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worshipped near the shores of the || haps formed of the saline particles sea, and could easily be reflected by drawn into the air along with the the numerous facettes of such a vapours of the ocean. cloudy speculum, which nature per- !|
THE LITERARY COTERIE.
No. V. In my future reports of our month-, preacher at St. Mary - le - Bone ly meetings at my worthy friend's church," who is, I understand, the the vicar's, I shall at once give the author, collector, editor, or doer of remarks of the various speakers in the three pretty - looking volumes the dialogue form; by which means, which you see on the table. their sentiments will assume a more 1 Apathy. Yet the work is popular, natural air, and have less of restraint | I am told. than when given in the narrative Dr. Primrose. Precisely so, and method.
ll on the same principle which leads so It was a delightful evening, on the many to run after the quack rather 8th instant, when we met at the than trust their lives to the regular vicar's. His study opens to a beau- physician, and which fills the contiful lawn, on which several deer venticle when the church is often (a present from a friend) disport in deserted. Puffing and pretension merry gambols; and on this occasion are now the order of the day; by we were at once enabled to enjoy their aid the public is daily gulled the charms of nature and of art: the into a belief in the wonderful merits former was exhibited in her best of many“ men and things," which dress abroad, whilst within the latter are in themselves utterly worthless; displayed all her charms to attract whilst real, modest, unpresuming meus. The usual greetings over, and rit is neglected, and each member having taken his seat,
doom'd to blush unseen, the following conversation took place:
And waste its sweetness on the desert air." Mr. Montague. What do you 1 Counsellor Eitherside. Mr. Husthink of Lambeth and the Vatican? sey's work would have been very
Mr. Mathews. Why it is a curious readable had he left out all the learncompilation; a mass of undigested ing, and merely confined himself to reading; a crude collection of opi- the anecdotal part. But that would nions, apophthegms, and anecdotes, not have suited his vanity perhaps, selected without taste, and huddled of which these “ fashionable preachtogether without arrangement; in ers"--nay, Dr. Primrose, do not frown, which the unlearned and the unthink- it is truth-have in general a very ing (and they form, I fear, a large large share. The volumes form a portion of the readers of every book,) pretty melange in my opinion for the will find amusement; but which will boudoir, the sofa, or the post-chaise, cause the judicious reader to smile and will do to fill a niche on the shelf at the overweening conceit and to by the side of Law and Lawyers, wonder at the egregious ignorance | which, as I am a collector of every of Mr. Hussey, " the fashionable " thing relating to the “profession," I purchased as soon as published. But || Mr. Hussey is sometimes at sea when really where Mr. Hussey does pre- he enters into profound disquisition; tend to enter into dissertations on yet, on the whole, he has made a any subject, he soon gets beyond fair and impartial selection of highly his depth; and I cannot help laugh- amusing anecdotes, which I can take ing at the ridiculous figure he cuts. up with pleasure whenever I feel a Witness, amongst other instances, vacant hour, and in which I always the article “ Pagan," in the first vo- find something to chase away ennui, lume, which contains nearly as many or to dissipate melancholy. blunders as there are lines.
Captain Primrose. Well, I think Dr. Primrose. It is a curious spe- you have all said quite enough of cimen of the credit which ought to Hussey and liis anecdotes. I want be paid to the authority of our mo- my brother's opinion of this work I dern reviews, when we find one of am reading-Segur's History of the them describing these volumes as the Russian Campaign. production of “ a person of high Dr. Primrose. You are more comchurch and orthodox principles." For petent, Horace, to offer an opinion the volumes abound in passages which on that subject than myself, as a mi" a person" of those principles would litary man. I have, however, been never have sanctioned; and indeed highly interested in it, think it is I am surprised that Mr. Hussey, as fairly written, and that it gives an a churchman, should have perunitted accurate detail, tinged in many places ..so many passages and anecdotes, in no doubt by the usual prejudices of which both the principles and doc- Frenchmen, of the events of that distrines of the church are sneered at astrous war. and controverted, not by argument, | Captain Primrose. It was indeed but by sarcasm or ridicule, to dis- a disastrous war, and one in which I grace his pages, The opinion ex- still think, notwithstanding all Sepressed by the reviewer, however, gur's palliatives, that Buonaparte confirms a - suspicion which I have displayed very little of his usual tact, long entertained; namely, that many land evinced very little of his usual works are elaborately reviewed with skill. There, as at Waterloo, his out having ever been read.
genius seemed cowed and oversha- Mr. Apathy. I shall take these dowed, and his overweening presumpvolumes under my especial care and tion proved the ruin of himself and protection, since you all appear bent of his army. upon denying them any merit at all. Mr. Apathy. Buonaparte, sir, was
AU. Oh! no, you quite mistake! a great man and a great general. . Mr. Mathews. We do not deny His successes produced envy, and them merit. As a collection of anec- envy always detracts from the merit dotes, they are amusing; but they of its object. The climate, and not must not aspire to a higher rank the Russian army, conquered him. than that which pertains to any other Basil Firedrake. Zounds, Aparepository of old Joe Millars and thy, I always find you defending the stories of the same description. enemies of your country: if I had
Mr. Apathy. I hold a different | you on board the old Victory, you opinion. And though I admit, that should have a round dozen at the gangway, to try if the cat-o'-nine- less; and, indeed, it appears, that tails would not flog a little patriotism only a few of his generals or confiinto you.
• dants dared express their opinions Mr. Apathy. When you catch me on the subject if' hostile to his. Maat the gangway of the Victory, Idame de Staël somewhere says, will give you leave to apply the cat "that the emperor had become so o'-nine-tails without mercy; but you high and proud, that none of his would never induce me to change confidential servants dared even to the opinions I profess, nor to treat a tell him, that the weather was cold dead foe with injustice. He has suf- in Russia." fered enough of that at our hands Mr. Apathy. What authority is already.
Madame de Staël? A vain woman, Captain Primrose. Don't get in a | whose self-love was outraged by the passion, man: my proposition is, | little deference the emperor paid to that Buonaparte's overweening pre- her opinions. sumption was the ruin of himself and Captain Primrose. That this was his army in the Russian expedition; | an exaggeration is undoubtedly true, and though something too late in the in its literal meaning: but what does day to discern his merits, either mi-General Segur say?“ Napoleon was litary or civil, yet I have no objec- not a man to be influenced. As soon tion briefly to state why I entertain as his object was marked out, and he that opinion.
had made advances towards its acAll. Proceed.
quisition, he admitted of no contraCaptain Primrose. Even from Se- diction. He then appeared as if he gur's account, the expedition into would hear nothing but what flatterRussia appears to have been under- ed his determination; he repelled with taken in a moment of pique, and ill-humour, and even with apparent when once resolved upon, to have incredulity, all disagreeable intellibeen hurried on in spite of all the re- gence, as if he feared to be shaken monstrances and entreaties of those by it.” “ The knowledge of such a about him, who were either able to disposition induced some subalterns appreciate the difficulties, or ho- to make false reports to him. Even nourable enough to denounce the ini- || a minister thought himself occasionquity of the enterprise. Russia's great ally impelled to maintain à dangeroffence was, the abandonment, by the ous silence. The former inflated his ukase of the 31st December, 1810, of hopes of success, in order to imitate the Continental system. Segur sug- the haughty confidence of their gests that Buonaparte's pride was chief, and in order, by their counalso wounded by “ the refusal which tenance, to stamp upon his mind the Russia, in 1807, had made of his impression of a happy omen; the hand.” Be this as it may, having, second sometimes declined commuwhen Alexander had dared to offend nicating bad news, in order, as he him, by shewing his independence as said, to avoid the harsh rebuffs which a sovereign, offered terms which he had to encounter.” Some of his were refused, he resolved upon war; ministers had honesty enough to tell and from that time forward all oppo- him the truth, but without-effect. sition to his views was vain and use- “ This fear,” says Segur, " which
did not restrain Caulaincourt, bad no | All were assembled there for his sake influence upon Duroc, Daru, Lobau, alone! They scarcely hazarded an Rapp, Lauriston, and sometimes even objection, so impressed were they Berthier. These ministers and ge- | with the full conviction of that supenerals, each in his sphere, did not riority, of which he was himself too spare the emperor when the truth well aware. A feudal lord could not was to be told.”
|| have exacted more of his vassal Mr. Apathy. And he also adds a chiefs." Segur was not blind to the trait honourable to Napoleon. The consequences which might result from discussions were frequently warm, this unwise display of power. He but he says, they " were never pro continues : ductive of bad consequences; good
The wisest amongst us, however, betemper was restored immediately af gan to be alarmed; they said, but in an ter, without leaving any other im under tone, that a man must fancy himpression than redoubled esteem on self more than human, to denaturalize the part of Napoleon for the noble and displace every thing in this manner, frankness which they had displayed.” without fearing to be involved in the uni.
Captain Primrose. I should have versal confusion. They saw these monadded the passage if you had not in- | archs quitting the palace of Napoleon terrupted me. But this trait in his with their eyes inflamed, and their bocharacter does not alter the view
soms swollen with the most poignant reI am taking of it. His presumption
sentment. They pictured them during never left him, whatever other good
the night, when alone with their minisqualities he might have; his pride too
ters, giving vent to the chagrin by which
they were devoured. Every thing was was intense; and he lost no opportunity of triumphing over those whom
calculated to render their suffering more
acute. How importunate was the crowd Providence had, for wise and just
which it was necessary to pass through ends no doubt, placed in his power.
in order to reach the gate of their proud Thus, on his route to Russia, Segur
master, while their own remained detells us,
serted! Indeed, all things, even their He had expressed a wish that the Em- own people, appeared to betray them. peror of Austria, several kings, 'and a While boasting of his good fortune, was crowd of princes, should meet him at it not evident that he was insulting their Dresden, on his way: his desire was ful- | misfortunes? They had, therefore, come filled; all thronged to meet him ; some to Dresden in order to swell the pomp of induced by hope, others prompted by Napoleon's triumph; for it was over them fear: for himself, his motives were to that he triumphed; each cry of admirafeel his power, to exhibit it, and enjoy tion offered to him was a cry of reproach
to them; his grandeur was their humiliThese he endeavoured to treat | ation; his victory their defeat. with moderation; “ but it was obvi-| This all must allow was an unwise ously an effort, and not without al procedure; but Napoleon never lowing the ennui he experienced to thought of returning through the do- . be perceived:” whilst they,“ in minions of those whom he thus intheir assemblies, their attitude, their sulted, a fugitive, and a baffled and words, even the tone of their voice, defeated man. He calculated on noattested his ascendancy over thein.thing but victory; and this confidence
was the ruin of his army. If he had Napoleon continued with his army thought that there was a possibility till the 5th of December, when he of defeat, or if he had even advert- left them for Paris; one of the most ed to the difference of climate, he disgraceful acts of his life. Wellingwould have made the attack in the ton would have died by inches ralatter end of spring, and not in the ther than have thus deserted the beginning of winter; he would also gallant fellows who had endured so have secured the means of retreat, much for him. I have seen him, and his not doing so was a most un when the troops were bivouacking pardonable error; nor would he have in positions exposed to every wind lingered fourteen days in Moscow, of heaven, and the rain descending after the patriotism of the Russians in torrents, attending to the comforts had reduced that city to ashes, and of the soldiers in preference to his his soldiers were dying around him, own; and at other and more favourif he had not been callous to their able times, have marked him, wrapsufferings, and careless of the dread- ped in his cloak, passing through the ful loss of human life, which com- lines, cheering his men, and speakmon sense would have told him must | ing confidence and hope to all. No, await a retreat in such a climate, un- | Wellington would have died a thouder any circumstances, more especi- || sand times before he would have ally a retreat begun and conducted abandoned his brave followers, and as was the disastrous one from Mos- | left them a prey to despair. But, cow. But I am taking up too much let us see what Segur says of their of your time with this subject; I will condition after the departure of Buoread you one or two extracts, to shew naparte. what were the dreadful privations. On the 6th of December, the very the French army endured, and then day after Napoleon's departure, the sky turn to another topic.
exhibited a still more dreadful appear
ance. You might see icy particles floatNapoleon, says his historian, entered ing in the air; the birds fell from it, quite Orcha with six thousand guards, the re- stiff and frozen. The atmosphere was - mains of thirty-five thousand! Eugene, motionless and silent; it seemed as if with eighteen hundred soldiers, the re- every thing which possessed life and mains of forty-two thousand! Davoust, movement in nature, the wind itself, had with four thousand, the remains of se- been seized, chained, and as it were froventy thousand!
zen, by a universal death. Not the This marshal had lost every thing, was | least word or murmur was then heard: without linen, and emaciated with hun- nothing but the gloomy silence of despair, ger. He seized a loaf which was offered and the tears which proclaimed it. him by one of his companions in arms, || Such of our soldiers as had hitherto and devoured it. A handkerchief was been the most persevering, here lost heart given him to wipe his face, which was co- | entirely. Sometimes the snow opened vered with rime. He exclaimed, that || under their feet, but more frequently its “none but men of iron constitutions | glassy surface affording them no support, could support such trials; that it was phy- they fell at every step, and marched from sically impossible to resist them; that one fall to another. Whenever they there were limits to human strength, the halted for a moment from exhaustion, farthest of which had been exceeded.” Winter, laying his heavy and icy hand up