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It has not founded a monarchy, indeed, whose burthens are for the rejected, and its benefits for the chosen ; whose splendor dazzles the eye, while its oppression sickens the heart ; but it has laid the foundation of a republic, broadly and deeply, in the rights of man; whose equal protection covers all, as its equal honors are open to all; and whose career, if not checked by our own folly, or by the just judgment of God, promises a glorious and encouraging spectacle to the lovers of freedom through the world, — ay, and an example, too, for long ages to come.
CCIII. — GIL BLAS AND THE PARASITE. EI
1. When the omelet I had bespoken was ready, I sat down to table by myself; and had not yet swallowed the first mouthful when the landlord came in, followed by the man who had stopped him in the street. This cavalier, who wore a long sword, and seemed to be about thirty years of age, advanced towards me with an eager air, saying, “Mr. Student, I am informed that you are that Signor Gila Blas of Santillane, who is the link of philosophy, and ornament of Oviedo ! El Is it possible that you are that mirror of learning, that sublime genius, whose reputation is so great in this country? You know not,” continued he, addressing himself to the innkeeper and his wife, “you know not what you possess! You have a treasure in your house! Behold, in this young gentleman, the eighth wonder of the world !” Then turning to me, and throwing his arms about my neck, “ Forgive,” cried he, “my transports! I cannot contain the joy that your presence creates."
2. I could not answer for some time, because he locked me so closely in his arms that I was almost suffocated for want of breath; and it was not till I had disengaged my head from his embrace that I replied, “Signor Cavalier, I did not think my nane was known at Peñaflor."EL “How! known!” resumed he, in his former strain ; " we keep a register of all the celebrated names within twenty leagues of us. You, in particular, are looked upon as a prodigy ; and I don't at all doubt that Spain will one day be as proud of you as Greece was of her Seven I Sages.” Theso words were followed by a fresh hug, which I was forced to endure, though at the risk of strangulation. With the little experience I had, I ought not to have been the dupe of his professions and hyperbolical i compliments.
3. I ought to have known, by his extravagant flattery that
ne was one of those parasitegel who abound in every town, and who, when a stranger arrives, introduce themselves to him, in order to feast at his expense. But my youth and vanity made me judge otherwise. My admirer appeared to me so much of a gentleman, that I invited him to take a share of my supper. " Ah! with all my soul,” cried he; “I am too much obliged to my kind stars for having thrown me in the way of the illustrious Gil Blas, not to enjoy my good fortune as long as I can! I have no great appetite,” pursued he, “but I will sit down to bear you company, and eat a mouthful purely out of com'plaisance.”
4. So saying, my panegyrist i took his place right over against me; and, a cover being laid for him, he attacked the omelet as voraciously as if he had fasted three whole days. By his com'plaisant beginning I foresaw that our dish would not last long, and I therefore ordered a second, which they dressed with such despatch that it was served just as we - or rather he — had made an end of the first. He proceeded on this with the same vigor; and found means, without losing one stroke of his teeth, to overwhelm me with praises during the whole repast, which made me very well pleased with my sweet self. He drank in proportion to his eating; sometimes to my health, sometimes to that of my father and mother, whose happiness in having such a son as I he could not enough admire.
5. All the while he plied me with wine, and insisted upon my doing him justice, while I toasted health for health; a circumstance which, together with his intoxicating flattery, put me into such good humor, that, seeing our second omelet half devoured, I asked the landlord if he had no fish in the house. Signor Corcue’lo, who, in all likelihood, had a fellow-feeling with the parasite, replied, “I have a delicate trout; but those who eat it must pay for the sauce ; - 't is a bit too dainty for your palate, I doubt.” — “ What do you call too dainty ?" said the sycophant, EI raising his voice; “you 're a wiseacre, indeed! Know that there is nothing in this house too good for Signor Gil Blas of Santillane, who deserves to be entertained like a prince.”
6. I was pleased at his laying hold of the landlord's last words, in which he preventeder me, who, finding myself offended, said, with an air of disdain, “ Produce this trout of yours, Gaffer Corcuelo, and give yourself no trouble about the consequence." This was what the innkeeper wanted. He got it ready, and served it up in a trice. At sight of this new dish, I could perceive the parasite's eye sparkle with joy; and he renewed that complaisance – I mean for the fish — which he had already shown for
the eggs. At last, however, he was obliged to give out, for fear of accident, being crammed to the very throat.
7. Having, therefore, eaten and drunk sufficiently, he thought proper to conclude the farce by rising from table and accosting me in these words : “Signor Gil Blas, I am too well satisfied with your good cheer to leave you without offering an important advice, which you seem to have great occasion for. Henceforth, beware of praise, and be upon your guard against everybody you do not know. You may meet with other people inclined to divert themselves with your credulity, and, perhaps, to push things still further ; but don't be duped again, nor believe yourself (though they should swear it) the eighth wonder of the world.” So say ing, he laughed in my face, and stalked away. LE SAGE.
CCIV. — FALSE AND TRUE ENERGY.
1. You object to Mr. Madison, El the want of energy. The want of energy! How has Mr. Madison shown it? Was it in standing abreast with the van of our revolutionary patriots, and braving the horrors of a seven years' war for liberty, while you were shuddering at the sound of the storm, and clinging closer with terror to your mothers' breasts? Was it, on the declaration of our independence, in being among the first and most effective agents in casting aside the feeble threads which so poorly connected the states together, and, in lieu of them, substituting that energetic bond of union, the Federal Constitution ? Was it in the manner in which he advocated the adoption of this substitute; in the courage and firmness with which he met, on this topic, fought hand to hand, and finally vanquished, that boasted prodigy of nature, Patrick Henry? Where was this timid and apprehensive spirit which you are pleased to ascribe to Mr. Madison, when he sat under the sound of Henry's voice for days and weeks together; when he saw that Henry, whose soul had so undauntedly led the revolution, shrinking back from this bold experiment, from the energy of this new and untried Constitution; when he heard the magic of his eloquence exerted to its highest pitch, in painting, with a prophet's fire, the oppressions which would flow from it; in harrowing up the soul with anticipated horrors, and enlisting even the thunders of Heaven in his cause ?
2. How did it happen that the feeble and effeminate spirit of James Madison, instead of flying in confusion and dismay before this awful and tremendous combination, sat serene and unmoved
upon its throne ; that, with a penetration so vigorous and clear, he dissipated these phantoms of fancy, rallied back the courage of the House to the charge, and, in the State of Virginia, in which Patrick Henry was almost adored as infallible, succeeded in throwing that Henry into a minority ? Is this the proof of his want of energy? Or will you find it in the manner in which he watched the first movements of the Federal Constitution; in the boldness with which he resisted what he deemed infractions of its spirit; in the independence, ability, and vigor, with which, in spite of declining health, he maintained this conflict during eight years? He was then in a minority. Turn to the debates of Congress, and read his arguments : you will see how the business of a virtuous and able minority is conducted. Do you discover in them any evidence of want of energy? Yes; if energy consist, as you seem to think it does, in saying rude things, in brava'do and bluster, in pouring a muddy torrent of coarse inrective, as destitute of argument as unwarranted by provocation, you will find great evidence of want of energy in his speeches.
3. But, if true energy be evinced, as we think it is, by the calm and dignified, yet steady, zealous, and persevering pursuit of an object, his whole conduct during that period is honorably marked with energy. And that energy rested on the most solid and durable basis --- conscious rectitude ; supported by the most profound and extensive information, by an habitual power of investigation, which unravelled, with intuitive certainty, the most intricate subjects; and an eloquence, chaste, luminous, and cogent, which won respect, while it forced conviction. We have compared some of your highest and most vaunted displays with the speeches of Mr. Madison, during his services in Congress. What a contrast! It is the noisy and short-lived babbling of a brook after a rain, compared with the majestic course of the Potomac.
4. Yet, you have the vanity and hardihood to ask for the proof of his talents! You, who have as yet shown no talents that can be of service to your country, - no talents beyond those of the merciless Indian, who dexterously strikes a tomahawk into the defenceless heart! But what an idea is yours of energy! You feel a constitutional irritability ; — you indulge it, and you call that indulgence energy! Sudden fits of spleen, transient starts of passion, wild paroxysms of fury, the more slow and secret workings of envy and resentment, cruel taunts and sarcasms, the dreams of disordered fancy, the crude abortions of short-sighted theory, the delirium and ravings of a hectic fever, -- this is your notion of energy! Heaven preserve our country from such energy as this! If this be the kind of energy which you deny to Mr. Madison, the people will concur in your denial.
But, if you deny him that salutary energy which qualifies him to pursue his country's happiness and to defend her rights, we follow up the course of his public life, and demand the proof of your charge.
CCV. — POETRY OF THE SEASONS.
2. THE SNOW-STORM. — Emerson.