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with a treat of this kind that my friend intended to inaugurate the second and last day of my visit. An L'cceltiera (fowling-box) I beg to explain, for the benefit of the uninitiated, is a small stone hut, the smaller the better, from the interior of which a person holding the cords attached to a double net outside, spreading in opposite directions, can at will, by a single twitch, bring the nets together, and thus envelope all the birds imprudent enough to have ventured within the circumjacent area.
The amount of time, of patience, of labor, of ingenuity which are lavished to lure and decoy the feathered tribe into the fatal snare is something astonishing. The juiciest berries which may tempt a bird out of its road hang from the shrubs all round the narrow enclosure, the choicest seeds strew the
f round ; caged birds hidden among the foliage (some arb'arously blinded that they may sing at all seasons) call from their prison to their free brethren, while others, tied to one end of a short pole, are, by its being suddenly raised, set fluttering most invitingly. These and an infinity of other devices lie in wait for the winged wayfarers. The sport may be objected to on more grounds than one, but certainly not on that of want of excitement. I have seen grave senators pale with emotion at the approach of a flock of wild-pigeons, cut capers at a happy catch, or be out of sorts all day at having missed a flight of linnets.
Feeling rather tired and heavy with my day's work, and having besides to get up betimes (the rendezvous at the Uccelliera was for five in the morning), I begged leave at about half past nine in the evening to retire to my room, and I was in the act of going thither when a professional summons came for the Doctor to attend a woman in labor at some distance. In the uncertainty of how long he might be detained, perhaps the whole night, it was arranged between us, that if by four in the morning he had not come to call me, as previously agreed on, I should go by myself to the place of rendezvous. He would join me as soon as possible, and at all events I should find there some of the gentlemen with whom I had spent the day in the vineyard. Was I sure, quite sure, of being able to find my way alone to the Uccelliera f As sure as I was that I could find my way to bed.
My head was scarcely on my pillow when I fell asleep; and so sound was my slumber, that when I did awake, it was with a sense of having overslept myself. I lighted a match, and by its uncertain little flame I looked at my watch, — ten minutes past four. Since Ciirzio had not come to rouse me, no doubt he had had tofremain all night with his patient; so I rose, hiivifrd on my clothes, stole softly down the stairs, lighted solely by my cigar, and glided out of the house. It was darker than the hour seemed to warrant, and at first I could scarcely see two steps before me; but this was only for a few moments. In proportion as I went along, so did the outlines of the neighboring objects begin to shape themselves, though as yet dimly; the air was heavy and damp, not a star was visible. Nevertheless, the way to the Uccelliera was so easy — straight so far along the main road, and then to the right, through a lane dwindling to a path — that I could not have missed it if I would.
The fowling-box looked as if tenanted by Morpheus himself, so profoundly quiet was everything about it. To my surprise the door was shut, and yet it must necessarily have been close upon five o'clock. It was strange; but what was strangest of
all was, that there should not be the slightest indication of incipient dawn in the east. I took out my watch, and — the mystery was explained. It was only a quarter to three! I had taken myself in famously. In my hurry and drowsiness I had mistaken the minute for the hour hand. What was I to do 1 Should I return to the house, and run the risk of rousing my hostess by knocking for admittance, or should I walk and smoke during the time to elapse before five! Now, it is one of my constitutional weaknesses to abhor inflicting unnecessary inconvenience on any of my friends, old or new, Bo I speedily determined in favor of the peripatetic process, and began leisurely to retrace the way I had come.
As I was nearing the lane abutting on the main road, it began to ram pretty fast. I knew of a place near at hand, for it had attracted my notice the day before, where I could find shelter, and I made for it at once. This was an arched recess in one of the walls of the lane above mentioned, having just room enough in it for a well breast-high with a stone seat behind it. The well had been abandoned, and was> covered; it served now as a resting-place for peasants and their loads. The walls, or > ••ricciuoli, which rose twice at least my height on each side, let but little light penetrate into this species of hole; enough though, after my eyes had had time to get accustomed to the obscurity, to discern the round shape of the well under my nose, and to have a faint perception that there stood opposite to me something more solid than air, which might well chance to be another wall, or muricciuolo. Having by this time finished my cigar, I crossed my arms, Napoleon-like, over my breast, shut my eyes, and asked myself if I could bona fide declare myself to be that identical individual who, but one short week ago, was buying Giusti's Poesie, at Truchy's, on the Boulevard da Italiens; and while I was considering the question, I felt touched by a magic wand, and conveyed to the Boulevart aforesaid, where the first thing I saw was a patrol of soldiers bearing down on me with measured tread. i
A sound of footsteps, not dreamed of this time, real footsteps of several persons reverberating through the narrow passage, fell upon my ear. They came from the heights, I mean from the side opposite to the town, and had somewhat of the regular tramp of soldiers, or funeral bearers. I strained my eyes, — one, two, three, — they passed me, but for the sound of their steps, like a spectral procession, slow, solemn, mute. The first, a little in advance of the others, carried what I surmised to be iron tools, from the jingling they made. Between the second and the third there was the length of something they bore upon their shoulders, and which accounted for the regular measure of their step, — a something long and dark, save where it protruded beyond the back of the second bearer. This end, all wrapped in white, had a round, fantastic shape, than which nothing could be more suggestive of a shrouded head. The illusion was so complete, that I could not repress a shudder, which, after a moment's reflection, was followed by a smile.
My curiosity, anyhow, was strongly excited. Where could they be going? What was it they were carrying? After all, might it not really be a corpse, the victim of some accident, being carried home by friends or neighbors? As I was thus cogitating, the footsteps stopped, to begin again almost immediately, but as it seemed to me, in another direction, and with less distinctness. I cautiously
followed in their wake, and soon found myself at the foot of one of those rugged flights of stone steps which at every turn give access to the olive plantations of the Riviera; there I came to a stand, and listened. Mr mysterious trio had evidently gone up that way, for the echo of their feet came now, a little deadened, from above me. I went up three of the stone steps; the tramp ceased all at once, ten seconds of dead stillness, then the thump of something heavy dropped on the earth.
"Hush!" said a voice, reprovingly, "to work, and the quicker the better. Hist! what's that? somebody on the watch?"
It was only I, who in ascending another step had unwarily dislodged a loose stone, which had rolled down noisily. This fourth step had brought my eyes on a level with the adjacent ground, a flat square, and as far as I could see, thickly planted with trees. Strain my eyes as I would, I could distinguish nothing but a vista of trunks.
"Only some ferret," suggested a second voice, after a pause, employed, I fancy, in listening, and during which I had scarcely dared to breathe.
"More likely a fox," opined a third voice; " there is plenty of that vermin hereabouts."
"Let us hope so," resumed the first voice; "I would rather not be caught at this sort of business."
"Nor I," — "Nor I," — assented the other two voices in succession. Although they spoke in whispers, I did not lose B syllable of what they said; but why should they speak in whispers?
Voice No. 1 made itself heard again. "This hole is not deep enough; dig deeper, — softly." A spade was in motion instantly. The mention of a hole (fosta) had an ominous sound to my ears. A hole, and to bury what? One had evidently been prepared beforehand I What could this portend? Was I really on the track of some foul deed?
"There, that will do," said voice No. 1, and the sound of the spade ceased. "Where is the body? Bring it here."
The body (U morlo o my hair stood on end. The .... thing for which he had asked was not brought, but dragged to him. The lowering of it into the earth took long, and was attended by difficulty. I could hear the hard breathing of the men nmler the exertion; I could hear them moving about, and going to and fro in search of tools, as I supposed, to facilitate their task. At last it was accomplished, and nothing remained but to shovel in the earth. This was done quickly, but cautiously, by three spades all working at once. Then there was the sound of the stamping of feet on the freshlyturned ground. A fiendish sneer from spokesman No. 1 crowned the horror of the scene. "We leave you in your snug berth; stay there in peace and tell no tales." Such was the witty sally with which probably the murderer parted from his victim. It was received with suppressed laughter by the two wretches, his accomplices.
Thereupon they all left; two went up, the third down the hill at full gallop, and across the country in the direction of the town.
I stood transfixed as though spellbound for some minutes, and then I too set off as fast as I could tack to my friend's house, harassed by a feeling impossible to describe. My hand was on the knocker, when the door opened, and a peasant issued forth. I asked him if the Doctor was at home. He said yes. — adding something complimentary about my o early a riser. Judge of the shock I got
when I recognized the voice of the chief actor in the late drama!
I looked the man full in the face. He struck me as having a most patibulary countenance, and I entered the house. Curzio, candle in hand, was at the top of the stairs. "Is that you?" "Yes, it is me." ■" Where the deuse do you come from, dripping wet, and with that haggard face?" "From witnessing a deed of darkness," I replied. "Nonsense, what do you mean?" and he stared at me in alarm. "Come to my room, and you shall hear," said I. And as soon as we were closeted, I told him my tale, told it with an emotion and conviction that were infectious. Poor Curzio looked like a ghost himself, as he thrust both hands into his hair, protesting vehemently and incoherently that it could not be, that I was the dupe of some hallucination.
"Would to God I were!" said I. "By the by, who is that man I met just now leaving the house 't "
"That's Bastian, my bailiff, as trustworthy a fellow—"
"Your trustworthy fellow is a villain," cried I; "he was one of the three, and their chief."
This revelation had a queer and unexpected effect upon my friend. His fear-contracted features relaxed, his rigid mouth distended, and he burst forth into one of the most glorious laughs I ever heard from mortal lips. "My mulberries," he chuckled; "I see it all now, it is my mulberries."
It was my turn now to stare at him; and it took him some time to recover composure enough to give me the following explanation: "You must know that ever since the appearance of oidium I have had it in my mind to try whether mulberry-trees could or could not be grown with success on our slopes; but one thing or another obliged me to postpone the experiment. If we could add the produce of silkworms to that of our olives, it would be a great help to us in our years of bad crop or no crop at all. I must not forget to say that public feeling hereabouts is most opposed to the cultivation of mulberry-trees: first, because it is a novelty, and consequently an abomination; secondly, on account of B certain local tradition, the origin of which has baffled all my researches. Once on a time, according to this tradition, the rearing of silk-worms was the chief industry of these parts, and the women sufficing for the work, nothing was left for the men but to starve or emigrate. To argue about the absurdity of this last consequence would be like pounding water in a mortar, — it is an article of faith with our folks. Well, a few days ago, I received from a friend of mine, a grower of mulberry-trees in Piedmont, a sample of saplings, six in number, I believe, and I gave Bastian orders to plant them. He at first made a very wry face, and then, after a good deal of circumlocution, asked me if I should have any objection to his planting them by night. I inquired why at night rather than by day, — I had of course guessed the reason. You shall have his answer in his own words; it is instructive in many ways. "Why," says he," if I put in these trees by day, and I am seen doing it, as I must be, I shall be a marked man for the rest of my life, which would be especially vexatious for me who have both wife and children; whereas if I do it by night, and nobody sees me, nobody can fix the odium of the deed upon me; and, suppose any one suspects me, my No is as good as their Yes." I granted his request, and thus it came to pass that the planting of mv half-dozen young trees had to be accomplished as though it were a midnight crime."
Seen by the new light thrown upon them by Cur
rio's explanation, the features of the case lost their phantasmagoric halo, and resumed their natural appearance. The shrouded head was but the roots of the saplings tied together with a cloth to preserve the native earth adhering to them; the oody (il morto) was but a commonly used Italian figure of speech to denote anything the object of some mystery (the saplings in our case), the same as saying a "dead secret"; Bastian's fiendish sneer was only an innocent joke far from inappropriate to the circumstance; his patibulary countenance a freak of my heated fancy, etc., etc. And so nothing remained, save a little laugh at its discoverer, of the Deed of Darkness.
About a year ago the Saturday Review published an article which gave me, as its articles often do give me, much food for reflection. The article was about the unjust estimate which, says the Saturday Review, I form of my countrymen, and about the indecency of talking of " British Philistines." It appears that I assume the truth of the transcendental system of philosophy, and then lecture my wiser countrymen because they will not join me in recognizing as eternal truths a set of platitudes which may be proved to be false. "Now there is in England a school of philosophy which thoroughly understands, and, on theoretical grounds, deliberately rejects, the philosophical theory which Mr. Arnold accuses the English nation of neglecting; and the practical efforts of the English people, especially their practical efforts in the way of criticism, are for the most part strictly in accordance with the principles of that philosophy."
I do not quite know what to say about the transcendental system of philosophy, for I am a mere dabbler in these great matters, and to grasp and hold a system of philosophy is a feat much beyond my strength ; but I certainly did talk about British Philistines, and to call people Philistines when they are doing just what the wisest men in the country have settled to be quite right, does seem unreasonable, not to say indecent. Being really the most teachable man alive, I could not help making, after I had read the article in the Saturday Review, a serious return, as the French say, upon myself; and I resolved never to call my countrymen Philistines again till I had thought more about it, and could be quite sure I was not committing an indecency.
I was very much fortified in this good resolution by something else which happened about the same time. Every one knows that the heart of the English nation is its middle class; there had been a good deal of talk, a year ago, about the education of this class, and I among others had imagined it was not good, and that the middle class suffered by its not being better. But Mr. Bazley, the member for Manchester, who is a kind of representative of this class, made a speech last year at Manchester, the middle-class metropolis, which shook me a good deal. "During the last few months," said Mr. Bazley, "there nad been a cry that middle-class education ought to receive more attention. He confessed himself very much surprised by the clamor that was raised. He did not think that class need excite the sympathy either of the legislature or the public." Much to the same effect spoke Mr. Miall, another middle-class leader, in the Nonconformist: " Middleclass education seems to be the favorite topic of the
hour, and we must confess to a feeling of shame it the nonsense which is being uttered on the subject. It might be thought from what is said, that tkii section of the community, which ha* done eventhing else so well, — which has astonished the -world by its energy, enterprise, and self-reliance, which is continually striking out new paths of industry and subduing the forces of nature, — cannot, from some mysterious reason, get their children properly educated." Still more strong were the words of the Daily News (I love to range all the evidence in black and white before me, though it tends to my own discomfiture) about the blunder some of us were making: "All the world knows that the great middle class of this country supplies the mind, the will, and the power for all the great and good things that have to be done, and it is not likely that that clan should surrender its powers and privileges in the one case of the training of its own children. How the idea of such a scheme can have occurred to anybody, how it can have been imagined that parents and schoolmasters in the most independent and active and enlightened class of English society, how it can have been supposed that the class which has done all the great things that have been done in all departments, will beg the government to send inspectors through its schools, when it can itself command whatever advantages exist, might seem unintelligible but for two or three considerations." These considerations do not much matter just now; but it is clear ho» perfectly Mr. ,Bazley's stand was a stand such ai it becomes a representative man like Mr. Bazley to make, and how well the Daily Telegraph might say of the speech, •• It was at once grand, genial, national, and distinct"; and the Morning Star of the speaker: "He talked to his constituents as Manchester people like to be talked to,—in the language of clear, manly intelligence, which penetrates through sophisms, ignores commonplaces, and gives to conventional illusions their true value. His speech was thoroughly instinct with that earnest good sense which characterizes Manchester, and which, indeed, may be (airly set down as the general characteristic of England and Englishmen everywhere."
Of course if Philistinism is characteristic of the British nation just now, it must in a special way le characteristic of the representative part of the British nation, — the part by which the British nation is what it is, and docs all its best things, — the middle class. And the newspapers, who have so many more means than I of knowing the truth, and who have that trenchant, authoritative style for communicating it which makes so great an impression, say that the British middle class is characterized, not by Philistinism, but by enlightenment; by a passion for penetrating through sophisms, ignoring commonplaces, and giving to conventional illusions their true value. Evidently it is nonsense, as the Daily Xeti says, to think that this great middle class which supplies the mind, the will, and the power for all the great and good things that have to be done, should want its schools, the nurseries of its admirable intelligence, meddled with. It may easily be imagined that all this, coming on the top of the Saturday Review'* rebuke of me for indecency, was enough to set me meditating; and after a long and painful self-examination, I saw that I had been making a great mistake.
I had been breaking one of my own cardinal rules: the rule to keep aloof from practice, and to confine myself to the slow and obscure work of trying to understand things, to see them as they
ire. So I was suffering deservedly in being taunted vita hawking about my nostrums of state schools for a class much too wise to want them, and of an Academy for people who have an inimitable style already. To be sure I had said that schools ought to be things of local, not state, institution and management, and that we ought not to have an Academy; but that makes no difference. I had been meddling with practice, proposing this and that, saying how it might be if we had established this or that I saw what danger I had been running in thus intruding into a sphere where I have no harness, and I resolved to offend in this way no more. Henceforward let Mr. Kinglake belabor the French as he will, let him describe as many tight, merciless lips as he likes; henceforward let Educational Homes stretch themselves out in The Times to the crack of doom, let Lord Fortescue bewitch the middle class with ever new blandishments, let any number of Mansion House meetings propound any number of patchwork schemes to avoid facing the real difficulty; I am dumb. I let reforming and instituting alone; I meddle with my neighbor's practice no more. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still, and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still, <nd he that is righteous, let him be righteous still, and ie that it holy, let him be holy still.
This I say as a sincere penitent; but I do not see that there is any harm in my still trying to know and understand things, if I keep humbly to that, and do not meddle with greater matters, which are out of my reach. So having once got into my head this notion of British Philistinism and of the want of clear and large intelligence in our middle class, I do cut consider myself bound at once to put away and crash such a notion, as people are told to do with their religious doubts; nor, when the Saturday Rerinc tells me that no nation in the world is so logical as the English nation, and the Morning Star, that oir grand national characteristic is a clear intelligence which penetrates through sophisms, ignores commonplaces, and gives to conventional illusions their true value, do I feel myself compelled to recure these propositions with absolute submission as articles of faith, transcending reason; indeed, this *oukl be transcendentalism, which the Saturday Rer"c condemns. Canvass them, then, as mere mature of speculation, I may; and having lately had occasion to travel on the Continent for many months, i'uing which I was thrown in company with a great variety of people, I remembered what Burns says of the profitableness of trying to see ourselves as others see us, and I kept on the watch for anything to confirm or contradict my old notion, in which, without absolutely giving it up, I had begun certainly to be much shaken and staggered.
I must sav that the foreign opinion about us is not it all like that of the Saturday Review and the Morn "J Star. I know how madly the foreigners envy a,aad that this must warp their judgment; I know, "'"•j, that this test of foreign opinion can never be '^isTe; I only take it for what it is worth, and as 1 contribution to our study of the matter in quesUn.
But I do really think that the admirers of our ."Teat middle class, which has, as its friends and *'.rmies both agree, risen into such preponderating importance of late years, and now returns the u sage of Commons, dictates the policy of Ministers, ^is the newspapers speak with its voice, and in tort governs the country, — I do think, I say, the admirers of this great class would be astounded if
they could hear how cavalierly a foreigner treats this country of their making and managing. "It is not so much that we dislike England," a Prussian official, with the graceful tact of his nation, said to me the other day, "as that we think little of her." The Cologne Gazette, perhaps the chief newspaper of Germany, published in the summer a series of letters, much esteemed, I believe, by military men, on the armies of the leading Continental powers. The writer was a German officer, but not a Prussian. Speaking of the false military system followed by the Emperor Nicholas, whose great aim was to turn his soldiers into perfectly drilled machines, and contrasting this with the free play left to the individual soldier in the French system: "In consequence of their purely mechanical training," says this writer, "the Russians, in spite of their splendid courage, were in the Crimean war constantly beaten by the French, nay, decidedly beaten even by the English and the Turks." Qt
Hardly a German newspaper can discuss territorial changes in Europe, but it will add, after its remarks on the probable policy of France in this or that event: "England will probably make a fuss, but what England thinks is of no importance." I believe the German newspapers must keep a phrase of that kind stereotyped, they use it so often. France is our very good friend just now, but at bottom our "clear intelligence penetrating through sophisms," and so on, is not held in much more esteem there than in Germany. One of the gravest and most moderate of French newspapers — a newspaper, too, our very good friend, like France herself, into the bargain — broke out lately, when some jealousy of the proposed Cholera Commission in the East was shown on this side the water, in terms which, though less rough than the "great fool" of the Saturday Review, were still far from flattering. "Let us speak to these English the only language they can comprehend. England lives for her trade; cholera interrupts trade; therefore it is for England's interest to join in precautions against cholera."
Compliments of this sort are displeasing to remember, displeasing to repeat; but their abundance strikes the attention; and then the happy unconsciousness of those at whom they are aimed, their state of imperturbable self-satisfaction, strikes the attention too, and makes an inquisitive mind quite eager to see its way clearly in this apparent game of cross purposes. For never, surely, was there such a game of cross- purposes played. It came to its height when Lord Palmerston died the other day. Lord Palmerston was England; "the best type of our age and country," The Times well called him; he was "a great representative man, emphatically the English Minister "; the interpreter of the wishes of that great middle class of this country which supplies the mind, the will, and the power requisite for all the great and good things that have to be done, and therefore "acknowledged by a whole people as their best impersonation."
Monsieur Thiers says of Pitt, that though he used and abused the strength of England, she was the second country in the world at the time of his death, and the first eight years afterwards. That was after Waterloo and the triumphs of Wellington. And that era of primacy and triumphs Lord Palmerston, say the English newspapers, has carried on to this hour. "What Wellington was as a soldier, that was Palmerston as a statesman." When I read these
* Ja, MlbBt von den Englindern und Tdrkern entochieden ge■chlagen.
words in some foreign city or other, I could not help rubbin«; my e>'es an^ asking myself if I was dreaming. Why, taking Lord Palmerston's career from 1830 (when he first became Foreign Secretary) to his death, there cannot be a shadow of doubt, for any one with eyes and ears in his head, that he found England the first power in the world's estimation, and that he leaves her the third, after France and the United States. I am no politician; I mean no disparagement at all to Lord Palmerston, to whose talents and qualities I hope I can do justice; and indeed it is not Lord Palmerston's policy, or any Minister's policy, that is in question here: it is the policy of all of us, it is the policy of England; for in a government such as ours is at present, it is only, as we are so often reminded, by interpreting public opinion, by being "the best type of his age and country," that a Minister governs; and Lord Palmerston's greatness lay precisely in our all "acknowledging him as our best impersonation."
Well, then, to this, our logic, our practical efforts in the way of criticism, our clear, manly intelligence penetrating through sophisms and ignoring commonplaces, and above all, our redoubtable phalanx possessing these advantages in the highest degree, our great middle class, which makes Parliament, and which supplies the mind, the will, and the power requisite for all the great and good things that have to Do done, have brought us to the third place in the world's estimation, instead of the first. He who disbelieves it, let him go round to every embassy in Europe and ask if it is not true.
The foreigners, indeed, are in no doubt as to the real authors of the policy of modern England; they know that ours is no longer a policy of Pitts and aristocracies, disposing of every movement of the hoodwinked nation to whom they dictate it; they know that our policy is now dictated by the strong middle part of England, — England happy, as Mr. Lowe, quoting Aristotle, says, in having her middle part strong and her extremes weak; and that, though we are administered by one of our weak extremes, the aristocracy, these managers administer us, as a weak extreme naturally must, with a nervous attention to the wishes of the strong middle part, whose agents they are.
It was not the aristocracy which made the Crimean war; it was the strong middle part, — the constituencies. It was the strong middle part which showered abuse and threats on Germany for mishandling Denmark; and when Germany gruffly answered, Come and stop «.«, slapped its pockets, and vowed that it had never had the slightest notion of pushing matters so far as this. It was the strong middle part which, by the voice of its favorite newspapers, kept threatening Germany, after she had snapped her fingers at us, with a future chastisement from France, just as a smarting school-boy threatens his bully with a drubbing to come from some big boy in the background. It was the strong middle part, speaking through the same newspapers, which was full of coldness, slights, and sermons for the American Federals during their late struggle; and as soon as they had succeeded, discovered that it had always wished them well, and that nothing was so much to be desired as that the United States, and we, should be the fastest friends possible. Some people will say that the aristocracy was an equal offender in this respect: very likely; but the behavior of the strong middle part makes more impression than the behavior of a weak extreme: and the more so, because from the middle class, their fellows
in numberless ways, the Americans expected sympathy, while from the aristocracy they expected none. And, in general, the faults with which foreigners reproach us in the matters named, — rash engagement, intemperate threatening, undignified retreat, ill-timed cordiality, — are not the faults of an aristocracy, by nature in such concerns prudent, reticent, dignified, sensitive on the point of honor; they are rather the faults of a rich middle claig,— testy, absolute, ill-acquainted with foreign matters, a little ignoble, very dull to perceive when it is nuking itself ridiculous.
I know the answer one gets at home when one says that England is not very highly considered just now on the Continent. There is first of all the envy to account for it, — that of course; and then onr clear intelligence is making a radical change in oar way of dealing with the Continent; the old, bad, aristocratical policy of incessantly intermeddling with the affairs of the Continent, — this it is getting rid of; it is leaving the miserable foreigners to themselves, to their wars, despotisms, bureaucracy, and hatred of free, prosperous England. A few inconveniences may arise before the transition from our old policy to our new is fairly accomplished, and we quite leave off the habit of meddling where our own interests are not at stake. We may be exposed to a little mortification in the passage, but our clear intelligence will discern any occasion where our interests are really at stake. Then we shall come forward and prove ourselves as strong as ever; and the foreigners, in spite of their envy, know it But what strikes me so much in all which these foreigners say is, that it is just this clear intelligence of ours that they appear at the present moment to hold cheap. Englishmen are often heard complaining of the little gratitude foreign nations show them for their sympathy, their good-will. The reason is, that the foreigners think that an Englishman's goodwill to a foreign cause, or dislike to it, a never grounded in a perception of it* real merits and bearings, but in some chance circumstance. They »ay the Englishman never, in these cases, really comprehends the situation, and so they can never feel him to be in living sympathy with them.
I have got into much trouble for calling my countrymen Philistines, and all through these remarks, I am determined never to use that word; but I wonder if there can be anything offensive in calling one's countryman a young man from the country, I hope not; and if not, I should *ay, for the benefit of those who have seen Mr. John Parry's amusing entertainment, that England and Englishmen, holding forth on some great crisis in a foreign country,— Poland, say, or Italy, — are apt to have on foreigners very much the effect of the young man from the country who talks to the nursemaid after she has up set the perambulator. There is a terrible crisis, and the discourse of the young man from the country, excellent in itself, is felt not to touch the crisis vitally. Nevertheless, on he goes; the perambulator lies a wreck, the child screams, the nursemaid wring* her hands, the old gentleman storms, the policeman gesticulates, the crowd thickens; still, that astonishing young man talks on, serenely unconscious that he is not at the centre of the situation.
Happening to be much thrown with certain foreigners, who criticised England in this sort of way, I used often to think what a short and ready way one of our hard-hitting English newspapers wouU take with these scorners, if they fell into its hand*. But being myself a mere seeker for truth, with noth