« PreviousContinue »
catalogue before us, and our friend Sadik Bey at a far more delightful companion than some saints hand as interpreter. It was touching to see the one has met-he was certainly no mere man of genuine anxiety of the old librarian to find any fashion.
If he was a little too fond of playbook my husband wished to see, and he was ably ing the young man, it was only in the hours of reseconded by his assistants. They first brought us laxation.
That he had a sustained feeling some exquisite Persian MSS., beautifully illumi- of compassion for the submerged nine-tenths of the nated and bound; and when we made them under- Jews of Russia and Poland, a hundred conversastand that my husband would like to see any books tions I have had with him on the subject can tesin the library from India, they eagerly produced tify." all they had, but they proved to be chiefly modern To obtain the ukase under which the Jewish works on music. After they had brought us some Colonization Association operates in Russia, “ not fine MSS. of the Koran, with glossaries and com- a souble had been spent in concilitation,' and the mentaries, they asked us to walk about and examine coveted signature had been obtained by straightforthe general contents of the building. The bookcases ward negotiations, in the promotion of which there were of the best construction, with movable shelves, can now be no indiscretion in saying that his Royal and at one end we found a very good collection of Highness the Prince of Wales gave invaluable aid. English, French and German classics. The centre It is only fair to the memory of the late Sir Robert of the room was occupied by glass cases, filled Morier, late Ambassador to the Czar, that to him with gorgeously bound, illustrated works, chiefly should be ascribed all the credit for final success. gifts to the Sultan."
His efforts on behalf of the Jews were indefatigable."
HIS WILD WAGER.
IN PRAISE OF BARON HIRSCH.
A gruesome story is told in illustration of the R. ARNOLD WHITE contributes to the Eng
Baron's reckless courage :
When he was quite a young man-he himself the late Baron Hirsch. Mr. White has been pained
told me the incident was true he was in a town in by the allegations made against his deceased friend, Turkey where the cholera was raging. Some Ausand chivalrously hastens to contradict them. He
trian officers were there, and a conversation sprang says : “Baron Hirsch was not only very good to
up about courage. A bet was proposed and accepted me, but there grew up a friendship between us
by Hirsch that he would not pass the night on a which, at all events on my side, was founded on
bed with the corpse of a man who had died of the respect for his character."
cholera, one condition being that the layer of the Mr. White recounts the steps which led to his
odds was to stand in the doorway all night and see being asked by the Baron to go to Russia for him
that the wager was fairly won. This was done. and report on the condition of the poor Jews :
Hirsch passed the night with the body, and won the “ Before accepting the commission I made every
bet. Next morning, as he and his friend were leavpossible investigation about Baron Hirsch's previ- ing the house, they encountered a funeral at the ous business career, and as far as my inquiries
corner of the street, at which there was a block. went-and I state the result for what it is worth- The hastily made coffin, which was borne on men's there is no evidence whatever of dishonorable con- shoulders, by some mischance fell, and in falling duct in reference to the Turkish contracts.
the body, that of a beautiful girl, rolled out of the As an Austrian Brassey, Baron Hirsch made a shell into the street. The girl was the sister of the great but not a vast fortune on railway contracts ; Austrian officer, who did not even know she but the bulk of his gains came from other sources,
was ill. The shock was so great to the brother that to which public attention has not been called.” he fell to the ground, was immediately seized with
cholera, and himself was a corpse within fortyA HARD WORKING PHILANTHROPIST.
HIS RELIGION. It is a great mistake to think of the Baron as the mere votary of pleasure :
Of the Baron's religious belief Mr. White says : * From 6 A.M., in summer he would work un- “In his youth he had a theological tutor, who preceasingly at his charities, and especially at the sented to the future millionaire so vivid a contrast Russian scheme. I have beside me as I write between precept and practice that forever afterward three large portfolios of his letters, which give the dogmas of creed ceased to exercise any effect on evidence of a virile and sustained sympathy with his mind. There had been an idea of Hirsch bethe suffering and oppressed, which would be coming a Catholic, but he preferred to remain wholly beyond the capacity of a mere pleas- among his own people. As a matter of fact, how. ure seeker. He gave a great deal more than ever, he told me that he had never entered a synahis money. He gave his time, attention and
gogue for worship.” intellect to the minute study of the problems he The sketch concludes with the pathetic remark : attacked for the benefit of his co-religionists and “Those who judge Baron Hirsch by the aspect he others. If Baron Hirsch was no saint-and he was bore in society must necessarily misjudge him, for to understand the keynote to his life one must have lost, or be about to lose, an only son.”
THE CHARACTER OF LORD KELVIN.
THE LATE BARON DE HIRSCH.
month ; and Rev. Donald McLeod avails himself
of the occasion to contribute to Good Words an inN the May number of the Menorah Monthly there teresting sketch of “the greatest scientist of our
is a brief characterization of Baron Moritz de time," as he calls his friend. (To American readers Hirsch, whose recent death removed one of the Lord Kelvin is still better known as Sir William truest and most tireless friends of his persecuted Thomson.) coreligionists.
SECOND ONLY TO NEWTON, The Menorah affirms that Baron de Hirsch, though a Jew, “ passed by the forms and ceremonies of
After recounting the series of discoveries and inritual life without heeding them, and probably on
ventions which have claimed for Lord Kelvin 'a that account did the rabbis of Galicia mistrust his place second, in the judgment of some, to Newton efforts in behalf of the education of the Jewish
only, the writer tells of one remarkable peculiarity : youth in Galicia and warned their followers against
While the higher mathematics and all the myssending their boys to the school erected by his
teries of logarithms and the calculus are as easy to munificence and directed by men in whose integrity
him as the alphabet, he often appears puzzled when and disinterestedness he had confidence. He comes
a sum is presented to him in ordinary nunierals. A from a stock of faithful and observant Jews. His
question of simple addition placed this way on the father was known as such and his uncle, Baron
board will sometimes lead to the query being put to Joel von Hirsch, of Würzburg, was one of the pillars
the class or to an assistant, with a certain funny look of orthodox Judaism. But his ideas seem to have
of helplessness : 'How much is that ?'" been latitudinarian, and not until anti-Semitism
NO MAN LESS SELF-CONSCIOUS. became violently demonstrative and until the persecution of the Jews in Russia became a calamity
Dr. Macleod bears willing witness to the beautiful
character of this great childlike sage. He says : which affected every member of the Jewish race did he become the active supporter of his people.
“I never knew a man less self-conscious. He is He had a parallel in Adolph Cremieux. That great
absolutely without affectation or any thought of defender of his race and faith was probably igno
self-importance. He will converse with a nobody rant what it meant and purported to be a Jew until
in a manner so respectful and attentive as to make
that nobody imagine himself that he has been dethe threatened massacre in Damascus, induced by a
lightfully interesting and even informing to Lord subject of France, made his heart quiver with emo
Kelvin. This arises from the simplicity and sweettion and hurled him into the arena of publicity as
ness of a great nature. There are, however, some the defender of innocence and the vindicator of
things which do arouse that equable spirit into a justice. These two men, high as their positions
white heat. In politics, for example, all the intenwere, felt the ignominy to which the Jews were ex
sity of his native Irish blood became kindled during posed to a greater degree than the immediate victims.
the Home Rule controversy against a measure “The shaft sank deeper into their vitals than into
which he deemed dangerous to the welfare of his that of the humbler members of their race. They
country. Another subject never fails to rouse him. were made to feel that their admission into the
Let any one talk as believing in spiritualistic mani. highest ranks of society partook more of the char
festations, and at once the calm man flashes out in acter of gracious toleration than of full equality.
indignant and contemptuous anger. He will have They were made to appreciate the fact that not
none of it!" until unconditional equality was accorded to the
HIS ATTITUDE TO RELIGION. Jews the world over could the individual hope to occupy that position, though he may not always be “ But no one is more reverent as regards all re made to feel it. And they therefore looked to edu- ligious questions. is neitber agnostic nor materi. cation, enlightenment, culture, intellectual supe- alist. His studies have led him into the widest riority, as the only redeemer, the only saviour from fields of speculative research as to cosmogony and the degradation of centuries.”
the destiny of the material universe. He has The Menorah quotes Baron de Hirsch as saying weighed everything, from atoms and molecules to in explanation of his efforts on behalf of his own sun, moon and stars ; he has calculated the rate of people :
loss of energy in the sun's heat ; he has entered “ It is my desire, above all things, to prove to with zest on speculations as to the origin of life on mankind that persecution alone has made the Jew this planet, and has seen in the dust of meteors sugwhat he is to day, by keeping him hemmed in and gestions as to the conceivable source of those seeds confined to certain pursuits.
from which evolution has proceeded ; he has dealt * But, given freedom of action and an open field, with Geologic time and Plutonic forces ; but none he will be a successful agriculturist and make, in of these fascinating and awful problems have ever the next generation, an excellent husbandman. shaken his faith in God. Like Newton and Fara
KIPLING AS AN INDIAN JOURNALIST. HE July McClure's opens with a capitai article
day, he can rise with reverent heart into the thought of the spritiual as well as material glory which has been revealed, and has continued a humble Christian worshipper. With deep interest I have listened to him and his friend, the Duke of Argyll, conversing on these subjects and speaking of the contradictions whereby some scientists deny design while they cannot write a page without employing terms which expressively involve it. A purer and nobler nature than that of Lord Kelvin I have never known.”
MR. JAMES BRYCE ON CECIL RHODES. НЕ July Century contains the third and con
cluding paper of Mr. James Bryce's Impressions of South Africa." His explanatory account of the recent troubles does not bring out any new features. He prophesies a struggle for suffrage between Boer and Uitlander soon to come, and feels the importance of some movement to prevent a recurrence of the troubles of last December and January. “It is impossible,” he says, “ in our times, for a minority to continue to rule over a large and increasing unenfranchised majority of people superior in intelligence and wealth, however strong the original position of the minority may have been, and whatever sympathy their attachment to their own simple and primitive life may evoke.” Mr. Bryce does not look forward to a very phenomenal increase in the white population of South Africa. It is now about 750,000 and he thinks that it may still not exceed two millions twenty or thirty years hence, as the laboring population is colored, and will remain colored.
was a colleague of Kipling's on the Civil and Military Gazette of Lahore, India. The creator of
Mulvaney " has always been more or less of a mystery to Americans, even after he has come to reside in our midst, and Mr. Robinson's anecdotes of these old Indian days does more to bring us close to the man Kipling than any accounts we have seen before. Mr. Robinson confesses that he was at first disappointed with Kipling himself when he first met him ten years ago.
* His face had not acquired character and manhood and contrasted somewhat unpleasantly with his stoop acquired from much bending over an office table, his heavy eyebrows, his spectacles, and his sallow Anglo-Indian complexion; while his jerky speech and abrupt movements added to the unfavorable impression. But his conversation was brilliant, and his sterling character gleamed through the humorous light wbich shone behind his spectacles, and in ten minutes he fell into his natural place as the most striking member of a remarkably clever and charming family."
AN UNAPPRECIATED GENIUS. Mr. Kipling's employer on the Civil and Military Gazette had very little opinion of his sub-editor's budding genius, and made no efforts to encourage it, and only now and then would the young man's bright humor find opportunity to flash in the introductory lines to summaries of government reports, political notes and borrowed paragraphs. In fact, Mr. Robinson was invited to join the staff of the Civil and Military Gazette for the purpose of putting, as the proprietor expressed it, some sparkle into the paper,” a phrase which leads Mr. Robinson to remark: “ When the staff of a journal consists of two men only, one of whom is Kipling, such an exhortation addressed to the other doubtless seems curious. But Kipling had the buoyancy of a cork, and, after his long office work, had still found spare energy to write those charming sketches and poems which in ‘Soldiers Three' and the ‘Departmental Ditties' gave him such fame as can be won in the narrow world of Anglo-India."
A THOROUGHBRED AT WORK. Mr. Robinson says of Kipling's attack on the daily drudgery in a newspaper office:
“My experience of him as a newspaper hack suggests, however, that if you want to find a man who will cheerfully do the office work of three men, you should catch a young genius. Like a blood horse between the shafts of a coal wagon, he may go near to bursting his heart in the effort, but he'll drag that wagon along as it ought to go. The annount of 'stuff' that Kipling got through in the day was indeed wonderful; and though I had more or less satisfactory assistants after he left, and the staff grew with the paper's prosperity, I am sure that
HIS TRIBUTE TO CECIL RHODES.
“No man in South Africa has been more warmly attached to the British connection, or has done half so much to secure for Britain those vast territories to the west and to the north of the Transvaal, which were coveted by both the Transvaal Republic and by the German Empire. But in his political career in Cape Colony, of which he was prime minister from July, 1890, till January, 1896, Mr. Rhodes suc. ceeded in obtaining the support of the Dutch party, and labored assiduously to bring about a unity of sentiment and aim between the Dutch and the British elements in the population. The energy and firmness of his character, and the grasp of political and economic questions which he has evinced, make him the most striking figure among the colonial statesmen of Britain in this generation. He has been deemed by some a less adroit parliamentarian than was the late Sir John Macdonald in Canada, but he is possessed of a far wider outlook and far more conspicuous executive capacity. The ascend. ancy which these gifts gave him enabled him, while extending British influence up to and beyond the Zambesi, at the same time to retain the confidence of that Dutch, or Afrikander, population which had least national sympathy with what is called an 'imperial British policy.''
"THE CASE AGAINST GOETHE." ROFESSOR DOWDEN did a valiant thing
when he availed himself of his position as president of the English Goethe Society to challenge Goethe's claims to be entered in the roll of the world's chief leaders of thought ; and the editor of Cosmopolis is fortunate in securing the full text of the address for his June number. The professor deliberately assumes the role of Devil's Advocate, and pleads vigorously against Goethe's secular canonization.
As he remarks at the outset : Concerning Goethe the British public have always had their doubts and scruples. Cervantes they have taken to their heart. Dante they place upon an altitude which they do not always choose to climb. Around Goethe a cloud of distrust has gathered, and as soon as it is dispersed the cloud gathers again."
HIS WANT OF PURPOSE.
more solid work was done in that office when Kipling and I worked together than ever before or after."
KIPLING AND THE INK POT.
“There was one peculiarity of Kipling's work which I really must mention; namely, the amount of ink he used to throw about. In the heat of summer white cotton trousers and a thin vest constituted his office attire, and by the day's end he was spotted all over like a Dalmatian dog. He had a habit of dipping his pen frequently and deep into the inkpot, and as all his movements were abrupt, almost jerky, the ink used to fly. When he darted into my room, as he used to do about one thing or another in connection with the contents of the paper about a dozen times in the morning, I had to shout to him to stand off;' otherwise, as I knew by experience, the abrupt halt he would make, and the flourish with which he placed the proof in his hand before me, would send the penful of ink-he always had a full pen in his hand-flying over me.
Driving or sometimes walking home to breakfast in his light attire, plentifully besprinkled with ink, his spectacled face peeping out under an enormous, mushroom-shaped pith hat, Kipling was a quaint-looking object.”
HIS MUSICAL TURN. Kipling's verses are always written not only to music but as music, and the rhythmical catch of the native bands' discourses would inevitably set him hankering for pen and ink with which to dash off a set of verses in the spirit of the tune.
“I have before me now one of Kipling's poems of the ' Departmental Ditty' order which was never published. One of India’s ‘little wars' was in progress, and our special correspondent had telegraphed that, on account of our newspaper's comments on the composition of the general's staff, he had been boycotted by the general's orders." Here,' said I, handing the telegram to Kipling, is a subject for a nice little set of verses.
“ Kipling read the telegram, thought a moment, then said: 'I have it. How would this do—“Rum tiddy um ti tum ti tum, Tra la la ti tum ti tum ?", (or words to that effect) hummed in notes that suggested a solo on the bugle. I was quite accustomed to having verses in their inceptional stage submitted in this shape for editorial approval; so I said that the poem sounded excellent, and returned to my work. In twenty minutes Kipling came to me with the verses, which commenced:
General Sir Arthur Victorious Jones,
Great is vermilion splashed with gold.' They were pointed and scathing; but, as I have said, were never published, subsequent telegrams showing that our correspondent had been mistaken. Kipling always conceived his verses in that wayas a tune, often a remarkably musical and, to me, novel tune."
For this prejudice good reasons are now furnished : Save for short spaces of time in his earlier years, he neglected to concentrate himself on his highest work. He lay open to the accidents of life, and allowed himself to be turned aside by them, instead of cleaving his way through them to his proper ends. Hence the inordinate mass of inferior productions. His most important writings are fragmentary or ill-organized. He altered the forms of several, like an amateur experimenting, not like an artist who knows what he wants, and does it once and finally. Faust' was laid by for years, was taken up again, laid by, and taken up once more ; so that it has no vertebral column, or perhaps has many, but none complete. And it would have been fortunate if he had ceased to write ten years before the end."
HIS ARTISTIC INCONSTANCY.
The professor is equally severe upon Goethe's conduct of his life : “Goethe's life, like his chief writ. ings, lacks unity and organization. It is rather a series of different lives each incomplete, placed one upon the top of another, than a single lifo embodying one great idea, and accomplishing one supreme work.
The order which a inan of genius receives from his divine Commander, or from the dæmon within him, is to execute his alloted work, not to spend himself in a miscellany of casual occupations.
“His career as an artist, like his life as a man, is neither single nor homogeneous ; it is, indeed, a suc. cession of excursions and retreats. Goethe had no great tradition to determine his course and impel him onward. He experimented endlessly toward the creation of a new German literature ; but a literature grows from the soil, and is not the manufacture of tentative culture. To what school of architecture does his shrine of art belong ? Shall we say that it is designed in the Franco-Anglo. Persico-Greco-Roman German style ?"
HIS RELATIONS WITH WOMEN,
The professor does not spare the poet's erotic irregularities : Goethe's relations with women have been defended by that genial Scotchman, the late Professor Blackie, in a naive argument. A poet, he says, naturally falls in love with beautiful objects, and of these objects a beautiful woman is the most attractive, being the finest piece of workmanship in the world of reasonable creatures.
creeds, from the thraldom of enthusiasm, from devotion to a cause, from subjection to a passion. He is universally tolerant, and where no great claims are made he is even sympathetic. Goethe helps to emancipate him from all forms of bondage, except one-the bondage of self.”
man therefore take offense,' writes the professor, THE
* when I say roundly that Goethe was always falling in love, and that I consider this a great virtue in his character. We should like to know Frederika Brion's or Frau von Stein's view of the masculine argument. Our censure of Goethe is not that he was passionate, but that he was deficient in passion."
With no depth of soil or strength of root his passions withered away.
HIS WANT OF INSIGHT. The record of his travels, argues the professor, shows him singularly blind to the galleries of Florence and the genius of Giotto. Dante he failed to appreciate. “He described the ‘Inferno' as abominable, the 'Purgatorio' as dubious, the ‘Paradiso as tiresome.” Goethe was a man of the eighteenth century, and his appreciation of classic art never rose above the level of his age."
Of his works no indulgent estimate is given. * * Werther' is built upon the sands of simulated passion." Wilhelm Meister" has as central idea
a more definite sense of limitation, and thereby real expansion "-of which the professor remarks,
An excellent piece of morality for one who has begun ill.” His optical writings remain as a warning monument to those who would enter into science by a way other than the straight and narrow gate. Of “ Elective Affinities,” the immorality is " deeper than that of an attack on marriage ;” it is an attack on the freedom of a rational will. While Europe was struggling for freedom“ Goethe was on the side of the oppressors.
His highest conception of political freedom was that enjoyed under a benevolent despotism. He had no patriotic lay for resurgent Germany.
The longer “Faust” is subject to criticism the less does any unity appear in it. “ We cannot accept an ordinary love intrigue at the culmination of a stupendous mystery play.” The second part is “an encyclopedia of Goethe's studies and thoughts, but not an organic poem.”
A PESSIMISTIC RUSSIAN. ‘HE July Lippincott's contains an article on
“ The Decadence of Russian Literature,” signed “ A Russian," which cannot say too much ill of the effects of the censorship of the press in the Czar's dominions. Aside from the direct influence which the Minister of the Interior exercises on the actual output of literature, the Russian authors have felt indirect impulses which are very destructive. “Being thwarted in every attempt to tell the truth, having every manuscript mutilated and sometimes entirely shorn of even common sense by the red ink of the censor, the authors began to change their style, to write metaphorically, to clothe their thoughts in all kinds of allegory in order to deceive the censor and let the public read between the lines.' The consequence of this indirection, so A Russian" thinks, is that the authors have gotten so accustomed to the roundabout phrases that they have ceased to understand themselves, and that many great talents have been ruined.
THE PERIODICALS OF MODERN RUSSIA. “The periodicals of the eighties and nineties are only feeble shadows of their brilliant predecessors of the late fifties, sixties, and part of the seventies. There are in Russia of to-day no independent news. papers of any kind; they are totally exterminated. Novoye Vremia, the only large daily of St. Petersburgh, is a shameless opportunist paper, without any defined principles, turning around with the wind and fighting to-day for what it was fighting against yesterday. Among the monthlies the only survivor of the brilliant epoch of the sixties is the Viestnik Europi, which miraculously escaped the common fate by devoting itself principaily to science and history. Although the number of periodicals is increased very materially, their intrinsic value is diminished in a still larger proportion."
OF BELLES-LETTRES. Of the period of comparative freedom of the press from 1855 to 1865 and its galaxy of brilliant talents in literature, art and science, there is no survivor except Tolstoi, who is now over eighty years of age.
• To-day in the field of belles-lettres there is not practically a single noted name except Korolenko, who began his literary career in the eighties, and who has already spent about ten years in prison and exile. Boborikin, a third-rate writer of the sixties and seventies, is the star. Nemirovitch Danchenko became a witty nothing. Potapenko is making up for quality by quantity; Chehov is dumb; Olga Shapir repeats herself in every new work. Twenty
HIS GREAT FAILURE. Referring in the end to Goethe's boast about his works conferring an inward freedom, the professor agrees and retorts : “ Unquestionably Goethe is right ; his disciple acquires a certain inward freedom ; he moves among ideas and among men, seeking to understand them all, and refusing to attach himself to any. He is free from the tyranny of