+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error


We are very sorry to hear it, but the world
positively must go this time. A little
longer lease is probably desired by several
persons of distinction, and even by the obscure
public in general; but fate and Monsieur
Eugène Huzar are against it.

We wouldn't believe Mnedochius; we
wouldn't believe Solomon Eagle; we wouldn't
believe John of Leyden, or Johanna
Southcote, or Thom the Kentish prophetand
madman. We won't even at this time of
day be persuaded to place much credence in
the Reverend Sturges Boobyer, who
announces the proximate end of the world
in Greenwich Park (left hand side of the
Observatory) every Sunday afternoon during
the summer months. We won't believe Mr.
Jelinger Symon's new theory of the non-
rotation of the moon, authorised as it is by
the fact of the theorist being her Majesty's
Inspector of Schools, and illustrated as it is
by an ingenious little machine, which ought
to prove everything, but doesn't prove
anything. We won't believe in spirit-rapping,
mediums, curveting tables, and dancing
ottomans. We have lost our faith in the Cock
Lane Ghost, in Elizabeth Canning, in George
Psalmnazar, in the Mysterious Lady, in the
South Sea Company, and in witchcraft, and
in the efficacy of horse-shoes nailed against
barn-doors as a preventive thereof. We
did believe strongly in BARNUMnot in his
honesty, but in his power of making money;
and lo! Barnum is burst up, and we
refuse to believe in him any more, and
almost wonder how we came to believe
in him at all. How, then, are we to
believe Monsieur Eugène Huzar, who not
only tells us why the world is to come to an
end, but how, and when, and all about it.
A terrible man for vaticination is this
gentleman with the martial name and the
philanthropic tendencies, and a terrible book has
he writtenay, and printedyes, forsooth,
and published, too, in the Glazed Gallery of
the Palais Royalcalled, "La Fin du Monde,"
The End of the World. Through sin, war,
pestilence, famine? No; through Science!

This spasmodic little volume, which is
sufficient to throw a weak man into a tremor
of astonishment, and a strong man into
convulsions of laughter, wears on its title page
a woodcut of mystic mark and meaning.
There is a terrestrial globe; and encircling
it is our intimate enemy, the serpent, with
his tail in his mouth. This, an emblem of
Eternity, has been, I apprehend, done before
Monsieur Huzar's time. But mark the
accompanying motto: "Ce qui a été sera"—That
which has been, will bewhich is a rather
bold paraphrase of the Duke of Bedford's
motto, "Che sara, sara;" and is, on primâ
facie consideration, as seemingly paradoxical
as the inquiry of the imperfectly-in-English-
educated Frenchman of the German, "Did it
rain to-morrow?" To which the Teuton,
whose acquaintance with English grammar was
equally imperfect, responded, "Yes, it vas!"
But Monsieur Huzar is prepared to prove
that what has been will be; for, according to
him, the past is only the mirror of the future.
He seems to have been convinced of the
truth of this intuition through scientific
experiments made under his own eyes during a
too-celebrated course of scientific lectures,
Seeing these infinitesimal atomsthose invisible
fluidsthose intangible gasesproduce
effects so terrible and so unexpected, he
asked himself if man, unceasingly extending
his domination over the elements of nature,
would not in the end, involuntarily and
fatally for himself, draw down one of those
catastrophes which belong to the last days of
a hyper-civilised, and hyper-scientific era.
Thus, he divides his work into three parts,—
the past, the present, and the future; uniting
the three by one simple formulato wit, that
the pride of science, that old original mundane
sin, and which had been the cause of
man's fall in past ages, would again cause his
fall in the future. And this formula, as M.
Huzar says he perfectly understands it, but
as I candidly confess I am thoroughly unable
to do, corresponds to the three grand axioms
of ancient philosophy: Where am I? Whence
come I? Whither am I going? As regards
the present, he seeks to prove that the
diffusion of light, or of knowledge, or in other
words, the march of intellect, must necessarily
bring about indefinite progress, and, at
last, a certain catastrophe. With respect to
the past, he assertsand rests his assertion
on the whole of religious antiquity, whatever
that may bethat the term original sin