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Wliat infinite trouble have the priests taken to convince the world that Voltaire was a convert in his dying moments !
Hence we went to the picture-gallery, which is indeed very fine. Ah! I sought everywhere among ten thousand faces, one that I could imagine bore some resemblance to my Frederica, but none such could I find. This gallery contains many pieces of the Flemish school. I was more especially pleased with Rembrandt's famous picture of the reconciliation of the Romans and Sabines, through the interposition of the Sabine women who had been carried away by the Romans. 'Tis a pleasant thing that the name of the artist is here affixed to every picture. This is not the case either in the collection at Dresden, at Dus. seldorf, at Cassel, or at Sans-Souci.
In the evening The Virgin of the Sun' was performed. Iffland played the High Priest, and gave the author a proof that his liighest expectations of excellence in the actor could be exceeded. Mademoiselle Witthoft also, though she only played the insignificant part of Idali, evinced that a great actress may render even a trifling part important. The dresses and decorations were splendid and shewed great taste. I cannot tell, however, why Rolla carried a club. A people who could build such a temple, were, it may be reasonably supposed, past that æra in nations, when the warriors combated with those weapons.
December 11. At noon we proceeded in the diligence to Strasburgh. I chose this conveyance, which was then only known to me by report, partly from economy, partly because, amid such a medley of company, there would probably be more to engage my attention, and dissipate thought. We found five people seated there already, and as we came somewhat late, we were consequently obliged to be content with the worst places. Our company consisted of :
Imprimis,-A young merchant who had stuffed up every corner of the carriage with Champagne bottles. He bore the appearance of strong health in his countenance, from not troubling himself with thinking much.
Secondly,-Next to him sat a lovely girl from Landau, who spoke both German and French, and talked at a great rate with the young merchant. Sometimes they gave themselves out as husband and wife, and indeed from sundry little circumstances, which I leave the reader to guess, the presumption that they were so, appeared very strong. Such, however, was not really the fact.
Thirdly,-An officer from the garrison at Mannheim, who, notwithstanding the established prohibition against smoking in the diligence, puffed his tobacco in monstrous clouds into my face, without shame or remorse.
Fourthly,-A person who appeared like a Dutch clergyman, and who was undoubtedly the most companionable man of the whole party.
Fifthly,-An ugly, insignificant, stupid woman.
The officer amused me with relating to the company, that the baron von Kotzebue had been some days before at Mannheim, and was present at the representation of his · Virgin of the Sun.' He prattled a great deal besides about me and my writings, but since no one joined in the conversation, he afterwards adverted to a more general subject, and made many ingenious remarks upon the bad quality of the spring-water at Mannheim, on which the young merchant, with a smile, cast some oblique glances at his Champagne bottles.
The embarrassment of my servant too, was not a little entertaining. He was now, for the first time, in a carriage with me, his knee squeezed against mine. Besides, this eight-seated vehicle, and the introduction of his little person among a company of gentlemen and ladies were altogether so new to him, that an expression of deep astonishment was very legible in his full fat face. On this journey he frequently ate at the same table with me, and I think I can now assert from experience, that this species of condescension, or of confidential intercourse, if it may be so called, extremely increases the attachment of servants to their masters. It seems to give them a certain feeling of consequence in their own eyes, though without lessening the respect due to those they serve, provided the conduct of the latter be such as not to degrade their own respectability. Ah, why have we bound the good old patriarchal manners in the chains of an over-weening pride !
We slept at Neustadt. From this journey, and the manner in which it was performed, I had received infinite entertainment as well as benefit, since the shaking of the vehicle was good for my health, and the weather was so mild that I felt the air extremely salutary, had not the state of my mind embittered every enjoyment. Never could I shake off the recollection of why I was travelling, why I wandered thus up and down, without any fixed object in view. I was in pursuit of peace and composure of heart, two friends which I could not hope soon to find.
December 12. At four in the morning we proceeded on our journey. Of the company that set out with us, only the young Champagne merchant and the pretty girl remained. So much the more commodiously were we seated.
At nine o'clock we arrived at Landau, the first town on our route occupied by a French garrison. We were only allowed half ar. hour for breakfasting, which breakfast was only to be procured at the coffee. house, which coffee-house was at a great distance from the post-house. 'Tis a silly institution in France that coffee is to be had only at the coffee. houses.
If I had not previously known that this was a French frontier town, I must immediately have discovered it by the extreme affectation of politesse that reigns throughout. Smoking is a thing not allowed at the coffee-house. I asked who were the people that chiefly frequented the place?
“ Les Officiers," was the reply.
When the half hour was elapsed, we proceeded on our journey, but alas! no longer in the best seats, The young lady remained at Landau, and, oh terrible ! her place was to be supplied by seven other persons, making our total complement of passengers, ten.
I confess, at the first moment, my heart revolted so much against this squeeze, that I was about to descend from the carriage, and hire a post-chaise. It was a truly formidable sight to behold one after another tumbling in, arranging, crowding, compressing themselves together, and when it might reasonably be supposed that the whole cargo was stowed, and no room remained even for so much as a lap-dog, to see yet another and another head appear, like herrings, ramming down for salting. However, all was so ordered, that, at last we were tolerably well packed, and those in the back seats, at least, but little incommoded.
Among our new companions, was the mayor of a neighbouring village, who was very eloquent in haranguing upon his office, upon decrees, the notables, and the like. He was recently elevated to his dignity, and having been taken from the plough to be placed at the head of the people, prided himself not a little upon the distinction. Politics were the principal subject of conversation, in which we, of course, did not join. Thus much appeared pretty plainly, that however the revolution may in general be applauded, the new order of things affords little real satisfaction. The tree pleased while it looked beautiful, covered with blossoms, but no one likes the sour fruit.
After awhile, growing tired of politics, I had re. course to the more agreeable prattler Jean Jacques, whom I carried in my pocket." With him I amused myself till the evening began to close in, when I put by my book, and opening the little window next to me, tucked myself into the corner of the carriage. The diligence has eight windows, one in front, one behind, one on each side, and a little one scarcely as big as my two hands at each corner.
It was a lovely evening. The crescent of the waning moon shone bright in the heavens, the great. est part of the company fell asleep, and all being still, my fancy began again to form visions. I looked around for the image of my Frederica, intreated her spirit to appear beneath the shade of the next tree by the road side; and when I did not find it there, eagerly looked forwards in hopes of espying it beneath a more distant one. Oh! how my heart beat if then a white post, beheld through the twilight, for a moment half deceived my senses with the idea of having found what I sought !-Was this an impulse of fear ? --Ah, no! the apparition of a beloved object cannot raise apprehension in the bosom of him who loves. My heart feels a painful longing, but for one moment, to behold the spirit of my Frederica! I would give my whole life for such a moment, since it would change into conviction what now is only hope, that I shall hereafter be re-united to her, hereafter behold her again, press her again to
Late in the evening we arrived at Hagenau. We supped in a spacious hall, where eight large tables were set out, filled with company, eating, drinking, or playing. Many, indeed, were already drunk. All was inirth and jollity, to which, perhaps, its being