Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

face;

dead

this sad truth-teller betrayed to her colour Voltaire could feel the loss of the ravages of disease, she seems to any living thing—is evident from have lost all hope and spirit, took his letters. The charming countess to her bed permanently, allowed no is dead at last,' he wrote, five days light in the room but the lamp of a after her demise. The Reverend teakettle,' and actually took things Mr. Muson tuned his genteel lyre to in through the curtains without some desponding chords for the suffering them to be withdrawn. occasion. This recals another death-bed scene

• Yes, Coventry is dead! Attend the strain, that of the charming Mrs. Old

Daughters of Albion : ye that, light as air, field, Pope's Narcissa :

So oft have tripped in her fantastic train, "" Odious in woollen ! 'twould a saint provoke."

With hearts as gay and faces half as fair, Were the last words that Narcissa spoke.

'For she was fair beyond yon brightest bloom, "No; let a charming chintz and Brussels lace

This Envy owns, since now her bloom is

fled.' Wrap my cold limbs and shade my lifeless

Lord Bolingbroke, known to his One would not sure be frightful when one's wild friends as 'Bully,' had affected And, Betty, give this cheek a little red."

a sort of tendresse for the Countess;

and it is said that when news was Unfortunately, a letter for Lord brought to Newmarket of her death, Coventry was brought in to her, the he acted a burst of well got up emohandwriting of which she recognized tion, and left the room, says spiteful as that of her sister. She opened Horace, to hide not his crying but it without scruple, and read in it his not crying. But the mob,' as a touching lament over her own the same authority usually styled piteous case; the duchess bewail- the broad, bold citizen element of ing her hard fate in not being able the British people, held by her to ever to see her again, and plainly con- the last, and ten thousand people sidering her case as hopeless.

witnessed her funeral. The effect on the wretched beauty Old Mr. Gunning, who had risen was almost fatal. The doctor rushed with his daughter's fame, and had to the room, and found her almost got into good society, was seen by dying. Through the rest of the day Lord March, two or three years afand night she passed from one faint- terwards, at a grand masquerade. ing fit to another. Her attendants He wore a running footman's habit, thought she had not an hour to with Lady Coventry's picture hung live, and hurried expresses were at his button-hole, like a cross of sent for Lord Coventry, who was to St. Louis.' This is the last appeararrive the next night.

ance of John Gunning, Esq., of RosOn the 1st of October she died. common. By that time, no doubt, That Walpole really felt her death the rest of the world had forgotten -as much, indeed, as that water- her:

[graphic]

ART IN A RAILWAY STATION.

[ocr errors]

II.-The Electric Telegraph: an Allegory. N our last number we gave an ordinary events. They were believed

in by the great mass of the people, large allegorical fresco of The Rail- even when the more cultivated were way,' painted by Herr Echter, at the becoming indifferent, if not scepend of the great hall of the Munich tical. Railway Station. We now add the With us, the heirs of all the ages, companion fresco — 'The Electric the denizens of this iron-traversed Telegraph.'

half century, these mythic beings When Mr. Watts offered to paint are merely shadows of the past. frescoes in the hall of the Euston We know all about them, and care Terminus for the mere cost of the nothing for them. We have outmaterials, his offer, as we have seen, grown allegory. A little innocent was blandly though peremptorily symbolism is just tolerable-as a declined. Had a proposal been sort of universal stenography, a made to the directors of the North matter of convenience for the outWestern, Great Western, Great side of a county court, or the seal of Eastern, or any other great line, to an insurance office, the top of a decorate the walls of their head sta- column, a tombstone in a cemetery, tion with huge allegories, like these a painted church - window, or a of Herr Echter, and to pay a fair national memorial in Westminster price for them, one can appreciate Abbey or St. Paul's. There Hope the surprise with which they would may have her anchor, Justice her have received the proposition, and balance, St. George his dragon, St. the suspicion they would have felt of Catherine her wheel, St. Peter his the sanity of the proposer. But if, keys; and if they are smooth-faced, under some malign influence, they neat-limbed, classic-looking figures had entertained the project, what in sculpture, or grim, gaunt, lanky, alarm and indignation would have and mediaval in church-work, we seized the opposition at the next know they are orthodox, and are meeting of the shareholders, and content. with what noisy unanimity would Content, that is, for such strictly the wasteful and iniquitous scheme official art; for in all our public have been summarily spurned ! works — whether architectural or

But, not to resort to improbable monumental - we are a patient, instances, it seems to have almost much - enduring peace - loving, become one of the understood, if not though grumbling people. But *Written, canons of accepted critical outside this official art we are more results--those results which are such exacting, and there we resolutely a comfort to quiet common-sense avert our face from allegory. We folk-that Allegory is hardly suited have come in every branch of art to to our practical, matter-of-fact, iron demand more reality - to speak age, and that if, out of consideration plainly, more meaning and more to honoured precedents, it may be truth. But whether, in order to properly enough allowed a place on attain that, it is necessary to abolish the walls of a mediæval palace of allegory altogether, is a matter which legislature, it would certainly not be our artistic friends and guides would justified in invading the domains of do well to consider. Allegory is but the railway or telegraph. In ancient the higher poetry of representative Greece and Rome, the personages of art. It is in no sense dependent on the mythology-whether deities or the pagan's worn-out creed. It attributes-were at least actualities. seeks to convey a larger sense by They were mingled with every one's simpler means,' to utter that which, thoughts of earth and sea and sky, if expressed in the poet's fitting associated with their ordinary every- words, would satisfy an intelligent day actions, the agents of all extra- reader. Among its means

aro an

man.

images and symbols, its essence is deceased), along with Von Schwind, vivid personification. It addresses Hiltensperger, Piloty, and Foltz, to itself, therefore, to the imagina- paint a series of large pictures from tive as well as the reflective facul- the leading events in the lives of the ties. But, at its best, all it asks is Bavarian princes, and his share of an intelligent consideration the undertaking is considered to be audience such as would enjoy and certainly not the least successful. sympathize with the poet in his The present is, however, his most higher moods.

ambitious effort. If, however, this higher form of The picture of the 'Electric Teleart is again to lay hold of the com- graph' is, in many respects, very mon mind, to be a thing really felt different in feeling from that of the and enjoyed as well as understood, it 'Railway. It is wider in scope, must not only abandon all the effe- more universal in its appeal. The minate Della Cruscan use of worn- other was local, or, at most, national, out names and attributes, but must in its range of vision. The overpresent itself in an intelligent and turned bureaucrat is essentially Gercomprehensible as well as poetic

The scattered gate-tickets, guise. It must neither be super- wanderbuchs, passports, are all Gersubtle, nor vaguely recondite, but man, but the Bavarian are the most clear to those who will take the marked. On the other hand, the trouble to understand it: though Electric Telegraph’is written in a even on the walls of a railway sta- language common to all. And as it tion an allegory need not be like a is higher in aim, so is it more Notice to Passengers, so expressed purely poetic in expression, lovelier that he who runs may read.

and more graceful in imagery. Herr Echter has, in the pictures The Electric Force, personified as before us, fairly grappled with the a female of powerful frame, and requirements of a modern allegory, capable of swift energetic action, ocif he has not wholly mastered them. cupies the centre of the composition. In the 'Railway' and the Electric She is an earth Power, strong, sinewy, Telegraph' he has essayed to deal muscular, as having much work to with the Present without resorting do and the capacity to do it. Though for assistance to the Past. His per- sufficiently freed from her native sonages are the beings of To-Day, as earth to accomplish readily the work mirrored in his Imagination. He that lies before her, she is yet not has not sought to exhaust his con- wholly freed, still drawing from it ception, but leaves something to the life and vigour. Her mighty arms, imagination of the spectator. Ho stretched apart to their utmost has given not the whole thought, extent, indicate the opposite electric but the suggestion of the thought- poles. They are upheld by peasant so that, as is ever the case in true hands, the hands of the stalwart, poetry, he will there find most who heavy-browed miners, to whose inbrings most.

dustry she owes her free external Herr Echter is still a comparatively existence, and on whose aid she still young man.

A Dantziger by birth, depends. Upwards streams from his art education belongs wholly to her the marvellous fluid that acMunich. He is one of the most complishes daily and hourly for us trusted and the most original of wonders greater than ever entered Kaulbach's pupils. With Nilsen he into the heart of man to conceive. painted the great pictures on the It flows forth on all sides, from body exterior of the New Pinacothek at arms and hands---even her wild hair Munich, and he has executed much streaming out like tongues of fire of those in the New Museum at charged with messages of weal or Berlin, working only from the mas- woe.

But while it streams forth ter’s cartoons, and without his per- thus madly, it is gathered up by one sonal superintendence. Echter's hand and transmitted in a freely original works have not been nu- flowing yet regular current, traceable merous,

but he was employed by the behind the buoyant children, to the King of Bavaria, Maximilian II. (just opposite hand, whence it is carried

down, and the mystic circle is com- other, and finer, are the scientific pleted.

and poetic relations which the painOn either side, sitting with an ter has at least desired to suggest : open scroll on her knees and pen in how many are the turns of thought hand, is a nymph-typifying, as for which these serve as galvanic suggested by the slight indications conductors. So, again, notice the of vegetation at their feet, one manner in which the message is luxuriant, the other scant and small, conveyed, how carefully the idea of the opposite ends of the earth. The the secrecy, as well as the rapidity of nymph on the left is whispering a the transmission of intelligence is message into the ear of her attendant rendered. The nymph who forwards messenger-a winged child, uncon- the message places her hand against scious as the actual telegraph's ma- her face, that not the feeblest echo terial wires, of the meaning of what of the words she whispers may reach it conveys. By him the message is any other ear than that of her tiny transmitted to the second of the child-messenger, who, on his part, chain of genii, with whom he is in curves his hand around his ear with connection (hand linked in hand), like design. So the child who imand thus it is carried on to the last, parts the message moulds both his who repeats the message he has so hands, trumpet-like, as he hovers mysteriously received to the right- above the nymph who receives it. hand nymph, and she in her turn She, again, sets close her hand before swiftly writes it down.

her ear that no syllable may be lost, Such, as it appears to us, is, or murmur onwards, to be caught up broadly, the purpose of the allegory. by vagrant listeners. Every German holds himself free to These are but crude hints: the interpret an allegory after his own reader will easily improve on them. fashion, and some famous allegories If they set him in the right track, it have, consequently, almost as many is all that is needed. Of the beauty interpretations interpreters. of the composition as a work of art; Very likely, therefore, this of Ech- the power of drawing; the skilfu ter's may be found differently ren- arrangement, regard being had to dered by German critics : but our the place the picture occupies, and version will, we believe, be found the distance from which it has to be tolerably faithful to the author's seen; the grandeur of form, and meaning. Be it understood, how- majesty of expression in the female ever, that we only profess to have representing the Electric Force; the sketched the broad outline. The loveliness of feature in the listening reader must fill in the details for nymph, and the grace of both, with himself. And he will find, as he the fine contrast between them and does so, not only that the analogy the central figure; the beauty of the will come out much more fully, but buoyant children-and in drawing that many a delicate and subtle trait children Echter almost rivals his will reveal itself. We have, for master Kaulbach, happiest by far, example, indicated the connection in this matter, of all the Munich and aftinities of the female personify- painters-of these and other techniing the Electric Force, with earth, cal merits, and shortcomings, this is the metals, &c.; but dwell a while not the place to speak, and the reader patiently on the group of which she will be best pleased to find them is the centre, and see how many out for himself.

as

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »