Imagens das páginas

will find the way to it without trouble, and will never quit it, once he has experienced its supreme delight.

While the ordinary objects of daily life are the most obvious. sources of gratification, there are many ways of obtaining a greater happiness in exploring nature for superior founts of inspiration. Thus, it will be found that by gently moving the first finger forwards and backwards beneath the chin of a young child the most exquisite sensation of pleasure is received. Again examples could be multiplied indefinitely; but it is not my purpose to pursue the subject further, not only because individual tastes differ, but because the discovery of these extraordinary means of employing the touch sense add a good deal to the enjoyment of their result.

In connection with the use of the fingers it will be well to briefly notice the pleasure of the unexpected, which has so large a share in the elements of every art. It is hardly necessary to mention that in this case, as always when treating of common. art factors, the doctrine remains the same whatever part of the body serves to receive the impression. It is only for purpose of illustration that I include the gratification of that which comes upon us with a fine suddenness' under the present heading. I again allude to the meagreness of my examples, not in apology, but as a reminder that I am conducting this party as far as the hall only, and that every one can explore the thousand and one rooms of this palace of delights, and whenever he wishes. Moreover, as I mentioned above, personal discovery increases pleasure here as elsewhere, and as I would wish to awaken the interest of genuine explorers in the dark continent' of my location, it would ill become me to curtail 'such joy' as 'ambition finds.'

Pass, then, your finger along some smooth surface of polished. oak or royal satin, where closed eyes cannot anticipate the shock of a sudden obstacle or inequality, and enjoy its abruptness; or trail your hand in the water of a swift stream over the side of a boat stemming the current, and feel the thrill of meeting a whirling eddy, which shall drown the steady, stimulating opposition of your running river, and be happy.

We must now turn to the third, and in some respects most important, receiver of touch impressions on our list-the sole of the foot.

Considering the care we take in preventing contact with Mother Earth, this part of our body is extraordinarily impres

VOL. X.-NO. 56, N.S.


sionable a fact for which we must be duly grateful. There is no one of us who does not spend a great deal of time in walking, either from room to room, to and from office, or for exercise. Now the pleasure derived from the impression of texture on the sole of the foot will, when duly appreciated, do much towards refining that tedious and savage mode of progress known as walking, and, as such, should be assiduously cultivated. In fact, by concentrating the attention on the messages received by the brain from the ground traversed, this barbarous relic, which the tyrant custom' has, so far, forced us to bear becomes an artistic exercise.

[ocr errors]

When walking for exercise or straining after a view, careful attention to the texture of the ground covered becomes even more important. By taking our attention off the hill we climb, it minimises fatigue, besides stimulating the brain, while no amount of walking dream' will ever interfere with the outlook. The ideal place, however, for exercising will be a perfectly level plain, where there is no hill or valley that can possibly divert attention from the ground-texture. Such are to be found in the perfect tennis-lawn, the soft springy turf of the breezy downs,' and above all in a long stretch of hard wet sea-sand traversed by bare feet following the ebb tide. This will communicate to the whole system an ecstasy of healthy happiness worth many hundred miles of travel to attain.


Almost an equal amount of enjoyment may be extracted from a short walk over sharp pebbles or flints; but this ought, perhaps, more properly to be considered when dealing with the 'pleasures of pain,' where an aching tooth becomes a raging joy, than under our present heading, although a strict line of demarcation is difficult to draw. In any case, it will be well for those who possess the aptitude for appreciating the delirious transports of physical suffering to experiment in this direction with texture; they will be amply rewarded.

Brief and incomplete as this first introduction to the pleasures of texture must necessarily be, I hope it will prove a finger-post directing many to the right road. There is no doubt that the proper exercise of our touch sense can do much towards brightening and giving new interest to our daily life and occupation, and its cultivation with this object alone in view cannot fail of showing most excellent results.

At the same time we must not lose sight of the nobler

heights to which our sense of touch is guiding us, and, while awaiting the time when intellectual beauty shall crown our efforts with the laurel of art, do all within our power to hasten the advent of that glorious day.

I have purposely refrained from dwelling on the other side of the picture. While practically and theoretically I cannot admit any pertinent objections, there is no doubt that the proper perception and development of the touch sense, while increasing the pleasure of pleasant surfaces, will also materially augment the distaste of repulsive ones. The arguments in reply are obvious, and, while not entirely surmounting this obstacle, hold good as much as they do in the other arts.

It is at least certain that the employment of the touch sense as a means of artistic pleasure has two great advantages over all rivals:

1. That no expense is entailed in its pursuit.

2. That every man is his own artist.

And it will be admitted that we have discovered the art of the





THERE were special causes of interest in this particular voyage. Only a fortnight ago it had been announced that Paul Kruger was to be a passenger, and though that contingency had been dismissed it was understood that a large influx of Boer fugitives and allies would board us at Delagoa Bay.

Nature has done a good deal for the little seaport of Natal, but man has done more. Despite the bold and bushy bluff that guards the landlocked bay from the great southern surges, and the tongue of shaggy sandhills that shield it from the eastern seas, the tidal'slake' or sheet of water was accessible only to vessels of small tonnage, and that very fitfully, until the Government ran out breakwaters and piers, imported costly dredgers and tugs, and built wharves along the waterside. For fifty years this process of improvement has been going on with such success that now large ocean steamships enter the harbour, unload, and leave with less difficulty and delay than may be encountered at many natural harbours of world-wide fame. What military operations owe to the excellence of the facilities afforded at Durban, at the port and by rail, official testimony has already recognised.

Landward the hills were lost in the glare of sunshine and heat-haze. Beyond them lay many a scene that has now become sadly historical. For nearly a year these heights had been given up to battle and bloodshed, and hostile Boers still threatened, and were soon again to attack and destroy British property and life in British territory. But the back of the war was brokenits flames were flickering out, and the strenuous work of reparation had begun. By mighty efforts, through terrible experiences, in spite of many failures, the Empire has retrieved and reasserted itself. It has re-established supremacy and routed republicanism. The flag that was to be ousted from South Africa has been planted in the two States, the retention of whose independence was the pretext of the invaders. Their governments have themselves to thank for the confusion that has awaited their designs. They played a daring and defiant game, and they have lost it. And

now comes the sequel. South Africa has to be rebuilt. The two warring races have to be reconciled. Enmities have to be appeased; unity encouraged. Experiences in store for us were not to be without instruction in the conditions of that problem.

The northern coastlands of Natal resemble the southern seaboard. They are bold, wooded, and picturesque. Cottages dot the foreground; stretches of plantation rise here and there from the beach. As you pass river-mouths the shafts of mill-houses spring out of the valleys. Forty miles on is a farm named 'Chaka's Kraal,' where seventy years ago the merciless despot was done to death by his brother, Dingaan. A line of railway now traverses the district as far as the Tugela, beyond which stretches Zululand. For fifty miles the coast there retains a pleasant outline. It is comforting to think that one gazes still upon British territory. Sixteen years ago it was nearly slipping out of the Empire's grasp. Germany first, and the Boers of the 'New Republic' afterwards, all but succeeded in getting hold of St. Lucia Bay in 1884 and 1886. The prompt action of a governor, a gunboat, and a colonial legislature saved the situation, and prevented the planting of a foreign and hostile flag on the seaboard that intervenes between Natal and Portuguese territory. That contingency-thus happily averted-would have marred the map, and led to consequences which, though fatal to the Empire and disastrous to the Colonies, need not now be considered.

Delagoa Bay, much vaunted as a harbour and much coveted as a possession, is an arm of the sea 28 miles long, and so broad that both sides are not visible at the same time. Shoals and banks abound, and a pilot hulk is stationed, as though in mid-ocean, out of sight of land. Hours passed after taking in the pilot before the port itself came within view. Six miles off shore we came to the British flagship Doris, anchored with ample seaway round her, ready for any emergency that might arise at that critical stage of affairs. We learned later that the fieldglasses of Transvaal refugees were constantly directed at her, mistrustful of her mission. The adjacent land is very low and unattractive, and the channel across the bar is narrow as well as shallow. Reuben Point, the northern sentinel of English River, is about 150 feet high, and it is there that the residents mostly live, but there is little that is distinctly Oriental or even Portuguese about the aspects of the town. It owes its development, like its neighbours, largely to the expansion of gold-mining, and

« AnteriorContinuar »