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till my eyes swam, and I have nearly exclaimed with Charles Lamb,
would I were a Catholic, Madonna fair,
To worship thee!” But I forget myself. Before the end of the service, successive bands of soldiers, with drums playing, marched into the nave, and after lining all the side aisles, formed a broad avenue from the barrier of the choir down to the western door, and thence, as I was informed, the whole way to the Tuilleries. When the drums ceased, the officers gave the words of command with the same indifference as if they had been on parade. We now waited till two o'clock, but the scene was so curious, that I was not in the least tired with the delay. At two the bells began tolling again, and shortly afterwards the procession entered the western door, and moved upon a green foot-cloth
up the avenue of soldiers. It was headed by two hundred girls in white robes and veils, carrying in the centre of their troop a white banner, decorated with long pendants of white muslin, which were held by other of the girls at some distance on either side. When the leaders of the band had reached the choir, all the girls faced about, and placed themselves on one side by twos and threes alternately between the soldiers; then as many boys, carrying in the same manner a crimson banner, did the like on the other side. The magistrates of Paris followed; then all the judges, of whom there seemed thirty at least; the royal attendants; the ministers; and at length Monsieur and the Duke of Orleans ; then, with a space between, Madame by herself, with her train, eight or nine feet in length, held by two mareschals of France ; the ladies of honour followed, and then the military closed the line. Service was performed by the Archbishop of Paris and some other bishops; after which the Royal Family retired by a side door, and the rest walked down the avenue again. I asked a discharged soldier of the Imperial Guard, who was next to me, if the King would come :non !”
Pourquoi?” Upon which, with a most curious grimace and sneer, he said, Hé, hé! il ne peut pas marcher!”
There was an old woman who sells baubles for the shrines at the door of the church of Ste. Etienne du Mont, which is connected with the great Ste. Genevieve, or Pantheon, who seemed so questionable, that I ventured upon an interesting topic. Am. “ Vous avez une trés grande veneration ici pour Ste. Geneviéve!” “ Oui; elle est notre patronne, la patronne de Paris.” Am. “ Elle a deux églises, et Paris tout entier de plus ; qu'elle est bienheureuse !" « Oui; elle le merite ; elle est toujours bienfaisante. Quand j'ai mal à la tête, ou aux dents, ou quoique que ce soit, je prie à la Sainte, et j'en suis guerie.
Qu'en pensez vous ?” Am. “Je pense que c'est. Dieu à qui appartiennent vos priéres.” Oui, certainement ; c'est à lui, c'est à lui ; mais je rends graces pour l'intercession de Ste. Geneviéve.”
Am. “ Et pour l'intercession de Notre Dame ?” oui !” Am. “ Et de St. Pierre?” “ Oui ! ” Am. “ Et de tous les autres saintes?” “Oh, oui, oui, certainement !” And if I had added, for the intercession of the verger, or the churchclock, she would have answered, “ Oui, oui." Why, it was only this very day that I was walking in the aisles of St. Maury, and I saw a girl on a chair, with a young man by her side, reading some novel or play to her, which I could not make out ; when the priest appeared at the end of the aisle, she pulled out her mass-book, and the swain hid his play-book; and thereupon she went incontinently, and confessed her sins to that very priest, with a titter on her face and a wink in her eye. Did she mention the povel? No.
But nothing can be more convenient for strangers than the Roman Catholic system of worship. The churches are open from morning till night, and there is no fear of disturbing the devout by walking or talking at their very elbows. When an old woman has read a prayer, she takes out her snuff-box, and offers it to her neighbour, and then proceeds till her time is up; you may even see a lady take out her watch, and then moan forth a few sentences more to complete the appointed penance. Every church is worth seeing; some of them are beyond measure beautiful. In St. Roch you look through three arcades of chapels, the last of which is a huge accumulation of real rock to represent Calvary, and the soldiers are reposing themselves, and contemplating the Saviour hanging on the cross. A dim light is Jet in from above upon this group, and the effect is matchless. There is to be a fête in St. Roch's honour in his church to-morrow night, which I shall attend. The music, when any, is excellent, 'and there is a large organ, too seldom used, in every church.
We went on the evening of the Assumption to Tivoli, and were much delighted. It is not so large a place as Vauxhall, nor so splendidly illuminated; but it is more prettily laid out, and there is such an unceasing round of amusements as is enough to astonish the heart of a plain Englishman. The fire-works surpassed in profusion and richness any thing I had ever seen ; the simple sky-rocket, however, was not equal to our English ones. We ventured our necks down the Montagnes, which are most extraordinary things indeed: I have not room to describe them. Talma's Sylla this evening makes me waver about Kean. I begin to believe the Frenchman is the greater actor.
The weather is inexpressibly delicious. In the morning there is the same maturity of blue over head as there was the evening
before ; and though it is very hot, the air is so exquisitely pure, that you feel exhilarated rather than depressed. There are excellent baths in the river, for a franc. The transcendent gallery of the Louvre is a peerless lounge. Love to all and singular.
SUPPOSE a high spirited but good-natured young man receives an insult. It is possible that his first or at least his second impulse may be to pass it over, and content himself with despising the brute who offered it. The brute, however, mistaking love of peace for fear of war, and glad of an opportunity of oppressing safely, repeats the aggression: the bye-standers, who, to a young man, are the representatives of all mankind past, present, and to come, begin to show by their looks that they had not expected so much philosophy. Our hero gives or sends a challenge; “ a meeting takes place," the brute is shot dead, and nobody regrets him, not even his creditors, for they had lost all hopes.
But, in the meantime, what is the situation of the young man and the seconds. Divinity and law have long ago settled the question—they are murderers. A warrant is issued for their apprehension; they possess, however, good friends who have spare attics, and the warrant cannot reach them. But their mothers, sisters, mistresses, and maiden aunts, who read in the papers that the coroner's inquest has returned a verdict of “ wilful murder against John Smith, Charles Jones, and William Brown," are in despair. The horrible visions of black caps, chains, and gibbets, flit before their eyes; and, in short, whole families are thrown into unaffected and very severe affliction. In the midst of all this suffering the assizes approach, and the accused surrender themselves for trial. The tunate gentlemen” (to use the phraseology of the newspapers) appear at the bar, “ dressed in genteel mourning and deeply affected with their awful situation.” The counsel for the crown details the case, lays down the law, "under the authority of his lordship,” and then concludes by telling the jury, that if the facts are as he has stated them, he cannot see how they will avoid pronouncing the verdict of guilty : but he fervently hopes that something may arise to relieve them from so painful a duty.” In the examination of the evidence every body is aware, that the judge, the counsel on both sides, and the witnesses, are straining all their ingenuity to prevent a verdict against the prisoners; and every body sympathizes with their endeavours. His lordship, in his charge to the jury, explains to them again, that every man killed in a duel is murdered, but he at the same time shows that there are some technical defects in the evidence, which he places before them in a strong light. The jury “ turn round for a few minutes,” and find a verdict of “ not guilty.” Upon this there is considerable applause manifested among the auditory, " which meets with the marked reprehension of his lordship," who threatens to commit the offenders. The court is now cleared : all the world is pleased to find that poor Smith is acquitted, agrees that duels are horrid things, and hopes that, as they become so common,
the judge will direct the very next men who fight one to be hanged.
In this little sketch, extravagant as it would appear to any rational being who had never heard of the practice of duelling, we have tried not to "
o'erstep the modesty of nature.” How we have succeeded our readers must determine; but if we have erred we shall at least have one excuse; for judging from what has been done by others, it should seem impossible either to preach, legislate, or write, on the subject, without being betrayed into some absurdity.
To begin with the preachers. Does it not, we ask, perplex all our ideas of morality, to call the act of killing a man who has fired at me, and who has agreed to let me fire at him, a murder? Has it anything in common with stealing to his bed at the dead of night and stabbing him in his sleep? Try to shake hands with one murderer (if he must be so called) and then with the other. Do
not feel a difference? Can you doubt for a moment which man you would rather be, whose feelings you would rather have, whose remorse you would rather bear?
To legislators we have more to say. In the first place they have provided no practical remedy for the wrongs which are now attempted to be redressed, or at least checked, by duels. If a fellow picks my pocket of an old handkerchief, I have him transported without much trouble ; but if I am held up to the scorn and ridicule of my friends, provided the artist be skilful in his profession, provided he can
and play off “ all the cruel language of the eye,” I am, even in theory, without redress. Nay, he may venture to go much farther, if he have legal knowledge enough to remember all the nice distinctions which have been made on the subject. For instance, he must not say I am a highwayman; but may affirm with impunity that I am worse than a highwaymạn !—and he
may load me with the epithets of“ scoundrel, rascal, villain, knave, miscreant, liar, and fool,”* as long as he pleases ; unless I can show that some actual loss in money has accrued to me from his defamation. So that if my character stand so high, or his character so low, that nobody believes him, he goes unpunished. But we will suppose his rage to be so excessive as not to be confined within these ample bounds—we will suppose that, after carefully noting down the words in my pocket-book, and calling upon the byestanders to con them over often enough to fix them firmly in their memory until the next assizes, I go to my attorney, and he enters an action against the slanderer. In due time I obtain a sight of the pleadings, and find that I hold myself up as a person of the highest character, and impute the ill-conduct of the defendant to his great envy of “my happy state and condition.” Then the slanderous words are set out, as the lawyers call it, with so much verbiage, that they appear quite ludicrous even to myself. At length we come into court. My counsel affects great gravity which does not impose on a single individual, states my case to the jury, the counsel for the defence laughing judiciously at every part of his address which is likely to produce any effect. The jury, who do not remember that an advocate may be paid for laughing as well as for talking, are (unconsciously perhaps) more influenced by the smiling face than the oration. The witnesses are next examined, and another opportunity is offered for covering the whole transaction with ridicule. It is now the turn of my opponent's counsel to speak. He represents the affair as a foolish quarrel which happened a long time ago ;-wonders that neighbours should come to tear themselves to pieces in a court of law ;-takes hold of anything ludicrous in the defamatory expressions ;-makes the audience laugh, and sits down. Now all this, on which ever side the verdict may be given, is a real triumph to the aggressor ; the public feeling is too often with him; there is nothing natural or apposite in the tribunal. The delay, the machinery, the expenses, and the formality of the proceedings, cast an air of the mock heroic over the whole matter, very little tending to satisfy the mind of the injured party. The offence too was addressed to the feelings, and the recompence is one to be pocketed.
Thus it is clear that the law has provided no efficient remedy, and, perhaps, can provide none, for a very large class of severe injuries. But that is not all: the injured party is often willing, as far as his own private feelings are concerned, to forego any redress, and bear the aggression as he 'may. But society, which has made one law to punish the duellist as a murderer, has at
* Christian's Blackstone, vol. 3, p. 125.