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the great error of writing down a falsehood. Men may be a little more careless in such matters, but feminine nicety is touched to the quick. I remember once an Irishman walking into a drawing-room, and introducing to the lady of the house a tall youth, as, "Give me leave to introduce my nephew;" then putting his hand aside of his mouth, he added, in a whisper which may be truly termed Irish, for it was quite as loud as the first introduction, he's my son." Could you, having any bowels of compassion, extort a like confession from such an unprotected female as Miss Debora? A registration commission might, if encouraged, hereafter ransack her unfortunate boxes to find baby-linen. Is there to be nothing but one rigid rule-no charity shown to sex and age-but the unsparing discovery of both on that fatal 30th of March? Must no female, then, escape to her lover's arms in male attire-no "lubberly boy" pass for a sweet Anne Page, that sweet Anne Page fall not to the lot of a fool? Must foibles, frailties, and follies be all registered in damnatory schedules ? Surely
there might be a little decent connivance, such as would spare the two village ladies, who, being born in the same anno Domini, annually visited each other to determine what should be their ages for the ensuing year. Their only comfort will be in bribery and corruption, which they will be thankful is not yet put down, and a fee will spare what uncharitable census would expose. There may be something in attacking crimes and discovering frauds which touch the whole community. These are not much harboured in homes, but in public-houses, and in shops, which are not homes, but as having a public character, and giving public invitation to all to enter them, ought to come under some kind of surveillance; but when the citizen shuts his street-door, let none force an entrance. Let no Asmodeus take off his roof, and publish the within little histories, nor make gimlet-holes in walls and ceilings. Such doings are but, as at present, a slight exaggeration or caricature of a census. Let there be a police, and a good one; even with much secret scrutiny allowed them, it is for the public safety; but
there let it end in its admitted authority. Make not a police of a census commission, nor let the one interfere with or usurp the office of the other. Let a census be content to number the people-a police take crime under its cognisance. The undying, ever-seeing, and acting arrangement of a police is one of the most curious phenomena of society. For revolutions that appear to overturn everything, scarcely touch a well-ordered police; the excellence of which is, that it lives and moves unseen, unfelt, by the good-that it is a protector.
I remember years ago reading an anecdote showing the perfection of the old Parisian police. A gentleman had sojourned in Paris a week or two, when one day he was requested to attend at the police-office. He was surprised when told how he had occupied himself since he had been in Paris-what houses he had frequented, what friends visited, what business he had transacted. He was finally asked the home-question, "Are you a man of courage-can you rely upon yourself?" He thought he might. Then he was told that there was a plot to murder him in his bed that night-that his own servant was in conspiracy with others for that purpose. He was desired to go to bed as usual, and, if he did not sleep, to appear to sleep, and to fear nothing. In the night he heard his room-door open, a person or persons enter-he knew steps were softly approaching his bed-he fancied the arm uplifted to murder him. His reliance and his courage failed him not. Under his bed, and elsewhere in his room, soldiers had been secreted. To make the story short, his servant and the accomplices were taken. The census which a police quietly makes has an object of general safety. It has its one pursuit. It has its particular game, and we may well give it its license. By it we sleep safely in our beds. It does its complicated but defined work silently; whereas the other census is perpetually knocking at every man's door, to ask impertinent questions. It is a perpetual warning to "beware the Ides of March;" for then it will come and toss the clothes off your bed at earliest dawn, lest you should rise and escape;
and you must give an account of all the beds, and all who slept in them. And what is all this disturbance for? For no earthly good that any of the persecuted can yet see, but all mistrust the end. Must every one of us have a ticket and number on his back? It is the same thing, if he and his concerns, and all the relations of his life, are down in Busybody's book. There he sits in his Centralisation Office, with his millions of electric wires passing underground, and coming up unseen in every man's house. He means to have his hook in every man's nose, nay, every man's, woman's, and child's, and to draw them in when he wills, as a big spider does his flies, and perhaps to leave them sucked as dry, suspended in his million-threaded web. And has he not as many eyes as that ugly creature, and as many ways of spreading out his ubiquitous legs-backward, forward, or circular? Oh, this Busybody!-he means to have a line in every one's mouth, and to draw all after him as Gulliver did the diminutive fleet. But I say, Eusebius, that, Liliputians as we are in his eyes, it is hard if we cannot combine, get our multitudinous toils round his legs, and with a long pull, and a strong pull, and a pull altogether, throw him on his back, tie him down hands and feet, search his pockets for his hooks, and then shoot our sharpest arrows into the body of this Quintus Flestrin. We will not be any more gulled by this huge Gulliver. He is the Great Humbug and Deceiver, cajoling silly ones into a belief in the marvel of his arithmetic; that all the commonest things of life must be done by his mystical numbers, or will be done ill; that they must count and think of how many joints, bones, muscles, and sinews they have in their toes, before venturing their feet a single step.
What is become of civilisation all this while, Eusebius? This Census, which was to tell so much, has not thrown light upon the question. Yet, perhaps, after all, it is a more simple one than you or I thought it to be. I go back to the placidity of the Chinese lady in the picture. I am now gazing on her expressive trustfulness-upon a complexion that, if there be many such, justifies the title of
VOL. LXXVI.-NO. CCCCLXVIII.
"Celestial Empire." She, the feminine representative of a nation, the prized pearl of the Romance of the Porcelain Empire, the very "Gentilezza," the embodied purity of a people's best thoughts, the endowed growth of a perfection above nature, for so much worship as humanity may, for its improvement in civilisation, be allowed to set up in the garden of imaginary virtues, the very Goshen where grow plants and flowers, and sweet waters glide unknown to working nature, and all courting the enchanting and enchanted beauty.
"L'acqua la terra in suo favor s'inchina." Not to be tedious with you in this fancied passion, Eusebius, I come to the point I aim at. She is the emblem of civilisation, and that is feminine influence. Its ideal has beautified that porcelain world, as it will ever beautify every other where it is felt and maintained.
Yes, Eusebius, civilisation, like common sense, aptly called motherwit, comes from the mother. He who, as child and boy, loved and reverenced for all her purity, truth, and goodness, a mother, when he becomes man will ever do his part in civilising the world. From the first romance of mother's love groweth every other romance; for romance is a noble and delicate sentiment. To propagate this is to propagate civilisation. But if any lack this reverence, from whatever cause, and would palm upon society, as better than its romance, an idle knowledge, a low spirit of calculation, an accumulation of mere facts and figures, trust him not with the secrets of your breast; all his doings tend to selfishness and rebarbarism. A mother to him is but as poor old Mrs Bounderby ignored. For my own part, Eusebius, when I see such glib statistical calculators boasting of their practical knowledge, I bethink me of the learned dog in the show, who with perseverance has acquired the trick of putting his paw upon letters and numbers, and of arithmetising required ages. Take heed to your pocket on such occasions; for though you have paid your admission-ticket, there remains the last acquirement, the last main trick to be exhibited, the going round the company with the hat in his mouth. 2 G
A RUSSIAN REMINISCENCE.
UPON one of the coldest days of February 1853, I left Paris by the Orleans Railway. The weather was extremely severe, the frozen snow lay thick in the streets, the asphalt of the boulevards was slippery as glass, sledges scoured the Champs Elysées and Bois de Boulogne. An icy wind whistled round the train as we quitted the shelter of the station, and I regretted, as I buttoned myself to the chin, and shrank into my corner, that the carriage was not full, instead of having but one occupant besides myself.
"This carriage must be badly closed," I remarked. "It is bitter cold to the feet."
"For that discomfort I have little pity," replied the Frenchman. "A
Opposite to me sat a hale man of about sixty-five, with a quick bright eye, an intelligent, good-humoured countenance somewhat weatherbeaten-and the red rosette of the Legion of Honour in his button-hole. During the first half-hour he pored over a letter, whose contents, judging from the animated expression of his physiognomy, interested him strongly. He seemed scarcely aware of my presence. At last he put up the letter, and then for the first time looked me in the face. I had been but a few days out of a sick-bed, and was sensitive to the cold, and doubtless my appearance was chilly and woebegone enough, for I detected a slight approach to a smile at the corners of the stranger's mouth. To one or two commonplace remarks he replied courteously but laconically, like a man who is neither unsociable nor averse to conversation, but who prefers his own thoughts to that bald talk with which travellers sometimes weary each other rather than sit silent. So our dialogue soon dropped." The cold increased, my feet were benumbed, and I stamped them on the floor of the carriage to revive the circulation. My companion observed my proceedings with a comical look, as if he thought me a very tender traveller.
"Yes, sir, forty years; since the winter of 1812-the winter of the Russian campaign."
"You were in that terrible campaign?" I inquired, in a tone of interest and curiosity. My companion, previously taciturn, suddenly became communicative.
"All through it, sir," he replied; "from the Niemen to the Kremlin, and back again. It was my first campaign, and was near being my last. I was in others afterwards; in Germany in 1813, when the combined Germans and Russians drove us before them, for want of the brave fellows we had left in Muscovy's snows; in France in 1814, when the Emperor made his gallant struggle against overwhelming forces; and at the closing scene in Flanders: but not all those three campaigns put together, nor, as I believe, all that this century has witnessed, can match the horrors of that dreadful winter in Russia."
He paused, and, leaning back in his corner, seemed to revolve in his mind events of powerful interest long gone by. I waited a while, in hopes he would resume the subject. As he did not do so, I asked him to what arm he belonged when in Russia.
"I was assistant-surgeon in a regiment of hussars," he answered, and in my medical capacity I had abundant opportunity to make acquaintance with the horrors of war. On the 7th of September, for instance, at the Moskwa-Heavens! what a shambles that was! Ah, it was fine to see such valour on both sidesfor the Russians fought well — gallantly, sir, or where would have been the glory of beating them? But Ney! Ney! Oh! he was splendid that day! His whole countenance gleamed, as he again and again led the bloody
charge, exposing himself as freely as any corporal in the ranks. And Eugene, the Viceroy, with what vigour he hurled his masses against that terrible redoubt! When at last it was his, what a sight was there! The ground was not strewn with dead; it was heaped, piled with them. They had been shot down by whole ranks, and there they lay, prostrate, in line as they had stood."
The surgeon paused. I thought of Byron's beautiful lines, beginning, "Even as they fell, in files they lay;" but I said nothing, for I saw that my companion was now fairly started, and needed no spurring.
"Monsieur," he presently resumed, "all those things have been brought strongly to my mind by the letter you saw me just now reading. It is from an old friend, a captain in 1812, a general now, who went through the campaign, and whom I was so fortunate as to save from a grave in those infernal plains where most of our poor comrades perished. I will tell you how it happened. We were talking of the battle of Borodino. Seventy thousand men, it is said, were killed and wounded in that murderous fight. We surgeons, as you may well think, had our hands full, and still could not suffice for a tithe of the sufferers. It was a rough breaking-in for a young hand, as I then was. Such frightful wounds as were there, of every kind and description-from shot, shell, and bullet, pike and sabre. Well, sir, all the misery and suffering I then saw, all that vast amount of human agony and bloodshed, whose steam, ascending to Heaven, might well have brought down God's malediction on his creatures, who could thus destroy and deface each other, was nothing compared with the horrible misery we witnessed on our retreat. I have read everything that has appeared in France concerning that campaign Ségur, Labaume, and other writers. Their narratives are shocking enough, but nothing to the reality. would have sickened their readers had they told all they saw. If any body, who went through the campaign, could remember and set down all he witnessed, he would make the
most heart-rending book that ever yet was printed, and would be accused of gross exaggeration. Exaggeration, indeed! there was no need to heighten the horrors of the winter of 1812. All that frost and famine, lead and steel, could inflict, was then endured; all the crimes that reckless despair and ruthless cruelty could prompt were then perpetrated."
"And how," I asked, "did you escape, when so many, doubtless as strong and courageous, and more inured to hardship, miserably perished?"
"Under Providence, I owed my preservation to the trustiest and most faithful servant ever master had. Paul had been several years in the hussars -was an old soldier, in fact, although still a young man; and at a time when all discipline and subordination were at an end, when soldiers heeded not their officers, officers avoided their generals, and servants and masters were all alike and upon a level, Paul proved true as steel. As if cold and the Cossacks were not enough, hunger was added to our sufferings: there was no longer a commissariat or distribution of rations ;rations, forsooth!-dead horse was a luxury I have seen men fight for till death, lean meat though it was, for the poor brutes were as starved as their riders. What little there was to eat in the villages we passed through fell to the share of the first comers. Empty larders-often smoking ruins -were all that remained for those who came behind. Well, sir, when things were at the worst, and provender at the scarcest, Paul always had something for me in his havresack. One day it would be a bit of bread, on the morrow a handful of grain or some edible roots, now and then a slice of horse-beef-and how delicious that seemed, grilled over our smoky scanty fires! There was never enough to satisfy my hunger, but there was always a something-enough to keep body and soul together. Paul, as I afterwards discovered, husbanded his stores, for he well knew that if he gave me all at once I should leave nothing, and then I must have fasted for days, and perhaps have fallen from my horse for weakness. But think of the cour
age and affection of the poor fellow, himself half-starved, to carry food about him day after day, and refrain from devouring the share secretly set aside for me! There were not many men in the army, even of general's rank, capable of such devotion to the dearest friend they had, for extreme misery had induced a ferocious selfishness, which made us more like hyenas than Christians."
"I should think the cold must have been even worse to endure than hunger," said I, screwing up my chilly extremities, which the interest of the doctor's conversation had almost made me forget.
"It was, sir, harder and more fatal -at least a greater number died of it; although, to say the truth, frost and famine there worked hand in hand, and with such unity of action, that it was often hard to say which was the cause of death. But it was a shocking sight, of a morning, to see the poor fellows lying dead round the bivouac fires. Unable to resist fatigue and the drowsy influence of the cold, they yielded to slumber, and passed from sleep into death. For, there, sleep was death."
excitement of the skirmish warmed their blood, and gave them, as it seemed, fresh hold upon life. In one of those skirmishes, or rather in a sharp combat, a dear friend of mine, a captain in the same regiment, had his left arm carried off by a cannon-shot. After the affair was over, I came suddenly upon him, where he lay moaning by the roadside, his face ashy pale, his arm still hanging by the sinews. His horse had either galloped away, or been taken by the fugitives.
"But how then," I asked, "did any ever escape from Russia, for all must have slept at times?"
"I do not believe that any who escaped did sleep, at least not of a night, at the bivouac. We used to rouse each other continually, to prevent our giving way, and then get up and walk as briskly as we could, to quicken the sluggish circulation. We slept upon the march, in our saddles, and, strange as it may seem to you, even those on foot slept when marching. They marched in groups or clusters, and those in the centre slept, propped and supported by their companions, and moving their legs mechanically. I do not say that it was a sound, deep sleep, but rather a sort of feverish dozing. Such as it was, however, it was better than nothing, and assuredly saved some who would otherwise have sunk. Others, who would have given way to weariness upon the long monotonous march, were kept from utter despair and self-abandonment only by the repeated harassing attacks of the Cossacks. The
"Ah, mon ami!' he cried, when he saw me, all is over-I can go no further. I shall never see France again!'
"I saw that, like the majority of those who received severe wounds in that retreat, his moral courage was subdued, and had given way to despair. I was terribly shocked, for I felt how slight was his chance of escape. I need hardly tell you there was very little dressing of wounds during that latter part of the retreat; most of the surgeons were dead, the hospital-waggons with medicine and instruments had been left on the road; transport for the sick was out of the question. I assumed as cheerful a countenance as I could.
Why, Préville,' I cried, this will not do; we must get you along somehow. Come ! courage, my friend! You shall see France again, in spite of all.'
"Ah! doctor,' replied he, in piteous tones, it is no use. Here I shall die. All you can do for me is to blow my brains out, and save me from the Cossack lances.'
"By this time I had dismounted and was at his side. The intense cold had stopped the bleeding of his wound. I saw that there was no lack of vitality in him, and that, but for this mishap, few would have got out of the campaign in better plight. Even now, his despondency was perhaps his greatest danger. I reminded him of his wife and child (he had been married little more than a year, and news of the birth of a daughter had reached him on our forward march), of his happy home, his old mother-of all the ties, in short, that bound him to life. Whilst speaking,