« AnkstesnisTęsti »
supremely liberal. A disciple of Fox, he had like him an innate sympathy for the cause of the weak and the oppressed. He had been one of the champions of the emancipation of the Catholics. He had been one of the authors of electoral reform, and had striven for its accomplishment rather with the passion of an apostle than the calm resolution of a statesman. was one of the most ardent in that ardent school of reformers who, after the Napoleonic wars, undertook to root out of the soil of old England the laws of privilege and caste, and to put within reach of the poorest classes the benefits of civilization and liberty.
But Lord Durham, although a friend of liberty, did not realize its full power.
Sydenham and his backers in London, as blind as Durham himself to the powers of resistance and revival inherent in nationalism, tried to carry this policy into force. Union was enacted to give an English-speaking majority in the new province. All official electoral and parliamentary proceedings were to be in English. Though Lower Canada far outnumbered Upper Canada, it was given only the same number of representatives in the provincial Assembly. When the elections were held, Sydenham exhausted all the efforts of official pressure, corruption, and violence to prevent the French-Canadian electorate securing a fair proportion of the seats assigned to Lower Canada.
The French-Canadian people, disheartened for the moment, soon rallied. Under LaFontaine they found a determined and skilful leader. Their representatives in Parliament for the first few years held together in a solid block. The efforts of governors and ministers to detach a few of their leading men proved unavailing; any person who stood out from his people committed political suicide. Soon these tactics forced concessions in a parliament of divided parties. In 1844 a unanimous resolution passed the Assembly, advocating the recognition of French as an official language, and four years later the British Parliament assented.
At this point a divergence appeared in the ranks of the French-Canadians.
Papineau wished to undo the wrong of coerced union, to revert to the isolation of the Lower Canada of his earlier days. LaFontaine abandoned the demand for repeal of the union and insisted that the legitimate aspirations of French-Canadians could be satisfied under the existing constitution: the union must be judged not by the purposes of its founders, but by the achievements of those who actually administered it. The Rouges' adoption of Papineau's insistence on an extreme and isolated nationalism was curiously tempered by the actual coöperation with the Englishspeaking Tories of Montreal and the Eastern townships and the potential cooperation with the English-speaking people across the border which their temporary conversion to the policy of annexation involved. It was significant that after the rise of the annexation movement "L'Avenir" dropped from its program the clause which had previously headed the list, "Canadienfrançais avant tout."
The alliance of Baldwin and LaFontaine, and later of Macdonald and Cartier, and the common interest in railway development and general economic expansion counted for much in bringing the two races together. Yet there remained two insuperable obstacles to harmony-the system of government and the colonial status.
So long as every detail regarding either part of the province had to be dealt with by a house containing an equal number of representatives from the other part, friction and cries of unwarranted interference, of "French domination," or of "English tyranny," were certain to arise. Only by a federal solution could the most contentious issues be assigned to local legislatures and united action be secured in matters of joint concern.
So long, again, as Canada remained a subordinate and dependent colony, it was hopeless to expect any solution of the racial issue. The people as yet considered themselves English, Irish, Scotch, French, or at most FrenchCanadian, not Canadians. The Englishspeaking peoples in Canada, by their kinship with the dominant power overseas, were in a different political posi
tion from their French-speaking compatriots. To the majority of the English-speaking peoples the old country was still "home." This was not true in the case of the French-Canadians. They were longer rooted in the soil. Even under the French régime, it has been seen, fresh immigration was extraordinarily scanty. After the conquest immigration from France ceased wholly. The ties were not year by year renewed. Still more effective in breaking off all connection was the growth of revolutionary and anti-clerical
sentiment in France. Ninetythree created a great gulf between Old France and New. The Canadian clergy sought to keep their flock free from the slightest contact with a people who scorned all legitimate authority or bowed to upstart dictators. The British Government and the Roman Cathoilc Church, each for its
grounds, of which not the least important was that their political rivals were supporting it. Durham had failed to obliterate French-Canadian nationality by uniting another province with Lower Canada; now Brown and Macdonald and Cartier and Galt were proposing the experiment of uniting five English-speaking provinces with the one Frenchspeaking region.
own ends, did their best for generations to hold Canada aloof, and it was not surprising that they succeeded.
sympathy with France as survived was naturally more common in radical than in conservative circles, but except in the outburst of democratic fervor of the late forties, when Papineau linked Paris and Montreal together, here also it was a weak and transient force. The habitant had ceased to be French; he had not become English; he was Canadien. When Wilfrid Laurier entered politics, the issue of nationalism had again been brought to the front by the discussion of confederation. His Rouge friends were opposing confederation on the ground that it would mean the overwhelming of the French-Canadians in an English-speaking mass, and on other
Cartier and his friends, on the other hand, insisted that by restoring a separate legislature to Lower Canada, a legislature which would have control over all the matters of intimate concern, they were immensely strengthening the FrenchCanadian position. Laurier did not at first disassociate himself from these sectional views. In "Le Défricheur" he echoed the criticism, which had no small measure of truth, that Brown desired confederation as a means of lessening FrenchCanadian power,
and that the Conservatives, facing defeat in 1864, had conceded his demand as the price of retaining office. Lower Canada had no more interest in Nova Scotia than in Australia; the only tie that bound them was subjection to the common colonial yoke. Confederation would prove the tomb of the French
It was not long before his views had widened. The influence of his early associations in New Glasgow, the intercourse with the Scotch and English settlers in the townships, his constant browsing in the classics of English Liberalism, kindled his sympathies with his English-speaking compatriots. His sympathy with his own people never lessened, but he came to see that their future lay not in isolation, nor, for that
We were the idlers and the sowers,
The watchers in the sun,
The harvesters who laid away the grain.
Now there's a sign in every vacant tree,
Now there's a hint in every stubble field,
When the blossoms fly again.
Give me your hand!
There were too many promises in June.
Told only half the truth.
The withering leaf beneath our feet,
That wrinkled apple overhead,
Say more than vital boughs have said
When we went walking
In this growing place.
There is something in this hour
Or laughter from a sunny face.
"Stories have been distilled into these old walls drop by drop from the blood of hearts-hearts which have feared, hated, despaired inside them."
PANISH AMERICA: a city of square forms rising tier on tier up the slope of a hill by the ocean; a monastery's burnished dome on top; a sky as hot and dazzling as the inside of a copper pot in the sun; palms leaning toward the water; kites flying from roofs festooned with strings of drying clothes; balconies-green balconies hung like bird-cages against stucco walls above narrow little streets; lounging ladies in the balconies, with black topknots, brilliant, enameled faces, trilling Spanish to one another and lazily watching all beneath.
Beneath runs the slow, deep, turgid stream which starts when the sun is low: servants and little clerks of selfimportance in fresh-starched clothes; moaning old women in rags and turbans; naked boys with puffed-out bellies; little brown soldiers in white dress uniform, with huge, splayed bare feet.
To the wall above the sea come the men who have been lying all day in the shade. They sit on the wall, with bare feet dug into grass, and they gaze at the ocean.
Waves roll in, break high
and white on honeycombed rocks, and each wave as it breaks throws up and over its superb white body a rainbow veil of spray, emblem of good in the world. Men in dirt-yellowed rags sit, with hands dangling between knees, and gaze without a move at the evermoving, clean ocean. They gaze like entranced cattle. Why?
The word the city speaks is heritage.
a few months before we entered the war. I said to myself at first: "Delight to my eyes, old town! Not a hard line in you. Those old Spaniards knew how to build. The lines of your houses are never ruled. They waver in the light like a violin string when played upon. And the rich colors of your walls -blues, greens, salmon, yellows! Sunrays run along your walls like fingers on a piano keyboard. Beautiful!"
A little later I said: "What is this city, anyway, so brilliant, so romantic on top? I suppose a romantic city is one which holds untold stories, mysteries, and breathes them out so one feels them, though the essence is held back. Stories have been distilled into these old walls drop by drop from the blood of hearts-hearts which have feared, hated, despaired inside them, and on the worn stones of the streets. Perhaps it is this mystery which fascinates me and repels me."
I used to go to the library-there is a handsome public library in the city -and read up everything I could find about the place and people. The assistant librarian was a bumptious little chap of enormous self-esteem, with a blue poll so close-clipped to hide its woolliness that it looked painted instead of like growing hair. He spoke English with every "o" long. When he was in-rare were the occasions-he always blocked my curiosities about his race. I would ask for a certain book. "We have n't it."
"But I saw it on the shelf yesterday." His shoulders would hunch languidly, insolently, "Quien sabe?"- and he
would stroll away. Probably he had everything he wanted except pure blood. He drew two salaries, a hundred pesos a month as librarian (without work, as angels fly), and two hundred a month as poet on "El Nacion," an illustrated weekly with a large circulation.
It was through this fellow that I found my boarding-place. I had been several weeks in the city when he surprised me by a sudden interest. Had the señorita a good boarding-place? No? If I wanted a very good place at a very agreeable price, I might find it at Señora Ana Dove's casa. Doña Ana was the wife of Don Pablo, editor and owner of "El Nacion." The señorita knew, sin duda? "All the world" knew Don Pablo and Doña Ana.
I had heard of them. Señor Dove was a German who had lived forty years in South America, most of the time in this city. He was influential in the Spanish business crowd, and his paper was putting out a lot of German propaganda on the side. To the Englishspeaking colony he was "the best of the lot" and "the old man," to distinguish him from his son, who "talked too much." Doña Ana was a Spanish woman, born in Venezuela, but always insisting she had been born in Spain. She belonged to no end of ladies' clubs and societies, and would get up at a meeting, so I heard, and declaim, "My husband is Gairman, and I am Gairman."
"Would they take me?" I asked in surprise.
"Uf! who knows?" Sometimes Doña Ana took a boarder; one. Don Pablo had seen the American señorita painting on the street, and thought her "a very interesting young woman."
Afterward it occurred to me that probably Don Pablo had me ticketed and labeled even then.
The Doves lived on the third floor of a fine old Spanish building in the old part of the city, just where I wanted to be. The ground floor swarmed, as usual, with negroes and "mosquito Indians," who huddled at night in their dens; but there was a separate entrance to the airy apartments above.
Doña Ana showed no eagerness for a
boarder when I went there. She was polite, calm, indifferent, as if saying, "Come if you like, or no." She had blue eyes; soft, curling, red hair, worn short and parted on the side; and was fat. She was in one of the white, nightgown-like afternoon dresses of the country, her curves all unbound, with pompoms of baby-blue ribbon at bosom and elbows, and looked exactly like an immense baby. Leading me into a pleasant room whose great unglazed window opened on a balcony full of potted plants, she motioned me to a chair, and letting herself down into another, she indicated the window indifferently.
"Beautiful view. Cool. Always a breeze. Nothing to keep the air out, up so high; all the other roofs two-story."
An untidy brown girl stood behind her, dull, round, brown eyes slyly watching all that went on. Out in the hall another watchful young servant, barefoot and bare-armed, trotted up and down past the door with a little, very fair child on her back. There were lots of servants, and they all had eyesround, brown eyes which did not catch the light, watching. Stealthy, cunning, inquisitive eyes, watching an alien, like savage eyes peeping from the bush.
I engaged the room and thought myself in luck. Why should people like these take a boarder, with all those servants, an automobile, luxuries? They seemed to have plenty of money. And at little more than half what I had been paying. Great luck!
At dinner next day I met the whole family. The table was set at one end of the hall by a balcony hung with birds in cages. Germanism was all about. In the center of the table stood a bronze figurette with a tiny German flag tied to its upraised fist. On the wall opposite me was a framed print of the kaiser and his war lords as they looked at the beginning, very magnificent, haughty, and invincible. The walls were a medley-paintings of fruit on unframed canvasses, Spanish lithographs, advertising chromos, family photographs, photgraphs of the kaiser at different ages, and of his wife. Under these things four servants hung themselves up, each one dirtier than the next, to wait on the table.