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Full of grief, the low winds sweep
O’er the sorrow-haunted ground;
Dark the woods where night rains weep,
Dark the hills that watch around.
Tell me, can the joys of spring
Ever make this sadness flee,
Make the woods with music ring,
And the streamlet laugh for glee ?
When the summer moor is lit
With the pale fire of the broom,
And through green the shadows flit,
Still shall mirth give place to gloom ?
Sad shall it be, though sun be shed
Golden bright on field and flood;
E’en the heather’s crimson red
Holds the memory of blood.
Here that broken, weary band
Met the ruthless foe’s array,
Where those moss-grown boulders stand,
On that dark and fatal day.
Like a phantom hope had fled,
Love to death was all in vain,
Vain, though heroes’ blood was shed,
And though hearts were broke in twain.
Many a voice has cursed the name
Time has into darkness thrust,
Cruelty his only fame
In forgetfulness and dust.
Noble dead that sleep below,
We your valour né’er forget;
Soft the heroes’ rest who know
Hearts like theirs are beating yet.
Alice Macdonell of Keppoch : Culloden Moor ( Seen in Autumn Rain )
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, High Germany
, Manners not Morals
, Self Writ
, The Enemy
, The King of Terrors
The ongoing separate war the United States is waging to eradicate the Gaddafi clan by targeting it’s smallest members proceeds apace with the successful targeted killing of some more of his youngest descendants, “I Do it for the Gipper.” Wiggum murmured as he gave the order, continuing his sedulous quest to fulfil the mandates of his Republican mentors. Yet, equally impressive the Chicago Hit he ordered on the demonic bin Laden, another death foretold, actually as well as achieving the primary purpose — gaining votes from those screaming hordes who would publicly celebrate a death — was the final act in Interpol’s Warrant to capture the demonic bin Laden, which was first issued in ’98 at the request of… Libya.
One might think that however tragic the deaths on 9/11 — the destruction of the Towers sans deaths would merely be a blessing, as would be virtually every building since 1920 ( but including the deaths of all foul present modernist architects and scum bastard building workers everywhere who destroyed the old and erected the pointless vile concrete new ) — the swap of 30,000 Afghani civilians since would placate the manes of the 3000 murdered then
Anyway, for the demonic bin Laden, the present choices are: that he was either dead long ago in the Caves of Tora Bora; dead from his numerous ailments ( which included Marfan’s, kidney disease, liver disease etc. etc.); killed in Abottabad; or snatched for a life of imprisonment and torture under the auspices of the vengeful state — which has not treated those on Guantánamo, ever unclosed yet, whose guilt in much less culpable crimes than those of bin Laden was unproven, at all well. Or he may have escaped and a double killed, yet his charisma and mystique vanished.
The ‘DNA evidence’ is as valueless as anything else the propaganda machine issues, since we have to rely on, the retrieved bits actually coming from the corpse in Abottabad, the matching being done by the state who killed him, and the control sample actually having been taken from his sister’s corpse — bearing in mind that it was recently discovered that the piece of skull held by the Russians which they alleged was that of Hitler really belonged to some poor woman — and that in all reports the administration controls what information is released, and however generous they are in releasing in succession utterly different stories, this means believing in the good faith of Obama, a man rarely capable of understanding, let alone telling, truth; the Pentagon; and the various state security forces. One thing that is certain is that the corpse, real or not, was actually about his height: since the killers had omitted, understandably enough, to bring along a tape measure, one of them of a similar length lay down besides the body to provide a datum.
And even if the event is broadly true, whilst the raid was a credit to the hit squad, killing a bewildered old man was evidently preferred to capture, as execution of the unrighteous; especially since they said that anything less than utter submission — difficult to manage for the least alarmed when being shot at — didn’t qualify as surrender, and that attempting to retreat, as was the demonic bin Laden before he was rubbed out proved resistance. Since when they killed this sick old fellow crawling on the floor, in front of his 12 yr-old daughter, he seemed incapable of a fight to the death with tooth and nail, being unguarded and unarmed, which seems extraordinary carelessness on the part of a supervillain.
While this affair reminds one of the horrifying 2004 murder of Shiekh Yassin, which temporarily changed my internet signatures to:
‘If you could have heard the old man scream as he fell, and the noise of his bones upon the pavement !’
[ from The Story Of The Young Man With The Cream Tarts by RLS ]
I have to kill a 67-yr-old man
Considering he’s paraplegic, should I choose a knife fight ? Or as he’s blind, it might be pistols at dawn: in order to demonstrate my sheer fighting courage perhaps I should use a helicopter gunship when his wheelchair is exiting morning prayers.
the mention of dreary old Adolf may as well include here my very favourite joke, as told in Germany in late ’45, and perhaps almost relevant in this matter:
When they found the Führer’s body, there was a little note attached: ‘I was never a Nazi.’
Down in the Valley
And with all this cavilling, the fact remains the aging prisoner in Abottabad was wistfully planning yet more wacky mayhem: his computer files, as released by the administration showed his meticulous planning for a new atrocity. “…was looking into trying to tip a train by tampering with the rails so that the train would fall off the track at either a valley or a bridge.”; yet worse, this was to be specifically aimed at Amtrak’s 805 km per hour trains — which I’ll assume can cross the continent in three and a half hours — no doubt as the doleful plumes of smoke rose from the valley below the opera-glass gazing conspirators would toss their tophats into the air and fondle their waxed moustaches whilst cackling fiendishly.
For someone who hated America so, I’m guessing he had very little idea of daily life in America; let alone Amtrak.
And at the last the final question remains: What sort of person is terrified by a weird old loony such as bin Laden ?
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From St. Petersburg, the Scottish Tribute Ballad to Andrew Barton... SherWood --- Henry Martin
Gioacchino Pagliei ---The Naiads
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Seventeen years ago the federal government launched a siege and final assault against a group of private citizens who had not offended outside the beliefs they held or outside the group. To validate this process a propaganda campaign of falsehoods was instituted and was continued after.
This was not a punishment: it was a warning.
Punishments there were, in plenty, for the survivors.
Now, governments will do these things, whether in Indonesia, China or the USA --- and in the absence of government private parties will do such things, as in the Bastard Feudalistic phase of Late Mediaeval period during the Wars of the Roses or in the Gilded Age of America ( when Robber Barons like the unspeakable little republicans such as Carnegie or Frick randomly slaughtered their workers, Europeans were outraged not wholly at the murderous defence of Capital --- European polities were scarcely housing or in other ways treating their lower classes well, and were not averse though profoundly reluctant to sending the troops in if the police could not contain a strike --- but at the sheer insufferability of private citizens, including corporations as private citizens in the curious Anglo-American tradition, possessing and using armed private police forces to ensure their will ). This is not so much a question of the awfulness of government power, but the inane and disgusting purpose of an individual government.
The sect remembered was a breakaway group of a breakaway ad infinitum group in the true tradition of faiths. Seventh-Day Adventists are fearfully respectable and cook delicious food in their restaurants: those who seceded, as is the common way with splinter-groups, grew loopier the further they strayed. By the time David Koresh was through his sect was the Davidian Branch Davidian Seventh-Day Adventists, the apple having rolled fairly far from the tree. Which is not to say the tenets of the Adventists are sane compared to Catholic doctrine --- and for Royalists, the Roman Catholics have always been the weak sisters to Monarchy and Western Civilisation: petty, corrupt and wilfully treacherous. For those loyal to higher powers than despicably elected mere Popes, Canossa is the Great Unforgotten as much as Kronstadt is to any decent communist. However, although their theology may not be persuasive it is at least coherent --- From the Wiki entry, all the Adventist groups share such flawed beliefs such as:
# Jesus Christ is to soon personally return to earth to gather together his elect and take them to heaven for 1000 years, after which he will return with them to this earth to dwell with them for eternity in his kingdom.
# The non-immortality of the soul. That is, the dead have no consciousness, nor being.
# There shall be a resurrection of both the just and of the unjust. The resurrection of the just will take place at the second coming of Christ; the resurrection of the unjust will take place 1000 years later, at the close of the millennium.
# There is a sanctuary in heaven in which Christ is ministering on behalf of mankind.
# There is an investigative judgment going on in the heavenly sanctuary that began on October 22, 1844 to determine who will come forth in each of the resurrections, and who will be translated without seeing death at the second coming of Christ. That said judgment began with the records of those who had died, and would eventually pass to the living.
Etc., etc.. This stuff shares the usual delusion of religion that God is subject to human desires and whims. One may be sure that the number '1000' is relied upon as being a definite span, not too large as to be incomprehensible, not too small as to be verifiable: but to imagine God is subject to human time-tabling is not merely impious, but as vain as a mayfly suggesting the God envisaged by mayflies will judge the risen mayflies within a month.
And in the Wiki entry for the Siege itself there is piece we recognise as classic Curious Religious Americana --- we are often belaboured with the fact that America has a deeply religious base as compared with decadent Europe, just as has Dar al-Islam. And what use is that if the religion itself is utterly insane ? This has more to do with Spengler's forecast of the Second Religosity amongst the peasantry during the Imperialistic period than a deep love of the Almighty --- which involves exhumation and guns.
Following the failure of this prophecy, control of Mt. Carmel fell to Benjamin Roden, and on his death to his wife, Lois. Lois Roden considered their son, George, unfit to assume the position of prophet. Instead, she groomed Vernon Howell, later known as David Koresh, as her chosen successor. In 1984, a meeting led to a division of the group with Howell leading one faction, calling themselves the Davidian Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists, and George Roden leading the competing faction. After this split, George Roden ran Howell and his followers off Mt. Carmel. Howell and his group relocated to Palestine, Texas.
After the death of Lois and the probate case, Howell attempted to gain control of the Mt Carmel center by force. George Roden had dug up the casket of Anna Hughes from the Davidian cemetery and had challenged Howell to a resurrection contest to prove who was the rightful heir. Howell instead went to the police and claimed Roden was guilty of corpse abuse. By October 31, 1987 the county prosecutors had refused to file charges without proof and so on November 3, 1987 Howell and seven armed companions attempted to access the Mt. Carmel chapel with the goal of photographing the body in the casket. George Roden was advised of the interlopers and grabbed an Uzi in response. The sheriff's department responded about 20 minutes into the gunfight. Sheriff Harwell got Howell on the phone and told him to stop shooting and surrender. Howell and his companions, dubbed the "Rodenville Eight" by the media, were tried on April 12, 1988; seven were acquitted and the jury was hung on Howell's verdict. The county prosecutors did not press the case further.
While waiting for the trial, George Roden was put in jail under contempt of court charges on March 21, 1988 because of his use of foul language in some court pleadings threatening the Texas court with AIDS and herpes if it ruled in favor of Howell. The very next day, Perry Jones and a number of Howell's other followers moved from their headquarters in Palestine, Texas to Mt. Carmel Center.
The bellowed threats of God's biological warfare smiting the court seem counterproductive to getting that court to look favorably upon one's cause...
The Most Intelligent Way Possible
However the prior antics of squabbling religious fanatics was unassociated with the later event, which was orchestrated under the leadership of Miss Janet Reno. Here, I shall defer to a recent report [ Dec 2009 ] from IFS Writers: God Bless You Janet Reno --- Child Killer.
For 51 days, the ATF and the FBI held these people hostage, and then lied to Congress. I just want to let everyone know that I too, remember these Americans, these little children and old people that Janet Reno had gunned down, mutilated and burnt in the name of justice. I remember that one male report, who would come to the microphone and TV camera, and report that - there was no food for the children, or the next time, the kids were being molested, or the very next time, the kids were being held as hostages, etc. I wonder how his career is during these days. America will never forget Janet Reno and her friends that kill children, mothers and old people. I know she will live a long fruitful life. After all one day she will meet each and everyone of those victims again. And at that time, there are no laws, police and anything thing else that will save her from the raft of hell.
Janet Reno, the former attorney general in the Clinton administration, received a lifetime achievement award Friday, April 18, 2009, from the American Judicature Society, a non-partisan justice advocacy network.
Speaking slowly because of the effects of Parkinson Disease, Reno praised violence prevention programs and the current direction of the Justice Department. “Now I can look at America and think this is a nation that is responding in the most intelligent way possible to deal with violence, especially domestic violence,” Reno said.
Poor old incompetent fool, it might be more charitable to assume she, as we assume of Reagan during his presidency, so crippled pre factum that the mental damage was already there rather than it being a punishment..
Oh, Say, Can You See....
On February 28, 1993, the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) launched the largest assault in its history against a small religious community in America. Approximately eighty armed agents invaded the compound, purportedly to execute a single search and arrest warrant. The raid went badly; six Branch Davidians and four agents were killed.
Attorney General Janet Reno asked for and received military support. The U.S. Army showed up with tanks.
After a fifty-one-day standoff, the United States Justice Department approved Reno’s plan to use CS gas and break down the walls with tanks to “save the children” of those barricaded inside.
On the 51st day tanks carrying the CS gas broke through the concrete walls and entered the compound. A fire broke out, and all seventy-four men, women and children inside perished. One third of them from gunshot wounds, the rest crushed by debris or burned to death.
After the compound had burned down the ATF flag was hoisted aloft to signify ‘victory’. At Janet Reno’s award ceremony today it was only mentioned that 74 “cult members” were killed.
Still Meant Over 10 Years In Quod For Resisting Arrest
In The Davidian trial judge sentenced five Davidians to the maximum sentence of 30 years each; one to 20 years; one to 15; one to 5 years and one to 3 years. On June 4, 2000 the Supreme Court cut 25 years from 4 Davidians' sentences and 5 years from one. On September 9, 2000 Judge Walter Smith followed the Court's instructions and cut those sentences, as well as the 25 year sentence of Livingstone Fagan who had not appealed.
All were released as of July 2007.
However... Quite ordinary American prisons appear training grounds for Guantánamo: from the Wiki article...
One, Derek Lovelock, was held in McLennan County Jail for seven months, often in solitary confinement. Livingston Fagan, another British citizen, who was among those convicted and imprisoned, recounts multiple beatings at the hands of prison guards, particularly at Leavenworth. He claims to have been doused with cold water from a high-pressure hose, which soaked both him and the contents and bedding of his cell, after which an industrial fan was placed outside the cell, blasting him with cold air. He was repeatedly moved between at least nine different facilities. He was strip-searched every time he took exercise, so refused exercise.
It's very difficult to imagine what pleasure a prison guard gets from beating up inmates...
And with all sieges where the external forces have world enough and time, All You Ever Have To Do Is Wait.
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, Other Writ
, The King of Terrors
THY rest was deep at the slumberer's hour
If thou didst not hear the blast
Of the savage horn, from the mountain-tower,
As the Wild Night-Huntsman pass'd,
And the roar of the stormy chase went by,
Through the dark unquiet sky !
The stag sprung up from his mossy bed
When he caught the piercing sounds,
And the oak-boughs crash'd to his antler'd head
As he flew from the viewless hounds;
And the falcon soar'd from her craggy height,
Away through the rushing night !
The banner shook on its ancient hold,
And the pine in its desert-place,
As the cloud and tempest onward roll'd
With the din of the trampling race;
And the glens were fill'd with the laugh and shout,
And the bugle, ringing out !
From the chieftain's hand the wine-cup fell,
At the castle's festive board,
And a sudden pause came o'er the swell
Of the harp's triumphal chord;
And the Minnesinger's thrilling lay
In the hall died fast away.
The convent's chanted rite was stay'd,
And the hermit dropp'd his beads,
And a trembling ran through the forest-shade,
At the neigh of the phantom steeds,
And the church-bells peal'd to the rocking blast
As the Wild Night-Huntsman pass'd.
The storm hath swept with the chase away,
There is stillness in the sky,
But the mother looks on her son to-day,
With a troubled heart and eye,
And the maiden's brow hath a shade of care
Midst the gleam of her golden hair !
The Rhine flows bright, but its waves ere long
Must hear a voice of war,
And a clash of spears our hills among,
And a trumpet from afar;
And the brave on a bloody turf must lie,
For the Huntsman hath gone by !
Felicia Hemans : The Wild Huntsman
It is a popular belief in the Odenwald, that the passing of the Wild Huntsman announces the approach of war. He is supposed to issue with his train from the ruined castle of Rodenstein, and traverse the air to the opposite castle of Schnellerts. It is confidently asserted that the sound of his phantom horses and hounds was heard by the Duke of Baden before the commencement of the last war in Germany.
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Her father swallowed something.
"You shock me sometimes, Jean," he said, a statement which amused her.
"You're such a half‑and half man," she said with a note of contempt in her voice. "You were quite willing to benefit by Jim Meredith's death; you killed him as cold‑bloodedly as you killed poor little Bulford, and yet you must whine and snivel whenever your deeds are put into plain language. What does it matter if Lydia dies now or in fifty years, time ?" she asked. "It would be different if she were immortal. You people attach so much importance to human life --- the ancients, and the Japanese amongst the modern, are the only people who have the matter in true perspective. It is no more cruel to kill a human being than it is to cut the throat of a pig to provide you with bacon. There's hardly a dish at your table which doesn't represent wilful murder, and yet you never think of it, but because the man animal can talk and dresses himself or herself in queer animal and vegetable fabrics, and decorates the body with bits of metal and pieces of glittering quartz, you give its life a value which you deny to the cattle within your gates ! Killing is a matter of expediency. Permissable if you call it war, terrible if you call it murder. To me it is just killing. If you are caught in the act of killing they kill you, and people say it is right to do so. The sacredness of human life is a slogan invented by cowards who fear death --- as you do."
Edgar Wallace : The Angel of Terror 
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Here by the moorway you returned,
And saw the borough lights ahead
That lit your face — all undiscerned
To be in a week the face of the dead,
And you told of the charm of that haloed view
That never again would beam on you.
And on your left you passed the spot
Where eight days later you were to lie,
And be spoken of as one who was not;
Beholding it with a heedless eye
As alien from you, though under its tree
You soon would halt everlastingly.
I drove not with you.… Yet had I sat
At your side that eve I should not have seen
That the countenance I was glancing at
Had a last-time look in the flickering sheen,
Nor have read the writing upon your face,
“I go hence soon to my resting-place;
“You may miss me then. But I shall not know
How many times you visit me there,
Or what your thoughts are, or if you go
There never at all. And I shall not care.
Should you censure me I shall take no heed
And even your praises no more shall need.”
True: never you’ll know. And you will not mind.
But shall I then slight you because of such ?
Dear ghost, in the past did you ever find
The thought “What profit”, move me much ?
Yet abides the fact, indeed, the same, —
You are past love, praise, indifference, blame.
Thomas Hardy : Your Last Drive
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, Self Writ
, The King of Terrors
"I Conjure and Call upon you ye Strong and Holy Angels Good and Powerfull in a Strong Name of Fear and Praise, Ja, Adonay, Elohim, Saday, Saday, Saday;
Eie, Eie, Eie;
and in the Name of Adonay the God of Israel who hath made the Two Great Lights and Distinguished Day from Night for the benefit of his creatures and by the names of all the Discerning Angels Governing Openly in the Second House, before the great angel Tetra, Strong and Powerfull, and by the name of his star which is called Mercury and by the name of his Seal which is that of a Powerfull and Honoured God;
and I call upon thee Raphael and by the names ( abovementioned ) thou Great Angel who presidest over the Fourth Day and by the Holy Name which is written in the front of Aaron created the Most High Priest and by the names of all the Angels who are constant in the Grace of Christ and by the name of Ammalium that you assist me in my labours.
The General Conjuration of Wednesday
From Cunning Murrell's "The Book of Magic and Conjurations." ---unpublished.
Cunning Murrell was perhaps the greatest local conjurer or wiseman of the 19th century. Born in Rochford, Essex in 1780, James Murrell, the seventh son of a seventh son, he died --- having predicted the moment of passing --- in 1860, having passed most of his life in Hadleigh, Essex. Consulted by thousands, some from as far as London, which was further afield than now to our ancestors, he was memorialised by Arthur Morrison, the once famous writer of short stories around the '90s, and could counter baneful witchcraft in many of it's attacks, including in the case of Sarah Mott one so afflicted that she ran upsidedown upon ceilings 'like a bluebottle'.
Apart from his astronomical learning --- he could point to a star and name her --- and rough medical practise with both humans and other animals, he had a meagre education and lived in a tiny cottage, and his success was obviously more due, after his fairly unique psychic gifts, to force of will.
A cunningman has no connection with witchcraft in it's myriad forms; some witchcraft can be good and much of it is bad and barren, but wisemen and wisewomen utilized their powers to shield the unwary from the terrors it inflicted upon the minds of the guileless.
A Good Witch
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A mermaid found a swimming lad,
Picked him for her own,
Pressed her body to his body,
Laughed; and plunging down
Forgot in cruel happiness
That even lovers drown.
William Butler Yeats : A Man Young And Old: III. The Mermaid
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In the daies of Tiberius the Emperor, there was a yong Raven hatched in a neast upon the church of Castor and Pollux, which, to make a triall how he could flie, took his first flight into a shoomakers shop just overagainst the said church. The maister of the shop was well ynough content to receive this bird, as commended to him from so sacred a place, and in that regard set great store by it. This Raven in short time being acquainted to mans speech, began to speak, & every morning would fly up to the top of the Rostra or publicke pulpit for Orations, where, turning to the open Forum and market place, he would salute and bid Good morrow to Tiberius Cæsar, and after him, to Germanicus and Drusus the yong princes, both Cæsars, every one by their names: and anon the people of Rome also that passed by. And when hee had so done, afterwards would flie againe to the shoomakers shop aforesaid. This duty practised he and continued for many years together, to the great wonder and admiration of all men. Now it fell out so, that another shoomaker, who had taken the next corviners shop unto him, either upon a malicious envie that hee occupied so neere him, or some suddaine splene and passion of choller (as he would seeme to plead for his excuse) for that the Raven chaunced to meute a little, and set some spot upon a paire of his shoes, killed the said Raven. Whereat the people tooke such indignation, that they rising in an uprore, first drove him out of that street, and made that quarter of the city too hote for him: and not long after murdered him for it. But contrariwise, the carkasse of the dead Raven was solemnely enterred, and the funerals performed with all ceremoniall obsequies that could bee devised. For the corps of this bird was bestowed in a coffin, couch, or bed, and the same bedecked with chaplets and guirlands of fresh floures of all sorts, carried upon the shoulders of two blacke Mores, with minstrels before, sounding the haut-boies, and playing on the fife, as farre as to the funerall fire; which was piled and made in the right hand of the causey Appia, two miles without the cittie, in a certain plaine or open field called Rediculi. So highly reputed the people of Rome that readie wit and apt disposition in a bird, as they thought it a sufficient cause to ordaine a sumptuous buriall therefore: yea, and to revenge the death thereof, by murdering a cittizen of Rome in that citie, wherein many a brave man and noble person died, and no man ever solemnized their funerals: in that citie I say which affoorded not one man to revenge the unworthie death of that renowned Scipio Æmylianus, after he had woon both Carthage and Numantia. This happened the fifth day before the Calends of Aprill, in the yeare when M. Servilius and C. Cestius were Consuls of Rome.
C. Plinius Secundus --- The Historie of the World trans: Philemon Holland
[ Scipio Aemilianus being the despicable liberal Optimate, of course, and not the brilliant Africanus: so why should any honest man care about the death of the enemy of Africanus's grandsons, the admirable Gracchi ? ]
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, Self Writ
, The King of Terrors
) 'Like angels appearing in the sky, whales are proof of God.'The Whales by Cynthia Rylant
Whales are supposed to live from 50 to 90 odd years, bearing in mind that they have no other predators than man --- and since that is a recent phenomenon, it rather proves that for millions of years being at the top of the feeding chain with no enemies doesn't necessitate population over-explosion as with humans --- although men's methods of slaughter cause so unbelievably violent a death it's difficult to imagine a worse predator even in nature [ "If we can imagine a horse having two or three explosive spears stuck in its stomach and being made to pull a butcher's truck through the streets of London while it pours blood into the gutter, we shall have an idea of the method of killing." Dr. Harry Lillie ]; however, the discovery of a time-delay bomb last utilised in the 1880s in a whale murdered last year has led to suggestion that these profound creatures may live up to two centuries.
There's nothing much that can be done to ensure whales survive --- barring ceasing virtually all forms of human interaction, not limited to hunting, which could, after all, be said of most species. Up in the sky however, the silvern whales created by Graf v. Zeppelin are due a comeback. Safer than one can imagine --- until the Hindenburg affair ( which might have been sabotage ), up to half a million passenger flights passed without incident with no commercial airship ever lost; something scarcely said of planes, trains and automobiles: and even of the 104 German war-ships, despite being, uh, rather unmissable targets, only four were shot down ( 12 others were lost/damaged, mostly on the ground ) --- there was last year plans to invade the North Pole on behalf of the current International Polar Year, which comes around once every 50 years much like a Papal Jubilee Year, but googling doesn't determine whether it's actually taking place right now; whilst the New York Times details the airy conceits of M. Jean-Marie Massaud to create a 690 ft hotel in the sky. The Germans, naturally, have been quietly continuing with sight-seeing Zeppelin rides for years. They started before WWI, and after the interlude of WWII hindered such adventurism, picked it up again a decade back.
There's a Zeppelin Museum in Zeppelinheim; yet for more immediate, if trifling, experience, I was drawn to this pretty little indoor balloon:
And more rigorously to the delightful firm of Minizepp
, which will do one a much more robust affair up to 43 ft. Quite apart from the fact that this type of thing is what makes life more interesting, I can't help germanically immediately considering a martial use. Should say, a medium-sized mini-ship, be painted dark grey and flown on a still night packed with explosive, controlled to drop and sacrifice it's mechanical self when above the headquarters of the more despicable people; possibly terrorist thugs; or gangland thieves; or vivisectionists; or... Whaling Groups even. Expensive; cheaper than a jet-liner though.
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Where, where will be the birds that sing
A hundred years to come ?
The flowers that now in beauty spring,
A hundred years to come ?
The rosy lips, the lofty brow,
The heart that beats so gayly now.
Oh, where will be love's beaming eye,
Joy's pleasant smile, and sorrow's sigh,
A hundred years to come ?
Who'll press for gold this crowded street,
A hundred years to come ?
Who'll tread yon church with willing feet
A hundred years to come ?
Pale, trembling age. and fiery youth,
And childhood with its brow of truth;
The rich and poor, on land and sea.
Where will the mighty millions be
A hundred years to come ?
We all within our graves shall sleep
A hundred years to come;
No living soul for us will weep,
A hundred years to come,
But other men our lands shall till,
And others then these streets will fill,
And other birds will sing as gay,
And bright the sun shine as to-day,
A hundred years to come.
William Goldsmith Brown : A Hundred Years To Come
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In the year 1598 AD, Portuguese sailors landing on the shores of the island of Mauritius discovered a previously unknown species of bird, the Dodo. Having been isolated by its island location from contact with humanity, the dodo greeted the new visitors with a child-like innocence. The sailors mistook the gentle spirit of the dodo, and its lack of fear of the new predators, as stupidity.
Sculpture by Gustav Gonne
About 1638, as I walked London streets, I saw the picture of a strange fowle hung out upon a clothe and myselfe with one or two more then in company went in to see it. It was kept in a chamber, and was a great fowle somewhat bigger than the largest Turky Cock, and so legged and footed, but stouter and thicker and of a more erect shape, coloured before like the breast of a young cock fesan, and on the back of dunn or dearc colour. The keeper called it a Dodo, and in the ende of a chymney in the chamber there lay a heape of large pebble stones, whereof hee gave it many in our sight, some as big as nutmegs and the keeper told us that she eats them ( conducing to digestion ), and though I remember not how far the keeper was questioned therein, yet I am confident that afterwards shee cast them all again.
Sir Hamon L'Estrange
[ A normal royalist who wrote a life of the Great King, and father of Roger, an extreme royalist journalist who battled against usurping filth in youth and age; and even gave the Dr. Goebbels of the Commonwealth, the depraved Johnny Milton a metaphorical drubbing. Goebbels without the charm, of course; for he was as inferior to the good doctor as his unspeakable master was to his tedious disciple Adolf. ]
It is near dusk in The Hague and the light is that of Frans Hals, of Rembrandt. The Dutch royal family and their guests eat and talk quietly in the great dining hall. Guards with halberds and pikes stand in the corners of the room. The family is arranged around the table; the King, Queen, some princesses, a prince, a couple of other children, and invited noble or two. Servants come out with plates and cups but they do not intrude.
On a raised platform at one end of the room an orchestra plays dinner music—a harpsichord, viola, cello, three violins, and woodwinds. One of the royal dwarfs sits on the edge of the platform, his foot slowly rubbing the back of one of the dogs sleeping near him.
As the music of Pachelbel's Canon in D swells and rolls through the hall, one of the dodos walks in clumsily, stops, tilts its head, its eyes bright as a pool of tar. It sways a little, lifts its foot tentatively, one then another, rocks back and forth in time to the cello.
The violins swirl. The dodo begins to dance, its great ungainly body now graceful. It is joined by the other two dodos who come into the hall, all three in sort of a circle.
The harpsichord begins its counterpoint. The fourth dodo, the white one from Réunion, comes from its place under the table and joins the circle with the others.
It is most graceful of all, making complete turns where the others only sway and dip on the edge of the circle they have formed.
The music rises in volume; the first violinist sees the dodos and nods to the King. But he and the others at the table have already seen. They are silent, transfixed—even the servants stand still, bowls, pots and, kettles in their hands forgotten.
Around the dodos dance with bobs and weaves of their ugly heads. The white dodo dips, takes half a step, pirouettes on one foot, circles again.
Without a word the King of Holland takes the hand of the Queen, and they come around the table, children before the spectacle. They join in the dance, waltzing ( anachronism ) among the dodos while the family, the guests, the soldiers watch and nod in time with the music.
Howard Waldrop's most famous story: The Ugly Chickens; which can be found here. In a most irritating layout.
"Let us mention the Dodo whose body is big and round. His corpulence gives it a slow and lazy walk. There are some nearing 50 pounds in weight. Its sight is of more interest than its taste and he looks melancholic as if he was sorry that Nature had given him such small wings for so big a body. Some have their head capped with a dark down, some had the top of their head bald and whitish as if it had been washed.They have a long and curved bill with the nostrils openings half way to the tip. It is greenish yellow. Their eyes are round and shiny and they have a fluffy plumage. Their tail looks like the sparsely beard of a Chinese made up of three or four short feathers. Their feet are thick and black and their toes powerful. They have a fiery stomach allowing them to digest stones like ostriches do"
Teylandt's Mauritius --- mentioned on a page: Le musée du Dodo
Pieter Withoos -- Reunion Dodo with friends
A Dodo Blog; the Dodohaus; some 1850 notes here; a newspaper article here, and a creationist view there. Which last ends rather correctly:
Now that the bird has been extensively studied, we realize that the facts do not support the evolutionary myth, but do support the moral bankruptcy of humankind.
Roelandt Savery - Dodo
The sentimental view of animals, that they are created for our purpose, and the mechanistic view that we are all animals and thus anything we do to them is merely one species outsmarting another come together in self-loving smug congratulation to justify any atrocity. As is only commonplace. It's fairly difficult for most people to realise that, as with humans, animals are by no means equal, yet are each an individual: and as individual souls they get from God an individual respect which we need to emulate to act correctly. As difficult as it is for the birds of the air and beasts of the land to remember the most important thing when they see a human: Run like Hell.
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, The King of Terrors
) Charles Gounod -- Judex
“UNDER the roots of the roses,
Down in the dark, rich mould,
The dust of my dear one reposes
Like a spark which night incloses
When the ashes of day are cold.”
“Under the awful wings
Which brood over land and sea,
And whose shadows nor lift nor flee, ---
This is the order of things,
And hath been from of old:
And last destruction;
So the pendulum swings,
While cradles are rocked and bells are tolled.”
“Not under the roots of the roses,
But under the luminous wings
Of the King of kings
The soul of my love reposes,
With the light of morn in her eyes,
Where the Vision of Life discloses
Life that sleeps not nor dies.”
“Under or over the skies
What is it that never dies ?
Spirit --- if such there be ---
Whom no one hath seen nor heard,
We do not acknowledge thee;
For, spoken or written word,
Thou art but a dream, a breath;
Certain is nothing but Death !”
Richard Henry Stoddard : Mors et Vita
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"What is life ? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset."Crowfoot
By now Americans via Roosevelt II are blamed for both Pearl Habor and Jap internment camps as if horrors right up at the top of the genocide contest; Pilgrim Fathers and white invaders of America are blamed for being immigrants [ in order to defend further unfettered life-changing immigration into the USA now, in a retarded mislogic ] and their successors blamed for having an empire now --- economic and military ruling through satrapies rather than direct rule.
Now, these are some people I severely despise: liberal, and puritan, and homo americanus alike, but... they were doing what they would do; they were acting fairly correctly: you have to do various unpleasant things in war; all land grabbing is founded on Wordsworth's Good Old Rule * -- we are all the sons of slaughter --- and at certain stages in a country's life it will become an empire --- if it is lucky...
FDR's possible sin over allegedly permitting Pearl Harbor was venial compared to the Japanese assaults on humanity during WWII ( I am not blaming the Japanese for making war here ), although incorrect as regards care for his own people: yet even there, after all, a president does not have the mutual obligation of a King to his subjects and should not be held to any high account; as for the nisei camps, they were paralleled by the nazi internment of jewish people as potential traitors ( and in that case worse as an economic slave-force ), but not comparable, although again the same republican defence can be made of the fuhrer: basically, there is no way Americans then could have been expected not to consider that Japanese-Americans would not all automatically refrain from acts meant to aid Japan; if the Americans committed their fair share of war-crimes as usual, they weren't as unpleasant occupiers as were the Japanese Imperial Army, and an easily panicked populace naturally did not want to experience the latter --- a repeat of Nanking in San Francisco or Los Angeles seemed a possibility at the time. Maybe the taking of the continent, and relentless expansion of population by the invaders, was rough on American Indians, but face it: they would not be any better off if the Japanese had invaded in the 16th century instead. And had during the first two centuries of post-columbian America the natives driven the invaders back into the sea they certainly would not be now bemoaning their ancestors' past brutalities and indulging in despicable self-guilt.
One of the troubles with the previous native occupation of the land is that the Native American Indian was an appallingly bad custodian of Mother Earth and had no respect for Nature. He destroyed animal life wantonly and without care for any future: wiping out entire species as efficiently as modern man manages with the far superior tools we have presently **, and set forests ablaze, incinerating the inhabitants, merely to attract meat-bearing animals to the ashy remainder. From the destruction of birds and animals in pre-California researched by Jack M. Broughton, "Depending on when and where you look back in time, native peoples were either living in harmony with nature or eating their way through a vast array of large-sized, attractive prey species." Early California: A Killing Field, to modern-day reservations with uncontrolled hunting rights, "Over the past 25 years Shoshones and Arapahoes, equipped with snowmobiles, ATV's and high-powered rifles, have virtually wiped out elk, deer, moose and bighorns on the 2.2 million-acre Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. Repeated motions for modest self-regulation emanating from within the reservation have been defeated by vote of the tribal leaders.... [I]n one confined area 31 dead elk were found. In another, a retired Indian game warden mowed down an entire herd of 14. Meat piled up at local dumps. Antlers were exported to the Orient where antlers and horns are ground to a power and hawked as an aphrodisiac." Dances with Myths, the record of wasteful slaughter is as grim as Chinese bodycounts.
The whites finished the job of destroying the buffalo of course --- ironically in order as primary purpose to destroy the life and freedoms of the Indians who had massacred the buffalo so much --- yet if the mass executions by rifle were hideous, the previous methods were still more vile; particularly the Bison Jumps scattered throughout the continent. A favorite buffalo hunting technique was to stampede huge herds of them over cliffs. Many such Buffalo jump sites have been found in the West, some with remains of as many as 300,000 buffalo. The technique is detailed here.
From wiki, here is one little fellow galloping through the rare art of Eadweard Muybridge: watch him go !
Hungarian Bison mixing it [ or perhaps Aurochs ? ]
* "The creatures see of flood and field,
And those that travel on the wind !
With them no strife can last; they live
In peace, and peace of mind."
"For why ? --- because the good old rule
Sufficeth them, the simple plan,
That they should take, who have the power,
And they should keep who can."
William Wordsworth : Rob Roy's Grave
** Investigations into the fossil record and carbon dating techniques have shown that 80% of the North American animal population disappeared within 1000 years of the arrival of man.
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One thing the world admires in Americans is that, despite the mistrust and fearfulness innate on a personal level, they retain a basic confidence in the group and retain an idealism in all matters of faith. As a realist I could scarcely maintain that most ideals are barely removed from derangement, but they make people happy --- and it is definitely preferable to be surrounded by optimists rather than equally delusional pessimists.
One aspect, faith in science and faith in government --- during the twentieth century these were so interwined as to become indistinguishable --- was exemplified by those so avid for entertainment and [ very ] momentary pleasure that they flocked from around the continent to ever-welcoming Las Vegas to stare at the mushroom clouds that blossomed in the 1950s. While this might seem to more critical minds the nadir of stupidity, I honestly have to confess that considering the loathliness of most activities that the city so famously offers it does seem an alternative --- if only for a blink of an eye.
The late Mr. Carlin, who performed last there just 12 days back, happened to describe it as "... the most dispiriting, soul-deadening city on earth." and a few years back expounded to the patrons watching his act there, "People who go to Las Vegas, you've got to question their fucking intellect to start with. Traveling hundreds and thousands of miles to essentially give your money to a large corporation is kind of fucking moronic. That's what I'm always getting here is these kind of fucking people with very limited intellects." which seems fair enough --- and almost sedulous in avoiding empty flattery. Yet, although personally oblivious to the pleasure of gambling for money, the faded rat-pack type entertainment seems yet more repellent. Essentially this demonstrates one problem with absolute freedom and happiness: with all you will ever need, how does one use that freedom to maintain happiness ? We may futurely discover that in any of the heavens promised by various faith: on earth it appears to involve sitting in exquisitely awful hotels, listening to Cool singers, and regularly giving even larger sums than most religions demand in blind faith that it will be returned a thousandfold.
This is quite an interesting site, Essays On Deep Las Vegas Culture; and although my liking for Elvis is nearly as tepid as my liking for the city, I find the song ok for it's remarkable vigour and structure --- written naturally by someone who had not been there, and lived in poverty; unlike the criminals who built the place --- and the fountain is tremendously pretty.
Elvis Presley -- Viva Las Vegas -- Bellagio Water Show home
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, Self Writ
, The King of Terrors
A month ago one of my three cats, Shelly, aged around six, was poisoned either purposefully --- although that is dubious --- or accidentally. After a stay at the vets she recovered; then went out on a spree and I saw her only at odd meals. Last week she came in limping and this developed into a full neurological disorder: perhaps a virus released by the earlier sickness, or toxoplasmosis --- it remains unresolved; but the vets felt she could be released home on Monday. By then, though, she was immobile on a glucose drip and unable to eat, despite having lost weight. The next morning she had a seizure and, despite the light in her eyes, there was no prospect of recovery. I held her paw as the vet released an overdose that ceased her heart. Fortunately this lasted only a minute or so without distress: and... hopefully without foreknowledge of this betrayal.
The one in Japanese clothing...
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"There followed a series of uncovered plots, some true, others fantastic, some Cheka provocations. Dzerzhinsky was constantly sharpening the weapon of Soviet dictatorship. To Dzerzhinsky was brought the mass of undigested rumours from all parts of Petrograd. With the aid of picked squads of Chekists, Dzerzhinsky undertook to purge the city. Little time was wasted sifting evidence and classifying people rounded up in these night raids. Woe to him who did not disarm all suspicion at once. The prisoners were generally hustled to the old police station not far from the Winter Palace. Here, with or without perfunctory interrogation, they were stood up against the courtyard wall and shot. The staccato sounds of death were muffled by the roar of truck motors kept going for the purpose."
"Dzerzhinsky furnished the instrument for tearing a new society out of the womb of the old -- the instrument of organised, systematic, mass terror. For Dzerzhinsky the class struggle meant exterminating 'the enemies of the working class.' The 'enemies of the working class' were all who opposed the Bolshevik dictatorship."
"At meetings of the Sovnarcom, Lenin often exchanged notes with his colleagues. On one occasion, he sent a note to Dzerzhinsky. 'How many vicious counter-revolutionaries are there in our prisons ?' Dzerzhinsky's reply was: 'About fifteen hundred.' Lenin read it, snorted something to himself, made a cross beside the figure, and returned the note to Dzerzhinsky."
"Dzerzhinsky rose and left the room without a word. No-one paid any attention either to Lenin's note or to Dzerzhinsky's departure. The meeting continued. But the next day there was excited whispering. Dzerzhinsky had ordered the execution of all the fifteen hundred 'vicious counter-revolutionaries' the previous night. He had taken Lenin's cross as a collective death sentence."
"There would have been little comment had Lenin's gesture been meant as an order for wholesale liquidation. But, as Fotieva, Lenin's secretary, explained: 'There was a misunderstanding. Vladimir Ilyich never wanted the executions. Dzerzhinsky did not understand him. Vladimir Ilyich usually puts a cross on memoranda to indicate that he has read them and noted their contents.'"
From computer jottings. Original link 404ed.
Charles William Mitchell -- Hypatia
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The doom of our culture was already well upon it's way by the time of the Second World War --- or War of the Republics as I would prefer it to be known, since this was conducted entirely betwixt differing republican systems, all equally loathsome. Possibly not Japan, I guess, since it was at least nominally a monarchy, although cursory search indicates it was more of a constitutional monarchy. WWII may be summarized as that the nazis were detestable; the western allies despicable; and the communists disgusting.
The Russians had reverted to becoming savages by 1945: the Americans maintained their customary anthropological status as barbarians. Their especially barbaric political system of representative democracy had grave consequence as victors... The very first moralistic theatre was the judicial murder of General Anton Dostler, of which may be read here, written by the son of his American defense counsel. Essentially, 15 American soldiers were captured disguised as Italian civilians, and the --- non-nazi --- General referred the case to Kesselring, who ordered them to be executed. Admittedly Smiling Albert had enough to occupy his mind right then without giving this a great deal of thought, but under the laws of war this was a done deal anyway. It is pointless to object or blame soldiers for disguising; it is equally pointless to object to the consequence --- which procedure is actually there to protect civilians. Thus although guiltless --- neither prosecutor nor defence expected anything except acquittal --- General Dostler was then sentenced to death after new instructions were handed down from Washington in response to the revelation that the prosecution would fail, that is that henceforth in these trials hearsay evidence would be admissible. This was to satisfy the voting constituents. Democracy is awesomely repellent not merely in practice, but still more so in idealist theory...
'Hope to God we never lose a war.' said the prosecutor.
Execution of German General Anton Dostler
Another version, shorter, but with a few more frames
Incidentally, this trial caused the innocent prosecutor to lose his faith in the Rule of Law forever...
Charles Gounod -- Finale of Faust
Unknown -- Constantinos Paleologos at the battlements, Dawn of the 29th May of 1453 home
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, Other Writ
, Self Writ
, The King of Terrors
Some serious illness, which alternated between lung cancer, cardiovascular disease and sudden death, but which resolved itself into influenza was followed by a customary melancholy which both intensified the taedium vitae of a depressive and left neither time nor interest in this blog. Possibly things may improve slightly ( although normal pessimism urges caution... ). In the meantime:
Monarchy is first proved to be the true and rightful form of government. Men’s objects are best attained during universal peace: this is possible only under a monarch. And as he is the image of the divine unity, so man is through him made one, and brought most near to God. There must, in every system of forces, be a ‘primum mobile’; to be perfect, every organisation must have a centre, into which all is gathered, by which all is controlled. Justice is best secured by a supreme arbiter of disputes, himself untempted by ambition, since his dominion is already bounded only by ocean. Man is best and happiest when he is most free; to be free is to exist for one’s own sake. To this noblest end does the monarch and he alone guide us; other forms of government are perverted, and exist for the benefit of some class; he seeks the good of all alike, being to that very end appointed.
James Bryce’s summary of Dante’s De Monarchia
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For those of us without any massive sense of humour the German variety does just fine. One would have idly considered that Charles V HRR could only appear capable of pure fun if compared with his son Philip, but appearances are usually deceptive.
In the heat of the chase Charles V once found himself separated from his suite. He rode through the forest till he saw a wood-cutter who showed him the way to a lonely inn. Hungry and tired he dismounted, tied his horse to a tree, and entered. Inside he found four men who seemed to be asleep. Their appearance was not prepossessing, but he sat down and bade the landlord bring him something to eat and drink. Suddenly one of the men stood up and rubbed his eyes. He strode up to the emperor, snatched away from him his sword, and then said with exaggerated politeness: "Pardon me ! but I have just dreamed that I was to take your sword." The others seized his hat and cloak and had just begun to search his pockets, when some of the emperor's servants appeared. They soon succeeded in overcoming the robbers. When Charles had described his adventure in a few words, he shut his eyes and was silent for a few moments. Then he opened them again and said: "I have just dreamed that I saw four thieves hanged." The villains screamed for mercy, but the emperor remained firm. Four ropes were lent by the landlord, and the emperor's dream was fulfilled.
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Ivanov Seven is an excellent boys' book by Elizabeth Janeway, and regards a mid-19th century recruit into the Russian army who is fortunate enough to return home to the hills with a charming little howitzer named Katya for his very own > which is the sort of souvenir no-one could resist; particularly a Prussian ornate cannon that is antique bronze inscribed:
Anyway, during the royalist war in the Vendée against the brutish scum of the French Republic, there was another notable piece with a sweet name. She was a bit bigger, but just as lovable.
Really, the only engaging with life which makes the curious matter of existence endurable is to destroy republicans... And maybe, to collect cannon. Not only for that good purpose, but just because... I find myself unable to believe God created us in order that we might worship Him --- although He would have every right so to do if He so Chose ( that's the arbitrary and unfettered bit that is the essence of power; which we must try to mirror, howsoever unsuccessfully here on earth, at least for His equally arbitrarily Chosen lieutenants... ) --- and His reasons for creation must remain a mystery, but fighting on the right side each time consoles us at least during each such struggle.
The soldiers reassembled in large numbers, till, with Bonchamps' division, there were close on forty thousand, but destitute of powder; the army spent the night before La Châtaigneraie, which had been re-occupied by the Republicans. At daybreak the town was found to have been evacuated, all the Blues having fallen back on Fontenay. The Catholic Army marched forward without delay and towards noon reached Pissotte, three-quarters of a league from Fontenay; the Blues, to the number of ten thousand, with upwards of forty pieces of cannon, were drawn up in battle array before the town. The priests were asked to give the men absolution before the battle. "We have no powder, boys", the generals said to them; "Come on and recapture Marie-Jeanne with your cudgels, as you did at first. See who can run fastest, for we cannot stop to fire this time." M. de Lescure was in command of the left wing; his men showing a disposition to hang back, he was obliged to ride on alone forty paces ahead of them; then, pulling up, he called out "Vive le Roi !" He was instantly greeted with six rounds of grapeshot, for the enemy had aimed at him as though he was the bullseye on a target; by a veritable miracle he was not wounded, though his clothes were riddled, his left spur shot away, and also a large piece of his boot from the right calf. Turning round he called out to the men, "You see, boys, the Blues cannot shoot. On with you ! Forward !" The men, carried away with enthusiasm, rushed forward at such a pace that my husband had to break into a quick trot in order to keep at their head. Just then the peasants, catching sight of a mission cross, fell on their knees around it, though within range of the cannon. More than thirty balls passed over their heads. At that point there were only MM. de Lescure and de Baugé on horseback. The latter would have had my husband bid them go on. "No, let them finish their prayers first", he answered quietly. At length they sprang up and rushed upon the enemy. Meanwhile M. de Marigny fired off the few charges we had with good effect. M. de la Rochejaquelein had put himself at the head of the cavalry with MM. de Dommaigné and de Beaurepaire; they all displayed the utmost gallantry, while Henri distinguished himself by a judgment beyond his years. After repulsing the Republican cavalry, instead of pursuing it, he fell upon the flank of the enemy's left wing, which till then had been maintaining the fight with some success, and by so doing placed the victory beyond a doubt. I wish I could give further details with regard to the circumstances of this battle, but I can only say what I know for certain.
The Blues, appalled by the desperate onslaught of the Vendeans, were completely routed in three quarters of an hour. The left wing, under the command of M. de Lescure, reached the gate of the town, and he himself was the first to enter, but his men, to begin with, had not the courage to follow him. MM. de Bonchamps and Forest, spying him from a distance, dashed forward to join him ; it was high time, for he was alone and in a very perilous situation. The three officers together were rash enough to penetrate into the town, though the streets were still crowded with over four thousand Blues, who, paralysed with terror, fell on their knees and began begging for quarter. When they had reached the square they separated and took three different streets, likewise thronged with armed volunteers, to whom they cried, "Surrender, down with your arms ! Vive le Roi ! We will do you no harm." Scarcely had he parted from M. de Lescure, however, than M. de Bonchamps was wounded. One of the soldiers, after laying down his musket and crying for quarter like the rest, picked it up again as soon as he had passed, and fired, shooting him through the arm and fleshy part of the breast and inflicting four wounds upon him : luckily our troops were just then crowding into the town in the wake of their generals. Bonchamps' men in their fury closed in on the street and slaughtered about sixty Blues who were in it, so that the guilty one should not escape their vengeance.
As for M. de Lescure, he had the greatest pleasure a man can experience ; on leaving M. de Bonchamps and Forest he had taken the Street of the Prisons, which he caused.to be thrown open, to the cry of Vive le Roi, and flung himself into the arms of M. de la Marsonniere and the two hundred and forty prisoners confined along with him. This officer and several of the men were to have been guillotined the following morning; he had shown at his examination a nobility and greatness of character worthy of the highest praise. M. de Lescure had hastened to deliver them for fear they should be massacred by the Blues, and having done so flew at once to another prison in which were confined the relations of émigrés and other suspected persons, to the number of over two hundred. They had viewed the battle from afar and barricaded themselves on the inside for fear of being butchered by the patriots. M. de Lescure knocked repeatedly, crying, "Open, in the King's name !" Immediately the doors flew open, while the prison rang with cries of Vive le Roi ! All the captives embraced M. de Lescure, but without recognizing him, even though a great many were relations or friends of his ; after telling them his name he left them, to engage in the pursuit of the patriots like all the other officers.
Forest had taken the street leading to the Niort road, and accordingly found himself at the very head. Everyone's chief concern was to recapture Marie-Jeanne, the idol of the army, while the Blues, who were aware of this, used every endeavour to save her. They were already well over a league from the town. Forest had pushed forward so far that he found himself in the midst of over a hundred gendarmes ; fortunately he had the horse, saddle and weapons of a gendarme he had killed in a previous engagement, besides which, he was not dressed like a peasant and had no white cockade, and as at that time most of the Republican regiments were full of new recruits not yet in uniform, the Blues took him for one of their own men. "Comrade," said one of them, clapping him on the shoulder, "there is a reward of twenty-five thousand francs for those who save Marie-Jeanne; she is in danger; let us turn back and prevent her from being taken." All the Blues promptly turned back, whereupon Forest began to play the hero, declaring that he must be the foremost, and so gradually worked his way forward till he found himself leading, some way ahead, and followed only by the two boldest. When he was only a short distance from our men, he turned round with a cry of Vive le Roi ! and killed the two Blues who were following him, while the Vendeans, recognizing him, fell upon the enemy and captured Marie-Jeanne who was defended by some foot. To bring the history of this gun to a conclusion, I will add that she was brought back by the soldiers in triumph to La Vendée, where, in all the villages, the women came out to meet her, embracing her and covering her with flowers and ribbons.
Memoirs of the Marquise de La Rochejaquelein [ trans : Cecil Biggane ]
Henri, Marquis de La Rochejaquelein fighting at Cholet
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, Other Writ
, The Building Blocks of Democracy
, The King of Terrors
The account given by Pinto of the final surrender of Martaban to the Burmese, and of the events which followed, is graphic and interesting, and in many particulars bears the impress of accuracy and truth, though to the Europeans of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, who had a very vague and inadequate idea of the greatness and splendour of the cities and countries of Eastern Asia, it appeared absurdly exaggerated. Here, as elsewhere, it must be remembered that Pinto had no means of accurately estimating numbers, and that he frequently was obliged to take his details from the reports of men who no doubt employed Eastern hyperbole with great freedom.
It appears that the unfortunate King of Martaban had reckoned greatly upon the assistance of the Portuguese, and had held out in the full hope that they would give him efficient succour. When he found them, to his intense chagrin, ranged on the side of his enemies, he gave up his cause for lost, and entered into negotiations with his assailant, offering to surrender his capital on condition that he should be allowed to retire in safety with his family. The faithless Burmese tyrant, after pledging his word that this condition should be granted, shamefully broke the promise he had given, and the unhappy prince was led forth in triumph with his wives and children, and exposed to great humiliation and ignominy. Pinto gives a very circumstantial account of the procession of guards and captives who marched forth from Martaban, giving the names of many of the princes, the chief priest, &c. He then says --- "Immediately after these there came in a litter Nhay Canatoo, daughter of the King of Pegu, whose kingdom the Burmese monarch had taken away, and wife of the Chambainhaa. She had with her four little children, two boys and two girls, the greatest of whom was not more than seven years old, and around her were thirty or forty young women of noble family, and grandly beautiful. They all had their faces bowed down towards the ground, and tears in their eyes, and leaned upon other women. After these marched in order certain Falagrepos, who are among themselves like the Capuchins among us, and who all, barefooted and bareheaded, marched onward praying, and carrying in their hands a kind of chaplets. Moreover, they encouraged these ladies as well as they could, throwing water in their faces to revive them when their hearts failed them, which happened often enough --- a lamentable spectacle, which it was impossible to look upon without shedding tears. This unhappy company was followed by a number of foot-guards, and after these came some five hundred Burmese on horseback. Near them was the Chambainhaa, mounted on a small elephant, in token of poverty and of the disregard of the world, conformably to the religion to which he had devoted himself anew. There was no greater pomp about him than this, and he was dressed simply in a long garment of black velvet, in token of mourning, having his beard, his hair, and his eyebrows shaved off; and, moreover, he had caused an old cord to be placed about his neck before he gave himself up to the king. This spectacle, too, was so mournful that none could look upon it and refrain, from weeping. With regard to his age, he was about sixty-two years old, of very lofty stature, with a grave and severe countenance, and the look of a very generous prince. When he had come to a place where a confused company of women, children, and old men awaited him, when they saw him in such a lamentable condition, before he had emerged from the city, they all raised, six or seven times, such a loud and terrible cry, that one would have said the earth was crumbling under his feet; and these lamentations and cries were incontinently followed by a multitude of blows that they inflicted on their own faces, striking themselves heavily with stones, with so little pity for themselves that the majority of them were in a short time covered with blood. Moreover, these things so horrible, to see and so terrible to hear, in such measure afflicted all the bystanders, that even the Burmese guards, though they were men of war, and consequently little inclined to compassion, and enemies of the Chambainhaa, could not refrain from weeping like children. It was at this place, also, that the heart of Nhay Canatoo, the wife of the Chambainhaa, twice failed her, and: all the other ladies gave way also, insomuch ilhat it was necessary to let him dismount from the elephant on which he was riding, that he might be able to encourage his wife and to console her. Then, seekig her lying on the ground like one dead, and embracing her four littte children, he knelt down on the ground and looked up with tears in his eyes."
The severest part of the unfortunate prince's trial was the mortification of meeting the Portuguese, who had behaved very treacherously towards him, and who were now standing to see him pass "all clothed in holiday dresses, with cuirasses of buffalo leather, their hats on their heads ornamented with a great number of plumes, and their arquebuses on their shoulders." Juan Cayeyro, one of the number, especially attracted the notice of the Chambainhaa by flaunting in crimson satin. On seeing him, the fallen monarch bent forward on his elephant's neck, and declared that he would go no farther unless these wicked and treacherous men were removed. The Birmans themselves were irritated at the double-dealing of the Spaniards, and the captain of the guard sarcastically bade them go shave their beards, and no longer deceive people into the belief that they were soldiers; and the Burmese would hire a number of women in their stead, who would serve for money. The Burmese guards, following their commander's lead, thereupon pushed away the Spaniards with great contempt, and Pinto adds pathetically, "Not to tell a lie, nothing ever so sensibly affected me as this, for the honour of my compatriots."
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As a child I studied one of the part-works --- a form once popular from the 1920s to 1980s, but which has rather naturally fallen out of vogue: magazines issued weekly --- on WWI; obviously such publications included photographs which should be seen once, in order to understand consequence, but not dwelt upon unless one is in training to become a serial killer. Actually, mere death cannot appall: there is nothing in the least romantic in death --- as opposed to dying well --- and it's displays are solely squalid; however ongoing injury or the truthful immediacy of creatures suffering causes as much instantaneous flinching within as if in their presence. The issue dealing with the murder of Tsar Nicky and his family had on the back page another murder, that of a black man burning with grinning morons surveying this act.
To maintain that these lynchings --- within living memory --- were all of the innocent seems both unlikely and inapposite; since that matters not: such behaviour is utterly unacceptable were you dealing with devils from Hell. Still, it can be pointed out that this is one form of action that can be justified under any variant of democracy, from pure populism to libertarian individualism. And again, those who condemn such atrocities of the past, just under current fashion rather than for the pure lack of decency in such degrading manifestations, are often glad and usually silent when the victims are those of whom they disapprove --- such as say, nazis or Saddam's people..
Once only --- at Chattanooga --- did I meet with disagreement : and then I was asking for it. Two negroes had been lynched a few days before my arrival on the usual charge of having assaulted a white woman: proved afterwards ( as is generally the case ) to have been a trumped-up lie. All through the South, this lynching horror had been following me; and after my reading I asked for permission to speak on a matter about which my conscience was troubling me. I didn't wait to get it, but went straight on. At home, on political platforms, I have often experienced the sensation of stirring up opposition. But this was something different. I do not suggest it was anything more than fancy, but it seemed to me that I could actually visualize the anger of my audience. It looked like a dull, copper-coloured cloud, hovering just above their heads, and growing in size. I sat down amid silence. It was quite a time before anybody moved. And then they all got up at the same moment, and turned towards the door. On my way out, in the lobby, a few people came up to me and thanked me, in a hurried furtive manner.
My wife was deadly pale. I had not told her of my intention. But nothing happened, and I cannot help thinking that, if the tens of thousands of decent American men and women to whom this thing must be their country's shame would take their courage in both hands and speak their mind, America might be cleansed from this foul sin.
My curiosity has always prompted me to find out all I could about my fellow human beings wherever I have happened to be. I maintain that the American man, taking him class for class and individual for individual, is no worse than any of the rest of us. I will ask his permission to leave it at that.
The last time I visited America was during the first year of the war. America then was all for keeping out of it. I had friends in big business, and was introduced to others. Their opinion was that America could best serve Humanity in the bulk by reserving herself to act as peace-maker. In the end, she would be the only nation capable of considering the future without passion and without fear. The general feeling was, if anything, pro-German, tempered in the East by traditional sentiment for France. I failed to unearth any enthusiasm for England, in spite of my having been commissioned to discover it. I have sometimes wondered if England and America really do love one another as much as our journalists and politicians say they do. I had an interesting talk with President Wilson, chiefly about literature and the drama. But I did get him, before I left, to say a little about the war; and then he dropped the schoolmaster and became animated.
"We have in America," he said, "twenty million people of German descent. Almost as many Irish. In New York State alone there are more Italians than in Rome. We have more Scandinavians than there are in Sweden. Here, side by side, dwell Czechs, Roumanians, Slavs, Poles and Dutchmen. We also have some Jews. We have solved the problem of living together without wanting to cut one another's throats. You will have to learn to do the same in Europe. We shall have to teach you."
Undoubtedly at that time Wilson was intending to remain neutral. Whether his later change of mind brought about good or evil is an arguable point. But for America the war would have ended in stalemate. All Europe would have been convinced of the futility of war. "Peace without Victory " --- the only peace containing any possibility of permanence --- would have resulted.
To the democrat, America is the Great Disappointment. Material progress I rule out. Beyond a certain point, it tends to enslave mankind. For spiritual progress, America seems to have no use. Mr. Ford has pointed out that every purchaser of a Ford car can have it delivered to him, painted any colour he likes, so long as it's black. Mr. Ford expresses in a nutshell the mental attitude of modern America. Every man in America is free to do as he darn well pleases so long as, for twenty-four hours a day, he does what everybody else is doing. Every man in America is free to speak his mind so long as he shouts with the crowd. He has not even Mr. Pickwick's choice of choosing his crowd. In America there is but one crowd. Every man in America has the right to think for himself so long as he thinks what he is told. If not --- like the heretics of the Middle Ages --- let him see to it that his chamber door is locked, that his tongue does not betray him. The Klu Klux Klan, with its travelling torture chamber, is but the outward and visible sign of the spirit of modern America. Thought in America is standardized. America is not taking new wine, lest the old bottles be broken.
I ask my American friends --- and I have many, I know --- to forgive me. My plea is that I am growing old. And it comes to me that before long I may be called upon to stand before the Judge of all the earth, and to make answer concerning the things that I have done and --- perhaps of even more importance --- the things that I have left undone. The thought I am about to set down keeps ringing in my brain. It will not go away. I am afraid any longer to keep silence. There are many of power and authority who could have spoken it better. I would it had not been left to me. If it make men angry, I am sorry.
The treatment of the negro in America calls to Heaven for redress. I have sat with men who, amid vile jokes and laughter, told of "Buck Niggers" being slowly roasted alive; told how they screamed and writhed and prayed; how their eyes rolled inward as the flames crept up till nothing could be seen but two white balls. They burn mere boys alive and sometimes women. These things are organized by the town's "leading citizens" Well-dressed women crowd to the show, children are lifted up upon their fathers' shoulders. The Law, represented by grinning policemen, stands idly by. Preachers from their pulpits glorify these things, and tell their congregations that God approves. The Southern Press roars its encouragement. Hangings, shootings would be terrible enough. These burnings; these slow grillings of living men, chained down to iron bedsteads; these tearings of live, quivering flesh with red-hot pinchers can be done only to glut some hideous lust of cruelty. The excuse generally given is an insult to human intelligence. Even if true, it would be no excuse. In the majority of cases, it is not even pretended. The history of the Spanish Inquisition unrolls no greater shame upon the human race. The auto da fe, at least, was not planned for the purpose of amusing a mob. In the face of this gigantic horror, the lesser sufferings of the negro race in America may look insignificant. But there must be tens of thousands of educated, cultured men and women cursed with the touch of the tar-brush to whom life must be one long tragedy. Shunned, hated, despised, they have not the rights of a dog. From no white man dare they even defend the honour of their women. I have seen them waiting at the ticket offices, the gibe and butt of the crowd, not venturing to approach till the last white man was served. I have known a woman in the pains of childbirth made to travel in the cattle wagon. For no injury at the hands of any white man is there any redress. American justice is not colour blind. Will the wrong never end ?
Jerome K. Jerome : My Life and Times
We stopped in Belgium long enough to savor the richness of Flemish art, in which Antwerp, Ghent and Bruges abound; then returned to Paris for a last taste of its delights. It was a good time to be leaving France. The franc had been slipping and slipping; it looked as though it might follow the course the German mark had taken five years earlier. There were disturbing political rumblings; people were tense and edgy. The Parisians, never particularly cordial to foreigners, were now openly hostile. They had to stand by and watch the aliens, especially the Americans, stock up with merchandise they themselves could no longer afford. At the banks, knots of well-to-do Americans kept their eyes glued on bulletins that announced fluctuations in the rate of exchange, waiting for another drop so that they could get a few more francs for their dollars. This did not go down well with the French. Nor did the fad, adopted by some exuberant tourists, of pasting hundred-franc notes on the outside of their valises. I resisted the temptation to snap up art bargains, confining my purchases to a few inexpensive prints by Matisse, Marie Laurencin and Foujita.
Our return to Paris coincided with the arrival of hundreds of members of the American Legion, who had come over to attend the organization's tenth-anniversary celebration. Careful preparations for the event had been made, especially with respect to public relations. An American friend of mine who had close connections with the French press was asked to handle the publicity. He agreed on condition that he was to have a million francs to use at his discretion. During the convention, the only newspapers that criticized the Legion were the Socialist L'Oeuvre and the Communist L'Humanite.
The behavior of the Legionnaires was characterized by the boorishness, bad taste and rowdyism that are typical of the annual gathering of this aggregation of professional patriots. In American cities one endures it with resignation, knowing that the boys will soon be going home to their service stations, funeral parlors and haberdasheries. But on foreign soil, and in Paris of all places, the American who esteems his country and values its good name squirms at the antics of these ill-bred middle-aged adolescents.
An uproar in the Rue de Lille informed me that the Legionnaires were in town. Drawn to the window of my hotel room, I saw one of the visiting merrymakers on the balcony outside his room at the Hotel Palais d'Orsay, across the street. Stripped down to his underwear, he was brandishing a bottle to which he had frequent recourse. To the passing women in the street below he addressed pointed invitations; to the men he shouted, 'What you make in francs I make in dollars." For almost the only time in my life, I wished that I were anything but an American. This opening note was repeated over and over, with variations. Everywhere one saw blowzy men in fatigue caps, drunk, boisterous, quarrelsome, trying to bargain with shopkeepers, drinking champagne at little bistros at eleven in the morning, lining up in the stifling heat and the stench of frying fat to buy doughnuts in the barracks which the Salvation Army had erected in the citadel of French cookery.
On the final day of the convention, the day of the big parade, there was an incident that was both hilarious and grim. We posted ourselves in the Place de la Concorde to get a good view of the proceedings. The Parisians who packed the huge square stared in amazement as the paraders, state by state, marched by, the trim drum majorettes cavorting, the men arrayed like members of the chorus in an operetta with a Ruritanian setting. In due course the Massachusetts delegation appeared, resplendent in scarlet or green or purple. Suddenly someone shouted, "Où est la chaise électrique ?' The memory of the Sacco-Vanzetti execution was fresh; the crowd took up the cry with savage delight. Soon it filled the whole square. The men from Massachusetts, interpreting it as some special tribute, beamed and waved in grateful acknowledgment.
Elmer Rice : Minority Report
Jehan Georges Vibert --- The Apotheosis of Mons. Thiers home