Imágenes de páginas

tell what might happen? The wind had changed and was blow ing them right on shore.

He reached the balloon at length; he was almost spent, and his pitiful, aimless fumbling did not long escape the vigilance of the watchful eyes that followed his movements from below.

Smoxford fingered his revolver thoughtfully. Then in a moment a recollection of the New Preacher rushed upon him.

'One of us has got to go, or the balloon 'ull never make land," he reflected. Here he looked round at the blue rolling wastes of water, and took his resolve. But first he sent out an odd sort of apologetic whisper into space, as if the confession might enter some all-hearing ear. 'I couldn't 'er done different; he bluffed. me, thet New Preacher did.'

Then he shouted up at Salter:

'Do you think you're cumfoozlin' me, ye starved little cuss? Come down outer thet.'

Salter slid back into the car grey and gasping.

'It can't go on much longer, you know,' he panted with pretended cheerfulness, not very much longer, this yer sea can't.'

'It'll about last out one of us,' replied Smoxford hoarsely. 'Say, are you fond of those kids?'

'Think o' nothing but,' said Salter, whose recurrent visits to his home were periods of panic to his family.

Smoxford laughed.

'P'r'aps you'll give me their address,' he said grimly; 'I might be thet way-when yer picked shiny.'

Salter shuddered.

'I'm not prepared like, you know,' he moaned.

'Look here, ye whimperin' cuss, you'll find creation again. I'm going!'

And once more Smoxford laughed. It was a grating sound, because he was unused to laughter. With all his brutality, Smoxford was no coward. A dim notion of becoming what the New Preacher would have called an atoning sacrifice appealed strongly and strangely to some newly awakened feeling. The obverse, the religious side of his nature rising in the ascendant, drove him on.

In his time he had been the death of many, and, because of a certain stern fatalism, he was not afraid of death himself. He had shot the New Preacher in a moment of resentful fury, when

he felt power and prestige slipping away from his grasp for ever. Now by a revulsion of feeling he yearned to condone what he perhaps regarded as the only sin worth accounting a sin which he had ever committed.

'Good-bye,' he said shortly.

Salter shut his eyes tightly as the car sprang up and careened over. Then it righted itself, while far below a little cloud of spray fell back into the bosom of the ocean.

Smoxford had gone out fearlessly into the great unknown.

Afterwards at Blowney's saloon Salter posel as the central figure of an admiring group of whisky-drinkers.

[ocr errors]

'I had him,' he was saying, and when he found I waз set on fetchin' him back, we fought it out up thar. Wot do you think of thet, boys? Guess I'm in for a reward.' Then he cackled.

He was safe from contradiction. The great, blundering, sinning, and at the last splendid, soul was gone.

So the dollars of the blood-money laid their seal on the story, and no one knew that Smoxford had in his own groping way made atonement.



THE twanging of harp and of sawtry, which the bewildered 'country cousin' of Lydgate's 'London Lickpenny' found so pleasant amongst the cries and savoury smells of the cooks of Eastcheap, had become an ordered and highly skilled art towards the close of the sixteenth century, and the mellow staccato of the lute must have been almost as commonly met with as the complex chords and cadences of the pianoforte or weird slurs of the violin are to-day. To be moved by concord of sweet sounds' was as delightful in the time of Queen Elizabeth as in that of Queen Victoria, and the experience of John Dowlande indicates that eminent entertainers ranked amongst educated people then much as in the closing years of the nineteenth century. Music entered largely into the education of the wealthy, and even of the middle classes. Roger Ascham recommends that the 'young gentleman' shall be taught 'to sing, and play on instruments cunningly,' and when Ascham wrote, teaching of the kind was to be had in many parts of the country. Thomas Scott, Archbishop of York, founding, in 1483, a free school in his native village of Rotherham, ordered that the third master should give lessons in music, especially singing, playing, and broken-song.' Degrees in music were conferred upon famous artists. In the Gresham College the professorship of music was as richly endowed as any other; Doctor John Bull, the first occupant of the chair, lecturing twice a week, as Stowe records, in the English tongue only,' for a matter of 50l. a year-not a petty salary at that period. Bull, it may be said in passing, resembled Dowlande in this, that at the height of his fame he was forced to leave England, running away secretlyas Dowlande did not-for reasons not now accessible. So famous was England for her musicians that Erhard Cellius, describing the festivities at Stuttgart in 1603, when the Duke Frederick was invested with the Garter, wrote (I quote from Mr. T. C. H. Hedderwick's book on 'Faust'):]

'England produces many and excellent musicians, comedians, tragedians, most skilled in the histrionic art; certain of whom in companies, quitting their own abodes for a time, are in the habit

of visiting foreign countries at particular seasons, exhibiting and representing their art principally at the Courts of Princes.'

There was no scarcity of the artistic temperament, that peculiar sensitiveness which produces the highest effects in music as in literature and on the stage, and which occasionally begets petulance and quarrelsomeness that might make a cynic doubt the judgment of M. Jourdain's Maître de Musique when he boasts: 'Tous les désordres, toutes les guerres qu'on voit dans le monde, n'arrivent que pour n'apprendre pas la musique.' Ascham had a theory as to this temperament. The severe training necessary for the attainment of proficiency on stringed instruments, by oversharpening the wits, tended to make a man's wits so soft and smooth, so tender and quaisy, that they be less able to brook strong and tough study.' He had plenty of opportunity for observation. The age and clime out of which arose the delicate and subtle melodies and sonorous trumpet-words of Shakespeare and Spenser, had music and to spare for the rest of the world.

Dowlande possessed this artistic temperament. It appears in the story of his exile, as told by himself in a letter published in one of the recent batches of the Hatfield Papers. The value of this letter, in the light thrown by it upon the status of the musician, escaped the notice of the editors for the Historical Manuscripts Commission, and is, we think, worthy of public attention. For the story gives many clear views of the life of the age, the religious, social, and patriotic spirit of the restless England that the great Cecils ruled; and it explains what has puzzled musical historians-why the most popular lutenist of the day, a man with a European reputation, could not find preferment at home. For Dowlande belonged to the highest rank of Elizabethan musicians; his melodies are as lovely as any that England has given birth to; and the rewards he could claim, though not equalling those of a Paderewski, were comparable with those of a Mendelssohn or Chopin. The social status of musicians-and, as will be seen, of actors—in Elizabeth's day was not unworthy. Of late there has been a tendency to underrate the social status accorded to actors in previous ages, and one or two deservedly eminent wearers of the sock and buskin are unduly praised for having raised this status. Actors, it is said, are no longer vagabonds. The implication is false. Wright's 'Historia Histrionica,' prefixed to Colley Cibber's 'Apology,' distinguishes between gentlemen actors and those who came under the law against rogues and vagabonds; but VOL. III.-NO. 14, N.S.


later on I shall give new evidence that the actors belonging to the chief companies were officially ranked as gentlemen. The men who, without resort to scenic effect, could attract crowds by interpreting the plays of Shakespeare and Ben Jonson, were at least the equals intellectually, and as men of the world, of the actors of to-day.

John Dowlande, Dowland, or Doland-for he used all three forms, being careless, like Shakespeare, as to the spelling of his name-was born about the year 1563. He seems to have died late in 1625 or in 1626; for on the accession of Charles I., in the earlier of these two years, he was excused, with the other musicians of the King, payment of the subsidy; while in the later, his son Robert was appointed his successor, at a salary of 20d. a day and 167. 28. 6d. for livery-probably the equivalent of 150l. per annum at the present time. For comparison it may be noted that in 1624 (Sir) John Coke, Secretary of State, paid 6d. for a quart of claret; 38. 6d. for a leg and neck of veal; 3d. for a lemon; 68. 6d. 'for a rich coffin for my wife,' and that his son's lodgings at Cambridge cost 78. 6d. per quarter. Of Dowlande's career few details, and some of these disputed, have been known hitherto. Sir George Grove says that 'in 1584 he visited France and Germany, and after remaining some months in the latter country crossed the Alps into Italy.' This, it will be seen, is inaccurate. So, too, the 'Dictionary of National Biography,' in a longer narrative, accurate when it comes to Dowlande's own assertion:

'About 1581 he went abroad, proceeding first to France and then to Germany, where he was well received by the Duke of Brunswick and the Landgrave of Hesse.. After spending some months in Germany, Dowland went to Italy, where he was received with much favour at Venice, Padua, Genoa, Ferrara, Florence, and other cities. Luca Marenzio, the greatest madrigal writer of his day, wrote to him from Rome; his letter, dated 13 July, 1595, is printed in the prefatory address to Dowland's "First Book of Songs." Dowland seems to have made several journeys on the Continent. . . .

He must have

He must have gone abroad

again, for the album of Johann Cellarius of Nürnberg (1580–1619), written towards the end of the sixteenth century, contains a few bars of his celebrated "Lachrymæ," signed by him.

name is spelt "Doland.”

In this his

In the preface to his extremely popular lute-book, A Pil

« AnteriorContinuar »