Obrazy na stronie

TIT FOR TAT. Voltaire and Piron had been to pass sometime at a country seat. One day, Piron wrote over the door of Voltaire's apartment, Roque.As soon as Voltaire saw it, he proceeded at once to Piron's, who said to hiin—" What chance procures me the pleasure of seeing you ?” “Sir," answered Voltaire, “ I saw your name over my door, and I am come to return the visit."

DISINTERESTEDNESS. A WISE Arab had consumed his property in the service of a Caliph. This monarch, devoted to extravagant pleasures, said to him, ironically—“Do you know any one who professes greater disinterestedness than yourself ?” “Yes sire.” « Who is it?"“ Yon; I have only sacrificed my Fortune-You are sacrificing your Honour."

DILEMMA. PROTAGORAS, an Athenian rhetorician, had agreed to instruct Evalthus in rhetoric, on condition that the latter should pay him a certain sum of money if he gained his first cause. Evalthus when instructed in all the precepts of the art, refused to pay Protagoras, who consequently brought him before the Arcopagus,* and said to the Judges—“ Any verdict that you may give is in my favour: if it is on my side, it carries the condemnation of Evalthus; if against me, he must pay me, because he gains his first cause.” “I confess," replied Evalthus, “that the verdict will be pronounced either for or against me; in eiiher case I shall be equally acquitted : if the Judges pronounce in my favour, you are condemned ; if they pronounce for you, according to our agreement, I owe you nothing. for I lose my first cause." The Judges being unable to reconcile the pleaders, ordered them to re-appear before the Court a hundred years afterwards.

PRECISION. Many replies of Thales are quoted, which give a high idea of his Philosophy, and shew with what precision the sages of his time endeavoured to solve the questions proposed to them. What is the most beautiful of all things ? The Universe, for it is the Work of God. The most vast ? Space, for it contains every thing:—The strongest ? Necessity, for it triumphs over all. The most difficult : Self knowledge.--'The most easy? To give advice.-What is requisite for leading an irreproachable life ? To avoid doing that which we blaine in others. What is necessary for happiness ? A healthy body, an easy fortune, an enlightened mind.

* Arcopagus-the Hill of Mars, where was held the supreme Council of Athens.

GODDESSES. THEMISTOCLES being sent to the Isle of Andros to exact a tribute, convoked the assembly, and made his proposition; but meeting with difficulties in the matter, he said : “ Men of Andros, I bring you two Goddesses— Persuasion and Force-choose at once, the one which pleases you.” The Andrians replied, without hesitation -“We also, O! Themistocles, have two Goddesses— Poverty and Impossibility-take now the one which pleases you best.”

HARANGUE. The worthy Malesherbes (Minister of Lewis XVI.), at the head of a Sovereign Court, had been deputed to harangne the Dauphin in his Cradle, who far from understanding a single word of the address, could only cry out, and shed tears to express his wants and griefs. He, the Minister, contented hiinself with saying : “ May your Royal Highness, for the happiness of France, as well as for your own, always shew yourself' insensible and deaf to the language of flattery, as you are this day to the discourse which I have the honour of pronouncing before you.”

NEWSPAPERS. The Newspapers of Paris, submitted to the censorship of the press, in 1815, announced in the following terms, Bonaparte's departure from the Isle of Elba, his march across France, and his entry into the French Capital :-9th March— The Cannibal has escaped from his den. 10th- The Corsican ogre has just landed at Cape Juan. 11th-The Tiger has arrived at Gap. 12th-The Monster has passed the night at Grenoble. 13th—The Tyrant has crossed Lyons. 14th— The Usurper is directing his course towards Digon, but the brave and loyal Burgundians have risen in a body, and they surround hiin on all sides. 18th-Bonaparte is sixty leagues from the Capital; he has had skill enough to escape from the hands of his pursuers. 19th-Bonaparte advances rapidly, but he will never enter Paris. 20th-To-morrow, Napoleon will be under our ramparts. 21st- The Emperor is at Fontainebleau. 22nd-His Imperial and Royal Majesty last evening made his entrance into his Palace of the Tuileries, amidst the joyous acclamations of an adoring and faithful people.

GREATNESS. Every Frenchman preserves in his memory the discourse which Henry IV. pronounced at the commencement of his reign in an assembly of principal citizens (or chief men) convoked at Rouen. This eternally memorable speech is as follows:

Already by the favor of Heaven, by the counsels of my worthy ministers, and by the sword of my brave nobility, have I rescued

this state from the slavery and ruin which threatened it. I wish to restore to it its power and its splerdour. Share in this second glory as ye have partaken of the former. I have not called you, as my predecessors used to do, to force you blindly to approve my wishes, but to receive your advice, to trust in it, to follow it, to put myself into the guardianship of your hands. It is a desire which seldom enters the minds of kings, or conquerors, or grey-beards; but the love which I bear to my subjects, renders every thing possible and honourable to me.

CHARITY. The bakers of Lyons came to request of M. Dugas, provost of the tradesmen of that town, permission to raise the price of their bread. When they had explained their reasons to him, they left on the table a purse of 200 louis, having not the least doubt but that this sum would effectually plead their cause. Some days afterwards they presented themselves to receive his reply. “Gentlemen," said the Magistrate, “ I have weighed your reasons in the scale of justice and have found them wanting in weight. I have not considered it necessary to make the people suffer for an ill-founded dearness; moreover I have distributed your money to the hospitals of this town, persuaded that you had no wish to employ it otherwise. It has also seemed to me, that since you are in a condition to grant such alms, you do not, as you say, lose in your trade.'

THE SPOILT CHILD. A LADY seeing her cherished boy cry and fret, near a servant who seemed to laugh in his face,--" Champagne,” said she, “why do you make my child cry so ? Give him what he wants.” “Madam, if he cry till to-morrow, he will not obtain what he wishes.” “How, what do you mean ? You are an impertinent fellow. I command you to satisfy the little darling this very instant.” “Madam ! it is impossible.” “Oh! this is beyond all endurance. Monsieur ! Monsieur! husband !” “Well, my dear, what is the matter now ?" “ Turn away this insolent servant who mocks me; who takes pleasure in contradicting my son, in refusing him what he wants and what I desire him to give.” “It is very strange, Champagne, that you allow yourself to fail so grossly in your duty to your mistress, and to make your young master cry! Give him what he wants, or leave the house.” “I will leave if it must be so, sir, but how can I give him the moon which he has just seen in a pail of water, and which he absolutely wishes to possess.” At these words the master and mistress looked at each other — they could give no answer. All the company burst out laughing, husband and wife followed the merry example, and promised each other to correct their weakness towards their spoilt child, whose every wish they saw too well it would be difficult for them to accomplish.


CHARLES V. USED to say that a man who knew four languages was worth four men; in fact, all men have need of one another, and a stranger may be said not to exist for us, if we cannot understand his language. In short, the literature of every country reveals to him who can understand it, a new sphere of ideas. As to the dead languages, the man of letters, jealous of extending and multiplying his knowledge, penetrates into past ages, and advances over the scattered monuments of antiquity, to gather from them, amidst traces often all but obliterated, the spirit and the thoughts of the great men of all times.

A SOLVENT BANK. The best Bank ever yet known is a Bank of Earth, it never refuses to discount honest labour ; and the best Share is the Ploughshare, on which dividends are always liberal.

POWER OF ORTHOGRAPHY AND PUNCTUATION. The husband of a pious woman, having recently occasion to make a voyage, bis wife sent a written request to the clergyman of the parish, which, instead of spelling and pointing properly, viz., “A person haring gone to sea, his wife desires the prayers of the congregation;" she spelled and pointed as follows, “ A person having gone to see his wife, desires the prayers of the congregation."

POVERTY. To people who are down in the world it is quite as bad to appear to patronize them as it is to neglect them, indeed worse to a proud spirit, for the very sensitiveness which makes them susceptible to insult, enables them better to suffer to themselves, and to reject even kindness that has no delicacy for its companion.

CONTENTMENT. A CONTENTED mind is the greatest blessing a man can enjoy in this world, and if in the present life his happiness arises from the subduing of his desires, it will arise in the next from the gratification of them.

ENVY. There is nothing which more denotes a great mind than the abhorrence of envy and detraction.

A COMMON CASE. The superiority of some men is merely local; they are great, because their associates are little.

TOO TRUE. THERE are four good mothers, of whom are often born four unhappy daughters. Truth, begets hatred; happiness, pride ; security, danger; and familiarity, contempt.

A NUN'S WISH. SOUTHEY, in his Omnia, relates the following :-When I was last in Lisbon, a Nun made her escape from a Nunnery. The first thing for which she inquired, when she reached the house in which she was to be secreted, was a looking glass. She had entered the Convent when only five years old, and from that time had never seen her own face.

EGOTISM. “It is a hard and nice subject,” says Cowley, "for a man to speak of himself; it grates his own heart to say any thing of disparagement, and the reader's ears to hear any thing of praise from him.”

DOCTOR JOHNSON. When Mrs. Hannah Moore asked him why he drank no wine, he honestly and wisely said, “ Because if I drink at all, I shall drink too much. Abstinence is as easy as moderation is difficult.”

YANKEE DOODLE. An American Paper remarks, since the late triumphs of Yankees in steaming, sailing, &c., Yankee doodle do, should be changed in England, to Yankee doodle did.

THE PALE FACES. FREDRIKA BREMER, the other day in Winconsin, was invited to sit near the Fire, where some other ladies were seated, but replied, “No, No; you American ladies are very handsome, but you are too white; you sit down by a Fire of your own making, and neglect the great Fire that God has placed in the Heavens, which would give you health and colour.”

POLITENESS Is like an air cushion—there may be nothing solid in it, but its cases jolt wonderfully.

AN IRISH ADVERTISEMENT. IF a gentleman, who keeps a shoe store, with a red head, will return the umbrella which he borrowed of a young lady, with an ivory handle, he will hear of something to her advantage.

« PoprzedniaDalej »