Imágenes de páginas

the latter was Mahomet — doubtless a lineal descendant of the 'great prophet' — an intelligent lad some fifteen years old, who insisted upon accompanying me on shore as my guide and interpreter. As I had some purchases to make, I first directed my steps, by his advice, to the shop of a Hindoo woman. She, like the rest of her country-women here, had a massive gold ornament suspended from her nose, of the shape and dimensions of a medium-sized padlock ;, and on her arms and ankles were some dozen silver hoops, each weighing not less than half a pound. Her complexion was olive, her features regular, her hair and eyes black; and when she smiled, she disclosed two rows of teeth of more than pearly whiteness. Altogether I was quite pleased with her, and disposed to give cheerfully any price she might choose to set on the articles I required. Not so Mahomet: he had a long and angry altercation with her for being so exorbitant in her demands, several times threatening (as I afterward learned from him) to take his friend to another store; and when he had at last struck a bargain with her, and given her a piece of money in payment, too large to liquidate his debt, I noticed that he examined with a scrutinizing eye the change he received, returning to their fair owner several small silver-coins whose jingle did not please his ear, and resolutely insisting upon receiving others in their stead. Mahomet,' said I to him as he sauntered leisurely along through by ways and cross-roads, "why did you create such an uproar in that shop just now?'

Oh, Hindoo woman too muchee cheat!'
Why, then, do you not trade with the Arabs ?'
'Arab man? he cheat all same — all cheat!'

He now led the way to the place where the Hindoo cows are kept, it being the hour when the Banians assemble there to do them homage. Some of the worshippers merely inclined their heads to the mothers of the gods and of three worlds ; ' others accompanied this reverence with a folding of the arms on the breast; and a very few, after walking three times around the sacred animals, kissed them most reverently on the forehead. A Banian merchant who was present gave me a long and interesting account of his belief, saying, among other things, that the Hindoo worships the cow, as the Persians did the sun, not as a divinity, but as the best gift of the Creator.' In passing through the streets, which are not over twelve feet broad from house to house, I had once to draw aside rather hastily to avoid being trampled upon by a huge camel ; and two spirited little donkeys which immediately after jogged by, placed their hoofs in a very uncomfortable proximity to my nether extremities : the former of these, being led by a swarthy-looking fellow, with a long flowing beard, aud having an Arab woman, closely veiled, on his back, brought vividly to my recollection the story in Don Quixote, of Ruy Perez de Viedmar and the Moorish maid Zoraida.

The voices of the almuedens or heralds were now heard from the towers of the various mosques, calling the Arabs to their sun-set devotions. At this solemn warning all business was suspended; the hum of the busy multitude ceased, and an awe-inspiring stillness, like that which pervades a Catholic community at the sound of the vesper-bell

, reigned throughout the town. As I wended my way to our evening-boat, I passed a crowd of devotees kneeling in the streets; and when I reached the sea, my eye fell upon an innumerable host stretched prostrate on the beach, with their faces turned toward Mecca. As I lingered a moment to gaze upon this singular spectacle, my heart was troubled, and my thoughts were very, very sad. Within a few weeks I had witnessed the various forms of worship of the Christian church ; I had seen the negro with his fetish, and the Chinese in the presence of his idols; and here, on this very afternoon, I had conversed with the Brahmin and the Mohammedan. Where, then, was truth to be found, and where an altar upon which to lay down the sacrifice of a contrite heart ?' And I found my answer in the responses of the Pariah : ‘In Nature itself,' said the Pariah ; ‘Nature is my pagoda, whose Author I adore each morn at the rising of the sun, and each eve at its setting. Instructed by misfortune, I never refuse my assistance to ope more unhappy than myself.' 'And this,' said I to myself

, “this is the true faith : the light of heaven, like that of the orb of day, shines not for a particular people, or a single tribe only, to the exclusion of the rest of the human family, but for all and upon all, whether Jew, Christian, or Gentile! To think otherwise would be to tax God with injustice — and who, save the Almighty Himself, can raise a temple worthy of His Majesty ?

F. A. P.

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It was at Paris that the Daguerreotype first saw the light.' That is but a few years ago; it is still in its teens; and yet it has travelled to the antipodes. It thrives best where the sun shines brightest; no where better than at its birth-place, where the supply is hardly equal to the demand for it.

But it is not the Parisians alone who patronize it there. Few strangers depart from that city without having first submitted themselves to the operation of sub-pictures; some, because they fancy the art carried to greater perfection in the metropolis than elsewhere; others, with a view to enjoying the little vanity of saying to their provincial friends, 'Have you seen my daguerreotype? I got it touched off the last time I was at Paris.'

There are a great many practitioners of this ingenious process in all the large cities, their studios — or laboratories, rather— being indicated by a frame of portraits suspended at the street-door. Photographers they are, but not painters; for it is Phæbus himself who dashes you off with his “pencil of light,' and for the sum of ten francs you can have a good specimen of his hand and of your own face, miniature-size. Ten francs ! it's hardly worth while to go without your portrait for such a paltry consideration. Surely, for so famous an artist, Phæbus is singularly reasonable in his charge!

Attracted by the frame of portraits, you walk up-stairs, and into a room that looks something like a shop without the wares. There is no display of goods here to beguile customers ; nothing looks like business but the small compartment at the window, screened off with canvas, in which recess the sitter is placed. But this little chamber is not always unoccupied on your arrival; for there are, usually, a good many people there on the same errand as yourself, and every body has to wait until his turn comes. In the mean time you are at liberty to walk about, to sit down, or to chat with the assistants of the establishment, whilst choosing a plate of the size fancied by you; and if you wish your portrait to be of a better class than a ten-franc one, you select a frame also, which is fitted to the plate forthwith. You soon discover that a great many preparations are necessary before the sun is called into requisition ; and you also perceive that a good deal of skill is required in the process, as well as the greatest care ; for the neglect of a single application, or a clumsy style of manipulating, would cause the operation to fail altogether.

It is amusing to observe the characters in the reception-room, waiting till their turn comes for a sitting, or driving a bargain with the assistants.

Here comes a man from the suburbs, with his wife tucked under his arm; they want their likenesses to send to an old aunt in the country, and wish to know what it will cost; and they are told that the lowest price is ten francs apiece.

The man — a cattle-dealing sort of man he is— looks at his wife, a great rural dame clad in coarse homespun, who, after considering a while, shrugs up her shoulders and says:

• Ten francs for each of us! that's more than we're worth, I doubt; but if you could make it something less

You ought to knock off a trifle in regard of there being two of us,' chimed in the husband. •Could n't you make it six francs the pair, now?'

The operator refers them to his scale of prices posted at the door, and proceeds to attend to the demands of his other customers; and so the good man and his wife take counsel by themselves.

"It's too dear, is ten francs,' says she, with a calculating air; "that would come to twenty francs for the couple, and I'd rather not be done at all than be done that way: and beside, they're ugly, sooty things, after all, are these dagger-picters. For my part, indeed, I'd rather have myself painted with a brush.'

'A brusb ! oo ay, with a lick o' paint on it. But what need of a brush and paint when a picter comes by itself?'

‘Hold your stupid tongue, good-man goose! Our faces a’n't smirched like that, are they? Why, when we look in the glass, o' Sundays, do n't we see the color of our hair, and our eyes, and our cheeks, and our noses, and our clothes, and every thing?'

"Well, well, but there be n't no paint in the looking-glass, for all that; the picter comes by itself.'

• Nonsense, old man ! let's be off; but first let's have a look at the tally of prices he talks about.'

And so, down-stairs they tramp to inspect it. Soon after, the door opens, and an individual, dressed in somewhat of a 'flash style, makes his appearance. He has rings in his ears: bleachers at Paris wear them, and sometimes persons troubled with weak eyes. With this swell-gentleman come two ladies, one pretty, the other very plain.

'I have had my portrait painted very often, says the plain one, “but some how it never was like. All the artists said I was remarkably difficult to catch. I am quite impatient to try the success of this new process.

• Oh, there can be no mistake about the success,' rejoined the pretty one; "the likeness must be accurate, since it is an actual reproduction of nature. Is it not so, M. Mouillé?'

"Oh yes, it's a reproduction decidedly - that is to say, you know — allow me to explain — in fact, it's a reproduction.'

And the gentleman with the ear-rings nods his head didactically, as he delivers himself of this lucid explanation.

* What a very extraordinary fact,' remarked the plain lady, that one's image can be self-impressed upon a plate by the power of light! It is the power of light that does it, M. Mouillé, is n't it?'

Permit me to explain the process, madam. It's the light of the sun — no, the light of science, concentrated by optics and chemistry, combined with the light of the sun, that obtains so beautiful an effect

. In fact, as you have justly remarked, it's the power of light that does it.'

And again the swell-gentleman's ear-rings vibrated to his didactic nod.

Have you ever had yourself daguerreotyped, M. Mouillé?' inquired one of the ladies, in a tone of deep interest.

"No, Madam ; I have no fancy for these dark portraits ; give me something with color in it. In fact, I flatter myself that I possess a pretty good complexion, an advantage not displayed by the daguerreotype process,' said M. Mouillé, drawing himself up.

'Dear me! how long one has got to wait!' cried the pretty lady, addressing herself to one of the assistants, who was polishing a plate. I thought, Sir, that portraits in this style were taken in an instant.

"The sitting for a , portrait, Ma'am, does not occupy more than fifty seconds ; but some time must elapse before the plate is ready for delivery, even when the image comes out well upon the first trial, which is seldom the case.'

‘And what is the reason of that, pray?'

. There are fifty reasons, Ma'am, for the failure of an operation. For instance, one may have employed too much of this preparation and not enough of that; or —

Oh, I do n't want to know all that; but when the process fails, what do you do then?

We try it over again, Ma'am, and keep repeating the process until the image is properly developed. We never think of palming off a defective portrait upon a customer.'

Here, a young gentleman who has been waiting some time for his turn, rises from his chair, saying, "Fifty reasons for a failure, and try it on fresh every time! Ob, that's a good one! Catch me waiting any longer!' and away he goes.

That's the way with the Parisians,' said the daguerreotypist; 'if you don't play the mountebank with them, they mistrust you. Now, that young spark will go some where else, where they 'll say nothing about failures, and a nice picture they'll make of him, I'll be bound. The sitting-room is ready, Ma'am: walk in, if you please.

At this moment the bumpkin and his wife return, saying to the photographer :

"Can't you knock off the two of us, now, for eight francs ? Won't that suit your book ?'

*No second-price here,' says the man of plates, and, turning abruptly away, he ushers the pretty lady into the little tent-like sittingroom, where she is seated in a chair fitted with a peculiar apparatus for keeping the sitter's head in a proper position. A point is indicated to her, upon which she is requested to keep her eyes firmly fixed.

Now, ma'am,' says the operator, remain perfectly still for a moment, if you please ; do not even wink, if possible.'

The lady looks straight before her; not a breath is perceptible, not the twinkle of a silken eye-lash, so anxious is she to obtain a good likeDess. But the minute appears an age to her, and her eyes are just beginning to shrink from the intense light, when the daguerreotypist shuts up the lens, saying, “That will do, Ma'am.!

"Oh, pray do let me see it!' cries the lady, with great excitement.

'Not yet a moment, Ma'am, if you please; but if you will be so good as to join your friends, I will soon let you know whether we have succeeded or not.'

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