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suspiciousness, are among the causes of our present calamities. They are among the causes of a state of things which has inflicted on us, and threatens to inflict on all Europe, the worst of all Governments-democratic despotism. A Government in which two wills only prevail—that of the ignorant, envious, ambitious, aggressive multitude, and that of the despot who, whatever be his natural disposition, is soon turned, by the intoxication of flattery and of universal power, into a capricious, fantastic, selfish participator in the worst passions of the worst portion of his subjects.'
• Such a Government,' I said, 'may be called an antiaristocracy. It excludes from power all those who are fit to exercise it.'
• The consequence,' said Beaumont, ‘is, that the qualities which fit men for power not being demanded, are not supplied. Our young men have no political knowledge or public spirit. Those who have a taste for the sciences cultivated in the military schools enter the army. The rest learn nothing.'
What do they do?' I asked.
• How they pass their time,' said Madame de Beaumont, ‘is a puzzle to me. They do not read, they do not go into society-I believe that they smoke and play at dominos, and ride and bet at steeple-chases.
• Those who are on home service in the army are not much better. The time not spent in the routine of their profession is sluggishly and viciously wasted. Algeria has been a God-send to us.
There our young men have real duties to perform, and real dangers to
Family Life in France.
provide against and to encounter. My son, who left St. Cyr only eighteen months ago, is stationed at Thebessa, 300 miles in the interior. He belongs to a bureau arabe, consisting of a captain, a lieutenant, and himself, and about forty spahis. He has to act as a judge, as an engineer, to settle the frontier between the province of Constantine and Tunis—in short, to be one of a small ruling aristocracy. This is the school which has furnished, and is furnishing, our best generals and administrators.'
We talked of the interior of French families.
• The ties of relationship,' I said, 'seem to be stronger with you than they are with us. Cousinship with you is a strong bond, with us it is a weak one.'
• The habit of living together,' said Beaumont, 'has perhaps much to do with the strength of our feelings of consanguinity. Our life is patriarchal. Grandfather, father, and grandson are often under the same roof. At the Grangel thirty of the family were sometimes assembled at dinner. With you, the sons go off, form separate establishments, see little of their parents, still less of their cousins, and become comparatively indifferent to them.'
'I remember,' I said, the case of an heir apparent of seventy ; his father was ninety-five. One day the young man was very grumpy. They tried to find out what was the matter with him ; at last he broke out, “ Everybody's father dies except mine.”'
1 The château of M. de La Fayette.-ED.
* An acquaintance of mine,' said Beaumont, 'not a son, but a son-in-law, complained equally of the pertinacious longevity of his father-in-law. “Je n'ai pas cru," he said,
“en me mariant, que j'épousais la fille du Père Eternel." Your primogeniture,' he continued, 'must be a great source of unfilial feelings. The eldest son of one of your great families is in the position of the heir apparent to a throne. His father's death is to give him suddenly rank, power, and wealth; and we know that royal heirs apparent are seldom affectionate sons. With us the fortunes are much smaller, they are equally divided, and the rank that descends to the son is nothing.'
What regulates,' I asked, the descent of titles?'
'It is ill regulated,' said Beaumont. “Titles are now of such little value that scarcely anyone troubles himself to lay down rules about them.
• In general, however, it is said, that all the sons of dukes and of marquises are counts. The sons of counts in some families all take the title of Count. There are, perhaps, thirty Beaumonts. Some call themselves marquises, some counts, some barons. I am, I believe, the only one of the family who has assumed no title. Alexis de Tocqueville took none, but his elder brother, during his father's life, called himself vicomte and his younger brother baron. Probably Alexis ought then to have called himself chevalier, and, on his father's death, baron. But, I repeat, the matter is too unimportant to be subject to any settled rules. Ancient 1861.)
Shipwreck off Gatteville.
descent is, with us, of great value, of far more than it is ' with you, but titles are worth nothing.'
Saturday, August 17.-We drove to the coast and ascended the lighthouse of Gatteville, 85 métres, or about 280 feet high. It stands in the middle of a coast fringed with frightful reefs, just enough under water to create no breakers, and a flat plain a couple of miles wide behind, so that the coast is not seen till you come close to it. In spite of many lighthouses and buoys, wrecks are frequent. A mysterious one occurred last February: the lighthouse watchman showed us the spot—a reef just below the lighthouse about two hundred yards from the shore.
It was at noon—there was a heavy sea, but not a gale. He saw a large ship steer full on the reef. She struck, fell over on one side till her yards were in the water, righted herself, fell over on the other, parted in the middle, and broke up. It did not take five minutes, but during those five minutes there was the appearance of a violent struggle on board, and several shots were fired. From the papers which were washed ashore it appeared that she was from New York, bound for Havre, with a large cargo and eighty-seven passengers, principally returning emigrants. No passenger escaped, and only two of the crew :
an Italian speaking no French, from whom they could get nothing; the other was an Englishman from Cardiff, speaking French, but almost obstinately uncommunicative. He said that he was below when the ship struck, that the captain had locked the passengers in the cabin, and that he knew nothing of the causes which had led the ship to go out of her course to run on this rock.
The captain may have been drunk or mad. Or there may have been a mutiny on board, and those who got possession of the ship may have driven her on the coast, supposing that they could beach her, and ignorant of the interposed reefs, which, as I have said, are not betrayed by breakers.
Our informant accounted for the loss of all, except two persons, by the heavy sea, the sharp reefs, and the blows received by those who tried to swim from the floating cargo. The two who escaped were much bruised.
A man and woman were found tied to one another and tied to a spar. They seemed to have been killed by blows received from the rocks or from the floating wreck.
In the evening Ampère read to us the ‘Bourgeois Gentilhomme.' His reading is equal to any acting. It kept us all, for the first two acts, which are the most comic, in one constant roar of laughter.
*The modern nouveau riche,' said Beaumont, 'has little resemblance to M. Jourdain. He talks of his horses and his carriages, builds a great hotel, and buys pictures. I have a neighbour of this kind; he drives four-in-hand over the bad roads of La Sarthe, visits with one carriage one day, and another the next. His jockey stands behind his cabriolet in top-boots, and his coachman wears a grand fur coat in summer. clothes are always new, sometimes in the most accurate