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“Eh! qui ne connoit pas la gravité des sots."
Last night I met Mr. at Lord A-'s. What a solemn blockhead! Unluckily for him, he has precisely that sort of learning, which draws out fools from their obscurity, and drives them from the secure asylum of their insignificance, to a public exhibition of their inefficiency. Still, such men get on! and, under the present system, make their way to place, and power, and endowment.
For the last twenty years, there was scarcely an instance of a man of very superior genius, or of great intellectual strength, being employed in the public offices of the greatest nation of the earth. A few shrewd, acute clerks worked their way into the subordinate places in the state ; but the moment they were found to be too shrewd for their masters, they were got rid of.
There is nothing so fearful as a nation becoming more enlightened than its government. Of such elements was the French revolution composed.
The earliest petition I know of, on behalf of the Roman Catholics is that addressed to James the First, beginning, “ Most Puissant Prince, and Orient Monarch !" In this petition the sufferers class their persecutors as being Protestants, Puritans, and atheists, or polititians : a meddler in politics, in the days of the absolute Stuarts, was set down as an atheist.
LAUGHING AND CRYING.
This morning, in describing a scene of distress I had witnessed a few days back, the tears dropped fast from M—'s eyes; and yet I know few firmer intellects; but the finest metals dissolve the easiest. It is extremely difficult to draw tears from blockheads, except when muddled; and then they talk of themselves, and are pathetic. It is easier to make “ butchers weep,” than to move the selfsufficient coxcomb who is wrapt up exclusively in his own importance, to the exclusion of all human sympathy. But, after all, I doubt if the gift of laughing heartily be not an equal proof of feeling. Alas! for those who neither laugh nor weep! and doubly alas ! for those who are obliged to live with them! There is an immense variety and character in laughs. I have often heard it said of the Countess of C-, that her laugh is even more beautiful than her face. One could write chapters upon this subject; and perhaps I shall do so some of these days, even at the risk of being laughed at for my pedantry, for there really are a great many odd things to be said on the subject. Somebody has written a catalogue of persons who died laughing
It is pleasant to expect; at least it is so in youth, when temperament and inexperience combine to paint life en beau. Expectation is hope coloured by fancy. It is a proof of abundant vitality; and even when disappointment falls over it, like a shadow, it is still worth its purchase.
“ Ah ! que ne puis-je encore l'attendre,
This is perfectly in nature. The old seldom expect. It is among the terrible inflictions of age, when humanity loses so many of its attributes, that the heart sends forth none of those shoots of
expectation which fill up the intervals of actual enjoyment. The sap is dried, and the trunk is shrivelled-shrunk in its dimensions, and seared on its surface; and the branch, and the flower, and the fruit have withered and dropped. “The spring shall return with its blossoms; but of me not a leaf shall arise,” says Ossian. Alas for the beauty, the truth, and the sadness of this image !
* “ Alas! why cannot I still expect him, even though he should not come.”
Under the old regime in France, the first symptom of a woman's intending to “ give herself to God” (se donner à Dieu, as the phrase ran) was her giving up rouge; so that paint and piety became inseparably connected in the minds of the demisaints, and demireps, of the profligate reign of Louis XIV. 66 La Princesse d'Harcourt,” says Madame de Coulanges, in one of her letters, “ has appeared at court, without rouge. This is a circumstance which, for the present, absorbs every other : one may add, that it is a great sacrifice.”
This outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace, this toilette baptism of regeneration, is not peculiar to Catholics. The sacrifice of rouge is but the grey gown and little bonnet of an English Methodist; and the rigorous proscription of gay