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down in flaming ruin before our wooden building, bleached and blisastonished eyes. Islands had loomed tered by many a dust-storm and torrid under the very fore-foot of sun, its cracked and distorted winship in a fog, and we had gone dow-panes were curtained with deastern in time. But this time it cayed illustrated papers in many was our turn. We were, in the tongues, discoloured Greek and Ital. succinct phraseology of the sea, in ian penny-dreadfuls, and few collision.
shelves of cheap curios. Over the The story of that night will no door a long shingle displayed on one doubt be told in its proper place and side the legend Librairie Universelle, time. Suffice it that for some weeks while the other bore the word we were laid aside, and local Levan ΒΙΒΛΙΟΠΩΛΙΟΝ which you may transtine talent invoked to make good the late as it please your fancy. Inside disaster. And in spite of the clangour the narrow doors were craters and of rivetters, the unceasing cries of
trenches and redoubts and dugouts fezzed and turbaned mechanics, and of books. They lay everywhere, the heavy blows of sweating carpen
underfoot and overhead. They ran ters, caulkers and blacksmiths, Aliens up at the back in a steep glacis with grew. There was a blessed interval, embrasures for curios, and were rebetween five o'clock, when my day's flected to infinity in tall dusty pierwork ended, and the late cabin-dinner glasses propped against the walls. at six-thirty, when the setting sun High up under the mansard roof shone into my room and illumined hung an antique oriental candelamy study-table-a board laid across brum with one candle. Hanging an open drawer. And Aliens grew. from twine were stuffed fish of groFor some time, while the smashed tesque globular proportions, and bulwarks and distorted frames of the with staring apoplectic eyes.
А upper-works were being hacked away stuffed monkey was letting himself outside my window, the uproar was down, one-hand, from a thin chain, unendurable, and I would go ashore and regarded the customer with a note-book in pocket, to find a refuge contemptuous sneer, the dust lying where I could write. I would walk thick on his head and arms and his through the city and sit in her gar- exquisitely curled tail. And out of dens; and the story grew. I found ob an apparently bomb-proof shelter scure cafés where I could sit with below several tons of books there coffee and narghileh, and watch the emerged a little old gentleman in a Arabic letter-writers worming the brilliant tarbush, who looked in. thoughts from their inarticulate
their inarticulate quiringly in my direction. For a clients, and Aliens grew. And later, moment I paused, fascinated by the near the Greek Patriarchate, I found notion that I had discovered the that which to me is home-a second- great Library of Alexandria, reported hand bookstore. For I mark my burned so many centuries ago. For passage about this very wonderful once within those musty, warped, unworld by old bookstores. London, painted walls one forgot the modern Glasgow, Liverpool, Rotterdam, world. I looked out. Across the Genoa, Venice, New York, Ancona, street, backed by the immense and Rouen, Tunis, Savannah, Kobé and level blaze of an Egyptian sunset, New Orleans have, in my memory,
blocks of Carrara marble blushed to their old bookstores, where I could pink with mauve shadows, and turned browse in peace. And here in Alex the common stone mason's yard into andria I found one that might have a garden of gigantic jewels. The hum been lifted out of Royal Street or of a great city, the grind of the trol. Lafayette Square, A ramshackle ley-cars, the cries of the itinerant sell.
ers of nuts and fruit, of chewing gum Universal Library, and write. And and lottery-tickets, of shoelaces and Mr. Bizikas, the little old gentleman suspenders, of
newspapers, and in the vivid tarbush, who was lightprawns, and oysters, and eggs, and ing a very dirty tin lamp to assist bread, the rattle of carriages and all the one candle in the oriental canthe flashing brilliance of the palaces delabrum, had no objection. I have of pleasure, were shut out from that a feeling occasionally that here I quiet street near the Greek Patriar- topped the rise of human felicity, chate. I had the sudden notion of as I conceive it. Perhaps I did. Anyasking for permission to sit in that how, Aliens grew.
BY WILLARD WATTLES
THOSE who in their hearts have known
Who have beheld the flaming sword
Who carry in their deep-set eyes
Whose feet have walked with scarce a sound
For whom each feathered throat that stirs
Who look and look and always see
Whose thoughts are instant everywhere. . .
OUR AMERICAN “OLD MASTERS”
BY CHARLES L. BUCHANAN
IN AN age, the dominant character. nerableness and integrity of some istic of which is a premature and past accomplishment particularly love over-precipitant preoccupation with able to us. It is natural that we novelty for the sheer sake of the should do this. To the intense lover novelty and quite regardless of in of lovely things the attitude of trinsic qualifications, the sensitive reverence is so precious a sensarespecter of beautiful things is in tion that it is not easy to subject clined, perhaps, to accord a dispro. to a close and searching scrutiny portionate amount of importance to work upon which Time appears established and commonly accepted to have set a permanent mark of reputations at the expense of a just approval. regard for contemporary artistic All the more reason why we must achievement. The supreme difficulty force ourselves to this task. In the confronting the honest worker in and present instance, I have in mind recorder of artistic activities is the those of our dead painters that are difficulty of maintaining an equitable accorded conventional recognition, balance between a too comfortable too often, I suspect, from the mere acquiescence in the old, a too indis reason of their being dead, and not, criminating indorsement of the new. as we should like to believe, because One's inclination is almost uncon. of their incontestable merit. What trollably in the direction of one ex the verdict of fifty years from now treme or the other at the
will be on Inness, Martin, Wyant, normal middle-ground. Those of us Homer, Blakelock,* Twachtman, Ful. that are disturbed and irritated by ler and Ryder, we can, of course, the over-emphasis laid by shallow have not the slightest idea (and we and ignoble minds upon inconsequen- might be considerably unhappy if we tial and meretricious effort, those of knew), but, very gradually, revaluaus that cannot ease our bewilderment tions are taking place, and it is cerat the spectacle of the palpably coun tain that the old, easy acquiescence terfeit winning acceptance over the in a wholesale, take-it-for-granted legitimate, are, perhaps, over-inclined indorsement of these men is over and to believe that there is an indefinable done with for all time. We have something inherent in precedent that begun to pick and choose, to encourlends it both a perpetual potency of age close discriminations, to formu. appeal and, what is more to the point, late, in other
other words, something a kind of excellence, unassailable in approximating a fixed scale
scale of its supremacy, that
values. fixed standard by which we may The common comprehension has compare, to its disadvantage, the more or less unreservedly accepted lesser work of art. We should like to the general impression that these give the lie to those gentlemen of men achieved a degree of excellence impetuous and excessive inclination,
far and away beyond the work of our radical reviewers, suspecting our contemporary painters. This them, as we so often do, of an innate incapacity for fine feelings, loyalties
*In view of the lamentable fact that and consistencies of opinion. We
Blakelock's powers have been irreparably
impaired by disease, the writer feels justishould like to insist upon the invul. fied in including him in the present article.
serve as a
point of view, however popular it shock.
shock. The thought riots through may be, is open to argument. Two your sensibilities, “Good heavens! of them, Inness and Winslow Homer, this can't be Wyant!” Six or eight represent, it is true, a breadth of out
or ten canvases rebuff you in similar look that no contemporary effort fashion, and you have reached a sort parallels. We are not premature in of comatose, don't care-a-hang attiaccording them an exclusive posi- tude toward the whole affair, when tion, unassailable and unique. They traditional opinion revives your demerit a special consideration, for bilitated enthusiasm with the assur. they are, very probably, the two ance that these are wretched examgreatest painters this country has ples of Wyant-oh, no! these are not produced. It is with those painters the real things at all! Mr. So and with whom they are commonly, and So's Wyants or Mr. Somebody Else's perhaps somewhat carelessly, asso- Wyants !-those are the Wyants! A ciated that we are at present con- little later you draw up before an cerned.
Inness. (We are talking now of bad Let us unburden ourselves, in so Innesses, not good ones.) You do so far as it is humanly possible, of pre- wish
possess an Inness. conceived points of view, prejudices, You have seen photographs of bits of information unthinkingly ac- Inness's pictures, and they are indiscepted into the system, and let us putably head and shoulders above walk together through an average anyone else's pictures.
But somecollection of American paintings. thing seems to have got out of gear. The press
has probably ignored it, Figuratively speaking, you rub your largely, I suppose, because it is an eyes and polish up your sensibilities. American collection. If, however, it What is wrong? Is this the famous does happen to supply you with a Sunshine and Clouds you have so couple of perfunctory paragraphs long deferred to in your valuations devoted to the affair, you will prob- of American painting?
Here are ably find that the prestige of the tones hard as nails and absolutely written word has been utilised to call artificial. Here is an utter absence your attention to the beauties of
of that envelope of atmosphere that some particular Inness, Wyant or you cannot help associating with the Martin, names you have had dinned legitimate trend of modern landscape into your consciousness ever since painting. Undeniably a mediocre you
born. Tryon, Dearth, picture. You may say “rather a big Weir, Lawson and Murphy may be conception,” but of charm there is beautifully in evidence, but your at- very little, if any at all. Traditional tention is not directed to them, your opinion bobs up again. It tells you attention is directed to Inness, that this is no representative Inness. Wyant and Martin.
It says, “Oh! my dear fellow, I wish So far, so good. But now comes you could see the Innesses I have the rub. (And mind you this is not seen! Take your breath away! prejudice airing itself; it is the con- Halsted's—for instance, those were centrated essence of innumerable the
cream; I helped him select disappointments.) You stand, for them.” A little later you stand beexample, before a Wyant. Your sus- fore a Homer Martin, consisting of ceptibilities are tuned for joyous re- a couple of dreary tones for shore actions. You have fed on imaginary and sky, and a few scrawny figures. Wyants, conjuring miraculous pre. The Mussel Gatherers. Somebody visionings out of your hero worship. says to you, “I'm one of those perWell, what happens? Four times out
that believe Homer Martin of five you experience a palpable couldn't paint a bad picture." You
are tempted to believe he never tin (Wyant and Martin particularly painted more than two or three good so) that is rebuffed and permanently
disappointed when you come face to Now here is the point. You ap
face with the original. Of course, proach this trio of American painters too much must not be argued from with every instinct in you keyed to this highly suggestive and, I believe, an hospitable, enthusiastic pitch of incontrovertible fact, but it would expectancy. You do not question certainly seem to indicate a lack in their sovereignty until they have re- the painting of these men of those peatedly betrayed your trust. You beauties and legitimate gratifications hope, perhaps, to possess a Wyant, inherent in an adroit manipulation an Inness, a Martin. You go through of their material. To my taste, I find the dispiriting drudge of your days this to be the case. I am never satiswith their images beckoning you.
fied by the sum-total of a Wyant or You encounter years of disillusion. a Martin as I am by an Inness, a You administer tonics to your cred- Winslow Homer, a Tryon or ulity and your optimism. But alas! Murphy. I think the genesis of this a time comes when you suddenly find resides in the fact that what an yourself face to face with the awe. Inness, a Homer, a Murphy set out to some issue: Do these legendary In- accomplish, they accomplish withnesses, Wyants and Martins really out faltering, without lopsidedness, exist? Are they not, perchance, self. presenting us at the end with that created illusions, bred a bit on per- perfect fusing of components, that sonal affection and the legitimate but miraculous equilibrium that marks sometimes overworked prestige of the the superior achievement. This acheretofore?
complishment does not always char. What is the answer to all this? acterise the work of Inness, but, at Irreverence on my part? No, a thou- his greatest, the grandiose concepsand times no! I venerate these men tion, the prodigious panoramic ecdeeply, consistently, but I do not stasy is revealed to us superbly, satishesitate to say that from a technical fyingly, poised in perfection. Mar. standpoint they are often inadequate tin, on the other hand (a painter -infirm was the word I had origi- somewhat similar to Inness in bigness nally intended. Nor can there be the of outlook--the cosmical visioning, slightest doubt that their work, when so to speak) seldom achieves the injudged from the standpoint of a spirational poise of inevitability, sheerly sensuous loveliness, falls far Subject to revision (as all honesty of short of the best work being pro- opinion must be), I would call him duced in our immediate time by such a stammerer, as it were, in his mepainters as Hassam, Tryon, Murphy, dium of expression, not infirm, as I Lawson and Weir. Notice, for ex- often feel Wyant to be, but ungainly ample, the curious fact that whereas through the possession and the exeryou can gain no impression whatso- cise of a fine, noble strength uncoever of the textural beauty of a Weir, ordinated. It is by what he attempts a Hassam or a Murphy from a photo- rather than by what he achieves that graphic reproduction (the whole Martin excites our good wishes; but, spirit of the picture eliminated, as a alas! there is a special hell in art matter of fact, and nothing but the paved with good intentions. Martin dry husk of line remaining), yet nine has good intentions, but, as some one times out of ten you gain an enjoy- says somewhere about nature, he ment, a quiver of expectancy, so to cannot carry them out. His vision speak, out of a photographic repro- may be Homeric; his handling is too duction of an Inness, a Wyant, a Mar. often atrocious. He stumbles over