It is comparatively easy to get a set of skilled stone-masons to carry out with exactness a plan of which all the details are worked out for them, and which requires only faithful copying. And it must have been easy for a set of Egyptian sculptors who made their figures according to a rigid conventional pattern to produce a uniform result.
What is all this?" asked La Sauvage. "Has M. Schmucke ordered something? Who may you be?" "I represent the firm of Sonet, my dear madame, the biggest monumental stone-masons in Paris," said the person in black, handing a business-card to the stalwart Sauvage. "Very well, that will do. Some one will go with you when the time comes; but you must not take advantage of the gentleman's condition now.
The Swede backs in bewilderment, but his hand involuntarily flies to his pocket and fingers nervously his big pocket-knife. The gangway is down, and the two hundred and fifty passengers stream down it stone-masons, navvies, maid-servants, male and female day-laborers, stablemen, herdsmen, here and there a solitary little cowherd, and tailors in smart clothes, who keep far away from the rest.
Many of them became expert bricklayers and stone-masons and cutters, as such work as that found at San Luis Rey, San Juan Capistrano, San Carlos, Santa Inés, and other Missions most eloquently testifies. It is claimed that much of the distemper painting upon the church walls was done by the Indians, though surely it would be far easier to believe that the Fathers did it than they.
Manufacture and commerce reappeared: the artizans and merchants formed into communities; the communities grew into towns, the towns into cities; in the city arose the cathedral; the Lombard or Byzantine mouldings and traceries of the cathedral gave birth to figure-sculpture; its mosaics gave birth to painting; every forward movement of the civilization unfolded as it were a new form or detail of the art, until, when mediæval civilization was reaching its moment of consolidation, when the cathedrals of Lucca and Pisa stood completed, when Niccolò and Giovanni Pisano had sculptured their pulpits and sepulchres; painting, in the hands of Cimabue and Duccio, of Giotto and of Guido da Siena, freed itself from the tradition of the mosaicists as sculpture had freed itself from the practice of the stone-masons, and stood forth an independent and organic art.
Iron, stone-masons, and everything else required quickly coming up from Athens, the Athenians started from the wall which they occupied, and from this point built a cross wall looking towards Megara down to the sea on either side of Nisaea; the ditch and the walls being divided among the army, stones and bricks taken from the suburb, and the fruit-trees and timber cut down to make a palisade wherever this seemed necessary; the houses also in the suburb with the addition of battlements sometimes entering into the fortification.
"Then we'll go to America, and dig for gold!" "Ye-es, that wouldn't be a bad thing at all. But it would take a good many more half-krones to make that journey." "Then we can set up as stone-masons." Lasse stood still in the middle of the foddering-passage, and pondered with bent head.
He was busily engaged at the time in laying a large stone which hung suspended to a travelling-crane connected with the temporary works overhead. Joe refrained from interrupting him. Another man assisted him. In the diver fraternity, there are men who thoroughly understand all sorts of handicrafts there are blacksmiths, carpenters, stone-masons, etcetera.
Remonencq waved the speaker away, in Auvergnat fashion, but the man replied with another gesture, which being interpreted means "Don't spoil sport"; a piece of commercial free-masonry, as it were, which the dealer understood. "I represent the firm of Sonet and Company, monumental stone-masons; Sir Walter Scott would have dubbed me Young Mortality," continued this person.
This forerunner of bustling workmen, and all the mystery of fashioning crude material into something looking like the plan over which we had all pored so often, was more interesting to the children than the construction of Solomon's temple. "To-morrow the stone-masons come," I said at supper, "and by October we are promised a new barn."