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* Prussian drill ” for the youthful intellect of the community.
They deprecate as much as any the entrusting in the hands of the Government so mighty an agency over the unfolding mind of the age, as would follow from placing National Education under the control of the Executive, or any Board responsible only to Government or even to Parliament. They deprecate also the idea of one rigid, uniform, unbending system of instruction for the whole community, believing that not only have parents and guardians the unalienable right of selecting for the children under their charge what they shall learn, but that liberty to adapt instruction to different minds and to minds under different circumstances is essential, if we would not turn education into a species of torture, nor have the intellects of the community developed in forms as uncouth and awkward as are the bodily frames of a set of charity-school boys, whose garments have been furnished, by contract, of one uniform shape, texture, and size for all. To avert such evils, it is proposed in this new plan : “Ist, That Local Boards shall be established, the members to be appointed by popular election, on the principle of giving the franchise to all male heads of families being householders; and with these Boards should lie the selection of masters, the general management of the schools, and the right, without undue interference with the master, to direct the branches of education to be taught. 20, That there should be a general superintending authority, so constituted as to secure the public confidence, and to be responsible to the country through Parliament, which, without superseding the Local Boards, should see that their duties are not neglected, prevent abuses from being perpetrated through carelessness or design, check extravagant expenditure, protect the interests of all parties, collect and preserve the general statistics of education, and diffuse throughout the country, by communication with the Local Boards, such knowledge on the subject of education, and such enlightened views, as their authoritative position, and their command of aid from the highest intellects in the country, may enable them to communicate.”
Such are the leading outlines of this proposed scheme of National Education for Scotland, as we have gathered them from the resolutions adopted at the public meeting, and the other documents issued by its promoters. We place it before our readers, as we have promised, without note or comment, simply requesting for it their grave and earnest consideration. Ere long we shall revert to the subject, when we shall submit to our readers our own thoughts upon it in its different bearings.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
CHAPTER 1. Never had the carnival been celebrated with such pomp and splendour at Stuttgart as in the year 1737. Had a stranger entered the spacious apartments prepared for this occasion, decorated in the handsomest style, had he gazed upon the thousand gay and glittering masks, listened to the laughing and singing of that crowd, which was heard even above the many flourishes of the musicians, he could hardly have believed himself to be in Wurtemberg, in that strict and serious Wurtemberg—severe in consequence of a zealous and often ascetic Protestantism_which hated amusements of this sort as the remnants of another religious party ; the inhabitants of which city had now become grave, almost gloomy and melancholy, in consequence of their doubtful condition, their misery and poverty, brought upon them by the systematic and artful gripe of an all powerful minister.
The most brilliant day of the whole was the twelfth of February, the celebration of the birth-day of the Jew—Süss, the Cabinet Minister and Finance Director—the originator and provider of this diversion, and many others, which, however, were not devoted to pleasure only. The Duke had this morning sent him presents of all sorts ; but the most agreeable of any to the Cabinet Minister was an edict of this date, an edict which made him independent for ever of all past and future responsibility. Swarms of individuals of every condition, faith, and age, whom he had set in the places of better men, besieged his stairs and antechamber, for the purpose of wishing him joy, while the fear of causing misfortune to their families made many upright and high-minded persons, holding situations under him, lay aside their pride, and forced them likewise to go to the house of the Jew and kiss his hand.
In the evening, the same motives filled the apartments at the carnival. To his followers and friends this was a feast of joy, which they hoped to see often repeated; those who in private hated him, and yet were obliged to do him public homage, gnashed their teeth, folded themselves in their dominoes, and, with their wives and children, took their way to the splendid gathering of folly, that their names might be entered in the list, since the absent were sure to be punished; the multitude looked on the affair as the dream of an hour, in the intoxication of which they might forget their wretchedness, and never reflected that even the high price of admission was a fresh though indirect tax levied upon them by the Jew.
The most dazzling scene of the evening was the moment when the folding-doors opened, and a glance full of expectation dwelt among the multitude, when there entered a man of about forty years of age, possessed of striking and strongly marked features, with sharp and sparkling eyes, which keenly surveyed the different groups. He wore a white domino, a white hat with crimson feathers, on which he had carelessly placed his black mask ; there was nothing splendid in his dress, except an unusually large solitaire, which held together the crimson shawl of flowered silk that fell over the domino at the throat. He led a slender and handsomely formed young lady, who, dressed in Oriental costume, laden with gold and gems, soon attracted all eyes.
“ His Excellency the Finance Director, the Minister,” whispered the crowd, as he passed through the lines, greeting on every side, as the assembly quickly opened its ranks to make way for him. When he had reached the centre of the principal room, he was saluted by a flourish of drums and trumpets, while a tolerable portion of the assembly applauded, although another turned away as from a disagreeable spectacle. But the admiration was universal which was bestowed upon the fair Eastern
who accompanied him. The manners of the minister were too well known for the crowd not to have surmised one of his female friends to be the richly-dressed lady in the mask ; but opinion was divided as to which of them the appearance of her now present peculiarly applied ; one seemed too short for this figure, another too stout for the slender shape, a third too heavy, to glide thus easily, nay floatingly across the floor, and to a fourth, at whom they fain would have stopped, there did not belong the dark and shining hair which fell in rich locks over the stately neck, or those superb dark eyes, which were seen sparkling through the mask.
The multitude, on occasions of such a dazzling and exciting kind as this carnival, are not wont to confine their attention long to one object, if their curiosity be not quickly gratified. “When she takes off her mask, we shall see her,” said they, without bestowing further attention
upon the lady than was necessary to observe her standing up in the minuet. Three young men, however, who stood unoccupied behind the dancers, seemed to follow her unweariedly with their remarks.
“ Who can she be?” exclaimed one with impatience. “I would take fifty admission tickets from the confounded Jew, if he would tell me where this girl comes from, whom he led like a princess into the rooms."
“Brother,” answered the second, while as he spoke his eyes continued turned towards the Oriental. “Brother, upon my honour, I can by no means reconcile this contradiction, even though I may have studied logic with Catesius, together with the cogito ergo sum; such an uncommonly fine figure, such an air, these measured movements all according to the newest and most distinguished rules, this art altogether, which I have beheld only in the first circles of Paris and Vienna, the grace with which she carries her head
“By heavens ! you are right, brother," interrupted the third. “All this—and to come to the ball with Süss! Such a contrast I never before witnessed in my life !"
“She cannot be known among us,” continued the first ; "she cannot belong to our circles, unless it be true, as reported, that some miserable fellow of a father has sent his daughter with a petition to the Jew; no one surely would let his disgrace be made so public, as to send his own child to the ball with this rascal."
“For the love of Heaven, brother, not so loud, I beg of you; he has his spies all around us, and he is already not over favourable to us; think of your family ; would you make yourself unhappy? But it is certain that this can be no girl from the upper ranks, and yet her bearing is too distinguished for the daughter of a citizen. But hold, who is that Saracen coming towards us? The colour of his turban is the same as that of the charming companion of the Jew."
The young men turned round, and beheld a slender but finely proportioned man, who, dressed as a Saracen, was distinguished from the crowd of maskers as much by his walk and deportment as by the richness of his costume. He seemed to fix his eyes upon the youths, and came slowly forward, until he stood opposite to them.
"What is your word ?” asked one of them addressing him, as he thought that in this mask he recognised a friend. “Have you only Allah for your watchword, or do you know a sentence ?”
“ Gaudeamus igitur, juvenes dum sumus," answered the Saracen, standing still.
" It is he, it is he," exclaimed two of the youths, shaking the hand of the Saracen. “It is well we gave the word, or I should not have known you; for I was so sure that you were to be here as a peasant, that I wagered with the captain you must make your appearance as such.”
"Let us adjourn to one of the side-tables," said the second. “I must introduce to you, brother Gustavus, one who will rejoice in your acquaintance, and you are aware that we know each other badly in masquerade.”
“ Friend," answered Gustavus, “I must not take off my mask; I have reasons for this. However agreeable to me an introduction to this gentleman may be, I must deny myself till to-morrow.”
“And what if it were Pinassa, about whom you have so often inquired?" replied the other.
“Pinassa, with whom you contended ? That alters the case ; now then, I will see him and salute him, but I will take off my mask only for two seconds, and in the farthest corner of the refreshment-room.”
“We are content, brother Saracen,” answered the captain. “But let us only come to the second flask, and then you will make confession to us of the reasons why you will not uncover your face to your friends ! ”
There were not many people in the refreshment-room selected by them, for here were to be had only chosen wines, fine fruits, and warm liquids; while the greater number of persons frequented the larger drinking-rooms, where were to be had the wines of the country, beer, and more solid refreshments. There was a small table unoccupied in a corner of the apartment, where the Saracen, when he had turned his back upon the other part of the saloon, could take off his mask without danger of being recognised. They chose this place; and when the large full glasses stood before them, the two young warriors laid down their masks, and the captain began—“ Brother, I have the honour to present to you the incomparable Cavalier Pinassa, the most famous fighter of his times; it has been his lot to put me—think of me, the senior of the most 'friendly order' (Amicisten ordens)—hors de combat in the unforgetable Rosenthal of Leipzig, by an open tierce-quart-tierce. Like me, he has abandoned the muses, and has sung, ‘Minerva will not have me, and so may Bellona lead me;' and has exchanged the old instrument and its huge guard, whereon he was accustomed to eat his breakfast, for the sword of parade of a lieutenant to the Duke of Wurtemberg."
“The exchange is not a bad one, Signor Pinassa, and my country may congratulate herself upon it," said the Saracen, while he bowed to the new lieutenant. “When you have once entered the service you will fird the career to be an agreeable one. The civilian has little chance at present, unless he buys a situation from the Jew, with five thousand florins, or with his conscience and honest reputation. But these thin boarded walls have ears! I must be quiet; it cannot be helped yet. How different are your conditions! The duke is a brave man, to whom I would not grudge a state of two hundred thousand warriors; for ushe is too great. War is his pleasure, a regiment with shining arms his
joy; we have seldom an idle hour, and hence it is that these Jews and Jew-Christians sway the sceptre.
passes for a great general, has done deeds of arms with Prince Eugene—and a slim young man with a scar upon his forehead, and courage in his look, like you, Signor Pinassa, is at all times welcome in his army.”
“How precociously the Saracen can speak of Jews and Christians !" said the captain. "But open your visor, and show your colours; my comrade must know with whom he speaks ; that is the prudent, wellinformed, and estimable Herr Juris utriusque Doctor Lanbek, the son of the distinguished provincial consul Lanbek, for whom he is substituted as actuary; a worthy youth, on my honour, when he does not, as of late, sacrifice himself to a strange melancholy, and still worthier had there been a taste implanted in him for the fair sex.”
At these words Lanbek took off his mask, showing to his new acquaintance a flushing face of great beauty. Fair, curled hair flowed from beneath the turban, carelessly unpowdered, surrounding his forehead. A bold curved nose and dark blue eyes gave to his countenance an expression of enterprising strength and a deep seriousness, which formed a strong contrast to his fair hair and delicate complexion. But a pleasing expression of his mouth softened the power of his features and eyes, as he replied, “I open my visor, and show you a face which you have made heartily welcome among you. I drink this glass to your health, and you must excuse me now taking my leave.”
Pro poena, you must drink two,” exclaimed the captain, with mock pathos, while he took from his pocket a huge house key, and waved it towards the Saracen like a sceptre. “ Have you so little respect for your senior, that you dare to drink from a glass in loco, without leave of the president ? O temporal o mores! Where are the discipline and good breeding of this fox? Pinassa, in our times it was otherwise.”
The youths laughed at these dolorous reminiscences of the old senior of the “ Amicisten;" but the captain looked more sharply at Lanbek and said, “Brother, do not take it ill, but for a long time past something has stuck by you like a fever, and this evening is the crisis; I set aside my last flask; it goes for nothing, but I will wager ten more; be honest, Gustavus, you were here before this evening, as a peasant, and your father knows nothing of the Saracen,"
Gustavus reddened, extended his hand to him, and nodded assent.
“ The devil!” exclaimed the captain. “Young man, what are you about? Who would have thought this of the quiet actuary? To change your costume at the carnival! and so cautiously, so mysteriously, so abruptly; you perhaps wish to go and attack the Jew ?”
The questioned one coloured yet more deeply, and hastily seized his mask; before he could reply, Reelzingen said, “Brother, you bring me upon the right scent. Where have both you and the Oriental who accompanies the minister bought the stuff for your turbans? Gustavus, Gustavus!" added he, pointing with his finger, "you reside opposite to the Jew; I wager you know who the proud donna is that he has conducted hither.”
“ What know I?" stammered Lanbek behind his mask,
“Stir not from this spot till you tell me,” exclaimed the captain ; " and if you persevere in your obstinacy, I will steal beside the Oriental