Графични страници
PDF файл

its literary baggage grows upon it, always accord with it.” This chain of sympaseeks to leave behind it as much as it thy will extend more and more. can, as much as it dares-everything It is silent, that eloquent voice; it is but masterpieces. But the immense vi- sunk, that noble, that speaking head; bration of George Sand's voice upon the we sum up, as we best can, what she said ear of Europe will 'not soon die away. to us, and we bid her adieu. From Her passions and her errors have been many hearts in many lands a troop of abundantly talked of. She left them be- tender and grateful regrets converge hind her, and men's menory of her will towards her humble churchyard in Berry. leave them behind also. There will re Let them be joined by these words of sad main of her the sense of benefit and homage from one of a nation which she stimulus from the passage upon earth of esteemed, and which knew her very litthat large and frank nature, that large tle and very ill. Her guiding thought, and pure utterance-the large utterance the guiding thought which she did her of the early gods. There will remain an best to make ours too, “the sentiment admiring and ever widening report of of the ideal life, which is none other that great soul, simple, affectionate, with- than man's normal life as we shall one out vanity, without pedantry, human, day know it,” is in harmony with words equitable, patient, kind. She believed and promises familiar to that sacred place herself, she said, “to be in sympathy, where she lies. Exspectat resurrectionem across time and space, with a multitude mortuorum, et vitam venturi sæculi.of honest wills which interrogate their Fortnightly Review. conscience and try to put themselves in

[blocks in formation]


When morning smiled on the smiling deep,
And the fisherman woke from dreamless sleep,
And ran up his sail, and trimmed his craft,
While his little ones leaped on the sand and laughed,
The senseless cripple would stand and stare,
Then suddenly holloa his wonted prayer,

Ave Maria!


Others might plough, and reap, and sow,
Delve in the sunshine, spin in snow,
Make sweet love in a shelter sweet,
Or trundle their dead in a winding-sheet;
But he, through rapture, and pain, and wrong,
Kept singing his one monotonous song,

Ave Maria!


When thunder growled from the ravelled wrack,
And ocean to welkin bellowed back,
And the lightning sprang from its cloudy sheath,
And tore through the forest with jagged teeth,
Then leaped and laughed o'er the havoc wreaked,
The idiot clapped with his hands, and shrieked,

Ave Maria !


Children mocked, and mimicked his feet,
As he slouched or sidled along the street;
Maidens shrank as he passed them by,
And mothers with child eschewed his eye;
And half in pity, half scorn, the folk
Christened him, from the words he spoke,

Ave Maria.


One year when the harvest feasts were done,
And the mending of tattered nets begun,
And the kittiwake's scream took a weirder key
From the wailing wind and the moaning sea,
He was found, at morn, on the fresh-strewn snow
Frozen, and faint, and crooning low,

Ave Maria!


They stirred up the ashes between the dogs,
And warmed his limbs by the blazing logs,
Chafed his puckered and bloodless skin,
And strove to quiet his chattering chin;
But, ebbing with unreturning tide,
He kept on murmuring till he died,

Ave Maria !

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Hunchbacked, gibbering, blear-eyed, halt,
From forehead to footstep one foul fault,
Crazy, contorted, mindless-born,
The gentle's pity, the cruel's scorn,
Who shall bar you the gates of Day,
So you have simple faith to say,

Ave Maria ?

Cornhill Magazine.



To an English eye there is little beauty and verse. The Steppes of " Little Rusin the "Steppes," though their wild sia," or Ukrania, are situated in the charm has been celebrated both in prose south-west and centre of Russia, in the


region of black earth, which region, for the head, gave an oriental touch to their the richness and plenty of its produce, is whole appearance. justly termed the garden of Russia. "We are pleased you are amongst us, voluntarily a feeling of depression crept said one. * God be with you," said over me as we traversed those wide plains another. And may He keep you from of waving corn or flowery grass, stretch- the evil eye,” said a third. ing as far as the eye could reach, without Madame K. exchanged greetings with a tree or shrub or hillock to break the all, and listened with attention to their monotonous level. The few deserted

Serfdom had ceased for some villages we passed through scarcely broke years; but the General and Madame K. the monotony, for we were in the noon- still exercised a patriarchal sway over day of a Russian spring; men, women, their former slaves. In all cases of sickand children were at work in the fields. ness or trouble it was always to the GosIn the far distance our destination, the poda that the peasants came for advice village of Valievka, appeared like a speck and relief. During the few months that on the unbroken line of the horizon. I was an inmate of the Manor House, Gradually the speck assumed a more dis- many and many were the stories of sortinct form. The manor house stood cool row, and wrong, and suffering, which and sheltered in the midst of thickly were brought to the Gospoda for comwooded grounds. It was a long uniform fort or redress, and never in vain. building, with green roof and verandahs The day after our arrival the priests bearing a family likeness to others of and deacons came, bearing in their hands the same class-originality is certainly the traditional bread and salt-which not a Russian characteristic—the numer- they offered to the General as he met ous sheds, stables, sheep-folds surround- them on the threshold, saying, according ing it reminded one of a squatter's set- to the usual formula, “Welcome amongst tlement. At the gates was the village it- us; and may you never lack either bread self, solely inhabited by the former serfs or salt; for they are the stay and the of General K. At the end of the two sustenance of life.” After this we all restraight rows of white thatched huts paired to the hall to join in a Te Deum stood the church with its green cupolas for our safe arrival. It was rather a long and dome.

service, and the priests wore their full At the sound of the ringing horse-bells, robes. After the conclusion of the Gosas we drove through the village, all the pel for the day, the officiating priest held peasants who were working in the fields forth a crucifix, containing a morsel of the thronged to the manor gates to welcome true cross; each person present advanced their “Gospoda's" return-all in gay and and kissed it before leaving the hall. picturesque costume. Several of the

In the evening, after our Te Deum young girls stepped forward to kiss the ceremony, I walked out into the village hand of the “noble lady." There was to look about me. The sun was sinking nothing servile or cringing in their de- like a ball of fire beneath the level line meanor as they did this; it was grace- of the distant horizon ; the church, with fully caressing and respectful. Men and its green cupolas and white minarets, women alike were tall and well-formed; were all bathed in a flood of golden light. they had tủe quiet dignified bearing nat- As the twilight deepened, the tall, silvery ural to the “ Little Russian peasants;" birch trees glimmered white and ghostonly a touch of the old Cossack spirit like through the transparent gloom, and fire could be seen in the flash of whilst the lines of low thatched cottages their dark eyes. The dress of the women stood out in dark shadow against the consisted of a loose white boddice, which strip of green and purple light which still was embroidered with red. By way of lingered in the sky beyond. The eve- . petticoat they had two squares of some ning breeze, laden with the sweet scents coarse, but gorgeous colored material, of spring, rustled through the quivering which hanging loose before and behind, aspens, bearing to my ears from time to were secured round the waist by a crim- time snatches of the wild plaintive songs son scarf; upon their bare necks lay of the laborers who were returning from many rows of variously-colored beads, the forest laden with the green branches whilst a bright handkerchief twisted round they had been cutting to decorate their

houses for the next day, which was Whit- ous hubbub was at its height. The sunday.

neighing of the horses in their gay red Whitsuntide, or as they in their more trappings mingled with the shoutings, poetical language term it “Greentide,” greetings, and laughter of the throng, is one of the great holidays of the Rus- whilst the different wedding groups formsian peasantry, and their last before the ed themselves in procession. At the encommencement of the summer labors. trance of the church, however, a solemn

Presently the bells from the church calm and' silence fell upon all; slowly burst forth in a joyous peal. The re- and reverently the men entered in single turning peasants reverently crossed them- file, taking the lead; each one crossing selves and hastened their steps homeward himself devoutly. The women followed, to decorate their cottages with the green in equal silence and reverence, and took boughs, and to gather flowers to strew their appointed place. upon their thresholds, to be all in read- The service for Whitsunday over, and iness for the dawn of Whitsunday. the sanctuary doors closed, the business

At Easter the “advent of spring" is of the day began. The couples to be welcomed with songs and dances, and married advanced, the brides were great rejoicings; but it is also especially closely veiled, and each bridegroom marked in the domestic calendar of the offered the end of a white linen scarf peasantry as the chief season for betroth- thrown over his arm to his betrothed; ing their respective sons and daughters, by this he led her to a small reading-desk whilst Whitsunday is the great day for in the centre of the church, before which celebrating the marriage ceremonies. the priest stood and intoned the prayers. The weeks that intervene between these Then each couple exchange rings, detwo festivals are the 'most important clare that they have been baptized, that epoch in the year to the peasant women. they are not both plighted to any other; Little work is done; housewives set aside then gilded crowns were placed on the their hand-looms and spinning-wheels, heads of brides and bridegrooms, after and devote themselves to settling the which they embraced, and then marched marriages of such girls as have arrived several times slowly round the church. at the age of sixteen. The girls destined The ceremony concluded by a few words to be married assemble each evening in of admonition from the priest ; aftergroups and sing in chorus their farewell wards, the brides and their female comto girlhood. At first the airs are gay and panions returned quietly to the village, the rattling, sounding in all directions as bride and bridegroom separating at the they march round the village; but as church-door. The merry-making does not the twilight deepens (their tones become take place until the bride enters her husmore melancholy and slow, as though in band's house as a wife, which event does foreboding of the hardships and labor of not necessarily follow the church cerethe married lot which lies before them. mony, but is often postponed to an inI was up early the next morning; a pic- definite period. The entrance of the turesque and animated scene had already bride into her husband's house is looked begun. Troops of peasants had arrived upon by the “Little Russian peasant from many miles round, some on foot, as the real marriage, and is attended some in telegas (country carts), drawn by with rites and observances which have two and sometimes by three horses in come down from times lost in the dim gay harness and bells. Every one car- twilight of " long ago.” ried flowers in abundance: the men had The day before the event is always a their caps decorated with leaves; the Saturday, and on that day a bright-colwomen all wore garlands of flowers. ored shawl or dress is sent by the brideLater in the day these garlands are des- groom to his bride. The young girl, attined to be flung into the river, the own- tired in her best, and her hair decked ers watching them anxiously, for the with flowers, goes from house to house superstition is that if a garland sinks through her village, accompanied by her speedily, the wearer of it will not outlive young companions, inviting all to her the year;--but this is anticipating the wedding in the words, “My father, my order of things.

mother, and I aiso, ask you to come and When I reached the village the joy- join in our joy."

« ПредишнаНапред »