Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/403

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309
THE VALUE OF A FRENCH ALLIANCE (?)

a Training School for Ladies about to Appear at Court, where we see charming women in court dresses leaping over forms, crowding beneath barriers, and going through a vigorous course of saltatory exercises, to prepare them for what they might expect at the ceremony; the floor is strewn with broken fans, gloves, feathers, watches, and jewellery; while one fat old lady, who, in attempting to scramble beneath the barrier has become a permanent fixture, presents a truly comical appearance.

The English Dissatisfied.The war was at an end; the "Eastern Question," as it was called in the political jargon of that day, had been settled for the next twenty years, and John Bull had now leisure to sit down to count the cost, and consider the value of the French alliance, and the quality of the assistance he had derived from French generalship and the French army. The result of John's calculation was eminently unsatisfactory to himself, for he felt that while he had done all the hard work and nearly all the fighting, the French, as might have been expected, had arrogated to themselves all the praise. John in his secret heart was angry; he felt he had been drawn into a contest from which he personally derived little advantage, and from which he emerged nominally triumphant at a ruinous waste of men and money; the Frenchman, on his part, was doubtful of the reality of the gloire he claimed for himself, and distinctly conscious, moreover, that the English soldiers looked coldly on the French army and its achievements.[1] The result was a feeling of secret dissatisfaction on both sides, which found, however, no actual expression until an unexpected circumstance afforded opportunity for its manifestation. The war had been succeeded by a period of inaction, a state of things always dreaded by Louis, who was now harassed by plots and conspiracies, and a certain foreigner connected, or supposed to be connected, with one of these had sought and found an asylum on our shores. Certain valorous French colonels, desirous of displaying

  1. See the remarkable expressions of dissatisfaction wrung from the placid Lord Raglan on various occasions, and the very free manner in which the English officers expressed themselves when the 7th French leger regiment ran away from the Russians at Inkerman for the second time. Kinglake's "Invasion of the Crimea," 6th edition, 1877, vol. vi. pp. 327-8, 344-5.