Page images
[graphic][ocr errors][merged small]



THE survival in a few remote villages of eastern at Selzech, a Swiss hamlet of 1,500 inhabitants, a repT or southern Europe of the religious miracle resentation of the passion play was given with very plays and passion plays of the middle ages, has considerable acceptance. It is therefore worth while seemed too curious an anomaly to outlive the nine- that American travelers who are to spend the present teenth century. The very causes, however, which summer in Europe should make note in their memoseemed at one time destined to bring these per- randum books of the fact that the Selzech play will formances to an end may in fact secure for them a be given twice in June, four times in July and five new lease of life. Modern facilities of travel are times in August. The dates are June 23 and 30; July providing so many spectators for every such per- 7, 14, 21 and 28 ; and August 4, 11, 15, 18 and 23. petuation of olden customs as the passion plays, that. Two hundred of the natives of the village take part the new motive of profit for the church, the village or in the performance. The Selzech theatre will accomthe performers seems to be leading to the production modate 1,200 persons, and the admission prices are of the plays with greater care and elaboration than moderate. ever, before.

Still more interesting will be the passion play perAs every one knows, the Oberammergau play is formances in the Bohemian village of Höritz. Inasproduced only one season in ten, and it cannot be much as the Höritz representations are to occur at seen again until the end of the century. Two years ago stated intervals this season until October, some

account of the play will just now have particular timeliness. The following brief description is furnished us by one who has witnessed the Höritz spectacle :

If any one desires to witness a passion play with every modern effect introduced into the “ staging," let him make tracks for Nürnberg, and then go viâ Eger and Pilsen (the great beer emporium) to Budweis; or he may take another route to the same destination, journeying by Munich, Simbach and Linz ; and yet a further variation is possible, for, taking the Vienna express to Passau viâ Nürnberg, a pleasant trip down the Danube may be made as far as Linz, and by rail thence to Budweis. Arrived at Budweis, the traveler finds a town of considerable importance, housing a mixed population, half Czech, the remainder being German-speaking Bohemians. There is a very strong spirit of rivalry between these two distinct parties. They hold aloof from each other, and there is a very manifest desire on the part of the German-speaking Bohemians to rule the roast.

The Deutscher Böhmerwaldbund (Bohemian Forest German Speaking Association) exists for furthering the interests of the German-speaking population of that beautiful but little known part of the world. The Höritz play is promoted by this society.

The district in the neighborhood abounds in graphite mines—in fact, the lead from here is of the very finest quality, and many a lead-pencil owes its origin to the industry of Schwarzbach. But this of the setting, now for the stone. A railway of comparatively recent construction conducts from Budweis to Salnau, opening up this district; and after passing the old ducal town of Krummau, Höritz, the scene of the Bohemian passion play, is reached. Differing in many ways from the great representation of Oberammergau, both as regards the present conditions and its origin, the play at Höritz is nevertheless well worthy of notice.

From Whitsunday up to the end of September, at stated intervals, the performance will again this year take place, and this fact may render a short notice of the subject acceptable. The village of Höritz lies at a short distance from the railway ; a few primitive einspanner” vehicles await the arrival of each train, or a quarter of an hour on foot will bring one to the village. Here the accommodation arrangements are more or less similar to those at Oberammergau. As with the Scriptural scenes dealt with in the play, so even in the nomenclature of their honses and streets, the Höritzers do not hesitate to take ample liberties For example, there is one part of the village which is called “Der Hölle" (the hell), and near there is situated the Hotel “zur Hölle ; " there is a restaurant “ zum Paradies," also other houses—“ zum Pilatus," “ zum Teufel” (the devil), etc.

One may stay at one of the hotels, or, as did the writer of this, lodge with one of the families. The play commences about 10.30 and goes on till noon. There is an ample interval for feeding time, and then the performance proceeds till about 5.30. The whole is very much shorter in duration of time, though the

[graphic][merged small]

scope of the ground dealt with exceeds that of the Ammergau representation. The theatre is built on Bayreuth principles, the auditorium being in absolute darkness during the performance. The stage is illuminated by electric light and all the accessories are thoroughly up to date. The scenery is very good, likewise the costumes.

The orchestra is concealed, as at Bayreuth, and there is a good organ, which occasionally is used alone to accompany some of the tableaux. The music is conducted by Jaraslov Jungmann, director of the Cathedral orchestra in Budweis. The stage manager is Ludwig Deutsch, theatre director from Budweis. The part of the Christus is taken by Johann Bartl, the schoolmaster and organist of the village, while the junior schoolmaster, Franz Scopek, acts as choragus, the explanatory portions being spoken rapidly (apparently read from a scroll), and not sung as at acted again at Höritz till 1899 ; at any rate, this was spoken of last year, at the conclusion of the performances, as being most probable.


[merged small][merged small][graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small]

The picture of the tableau of the Crucifixion on a preceding page is from a photograph, not of the Höritz play but of a representation which last year had great vogue in Germany. Herr Schmitz of Düsseldorf hit upon the happy idea of utilizing the churches of the Fatherland for the display of tableaux of scenes in sacred history. It is a new, popular and useful form of church work. The leading people in a · parish place themselves in Mr. Schmitz's hands; he provides the dresses, etc., and tableaux which deeply impress the beholder are the result.

The “Passion Oratorio," by Dechant H. Fidelis Müller, the celebrated composer of sacred oratorios, has enjoyed a triumphant reception in over one hundred and twenty towns already. During its most recent representation at Salzburg, under the active presidency of the Archbishop, Dr. Katchthaler, and the co-operation of the leading townspeople and the local choirs, the gigantic dimensions of the celebrated Marble Hall of the Imperial Palace proved inadequate to accommodate all applicants for admission to the six performances. The tableaux vivants, with their scenic accessories illustrating the principal epochs of the oratorio, are chaste, dignified, and of highest artistic merit. Thoughts and feelings interpreted through the language of Dechant Müller's sweet, pathetic music are free from any shortcomings

of individual expression, defects so frequently marring the harmony in passion plays. Amidst the elevating strains of glorious music, in the production of which the heart guided the composer's pen, the tableaux appear before the gaze of the spellbound audience like visions from higher spheres, producing an overwhelming and indelible impression upon every heart. The Grand Ducal Court at Darmstadt honored with its presence the representation of Dechant Müller's oratorio, “St. Elizabeth," performed by members of the highest Darmstadt society.

To introduce Dechant Müller's oratorios into England, the same plan will be adopted which was worked so admirably on the Continent, upheld their high standard, increased their fame, and extended their sphere of practical usefulness. The best local talent is to be enlisted, to be assisted by professional aid whenever found requisite. The tableaux will be arranged by the well known specialist, Dr. H. W. Schmitz, historical painter, of Düsseldorf. With the aid of his unique collection of costumes and appropriate scenic accessories, he will produce ensembles hitherto unattained. The net proceeds of all performances are destined for church, school or charitable requirements, which throughout the Continent have been benefited by these means to the extent of many thousand pounds already. It would be worth while for Americans to note the success of this experiment in England with a view to bringing Dr. Schmitz to the United States.

[graphic][merged small]



can and Canadian coin. It had all been made legal ten

der in the United States by Act of Congress." Here Coin COIN'S FINANCIAL SCHOOL,” in which

picked up a copy of the laws of the United States relating little treatise is gathered together and per

to coinage, etc., and read from page 240, as follows : suasively presented the chief argument of those who "And be it further enacted, That from and after the advocate the free and unlimited coinage of silver by passage of this act, the following foreign silver coins shall the United States, without international agreement, pass current as money within the United States, and be and which seems to be accepted as their text book, receivable by tale, for the payment of all debts and de has provoked replies from perhaps all the leading mands, at the rates following, that is to say : the Spanish newspapers in the land which do not agree editorially

Pillar dollars, and the dollars of Mexico, Peru, and Bolivian with the opinions expressed by the precocious Coin,


“So that we had, prior to 1873, one hundred and five and has called forth numerous answers in pamphlets

millions of silver coined by us, and about one hundred and book form. The ablest reply that has so far

million of foreign silver coin, or about two hundred and appeared in the monthly periodicals is an article in

five millions dollars in silver in the United States, and were the Banker's Magazine for May, in which the writer doing all we could to get more and to hold on to what we adopts the fair method of controversy by giving had. Thus silver and gold were the measure of values. Coin's statements in full before making answer. We It should be remembered that no silver or gold was in cir. quote as follows from this article in the Banker's culation between 1860 and 1873. Two hundred and five Magazine, giving the statements by Coin in smaller millions were in circulation before 1861." type :

The writer in the Banker's Magazine answers : GOLD AND SILVER COINAGE-1792 TO 1873.

“ There is no objection whatever to Coin's general In his first lecture Mr. Coin said, among other things, statements about the silver dollar being the standard that : The Constitution gave the power to Congress to coin

(or unit, as he calls it) of value up to 1873, nor to the money and regulate the value thereof. Congress adopted

world-famous truth that silver and gold for years silver and gold as money. It then proceeded to fix the

prior to 1873 had remained approximately near the unit. Congress fixed the monetary unit to consist of 371% grains of pure silver, and provided for a certain amount of

same value at a ratio of 151 to 1. But Coin, as usual, alloy (baser metals) to be mixed with it to give it greater

fails to emphasize the main truth-viz.: that this hardness and durability. This was in 1792, in the days of equilibrium of values had only been maintained beWashington and Jefferson and our revolutionary fore cause the mints of all the world, except England, fathers, who had a hatred of England. Gold was made were open to coinage, and silver could practically be money, but its value was counted from these silver units, exchanged for gold, or gold for silver, in France. He or dollars. The ratio between silver and gold was fixed says the mints were open to silver, but he cunningly at 15 to 1, and afterward at 16 to 1, . . . when the

avoids saying the mints of the world, except England. latter (gold) was changed from 24.7 grains to 23.2 grains

There is no argument here for unlimited free coinage pure gold, thus making it smaller. This occurred in 1834.

by the United States alone; the argument is all In 1837 (p. 20) it was changed from 23.2 to 23.22 for convenience in calculation.

against it. The silver dollar still remained the unit, and continued “ Take the next statement above : Up to 1873 we 80 till 1873. Both were legal tender in the payment of all were on what was known as a bimetallic basis, but debts, and the mints were open to the coinage of all that what was in fact a silver basis.' Could anything be came. So that up to 1873 we were on what was known more false than this bold statement, that prior to as a bimetallic basis, but what was in fact a silver basis, 1873 (or prior to 1860) the United States was on a with gold as a companion metal, enjoying the same privi

silver basis? He endeavors to convey the idea to leges as silver, except that silver fixed the unit, and the

workingmen and persons unlearned in finance, that value of gold was regulated by it. This was bimetallism. Our forefathers showed much wisdom in selecting silver,

the dreaded · silver basis' which has been talked of of the two metals, out of which to make the unit. Much

so much, and would come with free coinage if underdepended on this decision. For the one selected to repre taken by this country alone, together with the imsent the unit would thereafter be unchangeable in value. mediate depreciation of one-half in all dollar values, That is, the metal in it could never be worth less than a would be the same basis that the United States was dollar, for it would be the unit of value itself. The de on for years before 1860, when all dollars, both gold mand for silver in the arts or for money by other nations

and silver, were practically interchangeable and kept might make the quantity of silver in a silver dollar sell for

near a parity only through the international consenmore than a dollar, but it could never be worth less than

sus as to coinage. a dollar. Less than itself (p. 8).

"Again, the statement is false and misleading " Prior to 1873," said Coin, “ there were one hundred and five millions of silver coined by the United States, and

that because the silver dollar was made the unit of eight millions of this was in silver dollars. About one hun- value, 'the metal in it could never be worth less than dred millions of foreign silver had found its way into this a dollar.' Certainly Coin assumes that he is talking country prior to 1860. It was principally Spanish, Mexi- to babes in finance if he expects any one to believe

« PreviousContinue »