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It would not do to cram such action as this into a whole play. They manage more artistically in Paris. Act the second enables us to collect our scattered senses and to breathe. Three days have elapsed since the piece commenced. We are now at the 27th of February, and as the curtain rises for the second time we behold the preparations of a féte. After the firing comes a divertissement. It is so in all great dramas. The republic is to be proclaimed, and the proclamation is to be made to music, with processions, and all the properties usual in such cases—especially at Astley's. Nothing, to speak honestly, can be more imposing than the exhibition. France is blessed with a republic, and the people are satisfied—that is to say, as satisfied as they can be without money and work. The mob in more senses than one has become its own master. At the same moment that it threw off its monarch it got rid of its employers. What of that! “The republic owes bread and the provision of labour to all her children. She takes the solemn obligation to provide it.” The question of work being “of supreme importance" a permanent commission is appointed to enable men to live without working at all. An original idea, not to be found, we believe, in any tragedy or farce. And now all goes merrily on. The high born are down; the low born are up; Jack is as good as his master : Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity are established; every man is to love his neighbour better than himself; selfishness has been put out by an universal extinguishem a political millennium has been reached by one tremendous effort in a single day. A government, indeed, is hardly required for a
people so thoroughly disposed to stifle selfishness and to find pleasure in the comfort and well-doing of one another ; but in compliance with antiquated notions a government, as we saw, was formed, and now a National Assembly is summoned. Happy citizens, far removed from despotism, walk about the streets with their hands in their capacious pockets, to gaze upon trees of liberty planted in their honour, and when tired of that, to turn into the theatre gra-tuitously opened for their amusement. Admirable scenes now take place between the Minister of the Interior and his “emissaries.” Perfect liberty being established, the latter are enjoined by M. Ledru Rollin to proceed into the provinces, and to induce. the free people of France to elect such representatives as are pleasing in his sight, under pain of his high displeasure; bribery, corruption, and intimidation, old monarchical vices, having become republican virtues under the new régime. Whilst the elections proceed we are entertained with more fétes in the capital. As a proof of fraternity, 300,000 soldiers, well armed, assemble in order to be reviewed, and as the sun gleams upon their bayonets, voices innumerable fill the air with praises of this féte, strangely called de la concorde. The results of the elections are declared. Lamartine, the favourite child of the revolution, is returned for eleven places. The poet, scholar, legislator, is his country's idol. No doubt he will remain so. The august assembly is to meet upon the 4th of May. The Provisional Government have so little to do in a land of universal peace and brotherhood, that on the 30th of April their most important business is to decree “that every representative of the people shall wear a black coat. a white waistcoat with a thrown back collar, black trousers, and a tri-coloured sash adorned with gold fringe.” Just before the representatives congregate, we hear that there has been bloodshed in Lyons, on the part of a few ejected fraternals, more devoted to the republic than to life; and under the head of “foreign intelligence,” in the daily papers, we ascertain that the nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, on the preceding 10th of April, was seen walking up and down Regent-street, London, dressed as a special constable, under the orders of Major Waller, captain of the division. No time can be given to such trifles. The streets are lined with troops again, the Provisional Government have met, behind them are the members of the National Assembly; trumpets and drums roar forth a martial strain. The glory of republicanism is complete. On they march to the hall of calm deliberation. How magnificent the scene upon which the curtain closes !
Everybody remembers the opening of Hamlet. So opens the third act of our revolutionary drama. Instead of the platform before the castle at Elsinore, we have the Mairie of the second arrondissement; and in place of “Francisco on his post,” we behold a small gentleman in Spectacles, musket on shoulder, walking up and down before a door, to keep out dogs, and to give free entrance to fraternal citizens. All things considered, this is perhaps the best hit in the play. As the curtain slowly rises, you conclude the little gentleman to be an ordinary soldier. You look again. Bless us ! it is the Prime Minister of the first act, who took so much care of himself and so
little of his master. How intensely dramatic is the situation! That man is a genius; he has written the history of the Empire; he has had the fate of nations oftener than once between the palms of his small hands, and there he stands, leering at poodles out of his large eyes, and pointing his musket at their posteriors as though it were the chief of his accomplishments. Bricklayers and plasterers had been returned to the Assembly, but M. Thiers had failed to find a constituency. We should call all this violent and unnatural at the Adelphi, but, as we said before, French nature is a very extraordinary nature; therefore look on and applaud. We find ourselves again in the House of Parliament, Chamber of Deputies no longer, but National Assembly. Universal suffrage prevails ; the people of France are free. There they are, the emancipated millions, represented by a few hundreds of their hearts' own choice. Europe is invited to take cognisance of the fact. A day or two after the meeting of members, the Prefect of Police rises in his place, declares Paris tranquil, and guarantees the continuance of tranquillity. His assurance is received with deafening cheers. Tranquil! Of course it is! Is there anything needed in this world to make men peaceful and contented but selfgovernment and universal suffrage? The only wonder is that a Prefect of Police was required to give the information. The cheers have hardly died away, however, before some curious incidents take place. Next to the possession of freedom, man's greatest enjoyment is to sympathise with the oppressed. The French nation being perfectly comfortable themselves in all their foreign, domestic, and pecuniary relations,
resolve to make a formal manifestation of their love for the distressed Poles. The 15th of May is fixed for the demonstration. Twenty thousand men come together on that morning. In lines of thirty-three, with the correctness of organised troops, they march to the Assembly—then in solemn deliberation. Like cats, the nimble sympathisers climb the railings that defend that sacred edifice, and embrace the National Guards who form a protection to the building quite as secure as the artichauts de fer. From the railings to the hall itself is but a step and a jump. In an instant the confusion, the din, the rioting of the first act is commenced de novo. Fellows with bare brawny arms are waving banners in the centre of the large apartment. Ruffians, innocent of coats and waistcoats, having first invaded the galleries, are sliding down into the space below; and whilst the President's bell is ringing with forty dustman power, a middlesized individual, with short hair, a long red beard, small inflamed eyes, and blurred face, is flourishing a cane by way of signal to the sympathisers, which they fully understand. In another moment the tumult reaches its height; hands are extended, voices are roaring, pistols are firing, and in the midst of the deafening clamour, a paper is produced which declares “the National Assembly is dissolved.” (It had hardly sat a week.) The President—a wise man in his generation—decamps; several members, equally prudent, follow his example; the sovereign people pronounce the government deposed, and name another composed of the brawny arms and waistcoatless bodies already spoken of. The expression of sympathy for the distressed Poles having been made in
spoken of Poles havin