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THE STORY OF MRS. STOWE;
OR, THE GENESIS OF "UNCLE Tom." The American periodicals naturally are full of Mrs. Stowe. The best article on the subject is Mr. C. Dudley Warner's in the Atlantic Monthly for September.
THE MYSTERY OF "UNCLE TOM." Mr. Warner says:
What was this book, and how did it happen to produce such an effect? It is true that it struck into a time of great irritation and agitation, but in one sense there was nothing new in it. The facts had all been published. For twenty years abolition tracts, pamp!ilets, newspapers, and books had left little to be revealed, to those who cared to read, as to the nature of slavery or its economic aspects. The evidence was practically all in-supplied largely by the advertisements of Southern newspapers and by the legislation of the slaveholding States-but it did not carry conviction ; that is, the sort of conviction that results in action. The subject had to be carried home to the conscience. Pamphleteering, convention-holding, sermons, had failed to do this. Even the degrading requirements of the fugitive slave law, which brought shame and humiliation, had not sufficed to fuse the public conscience, emphasise the necessity of obedience to the moral law, and compel recognition of the responsibility of the North for slavery. Evidence had not done this, passionate appeals had not done it, vituperation had not done it.
What sort of presentation of the case would gain the public car and go to the heart? If Mrs. Stove, in all her fervour, had put forth first the facts in “ The Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin,” which so buttressed lier romance, the book would have had no more effect than had followed the like compilations and arraignments. What was needed? If we can discover this, we shall have the secret of this epoch-making novel.
The story of this book has often been told. It is in the nature of a dramatic incident of which the reader never tires.
THE GENESIS OF THE BOOK.
It is said that seven generations of Puritan clergymen contributed to the making of Emerson, and it was to the same number of Puritan ancestors that Mrs. Stowe owed the forces that entered into her life.
When she was twenty-five, in the year 1836, Mrs. Store married, went to Cincinnati, and for the next twelve years did what she could with her pen to eke out the scanty stipend of her husband. It was not until she had removed to Maine that the inspiration came to write “ Uncle Tom." Mr. Ward says :-
In trying to drive poverty out of her own home and in meeting an evil that was growing larger and larger, she found herself sondering through her religious nature the problem of slavery. It was a time when throughout the North the clergy and the people never prayed but they petitioned for the freedom of the slave, and that moral sentiment which refused to be put down was growing stronger day by day. Garrison, Phillips, Whittier, Barker, Horace Mann, and countless others were arousing public feeling against slavery, and Webster, the pride of Ncw England, was endeavouring to hold the Union together by conciliating the slave power. On each side the temper was up, and yet it seemed as if nothing could be done. It was as when it storm is brewing, and the silence is profound. The lives of people were surcharged with feeling, and yet no one spoke. Into the very soul of a sensitive woman in Cincinnati bad entered the sword of this conflict. She knew more at that moment about slavery than any other American. Her brother Edward wrote to her later, Now, Hattie, if I could use a pen as you can, I would write something that would make this whole nation feel what an accursed thing slavery is.” At this time the Stowes had removed to Brunswick, in Maine, and when Mrs. Stowe had read these worls, she rose from her chair crushing the letter in her hand and, with an expression on her face that stamped itself on the mind of her child, said: “I will write something;
I will if I live." This was the origin of “ Uncle Tom's Cabin," but it was not the writing of the work.
HOW IT WAS WRITTEN. Mr. Warner tells the story more in detail, На says:
As late as 1850, when Professor Stowe was called to Bowdoia College, and the family removed to Brunswick, Maine, Mrs Stowe had not felt impelled to the duty she afterwards undertook. “In fact, it was a sort of general impression upon her mind, as upon that of many humane people in those days, that the subject was so dark and painful a one, so involved in difficulty and obscurity, so utterly beyond human hope or help, that it was of no use to read, or think, or distress one's self about it.”. But when she reached New England the excitement over the fugitive slave law was at its height. The theme burned in her mind, and finally took this shape : at least she would write some sketches and show the Christian world what slavery really was, and what the system was that they were defending. She wanted to do this with entire fairness, showing all the mitigations of the “patriarchal” system, and all that individuals concerned in it could do to alleviate its misery. While pondering this she came by chance, in a volume of an anti-slavery magazine, upon the authenticated account of the escape of a woman with her child on the ice across the Ohio River from Kentucky. She began to meditate. The faithtal slave husband in Kentucky, who had refused to escape from a master who trusted him, when he was about to be sold * down river," came to her as a pattern of Uncle Tom, and the scenes of the story began to form themselves in her mind. “The first part of the book ever committed to writing (this is the statement of Mrs. Stowe) was the death of Uncle Tom. This scene presented itself almost as a tangible vision to her mini while sitting at the communion-table in the little church in Brunswick. She was perfectly overcome by it, and could scarcely restrain the convulsion of tears and sobbings that shook her frame. She hastened home and wrote it, and, her husband being away, read it to her two sons of ten and twelve years of age. The little fellows broke out into convulsions of weeping, one of them saying through his sobs, 'Oh, mamma, slavery is the most cursed thing in the world !' From that time the story can less be said to have been composed bs her than imposed upon her. Scenes, incidents, conversations rushed upon her with a vividness and importunity that would not be denied. The book insisted upon getting itself into being, and would take no denial.”
ITS PUBLICATION AS A SERIAL. When two or three chapters were written she wrote to her friend, Dr. Bailey, of Washington, the editor of the National Era, to which she had contributed, that she was planning a story that might run through several numbers of the Emi. The story was at once applied for, and thereafter weekly instalments were sent on regularly, in spite of all cares ani distractions. The instalments were mostly written during the morning, on a little desk in a corner of the dining-room of the cottage in Brunswick, subject to all the interruptions of housekeeping, her children bursting into the room continually with the importunity of childhood. But they did not break the spell or destroy her abstraction. Usually at night the chapters were read the family, who followed the story with intense feeling. The narrative ran on for nine months, exciting great interest among the limited readers of the Era, and gaining sympathetic words from the anti-slavery people, but without making any wide impression on the public,
THE HESITATION OF THE PCBLISHER. For this story Mrs. Stowe received from the Era the sum of three hundred dollars. Before it was finished it attracted the attention of Mr. J. P. Jewett, of Boston, a young and then unknown publisher, who offered to issue it in book form. His offer was accepted, but as the tale ran on he became alarmed at its length, and wrote to the author that she was making the story too long for a one-volume novel; that the subject was un popular; that people would not willingly hear much about it; that one short volume might possibly sell, but that if it
gree to two that might prove a fatal obstacle to its success. were published, and within the twelve months of its first Mrs. Stowe replied that she did not make the story, that the appearance eighteen different London publishing houses were story made itself, and that she could not stop it till it was engaged in supplying the great demand that had set in, the done. The publisher hesitated. It is said that a competent total number of editions being forty, varying from fine illusliterary critic to whom he submitted it sat up all night with trated editions at lös., 10s., and 7s. 60. to the cheap popular the novel, and then reported, “ The story has life in it; it will editions of ls. 9d. and 6d. After carefully analysing these sell.” Mr. Jewett proposed to Professor Stowe to publish it editions and weighing probabilities with ascertained facts, I on half profits if he would share the expenses. This offer was am able pretty confidently to say that the aggregate number declined, for the Stowes had no money to advance, and the of copies circulated in Great Britain and the Colonies exceeds common royalty of ten per cent. on the sales was accepted. one and a half millions.” Later, abridgments were published. ITS SUCCESS.
TRANSLATIONS. Mrs. Stowe was not interested in this business transaction. Almost simultaneously with this furore in England the book When the last proof sheets left her hands, “ it seemed to her made its way on the Continent. Several translations appeared that there was no hope; that nobody would hear, nobody in Germany and France, and for the authorized French would read, nobody would pity; that this frightful system edition Mrs. Stowe wrote a new preface, which served thereafter which had already pursued its victims into the free States for most of the European editions. I find no record of the order might at last even threaten them in Canada.” Resolved to of the translations of the book into foreign languages, but those leave nothing undone to attract attention to her cause, she into some of the Oriental tongues did not appear till several wrote letters and ordered copies of her novel to be sent to men of years after the great excitement. The ascertained translations prominence who had been known for their anti-slavery sym are into twenty-three tongues. namely: Arabic, Armenian, pathies—to Prince Albert, Macaulay, Charles Dickens, Charles Chinese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Flemish, French, German, Kingsley, and Lord Carlisle.. Then she waited for the result. Hungarian, Illyrian, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese,
She had not long to wait. The success of the book was modern Greek, Russian, Servian, Siamese, Spanish, Swedish, immediate. Three thousand copies were sold the first day, Wallachian, and Welsh. Into some of these languages several within a few days ten thousand copies had gone, on the 1st of translations were made. In 1878 the British Museum contained April a second edition went to press, and thereafter eight thirty-five editions of the original text, and eight editions of presses running day and night were barely able to keep pace abridgments or adaptations. with the demand for it. Within a year three hundred thousand The story was drainatised in the United States in August, copies were sold. But when the effect of the book began to be 1852, without the consent or knowledge of the author, and was evident it met with an opposition fierce and personal. The played most successfully in the leading cities, and subseleading religious Dewspapers of the country, published in New quently was acted in every capital in Europe. Mrs. Stowe had York, declared that it was “anti-Christian."
neglected to secure the dramatic rights, and she derived no Pecuniary reward was the last thing that Mrs. Stowe. benefit from the great popularity of a drama which still holds expected for her disinterested labour, but four months after the stage. From the phenomenal sale of a book which was the publication of the book Professor Stowe was in the pub- literally read by the whole world, the author received only the lisher's office, and Mr. Jewett asked him how much he expected 10 per cent. on the American editions, and by the laws of her to receive. I hope," said Professor Stowe, with a whimsical own country her copyright expired before her death. smile, “that it will be enough to buy my wife a silk dress.”
I am glad to learn, on Mr. Ward's authority, that the The publisher handed him a cheque for ten thousand dollars.
publication of “Uncle Tom's Cabin ” was more profitable ITS PUBLICATION IN ENGLAND,
to the authoress than was commonly reported, although Before Mrs. Stowe had a response to the letters accompany
like many other world-benefactors she died poor. He ing the books privately sent to England, the novel was getting
says :known there. Its career in Great Britain paralleled its success When only hoping that the sale of her story might relieve in America. In April a copy reached London in the hands of
her poverty, she found herself in receipt of $10,000 within a gentleman who had taken it on the steamer to read. He four months from the time of its publication, and the most gave it to Mr. Henry Vizetelly, who submitted it to Mr. David
famous woman living. In all, she received for “Uncle Tom's , Bogue, a man known for his shrewdness and enterprise. He Cabin” about $10,000, and had she been able to avail herself took a night to consider it, and then declined it, although it
of English and foreign copyrights she might have been one of was offered to him for five pounds. A Mr. Gilpin also declined
the richest women living. The right of dramatization would it. It was then submitted to Mr. Salisbury, a printer. This alone have brought her a fortune, to say nothing of what the taster for the public sat up with the book till four o'clock in
story itself would have done ; but this was not to be, and it is the morning, alternately weeping and laughing. Fearing, a painful fact that she leaves her family to-day in comparative however, that this result was due to his own weakness, ho
poverty. woke up his wife, whom he describes as a rather strong-minded
ONE SECRET OF ITS POWER. woman, and finding that the story kept her awake and made her also laugh and cry, he thought it might safely be printed.
Mr. Warner says : It seems, therefore, that Mr. Vizetelly ventured to risk tive The author considered the central power of the story, and its pounds, and the volume was brought out through the nominal power to move the world, faith of Uncle Tom in the Bible. agency of Clarke and Company. In the first week an edition This appeal to the emotion of millions of readers cannot, howof seven thousand was worked off. It made no great stir until ever, be overlooked. Many regard the book as effective in the middle of June, but during July it sold at the rate of one regions remote from our perplexities by reason of this grac: thousand a week. By the 20th of August the demand for it When the work was translated into Siamese, the perusal of it was overwhelming. The printing firm was then employing hy one of the ladies of the Court induced her to liberate all her four hundred people in getting it out, and seventeen printing. slaves, men, women, and children, one hundred and thirty in machines, besides hand-presses. Already one hundred and all. Hidden Perfume,” for that was the English equivalent fifty thousand copies were sold. Mr. Vizetelly disposed of of her name, said she was wishful to be good like Harriet his interest, and a new printing firm began to issue monster Beecher Stowe. And as to the standpoint of Uncle Tom and editions. About this time the publishers a woke to the fact the Bible, nothing more significant can be cited than this pas. that any one was at liberty to reprint the book, and the era of sage from one of the latest writings of Heinrich Heine:cheap literature was initiated, founded on American reprints The reawakening of my religious feelings I owe to that which cost the publisher no royalty. A shilling edition holy book the Bible. Astonishing that after I have whirled followed the one-and-sixpence, and then one complete for six about all my life over all the dance-floors of philosophy, anii pence. As to the total sale, Mr. Sampson Low reports :
yielded myself to all the orgies of the intellect, and paid my April to December, 1852, twelve different editions (not reissues) addresses to all possible systems, without satisfaction like
Messalina after a licentious night, I now find myself on the or mediocre, have attained an enormous circulation in our own same standpoint where poor Uncle Tom stands-on that of the time, and have done so mainly on the strength of their Bible! I kneel down by my black brother in the same prayer ! purposes. Another similar instance was that ponderous " John What a humiliation! With all my science I have come no Inglesant.” Later still, the chief successes of the decade have further than the poor ignorant negro who has scarce learned been made by “The Heavenly Twins," " The Yellow Aster," to spell. Poor Tom, indeed, seems to have scen deeper things
“Keynotes," “ Tess," and a dozen more equally purposive in the holy book than I. ... Tom, perhaps, understands them stories. Miss Marie Corelli and Edna Lyall, each in her own better than I, because more flogging occurs in them; that is way, illustrate the same tendency. Even “ Trilby” owes to say, those ceaseless blows of the whip which have æstheti part at least of its singular popularity to what it may contain cally disgusted me in reading the Gospels and the Acts. But of widening and expanding power-it is largely accepted as a poor negro slave reads with his back, and understands better a covert protest against prevalent English and American than we do. But I, who used to make citations from Homer, Puritanism. Books, like Hardy's “Tess” and “Jude," like now begin to quote the Bible as Uncle Tom does.”
Olive Schreiner's “ Story of an African Farm," strike the
keynote of our century. They are instinct with our hopes, our HER OTHB3 Books.
fears, our problems. They could not have been written in any A writer in the Century says:
age save this. “ Dred," intended by the writer to be in some sort a comple When confronted with the case of Stevenson, Mr. Grant ment to the earlier novel, appeared in 1856, and one hundred
Allen declares that Stevenson is Stevenson, and that ends thousand copies were sold in England within four weeks.
the matter. As for Rudyard Kipling, he maintains that Harriet Martineau thought it superior to “Uncle Tom," and
Kipling also has a clearly defined purpose :the work certainly contains some vivid scenes, and, nioreover, has the merit of depicting the normal social conditions in the. For to make us grasp in its totality the vast and varied South during slavery days. Then two years later came “The world in which we live and move and have our being is surely Minister's Wooing," which most critics' will agree with Mr. in itself an adequate purpose. Lowell in considering her best work, technically viewed. It will be seen that Mr. Grant Allen's definition of “ The Minister's Wooing," " The Pearl of Orr's Island," and
purpose is very broad, but it is even broader than the “Old Town Folks," produced during the fourteen year:
foregoing extract will indicate, for he maintains that between 1855 and 1869, although by no means on a level of
all the local or dialect novels are also stories with a workmanship, constitute pioneer fiction in an important field, fruitfully developed in later days by Mrs. Cooke, Miss Jewett,
purpose :Miss Wilkins, and others. These tales are no slight part of
Closely allied with this group of quasi-purposive authors, the author's literary creation, anıt historically are of signifi- whose vogue shows at least the interest felt by the general cance in the evolution of American story-inaking. Half a reading public in the wider world around them, I would place dozen books were written by Mrs. Stowe after 1869, tbe la-t 8 the other and overlapping or partially coincident group of late as 1881. But it is best to regard her major activity as authors who deal with outlying factors or minor elements in closed with the year 1870.
our own more domestic western civilization. I hold that this tendency to minute specialization and localization is closely
bound up with the purposive tendency in fiction ; both because IN PRAISE OF NOVELS WITH A PURPOSE. the same men and women are engaged in oither type, avd BY MR. GRANT ALLEN..
because the delineation of strange undercurrents and phases
of human life is in itself educational. MR. GRANT ALLEN contributes to the North Americın Having thus laid down the law, he proceeds to sum up Review for August a characteristic outpouring under the
his conclusions as follows:heading “Novels without a Purpose.” He begins boldly with the following uncompromising assertion of the truo,
From first to last, the nineteenth century has constantly doctrine :
demanded, and has constantly been supplied with, more and
more purposive fiction. The demand and the supply still conThe nineteenth century has tolerated to some extent that tinue to increase. Therefore I infer that the literature of the inartistic and jejune gaud, the novel without a purpose: the twentieth century in turn will be increasingly purposive. twentieth century, holding higher and truer conceptions of And in being so, it will also be right. It will follow a law of art, will soon outgrow it.
all literary development from the beginning of all things. A The rest of the article is a sermon upon this text.
broad survey of the progress of literature from its outset will He points out:
show us that purpose has ever played a larger and larger part That all the most successful novels of the last half century,
in literary work with each age in each nation. The greatest
novels and the greatest poems are thus clearly seen to be those from “ Uncle Tom's Cabin” to “ Jude the Obscuro,” have been which most mark time for humanity. novels with a purpose.
A work of art, I admit, is not a pamphlet or a proposition in In the eighteenth century there was little or no pur Euclid, but it must encloso a truth, and a new truth, at that. pose in the English novels, with the result that they are if it is to find a place permanently in the front rank of its practically unknown outside this country; whereas
own order. Even of other arts thau literature this is essenFrench writers of the same epoch who did not merely
tially true—as witness Botticelli, Burne Jones, Donatello. tell stories for their own sake, are read and studied from
Wagner. Painting, sculpture, music, to be truly great, must China to Peru. This century English novelists have
crest the wave of their own epoch. In literature, howerer, somewhat tardily learnt the lesson that a novel without a
no work can be considered as really first-rate unless it teaches
us somewhat-not merely pleases us. The critic who insists purpose is a purposeless novel. He says :
on absence of purpose is shown by the greatest examples of the As the nineteenth century progressed, it became abundanily past, and by the working of the time-spirit, to be merely a clear that the novel without a purpose was ceasing to engage belated and antiquated anachronism. the best intellects of the nations. Gradually fiction began to Thus the novel without a purpose stands condemned on its think and to teach, instead of merely amusing. The last very face as belonging inherently to the second class, and to decade or two in particular have given us increasing proof of the infancy of humanity. It will continue to be written, no the growth in popularity of the novel with a purpose, and the doubt, for the younger generation, and the inferior ininds; consequent relegation of the novel without a purpose to its but in the twentieth century, I venture to believe, the adult proper place—the school-room or the nursery. We have been and educated public will more and more demand from its overwhelmed by stories like Mrs. Humphry Warl's-instinct literary caterers adult interests, adult sympathies, a philowith moral lessons. Her purposive books, be they gool, bad, sophic aim, in ethical purpose.
THE WHITE MAN WITH THE YELLOW MONEY. bound to be in China and Japan. England is doomed so far THE TRUTH ABOUT JAPANESE COMPETITION.
as this trade is concerned and nothing can save her—not MR. R. P. PORTER contributes to the North American
even bimetallism, as some imagine. "Cotton mills are going Review for August a paper on this subject which is not
up rapidly, both in Osaka and Shanghai, and only actual calculated to allay the anxiety with which John Bull
experience for a period of years will demonstrate which of
those locations is the better. My own judgment, after a close regards the future of his foreign trade. Mr. Porter, how
examination of every item in the cost of production, is Japan. ever, is not concerned about the bearing of Japanese com Should Japan take up the manufacture of woollen and petition on British trade; his attention is turned to the worsted goods as she h's done cotton, her weavers could subject on account of the inroads which the Japanese are give Europe and America some surprises and dumbfound making into the
those who claim there American market,
is nothing in Japanese notwithstanding the
A conMcKinley tariff. He
stant supply of cheap
wool from Australia says:
makes it possible, while The Japanese have,
the samples of Japanmetaphorically speak
ese woollen and worsted ing, thrown their hats
cloth and dress goods into the American
which I examined market, and challenged
while there indicate our labour and capital
that in this branch of with goods which, for
textiles the Japaneso excellence and cheap
are as much at home ness, scem for the
as in silk and cotton. moment to defy com
They are also doing petition, even with the
good work in fine linens, latest labour-saving
though far the appliances at hand.
quantities produced are MR. PORTER'S REPORT.
small. That the Japanese
The sudden influx inroad is attaining
of the Japanese umvery substantial pro
brella, something like
2,000,000 exported in portions, he proves
1894, has caused anxby statistics as to the
iety among umbrella import of various
makers in the United Japanese articles into
States, though at prethe United States.
sent most of the proAfter quoting his
duct goes to China. statistical table, he
These are some of the says:
facts that point to the Within the last few
importance of Japanese months I have visited
competition. the districts in Japan
MR. KANEKO'S PROand inspected the in
PHECY. dustries reported in
The Japanese the above table. The
themselves have not increase in the exports
hesitated to boast of of textiles, which was
their approaching over forty-fold in ten years, is due to the fact
triumph in the inthat Japan is a nation
dustrial field. Mr. of weavers.
Porter says: The Japanese, it
When in Japan I had seems, are sending
the pleasure of meetimmense quantities
ing, among other states
men and officials, Mr. of cheap silks and all
Kaneko, Vice-Minister kinds of cheap goods
MR, K. NEKO.
of Agriculture and into America, but
Commerce. I found what they have done is as nothing to what they are about him a man of intelligence and foresight, and of wide experience to do:
in economical and statistical matters. Educated in one of the The Japanese are making every preparation, by the forma great European universities, he is up to the spirit of the age tion of guilds and associations, to improve the quality and
in all that relates to Japan and her industrial and commercial increase the uniformity of their goods.
future. THE FATE OF LANCASHIRE.
Mr. Kaneko recently made a speech to a Chamber of Incidentally Mr. Porter intimates that Lancashire may
Commerce, in which he said :consider itself doomed. In Japan, he says:
The cotton spinners of Manchester are known to have said
that while the Anglo-Saxons had passed through three Cotton spinning in 1889 gave employment to only 5,394 generations before they became clever and apt hands for the Women and 2,539 men. In 1895, over 30,000 women and spinning of cotton, the Japanese have acquired the necessary 10,000 men were employed in mills that for equipment and skill in this industry in ten years' time, and have now output are equal to those of any country. The future situs advanced to a stage where they surpass the Manchester of the cotton industry, at least to supply the Asiatic trade, is people in skill.
WHY NOT A THEATRE IN EVERY VILLAGE?
A HINT FROM SWITZERLAND. In Blackwood's Vagazine for September, Canon Rawnsley describes a visit which he paid this year to Selzach, to see the Passion Play, which is rendered by the villagers in imitation of the famous original at Oberammergau.
THE THEATRE AS A UNIVERSITY. Ever since I visited Oberammergau in 1890, I have been dominated by the conviction that, as a method of literary culture, to put it no higher than that, no instrument known to man is so efficacious as the cultivation of the drama by the people themselves. It is impossible to over-estimate the effect produced upon the peasants of that Tyrolese village by the habit of acting plays-sacred and profane. If in every other English or American village of the same size similar pains were taken to train the labourers and peasants and handicraftsmen and housewives in the representation of the sacred or classical drama, the effect would be incalculable. When I have expressed this opinion, I have always been told that the circumstances of Oberammergau are so exceptional we have no right to expect that anything of the kind could be done in other villages. But here we have Canon Rawnsley telling us the story of the Selzach Passion Play, as if for the express purpose of proving what was done at Oberammergau can be done elsewhere.
WHAT WAS DONE AT SELZACH. The following is the story as told to him by a friend whom he met at Selzach :
In 1890 the mayor of the village, who, as the owner of the large watchmaking factory, is the principal employer of labour hereabout, happened to visit Oberammergau. He, with a few Selzach companions, was so impressed, that he determined if possible to create on a simple scale some representation of the kind here in his own home. He knew his people well, and believed they would enter into it in the earnest spirit which alone could either justify or give success to the attempt. There was a natural love of music in the villageperhaps the making of watches may induce a feeling for time, as it certainly encourages a feeling for exactness; and he knew also that there was a native ability to act. The village dramatic society had proved that. Herr Schäfli, the mayor, is an enthusiast, and his enthusiasm has struck right through the village. You would be surprised how the players themselver have consulted books, have visited galleries to see old pictures.
HOW IT WAS BEGUN. The first indispensable thing was to secure some one who could train the people. Fortunately, a new teacher had just been engaged in the schools who possessed more than ordinary musical ability :
This new teacher threw himself into the scheme heart and soul, and at once set about the training of a choir and orchestra capable one day of undertaking the task. They are not a large community to furnish orchestra, choir, and players to the number of 200, as you will see to-day. I think the village-man, woman, and child-only numbers 1,500 inhabitant's ; but the village is united, there are no cliques or sets, and perhaps the very trade that occupies their hands--the trade of watchmaking-has sharpened their wits. After little more than a year's training the Selzach choir performed Witt's “ Jubilee Mass” and Romberg's “ Lay of the Bell,” supplying both orchestra and voice for the rendering of these. They next undertook to present at Christmas of the following year, 1892, Heming's “ Christmas Oratorio,” with readings and eight tableau.c rirunts interspersed in the musical part of it.
Oratorio.” The Selzach players determined to present it, and having obtained leuve to make such alterations as were neces. sary to allow of their undertaking it, they provided themselves with suitable prologues and declamatory test, and following closely the line of the Passion Play performance at Höritz in Bohemia, they were enabled to present the play in the summer of 1893 with such care and reverence, such real religious feeling and devotional earnestness, as tu disarm whatever hostile criticism existed, and to astonish all who came to see.
THE ENTHUSIASM OF THE STAGE. Canon Rawnsley bears testimony to the astonishing enthusiasm with which those watchmakers of Selzach threw themselves into the new study in which they were enlisted. Speaking of the Selzach villagers, Canon Rawnsley says:
In this play-acting he is a working part of a whole, and feels the joy of completeness of labour. This in itself is a real recreation. You would be astonished at the amount of work in common which has been bestowed upon this representation to-day. All through the winter months the chorus an! orchestra and players practised or rehearsed five times a week, coming together at eight o'clock each evening, and often working on till one o'clock in the morning. This, for men who had to go the factory or to begin their day's work at early hours in the morning, is proof positive that their hearts were in it.
The theatre in which the play is presented has been erected by the villagers themselves at a cost of £2,00), which is not bad considering the whole population of the village is 1,500. I suppose that those who declared that Oberammergau stood alone, will now argue that Selzach is equally an exception; but until the experiment has been fairly tried by some enthusiast like Herr Schäfli in the; United Kingdom or the United States, I shall continue to believe in the possibility of using the dramatic instinct latent in our people for purposes of religious and literary culture.
“A GARGOYLE OF NOTRE DAME.” MR. WILLIAM WALLACE, in an article in the National Review entitled “Sir Henry Irving's Claim," subjects his subject to a criticism of which nothing will be long remembered excepting his declaration that in his pose he reininds us more than once of a gargoyle of Notre Dame. Mr. Wallace gives an entertaining description of the mystic enthusiasm with which Irving has succeedei in inspiring the Lyceum audience :
It is more than twenty-four years since Irving was first seed at the Lyceum, in " The Bells.”. Since that far-away date, this theatre has become a Mecca, the temple of a special cult, the promised land of countless tribes of devotees, who have filled it from floor to roof, and who have felt again and again that by their presence there they have been assisting at high festival. There is an air about a Lyceum audience like nothing else in the world. Each face is the face of a fervid worshipper who looks upon the rising of the curtain as the rending of a reil which will reveal a great mystery.
Mr. Wallace condemns Irving for the over-elaboration of scenery, for his affected pose, and his mutilation of the English tongue, but he graciously deigns to say:
Irving is not invariably all incoherency and rant; he sometimes walks with dignity. These vestiges of " the old Irving" cannot wholly be suppressed, but they do not compensate for the deficiency of one great quality, namely, passion.
But his chief count against the actor is that he has ignored modern dramatists. Mr. Wallace says:
He discovered no new dramatist, but he educated an audience. If the Lyceum is to be regarded as the home of rhetoric and poetry, if it is to be identitied with the best workmanship in dramatic material as well as in representation and expression, the dramatists must not be ignored.
THE PASSION PLAY.
The same year, 1892, one of the cathedral clergy at Fulda, Henrich Fidelis Muller by name, published his “ Passion