תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

up

in his study to write a feuilleton, not of the last new piece, but of his own perilous exploit. This is to be the news of the week. “ At first a universal stupor fell on men's senses.

• What do you say? he is married-himself, and at his age—he is a dead man. What will become of him, and what will he do with his bride ?' • Why! what can a Bohemien do with his wife but make her a Bohemienne ?''

around.

And then he relates the difficulties he had to overcome before he could cast the lasso with effect : but at last, through fire, water, and mud, the notary's table is reached, and the contract signed. Chateaubriand does not send his blessing, because it generally brings misfortune ; but the Archbishop is not so scrupulous. Let Jeames of the Morning Post read the following, and blush for his own shortcomings.

“ And then, trembling with emotion, astonished at the deep regard shown to her, and in such high quarters, she cast her eyes timidly

Her limpid and modest glance became more decided, and seemed to say, : You see I was right.' Mean time the church was prepared, and the altar decked, the crowd great, and nothing wanted but the presence of the young bride. At last she appeared, and they saw her such as she was—young, beauteous, smiling, sincere- the most touching, the most modest, and the most calm of beings. Eh, well! that delicate fair hand, that perfect grace, the serenity of that beauteous countenance, that loveliest of creatures, all those treasures for a mere scribbler, for a~"

Mirecourt :-“Ah, silence ! you indiscreet spouse; the National is cocking its ears. Why should you begin to blab in the public feuilleton ? Alas! it is too late; they have taken a note of your avowals; they are turning your confidences into ridicule, and M. Rolle is mending his pen. Ah! Janin, Janin, instead of an epithalamium, hear this apostrophe.-". Rolle Loquitur.

“ Allow me, Monsieur, to join my congratulations to those which you have offered to yourself, and to lay my poor grain of incense on the mighty heap which you burn in your own proper honor. In fine you are married, and now there is neither Ah, nor Oh, nor How about it. Let the entire universe recover from its stupor, thank God, and say nothing. Your conjugal feuilleton, dated St. Sulpice, and written on the very altar, you have charitably entitled, “The Wedding, not of a Critic, but of Criticism.' As another great man once boasted, The State is vested in me, so you modestly announce, • Criticism and I are one. Many thanks, Monsieur ! From the embodiment of the genius, talent, and merit of all living critics in one, it results that eight days ago we were all wedded in your person. A charming cadeau you have offered us, Monsieur, if I may trust the prospectus of the bride of whom you bave got ten thousand copies issued. What a liberal busband you are, Monsieur ! I know

more than one who watch their wives with the vigilance of the dragons of the Hesperides ; and what is your first care ? You get yours printed, stamped, bound, and distributed throughout Paris and the Banlieue. This cannot fail to bring in subscribers in shoals. P.S. All Europe is impatiently expecting the first cries of the young family announced." Janin made no response ; he was literally crushed by the ridicule.”

Eugène gets tired at last of scourging Jules. He says that his spirits were terribly tamed by the defeat just recorded, and another suffered at the hand of Dumas-that, at all events, age with his slow stride is gaining on him. He has put on the hermit's gown, and now aims at burning in the eyes of young Paris, a shining example of decent morals. He now only sighs for true friends, and for enjoyment of domestic comforts, and is painfully re-erecting what he has been demolishing for thirty years.

" His conversion has affected us very sensibly; we almost regret our tartness. Yesterday's errors are redeemed by to.day's merits. However, the old habitudes return at times, and the ancient wolf of criticism sometimes shews his teeth ; this is a simple act of oblivion, a mere distraction. He at once contritely strikes his breast, and bitterly weeps over all the sheep he has devoured. Will any one dare to call these healing drops the tears of a crocodile ?"

The mention of sheep reminds us of looking after our moutons perdus et enragés, whom we left on the eve of deadly arbitration.

Dumas having retaliated on Janin for his attack on Les Demoiselles de Saint Cyr, a second onslaught of the critic brought the laughers to his side. Dumas vomited fire and flames; he swore that he would exterminate Janin. " His seconds took their way to the Rue de Vaugerard; the negociations endured three weeks, and the duel was at last decreed as firm as fate. The champions were on the ground, and Dumas, who had the choice of arms, proposed the small sword. By no means, replied the critic, . I'm familiar with a certain push which will lay you high and dry on the sod at the first brush. I claim the pistols through sheer humanity.' Oh, oh, pistols indeed!' cried Dumas :

you are stark mad, my dear Monsieur Janin; I could lame a fly at forty paces, and you are a trifle larger than the biggest Ay that floats on wing.' So, neither being willing to murder his antagonist, no passage of arms took place. They made mutual excuses, and embraced each other as brothers who should never have ceased to Esteem and cherish each other."

Several of Dumas' fellow artisans in the manufacture of dramas having obliged him at last to allow their names to

it Dumas.

appear in turn, it curiously happened that all falling to his name were successful, the others being failures, or at least greeted with very faint praise.

And here it may be fit to give a list of some of Dumas' plagiarisms, and assumptions of the product of his neighbours' intellects.

“ His book, Jacques Ortis, is a mere simple translation of the Ultime Littere di Jacopo Ortis of Ugo Foscolo, a verb or an adjective being occasionally changed. Les Aventures de John Davy are borrowed from the Revue Britannique. Gaule et france is copied from Les Etudes Historiques of Chateaubriund, and from Thierry, without the trouble, in most cases, of inverting prepositions or changing words. Le Capitaine Aréna is the re-production of a delicious novelette of the Revue Britannique, called Térence le T'ailleur. Albine is a servile translation of a German romance.

"Les Mémoires d'un Médecin is a re-casting of a romance of the same name in the Revue Britannique. Fiorentino the Neapolilan enriches his patron with the manuscript of Le Corricolo and that of Le Speronare. Paul Meurice brings Ascanio, Amaury, and Les Deur Diane. Mallefille wrote Georges from beginning to end, and signed

Auguste Maquet, the most prolific of these literary artisans, furnished, as his own contingent, fifty volumes; Le Chevalier d'Har. mental, Les Trois Mousquetaires, Vingt Ans après, Le Vicomte de Bragelonne, Sylvandire, Le Comte ds Monte Cristo, La Guerre des Femmes, La Reine Margot, Une Fille du Regent, Le Bâtard de Mauléon, Le Chevalier de Maison-Rouge, and La Dame de Montsoreau."

The writer of these last named books seems to belong to the class born with saddles on their backs for the convenience of other writers who are tired out treading the thorny paths of literature. We believe that he has turned restive, and pitched his patron over his head; but it is insinuated by a clever cotemporary, that the author of Peg Toffington, wearied with the fatigues of the rough road on which his Course of True Love has not run smooth, has taken our unlucky pack horse unawares ; bestrode him in his explorations through the Demesne of the Chateau Grantier; and condescending to utter White Lies, has passed himself off to the unsophisticated readers of the London Journal, as the rightful proprietor of that Chateau d'Espagne, changing its title of course.

Having a high opinion of the powers of Maquet, we were curious to examine this original drama of his; and by the kind promptness of Mr. Nutt, we were enabled, at an interval of three or four days, to get the pamphlet

from Paris; and, on looking over it, came to the conclusion. that if the author was ever obliged to commit his catechism to memory, he had retained very little of it in head or heart, when he was constructing his Chateau de Grantier.

A lady, the widow of a royalist captain, is on the point of being turned adrift on the world with her two portionless daughters. The undeclared lover of the younger has been regularly laying a purse in the ladies' path at monthly intervals for some time, without their appropriation of the contents; and the declared lover of the elder is dead in the Peninsula, or worse, gone over to the enemy. One of Buonaparte's brave generals is the purchaser of the family chateau and demesne. He is on the point of starting for Egypt, and takes the chateau on his way to the coast. Under an impulse of generosity and love at first sight, he proposes for the elder sister. She, judging that her true love is either dead or false, and wishing to preserve an asylum for mother and sister, consents; and her husband leaves ber to return from the church without him ; for he must be at Marseilles in time for the embarkation of his squadron. Any experienced play-goer reading thus far, knows by instinct, that the dead and traitorous lover will be found as true and loyal as Leander, stretched out at the garden gate, exhausted to death, but doomed to worse than death by the sight of his true-hearted mistress, a bride of half an hour. If the play is destitute of poetry, common morality, or genuine sentiment, it possesses at all events, a terrific situation at the end of each act. The descent of the green baize puts an end to the harrowing scene.

We are admitted to the drawing room of the chateau in about fifteen or eighteen months. The bride and no wife, is reclining in a languid state on the sofa ; and we find that after the best cares had been bestowed on the unfortunate lover, he quitted for the campaign on the Rhine; and is now hotly employed at the siege of some town. The false wife has been absent at some watering place for health's sake; and we find her in woe, not for the absence of her generous-hearted husband, exposed in Egypt to the rays of the hot sun, and the scymitars of the Mamelukes, but for the separation from her infant, kept at a convenient distance from the chateau.

All this time the lover is an honorable, and high-minded, and sensitive man; but what avails honor, honesty, or religion, when pleading in a cause in which counsellor Cupid holds an opposing fee. Therefore, the seducer is guiltless; and who can blame the too sensitive lady when he is informed that Lothario swore he would neither take powder nor pill, but die off from spite, if she continued insensible to his misery! Some feeling, made up of 98 per cent. of guilty sorrow for lover and child, and the rest of remorse, has induced her to secrete enough of laudanum for a composing dose for her earthly woes. She writes to her guilty partner that their love was too pure and ethereal (a pretty proof they have given) to hope for toleration here below. She was going to ascend, and when he could make it convenient to join her spirit there—but here we beg to stop short of absolute blasphemy. The deed is deferred; her innocent and sympathising sister has brought, by private passages, and in a cradle of the neatest pattern, her child to pay her a visit. Ods raptures, and extacies ! The ladies retire behind a screen with the cradle, and the sister is singing an innocent lullaby, when the general, who ought to have been at the moment measuring the right eye of the Sphinx reposing in her far off sandy bed, walks in, accompanied by the affianced of the young Miss. The screen opens—the cradle and its guilty guardian is visible; and here would be the end of a two-act tragedy-but, as three acts yet remain to be achieved, the unmarried rushes on in despair, avows herself the culprit, and situation No. 2 harrows the hearts of the audience.

We are in the trenches of the beleagured city, and the hooded-winked general finds out Lothario, and reads him a moral lecture on the inconvenience he has caused. He is on the hooks of torture at first, but after the established amount of equivocation, he finds out that he has only to lead the frail sister to the altar, and do legitimate justice to bis infant son, of whose existence, by the way, he is up to this moment ignorant. What was simple wretchedness, now becomes anguish, doubled, complicated, and intolerable. Marry her sister, and before her eyes !-see the world in ashes rather than such an outrage! A glorious opportunity for escape is presented. lle contrives to anticipate the colonel as leader of a forlorn lope; a mine explodes, and

« הקודםהמשך »