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时间: 2019年12月07日 11:45

鈥淭he queen made me a sign to follow her, and passed into a neighboring apartment, where she had the English and Germans of King George鈥檚 suite successively presented to her. After some talk with these gentlemen she withdrew, leaving me to entertain them, and saying, 鈥楽peak English to my daughter; you will find she speaks it very well.鈥?I felt much less embarrassed when the queen was gone, and, picking up a little courage, entered into conversation with these English. As I spoke their language like my mother tongue I got pretty well out of the affair, and every body seemed charmed with me. They made my eulogy to the queen; told her I had quite the English air, and was made to be their sovereign one day. It was saying a great deal on their part; for these English think themselves so much above all other people that they imagine that they are paying a high compliment when they tell any one he has got English manners. For a considerable time after this, I published no work of magnitude; though I still occasionally wrote in periodicals, and my correspondence (much of it with persons quite unknown to me), on subjects of public interest, swelled to a considerable bulk. During these years I wrote or commenced various Essays, for eventual publication, on some of the fundamental questions of human and social life, with regard to several of which I have already much exceeded the severity of the Horatian precept. I continued to watch with keen interest the progress of public events. But it was not, on the whole, very encouraging to me. The European reaction after 1848, and the success of an unprincipled usurper in December, 1851, put an end, as it seemed, to all present hope for freedom or social improvement in France and the Continent. In England, I had seen and continued to see many of the opinions of my youth obtain general recognition, and many of the reforms in institutions, for which I had through life contended, either effected or in course of being so. But these changes had been attended with much less benefit to human well-being than I should formerly have anticipated, because they had produced very little improvement in that which all real amelioration in the lot of mankind depends on, their intellectual and moral state: and it might even be questioned if the various causes of deterioration which had been at work in the meanwhile, had not more than counterbalanced the tendencies to improvement. I had learnt from experience that many false opinions may be exchanged for true ones, without in the least altering the habits of mind of which false opinions are the result. The English public, for example, are quite as raw and undiscerning on subjects of political economy since the nation has been converted to free-trade, as they were before; and are still further from having acquired better habits of thought and feeling, or being in any way better fortified against error, on subjects of a more elevated character. For, though they have thrown off certain errors, the general discipline of their minds, intellectually and morally, is not altered. I am now convinced, that no great improvements in the lot of mankind are possible, until a great change takes place in the fundamental constitution of their modes of thought. The old opinions in religion, morals, and politics, are so much discredited in the more intellectual minds as to have lost the greater part of their efficacy for good, while they have still life enough in them to be a powerful obstacle to the growing up of any better opinions on those subjects. When the philosophic minds of the world can no longer believe its religion, or can only believe it with modifications amounting to an essential change of its character, a transitional period commences, of weak convictions, paralysed intellects, and growing laxity of principle, which cannot terminate until a renovation has been effected in the basis of their belief leading to the elevation of some faith, whether religious or merely human, which they can really believe: and when things are in this state, all thinking or writing which does not tend to promote such a renovation, is of very little value beyond the moment. Since there was little in the apparent condition of the public mind, indicative of any tendency in this direction, my view of the immediate prospects of human improvement was not sanguine. More recently a spirit of free speculation has sprung up, giving a more encouraging prospect of the gradual mental emancipation of England; and concurring with the renewal under better auspices, of the movement for political freedom in the rest of Europe, has given to the present condition of human affairs a more hopeful aspect. � � They all united their entreaties, arguments, prayers, and threats. The princess was in a state of terrible agitation. Almost distracted she paced the floor. That she might have a little time to reflect, the four deputies retired into the recess of a window. One of them, M. Tulmier, then approached the princess, and, in a low tone of voice, said to her, Except he wasn鈥檛 sure what 鈥渋t鈥?was. The revelation he鈥檇 been hoping for was right in front of hiseyes, but he couldn鈥檛 quite grasp it; he could only catch the glim around the edges, like spotting thecover of a rare book in a candlelit library. 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