Puslapio vaizdai
[graphic][merged small][merged small]

and all-pervading, was the reason for this withered leaves, some young, with flesh rite of cleanliness; for it was in their fixed like the firm petals of pomegranate flowand inherited knowledge that even as they ers, and figures in the first full developcleansed their bodies in the unpollutable ment of maturity; but all were utterly unstream, so they washed their souls in its aware of themselves, and young men who sanctified flood. Facing the risen sun bathed side by side with those budding with hands outstretched, they muttered Aowers of womanhood neither looked on their mantras and holy precepts, and threw them with desire nor averted their eyes into the water yellow marigolds.

with shame; for holy Ganges makes all A large proportion were women, most things pure. In less-populous stretches of whom were stripped to the waist. Some were spread out the washed linen of famiwere old, with pendulous breasts, like lies, garden-beds of many-colored stuffs ;


in front of the palaces stood stately black she who had been consumed in the flames bulls, and on the wooden platforms fakirs of the pyre. Then he remembered again, and holy men were establishing themselves and looking up from the pyre to the dazfor the day. Bugles were blaring in the zling river, he saw there on our boat his temples, and the drone of drums boomed friend, the Brahman, and smiled to him. for rites and secret sacrifices in dim, im- For half an hour we watched with him penetrable shrines where only the priest till all was over. Then such wood as was might go. There, as in Levitical days, still unburned was saved for future use, atonement was made by the blood of goats but the ashes were swept together and and sheep, while the people purified them- given to the keeping of the sacred Ganges. selves by the river-bank; and he would There was only a handful of them, and an indeed be a bigot who should say that the eddy of the swift-flowing river caught spirit which inspired this early hour of them and mingled them with blooms of cleansing and sacrifice mounted no higher marigold and rose-petals that floated there. than to the deaf ears of Siva, cobra- Swiftly and gaily they circled, then shot crowned, or Hanuman, the lord of apes, out again from the shadow into the dazor Ganesha, with his elephant head. zling stream, and were absorbed into it

like motes in a sunbeam. Never have I

been present at a scene so simple, so true, THE BURNING GHAT

so radiant with moral beauty. To the THERE was plague in the city, so mourner, that lonely, quiet boy, to the young Brahman told us, and he recognized priest, to the burners, and to all the gay a friend whose sister had died during the crowd that prayed and were cleansed that night waiting at the burning ghat. On morning in sun and water, death was as .the steps leading down into the water were natural as life; purified and freed, the soul lying three or four of those swathed and escaped from the discarded body, of which tranquil burdens that had been borne there it had need no longer, and for the rest to be bathed for the last time in the cleans- there was the fire that rose skyward beside ing food. Gay of color were the cere- the holy river, and the sacred Ganges, pelments in which they were wrapped-pink lucid, unpollutable. and yellow and dazzling blue. They were The pearliness of dawn had hardened like Aowers that had been plucked, and into the crystal of day, and the sun had were laid there to drink of the coolness of drunk up the blue veils of river mist, bethe water. Even as we came opposite, the fore we landed again. The hour of joyful bearers lifted one of them, all cool and ablution, of early sacrifice and prayer, of dripping, from the river, and laid it, the souls set free and bodies purified by water slim, small figure, so quiet, so content, on and fire, was over, and the breeze of morna half-built pyre.

Brushwood and fagots ing fainted in the brazen sky. The fakirs were built over it, and at head and foot and holy men had seated themselves beand sides the fire was applied. A Brah- neath their straw umbrellas, and begun man directed the rites, and once, as the another day of immobile contemplation; flames mounted and aspired, the brother, the grave, black bulls wandered into the who was watching, clutched at his heart shade of palaces; the shrines were decked as there appeared for a moment, at the top afresh with garlands of flowers; and the of the pyre, a girl's face, with closed eyes, cleansed crowd, their devotions over, and mouth that seemed to smile; then the trooped back up the river-bank with shinradiant veil of fame shrouded it again. ing brass water-pots and bundles of The smoke rose in gray whorls and washed linen. Cornices and columns of streamers against the stainless and tender the temples echoed to the cooings of the blue of the sky, and still the brother pigeons that patrolled there, and compawatched, quiet again and composed: h- nies of swifts cut airy circles above the had given only that one sign to show that river. But still within the temple the he loved her whose ashes now lay among drums beat and the conchs sounded, and the charred and smoldering logs. Or all day long the Ganges, redeemer and rather it was only for the moment that, cleanser, flowed by, carrying the ashes of thinking of days of childhood and dawns the dead, and the jasmine and marigolds, by the riverside, he forgot that it was not the offerings of the living.

[graphic][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][merged small]
[graphic][ocr errors]

STUDY FOR THE LINCOLN MEMORIAL AT WASHINGTON The site of the memorial is near the banks of the Potomac, on the axis of the Washington Monument and the Capitol, at the end of the avenue planned to be two miles long and three hundred feet wide. The interior of the memorial will contain a statue of Lincoln and memorials of two of his most notable speeches, the Gettys

burg Address and the Second Inaugural.




VEN in the most cursory review of ideal of government, equal economic op

[ocr errors]

evident that there was something beyond American freedom; and, second, that that mere patriotism which inspired him in his freedom could not be maintained by a diefforts to maintain the integrity of the vision of the Union. "Physically speakUnited States. His significance to-day ing,” he said, "we cannot separate. We comes from a deeper cause than the “sav- cannot remove our respective sections from ing of the Union." It lies in the social each other, nor build an impassable wall ideals he represented, and which animated between them." his acts. They are the beacon-lights by Lincoln said this in his first Inaugural which the average American is trying to Address in 1861, and he acted upon this guide his political course to-day.

idea immediately on his accession to power. Two conceptions were clear in Lin- The West, which was half Southern, and coln's mind when he undertook the war. which understood the nature of the SouthOne, that the Union, based on the Decla- erner better than the East, readily agreed ration of Independence and the Constitu- with him. The East, even the most Retion, carried out successfully the American publican East, could not quite see this oneness of the Union. They had ever before chinery of one and the same government, their eyes the outlines of state constitu- and not a mere sectional struggle. tions and state borders, of their school No one understood this more quickly geographies and histories. They had never and more fully than Lincoln, the best and known the long, flowing rivers and wide truest representative of the West. The valleys of the West, with the result that East was not so quick to see it, and the they theorized and “believed” in States' South showed a far greater hostility to rights almost as much as the South. At Lincoln, the candidate of the West, than the time of the war the South urged this they showed against Seward, his Eastern belief as a casus belli, and the North hap- rival. Over and over again Lincoln said, pened to repudiate it. It never could have “There is no line, straight or crooked, been a principle strong enough either to suitable for a national boundary-line upon prevent war or to cause war. Both the which to divide." The West, he said, beSouth and the North had certain purposes longed not to one State or to another, but in going to war, which were far deeper to the nation as a whole. This rich reand more vital than the abstract legal gion must have egress to the ocean, it must theory that the States had a constitutional be allowed to develop its resources, it must right to secede from the Union. To hide follow out its natural destiny, which was their main purpose, the slaveholders suc- that of a region peopled by individual cessfully swept the South with the cry of small landholders. “It is the great body "rights." Especially did this cry succeed of the Republic. The other parts are but with the youth, who from adventure marginal borders to it.” rushed to the front at the first bugle-call. Emerson, who did not have to be as "We disbelieved in slavery,” they said, politic as Lincoln, could express the truth "but we fight for States' rights."

more bluntly—that the Federal GovernThere was so much reiteration of the ment was put on the defensive. After two statement that the war was being fought years of struggle, he came to see that the to maintain the principle of States' rights battle-field would have been as large with that historians writing soon after give it secession permitted as it was with secesas one of its causes; but the men who sion fought. “If we had consented to a undertook the war understood the facts peaceable secession of the rebels,” he said, far better.

“the divided sentiment of the Border It was not the right to secede that was States made peaceable secession impossible, questioned, but the purpose of secession, and the slaves on the border, wherever the the kind of government which was to be border might be, were an incessant fuel to formed after this right had been gained. rekindle the fire. Give the Confederacy No American statesman-not Jefferson, New Orleans, Charleston, and Richmond, not even Hamilton, not Lincoln-ever dis- and they would have demanded St. Louis claimed the right of the people to revolt. and Baltimore. Give them these, and they Lincoln went so far as to reaffirm this would have insisted on Washington. Give principle in his first Inaugural Address, them Washington, and they would have when he was speaking to a country already assumed the army and navy and, through at fever-heat over the problems before it. these, Philadelphia, New York, and BosIt was patent to the men of the time that a It looks as if the battle-field would civil war was being attempted, and seces- have been at least as large in that event as sion only cloaked an attack of a reaction- it is now." ary class in the Union against the people The truth of this became evident during and their government.

the war, when the South fostered a NorthThe war was not fought, therefore, on western Confederacy, which was ultithe abstract principle as to whether the mately to join with it. By its acts it acSouth had a right to form its own institu- cepted the idea of a civil war as well as tions or not, but over the institutions them- the North, and by its attacks upon the selves. It was a struggle between con- National Government was the first to flicting economic interests, and though it force the struggle in that direction. In was apparently a war of the sections, it one sense the war was the French Revoluwas in the fullest sense a civil war. It tion of America, with the difference that was a clash over the control of the ma- here it was the aristocrat, the great land


« AnkstesnisTęsti »