« AnteriorContinuar »
drance instead of a help to the master distinct books exclusive of those cited in my But one does not need to be faddist in volumes. order to admire “ The Bible in Spain;" It is not in this arithmetical spirit that it is the best of Borrow's books for one good biography is written ; certainly it is making his acquaintance to read, although the farthest possible from the spirit in which perhaps“ Lavengro" has more of the Borrow himself thought or wrote. There mysterious Borrow flavor which your true is nothing of the scrap-book, or card catBorrovian insists is the distinguishing alogue, or letter-file, or dust-of-the-library merit of his favorite author. The best about him! He preferred men and womodern champion--and altogether a sane men to paper and ink. One of the very one, too-of George Borrow's claim to a best things in Professor Knapp's two volprincedom of letters is Mr. Augustine umes, the story of the Irish fiddler, illusBirrell, who has written a charming essay trates Borrow's love and knowledge of on the semi-Gypsy Englishman-an essay life and nature as opposed to books and to be found in his volume entitled “Res statistics. It is told by Borrow of an Judicatæ.” The man who can read this incident happening during his famous essay and refrain from buying or borrow- tramp through wild Wales, and, in the ing a copy of “ The Bible in Spain ” is a complete and unmutilated form which hardened specimen indeed. In recogniz- follows, was rescued by Professor Knapp ing Mr. Augustine Birrell as the most from the oblivion of manuscript archives : skillful champion of the Borrovian cause we do not mean to forget Professor William
After walking about a mile (from Cerrig y
Drudion) I overtook a man with a game leg, 1. Knapp, whose life of Borrow was pub- that is, á leg which, either by nature or accilished a year ago by the Messrs. Putnam. dent, not being so long as its brother leg, had Professor Knapp knows more about Bor- a patten attached to it about five inches high, row, perhaps, than any other living man. to enable it to do duty with the other. He
was a fellow with red shock hair and very red but he has made his biography not only
features, and was dressed in ragged coat and exhaustive but almost exhausting; it is breeches, and a hat which had lost part of its choked with a mass of dry details; and it crown and all of its rim ; so that, even without reads like a chronicle of dates and statis- a game leg, he would have looked rather a tics instead of a record of the life of a
queer figure. In his hand he carried a fiddle. 9
“Good morning to you," said I. very active, full-blooded, and unconven- “A good morning to your hanner, a merry tional traveler. The crowded condition afternoon, and a roaring joyous evening—that of his pages is proclaimed by Professor is the worst luck I wish to ye.”
“Are you a native of these parts?" said I. Knapp himself with amusing naïveté. He
“Not exactly, your hanner-I am a native says in his preface:
of the city of Dublin, or, what's all the same
thing, of the village of Donnybrook, which is The second year (1896) saw the composition close by it." of the Life half completed ; but, alas! on a
“ A celebrated place,” said I. scale much too minute and exhaustive, as “ Your hanner may say that; all the world the publishers were not slow to assure me. has heard of Donnybrook, owing to the Bowing to their cooler judgment, as the ther- humors of its fair. Many is the merry tune I mometers of opinion, against my own enthu- have played to the boys at that fair." siasm, the whole was rewritten in '97 and
“You are a professor of music, I suppose." concluded the present year on a more con- “And not a very bad one, as your hanner servative scale.
will say if you allow me to play you a tune.”
“Can you play · Croppies,' Lie Down'?" The more conservative scale being two
“I cannot, your hanner ; my fingers never large volumes of nearly four hundred learnt to play such a blackguard tune; but if pages each! In another paragraph of his ye wish to hear ‘Croppies, Get Up,' I can preface Professor Knapp continues:
“No," said I, “it's a tune that doesn't And now for a few figures. Mr. Borrow's please my ears. If, however, you choose to correspondence, in so far as it fell to me, num play. ‘Croppies, Lie Down,' I'll give you a bers 937 letters, including six belonging to his shilling." father, dated from 1798 to 1812. The letters “Your hanner will give me a shilling ?” I have written and received on the subject of
“ Yes," said I, “ if you play •Croppies, Lie this book number 786. These letters, and the
Down;' but you know you can't play it; your documents, records, certificates, extracts, and fingers never learned the tune.". other matter designed to sustain my statements, are pasted into large quarto files aggregating in
1" Croppy" is one who has had his hair cropped short
in prison, and refers here to the Irish Catholic rebels of 2,578 pages I have read or examined 1,075 the last century
“They never did, your hanner; but they ner, let me ask you, why did your hanner have heard it played of old by the blackguard wish for that tune, which is not only a blackOrange fiddlers of Dublin on the first of July, guard one, but quite out of date; and where when the Protestant boys used to walk round did your hanner get the words?" Willie's statue on College Green-so, if your “I used to hear the tune in my boyish days," hanner gives me the shilling, they may per- said I, “and wished to hear it again; for, haps bring out something very like it."
though you call it a blackguard tune, it is the * Very good," said I ; begin."
sweetest and most noble air that Ireland, the Thereupon the fiddler, taking his bow and land of music, has ever produced. As for the shouldering his fiddle, struck up in first-class words, never mind where I got them ;' they style the glorious tune which I had so often are violent enough, but not half so violent as heard with rapture in the days of my boyhood the words of some of the songs made against in the barrack-yard of Clonmel; whilst I, walk- the Irish Protestants by the priests." ing by his side as he stumped along, caused “Well, your hanner, the Orange is now in the welkin to resound with the words which the kennel, and the Croppies have it all their were the delight of the young gentlemen of own way.” the Protestant academy of that beautiful old "And perhaps," said I, “ before I die, the town:
Orange will be out of the kennel and the
Croppies in, even as they were in my young “0, Croppies, ye'd better lie quiet and still, Ye sha'n't have your liberty, do what ye will;
days. ... Farewell !".
* Farewell, your hanner; and here's anAs long as salt water is found in the deep, Our foot on the neck of the Croppy we'll keep.
other scratch of the illigant tune your hanner Remember the steel
is so fond of, to cheer up your hanner's ears Of Sir Phelim O'Neill
upon your way." Who slaughtered our fathers in Catholic zeal: *** And long after I had left him I could hear And down, down, Croppies, lie down."
him playing on his fiddle, in first-rate style, the “I never heard those words before,” said
beautiful tune of “Down, Down, Croppies,
Lie Down." the fiddler, after I had finished the first stanza. “Get on with you !" said I.
This passage is an epitome of George " The day of the Boyne was a brave gallant day, Borrow-it shows his charm of style, his The Croppies had then all the worst of the fray;
keenness of wit, his appreciation of humor, Then pale and aghast from our presence they fied, With Shamus, the runagate king, at their head,
his skill in sketching a picturesque charWhen crossing the ford,
acter in a few bold strokes, his love of the In the name of the Lord, The Protestant brandished his Protestant sword;
life of the road, and his unexplained, and And down, down, Croppies went down.”
to some people very mysterious, hatred of * Regular Orange words," said the fiddler,
the Roman Catholic Church. The great when I had finished the second stanza.
defect in Borrow was his almost lawless “Do you choose to get on ?" said I.
egotism. He had a spark of true genius; “ Yes, down ye went then, and ye down shall remain if he had been less insistent on having As long as the sun and the moon we retain ;
his own way and his own rights, if he had Whilst we, the brave lads of the Orange cockade, Shall laugh at our foemen, confused and dismayed. been more open to the advice and critiWhoop! Protestants, Whoop!
cism of friends, he might have been a star And drink full of hope, Bad luck to the Devil, Pretender, and Pope!
of steady shining instead of a flashing And down, down, Croppies, lie down."
but unsteady and often headlong comet “More blackguard Orange words I never
in the literary firmament. heard.” cried the fiddler, on my coming to the The reader of Borrow now has the conclusion of the third stanza. “ Devil a bit choice of two recently published editions, farther will I play—at any rate, till I get the one of volumes convenient to the hand shilling." “ Here it is for you," said I; “the song is
but rather small of type (John Lane), the ended, and, of course, the tune."
other, edited by Professor Knapp, of larger " Thank your hanner," said the fiddler, volume and type and in every way an taking the money; "your hanner has kept his admirable library edition (Putnams). word with me, which is more than I thought your hanner would do. And now, your han- ' They were probably written by Borrow himself.
LITTLE piece of the restive, the tall ones linked together by low ambitious Western World trans- covered passageways, is upon you, and an
planted into the heart of the upward glance quickens thought and heartlanguid Orient is the American Woman's beat, and routs the reverie. There are College at Constantinople. The influence the Stars and Stripes waving a welcome! of its presence in the hitherto undisturbed With step more alert, you ascend the atmosphere of Eastern indolent ease has broad white stairs and pass the portals. produced some striking contrasts which Once inside, the sound of your native particularly impress the visitor for the tongue and a glimpse of the portraits of first time entering its gates. Her mind Washington and Lincoln further assure is left with only half a grasp of all she you that you are almost as at home, and has seen when she emerges. High walls every experience seems to confirm this encompass this house of learning where impression. Now you can reconcile what the American system of education is appeared at first to be contradictions. practiced ; dusky, turbaned natives stand The college is no longer out of place; it like bronze pillars at either side of the is the people. There are greetings from portico through which the stranger is the American president, with none of the permitted to pass ; within, lying in char- formality that conventionality dictates as acteristic impassivity beneath a wide- fitting between strangers—both are Amerspreading umbrella-tree, fondling a book icans. Ecstatically you question and listen or deep in study, is a young girl whose by turns as room after room in the main features tell of Greece, Turkey, Albania, building is inspected. Next you are taken Roumania, or Russia. A moment's con- to the roof, where a magnificent view of templation of this picture, and a delicious the setting of the College is outspread. haze steals over the beholder; it is in the To the south lies Chalcedon, once the air, it is infectious, and even the wanderer residence of the blind Belisarius of Byfrom the prosaic Occident is not immune zantium, where sat the famous Ecumenical to its subtle somnolence.
Council that condemned the Monophysites. Dreamily you stroll up the sinuous path Giant's Mountain, on the north, affords which discloses something novel or inter- some compensation in its beauty of color esting at every turn, and this continuous and outline for shutting off the Black Sea, unfolding is all that stimulates you to a dozen miles away, where Joshua sat to move. The atmosphere is redolent of bathe his feet. Nearer by is the Bosstrange odors which you try vainly to phorus, its winding wooded shores lined analyze—to liken to others that you know; with the stately palaces of the pashas, and but they only allure and intoxicate; and rising from their midst is Robert College, thinking has become such an effort! the American school for boys. WestUnexpectedly, a group of white buildings, ward lies the harbor of the Golden Horn, one of the finest in the world, teeming air conduce to much outdoor existence, with the craft of many countries. Pictu- and sports are popular when not accomresque and peaceful, at one side stands panied by too much physical exertion. the old city of Stambul, crowned with the The maiden of the Levant generally does domes and minarets of myriad mosques, not take kindly to athletic exercise, and still partly surrounded by its Byzantine if it were asked in what departments in walls. A majestic sweep of the Asiatic the College most pressure must be brought Olympus incloses the rest of the horizon, to bear to enforce obedience to rules, at its feet the shining, golden-hued waters those embracing gymnastics and arithmeof the Marmora, glittering here and there tic would unhesitatingly be cited. with the even more resplendent luster A day spent with the students gives of the gem-like Princess Isles. Here, the best possible insight into their nature, amid scenes intimately connected with the tastes, ambitions, the life they lead. The life of the past, a colony from the New polyglot character of the College is unique World is settled to teach modern thought. for its size. The one hundred and sixty
The American Woman's College is not students now there, including those in the in Constantinople proper, but in Scutari, Preparatory Department, are drawn from the old Chrysopolis of Byzantine times, the upper and middle classes of society “Golden City” in the Greek, so called in Armenia, Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey, because the caravans from the East un- Albania, Russia, Hungary, and Roumania, loaded their treasures there. Scutari is with a sprinkling of Hebrews, French, an hour from Constantinople. Half of Germans, Italians, and proportionately a this brief journey is made by cab to the good many American and English girls Bosphorus, the rest by ferry over the from the English-American colony of straits. The country everywhere is beau- about a thousand souls in Constantinople. tiful, and, despite the fact that no atten- Asked what was the greatest difference tion is paid to forestry, magnificent trees between Oriental and Occidental college of many centuries'growth sometimes being girls, the American president answered, ruthlessly chopped down for fuel, it is still “In their politeness ;” and one familiar well wooded. The scenery and the balmy with college life and manners in this