« ElőzőTovább »
the least error in judgment! Think of these considerations pressing upon the brain of one mortal man! And he alone responsible! Why, many poor wretches have cut their throats to escape a thousandth part of such a responsibility!
rible strain upon the poor idol's wooden | numbers on his side; the tremendous head. issues that hung upon victory or defeat; Moses undertook at a divine command the fatal consequences that might follow one of the most stupendous enterprises ever committed to man, but he was very reluctant to undertake the task. A man may be able to overcome his diffidence and not be able to overcome his modesty. Or it may be that the misgivings of the great Jewish leader are to be reckoned among the "fears of the brave, and follies of the wise;" the cases in which a man fails in his strongest point. Oliver Cromwell had his diffident moments, and Queen Elizabeth. The first Napoleon supplies almost the grandest instance of self-confidence that the world has seen. But, if De Bourrienne is to be trusted, there was a time in Napoleon's early history when his great fortunes nearly received a fatal check because of his diffidence. In appearing before the Council of the Ancients, "nothing could be more confused, or worse enunciated, than the ambiguous and disjointed replies of Buonaparte." The "interruptions, apostrophes, and interrogations, overwhelmed him; he believed himself lost." But the Ancients were diffident, too, or De Bourrienne thinks "that, instead of sleeping on the morrow in the palace of the Luxembourg, he would have finished his part in the square of the Revolution." That is to say, losing his head metaphorically would have led to his losing it literally, the guillotine being still kept handy.
We may thank Providence that we have not been called to fill the throne or wield the bâton, or even handle the more peaceful crozier. It is little that we should be asked to show decision of character in common things. The man set a good example who, being asked if he could play the violin, replied that he didn't know, for he hadn't tried. If a cook wants to retain her proper supremacy, she must be ready to furnish any dish for which her mistress calls. Marinated pheasant poults à la braise impériale? Certainly, madam. "This is a difficulty, brethren," said the preacher, coming to a perplexing passage, "one that has puzzled the most eminent expositors; let us look it boldly in the face, and pass on." Many men have made their reputations by looking difficulties boldly in the face; that they pass on does not seem to detract from their fame.
Mrs. Diffidence would be a benefactor to mankind if she would confine her ministrations to the wicked. If she would unsettle the nerves of the despot, divert the aim of the assassin, paralyze the Little Johnny Russell, as he was affec- tongue of the slanderer, we would count tionately called, hardly knew what diffi- her a friend. Mischievous boys, too, dence was. He thought he could do would be greatly benefited by some lesanything — the saying has it- from persons from the giantess. But, alas! — it forming a surgical operation to command- seems hard to blame her for it- she feels ing the Channel Fleet. But if he had most at home in the society of the wise been only ordinarily confident, how would and good. Why the wicked should do he have got his Reform Bill passed? The evil with both hands diligently, and the Reform Bills since have been far more righteous put only a finger to their work, sweeping than that first one; but the is one of those difficulties which we can carrying of them has been child's play as recognize but cannot solve. Instead of compared with the desperate struggle by destroying Doubting Castle, honest folk which the victory of 1832 was won. would do well, after furnishing it with fresh bolts and bars, to beguile into its chambers all rogues, knaves, liars, and other enemies of mankind, and get the giant and his wife to keep them there forever.
An ordinary man can hardly grasp the idea of courage and determination such as must be possessed by commanders of armies in great battles. Think of the Duke of Wellington at Waterloo! The immense forces arrayed against him; the
Fifth Series, Volume LXXVII.
} No. 2488.- March 5, 1892.
II. IN OAKHAM PASTURES,
III. A FLOATING REPUBLIC,
IV. WOMEN IN THE REIGN OF TERROR,
For EIGHT DOLLARS, remitted directly to the Publishers, the LIVING AGE will be punctually forwarded for a year, free of postage.
Remittances should be made by bank draft or check, or by post-office money-order, if possible. If neither of these can be procured, the money should be sent in a registered letter. All postmasters are obliged to register letters when requested to do so. Drafts, checks, and money-orders should be made payable to the order of LITTELL & Co.
Single Numbers of THE LIVING AGE, 18 cents.
TO THE MOURNERS.
THE DEATH OF THE DUKE OF CLARENCE | The pennons droop low, and the darkling day AND AVONDALE.
Spreads a deepening gloom o'er the fretted
There are many that weep, and many that January 14th, 1892.
pray, The bridal garland falls upon the bier, As the organ's wail through the aisles is The shadow of a crown, that o'er him hung, pealing Has vanish'd in the shadow cast by Death. So princely, tender, truthful, reverent, Bear him on gently, while low we bend pure
To the Awful Will, that has laid him Mourn! That a world-wide Empire mourns
The son, the brother, the lover, friend, That all the Thrones are clouded by your O'er whom they are chanting the service loss,
holy. Were slender solace. Yet be comforted; For if this earth be ruled by Perfect Love,
Let our tears flow for the souls bereft Then, after his brief range of blanieless days,
Of him who late brightened their eyes with The toll of funeral in an Angel ear
gladness, Sounds happier than the merriest marriage. The parents, the bride-maiden, lonely left bell.
Their songs of joy turned all to sadness. The face of Death is toward the Sun of Mix with our prayers and tears for them
Tears and prayers for her, who queenly
The burden has borne of the diadem, -
Borne it through long years of trial serenely, Whereto the worlds beat time, tho' faintly Yet with a woman's most tender heart, heard
Quick to the touch of her children's sorrow; Until the great Hereafter. Mourn in hope !
What grief is hers, who has felt the smart Nineteenth Century.
That makes the soul quake for a dread to
morrow? The rite is ended. Not all is grief: Many hearts are stricken, one young life
blighted; ST. GEO E'S CHAPEL, WIN OR.
But the thought abides, of all thoughts the
chief, 20TH JANUARY, 1892.
A nation more close by this grief united. “The glories of our blood and state
THEODORE MARTIN. Are shadows, not substantial things; There is no armor against Fate."
JAMES SHIRLEY. WEEP not for him! He is gone to his rest Before the first bloom of his manhood has faded,
AT STE. SCHOLASTIQUE. A lover beloved, with a happiness blest
The faint warm glimpse of an olive cheek No envious cloud for a moment has shaded; We catch in the light of the evening sun Gone ere the years could afflict with the pain
At a casement in Ste. Scholastique. Of hopes unfulfilled, aspirations that lan. By a profile perfect if hardly Greek
guish, With the struggle and stress of an overtasked The faint warm glimpse of an olive cheek,
We are not alone dismay'd, undone – brain, With bereavements that wring the lone Do other travellers wistfully seek, bosom with anguish;
And scholars some terrible risks have run
'Neath a casement in Ste. Scholastique. Gone with the love of all those he held dear, No blot on his scutcheon, no slur on his The tint is so rich - the hair so sleek! station;
As the curtains move, the glimpse is won, Whate'er be the loss, oh, how blest is the bier The faint warm glimpse of an olive cheek! That's bedewed with the tears of a sorrowing nation!
Can it be, as they say, that in less than a
week Weep not for him! He has answered the That black-hair'd nymph will pose as a nun call
At a casement in Ste. Scholastique ? To the haven we sigh for, the worn and the weary,
That Nanon will merge into Marie meek? Where the secrets no longer are secrets of all If so, pass on, and devoutly shun That baffles our longings, our questionings The faint warm glimpse of an olive cheek dreary.
At a casement in Ste. Scholastique.
From Temple Bar.
THE greatest event of modern history is the French Revolution, and Mirabeau is its great man. If the names of Robespierre, Danton, and Marat have taken the place of his in the popular mind, this is because it is not the sweeping away of abuses and the clearing of the ground for representative government, but rather the scenes of bloodstained anarchy which followed that are generally thought of as the Revolution.
But the excesses planned and carried into execution by these men were in com-il en vaut bien un autre !" Truly a "rhiplete opposition to the principles and policy of Mirabeau, who saw in the Revolution rather a building-up than a pulling. down. His aim was to give the movement steadiness rather than to increase its velocity. As it was, he did much to shape its course; and had it not been for the unfortunate circumstances of his previous life, which were only in part due to faults of individual character, his influence would doubtless have been supreme.
Altogether apart, however, from his importance in the history of the world, Mirabeau is interesting as the hero of a romance; for his life was one of the most eventful that have ever been lived. The story of his family would form a fine subject for an epic poem; here we must only sketch it briefly in sober prose.
The Mirabeaus were Riquettis by surname; for, like others of the great men of France-Rousseau, Napoleon, Victor Hugo, Gambetta - Mirabeau was not a Frenchman by extraction. The Arrighetti were driven out of Florence in 1267 by the Guelf faction and settled in Provence. They found the country congenial, and early acquired a leading position in the province. In the sixteenth century a Riquetti became first consul of the great semi-independent city of Marseille; and probably through success in commercial enterprise was enabled to acquire the lands from which the family took their title.
Of him it is related that when twitted by a bishop with his commercial pursuits, he replied that though nobly born he was
marchand de police just as the bishop was marchand d'eau bénite.
The Mirabeaus were at once unruly, headstrong individuals, and loyal subjects; they fought stoutly for their king, but were not adepts in the arts of courtiership.
Four several Mirabeaus opened the gates of Marseille to four French sovereigns. On the other hand, Bruno, Comte de Mirabeau, pursues a court official into the presence of the king and then resists arrest. The same Bruno, on the occasion of the inauguration of the statue of Louis XIV., stops and salutes that of Henri IV., exclaiming: "Mes amis, saluons celui-ci ;
noceros yoked in carriage gear!"
The grandfather of the revolutionary hero was not the least notable of his race. He went by the name of Col d'Argent, or Silver Stock. He was a protégé - so far as a Mirabeau could be such-of Vendôme; and came by his strange sobriquet in the following manner. In the battle of Casano his jugular vein was cut asunder by a bullet, and he had ever afterwards to wear a silver stock to keep his head erect. Vendôme, seeing his line broken, had exclaimed, "Mirabeau is dead then;" but in spite of his twenty-seven wounds the warrior lived to become the father of Marquis Mirabeau, "the Friend of Man.” This Jean Antoine de Riquetti displayed the same mixture of intrepidity and want of courtierly art as his forbears. Being presented by his friend the marshal to the Grand Monarque with commendation of his military achievements, he somewhat disconcerted both king and marshal by declaring that had he come up to court and bribed some woman he would have had his promotion and fewer wounds that day.
We next come to Victor, Marquis de Mirabeau, the father of our hero, the influence of whose character and personality on his son is very important. He differs from the bulk of his ancestors in that he presents the figure rather of a man of letters than of a man of war. As a noble he had of course to see some military service in his earlier years; but he felt that it was not his métier. When scarcely twentytwo he began his economical studies; and
Mirabeaus, our hero, like John Wilkes, Of this ugliness, a new thing among the was afterwards quite proud. It is satisfactory to learn that all the younger members of the family were vaccinated.
after resigning his commission, left his | the bailli: "Your nephew is as ugly as if home in Provence for the neighborhood of he were Satan's." Paris in order to follow out his chosen career. He pursued it for no less than forty-nine years, becoming one of the leading physiocrats, whose leader was Quesnay, and their chief doctrine that the land as the sole source of wealth should be freed from feudal burdens. In his whose education was begun without delay. But to return to our infant prodigy, capacity as writer the Marquis de Mira- We soon hear of him, "On parle de son beau had a wide circle of admirers, which savoir dans tout Paris;" and again, "Il included the grand duke of Tuscany donne de l'occupation, mais nous le guet(afterwards Emperor Leopold II.); Stanis- tons, et il est dans des mains excellentes." laus Augustus, titular king of Poland, and | The child was only five years old. Gustavus III. of Sweden; while Choiseul, Maurepas, and Malesherbes were his intimate friends.
The dauphin, father of Louis XVI., was so struck with "L'Ami des Hommes," the book which gave to the marquis the name by which he is best known to posterity, and which he declared he knew by heart, that he offered him the place of assistant governor to his son. The marquis, however, declined anything less than a complete responsibility.
M. Poisson for the education he is giving The uncle writes to his brother to thank will be able to develop in him qualities to this marmot of five; and hopes that he which will cause to tremble before him, grands à la cour "cette race de pygmées qui jouent les true Mirabeau, and one that was not to - the aspiration of a remain unfulfilled. In the same year we have M. Poisson putting his pupil to the proof by making him give himself a lesson. head, the child writes: Bidden to put down what came into his
The character of his father and the circumstances of his early life being, as we said, important factors in the life of Mirabeau, it will be well to dwell on them in some detail.
attention à votre écriture, et de ne pas "Monsieur Moi, je vous prie de prendre faire de pâtés sur votre exemple [not to tentif à ce qu'on fait, obéir à son père, à make blots on your exercise]; d'être at son maître, à sa mère, ne point contrarier. Point de détours, de l'honneur surtout. N'attaquez personne, hors qu'on ne vous
The Marquis de Mirabeau had married immediately after quitting the army; Gabriel Honoré, the eldest son, but fifth child was born in 1749. The child was one of the few infant prodigies who ful-attaque; défendez votre patrie, ne soyez filled the promise of their youth. His head was enormous, and he is said to have been born with two teeth. These and other particulars we gather from the correspondence of the father with his brother, the Bailli de Mirabeau, then governor of Guadeloupe.
point méchant avec les domestiques, ne
an extraordinary effort of memory; one
In February, 1750, the marquis writes: "I have nothing to tell of my enormous child, except that he beats his nurse," who, however, seems to have taken it well. At the age of three Gabriel had the small-pox, which disfigured him for life, the permanence of the effect being chiefly, perhaps, due to the unscientific solicitude of his mother, "qui avait bien des recettes." The result is that the marquis writes to the senses, like a stick with only one end.
anecdote of Mirabeau, which bears out At the age of seven we have another this view, but is so striking as to be wellnigh incredible. the authority for it is Mirabeau himself. It is true, moreover, that The child, after having been confirmed, was present at a banquet. It seems that he had been told that God could not make things which contradict the evidence of