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from horns ; cows' horns, clay horns, any horns, one of which every lad, from twenty downwards, held to his lips, blowing with all his might. The maid servants sought at once for some explanation of the strange sight; and the reader would like it also.
When the holy saint, Martin, was on earth in the flesh, and sojourning at Dunkerque, the legend runs that his ass got lost one night on the neighbouring downs. The saint was in despair, and called upon the inhabitants to aid him in the search. So, ali Dunkerque turned out to seek the ass with horns and lanterns, a dense fog prevailing at the time; and, the account says, they were happily successful. Hence commenced this annual custom, and most religiously has it been observed ever since. On St. Martin's eve, and St. Martin's night, the 10th and 11th of November, as soon as dark comes on, the principal streets of Dunkerque are perambulated by crowds, carrying these fanciful-shaped lanterns, and blowing the horns. . It is looked upon almost as a religious fète. Police keep the streets clear; carriages, carts, and horses, are not allowed to pass ; and, in short, everything gives way to the horns and lanterns on St. Martin's eve and night. But as to the extraordinary din these horns create- I can only say that if anybody wants to hear a noise such as he never heard before, one to last his remembrance for life, and perhaps turn him permanently deaf, he had better pass the next 10th of November at Dunkerque.
We hear and talk of strange coincidences, but none can deny that it was indeed a most strange one which took the unhappy Mrs. Carlton to Dunkerque on that particular night, of all nights in the year: in no other part of the habited world could she have met with the sight that thus struck, and told, upon her guilty remembrance.
Her servants remained at the window, enduring the awful din, admiring some peculiarly tasty church, or castle, and laughing at others that took fire and so burnt away, to the intense irritation of their bearers. Presently the lady's maid passed into her mistress's room, wondering that she had not come up from dinner. Mrs. Carlton was lying on the floor, and it seemed that she had been stricken with a fit of epilepsy.
She revived sufficiently to be conducted that night on board the steampacket, and was conveyed safely to England. But, as the hours and days advanced, she was found to be a lunatic, uttering things her attendants shuddered to hear, and which seemed to be but a repetition of the ravings of the unhappy Honour in her delirium.
She was quiet at first, Mrs. Carlton, except for these wanderings of the mind, but paroxysms of violence came on with time, and the physicians declared her malady to be confirmed and hopeless.
In one of the private asylums contiguous to the metropolis, she has been for some time placed; to remain there, in all probability, for the whole of her remaining life, be it short or long. Strange rumours are whispered in Alnwick Hall and its neighbourhood, and there are some who scruple not to assert that it was his unhappy stepmother who wil. fully destroyed the young heir of Alnwick.
A POLITICAL CONVERSAZIONE OF THE YEAR 1848.—MET
TERNICH, GUIZOT, LOUIS PHILIPPE, PALMERSTON.
METTERNICH. Yes, the first and primary error, sir ex-minister of France, was yours. You have precipitated all. Why neglect to give Rossi more prudent instructions, or orders more in accordance with the urgency of circumstances at the moment? The election of Mastai should never have been hurried through so hastily. In my secret despatches I moreover told you this man was a hot-headed subject, who would have compromised us all and himself into the bargain.
GUIzot. And who would ever have believed that from Rome would arise the dreaded conflagration ? No pope of modern times has ever deserted the cause of kings. Inasmuch as the temporal sovereignty of Rome is the moving spring of all other monarchies, so is the ruin of these a consequence of the decay and the ruin of that.
Louis PHILIPPE. But you, Prince Metternich, why attempt halfmeasures? You well know that in state affairs half-measures are the ruin of those who adopt them, and the salvation of those against whom they are directed. Why compromise yourself in the affair of Ferrara? And then why grow alarmed and draw back? During thirty-four years you made no grosser error than this. You have alienated from religion thrones and crowns, and have conjoined it with radicalism. Are you ignorant that the policy of Italy was always that of maintaining for allies the monks, the priesthood, and the bescottinisti ? Why set yourself against this moral movement, so ancient, but ever great and powerful ? I do not say that of itself papal influence may now be of great weight in European affairs. But I say that, united with liberal principles, it is to be feared, and more especially in Italy. It is for us to divide it. Be also assured that when the Pope becomes united with the people, the cause of kings is lost.
METTERNICH. That is an observation worthy of the exalted personage by whom it was made. Either I ought not to have attempted these measures, or I should have carried them through. A new pope, like Gregory XVI., of pious memory, would have agreed to all. The reason is plain. Upon the petty princes of Italy and Germany, who managed to maintain themselves behind our support, and without any moral principle, it was easy to impose silence, and prevent them from relaxing the bit or making concessions to the people. But the Pope, puffed up with a great European popularity, was unwilling to listen to advice, nor would he hearken to reason. "In a word, he has placed himself in a false position. I acknowledge my error. But why was I not supported by all other monarchs? Why did the voice of England interrupt me? Why suffer me to be disparaged by the public journals ? Why did France maintain a doubtful position? Why was I left alone in the lists? Against our union, and opposed to our bayonets, the Pope would have been forced to humble his tones.
PALMERSTON. These events were but natural consequences. They were
in the nature of things. They might, perhaps, have been protracted, but could not have been prevented. But you exasperate Italy with a senseless policy. You alienate the King of Piedmont. You have placed the supreme government of Venetian Lombardy in the hands of fools, of wretches incapable of any foresight, deaf to every counsel, and who deceived you as to the moral condition of the country. They loaded with ignominy and insolence a people who were ever the prop of your ruined finances, and gave them, in a word, the sole alternative of death or salvation. The least imbecile of all of them was the ex-viceroy, upon whom you reckoned the least. He sold in time, and escaped in time. He possessed foresight, and with a clever hypocrisy he managed to keep the Lombards in good temper, and even to the last sought to palliate the cruelties of the police and the army. I should like much to read your secret correspondence with Torresani and Fiequelmont, who wished to ensnare the Milanese with a Viennese figurante, took serious notice of the boys who scribbled Pio Nono at the street corners, wore buckles and hats, and allowed themselves to be taken unawares, whilst alarming indications clearly showed the general conflagration which was smouldering under the ashes. The boastings of your generals, their incapacity, their vile barbarity, and that of the army, are things which are perfect horrors. The dominion of the house of Austria has ceased in Italy.
METTERNICH. If Austria's dominion has ceased in Italy, the exclusive sovereignty of England on the seas is at an end. We know the cancer that gnaws her; it is a colossus with the gambe di creta. She has failed in the policy of kings, in the general interests of Europe. You, my Lord Palmerston, you, sir ex-minister of England, have abandoned us, have even betrayed us at the most critical moment. And why, on what grounds, and for what national interests, did you favour the convulsions of the revolutionary rulers in Switzerland and Italy? They saw well the desire of the English merchants to get rid of the superabundance of their productious in Italy at the expense of Austrian commerce. They saw well to what end your negotiations tended. But what profit have you derived? You have kindled the firebrands which were to burn your wings. People once emancipated become themselves the fabricators of mercantile commodities. They load with prohibitions imports from abroad, and have nothing to say to the English. Good treaties of commerce can only be made with princes, who (to save themselves) should impede the enriching of the people, or that division of substance which, up to a certain point, brings commerce, and causes the ruin of monarchs. Too late did I discover it even at Vienna. The ports of Illyria and Dalmatia ruined the imperial chest. Why, then, did not England support our threats in Switzerland ? What interests had she for the Swiss nation? I repeat, and shall ever repeat, that the nationality of the people is the ruin of England, of its foreign commerce, and its marine. Pitt and Castlereagh were never favourable to the people. They flattered them, aided them in Spain and in Germany to overthrow Napoleon, but it was when they had no longer need of them. If the allied sovereigns in 1815 had so ruined France that she could not again rise, they would not find themselves in their present position. History therefore, no less than political knowledge, indicated the path which England should have kept, and should still keep, in European turmoils. Guizot. Bravo, Metternich! By your talk there is no difficulty in recognising you as the first pillar of absolutism—the most hoary-headed and consummate diplomatist of European cabinets.
METTERNICH. Well! and was my policy in any way ambiguous? It has been ever one and the same, as its end is one and the same that of never yielding. I always said that we never could relax in severity, or dissolve our union, without being lost. You, in your timidity and embarrassments, still wanted to act, but you did not dare. You feared the journalists and the idle stories of the day; and lost yourselves in scrawling long tirades in your Débats, which caused me real concern. In the Switzerland and Sunderbund questions you attained to the acme of folly. Why despatch notes to the courts? Why so many vain threats against radicalism? Why propose a coalition of princes, and an armed intervention in Switzerland, when you were assured of nothing ? You have compromised us; you have revealed our impotence. These things ought to be done, but secretly; seek the opportunity, put on the wolf's hide, and show the lion's claws only at the proper moment.
Louis PHILIPPE. Our infirm policy was an effect of our false position. We could not act differently. To have stood out on this last occasion would have conducted us to more speedy and certain ruin. For seventeen years I held the haughty people of France in external nullity. I sought to direct towards Africa the national effervescence; I did my utmost to establish my dynasty upon the throne; I surrounded myself with purchased nobility, since mild monarchies cannot exist without nobility; I ousted from the national representation the middle class, which is the great prop of liberty in all times; I bought over the heads of the army and placed my sons at its head; by cavils of every kind I weakened the National Guard, always the guarantee of liberty; I entered into intrigues, proposed marriages in Spain-family alliances. Collisions arose between the people and the princes in Germany, in Italy, Switzerland, and Greece, in the west and in the east. I feigned to cajole the people, but I speedily placed my hand upon the scale of kings, and forced it to kick the beam for us. But, in a word, I had neither the love nor the esteem of the French, and on the first bel trarre we went together into the air.
METTERNICH. When I think of the pitiful manner in which you effected your escape from the soil of France, I cannot refrain from laughter. I have been told that you arrived in London costumed as if you had issued from one of Dante's caverns.
Louis PAILIPPE. You have no cause to laugh at me. The populace, if they had caught you, would have made a fine figure of you. Considering, then, that the Parisians had every reason to drive me out of France, and that the Viennese, perhaps, were wrong in ousting you from the empire, I rather congratulate myself upon my mishaps.
METTERNICH. But I was not king.
GUIZOT. A truce to jests, which are unworthy of the exalted personages we are or have been. But do you believe, sir ex-minister of Austria, that it is actually over with kings ?
METTERNICH. You will excuse me, but I have never regarded you as a profound diplomatist. You were the right arm of Louis Philippe, his good servant, and nothing more. Are these queries of your own conceit?
Guizot. A truce, I say, to idle jesting. Already must the French have repented of their republic. They see the abyss, the disorder, the misery which it produces.
METTERNICH. Follies again. What has misery to do with the monarchy or republic? The present distress is the effect of neither ; but of agitation and the general uncertainty. The rich do not occupy themselves in commerce or industry, nor in monied enterprise, because they fear communism and war; whilst for the artisans, who needs must eat, employment should be found for them either in manufactories or in fighting on the plains of Europe. As for France, which you ought to know more of than I, I have no questions to ask. With reference to Italy and Germany,
Louis PHILIPPE. Permit me. I allow that in France all is lost. If France were in the present position of England if the number of proletarii, of artisans, and of paupers, were as great as they are there, it would not be difficult for me, by dint of corruption and gold, to place myself at the head of such a party, and to hold the throne by means of the people and of the impoverished ; while I could not have succeeded in retaining it by means of the great; but France is not yet in the position of England. Enough: we shall see in what way general events turn out. If the French remain quiet, I shall easily find means to excite them amongst themselves; either through the socialists and the starving artisans, or by means of the Legion of Honour and cordons. But if they leave their own domestic matters if they manage to turn towards foreign affairs their restless activity and ambitious views, all is lost for me! But tell me what you would say of Italy, of Germany, and of the agony ofof kings.
METTERNICH. I believe that for the present it were better to allow our salvation to come from those who now banter us with caricatures, journals, libels, and the like. I say that the salvation of princes should spring from the follies of their subjects. Do you believe that I should wish this ferment against kings to last? It will endure until the people shall first have experienced anarchy, radicalism, and dictatorship. His. tory nowhere tells us that a people passes thus dryshod from slavery to liberty without first falling into these extremes.
PALMERSTON. But under the kings the people were slaves.
METTERNICH. I do not say they should be slaves; but I say that order, and even a little absolutism, is always better than disorder and anarchy. In cabinet affairs there is no talk of evil and of good. The question is to choose of two evils the lesser-that, in fact, which is the best.
Louis PHILIPPE. Proceed with the argument which you undertook to explain, and do not interrupt the thread of ideas with misplaced interrogations.
METTERNICH. If the Austrians have good sense—if they are not the imbeciles which they have shown themselves by turning me out, and constructing a borrowed constitution, which, in the manner it has been made, can never last, and by making a revolution at a moment when there was the greatest need of internal concord—if the Austrians had sense, I say, they ought to defend themselves, but not fight in Lombardy; rather allow things to come of themselves to maturity. First of all, everything must be yielded to Hungary and Bohemia-an enlightened view taken of internal affairs. The finances are one vast chaos!!