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English usage, when applied to Ireland, invites mischief and instead of allaying discontent increases it a hundredfold. As for the landlord class, the advantage to the country at large of their residing on their estates is readily acknowledged. Yet, judging from historical precedent, the fact seems indisputable that those estates will have to be greatly curtailed in acreage: a measure which has been adopted during this century, with more or less of violence, in every country save, perhaps, Mecklenburg and England.
The course of recent events in the Balkan Peninsula shows that the difficulty of Home Rule is not insurmountable. Who could have been imagined less capable of self-government than the inhabitants of Roumania, Servia, and Bulgaria ? They had never belonged, in a higher sense at least, to any body politic; the younger men rarely had so much as held an office; they had never served in a national army, but wasted their lives in idle hopelessness. Yet, are they not showing, in varied degrees, of course, a proper sense of responsibility and a selfcontrolling energy which bids fair to baffle the “knavish tricks" of the enemy on their frontier ? It will be seen from the above rapid survey of German views on Home Rule that we are, at all events, not indifferent to that momentous question. We have but one desire, viz., to see it permanently settled, and a cause of constant anxiety and of weakness to Great Britain removed.
An interesting episode in the life of Goethe is just now receiving fresh light from a quarter whence such an addition to his biography would least have been expected, viz., in the forthcoming volume of Talleyrand's Memoirs. Napoleon I., as everybody knows, had expressed a wish to see Goethe during those brilliant pageants at Erfurt, when the actors of the Théâtre Français performed before a parterre de rois. Very little has been heard hitherto of the conversation that took place, excepting that, on Goethe quitting the room, the Emperor said, “ Voilà un homme !” But here comes Prince Talleyrand, who was present, and who put the words then spoken on record ----subsequently, as he affirms, showing his account to the poet for examination. The account is too interesting to be abridged.
“Charmed to see you, Monsieur Goethe.”
“Sire, I perceive that during your travels your Majesty does not fail to turn your attention to very insignificant matters."
"I know that you are the first tragic poet in Germany."
Sire, you wrong this country. We, too, think we have our great men. Schiller, Lessing, and Wieland must be known to your Majesty."
“Scarcely so, I confess. However, I read the Thirty Years' War, and, pardon me, but it seemed to me barely good enough to suggest tragic materials for our boulevard theatres."
“Sire, I am not acquainted with your boulevards. I imagine that popular plays are enacted there ; I am sorry to hear you judging with so much severity one of the finest minds of modern days.”
“You live mostly at Weimar? That, I believe, is the spot where the famous writers of Germany are wont to assemble.”
“Sire, they are treated with much attention there Of men, however, who are known throughout Europe we have at this moment but one in Weimar, namely, Wieland.”
“I should like to see Monsieur Wieland.”
If your Majesty will allow me to send for him I feel certain that he will immediately appear.”
“Does he speak French ?
“He understands it, and has revised several translations of his works into French."
“So long as you stay here be sure to come every evening to our theatrical performances. It will do you no harm to see good French plays performed.”
“Sire, I shall go with the greatest pleasure, and I confess that such was my intention. I have myself translated, or rather imitated, a few French plays.”
“I will send to inquire of Rémusat whether we have actors here who can perform those plays. I should much like you to hear them in our language. You are not so strict in the rules of the drama as we are ?"
“Sire, the unities are of no importance to us."
"Monsieur Goethe, you should stay here the whole time and describe the impression which the great spectacle we offer leaves upon your mind.”
“Ah, Sire, it would require the pen of some writer of antiquity to undertake such a task.”
"Are you one of those who like Tacitus ?”
“Yes, Sire, much.”
“Well, I do not. But of this another time. Write to Monsieur Wieland to come here. I shall return his call at Weimar, whither the Duke has invited me. I shall be very glad to see the Duchess. She is a highly gifted woman. The Duke acted badly for some time, but he has been reprimanded.”
“Sire, if he did so, the reprimand was rather strong. However, I am no judge in such matters. He protects poetry and science, and we may all of us be very well satisfied with him."
“Monsieur Goethe, come and see Iphigenia to-night. It is a good play. Not exactly one of those I like best, but the French prize it highly. In my pit you will see a goodiy number of sovereigns. Do you know the Prince Primate (Dalberg) ?
“ Indeed I do, Sire; almost intimately. He is a prince of a very easy wit, of much knowledge, and of much magnanimity."
“Very well, you will see him sleeping on the King of Würtemburg's shoulders to-night. Did you ever see the Emperor of Russia ? ”
“ No, Sire, never. But I hope to be presented to him."
"He speaks your language well. If you write anything about the meeting at Erfurt you must dedicate it to him.”
“ That is not my habit, Sire. When I began to write I made it a principle never to write a dedication, for fear of having to repent it one day.”
The great authors of Louis XIV.'s age thought differently.”
“ That is true, Sire, but your Majesty would not care to assure me that they never repented.”
“What has become of that good-for-nothing fellow, Kotzebue ? "
“ Sire, people say he is in Siberia. And your Majesty will ask the Emperor Alexander for his release."
you know well enough that he is no favourite of mine."
It is safe to assert, I think, that the above account, although there may have been more words spoken, covers the entire range of this desultory yet masterly conversation. Prince Talleyrand may have chuckled, indeed it is very likely he did, whilst witnessing the rebuff so cleverly administered to his master's vanity. Yet it seems to me that internal evidence militates against any suspicion that the conversation has been artfully twisted in order to unduly exalt Goethe.
GEORGE VON BUNSEN.
Y news this month is important enough, but unfortunately
the substance of it is already known to you. Signor Crispi, who appeared to be omnipotent to all who were not very close observers, has fallen. It is clear that many causes contributed to his overthrow, but the principal were his financial mismanagement and the laws for the administrative reorganisation of the country, which conflicted with many interests. It is uncertain whether the words which were considered so offensive by the Moderate party were pronounced by him in the mere heat of the moment, or with premeditation. Signor Crispi, in answer to a sweeping attack upon him, declared that the last Ministry of the Right, of which I was a member, Signor Minghetti being Premier, had a servilc foreign policy. That Ministry fell on March 18th, 1876. There was no need to say anything at all about it; and what Signor Crispi said was not true. Signor Minghetti has been dead three years. It was not generous to hurl such an insult at him. But why did Signor Crispi act in this manner? From lack of self-restraint, or of deliberate purpose? Either explanation is possible. Signor Crispi is not a great speaker, nor a very fluent one. From time to time he is stirring and effective, but his eloquence frequently hangs fire. Had he striven his hardest he could not have used words more calculated to lead to a breach with that portion of the Moderate party which he had cajoled, and which had cajoled him during the last few months, than those he employed. Indeed, it has been said that Signor Crispi, in order that the financial measure which was under discussion should be carried, had promised some members of the Left to speak as he did, and then, after the passing of the Bill, to resign, and form a Cabinet entirely from that side of the House. Be that as it may, we now have again, after fifteen years, a Cabinet almost completely composed of members of the Right. Signor Crispi miscalculated his power. Those unlucky words roused the indignation of all the members of the Moderate party, and many members who did not belong to it voted with them, because of the opportunity thus afforded of freeing themselves from him. The
majority against him was sixty-three, exactly the same as that by which Signor Minghetti was overthrown in 1876.
The Marquis of Rudini, a Sicilian, was entrusted by the King with the formation of the new Cabinet. He was the leader of that section of the Moderate party which had drawn nearer to Signor Crispi during the last few months, but was forced to vote against him on January 31.st. The party behind the Marquis was not very strong. It consisted of forty members at most. that he could not form his Cabinet with his own followers only, or even with the Moderate party alone. So he chose his Home Minister from the Left, and selected a clever but not a sure man, Signor Nicotera, who is a fierce enemy of Signor Crispi. The other Ministers he has found on the benches of the Right, the Right Centre, and the Left Centre. It is a scratch Cabinet. Only two members can be known in England, Signor Luzzatti, the Minister of the Treasury, a famous economist, and Professor Villari, the author of the Life of Savonarola, of which there is an English translation by his wife, an English lady.
The Cabinet presented itself to the House on the 14th. The Marquis read his programme. It is very simple. Since neither the House nor the country wishes to make good the deficit by imposing fresh taxes, economy will be resorted to. The expenditure for the army and navy will have to be diminished. The forcign policy will not be changed. This programme has been generally welcomed; but it is not easy to carry out. We have not yet been told how the saving is to be effected. We are to learn all about it on March 2nd, to which date the House has been adjourned. The Minister of War and the Minister of Marine will each have a hard nut to crack. They are both clever men, but they have to reduce expenditure without impairing efficiency, and therein lies the difficulty.
We have a very old man among us—he is eighty-one-who is bent double with anxieties and cares, and who yet finds time to amuse himself by writing Latin verses. I speak of Leo XIII. He has