Imágenes de páginas

in all shapes and kinds, the ticketsellers in town realized handsome premiums upon the seats to the Court Theater, and considered me as a favorite. Of course the lion hunters did not lose such an opportunity and from all sides assailed me with invitations to social gatherings.

I played II eartsease up to the end of the summer season. The play with which I opened the following fall was Mary Stuart, which was again in opposition to accepted prejudices, and in the same manner proved a valuable auxiliary.

Afterwards I played Adrienne, Romeo and Juliet, Froufrou, Juana and Odette, remaining in England until the end of the summer season of 1882. Then I returned to America which I made

my home.

I played in three countries, Poland, the United States, and England. Believing in the old saying, Omne trinum perfectum;" I promised myself to stop at that number, and to forego seeking any new fields for my ambition.

And the Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth's dark breast
Rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.
The snowdrop, and then the violet,
Arose from the ground with warm rain wet;
And their breath was mixed with fresh odor, sent
From the tuft, like the voice and the instrument.
Then the pied wind flowers and the tulip tall,
And narcissi, fairest among them all,
Who gaze on their eyes in the stream's recess,
Till they die of their own dear loveliness.


[merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

A supercilious nabob of the east

Haughty, being great-purse-proud, being rich, A governor, or general, at the least,

I have forgotten which, -
Had in his family an humble youth,

Who went from England in his patron's suite, An unassuming boy, and in truth

A lad of decent parts, and good repute.

This youth had sense and spirit;

But yet, with all his sense,

Excessive diffidence Obscured his merit.

One day, at table, flushed with pride and wine,

His honor, proudly free, severely merry, Conceived it would be vastly fine

To crack a joke upon his secretary.

"Young man," he said, "by what art, craft or trade

Did your good father gain a livelihood ?” “He was a saddler, sir,” Modestus said,

“And in his time was reckoned good.”

“A saddler, eh! and taught you Greek,

Instead of teaching you to sew ! Pray, why did not your father make

A saddler, sir, of you ?"

Each parasite, then, as in duty bound,
The joke applauded, and the laugh went round.
At length Modestus, bowing low,

Said (craving pardon, if too free he made), "Sir, by your leave, I fain would know

Your father's trade !"


"My father's trade! By heaven, that's too bad !
My father's trade? Why, blockhead, are you mad ?
My father, sir, did never stoop so low-
He was a gentleman, I'd have you know.”

“Excuse the liberty I take,”

I Modestus said, with archness on his brow, “Pray, why did not your father make

A gentleman of you?”

Master of human destinies am I!
Fame, love and fortune on my footsteps wait.
Cities and fields I walk; I penetrate
Deserts and seas remote, and passing by
Hovel and mart and palace—soon or late
I knock unbidden once at every gate!
If sleeping, wake—if feasting, rise before
I turn away. It is the hour of fate,
And they who follow me reach every state
Mortals desire, and conquer every foe
Save death; but those who doubt or hesitate,
Condemned to failure, penury and woe,
Seek me in vain and uselessly implore-
I answer not, and I return no more.

From Opportunity.-JOHN J. INGALLS.



One hundred years ago to-day a man died! He died immortal, laden with years, with labors, and with the most illustrious and formidable of responsibilities—the responsibility of the human conscience informed and corrected. He departed amid the curses of the past and the blessings of the future—and these are the two superb forms of glory!—dying amid the acclamations of his contemporaries and of posterity, on the one hand, and on the other with the hootings and hatreds bestowed by the implacable past on those who combat it. He was more than a man-he was an epoch! He had done his work; he had fulfilled the mission evidently chosen for him by the Supreme Will, which manifests itself as visibly in the laws of destiny as in the laws of nature. The eighty-four years he had lived bridge over the interval between the apogee of the Monarchy and the dawn of the Revolution. At his birth, Louis XIV still reigned; at his death Louis XVI had already mounted the throne. So that his cradle saw the last rays of the great throne and his coffin the first gleams from the great abyss.

The court was full of festivities; Versailles was radiant; Paris was ignorant; and meanwhile, through religious ferocity, judges killed an old man on the wheel and tore out a child's tongue for a song. Confronted by this frivolous and dismal society, Voltaire alone sensible of all the forces marshalled against him—court, nobility, finance; that unconscious power, the blind multitude; that terrible magistracy, so oppressive for the subject, so docile for the master, crushing and flattering, kneeling on the people before the king; that clergy, a sinister medley of hypocrisy and fanaticism, Voltaire alone declared war against this coalition of all social iniquities—against that great and formidable world. He accepted battle with it. What was his weapon? That which has the lightness of the wind and the force of a thunderbolt-a pen. With that weapon Voltaire fought, and with that he conquered! Let us salute that memory! He conquered! He waged a splendid warfare —the war of one alone against all—the grand war for mind against matter, of reason against prejudice; a war for the just against the unjust, for the oppressed against the oppressor, the war of goodness, the war of kindness! He had the tenderness of a woman and the anger of a hero. His was a great mind and an immense heart. He conquered the old code, the ancient dogma! He bestowed on the populace the dignity of the people! He taught, pacified, civilized! Regardless of menaces, insults, persecutions, calumny, exile, he was indefatigable and immovable. He overcame violence by a smile, despotism by sarcasm, infallibility by irony, obstinacy by perseverance, ignorance by truth! I have just uttered the word "smile," and I pause at it! "To smile!” That is Voltaire. Let us repeat it-pacification is the better part of philosophy. In Voltaire the equilibrium was speedily restored. Whatever his just anger, it passed off. The angry Voltaire always gives place to the Voltaire of calmness; and then in that profound eye appears his smile. That smile is wisdom—that smile, I repeat, is Voltaire. It sometimes goes as far as a laugh, but philosophic sadness tempers it. It mocks the strong, it caresses the weak. Disquieting the oppressor, it reassures the oppressed. It becomes raillery against the great; pity for the little! Ah! let that smile sway us, for it had in it the rays of the dawn. It was an illumination for truth, for justice, for goodness, for the worthiness of the useful. It illuminated the inner stronghold of superstition. The hideous things

« AnteriorContinuar »