« AnkstesnisTęsti »
was to be seen in any direction, and the roll- all and the shaft and galleries were dripping ing, snow-clad mountains suggested in gen- with moisture. The air in the Pokrofski mine eral contour the immense surges and mounds seemed to be pure and our candles everywhere of water raised by a hurricane at sea. The burned freely. Only a few men were at work, buildings at the entrance to the mine consisted and they seemed to be engaged in hauling up of a tool-house like that at the mine of Alga- ore in small buckets by means of a cable and chi, a magazine or storehouse, a few A-shaped a primitive hand-windlass. shanties, in which lived the convicts of the free After climbing up and down slippery ladders command, and two small prisons, one of which until I was covered with mud, and walking in
THE POKROFSKI PRISON.
was apparently new. On the summit of a rocky ridge just over these buildings were two sentry-boxes, in each of which stood an armed soldieron guard. Mr. Frost, who was very tired, did not care to inspect any more mines, and taking a position on the snow near the tool-house he proceeded, with hands encased in thick a bent posture through low galleries until my gloves, to make a sketch of the scene, while back ached, I told Mr. Nesterof that I was Mr. Nesterof and I, under the guidance of a satisfied, and we returned, tired and bathed convict, descended the main shaft
. The Pok- in perspiration, to the tool-house. The convict rofski mine did not differ essentially from that who had accompanied us through the mine of Algachi, except that it was not so extensive blew out his tallow candle, and without taking
, nor so deep. The air in it was damp and com- the trouble completely to extinguish the wick, paratively warm, water dripped from the roofs laid it, still all aglow, in a small wooden box, of the galleries into little pools here and there which contained among other things a dynamite on the floors, and the ladders in the main cartridge big enough to blow the whole toolshaft were slippery with mud. Why it should house into the air. I did not regard myself as thaw in this mine and freeze in the mine of naturally timorous or nervous, but when the Algachi, only four miles away, I could not convict shut down the lid of that box over the understand, nor did Mr. Nesterof seem to be long glowing wick of a tallow candle and a able to give me a satisfactory explanation. In dynamite cartridge with fuse attached, I had the mine of Algachi there was no water and business out-of-doors. When I thought time the galleries for seventy-five or a hundred feet enough had elapsed for the wick to go out, I together were lined with frost-crystals and ice. reëntered the house, washed my muddy hands In the mine of Pokrofski there was no ice at in the grindstone trough, inspected Mr. Frost's
provisions for the village and mine of Kadaiya chinsk district, is situated on the side of a bold, (Kah-dy'ya), distant from Algachi about ninety steep, round-topped mountain about 300 yards miles. The weather was still very cold, the from the village and 200 or 300 feet above it. It road ran through the same dreary, desolate has been worked for more than a century and sea of snow-covered mountains that surrounds was at one time very productive; but the richest this mine of Algachi, and for two days we veins of ore in it have been exhausted, and it neither saw nor heard anything of particular does not now yield nearly as much silver as interest. At half-past eleven o'clock Friday the Pokrofski mine or the mine of Algachi. night, tired, hungry, and half frozen, we reached The ustavshchik, whom I found at work in the village of Dono (Doh-noh'), forty-six miles a log-house near the mine, and who seemed from Algachi; Saturday afternoon we passed to be an intelligent and well-educated Siberian the Kutomarski Zavod, where we stopped for peasant, received me pleasantly but with some two or three hours to examine the smelting surprise, read my letters of introduction, exworks; and early Sunday morning, after hav- pressed his willingness to show me everything ing traveled nearly all night at the expense of that I desired to see, and in ten minutes we were not a little suffering from cold and hunger, on our way to the mine. In the tool-house, we finally reached the miserable, forlorn min- which stood over the mouth of the main shaft, I ing village of Kadaiya, found the zemski kvar. put on the outer dress of one of the convicts,tir, and as soon as we could warm and refresh which I soon found to be full of vermin,—the ourselves a little with tea went promptly to ustavshchik donned a long, mud-stained khalat, bed – Mr. Frost on top of the large brick oven, a battered uniform cap, and a pair of heavy and I on the floor.
leather mittens, and providing ourselves with About ten o'clock Sunday forenoon we got tallow candles we lowered ourselves into the up, somewhat rested and refreshed, and after black mouth of the Voskresenski (Voss-kre-sen'a hasty and rather unsatisfactory breakfast of skee) or Ascension shaft. After descending ten bread and tea went out into the broad, snowy, or twelve ladders, we reached, at a depth of and deserted street of the village — Mr. Frost about 120 feet, a spacious chamber from which to make a sketch, and I to find the ustavshchik radiated three or four horizontal galleries much (00-stav'shchik), or officer in charge of the wider and higher than any that I had seen in mine.
the mines of Pokrofski and Algachi. The floor The Kadainski mine, which is one of the old- of the chamber was covered with water to a est and most extensive silver mines in the Ner- depth of three or four inches and moisture was
dripping everywhere from the walls. At a -some upward, some horizontally, and some depth of 200 feet we reached another land- downward at a steep angle into an abyss of ing and entered the mouth of a very wide and darkness. It was evident that the ore had been high gallery leading away into the heart of the followed wherever it went and scooped out mountain. There had just been a blast some- in the cheapest and most expeditious manner where in this part of the mine, and as we pro- possible, without regard to safety, and with litceeded through the gallery filled with powder tle attention to timbering. It was the most smoke I could see absolutely nothing except dangerous-looking place I had ever seen. the faint glimmer of the ustavshchik's candle From these great caverns, of the time of Cathin the mist ahead. Guided by that, I stumbled erine II., we proceeded to the deepest part of along the uneven floor of the gallery, stepping the mine by descending a shaft cut through
now and then into a hole or splashing into a the solid rock at an angle of about forty-five pool of water, and imagining for an instant that degrees and not provided with ladders. A I had tumbled into an abandoned shaft. In one heavy and rusty chain had been festooned place we passed a very extensive excavation, against one side by means of staples driven out of which the ustavshchik said an immense into holes drilled in the rock, and clinging to body of ore had been taken as long ago as the this chain we cautiously descended the shaft middle of the last century. An immense area of with a stream of water running ankle-deep roof had been left supported by quadrangular around our legs and tumbling in cascades piles of crossed logs, which were so black from into the depths of the mine. On the lowest lapse of time that they were hardly recogniz- level that we reached a party of convicts was able as wood, and in many cases so soft that I at work blasting out a new gallery with dynacould take pinches of rotten fiber out of them mite. A perpendicular climb of 300 or 400 feet with my fingers. This part of the mine the up slippery ladders in another shaft brought ustavshchik said was regarded as very danger- us once more to the surface, and when, wet, ous, and he did not think it prudent to go any muddy, and breathless, I stepped from the end farther. From the point where we turned to of the last ladder upon the floor of the toolretrace our steps black, irregular caverns could house I was so exhausted that I could hardly still be seen stretching away in every direction stand on my feet.
MOLIÈRE AND SHAKSPERE.
BY C. COQUELIN, OF THE COMÉDIE FRANÇAISE.
VERYTHING has been said the other at fifty-one; leaving almost the same
about Molière, and in France number of works, as to which they seem to he has been the object of the have been negligent, since these were printed most extravagant theories. in full only after their deaths, and by the care There is only one sugges- of their comrades. Born in the burgher class, tion which no one has ven- they had princes for friends and knew the royal
tured : this is to deny that favor; and Louis XIV. asked Molière for the he is the author of his works. In England“ Magnificent Lovers," as Queen Elizabeth there is a school which declares that Shak- had asked Shakspere for the “ Merry Wives of spere was but a man of straw, and that the Windsor.” Thus one and the other, turn by true poet of “Hamlet” and of “The Tempest” turn, amused the court and the city, the peowas the lord chancellor Bacon. We have not ple of quality and the rabble. Their free genius yet a school like this. Is an hypothesis of this brought them out safely. sort impossible ? Could we not, with equal Wherefore the classic Ben Jonson cried out likelihood, attribute the paternity of the “School against his comrade Shakspere; wherefore also for Wives” and “Don Juan" to the great the rigorous Boileau condemned judicially the Condé, for instance, to whom tradition already author of “The Misanthrope,” thrust into the imputes at least one line of “Tartuffe”— sack of Scapin. Nevertheless, they went on, Il est de faux dévots ainsi que de faux braves,
taking their property where they found it, bor
rowing, everywhere the matter which their and who was the avowed protector of Mo- alchemic genius turned to gold, bearing in mind lière ? He prided himself, as we know, on his no rules but to be true and to please; pleasing wit and on his freedom of thought, and he indeed, and always pleasing, the foolish as well was fond of the stage. Why may he not have as the wise, the ignorant as well as the refined. had a hand in these plays ? That would ex- Not only did they skirmish with pedants, plain why this same “ Tartuffe" was acted at but they also quarreled with the envious, a his house in full long before it was revised; viler tribe: Shakspere had Greene, Molière why it was at his house again that the revised had Visé; they were hunted even into their version was first seen; and also why Molière private life, and infamous vices were imputed left no manuscripts behind him.
to them. They were, however, excellent comIt would not be difficult, I think, if some rades, liking a large life, good fare, and frank imaginative scholar would but undertake it, to friendships; they gladly had wit-combats at establish this hypothesis as solidly as the fa- the “Syren or at the “ Cross of Lorraine"; mous Baconian theory; and it could be proved and they kept open house. If we believe the that Molière and Shakspere are but masks, legend, it was because he entertained too libjust as it has been proved that Napoleon and erally his old friend Ben Jonson and his comMr. Gladstone have never existed and that the patriot Drayton that Shakspere took to his first of these is a sun-myth and the second an bed and died. It is thus that our Regnard old Breton deity — no doubt, the deity of died; but it is not thus that Molière died. eloquence!
His heartrending death is familiar; and God, But I have no intention of fighting the Ba- who does not disdain an antithesis, crowned conian revelation, nor of building up any theory these careers so alike with the most opposite of that kind; I wish only to throw on paper a ends, making a comedy of the death of the few notes, inspired by the study and the com- great tragedian and of the death of the great parison of the two masters of the stage. comedian a drama.
If Molière seems like a belated twin of In yet another point the end of Shakspere Shakspere, it is not only because of an admi- differed from that of Molière. He had retired. rable equality of genius, it is also because of the He was living in his dear Stratford, as a rich many likenesses shown in their lives and in their country gentleman, taking very good care of habits. First actors, then authors, then mana- his property; even careless of his glory, and gers, they entered the profession very young not having written, when he died, perhaps one and pretty poor; and both made money by verse in four years. His will does not mention the theater and died rich, one at fifty-two and his works, nor do the four lines inscribed over