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whose manner is simply the offspring of their own overcharged minds.
They denounce without force, they entreat without persuasion. They paint without colour, and they mould, and leave no form after them. They rant, rave, and riot, sob, shudder, and weep; and all the result is stunned ears to the congregation and sore throats to themselves. They are ineffective because they are not natural. It is their own intense unreality destroys all their usefulness, and mars all their efforts at good.
The very fact that a man is addressing you in a counterfeit voice impugns his sincerity; for be it remembered these are not the men who carry you away by the magic power of their eloquence, bearing you aloft to a region high above all you have ever soared in, and enchanting you with visions that only Genius discloses to mortal eyes. The men I mean here are taken from the common heap of humanity they have few gifts, they have no graces; and whenever they borrow an illustration or steal a figure from their more ornate brethren, they use it as awkwardly as the Otaheitian chief who wore his copper sauce-pan as a helmet.
A perverse ambition to be something that nature never meant them for an insensate desire to emulate what is far and away beyond their reach-stirs them up to these furious efforts; and there is a something in the effect of a man's voice upon himself—a sort of reduplication of self-esteem-that is positively intoxicating. They fancy that they have discovered the secret, caught the trick of success, and they are madly eager and im
patient for the day when they too shall send a congregation away overcome with hysteric emotion, panting with religious excitement, and thirsting for more. These men, like all imitators, only copy the faults of their models. Like the gentleman who in reading Locke mistook the peculiarities of style for points in the argument, they treasure up all the eccentricities of some popular preacher, and retail them as excellencies. Such are the victims of Parsonitis. These are the men that an austere Nemesis sends over the Alps mute and voiceless and, to my thinking, far more persuasive in the eloquence of their silent gentleness than ever they were in this rapt and erratic oratory.
Let the Rev. Paul Slowcoach cease to emulate the Rev. Hugh Highflier; let him be simple, natural, and unaffected; let him employ the same earnestness in the pulpit to save sinners that he would make use of to exhort Mrs S. to some act of domestic economy, or to restrain a restive son from indiscretion. Let him be real, earnest, and truthful to his own nature. In one word, let him avoid all mention of Mesopotamia, and I'll warrent him he'll suffer very little from the pangs of Parsonitis.
But one word more. Should any impartial layman imagine that the cause I have here stated is insufficient for the effect-should he maintain that a mere affectation could scarcely produce a malady,— I only ask him to perform a walk of say ten miles daily on the tips of his toes. Let him try this for a month; and if his back-sinews do not admonish him to return to ordinary progression, my name isn't Cornelius.
allow him to have one shot at the brood? The fellow replied, "A crown.' Sheridan fired, and tumbled seven of them. "Well, my honest friend, how do you like your bargain?" asked he, triumphantly. "Well enough," muttered the other; "the dooks is nane o' mine."
History, they tell us, repeats itself, and I am disposed to believe it; for this story of the ducks is precisely the story of the French policy in Italy. The Emperor no more owned the duchies of Modena, Parma, and Tuscany, than the clown owned the ducks, but he gave Victor Emmanuel a "shot at them" in exchange for Nice and Savoy. Like the country fellow, too, he went off grinning, and saying, "They be none o' mine," thereby hinting that there might come a day of reckoning with the owner which might be far from agreeable.
Now we are in the daily habit of hearing the most fulsome praises of this great Prince; and so successful is success, that even the journals which once took a fairer and juster measure of his capacity, are now, simply by force of the fact that he sleeps nightly at the Tuileries, disposed to accord him all the prescience of a statesman and all the skill of a great general.
I declare I have an ardent desire always to agree with the people around me. I am never so well pleased as when I can concur with a prevailing opinion; and I'm not sure that I wouldn't rather put a little mild coercion on my conscience than dissent from the judgments of "the company.' But here I own I cannot. I could no more believe in the greatness of Louis Napoleon than in spirit-rapping. Our credulity is sorely taxed in England: we have to believe Lord Palmerston a wit and Mr Cobden a sage; we have to swallow Carlyle's English, and affect to like it; and when I land at Dover I do each and all of these things. I prefer the muttonchop at the Lord Warden to my little dinner at the Cadran Rouge. I like the red-petticoated damsels in the
Bad-moral boots better than the trimmest Parisian ankles. I go in to admire Buckstone and bitter beer, and all that is English; butand this I resist to the death— nothing shall persuade me that the Emperor of the French is other than a third-rate man, who might have possibly distinguished himself as a police functionary or a solicitor, but has as much claim to high statecraft as Jem Mace to be an authority on the Pentateuch. Let any of us humble folk only enjoy that nice privilege I have just spoken of-let us only sell what doesn't belong to us-and what a snug little competence we should lay up for our declining years! His last coup of this kind was the Franco-Italian treaty. This time it is indeed a very choice lot he submits to public competition. "No reserve, gentlemen; His Holiness must be knocked down to the highest bidder, for the place is already disposed of to the 'party next door.' What a condition for a Pope! Garibaldi's Hymn thundering at the Vatican! infallibility going, one may say, for a song!
Austria would like, if she dared, to make a bid. She would like better still to protest against the sale, but how can she? The Pope was not true to the Holy Roman Empire once before, and he cannot be trusted; besides, Austria is weak.
Sheridan-I go to him once more for an illustration-coming home full of wine from a dinner, heard a voice from the channel of the street, in tones of evident ebriety, saying, "Lift me up-lift me up.' "No," said Brinsley, "that's impossible; but I'll tell you what I'll do: I'll lie down beside you." Such is the answer Austria gives the Holy See -"We can't lift you up, but we'll lie down beside you.'
It is very consoling to us small fry in the world's fish-pond that these leviathans only repeat in their policy what we blunder out in our potations.
But this is not all. When by any accident there is a European
rumpus, in which France takes no active part, maintaining what the Parisian papers call the "Dignified Attitude that becomes her," the Emperor, who naturally feels he cannot give away that for which others have fought and conquered, coolly steps in and declares that whoever obtains it will have become, by the added territory, inconveniently strong for France, and that, in consequence, he himself must have something somewhere of somebody else's to redress the balance, and enable France to go on maintaining the "Dignified Attitude" aforesaid. Now, when these two elements constitute a policy, I cannot but think that the rest of the world must fare ill at every attempt they make to recolour the map of Europe.
This is in reality, in our own age, very little else than the practice of feudal times. It is blackmail over again, and Louis Napoleon is the Gregor Macgregor of Europe. The Prussians have let it get abroad that they mean to annex some of the Danish spoils. Austria, who lent her aid to win them, sulks; but France, the generous France-that country which alone of Europe enters the arena for glory, and not for gain-steps in and says, "The price of this piece of Jutland is Sarre-Louis; don't higgle. This is the prix fixé establishment, and we neither come down nor give credit."
Last of all, where he cannot take territory he takes patronage. If he can't absorb the estate, he at least names the agent, as we saw a few days back in Mexico.
How pleasant it must be to work under such a master! How it simplifies all the details of office! How straight and clear it makes the path of duty! Let the representative of France be at CochinChina or Lancaster Sound, he knows, he "appreciates," as the phrase is, "the benign intentions of the Emperor." Messrs Benasset, of the gaming-tables at Baden and Homburg, stipulate that they are to
have the "zero" for themselves, and the advantage is estimated at about eight or ten per cent on all the sums staked at the table. Of course, the more money that is played the more is their gain. You and I may wage a fierce war on each other in black and red, but the Messrs Benasset, who look on, have only to wait for their zero ; and eventually, by a mathematical certainty, if we only play long enough, we shall both be ruined, and they acquire all that we once possessed. This is precisely what the Emperor does. He seldom plays, but merely contents himself with the zero. Ten per cent on the game, gentlemen, and the aprés. Ah, these aprés; these are my perquisites. Faites votre jeu," and you'll see what will come of it.
I don't wonder John Bull sulked, and took an oath against play. He used to like his game once well enough; he was generally lucky, and though he was not always goodhumoured when he lost, he booked up like a gentleman, and nobody ever called him defaulter. Now, however, this newfangled game irritates him. It's not on the square. That "Mossoo" there knows more about the balls than he ought, and he charges, besides, too much for the "tables.”
My own impression is "Bull" is right. A respectable tradesman cannot mind his shop in the day if he passes his nights in a hell. We all know where the business would go if he were to do so; and for this reason I say, Keep away from that French roulette-table; or if you must play, play low-never "stake a Sovereign."
If the Italians could learn a little of this prudence it would stand them in good stead; but they have got a greedy fit on them just now, and their fingers are itching for gain. Surely they might see that, even if they succeed to the inheritance, the legacy-duty will run away with one-half of it—ay, and Louis Napoleon will have it too, and suffer no one to tax his costs."
This man is the Benasset of The politics, and nothing more. The game pays admirably, for it is a gambling era just now. All the lethargic laziness of a long peace has been succeeded by a spirit of venture and hazard. Italy has had a run, and wants to back her luck to the end. Cautious Prussia, that never risked a groschen, has gone in for a coup at Holstein. Even Spain-dreary, old, repudiating, disreputable Spain-has managed to get a few gold pieces together, and been trying a little game with Morocco. France, the bland croupier, everywhere cries, "Try your luck, gentlemen!" "Faint heart,' &c. Even John, businesslike old dog that he is, jingles his half-crowns in his pocket and longs to be at it. Was there ever such a time for a hell-keeper as this? It is only necessary to light the rooms and open the doors, the company fill the place immediately. All honest industry, in such an age, is the pace of the tortoise over the course at Newmarket: it is a theory bygone, out of place, unthought of. No wonder is it that the careful, plodding, unambitious course of England should seem degenerate and mean amidst all these highspirited bloods, flinging their stakes so boldly on the table, and reckless, to all seeming, whether they win or lose.
There are now and then, in the order of nature, disturbing events occurring, which no forecasting could ever have either anticipated or averted. They are things so really out of all calculation, that all we have to do is to watch their course, and learn, if we may, somewhat for future guidance. Now one of this nature was the late burst of enthusiastic nationality over Germany. Who could have believed this ?-who have foreseen it? Is there any creature-one part statesman and three parts poet
could have risen to the mere imagination of a frantic Germany-a Germany eager for liberty, crying wildly aloud not to be parcelled
That a green - surfaced pond, duck-weeded and frog-spawned, stagnant for ages, and unmoved by every air of heaven, should suddenly imagine itself to be a great fluid of strong elements and incalculable power, and should set to work to lash itself into fermentation by way of becoming brandy, would not be one whit stranger or more absurd than this great German de monstration.
That such movements are utterly abnormal, that they lie neither in the genius nor in the instincts of the nation, we may see by the simple fact that none of the statesmen of the country knew in the least how to deal with them. They stood there, panic-stricken and confounded, like the doctors of Europe at the first visitation of Oriental cholera!
What fun it must have been for the grand Charlatan of the Tuileries, as, watching it all, he murmured to himself, "They'll never be able to treat this case; they'll have to come to me." And there is no doubt, if the symptoms had not subsided, such would have been the upshot. Grave talking there was of a new Confederation of the Rhine, and small Princes began to reflect whether it might not be better to become French Prefects than Imperial or Royal Chamberlains. As for the people, they stood like a great flock of sheep, as they are, staring at the peril with a steadfastness that looked like daring; but they scampered away at the first crack of Bismarck's whip, and they have never turned since.
In such an age, with such elements as these around us, greatness is surely not difficult of attainment; and the "Dignified Attitude of
France" can be preserved, even though it be represented by a foot upon a friend's throat, and a hand in a neighbour's pocket.
I was very wroth for a considerable time with that fat man-Mr Banting I think he is called-who has been boring the world for some months back with accounts of his decrease in size, till I bethought me that possibly I might have been doing him a foul wrong, and imputing to selfish motives, and a taste for notoriety, what in reality might turn out to be very highminded and elevated patriotism.
My first impression was, Here is a corpulent old humbug, who has no greater or more ennobling task in life than to measure his girth round the waist, weigh his fat sides, and keep a register of his palpitations as he goes up-stairs to bed-publishing, too, to the world these experiences, as if they were great boons and blessings to humanity, and proclaiming aloud how and by what subtle devices he contrived to grow thinner; and all this nasty balderdash―nasty it unquestionably is-in a land where misery and destitution abound, and where we read such a heading to a paragraph in our newspapers as "Death by Starvation.” Of what stuff must a man be made who can see his digestional diary printed in the same column that reveals a death from actual want? Of what, besides "fat," must a creature be compounded, who can go on from day to day recording the effects produced upon his heavy carcass by abstention from saccharine matter and suchlike, when the great monster Misery stares us in the face that there are people without any food at all-that there are men and women, blue-lipped and gaunt with famine, hollow eyed and jaw-sunken, crawling about in search of garbage and offal?
We used to be disgusted at the aldermanic envy of the beggar who declared he had not eaten for twenty-four hours, expressing itself in the outburst, “Oh, if I had your appetite!" but what shall we say to this mass of heaving blubber that only cries out to be decreased, of repletion that implores to be drained, in the very crisis of cotton-famine, of Irish want, and of almost universal destitution! When the Queen of France suggested giving brioche to the starving populace, she was only ignorant, not unfeeling. When a Duke of Norfolk proposed curry-powder to the famine-stricken in Ireland, he was simply talking like a very kindhearted but addle-headed old gentleman, who knew nothing of the malady for which he was prescribing. But here is far worse: here is a man who, in a day of great pressure and want, when the energy of every thoughtful man is taxed to think by what contrivance the souls and bodies of some hundred thousand people are to be held together, comes forward to tell us, not how to support life, not how to keep the spark alight with some cheap substitute for fuel, not how to maintain the faint flicker alive by some newly-found expedient, but how he has contrived to keep down his own redundant heat-to put slack upon the over-exuberant blaze of his own personal hearth.
Can indecency and selfishness go farther?
Corpulency is unpleasant, so is a tight boot; but don't expatiate on either to people who are hungry or who go barefoot. Your coat may be too tight in the sleeve, but don't talk of it in the society of the halfnaked. And this is precisely what this fat man is doing! Good hea