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in the enjoyment of high health and spirits, when our and, if I should make a few mistakes, it will only light-heartedness finds a natural vent in gay raillery and sound all the funnier, you know.” sparkling repartee, or we must be suffering sufficient This being quite unanswerable, the piano was opened, positive unhappiness to make us feel that a strong and, after Mrs. Coleman's spectacles had been hunted effort is necessary to screen our sorrows from the care- for in all probable places, and discovered at last in the less gaze of those around us. Now, though Coleman coal-scuttle, a phenomenon which that good lady achad not been far wrong in describing me as “ weak, counted for on the score of “ John's having flurried her languid, and unhappy," mine was not a positive, but so when he brought in tea ;" and when, moreover, she a negative unhappiness, a gentle sadness, which was had been with difficulty prevailed on to allow the rather agreeable than otherwise, and towards which I music-book to remain the right way upwards, the song was by no means disposed to use the slightest violence. was commenced. I was in the mood to have shed tears with the love- As Freddy had a good tenor voice, and sang the sick Ophelia, or to moralize with the melancholy Jaques, Italian buffa song with much humour, the performance but should have considered Mercutio a man of no feeling, proved highly successful, although Mrs. Coleman was and the clown a "very poor fool” indeed. In this frame as good as her word in introducing some original and of mind, the conversation appeared to me to have as decidedly "funny” chords into the accompaniment, sumed such an essentially frivolous turn, that I soon which would have greatly discomposed the composer, ceased to take any share in it, and, turning over the if he had by any chance overheard them. leaves of a book of prints as an excuse for my silence, “I did not know that you were such an accomplished endeavoured to abstract my thoughts altogether from performer, Freddy,” observed I; "you are quite an the scene around me, and employ them on some sub- universal genius.” ject less dissonant to my present tone of feeling. As is “Oh, the song was excellent !" said Miss Saville, usually the result in such cases, the attempt proved a "and Mr. Coleman sang it with so much spirit.” dead failure, and I soon found myself speculating on the “ Really,” returned Freddy, with a low bow, “ you do lightness and frivolity of women in general, and of me proud, as brother Jonathan says; I am actuallyClara Saville in particular.
that is, positively---" “ How thoroughly absurd and misplaced,” thought I, “My dear Freddy,” interrupted Mrs. Coleman, “I as her silvery laugh rang harshly on my distempered ear, wish you would go and fetch Lucy's music; I'm sure "were all my conjectures that she was unhappy, and that, Mies Saville can sing some of her songs; it's—let me in the trustful and earnest expression of those deep blue see-yes, it's either down stairs in the study,—or in eyes, I could read the evidence of a secret grief, and a the boudoir,-or in the little room at the top of the tacit appeal for sympathy to those whom her instinct house,-or, if it isn't, you had better ask Richards taught her were worthy of her trust and confidence ! | about it.” Ah! well, I was young and foolish then it was not “ Perhaps the shortest way will be to consult Richards quite a year and a half ago), and imagination found an at once,” replied Coleman, as he turned to leave the easy dupe in me; one learns to see things in their true light as one grows older, but it is sad how the doing so “I presume you prefer buffa songs to music of a robs life of all its brightest illusions."
more pathetic character!" inquired I, addressing Miss It did not occur to me at that moment, that there was Saville. a slight injustice in accusing Truth of petty larceny in “You judge from my having praised the one we regard to a bright illusion in the present instance, as have just heard, I suppose.” the fact (if fact it were) of proving that Miss Saville was “ Yes, and from the lively style of your conversanot unhappy, could scarcely be reckoned among that tion; I have been envying your high spirits all the class of offences.
evening." " Come, Freddy,” exclaimed Mrs. Coleman, suddenly “Indeed!” was the reply; "and why should you waking up to a sense of duty, out of a dangerous little envy them ?” nap in which she had been indulging, and which oc- “Are they not an indication of happiness, and is not casioned me great uneasiness, by reason of the oppor- that an enviable possession ?” returned I. tunity it afforded her for the display of an alarming “ Yes, indeed!" she replied, in a low voice, but with suicidal propensity which threatened to leave Mr. such passionate earnestness as quite to startle me. Coleman a disconsolate widower, and Freddy mother laughing, then, such an infallible indication of happiless.
ness?" she continued. As a warning to all somnolent old ladies, it may not be “One usually supposes so," replied I. amiss to enter a little more fully into detail. The exhi- To this she made no answer, unless a sigh can be bition commenced by her seating herself bolt upright in called one, and, turning away, began looking over the her chair, with her eyes so very particularly open, that pages of a music-book. it seemed as if, in her case, Macbeth or some other " Is there nothing you can recollect to sing, my wonder-worker had effect lly “murdered sleep." By dear ?" asked Mrs. Coleman. slow degrees, however, their lids began to close; she She paused for a moment as if in thought, ere she grew less and less "wide awake," and, ere long, was fast replied, as a church; her next move was to nod complacently “ There is an old air, which I think I could remember; to the company in general, as if to demand their atten- but I do not know whether you will like it. The tion. She then oscillated gently to and fro for a few words,” she added, glancing towards me, “ refer to the seconds to get up the steam, and concluded the per- subject on which we have just been speaking.” formance by suddenly flinging her head back, with an She then seated herself at the instrument, and after insane jerk, over the rail of the chair, at the imminent striking a few simple chords, sang, in a sweet, rich voice, risk of breaking her neck, uttering a loud snort of the following stanzas :triumph as she did so.
1. Trusting the reader will pardon, and the humane
Behold how brightly seeming society award me a medal for this long digression, I
All nature shows! resume the thread of my narrative.
In golden sun-light gleaming,
Blushes the rose. Freddy, my dear, can't you sing that droll Italian
How very happy things must be song your cousin Lucy taught you? I'm sure poor Miss
That are so bright and fair to see! Saville must feel quite dull and melancholy;"
Ah, no! in that sweet flower, “ Would she did !" murmured I to myself.
A worm there lies; “Who is to play it for me?" asked Coleman.
And lo! within the hour, Well, my love, I'll do my best,” replied his mother;
It fades-it dies.
I could not employ the next two or three days to better Behold, young beauty's glances
advantage than in “ doing a little bit of Edipus," as Around she flings;
Coleman would have termed it, or, in plain English,
' finding her out;"--and hereabouts I fell asleep.
RAMBLES IN BELGIUM.
No. VIII.-- ANTWERP.
The road from Valines to Antwerp is flat and dull
enough, and has few features of interest. The old Towards the greenwood's cover
châteaux, with their odd-looking turrets, and the straight The maiden steals,
formal rows of poplars, are occasionally passed; the And, as she meets her lover, Her blush reveals
fields always presenting an abundant population most How very happy all must be
industriously employed. The nearer Antwerp is apWho love with trustful constancy.
proached, the land becomes somewhat uneven, and the By cruel fortune parted,
majestic tower of the cathedral soars over every thing She learns too late, How some die broken-hearted
near and around. The steeple is very lofty, and can be Ah! hapless fate!
seen for a considerable distance. Flax is cultivated to The air to which these words were set was a simple some ears that I had given me were plump and of the
a great extent; and wheat grows most luxuriantly,plaintive old melody, well suited to their expression, and Miss Saville sang with much taste and feeling. When finest quality. The women in the fields fag away, she reached the last four lines of the second verse, her regardless of the sun, and seem much more inured to
It does not need any guide eyes met mine for an instant, with a sad reproachful their work than the men. glance, as if upbraiding me for having misunderstood or valet de place to inform a traveller to Antwerp that her, and there was a touching sweetness in her voice, as it is a fortified city. Entering by the Porte de Borgershe almost whispered the refrain, “Ah! well a day!" hout, the drawbridges, fossés, mounds, etc., are passed which seemed to breathe the very soul of melancholy.
in succession, and seem to spread their ramifications in “Strange, incomprehensible girl!" thought I, as I gazed with a feeling of interest I could not restrain, upon her all directions. It is soon evident what a stronghold the beautiful features, which were now marked by an ex- place must be. The streets are very narrow and gloomy, pression of the most touching sadness, “who could believe and in some parts have a most sombre look. that she was the same person who, but five minutes The Place Vert is in the heart of the city, and, being since, seemed possessed by the spirit of frolic and merri- full of trees, and containing several cafés and hotels, ment, and appeared to have eyes and ears for nothing affords a great relief to the eve that has seen so little beyond the jokes and drolleries of Freddy Coleman?". cheerfulness in the neighbouring streets.
* That's a very pretty song, my dear," said Mrs. Cole- Near the Place de Mer is the house, and garden, man;" and I'm very much obliged to you for singing it, formerly the abode of the great genius of Antwerp, only it has made me cry so, it has given me quite a cold Rubens, who gave his most superb picture, “The in my head, I declare;" and, suiting the action to the Descent from the Cross," to the company of the word, the tender hearted old lady began to wipe her Arquebusiers, for this dwelling place. eyes, and execute sundry other mancuvres incidental to The Place de Mer is a very grand street, and compenthe malady she had named. At this moment Freddy sates for the smallness, narrowness, and gloom, of some returned, laden with music-books. Miss Saville immcdi- of the smaller ones. There are several very handsome ately fixed upon a lively duet which would suit their houses in it; one has the royal arms over it, and is voices, and song followed song, till Mrs. Coleman, waking used by the present King of the Belgians when he visits suddenly in a fright, after a tremendous attempt to the city. The quays are of great extent, and are matchbreak her neck, which was very near proving successful, less. Very near one of them, which is the place of found out that it was past eleven o'clock, and conse- embarkation from the steam-boats, there has been quently bed-time.
recently erected a statue of Rubens, of large proportions. It can scarcely be doubted, that my thoughts, as I fell I cannot say it gave me so pleasing an idea of the artist asleep, (for, unromantic as it may appear, truth compels as the portrait painted by himself, so well known, and me to state, that I never slept better in my life,) turned so often copied and engraved. Antwerp was the scene upon my unexpected meeting with Clara Saville. The ' of a high festival on the day of the inauguration of this year and a half which had elapsed since the night of the monument to the memory of one whom Antwerp may ball had altered her from a beautiful girl into a lovely! be justly proud to call her own.
Without in the slightest degree diminishing There is no city in the world, Venice alone excepted, its grace and elegance, the outline of her figure had which attained to so great a prosperity as this. In become more rounded, while her features had acquired commercial greatness, it was without a rival. All a depth of expression which was not before observable, ' nations held a mart within its walls. Like Venice, and which was the only thing wanting to render them alas! the days of its splendour and glory are past. (I had almost saitl) perfect. In her inanner there was Merchants were its princes, and their habitations were also a great alteration : the quiet reserve she had main- its palaces. Like Venice, too, it was the home and tained when in the presence of Mr. Vernon, and the calm haunt of men who have left an undying reputation ; frankness displayed during our accidental meeting in men, too, who excelled in the same art: Rubens, Barstone Park, had alike given way to a strange Vandyke, Quentin Matsys, Teniers ;-all of whom excitability, which at times showed itself in the bursts contributed in themselves to form a school, and who of wild giiety which had annoyed my fastidious sensi- have here left behind them testimonials of their departed tiveness in the earlier part of the evening, at others in Horth. The cathedral, which is dedicated to “Our the deep impassioned feeling she threw into her singing, Lady,” is very beautiful and very large. It is of Gothic though I observed that it was only in such songs as architecture, and has suffered considerably by the deraspartook of a melancholy and even despairing character tations of time. The stone-work has been frequently that she did so. The result of my meditations was, under repair, and, whilst I was in the town, scaffolding that the young lady was an interesting enigma, and that was being erected for a similar purpose.
The general aspect of the interior is very striking, bleness of mind and heart, or the prayerful lifting up very imposing,—the painted windows, the massy co- of the inner man. The church of St. Jacques is ornalumns, the sculptured tombs-all unite in producing a mented by an altar piece of Rubens. It is a Holy solemn and devotional feeling, as one traverses the Family, and embodies portraits of himself, his two aisles. The pulpit is, as usual, one of those specimens of wives, father, grandfather, and child. The tomb of the carving by Verbruggen, which are so prevalent in this illustrious painter is here. It had gone to decay, and country, and of which, from their constant recurrence, suffered severely; but was restored by a canon of the I began to feel aweary: this one is full of quaint em- cathedral in 1775. A slab of white marble, on which blems and odd devices. There are several monuments is an inscription to record the genius and reputation of in marble that deserve a longer inspection than one the artist, covers the illustrious remains. feels disposed to give them when it is known that a The church of the Augustines contains an altar-piece great work of art is so near. This picture, known all that is of the finest quality of art. In it, Rubens again over Europe, is hid from the world without by two went far before my previously high-wrought expectawings, which are painted on both within and without, tions. The subject--the Marriage of St. Catharine, has and refer to the name of Christopher. One represents but small field for the imagination to work upon ; yet, St. Christopher bearing the Infant Christ. The other on this canvas, all is excellent. The heads of some is designed to be another saint, who seems waiting to saints are perf.ct, and the colouring of the men's dress receive his comradie: at least, such was the impression as rich as it is possible to conceive. I was so tired, I received of the intended effect. On another side the whilst in this city, with repeated visitations to enjoy Virgin is receiving the Salutation of Jlary and Elizabeth, the beauties of Rubens, that I should entail something and upon another the priest Simeon is holding Christ. of my weariness upon the reader, were I to detail the But, admirably as these are designed, they are forgotten half only of the contents of the Museum. In one of and lost sight of when the volets are drawn aside and the rooms is preserved a memento of Rubens,-the the wondrous picture of pictures is displayed. Before chair on which he sat as president of the academy. The that, all things surrounding are as though they were inhabitants place a great value on this relic. not. The excessive holiness, so to speak, of this com- The celebrated painting of the Crucifixion of Christ :position-the masterly grouping of the actors in the On either side are the two thieves; the expression on mournful ceremony, are such as no pen can describe. the faces of every person introduced is wonderful; the The principal figure is faultless; the bend of the body longer I gazed on the marvellous scene, the more I was in its descent, the placid calm expression, and the astonished with the completeness and beauty of the corpse-like flesh, are beyond all praise, and far above whole. Every face is a picture in itself. It is, indeed, all criticism. The whiteness of the sheet is most inimi- a magic power, which can create such a vivid compositable, and contrasts wonderfully with the deadness of tion as this. Rubens has done wisely ;-in Antwerp he the flesh. I never saw any pictorial representation so has left his choicest memorials. Antwerp is his shrine. suggestive of divinity. It is impossible to stand before The Adoration of the Magi is another large picture, it, and remain unmoved.
with a great many figures in it, and is in his finest style An old lady, evidently English, was quite overcome of colouring. with her emotions, and remained gazing, after I left it To enumerate the others would really be to write a to see his other productions, none of which were so catalogue; they will not be overlooked when once the impressionable as this.
gallery is entered. I was disappointed with the Hotel The Elevation of the Cross, the Assumption of the de Ville; there is nothing remarkable in it,-in every Virgin, and the Resurrection, are all paintings of the way it is inferior to the magnificent edifices I have highest merit. I was pleased to hear the lower class of described as adorning Louvain, Brussels, and other people and shopkeepers express their reverence for the towns. It is situated in an old square, and is surrounded works of their own Rubens, and yet, how strange is it, by some veritable remains of the Spanish sway in and seemingly inconsistent, that these same individuals, Flanders; one house, in particular, was pointed out for whose appreciation and homage is so true and so genuine, my observation, as having been the residence of Charles not only tolerate, but approve of, images of the Virgin the Fifth, on his occasional visits to this city. There is and Infant Saviour,—which are placed against the walls an immense pile of building, called the Hanscatic of many of the corners of the streets, and are tawdry, House, which serves as a depót for merchandize. tasteless, wretched productions: at night they are illu- The Exchange was erected during the latter part of minated by tallow candles and bits of tapers, which the fourteenth century: there are truncated pillars or serve to show off and enhance their native ugliness. columns, somewhat resembling those at Liege, in the This custom prevails in most of the towns in Flanders, court; and the entire character of the edifice resembles and occurs oftentimes by the wayside. If they require the old Venetian. It is said that Sir Thomas Gresham, such stimulants to prayer and a remembrance of duty, when on a journey in this place, was so delighted with how much better is the simple cross ! what volumes of this bourse, that he took it as a model for the old Royal real religion are contained in a cross, so emblematic, and Exchange in England. common to all Christian people! The church of St. On quitting the gallery of paintings at the Museum, Andrew has a noble pulpit, tlie story being the depar- I made an appointment to accompany a gentleman over ture of St. Andrew to follow our blessed Lord. Some the Citadel, the works of which have been renovated of the smaller objects are exquisitely delicate, and are since the memorable siege of 1832, under the General finished as minutely as the most elaborate lace-work. Chassé. There are some evidences remaining of the There is a monument to the memory of Mary Queen of terrific bombardment which shattered several buildings Scots, erected by her maids of honour. The inscrip- into dust. The outer fortifications appear to be renewed tion shows their zeal, if not their discretion : “Perfidia in all their pristine strength. senat: et heret : post 19 captivit. annos relig: ergo The time of my departure from Flanders being at caput obtruncata."
hand, I had occasion to pay a visit to the Douaniers, In the church of St. Paui are some works of Vandyke, whose great incivility, and unnecessary and most unand two of Teniers. At the entrance is a barbarous meaning procrastinating habits, I can and must speak conception of Calvary. Anything more revolting or of. On the night I quitted Antwerp, and took my bert li coarse it is impossible to imagine. It distances in its on board the steamer, I produced my luggage for their disgusting details the daubs and dolls before spoken inspection, Whilst the process, sufficiently tiresome of, and can serve no other purpose than to shock and and annoying in itself, was going on-of emptying on offend.
the floor all one's linen and travelling equipments, my There is no religion in such things; their tendency great coat was seized and thrown across a bar of iron in must be adverse to anything like real devotional hum- the room, Presently a fellow-voyager smelt fire, and exclaimed loudly to that effect; little notice was taken | Mademoiselle de Meulan, that she might take advantage of this, but the smell becoming too powerful for the of her talents, not only to extend the circle of her actiolfactory organs of the officials, a search through the vity, but also to lighten the burden which weighed upon apartment was instituted, and my hapless garment her family. Thus what had been her solace in retireproved the cause. It had been cast on an iron which ment, became her resource in misfortune ; and from this had some connexion with the stove, and the latter hav- | time, labour, either from necessity or choice, became the ing been overheated, a large hole had been burnt in my constant occupation of her life. Her first novel, Les coat. For this damage I could obtain no other recom-Contradictions, which displays keen wit, and a great pense than a
ariety of shrugs and exclamations, and, facility of style, appeared in 1800, and obtained such as the steamer, being governed by the tide, could success, as made her name known to the world, and not wait for any man, I was obliged to put up with it. excited a great interest in her situation. Society was The commonest attention would have prevented it. I beginning to amend; it eagerly encouraged a young was sorry when the last glimpse of Antwerp faded slowly person, whose misfortunes had been their own, and who from my sight, as I stood on deck. Belgium, with opposed her talents to her destiny. many faults, is, after all, a pleasant land to sojourn in, La Chapelle d'Ayton was published soon after, and Provisions, and living of all kinds, are cheap and easily modestly presented as a translation from the English; accessible. The people, generally speaking, are civil, it is not even an imitation, the general idea is all that courteous, and obliging. The climate is pleasant, and Mademoiselle de Meulan had borrowed. Most of the the aspect of the country, though flat, is not destitute events, the unfolding of the characters, the form of the of interest.
recital, in short, the sentiments and the expressions, are To live in it for ever and ever, is what I cannot think her own. Few novels are more engaging, though it conany Englishman would voluntarily choose to do. Much tains neither exaggerated sentiments, nor unnatural is there in its old cities to charm the antiquarian and scenes ; it is, however, a narrative which pierces the the lover of history and old associations; but there is heart, and carries our compassion even to pain. The nothing, at least that I saw, to compensate for the source of its interest is derived from one of those cruel sweet comforts of an English home; nothing to supply mistakes, which have given so many affecting works to the place of the parks and groves, and, above all, the our stage, and of which the tragedy of Tancréde is perlanes and trim neatness of rural England.
haps the finest and the most pathetic example.
In La Chapelle d' Ayton, the sensibility of the author is entirely displayed, and even with that excess which
belongs only to youth,--to that age, when the emotions, AN ACCOUNT OF THE LIFE AND WRITINGS whatever they may be, go not beyond their strength OF MADAME GUIZOT.'
when imagination softens their bitterness, and often
even lends them an inexpressible charm : at a later period, From 1795, to the end of the last century, if liberty they are too painful. Madame Guizot, I have no doubt, was not complete and secure, still there was liberty: would not have had the courage to compose La Chaand spectators were able to participate in the movement pelle d'Ayton, and to combine so much innocence and of public affairs, otherwise than by pity or detestation. misfortune, when she wrote: “ The effect of the works of Every one could form and advance an opinion, apply art ought to be such, that no idea of reality adheres to himself to some cause, be concerned in a plan : in short, it; for as soon as that enters it, the effect becomes dispursue an honorable course with some prospect of success. tressing, and even sometimes insupportable: therefore, The revolution had encroached so much upon civil I cannot bear, at the theatre, or in novels, or poems, liberty, that it re-acted against the revolution itself; under the names of Tancréde, or Zara, or Othello, or of there was a struggle, a struggle perhaps unforeseen but Delphine, the sight of those great afflictions of the mind, not hopeless. For the first time Mademoiselle de Meu- or severe dispensations of fortune. In point of happiness lan took an interest in political events; she ardently and grief, my life has been so full, so alive to them, that wished success to those who fought against the revolution, I cannot touch upon one of those depths without a for it had been oppressive, and her sympathy naturally trembling hand. The reality reveals itself to me, through turned to the side of the opposition. What she hated all the coverings with which art can envelope it; my in the revolution was its violence; what she admired in imagination, once disturbed, reaches it in one bound. It some of its adversaries, was independence in misfortune. is but a short time since the music in l'Agnese produced At the same time, she was endeavouring to enlarge her the same effect on me as I usually experienced from the mind by new studies. Her taste drew her towards moral works of art. I could not bear the finale of Romeo and theories, and metaphysical inquiries. She began some Juliet; that of l'Agnese alone, made me weep without books, and tried to initiate herself into the theories of rending my heart." (1821.) the philosophy of the 18th century; she did not finish Whatever may be the affecting interest which pervades them. Her mind was so free, so spontaneous, so active La Chapelle d'Ayton, it is remarkable, that the work in itself, that it could not yield without reluctance to offers but few traces of that indulgence for passion, that the subjugation, which an examination of the ideas of sentimental theory, which sacrifices judgment to feeling, others imposes; it preferred directly attacking realities, and flatters the bewitching fantasies of an exalted imagithan searching without an interpreter the mysterious nation, at the expense of conscience and of truth. Few meaning of the enigmas with which our reason is novels are more free from what can be called romantic surrounded.
morality. I insist upon this observation, because it is The best and most serious books were to her but sub. characteristic. jects for meditation, either to make the ideas she met At the time Mademoiselle de Meulan wrote, there with her own by a deeper research, or to arrive by her was a happy singularity in preserving oneself from own single strength at ideas, which she held not in com- the opinions which prevailed in literature, and in society, mon with any one. Thus, she studied more than she with regard to duty and affection. It was the time read, and gave herself the habit of writing a great deal, when sympathy explained every thing, when devotedbut only in order to regulate her thoughts, or give ness excused every thing ; when the heart knew no account of her meditations. What is written, in fact, rule but affection, no virtue but fidelity. Mademoiselle fixes and elucidates all, and makes us, in some way, be de Meulan was far from having reflected on all things, present at the display of our own mind.
with such serious impartiality as she has since done; she It was at this time, that two friends of her father's, did not then know, as she did at a later period, that Monsieur Suard, and Monsieur Devaines, suggested to there is something higher than sensibility itself, which
consecrates by regulating it. But, in default of principles, (1) Continued from page 156.
her native good sense taught her, that what weakens the
character, what wastes time, and blunts the feelings, I were designed either to portray, or to elucidate them. could not be the real vocation of human nature; and This method had at that time the great merit of novelty. that every thing, even the ability to love, has been In the general zeal for returning to good principles, bestowed upon us for a higher end than our gratifi- literature had not been forgotten, and nothing was more cation.
spoken of than the necessity of following the great In 1801, Monsieur Suard established a newspaper, models in every thing, a sort of criticism which consists under the name of Le Publiciste. A moderate indepen- in drawing up in books the rule for books, and in giving dence, the love of order without oppression, and of truth to art for a model, the examples which it has itself prowithout boldness; in fact, the philosophy of the eigh-duced. Women are not easily satisfied with this criticism teenth century, enlightened and intimidated by the of rhetoricians; we hear them almost always judge of the revolution, formed the spirit of this publication. It compositions of art by the reality, or after their own agreed, although imperfectly, with the opinions of mind, which is also reality. It is perhaps because they Mademoiselle de Meulan, and she did not scruple to take are less learned, that they become more true. When a share in its compilation. She wrote innumerable they apply themselves seriously to literature, and have articles upon literature, society, and the stage ; the merit received the advantage of strength of mind, the ardour and success of which decisively established her rank of talent, if they keep their natural manner of judging, amongst the first writers of the age. The composition they can carry into criticism a genuine superiority, and of newspapers is a work, which, though sometimes give to their literary views something of the interest amusing, is necessarily hurried, and is one which both and value which is attached to original works. stimulates and wears the mind. Nothing less than This is what may be remarked in the greater number varied powers, such as those of Mademoiselle de Meulan, of articles by Mademoiselle de Meulan. The value of would have sufficed for such an undertaking. Notwith them is often independent of the work which suggested standing the constant demand upon them, she was never them : even when they cannot be connected with the geat a loss, and knew, in a species of work in which it is neral ideas of human nature, they at least join in portrayvery difficult not to fall sooner or later into routine and ing the manners and the age. A choice of these articles profession, how to pursue and even to increase that would form an agreeable collection, and some of them sprightly originality, which distinguished and marked might serve for a history of society in France after the her articles, even better than the first letter of her name revolution. Pauline. The remembrance of them is not effaced The reputation of Mademoiselle de Meulan made her amongst the persons of that time; expected with anxiety, daily more sought after by the world. She appeared read with eagerness, they often formed the whole topic of in it as much as her labours would permit; it amused conversation in society, which at that time took up her mind; she excelled in conversation and enjoyed it, those little things with more interest than it would be as affording opportunities for observation, and exercising reasonable to do at present.
the mind by compelling it to reflect quickly, and disclose This was a time of re-action. After violent commo- itself clearly. She felt, nevertheless, that much was tions, society sought only for repose ; every opinion still wanting to the happiness of her life. She had no which could have contributed to disturb it, became sus- one to sympathize with her. Ever independent and pected; every thing that seemed to lead to, or to evince natural, she felt the consciousness of a power superior to the return of order, was received with favour. Thus, all that she did, and life appeared inadequate to it. those peaceful occupations, those harmless pleasures, Her influence around her was effectual and salutary : which appear to some minds the whole of civilization; the affairs of the family were managed by her care, and the enjoyment of society, literature, arts, &c. were taken made easy by her labour. In 1803 she married her up again, as benefits long forgotten, as proofs and secu- sister to Monsieur Dillon, and gave up, on that occasion, rities of public tranquillity. At the same time, all con- her own share of an inheritance that belonged equally to sideration was withdrawn from the things most impor- both. Persuaded that she would always live a single tant to the community ; the great subjects of politics life, sure of the resources of her own talents, and and philosophy gained scarcely any attention : people looking forward to the future with a confidence that were unwilling to consider them, lest they might bring never forsook her, those acts, which are generally called every thing into question. It has been said, that the sacrifices, were to her so easy that it had been almost true wisdom of society was not to meddle with its con- an injustice to praise her for them. Devotedness was, cerns; and France only desired two things, to be with her, the very consequence of her independence; governed, and to be left in peace. This weak disposition it formed a part of her existence; she almost thought made the fortune of despotism; but, for a lesson to she had a mission to regulate every thing, to improve human nature, France, abdicating without finding rest, every thing around her, and to consider herself as learned by experience, that there is no compensation nothing; for nothing common would have satisfied her. for the sacrifice of liberty.
It was fit that she should do much for the happiness of Mademoiselle de Meulan did not at that time give a others, as they could do so little for hers! She felt that it reason for this general disposition, which drove all was placed beyond the common lot, and that it did not minds under the yoke. She, herself, partook of it to a depend on any one about her, or even on herself, to give certain degree, from the recollections of indignation and it to her. She regretted this happiness that she was grief, which the ill time of the revolution had impressed born to feel, but she no longer expected it. upon her. She was, however, far from calling in slavery She was mistaken : it was not an ever solitary and as an expiation for anarchy; and struggled undesignedly, hard lot that awaited her; by a rare dispensation in this and from the sole effort of her own independence of life, it was happiness of such a kind as was suited to her mind, against that timidity of troubled reason, which nature. She was about to fill the situation for which tends to bring back in books and manners, as well as in she was formed, and was one of the very few whom life the laws and institutions, that puerile frivolity, the com- has not deceived. In the month of March, 1807, she panion and the instrument of superficial literature and was in much affliction; her sister bad just lost her hus. servile politics. She accordingly aroused herself to what band, the family affairs were in great disorder, her mind was still called philosophy, but did not adopt all its prin. was harassed with a thousand painful cares, and her ciples; she scon combatted them on matters of morals, impaired health obliged her to give up her literary those to which she had devoted most attention ; for, from labours. While in this distressing situation she was that time, all her compositions prove a visible desire to surprised by receiving a letter without any signature, bring every thing back to a moral point of view. Even and in an unknown hand. The writer did not wish tó literary criticism was to her but an opportunity of give his name, but said he had heard of her illness, and studying human nature, and she drew up her judgments begged to be allowed to supply the articles she had been upon literary productions in the form of essays, which engaged to write for Le Publiciste, as long as she felt