Thumbnail Image
Not Available




   


Harper's Weekly 06/14/1873


HOME AND FOREIGN GOSSIP.

Last autumn, when Anton Rubinstein first ap-
peared before the American public, there was a some-
what general impression that, however gifted he
might be, he was so austere an artist, so uncompro-
mising in taste, so musically exclusive, he would
never really touch the popular heart. The result of
his eight months' visit in this country has been to
awaken the most marked approval of strict musical
critics, and unbounded enthusiasm in popular audi-
ences. Rubinstein has given no less than 215 con-
certs in America, in all of which he performed the
highest kind of classical music—he has not deviated
from the standard with which he commenced. To
understand that he has been appreciated, it is only
needful to mention that the people of the United.
States have paid about $350,000 to hear this style of
music. Quite a singular scene occurred in Boston on
the occasion of Rubinstein's last concert there. A
number of young ladies, carried away by enthusiasm,
made their way into the retiring-room at the end of
the concert, and, surrounding Rubinstein, shook him
by the hand and showered him with congratulations,
many pleading that he would not go away, and equal-
ly as many entreating he would soon return. It is
said in local papers that some of the more impressi-
ble of his visitors shed tears, and there were symp-
toms of a more warm leave-taking in the shape of
farewell embraces, when the embarrassed artist grace-
fully extricated himself from his dilemma, and took
his departure, followed by a throng of his sorrow-
stricken admirers. This is doubtless an exaggerated
report of a somewhat sensational scene; but there is
no doubt that the gifted artist won universal admira-
tion and respect. The last concert given in Steinway
Hall in this city called forth unbounded enthusiasm.


Six months after the fire, Boston looks about to see
what has been done to restore the places laid waste by
the devouring element. The wise city fathers settled
on widening the streets in many instances—an im-
provement which must be grateful to both citizens
and strangers. The general style of buildings now
being erected is plain and substantial, with no wooden
cornices to tempt the approach of fire. There are
some elegant structures, but the number as yet is not
large. The money which was formerly paid for orna-
mental work now appears to be put into substantial
walls, girders, and beams, and solid stone, brick, or
iron fronts. In some streets the ashes have scarcely
been stirred as yet, while in others the work of recon-
struction is going on with great vigor. By-and-by the
new district will be handsomer and better than the old.


Be it known that, according to a circular recently
issued by the postmaster of New York, all postal cards
are intrusted to the post-office for transmission and
delivery only, and should be exempt from idle curi-
osity and comment on the part of post-office employés.
Clerks and letter-carriers are therefore instructed not
to make messages the subject of conversation, nor
(except in specified cases) to give special attention to
any part of a card except the address. In no case will
any clerk or carrier be allowed to exhibit an addressed
postal card, or communicate any message which may
be written upon it, to any one not employed in the post-
office, except to a person authorized to receive it.
Who, then, must have the credit of reporting all the
curious stories of curious postal messages that have
slipped into the newspapers?


Barnum's “show” was in Boston ten days, and the
total number of tickets sold was 243,642.


The recent “narrow escape” at Niagara Falls is a
seasonable warning, and, it would seem, might pre-
vent that series of accidents at the Falls which marks
almost every season. Four young men started to
cross the river in a row-boat, but through some mis-
calculation found themselves in a most dangerous
part of the channel, between the “Wing” and Goat
Island. The stream at this point is very swift, and
flows direct for the American Fall. There is no chance
for a boat to make the head of Goat Island after get-
ting once fully under the force of these currents. The
boys labored at the oars with that fierce energy which
despair only can arouse. For a long time it seemed as
though their efforts would prove fruitless, and that
they were doomed to certain destruction. A large
number of people collected on the banks of the river
and Goat Island, and watched every move made by the
desperate boys with the most intense anxiety. The
boat was finally brought out from the influence of the
river currents, and slowly creeping up the channel,
brought hardly less relief to those who were helpless
spectators than to the thoroughly frightened occu-
pants of the little craft.


About the time of the opening of the Vienna Exhi-
bition the entire community of that city seemed to act
on the idea that strangers must come there, and that
by judicious management they might be fleeced to an
unlimited extent. An exorbitant price was demanded
for very modest lodgings, and an extra sum was asked
for every article upon bill of fare. Austrian and
French wines were held at double their ordinary
prices. And if one, dissatisfied with charges at the
hotel where he was staying, desired to make a change,
it cost a small fortune to get away. The man who
swept his room demanded a gratuity; so did the boot-
black, the porter, the table-waiter, the keeper of hats
and coats, the man who put the luggage into the car-
riage, and a dozen other lackeys, making the exit a
most vexatious episode.


The Pope during his illness has been cheerful, and
often gay. One day, rising from his bed in an inter-
val of ease, he walked into the adjoining salon, lean-
ing on the shoulder of an attendant. There he saw
some of the officers of his guard, among them the
commandant. To him the Pope said, with a very
grave air, “Ah, you do not guard me too well; you
have allowed the enemy to enter my apartments.”


“It is impossible,” stammered the commandant.

“Ah, yes,” added the Pope; “you have allowed my
malady to enter.”


Germany has the honor of inventing an instrument
for testing color-blindness, which is such a peculiar
and puzzling phenomenon. It is a rotating apparatus
consisting of rings of various colors. It is so ar-
ranged that when revolved the admixture of colors
will appear in a certain specified way to a person who
is “green-blind,” in another way to one who is “red-
blind,” and so on. Thus the eye may be accurately
tested, and disputes concerning colors—which have
often arisen—may be easily settled.


Some efforts are being made to ameliorate the con-
dition of women in India. A plan has been originated
to establish a Female Medical Mission at Jeypore, in
Rajpootana, which, if successful, will not only give
remunerative occupation to many unemployed white
women, but will also prove an inestimable blessing to
the inmates of the Hindoo harems. It is well known
that the native prejudices and etiquette forbid the en-
trance of men (near relatives alone excepted) into the
female apartments; consequently the unfortunate
women are practically cut off from all medical assist-
ance, and, in the higher classes especially, suffer, and
frequently die, for lack of skilled advice. In many
cases, however, a medical woman would be courteous-
ly welcomed. Mrs. Beynou, a lady who has long re-
sided in Jeypore, has offered to make the necessary
arrangements for the establishment of a Female Med-
ical Mission. It is proposed to send out to Jeypore a
skilled physician, who will there have the direction of
a small female school of medicine, the pupils being
carefully selected Englishwomen, residents of the
country. A dispensary will at the same time be
opened in connection with the school. When effi-
ciently trained, the pupils will find a large field of
usefulness amidst the harems of that large and popu-
lous city, and it is hoped not only that their skill will
relieve physical suffering, but that by their healthy in-
fluence they will raise the moral and religious tone of
the much-neglected Hindoo ladies.


“The first thing that strikes a stranger here,” re-
marks a Calcutta correspondent of the Pall Mall Ga-
zette
, “is the absence of English child-life. The most
prominent feature in an Indian grave-yard is the num-
ber of children's graves.” It appears from statistics
lately published that in 1871 out of 11,000 soldiers'
children in India, a very large proportion were ill ev-
ery day throughout the year. One-third of the whole
number of European children in India die under six
months old, eighty-five per cent. die before the age of
two years, and out of one hundred infants born only
eleven attain maturity. The Indian empire costs Great
Britain much every year in the sacrifice of soldiers in
the trenches and on the battle-field, but a far more nu-
merous army of helpless victims toss feverishly upon
their little cots until their feeble life is worn away.


In former years the unfortunate Russians who were
condemned to exile in Siberia suffered fearfully even
before they reached their dreary destination. They
were forced to make their long and laborious journey
on foot, marching in all weathers, and often in chains
which wounded the flesh by constant friction. The
time occupied in the journey was from one to two
years. The prisoners rested at fixed stations, and were
attended by officers and soldiers, who were changed
at each station. New arrangements have been made
from time to time by the Russian government, so that
now the health and comfort of the exiles are provided
for, and the government also makes a saving in the
fewer number of stations and soldiers required. They
are conveyed the greater part of the distance by rail
or steamer, and winter marches are also prohibited.


Startling scene in Western railway car. A stalwart
German sitting alone on one side of the car, and a
tall American on the other. The tall gentleman, desir-
ing fresh air, opened the window next him. The Ger-
man requested that he “put that window down right
away, quick!” The request was complied with at once,
and the tall gentleman moved to the rear of the car, and
raised another window, when his German friend im-
mediately left his seat and requested that the second
window be also closed. “No,” said our American;
“I have complied with your request once, and having
left your neighborhood, can see no justice in your
demand.” Upon this the German returned to his seat,
and taking therefrom a revolver, to the utter astonish-
ment of all, placed the weapon in his pocket, remark-
ing with an oath that he “would shoot that Yankee if
he didn't shut the window.” The tall man noticed the
movement and heard the remark, and after the Ger-
man had again taken his seat, walked down the aisle
of the car, approached the German from behind, and
placed his left arm à la garrote around his neck, with
his right hand drew out the pistol, and placing it in
his own pocket, quietly resumed his seat. When the
conductor came around the American gave him the
revolver, with the request that it be returned to his
German friend upon their arrival at Toledo, provided
he had cooled down.


Certain elderly ladies who are in the banana, ice-
cream, and candy business insist upon their right to
ride in the Third Avenue smoking-cars and smoke
their own pipes to relieve the tedious ride to their
“up-town” homes.


In-Tse is the original name of a young Chinese lady
who has recently contracted a marriage in Paris with
Vicomte Charles de Thouais. The young bride was
an adopted daughter of a French merchant of Canton.
The gentleman, on leaving Canton, took the young
girl to France with him, and sent her to a first-class
school in Bordeaux. Perhaps this is the first instance
of a Frenchman marrying a daughter of the Celestial
Empire; but the age is progressing, and it will prob-
ably not be the last.


Apropos: a Japanese dignitary now in Paris, young,
rich, and handsome, according to report, is about to
marry—if the ceremony has not already transpired—
the daughter of a wealthy French merchant. The
lady has stipulated that her suitor should embrace
the Catholic faith, to which no objection seems to
have been made.


By a private letter from an interior town in Maine,
not forty miles from the capital, we learn that on May
25 there was snow six feet deep on a farm in the vi-
cinity. On that same farm the snow has been in one
place fifteen feet deep during the winter. So impene-
trable to the sun's influence was this huge body of
snow that a few days before the letter containing our
information was written a gentleman rode over the drift
on horseback, and the horse did not even “slump.”


Long Branch is to be a grand centre of summer
pleasure. The railroad facilities for reaching the
Branch are to be greatly increased this season. One
company proposes to provide an all-rail route from
New York to Long Branch which will occupy only an
hour and a half per trip.



Website design © 2000-2004 HarpWeek, LLC
All Content © 1998-2004 HarpWeek, LLC
Please submit questions to webmaster@harpweek.com