صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

the first period I knew nothing, understood nothing, discriminated nothing. I felt all, loved all, wondered all

"Was nourished, I could not tell how,-"

I had left the temple a devotee, and was returned a rationalist. The same things were there materially; but the emblem, the reference, was gone! The lights -the orchestra lights-came up a clumsy machinery. The first ring, and the second ring, was now but a trick of the prompter's bell—which had been, like the note of the cuckoo, a phantom of a voice, no hand seen or guessed at which ministered to its warning. The actors were men and women painted. I thought the fault was in them; but it was in myself, and the alteration which those many centuries—of six short twelvemonths-had wrought in

Perhaps it was fortunate for me that the play of the evening was but an indifferent comedy, as it gave me time to crop some unreasonable expectations, which might have interfered with the genuine emotions with which I was soon after enabled to enter upon the first appearance to me of Mrs. Siddons in Isabella. Comparison and retrospection soon yielded to the present attraction of the scene; and the theatre became to me, upon a new stock, the most delightful of recreations.


ON DOGS AND CATS. Translated by Jessie Henderson Brewer. By ALEXANDER DUMAS.

T is admitted that the dog has intelligence, a heart

[ocr errors]

cat is a traitor, deceiver, thief, an egotist, an ingrate. How many have we not heard say: “Oh, I cannot abide a cat! it is an animal that loves not its master; it is attached only to the house; one must keep it under lock and key. I had one once, for I was in the country and there were mice. The cook had the imprudence to leave upon the table a poulet that she had just purchased; the cat carried it off, no morsel of it was ever seen after.

Since that day I have said: 'I will have no cat.'” Its reputation is detestable, the fact cannot be disguised, and one must acknowledge that the cat does nothing to modify the opinion in which it is held. It is entirely unpopular, but it cares as little about this as it does about the Grand Turk. Must I confess it to you? It is for this that I love it, for in this world one can remain indifferent to things the most serious—if there are serious things, and this, one knows only at the end of his life; but he cannot evade the question of dogs and cats. There is always a moment when he must declare himself. Well, then! I love cats! Ah! the times they have said to me:

"What, you love cats?"
"Do you not like dogs better?''
“No, I love cats much more."
“That is extraordinary."

I prefer certainly to have neither cat nor dog, but were I forced to live with one of these two individuals, I would choose the cat. It has for me the manners


essential to social relations. At first, in its early youth, it possesses all the graces, all the suppleness, all the unexpectedness by which the most exacting, artistic fancy can be amused! It is adroit, it always knows where it is. Prudent unto caution, it goes everywhere, it examines without soiling, breaking nothing; it is in itself a warmth and a caress; it has not a snout, but a mouth-and what a mouth! It steals the mutton as does the dog, but, unlike the latter, makes no delight of carrion; it is discreet and of fastidious cleanliness, which might be well imitated by a number of its detractors. It washes its face, and in so doing foretells the weather into the bargain. One can entertain the idea of putting a ribbon around its neck, never a collar; it cannot be enslaved. It permits no modifications in its race; it lends itself to no combinations that industries could attempt. The cat reflects, this is obvious, contrary to the dog, a lackbrain whose rabies is his crowning idiocy. In short, the cat is a dignified, proud, disdainful animal that conceals its fonctions basses, that hides its love affairs in the shadows, almost within the clouds, upon the roofs, in the vicinity of the night-working students. It defies advances, and tolerates no insults, it abandons the house in which it is not treated according to its merits; in short, the cat is truly an aristocrat in type and origin, whereas the dog is and ever will be naught but a vulgar parvenu by dint of complaisance.

The sole argument at all plausible against the cat is that it destroys the birds, the nightingales as well as

If the dog does not as much it is because he is too clumsy and stupid. He runs also after the birds, but barking, the birds escape him, and

the sparrows.

he stays behind completely dumbfounded, openmouthed and with astonished tail. He makes up for it upon the partridges and rabbits, after two years' submission to the strong collar in order to learn this art, and it is not for himself, but for the hunter, that he goes in quest of game. The imbecile! He persecutes the animals, an animal himself, for the profit of the man who beats him. At least, when the cat catches a bird she has an excuse; it is to eat it herself. Why would that authorize man to slander her? Let men regard one another! They will see in their race, as in that of cats, those who have claws have no other preoccupation but to destroy those who have wings.


RIP VAN WINKLE. From “Sketch-Book.' Condensed by the Editor from the First American 'and English Edition. By WASHINGTON IRVING. HOEVER has made a voyage up the Hudson

must remember the Kaatskill Mountains. At the foot of these fairy mountains, the voyager may have descried the light smoke curling up from a village, whose shingle roofs gleam among the trees, just where the blue tints of the upland melt away into the fresh green of the nearer landscape. It is a little vil- . lage of great antiquity, having been founded by some of the Dutch colonists, in the early times of the province, just about the beginning of the government of the good Peter Stuyvesant (may he rest in peace!). In that same village, and in one of these very

houses (which, to tell the precise truth, was sadly time-worn and weather-beaten), there lived many years since, while the country was yet a province of Great Britain, a simple good-natured fellow, of the name of Rip Van Winkle. He was moreover a kind neighbour, and an obedient henpecked husband. Indeed, to the latter circumstance might be owing that meekness of spirit which gained him such universal popularity; for those men are most apt to be obsequious and conciliating abroad, who are under the discipline of shrews at home.

The great error in Rip's composition was an insuperable aversion to all kinds of profitable labour. could not be from the want of assiduity or perseverance; for he would sit on a wet rock, with a rod as long and heavy as a Tartar's lance, and fish all day without a murmur, even though he should not be encouraged by a single nibble. He would carry a fowling-piece on his shoulder, for hours together,


« السابقةمتابعة »