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tion by an assumed placidity of manner.
He character. You have acted your part well there.' (Vous avez bien tire votre parti là.) Advice. After the formation of the Provisional Government, a person was asked by Napoleon what he thought of his situation, and whether he considered there were any additional measures to be taken. When he replied in the negative, Napoleon inquired what he would do in a similar situation. Blow my brains out,' was the reply. Napoleon reflected for a moment, Yes, I can do that; but those who wish me well would not be benefited, and it would give pleasure to those who wish me ill.'
"Habit. — During this conversation a knock was heard at the door. Nap.: Who is there? A, D. C.: Aide-de-camp in waiting. Nap.: Come in; what do you want? A. D. C.: Sire, the Grand Marshal has desired me to announce to your Majesty that it is already eleven o'clock. Nap.: Bah! This is something new! Since when have I become subordinate to the watch of the Grand Marshal? May be I shall not leave at all.
"Personal. I have never seen a man in any situation of life with so much personal activity and restless perseverance. He appears to take so much pleasure in perpetual movement, and in seeing those who accompany him sink under fatigue, as has been the case on several occasions when I have accompanied him. I do not think it possible for him to sit down to study, on any pursuits of retirement, as proclaimed by him to be his intention, so long as his state of health permits corporeal exercise. Napoleon appears to become more un
popular on the island every day, for every act seems guided by avarice and a feeling of personal interest, with a total disregard to that of others."
These extracts will doubtless whet the rea
der's appetite sufficiently to induce him to know more by procuring the book. Of this journal the language is agreeable, and a lively power of observation obviously enabled the author to seize upon those subtler characteristics of Napoleon's nature which a careless companion would have missed.
WILL STEAM IGNITE COMBUSTIBLE SUB-| pipe has been passed, it is remarked that every STANCES? — This curious question is discussed engineer of lengthy experience and close observain a recent number of the Scientific American. tion knows that it is possible to ignite combustiIt is urged that as the heat generated by a hy-ble or inflammable substances by the direct imdrocarbon in combination with a combustible pact of steam. Cases have been recorded where fibre will produce combustion, and as a fibrous dry wood was ignited by escaping steam, and, material saturated with oil will, if exposed to as an experiment, oil-saturated cotton waste the sun's rays, burst into flame, it follows that and dry pine wood have been lighted by the a greater degree of heat, whether produced by steam from a boiler at a distance of 12 feet, the steam or any other agency, may produce like boiler pressure at the time being only 95lb, and results. After mentioning the inflammable con- the temperature 335. The material burst into dition acquired by wood through which a steam- flame in a few minutes. Public Opinion.
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overcome, could face the summer heats and the tropical rains, to say nothing of the terrible Guinea-worm and the countless poisonous serpents which infest that region. Every one who thought he knew something of Abyssinia or of the East in general, and who had advice to give or a scheme of his own to propose and they were legionwas convinced that unless his particular plan was adopted defeat and annihilation were inevitable. And yet none of the schemes and plans thus suggested had been adopted. One man alone, the commander of the army, had felt from the first perfect confidence in the result of the expedition, and Sir Stafford Northcoate was able to state in the House of Commons to a sceptical audience, that unless some unforeseen accident occurred to derange all the careful calculations of Sir Robert Napier, the expedition would be brought to a successful issue by the end of March.
The news of the fall of Magdala was soon followed by the return to England of a porA triumph so complete and one adding tion of the troops engaged, the arrival of so much to our military and political pres- the captives, and finally the appearance of tige could scarcely have been anticipated the hero of the expedition himself. The even by the most sanguine. The highest usual ovations succeeded: City dinners, authorities' in the House of Commons and the presentation of laudatory addresses, of in the Press had prognosticated every man- swords of honour, and the rights of citizenner of evil. No water and no provisions ship, festivities at the Crystal Palace, a were to be found in the country we were peerage, medals, and dignities. But the about to invade. The army would inevit- glories of the Abyssinian campaign and of ably be starved. It did not even require Abyssinian heroes soon began to fade away the resistance of the enemy to render our into the things of the past. There remained discomfiture complete. If the tribes on the little to remind us of our Abyssinian war way were only hostile, as they were certain but an additional twopence in the pound to be, a rout and a retreat, even more dis-income-tax and the three million deficiency in astrous than that of Affghanistan, were in- the estimates which the Chancellor of the evitable. No army could be moved over Exchequer has recently announced to an lofty mountains without roads, and impass- astonished and indignant House of Comable to beasts of burden. Even if passes mons.' were discovered, one accident to a mule or camel in the narrow and precipitous path would delay troops compelled to advance in single file and would render their destruction easy. No English soldiers, moreover, supposing all these difficulties to have been
From The Quarterly Review.
RARELY has popular satisfaction been more complete than when one Sunday morning in April, 1868, the telegraphic wire conveyed to this country the laconic but pregnant message that.' Magdala had been taken, the captives released, and Theodore killed.' The public rejoiced that a costly and hazardous expedition, from which little glory and no solid advantage could be anticipated, had been rapidly and successfully brought to a conclusion. From the minds of those who knew all the dangers and difficulties of the enterprise a great weight was taken. Up to the last moment those who were officially answerable for the undertaking, and who advised it, acting under the strongest sense of public duty, felt that the gravest responsibility rested upon them, that the chances of failure were not inconsiderable, and that even ultimate success could only be attained after sacrifices for which the country was scarcely prepared.
But before the Abyssinian expedition and the events which led to it are forgotten, except as chapters of history, it may be desirable to place the real facts upon record and to clear away some of the misapprehensions which still linger in the public mind with respect to them. An opportunity of now doing so presents itself by the publication of Mr. Rassam's narrative of his mission. It is the first authentic account of those
*Narrative of the British Mission to Theodore,
King of Abyssinia; with notices of the country traversed from Massowah, through the Soodan, the Amhara, and back to Annesley Bay, from Magdala. By Hormuzd Rassam, F.R.G.S., First Assistant Politi
cal Resident at Aden in charge of the Mission. events given to us by one who played the
2 vols. London, 1869.
principal part in them, and who can conse
quently speak with knowledge and author-in which he was concerned. It is written ity. Several works have appeared upon with a straightforward honesty and manly the Abyssinian question, but they are writ- simplicity which cannot fail to carry conten by persons who either had a very im-viction to the mind of any impartial person; perfect acquaintance with the whole subject, and it will remove any doubts that may still or who had strong motives for taking a par- exist as to the origin of his mission, the tial or one-sided view of it. The most wisdom of the selection of its chief, and the reliable, as the writers were personally manner in which a task of extraordinary difconnected with the events they describe, ficulty, delicacy, and danger was performed. are Dr. Blanc's Narrative of Captivity in It is the highest testimony to the judgment Abyssinia,' and the Rev. H. Stern's Cap- and ability shown by Mr. Rassam that two tive Missionary.' Dr. Blanc,s narrative has successive Governments should have exfor the most part appeared in the public pressed their entire approval of his conduct. journals, in the form of letters written dur- Lord Stanley proved, as on other occasions ing his imprisonment at Magdala, and pub- he has done, that he is above party considlished in India and in this country through erations when dealing with the character the indiscretion of friends, who, by giving and services of a public officer who has been them publicity, might have involved all the unjustly attacked and condemned; and in a European prisoners in the most serious risk. letter to Mr. Rassam, laid before ParliaIt is written in a lively strain, but with a ment, he expressed the high sense entersomewhat too anxious desire for effect, and tained by Her Majesty's Government of his there is a querulous and captious tone occa- conduct during the difficult and arduous pesionally apparent in the volume, and a jeal-riod of his employment under the Foreign ousy of Mr. Rassam, which do not convey Office,' and declared that he had acted a favourable impression of the judgment, throughout for the best,' and 'that his prudiscretion, or temper of the author. We dence, discretion and good management may especially refer to the description at seem to have tended greatly to preserve the page 358 of the personal influence which lives, and thus to secure the release, of the Dr. Blanc admits that Mr. Rassam had ob- captives.' tained over the king, but which he accounts for and explains by very ungenerous and unjust insinuations. Several passages of this nature disfigure the volume and tend to shake our confidence in the statements of the writer. The tone of Mr. Stern's work is too pretentious and sensational, and gives to it the character of a made-up book. A simple and straightforward narrative of his sufferings, and they were no doubt very severe, would have interested his readers far more than the turgid and highly-wrought phrases in which he describes the events of his captivity. Moreover there are frequently unchristian and ill-natured allusions to the other Europeans, captives like himself, and especially to his brother missionaries, which are but little in harmony with his calling, and which might with great advantage have been omitted, however well justified his suspicions and accusations may be.
Mr. Rassam's narrative, which is an amplification of his official Report laid before Parliament, bears upon its face the impress of a true and faithful account of the events
This ample recognition of his services, coming from so high and impartial a quarter, ought to afford ample compensation to Mr. Rassam for the injustice and cruelty we might almost say malignity of the attacks made upon his personal character and his public conduct, both in Parliament and the press, when he was in captivity and unable to reply or to defend himself.
The relations between England and Abyssinia have always been of a very anomalous and unsatisfactory character. Considering the anomalous and unsatisfactory nature of the country itself and of its inhabitants, this could scarcely have been otherwise. A piece of Asia somehow dropped into Africa, races neither black nor white, Christians isolated amongst Pagans and Mohammedans, a strange mixture of civilization and barbarism, literature and traditions of sufficient value and interest to excite the curiosity of the learned, a geographical position important enough to breed jealousy and rivalry amongst European Powers with Eastern dependencies, a country just rich and disor