תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

by the banks of country streams, or on the rocks of watering places. Accounts of spectacles, races at Chantilly, exhibitions, fireworks, and glances at the fashions, necessarily occupied some space as the feuilletons appeared. They will enter into the tableaux of some future Macaulay of the Champs Elysées ; but to a large portion of ordinary readers they would be supremely uninteresting. However they do not take up disproportionate space. Some of the novels of this lady have not given us as much satisfaction as these journals of the Chevalier de Launay. From the healthy tone of his lucubrations we expected something more edifying than the play and details of the Marquis de Pontonges. A model lady marries a violent idiot (we would be glad to know how the dispensation was procured), and bestows the most tender care on him. Lovelace becomes domesticated at the castle; and if she does not fall into his clutches, it is not her religious por moral strength that saves her. We are made to see however that if she had gone astray, it would be a mere self-sacrifice to her lover's ease of mind, not a gratification to herself.* This fascinating youth at last runs off out of pique, and marries'; but on returning from the church with his bride, he hears of the death of his true love's husband. Oh, woe and desolation ! he runs off to lier chateau, and she knowing nothing of his marriage, receives him with the sincerest joy, as her future husband,

However she is presently undeceived, and he is obliged to be off to console his deserted spouse. When she considers herself cured of her fantasy, they meet again in the gay world. He is more infatuated than ever, and she, finding her heart not entirely healed, makes a marriage of reason and esteem. This is done suddenly, and without the knowledge of Lovelace, whose wife dies most inconveniently the very same time. After some genuine, but not very enduring sorrow on his part, he flies like a steain coach to the castle of his long tried love, and is politely welcomed by her husband. We next hear of bim in a mad house, and we are not informed that she enjoyed much happiness in her second espousals. She is however strongly cominended for having retained her virtue and reason between two madmen. Now, however faulty the novel may be in outline and coloring, there was evidently no malice

a

• For a fine expose of this convenient help to morality see Miss Edgeworth's Leonora. Le Marquis de Pontanges was an early work,

,

prepense in the authoress's mind. She wrote to excite sympathy for the sufferings which the weaker portion of humanity endure at the hands of their selfish and unprincipled tyrants.

It is probable that Gay had no design of encouraging informers' or turnkeys' daughters to loose conduct, or shop: boys to take to the road, when he wrote his dramatic sermon against hypocrisy and political knavery ; yet the Beggar's Opera is a decidedly unedifying spectacle for young people. Blame of the same quality but lighter in quantity, may be justly laid to the Marquis of Portanges.

The Lorgnon (Eye-glass) is a very pleasant novellette. She evidently sketches herself in the heroine of the story : for the hastiness of expression, occasional sharpness of repartee or sarcasm, speedy remorse, and satisfaction for pain given thereby, kindness of heart, and defence of absent friends, qualities ascribed to the lady of the story, are thoroughly appropriate to herself, as we find her painted by her sorrowing literary friends and admirers.

In Balzac's Cane, an article which, carried in its master's left hand renders him invisible, she húmourously ascribes his wonderful insight into character, modes of life of all classes, intimate knowledge of puzzling business affairs, &c., to the wonderful virtue of his bamboo-we are sorry for not having room for the extract.

It is surprising, and pleasant at the same time, to find respectful and affectionate references to religious usages, and sincere tribute to the spirit of religious influence, thro various papers of the series, when we reflect on the continual attendance of such lax professors as Balzac, Théophile Gautier, Latouche, &c., at her select reunions. Though we hear of no domestic complaints nor amicable arrangements for living apart, but on the contrary, great and successful efforts made at times by the lady to extricate the gentleman out of the hands of powerful foes in high places, we can scarcely suppose that her married life was blessed with much domestic comfort ; she, living in the world of poetry and romance, be occupied day and night, struggling for a high political position, devising giant posters for the dead walls, and canards for the rise and fall of bubble and other shares in new companies. She is gone, and France will not see her peer for a century to come.

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

gracious at the same time, strike the soul by their deep meaning, and charm the eyes by their vastness. Along with this the EPIPHANY is a household festival. It brings together a joyful group animated

a with sportive contests, and childish merriment. It is celebrated with joy while the family reunion is complete ; but alas, where a seat is vacant, the festival is only a day of mourning.

“But our own favorite solemnity is PALM SUNDAY. The very sight of a bit

of blessed palm (box wood) still affects us as when a child. At Rome they have the genuine palm brought from the environs of Genoa. God knows how we love the palms ! and with what profound respect we are inspired by this tree of the Scriptures ! these waving branches embracing in themselves all the poetry of the East ; and yet the memories of our childhood are so strong, that the sacred palm blessed by the Pope himself, had a weaker effect on us than a little branch of Parisian box wood.

“ Last Sunday the inhabitants of this great city seemed to sympa. thise strongly with us. The drivers of the public vehicles had the collars of their borsès ornamented with branches of palm, and the women returning from church had their hands filled with a provision of the blessed shrub. Every one attached an idea, a belief, a souvee nir to this sacred ornament, which he or she was going to fasten over some revered object--one over the portrait of his mother, ano. thor (it must be confessed) above the bust of Napoleon, a third over the holy-water vessel, a fourth over the image of her patroness. • What folly,' cry the philosophers, to pay such reverence to a dwarfish little shrub, which scarcely requires an inch of soil, and is only fit for making combs and snuff boxes !' Ah, what fine people the philosophers are ! they never have the slightest distrust of them. selves: their proud revelations, their lofty thoughts are ever at com. mand ; and they have no need of exterior objects to recal them from a distance. What use can the image be to him who is never without the idea, or the guardian recollection to him, whom a defect of memory has never led into a fault? We acknowledge that we have not this strength of soul. We have need in our hours of prostration of a holy image, of a sacred souvenir, to come to our assistance. when our souls are in trouble, consolation and counsel enter again through our eyes ; and we make this acknowledgment the more readily, as we have seen minds of a very superior order subject to the same weakness."

The longest article must have an end, but in this instance it is not for lack of material, as our selections have scarcely extended beyond the first volume. For an exact picture of the period over which the papers extended, as to fashions, public feeling, state of the fine arts, groupings in private and public life, they will be of the greatest value to the future historian of those things which are neglected by the setters up of the skeletons of past national events. We scarcely know a book better adapted to fill up hours spent in railroad carriages,

by the banks of country streams, or on the rocks of watering places. Accounts of spectacles, races at Chantilly, exhibitions, fireworks, and glances at the fashions, necessarily occupied some space as the feuilletons appeared. They will enter into the tableaux of some future Macaulay of the Champs Elysées ; but to a large portion of ordinary readers they would be supremely uninteresting. However they do not take up disproportionate space. Some of the novels of this lady have not given us as much satisfaction as these journals of the Chevalier de Launay. From the healthy tone of his lucubrations we expected something more edifyiug than the play and details of the Marquis de Pontonges. A model lady marries a violent idiot (we would be glad to know how the dispensation was procured), and bestows the most tender care on him. Lovelace becomes domesticated at the castle ; and if she does not fall into his clutches, it is not her religious por moral strength that saves her. We are made to see however that if she had gone astray, it would be a mere self-sacrifice to her lover's ease of mind, not a gratification to herself.* This fascinating youth at last runs off out of pique, and marries'; but on returning from the church with his bride, he hears of the death of his true love's husband, Oh, woe and desolation ! he runs off to her chateau, and she knowing nothing of his marriage, receives him with the sincerest joy, as her future husband.

However she is presently undeceived, and he is obliged to be off to console bis deserted spouse. When she considers herself cured of her fantasy, they meet again in the gay world. He is more infatuated than ever, and she, finding her heart not entirely healed, makes a marriage of reason and esteem. This is done suddenly, and without the knowledge of Lovelace, whose wife dies most inconveniently the very same time. After some genuine, but not very enduring sorrow on his part, he flies like a steain coach to the castle of his long tried love, and is politely welcomed by her husband. We next hear of him in a mad house, and we are not informed that she enjoyed much happiness in her second espousals. She is however strongly commended for having retained her virtue and reason between two madmen. Now, however faulty the novel may be in outline and coloring, there was evidently no malice

а

• For a fine expose of this convenient help to morality see Miss Edgeworth’s Leonora. Le Marquis de Pontanges was an early work,

« הקודםהמשך »