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Gossip with ReadERS AND CORRESPONDENTS. — Sound the gong, draw the curtain, and enter the two con-spirators!' The present excitement under our hand is the visit of that vindictive and savage critic, Mr. DUNKEL Brown, to a certain Art-Gallery, which shall be nameless, and his plot with the Editor of 'this present,' to bring the result of said visit before the public:
• The Durnbad Gallery. * Through the kindness of my friend, DUNKEL Brown, landscape-painter, I received an invitation to inspect Mr. DURABAD's private gallery of sculpture and paintings; the works of art in marble were — cold: those on canvas —
very warm. • Entering the gallery, I first noticed
• The Wearied Hunter. — A dreamy painting, full of repose. A short man with tight boots, evidently an amateur sportsman, is gazing with pleasure at the roots of the tree against which he is leaning, for the artist with great tact has painted every root in the form of a boot-jack. Above the hunter's head, instead of leaves, a series of palmleaf fans, waving in the breeze, are growing from the tree. In the bright, blue sky, two white pillows and a bolster are seen coming to the relief of the weary hunter, while the dog at his feet, reclining at full length, resembles a large-sized hair-brush. As proof positive that the hunter will enjoy a sound sleep, unbroken by the crows of chanticleer, you will notice among the ' birds' at his feet a dead game-cock.
'Antony and Cleopatra. — If there were mosquitoes in Egypt in those days, it is a wonder the queen could go so lightly clad ; the heavy armor of ANTONY, however, is well qualified to resist their attacks. - this is apparent in the expression of his face. CLEOPATRA holds in her left hand the hero's sword; it looks awkward, but as it is wreathed with flowers, it will evidently serve her as a good fly-brush.
• Banditti at Bay. — This picture is full of fire ; there is a blazing sun, and a grand discharge of musketry. Why the wounded bandit in the back-ground, in the heat of battle, should stoop to tie up his shoe-strings, is a hard question to answer.
His companions in the fore-ground have thrown themselves in fine positions for the artist but in very bad positions for their own safety, for which kindness on their parts all travellers should be grateful.
Grandfather's Pet. - This is one of those pleasing works, sure to meet with many admirers. An old gentleman, with long gray hair, and a pipe in his mouth, is dancing a large wax doll on his knee; while a thin lady, who has evidently lately purchased it at a fancy-store, is regarding the performance with a lengthened smile. In the background, a young man with spike-y-looking whiskers, in his shirt-sleeves, and a rake in his hand, is also regarding the wax-works exhibition, as if he had a joint-stock interest in the affair.
Day-Break at Sea. - An excellent painting, invisible black in its general tone. In the fore-ground, that is, in the fore-sea, you notice a man-of-war, with soldiers pacing her deck - an admirable marine view. You sincerely hope the day will succeed in breaking through those thick clouds, but you have doubts, and pity the men who ever expect to see sun-light again on board that vessel.
• Still Life. — This work on the catalogue is also called 'fruit and flowers,' but it is injustice to hard-working vegetables and useful grains to paint them false colors, and call them by wrong names. The day for painting potatoes purple, and calling them plums, has passed away; and to color wheat, rye, and oats, rainbow tints, and pass them off as fuschias, is an impertinence. No fault can be found with calling paintings of potatoes, and the different grains, Still Life, for any one at all conversant with politics knows that they are life of all the whiskey-mills and stills' in the country.
'I regret that I have not time to dwell further on these paintings, though I candidly confess I had rather dwell in them; that is, in a tent made of the canvas they are painted on. Let me glance at the statuary.
• Mars and Venus. - There is in the Vatican, I have been told, a statue of Modesty, draped from head to foot; the lines are exquisite, the folds of the drapery a splendid study. Is there a copy in marble, a plaster cast even, of this statue in this country? It's an old song this nudity. When will the new ditty of gracefully draped statues be sung ? The sculptor in this group has not only clothed the warrior-god in armor, but he has thrown a toga over him, while the Goddess of Love is destitute of all raiment, save a small flag, the size of a pocket-handkerchief, which instead of improving rather mars VENUS.
Charity. A small boy sans culottes, who is evidently 'going a-fishing,' since he holds a rod behind his back with one hand, while the other hand holds extended a blacking-box, supposed to be filled with worms; is met by a lady fifteen feet high, if her body is in proportion with her feet, with a towel round her head, who bestows with an air a round white lozenge, peppermint perhaps, on the small boy, who may have the colic, for all I know.
I will not disturb the rest of the other statues — let them repose.'
Law is n't a very funny thing, but somehow our contributorialistic friends do contrive to get ‘a heap o' fun' out of its controversies. Witness the annexed:
It does n't take much of a joke to get a court and bar into hysterics, as any one who ever happened to be thereabouts’ in trial-time can well and truly testify. Especially is this true when bis Honor chances to be one of your dry, tough specimens, who rarely ventures from strict legal phrase beyond what the law expressly allows. At the opening of court one morning, Judge P dismissed the jury, who had just agreed on a verdict, after a night's free and enlightened discussion. The suit was against a baker's firm for plaintiff's services in making pies, cakes, etc.'.
"Well, gentlemen,' was the mandate, the Court is willing to dismiss you now, after your long and severe fast; and now that you have found out how they make mincepies, we would advise you to go out and eat some of them.'
* A complimentary titter ran all around the court-room at this unusual sally of wit.
"We thank the Court for its recommendation,' said the counsel for defendant exultingly, and with an air of triumph over the opposition, and think it well proved now that my clients do make the very best kind of that article at their establishment.'
"May it please your Honor,' was the quick retort of H -, upon the other side, they may be a little indigestible. It seems they have kept the jury awake all night !'
Even the half-famished panel stopped to enjoy the joke before rushing off to breakfast.'
And further this Deponent sayeth not. But we rather think the jury had enough of them Pies an' things.' But we have more law from the same genial writer :
' And when we come to talk of court matters, it puts us well in mind of dear old S--, our District Attorney, the best - natured, quickest - tempered, and, as many think, withal the ablest lawyer in the State. He is one of the few men, of the old school, who works feeling into his speeches, with fervid eloquence that seems to come right direct from the heart. But we recollect one occasion in which impulse got the better of propriety, and eloquence took on a sudden evaporation. It was a closing ar
gument in a crimiaal case, and he was descanting in a moving strain upon the bad character of the prisoner. He had painted a picture already that made the jury start with indignant horror — and was to all appearance just ready to cap the climax. He stopped a moment, as if to prepare their minds, really no doubt to think of what to add. He had it. It appeared in eridence that the prisoner was a profane man. Now S's friends knew well enough that nobody handled bigger oaths, or more of them when he was excited, which was pretty osten, than S. - did. But never mind, the jury were all ready for it. He continued with slow, deliberate tone: “Yes, gentlemen of the jury, this man was a profane swearer. The prisoner before you, it appears, has been long addicted to the use of profane language; so lost, gentlemen, to every sense of morality, so deadened to all those high and noble aspirations that God has given even the most humble of us, as to indulge in wicked, gross profanity.'
Just then a dog, which had been poking his nose among the chairs and under the tables of the bar, ran between the speaker's legs, and almost threw him off his balance. Quicker than a flash, and almost as if part of the peroration, he looked around and exclaimed : Mr. Sheriff, for God's sake take that d.
-n dog out of the court-house! “That was a fact, though we can't say whether the dog was 'outlawed' or not.'
Probably he was by 'out-fang, in-fang, theof-fang,' or some other of the old-fangled processes of Saxon dog-law, which made the offending hound in forest or elsewheres,' 'Deathes scyldig tham scire geri fan,' 'guilty of death unto the sheriff.' So much for the 'Angular Sexton' dog-laws. From the same excellent raconteur, we have yet again another quip:
‘Every body remembers where Punch tells us in one of BROUGHAM's speeches, for when the noble lord said this,'them asses' actually believed it,' to read, The masses.' It is curious “how queer some things will be.' In a review of a historical work, the other day, it was a little ambiguous in the critic to say, that it was well understood what were to be the plans of the Opposition after the Queen's chemise !' It would have been less scandalous in the proof-reader to have got that word as it onght to have been : • demise.''
But then folks do write such hands; for instance, NAPOLEON and HORACE GREELEY. Which by a strange association recalls something dark. The other day, Miss
of , well, say Madison Square, since that's where she does live, and nobody will believe it, was putting up a parcel of lint, strips of rolled linen for the contrabands.
' H'm,' exclaimed Doctor F-, 'this is a great age we live in!'
Of late months we have received frequent letters from friends or bookagents, asking us where may be purchased a copy of Meister KARL'S SKETCHBook,' a work which appeared originally in the pages of this Magazine. To which we reply, that it is entirely 'out of print.' The plates and copyright are for sale in Philadelphia.
Apropos of which book, as every memorial of WASHINGTON Irving is now coming to light, we take the liberty of publishing the following letter to the author of Meister KARL - a letter never before published:
• Sunnyside, May 31st, 1856. My Dear Sir: I have to apologize to you for the long time that I have suffered to elapse without expressing my thanks to you for the copy of “MEISTER KARL'S SKETCHBook,' which you had the kindness to send to me. I had spoken of it to Mr. GAYLORD CLARK, on his sending me the proof-sheets, and he had intended to write to you, to let you know how truly I relished the flavor of the old school, which I recognized in your sketchings. But for three weeks past I have been so hurried and harassed in preparing a volume for the press, requiring great investigation and exactness, with the printers' devils continually on my haunches, that I have found it impossible to attend to my correspondence, and it is only now, when I have sent my last proof-sheet to the printer's, that I can turn my pen to pay off the increased epistolary debt that has been accumulating
'I trust your work has met with a wide circulation, for such it merits by its raciness, its quaint erudition, its graphic delineations, its veins of genuine poetry and true RABELAIS humor. To me it is a choice book to have at hand, for a relishing morsel occasionally, like a Stilton cheese, or a pâté de foie gras.
• Hoping that the 'many mirific tales yet unwritten’may see the light, and that MEISTER KARL may chance this way again, I remain, my dear Mr. LELAND, your obliged friend and hearty well-wisher,
*C. G. LELAND, Esq.'
We had more than one gratifying proof that Irving was in the habit of reading the book referred to, with kindest favor. In another letter to a friend, of a different date, he repeats the compliment and the simile.
'I enjoyed ‘MEISTER KARL'S SKETCH-Book' exceedingly, and keep it by me like a Stilton cheese, to recur to it now and then, and take a morsel as a relish. I ought to have written about it long since.?
They were kind words, very kind, and we thought of them when we saw the good great man lying calm and pale in his coffin. The face so winning in life was beautiful in death ; it seemed to have grown many years younger, reminding one of those earlier portraits with which we are all familiar. Such rejuvenation is not unusual after death with those who have led calm, good lives ; it seems as if the spirit, in hastily assuming the youth immortal beyond the grave, had shown the reviving change even in the flesh. The day was sweet and bright, all was like the last and tenderest sketch of his own SketchBook; and as the entire route of the funeral wound through scenes which have been made world-known by his pen, there was an indescribably sad yet beautiful enchantment over all. The bridge, and the monument erected on the spot where André was arrested, and the brook where the Headless Horseman pursued ICHABOD CRANE, the old Dutch Church, so oft and so fondly recurred to by Irving ; and finally his own resting-place, not far from Sleepy Hollow, on a declivity overlooking 'the lordly Hudson;' all are known — you, dear reader, know them well — where is there on earth one who reads our noble English tongue who knows them not?
Among those who gathered around were men whose names were also well known. Who had so many friends - true friends of the heart - as Irving ? And so peaceful and earnest all; we had never imagined that at a funeral even there could be such quiet and yet such sorrow with so little gloom. We felt
that a long, well-spent life had filled its appointed course, and ended as he would have had it, in a home-grave by the side of his beloved river.
The day had been dreamy and hazy, as though some unwonted enchantment had stolen over land and water. But as the many mourners went their way, there spread over the sky one of the most wonderfully beautiful sunsets which eye ever beheld. It was marvellously glorious — sheets of crimson with inner islands and shores of intensest gold darkening into the purple of later even-tide. Heaven had opened its outer gates of splendor to the ascending soul. - There is a ring in the following, which though it comes from the "SURFACE,' is not superficial:
Our fathers sat upon the ground,
And passed the merry bowl around.
*The frost that stings the tender vine,
And leaves it in its autumn sear,
Deliciously with inly cheer.
Is not inscribed upon the tomb;
And early joys forever bloom.
Bedew our eyes when growing dim!
And fill its goblet to the brim.
'So when the world shall call them old,
And evening shadows o'er them creep,
Around the chamber where they 'll sleep.'
We have spoken elsewhere of Lieutenant Burton's remarkable book on Mormon-land, just published by the HARPERS, and which is truly remarkable; firstly, from its extreme read-ability; and secondly, from the extreme candor