Imagens da página

how they can get out of them is still more wonderful.

The 16th of March being the birthday of the young Prince Imperial, who was eleven years old, a governor and four aides-de-camp were appointed, by imperial decree, to form the military household of his Imperial Highness. General Frossard is governor, in spite of the frequent reports that a priest (Cure de la Madeleine) was to be raised to that dignity. Their Majesties, also, in celebration of the birthday, assisted at the demolition of the mount opposite the Champ de Mars, called the Trocadero, famous for its fireworks on the Emperor's fete. Fifteen hundred gunpowder casks sent up into the air immense blocks of rock, to the great delight of Monsieur Haussman, who has sworn to have everything even, in his beloved city of Paris. This is a new kind of amusement for us, and of course we applauded with great enthusiasm; for, after all, fireworks and illuminations are very insipid affairs, and dreadfully old; we really wanted a fresh invention to spend half-an-hour agreeably, and our PreTet deserves a statue for his splendid display on the 16th. Their Majesties, for whom seats had been prepared, retired highly satisfied. Those who were not aware of what was going on, imagined that the enemy was at our gates—that the Prussians had come with their fusils a aiguille; but they remembered, at the same time, that the fusils Chassepol were there to defend us, so we were not frightened at the bursts of gunpowder that resounded through the air. Talking of the Prussians, we all feel Bure that as soon as the Exhibition is over we shall go and try our Chassepot guns on the other side of the Rhine, to get our natural limits—the Rhenish provinces and Belgium; for what other reason can the new law, or re-organization of the army, be proposed?

In spite of the Imperial Speech's assurance of peace, we cannot get it out of our heads that Napoleon is enchanted with Monsieur de Bismarck; and the debates in the Corps Le'gislatif are followed with eager assiduity, and every word from Government commented on and turned in every sense. It was a curious spectacle the other day, when it was noised abroad that Monsieur Thiers was going to speak: more than ten thousand applicants for cards of admission were received by the different members of Parliament: one member alone received five hundred, and some actually passed the night at the doors of the Corps Le'gislatif, in order to be admitted. It is said that cards were sold by some who had been thus stationed at the door for 150 francs, and long before the arrival of the members, carriages of ladies in grand array drove up to the palace; amongst others the Princess de Metternich, all in grey satin—very bewitching, of course. The Prince Napoleon was also there, besides many other important personages. The speech lasted three hours and a-half; and, instead of going home to bed when it was over, as most men would have done. Monsieur Thiers drove to the Moniteur printing

office, ordered his servant to come for him at half-past three in the morning, and passed the night in directing the printing of his speech, and in correcting the workmen's blunders, and that at the age of 75—the valiant old gentleman! He very much piqued Government in declaring that "there was not another fault to commit." Monsieur Rouher answered that there had not been a single fault committed. Monsieur Jules Favre asked why, if Government was so satisfied, they disturbed the country with presenting a law that had not its precedent in the history of France? Monsieur Emile Ollivier, who has got all he wanted out of the liberal party, has at last plunged into Napoleon waters, and has answered Monsieur Thiers to his own satisfaction; and Monsieur Belmontet declares that France never was so free as now. This latter gentleman, no doubt, has no idea to publish ; but Monsieur Emile de Girardin, who professes to one idea per day, thinks that, to be able to give vent to one, now and then, without being condemned to a five thousand francs fine, as he has just been, would not be a bad thing, and was once permitted in France. But enough of politics. I have not yet said a word about our Exhibition—it is not because my ears are not continually ringing with the word, until I am heartily 6ick of it. It appears that the opening will be on the 1st of April—though I do not see that it is half-ready, and never saw such a confusion in my life. My opinion is, that people will be nicely taken in when they behold t^e so-much vaunted palace and gardens. I was never so disappointed before, as when I was told that the circular building I took for a railway station was the palace! However, the inside may be charming, and I have no doubt that the produce of human industry there displayed will be very interesting; but it seems we shall have to pay, and that dearly, for the sight, as the franc entrance will not be a quarter of the charge. Add to that, that provisions are already dearer, and that pickpockets have crossed the Channel—a young Irish girl was arrested last week in Rue de Rivoli, just as she was taking a fancy to something that did not belong to her; and she is one of a band which the English authorities have kindly pointed out to the French police. This is an English produce, of which one doesnotfeelveryproud. There was a momentary strike amongst the workmen at the Chimp de Mars a few days ago, which spread terror abroad; however, it was soon appeased, by the men commencing again. The houses near the military school, where many officers lodge, have turned their lodgers out m order to have room for the visitors, who are expected to spend their money without counting it. I imagine there will be a little disappointment on the part of our Parisians. Mr. Knowles (of Manchester, I think) ha8 hired the Italian | Theatre for the month of July, lor the sole pnr. pose of showing the Parisians "The American Cousin," and Mr. Sothern's "Lord Dun! dreary." The King and Queen of Portugal have taken an apartment, dit-on, in an hotel,

for which they are to pay 1,500 francs a-day. The Great Eastern is to be sent out to America for a cargo of Yankees, whose sayings and doings are to be faithfully recorded on their arrival, by Jules Verne—sent out for that purpose. Rossini's chorus for the great international festival is to be entitled "Buwres ! Buwres 1" What that means I leave you to find out. You are not to have our statues of your Plantagenet kings, so do not imagine it. The Emperor had not reflected sufficiently on the hue-and-cry such a concession would cause in the Anglophobia world, when he consented to gratify your wishes on that head; so he withdraws his consent. We, on the contrary, are to have a statue of the Empress Josephine, in the avenue called by her name near the Barriere de l'Etoile; and the statue of "Voltaire, invented by Monsieur Havin, is gradually becoming a reality so far as the subscription for it goes, in spite of the mockeries raised by the petite presse, at the inventor's cost. Victor Hugo has sent his mite towards it, although someone has discovered that our great poet in one of his works calls Voltaire, " Singe de genie chez l'homme, en mission par le diable envoye," which is not exactly a compliment. The Etendard says that a Roman newspaper pretends that, in punishment for his Voltarian enthusiasm, the unfortunate Monsieur Havin has fallen into a complete state of idiotism!

We have had three grand events in the theatrical world this month—events that have caused quite a commotion, on account of the celebrity of the authors, and of all that had been said on the compositions before they appeared. The first, at the Theatre Francais, "Galileo," by Monsieur Pousard, had vacillated between life and death for some time, the censors having condemned it as touching on forbidden ground, the famous astronomer's principles being considered too free for the present state of things. The drama is a representation of Galileo's struggles with the Inquisition. The Prince Napoleon, however, succeeded in vanquishing the objections of the too particular censors, and the piece was performed before a crowded house, and received with great applause—more from respect to the author, and the few bold expressions contained in it, than from its real merit »s a dramatic work. There is too much science in it—a lesson of astronomy in Monsieur Pousard's splendid language. There are two Or three moving scenes, in which Galileo's daughter (the critics say he was never married !) » the heroine; but, on the whole, it is not a piece fitted to amuse our pleasure-seeking Parisians. Pousard was ill in bed at the first ^presentation; indeed, he has been in bad health for some time. The second event is the 'Don Carlos," at the opera, by Verdi, which n»d for spectators all that Paris possesses in fashion in the beau monde and in the demi-monde. Nothing is more curious than a theatre here at the first representation of a piece. It is the rendezvous of all the lortttes in renown, who disPUy their < riphrs in all the front places.

dazzling with diamonds, crunching bon-bons, laughing and ogling the men. One almost wonders how honest ladies of fashion can like to be in the same place with them !" Don Car'os" was of course received with enthusiasm, but all the critics seem to find more to blame than to praise; and it has been, and is still, the subject of great discussion, and far from equalling many of Verdi's other operas. Verdi is accused of forsaking his natural talent, and of imitating the German school. "Don Carlos" is more in the style of the "Africaine" than in the style of any of Verdi's other works. It seems that you are to have it in London soon. Favre quite outdoes himself: in both singing and acting, nothing can surpass him. "Les idees de Madame Aubrav," by Alexandre Dumas, His, at the Gymnase, is the third event. It is quite an overthrow of all received ideas in the present theatrical pieces, and the way in which it has been welcomed by the public announces a coming change in public taste. Instead of adulterous married women for heroines, seduced unmarried ones are to have their turn.

Theresa, whose voice had forsaken her a short time since, greatly delighted the audience at the Alcazar the other night, by unexpectedly and invisibly breaking out in one of her most distinguished songs (" La gardeuse d'ours"), at the moment that the audience was about to retire. It was a mercy that madness in her admirers was not the result! So rejoice, strangers! Theresa will sing to you during the Exhibition.

The Emperor has granted a pension to Lamartine as a national Tecompence, and of course the press is not exactly pleased at it, and the poor old gentleman has been assailed again with all kinds of ill-natured remarks and insults.

Father Felix has recommenced his conferences at "Notre Dame." He treats "de l'Artetdu Beau" (on Art and Beauty), a singular topic for a church I

The Protestant Church has just lost one of her oldest and most venerable ministers (Monsieur le Professor Juillerat), who died at the age of 85. It was he who was at Nimes, when Louis XVIII. sent the Duke d'Angoulcme, at the urgent demands of England and other Protestant countries, to quell the disorders organized against the Protestants in the South. He was insulted in his pulpit by the excited mob, but calmly braved all for the cause he represented.

Have you heard of the disappearance, that has caused much noise in Paris, of " Sir Culling Eardley"? He left his hotel without paying, and has not been heard of since. The owners of the hctel have demanded permission to sell what is left to pay themselves: there is 800 fr. or lOOOfr. A letter has been addressed to the press by some one who has since seen Sir Cullling, and who says that ever since a typhus fever this gentleman has moments of absence of mind, when, without telling any one, he quits his residence and goes several hundred miles, forgetting alj, A disagreeable manin'

A tit bit: the mayor of a village has just

stuck up on the wall that he will permit the

young men to beat the drum in their leisure

moments, provided they make no noise! Adieu.

Yours truly, S.A.

P.S.—Latest fashion: The present fashion of long trains without crinolines require ladies to have large—what shall I say—stomachs r Indiarubber ones are therefore invented for those who lack them.




A stately mansion stood upon the summit of a hill, surrounded by gardens filled with rare and magnificent plants, where quaint fountains fell dreamily over beautiful statues from marble urns, and lily-bells, and the hideous mouths of huge sea monsters. It was the home of luxury and splendour. Within were soft carpets, instruments of music, costly paintings, and more books than you could read in a lifetime. The air was heavy with rich perfumes, and the sound of mirth and feasting and dancing often resounded through the old halls, and even reached the ears of the poor gardener, who lived in a small brown cottage under the hill; and as he sat in the door-step in the deepening twilight watching his busy wife still spinning on the green, and heard the faint echoes of the music from the Hall, he wondered if the proud lord of all this princely domain were any happier than he, with his frugal and comely wife and two healthy, happy children. Yet he sighed when he thought of his children. The baby slept in the cradle near, and if a saucy fly lit on his nose, he only smiled in his sleep; but the eldest child, little Archer Dane, loved best to linger by the side of the spring in the heavy shadows of the wood.

Silver Spring bubbled and murmured among the ferns and mosses in the edge of the forest. It was a beautiful spring. The birds loved it, and would dart down into its clear water with many a chirp and twitter, stirring up the ripples, and shaking a little sparkling shower from their wings in the morning sunbeams. The flowers loved it; the sweet spring violet bent over it, and whispered to it all day long in its mystical language of perfume and beauty. The stars loved it; for at night, when all the world was sleeping, the flowers folded in slumber, and the birds rolled up in a downy ball with their heads under their wings, the stars would come out and look far down into its dark blue depths, and twinkle and glimmer, as if to say, "Good-morning to you, Silver Spring. Pray what are you doing down there among the cowslips and ferns, singing to yourself all night r"

Little Archy Dane loved it; and he would lie for hours on the soft moss, talking in a low tone, listening to its gurgling murmur, dipping in his hands, and drinking its cool water. He loved to talk to the birds, and they would hop

about him on the ground, turn their heads to one side, and twitter and warble away, as if they quite understood what he said to them. Then he would pluck a handful of violets and carry them to the cradle of his baby brother, and tell him marvellous stories of what the birds had said to him, and how Silver Spring had sung to him about the sunshine and showers and the glory of the Btars; and the little one would laugh and crow, and put his little white fists in his mouth, and jabber away as though he too could understand all that Archer said to him.

But the mother would stop her spinning and ook sadly on him and sigh; and the father, smoking his pipe on the door-step, wpuld say—

"Poor hoy! he is not so bright as other children; I think he must be foolish."

But the mother would draw him lovingly to her bosom, press her lips to his fair eyebrow, and answer—

"No, no; our little Archy is no fool, but sometimes the angels come down and talk with him; and he'd rather talk with them than frolic with the children. He'll be a little angel himself byand-by."

And the neighbours, hearing the sound of the busy wheel or the hoe of the gardener, said—

"What nice, industrious people the Danes are! it's such a pity their child is foolish."

But they were all mistaken, for he was neither a fool nor an angel; but he wore a fairy talisman, and no one knew it. I will tell you all about it.

When Archer Dane was a baby, and lay in the same cradle that his little brother now occupied, under the same pink-and-white quilt, on the same snowy pillow, there came an aged woman to the door and begged for a little bread, saying she was very weary, and had not eaten anything for two days. Mrs. Dane w as a kind woman, and pitied the poor stranger, and asked her to come in and rest awhile. She limped over the threshold, on her coarse oaken staff, and sank, nearly fainting, in a chair by the cradle. Mrs. Dane brought bread, and even uncorked a bottle of home-made wine, and set'' before the guest. She was very ugly, with a hump on her back, and yellow, shrivelled features; but her small black eyes were bright and glittering, and seemed to watch every movement of the tidy little housewife. The old woman asked for some milk, and when Mrs. Dane returned from the cellar with a mug of rich m|l»i the old crone held the baby in her arms, talking very fast in some unknown tongue, while the child seemed to understand every word she 6&i<i,

and was laughing and kicking in the greatest glee. The mother was alarmed, and could scarcely command herself; but she gave the milk to her guest, and caught her child eagerly to her breast, and murmured—" God bless thee, my babe?"

At the name of God, the strange visitor gave a piercing shriek, and dropping her staff and the mug of milk upon the floor, disappeared through the open window.

Master Dane heard the cry, and thinking his wife was in distress, hastened in. She told him the strange story, and he said—

"It is some wicked sorceress, come to torment our child."

"She is a foul witch," said the wife: '-'throw the staff into the river."

He stooped to pick up the rude staff, but found it so heavy he could scarcely lift it, and then they saw that it was pure gold.

"Perhaps she belongs to that fierce band of robbers in the Gorgeness Woods. .We will put the staff away, and no one will know it.''

So they hid the golden staff in the garret, and the wheel went on spinning just the same as though there was no wealth in the cottage but the wealth of honest hearts and willing hands— and that is the best wealth in the world, let folks «ay what they will.

But at night when the mother undressed her babe, with a prayer of thankfulness in her heart that her first-born was safe from harm, she found a chain of gold about his neck that had slipped down to his white shoulders. It was cunningly wrought in the form of a serpent, and had eyes of glittering diamonds.

They knew that their strange guest had clasped it there, and so they thought she was not a wicked witch or robber, but some great princess in disguise.

"It is some grand folk up at the Hall," said the father; "there is a count and a duchess visiting there, and such wonderful company."

They tried to unfasten the golden serpent from their baby's neck, but it clasped with a secret spring which they could not touch, and the mother was pleased, and said—

"Depend upon it, she was some great princess in disguise."

But they were mistaken again, for the old woman with the golden staff was neither princess lor sorceress, but only the child's fairy godmother, and the necklace was a charm or talisman. Whoever wore it could understand all 'be voices of Nature.

So little Archer grew fair and beautiful every day, and he knew what the birds were saying *ben they chattered in their nests; he understood the language of the brooks, and flowers, »nd trees, and of all the beasts in the farm-yard. And as he grew up, he had no need to read in books about plants and animals, for they could wu birn more about themselves than all the books that were ever written. The swallows told him how they built their

nests of clay and straw and lined it with feathers;

how they reared their tender young, and fed

them with worms and insects, and taught them to fly; and how, when the frosts came and the snow covered the ground, and the flowers were dead, the swallows all flew far away to warmer climes, where the orange blossoms all the year, and brilliant flowers grow, and figs and dates are so abundant that they lie unnoticed on the ground. They told him of broad oceans, and high mountains, and sweeping prairies, where the wild horse roams and the buffaloes wander in herds of thousands; and of great cities, where a hundred church-spires point towards heaven.

No wonder that he loved to listen to the twitter of the birds, and learn such wonderful things. Then the roses told him how they grow; drinking life from the moist earth through their fibrous roots, unfolding in the light and" drawing the green of their leaves and the carmine of their blossoms from the life-giving sun and gentle dews. And often the Spirit of the Rose would come out from her golden castle in the heart of the flower, and, poised upon the edge of a swaying leaf, talk to him of her beautiful life and mission.

"I speak to the heart alone," she would say. "No one sees me, but I am always here in the perfumed halls of my castle; and when children pluck roses for garlands, or for the bosom of their mother, I whisper to their heart, and say, 'Be gentle and sweet, like the rose/ When the bride fastens a rose on her pure breast, I say, 'Be beautiful as the rose, breathe only fragrance and love.' From the brow of death I whisper to the mourner of that land which Death may never enter, and flowers can never fade; and when she kisses me she drinks hope and comfort from the chalice of perfume I hold to her lips."

Then the Rose Spirit would fling out a breath of fragrance from her gossamer robes, and glide into the depths of her honeyed retreat behind the yellow anthers; and the boy would close his eyes and breathe the faint perfume, and wonder if heaven itself could be sweeter. So he lived and talked with nature, and everybody called him a strange child, looking into each other's eyes, and shaking their heads ominously. No one knew of the fairy charm. One day he told his mother a wonderful story of Poland, and the clash of arms, and oppression, and suffering, which the Polander had told him; but his mother only laughed, and said—

"You are a queer boy, Archie. Don't you know you have been dreaming? I believe you are always dreaming. Hold this yarn for me."

So Archer went on dreaming; and his father found that he grew wise without books, and knew more of distant lands than he could teach him. His strange history reached even the inmates of the Hall, and the lord of the manor stopped at the gate one day, and asked him many questions of foreign countries, which Archer seemed to understand as well as if he had been there, and answered as promptly. The lord was much astonished, and inquired where he had read so much! but Archer replied, in his Bimple way, "A little bird told me."

But the lord rode on, saying, to himself, "A strange child."

Often the mother grew sad, and said to the father, "Our boy will soon be an angel." And the father had many misgivings, and thought perhaps the mysterious visitant was indeed a sorceress, and had cast some foul spell upon him in his infancy. Still they did not dream that it was the golden serpent with the diamond eyes that sometimes whispered to the boy—" You shall know all things."



Maximilian Bowers came out of the house that morning, and took his way down the old lane-road to the school beyond the pastures—a boy stumbling up somewhere into his twelfth birthday. There was nothing to please fastidious eyes about him on that especial morning. His tanned, freckled, homely face was surmounted with thick, coarse, yellow hair; he had considerably outgrown the faded suit of clothes which had been originally fashioned for him out of some coarse, dark blue cloth, and his bare, soiled feet looked larger than ever, as they trotted along through the grass, on which the morning dews still clung thick as hoarfrost.

It was a pleasant morning in May; the soft, strong air was luxuriously seasoned with the smell of the freshly-turned earth, and all the wild blossoming of tree and woodbines. There was a playful waking and hushing of winds among the leaves, a quiver and murmur of fresh, warm life everywhere, and overhead a cloudless sky, with a sun "rejoicing as a strong man to run his race."

All these things would have usually awakened some deep, delicious response in the soul of Maximilian Bowers; he was bewildered, cramped, purblind in a good many directions; but he was at home with Nature—at home with sky and earth, mountain and pasture, the brook, with its lisp of laughter, and the river, in its broad, serene, solemn strength, "seeking the sea"—at home with all the joy, and growth, and beauty, with all the storm, and wildness, and wrath of Nature, some voice in his soul answering to all the moods of the seasons. They were perpetual comfort and company, delight to his soul, too often tried, harassed, perplexed elsewhere. For Max had had a pretty tough time of it, all things considered, during these first twelve years of his " strutting on the stage of life."

Small time and chance for "strutting," though, with Max! There were few footlights, and very little dazzle and display, in his part of the drama, thus far.

The truth is, Max had an uncomfortable sort of home. His mother was a sour, fretful, faultfinding woman, much inclined to look upon the

dark side of life, to see its troubles, and discomforts, and angularities; of which, dear children, we can all find enough if we do not shut our eyes and turn our heads away.

Now, it is a great misfortune for a boy or girl to have such a mother as was thi< Maximilian Bowers'. I do not believe in too far ignoring facts to you children, and I know many of you have instinct enough to see fault* and failings in your elders.

Mrs. Bowers meant, in a general way, to do what was right. She loved Max with that deep, mother-love which, upon occasion, would have risked her life for his. But people may possibly go to dungeon and 6take for us, who would, on the whole, be dreadfully uncomfortable to lire with every day.

Mrs. Bowers never once in her life stopped to consider that she owed to the children whom God had given her, a pleasant face, a cheerful voice; hers had a trick of tone that rasped one's nerves at times; or her depressed moods, which were her prevailing ones, fell like a visible chill and darkness upon the young souls around her.

Maximilian — you will wonder how the country boy came by this royal name, and I hope it will suggest to you something of tbe grand courts and the gorgeous shows far across the sea, more than three centuries ago, and the old German emperor that moved among bis princely knights and vassals in the old time?, that shine down upon us with a marvellous grace and lustre, but that, after all, are not half so good as the new.

Mrs. Bowers had read somewhere a story of the old monarch in his grand palace, with bis princes and archbishops doing homage about him; so she took down the stately old German name, about which some lustre of sceptre and crown still lingered, and blew off the dust of centuries from it, and she set it on the round, curly head of her boy, as he slept in his cradle in the old farm-house. But the name soon dwindled into Max, and the boy might have forgotten what remained of it, if he had not been obliged to write his whole name on the fly leaf of some occasional book that fell into his possession.

Mrs. Bowers was not a ssvere, hardly a strict mother; but she made a point of seeing all her children's faults in the same exaggerated colours that she did every wrong thing in the world. She was always holding these up before them— always implying, if not insisting that they ww the most incorrigible, ungrateful, indolent, ineny cient of the human brood, and that she herselt was the most innocent, the most unhappy «nd unfortunate of mothers.

Poor Max I If he could only have shaken off the damp, clinging, rainy-day influence o this manner and talk! But Mrs. Bowers was his mother, and his heart clung to her with that strong clinging tie of mother and child, wnic will hear almost any strain before it will breaK asunder, u

Thin rnorning of which I write, PPT *?*:

« AnteriorContinuar »