maze That shut the sky out, tall and dark, Or little leaf and withered bark: There, weary with the flying skirt Of beauty doubling through the dirt, I came, as one at top of hill, Sudden, on meadow, lawn, and rill. See how the green slopes to a vale; The leafage bends to a little gale Of breeze, that seems to be the print Of some light-walking spirit in 't; See how, outside the tilting trees, The grass grows up to the shepherd's knees, And how within their rings of shade The floor hath rugs of leafy braid; And here, below the even boughs, Look slanting down and see the cows At pick and bite about the dell And dairymaids at the willowed well. And were it better pipe unheard Feeding of honey and clean curd, Corn, and the fruits the breezes pull When autumn limbs are bending full Lusty of thew and tanned of face From sun-kiss and the air's embrace ---Loving the thatchen eaves of home Where swallows build and crickets come, And voices of the melting night Sing thought too sacred for the light? Yea, were it better fute unheard Than build and build the Babel word, That, neighboring some unlooked for sky, Falls into dust nor knows not why? God wot! And yet that word to me Outsweetens knowledge — Arcady!

Harrison S. Jorris.

The Toast.
DREAM not I hold too dear

The gleam of yonder shooting star,
One moment shining near,

The next fading afar.
You touched your glass to mine

In careless, half-regretfulness,
But while you drank the wine,
I drank forgetfulness !

Margaret Crosby. Paragraphs from the German of Friedrich Netzsche.

To owe gratitude oppresses a coarse nature ; to receive it, oppresses a fine one.

Socialism is the fantastical younger brother of a nearly spent despotism whose inheritance he claims.

To correct one's style means to correct one's thought - nothing else.

Cowardice is the greatest giver of alms.

Truth has never yet proved fatal to any one; there are too many antidotes.

PREJUDICE is a more dangerous enemy to Truth than Falsehood.

THERE is not enough religion in the world to admit of the annihilation of religions.

Not when it is dangerous to tell the truth will she lack a prophet, but only when it is tiresome.

The gardens of modern poetry too often betray a nearness to the drains of the cities.

Most writers think badly, for they give us not only their thoughts, but the labor of their thoughts.

For many natures it is as much a duty of cleanliness to change opinions as to change clothes.

To treat everybody with equal benevolence may be an evidence of deep scorn as well as of deep love.

Helen Watterson.

At the Sign of the Blind Cupid. When blushing cheeks and downcast eyes

Set all the heart aflame, When love within a dimple lies

And constancy 's a name,
Since every lass is passing fair,

Cupid must fly and see;
And, lightly fitting here and there,

A wingéd boy is he.
When creeping years steal on apace

And youth and vigor go,
When time with wrinkles marks the face

And strews the hair with snow,
Ah, then no wingéd boy is he;

But strong-limbed and complete, With blinded eyes that need not see, Since memory guides his feet.

Walter Learned.

Ad Astra. Blossom, little stars, and fill

The garden of the sky; Drops of wine that you distil

Upon the grasses lie. Every thirsty blade holds up

A blessing to the blue, Every green spear fills its cup

With heaven's cooling dew. Blossom, little stars of love,

In my beloved's heart; Blossom like the stars above,

And study well that chart. Far beneath you there is one

Who dares a cup to raise : He has thirsted in the sun

These many dreary days. Blossom, blossom soon, and bring

Love's gladness and the wine That shall nourish hopes that spring Up in this heart of mine.

Frank Dempster Sherman.

THE DE VINNE PRESS, NEW YORK.

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors]

THE CENTURY MAGAZINE.

VOL. XXXVIII.

JUNE, 1889.

No. 2 .

THE CONVICT MINES OF KARA.

N the vast sub-arctic wil- The mines of Kara are distant from Chita

derness of the Trans- (Cheʼtah), the capital of the Trans-Baikal, Baikal (By-kal'), nearly about 300 miles; but for more than 200 miles 5000 miles by road the traveler in approaching them follows a from St. Petersburg and fairly good post road, which runs at first through more than 1000 miles the valley of the Ingoda (In-go-dah') and then from the coast of the along the northern or left bank of the Shilka Pacific, in a dreary, (Shilka) River, one of the principal tributalonely valley between ries of the Amur (Am-moor'). At a small town two lateral spurs of called Stretinsk (Stray'tinsk), where the Shilka

the Yablonoi (Yah'blo- first becomes navigable, this post road abruptly noy) Mountains, there is a little chain of log ends, and beyond that point communication prisons, gold placers, and convict settlements, with the Kara penal settlements is maintained known to the Russian public as the mines of by boats in summer and by sledges drawn over Kara (Kah-rah'). When, in your morning pa- the ice in winter. For two or three weeks in pers, you read a dispatch from St. Petersburg autumn, while the ice is forming, and for a saying that such and such“ Nihilists” have somewhat shorter period in the spring, after the been tried, found guilty, and condemned to river breaks up, the Kara mines are virtually death, but that the Tsar has been pleased to isolated from all the rest of the world, and can commute their sentence to penal servitude in be reached only by a difficult and dangerous the mines, it is to the mines of Kara that refer- bridle path, which runs for a distance of sevence is made. I purpose to describe, in the enty or eighty miles, parallel with the river, form of a simple personal narrative, a visit that across a series of steep and generally forestwe made to these mines in the late fall and clad mountain ridges. We hoped to reach early winter of 1885, and to set forth, as fully Stretinsk in time to descend the Shilka to as space will permit, the results of our attempt the Kara River in a boat; and when we left to investigate the condition of the Kara pris- Chita, on Saturday, October 24, there seemed ons and to obtain trustworthy information con- to be every probability that we should succerning the life of the political prisoners. The ceed in so doing. The weather, however, turned subject is one of more than ordinary magni- suddenly colder; snow fell to a depth of an tude, and I shall be prevented by space limi- inch and a half or two inches; and Wednesday tations from dealing with it upon a scale com- morning, when we alighted from our telega mensurate with its importance; but I can draw, (te-lay'ga) on the northern bank of the Shilka perhaps, a rough outline sketch of an East opposite Stretinsk, winter had set in with great Siberian convict establishment, and give the severity. The mercury in our thermometer inreader an idea of what is meant in Russia by dicated zero (Fahr.); our fur coats and the * Katorga" (Kat'or-gah), or penal servitude. bodies of our horses were white with frost;

1 “ Katorga” is a corrupted form of the Greek word galleys were once manned by hard-labor convicts. kárepzov, “a galley,” and it points to the fact that The word is now used to designate penal servitude in in Russia, as in many other European countries, the the Siberian factories or mines. Copyright, 1889, by The CENTURY Co. All rights reserved.

[graphic]
« AnkstesnisTęsti »