Obrazy na stronie

with eyes

eagles and kites are soaring in the sky. The falcon should not be fed for several hours before it is taken to the chase. When not hunting, the Arabs give it meat only once a day. Some hawks require to be hooded, such as the Chark and the Shaheen; others need no covering for the eyes. The hood is generally made of colored leather,

worked on it in beads, and gold and variegated threads. Tassels and ornaments of various kinds are added, and the great chiefs frequently adorn a favorite bird with pearls and precious stones. To the legs are sometimes fastened small bells. Few hawks will return to the falconer without the lure, which consists of the wing of a bustard or fowl, or of a piece of meat attached

to a string, and swung round in the air. The Eastern huntsman has a different call for each variety of Falcon. A good chark will sometimes take as many as eight or ten bustards or five or six gazelles in the course of a morning.

“I have introduced these remarks on falconry, founded on personal experience, as this noble science is probably of the greatest antiquity, and is still the favorite pursuit of the Eastern warrior.”—pp. 480—483.

But even sport has its sorrows. Suttum had a favorite hawk, Hattab, whose unhappy fate is thus recorded.

“The plain, like all the country watered by the Khabour, was one vast meadow teeming with flowers. Game abounded, and the Falcon soon flew towards a bustard, which his piercing eye had seen lurking in the long grass. The sun was high in the heavens ; already soaring in the sky, was the enemy of the trained hawk, the agab' a kind of kite or eagle, whose name, signifying 'butcher,' denotes his bloody propensities. Although far beyond our ken, he soon saw Hattab, and darted upon him in one swoop. The affrighted falcon immediately turned from his quarry, and with shrill cries of distress flew towards

After circling round, unable from fear

to alight, he turned towards the Desert, still followed by his relentless enemy. In vain his master, following as long as his mare could carry him, waved the lure, and called the hawk by his name; he saw him no more. Whether the noble bird escaped, or fell a victim to the 'butcher,' we never knew.

“Suttum was inconsolable at his loss. He wept when he returned without his falcon on his wrist, and for days he would suddenly exclaim, O Bej! Billah! Hattab was not a bird, he was my brother.' He was one of the best trained hawks I ever saw amongst the Bedouins, and was of some substantial value to his owner, as he would daily catch six or seven bustards, except during the hottest part of the summer, when the falcon is unable to hunt."pp. 298, 299.

Doubtless the poor fellow sighed to think that Allah had not taken his wife instead of his “brother."

But it is time to pause, though ample material is before us wherewith to entertain the reader on Arab weddings, and snake charmings, and incidents of desert travelling, with a voyage down the Tigris so graphic in description, that one might paint a panorama from it. Then, too, we have a picture of summer heat at Nineveh that almost makes one gasp for breath, and cry out for iced water; and old Bagdad and older Babylon stand out before us; and we travel with Mr. Layard over the pathway of the memorable retreat of the Ten Thousand, and in short become for a tiine quite orientalized. But the extracts we have given will suffice to indicate the general character of the book, which will be found to contain much that will interest alike the Christian and the scholar, the archæologist and the architect, the man of letters who reads for amusement, and the man of learning who reads for more.




ESTERDAY I dined with a friend at

the St. Nicholas Hotel. I had never seen it before, and, as we approached it, I could not but admire its spacious white marble front, heavy with carving, as it rises over the street and contrasts with the low, dark buildings on each side. It is all freshness and polish and clearness now; so new, indeed, that it looks like the palace of the genii on the morning of the night in which it was built up. This suits a hotel perhaps, but an over new look does not properly become a palace. Magnificence, to be complete, needs a glory which comes only with antiquity and the associations that belong to age. A block

of white marble glittering from the quarry is not so beautiful,- for beauty lies much in the imagination,—as the same block, after the rain and the sun of centuries have given to it the mellow tint that says,

Behold, I have stood here so long, and borne so much, and have gained new worth with all I have endured.”

Any one who has been at Pisa must remember an old marble palace on the sunny side of the river bank, just opposite the little river chapel of the Spina. It is stained with time, and the mysterious chain is rusted, that hangs over the entrance, from the block, bearing two words which no one can explain Alla giornata,

and which day by day grow more inex the true Cinderellas of the place, and were plicable as the time when they were cut trying in vain to fit the glass slipper on a there becomes more and more hidden clumsy foot. in the mist of tradition. Now, who But the dinner was worthy of the palace. woald exchange that strange palace, Lucullus would have rejoiced to come to old and worn, and no longer brilliant, life for its sake, and Brillat-Savarin might for the same palace in all the pride of have been contented. The great hall its first completion ? And is it not overflowing with light that poured from finer to wonder and guess at the hidden golden chandeliers, the fine coloring of the meaning of those words and that chain, glass and porcelain, the heavy plate, the than to have seen them at the time when lavish meats, and game, and jellies, and every little idle boy on the Lung’ Arno fruits, the iced and sparkling wines, the would have looked up if you had asked troops of servants, the obsequious and him what they meant, and said, Ma, Sig quiet attention, were all fitly correspondnore è cosa simplicissima? Yes, Alla ent in sumptuous display. And after giornata, day by day, all that is truly coffee, carrying out its Oriental suggestion, lovely and beautiful grows more lovely and seated in luxurious chairs, a little aside in beautiful. Even if it perishes to the sight the great hall, we smoked, and watched it lives in remembrance, and memory the crowd of idlers and passers by, and gives to it its perfect and ideal charın. moralized a little on the show. We saw

In age, too, lies the best of art and of men, who, not yet in the vigor of life, were books. Many a bright reputation has blasé with its pleasures; men with the sunk before a second generation has seen poisoned youth, Vathek-like to find themits lustre.

selves some day with fires, unquenchable But we are waiting at the door of the and agonizing, in the place of those hearts St. Nicholas, The wide hall, with its they had silenced, perverted, and destroywalls of white and gold, brings us to the ed. We saw men of disappointed hopes, broad staircase with its oaken and Italian and, by their side, men whose hopes had balustrade, and going up, we tread on never failed. There were men with no crimson carpets where the foot makes no signs of care, and others, perhaps not less noise. We enter the drawing-rooms, where happy, with cares written on their forethe light comes through invisible glass, heads. At last it grew tiresome, and we and breaks against satin curtains, where

went away. couches covered with velvets, and tables We neither of us wondered as we came and chairs lavishly carved, leave little for out on the street, and looked up at the luxury to desire. As we pass the splen clear strip of night sky, that the same did mirror, we start with something of cui bono query in regard to what we had surprise to find the familiar image of our left came into our minds. As I walked selves thrown back, quite commonplace alone to my lodging, I thought whether and inelegant; for it would have seemed this was the finest exhibition of our but natural that in such splendor we too American civilization; whether this was should be splendid, and we should have our vaunted practical socialism; whether thought it only consonant with what was palaces for the people were any way bet

about us, to see ourselves robed in Tyrian ter than palaces for kings; whether tasteless · purple, with gold chains around our display, and lavish, reckless wastefulness

necks, and rich caps upon our perfumed were the same with real magnificence and heads.

thorough taste, and great expense proporWe passed on, and looked in vain for tioned to a great end. the Duchesses who ought to have received To-day, with another companion, I went us and bade us welcome. We ourselves down to the Five Points. Here too I had had something, I imagine, of the air of never been before. We went at first to strangers in the place, for every one else one of its worst recesses, called by the looked like intruders; there was no one strange, humorous name of Cow Bay. A fit for it. Instead of imperial and stately filthy, arched passage-way leads into the women, there were some elderly ladies little bay, round which wretched houses with spectacles and neat caps, who looked are crowded, as if afraid of the entrance in vain to find in us the princes to whom of sunshine and fresh air. A drunken this magnificence belonged. There were black woman, with a can in her hand, young girls who ought to have been equal came reeling into the place behind us. to any surrounding, beautiful in any set From the dirty windows other women ting, but who, alas, showed too plainly by were looking out, and at the dirty Cow artificial manners and overlabored dress, door stood three or four men, some with and by that fatal air of consciousness the devil-may-care, and others with the which betrays the absence of maidenly pale, exhausted look that equally belong dignity and simplicity, that they were not to such places.

I have no liking to detail such scenes

" Paint on their beautiless cheeks,

And hunger and shame in their bosoms;" in words. I distrust descriptions where horrors are heaped together, and as most the last light of loveliness quenched in people turn away from them as exaggera their wan hard eyes, were women even in tions, they often serve the bad end of their ruin, and as such appealed with the blunting the keen edge of sympathy. I thoughts of what they might have been, will not describe here.

with the force of precious remembrances In the open part of the Five Points, and the present influence of all noble love, there were men and women standing about to every worthy man. These children too, the door of the grocery where rum was sold; with none of the grace, the beauty, or the children were playing around, all dirty, divine glory of childhood, still, by the unand some of them sickly in appearance, certainty of the future, by its double and there were other figures amongst whom prospect, claimed every effort for their aid. were such as might have just stepped out Undisheartened, undismayed by the sight of Hogarth's Gin Lane. Throughout of so much to be done by inadequate the place there was an indescribable air of means, the missionary determined that he confusion, dirt and misery. But at the would get work and instruction for all base of the triangular space where the that came to him, and help them, that Five Points meet, stood a large brick house, they might learn to help themselves. In oron which was painted in great letters, der to do this more effectually, he procured " Five Points House of Industry.” I had the indictment of one of the vilest houses of often of late heard of this house, and as the place, the keeper was turned out of it, our visit to the place was chiefly for the he had it cleaned and set in order, and sake of seeing it, we went in. I heard its then went into it with his wife to live. history this afternoon for the first time. An heroic act this seems to me ; it was a It was a story worth hearing and repeating. brave, faithful thing, for that husband and It began thus:

wife to go down here to live among such You know how full of despair this Five neighbors, surrounded by such sights, exPoints seemed for years, how nobody had posed to all the unwholesome influences of the courage to attack it; how vice increas the place. It was a deed for New-York to ed here with the increasing misery ; how be proud of. the gulf between this place and Broadway, Reserving one or two rooms for themgrew wider every year; how in the centre selves, the missionary and his wife turned and very heart of this Christian city was the others into school-rooms, work-rooms, a shame worse than barbarism, and an and bed-rooms for the vagrant and homeevil worse than adversity. There were less. Work was obtained from tradesplenty of kindly and excellent people who people. Old cast-off clothes were sought. meant to do their duty, and gave away A bakery was opened in a lower room, much in charity, but who only thought where the bread was sold cheap. A school of this place as an evil not to be remedied was opened, and the children who came in by any efforts of theirs, and indeed per were washed and made comfortable. haps a necessary part of the social system Those who had no care elsewhere, were of a great city. It was a dangerous and kept and clothed. Young girls and wo detestable error; dangerous in any coun men were sheltered and taught to labor. try, but more than in any other, in our Places in the country were sought for own. Happily it was not universal. where they could be safely established.

Three years ago some good people de A Sunday school was held, and all the termined that something must be done to means which earnest, benevolent ingenuibetter this state of things. A young ty could devise, were employed in this clergyman was engaged to go down and work for the vagabond, the forsaken, the work here. He had not been at work outcast. And for these two years it has long before he found that it was of little been going on, struggling with difficulties, avail to preach, and to give away Bibles with want of means and want of help, and tracts to those, who were so destitute fighting against the opposition of those of the means of comfort, as to be reckless who were accustomed to make money out of good or of evil. “Why preach virtue to of the sins and poverty of others, against us, who cannot be virtuous, unless we are foolish prejudice, and against the thousand ready to starve?” said poor forlorn women depressing, often recurring, obstacles that to him. “Why tell us to be good," asked arise from the very characters of those the children, " when we must steal or be whom it was meant to serve. Still, it has whipped ? it is better to be bad than to gone on steadily, and is daily spreading be good.” Such questions were too pathe its gracious influences. tic, too earnest, to be disregarded. These Such in brief was the story as I heard women, driven by want to vice and mi it. It is not often that we hear nowasery,

days of self-devotion thorough as this, of

benevolence as practical or charity as complete.

When, after going over the house, we came again out upon the dirty street, it was already twilight. I looked back at it, before we turned, and it seemed to me as if it stood apart, sanctified amid all that was unholy around it. The loud, coarse talk of the group clustered at the door of Crown's grog-shop near by, was silenced to my ears in the sound which still rang through them of the hymn I had heard the children singing, * The Lord is my shepherd: no want shall I know,

I feed in green pastures, safe folded I rest." It seemed to me as if that house, ill built, ill arranged, narrow, crowded as it was, might stand a worthy opposite to the palace I had seen the night before. The lustre and brilliancy which shone from that, would serve to display the depth of the contrast.

There is a story told on the pious pages of the Legenda Aurea of St. Thomas, of which these scenes reminded me. Here is a translation of it. “It is said that when Thomas, the Apostle, was at Cesarea, our Lord appeared to him and said,

The king of the Indies, Gondoforus, hath sent his provost, Arbanes, to seek for men skilled in the art of architecture: arise, for I will send thee to him.' And Thomas said, 'Lord, send me any where except to the Indies. And our Lord said to him,

Go, for I watch over you.' And, after this, Thomas went with Arbanes, till they came to the king of the Indies, and the

king gave to the Apostle the plan of a magnificent palace, and placed in his hands great treasures wherewith to build it: then the king went to another province, and the Apostle gave all these treasures to the poor, and was constantly occupied with preaching for the space of two years, while the king remained absent, and he converted to the faith an innumerable multitude. And when the king came back and knew what St. Thomas had done, he had him cast into a terrible dungeon, and condemned him to be flayed and burned. Meanwhile Sud, the brother of the king, died. And the king ordered for him a magnificent sepulchre. But on the fourth day the dead man rose, whereat all were astonished. And the dead man said to the king, "This man whom you mean to torture and to kill, is the friend of God, and the angels of God serve him. And they have led me in Paradise, and they have shown me a marvellous palace of gold and silver, and precious stones, and when I admired its beauty, they said to me, 'It is the palace that Thomas built for thy brother, but he is unworthy of it.'

" Then the Apostle was delivered from prison, and the king fell at his feet, and besought that he would pardon him. And the Apostle said, “There are in heaven palaces without number, which were prepared from the beginning of the world, and they are to be bought with faith and charity. Your riches, o king, may go before you to heaven, but they cannot follow



[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]


will not see, in many lands, A As that which, from the Apennine, Studded with hamlet, tower, and town, Sweeps in long undulations down To the Maremma and the sea. And in its midst Siena stands, With all its busy hearts and hands, The home of love and gallantry. Within that city, rich and fair, Once dwelt the lady of my story, The wife of good Count Salvatore, In their palazzo on the square. But he was older than became The husband of so young a dame ; And she was known through all the land For the rare beauty of her hand, And bore the name of Bella Mano. This hand it was that almost crazed A youth, whom all men loved and praised, The noble, handsome, rich Galgano.

They both were young, they both were fair. And love, whose presence, like the air, Unseen by all, is everywhere, Was mingled with the breath of May, So mingled, it was hard to say Which was the air, and which was love, And he inhaled it day by day! At tourneys and at joustings gay, Upon his helmet, as a crest, He wore her delicate, small glove, That filled his brain with subtile flame, And fired him with the love of fame. But when the noisy banquet came, And he concealed it in his vest, It seemed as if her hand were pressed Upon his palpitating heart, And, sitting silent and apart, He drank unto himself her name ! They both were fair, they both were young, And every whisper, every word, That from her lovely lips he heard, Seemed to his ear less said than sung. But she was distant, she was cold, And he, not being over-bold, Walked evermore in humble guise, And hardly dared to lift his eyes To her, who thus his life controlled ; For she, Siena's pride and glory, Over each act kept watch and ward, And, loyal to her wedded lord, Smiled only on old Salvatore. A league beyond the city's gate Lay the fair lands of his estate, Embracing in their ample arms Dark woods and pleasant Tuscan farms. And yearly to those green retreats The husband and the wife went down, Leaving, with all the summer heats Of blazing square and stifled streets, Galgano in the empty town. Once, when the day was nearly done, And from the west the level sun Struck the white towns of Tuscany, And, slowly sinking down the sea, Filled the whole atmosphere with gold, In his vast mansion, gray and old, Once at this hour Count Salvatore Stood with the lady of his love, And gazed upon the golden glory Of land below and sky above. And by the window as they stood, A youth came riding through the wood, Bearing a falcon on his hand, That hid beneath a crimson hood Its eye of anger and command, And as it pecked with crooked bill In answer to its lord's caresses, The Milan bells upon its jesses Tinkled a moment, and were still. It was Galgano; and the Count Went forth and greeted him, and pressed That from his steed he would dismount,

« PoprzedniaDalej »