Зображення сторінки

sad countenance with ten or fifteen little cous- The indignant selectmen, justices, and deains coming to spend the winter? How they cons who recorded these misdemeanors little were all stowed away in such modest houses thought what a comfort they would prove to we can only guess from the immensity of the those of us who have previously conceived old fashioned "tester bed." Perhaps, like the of the Puritan boys as "too good to be wholegentlemen in “Tomlinson,” they were some.” It takes a load of unavailing pity off

our hearts, similar to the relief of finding that “Sleeping three on a grid."

Fox was a little too zealous in describing the Attics, however, were excellent dormitories, torments of the martyrs. and could be divided by hanging quilts into a Another cheering sidelight on the strictness multitude of sleeping-boxes open at the top to of our forefathers is the orthodox but convivial the midnight breezes sweet with locust, lilac, ordination ball of Connecticut. Dancing was, and apple blossom.

in fact, not so severely interdicted in Puritan Sundays, it is true, were a seamy side in the days as a few generations later. Mrs. Earle free and exciting life of colonial children. The has a list of picturesque and fascinating names Puritan Sabbath may have been made for man, for dances, such as the “Innocent Maid," but it was certainly not made for boys and "Blue Bonnets,” and the “Orange Tree." girls. They did not always endure it with Such ingenuity and variety of dances seem to meekness either. The most entertaining prove that the most delightful of sports was chapter of Mr. William Root Bliss's inimitable not very uncommon. Children in Vermont book, “Side Glimpses of the Colonial Meeting schools three generations ago still amused House," is that devoted to the “Wretched themselves with “reels of four" and "reels of Boys." From the researches of Mr. Bliss it eight.” Raisings, husking, parings, and, above would seem that the desperate efforis of town all, quiltings, were shining instances of the Puriand church authorities were all in vain to se- tanic love of a “high old time” even when ascure seemly behavior among the back benches sembled together ostensibly for work. But I relegated to the boys of the parish. . Duxbury think the singing-school was the merriest of all chose a special committee to curb “their dis- the merry old-time parties. What a comeorder and rudeness in time of the worship of down it would be for a Puritan big boy or girl, God." The deacons of Farmington were re- to exchange the mirth and jollity of one of their quested to "appoint persons who shall sit con- "sings" for one of our afternoon teas, for exvenient to inspect the youth in the meeting- ample! I should like to have heard such a house on days of public worship and keep them gathering in our valley sing the so-called “Ode in order." John Pike of Dedham was paid on Science," with its resounding patriotism and sixteen shillings in 1723 for “keeping the boys glorious martial air. To be sure there is nothin subjection six months”; but when he was ing about science in it except the assertion that: hired a second time, as Mr. Bliss shrewd!y remarks, he doubled his price. In a Cape Cod town

“She visits fair Americay (so pronounced to rhyme]

And sets her sons air ong the stars !" one John King was unable alone to cope with the boys, and four men were added by town appoint- I should like to have seen some Puritan damment to assist him to chastise them if found sel advance to sing the “Worldly Song," while “playing and prophaning the Sabbath day.” some bashful big boy held his candle over her Parents were very long-suffering if they allowed book, and smiled at her tuneful warning: town authorities to punish their sons. Or was

“Of all false young men to beware!" Young America too much for his parents ? It would seem what herding the boys together Girls were probably more proficient at muon the back benches invited the “Rude and sic than their brothers: they should have been Idel Behavior” which a Connecticut justice of so, when the principal branches taught them the peace itemized in his note-book as follows: were music, embroidery, and “the globes."

“Smiling and Larfing and Intiseing others to “I learn,” wrote Eliza Southgate Bowne, with the same Evil:

the proud consciousness of a complete educa“... Pulling the hair of his nayber Veronition, “embroidery and geography.” One supSimkins in the time of publick worship. ... posedly self-respecting town in Connecticut

"Throwing Sister penticost perkins on the voted that none of its money should be Ice on the Saboth day between the meeting “wasted” in educating girls. Of an old semhows and his place of abode.”

inary in our town it is still said that its troubles began when, and have never ceased since, girls them. And yet I think the irrepressible boys were admitted. Learning, however, like love, who “larfed and smiled” in a Puritan meetinglaughs at locksmiths. Mrs. Earle tells of a house could withstand the hardships of the little girl who sat on the school-house steps for Puritan school. No doubt they found means, hours every day to overhear what she could of then as now, to sweeten and diversify the purthe lessons of the boys inside. Instances of suit of learning; and when the school-master highly educated women are not infrequent in came to board his week at their house, they old memoirs; and certainly many of our ances- were dull boys indeed if they did not manage to tresses wrote letters in a charming, playful, treat him in his turn to a system of rewards unaffected style—the unforced fruit of good and punishments. At all events, they carried reading.

on their “nature study” in a way never to be

equalled by our most approved methods. After all, the girls missed very little by not They became learned entomologists, herbalists, going to school. When a schoolmaster was and ornithologists without book or teacher. expected to perform the duties of sexton and The Puritan child needed no instruction in grave-digger, as well as to help the minister out the great art of observing. He had an Auduwith his parochial calls, and even to help the bonic knowledge of the gopher, field-mouse, surgeon (and all for a diminutive salary), he woodchuck, muskrat, chipmunk, and bull-frog, could scarcely be expected to prepare very "creatures more humorous than any in Collot.” thoroughly for college. His greatest accom- It is true, there were no kindergartens, and in plishment-nay, his most solid branch-was this respect the Puritan children well deserve an elaborate and ornamental handwriting. our pity. Poor substitute, for their tender years, This he was expected to vary at will from was the severe school-master, with birch and “Saxon,” Gothic," and “old MS” to dunce-cap, for those gentle maidens, votaresses "chancery, Engrossing, Running Court, and of St. Froebel, who now entice their happiest Lettre Frisée.” The smallest children wore descendants into caterpillar and butterfly games, hornbooks round their necks, sometimes call- and charming little pantomimic songs ! ing them “horngigs," "absey-books,” and Perhaps, on the whole, it was fortunate that “battledore books." These paper alphabets, the Colonial schools were sparse and ill at.

protected by a thin sheet of horn, have tended. The Colonial home was well able to His School perished from the face of the earth. fill their place with an excellent course in man

But three, I think, are known to be ual training. Childish industries were varied, in existence. From the hornbook they ad interesting, and important. The Puritan child vanced to the New England primer, “Reading- had the satisfaction of knowing that the housemadeasy," and the horrible arithmetics which hold could get along but ill without him. Seedthey made (I suppose) “a shy" at under- ing raisins and “going to the store" were not standing. But this their master himself could then his chief employments respectively within hardly have done. If we, in our luxurious doors and without. Besides driving the cows to childhood, tenderly lured through Greenleaf and from pasture, the children hunted oak by pictures of apples, etc., found fractions galls, spruce gum, and partridge eggs in the hard, what would have been our situation forest, hetchelled and carded wool, strung confronted with the “Rule of Falsehood,” onions, apples, and corn for drying, dipped “Redeeming of Pawnes and Geames,” the candles, "tried out” lard, tended the calves "Backer Rule of Thirds,” and “Tare and and hens, mended and spun, and caught the Trett.” One term familiar to us, such as "the geese to be picked for pillows: quotient,” was then surrounded by a score of others now obsolete, such as “the Cloff," "the

Rising up early,

Weeding the cabbages, Suttle," and "the Neat.” Happy little Puri

Going forth berrying tan girls whose town fathers would waste no

In the dim woodland; money on their education! Happy little boys

Piling the hay, and who were kept at home to help on the farm!

Picking up apples,

Or heaping the pumpkins
The schools were heated by a communal wood

High in the bin;-
supply, each voter drawing a load to the

... Thus their week-days. school-house. If a father were delinquent in this respect, his children suffered for it; the Whittling occupied a good eminence. The seats farthest from the fire being assigned to hereditary art of boys was a fine and valued

one. They could make door-handles, pegs, Little girls lavished their affections on very spouts for maple sap, wooden spoons, and even clumsy and shapeless dolls, which perhaps the somewhat clumsy brooms used in that day. roused all the more their imaginative motherTom Sawyer's aunt's fence, which had to be hood. What were called “French dolls” were painted with such exceeding care, was paral- apparently the lankiest and most awkward of leled every morning in the busy Puritan house, all: a parody on the Gallic name. The beds, and many a boy and girl, we may be sure, chairs, and carriages made for these poor creat"felt nationly” when the all-important task üres, however, were often as beautiful and perwas deftly and cleverly done.

fectly made as the full-sized models which we

now hunt with undiminished ardor from farmWhen, perhaps late in the afternoon, they ran house to farmhouse. Rag dolls cannot have out to play, their favorite games were probably been quite unknown, but rags were too precious the same as ours -- oats peas beans, green to be used commonly for playthings. Very gravel, Sally Waters, hide-and-seek, kitty in the rich little girls perhaps had a rag doll or two corner, cross-tag, squat-tag, and hop-scotch. in their nurseries. These games, we are told, derive from a re- The manners of the Puritan child were a mote antiquity. English children played them little too formal and a little too meek. How in their primrose fields when Crecy and Agin- could fathers and mothers ever endure being court were yet to be fought. More modern is addressed as "esteemed parent," or "honored the pretty pageant “King William"-which, sir and madam"? A pert child must have however, is strictly not a Puritan game at all. been a great curiosity in Massachusetts Bay.

It seems to have taken root and Such a one was generally thought to be deHis Play flourished only where the Church of lirious or bewitched. No Puritan child in its

England was established. Thus in senses was rude to its elders. When Ann Putthe old Episcopalian town of Arlington, Vt., nam, for example, spoke out boldly and saucily it is still played by children in the town hall in meeting, she was supposed to be having a at Christmas parties, while it seems unknown fit. I confess that I think there was a charm in the other (Congregational) towns of Benning- in the somewhat stiff manners of the little Puriton County. The date of “King William” tans. Their bobbing courtesy has returned, and is easy to fix, for the opening rhymes plainly is the height of fashion in the metropolis. Why relate to the "glorious Revolution" of 1688: not, then, the more dignified"retiring courtesy" “King William was king James's son:

and the “cheese” as well? Delightful as is Upon a royal race he run;

the free prattle of modern children, occasional Upon his breast he wore a star

“flashes of silence” would not come in amiss. To point the way to London Bar."

The picture which Miss Repplier draws of the Puritan boys played a great variety of games repressed and over-governed Wesleys and Marof ball. Trap-ball, fives, and other poor apolo- tineaus seems far too dismal to be generally gies for the national game were in vogue among true. Certainly “Snowbound” paints the life them, and foot-ball appears to have been pop- of a Puritan farmer's boy in very glowing colular, especially in winter; when, according to ors. May we not, I wonder, comfort ourselves the traveller Misson, it was played in the with the belief that children were children still, streets. Misson seems, however, to have been even under the theocracy, and that parents but little impressed with it. He writes as then as ever had much ado to keep from spoilfollows:

ing them? Eloquent of the Puritan parental "It is kicked about from one to tother in the heart is that brief entry left by one of them: streets by him that can get it, and that is all “Fifty years ago to-day died my little John, the art of it."


THE AMERICAN SCHOOL OF PAINTING that our American painters are mere reflec

tions of their European masters. Twenty, or IN the catalogues of our museums you may even ten, years ago there may have been some

find entries like this: “John Smith, Ameri- truth in the accusation. To-day many of our

can school; The Empty Jug" or what not. younger painters have had no foreign training In such entries little more than a bare state- at all, or have had such as has left no specific ment of nationality is intended. John Smith mark of a particular master; and from the is an American, by birth or adoption; that is work of most of our older painters it would all that the statement is meant to convey. be difficult to guess who their masters were But the question occurs: have we an American without reference to a catalogue. They have, school in a more specific sense than this? through long work in America and under Have we a body of painters with certain traits American conditions, developed styles of their in common and certain differences from the own bearing no discoverable resemblance to painters of other countries? Has our pro- the styles of their first instructors. To take duction in painting sufficient homogeneity and specific examples, who would imagine from sufficient national and local accent to entitle it the mural paintings of Blashfield or the decto the name of American school in the sense in orations by Mowbray in the University Club which there is, undoubtedly, a French school of New York that either had been a pupil of and an English school?

Bonnat? Or who, looking at the exquisite Under the conditions of to-day there are no landscapes or delicate figure pieces of Weir, longer anywhere such distinctive local schools would find anything to recall the name of as existed in the Renaissance. In Italy, in Gérôme? Some of the pupils of Carolus those days, there were not only such great Duran are almost the only painters we have schools as the Venetian, the Florentine, and who acquired in their school-days a distinctive the Umbrian, differing widely in their point of method of work which still marks their proview, their manner of seeing, and their techni- duction, and even they are hardly distinguishcal traditions-each little town had a school able to-day from others; for the method of with something characteristic that separated Duran, as modified and exemplified by John its painters from those of other schools in the Sargent, has become the method of all the surrounding towns. To-day every one knows world, and a pupil of Carolus simply paints and is influenced by the work of every one else, in the modern manner, like the rest. Those and it is only broad national characteristics American painters who have adopted the imthat still subsist. Modern pictures are singu- pressionist point of view, again, have modified larly alike, but, on the whole, it is still possible its technic to suit their own purposes, and are to tell an English picture from a French one, at least as different from the impressionists of and a German or Italian picture from either. France as are the impressionists of ScandinaWe may still speak of a Dutch school or a via. We have painters who are undeniably Spanish school with some reasonableness. Is influenced by Whistler, but so have other it similarly and equally reasonable to speak countries—the school of Whistler is interof an American school? Does a room full of national-and, after all, Whistler was an American pictures have a different look from American. In short, the resemblances bea room full of pictures by artists of any other tween American painting to-day and the nationality? Does one feel that the pictures painting of other countries are no greater in such a room have a something in common than the resemblances between the painting that makes them kin, and a something differ- of any two of those countries. And I think ent that distinguishes them from the pictures the differences between American painting of all other countries? I think the answer and that of other countries are quite as must be in the affirmative.

great as, if not greater than, the differences We have already passed the stage of mere between the paintings of any two of those apprenticeship, and it can no longer be said countries.

Another accusation that used to be heard bitions knows only vaguely and by hearsay against our painters has been outlived. We what our mural painters have done and are used to be told, with some truth, that we had doing. It is true that such work is infinitely learned to paint but had nothing to say with better seen in place, but it is a pity it cannot our painting; that we produced admirable be seen, even imperfectly, by the people who studies but no pictures. The accusation never attend our exhibitions-people who can rarely was true of our landscape painting. What have the necessary knowledge to read such ever may be the final estimation of the works collections of sketches, studies, and photoof Inness and Wyant, there can be no doubt graphs as are shown at the exhibitions of the that they produced pictures-things conceived Architectural League where, alone, our mural and worked out to give one definite and com- painters can show anything. If it were seen plete impression; things in which what was it would surely alter the estimation in which presented and what was eliminated were equal- American figure painting is held. Such work ly determined by a definite purpose; things in as was done by the late John La Farge, such which accident and the immediate dominance work as is being done by Blashfield and Mowof nature had little or no part. As for Win- bray and Simmons and a dozen others, if not, slow Homer, whether in landscape or figure in the most limited sense of the word, pictorial, painting, his work was unfailingly pictorial, is even further removed from the mere sketch whatever else it might be. He was a great or study—the mere bit of good paintingand original designer, and every canvas of than is the finest easel picture. his was completely and definitely composed But it is not only in mural decoration that -a quality which at once removes from the serious figure painting is being done in this category of mere sketches and studies even his country. I do not see how any one can deny slighter and more rapid productions. And the name of pictures to the genre paintings of our landscape painters of to-day are equally Mr. Tarbell and Mr. Paxton unless he is prepainters of pictures. Some of them might be pared to deny pictorial quality to the whole thought, by a modern taste, too conventionally Dutch school of the seventeenth century; and painters of pictures—too much occupied with the example of these men is influencing a numcomposition and tone and other pictorial qual- ber of others toward the production of thoroughities at the expense of freshness of observation ly thought out and executed genre pictures. We

-while our briskest and most original ob- have long had such serious figure painters servers have, many of them, a power of de- as Thayer and Brush, Dewing and Weir. sign and a manner of casting even their fresh- The late Louis Loeb was attempting figure est observations into pictorial form that is as subjects of a very elaborate sort. To-day admirable as it is remarkable.

every exhibition shows an increasing number No one could enter one of our exhibitions of worthy efforts at figure painting in either without feeling the definitely pictorial quality the naturalistic or the ideal vein. We have of American landscape painting, but these pictures with subjects intelligently chosen and exhibitions do less justice to the achievement intelligibly treated, pictures with a pattern and of our figure painters. The principal reason a clear arrangement of line and mass, pictures for this is that many of our most serious fig. soundly drawn and harmoniously colored as ure painters have been so much occupied with well as admirably painted. mural decoration that their work seldom ap- The painters of America are no longer folpears in the exhibitions at all, while the work lowers of foreign masters or students learnthat they have done is so scattered over our ing technique and indifferent to anything else. vast country that we rather forget its exist. They are a school, producing work differing in ence and, assuredly, have little realization of character from that of other schcols and at its amount. It is one of the defects of our least equal in quality to that of any school existexhibition system that work of this kind, while ing to-dav.. it is, of course, on permanent exhibition in the If so much may be taken as proved, the place for which it is painted, is hardly ever question remains for consideration: what are "exhibited,” in the ordinary sense, in the cen- the characteristics of the American School of tres where it is produced. The regular visitor Painting? Its most striking characteristic is to the Paris salons might know almost all that one that may be considered a fault or a virtue has been done in France in the way of mural according to the point of view and the prepospainting. The public of our American exhi- sessions of the observer. It is a characteristic

« НазадПродовжити »