« PreviousContinue »
rudimentary moral development. She was of a type of educated girls unfolding in ambitious, well-to-do houses whose heads have had a clearer perception of material prosperity than of moral strength. Proving brilliant scholars, such girls were pushed through a series of difficult textbooks with much disregard of selfsacrificing domestic life, their mothers furnishing the unselfishness which such one-sided careers demand always of somebody. When the examination for teaching was passed with distinction, doubtless and this teacher was given an intermediate position, she had had no moral test. Her life had been of different forms of self-indulgence. Her treatment of John's case showed a good heart and a weak head. There was no conscious process of thought in the gradual deterioration of the quality of her influence; but she showed appalling readiness to evade an inevitable difficulty of her profession.
Most likely, had she thought of it, she would have been impatient of the fact that a successful life - morally speaking- is a long apprenticeship to little things; probably, too, she would have disliked to believe that it is the duty of a woman of cultivated tastes to make herself the slave of the schoolroom.
Such is not the teaching of any womanly conscience. Absolute unselfishness, the death of self, such are its teachings. "Do the duty nearest thee" is the only message it gives to women "with a mission," and from duty to duty teachers can rise to a degree of moral strength dumbly felt by every sensitive, intellectually strong but morally weak pupil in their flocks. Characters are chiselled by self-discipline. And what is that but a constant curbing of impulse, and slavery to the sober second thought?
Time should have been found for John. There is always time for what we wish to do; not for all we wish to do, but for the supreme thing upon our minds.
"Qu'est ce que c'est que bien vouloir?" said Maupertuis. "C'est ne vouloir qu'une chose, mais la vouloir toujours, dans tous les instans de la vie."
Oral lessons in history, or biography, in physiology, or botany, or chemistry should have been devised to catch the wandering attention of the backward. John should have been given special lessons in the fundamentals - after four o'clock, if he proved interested enough to stay. The teacher should have carried her busi
ness home with her, and planned interesting days' works, thought over contingencies that might arise, and generally slaved for the school.
This sounds old-fashioned and disagreeable; but the writer of some experience does not believe there is any royal road to a strong hold upon pupils. We all our lives long—are secretly or openly influenced by those who sacrifice themselves for us.
HOW THE GERMANS FOSTER PATRIOTISM.
BY DR. L. R. KLEMM,
Principal Technical School, Cincinnati, O.
T the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of my alma mater in Duesseldorf, the pupils of that school performed a dramatic play on the stage of a hall which seated three thousand people, and which was filled to its utmost capacity with former pupils and their families, and other friends of the institution. The performance interested me greatly, because it gave me a fine chance to notice how in reconstructed Germany patriotism is fostered. A synopsis of the play, I trust, will enlighten the reader sufficiently, and may, perhaps, serve some poetic talent in America as a model for imitation.
The play was mounted admirably by the combined efforts of the artists of the "Malkacten," a club of the painters of Duesseldorf. It is entitled "GERMANIA," a dramatic poem in three acts with a prologue and an epilogue. Its author is Ernst Scherenberg, at present one of the most popular poets in Germany; he lives at Elberfeld. Prologue and epilogue form the frame of the play, and since they are played also, the play really consists of five
The aim of the poet was to show a "causal nexus "between the late developments in German history and the most interesting epochs of the past. In other words, he intended to prove that the present strength and greatness of the empire is due to a combination of all the illustrious qualities which separately distinguished the people of the three southern peninsulas. It is a grand scheme, and the poet has treated it masterly, as my meagre synopsis in prose may show.
The acting persons in the prologue are Germania, clad like the famous statue on the Uiederwald opposite Bingen on the Rhine, and the genii of History, Liberty, Art, Power, Wealth, Science, and Faith. Time: The close of the "Thirty Years War." Place: A desolate German landscape which bears the signs of the ravages of the most destructive war in history.
Awakening from a frightful dream, Germania gazes upon her country that has been crushed and ravaged by the hatred of blind religious fanaticism. Almost despairing she laments over this terrible state of destruction, and longingly looks out for a deliverer. In a fit of despondency she sinks down at the foot of an oak that has been split by lightning. Then appears the genius of History, reveals to her a better future for her country, because the German nation had always risen with renewed vigor from the deepest sloughs of misery and weathered many a storm. Never had the German people fallen so deep but that a deliverer had risen from its ranks to free it and elevate it to its former greatness. He then calls up the powers that had once made great and illustrious the three nations of southern Europe, powers which combined are destined to act anew on German soil.
Each of these genii sets forth what he accomplished in the past, and elaborates upon his influence and strength. The genii of Liberty and Art refer to their work in Greece, those of Political Power and Wealth refer to Rome, those of Religious Faith and Science to the Moorish Empire in Spain. They finally wrangle about their superiority, and as to who accomplished most. Then the genius of History engages to show Germania how high these great powers had elevated the nations of the past. As in a mirror he will show in three life-like pictures (a) how in Hellas' sanctuary Art and Liberty, this beautiful twinflower, blossomed; (b) how at the throne of the Roman emperors unbounded Power and Wealth had united to unparalleled grandeur; (c) how Faith and Science closely intertwined among the pastoral people from the Orient had gained their greatest lustre on Spanish soil, till they and their creations vanished like a dream and the song of the swan.
The first historical picture (Act II.) represents the sacred grove (Altis) in Olympia with the temple of Jupiter or Zeus and other fine edifices. Statues of Olympian victors are seen, also the pompous tents of the participators in the national games who had come from the different states and colonies of Greece. In the back
ground the Kromoshill with its lofty temple is seen. Among the immense crowd moving to and fro one notices ambassadors, athletes, rhapsodes, sculptors, sophists, etc.
The episode now played belongs to the most illustrious epoch of Grecian history. Time: Shortly before the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War. The sublime statue of Zeus, the all-powerful, made by Phydias, has just been completed and placed in the temple amid the acclamations of all the Greeks. But at the same time a discord is noticed; some of the tribes nurse the green-eyed monster jealousy against aspiring Athens, which, under Pericles' wise leadership has become the most powerful city of Greece. The fact that Athens has formed an alliance with the Corzyreans against Corinth has come to the notice of the Spartans. Among the multitudinous crowd that has come together and exchanges words are seen the rough Spartan, the clumsy Boeotian, the quarrelsome Corinthian, and the proud, but rather vainglorious Athenian. These move in the foreground and engage in altercations as to the merits of their respective cities.
After some bickering illustrative of the beginning disunion and want of harmony among the Greek tribes, a young wrestler named Peisirrhodos, from Rhodos, appears with his tutor or trainer, at least the latter appears as such, for the garment the person wears is that of a teacher of gymnastics. In reality, however, it is Pherenice, the mother of Peisirrhodos, whose father had three times won the highest prize in Olympia, and whose two brothers had won the garland on one and the same day.
Though women are prohibited by capital punishment from appearing at the national games, Pherenice has not been able to withstand the temptation of accompanying her son in man's garment to the forbidden ground. As a genuine Dorian, she herself engaged in her youth in wrestling matches, and now desires to see her beloved offspring win a victory in the contest. But when her dearest hope is realized and Peisirrhodos wins the victory over all competitors, even over the famous Athenian Glaucos, she is overcome by the natural instinct of a mother's pride and betrays her She is instantly seized, and about to be sentenced to be put to death, according to the strict laws then in force.
The excited populace takes sides for and against her. The Spartans and their allies violently defend her, while the Athenians and others with equal violence demand that the sentence be pro
nounced and executed. At this moment Phidias, the hero of the day, appears, and to him the woman applies for help in imploring terms. Phidias is moved and appeals to Pericles whose shrewdness in arguing succeeds in liberating her.
He makes a most powerful and eloquent appeal to the natural instincts of the people. The circumspect patriotism with which he denounces all dangerous particularism and praises general liberty, a liberty that should certainly be awarded to the all-powerful mother's love, furthermore, the argument that it would mar the serenity of Phidias' day who has just unveiled the greatest piece of art ever seen, make the oration very effective. The people agree to set Pherenice free. The act closes with these words of Pericles: "May never cease among the Greeks a striving for beauty, unity, and heroic deeds! Hail to the twins: Art and Liberty of the Hellenes!"
The act was played with great perfection; the boys recited well, gesticulated nicely, and showed an enthusiasm and artistic skill that would have put a professional troupe into the shade.
The second picture (Act III.) represents the gardens of the Roman emperor, Nero. These gardens widening into a park, are situated on the slope of the Palatinian hill. Colored lamps and torches illuminate the brilliant scenery. Greater splendor Rome never saw, neither before nor afterward. Nero, at the side of his second wife, Poppaa Sabina, speaks in his favorite role as dramatic artist to the assembled guests, senators, patricians, and officers of the court. In the background a horde of pretorians with Tigellinus as “prefect," secure safety from the populace which presses near to watch the spectacle.
Nero sings, accompanying himself on the lyre: The very gods, envious of Rome's greatness, power and wealth, sent down their flashes of lightning and destroyed the city; but he, the emperor, a second Apollo, turned their wrath into good, by building the city up again, more beautiful than ever, aided by the gifts of the entire world. Nero's song is applauded by the cowardly assembly, but Seneca, his old teacher, gives utterance to the general discontent and despondency among the people, accusing the emperor of having levied oppressing taxes, of having exacted exorbitant and most unreasonable sacrifices from the people; he even courageously accuses Nero of having robbed the temples to satisfy his desires and to further his vainglorious efforts.