Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“

too.

was free

his father's recollection, but with a transforming Listened beside the door ; all there was silent, effect on his subsequent life.

The Russian idyl, “ Ivan Ivanovitch,” on the Then they held counsel ; then pushed door, and, old subject of the mother who threw three of

passing through, her babies to the pursuing wolves in order to

Stood in the murderer's presence. save her own life, is also very grim and power

Ivan Ivanovitch ful, especially in its ending-the calm execution

Knelt, building on the floor that Kremlin rare and

rich of the wretched creature by the self-possessed

He deftly cut and carved on lazy winter nights. hero of her village, the Russian peasant who

Some five young faces watched, breathlessly, as, first hears her tale, and discerns the truth of the

to rights, matter in spite of the unfortunate mother's at

Piece upon piece, he reared the fabric nigh comtempt to falsify the facts, and make it appear

plete. that she had endeavored to guard her children Stėscha, Iván's old mother, sat spinning by the from the wolves by her own body. Ivan Ivano

heat vitch takes upon himself to judge that for a Of the oven where his wife Kátia stood baking mother who, whether from panic or selfishness,

bread. had acted thus unnaturally, to survive her terri- Ivan's self, as he turned his honey-colored head, ble deed, would be intolerable for all, herself in- Was just in act to drop, 'twixt fir-cones-each a cluded; that the only fitting thing to do with a

domelife thus reeking of memories utterly unnatural

The scooped-out yellow gourd presumably the to a woman and a mother was to extinguish it

home with as little delay as possible, so as to leave the

Of Kolokol the Big: the bell, therein to hitchleast possible stain on the traditions of a world

An acorn-cup-was ready : Ivan Ivanovitch

Turned with it in his mouth. which, without true mothers-nay, without the

They told him he overruling and peremptory instincts which can alone make true mothers—would soon cease to As air to walk abroad. How otherwise?' asked be a human world at all. We can give but the

he." short passage in which this deed of judgment is This is, on the whole, decidedly the finest of narrated, and that in which, after the inquest these idyls. It paints a grandeur of unhesitatheld by the village, Ivan is told that he is ac- ing, calm self-reliance in the village hero such as quitted of all guilt, an acquittal which he coldly is hardly conceivable in our world of doubts and accepts as a matter of course :

scruples, and paints, too, the clearness and cold

ness and freedom from all liability to agitation “ Down she sank. Solemnly

which would be the only possible conditions of Ivån rose, raised his axe—for fitly, as she knelt,

such Draconic rigor of purpose. Her head lay: well apart, each side, her arms

And the closing idyl, the picture of Bunyan's hung-dealt, Lightning - swift, thunder-strong, one blow-no

brazen converts, the bad Bedford innkeeper, Ned need of more !

Bratts and his wife, who, in the vivacity of the Headless she knelt on still: that pine was sound impression made upon them by the “ Pilgrim's

Progress,” rush into court to confess a long list (Neighbors were used to say)-cast-iron-kerneled of crimes and murders, and to demand imme-which

diate judgment and execution while their repentTaxed for a second stroke Ivan Ivanovitch. ance lasts, is also drawn with Mr. Browning's The man was scant of words as strokes. 'It had most vigorous, not to say violent, strokes. The to be:

painting makes less impression on us than that I could no other: God it was bade “ Act for of the Russian peasant's calm and inflexible

erasure, as it were, of the stained and miserable Then stooping, peering round-what is it now he mother's life from the life of earth, just because lacks?

the later sketch is so violent and the characters A proper strip of bark wherewith to wipe his axe. Which done, he turns, goes in, closes the door be- flowers of grace. There is something of the dig

so strange a compound of flowers of sulphur and hind. The others mute remain, watching the blood-snake nity of sculpture in the idyl of Ivan Ivanovitch wind

-nothing but the most violent contrasts of color Into a hiding-place among the splinter-heaps.

in the weird picture of the conquest of grace over

coarse cravings and vulgar lusts. Yet even here “So while the youngers raised the corpse, the eld- the glimpse given of Bunyan himself has true ers trooped

grandeur. “Tab," Ned Bratts's wife, is giving Silently to the house: where, halting, some one her account of her visit to the poet-tinker in his stooped,

prison to reproach him, as she intended, for re

at core

me !"

fusing to let his blind daughter supply her and Loosen the vital sap : yet where shall help be her husband, as usual, with the stout laces which

found? Bunyan was accustomed to make in his prison : Who says, 'How save it?'-nor“Why cumbers it

the ground?' “She takes it in her head to come no more—such

Woman, that tree art thou? All sloughed about airs

with scurf, These hussies have! Yet, since we need a stout

Thy stag-horns fright the sky, thy snake-roots ish lace

sting the turf ! “I'll to the jail-bird father, abuse her to his face !" Drunkenness, wantonness, theft, murder, gnash So, first I filled a jug to give me heart, and then,

and gnarl Primed to the proper pitch, I posted to their den

Thine outward, case thy soul with coating like the Patmore—they style their prison ! I tip the turn

marle key, catch

Satan stamps flat upon each head beneath his My heart up, fix my face, and fearless lift the

hoof! latch

And how deliver such ? The strong men keep Both arms a-kimbo, in bounce with a good round

aloof, oath

Lover and friend stand far, the mocking ones pass Ready for rapping out : no “ Lawks" nor“By my

by, troth!"

Tophet gapes wide for prey : lost soul, despair and There sat my man, the father. He looked up:

die ! what one feels

What then? ‘Look unto me and be ye saved !' When heart that leaped to mouth drops down again

saith God; to heels !

"I strike the rock, outstreets the life-stream at my He raised his hand .... Hast seen, when drink

rod ! ing out the night,

Be your sins scarlet, wool shall they seem likeAnd, in the day, earth grow another something

although quite

As crimson red, yet turn white as the driven Under the sun's first stare? I stood a very stone.

snow !'" “ Woman !” (a fiery tear he put in every tone) There, there, there! All I seem to somehow “How should my child frequent your house where

understand lust is sport,

Is—that, if I reached home, 'twas through the Violence-trade ? Too true! I trust no vague

guiding hand report.

Of his blind girl, which led and led me through Her angel's hand, which stops the sight of sin,

the streets, leaves clear

And out of town and up to door again. What The other gate of sense, lets outrage through the

greets

First thing my eye, as limbs recover from their What has she heard !-which, heard, shall never

swoon? be again.

A Book—this Book she gave at parting. “Father's Better lack food than feast, a Dives in the-wain

boon Or reign or train-of Charles !” (His language The Book he wrote : it reads as if he spoke himwas not ours :

self: 'Tis my belief, God spoke : no tinker has such He can not preach in bonds, so take it down powers.)

from shelf “Bread, only bread they bring—my laces : if we When you want counsel-think you hear his very broke

voice !"!" Your lump of leavened sin, the loaf's first crumb

That is not what “ Tab" would have said. It is would choke !"

Tab's thought distilled through Mr. Browning's Down on my marrow-bones! Then all at once mind. But it is powerful with the kind of power rose he :

to which Mr. Browning accustomed us in years His brown hair burst a-spread, his eyes were suns

long past, before he condensed his verse into a to see : Up went his hands: “Through Aesh, I reach, I

rasping, short-hand style of his own, and wrapped

up his meaning in metaphysical innuendoes. Of read thy soul ! So may some stricken tree look blasted, bough

these new dramatic Idyls, three at least will live, and bole,

if not quite on a level with the best of his weird, Champed by the fire-tooth, charred without, and imaginative works, still by virtue of a kind of yet thrice bound,

power which no other writer in our language With dreriment about, within may life be found, could have imparted to them—by the vividness A prisoned power to branch and blossom as before, of their own life, and the subtilty of their own Could but the gardener cleave the cloister, reach significance. the core,

The Spectator. VOL. VII.-6

ear.

THE QUEEN'S PRIVATE APARTMENTS AT

WINDSOR.

a

ON the occasion of the marriage of the Duke At the times when he is allowed to see it there is

of of Prussia it was remarked in St. George's Hall ers, and the nickname of “the King's Swimmingthat a very small proportion of the invited guests bath” will be recognized as curiously appropripenetrated beyond that elegant, if narrow, apart- ate. In the old ballroom he may feast his eyes ment. There was not much to complain of, so on a series of Vandycks, equally valuable as arfar as picturesque surroundings went, nor as to tistic triumphs and historic relics; and in the wedding-cake and creature-comforts of a more State Drawing-room may see, among other porsubstantial character. The hospitality of Wind- traits of the house of Hanover, that of "Fred, sor Castle—when it is dispensed—is on the most who was alive, but now is dead”; of which liberal scale: the sherry is nearly as good as that much-belied prince—the father of George III.private and particular bin at the Carlton Club it may “be said " that, unlike his father, who which makes the Reform to burn with envy; and hated “boets and bainters," he had a keen taste if there were any shortcomings, as there are none, for the arts, and collected many of the finest picthe magnificent buffet of gold plate, with Tippoo tures, including the Rubenses, which now adorn Sultan's golden tiger's head with the movable Windsor. He may also inspect the Waterloo tongue, would atone for them all. St. George's Chamber, used as a dining-room for the memHall certainly looks its best when occupied by bers of the household, and admire its resema grand banquet, one of those celebrations for blance to the cabin of a ship; due, it is said, to which the matchless gold plate is brought out, the taste of his late Majesty King William IV.; the service for a hundred and eighty persons, and the St. George's banqueting-hall, already alwith six plates for each one, the like of which the luded to. If he be a connoisseur in furniture world can not furnish. Nothing in the way of a and decoration, he may marvel at the wonderful banquet can exceed the magnificence of these Gouthier cabinet, of such finely sculptured orspectacles; the massive splendor of the great molu that he will hesitate whether to appraise its golden centerpieces being relieved by the sparkle value at ten or fifteen thousand pounds, and will of diamonds, the soft radiance of pearls, the gleam go home to look upon those he has bought for of satin and scarlet. On the 13th of March the hundreds with loathing and dismay. Superb long room was made narrower than it is in fact wood-carving, by Grinling Gibbons, will chalby being converted into a buffet for the enter- lenge his admiration in the Presence Chamber ; tainment of the larger number of invited guests, and after inspecting the Albert and St. George's who partook of their railway-station kind of meal Chapels, and enjoying the splendid sylvan scenery while the real wedding-breakfast was celebrated from the windows, he will go into the outer air in the private dining-room, within the enceinte impressed with a conviction that he has seen a of the peculiarly sacred royal apartments. This royal palace which may, in many respects, comdistinction marks sharply enough the difference pare advantageously even with Fontainebleau. between guests royal and guests who are only It is true that the latter is, from the practice of “distinguished,” yet not distinguished enough to leaving many of the apartments untouched, albe invited to sign the marriage-certificate of roy- most a school of decorative art; but so far as alty. The state apartments, as they are called, pictures and rare pieces of furniture are conof Windsor Castle are as open to the public al- cerned, the French palace is far inferior to Engmost as Chatsworth. When the court is absent lish Windsor. from Windsor-an ample space of every year- Yet he will not have seen the actual dwelling any of her Majesty's liege subjects, by going of the sovereign of this realm any more than if through the mere form of calling at a stationer's he had been at Fontainebleau; for there is a shop and asking for a ticket, may view some of region beyond that brought under his ken into the finest rooms and nearly all the finest pictures which he may not penetrate except as a guest of in Windsor Castle. Fortified with a yellow-hued the Queen, or by express permission, very rarely piece of paper, like the gold checks sought for in granted. If he be honored with an invitation to New York in the days when greenbacks were Windsor Castle, he will be admirably bestowed ; plentiful, but unproductive of much in the way for, besides the magnificent apartments assigned of food or clothing, the visitor may view the to royal guests, there are snug quarters for those staircase on which state receptions take place. of lower but still distinguished rank. In no palace in Europe are more elegant and convenient the best period of Sèvres, forming part of that rooms for guests of every degree than in Wind- famous collection made by the “wicked Marsor Castle. They are, it is true, difficult to find; quis” for his luxurious master, King George IV. and the castle will become a still more agreeable of sacred memory. Before the specimens of bleu place of sojourn than it is when some topographic du roi, vert pomme, æil de perdrix, and rose genius has laid down a map of the inhabited part Pompadour, the china maniac stands transfixed, of it. At present it would be simply maddening, until his attention is directed to some marvelous were there not pages always civil and eager to old Chelsea, which recalls his mind to the fact capture the hapless wayfarer who has lost him- that Butcher Cumberland, as he was ridiculously self in interminable corridors, and worn out his called, not only converted a swamp into the patience in trying to find the right fight of beautiful lake known as Virginia Water, and a stairs. Beyond the spacious apartments as- common country race-meeting into royal Ascot, signed recently to the King and Queen of the but founded the old Chelsea porcelain-works. Belgians and their suite are delightful rooms Between the cabinets and busts stand vases of in the Round Tower and other portions of old Chinese and Japanese ware, any one of which the earlier structure of the castle. Those usu- would be the lion of a sale at Christie's; but so ally occupied by the Crown Princess of Prus- high is the tone of decoration here that they only sia are beautiful in the extreme, rich and snug seem in keeping with the general effect. at the same time, made warm and pleasant Opening on the great corridor is a suite of with glowing tapestry, and retaining a deliciously drawing-rooms all luxuriously furnished—not in habitable air. The line of the Round and adja- what is now considered as artistic taste and cent towers gives a pleasing quaintness to the glowing with rich hues. These rooms contain shape of the rooms, which, of a necessity, are some of the best work of various kinds ever proportions of the sectors of an irregular circle. duced. The White Drawing-room, which is not There are numerous many-angled rooms in this yellow like that of similar name at Buckingham part of the castle, with windows deeply embayed Palace, and is entered through doors which close in the thickness of the wall; apartments warm as exactly and noiselessly as those of a cabinet, and comfortable in winter and deliciously cool in is decorated (as its name implies) mainly in white summer, and all delightfully furnished and hung and gold, in the later style of Louis Seize ; fine with paintings and engravings, rich and rare, carvings, heavily gilt, standing out boldly from a quaint and curious. For the most part, the white ground. This handsome room, looking royal and guest apartments are cut off from the from a great bay-window over the Home Park, rest of the castle by the great corridor, which is not cumbered with furniture, but a couple of can only be approached through the hall in which Gouthier cabinets in it could hardly be matched in sit the pages, the depositories of the topographic Europe, Russia not excepted. The talk of Windlore of the castle—the corps of guides, in fact. sor assesses their value at ten thousand pounds; This great corridor is one of the wonders of but their perfection, like that of the bronzes, Windsor, and is yet so singularly constructed the candelabra, and other ornaments, passes that its treasures can hardly be seen except on a description. Two of the pictures which adorn very bright day. It is of immense length, but the walls of the White Drawing-room represent narrow, according, as Prince Paul says in “La the Queen and the late Prince Consort at the peGrande Duchesse," to l'habitude des couloirs, and riod of their wedding. The bridegroom wears a is the main artery of the system of private apart- rifleman's dress of dark green, and is every inch ments of state and simple residence. A day or of him the "ideal knight.” Young, handsome, two might be spent pleasantly in this corridor elegant, and strong, altogether as unlike the midalone, although the side light is ill adapted for dle-aged gentleman whom persons now middledisplaying the pictures, among which are the aged themselves recollect as jolting along on his masterpieces of Canaletto, full of air and light, high-trotting horse as can well be imagined. and superb specimens of Reynolds, Gainsbor- The high-trotter was an ordinance of the physiough, and Romney; portraits of Pitt and other cian, and doubtless afforded much healthy exstatesmen, of soldiers and princes, and one of ercise; but the faithful and energetic animal was Lord Thurlow absolutely priceless. Beneath the an uncompromising enemy of the Graces. There pictures stand busts of celebrated persons, groups are in this room also fine pictures of Queen Charin bronze, and a great wealth of cabinets in ebony, lotte in a red dress; of Frederick Prince of Wales, ormolu, old buhl, and that antique Oriental work by Ramsay; and of the present Prince of Wales which made the Japanese ambassadors wild with as a child, by Winterhalter, whose eminently envy when they saw it on the occasion of their courtly pictures, interesting of course from the visit. In cabinets and cases of all shapes and subjects they represent, are irritating when conkinds are hundreds of pieces of pâte tendre of sidered as works of art. Rich in mosaics and in the magnificent porcelain plaques with which the to eyes greedy of color is more attractive than Gouthier cabinets are inlaid, the White Drawing- either the Green or White rooms. Crimson room charms the eye, except when it is cast satin glows on the walls and on the furniture, down on the rich velvet-pile carpet, designed in and throws into strong relief the magnificent the atrocious taste of thirty or forty years ago, malachite vase, presented to the Queen by the when people were made to walk on rose-bushes late Emperor Nicholas of Russia, and several and hollyhocks, and a thousand gay colors stared beautiful cabinets inlaid with Florentine mosaic. upward from the floor.

Here, too, is the grand piano-forte on which the Next to the little used White Drawing-room Queen received her first lessons, as well as a bevy is the Green Drawing-room, with great panels of of Winterhalters, and a good portrait of the green flowered satin let into the walls. The rich Duke of Kent by Beechy. hangings and handsome furniture, even the su- Immediately beyond this crimson room is the perb fireplace, of this central drawing-room, are Royal Dining-room, only used on state occalost sight of in the great wealth of Sèvres con- sions, and capable of accommodating a large tained in the various cabinets. The quantity party of guests. Everything in this apartment of this rare porcelain is almost as remarkable is in the simplest possible style. Plain gilt as its quality—most important of all, the ser- moldings and handsome rosewood form its only vice made for Louis XVI., which afterward decoration, excepting the wine-cooler designed became the property of George IV. No such by Flaxman for George IV.when Prince Regent. set of bleu du roi exists elsewhere. The color This extraordinary work is several feet in length, is absolutely perfect, and the paintings are by and may be described as a Capo di Monte tureen the most eminent hands ever employed at the translated into silver-gilt. Bacchanalian groups royal porcelain manufactory. This wonderful dance round its “swelling port"; fruit, reptiles, service is not overdone with the blaze of color and animals cling to the rim; and the common and the rich, heavy gilding peculiar to Sèvres. objects of the seashore incrust the base. How Inside the gilt rim, with its inner band of bleu such a richly confused work of art was evolved du roi, is a plain white zone, within which is the from the severe imagination of Flaxman must picture framed as it were in plain gold. There for ever remain a mystery, like the precise loss of is another peculiarity about this grand service, hard cash that its production entailed upon eveit is complete, with the very trifling exception of rybody who had anything to do with it. Happily a couple of plates, broken or stolen in the time it was not so fatal as the Albert Memorial, which of George IV., who sometimes used part of it at killed everybody at first concerned with it; but breakfast. Stray plates and other pieces pur- this punch-bowl, or wine-cooler, or font, or papporting to have formed part of this famous set boat-for it has served every one of these purfind their way from time to time into auction- poses—was a serious enough matter in its day. rooms, and fetch enormous prices; but the only This, however, is not the dining-room occupied theory that can be set up concerning them is daily by the Queen. At the other end of the that they are rejected pieces, for the whole ser- corridor, just over the Queen's entrance to the vice at Windsor is complete, with the exception castle, is an octagonal room, sober in tone and noted, as supplied to the French King. Other plain almost to the exaggeration of plainness in wonderful pieces of Sèvres are ensconced in the its decoration. Lined with oak, it contains only cabinets of the Green Drawing-room-services three objects of a pictorial character. Two of decorated with flowers and with animals, and these are in Gobelins tapestry, and represent the divinely painted. There are garnitures de che- appetizing subject of a boar-hunt. The third is minée and huge bowls by dozens, all of the very of quite another character; it is a portrait paintfinest kind and the best period, the later days of ed only the other day by the Baron von Angeli, Louis XV. and the early ones of his hapless suc- whose picture of the Crown Princess created so cessor. Connoisseurs skilled in china have esti- much sensation in the exhibition of the Royal mated the value of the contents of the Green Academy three or four years since. It is the Drawing-room at two hundred thousand pounds triumph of almost brutal realism. From the -but this must be as rough an estimate as that widow's-cap to the clasped hand it is the posiof the famous gold plate, said to be worth mil- tive but unflattering likeness of the Queen, and lions, and which certainly does weigh seven tons preferred by her on that account above all other at the least. Beyond this drawing-room the of her portraits. It is the antithesis of a WinQueen rarely goes, except on the occasion of a terhalter—the work of a painter after the Prostate dinner, when the Royal Dining-room in the tector Cromwell's own heart. Not only is every Prince of Wales's Tower is occupied. The feature painted in with its defects exaggerated, Crimson Drawing-room is generally occupied by its harder lines intensified, but even the shade of the ladies and gentlemen of the household, and complexion is strengthened. It might be said to

« AnkstesnisTęsti »