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growth of a narrative, to watch its increase from its original germ to its final development. By way of a close to the present attempt to pry into the secret meaning of Cinderella's history may be given a sketch of a traceable growth of this kind. It occurs in the case of the legend of Trajan, an excellent account of which has been lately given by M. Gaston Paris.*
Tradition asserts that there once existed at Rome a bas-relief representing Trajan on horseback in all his glory, and in front of him a woman sadly kneeling. Nothing can be more probable, and, if such was really the case, the suppliant female would, no doubt, represent a conquered province, just as Dacia is represented on one of Trajan's medals as a woman on her knees. How ever this may be, out of the tradition sprang a story illustrative of Trajan's justice. On the point of starting on a campaign, it said, the Emperor was suddenly stopped by a poor widow, who flung herself on her knees before him, and besought him to right her wrongs. He expostulated, but finally yielded, and did her justice before he resumed his march. This was the first half of the story's growth. The second seems to have followed at a later period. According to the completed legend, as Pope Gregory the
DINNERS IN LITERATURE.
FTER Achilles in the "Iliad" has granted temptuously, by Seneca-a man of extremely
erence to the dead body of his son, he immediately suggests to the old man the propriety of taking some refreshment. Let us, he says, now remember our dinner. For this was a matter not forgotten by the fair-haired Niobe, even when all her twelve children lay dead in her house, slain by Apollo and Artemis. And Homer, if such a man there be, goes on to tell us how the swift-footed Greek at once rose up, and himself cut the throat of a white wether, and his companions flayed it, and got it ready in the proper fashion, and divided it cunningly, and pierced it with spits, and roasted it with circumspection, and did all those other things so well known to the student of the "Iliad," as thought worthy of many more mentions than one by the author of that divine poem.
Great passed through the Forum of Trajan one day, he bethought himself of that Emperor's many merits, and especially of his admirable conduct in righting the widow's wrongs. And a great sorrow came over him at the thought that so excellent a pagan should be lost eternally. Whereupon he prayed earnestly and constantly for Trajan's salvation, until at last a voice from on high informed him that his prayer was granted, but that in future he was to pray only for Christian souls. A later addition to the legend told how Gregory learned from an angel that, by way of punishment for his indiscreet though successful intervention, he would have to suffer from certain maladies for the rest of his life. The question as to whether Gregory was justified in his procedure greatly exercised the minds of many medieval casuists, one of whom solved the problem, and escaped from the doctrinal difficulties which it presented, by the following ingenious explanation: No one, he said, can be saved unless he be baptized. But baptism is precisely what Gregory obtained for Trajan. At the Pope's prayer the Emperor's soul returned to his body, Gregory baptized it, "and the soul, again quitting its earthly case, went straight up into heaven."
W. R. S. RALSTON (Nineteenth Century).
Not a few writers of eminence, both ancient and modern, have followed Homer's example in giving abundant details of what was called con
"La Légende de Trajan," Paris, 1878.
Nor is it certain, when we consider how much a dinner shares in the constitution of human happiness, that this philosopher was altogether wise in reviling the discipline of Apicius as the disease of his age, or that la science de la gueule—to borrow a phrase of Rabelais and Montaignedeserves Columella's censure as the worship of the most degraded vice.
The good effects, moral and social, of a good dinner-not the least among the great and lasting triumphs of a civilized life-have been too often established to need any further evidence. What frantic enmities have been rung out, what everlasting friendships rung in, by that tocsin of the soul, the dinner-bell! A suitably served repast can remove prejudice, and abate pride; it can reconcile misunderstandings, and discover amiability. Will not a steaming turkey turn away strife, and meditations of evil vanish before a Christmas plum-pudding? Nay, resentment ere this has beat a retreat before a humble Welsh rarebit; and a horrid feud, which not even the
family solicitor could disperse, has melted like a morning mist in sunrise at the approach of a goose at Michaelmas. What might have been the result of a judicious present by her lover to Sophia Western of a dish of those eggs of roasted pullets, of which, according to Black George the Gamekeeper's evidence, she was so fond? Surely a corresponding sweetness of temper had followed the impartial distribution of those sweetmeats which Dr. Johnson advised the brewer's wife to give away of an evening. The advice itself shows the importance which the philosopher attached even to the minutia of what is so happily called "good living." What irony of fate has deprived us of that philosophical CookeryBook which women could not write, but the Doctor could, and in place of it has offered to us-"Irene"!
There is a phrase attributed to Voltaire-to whom, having written much, much is attributed -that the fate of nations often depends upon the digestion of a minister. A slight variation in a carte de jour, like a variation in the length of Cleopatra's nose, might have altered the circumstances of a world. The decisive battles of Borodino and Leipsic were lost to Napoleon by a fit of dyspepsia. How certainly, then, does it become a man's bounden duty to meditate on few matters so seriously as on his meals! What is more natural than that eating should reach the dignity of an art, and such an art as, like mathematics, demands the whole man? and what wonder is it to see so much in literature concerning eating, from the earliest to the latest times? A reflection on the influence of food on the character of mankind diminishes our surprise at the boast of the subtile Ulysses, who is represented in the "Odyssey" declaring that no other mortal may compete with him-not, indeed, in the strength of his arm or the acuteness of his intellect, but in making up a fire and cutting up wood for burning, and jointing meat, and discharging generally the duties of a cook and a butler. The sacred historian has not thought it beneath him to describe the effect of a savory dish in procuring the benediction of Isaac; nor, when we remember the intimate association between the heart and the stomach, will the conduct of the French novelist appear absurd, who introduces, in the most pathetic part of the story, a descant of his heroine upon the several courses of her dinner.
The idea that eating is a subject of humiliation, that it is but a makeshift to repair the imperfection of our nature, that it dulls the intelligence-notions buttressed up by a few stock quotations out of the Latin Grammar, such as "fruges consumere nati,” "animum quoque prægravat una "-has gone far to make dinner
a subject unworthy of the novelist and the poet, and so, not rarely, produced inconvenient results. Thus, to take an instance in our nursery rhymes, an idle attempt has been made, in the ancient ballad, which bears some mystic reference, in its opening lines, but nowhere else, to a sixpence and a pocketful of rye, absurdly to explain away the four-and-twenty blackbirds as black numerals baked into the glazed white face of an old dial, or as four-and-twenty hours; and to turn the whole song, by strained interpretations, into a nature myth. There is, indeed, no little difficulty in understanding the singing of the baked birds; but we are not, because of this subjective deficiency in our intelligence, justified in supposing that the ancient poet intended by his rhyme aught but a simple representation of a royal dinner of his place and period. The vastness of the dainty dish was doubtless introduced to add to our idea of sublimity in the sovereign, just as King Cyrus found an argument for Baal being a living God in the large quantity of his daily rations. As well may an allegorical meaning be assigned to Falstaff's feast in Shallow's house in Gloucestershire, and a figurative interpretation to the pigeons, the couple of short-legged hens, the joint of mutton, and the other sundry kickshaws which William Cook provided.
Full many a three-volumed novel, unwisely neglected, on account of an apparent predominance of gastronomical detail, by the superficial reader, forms the subject of interest and astonishment to the philosopher. To him, pages in which keenness of appetite is more remarkable than keenness of wit-pages in which the author's puppets make up for saying little by eating much-reveal the inner mental characteristics of the company; and he can almost prophesy the actions of each by observing the particular entrées he prefers. If he notices, for instance, that the dishes are improperly prepared, he will at once form a conclusion adverse to the presence of preciseness and exactitude in the host. Nor in doing so is he without the authority of the sage of Bolt Court, who said, “Sir, if a man can not get his dinner well dressed, he should be suspected of inaccuracy in other things." Where the unskilled reader sees only a tendency in the parties eating to enlarge the circumference of their bodies, the student of human nature will perceive subtile hints of the various anfractuosities of their minds. He will not be surprised at a fit of melancholy in him who feeds on hare, nor at a sanguine temperament in him who makes his meal of beef. He will be prepared for severity of demeanor in him who partakes of piecrust, according to the authority of Dr. King: "Eat pie-crust, if you'd serious be"; and, following the same great authority, will introduce
to the ladies' notice him who during dinner has shown a singular predilection for shell-fish. He will recognize the being with large discourse looking before and after in him who breakfasts as if uncertain of dinner, and dines as if reflecting he had not breakfasted. He will mark the weak stomach as the sure concomitant of the weak brain. He will be prepared for impetuosity of temper in him who subsists on animal out of all proportion to vegetable aliment, or, if in any proportion, in such as Falstaff's intolerable quantity of sack to his one halfpenny-worth of bread. He will perhaps expect to find good eating the parent of good sense. He will receive as an exquisite illustration of natural laws the circumstance that, in one chapter of a fashionable novel, the young lady, the heroine, during her residence in the temperate zone of the family, will eat about equal proportions of meat and vegetables, of carbonaceous and nitrogenous matter. In another chapter he will find her transported to the arctic circle of Miss Monflather's seminary; and there, in accordance still with the laws of Nature, she will be ready to devour the blubber and whale-oil of the pole. Yet again, in a third chapter, he will meet with her in the tropical atmosphere of a zealous young curate, and there behold her dining, like Amina the delicate, on a few grains of rice or an apple. Then, indeed, will her stomach be prouder than that of Arthur Clennam in 'Little Dorrit," which awoke the indignation of Mr. F's aunt. She will disdain the familiar conjunctions of pork and pease-pudding, of bacon and beans, of mutton and capers. Only after repeated solicitations will she be induced to "try a little" of what some one with a pretty taste for the letter has called "the pernicious pasticcios of the pastry-cook, or the complex combinations of the confectioner."
Not a few philosophers have endeavored to show the intimate relation which subsists between the meat and the morality of nations. Some have gone so far as to consider the elevation of gastronomy to be that of the whole circle of arts and sciences, and regarded man as nothing more nor less than a sublime alembic.
Buckle, in his "History of Civilization," following Cabanis, considers food as one of the four physical agents most powerfully influencing the human race. The organization of society and the differences in peoples are traceable, in his opinion, to a diversity of dinner. Men's manners and morality, their customs and condition, depend mainly, if he may be believed, on what they eat. The boldness of the Norseman and the timidity of the Bengalee are ascribed as justly due to their respective preferences for meat or vegetables, for carbonaceous or nitrogenous diet, imposed on them by the temperature of VOL. VIII.-3
their climate. Slavery in India is the direct result of rice, in Egypt of dates, of maize in Mexico and Peru.
We all remember the mischievous effects of meat on Oliver Twist. When from the recesses of Mrs. Sowerberry's coal-cellar that boy blasphemed Mr. Bumble, "It is not madness," said that dignitary, after deep meditation, "it's meat!" Had the boy lived on gruel it had never happened. The congenital irritability of the English is perhaps owing to their consumption of animal food in a higher proportion than most other nations of Europe. "Beef," said Lord Sparkish, in Swift's "Polite Conversation," "is man's meat." Europa is borne now, as formerly, by a bull. Beef conduces to courage. It was roast-beef, maybe, that won the day at Blenheim and Ramillies, and potages and kickshaws that lost it at Agincourt and Poictiers. The French themselves say, "C'est la soupe que fait le soldat. However that may be, the lightness of their cookery appears to have caused considerable lightness of heel in their dancing-masters. Greece was once famous for song. How has its poetry sunk since the inhabitants of the Morea substituted coffee for wine!
A good dinner is indeed necessary to make a good subject. Correct views in politics and right opinions in religion are no less dependent on our nutriment than animal intrepidity and amiability of disposition. The word Whig is derived, it is well known, from a word used in North England for sour milk; and the advancement of the Catholic faith was certainly contemplated by the monks of the Abbey of Fécamp when they consecrated each bottle of their famous Benedictine liqueur with the mystic letters A. M. D. G., without which none, it may be added, is genuine. Even architecture and natural philosophy were shown by Sinon to be intimately related to cookery; and none will be surprised at his placing the science by which the greatest sum of pleasure is afforded to our friends, in close juxtaposition to that of military strategics, whereby the extreme amount of annoyance is occasioned to our enemies. The professors of medicine and morality are about equally indebted to the cooks. Few, however, have borrowed from them for such an early period of life as Van Helmont, who demanded of them a mystic sop of bread boiled in beer as a substitution in infants' food for that natural milk of which the amiable Dr. Brouzet seems to have had so bad an opinion. Nor have philosophers been unwilling to apply to themselves in practice the principles they advocated in theory. Boswell's illustrious friend, for example, was equally solicitous to supply heat and repair waste in his corporeal system. Half a dozen large peaches, according to Mrs. Piozzi, before LIBRARY
scratching her dress, and scratched through it down to the mantle" which it covered. So when he had lifted his head from her knees, he tore off her head-dress from her head, and immediately perceived that she was his sister. Then they two went forth from that house, but no one knew whither they went."
All commentators will doubtless agree that the stories of Cinderella and Goldenlocks spring from the same root. But they will differ widely when the question arises as to whether that root was or was not of a mythological nature, and also as to what was, in either case, its original form and significance. The majority of the critics who have lately handled the subject have not the slightest doubt about the whole matter. "It is the story of the Sun and the Dawn," says Mr. J. Thackray Bunce, in the latest work on the subject, a pretty little book on "Fairy Tales: their Origin and Meaning"; "Cinderella, gray and dark and dull, is all neglected when she is away from the Sun, obscured by the envious Clouds, her sisters, and by her step-mother, the Night. So she is Aurora, the Dawn, and the fairy Prince is the Morning Sun, ever pursuing her to claim her for his bride." According to Professor de Gubernatis, in his “Zoological Mythology" (ii., 281), “Ahalyâ (the evening Aurora) in the ashes is the germ of the story of Cinderella, and of the daughter of the King of Dacia, persecuted by her lover, her father himself." It seems unfortunate that so many “storiologists" have committed themselves to the support of the cause of the Dawn and the Afterglow, the "Morning and Evening Auroras," before the claims to consideration of other natural phenomena or forces were fully considered and disposed of in a manner satisfactory to at least the great majority of judges. Too few of the writers on the meaning of popular tales seem to have remembered Professor Max Müller's warning that this is a subject which requires the most delicate handling and the most careful analysis." Instead of warily feeling their way over an obscure and unfamiliar field, they race across it toward their conclusions, bent upon taking every obstacle in their stride. The consequence is, that they now and then meet, or to the eyes of unenthusiastic spectators appear to meet, with mishaps of a somewhat ludicrous nature. Thus, when we are told that the justly saddened mother of Beanstalk Jack, by throwing her apron over her head and weeping, figures "the night and the rain," we are apt to be led by our perception of the ridiculous toward an inclination to laugh at the whole system according to which so many stories are resolved into nature myths. But that system, if used discreetly, appears to lead to results not otherwise attainable. In the case of
certain, but by no means all, popular tales, it offers an apparently reasonable solution of many problems. Just as it seems really true that at least many of the stories of fair maidens released from the captivity in which they were kept by demoniacal beings "can be traced back to mythological traditions about the Spring being released from the bonds of Winter, the Sun being rescued from the darkness of the Night, the Dawn being brought back from the far West, the Waters being set free from the prison of the Clouds,"* so it appears not unreasonable to suppose that the large group of tales of the Cinderella class may be referred for their origin to similar mythological traditions. In all the numerous narratives about brave princes and beautiful princesses who, apparently without sufficient reason, conceal under a foul disguise their fair nature, emerge at times from their seclusion and obscurity, but capriciously return to their degraded positions, until they are finally revealed in their splendor by accident or destiny-in all these stories about a Rashie-Coat, a Katie Woodencloak, a Goldenlocks, or any other of Cinderella's brothers and sisters, there appears to be a mythological element capable of being not unreasonably attributed to the feelings with which, at an early myth-making period, prescientific man regarded the effect of the forces, the splendor of the phenomena of nature. But there is a vast difference between regarding as a nature-myth in general the germ of the legends from which have sprung the stories of the Cinderella cycle, and identifying with precision the particular atmospheric phenomenon which all its heroes and heroines are supposed to symbolize. And there is an equally wide difference between the reasonableness of seeking for a mythological explanation of a legend when traced back to its oldest known form, and the utter absurdity of attempting to squeeze a mythical meaning out of every incident in a modern nursery-tale, which has perhaps been either considerably enlarged or cruelly "clippit and nippit " by successive generations of rustic repeaters, and has most certainly been greatly modified and dressed by its literary introducers into polite society. No one can fail to perceive how great a gulf divides the system of interpretation which Professor Max Müller has applied to Vedic myths from that adopted in the case of such manifest modernizations as "Little Red Riding Hood " by critics who forget that (to use his words) "before any comparison can be instituted between nursery tales of Germany, England, and India, each tale must be traced back to a legend or myth from whence it arose, and in which it had a natural meaning;
* Max Müller, "Chips," ii., 237.
otherwise we can not hope to arrive at any satis- allels in tales which are told by wild races unable factory results." ("Chips," ii., 249.) to boast of a drop of Aryan blood. But the dramatic narratives known to us as the stories of Cinderella, "Puss in Boots," and the like, in which a regular sequence of acts or scenes is maintained unaltered in various climes and centuries, seem unknown to savage countries, unless they have been introduced from more cultured lands. A few of the incidents related in the stories cited in the present article closely resemble parts of savage tales. We may take as an example the Russian account of the sister who, when pursued by her brother, sinks into the earth and so escapes. In a Zulu tale,* a sister whose brother is pursuing her with murderous intent, exclaims, "Open, earth, that I may enter, for I am about to die this day," whereupon "the earth opened and Untombi-yapansi entered." In vain did her brother Usilwane seek for her when he arrived. Her subsequent adventures, also, are akin to those of Cinderella. Originally "her body glistened, for she was like brass," but "she took some black earth and smeared her body with it," and so eclipsed her natural radiance. Eventually, however, she was watched by "the chief,” who saw her, "dirty and very black," enter a pool, and emerge from it " with her body glistening like brass," put on garments and ornaments which arose out of the ground, and behave altogether like the brilliant heroine she really was. There seems to be good reason for looking upon Untombi-yapansi as a Zulu Cinderella. But how far a foreign influence has been exercised upon the Zulu tale, it would be difficult to decide.
How far, also, the story of Rashie-Coat's proposed marriage refers to ancient ideas about the lawfulness of unions now disallowed, is a question not easily to be answered. There is no doubt that the memory of obsolete customs may be long preserved in folk-lore. We may take as an instance the Russian story of the Lubok or Birch Bark, in which it would seem unreasonable to look for a mythological kernel. There exist in many countries a number of stories showing how a man's unfilial conduct toward his father was brought to a close by a chance remark made by his infant son. In the forms it assumes there is considerable variety, but the moral is always the same. In a well-known German tale in the Grimm collection, an old man is obliged by his son and his son's wife to eat apart, out of a wooden bowl, on account of the slobbering habits due to his great age. His son's little boy is observed one day to be fashioning a small wooden bowl. When asked for what it is intended, he says: "It's for father to eat out of when he's as old as
Let us turn now to other systems of interpretation. One school of critics utterly refuses to accept any mythological solution of fairy-tale riddles, another is at least inclined to reduce the mythological element in popular tales to a minimum, a third admits mythology into the field, but objects to its assuming what is popularly known as the "solar" form, to which a fourth school is devoted with intense zeal. At least four different explanations of the Cinderella-Rashie-Coat story may therefore be offered to the consideration of an earnest inquirer into its significance. It may be a nature-myth symbolizing the renewed brightness of the earth after its nocturnal or wintry eclipse. The rough skin or hide which "Hairy Betty" wears, not to speak of Katie Woodencloak's still tougher covering, greatly resembles the "husk" which hides the brilliance of the beast to whom the Beauty of so many tales is married, and is therefore suggestive of an origin connected with Indian mythology.* The "step-mother" opening of the story is too simple to require an explanation, and the appearance in fine clothes, at church or palace, of a usually illdressed damsel may be considered not incredible. As to the "slipper" termination, the opinion has already been expressed that it is merely a convenient recognition makeshift. The " unlawful-marriage" opening of the Rashie-Coat story offers a difficulty, but it is accounted for to their own satisfaction by critics both of the mythological and of the historical school. Mythologists say that all stories about such marriages mean nothing more than does the dialogue in the Veda between Yama and his twin-sister Yamí, in which "she (the night) implores her brother (the day) to make her his wife, and he declines her offer because, as he says, 'they have thought it sin that a brother should marry his sister.'"+ But by many eyes these narratives are regarded as ancient traditions which preserve the memory of customs long obsolete and all but forgotten. It is because such stories refer to savage times that they are so valuable, it is said, and therefore it is well to compare them with such tales and traditions as are now current among existing savages. This opinion is one that is well worthy of discussion, but at present little more can be done than to point out that the popular tales which are best known to us possess but few counterparts in genuine savage folk-lore. Some of their incidents, it is true, find their par
*For the mythological meaning of "Beauty and the Beast," see the "Nineteenth Century," December, 1878. + Max Müller, "Lectures on the Science of Language," sixth edition, ii., 557
* Bishop Callaway's "Nursery Tales, etc., of the Zulus," i., 300, note.