Page images
PDF
EPUB

MAN IS THE BOOK OF NATURE. What is the whole creation but one great library (1)? every volume of which, and every page in each volume is impressed with radiant characters of infinite Wisdom; and all the perfections of the universe are contracted with such inimitable art in man, that he needs no other book but himself, to make him a complete philosopher.

(Turkish Spy.)

FRIENDSHIP. It is extremely difficult to fulfil strictly the duties of friendship, for it often happens that we lose our friend by telling him of his failings (2), and if we are silent , we betray our own confidence. It is certainly more honourable to risk the loss of his affection, than seek to maintain it, by shutting our eyes to his foibles.

TRUE PATRIOTISM.

Rutilius was told in his exile , that, for his comfort, there would be ere long (3) a civil war,

which would bring all the banished men home again. 66 God forbid (4)!

for I had rather my country should blush for my banishment, than mourn for my return.

99 said he ,

(1) Library, bibliothèque.
(2) Failings, défauts.
(3) Ere long , avant longtemps.
(4) God forbid , à Dieu ne plaise.

NAPOLEON.

43

GUSTOM IS EVERY THING.

A gentleman, seeing an Irish woman skinning (1) some eels, said to her : “ How can you bear lo be so cruel ? Don't you think you put them to a greal deal of pain?“Why I might , sir,” she replied, " when first I began business; but I have dealt in them these twenty years, and by this time they must be quite used to it."

NAPOLEON.

The following curious conversation is said to have taken place , eight hours after Napoleon's landing at Cannes, between him and the prince of Monaco, formerly first equerry to Josephine.

It was at one o'clock in the morning the moon had been up (2) about half an hour. Napoleon was standing in the bivouac of his soldiers , his back turned towards a small fire. The prince of Monaco was presented and immediately recognised him : until then he had refused to give any credit to the report of his being there.

What! ” said he, “ Your Majesty here! It is then useless for me to continue my route towards my principality. A division of your army has without doubt ere now taken possession of it. And of whal nation is that division, pray? " said Napoleon.

66 It is impossible for me to say, " replied the prince; “ perhaps

[ocr errors]

(1) To skin, écorcher, arracher la peau. (2) Had been up, était déjà levé.

Austrians or English.

66 What! do you suppose me to be base enough to enter France with a foreign army? No, you behold it all-all are Frenchmen; and the whole force does not amount to 3000 men : they will march by in about an hour's time, and you may then go on to your destination.

66 And where do you proceed in this manner ? " " To Paris.”

FEMALE INTREPIDITY.

The emperor Han-n-gai-ti was one day walking in the menagerie accompanied by several of his wives, when a bear escaped from its confinement, and made directly up to (1) him : the frightened women all fled , except one named Song-Chi, who had the courage to wait the animal's approach, and threw herself between it and the emperor : the creature, having approached within a few paces of them, made a sudden stop, and then returned quietly to its den. The emperor, astonished at the woman's intrepidity, was anxious to know what had induced her to expose herself to the rage of the ferocious animal. She replied : I am but a woman, my life is of little consequence to the happiness and tranquillity of the stale; but yours must doubtless be of infinite value, and therefore to preserve it, I would not hesitate to sacrifice my own. The emperor, affected at her generosity, distinguished her ever after from the rest, and treated her with superior tenderness and respect.

[ocr errors]

(1) To make up to , s'approcher de ..... courir sur...

CURIOUS MANNER OF DECIDING A CLAIM,

45

A LESSON ON MORTALITY. It was formerly the custom in China on the day preceding the coronation of their Emperor, for all the sculptors in Pekin to present him with several pieces of marble that he might choose one fore his monument when dead; as they begin to make it on the day of his coronation. The sculptor whose marble is chosen has the honour of making the monument, and the city pays for it before it is begun.

This ceremony of presenting the marble was performed with great pomp, and it was considered as an important lesson both to the Emperor and his subjects,

CURIOUS MANNER OF DECIDING A CLAIM.

Two gentlemen of high birth, the one a Spaniard , and the other a German, having rendered Maximilian II many great services, they each, for recompense, demanded his daughter Helena Scharfequinn in marriage. The prince, who entertained equal respect for each of them , could not give to either the preference; and after much delay, he told them, that from the claims they both had to his attention and regard, he could not give his consent exclusively for either of them to marry his daughter, and that they must decide it by their own strength and address; but as he did not wish to risk the loss of either, or both, by suffering them to fight with offensive weapons, he had ordered a large bag to be brought, and he who should be successful enough (1) to put his rival in it, should obtain his daughter.

(1) Successful enough , assez heureux.

This strange combat between two gentlemen took place in presence of the whole imperial court, and lasted nearly an hour. At length the Spaniard yielded , and the German, Andrew Eberhard, baron of Talbert, when he had put him in the bag , took him on his back, and placed him at the Emperor's feet, and on the following day he married the beautiful Helena.

SEEING AND BELIEVING.

At the French academy, abbé Reignier, the secretary, one day made a collection (1) in his hat of one pistole from every member, to defray the current expenses.

The abbé did not observe that the president, who was a very avaricious man, had put his pistole into the hat, and presented it to him a second time.

- I have given already,” he replied. “I believe it," said the abbé, 66 but I did not see it. "And I, " rejoined Fontenelle, who was at his side, saw it, but did not believe it."

[ocr errors]

THE FRENCH.

In a satirical work entitled Philosophical Visions, by the marquis d'Argens, author of the Jewish Letters, we meet with the following description of the French.

The kingdom we were in,” says the author, that of the changeables; these people are descended from

was

(1) To make a collection , faire une quête.

« PreviousContinue »