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Peter, that he possesses in his own breast a voice which tells what, as legislator and protector of Religion, he ought to pursue or desist from ; and that voice, with the assistance of divine Grace, and the honest and just character which he feels in himself, can never lead him into error.' There! Madam, there is imperial infallibility to some purpose! Henry VIII. undoubtedly felt the same inspiration when he became head of our Church. . . That inward voice, which the Greeks called Gastromuthos, prattles to every monarch before he can speak himself, and did so to Henry VI. in his cradle, though he lived to lose everything."-The next is to Sir Horace Mann, in April of the same year: "The Emperor destroys convents and humbles the Pope; the Czarina preaches toleration, but protects the Jesuits; and these two philosophic sovereigns intend to divide Constantinople, after sacrificing half a million of lives! In one age, religion commits massacres; in another, philosophy. Oh! what a farce are human affairs!" That was Walpole's favourite text, when homiletically disposed.
In 1784, when Joseph quarrelled with the Dutch for the navigation of the Scheldt, Walpole writes to his friend at Florence: "Your Lord Paramount seems to be taking large strides towards Holland,”—and afterwards again, "Newspapers tell me your Lord Paramount is going to annihilate that fictitious state, Holland. I shall not be surprised if he, France, and Prussia divide it, like Poland, in order to settle the Republic! perhaps may create a kingdom for the Prince of Orange out of the Hague and five miles round." In a subsequent epistle (Nov. 8): "I shall not wonder if Cæsar, after ravaging, or dividing, or seizing half Europe, should grow devout, and give it some novel religion of his own manufacture." Anon the papers tell Horace the Dutch are drowning their country to save it: he does not know much, he writes to Mann (Dec. 2), "of the war between the Austrian Eagle and the Frogs, though they say it grows very serious. The latter began the attack by a deluge" which means, their opening the dykes. "Your holy neighbour, no doubt, rejoices that the Huguenot commerce is thought a preferable morsel to the temporalities of the Church, which I suspect to have been a weighty ingredient in Cæsar's late reformations, as they were in Luther's [of whom, by the way, Walpole could never speak well]. Nor will he squander them, as Henry the Eighth did, on his courtiers." Nor did he, as we have seen Alison remarking; but Walpole implies that Joseph would appropriate them to himself, or spend them on war, which he did not.
Early next year, the same letter-writer tells the same recipient (Feb. 2, 1785): "The great scene that Europe expected is said to be laid aside, and that France has signified to the Dutch that they must submit to the Emperor, and that they will-happy news for one or two hundred thousand of the living! Whether the mass of murder will be diminished in future by that arrangement is another question. The revival of the kingdom of Austrian Lombardy [which, says Walpole in a foot-note, is what the Emperor meditated] looks as if the eagle's eastern wing would expand itself as well as the western." Again (July 25): "Though three millions sterling from the plunder of convents is a plump bellyful, I don't believe the Austrian Eagle will stop there, nor be satisfied with private property. . . . He has shown that he thinks nothing holy but the
holy Roman empire. . . . One can care little about the upshot of such squabbles. Were I to form a wish, it would be in favour of the Pontiff rather than of the Emperor; as Churchmen make conquests by sense and art, not by force and bloodshed, like Princes." The italics are Wal
He underscored that sentiment of hypothetical preference, because he had a strong feeling on the subject. This he shows by reiterating it, in a letter to Lady Ossory (August 10, 1785): "Cæsar is said to have already realised three millions sterling by the suppression of monarchism; and by that wealth he will purchase a deluge of blood! Such reformers make one regret Popery! . . . . I have been told that when this Austrian bird of prey set about his reform, the nobility of Flanders presented a memorial to him, observing that most of the monastic had not been royal foundations, and therefore they hoped from his Imperial equity that he would restore to the respective families the lands which their ancestors had given away from their posterity to the Church. Cæsar made no reply, for he could make none that had common sense-but he did not seize an acre or a ducat the less." To her Ladyship again (Sept. 17), à propos of her lord's shooting campaign in Northamptonshire: "Joseph II., who is as keen a sportsman as Lord Ossory, is going to shoot in Holland; Lord Rodney, who is just arrived from Spa, brings, that forty thousand men are on their march. Others add, that this imperial murderer is in danger from a swelling in his side-I hope he will die soon! His death would save two hundred thousand lives to Europe at least." The same good wishes again next month (Oct. 27): "When General Johnstone returned [from Vienna] a fortnight ago, I told him I hoped he had left everybody well in Germany but the Emperor." To Mann, (Oct. 30): "You may be sure I am glad that Cæsar is baffled. I neither honour nor esteem him. If he is preferring his nephew to his brother, it is using the latter as ill as the rest of the world." (This refers to the election of King of the Romans.)-To the Earl of Strafford, in August, 1786: "We shall be crammed, I suppose, with panegyrics and epitaphs on the King of Prussia; I am content that he can now have an epitaph. But, alas! the Emperor will write one for him probably in blood! and while he shuts up convents for the sake of population, will be stuffing hospitals with maimed soldiers, besides making thousands of widows!" (To which is appended a sort of historical parallel from the reign of Henry V.)-The Brabant business in 1787 adds fresh fuel to Walpole's flaming wrath. "Have you seen, Madam," he asks Lady Ossory (Sept. 6), "the horrible mandate of the Emperor to General Murray? Think of that insect's threatening to sacrifice thousands of his fellow pismires to what he calls his dignity! the dignity of a mite, that supposing itself as superior as an earwig, meditates preventing hosts of its own species from enjoying the happiness and the moment of existence that has been allotted to them in an innumerable succession of ages! But while scorn, contempt, and hatred kindle against the imperial insect, admiration crowds in for the brave pismires who so pathetically deprecate their doom, yet seem resigned to it. I think I never read anything more
* Walpole's Letters, vol. viii. pp. 174, 337, 360, 506, 518, 520, 529, 530, 539, 575.
noble, more touching, than the Remonstrance of the Deputies to Prince Kaunitz.”—In June, 1787, we have Walpole hitting out at "two such bloody-minded vultures, cock and hen, as Catherine and Joseph.
Oh! I wish Catherine and Joseph were brought to Westminster Hall and worried by Sheridan!" Richard Brinsley had just delivered his Begum speech. Again, in September: "I am glad that those gigantic incendiaries, the Russian Empress and Austrian Emperor, are so hampered, disappointed, mortified; nay, I prefer to them"-this is to the Countess of Ossory-" the of Babylon and Pagan Turks, who were living quietly and honestly on the cheats and robberies of their predecessors and forefathers, and disturbed nobody." With one other piece of invective we will conclude these Horatian amenities. It is from a letter in December, 1789, to the same lady of title and taste: "I was in town on Wednesday, and was told that the Emperor had made a truce for two months with the Flemings, which was likely to be followed by a peace. I am glad that they will be relieved, and that He is baffled and mortified. There is as wide a difference between Joseph and Louis [the Sixteenth], as between their present situations. The latter, without being an aggressor, was willing to amend a very bad government, and has been treated like a Sicilian Dionysius, and has seen numbers of his innocent subjects massacred, &c. Joseph, with the flippancy of a French prater, has violated oaths and laws, and plundered, in order to support an unjust war of ambition, while he is the tool of the northern Semiramis, whom I call by a name that sounds quite Russian, Catherine Slay-Czar."*
There is hardly any recognising in Walpole's Cæsar the kindly, simple, modest, unpretending, well-meaning Kaiser Joseph of whom we read in ordinary history and essay.-But he happened to fall within Lord Orford's select circle of cherished aversions-an entrance into which was greatly facilitated in the case of royalty; and so it came to pass that for long years his name was consistently and systematically blackened by one of the best of good haters.
About two months after the last quoted extract was written, Kaiser Joseph was a dead man. He had worn himself out by incessant exertions, mental and bodily. His last hours gave evidence of an affectionate warmth of feeling, and he is said, on good church authority, to have made an edifying end. He expired, very tranquilly, on the 20th of February, 1790, in his forty-ninth year. He was handsomely made-with a pair of eyes engagingly expressive and "beautifully blue." Hence the saying, "imperial blue," according to Menzel, to denote that colour in other besides imperial eyes.
* Walpole's Letters, vol. ix. pp. 3, 12, 26, 28, 65, 108, 122, 128, 144, 146, 240.
THE GREVAVOE ELOPEMENT.
IN the quiet fashion already described was Grevavoe, and the entire island in which it was situated, being carried round by the revolutions of the world, without any appearance of change. Nothing was altering, everybody was in excellent health; in fact, you might have thought the place had obtained some mysterious patent elixir, which was going to make it rival the famous American town "down east,” where "no one knows how old he is, and when people want to die they have to go somewhere else." M'Candle was, indeed, thinking of effecting a little temporary minor revolution shortly. He was actually making up his mind to do in word and deed what he had already been doing in the language of the eyes and in pantomimic action-viz. to " pop the question." But unhappy, ill-fated M'Candle (as Serjeant Buzfuz said in his speech in the memorable case "Bardell v. Pickwick"), "the sapper and miner was at work." The unfortunate divine might be compared to one of the inhabitants of grand old Pompeii, peacefully and cheerfully pursuing his wonted avocations, hopeful, looking confidently forward to a long bright future, when the fearful, devouring volcano burst suddenly upon him. We hurry to particulars; we will no longer keep our beloved reader in suspense.
It was winter-time-January, in fact, usually the most stormy season in Zetland. The weather had been gloomy and wet for several weeks. For a whole fortnight no boat had been able to leave the island, and the mail-packet from Aberdeen had not made her appearance in Lerwick for twice as long as that. The inhabitants of Zetland were in blissful ignorance of the state of public events for the last mouth. Anything might have happened: Napoleon Bonaparte-he was pursuing his career of glory at the period of our story-might have been crowned at London; the Pope might have been deposed, and the Wandering Jew appointed to succeed him at the Vatican; the Prince Regent might have become an estimable character; Lord Macaulay's New Zealander might have been paring his pencil preparatory to sketching the ruins of St. Paul's (only the late lamented noble lord was a boy then), for all the Zetlanders knew for certain to the contrary. Tomkins felt this very much when the winter came round; it was his most painful trial. Till he came to Zetland he had never experienced anything of this kind, and he naturally felt himself much aggrieved, felt satisfied that the whole arrangement was an especial provision of nature to insult and annoy him personally, and grumbled tremendously. People were very frightened for Tomkins when these dark seasons came upon him. None cared to approach him but Julia. M'Candle would as soon have thought of giving a pic-nic on the beach, or going out to sea in a tub to meet the packet, as of bearding Tomkins in his den at that fearful period. He shut himself up, and said he was studying. Being curious to know what he was studying, Messrs. Bob and Horatio Nelson examined Tammie Sweynson on the point the first convenient opportunity.
"I kenow no," said Tammie (innocent Tammie); "he rises aboot
twal, an' he hes his denner at twa, an' dan he plays da fiddle fill he hes his tay, an' dan he drinks speerits an' watter an' plays da sheckers* ur bare-birkiet wi' da certts wi' me fill he geens till his bed."§
And the minister was less original in the pulpit at this season than at any other. He fished out from his repository of sermons the very oldest of his discourses, containing his very rawest and most crude reflections on the lives of David, Abner, and Gehazzi. He knew his congregation would be very limited, and that there was no chance of Miss Julia, or even her laughing, quizzing, little waiting-woman Kirsty (whom he feared very much), making their appearance. The few people who came, however, were quite satisfied. The old women slept, ate carawayseeds, groaned, and shed tears, just as enthusiastically as they could have done under the most favourable circumstances; and the elders of the kirk remarked to one another in the vestry afterwards, "He|| wis a vera gude discoorse; but, bairns, I tink I'm heard him|| afore." As, indeed, they had several times every winter since the Reverend Donald M'Candle had entered on his duties as curator of souls in the district.
Mr. Eric Sweynson, meanwhile, stuck to his shop and his accounts, and did with praiseworthy assiduity all that was required of him, though, of course, his business could not fail at this season to be much slacker than during more propitious weather. He did not bother his head to go near Tomkins; he knew the lieutenant was just then a very barrel of gunpowder, and was fearful lest his might be the hand to apply the match. Miss Julia remained in her own boudoir with Kirsty Sweynson, read old novels over again, talked gossip, and wrote reams of correspondence to her "dearest Harriets" and "Cecilias," depicting her life in the most romantic light, talking a good deal about sea-kings and about M'Candle, whom she represented as a sort of Eugene Aram, affected by the wild weather to a state of melancholy frenzy, and shut up day and night "studying, studying, studying;" so that Miss Harriet and Miss Cecilia immediately and simultaneously pictured to themselves M'Candle a pale youth with dreamy eyes and long black ringlets, sitting in a dressing-gown before a small lamp, with a wet towel round his head, drinking strong coffee, and learning Plato in the original Greek by rote; refreshing himself occasionally with a dip into the Hebrew Bible or the Differential Calculus. The young lady's interesting brothers alone managed to roam about, visiting the sea-shore, on the out-look for driftwood, in company with some of the ragamuffins of the neighbourhood; frequenting weddings and any place where the fiddle was being played and a little drink was going, where they danced, shouted, and kissed the lasses to perfection; and dropping in at any house where they understood a young family of pups or kittens had been recently brought into the world, for the purpose of volunteering their services to assist at the drowning. These lads-strange as it may appear-were their revered parent's sole solace at that dark hour. He flogged them every Sunday during the continuance of the rain when they came in to meals! These brief moments of ecstasy stood out in glorious relief on the dark back
* Chequers, or sheckers, drafts. † Beggar-my-Neighbour. Cards. § In this sentence, "fill" denotes "till," and "till" denotes "to." The natives usually ignore the neuter-gender.