Egmont eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 86 pages of information about Egmont.

Machiavel.  So distinctly!

Regent.  No feature is wanting.  There are good men among them.  The honest Roderigo, so experienced and so moderate, who does not aim too high, yet lets nothing sink too low; the upright Alonzo, the diligent Freneda, the steadfast Las Vargas, and others who join them when the good party are in power.  But there sits the hollow-eyed Toledan, with brazen front and deep fire-glance, muttering between his teeth about womanish softness, ill-timed concession, and that women can ride trained steeds, well enough, but are themselves bad masters of the horse, and the like pleasantries, which, in former times, I have been compelled to hear from political gentlemen.

Machiavel.  You have chosen good colours for your picture.

Regent.  Confess, Machiavel, among the tints from which I might select, there is no hue so livid, so jaundice-like, as Alva’s complexion, and the colour he is wont to paint with.  He regards every one as a blasphemer or traitor, for under this head they can all be racked, impaled, quartered, and burnt at pleasure.  The good I have accomplished here appears as nothing seen from a distance, just because it is good.  Then he dwells on every outbreak that is past, recalls every disturbance that is quieted, and brings before the king such a picture of mutiny, sedition, and audacity, that we appear to him to be actually devouring one another, when with us the transient explosion of a rude people has long been forgotten.  Thus he conceives a cordial hatred for the poor people; he views them with horror, as beasts and monsters; looks around for fire and sword, and imagines that by such means human beings are subdued.

Machiavel.  You appear to me too vehement; you take the matter too seriously.  Do you not remain Regent?

Regent.  I am aware of that.  He will bring his instructions.  I am old enough in state affairs to understand how people can be supplanted, without being actually deprived of office.  First, he will produce a commission, couched in terms somewhat obscure and equivocal; he will stretch his authority, for the power is in his hands; if I complain, he will hint at secret instructions; if I desire to see them, he will answer evasively; if I insist, he will produce a paper of totally different import; and if this fail to satisfy me, he will go on precisely as if I had never interfered.  Meanwhile he will have accomplished what I dread, and have frustrated my most cherished schemes.

Machiavel.  I wish I could contradict you.

Regent.  His harshness and cruelty will again arouse the turbulent spirit, which, with unspeakable patience, I have succeeded in quelling; I shall see my work destroyed before my eyes, and have besides to bear the blame of his wrongdoing.

Machiavel.  Await it, your Highness.

Regent.  I have sufficient self-command to remain quiet.  Let him come; I will make way for him with the best grace ere he pushes me aside.

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Egmont from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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