Source: MECW Volume 1, p. 357
First published: in the Rheinische Zeitung Nos. 3 and 12, January 3 and 12, 1843
The lady of Augsburg has reached the stage when the fair sex itself no longer dares to simulate youth, and now has no more terrible accusation to make against her sisters than that of youth. In No. 360, however, the worthy Sibyl’s means of estimating age has surprisingly misled her. She speaks about a cooling off of the “youthful ardour” of the Rheinische Zeitung in connection with a correspondent who happens to be a sexagenarian and could hardly have expected to find a testimonial to his youth in the columns of the Augsburg Allg. Zeitung. But that is what happens! Freedom is sometimes too old, sometimes too young; it is never on the order of the day, at any rate not on that of the Augsburg Allg. Ztg., which is more and more emphatically rumoured to be published in Augsburg.
If the editorial board of the Rheinische Zeitung desired to add to the above correspondence a postscript in the manner of the Allg. A. Ztg., since she was so kind as to recognise the ensign Pistol in the Rheinische Zeitung, we could only give her a choice between Doll Tearsheet and Mistress Quickly. Her manly confession of faith, however, we would expect from the friend of those ladies, from Falstaff:
“Honour pricks me on. Yea, but how if honour pricks me off when I come on? how then? Can honour set to a leg? No. Or an arm? No. Or take away the grief of a wound? No. Honour hath no skill in surgery then? No. What is honour? Ag word. What is in that word honour? What is that honour? Air. A trim reckoning!- Who hath it? He that died a Wednesday. Doth he feel it? No. Doth he hear it? No. is it insensible then? Yea, to the dead. But will it not five with the living? No. Why? Detraction will not suffer it: — therefore I'll none of it. Honour is a mere scutcheon, and so ends my catechism”. [Shakespeare, King Henry IV, Part One, Act V, Scene 1]
Thus, too, ends the political catechism of the Augsburg A. Z.; thus she reminds the press that one could lose arm and leg in critical times, thus she detracts from honour, because she has renounced any honour which could be detracted from.
The Augsburg A. Z. promised to engage us ‘in a fight over principles and she has kept her promise. She has used no principles, hence her principles, against us in the struggle. Now and again she has assured us of her indignation, cast petty suspicions, attempted minor corrections, made a big show of small performance, and laid claim to superiority of age. In regard to this last point, to her tide of veteran, we could say what M. Dézamy says to M. Cabet:
“Que monsieur Cabet ait bon courage: avec tant de titres, il ne peut nianquer d'obtenir bientôt ses invalides!” [Let Monsieur Cabet take heart; with so many titles, he cannot fail to obtain his disability pension soon!]
Madame Augsburg survives because of a mistake in calculation, an anachronism. Form, the only thing she possessed in earlier days, even form, the parfum littéraire, she has lost. It has been replaced by a philistine, diffuse and arrogant formlessness, and no one is likely to regard the platitude of “Herr Puff” and the simile of “the bullfrog that tried to blow itself up into an ox” as elegant because he finds the same sort of thing in the Augsburg A. Z.