The Second Funeral of Napoleon

The Second Funeral of Napoleon

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The Second Funeral of Napoleon by William Makepeace Thackeray

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48

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The Second Funeral of Napoleon

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Book Excerpt

our thousand years ago that famous tree was planted. At their very first lie, our first parents made for it, and there it is still the great Humbug Plant, stretching its wide arms, and sheltering beneath its leaves, as broad and green as ever, all the generations of men. Thus, my dear, coquettes of your fascinating sex cover their persons with figgery, fantastically arranged, and call their masquerading, modesty. Cowards fig themselves out fiercely as "salvage men," and make us believe that they are warriors. Fools look very solemnly out from the dusk of the leaves, and we fancy in the gloom that they are sages. And many a man sets a great wreath about his pate and struts abroad a hero, whose claims we would all of us laugh at, could we but remove the ornament and see his numskull bare.

And such--(excuse my sermonizing)--such is the constitution of mankind, that men have, as it were, entered into a compact among themselves to pursue the fig-leaf system a l'outrance, and to cry down all who oppose it.

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