Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

plunder, which secured the conqueror the throne toppling over before the victories nickname of Muley Ismail -a name bor- of Buonaparte and the other republican rowed from a bloodthirsty emperor of generals, he threw himself into the war Morocco, and by no means misapplied. with more than his mother's fanaticism

After the sack of the city, Suwarrow and fierceness. General Rosemberg rewrote to the empress the laconic letter : ceived orders to place himself at the head “Ismail is at your feet.” The ener. of that victorious army which Suwarrow gies of the conqueror of Ismail and once led, and which he was destined to Praga were next directed towards Po- lead again; for dissensions arose among land. The patriots of the principality the officers of the united armies of Austria had risen against and massacred the and Russia which the presence of a genRussians resident in Warsaw. Catherine eral of Suwarrow's name and fame alone despatched Prince Repnin - a general could suppress and silence. whose services she could not dispense with In a campaign of six weeks Suwarrow while she insulted and dishonored him – undid the work which it took Napoleon a against the rebels; but “the little Marti-year to accomplish. He arrived in Italy nest priest,” as she nicknamed him, not in time to reap the laurels which should sufficiently shedding blood to slake her have gone to adorn the brow of the Ausvengeance, she named Suwarrow com- trian general Kray, who had just inflicted mander-in-chief.

The genius of Kosci- on the army of the Republic the most usko had to hide its diminished head be. crushing defeat of the year. Suwarrow's fore that of a general greater than wild Cossacks scattered the shattered he. Suwarrow celebrated his victories at army before them like sheep. Milan Warsaw by the arbitrary execution of opened her gates to admit the conqueror, twenty thousand men, women, and chil- who, caring little for fêtes and festivities, dren, of all ages and ranks; and Cather. marched quickly up the Po in pursuit of ine died in peace. Henceforward the the French, assembled again under the conqueror was known, and for all time leadership of Moreau. For the first time will be known, as the “Butcher of War- in the history of Europe these two great saw."

military nations met in battle array on the But it was by his Italian and Helve- banks of the Po near Bassagnano, with tian campaigns that Suwarrow won Euro- little result but to teach each to respect pean fame. It had been one of the great the other's bravery. Macdonald, with the desires of his life to march against the army of Naples at his heels, marched to French; and as Cato of old concluded all the aid of Moreau. By a rapid retrograde his speeches with the words, “Fathers ! movement, Suwarrow met him on the my opinion is that Carthage ought to be field of Trebio, where Hannibal defeated destroyed,” so Suwarrow wound up all the Romans. The fight was continued, his Polish despatches with the entreaty, and raged with varying issues for two “ Mother! bid me march against the days, the river flowing between. French !” The marshal was in ecstasies On the morning of the third, Suwarrow when at last his prayer was granted — he crossed the stream, determined either to danced and clapped his hands for joy; conquer or die, to find that during the when a stroke of apoplexy removed Cath- night Macdonald had retreated, leaving erine from the Russian throne and placed his wounded behind him. Suwarrow fol. a greater madman than Suwarrow him. lowed in rapid pursuit, to be arrested by self in that seat of autocratic sway. Paul the tidings that Moreau's army was in recalled the army of France and dis- movement. Who does not know his missed its leader. The sentence in which boastful speech, and how faithfully he he announced the spirit and temper of his kept it: "After we have thrashed Macreign bears a striking resemblance to a donald, we will return and trounce Mocelebrated inodern sentiment: “The em-reau; " and how he broke into laughter pire is peace.”. Paul's sentiment was not when the youthful and heroic Joubert so epigrammatic but it was quite as beau- stepped into the arena and tapped his tiful: “In whatever light and in whatever shoulder with his lance -“ Ho! ho! here circumstances I wish to view an emperor is a stripling come to school; we must go of Russia, his noblest part will always be and give him a lesson.". that of a pacificator." But it was just as His battles or victories, for in his case difficult in 1798 to retain your peaceful the words are synonymous, were gained intentions with a prosperous and adven- at a fearful sacrifice of life; but life was a turous conqueror at your gates as it was cheap commodity in Russia — “it was in 1970; and when Paul saw throne after I so easy for God to make Russians.” Of

[ocr errors]

the forty thousand soldiers he led into lost his head; issued orders wildly and Italy, be left behind him twenty-eight blindly, each one leading more and more thousand to fertilize her fields. With the to the final issue of defeat and chaos. rest he scaled the heights of the mount Suwarrow foamed with passion when he St. Gothard a feat to which history has heard of his colleague's defeat; and awarded little praise — intending to join stormed and raved like a madman when his victorious force to the army, which, the subsidence of the passion left him under Korsakoff, had followed him from voice to speak. He despatched a mesPoland. It is the only occasion on which senger to Korsakoff, ordering him to rehis “children" whispered a murmur of assemble his forces, threatening him with displeasure at the wild vagaries of his gen- decapitation if he took another retrograde eralship. The snow-clad heights and step. The approach of Massena made wide-spreading glaciers of the Alps struck Suwarrow himself retreat. It was the terror to the hearts of all but that of the bitterest moment of his life; in his vaunt. wrinkled old hero himself, frail and feeble ing way he used to say that an army under in appearance, but full of restless and his command would never execute this unconquerable life.

The twelve thou- humiliating movement. His retreat was sand veterans refused to begin the ascent conducted with as great brilliance as, and Suwarrow at once seized a shovel, and exhibited greater strategic cleverness digging a shallow grave, into which lie than, his victories; but he grew silent, threw himself

, cried : “ Cover me up, and and sour, and sulky, and ever and anon leave me here; you are no longer my turned fiercely on his pursuers when they children; I am no longer your father: pressed too closely on him. All their there is nothing left for me to do but die.” efforts failed to force his lines, or make The device succeeded far better in bring him retreat one step faster than he ing back the allegiance and loyalty of the pleased. The thought of the shame and rebels than the modern device ofślinging dishonor of this movement proved too up the ringleaders on the nearest tree; heavy a burden to bear. It slew him. though it was a device which only a gen. The emperor Paul embittered his closing eral, led on by his genius and not by his hours with reproaches. He retired to handbook of military instructions, could St. Petersburg to die -- old, forsaken, afford to adopt. It must, however, be and neglected. Some signs of reviving added that certain gossips deny the au- interest Paul indeed did show in the old thenticity of this anecdote; but the a hero's existence, but not till he was told priori ground on which they reject the that the marshal was dying; he asked evidence for it is quite as striking a testi- bulletins of his condition to be regularly mony to Suwarrow's influence over his sent to the court; he ordered the grand soldiers as the scene itself : “ There never dukes to visit him; but these signs of was a Russian army disheartened when esteem came too late to gladden the old Suwarrow was at its head! And never man's embittered heart. Worrying, fretdid a soldier murmur, no matter what ting, snarling, “ like a rat in a hole,” he were the orders given him!”

died, his trouble being old age, indignaThe tidings which reached the stout tion, and despair. old hero shortly after his descent to the His military success was probably as plains of Switzerland almost broke his much due to the splendid material out of heart. The battle of Zurich had been which the Russian soldiers of his day fought by Korsakoff and lost. Korsakoff were manufactured as to his own genius. was a soldier of parade, where padding, Life in Russia has only a military value; millinery, and well-trimmed moustaches its final cause is fighting, and the peasant make the hero. He held Massena and has long been taught to regard death in his republican legions in contempt; and the battle-field for the cause of the czar smiled the smile of the strong and self- as the chief design of his existence; a reliant at the recital of their doings and man is a weapon of war; and the dogdarings. “The French !” said he, “ they gedness with which the Russian soldier don't know how to stand upright, nor fights, the readiness with which, under march, nor draw up in ranks, nor per- Suwarrow at least, he laid down his life form the simplest evolution correctly.” rather than surrender, showed how firmly It is only such favored ones as Suwarrow this theory of life had rooted itself in his whose vaporings fate does not take a nature. To die on the field of battle was malicious pleasure in scorning; and the believed to be the surest guarantee of memory of Korsakoff's big talk paralyzed an avenue to eternal happiness. It is his faculties in the hour of action; he probable that even yet the Russian sol

[ocr errors]

G

[ocr errors]

dier believes that if killed in battle he “ March against the Poles”. was given, will, on the third day after, come again to “the soldier had to plunge his bayonet life in some sweet and shining valley in once;" “ March against the Prussians, the czar's dominions, where the press the soldier strikes twice; march against gang will never trouble him. Suwarrow the execrable French, the soldier makes often availed himself of this superstition two thrusts forward, a third in the ground, to bribe his soldiers to greater feats of and there sinks and turns round his bayvalor. As the great Frederick, in the onet.” But here is an extract: bitterness of his defeats at the hands of the Russian soldiers rather than their must stand like a dart! I see the fourth ; the

Heels close! Knees straight! A soldier incapable leaders, said: “It was easier fifth I don't see. Soldiers ! join elbows in to kill these men than to conquer them.” front! Give the drum room! Keep your ball With smiling faces they walked into the three days, it may happen for a whole camcannon's mouth ; stood stock-still till they paign, when lead cannot be had. Fire seldom had shot all their enemies, or the last of but fire sure! Push hard with the bayonet ! their own number had been shot. At the ball will lose its way, the bayonet never; the siege of Otchakoff an officer met a

the ball is a fool, the bayonet a hero! Stab

once ! Off with the Turk from the bayonet ! picket advancing to a post. Away back," said he; “the Turks have made a sally from his sabre. If the sabre is near your neck

even when he is dead you may get a scratch and are in possession of the post you are dodge back one step and push on again. Stab going to; you will all be cut to pieces if the second ; stab the third ; a hero will stab you go.”

" What is that to us? was the half-a-dozen. Be sure your ball is in your answer;

we are sent there, and Prince gun! If three attack you, stab the first, fire Dolgorucky is answerable for us." One on the second, bayonet the third! This selof their French conquerors on the field dom happens ! When you fire take aim at of Zurich, riding over the scene of car: their guts and fire about twenty balls. Buy nage, seeing their bodies piled corpse

lead from your economy! It costs little! If above corpse, each one with the image of you see the match upon a gun, run up to it his patron saint in his hand as if his last instantly; the ball will fly over your head; the thought on earth had been a prayer, made with 'em! stab 'em to the remainder give

guns are yours; the people are yours; down the comment: “ Warriors so contemptu- quarter ! it is a sin to kill without reason: they ous of death and so fanatical cannot but are men like you. Die for the honor of the be terrible on a day of battle ; and cer. Virgin Mary; for your Mother; for all the tainly we know to our cost that they are royal family!--the Church prays for those so.” No general, with the exception of that die, and those who survive have honor Mahomet, ever succeeded in inspiring his and reward ! Offend not the peaceable infollowers with such fanatic fervor and habitant: he gives us meat and drink. The

soldier is not a robber! faith in his invincibility as Suwarrow.

Booty is a holy His soldiers idolized him, and though his

thing ! if you take a camp it is all yours; if

you take a fortress it is all yours ! : There officers laughed at his eccentricities they are the God-forgetting, windy, light-headed obeyed his wildest commands with the Frenchmen ! if we should ever happen to march unquestioning trust of children. He against them we must beat them in columns ! shared the frugal fare of the rank and file The cavalry instantly fall to work! hack of the army

black bread seasoned with and slash ! stab and drive ! cut them off ! don't rape oil, tallow, or onion, washed down by give them a moment's rest!

One leg a drink called quass, which those who strengthens the other ! One hand fortifies the have tasted it speak of with disgust. On other ! By firing many men are killed! The the march and in active service he was enemy has also hands, but he knows not the

Russian bayonet! Draw out line immediately his own surgeon-major, and his prescrip- and instantly attack them with cold arms. tions were of the simplest character; he

Rules for Diet. — Have a dread of the hosthrashed the invalids out of their beds, pital! German physic stinks from afar; it is saying that "it was not permitted to the good for nothing and rather hurtful! A Russoldiers of Suwarrow to be sick.” The sian soldier is not used to it. Messmates kuow only other medicine in his pharmacopeia where to find herbs and roots and ants. A was rhubarb and salts which, to those soldier is inestimable; take care of your health! whose sickness was too manifest to be Scour the stomach when it gets foul ! Hunger gainsaid, he administered in such doses is the best medicine! He who neglects his that he added to the terrors of the hos- men, if an officer, arrest; if a sub-officer pital. He drilled his soldiers himself; scourge; to the private, lashes, if he neglects

himself ! Remember, gentlemen! the field and his instructions are about the quaint, physic of Doctor Bellypotski! in hot fevers eat est reading in print, for he actually issued nothing even for twelve days, and drink your a military manual. When the order | soldier's quass ! that's a soldier's physic! In hospitals the first day the bed seems soft! the wand in his knapsack, had never been second comes French soup! the third the whispered, and would at once have been brother-in-law is laid in his coffin and they suppressed as revolutionary. It seems draw him away! One dies and ten companions more rational to believe that Suwarrow round him inhale his expiring breath; but all lived out honestly the manhood that was this is frivolous! While one dies in a hun- in him — sport of nature though that dred with others, we lose not one in five

A man's ca. hundred in the course of a month. For the manhood may have been. healthy, drink, air, and food! For the sick, reer in life is the result of two factors : air, drink, and food! Brothers ! the enemy the spirit within him and the circumtrembles for you! But there is another enemy stances around him; and the true theory greater than the hospital! the d-d I-don't- of Suwarrow seems to be that he rose to know! From the half-confessing, the guess-exalted station and command because his ing, lying, deceitful, the palavering equivoca peculiar environment, reacted on by a tion, squeamishness and nonsense of I-don't- | nature of his peculiar type, favored bis know, many disasters originate! Stammering, rise; and if ever in the history of the hesitating, and so forth, it is shameful to world the same inner and outer conditions relate. Pray to God! from him comes victory of life and lot should be repeated, we and miracles! God conducts us; God is our general ! For the I-don't-know an officer is may expect that the result will be another put in the guard ! a staff-officer is served with Suwarrow. an arrest at home! Instruction is light; not. instruction is darkness! The work fears its master! If a peasant knows not how to grind, the corn will not grow. It is supposed by some writers that

From Chambers' Journal. Suwarrow's oddities and eccentricities

BIRD-LAW. were inspired by deliberate purpose: that TRIAL by jury does not appear to be they were cunningly selected to reach a restricted to the human race; certainly carefully chosen end. Their theory of the feathered tribes are acquainted with Suwarrow is, that he resolved to act the its forms and ceremonies. “Crow courts fool in order to quiet the jealousies of the and “sparrow courts ” are in some parts great, and even to win their contemptuous almost as well-known as those intended patronage, with the view of ultimately, for the arrangement of man's disputes. supplanting them; and that his undoubted To explain what is meant, and to establuminousness of intellect, fertility of imag- lish the truth of our proposition, let us ination, and force and firmness of charac- commence this compilation of anecdotes ter, presided over by a cunning rather of – for it is nothing more — by reference the Reynard than the human type, were to the proceedings at the so-called “crow persistently directed towards this end. courts” which are held in the Shetland Had he chosen to pose as a genius, in- Isles. A regular assembly of crows of stead of an inspired buffoon incapable of the hooded species, according to the aua sustained ambition, the slips of patrician thority of Dr. Edmondson, is observed to birth, candidates for the favor and smile take place at certain intervals. It is of the sovereign, would have intrigued to composed of deputations from different crush him. As it was, they laughed at localities. All business is abstained from and petted him; regarding him as one until the convocation is complete; consewho could interpose no serious obstacle quently, early comers have frequently to between them and the attainment of their wait a day or two for the arrival of the designs.

later deputies. A particular hill or field, If this conception of Suwarrow had suitable for the impending work, is sebeen the true one, we should expect to lected; and when all the expected memhave found him discarding the motley bers have arrived, the session comwhen nothing more was to be gained by mences. The court opens in a formal wearing it. But may not his oddities, manner, and the criminal or criminals are feigned at first, have grown into his na- produced at the bar; but what is his or ture and becomes part of his essential their offence, the human spectator cannot character, bone of his bone and flesh of divine. The charge is not made individuhis flesh? It is hardly probable that such ally, nor the evidence given by separate a daring plan for realizing the dreams of witnesses; but a general croaking and a daring ambition would suggest itself to clamor is collectively raised, and judg. the mind of an illiterate and low-born sol. ment delivered, apparently, by the whole dier, in a nation where the sentiment that court. As soon as the sentence is given, every private carries a possible marshal's the entire assemblage, “judges, barristers,

6

an

ushers, audience and all, fall upon the flamingos had committed offence two or three prisoners at the bar, and against the rules of their order, that he beat them till they kill them.” Directly had been tried by a kind of court-martial, the execution is over, the court breaks was found guilty, and had been adjudged, up, and all its members disperse quietly. and met with, immediate punislıment.

Similar judicial proceedings are known Thus far trials of presumed criminals, to be proper to the raven; and an interest and the punishments awarded to them, ing account of a raven trial was communi- have been alluded to; but the nature cated by a well-known Alpine tourist to the of the offence remains a mystery. It leading journal of Geneva, last summer. is now intended, in the remaining anec, During an excursion in the Swiss moun- dotes, to show the nature of the assumed tains, he accidentally came upon a small crime for which the unfortunate birds secluded glen, which was surrounded by have suffered, and it will be seen that in trees; and not having done anything to one case the victim of circumstantial reveal his presence, he became the unex- evidence suffered unjustly. Bishop Stanpected witness of a singular spectacle. ley relates that a French surgeon at About sixty or seventy ravens were ranged Smyrna, being unable to procure a stork, in a ring round one of their fellows, evi- on account of the great veneration enter. dently reputed a culprit, and with much tained for them by the Turks, purloined clatter of tongues and wings, were en- all the eggs from a stork's nest, and regaged in discussing his alleged delinquen- placed them with hens' eggs. Ultimatecies. At intervals, they paused in their ly, chickens were hatched, greatly to the debate, in order to permit the accused to surprise of the storks. The male stork reply, which he did most vociferously and speedily disappeared, and was not seen with intense energy; but all his expostu- for two or three days, when he returned lations were speedily drowned in a deaf- with a large number of other storks, who ening chorus of dissent. Eventually, the assembled in a circle in the town, without court appears to have arrived at the unan- paying any attention to the numerous imous conclusion that the felon had ut. spectators their proceedings attracted. terly failed to exculpate himself; and The female stork was brought into the they suddenly flew at him from all sides, midst of the circle, and after some disand tore him to pieces with their power- cussion, was attacked by the whole flock ful beaks. Having executed their sen- and torn to pieces. The assemblage then tence, they speedily disappeared, leaving dispersed, and the nest was left tenantthe mangled corpse of the unfortunate less. bird, as a warning to all evil-doers.

The Rev. F. O. Morris, in his interestAnother equally tragic story is recorded ing anecdotes of “ Animal Sagacity," cites by the Rev. G. Gogerly in “The Pio- the following instance of a case which neers,” his narrative of the Bengal Mis- ended less tragically (for the female), owsion. "The flamingo," he remarks, “is ing to the male bird being either of a more common in the low, marshy lands of Ben- trusting or a less jealous disposition than gal. My friend Mr. Lacroix - the well- the one just noticed. “Some hens' eggs," known missionary when once sailing he

says, were placed in a stork's nest, in his boat up the. Hooghly, went on and the others removed. The female, not shore. His attention was shortly directed aware of the change, sat patiently the apto a large gathering of these peculiar- pointed number of days, till the shells looking birds, in a field some little dis- were broken and the young chickens tance off. Knowing their timid charac: made their appearance. No sooner were ter, he approached as near as he could they seen by the old birds, than they teswithout being observed or exciting alarm; tified their surprise by harsh notes and and hiding himself behind a tree, noticed fierce looks ; and after a short pause, they all their proceedings, which were of a jointly fell upon the unfortunate chickens most remarkable character. After a great and pecked them to pieces, as if conscious deal of noisy clamor, they formed them- of the disgrace which might be supposed selves into a circle, in the centre of which to attach to a dishonored nest.” one of their number was left standing A singular case of almost poetic justice alone. Again there was a considerable among storks is noticed even in so old a amount of screeching bird oratory, when work as Goldsmith's “Natural History," suddenly all the birds flew on the un-into which it was imported from Mrs. liappy solitary one, and literally tore him Starke's Letters on Italy:" "A wild to pieces.” The conclusion which Mr. stork," runs the tale, “was brought by a Lacroix came to was, that one of these farmer in the neighborhood of Hamburg

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« VorigeDoorgaan »