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telligence of my appointment with dred miles off; and if they do not
gun ; but it has cost us more millions
the bitterness of my heart; delay has “ But such enjoyment is only that ruined every thing. Our march to of the swine."
Paris, and our march to Georgium "Well, and is not that of the swine Sidus, will now be finished on the perfect ?--and what would you have same day." more than perfection?"
I attempted to laugh off his predicA huge herd of those creatures, tions, but he was intractable. basking along the miry edge of the business,” said he, “is all over. That river, helped his illustration. “Mr flag is the signal of European jealMarston, you have not been for the ousy—the apple of discord.
You are last month on the staff of the com going to England ; and, if you have mander-in-chief of the allied armies, any regard for my opinion, tell your or you would not look so incredulous. friends there to withdraw their troops Sir, man's senses may be as suit as soon as they can. That flag, which able for his purposes, as those of the pretends to partition France, will unito animals which we see wallowing it as one man. Our sages here are there." I stared, waiting for the actually about to play its game. Orconclusion. He proceeded.
ders have come to divide the army. man has drawbacks on his natural What folly! What inconceivable infaculties, which they have not. Pos- fatuation! In the very face of the sibly nature intended that we should most fantastic and furious population be as happy as they. But make nine of mankind, whom the most trivial tenths of them hewers of wood and success inflames into enthusiasts; they drawers of water—send some of them are going to break up their force, and to dungeons-enforce a conscription seek adventures by brigades and batamong the rest, and send them to use talions." their tusks upon each other, and the He stamped the ground with indigmost complacent of them would rebel: nation ; but, suddenly recovering his or, as the last trial of temper, put the calmness, he turned to me with his meekest of the race into a cabinet of grave smile. “I am ashamed, Marprinces and general - officers, them ston, of thus betraying a temper which selves controlled by a cabinet five hun, time ought to have cooled. But, after
all, what is public life but a bur " As to the fate of France, you lesque; a thing of ludicrous disap- should consult a prophet, not a Pruspointment; a tragedy, with a farce sian engineer—and one terribly tired always at hand to relieve the tedium of his trade besides,” was the reply. and the tinsel; the fall of kingdoms We parted; but the conversation was made laughable by the copper lace of not lost upon me. the stage wardrobe?”
By midnight I was on my journey. “Do you object to our duke?" My route lay through the Flemish
“Not in the least. He is person- provinces, whi had now recovered ally a gallant fellow; and if he wants all their luxuriance, if not derived adexperience, so must every man at one ditional animation from the activity time or other. His only error, hither. which every where follows the moveto, has been his condescending to ments of a successful army. Troops come at all with so small a force un marching to join the general advance der his command. No English army fréquently and strikingly diversified should ever plant its foot upon the the scene. Huge trains of the comContinent with less than fifty thou missariat were continually on the road. sand men on its muster-roll. The The little civic authorities were doubly duke's being put at the head of your conscious of the dignity of functions troops-only a division after all, which brought them into contact with seems to me the only wise thing that soldiership, from the quartermaster has been done. It was a declaration up to the general. But the contrast of the heartiness of your alliance; of the tumult which I left behind with and I honour your country for the the quietness of the scenes around me distinctness of the avowal. Your the haste, the anxiety, and the restking gives his son, as your country lessness of a huge camp, with the calm gives her soldiers, and your people of the fields, with the regularity which give their money. The whole was seemed to govern all the operations of manly, magnanimous, or, as the high- farming life, and with the grave opuest panegyric, it was English all over." lence of the old mansions, which seem
This language at once put an end ed to be formed for the natural recepto all my reserve. I shook his hand tacles of the wealth of Flemish fieldsin the spirit of old friendship; and, on at once refreshed me after the mental our parting, extracted a promise of fever in which I had tossed so long, keeping up our communication on all and perhaps impressed on me more possible opportunities. We had al- deeply the parting advice of my friend ready separated, when I heard my the philosopher. name called again, and Guiscard re But, from the moment when I touched turned. “I had forgotten,” said he, British ground, the whole sleepy tran"to tell you what I was most anxious quillity which gathers over every man to say. If I had seen no other prospect in the quietude of Flanders, where man for you, I should be the last man to seems to bave followed the same plough make you discontented with your pro- from the deluge, had utterly vanished. fession. My only request is, that I was in the midst of a nation in a when you once more tread on English ferment. The war was the universal ground, you will seriously consider whe- topic; party was in full life. From ther you will continue in the army. If the inn at Dover up to the waitingI know you at all, I think that you room at the Horse-Guards, I heard would not be altogether satisfied with nothing but politics. The conduct of wearing your epaulettes at reviews our army—the absurdity of every thing and parades. And, if I am not en that had been done, or left undone tirely mistaken, you will have nothing the failures of the Allies—the fanatielse for the next dozen years. Your
cism of the French- the hopes of popuarmy are moving homewards already. lar liberty on one side, and the indignaYou are now in the secret."
tion of established power on the other "But is the campaign absolutely -came rushing round me in a chaos coming to an end? Are the hopes of of discordant conceptions, that for the attacking the French so suddenly time bewildered me.
How simple given up? Is France always to was the gossip of the camp to this bafile us ?" was my vexed question. heterogeneous mass of struggling to.
pics! How straightforward was even of your head. An English House the wild haranguing of the Palais does not want orators.
One on a Royal to the thousand reports and side is quite enough. They are like protests, remonstrances and replica- the gold plate on a sideboard ; it is tions, of the whole ringing and raging well to show that we have such things, public mind of England! This was for the honour of our establishment; the age of pamphleteering. Every but no one thinks of making use of sage who could, or could not, write, them at table. Pitt is an exception ; flung his pamphlet in the teeth of he is equal to every thing; an incomthe party whose existence he conceived parable man of business. Burke, or to be ruinous to his country, or per some other man of metaphor, comhaps prejudicial to his own prospect pared him to the falcon; which, how: of a sinecure. The journals printed ever high it may soar, always follows their columns in gall; the satirists the
prey with its eye along the ground. dipped their pens in concentrated acid; But two Pitts, if nature could be prothe popular haranguers dashed the oil lific of such magnificent monsters, of vitriol of contempt in each other's would absolutely perplex us. What faces. The confusion, the collision, could be more confusing than to have the uproar, was indescribable.
two suns shining at the same time?” But my whole experience of public “But is Fox nothing ?” I asked. life has told me, that however the po "A great deal,” was the answer. pular opinion may be wrong, the pub " He is the finest talker, I suppose, lic opinion is right; and I felt that in the world. The first of babblers." the nation was already adverse to the " Of babblers !” I involuntarily reconduct of the campaign. The utmost peated. skill of the cabinet was required to “Yes; for what is babbling but prevent a dangerous reaction. The speaking in vain, pouring out endless member of administration with whom speculations without a purpose or the my chief intercourse officially existed, hope of a purpose, indulging a rewas the same manly and kind-natured markably powerful and productive individual to whom I had formerly mind with the waste of its own con.been indebted for so much civility; ceptions, pouring out a whole coinand, as if proud of his own work, his age of splendid thoughts with no civility now took the form of friend more expectancy of practical result ship. Ill news came from abroad; than if he poured the mint into the and I expressed my impatience of re Thames? You may rely upon it that maining with the pen in my hand, when such is the opinion of the House, as I should have worn my sword. To it will be yours when you get there; all my suggestions on the subject, the and such will be that of posterity, if good-humoured answer was, that my they shall ever take the trouble to services were still necessary at home. think about any of us. At length, on my making a decided This conversation was evidently request that I should be permitted to more than accidental; and I gave to return to my regiment, he told me in it some of my most perplexing hours. confidence that the campaign was I had an original fondness for the life probably at an end ; that the British
I was of the age to feel its commander-in-chief was about to re- variety, animation, and ardour. My turn; and that, in fact, the strength experience had been fortunate; I had of England would be turned to the seen nothing but victory, and had naval war. At the close of one of been flattered by personal distinction. those conversations, fixing his keen But then came the reverse of the megrey eye upon me, he said, “ Pray, dal. I remembered the opinion of what think you of Parliament?” My the most sagacious and penetrating answer was, That mediocrity was spirit which it had been my lot ever more contemptible there than any to know; and I felt that the Continent where else; while success was more was to be our field of battle no longer. difficult."
The languor of home service, to one " You mean such success as Pitt's: who had seen war in its stateliest you mean victory. But you must get shape, and in its most powerful actithese Greek and Roman notions out vity, rose before my mind with an
inexpressible sense of weariness. On of France. My habits were always the other hand, supposing that I pos- prompt. Before the hour was over sessed the faculties for political life, was in which the gazette appeared, I I possessed of the temper, the endu- waited on my ministerial friend, and rance of toil, the measureless patience, expressed my full acquiescence in his the inexhaustible equanimity, which proposal. every night of my public existence I pass by the process of getting into would henceforch demand ? Why Parliament. It was then a simpler was this heart-wearying struggle to matter than it has since become. A be preferred to the simple and straight treasury borough was then the gate forward pursuit of an honourable pro- through which all the leading names fession, in which the only weight was of the country had entered the legisthe carrying of my sword, and the lature, and I merely followed the path only secret of distinction possessing of all but the lords of acres. an untarnished name?
Every man who will make himself But I soon made up my mind. The master of an occupation must serve question narrowed itself to this: which an apprenticeship. Parliament, too, was the more active life? The point of has its seven years' indentures, and honour was no longer the adherence the few who have refused the training to a profession whose purposes were have seldom been the wiser for their necessarily changed. Every hour precipitancy. I “bided my time,” gave additional evidence that the taking a slight occasional share in gates of the Continent were closing debates with whose topics I happenupon the English soldier. Influence, ed to be well acquainted; and expectimpression, publicity, were the prizes ing the chances, which, to every one of a political career. I saw all other who employs himself vigorously, are names fade before the great senato all but certainties. Still I felt that rial names of England. I saw men this mere hovering on the outskirts of of humble extraction filling the world debate must not last too long, and with their fame. I saw a succession that nothing was more hazardous to of individuals, who, if their profession final reputation than to be too slow had been arms, or if their birth-place in attempting to lay its first stone. had been the Continent, would have Yet I felt some difficulty in every lived and died in the routine of obscure great question; and, after bracing service, here rising to the height of my nerves for the onset, I always national homage, lustres of their gene found my courage fail at the sight of ration, and guiding by their opinions the actual encounter.
I felt as a the courts of Europe. Whether I young knight might have felt in some should ever take my place among of the tilting-matches of old-master those illustrious names, scarcely enter of his charger in the open field, and ed into my thoughts. But I was de delighting in the pressure of his artermined never to waste my life in mour and the weight of his lance; conscious indolence. Scarcely know but when he once rode within the ing what faculties I might possess, I barrier, saw the galleries filled, and had fully resolved on trying their ut the heralds lifting the trumpets to most strength ; and grown almost their lips, feeling his blood grow chill, indifferent to the ordinary pursuits of and the light depart from his eyes. human indulgence, I looked with I mentioned my embarrassment to something of a melancholy yet proud my Scottish friend, and almost exhope, to the enjoyment which was to pected a remonstrance. To my great be found in giving myself up to the surprise and infinite pleasure, he consolitary and stern toil of living for a gratulated me.
- You cannot give great cause, and leaving a name be a better sign,” said he. “My only hind me that should not be forgotten. fear of you was, that you would dash
On that very day the intelligence ar into debate at once, like a tumbler rived that the British troops had march- jumping from a precipice; and that, ed towards the north of Germany; that like him, all that you would have the royal duke had returned to Eng- gained by it would be broken limbs land; and that the Allies had, by com for life. If the fellow had kept to his mon consent, abandoned the invasion slack-rope and his stage, he would
have been safe enough, and gained spirit of the empire. It still stood, some applause besides."
but it stood dismantled; there were " But what is to be done in the evident breaches in its walls, and the House, without some hazard of the fugitives of Opposition, rallying with kind?"
the hope of success, advanced again "Wrong-quite wrong. A great to the storm, headed by their great deal is to be done. Take myself for leader, and sustained by the caprithe example. You see where I am, cious and fluctuating multitude. The and yet I never made a speech in my premier was harassed by the inceslife. From the beginning of my career,
sant toil of defence-a toil in which I never allowed any one to look for he had scarcely a sharer, and which any thing of the kind from me ; and exposed him to the most remorseless the consequence was, that by some I hostility. Yet, if the historian were was regarded as a much shrewder to choose the moment for his true personage than I ever believed myself fame, this was the moment which to be; and by others was thought to ought to be chosen. He rose with know a great deal more than I ever the severity of the struggle; assault acquired.
seemed to give him new vigour; the “But will this account for the rapid attempt to tear the robe of office from distinctions of your public life?" his shoulders only gave the nobler
Perfectly, so far as they have display of his intellectual proportions. gone. I obtained ministerial confi When I saw him, night after night, dence on the essential merits of being standing almost alone, with nothing a safe man-one who made no ambi but disaster in front and timidity in tious attempts to lower the crests of the rear, combating a force such as those above me. I escaped the jea- had never before been arrayed under lousy of those below me by adopting the banners of Opposition; the whole the style which mediocrity assumes scene of magnificent conflict and still by nature. I was thus like the senior grander fortitude, reminded me of the subaltern in a marching regiment-I Homeric war and its warriors.—The wore the same uniform with the colo- champion of the kingdom, standing nel, and went through the same exer forth in despite of evil omens thickcise with the ensign. The field-officers ening round him, of the deepening knew that I would not tread upon cloud, and the sinister thunders. their heels, and every subaltern wish I speak of those times, and of the ed to see my promotion, as a step to great men of those times, in no invihis own.
dious contrast with later days. I have My official duties, the- mere en so strong a faith in the infinite ability trance into office, occupied me labori- which freedom gives to a great emously for a while, and I felt all the pire, that I am convinced of our being habitual difficulties of my noviciate. able, in all its eras, to find the species It had been fully my intention to fol of public talent essential to its serlow the advice of my experienced vices. I regard the national mind, as friend, and leave the hour which was the philosopher does the natural soil, to call for my exertions in the House always capable of the essential proto the chances of the time. But that duce, where we give it the due tillage. time came more rapidly than I had The great men of the past century expected. The public mind was fe have passed away along with it; they vered, hour by hour; the news from were summoned for a day of conflict, the Continent was more and more and were formed for the conflict; their startling; the successes of the Republi- muscular vigour, the power with which can armies had assumed a shape which they wielded their weapons, the giant our desponding politicians regarded as step and the giant hand, were all invincibility, and which our factious necessary, and were all shaped and ones pronounced to be the ruin of sustained by that necessity. But this Europe. The cabinet offered only the day had its close; the leaders of manprospect of a melancholy struggle. like the “ mighty hunters” of an Age, But six months before, it had stood, when the land was still overshadowed strong as a citadel erected by the with the forest, and the harvest was national hands, and garrisoned by the overrun with the lion and the panther,