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however imperfect, afford comparative with their fellow-men; and who find security to person and property. Why a horrible gratification in hazarding then will civilized men cling to the their lives, to accomplish the destrucsavage customs of a savage period ? tion of any one whose enjoyment of And why are we Protestants ? Why, life, health, and reason, is greater are we in arms against Catholics? Is than their own. I thank the Almighty it not solely because they forbid us to that this deinoniacal spirit prekeep pace with an improved state of vails not in my army; and should it knowledge, civil and religious ? Some unfortunately animate any of my solof you will perhaps contend, that an diers, they have my free permission to occasional duel is favorable to disci- join the gipsy-camps of Tilly and pline and good manners; but, are you Wallenstein.” prepared to prove that the Catholic The Swedish generals here exchangofficers, who fight duels with impuni- ed looks and nods of proud gratificaty, bear any comparison with mine in tion, and Prince Bernard of Weimar, urbanity and discipline? And do you whose fine eyes flashed with ungoattach any value to that base and cow- vernable delight, advanced a step toardly complaisance, which springs wards the royal orator, as if he would from the fear of death ? Believe me, have expressed his approbation by a gentlemen, in a well disciplined army, cordial embrace. Controlling, howthere will always be an immense ma- ever, with visible effort, this sudden jority of brave men, whose courtesy impulse, he resumed his place. Meanis prompted by good feeling and com- while, the king exchanged a glance of mon sense ; and, where the great ma- friendly intelligence with his chanceljority is civilized, rudeness becomes lor, and continued in a tone of dimithe exception to the rule, and meets nished severity. with merited contempt and avoidance. “ You will probably, gentlemen, Why then will even men of tried charge me with inconsistency in thus courage apply a remedy so strong as sanctioning a public duel, aster my mortal combat to an evil so trivial ?" promulgation of a general order
Here Gustavus paused, and fixed against the practice of duelling. his eagle-eyes upon the duellists, who There are, however, peculiar circumstood with folded arms and sullen stances connected with this duel, to mien, in the centre of the hall. Their explain which, and to vindicate myvery souls seemed to quail under his self, I have requested your presence searching glance; their eyes fell, and on this occasion. The gentlemen bethe dark red hue of conscious guilt fore you, Captains Barstrom and Seisuffused their cheeks and foreheads. fert, are well known as officers of The royal orator resumed
high and deserved reputation. Bars“And yet we this day behold two trom has evinced heroic courage on officers of acknowledged bravery, who many occasions, and he saved my life have yielded to this insane impulse, in the Polish war, when I was bareand who perhaps flatter themselves, headed and surrounded, Sirot having that their readiness to stake life will struck off my iron cap, which heretic excite admiration and astonishment. head-gear the Austrians sent as a troI had given them credit for better phy to Loretto. I knighted Barstrom heads and better hearts, and I lament on the field of battle ; and, relying exceedingly their infatuation. There upon his good sense and moderation, are some individuals, whose gloomy I promised to grant him a free boon. and ferocious temperament betrays He never availed himself of this their natural affinity to the tiger and pledge until yesterday, when he solithe hyena ; whose pride is not enno- cited my permission to meet Captain bled by a spark of honorable feeling ; Seifert in single combat. Whose courage is devoid of generosity; " Seifert has studied chivalry at who have no sympathies in common German universities, and to good pur
42 ATHENEUM, vol. 1, 3d series.
pose, if we may judge from the bril- and Barstrom suddenly rush forward, liant valor which made him a captain throw themselves at the feet of Gustaon the field of Leipzic. He has en- yus, and supplicate for mercy. deavored to prove to me, by numerous “ Mercy depends not upon me, ut Greek and Latin scraps, that I ought upon yourselves,” mildly replied the to sanction this duel; but it would not king, as soon as the band had ceased. be difficult to bring forward old Homer “ If you do not fight, the executioner himself in evidence, that the Greeks will find no occupation here.” These were not very fastidious in points of words were accompanied by a glance etiquette. For instance, Achilles at the headsman, who immediately called Agamemnon “a drunkard, with quitted the hall by a side door. “But the look of a dog, and the valor of a if you are sincerely desirous,” contideer.” Seifert, however, is not a man nued Gustavus, “ to regain the good to be influenced by either classical or opinion of the brave men and good Christian authorities; his reason lies Christians here assembled, you will at in prostrate adoration before the shrine once relinquish every hostile feeling, of false honor, that Moloch of the dark and embrace each other as friends." ages, around which the chivalry of that The duellists instantly flew into period danced, until their giddy brains each other's arms. Gustavus raised lost the faculty of distinguishing his folded hands and kingly features right from wrong.
in devotional feeling towards heaven, Thus solemnly pledged to two ir- and the chancellor gave a signal to reconcilable obligations, how can I the band, which played a fine hymn on extricate myself from a predicament reconciliation and brotherly love. I so embarrassing ? I have exhausted now heard, with inexpressible delight, my powers of reasoning and persua- the King, Oxenstiern, Horn, Banner, sion in vain endeavors to accomplish a Stahlhantsch, and Prince Bernard, reconciliation. My promise of a free with the assembled officers and guards, boon to Barstrom I cannot honorably singing the impressive verses of Luretract; nor can I, for his sake, in- ther, with beautiful accuracy of time fringe upon the salutary law so long and tone. The magnificent bass of established. Happily one alternative Gustavus Adolphus was easily distinremains. These misguided men are guishable by its organ-like fulness and determined to fight, and, if possible, grandeur; it resembled the deep low to destroy each other. Be it so! breathing of a silver trumpet,' and alTheir savage propensities shall be though forty years have rolled over gratified, and I will witness their chi- my head since I heard it, the rich and valrous courage and heroic contempt solemn tones of the royal singer still of life.—Now, gentlemen ! draw, and vibrate upon my memory. do your worst! Fight until the death The hallowed feeling spread through of one shall prove the other the bet- hall and gallery, and every one who ter swordsman ; but, mark well the could sing joined with fervor in the saconsequence! Soon as one of you is cred song. Even my old subaltern, slain, my executioner shall strike off whose voice was painfully harsh and unthe head of the other. Thus my musical, drew from his pocket a hymn pledge to Barstrom will be redeemed, book and a pair of copper spectacles; and the law against duelling will re- his tones were tremulous and discordant, main inviolate.”
but, in my estimation, his musical deHere Gustavus ceased to speak ;- ficiencies were amply redeemed by the the solemn dead-march was repeated tears which rolled abundantly down by the band, the coffins were brought his hollow and time-worn cheeks. nearer to the duellists, and the grim- Thus was this terrible camp-scene visaged executioner again came into converted, as if by miracle or magic, view, with his horrible weapon. At into a solemn, and, surely, an acceptathis awful moment I beheld Seifert ble service of the Almighty.
“ Fools are the daily work
'Twould make ten fools."- Dryden's Edipus. “ Agamemnon is a fool, Achilles is a fool, Thersites is a fool, and, as aforesaid, Patroclus is a fool.”-Shakspeare. Why is it that all the world are so bit- and that two grains more of commonter against fools? They are the great sense in the composition of the animal staple of the creation, and they are the would have ruined the entire concern, work of God, “as well as better men." and have rendered the physical organiOf the mass of mankind, the larger zation of the species unfitted for the part are fools all over; and the rest world it was destined to inhabit. The differ only in having their folly varie- whole state and condition of civilized gated by an occasional vein of wisdom, society, at least, is built upon the sinhardly more than sufficient for pre- gle relation of folly to dupery; and unventing themselves from burning their less one were mad enough to desire, fingers; and this, too, is often of that with Jean Jacques, a return to simple bastard sort which is more appropri- savagery, one must look with complaately designated by the name of cun- cency upon this sine qua non of the ning. Even the wisest of mankind social system. The exclusive end of pay their due tribute to Nemesis, and all government is but a sort of game exhibit occasional touches of folly, law to keep fools (under the pretext which set the duller souls staring by of protecting them from the inroads of its exaggerated absurdity. Happy, unlicensed knaves) in a preserve for indeed, is it for them that this is the the battus of the regular sportsmen. case; for, without some such protect- A community of sheer rogues would ing infirmity, they would be put out of destroy itself, like two millstones movall relation to their fellow-creatures. ing without the intervention of a maThe faultless monsters would be as terial to be ground. A nation of fools much displaced in society, as a frog in would be devoured by their neighbors ; a bottle of carbonic acid, or Liston in but a society compounded of the two, a Quakers' meeting.
with a proper intermixture of those Folly is the rule of Nature, and who are, in their own persons, an hapwisdom but the exception; and to com- py mixture of both, is admirably qualiplain of it is to “ complain you are a fied for the maintenance of “social man." The outcry against folly is a order, and the relations of civilized mere rebellion against Heaven. It life.” Folly is therefore the ultimate shows an utter want of self-knowledge, cause of all that is brilliant and elevator a contemptible affectation. In one ed in social polity. Without fools, word, it is no better than sheer cant, we should have neither kings, nor biand ought, like all other cant, to be put shops, nor judges, nor generals, nor podown by general acclamation. Provi- lice magistrates, nor constables; or, at dence makes nothing in vain ; and the least, if such things existed, they bare fact of this multiplicity of fools would be constituted so differently should lead, by the shortest route, to a from those which at present bear the conviction that they are a very useful, name, that they would no longer be and therefore a very respectable class worthy of it. They would be stripped of personages. Those, however, who of all the sublime and beautiful in are deeply versed in the philosophy of which they now rejoice; and the pohuman life, will make no difficulty in lished Corinthian capital would be diacknowledging (sub rosá, be it under- vested of the better part of its gilding stood) that the whole scheme of Na- and ornament. There would be no ture is based on the folly of mankind; sinecures, no pensions, no reversionary grants, no proconsular colonies, and no tages of good cookery, or disposed to close boroughs to claim them; nothing, set down the labors of Messrs. Ude, in short, to distinguish men from the and Kitchener (peace to his manes !) beasts of the field! This is the very among the vanities of vanity. On the touchstone of political science; and contrary, I believe most potently in yet men go on abusing the blockheads the truth of that proverb which teacband dolts, as if they were a superfluity es, that when Divine Providence gave in nature, and a let and an hindrance to man the fruits of the earth and the to the public at large. But the matter inhabitants of the three elements to does not stop here. Banish folly from make out a dinner, the devil, with a the intellectual complex, and the ma- corresponding malice, dragged into upjor part even of the honester callings per air that quintessential spoil-sport, must cease and be abandoned. The a bad cook. "He who does not mind world would become little better than his belly,” said Doctor Johnson, the one vast tub of Diogenes, and its pop- Magnus Apollo of all Church and ulation would be as unaccommodated State maxim-mongers and moralists, and as idle as the people of Ireland. will hardly mind anything." To be If the simple desire of fencing out the indifferent to wbat one eats, is not to inclemency of the elements alone pre- know right from wrong; and is one of sided over the choice of our habili- the few species of folly, which is bad ments, and nothing were granted to fol- in itself, and deserving of universal vily and ostentation, what would become tuperation. I speak not then of salof the tailor, and of the milliner and mis and fricandeaux, and of the other mantua-maker? It is folly and vanity essentials of a good table, but of those that render these trades a means of numerous inventions for pleasing the genteel livelihood to so many worthy eye at the expense of the stomach, citizens; and without them the Stultz- the temples, the flowers, the figures, es and the Herbots would pine in the the carmels, and, above all, of that gisame hopeless obscurity as the vilest ant abuse, the plateau, whose pondecountry botch. How little of the rous and massive vastness feeds notwenty yards of silk which my wife thing but the pride and vanity of the assures me is indispensable to the ostentatious owner. Of the hundreds building of a decent evening dress, be- of articles which go to the set-out of a long to wisdom and propriety; and formal dinner-table, and which occupy how much is dedicated, under the the entire morning of a butler and a names of gigots, volans à dent, ruches, pantry-boy to display, how few, how and furbelos, to the service of folly! very few administer to the real comHow little of the stupendous and com- fort of the meal! Yet, were these plicated piece of architecture, called a not in demand, an host of industrious bonnet, depends upon the capacity of persons would be thrown out of emthe head which bears it. The helmet ployment. Then again it would be a of the Castle of Otranto is but a type sore day for the tobacconist, if mankind of its marvellous disproportion. Like were given only to the essentials of a the interior of St. Peter's at Rome, cigar, a pinch of blackguard, or a quid the first aspect of it overwhelms the of pigtail. Drive out Folly with her spectator with a deep sense of awe, fifty guinea ineerschaum, her bighly and impresses him with as full a con- ornamented mull, her cherry sticks, viction as death itself, of the micro- and her ruinously extravagant hookah, cosm of man.
and the poor tradesman would starve. With respect to the other great es- The kindred shop of the perfumer afsential of life, the eating and the fords another illustration of the same drinking, folly is no less predominant. verity. It is not the Windsor soap Not that I am insensible to the advan- and the toothbrush that enable the
shopkeeper to drive his curricle and to or so in a century. Without fools the sport his villa. These he owes to the journalists would be no less distressed. essences, the atars, the scents, and the There would be no leading articles, no cosmetics, which are dedicated to the exciting slanders, no slang descriptions service of Folly, together with the gold of the beastly chivalry of the prize and silver nécessaires that are anything ring, no lengthy columns concerning but necessary to the beaux, who can- captivating swindlers and interesting not travel a step without them. But cut-throats; no canting narrations of it would be ungenerous to push this fêtes, nor servile sycophantic pratings matter farther. That reader must be of the whereabouts of royal infants, of far beyond the average folly, which is boating-parties, poney-chaises, of lords the subject of this paper, who cannot in waiting, and “ladies of the domesdraw a general conclusion from the tic circle," and, worst of all, there foregoing particulars, and satisfy him- would be no advertisements, no poetic self that commerce would cease with advocacy of white champagne and the existence of fools; and consequent- black polish, no surgical moralizing ly that they are of the last necessity concerning “the morning of life and to that complex, which is the pride, the delusions of passion,” no invitaboast, and prosperity of the summary tions to single ladies of decent compeof all perfection, the model of all ci- tence to marry felons, no notices of vilization, the type of all morality, - tradesmen leaving off business, or of Old England. The utility of fools in savings of full fifty per cent. in the the various departments of literature is purchase of calicoes. This inultiplia mystery of a more recondite nature. city of advertisements proves to deYou, however, know, Mr. Editor, and monstration that the English are the so do Messrs. Colburn and Murray, greatest fools under the sun; and are that they are the best customers of they not the most prosperous of peothe trade. Without fools there would ple, the envy of surrounding nations, be no watering-places, and without and the admiration of the entire world? watering-places there would be no What more would you have ? An circulating libraries worth mention- adequate supply of fools, moreover, is ing; without circulating libraries there highly important in a political sense, would be no fashionable novels, no as the raw materials of standing armies ight poetry, no squibs, no autobiogra- so urgently necessary to society as the phy, and (tell it not in Gath) no re- first elements of modern government. views and magazines ; and without all Poverty and gin, indeed, might go far these there would be no authors nor in raising the necessary contingent of booksellers—miserable sorites! The common soldiers, to be shot at and handsomest and the best books (in the knocked on the head at sixpence per bookseller's sense of the word) are got diem. But it would be difficult, I up exclusively for the fools. Without think, to persuade wise men of princely the aid of fools, both as purchasers fortunes to forego their ease and indeand as authors too, there would be no pendence, and risk their capital in embroiling of the sciences, no factions commissions and often-changed accouin literature, no party politics, no an- trements, for the mere pleasure of gry polemics, no Kantism, no animal strutting about in laced clothes and inagnetism, no phrenology, no eternal fur caps, like our sucking cornets and disputes on corn and currency; the ensigns. The inultiplicity of fools, paper-makers might stop there mill- too, is the joyful occasion of the prewheels, and the pressmen be placed sent flourishing condition of the pracunder the command of a lieutenant of tice of physic. To the folly of manthe navy. Without foolish authors kind, medicine is indebted, at once, criticism would perish for want of its for half the diseases on which it opeproper pabulum, or at most a blue and rates, and for the fame of its principal yellow octavo would be called for once remedies. A well-stored apotheca