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the ascents were always particularly on his right temple. He died almost fortunate. In October, 1837, Mr. immediately. Green was announced to ascend from Balloons have been found most useVauxhall Gardens. He was to be ac- ful in military strategy. During the companied, as usual, by Mr. Spencer, wars of Napoleon, and even earlier his partner, and Mr. Cocking the para- under Jourdan at the battle of Fleurus, chutist. An enormous crowd assembled they formed a regular portion of milto witness the ascent. It was said later itary service, Colonel Coutelle being that at this period it was found that employed in the management of them. Mr. Cocking's parachute was injured. The method of signalling which he emand that every one connected with the ployed was invented by Couté; the sigexperiment, including Mr. Cocking nals consisted of pieces of colored cloth himself, knew the danger he, as well as attached to the balcony of the car; his companions, ran. On the other these served to indicate the various hand, there was the chance of a for- maneuvres moving to the right or left. tunate escape as set against the cer- These signals were used at the sieges of tainty of irritating a disappointed pub- Mannheim, Maintz, and Ehrenbreitlic. Great blame attached to Mr. stein. Green for allowing the experiment to In the Mexican War of 1863, Mr. take place. As it was, he nearly lost Wise, an American, undertook to caphis own life, as, when the parachute ture the formidable fortress St. Juan was cut away, the balloon, freed from a d’Ullexa by means of a balloon; his weight of five hundred pounds, as- offer was refused. There is no doubt cended with such frightful velocity, that there is a future for balloons in that Green and Spencer narrowly es this as well as in other directions, and caped being suffocated by applying that aerial carriages will some day find their mouths to ice-bags. The para- many passengers. A jaunt to the skies, chute, so soon as it was liberated from if undertaken with proper precautions, the balloon, collapsed, and fell at a would be a delightful variety, and fearful rate of speed into a field, where should call for attention from Messrs. poor Cocking was found with a wound Cook and Gaze.—Temple Bar.
VIOLINS AND GIRLS.
BY H. R. HAWEIS.
A BEAUTIFUL girl playing on a beau- or hailing the omnibus or cab in Oxford tiful violin is the most beautiful thing Street, Regent Street, and Bond Street. in the world—bien entendu, that the Then the Royal Academy, Royal Colbeautiful girl is full of genius and sen- lege, Guildhall class-rooms are choked sibility.
with violin girls, and no ladies' semiThe barrier which for long, in spite nary is now complete without the violin of St. Cecilia and the angels, warned tutor. Women have already invaded off women from violins, in the name orchestras, and at least one celebrated of all that was feminine, no longer amateur society can boast of nothing exists. Indeed, within the last twenty- but lady players, while the profession five years, we have been afflicted with as regards soloists divides its honors a girl-violin mania. School misses pretty equally between male and female before they are in their teens clamor to virtuosi. learn the violin. It is a common sight Upon the depressing and gloomy side in London to see maidens of all ages of this question I do not desire to dwell laden with fiddles of all sizes, their at undue length. Girls without talent, music rolls strapped tightly to the cases, it is alas ! true, rush to the violin, and hurrying to the underground railway, are forced offensively upon unoffending audiences, who apparently have not yet she plays really well and knows how to discovered the means of defending hold her instrument, must be graceful themselves. If a girl nowadays can't displaying her flexible wrists, arms, play the piano, she is no longer pressed, and shoulders to the best advantage. but if she can't play the violin she does Expression, pathos, passion, sweetness, not seem to have a candid friend with tenderness, vigor, aspiration, ecstasy, sufficient courage to tell her so. She delicious imaginative woe, all sweep over will get up with the greatest aplomb in her countenance like swift cloud shadany assembly and inflict the scrapings ows that chase each other on a summer's of an incompetent novice on the com- day over the wide uplands or sunny pany. The room will immediately be cornfields. She reveals herself withhushed, just as it is when a pretty out self-consciousness, for she claims creature with a voice like a peacock the virtuoso's privilege of being lost in stands up to sing—and after a brief her art. She charms by her spontabut futile tussle with Raff's cavatina, or neity, her enthusiasm is infectious; Bach's prelude, your violin girl will see, her eyes are now half closed in retire smirking and self-satisfied, with- dreamy languor, but presently they out the least idea that she has been flash forth like beacon fires, and then exposing herself to the pity and ridicule on a sudden seem to fill with tears that of any musicians who happen to be glisten in her long dark lashes and present.
forget to fall. The congealed girl is Of course, the advantages to a girl melted by the very essence of her divine of performing on the violin are obvious. art. The silent maiden finds a frank If she sings she may lose her voice, and and fearless tongue more eloquent than if she has not got one she can't sing. her own. Her emotional consciousness, If she plays the piano no one will cease which lay buried in the depths of her talking, in England at least; no, not virginal nature, is suddenly brought up even if she plays divinely; and then she to the surface; it pervades the whole of cannot be well seen at the piano. But her tingling frame, and her soul, a if she holds a violin she is at once moment before apparently so cold and isolated. In our overcrowded female pallid, like a piece of labrador spar population isolation is everything. To when set at a particular angle, gives off be picked or to pick yourself out of the beautiful and iridescent tints. crowd, to command the undivided at- It is indeed strange that woman tention of the room, to have your should have had to wait until the last innings, and to have it all to yourself quarter of the Victorian era before her under the most advantageous, the most claims to the violin were fully recogfascinating circumstances, that is a nized, when a moment's reflection will great point. A girl may go to a dozen show how perfectly adapted the instru“at homes” and parties, but there are ment is to her whole constitution, and dozens more girls there along with her, how exquisitely fitted she is to manipuand she is but one in the dozen. But late its anointed fabric and call forth let her suddenly appear with her violin the secrets of its mysterious soul. Her and she gets her opportunity. She is sensitive hand seems made to clasp its perfectly seen as she stands at ease. If smooth and taper neck. How graceshe plays at night her arms and shoul- fully and expressively do her white, ders are bare, her head, with its artis- rosy-tipped fingers spread themselves tically dressed hair, set off with a rose upon the black finger-board, now pressor diamond comb, falls into a natural ing down close and tight, now hovering and fetching pose, just a little on one over the vibrating chords. With what side, her cheek leans lovingly upon the swiftness of command does her bow smooth surface of her glowing Cre- attack, caress, or dally with the willing mona, and is set off at once by its strings; how comfortably and fondly sombre orange or gold red varnish. does the Cremona nestle under her little Every motion of both her well-rounded chin, close above her throbbing heart, arms is expressive; every attitude, if as though listening fondly to the whis
pering rustle of those tender beats threshold, or to “the lordly music before transmuting their message into flowing from the illimitable years !” mystic sound. At last, at last I she has In many I discerned a look of almost found a vehicle worthy of her subtle or overwrought sensibility, and a prespassionate, but too long imprisoned, cience as of a fine spirit that seizes your emotions; all those vague day-dreams, meaning before you utter it, and reads those quick returns upon self, those shy by happy and quickened intuition the reticences which yearn for an ear that untold joys and sorrows of the heart. cannot be found, those confidences which Every delicate shade of feeling, every will be revealed through her violin, nuance of expression is the special gift but never betrayed, that suffocation of of this mature woman. That other feeling that finds no relief until it is young girl is painstaking, careful, consuddenly seized, explored, embraced, scientious, but her fine technique will and lifted away upon those tidal waves never reveal anything but a commonof ineffable melody, the spiritual coun place and practical nature. In this terpart of herself, the ministers of her face, with the eyes looking down in agony and of her delight, the inter- command upon the strings while the preter of things which “words are bow is firmly gripped and the violin powerless to express, and leave them held with something like a despotic still unsaid in part, or say them in too clutch, the look is eloquent. “Thou great excess !”
shalt do my bidding," it seems to say. Yes, surely the violin is made for “I will have my will of thee; thou shalt woman, and woman is made for the yield up to me the utmost that is in violin. It is at once her grandest thee. I will dominate thy power, and interpreter of feeling and her best sub- pluck out the heart of thy mystery. stitute for love, if love she may not Thou hast no secrets that I shall not have. I have often noticed how all- fathom, no depth or subtlety that I will sufficient to a woman is her violin, ay, not explore, no magic that I may not it fills her ideal kingdom with the master. I am thine but upon one suggestion and prophecy of so much condition only, that thou art utterly that might be spoiled by more material mine!” And here is a face transrealization; and we must remember figured as in a dream, looking into the that, while woman is the greatest and infinite, and conversing with the angels. most inexorable of realists, she is also And lo here is immeasurable aspiraan idealist beyond man's wildest tion, as though all sound were a pardreams; but she will often discover in able, a mere pattern of things in the the subtle fabric and materialism of heavens, given us that we may speak of the violin just so much of realism mysteries behind the veil, a prophecy, as she requires to enable her to live nay, almost an earnest, of some future perfectly in a purely ideal and almost state just sensed by us what time we supersensuous world of psychic con- stretch forth the spiritual antennæ of sciousness. In this high empire of our being and touch the invisibles. sound the woman becomes a true priest. And here is the shrewd glance of the ess. She stands forth as the embodi mere clever expert; and next comes :2 ment of human sympathy and spiritual young girl with glowing health and intuition.
spirits, whose violin is to her as a rolThe other day I was casually looking licking, happy companion before “the through a photographic album of sorrow comes with years.” Yes, it is violin-playing women. Among them a wonderful portrait gallery, a revelawere the most famous, the most accom- tion of what the musical art does for plished and fascinating of our time. the soul, and, above all, what woman In many I noticed that dreamy far is to the violin and what the violin may away look of those who move about in be to woman. worlds not realized; but here is one but truly a woman needs to be as surely close upon the borderland, lis- well mated with her violin as with a tening, as it were, to footfalls on the husband. In this matter let none choose for her: let her choose for her to the span of your fingers, which will self, let her see many suitors. If she have so often to cover and press it; fancies that delicate Grancino let her that the size and proportions of the have it; does that Stainer, with its instrument are suitable to you, and the sharp, crisp, biting sound, fascinate feel of it all over is comfortable—for her, well she will arrest and fascinate you are to hold it, carry it, caress it. others through it. That somewhat It is to be so close to you just at those venerable Urquhart, with its homely, times when you feel most, express most, guardian-like look of respectability and give most of yourself to it, and through old-world courtesy and fine finish, at- it to others. It is to be the one thing tracts her; its voice is full of gentle at such moments literally nearest your and pathetic counsel and wise under hand and your heart. When you have standing; she loves it, let her have it. found an instrument to fit you comDo not some girls marry theirguardians ? pletely, you will feel, like a true lover, That bell-like Stradivari is certainly that you cannot live without it. Let for you, bright queen of soloists, red nothing stand between you and it—beg, rose of health and pleasure, with the borrow the money and buy it; crimes brilliant dash, the reckless pathos, the have alas! been committed before now bold and confident initiative that takes to secure such congenial fiddles, “'tis the room by storm and compels en- true, 'tis pity; pity'tis'tis true!” Violins thusiasm! And for you, soft and have been carried off like stolen brides, tender little soul, with a gift of tremb- stolen by their irresponsible admirers. ling and persuasive sensibility, sweet Their owners have been stalked, caviolet of peace and subtle fragrance, joled, even cheated, and their deaths albeit at times wet with the dewy tears have been watched for as those watch of pity, or “wild with all regret,” for for and rejoice over the disappearance you the sweet Amati-Amati the con- of hated rivals in love. I knew a great soler, Amati the lover-answering your player, one quite in the first rank, who thought and satisfying your need, and could never be trusted with the loan of as responsive to your fluttering moods a violin to which he had taken a fancy; as an Æolian harp to the wind. And he was in the habit of disappearing for you, strong, passionate artist soul, suddenly and the violin along with him. with the vigor of a man, and yet with Thus even the covetousness and the all the intensity and flashing many- frailty of man seem to lend a kind of sidedness of a richly organized woman, tragic lustre to the weird and irresisfor you, the great Joseph Guarnerius, tible fascinations of the violin! the king and despot of the concert. It is no part of my programme to room, the ruler of the orchestra, the chronicle the exploits of female violinsoul-companion and flaming minister ists, or even to record their names. of the great Paganini. To each woman Although isolated celebrities, regarded her own. Let there be no mesalliance; as eccentricities, have appeared occaremember how close, how prolonged, sionally on the concert stage before the how incessant, how intimate is to be present century, it was not till the Sisyour companionship with that violin, ters Millanolo electrified Europe in what moods you will have to explore 1838-57—the one by her irresistible together, what experiences you will pathos, the other by her vivacity and have to share, how dependent you will breadth of tone—that criticism was be upon one another in this strange silenced and prejudice had to hide its “ world, with all its lights and shadows, diminished head. Mlle. Therese Milall the wealth and all the woe!”
lanolo, the eldest, still lives in Paris, Yes, you cannot afford to be ill-mated and is widely known and beloved as with your violin; no detail is unimport- Madame Parmentier, the widow of a ant. See that the neck fits your hand distinguished French officer. There is which will so often clasp it, and has to but one other name worthy to be brackglide easily up and down; that the eted with hers; it is that of Mlle. finger-board is nicely adapted in breadth Wilhelmina Neruda, afterward Norman
Neruda, and now Lady Hallé. This she held the instrument, as a man holds great artiste, the widow of the distin- it, between her knees, and it seemed to guished pianist, Sir Charles Hallé, is me ungraceful. Girls now have a certainly the most accomplished all strong supporting-rod fixed in the inround lady violinist that has ever strument, which lifts it from the appeared. If not rivalling the Mill- ground for them, and with more or less anolos in a certain romantic charm, grace the body of the instrument is she probably has a larger acquaintance held flat against their knees without with the classical and the advanced defining them. The 'cello will never schools, which in the days of the Mil- be so graceful, nor will it probably be lanolos were less affected by the virtuoso ever wielded by women with such charm than they are now. Lady Hallé's as the violin. It will always remain quartet-playing is unrivalled, no female in their hands a little unwieldy. But competitor having yet made good her now that the bicycle and the racket, the claim to compete successfully with her; golf-club, and even the gun, have been while her execution of bravura music claimed by the sex as their own, we can and star-solos, when she pleases to in- hardly expect them to draw the line at dulge in such lighter sensations, is as the violoncello—no, nor yet at the faultless as it is effective and captivat- double bass, flute, or even the drums ing. It would be almost invidious to and trumpet! The adoption of the mention the large number of female violin by women has given an enormous aspirants to the highest violin honors impulse to the violin trade; and if it now before the public, but I shall not has in some cases aggravated the sufbe far wrong if, looking with a pro- ferings of many middle-class families phetic eye into the future, I prophesy and ministered to the vanity of many that the name of Maud Macarthy, now silly and incompetent girls, we must a mere child (aged 14, 1898), will also remember that it has provided stand out as the brightest violin genius rare and gifted women with a magical of the last decade of the nineteenth instrument for self-expression and century.
self-revelation, and dowered the modern I might be expected to say a word concert-room with an entirely new and about lady 'cellists before I close this fascinating manifestation of the “Eterdisquisition on “ Violins and Girls.” nal Feminine.”— Contemporary ReI first saw a lady violoncellist in 1857; view.
LI HUNG CHANG'S FURS.
LI HUNG CHANG is believed to be the richest man in the world. This belief certainly gains credit from a glimpse of one portion of his invested capital which has recently made its appearance in the City of London. Among other sources of income, the great Chinese satrap draws an annual tribute of precious furs from one of the Northern provinces. This is said to be the mountain and forest district of Northwest Manchuria, whose "natural commodities” of fur-bearing animals are mentioned by the Emperor Kien Lung in the pious work in which the Imperial author describes the country
NEW SERIES - VOL. LXVIII., No. 3.
still held sacred as the dwelling-place of the spirits of his ancestors. Part of the tribute of the Russian Tartar tribes is also collected in the form of sables, and it is known that while the poor Tartars send in the finest skins in true loyalty to the Czar, dishonest officials substitute inferior furs, and the choice skins in the Imperial wardrobe come not from tribute, but from purchase. They manage these things better in China. Li Hung Chang has immense warehouses in Pekin crammed with precious furs from top to bottom, and no middleman pilfers the choice skins' on their way to this repository. It