A Walk In Hellas:
From Lebedeia To Chaeroneia
From Chaeroneia To Arachoba
New Life Of Old Parnassus
Two Worlds Of Parnassus
Rambles Over Parnassus
Read More Articles About: A Walk In Hellas
From Chaeroneia To Arachoba
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
As the pedestrian passes out of Chaeroneia, he will take no small delight in the fountain which comes gurgling down the hillside in a multitude of rillets like a bevy of babbling girls, and runs and hides in the grass of the plain. Nor will he at the view of it fail to re-member the injunction of old Hesiod, never to cross a stream without looking upon it and praying. The ancient theater will also be noticed above, on the slope a necessary place of worship for every Greek town, which by festivals and by representations made even its Gods merry. Our view of the theater is somewhat different; at least the divine element of it can now be seen only in Greece.
But let there be no more delay; let us enter the road to Parnassus, the literal one I mean, not the figurative one; otherwise you might hesitate to follow. This road passes at the foot of a low range of hills on the one hand, on the other lie the pleasant fields of the vale of Kephissus, which carry the eye across to a parallel range of hills on whose sides are reposing several villages in sunshine; simply as a white spot you see each of them in the distance ; no stir, no life, a sunny rest on the slopes. People in festive dress meet the traveler, it is a holiday, every face has some dash of mischief or of merriment. But the poor shepherdess yonder can not leave her sheep to take part in the chorus at the village; still she has put on a clean gown of flawless white, and leans against a rock, weaving a garland of leaves and flowers ; for whom, let the experienced observer imagine. Not for me, as I learned from the best authority, namely, the maiden herself.
Thus after a two hours' walk full of solid realities and insubstantial dreams, mingled in admirable disorder, the traveler arrives at ancient Panopeus, now called Agios Blasios. Here too are the youths gathered in the dancing-places and winding through the chorus; festivity has been wild all day and can not stop ; already the sun, declining more than half way toward the summits in, the West, seems to show signs of becoming wearied with so much sport; still the dance and song run on out of sheer inability to come to a pause. Nor can one look into this bottomless fountain of mirth without seeing therein a grin on his own face. He will remember too old Homer, who called this very Panopeus kallichorus, town of beautiful choruses. In such manner the ancient Homeric habit is kept up to the present time : what the old bard himself may have beheld on a holiday as he entered this village with staff and wallet on his way to Delphi, is still seen by the modern wayfarer going upon the same journey. Thus the latter will pleasantly couple his own name with that of Homer as his illustrious predecessor, not in Epic poetry, but in seeing the chorus at Panopeus.
Nor will the dutiful traveler fail to look here for some of those clay fragments, large enough to require a wagon for their transportation, the remnants of that clay out of which Prometheus made the human race, and which had the smell, to the nose of an ancient tourist, of human flesh, still in the second century of the Christian Era. This is the veritable locality of that wonderful event, and the old Artist has left a few pieces lying around which belonged to his pottery, the great pottery of mankind at Panopeus. I went along the chasm and singled out a small piece of earth, angular, twisted and full of the hardest pebbles, from which I supposed I might have been formed originally; with curiosity, yet, I hope, with becoming piety, I picked up my ancestor and put him into my pocket.
At once the youths stop the dance and gather round the stranger who has so suddenly dropped into their midst that he might be taken for a phantom fallen from another planet. A glass of wine will be offered him, and he will not refuse it; then follow many questions concerning his personality. Notice that the wine is first given, then come the interrogatories another Homeric custom ; perhaps, however, now merely an accident. A lady towards middle age, with excusable curiosity revealed in certain inquiries concerning his domestic life, invites him to stay that night in Agios Blasios at her house; but look at the sun yonder, balancing himself over the mountain; there is still time ere the luminary slips under the white cover of Parnassus to reach Daulis, which lies just across the valley, rising from the tops of the grass and stretching itself out full length on the hillside. With that prospect before his eyes, mounting up to summit of glistening Parnassus, the traveler will turn away from Panopeus, though youths and maidens are still springing in the chorus, and he will strike out into the meadow, through which he will leisurely wan-der without an adventure till he reach the foot of the ascent.
Again we are in the track of mighty events of the World's History : it was at Panopeus that Xerxes divided his army after crossing over from Thermopylae. The one division marched to the West against Delphi, the other eastward against Athens. Did the Oriental despot know what he was doing? I think that he did; skillfully he directed his blow against the two great centres of Greek civilization. The one was the Oracle, the instinctive expression of wisdom, upon which all Greece rested, as a child upon the mother's breast; this he would assail and destroy, for does it not embody the hostility of the Greek world to the Orient? Nor was the fact forgotten that great treasures were there to be plundered. Still mightier was the blow directed against Athens, the brain of Greece, in which was to be found, not the oracular but the highest self-conscious manifestation of Hellenic spirit. Could he but smite Athens to earth, and roll Delphi from its eminence, conquest would be indeed easy; nought else would be left but the soulless Greek body.
From this Panopeus he smote in the two directions, and failed utterly in both. Yet mark the difference in the kinds of defeat. The Delphic repulse of the Persian was a miracle, it came from the hands of the God direct, who, declaring in oracle, that he would take care of his own, girded himself in his sacred armor and went forth ; crags from the summit of Parnassus fell upon the approaching foe. Such was the deed of the God at Delphi, clearly miraculous. But how at Athens? There too was an oracle, ambiguous, soul-perplexing, speaking of wooden walls ; what does it mean ? It is enough to know that Athens possessed the intelligence to interpret it aright; that is then the main thing, the interpretation, and not the oracle. So the Athenians went aboard their wooden walls, product of their own brains, and control-led by their own skill, and smote the foe; it is victory not only over the Orient, but over the Oracle too; hence-forth Athens is to be the seat of Intelligence, and not Delphi.
So the Persian assailed the two centres of Greek spirit, the unconscious, instinctive one, that of the Oracle, and the self-conscious, self-determining one, that of Intelligence. Around these spiritual centers Greek history moves ; in the Persian War they are in harmony, but in the Peloponnesian War they become hostile to each other, and the Greek world is rent to death with their strifeful contradiction. It adumbrates the deepest dualism of the Hellenic mind; indeed of all mind; it is the eternal battle between the old Faith and the new Reason. That road too we shall have to travel; to both these centres, Delphi and Athens, we must journey, yet with far different purpose from that of Xerxes, if we wish to gain the victory. Already we are within a day's walk of the Delphic Oracle, whence we may hope to make in time the transition to Athenian Intelligence. But let us look up, we are not yet at Delphi by any means; here before us is Daulis, whose outskirts we are now touching with fresh joy, for we have reached our day's destination.
Daulis is a pleasant village lying at this moment along the slope in the last handful of sunbeams which Helius is throwing over the top of Parnassus ere he drop quietly behind it. This is a Greek village with more abundant signs of prosperity than usual ; houses seem to be newer and in better order, streets are somewhat improved, cotton mills can be noticed. On the whole one feels that there must be a little young life and enterprise in the town; it sends a small fresh breath of the modern world as the traveler touches the foot of Parnassus.
A winding alley leads to the house of the Demarch, or Mayor, of this rural district, to whom I bear a letter of introduction. His dwelling is a substantial structure, in the lower story of which is the stable, while in the up-per is the abode of the family. As I ascend the little knoll upon which the house is built, the dogs issue forth with their salutation, fiercely snapping their teeth around a circle of which I am the center and of which the radius is my walking-stick. Soon a large buxom girl appeared on the knoll with a stone in her hand, which she hurled at the dogs with great force and such excellent aim that they were sent off with a yelp. A remarkably stout, full figure was hers; health sat in her cheeks, strength was couched in her arms, and in her body so massive and well-developed Nature seemed to be taking an unstinted Greek holiday. But what I most admired was the growth of her hair, which hung in a long broad braid far down her back, switching from side to side in youthful frolicksome sportiveness whenever she moved, and dropping in a coil into her lap as she sat down. Everywhere now such braids are observable; it seems to be the universal custom here with young and old to wear them; even gray hair one may notice plaited in this way. Thread, too, is used when the natural growth is not sufficient; so much falsity, at least, has penetrated to the base of Parnassus.
Up a flight of stairs on the outside of the house the maiden conducts me to the second story, where the mother receives me. I offer her my letter of introduction, she makes a sign of friendly refusal, which only meant that she could not read the document. Her husband, the Demarch, was not in just then, and she bade me wait till he returned. One after another the daughters entered, first, second, third; to these must be added a young daughter-in-law, quite the handsomest of the lot, who was also an inmate of the house; each of them walked up to the stranger and gave a hearty shake of the hand, with friendly greeting of words. After the customary sweatmeat with a glass of water, we all sit down together around the fire on mats and rugs ; a chair is brought for me, which I refuse; I insist upon squatting together with them at the hearth. They remove their papoutzi or moccasin-like shoes when they enter the room, which action of theirs reveals stockingless feet, natural as life. I also pull off my shoes, crouch down on a rug and cross my legs, determined to be one of the household, though midst the bantering and tittering of those maidens.
Yet in one respect I have to confess to my weakness. I am as yet not able to work myself fully up to the Greek stand-point; though the whole household is sitting bare-footed around me, I can not bring together resolution enough to cast off the last cover of respect for the pedal extremeties. Still I like the custom; it is both pleasant and instructive to behold a human being stripped of conventionalities for once to see what sort of a thing he is anyhow underneath all that society and custom have swaddled him with. Very strange do I seem to myself wrestling now with such a problem, and defeated ingloriously in the struggle. For I, the cowardly child of custom, can not summon courage sufficient to throw off my stockings and be like the others, here in Greece where shining examples are before me, anciently bare-footed Socrates and Phocion, in modern times young ladies sitting in a row around the hearth of of the Demarch. Such degeneracy lurks in the might of fashion, laying its supremest stress on the unimportant things of life ; for wherein is the individual with draped feet so much better than he with feet undraped? Still I was ashamed in defiance of reason and example, and was utterly unable to tear off from me that merely conventional rag.
But I refused the chair which they offered, and cowered down on the rugs there give me credit for that ; then I entered into a lively chat with the girls. They did not understand my Greek very well, it was book-Greek, they said. None of them can read or write, there is no school for girls in the place, they talk the pure Parnassian dialect, undiluted with Attic felicities. Then exero grammata, I don't know letters said the youngest with a face darting sparkles of laughter and mockery that came directly from the Mount of the Muses now just over our heads. But there is present a young son, twelve or thirteen years old, who goes to the boys' school in the town ; he acts as translator of all the big unintelligible words which I employ in talking to his sisters. An unusually intelligent boy he shows himself to be, the type of what one conceives the bright Greek boy to have been anciently, full of quickness, versatality and youthful acquirements. The American schoolmaster examines him with much interest, and acknowledges not to have seen many youths equal to him in attainments and rapid perception; more evident than ever does it become that we are crossing into the boundaries of a new people, altogether distinct from the stolid Albanian race on the line of our march hitherto. The boy shows not unwillingly what he is; he reads, writes and recites for me many a passage from the old classics, particularly from Xenophon, repeating choice morsels from memory.
But the girls there we can not pass them by for the sake of ancient erudition or of small interesting boys the mischievous, merciless girls, whispering and sniggering between themselves —the frolicsome, heavy-bosomed girls sit there solidly, full of mockery and rude humor, unfolding an exuberant natural plentitude of figure with corresponding animal spirits. Curious questions they asked me about my country and my affairs-among others, whether I had a wife at home ? They beg me to say something in my native speech, which I do; they seek to repeat the same with many a twist of the mouth and blunder, ending always in a round of laughter. On request I told them my name; the youngest sought to master it in vain, and then declared that she would not own such a name never. Thus was my fate sealed. In the meantime they do not forget to keep stirring the pot of beans which is cooking over the fire; first the one and then the other takes the ladle and stirs; I too take hold and stir when my turn comes. I spoke of the wedding at Chaeronia, when the oldest daughter invited me to her wedding, which was to take place in a few days. In the course of my visit I was introduced to the bridegroom, who thrust at me with no little difficulty the following sentence in Latin : Delenda est Carthago. Why just that, I beg? He had heard that I was a Didaskali; he, too, had been at school and had studied Latin.
Such a merry time the traveler will have at Daulis under Parnassus, beneath the hospitable roof of the Demarch. But the old mother who sits near the jamb in moody quiet seeks at times to restrain the mirthful daughters. I noticed that she frequently fetched a deep sigh with a peculiar melancholy intonation. The daughter-in-law, too, uttered twice or thrice the same doleful modulation, though she shared in our jollity during the intervals. But when merry-making Marigo, the youngest and lightest-hearted of us all, gave that profound sigh of wretchedness between two fits of merriment, I could not help asking her what she meant are you then so unhappy, Marigo ? Tell me, what is the cause ? I expected a story of the old sort, but there came a sudden change. It seems that the family was in mourning, and this was its expression. A grown-up son had died some months previously, a noble palicari, as they said praisingly. It is the duty of the women sitting around the domestic hearth to moan, seeing the place of the absent one; thus they utter the long deep sigh, when the de-parted comes up in memory and must be greeted by the living. As soon as the salutation is ended they begin to talk again, attend to the duties of the household and laugh if there be occasion, which there is this evening. Such seems to be a part of the ceremonial of mourning, as we once before noticed at Aulis; it belongs to the duty of the women chiefly, as in the old Homeric times the captive maidens of Achilles wept openly for Patroclus, but in secret each for her own sorrows.
Finally the master of the household arrives the father and salutes his unexpected guest with great politeness. He is indeed the master, for now the laugh-ter ceases, the women retreat from the hearth and take their places to one side, even in corners, silent respect if not awe becomes suddenly the new domestic virtue, unsuspected before; no babble now, or if the girls do speak to one another it is in a low serious whisper. Such is our Demarch, evidently a strict man, not to be trifled with, though very affable to strangers; I hand him my letter of introduction, which he reads and then he gives me a second hearty welcome. The elder son, too, has come home. All the family is together, the table is spread the low table, such as we saw at Marcoponlo and elsewhere. We sit around it on our haunches, cross-legged, in excellent humor; but again the sartorius begins to wriggle for pain, refusing to be wrenched about and sat upon in that kind of style any longer.
On the table there is nothing unusual except the famous Parnassian cheese, said to be the best in Greece; in it, however, I could taste none of the milk of the Muses, but good homely prosaic, rather sourish curds of some Polyphemus. Let the matter be left to good judges and to cheese eaters; far other diet we know Parnassus has produced, and it is to be hoped will yet produce.
The women, I notice, do not eat with us, but sit off in their corners, quietly twirling their distaffs. I miss them, regret their absence in secret, and finally break over all restraints of propriety and ask why they are not permitted to share the meal with us. Mas stenoehorei they are a bore, said the strict Demarch, used to rigidly enforcing authority and precedence in his household. But I am sorry for the change; there they sit shyly off to one side in the fitful dimness of the fireplace; the tireless merriment and honeyed exuberance of youth have lapsed into sedateness and silence. Yes, he has doubtless trouble enough to restrain those wild, rollicking girls, and keep them in the strait coat of rigid conventionality, for are they not young, while he is old and Demarch, too?
Conversation lasts till a late hour; father and son are full of curiosity about distant lands and strange customs; particularly eager are they to hear about America and its political workings, since both are active politicians are now engaged in an election for the Demarchate, the father being a candidate for another term of that office. Unconsciously for I cannot now recollect any intention, though the female scene before me was suggestive I came to speak of the superior position of woman in America, how that she too has the opportunity of an in-dependent as well as an honest life there; how that certain occupations are becoming almost monopolized by her through her special fitness ; in general, how that she is regarded there as a free human being, and not an unfortunate accident among men, which must be supplied with a dower in order to be got rid of by marriage, and which is to be tolerated for the purpose of bringing forth the males for the perpetuation and delight of mankind. A free, complete personality she is getting to be there, possessing a soul in her own right; thus she has become rather the most astonishing of all America's astonishing institutions.
The good Demarch assented or seemed to assent, being a progressive man, he says ; though he did not think that Greece was prepared for all that just yet. But I was amused at myself, and began to wonder where I would bring up in the end. I who at home never could endure the strong-minded sister battling for suffrage with red-hot philippics against the tyrant man, seem to have actually become a kind of Apostle of Woman's Rights here in Greece. Is this the Greek climate again, or the first effect of Parnassus.? So much, however, remains true : the necessity of female education will be insisted upon by every warm friend of the country. In this very house, those girls, though possessed of the quickest capacity and brightest intellects, are socially paralyzed because they, letterless, can only speak the rustic dialect of their village, even if it be a Parnassian dialect.
Thus the Muse of Learning neglects her own sex at Daulis, right at the foot of her own mountain. What can she be expected to do elsewhere in Greece? Quite the same thing manifestly ; no schools for females are found in the smaller inland towns. Boys alone are thought worthy of education ; thus the country devotes half of its brain to ignorance. Certainly that state of things can-not come to good, unless we believe with the soldier whom we met not long ago, that knowledge is the Satan, the fell destroyer of mankind. Many foreign writers you will read with this continued refrain : Greece is over-educated. But she is not half educated when a half of her people remain without schooling, not to speak of male illiteracy, which in some localities is not trifling.
But the hours demand repose; the traveler, wearied with the journey of the day and the excitement of long-continued sight-seeing, wishes for his cot. Frequent yawns have already broken in between his words in spite of himself; clearly the end of to-day has come. A mattress is spread upon the floor in an adjoining room, and in one second he is with the dreams. But let these remain unheralded to the world indeed they have all passed into hopeless shades of oblivion. Still that sweet rest repaid the day's fatigue ; the night seemed compressed to a moment's point ; for when a gleam of light fell into my eye announcing the fleet presence of Aurora with her command to rise, I at first answered the silent messenger that I had just laid down then noticing her still over me with ever-deepening glances, I sprang up in great amazement at her rapid return, and gave her my benediction.
I passed back to the former room where is the family hearth ; the daughters headed by the mother were already up, sitting in a row and twirling the distaff, quite in the old Homeric fashion, one will fondly imagine. Not a word do they utter now ; the father is still present, asleep on his mat alongside of the fireplace. They are spinning the cotton which is raised in the valley; the Demarch has told me that he is the owner of cotton mills driven by water power. Many a curious fabric is made in the household by these busy fingers of women rugs, carpets, coverlets of divers colors, dyed with the skill of a Maeonian or Carian woman. A whole stack of such fabrics lies in the adjoining room, piled to the ceiling, beautifully showing the manifold cunning of the weaver and dyer. Throughout the Parnassian region these articles are made to great perfection, and the enthusiastic tourist will behold in their skill another trait transmitted from Homeric times. Labor-saving machines are beginning to penetrate hither, but they have not yet obliterated the curious cunning of the hand; which has continued to endure through Turkish oppression, and through the more dangerous machinery which is the product of civilization.
You will respect the silence of the family and the slumber of the Demarch; go out then to the veranda and take a look before sunrise down the valley of the Kephissus to Copaic lake. It is a long level stretch of country, now in a green tremulous undulation of grass and grain ; it is said to have been very fertile in antiquity and bordered with rich and populous cities. All over it fierce battles have been fought for the mastery of empires, vast armies in the struggles between the East and the West have met here to settle that Oriental question still unsettled. Now the vale lies altogether out of the way of traffic and war a quiet, retired vale, remote from the world's highway. Thus it rests now in peace and calm cheerfulness.
The sun, though not fully uprisen yet, spreads out a golden fan in the Eastern sky, from behind the peak of a distant mountain ; gradually he raises himself up, peering over the summit with glowing face as if to salute you ; then he begins flinging his treasures all glittering, like a sower sowing sparkling grain over the whole width of the valley. Helicon on the right is intoning a subtle, voiceless music, a silent laugh it seems in the sunbeams ; may we not wonder whether it be the Muses waking up to the harmonious bright lyre of Apollo, and chanting in unison ? Meantime the sun's eye has begun to look into yours straight and rather sharply; the steady glance of the God is making you blink, when the friendly host calls and conducts you to the coffee-house to a glass of sunlit recinato, adding new beams to the morning.
He has business, political business ; that candidacy of his will not let him rest; man is a political animal, saith Aristotle ; already several animals of that species are assembled in the coffee-house, ready to open the gabble of discussion. I surmise that he wishes to get rid of his guest, I know that his guest wishes to get rid of him under such circumstances ; moreover, fine hillsides are yonder with running streams, the ruins of an ancient acropolis can be seen on an opposite hilltop; Parnassus beckons up to its snow-line bound around the brow of the mountain like the white fillet of a priestess. After promising to return for dinner, I start briskly for the heights above the town.
It is truly a happy Greek morning, more deeply attuned to secret melodious Nature than elsewhere, one thinks now; for it is the chief merit, I hold, of the traveler, that out of common things he can make wonders, that in washerwomen washing at the stream, he can see nymphs of the brook, that to prosaic reality he can give the fresh flush of an image, but above all, that in Greece he can everywhere behold the antique world springing into new life once again. At home he would not give a look to what now sets every nerve to tingling with delight; it is the land which thus inspires the Greek mood, bursting up at times into raptures in spite of all the restraints which propriety lays upon him. Let him look at the sources that spring forth in many places on the side of the mountain up which we are now going, then dash down the slope through the town to the valley; they are long-tressed water-nymphs running off with silvern hair streaming behind till they disappear in the embrace of some river-god in the distance.
Thus we pass up the mountain above Daulis and look down : who can wonder if the grateful inhabitant once paid worship to the Naiad who dwells in, or rather is the stream, now babbling above ground, now running in subterraneous conduit till her waters gush forth in a fountain on the market-place? Still let us go upward, often turning around and glancing over village and valley ; the scene cannot be imparted to you, but every glance sent out -upon its little errand, wanders like a bee over the sunny fields and hillsides and brings back much honey from the flowers there. Now we have come to that snow-line so long visible from below; first are the scattered flakes with undersides slowly melting, drooping away in the battle with the sunbeams, but higher up the surface of the ground is covered white and crisp. On the edge above is the heavy cornice of snow jutting out like purest marble; but far beyond in the distance, reaching up to the clouds, is the dazzling peak of Liacuri, highest of the Parnassian range. Not today, not today, ye beckoning summits; but if Time holds out with us, we shall reach you yet.
Along another eminence lies a monastery, but thith or we shall not ascend, we are not seeking monasteries in Greece, in spite of all their charity and hospitality. This one is called Jerusalem, but Jerusalem in Hellenic life is a dissonance, and it becomes a rude jolt on Parnassus. The building is beautifully situated, overlooking mountain and woody glen; but the traveler from the Occident need not go there,, for he has the old and the new Jerusalem at home, mostly harmonious, but sometimes jarring with notes of social and religious discord. So he will pass down the slope, across the ravine, and up to the acropolis of ancient Daulis, rude crown of stone set on the brow of the hill, celebrated in legend and history.
One of those transformations so well known in Greek Mythology occurred upon this spot the legend taking its rise from the peculiar mournful strain of the nightingale, called the Daulian bird by the cold-blooded raptureless Thucydides, citing the title from the Poets. In antiquity it was a famous bird-story, rather the most famous one of the kind, unfolding deepest horrors of human destiny, blood-curdling with savage guilt and more savage retribution. In the nightingale's song, Philomela laments her ravishment forever; still the groves of Daulis are said to gush waves of her plaintive notes on the air of the warm spring nights. Even this horrible story one may prefer to think of at Daulis to thinking of the discordant monastery for we must have Greek discords now, if any.
Here the old town lay, resting upon this steep-walled summit for the sake of security, while the modern town has forsaken the ancient site, and lies below on the first gentle slope from the plain, happily without danger from hostile neighbor or wandering freebooter. The stone walls have fallen to ruin, they protect nothing now, the external violence against which they rose as barrier is no longer feared. But a new power has taken their place, for modern Daulis is not without protection, though it has abandoned, like a new-fledged bird, its ancient nest of granite. The stone wall has been changed to a spiritual wall, far stronger, more inaccessible; the village can now pass down from its mountain fastness to the hillside and the plain, and there rest in security. What are then these new walls of Daulis? Institutions we may call them, most impregnable of all terrestrial fortifications, invisible to the naked eye, it is true, but making the modern town far stronger, safer and freer than the old one, wrapping it in a coat of adamant, which can only be broken when all Greece is broken. Anciently it was not thus; each town for the most part had to defend itself separately, and to be ready at any moment to meet the hostile incursion single-handed. Such is the one side, not the bright one, of autonomy, the side of scission, separation, discord. Hence Daulis had to build stone walls for protection, the spiritual walls were not yet built, though prophesied in those of stone; these ruins lying here deserted, are a dead body, quite decayed, out of which the spirit has fled and assumed a purer, more universal form ; that new form of stone walls, girding you and me and Daulis is the mod-ern institutional world.
Nor can the observer looking off from such a height fail to think of the education which it gives to the eye and soul. What variety in this little view; a clearly defined world to be taken in at a glance ! It is a work of Art, this landscape, in its well-rounded completeness. A curious gradation of seasons with all their products, as he looks from above down into the plain, will be noticed ; winter melts in the lap of spring, spring rushes into the embraces of summer down the side of the mountain. But it is time to leave the old walls with hoary antiquity and hasten to something modern, namely the dinner.
I found the house of the Demarch deserted by the women who were all in the fields or occupied out of doors; only the eldest son was at home and he was getting the dinner. This is not the first time that I have noticed the Greek men performing the duties of cook; in fact the high-spirited palicari seems to be as able to prepare his meals as the women of the household. And an excellent dinner he spread before us, far enough from being a Parisian dinner, but much more palatable to the traveler in Greece. The skill with which he managed the meat, cutting it into small pieces, spitting it, roasting it before the fire, and finally setting it before the guest, showed that his present was no unfamiliar task.
Homeric is all of this, too, for the fact is worthy of mention only as a little jewel still brightly shining in the actual world and adding in the soul of the traveler new fresh gleams to the world-subduing radiance of the old poems. Achilles, the surpassing Greek Hero, per-forms such work when the embassy came to his tent; fat chines he carved in portions and transfixed the parts with spits, while Patroclus, the heroic cook, raked the glowing coals apart and over them roasted the flesh, strewing the sacred salt. For the Greek Hero is a self-sufficient man, he is able to do everything within the circle of his material existence, he is the subject of no wants which he can not satisfy himself. If he wishes cooked meat, he can cook it, no need can subjugate him any more than Hector can, otherwise he would not be the Hero, would not be Achilles. Great and glorious is the victory over wants; I clap my hands for joy when I witness it. For what is man in the social organism now, when it takes the labor of some thousands of men to make the button on his coat? Hardly more than the pen's point which, perchance, he spends his life in sharpening. Heroic self-sufficient life is at present impossible; still a fresh breath of it wafts to you at times in the Greek breezes even today.
There were two or three political friends of the De-march who had come from the village to take dinner with him; to these, of course, the stranger was introduced. Much good-will they expressed, which was polite, and, as I believe, sincere, though many a book has warned us against the deceitful, flattering Greeks. Then the, Demarch repeated what had been said last evening about the position of woman in America, and the necessity of her education. I was glad to see that this fact had struck deep into the mind of the Demarch. But now he meets with violent contradiction; one of the guests in fustanella and red fez with golden tassel was outraged by the very thought of the thing. Yes says he with an ironical twist of the nose, education for women pepaideumenai eis pornari, educated for prostitutes. Still that old Athenian conception endures then; still the woman of culture is deemed a hetaera, an Aspasia. Such at least was the view of our golden-tasseled guest: education destroys female virtue, ignorance is the mighty prop of chastity. Then he began a tirade against the whole civilization of the Occident, which, from the East, appeared to him simply an enormous bordel.
The thing nettled me a little at first; again I strangely fell into being the apostle of woman in Greece. More-over our own countrywoman was involved ; and what one of us is not concerned in her honor, and has not felt proud of her when we have seen her in Europe, after eliminating the upstarts, the title-worshipers, the husband-seekers a goodly but ungodly number, it must be granted? I began in my excitement to splutter Greek, and must have said somewhat as follows: Do you imagine that education is thrown away upon women ? I tell you, you are never going to regenerate Greece and the East till woman helps you; you will eternally fall behind. Her culture is transmitted to her sons; they ought to start in the world with a double inheritance, that of the father and of the mother; but a child-bearing animal you make her now, while you ought to raise her into a brain-bearing being. Can you not see that you must forever lag behind those peoples who educate their women? You excuse the backwardness of Greece, you profess anxiety for her progress double, then, at once the forces of your children by educating the females. But the mother not only transmits herself, she also gives her nurture to the young and her character to society. Make her once more the central figure of your striving, as the ideal Arete in the Odyssey, your first and greatest book of education. But there is a higher view the view of humanity, and not of Greece merely. The recognition of every human being, man or woman, as a self-unfolding, self-governing person, is the basis of the modern world. Wo be to the nation which denies or neglects that; the penalty of the world's history is written in judgement against it. A soul to be developed into freedom a woman has too; that freedom she can attain only by education ; then she belongs to the modern world and contributes her share to its existence. Why should woman become a servile instrument and remain unfree ? You make her a very prostitute by such a use, if not of her virtue, yet of her soul, of her destiny itself.
Golden recinato continued to flow during our talk, mellowing the ruffled emotions and changing its own transparent amber in the glass to flashes of red sunset in our cheeks and foreheads. We all spang up from the table with the most intense brotherly affection, when I declared that I must set out; the fellows embraced and kissed a horrible torture to me, to be kissed by a man, by a bearded lip with bristles thrust into the nostrils and tickling them to tears. Still I, holding my breath, partially submitted to this Greek custom.
We separated in the most friendly mood, and I certainly was much pleased with my hospitable entertainment at the house of the Daulian Demarch. I shall give him my vote at all events against any opposing candidate. On the door-sill, as I passed out, stood the daughter-in-law, the sweet-faced, with a subdued melancholy tinge softly blending through her bright features a strain like that of the Daulian bird, Philomela. Her husband, a fine youthful figure, stood beside her; she had the face which I wanted to kiss, and perchance emboldened by King Recinato I determined to try, in the presence of her lord of course. I plead an American custom with a strange lapse of memory, saying that the guest at his departure is accustomed to kiss the hostess; but I failed ; she turned aside, declaring with a laugh in which the husband joined: kake sunetheia bad custom. I darted through the door pursued by the merriment of the company, and walked rapidly up the path toward Parnassus. Soon the way leads over the comb of hills toward Arachoba Kalligynaika, whose fame for beautiful women has often been heralded along our route. Daulis is now out of sight.
It is already afternoon, many a brook fed by the melting snows comes running down the slopes in wild cascades, on every side mountains raise themselves up mightily toward the skies, chiefest among which is hoary Liacuri. The eye struggles up the shaggy sides of the giant to the top, with a sense of terrific labor. The narrow glen grows perceptibly darker as one descends, feeling as if he were in the initiatory passage to some great mystery. But here is a youth in the road, driving two donkeys laden with merchandise, and going to Delphi, he says. Now he informs me that we have reached the Schiste, or Split Way, which is formed by three roads coming together through three mountainous defiles.
This spot was renowned in ancient legend ; here Oedipus slew his father Laios unwittingly, as the latter met him upon this narrow road ; a pile of stones was anciently pointed out as the tomb of the fate-stricken parent. What is the import of that fearful deed ? Beware of violence to the unknown stranger whom thou meetest in this narrow passage he may be thy father, and is certain to be thy brother. Such was the utterance of the ancient pile of stones heaped over Laios at the junction of the Triple Way a warning of Brotherhood to the Wayfarer, and to pilgrims who flocked by this road to the Delphic shrine : we may think of it as the first warning of the God.
Thus the ancient legend was one of dire significance; but there is also in this locality a modern legend, even more terrible it is the story of rapine and wild ferocity. A band of brigands made their. home here at the crossing, robbed and murdered travelers, and drew upon the neighboring peasants for food and support. Then the soldiers surprised them and all were cut off. Driven by Turkish oppression to mountain fastnesses they be-came robbers, and plundered the commerce of their tyrants, till the fate of their victims became their own. So the youth tells me with an evident mythical tendency, interrupting his tale with frequent ejaculations at the donkeys. It is the substance of many a Kleplitic song, in fact the chief theme of modern Greek poetry. The Turkish rule swept away wealth, culture, civil instincts which had been left from antiquity; there remained the undying love of independence in all its ferocious rudeness, such as the primitive Greek possessed at the dawn of history.
At any rate the two legends the ancient and the modern meet at the Split Way, both of bloody encounter and tragic destiny, both characteristic of their respective times. The one speaks of domestic fate, the other of social disruption ; the one reveals an inner conflict which is a problem of soul, the unconscious guilt of Oedipus the other exhibits a dire external power falling upon man and driving him into the guilt of the brigand, into hostility to society. The one with its deep spiritual import can give us a work of art, many works of art will flow from it, and thus there bursts up here at the Split Way that red fountain of Theban tragedy; the other is, and must remain, a story of wild savagery, of men like the beasts of the mountain, destroying cruelly, cruelly being destroyed yet with plaintive, tragic notes running through of Nature's own utterance. We pass by the place, the youth at my side cannot help feeling a sort of terror at the tale which he is telling. Possibly he has a little of the brigand in him, of secret sympathy with that kind of modern Greek heroes, and so is in reality recounting his own tragedy. Now we ascend again, up the glen with mountains towering heavily on either hand, through wild, gigantic darkened scenery, quite enough to inspire awe in the Delphic pilgrim in connection with those blood-stained stories acting themselves again in the imagination.
I leave my companion and go out of the way to inspect a little eminence, upon the crown of which, in former ages, stood a walled town; still the entire circuit of the wall, made of immense rough-hewn stone-blocks, lies here in its old position. Now the spot is utterly desolate, not even the name can be accurately ascertained probably it is the Homeric Kyparissos, mentioned in the Catalogue. Here it stood, overlooking the small valley, cultivating the little stony patch of soil yonder not an easy existence; but it was, one may well affirm, an independent individual, of granitic texture, left all to itself here in the mountains to fight its own battle with earth and man. These rocks still speak of its vigor, of its self-reliance, of its determination to de-fend itself; nay, this little rocky nest felt the universal Hellenic throb in the great struggle with the Orient and sent its contingent to Troy; we can still read its name in the old muster-roll, that immortal embalment of its one deed.
But it is growing late; I had hoped to see Arachoba on turning around this intervening clump of boulders ; but no ! another wide semi-lunar sweep of hills greets the eye, a new rock-built theater in the mountains; through it some peasants are passing. " Where is Arachoba?" "Beyond and much higher up; you will have to climb," and they pointed over the hill-tops. A woman appears and a young maiden; they belong to the peasantry and are returning from labor in the fields —straight, perfect figures, with the mountain complex-ion, a delicate red in their cheeks. The erect, stately gait as they move in profile against the hill-side in their white garment, with a line of crimson through it, lifts the wearied traveler on fresh pinions, and he forgets the way yet untrod. Note again that costume, with its twin colors moving along in the distance : it is the most effective visual thing on Parnassus to-day. A red apron ex-tends almost from neck to feet, with a broad red girdle around the waist; under it is the short white dress or smock (camisia), giving the snowy background, dashed through as it were with crimson jets. Red and white are the simple strong colors, placed together in a true harmony, first in their dress, then blended in their cheeks, as you will not fail to notice on drawing closer. So instinct directs their decoration upon the mountains.
It is not difficult to see that the new type of people of which we have already noted faint intimations, has now culminated in a distinct stock; the physical beauty of these peasants, their liveliness, even their costume, be-speak a new race. They are rustics; little culture can be noticed, but nature reveals in them some happy mood, some ideal suggestion which one would fain inquire into more deeply. But it is dusk and the traveler is weary; more concerning these matters he will doubtless say hereafter.
A crowd of boorish youths join us going toward the the town; from them I received the only treatment like rudeness that I experienced during my stay in this region not injury, but coarse rusticity. It was already quite late when I entered Arachoba, whose houses seemed to be rocking in dim wavelets, as they lay strown over the ridges of the mountain side, with many labyrinthine paths, now dark and doubly devious, winding about among the dwellings. A friendly hand conducted me to the abode of Iatri Alexandros, to whom my Lebedeian friend had given me a letter of introduction.
Thus the modern pilgrim, on his way to the shrine of the God, has arrived at what may be called an outpost of Delphi, distant now hardly more than an hour's sharp walk; he is alone, not another pilgrim has been seen to-day on the sacred road, whose blocks of paving stone still come to light in certain spots that road which in antiquity was filled with lines of pilgrims winding through these valleys and over these undulating hill-sides with worship in their hearts. All day the long streak of white tunics has accompanied him, though it be invisible, or a mere ghostly procession; but each one of those ghosts, it may be noticed, has often raised his eyes up to the snow-crowned peak of Parnassus in some secret glee, has thrust his staff against the stones for sup-port, and quickening his pace, has looked forward in eager expectancy of the moment when the white columns of the temple would joyfully move into his vision. But thither not tonight.
And now, indulgent fellow-traveler, who hast so patiently clung to my voice thus far, may I address thee one apologetic word, needful at present, for our mutual understanding, henceforth not to be mentioned more. Often have I spoken to thee of myself in this journey, with due humility I hope, yet doubtless not without due appreciation. But I feel, and I would have thee feel that what I, as simply this particular person, may do, is nothing; I am nobody as long as I am myself merely and nobody else. But if I may be able to be what thou truly art or oughtest to be, then I begin to be of interest to thee; and if I am what all are or ought to be, or can do what all do or ought to do, then I begin to be of significance to many others beside thee; for thus I am not this first person alone, not the second one, but I rise into being a Universal Person, which is my true destiny as well as thine, the true destiny of all rational creatures. So this journey, too, I would not have it mine alone; may it be thine also; I have made it for thee, whether thou wilt accept it as such or not.