Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

popular one. The New York papers for ceeded to take one or two of the favorite
some days previously expand them theatres by storm; of late years, how-
selves in accounts and portraits of the ever, the terrorized managers have, we
players. There is quite a flutter hear, made some sort of compromise,
throughout the city on the day of the which secures them a partial immunity
match. Demonstrative und rgraduates on these occasions. Many old Oxford
in every variety of vehicle throng the and Cambridge men will remember
roads to the scene of action, together Evans's supper-rooms on the night of
with the smart carriages of New York the university boat-race; those historic
society. The mass of spectators, how- performances were child's play to what
ever, are borne thither on the elevated certain theatrical managers in New
railroad, packed like herrings in a bar York have, it is said, had occasionally
rel, and suggesting the District Line to to put up with.
Putney on the day of the boat race. The Americans are fortunate in hav.
The scene inside the grounds is charac- ing only one set of football rules. These
teristic of the greater demonstrative are a compromise between Rugby and
ness of the Americans at play. The Association, and admit, beyond a doubt,
gates are besieged by the vendors of of most elaborate combinations in play,
emblems wherewith to cheer on the besides being considerably rougher than
players to victory, such as ribbons and either of the English codes. Each of
small flags of the two university colors, the more celebrated colleges are distin-
and the effigies of defiant gamecocks guished by certain tactics, and from
mounted on sticks. The noise while the time to time the newspapers are agog
game is in progress is at times deafen- with the rumor that Yale or Columbia
ing. What would chiefly str.se an En- (Harvard, though first in social and in-
glishman, however, are those peculiar tellectual prestige seems never to be
war cries which the older universities quite first in athletics) has developed
in America cherish, and which have some new and irresistible method of at-
been heard on a small scale, and not, it tack, which it is practising in strict
is to be feared, wholly with approval, at privacy. Academic football, as
Henley. Suddenly, in the front of a have said, leads the game in America.
crowded stand, an individual will be From the greater colleges of the East it
seen to leap to his feet brandishing a has spread not only to all the smaller
stick or umbrella; promptly upon this ones, but throughout the South and
signal twenty or thirty of his immediate West, till there is scarcely an institution
neighbors will spring up also and, in of any kind from the Atlantic to the
time to the waving of their impromptu Pacific without its regular programme
conductor's wand, give vent to the of fixtures. We have tried sometimes
sharp, jerky chorus of mysterious dog to fancy the South Carolinian of twenty
gerel, that proclaims them members or years ago playing football, and have
past members of one or other university, signally failed. The thing is incon-
Princeton men, if we remember right, ceivable! A hack, or accidental
proclaiming their identity and cheering knock, would in those days have led to
on their friends with the Frogs' Chorus Heaven knows what complications.
from Aristophanes. A demonstration We have played ourselves more than
like this will be taken, in some sort, as once against southern colleges in the
a challenge by rival groups of the other primitive days of American football,
faction, and it is curious to see these and though it was not in such a fiery
small patches of organized vivacity region as Carolina, there was even there
breaking out all over the dense mass a vague feeling of uncertainty pervad-
toat throng the stands on every side of ing the atmosphere. In countries
the ground. In the evening the city is, where the pistol and the knife are to
or used to be, given over to frolicsome every man's hand football is obviously
undergraduates who having shouted full of dangerous possibilities. That it
themselves hoarse in the afternoon, pro- has now taken root in the South is a

we

an

[ocr errors]

sign more eloquent of an improving kind to dwell too much on certain decivilization than many columns of sta fects that are the result of immaturity tistics.

in part, and in part to that very enthuWith all this, however, American col- siasm with which the people of the leges, even the best of them, have not United States throw themselves into yet wholly caught the spirit in which anything they undertake. English universities and public schools Since writing the last words of this meet each other in friendly contests. paper, accounts of a case lately tried We judge them solely out of the mouth in the American courts have come to of their own best critics and friends hand, which illustrate, in somewhat wno, in the columns of the more re humorous fashion, a novel and indeed spectable journals, tell week after week formidable view of the responsibilities and year after year the same tale. This of the football field. If this particular is not after all a very bad tale, but it jury had shown sympathy in this case tells the American lads very plainly for the plaintiff, another terror would that they have not yet acquired that indeed have been added to the life of easy attitude towards each other, that the American paterfamilias. It seems quiet consciousness of fair play being that a boy, having been injured, though a matter of course and not a matter of not seriously, in a school match, his fond talk, which English amateurs enjoy in parent proceeded to make the matter their mutual relations. Indeed, recent a question of law. If he had sued the events have made it obvious that the school authorities it might have been a American is still somewhat crude and foolish act, but it would have been savage in his athletic rivalry. He must wholly an uninteresting one to the win at all hazards, and in his morbid public, and an incident quite unworthy passion for victory is apt to lose sight of of record. But this delightful person the main aim of outdoor sports. At one went to the root of the matter and time the habit of introduc.ng profes- brought an action against the father of sionals into college was common, but the boy who delivered the ill-fated kick. this has now been almost stamped out. If the jury had gone wrong, conceive The college clubs, moreover, seem some the possibilities that would have atwhat slow in that mutual accommoda- tached to the possession of a son who tion in the matter of fixtures which is was a vigorous forward in the footballessential to harmony. If, for example, field. Fortunately, these twelve good tue only date possible for an inter-col- and just men kept their heads, were lege meeting seems to slightly favor one deaf to the blandishments of counsel, side, the other is apt to forego the con and the fathers of American footballtest altogether, thinking it better not players again breathed freely. to meet at all than to risk an honorable defeat. Harvard and Yale did not meet for years owing to some ridiculous hitch of this sort. But after all the American daily press, with the exception of a few of the best papers, is greatly prejudicial to true sport. To be continually con

From The Fortnightly Review. fronted with newspapers that obviously

CORSICAN BANDITS, AND OTHERS. uo not understand the very elements of The French are certainly the reverse such a thing, and when on this topic of good colonists. This observation has are nothing if not sensational and vul- not the merit of originality. M. Daugar, must affect even the best of the ris- det in a recent letter to one of the paing generation.

pers admits as much, though he attribNevertheless, the Americans are to be utes their failure greatly to the want greatly congratulated on the trans- of encouragement and sympathy on the formation that the last twenty years part of government-which is, indeed, has seen in their lives. It would be un made answerable for many things.

an

em

However this may be, the fact is pa- “mean" crimes I never heard intent to the British mind when the tray. stance. Notes by the wayside are neceller passes even a few weeks in Al- essarily hasty and superficial, bur giers. Jn Corsica it requires a longer there are facts about which a traveller time, perhaps, to have the conviction cannot be mistaken, and which, when borne in upon him, but there will be no in direct contradiction to popular prejescaping it in the end if he mixes at udice, it is only just to record. all · with French residents and

In journeying through this beautiful ployés on the one hand, and with the land it is impossible not to be struck natives on the other. The former seemi with the absence of begging, and the to have no idea of making allowances general honesty of the people with for ignorance, or trying to see the best whom one has to deal. Extortion, side of the people they have come to which has poisoned the pure air of live amongst. They will tell you that many a mountain village in other counthese islanders are an idle, stupid race, tries, is here unknown. An urbanity, inaccessible to educational or social which reaches the elevation of kindculture, with no patriotism, no interest ness, characterizes the manners of the in politics, no care for anything beyond native to the stranger whom he weltheir own pockets and the success of comes to his cottage. His pride is the clan to which each belongs, and for great, and he has been reared with the aggrandizement of which they will ideas of hospitality which make him vote with the most flagrant injustice. scorn to accept money for the shelter, To all which I would make but two ob- the goat's milk, bread, and garlic he servations. They are but children in freely offers. He has been bred, morethe world's civilization-passionate, over, to restrain his natural curiosity, warm-hearted, ignorant children, pos- which is a marked characteristic in sessed of some rare and noble and him, but which he rarely gratifies besome attractive virtues, which the yond the limits of good French would do well to recognize. When sketching, the children crowded The other thing I would say is that, round me, and evinced the liveliest inwith certain recent scandals among terest in my work, but never disturbed the highly educated and highly placed me, holding each other back, and in a great capital fresh in our minds, speaking under their breath, the it is well to be lenient to the sñall cor amazing reds and blues were splashed ruptions incident to "clanship" in

upon the paper. A bicycle appearing narrow sphere.

for the first time in a mountain village It is to enter my protest against the

was gazed at in speechless wonder by disparagement of the Corsican charac- old and young, till one urchin crept up ter, from personal observation, as well on his hands and knees, and gently as to remove the false impression of touched the tire, then scurried back, the Corsican bandit so dear to the ashamed at having yielded to the transpontine stage, that I take up my temptation. pen. A traveller may journey

I am speaking of the dwellers in unarmed from one end of the island to trodden ways. Truth compels me to the other in perfect safety. Crimes, say that in the more vitiated air of except those arising from the heat of Ajaccio the youngsters are less polite, passion or the cherished "vendetta," nor is their behavior circumspect are rare; and of what I may call in regard to the throwing of stones as

one might desire. When I think of 1 That this is true was shown recently, when at

Corsican youth, I prefer to recall some the making of the Bastia and Ajaccio Railroad,

lads-about forty in number-I saw at the jury of Corsicans for indemnity to property Vico, playing at leap-frog in the moonawarded preposterous sums to their friends, leav- light, on a mountain road, and then ing others, with twice the amount of land con- swarming up a rock to rest from their Ascated, but poorly paid.

labors, and sing in chorus what I take

manners.

as

a

un

[ocr errors]

to have been legends or national sto- but I have a friend who is: that is the ries, in verses of two lines each, then a next best thing. To dissipate, if pospause; the narration being continued in sible, the romantic miasma in which this manner for a considerable time. the subject has so long been shrouded, Those who have heard German stu. I shall give his narrative in his own dents sing "Der Wirthirm Töchterlein” words. But first let me say this: when will understand the story told in music I was in Corsica, an outrage of very cal strophes, without a second part to common occurrence in other countries, the melody, which these Corsican but absolutely without precedent-at songs seem to resemble. The effect of all events for many years—in the islthe young voices on this occasion, with and, had roused general wrath and their accompaniment of moonlight and consternation. The house in which mountain mist, was fancy-stirring and Prince Windischgrätz was staying at full of local color.

Vizzavona was broken into by three Napoleon-"le Grand Empereur" bad characters from a neighboring villives in the hearts of the people as viv- lage, who extracted money at the gun's idly as though he had died bu, yester- muzzle from an unarmed, unprotected day. I was present at a curious scene man. No attempt was made by the at the theatre at Ajaccio, where an in- peasantry to screen the perpetrators of tolerable urama entitled "Napoleon" the crime; on the contrary, they were was performed by as villainous a coni eager to secure the capture of the guilty pany as ever trod provincial boards. men, which was effected without difThe house was crammed, and the en- ficulty, and the two ring-leaders were thusiasm so great, with cries of "Vive sentenced to twenty and fifteen years' l'Empereur!" that I thought it well to liard labor respectively; the third man retire before Sir Hudson Lowe came to ten years' imprisonment. This, in on the scene, to be followed possibly a country where the ordinary sentence by "A bas les Anglais!" The audience is five years' imprisonment for seemed really to be moved as one man der, speaks for itself. Robbery is, in by the frenzy of Imperialism. I was fact, práctically unknown here, while not surprised to hear, after this, that life, as the penalty for wounded pride the Empress Eugénie, who wished to or honor, is of small account. revisit Corsica, had decided, on advice, If the belief prevalent in France that it would be unwise to do so. To were true, that Corsica was a savage the same fear of arousing popular feel- island tenanted by a race of cutthroat ing may be attributed the fact that the robbers, and that a

journeyed directions left in his will by the late through it with his life in his hand, prince, generally known "Plon- the incident I have named could not plon,” that he should be buried at the lave elicited the feeling it did. These "Isles Sanguinaires," have never been malefactors were not "bandits," as the carried out. The tenacity to the “Na term is understood here; they poleonic Idea" may be further illus- nothing more elevated than trated by the fact that the hostility of robbers. The bandit, or outlaw, is one a great Corsican house to the Buona- who, for some crime--probably the repartes has never been forgiven; its sult of a "vendetta," or love-quarrel, present representative is regarded ending in a stiletto thrust-has to fly with an hereditary resentment. An to the mountains, where he dwells in Ajaccian gentleman who was calling the “macchia,” protected by the peason an English lady rose and left the ants, and living chiefly on the game bis room on the entrance of

fellow- gun provides. townsman whose great-uncle had been My friend Doctor Trotter, whose exNapoleon I.'s opponent.

perience I shall now give in his own Of brigands I have only a second- words, is a keen sportsman, and havhand knowledge. To my regret I am ing been resident in Corsica more or not on speaking terms with any bandit, less for seven years, and being a man

mur

man

as

were

common

а

on

tor.

[ocr errors]

ence.

on

a

re

Lot only of a kindly nature and frank fell swoop, I noticed a man the manners, but endowed with rare dis- bank watching us. His was a somecretion and tact, he has made friends what striking figure. Being used to with all sorts and conditions of men the curiosity and attention of the nathroughout the country. To handle tives, I should otherwise bave taken the rifle or the rod with as much skill no further notice of him. Slightly over as the medicine chest wins a peasant's the medium in height, he was of exadmiration and sympathy as well as tremely powerful build, and his dress his gratitude in many cases. The wife was unlike either peasant or proprlebrings her sick child to the doctor

His head was covered with when he returns with her husband black hat of very large brim, rather from the snipe bog or the trout stream; like our "wide-awake,” only not quite and so his coming is hailed by both. so round in form and with more brim, His account of the Bellacoscia broth- and he wore a double-breasted black ers, who for forty-five years resisted jacket, like a light pea-jacket in shape, every effort of the French government which was not buttoned and showed to capture them, and must have cost the usual Corsican red sash round his that government over three million waist. His trousers were dark, and francs, is to be relied upon as the un- the lower part of the legs were tucked adorned narrative of a personal experi- into his black boots, which reached up

to the knee. Later, on closer acquaintThe elder brother, Antoine Bella- ance, I found that the rifle in his hand coscia, was pardoned by the authori was a Winchester repeater, that his ties two years ago, “because he had shirt was grey flannel, and that he had not killed any one for twenty years.” two large pockets the inside The younger one, Jacques, is still in of his jacket, each containing the “macchie," and is known amongst volver. the peasantry as “The King of Cor “Calling Antoine's attention to this sica." He on many occasions was figure by a grunt and indication Doctor Trotter's guide and chasseur, with my head (he could hardly speak and through him my friend made the any French and I could speak no Coracquaintance of his formidable brother. sican), his face immediately lit up with The following is the account of the 10- recognition, and he muttered ‘Jacques;' troduction:

then, getting upon his feet, he shouted

something in Corsican, which brought "I was fishing on the Gravona River, an answer from the other, and immeat a certain part near the village of diately Jacques began to scramble Bocognano, where the river runs be down the steep bank towards us. No tween the steep, wooded cliffs of the sooner had he left the bank than anbase of Monte d'Oro on the one side other figure appeared upon it, armed and some meadows and maize fields on with a double-barrelled sixteen-bore the other. Very beautiful is this gun and a very powerful field glass, stretch of river, running in the deep, and there it stayed, continually on the wild gorge, thickly wooded, with its watch, during the interview. This was crystal water now tumbling and foam- Jacques' son, also a bandit. The party ing over the opposing rocks, now calm was completed by two brindled dogs, and tranquil in its deep bed beneath of the cur type, of which de

overhanging cliff. We had scended with the bandit, and the other chosen a suitable flat rock whereon to went some distance off on the opposit for luncheon, and had arrived at site side to the son, to lie down in the the whiskey and cake stage of that re macchie, to give notice of the approach past when, upon raising my eyes of danger on that side. which had been occupied in seeing that “On the arrival of the bandit, we Antoine did not polish off the remain- shook hands, the two brothers kissing der of the contents of the flask at one each other on both cheeks, and sat

an

one

some

« AnteriorContinuar »