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It happened to be close alongside of of the Rhône, the true and original us, where we sat. The principal re- Cigales, encountered to their ceived us with the utmost urbanity. ment spurious Cigales, who could not He was a respectable old university even comprehend their language. A man, kind-hearted though timid. He terrible state of confusion ensued and threw open an immense dormitory, incidevts of the most untoward characlarge enough to have accommodated a ter cast a gloom over the occasion. cavalry-regiment in comfort, and there There were bouts of pure vanity, some we were, lodged like princes! Now we ridiculous, others painful. Devotion to could turn with free minds to the lof- high art retired into the background, tier joys that awaited us. And there and was eclipsed, by miserable was no disillusion. The spectacle was petitions. The félibres appeared in more magnificent even than we had ex- their true colors, and it became evident pected. Mounet-Sully surpassed him that a good many of them were using self. Was it the contact of that vast the peplum of Edipus, as a cloak for enthusiastic multitude, the sweetness personal schemes and calculations. of the starry night, or the effect of our One wanted a bit of ribbon, another an own excited imagination? The tragedy office, another a chair in the Academy, of Sophocles moved us to tears. The or a seat in the Legislature. brave lines of Jules Lacrois set flowing They succeeded in getting a commisin our veins a sort of divine ichor. It sion appointed by government, to lay was like a religious service. Mounet- the foundations in perpetuity, of the Sully in his white draperies, was much "French Baireuth." The committee more like an officiating priest, than like met once and then adjourned, and its a spouting actor. We went back to labors have been resumed only Paris, overpowered by a sense of obli- long intervals. There are rumors of gation to the félibres who had procured sharp disputes, and pretty comedies us this wonderful aesthetic treat.
played within closed doors. The fe Alas, their success had been too philosophic members have gotten rapid! They vaunted it in the most good deal of amusement out of the sesdithyrambic terms, and it filled them sions, but they are growing rather cold with immeasurable vanity. They to the “Félibrige." made enormous plans for the future. Is he then fallen from his antique virThey wanted to give a permanent char- tue—the félibre? Is he no more the acter
an accidental experience. pure artist, the disinterested poet, comThey annexed the ancient theatre of posing melodious madrigals under the Orange, planted themselves in it walls of Avignon, and asking no reward conquerors, and resolved to turn it to save the approbation of his peers and account. They organized a second cara- the sweet glances of the girls of Arles? van for 1894, but instead of proceeding Alas, the title has passed through too discreetly, as on the first occasion, they many hands; the label has lost its blew a mighty blast and summoned value! It has become a mere cockade ererybody to attend. There was a per- which the commercial travellers of litfect phrensy of "interviews;" and the erature stick in their own hats. foundation was announced of a “French There are a few genuine “félibres" Baireuth,”-a goal of national pilgrim- left, but they are very rare! age. No more was needed to let loose Translated for THE LIVING AGE, from the French the cockney spirit, and stimulate the of Adolphe Brisson. craving for publicity which sleeps in the breast of every literary man. Recruits without number flocked io the army of the félibres. They came froni erery quarter of France. Normandy, Touraine, the Vosges, the Jura, all It was Monday morning, the busiest furnished their quota; and the Cigales time in the whole week in the Doro
From The National Review. THE STORY OF A PHILANTHROPIC PAWN
theergasse. Although the clock had jected in the light of an ordeal; while nol yet struck eight, quite a little crowd others resented it as a piece of grawas already assembled there, before tuitous impertinence on the part of the the door of a great convent. They were authorities. So righteously indignant, working people for the most part, of indeed, was one great fellow, that the the poorest class too; judging by the moment he caught sight of the officers look in their eyes it was only the chosen he turned on his heel and quitted the few among them who had breakfasted. convent-with more speed than dignity. None the less, they chatted away quite Such people as these, however, were cheerily, and indulged in jokes at each the exception; to the majority the presother's expense; for the sun was shin- ence of an official more or less was ing, and it is only when there are clouds evidently a matter of profound indifferoverhead that the true Viennese is in.
As a much-bewrinkled old clined to take life sadly. They all had woman remarked shrewdly: “Policebundles in their hands of one sort or men must have standing-room someanother; and they kept glancing down where, and they are less in one's way at them from time to time, with an odd here than in most places." expression on their faces. Evidently From eight o'clock in the morning these burdens of theirs were, for the until two in the afternoon, the stream moment, important factors in their of men and women up that staircase lives.
never ceased; nearly two thousand Besides the men and women who took must have passed there that day. But up their station boldly before the con- even when the throng was greatest vent itself, there were others of a less there was never a touch of confusion, sociable nature, who hovered about in all things were done decently and in the neighborhood-in Stefansplatz and order. Indeed, the only sound to be the Kapuzinerstrasse. They passed heard was just from time to time a and repassed the end of the Dorotheer- shrill little cry of "Nicht genug"--algasse, but always in the most casual ways in a woman's voice. They did not fashion; and, if by any chance they stay long in the place; within a very did so merely for the purpose of study few minutes from the time when they ing the architecture of a certain Prot- crossed its threshold, they, were back in estant temple that stands there. Some the street again, with money in their of these persons were women, thickly hands, too, as one could see by their veiled, and in long dark cloaks, and faces. For the most part they seemed among them there seemed to be much fairly content with what they had renervous excitement. It was quite piti- ceived, although some of the women able to note how convulsively they cried bitterly as they trudged on their clutched whatever they held in their way. It was a case of outraged feelha ds, when they heard footsteps be- ing as often as not, some little treasure hind them. Manifestly they were bent or other by which they laid great store, at any cost on avoiding intercourse with had met perhaps with but scant appretheir kind.
ciation. It is terribly hard for the On the stroke of eight the convent feminine mind to grasp the fact that, in door was thrown open. At once all the eyes of an official valuer, a wedlaughing and talking ceased and every ding-ring, for instance, is not worth one one became intent on his own affairs. single whit more than any The crowd entered the building quietly little golden nugget of the same weight. by twos and twos, and made their way A few of those who had entered the up-stairs in the most business-like convent had their bundles still in their fashion. There two policemen were hands when they came out and all who stationed who scanned carefully the had seemed to be in the very slough of faces-the hands, too-of all who despond. And little wonder either, for passed. Some seemed to regard the they who cannot dispose of their wares scrutiny to which they were thus sub- in the Dorotheergasse, have not much
chance of finding a market for them protection of the emperors of Austria; elsewhere. For the very raison d'être and even now its managers rank as of the institution in the convent there, government officials, and are under the the Imperial Pawn Office as it is called, control of the minister of the interior. is to give a helping hand to the poor and Notwithstanding the favorable ausneedy.
pices under which it was founded, the Early in the year 1707 there was Imperial Pawn Office had at first a great distress in Lower Austria. The somewhat chequered career. The streets of Vienna were thronged with Gross Armen Haus, as the council hungry men and women, who clamored which administered the relief of the for food so fiercely, that richer folk poor of Vienna was then called, underthought twice before venturing out took to organize and work it, upon the among them. The very air was alive understanding that, if the scheme with cries of "Brod, Brod, Gieb should prove a success, any money Brod;" and one might have thought the made by it should belong to the council. city was beset with wolves from the The directors of the Haus raised what strange sounds to be heard there. The additional capital they needed for their emperor himself-it was Josef I.-could enterprise by bartering away the right not eat his dinner in peace owing to the they possessed of levying a contributumult made by his starving subjects; tion of fuel on Vienna, Korneuberg, and while as for his councillors, they went other towns. With some of tue money about declaring that their lives were they thus obtained they bought from not worth living, so untoward was the the Count Von Weltz a house in the generation in the midst of which their Annagasse; and there, on March 14th, lot was cast. Something must be done, 1707, they opened their pawn-shop. that was clear, but no one knew what. The rules by which they conducted their At length, just when those in authority business were very simple. All the were at their wits' end, a suggestion articles brought to them were divided was made-by whom tradition does not into two classes, viz., those which would say. It was that an institution should not deteriorate and those which would. be founded of the same kind as one On the former they advanced in money which had already relieved much suf- two-thirds of their value, and charged fering among the poor of the city of interest on it at the rate of a heller a Amsterdam. This institution, it seems, month for each florin; on the latter they helped the poverty-stricken to tide over advanced one-half of their value, and times of exceptional distress by lend- charged two hellers for each florin. To ing money to them almost gratis. no one person, however, would they
The emperor was delighted with the lend more than a hundred florins. idea. He promptly issued a decree in Just when things were in working which he called upon his subjects to order, the plague broke out in Vienna; organize in Vienna what prac- and for three years the Annagasse busitically a philanthropic pawn-shop; or, ness was at a standstill; for its manas he put it in his quaint old-fashioned agers dare not take clothes in pawn. German, "Ein solches Mittel vor die and the class of clients with whom they Hand nehmen wordurch denen had to deal had nothing much else to jenigen betrangten Partheyen geholfen offer. When once this disaster was werden möchte, welche auff eine kurtze passed, however, the office soon became zeit eines Geldes bedurfftig waren." quite a thriving concern, at least from He did more, he interested himself per- a philanthropic point of view. It was sonally in the scheme, decided the lines the means of relieving much real disupon which it should be worked, and tress, especially among the respectable gave money out of his own privy purse poor, who, when evil days came upon towards providing it with the necessary, them, had recourse to it gladly, and capital. From that day the Imperial were often able to ward off ruin by the Pawn Office has been under the special loans they thus obtained. But finan
cially, for some little time, the under Armen Haus-all former promises and taking was not a success; indeed, as the pledges notwithstanding. They addirectors of the Gross Armen Haus com- mitted that, according to the Emperor plained, instead of its being, as they had Josef I.'s decree, all money made by the hoped, a source of income to them, it office must be spent on the relief of the involved them in expense. This was poor; but they maintained that, by grantdue to the fact that, as much more ing small loans on easy terms they did eagerness was shown in pledging than thus spend it, and in a much more in redeeming, the managers had con- beneficent fashion than the Gross stantly left on their hands a large sup- Armen Haus, with its eternal almsply of wares, of which they found great giving, would do. After a time the difficulty in disposing. They were Imperial Office seems to have lost much forced, therefore, to increase their of its philanthropic character; its working capital, and to do so must bor- officials became more intent on money row money at six per cent. interest! making than on helping their clients. Under these circumstances, pawn. But when Josef II. came to the throne broking, as carried on at the Imperial he speedily put an end to this state of Office, could never be very profitable; things, for he was not the man to tolerstill, before long, the institution be- ate abuses in an institution which was came self-supporting. Already in 1717, under his protection. He reorganized ten years after it was founded, it could the office completely, with the result boast of profits—1,231 florins on a cap- that it soon recovered all its old popuital of 124,231 florins! Then the em- larity. By 1787 its business had inperor stepped in, and insisted on the creased to such an extent that it became rate of interest charged being lowered necessary to remove it to larger premby one half. Whereupon the Gross ises. It was then that the convent in Armen Haus rose in revolt-as it had the Dorotheergasse was bought, and the Church at its back it often took up there the institution has ever since had an oddly independent attitude with re- its home. Some ten years ago a second gard to the crown. It declared that it Imperial Pawn Office was opened in would wash its hands of the whole con- Vienna, in the Feldgasse, and there is cern, and demanded that the capital it good reason to hope that there will be had invested in it should be refunded. a third before long. But this was out of the question, as These Imperial Pawn Offices are ormuch of the money was gone, and no ganized and worked for the express purone knew where. The quarrel raged pose of helping the poor. If members for years and ended in a compromise. of the higher classes choose to have reThe Pawn Office was reorganized and course to them, when in need of money, placed under the management of cer- they are free to do so; nay, more, they tain imperial officers, who undertook, are made welcome; for were it not for in return for being allowed to retain their patronage, the offices could not be the use of the capital invested in it, self-supporting-they would have to be to pay to the Gross Armen Haus a either subsidized or closed. Still it is yearly contribution of two thousand not the convenience, or the interests, of florins.
persons who can afford to borrow In the hands of its new managers, the money in the open market, that are conImperial Pawn Office extended its busi- sulted when arrangements are being ness in all directions, and soon had more made there, but those of the poor, the clients than it could possibly deal with. respectable poor above all. Not that Before long its profits amounted to ten outwardly, at least, there is anything thousand forins a year, and these were that smacks of a charity about these inalways added to the working capital; stitutions; on the contrary, they are for when it came to the point, the man-, essentially business concerns, managed agers stoutly refused to hand over any upon strictly business principles. They portion of their gains to the Gross who go there-even tlre most povertystricken-never dream that they are re
two weeks, would cost him about £2, if ceiving a favor, or being laid under an
he lived in London; whereas he could obligation. Indeed, an Austrian would have the use of them for 2s. if he were no more think of being grateful to the in Vienna. Imperial Pawn Office for lending him The regular pawner, however, is not money, than an Englishman to the Post an individual whose interest the direcOffice for carrying his letters. In the tors of the Imperial Offices—or any one one case as in the other the transaction else—feel called upon to study. The inis regarded simply as “business.” Yet stitution does not exist for his benefit, practically the offices are centres for the but for that of the occasional borrower, distribution of relief in minute portions; of him who has just fallen a few steps only so quietly and discreetly is the behind in the race. If a Viennese artiwork carried on, that the fact is hardly san be out of work, or be laid aside by suspected. Help is given there, and at illness, for a month or two, he must the very moment when it is most have a more scant supply of possessions needed; it is given, too, in such a way
than most men of his class, if he canthat the accepting of it involves no not raise in the Dorotheergasse what humiliation even on the most sensitive. money he needs to help him over his of the crowd assembled in the Doro- day of trouble. All he has to do is to theergasse that morning, one-fourth deposit at one of the offices articles to at least received charity before they the value of one-fourth more than the went on their way; yet it is very doubt- sum he requires. If the tables, chairs, ful whether one among them realized clothes, watch, or whatever else he may that such was the case.
send there, be in the judgment of the The terms upon which the Pawn official valuer worth £4, £3 is advanced Offices deal with their clients would not, to him on their security. And he reat a first glance, strike the uninitiated ceives the £3 in full, for no charge of as being specially philanthropic; ten any sort is made for the loan until the per cent. interest per annum is charged time comes for him to redeem it. Then, for all money lent, no matter whether supposing it be at the end of three it be one florin or ten thousand. But it months, 18. 6d. is the amount he is remust be remembered that for one per- required to pay as interest. This 18. 6d., son who pledges his goods for a year, nota bene, is the whole expense the borthere are a dozen who pledge them for rowing of the money entails on him; for a week. Some men make a point of de- in Vienna there is no levying of “Hangpositing their Sunday clothes with their ing,” or “ticket,” fees. Even if, in"Uncle" every Monday morning stead of borrowing £3 for three months, throughout the year and of redeeming he had borrowed £20, 10s. is all that he them every Saturday night. By such would have to pay for the use of the little transactions as these our London money. pawnbrokers manage to make some But most of the people who resort to four hundred per cent. on the money these offices, it is well to remember, go they advance; while the Vienna Pawn in search not of sovereigns, but of Offices are compelled to content them- shillings. During the year 1893, 866,015 selves with clearing twenty per cent. articles were pledged there, and on And this twenty per cent, would be only 773,120 of them the sum lent was under ten, were it not that a regulation is in ten florins; on 90,069, the sum lent was force by which they are allowed to between ten and one hundred florins; charge interest for a full fortnight on on 2,773, between one hundred and one what they lend, even though it be repaid thousand florins; and on only fifty-three at the end of the day.
of them was it over one thousand Supposing that the sum advanced to florins. the hebdomadal pawner on his clothes On an average 2.380 persons a day were 108., then the use of those shillings, pawn at the offices some one or other from Monday until Saturday, for fifty- of their possessions; and one hundred