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graceful attitudes and movements. It is obvious that such corsets should be entirely destitute of steel and whalebone, or other barbarous inventions. By selecting a material proportioned, in its thickness and elasticity, to the size, age, &c. of the wearer, and by a proper employment of quilting and wadding, they may be made of any proper or allowable degree of stiffness. If it be then accurately fitted to the shape of the individual, and laced no tighter than to apply it comfortably, all the advantages of the corset may be fully obtained.
In the case of girls approaching their majority, the utmost care should be taken not to restrain the growth by corsets. If there be a tendency to obesity, it may be checked by air, exercise, and a simple kind of diet; and should these fail, violent compression must on no account be employed. So far from external pressure making a fine form, the tendency is directly the reverse, since the restraint of the corsets detrimentally interferes with the perfection of the frame. The muscles, being compressed, and held inactive, neither acquire their due size nor strength; and a stiff
, awkward carriage, with a thin, flat, ungraceful, elegant person, is the too frequent result of such injudicious treatment.
On the subject of displaying the figure, a writer in the Conversations Lexicon makes the following judicious observations, with which we may close the present tract:
“A certain degree of display of the female form is not incompatible with correctness of manners. But there is a limit which, we believe, cannot be exceeded without immediate detriment to public morals, and positive offence to delicacy. There was a time when a mode of dressing to display every personal charm was peculiar to an unfortunate class of beings, regarded as lost to all the modesty and dignity of the sex; but it is a melancholy truth, that this distinction between the lost and the reputable no longer exists in our great cities, where leaders of fashion and celebrated beauties, claiming the highest rank and character, are most remarkable for the solicitude with which they prepare their lovely persons to be gazed at and admired, in all their proportions, by the passing crowd! We should not have alluded to this subject, did we not hope that a slight animadversion upon its evil tendency would help to produce its correction. It has an immediate influence in lowering the sex in the estimation of men, since it lessens their reverence for beings they would otherwise always look upon with deep respect; and surely the fair sex have not yet to learn, that modest reserve and retiring delicacy are among the most potent auxiliaries of their charms. That they should rush into the extreme wę have deprecated, appears to result merely from inattention; and we sincerely hope that but a short time will elapse before they will strictly respect the boundaries established by good sense and good taste, united with the lovely purity inherent in their sex.”
N the upper part of the Rhine, on its eastern bank, lies the district of country called, from its woody character, the Black Forest, forming part of the grand
duchy of Baden. It is impossible to traverse this part of Germany without being struck with the peculiar character of the scenery. The wild abruptness of the mountain ridges contrasts effectively with the luxuriant
softness of the lovely valleys that extend between them towards the Rhine; and the whole is characterised by such perfect harmony, that one might fancy it a vast park, planned out by God himself, and combining all that is beautiful in nature with every diversity of landscape. On the borders of the Black Forest, the scene becomes still more grand and impressive; for there the valleys contract themselves into narrow gorges; whilst the majestic forest itself, stretching far away in the distance, crowns the heights, and winds round the mountains, leaving here and there a bald summit, or a snow-capped peak, towering over the undulating expanse.
Within the Black Forest exist several interesting branches of manufacture, productive of comfort and a reasonable amount of Wealth to the industrious and ingenious inhabitants. Wooden clocks are made, to a large extent, for the supply of neighbouring, as well as distant countries. Of toys there is likewise a large manufacture; these, like the clocks, being made from the native timber, and executed within the dwellings of the artist peasantry. The toys are carved with much neatness, and some degree of taste, and find a ready sale in all lands to which they are transported. The success of the meritorious workers in these articles affords a pleasing example of what may be done under great disadvantages as to means and situation. It shows that all difficulties melt away before a willing heart. Ever blessed and honoured be the spirit of honest industry, wherever it is found; but doubly blessed be the industry which bears up against the influence of untoward circumstances, such as those under which the poor peasantry of the Black Forest are known to labour! It is of one of these humble but ingenious sculptors in wood that we propose to tell a little story. The narrative, which is told very much as it was related by the pastor of Badenwiller, includes no mighty or moving incident; but it possesses the charm of truth, and, addressed to the young, it may not be without its moral.
In one of the wild mountain passes of the Black Forest lived, some years ago, Herman Cloffer, one of the most industrious and contented of the rustic manufacturers of the district. Herman was the son of a schoolmaster, who had communicated to him the little learning he possessed. He knew something of Latin, spoke the French language with ease, and could play tolerably well on the violin; and these advantages over the surrounding rustics procured him the appellation of Master Cloffer.
Like the other children of the forest, Herman had taken delight in carving rude forms from the wood of the fir-tree; and having produced some toys more highly-finished than those of his companions, he persevered in his attempts, until, from a mere childish amusement, it became a cherished pursuit, to which all his spare time was devoted. During a visit to Basle, in Switzerland, he happened to see some Gothic carving, which awakened him to a higher sense of the beautiful in art than he had hitherto enjoyed. Acute in observation, he perceived that the craft to which he had devoted himself was capable of producing objects of the greatest elegance in design. From the day on which Herman had feasted his eyes on the fine carvings at Basle, he was influenced with new feelings; and his future course was fixed.
Returning home to the parental cottage, he set about a species of work different from anything that had as yet been executed in the forest. Abandoning the toys that had hitherto amused him, he applied himself earnestly to the reproduction in wood of whatever object in nature struck his fancy, going into the most minute details; finishing to begin again, and beginning to finish more carefully; leaving no difficulty unconquered; and working with all the enthusiasm of a newly-awakened consciousness of talent. This unwearying application could not fail to produce the desired success. Herman's attempts, at first incorrect and unmeaning, soon became more true to nature, and his touch freer and bolder: the difficulties of execution vanished, to give place to those of art. He had succeeded in the form, he now sought to give life to his productions: he had attained to science ; it remained to be proved whether he possessed genius: and then commenced for the young artist that struggle between the creative power and inert matter-a joyful struggle when the expressive feature and speaking attitude proclaim that it has been successful.
The wood seemed to obey all Herman's fancies; he moulded and fashioned it to his every wish. His whole soul was engrossed in the work, and he endeavoured to render it as beautiful as his imagination pictured it. It became, as it were, a portion of himself; animated by his hopes and aspirations, and a medium for the expression of "his thoughts and feelings. Nothing was done systematically, or by previous arrangement: every stroke was the result of an impression.
His sculptures, which had at first been confounded with the ordinary products of the forest herdsmen, soon began to be noticed and admired. They first became in request at Baden, and ere long were eagerly sought after at Munich, Vienna, and Berlin. The dealer to whom he had sold the first for a mere trifle, urged the young man to supply him with more as fast as it was possible
, promising him a better price; and Herman, who, since the death of his father, had been the sole support of his widowed mother, was overjoyed at the prospect of being able to secure to her an independent and comfortable old age. Their humble dwelling began to exhibit comforts and conveniences to which it had hitherto been a stranger; several articles of furniture were purchased; the holiday suit was more frequently renewed ; and when a friend or neighbour dropped in at evening, some pleasant refection was generally produced. At such times Herman would take his violin, and accompany his mother in some of the old Suabian airs, or one of Schiller's ballads, which she had learned from his father the schoolmaster.
Thus the young sculptor's days passed tranquilly away, divided between his loved occupation and the innocent relaxations of their simple mode of life. Leaving to Dorothy, his mother, the care of all their little affairs, and undisturbed by any contact with the world, he retired into the sanctuary of his inspirations, as a saint in his holy meditation, and lived in an ideal world, from which at times no inducement could draw him.
One summer's evening he was sitting at the door, and passing his hand carelessly over the strings of his violin, when a stranger on horseback turned up the path leading to the cottage. He was apparently about forty years of age, and his stylish attire and easy address announced a man of the world. He stopped on seeing Herman, and asked him, in an almost qnintelligible attempt at German, if he could direct him to the dwelling
of Herman Cloffer the sculptor.
“ I am he," said Herman, rising.
“ You?” cried the stranger; “ that is fortunate;” and quickly dismounting, he threw the bridle to a servant in livery who had followed him.
“I have been seeking you, Master Cloffer,” he resumed in a familiar tone; “ I am a Frenchman, as no doubt you
perceived by my pronunciation of German. I have seen your sculptures, and I wish to purchase some.”
Herman, in polite consideration of the stranger's difficulty in speaking German, replied to him in French, and invited him to enter the cottage.
Much pleased, the stranger entered, but started with surprise on glancing round the humble apartment, which served for kitchen and parlour, as well as work-room, to the artist.
“Is it possible that you work here?” he asked, on looking round the smoky walls.
“ Near that window," replied Herman, pointing to a long table, on which were several sculptures in various stages of progress; underneath were piled up prepared blocks of fir; the tiner tools were hung against the wall. “ And you have no other work-room?"
No, monsieur.” “ Wonderful !” he muttered; to produce such masterpieces of art in a hovel like this. But, Master Cloffer,” he continued aloud,“ do you know that you lack everything here? You can have no incentives—no encouragement."
“ I endeavour to imitate what I see in the best possible man. ner,” replied Herman simply: “ Here are some goats, copied from nature; a bull, and a child."
Exquisite !” exclaimed the Frenchman, taking the figures presented to him. “ What delicacy! what expression! I must have them : what is
your price ?" Herman mentioned it.
Agreed,” said he, surprised at the sculptor's moderation, "Do you know, Master Cloffer,” he continued," that I have had the greatest possible difficulty in finding you? Those who sell your productions in Germany are ignorant of your name, or conceal it designedly, and I could never discover the few who purchase from yourself. I was obliged at length to apply to our ambassador at Vienna, who discovered your name and residence by means of the police; and as I had occasion to pass through Badenwiller, I resolved to come and see you.”
Herman bowed for the compliment.
“ You can form no idea," continued he,“ of the fame you have already acquired in Germany; your sculptures are in demand everywhere. I have seen some even in Prince Metternich's cabinet. Of course you do not intend remaining here?”
“ Pardon me, monsieur; I have no intention of quitting the forest."