Imagens das páginas

Sir L.-I humbly thank you, Sir, for the quickness of your apprehension (bowing), you have named the very thing I would be at.

Captain A.-Very well, Sir: I shall certainly not baulk your inclinations; but I should be glad if you would please to explain your motives.

Sir L.-Pray, Sir, be easy: the quarrel is a very pretty quarrel as it stands; we should only spoil it by trying to explain it. However, your memory is very short, or you could not have forgot an affront you passed on me a week ago. So no more, but name your time and place.

Captain A.-Well, Sir, since you are so bent on it, the sooner the better: let it be this evening, here, by the Spring Gardens. We shall scarcely be interrupted.

Sir L.-Faith! that same interruption, in affairs of this nature, shows very great ill-breeding. I don't know what's the reason, but in England, if a thing of this kind gets wind, people make such a pother, that a gentleman can never fight in peace and quietness. However, if it's the same to you, Captain, I should take it as a particular kindness if you'd let us meet in King's Mead Fields, as a little business will call me there about six o'clock, and I may dispatch both matters at once.

Captain A.-'Tis the same to me exactly. A little after six, then, we will discuss this matter more seriously.

Sir L.-If you please, Sir; there will be very pretty small-sword light, though it won't do for a long shot. So that matter's settled! and my mind's at ease.

SHERIDAN," The Rivals."


Of the two instruments wielded by these masters of their art—namely, an English and English and a French army -Colonel Napier has spoken with the knowledge and with the enthusiasm of a soldier. The differences, and the peculiar excellences of each, are pointed out with a sagacity and precision that long experience and accurate knowledge could alone supply, and with that fairness and candour which always belongs to a generous and exalted spirit. Had the writers of both nations, when treating of this subject, so rife of prejudice, and hate, and national antipathy, always adopted the same tone of generosity and respect, we should not now have to lament the ill-feeling and suppressed rancour that still seem to rankle in the minds of both people. No man can rise from the perusal of Colonel Napier's history, without perceiving that his own mind has been influenced by the generous chivalry of the historian. The reader finds therein no tendency to contemn or to hate our great rivals in arms; no desire to depreciate their valour or military capacity; no bitter feeling of national animosity: for he is taught to know that, if we ourselves be worthy for courage, for daring enterprise, for patient suffering, we have ever found in the French a foe worthy as ourselves in all the virtues of a soldier ;— that throughout the long war described, a rich harvest of honour was reaped by both people, while none was lost by either. It had been well for the world if such were always the feelings created by those who

have treated of the hostilities (too constant indeed) between England and France. Neither nation would now have believed that aught was wanting to the full establishment of its military renown, or that for its glory any further deeds of arms were necessary. Mutual respect for the great achievements and great qualities of each other would have begotten permanent mutual regard, and an assured and continuous peace would lead to a noble emulation in those arts which conduce at once to the happiness as well as the glory of a people. A scientific history of war proves, beyond all doubt or cavil, that fortune domineers over war; and a moral may thence be derived which might conduce to peace and good-will among all nations. If fortune be supreme, victory is not the true test of merit. Defeat is no proof either of want of valour or of skill : the bravest may fail, the most far-sighted and skilful have the wisest councils crossed and thwarted by the merest stroke of chance.


The blind decrees of fate do not award the palm of merit as of victory; nor is merit to be determined by the vulgar test of success. No one who follows the history of the armies of France, in their struggle for the Peninsula, can fail to honour the valour of their soldiers, the skill of most of the commanders who led them, or be blind to the all-pervading genius, and the almost superhuman sagacity, prudence, and forethought of their chief; why, then, should an Englishman be taught to entertain any feeling but that of respect and admiration for the nation which sent these armies forth? or why should England and France still continue to be hostile, because a quarter of a century since, their

gallant armies waged a war with each other, wherein both gave great and equal proofs of valour and of skill? No matter what was the issue, each nation proved itself a foe well worthy of the other— and mutual worth should beget regard, not rancour. Edinburgh Review, January, 1841.

Part Second.


THE baseness of mankind is not to be estimated1 by the degree of their subserviency to2 a sovereign power; that standard would be an incorrect one.3 However submissive the men of the old régime may have been to the will of the King, one sort of obedience was altogether unknown to them; they knew not what it was to bow before an illegitimate or contested power-a power but little honoured, frequently despised, but which is willingly endured because it may be serviceable, or because it may hurt. To this degrading form of servitude they were ever strangers.

The King inspired them with feelings' which none of the most absolute princes who have since appeared in the world have been able to call forth, and which are become almost incomprehensible to the present generation, so entirely has the Revolution extirpated

1 The baseness, etc......estimated, il faut bien se garder d'évaluer la bassesse du genre humain-2 subserviency to, soumission envers-3 that standard would be an incorrect one, ce serait se servir d'une fausse mesure what it was to bow before, ce que c'était que se plier sous5 but little honoured, qu'on honore peu-6 which is willingly endured, qu'on subit volontiers inspired them with feelings, leur inspirait des sentiments have been able to call forth, n'a pu faire naître.

« AnteriorContinuar »