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humbler rank. If an offender was put into the pillory," it was well if he escaped with life from the shower of brick-bats and paving-stones. If he was tied to the cart's tail, the crowd pressed round him, imploring the hangman to give it the fellow well, and make him howl.
5. Gentlemen arranged parties of pleasure to Bridewell" on court days, for the purpose of seeing the wretched women who beat hemp there whipped. A man pressed to death for refusing to pldhd, a woman burned for coining, excited less sympathy than is now felt for a galled horse or an over-driven ox. Fights compared with which a boxing-match is a refined and humane spectacle were among the favorite diversions of a large part of the town. Multitudes assembled to see gladiators0 hack each other to pieces with deadly weapons, and shouted with delight when one of the combatants lost a finger or an eye.
6. The prisons were hells' on earth, seminaries of every crime and of every disease. At the assi'zes," the lean and yellow culprits brought with them from their cells to the dock" an atmosphere of stench and pestilence which sometimes avenged them signally on bench, bar, and jury. But on all this misery society looked with profound indifference. Nowhere could be found that sensitive and restless compassion which, in our time, pries into the stores and water-casks of every emigrant ship, which winces at every lash laid on the back of a drunken soldier, which will not suffer the thief in the hulks1' to be ill fed or over-worked, and which has repeatedly endeavored to save the life even of the murderer.
7. It is true that compassion ought, like all other feelings, to } e under the government of reason, and has, for want of such government, produced some ridiculous and some deplorable effects. But, the more we study the annals of the past, the more shall we rejoice that we live in a merciful age, in an age in which cruelty is abhorred, and in which pain, even when deserved, is inflicted reluctantly and from a sense of duty. Every class, doubtless, has gained largely by this great moral change; but the class which has gained most, is the poorest, the most dependent, and the most defenceless. Macaulav.
CLXI. — GIL*' BLAS AND THE ARCHBISHOP.
Archbishop. What is your business with me, my friend? CHI Bias. I am the young man who was recommended to yoa by your nephew,60 Don Fernando.
Arch. O! you are tho person of whom he spoke so hand iSomely. I retain you in my service, I regard you as an acquisition. Your education, it would seem, has not been neglected; you know enough of Greek and Latin for my purpose, and youi handwriting suits me. I am obliged to my nephew for sending me so clever a young fellow. So good a copyist must be also a grammarian. Tell me, did you find nothing in the sermon you transcribed for me which shocked your taste ? — no little negligence of style, or impropriety of diction?
Gil B. O, sir! I am not qualified to play the critic; and if I were, I am persuaded that your Grace's compositions would defy censure.
Arch. Ahem! well, 1 do flatter myself that not many flaws could be picked in them. But, my young friend, tell me what passages struck you most forcibly.
Gil B. If, where all was excellent, any passages more particularly moved me, they were those personifying hope and describing the good man's death.
Arch. You show an accurate taste and delicate, appreciation. I see your judgment may be relied upon. Give yourself no inquietude, Gil Bias, in regard to your advancement in life. I will take care of that. I have an affection for you, and, to prove it, I will now make you my confidant. Yes, my young friend, I will make you the depositary of my most secret thoughts. Listen to what I have to say. I am fond of preaching, and my sermons are not without effect upon my hearers. The conversions of which I am the humble instrument ought to content me. But, — shall I confess my weakness?—my reputation as a finished orator is what gratifies me most. My productions are celebrated as at once vigorous and elegant. But I would, of all things, avoid the mistake of those authors who do not know when to stop — I would produce nothing beneath my reputation; I would retire seasonably, ere that is impaired. And so, my dear Gil Bias, one thing I exact of your zeal, which is, that when you shall find that my pen begins to flag and to give signs of old age in the owner, you shall not hesitate to apprise me of the fact. Do not be afraid that I shall take it unkindly. I cannot trust my own judgment on this point; self-love may mislead me. A disinterested understanding is what I require for my guidanceI make choice of yours, and mean to abide by your decision.
Gil B. Thank Heaven, sir, the period is likely to be far distant when any such hint shall be needed. Besides, a genius like yours will wear better than that of an inferior man; or, to •peak more justly, your faculties are above the encroachments ii age. Instead of being weakened, they promise to be invigorated
Arch. No flattery, my friend. I am well aware that I am liable to give way at any time, all at once. At my age, certain infirmities of the flesh are unavoidable, and they must needs affect the mental powers. I repeat it, Gil Bias, so soon as you shall perceive the slightest symptom of deterioration in my writings, give me fair warning. Do not shrink from being perfectly candid and sincere; for I shall receive such a monition as a token of your regard for me.
Gil B. In good faith, sir, I shall endeavor to merit your confidence.
Arch. Nay, your interests are bound up with your obedience in this respect; for if, unfortunately for you, I should hear in the city a whisper of a falling-off in my discourses, — an intimation that I ought to stop preaching, — I should hold you responsible, and consider myself exempted from all care for your fortunes. Such will be the result of your false discretion.
GU B. Indeed, sir, I shall be vigilant to observe your wishes, and to detect any blemish in your writings.
Arch. And now tell me, Gil Bias, what does the world say of my last discourse? Think you it gave general satisfaction?
GU B. Since you exact it of me in so pressing a manner to be frank —
Arch. Frank? O, certainly, by all means; speak out, my young friend.
GU B. Your Grace's sermons never fail to be admired; but —
Arch. But — Well? Do not be afraid to let me know all.
Gil B. If I may venture the observation, it seemed to me that your last discourse did not have that effect upon your audience which your former efforts have had. Perhaps your Grace's recent illness —
Arch. What, what! Has it encountered, then, some Aristarchus ? m
Gil B. No, sir, no. Such productions as yours are beyond criticism. Everybody was charmed with it; but — since you have demanded it of me to be frank and sincere — I take the liberty to remark that your last discourse did not seem to me altogether equal to your preceding. It lacked the strength — the — Do you not agree with me, sir?
Arch. Mr. Gil Bias, that discourse, then, is not to your taste?
GU B. I did not say that, sir. I found it excellent — only a little inferior to your others.
Arch. So! Now I understand. I seem to you to be on the wane — eh? Out with it! You think it about time that 1 should retire?
Gil B. I should not have presumed, sir, to speak so freely, but for your express commands. I have simply rendered you obedience; and I humbly trust that you will not be offended at my hardihood.
Arch. Offended! O! not at all, Mr. Gil Bias. I utter no reproaches. I don't take it at all ill that you should speak your sentiments; it is your sentiment only that I find ill. I have been duped in supposing you to be a person of any intelligence — that is all.
Gil B. But, sir, if, in my zeal to serve you, I have erred in — Arch. Say no more — say no more! You are yet too raw to aiscriminate. Know that I never composed a better sermon than that which has had the misfortune to lack your approbation. My faculties, thank Heaven, have lost nothing of their vigor. Hereafter I will make a better choice of an adviser. Go, tell my treasurer to count you out a hundred ducats, and may Heaven conduct you with that sum. Adieu, Mr. Gil Bias £ wb*H Jou all manner of prosperity — with a little more taste.
DRAMATIZED FROM LE SAGS
CLXII. — THE TRADE OF WAR.
Max. He is possessed by a commanding spirit,
Well for the whole, if there be found a manI66
stands fixed and stately, like a firm-built column,
Where all may press with joy and confidence.
Now, such a man is Wallenstein.
The oracle within him, that which lives,
He must invoke and question—not dead books,
Not ordinances, not mould-rotted papers.
Ociavio. My son, of those old narrow ordinances
Curves round the cornfield and the hill of vines,
Honoring the holy bounds of property;
And thus secure, though late, leads to its end.
Questenburg. O, hear your father, noble youth! hear ¥* "Who is at once the hero and the man.
Oct. My son, the nursling of the camp spoke in thee.
Max. O, let the emperor make peace, my father!
Oct. What ails thee? What so moves thee, all ar v'lot
Max. Peace have I ne'er beheld? I have beheld it.
Qri. And so your journey has revealed this to you?
Max. 'T was the first leisure of my life. O, tell me, What is the meed and purpose of the toil.