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qualify you for the supreme bless- by taking up their abode in it. ing of being intolerably bored? We had our historical associations Now, I don't say that his Highness too; and a very respectable galhas sent for me, or that any such lery of all the celebrities who had greatness imperils me; but I have formerly adorned the establishreceived an intimation that my ment graced one of the wings, and prison has been changed, and that strangers took a vast interest in I am now to be the denizen of a this, particularly young ladies, who larger penitentiary, or-I may go often came, accompanied by a conat large if I will.
vict detailed” for the purpose, With half tbe poor debtor's ex- to copy a particular portrait. perience of captivity-for I have Is it wonderful if I am sorry to been but twenty years—I am re- leave it now? where shall I ever luctant to go. I am used to it find such felons again? Where now. I can take my little exercise shall I ever hear such a kind interin that short corridor just as well pretation of all human motives, as over the side of a mountain; so many comforting assurances to and the view out of my window, those weak of virtue, and so many though it be only the common argumentative reasons for doing court where the other prisoners are whatever one liked ? Compared playing, interests and amuses me, to the smooth path of existence to the full, as much as if a whole here, all other roads in life are panorama of the Tyrol lay stretched macadamised highways and barebefore me.
feet. We are constantly told—I Another thing, too : ours was a read it only last week in the sort of model penitentiary, and 'Times,' in a leader about Mexico people who were curious on such – that in every conflict between things came from all parts to look Civilisation and Barbarism, it is at us. We were not exactly a re- the savagery gets the worst of itformatory—I won't say that—but that the spirit of culture is always I believe I may assert, that there the conquering spirit, and that the was such an instinctive love of polished races sweep the uncivilorder, such a native sense of de- ised ones before them, by a law corum and discipline amongst us, that never varies. Now, is it not that the system worked without strange that the theory is scarcely warders or overseers; none com- borne out by what one sees in the plained of the dietary; and such world of society? It is not the a thing as a prisoner tearing his superior mind, the higher intelliclothes, or making a noise in his gence, or the greater refinement, cell, was a thing positively un, which, leavening the mass, elevates known. I am bound to admit the whole. It is exactly the rethere was no crank - labour, no verse; people in the world of life oakum-picking, no stone-breaking; take their tone from the lowest in we did nothing all day long, and it intelligence, and the meanest in was astonishing how we throve on acquirement. We are not here it. I don't believe there were five without men and women of a men in the institution who had thoughtful turn, some of them earned as much as one day's sub- gifted with considerable faculties, sistence all the time I knew it, and and some who would make their yet tbere was no discontent—there mark on the society of any Eurowas not even ennui. If happiness pean capital; and yet in our village be the test of a successful system, they are totally submerged and ours ought to have the gold medal. lost : swallowed up in the “gurgiScores upon scores of the curious te vasto” of the universal nothingwho came to see the place ended ness that surrounds us, they give
no sign of their existence, so that ingly commonplace; and the smallwe are not crushed by mental est of stories, or the flattest of superiorities, nor do we groan jokes, would have a success with under the remorseless tyranny of us such as the smartest repartee that oppressive being—the man of or the best anecdote would not obcultivated understanding.
tain elsewhere ; and, let me tell Is there then anything that we you, there is much in this. could complain of? I verily be- We are all of us eager to know lieve there is not. I never heard where we can live cheaply—where of a place so easy to live in, nor of rent is low, and the markets reapeople so easy to live with—where sonable—and where our sovereign men so temperate in their is worth not twenty, but five-andtastes, each satisfied with his own, twenty, or even thirty shillings; be the fare ever so humble, so and why not, I ask, seek for the that no one sponges on his neigh- same economy intellectually? Why bour. There are no one-ideaed not inquire where you can exist people running about in society, with a very small patrimony of and boring you with some egoisti- brains, where you can compete with cal conception about prophecy, or your neighbour on a very modest politics, the age of the world, or fortune of intelligence ? the advance of the Russian.
I am not ashamed of my cold are neither historical nor specula- mutton and my table - beer when tive; the only deluge we take I know that the gentleman next count of was a flood in the Arno; door is not dining on venison and and our notion of original sin is Chambertin ; and in the same connected with a rise in the price way it reconciles me marvellousof tobacco !
ly to the significance of my own Sitting here for the last time, life-its plodding monotony and “sub tegmine fig-tree,” I am really its general worthlessness—when I sorry to think I am going away. can show every evening in the Had I indeed had charge of some public garden a score or two of great "argosy" - bad I been in people just as idle, just as stupid, command of some “tall ammiral” and just as good for nothing as -it is not impossible I might have myself. desired more sea-room and a wider Am I so certain I shall ever ocean; but my existence-I own it meet the like again? The very in all humility—was a mere “canoe thought of going amongst activevoyage;" and where could I have minded, busy, bustling people, with found a pleasanter rivulet to paddle interests to enjoy, and ambitions in ?
to stimulate them, actually stuns In the great centres of life-in I have been chewing the Paris and in London-men's nerves opium of this drowsy Italian life so are so tensely strung by the excit- long that I cannot shake off the ing interests of life, that they come pleasant lethargy, and take to into society weary, jaded, and ex- ** Thought” again. hausted. Now, in our village, there Our village, too, had another adare no high themes, no eventful vantage : it lay on a great highquestions. We have no rich people road to many more important places; to fret over a fall of the funds; we and tired travellers liked it well as have no clever people to go mad a place to rest in. The inns were over the scarifying criticism on good, the landlords civil, and not their spec' or their novel; we are greater rogues than their colleagues neither tormented with celebrities elsewhere; and then, if a stranger nor bored by ambitions. We are fancied to defer his departure, and all delightfully dull and charm- pass an extra day or two amongst us, such was our hospitality, such that we had none of that exaggerwas the unsuspecting courtesy of ated eagerness for enjoyment—that our habits, he was at once pre- carpe diem zeal to condense our sented with the freedom of the delights—which is so often seen at city, and there was not a house, home. In fact, our object was from the Maire's to the Postmes- rather to husband our resources tresse's, where he was not an hon- for self-indulgence, than to make oured and accepted guest.
much of the occasions themselves; More exclusive communities will and this sentiment threw a certain exclaim against this, and cry out, graceful languor over intercourse, How dangerous and how rash! which coarser natures from the Our experiences do not corroborate wrong side of the Alps mistook these fears; or, at all events, we for lassitude ! are philosophers enough to balance Just as there are seas so buoyant the good against the evil, and
we that the worst swimmers can keep are content with the result. The afloat on them, so are there societies luckiest fisherman will now and where almost without an effort you then find in his net some mon- can sustain yourself. Is it not sad strous creature he is only too glad to leave all this? I cannot grow to return to the waves; and so is it young again, and rally back to hope in life. All our takes” are not and spring and ambition. John Dorys.
somewhat footsore and weary of Perhaps of all our characteristics the road, and would rather see the the most striking was the tame old familiar street, whose every indolent way we pursued our plea- creaking sign whispers a welcome sures; for though we were essen- to me, than all the glories the tially a people bent on enjoyment, French Emperor is displaying to and, in fact, thinking of no other his royal guests. I shall never thing, yet we never, as John Bull see a sunset so beautiful as that does, converted pleasure into a which is now tinging those halls business, and toiled like galley. with opal. And there, yonder slaves to amuse ourselves. We comes the moon over the top of the knew so well that to-morrow would Apennines—the last full moon I be pretty much the same as to-day, am to see in Italy.
I am PRAXITELES AND PHRYNE.
A THOUSAND silent years ago,
The starlight faint and pale Was drawing on the sunset glow
Its soft and shadowy veil;
When from his work the Sculptor stayed
His hand, and turned to one
Said, with a sigh, “ 'Tis done.”
Thy rounded limbs decay,
To bid thy beauty stay;
On marble lips shall live,-
And fix the fugitive.
Sad thought! nor age nor death shall fade
The youth of this cold bust;
And thou and I, are dust !
“When all our hopes and fears are dead,
And both our hearts are cold,
And Life a tale that's told,
“ This counterfeit of senseless stone,
That no sweet blush can warm,
“And there upon that silent face
Shall unborn ages see Perennial youth, perennial grace,
And sealed serenity.
“And strangers, when we sleep in peace,
Shall say, not quite unmoved, So smiled upon Praxiteles
The Phryne whom he loved.”
W. W. S.
THE PROGRESS OF THE QUESTION.
The session of which the close country. Yet here they are still in cannot now be far distant, has been possession of Downing Street-still one of the most remarkable in the prescribing to the Houses of Lords Parliamentary history of Great and Commons what subjects they Britain. It opened under circum- are to consider, and how to constances which no human being pre- sider them — still baffling hostile tended to understand; and has thus atteinpts to dislodge them from far held its course amid a succes- office still frustrating tricks sion of surprises. A Government ap- cleverly contrived with a view to parently more powerless than that circumvent them, and enjoying a which met Parliament five months pretty sure prospect of settling once ago, never presided overthe destinies and for a generation at least to of this country. Not that anybody come, the question which, for the pretended to say of the individuals last five-and-twenty years, has overcomposing the Administration that taxed the ingenuity of successive they were either weak or uninstruct Administrations. Nor is this all. ed men. Some of them, on the From week to week, and from day contrary, stood, and deserved to to day, the Government gains stand, in the foremost rank of ground in public opinion—the very statesmen; nor among them all was eagerness of the leaders of the Opthere one of whom it could with position to put them in the wrong, truth be insinuated that he did not contributing only to bring more possess more than an average share prominently into view their adminof ability and knowledge. But they istrative abilities. It is well worth were in a decided minority, so far while to inquire into the cause of as their following went, in the a climax which, only half a year House of Commons; and whether ago, probably not a dozen men, in they all thought alike upon points or out of Parliament, thought of of policy at once critical and ur- counting upon. gent, was more than the lookers-on The Government is certainly not could tell. All, indeed, of which indebted for the success which has the outer world seemed to be con- attended it to any perfect congruity fident amounted to this—that Lord of sentiment prevailing on all subDerby and his colleagues had come jects among its members from the into office unexpectedly, that they beginning. Its original construcconfronted a state of things which tion was to Lord Derby as much a it would be impossible to blink, necessity as a matter of choice. and for them, at least, almost of his colleagues a majority had equally impossible to grapple with, served with him on previous occaand that, whether grappling with sions, and the remainder were retheir difficulties or trying to evade cognised as men of great ability, them, they would be encountered who during long years of opposition at every turn by an opposition had well sustained the leading prinfierce, rancorous, rabid, and most ciples of which he is the champion. unscrupulous. Few, either of their In proposing to these latter to friends or their enemies, ima- take office under him, Lord Derby gined that they would be able, so could neither require nor expect circumstanced, to keep their places that they should on every point, many weeks after Parliament met either of foreign or domestic policy, again ; fewer still that it would be surrender their own honest convicpossible for them to make their tions to his. But he had a perfect mark upon the legislation of the right to expect-and they too must