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one certainly,” she answered, pointing to the at the Crystal Palace. Why, then, should they heaviest and most gilded of the pair, “it's so wish to live in a revived Italian or Elizabethan much more important-looking for the money." mansion, or even, for the matter of that, in a The phrase has stuck in my head ever since as Queen Anne manor-house? If some of our anthe model of what we should avoid in decoration. cestors liked stiff-backed sofas, why should we, A plain pair of good straight wrought-brass their descendants, endanger the stability of our brackets, which can only be obtained, as a rule, vertebral columns by literally as well as metafrom ecclesiastical metal-work furnishers, will ac- phorically sitting in their places? If our greatcord far better than anything else with the sort grandfathers preferred uneasy leather seats, why of room we have been imagining. Similarly, should we, their great-grandchildren, discard our plain ebonized curtain poles and rings will stand comfortable French springs or horsehair stuffing? in place of the heavy gilt cornices of the conven- I am myself an indifferent good Darwinian, but tional style.
I do not therefore feel compelled to dwell in a Having thus arranged the whole framework cave, like my troglodyte predecessors, nor to use and fixtures of our room, we have next to con- a flint-knife for carving a leg of mutton, like my sider the arrangement of the furniture. This, palæolithic progenitors. Though certain æsthethowever, is comparatively a minor point; for, if ic revivalists may be ascetically virtuous, there is our room is pretty to look at in its own six boun- no reason for supposing that there shall be no dary surfaces, the things we put into it can not more cakes and ale. be so very important. In choosing our furniture, Accordingly, if you like a particular chair or we have but one main principle to remember- table, I do not see why you should be deterred that a drawing-room is essentially a place to from using it by an upholsterer who assures you lounge in. An awful heresy this, no doubt, to the that it will not "go historically " with the rest of matrons of Philistia, but none the less a guiding your furniture. You may be eclectic in your taste principle if our drawing-room is to be of any use if you choose. This is the free nineteenth cenor comfort to us whatsoever. We don't want to tury, and, if the eighteenth or the seventeenth sit up in high-backed chairs, like Pip of “Great produced anything worthy of imitation, there is Expectations," in his “stiffest and most uncom- no reason why you should not adopt it. Of fortable Sunday suit." We want a room where course, if you begin the museum style, you must we can take our ease after dinner, read our paper continue it. A single Renaissance chair in the or magazine in peace, and converse with our midst of the Pompeian villa would naturally look friends at leisure. So the first grand requisite of ridiculous. But if you have chosen no special every chair or sofa should be that you can sit or style, and are content that your room should lie on it. Rickety frames, slight cane legs that simply represent the Victorian period, there can seem for ever in imminent danger of giving way, be no objection to a bit of Queen Anne or any stiff-backed chairs that catch the shoulder-blade other age that strikes your fancy. A surviving on their sharpest angles, hard sofas with seats so chair of your ancestors will come into your drawbroad that you can not lean back without dislo- ing-room just as well as a Chaucer or a Petrarch cating your spine-these are not fitting furniture comes into your library. for a rational drawing-room. The sensible man The best chairs and couches, then, are those will try every seat before he buys it, and will ac- which you like best, and which best conform to cept nothing in which he and his friends can not the natural contour of the human figure in rebe perfectly comfortable. There is a curious pose. A couch should allow of the feet being notion abroad that “artistic” furniture is very put up, if necessary, and should be of such a pretty, but very awkward and unpleasant to use. shape that you can lie upon it, either full length No idea can be more mistaken. Artistic in fur- or half length, with perfect comfort. To be realniture means well-made and comfortable. The ly serviceable, it should not be covered with palebest furnished room is the one in which you can blue satin or maize-colored tabouret, but with a sit or lie most at your ease, and be least troubled good tapestry covering in a neutral hue, say sageor worried by any discordant or disagreeable green or dark rusty red, to wear well. The tapsight, sound, or feeling.
estry should not be too fine to lie down upon, For this reason I can not agree with those or even, in the privacy of family life, to lay one's people who wish to make their rooms into furni- feet upon. And the whole couch should, if posture museums of the Early English, Renaissance, sible, turn toward the fire, so that its occupant or Louis Quinze styles. A museum is a very may have his face toward the cheerful glow. At good thing in its way, but it is not a place in the same time, a little wickerwork table-black which to take up one's permanent abode. No- and gold if you will—may hold a lamp for readbody would like to live in Prince Jérôme Napo- ing. As to chairs, a couple of good, well-stuffed leon's Pompeian villa, or in the Alhambra Court easy-chairs, also covered in the same tapestry, and arranged so as to look toward the fire, ought brackets; but we should leave ourselves space to be sufficient for luxury, while six or eight little enough to move unrestrainedly through the midst ebonized and cane-bottomed gossip-chairs are of our room. Too little furniture is far better the simplest and prettiest “occasional” furniture than too much ; and nothing can be more unyou can have. The gossip-chair has a curved comfortable than the sense of constraint which back which exactly fits the natural curve of the one feels in some gilt drawing-rooms of the old body, and the seat slopes gently downward and school, where little top-heavy tables or what-nots backward, so as to give one the best possible sup- are ready to tumble over at every turn of one's port with the least angularity or awkwardness. coat-tails, and bring down with them a miscelWith these pretty little clean cane seats, a black laneous collection of Dresden shepherdesses, glass wickerwork chair, two easy-chairs, and a couch, paper-weights, porcelain flower-vases, Tunbridgeyou should have enough places for family and ware boxes, lava slippers, and Swiss chalets in guests in a quiet household.
wooden wafer-work. Tables are of very little real use in a draw. As to books and pictures I can say little. ing-room; still, we must have one or two to give Even if you have a separate room as a library, at the whole a furnished look. A spare table near least one small bookcase and a few stray volumes the bay-window will allow of a jardinière and a on the table ought to find a place in every drawfern or India-rubber plant, to stand in the sun. ing-room. They suggest literature and refineYou can have nothing better than black and gold ment, as the piano and the pictures suggest æsfor this purpose. Another, round of course, is thetic culture. The dreariest of all the dreary needed for afternoon tea. There must be some blanks in the Philistine home is that betokened place to lay books and other heavy articles, and by the “ Birthday Book" and the “ Elegant Exthe table for this office should be solid, and tracts" on the drawing-room center-table of our should stand against the wall. Nothing remains well-to-do mercantile classes. They belong, with but the piano; and that must naturally be placed the chess-board history of England and the pubwhere the exigencies of space demand.
lications of the Useful Knowledge Society, to Few articles of furniture are more difficult to Charles Lamb's class of Biblia Abiblia--books manage than the coal-scuttle. It is always gets that are no books at all. No human being ever ting in everybody's way, and it can hardly be yet seriously dreamed of reading them. On the made presentable even by the utmost pains of other hand, I can remember to this day seeing the struggling decorative imagination. It is al- many years ago, in a little Canadian log-house, a most lamentable to think of all the useless efforts Dante and a copy of the “Revue des Deux lavished by the human intellect upon abortive Mondes " many weeks out of date-lying carecoal-scuttles. Perhaps the best solution of the lessly on a side-table; and in a moment the logproblem is that which combines scuttle and what- house became irradiated with an Italian halo by not in one comprehensive whole, having a box the knowledge that a cultured lady had strayed for the coal beneath, and a couple of shelves for somehow into that tiny islet of Lake Ontario. Of knickknacks above. This composite piece of fur- course, you can not lay on literary taste by orderniture may then stand against the wall beside the ing books, like successful Australian sheep-farmchimney-piece, where it adds to the general pret- crs, by the square yard; but you can give an tiness of the room, instead of being an unsightly outward expression to the feeling of the house, incumbrance. Moreover, the weight of the coal for good or for evil, by choosing between the gives stability to the what-not, and prevents it “Epic of Hades" and the “ Proverbial Philosofrom having that topple-down air so common phy,” between “Daniel Deronda” and “ Lady with its kind. Any such suggestion of immi- Audley's Secret," to stand before the face of men nent catastrophes should always be avoided in a upon your drawing-room table. About pictures drawing-room. We should feel that we can turn I shall keep discreet silence. For a room such whichever way we like without danger of knock- as that here sketched out, oil-paintings in heavy ing over a Chinese teapot or a vase in Oriental gilt frames are too ambitious, and water-colors jade. For this reason it is well to have no orna- with white margins are perhaps a little out of ments laid about in the room itself. The étagère keeping. So probably the best thing you can do over the mantel-shelf will hold a few such pretty is to confine yourself to good engravings or good things; and a Japanese cabinet, out of harm's autotypes of good pictures. These you can way behind the sofa, may display a few more ; frame in simple black or wooden frames; and but we should never make our living-room into a their absence of bright color will prevent them sort of domestic succursale to the South Ken- from clashing with your paper or vases. Everysington Museum. If we must have old Chelsea thing beyond this must be left, like Mr. Weller's and plaques of Limoges-ware, we may fasten orthography, to the taste and fancy of the speller. them against the wall or put them up on little To sum up the philosophy of drawing-rooms, as I have endeavored to set it forth briefly in this seen, while they are in no danger of being bropaper, a drawing-room ought to be emphatically ken, and form no obstruction to one's freedom of a living-room, a place reasonably fitted for mo- movement. And, finally, it should contain such ments of relaxation after the work and worry of external evidences of culture and refinement as the day are over. Its framework should consist of may give it an air not merely of material comfort, restful colors and beautiful designs, so that wher- but of æsthetic and literary interest. In such a ever the eye falls it may be gratified without be- room as this one may sit at moments of leisure, ing wearied or over-stimulated. Its chairs should and feel a positive though quiet delight in the be meant for the human body to sit in comfort. mere act of looking around one. The picture is ably and naturally, without being cramped, con- in itself a beautiful one, and, like every other fined, or chafed. Its sofas should be similarly thing of beauty, is a joy for ever. And, lest any designed for the human body to lie upon, without reader should fancy that a room like that which being doubled up into a physiologically indistin- we have imagined is beyond the reach of humble guishable mass. Its tables should hold such purses, it may be added that every one may gaze things 'as are useful for the main purpose of a on such a picture himself for no greater outlay drawing-room, and not such things as merely than one hundred pounds. That is not a penny incommode and bother the inmates. Its hearth more than is ordinarily spent upon the gilt-andshould be placed where every one can see the white paper and blue-satin chairs of the commonfire, and its seats should be so arranged that they place eight-roomed London cottage. Beautiful may all look in that direction. Its lights should carpets, wall-papers, and curtains now cost no occupy the best places for lighting the room as a more than ugly ones; and only the taste, not the whole, and the books, papers, or music in par- money, is wanting to-day wherever we find inarticular. Its purely ornamental objects should be tistic or uncomfortable homes. set where they can be best and most effectively
A RECOLLECTION OF 1848.*
T PASSED the whole winter of 1847 and 1848 his place at mine. On my consenting, he dropped 1 in Paris. My residence there was not far into a chair, pushed back his old high hat, and, from the Palais Royal, whither I went nearly crossing his bony hands on his thick knobbed every morning to drink coffee and read the news- stick, ordered a cup of coffee. When the waiter papers. At that time the Palais Royal had not brought him a paper, he motioned it away with yet become almost entirely desolate, though the a shrug of the shoulders. We exchanged a few days of its glory had even then long been past – careless words, and I remember that he mutthat peculiar glory, I mean, which caused our tered, half audibly: "Cursed times! ScounRussian veterans of 1814 and 1815 to say, when- drelly times !” Then he drained his cup quickever they met any one who had just come from ly, and went away. Paris, “And how does our dear good Palais The impression he left upon me did not disRoyal come on?”
appear so easily. He was evidently a native of One day in the beginning of February, 1848, the south of France, of Gascony, or Provence. I sat by one of the little tables which were placed His bronzed face, scored with furrows, his around the Café de la Rotonde. A tall man, sunken cheeks, toothless mouth, hollow, croakspare and withered-looking, with black hair turn- ing voice, even the soiled, worn-out coat, which ing to gray, and wearing on his aquiline nose a seemed to have been made for some one else — pair of spectacles with rusted metal and smoke- all bore witness to a restless, wandering, troudarkened glasses, stepped out of the café, cast a bled life. “A broken, beaten man," I thought; glance around, and, seeing that all the other ta. “one who has been driven hither and thither by bles were occupied, asked for permission to take storms, and who is not in difficulties for the first * This little sketch has one great fault-it seems to
time. He has evidently passed his whole life in contain prophecies made after the happening of the want and misery. Whence comes the half-conevents foretold. But I affirm that the person of whom I scious, half-involuntary expression of perplexity speak really existed, and said to me what I repeat here. which shows itself in his face, his motions, his bent form, and his slow gait? The poor and careless tone with which he uttered his parahumble do not usually have such an aspect." I doxes! No, he was not a confidence operawas especially impressed by his eyes, which were tor. dark brown, with yellowish whites. Sometimes “You understand that the King won't conthey were wide open, while he looked straight sent to anything like a reform?” I said after a before him, gloomy and motionless. Then he pause. “Yet the demands of the opposition would contract them in a peculiar way, while he don't seem unreasonable.". elevated his bushy eyebrows and cast sidelong “I know that—I know that,” said he careglances across the rims of his spectacles. At lessly. “Extension of the suffrage, formation of such times an expression of bitterness and scorn new voting classes—words! words! There will would spread over his face. However, I did not be no banquet. The King won't allow it. Guithink about him very long just then. All Paris zot is opposed to it. However,” he added, as he was excited over the anticipated Reform Ban- no doubt noticed the not very favorable impresquet, and I soon began reading the papers. sion his words made upon me, “ the deuce take
The next day I returned to the Palais Royal, politics! To be engaged in them is interesting, and again met there the man I had seen on the but to stand and gaze while others do the acting preceding day. He smiled slightly, and spoke to is foolish. The little dogs do that, while the big me immediately, like an old acquaintance. Ale ones-enjoy life. Nothing is left for the little though other tables were unoccupied, he seated dogs but to yelp and whine. Let's talk about himself at my side without speaking, as though something else.” his society could not be disagreeable to me. I don't remember what we did talk of immeThen began the following conversation : diately after that.
“You are a foreigner-a Russian,” he said “Of course you go to the theatre," he soon suddenly, while he slowly moved the spoon about said, with a suddenness which I had already noin his cup.
ticed, and which made me think he paid little at“You can tell I'm a foreigner by my pronun- tention to what any one said to him. “All you ciation," I answered. “But why do you con- Russians are great patrons of the theatre." clude that I'm a Russian ?”
“Yes, I go sometimes." “Why? You said pardon' in a drawling “And you are charmed with our actors, I tone. Only Russians talk in that sing-song way. suppose ?" But I knew you were a Russian anyhow.”
“With some of them, especially at the ComéI was about to ask him to explain himself die Française.” more clearly, but he began speaking again. “ It is good taste," he continued, with a
“You have done well to come here just at thoughtful manner, " that ruins our actors. this time. It's an interesting time for travelers. These stage traditions and conservatisms are You will see great things."
what destroy their acting. They are all frozen “What, for instance?"
and lifeless, like the frozen fish one sees at your “ Listen! It's now the beginning of Febru- Russian markets in winter. Not one of our playary. Before a month passes France will be a re- ers knows how to say "I love you' without public."
stretching his legs apart like a pair of compasses “A republic ?"
and rolling his eyes around with a ridiculous, lan“ Yes, a republic. But don't be in a hurry to guishing expression. And that comes from good rejoice, if you consider it a thing to rejoice over, taste. One can see good players only in Italy Before a year has gone by, the Bonapartes will nowadays. When I lived in Naples—by the way, own this same France."
what do you think of the new Constitution which His face, as he said this, assumed a cynical King Bomba has just granted to his faithful subexpression.
jects? He won't forgive them that act of grace When he spoke of the republic I did not take very soon. Ah, surely not! Well, then, when I much interest in what he said, but said to my- was in Naples, there were some good fellows at self: “He takes me for an unsophisticated Scyth- the People's Theatre there. But, the deuce take ian, and wants to enlighten me. But the Bona- it, every Italian is an actor! It's in their natures, partes! Why in the world did he select them ? while, as for us, we only lag along, far behind naWho thought of the Bonapartes at that epoch in ture. Our best comedians can't compare with the reign of Louis Philippe ? Or, at any rate, the first Italian street-preacher you may chance who spoke of them? Was my companion one to meet. Per le santissime anime del purgaof those persons who like to gull people? or one torio !" he cried suddenly, with a nasal, drawlof those chevaliers d'industrie who infest the ing tone, and, as far as I could judge, with the hotels and cafés, on the watch for strangers to purest Neapolitan accent. fleece? And yet, his independent manner, the I began laughing, and so did he, making no noise, but opening his mouth wide, and looking at fault in quoting a Latin sentence which no one at me over his spectacles.
asked you to quote?” “But Rachel—" I began.
The stranger smiled coldly, as though he had “Rachel-yes, she is a power-she's like understood my thoughts. Meyerbeer, who cajoles and threatens us con- “Oh, literature is not an art,” he said, with a stantly with his · Prophets.' 'I will give—no, I kind of carelessness in his manner. “Literature will not give.' He is a skillful man, a maestro; ought by all means to amuse, and biographical but not in the musical sense. Certainly not! literature is the only kind that does amuse." Rachel has deteriorated lately, and you are to “You are particularly fond of biographies, blame for it, you foreign gentlemen! In Italy then?" there's an actress named Ristori. They say she “No, you don't understand what I mean. I has just married some marquis or other, and that was speaking of those works in which the author the stage is going to lose her. It's a pity. She's talks about himself, and exposes himself to the good, though she does grimace a little."
judgment—that is, to the laughter-of the read"Were you in Italy long?"
er. That's all a writer can do, and on that ac“Yes, I wandered around in that country, too. count Montaigne is the greatest of all writers. Where haven't I been ?”
He's really the only one.” “Even in Russia, it seems ?”
“He's considered a great egotist," I inter“You love music, too?" he suddenly asked, jected. without answering my question. “You go to “Yes, but that's his strong point. He alone the opera ?"
has been sharp enough to exhibit himself in eve"I do love music.”
ry case as an egotist and a subject for laughter. “Ah, that's a matter of course! You are a That's just why he amuses me. I read one page Slav, and all Slays are enthusiasts about music. after another, think how ridiculous he is, and Well, now, that's the last of the arts, my dear stop thinking how ridiculous I am myself. E sir. When music makes no impression on people basta !”. it bores them, and when it does make an impres- “How about the poets?" sion it's hurtful.”
“Oh, poets occupy themselves with music“Why is it hurtful ? "
with word-music-and you know my opinion of “Because it's enervating, like overheated music.” baths. Ask the doctors.”
“What should one read, then? And what " And what do you think of the other arts?" should the people read? Or do you think people
“There is only one art, sir. It is sculpture. oughtn't to read at all ?” That's an art-cold, sensationless, and powerful. I had noticed on his finger a ring with a coatIt gives men conceptions—or, if you will, decep- of-arms, and, in spite of his miserable appearance, tions—about immortality and eternity.”
his manner made me think he was familiar with "And painting ?”
aristocratic ideas, and might even be of aristo" Painting ? There's too much blood, too cratic extraction. much flesh, too much sin in it. They paint nude “The people ought to read," he answered. figures. A statue is never nude. Why should “But just what they read is of no importance, any one heat men's blood ? It's not at all neces. They say your Russian peasants all read one and sary. All men are guilt-laden, criminal, eaten up the same book” (“Francile the Venetian,"* I by fleshly lust, from head to foot.”
thought). “After they have read one copy into “ All eaten up?"
tatters they buy another. And they're right, “ All! You, I, even that good-natured-look- Their reading gives them a certain importance in ing old boy there buying a doll for his own or their own eyes, and keeps them from thinking. some other person's child. All are full of guilt. As for those who go to church, they needn't read There's a criminal court in the life of everybody, at all." and no one has a right to imagine that he ought “Do you concede such importance to renot to be brought into that cursed little prisoner's ligion?” dock."
The stranger eyed me over his spectacles. “You must know this better than most peo- “I don't believe in God, my good sir," he ple," I said, in spite of myself.
said. “But religion is an important thing. “I certainly do. Experto credi" (instead of Priesthood is, perhaps, the best calling in the crede) “ Roberto."
world. Droll fellows, these clergymen! They “And what do you think of literature ?” alone have gotten at the true nature of power. I asked, carrying on my examination. “If you want to make a fool of me," I thought, “why * A popular tale, in the style of “ The Four Children shouldn't I make a fool of you, too-you who are of Haimon."