Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“

us.

sciousness of power and of past success. Altogeth- of Plassans." * These were the first experiments in er, “Haworth's" is a stronger and more matured that series which the author has since worked out work than “ That Lass o' Lowrie's," and it will cer. with such deadly persistency, and, with all the untainly not tend to abate the enthusiasm of Mrs. Bur. Alinching “realism ” of “ L'Assommoir,” possess very nett's admirers. The dialect which was so obtrusive little of its piercing insight and vivid intensity of in the former story is here used more sparingly, and characterization. There is a sense in which “ L'Asthe reader will probably not regret it ; but it seems sommoir" might truly be called a temperance story, also to have lost some of its raciness, though this since debauchery is certainly rendered revolting may come from the fact that it is more familiar to enough in it; but it is idle to pretend that there is

any moral motive or lesson of any kind in these earlier tales. If they have any meaning at all, ex.

cept an instinctive affinity for filth, they mean that Of all the innumerable speeches and orations the author has accepted as a genuine “working hy. that have been delivered in the English language, pothesis” the old theological doctrine of the total scarcely any others except those of Edmund Burke depravity of human nature, and is determined to and Daniel Webster have taken a high and apparent- vindicate it by appropriate pictures of life. Comly permanent place in the literatures of their respec- plaint is often made of the severe judgments passed tive countries. Those of Burke have so definitively by foreigners upon French social life; but if M. taken their place that, as Mr. Whipple says, for an Zola's pictures of it are even approximately true, educated man to confess ignorance of them “would then the restraints of decency would prevent any be a serious bar to his claim to be considered an

one except a Frenchman who had been perverted by English scholar." Those of Webster are not so

it from putting his opinion of it into words. universally acknowledged as literature, but more . . Many and various are the biographies of than any other speeches ever made in America they Abraham Lincoln that have been written, but we have exhibited a capacity for living beyond the oc- know of none which, as a narrative, is more vigcasion which called them forth, and are probably as

orous, animated, and pleasing, than that of Mr. much read and referred to to-day as at any time Charles G. Leland.f Indeed, the strictly narrative since they were delivered. This being so, the pub- portion is so good that one is tempted to regard it as lishers have done well by Mr. Webster and the pub- å misfortune that the author's subject led him over lic in issuing in a single convenient and inexpensive the still-smoking embers of the civil war. In this volume a selection of the most famous and charac- portion of his work he forgets his proper function teristic speeches, orations, and state papers, contained as a biographer, and assumes that of historian, and in the six-volume edition of Webster's works, as ed- seldom has a writer gratuitously undertaken a task ited by Mr. Everett.* The selection includes forty- for the right performance of which he shows himself nine titles, and comprises all the great orations by to be so utterly incompetent. Mr. Leland is one of which Webster laid the first foundations of his fame, those irreconcilables in whose bosoms the fiercest the best known of the speeches which he delivered passions of the civil war still rage as tumultuously as in the Senate of the United States, carefully chosen when the conflict was at its height; and his book, specimens of his legal arguments and state papers, gathering up anew the worst garbage of the worst and quite a number of the most famous occasional period of hate and exasperation, is of the kind which, addresses which he delivered at various periods of excusable and intelligible enough fifteen years ago, his life. Prefixed to the collection is a somewhat

must be regarded now by all sane and right-minded extensive essay by Mr. Edwin P. Whipple on “ Dan- people with a sort of horror. Happily, the history iel Webster as a Master of English Style,” which is thus concocted by Mr. Leland is too grotesque to rather over-refined and complicated in its analysis, mislead any one in his own country, but, as his book but which is full of suggestion for the student of lit

was written chiefly for the English market, it may erature in general, as well as for the student of Web. be well on this account to interpose a word of causter's special contributions to it. Taken as a whole, tion. Englishmen, who might be teinpted to draw the volume is a fair presentation of the character, the inference from Mr. Leland's book that we are a variety, and quality, of Webster's work, and, though people of whom about one half are savages, while a of course it is not an adequate substitute for the considerable proportion of the other half are traitors, complete edition of his writings, it ought to reach a are invited to consider the fact that Mr. Leland is far wider audience.

known to us only as the rather clever manufacturer ... It is necessary to keep resolutely in mind of dialect ballads, and that no one except himself all De Amicis's fine phrases in order to repress a would ever have imagined that he was entitled to feeling of unspeakable disgust in reading M. Zola's construct (and invent) history for us, or to "deal “Rougon-Macquart Family" | and “The Conquest damnation round the land" on all who happen to

* The Great Speeches and Orations of Daniel Web- differ with him in opinion. ster. With an Essay on Daniel Webster as a Master of * The Conquest of Plassans. By Emile Zola. TransEnglish Style. By Edwin P. Whipple. Boston: Little, lated by John Stirling. Philadelphia : T. B. Peterson & Brown & Co.

Brothers. 16mo, pp. 378. + The Rougon-Macquart Family. By Emile Zola. † Abraham Lincoln and the Abolition of Slavery in Translated by John Stirling. Philadelphia : T. B. the United States. By Charles Godfrey Leland. New Peterson & Brothers. 6mo.

York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. 16mo, pp. 246.

D

[blocks in formation]

(Continued.) BONAPARTE liked to recall his campaign in himself would have reaped some advantage from

Egypt, and it was, indeed, on this subject this union. that he became most easily animated. He had One of the first things which struck me when brought with him on this journey Monsieur I talked with Monsieur de Talleyrand was that Monge, the savant whom he had made senator, he was utterly devoid of enthusiasm in regard to and whom he especially liked, merely on the what was going on about him. He indulged in ground that he had been among members of the none of the illusions which the rest of the court Institute who had accompanied him to Egypt. felt in greater or less degree. They often talked together of that expedition- The absolute subjection of soldiers easily asof “that land of poetry,” as he called it—which sumes the air of devotion, of which quality there had enchanted Cæsar and Pompey. He dwelt was, to be sure, a great deal. The Ministry with enthusiasm on the time when he appeared affected or felt a profound admiration. Monsieur before the surprised Orientals as a new prophet. Maret literally worshiped the First Consul; BerThe influence he exercised over their imagina- thier regarded him with absolute confidence. tions he dwelt upon most especially.

Monsieur de Rémusat did his best to like the "In France," he said, “ all must be demon- life to which he submitted, and to esteem the strated point by point, but in Egypt we did not man who imposed it upon him. As to myself, need our mathematics !”

I allowed no opportunity to escape by which I It was at Brussels that I began to know could be touched and moved. Monsieur de Talleyrand. His haughty face and The calmness and indifference of Monsieur satirical smile had greatly awed me. The indo- de Talleyrand disconcerted me. lence of a life at court, which made some days “Good Heavens !" I once ventured to say to seem at least one hundred hours in length—when him; “ how can you endure to live without feeling we spent hours waiting until it pleased our mas- any emotion or receiving any impression from ter to show himself—threw us much together in what goes on about you?" the same salon. It was in one of these hours “Ah! what a very woman you are!” he said, of ennui that I heard Monsieur de Talleyrand “and how very young!” complain that his family had in no respect ful- And then he began to laugh at me as he filled the hopes he had formed for them. His laughed at everything. His jests hurt me, and brother Archambault de Périgord was in exile, yet they made me smile. I most reluctantly alaccused of having spoken in the mocking lan- lowed myself to be amused by his clever wittiguage which was characteristic of the race of cisms, while at the same time my vanity was persons high in rank, and had, above all, been gratified in being able to understand him, while guilty of the bad taste of refusing to give his at the same time I revolted at the aridness of his daughter to Eugène Beauharnais; he preferred heart. It was a long time before I really underto see her the wife of the Count Just de No- stood, and was sufficiently at ease with him to ailles. Monsieur de Talleyrand, who was quite understand, the singular mixture which composed as desirous of this marriage as was Madame his character. Bonaparte, spoke of his brother's conduct with great bitterness, and I at once understood he The republican year terminated, as usual, in

VOL. VII.-31

me.

them among

the young

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

the middle of September, and the anniversary of disturbed to find myself alone in the middle of the republic was celebrated by great fêtes and the camp, nor was I quite sure of what the Conwith royal pomp in the Palace of the Tuileries. sul would think of my coming. I was reassured, News came at the same time that the Hanove- however, by finding the servants all up, and being rians, conquered by General Mortier, had cele- told by them that I was expected, and that a brated the Consul's birthday. It was thus by room had been ready for me for two days. I degrees that he—first as head of all, and then all went to it at once, deeming it wiser not to apalone-accustomed Europe to see France only in pear before my husband until morning, lest I his person, presenting himself in the place of all should excite him. I found him very much proselse.

trated, but his joy was so evident on seeing me As Bonaparte fully realized the resistance he that I congratulated myself on having started at would encounter among the older part of the once without awaiting permission. community, he applied himself at once and most When the Consul had breakfasted he sent for adroitly to winning over the youth of France, to I was much agitated, which he saw as soon whom he opened doors to distinction. He at- as I entered the room. He kissed my hand, and tached auditors to the different ministers, and tranquillized me at once by his first words: opened a path to all ambitions, either in civil or “I expected you, and your presence will cure military life. He often said that he preferred to your husband." govern a new people, and he could only find I burst into tears; he seemed quite moved,

and took some pains to calm me. Then he told

me that I was to dine and breakfast with him, Bonaparte's brothers were all busy-Joseph saying, with a laugh at the camp at Boulogne; Louis in the Council “I must watch over a woman of your age, of State; Jerome, the youngest, in America, where thrown among all these officers !” he had been sent, and where he was well re- Then he asked me how I had left his wife. ceived by the Anglo-Americans. His sisters, Only a few days before his departure new diswho began to enjoy large fortunes, decorated putes had arisen in connection with Mademoiand improved the houses given them by the selle Georges. First Consul, and tried to eclipse each other by She disturbs herself," he said, “much more the luxury of their appointments. Eugène Beau- than is necessary. Josephine is in constant terharnais was absorbed in his military duties, while ror lest I should become seriously in love with his sister lived quietly-indeed, I may say, almost some one. She does not realize that Love and I sadly. Madame le Duc had fascinated the Prince were not made for each other. After all, what Borghese (who had recently arrived in France is love? A passion which sets all the world on from Rome), and was quite disposed to return one side, and on the other only the beloved obhis affection. The Prince asked her hand from ject. Most assuredly my nature is not such as Bonaparte, who for some reason unknown to me would submit to that sort of thing! Why, then, at first refused it.

should she care for these passing distractions Perhaps his vanity would not allow him to into which my affections never enter? See here!" accept with too much eagerness such a proposal, he continued, more seriously, and with a steadand that he wished a second application. But, fast look at me, “this is what her friends must as the liaison of these two persons became pub- say to her: they must persuade her to be more lic, he finally decided to legitimatize it by the reasonable, and they must not imagine that they marriage which took place at Mortefontaine dur- are acquiring an influence over me by augmenting the sojourn of the Consul at Boulogne. ing her uneasiness.”

He left to visit the camp and the flotilla on the In these last words there was a dash of se3d of November, 1803. As this journey was es- verity and distrust which I by no means deserved. sentially military, he was accompanied only by the And this I am quite sure he knew; but he never generals of his Guard, by his aides-de-camp, and lost an occasion of acting upon his favorite theoby Monsieur de Rémusat. On arriving at Pont ry, which was to keep every one on the qui vive de Briques, a small village about a league from that is to say, in a constant state of worry. Boulogne, where Bonaparte had fixed his head- He remained at Pont de Briques fully ten quarters, my husband was taken dangerously ill. days after my arrival there. My husband's illAs soon as I knew it I hastened to join him, and ness was painful and tedious, but the physicians reached Pont de Briques in the middle of the felt no apprehensions. Except the fifteen minnight. Absorbed in my anxiety, and thinking utes which I passed at the Consul's breakfastonly of the state in which I should find my dear table, my mornings were all spent in the room of husband, I had given no thought to anything my invalid. Bonaparte went to the camp every else; but, when I left the carriage, I was a little day, reviewed his troops, visited the flotilla, and

.

4

looked at some slight skirmishes, which were of felt that he had ceased to reign, for in politics constant occurrence between ourselves and the that which is once debased is never raised English, who hovered just outside the harbor again. with the intention of annoying the workmen. “On the roth of August I felt that, had I

At six o'clock Bonaparte returned, and then been summoned, I would have defended the I was sent for. Sometimes the officers of his King, and I rebelled against those who used the household dined with him, or the Minister of the people to found the republic. And then I saw Navy, or the Chief Engineer, who had accom- fellows in blouses attack men in uniforms; this panied him. On other days we were alone, and shocked me. then he talked freely of a multitude of things. “ Later I learned the métier of war; I went He liked to speak of himself. He said he had to Toulon; my name began to be known. On always been of a melancholy disposition. My my return I led an unoccupied life. Some secret memory has faithfully preserved the recollection instinct warned me that it was best to begin by of all he said to me on these occasions.

wasting my time. I was brought up,” he said to me, " at a “One evening I was at the theatre ; it was military school, where I evinced a taste only for the 12th Vendémiaire. I heard them say that the exact sciences. Everybody said of me, * There next day they expected du train; you know that is a boy who is good for nothing but geometry.' this was the habitual expression of the Parisians, I lived apart from my comrades. I had selected who had become accustomed to looking on with a quiet retreat in the school-inclosure where I indifference to the changes in the government so dreamed at my ease, for I delighted in reverie. long as their affairs, their pleasures, and even When my companions wished to intrude upon their dinners, were not interfered with. After me, and take possession of my little corner, I the “Reign of Terror' they were grateful even fought for it with all my strength, as I early felt, for permission to live. It was said that the that my will was to overrule others, and that Assembly was a permanent institution. I went what I wanted ought to belong to me. I was there, and saw only trouble and doubt. Sudnot liked at school ; it needs time to win affec- denly a voice was heard among the crowd : tion; and, even when I had nothing to do, I had 'If any one here knows the address of General a vague sort of feeling that I had no time to Bonaparte,' it said, “let him be informed that he lose.

is expected with all possible speed in the comWhen I went into service I found garrison- mittee-room of the Assembly.' life excessively wearisome; I fell into a way of “I have always been impressed by the apreading novels, and became quite absorbed in parent chance that brings about certain events. them. I even tried to write several. This occu- These words decided me. I went to the compation gave full scope to my imagination. I used mittee-room. also much of the positive knowledge I had ac- “I there found several of the deputies in a quired, and I often amused myself by trying to state of terror, among others Cambacérès. They bring my reveries within the bounds of reason. I expected to be attacked the next day, and did not lived in an ideal world, and sought to discover in know what course to adopt. My advice was what respects it differed from that in which I asked; I answered by asking for cannons. This lived. I have always loved analysis, and, if I proposition frightened them, and the whole night were ever seriously in love, I should dissect my was spent in this state of indecision. In the mornpassion bit by bit. Why?' and `How?' are ing came intelligence that was very bad. They questions so useful that one can never ask them bade me decide, and then raised the question too often. I did not study history so much as I whether we had the right to repel force by force. conquered it—that is to say, I read it, and kept in “. Will you wait,' I asked, “until the people my mind all which could give me material for give you permission to fire upon them? I am thought, and threw aside all the rest.

already compromised by your naming me pub“I did not understand the Revolution, and yet licly. It is only just to me that I should be alit suited me. The equality which was to elevate lowed to take some active measures.' Whereupon me I found seductive. On the 20th of June I I left these lawyers, who were talking themselves saw the populace march to the Tuileries. I never to death, and ordered out the troops, leveled two liked these movements of the populace. I was cannons at Saint-Roch, the effect of which was disgusted with the miserable appearance of these something terrible; the bourgeoisie and the concreatures, and was even imprudent enough to spiracy were swept away together in one instant. say to the officers who were at their head that But I had shed Parisian blood! It was a sac'the advantages of the Revolution would not rilege the result of which must be cooled down. fall to their share.' But when I was told that More and more did I feel that I was called to Louis XVI. had put the red cap on his head, I something. I asked for the command of the

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Army of Italy, where all was to be done. All is France, they never take any interest in things. was lacking there—men and ammunition. The customs of a monarchy have accustomed

“ Youth should be patient, because the future them to personifying everything. It is an unlies before it. I left for Italy with men who were wise thing to do for people who really care for full of enthusiasın, but were miserable as sol- liberty, but they never wish anything seriously, diers. In the center of the troops were wagons unless it be equality, and yet they would all recarefully guarded, which were empty, but I said nounce even that if each could be persuaded that they contained gold and silver. I ordered shoes he could be first. to be distributed to the recruits. No one wished “ To be equal as long as there are people to wear them. I told my men that fortune and above them, is what they mean by their cry of glory were waiting for us on the other side of the 'Egalité !'—then they all have a hope of rising. Alps. I kept my word, and from that time the "The great difficulty for the leaders was that army has been ready to follow me to the end of no one troubled himself about them, and that the world.

people troubled themselves too much about me. “My campaign was a glorious one; I be- I do not know what first put into my head the came a personage in Europe. I sustained the happy idea of going to Egypt. When I emrevolutionary system with one hand, with the barked I was by no means sure that I was not other I managed the émigrés in secret, allowing bidding an eternal farewell to France; but I was them to retain some vestiges of hope. It is very certain that she would recall me. easy to deceive these people because they start “ The seductions of an Oriental conquest atalways not from what is, but from what they wish tracted the attention of Europe to me more than it to be. I received magnificent offers in case I I had supposed possible. My imagination and would like to follow the example of General Monk. my practical experience this time worked to

The Pretendant himself wrote to me in his gether. I think, however, that my imagination hesitating and florid style. I conquered the died at Saint-Jean-d'Acre. At all events, I shall Pope by avoiding going to Rome, when I might never let her influence me again. have set fire to his capital. At last I was impor- “In Egypt I was free from the shackles of tant enough to be feared, but the Directory, irksome civilization ; I dreamed of all sorts of which I kept in a constant anxiety, could not things, and I saw a way of executing all that I bring any accusation against me. I was re- dreamed of. I created a religion, and I saw myproached for having encouraged the 18th Fructi- self on the point of penetrating Asia, seated on dor, which was much the same thing as if they an elephant, with a turban upon my head, and had reproached me for having supported the in my hand a new Koran, which I had composed Revolution. It was necessary to profit by this according to my own fancy. I should have Revolution, by the blood which had run at that gathered together for my enterprise the expetime. Did they wish to abandon themselves un- riences of two worlds. I should have attacked conditionally into the hands of the Bourbon British power in India, and by that conquest reprinces, who would have thrown in our faces all newed my relations with Europe. The time I the misfortunes which had followed their depar- passed in Egypt was the happiest of my life, for ture, and imposed silence upon us by the very it was the most ideal. But Fate decided otherneed we felt for their return? Should we change wise. I received letters from France, and saw our victorious banner for their white one which that I had not a moment to lose. I returned to was not afraid of being confounded with the real life and to Paris—to Paris, where the deepstandards of the enemy? And I, too—was I to est interests of the country are discussed, in the be content with a few millions and some duchy ? entr'acte of an opera.

" It was not as difficult a part to play as that The Directory trembled at my return. I of General Monk's; it would have given me less was extremely cautious. I saw the Abbé Sieyès trouble by far than the Egyptian campaign, or and promised him the execution of his verbose even than the 18th Brumaire; but it would have constitution; I received the Jacobin chiess—the been an experiment with princes who had never agents of the Bourbons. I refused advice to no seen a battle-field. To what did the return of one, but I gave it only in the interest and furtherCharles II. lead the English if not to the de- ance of my plans. I kept myself out of the way thronement of James ?

of the people, because I knew when the time “It is certain that I could have dethroned the came the curiosity to see me would bring them Bourbons a second time, had I pleased, and the about me in crowds. best advice that could have been given them “Everybody tumbled into my trap, and, when was to get rid of me.

I became the head of the Government, each “When I returned to France, I found opin- party in France looked forward with hope to my ons considerably mollified. In Paris, and Paris success.”

a

[ocr errors]
« AnkstesnisTęsti »