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through those places where the wealthy who delight in the they have more than a superficial acquaintance, mix them possession of art treasures abound. The plaintiff was a together into a new and horrible jargon. Following the rich manufacturer who sued a picture-dealer for breach of unpleasant fashion set them, it must be allowed, by some contract, the contract being that the defendant should to whom they may rightly look up, they describe pictures furnish the plaintiff's galleries with a sufficiency of pictures as symphonies in green, harmonies in white, and notturnos “ equal to sample." One may bope that it would be diffi in all sorts of colors. Their delight in this new method of cult now to find an exact parallel to this case, but undoubt expression leads them to carry it further, it may be boped, edly something of the spirit in which the contract was made than its originators intended. They will beg you to adyet remains. While money is exchanged for some work mire the tremulous tones of an atmosphere, the gwell of a which is good, it is given also for much which is not good. foreground, or the diapason of scarlet in a sunset. They It is not impossible, however, that the contemplation of in discourse learnedly of ascending and descending scales of ferior art nay be better than the contemplation of none at color, of melodious passages running through the middle all. One of the greatest dramatic singers of the world, distance, of the phrasing of a picture, and of the key in Mme. Malibran, could never form an idea of how she should | which it is set. When they wish to praise a painter, they act a part until she had seen it played by some one else. say that he has a fine eye for barmony. It has not yet, we Whether she saw it well or ill played mattered little. If believe, come to pass that those who more particularly the acting was good, she seized upon its good points and affect musical knowledge speak of a composer possessing a made them her own, improving them in the process. If it fine ear for color. It would be no more ridiculous, bow. was bad, she discerned its faults, and by learning what to ever, to hear of the middle distance and morbidezza of a avoid arrived at the idea of what to seek. Without assist- quartet than of those things which we have mentioned ance she could not grasp the conception of a character; & above, and of others like them. The extraordinary fluency leading-string, however weak, was wanted to guide her, and extraordinary unintelligibility of these philosophers' along the road. Thus good may be derived from the study | disquisitions reminds one of the nonsense rhyme concernof faulty works of art. If there are some people for whom | ing the old man who " walked by the Trent, and talked to it would be good to contemplate inferior works of art, while himself as he went, but so loud and so much, and more. the best are beyond their reach, there are others for whom over in Dutch, that no one could tell what he meant." it would be good to contemplate pone at all.
After listening to them for some time one is inclined to There has arisen of late a new school of criticism. How doubt whether the universal spread of art, or rather of a over one may disagree with the founders of this school in superficial acquaintance with art, is an unmixed blessing. their views, one must recognize that those views are based They are so well contented with themselves, so thoroughly on study and knowledge, and therefore are worthy of atten convinced that the words which they speak are the words tion. But for the disciples of these founders there is not of wisdom, that there seems no hope of their ever straying 80 much to be said. There is a certain class of young men from the paths which they have made peculiarly their own. who distinguish themselves by the title of “intellectual." “Shop” of all kinds is apt to be tiresome even when talked They despise the frivolous follies of the day, but it may be by those who are well versed in their subject; when talked doubted whether the so-called earnestness which is their | by those who are not so well versed, its weariness assumes pride is in any degree less frivolous, or less the result of a gigantic proportions. It is an old and true saying that a devotion to fashion, than the pursuits of other young men little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Certainly a little to whom nature is supposed to have been more parsimoni knowledge in the matter of art is a dangerous thing for the ous in the matter of intellect. The two classes follow friends and acquaintances of those who possess it. different kinds of fashion, it is true, but the motives which impel them seem to be much the same. Perhaps if the two were weighed together, the balance would incline to the intellectual class, on the ground that they exhibit more
ST. THOMAS. daring in their worship of their goddess. Some knowledge of his subjects is necessary to the young man of fashion ;
From Trebizond, Asia Minor, Turkey, to St. Thomas, he must be well informed, for instance, upon approaching | Danish Antilles, West Indies, is a distance of one hunfashionable engagements, marriages, and divorces. To the
dred and six geographical degrees of longitude west, and intellectual young man no knowledge is necessary, or of twenty-four degrees of latitude south; besides some rather he is far removed from the consideration of so trivial odd minutes, the exact number of which may be detera matter. It is his privilege to discuss the hidden meaning mined by reference, say, to Keith Johnston's " Royal Atof the most complex sonata without having any ear for las." Not a full third of the circumference of the globe in music ; to talk learnedly of the secret of the Venetians one direction, and little more than a ninth in the other. (which secret was, in fact, that the Venetians knew how to But insignificant as these distances may appear on a map, paint) without possessing any eye for color. His special especially one of Mercator's delusive projection, they are province is to have a keen critical faculty, a nice judgment in reality immense. Their true measurement is not by in all artistic matters, and to exercise it in every direction. miles, but by centuries; not by geographical but by cosHis gifts, like those of the great masters whose works he mical lines; by those, in fact, that divide the oldest of the passes in review before him, are the result of direct inspira Old World from the newest of the New. tion. But he is more highly favored than were those With Xenophon and Arrian for its chroniclers, broken masters, in that he finds it unnecessary to cultivate his Roman sculptures and crumbling Byzantine walls for its powers with patience and application. One particular sect memorials, Pontic tombs excavated in its rocks, and the of these philosophers must indeed be allowed to work hard mosque in which Mabomet the Conqueror said his thanksin the service of their theories. These are they who have giving prayer, the Te Deum of Islam, crowning its heights, some little love for music, and on the strength of this affect Trebizond is old enough in all conscience; nor do its widea classical severity of taste. Vocal music they find trivial; trousered, cross-legged shop-keepers, its veiled women, its instrumental music is, if merely beautiful, worthless; they mangy dogs, and its dark patches of cypress grove over require depth of thought expressed in orchestration. In Turkish-lettered tombstones, each inscribed with “ He is support of this idea they abjure all such frivolities as the the Eternal,” suggest much idea of change. Indeed, its opera, from which they might derive some real enjoyment, extreme easterly, that is, most out-of-the-way, position in and sit bravely through long movements of stringed instru- the most unprogressive of all empires, that is, Turkey, ments which less intellectual persons would be apt to call might alone furnish sufficient warrant that the refuge of tiresome. They have their reward in the pedantic talk the Ten Thousand is in no imminent danger of becoming which they indulge in afterwards. The most irritating modernized. Nor is it; my word for the fact. section of the intellectual school consists perhaps of those Sunrise may be never so lovely, but sunset moves us who are judges of pictures, and, taking the technical terms more;- and a farewell to the old calls up a deeper response of painting and music, with neither of which arts, probably, in our nature than a welcome to the young. I have left it, amid the chill gray shades of an April evening, the late, respectabilities of the world as Oliver Twist or Ginx's almost wintry April of those regions; and I have no wish Baby at the workhouse door — better off, indeed, than to see again that still, mist-shrouded line of mountain those remarkable infants, in that it was already possessed cape and dark forest; no desire to climb again that rock somehow of a name, the identical one that it yet bears ; hewn ascent, to tread those rougb-paven streets, and re though who conferred on it that distinction has remained ceive the obsequious salaams of the wide-robed, bearded an unanswered question in the catechism of history. inhabitants, who rise up Eastern fashion to greet the offi At last — it was in A. D. 1657 — those most sedentary, cial badge as it passes by.
most erratic of mortals, the Dutch, tentatively anchored The British lion and unicorn have disappeared from their broad-built ships in the best of West Indian barbors, over the door of my little garden-surrounded house; Turk and took possession for their own of the forty square miles ish children, very dirty, I make no doubt (for the laws of of rock in centre of which that harbor is set like a greenablution do not seem obligatory on the juvenile faithful), blue turquoise in a rusty iron ring. Ten years Dutcb bales play about the entrance. Turkish slippers strew the ball; lumbered the beach; and Dutch merchant sailors, under against the latticed windows of what was once my sitting an embryo Dutch Government, sat meditative beside. But room, now transformed - a most poetic, most prosaic, after much consumption of tobacco, scheedam, and thought thought! - into a Turkish harem apartment, moon-faced in the monotonous contemplation of dried-up bushes and Turkish beauties flatten their lovely noses, as they gaze, brown rock, the Hollanders came to the conclusion that if they care to do so, on the gray Byzantine walls of the Java, Ceylon, and the Eastern Indies offered better inComnenian fortress across the opposite ravine. My negro vestments for their painstaking enterprise than the Westgroom, the best gereed-player in the province, bas, I hear, ern; and in 1667 the gallant Batavian tubs sailed slowly settled down into the quiet proprietor of a small coffee but not reluctantly away, just as the semi-piratical flag of house by the beach; my Turkoman attendants have trans St. George and merry England speckled the offing of St. ferred the pistols and daggers with which they loved to Thomas. skewer their voluminous waist-bands to the service of So the island changed masters, and the “oath of British other masters. Town, castle, market-place, inhabitants, commerce” replaced awhile the corresponding guttural house, garden, friends, dependants, all have retreated into expletives of Dutch trade. But the quicker workings of the lessening proportions of remote perspective; new fig. the English brain, the naturally sluggish Teutonic fibre of ures, new landscapes, thrust them daily further and fur. | which is, as no less an authority than Mr. Matthew Arnold ther off across the gulf of life-long distance and sepa assures us, abnormally stimulated into incongruous activity ration.
by a lucky aspersion of brisker Celtic blood, required Yet they have each and all of them an abiding place in scarce five years to solve the problem that the Batavian not ungrateful recollection, and a good wish for the long | intellect bad with difficulty accomplished in ten. Like and undisturbed continuance of their contented stagnation; their predecessors, however, the new-comers solved it with from the Tartar-eyed, wool-capped driver who lounges a negative - a mistaken solution, as subsequent events purposeless in the miry Meidan beside his crouching camel, have proved - and in 1671 the British ensign too fluttered to the drowsy pasha who languidly extends a be-ringed off to larger and more fertile isles. band for the scrap of dirty paper on which is scrawled, for “ Tarde venientibus ossa" is a bemistich not less applithe fiftieth time, the long-unanswered petition. They all cable to the great banquet that Nature spreads before her belong, more than they themselves know, to the world's children, than to the monkish refectory of the Middle Ages. great past; and the past, be it what it may, has in it a Thus it was with the West Indies, where the late-arriving charm denied to the present. “Say not,” vainly preaches Danes, long after the more enterprising first-comers, Spanthe old Chaldæanized rabbi who has assumed the name, ish, English, and French, bad divided among themselves but not, if scholars are right, the style and dialect of the every fleshy tit-bit, were fain to put up with the scraggy Son of David, “say not thou what is the cause that the virginal bones of the least among the Lesser Antilles for former days were better than these.” Why not? most their share. Of St. Croix, popularly known as Santa venerable Babylonian. Is it that the former days were in Cruz, an island larger and of better promise than St. reality no better than the present, rather worse? That a Thomas, to the south of which it lies at a distance of about six-pound franchise is in very fact an improvement, penny forty miles, these Scandinavian Berserkers - to borrow a papers a gain, and steam-engines a blessing? Or is it flower of nomenclature from popular rhetoric— had indeed that the old printingless, steamless, Bright and Gladstone- | already, after a sharp struggle with Spanish and French less times were really the best ? and the cry of “ God Save rivals, taken possession; and now, in 1672, seeing St. King Solomon I" more to the purpose than the triumphant Thomas absolutely vacant, and a first-rate harbor, if nothshout of a Beales and a Beales-led multitude over the ing else, ready to hand, they appropriated the Dutch-anddemolished railings of Hyde Park? Truly I know not, English-deserted island. nor perhaps did either the Hebrew Chaldæan moralizer. I do not envy the feelings of his Excellency the gallant Let us take the world as we find it; speed, however re Ivereen when welcomed as the first Danish governor over gretfully, the parting guest; and get ready a cheerful forty square miles of volcanic rock by the only surviving countenance, as best we may, to greet the coming.
inhabitants, the melancholy wood-pigeons and sinister Farewell, then, the Old World, and welcome the New; land-crabs, of St. Thomas. Nor do I envy the negro slaves nay, even the newest of the new, West Indian St. Thomas. who first toiled at clearing bush and levelling'stony ground No chroniclers need we consult here, for there is next to enough to make space for the diminutive square fort and nothing to chronicle; no voluminous historical records, incipient town of " Charlotte-Amalia." Let us hope that where there is hardly any history to record. Scarce vis Mark Tapley's mantle descended by some fortunate anachited towards the close of his career by Columbus, scorn ronism on Danes and Africans alike, and enwrapped them fully abandoned by Spain, that only just condescended to in a double fold of jollity as they took possession of their bestow on them from a distance the title of “ Virgin," new isle of Eden in its dark-purple sphere of sea. equivalent in this particular instance, I suppose, to “ Bar Sixty years have passed, and half Danish, half Dutch ren," Islands, these smallest, driest, rockiest of the dimin for the persevering Hollanders bad returned to their first utive, rocky, arid, Lesser Antilles remained for a century love, but this time under the unassuming guise of a trading and a half after the mighty world-seeker had turned away Brandenburg company - St. Thomas uneventfully carries from them wholly untenanted, or at best the chance rest on its little trade with its wealthier neighbors, besides ing-place of buccaneering adventurers, unannexed by any affording a convenient shelter in its harbor to storm-driven nationality, unsheltered by any flag. The very Caribs, the ships, and a place of refit to the damaged victims of the questionable authors of some undeciphered scratchings on West Indian cyclones. This avowedly : perbaps, too, not å sea-side cliff or two, had left them; and no European, a little business was done, though less openly, in the no African, had cared to enter on the abandoned heritage. wrecking, smuggling, privateering, and buccaneering lines; So late as 1650 St. Thomas lay as unclaimed by any of the for besides the principal harbor there is many a deep calm
creek and quiet cove in the island where a cargo could be a character that, however disguised or modified by more landed, a bargain struck, or a sloop equipped without any | orderly times, and the necessity of cloaking illegal gains need of incurring the troublesome inquiries of “whence under forms of law, has never wholly left the place. and whither," where flags and titles might pass unques Soon after the American war, the revolutionary shock tioned, and mutual profit hoodwink the Argus eyes of any that upset so many European thrones made itself felt over-prying official. And if Frenchmen, Spaniards, or through their far-off dependencies in the Caribbean Sea ; even English suffered by these little transactions, were and St. Thomas came in among the rest for a share in the they not at liberty to go and do likewise on their own vicissitudes of which Denmark had so large and so disasaccount? It was the good old West Indian usage, and trous a part. For a short time in 1801, and again in 1807, international law had not yet found a passage to the England held with a careless grasp a post the commercial Caribbean archipelago. Such were the occupations of value of which she might have easily estimated from the merchants and traders; meanwhile other colonists busied flourishing condition in which she found it; but blind in themselves with less venturesome pursuits on land, and the 1815, as on so many other occasions, to her own best inscanty soil of St. Thomas was cajoled, by dint of care and terests, she a third time abandoned it, as she had first hard labor, into yielding a modicum of sugar, though sur done when it was a mere barren rock, a hundred and fifty passed in this respect by its sister island called of St. John. years before ; and the white cross “Dannebrog ” again A narrow arm of sea, so narrow that an Enfield rifle would floated over fort and harbor. easily select and reach its victim across the rippling strait, From that date to the present, the annals of St. Thomas divides or unites the fronting coasts. Each at this time are made up of export, import, commissions, smuggling, owned a dense slave-population, regarded by the compara bill-broking, discounting, pilfering, and the ordinary vicistively small caste of colonists and planters much as the situdes of credit-commerce conducted on the unstable Israelites of old were by their Egyptian taskmasters, and basis of New-World speculation. Meanwhile, the emanciruled over by a penal code of more than Pharaonic atroc pation of slaves, tardily wrung from, rather than conceded ity. But in 1773 the sight of their own increasing num by, their Danish masters in 1848, gave the finishing stroke bers quickened the long-stifled exasperation of the Africans to the already declining sugar cultivation of the island; into a hope of revenge, and a revolt was concerted be for what human being, however black, would, if his own tween the bondsmen of either island. Ineffective in St. | free choice were given him, remain to toil at the lowest Thomas, it broke out with deadly result among the wilder possible wages on the estates of a planter, while a single mountains of St. John; the little Danish garrison, taken day's work among the shipping in the harbor might bring by surprise, was soon cut to pieces, and the island lay at him higher gains than a whole week of spade and boe? the mercy of the negroes, who, having never experienced Negroes are not far-sighted, but have ordinarily a remarkany themselves, now showed none. Every house was ably acute vision for what lies immediately before their burnt, every estate ravaged, every white man fled or per- ugly flat noses. So the canes, of which nothing but highished; and through all the blood-stained catalogue which pressure slave-labor could ever possibly have made a payenumerates earth's wrong avenged by wrong, infamous ing crop in this uncongenial soil, disappeared as if by oppression, and mad retaliation, few pages are redder than enchantment, to be replaced with as magical a celerity — these. For six months the insurgents held out against the for the cycle of tropical vegetation is a swift one — by forces sent against them from St. Thomas, till at last, scrubby bush, frangipane, aloe, cactus, and every thorny after many vicissitudes of savage warfare, French assist- and prickly thing " for which we may thank Adam.” And ance, invoked from the neighboring islands by the panic- | thus matters have, in the main, gone their course up to stricken Danes, turned the scale in the favor of European the present day. skill; the Africans were reduced not to submission but to Shall we add how, in 1867, the American eagle cast a suicide, and four hundred self-slain corpses were found by longing eye on this sea-girt morsel ? and how the majesty the victorious whites on one spot alone. And in truth of Denmark, not less eager for I forget how many millions those, happily the greater number, of the vanquished who of dollars, dangled the tempting bait before the republican thus opened for themselves with their own hands that only bird, till it was thought to be a bargain between them; sure gate of freedom, death, did wisely and well; their only when it came to payment, the greenbacks were not less fortunate prisoner-comrades did not pass that gate till forthcoming, and one more repudiation of agreement was after tortures that few writers now would dare so much as noted in Jonathan's account-book? Or shall we chronicle to describe. Eastern governments, Mahometan caliphs, the burricanes of 1819, 1833, 1867, and 1871 ; or depict and sultans, have been accused, and not altogether un the terrors of the earthquake plus sea-wave that, on the justly, of frequent and wanton cruelty; but no Arab, Turk, third of the above-assigned dates, made such a mark upon or even Persian but would have shrunk back agbast from the imaginations of the inhabitants of St. Thomas ? the cold blooded, torment-devising atrocity of the trium Enough; the stars and the stripes have not yet supplanted phant Dutch and Danish slave-owners. The awful hurri the Dannebrog on the fort heights, and, except a headless cane that a few weeks later devastated the island of St. palm or two, few traces of a cyclone outlast a twelvemonth; Thomas could not with all its rain-torrents wash out the at any rate, none appear in view as we excbange the glossy red stains of those hideous executions.
blackness of Heaven and the Challenger best know how Thirty years more passed unrecorded for good or evil many thousand fathoms of the pure Atlantic depths outalike; till in 1764 the Royal Edict of Copenhagen that side for the muddy green of shallow waters and an unrendered the harbor of St. Thomas a free port inaugurated cleanly harbor. a new era — that of commerce, merchandise, and pros- " Charlotte-Amalia” is, so old Danish maps inform us, perity.
the name of the town; and perhaps the gods still call it Followed the struggle of the New World, then awaking, 80; only, like the old knight's song in Alice's “ Wonderprovince after province, into self-consciousness and indo land,” or “Looking-glass " - I am not sure which, neither pendent life; and the Danish island, neutral, central, and of those authentic narratives forming part of my travelling marked out by Nature herself as the one haven of refuge library, the more 's the pity – it is called quite differently for the countless sails that speckle these tornado-swept among mortals, in whose vocabulary it has appropriated to seas, reaped directly and indirectly a full and ever-increas itself the apostolic-sounding designation of the entire ing share of the golden harvest that was being planted the island. But, whatever its name, the town looks pretty while on other lands in the blood of the laborers. The enough from the prow of the steamer as we pass between resort of countless cruisers, half privateer, half pirate; the light-house on our right and the two-gun fort on our the mart of men who, under color of serving national in- | left, and make for our anchorage; though an officer of the terests, advanced their own; the favorite exchange for Elbe - sociable and chatty, as most of the R. M. S. P. Comshoddy supply contracts; the chartered meet for unscru- / pany's officers are — informs me, as I gaze upon it, that it pulous speculators in dubious prizes and blockade-runnings, shows still prettier when seen from the stern of the boat. St. Thomas soon acquired a new importance, and with it I can readily believe him ; for the same glance that tells me in the first balf-minute whatever there is to like in the ' and give correct indication of a comparatively settled poptown of St. Thomas, tells me also what there is not. ulation for their inhabitants. These last are chiefly clerks,
Part on, part between, three huttress-like pyramidical artisans, skilled workmen, and the like, some born in the spurs which run down seaward almost to the water's edge island itself, others natives of Tortola, Antigua, Barbadoes from a high knife-ridge of reddish-brown bush-sprinkled Porto Rico, and the like. Their number is more than hills, there stand, crowded together, about fifteen hundred double that of the European-born colonists. A gay, active, white-walled, red-roofed, green-shuttered houses, one and improvident set, they at least know how to live; the rather bigger, another smaller, than its neighbor; but all West Indian archipelago is their home; they have no without more method or order in their juxtaposition than other; they are part and parcel of the island ; to its conthat observable in a chance human crowd, each house ditions they suit the circumstances of their existence, and having apparently jostled itself into the midst, and occupied make the best of climate and everything else. Crossthe first piece of ground on which it could secure a footing, breeds and the Europeans together amount to a third or 80 selfishly regardless of any other consideration. The next of the entire population of St. Thomas ; but the two castes object of each appears to have been which should display do not socially coalesce, and the aims and sentiments of the greatest number of windows. A Danish Pitt might the one have little in common with those of the other. from the taxation of those apertures alone clear off half the Scattered round the outskirts of the town, and jotted, national debt of Denmark, whatever its amount. Every where one least expects to find them, among the mangowindow presents instead of glass — a substance rarely em trees and guava-bushes of the open country, small wattled, ployed here in the form of panes, and indeed superfluous or boarded cabins, each hardly bigger than a sentry-box, in 80 mild a climate - Venetian jalousies of the conven- but by no means equally compact in its construction, give tional green, besides a pair of stout wooden shutters, to be shelter to negro families. 'Free men now, and ready closed and barred at the first threat of a hurricane, not enough to work, to gain, and to squander too ; unwilling else. For of nightly thieves, housebreakers, and villainous only, partly owing to the hated and still fresh reminiscences “i centre-bits” there is little fear, partly owing to the effi- of slavery, partly from their own natural instability of ciency of the Danish town police, partly to the character character, to enter into long engagements or to pledge of the islanders themselves, of whom more hereafter. As their labor beforehand, these darkies constitute about two to the houses themselves, a few very few of them are thirds of the inhabitants of the island. Their shirts and solidly built; red brick picked out with plaster, of which trousers are more or less of European cut; but, dress and last-named material, eked out with lath and rubble, far the language apart, they differ in hardly any respect from their greater number wholly consist; some are even mere wooden free brethren in Syria or Turkey. Mahometans there, they barracks, spacious, ugly, and insecure to see. Wood or have here adopted Christianity, some one fashion, some otherwise, almost all these dwellings prove on a near in. another, according to that patronized by their former masapection to be trumpery run-up constructions, with thin ters ; but, Christian or Moslem, of dogma for itself they walls baking in the blazing sun, shallow un protective roof- bave little care; their creed is emotional only, and pereaves, and the majority without a verandah of any sort. haps not much the worse for being so. Their huts, too, Only here and there some more pretentious mansion — the | are the most genuinely tropical objects of West Indian large, ungainly edifice recently erected as Government domestic architecture. I have seen the exact likenesses of House, for instance - bas pushed out — Heaven save the | them in Nubia and Yemen. marki- & cast-iron balcony, as ugly as any that ever And the Danes ? Well; if St. Thomas be, so far as the figured at Hammersmith or on the Brompton Road. European population is concerned, a mere lodging-house, Worse yet are the churches; the so-called English, i. e., the Danes here act the part of the lodging-house keepers, Colono-Episcopalian, being of ante-Puginian Gothic, hid neither more nor less. Like the rest, they resign them. eous enough in any latitude, absolutely monstrous in this; selves to live in hired dwellings; they collect customs and the Dutch Reformed, or Presbyterian, the heaviest plas- taxes, keep up a strict police by land and harbor, levy ter Doric; the Moravian Chapel a large shapeless barn; | fines on unlicensed salesmen and market-women, imprison and the Danish, or Lutheran Church, a simple nondescript. drunkards and vagrants, and — well, that is pretty nearly
An East Indian bungalow, a Brazilian cathedral, even a all. In the commercial enterprise, the shipping interests, Turkish residence in Upper Egypt, each tells in its outline, the trade and traffic of the island they govern, they have and yet more in its details, something either of the archi- | next to no share; in planting and in agriculture no skill ; tectural traditions peculiar to the race that erected it, or in the island and its tenants no interest; nor do they care of prudent adaptation to a new climate; or, it may be, of to take any measure for creating such among others on both. Hence, in looking on buildings like these, we at their account. Indeed, there is not throughout the whole once perceive that their architects, whether Portuguese, of St. Thomas a single Danish school, nor in the solitary Turks, or English, had fully determined to make the coun- | bookseller's shop (which, by the way, is a Moravian, not a try they came to govern or to colonize their own home in Danish establishment) of the town is a Danish grammar the fullest sense of the word : nor yet, while modifying, to or dictionary to be found. The public offices themselves, renounce altogether the hereditary and almost typical the law and police courts, and the rest, are mere bired peculiarities of their original nationality. St. Thomas, on rooms, or slight constructions of the usual makeshift charthe contrary, is in its general character neither Danish nor acter; they, too, are the work of the colonists and settlers; Dutch nor anything else; it is an aggregation of lodgers not a farthing has been contributed by the Treasury of and lodging houses, nothing more; English, Scotch, Span Copenhagen towards their construction. A small, quaint, ish, French, Italian, American, architects, inbabitants — square fort, with battlements and turrets, much like those the only object they have had, one and all, in settling here, out of which the St. Barbara of art or the imprisoned has been that of making as much money as they could princesses of fairy tales are wont to gaze, and which in from the business of the place, and then being off as quick fact now serves as town jail, is the only edifice contributed as possible. Their stay in the island is a mere temporary | by Denmark herself to the town and island. The walls makeshift, a commercial arrangement, and their dwellings of this toy-castle are painted red, and the red Danish flag are naturally enough in accordance with their scheme of fies from the small round keep ; it looks hot enough in
the run, and suggests the idea that the prisoners inside, Pleasanter objects to look at are the little cottage-houses now its only occupants, must be uncomfortably hot too. where mulatto, or, as they prefer being called, " colored," But the prison, fort, and flag excepted, no other symbol of families make their nests. Bright-painted wooden boxes, Danish rule meets the gazer's eye as it takes in the panogreen or blue, all made up to outward appearance of doors, / rama of the town from the steamer anchorage about a windows, and galleries, but well sheltered from the brood quarter of a mile off. ing heat by projecting roofs, wide vérandas, and flower- Nor when we land on the negro-crowded wharf do we ing tropical trees, planted wherever the rocky soil will find much to modify our first impressions in this respect. allow a root to hold, they harmonize well with the climate, There is, indeed, a carved Danish inscription — the only
one, so far as I have been able to discover, in the entire ment, too, absolutely wanting in not a few places, is rough island - over the door of the staircase that leads up to and full of holes in others; and the drains — for sanitary the Custom House rooms; and Danish names, to which no motives, say the townsmen | — are all open ; what the re one in common use pays the slightest attention, are roughly sult is after a fortnight or so of hot, dry weather I leave painted up at the corners of several streets. Also you to the imagination of those highly respectable members of may occasionally meet a tall, light-complexioned individual, Parliamentary Committees who lay yearly reports on corwhose stiff carriage and ceremonious bearing proclaim responding odorous topics before our British noses. Gashim a Danish official; or a blonde, heavy-eyed, slightly, or lights exist, it is true, in the principal thoroughfares, but very, as the case may be, intoxicated, white-clothed soldier; they are few and far between; while for the shiny nights there are about sixty of them on the island. Poor fellows; of half the month the wandering moon bears alone the they have but a dull time of it in garrison ; and if they charge of public illumination; whence it follows that the occasionally try to render it a little less tedious by “heavy clouds and the municipality have too often to divide the headed revel," Hamlet himself would hardly have included responsibility of outer darkness and its consequences, physthem in the severity of his comments on this national fail | ical or moral. I have not myself had the good fortune of ing: they have excuse for it if ever any one bad. These | visiting. Copenhagen ; but I trust that the Danes at home things apart, however, there is nothing visible to right or left treat their capital better than they do the principal town to indicate that the island belongs, and has for two centu of their West Indian possessions. ries belonged, to the Danes, rather than to the Americans, But the place, though it cannot be called lovely, is lively the Chinese, or the Khan of Crim Tartary.
enough. Siestas, strange to say, in spite of the relaxing The universal language of communication among the climate and the infectious proximity to the Spanish colo inbabitants, white, black, or colored, is English ; but such pies, are not the fashion here, and from suprise to sunset English! a compound of negro grammar, Yankee accent, the main street can show a medley of nationalities to the and Creole drawl; to "arrange" is to “ fix,” “sir" is full as varied as that which daily throng the wooden " sa'ar," " boat” is “ba'awt," and so on. The announce-bridge of Galata, but with a much greater diversity of bue. ments of the shop fronts, the placards on the walls, the Black, indeed, predominates among the complexions, and debile little newspapers (there are two published here, and white among the garments; but between these extremes of the ferocious antagonism of their respective editors in color every shade of skin and dress alike may be observed. print is, I trust, limited to that medium, and does not rep- Broad-brimmed Panama hats distinguish in general the resent their private and personal feelings), are English; better class of citizens; commoner straw shelters poorer and, but for an occasional Spanish sentence, English is the heads. Sallow, parboiled-looking countenances with now only language you hear in market, street, or shop. I beg and then an unhealthy flush, telling a talo of brandy overpardon : there are no “ shops” in St. Thomas, only much in the daily allowance of iced water, denote the North it stores ; ” just as every man here, dustcarters and coal. | European, Teuton or Scandinavian, Briton, German, Dane, heavers not excepted, is a “gentleman," and every woman, Dutch, and Swede, with the pale, over-worked-looking, including the aged black Hebe who distributes rum and sharp-featured Yankee. A darker tinge of face and hair, gin for two cents to her sailor customers, a "lady." The and a slenderer form, indicate the Italian, French, or Spanphysical atmosphere you breathe may be that of the ish salesman; the white Creole, whatever bis semi or quar tropics ; but the moral or non-moral, public and private, is ter nationality, may always be recognized by his peculiarly that of New York; as for the social, it has in it a correc weedy aspect and lack-lustre eye. Two or three generative dash of Spanish Creolism, in which languor supplies tions of West Indian birth and breeding, unrenewed by an opportune check on vice, and nonchalance on disbonesty. fresh European or African grafts, suffice to thin out the For the rest, as you walk down, that is (for west the ever- richest European blood, and to dull into lethargy the most blowing east trade-wind determines the “up” of the | active North European brain, till the Englishman, Dane, island), along the main street on the parrow alluvial level Norwegian, or Dutchman becomes a thing for the very between the bill slope and the crescent harbor base, you negroes to pity or despise. “Miscegenation," to borrow might, but for the blazing sun and dazzling azure overhead, an ungainly American word, may have its drawbacks; but almost fancy yourself in a 'long-shore quarter of South exclusiveness of alliance means for the North European in ampton or Wapping. Ship chandleries, dry goods, rum these regions speedy degeneration and disappearance... shops, slop shops, tobacco shops, sailors' homes (such Busy, restless, affable, at once cringing and forward in homes | fleecing dens they might more truly be called), manner, who does not recognize the children of Israel, the coal wharves, timber yards - objects that no climate can genuine descendants of clever, birthright-purloining Jacob, beautify, no associations render other than mean and vul. whatever be the land of their sojourn in their world wide gar. The latitude is the latitude of the poet-sung tropics ; dispersion ? Here in St. Thomas we have them of every but the scene is a scene of the coarsest Europe. In vain sort, dark and fair, lean and burly, but all alike intent on you call to mind the metrical enchantments of Tennyson's gain; now prosperous, now bankrupt; the very climate * Locksley Hall” or dreamy “ Voyage,” of Byron's heated that may occasionally somewhat blacken their outward ,.“ Island,” of Coleridge's magical « Fragment:" every- | man bas no relaxing effect on the irrepressible energy of
thing around dispels the conjured-up illusion. A drunken their will. It is curious to enter their synagogue - 8 seaman and a filthy old hag are squabbling on one side of large, crowded, and evidently thriving one - and to hear you : words very English certainly, but not to be found in the unchanged songs of old David and older Moses in the Jobpson's dictionary, issue from the grog-shop on the oldest language of the Old World, intoned here with as other : the vile features of a Creole crimp, arm in arm with much fervency of utterance and singleness of belief as ever a mottled-faced, dull-eyed Halifax skipper, meet you in they had been in the Eastern hemisphere under the palms front : sight, hearing, smell, all are of that peculiar de- of Jordan, long before a Western world and the cocoanatscription which charms the sailor, the British specimen in | trees of its islands had been heard or dreamt of. The first particular, and those too, perhaps, who make money out of names entered on the world's race-course, they bid fair to or through him ; but which is, as Carlyle might say, "ex. be among the first on its books when the winners are told hilarating in the long run to no other created being" - to off at the close. Meanwhile the antithesis their activity none, at least, who have not received the special training | affords to the lounging, careless, take-it-easy movements of those useful but unlovely classes.
of the big negrocs at every turn and corner, does much to Nor are the details of the town in other respects such as enliven the sun-beated streets and thoroughfares of the to bear with advantage a close examination. The streets, town. the main one excepted, are mostly mere lanes, narrow, and But it is at night, and especially when the white rays of crooked; while many of them — those, namely, which run the full moon, the Queen of the Tropics, delusively cover from the harbor inland — consist of flights of stony stairs, | roofs and pavement with what seems & smooth layer of which had Byron seen he would have blessed those of fresh-fallen snow, that the main street of St. Thomas, the Malta by comparison instead of cursing them. The pave- open space in front of the Custom House, known as King's