صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

Nature and
the Rich.

lasted in many monarchies. Both citizens,

The talk of what the Fair may it must be remembered, have a vote. The

do, must do, for higher civilizarich people are putting out anchors ; but tion in America has been endless, and yet I will the anchors hold in case of a storm ? have waited for months, and waited in vain, A very prosperous-looking Irishman was to hear one word as to its influence on the pointed out to me in Broadway as being in need nearest my heart. I long to have some receipt of a large income from a certain one, some one with such learning and auwealthy connection in New York. “What thority as I cannot pretend to, take up the service does he render for it?" I asked. theme of — how shall I word it ? — natural “Oh,was the reply, “ he does n't do any- resources in landscape gardening. thing for it; but he is a man who has great A deal of praise is being lavished on Mr. influence in the down-town wards, and the Olmstead, but no one is properly underscorX.'s keep him in their pay, so that in case ing, for the benefit of the stupid rich, the of any trouble here in New York such as best lesson in his work at the Fair, -- the a riot, he might prevent their houses from lesson of the lagoon on the value of cultibeing looted.” If it has come to this, that vating and heightening, without change of Dives in New York is paying toll to Tam- character, nature's own choice effects. many with one hand, in order to protect Of course, when put that way, such value himself from the city government, and toll appears so obvious, so in harmony with the to O'Flanagan with the other hand, to pro- philosophy of all art, that it seems increditect himself from a possible mob, — if it has ble that the point should need theoretical come to this, I should say that our metropo- emphasis, however much we might have to lis is built upon the sand.

learn practically. A little experience of my own will illus- But we have only to look at the pleasure trate the fearful chasm which yawns be- grounds of the rich, from Newport to Ocotween the fortunate and the unfortunate in nomowoc, to see that the notion that Nature New York. I was dining with some friends anywhere knows what she is about is quite at a newly opened hotel in Fifth Avenue. foreign to the popular creed in gardening. The table was beautifully furnished with Nobody could oppose the creation of lawns spotless linen and gleaming silver ; waiters and flower beds; they assuredly have a right came and went noiselessly on the thick car- to a place in the scheme of things ; but why pet ; a soft, luxurious light was diffused by presume that lawns, flower beds, and the candles and lamps, and we had an elaborate like are the only possibilities for beautiful repast of many courses and well-selected “grounds”? All too often nothing else wines. The room was a little too warm, and seems possible, or at least nothing else is so a window near us had been opened an inch easy to achieve. But when Nature has lavor two, though the night was cold and wet. ished herself on some rare spot ; when, as Suddenly this window was thrown wide on so much of our northern Atlantic coast, open, and there appeared at it a gaunt man, she has brought together a host of lovely with matted beard and wild, hungry eyes. things, roses, spiræa, iris, bay, clethra, mornIle looked at us and at the rich, abundant ing-glories, and has put in nothing that is food, and then he said, in a loud but appar- not lovely, why should the rich man have ently not excited voice, “ Three days ago I but one notion of his opportunities, – that, pawned my coat to buy a loaf of bread for after carefully buying the most charming my

wife and children.” That was all. The spot he can find, it is his duty to sweep all head waiter rushed to the window and these exquisite growths into a bonfire, and, slammed it down ; there was talk of the starting from the bare ground, create a lawn police ; a lady near by turned pale with and plant evergreens? If he must do that, fright, and had to be revived by means of why, -I ask it with bitter passion, -- why a smelling-bottle ; then the sumptuous eat- is he not content to choose some ugly spot ing and drinking were resumed as before. for his work, one of the many places that But I confess that my uneducated country even his crudest methods would improve ? appetite did not survive this incident. The Is there any hope that Mr. Olmstead's folvictuals that the man outside in the cold and lowing and heightening of Nature's own efdark was going without stuck in my throat ; fects in parts of the lagoon will broaden the champagne itself failed to wash them down. rich man's notions of the possible? If he

The Decline
of the Ama
teur.

could only once conceive that money may be able, and the wise would begin a propaganda spent in this way as well as another, possi- in the names of the Fair and the Japanese. bly he would be reconciled to try it. But But success will have to come soon, or there of course there is the disadvantage that the will be nothing left to save. Every summer result does not tell loudly of the money sees the ignorant rich descend like the locust spent, and in many cases that would doubt- upon all that is fairest in the land. Doubtless be a fatal drawback.

less the poor, as a rule, have no better taste, In promulgating my little views conver- but they have less power, and one cannot safionally I am continually overcome with hate them for what they might do as one surprise at the failure of sympathy in some hates the others for what they have done. quarters where I had confidently expected

- Among the words which have it; at the inability of various charming peo

come to us, at different periods ple to conceive of any way of assisting Na

in the history of our language, ture but by making lawns and flower beds, from the graceful and expressive French, no matter what the conditions ; and as for I know of none which has undergone such letting her alone, a course I praise only as misappropriation as the term “amateur.” a lesser evil than destroying all vestiges of I do not refer to the matter of pronunciaher best schemes, that simply strikes them tion. One does not wish to be pedantic, and as low, - as the conduct adapted to squat- no great inconsistency is found in the fact ters, and no one else. They tell me New- that we may be fairly good French scholars port is beautiful, and are only mystified and yet be addicted to the pronunciation when I quote Mr. John La Farge (I am amature. I refer rather to the significance sure he will noť mind my sustaining myself and application of the term. There must with his name in so good a cause) as say

have been — there was - a time when the ing that the sight of Newport saddens him, title carried with it respect, dignity, and because one of the most beantiful coasts in worth. The primary definition signified that the world, a place that should have been sa- the amateur was a person attached to some credly preserved in its pristine, unique love- particular pursuit, study, or science (vide liness, has been simply destroyed. Burke), and that this attachment was culti

But I have, by much experiment, chanced vated without hope of pecuniary benefit and upon a way of inserting the new idea that without reference to social advancement ; rarely fails to give pain, — the pain that tes- literally from love of it. In Europe, espetifies to some success in inoculation. I cially, the leisure classes produced many mention it for the benefit of any other mem- amateurs of both sexes, who did their duty ber of the Club who may be carrying on a and filled a certain place in life, as became similar crusade.

enthusiastic lovers of art, science, and literI say : “Why can't we do as the Japa- ature. But this elegant, useful, cultivated, nese do so often, - at Nikko, for instance ? and appreciative class seems in danger of There is a spot that is one of the sights of disappearing. Amateur has collided with the world for beauty ; it has had the most professional, and the former term has graddevoted care lavished upon it for hundreds ually but steadily declined in favor ; in fact, of years, and yet, except in the temples and it has become almost a term of opprobrium. tombs, you cannot trace the hand of man. The work of an amateur, the touch of the It has not been left alone, but it has been amateur, a mere amateur, amateurish, amabeautified with such subtle art that it looks teurishness, – these are different current as if it had.”

expressions which all mean the same thing, I cannot say why this crude and prob- bad work. ably inaccurate statement (for it is little This feature of our present development enough I know about Nikko) should make is to be deplored, partly on the ground that an impression, but it does : it often gives the original assumption — that is, that all my victim his first notion that may be there amateur work is bad -- is false, partly beis something to be said on my side ; that I cause the state of society suffers thereby. am not simply a crank.” So I am think- The evil has spread until even royal amaing that something might be done to save teurs come into collision with professionals. some acres of wild roses, some lily ponds, Ideals have been lost, standards have been for the next generation, if the energetic, the lowered, and criticism has frequently floun

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

9

dered in serious, sometimes ludicrous dis- art and a turn for the pencil ; too bad no tress. No sphere once sacred to the profes- one has the courage to tell him so. There sional but has been invaded by the amateur ; is the lady who is really musical, with a and if the term has, as I suggest, lost its fine touch and an unerring ear, but whose primary respectable meaning, the amateur technique is at fault ; probably old-fashhimself is largely to blame for it. The ioned, most certainly unreliable and inadpoint is, whether amateurs, as such, had equate. You insult them both, however, any right to exist, and whether their ori

if you use the word “amateur." And so ginal functions, aims, and orbits were cor- on through the professions, arts, sciences. rect or not. At all times the line must Many of the writers of to-day might very have been difficult to draw, but at least, well serve their country better as readers. fifty or a hundred years ago, the profes- I once did a friend, from his point of view, sions were restricted to one sex ; now the a serious injury by carefully locking away difficulty is made complex by the applica- a thin volume of sonnets inscribed “For tion and perseverance of the present gen- private circulation only.” I had believed eration of women. Every one now demands in his reticence and modesty, knowing him pay for work, recognition as a worker. No to be a busy professional man, with little one wishes to remain “a mere amateur.” time to devote to the growing of poetry.

Exemplary as this may be, whither will As a nation, we probably produce more it tend? Had the “mere amateur" no teachers, more journalists, more singers, place in society, no duties in the world ? more painters, more poets, - even for our Was he a cumberer of the ground, a loiterer size, — than any other country in the world, by the way, a blunder, an excrescence, a pest, and we are able to convert them, at will, a scourge? Surely not. Surely there were into first-class representative original and duties depending upon him ; there were creative workers. Every other day somefunctions pleasant to discharge and honor- body or other announces a “new message able in themselves ; there was a sphere sa- from the market place. A musical friend, cred to honest if not brilliant endeavor, and who conducts a provincial Philharmonic within which a career of noble industry, gen- Society, complains that he fears the taste tle enthusiasm, and unbiased critical growth for joining such organizations is on the was possible. In the present day we sneer, wane ; his singers, particularly sopranos of course, at patronage. We read, but read and tenors, all wish to study in Europe and only, of Grub Street hacks and dedications become “stars," and are continually leaving and flowery odes. We despise Goldsmith, him with that intention. This is a case in and pity Johnson.

point. Contrast it with the attitude of the Yet there are many young writers, ar- patient Lancashire weavers and miners, the tists, singers, actors, who are daily courting people who make up the great Festival the society and help of others more fortu- Choruses of the north of England ! These nate and famous, daily seeking the royal are amateurs, if you like, “mere amateurs," road to success, and often secretly wishing who hardly know the word ; but they do for the patron or patroness, the leisurely, their duty, and fill a niche in a steady, inrich, and cultivated friend, the sympathetic telligent way which insures fine results. amateur, ready to lay time, influence, and It would be an immense step in the art money at their feet. “Patronage” is an ugly life of our country if cultivated men and word, and one phase of it an ugly thing ; women could be set seriously thinking upon still, it is the duty, and might be the plea- this point, with the result of seeing fully sure, of the rich to assist the poor, - the one half of them resolve to bear nobly the artistically and spiritually as well as the name “amateur,” neither ashamed of it, nor financially poor : here is one of the func- claiming more for their work than it detions of the “mere amateur."

serves. Reticence is not yet a feature of our I do not care to repeat the platitude that civilization ; at a later date, perhaps, will amateurs will often insist upon recogni- arrive that disparagement of cheap achievetion. There is the man who can afford to ment, that hesitation to put forward as oribuy pictures, moving heaven and earth and ginal what is only clever imitation, which the hanging committee to admit his own distinguish the modest, conscientious, desketches. He is a man with a nice taste in voted amateur.

[blocks in formation]

.

738

834

.

PHILIP AND HIS WIFE. XVII.-XIX.
Margaret Deland ..

721 A SUMMER IN THE SCILLIES. 7 Wil

liam White . THE GRAVEDIGGER. Bliss Carman

749 THE END OF TORTONI'S. Stoddard Dewey

751 BEHIND HYMETTUS. IN Two Parts. Part Two. 7. Irving Manatt

763 THE NOONING TREE. Kate Douglas Wiggin .

770 INGONISH, BY LAND AND SEA. Frank Bolles..

• 781 HAMBURG'S NEW SANITARY IMPULSE. Albert Skara

787 LIMITATION. John B. Tabb

796 AT THE OPRA DI LI PUPI. Elisabeth Cavazza .

· 797

AMERICAN RAILWAYS AND AMER

ICAN CITIES. Henry 7. Fletcher . . 803 THE SCOPE OF THE NORMAL SCHOOL. M. V. O'Shea

811 SOME LETTERS AND CONVERSA

TIONS OF THOMAS CARLYLE. Sir
Edward Strachey.

821
TWO TYPES OF PIETY .
A POET'S DANTE...

843 Parsons's Poems. Parsons's The Divine

Comedy of Dante Alighieri.
MR. VAN BRUNT'S GREEK LINES . 847
COMMENT ON NEW BOOKS.

850 THE CONTRIBUTORS' CLUB.

855 A Reminiscence of the Kearsarge. The Revue de Paris. — A Rustic in New York Na. ture and the Rich. – The Decline of the Amateur.

[ocr errors]

.

[ocr errors]

.

BOSTON
HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY
New York: 11 East Seventeenth Street

The Hiverside Press, Cambridge

Copyright, 1894, by Houghton, Mifflin & Co. SINGIE NUMBERS, 35 CENT'S

YEARLY SUBSCRIPTION, $4.04

Entered at the Post Office in Boston as second-class matter

[graphic]
« السابقةمتابعة »