Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

as he pulled his bow. Once or twice and drew in a deep breath. A sweet he had hoped — ‘But she's a world'y tantalizing odor made him gasp. He woman and they ain't nary a glim o' bent toward Sam and then drew away. hope now that I 've got religion,' he His hands fell limply to his side, and growled to himself as his long fingers a wave of peace and joy swept over stripped the corn to the ground. “But him. Sam had his jaw full of tobacco. I got a good farm and all, and if — if Tim clung to the fence without saying everything had turnt out all right, a word, but in his mind ran a sort of mebbe, we'd a—' He snapped the singing, 'Sam has fell, Sam has fell tie around his handful of fodder, from grace!' slammed it on a stalk, and went on ‘Tim,' Sam went on presently, stripping the next.

'have you been tempted much to go The afternoon wore on, and he was back to the old life since I seed you more and more tormented by the vision last?' He spoke still staring before of the dance. I don't reckon she's him. called it off,' he mused after a while. What you mean, Sam?' Tim re'She 'll git old Eph Slocumb and his plied cautiously. boy to play. And what can they do ‘Well, to make a long story short, making music fer a gal lak her?' In I've slid back.' his misery he went to the spring in the ‘You have!' hollow for a drink.

‘Yeh, but I don't want to cause you Aunt Margaret had an early supper, to fall.' He looked Tim straight in the for she had to go down the road to face. A whiff of tobacco-juice caught pray over a sick child. She asked him him full in the nose. Sam turned away, to go with her, but he said he was feel- spat slyly off to the left, and went on. ing too tired. And in the dusk he ‘I was over in Lillington to-day, Tim, watched her drive off down the lane. and who should I see there but Molly He leaned on the yard-fence gate and O’Quinn.' He waited, but Tim said looked at the bats flying around the nothing. 'And, Tim, she ain't got nobam. A late whippoorwill was singing body to play fer her to-night.' He in a thicket. He turned and gazed at waited again, but still Tim made no the dark and empty house.

answer. 'I did n't mean to go back to 'I jest cain't stand this here life evil ways, Tim, but Providence must much longer and that 's a fact,' he a-had a hand in it. While we was talkmumbled wretchedly. And then heard ing there in the street to-day, up come a noise. behind him. Turning around, Ed Slocumb and said he had the banjo

fence. He felt like embracing him, And he run and brung it 'fore I could but all he did was to wrench off a paling say a word. But mebbe it would n't and let it fall to the ground. After a-made so much difference if me 'n' a moment he called out, ‘Hi, Sam.' Maisie had n't had a bad busting up

'Hi, Tim. How you come on? last night. Yeh, I'd a-helt out then,

‘Middling, middling. How you I believe; but right after Ed crammed standing the weather?'

the banjo in my hands, Molly dropt 'Not much, I mought say, and ag'in a package, and out rolled — what you I mought n't,' Sam answered, leaning reckon? — a long plug o’Brown Mule. back against the fence and looking I picked it up fer her, and she axed straight before him.

me to smell it and see if it was the Suddenly Tim lifted up his nostrils regʻlar kind her pa chewed. And then

she told me to take a chew and try it ‘Mebbe not,' Tim rejoined absently. and keep the plug, fer the old man had 'But we need n't worry 'bout that now.' more'n he needed. Somehow the way 'No, we need n't,'Sam agreed. ‘But she axed me and the way she looked le's be moving. I got my mule and at me with them dark eyes o'hern – buggy tied there in the woods. Git you know how she looks, I reckon, if on yer duds in a hurry. I seed Aunt anybody does. Well, in two minutes, Marg’ret go down the road, and we anyhow, I was in my buggy with the want to be gone 'fore she comes back.' banjo under the seat and my mouth Tim ran into the house to dress. full o’ Brown Mule, on my way here Soon he reappeared, and they hurried to git you. She sent me special fer you with a shovel to the woods. The full And here' — reaching in his pocket moon had risen, and again he felt the and pulling out a ragged plug – ‘is joy of the earth slide into his soul. what I ain't chewed.

As they stood under the holly tree, Tim's long hand shot out and raised he looked at the patterns and splotches the tobacco to his mouth. Then he on the ground and turned to Sam, lowered it without taking a chew. 'Ain't all this here a purty sight?'

'Tim, I don't want to tempt you,' he said. Sam hurried into saying; ‘but you see ‘Yeh,' Sam grunted, scratching the I done give up my hope fer redemption. leaves from the grave. You reckon they ain't no chance of Presently they had the fiddle out. our going over and playing fer Molly? And in the moonlight Tim held it And you know, Tim, she 's sorter sot tightly to him. All the while they on you. I tell you I cain't stand no were chewing and spitting around them more o' this way o'living.' But Tim in great profusion.

he looked stood under thato his soul.

So Tim, I wothout taking a.. Then he

trembling hand. “And, Tim,' Sam be- twanging the strings. gan again, 'you 'n' me 's allus pulled At the edge of the woods they untied together. I don't mind running the the mule, clambered into the buggy, risk o’ being lost if you don't.'

and were off. 'I don't mind, nuther!' Tim burst Well, we're set fer the Devil, I out, and he quickly crammed the end reckon,' Sam declared joyously, as they of the plug into his starving jaws. turned the lane into the big road, There was a ripping sound, and “and we mought as well let folks know a sheepish grin began to spread over it.' Thereupon he rolled his tobacco his face. When he had settled the quid in his jaw and lifted up his voice in in its accustomed place, he spoke up their favorite ballad. After a cough of ‘Sam, I 'm lak you. This life ain't hesitation, Tim joined in with his high fer me. Another week of it and I'd tenor. Over the moonlit fields went been crazy as a loon.' He spat a great their song. It rose and wavered under stream. 'God did n't seem to have no the moon, hung a moment, and then notion o'taking away my taste. echoed against the creek hills. ‘Mine, nuther,' Sam answered hap

'I got a gal lives in the hollow. pily. 'And, Tim, you 'n' me need n't

Ti-yiddy-yum-yum-yiddy-yum-ya. feel so bad after all. Muh and pap ain't She won't come and I won't follow. half as keen 'bout their religion since

Ti-yiddy-yum-yum-yiddy-yum-ya.' that preacher got out'n the neighbor And the people of Little Bethel heard hood. And I bet you a dollar yer Aunt them passing and said, 'Sam and Tim's Marg'ret won't be in a month or so.' at it ag'in. They've backslid.'

THE LITTLE THEATRE IN EGYPT

BY ALICE AND IRENE LEWISOHN

THE GREAT WHITE WAY OF CAIRO

We sat in a box reserved for European acterization, costume, or make-up, held visitors, sipped our Oriental coffee and that audience by sheer force of persmoked, while the orchestra was tuning sonality and vocal technique. No gesand the audience assembling. Opposite ture but the occasional swing of a us, the Moslem bourgeoisie deposited rhythm, no pantomime but an occatheir yashmaked harems behind a long sional apostrophe to the audience, screen of Nottingham lace curtain and whose thundering acclamations might then seated themselves below with the have startled even Chaliapin. The unveiled ladies of their acquaintance. really sensational moment of the drama Below us was the pit where gathered came when the two lovers, flying for the rank and file of the audience, com- safety to the cover of the woods, were pletely native in tarboosh, kufieh, and overcome by the romantic beauty of the galabya. Above us, packed to overflow. moonlit night and lay clasped in one ing, was the gallery, for this was a gala another's arms — on the floor, in the night when Munyra, the idolized singer middle of a perfectly bare stage; and of ballads, of opera, of lieder, was to yet the quiver that ran through the appear.

house was as intense as that produced As soon as the curtain rose, we by the most lurid moment of the Jest. realized that the appeal to the audi- Another example of the complete ence was through neither setting nor rapport between performers and audicostuming, but purely through the ence was an interval of about half an sentiment of the romance and the per hour, in the middle of a scene, when sonality of the Prima Donna. Haroun the curious zither-like instrument had al-Raschid, in red plush and cotton bat- to be tuned to a new song to suit the ting, with beard to match, harangued mood of the Prima Donna. Everyhis grand vizier for many hours in a thing stopped; the actors on the stage style reminiscent of the Sicilian marion- patiently waited, the audience sat in ettes. Our illusions of the romantic anticipatory silence, but at the first beauty associated with the Arabian note broke into wild enthusiasm. Nights were shattered by the ladies of Throughout all, Munyra held the stage the company. Here was no sinuous als with the dignity, repose, and gracious lure of Theda Bara, but the hearty, assurance of an Yvette Guilbert, strikmotherly figure so popular among the ing the chord with the technique of matrons of Grand Street.

perfected art. So different, so remote, Munyra, impersonating a young so curiously exotic to our Western ears lover, without any attempt at char- but so appealing to her Oriental audience were her vocal acrobatics that at but when midnight was bringing this each finale they burst into a transport lengthy performance to a close another of enthusiastic ‘Ah's' and 'Allah's' – transport swept the audience. Apropos clapping, waving, until even a passive of nothing, Munyra broke into a Pansheik was literally swept off his feet in a Moslem song. Even the romance of frenzy of appreciation and, withobvious Haroun-al-Raschid was lost in the more pantomime, surrendered himself and stirring emotion of Nationalist feeling; all he possessed, even his manhood's and we left realizing that the dream of pride, – his beard, — for just one more self-determination is the vital drama note.

of Egypt to-day and that, beside it, We thought that the most enthusi- Haroun-al-Raschid and Munyra herself astic moment had come and gone, become mere illusions.

II

THE LITTLE THEATRE OF THE NILE

We were still at table with our archæo- praise be to Allah! — were transported logical guests when a flying messenger into a moment of romance and fantasy in red turban and bottle-green uniform which had at once reality and illusion. announced the opening of the Theatre This was Theatre - we were both of the Nile. We hurried to the garden, audience and part of the setting. We clutched our warmest coats and furs, pushed off from the bank, the galley and wondered at the courage of the slaves up forward heaving away in oranges and bouvardia that grew so rhythm with the drumbeats. We lay happily in this chill winter air. Through back on the cushions of the flukhah and the gates, on to the river we hurried, glided into the starlight night under and were greeted with unction by the curved shifting sail, our master Abdul-el-Galeel in his most gorgeous craftsman standing in the stern astride and becoming abáyeh of Mecca weave, the rudder, the piercing notes gradually while piercing sounds from the theatre beating into our mood with hypnotic indicated that the orchestral overture insistence. The music grew wilder and had begun. We had our first vision of more piercing, and a figure rose, scantily the Theatre of the Nile! Moored at the clad in a short faded shift. The usual foot of a steep flight of stone steps was felláheen vest completed the costume, a magical barge, the outlines of the except for the almost black make-up of masts patterned with lanterns of multi- the delicately modeled limbs. In spite colored glass. In the bow, cross-legged, of the utter poverty and bareness of sat the orchestra. Two pipe-players these garments, the moment the movelooked like musicians in the old Floren- ment began the felláheen vanished and tine paintings; the drummer behind his became identified with the eternal world great drum — which was festively dec- of bards and minstrels. The tiny brass orated in red trappings — beat with his cymbals in both hands punctuated the sticks the march-like rhythm of the rhythm and play of the marvelously Khedive's salutation. Feeling akin to supple wrists. After the first introducthe Caliphs of Bagdad, at the pompous tory movements of 'foot- and bodyexclusiveness of the entertainment be muscles — which seemed like the infore us, we descended the steps and — evitable tuning-up of a relaxed string instrument - the real dancing began. And here let us note that, although Feet, body, shoulders, neck, head, each the melodies are apparently built on a in turn and all together came into play scale not exceeding three intervals, the until the great test of skill — the bottle rhythmic repertoire is so varied, and the with the lighted candle set on his shaven vitality and wind-power of the playhead — was added. Oblivious of the ers such, that performances at wedlimitations of his stage, which was dings usually go on unceasingly for not more than three feet in diameter and twelve hours at a stretch, — day and undulated to the caprice of the wind and night, — the length of time depending sails, - our entertainer with concen- only on the bank account of the trated intensity flowed from one rhythm bridegroom. to another with the ease and deftness Another hour of the same strident of a 'master. In the same syncopated noise which will make Scriabine forever rhythm in varied tempos, rising,crouch- sound to us like the soothing delicacy ing, bending, swirling, nothing seemed of Mozart, and our barge was again to disturb the poise and equilibrium of moored at the garden steps. the dancer or his charmed 'prop,' which Still under the unctuous protection became so much a part of his person of Abdul, who bowed with his charthat it seemed a jeweled crown. acteristic static smile in aloof satisfac

After the first half-hour of the tion at our childish enthusiasm, we Marathon of blowing, beating, and stepped off the magic carpet. muscle-play, which progressed with un- The fantasia of the night was vanishinterrupted vigor and passed without ing down the stream; the lantern a break from one rhythm and melody to lights already dim reflections; the peranother, we recovered from our breath- formers, so real a moment ago, now less anxiety over the lung- and heart fading into phantoms; the barge, so capacity of the performers and relapsed lately vibrating with reality, now but into a hypnotic, fatalistic state. a memory.

III

THE LITTLE THEATRE OF SUDAN

our kniinutes

Pirited

On leaving the Theatre of the Nile, we to-be, aged seven — moored us near began our Assuan seminar under the the great dam; but we hurried on, Nubian professorship of Bogadi Mo impatient to continue our peripatetic hammed Ali. Within thirty minutes dialogue. We galloped over rugged of our arrival we were in our knickers, shores of the cataract, romantically galloping on spirited beasts over the wild and gorge-like, past fields of Nubian desert sands, past the granite wild castor oil bean, until we came to quarries with the unfinished shaft for a our first Nubian village. new temple, then Philæ romantically Were we really seeing with our eyes rising from the Nile, its pylons half or were we at an exhibition of ultravisible, gracefully lifting their petaled modern art? Against a ground of white capitals like colossal lotus flowers. plaster, or ochre, or blue, from the

Our flukhah manned at the oar by ancient pigment-mines, were displayed the sheik of the Nubian village, aged the most primitively quaint frescoes. seventy; at the rudder by the sheik- It would be hard to choose the house

« ElőzőTovább »