Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

tongue, are equally genteel and easy ; a constant flow (1) of softened sprightliness keeps her good-humoured and cheerful; and the only objects of her life are to please and to be pleased. Her vivacity may sometimes approach to folly; but perhaps it is not in her moments of folly she is least interesting and agreeable.

English women have many points of superiority over the French; the French are superior to them in many others. The English women are the best wives under heaven, and shame be on the men who make them bad husbands!

ADVICE.

Never triumph over any man's imperfections: but consider if the party who is blamed for some tbings may not likewise be praised for his superiority in others.

IDLENESS.

An idle body is a kind of monster in the creation. All nature is busy about him. How wretched it is to hear people complain that the day hangs heavy (2) upon themselves! How monstrous are such expressions among creatures who can apply themselves to the reading of useful books, who may exercise themselves in the pur

(1) A constant flow, un cours perpétuel, une source inépuisable.

(2) To hang heavy, peser lourdement.

MUSIC.

suits of knowledge and virtue, and every hour of their lives, make themselves wiser and better than they were before !

ADDISON.

THE FIRST BOOKS.

The first books were in the form of blocks (1) or tables; but, as pliant (2) materials came into use,

it was found more convenient to make them in the form of rolls (3), which appear to have been used among the Jews, Grecians and Romans, till some centuries after Christ. The copies of the Old Testament, in the Jewish synagogues, are to this day, long scrolls of parchment rolled upon sticks. The shape now in use among us, though little known to the ancients, was invented by Attalus, king of Pergamos, to whom some ascribe the manner of preparing parchment. It was Philatius, a learned man at Athens, who first taught the use of a kind of glue (4) to fasten the leaves together, on which account a statue was erected to him.

MUSIC.

Music may be considered one of the most powerful means we possess for softening the heart, and rendering it susceptible of every exalted sentiment.

It has the pe

(1) Blocks, gros morceaux de bois, blocs.
(2) Pliant, flexible.
(3) Rolls, rouleaux.
(4) Glue, colle forte.

culiar faculty of arousing, or, soothing the passions; if we are wrapped in melancholy the sweet voice of music will charm away (1) our cares, and restore our drooping spirits, or awaken in us the sentiments of honour and glory. As a source of sensual pleasure, it is one of the purest and most dignified : it touches the soul, and elevates and refines its nature. Conducted by philosophy, it is able to infuse the noblest thoughts, to urge (2) to the most animated actions, to calm the ruffled (3) spirits, and to eradicate every evil propensity.

HALL.

CIVILITY.

One night that I was at the Opera át Paris, I entered into conversation with three gentlemen who sat near me in the amphitheatre. It was in the beginning of the war with America; and one of them asked me whether the Americans were as polished as the English. I replied : Oh! mon Dieu, non, monsieur; ils sont trop éloignés de la France. He answered directly : Monsieur, vous pensez comme un Anglais, et vous parlez comme un Français. Says the second to the third, Il est aimable; and says the third to the second, Il a de l'esprit. My nswer was only a civil truth: I did not think of it when I made it; but I thought a great deal of its effect

(1) To charm away, dissiper, chasser.
(2) To urge, exciter.
(3) Ruffled , troublé.

[blocks in formation]

afterwards. There was the good will of three men gained by a single phrase.

SHERLOCK.

GUNPOWDER PLOT.

In the third year of the reign of King James lot of England (1605), an extensive conspiracy was discovered at London. The intention of the conspirators was to destroy, by one blow, the king, the ministers and the parliament. It was discovered in the following man

ner.

The conspirators, or some one of them, wishing to save some of their friends who were in parliament, sent the following letter to Lord Monteagle :

“My Lord, 66 Out of the love I bear to some of your friends, 1 have a care of your preservation; therefore I would wish you, as you tender (1) your life, to forbear (2) your attendance at this parliament; for God and man have concurred to punish the wickedness of this time. And think not slightly of this advertisement : for though there be no appearance of any stir (3), yet I say they shall receive a terrible blow this parliament, and yet shall not see who hurts them. This counsel is not to be contemned; be

(1) To tender, estimer, considérer. N. B. Ce mot est peu usité comme.verbe aujourd'hui.

(2) To forbear, résister, éviter. (3) Stir, mouvement, émeute.

[ocr errors]

cause it may do you good, and can do you no harm, for the danger is past as soon as you have (1) burnt this letter, and I hope you will make good use of it.

Lord Monteagle, after having read the letter, went to the Palace (White-Hall) and showed it to the ministers. The secretary of state (the Earl of Salisbury ) treated the affair very lightly, saying the letter had been written by a fool, and that it did not deserve notice. On the return of the king, who was absent from London on a hunting party, it was shown to him, and after some reflexion, he thought the menaced blow signified an explosion; he therefore ordered a diligent search to be made in all the houses and cellars adjoining the parliament house , on the morning that the parliament was to meet. The consequence was the discovery, in a cellar under the house of lords, of thirty-six barrels of gunpowder concealed under billets and faggots. In the cellar was also found a man named Fawkes, having in his pocket a tinderbox, a dark lantern (2), matches and every thing ready to fire the train that was to blow up and destroy in one moment, the whole government of England.

The apprehension of Fawkes led to the arrestation of several other conspirators, some of whom were men of distinction; they were all executed as traitors, and the anniversary of this day (Nov. Sth) is yet celebrated in England.

(1) As soon as you have, aussitôt que vous avez (aurez). Les Anglais se servent du présent au lieu du futur après les adverbes when, before, as soon as, after. Voyez Grammaire pratique, 211.

(2) Dark lantern , lanterne sourde.

« AnteriorContinuar »