BIBLICAL MENTION OF MUSIC

The Old Testament is a chronicle of the growth, movements, physical
and mental habits, and religious status of the great Jewish race.
Its religion with one Godhead, whose immediate presence was often
felt, its music addressed to this presence, and its family, tribal,
and racial organizations were all Jewish. The great moving lever of
Jewish existence was a religion whose creed prohibited the making of
“graven images,” so painting and sculpture were not cultivated; it
recognized the direct agency of supreme will in moulding daily events,
and prescribed oft-repeated praise and prayer, and thus created the
atmosphere of exalted devotional feeling which we find recorded in
many of the books of the Bible, and which climaxed in David’s Psalms.

The ancient Hebrews were in no measure a scientific people. Their one
intellectual aspiration found vent in beautifying the worship of God.
They were religious teachers, who have directly or indirectly shaped
the creeds of the civilized world.

According to the conditions upon which I have thus far based my
theories of musical evolution, early Jewish songs could not have been
equal, in artistic merit, to the texts with which they were associated,
for there was an utter lack, in this race, of such general culture and
art sense as we found prevailing in ancient Egypt; but the Hebrews were
a race apart, and their unique instincts may have made their music an
exception to all rules.

Their song-impulse was confined to one line, but it was so strong
that it projected itself from conception, in religious enthusiasm, to
a high grade of fulfilment without touching the low plane of their
general culture; nevertheless, the above-mentioned short-comings and
the subsequent decadence of race nationality relegate Hebrew music to a
low place as an influence upon the world’s song.

They had men who devoted themselves to the playing of instruments
as an accompaniment to song, and the Bible mentions more varieties
of instruments than can be found in profane history of those times.
Worship was such an important feature of Jewish life, and praise
was so essential an element in their worship, that the masses must
have learned and sung those great lyrics which to-day represent the
culmination of human awe, reverence, prayer, and thanksgiving. It is
impossible to imagine David singing his psalms to crude or inadequate
musical settings.

Here we have a situation apparently full of vital contradictions.
Most of the influences which have proven themselves necessary to the
development of music were wanting, and still there is evidence that it
had grown to be an expressive means. The Jews were actuated by profound
religious feeling and by an exquisite sense of nature’s forms. No poet
has yet equalled David’s simple but beautiful appreciation of the
universe, and of its influence upon mankind.

The Jews of Poland, Spain, and Germany have diverse musical settings of
the Psalms, so there is no traceable line of inheritance from David.
This line has been obliterated by the changes incident to generations
of unassisted memory. That there may be rare exceptions to this rule
of change in form during extended oral transmission was abundantly
proven recently by a German Hebrew musician and scholar. He played me
an unwritten Passover hymn which his father had always sung at that
festival time, and told me that he had not long before been entertained
by a Spanish Hebrew, who sang the same melody tone for tone. This
gentleman’s hearing and memory are so absolute that there is no
question to be raised as to this case; but as far as my investigations
have gone, it stands alone.

The composer of the nineteenth century can nowhere else find such
earnest and suggestive texts as in the Old Testament. They voice the
hopes, sorrows, despair, reverence, and joys of our hearts just as
aptly as they did those of the Hebrew bards who wrote them thousands of
years ago. Their natural and direct method of expressing the emotions,
and their incomparable elevation of spirit, make them appeal especially
strongly to the musician, whose flights of imagination start from these
emotions.

We are denied the privilege of scanning the forms and substance of
Biblical melodies or chants, and must content ourselves with tracing
the more prominent features of the _rôle_ which was assigned to music
during that older era, and the mechanical devices which were employed
to enhance rhythmic precision and sonority.

Some writers have endeavored to solve the problem presented by Hebrew
music in the midst of incongruous conditions by attributing its
development to the influence of presumable intercourse with prehistoric
Egyptian civilization. This does not appear logical, for Hebrew music
seems to have been little, if at all, affected by the continued direct
contact during the long sojourn of the Israelites in Egypt.

The Jewish and Egyptian characters were so diametrically opposed (as
was evinced in their beliefs, habits, and aspirations) that their
emotional forms of expression could not possibly have followed common
lines.

Intercourse with Egyptians did not impart even a scientific impulse to
the Hebrew mind. It is therefore safe to conclude that my previously
mentioned hypothesis–that the force of their impulses carried Jewish
music and poetry to unique positions, as compared with those of their
other arts and branches of learning–is worthy of credence.

The first mention of music is made in Genesis iv. 21. Jubal, the son
of Lamech and Adah, is described as the “father of all such as handle
the harp and organ.” Jubal was of the seventh generation of Adam’s
descendants, and the world was, according to Biblical records, in its
second century of existence. These “harps and organs” were doubtless
similar to those depicted in pictures painted in the fourth Egyptian
dynasty. The first named were frames upon which one or, at most, a
very limited number of strings were stretched, and the “organs” were
pan-pipes (a series of reeds of graded lengths, bound together, and
played by blowing into them as they were passed back and forth across
the lower lip). The pan-pipes were probably played in unison with
the voice, whereas the primitive harp was used, with the existing
instruments of percussion, to mark rhythms only.

All historians agree in their deductions as to the order in which the
several classes of instruments made their appearance on the musical
stage. As rhythm is the heart pulsation of music, it naturally
took hold of the first singers of in any measure formulated melody,
leading to swaying of the body, clapping of the hands, stamping of
the feet, and quickly suggested the employment of other resonant
means for marking its progress. Our drums were at first only hollow
pieces of wood, our cymbals, triangle, and gong may have had double
duties,–musical and culinary,–and our harp and piano were anticipated
by single strings stretched to yield a sonorous tone regardless of
pitch.

Next came the wind instruments,–at first single reeds blown to
mark rhythms, then pan-pipes, and much later single pipes provided
with finger-holes like the unimproved flute. Last of all came the
instruments from which the tones are drawn by passing a bow over the
strings. The idea of adapting the vibrating length of strings to a
desired pitch, through pressing them down upon a fingerboard, is
comparatively modern. These general classes took on numerous forms and
were made from various materials.

The existence of Jubal and his musical line of descendants bespeaks a
wide-spread interest in and use of song, but Genesis yields no further
enlightenment, no texts, nor any other allusions to the subject of
music.

Exodus xv. furnishes the next mention. The treacherous quicksands of
the Red Sea having swallowed up the Egyptians, Moses and the children
of Israel join in a song of rejoicing and thanksgiving to God, to
whose direct interposition they ascribe their deliverance. The song
as recorded is too circumstantial to have been spontaneous. Moses,
in writing his account of the occurrence, doubtless embodied the
sentiments which burst forth from the hearts of his people in the
presence of the event in a more orderly and more amplified form. The
sentiments are lofty, and the effect produced by the singing of that
vast chorus of just rescued was, beyond compare, the grandest focus
of human enthusiasm that the world has witnessed; for Moses had six
hundred thousand fighting men alone.

“Miriam the prophetess,” after the song, or during lapses in the
singing, to incite the throng to renewed efforts, “took a timbrel
in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and
dancing. And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the Lord, for He hath
triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath He thrown into the
sea.” The timbrels were drums, probably much like our tambourines in
size and shape.

The trumpet is mentioned three times in the nineteenth and twentieth
chapters of Exodus in connection with the delivery to Moses of
the Commandments. The last occasion is after the consummation of
this universe-shaping ceremony,–viz., “And all the people saw the
thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the
mountain smoking.”

The thirty-second and thirty-third chapters of Deuteronomy contain one
of the Bible’s most sombre lyrics. Moses, whose life has been devoted
to the welfare of the Israelites, who has for forty years struggled to
overcome in them the demoralization incident to centuries of bondage,
sings there a parting song to his people, for they are about to enter
into possession of the promised land, which happiness is denied him.
Could a sadder picture be imagined than this good man, so little
confident in the fruits of his past teaching, exhorting the Israelites
for the last time?

It would make my sketch tiresome to burden it with the less important
musical events chronicled in sacred history, like the songs of
Deborah, Hannah, etc., so I shall skip four centuries, the musical
exercises of which seem to have been marked by no extraordinary
occurrences, unless we accept the fall of Jericho as a musical
phenomenon.

At the end of this period we come upon David, who might appropriately
be called the Isaiah of our art, for his songs voice the conception of
a full, free, resourceful musical fruition, unmeasured as yet by even
the greatest composers who have given them settings. I. Samuel xvi.
makes the first mention of David’s musical capacity,–viz., “And Saul
said unto his servants, Provide me now a man that can play well, and
bring him to me…. And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God
was upon Saul, that David took a harp, and played with his hand: so
Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from
him.” David’s first recorded “psalm of thanksgiving” is in II. Samuel
xxii. Its power, vivid imagery, and conception of omnipotence have
never been surpassed by the mind of man. It is musically suggestive and
inspiring, but a composer capable of grasping its import might be awed
into silence, for our art is still feeble to attempt such flights. A
careful reading of verses five to eighteen, inclusive, will yield an
understanding of my feelings in regard to this song.

There is in much earnest music a substratum of “ecclesiastical tone,”
for the deeper strings of cultivated human responsiveness are attuned
to worship. Our relation as creatures to God, the Creator, is the prime
factor in inducing this condition, but next to it Biblical song most
influences the trend of high musical aspiration. These influences are
insidious, and their fruits do not necessarily betoken design on the
part of the composer, who may be not at all devout; but he, having
imbibed, in common with civilized mankind, the spirit of religion, it
permeates, and to some extent characterizes, his highest efforts.

As long as man continues to write music David will not cease to be one
of the moving levers in shaping his conceptions. This ecclesiastical
tone, when present, does not usually manifest itself in themes, nor
in their contrapuntal development, but in the harmonic outlines upon
which these elements rest. David is supposed to have written the larger
number of the one hundred and fifty Psalms that have come down to us,
and it may be interesting to trace some of the musical colors suggested
by his more clearly manifested moods. They mirror the deepest recesses
of his God-fearing and paternal heart.

The thirteenth Psalm is a wail of sorrow, which is saved from sinking
to despair by David’s memory of past mercies. This latter element is
analogous in this case to the major harmonies in our modern minor
keys, which lend suggestions of coming brightness to our darkest tone
pictures.

In the nineteenth Psalm, which begins, “The heavens declare the glory
of God, and the firmament sheweth his handiwork,” we find a spirit
of contented contemplation, for which these quoted lines strike the
key-note, and announce the _theme_ with no uncertain sound.

The twenty-third consists of pastoral similes, which follow each
other with quiet but ever-increasing intensity. It is as full of
restful confidence and self-contained energy as the slow movement of
Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. It is too sustained in its sequential
progress to afford the contrasts so essential to composers of mediocre
ability, which may account for the desecrations of which it has been
the subject. Nothing so tests the calibre of a musician as logically
growing continuity. This Psalm would have found an ideal setting in
Bach’s lofty serenity.

The spirit of exultation in the praise of the Almighty, which is
present in even the sadder moments of David’s song, flashing light
through its doubts and sorrows, breaks into effulgent glory in the
ninety-eighth Psalm, which has probably received more attention from
composers than any other Biblical text. It has inspired much wonderful
music, but a misconception of the spirit which prompted the last verse
has become traditional.

The psalmist did not invoke the floods to clap their hands, and the
hills to be joyful together before the Lord, in order to propitiate
God, but to express the joy he felt in anticipating the advent of
Him who should “judge the people with equity.” To be consistent,
the composer should set this sentiment in broad grandeur, as the
culmination of his musical scheme.

These examples will suffice to illustrate, in a superficial way, the
suggestive richness of David’s Psalms.

Isaiah, in chapter v. 12, says, “And the harp and the viol, the tabret
and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts;” indeed, the prophet makes
repeated references to music, but not in such manner as to endow his
chronicle with special import to us.

I will close this chapter with two instances from the New Testament.
The first occurred in connection with the Lord’s Supper,–viz., after
the administration of the sacrament, and when they had sung a hymn they
went out into the Mount of Olives. This quiet hymn will not cease to
echo through the universe until we are enabled to realize St. John’s
vision of heavenly music, which as described in Revelation (fifth
chapter) would form a fitting climax to earthly musical effort.

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MUSIC’S FIRST ERA, AND THE INFLUENCES WHICH WERE OPERATIVE IN VARIOUS LANDS DURING ITS CONTINUANCE

There are two distinct eras in the course of the evolution of music.
The first ended and the second began with the invention and adoption of
notation. This mechanical device so revolutionized musical production
and taste, that we may properly concede to it the honor of having
made possible the formulation of our art, for it chronicled the
accomplishments of each generation, thus furnishing its successors with
suggestive models. These were virtually lacking in the first era, which
accounts amply for the little advancement made during its continuance.

That early career of music is shrouded in utter darkness, unbroken by a
single luminous episode, and the lights which we are enabled to throw
back upon it are entirely deductive.

They are not sufficiently strong to bring details into relief, but
they suffice to develop outlines which are ample for the purposes of
my sketch. The fact that the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Chinese
devoted much attention to what some are pleased to call the science,
or technic, of music is to me no indication of the condition of music
existing at that time. Their libraries contained numerous volumes
devoted to music, but their treatises considered melody (harmony was
not known) from a purely mathematical stand-point. This vital element
of music, which should be as free as air, was fettered by pedantry.

I feel convinced that the evolution of music was seriously delayed by
this too early association with science. China has perpetuated this
system of vassalage, the result being that her present temple melodies,
which also serve as folk-songs, are utterly devoid of plastic grace and
spontaneity. The fallibility of long lines of oral transmission casts
doubt upon the Chinaman’s claim that he inherits at least a portion of
these songs, in their original form, from a period four thousand years
back; still, there is one feature of the situation which, in a measure,
substantiates it,–viz., the instinct for imitation that distinguishes
this race from all others.

Evolution involves removal from an elementary state, and we measure
its advancement through placing the present outlines and qualities, of
whatever may be concerned, over against those that characterized some
known previous condition.

China has produced some great scholars, and her civilization, such as
it is, endures like the everlasting hills, and seems subject to little
more change than they, but her people are not emotional, imaginative,
nor susceptible to influences from without. The great wonder is not
that real art feeling has never manifested itself in China, nor that
she has repulsed all attempts to introduce the fruits of European
musical culture, but that the Chinaman, with his nature, should have
ever evoked our muse. China has contributed nothing to the development
of music, and we cannot draw one spark of light from her for our
investigations. The Mongolian race treated their feeble first musical
impulse as they still do the feet of high-caste female children,–viz.,
they wrapped it so tightly in pedantic cerements that it could not
grow; and, being an impulse, and not flesh and bones, it failed to
endure the repression.

Although these ancient scientific treatises afford no clues to the
actual spirit and form of contemporaneous musical utterances, they do
bespeak the presence of interest and respect. As I have shown, this
condition was of no service in China, but as the Egyptian and Greek
people and culture were of a quite different substance and mould, we
may safely infer that their efforts were important features in this
preparatory era.

The light which we are enabled to throw backward over the line of
musical evolution is drawn from the following sources: 1, the nature of
music itself, and the first purposeful use of its germs; 2, its present
condition among barbarous peoples; 3, profane history of ancient
Egypt; 4, its development in pace with that of the Aryan race; and, 5,
Biblical references (to which I shall devote a separate chapter).

NATURE OF MUSIC

It is a gross misconception to regard music as merely a “concord of
sweet sounds,” for that would be a barren art which had no contrasting
features. Much great music is not beautiful, for it may be tragical,
sombre, or may voice any of the moods incident to life. Euphony was
doubtless one of the last developed qualities, for it springs from joy,
love, or reverence. We must look among the coarser emotions for the
germ which was first used in tone expression.

In that prehistoric time, at the beginning of what might be called
soul tenantry, man, whether created or evolved, being the first of
his line, had no fruits of human experience to guide him, and his
emotional status could therefore have differed little from that of the
higher grades of soulless creatures. We learn from history that since
it began its annals animal nature has remained virtually unchanged,
whereas man, because possessed of a higher grade of intellect and a
definite recognition of Deity, in one form or another, has refined and
broadened the scope of his impulses and understanding. As it is the
first subjective, and not objective, manifestation of tone expression
that we are seeking, we cannot do better than to scan this feature of
animal life.

Such manifestations result from the sequential co-operation of
emotion, reason, and impulse. Animals have their growls, roars, and
trumpetings of anger and defiance, and many of them have forms of
expressing affection, but these latter are acquired through experience,
whereas they instinctively appeal to agencies outside themselves for
relief from pain or want, employing means the efficacy of which they
recognize. If we turn to humankind, we find that the new-born babe
will express its desire for food long before it becomes responsive to
its mother’s endearments.

I, therefore, assume that pleading was the first purposeful,
premeditated form of tonal communication, and, consequently, that it
was the nucleus about which experience and culture have gathered such
ample resources. (This term, tonal communication, applies equally well
to our formulated art, for music is invariably addressed by its creator
to some intelligence, whether it be a person, the world, or God.)

This first developed element has never relinquished its prominence,
for it is the mood which most often pervades the composer’s tone
pictures. We find it depicted, as prompted by each and all phases of
human insufficiency, appealing to appropriate sources for relief,–the
oppressed entreating the tyrant, the lover the object of his affection,
and the finite world, prostrate before Infinity, pouring its hopes and
aspirations into the Divine ear.

Now occurs a period of unmeasurable time upon which we can throw no
light. It extends from this first manifestation up to that stage in
evolution which produced forms of tonal expression like those now
employed by the lowest savage races. Some time during this unexplorable
period, man having appropriated a fuller vocabulary from nature’s
store, and having adopted more sustained, and at the same time
articulate, forms, was led to feel pulsations,–incipient rhythm.
Whether this primitive conception of metre was suggested by associated
word successions, or was incident to the extension of tonal expression
itself, we can only conjecture, but rhythmic impulse is evident in,
and it is the main feature of, the crudest musical efforts.

MUSIC OF THE SAVAGE RACES

Science has long busied itself with race origin. It has approached
the problem from every side, and has accomplished so much towards its
solution as to afford grounds upon which to base the assumptions that
the diverse types of mankind, as they now exist, are each physically,
morally, and mentally the outcome of conditions of which climate, soil,
and degrees of isolation have been the most potent factors; and that
these branches which have spread out to cover the world spring from one
common family trunk. Even within the limits of historic time migrations
have been caused either by climatic changes or by the dissensions
incident to over-population.

When the savages of the South Sea Islands became detached, and
whether of their own volition or through a dispensation of Providence,
which caused the Pacific Ocean to isolate them from less pestiferous
humanity, will never be known. It must, however, have taken place after
the idea of at least limited tone expression had taken a firm hold on
mankind and had become a transmittible instinct, for these savages
evince little more disposition or capacity for originating than the
more intelligent species of animals. I cite these people and their
lyric status to mark the lowest ebb in things human and musical of
which we have any knowledge.

Their music and habits are alike crossed by the line which separates
the human from the animal, and it is needless to say which quality
contributes the larger portion. Their songs are, like their language,
ejaculatory, showing little exercise of reason in their forms, and
voicing the baser emotions solely. Rude rhythms are the only features
that attest their origin in musical impulse. Music in its course of
evolution had necessarily to pass through this primitive stage. In more
congenial environments it passed on and out, but these barbarians,
being neither emotionally nor intellectually capable of imparting the
impetus requisite to the development of finer and broader significance,
have for thousands of years used their present crude forms. Their stage
comes in touch with music’s line of evolution at a period countless
years before David sang.

From a letter in response to my inquiries as to the musical status of
these barbarians, written by Count Pfeil, who has most closely observed
their customs during twenty years spent in exploring the dark continent
and these darker islands, I infer that their barbarism has grades
analogous to those that exist in the culture of civilized nations.

In speaking of the two musical instruments in use Graf Pfeil says,
“They are the ‘Tutupele’ on New Britain and Duke of York, and a sort
of pan pipe or flute on the Solomon Islands. The former may hardly be
called an instrument. It is used in connection with the superstitious
ceremonies of the Dult-Dult practice, and is supposed to herald the
appearance of the spirits. Two pieces of wood are carved down till they
sound two neighboring notes, such as c-d, g-a, or f-g. They are then
placed over a little hollow dug in the ground, and are beaten with
small club sticks….

“The other instrument is used by the Solomon Islanders. They assemble
three or four men, each armed with his flute, of which the largest pipe
is about three feet in length, with a two-inch internal diameter. There
are five of these pipes in each instrument. They are made of bamboo,
and played by being raised to the lips and strongly blown into. The
sound, especially when heard from a long distance, which robs it of its
harshness, is not at all unpleasant, but has rather a melodious, though
sad, character. The few men who play these instruments begin turning
round and round, and others, wishing to join in the dance, gather
round them, also moving in a circle. When a hundred dancers perform,
those on the outside run at a headlong speed, while those forming the
centre spin, but very slowly. The dancers accompany the players by very
curious half-whistling sounds, which sound like the twitter of birds.
The louder and shriller the sounds the prettier they are thought to
be….

“On the Duke of York, boys have a curious, cruel way of procuring
music. They take a large beetle and break off one of its legs. In the
remaining stump they push a lot of elastic gum, of which they hold the
other end. The beetle is now made to fly, but not being able to get
away from the boy’s hand, keeps circling round and round it, emitting a
loud whirring or humming sound….

“All these races sing. Their songs are very monotonous, but are
defined, like our own. You can ask them to sing such or such a song,
and they will always sing it exactly as they sang it before. All songs
are sung in a subdued voice, as the melancholy and suspicious character
of the people prevents all loud demonstrations of mirth…. I have
never heard their songs accompanied by any instrument, excepting at
a dance, when, to my sorrow, combined vocal and instrumental efforts
served as an accompaniment to the dance.”

The North American Indians, despite the demoralizing influences of
traders, agencies, and fire-water, are noble men as compared with
the cannibals just considered. Many of their less amiable traits are
doubtless the fruits of white intruders’ avarice, which has from the
first set aside equity when dealing with the red man. They live having
a future state in view in the happy hunting-grounds, which stimulates
in them a strict, but not too comprehensive, moral consciousness. Those
conditions of life which mould race characteristics have in the case of
the North American Indian developed bodily activity, close observation,
bravery, and reasoning faculties, though crude. They lack delicate
sensibility and imagination, but still in them we find nomadic manhood
at its best, and their music mirrors their character.

Their war, funeral, and joyous songs are alike monotonous to modern
Aryan ears, for they are devoid of romance and fine feeling, and
are composed of repetitions _ad libitum_, instead of progressive
developments. Their climaxes are produced through increased unction in
delivery rather than through sequential means. They mark the primary
pulsations of their songs through swaying the body, dancing, and
through the use of rude instruments, and in so doing work themselves
up to a remarkable state of exaltation. This result of their musical
exercises must not be construed as indicating the presence of a strong,
emotional element in the Indian character. They are, on the contrary,
so stolid that few things can ruffle their equanimity. Their ecstasies
are purposeful and self-induced.

Their phenomenal capacity for reading and interpreting nature’s
chronicle of the movements of living things, and its continual
exercise, have blinded them, in a great degree, to the beauties
of landscape. They devote themselves to the analysis of details
instead of to the contemplation of the Creator’s harmonious ensemble,
and they consequently develop little sense for the beautiful. The
fundamental manifestation of this sense is, in normally endowed man,
an appreciation of the forms and colors of material things. Upon this
sense we may build responsiveness to the intangible and ideal, but
without it we have no foundation for æsthetic taste. I can think of
nothing more incongruous than an atmosphere of Bach fugues or Beethoven
symphonies for a man who sees only tons of hay, feet of lumber,
water-power, etc., while gazing upon nature’s grand panorama. The music
of the North American Indian is neither euphonious nor romantic, but
it is distinctly more human than that of the South Sea Islanders, and
its varying tribal phases permit the inference that it has, in their
keeping, accumulated resources, however slight they may seem.

The Indian’s character and music throw light upon the course of
evolution during the first era, inasmuch as they, contrasted with
those of the cannibal races, tend to substantiate my claim that sound
expression takes its cue from attendant culture, advancing in pace with
it.

PROFANE HISTORY OF ANCIENT EGYPT

At that remotest period upon which the historian can throw light (about
3000 B.C. ) the Valley of the Nile was the scene of undertakings the
fruits of which have ever since excited the wonder of the world. The
Pyramids, the somewhat later-built Palace of Karnak, and Temples
of Luxor and Ipsambul stand first among the phenomenal conceptions
of human architects; and the mechanical skill required in handling
the massive blocks and pillars of which they are composed would
severely test the appliances of our practical and inventive age.
These monumental buildings, their consistent environments, and the
deciphered records of scientific and literary accomplishments in those
earliest historic times, bespeak broad culture. As we possess no record
of a race from whom the Egyptians could have drawn either stimulus
or knowledge itself, their culture was presumably indigenous, and
therefore of slow growth. The Palace of Karnak, for instance, marks the
climax of accomplishment in a line of architectural endeavor which may
have begun soon after the Nile commenced making her alluvial deposits.

The persistent and audacious ambition which this long course of
development attests, and the art feeling expressed in their works,
endows Egyptian interest in music, as evinced through the scientific
treatises mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, with especial
significance. They were more learned and less pedantic than the
Chinese, and were, besides, emotional and imaginative, although sadly
superstitious. Had that high enlightenment permeated all classes of
the people, Egypt would have been an Elysium for our art, but it was,
unfortunately, confined to the upper social grades, which embraced the
priests, and to a certain extent the warriors.

The masses, in company with prisoners of war and slaves from Central
Africa, were mere servitors to the monarchs and priests in executing
their ambitious schemes. Although their labor built up indubitable
testimony to the greatness of their masters, the burdens imposed
upon them century after century finally wore away their fealty;
therefore the decadence and downfall of great Egypt. There could not
possibly have been anything like art enthusiasm among a people so
oppressed. Despite this vital lack, ancient Egypt did more, directly
and indirectly, to foster music, and to give it an onward impulse,
than all other agencies of the first era combined. This was somewhat
attributable to the fact that then, for the first time, tone expression
was associated with rhythmic texts; still, I infer that their music
was merely an accessory to euphonious declamation,–subservient to
poetry,–for had their melodies possessed independent import, those
resourceful people would have found some way of recording them. These
relations between music and poetry were perpetuated in Greece; indeed,
our art was not accorded equality as a contributive element in song
until in quite modern times. There have been several distinct epochs in
this relationship,–viz., that in which tone expression, because of
its little understood capacities was held in vassalage to her sister
art; music’s equality (dating from the adoption of notation), during
which she greatly extended and beautified her forms; her ascendency,
which characterized the vocal works of the early part of the present
century; and now the Wagner school, in which the two are again made to
collaborate on equal terms.

The ancient Egyptians employed pan pipes, flutes, horns, instruments
of percussion, and small harps. Mural pictures of the fourth dynasty
represent players blowing upon pipes of different lengths, and
consequently of different pitches, which is a dumb declaration that
at least some principles regulating the simultaneous use of tones
had been recognized. Outside this pictorial record, we can find no
intimation that anything analogous to modern harmony was known and
practised by this people. In the absence of specific data we are
forced to predicate the condition of music in that stupendous, though
exclusive, civilization, upon the elements of the atmosphere from which
it drew its impulse. As the more prominent of these elements were
profound religious feeling, scientific learning, insatiable ambition,
and a clearly pronounced lyric tendency, their melodies must have been
coherent and expressive.

ARYAN RACE

As the instincts and capacities of the Aryan race have always been
unique, it may prove instructive to glance at those features of its
prehistoric existence in Asia which have been brought to light through
comparative philology and mythology. In the first place, these sciences
establish the fact that we of the West (Greeks, Italians, Germans,
English) and the Hindoos of the East are of common origin. Our
ancestors listened to the same legends, ballads, and mythical tales
while gathered as children about one and the same mother, and they
have handed them down to this generation of the descendants of each
so little changed as to furnish ample proof of family relationship.
Many of the more important words of the various Aryan languages are
suggestively similar, and this in spite of the five thousand years of
transmission, and of the diverse conditions incident to the growth of
widely separated clans into great nations.

The Aryans were worshippers of Nature in her more spectacular and
heroic forms and moods,–in storms, fire, sunset, and dawn, but looked
upward for their Supreme Deity. The sky, with its fathomless depths
of blue and its star mysteries, was their Zeus. From this it will be
seen that they were, in a way, idolaters, but their idolatry was not
degrading; it was, indeed, ennobling. They contemplated Nature, and in
her processes saw the hand of an all-pervading, beneficent power,–a
God. They worshipped the God thus, and in no other way, revealed to
them through His works.

Their conceptions of family and community organization have served,
and still serve, as models to civilized nations. They were paternal,
the clans being large families with patriarchal heads, and elected
councillors. They were pastoral, cultivating the soil and herding
cattle, sheep, horses, and pigs; but they were at the same time good
warriors. They wore leathern shoes, garments woven from wool, and they
had at least a rudimentary knowledge of the sciences.

From all this I infer that the early Aryans were a race of freemen,
not subject to the class discrimination that ruined Egypt.

Their appreciation of nature, and their reverence, ambition, and
pertinacity fitted them to become the especial guardians of the
arts, and their comparative class equality enabled them to fulfil
the requirements of my theory that music can only flourish in a
widely diffused interest and knowledge. It must breathe a genial and
suggestive atmosphere.

Our main business is with Aryan music after it came under the influence
of Egyptian culture, but it may interest my readers to flash, for a
moment, the light of analogy back upon its earlier period. We have
found the early Aryans less learned than the Egyptian scholar class,
but also less superstitious and less pedantic. They were normal human
beings in their occupations, susceptibilities, and social life. With
such a picture in view it is quite natural for our imaginations to
hear its complement in expressive sounds,–peaceful lullabies, songs of
praise and love, and sonorous rejoicings.

In remote times the region which is supposed to have been the original
home of the Aryans must have been fertile, for early poets were
enthusiastic in describing its charms. The climatic changes that made
the soil arid as it is to-day may have suggested, or may even have
necessitated, migration; still, what condition or combination of
conditions induced the Aryans to abandon Central Asia can never be
positively known; but it is certain that they, like irresistible tidal
waves, rolled westward and southward, destroying, carrying before them,
or absorbing and dominating all peoples and institutions in their
course.

One of the streams of Aryan migration flowed towards the south and
formed the Hindoo and Persian nations, and another came into Europe
by way of the Hellespont and took up its abode in Greece and Italy.
Three others, the Celtic, Teutonic, and Slavonic, followed in the order
named, passing to the north of the Black Sea, and occupied respectively
Western, Central, and Eastern Europe.

Of all the nations who have developed from these original nuclei, the
Hindoos show least evidence of close intercourse with the world’s
great teacher, whereas the Greeks, perhaps because of their proximity
to Egypt, were led to avail themselves of her tuition to the fullest
extent.

The ancient Hindoos were less scientific than the Chinese or
Egyptians, and isolation has prevented them from advancing with modern
civilization. Their music is less the fruit of theories than it is of
natural Aryan impulse. They do not look upon it as a science, but as
a matter of the emotions, the result of, and intended to quicken, the
imagination. I have seen Hindoo melodies which exhibited a correct
appreciation of rhythmic adjustment, still their accomplishments do not
entitle them to a place among the potent factors in musical evolution.

Now we come to the climax of our first era. Such a true conception of
beauty, such perfect symmetry, and such far-reaching imagination and
lofty aspiration as are present in, and have made ancient Greek art and
literature luminous for all time, bespeak conditions that would have
carried music to fruition during their continuance had she not been
so intangible, and therefore necessarily slow in developing. Had her
nature been less coy, we might have ancient Greek music as monumental
as the Iliad or the Parthenon.

The Greeks were quick to recognize the virtues of Egyptian learning,
and Greece soon became great Egypt’s greater pupil. Still, we should
accord Egypt first place among the factors that built up modern
civilization and led to the formulation of musical art, for she
originated the vital impulse.

That period of Greek culture supremacy dispensed no laurels to its
mothers, wives, and daughters. Woman was regarded as an inferior
being, and she took no honorable part in intellectual social life.
Boys were exhaustively educated, while girls were neglected. This was
the one blot on the glory of those times, and we, besides deprecating
the injustice it involved, must regret that these ancient art-workers
denied themselves that highest earthly source of inspiration,
intercourse with the delicate enthusiasm, the keen perceptions, and art
instinct of educated and loved womanhood; for to what heights might
their achievements have attained but for this misconception of woman’s
nature and capacities!

One would think that Sappho’s lyrics, which induced Plato to call
her the “Tenth Muse,” would have suggested the existence, in woman’s
purer and more sensitive nature, of a subtle vein of beautiful
intellectuality, but such was not the case. Judging from what we have
seen of early Aryan family life, this unpractical and debasing idea of
suppressing woman must have been imbibed with Egyptian learning.

Music was taught in the Greek schools, and youths were thus fitted
to join in the sacred choruses, and to appreciate the significance
of poetry. The immortal bards sang their creations, and they often
remained unwritten for generations. The drama developed from songs and
dances. Music was a prominent feature of their symposiums, the lyre
being passed from guest to guest, each contributing of his best to the
intellectual feast. Banquets were brought to a close by singing hymns.
Music pervaded each function of Hellenic life.

Their choruses were unisons, and their instrumental accompaniments
were either purely rhythmic (regardless of pitch) or they followed the
voice, for the Greeks had no discoverable conception of harmony. In
contemplating the marvellous erudition and the poetic sense of ancient
Greece, and the important _rôle_ played by music in the period of her
glory, I can but feel that the failure to chronicle her melodies is a
misfortune. They may not have been rich in variety of tone succession
or in rhythm, but they doubtless were vigorous, expressive, and
logically rounded, and they therefore mark the brightest point reached
in the first era.

Greece succeeded Egypt as the world’s teacher, and her precepts gain
significance as advancing culture enables us to better comprehend
the fine adjustment of imagination to nature which they embody. Her
sculpture, architecture, and literature are the highest models that
we have, and those of our architects who appreciate the import of
monumental buildings look to ancient Greece for appropriate inspiration.

Is it not reasonable and logical to assume that the spirit of Greece’s
unwritten musical forms has been preserved, passed from nation to
nation, and from generation to generation, and that it underlies
our present classical school? I say spirit in speaking of musical
transmission, for music’s resources and outward forms were, in the
Homeric period, and still are, in course of development.

It would be a waste of space to discuss the musical doings of other
European nations during this period. Those that did least to prepare
the way have been most active since our art took shape. As great as
Italy’s services have been since the sixteenth century (A.D. ), she did
little for music previous to that time. St. Ambrose, of Milan (384 A.D.
), and St. Gregory, of Rome (590 A.D. ), ordained rituals, prayers,
music, etc., but there is no detailed record of their achievements,
therefore no authentic Gregorian chants.

Continue Reading

THE NATURE AND ORIGIN OF MUSIC

A glance backward over the course of music’s evolution suffices to
show that, until in very recent times, it furnishes no pregnant data
for the historian. The first era of music’s evolution began before the
advent of historic man, for the earliest races of whom we know anything
had a well-defined appreciation of its significance, but no noteworthy
landmarks appear until after music came in touch with modern culture;
indeed, no great advancement is traceable until after the invention of
notation. The first record of melodies produced is supposed to have
been made in the fourth century (A.D. ),–viz., that of three Greek
hymns,–to Apollo, Nemesis, and Calliope,–which, however, possess
meagre means of proving their authenticity. From this shadowy period
until harmonies enter the field, nearly a thousand years later, the
historian finds no fruitful material, no verified accomplishments.

The march of material events was amply recorded, but melodies were
passed from mouth to mouth and ear to ear, necessarily changing
their outlines in the process, for the line that connects memory and
expression seems, in most of humankind, to run so near that which
leads from imagination to expression, as to engender inaccuracy in
transmission. (This crossed-line influence is recognizable in the
productions of most composers. Memories become entangled in their
fancies.) Although our modern melody has doubtless come down to us
through long lines of heritage, yielding to the prevailing influences
of each successive stage in transmission, there is no statistical light
on its line of development.

It would be interesting to know in what form the first musical
intuition manifested itself, and then to trace an unbroken chain of
cause and effect from that first manifestation to date, but that
knowledge would not materially benefit music, which is the only art
whose career does not follow well-defined cycles,–the features of
periods reproducing themselves with the recurrence of conditions.

In sculpture, poetry, and architecture we have seasons of reverting
to the antique, and with good results. These arts dealt with tangible
material, could be kept present to the eye and mind, and therefore
developed quickly. We return to their ancient forms, so restful in
their conformity to natural adjustment, for relief from the tireless
ingenuity of modern producers, and to find bases for new flights.

Music is, however, so essentially intangible that it required ages
to discover sufficient of its underlying principles to afford the
foundation for an art. Nothing within our ken has been as slow in
evolving, and yet nothing has shown such an unwavering tendency
forward and upward. These characteristics, and its insidious influence
upon man’s nature, entitle it to be called the divine art. It is in
course of evolution from its original germ, but the outlines of its
early technical forms have no significance for the nineteenth-century
composer.

For the above reasons statistics will be avoided when they are not
essential in locating and verifying conditions. Some periods were too
influential in broadening and defining the scope of musical expression
to be ignored. I shall endeavor to make my theories in regard to the
origin and growth of music accord with its inherent qualities, as well
as with man’s devious and changing nature. The greater the music the
more direct is its appeal to our imaginations, and the stronger its
effect upon our emotions. Each intrinsically great composition has its
distinguishing mood or temperament, which is the sequential expression
and perpetuation of an emotion. This mood is first announced by the
chosen themes, and then its varied phases and the cumulative intensity
essential to sustained expression are secured through the logical
manipulation of these themes.

I would divide music into two classes, natural and artificial. The
latter class is, as the name assigned to it implies, a mechanical
combination of musical means, the result of purely intellectual
processes, incited by will force, and not by inspiration. It lacks all
reason for being, and I shall dismiss it without further ceremony. It
is to natural music, which springs from our imaginations, is formulated
for purpose by intellect, appeals to the sympathies, and sways the
emotions, that I shall devote my attention. The music of the barbarous
races, although developed little beyond the initial stage, is adapted
in its character to their habits and sensibilities, and is among them
quite as powerful an agency for stimulating the passions as is our
nineteenth-century music among the people of this Western civilization.
Their musical exercises are purely emotional, and therefore natural.

Natural music is composed of two species, that which is earnest and
edifying, and that which is entertaining only. These diverse growths
are equally spontaneous, and each develops form, substance, and
proportions in keeping with the intellectual soil by which it is
nurtured.

The world requires that music shall suit its varying moods. Some of
Johann Strauss’ waltzes are quite as genuine music as are Beethoven’s
symphonies, and each in its own way contributes to the pleasure and
benefit of mankind. Which would be the greater loss, were it blotted
out of existence, is unquestionable, for the resultant deprivation must
be measured by the comparative numbers who would feel the lack of each.
The great majority of the public, and even some of music’s devotees,
derive more pleasure from entertaining than from earnest (so-called
classical) music. This is partly because earnest music is quite often
abstruse, requiring well-directed mental effort to understand its full
significance; but a more generally prevailing reason for this condition
(especially when dance music is concerned) is to be found in its
cheering and exhilarating effect.

I think it pure affectation for musical persons to express a lack of
respect for a good piece of dance music. A large percentage of those
who do so are not sincere. They fear to discredit their appreciation
of the classical, thinking wrongly that there would be something
incongruous in liking both. The artist’s ideals should embrace the
whole gamut of human feeling, and music that strikes our sensibilities
at any point in this line is genuine, whether it be a symphony, a love
song, or a waltz.

If music be the language of the emotions, its germs must be those
sounds through which joy, grief, love, fear, rage, wonder, and longing
find natural, unpremeditated, and often involuntary expression. The
fact that the import of these sounds, whether produced by man, beast,
or bird, is unmistakable, has led some writers to accord music the
honor of having been the initial means of intercourse between members
of the human family,–the original language. This is hardly consistent,
for life is mostly unrhythmic monotone, punctuated only here and there
by episodes fruitful in musical germs.

Scientific observation has established the fact that all of the higher
species of living things have forms of vocal intercommunication. Like
human beings, animals have forms of speech comporting with their
degrees of intelligence and needs, but quite apart from these forms,
they and man have mutually intelligible codes of emotional expression.
These codes are not identical in less essential details, nor are they
equally comprehensive, but they spring from a common source. They vary
in character according to the qualities of instinctive feeling, refined
or coarse, that dominate the creatures that employ them.

The lowest grade of animal life which possesses vocal apparatus is
susceptible of but three emotions–anger, longing, and fear–in such
measure as to elicit expression. The higher grades feel joy, love,
sorrow, anger, fear, and longing.

Music has significance only when fraught with messages from the
composer to the hearer. Therefore those sounds which most clearly
voice strong emotions are the most pregnant musical germs. Isolated
shouts of triumph, rage, and joy, or cries of pain, fear, and entreaty,
appeal to our sensibilities, but they do not suggest music, although
its line of development from these primal elements is traceable. It
began with the first intellectual recognition of the adequacy of tonal
expression, when those sounds which had been involuntarily produced as
the result of sensations, were placed by the human mind in the category
of expressive means.

At this point our germs came under the influence of deliberate purpose.
Intellect took spontaneous shouts, cries, and moans in hand, and has
gradually endowed them with continuity, life pulsation (rhythm), and
_form_; has made them express sentiments surcharged with emotions,
creating a definitely significant atmosphere (_stimmung_). This
pervading atmosphere or mood, which is a vital element in successful
musical effort, must be in no wise confounded with the situations
incident to and arising through the descriptive (_program_) composer’s
art. The first is personal, a heart mood; the second is impersonal, a
brain picture.

From this first step in musical evolution intellect has been more and
more closely associated with emotion, as the composer’s intentions have
become more definite and his _forms_ more extended.

Music’s progress has not been uniform, for it is most sensitive, and
the conditions have often been unfavorable. It has followed, to a
great degree, the tidal fluctuations of refinement and fine sensibility
in the masses; for although its growth is dependent upon certain
conditions, these necessary conditions, if confined within narrow
limits, or when found only in isolated persons, will not suffice.

It must breathe a free air, full of sympathetic feeling and impulse,
and it must have a broad, deep soil in which to spread its roots, for
it aspires heavenward, up through the material into the ideal.

The growth of music from its initial stage to an art is quite
analogous, except in time consumed, to the growth of each talent to
maturity, or of each musical conception to full expression. They all
move on towards realization, impelled by art instinct and imagination.
The composer of to-day has a legendary past, full of romance and
heart-throbs, and a warm, sympathetic present, to stimulate his fancy,
but it required ages of joy, sorrow, love, and culture to quicken and
refine man’s stoical nature. The soil which nourishes our imaginations
has been made fertile by the blood and tears of countless generations.

Continue Reading

RETURNING GOOD FOR EVIL

WALTERS soon made up his mind, and with much thankfulness accepted
Sir John’s offer of a home in Denham. That gentleman took him to see
the cottage in which he proposed he should occupy two rooms, and
introduced him to good Mrs Benson, who, with her niece, promised to
do all they could for his comfort. He could only exclaim every now
and then, “Too good, too good for me! Who would have thought of such
a home as this coming to me in my old age?”

He went back to London, packed up his few goods and chattels, and bid
good-bye to his friends in Covent Garden. He was well known there,
and all were sorry to part with him, but glad to hear of his good
fortune. His landlady regretted losing her quiet lodger, whose
regular payments and steady habits she knew how to value. It was with
quite a heavy heart she saw him into the cab that was to take him to
the station. She did the last good office she could for him by
putting into his hand a paper parcel containing some sandwiches, that
he might not be hungry on the journey.

Dick’s delight when he found his dear old friend was going to move to
Denham may be easily imagined. He only regretted that he had to go
back to London at all.

Mrs Benson was quite ready for him when he arrived one evening in the
middle of October. Dick went to meet him at the station in the
conveyance sent by Sir John to take him to the cottage, and was glad
to be the one to lead him into the comfortable little sitting-room,
where a bright fire was burning and tea laid out on the round table.
Mrs Benson followed, looking and saying kind things, and her niece
bustled about to make the tea and toast the bread. It rather
distressed him to be waited on thus; he had always been accustomed to
do these things for himself; but he comforted his mind by saying that
they must not think he should give them such trouble in future.

In a very short time he was quite settled, and seeing that he would
really prefer it, Mrs Benson allowed him to wait a good deal on
himself, and to do in every respect as he had been accustomed. The
neighbours soon learned to like the gentle, kind old man who was ever
ready to perform any little service for them in his power, such as
going on an errand, sitting with a sick child, or reading to an
invalid of riper years.

George Bentham’s character did not improve as he got older. He was so
unsatisfactory in many ways that Mr Naylor would have dismissed him
altogether, had it not been for Sir John’s kind desire to keep him
on, for he knew the wages he gave were higher than he would obtain
elsewhere. Neither he nor Naylor were aware of the dislike he had
from the first taken to Dick, who never named the annoyances he had
to bear from him to any one except Walters.

“I have never done anything to him,” he said one day; “yet he is
always trying to spite me in every way he can. I really will begin
and give it him back again. I know twenty ways in which I can do him
a bad turn.”

“Stop, stop, my boy,” said Walters, “I don’t like to hear you speak
so. That would be spite for spite. The dear Master did not act so
when they tried all they could to vex Him. Yet _He_ never did wrong
in any way. You, on the contrary, are constantly standing in need of
forgiveness from God. So you must learn to forgive even as you would
be forgiven.”

“I will try,” said Dick, feeling rather ashamed of his speech.

“Do, my lad; but you won’t be able to do it in your own strength, for
it goes contrary to human nature. You must pray–nothing like
prayer–and so you will find. And then, Dick, there’s another thing
to remember. Look here”–and Walters turned over the leaves of the
Bible that was never far from his hand–“see this verse which the
Master spoke for the good of boys as much as for older people, ‘Do
_good_ to them that hate you.’ You see you must not be content with
only forgiving.”

“But what can I do for George?” asked Dick. “I never go near him if I
can help–there isn’t any good I can do him in any way.”

“Yes, lad, you can say a prayer for him now and then; and if ever you
see he needs a bit of help at any time, be you the one to offer it,
and you’ll get a blessing, take my word for it.”

They were sitting by the fireside in Walters’ little parlour. Dick
had been to take his Latin lesson. As Mrs Benson’s cottage lay on his
way home, he had turned in to see Walters. He was about to bid
good-bye to him after these last words, but the old man stopped him
and said–

“Wait a bit, and I’ll tell you something that will show you how bad a
thing is spite or revenge. Maybe it will prevent you ever feeling the
desire to vex a person back because they vex you. It’s a sad story,
but you shall hear it, though the very telling of it gives me a pain
all these long years after.

“When I was a young man I was very fond of horses, and liked to be
about them. My father wanted me to become a schoolmaster in a
village, because I’d had a better education than most boys of my
sort; but nothing would serve me but to go about the stables. So my
father spoke to our squire about it, and he said I should go under
his coachman, and so I did; and I got to understand horses, and could
ride and drive them–according to my own thinking–as well as the
coachman himself, when suddenly my master died and the establishment
was all broken up. I returned home to wait till I could find another
situation. Just at this time a young man about my own age, named
James Bennett, came home out of place likewise. He had been, like
myself, in a gentleman’s stables, and had only left his place because
the family had gone abroad. He and I had lived near each other as
boys, and had had many a game together, but we had not met for three
or four years, as he had been away in quite another part of England.
We used to see one another pretty often, as we had neither of us much
to do then but to idle about.

“It so happened that just at this time a Mr Anderson, living about
two miles off, wanted a groom quite unexpectedly, and a friend of
mine called and advised me to lose no time in applying for the
situation, as a new servant must be had instantly. James Bennett
happened to be in our cottage when I was told this, but he left it
almost instantly. I lost no time, but went upstairs and put on my
best clothes; and then I set out, to walk to Newton Hall, where Mr
Anderson lived. I was anxious for the place, for I knew it was a good
one; and as it had only become vacant a few hours, I felt I had a
real good chance of getting it. When I arrived there I was shown in
to Mr Anderson, who said I was a likely enough fellow, but that he
had just seen another young man whom he had promised to take if his
character satisfied him. ‘You know him probably,’ he said, ‘for he
comes from your village; his name is James Bennett.’

“I started with surprise and indignation. In an instant I saw just
how it was. James had heard what my friend had said about Mr
Anderson’s situation being vacant, and advising me to lose no time in
applying. He had quietly sneaked of and got before me; for, as I
afterwards found, he had had a lift in a gig, whilst I walked all the
way, so he had considerably the start of me.

“I left the house full of angry feelings, and despising James from
the bottom of my heart for his meanness; and I took care to tell him
so. He could not defend himself, though he tried to make out it was
all fair play, and a case of first go, first served.

“He got the place and went to it directly, on good wages. I, on the
other hand, could not hear of one anywhere. I used to see James ride
by, exercising his new master’s horse, and my thoughts were very
bitter.

“Mr Anderson had a daughter who was very delicate, and was ordered
horse exercise. Her father had bought her a beautiful creature which
had Arab blood in its veins–that means that it was high bred and
full of spirit. Now Miss Anderson had not yet been allowed to mount
him because he had such a bad trick of shying when he came to any
water. There was a certain pool which lay by the roadside between our
village and Mr Anderson’s house, which he would never pass without a
great fuss. The former groom and Mr Anderson had tried in vain to
cure him of the trick. James said he thought he should be able to do
it, and he was proud to try.

“So he took him in hand. Every day he practised the animal. He tamed
him at last so that he scarcely moved an ear when he saw the pond. I
heard that after one day’s more practice he meant to pronounce him
quite cured. Now all this time I was feeling angry, and longing to
spite him for the trick he had played me. I grudged him the fame of
having cured the horse of shying, for I knew I could have done it as
well, and I was always thinking about the way he had stolen the place
from me.

“Well, Dick, Satan saw now that was a fine time for him, and he made
the most of it. He put into my heart to do a mean trick by which I
thought to pay James back something of what I owed him.

“I bought some crackers and put them in my pocket, and I walked to
the place where the pond lay, a little before the time when I knew
James would come with the horse. My idea was to conceal myself behind
the thick hedge, and pull a cracker just at the moment the horse was
passing the pond. I thought so to startle him that it would make him
worse than ever about shying in future, and then all James’s trouble
would be thrown away, and he would not have the credit of curing him
of the bad habit.

“I crept behind the hedge and was completely hidden. After a time I
heard horse’s hoofs, and saw James come up. He walked by the pond,
slowly at first, then he went quicker, and next he trotted. The
pretty creature was quite quiet. Then he went to a little distance,
and put him into a canter. Now was my time; I pulled my cracker just
as he got to the pond. The horse sprang up into the air, bolted
forward, and the next instant was running away fast and fleet as the
very wind. I heard the hoofs going at a mad pace, and I knew his
rider had lost all control over him. Not for one moment had I
intended to drive the horse wild like that. The most I had thought of
was to cause him to prance and kick, and begin his old trick of not
passing the pond. I felt no anxiety lest any real harm would come of
it. I knew James was a good rider, and supposed he would give the
horse his head for awhile and then pull him in. So I walked home,
thinking I had paid Master James off in some degree at all events.

“We were just finishing dinner when a neighbour looked in, and asked
if we had heard what had happened. He said that James Bennett had
been riding Mr Anderson’s horse, and that it had run away with him
and thrown him violently against a milestone; that he was taken up
quite senseless, and it was feared there was concussion of the brain!
He had been carried to a farmhouse close by, which there was little
chance of his leaving alive. It was dreadful hearing for me. I felt
as if I should have committed murder, if he died! Not that I had
wished really to harm him bodily in any way. I could comfort myself a
little with that thought, but I had intended to do him a mischief of
another kind; and now the ugliness of the sin of revenge rose up
before me in its true colours, and I hated myself.

“I kept my own secret. I argued that it could make matters neither
better nor worse to tell what had made the horse run off. But I was
very wretched. I walked to the farm towards evening to inquire after
him. They said he was still insensible, and the doctor could give
little hope. His parents were there, and Mr Anderson drove up as I
was going away, having brought a second doctor with him. It was a
comfort to know that he would be well cared for. The next day he had
come to himself when I went to inquire, but there was no more hope
than before. He lay in a very precarious state for a week, and then
there was a change for the better. A few days more and the doctor
said he would live, but that it would be many months probably before
he would be well enough to go into service again. Mr Anderson was
very kind, and promised to continue his wages to enable him to live
at home till he was quite well. But he could not keep his place open
for him, so he offered it to me.

“I positively declined to accept it, much to Mr Anderson’s surprise.
I felt that I could not endure to reap any benefit from my
wrong-doing. My conscience had been tormenting me ever since the
accident, and I made up my mind that I would never take a situation
as groom again, for the very sight of a horse made me uncomfortable.
In a short time, thanks to my late mistress’s recommendation, I
obtained a place as personal servant to a gentleman who was going on
the Continent for a couple of years. Now it seems natural that new
countries and new ways should put what had just passed out of my
head; but they didn’t, though I certainly did enjoy travelling about
very much. We went to France and Germany, stopping for a time at all
the principal cities, and then we went to Italy and spent some time
in Rome. But notwithstanding the novelty of all around me I was not
altogether happy. I believe I was beginning to feel what a sinful
heart I had then, and I often longed to open my mind to some one, but
there was nobody I knew to whom I liked to speak. However, God had
His own designs for me, as you will hear.

“My master visited Venice on our return home, and from there he took
an excursion through some mountains called ‘The Dolomites.’ One day,
as we were crossing a narrow plank thrown across a steep gorge, my
foot slipped and I fell down a very considerable distance on to a
hard rock, and it is wonderful that I was not killed on the spot. I
was taken up senseless by some peasants who were fortunately near,
and carried into a hut, where my master joined me, and he and they
did all in their power to restore consciousness. I recovered my
senses after awhile, but I had to lie in that hut for upwards of ten
days, and during that time I looked back on my past life and saw how
sinful I had been, and I trembled when I thought how death and I had
been face to face when I fell into the gorge. My revengeful conduct
towards James Bennett stared me in the face in such black colours as
it had never done before. ‘What would have become of me had I been
killed?’ was my constant thought.

“When I returned to England I went to live with a clergyman, who was
a good and holy man, to whom, after awhile, I ventured to open my
mind. He taught me what my Saviour had done for me by His death, and
how I might look for pardon through His merits, and grace and help
for the future. I have told you all this, Dick, that you may beware
of ever wishing to give what is called ‘tit for tat.’ Now go home,
and whenever you say your prayers ask God to keep you from all malice
and bitterness.”

This advice of Walters came at a very opportune time, for not long
after Dick had occasion to bring it to mind.

It was George Bentham’s duty to shut up the greenhouse windows at a
certain hour in the afternoon, and Mr Naylor was extremely particular
on this point. He had neglected it once or twice, and had been
severely reprimanded but when a third time Mr Naylor found the
windows open late, he took the duty away from him entirely, and gave
it to Dick in his presence, remarking that he felt sure he might
trust him. George said nothing at the time, but his jealousy
increased. He went away revolving in his mind how he could lower Dick
in Mr Naylor’s opinion, and a way soon suggested itself.

Dick was surprised one evening after he had carefully closed the
windows in the afternoon at the proper time, by Mr Naylor reproving
him sharply when he came in to tea for having left one of them open.

“Indeed, sir, I shut them all,” said Dick.

“You mean you _meant_ to do so, but were careless and forgot the end
one,” said Mr Naylor. “Now don’t get into the way of making excuses;
better own your fault at once, and say you will be more careful in
future; then I shall have hope that it will not happen again.”

Dick said no more. He was puzzled, for he felt almost sure he _had_
shut that end window. Yet how could it have got open again? No one
ever went near the greenhouses in the afternoon after they were shut.
He always turned the key on the outside when he went out, though he
left it in the door by order, because Mr Naylor went his rounds
towards evening, and then took the keys home with him. At length he
was obliged to come to the conclusion that he must have overlooked
that window without being aware of it.

About a week afterwards a frost set in, and though it was sunny and
fine for some hours, the air grew cold directly the sun began to
decline, and Dick received orders to close the windows earlier than
customary, and he did so.

The head gardener went the rounds as usual that afternoon before
going home to tea. The cold was severe, and his vigilance for his
plants was consequently greater than ever.

As he came to the door of the greenhouse he thought he heard a slight
noise within, and looked carefully about on opening the door, but
could see nothing to have caused it, so thought it must have been
fancy. When he examined the windows he found one of them wide open.

“Again!” he said to himself. “So that boy is as bad as the other, and
must be trusted no more.” He shut it, and a second time fancied he
heard a noise, and listened, but all was still. When he went home he
spoke more angrily to Dick than he had ever done before, and desired
him not to enter the greenhouses again, since he found he could not
be trusted. “Had I not gone in there,” he said, “and seen that the
window was left wide open, some of the choicest of the plants must
have been frostbitten.”

“But indeed, indeed, I shut them every one, sir,” exclaimed Dick.
“Some one must have gone in after me, and opened that window. Oh! it
was too bad; it must have been done from spite.”

“I can scarcely believe that,” said the gardener. “Excuses of that
sort won’t help you.”

“It is not an excuse, sir. _Do_ believe me, for indeed I shut all the
windows carefully.”

“Maybe the lad is right,” said Mrs Naylor, who was fond of Dick, and
had always found him truthful. “Perhaps some one has a grudge against
him, and took that way of doing him a mischief.”

“Have you any reason to suppose you have an enemy?” inquired Mr
Naylor.

“Yes, I have, sir,” replied Dick.

“Who is it?”

Dick did not reply; he was not sure whether he ought to name him.

But Johnnie Naylor, who with his brother was present, exclaimed–

“George Bentham is his enemy, I think, for he said the other day he
hated Dick, because he was put over him about the windows just
because he was a favourite.”

A new idea appeared to strike Mr Naylor. He seemed in deep thought
for a moment. He was thinking of the noise he fancied he had heard.
Then taking down a lantern and lighting the lamp within, he strode
off without a word, and took his way to the greenhouse.

Unlocking the door, he entered, and closed it after him. Again there
was a slight noise. This time he was sure that something alive was
there besides himself, and he began to search.

[Illustration: “HE RAISED HIS LANTERN AND LOOKED BEHIND A TIER OF
SHELVES.”]

The house was a good-sized one, and he examined every corner, but in
vain. Then he raised his lantern and looked behind a tier of shelves
which stood out a little way from the wall.

A dark figure was there crouching down. It was George Bentham, who,
with a face white as ashes, came forth at Mr Naylor’s command.

“What are you doing here, sir?” he asked, in a voice of thunder.

“I got locked in, sir.”

“And what brought you here at all?”

The ready lie that he would fain have had rise to his lips, failed
him from actual terror, and he was silent.

“I will tell you why you are here,” said the gardener. “You came to
open that window in order to get an innocent companion into trouble,
and to have it supposed that he was careless and had neglected his
duty, and it is the second time you have done the base deed. You are
a coward of the worst kind, and you shall come with me instantly to
Sir John himself, and hear his opinion of your conduct.”

Then George found his voice, and implored Mr Naylor to punish him in
any way rather than take him before Sir John, but in vain. He marched
him off without another word, and made him walk before him to the
house, where he requested to see the baronet.

Very shocked and indignant was Sir John at what he heard about the
wretched boy before him, who did not attempt to deny that he had
hoped to bring Dick into disgrace, and so had slipped into the
greenhouse to open the window, but had not time to escape before Mr
Naylor came and locked him in. He had no way of getting out without
breaking the windows, owing to their peculiar method of opening. He
acknowledged that Dick had never done him any harm, and could only
say in reply to the questions put to him, that “he had never liked
him.”

Sir John dismissed him from his service on the spot, and told him his
opinion of his conduct in terms which remained in his memory for many
a day.

Dick was very glad when Mr Naylor told him the mystery about the open
window had been cleared up; but to his credit be it spoken, he was
really grieved to hear that George was to work no more in the
gardens. He longed to plead for him, but knew it would be useless, as
Sir John and Mr Naylor were so seriously displeased. But when a
little time had passed by, and George was still without regular
employment, hanging about the village, often reminded by jeers and
taunts of his mean conduct, Dick felt more and more sorry for him,
and at length he ventured to ask Mr Naylor if he would say a good
word for him to Sir John.

“And so _you_ want him to be taken on again, do you?” was the reply.
“That’s queer, now.”

But queer as he thought it, Naylor could appreciate Dick’s forgiving
spirit, and admired it sufficiently to induce him to ask Sir John if
the boy might have another trial, and he obtained his consent. He
took care to tell George who it was had pleaded for his return. The
boy had avoided Dick since his disgrace, but this generous conduct
quite overcame him. Though foreign to his own nature to act thus, he
was touched and grateful, and actually thanked Dick, and told him he
was sorry he had behaved so shabbily to him. From that day the two
lads were good friends. George never again annoyed Dick.

We must pass over the next few years of Dick’s history more rapidly.
He did not disappoint the expectations of those who had done so much
for him. He improved rapidly, and developed so strong a taste for
landscape gardening that Sir John and Mr Naylor advised him to lay
himself out chiefly for that branch of the profession, and every aid
was given him to do so. Sir John thought that his steady character,
united to considerable natural talent, well deserved encouragement.
The result was, that when he grew to manhood he introduced him to the
notice of several families of distinction, and he soon began to get a
name and to acquire a considerable income. Walters lived to see him
married and prosperous, and ever true to the principles he had
instilled into him as a child.

At a good old age dear old John Walters passed away to his rest. His
death was calm and happy as his life had been. His remains lie in the
little churchyard at Denham, a plain white stone marking the spot.
Many still remember and speak of him with affection. Amongst the
number is Sir John, now himself grown old. Sometimes he has been
heard to exclaim, as he pauses an instant before the grave–

“Let my last end be like his!”

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