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<h1>
Full text of "<a href="/details/jstor-25306450">Victor Hugo</a>"
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^.^-U^"^-?^

AMERICAN ART JOURNAL.

357

The moonlight fainteth


Sick and white;
The east grows red
With a lurid light;
Only one star
In the changing sky, .
Fades slowly back
As the dawn creeps nigh.
The casement slowly
- Grows light and square;
And the dying eyes
That, are watching there,
Count each small pane
That the day looks through,
And the one star lading
Agamst ftie blue.
Then she wearily, wearily*
Lifts her head
** When the tide goes out,
They will find me dead:

They wi,U smooth my hair*


And braid the stoands,
And clasp together
The meek white hands;
They will fold the shroud
On my frozen breast,
And dream they have left me
To sleep and rest.
But deep in my bosom
A secret lies,
That I read forever,
With sleepless eyes. .
"Alive or dead*
It is burning there--If for revel or shroud
They braid My naif I" '
The grave is dark,
And its bed is deep^But can Love forget,
And can madness sleep T
Though the grave-worm He
On my dead heart's chill,
The curse and its sign
. Shall awake there still'! "

The sim rose up


Like a sphere of fire,
Up through the fair sky
Mounting higher;
Battled the tide
Down the pebbly shore, :
But the dead lay silent
Forever more.
The wild tide rushed
To the distant sea&gt;
And a soul went with it,
Silently!
Back from her forehead
So cold and white.
They braided her tresses
Ltke cloudy night
Beep in her bosom
So pure and cold,
They found a chain*
And a ring ot gold.
They let it lie,

And they folded there


Her hands across it
As- if in prayer. -Mineths.

VICTOR HUGO.

Victor Hugo is in the full strength of that second youth which M. Flourens is so anxious to
invent. Sea air, and long pedestrian excursions,
absence from our theatres and the French
Academy, keep him in a vigor of body and mind
of which the " Songs of the Streets and Woods"
were the expansion, and " The Toilers of the
Sea," the grateful expression. He will yet
write many another work. It seems as if the
period of its fecundity were at its very beginning.
Tears ago he wrote " Autumn Leaves," by an
anticipated melancholy which preceded his summer. Here aire harvest and fruits long before
winter-time.
An intrepid walker, an excellent host or guest,
an indefatigable talker, fond of good, hearty,'
sonorous laughter and the stories which beget
it. Victor Hugo has in his gesture, mien, in the
expression of his whole person, that strength
which is far above solemn attitudes, which
avouches abundant life. He is a man loving,
hating, working, in all the serene ardor of
virility.
We must tell the lazy Who await inspiration,
Our masters rouse it, and do not wait for it to
rouse them. Lamartine is up. and at work at
five o'clock, A..M. Victor Hugo rises at the
same hour.
Victor Hugo's chamber is almost a garget. It
is in the top of his house. The bed which is
a sort of sofa covered with Velvet and old tapestry serves for seat as well. This small chamber is a portion of the belvedere of the Lookout
whence vessels are signalled, and where the flag
is hoisted, according to the island's custom.
Victor Hugo is there as if it were his post.
The moment he rises he goes into his study,
which looks more like a photographer's studio
than anything else. The first objects in it
which strike attention are a small stove of old
earthenware, a lew seats, scattered books, the
infinite horizon of ocean, and the chimneys of
the village; In the passage leading to the stair-

case there are a small sofa and a table ; here he


takes refuge when the sun beats too ardently on
his glazed study.
The parting or returning laborers discover
from the sea, if their going or coming be beforedawn, a lamp in this study, high above the village houses, the lamp of another laborer. Did
they suspect some months since that the master
of Hauteville House was observing, studying
them, and following them With his imagination
as he told their joys and depicted their sorrows ?
Victor Hugo works standing. As he h5s found
no old-fashioned piece of furniture which^an be
turned into a convenient writing-desk, and has
a wise horror of modern desks, he writes on
stools placed on stools on which old folios are
piled and covered with a Cloth. It is on the
Bible and on the Nuremburg Chronicle that the
poet leans his elbows and spreads his paper.
His paper is blue, thin, folio size. Blotting a
great deal, correcting his phrases time and
again, to satisfy an artist's scruples, which are
never quite contented, Victor Hugo uses none
but gaosc-quill pens. It almost seems he takes
pleasure in making those broad scores which
cover words and lines, and which are Often like
hills,* like landscape-vistas in the text.
It would not be hard to find sometimes formless outlines, attempts at drawing in the midst
of the writing. The vision of the idea is often
double for the poet-painter.
The dripping sheets? wounded by that Gallic
writing which is so characteristic, dry spread out
at length. When the day's labor is ended,
Victor Hugo collects the sheets, locks them up,
and commonly keeps the secret of his inspiration. He never reads to his most intimate
friends, nor to ,his family, until the work no
longer fears criticism. He is an essentially
dramatic poet, and when he reads, it is to raise
emotion. These very rare readings are always-a-

festival to the listener. Victor Hugo reads very


well; he reads rather solemnly, but with a
charming, expressive voice.
His autograph manuscripts never leave Hauteville Housei They are copied by affectionate
pens, and collected with respect. Everything is
matter of importance to a writer who is a painter, and who dreads the disappearance of a word,
the mutilation of a phrase, the change of a dash,
a comma, a colon, or a period, as the removal
of a portion of the light indispensable to the

harmony of the picture. When the work has


thus been copied, reread, and collated, it is sent
to Lacroix &amp; Co., who place it in the printer's
hands.
Messrs. Vacquezie and Meurice correct the
proof-sheets, and superintend the printing at
Paris. We may say Victor Hugo's works are
the most irreproachable in appearance and arrangement of all works which now appear,
thanks to the care which Claye, the printer, the
publisher, and the author's friends take in
bringing out the work, thanks to the importance they attach to every particular which can
increase. the effect of works which really are
dramas. $888
The question has often been asked, does Vlotor
Hugo work easily? It is evident he does not
possess that extraordinary faculty of extemporization which enables Lamartine to write so
much without even blotting a word. Lamartine's steel pen runs rapidly, scarcely grazing
the glazed paper which it covers with delicate
marks. It looks as it flies like a sylph waltzing
on the snow. Victor Hugo makes pen and paper
creak under him. 'He reflects on each word.
He weighs every expression. He leans on periods as travellers sit on milestones, to consider
the ended phrase and the blank space where the
following phrase is going to begin. . Some memoranda of words, some names jotted on the
margin, like notes, would make one suppose
that he records his impressions as if he were
afraid ho would not easily find them in his
memory.
The absolute isolation which is necessary to
his labor, his rigorous solitude while working,
would lead one to believe he required all his faculties. It is true they may likewise indicate a
prodigious reverence for intellectual things in a
writer who refuses to allow anything to profane
the Muse's visits.
The reader may now imagine how " The
Toilers of the Sea " was written. The east was
still pale ; the poet copied the horizon, and
over his manuscript looked at the ocean which,
so to speak, came to his feet ; his paper was its
beach.
I believe I shall have completed the essential
traits of Victor Hugo while writing, after I have
said that he is the most honest and the most
skillful merchant of his works. There is never
any lawsuit, dispute, or even disappointment, on
his or on his publishers' part.
Thoroughly acquainted with everything touch-

ing the cost of books, he knows, too, the result


of the sales. He reckons the probable profits of
his publisher, and lie equitably proportions his
profits to those of the publisher. All persons
who have entered into contracts With Victor
Hugo say they have never been called upofi to'
refuse exaggerated demands, nor to hope for
profit which their modesty as tradesmen might
blush to reap.
When once pecuniary questions are settled on
a reasonable footing, Victor Hugo does not
yield to any temptation. As he refused the
other day not $100,000 as was stated, but
$20,000 offered by several newspapers to publish
" The Toilers of the Sea " in feuilletons, So he
knows how to resist every temptation which
would make the sentiment of art yield to the love
of speculation.
This reserve, when the voice of money is at
the same time the seductive voice of flatteiy and
of praise deserves to be mentioned. It was rare

f^:-

'" '.Vi-^f^K &gt;

358

AMERICAN ART JOURNAL.

at every epoch. It may be deemed impossible


now-a-days.
Is- it not consoling to think that the most
.skillful and the boat paid writer of our generation is likewise the proudest of them all ?

NOT FORGOTTEN.

Heft her: loth was I to goShe was my promised wife


The pledge, long sought, had mado its mark
In joy upon my life.

-&gt;Twas like the Bow of Promise placed


By God's band, high above,
To me a sign of storms all passed
A covenant oflove I
A weight of sadness crushed us
When the hour of parting came;
A dark and drear foreboding fell
A dread without a name.
It seemed a living Presence
Threat'ning stood between us two,
And we felt its blighting shadow,
As we said our last adieu.
What was it trembled at our hearts
That caused our cheeks to pale 1
A shudder, such as thrill those souls
Who hear the Banshee's waill
Still, Arm- in faith of our great love,
We saw the Shadow fade.
I kissed the roses back again
Ere the last words were said.
I know we counted hour by hour,
And kept the tally true ;
Had! but known I would have held
The moments as they flow,
And spun them into long, long years,
Each year an Age, it" then
I but might clasp my living love,
Close to my heart again.
I lingered in my distant home
Three weary years or more;
The laggard post, with leaden feet,
Sweet welcome greetings bore.
But then there came a lapse no word,
No token from her hand
And then, between my love and me,
I felt the shadow stand 1
It was a gaunt and formless shape,
I viewed it with hushed breath,

I felt its cold hand on my heart,


And each pulse-throb said Death.
There was no pause, no stop, no rest,
. No wait for time nor tide
I felt my loved one could not die
Without me by her side.
I dared not stay that gentle soul
On its blest, heavenly way;
I cared not for the blasted life
That must be mine alway.
I knew that halting 'tween the two,
God's graoe and human love,
The soul of my soul fluttered,
Ere it took its flight above.

So I pressed on, ever onward,


Never dust clung to my feet,
Till I walked with lying calmness
Up the well-remembered street.
I passed the door, unconscious,
I stood beside her bed
I knelt adown and took her hand
Alas I my love was dead I
I bent to kiss her pallid brow
Which gave no sign not one,
With sorrow beating at my heart,
Which grief had turned to stone.
Then broke tho pent-up agony
As some fierce dammed-up stream
And burst the fetters from my mind
Which had been all a^dream.
The bitter sobs broke from my lips,
The hot tears coursed adown
OGodl there culminated all
Of woe the earth has known.
It mattered not that I had felt
The woe that was to come, ,

That moment flashed the truth to me,


And brought the sorrow home.
Home to my breaking heart, while I
Pained tears upon her cheek
And uttered wild and trantic prayers
If she would only speak
If from this death trance she would give
A token or a sign;
One look, one sigh, one pressure faint
Of her cold hand in mine i
And then there passed across her face
A transient flush of life,
In which Soul combatting with Death,
Rose victor in the strife.
The closed eyelids slowly oped,
But with a gaze distraught,
As though the soul sublimed from clay,
Its heaven with longing sought.
And then a, change fading cheek I
Life's flush for ever gonel
One'glanceof love she beamed on me,
One glance one only one.!
But in that glance the single love
Of all her stainless lite
Was centered then the calm of death
Usurped Earth's passion strife.
Sublimely beautiful, my love,
Thy face comes back to me,
With God's own holy halo round
Its trail mortality.
With God's grand impress on thy brow
That look comes back again,
And thanks from my long widowed heart
Rise up in fervent strain.
Rise upward, in a psean glad
That in that last fond look
Thy love revealed itself to me

As in a written book.
Whose words, in golden letters stamped,
This blessed solace gave
That love unsullied in its truth,
Can triumph o'er the grave.
Henry C. Watson.

BELLINI.

BY ARTHUR POUGDJ.

Translated from the French by Maboabet Cecilia


Cleveland.

" It is prejudice to believe that genius ought to


die early. I believe that the space between thirty
and thirty-five years has been assigned as the age
most fatal to genius. How many times I have
joked and teased poor Bellini on this subject, in
predicting that in his quality of geuius, he ought
to die soon, as he had attained the critical age I
Strange 1 notwithstanding our tone of gaiety, this
prophecy' caused him an involuntary disquiet: he
called me his jettatore, and never foiled to make
the sign of the cross. He had such a strong- desire to live! The word death excited in him a
delirium of aversion; he did not wish to hear
death spoken of; he was as afraid of it as a child
who fears to sleep in the dark. He was a good
and amiable child, a little selftsufflcient at times,
but one only had to threaten him with his approaching death to make his voice modest and
supplicating, and see him make with raised fingers the sign of disenchantment from the jettatore. Poor Bellini !
"You were then personally acquainteJ with
him ? Was he handsome ?
" He was not ugly. We men can do little more
than to answer affirm atively.such a question upon
one oi our sex. A figure lithe and swaying,
movements graceful and almost coquettish; always dressed faultlessly; regular features, florid
complexion, blonde hair, almost golden, worn in
light curls, a noble forehead, high, very high,
straight nose, pale blue eyes, a well proportioned
mouth, and round chin. His features showed

something vague and without character, although


they sometimes changed into an expression of
bitter-sweet sadness. This sadness replaced
esprit in Bellini's face; but it was a sadness without depth, the light of which vaccilated without
poetry in the eyes, and trembled upon the lips
without passion. The young maestro seemed to
wish to display in all his person this soft and
effeminate grief. His hair was curled with a sentimentality so dreamy, his garments fitted with a
langour so supple around his slender figure; he
carried his Spanish cane with an air so idyltie
that he always reminded me of those shepherds
that we have seen mincing in Pastorals, with ribboned crook and breeches of rose colored taffeta.
His gait was so feminine, bo elegiac, so etherial !
His entire person had an air of sentimental foppishness. He had much success with the women,
but I doubt if he ever inspired any great passion.
For me, his appearance had something pleasantly
annoying, the reason of which I coold account
lor in his bad French. Although Bellini had
lived in France several years, he spoke the
French language as badly as they speak it in
England. I ought not to qualifythis language by
bad: bad is here too good. It is necessary to
say: frightful! enough to make one's hair stand
on end! When in the same salon with Bellini,
his proximity always inspired a certain anxiety,
intermingled with a feeling of awe which repulsed
and attracted at the same time. His in^luntary
puns were often of an amusing nature, and
brought to mind the chateau of his compatriot,
the Prince of Pallagonie, which Goethe in his
"Travels in Italy," represents as a museum of
strange extravagances and monstrosities. And

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