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soever it might appear, especially as my belief was much strengthened by her modest carriage and demeanour upon the stage. She seemed to feel an uncommon degree of timidity, and it was not till after abundant applause and encouragement from the audience, with whom she appeared a great favourite, that her voice lost the tremulousness her apprehensions had occasioned. This diffidence, I think, speaks a yet uncorrupted heart, and I put up my prayers to heaven that it may ever remain so! If it be possible on a French stage, may the allurements of seduction never acquire any influence over her, but may she continue to turn with disgust from the poisoned cup of voluptuousness ! Her voice is so flexible, so soft, so free from all straining, that her singing makes an irresistible impression upon the heart; but she is little or nothing of an actress.
My companion was perfectly enchanted with her. He could talk of nothing else when we returned home, and in the middle of the night suddenly started up to write down a quatraine on this lovely young creature, to which his brain had just given birth.
December 23. The new-born offspring was this morning sent to mademoisselle Rose. She received it with a smile, and I shook my head. It seemed but another of the clouds of incense by which her virtue is daily encompassed, and which perhaps will stifle it at last.
I had sent for a tailor to make me a suit of clothes. He kept his hat on all the time he was with me, sans ceremonie, and the cockade in it seemed to cry aloud, “ We are all equal.”
The evening hours were whiled away at the Variétés Amusantes. It is the handsomest theatre I have seen. Everything about it displays taste and elegance. The performers, however, were much below my expectation. The play was «The Two Figaros ;' a pretty, but very intriguing piece, the
author of which is a member of the theatre at Bourdeaux. It is, properly speaking, a critique upon Beaumarchais' Figaro, who is reproached, that with all his ingenuity, he only strives to overreach such poor stupid mortals as count Almaviva and doctor Bartholo. In this piece, on the contrary, Figaro himself, notwithstanding all his cunning, is repeatedly outwitted by the other Figaro, as a disguised cherub. The afterpiece was 'L'Enrôlement Supposé ;' a hackneyed subject, void of wit, humour, or spirit.
December 24. This morning we received a visit from the abbé de R- the gentleman who had offered to procure us tickets of admission to the National Assembly. He had an uncommon number of questions to ask of
In France he was perfectly at home, but, with the true French egotism, seemed totally ignorant of everything beyond his own country. France was, in his ideas, the kingdom of heaven, and Paris the central point of all that was desirable in that kingdom. Russia seemed to him as perfect a terra incognita as to me is Prester John's country. He supposed Livonia to be a part of the Polish dominions, and believed that travellers in Russia carried a compass in the winter, as a guide through the snow. Probably, he supposed the villages to be buried in snow above the chimnies, and that it was nio uncommon thing to tie a horse to the top of a church-steeple, like baron Munchausen.
As I was turning over some books in Cussac's shop about noon, an old man upwards of eighty came in, whose feet, it is true, seemed no longer to afford him much service, but whose countenance bespoke perfect cheerfulness and good-humour. Cussac expressed great pleasure at seeing him so cheerful.
Oh !” said he, “I have experienced many troubles in the course of my life, but I never felt remorse.”
I was pleased with this answer, and on enquiry
afterwards learnt that he was monsieur de la Place, author, or rather translator, of a voluminous collection of romances and other writings.
But, indeed, if what Cussac told me were true, he might fairly be called an author. This was, that he had so much improved Tom Jones in his translation, that it had been re-translated from that into English. I could not forbear smiling.
After staying about a quarter of an hour, monsieur de la Place was quitting the shop. He had already got the door in his hand, when suddenly turning round, as if some new idea occurred to him in the instant : “ Give me pen and ink,” he said, “to write down an impromptu.”
The pen and ink was brought, and he produced the following quatraine, which I transcribed as soon as he was gone. Pour que de deux parties les noms mieux entendus,
Dans l'état divisé peuvent inoins troubler l'ordre; Les enragés, sont ceux qui furent trop mordus,
Et les enrageans, ceux qui voudraient encore mordre. That the two parties' titles well explain'd,
May less divisions in the state excite;
Th' incensers, those who'd rein them still inore tight. Enragés and enrageans (incensed and incensers), it is well known, are the nick-names given to the two reigning parties that at present divide France.
Among the affiches of to-day were two that particularly attracted my notice. One was as follows:
“ A young man, about thirty years of age, of good family, but constrained by circumstances to retire to a pleasant country situation, at the distance of a league from an agreeable town, and about twenty leagues from Paris, upon an income of a hundred louis, wishes to associate himself with a female of good education, and with a fortune of about half his own, who would be willing to pass her days with him, not in the way of marriage, only as a companion. An answer is requested in the Mercure de France. »
Are these the general ideas of the French upon the subject of marriage? or is this only the caprice of a single individual? If the former, I'must detest such a licentious people; if the latter, I pity the misguided young man. But suppposing he be really in head and heart a man, and should meet with a gentle amiable creature, willing to live with him upon the proposed terms, I prophesy that in a year she will become his wife. He may set out upon this plan, to try her temper, and whether they can live happily together, and she may consent to his wishes to gain herself an interest in his heart, till by degrees they will grow accustomed to each other, become warmly attached, and unable to live asunder. It is absurd to talk of possession weakening love. He who ceases to love after possession, never has really loved at all. Love is the regular food at the table of Hymen, enjoyment but a glass of wine or a sweetmeat, which may be pleasant, but can well be dispensed with.
Yet after all, such an advertisement proves incontestably, that an unbounded licentiousness reigns among the people, since they dare thus publicly to avow sentiments militating so strongly against good morals. It was not a little curious, that in the very same affiche was an article of a similar kind, only with this difference, that the man, who gave himself out as très agé, wanted a well-educated young woman as a companion aud housekeeper : his meaning was not, however, enveloped in so thick a veil but that it was very plainly to be understood.
Another article, which I cannot give at full length, contained a most affecting anecdote, and on that account alone I have alluded to it. Among other effects produced by the fever of liberty, it has occasioned many pieces to be brought forward upon the stage, which before were neglected, and scarcely even known. On the Théâtre de la Nation, formerly the Théâtre Français, in particular, scarcely is the representation of anything endured, excepting of tragedies that have some reference to revolutions, and that place tyranny and fanaticism in an odious light. • Brutus,'• William Tell,” the Death of Cæsar,' the Deliverance of Rome,' and 'Jean Calas,' are repeated night after night with thunders of applause. The tragical history of the latter has, indeed, within a short time, been brought before the public in every possible form.
But while the stage resounds with the name of Jean Calas, the people are not aware what agonizing wounds are thus torn open. The poor widow of this unfortunate man has, for the last fifteen years, lived, together with her two daughters, in the Rue Poissonniére, at Paris. She has never laid aside her mourning since the loss of her husband, nor has ever wound
up the clock that stopped on the day of his death. Whenever a sentence is proclaimed in the streets, the maid always hastens down to the criers to beg of them not to proclaim it within hearing of that house, since the sound always throws her poor mistress into a swoon.
I was inexpressibly affected by this anecdote. Never would I be present at the representation of Jean Calas.' It is impossible for anything to increase the impression made upon me by the single, simple circumstance, that the widow has never wound up the clock that stopped on the day of her husband's death.
But, though not to see the performance of this popular tragedy, I went in the evening to the Théâtre de la Nation. I found it a very splendid building. • Brutus,' and 'Le Revil d'Epimenide à Paris,' where the pieces performed. I entered the house somewhat unwillingly, but left it very well satisfied. Not that the performers disappointed my expectations in their sawing the air, Aourishing their arms, and catching their voices, but because I had an opportunity of witnessing the unconstrained bursts of feeling of a whole