Charles Frederick Holder.

The Californian (Volume 4) online

. (page 69 of 120)
Online LibraryCharles Frederick HolderThe Californian (Volume 4) → online text (page 69 of 120)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

a manner that leads to the belief that
our planters will soon be able to com-

pete with those of any other country.
The foreign varieties have been
grafted on to the native wild walnut,
with the result of fully doubling the
product. Mr. Felix Gillett, in an
interesting essay of ' ' Foreign Wal-
nuts and their Culture, ' ' says :
1 ' Walnut-growing is an industry that
ranks very high in France, and which
can be developed on the same scale in
a State like California, if only we are
wise enough to study the French
method a little and do as they do,
planting none but hardy kinds, and
planting them on plateaux, hillsides,
rolling land, alongside roadways,
around large fields and vineyards, in
cordons and avenues, on soils not well
adapted to other crops, and where the
walnut in due course of time will grow
to gigantic dimensions. But keep
your deep and rich bottom land for
the growing of other crops, and
remember that walnuts require much
space, and that in rich and valuable
land, walnut growing might, after
all, prove unprofitable, if you take
into consideration the value of the

"The walnut belt in France com-
prises two-thirds of the whole area of
that country, extending from the
ocean to the Alps and Jura Mountains,
and from the Pyrenees Mountains to
the Loire, a belt where exists a similar
diversity of soil and climate as is
found in California from one end of
the State to the other, and up to two
thousand five hundred to three thou-
sand feet in the Sierras. The finest
walnuts in that immense belt came from
the Department of Isere in the south-
east, and are exclusively grown on
grafted trees. The kinds most gener-
ally propagated, on account of their
hardiness and beauty of the nuts, are
the Mayette, Franguette, and Paris-
ieune. The latter is found to do bet-
ter in light soil, while the Mayette
and Franguette prefer a rocky soil,
but rather deep and rich. The
Chaberte, less particular as to the
nature of the soil, but very rich in oil,
is much grown for the oil mills. To



give an idea of the extent of the wal-
nut industry in France, I will say that
the Department of Isere alone exports
annually to the capital of Russia
one hundred thousand dollars worth
of Mayette walnuts. Most of the wal-
nut crop of that and adjacent depart-
ments is carried down the River
Rhone to Marseilles, on pine log rafts,
at which port nuts and lumber are
better delivered for market. The wal-
nuts of the Isere bring the best price
of any walnuts in France, five to eight
cents per pound, according to years.
In fact Isere walnuts sell with a pre-
mium, which is another illustration of
that truth, that fine fruit will always
bring better prices anywhere. In that
part of France the walnuts are planted
a little everywhere, especially on
rolling land and hillsides. By the

way, whenever haviug level or rolling
land on your place, always plant the
walnuts on rolling land. In the
Department of Dordogne, from which
comes the bulk of the walnuts exported
to the United States from France,
statistics show six hundred thousand
walnut trees. The walnut crop of
that Department, in nuts for market
and oil, amounts annually to one
million dollars. The nuts are ex p< ffted
to the north of France, Switzerland
and the United States. To the latter
country, on account of the tariff, are
exported only the common kinds. In
the Department of the Loire, fil
thousand acres are planted in walnuts,
the trees being planted as high as two
thousand three hundred feet in the
mountains, and so on in the whole
walnut district."



Through land and sea and sky the music rolls,
Up to the very doors of Heaven, where
'Tis blended in one mighty symphony
And offered at the throne of Him that rules
The universe and all that is therein.

Men say : " Can this poor song of mine avail
In anywise to change the harmony
Of that grand chorus ? Or can one mere note
Of grief or joy, that I may sing perchance,
Add aught of discord or of melody ? "

"Ah yes ; our little note were lost, perhaps,
If it should travel all that space alone ;
But others, hearing it, will add their voice
To swell the chorus." And what rich reward,
If the soft music of one thankful heart
Should form the key-note of a hymn of praise.



THK works that raised Ibsen to
the pinnacle of fame were un-
doubtedly his two philosophical
poems, "PeerGynt" and "Brand."
They are both written in dramatic
form and are equally rich in thought,
meter and rhyme. It would be diffi-
cult to say which of these two poems
expresses the grandest philosophy,
for they are both filled with profound
thought, and their appearance caused
the literary world of Northern Europe
to wonder. Outside Goethe's Faust,
nothing has been written to compare
with these two works in their partic-
ular line.

Having read these poems and having
been deeply impressed with their truth
and grandeur, the reader's imagination
might picture him as one whose living
sympathy with humanity and wonder-
ful psychological insight to man's
deeper self had given him the imprint
of melancholy — a man absolutely in-
different to the outside physical world,
whose appearance betrayed his disre-
gard for the fashion that molded his
fellow men into certain outward forms.

On Bredgade, in front of Santa Anna
place, the writer saw, in a photo-
grapher's showcase, Ibsen's likeness,
for the first time. By a strange coin-
cidence the man himself appeared on
the street, dressed exactly as he was
in the picture. He wore side whiskers,
and his hair was jet black and care-
fully oiled. He wore a silk hat of the
latest fashion, a black velveteen coat,
a pair of tight-fitting fawn-colored
trousers strapped under patent leather
shoes, while his hands were encased
in elegant gloves. The atmosphere
about him was filled with an aroma
of scented hair oil, and in his dress
he looked the exquisite, his face
bearing no traces of an emotional na-

ture. One would have taken him for
a prosperous merchant rather than
one of the world's greatest poets and

We met several times after this
at Jerichau's house. He was always
measured, exact, punctual. We used
to say about him at the Academy that
he never eyen put on a glove without
first considering the effect of the
various motions necessary to accom-
plish the act. He seemed to be
exceedingly affected.

It was the war of '64 between Den-
mark and the combined Austrian and
Prussian powers, which first disgusted
Ibsen with Norway and made him a
favorite in Denmark, where he used
to publish his works. He could not
tolerate the apparent cowardice of
Sweden and Norway in not coming to
the rescue of their southern friends.
For years it has been the custom of
the students of the three northern
countries to meet quinquennially at
the respective university cities, taking
them by turns, and for every such
meeting, renewed promises of eternal
friendship and unfaltering fraternity
are expressed in glowing words by
prominent orators.

When in '64 the hour of need
came, and Denmark found herself in
danger of annihilation, without a sin-
gle friend coming to her assistance,
the Norwegian poet wrote the verses
which he called, " A Brother in Dis-
tress." In .scathing words he up-
braided his countrymen for the
miserable part they had played in the
drama of events, and the following
verse, filled with Ibsen's contempt for
his own nation, which I translate to
the best of my ability, may illustrate
the tenor of the poem which the
author wrote on leaving Norway.






The storms that ride across the sea,
From Denmark, message bear -

With trembling voice they ask of me :
" Where were you, brothers — where? "

The Norseland's fight alone I fought

Lay bleeding on the lair —
I looked in vain for help, you ought

Have been the ones to come, I thought :
V Where were you, brothers — where ? "

Since those days Ibsen lias given
up writing poetry. He says himself
that in order to be understood by the
great mass of people, he finds it nec-
essary to write prose. This recalls
an episode of Ibsen's life, which re-
veals humor on the part of the author
as well as a somewhat revengeful
disposition. Ibsen and Hans Christian
Andersen were both staying at the
house of Mr. Melchior, a well-known
merchant in Copenhagen. Ibsen
wrote principally five act dramas,
Andersen short fairy tales. The
latter was excessively vain and
always eager to read to anybody what

he had written. He was a rapid writer,
turning out fairy tales with remark-
able celerity, and during this stay he
frequently annoyed Ibsen by inter-
rupting him in his work, to read aloud
his latest story. Ibsen was too polite
to rebel, so he invariably swallowed
the pill and listened.

One day Ibsen finished a five act
drama. He appeared in Anders
room at an early morning hour and
found him busy writing.

"I want to read you something,"
said the Norwegian.

Andersen put down his pen to listen,
and Ibsen began. He read scene after
scene, until they grew into acts, while
the minutes passed into hours. The
lunch bell rang, and still Ibsen read on.
The Danish poet would have given
anything in the world to have brought
the infliction to a finish, but dared not
interrupt his guest. At last came the
end. "What do you think?" asked
Ibsen, as he threw down the manu-



" I think," replied Andersen, with
a mischievous twinkling in his eye,
1 ' that it is time to have something to
eat;" and since that day he never
offered to read any of his productions
to Henrik Ibsen.

There were several illustrious
personages with whom, at that time,
Ibsen came in contact. Besides Pro-
fessor and Madame Jerichau, probably
in their day the most famous theatrical
artists, and Hans Christian Andersen,
there was Mrs. Johanne L,ouise
Heiberg. This brilliant actress had
retired from the stage, but her home,
like that of Madame Jerichau, was a
center which attracted all that be-
longed to the realm of art and
literature. Among the actors Ibsen
was accustomed to meet were Wil-
helm Wiehe, Emil Poulsen, Mrs.
Eckardt, the younger Poulsen and
many other brilliant men and women,
whose names are written in the history
of the Danish stage. Among the
sculptors were Bergslen the Norwe-
gian, who modeled the statue of Carl
Johan which now adorns an open
square in Christiania, and Bissen and
Prior. Of the painters there were Carl
Bloch, Frederick Sorensen and the
Neumans. Among Ibsen's in-
timates were Holger Drachman, who
is now known as one of Denmark's
foremost poets and authors, and was
then a young marine painter of some
note, who wrote verses and com-
posed music in his leisure hours ; also
Niels Gade, who w T as then in his ze-
nith, the Bendix brothers, of whom one
is now well known in America,and who
were talked about as promising mu-
sicians while Pauli was conducting the
Royal capcl, or orchestra. Among the
poets and writers were Kaalund, Chris-
tian Ivange and Bergso, Christian Whi-
ther, who was •tottering towards his
grave, and Sophus Schandorph, as
yet but a rising star. The magnificent
genius of George Brandes had not as
yet come to its focus. In after years
he became a literary critic, second to
none, not even Taine, and probably
the one who has most fully understood

Ibsen, standing as close to him as a
friend as he does as a critic.

In such brilliant company Ibsen
moved while in Copenhagen, and no
wonder he took kindly to it, for he
was feted by all and looked upon as
the greatest poet and dramatist of the
North while yet a young man of
thirty-six or thirty-seven years. His
historical dramas created immense en-
thusiasm and found splendid repre-
sentations on the Danish national
stage, while such productions as "An
Enemy of the People " and a " Doll's
House " were looked upon as master-
works in the treatment of social

Then Ibsen went south. He stayed
in Italy for some time and finally re-
moved to Germany, where he settled
down for quite a long time, making
Miinchen his home. But every two
years he £ent a new drama home,
which was always published by Hegel
in Copenhagen, and always found a
place on the Danish National stage, and
a translator in Mr. or Mrs. Win. Archer.

Mr. Archer lives in London. He
is of mixed Scotch and Norwe-
gian parentage and speaks both Eng-
lish and Norwegian with ease. He
belongs to a family which is recognized
in all circles where culture, refinement
and learning are found, and one of his
brothers was for years a Cabinet Min-
ister in the colony of Queensland.
The Hon. Archibald Archer speaks
of Norway's greatest poet with the
enthusiasm of one who well under-
stands the deeper thoughts in Ibsen's
profoundly philosophical works.

In the year 1890 the writer re-
solved to attempt a translation of
Ibsen's "Peer Gynt." " Peer Gynt "
is not merely a singular poem as a
philosophical work, it is equally a poet-
ical phenomenon. It is written fur-
thermore in a style which is entirely
origiual and unique in regard to
meter, rhyme and versification.
The task was difficult, and it took
many hours to do a little work. When
it was accomplished, it was read by
request of Mr. Charles Woodbury



before a literary circle of friends, and
the translations were later taken to
Joaquin Miller, who said of them,
1 ' That is poetry — that is grand, mag-
nificent ! "

Encouraged by the laudatory terms
in which both Miller and Woodbury
had spoken, the writer determined to
finish the translation of the poem,
provided permission could be secured
from Mr. Ibsen to bring out an author-
ized translation. To this end he was
written, and two letters received from
him in reply, both of which are given
in almost verbal translations.

Miinchen, December 30, '90.
Mr. C. M. Waage, Oakland: — In reply
to your inquiry of November 12th, I regret
to have to inform you that, owing to various
reasons, I am not at present in a position to
give you the authorization* asked for.

With many thanks for the interest you
have taken in my labors as a poet, I have
the honor to remain,

Yours very gratefully,

Henrik Ibsen.

Miinchen, Feby. 21, 1891.

Dear Mr. Waage : — Your letter of Jan-
uary 21st to hand a few days ago, and I
hasten briefly to reply to same.

When you say that my last reply to yours
has caused you pain, I can only think that
you must have misunderstood what I wrote,
as I am not aware that I have written any-
thing, which could have hurt your feelings,
at all events such a thing was far from being
my intention.

As you are no doubt aware, they are at
present about to establish new international
laws in regard to the proprietorship of lit-
erary works, which will also settle the rela-
tion between England and America in this
regard. It is the result of these negotia-
tions which I propose to await, before I will
give an authorization to anybody in regard
to the translating of my works.

I am not aware that any one in England
is engaged in translating "Brand" or
11 Peer Gynt." I understand, however, that
a Mr. Miles M. Daw in Chicago is busy
translating "Brand." I have received sev-
eral letters from this gentleman, but other-
wise do not know him and. am ignorant
concerning his literary qualifications.

In conclusion I beg you to feel assured
that I truly and gratefully appreciate your
endeavors to increase the interest in my
works in America.

With kindest regards, I remain,

Yours sincerely and gratefully,
Henrik Ibsen.

Ibsen lias lately finished another
drama. He now lives in tfoi
way, and this is the first work he has
written on his native soil for many
years. As usual, his production will
be published in Copenhagen, and the
name and nature of it will remain a
profound secret until it is billed b
over the stage of the Royal Theater m
Copenhagen. In regard to this latest
work I give, in the following, an exact
translation of a newspaper article I
read a few weeks ago. The article
was published in Politikken under
date of Tuesday, November 8, 1892.
I may say that the paper referred t<>
is a Copenhagen "daily," and in |
senting the report I give it for what
it is worth without comment or criti-
cism :

On November 5th, Henrik Ibsen in
person delivered the manuscript for his new
drama at the general postomce in c

tiana, but owing to circumstances it could
not be forwarded to Denmark until the
evening of the 6th of November, at 10:35,
when the work of transmission began.

Politikken has received the Following
telegraphic account of the proceedings from
its representative, who accompanied the
manuscript on its iourney :

" Frederikshald, 2:05 A. U. The manu-
script is transported in a first-class railway
carriage with special attendants. The
engine is decorated with foliage ami Bag I
and is driven as far as the border station by
the President of the Norwegian State Rail-
road lines. At the departure from Christi-
ania an immense crowd of people had
congregated to witness the- start, and thun-
dering shouts of hurrah filled the air at all
intermediate stations, the reprcsentath .
izens of the towns on the route meeting the
train in spite of the darkness of the night.
All along the line fla^s were strung.

"Mellerud, 5:50 A.M. Last station on
Norwegian ground! More orations 1 At
the entrance to the station a gigantic tri-
umphal arch has been raised; over which art-
inscribed the words: ' Farewell, and wel-
come back ! ' On the platform a torchlight
procession is in attendance, which makes a
brilliant show in the dark hours of the
morning. Attorney Berg spoke on behalf
of those present and said : ' Before you
leave Norwegian soil, receive the homage of
all Norwegians. Go out into the world and
bring honor to the name of your mother ;
but be Norwegian in heart and soul. All
hail to Henrik Ibsen's new manuscript.'

"No one can imatrine the enthusiasm these
words create. The torches are lifted high in



the air to the sound of thundering hurrahs.
In the excitement of the moment a few
torch bearers get too near the carriage, con-
taining the manuscript and have to be
forced back, lest their torches set fire to the
vehicle. The train slides out of the station
while the crowd sings : ' Yes, we love.'

" Goteborg. 9:25 A. M. On account of the
rivalry between Norway and Sweden, no
special preparations have been made here.
Nevertheless the Swedish Authors' Associa-
tion have sent the following stanzas by tele-
graph :

Though brief in Sweden thy passing stay,
With inspirations thou lightest thy way !

" Elsinore, 4:30 p. m. Publisher Jacob
Hegel meets the manuscript here. The
whole city is astir, and all around the rail-
way station the streets are thronged with
people. As the carriage, containing the
manuscript, is run from the ferry on to the
railroad track, Mr. Hegel, amidst profound
silence, exclaims: 'Welcome to Denmark!'
The crowd shouts : ' Long life to Henrik
Ibsen's publisher!' Mr. Hegel expresses
his appreciation and enters a special ear,
which is placed directly after the one ju-
rying the manuscript."

In regard to the arrival of the man-
uscript in Copenhagen, the correspon-
dent writes :

The reception at the railway station in
Copenhagen was magnificent and cordial,
even though it did not partake of the
nature of a great national event, the same
as did the journey through Norway. Out-
side the railway depot a number of societies
had mustered, and an immense crowd of
people was present as well. The platform
had been barricaded, and only Mr. Hegel,
his family, and representative men of art or
literature were admitted. When the train
stopped, Mr. Hegel left his carriage and
approached the one containing the manu-
script, and as the two attendants now ap-
peared with the manuscript enclosed in a
jeweled casket, all present doffed their hats.
The casket was then placed on a kind of
bier, covered with velvet and carried by Mr.
Hegel and three authors, whose publisher he
is, while the rest of the crowd followed in
the wake.

The excitement outside had now reached
its climax, and as the casket came in sight

the crowd burst into shouts of rejoicing,
and the precious burden was then placed in
a carriage, drawn by four horses, and the
procession slowly moved through the
streets of Copenhagen. Mr. Hegel's place
in Klareboderne, as a matter of course is
elaborately decorated, and special efforts
have been made by the typos, who are to
set the manuscript, to decorate the entrance.
It may be mentioned as a curious fact that
these men have nothing else to do but to set
up the dramas, which Henrik Ibsen has pub-
lished in Copenhagen every two years. 1 he
balance of the time Mr. Hegel pays them a
retainer. When at work they appear in
full evening dress with white ties and gloves.
Mr. Hegel handed the manuscript to the
foreman and in a short speech reminded
him and his men of the great responsibility
relative to the education of the world, which
they were now to take upon themselves.
The foreman, in responding, emphasized
tlie honor which was being conferred upon
him and his men, and through them on the
whole typographical fraternity. The crowd
then dispersed with more enthusiastic hur-
rahing, evidently having received a profound
impression of the proceedings. In honor of
the occasion Mr. Hegel treated the inmates
<>f the General Hospital to boiled rice,
roast pork ami beet root.

Since writing the above the drama
referred to has been published and
translated into several languages, in
America by a Mr. Arctander of
Minneapolis. It is known in English
as " Master Builder Solness," and has
created a good deal of comment wher-
ever it has been read or performed,
principally owing to the manner in
which the author has mystified the
public by presenting an idea, singu-
larly abstract, and calculated to puzzle
rather than to satisfy the mind. Many
critiques have been written on this
work ; but I honestly believe that a
writer in the Pall Mall magazine
comes nearest the mark when he
somewhat acrimoniously observes that
the word " master bewilderer " would
have been more appropriate than
" master builder."



HY must every thing
smack of man and
mannish ? Is the
world all grown
up? Is childhood
dead?" That is
what Charles Lamb
said when he
moaned about the changes that had
come among the pleasant haunts of
his childhood.

When one has the commercial instinct
along with an eye to the chase for
dollars, one must conclude that in San
Francisco the world is all grown up,
that childhood is dead and that the gold-
mill smacks of "man and mannish."
For the children as a rule do not work
in San Francisco. And if they get in the
dust and pelf of trade there is little of
the ' ' up and down in ceaseless moil ' '
element around their puny labors.
It is the pure instinct of the joy of an
occupation which drives them to do
anything with a nickel at the end of
a vista. Even if the parents are poor,
with grim need scowling them on to
further work and further saving, the
children, for the most part, are kept as
little ones and are sent to school. To
keep him still is the greatest affliction
for a healthy child. The small people
of San Francisco being a hardy,
wholesome lot, their first instinct is to
be doing something.

In the country a child's mere desire
for action, with pleasure as an end,
could not drive him to any occupation
with a revenue tacked on. An endless
course of dear delights is there — to
lie upon the grass with the fine garden
smells around, to bask in the orchard
and ripen with the ripening fruits,
to watch giddy fishes darting through
cool shadows of swift streams, the
delicious swish of water on bare
ankles, and the sweep of long weeds

and grasses on nimble legs running.
There is, too, a pleasant whin
romance which hangs even to the
cheerful drudgery of driving CO
piling hay or picking fruit. These
are pleasant methods by which to
spend that restless energy which is
the basis of all childish sensation.
But they are as locked-up rooms
to the children brought up in and
environed by a large city. When
the boy in San Francisco grows wi
of the dreams and play of his vacation
days, he catches an echo of the B<

Online LibraryCharles Frederick HolderThe Californian (Volume 4) → online text (page 69 of 120)