Imágenes de páginas

the old poet Ennius gave this note 'Bellipotentes sunt magè quam sapientipotentes,' they were more warlike than politic. Whoso notes their pro ceedings may find that none of them went to work like a conqueror, save only King Henry V., the course of whose victories it pleased God to interrupt by his death."

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Sir Walter is unquestionably in the right; to excel in the use of arms is a legitimate and highly commendable portion of the art of war, and, of itself, a species of triumph. But to maintain a permanent superiority we must look to national characters, the "mettle of the pasture," to that indomitable persistive hardihood which will continue the birthright of the British, as long as they maintain their freedom. The mere mechanical advantages of weapons, of which any prudent people will instinctively avail themselves, is not to be put in competition with the "golden metal" of the soldier's heart; different nations have different good as well as bad qualities; the French soldier may yield to none in the activity and fury of his attack; but his British adversary surpasses him in enduring perseverance. M. Louandre, in enumerating the causes which contributed to the victory at Cressy, but directing his eye, perhaps, to events of later occurrence, mentions as one, "la belle position militaire qu'ils avoient choisie et dans laquelle ils attendoient qu'on vint les attaquer, selon leur habitude dans tous les tems, sans en excepter le notre." This practice was not invariable, because at Agincourt the English were the assailants; it is indeed true that Henry had awaited an attack from the enemy, until his patience was exhausted, and as a general rule the assertion is probably well founded. At any rate, to take up a good military position is the first step to success, and a proof of good generalship to begin with; but if it has been the usual practice of the English, it has been so, because they have usually been the weaker party in point of numbers, and consequently prudence prescribed the adoption of such

a measure.

Take an early instance, that of Harold at Hastings,—although eager to engage, yet finding himself in presence of an enemy of three times his force, he immediately assumed the defensive; and with such tenacity did the English Saxons maintain their position, with such effect were wielded those "sævissimæ secures," the seaxes, or battle-axes, said to have been the origin of their name, that the fortune of the day appeared all but pronounced against the Norman invader. The loss of their brave leader, and the absence of any other iron-nerved chief, gifted with the patient and steady judgment that will coolly await the decisive moment, the eagle glance to espy it, and the firm resolve to give the magic word "up" were fatal. Harold's Saxons were tempted prematurely to change the defensive into the pursuit; they quitted their position, and perished accordingly. But,

What, though the field be lost,

All is not lost! the unconquerable will-
And courage never to submit or yield.

Saxon perseverance has in the end achieved a moral victory; the institutions, the language, the spirit, and the name, have triumphed, and are carrying irresistibly the effects of their victory into the remotest corners of the globe. Contrast with this, the national character of their neighDec.-VOL. LXXXIV. NO. CCCXXXVI.

2 I

bours, the Gauls. How quietly did they acquiesce in the domination of their Frankish, or Norman masters, and hug the chains of the feudal system,―with what satisfaction did they assume and glory in the name of Francs, although in truth it was but the badge of their subjection? not less willingly and tamely had they previously sunk into Roman subjects, "post decennalis belli mutuas clades subegit Cæsar, societatique nostra fæderibus junxit æternis." Those ten years of desperate struggle preparatory to their fall, were indeed like their furious onset at a single battle, which if unsuccessful, rapidly changes into disorder and despair. Such onsets have ever been terrible, and no proofs of bravery have been given by any nation surpassing those recorded of the Gauls. Cæsar himself has told us what passed under his own eyes, while he stood in admiration of the daring deeds displayed at the siege of Bourges. "Inspectantibus ipsis dignum memoriâ visum prætermittendum non existimavimus." Yet for want of the quality of patient determination, this brilliant gallantry has repeatedly been thrown away. Such is the secret of Saxon superiority, if indeed it can be called a secret which is known and acknowledged, and fears no concealment, like some patent monopoly, for it is incapable of being counterfeited, it is the genuine, inherent, inimitable characteristic of the race.

Nor are these distinguishing qualities confined to particular times, or peculiar places on the globe-look when and where you will, and the same traits are discernible-the Gallic character is nowhere better described than in the oration of Manlius to his army, when, nearly two centuries before our era, he was preparing to attack the Gauls of Asia. He allowed the enemy all his martial virtues, somewhat deteriorated, perhaps, by contact or fusion with imbecile Asiatic tribes :-" ferox natio, pervagata bello prope orbem terraram;" as the description proceeds, we have the exact picture of the Gaul, when his ardour has evaporated, and he begins to yield to despair ;-"jam usu hoc cognitum est. Si primum impetum quem fervido ingenio et cæcâ irâ effundunt, sustinueris-labant arma-molles, ubi ira consedit, animi, &c."

The Saxon, in similarly remote times and places, has given instances of his own peculiar temperament and qualifications; and once more to recall our good old Marathonian reminiscences, whom do we find on that plain by the side of the veterans of the great Cyrus, while the rest of the enormous army of Persia was overthrown right and left of them, whom do we find alone, making a successful resistence to the Greeks, but a body of the Asiatic Saca-the distant, but by all accounts, the indisputable forefathers of the Saxon race?




DURING a lengthened residence near the Boulevart du Temple, I had frequently occasion to pass near a lad of about seventeen years of age, who was constantly to be met with in front of the Théâtre Historique, and whose occupation, if occupation it could be termed, almost entirely consisted in performing small jobs, running errands, and playing with others of his own age and station at the games peculiar to the Parisian gamin. From eight in the morning until eleven at night, he was always to be seen near the same spot. His extremely intelligent countenance, which was also very handsome, had attracted my attention to him, and I more than once engaged him to carry letters and go upon commissions, in the performance of which, he evinced a quickness and an aptitude, that was unusual even amongst the lads of his own class, clever and shrewd as they always are. His good-humour also was unfailing, even when tried to the utmost by a long run of ill-luck at the jeu de bouchon. I never, indeed, saw him out of temper for a single moment. None of his companions could compete with him, either in repartee or raillery, although, be it observed, he never turned his powers in that line to an ill-natured purpose. In addition to this, his honesty was unimpeachable, and it was through his possessing that virtue to a very high degree, that I became well acquainted with him. One evening I had bought a quantity of books at an old stall in the neighbourhood of the Cafe Turc, and had employed Julien Letourneur, for that was the name of the gamin, to carry them home for me. On arriving at my apartments, I put into his hand, what I thought was a franc, and dismissed him: a few hours afterwards I was retiring to bed, when I heard a ring at the bell, and on my opening the door Julien entered, and immediately cried out,

"Monsieur, I have come to inform you that you gave me a twenty franc piece this evening, and as you must have done so by mistake, I have brought it back again, car l'honneur avant tout. I should have returned before, only I did not discover that I had received a gold piece, until a few minutes ago, just after I left the door of the Folies,' where I have been selling contremarques all the evening. I am certain it was monsieur who gave me the louis, for I have received nothing but coppers, for the seats at the Folies are not so expensive as those of the Gymnase, or Variétés, which, I presume, are the theatres frequented by monsieur. Now copper money is larger than a louis, while a franc, on the contrary, is of the same size, so said I to myself, when I found the gold piece in my pocket, on counting the receipts of the evening, Julien! it must be the Monsieur d'Anglais that gave it you.' Upon which I made one run along the Boulevart, and here I am.'

With these words he presented me with the louis.

"Honesty, where dost thou conceal thyself?" I said, mentally quoting from "Monte Christo," as I gazed upon the miserable, though clean blouse of the gamin, who in all probability had never during the whole

course of his life, been the possessor of a tithe of the sum I had unintentionally given him. "You are an honourable lad, Julien," I continued aloud, "and deserve to be well rewarded."

"How so," returned the gamin, "I have merely done my duty; one may be poor without being a thief, and a paltry thief I should have been, had I kept possession of the piece."

"At any rate, you shall be no loser by your honest conduct," I replied, "for the louis is yours, really and truly yours, for I make you a present of it."

"What, monsieur! a gold piece for me," cried the lad, evidently overjoyed. "Oh how happy my father will be, it will help him to purchase the coat he is so much in want of."

"You have got a father living then, Julien ?" I asked.


"Yes, sir," was the reply, un brave homme."

"I wonder at his not trying to procure you some fixed occupation," I observed, "for although you are an honest young fellow, still your mode of living is decidedly vagrant and not altogether respectable." "That is not the fault of the old man," replied Julien, "his desire is to see me settled, but somehow or other I was never able to fix myself down to any employment, do what I could. I am sorry for it, for I am aware it is wrong, but we cannot change our natures."

As it was getting late, I dismissed the lad for the night, bidding him call upon me the following morning, as I was anxious to learn something more about him. On his return I discovered that he was the son of an old soldier, who had served in the Imperial Guard, during the latter years of Napoleon's power, and had made the campaign of Russia, where he had been disabled from ever again joining in active service; but notwithstanding the wounds he had received, he had been unable to get a berth in the Hôpital des Invalides, or to obtain a pension. The veteran, who had been employed for some years as concierge in a small house situated in a street near the Rue du Temple, had been extremely anxious to bring up his son as a commis in a shop or an office, but the volatile disposition of the youth prevented this intention from being carried into execution, and although Julien had received a very tolerable education, he could never be induced to follow any settled employment; and to the sorrow of his father, he passed the whole of his time, as I have already observed, in loitering on the boulevarts and playing at the jeu de bouchon in front of the theatres, except when performing some temporary commission, or disposing of contremarques at the doors of the Gaiété, the Folies, or the Délassements Comiques.

On my expostulating with him in a friendly manner, on his vagabond mode of living, and attempting to prove how little respectable it was, Julien informed me, that the only fixed career it would be possible for him to follow would be that of a soldier.

"My father was one," he observed, somewhat proudly, “and has bled in defence of his country; I intend to imitate his example, but I cannot enlist at present, for I am only seventeen; next year, however, I shall be old enough, and shall enroll myself in a regiment of tirailleurs.” Why in a regiment of tirailleurs?" was my very natural question. "Because they serve in Africa, and are often engaged with the Arabs," cried Julien, enthusiastically. "I should hate to be a soldier during a time of peace, and have nothing to do but mount guard and


perform other corvées of the same description.

No! that would never

do; better spend one's whole life in selling contremarques.

La guerre,

la guerre pour moi, for with war comes promotion, and I should like to be an officer, it would make my father so proud."

"You love your father, then, very much?"

"Love him," exclaimed the lad, "I would die for the old man, if that could do him any good."

And from the earnest manner in which he spoke, it was evident that Julien Letourneur meant what he said.

It was on the night of the 23rd of Frbruary (three months after the above conversation), shortly after the murderous and ill-fated volley fired by the fourteenth regiment of the line upon an inoffensive crowd in front of the Hôtel des Affaires Etrangères, which inexplicable act, indeed, mainly brought about the consummation of the Revolution, by exciting the populace to an ungovernable state of fury and exasperation, that I was proceeding as fast as I could along the Boulevart St. Martin, by scrambling over the innumerable barricades which were rising at short distances from each other. On arriving at the barricade just above the Théâtre de la Porte St. Martin, I thought I recognised one of the voices of those engaged in digging up the pavement, and upon looking at the speaker, I found I was not mistaken, for the voice belonged to Julien Letourneur, who appeared to be the very life and soul of the hardworking, but enthusiastic band; at one moment he would work fiercely at tearing up the pavement, at another he would leap upon the rising barricade and exhort his companions to exert themselves to the uttermost, in order that all should be prepared before the municipal guards and the line should come up.

"Well, Julien, mon ami," I exclaimed, addressing him, "you are about to have some sharp work.'

"Yes, monsieur," he returned, "we are going to pay off those gueux de municipaux in their own coin, que le diable les emporte, they killed two friends of mine this afternoon in the faubourg du Temple, mais je les vengerai," he added with glistening eyes, " for I have a musket and its bayonet in yonder corner, all I want are cartridges, and if the national guard take part with us to-morrow morning, which I am certain they will, we shall have plenty of ammunition from the mairies, and then 'à bas les Municipaux,'à bas la Royauté, vive la République.'"

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It is not my intention to give any description of the Revolution of February, as the subject is become threadbare, but to confine myself to observing that one of the foremost at the attack of the military post. of the Chateau d'Eau, on the Place du Palais Royal, was this young lad, who used his musket on that occasion as if he had been a soldier from his infancy. He was one of those who bore the throne from the Tuileries and paraded it along the Boulevarts to the column of Liberty at the Bastille, where a bonfire was made of the gilded chair, which had a few hours before borne the weight of its royal master, at that moment an obscure exile flying towards a foreign shore.

After the proclamation of the Republic by the Provisional Government, Julien Letourneur was one of the first of the Parisian gamins who enlisted in the garde mobile, raised by Lamartine, and thus the dearest wish of his heart was satisfied, for he had to all intents and purposes become a soldier. It is true, then, many peopled cavilled at and turned

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