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In ‘t Gein bij Abcoude (1870)

Willem Roelofs (March 10, 1822, Amsterdam – May 12, 1897, Berchem)

Today, all I can do is post a beautiful picture, quote Pascal and report that the students are indeed being used by the indépendantistes.

Art: Willem Roelofs 

The artist, Dutch artist Willem Roelofs, was Mesdag’s teacher, but he joined members of the Hague School.  Very fine paintings were produced by members of the Hague School. 

Civil War: “the greatest of evils”

In his Pensées, French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and Catholic philosopher Blaise Pascal (1623 – 1662), noted that we were mere reeds but thinking reeds (le roseau pensant), which gave us nobility.  Pascal also discussed society pointing out, especially, that humans were easily fooled by appearances and he stated that « Le plus grand des maux est les guerres civiles » or “Civil wars are the greatest of evils.”

Pascal, had witnessed the Fronde (1648 – 1653) which was a twofold revolt.  On the one hand, we had the people who wanted a parliament, la Fronde  parlementaire.  But, on the other hand, the highest of aristocrats: dukes and princes, hungered for power they were denied.  This was called la Fronde des princes (1651 – 1653).

This rebellion, the Fronde, occurred when Louis XIV (1638 – 1715) was a child.  Louis XIV was five when Louis XIII died (1643).  Louis XIV ascended the throne in 1661, when Mazarin died.  Mazarin (1602 – 1661), was Richelieu‘s (1585 – 1642) successor.  Both were chief ministers who, in fact, ruled France. 

At any rate, Pascal had seen social unrest and it had been a painful experience. 

So yesterday, when I wrote disapprovingly about fumes being released into Montreal’s subway system,  I thought of Pascal and reflected that it would be lovely if people pursued a common purpose: creating a peaceful world where everyone would be treated with dignity.


According to a CTV news report, tuition fees would be increased by $325.00 a year over the next five years.  At the moment, in Quebec, full-time students pay $2,415.00 a year.  Five years from now, in 2017, they will pay $3,793.00 if the premier, Monsieur Jean Charest, succeeds in increasing university tuition fees which, even if he succeeds, would still be the lowest in Canada.  In Antigonish, Nova Scotia, at the university where I taught, StFX, tuition fees are currently $6,205.12 a year.  It would seem that indépendantiste leader Pauline Marois needs martyrs and that they are difficult to find. 

So these are my three little vignettes for the day.  

Landscape with approaching storm (1850)

13 Track 13
Lieder ohne Worte, Mendelssohn, Barenboim (piano)
(please click on Track 13 to hear the music and on the picture to enlarge it)
©Micheline Walker 
May 13, 2012