Sun-Painting and Sun-Sculpture: With a Stereoscopic Trip Across the Atlantic
THERE is one old fable which Lord Bacon, in his “ Wisdom of the Ancients,” has not interpreted. This is the flaying of Marsyas by Apollo. Everybody remembers the accepted version of it, namely,— that the young shepherd found Minerva’s flute, and was rash enough to enter into a musical contest with the God of Music. He was vanquished, of course, — and the story is, that the victor fastened him to a tree and flayed him alive.
But the God of Song was also the God of Light, and a moment’s reflection reveals the true significance of this seemingly barbarous story. Apollo was pleased with his young rival, fixed him in position against an iron rest, (the tree of the fable,) and took a photograph, a sunpicture, of him. This thin film or skin of light and shade was absurdly interpreted as being the cutis, or untanned leather integument of the young shepherd. The human discovery of the art of photography enables us to rectify the error and restore that important article of clothing to the youth, as well as to vindicate the character of Apollo. There is one spot less upon the sun since the theft from heaven of Prometheus Daguerre and his fellow - adventurers has enabled us to understand the ancient legend.
We are now flaying our friends and submitting to be flayed ourselves, every few years or months or days, by the aid of the trenchant sunbeam which performed the process for Marsyas. All the world has to submit to it, —kings and queens with the rest. The monuments of Art and the face of Nature herself are treated in the same way. We lift an impalpable scale from the surface of the Pyramids. We slip off from the dome of St. Peter’s that other imponderable dome which fitted it so closely that it betrays every scratch on the original. We skim off a thin, dry cuticle from the rapids of Niagara, and lay it on our unmoistened paper without breaking a bubble or losing a speck of foam. We steal a landscape from its lawful owners, and defy the charge of dishonesty. We skin the flints by the wayside, and nobody accuses us of meanness.
These miracles are being worked all around us so easily and so cheaply that most people have ceased to think of them as marvels. There is a photographer established in every considerable village, — nay, one may not unfrequently see a photographic ambulance standing at the wayside upon some vacant lot where it can squat unchallenged in the midst of burdock and plantain and apple-Peru, or making a long halt in the middle of a common by special permission of the “ Selectmen.”
We must not forget the inestimable preciousness of the new Promethean gifts because they have become familiar. Think first of the privilege we all possess now of preserving the lineaments and looks of those dear to us.
“ Blest be the art which can immortalize,”
said Cowper. But remember how few painted portraits really give their subjects. Recollect those wandering Thugs of Art whose murderous doings with the brush used frequently to involve whole families ; who passed from one country tavern to another, eating and painting their way, — feeding a week upon the landlord, another week upon the landlady, and two or three days apiece upon the children ; as the walls of those hospitable edifices too frequently testify even to the present day. Then see what faithful memorials of those whom we love and would remember are put into our hands by the new art, with the most trifling expenditure of time and money.
This new art is old enough already to have given us the portraits of infants who are now growing into adolescence. Byand-by it will show every aspect of life in the same individual, from the earliest week to the last year of senility. We are beginning to see what it will reveal. Children grow into beauty and out of it. The first line in the forehead, the first streak in the hair are chronicled without malice, but without extenuation. The footprints of thought, of passion, of purpose are all treasured in these fossilized shadows. Family-traits show themselves in early infancy, die out, and reappear. Flitting moods which have escaped one pencil of sunbeams are caught by another. Each new picture gives us a new aspect of our friend ; we find he had not one face, but many.
It is hardly too much to say, that those whom we love no longer leave us in dying, as they did of old. They remain with us just as they appeared in life ; they look down upon us from our walls; they lie upon our tables ; they rest upon our bosoms; nay, if we will, we may wear their portraits, like signet-rings, upon our fingers. Our own eyes lose the images pictured on them. Parents sometimes forget the faces of their own children in a separation of a year or two. But the unfading artificial retina which has looked upon them retains their impress, and a fresh sunbeam lays this on the living nerve as if it were radiated from the breathing shape. How these shadows last, and how their originals fade away !
What is true of the faces of our friends is still more true of the places we have seen and loved. No picture produces an impression on the imagination to compare with a photographic transcript of the home of our childhood, or any scene with which we have been long familiar. The very point which the artist omits, in his effort to produce general effect, may be exactly the one that individualizes the place most strongly to our memory. There, for instance, is a photographic view of our own birthplace, and with it of a part of our good old neighbor’s dwelling. An artist would hardly have noticed a slender, dry, leafless stalk which traces a faint line, as you may see, along the front of our neighbor’s house next the corner. That would be nothing to him, — but to us it marks the stem of the honeysuckle-vine, which we remember, with its pink and white heavy-scented blossoms, as long as we remember the stars in heaven.
To tins charm of fidelity in the minutest details the stereoscope adds its astonishing illusion of solidity, and thus completes the effect which so entrances the imagination. Perhaps there is also some half-magnetic, effect in the fixing of the eyes on the twin pictures,—something like Mr. Braid’s hypnotism, of which many of our readers have doubtless heard. At least the shutting out of surrounding objects, and the concentration of the whole attention, which is a consequence of this, produce a dream-like exaltation of the faculties, a kind of clairvoyance, in which we seem to leave the body behind us and sail away into one strange scene after another, like disembodied spirits.
“ Ah, yes,” some unimaginative reader may say ; “but there is no color and no motion in these pictures you think so life-like ; and at best they are but petty miniatures of the objects we see in Nature.”
But color is, after all, a very secondary quality as compared with form. We like a good crayon portrait better for the most part in black and white than in tints of pink and blue and brown. Mr. Gibson has never succeeded in making the world like his flesh-colored statues. The color of a landscape varies perpetually, with the season, with the hour of the day, with the weather, and as seen by sunlight or moonlight; yet our home stirs us with its old associations, seen in any and every light.
As to motion, though of course it is not present in stereoscopic pictures, except in those toy-contrivances which have been lately introduced, yet it is wonderful to see how nearly the effect of motion is produced by the slight difference of light on the water or on the leaves of trees as seen by the two eyes in the double-picture.
And lastly with respect to size, the illusion is on the part of those who suppose that the eye, unaided, ever sees anything but miniatures of objects. Here is a new experiment to convince those who have not reflected on the subject that the stereoscope shows us objects of their natural size.
We had a stereoscopic view taken by Mr. Soule out of our parlor-window, overlooking the town of Cambridge, with the river and the bridge in the foreground. Now, placing this view in the stereoscope, and looking with the left eye at the right stereographic picture, while the right eye looked at the natural landscape, through the window where the view was taken, it was not difficult so to adjust the photographic and real views that one overlapped the other, and then it was shown that the two almost exactly coincided in all their dimensions.
Another point in which the stereograph differs from every other delineation is in the character of its evidence. A simple photographic picture may be tampered with. A lady's portrait has been known to come out of the finishing-artist’s room ten years younger than when it left the camera. But try to mend a stereograph and you will soon find the difference. Your marks and patches float above the picture and never identify themselves with it. We had occasion to put a little cross on the pavement of a double photograph of Canterbury Cathedral, — copying another stereoscopic picture where it was thus marked. By careful management the two crosses were made perfectly to coincide in the field of vision, but the image seemed suspended above the pavement, and did not absolutely designate any one stone, as it would have done, if it had been a part of the original picture. The impossibility of the stereograph's perjuring itself is a curious illustration of the law of evidence. “ At the mouth of two witnesses, or of three, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one he shall not be put to death.” No woman may be declared youthful on the strength of a single photograph; but if the stereoscopic twins say she is young, let her be so acknowledged in the high court of chancery of the God of Love.
Some two or three years since, we called the attention of the readers of this magazine to the subject of the stereoscope and the stereograph. Some of our expressions may have seemed extravagant, as if heated by the interest which a curious novelty might not unnaturally excite. We have not lost any of the enthusiasm and delight which that article must have betrayed. After looking over perhaps a hundred thousand stereographs and making a collection of about a thousand, we should feel the same excitement on receiving a new lot to look over and select from as in those early days of our experience. To make sure that this early interest has not cooled, let us put on record one or two convictions of the present moment.
First, as to the wonderful nature of the invention. If a strange planet should happen to come within hail, and one of its philosophers were to ask us, as it passed, to hand him the most remarkable material product of human skill, we should offer him, without a moment’s hesitation, a stereoscope containing an instantaneous double-view of some great thoroughfare, — one of Mr. Anthony’s views of Broadway, (No. 203,) for instance.
Secondly, of all artificial contrivances for the gratification of human taste, wc seriously question whether any offers so much, on the whole, to the enjoyment of the civilized races as the self-picturing of Art and Nature,— with three exceptions : namely, dress, the most universal, architecture, the most imposing, and music, the most exciting, of factitious sources of pleasure.
No matter whether this be an extravagance or an over-statement; none can dispute that we have a new and wonderful source of pleasure in the sun-picture, and especially in the solid sun-sculpture of the stereograph. Yet there is a strange indifference to it, even up to the present moment, among many persons of cultivation and taste. They do not seem to have waked up to the significance of the miracle which the Lord of Light is working for them. The cream of the visible creation has been skimmed off; and the sights which men risk their lives and spend their money and endure sea-sickness to behold,—the views of Nature and Art which make exiles of entire families for the sake of a look at them, and render “ bronchitis” and dyspepsia, followed by leave of absence, endurable dispensations to so many worthy shepherds, — these sights, gathered from Alps, temples, palaces, pyramids, are offered you for a trifle, to carry home with you, that you may look at them at your leisure, by your fireside, with perpetual fair weather, when you are in the mood, without catching cold, without following a valet-de-place, in any order of succession, — from a glacier to Vesuvius, from Niagara to Memphis,— as long as you like, and breaking off as suddenly as you like; — and you, native of this incomparably dull planet, have hardly troubled yourself to look at this divine gift, which, if an angel had brought it from some sphere nearer to the central throne, would have been thought worthy of the celestial messenger to whom it was intrusted !
It seemed to us that it might possibly awaken an interest in some of our readers, if we should carry them with us through a brief stereographie trip, — describing, not from places, but from the photographic pictures of them which we have in our own collection. Again, those who have collections may like to compare their own opinions of particular pictures mentioned with those here expressed, and those who are buying stereographs may be glad of some guidance in choosing.
But the reader must remember that this trip gives him only a glimpse of a few scenes selected out of our gallery of a thousand. To visit them all, as tourists visit the realities, and report what we saw, with the usual explanations and historical illustrations, would make a formidable book of travels.
Before we set out, we must know something of the sights of our own country. At least we must see Niagara. The great fall shows infinitely best on glass. Thomson’s “ Point View, 28,” would be a perfect picture of the Falls in summer, if a lady in the foreground had not moved her shawl while the pictures were taking, or in the interval between taking the two. His winter view, “Terrapin Tower, 37,” is perfection itself. Both he and Evans have taken fine views of the rapids, instantaneous, catching the spray as it leaped and the clouds overhead. Of Blondin on his rope there are numerous views ; standing on one foot, on his head, carrying a man on his back, and one frightful picture, where he hangs by one leg, head downward, over the abyss. The best we have seen is Evans’s No. 5, a front view, where every muscle stands out in perfect relief, and the symmetry of the most unimpressible of mortals is finely shown. It literally makes the head swim to fix the eyes on some of these pictures. It is a relief to get away from such fearful sights and look up at the Old Man of the Mountain. There stands the face, without any humanizing help from the hand of an artist. Mr, Bierstadt has given it to us very well. Rather an imbecile old gentleman, one would say, with his mouth open; a face such as one may see hanging about railway-stations, and, what is curious, a New-England style of countenance. Let us flit again, and just take a look at the level sheets of water and broken falls of Trenton, — at the oblong, almost squared arch of the Natural Bridge, — at the ruins of the Pemberton Mills, still smoking,— and so come to Mr, Barum's “ Historical Series.” Clark’s Island, with the great rock by which the Pilgrims “rested, according to the commandment,” on the first Sunday, or Sabbath, as they loved to call it, which they passed in the harbor of Plymouth, is the most interesting of them all to us. But here are many scenes of historical interest connected with the great names and events of our past. The Washington Elm, at Cambridge, (through the branches of which we saw the first sunset we ever looked upon, from this planet, at least,) is here in all its magnificent drapery of hanging foliage. Mr. Soule has given another beautiful view of it, when stripped of its leaves, equally remarkable for the delicacy of its pendent, hair-like spray.
We should keep the reader half an hour looking through this series, if we did not tear ourselves abruptly away from it. We are bound for Europe, and are to leave viâ New York immediately.
Here we are in the main street of the great city. This is Mr. Anthony’s miraculous instantaneous view in Broadway, (No. 203,) before referred to. It is the Oriental story of the petrified city made real to our eyes. The character of it is, perhaps, best shown by the use we make of it in our lectures, to illustrate the physiology of walking. Every foot is caught in its movement with such suddenness that it shows as clearly as if quite still. We are surprised to see, in one figure, how long the stride is, — in another, how much the knee is bent, — in a third, how curiously the heel strikes the ground before the rest of the foot,—in all, how singularly the body is accommodated to the action of walking. The facts which the brothers Weber, laborious German experimenters and observers, had carefully worked out on the bony frame, are illustrated by the various individuals comprising this moving throng. But what a wonder it is, this snatch at the central life of a mighty city as it rushed by in all its multitudinous complexity of movement ! Hundreds of objects in this picture could be identified in a court of law by their owners. There stands Car No. 33 of the Astor House and Twenty-Seventh Street Fourth Avenue line. The old woman would miss an apple from that pile which you see glistening on her stand. The young man whose back is to us could swear to the pattern of his shawl. The gentleman between two others will no doubt remember that he had a headache the next morning, after this walk he is taking. Notice the caution with which the man driving the dapple-gray horse in a cart loaded with barrels holds his reins, —wide apart, one in each hand. See the shop-boys with their bundles, the young fellow with a lighted cigar in his hand, as you see by the way he keeps it off from his body, the gamin stooping to pick up something in the midst of the moving omnibuses, the stout philosophical carman sitting on his cart-tail, Newman Noggs by the lamp-post at the corner. Nay, look into Car No. 33 and you may see the passengers; — is that a young woman’s face turned toward you looking out of the window? See how the faithful sun-print advertises the rival establishment of “ Meade Brothers, Ambrotypes and Photographs.” What a fearfully suggestive picture! It is a leaf torn from the book of God’s recording angel. What if the sky is one great concave mirror, which reflects the picture of all our doings, and photographs every act on which it looks upon dead and living surfaces, so that to celestial eyes the stones on which we tread are written with our deeds, and the leaves of the forest are but undeveloped negatives where our summers stand self-recorded for transfer into the imperishable record ? And what a metaphysical puzzle have we here in this simplelooking paradox! Is motion but a succession of rests ? All is still in this picture of universal movement. Take ten thousand instantaneous photographs of the great thoroughfare in a day; every one of them will be as still as the tableau in the “ Enchanted Beauty.” Yet the hurried day’s life of Broadway will have been made up of just such stillnesses. Motion is as rigid as marble, if you only take a wink’s worth of it at a time.
We are all ready to embark now. Here is the harbor; and there lies the Great Eastern at anchor, — the biggest island that ever got adrift. Stay one moment,— they will ask us about secession and the revolted States,— it may be as well to take a look at Charleston, for an instant, before we go.
Those three stereographs were sent us by a lady now residing in Charleston. The Battery, the famous promenade of the Charlestonians, since armed with twenty-four-pounders facing Fort Sumter ; the interior of Fort Moultrie, with the guns spiked by Major Anderson; and a more extensive view of the same interior, with the flag of the seven stars, (corresponding to the seven deadly sins,) — the free end of it tied to a gun-carriage, as if to prevent the winds of the angry heaven from rending it to tatters. In the distance, to the right, Fort Sumter, looking remote and inaccessible, — the terrible rattle which our foolish little spoiled sister Caroline has insisted on getting into her rash hand. How ghostly, yet how real, it looms up out of the dim atmosphere,— the guns looking over the wall and out through the embrasures,—meant for a foreign foe,—this very day (April 13th) turned in self-defence against the children of those who once fought for liberty at Fort Moultrie ! It is a sad thought that there are truths which can be got out of life only by the destructive analysis of war. Statesmen deal in proximate principles, — unstable compounds; but war reduces facts to their simple elements in its red-hot crucible, with its black flux of carbon and sulphur and nitre. Let us turn our back on this miserable, even though inevitable, fraternal strife, and, closing our eyes for an instant, open them in London.
Here we are at the foot of Charing Cross. You remember, of course, how this fine equestrian statue of Charles I. was condemned to be sold and broken up by the Parliament, but was buried and saved by the brazier who purchased it, and so reappeared after the Restoration. To the left, the familiar words “ Morley’s Hotel” designate an edifice about half windows, where the plebeian traveller may sit and contemplate Northumberland House opposite, and the straight-tailed lion of the Pereys surmounting the lofty battlement which crowns its broad facade. We could describe and criticize the statue as well as if we stood under it, but other travellers have done that. Where are all the people that ought to be seen here? Hardly more than three or four figures are to be made out; the rest were moving, and left no images in this slow, oldfashioned picture, — how unlike the miraculous “instantaneous” Broadway of Mr. Anthony we were looking at a little while ago ! But there, on one side, an omnibus has stopped long enough to be caught by the sunbeams. There is a mark on it. Try it with a magnifier.
Charing + Strand 633.
Here are the towers of Westminster Abbey. A dead failure, as we well remember them, — miserable modern excrescences, which shame the noble edifice. We will hasten on, and perhaps by-andby come back and enter the cathedral.
How natural Temple Bar looks, with the loaded coach and the cab going through the central arch, and the blur of the hurrying throng darkening the small lateral ones! A fine old structure, — always reminds a Bostonian of the old arch over which the mysterious Boston Library was said still to linger out its existence late into the present century. But where are the spikes on which the rebels’ heads used to grin until their jaws fell off ? They must have been ranged along that ledge which forms the chord of the arch surmounting the triple-gated structure. To the left a woman is spreading an awning before a shop; — a man would do it for her here. Ghost of a boy with bundle,—seen with right eye only. Other ghosts of passers or loiterers, — one of a pretty woman, as we fancy at least, by the way she turns her face to us. To the right, fragments of signs, as follow:
What can this be but 229, Patent Combs and Brushes, PROUT ? At any rate, we were looking after Prout’a good old establishment, (229, Strand,) which we remembered was close to Temple Bar, when we discovered these fragments, the rest being cut off by the limits of the picture.
London Bridge ! Less imposing than Waterloo Bridge, but a massive pile of masonry, which looks as if its rounded piers would defy the Thames as long as those of the Bridge of Sant’ Angelo have stemmed the Tiber. Figures indistinct or invisible, as usual, in the foreground, but farther on a mingled procession of coaches, cabs, carts, and people. See the groups in the recesses over the piers. The parapet is breast-high; — a woman can climb over it, and drop or leap into the dark stream lying in deep shadow, under the arches. Women take this leap often. The angels hear them like the Splash of drops of blood out of the heart of our humanity. In the distance, wharves, storehouses, stately edifices, steeples, and rising proudly above them, “ like a tall bully,” London Monument.
Here we are, close to the Monument. Tall, square base, with reliefs, fluted columns, queer top ;—looks like an inverted wineglass with a shaving-brush standing up on it: representative of flame, probably. Below this the square cage in which people who have climbed the stairs are standing; seems to be ten or twelve feet high, and is barred or wired over. Women used to jump off from the Monument as well as from London Bridge, before they made the cage safe in this way.
“ Holloa !” said a man standing in the square one day, to his companion,— “ there’s the flag coming down from the Monument! ”
“ It ‘s no flag,” said the other, “it’s a woman! ”
Sure enough, and so it was.
Nobody can mistake the four pepperboxes, with the four weathercocks on them, surmounting the corners of a great square castle, a little way from the river’s edge. That is the Tower of London. We see it behind the masts of sailing-vessels and the chimneys of steamers, gray and misty in the distance. Let us come nearer to it. Four square towers, crowned by four Oriental-looking domes, not unlike the lower half of an inverted balloon : these towers at the angles of a square building with buttressed and battlemented walls, with two ranges of round-arched windows on the side towards us. But connected with this building are other towers, round, square, octagon, walls with embrasures, moats, loop-holes, turrets, parapets,— looking as if the beef-eaters really meant to hold out, if a new army of Boulogne should cross over some fine morning. We can’t stop to go in and see the lions this morning, for we have come in sight of a great dome, and we cannot take our eyes away from it.
That is St. Paul’s, the Boston StateHouse of London. There is a resemblance in effect, but there is a difference in dimensions, — to the disadvantage of the native edifice, as the reader may see in the plate prefixed to Dr. Bigelow’s “ Technology.” The dome itself looks light and airy compared to St. Peter’s or the Duomo of Florence,—not only absolutely, but comparatively. The colonnade on which it rests divides the honors with it. It does not brood over the city, as those two others over their subject towns. Michel Angelo’s forehead repeats itself in the dome of St. Peter’s. Sir Christopher had doubtless a less ample frontal development; indeed, the towers he added to Westminster Abbey would almost lead us to doubt if he had not a vacancy somewhere in his brain. But the dome of the London “ State-House ” is very graceful, — so light that it looks as if its lineage had been crossed by a spire. Wait until we have gilded the dome of our Boston St. Paul’s before drawing any comparisons.
We have seen the outside of London, What do we care for the Crescent, and the Horseguards, and Nelson’s Monument, and the statue of Achilles, and the new Houses of Parliament ? The Abbey, the Tower, the Bridge, Temple Bar, the Monument, St. Paul’s : these make up the great features of the London we dream about. Let us go into the Abbey for a few moments. The “ dim religious light ” is pretty good, after all. We can read every letter on that mural tablet to the memory of “ the most illustrious and most benevolent John Paul Howard, Earl of Stafford,” “a Lover of his Country, A Relation to Relations” (what a eulogy and satire in that expression !) and in many ways virtuous and honorable, as “ The Countess Dowager, in Testimony of her great Affection and Respect to her Lord’s Memory,” has commemorated on his monument. We can see all the folds of the Duchess of Suffolk’s dress, and the meshes of the net that confines her hair, as she lies in marble effigy on her sculptured sarcophagus. It looks old to our eyes, — for she was the mother of Lady Jane Grey, and died three hundred years ago, — but see those two little stone heads lying on their stone pillow, just beyond the marble Duchess. They are children of Edward III., — the Black Prince’s baby-brothers. They died five hundred years ago, — but what are centuries in Westminster Abbey ? Under this pillared canopy, her head raised on two stone cushions, her fair, still features bordered with the spreading cap we know so well in her portraits, lies Mary of Scotland. These fresh monuments, protected from the wear of the elements, seem to make twenty generations our contemporaries. Look at this husband warding off the dart which the grim, draped skeleton is aiming at the breast of his fainting wife. Most famous, perhaps, of all the statues in the Abbey is this of Joseph Gascoigne Nightingale and his Lady, by Roubilliac. You need not cross the ocean to see it. It is here, literally to every dimple in the back of the falling hand, and every crinkle of the vermiculated stone-work. What a curious pleasure it is to puzzle out the inscriptions on the monuments in the background ! — for the beauty of your photograph is, that you may work out minute details with the microscope, just as you can with the telescope in a distant landscape in Nature. There is a lady, for instance, leaning upon an urn,—suggestive, a little, of Morgiana and the forty thieves. Above is a medallion of one wearing a full periwig. Now for a half-inch lens to make out the specks that seem to be letters. “ Erected to the Memory of William Pulteney, Earl of Bath, by his Brother”—That will do, — the inscription operates as a cold bath to enthusiasm. But here is our own personal namesake, the once famous Rear Admiral of the White, whose biography we can find nowhere except in the “ Gentleman’s Magazine,” where he divides the glory of the capture of Quebec with General Wolfe. A handsome young man with hyacinthine locks, his arms bare and one hand resting on a cannon. We remember thinking our namesake’s statue one of the most graceful in the Abbey, and have always fallen back on the memory of that and of Dryden’s Achates of the “ Annus Mirabilis,” as trophies of the family.
Enough of these marbles; there is no end to them ; the walls and floor of the great, many-arched, thousand-pillared, sky-lifted cavern are crusted all over with them, like stalactites and stalagmites. The vast temple is alive with the images of the dead. Kings and queens, nobles, statesmen, soldiers, admirals, the great men whose deeds we all know, the great writers whose words are in all our memories, the brave and the beautiful whose fame has shrunk into their epitaphs, are all around us. What is the cry for alms that meets us at the door of the church to the mute petition of these marble beggars, who ask to warm their cold memories for a moment in our living hearts ? Look up at the mighty arches overhead, borne up on tall clustered columns, — as if that avenue of Royal Palms we remember in the West India Islands (photograph) had been spirited over seas and turned into stone. Make your obeisance to the august shape of Sir Isaac Newton, reclining like a weary swain in the niche at the side of the gorgeous screen. Pass through Henry VII.’s Chapel, a temple cut like a cameo. Look at the shining oaken stalls of the knights. See the banners overhead. There is no such speaking record of the lapse of time as these banners,— there is one of them beginning to drop to pieces; the long day of a century has decay for its dial-shadow.
We have had a glimpse of London,— let us make an excursion to Stratford-onAvon.
Here you see the Shakspeare House as it was, — wedged in between, and joined to, the “ Swan and Maidenhead ” Tavern and a mean and dilapidated brick building, not much worse than itself, however. The first improvement (as you see in No. 2) was to pull down this brick building. The next (as you see in No. 3) was to take away the sign and the bay-window of the Swan and Maidenhead” and raise two gables out of its roof, so as to restore something like its ancient aspect. Then a rustic fence was put up and the outside arrangements were completed. The cracked and faded sign projects as we remember it of old. In No. 1 you may read “ THE IMMORTAL .HAKESpeare . . . Born in This House ” about as well as if you had been at the trouble and expense of going there.
But here is the back of the house. Did little Will use to look out at this window with the bull’s-eye panes ? Did he use to drink from this old pump, or the well in which it stands? Did his shoulders rub against this angle of the old house, built with rounded bricks ? It is a strange picture, and sets us dreaming. Let us go in and up-stairs. In this room he was born. They say so, and we will believe it. Rough walls, rudely, boarded floor, wide window with small panes, small bust of him between two cactuses in bloom on window-seat. An old table covered with prints and stereographs, a framed picture, and under it a notice “ Copies of this Portrait”....the rest, in fine print, can only be conjectured.
Here is the Church of the Holy Trinity, in which he lies buried. The trees are bare that surround it; see the rooks’ nests in their tops. The Avon is hard by, dammed just here, with flood-gates, like a canal. Change the season, if you like,—here are the trees in leaf, and in their shadow the tombs and graves of the mute, inglorious citizens of Stratford.
Ah, how natural this interior, with its great stained window, its mural monuments, and its slab in the pavement with the awful inscription! That we cannot see here, but there is the tablet with the bust we know so well. But this, after all, is Christ’s temple, not Shakspeare’s. Here are the worshippers’ seats, — mark how the polished wood glistens,— there is the altar, and there the open prayer-book,— you can almost read the service from it. Of the many striking things that Henry Ward Beecher has said, nothing, perhaps, is more impressive than his account of his partaking of the communion at that altar in the church where Shakspeare rests. A memory more divine than his overshadowed the place, and he thought of Shakspeare, “ as he thought of ten thousand things, without the least disturbance of his devotion,” though he was kneeling directly over the poet’s dust.
If you will stroll over to Shottery now with me, we can see the Ann Hathaway cottage from four different points, which will leave nothing outside of it to be seen. Better to look at than to live in. A fearful old place, full of small vertebrates that squeak and smaller articulates that bite, if its outward promise can be trusted. A thick thatch covers it like a coarse-haired hide. It is patched together with bricks and timber, and partly crusted with scaling plaster. One window has the diamond panes framed in lead, such as we remember seeing of old in one or two ancient dwellings in the town of Cambridge, hard by. In this view a young man is sitting, pensive, on the steps which Master William, too ardent lover, used to climb with hot haste and descend with lingering delay. Young men die, but youth lives. Life goes on in the cottage just as it used to three hundred years ago. On the rail before the door sits the puss of the household, of the fiftieth generation, perhaps, from that “ harmless, necessary cat” which purred round the poet’s legs as he sat talking love with Ann Hathaway. At the foot of the steps is a huge basin, and over the rail hangs — a dishcloth, drying. In these homely accidents of the very instant, that cut across our romantic ideals with the sharp edge of reality, lies one of the ineffable charms of the sun-picture. It is a little thing that gives life to a scene or a face ; portraits are never absolutely alive, because they do not wink.
Come, we are full of Shakspeare; let us go up among the hills and see where another poet lived and lies. Here is Rydal Mount, the home of Wordsworth. Two-storied, ivy-clad, hedge-girdled, dropped into a crease among the hills that look down dimly from above, as if they were hunting after it as ancient dames hunt after a dropped thimble. In these walks he used to go “ booing about,” as his rustic neighbor had it, — reciting his own verses. Here is his grave in Grasmere. A plain slab, with nothing but his name. Next him lies Dora, his daughter, beneath a taller stone bordered with a tracery of ivy, and bearing in relief a lamb and a cross. Her husband lies next in the range. The three graves have just been shorn of their tall grass,— in this other view you may see them half-hidden by it. A few flowering stems have escaped the scythe in the first picture, and nestle close against the poet’s headstone. Hard by sleeps poor Hartley Coleridge, with a slab of freestone graven with a cross and a crown of thorns, and the legend, “ By thy Cross and Passion, Good Lord, deliver us.” 1 All around are the graves of those whose names the world has not known. This view, (302,) from above Rydal Mount, is so Claude-like, especially in its trees, that one wants the solemn testimony of the double-picture to believe it an actual transcript of Nature. Of the other English landscapes we have seen, one of the most pleasing on the whole is that marked 43,—Sweden Bridge, near Ambleside. But do not fail to notice St. Mary’s Church (101) in the same mountain-village. It grows out of the ground like a crystal, with spur-like gables budding out all the way up its spire, as if they were ready to flower into pinnacles, like such as have sprung up all over the marble multiflora of Milan.
And as we have been looking at a steeple, let us flit away for a moment and pay our reverence at the foot of the tallest spire in England, — that of Salisbury Cathedral. Here we see it from below, looking up, — one of the most striking pictures ever taken. Look well at it; Chichester has just fallen, and this is a good deal like it,— some have thought raised by the same builder. It has bent somewhat (as you may see in these other views) from the perpendicular; and though it has been strengthened with clamps and framework, it must crash some day or other, for there has been a great giant tugging at it day and night for five hundred years, and it will at last shut up into itself or topple over with a sound and thrill that will make the dead knights and bishops shake on their stone couches, and be remembered all their days by year-old children. This is the first cathedral we ever saw, and none ever so impressed us since. Vast, simple, awful in dimensions and height, just beginning to grow tall at the point where our proudest steeples taper out, it fills the whole soul, pervades the vast landscape over which it reigns, and, like Niagara and the Alps, abolishes that fiveor six-foot personality in the beholder which is fostered by keeping company with the little life of the day in its little dwellings. In the Alps your voice is as the piping of a cricket. Under the sheet of Niagara the beating of your heart seems too trivial a movement to take reckoning of. In the buttressed hollow of one of these palæozoic cathedrals you are ashamed of your ribs, and blush for the exiguous pillars of bone on which your breathing structure reposes. Before we leave Salisbury, let us look for a moment into its cloisters. A green court-yard, with a covered gallery on its level, opening upon it through a series of Gothic arches. You may learn more, young American, of the difference between your civilization and that of the Old World by one look at this than from an average lyceum-lecture an hour long. Seventy years of life means a great deal to you; how little, comparatively, to the dweller in these cloisters! You will have seen a city grow up about you, perhaps; your whole world will have been changed halt a dozen times over. What change for him? The cloisters are just as when he entered them,—just as they were a hundred years ago,—just as they will be a hundred years hence.
These old cathedrals are beyond all comparison what are best worth seeing, of man’s handiwork, in Europe. How great the delight to be able to bring them, bodily, as it were, to our own firesides ! A hundred thousand pilgrims a year used to visit Canterbury. Now Canterbury visits us. See that small white mark on the pavement. That marks the place where the slice of Thomas à Bucket’s skull fell when Reginald Fitz Urse struck it off with a “ Ha! ” that seems to echo yet through the vaulted arches. And see the broad stairs, worn by the pilgrims’ knees as they climbed to the martyr’s shrine. For four hundred years this stream of worshippers was wearing itself into these stones. But there was the place where they knelt before the altar called “Becket’s Crown.” No! the story that those deep hollows in the marble were made by the pilgrims’ knees is too much to believe,— but there are the hollows, and that is the story.
And now, if you would see a perfect gem of the art of photography, and at the same time an unquestioned monument of antiquity which no person can behold without interest, look upon this,— the monument of the Black Prince. There is hardly a better piece of work to be found. His marble effigy lies within a railing, with a sculptured canopy hung over it, like a sounding-board. Above this, on a beam stretched between two pillars, hang the arms he wore at the Battle of Poitiers,—the tabard, the shield, the helmet, the gauntlets, and the sheath that held his sword, which weapon it is said that Cromwell carried off. The outside casing of the shield has broken away, as you observe, but the lions or lizards, or whatever they were meant for, and the flower-de-luces or plumes may still be seen. The metallic scales, if such they were, have partially fallen from the tabard, or frock, and the leather shows bare in parts of it.
Here, hard by, is the sarcophagus of Henry IV and his queen, also inclosed with a railing like the other. It was opened about thirty years ago, in presence of the dean of the cathedral. There was a doubt, so it was said, as to the monarch’s body having been really buried there. Curiosity had nothing to do with it, it is to be presumed. Every over-ground sarcophagus is opened sooner or later, as a matter of course. It was hard work to get it open ; it had to be sawed. They found a quantity of hay,— fresh herbage, perhaps, when it was laid upon the royal body four hundred years ago.—and a cross of twigs. A silken mask was on the face. They raised it and saw his red beard, his features well preserved, a gap in the front-teeth, which there was probably no court-dentist to supply,— the same face the citizens looked on four centuries ago
AVhen Bolingbroke rode on roan Barbary”;
then they covered it up to take another nap of a few centuries, until another dean has an historical doubt,—at last, perhaps, to be transported by some future Australian Barnum to the Sidney Museum and exhibited as the mummy of one of the English Pharaohs. Look, too, at the “ Warriors’ Chapel,” in the same cathedral. It is a very beautiful stereograph, and may be studied for a long time, for it is full of the most curious monuments.
Before leaving these English churches and monuments, let us enter, if but for a moment, the famous Beauchamp Chapel at Warwick. The finest of the views (323, 324) recalls that of the Black Prince’s tomb, as a trinmph of photography. Thus, while the whole effect of the picture is brilliant and harmonious, we shall find, on taking a lens, that we can count every individual bead in the chaplet of the monk who is one of the more conspicuous reliefs on the sarcophagus. The figure of this monk itself is about half an inch in height, and its face may be completely hidden by the head of a pin. The whole chapel is a marvel of workmanship and beauty. The monument of Richard Beauchamp in the centre, with the frame of brass over the recumbent figure, intended to support the drapery thrown upon it to protect the statue,— with the mailed shape of the warrior, his feet in long-pointed shoes resting against the muzzled bear and the grilfin, his hands raised, but not joined,— this monument, with the tomb of Dudley, Earl of Leicester, — Elizabeth’s Leicester,— and that of the other Dudley, Earl of Warwick,—all enchased in these sculptured walls, and illuminated through that pictured window, where we can dimly see the outlines of saints and holy maidens,— form a group of monumental jewels such as only Henry VII.’s Chapel can equal. For these two pictures (323 and 324) let the poor student pawn his outside-coat, if he cannot have them otherwise.
Of abbeys and castles there is no end. No. 4, Tintern Abbey, is the finest, on the whole, we have ever seen. No. 2 is also very perfect and interesting. In both, the masses of ivy that clothe the ruins are given with wonderful truth and effect. Some of these views have the advantage of being very well colored. Warwick Castle (81) is one of the best, and most interesting of the series of castles ; Caernarvon is another still more striking.
We may as well break off here as anywhere, so far as England is concerned. England is one great burial-ground to an American. As islands are built up out of the shields of insects, so her soil is made from the bones of her innumerable generations. No one but a travelled American feels what it is to live in a land of monuments. We are all born foundlings, except here and there, in some favored spot, where humanity has nestled for a century or two. Cut flowers of romance and poetry stuck about are poor substitutes for the growths which have their roots in an old soil that has been changing elements with men and women like ourselves for thousands of years. Perhaps it is well that we should be forced to live mainly for the future ; but it is sometimes weary and prosaic.
And yet, — open this enchanted door (of pasteboard) which is the entrance to the land of BURNS, and see what one man can do to idealize and glorify the common life about him! Here is a poor “ ten-footer,” as we should call it, the cottage William “ Burness ” built with his own hands, where he carried his young bride Agnes, and where the boy ROBERT, his first-born, was given to the light and air which he made brighter and freer for mankind. Sit still and do not speak, — but see that your eyes do not grow dim as these pictures pass before them: The old hawthorn under which Burns sat with Highland Mary,— a venerable duenna-like tree, with thin arms and sharp elbows, and scanty chevelure of leaves; the Auld Brig o’ Doon (No. 4), — a daring arch that leaps the sweet stream at a bound, more than half clad in a mantle of ivy, which has crept with its larva-like feet beyond the key-stone ; the Twa Brigs of Ayr, with the beautiful reflections in the stream that shines under their eyebrow-arches; and poor little Alloway Kirk, with its fallen roof and high gables. Lift your hand to your eyes and draw a long breath, — for what words would come so near to us as these pictured, nay, real, memories of the dead poet who made a nation of a province, and the hearts of mankind its tributaries ?
And so we pass to many-towered and turreted and pinnacled Abbotsford, and to large-windowed Melrose, and to peaceful Dryburgh, where, under a plain bevelled slab, lies the great Romancer whom Scotland holds only second in her affections to her great poet. Here in the foreground of the Melrose Abbey view (436) is a gravestone which looks as if it might be deciphered with a lens. Let us draw out this inscription from the black archives of oblivion. Here it is:
In Memory of Francis Cornel, late Labourer in Greenwell, Who died lll1 July, 1827, aged 89 years. Also Margaret Betty, his Spouse, who died 2d Decr. 1831, aged 89 years.
This is one charm, as we have said over and over, of the truth-telling photograph. We who write in great magazines of course float off from the wreck of our century, on our life-preserving articles, to immortality. What a delight it is to snatch at the unknown head that shows for an instant through the wave, and drag it out to personal recognition and a share in our own sempiternal buoyancy ! Go and be photographed on the edge of Niagara, O unknown aspirant for human remembrance ! Do not throw yourself, O traveller, into Etna, like Empedocles, but be taken by the camera standing on the edge of the crater! Who is that lady in the carriage at the door of Burns’s cottage? Who is that gentleman in the shiny hat on the sidewalk in front of the Shakspeare house ? Who are those two fair youths lying dead on a heap of dead at the trench’s side in the cemetery of Melegnano, in that ghastly glass stereograph in our friend Dr. Bigelow’s collection ? Some Austrian mother has perhaps seen her boy’s features in one of those still faces. All these seemingly accidental figures are not like the shapes put in by artists to fill the blanks in their landscapes, but real breathing persons, or forms that have but lately been breathing, not found there by chance, but brought there with a purpose, fulfilling some real human errand, or at least, as in the last-mentioned picture, waiting to be buried.
Before quitting the British Islands, it would be pleasant to wander through the beautiful Vale of Avoca in Ireland, and to look on those many exquisite landscapes and old ruins and crosses which have been so admirably rendered in the stereograph. There is the Giant’s Causeway, too,—not in our own collection, but which our friend Mr. Waterston has transplanted with all its basaltic columns to his Museum of Art in Chester Square. Those we cannot slop to look at now, nor these many objects of historical or poetical interest which lie before us on our own table. Such are the pictures of Croyland Abbey, where they kept that jolly drinking-horn of “ Witlaf, King of the Saxons,” which Longfellow has made famous; Bedd-Gelert, the grave of the faithful hound immortalized by — nay, who has immortalized —William Spencer; the stone that marks the spot where William Rufus fell by Tyrrel's shaft; the Lion’s Head in Dove Dale, fit to be compared with our own Old Man of the Mountain ; the “ Bowder Stone,” or the great boulder of Borrowdale; and many others over which we love to dream at idle moments.
When we began these notes of travel, we meant to take our fellow-voyagers over the continent of Europe, and perhaps to all the quarters of the globe. We should make a book, instead of an article, if we attempted it. Let us, instead of this, devote the remaining space to an enumeration of a few of the most interesting pictures we have met with, many of which may be easily obtained by those who will take the trouble we have taken to find them.
Views of Paris are everywhere to be had, good and cheap. The finest illuminated or transparent paper view we have ever seen is one of the Imperial Throne. There is another illuminated view, the Palace of the Senate, remarkable for the beauty with which it gives the frescoes on the cupola. We have a most interesting stereograph of the Amphitheatre of Nismes, with a bull-fight going on in its arena at the time when the picture was taken. The contrast of the vast Roman structure, with its massive arched masonry, and the scattered assembly, which seems almost lost in the spaces once filled by the crowd of spectators who thronged to the gladiatorial shows, is one of the most striking we have ever seen. At Quimperlé is a house so like the curious old building lately removed from Dock Square in Boston, that it is commonly taken for it at the first view. The Roman tombs at Arles and the quaint streets at Troyes are the only other French pictures we shall speak of, apart from the cathedrals to be mentioned.
Of the views in Switzerland, it may be said that the Glaciers are perfect, in the glass pictures, at least. Waterfalls are commonly poor: the water glares and looks like cotton-wool. Staubbach, with the Vale of Lauterbrunnen, is an exquisite exception. Here are a few signal specimens of Art. No. 4018, Seelisberg,— unsurpassed by any glass stereograph we have ever seen, in all the qualities that make a faultless picture. No. 4119, Mont Blanc from Sta. Rosa,—the finest view of the mountain for general effect we have met with. No. 4100, Suspension-Bridge of Fribourg,— very fine, but makes one giddy to look at it. Three different views of Goldau, where the villages lie buried under these vast masses of rock, recall the terrible catastrophe of 1806, as if it had happened but yesterday.
Almost everything from Italy is interesting. The ruins of Rome, the statues of the Vatican, the great churches, all pass before us, but in a flash, as we are expressed by them on our ideal locomotive. Observe : next to snow and ice, stone is best rendered in the stereograph. Statues are given absolutely well, except where there is much foreshortening to be done, as in this of the Torso, where you see the thigh is unnaturally lengthened. See the mark on the Dying Gladiator’s nose. That is where Michel Angelo mended it. There is Hawthorne’s Marble Faun, (the one called of Praxiteles,) the Laocoön, the Apollo Belvedere, the Young Athlete with the Strigil, the Forum, the Cloaca Maxima, the Palace of the Cæsars, the bronze Marcus Aurelius,— those wonders all the world flocks to see, — the God of Light has multiplied them all for you, and you have only to give a paltry fee to his servant to own in fee-simple the best sights that earth has to show.
But look in at Pisa one moment, not for the Leaning Tower and the other familiar objects, but for the interior of the Campo Santo, with its holy earth, its innumerable monuments, and the fading frescoes on its walls, — see ! there are the Three Kings of Andrea Orgagna. And there hang the broken chains that once, centuries ago, crossed the Arno,— standing off from the wall, so that it seems as if they might clank, if you jarred the stereoscope. Tread with us the streets of Pompeii for a moment: there are the ruts made by the chariots of eighteen hundred years ago, — it is the same thing as stooping down and looking at the pavement itself. And here is the amphitheatre out of which the Pompeians trooped when the ashes began to fall round them from Vesuvius. Behold the famous gates of the Baptistery at Florence, — but do not overlook the exquisite iron gates of the railing outside ; think of them as you enter our own Common in Boston from West Street, through those portals which are fit for the gates of — not paradise. Look at this sugar-temple,—no, it is of marble, and is the monument of one of the Scalas at Verona. What a place for ghosts that vast palazzo behind it! Shall we stand in Venice on the Bridge of Sighs, and then take this stereoscopic gondola and go through it from St. Mark’s to the Arsenal ? Not now. We will only look at the Cathedral, — all the pictures under the arches show in our glass stereograph, —at the Bronze Horses, the Campanile, the Rialto, and that glorious old statue of Bartholomew Colleoni,— the very image of what a partisan leader should be, the broad-shouldered, slender-waisted, sternfeatured old soldier who used to leap into his saddle in full armor, and whose men would never follow another leader when he died. Well, but there have been soldiers in Italy since his day. Here are the encampments of Napoleon’s army in the recent campaign. This is the battle-field of Magenta with its trampled grass and splintered trees, and the fragments of soldiers’ accoutrements lying about.
And here (leaving our own collection for our friend's before-mentioned) here is the great trench in the cemetery of Melegnano, and the heap of dead lying unburied at its edge. Look away, young maiden and tender child, for this is what war leaves after it. Flung together, like sacks of grain, some terribly mutilated, some without mark of injury, all or almost all with a still, calm look on their faces. The two youths, before referred to, lie in the foreground, so simple-looking, so like boys who bad been overworked and were lying down to sleep, that one can hardly see the picture for the tears these two fair striplings bring into the eyes.
The Pope must bless us before we leave Italy. See, there he stands on the balcony of St. Peter’s, and a vast crowd before him with uncovered heads as he stretches his arms and pronounces his benediction.
Before entering Spain we must look at the Circus of Gavarni, a natural amphitheatre in the Pyrenees. It is the most picturesque of stereographs, and one of the best. As for the Alhambra, we can show that in every aspect; and if you do not vote the lions in the court of the same a set of mechanical h****gs and nursery bugaboos, we have no skill in entomology. But the Giralda, at Seville, is really a grand tower, worth looking at. The Seville Boston-folks consider it the linchpin, at least, of this rolling universe. And what a fountain this is in the Infanta’s garden ! what shameful beasts, swine and others, lying about on their stomachs! the whole surmounted by an unclad gentleman squeezing another into the convulsions of a galvanized frog ! Queer tastes they have in the Old World. At the Fountain of the Ogre in Berne, the giant, or large-mouthed private person, upon the top of the column, is eating a little infant as one eats a radish, and has plenty more,—a whole bunch of such,— in his hand, or about him.
A voyage down the Rhine shows us nothing better than St. Goar, (No. 2257,) every house on each bank clean and clear as a crystal. The Heidelberg views are admirable; — you see a slight streak in the background of this one: we remember seeing just such a streak from the castle itself, and being told that it was the Rhine, just visible, afar off. The man with the geese in the goose-market at Nuremberg gives stone, iron, and bronze, each in perfection.
So we come to quaint Holland, where we see windmills, ponts-levis, canals, galiots, houses with gable-ends to the streets and little mirrors outside the windows, slanted so as to show the frows inside what is going on.
We must give up the cathedrals, after all: Santa Maria del Fiore, with Brunelleschi's dome, which Michel Angelo wouldn’t copy and couldn’t beat; Milan, aflame with statues, like a thousand-tapered candelabrum ; Tours, with its embroidered portal, so like the lace of an archbishop’s robe; even Notre Dame of Paris, with its new spire; Rouen, Amiens, Chartres, —we must give them all up.
Here we are at Athens, looking at the buttressed Acropolis and the ruined temples,— the Doric Parthenon, the Ionic Erechtheum, the Corinthian temple of Jupiter, and the beautiful Caryatides. But see those steps cut in the natural rock. Up those steps walked the Apostle Paul, and from that summit, Mars Hill, the Areopagus, he began his noble address, “ Ye men of Athens ! ”
The Great Pyramid and the Sphinx ! Herodotus saw them a little fresher, but of unknown antiquity, — far more unknown to him than to us. The Colossi of the Plain ! Mighty monuments of an ancient and proud civilization standing alone in a desert now.
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!
But nothing equals these vast serene faces of the Pharaohs on the great rock-temple of Abou Simbel (Ipsambul) (No. 1, F. 307). It is the sublimest of stereographs, as the temple of Kardasay, this loveliest of views on glass, is the most poetical. But here is the crocodile lying in wait for us on the sandy bank of the Nile, and we must leave Egypt for Syria.
Damascus makes but a poor show, with its squalid houses, and glaring clayed roofs. We always wanted to invest in real estate there in Abraham Street or Noah Place, or some of its well-established thoroughfares, but are discouraged since we have had these views of the old town. Baalbec does better. See the great stones built into the wall there,— the biggest 64 X 13 X 13 ! What do you think of that ?—a single stone bigger than both your parlors thrown into one, and this one of three almost alike, built into a wall as if just because they happened to be lying round, handy ! So, then, we pass on to Bethlehem, looking like a fortress more than a town, all stone and very little window, — to Nazareth, with its brick oven-like houses, its tall minaret, its cypresses, and the blackmouthed, open tombs, with masses of cactus growing at their edge, — to Jerusalem, — to the Jordan; every drop of whose waters seems to carry a baptismal blessing, — to the Dead Sea, — and to the Cedars of Lebanon. Almost everything may have changed in these hallowed places, except the face of the stream and the lake, and the outlines of hill and valley. But as we look across the city to the Mount of Olives, we know that these lines which run in graceful curves along the horizon are the same that He looked upon as he turned his eyes sadly over Jerusalem. We know that these long declivities, beyond Nazareth, were pictured in the eyes of Mary’s growing boy just as they are now in ours sitting here by our own firesides.
This is no toy, which thus carries us into the very presence of all that is most inspiring to the soul in the scenes which the world’s heroes and martyrs, and more than heroes, more than martyrs, have hallowed and solemnized by looking upon. It is no toy: it is a divine gift, placed in our hands nominally by science, really by that inspiration which is revealing the Almighty through the lips of the humble students of Nature. Look through it once more before laying it down, but not at any earthly sight. In these views, taken through the telescopes of De la Rue of London and of Mr. Rutherford of New York, and that of the Cambridge Observatory by Mr. Whipple of Boston, we see the "spotty globe ” of the moon with all its mountains and chasms, its mysterious craters and groove-like valleys. This magnificent stereograph by Mr. Whipple was taken, the first picture February 7th, the second April 6th, In this way the change of position gives the solid effect of the ordinary stereoscopic views, and the sphere rounds itself out so perfectly to the eye that it seems as if we could grasp it like an orange.
If the reader is interested, or like to become interested, in the subject of sunsculpture and stereoscopes, he may like to know what the last two years have taught us as to the particular instruments best worth owning. We will give a few words to the subject. Of simple instruments, for looking at one slide at a time, Smith and Beck’s is the most perfect we have seen, but the most expensive. For looking at paper slides, which are light, an instrument which may be held in the hand is very convenient. We have had one constructed which is better, as we think, than any in the shops. Mr. Joseph L. Bates, 129, Washington Street, has one of them, if any person is curious to see it. In buying the instruments which hold many slides, we should prefer two that hold fifty to one that holds a hundred. Becker’s small instrument, containing fifty paper slides, back to back, is the one we like best for these slides, but the top should be arranged so as to come off,— the first change we made in our own after procuring it.
We are allowed to mention the remarkable instrument contrived by our friend Dr. H. J. Bigelow, for holding fifty glass slides. The spectator looks in: all is darkness. He turns a crank: the gray dawn of morning steals over some beautiful scene or the facade of a stately temple. Still, as he turns, the morning brightens through various tints of rose and purple, until it reaches the golden richness of high noon. Still turning, all at once night shuts down upon the picture as at a tropical sunset, suddenly, without blur or gradual dimness, — the sun of the picture going down,
“ Not as in Northern climes obscurely bright, But one unclouded blaze of living light.”
We have not thanked the many friendly dealers in these pictures, who have sent us heaps and hundreds of stereographs to look over and select from, only because they are too many to thank. Nor do we place any price on this advertisement of their most interesting branch of business. But there are a few stereographs we wish some of them would send us, with the bill for the same : such as Antwerp and Strasbourg Cathedrals, — Bologna, with its brick towers, — the Lions of Mycenæ, if they are to be had, — the Walls of Fiesole, — the Golden Candlestick in the Arch of Titus, — and others which we can mention, if consulted; some of which we have hunted for a long time in vain. But we write principally to wake up an interest in a new and inexhaustible source of pleasure, and only regret that this many pages we have filled can do no more than hint the infinite resources which the new art has laid open to us all.
- Miss Martineau, who went to his funeral, and may be Supposed to describe after a visit to the churchyard, gives tlie inscription incorrectly. See Atlantic Monthly for May, 1861, p. 552. Tourists cannot be trusted; stereographs can.↩