1. souse, n.5: 3. A drunkard. slang (chiefly U.S.). (OED)
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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Palin and the Third Estate

Was reading a review in an old Victorian periodical about the French Revolution and found parts of the diagnosis eerily familiar:

M. Isuard, a deputy of some influence, and who, as such, was employed to harangue and quiet the mob on the memorable 20th of June, 1792, was, on the following 3d of August, accused in the Chamber of having sold himself to the English cabinet. Now, let any one consider for a moment what would be the defense of an Englishman in a similar case. He would bring testimony--he would allege his own previous character--he would retort on his assailants--in short, he would regularly plead his cause. What is the defence of the Frenchman? He unbuttons his waistcoat! He lays bare his breast! 'Malheureux, ouvre mon coeur et tu verras s'il est Frances!' ['Blackguards, open my heat and see if it's French!']

Such scenes might appear only ridiculous. But it is a source of danger in every country, that men seldom believe that what is ridiculous may also be formidable. People laughed at the follies of the New Assembly. They laughed at the clenched fists, furious interruptions, frothy declamations, and turbulent politics, which knew of no better security against despotic power than a feeble government. But those days of laughter were only the first acts of the piece.

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