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character and Christian sentiments. Balbus
formed one of a benevolent board
instituted by the King of Naples, to examine
into the state of prisons throughout his
dominions; and he knows ventilation, comfort,
and scientific amusements to abound in them
all, for the benefit of every political captive.

During the late war, this country was
positively teeming with accurate Egos, and
triumphantly disproving Balbi. Balbus was
generally on service; and sending, by every
post, "the actual facts, sir," to Ego, as they
occurred. While the correspondents of every
other journal, English and foreign, and of
whatever sect or party, were unanimous in
their censure of the delays, mismanagement,
nepotism, ignorance, and imbecility of our
government at home, Balbus was steady in
its praise. He could see nothing but men
with a superfluity of clothing, dwelling in
comfortable wooden houses, and sipping ready
ground and roasted coffee at their ease. He
was in the trenches, where things occurred
precisely different from what foolish people
at home were led to believe; he was in the
light cavalry charge at Balaclava himself,
and must be allowed (said Ego) to know
something about the Cardigan question. He
was in the hospital at Scutari from the very
first, and found everything clean and comfortable
until the Times commissioner came and
made a disturbance there, where he wasn't
wanted; (Balbus generally knew something
about the Times commissioner and
correspondent, "personally, sir," and could
tell something about them, if he chose, which
would shut up those channels of false
intelligence at once). He was in the Line, and
had, upon his honour, a profusion of luxuries.
He was in the Guards, and on the Staff, and
had nothing for four and twenty hours to
subsist upon, except a small piece of elder
wood that had been steeped in rum. He had
paid particular attention to the cavalry, and
with the drawbacks incidental to a state of
warhe had never seen horses better
provided for, than theirs. As far as his (Balbus's)
observation went, he could not but record it
as his opinion that both the government at
home and the commanders abroad rather
neglected their own relatives and connexions
from feelings of delicacy, and went out of their
way to promote unaristocratic desert. With
regard to diplomacy, he would say that he had
the honour of the friendship of a much
maligned Lord, and that a more affable,
sympathising, and unassuming minister did not
exist: Ego, going about indeed, during that
whole campaign, with Balbus's letters in his
hand, was a new horror added to war.

Ego has a sincere pity for simple ignorant
folks, who are led away by mere appearances,
evidences, and results; and perhaps it is his
noble and generous nature which always
prompts him to side with very small minorities.
He has a firm belief that the province
and the interest of all public organs of
intelligence is to lie as much as possible,
and that one word of Balbus is better than
a column of printed facts. He has a large
clerical acquaintance (of the Balbi family),
of great piety and learning, not one of
whom has received a less meed of their
merit than a canon's stall. He knows an
entire regiment (the Balbi Buffs) where
there is no such thing as jobbing or
speculating upon commissions, and where the
regulation prices are never exceeded. He has
a humble friend (Ego is generally most
magnificently connected, and hand in glove with
the House of Lords and all the landed gentry,
as appears abundantly in his conversation
and anecdotes) who is a parish doctorone
Balbus, M. R. C. S.—who has a hundred
pounds a year for attending a single district
of two thousand souls, with medicines
provided by the Board of Guardians, and who
is considered by the county families as quite
one of themselves. He has an intimate
acquaintance with a London magistrate
(Alderman Balbus) who has put the whole
wife-beating business before him in its proper
light. "The actual facts, sir" (one of Ego's
most favourite clenchers), "are, that it is the
woman's fault nineteen times out of twenty;
that she is not beaten at all; that if she is,
she likes to be beaten; and that any attempt
to procure a separation would be the small
end of the wedge for unchristianising the
whole country."

Ego et Balbus on political and social questions
are pretty well understood by this time.
There was a good deal of mistaken delicacy
at first on the part of the general public, as
to whether it was correct to contradict Ego
or to question the accuracy of his omniscient
friend, as a matter of personal politeness;
but the two at last grew insupportable.
The House of Commons got hold of Balbus;
but had soon to let him go again. "I
hold in my hand," said Ego, rising in his
place from the ministerial benches, "the
proofs, the written proofs, of our perfect
arrangements at Balaclava. I am not going
to disclose the writer's name, indeed, to
a nation excited to fury by a hireling press;
but will content myself with calling him
B——, Lieutenant B——." But, the opposition
were not going to stand that sort of
thing; and, on the very next night, to do them
justice, they held in their hands whole reams
of communications from their Balbus, giving
quite a different account of Crimean matters.

In private life, however, and upon domestic,
literary, and general matters, the two
friends are as paramount as ever. They
know something startling about the Emperor
of the French before his accession; and when
you have heard that, they can tell you
something else about the Empress. Ego usually
whispers these particulars under his breath,
as if gendarmes were behind the door; and
upon the authority, of course, of his reliable
foreign friend, Monsieur Balbé.

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