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self and observed such moderation in his deportment, fearing the punishment of any excesses, that it very rarely happened that any such appeal was necessary. Two or three words, inconsiderately uttered at different times by Henry the Second, first opened the door and gave rise to duels; and the devil has since fomented their continuation and progress. One was, “ that he did not esteem a man a gentleman who suffered another to give him the lie, without resenting it;” upon which, all to whom that happened came to demand combat in the lists; and the king, finding himself importuned on this point by a multitude of persons, one day asked a man who pressed him, why he came to ask him to do him justice for an offence he had received, when he wore that at his side with which he could do justice to himself? This gentleman, who knew very well what the king meant, immediately wrote a note to the person by whom he thought himself offended, in which he told him that he should expect him in a meadow, in his doublet, armed with a sword and dagger, to give satisfaction for the injury he had done him, and invited him to come similarly armed and equipped, which the other did; and the offended party having killed his enemy, his frank and generous conduct was highly esteemed by all the court; and several nobles having entreated the king to grant him a pardon, his majesty could not in justice refuse it, since he had instigated him to the commission of the crime.
The applause which this first offender received for his offence, and the impunity he enjoyed, inspired others with the desire of imitating him, and in a short time rendered duels so frequent, that the king, who now perceived the importance of the words he had so lightly uttered, was constrained to remedy the evil by severe and rigorous edicts against duelling. These were effectual in checking the spread of them during his reign, that of his eldest son, Francis XI., and part of that of Charles IX. But, as the minorities of the kings and the civil wars opened the door to every kind of disorder and contempt of law-authority, and as the laws of France seldom continue long in force, the edict against duelling was violated, together with many others, though not to any great excess; for public dissensions occupied the nobility so fully, that they had no time to bestow on private ones. Then followed the reign of Henry III., during which duels were not only fought with perfect impunity, but seconds, thirds, and even fourths, were added, in order to make the bloodshed more copious, and the
massacres more extensive and complete. The wars of the League, which happened towards the end of this reign, and lasted through the former part of the following, checked or rather directed the course of this sanguinary mania, until the peace of Vervins, when it broke out with redoubled violence and fury, as King Henry IV. did not apply the necessary remedies for the cure of the evil, either from negligence, or because his attention was diverted by the number of pressing affairs upon his hands. It was even thought that he was not sorry to see his nobility occupied with their own quarrels, which prevented their turning their thoughts against him. At length, however, he wisely took into consideration the number of brave men who were continually lost to the service of his person and his kingdom, and that he was chargeable with their death, which he might have prevented by the abolition of this fatal and tragical custom. Admonished by preachers, and pressed by the parliaments, he applied himself, although late, to correct it by very severe laws; and in the beginning of the year 1609, having assembled the constable, marshals of France, and the principal lords of his council, he issued that very harsh edict against duelling, which he swore, in their presence, to observe religiously, and not to pardon any man soever who might violate it. He made the constable and marshals swear to the like observance of it, giving them fresh and more ample jurisdiction in the affair; and expressly forbade the chancellors and secretaries of state, under pain of answering it in their own names and persons, to seal or sign any pardon or reprieve in cases of this nature, whatever orders they might receive from him : and lastly, to add to the terror and infamy of the punishment, he ordered that all who were killed in a duel should be not only deprived of burial, but hung by the feet to a gibbet. This vigorous edict, supported as it was by circumstances, was effectual; and, for the last year of the reign of the late king, and the first two of the present, there was but one instance of a violation of it.
[Marshal Bassompierre goes on to say that the practice of duelling gradually revived as the law against it was mitigated, or enforced, according to the caprice of those in power. At last, the edict came to be outraged and despised, and men were again left to assert their honour after the barbarian fasbion that has so long prevailed in Chris
123.-RURAL LIFE IN SWEDEN.
LONGFELLOW. [HENRY W. LONGFELLOW is a living poet-one of that Anglo-Saxon race who appear destined to spread the English language and literature over the vast extent of what we call the New World. He was born in 1807; has travelled much in Europe ; and is now a distinguished Professor in Harvard College. As a poet, he is remarkable for the careful finish and the stainless purity of his productions, rather than for the luxuriance of his imagination, or the profundity of his thoughts. The following charming piece of prose description is from a preface which accompanies his translation of a Swedish Idyll, entitled The Children of the Lord's Supper.']
There is something patriarchal still lingering about rural life in Sweden, which renders it a fit theme for song. Almost primeval simplicity reigns over that northern land-almost primeval solitude and stillness. You pass out from the gate of the city, and, as if by magic, the scene changes to a wild, woodland landscape. Around you are forests of fir. Over head hang the long fan-like branches, trailing with moss, and heavy with red and blue cones. Under foot is a carpet of yellow leaves; and the air is warm and balmy. On a wooden bridge you cross a little silver stream; and anon come forth into a pleasant and sunny land of farms. Wooden fences divide the adjoining fields. Across the road are gates, which are opened by troops of children. The peasants take off their hats as you pass; you sneeze, and they cry,
“ God bless you.” The houses in the villages and smaller towns are all built of hewn timber, and for the most part painted red. The floors of the taverns are strewed with the fragrant tips of fir boughs. In many villages there are no taverns, and the peasants take turns in receiving travellers. The thrifty housewife shows you into the best chamber, the walls of which are hung round with rude pictures from the Bible; and brings you her heavy silver spoons—an heir-loom-to dip the curdled milk from the pan. You have oaten cakes baked some months before, or bread with anise-seed and coriander in it, or perhaps a little pine bark.
Meanwhile the sturdy husband has brought his horses from the plough, and harnessed them to your carriage. Solitary travellers come and go in uncouth one-horse chaises. Most of them have pipes in their mouths, and hanging around their necks in front a leather wallet, in which they carry tobacco, and the great bank-notes of the country, as large as your two hands. You meet also groups of Dale, karlian peasant women, travelling homeward, or town-ward in pursuit of work. They walk barefoot, carrying in their hands their shoes, which have high heels under the hollow of the foot, and soles of birch bark.
Frequent, too, are the village churches, standing by the roadsides each in its own little garden of Gethsemane. In the parish register great events are doubtless recorded. Some old king was christened or buried in that church; and a little sexton, with a rusty key, shows you the baptismal font, or the coffin. In the churchyard are a few flowers, and much green grass; and daily the shadow of the church spire, with its long tapering finger, counts the tombs, representing & dial-plate of human life, on which the hours and minutes are the graves of men. The stones are flat, and large, and low, and perhaps sunken, like the roofs of old houses. On some are armorial bearings; on others only the initials of the poor tenants, with a date, as on the roofs of Dutch cottages. They all sleep with their heads to the westward. Each held a lighted taper in his hand when he died; and in his coffin were placed his little heart-treasures, and a piece of money for his last journey. Babes that came lifeless into the world were carried in the arms of grey-haired old men to the only cradle they ever slept in; and in the shroud of the dead mother were laid the little garments of the child that lived and died in her bosom. And over this scene the village pastor looks from his window in the stillness of midnight, and says in his heart, “ How quietly they rest, all the departed!
Near the churchyard gate stands a poor-box, fastened by a post to iron bands, and secured by a padlock with a sloping wooden roof to keep off the rain. If it be Sunday, the peasants sit on the church steps and con their psalm-books. Others are coming down the road with their beloved pastor, who talks to them of holy things from beneath his broad-brimmed hat. He speaks of fields and harvests, and of the parable of the sower, that went forth to sow. He leads them to the Good Shepherd, and to the pleasant pastures of the spirit-land. He is their patriarch, and, like Melchizedek, both priest and king, though he has no other throne than the church pulpit. The women carry psalm-books in their hands, wrapped in silk handkerchiefs, and listen devoutly to the good man's words; but the young men, like Gallio, care for none of these things. They are busy counting the plaits in the kirtles of the peasant girls, their number being an indication of the wearer's wealth. It may end in a wedding.
I will endeavour to describe a village wedding in Sweden. It shall be in summer time, that there may be flowers, and in a southern province, that the bride may be fair. The early song of the lark and of chanticleer are mingling in the clear morning air, and the sun, the heavenly bridegroom with golden locks, arises in the east, just as our earthly bridegroom, with yellow hair, arises in the south. In the yard there is a sound of voices and trampling of hoofs, and horses are led forth and saddled. The steed that is to bear the bridegroom has a bunch of flowers upon his forehead, and a garland of corn-flowers around his neck. Friends from the neighbouring farms come riding in, their blue cloaks streaming to the wind; and finally the happy bridegroom, with a whip in his hand, and a monstrous nosegay in the breast of his black jacket, comes forth from his chamber ; and then to horse and away towards the village where the bride already sits and waits.
Foremost rides the spokesman, followed by some half-dozen village musicians. Next comes the bridegroom between his two groomsmen, and then forty or fifty friends and wedding guests, half of them perhaps with pistols and guns in their hands. A kind of baggage-waggon brings up the rear, laden with food and drink for these merry pil. grims. At the entrance of every village stands a triumphal arch, adorned with flowers, and ribands, and evergreens; and, as they pass beneath it, the wedding guests fire a salute, and the whole procession stops. And straight from every pocket flies a black-jack, filled with punch or brandy. It is passed from hand to hand among the crowd ; provisions are brought from the waggon, and, after eating and drinking and hurrahing, the procession moves forward again, and at length draws near the house of the bride. Four heralds ride forward to announce that a knight and his attendants are in the neighbouring forest, and pray for hospitality, “How many are you ?” asks the bride's father. “ At least three hundred,” is the answer; and to this the last replies, Yes; were you seven times as many, you should all be wel.