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as in “The Tempest," enchanted with invisi- in his criticism. “The author has not put this ble music, where life is painted like a soap bub- in as a clever saying of his own, but only as ble—iridescent and empty. What likeness can a thing that characterizes the man.” So with there be between these exquisite fairy tales, him there is nothing unnecessary. Each touch made of dreams, and the comedy of Molière, brings out the character in the living reality. all kneaded with reality ?

Can we here say that from this point of view There are exceptions, however. There is one Molière has the better of his rival? But it of Shakspere's comedies that approaches the would be easy to reply that Shakspere in his French manner: it is the “ Taming of the mighty maturity renounced witticisms to seek Shrew.” This has a logical action and a moral. effects only from nature. And it is by their Petruchio tames his devilish wife by showing masterpieces that these great men must be himself more of a devil than she. But they compared. Thus we admire in them the same both are eccentrics rather than true charac- creative fecundity, the same intensity of life, ters; and the play is a farce, where caricature the same dramatic vigor. This latter is so injures the truth. No matter, it is one of the great in Molière that it was able to lead astray gayest, and — see the power of the French form his fervent admirer the great Goethe, who at- it has remained one of the most popular. tributed to him tragic genius. This seems an

He has been less successful, to my mind, in error; but nothing shows better than this efror the “ Merry Wives of Windsor," another ex- the force of the situations in“The Misanthrope,” ception in his works, for it is a contempora- in “Tartuffe,” and elsewhere. They have sugneous satire, notwithstanding the date, and a gested to Molière, as to Shakspere, those portrait of middle-class manners. It has excel- phrases that suddenly shed light into the very lent scenes. Ford recalls our Arnolphe. Like depths of the soul. Patheticin Shakspere, comic Arnolphe he is jealous, like Arnolphe he is kept in Molière, they are sublime in both. Sublime, informed of all that is being prepared against you say ? Can the comic be sublime? Why him (at least he thinks so), and like Arnolphe not? After all, the sublime is but a stroke of he succeeds only in getting himself laughed at. truth, so brilliant, so deep, that it calls for no But how feeble and brutal he is! What un- explanation or reasoning, leaves nothing to be reason in all his actions! In short, he is any said, and sometimes — like the Qu'il mourût husband, while Arnolphe, in representing the old of the old Horace-attains a pure and simple sect which insists on the subjection of woman, absurdity. is one of those faces in which the humanity of Even in Shakspere there are strokes of this all times recognizes itself laughing at the rec- kind of comedy; such is the famous acclamaognition. Even in the Falstaff of the “Merry tion of the “Brutus! Hail Brutus! Let Brutus Wives” one can pick flaws. Is this the Falstaff be Cæsar.”And another saying, in “Coriolanus," of “Henry IV., who was always brimming “ Let us kill Marcius, and we 'll have corn at over with audacity and humor ? Alas! how our own price.” As for the pathetic cries it is he is faded! What a fall! No, no; this dupe unnecessary for me to recall the apostrophe of is not Falstaff! Shakspere was no more at ease Lear to the storm, “ Nor rain, wind, thunder, in working on an idea of Elizabeth's than was fire, are my daughters!” Nor the saying of Molière when he composed the “Magnificent Macduff, “ He has no children !” Nor all Lovers ” on an outline of Louis XIV.'s. those that spring from the troubled conscience

A few words must be added on the wit of of Hamlet. But is not the Poor Man in “ TarShakspere, the sparkling of which fills the first tuffe” of the same caliber ? Does not Alplays of Shakspere. It is with double mean- ceste's “Morbleu! Faut-il que je vous aime ?” ings, with puns, that he makes the laughter spring from the same depths? And the innobreak out; counterfeit coin, doubtless, but so cent question of Arnolphe, “Why not love prettily struck off, so brilliant, so resonant! me, Madam Impudence ?” But Molière has Recall the battles of wit between Beatrice and whole scenes written in this tone. Recall the Benedict, and the loving chatter of Rosalind scene before the last in the third act of“ Tarand the elegant babble of Mercutio. But all tuffe" between Orgon, Tartuffe, and Damis. this has sadly cooled in three centuries. There is not a line that does not carry. If it

Molière has no mere wit. Puns, points, the were not so funny it would be terrible. Never collocation of droll sounds, words taken one has human credulity been so truly painted, for another-all these are absent from his work. neither has the faculty which Tartuffes have At most he permits himself, in his farces, some of dishumanizing the best of us. If one forgets Gallic equivoques. He wishes to bring a laugh to laugh, the scene leaves an impression of only by touches of nature. It is not from him as stupefaction, and this I think is the duty of author that come his witticisms; it is from his the sublime. characters, and they come naturally and by In Shakspere Othello is less deeply duped the force of things. He himself explains this by Iago. For from the moment that he has


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sketches, and asked Mr. Nesterof a long series but there are no deadly fumes or exhalations of questions about the mines.

from poisonous ores like cinnabar to affect the The silver-bearing veins or lodes in the mines health of the laborers, and experience seems of Algachi and Pokrofski vary in thickness to show that the death rate is no higher among from 12 or 14 inches to 5 or 6 feet. The ore, the convicts who go regularly every day into which has a bright glittering appearance, con- the mines than among those who lie idle day sists of silver and lead in the proportion of about after day in the vitiated air of the prison kaI to 100, with greater or less admixture of meras. If I were permitted to make choice what the Russian miners call “ zinkovi ob- between complete idleness in such a prison as manka” (zink-o'vee ob-man'kah) or “ zinc that of Algachi or Ust Kara and regular daily deceit.” As the metal last named is much less labor in the mines, I should, without hesitation, fusible than lead, it becomes very troublesome choose the latter. So far as I could ascertain in the reducing furnaces, and, so far as possible, by careful inquiry among the convicts themthe miners get rid of it by breaking up the ore selves, no one has ever been compelled to live into small pieces and discarding that part of and sleep in these mines day and night, and it in which the zinc predominates. The work I believe that all the stories to that effect pubof crushing and sorting is performed by the lished from time to time are wholly imaginary weaker male convicts and the women, and is and fictitious. The working force may occasionregarded as the lightest form of hard labor. It ally have been divided into day and night is about equivalent to breaking stones on the gangs, or shifts, sent into the mines alternately, road with a heavy, short-handled hammer. Out but the same men have never been required of the mines of Algachi and Pokrofski, which to remain there continuously for twenty-four are the most productive in the district, there hours. At the present time there is no night are taken every year nearly 400 short tons of work and all of the convicts return to their ore, which, when reduced, yields about 1440 prisons before dark, or in the short days of midpounds of silver, valued at $20,000, and 144,000 winter very soon after dark. I do not wish to pounds of lead. The lead, owing to the expense be understood as saying that the life of Rusof transportation to a market, is virtually worth- sian convicts at the Nerchinsk silver mines is less, and at the time of our visit nearly 2000 an easy one, or that they do not suffer. I can tons of it were lying at the Kutomarski (Koo- hardly imagine a more terrible and hopeless to-mar'skee) Zavod, where the ore from these existence than that of a man who works all mines for many years has been reduced. The day in one of the damp, muddy galleries of the average number of convicts employed in the Pokrofski mine, and goes back at night to a two mines is 220, and each of them gets out close, foul, vermin-infested prison like that of 3600 pounds of ore a year, or about 10 pounds Algachi. It is worse than the life of any pariah a day. These figures alone are enough to show dog, but at the same time it is not the senhow feebly and inefficiently the mines are sationally terrible life of the fictitious convict worked. Until the early part of 1885 the con- described by Mr. Grenville Murray- the convicts were sent down the shafts every day in the vict who lives night and day underground, year with the exception of a few great church sleeps in a rocky niche, toils in hopeless misery holy days, but since that time they have been under the lash of a pitiless overseer, and is allowed two days' rest a month, viz., the 1st and slowly poisoned to death by the fumes of quickthe 15th. They work by stents, or tasks," silver. Such things may be effective in a senwhich can be completed by able-bodied men sational drama, but they are not true. The in from eight to ten hours. They receive, in worst feature of penal servitude in Siberia is quantity and kind, substantially the same food not hard labor in the mines; it is the conand clothing that are given to the hard-labor dition of the prisons. convicts at the mines of Kara, and their main- When Mr. Frost, Mr. Nesterof, and I retenance costs the Government about $40 a year, turned from the Pokrofski mine to the village or a little less than u cents a day per capita. of Algachi it was beginning to grow dark, and

Regarded as places of punishment the Ner- the village girls were watering their cows and chinsk mines did not seem to me so terrible as filling their icy buckets at a curbed spring or they are often represented to be. It is not very well near the zemski kvartir. We drove to pleasant, of course, to work eight or ten hours the house of Mr. Nesterof for dinner, spent every day in a damp or icy gallery 300 feet an hour or two in conversation, and devoted underground; but even such employment is, I the remainder of the evening to writing up think, less prejudicial to health than unbroken note-books and completing sketches. confinement in a dirty, overcrowded, and foul- Friday morning, November 20, we bade smelling convict prison. The mines are badly Mr. Nesterof and Lieutenant-Colonel Saltstein ventilated and the gases liberated in them by good-bye, and set out with two horses, a small the explosives used are doubtless injurious; uncomfortable telega, and a fresh supply of



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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 was situated, partly because it had once been of a peculiar, half-ruined log building, which the most dreaded place of punishment in all had once apparently been covered with stucco Siberia, and partly because the Government or plaster, and through the middle of which was then making preparations to transport to ran a high-arched gateway. On the flanks it all of the political convicts at the mines of this structure, and forty or fifty yards from of Kara. The road ran across the desolate it, stood two weather-beaten prisons of stucsteppe to the foot of a low mountain range six coed brick, one of them roofless, and both or eight miles north-west of the Zavod, and gradually falling into ruins. It was evident then entered a shallow valley between rounded that these prisons had once been surrounded and perfectly barren hills, about a thousand by a stockade, and that the log building with feet in height, whose snowy slopes limited the the arched gateway was the corps-de-garde vision in every direction. As we ascended this through which admission was had to the invalley the hills shut it in more and more closely, closure. The stockade, however, had long

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until, a mile and a half or two miles beyond before disappeared, the iron gratings had been the small village of Akatui, it became a se- removed from the windows, and little remained cluded and inexpressibly dreary glen, where to indicate to a careless observer the real nathere were no signs of life except the stunted ture of the ruins or the purposes that they and leafless bushes which here and there broke had served. I alighted from my telega and the uniform whiteness of the snow-covered entered the prison on the right of the corpshills. It seemed to me that I had never seen de-garde, thinking that I might discover a a place so lonely, so cheerless, so isolated from mural inscription left by some lonely and unall the living world. It might have been a happy prisoner, or perhaps find one of the valley among the arctic hills of Greenland near iron rings or staples in the wall to which rethe Pole.

fractory convicts were chained. Every scrap “Here is the old political prison,” said the of iron, however, that could be used elsewhere ispravnik; and as he spoke we stopped in front had been stripped from the building; the

floors had rotted away; the plaster had fallen; fore reaching Algachi, the country, which we and nothing whatever remained to suggest to could see for thirty miles, looked like a boundone's imagination the unwritten history of the less ocean suddenly frozen solid in the midst gloomy prison, or bear witness to the cruelties of a tremendous Cape Horn gale when the seas and tragedies that had given to Akatui its evil were running high. Far down in a snowy trough fame. The prison on the left of the corps-de- between two of these mighty surges we could garde was in a much better state of repair than just make out a little cluster of unpainted logthe other, and would doubtless have repaid a houses, which our driver said was the mining careful examination ; but its windows were village of Algachi. I wondered, as we stopped fastened, its heavy plank doors were secured for a moment on the summit to look at it, with padlocks, and the warden said he did whether in all the world one could find a setnot know where the keys were or how we tlement situated in a more dreary and desolate could gain admission. The entrance to the spot. As far as the eye could see there was not mine of Akatui was on the hillside, five or six a tree, nor a dark object of any kind, to break hundred feet above the bottom of the valley, the ghastly whiteness of the rolling ocean of and we could just see, in the deepening twi- snowy mountains; and it was not hard to imlight, the outlines of a small tool-house that agine that the village itself was nothing more stood near the mouth of the shaft. At an than a little collection of floating driftwood, earlier hour of the day I should have proposed caught in the trough of the sea at the moment to visit it; but the darkness of night was al- when the tremendous billows were suddenly ready gathering in the valley, the air was bit- turned to snow and ice. We descended the terly cold, and as the ispravnik and the warden steep slope of the mountain to the village by a seemed anxious to return to the Zavod I was stony, zigzag road, entered a long, dirty, strawobliged to content myself with such an ex- littered street between two rows of unpainted amination of Akatui as could be made in wooden houses, passed through several herds the vicinity of the prisons. Lunin (Loon’in), of cattle that sheepskin-coated boys were drivone of the Decembrist conspirators of 1825, ing in from pasture, and finally stopped, amid lived and died in penal servitude at this mine, a crowd of curious idlers, in front of the and somewhere in the neighborhood lie buried "zemski kvartir," or official lodging-house, many of the Polish patriots sent to Akatui after where we intended to spend the night. It was the insurrection of 1863. I was unable, how- already five o'clock,—too late for a visit to the ever, to find their graves. The Russian Gov- prison or an inspection of the mine,—and as ernment does not take pains to perpetuate the soon as we had brought in our baggage and exmemory of the political offenders whom it tor- plained to the people of the house who we were, tures to death in its Siberian prisons, and over we set about the preparation of supper. Our the moldering bodies of most of them there resources were rather limited, but our peasant is not so much as a mound. Since my return hostess furnished steaming samovar with a from Siberia a new prison has been erected in little milk and butter, Mr. Frost produced, the dreary valley of Akatui, and to it are to be with triumph, a can of Californian preserved transported all of the political convicts from peaches, which he said he had bought in Kara. The intention of the Government is to Stretinsk “for a holiday," and we thawed out pump the water out of the abandoned mine and toasted on a stick, before a cheerful open and set the politicals at work in its damp and fire, some of our frozen, sand-powdered bread. gloomy galleries. The change, of course, will Altogether we made out so good a supper that be for the worse. If there is in Siberia a more Mr. Frost's imagination never once suggested lonely, a more cheerless, a more God-forsaken to him the desirability of milk-toast, and we place than Kara, it is the snowy, secluded went to bed on the floor about nine o'clock valley of Akatui.

warm, comfortable, and happy. At a late hour Tuesday night we returned Wednesday morning, after breakfast, we to the Alexandrofski Zavod, and about noon called upon Mr. Nesterof (Nes'ter-off), the on Wednesday, after a refreshing night's sleep resident mining engineer, and Lieutenant-Coloand a good breakfast, we set out for the mine of nel Saltstein, the warden of the prison, for the Algachi, distant about twenty-two miles. There purpose of getting permission to examine and was little, if any, change in the appearance of investigate. Mr. Nesterof received us with the country as we made our way slowly into generous Russian hospitality, insisted upon the silver-mining district. One range of low, our taking a supplementary breakfast with him, barren, round-topped mountains succeeded and filled and refilled our glasses with vodka, another, like great ocean swells, with hardly cordial, Crimean wine, and Boston canned a sign of life or vegetation, except in the lemonade, until we feared that we should have shallow haystack-dotted valleys. From the to postpone our investigations indefinitely. summit of the last divide that we crossed be- Lieutenant-Colonel Saltstein, who lived in a


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