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KING SOLOMON OF KENTUCKY. 254
and fragrant gingerbread. She hummed to “ Is Mr. Clay to be in court to-day ?” herself an old cradle-song, and in her soft, “He is expected, I think.” motherly black eyes shone a mild, happy radi- “* Then let's go in; there will be a crowd." ance. A group of young ragamuffins eyed her “I don't know ; so many are missing." longingly from a distance. Court was to open They turned and entered and found seats for the first time since the spring. The hour as quietly as possible. For a strange and sorwas early, and one by one the lawyers passed rowful hush brooded over the court-room. slowly in. On the steps of the court-house Until the bar assembled, it had not been realthree men were standing: Thomas Redd, the ized how many were gone. The silence was sheriff; old Peter Leuba, who had just walked that of a common overwhelming disaster. No over from his music-store on Main street; and one spoke with his neighbor, no one observed little M. Giron, the French confectioner. Each the vagrant as he entered and made his way to wore mourning on his hat, and their voices a seat on one of the meanest benches, a little were low and grave.
apart from all the others. He had not sat “ Gentlemen," the sheriff was saying, “it there since the day of his indictment for vawas on this very spot the day befoah the grancy. The judge took his seat and, making cholera broke out that I sole 'im as a vagrant. a great effort to control himself, passed his An' I did the meanes' thing a man can evah eyes slowly over the court-room. All at once do. I hel' 'im up to public ridicule foh his he caught sight of old King Solomon sitting weaknesses an' made spoht of 'is infirmities. against the wall in an obscure corner; and beI laughed at 'is povahty an' 'is ole clo’es. I fore any one could know what he was doing, delivahed on 'im as complete an oration of he hurried down and walked up to the vagrant sarcastic detraction as I could prepare on the and grasped his hand. He tried to speak, but spot, out of my own meanness an' with the could not. Old King Solomon had buried his vulgah sympathies of the crowd. Gentlemen, wife and daughter — buried them one clouded if I only had that crowd heah now, an' ole midnight, with no one present but himself. King Sol’mon standin' in the midst of it, that Then the oldest member of the bar started I might ask 'im to accept a humble public up and followed the example; and then all apology, offahed from the heaht of one who the other members, rising by a common imfeels himself unworthy to shake 'is han’! But, pulse, filed slowly back and one by one wrung gentlemen, that crowd will nevah reassemble. that hard and powerful hand. After them came Neahly ev'ry man of them is dead, an' ole all the other persons in the court-room. The King Sol’mon buried them.”
vagrant, the grave-digger, had risen and stood “He buried my friend Adolphe Xaupi,” said against the wall, at first with a white face and François Giron.
a dazed expression, not knowing what it “ There is a case of my best Jamaica rum meant; afterwards, when this was understood, for him whenever he comes for it," said old his head dropped suddenly forward and his Leuba.
tears fell thick and hot upon the hands that he “But, gentlemen, while we are speakin' of could not see. And his were not the only tears. old King Sol'mon we ought not to fohget who Not a man in all that long file but paid his tribit is that has suppohted ’im. Yondah she sits ute of emotion as he stepped forward to honor on the sidewalk, sellin' 'er apples an' ginger- that image of sadly eclipsed but still effulgent bread.”
humanity. It was not grief, it was not gratitude, The three men looked in the direction indi- nor any sense of making reparation for the cated.
past. It was the softening influence of an act “ Heah comes ole King Sol'mon now,” ex- of heroism, which makes every man feel himclaimed the sheriff.
self a brother hand in hand with every otherAcross the open square the vagrant was seen such power has a single act of moral greatness walking slowly along with his habitual air of to reverse the relations of men, lifting up one, quiet, unobtrusive preoccupation. A minute and bringing all others to do him homage. more and he had come over and passed into It was the coronation scene in the life of old the court-house by a side door.
King Solomon of Kentucky.
James Lane Allen.
HAT do we understand by the in- as factors in the history of art—as proofs of the
terest that attaches to an artist's development of antecedent tendencies, or types work? First, I think, the interest of the general temper of art in their time, or that may lie in any one of his prophets or leaders of the future course of creations separately judged-in things.
its peculiarities as a piece of Sometimes an artist who is not very imporbeauty and as an interpretation of some aspect tant in himself is extremely important from the of nature or mood of the mind. Then, the larger historical point of view. But when one who interest we find when his work is considered as has produced very fine and individual work a whole and its revelation of his gifts and has likewise been a potent influence in art at methods is thoroughly understood. And, finally, large—then, indeed, his claim upon us is insistthe interest of the work and the man together ent. This is the case with Corot. He was one
of the greatest landscape painters who has in a soul which by birth was peculiarly recepever lived, and one of the most influential lead- tive; and we read of long night-watches at his ers and teachers that our century has seen. bedroom window filled with vague poetic
musings, visions of nymphs, and aspirations towards some more congenial tool than the
yardstick. Indeed, the brush was soon the JEAN BAPTISTE CAMILLE COROT was bornin yardstick's rival. An easel was set up in the Paris in the year 1796. His father, a native of humble bedroom; a sketch-book was always Rouen, had been a hair-dresser, but, marrying in hand out-of-doors; and lithographic stones a milliner, transferred his talents to her service, and sheets of scribbled paper strewed the merand in their little shop on the Rue du Bacchant's counter, underneath which they retired gradually amassed a snug bit of a fortune. An with Corot during the pause between one cusartist in his way was this elder Corot, and not tomer and the next. deprived of such fame as the Muse of Fashion A casual acquaintance with the young can bestow — advertised in a popular comedy painter Michallon brought about the crisis long which held the stage of the Français for years. deferred by Camille's sweet and docile temper. “I have just come from Corots,” cries one of The tale is the old one of loud parental oppo
FOREST OF FONTAINEBLEAU.
(OWNED BY MRS. S. D. WARREN.) the actors, “ but I could not see him. He had sition, but is not followed by the usual sequel retired to his cabinet to compose a bonnet à la of lasting bitterness. When once convinced that Sicilienne.”
there was nothing else to do, Corot père made a Meanwhile Camille was at school in Rouen, rather sharp bargain with his son, but stuck to where he remained seven years and gained the it ever after in good faith, if for thirty years with whole of his education. From school he went no slightest mitigation of its sharpness. “Your to a cloth-merchant's shop in the Rue de sisters' dowries have been promptly paid, and I Richelieu, and here eight years were passed. meant soon to set you at the head of a respectThen his love for art broke through the uncon- able shop. But if you insist upon painting, you genial tie. While at Rouen his holidays had will have no capital to dispose of as long as I been spent with an old friend of his father's in live. I will make you a pension of fifteen hunlong walks beside the borders of the Seine; dred francs. Don't count upon ever having and later the unwilling “dry-goods clerk” more, but see whether you can pull yourself
, found solace in summer days at Ville d'Avray, through with that.” And Camille, “much where his people had a little country home. moved,” fell upon the neck of the artist in A love for nature was thus gradually fostered Sicilian caps : “ A thousand thanks! It is all I
need, and you make me very happy.” He too In 1825 Corot went to Rome, where most kept his word. For thirty years he lived on his of his fellow-artists laughed at his work, but three hundred annual dollars, pulled himself where all of them loved the worker, gay in very well through, and was one of the happiest spirit as he was, with a good voice for a song, mortals in Paris.
and a modest, patient ear for the spoken words The first day he was free he took easel and of others. Encouragement first came from brush and set himself down before the first Aligny, who, surprising him at work on a thing he saw — a view of the Cité from a spot study of the Coliseum, declared that it had near the Pont Royal. “The girls from my qualities of the first value-exactness, skillful father's shop,” he said in later life,“ used to run treatment, and an air of style. Corot smiled as down to the quay to see how Monsieur Camille at the chaffing of a friend; but the friend was was getting on. There was a Mademoiselle an authority in the artist circle at the Café Rose, for instance, who came most often. She Grec, and, repeating there what he had said in is still alive, and is still Mademoiselle Rose, private, — protesting that Corot might some and still comes to see me now and then. Last day be the master of them all,— the bashful week she was here, and oh, my friends, what a young clerk soon found that his art was rechange and what reflections it gave birth to! spected and his future believed in. Many years My picture has not budged. It is as young as later, when Aligny's body was brought from ever, and keeps still the hour and the weather Lyons to be re-interred in Paris, Corot was one when it was done. But Mademoiselle Rose ? of the very few who followed it; a “sacred But I? What are we?"
duty," as he said,- the duty of gratitude to his Michallon taught Corot at first and gave him first champion, bringing him forth in his white counsel good for a youngster — to put himself hairs under the swirling snow of a bitter winter face to face with nature, to try to render her dawn. exactly, to paint what he saw, and translate Naples as well as Rome was visited at this the impression he received." But soon he died, time, and perhaps Venice too. In 1827 Corot and Corot, seeking help elsewhere, chose Victor returned to France and sent his first picture to Bertin, who had been Michallon's own master. the Salon exhibition; and thereafter, until his Bertin was a landscape painter of the classic death, in 1875, he was never once absent from school, worshiping Poussin's mastery of form, its walls. In 1834 he went again to Italy, but but in his own execution cold, measured, got no farther than Venice, coming promptly mechanical, and hard. He might have taught home when his father wrote how much he Corot more and hurt him more had he not been missed him. In 1842 it was Italy again for forestalled by the long apprenticeship to nature, some five or six months. In 1847 his father and an inborn gift. As it was, he taught him died. During all his later years Corot traveled two things of priceless value — accurate draw- much in Switzerland and various parts of ing, and a sense for "style" in composition. France, and once he went to England and the
Vol. XXXVIII.— 34.
Netherlands. In 1874 the widowed sister with cused his friends of kindly cheating because whom he had lived for many years died, and it brought him $2846; yet there were thirtyhis own health broke down. And on the 23d of eight pictures, and among them five of great February, 1875, his spirit passed away. importance.
This is not much to tell of a life which lasted Fortunately, Corot lived long enough to see seventy-nine years; but it is all there is to be the prices he thought no one would pay insaid about Corot's, except as it was bound up creased twenty-fold at public sales. A picture with his art. He never married, for, he said, he had sold for 700 francs went many years he had a wife already - a little fairy called later in the auction-room for 12,000, and Corot Imagination, who came at his call and van- "swam in happiness," for, he felt, “it is not I ished when he did not need her. He lived that have changed, but the constancy of my chiefly at Ville d'Avray, with always a pied-à- principles that has triumphed.” Never, indeed, terre and studio in Paris, and mixed in no did artist pursue his own path with a steadier society but that of his brother artists.
disregard of public praise; and rarely has an
his fame so long. It is a record to set against
Millet's for the reviving of faith in the justice IN 1833 Corot got a minor medal for one of of Heaven. his exhibited pictures; but almost the first men- Yet even had Corot died at seventy-nine tion of his name that can be traced in print without seeing a ray of the coming aureole, we is where Alfred de Musset, writing of the Salon can fancy no despairing exit. Material cares of 1836 in the “Revue des Deux Mondes,” never weighed upon him in his bachelorhood, speaks of “Corot, whose . Roman Campagna' and he had the merry heart that goes all the has its admirers." The next year Gustave day with less discomfort than a somber spirit Planche praised a “St. Jerome,” which now finds in the first mile or two. The fact of living hangs (the gift of Corot) in the little church and the act of painting were almost enough at Ville d'Avray. In 1846 he was decorated for him, and the appreciation of a few brother for a scene in the forest of Fontainebleau. In artists filled his cup. We read of seasons of 1855 he received a first class medal, and in brief discouragement, and there were tears in 1867, oddly enough, one of the second class, his eyes sometimes when he came home from but accompanied by the higher decoration of a Salon where his pictures were obscurely the Legion of Honor; and year by year ar- placed and he had overheard a scoffing phrase. tists and critics were louder in his praise. But But a look at his easel soon brought comfort, the public was long in learning the fact that and the darling children of his hand were there he even existed, and his father was quite as in a “complete collection " to assure him that long in believing that his art was really art. he had not lived in vain. “It must be confessed," When the first decoration came, “ Tell me,” he he once exclaimed, “ that if painting is a folly said to one of Corot's comrades, “ has Camille it is a sweet one - one that should excite envy, actually any talent?” Nothing would con- not forgiveness. Study my looks and my health vince him that he was "the best of us all”; and I defy any one to find a trace of those cares, nevertheless he doubled his pension.
ambitions, and remorseful thoughts which Fifty years old when he thus achieved an ravage the features of so many unfortunate income of six hundred dollars, Corot was sixty folk. Ought one not to love the art which probefore any one bought his pictures, save now cures peace and contentment and even health and then a brother artist. When the first cus- to him who knows how to regulate his life ? " tomer departed with his purchase, “Alas!" he But just here was Corot's talisman, shared, alas, cried in humorous despair,“ my collection has with how few! He knew how to regulate his been so long complete, and now it is broken !” life, and knew that it meant to live for his paintAnd when others followed he could hardly ing and to paint for himself. believe them serious, or be induced to set In his young days he was the liveliest among prices on his work. “It is worth such and such the lively. Tall of stature and herculean in a sum; but no one will give that, and I will not build, possessed of perfect health, high spirits, sell it for less. I can give my things away if and a gentle temper, student balls and studio
. I see fit, but I cannot degrade my art by sell- suppers were his delight, and he was the delight ing them below their value.” When he actually of their frequenters. Yet wherever he was he dared to price one at ten thousand francs, and never failed to disappear for a while at 9 o'clock, heard that it had been sold, he was sure he when la belle dame, as he called his mother, had dropped a zero in marking the figures, and awaited him for a hand at cards. In his old wrote to the Salon secretary repeating the sum age he was “ Papa Corot ” to the whole artist in written-out words. When a sale of his works world of Paris — no one more respected, more was held at the Hôtel Drouot in 1858 he ac- beloved and cherished; no one so ready with