The French Revolution: A History - Vol. 1

The French Revolution: A History - Vol. 1

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The French Revolution: A History - Vol. 1

The French Revolution: A History - Vol. 1

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Excerpt

Such a changed France have we; and a changed Louis. Changed, truly; and further than thou yet seest!--To the eye of History many things, in that sick-room of Louis, are now visible, which to the Courtiers there present were invisible. For indeed it is well said, in every object there is inexhaustible 'meaning; the eye sees in it what the eye brings means of see'ing.' To Newton and to Newton's Dog Diamond, what a different pair of Universes; while the painting on the optical retina of both was, most likely, the same! Let the reader here, in this sick-room of Louis, endeavour to look with the mind too.

Time was when men could (so to speak) of a given man, by nourishing and decorating him with fit appliances, to the due pitch, make themselves a King, almost as the Bees do: and, what was still more to the purpose, loyally obey him when made. The man so nourished and decorated, thenceforth named royal, does verily bear rule; and is said, and even thought, to be, for example, 'prosecuting conquests in Flanders,' when he lets himself like luggage be carried thither: and no light luggage; covering miles of road. For he has his unblushing Chateauroux, with her bandboxes and rouge-pots, at his side; so that, at every new station, a wooden gallery must be run up between their lodgings. He has not only his Maison-Bouche, and Vale. taille without end, but his very Troop of Players, with their pasteboard coulisses, thunder-barrels, their kettles, fiddles, stagewardrobes, portable larders (and chaffering, and quarreling enough; all mounted in wagons, tumbrils, second-hand chaises, --sufficient not to conquer Flanders, but the patience of the world. With such a flood of loud jingling appurtenances does . . .

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