« AnteriorContinuar »
Stevenson is to be congratulated on having I have left Mr. Stevenson's best book to touched the core of it. I may do him injus- the last, as it is also the last he has given, at tice, but it is, however, here, not the profun- the present speaking, * to the public— the tales dity of the idea which strikes me so much as comprising "The Merry Men" having already the art of the presentation — the extremely appeared; but I find that, on the way, I have successful form. There is a genuine feeling anticipated some of the remarks that I had for the perpetual moral question, a fresh sense intended to make about it. That which is of the difficulty of being good and the brut- most to the point is that there are parts of it ishness of being bad, but what there is above so fine as to suggest that the author's talent all is a singular ability in holding the interest. has taken a fresh start, various as have been I confess that that, to my sense, is the most the impulses in which it had already indulged, edifying thing in the short, rapid, concentrated and serious the impediments among which it story, which is really a masterpiece of concis- is condemned to exert itself. There would ion. There is something almost impertinent have been a kind of perverse humility in his in the way, as I have noticed, in which Mr. keeping up the fiction that a production so Stevenson achieves his best effects without the literary as “ Kidnapped” is addressed to imaid of the ladies, and “Dr. Jekyll” is a capi- mature minds; and though it was originally tal example of his heartless independence. It given to the world, I believe, in a “boy's is usually supposed that a truly poignant im- paper," the story embraces every occasion that pression cannot be made without them, but it meets to satisfy the higher criticism. It has in the drama of Mr. Hyde's fatal ascendency two weak spots, which need simply to be they remain altogether in the wing. It is very mentioned. The cruel and miserly uncle, in obvious— I do not say it cynically — that the first chapters, is rather in the tone of they must have played an important part in superseded tradition, and the tricks he plays his development. The gruesome tone of the upon his ingenuous nephew are a little like tale is, no doubt, deepened by their absence; those of country conjurers; in these pages we it is like the late afternoon light of a foggy feel that Mr. Stevenson is thinking too much winter Sunday, when even inanimate objects of what a “ boy's paper" is expected to conhave a kind of wicked look. I remember few tain. Then the history stops without ending, situations in the pages of mystifying fiction as it were; but I think I may add that this more to the purpose than the episode of Mr. accident speaks for itself. Mr. Stevenson has Utterson's going to Dr. Jekyll's to confer with often to lay down his pen for reasons that have the butler, when the doctor is locked up in his nothing to do with the failure of inspiration, laboratory and the old servant, whose sagacity and the last page of David Balfour's adventhas hitherto encountered successfully the prob- ures is an honorable plea for indulgence. The lems of the sideboard and the pantry, confesses remaining five-sixths of the book deserve to that this time he is utterly baffled. The way stand by “Henry Esmond,” as a fictive autobithe two men, at the door of the laboratory, ography in archaic form. The author's sense discuss the identity of the mysterious person- of the English idiom of the last century, and age inside, who has revealed himself in two still more of the Scotch, have enabled him to or three inhuman glimpses to Poole, has those give a gallant companion to Thackeray's tour touches of which irresistible shudders are de force. The life, the humor, the color of the made. The butler's theory is that his master central portions of “ Kidnapped” have a sinhas been murdered, and that the murderer is gular pictorial virtue; these passages read like in the room, personating him with a sort of a series of inspired foot-notes on some historic clumsy diabolism. “Well
, when that masked page. The charm of the most romantic epithing like a monkey jumped from among the sode in the world — though perhaps it would chemicals and whipped into the cabinet, it be hard to say why it is the most romantic, went down my spine like ice.” That is the when it was intermingled with so much stupideffect upon the reader of most of the story. ity — is over the whole business, and the forlorn I say of most rather than all, because the ice hope of the Stuarts is revived for us without rather melts in the sequel, and I have some evoking satiety. There could be no better indifficulty in accepting the business of the stance of the author's talent for seeing the powders, which seems to me too explicit actual in the marvelous, and reducing the exand explanatory. The powders constitute the travagant to plausible detail, than the descripmachinery of the transformation, and it will tion of Alan Breck's defense in the cabin of probably have struck many readers that this the ship, and the really magnificent chapters uncanny process would be more conceivable of “ The Flight in the Heather.” Mr. Steven(so far as one may speak of the conceivable son has, in a high degree (and doubtless for in such a case), if the author had not made it
Since the above was written, “ Underwoods," as so definite.
well as “ Memories and Portraits," has been published.
good reasons of his own), what may be called objurgations in the Scottish character. Such the imagination of physical states, and this has a scene as the episode of the quarrel of the enabled him to arrive at a wonderfully exact two men on the mountain-side is a real stroke notation of the miseries of his panting Low- of genius, and has the very logic and rhythm land hero, dragged for days and nights over of life a quarrel which we feel to be inevihill and dale, through bog and thicket, with- table, though it is about nothing, or almost out meat or drink or rest, at the tail of an nothing, and which springs from exasperated Homeric Highlander. The great superiority nerves and the simple shock of temperaments. of the book resides, to my mind, however, in The author's vision of it has a profundity the fact that it puts two characters on their which goes deeper, I think, than “ Dr. Jekyll.” feet in an admirably upright way. I have paid I know of few better examples of the way genmy tribute to Alan Breck, and I can only re- ius has ever a surprise in its pocket - keeps an peat that he is a masterpiece. It is interesting ace, as it were, up its sleeve. And in this case to observe that, though the man is extravagant, it endears itself to us by making us reflect that the author's touch exaggerates nothing; it is, such a passage as the one I speak of is in fact throughout, of the most truthful, genial, iron- a signal proof of what the novel can do at its ical kind, full of penetration, but with none of best and what nothing else can do so well. the grossness of moralizing satire. The figure In the presence of this sort of success we peris a genuine study, and nothing can be more ceive its immense value. It is capable of a charming than the way Mr. Stevenson both rare transparency – it can illustrate human sees through it and admires it. Shall I say affairs in cases so delicate and complicated that he sees through David Balfour ? This that any other vehicle would be clumsy. To would be, perhaps, to underestimate the den- those who love the art that Mr. Stevenson sity of that medium. Beautiful, at any rate, is practices he will appear, in pointing this incithe expression which this unfortunate though dental moral, not only to have won a particcircumspect youth gives to those qualities ular triumph, but to have given a delightful which combine to excite our respect and our pledge.
Waiting and listening for the Voice that cried,
What woe, what fear, wrung thy.dumb soul with pain !
With all his banners drooping. Far and wide
How couldst thou know that day would dawn again?
Of faint, far glory lit the eastern skies,
Broadening and reddening till the sun's full beams
Darkness and brooding anguish were but dreams,
Even so, O Life, all tremulous with woe,
Thou too didst cower when, without sound or jar,
Thy sun went out of heaven! How couldst thou know
So ebon-black, nor ever mountain-bar
But that the morning yet again must glow ?
Slowly the dawn on unbelieving eyes
Breaketh at last. Day brightens, -and, oh hark !
From storm and darkness thou hast found an ark,
Julia C. R. Dorr.
THE RUSSIAN PENAL CODE.
N the formation of a judg- Title II. Crimes against the Faith (religion]
ment with regard to the and violations of the ordinances for its safe-
TITLE III. Crimes against the State, viz. : ment, few considerations treason, rebellion, and all offenses against the are of greater importance sacred persons of the sovereign emperor and than those which are sug- the members of the imperial house. 23 sec
gested by the crimes that tions. the people commit and the punishments that TITLE IV. Crimes and offenses against adthe government inflicts. The penal code of a ministrative order. 67 sections. state is in a certain sense an index to the na- TITLE V. Crimes and offenses committed tional life, since it not only reveals the nature in the imperial or public service. 178 sections. of the disorders from which the social organism TITLE VI. Violations of the ordinances resuffers and the methods of treatment to which lating to the duties and obligations which indithe governing power resorts, but also shows viduals owe to the imperial and local authorities. approximately the stage of moral culture and 43 sections. enlightenment which the people have reached TITLE VII. Crimes against the property and and the extent of the influence for good or revenues of the state. 283 sections. evil which the ruling authorities exert. It is TITLE VIII. Crimes against social order and my purpose in the present paper to review well-being. 574 sections. [This title does not briefly some of the salient features of the penal include offenses committed by one person code of Russia, and to point out, as clearly as against another, such as assault, robbery, or I can, the bearing which that code seems to murder, but merely offenses which have the me to have upon the social condition of the nature of disobedience to certain general Russian people, the distinctive characteristics ordinances intended to promote the public of the Russian system of government, and the welfare.] causes that underlie Russian discontent and Title IX. Violations of the laws which redisorder.
late to the rights of station, rank, position, etc. The Russian penal code, as revised, 44 sections. This title comprises such offenses amended, and republished at St. Petersburg as the fraudulent concealment of the name and in 1885, makes a compact octavo volume of rank of an infant, the illegal assumption of nearly seven hundred pages. In the arrange-titles, decorations, or other marks of distinc. ment of its contents it is not unlike the volume tion, etc.) known as the Revised Statutes of the United TITLE X. Crimes against the life, well-being, States. The crimes and offenses with which it freedom, and honor of private individuals. deals are grouped into twelve principal classes, 263 sections. each of which corresponds roughly with what is TITLE XI. Crimes against family and docalled in the Revised Statutes a “Title.” These mestic rights. 51 sections. [This title includes groups, or “ titles," are subdivided into chap- all violations of the laws that relate to marriage ters, varying in number from two to fourteen, and divorce, and to the reciprocal duties of and the chapters are in turn broken into sec- fathers, mothers, and children, guardians and tions, the latter being numbered continuously, wards, etc.] as in the Revised Statutes, without reference TITLE XII. Crimes and offenses against the to the larger subdivisions of the text. The property of private persons. in sections. scope of the code, the manner in which offenses The intention of the codifiers in making this are classified, and the proportion which each classification of crimes seems to have been to separate category of crime and punishment arrange them as far as practicable in the orbears to the whole body of criminal law will der of their estimated gravity or importance. be understood from the following syllabus : Offenses against church and state * are there
Title I. Crimes and offenses in general and fore given the first place, and crimes which degrees of guilt. 175 sections.
merely affect the life, liberty, and honor of * I use the words “church" and "state" throughout body of believers when church membership is enthis article in a somewhat restricted sense – to mean in forced by imprisonment and exile ; and it is equally one case the sacerdotal hierarchy, and in the other the impossible to make the state include the people when political mechanism as embodied in the official class. every attempt of a citizen to take part in the life of the It is impossible to speak of the church as a collective state is punished with penal servitude.
private citizens come last. Crimes which have premeditation, in a public place and in the a tendency to weaken the dominant authority presence of a large or small assemblage of of church and state are furthermore given a people, dares to censure for condemn the disproportionate amount of space, as compared Christian faith, or the orthodox church, or to with crimes which threaten merely the lives or revile (or abuse) the Sacred Scriptures or the property of private persons. All the provisions Holy Sacraments (literally, ‘mysteries '], such of law contained in the first seven titles, and person shall be deprived of all civil rights and most of those in the eighth and ninth, have exiled for life, with not less than six nor more a direct bearing upon the welfare of the state than eight years of penal servitude. If such as a political organism, and are intended to crime shall be committed not in a public place guard its existence, confirm its supremacy, and nor in the presence of an assemblage of peotighten the grasp in which it holds its subjects, ple, but nevertheless before witnesses, and the people. Almost every human action that with an intention to shake the latter's faith and can by any possibility injure the state or lead them astray (literally, 'to seduce them'], weaken the power of the ruling authorities is the offender shall be deprived of all civil rights made by law a crime, and is punished with ex- and exiled for life to the most remote part treme if not barbarous severity. That this is of Siberia." not too sweeping an assertion will, I think, Section
declares that if any person shall abundantly appear from the citations which witness or have personal knowledge of the I shall presently make from the statutes commission of the crimes set forth in sections themselves.
176–178, and shall fail to inform the authoriThe first important title or division of the ties thereof, he shall be imprisoned for not less Russian penal code is that which comprises than four nor more than eight months, accordwhat are called “ Crimes against the Faith,” ing to the circumstances of the case. and the severity with which such crimes are Section 181 is as follows: “Whoever, in a punished furnishes a striking illustration of the printed work, or even in a written composition, importance which the state attaches to the if the latter be by him in any manner publicly church as the chief bulwark of its own author- circulated, indulges in blasphemy or speaks ity. The first section, which may be taken as opprobriously of the Saints of the Lord, or fairly indicative of the spirit of the whole title, condemns the Christian faith or the orthodox is as follows:
church, or reviles the Sacred Scriptures or the “SECTION 176. Whoever dares with pre- Holy Sacraments, such person shall be demeditation, and publicly in a church, to blas- prived of all civil rights and exiled for life to pheme [literally, to lay blame upon '] the the most remote part of Siberia. The same glorious Triune God, or our Most Pure Ruler punishment shall be inflicted upon
all persons and Mother of God, the ever-Virgin Mary, or who knowingly sell, or in any other way pubthe illustrious Cross of the Lord God Our licly circulate such works or compositions." Saviour Jesus Christ, or the Incorporeal Heav- Section 182 provides that “ All persons who enly Powers, or the Holy Saints of God and shall be found guilty of so-called scoffing their Images, such person shall be deprived that is, of making sneering or sarcastic gibes of all civil rights and exiled for life, with not that show manifest disrespect for the rules or less than twelve nor more than fifteen years of ceremonies of the orthodox church, or for penal servitude. If such crime shall be com- Christianity in general— shall be imprisoned for mitted not in a church but in a public place, not less than four nor more than eight months.” or in the presence of a number of assembled It would be hard, I think, to find in the people, be that number large or small, the of- criminal laws of any other civilized state punfender shall be deprived of all civil rights and ishments of such severity attached to crimes exiled for life, with not less than six nor more of such a nature. In most countries an inthan eight years of penal servitude.”
sulting or contemptuous reference, even in a The next section, which deals with another church and during service, to the“ Incorporeal aspect of the same crime, is as follows: Heavenly Powers" [the angels would be re
“ SECTION 177. If the offense described in garded merely as a misdemeanor, and would the foregoing section (No. 176) be committed be punished with a small fine or with a brief not in a public place nor before a large as- term of imprisonment, as a disturbance of the semblage of people, but nevertheless in the public peace. In Russia, however, disrespectful presence of witnesses, with an intention to remarks concerning the “ Saints of the Lord shake the faith of the latter or lead them and their Images,"even although such remarks astray, the offender shall be deprived of all civil be made to three or four acquaintances, in the rights and exiled for life to the most remote privacy of one's own house, may be punished part of Siberia.”
with "deprivation of all civil rights and exile Section 178 provides that“ Whoever, with for life to the most remote part of Siberia "
that is, to the coast of the Arctic ocean in the ful of a church which not only permits, but territory of Yakutsk.
encourages, such delusions. Under the proSuch extraordinary penal legislation as this visions of Section 177 of the penal code, such naturally suggests the inquiry : “ What seems a man, for making such remarks, might be exto be, in the estimation of the law-maker, the iled for life to the remotest part of Siberia. relative gravity of the offenses described in In the summer of 1886, while visiting with the sections above cited in comparison with my wife one of the holiest cathedrals in Mossuch common-law crimes as assault
, highway cow, I saw a number of ignorant Russian robbery, and murder ?” An examination of peasants devoutly kissing in succession twenty the statutes contained in Titles VIII. and X. or thirty black decaying fragments of human of the code shows that a sarcastic gibe at the bone which were set in the squares of what expense of the orthodox church is as heinous looked precisely like a checker-board. The a crime as a personal assault which ends in bones were supposed to be finger joints, toe homicide, provided such assault is not made joints, and other osseous fragments of various with homicidal intent. (Compare Section 182“ Holy Saints of the Lord”; and many of the with Section 1464.) Public censure or con- peasants pressed their lips to every bone in demnation of the orthodox church is put on the collection, taking them row by row suca penal level with the organization of a band cessively, from the lower right hand to the of counterfeiters, robbers, or incendiaries. upper left hand corner of the checker-board. [Compare Section 178 with Section 924.} As I watched this performance, I could not Finally, the punishment for blasphemous re- help expressing aloud to my wife an opinion marks made publicly in a church with regard with reference thereto which the ecclesiasto the “Incorporeal Heavenly Powers," or the tical authorities would undoubtedly have re“Saints of the Lord, and their Images,” is pre- garded as blasphemous, and which, had I been cisely the same punishment which is prescribed a Russian, might have sent me to the most for willful manslaughter, and is only one degree remote part of Siberia, if not into penal servilighter than the penalty for the deliberate and tude. Many of the rites and ceremonies of premeditated murder of a pregnant woman, the Russo-Greek church are extremely injuriwith full knowledge of her condition. [Com- ous to the health of the people, and this is pare Section 176 with Sections 1452 and 1455.] particularly the case with the universal cus
It is not my intention, of course, to excuse or tom of kissing sacred pictures and bones. to palliate such offenses as those set forth in the Nothing probably has done more than this quoted sections of the Russian code, nor to practice to spread contagious diseases among raise any question as to the propriety of pun- the ignorant peasants of the empire, and the ishing them; but I do mean to call attention terrible ravages of diphtheria in some of the to what seems to me the barbarous injustice provinces of European Russia are attributable of putting such offenses on a level with high- mainly to this cause. A porous and partly way robbery and murder. Russian churches decayed bone of a “Holy Saint of the Lord"
” and cathedrals are full of so-called “miracle- which is breathed upon and kissed by thouworking images,” or pictures of the Madonna sands of men, women, and children becomes and of various “ Holy Saints of the Lord.” I in time a poisonous source of contagion; and never entered even the cathedral of St. Isaac in the encouragement by the priests of the belief St. Petersburg without finding on the frame of that an application of the lips to such a bone the ikm* of the Madonna, which stands at the is pleasing to God, or beneficial to man, seems head of two or three steps on the right of the to me in the highest degree immoral and crimikonostas, a number of small articles of ap- inal. If I were a Russian and lived in Russia, parel, such as head kerchiefs, handkerchiefs, I should undoubtedly express this opinion at scarfs, etc., which had been placed there by the first opportunity, in the most forcible and their owners with the expectation that they emphatic manner possible. Under the prowould acquire, through contact with the ikon, visions of Section 177 I should thereupon be some miraculous virtue. It would be perfectly condemned as a blasphemer, and should go natural for an intelligent man, and even for a in chains and leg-fetters to the remotest part good man and a good Christian, to express of eastern Siberia. irreverent if not contemptuous doubt as to the Blasphemous or disrespectful remarks conmiracle-working power of this gilded and be- cerning holy persons or things are not, howjeweled picture ; and it would be strange if he ever, the only offenses contemplated by Title did not, in addition, say something disrespect. II., and included among “ Crimes against
An ikon is a painted portrait of the Madonna, or and it is often framed in solid gold or silver and richls of some holy saint of the orthodox church. It is, as a jeweled. The "miracle working." ikon of Our Lady rule, heavily overlaid with gold in such a manner that of Kazan, in the Kazan Cathedral at St. Petersburg, is only the head and one hand of the figure can be seen, adorned with jewels to the value of $60,000,