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guise of a young and lightsome columbine. Hereupon a roving harlequin, who had witnessed the transformation, bounded towards her, and bent the knee, placing his hand upon his heart, as if ravished by her new-born charms—then pointing his feet and rolling his head round rapidly, he danced off with her, hotly pursued by a couple of pierrots, screaming out that she belonged to them, and calling upon the crowd to stop her.
These pierrots, by the way, together with the scaramouches and punchinellos, seemed perfectly ubiquitous, and played all sorts of mischievous pranks interrupting many a tender tête-à-têtetripping up the heels of old women and grave and reverend signors— launching quips and jests, so hardy that they often brought them a buffet in answer-making love to all the prettiest masks, and running off with several of them -- appropriating cloaks, swords, and scarves, and then wrangling about them with the owners — and never to be checked in their practical joking except by sharp and sounding slaps from the harlequins' wands, which, it must be owned, were very freely administered.
In addition to all this buffoonery and fun, grotesque dances were executed, in which Jews, Turks, courtiers, shepherds and shepherdesses, gentlemen of the long robe, friars, and even pontiffs took part, producing a very droll effect. Perhaps the best of these was a clog-dance, by a couple of peasants, which elicited loud applause.
But it must not be supposed that all the company were engrossed by such gamesome performances, or cared for the boisterous frolics of the mimes. Many of the young gallants liked the uproar because it favoured their own designs, and consequently added to it, encouraging the scaramouches in their tricks; but they always contrived to come up in the nick of time to assist a distressed damsel, or ease a credulous duenna of her timid charge.
Introductions were unneeded. Everybody asked anybody he pleased to dance, and rarely met with a refusal. Hitherto, the harmony of the assemblage had been uninterrupted. If a quarrel seemed likely to ensue from some practical joke, it was instantly put down, and the brawlers separated and laughed at.
Flirtations were frequent and desperate. Several couples who kept aloof from the crowd, or took possession of the sofas and settees, were evidently far gone in the tender passion; while others plunged into the thickest of the motley throng, thinking they were securest there from observation.
Amid a scene of so much confusion, it was not easy to discover those you sought, and no wonder many careless husbands and chaperons, who had trusted their spouses and protégées out of sight, never found them again during the whole evening. Like difficulty might have been experienced by Monthermer in his search for Lucy Poynings, if the page had not unexpectedly come to his aid and volunteered to conduct him to his mistress.
" Is your mistress unattended ?" Gage inquired, in surprise. “ She is in the ante-chamber," the page replied.
" Are you sure you are not an ignis-fatuus?" Monthermer said, regarding the young coxcomb with some distrust.
"I don't know what that is,” the page rejoined; " but I am not a dupe, as some one is whom I could mention.”
“Do you venture to apply that term to me, sirrah ?" Gage cried.
“No, you apply it to yourself, but it is not undeserved. Since we met, I have ascertained that Mrs. Jenyns has assumed the same dress as my lady, and my lady's brother has ascertained it too. I told you Mrs. Jenyns would listen to him if he made love to herand I was right. Look there !"
“ 'Sdeath! what do I behold ?" Monthermer exclaimed.
Glancing in the direction indicated by the page, he perceived a couple reclining on a settee at the opposite side of the room, evidently engaged in amorous converse." To all appearance they were the señora and hidalgo who had recently quitted the cardroom. The lady's manner left no doubt on Gage's mind that she was much interested by her companion, and the lively gestures and the quick movements of her fan, with which she seemed almost to converse, proclaimed what was passing between them.
“Well, do you now confess yourself a dupe?" the page inquired, in a tone of mockery.
"I must be satisfied that yon pair really are Mrs. Jenyns and Arthur before I answer," Gage cried, angrily.
“And expose yourself to the ridicule of the whole room by making a disturbance,” the page rejoined, arresting him.
What good will that do? You are too much a man of the world to care for so trifling a matter as the loss of a mistress, and ought to congratulate yourself rather than repine. You are well rid of her.”
“On my soul, I think so !” Gage said, in accents that rather belied his words. “ Take me to Miss Poynings."
“This way,” the page replied,-muttering as he plunged into the crowd, followed by Monthermer. “If we can only keep him in this humour for an hour, he is won.”
FALSEHOODS AND REALITIES OF THE WAR.
SEBASTOPOL, it is well known, was captured by a Tartar long before the Allies penetrated within its precincts. The processes of Vauban had, some were cruel enough to say, been superseded by the pitchers of Gideon. The “Fr-r-rançais, vainqueur à perpétuité,” to quote a Franko-Muscovite writer, “and to whom victory would never dare to play tricks," instead of being astounded at having captured one of the most formidable fortresses in the world in less time than it requires to make an emperor, took the news quite as a matter of course.
Barbanchu said to Tartempion : So, old one, we have taken Sebastopol, killed eighteen thousand Russians, and taken twenty-two thousand prisoners." To which Tartempion condescended to reply, “Well! if we attacked it, what else could be expected ?"
Balls and illuminations were extemporised to celebrate the event. Vaillance was made to rhyme with France, and Français with succès, in transparencies illustrating the fall of the Russian Gibraltar, Official bards proclaimed in their lyrics that the avuncular glory was effaced in Napoleon III., and the capture of Sebastopol was the most astonishing feat of arms recorded in history. The Univers announced that the fall of Sebastopol was a victory for the Church : " The Greek schism, once so arrogant, had received a mortal blow. Russia was not conquered, it was dissipated. Her courage, like her doctrines and her policy, was a falsehood.” Iu Dunkerque there arose a triumphal arch, on which was inscribed,
Capture of Sebastopol-France-England Turkey.
Charlemagne-Napoleon III.- Napoleon I. The nineteenth century, the age of the electric telegraph, of steam, gas, lucifers, photography, electro-galvanic pens, and turning tables, has not, however, been more mystified by a Tartar despatch, than it has been by Muscovite intrigues and falsifications, all of which have been again surpassed by the happy idea of a telegraphic report of a sudden and“ expected” attack to be made upon the Allies, and which important mystification, re-telegraphed to the Crimea, put the last extinguisher upon the campaign of 1855. These mystifications had not their origin solely on the Continent. A power that employs agents to excite discord and rebellion in Ireland by burning Bibles in public, would not fail to assail England at a variety of weak points. A morning paper having announced that on the occasion of the investiture of the Emperor Napoleon with the order of the Garter, the insignia of the Emperor of Russia as a member of the same order would be removed from their place, the philo-Russians declared that an august personage had remarked thereon to Napoleon III.,
“Eh bien, mon petit ! voilà une jarretière qui t'empêchera désormais de perdre Théba (tes bas !).”
The astute punster leaves it undecided in the original whether the august mother-in-law meant that a garter, by strengthening the alliance of France and England, would prevent an emperor losing his empress,
or would simply prevent his stockings falling over his shoes. Be that as it may,
he does not fail to remind France that the Order of the Garter was founded to commemorate Crécy, where 30,000 English battirent à plate couture 68,000 French,
commanded by Philippe de Valois. The little electioneering tiff with our Transatlantic cousins was puffed up into enormous proportions by the same party. Mr. Soulé had treated the Duke of Alba and his sister with democratic indifference; Mr. Mason had resented Mr. Drouyn de Lhuys's impertinences; if France and England were going to occupy the Crimea, the United States would do the same with Cuba. But this was not all, the Muscovite duck took a higher flight.
“War between England and France on the one side, and the United States on the other," wrote the bird with red caruncles, " would be a happy event for the constitutional states and the free countries of the
Dominated by its commercial interests, England, in allying itself with Bonapartised France, has deserted the cause of liberty of thought and of human dignity, and has sacrificed the security of the smaller states of the west. Who knows but that America may not take
the noble and glorious mission, and put an end to that Anglo-French preponderance, which is far more threatening to Europe than Russian preponderance !"
What a grandiose anticipation, clothed in still more grandiose and mystified language! Who will explain what is meant by deserting human dignity?
In the mean time, we are told, waiting for Jonathan's off-hand castigation of France and England, that the Cossacks of the theatres of the Boulevards were so cruelly whopped every night that no one could be found to take the part of Russian, except at an increase of salary. The Parisians could not be brought to see any difference between the Russian of the boards of the Gaité and the Russian at Sebastopol; the imperial lyrists delighted in picturing to the public a French grenadier surrounding three hundred Cossacks, and taking them all prisoners. And yet le peuple le plus spirituel du monde has a little dramatic sarcasm to the following effect:
“Captain, I have caught a Bedouin !" “Well, bring him here."
Captain! he won't come.” "Well, then, stupid, let him go!" “But, Captain, he won't let loose his hold of me!"
The sincerity of the alliance of France and England these professional embroilers of nations proclaim to be a falsehood, and what are their proofs ? Why, that if a Frenchman is heard to speak his native tongue in the populous quarters of London, he will be called a French dog. The statement is a falsehood, not the alliance. In the theatres and in the puppet-shows, say they, the Frenchman is as in the time of King George, a barber living upon frog soup, adorned with a frill, but having no shirt ! France, with whom to think otherwise than is ordained by the consigne de l'empereur, is a journey to Cayenne, fraternises with England as a dog or a cat whom we force to receive our caresses, to avoid the stick. To fire upon a German or a Russian the French are obliged to pull the trigger of their guns, but turned upon the English they would go off by themselves !
The anti-veracious historians of the war who swarm in Brussels—the modern Athens, as far as national, moral, and political turpitude are concerned.- tell a tale of a certain parrot, much in favour with Admiral Suffren-a name of renown in the seventeenth century—for speaking many languages, but who, after being present at a great naval engagement, could repeat nothing but “ Boom, boom, boom.” The same thing they tell us has been the case with a prince of royal English blood, who since the battle of Inkerman has never been able to answer any question proposed to him but by “Boom, pan, pan, cling, clang, krasch !"
Piedmont, the only free and constitutional state in Italy, the hope of all who have the progress of that once happy land at heart, and the dread of its priest-ridden neighbours—is, in the eyes of the same truculent writers, " a nest of dupes, who will at the best be found useful to fill up the ditches of Sebastopol with their bodies." Germany cannot be made to understand that its honour is concerned in going forth to die either to protect English manufactures or to consolidate the throne of Napoleon III.! Nor can it be made to understand that the Danube is a German river, forcibly and unjustifiably taken possession of by Russia; that Poland and Finland were once as independent as Turkey; and that without the heroic and generous devotion of France and England the German and Scandinavian states would have been the first after Turkey to fall prostrate beneath the yoke of the Muscovite. A war to protect India indeed! If others had the candour and the honesty to avow it—if their princes were not Russian at heart, while their people are German by name-they would acknowledge that the sufferings and the triumphs of the Allies cannot but ultimately tell more for their benefit than for that of the parties immediately engaged. But such is national and political gratitude ! It has been made one of the boasts of modern times that the morality of private life had found its way into that of politics ; that duplicity, Punic faith, and disloyalty had disappeared for ever from the cabinets of Europe. Never was there a greater mistake;-never was there a time when the simple political relations of people, and the causes of a just war, have been more shamefully misrepresented, or that more falsehoods have been so industriously circulated by those in power concerning the acts and motives of the Allies. Of fair argument there is none. “Only declare,” Napoleon III. asked, in the presence of the enlightened representatives of the science, art, and industry of Europe assembled at the Paris Exhibition, “who is in the right and who is in the wrong ?” No, it would not suit the political tactics of Russia, or of Austria, or of Prussia to answer that question. They supplant fair argument by shameless misrepresentations, and distort facts and the sources of facts in the mirror of their own evil and designing consciences.
The English army, we are told, is no longer aught but a phantom that Russia would cast into the sea to-morrow if France did not protect with its sword her historical enemy. While two hundred Anglo-Francs sleep every night in the sleep that knows no waking, their masters are dancing in the palaces of the Tuileries and of Windsor! People are still what they ever were, vile and stupid cattle, whom dogs with golden collars drive to the slaughter-house.
And what a remorse to gouty generals and an incapable ministry must that phantom be! To think that the Highland regiments are now com