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your style even in the freest conversation, and most familiar letters. After, at least, if not before you have said a thing, reflect if you could not have said it better.
Every man who has the use of his eyes and his right hand, can write whatever hand he pleases. Nothing is so ungentlemanlike as a school-boy's scrawl. I don't desire you to write a stiff, formal hand, like a schoolmaster, but a genteel, legible, and liberal character, and to be able to write quick.
SIR,—The atrocious crime of being a young man, which the honourable gentleman has, with such spirit and decency, charged upon me, I shall neither attempt to palliate nor deny, but content myself with wishing that I may be one of those whose follies may cease with their youth, and not of that number who are ignorant in spite of experience. Whether youth can be imputed to any man as a reproach, I will not, sir, assume the province of determining ; but surely age may become justly contemptible, if the opportunities which it brings have passed away without improvement, and vice appears to prevail when the passions have subsided. The wretch who, after having seen the consequences of a thousand errors, continues still to blunder, and whose age has only added obstinacy to stupidity, is surely the object either of abhorrence or contempt, and deserves not that his gray hairs should secure him from insult. Much more, sir, is he to be abhorred who, as he advanced in age, has receded from virtue, and become more wicked with less temptation ; who prostitutes himself for money which he cannot enjoy, and spends the remains of his life in the ruin of his country.
CIVIL SERVICE OF INDIA, 1866. It was near three of the o'clock in the afternoon before the battle began, which at that time of the year was so late that some Sultan was desirous of sparing the blood of his soldiers, still more desirous of securing for his own use the Byzantine treasures; and he accomplished a sacred duty in presenting to the gabours the choice of circumcision, of tribute, or of death. The avarice of Mahomet might have been satisfied with an annual sum of one hundred thousand ducats ; but his ambition grasped the capital of the East : to the prince he offered a rich equivalent, to the people a free toleration or a safe departure ; but after some fruitless treaty, he declared his resolution of finding either a throne or a grave under the walls of Constantinople. A sense of honour and fear of universal reproach forbade Palæologus to resign the city into the hands of the Ottomans, and he determined to abide the last extremity of war. Several days were employed by the Sultan in the preparations for the assault, and a respite was granted by his favourite science of astrology, which had fixed on the 29th of May as the fortunate and fatal hour. GIBBON.
ROYAL MILITARY ACADEMY, WOOLWICH, July 1866. I PARTICULARLY noticed one young woman of humble dress, but interesting demeanour. She was leaning forward from among the crowd ; her eye hurried over the ship as it neared the shore, to catch some wished-for countenance. She seemed disappointed and agitated when I heard a faint voice call her name. It was from a poor sailor who had been ill all the voyage, and had excited the sympathy of every one on board. When the weather was fine, his messmates had spread a mattress for him on deck in the shade, but of late his illness had so increased, that he had taken to his hammock, and only breathed a wish that he might see his wife before he died. He had been helped on deck as we came up the river, and was now leaning with a countenance so wasted, so pale, so ghastly, that it was no wonder even the eye of affection did not recognise him. But at the sound of his voice, her eye darted on his features ; it read at once a whole volume of sorrow. She uttered a faint shriek, clasped her hands, and stood wringing them in silent agony. WASHINGTON IRVING.
CIVIL SERVICE OF INDIA, 1867. LEARNING, on its revival, was held in high estimation by the English princes and nobles ; and, as it was not yet too common, even the great deemed it an object of ambition to attain a character for literature. The four successive sovereigns, Henry, Edward, Mary, and Elizabeth, may, on one account or other, be admitted into the class of authors. Queen Catharine Parr translated a book. Lady Jane Grey, considering her age and her sex and her station, may be regarded as a prodigy of literature. Queen Elizabeth wrote and translated several books, and she was familiarly acquainted with the Greek as well as Latin tongue. It is pretended that she made an extemporary reply in Greek to the University of Cambridge, who had addressed her in that language. It is certain that she answered in Latin without premeditation, and in a very spirited manner, to the Popish ambassador, who had been wanting in respect to her. When she had finished, she turned about to her courtiers, and said, “S’death, my lords,” (for she was much addicted to swearing) “I have been obliged to scour up my old Latin, that hath long lain rusting.” Elizabeth, even after she was queen, did not entirely drop the ambition of appearing as an author ; and, next to her desire or ambition for beauty, this seems to have been the chief object of her vanity.
It is an error to suppose that the English gentry were lodged in stately or even in well-sized houses. Generally speaking, their dwellings were as much inferior to those of their descendants in capacity as they were in convenience. The usual arrangement consisted of an entrance passage running through the house, with a hall on one side, a parlour beyond, and one or two chambers above ; and on the opposite side a kitchen, pantry, and other offices. Such was the ordinary manor-house of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, as appears not only from the documents and engravings, but, as to the latter period, from the buildings them
them, gave an impressive and solemn effect to the office of devotion. . . . . As he shut the book, “ Now, lads," said he, “have at them in the morning with heavy hands and light consciences.”
ACCORDINGLY, when John Hayward with his bell and cart came along, finding two bodies lie upon the stall, they took them up with the instrument they used, and threw them into the cart ; and all this while the piper slept soundly.
From hence they passed along, and took in other dead bodies, till, as honest John Hayward told me, they almost buried him alive in the cart, yet all this while he slept soundly; at length the cart came to the place where the bodies were to be thrown into the ground, which, as I do remember, was at Mountmill ; and as the cart usually stopt some time before they were ready to shoot out the melancholy load they had in it, as soon as the cart stopped, the fellow waked, and struggled to get his head out from among the dead bodies, when, raising himself up in the cart, he called out, “Hey, where am I ?” This frightened the fellow that attended about the work, but, after some pause, John Hayward, recovering himself, said, “ Lord bless us! there's somebody in the cart not quite dead.” So another called to him, and said, “Who are you?" The fellow answered, “ I am the poor piper ; where am I ?” “Where are you?” says Hayward ; “Why, you are in the dead cart, and we are going to bury you.” “But I ain't dead though, am I ?” says the piper; which made them laugh a little, though, as John said, they were heartily frightened at first. So they helped the poor fellow down, and he went about his business.
ROYAL MILITARY ACADEMY, WOOLWICH, July 1868. The energy and pathos of the great orator extorted expressions of unwonted admiration from the stern and hostile Chancellor, and for a moment seemed to pierce even the resolute heart of the defendant. The ladies in the galleries, unaccustomed to such displays of eloquence, excited by the solemnity of the occasion, and perhaps not unwilling to display their taste and sensibility, were in a state of uncontrollable emotion. Handkerchiefs were pulled out; smelling-bottles were handed round ; hysterical sobs and screams were heard ; and Mrs Sheridan was carried out in a fit. At length the orator concluded. Raising his voice till the old arches of Irish oak resounded, “ Therefore,” said he, “hath it with all confidence been ordered by the Commons of Great Britain, that I impeach Warren Hastings of high crimes and misdemeanours. I impeach him in the name of the Commons' House of Parliament, whose trust he has betrayed. I impeach him in the name of the English nation, whose ancient honour he has sullied. I impeach him in the name of the people of India, whose rights he has trodden under foot, and whose country he has turned into a desert. Lastly, in the name of human nature itself, in the name of both sexes, in the name of every age, in the name of every rank, I impeach the common enemy and oppressor of all !”
If ever despondency and asperity could be excused in any man, it might have been excused in Milton. But the strength of his mind overcame every calamity. Neither blindness, nor gout, nor age, nor penury, nor domestic afflictions, nor political disappointments, nor abuse, nor proscription, nor neglect, had power to disturb his sedate and majestic patience. His temper was serious, perhaps stern; but it was a temper which no suffering could render sullen or fretful. Such as it was, when on the eve of great events, he returned from his travels, in the prime of health and manly beauty, loaded with literary distinctions, and glowing with patriotic hopes, such it continued to be—when, after having experienced every calamity which is incident to our nature, old, poor, sightless, and disgraced, he retired to his hovel to die !