Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

me.

ness to circumstances; his sensitive. never be foreseen what would come of ness as to every thing which affected the thing, and when it was done it his person or reputation, all this to. gave no satisfaction. The painters gether might perhaps sometimes bring were vexed. They had gained by the him into conilict with his superiors. first commissions ; by these afier-laTo this was added the circumstance bours they lost, although the Count that he was wounded in a duel which paid for these, too, very liberally. And hid arisen in the theatre, and it was as the parts, confused together in one thought wrong that the King's lieu- picture by several artists, with all tenant, as head of the police, had their labour produced no good effect, himself committed a penal offence. each at last believed that his own All this may, as has been said, have work was spoiled and destroyed by that contributed to make him live more of the others. Hence it was near retired, and perhaps to weaken his coming to a quarrel, and so to irreconenergy in some particulars.

cilable hostility between the artists. In the mean while a considerable These changes, or rather additions, portion of the pictures ordered by him were executed in the above-mentioned had been delivered. Count Thorane painting-room, where I staid quite spent his leisure in examining them, alone with the painters. It amused having them in the before-mentioned me to look out among the studies, gable-room, where all the canvasses, especially those of animals, this or large and small, were placed side by that one, this or that group, and to side, and, from want of space, even one propose it for the foreground or the above another, and were nailed up, distance ; in which, from conviction or taken down again, and rolled together. good-nature, they often complied with These works were perpetually scrutinized anew. The parts that ap- The sharers in this business were peared the most successful were en. therefore extremely dejected, especially joyed with repeated pleasure. But Seekaz, very melancholy reserved there were also wishes that this or man; who, indeed, among his friends that had been differently managed. was the best of companions by his in.

Hence there arose a new and very comparably pleasant whim, but who, extraordinary operation.

For as one when at work, chosetolabour alone, ab. painter executed figures best, another stracted and entirely free. Now this the middle grounds and distances, a man, after performing difficult undertathird trees, a fourth flowers, the kings, and completing them with the utthought occurred to the Count that most industry and the warmest love, these talents might perhaps be com- both of which qualities always belonged bined in the paintings, and in this to him, had to travel repeatedly from way perfect works be produced. A Darmstadt to Frankfort, either to beginning of this experiment was im- change something in his own pictures, mediately made, by having, for in- or to dress up those of others, or to stance, fine cattle painted into a finish. let his pictures be turned by some one ed landscape. But as there was not else, with his help, into party.coloured always room enough for them, and the confusion ; the dejection increased, animal painter did not stop at a couple his opposition became decided, and of sheep more or fewer, the largest there was need of much pains on our landscape proved at last too small. side in order to guide this godfather* Now, moreover, the figure painter had for he too had become one-according to add the shepherds and a few wan- to the Count's wishes. I still rememderers. These, in turn as it were, ber, that when the cases were standing deprived each other of air, and were ready to have all the pictures packed, packed so close, it seemed surprising in the order in which the upholsterer that even in the most open country at the place of their destination should they were not all stifled. It could fix them up, only a little, but indispen

* There is here a difficulty, which we have met before frequently in passages about the Interpreter. Gevatter is not only a godfather; but a person whose child has another person for sponsor, is the gevatter of the sponsor. The interpreter and Seekaz both stood in this relation to the young Goethes. But we have no English word for it except the obsolete one in this sense, gossip. - Tr.

come over.

sable final work was required, and fine, in spite of the Count's own liberal yet Seckaz could not be persuaded to efforts, there could once for all be no

He had indeed once for kindness between them. My father all done the best he could, having never visited that room, except when represented the four elements as the Count was at table ; and I remem, children and boys, painted from the ber only once, when Seekaz had exlife in the midst of pictures of animals, celled himself, and the wish to see his and having employed the greatest pictures had hurried the whole house labour not only on the figures but on together, that my father and the the accessaries.. These paintings Count meeting, expressed a common were delivered, paid for, and he pleasure in these works of art which thought that he had done with the they could not take in each other. business for ever. But now he was Scarcely, therefore, had the chests to return, in order to enlarge with a and cases left the house when the few strokes of his brush, some figures plan for getting rid of the Count, of which the size was rather too small. which had been before begun, but He thought that some one else might afterwards interrupted, was renewed. do it, had already set himself to new It was attempted to gain justice by work; in short, he would not come. reasons, equity by supplications, faThe removal of the pictures was close vour by influence; and at last there at hand, they must also have time to was such success that the Quarter. dry, and every delay was dangerous ; master's department decided. The so the Count, in despair, was going to Count was to change his lodgings, and have him brought by military force. our house, in consideration of the We all desired to see the pictures

burden which had been borne conti. finally gone, and found at last no nually day and night for several years, resource but that of the godfather should for the future be exempted from Interpreter seating himself in a car- any billeting. But that there might riage and bringing over the rebel with be a plausible pretext for this we were his wife and child. He was kindly to let out to lodgers the first floor, received by the Count, well treated, which the King's lieutenant had and, lastly, let go with ample pay- hitherto occupied, and so make, as it ment.

were, impossible the quartering any After the removal of the pictures one else upon us. The Count, who, there was a great quiet in the house. after the separation from his beloved The gable-room in the garret was pictures, had no particular interest in cleaned and given up to me; and my

the house, and moreover expected, at father, when he saw the cases go, could all events, to be soon called away and not refrain from the wish of sending replaced, agreed, without any opposithe Count after them. For much as tion, to remove to another good resi. the taste of the Frenchman agreed dence, and parted from us in peace with his own; much as it must rejoice and kindness. He also soon aftermy father to see his principle of wards left the city, and received pro. favouring living artists pursued so gressively different employments, but, liberally by a richer than himself; as was said, not to his satisfaction. much as it may have flattered him In the mean while, he had the pleathat his collection had given occasion sure to see the pictures which he had for so profitably employing a number watched over so diligently, securely of worthy artists in a time of diffi- displayed in his brother's chateau. culty, yet be felt such a dislike to the He wrote sometimes, and sent dimenforeigner who had invaded his house, sions, and had different works executed that he could think well of none of accordingly by the artists so often his proceedings. One ought to em

mentioned. At last we heard nothing ploy painters, but not lower them to more of him, except that, after several paper-stainers; one ought to be satis. years, we were assured he had gone tied with what they have done accord

to the West Indies as governor of ing to their conviction and capacity, one of the French colonies, and there even if it does not entirely please, and died. not perpetually to harp and carp. In

A PASSAGE OF AUTOBIOGRAPHY.

IN A LETTER TO EUSEBIUS. I SUPPose the “ mens sana in cor. has become notorious. But there is pore sano," the sound mind in a not a day in the year in which I do sound constitution, would be proof not feel it in some degree. There is at least against weather, and elastic a quarter of an hour worse than that through all the wear and tear of life. which took its name from Rabelais. The spirits of some are ever alert, I am not suffering from it now; but a and guard every avenue through little more than half an hour ago, this which care may enter. With others fourth day of December, the evil in. the five senses are all traitors, and fluence was strong upon me. I was ready to let the enemy into the cita. in a lane, returning home from visit. del of the heart at the shortest notice. ing a cheerful friend. I had walked Some grow demented under the a mile or two only, when the cold charm of music-a gentle touch will moment broke upon the sight: cold thrill over the wholo frame of youth. and comfortless did all appear to me ; My danger and my delight are both the rutty, damp, yet half frozen lane; in the sense of seeing. The eye is the melancholy leafless boughs shoot. the most sensitive organ. There are ing up into the dull grey sky; the certain moments every day that a lower branches and leafage of hedges feeling of uncomfortableness comes huddled together, without order, withover me-frequently positive melan- out beauty, as if hurrying from, if choly; and it is from that which they could do so, and cowering under many people love, so that I am left the melancholy light; the broad grey to wonder at our different natures. band of cloud, not unaccompanied The effect of twilight distresses me- by lighter vapour coming in, and the light of departing day. It is not gradually overspreading and making because the light is small in quantity ; less the warmer light, every instant it is in its quality. Not the quantity; becoming more lurid--this cloud, or for exclude, in ever so great a degree, this night rather, coming in upon nathe light of day, reduce it by shutters ture, like an evil genius, to drive her and blinds as much as may be, I am from her patrimony, and to hold a rather pleased, certainly unaffected wide and surly dominion in her stead. by any touch of melancholy. But in All was of the foul fiend. The fiend a moment, when I may be engaged of fen and quagmire, and the fiend of busily, and my understanding uncon- the heart-care-first cousins, showscious of the hour, as the declining ing their affinity by sympathies of howl sun has reached a certain point, a and groan, from the utmost verge sense of misery comes over me.

I of the horizon to the innermost core frequently shut my eyes at the instant of human life, and even sometimes by of the sensation, but that is not a stillness of electric horror. enough; there is an impression through And yet was there a blithe country the eyelids-and, what is strange, it girl that drove her melancholy cows is not dissipated by candles, until the to or from milking, and heeded not light of day, if it may so be called, the evil hour, or the foul fiend, though is completely excluded. I know not his leaden finger had passed over her but that the artificial and natural perhaps fair, or nut-brown forehead, lights combating each other, provoke a and given it a hue that utterly belied greater pain. Memnon's head roared the song she was singing, if song it at the rising, my groans are at the could be ; for to my sense the damp setting sun. I am, too, more affected earth and air were dividing it between within doors than in the fields. I am them, and flinging it back upon the persuaded there must be something ear mutteringly and in mutilation. in the quality of light at this time of And now night is over all-ruts, day, that has escaped the notice of leafage, cattle, earth, and sky, are philosophers. Nor is the effect the obliterated like a feeble outline under same at all times of the year—the a deep wash of Indian ink. I feel most distressing feeling is towards not the miseries without; I am beyond the end of autumn-ihen, indeed, their power. I am within in the in a certain measur; it affects all, and shelter of home. I am lighted by the

real magician's lamp. No magic circle somewhat reduced in value; the golden ever bid defiance to demon more ef. age of letters has long departedfectually than this blessed inclosure then came the silver- but now liter. of four bright walls, rich in simple ary love and friendship are mere dross; patterns, from which shine out par. the tenderest as well as most hostile tially, and with enticing looks of de. communications to be had for fourlight, well-varnished pictures in their pence, so the copperage of letters gilt frames. Their very surfaces look hath come upon us. “ Ætas mox da. sleek, and bappy, sensitive, compan- tura progeniem vitiosiorem" - that ionable, as they are, and communi. is, the post office will be nothing more cative of ideas; and here I sit among than a Penny Magazine.

This is a them,

sort of “ post obit' given by the Mi“ Monarch of all I survey."

nistry for their continuance in office.

A truce with foolery, either theirs or And oh! how unlike the miserable Sel- my own, Eusebius, and let me come to kirk, when the cold hour came upon the incident I have engaged to tell you; bis brow in his lonely island, and his and if you publish my letter in Maga, heart was filled with despair. A cheerful - as you have before done, I give you warm fire, a fewgentle home-sunnyfaces timely notice that we shall both be that bring spring in contact with win- considered indecent characters, for I ter; objects of taste fascinating, yet must use discarded words to speak unobtruding ; voices that are always about discarded things-things cast music, and music proper when you will; off--and that, but for a few remnants and sometimes silence, contemplative, among the poor, would have been alor excursive in fancy, the quiet thank together brushed away from our vocafulness for blessings felt and twice en- bulary. For I must tell

you
of

my joyed in that thankfulness; the con- being properly “breeched," and sent sciousness of freedom from tyrant self out into the world, that is, to a public or tyrant custom; no storm beating at school. Let others boast that they your windows or at your heart—what have lived in the age of Wellingtons a contrast are they all to that “dark- and Greys ; let us, Eusebius, rejoice ness visible," that evil hour of external that we were born in the age of breeches. day that makes up the aßrastov Bros, And why should we be ashamed of that the life that cannot be lived, and that toga virilis, the first day of first-asthey must feel the misery of, who rush suming the which was in our time a for shelter from this present misery to day of honour, a white day, and markthe melancholy pond, or the garroted with “money in both pockets ?” gallows !

You have always considered it a How striking are the contrasts of disgrace to the present generation life !_And as I thought thus, I that they should ever have discarded retraced my life step by step ; and either the name or thing—and the as the cheerfulness of all around me substitution of • inexpressibles," as an would not let the mind dwell upon the immodest lie, unworthy the simplicity gloomy, I determined to steal a pas- of manhood. We were the Bracco.. sage from my Autobiography, which torum pueri," as Juvenal has it, sons rather whimsically shows some of the of the breeched. Our fathers were contrasts of things, of life, and man- breeched before us. Now old and pers. And you perceive, my dear young are fallen into the “lean and Eusebius, what nonsense I have dan slippered pantaloon.” Braccæ- Anringly spurted from my goose-quill by glice, breeches. There is something way of preface, and from its gravity sterling in the name, that comes not you will think it no preface at all to so mincingly upon the tongue, but bold. simple a matter as I have to narrate. ly, as it should, out of the mouth. But a kind friend will clearly see in- Braccæ are of ancient origin_vide telligence through obscurities of diction Ainsworth—“Vox Gallica,"-meaning and difficulties of grammar; it will that many have been galled who have beam from his own eye on the paper, worn them-and so let the galled jade if there be little there before ; and in wince. The laxæ bracce were said your sight, and through your own to be “ shipmen's hose," so saith the brightness, my dear Eusebius, the same authority. Many bave I seen letter of your friend becomes an illu- unshipped, and for that purpose should minated missal.

rather be called " demissæ braccæ," Yet have missals of this kind been For the laxa-vide Sir Charles We

anon.

wear

no

therell; for the demisse---consult the father, who had forgotten all about Education Board, or rather Board of me, my breeches, my schooling, and Educatio:), not the modern, but a every thing else, held his book some. • chip of the old block," if there be what loosely a foot or two nearer my such, as I have seen at the college of mother, whilst he looked in her face St Mary's Winton, yet in these dege. as only conscious of the interrup ion, nerate days existing. But of that not having an idea of the subject of it. ancient, sweet, and wholesome custom My mother looked at the book. She

At present I must maintain had been accustomed to signs and dumbthe respectability of breeches--they show, and concluded my father to mean are Greek, as the very name implies, of this colour. βραχυς short – βραχειαι r. shorts”. “ That," quoth slie,“ is a mouse. hence the Roman's Bracc@_hence colour." breeches.

Yes," says he,“ mouse-colour.” How then, Mr Ainsworth, can you “ And what material ?" said my mohave the face to say they are Gallic, ther. vox Gullica,- for we all know the Gaels My father looked at the book and bo ist of pbilibegs ? and

said leather." breeches ; and it by Gallic you mean Nothing more was said, and so it the French, they were, for a long turned out that the first breeches, and period, Sansculottes, and are very little with which I made my public appearbetter now. There are, however, ance in the world, for such may be who deny the etymology, and assert called the first going to a public school, the word is from sezo;, not Berzexus.

were mouse coloured leather; or, I " 'Pexos,” saith the lexicon, “ a piece think, according to the vocabulary of let in”- '-" a rag.” Now, though the those days, I should say “ leathers.” piece let in may answer to very many

The present generation little know, braccæ, the word bracce would here that when their fathers were born the lose the b, a very material part in for- art of breeches-making was not conmation ; and it wonld be not a part, founded with the general cutting out bit a mere patch put for the whole. and trimming business of the tailor. Certainly I have both seen and worn It was a separate business, and the many that have been really rags; but, leather-breeches maker, in particular

, as I said before, there is a b in breeches, was a man of considerable skill and there was ever a b in braccæ, and importance. there ever will be a G in Biaxus ; for i have heard dandies say that no though Boorgcus expresses shorts,” man could make a pair of boots. The they have never been shortened yet right foot must go to Hoby, the left to to that pass, and it is to be hoped someone else. Luckily for the breeches. never will be; they might as well be maker, his right and left made an inditaken away altogether.

visible pair. They were lovely and unI do not consider that I was divided. properly breeched until I was be- This being the case, the morning tween iwelve and thirteen years of after this scene in the domestic pantoage; what I wore before that time mime, Mr Flight, leather-breeches maI make no account of, the materials ker, was sent for to measure Master were as often feminine as masculine, Jolin Cracklatin for a pair of mouse. things really inexpressibles, made

colour leather breeches. I do not out of my father's, my mother's, and think I had ever before been measured even sisters' garments. I took no nute -It was, therefore, an epoch in my of ihem; I was not proud of them. The life, and well do I remember it—and first virile pair I ever put on, were

Mr Flight, t00-a tall, robust man, upon the occasion of my going to

marked with the small.pox, with a face St Mary's college at Winchester, and like tripe, and I suppose it was the it happened thus that they came to resemblance of his tripe.like skin to be what they were. My father, who

leather that made me ask him, as I was a literary character, and entirely looked into his face, if my leathers given up to books, happened to have

would be smooth. I never could help in his hand one of those old books one thinking that he punished me for this sees in old respectable libraries, of afterwards—but I must not anticipate most sombre appearance, when my the trying.on-and it may well be callmother abrupily asked him what col. ed a trial. our John's new breeches should be. My And here, my dear Eusebius, I can.

« VorigeDoorgaan »