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New-York tribune. [volume] (New York [N.Y.]) 1866-1924, May 05, 1907, Image 22

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0 love, 0 hitter, mortal journeying
By ways that are not told!
1 would not sing, no song is swo t to me
Now thou art gone:
But would, ah, would F were the halcyon.
That sea-blue bird of spring.
So should I bring
Fair sister compank s of Seetest wing
To be r tin c on,
Thou being old,
■*A'ith an untroul led heart to carry thee
Safe o'er the ridges of the wearying sea.
f£\)c Sfctti^aft ®ritaH&
SUNDAY, MAY ... 1907.
The agony columns of "The London Times."
which is to say the columns devoted to the
quarrel between the "Times" Hook Club and
the publishers, ceased some time ago to con
tain anything of interest to the American ob
s.t\.[\ But they are still the cause of quaint
ness in others. Here, for example, is "Tlie
Academy" in a fine taking of over one point
raised in tho controversy. "We have heard a
mighty lot," it says, "about the difference be
t'.veni -serious' books and books that 'are. pro
suniably, not 'serious. 1 The distinction seems
to imply a very hazy or totally wrong notion
of what literary art is. According to those
who draw it, so far as we can understand their
jN.iiii. 'serious' books nay be divided into (1)
biographies, (2) critical essays, (.''.) works on
political economy, (4) works on theology.
Books that are not 'serious' comprise the rest
- such uncoDsidered trifles, for instance, as
poems, plays and novels." We like to encoun
ter now and then a bit of humorless stodge like
this, and regret that we cannot iiud room for
ail of the ponderous sarcasm in which "The
Academy" Indulges at tlio expense of its man
of straw. If this solemn commentator would
only pause to reflect, ho might perhaps realize
whit people mean by the familiar distinction
t» twoon "serious" books and the books that are.
no! "serious." They mean to distinguish be
tween good books and worthless one«. No
critic refuses to t:iko a poem, play or novel
seriously— if it has merit.
Once more the gentle reader, known to every
author but never seen face to face, is haying his
pins explained to him with grave waggings of
the critical head. This time it is apropos of
the bicentenary of Fielding. Many of the
eulogists of the great man are pleased to re
paid him as a kind of private property of
theirs, and in order to demonstrate that they
are superior persons, careful of classics 'which
others neglect, they have to prove that "Tom
.Tones" is not really known among readers at
largo. No one supposes that Fielding's works
lire sold to-day in numbers which would even
begin to satisfy the average "best seller." Hut
we have not the least doubt that Fielding is
still read wherever English fiction is read at
all. it seems sometimes as if the writers who
are so dogmatic about the books that are being
read must be influenced, much more than they
will admit, by what we may call the machinery
of current literary discussion. The new lx>ok
naturally gets into the foreground. It is re
viewed and advertised. For a time at least
you may hear talk about it almost anywhere,
But surely it is rather naive for any one to as
sume that this publicity points to the exclusive
absorption of readers in the books of the mo
ment. The man who is reading a classic in the
privacy of his home may happen to allude to
the fact the next time ho is dining out. but,
again, it is not unlikely that be will do nothing
of the sort. As for the journals which cone m
themselves with literature and have serious
standards, they can scarcely be accused of
neglecting the classics, but neither should they
be. expected to bo forever treating the classics
as "news' 1 in order to reassure the doubters.
Another phase of the old argument about the
claims of the living and the dead in the reading
world is revived by Mr. C. K. Shorter, who ran
not under why certain old books of no
vi-ry great importance are repeatedly reprinted,
'.\!iil!' good books of our own lime go through
only olio edition. It is the fate of contempo
rary fiction that especially disturbs biro. "The
fact is," bo Bays, "that every year gives us at
I. :i.<t a dozen novels which have a freshness
uiid originality that would have made a ire
Dieiidoiis reputation for tlieir authors in an
earlier age, is pure speculation^ Secondly, there
it luvonios more and more difficult for a writer
of genuine literary achievement to pet homo to
Hie very largest public." In the first place, the
idea that novels such as Mr. Shorter baa in
mind would have won tremendous repute in an
p.tlut ■_:••, is pure speculation. Secondly, there
Is plenty of time for the good but neglected
li. Lion of to-day to prove its staying power. If
n second edition does not follow the lirst within
a few years, that does not mean that it i- never
■.•!■; to be printed Authors neglected now
may easily have their revenge in the next go;n
eiation. It must be remembered, too, that lie
lion may he never so fresh and original and
still want the fire of genius. The truth is that
novels possessing very great merit, so far as
they go, are nowadays so common that they
an- taken as a matter of course, like any other
forma of adequate craftsmanship. The ro
mancer is a public entertainer In a somewhat
narrow sense, ami be must not complain if he
Is amiably dismissed when he has served his
ephemeral purpose-
The Vacation of a Tired Historian.
THROTT.H PORTUGAL. By M;.rtin Il'im". With
32 Illustrations In Color by A. S. Forrest and 8
Reproductions of Photographs. 12mo, i>p. 317.
McClure, Phillips & Co.
Major Martin Humo is a writer of acknowl
edged ability, and it maj be Justly said ol him
that lie never disappoints his reader's expecta
tions. His interest in humankind, his acquire
ments as an historian, hia appreciation of nature
and art. and hia taste make him tho pleasantest
of companions. This description of "a happy
trip through an unhackneyed pleasure ground"
leaves us at once delighted and envious.
A "happy trip" Indeed! Every chapter works
the spell anew upon those who may take it only
in these begnlHag pages. The keynote of the
book is struck upon tho titlo-j>age in a quota
tion from Byron, who, like our traveller, found
Portugal entraneinp:
Oh, Christ! it is a goodly sight to spc
What heaven hath dona for this delicious land;
What fruits of fragrance blush on every tree.
What goodly prospects o'er the hills expand.
Major Hume confesses that he was brought
up in the stiff Castilian tradition that Portugal
was altogether an Inferior country and the
Portuguese uncouth boors, and he sets forth
fr:mk!y his sense of his former Injustice
"toward the most beautiful country and the
most unspoilt and courteous peasantry in South
ern Europe.*" There are Inconveniences
the traveller must encounter if be wants the
Joy of seeing an "•unhackneyed* 1 land, but they
are not sen. .vs. The hotels in the small towns
furnish al 1- ast dean lx-ds. and among the nativ<
. seme which attract the Anglo-Saxon
There are good modern hotels in Lisbon and
Oporto, and ■' Brussaeo, the scene of a famous
battle, is a wonderful hotel, probably the most
r u! in Europe, says Major Hume a n i ■■:
nlficent structure which ua-s built as a
• ■ it 1 • a bewllderingly lovely tl • •
hist '.:•■ et in a paradise of garden, ter
ra •■. and glorious woods. The author d ■•• s not
i r;■ r tn :\ id to I. is catalogue of its virtues "a
!•!.! of air:-..- t disconcerting moderation." The
plcasantrsi way of travelling through the coun
try i*» by carriage, i r : • 1 this la noi expensive.
The railways, having been meant chiefly for the
conveyance ol freight, offer comfortable l it ■ j
ceedingly slow pajtsage
Th. r.- Is little mendicancy in Portugal; the
author encountered it in its systematic form
only at Batalha, where groups of chubby, pretty
children kneel by the roadside, ready for beg
ging, their hands joined as in prayer, "their
eyca closed reverently and their expression rapt
like little dirty angels." That is in central
Portugal: the race in the north is one emi
nently self-respecting and Independent. Major
Hume describes the peasant of that region as
working hard and living frugally upon about
,".<• cents a day. "and so Ion;: as he can earn
his dried stockfish, his beans, bread and grapes,
with a little rod wine to drink, be scorns lo
beg for the Indulgence of his idleness."
The absence of vociferation and vehemence In the
people did riot mean sulkinesa or stupidity, but was
the result of I .•■ Intense earnestness with which
their daily life was faced; their unrewarding aloof
ness toward strangers was iu>t i v.l. ness, but th*
highest courtesy which bade thorn avoid obtrusive
curiosity; anil soon 1 learnt to know th.it their cold
exterior barely concealed a disinterested desire to
extend in fullest measure aid and sympathy to
those who needed them. In nil my wanderings l
have never met, except perhaps in Norway, a
peasantry ao full of willingness to show court* to
strangers without thought of gain to themselves as
th.-so jh-ojil* of North Portugal, almost pure Celts
as they are, with the Celtic innate kindliness of
heart and ready sympathy, though of course with
the Celtic shortcomings of jealousy, inconstancy
and distrust.
The streets of Oporto glow with rich colors
in shop and market, and the peasant women,
who still wear the ancient costume of their coun
try, add here and there a characteristic gleam
of brightness. The men are shod, but the
women, old and young, go barefoot. They carry
queer boat-shaped baskets, heavily laden, set
upon their black pork-pie hats:
Tholr skirts, usually black but often with a broad
horizontal stripe of color round the bottom, are
very short, and gathered with irraat fulness at
the waist and over the hips. Upon the shoulders
there is almost invariably .•» brilliantly colored
handkerchief and sometimes another upon the head
beneath the hat; and long, pendant, gold earrings
shine against their coarse, jet-black hair. It is
evident that for the most part they work quite as
hard as the men, but they have no appearance of
privation or ill treatment, except that their habit
of carrying heavy weights upon their heads has
tho effect of ruining their figures. . . . There are
no indications anywhere of excessive drinking, and
even smoking is not conspicuous among the
working men and boys in the streets; they seem,
indeed, too seriously busy for that, except on some
feast day. when, with their best clothes on. they
are gay enough, though cot vociferous even then,
as most Southern peoples are.
"Wherever the traveller went he found relics
•ml reminiscences of heroic and romantic times,
and of strange historical scenes^ In the Church
of Santa Cruz, at Coimbra, King Manuel, early
in the sixteenth century, set on a throne before
(From a photograph.)
the high altar the mummified corpse of his
predecessor, Alfonso Henriques. crowned and
shrouded in royal robes, a grisly form watching
through empty sockets the homage of his shrink
ing subjects. Two centuries earlier as tragic a
picture was seen in a monastery church not far
away. Across the river Mondego, from Coim
bra, there are the ruins of a palace wherein
lived Inez de Castro, the beautiful girl for whose
sake the prince Dom Pedro refused obedience
to his father's command to marry another. The
shining waters still leap in the fountain beside
which, at the old King's orders, this fair Inez
was murdered. As much as Pedro loved her he
hated his father, and they never met again.
When the young man came to the throne after
two unhappy years, he took from her convent
crave the body of his beloved, and the ghastly
figure, clothed in the garb and Jewell of a
qu< en. was placed upon a throne In the monas
tery church of Alcobaca., "whilst all the courtiers
upon their knees, kissed the dead hand of her
whom they had insulted and contemned in life."
In the church of Santa Clara, at ('Vim bra. the
traveller climbs a turret stair to a small, dark
room wherein stands a little altar. There is a
trap in the centre of it. a: d this, when lifted,
reveals a grating through which one may peer
into— the Middle Ages. "A large solemn choir
chamber, with carved stalls in rows extending
lengthwise along it. and the ample central space
occupied by a magnificent canopy, under which,
lit by a tiny red lamp Darning eternally before
it, lies a great coffin of rich repousse silver, in
which there rests the body of the sainted queen.
the patron of Coimbra, the heroic Artgonese
princess, who in 1323 rode between the armies
of her husband. King l>iniz. and their rebellious
son. and stayed their unnatural strife at her
own gnat peril." Here within the walls of
Santa Clara the poor "Heltranega" name ii her
last dreary years, and here at Coimbra reigned
I>eonor. the wickedest queen In Portuguese his
tory. She had many ways of disposing of those
she hated the dungeon was the mildest: and
the crudest of all her contrivances sho turned
upon her sister, the Print Maria. She poured
poisonoas words into the car of Maria's hus
band until rrlnco Joao. wrought to madness,
murdered the unhappy lady. Then cams I-conor
inockinc and Jeering at the wretched man, and
proclaiming her sister's Innocence. Of course, h*
tried to murder her too, but failed; and the bajo
creature lived on in the happiness that belongs
to her kind.
Some of Major Hume's most fasctnatlng pages
are devoted to the ancient Portuguese monas
teries. He writes with peculiar vividness of
the mediaeval cistle-monastery of Thomar, sfja
splendid in its decay. The old round eh
the Templars was built in 1108. ana its b
is described as a quaint and curious mix:
Uyzantino. Moorish. Romanesque and Gothic
In the great choir which was added to the
round church the reluctant Portuguese nobles
sullenly swore allegiance to Philip II a3 Kin
of Portugal as well as of Spain; and In the
Gothic cloister is to be seen the stone coffin
of Baltasar d© F^aria, who served as Philip-j
instrument in forcing upon Portugal the Spanish
form of the Inquisition. Faria'd cruelty wa3
something beyond the human, and loathing men
said of his end that "earth itself would reject
and refuse to assimilate the body of snch a
monster.** Fate apparently proved the truUj
of the saying, for one may look through th«
pane of glass set in his sarcophagus and thers
behold the mean, shrunken mummy of Master
Baltasar. forever debarred from the good cleaaj
earta. Thomar, the author concludes, ls a relit
which, In its way, has hardly an equal In Eu
rope; but something even more wonderful ho
was to visit later— the famous abbey of ITltllss,
"the wonder and envy of ecclesiastical architects
for six centuries, and even now, dismantled and
bedevilled as it Is. one of th- most beautify
Gothic structures In existence. . . . Think
off an edifice with a facade of exquisite beauty.
and all of it of the lovely soft color of an oTi
Japanese ivory carving? The author quotes a
remark from a manuscript of Lord Stnuhmore,
who visited the abbey about the mid i. of the
eighteenth century, that one part was loft fca
perfect. "being so beautiful that nobody darM
to finish it." Major Flume throws down t:s gnge
to the purists who condemn that marvel, the
cloistered court of Ratalha. as too exuberant la
ornament— he finds it exquisite, ar.d enrvs noth
ing for the opinion of the aforesaid purists. Ho
notes the remarkable groining In the chapter
house, "springing like palm branches fr*:=t
clustered pillars in the wall and all centrir.z ia.
the apex of the roof." and he quotes "Vatbr-k 1 *
Bcckford's description: "It is a square of sev
enty feet and the most strikingly beautiful
apartment I ever beheld. The graceful arching
of the roof, unsupported by console or c uurm.
is unequalled; it seems suspended by magic: in
deed human means failed twice in constr-jctin,;
this bo) unembarrassed space. PersevcrancM
and the animating encouragement of the sover
eign founder at length conquered every difficulty.
and the work remains to this hour secure and
perfect." The founders of the house, were »
married pair. King John the Groat and Ms Eng
lish Philippa. the daughter of John of Gaunt.
Here they lie within their stately monumental
their sons around them.
Of the palace at Cintra. the Moorish A'cartr
which John and Fhilippa made their s.imrner
residence, the traveller has many interesting
things to say in the way of description and of
history. Cintra, indeed. Inspires him almost as
it did Byron, whose "glorious Kden" it was. As
for Lisbon, he laments over the fash. - in ssod
tho picturesque has been turned into u^linea
and filth— for along the river side have be«
built smoke-belching factories and docks bsssl
as hideous as tho factories, and the leassl
view provided by nature is thus absoMas]

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