« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
company Everybody else, he said, made amongst you learned and philosophic men, I
am kicked about like a foot-ball. I suppose
Milverton. You may neer, Ellesmere, always give him his title for the future), one
on Contingent Remainders highest courtesy.
are more abused in this world than intimacy,
Ellesmere. Thank goodness.
my dear fellow.
them is not their dulness, though I admit
Ellesmere. Now we are going to have the writer in a dignified and seemingly virtu-
writer had no business whatever to occupy.
most." my pupils, told me (I like a good voucher for Who so fit to write about errors, passions, a story), that over familiarity had been the follies, as the man who has felt them, sufcause of more friendships being broken off than fered from them, transacted them? Perhaps anything else. And without any great duke the reason that men of my cloth write so ill
, to back me up, I say that friends cannot be as you wits say we do, is that, in the main, too courteous to one another, and that cour- they are such good men. tesy never hindered love.
Ellesmere. Well, this surpasses anything Midhurst (aside). There is not much of I have ever heard in audacity. The quiet that to hinder.
way in which Dunsford has brought round Ellesmere. Then how do you account for this conversation to a sort of beatification of your conduct to me? When I venture the clergy is something stupendous.
Milverton. There is a great deal of truth us lasting lessons in humanity, and do not in what he says, though.
Mildred. Butif I may interrupt, and sug Milverton. Ellesmere is not fond, himself, gest that
aby of you wise, logical men-crea- of teasing, that is one comfort. But what tures ever wander from the subject, may I ask you say of animals, Ellesmere, reminds me of upon what subject we might have had one something I was going to ask you. You more "last essay"?
know how quickly and easily you lawyers Milverton. Upon teasing, my dear. make money, when you have once got to the
Ellesmere. Pray give us the heads of it, top of the tree : now, will you give the next Milverton ; especially if so doing will prevent hundred guineas you earn to the Society the thing itself being written. But I always which there is for protecting animals ? I will distrust you didactic writers. Virtuous or add five to it; and if you knew the difficulty ricious, modest or presuming, you are always with which we poor devils of authors get breaking into didaction. Confine yourself money, and the love which we have for therefore to heads, and when you come to spending it recklessly, you would not think
Seventeenthly," and "To conclude," do I am asking you to give disproportionably
good we do, and the evil that for the most part
' schools, private families, the men in fac Mildred. I am quite out of my province, tories—in workshops
-on cab-stands — in I know, in making any remarks to such a Boards -- in Parliaments. should endeavor learned and wise company; but is it not funto show the base cowardliness of it, the im- ny, the way in which, we began by talking mense unkindness ; how, veil it as you please, about passports, and have come to a subscripit is the many against one.
tion to the Society for the Prevention of Ellesmere. Just my case ; just what I suf- Cruelty to Animale ? fer in this worshipful company.
Midhurst. There is the closest connection, Milverton. No, you are more than equal Miss Vernon, between the subjects. A more to us all, - you oppress us all. The practised cruel, ludicrous, unmeaning persecution than
your tongue makes you into a mob this of passports I cannot imagine. against us. But, to resume.
I should even Ellesmere. Taking the whole case fairly try to show how this habit of teasing some into consideration, I think we Britishers must times entered into our conduct with animals. annoy foreigners when they come to see us far I should then turn about and make some pal- more than they annoy us when we come to liation for it, and endeavor to prove, what I see them — in a passive way, I mean. Think firmly believe, that it results from dulness what his first English Sunday must be to a that
, to speak mathematically, it is a function lively Frenchman. However, our dulness has of dulness
, --- and that according as a com- this advantage — it secures us against the munity is in itself gay and joyful (and truly occupation of our country for more than six good men are full of joy), and as a commu- days. A foreign enemy would be so tired of nity has the rational means of amusement, so us after the seventh, that he would retreat does teasing diminish. Were there, indeed, upon soine pretext or other" strategical," more good music in the world, there would he would call it, but anti-Sabbatical it would be much less ill-natured personal comment, be.
Dunsford. How can you jest, Ellesmere, Dunsford. Please write all this out for upon such subjects? And, if I might say a me, Milverton, some day.
word in answer to this gentleman (bowing to Ellesmere. I like the part about animals. Mr. MIDHURST], I think, considering all the As the King of Portugal said when our great hardships and agonies that thousands of brave animal painter was introduced to him, "I men are undergoing just at present, it is am so glad to know you, sir ; I am so fond hardly the time to be dilating upon minor of beasts." By the way, good painters give miseries.
much less teasing.
[After this speech of Dunsford's there was an Ellesmere. Pray don't limit yourself, my
awkward pause for some moments. Most dear sir. Do not be bound by mean conof the company looked at the dog, who siderations of space. Extend
your looked at his master with a cross, inquiring timents to the whole human race. look, and made a short growl, as if he were Milverton. 'I assure you I am quite in asking whether it was his duty to bite any- earnest in what I have just said. body.]
astounded at the audacity with which civilMilverton. My dear Dunsford, of course ians comment upon the short-comings of the we are all duly impressed with the horrors military departments. and sufferings in the Crimea ; but after just Ellesmere. This really won't do, Milvercoming through the Custom House, English- ton, if you are in earnest. men must be allowed to grumble a little, or Dunsford. O, pray hear him. IIe is they would die ; and my friend Mr. Midhurst going to prove to us how little the law needs is not a person who will expire from any sup- reform. Why, there was a poor widow in pression of his disgust with the human race my parish who was left two hundred pounds in general, and with the gendarmerie in par- by her father ; five years were spent in lititicular. Why, even the two young ladies gation over a trumpery point which a sensible here, Blanche and Mildred, became positively man would have settled in five minutes ; her pugnacious over some bonnet-box which was share dwindled down to thirty-eight pounds being rudely treated.
ten ; the lawyer's bill is fifty-seven pounds Ellesmere. The fact is, we are all desper- fifteen shillings and fourpence; and the poor ately cross, and we shall not be happy again woman, without waiting for my advice, has until we have had some sound political con- fled the country. versation, and abused everybody connected Ellesmere. How a parson always believes with the conduct of everything connected that the events in his parish explain all human with the war. Mr. Dunsford will perhaps life to him. I dare say that this point, which allow us to do that. It will be consistent you say a sensible man could have settled in with all the first principles of virtue, and be five minutes, was a very great difficulty, and as allowable as listening to an oratorio. that her case will form a precedent. Young ladies, will you take this seat?
Mildred. I don't think that circumstance, Milverton. Dunsford may allow you, Mr. Ellesmere, will be a great comfort to the Ellesmere, but I shall not. I am not sure poor woman. that I do not agree with that eccentric indi Ellesmere. Thank you, Miss Mildred, for vidual, Horace Walker, who stoutly, with your assistance. I suppose you imagine that his back to the fire at our club, maintains because you have a fine-sounding Anglo-Saxon the army
to be, and to have been, the best- name, we are all to go back to the barbarous managed thing in England.
simplicity of Anglo-Saxon times. Dunsford. Good Heavens, Milverton ! Milverton. You may jest, Ellesmere, but
Ellesmere. Don't swear, my reverend any one such case as Dunsford has just related friend ; he means to make an exception for ought not to be possible. I think you will the Church. The good discipline in that hesitate before you attack the administration body is well known and thoroughly appre- of the army again. But in sober seriousness, ciated. If you, for instance, were to set up a my dear friends nice little heresy in that pleasant parish of Ellesmere. Now don't preach. Address yours, Twaddleton-cum-Mud, it would only yourself to Fixer — that is the name of this take your bishop five years and three thousand pretty dog, is it not? - and perhaps to that pounds to eject you ; and if you entrust me gentleman (pointing to Mr. MIDHURST). with your defence, I think I could make the Milverton. Well, I shall be quite content proceedings a little more costly than they with my audience if it consist of Fixer only. have hitherto been in such cases.
Well, then, Fixer, you must know that these Midhurst. I quite agree with Mr. Mil- men and women, very superior creatures to verton; at least I mean to say, if it is no you, come from a great town, where they live, offence to this good gentleman [bowing to or at least the poorer dogs amongst them, DUNSFORD), that one thing is not worse than very much worse than you, in dirty kennels, another in this country - I mean in England. drinking foul water, inhaling impure air, eat
ing adulterated food, and yet paying large sively concerned — in which we forbid sol-
despatch of business, the labor and the study
to the men who send them there.
the application of that power friend, Mr. Milverton, while I go and attend
Ellesmere. 0, 0, the soft and simpering
sel, coming back, may salt water trickle
phus' curse. It is too serious, my dear
Ellesmere so soon becomes Milverton. There you see the nature of
management of civil than of military affairs, Ellesmere
. Now don't be so provoking, and that it becomes us civilians to talk with Milverton. Truth, which (not being an great modesty of the errors, omissions, and author or a clergyman) I am bound at once oversights in military matters. Think of the
acknowledge, compels me to confess that government of London : behold its public in this department of human affairs English buildings and its statues ; inhale the fresh civilians do not distinguish themselves. No breezes of the river ; look at the water we doubt if military men were concerned it have to drink, after it has stood a day or two;
come with me some day, and behold the glad Milverton. Shall I proceed to consider population of Bethnal Green. [ELLESMERE another matter in which civilians are exclu- I walked up and down, whistling, for a turn or
would be still worse.
two, and then said he must go and look at his about discretion. Swiftness and steraness room. Suddenly, however, turning upon his and resolute purpose may be of the essence heel, he resumed the conversation.]
of humanity. Not only stronger but earlier Ellesmere. I suppose, Milverton, we may resolution was needed. Sir · Hugh Rose's number you as one of the Peace party. ready appreciation of the danger should not
Milverton. 0! yes, that you may. I am have been disavowed. There ought to be an Englishman, and we are all of the Peace no such thing as drifting into war.” And party. Of war, as war, none of us, that I when you do apply your forces, they should know of, are especially fond. But if you not slide down a gently-inclined plane, but mean that I am one of those who do not in- should come forth as if they were impelled tend to go thoroughly through with anything from a Lancaster gun. However, some of I have once undertaken, you do not know our errors in this respect sprang from our your man.
I will tell you in few words what deep-seated reluctance to go to war at all. I think about this war,- for that is what
I am very far from having the presumpyou are endeavoring to find out. A more tion to suppose that the few men amongst us, righteous war on our side, I believe was never who from the first have declared that they undertaken. No war, I believe, was ever did not see sufficient cause for the war, are more reluctantly, more sadly, less
to be scouted, and their opinions treated fully, commenced. You jeer at me as
with contempt. I can only say that those philosopher, by which you mean a man who opinions fail to have any weight with me. is curious and careful about his opinions. At the same time, I feel deeply anxious that Such men are apt to differ with the views of we should, wherever and whenever we can, the majority of those about them; and this limit the question at issue, so that we do not liability to differ is the surest source of suffer- weaken or obscure the basis on which alone ing for them. In this case, however, I am, peace can be made lasting. These matters to my signal delight, in thorough accordance are not for us private persons to decide. We with the great masses of my fellow-country- have not the requisite data before us. They
I am completely a commonplace are questions that require the gravest, nicest, Englishman. I am convinced that we have and most forbearing statesmanship. All acted most unselfishly in the whole affair. that we private persons can do at present is Brushing away all subtleties, I lay my finger to inculcate the spirit in which proposals for upon that most iniquitous act, the occupation peace should be regarded. of the Principalities, and I say that upon
Then, if you talk to me about the manthe authors of that act lie the guilt and agement of the war in minor matters, I will bloodshed of the war. You will hear noth- agree with you that it was bad, bitterly bad ing from me but what plain, unpretending in many instances. But be careful whom Mr. Smith, or Mr. Jones, in the omnibus, you blame ; throw your blame very wide. would tell you.
We (I mean Smith, Jones, Let each one of us take his fair share. and Milverton) would almost have gone Remember how fond we all were of injudicious down on our knees to avoid this war. I can saving. Consider how difficult it has been say for myself that I lived in an agony of for years and years to get the least question apprehension while the negotiations were of official reform wisely considered ; and do pending, and mourned unutterably over the not throw upon some few unfortunate men evils which I saw to be imminent. Once, the condemnation which justly rests upon however, embarked in such a contest, my the whole constituencies of Great Britain, only thought was, how most speedily and ay, and upon the most intellectual men in most forcibly our just ends might be accom- the country, who must have their share of plished. If you tell me we failed as states- blame too. men, and as men of the world, in not bring If there is any one thing in which I suping sufficient force, sufficiently early, to bear pose we must confess ourselves to have been upon
I of you now present may recollect how I the operations of our fleets. Mark you, deplored, on or near the day of his departure, should be very sorry to pronounce upon this the fetters which I saw were being fashioned subject without further evidence, but I confor Sir Charles Napier by our foolish talk )jecture that the accusation has some justice