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condemned to pass his life with such companions. Any remark made as to the coarseness and brutality of the crowd in “Christ leaving the Prætorium” recurs now with full force. If it is true that the mind is formed by the society it keeps, whether in people, books, music, or pictures, we shall certainly find nothing of a refining or elevating influence here.
Underneath this hangs an entirely different subject, and one that affords striking proof of the versatility of M. Doré's genius. It is called “ La Prairie," and may be considered his nearest approach to the style known as “ Pre-Raphaelite.” It represents tall grass, daisies, marigolds, and other field flowers, painted with great care and minute
The line of foliage is broken by numerous gorgeous butterflies flitting backwards and forwards. We do not greatly admire it—the same thing has been done, and done better we think, by some of our own artists,—but it is a refreshment to the eye and mind withdrawn from the contemplation of degraded human nature set forth in the former picture, and there is a touch of poetry and a moral lesson conveyed by the presence of the scythe half buried in the rich luxuriant growth.
But two principal pictures now remain to be noticed. One of these, entitled “Titania," is a perfect gem of poetic fancy, possessing the same fascination for the lovers of the supernatural element as the two illustrations of “Guinivere” already referred to. The complete realization of spirit-life leads captive the imagination and transports us at once to fairy land. The whole picture is drenched in moonlight, softened by a transparent haze that makes it look as if every leaf in the enchanted glade were hung with gossamers.
The entire scene is alive with tiny sprites floating on butterfly wings, little elves flitting from stem to stem of the tall grass, and the glimmer of half-concealed glowworms. The grotesque beauty of the lesser spirits is perfect; but though the fairy queen herself and her attendant sylphs are light and graceful, they rather fulfil the German ideals, the Undines of waterfalls and woods, than the true English fairy, diminutive, volatile, and capricious—the petulant Titania and her mischievous lord.
The only other large picture is one that has been added recently to the collection. It is an allegorical representation of “ Alsace," and as M. Doré is himself an Alsatian, it derives additional interest if it is regarded as an exponent of his political sentiments and those of his fellow-countrymen. A female figure in the picturesque Alsatian cos
tume is standing with her back to a high wall, partly supporting herself against it, and clasping tightly to her breast the French colours. The face is handsome, with golden bair, on which the light falls, but it wears an expression of suffering, and the downcast eyes are swollen with weeping. The whole figure expresses resentful determination, and a sullen brooding over injuries inflicted. Beside her sits an aged woman, with bent head and dejected mien, holding in her lap a sturdy little boy. The child's face shows pain and discontent, the infant brow is puckered into a frown, and the little fist is clenched. The motto is, “She waits," and the meaning is evident. Alsace, suffering and oppressed, deprived of her manhood, and having only the old and feeble left, waits for the rising generation to avenge her wrongs. The figures are life size, powerfully painted, the colouring is subdued and harmonious, and in point of finish this picture approaches “Francesca da Rimini” more nearly than any
other. A few landscapes, two of which represent scenery in Alsace, complete the catalogue, and we thus conclude our short notice of a set of paintings very remarkable when we consider they are all the work of one man, and a collection we repeat that cannot be visited without great interest and some pleasure, whatever may be the various opinions entertained regarding their merits and demerits.
Since writing the above, “ Titania” has been removed from the Gallery, and is replaced by “Andromeda.” This picture represents the maiden chained by the wrists in a niche in the rocks. The nude figure, which is life size, is seen in profile, and the arms are strained above the head. The sea breaks at the foot of the rock, and there half hidden by the spray appears the head of the sea-monster, so close as almost to touch the feet of the horror-stricken Princess, who is shrinking back in terror, till her body assumes a curved form. Her face is shadowed by her long floating hair, light in colour, which the wind sweeps forward, but though partially screened the expression of agonised fear in her countenance quite carries out the attitude and contrasts forcibly with Poynter's “ Andromeda,” who looked as if the lonely night of horror and dreadful anticipation, had so exhausted her capacity for suffering that utter bodily weariness made her insensible to her fate, and she scarcely seemed to notice the conflict raging between Perseus and the sea-dragon.
As usual Doré shakes off conventionality in his treatment of this
subject. According to the old legend Perseus made his appearance before the monster, and the latter never came so near Andromeda while she was alone and unprotected. It seems to us Doré has not made so much of the monster itself as he might have done, or as we should have expected from an imagination so fertile as his. It is little more than a huge fish of no particular species, not the mysterious “ twyformed terrible” creature, amphibious and supernatural, sent by the gods in their anger to ravage the land, which could only be destroyed by one endued with superhuman power.
The picture is carefully finished, and remarkable in one respect that it is entirely free from the tendency to fulness of form which is apparent even in the impersonation of our LORD, though it does not there as in many instances degenerate into coarseness. The figure of Andromeda is slender and supple, the flesh tints, which are carefully painted, contrast with the death-hue pervading the “Francesca” which hangs
There is something painfully real in the straining bones and sinews of the feet struggling for footing on the slippery rock, and the purplish tint suggesting so vividly the chilliness of the salt spray that has drenched them pitilessly. Altogether it is undoubtedly a valuable addition to the collection in the Doré Gallery.
A DREAM OF FAITH.
It was a day of solemn festival in the remote country parish which was my home. From all parts of the neighbourhood the country people had assembled, until not only the little village church, but the ancient graveyard as well, was completely filled with a quiet and reverent crowd. The times were times of trial and sorrow to the Church. Our holy Religion had become entirely ignored by the national assemblies, the result of many years' culpable neglect and carelessness on the part of the professing Christians, and of selfishness and worldliness displayed by the Bishops and other Church dignitaries. This result had been gradually approaching, and earnest and pious men, both of Clergy and Laity, had not failed to mark its advance, and to exert all their powers to prepare for its arrival. The state of things then was that of open warfare between the Church and the State. Not that the statesmen of the time were ever indiscreet enough to use the faintest expression of illwill or depreciation towards the Church, but that their real sentiments were openly known and widely understood. It was indeed a kind of recurrence to the Apostolic times, when the world's worst passions were invariably stirred up at the sight of the unseen power, the spiritual kingdom, and when no more accusation was desired against the Christians than that one for which they disdained to apologise, “ They have another King, one JESUS."
In our own humble district was faithfully reflected the disturbed condition of the outer world. Among ourselves also the “Faith once delivered ” proved the dividing asunder of households and families. To hold that Faith and to carry out the necessary consequential practices was to be suspected, avoided and hated. To deny that Faith, and to assist in the persecution of the Faithful, was to stand prominent before society as a true and loyal and liberal-hearted Englishman.
Now the immediate cause of the gathering of the Christians in our parish was this. Belonging to us was a remote hamlet where dwelt a number of people employed upon the out-lying farms. Here from days immemorial had stood a tiny oratory in which from time to time the Divine Service was celebrated, as often as a Priest could get over there for the purpose. And at other times too, the inhabitants would frequent the consecrated spot to offer up their prayers and other devotions. Upon this chapel the attention of our enemies was fixed. Here they thought was the place where they might most safely open their assault. Accordingly in a high quarter it was represented that the
. chapel was an unadvisable and even dangerous incumbrance. It fostered the prejudices of the people, it perpetuated absurd superstitions, and it was a direct obstacle to the progress of liberal and enlightened ideas among them. But even under this pressure the government were not to be persuaded. Direct coercion would have been a contradiction to their loudly-vaunted principles, and all that could be obtained was a hint by no means indistinct, that any measures for discontinuing the Chapel Services would not be looked upon with disfavour. The day of which I speak was the occasion for a grand annual Procession from the Church to the hamlet, being the day of the Patron Saint of the oratory, S. John the Baptist.
The proceedings of the festival culminated in a solemn procession of the priest and parish choir from the church to the hamlet, accompanied by as many of the people as could contrive to be present. This had
been the manner of procedure for more years than the village tradition could enumerate. And on this particular occasion the customary excitement had become greatly increased by the fact, which was generally known, that some decided act of opposition to the proceedings would be made. It was known that a certain powerful landowner, who was violently opposed to religion, and who it was afterwards discovered had been at the bottom of all the troubles in the district, had clearly stated that he intended to put an end to the annual procession, and had resolved that his interference on this occasion should be decisive. Consequently the gathering on this particular day was much larger and more earnest than it ever had been known to be before. There was easily to be discerned in the crowded churchyard, a quiet determination and a smothered excitement, which spread while it manifested the deep feelings which were aroused. The day had passed quietly by, and nothing had shown itself which could be suspected as an act of opposition. The High Celebration was uninterrupted, the afternoon had been peaceful, and a bright calm sunset poured around a warm cheering glow, and banished thoughts of hostility and opposition. The arrangements for the procession were completed, the order of it was drawn up, the large processional cross was to lead, the choir boys and men following it, the aged priest behind, and the long stream of faithful bringing up the rear.
The white robes of the choir were bathed in the glow of the declining sun and hone out in bold contrast against their toil-worn hands and faces. The villagers in the background stood silently waiting with their bright coloured dresses, giving life and reality to the scene, even the green grass of the churchyard seemed to be reminding us of those who were not lost but gone before, and who were yet united with us and depended upon our steadfastness in maintaining the common faith, and in carrying out the religion which they had handed down to us. And beyond the old trees which bordered the churchyard, there rose the soft, bright hillside over which lay our path, inviting us to advance in peace, and promising an easy and untroubled journey.
While I was thus musing I heard my name called and turning saw the Priest beckoning to me from the porch. Then I found he had in his hand the cross which was to be borne before the procession. "My son," he said, "you are to be cross-bearer to-night. There is danger in our way from those without, but there is greater danger from within. There is likely to be opposition from men, but you will be