Mademoiselle la Mousquetaire (annoté) (French Edition)
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ABOUT, Edmond. 16449
Ducks and poultry are borne skyward: but now shall men be borne. Chemist Charles will himself ascend, from the Tuileries Garden; Montgolfier solemnly cutting the cord. By Heaven, he also mounts, he and another? Ten times ten thousand hearts go palpitating; all tongues are mute with wonder and fear; till a shout, like the voice of seas, rolls after him, on his wild way.
Finally he descends; welcomed by the universe. Duchess Polignac, with a party, is in the Bois de Boulogne, waiting; though it is drizzly winter; the 1st of December The whole chivalry of France, Duke de Chartres foremost, gallops to receive him. Beautiful invention; mounting heavenward, so beautifully,—so unguidably! Emblem of much, and of our Age of Hope itself; which shall mount, specifically-light, majestically in this same manner; and hover,—tumbling whither Fate will. Well if it do not, Pilatre-like, explode; and demount all the more tragically! Long-stoled he walks; reverend, glancing upwards, as in rapt commerce; an Antique Egyptian Hierophant in this new age.
Soft music flits; breaking fitfully the sacred stillness. Round their Magnetic Mystery, which to the eye is mere tubs with water,—sit breathless, rod in hand, the circles of Beauty and Fashion, each circle a living circular Passion-Flower: expecting the magnetic afflatus, and new-manufactured Heaven-on-Earth.
O women, O men, great is your infidel-faith! But it did interfere. Lacretelle, 18me Siecle, iii. Mesmer may pocket his hard money, and withdraw. Let him walk silent by the shore of the Bodensee, by the ancient town of Constance; meditating on much.
For so, under the strangest new vesture, the old great truth since no vesture can hide it begins again to be revealed: That man is what we call a miraculous creature, with miraculous power over men; and, on the whole, with such a Life in him, and such a World round him, as victorious Analysis, with her Physiologies, Nervous-systems, Physic and Metaphysic, will never completely name , to say nothing of explaining. Wherein also the Quack shall, in all ages, come in for his share.
In such succession of singular prismatic tints, flush after flush suffusing our horizon, does the Era of Hope dawn on towards fulfilment. Through all time, if we read aright, sin was, is, will be, the parent of misery. The voice of the poor, through long years, ascends inarticulate, in Jacqueries , meal-mobs; low-whimpering of infinite moan: unheeded of the Earth; not unheeded of Heaven.
Always moreover where the Millions are wretched, there are the Thousands straitened, unhappy; only the Units can flourish; or say rather, be ruined the last. Industry, all noosed and haltered, as if it too were some beast of chase for the mighty hunters of this world to bait, and cut slices from,—cries passionately to these its well-paid guides and watchers, not, Guide me; but, Laissez faire, Leave me alone of your guidance! What market has Industry in this France? For two things there may be market and demand: for the coarser kind of field-fruits, since the Millions will live: for the fine kinds of luxury and spicery,—of multiform taste, from opera-melodies down to racers and courtesans; since the Units will be amused.
It is at bottom but a mad state of things. To mend and remake all which we have, indeed, victorious Analysis.
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Honour to victorious Analysis; nevertheless, out of the Workshop and Laboratory, what thing was victorious Analysis yet known to make? Detection of incoherences, mainly; destruction of the incoherent. From of old, Doubt was but half a magician; she evokes the spectres which she cannot quell. Remark, accordingly, as acknowledged grounds of Hope, at bottom mere precursors of Despair, this perpetual theorising about Man, the Mind of Man, Philosophy of Government, Progress of the Species and such-like; the main thinking furniture of every head. Time, and so many Montesquieus, Mablys, spokesmen of Time, have discovered innumerable things: and now has not Jean Jacques promulgated his new Evangel of a Contrat Social; explaining the whole mystery of Government, and how it is contracted and bargained for,—to universal satisfaction?
Theories of Government!
Alexandre Dumas, Softcover
Such have been, and will be; in ages of decadence. Acknowledge them in their degree; as processes of Nature, who does nothing in vain; as steps in her great process. Meanwhile, what theory is so certain as this, That all theories, were they never so earnest, painfully elaborated, are, and, by the very conditions of them, must be incomplete, questionable, and even false? Thou shalt know that this Universe is, what it professes to be, an infinite one. Attempt not to swallow it , for thy logical digestion; be thankful, if skilfully planting down this and the other fixed pillar in the chaos, thou prevent its swallowing thee.
That a new young generation has exchanged the Sceptic Creed, What shall I believe? Blessed also is Hope; and always from the beginning there was some Millennium prophesied; Millennium of Holiness; but what is notable never till this new Era, any Millennium of mere Ease and plentiful Supply. In such prophesied Lubberland, of Happiness, Benevolence, and Vice cured of its deformity, trust not, my friends!
Man is not what one calls a happy animal; his appetite for sweet victual is so enormous.
How, in this wild Universe, which storms in on him, infinite, vague-menacing, shall poor man find, say not happiness, but existence, and footing to stand on, if it be not by girding himself together for continual endeavour and endurance? Woe, if in his heart there dwelt no devout Faith; if the word Duty had lost its meaning for him!
For as to this of Sentimentalism, so useful for weeping with over romances and on pathetic occasions, it otherwise verily will avail nothing; nay less. Is not Sentimentalism twin-sister to Cant, if not one and the same with it? Is not Cant the materia prima of the Devil; from which all falsehoods, imbecilities, abominations body themselves; from which no true thing can come? For Cant is itself properly a double-distilled Lie; the second-power of a Lie.
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And now if a whole Nation fall into that? In such case, I answer, infallibly they will return out of it! For life is no cunningly-devised deception or self-deception: it is a great truth that thou art alive, that thou hast desires, necessities; neither can these subsist and satisfy themselves on delusions, but on fact.
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To fact, depend on it, we shall come back: to such fact, blessed or cursed, as we have wisdom for. The lowest, least blessed fact one knows of, on which necessitous mortals have ever based themselves, seems to be the primitive one of Cannibalism: That I can devour Thee. What if such Primitive Fact were precisely the one we had with our improved methods to revert to, and begin anew from! In such a practical France, let the theory of Perfectibility say what it will, discontents cannot be wanting: your promised Reformation is so indispensable; yet it comes not; who will begin it—with himself?
Discontent with what is around us, still more with what is above us, goes on increasing; seeking ever new vents. Of Street Ballads, of Epigrams that from of old tempered Despotism, we need not speak. It was the edition of ; perhaps the last notable book that had such fire-beatitude,—the hangman discovering now that it did not serve. Again, in Courts of Law, with their money-quarrels, divorce-cases, wheresoever a glimpse into the household existence can be had, what indications! The Parlements of Besancon and Aix ring, audible to all France, with the amours and destinies of a young Mirabeau.
A man of insight too, with resolution, even with manful principle: but in such an element, inward and outward; which he could not rule, but only madden. Edacity, rapacity;—quite contrary to the finer sensibilities of the heart! Fools, that expect your verdant Millennium, and nothing but Love and Abundance, brooks running wine, winds whispering music,—with the whole ground and basis of your existence champed into a mud of Sensuality; which, daily growing deeper, will soon have no bottom but the Abyss!
Or consider that unutterable business of the Diamond Necklace. The Throne has been brought into scandalous collision with the Treadmill. Astonished Europe rings with the mystery for ten months; sees only lie unfold itself from lie; corruption among the lofty and the low, gulosity, credulity, imbecility, strength nowhere but in the hunger. Weep, fair Queen, thy first tears of unmixed wretchedness! Thy fair name has been tarnished by foul breath; irremediably while life lasts.
No more shalt thou be loved and pitied by living hearts, till a new generation has been born, and thy own heart lies cold, cured of all its sorrows.
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On that 31st of May, , a miserable Cardinal Grand-Almoner Rohan, on issuing from his Bastille, is escorted by hurrahing crowds: unloved he, and worthy of no love; but important since the Court and Queen are his enemies. How is our bright Era of Hope dimmed: and the whole sky growing bleak with signs of hurricane and earthquake!
DUMAS PERE, Alexandre (Davy de la Pailleterie) (LITERATURE)
Slaves only of their own lusts they now are, and will be. Slaves of sin; inevitably also of sorrow. Add only that the French Nation distinguishes itself among Nations by the characteristic of Excitability; with the good, but also with the perilous evil, which belongs to that. Rebellion, explosion, of unknown extent is to be calculated on. Wo rather to those that made the Holy an abomination, and extinguishable; wo at all men that live in such a time of world-abomination and world-destruction! All this for be sure no falsehood perishes, but is as seed sown out to grow has been storing itself for thousands of years; and now the account-day has come.
Category: France: Arts, History and Literature | Historical Autographs
And rude will the settlement be: of wrath laid up against the day of wrath. O my Brother, be not thou a Quack! Cursed is that trade; and bears curses, thou knowest not how, long ages after thou art departed, and the wages thou hadst are all consumed; nay, as the ancient wise have written,—through Eternity itself, and is verily marked in the Doom-Book of a God! Hope deferred maketh the heart sick. And yet, as we said, Hope is but deferred; not abolished, not abolishable.