« AnkstesnisTęsti »
A TRAMP THROUGH THE BERKSHIRE HILLS.
mitted that she was going there simply to get something to eat. The misunderstandings and mistakes of that day have been interesting reminiscences to us since. They were productive of several pairs of strained relations at the time.
drinking glass after glass of iced cream; and in the next hour to be wandering through the grounds of some fashionable home of fashionable Lenox— shoddy Lenox, too, sometimes. A few miles farther on we might be in quaint, historical old Stockbridge, where we spent the night in Jonathan Edwards' former home, now Edwards Inn, and sat awed and unequal to the task of making appropriate remarks in the room where he began that frightful "Freedom of the Will."
It was in Stockbridge, too, that we saw the home of the Field family. We hunted up Cyrus Field's grave, and gazed with appropriate historical thrills at the rough-hewn monument erected by the men of Stockbridge to their "friends, the Indians." We gazed admiringly, too, upon the bells in the belfry which marks the site of "the little church in the wilderness where the sergeant addressed the men of Stockbridge," - a fine phrase which we were content to copy into our note-books unquestioned, and which we wish our friends would treat with like unquestioning respect. What men of Stockbridge and why the sergeant, where he talked, and what he talked about, are details which seemed irrelevant at the time and which therefore we are not prepared to go into now.
The incidents of this day were only a few of many, for every mile had its experience and we walked a hundred miles through a country of so much variety that every mood was satisfied.
If we were not tuned to a quiet hour beside some brook hidden in the woods, nothing could be more entertaining than to perch ourselves for the hot afternoon hours comfortably upon the stone wall that surrounded a summer home and ran along a fashionable drive. There we could lazily note the variety of fine turn-outs that passed us and weave stories about their languid occupants. We would let the boyish young man in the T cart marry the interesting Gibson girl in the landau to whom he was bowing so eagerly, while we condemned the self-assured man who rode beside her carriage, to the gaudy but unpleasant looking old maid who had just jangled ostentatiously past in a brougham.
It was all as easy and satisfactory as reading a book which turned out well, while unlike readers we were reciprocally entertaining to our heroes and heroines. Many a bored looking carriage-full became suddenly vivacious after a glimpse of us. For even the well-bred ones looked from the corners of their eyes while they passed, and began to chat in a pointed manner once they were passed, while the ill-bred ones stared quite frankly and smiled quite broadly upon us. Yet even the rudest were never offensive and the smile was usually one of amused good-fellowship.
It did indeed seem almost like having a magic wishing-carpet, at one hour to be loitering along the country road picking and eating the luscious berries, or perhaps in the kitchen of one of in being alive. those ideal New England farmhouses
Such delightful variety of scene characterized our entire trip! A bit of quiet, peaceful country; a splendid scene of mountain, river, and woods; a summer home with city-looking children and white-capped nurses upon the lawn, and carriages, with liveried coachmen, rolling down the driveway; a spot commemorative of a great deed or thrilling war incident! And all the time there was for us freedom to go or to stay, freedom from cares and responsibilities, with a keen joyousness.
If you make the trip in five days, as
we did, you can do it at an expense of ten dollars. But you ought to take at least ten days for it and spend most of the additional time about Stockbridge. This would make the expense a trifle greater. Then I should certainly advise you to go no further into New York than Hillsdale. If you wish to top the trip by a day on the Hudson as we did—take the train over that less interesting portion of the state from Hillsdale to Hudson.
The great wonder is why more of us do not take such trips, and all of us oftener, since they are among the few good things open to rich and poor alike. There are few of us who are not near some country almost, if not quite, as lovely as the beautiful Berkshire Hills. Add only the "comrade neither glum nor merry" and we may
be off to prove what Bliss Carman has told us of the joys of the road:
"A vagrant's morning, wide and blue,
The broad gold wake of the afternoon;
THE SLEEP OF THE KING.
PERCHANCE he sleeps to dream—
The love of the queen is strong in his breast, But a song shall work its will.
The flute girl, she shall play
Who has never a strain for the light, The flower of the almond is bitter by day But its breath is sweet in the night.
The queen, grown heavy with glee,
Plays through the sleep of the king.
Perchance he sleeps to dream-
His sleep is as soft as a new shed tear
There is no dream for thee,—
Oh queen, grown weary to sing. Only the flute girl—she—
Plays through the sleep of the king.
Anna H. Branch.
THE GREEK SYMPOSIUM.
OWHERE, perhaps, is the resemblance between certain aspects of the Greek character and the life of modern times more striking than in the freedom of discussion which characterizes both civilizations. Methods differ, but the spirit is the same. What modern magazine enterprise and the modern principle of Freedom of the Press are accomplishing for the reading public of to-day by means of the printed symposium, was done by the ancient Greeks for the thinking and talking public of their day, and also through the symposium. We have borrowed the name and to some extent the purpose of the older custom, but in our usage the picturesque features have all been lost.
The Greek symposium was, literally, a "drinking together," but before the drinking fully began there was a banquet, more or less elaborate, as the wealth and taste of the host might dictate. The guests came in their best. Even old Socrates, Plato tells us in his Dialogue on the subject, was not above taking a little extra pains when he was invited out. Some one met him one day in the market place, "fresh from the bath and sandaled; and, as the sight of the sandals was unusual, he asked him whither he was going that he was so fine. To a banquet at Agathon's,' he replied, and I have put on my finery because he is a fine creaWhat say you to going with me unbidden?'"'
The friend consented, since the custom of going to a feast upon the invitation of one of the guests was common at Athens. On the way Socrates became lost in one of his philosophic speculations, and absent mindedly strayed into the portico of a building, whence he could not be moved, and the friend had to go on without him. When he reached the house of
Agathon," says Plato, "he found the doors wide open, and a servant coming out met him and led him at once to the banquet hall where the guests were reclining, for the banquet was about to begin."
With true Greek tact, the host hastened to relieve the awkwardness of the arrival of an uninvited guest. "Welcome,' said Agathon, you are just in time to sup with us. was looking for you yesterday, and meant to have asked you if I could have found you.'
Agathon had had an entertainment the day before, and this seems to have been an "overflow." The principal guest of the occasion had not arrived; but Agathon, who knew Socrates's habits well, decided to begin without him, and not till the feast was half over did the philosopher finally appear.
The guests at these symposia reclined upon couches, three occupying one couch, and rested their left elbows upon cushions. Nine was considered a convenient number of guests and only men were invited. Small tables were placed near the couches, and on these the attendants arranged the food and drink. Meat was not much used by the Greeks, but fish, oysters, and crabs took its place. Bread was even more than with us the staff of life," and in the Greek language there are over twenty terms for different varieties of leavened and unleavened dough. Butter and sugar were not used, olive oil and honey supplying the need. Pastry and cake were of many kinds, and some of the recipes have come down to us: Pounded cheese rubbed through a sieve, honey, and flour;" or this: "Nuts, poppy-seed, fruit, boiled honey, kneaded into a cake." Dessert consisted of nuts, fruit, and wine. The food was eaten with the fingers, and bread-crumbs served as napkins.
THE GREEK SYMPOSIUM.
Sometimes the guests brought their own supper, in picnic fashion; sometimes they carried the fragments off with them. The conduct at these entertainments seems often to have been quite unconventional. The Greeks loved a joke, and were not always very considerate in their fun. A favorite means of enjoyment was to play practical jokes on each other, or to make verses of a personal nature, "twitting on facts." Even the host was not spared. "Don't put any more of that black bread on, or you will make the room dark," said one critical guest. Another, noticing that a certain dish was not allowed to pass beyond the host's plate, called attention to the negligence by remarking: "Am I tipsy, or is it a fancy of mine that these things are going round?”
ended, and the libations offered, and after a hymn had been sung to the god, and there had been the usual ceremonies"—the company agreed to dismiss the flute-girl, to drink only a little wine, and to discourse each in his turn upon Love, in the broadest sense, including friendship between men, the love of the beautiful and good in nature, and the contemplation of that divine and perfect beauty of the soul, in which all other forms are harmo
When the dinner was over conversation was more sustained and the introduction of lighter features of entertainment marked the beginning of the symposium proper. The wine was nearly always mixed with water, and honey was sometimes added. It was considered barbarous to drink unmixed wine, and this accounts for the fact that so much could be taken without intoxication. The liquid was prepared in a large bowl, dipped out into cups, and passed from right to left, which was also the order of conversation. Small cups were used at first, their size increasing as the revelry went on. The entertainment provided at the symposium was serious or gay as the company might prefer. Music and dancing were often furnished by hired flute-girls; games something like the modern dice and jack-stones, played with small bones called "knuckle-bones," were favorites; and riddles were asked of the guests in turn. Success was rewarded by a garland of victory. Plato insists that only an inferior mind would turn from philosophic conversation to these frivolous substitutes for true enjoyment, and in his Dialogue on the Symposium he carries out his theory completely. "When the meal was
nized and fulfilled. Socrates speaks last; and after his profound reflections, the tension of the narrative is relieved with true Greek art by the introduction of Alcibiades and a party of revelers, who come in late from some other entertainment, crown the host with flowers and ribbons, and turn the conversation into other channels.
Questions of a more specific nature than the one chosen for this symposium were sometimes discussed.
The subtle Greek mind, delighting in imagination, in argument, in contemplative and speculative thought, found in these symposia the fullest opportunity for the display of its powers. Utility was never the measure of value in the Greek mind, but always beauty, fitness, logical precision, or dramatic power. In the symposium the various elements of this brilliant, fascinating life, so profound in some of its aspects, so shallow in others, are mirrored more exactly, perhaps, than in any other single representation of the Greek customs. The gayly robed and garlanded guests, many of them of exceeding beauty of face and figure, the soft lights, the perfumed wine, the gay badinage of guest and host, the graceful abandon of social intercourse alternating with the deepest utterances of philosophic wisdom; and over all that subtle and inimitable suggestion of repose, of mastery, and of self-realization which marked this fine old aristocracy,
where else can one find a picture more delightful or more characteristically Greek?