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We cannot watch this wonderful world in
its workings without being made sensible,
every hour, of the system ofnot so much
reproductionas re-occurrence.  Men, events,
diseases, wars, passions, combinations occur,
lie dormant for centuries and then come on
us again, identical. 'Twas a beautiful thought
of the Italian rhymer, speaking of a great
         Natura lo fece, e poi ruppe la stampa.
         Nature made him, and then broke the die.

The die was broken in moulding Sheridan,
as Byron has paraphrased it in his monody ;
but it is not so actually.  The mould
indeed is broken, crumbled, and is resolved
to ashes ; but the die remains ; garnered
up in Nature's storehouse, and it is taken
down and cleaned, and turns out a type
of the old stamp, when Wisdom requires
it.  The coinage in course of time becomes
worn, battered, clipped, debased ; it is called
in ; it will no longer pass current ; but the
matrices are kept in the great mint, and the
mint issues broad, bright, brave pieces of the
old coinage, from time to time, irregularly
and unexpectedly.

Such issues are evoked partly, I admit, by
the temper and constitution of the times.  As
insects come after a shower, and a dead carcase
gathers ravens, and a house in Chancery fosters
spiders ; so, had we a weak bigoted priest-ridden
sovereign, should we have a plentiful
supply of the old king-cardinal coinage of the
famous Wolsey, Richelieu, Mazarin, Alvarez,
Ximenes pattern.  With another Covenant
we should have, I hope, another Cromwell ;
another Napoleon would bring with him
another band of marshals as famous as
the last ; another Louis Quinze would assuredly
provoke another Damiens ; another
Voltaire, another Robespierre in reversion ;
and I am sanguine enough to believe that a
few years' continuance of the war in which
we are at present engagedpray Heaven,
though, it be over by this time!— would give
us another Nelson on the sea, another Wellington
on the land, red tape, routine, my
lords, and "under consideration," notwithstanding.
After all (Solomon, the king of
critics, has said it before), the theatre of the
world has not an unlimited repertoire.
Darby and Joan was written before Catherine
and Petruchio; Clytemnestra is older
than Lady Macbeth.  There can be no novelty
in the drama of life but the last scene, and
the rehearsal, even of that, is deferred till
further notice.

I happened to mention casually the war.
That brings me to the subject of this
paper.  Events, naturally including wars and
the rumours thereof, do, according to my
theory, turn up, from time to time, as scoriæ
are thrown up when Vesuvius loses its temper.
And the men-types turn up in like fashion.
We have thought them dead; we have
thought them extinct, we have thought that
the breed has quite died out, like the ibis and
the dodo; but they have been lying snugly
perdu somewhere during times of desuetude,
and now start up and cry "Ready,
aye ready !" like any Napiers.  Give me
the event, I will find the men.  There is,
I am certain, a law-copying clerk somewhere
in Cripplegate ready to cast aside his
parchments ; and, no longer mute inglorious,
to write Paradise Lost or the Defence of
the People of England, to the admiration of
the world and the confusion of Salmasius, if
you will only grant me a commonwealth
and a high court of justice.  I can find
dozens of Robespierres in back attics ready
to renounce pantaloons, to celebrate the Feast
of Reason and to demand your head, my lud,
to-morrow.  There are communist cobblers in
cellars who only lack the opportunity to be
Marats ; ay, and in quiet country towns there
are dreamy young women who only wait the
trumpet-call of the Event, to start up Charlotte
Cordays and slay the Marats in their
baths.  If Charles the Second were alive
to-morrow, do you think he would have much
difficulty in finding a young lady among the
corps de ballet willing and ready to be created
Duchess of Cleveland?  There is an old lady
in Camden Town, housekeeper to a poor old
gouty grand monarque of a single gentleman
give me but a real Versailles and a real
Louis Quatorze in his dotage, and see how
soon she would be metamorphosed into a
real Madame de Maintenon! I know Salomon
de Caux well.  He has just discovered the
perpetual motion, and only wants funds to
complete his self-navigating aërial machine.