Its Origin, Its Rise and Its Decline
I. The Chat Noir, the First
and the most Famous of the Cabarets
wine-houses and coffee houses are as old as the Rocky
Mountains. And ever since they came into existence surely
there have been singers and players of instruments who have
given here, to their own and to the amusement of others,
samples of their merry art. But the institution which we
call today the cabaret — the Frenchman says, "cabaret
chantant" — came into existence on the 18th of November,
1881, on that memorable day on which the painter, Rodolphe
Salis, opened his famous Chat
Noir at No. 84 Boulevard Rochechouart. Painters,
poets and musicians — all kinds of elements constituting the
intellectual proletariat, driven out of the old revered
Quartier Latin, which was being modernized at that time,
packed up their belongings and emigrated to the outer
boulevard, to the sacred mountain, the Montmarte, the "Butte
At the beginning, Salis was only the landlord in whose place
the "Hydropaths" assembled once every week. The only credit
he could get in those days was that he induced this assembly
of artists, among whom was Emilie Goudeau, to move from the
left bank of the Seine to the Montmarte. Every Friday they
assembled. They played, they sang and they laughed. Every
guest who happened to come was welcome, no matter whether he
took active part in the entertainment or whether he remained
a listener. Very soon all Paris was talking about the "Black
Cat," and the fact that there still could be found Bohemian
life — that kind of Bohemian life known to all from Henri
But for the rapid success of this cabaret and its being
known in the largest circles of Paris, Salis had to thank
the weekly he started to publish, "Le Chat Noir." Here the
Parisians could see for the first time the marvelous
caricatures of Riviere, Steinlen, Willette, Henri Somn and
Caran d'Ache; there were poems and short pieces in prose by
Auriol, Alphonse Allais and many others whose names are
well-known since, in French letters. Salis proved to be a
wonderful organizer. He always gave Paris something new to
laugh about, as, for instance, that famous feast, "La Soupe
et le Boeuf," and his memorable celebrations of the 14th of
Every Parisian had to see at least once this cabaret, and
each new guest was welcomed by the "Cabaretier —
gentilhomme" with dignified, well-set oration. Salis knew
always how to attract new talents to his house. And very
soon nights were turned to days and the same happy merriment
could be found in the "Black Cat" at any hour of the day.
Salis did not charge admission fees. But the prices paid for
the "consommation" — mostly a stein of beer — were
exorbitant; five, ten, twenty or more francs were paid for
one glass of beer.
Whole Paris was enthusiastic; with the exception of just
that part of the city which Salis made famous — the "Butte
sacree." The "Sacred Mountain" had been for years the
undisputed property of the toughest and the roughest
population of Paris. Prostitutes and their protectors had
here their hiding-places. These people looked upon the
artists as intruders. They were their declared enemies since
the first night the "Black Cat" opened its doors. They were
ready to defend their rights with knife and gun. The
different gangs were not satisfied with holding up guests on
their way to the cabaret, but they even attacked the "Black
Cat" itself. Salis laughed at first, but after one hard
fight in which several of his guests were wounded, one of
his waiters killed, and he himself had received half a dozen
stiletto wounds, he gave up and decided to move away.
Salis bought in the street Victor-Masse — in those days it
was the Rue de Laval — the good-looking house of Alfred
Stevens, the painter, and equipped it with the help of his
friends, magnificently for the purpose it should serve. H.
Pille designed the front with its monstrously big black
cats; the lanterns and a show-piece were done by Gasset, and
in the vestibule was the marvelous Venus of Houdon. To the
left the salle des gardes,
a beautiful room with a big-window, the "Te deum laudamus,"
by Willette. There were pictures by Steinlen, by Riviere and
many others. There were thousands of curiosities — things
really worth while seeing. On the first floor were situated
the "council-chambers," the real cabaret of the artists. On
the second floor, the banquet hall where the famous shadow
plays took place. The walls were covered with works of art.
Anybody who knows modern Parisian art of today would be
surprised how the "Seigneur de Chatnoirville-en-Vexin" saw
the talent and recognized the artists fifteen and twenty
years ahead of the world and of contemporaries. After Salis'
death in 1897, the works of art in the "Chat Noir" were
partly auctioned off by his heirs, and while the coming-off
of the auction was unknown, still 116,000 francs were
realized. Salis had paid a few years before, a few glasses
of beer for some of the most valuable works of art in his
house. But surely none of the artists entertained an
unfriendly memory of him, because it was he who made known
the light-living artist folk of the Montmartre to Paris, to
France and to the world. And today, while many of these
artists own wonderfully-appointed houses of their own, they
will not deny that Rodolphe Salis, Baron de la Tour de Naitre, laid the
foundation to their future success.
The removal of the "Black Cat" to its new home was an event
for Paris. At midnight the emigration of the artists from
the Boulevard Rochechouart started. At first came two
heralds followed by the music band, then Salis himself in
the garb of a Roman dictator. Two men in gorgeous livery
followed him, carrying the standard of the "Black Cat,"
'bearing the motto: "Montjoye-Montmartre." Four men in green
academic coats embroidered with palm leaves, carried
solemnly Willette's big picture "Parce Domine," while in a
seemingly endless row of carriages the other works of art
were transferred to the new home. Then came hundreds of
artists with burning torches in their hands, and music
again, and people, hoards of people.
Salis' wonderful success had to have imitators. Artistide
Bruant, the greatest poetic talent of the "Butte" and one of
the founders of the "Black Cat," separated from his master
after Salis left the Montmartre and started a cabaret of his
own; he called it "Le Mirliton," and conducting a weekly of
the same name, created fame of his own. Hundreds of other
cabarets came and went in the course of years. But only at
few of them are noteworthy to future generations: "Le Chien
Noir," "La Puree" and "Aux-4'-z-Arts." As well as Salis with
his "Chat Noir" so went the proprietors of these cabarets
with their artists and their papers for short trips through
the country, and very soon nearly every city in France had
its own cabaret. Then they went out to the neighboring
foreign countries. They went at first to French-speaking
countries, as Belgium, Tunis, Algeria and Switzerland. A few
of them toured very successfully Germany and Austria and
left there the first seed, from which in the last decade of
the nineteenth century sprang a crop of cabarets. Most of
them were short-lived. The French had always featured rather
the artistic element than anything else. The German cabaret
degenerated very soon after its institution into commercial
propositions linked closely with the demi-monde, becoming an
important factor of the not-healthy and not-desired night
What was the charm that brought tout Paris to the cabaret? — this
peculiar, indefinable charm? Wouldn't you think that the
public would rather hesitate to frequent places where every
man at his entering was greeted as "muffle" (clown), and
every lady as "binette" (funny mug) and "gueule" (gossip),
as it happened every night in Bruant's Mirliton? Of course,
Salis welcomed his guests with ''my prince," but his was the
same contempt for the philistines as in the roughness of
Bruant, who would interrupt his song, turning to the man who
had whispered to his neighbor, "Shut up, you beast, if I am
singing." And still, the most exclusive society of Paris was
anxious to gain a ticket of admission to the gala evenings
of Salis in the "Chat Noir," and on such evenings the same
carriages with liveried footmen could be seen in front of
the "Black Cat" as on the gala evenings before the grand
The new, the one thing that seemed to magnetize the public
was: here they could meet face to face the artists whose
works could be found on stages, in concerts, in art exhibits
and in bookstores — real living poets, painters, musicians
and sculptors — not just one, like at some evening affair,
but a whole bunch of them, all moving around freely in their
own home, in their real own element. Such attraction could
not be found in any salon of Paris.
Montmartre gave them an offering which could not be found
anywhere else in the whole world. Just as they came from the
street, these artists mounted the stage, declaimed or sang
their poems and said just what they pleased to say. Nothing
was sacred to them — not even the three-times-holy public
before whom every halfway-sensible show manager, actor,
singer or artist bows reverently.
Paris seemed to breathe a different air at the Montmartre.
And they never had dreamt that there was so much
originality, so much unexpected and so many wonderfully
enjoyable intramuras of Paris.
presentation of "Miss Julia," the first performance of the
Bruno Players, on last Monday, in Charles Edison's Little
Thimble Theatre at 10 Fifth Avenue, was a success. August
Strindberg wanted a small stage for his play. He wanted a
small audience. He did not want actors on the stage, but
real people. And he wanted for listeners just that number of
men and women that could possibly be addressed by an
individual without losing the intimacy of a face to face
"Miss Julia" is a tragedy. It is a tragedy which is not so
accentuated as that it could not play a painful part in our
There are a man and a woman, stripped of all the garb which
tradition and convention have created during nineteen
centuries. All bars erected by social standing and different
births — in short every barrier that is man-made — are set
aside on this one Midsummer Eve, in this one night.
Mid-summer Eve, the people's festival according to the old
Scandinavian sagas; all distinctions properly guided by
human standards and by laws that seem almost supernatural
have been thrown away. Man and woman meet on a new basis.
They are just man and just woman, such as were their savage
ancestors. They have stepped for once, far out of their own
They are viewing their own lives — objectively. They help
one another to wash their soiled linen while the audience
sits there and looks on and listens. There is no time either
to feel sympathetic or to become antagonized. Life's
evolution is too logical and too constricted in its sequence
to permit meditation upon plot and upon the people
impersonating men and women on the stage. There was life
upon that stage, real, merciless life with all its elements,
with all its oppressing seriousness and its relieving
Strindberg knows no plots. But life does not know them
either. Strindberg knows life. He tells it just as it
happens. The characters of his play create troubles and
tragedies for themselves exactly as we do in our own lives.
They are subjected to the same influences of their fellow
men and women that we are in our own lives. There are only
three characters on the stage, but in reality there are a
good many more. We can almost see the honest good Count,
whom the daughter would not dishonor, not even if she must
give her life to save him from that certain knowledge. We
see her mother, the hysteric upstart, making a mess of her
life, and we feel the hand of God throughout the entire
play. "Evil revenges itself on earth. The powers of nature
equalize themselves to an equilibrium which makes living
possible for us." This is the motive of Strindberg in all of
his plays, and supremely in "Miss Julia."
And these people on the stage that upset their entire lives
in the course of fifteen minutes, take the consequences just
as we do in real life.
If you read newspapers, you know that one commits suicide
because he has done something in the course of a few short
hours which erases all the years he had lived on earth up
until then; another one goes to jail, and still another one
lives out his life after others have cleared his path by
what they thought they had to do.
Miss Julia could not live on. Remember similar cases you
have read in newspapers, or that you know have happened in
families with which you are acquainted. Think of those women
that you know have committed suicide . . . !
Do you not think it is real life — what Strindberg enrolls
before us in his one-act play?
"Ugly?" As the esteemed critic of a daily paper says.
Of course it is ugly. But do you think it is nicer to cover
it up with pink silk? Do you think that a putrid corpse will
smell better if we give it a pompous burial and cover it
with blanket of lilies of the valley and strew it with
Strindberg knew that the odor of a corpse is very strong.
But he also knew that it would not do to sprinkle it with
Mary Garden perfume. The perfume will evaporate, and the
odor will be the stronger and the much more unbearable. He
stripped it of its funeral regalia, he put it up on public
exhibition, and very soon even those less sensitive will
keep far away. There is no better object lesson than
The corpse will decay, returning to its natural chemical
substances. Mother Earth will absorb whatever there is
essential for growth and reproduction. A new life will
sprout in due time, where once there was the poor
The three members of the assembly which were the valet
"Jean" and ''Miss Julia," the young countess, and
"Christine," the count's cook, were just these three
persons. What does it matter if you know that Mr. Langdon
Gillet was some time ago a "Romeo," or this one or that one
in some other play's? What does it matter that Miss Laura
Arnold has had a successful, stage career, and that Miss
Alive Baker played character parts for a few years as a
recognized celebrity up on other stages?
There they were on a little platform (nine by eighteen)
without scenic or light effects, without all that stage
machinery that seems so essential upon our stages today for
the success of a play. They had dared to undertake it, and
believed that good acting is all that is required for the
imagination of the audience, to keep it spellbound
throughout the play and allow the audience to see into
horrors, to make it laugh without being funny and to dismiss
it in deep thoughts. The show causes meditating upon life in
general, and upon their own lives. It dares ask where
is there life without tragedy? Who would imagine the woman
who could not point out to you in some place or another a
corpse laid out covered with purple and white flowers,
sprinkled with heavily scented perfumes?
The Bruno Players do not count their success by comparing
ticket stubs. and the cash in the box office, but by,
reading the facets of their audiences.
London Office of BRUNO'S WEEKLY,
18 St. Charles Square, New Kensington
February 10, 1916,
begin with the worst thing that has happened to us since
last l wrote and, then look for the best. The closing of the
museums, and particularly of the British Museum has aroused
much criticism. It is done, so we are told, in the name of
economy, but the saving effected is so trifling that the
loss of dignity and art morale seems to make it hardly worth
To those among us who have made the British Museum a center
of study and research in common the loss is quite personal.
It is true that the Library is to remain open, but the
beautiful Greek galleries are to be closed. We shall not see
the Demeter of Knidos again until after the war, nor the
Mourning Woman, nor the great figures from the Sacred Way.
Will these relics of divine Greece think that a new Dark
Ages has come upon the world now that no poets or artists
ever come to pay them homage? I should well like to be the
first visitor to look upon them again in that day when peace
throws open once more the doors of their prison. It seems to
me that in such a moment one might well experience something
of the thrill which Schliemann knew when he discovered the
tomb of the Atridae at Mykenae. Perhaps that may seem to you
an exaggeration, but to the student at the British Museum
these magnificent galleries of Greek and Egyptian statuary,
vases and gems make up a great deal in one's life, and to go
for a turn with a friend round the galleries after a couple
of hours or so study in the library was a pleasure we shall
A museum which to the visiting stranger seems the most
confusing and least hospitable place in the world becomes
curiously intimate to the man who goes there every day. In a
sense, as a friend remarked to me the other day, the British
Museum has for the students who use it regularly something
of the character of a University. We shall all of us miss a
great deal of that. The only consolation is that the Library
I don't know whether you are tired of Shaw, or whether you
cherish any illusions any more about any of our literary
figures. I'm afraid not many of us do over here. The war has
finally exposed most of the men about whom there was any
hope or doubt. Wells, Bennett, Chesterton, Belloc and others
have proved themselves the most garrulous kind of
journalists, and Shaw has contributed nothing much to add to
his reputation. The best thing one can say about him is that
he has kept more silent than the others who for the most
part have been posing as military critics or economists with
little other qualifications than a desire to keep their
evenings up to pre-war standards. Belloc, who has inspired a
young poet to write a book about him, has earned, so they
say, fabulous sums as a military expert. Nearly all his
predictions have been falsified, but he still goes on at it
But to revert to Shaw, with whom I began this paragraph, I
read a rather fresh explanation of his psychology the other
day in "New Ireland," a clever little literary weekly
published in Dublin. The writer, Ernest Kempster, finds in
Bernard Shaw the typical Irish protestant whose loyalty to
England is taken for granted by the average Englishman but
is by no means understood. According to the writer of the
article this loyalty arises mainly from self-interest and
not from any racial sympathy, and has this curious result
that while the Ulsterman or Irish loyalist may detest the
Irish Nationalist he is attached to him by a greater racial
sympathy than he is to the English. "Sometimes," says the
writer, "this feeling comes out in the form of violent Irish
patriotism when in England on the part of men whose contempt
for Ireland when at home never lacks an excuse for its
expression. At other times more discretion is shown; the
outwardly staunch Loyalist, admitting, in private that
whenever he goes to England he feels himself a foreigner."
From this we can see how Shaw was able to acquire his
attitude of detached observer in England, disavowing
connection with Ireland, yet admitting no particular love of
Pays Poe for Contributions to Tribune with Promissory
did the "Tribune" pay its contributors upon acceptance of
their stories, nor the week after publication as it is
customary today. Horace Greeley, the founder and famous
editor, paid for poetry he purchased from Edgar Allan Poe
for use in his journal with a promissory note which was
drawn on October 24, 1845.
New York, October
Sixty days after date I promise to pay
Edgar A, Poe, or his order, fifty dollars for value
$50.00 due Dec.
62 Nassau Street,
Frances Walker, a Spokane musician, was the proprietor of
this valuable document in which the best known editor of the
middle of the last century paid the best known poet for his
contributions, before it became the possession of Mr.
Patrick F. Madigan, and one of the most valuable pieces in
his collection of Poe autographs. It was given to Mr. Walker
twenty-five years ago by Mrs. John F. Cleveland, a sister of
Horace Greeley, and widow of John F. Cleveland, who was for
many years treasurer of the New York Tribune Company.
The Poet's Income
Another letter of Poe, dated New York, January 18, 1849, and
also in the possession of Mr. Madigan, permits us a view
behind the scenes of a literary work shop of the early
fifties. It is addressed to John R. Thompson, the editor of
the ''Southern Literary. Messenger," one of the most
powerful literary magazines of the time. Poe offers his
services as a critic
at the rate of two dollars the page, providing Mr. Thompson
obliges himself to
take not less
than five pages each month. The irony of fate was never
better exemplified than in this very circumstance connected
with the life of Edgar Allan Poe. The manuscript which he
was offering at two dollars a page is now worth two hundred
and fifty. The very letter in which he offers to sell it at
that sum was purchased a short time ago for five hundred
August Strindberg, by
New York, Jan. 13, '49.
My dear Sir:
Accept my thanks for the two Messengers containing Miss
Talley's 'Genius.' I am glad to see that Griswold, although
imperfectly, has done her justice in his late 'Female Poets
Enclosed I send you the opening chapter of an article called
'Marginalia,' published, about three years ago, in 'The
Democratic Review.' I send it that, by glancing it over,
especially the preparatory remarks, you may perceive the
general design, which I think is well adapted to the
purposes of such a magazine as yours, affording great scope
for variety or critical or other comment. I may add that
'Marginalia,' continued for five or six chapters, proved as
popular as any papers written by me. My object in writing
you now is to propose that I continue the papers in the
"MESSENGER," running them through the year, at the rate of 5
pages each month, commencing with the March number. You
might afford me, as before, I presume, $2 per page.
One great advantage will be that, at a hint from yourself, I
can touch, briefly, any topic you might suggest; and there
are many points affecting the interest of Southern letters,
especially in respect to Northern neglect or
misrepresentation of them, which stand sorely, in need of
touching. If you think well of my proposal, I will send you
the two first numbers (10 pp.) immediately on receipt of a
letter from you. You can pay me at your convenience, as the
papers are published or otherwise.
Please re-enclose me the printed papers, when you have done
Very truly yours,
Edgar Allan Poe
Jno. R. Thompson, Esq.
P. S. — I am about to bestir myself in the world of letters
rather more busily than I have done for three or four years
past, and a connection which I have established with 2
weekly papers may enable me, now & then, to serve you in
respect to 'The Messenger.'
DEAR LOVE, if
it were mine
To kiss for evermore
Those honeyed eyes of thine;
I would not have my fill;
Although the harvest store
Of kisses were untold
As the dry cornstalks, still
I would not have my fill.
aught expressive of our woe
Find place or welcome
in the voiceless tomb,
When we recall the loves of long ago,
And weep lost
friendships of a bygone, day;
for thy love must surely then outweigh
Quintilla's sorrow for
her early doom.
MY life is
bitter with thy love — thy throat
Is girt about with golden, strange
Thy white robe binds
thee fiercely, and I dote
Upon thy russet eyes, more mild than eyes
But still they worship
not, and as in scorn
Desert thee for thy sister's nuder,
Once and again the
Idler thro' the Corn
Turns to regard thine ivory wasted face.
Thy sister queens it
with a royal zone
That shames the rigor of thy modest gold
Her brown form seems
begotten out of Stone,
Recalling Jean Peyral's liaison with
Fashion is because fools are.
How hardly shall the woman with a sculpturesque arm defy the
opportunity that dares her to expose it to the admiring gaze
of the eager eye of any "man sort of thing."
Whatever else we lack, we've nver a lack of fools, alack!
Now you can't generally just about most always, quite
frequently, every once in a while, sometimes exactly tell
what there really is, deep bidden, beind the mask of a
woman's face, tho the devil seems . to guess right more
often than some better folks.
"Vir" is a man and "gin"
Latin, as translated;
Combine the two and thus you snap
"A man-trap" — so. 'tis stated.
glad a man has ever been
In such a trap to wriggle,
seeing this, it is no sin,
For girls to giggle, giggle.
"Will you bet with me dear, that you are thinking of me just
"Really, I didn't. My thoughts were far, far away."
"Yes, you did."
"Really I did not."
"Well then, what were you thinking of, if I might, ask?
"I was thinking of a little rose budding in a bush of
"Now, — you see, I won my bet. You surely cannot deny that I
with my childish mouth and with my roguishness look exactly
like a blooming wild rose bush?"
I smiled and I acknowledged my defeat.
"Do you want to bet again, sweetheart, that you are thinking
of me, right now, at this moment?"
"Oh really, I am not. I assure you I am not thinking of
"Yes you are!"
"What are you thinking of, if I might ask?"
"I thought of a lark singing among crumpled reeds and
heaths, and circling high up to the blue clouds."
"Now you see that I have won again, because you surely won't
have the audacity to say that my voice is not so much alike
to the singing of a bird as not to be easily mistaken one
for the other?"
There was nothing else for me but to bow and to acknowledge
again her victory.
Some time elapsed in silence and Mesange said: "Would you
wish to bet with me again, dearest, that you are thinking of
me right now. Let us bet once more for the last time."
"I am sorry to acknowledge that I am not thinking of you in
"Oh yes, you are!"
"Really, I am not."
"May I ask what you are thinking of?"
'*I am thinking of the very true swallow who loves with the
same love in the same nest always and forever."
Mesange burst out in a merry laugh and said: "Surely this
last time I have lost the bet."
After the French of
Catulle Mendes, by Guido Bruno
THERE was a
good deal of talk in the newspapers and magazines of last
month, again and again, about this "Bohemianism," and the
"Bohemians" in our Village. Who is it you call a "bohemian"?
The public in general seems to think that this term applies
to every man who wears long hair, a flying black necktie,
indulges heavily in the absorption of alcoholic liquids,
smokes cigarettes, has rather lax views about the relations
between men and women, and then, in his leisure hours, he
perhaps paints or writes poetry. Or they think of women with
short hair that wear some of those Roman striped silk
garments that Martine & Martine manufacture in
Switzerland and Wanamaker sells in his basement; that smoke
cigarettes, believe nolens volens in free love, talk very
cleverly about things usually out of the scope of a woman's
conversation, and then — they, too — paint or write some
I wonder if any one knows where the word "bohemian"
originated? And why it is almost always closely linked with
the Latin Quartiers of Paris (not only in the famous novel
of Henri Murger)? If fire had not destroyed my Garret I
could now refer to my files about the origin of the word
"bohemian" and could give you not only the facts, but the
names and dates correctly. If I had time, I could take a
trip to the Public Library and find it there. But I have
neither of them, and so I leave it to you, if you are
sufficiently interested, to look it up.
The first University of the world was founded in 1346 in
Paris, and now I miss the name of that Bohemian King who
played an important part at the Court of Paris at that time
as heir apparent. This University in Paris was everything
but an educational institution of the conception of our own
days. Troubadours, scientists, "wayfaring students," as they
were called, had found here a thriving abode, where royal
grants for them provided generously for their daily needs
and an assembly of fellow-seekers after the Truth and the
ideal permitted them an exchange of ideas and of values
which was universal. Their language was the classic, and
less classic Latin. The part of the city which they chose
for their habitation was soon called by the other population
of Paris, the Latin Quarters. The great amount of Bohemians
which the Bohemian Prince through his generosity invited to
make pilgrimage to this new Dorado of everybody "learned,"
had settled again as a little community inside of the Latin
Quartiers. They all were men of the world. They all had
traveled from the farthest South to the extremist North of
Europe. Their habits of living were marked by their Slavonic
temperament, their hot blood and their melancholy and
sentimentality, which did not permit an early parting
whenever they had gathered for learned discussions . . . and
they were not believers of temperance restrictions of any
To lead "the bohemian life in the Latin Quartiers" soon
became an expression all over Europe, just as much
misunderstood and misapplied in the days of yore as it is
It is not what we do, but what we are. A "bohemian" is but
does not act, in order to qualify as such.
But there are things that we cannot explain in words.
Personally, I despise the expression, "bohemian," and I know
that everybody else will also, who feels "bohemia" or
"Greenwich Village," or some "other republic in the air."
Mrs. Pendington and Mrs. Kunze, the proprietors of the
Candlestock tea-room, — that fantastic little lunch room
where one can eat a well-prepared meal in clean and pleasant
surroundings without the annoyance of shrieks, laughter,
loud talking and noises that seem to be the necessary
accessories of every other similar place in our Village,
perhaps in order to create "bohemian atmosphere," — have
arranged for dancing for the patrons of their tea room every
Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday nights from eight until
eleven. Mrs. Pendington and Mrs. Kunze act as patronesses in
the palatial localities situated above their shop. The house
was a mansion some years ago of a family who knew how to
build in order to please their eyes as well as to make
themselves feel comfortable. Good music provides the
incentive for everybody that has some rhythm in his organism
and loves to express it. These parties, are strictly en
famille, and not a commercial undertaking.
Mr. Charles Keeler, the Californian poet, who has made
Greenwich. Village his temporary home while in New York,
will recite selections from his own poems at the exhibit of
"Historical Costumed Dolls," arranged by the Kings' County
Historical Society on Tuesday evening. Mr. Keeler, whose new
book "VICTORY," will be published in the course of two or
three weeks by Laurence Gomme, in his Little Bookshop around
the corner, is writing at present a New York play.
Hippolite Havel, who published seven numbers of his unique
magazine "THE REVOLT," the publication which was denied the
mailing privilege in the United States, contemplates
publishing a monthly magazine devoted to the same interests
as was "THE REVOLT." He has opened an office on old
historical Grove Street, where Tom Paine lived the last
years of his life and where he died.
and Magazines of the Week
KEELER was sitting there in my garret, and he told me about
his wanderings in Japan. About the little inns in cities
whose names are not placed on the maps printed in our
country, and where the white foreign man is a mythical
personage. He told me about the big cities where Europe's
and America's influence made a half-breed of the royal
nation of the East. He told me about the Japanese woman
reporter who had had her education in an American
university, and her training on a San Francisco paper, and
who called on him in Tokyo, and who led him to the widow and
to the children of our Lafcadio Hearn.
"It was seven years to the hour since Lafcadio's death that
I entered the Japanese garden planted on a hill on whose top
stood the little Japanese home where he had found rest and
peace and love until his dying hour. Miss Okuma struck the
gong before the entrance to the house, and, after a short
conversation with a maid that had answered the call, a
young, tall man appeared, a Japanese of the finest type,
with wonderful dark, dreamy eyes, eyes that arrested
involuntarily everybody's attention. On his knees and hands,
in Japanese fashion, he welcomed us, invited us to be his
mother's guests. . . . It was the oldest son of Hearn who
extended to us the hospitality of his roof. We took off our
shoes and entered. Mats were on the floors, in a niche the
bronze statue of a goddess . . the interior of a Japanese
home. A little maid brought pillows, a little taburet with
the tea things and Mrs. Hearn, in a blue kimono with white
flowers, extended to us the welcome of her husband's home.
In his substitution she was our hostess. Mrs. Hearn is a
lady of about fifty years of age. Her features are gentle
and refined. Around her eyes are the fine wrinkles which
tell us of pain and of sorrow, and around her mouth that
sublime expression of resignation, the surest link between
the happy, past and the present that has to be lived, even
if the most essential things of life seem to have gone —
gone yonder where there is no coming back."
"We sipped our tea and we exchanged pleasantries, as the
Japanese etiquette requires. And in tripped the three other
children, the sacred legacy of Lafcadio Hearn to his
Japanese wife. A girl of about twelve years and two smaller
children. They all smiled pleasantly after they had learned
that the visitor came from far away back, from where the
father had come."
"She invited us to view the library, the room where Lafcadio
Hearn had worked and had died. It, too, was a simple
Japanese room, but bookcases lined the walls and a little
desk where Hearn used to sit and to write was in the same
condition as on the day the master left it forever. There
was the bottle with ink — American ink, Stafford's blue ink,
several pen holders. Some wonderful sheets of Japanese
paper, white and soft, which he had used exclusively for his
work, lay on the much used blotting paper. The window was
wide open and the branches of a little cherry tree reached
through the frame into the room. Mrs. Hearn had followed my
eyes and remarked that seven years ago, on the morning of
Hearn's death, this tree had bloomed for the second time in
the season — something that had never happened before in her
little garden. She said this without any commentary — a
simple statement, but it was so impressive. And then she led
me to one corner of the room and pointed to the only
addition she has made to the furnishings since Hearn's
departure from earthly life. It was a shrine with his
likeness, with a receptacle for incense before it. Every
evening she said if the stars appear on the nightly sky, and
before the children retire they come into this room before
the shrine, burn incense before the likeness of the father,
and talk to him. They tell him all they have done during the
day, and they relate to him all those stories of love and of
affection the mother had told them. So if their voice finds
its way to his spirit he might know that he lives among
them, that he is the head of his family, even if he cannot
return the affection and they cannot listen to his voice."
"The son is being educated in a nearby English school in
addition to the Japanese training he receives from his
mother. He told me he wishes to be a teller of tales and of
stories like his father used to be, and that the ambition of
his life is to become a writer. He is very shy and does not
talk English. It seems he is afraid of the sound of this
language, which is not spoken in Hearn's home. Mrs. Hearn
never spoke English, and Hearn only very little Japanese,
but they had a language of their own, she said, and they
understood each the other perfectly. I asked young Hearn if
he ever tried to write a story and he said that he has a
book with many stories, and that he tells fairy tales to his
younger sisters every evening. I asked him if he wouldn't
write for me a little tale in English so I could show it
after my return to the countrymen of his deceased father. He
disappeared in another room and came back in a very short
time with this story."
(A Japanese Nightingale)
By the Son of Lafcadio
(Among the dozen of best
stories, designated as suck by Edward O'Brien, the short
story anthologist of the Boston "Transcript," was one
written by the nineteen-year-old son of Lafcadio Hearn,
who is living in the Japanese home of his mother, being
brought up as a Japanese, and whose one wish is to be able
sometime to come over to the country of his father, to
America, and to become here a literary man. The story was
published in one of last year's issues of "Greenwich
Village," and Charles Keeler is in possession of the
I GUESS it
was when I was six or seven years old. It was spring.
One morning I got up early, and put on my tiny zori (straw
shoes) and from the little back door I took a narrow pathway
to a plain.
The pale purple mist spread out silently. I stood still.
Before me the mountain's foot was shaded and upward from the
middle part faded from sight. "Its like the picture of the
kakemono (hanging picture) which is in my house," I thought
childishly in my little heart, and looked at it. The young
grass all around was soft and looked very green, and wet
Swiftly and silently passed through the mist a little bird
come down to a quite near clump of grass. I walked step by
step about the clump, but there was no bird. I felt unhappy
and dreary, and I began to want to go home.
When I went quietly on the way to my house stepping on the
soft young grass which I felt it a pity to tread on, from
somewhere came "Hohokekyo!"
I turned around to find the whereabouts of the bird. I was
in a maze, but just then the mist cleared. So, yonder
appeared one dressed in uguisu (nightingale color, "green
color") cloth, with white leggings and white tabi (short
socks) straw sandals on her feet and Sugegasa (hat made of
reeds) on her head, embracing a Gehkin ("moon harp;" a
little round harp). It was a young singing girl who came
stepping alone in the silence.
Bruno's Weekly, published weekly by Charles Edison,
and edited and written by Guido Bruno, both at 58
Washington Square, New York City. Subscription $2 a year.
Entered as second class matter
at the Post Office of New York, N. Y., October 14th, 1916.
under the Act of March 3d, 1879.
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