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upper air ;
ing, man has no time for toys, be they
“Know'st thou what wove yon wood-bird's ever so lovely, and no thought to spare
Of leaves and feathers from her breast? for aught but the battle.
Or how the fish outbuilt her shell, It is curious to note in Mr. Ruskin Painting, with morn, each annual cell ? especially, that after he has shown,
Or how the sacred pine-tree adds
To her old leaves new myriads ? elaborately and with excellent skill, the
Such, and so grew these holy pilee, error of those who fancy that ornament Whilst love and terror laid the tiles. is something applied to a building, Earth proudly wears the Parthenon stuck on, as it were, whereas, it ought
As the best gem upon her zone; to grow out of the structure and express
And morning opes, with haste, her lids
To gaze upon the Pyramids : the very essential spirit of the building, O'er England's abbeys bends the sky, he should, then, urge men to build in As on its friends, with kindred eye; such and such a way, to eschew such
For, out of thought's interior sphere,
These wonders rose to and such ornaments, and to delight in And nature gladly gave them place, certain forms and styles. He does not Adopted them into her race, see that this is applying taste to individ- And granted them an equal date
With Andes and with Ararat." uals, sticking it upon them; whereas, it ought to be the fruit of their own in- This day will not return to us.
The dividuality, and express what they have inspiration of man never repeats itself. in them. Of course, no people who Yesterday it was Egypt, then Greece, need such advice will ever do anything then Rome; to-day it is England, good, and people who do not need it France, America. How vain is it to are hardly subjects for Mr. Ruskin's look backward. How idle to hope, by denunciation or counsel.
denunciation or flattery, to move men We believe that if it were the ap- to our will from the track in which God pointed work of this age, we should has, set their feet to walk. It would find the men of our time building as seem as if men might have learned this beautifully and conscientiously as men lesson, for the least examination would ever built
ywhere; but we do not show us that, wherever an individual believe that any amount of fine writing, has given the impulse to any movement, even if it were ten times as good as Mr. whether great or small, the result has Ruskin's best, or any amount of design- always been one-sided and unfortunate. ing, will ever remedy the evil of which All the fanaticism, bigotry, absurdities these writers complain, or bring back in fashion, whether of dress, writing, or one ray of the glory that has departed building, have been the result of strong from the earth.
individual influence swaying the masses It may be largely stated that, even of men. On the contrary, all the heroas children are always graceful until isms, martyrdoms, revolutions, progress, they learn to dance, so men built beau- that the world has been blessed withal, tifully until they began to study archi- are the flowering of the popular virtue,
Perhaps there never was a slowly but thoroughly leavened by the lovely house built, whether for God or action of great ideas. All the absurdiman, by any professed architect, work- ties of the Renaissance are individual ing merely for money. Doubtless, there characteristics hardened into stone; and have been correct and cold structures- think of England-she who has York, pretty imitations and copies-by, the and Salisbury, and Lincoln - falling score, but a beautiful, living, inspiring down before Wren, and Loudon, and piece of work-never. The art of Capability Brown! building began to decay that moment It will be seen, then, that we cannot when men sought to bind her with rules, estimate very highly these books on and to reduce her to theory. Hitherto building which set patterns for men to she had been the expression of man's follow, and seek to induce a fashion faith, of his feeling, of his enthusiasm, which has no root in our instincts and of his yearning-touched by the finger relations. We not only think they do of the meddling architect, she dropped very little good, but we think they do to the earth cold and dead. Every positive harm. The houses they call great building that stands upon the upon us to build are, for the most part, earth, before which men's hearts trem- · remarkable for an immense quantity of ble, and their souls leap up in thanks- inconceivably ugly, gingerbread work; giving, is the child of enthusiasm and ugly, because unmeaning and useless. rapture.
Mr. Vaux is something of a sinner in
this respect. He not only puts on his that the present would suffer, and to houses too much of this expensive finery, carry "home" with them, however far but he seems quite uneasy if a house they might wander from the dear rethreatens to have a square foot of blank membered spot. Thus, in New England, wall anywhere.
the oldest and best houses clearly recall Now, people never put these upon the English cottages and mansions ; their houses of their own accord. There while in New York, one sees Holland in is always an "architect” who pushes many an old farm-house, which adorns them to do it. There is the Swiss cary- the landscape with its venerable and ing, you will tell us, and the old English unconquered strength. timber houses. Yes, but in the Swiss Second: all good domestic architect. houses, and, indeed, in all these in- ure has its root in the love of the stances, the carving is delicate and house as the family home. Wherever agreeable in its forms in the first place, this love is the strongest, there we find and in the next, it is so disposed as not the best domestic buildings and original in any way to interfere with the masses -or, more properly speaking-indiof the designer. Every Swiss châlet vidual styles. In Germany, in Switzerof importance has a glorious roof, un- land, in England, we must look for all broken, simple-a treasure house of that is most beautiful in house-building; sun and shade—and the carving of the for all that is largest and most worthy beams, the tracery of the balconies, the consideration of men. Hence it cannot draw the eye from the pure re- will be plain that, as the love of the freshment of these forms. The sense house as the home is not a character. is fed by these natural details, but not istic of Americans at this day, we candisturbed by them. So, too, in the old not expect that there will be a new English country houses and cottages, mode of expression where there is nothere is a dignity, the result of sim- thing to express. In a country where plicity in all the forms, which is not we change houses as we change our diminished by the occurrence of an
clothes, and with the same pleasure at occasional richly-carved verge-board, getting into new and fresh ones, it canor a decorated doorway. But you will not be looked for that we should spend never find any frippery there. Those much time upon the embellishment of a men felt, without knowing it, the beauty dwelling we may any day desert. of repose.
What we do to our houses, most of Occasionally one hears a feeble cry: us, is merely for show, or to render “When shall we have an original Ameri- them salable; and perhaps nothing can architecture?" In feeble response
better can be looked for in a new and to this questioning, comes a book now unsettled country, where the young and then, that hopes it has hinted, to must leave the nest so soon, for new say the least, at the solution of the lands, and new fields of work. We problem. Yet still we go on, from year will not find fault with a national tendento year, with the saine blunders and cy which seems inevitable, and which the same awkward attempts at beauty; is probably temporary; but we state the and, in spite of architects and books of fact as it strikes us—and its consedesigns, and ornamental wood-work ad
quences. libitum, the architectural millennium is Third : in every country the farmas far off as ever.
house is built in an original style. Two or three propositions may be The Italian, Frenchman, Englishman, stated for consideration. First, no new German, copies, in his palace or manidea, or set of ideas, in architecture, has sion, the architecture of another counever originated with a people who are try ; at one time every rich man's house merely colonists from another people is a Greek temple, at another, it is an in the fullness or decline of their power Italian palace, at another, it is a Gothic and splendor. They bring with them cathedral cut down. But the house of the ideas to which they have been ac- the Italian peasant, of the Swiss mouncustomed, which are often seriously taineer, of the French, German, Eng. modified by new circumstances, but lish farmer, is built in a peculiar and never lose the distinct stamp of their unborrowed style. The palace or the origin. Indeed, the natural impulse church architecture of any country, would be to change as little as possible, where it is individual in its character, to keep every reminiscence of the past may be traced directly to its original
type, in the farm-house or the barn. aggies," as the good farmer will call All the detail of Gothic building is them, are the generous extension of merely the rude wood and stone con- the wonderful roof that shuts down over struction of the farm-buildings, decorat- the household like another heaven. ed—and in the noblest examples, the These "pi-aggies” are always brimful of adherence to the simplicity of the type
in winter, and cool in summer, is most severely observed.
while the plain square posts that We shall find the same fact awaiting support them, afford ample excuse to us in America, where the only really a swarm of white and red roses and good houses are the old farm-houses of Chinese honey-suckles to clamber up to Dutch and English type, scattered the roof, and swing about free and easihere and there over the land, testifying ly in the air. The sides of the house, to the worth of simplicity, and the if it is of wood, are covered with shinbeauty of common-sense, in the midst gles cut round-or, if it is of stone, of pretense and gingerbread work. We quantities of little Aint pebbles are shall find these houses, with a beauty of stuck into the mortar - joints their own, displaying an adherence to least, where you can
see them, for fitness and “the sensible," under all the great curtain of waving American circumstances, which is absolutely re- joy, that hides the whole wall from freshing. They are the most delight- view. ful of homes, and the very paradise of Half a dozen such houses we know visitors and children. When you go of—no two are absolutely alike, but out of the house, there is the barn, there is a family resemblance, and they twice as large, a sort of supplementary are evidently modeled after one type. or reserve paradise, ostensibly for the They are the nearest approach to an dumb animals, but with a direct inten- American style of building that we tion toward the children, little and big. have; but we fear there is as little chance Everything about the house of a return to the solidity and largeness made for enjoyment, and for living. of our grandfathers' architecture as The farmer does not know whether all there is of a revival of the sincerity and the windows are properly “ spaced;" he simplicity of their lives. At all events, knows they are where they are wanted to whether we are to have a peculiar look out of, and to let the sun stream in; American way of building or not, deand the children know that they were pends upon the degree in which we built for them to sit in, curled up, eat love our homes, and upon the determining apples and reading delightful books. ation of each man to build something The roof, steep and ample, with no that may properly be called a house twists nor foolish angles, sheds rain and and not a bird-cage-one suited to his snow, and takes care of itself. The absolute need-built after his own seri
are " decorated with a row of ous thought-for the happy and compigeons, who catch the light and shade fortable spending of a manly life, and in a manner perfectly surprising, see- for the having of virtuous and healthy ing that no architect had anything to children, in the shelter of a happy and do with them. The verandas or “ pi- never-to-be-forgotten home.
THE MODERN CRUSOE OF THE INDIAN OCEAN.
NY one casting his eye over the These islands are known to mariners
eastern hemisphere of our planet, by the names of St. Paul's and Amsterwill, if his search be diligent, discover, dam, and may be seen, in clear weather, in about the 37th degree of southern at twenty or thirty miles distance, rearlatitude, and the 77th of eastern longi- ing their lofty heads, like twin giants, tude, two small specks in the wide waste far above the turbulent billows which of waters of the Indian Ocean, as near surround them. On a bright sunny as may be midway between the Cape of morning, in the month of December, Good Hope and the coast of New Hol- 1820, the height of the southern sumland.
mer, the Honorable East India Company's ships, the “ Marchioness of Ely" cano; the bar is composed of large and “ Lady Campbell,” were on their rounded pebbles, and has more the apoutward passage to China, distant from pearance of a work of art than a prothese islands about two hundred and duction of nature. The narrow opening fifty miles, holding their steady course is about a pistol-shot wide into the over the swelling sea, like two trusty basin alluded to, and in which a great friends who had consorted, on a dreary many seals were found playing: The path, for the double purpose of com- tide rushes through this inlet with great pany and protection.
velocity; at half-ebb there is great difA difference of opinion had existed ficulty in getting boats over the bar, for some days between the two captains, which, however, once passed, the basin, respecting the longitude, and, it being or lagoon, is entered immediately, where the occasional practice of seamen to the water is as smooth as a lake, though • sight these islands to ascertain the the sea be raging without. A lofty correctness of their time, it was agreed bluff headland appears on each side the between them to spend a day or two in entrance, and a rock, eighty or ninety the examination of the geological struc- feet high, somewhat resembling a sugarture and other curiosities of their seldom- loaf or nine-pin, stands at a small distrodden shores. We also promised our- tance from the shore. The basin, or selves a day's sporting with the hogs, rather this crater of an extinct volcano, wild-fowl, seals, etc., with which they is between two and three miles in cirare said to abound.
cuit, and has thirty fathoms of water in The breeze proved variable, and it the middle, which depth is sustained required several days to reach them. until within fifty feet of the shore. We were no longer in those regions All round it, except at the entrance where the trade-winds blow their health- from the sea, is table-land, rising, in ful breezes, scattering plenty round the some places, perpendicularly from the earth, their steadiness becoming a pro- basin to an altitude varying from six verb in the exact reverse of our own. hundred to seven hundred feet. In With us, “As changeable as the wind” rowing round we saw smoke rising amid is a common expression, not more trite the stones in various places ; on landing than true; while the native of those we found the water close to the basin so smiling climes may compare the con- hot that we could not bear our hands in stancy of his mistress to the wind, it. The temperature of the air was and convey a compliment by the com- 730 by thermometer, which, on being parison.
plunged in the water, ascended to 2000, At length the ships made the land, and, on repeating the experiment in and dropped their anchors on the east- various places, it rose to a similar elevaern side of the island of St. Paul's, tion. After catching some fish, they about a mile from the shore, in a sandy were boiled in the springs, which are substance, having much the appearance
all close to the sides of the lagoon, or of wet gunpowder, this being the only basin, and, in many places, mix with place ships can anchor with any degree and heat it to a considerablo degree; of safety.
and, as fish abound in vast numbers in We soon hoisted out the boats, and all parts of the basin, they are caught rowed for the shore. Vlaming, the very readily; so that, as Vlaming says, Dutch navigator, appears to have visit- you may really throw the fish fastened ed these islands as early as 1697, giving on the hook out of the cold water into the name of Amsterdam to the north- the hot and boil them. ernmost: and the southern, and largest, Upon mentioning this circumstance St. Paul's, which latter extends in a to an incredulous but facetious friend, northwest and southeasterly direction he replied, “Nothing is wanted to reneight or ten miles, and is about five der the place perfect but melted butter miles in breadth. Opposite to the placo growing in cocoa-nuts hard by." where we had anchored the ships, on It was on the north side of the inlet the east side of the island, we found where we landed, amongst innumerable an entrance to a large circular basin, seals, some of which we killed for their through which the sea ebbs and flows, skins; we then went in search of fresh and across the throat of this inlet there
water, hogs, and vegetables—these is a bar. This lagoon, or basin, is evi- articles being particularly acceptable dently the crater of an exhausted vol- after a long sea voyage—and immediately commenced the ascent of the island at the time of our visit, though hill.
not in a thriving condition-were, it is Up a considerable part of the way, presumed, turned adrift upon the shore the path is good; but beyond that we by humane individuals, with the kind found great difficulty in ascending—the intention of affording a supply of food slippery coarse grass over which we to the crews of vessels who, from acciwalked causing us to slide downward dent or other causes, might be driven to almost every other step. Upon arriv- extremities for want of it. ing at the top, we found, instead of the When Vlaming visited these islands, interior of the island being table-land, in 1697, he made no mention of any it was broken into valleys. Undulating animal, except seals, existing upon them. plains and massive lumps of rocks were After a scrambling march, under a piled up in various places in strange broiling sun for three hours, we arrived confusion. Volcanic matter was visible, at a central position in the island, havthough not to the extent that might be ing had the good fortune to secure expected from the evidences exhibited of three small pigs on our route, one of the fiery origin of the place. Green which, on being wounded, ran between patches of verdure, intermingled with the legs of a seaman and knocked him coarse grass, and aquatic birds wheeling down with such violence as nearly to about, uttering their discordant screams, send him over the cliffinto the sea below. were the only signs of life, both animal He was saved by a mere accident. We and vegetable, that could be seen. It halted here, and partook of some reis almost impossible to imagine a soli- freshments, sheltered from the scorchtude more impressive. The view, how- ing rays of the sun by two immense ever, looking down towards the lagoon, rocks, or blocks of stone, which, leanis beautiful to excess; it has the appear- ing against each other, apparently for ance of an immense bowl filled with the
support, formed a natural cave or archclearest water, with a portion of its side way set up in the wilderness for our broken off, through which fracture the convenience and accommodation. sea appears to have entered and filled
“As I sat apart at the cavern'd stone, it. Within, all is calm and motionless
Like Elijah at Horeb's cave alone, and bright as the most transparent crys, And felt as a moth in the mighty Hand tal—the rocks and cliffs being reflected That spread the heavens and heaved the
land, on its smooth, unruffled surface with all
A still small voice came through the wild, the truthfulness of a mirror; while with
Like a father consoling his fretful child, out, the sea, dashing over the bar and Which banished bitterness, wrath, and fear, amongst the rocks at the entrance of Saying, “Man is distant, though God is the inlet, foaming, advancing, and receding, offers a marked contrast to the We soon dispatched our slight rerepose which reigns within. The spot past, and renewed our march to the is pregnant with melancholy interest, opposite side of the island, our strength and seemed to mourn the desolating recruited by the food we had taken ; energy of the subterranean fires which,
everybody was full of life and animaat some not very distant date, had tion; shouts of laughter were constantly spread such devastation around.
pealing forth, as an unsuccessful shot As far as the eye could reach, the was sent after a scampering pig, squealvision was bounded by the sea, except ing at the top of his voice, and hiding in the direction of the adjacent island in the recesses of the rocks, out of of Amsterdam, whose faint blue outline which it was impossible to rout him. was visible in the extreme distance. We found unless we mortally wounded After remaining for a time admiring this a hog we never bagged him : he invariasingular scene, our party separated in bly made his escape. two divisions- -one taking for its route Pursuing our career, amidst this kind a small sandy valley, the other travers- of sport, we entered a narrow gorge: ing a rocky section of the island whose on either hand the rocks were piled in frowning precipices overhung the sea. inextricable confusion; it seemed as Fowling-pieces, muskets, and pistols though we rather passed through than were examined and loaded, and away between them. In places for a diswe went in search of any game which tance of a hundred to a hundred would supply us with fresh provisions. and fifty yards they formed a comThe wild hogs-a few being on the plete tunnel, emerging from which