Chapter 16.

{282} AFTER dinner it occurred to them that the subject of Gregorians and Gothic had been left in the lurch. "How in the world did we get off it?" asked Charles.

"Well, at least, we have found it," said Bateman; "and I really should like to hear what you have to say upon it, Campbell."

"Oh, really, Bateman," answered he, "I am quite sick of the subject; every one seems to me to be going into extremes: what's the good of arguing about it? you won't agree with me."

"I don't see that at all," answered Bateman; "people often think they differ, merely because they have not courage to talk to each other."

"A good remark," thought Charles; "what a pity that Bateman, with so much sense, should have so little common sense!"

"Well, then," said Campbell, "my quarrel with Gothic and Gregorians, when coupled together, is, that they are two ideas, not one. Have figured music in Gothic churches, keep your Gregorian for basilicas."

"My good Campbell," said Bateman, "you seem oblivious that Gregorian chants and hymns have always {283} accompanied Gothic aisles, Gothic copes, Gothic mitres, and Gothic chalices."

"Our ancestors did what they could," answered Campbell; "they were great in architecture, small in music. They could not use what was not yet invented. They sang Gregorians because they had not Palestrina."

"A paradox, a paradox!" cried Bateman.

"Surely there is a close connexion," answered Campbell, "between the rise and nature of the basilica and of Gregorian unison. Both existed before Christianity; both are of Pagan origin; both were afterwards consecrated to the service of the Church."

"Pardon me," interrupted Bateman, "Gregorians were Jewish, not Pagan."

"Be it so, for argument sake," said Campbell; "still at least, they were not of Christian origin. Next, both the old music and the old architecture were inartifical and limited, as methods of exhibiting their respective arts. You can't have a large Grecian temple; you can't have a long Gregorian Gloria."

"Not a long one!" said Bateman; "why, there's poor Willis used to complain how tedious the old Gregorian compositions were abroad."

"I don't explain myself," answered Campbell; "of course you may produce them to any length, but merely by addition, not by carrying on the melody. You can put two together, and then have one twice as long as either. But I speak of a musical piece, which must of course be the natural development of certain ideas, with one part depending on another. In like manner, you might make an Ionic temple twice as long or twice as {284} wide as the Parthenon; but you would lose the beauty of proportion by doing so. This, then, is what I meant to say of the primitive architecture and the primitive music, that they soon come to their limit; they soon are exhausted, and can do nothing more. If you attempt more, it is like taxing a musical instrument beyond its powers."

"You but try, Bateman," said Reding, "to make a bass play quadrilles, and you will see what is meant by taxing an instrument."

"Well, I have heard Lindley play all sorts of quick tunes on his bass," said Bateman, "and most wonderful it is."

"Wonderful is the right word," answered Reding; "it is very wonderful. You say, 'How can he manage it?' and 'It's very wonderful for a bass'; but it is not pleasant in itself. In like manner, I have always felt a disgust when Mr. So-and-so comes forward to make his sweet flute bleat and bray like a hautbois; it's forcing the poor thing to do what it was never made for."

"This is literally true as regards Gregorian music," said Campbell; "instruments did not exist in primitive times which could execute any other. But I am speaking under correction; Mr. Reding seems to know more about the subject than I do."

"I have always understood, as you say," answered Charles, "modern music did not come into existence till after the powers of the violin became known. Corelli himself, who wrote not two hundred years ago, hardly ventures on the shift. The piano, again, I have heard, has almost given birth to Beethoven." {285}

"Modern music, then, could not be in ancient times, for want of modern instruments," said Campbell; "and, in like manner, Gothic architecture could not exist until vaulting was brought to perfection. Great mechanical inventions have taken place, both in architecture and in music, since the age of basilicas and Gregorians; and each science has gained by it."

"It is curious enough," said Reding, "one thing I have been accustomed to say, quite falls in with this view of yours. When people who are not musicians have accused Handel and Beethoven of not being simple, I have always said, 'Is Gothic architecture simple?' A cathedral expresses one idea, but it is indefinitely varied and elaborated in its parts; so is a symphony or quartett of Beethoven."

"Certainly, Bateman, you must tolerate Pagan architecture, or you must in consistency exclude Pagan or Jewish Gregorians," said Campbell; "you must tolerate figured music, or reprobate tracery windows."

"And which are you for," asked Bateman, "Gothic with Handel, or Roman with Gregorians?"

"For both in their place," answered Campbell. "I exceedingly prefer Gothic architecture to classical. I think it the one true child and development of Christianity; but I won't, for that reason, discard the Pagan style which has been sanctified by eighteen centuries, by the exclusive love of many Christian countries, and by the sanction of a host of saints. I am for toleration. Give Gothic an ascendancy; be respectful towards classical."

The conversation slackened. "Much as I like {286} modern music," said Charles, "I can't quite go the length to which your doctrine would lead me. I cannot, indeed, help liking Mozart; but surely his music is not religious."

"I have not been speaking in defence of particular composers," said Campbell; "figured music may be right, yet Mozart or Beethoven inadmissible. In like manner, you don't suppose, because I tolerate Roman architecture, that therefore I like naked cupids to stand for cherubs, and sprawling women for the cardinal virtues." He paused. "Besides," he added, "as you were saying yourself just now, we must consult the genius of our country, and the religious associations of our people."

"Well," said Bateman, "I think the perfection of sacred music is Gregorian set to harmonies; there you have the glorious old chants, and just a little modern richness."

"And I think it just the worst of all," answered Campbell; "it is a mixture of two things, each good in itself, and incongruous together. It's a mixture of the first and second courses at table. It's like the architecture of the façade at Milan, half Gothic, half Grecian."

"It's what is always used, I believe," said Charles.

"Oh, yes, we must not go against the age," said Campbell; "it would be absurd to do so. I only spoke of what was right and wrong on abstract principles; and, to tell the truth, I can't help liking the mixture myself, though I can't defend it."

Bateman rang for tea; his friends wished to return {287} home soon; it was the month of January, and no season for after-dinner strolls. "Well," he said, "Campbell, you are more lenient to the age than to me; you yield to the age when it sets a figured bass to a Gregorian tone; but you laugh at me for setting a coat upon a cassock."

"It's no honour to be the author of a mongrel type," said Campbell.

"A mongrel type?" said Bateman; "rather it is a transition state."

"What are you passing to?" asked Charles.

"Talking of transitions," said Campbell, abruptly, "do you know that your man Willis—I don't know his college, he turned Romanist—is living in my parish, and I have hopes he is making a transition back again."

"Have you seen him?" said Charles.

"No; I have called, but was unfortunate; he was out. He still goes to mass, I find."

"Why, where does he find a chapel?" asked Bateman.

"At Seaton. A good seven miles from you," said Charles.

"Yes," answered Campbell; "and he walks to and fro every Sunday."

"That is not like a transition, except a physical one," observed Reding.

"A person must go somewhere," answered Campbell; "I suppose he went to church up to the week he joined the Romanists."

"Very awful, these defections," said Bateman; "but {288} very satisfactory, a melancholy satisfaction," with a look at Charles, "that the victims of delusions should be at length recovered."

"Yes," said Campbell; "very sad indeed. I am afraid we must expect a number more."

"Well, I don't know how to think it," said Charles; "the hold our Church has on the mind is so powerful; it is such a wrench to leave it, I cannot fancy any party tie standing against it. Humanly speaking, there is far, far more to keep them fast than to carry them away."

"Yes, if they moved as a party," said Campbell; "but that is not the case. They don't move simply because others move, but, poor fellows, because they can't help it,—Bateman, will you let my chaise be brought round?—How can they help it?" continued he, standing up over the fire; "their Catholic principles lead them on, and there's nothing to drive them back."

"Why should not their love for their own Church?" asked Bateman. "It is deplorable, unpardonable."

"They will keep going one after another, as they ripen," said Campbell.

"Did you hear the report—I did not think much of it myself," said Reding—"that Smith was moving?"

"Not impossible," answered Campbell, thoughtfully.

"Impossible, quite impossible," cried Bateman; "such a triumph to the enemy; I'll not believe it till I see it."

"Not impossible," repeated Campbell, as he buttoned and fitted his greatcoat about him; "he has shifted his ground." His carriage was announced. "Mr. {289} Reding, I believe I can take you part of your way, if you will accept of a seat in my pony-chaise." Charles accepted the offer; and Bateman was soon deserted by his two guests.

Chapter 2-17

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