Imágenes de páginas

warn ourselves. It is Humanity in “Sacrifice to the mob;' O poet! the confessional. He, too, under- Sacrifice to that unfortunate, disinstood. what Victor Hugo so elo herited, vanquished, vagabond, shoe

less, famished, repudiated, despairing quently describes, the sensitiveness

mob; sacrifice to it, if it must be and of a multitude—the readiness of

when it must be, thy repose, thy foruntutored or unscholarly mobs tune, thy joy, thy country, thy liberty, to entertain the sublime and the thy life. The mob is the human race beautiful.

in misery. The mob is the mournful

commencement of the people. The mob “Have you ever gone,” says Victor

is the great victim of darkness. Sacri. Hugo, who must have known well what

fice to it! Sacrifice thyself! Let thyhe was here describing, “on a fête-day

self be hunted ; let thyself be exiled as to a theatre open gratuitously to all ?

Voltaire to Ferney, as D'Aubigné to What do you think of that auditory?

Geneva, as Dante to Verona, as Juvenal Do you know of any other more spontaneous and intelligent? The court of

to Syene, as Æschylus to Gela, as John Versailles admires like a well-drilled

to Patmos, as Elias to Horeb, as Thucy.

dides to Thrace. Sacrifice to the mob. regiment; the people throw themselves

Sacrifice to it thy gold, and thy blood, passionately into the beautiful. They

which is more than thy gold, and thy pack together, crowd, amalgamate, com

thought, which is more than thy blood, bine, and knead themselves in the

and thy love, which is more than thy theatre ; a living paste that the poet is

thought ; sacrifice to it everything ex. about to inould. The powerful thumb

cept justice. Receive its complaint; of Molière will presently make its mark

listen to its faults and the faults of upon it. ... The house is crowded ;

others. Listen to what it has to confess the vast multitude lurks, listens, loves ;

and to denounce to thee. Stretch forth all consciences, deeply moved, throw off their inner fire; aÎl eyes glisten; the

to it the ear, the hand, the arm, the

heart. Do everything for it, excepting huge beast with a thousand heads is

evil. Alas! it suffers so much and it there, the Mob of Burke, the Plebs of

knows nothing. Correct it, warn it, inTitus Livius, the Pex urbis of Cicero;

struct it, guide it. Put it to the school it caresses the beautiful; it smiles at it

of honesty. Make it spell truth; teach with the grace of a woman ; it is literary

it to read virtue, probity, generosity, in the most refined sense of the word;

mercy. Hold thy book wide open. Be nothing equals the delicacy of this mon.

there, attentive, vigilant, kind, faithful, ster. All at once the sublime passes, and

humble. Light up the brain, inflame the sombre electricity of the abyss heaves

the mind, extinguish egotism, show up suddenly all this pile of hearts."

good example. Poverty is privation ; Victor Hugo is great upon this be thou abnegation. Teach! Irradiate! mob. We must find room for They need thee; thou art their great another quotation. There are many

thirst. To learn is the first necessity; from this part of the book we

to live is but the second." should like to fill our pages with ; In sentiments of this kind we it being understood that we should shall all sympathise. Here perhaps take the liberty of abridgingourquo- is the best of all opportunities for tations where and how we pleased gracefully closing this marvellously -a liberty we have already taken. strange book of Victor Hugo's.





I was just preparing for a day's First of all, I would never have fiy-fishing, had sent off rods and either ignored at first, or subsenets and tackle to my boat, when quently insulted, the public opinion my friend arrived, as breathless as of a great nation, even though that a man might after some hundred great nation was in a passion, and miles' railroading, to tell me he not talking the soundest good sense; had heard a great part of the de- secondly, I would never have sugbate on Disraeli's motion, and to gested to a weak but proud people, impart to me his impressions of the that the price of any assistance to various speakers.

them must be certain concessions, “ Corny," said he, “I wish you which, when made, were left totally had been there. These fellows are unrecognised and unrewarded; and, too long-winded, and they are mar- lastly, I would no more have gone vellously given to saying what has to France for aid, than I would ask just been said by some one else on a man to back my bill, who knew, their own side a short time before." by refusing his name, he could

I agreed with him perfectly. The smash my credit, and whose manisummary in the ‘Times' is as good fest interest it was to impugn my as the whole debate. We all of us solvency and elevate his own. But knew, besides, pretty much what certainly, above all things, and to each speaker would say, and how my amazement, no speaker on the he would say it ; still it was a little Opposition side alluded to this. I strange to see Gladstone, at the very never would have so mystified the moment that he is bidding, and whole British nation-exciting a bidding high, for popular favour, sympathy for Denmark, subscripassail those organs of public opinion tions for her wounded, and aid for -the newspapers—so universally her destitute—with abuse of an anregarded as the especial defence of cient ally; and a cowering, craven, democracy.

helpless dread of what France For my own part I liked Sey- might and could, and possibly mour Fitzgerald best; he came would, do; till, in the conflict of nearer to the true issue than any our feelings-some of them honourone else. As to the challenge, able enough, others just the oppoWhat is your own policy ? it was site—we have presented ourselves too grossly absurd to be listened before Europe in a light, that only to. What would be said of the by remembering what we once were doctor who had destroyed his pa- rescues us from being despicable. tient's chance of recovery, saying to It is not very easy to say how the the newly-called-in physician,“What Danes would have fared if, instead is it that you advise ? let us see if of depending on England, they had you can save him" ?

addressed themselves originally to This was all that the Ministry France. From a variety of causes were able to say : Don't talk of our -some creditable enough to her, blunders, but tell us how will you others less meritorious-France is cure the patient? Give him to me, fond of these “missions." They reas he was given to you. Call me dound usually to her influence in in at the first seizure-not at his Europe ; they raise her prestige as agony - and I will answer you. a great military power, and occasionally too they pay in a more when there's nothing the matter commercial and palpable manner; with you. so that, like the Irishman who Had the good Samaritan been “married for love and a trifle of one of the moral-aid disciples, he money," she has the pleasure of would have given the sick man an feeling that even her generosity has eloquent lecture on wounds, puncnot been bad as a speculation. tured and incised. He would have

I really do not see why the Danes explained the dangers of hæmorrhdid not think of this. They knew age, primary and secondary; he -all the world knows-that of the would have expatiated on reparatwo sorts of aid one is patented by tion by first intention and by France, and is called “material aid,” granulation ; and, lastly, he would being an efficient, active, and able have assured the sufferer that it support, to distinguish it from the was by a special Providence that English article, called "moral aid," he himself had come by, otherwise which it is perfectly immaterial the other would have died without to any one whether he has it or ever hearing one of these valuable not.

truths. Not a drop of wine and oil, Now there is no doubt the Danes no bandaging, no mere “material were perfectly well aware which of aid,” would he have descended to: these two they wanted; but the these are the appliances of a very misfortune was, they did not hit inferior philanthropy. upon the right road. They wanted Will nobody give us a tabular a strong “ pick-me-up," but they view of the working results of the turned the wrong corner, and got twosystems? Perhaps, indeed, they into the Temperance Hotel! Had would tell us that it was moral aid they had the time and the temper drove the French out of the Peninfor it, it would have done them good sula, and moral aid was the support to have heard our praises of our own we lent to Europe on the field of tap, and how superior in all invigo- Waterloo. Do not for a moment rating properties the fresh, sparkling mistake me. I neither disparage fluid from our pump was, to the hot, sympathy nor despise advice. I stimulating, exciting liquor of the have seen far too much of life not “man over the way.”

to prize both highly; but give them They would have heard, too, to me for what they are, and not as how, though we once were licensed substitutes for something with no for strong drink, and had a roaring affinity to them. I can be very trade, yet we gradually had gone grateful for a drink of butter-milk on diluting and diluting, till we ar- when I am thirsty ; but don't say rived at last at the pure element, to me, “Isn't that better and more which, strange to say, a few old wholesome than all the claret that customers of the house still contin- ever was bottled ? Thank your ued to believe to be spirit; though, stars that you came in here, for my whenever a new-comer dropped in, neighbour yonder would have plied he left it there untasted, and went you with La Rose and Margaux, over to the other establishment and they ruin a man's stomach.”

The mistake of the poor Danes I know of no national practice was irreparable. They drank such so universal in England as “advicegallons of our well, that they had giving.” It is a mania of our people, no stomach for anything after it growing out of the combined result

But, in all sober seriousness, when of parliamentary government and shall we have heard the last of this immense national prosperity. Every rotten cant, “moral aid ” — own one in Great Britain who is richer brother, I believe, of that other than his neighbour has a prescriphumbug, “ masterly inactivity”? tive right to advise him. I never Moral aid is the bread-pill of the knew the man who dared to disquack doctor – efficacious only pute that privilege; hence, as we regard ourselves so much wealthier and bluster so ill. It is very rarely than the “beggarly foreigner,” we these dull folk indulge themselves have caught the habit of imposing with the luxury of being angry. our opinion at all times and places, And as for the various modes in and for the life of us we cannot which they were to wreak a vengesee how any should oppose it. The ance on England, they were simply self-conceit engendered by this pro- laughable. Perhaps it may proceed cess has made us something little from our very affinity—but strange short of detestable abroad! What it is, there are few nations have lectures have I not heard Brown commercially less need of each and Jones administer to foreigners other than Germany and England. of real distinction! What sage That Prussian threat t'other day, suggestions to imitate this or that that if England moved hand or custom of England! totally ignorant, foot, they'd march down and take as they might be, of some insuper. Hanover! By what confusion of able obstacle to their suggested im- even Berlin brains they imagined provement.

this could affect England, is hard In the old days of the Peninsu- to say. They evidently never heard lar war, we were pretty much like of the remark of the absentee Irish our neighbours. What we could landlord, when he was told that not do by men, we did by money. the people had shot his agent. Now, however, we have grown “Strange nation the Irish! What wiser, and will not spend either. an extraordinary notion it was to This universal medicine, “moral imagine that by shooting my agent aid,"moral co-operation, or whatever they could possibly intimidate me!it be called, is the cheap panacea To conclude, if we are never for all troubles. Not but it has met to deal in any other ware than a rather rough experience lately. “moral aid," let us be frank and The Germans wouldn't taste it at open about it. Let us dress the all; and I doubt greatly if the army in drab, and put broadDanes will ask for another dose brims on the navy. Above all, let of it.

not our newspapers be filled with We may try to laugh at it, but target - practice, and the relative it's too sore to be a joke. One merits of Armstrong and Whitwould like, if he could, to take the worth. The neatest duelling-pisjest in good part, and show no ill- tols in the world would never get temper; but it pushes patience too the owner a character for courage hard to see the hard-won glories after he refused to fight. I say of Old England so frittered away over and over again, we ought not and dissipated, that every trait by to go to war. Some hundreds of which our fathers stamped man- savages at the end of the earth are hood on the nation is now inso- giving us quite as much war as we lently denied us, and we are told want; and to face armies raised to go back to our cotton-mills and by conscription, with an army supcoal-mines, and leave the game of plied by voluntary enlistment, is war and its ambitions to others. as rank nonsense as to assert that

They have a saying in Italy, the financial burdens of a nation that there are two things no man could be as easily met by voluntary ever asks for in vain there-light contributions as by enforced taxafor his cigar, or the Cross of St tion. And let any one imagine Mr Maurice and St Lazaro. So in Gladstone standing with a plate at England we are splendidly lavish Whitehall, and, even with all the of our good advice. Would that courteous persuasiveness for which we could practise a little parsi- he is known, saying to the passersmony !

by, “You are requested to leave For many reasons we ought not something for the support of the to have taken the German vapour institution,” and is it likely that the results would bear compari- that Right Hon. Gentleman, and son with the income-tax ? Con- who now ask, Can nothing be deceive the impatient anxiety with vised less offensive to public feelwhich we should await the finan- ing than this? Is it not possible, cial statement ! Picture to your in this great nation of thirty milmind how eagerly we should look lions, to assess the revenue in some out for a captivating manner and a mode less insulting to the symseductive address in our Chancellor pathies of Englishmen?" of the Exchequer! Ay, and im- Whatever is voluntary will very agine the scores of letters in the seldom be general, and never will 'Times' from indignant citizens, be universal. We want soldiers who “were really anxious to con- pretty much as we want money; tribute their mite towards relieving and if it should happen that we the burdens of the State, but who need either in large quantities, I were deterred by the stern aspect am pretty certain we must not deand forbidding exterior of this or pend on Volition for the supply.


I like what in our modern slang you dislike the conveyance, or feel are called serial stories. The tired of the company, you can get writers understand one require- out and walk home. For all these ment at least of their trade—they reasons I incline much to the do not give too much at a time; and serial. in so far they resemble the heads I do not know how it may be of the profession, the old Eastern with others, but for myself I am story-tellers, who only told the not over-grateful to the man who Calif each evening enough to set invests his story with that amount him asleep. Now this alone is a of interest that engrosses my attengreat point.

tion too far, and in this way turns Another advantage is this—they me from the real business of life to cannot cram into their limited involve me in cares and sorrows space any of those long-winded that have no reality. I want to be descriptions, especially of scenery, amused by the novel pretty much which the three-volume people are as I feel amused by the play—that 80 prone to inflict; neither have is, I want what will present a certhey so much of the page open to tain number of pictures to my mind emotional expatiation. They are without the cost of being obliged bound by their very limits to be to retain them thereafter. If I be more short, sharp, and decisive. obliged to do this, the novel be

Lastly, they must endeavour to comes a burthen, not a relaxation. interest by something else than I want, besides, the writer to let story—that is, they must try what me so far into his mind that I may can be done to amuse by humor- know what he thinks is droll, istic views of life, shrewd touches what strange, what picturesque, of character, quaint pictures of what attractive, what ridiculous. people not the less recognisable When I have arrived at that unthat they are not met with every derstanding—any one number will day, and occasionally_which Three suffice for so much-I am able to Volume probably thinks beneath guess if I should care for more of him—they must make us laugh. his company. The three-volume

In the very fact that the reader man affords me no such clue as this. is not bound to them beyond the All he is thinking of is his wind-up monthly part before him, lies their in the last volume. It is for the heaviest obligation to interest him. grand finish alone he cares; his It is like a shilling stage, and if heart, like the Irish postilion's, is

« AnteriorContinuar »