It’s not entirely good nor bad

Like I said, anything can have its upsides and downsides. It’s not entirely bad, though it can either improve or worsen. But again it’s not entirely bad as I think either anything is flawed or that it’s inevitable wherever you go. Not all people in Nigeria hate cats as some do like or tolerate them and it could be improving to some extent. (Likewise not all Cameroonians necessarily like or tolerate cats.)

Cameroon might seem more cat-tolerant than Nigeria is as a whole (based on two sources I’ve read, it’s not uncommon for Cameroonians to have cats around) though it’s not that much of a big economic power. So realistically and honestly, that’s still proving my point right. I could go on saying similar things about any other country really.

Iceland might have a language that’s closest to Old Norse but Norway has a significantly less inbred population (in the sense that it’s not uncommon for Sami people to have non-Sami relatives). Sometimes the problems are more or less the same. Ireland, Netherlands, Germany, Norway, France and Sweden have had histories of highly repressing minority languages until recently.

Germany, Netherlands and Austria have a big dog poisoning problem. Ad infinitum, ad nauseum. They’re not entirely good but they’re not entirely bad either.

Pretty flawed countries

I sometimes still think that idealised countries (especially Japan but also Britain and if I will, Germany) also have problems and a dark side. Sometimes they even share the same problem with other places. Much like how both Brazil, Britain and USA (possibly even France) have the same problem with self-hating black men internalising serious misogynoir and dating other ethnicities to spite their own kind. Or like how dog poisoning’s not only a big deal in Russia but also Germany, Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland.

Or why echnicoccus is a big deal in Japan, Russia, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Turkey. Almost to the point where I feel as if those problems might be more universal than one realises or at least common enough to be a widely reported phenomenon and experience. That doesn’t mean those countries are bad. Any country’s bound to have a good and bad side. Or that jerks, idiots and losers are everywhere wherever you go. As if human nature’s inherently and largely immutable.

Perhaps too human I guess.

The Blond-Brown Continuum

Like I said, most European hair does darken to varying degrees depending on their genetics and how much time in the sun they spend. I even think those with dark blond/light brown hair to be some of the luckier ones in that their hair didn’t darken that much. (Though the way it looks can be so drab to some as to be almost stigmatised.) It’s not that Northern Europeans aren’t blond.

But rather the blond colour they usually have upon adulthood’s often dark blond/light brown (Swedes literally call this ‘rat-coloured hair’ or mousy blond when considering it). This is also probably the same with Eastern, Western and Central Europeans (whether if this includes both the Alps and areas closest to German territory).

It’s not that it isn’t blond but rather an apparently drab colour that seemingly defies categorisation. At least to Europeans as to outsiders (since most humans tend to have black hair), dark blond is blond enough to them. Quite parsimoniously, some Europeans have medium and dark brown hair.

(I suspect this might be brown hair proper as light brown/dark blond is ambiguously blond.) If Northerners are often stereotyped as blond, then Southerners might be black-haired. There are European whites with naturally black hair but some of them have dark brown hair at least (natural or bleached*).

That could be me, being a non-European but I do see pictures of Italians, Spaniards, French and even Germans with dark brown hair. (Kind of makes me think at least a good number of them aren’t that as swarthy as stereotypes suggest.)

*Same with many Asians and Africans to varying degrees as I think the ideal black hair for them’s something that’s never been bleached (chemically or exposed to the Sun).

The dark side

I sometimes get the impression that at least in German speaking countries and to some possible extent, Poland and Russia (maybe even the Netherlands, Italy and France) not only is dog predation taken somewhat more seriously (or at least noted more often in the news media but same things can be said of America and moreso Australia) but also them being shot by hunters and dog poisoning.

Keep in mind that dog poisoning’s such an issue there’s even a website dedicated to it called Giftkoeder Radar. On the other hand, you have pro-animal abuse websites like Gegenhund.org and the magazine Kot und Koeter. It seems as to bear repeating, if things like stray dogs hunting wildlife and dog poisoning happen fairly often in the German language press, it’s going to be taken more seriously.

Fraser’s Magazine (Google Books)

THE ACADEMY OF THE ARCADI.
A STUDY OF ITALIAN LITERARY LIFE IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
PART II.
RESCIMBENTS glorious reign
ended soon after the donation
of the Bosco Parrasio and the coro
nation of Perfetti, and the Arca dians of Rome and of the colonies lamented in innumerable sonnets
and elegies the veteran founder and champion of the Academy. The
traised seat beneath the laurels of
the Bosco Parrasio, left vacant by
the death of Crescimbeni, was filled by his friend and colleague the Abate -Lorenzini.- He had been educated as a servant in the house of the poet Guidi, and had early acquired a literary position, though
less by his works, which cannot now be found, than by his familiarity with writers, having contrived to
keep on good terms both with Crescimbeni and with Gravina. He
was a large, rawboned man, with a
face at once sarcastic and good
humoured, and strange, humorous, astonished-looking eyebrows. He had probably more talent than
Crescimbeni; at all events a much
juster appreciation of men and
things, and a tendency to regard Arcadian affairs as not so very
much, more important than other
human concerns.
The accession of the second Cus
tode Generals marks a new phase in the history of the Academy; during his ngovernment Arcadia
extended its frontiers to the utmost, and – became supreme throughout the peninsula; but, like Rome and Venice, it did so at the expense of its original spirit and constitution. The Academy became lost in its legions of members, and as people of every sort, and in every part of
Italy, became Arcadians, to be an Arcadian soon meant merely to be
a member of the -society of one’s
native town; and a holder of one’s
own principles, just as one would
have been had Arcadianeverexisted.
In short, Arcadia ceased to be an
academy and became the whole lite rary and social life of the country. And now let us stop and glance round the Italy of the eighteenth
century, a century displaying in all
countries so strange a mixture of strength and ofweakness, ofvigorous
modes of thought which had not the
force of habit and of lazy modes of life which were enforced by custom ;
of philanthropical aspirations and tyrannical institutions; of goodness
masked by frivolity and scepticism,
and villany hidden beneath solem
nity and moralising; of corruption and renovation, mingling and fer menting in unlovely fashion. In
Italythis movementwasless strongly
felt than in other countries, and es
pecially less than in France, and not
only because the race was less prone to exaggeration and excess. In Italy
there was, of course, a great deal
to sweep away-vicious modes of thought and life due to long inertion and protracted rule of Spaniards,
Jesuits, and littlelocal tyrants ; but,
on the other hand, there still re mained much of the -influence of
-the Renaissance. The Italians were
not the great-grandsons of semi
barbarians, like the Germans and
ourselves, but of free, enlightened, and polished burghers; they had the remembrance of commercial
commonwealths, and not, like the French, of a hideous feudal sys
tem; there was no inequality of classes, no great misery and great
power opposed to each other for cen
turies; and when the stream of progress of the eighteenth century reached Italy, it joined insensibly
D 2
34 The Academy of the Arcadi. [July
with the remains of civilisation left
in the country by antiquity and the
Renaissance, and.0f which no amount
of political and social disorganisa
tion could ever deprive it. The
eighteenth century in Italy was,
therefore, not a violent reaction
against feudalism as in France, nor
against Puritanism as in England,
nor against foreign domination as in
Germany; it was a mere gradual
waking up from lethargy and a
shaking off of its bad effects.
There was no war against nobles,
or priests, or foreigners, and thence
it is that Italy in that time seems
scarcely to move in comparison
with other countries, and its very
movement, when examined, appears
rather droll than revolting in the
contrasts it brings to light.
Let us pass by the four great
towns most visited by the travellers
of the eighteenth century : Venice,
crumbling gaily away, a place where
Beckford could dream Oriental
dreams of luxuriousness and hidden terrors, and compare the motley
population, not less than the cupolas
and minarets, to the strange world
of Vathek which he carried in his
mind. Naples, feudal and antique,
at once so backward in social insti
tutions and so happy in natural
endowments, which could make
Goethe feel even more of a Greek
than he naturally was—Naples,
which from amongst intellectual
and physical filth gave Italy in the
eighteenth century.her philosophy
and her art, her Vieo and her Pergo
lesi, her Filangieri and her Cimarosa.
Florence, with her Frenchified rulers
and intensely Italian people, painted
in all her frivolity by the frivolous
Mann. And Rome, of whose unedu
cated princes and half-barbarous
lower classes the President de
Brosses speaks like an earlier and
less eccentric Stendhal. Let us
leave the great centres, each repre
senting some extreme, of artificially
produced vice, of artificially kept up barbarism, of artificial credulity,
and artificial pedantry, and let us
look at one of the innumerable
smaller cities which attest the
vigour of the Italian spirit of earlier
days, a vigour which foreign inter
ference or foreign pressure has
succeeded neither in entirely extin
guishing nor in entirely warping.
In these quiet medizeval towns,
where crumbling monuments over
shadow grass-grown streets, and
only a few heavy gilt coaches
rumble across the time-worn pave ment, where the popular vitality is
concentrated in the market-place,
the barbers’ shops, and the coffee houses, intellectual life sputters and
crackles cheerily. The noble counts
and marquises, descended from re
publican merchants, feudal princes,
or mercenary generals, mix freely
with the upper middle classes, their
equals in race, in education, in manners, and very nearly in for
tune, and who feel neither jealous
nor idolatrous of their superiors in
rank. The dull, serene life of these
inglorious grandees and placid
burghers is wiled away in the
cultivation of science and erudition,
literature and art; nobles and com
moners meet on equal footing; they
study together in the same colleges, where the master may be a patrician
general like Marsigli, or a plebeian
professor like Zanotti; they help each other in editing inscriptions,
publishing chronicles, and compiling
guide-books and histories; they
make each other presents of their
materials, or lampoon each other
most frightfully. The women are not left out of the literary bustle;
of course there are some who have
been brought up by pious nuns who
could not or would not teach them
reading or writing,‘ as there are
young men after Parini’s model
‘ This was the case with the grandmother of a Tuscan friend of ours, from whom we
have the anecdote.
1878] The Academy of the Arcadi. 35
who remain in bed till twelve, and
read only wicked French novels,
brought up in unconsciousness of
classical studies by dingy priest
tutors, who run errands and carry
lapdogs for their pupils’ mothers.
All this there is of course, for un
less we placed the ignorant apathy
by the side of the restless inquisi
tiveness we should give a false picture of the eighteenth century,
whose characteristic peculiarity was that it united the evil things that
remain with the good things-that
are coming. All this there is—
ignorance, sloth, and corruption;
but there are also good qualities.
There are the innumerable ladies
who, as soon as they haveexchanged
the convent for their husband’s house, become refined, literary, nay
learned; poetesses, composers, and
presiders over intellectual society,
the friends, patronesses, and coun
sellors of the greatest writers in
Italy, yet without aspiring to the
position of the Dottoressa Bassi, who
lectured on Newton’s Optics before
she was twenty. There are also the innumerable young men, ele
gant dancers, and fencers, and
sturdy players at racket, who in
their youth are spoken of by well
known writers as of excellent morals and great literary acquire
ments, and who, later in life, when
dancing, and fencing, and racket
have been abandoned, collect li
braries, write verses and satires on surrounding frivolity, take inte
rest in agriculture, imitate the Georgics in poems on the cultiva
tion of rice or silk, and in a few places keep up some amount of
industry and commerce.“ The domestic life is strange enough;
the marriages are mostly made up
by the families, though, according to Baretti, not usually against the
desire of the young people. The
husband and wife are not permitted
to be on bad terms, yet there is the
inevitable cavaliere servente, chosen
by the husband or the wife’s family,
obsequious, useful, tiresome, meddle some, treated with contemptuous
consideration, often much in the
way of both husband and wife, as
Goldoni shows him in the play,
where Don Roberto and Donna
Eularia run away from town and
bury themselves in a village where
society will not force cavalieri ser
venti on to them; that he disturbs
family peace or endangers family
ties none even of the satirists, no,
not even Parini, will admit; he is
a respectable institution. Another
institution is that of putting all the daughters for whom no eligible
husbands can be found into rich
oonvents, where they can enjoy
comparative freedom; and of mak
ing the younger sons enter the
Church or- some military order,
unless they can turn mamstrate or
something similar. The upper
middle classes do without cavalieri
serventi, oonvents, and military
orders, and make their sons law
yers, doctors, professors, or priests,
commerce, except in the sea-ports,
being reduced to shopkeeping.
The social life is a queer mixture
of gaiety and dullness, unless we
go into the madly spendthrift
society of the dissolute Venetians
or Frenchified Lombards and Floren
‘ In the little oligarchy of Lucca the principal families kept up their industrial and
commercial connections until past the middle of the eighteenth century, some of the nobles possessing silk-manufactories and banking-houses even in Flanders. These same
Lucchese nobles, who managed one of the finest theatres in Italy off the savings in
their incredibly small State budget, were great publishers, and re-edited the whole
Encyclopedia when prohibited in France. It has often been remarked that the Italian
nobles of the last century were comparatively better educated than their descendants,
because the progress of Liberalism, while it raised the intellectual standard of the
inferior classes, frightened the nobles into stolid opposition to all improvement, and
consequently into an illiterate and bigoted stagnation.
36 The Academy of the Arcadi. [July
tines; the same people meet day
after day; everyone is intimately
acquainted with his neighbours.
The literati—and every educated
person belongs more or less to
them—sit in the bookseller’s shop,
and discuss new works and enter in
to a literary conversation with any
stranger who comes in, as the
amiable people at Padua did with Goethe when he was in search of
Palladio’s works. They meet also in
the garden or palace of one of the
company, and the lofty rooms, hung
with faded tapestry and portraits
of worthies in black doublets and
scarlet caps, or shining with new
gilt stucco and high-backed white
and gold chairs, are crowded with
senators in full-bottomed wigs, poor
literary priests in rusty little cloaks,
smart young menwith their hair tied
in queues and their pockets crammed
full of sonnets, and beautiful ladies with rouged cheeks and long
sleeved brocade dresses; they read
and recite verses, talk of the new
books from Paris, and of the new
opera from Naples; play at cards
and sing. Often, in the long winter evenings, they learn some French
tragedy, translated or imitated by
one of the party, and act it with all posssible solemnity; nay the noble
ladies and gentlemen even dance
ballets, as was particularly the
fashion at Verona, where Ippolito
Pindemonti, Knight of St. John of
Jerusalem, gained such applause in
performing the part of Pygmalion
that he determined to turn ballet
dancer and unite his fortunes to
those of the famous Le Picq, a plan
which, luckily for poetry, he was
prevented from executing. In
some towns, Bologna for instance,
the young men have little tourna
ments; in the winter, if it snow
very hard, they drive sledges, and,
incredible though it may sound, the
young ladies of the highest birth
go out on riding parties dressed in
almost masculine fashion, no one taking offence thereat, and the
poets telling them that in this garb
they look like Paris and Endy
mion? In the autumn the nobles
retire for the vintage to their villas,
from whose belvederes they can see
the old, silent, many-towered town,
and their friends hurrying to and
fro on the dusty road. The villas
are never without literary guests;
some of them, like the splendid Villa Albergati, near Bologna, con
tain large theatres, and even in
comparatively poor country-houses
there are enthusiasts, like Count
Giacomo Gozzi, who make their
children act when scarcely more
than babies. A place of m’lleggia
tura, some shady nook, or breezy
hillside near a town, is a collection
of five or six large villas, whose
owners live in each other’s houses,
meet twice and thrice a day, play
at cards, go out shooting together,
read to each other, and saunter
about the primly laid-out grounds,
or among the upturned fields strewn
with decaying leaves. The lawyers,
and priests, and poor literati, who
have been unable to leave the
stifling city, are not forgotten, and
presents of grapes, figs, mushrooms,
and game are sent to them by beauti
ful blue-stockings, and are duly
acknowledged in verse and paid for
with sonnets on lapdogs and elegies
on canary birds. Then there are
little musical farces performed in
the open air, in suburbs or villages,
and to them rush all the listless
villa inhabitants, and laugh at the
drollness of the music or the in
exhaustible witticisms of the masks.
Once or twice a year the great
theatre is put into order, the
senators, prelates, or delegated managers enter into treaty with some great performer, male or fe
male, and the whole town is in a
tumult of excitement. A new
opera is composed and brought out
‘ See F1.ugoni’s eight enormous volumes.
1878] The Academy of the Arcadi. 37
in the presence of all the popula
tion and of innumerable visitors from neighbouring places, amidst a
shower of sonnets and flowers, occasionally interspersed with
oranges and medlars thrown at the head of an offending composer, as he sits directing the performance at
his harpsichord. Faction runs high for rival singers; people at the cofi’ee-houses fight with sedan-chair sticks to defend the reputation of
their favourite, and in the theatre almost die of rapture ; the powdered Achilles or Regulus becomes the
tyrant of the place, bullies the nobles and prelates, and conde scends to permit the ladies to wear
five portraits of him at a time.
This annual musical enthusiasm, while showing the life that remains in the people, serves at the same time to dispel for the moment what
is trivial and local in Italian civilisa
tion.
Such a state of society was ad
mirably suited to produce a vast amount of worthless poetry, For,
while literature had got to be con sidered as a sort of social amuse ment, it had by no means gained the honourable independence of the
other arts and sciences, and a man
of letters, although doubtless con sidering himself as the perfection
of the human type, lived either in a more limited or in a less stable fashion than a surgeon, a painter,
an architect, or even a singer: Benedetto Marcello’s virtuoso re marked to a great poet that the position of literati was far less
honourable than his own, as singers had always plenty of money while men of letters were usually starving.
Nor was this entirely erroneous;
the man of letters, who was neither
a noble nor a well-endowed priest,
nor a well-paid lawyer or professor,
and who, according to Baretti, had no chance of reasonable remunera
tion for his literary productions, the profits of which belonged entirely to the publisher ; the man
of letters who -,was nothing but a
man of letters, was necessarily more or less of an adventurer, living off
flattery and humiliation. His life
was spent in continual efibrts to obtain some fixed employment, which, if he was nothing more than
a poet, was naturally more or less a sinecure, and in the gift of some great personage; most often the
employment was promised and not
given, or, if given, taken away from
caprice, and the poet had to con tinue his vagabond life, hunting for
dedication fees, translations, odd
jobs, and occasional dinners. The happiest thing for such a poet was to live in the midst of literary
nobles, who would give him lodging
and food for a minimum of flattery
instead of making him loiter about ministerial antechambers. Litera
ture was a trade, but scarcely an
independent or honourable one, for
what was sold were not books, but
dedications of books. Romance
literature, that rich field for poor
mediocrities, did not exist in Italy, the few novels that were read then
being translations from Marivaux, Le Sage, or Richardson. Theatrical
literature could hardly be said to
exist either; there was no tragic
stage whatever, for there were only
singers and mask comedians, the few tragedies written for the closet
by men like Maffei and Martello,
and the translations from the
French, amply sufiicing for private
performance. There was only the old mask comedy, which consisted
mainly of mere adaptations of old Italian and Spanish plays, all the best scenes of which were left un
written and were filled up by the
wonderful extemporaryperformance of the Brighellas, Truffaldinos, and Tartaglias who had taken posses sion of comedy ever since the fall
of Italian national literature and the
reign of dialects in the seventh century; nor was it till Goldoni
that Italian written comedy re
appeared. There remained, it is true,
38 The Academy of the Arcadi. [July
the opera stage, which was as
splendid as its rivals were miser
able, but in a time when the same
play could be set to different music
twice or thrice by the same com
poser, Metastasio’s operas were
quite sufiicient, being, as they were,
a mine of beautiful dramatic and
lyric poetry. There remained,
therefore, nothing but the smaller
forms of lyric poetry—the ode, the
elegy, and above all the sonnet ; and
luckily, as people could not live off
such trifles, especially when the
market was overstocked with them,
the number of poets who were not
something else besides was—as
indeed is still the case in Italy
very small.
Here we have, then, a national
literature in which the tragic and
the comic stage are respectively
monopolised bytwo men, Metastasio
and Goldoni, from which the epic
is excluded by the very nature of
the civilisation, which could afford
neither natural nor imaginary
historical colouring, in which the
minor lyric forms, the ode, the
canzone, the elegy, and the sonnet,
are not spontaneous, but maintained
by mere scholarly habit, and in
which these latterforms are yet the
commonest, because within the
reach of almost everyone. And
what are the subjects of this lyric
poetry, whose forms, well-nigh
petrified, belong to very difi’erent
states of civilisation? All politi
cal subjects are excluded because
there is no political interest in
a country out up into little
despotic governments, mostly of
foreign extraction, and in this line
there remain only general lamenta
tion over the decline of Italian
arms and influence since the days
of ancient Rome—lamentations
which, if sometimes genuinely felt,
are yet too vague and aimless
either to alarm the police or to
interest the reader. Then there are
religious lyrics,but in the eighteenth
century religious ardour is not
sufiiciently strong to be poetical,
and when a man writes canzoni to
the Virgin and sonnets on Judas in
the style of those of Bettinelli, and
Lamberti, and Varano, we cannot
help thinking him either narrow
minded or hypocritical. After
political and religious subjects
come personal ones, but the indi
vidual was not much more poetical
than the patriot or the believer;
neither married life nor conven
tional cavaliere-serventism was
prolific of inspiration, and as to
unhappy and ill-fated affections,
never surely were fewer to be found
than among the Italian poets of the
last century; not that these good
people were without such sorrows,
but the time had passed when men
did not shrink from weeping in
public over their dead loves, while
consoling themselves with living
ones, like Dante, Petrarch, and
Lorenzo de’ Medici, and the time
had not yet come when romanticism
taught them to alleviate their woes
by retailing them to the public, and
to tear open their bleeding wounds
for the amusement of – their readers.
There were doubtless Werthers and
Consalvos, but they preferred to
keep their misfortunes hidden, and
to write poems on the cultivation
of silkworms, or on the absurdities
of pedants, rather than declare
themselves ready to commit suicide
for their Charlottes, and to he kissed
when corpses by their Elviras.
Lyric poetry—we mean the poetry
which is lyric in spirit as well as in
metre—requires the constant ap
pearance of the poet himself, the
constant laying bare of the poet’s
personal feelings, and, whether
from obtuseness of feeling, reserve,
or any other cause, the Italian poets
of the last century could not and
would not make themselves their
own subject—so much so that Rolli
takes care to impress on his reader
that his love poems are all ad
dressed to ladies as purely imagin ary as his feelings towards them—
1878] – The Academy of the Arcadi. . 39
yet lyrics were written in plenty, very correct and elegant in lan
guage, and very cool and vague in
sentiment. There are the elegiac patriotic pieces, in which, after
a splendid description of ancient
Rome, and the loudest lamentations
over the fallen state of Italy, we
are informed that the man, the
hero, the demigod has come from whom the country expects deliver
ance from her woes, and this hero
and demigod may be a viceroy of
Naples, a Venetian procuratore,
a Tuscan senator, or, as Manfredi
thinks, Don Annibale Albani, ‘ who
with universal applause has just taken his doctor’s degree at Urbino.’ There are the long, intensely
subtle, and metaphysical canzoni to
ladies taking the veil, who, either forced into the convent by their families or entering it from worldly
disappointment and ennui, are sup posed to be so many St. Catherines
and St. Theresas; there are the son
nets for the same occasions, full of
Cupids, Dianas,and flourishes, as pro
fane as the fat cherubs and languish
ing saints overhead among the stucco
and gilding, and printed off by the dozen to be handed round to the
guests with cakes and ices, while
the powdered hair of the novice is being shorn to the accompaniment
of church music, with fiddles, flutes,
and roulades. There is the still
more numerous and nauseous class
of bridal poems, mostly written by
priests, in which Venus, the Graces, Cupid, and every manner of per sonified feeling are introduced to
bring about the union of two per
sons who, in all probability, care nothing for each other, and are
merely following the will of their
parents or the suggestions of their worldly wisdom ; when the marriage
is an aristocratic one, Italy is
brought in as a spectator, and pro
phesies that a new Alcides will be
born, and that the proud Turk will soon tremble at the name of the
heroic infant. Sometimes—and this
is often the case when the poet is a
superior one, and cares nothing for
the 1narriage—the bride and bride
groom are left behind after a few
lines, and some classic fable is
brought forward in their stead;
but even then the best we get are
poetical paraphrases of Albani, with
loves climbing into trees, coquettish
nymphs, and languishing heroes.
After this we meet poems on all
sorts of trifles—lapdogs, canaries,
horses, gifts of fruit and wine, new
hats, and what not; some of which,
written under the influence of beauti
ful poetic ladies by elegant, frivolous
poets like Frugoni, are certainly
very pretty; and finally, to exhaust the stock of lyrics, we come to the
sonnets destined to be showered
down on to successful performers,
and which, although often written
by celebrated poets, are so trivial,
vague, and verbose that we can
only hope that they were used ‘as
curling papers by the singers, a few
of whose extemporary flourishes and embellishments contained infi nitely more genius, more art, and
more poetry than all the verses of
all their admirers. But, despite
this miserable poverty of subject and sterility of fancy, the amount of lyrics written in Italy during the last century passes all belief: for
everyone who could hold a pen
—men, women, priests, nuns, law
yers, doctors, barbers—everyone
wrote poetry; the works of each
poet are excessively voluminous—
five, six, seven, eight, ten, fifteen
huge volumes being quite usual, and the greater portion of their
contents, as well as that of the
innumerable collections printed at
weddings, deaths, veil-takings, chris tenings, and the still more in
numerable academical collections,
consist of this uninteresting, vapid,
verbose, intolerable rubbish. In the presence of all these myriads of
sonnets, odes, elegies, and canzoml per nozze, per monaeazione, per
40 The Academy of the Arcadi. [July
gentil dama, per musica, and per
elevazione alla. sagra porpora, we
feel crushed and speechless, and
regain the use of our faculties only to cry out at the indefatigable im
becility of the Italian eighteenth
century.
There is no exaggeration in
this, and yet there is no exaggera
tion either in saying that of all the
centuries during which Italian lite
rature has flourished, the eighteenth
century is one of the most honour
able. We have seen as yet only what
the men of that time could not but
fail in, and in which they persisted so obstinately thatthey left behind them
the appalling mass of rubbish we
have described; but there were
other branches of literature in
which the Italians of the last cen tury as necessarily succeeded, and
in which they reached a far higher
point than any of their predecessors.
The poetry which required indi
vidual activity of life and feeling, in which all depended upon strength
of passion and abundance of move
ment, upon the poet’s own indi viduality—this kind of poetry had
ceased to exist; but in its stead
appeared that other poetry which
depends upon contemplation and
examination of types, whose excel
lence is due to the knowledge of
the minute shades and transitions
of feeling, upon the power of the
poet to divest himself of his own character and to enter entirely into
that of others; the epic, the lyric,
had become impossible, but tragedy,
comedy, and satire had taken
their place. The reader must not, however, imagine that, because the
literary forms requiring the deve
lopment of the poet’s own indi
viduality had disappeared, this was
a period when, as in the time of Anne
and of George 1., the real poetic,
artistic element had been replaced
by thought, wit, and elegance of
expression; on the contrary, in
tragedy, comedy, and satire there
appeared the greatest wealth of the
really tragic and humorous elements,
to the utter exclusion both of ora
torical pomp and brilliancy of wit;
the tragedy was real tragedy, the
comedy real comedy, and more so
than either had been in the hands
of the too eloquent Racine or the
over witty Moliere. It may also appear contradictory to our previous
remark on the absence of a regular
stage in Italy to afiirm that the
dramatic form was the one then
brought to perfection, yet this seem
ing paradox can easily be explained.
There was no tragic stage in Italy
in Metastasio’s time, and it is to
that very fact that Metastasio’s
excellence is due; for, had he
attempted real tragedy, he would
have produced at best only a feeble
repetition of the French oratorical
plays. Instead of this being the
case, Metastasio was called upon to
write dramas for music, for music
which was then in its heroic youth,
simple, grand, pathetic, and, above
all, beautiful, and which, in its
vigorous movement towards per
fection, could drag along with it
the style of poetry arising from
its requirements. The opera was
then still in its simplest condition;
melody did not attempt to follow
dramatic action in concerted pieces,
but was restricted to short speeches
and soliloquies, bursts of feeling or
flights of fancy, in which the poet gave the musician only a general
framework, while all the body of
the play—the scenes of narration,
dialogue, altercation, and movement
—were left to that musically noted
speech called recitative. The reci
tative required even more than did
the melody that the verbal expres
sion should be as simple, concise,
and natural as that of the regular
tragedy was the reverse;and, above
all, it required that the action of
the play should be rapid and strongly marked. Thenoted declamation could
not be united with the rhetorical
style of poetry, for the modulations of the recitative were suggested by
1878] The Academy of the Arcadi. 41
the inflexions of the speaking voice, and the long, carefully constructed
periods of tragic oratory necessarily
reduced these inflexions both in
variety and force. The require ments, therefore, of the music pro duced a new style of drama, sim
pler, stronger, more pathetic, less
eloquent, and less formal than tra
gedy, while the tendency of the music itself, its beauty, pathos, gran deur, and yet richness, did much to influence the poet’s conceptions.
When we compare Metastasio’s
poetry with the music to which it
was set, we feel that if the indi vidual pieces were suggested by the
words of the poet, those words were
themselves suggested by the general
style of composition then prevailing.
Metastasio’s principal characters,
so distinct and yet so noble, so clearly and delicately drawn, ardent
or tender, pathetic or solemn, so
full of life and feeling, and yet
never either realistic or sensational—
Achilles, Regulus, Timanthes, Aris
tea, Megacles, Dirce—are conceived
in the same manner as the music
which Pergolesi, Leo, Jomelli and Hasse made them sing; we meet again, what we meet so rarely,
emotion used as an artistic means.
A similar paradox has to be ex plained with respect to Goldoni, who found no regular comic- stage
in Italy, and owed his peculiar ex
cellence to this fact, just as Metas
tasio did his to the non-existence of a regular tragic stage. By a sin
gular process of decentralisation,
Italian literature, ever since the
breaking-up of the commonwealths
and the rule of foreigners in the sixteenth century, had become less
and less national and more and
more provincial, till, in the seven teenth century, all vitality seemed to have been absorbed by the dia
lects, and the feebler the writings
in the universal language of the
country, the more original and racy became the poems and plays in
Venetian, Milanese, Neapolitan, and Sicilian.‘ Now to each of these dialects belonged a figure, a type
or caricature of the particular pro
vincial character formed by the
people of the province. When the
Neapolitans gave the reins to their
boisterous humour it was in the
character of Pulcinella or of the
Fuego; when the Venetians wish ed to represent themselves, they brought forward the drolly cautious
Pantaloon; when the Milanese wished to criticise the Spanish airs
of their nobles, they made the sim ple, sensible, clownish Meneghino their spokesman; when the Bolog
nese felt inclined to laugh at the
professors of their university they
brought forward their blustering, pedantic Dottore; in short, every province—nay, in some cases every
town—had its popular representa
tive, unchanging in dress, manner, and speech, as every such type must be. As this typical buffoon, or
mask, as he was called, for his
unchanging costume easily gave
rise to the appellation, was brought
on to the stage, so very soon there
began to appear actors who never played any part except that ‘of the humorous patron of their native town, and as soon as several of
these act0rs—say a Venetian Panta
loon, a Bolognese Dottore, a Bri ghella from Bergamo, and a Truffal
dino from Brescia—met on the same
movable stage, the comedy of masks,
or, as it was called, the commedia
dell’ wrte,“ was created. Goldoni
found this oommedia dell’ arts in
absolute possession of the theatre,
and, as many perhaps he himself believed, he
4 The most original Italian poem of the seventeenth century, Redi’s dithyramb, is far
less national than Tuscan, even in language. ‘ Arte here probably has the older meaning of trade, for it literally was a man’s trade
to play Arlecchino or Stenterello all his life.
of his admirers and
42’ The Academy of the Arcadi. [July
dethroned it. But he did so only
in appearance, and when Voltaire
congratulated him upon having
‘ freed Italy from the Goths,’ he was
much mistaken in thinking that Go]
doni had done so in order to install
a semblance of French comedy in
their place. In reality Goldoni’s
reforms were merely that he put a
limit to the improvisation of the
actors, and that he divested the
masks of their characteristic cos
tume, and even sometimes of their
characteristic dialect, for Goldoni’s
action merely represented that of
his time, which tended once .more
to swallow up the provincial in the
national. Gold0ni’s comedy was to
be for all Italy, and no longer for
a single province; it was to show
the life of the whole country, and
therefore what was unintelligible to
the whole nation and what was
illustrative of only local life had to
be got rid of to a certain extent;
but Pantaloon remained Pantaloon,
although stripped of his white,
many-buttoned garb, and put into
– the dress of a Leghorn merchant or
a country proprietor, and Harlequin
remained Harlequin despite the loss
of his parti-coloured clothes and
the adoption of modern dress; the
Italian comedy remained the same in spirit and system, although it
ceased to be called commedia dell’
arte. Goldoni did not attempt to
meddle with the arrangements bywhich the same types were con
stantly reproduced by the same
actor; he did not introduce new characters, but merely new com
binations of characters; he did not
make the stage a vehicle for satire;
in short, consciously or uncon
sciously, he merely developed the
Italian comedy without imitating
the French one. There were radi
cal difi’erences of origin and concep
tion between the French and Italian
comedies, and to these are due the
absolute difference that exists be
tween Moliere and Goldoni, a want of perception of which has so often led
to the grossest misjudgment of the
latter by persons who expected to
find him like the former. French
comedy was a court and drawing
room production, like all the other
literary forms of the age of Louis
XIV.; it had no roots among the
people, and was constructed to suit
the wittiest, most caustic, and most
elegant class of the wittiest and
most caustic of nations—to suit the
contemporaries of Boileau and La
Rochefoucauld, of Mme. de Sévigné
and La Bruyere, people all the
power of whose mind consisted in
delicate appreciation of character
and neat expression of paradoxes,
brought to the highest point of
perfection. The Italian comedy,
on the other hand, had arisen
among the people, and, what is
more, among the provincial middle
and lower classes, who disdained
the national speech, utterly ignored
smartness of expression, and asked
only to be amused with humorous
pictures of themselves; simple,
jovial, honest folk, with charity at
the bottom of all their humour.
Molierc, in compliance with the
wants of his audience, accepted a
few trumpery, mostlynnnatural and
uninteresting plots and situations,
and gave all his attention to the
creation of original and power
ful types: Harpagon, the Malade
Imaginaire, Tartufe, the Femmes
Savanies, and, above all, the Misan thrope and his companions, Célimene
and Philinte and Oronté and Arsinoé,
the heartless coquet, the easy-going,
benevolent man of the world, the
dandified fool and the court prude;
each a bitter satire, couched in the
tersest and most brilliant language,
which in itself forms almost a series
of epigrams. Goldoni, who had no
courtly wits among his audience,
accepted the old popular types given
by each province; types neither very
sharply marked nor very satirical,
for the Italian people is neither per
sonal nor unkind in its bufibonery;
and lavished all the richness of his
1878] The Academy of the Arcadi. 4_-3
fancy in contriving new plots, new
scenes, new situations, new com
binations of the old characters, in
which a trifle—a fan dropped, a
dress expected, a promise not to be
jealous, a promise to -be silent—pro
duces in the simplest and most spontaneous way an infinite con
catenation of droll situations, of
droll exclamations, of droll move
ments. Moliere’s characters, when
not absolute and almost repulsive
caricatures, make us smile the sub dued smile of perception of wit rather than of drollery; G0ldoni’s
characters, even when so faintly
marked as to be no types at all, make us laugh the free, happy laugh
of unconcerned amusement. M0
liere’s men and women, even the
stupidest, are continually saying
clever things which do not move us; Goldoni’s people, even the cleverest, never say anything either epigram matic or unamusing. Moliere may
be as much engaged in the closet
as at the theatre, and even there
requires only subtle intonations and
clever looks; Goldoni, however de
lightful when read, even out loud, cannot be fully appreciated except
on the stage, where alone we under
stand that inexhaustible energy and
movement, that amazing overflow of life and animal spirits, which
made the performance of the Bar mfe Ohiozzotte a kind of revelation to Goethe.
The third branch of literature in
which the Italians of the last cen
tury were destined to succeed was
satire, but satire also altered and made into a separate category by national influence. The satire of Parini is no more like the satire of
Boileau or of Pope than the tragedy
of Metastasio is like that of Racine,
or the comedy of Goldoni like that
of Moliére. Parini’s great poem,
the epic, as one might call it, of
satire, seems at first sight to be
conceived in greater bitterness than
any other work of the same kind,
since it is the satire of a whole class by a man belonging to a
totally different one; yet in reality
there is no animosity of any sort in
the Giomo, because its writer is
not actuated by any personal dis
like. Parini was doubtless a utili
tarian, a philanthropist, more or
less of a moral lawgiver, but he
was not a moraliser nor a stoic; he
had no abstract ideal of virtue, but he had a strong aversion to what is bad or merely mean, and through
out hispoem we feel that what he wishes to brand is not so much the
corrupt as the idle, the vapid, the
useless; what he constantly brings
before us is not the wickedness of
his hero’s life, for it is not wicked, nor its absurdity, for it is not ridi
culous, but its want of everything
manly and ennobling. What Parini
hates is the incompleteness, the
emptiness of this dandy’s existence; the trifles turned into important concerns, the possession of useless
objects, the feeble attempts at plea
sure; we understand how different a
life, how full ofstrong, healthy action and enjoyment, of State service, of literary employment, of domestic
affection, of rural pleasures, the poet
conceived; a life, alas, not granted to the poor, sickly priest, obliged to gain his livelihood like any other
schoolmaster in the close, hot town.6
At the same time Parini has great
The famous odes on
‘ Perhaps Parini might have been an Italian Cowper, with all the grandeur of form
which Italian rural scenery could give, had he lived in the country.
the purity of the air, and on rustic life, contain nothing equal to the following lines
in the Giorno, so superior was Parini when using blank verse:
‘ Poi sul dorso portando i sacri arnesi,
Che prime ritrovar Cerere e Pale,
Va. col bue lento innanzi, al campo, e scuote
Per l0 angusto sentier da’ curvi rami
Il rugiadoso umor, che quasi gamma
I nascenti del sol raggi rifrange.’
44 The Academy of the Aroadi. [July
artistic feeling; while satirising, he
does not distort; on the contrary,
it is extraordinary what grace he
lends to everything he touches.
The luxurious life of his giovin
signore becomes one of almost Ori
ental splendour; the hundred trifles
strewn about on his toilet table
become so many little masterpieces;
the smart, stiff dress of the last
century becomes . under Parini’s
fingers the daintiest, most graceful
of garbs, nay, the very movements
and gestures become beautiful and
noble, and the young fop seems to forget his dancing-master under the
poet’s orders. Add to this beauti
fying tendency a wonderful swift
-ness of movement, and simple ele
gance of verse and diction, a deli
cacy of colouring, and, above all,
a subtle, subdued ridicule, never
taking the sharp, crude shape of an
epigram, and we shall yet have but
an incomplete picture of the great
Milanese satirist. An inferior style of satire and an
inferior poet when compared to Pa
rini, nevertheless deserve to be men
tioned among those which did most
honour, to the eighteenth century.
Count Gasparo Gozzi, better known
by his agreeable and amusing letters,
wrote a few of those blunted gene
ralising satires called by the Italians
sermowi, which in their line are ex
cellent. Gozzi has none of Parini’s tendency to beautify, none of his
high intellectual aspirations; he is
asimple, honest, sensible man, averse
to all the corruption and aflectation
of his times, and his poems, very plain and elegant in metre and dic
tion, contain clever descriptions of
Venetian life: of the crowd pouring into the square of St. Mark’s on
summer evenings; of the young dandies buying hair-pins for their
ladies; of the barges going up the
Brenta to the places of villeggiatura;
little pictures with no attempt at caricature and of a pleasing sobriety
of colour; to which may be added
the sketches, full of life and grace,
contained in some of his single lines,
as those of the racket-player, the
mask actor, and similar then familiar
figures of Italian life.
We ought perhaps to have men
tioned the brother of Gasparo Gozzi
by the side of his rival Goldoni, but,
although he had the audacity to
enter into competition with Italy’s
great comic writer, Carlo Gozzi can
be appreciated only when seen alone
and when the vast superiority of Goldoni is kept out of sight. Carlo Gozzi thought that Goldoni wanted
to destroy the national theatre for
the sake of imitating the French
one, and, indignant at this sup
posed insult, he determined to show
the public that the most absurd
nonsense, with the help of the old
masks, was more amusing thanthe
best French comedy. His first at
tempt succeeded so well that he
continued to write in the style he
had taken up for a mere moment
ary purpose. His plays have long
since been forgotten, as a sort of
posthumous retribution for his in
justice towards a greater man than
himself; yet these strange, wild
things, stories from the Arabian
Nights and from Basile’s Neapolitan
collection, such as are -still told in
the Venetian States, -made into
tragi-comedies with -transfor.ma
tions, deeds of heroism, and buf
fooneries, are not without their
peculiar charm :- the wizards , and enchanted princesses, the blue mon
sters, the serpent ladies, the kings
transformed into stage, the Yenetian pantaloons and Lombard Brighellas
‘ Then with his load of sacred implements,
Ceres’ and Pales’ earliest gifts to men, He seeks his field, his tardy ox ahead;
And in the narrow pathway brushes off
From the curved boughs the dewdrops, which like gems Refract the rays of the just rising sun.’
1878] The Academy of the Arcade’. 45
talking dialect in their Chinese and
Persian dresses, the mixture of hero
ism and jargon, of childishness and tragedy, all conduces to make Carlo
Gozzi’s plays the quaintest, queerest,
and in some respects almost the most amusing products of his time:
it was chaos, but a chaos contrived
and arranged by a very fertile and
original mind. We have, while glancing at the literature of Italy in the last cen tury, hurried through a space of
upwards of thirty years since the death of the great Crescimbeni, and
we have also got a long way from the Serbatoio d’Areadia and its poetical
inmates, for which misdemeanours we hope, by pleading our good in
tentions, to be forgiven by the
shades of the Arcadians, and also perhaps by the reader. Meanwhile
the best and speediest mode of showing our contrition, and of mak ing amends, is to return to the history of the Academy, and with that view to get back to the city
which was the head-quarters of Arcadia after having been the
capital of the world. The eighteenth century had got its Pope. Prospero Lambertini, Archbishop of Bologna, mounted
the throne of Julius II. and Sixtus
V. in the year 1740, under the name of Benedict XIV., to the great surprise of everyone concerned, and of himself most of all. The first
thing that the new Pope did was,
in no very decorous language, to re
prove the master of the ceremonies
for instructing him to keep his cap on inthe presence of the cardinals; the second, to inform his nephews at Bologna that they were on no ac
count to come to Rome unless he
sent for them, which he took care
never to do; in short, Benedict as tonished everyone by showing that he was going to be a very different
pope from his weak, bigoted, osten tatious, formal predecessors. He had been a lawyer, and continued a
writer and a wit, a lover of science
and literature, without any preten sions to eminence; he lived simply and spoke bluntly; he made friends with the heretics without making
enemies of the Jesuits; he had the
Roman streets cleaned and left the travertin of the Roman churches
to get spongelike from neglect; he reformed many abuses, and hoped
to reform many more; he even
designed to suppress a number
of the holidays which fostered the
idleness of the lower classes, and
to diminish the religious orders
which burdened the country. He accepted with alacrity the dedi
cation of Voltaire’s Mahmnet at the very time when Cardinal de Tencin
dared not open his doors to its
author. In short, Benedict XIV., a
priest without bigotry, a sovereign
without ostentation, revered by
Catholics, respected by Protestants, as Walpole’s famous epigram runs, was the Pope of the middle of the eighteenth century, before free thought had grown into over-bold
action, and attempt at radical re. form had produced violent reaction;
while the Austrians in Lombardy
and Tuscany were tolerant and re forming, and theBourbons in Naples and Parma were anti-feudal and
anti-Jesuitical; in short, while the
people were still so loyal and obe
dient that the governments could amuse themselves with a
little radical and revolutionary.
Acurious feature of Romethrough out the century was, that everyone who was not a noble or a soldier
was a priest in dress and title; married men, lawyers, doctors,
writers, even strangers, -wearing
the short black dress and little
cloak, and being addressed by the title of Abate. Thepriests had an amount of liberty, bordering on li
cence, from the cardinals, who had
their boxes at the theatre and gave gay parties to the low abati, who crowded the pit and loitered in the cofi’ee-houses. If we may believe
Winckelmann, who was rather in
’46 The Academy of the Arcadi. [July
clined to exaggeration, people might
express themselves very freely on
religious subjects, and cardinals
laughed at the Inquisition.7 There
was much licence, but perhaps less
hypocritical vice than among the
priesthood of earlier and of later
days; andaltogether the Popehimself
was by far the most devout and rigid,
though perhaps the most freespoken
and least priggish, of the hierarchy.
While Benedict was most parsi monious in everything save works
of public utility, his cardinals vied
with each other in profane splendour.
Foremost among them were the two
brothers Albani, Annibale and Ales
sandro, rivals in their attempts to
obtain the tiara, in their collections
of. antiques, and in their many quasi
bankruptcies; next to them was
Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni, who was
in a permanent state ofbankruptcy;
an old, shabby, jolly disgrace to the
Church, who, despite his beggary,
had a splendid collection of an
tiques and gave magnificent private
concerts or sacred operas, at which
all the great performers sang, out of
liking for the disreputable old fellow.
Of the family of the last Pope but
one there was the beautiful young
Princess d’ Arce Orsini, composer,
poetess, and general patroness of
literati, a great improvement on the
other Roman la/diesif we may believe
the President de Brosses. Another
great Roman figure was the King
of England, James III., who had
taken to devotion in his old days,
and lived dismally in his palace
near the SS. Apostoli. And there
remains yet another figure in the
Rome ofthose days, which, although
then scarcely noticed, was a more
important one than all the cardinals and pretenders. A German priest, a
hanger-on first of-Cardinal Archinto,
then of Cardinal Alessandro Albani,
a sort of pedant after the German
fashion, a kind of. humble com
panion, eating what the charity of
his employer gave him, and wedg
ing his way into the company of his
protector’s grand friends; a cynical, pleasure-loving, information-seeking
man, hanging on to the rich and
intelligent painter, Raphael Mengs,
and who yet gave himself strange
airs towards Roman artists and
antiquaries. There he was, -con
tinually poring over books though
no lover of literature, continually
examining works of art though no artist, clambering on to the pedes
tals of statues and into the holes
ofexcavations. What was he about ?
What was he trying to do? The
Romans got the answer, although
they probably did not fully under stand it, when there appeared the
first volumes of a History of Art
among the Ancients, and when it
became known that, in the midst
of the cockle-shell and mirror art
of the eighteenth century, Winckel
mann had discovered the long-lost
art of antiquity. –
We returned to Home with the
full intention of resuming our task
of chronicling Arcadian affairs, but
on examination we find that during
the peaceful and prosperous reign of Lorenzini there is nothing to chronicle, except it be the Olympic
games and the admission of new
members, which would, we fear, be
found rather tedious by our readers.
But at the beginning of the reign
of Lorenzini’s successor, Morei, Ar
cadia began to be threatened, if not
in her existence, at least in her
glory. We have already remarked that little by little the limits of the
institution had been overstepped,
so that in the middle of the
‘ It was not so in Tuscany. Tommaso Crudeli, a physician and talented poet, was
accused, apparently merely because he had been seen with ‘ suspicious foreigners,’ of the
terrible crime of having derided the Church; and, although in very bad health, was shut
up first in the Inquisition prisons, then for some years 1n the citadel of Florence, despite the sympathy of the Minister Richecourt, and the constant protection of the famous
singer Broschi Farinello, then the omnipotent favourite of the King of Spain.
1878] The Academy of the Arcarli. 47
eighteenth century -it had become
boundless and shapeless, a mass of incoherent social and literary life.
Now practical philosophers, of whom
there were great numbers to be found when the practical point was
one of no cousequence—practical
philosophers began to ask them selves and each other what this huge, shapeless institution could signify, and of what earthly use Arcadia
could be. Of course, as is usual in such cases, they never took into
consideration that Arcadia, inas
much as it was the largest of the many literary associations of the country, united by a common bond
people of all parts of Italy, and
broke down those local distinctions,
kept up by prejudice and jealousy,
which were so great an obstacle to
national feeling; that, moreover, it
levelled ranks and fortunes, and gave not only introductions into
Milanese houses to Neapolitans, but,
what was much more important,
secured an entrance into good
society to low-born talent ; that, for
instance, Goldoni, a Venetian, could,
as an Arcadian, gain admittance into Pisan circles merely by going
to the Serbatoio d’Arcadia. of Pisa, and that a poor peasant educated
by charity, like Parini, could be
come acquainted in the Milanese
colony with the Counts Verri, with
Beccaria, and with women like the
Countess Castiglione; that by this means all the old, stupid exclusive
ness of the aristocracy was got rid
of; that men ofletters became refined
by mixing in good society, and
good society became ennobled by containing men of letters; that it
gave a higher tone to social existence, and a greater sociability to lite rary life, and that a great step in national progress was thus made. All this the practical philosophers
of course entirely overlooked; they did not- care for the effects of the
real nature of the institution, but
set about investigating those of its imaginary one. They asked 1st,
Whether pastoral life was consistent
with civilisation P zndly, Whether,
if it were, the members of the Ar
cadian Academy were more simple, peaceable, and virtuous than other people? 3rdly, Whether literature
had been reformed by the Arcadian Academy? The answers to these
questions were obvious : pastoral life was incompatible with civilisation (Baretti proved it by pointing to the nomad Tartars) ;the Arcadians were
not in the least shepherds, indeed
most of them had never possessed a
sheep or any animal save a lapdog;
and, finally, literature was by no
means reformed. If, then, Arcadia
had not cured the evil, it was evi
dent that it must have fostered it,
and that all the artificiality of
modern society, all the French
idioms which were creeping into the language, all the bad sonnets that were being written, all was due to the enervating, stultifying influ
ence of Arcadia.8 A few of these
critics admitted that at the be ginning things had been different,
and that the institution had en
tirely degenerated since the days- of the wise and far-sighted Cres
cimbcni, who would doubtless have
been shocked at the sight of the ‘
prevailing folly. To this charming, practical unpracticalness, this folly in the garb of wisdom, of which
the last century shows so many glorious examples, must be added
the fact that the turning point in the eighteenth century, the mo
ment when romanticism began to
exist, quite tiny, by the side of
utilitarianism, had come, and that Rousseau had already suggested
‘ We are sorry to say that modern Italian writers still talk in this strain, quite as
childish, though in the opposite sense, as Crescimbeni and Don Livio Odescalchi, when
they imagined Arcadia to be an infallible remedy for all evils. Sec Ranallis Storia dclle
Belle Arii.
VOL. XVllI.—NO. CIII. NEW SERIES. E
48 The Academy of the Arcadi. [July
that there were real rustic life and
real shepherds, by no means re sembling the Arcadian ones. A
minority began to cry out that truth and action were needed, and
that Arcadia was a humbug. Al ready Bettinelli had suggested that for the benefit of literature Ar
cadia should be shut up for a hun dred years, at the end of which it was scarcely likely to be re-opened; but Bettinelli had done so in a
work, the Virgilian Letters, in which existing literary opinions were smartly lashed, and Dante was ridiculed, so that the whole of Italy rose in indignation against it. Betti nellihad, however, begun the work; a more formidable attack was com
ing from a strange, whimsical, origi nal being, whom we must sto to look at, for, although but little noticed by his contemporaries, he did much to prepare the way for future generations. This enemy of Arcadia was Giuseppe Baretti, a wonderful, wild, coarse, tender, angry crea ture, a kind of maniac in the eyes of his contemporaries, who could understand the originality neither of his talent nor of his character, and who, not satisfied with attack
ing Goldoni, Frugoni, Algarotti, the Verris, and nearly all the most eminent Italians, did not shrink
from making an onslaught on Vol taire in French, and on Smollett in
English. He had travelled much, read much, known many distin guished men, done everything, in short, that might be expected to
tame down a man and a critic, but
which had, on the contrary, merely increased his eccentric ferocity. He was decidedly clever; “he has but few hooks,’ said Johnson; ‘but,
sir, he grapples very forcibly with them, and his very superiority, in asmuch as it consisted in extra
ordinary independence, in utter contempt for the world’s opinion, and intense loathing of everything weak and false, led him into num
berless acts of injustice and ill breeding. He could not endure Frugoni on account of his obscurity and emptiness; he could not endure Goldoni on account of his designs against the old national comedy; he could not endure Algarotti on account of his scientific frivolity and his truckling to Voltaire; he could not endure Voltaire because he
protected Goldoni and Algarotti; he could not endure the Verris and
Beccaria because they admired the French and set up a rival journal to his own. Of living Italian literati he admired only Metas tasio, because Metastasio had no
apparent connection with either Frugoni, or Algarotti, or Voltaire, or Goldoni, or the Verris; and he
personally esteemed only the two Gozzis, Gasparo and Carlo, because they were eternally at war with Fru goni, Algarotti, £Voltaire,
and the Werris. Above all, Baretti
abominated Arcadia, all its founders,
members, and abettors, because Arcadia had fostered all his
enemies, and because it seemed to
him, wild, strong-minded, practical, ill-mannered philosopher that he
was, the most imbecile, effeminate, pedantic, frivolous, and utterly use less institution on earth. Now
when Baretti once despised or disliked anyone or anything, that person or that thing was doomed in his eyes; it had no merit, no
excuse, it was to be abused, calum
niated, scoffed at, annihilated.
In 1763 Baretti started a species of literary review, more or less on the model of the Spectator, to which he gave the ominous name of La Frusta Letteraria, the “Literary Whip. Like Steele and Addison he contrived an awkward frame for this
work, pretending to be an old soldier, Aristarco Scannabue (Aris tarchus Massacre-the-dunces), who had lost an arm in Persia, was served by an idiotic slave named Macouf (who afforded comparisons with Goldoni, Chiari, Frugoni, and
‘[6781 The Academy of the Arcadi. 49
the two Verris), and whose inti mate, his Sir Roger de Coverley,
was a pipe-smoking, quiet, sensible,
Bolognese priest, Don Petronio
Zamberlucco. This seems dull
enough, but it must be admitted
that the Frusta. Letteraria was not -only infinitely less pedantic than
most other reviews of that day,
but that, in the midst of coarse, ill
humoured injustice and wild buf
fooneries, it contains much sound
sense, good feeling, and independent
thought, and some really humorous notions. Unluckily for Arcadia,Tthe
new Custode Generale Morei, who
appears to have inherited much of Crescimbeni’s reverence for the
institution and want of intelligence ;
unluckily Morei thought fit to pub–
lish just at that time a General
History of Arcadia.
Here was Baretti’s opportunity.
He had already, in his English
work on Italy, showered abuse on
Arcadia ; but now was the moment
to let loose all his long pent-up
contempt, disgust, and hatred. Down he pounced on to M0rei’s book. He concentrated all his
– modes of attack upon it; he rea
soned, he laughed, he shouted, he
ranted; he went through the usual
argument as to the nature and
effects of pastoral life; he decried
Crescimbeni, Gravina, and the other founders as pedantic idiots; he battered Zappi about as an effemi
nate coxcomb; he trampled upon the early Arcadians; he hooted at
the story of the foundation; he went into convulsions of angry
caricature over the narration of
the schism; he cried and shrieked
at the present institution, and sank
down exhausted, but triumphant,
with the assertion that every intel
ligent creature knew that Arcadia
was the stupidest, most pedantic,
most mercenary, vilest institution in
Italy. Baret.ti’s onslaught had but
little effect on his countrymen. They
did not believe in Arcadia any more
than himself; but they were all
Arcadians, and thought it rather
pleasant than otherwise to be called
Mirtillo, Labindo, Polianzo, instead
of Francesco, Giacomo, or Antonio,
and once a fortnight to read their
literary productions to so many
Chloes, Lesbias, and Aglauros.
Arcadia was no longer of sufii. cient interest to be quarrelled
about; that had been possible only
in those far-off solemn days of
-Crescimbeni and Gravina, before
people read the Enoyclopédie and
Voltaire’s novels. Yet Baretti’s
example was not entirely lost, for
Baretti was a forerunner of a new
generation, which was soon to be
come the reigning one. What dis
-tinguished Baretti from men of the class of Frugoni, Gozzi, and all the
other representatives of the then
established literature, was that he
had travelled, and had brought home broader ideas on literary and
social points than those of his
countrymen. The generality of
Italians of the middle of last cen
tury had never been out of their country, and knew of no foreign
ideas save those of the French,
which, together with their fashions, -their language, and their dancing
masters, had become as supreme as -they could in a country which
differed from France in spirit, in tradition, and in tendency. But
.for this reason French ideascould not thoroughly permeate the Ital
ians; they listened, admired, but
accepted only a very small propor
tion of what was offered them; they did not abuse Voltaire, Rous
seau, and the Encyelopédie with
the fanatical rage of the English and of the Germans; they found in them much sense, much elegance,
much usefulness, but also much profanity, much indecency, and much violence. They regarded
the French as Parini did Voltaire, .as ‘ too much praised and too much blamed;’ jogging quietly along on the road of progress, they could not keep pace with the French in E 2
50 The Academy of the Arcadi. [July
their wild rushonwards towards chaotic change. Add to this the
difference in national character, the
impossibility of an Italian being
satisfied with wit, paradox, and
elegance, the difference in tradi
tions, and consequent impossibility
of an Italian, with Dante, Ariosto,
Tasso in the past, and Metastasio,
Goldoni, and Gozzi in the present, being satisfied with the philosophi
cal, colourless, emotionless, pseudo
classic literature of France; sum
all this together, and it will be
evident that as long as there was
only French influence in Italy there was comparatively verylittle foreign
influence at all. But, little by
little, as the middle of the eigh
teenth century was left behind,
another influence—that of England
-——began to be felt in Italy, first
indirectly through the French, and then directly from the English
themselves. The Italians had early in the
century got acquainted with a few
English writers—Milton, Pope, and
especially Addison—whom not only
Baretti but Gasparo Gozzi largely
imitated. Richardson’s novels had
also reached Italy, and even sug
gested plots to Goldoni; but on the
whole there was but little intellec
tual communication between the
two countries until after- the year
1750. Till then the English had
been too insular, too coarse, too
overbearing, to see in the Italians
anything more than opera singers
and vermicelli makers, and for the
Italians to consider the English
otherwise than as stupid, pedantic
milordi, a fit prey for innkeepers
and c1,’ce’r0m’. Besides this, England
could influence Italy and Germany,
and strongly influence even France,
only when she had shaken off that
French element which permeated
her literature from the time of Charles II. to that of George ‘III.
The force of England lay in her
intellectual originality, in her being
at the head of what was afterwards
called the romantic school, as op
posed to the pseudo-classic French
one. Dryden, Pope, Addison,
pleased the Italians and the Ger
mans, as they pleased the French;
but they could not strongly move
any of them, for they were not
sufiiciently unlike the long-esta
blished Racine, Boileau, and La
Bruyére. But when Shakespeare
reappeared in the hands of Garrick,
when Sterne and Gray threw aside
all the traditions of the age of
Ann, then England made a sudden
and deep impression on foreign
literature. This return to nature,
to passion, to imagination, on the
part of English literature, shook
the French literary world, loosening
the foundations of the merely ele
gant and clever school, which was
to be finally destroyed by Madame
de Staél and Chateaubriand; it
threw the new-born German litera
ture into full romanticism, and it
made the Italians feel that at last
there were people who could sym
pathise with them, who could see
in Dante something beyond a
monster, and in the comic masks something more than barbarians ;.
making them acquainted at the same time with a people who could
be free without licence or profanity,
and philanthropical and utilitarian
without rhetorical grandiloquence; whom they could follow on the
path of progress more safely and
easily than they could their over
excited French neighbours. Then
it was that Italians began to
go to England for their educa
tion and amusement, as even
Parini’s giovin signore is supposed
to have done, though without be
coming acquainted with anything
else than the racecourse. The
Italians could get acquainted with
English life and thought only by
going to England, for the English
travellers, although, according to Goethe, they carried their tea-kettle
up Etna, came to Italy for the
sake of art and antiquity, but not
1878] The Academy qf the Arcadi. 51
at all to propagandise their political and literary notions. In this point
Baretti was the forerunner of the men of the generation of Pin
demonti and Alfieri. He knew
England and English institutions
twenty years before the rest of his
countrymen, and his independent
utilitarian spirit, his hostility to
wards the French, towards grandilo
quence and persz.’fla.qe, did much to
form the school which culminated
in the Misogallo, the first assertion of Italian political feeling since the
-time of Machiavelli.
So, gradually, as the nation moved
onwards in the wake of its neigh bours, as foreign, and especially
English, or at least Anglo-French,
influence became stronger, people
grew either more indifferent or more
hostile towards Arcadia. At Milan
its members themselves began to
despise it. The Verris and Beccaria
had set up a journal called the
Cafe, in which, together with lite
rary topics, they discussed whether the aristocracy would not do well
to resume commerce. The journal
succeeded. Young men of the
nobility studied agriculture and
legislation, Pietro Verri and Beccaria nobly carrying out their own re
commendations, the former in his
works on political economy, the
latter in his famous treatise against the then existing criminal laws.
-Joseph Il., then master of the
Milanese, did all he could to further this philosophical movement, being
himself, after a fashion, philoso
phical. In Naples the minister
Tanucci, while letting the young
king grow up in the most woeful
ignorance, set about reforming the State in the arbitrary manner then
in vogue, while Filangieri spread
liberal and philanthropical doc
trines in the Court of Ferdinand and Caroline—doctrines which were
to be paid for terribly in the
year ’99. In Parma the French
minister Du Tillot set up as a
wiser and more philosophical sort
of Sully, building factories, sup pressing couvents, and sending for -Condillac to be tutor to the heir apparent, who, how ever, did not
profit much by his teachers, since
he spent his life serving at mass and ringing church bells. In Tus
cany Peter Leopold changed the
rather barbarous laws dating from
the early grand dukes, and expelled
a few dozen monks; finally, in
Rome itself, after the death of
Lambertiui’s bigoted successor
Rezzonico, Clement XIV., better
known as Ganganelli, signed the
bull suppressing the Jesuits, al though probably aware that he was, in so doing, signing his own death
warrant.
While in the rest of the world
philosophy reigned in more or less
boisterous fashion, Italy accepted
-it quietly, prudently, rather timer
ously. by this philosophical tendency ; not
only were utilitarian odes written in imitation of the one by Parini on the salubrity of the air, or,
more strictly speaking, on the bad
Milanese drainage, but poets, al though probably not grown careless
of dinners and pensions, began to hold up their heads and talk of
human dignity—a quality of which they had never before suspected
the existence. Here again Parini, as the poet of civilisation, to use the modern phrase, was the general
model. He had said, what he
doubtless sincerely believed, that
‘he was not born to knock at the
hard doors of the great; that the
kingdom of the dead should receive
him a poor, but a free man’
me non nato a percuotere
Le dure illustri porte,
Nudo acorra, ma libero,
Il regno della morte—
and men, quite destitute of his proud,
honest spirit, repeated the senti
ment in other words, while con
tinuing their modest little raps at
illustrious doors. Virtue began to
betalked of no longer as a neces
Even poetry was influenced –
52 The Academy of the Arcadi. [July *
Venice, where the most eminent
poets, Parini, Pindemonti, Pompei, Cesarotti, were constantly to be met, together with an occasional classical sculptor or emotional singer like Canova or Pacchierotti.
Very delightful those little literary circles must have been, where the
most talented men lavished their
intellectual gifts to please beautiful and refined women; little circles
meeting in some cosy drawing-room in the quiet, dark town, or on the terraces and in the cypress and sycamore alleys of the villas along the Brenta and between the Monti
Berici; so delightful that their re membrance made those who long
survived them, and even ourselves,
who have merely heard of them, feel quite elegiac at the sight of the now desolate country-houses where they met, and of the faded pictures of the ladies who presided over them. The poetry which was pro duced in such societies was, of
course, far less conventional, ver
bose, and worthless than that of
the large academical assemblies; less was written, and that better,
than in the days of Frugoni; but great excellence was scarcely at tained to. The poems of Pompei, Mazza, Mascheroni, and even of Ippolito Pindemonti, who far sur passed his contemporaries,” give us the impression that, agreeable and elegant though they are, their authors were more interesting than they. There was a general, mild, elegiac tone prevalent, which, though not without a certain charm, was rather
languid and insipid; nor was there produced, towards the end of the last century, any work to be com pared with those of Metastasio, Goldoni, Parini, or even of the
Gozzis. The spread of philosophical and humanitarian ideas had no per ceptibly good influence on literature,
sary accompaniment of high birth, but as something infinitely to be preferred to it; poverty was de clared to be a sort of advantage; war was decried as an abomination;
ladies were abjured not to give out their babies to nurse; late hours,
fashionable dresses, and rouge were execrated; in short, there was a
general enthusiasm for nature and virtue, an enthusiasm which seems
to have had but little effect on
things artificial and vicious. These doctrines of course brought the fact that the Arcadian Academy was not a very rustic or natural institution into great relief. It began to be thought that all this verse-scribbling was not really poetical; and the excessive enthusiasm for Ossian, who had just been translated by Cesarotti, induced very unlucky comparisons between the Celtic bards and the Roman abati, be tween the rocks of Morven and
the Serbatoio d’ Arcadia. People began to suspect that Poetry posi tively refused to inhabit the halls of an academy, and that she asked for crumbling ruins, vir gin forests, and misty mountain tops. In default of these places, where people of fashion might find it inconvenient to visit her, the Muse was invited to little quiet circles in palaces or villas, where, under the patronage of some beau tiful lady, and out of reach of hun gry little priests, poetical enthu siasts might meet without fear of artificial or prosaic interests being thrust upon them. The colonies of Arcadia began to be neglected for the drawing-rooms of women like the Countess Castiglione at Milan, the Countess Grismondi at Brescia, the Marchesa Silvia Verza at
Verona, the Countess Roberti at Bassano, and, above all, of the lovely Isabella Teotochi Albrizzi at
* His poem Antonio Foscarini would be a masterpiece were its subject a more moral one. Yet even in nobility of feeling how superior is it not to a poem on a somewhat similar subject by a living author, Prati’s famous Edmenegarda?
1s7s] The Academy of the Arcadi. 53
for, although a tendency-to take
interest in individual sentiment had
arisen, it was neither sufiicieutly
strong nor sufficiently spontaneous
to produce true lyric poetry; and
the gradual adoption of foreign and
the revival of antique modes of
thinking and feeling merely weak
ened the national literature. Metastasio could not have written his operas, nor Goldoni his comedies, had either been fresh from reading
Ossian, and Homer, and Gray, and
Rousseau, and Gessner, so true is it
that intellectual cultivation by no means implies intellectual produc tiveness. Imitation was in vogue,
as it must always be when anything
striking first becomes known to a
whole people; and by the side of the newly acquired knowledge of
foreign literature came the newly revived interest in antique art,
the enthusiasm for both mingling strangely towards the end of the
last century, but without a better
effect than that of making people
tolerate tiresome classicism by the
side of tiresome romanticism. In Italy the classical tendency was on
the whole the stronger of the two,
although largely tinged with north
ern romanticism ; Italians began to
go to Rome with the express pur pose of seeing ruins and statues,
which had hitherto interested only
professed archaeologists, and more
especially for the purpose of musing over them. Winckelmanu’s Italian
works, and those of his followers
Fea and Visconti, excited interest in antique art, while the gradually
spreading liberal doctrines revived
interest in Roman history, which
for two centuries had been a kind
of dead letter; in short, romanticism, which, being in reality only the re vival of literary and artistic appre
ciation due to critical study, included even classioism—romanticism made
Rome once more a capital, of which
we personally are very glad, since it
enables us to return once more to
Arcadia, and to show it in a more
flourishing state than it had been
since the middle of the century.
This revival of Arcadia was
marked in the year 1 77 5 by an event
which brought back for a moment
the glory of the Academy, and at the
same time cast great ridicule on it.
The reputation, if not the talents,
of Perfetti had fallen to the share
of a woman who became famous
under the Arcadian name of Corilla
Olimpica. Maria Maddalena Morelli was born at Pistoja about the middle
of the last century, and her early
years are involved in such obscurity
that, betwixt the enthusiastic lyrism
of her admirers and the vile scur rility of her lampooners, it is im
possible to tell whether she was a
pattern of virtue or the very reverse. She married a Spanish gentleman
named Fernandez, whom, together
with her children, her enemies ac
cused her, among other wicked
nesses, of having shamefully aban
doned. However, her iniquities
could either not be proved or were hushed up in consideration of her
amazing talents, for we meet her
everywhere received, honoured, and
courted in the most signal way,
despite an ominous hum of con
tempt on the part of the less polite or more scrupulous literati. She
received several invitations from
Joseph II., from the Republic of
Venice, and from the Bologncse
Senate; Clement XIV., an austere
-mau for his time, gave her, in the
most flattering manner, a per mission to read books prohibited by the Inquisition; and all the
-most distinguished of the foreign visitors—Orloff, the Corsican chief
Paoli, and the Duke of Dorset—
lavished honours on her. Her re
ceptions were much frequented by
the most brilliant company, for, besides her poetic talents, she was pretty despite a squint, amiable, and accomplished. She was also
a musician, for when Dr. Burney
54 The Academy of the Arcadi. [July
went to her house in Florence” he
heard her play the violin; and she was particularly gracious to Mozart as a boy, for whom she even con descended to write a sonnet. In
1775 she was invited to Rome by her fellow Arcadians, and excited
such enthusiasm that the Senator spontaneously sent her the diploma of citizenship, and the Abate Gioac chino Pizzi, Custode Generale d’Ar cadia, crowned her at a private meeting of the Academy. To this first ebullition of admiration is also
due a beautiful bust of Corilla, pre sented by an English sculptor, Christopher Hewetson, to the Ar cadians, in whose possession it still remains. Judging from it and from a smutty portrait of her dressed in brown brocade decorated with
flowers, Corilla Olimpica must have been at that time a stout woman of
thirty-five, handsome, lively, intel lectual, withal rather heavy and coarse in feature; she had besides
a squinting eye, which was supposed to make the immediate conquest of anyone upon whom she chose to fix it while in the enthusiasm of im
provising; and, if contemporar scandal may be credited, Corilla had made frequent use of this faculty. At any rate she turned the heads of many people in Rome, filling them with madness of some sort or other—love, ambition, or
avarice—to serve her purposes. The young Prince Gonzaga Castiglione (the Prince Castelforte of this rather realistic original of Corinne), a certain Monsignor Mazzei, and, above all, the Custode Generale
d’Arcadia, Pizzi, moved heaven and
earth, begged, and promised, and threatened, until the Pope consented to give Corilla the crown which had been worn by Perfetti. But times were changed since the solemn
reign of Crescimbeni. A Custode Generale d’Arcadia was no longer omnipotent over men’s minds, a
Pope was no longer infallible in all his decisions, an improvvisatore was no longer an inspired poet; things could no longer be looked at in the grave and dispassioned style of the year 1725; the coronation was re garded as a farce or a profanation, the Arcadians as conceited pedants, Corilla herself as an impudent ad venturess, and, above all, the feel ings of the Romans were conceived to be outraged by this arbitrary
and undeserved bestowal of what
had once been a national reward.
Corilla’s dubious antecedents, her
theatrical profession, the exaggera tion and intrigue of her partisans, did much to awaken public con tempt and indignation: the ready buffoonery of the Roman people
burst out in more or less scurrilous
fashion; it was solemnly announced by Pasquino—that undaunted stone advocate of an oppressed but not disheartened people—that
Ordina e vuole Monsignor Mazzei Che sia la Corilla cinta dell’ alloro,
E che non le si tirin buccie né pomidoro Sotto multa di bajocchi sei.
Other epigrams averred that this coronation, like that of Baraballo,
was meant as a jest and ought to be taken as such :
Venez-y, riez-en; et puis vous pourrez dire
Que tout cela n’a été fait que pour rire.
Pizzi and Corilla’s other partisans seem to have taken fright at these pasquinades, and, fearing perhaps that, despite the alleged fine of six baiocchi on whomsoever should
throw orange rinds and tomatoes at the poetess, they might run the risk of some unpleasant scene if they performed the coronation in the day time, they determined that the cere
* This house, with General Miollis’s monumental, but not very intelligible, inscription, ‘Qui visse Corilla in secolo XVIII”., is at the corner of Via della Forca, a street running
towards S. Lorenzo, and Via Cerretani.
of Mozart, who was so often her guest.
It has an additional interest for us on account
1878] 55 The Academy of the Arcadi.
mony should take place at midnight. This precaution did not, however, entirely suffice, for, as Corilla was advancing to receive the crown of the Capitol, a young priest pushed his way through the crowd of by standers and handed her a paper; the poetess, finding the missive to be in Latin, handed it to Prince Gon
zaga, who, under the impression that it contained complimentary verses, read them out aloud, discovering,
only too late, that they were most infamously insulting to her. The ceremony of coronation was hurried over, amid the acclamations of Co
rilla’s enthusiasts; but the very next day a storm of invective burst out. Lampoons against Corilla, her partisans, and even against the con niving Pope, were pasted on all street corners and handed round in
every house; the Abate Pizzi was accused of having plotted to intro duce Corilla at an Arcadian meeting
with a crown on, which was to be
passed off for that of the Capitol, of having been induced to do so by the bribes of Prince Gonzaga, and by his own desire to play in regard to Corilla the part played by Cres cimbeni in regard to Perfetti; the whole coronation was decried as
illegal, and punishment required for its perpetrators. Poor Pizzi, in despair, wrote a solemn letter of ex planation to the Pope, who would appear to have ratified the whole proceeding. But rumour could not so easily be put down, or satire so quickly silenced: a long, and rather clever, but extremely irreverent, poem was published, in which, in the strain of the Dies Irae, Corilla
lamented her unfortunate fate,
cursed all who had invented Capito line crowns, and especially devoted to celestial vengeance the unlucky Abate Pizzi:
Pizzi iniquo, maledetto, Tua mercè già m’affretto
Al ferale cataletto.
Ah crudele! ah scellerato !
M’ha ridotta in questo stato D’avarizia il tuo peccato.
Tu sol fosti che inventasti
Nobiltà, corona e fasti,
Tu che mi sacrificasti.
I miei vizii, i miei difetti, Di canzoni e disonetti
Oggi sono i soli soggetti.
Corilla had excited much admi
ration, and met much adulation;
Madame de Staël, who saw every thing through the beautifying and ennobling medium of her own character, heard of her in after
years, totally misconceived her ta lent, her position, her triumph, saw in her a radiant sibyl, a sort of per sonified genius of Italy, and wrote Corinne. Thus poor, misused, pas quinaded Corilla Olimpica uncon sciously gave rise to a masterpiece; but those Romans who still remem
bered the scene at the Capitol in the year 1775 must have suppressed a smile in reading the magnificent description of Corinne’s coronation. The reigns of Clement XIII. and of Clement XIV. had been
dull enough for Rome and Arcadia;
both Popes were austere men, one engrossed in bigotry, the other in reforms, caring respectively only for beatifications and consistories,
and for politics and Church go vernment. The reign of Pius VI. was a very different one. Giovan Angelo Braschi, the handsomest, vainest, and most artistic Pope who had reigned since more than a cen tury, seemed inclined to abandon the principles of his immediate pre decessors, and to return to the no
tions and habits of a Paul V.,
or an Urban VIII. Nepotism, a thing long out of use, reappeared in full force, together with the most lavish expenditure, and the most childish ostentation. The Pope’s
nephew Braschi Onesti was made a
duke, a grandee of Spain, a prince of the Holy Empire, and was given a large fortune, large estates, in cluding the famous villa of Adrian, and a large amount of political in fluence: a striking contrast to the Lambertinis, whom their uncle
Benedict XIV. had invited to
56 The Academy of the Arcadi. [July
stay at home and leave him alone. Pius VI. had something of the feel ing of a Louis XIV., and a vague idea of playing the part of Pericles; he did a few things handsomely and a great many in the most shabby style of ostentation; he bought a
number of very valuable ancient statues, which would otherwise
have been scattered about inforeign collections, and built to receive
them the noble rotonda and stair
case of the Museo Pio-Clementino,
the most beautiful of all galleries; he caused considerable excavations
to be made, and employed Ca
nova and other first-rate artists to
restore antiques; at the same time he built that monster of , heavy pastry-cook architecture, the chap ter-house of St. Peter’s, and a num
ber of trumpery buildings of a
similar style; and to whatever he did, good or bad, he appended his name, hoping to gain immortality by means of the tablets with the heraldic wind blowing down lilies, and the inscription, “Munificentia Pii Sexti, which he sprinkled all over the streets, museums, and monu ments of Rome. In his reign, and partly owing to his personal influ ence, Rome became for the first
time a great cosmopolitan centre; not merely a place like Venice, Bo logna, and Milan, in which young men on their grand tour remained for a short time, but the permanent re sidence of numbersof foreigners who came to study art or to wile away a lazy existence. There soon was a
regular set of French artists, another of Germans, and a small colony of English of rank and fortune; nay, Rome became so cosmopolitan to wards the end of the eighteenth century that, when Beckford was
there in 1780, the Senator—that is to say, the suprememagistrate—was a Swede. These foreigners did not necessarily mix with Roman society, except with the artistic and literary part of it; and whereas, in the year 1740, Charles de Brosses found him
self in the midst of a strange people, Dr. Burney informs us that as early as 1770 he met more English than Italians in Rome; and eighteen years later Goethe seems scarcely to have known a single Italian; for, in pro portion as the foreigners colonised, the natives became more national
and exclusive. This new condition
of things naturally affected literary life; there was no longer in Rome either a D. Livio Odescalchi in search
of literary retainers, nor a Crescim beni in search of rich noble pro tectors; the nobles had ceased to
play the Maecenas, the literati had
ceased to be their humble attend
ants; literature was gradually being
turned out of noble Roman circles
and seeking refuge in the cosmo politan society, which collected in Rome for the sake of art, of music,
of archaeology, and of that general intellectual improvement which Goethe was the first to analyse and define; the intellectual part of dif ferent nations was beginning to consider Rome as its home. There
were, of course, lots of Roman fine ladies and gentlemen on the lists of the Bosco Parrasio, but the really intelligent public, the one which could still take pleasure in meeting for literary purposes, was a mongrel one: there was the Duke of Dor
set, a great giver of private con certs; there was Councillor Reiffen
stein, a great collector of antiques; there was Zoega, the Danish archae ologist; Piranesi, the engraver; Fea, the translator of Winckelmann,
and his more famous rival Visconti;
there were Canova, and Angelica
Kauffmann, andTischbein and Gavin
Hamilton; there was a crowd of
artists, and literati, and musicians, Italians and foreigners, with whom they associated; there were aspiring
young men trying to create a na tional stage : the Abate Monti, a
poor secretary of the Pope’s nephew Braschi Onesti, whose Aristodemus
was vehemently applauded; and Count Alfieri, a rich, half-mad Pied
1878] The Academy of the Areadi. 57
montese, always driving a lot of
horses and getting into dreadful
quarrels, whose Orestes created a
still moreviolent sensation, and gave
the younger generation a certain im patient contempt for Pope Pins and
his rule, and a desire to return to
antiquity, and freedom, and pagan ism. While Roman society was
thus losing its national character,
Rome itself was unchanged: with
-its old—fashioned, half-classic prac
tices, its riotous Carnival, its races
of riderless horses, its people living
and sleeping-in the streets, itsproces
sions and popular festivals, and old
Christian and heathenish customs;
so that, in this wonderful mixture
of newly discovered antiquity, of modern artistic life, of picturesque, old-fashioned custom, of polished
modern society, Goethe could feel
all his wishes fulfilled, save that of never quitting so delightful a mode
of existence. The imbecile and
uncultivated natives had retired, the imbecile and uncultivated fo reigners had not yet come; there
was art and music, and antiquity and nature,-apparently for the sole
enjoyment of the intelligent and cultivated minority, to whom new
and vast horizons of philosophy, of liberty, of art, of literature, were
gradually disclosing ; and altogether
things seemed to be going on in. a
strangely agreeable way, as indeed
they did immediately before the great
storm which was to shake, and blast, and uproot all. This was the state
of Rome when, in-1788, Councillor
Wolfgang von Goethe, minister of
the Duke of Weimar, author of Werther, the most popular book that
had ever appeared, was admitted
into Arcadia as Megalio Melpome
neo, and had allotted to him by the
Abate Pizzi the ‘fields of the Tra gic Muse’-rather an unnecessary
piece of property for a man who
was finishing Tasso and Iphigenia, and had the first scenes of Faust in
his portfolio.
This delightful state of Roman
being
-life was not destined to last long. Scarcely had Goethe recrossed the
Alps when there came news from
France which diverted the thoughts
of intelligent men from literature,
art, and archaeology. Liberal doc
trines had long been working their
way in Italy, though in a subdued
and inoffensive way, but it was not till the year ’89 that the Italian
became aware that those doctrines might be practically applied; as it
is possible that even in France
people did not know what changes might be effected until the first
great effort had shown them their
own force. But, when once the
movement had begun, it was irre
sistible; men found themselves
.suddenly hurled from out of the
sphere of more wild speculation
into that of violent action. The
Italians seemed to have received a
shock of surprise; what the French
had so long hinted at and then
ranted about was absolutely taking place. The reforms which had
seemed more dreams were being
enforced, philanthropy was being
put into practice, freedom was
established; those far-gone
times of Brutus and the Gracchi,
which had seemed mere poetical
ideals, were really returning; hu manity was being changed, reno
vated, transfigured. Such was the feeling ofmanyardent young men in Italy, and many more moderate and
wiser men sympathised to a certain
degree with them, but felt less
sanguine than they did; nor does thereappear to have -been any
attempt at imitating the French in their revolution. Very soon, how ever, the horrible excesses of the
republicans, their theatrical bom
-bast, their want of patriotism, their
-insolent defiance of all law, human
-and Divine-, disgusted even the most
ardent philanthropists of Italy.
The Governments looked on in
stupid fright or -stupid- apathy;
some thought to stay the revolu
tionary wave by imprisoning a few
58 The Academy of the Arcadi. [July
Frenchmen and uproarious youths;
others trusted in their concessions
to the people. Tuscany remained
placid and happy. Venice, despite
the warning voice of Francesco
Pesaro, determined to jog on com
fortably, and let the banner of St.
Mark and the twenty-five old
cripples of Peschiera scare away all
invaders. Pius VI. immediately
ordered a creature of his, named
Spedalieri, to write a book to prove
that man had a right to equality
and liberty, and that the Sovereign
Pontiff was the likeliest person to
obtain it for him. The King of
Sardinia called out his people to
defend their independence and
their rulers, and opposed his ela
borately trained army to the French.
Austria moved, England moved,
France moved; the independent
Italian States found themselves
between the belligerents, caressed
and bullied now by the one, now
by the other, vainly attempting to
maintain neutrality, and to suppress
the seeds of insubordination. In
Rome the French minister and his secretary drove through the Corso
wearing tricolour cockades; the
mob fell upon them and cut them
to pieces; Monti wrote a poem
in honour of the murdered Basse
ville, but that did not atone. The
French soldiers, without bread,
without clothes, without shoes,
were told at the foot of the Alps to
avenge their countrymen massacred
at Rome; they poured into Italy,
a hideous, barbarous mass, burning,
sacking, and pillaging, while they declared that they were bringing
liberty to the Italians. Napoleon
reorganised them, disciplined them,
soothed the population, and pre vented all but ofticial plunder. The
Austrians then came and sacked
and ravaged in their turn. The
French planted trees of liberty,
stole pictures, statues, manuscripts,
money, all they could lay their hands upon. The Italians rejoiced
because they had been made free,
‘ resist the
and wept because they had been
made beggars. Some false enthu
siasts cringed to the conquerors
and obtained posts under them;
some timorous conservatives went
over to the Austrians; some gener
ous-minded visionaries plotted to
~exterminate the foreigners of all
sorts, and set up an Italian king
dom; some wanted a democracy,
others an oligarchy ; some approved
of the French system of levelling
and wholesale changing;- others
wished to preserve some of the old
traditions; a few truly noble men
putaside their prejudices and united,
priests and freethinkers, republicans
and aristocrats, determined to serve
their country under whatever rule it
fell, trying to save it from the ruin
which seemed impending; among
these we meet, for the last time, a
man of whom we have already
spoken at considerable length, the
Abate Giuseppe Parini.
Meanwhile the frivolous part of
society chatted and danced, and
went to operas and masquerades,
and adored now the Emperor of
Germany, now the French general,
but especially that greatest, most
heroic of men, the singer Marchesi, whom Alfieri called upon to buckle
on his helmet, and march out
against the French, as the only re
maining Italian who had dared to
‘ Corsican Gallic ’ in
vader, although only in the matter
of a song. And in this confusion
of contrary opinions, and of absence
of opinions, in this chaos of strife
and of utter helplessness, of vain
glorious rascality and unnoticed
heroism, there remained one man
who, taking no part, looked on in
contempt, and left the world the
most extraordinary monument of
his feeling. Alfieri had only two
feelings, strangely fused into one-—
hatred and contempt. He hated
and despised the savage republicans,
the formal Austrians, the grandi
loquent French spoilers, the barbar
ous German invaders, the inane
1878] The Academy of the Arcadi. 59
republics and grand dukes, the re trogrades and the radicals, those who acted and those who were pas sive, the servility and the tyranny ;
and this hatred and contempt he
expressed in the collection of epi
grams which he entitled Misogallo,
with the harsh, bitter terseness which was his literary weakness and his political strength. The whole order of things in Italy
was subverted; all was plun dered, regulated, arranged for the better by the French; the Aus
trians and Piedmontese made ter rible reprisals. Venice was handed over to the German tyrant, Naples was abandoned to Caroline and Cardinal Ruffo; colleges were in
stituted, statues carried off, trees
of liberty planted, fireworks let
off, while prisons and fortresses
were crowded, while whole families,
once wealthy and powerful, crossed the Alps on foot as beggars, and the best blood in the southern pro vinces was shed in torrents. Carlo Botta, a patriot and a thinker, who
had suffered in his youth for the
French cause, has left a heartrend
ing account of the feelings of men like himself at the close of the
eighteenth century, looking upon their country ravaged, pillaged,
enslaved; dishonoured by those
who had pretended to bring liberty,
and crushed by those who had pre tended to defend independence; all
illusions were dispelled, all hopes
gone, and there is something like a
stifled sob in the words in which
the historian tells how the populace
rejoiced when Venice was destroyed,
and predicts that soon the time will come when Venice will be a
mere heap of ruins, washed over
and half hidden by the compas
sionate lagoons. So, indeed, it
seemed when Botta wrote ; nor could he foresee that what appeared
final, destruction was, in reality,
but the beginning of renovation;
and that the freedom and independ ence of Italy, lost amidst devasta tion and oppression when the feudal monarchies of the North reached
their highest power at the begin ning of the sixteenth century,
would be recovered, thanks to that second foreign invasion due to the fall of feudalism at the end of the
eighteenth century. ‘ What became of Arcadia in that great storm? Did her members
continue writing and reading son nets, while Pius VI. was being
dragged to Avignon, while Pavia was being sacked, while Venice was
being sold, while Cirillo, and
Eleonora Pimentel, and Filomarino were being butchered, and Carac
ciolo hanged to the mast of his own
ship ? This much is certain, that
men thought no more about the in
stitution, and that its existence and
very name were forgotten in the great confusion whence modern Italy arose.
And as we stand once more in
the little desolate, battered villa on the Janiculum, and look again at the portraits of Crescimbeni, of
Perfetti, of Corilla, and of the bean
tiful Faustina Maratti, of their many nameless companions, moul dering unnoticed on the bare,
stained walls, we feel even more powerfully than before how deep
a gulf separates us from those
times, so near to our own, yet so long forgotten, when the Academy
of the Arcadi represented the whole literary life of Italy.
VERNON Lnn.

HOLIDAYS IN EASTERN FRANCE.
I. SEINE ET MARNE.
OW delicious to escape from the
fever heat and turmoil of Paris
to the green banks and sheltered
ways of the gently undulating
Marne ; with what delight we wake
up in the morning to the sound of the
mower’s scythe, the rustle of acacia
leaves and the notes ofthe stock-dove, looking back as upon a nightmare to
the horn of the tramway conductor
and the perpetual grind of the stone mason’s saw! Yes, to quit Paris in
these days of tropic heat and nestle
down in some country resort is
indeed like exchanging Dante’s
lower circle for Paradise. The heat
has followed us here, but with a
screen of luxuriant foliage between
us and the burning blue sky, and
with a breeze perpetually rippling
the leaves, no one need complain.
With the cocks and the hens, the
birds and the bees, we are all up and
stirring betimes : there are dozens of
nooks and corners if we like to
spend the morning out of doors and
do not feel enterprising enough to
set out on an exploring expedition by
diligence or rail. After the midday
meal everybody takes a siesta as a
matter of course, waking up between
four and five o’clock for a ramble,
and wherever we go we find lovely
prospects. Quiet little rivers and
canals winding between lofty lines
of poplar, undulating pastures and
amber corn-fields, picturesque vil
lages crowned by a church spire
here and there, wide sweeps of
highly cultivated land interspersed
with rich woods, vineyards, orchards,
and gardens-—all these make up
the scenery familiarised to us by
some of the most characteristic of
French painters. Just such rural
pictures have been pourtrayed a
thousand times by Millet, Corot, Daubigny, and in their very simpli
city often lies the chiefcharm. No
extensive or grandiose outlines are
here as in Brittany, no picturesque
poverty, no poetic archaisms; all is
rustic and pastoral, with the rus
ticity and pastoralness of every day.
We are in the midst of one of
the wealthiest and best cultivated
regions of France moreover, and
when we penetrate below the sur
face we find that in manners and
customs, as well as dress and out
ward appearance, tho peasant and
agricultural population generally
differ no little from their remoter
fellow countrymen, the Bretons.
In this famous cheese country,
the fromage de Brie being the
speciality of these dairy farms,
there is no superstition, hardly a
trace of poverty, and little that is
poetic. The people are rich, labo
rious, and progressive. The farmers’
wives, however hard they may work
at home, wear thesmartest ofParis
ian bonnets and gowns when paying
visits—I was going to say, when at
church, but nobody goes here. It
is a significant fact that in this
well-educated district, where news
papers are read by the poorest, and
where well-being is the rule and
poverty a rare exception, the church
is empty on Sunday, and the priest’s
authority is nil. The priests may
preach against abstinence from
church in the pulpit, and may lecture
the congregation in private, but no
effect isthereby produced. Church
going has become out of date
among the manufacturers of Brie
cheese. They amuse themselves on
Sundays by taking walks with their
children, the paterfamiliases bathe
in the river, the ladies put on
their fine clothes and pay visits, but
they omit their devotions. Some
of these tenantfarmers—for manyof
1878] Holidays in Eastern France. 363
the farms are let on lease as in
England, possessors of small farms
hiring more land—are very rich, and
one of our neighbours here, whose
wealth had been made by Brie
cheese, lately gave his daughter
several hundred thousand francs
by way of dowry. The wedding
breakfast took place at the Grand
Hotel, Paris, and a hundred guests
were invited to partake of a sump
tuous collation. Sometimes these
rustic brides are dowried with a
million francs. But in spite of fine
clothes and large dowries, farmers’ wives and daughters still attend
to their dairies, and when they
cease to do so, doubtless farming
in Seine et Marne will cease to be the prosperous business we now
find it.
It is delightful to witness the widespread well-being of this
highly favoured region. ‘ There is no poverty here,’ say my host and
hostess, ‘and that is why life is so
pleasant.’ True enough. Wherever
you go you find well-dressed con
tented-looking people-—-no rags, no
squalor, no pinched want. Poverty
is an accident of rare occurrence
and not a normal condition, every
one being able to get plenty of work
and good pay. The habitual look
of content written upon the faces
you meet is very striking. It seems
as if in this land of Goshen life were
no burden, but matter for satisfac tion only. Class distinctions can
hardly be said to exist. There are
employers and employed, masters
and servants, of course ; but the line
of demarcation is lightly drawn, and
we find an easy familiarity existing
between them, wholly free from im
politeness, muchless vulgarity. That
automaticdemurenesscharacterising English servants in the presence of
their employers is wholly unknown
here. There are households with
us where the servants might all be
mutes for any signs of animation
they give, but here they take part
in what is going on, and exchange VOL. XVIII.—1\’O. CV. NEw snmns.
vanced system of agriculture.
a word and a smile with every mem
ber ofthe household, never dreaming
that it should be otherwise. One is
– struck, too, here by the good looks, in
telligence, and trim appearance of
the children, who, it is clear, are
well cared for. The houses have
vines and sweet peas on the wall,
flowers in the window, and alto
gether a look of comfort and ease
found nowhere in Western France. The Breton villages are composed of
mere hovels, where pigs, cows, and poultry live in close proximity to
their owners; a dunghill stands
before every front door, and to get
indoors or out the inhabitants have
always to cross a pool of liquid ma
nure. Here order and cleanliness prevail, with a diffusion of well-being
hardly to be matched out of America.
Travellers who visit France again and
again, rather out of sympathy with its people and institutions than
from a desire to see its monuments
or outward features, will find ample
to reward them in Seine et Marne.
On every side you have evidence
of the boundless natural resources
and indefatigable laboriousness of
.the people. There is one point here,
which, as elsewhere in France, strikes
an agriculturist with astonishment,
and that is the abundance of fruit
trees standing amid corn fields and
miscellaneous crops ; also the inter
minable plantations of poplar trees that are to be seen on every side, ap
parently without any object. But
the truth is, the planting of trees
is no extravagance but rather eco
nomy, the fruit they produce ex ceeding in value the corn they
destroy; whilst the puzzling lines of
poplars beside canals and railways
are the work of the Government,
every spare bit of land belonging
to the State being planted with
trees for the sake of the timber.
The crops are splendid, partly owing
to the soil and partly to the ad
You
may see exposed for sale in little townsand villages thenewest Ameri
C C
364 Holidays in.Eastern France. [September
can agricultural tools, whilst the
great diversity of products speaks
much for the enterprise of the far -mers. As you stroll along, now climb
ing, now descending this pleasantly
undulated country, you may see a
dozen crops on less than an acre. A patch of potatoes here, vines
growing there, on one side a bit of
wheat, oats, rye, or barley, with
fruit trees casting abundant shadow
over all, or Indian corn, clover,
and mangel wurzel in the green
state, recently planted for autumn fodder, are found side by side,
further on a poppy field, three
weeks ago in full bloom, now having
full pods ready for gathering—the
poppybeing cultivated for the manu
facture of oil here—all these and
many more are seen close together, and near them many a lovely little
glen, copse, and ravine, recall ing Scotland and Wales. You may walk for miles through what
seems one vast orchard, only instead
of turf, rich crops are growing
under the trees. This is indeed
the orchard of France, on which
we English largely depend for
our summer fruits. A few days ago the black currant trees were
being stripped for the benefit of
Parisian lovers of ‘ cassis,’ and now
we encounter on our walks carts
laden with plums packed in baskets
and barrels, on their way to Covent
-Garden; later on, it will be the
peach and apricot crops gathered
for exportation; later still, apples,
-walnuts, and pears. One village not
-far from our own sends fruit to the
Paris markets valued at a million
francs annually. But the traveller
must settle down in some delicious retreat in the valley of the Marne
to realise the interest and charm of
such a country as this. And he must above all things be a fairly
good pedestrian,for it is not a land of
luxuries, and carriages, good, bad, or indifferent, are difiicult to be got. A
countless’ succession of delightful prospects is offered to the perse
vering explorer who each day
strikes out in an entirely different
direction. I have always been of
opinion that the best way to see a
country is to make a halt in some
good central point, for weeks at a
time, and from thence ‘excursionise.’
By these means much fatigue is
avoided, and the two chief draw
backs to the pleasures of travel,
namely, hotels and perpetual rail ways, avoided as much as pos
sible. My rallying point was a
pleasant French country house at
Couilly, offering every opportunity
for studying agriculture and rural
life as well as making excursions
by road and rail. Couilly itself is
charming. The canal winding its
way between thick lines of poplar
trees towards Meaux is a walk you
may take on the hottest day of sum
mer without fatigue; the river,
narrow and sleepy, yet so pictu
resquely curling amid green slopes
and tangled woods, affords another
delightful stroll; then there are
broad, richly-wooded hills rising
above these, and shady side paths
leading from hill to valley, with al
ternating vineyards, orchards, pas
tures, and corn-fields on either side.
Couilly lies in the heart of the cheese
making country, part of the ancient
province of Brie, from which this
famous cheese is named (the
comté of Brie became part of the
French kingdom on the occasion of
the marriage of Jeanne of Navarre
with Philippe le Bel, in 1361), and
is as prosperous as it is picturesque.
Within a stone’s throw of our
garden walls once stood a famous
convent of Bernardines, called Pont
aux-Dames. Here Mdme. Dubarry,
of evil reputation, was exiled after
the death of Louis XV. On the
outbreak of the Revolution she fled
to England, and might there have
ended her unworthy life in peace
but for a cupidity which brought her
to the guillotine. The old favourite
of perhaps the most depraved of
French kings had left secreted at
-1878] Holidays in Eastern France. 365
Pout-aux-Dames a case of dia
monds, and in order to secure these
she ventured to Couilly again, with
the result that might have been
expected. The Revolutionary Tri
– bunal got hold of Madame Dubarry,
and she mounted the scaffold in
company of her betters, no one
before or after showing such pusil
lanimity when her turn came.
The diligence passes our garden
gate early in the morning, and in
an hour and a half takes us to
Meaux, former capital of the pro
vince of La Brie, bishopric of the
famous Bossuet, and also one of the
early strongholds of the Reforma
tion. The neighbouring country,
paysMeldois, as it is called, is one vast
fruit and vegetable garden, bringing
in enormous returns. From our
vantage ground, for of course we
go outside the coach, we survey
the shifting landscape—woods,
valley, and plain, soon seeing the
city with its imposing cathedral,
both of the whiteness of marble, -rising above the winding river and
fields of green and gold on either
side. I know nothing that gives
the mind an idea of fertility and
wealth more than this scene, and it
is no wonder that the Prussians in
1871 here levied a heavy toll,
their sojourn at Meaux having cost
the inhabitants not less than a
million and a half of francs. All
now, however, is peace and pros
perity, and here, as in the neigh
bouring towns and villages, rags,
want, and beggary are not seen.
The evident well-being of all classes
is delightful to behold. Meaux,
with its shady boulevards and public
gardens, must be a pleasant place
to live in, nor would intellectual
resources be wanting. We strolled
into the spacious town library, open,
of course, to strangers, and could
wish for no better occupation than
to con the curious old books and
manuscripts that it contains. The
employé having shown us the busts adorning the walls of the principal
rooms, took us into a side closet,
where, ignominiously put out of
sight, are the busts of Charles X,
and Louis Philippe. ‘But,’ said
our informant, ‘ we have more busts in the garret—those of the Emperor Napoleon III., the Empress, and the
Prince Imperial.’ Naturallyenough,
on the proclamation of the Re
public, these busts were considered
as supererogatory, and it is to be
hoped they will stay where they are. The Evéché, or Bishop’s Palace,
is the principal sight at Meaux. It
is full of historic associations besides
being very curious in itself. Here
have slept many noteworthy per
sonages—L0uis XVI. and Marie
Antoinette, when on their return
from Varennes, June 24,. I791 ;
Napoleon in 1814, Charles X. .in
1828 ; later, General Moltke in 1870,
who said upon that occasion, ‘ In three days, or a week at most, we
shall be in Paris,’ not counting on
the probabilities of a siege. The room
occupied by the unfortunate Louis
XVI. and his little son still bears the name of La Chambre du Roi, and cannot be entered without a
feeling of sadness. The gardens,
designed by Lenotre, are as quaint and characteristic perhaps as any of the same period—a
broad, open, sunny flower garden
below, terraced walks above so shaded with closely-planted plane
trees that the sun can hardly pene
trate on this July day. These
green walks, where the nightingale and the oriole were singing, were
otherwise as quiet as the Evéché it
self; but the acmé of quiet and soli
tude was only to be found in the ave
nue of yews called Bossuet’s Walk.
Here it is said the great adversary
of the Jansenists used to pace
backwards and forwards when com
posing his famous discourses, wholly
excluding himself from the world,
like another celebrated French
writer, Balzac, whilst thus occupied.
Alittle garden house in which he ate and slept leads out of this delight
C C 2 ‘
366 Holidays in Eastern France. [September
ful walk, a cloister of greenery, the
high square-cut walls of yew
shutting out everything but the
sky. What would some of us give
for such a retreat as this—an ideal
of perfect tranquillity and isolation
from the outer world that might
have satisfied the soul of Schopen
hauerhimself ? But the good things
of life are not equally divided. The
present bishop, an octogenarian
who has long been quite blind,
would perhaps prefer to hear more
echoes from without. It happened
that in our party was a little child
of six, who with the inquisitiveness
of childhood followed the servant
indoors while the rest waited at
the door for permission to visit the palace. ‘I hear the footsteps of a
child,’ said the old man, and bidding
his young visitor approach, he gave
him sugar-plums, kisses, and finally
his blessing. Very likely the inno
cent prattlings of the child were as
welcome to the old man as the
sweetmeats to the little one on his
knee.
The terraces of the episcopal
garden cross the ancient walls of
the city, and underneath the boule
vards afford a promenade almost as
pleasant. It must be admitted
that much more pains are taken
in France to embellish provincial
towns with shady walks and public promenades than in England. The
tiniest little town in Seine et Marne
has its promenade, that is to say, an open green space and avenues, with benches for the passer-by.
We cannot certainly sit out of
doors as much as our French
neighbours in consequence of our
more changeable climate, but might
not pleasant public squares and
gardens, with bands playing gra
tuitously on certain evenings in
the week, entice customers from
the public-house? The traveller is
shown the handsome private resi
dences of rich Meldois, where, in
the second week of September 1870, were lodged the Emperor of Ger
many, the Prince Frederick Charles,
and Prince Bismarck. Meaux, if
one of the most prosperous, is also
one of the most liberal of French
cities, and has been renowned for
its charity from early times. In
the thirteenth century there were no
fewer than sixty Hotels-Dieu Lépr0
series (hospitals for lepers) in the
diocese ; and in the present day it is
true to its ancient traditions, being
abundantly supplied with hospitals,
&c. –
Half an hour from Meaux by
railway is the pretty little town of
La Ferté sous Jouarre, coquet
tishly perched on the Marne, and
not yet rendered unpoetic by
the hum and bustle of commerce.
Here even more than at Meaux the
material well-being of all classes is
especially striking. You see the
women sitting in their little gardens
at needlework; the children trot
ting off to school; the men busy in
their respective callings; but all as
it should be, no poverty, no dirt,
no discontent : cheerfulness, cleanli
ness, and good clothes, are evi
dently everyhody’s portion. Yet
it is eminently a working popula
tion ; there are no fashionable ladies
in the streets, no nursery maids
with over-dressed charges on the
public walks; the men wear blue blouses, the women cotton gowns;
all belong to one class, and have
no need to envy any other. Close
to the railway station is a little
inn where I saw an instance of the
comfort enjoyed by these unpre
tentious citizens of this thrifty
little town. The landlord, a parti
cularly intelligent, and, eela. ‘ULL sans
d-ire, well-mannered person, was
waiting upon his customers in
blue blouse, the landlady was as
busy as could be in the kitchen.
Both were evidently accustomed to
plenty of work; yet when she took
me over the house in order to show
the accommodation for tourists, I
found their own rooms furnished
with Parisian elegance. There were
1878] Holidays in Eastern France. 367
velvet sofas and chairs, white lace
curtains, polished floors, mirrors,
hanging wardrobes, a sumptuous
little bassinette for baby, and ad
joining as charming a room for
their elder daughter—a teacher in
a day school—as any heiress to a
large fortune could desire. This
love of good furniture and indoor
comfort generally seemed to me to
speak much, not only for the taste,
but the moral tone of the family.
Evidently to these good people the
home meant everything dearest to
their hearts. You would not find
extravagance in food and dress
among them, or most likely any
other but this. They work hard,
they live frugally, but when the
day’s toil is done, they like to have
pretty things around them, and
not only to repose but to enjoy. La Ferté sous Jouarre is the seat of
a large manufacture of millstones,
exported to all parts of the world,
and a very thriving little place. Large numbers of Germans are
brought hither by commerce, and
now live again among their French
neighbours as peacefully as before
the war. The attraction for tour
ists is, however, Jouarre, reached
by a lovely drive of about an hour
from the lower town. Leaving the
river you ascend gradually, gaining
at every step a richer and wider
prospect; below, the blue river
winding between green banks;
above, a lofty ridge of wooded hills,
with hamlets dotted here and there
amid the yellow corn and luxuriant
foliage. It is a bit of Switzerland,
and has often been painted by
French artists.
The love of flowers and flower
gardens, so painfully absent in the
west of France, is here conspicuous.
There are flowers everywhere, and some of the gardens give evidence
of great skill and care. Jouarre is
perched upon an airy green emi
nence, a quiet old-world town, with
an enormous convent in the centre,
where some scores of cloistered
nuns have shut themselves up for
the glory of God. There they live
as much in prison as if they were
the most dangerous felons ever brought to justice; and a prison
house indeed the convent looks,’
with its high walls, bars, and bolts.
I had a little talk with the sister
in charge of the porter’s lodge, and
she took me into the church, point
ing to the high iron rails barring off
the cloistered nuns with that expres
sion of imbecile satisfaction as much
inseparable from her calling as her
unwholesome dress. ‘ There is one
young English lady here,’ she said,
‘formerly a Protestant ; she is
twenty-one, and only the other day
took the perpetual vows.’ I won A
dered as I looked up at the barred
windows how long this kind of
Suttee would be permitted in happy
France, and indeed in any other
country, and whether in the life
time of that foolish English girl
the doors would be opened, and she
would be compelled to go forth and
labour in the world like any other
rational being? This dreary prison
house, erected not in the interests
of justice and society, but in order to gratify cupidity on one side
and fanaticism on the other, afforded
‘a painful contrast to the cheerful,
active life outside. Close to the
convent is one of the most curious
monuments in the entire department
of Seine et Marne, namely, the
famous Merovingian crypt, de
scribed by French archaeologists in
the Bulleti/n. Monumental and else
where. It is well known that
during the Merovingian epoch, and
under Charlemagne, long journeys
were often undertaken in order to
procure marble and other building
material for the Christian churches.
Thus only can we account for the
splendid columns of jasper, por phyry, Corinthian and rare marbles of which this crypt is composed.
The capitals of white marble, in striking contrast to the deep red,
greens, and other colours of the
368 Holidays in Eastern France. [September
columns, are richly carved with
acanthus leaves, scrolls, and classic
patterns, without doubt the whole
having originally decorated some
Pagan temple. The chapel con
taining the crypt is said to
have been founded in the seventh
century, and speaks much for
the enthusiasm and artistic spirit
animating its builders. There is much elegance in these arches,
also in the sculptured tombs of dif
ferent epochs which, like the crypt,
have been preserved so wonderfully
until the present time. Other
archaeological treasures are here,
notably the so-called Pierre des
szmneurs dc Jouarre—stone of the
Jouarre Bellringers—a quaint de
sign representing two bellringers
at their task, with a legend un
derneath, dating from the four
teenth century. When I arrived
at Jouarre, M. le curé and the
sacristan were both absent, and as
no one else possessed the key of
the crypt, my chance of seeing it
seemed small. However, some one
obligingly set me on a voyage of
discovery, and finally the sacristan’s
wife was found in a neighbouring
harvest field, and she bustled up, de
lightedto showeverything; amongst
other antiquities, some precious skulls and bones of saints, kept under lock and key in the sacristy, and only exposed on féte-days.
No one, however, need to have ar
chaeological tastes in order to enjoy
these twin towns ; alike scenery and
people are charming, and the tour ist is welcomed as a guest rather
than a customer. But whether at
Jouarre or anywhere else, he who
knows most will see most; every
day the dictum of the great Lessing
being illustrated in travel: ‘Wer
viel weiss, hat viel zu sorgen.’ The mere lover of the picturesque,
who cares nothing for French his
tory, literature, and institutions, old
or new, will get a superb landscape
here and nothing more.
In striking contrast with the
homely ease and well–to-do terre-0t
terre about us at Couilly, is the
princely chateau of the Rothschilds
at Ferrieres, which none should
miss seeing on any account what
ever. With princely liberality also,
Baron Rothschild admits anyone
to his Fairyland who takes the
trouble to write for permission; and
however much we may have been
thinking of Haroun al Raschid,
King Solomon, and the Thousand
and One Nights beforehand, we
shall not be disappointed. The
very name of Rothschild fills
us with awe and bewilderment.
We prepare ourselves to be daz
zled with gold and gems, to
tread on carpets gorgeous as pea
cocks’ tails, softer than eider-down;
we pass through jasper and por
phyry columns into regal halls
where the acmé of splendour can
go no farther, where the walls are
hung with tapestry and crimson
satin, where every chair looks like
a throne, and where on all sides
mirrors reflect the treasures col lected from all parts of the world.
And we are not disappointed.
Quitting the railway at the cheer
ful, wealthy little town of Lagny,
we drive past handsome country
houses and well-kept flower gar
dens, and then gradually ascend a
road winding amid hill and valley
up to the chateau, a graceful struc
ture in white marble, or so it seems, proudly commanding the wide land
scape. The flower gardenh are :1.
blaze of colours, and the orange
trees give delicious fragrance as we
ascend the terrace; ascend, indeed,
being hardly the word applicable to
steps sloping so easily upwards, and
so nicely adjusted to the human
foot, that climbing Mont Blanc
under the same circumstances could
be accomplished without fatigue.
It is impossible to give any idea of
the different kinds of magnificence
that greet us on every side. Now
a little Watteau world in tapestries
having for background sky-blue
satin and roses; now a dining hall,
sombre, gorgeous, and majestic as
1878] Holidays in Eastern France. 369-
that of a Spanish palace; now we are transported to Persia, China,
and Japan; next we find ourselves amid unspeakable treasures of
Italian and other marbles. To come
down to practical details, it might
be suggested to the generous owner
of this noble treasure-house of art
that the briefest possible catalogue
of his choicest treasures would un speakably oblige his visitors.
There is hardly a piece of furni
ture that is not interesting, alike
from a historic and artistic point of
view, whilst some are chefs d’0euv’re
both in design and execution, and
dazzlingly rich in material. Among
these may be mentioned a pair of chimney ornaments thickly hung
with pendants of precious stones;
a piano—which belonged to Marie
Antoinette—the case of which is
formed of tortoiseshell richly deco
rated with gold; a cabinet set with
emeralds,sapphires,andotherjewels;
another composed ofvarious precious
stones; chairs and couches covered
with exquisite tapestry of the Louis
Quinze period; some rare specimens
of old cloismmé work, also of Floren
tine mosaics—these forming a small
part of this magnificent museum.
The striking feature is the great quantity and variety of rich marbles
in every part. One of the stair
cases is entirely formed of different
kinds of rare marble, the effect
being extraordinarily imposing.
Elsewhere a room is divided by Corinthian columns of jasper and porphyry, and on every side is dis
played a wealth and splendour in this respect quite unique. Without
doubt nothing lends such magnifi
cence to interiors as marbles, but they require the spaciousness and
princeliness of such a chateau as this to be displayed to advantage. Next in importance as a matter of
mere decoration must be cited the
tapestries, of which there is a rare
and valuable collection, chiefly in
the Hall, so-called, and where they
are arranged about the running gallery surmounting the pictures.
What this Hall mustbe worth would
perhaps sound fabulous on paper;
it is here that some of the -most
precious cabinets are found; trea
sures of ivory, ebony, gems, gold
and silver; and the pictures alone represent a princess’s dowry. Ex
amples of some of the great mas
ters are here —Velasquez, Rem
brandt, Rubens, Claude Lorraine, Bordone, Reynolds; lastly, among moderns, Ingres and Hippolyte
Flandrin. Much might be said about the
pictures if space permitted, but
they alone are worth making the
journey from Paris to see. But the creme de la creme of Baron Roths
child’s treasures is not to be found
in this sumptuous Hall, in spite
of tapestries, pictures, marbles,
and rare furniture, nor in the state
salon, but in one of the dining-rooms,
a marvellously rich and gorgeous
apartment, where the wealth of gold and splendid colours is toned
down, and the eye is rather re
freshed than dazzled by the whole. On the walls, reaching from base to
ceiling, are hung a series of six
paintings on leather, known as the
cui/rs de 0’0’rdoue, or leather paint
ings from Cordova. They are his torical and allegorical subjects, and
are painted in rich colours with a
great abundance of gold on a brown
background, the general effect being
that of a study in gold and brown.
When looked at narrowly we find
great dramatic interest in the sub
jects, and a uniform masterliness of
execution, but without a catalogue
it is impossible to give any accurate
idea of these gorgeous paintings.
The entire department of Seine et
Marne perhaps offers no greater rarity than these paintings on leather
from Cordova of which we would fain know the history.1
‘ See second volume of the Bibliothégue de l’Art. Paris: Quantin.
370 Holidays in Eastern France. [September
So much for the treat in store
for those art-lovers who find their way to the chateau of Fer
rieres, where none will fail to add
something to his previous store
of knowledge. Those who really
value art in all its degrees as forming part of daily life, can
not study the exquisite designs,
elaborate workmanship, and splen
did materials of the furniture,
decorations, and general fittings-up
of such a place as this without
feeling strongly how little that is
new and modern can be compared
to the old, whether we regard
mere carpentry, general effect,
solidity, or design. This is strikingly
illustrated in the old and new
Japanese cloisonné work, the former
beiug infinitely richer, more bril
liant, and more elaborate than the
other.
When not disposed to go so far afield in search of pleasure and
instruction, we find ample occupa
tion close at hand. Even in this quiet
little village of Couilly there is always something going on, either
a fete, a prize-distribution, a ball,
or some other local celebration. The Ecole com/mu’na,le for boys and girls
has just closed for the summer holidays, and last Sunday the
prizes were given away with much state and ceremony. A tent was decorated with tricolour flags,
wreaths, and flowers, the village
band fetched the mayor and corpo
ration, and marched them in to a
spirited air. I had already seen a
prize-distribution in the heart of
Anjou, but how different to this!
Here at Couilly it was difiicult to
believe that the fashionable Parisian toilettes around us belonged to the
wives of small farmers who all the
week time were busy in their
dairy and poultry yard, whilst the
young ladies, of all ages from three to fifteen, their daughters, might
have appeared at the Lady
Mayoress’s ball, so smart were their gala frocks, white muslin and
blue ribbons. A few mob caps
among the old women and blue
blouses among the men were seen,
but the assemblage as a whole
might be called a fashionable one,
while in Anjou exactly the same
class presented the homeliest ap pearance, all the female part of it
wearing white cozfes and plain
black stuff gowns, the men blue
blouses and sabots. Nor was the
difference less striking in other
respects. These boys and girls of
rich tenant farmers, peasant pro prietors, or even day labourers, are
far ahead of the young people in
Anjou, and each would be considered
a wonder in benighted Brittany.
They are in fact quite accomplished,
not only learning singing, drawing,
and other accomplishments, but to
take part in dramatic entertain
ments. Two performances were given by the boys, two by the girls,
a little play being followed by a
recitation, and I must say I never
heard anything of the kind in a
village school in England. These
children acquitted themselves of their parts remarkably well, espe
cially the girls, and their accu
racy, pure accent, and delivery
generally spoke volumes for the
training they had received. Of
awkwardness there was not a
trace. There were speeches from
the mayor, M. le curé, and others,
also music, singing, and a large
number of excellent books were
distributed, each recipient being
at the same time crowned with a
wreath of artificial flowers. It is to
be hoped that ere many years the
excellent education these children receive will be the portion of every
boy and girl in France, and that an
adult unable to read and write—the
rule, not the exception, among the rural population in Brittany—will be
unheard of. A friend of mine from
Nantes recently took with him to
Paris a young Breton maidservant,
who had been educated by the ‘ Bonnes soeurs,’ that is to say, the
1878] Holidays in Eastern France. 371
nuns. What was the poor girl’s as
tonishment to find that in Paris
everybody was so far accomplished
as to be able to read and write ! Her
‘ surprise would have been greater
still had she witnessed the acquire
ments and aplomb of these little Couilly girls, many of them, like
herself, daughters of small peasant
farmers. It must be mentioned for
the satisfaction of those who regard
the progress of education with some
concern, that the elegant bonnets
and dresses I speak of are laid
aside on week days, and that no
where in France do people work
harder than here. But when not
at work they like to wear fine
clothes and read the newspaper as
well as their neighbours. The
amount of clothes these country women possess is often enormous,
and they pride themselves upon the
largest possible quantity of linen, a
great part of which is of’ course laid
by.. They count their garments not
by dozens but by scores, and can thus
afford to wait for a quarterly wash
ing day, as they often do. It must
be also mentioned that cleanliness
is uniformly found throughout these
flourishing villages, and in almost all
hot and cold public baths. Dirt is as
rare—I might almost say as un
known-—-as rags, neither of which
as yet we have seen throughout our
long walks and drives except in
the case of a company of tramps we
encountered one day. Drunkenness
is also comparatively, in some places
we might say absolutely, absent.
As we make further acquaintance
with these favoured regions we might suppose that here at least the
dreams of the Utopians had come
true, and that poverty, squalor, and
wretchedness were banished for
ever. The abundant crops around
us are apportioned out to all, and
the soil, which if roughly cultivated
according to English notions, yet
bears marvellously, is not the heritage of one or two but of the people. The poorest has his bit of
‘ wanting.
land, to which he adds from time to
time by the fruits of his industry;
and though tenant-farming is
carried on largely, owing to the
wealth and enterprise of the agri
cultural population, the tenant
farmers almost always possess land
of their own, and they hire more in
order to save money for future
purchases. Of course they could
only make tenant farming pay by
means of excessive economy and
laboriousness, as the rents are high,
but in these respects they are not
The fertility of the soil
is not more astonishing than the variety of produce we find here, though pasturage and cheese
making are chiefly depended on
in some neighbourhoods, and fruit
crops in others. The pastures are very fine, but we seldom see
cattle out to graze; probably the
harvest work requires all hands,
and as there are no fences between
field and meadow, this may account
for what appears bad management. The large heap of manure being
dried up by the sun in the middle of the farmyard also looks like
unthriftiness, whilst the small, dark,
and ill-ventilated dairies make us
wonder that the manufacture of
the famous Brie cheese should be
the profitable thing it is. At the
farm we visited we saw thirty-six
splendid Normandy cows, the entire
milk produce of which was used for
cheese-making. Yet nothing could appear worse than the dairy arrange
mentsfrom a hygienic point of view,
and the absolute cleanliness requi
site for dairy work was wanting.
These Brie cheeses are made in
every farm, small andgreat, and large
quantities are sent to the Meaux
market on Saturdays, where the
sale alone reaches the sum of five or
six millions of francs yearly. The
process is a very simple one, and is
of course perpetually going on.
Our hostess at one of the larger and more prosperous of these farms
showed us everything, and regaled
372 Holidays in Eastern France. [September
us abundantly with the fresh milk
warm from the cow. Here we saw
-an instance of the social metamor
phosis taking place in these pro gressive districts. The mistress of
the house, a bright clever woman,
occupied all day with what we in
England should call the drudgery
of the farmhouse, is yet fairly
educated, and though now neatly
dressed in plain cotton gown, on Sunday dresses like any other lady
for the promenade. Her mother, still
clinging to past customs, appeared in short stuff petticoat, wooden shoes,
and yellow handkerchief wrapped
round her head; whilst the chil
dren, who in due time will be
trained to toil like their neighbours,
are being well taught in the village
school. These people are wealthy,
and may be taken as types of the
farming class here, though many
of the so-called onltimteurs, or pro
prietors farming their own land,
live in much easier style, the men
managing the business, the ladies
keeping the house, and the work
of the farm being left to labourers.
The rent of good land is about
fifty shillings an acre, and wages in
harvest time four francs (3s. 4d.)
with board. The farms, while large
by comparison with anything found in Brittany and Anjou, are small
measured by our scale, being from
fifty to two or three hundred acres.
Steam threshing has long been
in use here, but of course not gene
rally, as the smaller patches of corn
only admit of the old system, and the corn is so ripe that it is often threshed on the field immediately
after cutting. The harvesting
process is often very slow, and we
often see only one or two labourers
on a single patch; one wheatfield
near us occupied a man and a girl an
entire week in the reaping. But there
is no waiting as a rule forfine weather
to dry and cart away the corn, and
masters and men work with a will.
We must indeed watch a harvest
from beginning to end to realise
the laboriousness of a farmer’s life here. Upon one occasion, when
visiting a farm of a hundred and
thirty acres, we found the farmer
and his mother both hard at work
in the field, the former carting away straw, the corn being threshed
by machinery in the field, the
latter tying it up. Yet this man pos sessed a good income independent
of his gains as a farmer. The look
of cheerfulness animating all faces
was delightful to behold. The
farmer’s countenance beamed with
satisfaction, and one may be sure
not without good cause. The farm house and buildings were spacious
and handsome, and as is generally
the case here, were surrounded
by a high wall, having a large
court in the centre where a goodly
number of geese, turkeys, and poul
try were disportingthemselves. Here
we found only a few cows, but they
were evidently very productive from the quantity of cheeses in the dairy.
Sheep are not kept here largely,
and grazing bullocks still less. The
farmer therefore relies chiefly on
his dairy, next on his corn and
fruit crops, and as bad seasons are
rare, both these seldom fail him.
But these pleasant villages have
generally some other interest be
sides their rich harvests and pic
turesque sites. In some of the
smallest you may find exquisite little
churches, such as La Chapelle sur Crécy, a veritable cathedral in minia ture. Crécy was once an important
place, with ninety-nine towers and double ramparts, traces of which
still remain. A narrow stream
runs at the back of the town, and
quaint enough are the little houses
perched beside it, each with its gar
den and tiny drawbridge, drawn at
night—the oddest scene-of which a sketcher might make something.
A sketcher indeed must be a happy
person here, so many quiet subjects
offering themselves at every turn. Many of these village churches
1878] Holidays in Eastern France. 373’
date from- the thirteenth century,
and are alike picturesque within and
without, their spires and gabled
towers imparting the leading charac
ter to the landscape. Nowhere in deed in France do you find more pic
turesque village churches, not a few
ranking among the historic monu ments of France. Here and there
are chateaux with old-fashioned
gardens and noble avenues, and we
have only to ask permission at the
porter’s lodge to walk in and enjoy
them at leisure. In one of these
the lady of the house, who was
sitting out of doors, kindly beckoned
us to enter as we passed, and we
had the pleasure of listening under
some splendid old oaks to the
oriole’s song, and of seeing a little
cluster of eucalyptus trees, two
surprises we had not looked for.
The oriole, a well-known and
beautiful American bird, and a
songster that may be compared to
the nightingale, is indeed no
stranger here, and having once heard
and seen him you cannot mistake
him for any other bird. His song
is an invariable prognostic of rain,
as we discover on further acquaint
ance. The Eucalyptus globulus,
or blue gum tree, native of Aus
tralia and now so successfully ac
climatised in Algeria, the Cape,
the Riviera, and other countries,
is said to flourish in the region of
the olive only, but we were as
sured by our ‘chatelaine’ that it
bears the frost of these northern
zones. I confess I thought her
plantation looked rather sickly, and
considering that the climate is, like
that of Paris, subject to short spells
of severe cold in winter and great
changes at all times, I doubt much
in the experiment. But the health
giving, fever-destroying eucalyptus is not needed in this well-wooded
healthy country, for the splendid
foliage of acacia, walnut, oak, and
birch leave nothing to desire either
in the matter of shade or ornament.
A lover of trees, birds, and whisper
ing breezes will say that here at
least is a corner, if not of the celestial, the earthly paradise.
Nowhere is summer to be more
revelled in, more amply tasted, than
in these rustic villages, where yet
creature comforts abound, and no
where is the dolce far niente mood
so easily induced. Why should we
be at the trouble to undertake a
hot dusty railway journey in search
of dolmens, thirteenth century
churches, Gaelic tombs, and feudal
remains when we have the essence of deliciousness at our very doors,
waving fields of ripe corn, where
the reapers in twos and threes are
at work (picturesque figures that
seem to have walked out of Millet/s
canvas), lines of poplars along the curling river; beyond, hills covered
with woods, here and there a clus
tering village or chateau breaking
the green? This is the picture,
partially screened by noble acacia
trees, that I have from my window,
accompanied by the music of wav
ing barley and wheat, dancing
leaves, and chafiinches tame as
canaries singing in the branches.
About a mile off is the little
village of Villiers, which is even
prettier than our own, and which of course artists have long ago found
out. Villiers sur Morin would be
an admirable summer resort for
an artist fond of hanging woods,
running streams, and green pas tures; and a dozen more possessing
the same attractions lie close at
hand. But though within so easy
a distance of Paris, life is homely, and fastidious travellers must keep
to the beaten tracks and high roads
where good hotels are to be found.
When he goes into the by-ways, a
wayside inn is all that he must ex
pect; and if there is no diligence, a
lift in the miller’s or baker’s cart.
The farmers’ wives driving to mar
ket with their cheese and butter
are always willing to give the
stranger a seat, but money must not
be offered in return for such obli
374 Holidays in Eastern France. [September
gingness. We must never forget that if these country folk are labo
rious, and perhaps even sordid in
their thriftiness, they are proud, and refuse to be paid for what costs
them nothing.
But no matter how enamoured of
green fields and woodland walks, we
must tear ourselves away for a day to see the famous ‘ Chocolate City’
of M. Menier, the modern marvel
par excellence of the department,
and a piece of the most perfect
organisation it is possible to con ceive. M. Menier undoubtedly has
aimed at making the best chocolate
that ever rejoiced the palate; he has achieved far greater things than this
in giving us one of the happiest and
most delightful social pictures that
ever charmed the heart. Again
we make the pretty little town of
Lagny our starting point, and hav
ing passed a succession of scattered
farmhouses and wide corn fields,
we come gradually upon a miniature
town built in red and white. So
coquettishly, airily, daintily placed
is the City of Chocolate amid
orchards and gardens that, at first
sight, a spectator is inclined to take
it rather for a settlement of such
dreamers as assembled together at
Brook Farm to poetise, philosophise,
and make love, than of artisans en
gaged in the practical business of
life. This long street of charming
cottages, having gardens around
and on either side, is planted with
trees, so that in a few years’ time it
will form as pleasant a promenade
as the Parisian boulevards. We
pass along, admiring the abundance
of flowers everywhere, and finally
reach a large open square, around
which are a congeries of handsome
buildings, all, like the dwelling
houses, new, cheerful, and having
trees and benches in front. Here are
co-operative stores, schools, libra
ries; beyond, to the left, stands the
chateau of M. Menier, surrounded
by gardens, and to the right the manufactory. The air is here fra
grant, not with roses and jessamine,
but with the grateful aroma of
chocolate, reminding us that we are
indeed in a city, if not literally a
pile of cacao, yet owing its origin to
the products of that wonderful tree,
or rather to the ingenuity by which
its resources have been turned to
such account. The works are built
on the river Marne, and having seen
the vast hydraulic machines, we
enter a lift with the intelligent fore
man deputed to act as guide, and ascend to the topmost top of the
many-storeyed enormous building in
which the cocoa berry is metamor
phosed into the delicious compound
known as Chocolat-Menier. This
is a curious experience, and the re
verse of most other intellectual
processes, since here, instead of
mounting the ladder of knowledge
gradually, we find ourselves placed
on a pinnacle of ignorance from
which we descend by degrees, find
ing ourselves enlightened when we
at last touch terra firma. Our aerial
voyage accomplished therefore in
the lift, we see process No. 1, namely,
the baking of the berry, this of
course occupying vast numbers of
hands, all consisting of men, on ac
count of the heat and laboriousness
required in the operation. Descend
ing a storey, we find the berry
already in a fair way to become
edible, and giving out an odour
something like chocolate; here the
process consists in sorting and pre
paring for grinding; the vast masses
of cocoa, it is hardly necessary to
say, coming down automatically by
machinery. Lower still we find
M. Menier’s great adjunct in the
fabrication of chocolate, namely,
sugar, coming into play, and no
sooner are sugar and berry put to
gether than the compound becomes
chocolate in reality. Lower still we
find processes of refining and drying
going on, an infinite number being
required before the necessary fine
ness is attained. Lower still we
come to a very hot place indeed,
1878] Holidays in Eastern France. 375
but, like all the other vast com
partments of the manufactory, as
well ventilated, spacious, and airy as is possible under the circum
stances, the workman’s inconve
nience from the heat being thereby
reduced to a minimum. Here it is
highly amusing to watch the appa
rently intelligent machines which
divide the chocolate into half-pound
lumps, the process being accom
‘ plished with incredible swiftness.
Huge masses of chocolate in this
stage, awaiting the final prepara
tion, are seen here, all destined
at last to be put, half a pound at a
time, into a little baking tin, to be
baked like a hot cross bun, the name
of Menier being stamped on at the
same time. A good deal of mani
pulation is necessary in this pro cess, but we must go down a stage
lower to see the dexterity and
swiftness with which the chief
manual tasks in the fabrication of
chocolate are performed. Here
women are chiefly employed, and
their occupation is to envelop the
half-pound cake of chocolate in
three papers—first silver, next yel
low, and finally sealing it up in the
well-known white cover familiar to
all of us. These feminine fingers
work so fast and with such marvel lous precision that if the intricate
pieces of machinery we have just
witnessed seemed gifted with human
intelligence and docility, on the
other hand the women at work in
this department appeared like ani
mated machines—no blundering, no
halting, no alteration of working
pace. Their fluttering fingers in
deed worked with beautiful prompti
tude and regularity; and as every
body in M. Menier’s ‘ City of Cho colate’ is well-dressed and cheer
ful, there was nothing painful in the
monotony of their toil or unremit
ting application.
On the same floor are the pack
ing departments, where we see the
cases destined for all parts of the
world. Thus quickly and easily
/
we have descended the ladder of
learning, and have acquired some faint notion of the way in which
the hard brown tasteless cocoa
berry is transformed into one of the
most agreeable and wholesome com
pounds as yet invented for our delectation. Of course many inter
mediate processes have had to be passed by, also many interesting
features in the organisation of the
various departments—these to be
realised must be seen.
There are one or two points, how
ever, I will mention. In the first
place, when we consider the enor mous duty on sugar, and the fact
that chocolate, like jam, is com
posed half of sugar and half of
berry, we are at first at a loss to
understand how chocolate-making
can bring in such large returns as it
must do—in the first place to have
made M. Menier a bis-millionaire,
in the second .to enable him to
carry out his philanthropic schemes
utterly regardless of cost. But we
must remember that there is but
one Chocolate-Menier in the world,
and that in spite of the enormous
machinery at work night and day,
working-day and Sunday, supply
can barely keep pace with de
mand; also that M. Menier pos
sesses cocoa and sugar plantations,
thus getting his raw material at
first hand.
A staff of night workers are at
rest in the daytime, in order to
keep the machinery going at work,
and, to my regret, I learnt that the
workshops are not closed on Sun
days. M. Menier’s workpeople
doubtless get ample holidays, but
the one day’s complete rest out of
the seven, the portion of all with
us, is denied them. By far the
larger portion of the Chocolate
Menier is consumed in France,
where, as in England and America,
it stands unrivalled. M. Menier may
therefore be said to possess a mono
poly, and seeing how largely be
lavishes his ample wealth on others,
376 Holidays in Eastern France. [September
none can grudge him such good
fortune. Having witnessed the trans
formation of one of the most un
promising-looking berries imagin
able into the choicest of sweetmeats,
the richest of the ‘ cups that cheer
but not inebriate,’ lastly, one of the
best and most nourishing of the
lighter kinds of food, we have to wit
ness a transformation more magical
still, namely, the hard life of toil made
comparatively easy, the drudgery of
mechanical labourlightened, the ex
istence of the human machine made
hopeful, healthful, reasonable, and happy. Want, squalor, disease, and drunkenness have been banished from the City of Chocolate, and
thrift, health, and prosperity reign
in their stead. Last of all, ignor
ance has vanished also, a thorough
education being the happy portion of every child within its precincts.
Our first visit is to what is called
the Ecole Gardievme, or infant school
—like the rest, kept up entirely at
M. Menier’s expense—and herein
the founder’s gift of organisation
is seen more strikingly than any
where. These children, little trot
ting things from three to five years
old, have a large playground, open
in summer, covered in winter, and
a spacious schoolroom, in which they receive lessons in singing,
ABC, and so on. Instead of being
perched on high benches without
backs, and their legs dangling, as is l the casein convent schools for the
poor, they have delightful little easy
chairs and tables accommodated to
their size, each little wooden chair
with backs, having seats for two,
so that instead of being crowded
and disturbing each other, the
children sit in couples, with plenty
-of room and air, and in perfect physical comfort. No hollow cheeks,
-110 bent backs, no crookedness
here.. Comfortable as princes these
children sit in their chairs, having
their feet on the floor and their backs where they ought to be,
namely, on a support. Leading out
of the schoolroom are two small
rooms, where we saw a pleasant
sight—a dozen cots, clean and cosy,
on which sturdy boys and girls
of a year old were taking their
mid-day’s sleep. We next went
into the girls’ school, which is
under the charge of a certificated
mistress, and where the pupils remain
till thirteen or fourteen years of age, receiving exactly the same educa tion as the boys, and without a
fraction of cost to the parents.
The course of study embraces all
branches of elementary knowledge,
with needlework, drawing, history,
singing, and bookkeeping. Exami
nations are held, and certificates of progress awarded. We found the
girls taking a lesson in needle work_-the only point in which their
education differs from that of the
b0ys—and the boys at their draw
ing-class, all the schools being lofty,
well-aired, and admirably arranged. Adjoining the schools is the library,
open to all members of the com
munity, and where many helps to
adult study are afforded. On the other side of the pleasant green
square, so invitingly planted with
trees, stands the co-operative
store, which is of course a most
important feature in the orga nisation of the community. There
meat, groceries, and other arti cles of daily domestic consump
tion are sold at low prices, and of
the best possible quality, the mem
bership of course being the privi
lege of the thrifty and the self-deny
ing,who belong to the association by
payment. I did not ask if intoxi
cating drinks were sold on the
premises, for such an inquiry would
have been gratuitous. The cheer
ful, tidy, healthful looks of the
population proclaimed their so
briety; and some sirop de g’r0se’ille
offered to me in one cottage showed
that such delicious drinks are made at home as to necessitate no pur chases abroad.
1878] Holidays in Eastern France. 377
There is also a savings’ bank
which all are invited to patronise,
six and a half per cent. being the incentive held out to these econo
misers on a small scale. But neither
the school, nor the co-operative
store, nor the savings’ bank, can
make the working man’s life what
it should be without the home; and it is here that alike M. Menier’s
philanthropy and organisation have
achieved the greatest results. These dwellings, each block containing
two, are admirably arranged, with
two rooms on the ground-floor, two
above, a capital oellar, office, and
last, but not least, a garden. The
workman pays a hundred and
twenty francs, rather less than five
pounds a year, for this accommo dation, which it is hardly necessary
to say is the portion of very few
artisans in France or elsewhere. The ‘cité,’ as it is called, being close
to the works, they can go home to
their meals; and though the wo
men are largely employed in the
manufactory, the home need not be neglected. It was delightful to
witness my cicerone’s pleasure in
his home. He was a workman of
superior order; and though, as he
informed me, of no great educa tion, yet possessed of literary and
artistic tastes. The little parlour
was as comfortable a room as any
reasonable person could desire.
There were books on the shelves, and pictures over the mantelpieee;
among these portraits of M. Thiers,
Gambetta, and M. Menier, for all
of whom he expressed great admi
ration. ‘Ah!’ he said, ‘I read
the newspaper, and I know a
little history, but in my time edu
cation was not thought of. These ‘
children here have now the chance
of being whatever they like.’ He
showed me his garden, every inch
of which was made use of, fruits,
flowers, and vegetables growing luxuriantly in this well-selected
site. The abundance -of flowers was particularly striking, especially
to those familiar with certain dis
tricts of France where a flower is
never thought of. M. Menier him
self must have as strong a passion
for gardening as .for philosophy,
judging from the enormous gardens
adjoining his handsome chateau;
and perhaps his love of fiowers—
always a most humanising taste—
has set the example. These bril
liant parterres, whether seen in the
vast domains of the master or the
humble homesteads of the men, delightfully break the red and white
uniformity of the ‘City of Choco
late,’ flowers above, around, and on every side. There is also a pro
fusion of fruits and vegetables, land
quite recently laid under cultiva tion soon yielding returns in this
favoured spot. With regret we turn our backs
upon an experiment as unique as it
is successful in the history of social
organisation. Wherever we go, in
-whatever corner of the world we
see or taste the famous Chocolate
Menier, we shall henceforth be re
minded of something which will lend
additional sweetness and flavour. We
-shall recall a community of working
people whose toil is lightened and
elevated, whose position is made
rational and happy by a sympathy
and munificence rarely found allied.
Many others have spent perhaps as
much for the good of their working people as M. Menier. To few is
granted so happy a gift of organisa
tion, and of fitting the means to the
end. More lessons than one will be
carried away by the least or most
instructed visitor to the delightful -little ‘ City of Chocolate’ on the
banks of the Marne.
The pretty little town of Lagny
should detain the traveller for an
hour or two, which he cannot do
better than spend on the river.
There are boats to be had, and I
daresay an enterprising explorer
could find his way back to Esbly
or Meaux without having recourse
to the railway.
378 Holidays in Eastern France. [ September
Church-going in this rich cheese
making country is at all times a
dreary affair, as I have said, but espe cially just now, when partly from harvest-work going on all Sunday,
and partly from lack of devotion,
both Catholic and Protestant places
of worship are all but empty.
For there is a strong Protestant
element here, dating from the
Huguenot times, and in the neigh
bouring village of Quiucey are
found a Protestant church and school. One Sunday morning I set
off with two friends to attend ser
vice, announced to take place at
eleven o’clock, but on arriving at Quincey we found the ‘ Temple’ lock
ed, and not a sign of any coming
ceremonial. Being very hungry after our long walk through cornfields
and vineyards, we went to a little baker’s shop in search of a roll,
and there realised the hospitable spirit of these good Briards. The
mistress of the shop very kindly in
vited me into a little back room,
and regaled me with excellent
household bread, Brie cheese, and
the wine of the country, refusing
to be paid for her refreshments.
This little meal finished I joined my friends at the church, which was now open, and in company
with half-a-dozen school children
we quietly waited to see what would eventually take place. By
and-by one or two peasant-folk dropped in; then the schoolmaster
appeared, and we were informed that it being the first Sunday
in the month the pastor had to do
duty in an adjoining parish accord ing to custom, and that the school
master would read the prayers
and lessons instead. A psalm was
sung, portions of Scripture and short
prayers followed, another straggler
or two joining the little congrega
tion as the service went on. The
schoolmaster, who read, played the
harmonium, and sang exceedingly well, finally read a brief exposition on the’portion of Scripture read,
whereupon, after further singing,
we broke up. These country pas
tors, like the priests, receive very small pay from the State.
In the afternoon we went to the
parish church of Couilly whilst
vespers were going on. If the
little Protestant assemblage I had
just witnessed was touching, this
was painful, and might have
afiorded an artist an admirable subject for a picture. Sitting on a high stool, with his back to the
congregation, consisting of three
old women, was the priest, on either
side the vergers, one in white stole,
the other in purple with a scarlet
cap, all three chanting in loud
monotonous tones, and of course
in Latin, now and then the har monium giving a faint accompani ment. On either side of these automatic figures were rows of
little boys in scarlet and white,
who from time to time made their
voices heard also. As a back
ground to this scene was the
pretty little Gothic interior, the
whiteness of aisle and transept being relieved by the saffron col-oured ribs of the arches and
columns; the church of Couilly
being curious without and beautiful
within, like many other parish
churches here. After a time one
of the vergers blew out the three
wax lights on a side altar, and all
three retired, each scurrying away
in different directions with very
little show of reverence. How different to the crowded churches
in Brittany, where, whether at
mass or vespers, hardly standing
room is to be found! How long
Catholicism will hold its sway over the popular mind there depends of course greatly on the priests
themselves, who, if ignorant and
coarse mannered, at least set their
flocks a better example in the matter of morals than here. The less
said about this subject the better.
French priests are, whichever way we regard them, objects of com
1878] Holidays in Eastern France. 379
miseration, but there can be no
doubt that the indifference shown to
religion in the flourishing depart
ment of Seine et Marne has been
brought about by the priests them
selves and their open disregard of
decorum. Their domestic lives are
an open book which all who run
may read! Some of them, however, occupy their time very harmlessly and pro
fitably in gardening and bee-keeping,
their choicest fruits and vegetables,
like those of their neighbours, going to England. Wewent one day, carry
ing big baskets with us, to visit a
neighbouring curé famous for his
greengages, and whose little pres bytére looked very inviting with
its vine-covered walls and luxuriant
flower-garden. The curé, who told
us he had been gardening that
morning from four till six o’clock,
received us very courteously, yet in
abusiness-like way, and immediately
took us to his fruit and vegetable garden some way ofi’. Here we
found the greatest possible pro
fusion and evidence of skilful gar
dening. The fruit trees were laden ;
there were Alpine strawberries with
their bright red fruit, currants,
melons, apricots, &c., and an equal
variety of vegetables. Not an inch
of ground was wasted, nor were
flowers wanting for adornment and
the bees. Splendid double sun
flowers, veritable little suns of
gold; garden mallows, gladioles, and
others. A score and more of hives
completed the picture, which its
owner contemplated with natural pride.
‘You have only just given your
orders in time, ladies,’ he said ; ‘ all
my greengages are to be gathered forthwith for the English market.
Ah! those English, those English,
they take everything! our best fruit—and the Island of Cyprus! ’
Whereupon I ventured to rejoin
that at least if we robbed our
French neighbours of their best
fruit, our money found its way into
VOL. XVIlI.—NO. CV. NEw SERIES.
the grower’s pocket. Of course
these large purchases in country places make home produce dearer
for the inhabitants, but as the Eng.
lish agents pay a higher price than
others, the peasants and farmers
hail their appearance with delight. The fruit has to ripen on its way,
and to enjoy a ‘Reine Claude ’ or
melon to the full, we must taste it here. This curé makes a good deal
by his bees, and the honey of these
parts is first-rate. On the whole,
small as is their pay, these parish
priests cannot be badly off, seeing
that they get extra money
their garden produce and largely
also by baptismal and other church
fees. Then, of course, it must be
remembered that nothing is ex—
pected of them in the way of charity,
as with our clergy. ‘ Nous recevons
toujours, nous ne donnons jamais,’
was the reply of a French bishop on being asked an alms by some
benevolent lady for a protégé.
Scattered throughout these fertile
and prosperous regions are ancient
towns, some of which are reached
by separate little lines of railway, –
others are accessible by road only.
Coulommiers is one of these, and
though there is nothing attractive
about it except a most picturesque
old church and a very pretty walk
by the winding Grand-Morin, it is
worth making the two hours’ drive
across country for the sake of the
scenery. As there is no direct communication with Couilly and no
possibility of hiring a carriage at
this busy season, I gladly accepted
a neighbour’s offer of a seat in his
‘trap,’ a light spring-cart with
a capital horse. The third spare seat was occupied by a neighbour
ing notary, the two men discuss
ing metaphysics, literature, and
the origin of things on their way. We started at seven o’clock in the
morning, and lovely indeed looked
the wide landscape in the tender
light, valley and winding river and wooded ridge being soon exchanged D D
380 Holidays in Eastern France. [September
for wide open spaces covered with
corn and autumn crops. Farming
here is carried on extensively, some
of these rich farms numbering several
hundred acres. The farmhouses and buildings surrounded with a high
-stone wall are few and far between,
and the separate crops cover much larger tracts than here. It was
market-day at Coulommiers, and
on our way we passed many farmers
and farmeresses jogging to market,
the latter with their fruit and
vegetables, eggs and butter, in com
fortable covered carts. Going to
market in France means indeed what it did with us a hundred years ago; yet the farmers and farmers’
wives looked the picture of pros perity. In some cases fashion had
so far got the better of tradition that
the reins were handled by a smart looking young lady in hat and
feathers and fashionable dress, but
for the most part by toil-embrowned
homely women, with a coloured
handkerchief twisted round their
head, and no pretension to gen tility. The farmers wear blue
blouses, and were evidently accus
tomed to hard work, but for all that it was easy to see that they were
possessed both of means and in telligence. Like the rest of the Briard population they are fine
fellows, tall, with regular features and frank good-humoured counte nances. Some of these farmers are in receipt of what is considered a
fair income for an English vicar or rector, wholly irrespective of .their
farming gains, but they work all the same. I went inside the fine
old church, and, though the doors
were open, found it empty except for
a little market girl who, having de
posited her basket, was bent not on –
prayer but on counting her money. In Brittany on market days there is
never a lack of pious worshippers. The interior of this picturesque
church is very quaintly coloured,
and as a whole is well worth
seeing. Like many other towns
in these parts Coulommiers dates
from an ancient period, and long belonged to the English
Crown. Alternately ravaged dnring the Hundred Years’ War and the
religious wars and troubles of the
League, nothing to speak of remains
of its old walls and towers of de fence. Market day is a sight there,
and the show of melons alone made a subject for a painter. The
weather-beaten market-women, with
their gay coloured handkerchiefs
round their heads, their blue
gowns, the delicious colour and
lovely forms of the fruit—all this
must be seen. Here and there were
large pumpkins, cut open to show the ripe red pulp, with abundance
of purple plums, apples, and pears
just ripening, and bright yellow
apricots on every side. It was clear ‘ les Anglais’ had not carried off
all the fruit! At Coulommiers or elsewhere you may search in vain
for rags, dirt, or a sign of beggary.
Everyone is homely, prosperous, and wears a cheerful countenance.
[Nora.—It will be seen that I have
given the reader no information about
hotels, and this requires a word of explana tion. Whether travelling in Seine et Marne
or elsewhere, I make it a rule never to
patronise a hotel if I can possibly help it ;
my theory is that the mere tourist sees nothing—at least to write about, and that
the only way to make travel, especially
French travel, profitable is to live among the people and see things from their point of view. Thus I get handed on from one
French friend to another, and make as
many possible excursions from the same starting point, instead of flying from point
to point by railway. I have no doubt that all the pleasant towns and villages I
mention have little inns where people not
too particular are made comfortable, whilst those able to spend money on a handsome
scale would doubtless find furnished houses at almost the same rate as in the fashion
able watering-places. This picturesque region is moreover not to be scampered
through, but to be seen quietly and
leisurely, and commends itself to the lovers
of natural beauty and rustic life only. Artist and angler alike must be well
satisfied unless hard to please]
M. B.-E.

Fraser’s Magazine, Volume 18 (Google Books)

STUDIES OF ITALIAN MUSICAL LIFE Il\l’ THE .EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.

E go down the Strada San Donato, the noblest street in noble old Bologna; we issue out of its lofty arcades in front of the tall, red brick church of San Giacomo, pass by the side of its time-worn marble lions, and ring, hard by, at a little blistered door, all scribbled over with music notes. The door creaks, swings back on its hinges, and lets us pass into a little black lobby, illumined by a flickering, sputtering shrine lamp; we clamber up a dark, rugged well staircase, past an open kitchen, and come to a landing. A confused sound of instruments and voices meets us, for the pupils of the music school are at their lessons; we push back a heavy leathern door, and enter a vast, lofty, desolate hall, on whose brick floor our steps resound as in a church. The practising pupils are not here, nor is any other living person besides ourselves; but all around a crowd of dead musicians, members of the once famous Philharmonic Academy, in purple and lilac, and brocade and powder, look down upon us from the walls. Only here and there do we recognise some well-known figure—Handel, majestic in blue plush and a many-storied peruke; Gluck, coarse, bright, and flushed, in a furred cloak; Haydn, pale, grey, willow-like, bending over a meagre spinnet; Mozart, sweet and dreamy, with the shadow of premature death already upon him . . around them are a host of others, forgotten and unknown, their contemporaries, their masters, their friends, their rivals, and perhaps their successful rivals. Very solemn and quaint they mostly are; those ladies with prodigious beribboned haycocks on their heads, those fiddlers in‘ dressing-gowns and periwigs, -those prim chapel-masters

seated by their harpsichords, and those dapper singers with one hand on their music roll and the other on their sword-hilt; very solemn and quaint, and almost droll, but not without something that awakens

sadness. There is sadness in the dignified, thoughtful composers, looking as if the world still rang

with the sound of their music-—music not heard for a century; there is sadness in the dandified singers, whose names have long been forgotten, but whose eyes are upturned and whose lips are parted, as if they still thrilled and delighted those that have been dead a hundred years; it is a world of feeling extinct and genius forgotten, a world separated from ours by a strange, indefinable gulf. Yet amongst these forgotten, nameless figures there is one who can procure us a glimpse into that world: opposite us hangs the portrait of a man in the brocade gown of a doctor of music; thin, sharp, with a shrewd, kindly, humorous face. Our fellow-countryman, Dr. Burney, can yet introduce us to some at least of the forgotten musicians around us ; of all his contemporaries, he is the only one who does not look down on us in silence.

Let us therefore quit for a while the desolate old hall, hung with the portraits of the Philharmonic Academicians, and descend into the cosy brown library, with its shelves of books and manuscripts, its glass cases of quaint lutes and viols, and its Venetian chandelier shining opal-tinted in the sun, which falls across the little cloister court, and gilds the red brick of the adjacent belfry. Here, among heaps of time-soiled scores and bundles of faded letters, and with a subdued hum of music entering by the open windows, we can sit and turn over the leaves of the battered volume which chronicles the musical tour through France and Italy made in the year 1770 by Charles Burney, Doctor of Music.

Charles Burney is now-a-days scarcely remembered except as the father of the first and one of the most brilliant of female English novelists; but long before Evelina and Cecilia were written, at a time when the future Mdme. d’Arblay was looked upon as a mere ordinary little piece of living furniture in the house in Poland Street, her father was well known as one of the first of English musicians, as a man of great literary attainments and of great social charms, and as belonging to the most brilliant coteries of the day. Although by profession nothing beyond a mere music-master, and without pretensions to an elegant or even very comfortable style of living, Burney had a very large circle of acquaintances, not only among literary and scientific notabilities, but among people of much higher rank and station than his own, who were pleased to know him and pleased that their acquaintance with him should be known, for Burney was the kind of man who is acquainted with everyone worth knowing, thanks to his character, his talents, and a certain sincerity and sunniness of nature which attached everyone to him. Born at Shrewsbury in 1726, and entrusted during childhood to mere country folk, he had been early apprenticed to the celebrated composer Arne, whose teachings were restricted to making him drudge as a copyist, so that the young man owed nearly all he learned to his own indefatigable activity while in this bondage. From it he was released by Fulke Greville, a high-born fop and wit, who took him into his private service, but less as a teacher than a companion. This position, while throwing the youth into the dissipated circles to

which his patron belonged, at the same time afforded him opportunities of becoming acquainted with persons of social and literary standing; and such was Burney’s happy character, that he obtained all the advantages without any of the disadvantages which Mr. Greville put within his reach. A charming and highly intellectual

young wife confirmed his tenden

cies towards domestic life, and towards literary and social culture; and every succeeding year saw him extend his reputation, and enlarge his circle of friends. Nothing perhaps impresses us more with his winning character than the perfeet confidence and affection of all his children, and the constant tender admiration of his daughter Fanny-an admiring, enthusiastic affection, not unlike that of Madame de Staél for Necker. But Burney was as great a favourite abroad as at home. Among the earliest of his innumerable friends was Garrick, who would show off all his powers of mimicry for the delight of the little Burneys; the accomplished and unfortunate Crisp, to whose conversation Burney probably owed much of the superior sesthetical education he displayed; and Mason,

‘ the friend of Gray, and author of

Caractacus, whom, together with Thomson of the Seasons, Burney had come across in the earliest part of his career. Reynolds, who loved money, painted Burney’s portrait out of mere friendship, and Mrs. Thrale hung it up at Streatham. Goldsmith sought eagerly for the acquaintance of the doctor of music; while Gibbon, Bruce, Burke, Sheridan, Captain Cook, Murphy, Boswell, and a host of other celebrities, fiocked to the parties in the house which had once belonged to Newton. But of all Burney’s friends none perhaps was as hearty and truly appreciative as Johnson : ‘ Mrs. Thrale was lamenting the sudden disappearance of Dr. Bur

ney, who was just gone to town, sans adienzv ; declaring that he was the most complete male coquette she knew, for he only gave just enough of his company to make more desired.

‘ “ Dr. Burney,” said Mr. Murphy, “is indeed a most extraordinary man. I think I do not know such another. He is at home on all subjects; and upon all highly agreeable! I look upon him as a wonderful man! ”

‘‘‘I love Burney!” cried Dr. Johnson, emphatically ; “ my heart goes out to meet Burney. . . . Dr. Burney is a man for everybody to love. It is but natural to love him. . . . I question if there be in the world such another man, altogether, for mind, intelligence, and manners, as Dr. Burney.” ’

In this prosperous condition of his affairs, Dr. Burney, who, it must be remembered, although a wit and a friend of wits, was by profession merely a music master, conceived the idea of a great work on his art, of a general history of music, such as had never been written before, and could never be written except by himself, by the man who had heard more music than any other, who appreciated it better, and had the friendship of all the most distinguished composers and performers. To this plan he devoted all his leisure time and all his spare money. He made extract after extract, bought volume after volume and manuscript after manuscript, and every hour missed by a pupil was, according to Madame d’A.rblay, given to his History. Indeed, what would not be done for an all-engrossing work by a man like Burney, who as a boy had tied a string to his toe that he might be waked by a companion in the street and begin his studies at daybreak, and who as a young man had learned Latin and Greek while plodding through the mud of Lynn Regis on his mare Peggy? Very

soon Burney became dissatisfied with the materials for his History which he could obtain in England from books and conversation; he wished to give his work the benefit of every kind of information, and he at length conceived the plan of visiting France and Italy. ‘In hopes,’ he wrote, ‘of stamping on my History some marks of originality . . . . I determined to hear with my own ears, and see with mine own eyes; and, if possible, to see and hear nothing but music.’

‘ There was something so spirited and uncommon,’ writes Madame d’Arblay, ‘ and yet of so antique a cast, in these travels or pilgrimage that he had undertaken in search of materials for the history of his art, that curiosity was awakened to the subject, and expectation was earnest for its execution;’ and, consequently, well supplied with letters of introduction, and encouraged by general approbation, Dr. Burney set off for Italy with a light heart at the beginning of June 1770.

On Tuesday, June I 3, Dr. Burney arrived in Paris. He had been there twice before, was well acquainted with its sights, people, and music, and therefore stayed only as long as he required to seek for materials for his work in the public libraries. Dr. Burney appears to have had that high admiration for French writers, and that smiling slight contempt for the French people, which distinguished well-educated Englishmen of his day. Like them he had read the Encyclopédic, and Voltaire and Rousseau and all the other philosophers, without that religious and national hostility and dread which the succeeding generation felt for them. Like most of his travelling countrymen, he had noticed the French lower classes, horribly oppressed, miserably poor, and invincibly lightheartedand civil, dancing, bowing, and making witticisms in torn, tarnished clothes as gaily as if there had been neither taxes nor corvées nor rack nor gibbcts. He had looked at this strange people without any of the fears and hatred which they were later destined to inspire. The coming revolution had not yet cast its shadow before it. In the eyes of foreigners the Encyclopaedists were not yet atheists and corrupters; the lower classes were not yet demagogues and murderers. All in France was quite safe and pleasant: there were philosophical marquises disbelieving in moral law; ministers who gave delightfully courteous audiences to insignificant travellers and sent troublesome pamphleteers to the Bastille ; there were gay tattered vagabonds like La Fleure, and chivalric outcasts like the Knight of St. Louis who sold pasties; there was the whole fantastic world of Yorick—amusing, charming, despicable, and perfectly harmless. Dr. Burney went to the public libraries, walked in the streets crowded with the Féte Dieu processions, and on the Boulevart, ‘ which is a place of public diversion without the gates of Paris. It is laid out and planted ; at the sides are coffee-houses, conjurors and shows of all kinds. Here, every evening during the summer, the walks are crowded with well-dressed people and the road with splendid equipages.’ Here also people danced miuuets, allemandes, and contre-danses when the weather was warm. He went to the theatre and saw comedies exquisitely acted, and operas most vilely sung. He went to the Abbé Arnaud, who had written much in favour of Italian music, and to M. Grétry, who was trying to bring it into fashion by his own example, and with them Burney lamented over the vileness of French music to his heart’s content; for Arnaud’s books and Grétry’s compositions, though read and heard throughout the country, seemed equally inefii

cacious to make the French abandon their own atrocious music.

Burney also went to several concerts and operas, thinking that some improvement might have taken place since his previous visits to Paris, and also from a conscientious determination to hear everything, good or bad, and to try once for all to find something enjoyable or commendable in French music. ‘ Those who visit Italy for the sake of painting, sculpture, and architecture,’ writes Burney, ‘do well to see what those arts afford in France first, as they become so dainty afterwards that they can bear to look at but few things which that kingdom affords; and

as I expected to have the same .

prejudices or feelings at my. return about their music, I determined to give it a fair hearing first.’

How strong aprejudice already existed in the Doctor’s mind is shown by these very precautions which he took to remain unprejudiced ; indeed it was preposterous to think of giving a fair hearing to French music; for besides the musical taste of every Englishman of that day being exclusively Italian, it was a fact universally admitted and proved by experiments on the unsophisticated minds of Greeks, Hurons, and Polynesians, that to enjoy French music it was not sufiicient to be a savage, but it was necessary also to be a Frenchman. Why the French opera from thetime of Lull y to that of Gluck should have been a musical abomination incomprehensible to all other nations, it is indeed difiicult to explain, except by the fact that all stagnant things corrupt. The French, like the English and the Germans, had originally got their music and their opera from the Italians, but, unlike their neighbours, they had refused to submit to the constantly progressing Italian taste, while they themselves remained incapable of improving what they had been in

capable of producing. Music out of Italy was a delicate exotic, and the French planted and cultivated it among coarse and tawdry plants by which it was soon crushed. When Cardinal Mazarin introduced the Italian opera into France, it was in the monstrous condition inseparable from times of growth and transition; the dramas were badly constructed, the poetry languid and quibbling, the music harsh and pedantic; no great school of singing had as yet arisen, and the chief attraction of the performance consisted in scenic displays and pantomime wonders, which were pushed to an incredible point. The French never dreamed of altering the opera in any of these essential points. While the Italians gave a new shape to the drama, eliminated all the extraneous elements of machinery and dancing, and cultivated singing and vocal composition to the utmost, the French, relying entirely upon their own powers, never attending to what was being done in Italy, merely petrified the uncouth and unmeaning forms of the opera of the seventeenth century, Musical progress there was none; on the contrary, the greater the distance from the original importation of the opera, the worse it became, the more insipid were the plays, the more extravagant the scenic shows, the more uncouth the music, the more insufferable the singers, and the more satisfied was the publicLa Bruyére and Vauvcnargues spoke with admiring complacency of what was styled la machine, of the transformations, the flights through the air, the apparitions from underground, the enchanted castles and palaces in the clouds; St. Evremont and Bourdelotproudly contrasted the ranting, screaming, barking, drawling performance of their countrymen with the smooth and brilliant execution of the Italians, which they found utterly

devoid of pathos and fit only to make people gape or to send them to sleep. The most polished Paris audience would turn with satisfaction from a tragedy by Racine or Voltaire to an opera by Campra or Rameau, from the exquisitely dignified deelamation of a Baron or a Lecouvreur to the screeching and howling of a Gros or a Delcambre: in short, French music seemed invincible. Gray, who accompanied Walpole to Paris in 1739, has left a long description of a French opera, in which, after detailing the ludicrously vapid subject and the eternal ballets, he concludes as follows: ‘ Imagine all this transacted by cracked voices trilling divisions upon two notes and a half, accompanied by an orchestra of humstrums, . . . . des miaulements et des hurlements effroyables, mélées (sic) avec un tintamarre du diable: voila la musique francaise en abregée ’ However, as even Frenchmen must travel and find something to admire in foreign countries, a suspicion began at length to spread that French music was not quite as perfect, and Italian music not quite as atrocious, as had been hitherto thought; men of talent and fortune began to seek for Italian scores and to write pasquinades on French operas. An Italian comic company was, encouraged to perform in Paris Pergolesi’s charming musical farce La Serve Padrona, which immediately awakened the enthusiasm of all who were inclined toward Italian music and the frantic indignation of the partisans of the French opera, and inaugurated a war of pamphlets and epigrams which lasted full a quarter of a century. But French music was not so easily routed. Frenchmen like the Président de Brosses went to Italy, heard the Faustina, Senesino, Carestini, all the greatest singers of the day, brought back volumes and portfolios full of songs by Hasse, by Pergolesi, and by Leo,

which were handed round in Paris,

copied and performed by selfsufiicient amateurs; but after having recovered from the first shock of hearing once more their national music, the travellers would gradu

ally become half reconciled to the

French opera; a great Italian

singer, like Caffariello, would be

summoned to Paris by the Dan

phine, and Grimm, Diderot, and hundreds of others would go

into raptures and burst into tears at his performances in the Royal Chapel; but scarcely had he left France when his frantic admirers would turn half-complacently to the howlers and screechers of the Concert Spiritual. A vast amount was said and written to prove that Italian music was the only sort fit for civilised beings, and a constant lamentation was set up as to the difficulty of introducing it into France, yet never did it enter the head of any

one that it was as simple to estab

lish a regular Italian opera house in Paris as it had been to do so long before in London, at Vienna,

nay, even at Lisbon and at Warsaw. The French talked and wrote in favour of Italian composers and singers, but neither the Président de Brosses, nor Grimm,

nor d’Alembert, nor Arnaud, nor Diderot, nor any of the warmest of its partisans, ever dreamt of intro

ducing into France the Italian style of musical drama, nor the exclusive and passionate worship of the human voice which formed the mainspring of Italian music. They wanted to retain their own national style and just varnish it over with Italian gloss, they wanted the singer to remain subservient to the composer, the composer to the poet, and the poet to the stage mechanician, and at the same time they wanted what they called Italian music, a proof that, as Burney afiirms, they never

understood what it really meant, and that they were in reality fighting about more names. The only French writer of the day who really understood Italian music, was Rousseau, and because he did, he understood also that his fellow countrymen would never understand it.

Of this Burney had ample proof at the Concert Spirituel or concert of sacred music in the Louvre, the only kind of diversion which the godly Louis XV. would tolerate on festi

vals: the performance began with a chorus by Lalande, of which the greater part seemed detestable to Burney, but was ‘much applauded by the audience, who admired it as much as they did themselves for being natives of a country able to produce such masterpieces of com

position and such exquisite performers.’ Two able Italian instrumentalists were less agreeable to the public ; ‘ nay, I could even discover by the countenances of the audience and their reception, how little they felt such a performance.’ Poor Madame Philidor, who only attempt

ed to sing in the Italian way, and

who could not be accused of suc

ceeding in the attempt, was scarcely better treated, but Mdlle. Del

cambre ‘ who screamed out Exaudi Deus, with all the power of lungs

she could muster ’ was much admired, and when the concert con

cluded with a grand chorus, which

surpassedall the clamour, all noises

Burney had ever heard in his life,

he saw, ‘by the smiles of inefiable

satisfaction which were visible in the countenances of ninety-nine out of a hundred of the company, and heard, by the most violent applause that a ravished audience could bestow, that it was quite what their hearts felt and their souls loved.’

Yet these were no longer the days when Lully and Rameau had ruled supreme. Rousseau had written his Lettre sur la Mzosigue Francaise, Grimm and Arnaud had pasquinaded French composers; Diderot’s

daughter, when Burney visited her,

played only Italian music, and all the fashionable people declared themselves the warm admirers of Pergolesi and Galuppi. ‘ It is not easy,’ writes Burney, ‘to account for the latitude the French take in their approbation, or to suppose it possible for people to like things as opposite as light and darkness. If French music is good and its expression natural and pleasing, that of Italy must be bad; or change the sup

position, and allow that of Italy to be all which an unprejudiced but cultivated ear could wish, then the

French music cannot give such an

ear equal delight. The truth is,

the French do not like Italian music:

they pretend to adopt and admire it,

but it is all mere afectation.’

Burney was perfectly correct in saying that the French never really liked Italian music. They never obtained or tried to obtain it genuine; and so far from its ever being thoroughly adopted in France, the French lost their exclusive worship for Lully and Rameau, made a step forward from the point at which they had been at the beginning of the eighteenth century, and began to enjoy Italian music only when it was offered them. by Gluck cunningly tinged with French declamation; and they entirely abandoned their national composers only when Italian music was beginning to decay, when it had ceasedtobe purely Italian and had mingled with what remained of the original French style, in the days of Cherubini, Salieri, and Spontini.

The violent feuds between Gluckists and Piccinnists, which broke out in Paris a few years after Burney’s visit, have indeed made some persons believe that there must have been intense musical life among the French, and that they really possessed an Italian school of composition, but such a notion is totally erroneous. The French

cared nothing for music itself, but they seized hold of it as a subject of dissertation and dispute; Gluck and Piccinni were equally unappreciated by them, and were valued only as affording occasion for a war of pamphlets, epigrams and v(1Zld6t”ill68, such as they waged upon every other subject and upon no subject at all; the French were in that strange state of mental overexcitement in which scientific discoveries and drawing-room jests, social laws and charlatans’ nostrums became objects of the same engrossing and feverish attention; and music, to which they never listened but about which they were always talking, was merely another intellectual bauble which amused and excited them for awhile, until Mesmer and Cagliostro took its place and until all artificial subjects of interest were swept away by the revolution. With respect to the Italian school of music, it never took root in France, and indeed the first superficial varnish of Italian elegance was imparted to French music by Gluck, whose wild theories of dramatic expression joined with his aversion to the supremacy of voice made him sympathise to a certain extent with the declamatory and unmelodious school of Lully and Rameau; whereas Piccinni, bent, like every true Italian composer of his day, solely on perfecting purely musical excellence, was utterly unable to amalgamate his style with that of the French, or to produce any effect on the latter.

That this is true, and that the utter musical stagnation of which Burney complains continued in the midst of the most violent theoretical discussions, is proved by Mozart’s letters, written from Paris in 1779, when the Gluckist and Piccinnist squabbles were at the highest:

What irritates me most (he writes) is that these Herrcn Franzosen have improved their taste only to the extent of enduring to hear good music as well as bad. But to expect them to perceive that their own music is bad-—e.r/ bei Lribe! And such singing! Oimé! If at least Frenchwomen would let alone Italian airs, I might forgive them their squalliug; but to hear good music spoilt is intolerable.

Again:

If at least there were a place here, where people had ears and hearts to appreciate music, where they understood a little about music, and had a little good taste; but with respect to music, I am among cattle and beasts (Vielwr und Beslten).

Lord Mount Edgcumbe also, who visited France in I 780, found French music insufferable, and French taste so little improved, that Pacchierotti, the most refined and pathetic of all the many exquisite singers of his day, was wholly unappreciated there.

The French, however, continued quite proud of themselves, and protested (and still perhaps protest) that if French music was not perfect, which they could not readily admit, it yet possessed great excellences, without which the Italian school must necessarily have remained incomplete. This was already the style of talk in the time of Rousseau, the first Frenchman who flatly denied that French music had any qualities which the Italians need desire; and these pretensions became such an article of national belief that it is right they should be examined carefully, as well as the answers of their contradictors.

There are no Italian accounts of French music, for the Italians who travelled avoided hearing it, and those who stayed at home did not even know, as Rousseau remarks, that there was any French music which differed from theirs. Our authorities, therefore, are English and Germans, and Frenchmen themselves, who often confessed individual faults of their music, while refusing to admit its general inferiority. The first and most important fault found by foreigners is that French music is old-fashioned; that while Italian music has rapidly improved, French music has re

mained utterly stagnant since the end of the seventeenth century ; that the same operas, forty, fifty, or sixty years old, are constantly being repeated, while in Italy ten or fifteen years sufiice to render an opera obsolete; and that, even if new operas are composed, it is always in the same traditional style and with the same servile imitation of Lully, Lalande, and Rameau, whose Italian contemporaries have long since been laid aside. ‘ It is wonderful,’ writes Burney, speaking of the Zaide of Royer, which he had just heard, ‘ that nothing better, or of more modern taste, has been composed since; the style of composition is totally changed throughout the rest of Europe; yet the French . . . . have stood still in music for thirty or forty years : nay, one may assert boldly that it has undergone few changes at the great opera since Lully’s time—that is to say, in one hundred years. In short, notwithstanding they can both talk and write so well and so much about it, music in France, with respect to the two great essentials of melody and expression, may still be said to be in its infancy.’ What we next hear is that the music was not only old-fashioned, but bad, and most shamefully performed. French singing was proverbially abominable: the French, as we learn from Rousseau, knew only one sort of upper voice, the soprano, raised to the most unearthly pitch; and re. placed the contralto, so lovingly cultivated by the Italians of the eighteenth century, by a sort of falsetto tenor, of a most nasal and disgusting artificial tone. These misplaced voices were further ruined by being produced either purely in the head or in the throat, no such thing as a real chest voice being known in France ; they were totally undisciplined in the simplest and most essential qualities; they had no swell, no proper shake, no real agility and neatness of movement—

above all, no portamento, that is to say, no art of moving from one note to another without either hopping or dragging, no art of beginning and finishingaphrase; in short, no art of singing. All this was replaced by the most violent vocal contortions, shrieks, howls, gabbles, and squalls; by the most lamentable drawling, and especially by certain movements, called indiscriminately ports de ‘v0z’a;, which, according to contemporaries, were the sourest and most lugubriens graces conceivable. So much for the singers. The orchestra, though very numerous, was, as Grayexpressed it,one of humstrums ; and Rousseau informs us that, despite its numbers, it produced no effect, as no one knew how to direct it. Add to this that the choruses were bawled in so stentorian a fashion that Burney declares that compared to them the loudest English oratorio chorus was a lullaby. As to the compositions, they belonged, as we have seen, with the exception perhaps of dance music, for which the French had natural talent, to a raw, primitive, and— what was much worse—utterly stagnant style; and the French notoriously possessed neither real, distinctly marked melody, nor real, spoken, well-modulated recitative ; both categories, so carefully kept asunder by the Italians, being merged into a kind of awkward, insipid, boorish, continued declamation.

All this the French had to admit wholesale or piecemeal, and they had to admit also that in every one of these points the Italians were as perfect as they themselves were faulty. Yet the French had a loophole of escape: the Italians, they admit, sing exquisitely, have first-rate orchestras, compose divinely, but they have no expression. And that is what we, with all our failings, possess to the utmost. But this was the weakest subterfuge, sufiicient perhaps for their

vot. XVIII.—NO. ov. NEw SERIES.

blind vanity, but which all other nations utterly despised. For by expression the French meant the mere coarsest ranting. They could find none in Italian compositions, in the most heroic and pathetic which have perhaps ever been written; a clear proof that they did not feel and recognise true pathos. One of their own light, dissolute rhymesters, Dorat, declared that

Il échappe souvent des sons :1 la douleur Qui sont faux pour Yoreille, mais vrais pour le cueur.

But certain it is that French music, to all but Frenchmen, was false to the ear, without being therefore just to the heart. Indeed the constant burden both of Rousseau and of Burney is that the French did not know what musical pathos meant. Rousseau especially informs us that the chief advantage of French music was that, according as it was sung quickly or slowly (and either suited it equally) it could be made cheerful or melancholy, thus saving much additional trouble; and that the chief advantage of French singing was that the performer could slacken or quicken a passage to suit the length of his arms and the time which it consequently took to stretch them out and draw them in again. What then was this wonderful expressiveness of French music? It was simply, to all appearance, an extraordinary amount of national musical obliquity and a great deal of theatrical claptrap. A French opera, despite the utter absence of pathos, the horrible monotony of both the poetry and the music— for the first was a mere tissue of the most vapid gallantry and conceits, while the second was a mere succession of trivial, vulgar, and awkward tunes—a French opera was a far more dramatic performance than an Italian one; it was full of ranting and shuffiing B B

and screaming and roaring, full in short of all the refuse of tragic representation, of all that is sensational, melodramatic, and unartistic. If therefore French music did eventually give anything to Italian music, it certainly was not musical expression nor musical pathos which Italian, and not French music, possessed; it was a quality which could not improve, but only destroy a work of art— it was the coarsely, falsely emotional. However, a union of the two schools, French and Italian, did eventually take place, to the great advantage of the former, but certainly not of the latter, as some critics would have us believe. But this amalgamation could take place only when both schools were growing feeble, and when the excellence of the Italian was diminishing no less than the execrableness of the French one. In France the public was growing tired of shrieking and bellowing, and the romantic movement which began towards the end of the last century was bringing foreign art, as well as foreign literature, into vogue; in Italy, on the other hand, people were growing sick of good singing, and the French revolutionary wars were bringing the two nations into close contact. A third school, the Ger

, man instrumental one, had mean

French school, as well as of the perfectly coherent, polished, and eminently musical Italian one. The two elements may easily be traced ; they are sometimes equally balanced, but oftener one of them overweighs the other; and although we have still got some pure melody and some good singing, it is, we fear, easier to recognise in our operas the frantic cries, shricks, and whimperings, the noisy, concerted pieces, and the vulgar scenic displays which disgusted Gray in the works of Rameau and Campra. than the touching situations, exquisite melodies, and highly polished and pathetic performance which delighted Rousseau in the operas of Pergolesi and Jommelli.l

But this period of union was still far off in 1770, and Dr. Burn_ey left Paris in unmingled disgust at what he had heard, and journeyed towards Italy in delightful expectation of what he was going to hear.

In the provinces music was of course still more abominable than in the capital, for there being no spontaneous musical life in the country, where not imported, it did not exist. At Lyons, however, he met at a coffee-house with a family of which the father and sons played a violin quartet, while the daughters sang. None of the guests at the coffee-house ceased chattering and laughing during their performance, but Dr. Burney was delighted: he heard good music almost for the first time since entering France, andheard it from this family of poor Italian street musicians. It was like a sort of welcometo the country which was at that time the home of music; he accepted it gratefully, and hurried on towards Italy.

How- Dr. Burney got across

while separated itself from the Italian, to which it was originally due, and served further to cement the Italian with the French music. Italian composers, Cherubini, Spontini, and Paér, settled in France, and their works, returning to Italy, diffused the remains of the French style in their country. It is from this moment of union that dates our modern music, born of the disconnected, convulsive, highly theatrical

‘ The Printer suggests that I am mistaken in spelling this composer’s name with two 1n’s, and this is certainly not the usual spelling. My authority for the two wife in Jommclli and also for the two n’s in Picciimi (usually written ‘Piccini ’) is Saverio Mattei, an eminent Neapolitan critic who was intimate with bothcomposers, and who

puts the two m’s even on Jommelli’s epitaph.

the Alps he does not tell us. In those days, when Alpine roads were unknown and Alpine scenery unnoticed, a journey of this sort was probably looked back upon as equally horrid and uninteresting, and unworthy, therefore, of being recorded. We next find him safely arrived at Turin, and settled at the Hotel La Bonne Femme, round whose rooms some twenty-five years later Xavier de Maistre made many a fantastic journey. And now let us try and place ourselves in the position of Burney, this intelligent, cultivated, and enlightened traveller of the eighteenth century, on finding himself at length in Italy, the country of countries, towards which he had looked for years, and to visit which had been his dream, as it had been

that of many of his contemporaries. Italy was not then what it is now, to the mind of an intelligent and cultivated man. Its name did not suggest what it suggests to us; it was not the field for the exercise of those faculties which are exercised there in our day. There had been no Byron, no Sismondi, no Lady Morgan, no Ruskin; the generation of Goethe, of Madame de Staél, of Beckford, nay, even that of Ann Radcliffe, had not as yet appeared. There was no such thing as aesthetic criticism, as scientific history, as romantic poetry; not even a trace of classical enthusiasm or of romantic awe. Antiquity was only beginning to become a real existence; the Middle Ages were only vaguely known to have existed; and as to the Renaissance, it was not known that there had ever been one. Italy was already the great museum of Europe, but its contents had not yet been catalogued and labelled ; no one knew what to look at or what to look for, and people ran about in it at random, either seeing the wrong things or nothing at all, or at best only what they themselves could discover in

the vast confusion. In a few years, it is true, Goethe would come to revive antiquity in his mind by the help of scenery and buildings, customs and manners, art and poetry; and Beckford would come and fill his strange fantastic brain with visions of splendour and weirdness, with gorgeous displays of Nature and of art, and with fanciful suggestions of terror and mystery. But neither Goethe nor Beckford had yet arrived with romanticism in his company; and the traveller in Italy still belonged to the generation educated in the midst of philosophy and afl’ectation, fed upon Pope and Voltaire, Boucher and Kneller, poor in historical information as in poetic fancy, and possessing only a very large fund of good sense and practical wisdom with plenty of attendant folly. He came to-Italy without prejudices as without enthusiasm, to finish his education or to improve his mind. He was interested in antiques, as historical remains, without much sesthetical appreciation; associating Greek vases with coins of Roman Emperors and with mummy cases ; not clearly understanding‘ the difi’erence between Athens and Rome; seeing Hadrians and Faustinas in gods and goddesses of Scopas and Praxiteles, and recognising Brutus and Virginia in bas reliefs of athletes and amazons. He turned away from Giotto’s Tower and Milan Cathedral, as barbarous Gothic structures, but went into careful details of Palladio’s and Sansovino’s palaces. He venerated the names of Raphael, Titian, and Michel Angelo, of whose predecessors and minor contemporaries he was perfectly ignorant; but what delighted and entranced him were the fat languishing sibyls, the dainty dapper angels, the muscular sprawling martyrs of the Bolognese school. The old Florentines and Venetians were certainly very correct draughtsmen and fine colourists, but the traveller of the eighteenth century was above such material merits; he wanted soul, and soul he found to his heart’s content in the Caracci, Guido, and Guercino. But he did not go to Italy for mere art, he was too large minded and universal for that. He examined the cultivation of the fields; he chipped ofi little bits of rock; he made inquiries respecting the construction of drains and the passing of laws. He investigated into family arrangements and historical legends; he tried to understand the nature of those two strange, mysterious animals, the tarantula and the cavaliere servente; in short, he took an interest in everything, peeped into everything, and judged most emphatically of all things. He did not consider Italy as a thing of thepast, a remnant of antiquity, of the Middle Ages or of the Renaissance, but as a country like any other modern one, and its inhabitants neither as degenerate descendants of the Romans, nor as weird children of the Renaissance. He expected neither heroism nor enthusiasm, nor poisonings, nor bravo-haunted castles, but merely human beings very much like himself, only, of course, somewhat inferior to so splendid a type of humanity. ‘

In all these characteristics, Dr. Burney was a perfect representative of the educated traveller of the eighteenth century: he was never surprised, entranced or horrified by anything he saw; he never imagined that he saw what there was not; he looked about him coolly and complacently.

He had, however,two distinguishing peculiarities. He was neither an ordinary stranger, nor an ordinary traveller; he had known many Italians in England, mostly, it is true, of the musical sort, whom their countrymen not a little

disparaged, although they seem to have given him a very favour

able idea of the nation; and he seems to have felt perfectly at home and at his case in Italy, more so by far than he had done in France. In the second place, Burney had a distinct object in his journey: he had come on a sort of artistic mission, to collect materials for the work which was the darling object of his life. And this artistic mission was in itself quite ditierent from most others, for Burney had come to Italy not to unite by dint of science and imagination broken limbs of marble into complete and perfect statues, to follow the outlines of frescoes fading away from mouldering walls and seek for patches of colour under layers of decaying plaster; he had not come to reconstruct a past state of things nor to cherish its vestiges like relics; he had come to hear music finer, as he believed, than that of any previous time; to enjoy the fruits of an artistic civilisation while it was yet in its prime, to see a nation to whom music was at that time what sculpture had been to the Greeks and painting to the men of the Renaissance; he had come to deal not with a dead art, but with one which, as he says, ‘still lived.’ And he came neither as an ignoramus nor as a student: he had heard Handel’s oratorios when Handel himself was at the organ, and Gluck’s operas when Gluck himself directed them at the harpsichord ; he had heard all the best works of Pergolesi, of Jommelli, of Galuppi, sung by the singers whom the ~masters themselves had taught, and from whom the masters themselves might have learnt the living musical art; he had enjoyed all the best of what Italy could give, and his object now was to inquire how Italy had been able to give it; he had known Italian music abroad; he wished to know it in its home. But when Dr. Burney descended into Italy it was the middle of July, the time when the old

cities doze the whole long day, when the nobility have gone to their villas, and the rich burghers run to and fro between their shops and their farms, when the small townsfolk stay sleepily at home, or loiter yawning about barbers’ shops_ and lemonade booths, when everything is lazy and desultory. At this time no great music was to be heard: the great theatres were shut, the great singers were abroad, the ecclesiastical and secular great folk were far too drowsy to encourage art; the only music to be heard was in the churches during their more ordinary services, in the small popular theatres, in the streets, and in some private family here and there; music which the Italians despised, as their ordinary, every day, cheap artistic food, but of which Dr. Burney never failed to hear every note, finding it, indeed, delightful and exquisite after what he had heard in France.

Music therefore he heard every morning and every evening; in the morning in church, in the evening at the theatre, as he journeyed leisurely through the great drowsy plain of Lombardy. In some one of the churches, thanks to the multitudes of obliging small saints, something could always be heard, and Dr. Burney was so indefatigable and insatiable that even when only passing through a town, he would run off, while his horses were being changed and his dinner being cooked, and hear all the monks, nuns, or choristers that could possibly be heard, and when staying in any larger place, he would miss no church performance, although dusty scores and illuminated missals awaited him in the public archives; for Dr. Burney, unknown perhaps to himself, always cared much more for the music of the present than for -that of the past.

In these churches he tells us he never met ‘much good company,’ the good company hearing mass in

their private chapels (when indeed they had not sent their chaplain to run errands) or in the smart Jesuit churches, where the service was conveniently short, and all the cavalieri serventi stood holding their ladies’

mass-books, smelling bottle, fan, or

lap-dog, according to the devotional habits of the day. At the churches

to which Dr. Burney went, there

were only small shop folk, pea

sants and artisans, hanging about,

staring at their neighbours, saying

their prayers, listening to the music for a few minutes and then walking out ; a rather disrespectful

manner of receiving the Church’s cheap musical gifts ; yet even such listening, repeated constantly, could do more to form people’s musical taste than the most strained attention at an opera. The shopkeepers, artisans, and peasants, while dawdling carelessly about, imbibed music unconsciously; they became critics, and occasionally one of their sons or nephews, instead of turning shopman or farmer, would turn composer or performer, and indeed nearly all the great Italian musicians belonged to the humbler, often to the humblest,

classes of society. This daily church music was usually mediocre in performance; good singers and instrumentalists could gain far too high remuneration elsewhere to become attached to a church, yet every now and then Burney would meet a little chorister destined to become famous, or a nun singing like the most refined prima donna. The nuns sang, and sang well, the monks played the organ, often grandly and scientifically, and even in the smaller churches the director was a learned musician. On the other hand, inthe great churches and chapels splendid musical establishments were kept with first-rate performers; every ducal or grandducal chapel possessed at least one great opera singer, while the famous violinist Pugnani, the great hautboy and bassoon players, the brothers Besozzi, and innumerable others played in the churches at Turin, Milan, and Padua. The Maestro di Capella of a large church was always high in the profession. Jommelli, the greatest tragic composer of Italy, was chapelmaster at St. Peter’s, Leo and Caffaro at Naples, Galuppi at Venice, and the famous instrumental composer Sanmartini at Milan. functions limited to merely directing the performances; they were required to produce several new works every year, and the great church archives of Italy contain numbers of unpublished masses, hymns, and psalms by the greatest composers of the eighteenth century.

Besides the usual musical services in cathedrals, parish and convent churches, there were occasional grand performances even at minor ones, to celebrate the feast of some patron saint, or the consecration of some rich nun. Then all the greatest opera singers, the Caffariellos, Manzolis, and Guarduccis, mounted into the organ loft, and a tremendous concourse of people met to hear them ; sometimes also, as we learn from Sir Horace Mann, a great musician would have a splendid service performed at his own expense, on recovering from a bad illness or accident.

The music performed in the churches was, as a rule, not very different from that performed in the theatres; for the fact is, that there never has existed such a thing as church music independent of the other branches of the art. There have been various styles of music, one belonging to each epoch, and which have been adapted, one after the other, to all the musical requirements of – the time, the church, the theatre, or the room; -but there has never been music used solely for the church or for the theatre or for the room. The

Nor were their

style of the Roman school of the sixteenth century may possibly be more suitable for ecclesiastical purposes than any other, we do not deny it; but it is undeniable that this style was the only one then extant, and that Palestrina himself set profane madrigals to that very sort of music which is held up as the only sort fit for the church. The eighteenth century also had its style of music, which it used indiscriminately for all purposes, and which has been described as unsuitable to religious ceremonies. Possibly it was not so suitable to them as that of the Palestrina school, but this was no fault of the great masters of a hundred years ago. The art had progressed for two hundred years since the days of Palestrina; to ask the composers

of the eighteenth century for music

such as those of the sixteenth

could have given, would be like complaining that Raphael did not

paint like Giotto. They could not

have spontaneously produced any

thing of the sort, and as to cold

imitation, they were incapable of it ; for as long as there be a living

art there can be no exhumation and

galvanising into life of a dead one;

so the eighteenth century knew of no Palestrinists, as the Renais

sance knew of no pre-Raphaelites.

Modern critics—not unlike those who never perceive that Giotto,

their idol, was progressing, while they, his disciples, are merely retrograding—modern critics have found fault with the church music of the eighteenth century for not being as suitable to ecclesiastical purposes as that of the sixteenth century; but this fault of the church music of the last century, like the similar one attributed by kindred critics to the church painting of the Renaissance, merely signifies that it belongs to a fully developed, and not to an immature art. The form has attained to perfection, the spirit to maturity; it has all the richness

and strength of human nature, it is no longer timid and lowly, it is grand and divine; men, according to Goethe’s expression, form the picture of the Divinity after their own highest model, as He had formed them in His own resemblance; art is no longer a symbol, it is a form, a thought, a feeling which acts independently and directly. The church music of the eighteenth century is profane, – if you will; saints and angels are made-to sing like opera heroes and heroines; but what the opera heroes and heroines sing is so pure, so lovely, so noble, that there remains

nothing purer, lovelier, or nobler for the saints and angels. These great composers do not, like some later

ones, own several styles, one for the

gods and goddesses, and the otherfor the Satyrs and Maanads: wherever their art is employed, for whatever

purpose it is destined, it is equally noble, not because it is used to express the feelings of Scipio or of St. Eustace or of Harlequin, but because it is their art, which to them is a thing sacred. This being the case, the Italians of the eighteenth century, who set apart no special style for devotional purposes, gave church music all that they gave to all other music, all the richness of device which their art afforded. They preserved the massive choruses on which men like Lotti, Leo, and Durante lavished all their skill of counterpoint; they kept the solemn organ for which Scarlatti had written his grand fugues and on which every composer had learned to play ; they kept all the best part of the old,

unindividual, unemotional church music, but they added all their own creations, all the individual, emotional wealth of completely matured art; the choral performances were broken by psalms and verses in three or four single parts,

performed by the most highly trained singers who displayed all

their powers of execution and expression; by duets either fugued like the divinely lovely ones of Pergolesi, or in the freer, more emotional shape of the opera, by splendidly modulated recitatives, crowned by an air, solemn, pathetic or florid, sung by one of those great singers, whose feeling gave a new soul and whose fancy added a new splendour to even the most perfect piece. The eighteenth century added also its orchestra, its wind instruments lightly and soberly distributed among the graver stringed ones ; and during the hushed moment when any human voice, be it even that of a Guadagni or a Pacchierotti, would have sounded profane, Tartini or Giardini or Pugnani would take up his violin and steal upon the silence of the church; According to a bad but invincible tendency of which the reader may often have to complain, We have taken the opportunity of discussing the church music of the eighteenth century in general, when there was no occasion to speak of any save the trifling performances which Dr. Burney attended; keeping our traveller waiting, standing in some dull little church listening to mediocre music ; but, alas, we have not the power of introducing our reader into the smallest church, of letting him hear even the meanest performance of the eighteenth century. So, in default of this, we can givehim the only thing criticism can give—not art itself, but only a disquisition on it.

As soon as the sun had fairly set and the cool breeze risen, the townsfolk would awake, and having opened shutters, pulled up blinds, and breathed the fresher eveningair, they would begin to think of hearing a little music. A little music, nothing grand or tragic, oh, no ! no great singers who required tremendous applause; something simple, easy, and refreshing. So the men having exchanged dressing

gowns for snuff or puce-coloured light coat, and coloured handkerchief for well-combed little wig, and their wives and daughters having slipped on a tidy gown and a coquettish black veil, the population would slowly wend their way towards the comic theatres, pausing just a little to talk to acquaintances, and breathe the fresh air in the white, pearly twilight. In this state of quiet, languid enjoyment, the people would scarcely have given a thank-you for the autumn and winter music—music in her grand, splendid, delicately-worked Court dress, led about in state by princesingers, who wore military orders and bought dukedoms; they wanted music, like themselves, in summer array, music in her most negligent, slovenly attire, wandering carelessly from town to town in company with third-rate singers, vagrant fiddlers, and motley columbines and pantaloons, and yet as graceful and charming, if not as stately and magnificent, as in the serious winter months. All summer performances were therefore comic, and at small theatres, to which the admission cost a few pence, where people went in and out, made a terrific noise, and listened, and let others listen, only to as much or as little as they felt inclined, it was an amusement for the lower or at most middle classes, and one which they held very cheap indeed. For, until quite late in the eighteenth century, the Italian comic opera was not only totally distinct from the serious one, but of much lower artistic standing, and its performers were a class wholly apart and decidedly inferior. A long comic opera like the Matrimonio Segreto or a semiserious one like Don Giovanni was equally unknown; there were only short musical interludes of two or three characters like Metastasio’s Impresario of the Canary Islands or Pergolesi’s Serva Padrona, intended to be sung between the

acts of a spoken comedy, and short musical farces, with plenty of buffoonery and nonsense, like Galuppi’s Arcifanfano King of Fools and Leonardo Leo’s Cioé. The comic opera, or burletta, as it was called, was a very humble sister of the serious opera, and a near relative of the Italian comedy of masks: it got a share of the musical excellence of the first, and inherited a large portion of the ramshackle, popular buffoonery of the second. Where a singable dialect existed, the comic opera was most often written in it, and the Président de Brosses took the trouble to learn Neapolitan in order to fully enjoy Pergolesi’s burlettas; and where the dialect was wholly unmusical, the modes of speech of the lower classes were strictly adhered to; for one reason of the success of the comic opera was its total opposition to the serious one; the more dignified and heroic became the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Persians of the opera seria, the more trivial and farcical became the shopkeepers, sailors, and peasants of the burletta. Baretti, in his book on the Italians, says that comic operas were most often coarse and even gross; and Dr. Burney adds that they were utterly childish and ridiculous; but Baretti hated all things musical, and never lost an opportunity of throwing undue odium on them, while Burney was accustomed to regard the polished French comedy as the only proper one, and was wholly blind to the merits of the Italian national stage, so that the opinion of neither is very reliable; and it is probable that the burlettas, although occasionally coarse, had no harm in them, and although fantastic and absurd, were decidedly clever. However they were strictly popular and lowly, for although Goldoni wrote a few texts for them in his moments of pecuniary distress, no well-known poet worked regularly for them until the time of Casti,

Da Ponte, and Sografi, when the comic opera, in the hands of Mozart, Cimarosa, and Paisiello, had already become the successful rival of the serious one. The performers were on a level with the text writers; no first-rate singer, male or female, ever deigned to sing in a burletta until quite late in the century; the performers who had been carefully trained ever since their childhood

were reserved for the serious opera,

more lucrative, more fashionable, more purely musical, where they might stand as rigid as statuesand as stupid as babies providing they could swell and diminish, shake and run rapid divisions, and make long, intricate extemporary embellishments; they would have nothing to do with the comic opera, and the comic opera would have nothing to do with them. Occasionally indeed the second man or second woman, of the serious opera (in which no one listened to them) would play the serious parts, the two insignificant lovers, in the burletta; or a young, raw performer would begin his career on the comic stage, before attempting the serious one; but such irregular singers were not those on whom the success of the burletta depended. The real burlettaperformers were men and women of talent, but whom want of voice, want of training, want of ambition, or want of respectability had wholly excluded from the higher walks of the profession; there were fine voices with insufiicient cultivation, and good singers with insufiicient voice; but there were likewise brilliant actors, delightfully cheery scapegraces, exquisitely coquettish waiting-maids, magnificently blustering tutors; there was an overflow of life and good humour. The public did not go into raptures and ecstasies about their comic singers, as they did about their serious ones, but they liked them and applauded them as jovial friends, and the singers were grateful; they did not sulk when there

were no kings or princes or senators to applaud them, they did their best to amuse shopkeepers and vagabonds ; they did not show off wonderful rifiorituras and feats of execution, but they improvised a witty answer here, or a comical situation there; parodying, pasquinading, always entering into the fun of the thing, like that bufo whom Dr. Burney saw at Milan, falling on the prompter and thrashing him in default of the actor who played his prodigal son, to the great joy of the whole audience. Many, however, of these inferior singers would have seemed excellent, but for the comparison with the great performers of the serious opera, andBurney met many who would have pleased on a higher stage, even the worst being better than the best that could be heard in France. The music, on the other hand, was never mediocre, for the great composers of Italy were never so overburdened with money or so sated with applause as to disdain obtaining it by humbler means: the Pergolesis, Leos, Galuppis, and Piccinnis, who were either positively starving or living in the most modest style, and who had no absurd artistic dignity like their overpaid, swaggering singers, wrote willingly for the comic opera and wrote their best. Nor did they adopt a ditferent style from that they otherwise employed; for the Italian composers of the eighteenth century, like the Italian painters of the Renaissance, had only one style, spontaneous and perfect, which, according ‘to the time and the individual, was only more or less grand,

or tender, or gay. The comic opera

did not exist in the earliest part of the century, because the music of that time was too uniformly grand and solemn; it began to develop only when musical forms became softer and more flexible, and it reached its highest point when they had become so light, graceful, and unheroic as to be positively unsuit

able to solemn subjects. But the style of the masters of the last century, which was too spontaneous, too free, too perfect, to be distorted either into the thoroughly tragic or the absolutely trivial, could yet be adapted with more or~less success to tragedy or comedy, though always, of course, suiting the one better than the other. The introduction or omission of certain passages, the arrangement of the accompaniment, the choice of the rhythm, of pace and of voice, would alter the style sufiiciently, yet without changing its radical nature; Pergolesi was accused of having used the same tune in a piece of his Stabat _lIate’r and in an air of his Serra Padrona, but the melody had been so adapted to each situation that no one would have complained of unsuitableness had it been heard in only one of the two. So much indeed was done by the choice of melodies, of accompaniments and voices, and by the different structure of the whole play, that not only did the comic opera differ totally from the serious one, despite the similarity of the general style, but a complete revolution in musical arrangements gradually developed in the former, which finally upset the latter. For, in the first place, popular melodies, taken from the peasantry, were constantly being introduced into the burletta, and thence influenced even serious music, which little by little grew lighter, brighter, brisker, less grand, massive, and studied; the accompaniments at the same time growing more dependent on rhythm and less on counterpoint, and the more popular and less cultivated wind instruments being introduced one by one into an orchestra which had mainly consisted of strings. Add to this that in the burletta the contralto voice, so dear to the serious composers, especially in men’s parts, was completely eschewed, that the principal male part was reserved

solely for the tenor, while the bass voice, which in the serious opera was given over to messengers, confidants, and other small folk, appeared, and perhaps to its greatest advantage, in the very effective parts of blustering old tutors and blundering valets. Nor was this all; the comic situations could ill be expressed in the grandly modulated solemn recitative of the serious opera; they required constant movement and hubbub, and thence the introduction of finales and other concerted pieces where five, six, or seven persons scream and shout and storm at each other; pieces which the delicate, pathetic situations of the heroic opera excluded, and which, moreover, the despotic serious singers, who had not spent years in constant practice to let themselves be drowned by screaming women and bellowing basses, would never have permitted. Thus there came to exist, not a different style of composition, but a different sys

tem of arrangements, in the comic

opera; and when the comic opera had risen to the level of its rival in

the hands of Paisiello, Guglielmi,

and Cimarosa, when it possessed

first-rate singers, like the charming

Coltellini, the magnificently comic

Casacciello, and the delightful tenor

Mandini; when Joseph II. kept comic poets and a comic company instead of serious ones; then the old arrangements of the opera seria had to give way; contraltos had to be abandoned for brisker voices, tenors were shoved up into important parts, and basses removed out of subordinate ones, recitatives were slashed into, and Curiatius and Pyrrhus, Horatia and Penelope had to join in thundering concerted pieces, just as the undignified Har

lequins and Columbines of the barletta had done before. The old opera seria was fused with the old burletta, and this being done, both

expired, leaving a joint product—

the modern melodramatic opera.

In 1770 the poor, humble little burletta. was still far from such triumph: but it was, perhaps, all the purer in its nature, all the more popular, simple, and amusing. Its singers had not yet learned to make rlfiorituras like the serious ones; its poets had not yet felt the necessity of introducing deserted ladies, punished libertines, heart-breakings, murders, and pathos. All was as yet simple, natural, bufibonish, cheap, and jolly. The Abate Metastasio, Imperial opera poet, might smile with contempt at the plays, the vi/rtuosi in peagreen satin and lilac and gold lace might turn up their languishing eyes in horror at the singers; the small shopkeepers and street folk might still shake with laughter on their wooden benches, while the Président de Brosses, Rousseau and Burney could still join in their hearty delight at the bright, elegant music, the droll situations, the easy, off-hand singing, and the inexhaustible humour of the old burletta.

Stepping out of the little cheap theatre, Dr. Burney found music again in the streets—the streets which, after all, are the pleasantest place in the heavy, drowsy summer evenings, when the people loiter about in little knots of threes and fours under the clear blue sky, as clear and as blue, though in so strangely different a way, as at midday. There were bands of artisans, apprentices, shop-boys, marching down the street arm-inarm, singing, led by a fellow playing the guitar or the mandolin ; and serenaders coming with flutes and fiddles under windows, which would occasionally open to reward them with a dash of water, and all sorts of similar non-professional music, received by the population sometimes as a favour, sometimes as a nuisance. Besides this, in the spacious squareswhere people satdrinking lemonade and coffee, where per

ambulating booths displayed their wares under the flickering torchlight, where the puppetshow stood surrounded by a ring of eager spectators, there, of course, in the great outdoor saloon of the town, there was music again in plenty—music which the public paid for, feeling that even the humblest professional music is, cazteris paribus, better than that of amateurs. There were whole families, like the one Burney met at Lyons, who wandered about, singing and playing in concert, and these perambulating musicians were most often Venetians. They played and sang well, and occasionally a voice might be heard amongst the tables of the coffee-houses, which was destined to the utmost vocal glory, like that of the poor untaught girl who was later to be called Banti, the most pathetic female singer of the latter part of the eighteenth century. Bologna possessed- in Burney’s day a quartet of vagrant blind musi

cians, called the ‘Bravi Orbi,’ whom many Italian composers warmly admired, the great and

masterly Jommelli always sending for them to play for him. What these people played we are not told ; probably favourite opera airs, with just a dash of more popular music. At all events, it was not to them that belonged the really popular songs, for these were the property of the wholly untrained lower classes, workmen, boatmen, fishermen, and peasants, and it was from these that composers like Paisiello learned the rustic, truly pastoral style of some of his pieces; while the vagrant musicians, on the contrary, served to diffuse among the people the more refined and polished styles of composition.

After loitering about a little in the coffee-houses, Dr. Burney would go and end his evening at an accu

-clmm’a., or dilettante concert in some

private house, whose owners he was of course totally unacquainted with,

but to which he was taken by some musical busybody, whose acquaintance he had made the previous day, and who now treated him as a brother ; perhaps some long, meagre ecclesiastic, with immense spectacles on a nose which looked like a pickaxe, wherewith to hew into the depths of musical science; or by some jovial lawyer, who always found time to devote to the Muses, especially when pretty, and who would talk himself purple in favour of this or that composer; or again by a music master-some still obscure young composer, or some ancient singer who had not provided for his old days—a music master bound to accompany his pupils on grand occasions, and thankful for the scanty refreshment offered him. By some such individual Dr. Burney would be introduced into the trim little parlour as a distinguished foreigner, a man of universal knowledge, as a glory to England, and an honour to Italy, 80c. The company would rise and look with awe at the stranger (perhaps a llliloi-do-who knows ?—are not the English the most eccentric of beings 5’), the hostess would meet him, curtsey, and express how much her house was honoured, and then the dilettauti would sit down to their instruments, their silken coattails neatly disposed on either side of their chair, their well-starched ruffies carefully drawn out; the ladies would rise, smooth out their dresses and aprons, unroll their scores, and the performance would begin, interrupted only by a few solemn pauses, during which candles were snuffed, violins tuned, bows resined, and snuff-boxes passed round.

They took things solemnly, these good people, because a hundred years ago musical amateurs were rarer than now, and to be one involved much more responsibility. For among the Italians of the eighteenth century music was at once

both more common and more prized than among us ; it was a necessity to the greater part of the nation, but it was an art, a profession, rather than an amusement or an accomplishment. All young ladies were not taught music; not, as Baretti most falsely and preposterously pretended, because the morals of professional musicians were too slack, but because people had not yet conceived the modern notion of culture, which most often consists merely in giving slovenly cultivation to endowments which deserve no cultivation at all. But where real musical talent existed, it was usually made the most of; and it must be remembered that the study of music was at that time far more arduous than in these happy days of classes, piano arrangements, manuals of harmony, and other royal roads to mediocrity. The musical education of professionals, the seven or eight years spent in learning to sing by men who were to be mere composers; the two or three years spent in learning composition by those who were to be mere performers; the inexorably complete system according to which one branch of the art could not be mastered withouta knowledge of the others; all this reacted on the education of the non-professional musicians : the music which people heard was too good to permit them to endure music that was bad; the masters were too thoroughly trained to submit to slovenly pupils. Moreover, all was more difiicult in itself. Amateurs had not the benefit of pianoforte arrangements; they had to read the full orchestral scores of theatrical music and the figured or absolutely dry basses of church and chamber music; they, like all others, had to learn the difiicult science and art of accompaniment which required not only knowledge, but natural facility. There were no easy drawing-room fantasias, bal

lads, or duets; there were only sonatas, harpsichord lessons, string quartets, cantatas, composed of recitative and air, canzonets as difiicult in their simplicity as the cantatas were in their complication, canons and madrigals for several voices. There were violins, viols, hautboys, bassoons, violoncellos, harpsichords, but no piauofortes, and that fact alone means a great deal. An instrument very much resembling the modern pianoforte, as distinguished from the harpsichord, clavichord, virginal, and others of the same genus, having been invented by Cristofori, of Florence, at the beginning of the last century, the non-existence of the pianoforte as a class (for individual instruments could be found here and there, Farinelli and Count Torre Taxis appearing to have had them, according to Burney) means not only that the musical education of that day was free from the influence which the pianoforte necessarily exerts, but that there were circumstances which prevented the instrument from becoming as common as it has since. The harpsichord, although externally like the piano, was in reality a very different thing, for its quill mechanism, the absence of pedals, and its sharp metallic sound placed it rather in the category of stringed instruments. Now, Viewed as a stringed instrument, the harpsichord had little to recommend it; its tone was not strong, not peculiarly fine, and extremely monotonous, and the consequence was that people often preferred to it the violin tribe, which was more capable of effect ; and that the harpsichord sank rather towards the level of a mere accompaniment. And even when cultivated for itself it had to be cultivated in a totally different manner from the pianoforte ; it was too uniform and feeble in tone, and too sharp and unsustained, to permit either of emotional performance or of that hurricane and

lullaby alternation so dear to modern pianists; you could not play a study of light and shade, nor a moonlight fantasia, nor a 0-hapsody on it, even had such pretentious pieces of inanity existed in those days; you could play a fugue, a gigue, a brilliant scherzo or an intricate lesson, like those of Handel and Scarlatti, and play them neatly, clearly, firmly, roundly, with a spring and an expression of intelligence and cheerfulness, but that was all you could do on a harpsichord; and Handel and Scarlatti understood this fact, and turned it to account, as genius turns everything to account. But the violin, the Violoncello, the organ, could do much more and better: they could be brilliant or pathetic or grand, and the voice could be all three together; so the harpsichord was comparatively little esteemed; people regarded it as a respectable instrument, and most great masters, like Porpora, Jommelli, and Pergolesi wrote a few good pieces for it, but rarely did a composer, like Dorninico Scarlatti and Alberti of Venice, devote himself almost exclusively to it, until it turned into the pianoforte and gained a new character, or rather borrowed that of other stringed instruments in the days of Haydn, Clementi, and Mozart. The Italians cared little for harpsichords, and made them badly, so badly that we have been told that when, at the beginning of this century, Clementi returned to Rome, he could barely find an adequate instrument; they made them feeble and metallic, such as singers and violiuists and opera conductors wished them to be; small, thin, ungainly things, on slender little legs with black keys instead of white, and vice versd, such as you still occasionally meet, faded, yellow, with only a few jangling, melancholy notes left, in old houses where they have not been touched for a century. As to

HOLIDAYS IN EASTERN FRANCE. I. SEINE ET MARNE.

OW delicious to escape from the fever heat and turmoil of Paris to the green banks and sheltered ways of the gently undulating Marne ; with what delight we wake up in the morning to the sound of the mower’s scythe, the rustle of acacia leaves and the notes of the stock-dove, looking back as upon a nightmare to the horn of the tramway conductor and the perpetual grind of the stonemason’s saw! Yes, to quit Paris in these days of tropic heat and nestle down in some country resort is indeed like exchanging Dante’s lower circle for Paradise. The heat has followed us here, but with a screen of luxuriant foliage between us and the burning blue sky, and with a breeze perpetually rippling the leaves, no one need complain. With the cocks and the hens, the birds and the bees, we are all up and stirring betimes : there are dozens of nooks and corners if we like to spend the morning out of doors and do not feel enterprising enough to set out on an exploring expedition by diligence or rail. After the midday meal everybody takes a siesta as a matter of course, waking up between four and five o’clock for a ramble, and wherever we go we find lovely prospects. Quiet little rivers and canals winding between lofty lines of poplar, undulating pastures and amber corn-fields, picturesque villages crowned by a church spire here and there, wide sweeps of highly cultivated land interspersed with rich wood s, vineyards, orchards, and gardens-—all these make up the scenery familiarised to us by some of the most characteristic of French painters. Just such rural pictures have been pourtrayed a thousand times by Millet, Corot, Daubigny, and in their very simpli

city often lies the chiefcharm. No extensive or grandiose outlines are here as in Brittany, no picturesque poverty, no poetic archaisms; all is rustic and pastoral, with the rusticity and pastoralness of every day. We are in the midst of one of the wealthiest and best cultivated regions of France moreover, and when we penetrate below the surface we find that in manners and customs, as well as dress and outward appearance, tho peasant and agricultural population generally differ no little from their remoter fellow countrymen, the Bretons. In this famous cheese country, the fromage de Brie being the speciality of these dairy farms, there is no superstition, hardly a trace of poverty, and little that is poetic. The people are rich, laborious, and progressive. The farmers’ wives, however hard they may work at home, wear thesmartest ofParisian bonnets and gowns when paying visits—I was going to say, when at church, but nobody goes here. It is a significant fact that in this well-educated district, where newspapers are read by the poorest, and where well-being is the rule and poverty a rare exception, the church is empty on Sunday, and the priest’s authority is nil. The priests may preach against abstinence from church in the pulpit, and may lecture the congregation in private, but no effect isthereby produced. Church going has become out of date among the manufacturers of Brie cheese. They amuse themselves on Sundays by taking walks with their children, the paterfamiliases bathe in the river, the ladies put on their fine clothes and pay visits, but they omit their devotions. Some of these tenantfarmers—for manyof

the farms are let on lease as in England, possessors of small farms hiring more land—are very rich, and one of our neighbours here, whose wealth had been made by Brie cheese, lately gave his daughter several hundred thousand francs by way of dowry. The wedding breakfast took place at the Grand Hotel, Paris, and a hundred guests were invited to partake of a sumptuous collation. Sometimes these rustic brides are dowried with a million francs. But in spite of fine clothes and large dowries, farmers’ wives and daughters still attend to their dairies, and when they cease to do so, doubtless farming in Seine et Marne will cease to be the prosperous business we now find it.

It is delightful to witness the widespread well-being of this highly favoured region. ‘ There is no poverty here,’ say my host and hostess, ‘and that is why life is so pleasant.’ True enough. Wherever you go you find well-dressed contented-looking people-—-no rags, no squalor, no pinched want. Poverty is an accident of rare occurrence and not a normal condition, everyone being able to get plenty of work and good pay. The habitual look of content written upon the faces you meet is very striking. It seems as if in this land of Goshen life were no burden, but matter for satisfaction only. Class distinctions can hardly be said to exist. There are employers and employed, masters and servants, of course ; but the line of demarcation is lightly drawn, and we find an easy familiarity existing between them, wholly free from impoliteness, much less vulgarity. That automaticdemurenesscharacterising English servants in the presence of their employers is wholly unknown here. There are households with us where the servants might all be mutes for any signs of animation they give, but here they take part in what is going on, and exchange

VOL. XVIII.—1\’O. CV. NEw snmns.

vanced system of agriculture.

a word and a smile with every member of the household, never dreaming that it should be otherwise. One is

– struck, too, here by the good looks, in

telligence, and trim appearance of the children, who, it is clear, are well cared for. The houses have vines and sweet peas on the wall, flowers in the window, and altogether a look of comfort and ease found nowhere in Western France. The Breton villages are composed of mere hovels, where pigs, cows, and poultry live in close proximity to their owners; a dunghill stands before every front door, and to get indoors or out the inhabitants have always to cross a pool of liquid manure. Here order and cleanliness prevail, with a diffusion of well-being hardly to be matched out of America. Travellers who visit France again and again, rather out of sympathy with its people and institutions than from a desire to see its monuments or outward features, will find ample to reward them in Seine et Marne. On every side you have evidence of the boundless natural resources and indefatigable laboriousness of

.the people. There is one point here,

which, as elsewhere in France, strikes an agriculturist with astonishment, and that is the abundance of fruit trees standing amid corn fields and miscellaneous crops ; also the interminable plantations of poplar trees that are to be seen on every side, apparently without any object. But the truth is, the planting of trees is no extravagance but rather economy, the fruit they produce exceeding in value the corn they destroy; whilst the puzzling lines of poplars beside canals and railways are the work of the Government, every spare bit of land belonging to the State being planted with trees for the sake of the timber. The crops are splendid, partly owing to the soil and partly to the adYou may see exposed for sale in little townsand villages thenewest AmeriC C

can agricultural tools, whilst the

great diversity of products speaks much for the enterprise of the far

-mers. As you stroll along, now climb

ing, now descending this pleasantly undulated country, you may see a dozen crops on less than an acre. A patch of potatoes here, vines growing there, on one side a bit of wheat, oats, rye, or barley, with fruit trees casting abundant shadow over all, or Indian corn, clover, and mangel wurzel in the green state, recently planted for autumn fodder, are found side by side, further on a poppy field, three weeks ago in full bloom, now having full pods ready for gathering—the poppy being cultivated for the manufacture of oil here—all these and many more are seen close together, and near them many a lovely little glen, copse, and ravine, recalling Scotland and Wales. You may walk for miles through what seems one vast orchard, only instead of turf, rich crops are growing under the trees. This is indeed the orchard of France, on which we English largely depend for our summer fruits. A few days ago the black currant trees were being stripped for the benefit of Parisian lovers of ‘ cassis,’ and now we encounter on our walks carts laden with plums packed in baskets and barrels, on their way to Covent

-Garden; later on, it will be the

peach and apricot crops gathered for exportation; later still, apples, -walnuts, and pears. One village not -far from our own sends fruit to the Paris markets valued at a million francs annually. But the traveller must settle down in some delicious retreat in the valley of the Marne to realise the interest and charm of such a country as this. And he must above all things be a fairly good pedestrian,for it is not a land of luxuries, and carriages, good, bad, or indifferent, are difiicult to be got. A countless’ succession of delightful prospects is offered to the perse

vering explorer who each day strikes out in an entirely different direction. I have always been of opinion that the best way to see a country is to make a halt in some good central point, for weeks at a time, and from thence ‘excursionise.’ By these means much fatigue is avoided, and the two chief drawbacks to the pleasures of travel, namely, hotels and perpetual railways, avoided as much as possible. My rallying point was a pleasant French country house at Couilly, offering every opportunity for studying agriculture and rural life as well as making excursions by road and rail. Couilly itself is charming. The canal winding its way between thick lines of poplar trees towards Meaux is a walk you may take on the hottest day of summer without fatigue; the river, narrow and sleepy, yet so picturesquely curling amid green slopes and tangled woods, affords another delightful stroll; then there are broad, richly-wooded hills rising above these, and shady side paths leading from hill to valley, with alternating vineyards, orchards, pastures, and corn-fields on either side. Couilly lies in the heart of the cheesemaking country, part of the ancient province of Brie, from which this famous cheese is named (the comté of Brie became part of the French kingdom on the occasion of the marriage of Jeanne of Navarre with Philippe le Bel, in 1361), and is as prosperous as it is picturesque. Within a stone’s throw of our garden walls once stood a famous convent of Bernardines, called Pontaux-Dames. Here Mdme. Dubarry, of evil reputation, was exiled after the death of Louis XV. On the outbreak of the Revolution she fled to England, and might there have ended her unworthy life in peace but for a cupidity which brought her to the guillotine. The old favourite of perhaps the most depraved of French kings had left secreted at

Page images
PDF
Pout-aux-Dames a case of diamonds, and in order to secure these she ventured to Couilly again, with the result that might have been expected. The Revolutionary Tri

– bunal got hold of Madame Dubarry,

and she mounted the scaffold in company of her betters, no one before or after showing such pusillanimity when her turn came. The diligence passes our garden gate early in the morning, and in an hour and a half takes us to Meaux, former capital of the province of La Brie, bishopric of the famous Bossuet, and also one of the early strongholds of the Reformation. The neighbouring country, pays Meldois, as it is called, is one vast fruit and vegetable garden, bringing in enormous returns. From our vantage ground, for of course we go outside the coach, we survey the shifting landscape—woods, valley, and plain, soon seeing the city with its imposing cathedral, both of the whiteness of marble,

-rising above the winding river and

fields of green and gold on either side. I know nothing that gives the mind an idea of fertility and wealth more than this scene, and it is no wonder that the Prussians in 1871 here levied a heavy toll, their sojourn at Meaux having cost the inhabitants not less than a million and a half of francs. All now, however, is peace and prosperity, and here, as in the neighbouring towns and villages, rags, want, and beggary are not seen. The evident well-being of all classes is delightful to behold. Meaux, with its shady boulevards and public gardens, must be a pleasant place to live in, nor would intellectual resources be wanting. We strolled into the spacious town library, open, of course, to strangers, and could wish for no better occupation than to con the curious old books and manuscripts that it contains. The employé having shown us the busts adorning the walls of the principal

rooms, took us into a side closet, where, ignominiously put out of sight, are the busts of Charles X, and Louis Philippe. ‘But,’ said our informant, ‘ we have more busts in the garret—those of the Emperor Napoleon III., the Empress, and the Prince Imperial.’ Naturallyenough,

on the proclamation of the Re

public, these busts were considered as supererogatory, and it is to be hoped they will stay where they are. The Evéché, or Bishop’s Palace,

is the principal sight at Meaux. It is full of historic associations besides being very curious in itself. Here have slept many noteworthy personages—L0uis XVI. and Marie Antoinette, when on their return from Varennes, June 24,. I791 ; Napoleon in 1814, Charles X. .in 1828 ; later, General Moltke in 1870, who said upon that occasion, ‘ In three days, or a week at most, we shall be in Paris,’ not counting on the probabilities of a siege. The room occupied by the unfortunate Louis XVI. and his little son still bears the name of La Chambre du Roi, and cannot be entered without a feeling of sadness. The gardens, designed by Lenotre, are as quaint and characteristic perhaps as any of the same period—a broad, open, sunny flower garden below, terraced walks above so shaded with closely-planted plane trees that the sun can hardly pene

trate on this July day. These

green walks, where the nightingale and the oriole were singing, were otherwise as quiet as the Evéché itself; but the acmé of quiet and solitude was only to be found in the avenue of yews called Bossuet’s Walk. Here it is said the great adversary of the Jansenists used to pace backwards and forwards when composing his famous discourses, wholly excluding himself from the world, like another celebrated French writer, Balzac, whilst thus occupied.

Alittle garden house in which he ate

and slept leads out of this delight

C C 2 ‘

ful walk, a cloister of greenery, the high square-cut walls of yew shutting out everything but the sky. What would some of us give for such a retreat as this—an ideal of perfect tranquillity and isolation from the outer world that might have satisfied the soul of Schopenhauerhimself ? But the good things of life are not equally divided. The present bishop, an octogenarian who has long been quite blind, would perhaps prefer to hear more echoes from without. It happened that in our party was a little child of six, who with the inquisitiveness of childhood followed the servant indoors while the rest waited at the door for permission to visit the palace. ‘I hear the footsteps of a child,’ said the old man, and bidding his young visitor approach, he gave him sugar-plums, kisses, and finally his blessing. Very likely the innocent prattlings of the child were as welcome to the old man as the sweetmeats to the little one on his knee.

The terraces of the episcopal garden cross the ancient walls of the city, and underneath the boulevards afford a promenade almost as pleasant. It must be admitted that much more pains are taken in France to embellish provincial towns with shady walks and public promenades than in England. The tiniest little town in Seine et Marne has its promenade, that is to say, an open green space and avenues, with benches for the passer-by. We cannot certainly sit out of doors as much as our French neighbours in consequence of our more changeable climate, but might not pleasant public squares and gardens, with bands playing gratuitously on certain evenings in the week, entice customers from the public-house? The traveller is shown the handsome private residences of rich Meldois, where, in the second week of September 1870, were lodged the Emperor of Ger

many, the Prince Frederick Charles, and Prince Bismarck. Meaux, if one of the most prosperous, is also one of the most liberal of French cities, and has been renowned for its charity from early times. In the thirteenth century there were no fewer than sixty Hotels-Dieu Lépr0series (hospitals for lepers) in the diocese ; and in the present day it is true to its ancient traditions, being abundantly supplied with hospitals, &c.

Half an hour from Meaux by railway is the pretty little town of La Ferté sous Jouarre, coquettishly perched on the Marne, and not yet rendered unpoetic by the hum and bustle of commerce. Here even more than at Meaux the material well-being of all classes is especially striking. You see the women sitting in their little gardens at needlework; the children trotting off to school; the men busy in their respective callings; but all as it should be, no poverty, no dirt, no discontent : cheerfulness, cleanliness, and good clothes, are evidently everyhody’s portion. Yet it is eminently a working population ; there are no fashionable ladies in the streets, no nursery maids with over-dressed charges on the public walks; the men wear blue blouses, the women cotton gowns; all belong to one class, and have no need to envy any other. Close to the railway station is a little inn where I saw an instance of the comfort enjoyed by these unpretentious citizens of this thrifty little town. The landlord, a particularly intelligent, and, eela. ‘ULL sans d-ire, well-mannered person, was waiting upon his customers in blue blouse, the landlady was as busy as could be in the kitchen. Both were evidently accustomed to plenty of work; yet when she took me over the house in order to show the accommodation for tourists, I found their own rooms furnished with Parisian elegance. There were velvet sofas and chairs, white lace curtains, polished floors, mirrors, hanging wardrobes, a sumptuous little bassinette for baby, and adjoining as charming a room for their elder daughter—a teacher in a day school—as any heiress to a large fortune could desire. This love of good furniture and indoor comfort generally seemed to me to speak much, not only for the taste, but the moral tone of the family. Evidently to these good people the home meant everything dearest to their hearts. You would not find extravagance in food and dress among them, or most likely any other but this. They work hard, they live frugally, but when the day’s toil is done, they like to have pretty things around them, and not only to repose but to enjoy.

La Ferté sous J ouarre is the seat of a large manufacture of millstones, exported to all parts of the world, and a very thriving little place. Large numbers of Germans are brought hither by commerce, and now live again among their French neighbours as peacefully as before the war. The attraction for tourists is, however, Jouarre, reached by a lovely drive of about an hour from the lower town. Leaving the river you ascend gradually, gaining at every step a richer and wider prospect; below, the blue river winding between green banks; above, a lofty ridge of wooded hills, with hamlets dotted here and there amid the yellow corn and luxuriant foliage. It is a bit of Switzerland, and has often been painted by French artists.

The love of flowers and flowergardens, so painfully absent in the west of France, is here conspicuous. There are flowers everywhere, and some of the gardens give evidence of great skill and care. Jouarre is perched upon an airy green eminence, a quiet old-world town, with an enormous convent in the centre, where some scores of cloistered

[blocks in formation]
active life outside. Close to the convent is one of the most curious monuments in the entire department of Seine et Marne, namely, the famous Merovingian crypt, described by French archaeologists in the Bulleti/n. Monumental and elsewhere. It is well known that during the Merovingian epoch, and under Charlemagne, long journeys were often undertaken in order to procure marble and other building material for the Christian churches. Thus only can we account for the splendid columns of jasper, porphyry, Corinthian and rare marbles of which this crypt is composed. The capitals of white marble, in striking contrast to the deep red, greens, and other colours of the columns, are richly carved with acanthus leaves, scrolls, and classic patterns, without doubt the whole having originally decorated some Pagan temple. The chapel con

taining the crypt is said to have been founded in the seventh century, and speaks much for the enthusiasm and artistic spirit animating its builders. There is much elegance in these arches,

also in the sculptured tombs of dif

ferent epochs which, like the crypt,

have been preserved so wonderfully until the present time. Other archaeological treasures are here,

notably the so-called Pierre des szmneurs dc Jouarre—stone of the Jouarre Bellringers—a quaint design representing two bellringers at their task, with a legend underneath, dating from the fourteenth century. When I arrived at Jouarre, M. le curé and the sacristan were both absent, and as no one else possessed the key of the crypt, my chance of seeing it seemed small. However, some one obligingly set me on a voyage of discovery, and finally the sacristan’s wife was found in a neighbouring harvest field, and she bustled up, delightedto show everything; amongst other antiquities, some precious skulls and bones of saints, kept under lock and key in the sacristy, and only exposed on féte-days.

No one, however, need to have archaeological tastes in order to enjoy these twin towns ; alike scenery and people are charming, and the tourist is welcomed as a guest rather than a customer. But whether at Jouarre or anywhere else, he who knows most will see most; every day the dictum of the great Lessing being illustrated in travel: ‘Wer viel weiss, hat viel zu sorgen.’ The mere lover of the picturesque, who cares nothing for French history, literature, and institutions, old or new, will get a superb landscape here and nothing more.

In striking contrast with the homely ease and well–to-do terre-0t

terre about us at Couilly, is the princely chateau of the Rothschilds at Ferrieres, which none should miss seeing on any account whatever. With princely liberality also,

Baron Rothschild admits anyone

to his Fairyland who takes the trouble to write for permission; and however much we may have been thinking of Haroun al Raschid, King Solomon, and the Thousand and One Nights beforehand, we shall not be disappointed. The very name of Rothschild fills us with awe and bewilderment. We prepare ourselves to be dazzled with gold and gems, to tread on carpets gorgeous as peacocks’ tails, softer than eider-down; we pass through jasper and porphyry columns into regal halls where the acmé of splendour can go no farther, where the walls are hung with tapestry and crimson satin, where every chair looks like a throne, and where on all sides mirrors reflect the treasures collected from all parts of the world. And we are not disappointed. Quitting the railway at the cheerful, wealthy little town of Lagny, we drive past handsome country houses and well-kept flower gardens, and then gradually ascend a road winding amid hill and valley up to the chateau, a graceful structure in white marble, or so it seems, proudly commanding the wide landscape. The flower gardenh are :1. blaze of colours, and the orange trees give delicious fragrance as we ascend the terrace; ascend, indeed, being hardly the word applicable to steps sloping so easily upwards, and so nicely adjusted to the human foot, that climbing Mont Blanc under the same circumstances could be accomplished without fatigue. It is impossible to give any idea of the different kinds of magnificence that greet us on every side. Now a little Watteau world in tapestries having for background sky-blue satin and roses; now a dining hall, sombre, gorgeous, and majestic as that of a Spanish palace; now we are transported to Persia, China, and Japan; next we find ourselves amid unspeakable treasures of Italian and other marbles. To come down to practical details, it might be suggested to the generous owner of this noble treasure-house of art that the briefest possible catalogue of his choicest treasures would unspeakably oblige his visitors.

There is hardly a piece of furniture that is not interesting, alike from a historic and artistic point of view, whilst some are chefs d’0euv’re both in design and execution, and dazzlingly rich in material. Among these may be mentioned a pair of chimney ornaments thickly hung with pendants of precious stones; a piano—which belonged to Marie Antoinette—the case of which is formed of tortoiseshell richly decorated with gold; a cabinet set with emeralds,sapphires,andotherjewels; another composed of various precious stones; chairs and couches covered with exquisite tapestry of the Louis Quinze period; some rare specimens of old cloismmé work, also of Florentine mosaics—these forming a small part of this magnificent museum.

The striking feature is the great quantity and variety of rich marbles in every part. One of the staircases is entirely formed of different kinds of rare marble, the effect being extraordinarily imposing. Elsewhere a room is divided by Corinthian columns of jasper and porphyry, and on every side is displayed a wealth and splendour in this respect quite unique. Without doubt nothing lends such magnificence to interiors as marbles, but they require the spaciousness and princeliness of such a chateau as this to be displayed to advantage. Next in importance as a matter of mere decoration must be cited the tapestries, of which there is a rare and valuable collection, chiefly in

[blocks in formation]
Much might be said about the pictures if space permitted, but they alone are worth making the journey from Paris to see. But the creme de la creme of Baron Rothschild’s treasures is not to be found in this sumptuous Hall, in spite of tapestries, pictures, marbles, and rare furniture, nor in the state salon, but in one of the dining-rooms, a marvellously rich and gorgeous apartment, where the wealth of gold and splendid colours is toned down, and the eye is rather refreshed than dazzled by the whole. On the walls, reaching from base to ceiling, are hung a series of six paintings on leather, known as the cui/rs de 0’0’rdoue, or leather paintings from Cordova. They are historical and allegorical subjects, and are painted in rich colours with a great abundance of gold on a brown background, the general effect being that of a study in gold and brown. When looked at narrowly we find great dramatic interest in the subjects, and a uniform masterliness of execution, but without a catalogue it is impossible to give any accurate idea of these gorgeous paintings. The entire department of Seine et Marne perhaps offers no greater rarity than these paintings on leather from Cordova of which we would fain know the history.1

‘ See second volume of the Bibliothégue de l’Art. Paris: Quantin.

The Country Gentleman, Volume 25 (Google Books)

“To My MoTHER IN HEAVEN.”—A lady residing in the Rue de Rivoli, Paris, returned some time since from a visit she had made in the department of Finisterre, bringing with her a young orphan girl, poor, but very pretty, named Yvonne S–, whom she engaged as her waiting maid. Last month, a short time after her return to Paris, she died. When the body had been prepared for the coffin, and was for a short time left alone, Yvonne was seen to go stealthily into the room, lift up the shroud, and then hastily leave. The first idea was that she had taken a ring which, at the express desire of the deceased, had been left on her finger. On examination, however, the ring was discovered to be untouched, but a paper was seen attached with a pin to the shroud. On inspection it was found to be a letter addressed by the young orphan to her mother, who died two years ago, as follows: “My good Mother.-I have to tell you that M. B.-has made me an offer of marriage. As you are no longer here, I beg you to make known to me in a dream whether I ought to marry him, and to give me your consent. I avail myself, in order to write to you, of the opportunity of my mistress, who is going to heaven.” The letter was addressed “To my Mother in Heaven.” The person alluded to in the letter is one of the tradesmen of the deceased lady, who, having been struck with the good conduct of the young girl, had made her an offer of marriage.

The ladies of Paris, not content with dying their hair red, now dye their lapdogs to match the color of their dresses. Green dogs, yellow dogs, and sky-blue pugs are all the rage. Wealthy parties have sets of lapdogs of all colors. A purple lapdog would be an addition to a fine landscape