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seventeen years since I saw the queen of France, then the dauphiness," at Versailles; and surely never lighted on this orb, which she hardly seemed to touch, a more delightful vision. I saw her just above the horizon, decorating and cheering the elevated sphere she just began to move in, - glittering like the morning star full of life and splendor and joy.
Oh! what a revolution ! and what a heart must I have to contemplate without emotion that elevation and that fall! Little did I dream, when she added titles of veneration to that enthusiastic, distant, respectful love, that she should ever be obliged to carry the sharp antidote 2 against disgrace concealed in that bosom; little did I dream that I should have lived to see such disasters fallen upon her in a nation of gallant men, in a nation of men of honor and of cavaliers. I thought ten thousand swords must have leaped from their scabbards to avenge even a look that threatened her with insult. But the age of chivalry is gone. That of sophisters, 4 economists, and calculators has succeeded; and the glory of Europe is extinguished for ever.
Never, never more shall we behold that generous
tensions to be considered men of my paper. These tears came again taste.” Burke himself wrote of it into my eyes, almost as often as to a friend: “The recollection of I looked at the description; they the manner in which I saw the may again.” queen of France in the year 1774, 1 dauphiness, wife of the dauand the contrast between that bril- | phin, the title of the heir apparent liancy, splendor, and beauty, with of France under the old monarchy. the prostrate homage of a nation sharp antidote. See note on to her, and the abominable scene page 214. of 1789, which I was describing, 3 cavaliers. See Glossary. drew tears from me, and wetted 4 sophisters=sophists.
loyalty to rank and sex, that proud submission, that dignified obedience, that subordination of the heart, which kept alive, even in servitude itself, the spirit of an exalted freedom. The unbought grace of life, the cheap defense of nations, the nurse of manly sentiment and heroic enterprise, is gone! It is gone, that sensibility of principle, that chastity of honor, which felt a stain like a wound, which inspired courage whilst it mitigated ferocity, which ennobled whatever it touched, and under which vice itself lost half its evil by losing all its grossness.
This mixed system of opinion and sentiment had its origin in the ancient chivalry; and the principle, though varied in its appearance by the varying state of human affairs, subsisted and influenced through a long succession of generations, even to the time we live in. If it should ever be totally extinguished, the loss, I fear, will be great. It is this which has given its character to modern Europe. It is this which has distinguished it under all its forms of government, and distinguished it to its advantage, from the states of Asia, and possibly from those states which flourished in the most brilliant periods of the antique world. It was this which, without confounding ranks, had produced a noble equality, and handed it down through all the gradations of social life. It was this opinion
1 This mixed system. What the genius of our policy, has probkind of sentence, grammatically ? ably suggested those peculiarities
2 If it should ... great. What in the law of nations by which kind of sentence rhetorically? modern states are distinguished
3 It is this ... Europe: that is, from the ancient.” — FERGUSSON : chivalry. “Chivalry, uniting with History Civil Society.
which mitigated kings into companions, and raised private men to be fellows1 with kings. Without force or opposition, it subdued the fierceness of pride and power; it obliged sovereigns to submit to the soft collar2 of social esteem, compelled stern authority to submit to elegance, and gave a dominating vanquisher of laws to be subdued by manners.
But now all is to be changed. All the pleasing illusions which made power gentle and obedience liberal, which harmonized the different shades of life, and which, by a bland assimilation, incorporated into politics the sentiments which beautify and soften private society, are to be dissolved by this new conquering empire of light and reason. All the decent drapery 3 of life is to be rudely torn off. All the superadded ideas, furnished from the wardrobe of a moral imagination, which the heart owns and the understanding ratifies, as necessary to cover the defects of our naked, shivering nature, and to raise it to dignity in our own estimation,4 are to be exploded as a ridiculous, absurd, and antiquated 5 fashion.
fellows, equals, associates, 3 drapery. See Webster. companions.
4 estimation. Give a synony. 2 submit .. collar. Explain mous term. this metaphor.
5 antiquated. Explain.
VII. - SIR WALTER SCOTT.
LIFE AND WORKS.
Though Scotland is famed for many good and sufficient reasons, that which more than any other single fact has given the little country its renown is that it is Scott's-land, — the native land of that “ Wizard of the North,” whose magic pen has made Caledonia's landscape, history, and types of character known the world over.
Walter Scott was the first literary man of a great riding, sporting, and fighting clan. He was the descendant — six generations removed — of a certain Walter Scott famed in Border legend as auld Wat (old Walter) of Harden. Auld Wat's son William, who was a noted freebooter, was on one occasion captured while on a raid, and was given the choice between being hanged on the private gallows of his captor, Sir Gideon Murray, and marrying the ugliest of Sir Gideon's three ugly daughters, Meikle-mouthed Meg. After three days' deliberation the handsome but prudent William chose life with the large-mouthed lady, who, according to tradition, proved an excellent wife. She transmitted a distinct trace of her characteristic feature to that illustrious descendant who was to use his “ meikle” mouth to such good advantage as the spokesman of his race.
Scott's father was an Edinburgh solicitor, a strict Presbyterian, and a dignified and conscientious, though, as appears, a somewhat formal, strait-laced character. The mother was a woman of tender heart, superior
intelligence, and remarkably vivid memory. Scott, writing of her after her death, says: “She had a mind peculiarly well stored with much acquired information and natural talent, and as she had an excellent memory, she could draw, without the least exaggeration or affectation, the most striking pictures of the past age. If I have been able to do any thing in the way of painting the past times, it is very much from the studies with which she presented me.”
The future poet and novelist was born in Edinburgh, August 15, 1771, the ninth of twelve children.
Walter is described as a “sweet-tempered bairn,” with light chestnut hair, and laughing but determined eyes. A childish fever left him lame for life; still he was very agile, and had a firm seat on his pony even in galloping over very rough ground. A friend of the family, Mrs. Cockburn, described him as being, at six years of age, the most astonishing genius of a boy she ever saw. “He was reading a poem to his mother when I went in. I made him read on. It was the description of a shipwreck. His passion rose with the storm. "There's the mast gone!' says he; 'crash it goes ! they will all perish. After his agitation he turns to me, ' That is too melancholy,' says he; ‘I had better read you something more amusing.'” And after the call, he told his aunt he liked Mrs. Cockburn, for "she was a virtuoso like himself.”—“Dear Walter," said his aunt, “what is a virtuoso ? ” — “Don't ye know? Why, it's one who wishes and will know every thing.”
At school Scott's reputation was that of marked but rather irregular ability. Out of school his fame stood