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sons, the last of his "secret missions." object this time was to blow up the Emperor Napoleon, whom he and his confederates regarded as the great obstacle to revolutionary changes everywhere, and especially in Italy. Orsini had three associates named Pieri, Rudio, and Gomez. The conspirators remained some time in Paris, preparing the details of their scheme. At last, on the evening of January 14, 1858, as the Emperor and Empress were approaching the Grand Opera, three shells were thrown under their carriage, which, exploding, killed or wounded a large number of persons belonging to the imperial suite. Orsini, Pieri, and Rudio were sentenced to death. Gomez, however, escaped with hard labor for life, and, at the intercession of the Empress, the death-penalty was also commuted in the case of Rudio. Orsini went to the scaffold calm and courageous; and only a few days before his execution he addressed a letter to the Emperor Napoleon exhorting him to liberate Italy. Whether or not Orsini's diabolical act had any effect upon the Emperor's decision, certain it is that a year afterward Napoleon III. made, in alliance with Victor Emanuel, the campaign which resulted in the liberation of Lombardy. In all probability joint action against Austria had already been determined upon at the time of the Crimean war, when the Sardinian contingent fought with the army of France against the Russians.
afternoon, when Count Berg was driving along one of the principal streets in Warsaw, several shells were hurled at his carriage from a large building known as the "Zamoiski House," the property of the well-known Polish magnate whose name it bore. Five shells were thrown, and several horses and one or two aides-de-camp were wounded. Count Berg received the splinter of a shell in his cloak, but was not otherwise injured, either in person or in apparel. The Count, without stopping, drove straight to the Castle, his official residence, and immediately afterward troops were dispatched to the Zamoiski House, with orders to enter it and arrest the numerous inhabitants. Artillery was at the same time sent forward, and on arrival took up a position in front of the building. It appeared certain that the order on the subject of missile-throwing would be carried out. But at the last moment it was decided not to destroy the Zamoiski House, but to confiscate it, after subjecting it to the process of sacking. The soldiers were ordered to seize all articles of furniture and cast them into the street, where they were burned in a huge bonfire, which was fed, among other articles, with valuable historical manuscripts, the property of Prince Lubomirski, a great collector of archæological documents, and with Chopin's favorite piano. Some four or five different pianos were thrown out of the various floors; and an indignant, but more or less self-contained, amateur of music afterward related, to the correspondent of the "Times" present on the occasion, in what manner the pianos of Erard, of Pleyel, and of other makers, had borne the effect of the fall. The pianos of Viennese make were worth nothing, he said, on such occasions. They smashed to pieces on contact with the ground. A well-made Erard, on the other hand, pitched from a second floor, suffered only in its legs. As for Chopin's piano, it fell, as this observant connoisseur declared, with a deep sigh, in which he fancied he recognized the soul of the sentimental, romantic, fascinating composer, who had so often given effect to his inspiration on its ivory keys; and it was asserted that one Russian officer of a sympathetic disposition played fragments of one of the composer's nocturnes on Chopin's piano before he allowed the instrument-broken into fragments by its fall -to be consigned to the flames.
From Poland the process of attacking high authorities by means of "infernal machines" was sure, sooner or later, to reach Russia, as all the secret machinery of the Polish insurrection of 1863 has penetrated into that country in the form of Nihilism. But the firing of the mine in the cellars of the Winter Palace need not here be spoken of.
Pall Mall Gazette.
Until 1863 Paris was the only city in which endeavors had been made to assassinate the head of the Government by means of shells, manybarreled pieces of artillery, and other "infernal" devices. But the Poles have always prided themselves on their aptitude in appropriating French ideas; and, toward the close of the year just mentioned, the members of the revolutionary body known as the Polish National Government resolved to try the effect of explosive missiles on Count Berg, the Emperor's lieutenant in Poland. Count Berg, on assuming the governorship of Poland at a most critical moment, had formally announced that any future attempt made upon the life of one of the governing authorities (and the Grand Duke Constantine, the Marquis Wielobolski, and others had all been attacked with pistol or with dagger) would be visited with the severest penalties; and it was in particular set forth that, in the case of shots being fired or missiles thrown from a house, the house would be at once destroyed by artillery, the question as to how the occupants would be treated being left in reserve. In the autumn of 1863, when the insurrection was failing, and when the somewhat theatrical interest taken in it by the Western powers seemed to be coming to an end, the National Government of Poland resolved on striking a great blow. One
THE SPANISH THEATRE.
T has not always been the most truly worthy of the "things of Spain" which have received the most attention. The world has given more thought to the pronunciamientos than to the progress made in the Peninsula, and has written and talked ten times as much about its bull-fight as about its theatre. The bull-fight is no doubt a splendid spectacle; but it is by no means the most creditable to the country which affords it, and, from an historical point of view, scarcely deserves its reputation. This show, which is one of the worst, is also one of the newest things in the country, and in its present shape is not a hundred years old. When a bull-fight-or, as it should be, "run"-is mentioned in an old comedy or tale, it is as a sport in which the gentlemen of the day and their servants took an active part. When Aarsens de Sommelsdyck saw it in 1655 it had become vulgarized, but the ring was still open to all comers provided with the necessary arms and courage. The sober Hollander even thought it a "pretty sport enough," though not one good to take part in. Twenty years later the Countess d'Aulnoy could, without being ridiculous, select the ring as the scene of one of those romantic love-stories which the reader of her book of travels is constantly surprised to find cropping up amid shrewd observations on the world of sober reality and lively pictures of the discomforts of Spanish travel. It was not till comparatively modern times, after generations of national decay and of ignorance, that the bullring passed entirely into the hands of professional fighters. The end of the eighteenth century, the lowest point of Spain's degradation, saw the complete organization of the bull-fight, and its final victory over the older and nobler amusement of the theatre, which it has degraded though it could not destroy. Old aficionados can still remember, if not Pepe Illo, the creator of the whole science, at least the men whom Pepe Illo trained. The theatre is many centuries older, and is by far the best of the still surviving historical institutions of Spain. It has naturally been modified in the course of time, and during the last century in particular was powerfully influenced by the French stage; but it still retains a marked character of its own. The dramatic is still perhaps the most vigorous branch of Spanish literature.
Playhouses were probably established earlier in Spain than in any European country, and, in spite of the strenuous efforts of the Church to close them, have continued to be numerous and flourishing down to the present day. Every city has not a bull-ring, but every town of any im
portance, and some of very little importance, has its theatre or theatres. The numerous provincial divisions of the country, which have been politically so fatal to it, have been on the whole favorable to the stage. The actors and playwrights of the capital have never dominated their provincial rivals in Spain as they have done in France and England. The continued existence of dialects independent of the Castilian renders it almost as impossible that a successful Catalan actor, for example, should seek his fortune in Madrid as that an Englishman should betake himself to Paris. Then the natural capabilities of the people supply a vast number of actors who can always perform a part with spirit if not with very good taste. Many performers of great local reputation have a double profession-following a trade by day and treading the boards by night. Nor is the acting of plays confined by any means to the regular theatres. Societies of amateurs are to be found even among the work-people; and, though their attempts at acting tragedy or high comedy are often absurd enough, they contrive to look at home on the stage, and are born actors of farce. There is, indeed, nothing in Spain like the Français. The Government has never patronized the stage, and if it had it is very doubtful whether any three Spanish actors of note could be got to work together. But the national stage is not probably inferior, to that of any other European country. Their weak point is undoubtedly tragedy. The same weakness which makes the Spaniard overact dignity in private life drives him into fustian on the stage. In comedy they are infinitely better, and in the lower kinds of it are second to no people in the world. They play with an abandon and relish which seem to make their work a pleasure to them. The theatres are general meeting-places for the whole population. Numbers come apparently as much to meet their friends as to witness the performance. As the right of entering the house is secured by a payment distinct from that required for the seat, the theatre lends itself easily to the purposes of a club or assembly-room between the acts. Men smoke in the passages or saloon, and even transact not a little business there. In the warm weather they use the gardens attached to the regular summer theatres. The ladies meanwhile carry on animated conversations with one another, or with the help of their fans with those of the other sex. This is one of the most cherished customs of a people very conservative of old customs. A young lady and gentleman will make signals to one another across a theatre with
an absence of gêne which is pleasant to see, and an almost touchingly good-natured make-believe that they are doing something very secret and romantic.
The general popularity of the play has made it the most productive of praise and profit of all forms of literary activity in Spain. The poet or novelist, though sure of a better public now than at any former period, is not nearly so well paid, either in money or reputation, as the successful playright. Hence, to succeed as a writer for the stage has been and is the ambition of most Spanish men of letters. Some of the most successful plays of modern times were written by Martinez de la Rosa, the Liberal statesman and novelist. What little literature of any value Spain produced in the last century was destined for the stage. The comedies of the younger Moratin, a writer who lived into this century, are still played occasionally; and one of his successors, Breton de los Herreros, is probably the best writer Spain has to show for herself since the partial revival of her literature. Nor are plays written only in Castilian. The Catalan stage can show some dramatists who rival the great men of old-even that wonder of ready-writing, Lope de Vega-at least in the quality of fecundity. The popular Barcelonese Serafi Pitarra is probably the most productive playright in Europe. With the exception of Lope de Vega, none of the writers we have mentioned are associated in the minds of foreigners, or indeed of Spaniards, with that Spanish drama which has taken its place among the great literatures of the world. Beginning with Moratin, who was almost a copyist of Molière, they have been powerfully influenced by France, which has thus paid back the debt which it owed to the earlier Spanish stage. During the last century that influence was so strong that Lope de Vega and Calderon were looked upon by many of their countrymen as little better than barbarians. These writers have, however, had their revenge, and are now as frequently played as the great masters of French or English dramatic literature are in their native countries. Their works are read, and a large party is striving to bring back the stage to the peculiarly Spanish models which they created.
We are accustomed to hear the Spanish stage spoken of as a storehouse of plot, intrigue, and incident. The reader of Molière is aware that many of the stock incidents, and some of the characters of his comedies, were taken from the Spaniards; that he even directly imitated them in a few of the least successful of his works, and that from him and before his time these intriguing plots found their way on to our own stage. But this justice is rendered to the Spaniards by tradition, not because the foreign reader is directly ac
quainted with their works. In point of fact, the Spanish comedy is now scarcely seen except by the light thrown on it by that of France. Guillen de Castro is remembered because his "Mocedades del Cid " inspired the masterpiece of Corneille. Every reader of the Médecin malgré lui" has heard of the "Acero de Madrid" of Lope de Vega; but how many have read it even in a translation? The French theatre even attacked and for a time subdued the Spanish in its own land. The French dynasty which ascended the Spanish throne in the first years of the eighteenth century brought with it French customs and literature. The old national stage had expired, as far as that was possible among a people essentially mimetic, during the evil times of Charles II., who figures among Spanish monarchs as "the bewitched." When a revival came in happier days it did so under the influence of the classic school. The highest ambition of Moratin and his followers was to write with a due regard to the unities and the customs of good society. To them the rules of the classic school were the holy of holies, their native dramatists of the seventeenth century barbarians, or at best beginners, to be patted on the back and condescended to. Bohl von Faber, a disciple of the Schlegels, known as an editor of the Spanish ballads, had to fight Calderon's battles against the poet's countrymen. But delivery came from the country which imposed the yoke. Spain, following the lead of her neighbor in literature as in politics, returned to the study of her own theatre under the leadership of Victor Hugo, then fresh from his victory over the classic party. Her numerous playwrights now swore by Lope, as they had lately done by Molière. Gorostiza, Breton de los Herreros, Martinez de la Rosa, and many others, have kept their country supplied with plays which rival those of their great days in at least two particulars-their number and their defiance of all rules. They are almost nervously eager to disclaim any imitation of the French, but we find some difficulty in accepting their protestations. They do, indeed, protest too much. The best proof they give of their nationality is an unconscious one. Their indifference to character and their love of incident and plot make them give a coloring of their own to the matter they take from France. The men we have mentioned are undoubtedly clever playwrights, but it is not of them we think when we speak of the Spanish comedy.
If the Spanish dramatists are more talked about than known, it is certainly not due to any neglect on our part of Spanish literature. Don Quixote is probably more read in England than in his native La Mancha. The sins of native editors have perhaps something to do with it. The
early editions were shockingly mishandled by pirates, and very little has been done to remove the traces of their handiwork. Even where zealous efforts have been made to restore the purity of the text, the plays have been left unnoted, though bristling with references to bygone customs, persons, and places, which require explanation to the Spaniard of to-day as much as to the foreigner. But bad printing and bad editing would not prevent the Spanish dramatists being popular. However badly Calderon was edited, he would be widely read if he possessed one half the great qualities which A. W. Schlegel professed to have found in him. Nor is it necessary to be a Spanish scholar in order to gain at least an approximate idea of his genius. Many of his works have been translated; and part at least of the "Mágico Prodigioso" is to be found consummately rendered in all the more complete editions of Shelley. It is probably less read than any other part of the poet's work.
The fact would seem to be that injudicious friends have done the object of their praise their usual ill office. Schlegel persuaded a great many people that Calderon was another and perhaps greater Shakespeare. But a little acquaintance with the writers for the Spanish stage will dispel any idea that they belong to the class "that sees quite through the deeds of men." Mr. G. H. Lewes, a very competent judge, was at first persuaded into believing that they did, and ended by deciding that they were only playwrights, and that Calderon in particular was a very overrated playwright. This writer's indignation against Schlegel, who had for a time imposed on him, made him a little unjust to the German critic's favorite, whom he handles in a somewhat disrespectful manner; but in the main he was right. And this habit of judging them by the standard of Shakespeare has lowered the Spaniards in the estimation of their most favorable critics. Ford, who knew his "Don Quixote " by heart, wrote in the most superficial manner possible about the stage. His article on the subject is full of misplaced pedantry, and enthusiasm about the dances. Even Lord Holland, who had gone the length of reading more than fifty of Lope's plays, and who wrote a work on him and on Guillen de Castro, introduces them to his reader almost as if he felt ashamed of them. He stops to tell us that we must not expect from Lope "deep reflections on morals and government," or "a philosophical view of the nature of man and of the construction of society."
reader who is content to look only for amusement may open their works with full confidence that he will be amused. But he must be prepared to look for his satisfaction entirely to the plot and the variety of incidents. As a work of which the interest consists in development of character, "Don Quixote" stands alone in Spanish literature. In every other work the interest is centered in the plot. The characters are fixed by custom, and serve all writers alike. The Spaniard of the middle ages and of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries was essentially a man of action. War and pillage were his favorite means of gaining wealth. When the people wished for the type of a prosperous man they found him in the soldiers of Cortes or Pizarro. A grant of land in the New World, or a commandery of a military order, was the aim of a gentleman's ambition, and his way of gaining it was to serve for it in Flanders. As for thought, meditation, or the careful weighing of motives and characters, there was no room for them in his life. The Church defined for him with hard and fast rules what was right and what wrong. It classified his sins and his virtues, assigning to each its exact equivalent reward or punishment. The Inquisition undertook to argue with all who demurred to the Church's teaching. At the play, therefore, or in his novel, the Spaniard wanted to see something going on; he was indifferent to the characters of the actors. No books in the world present less variety of type than the novelas picarescas. From the "Lazarillo" down to the "Gran Tacaño " we find the same hero at work. Low-born or base-born, impudent, thievish, and cowardly, but good-natured and sincerely Catholic, he goes through endless exciting and improbable adventures, to end his life reflecting on the vanities of the world in the galleys, or perhaps settling down with the proceeds of his rogueries as a church-going citizen. The Spaniard read these books with never-failing delight, as he had done the monotonous tales of chivalry, and asked for no greater variety than an occasional change of sex in the principal character. The fact that the female rogue had nothing distinctively feminine about her, but was only the male rogue in petticoats, troubled him little. The rogue himself is no doubt a type of a whole class, and is pictured with no small vigor; but that was by the man who wrote the first picaresque novel; his successors copied him exactly, and the type having been once created became as conventional as the figure of a saint.
As it was with the novel so it was with the stage. There must be an intricate plot and an abundance of incident; the dramatis personæ are merely quantities-forces like the figures on a chessboard, crossing one another and clashing
But Lope had no intention of being philosophical. He wrote his plays to please the vulgar who paid, he tells us in as many words; and he fully gained his object. His example was in the main followed by other dramatists; and the
in the endless complications of the intrigue. Rest is given from this confusing movement by the tirades, hundreds of lines long, which some of the dramatists put into the mouths of their characters. These harangues are full of conceits and hyperbole. The sun, moon, and other heavenly bodies, flowers, jewels, seas, sky, and earth are laid under contribution for metaphors to be poured out with the profusion of treasures in a beggar's dream. And the Spaniard seems to feel the same pleasure in seeing all this magnificence rolled out before him as the miser in Horace did to see his heaps of gold. At times these tirades are not merely ornamental, but contain a rapid summary of the plot-an occasionally indispensable aid for the due understanding of the more intricate plays—and were printed separately in broadsides for the convenience of the public. As in the picaresque novels again, the world of the plays is a half-fantastic one. The players are dressed like Spaniards, the scene is laid in Spanish streets and houses, but the ad
ventures transacted there are the adventures of fairy-land. The player was not asked "to hold the mirror up to nature" or the playwright to be true to life. What the spectator expected from them was a representation of that ideal life of movement, love-making, fighting, and moneygetting which he would like to lead himself. Just as much probability must be given to the events of the play as will prevent too great a gulf existing between them and the dull world of reality. They must take place in the world the Spaniard saw before his eyes, and the actors are to be himself and his fellow men, not represented with any precision of detail or fineness of shading of individual character, but by a certain number of well-defined types, which appear in the earliest dawn of Spanish dramatic literature, and remain almost unmodified to the end. The comedy of cloak and sword continued to give to the last the adventures of the very set of characters which first appears in the "Celestina" of Rodrigo Cota and Fernando de Rojas.
Pall Mall Gazette.
THE DILEMMA OF A CONNOISSEUR.
interview is interesting enough to quote nearly in full:
"Mr. Dürr's will," he observed, "directs that 'the most meritorious' two hundred and fifty of his pictures shall be selected from his collection and presented to some public institution But who is going to make the
A FEW weeks ago the daily papers, in merchant
"The will says the executors."
"Yes, but a matter of this kind requires the services of experts, and there are no experts in this country.”
"You mean to say that there is no person in America who is competent to decide whether or not the Durr collection contains valuable 'old masters ?'"
"I don't know of any one. Certainly there is no such person in this city."
"It is possible, then, that, when the executors have performed the task assigned them, the pictures which
ing the death of Mr. Louis Dürr, a merchant of New York, informed their readers that Mr. Dürr had bequeathed his collection of paintings "to any public art-gallery in the city of New York" that would consent to keep the pictures together, and designate them as the Dürr collection. His executors were instructed to select two hundred and fifty of the most meritorious of his paintings; to sell the remainder, and employ the funds arising therefrom in the purchase of other paintings, to be added to the collection. No one seemed to know much about the character of Mr. Dürr's pictures, excepting that they were mostly by earlier masters; but people gen- they have chosen may not be worthy of a home in a puberally ventured to assume that the collection was a good one, and congratulated each other upon this accession to the art-treasures of the city. For ourselves, we were taking this hopeful view of the matter, when we were rather discomfited by the report in the "Evening Post" of an interview with a wellknown art-connoisseur, who thought that "any public gallery of art in the city of New York that should accept Mr. Dürr's gift would be liable to become the repository of what would be an injury rather than a glory." This gentleman disclaimed any intention of giving a judgment upon the worth of Mr. Dürr's pictures, because he had never seen them, but he nevertheless felt there was danger in the air. The
lic gallery of art."
"Certainly. A long course of special training is requisite for the successful performance of such a duty. Who has had this training in this country? I don't know of anybody who has. I don't know of any person who could go into Mr. Dürr's gallery and say, 'That picture is a Rembrandt,' or 'That is a Titian,' or 'That is a Veronese.' Consequently, when the selection has been made, and the pictures have been labeled, how is one to know that the latter really are what they profess to be?"
"You believe, then, that there is danger that the proposed gift, if accepted, may become a trial and a burden to the gallery that houses it?"
"Precisely. The will provides that the accepted pictures shall be kept in a room to be called the Dürr Gal