Such was a life-picture, drawn by a master-hand, of the men and the government with whose operations the leaders of a strong party in the United States endeavored with mad zeal, for three years, to involve their own government; a catastrophe prevented only, so far as human agency was concerned, by the fearless courage and profound wisdom of Washington in maintaining neutrality.
Woman's nature is as beautiful and fascinating now as when the master-hand of the world's greatest poet delineated it, and when living, breathing Edith Allen stepped suddenly among his shadows, seemingly so luminous, they vanished before her, as the stars pale into nothingness when the eastern sky is aglow with morning.
But when the army was a sham, and corruption had pervaded every office under government; when the expenses of living had nearly doubled from taxation, extravagance, bad example, and wrong ideas of life; when trusted servants were turned into secret enemies, incapable and false; when such absurd mistakes were made as the expedition to Mexico, and the crowning folly of the war with Prussia, proving the incapacity and folly of the master-hand, the machinery which directed the armies and the bureaus and all affairs of State itself, broke down, and the catastrophe was inevitable.
The bookcases were crowned with bronze busts, while at intervals statues, placed in open arches, backed with mirrors, gave the appearance of galleries, opening from the book-lined walls, and introduced an inconceivable air of classic lightness and repose into the apartment; with these arches the windows harmonised so well, opening on the peristyle, and bringing into delightful view the sculpture, the flowers, the terraces, and the lake without, that the actual prospects half seduced you into the belief that they were designs by some master-hand of the poetical gardens that yet crown the hills of Rome.
The Luxembourg Gallery is the place for all such, and the Louvre collection is therefore made up of paintings from the hands of all the old masters. It is for this reason that the Parisian artists fill the rooms of the Louvre so constantly either to copy some gem in the vast collection, or by practice, to catch some of the genius of the master-hand.
This is an interesting object of study, as illustrating the usual course of invention, in which a master-hand grasps a subject which has been suggested in an incomplete and comparatively ineffective manner from time to time by others.
Then, realizing how this "population pullulante des petits animaux marins" must have impressed the observing ancients, he goes on to touch ever so lightly! upon those old local arts of ornamentation whereby sea-beasts and molluscs and aquatic plants were reverently copied by master-hand, not from dead specimens, but "pris sur le vif et observes au milieu des eaux"; he explains how an entire school grew up, which drew its inspiration from the dainty ... apes and movements of these frail creatures.
Down to the very depths of humiliation he sternly abased his complaining, struggling, wounded, and sorely resentful spirit, . . he then and there became the merciless executioner of his own claims to literary honor, and deliberately crushing all his past ambition, mutinous discontent and uncompliant desires with a strong master-hand he lay quiet...as patiently unmoved as is a dead man to the wrongs inflicted on his memory...and forced himself to listen resignedly to every glowing line of his, . . no, not his, but Sah-luma's poem, . . the lovely, gracious, delicate, entrancing poem he remembered so well!
He grasped the situation with a master-hand, and began to prepare the way. Still he kept his counsel strictly to himself, and set to work to threaten, and if possible to attack, New York, not with much hope of succeeding in any such attempt, but with a view of frightening Clinton and of inducing him either to withdraw troops from Virginia, or at least to withhold reinforcements.
It was utterly in vain that Brother Simmons and his whole following pointed out unitedly and successively the utter impossibility and absurdity of the proposal which was unconstitutional and without precedent. The hockey team had the company with them and with the bit in their teeth swept all before them. At this point, McNish displayed the master-hand that comes from long experience.