Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

stead of being illuminated after the usual manner, was lighted only by one ordinary lanthorn.

Abundance of purchasers now appeared. Minerva offered her wisdom, and Mars his courage to sale, at a very cheap rate. To the latter, his customers replied, that they had already a profusion of this commodity in the nation, and that the French were the first people who had brought real freedom down upon the earth. La Fayette was every moment named or sung. Happy was it for him that he could not hear it. The clergy must also, here as everywhere, be made subjects of ridicule. Among the throng was an abbé, who had been deprived of his benefice, whom Minerva invited to be her customer. He replied, that his order, it was true, had always had learning and wisdom in their mouths, but not in their hearts. He therefore made his bow to her, and went over to Bacchus and Cupid, whose wares throughout found the readiest sale.

But since few at last became purchasers, and the deities expressed their surprise at it, the goddess Liberty herself appeared in the form of a fat milkmaid, and said she would explain the riddle. It is well known, she observed, that the French love variety in their amusements. Wisdom, courage, love, and wine, they had possessed for many centuries, but liberty never till this moment, and it was therefore most natural that they should now run after her. Ludicrous enough, that liberty should be considered only as an amusement, which the French have sought by way of variety! Ludicrous enough !-yet at the same time it must be owned that it is apparently very true,

Of no evening since my arrival at Paris have I felt so heartily weary as of this.

The Palais Royal was very brilliant. The shops were all set out in the highest taste, and splendidly illuminated. There were particularly, a number of extremely pretty things made in sugar, and the superabundantly sugared French ran after them very eagerly.

January 2. I transcribe the following advertisement from a paper of to-day, in the full conviction that it can be meant only as joke, since it seems scarcely possible that any one should seriously put forth such a tissue of absurdity.

• In thé Bureau de Foyer, in the circus, Rue du Grand Chantier, at number one, in the first story, is a painter_of much greater professional skill than Raphael, Rubens, or Michael Angelo. He can paint five-and-twenty portraits in a day, of any price, from eighteen livres to a hundred louis, and so on by the week or month. For the poor this is done gratis. He is very confident of soon acquiring a fortune, either by excellent recommendations, or by immense lotteries where nobody shall put in, yet everybody win, or by grand speculations, the infallibility of which is proved in a hundred new and surprising volumes. “All other sorts of painting at proportionable prices.”

My readers may perhaps be astonished, but this is not all.

• Stoves to be had of fifteen inches in diameter, and twenty-five inches in height, which communicate as much heat as fifty common stoves, and would warm the whole circus daily for twelve sous.” Farther :

Chimneys of glass, and uncombustible paper, stoves of gauze, glass, wood, pasteboard, or linen, from vine livres to fifty louis."

If this were not inserted under the absurd idea of an excellent joke, though it is difficult to discover any joke in it, it must have come from a madhouse. I will not be fool enough to go thither, lest it should fare with me as with the audience of Hans North, when he promised to creep through a bottle.

I was so ill this morning that I could not go out. For some days I have been apprehensive of such

an attack, but I hoped that it might be kept off by dissipation. In vain !-I was obliged, therefore, to have recourse to my old friends, camomile tea and powders, from which I have so often received great benefit. Alas! what used to be a balm to my soul in all my corporeal sufferings, is now lost to me, and I feel the anguish of them doubled !

Oh, my Frederica! how unjust was I towards fate when I so often wanted to gather the roses that blossomed around me, without the thorns ! Even those hours of anguish, when I have walked up and down the room racked and tormented with my malady, when I could not speak to any one, no, not to thee, and could think of nothing but myself,even those hours are charming to me in recollection, for then thou wast with me! Then didst thou sit upon a corner of the sofa in silence, with thy work in thy hands, from which thou didst sometimes take a stolen glance towards me, yet cautiously avoiding to wipe a tear from thine eyes, except when my back was turned. Thus sometimes have we passed whole hours. Yet, while all that was mortal about me was in agony, my soul could still feel the highest enjoyment in the serene transports of domestic happiness.

But when these corporeal feelings subsided, and the spiritual obtained the complete ascendancy, what then were our mutual ecstacies? I

gave
thee
my

hand, it was the well-known signal that my sufferings were abated—thy work was laid aside, and I no longer thought only by myself, walked only by myself, but arm in arm we paced the room together-then one kiss, and all was forgotten.

Happy and cheerful, I laid myself down upon the sofa—the more happy for being alone with thee, for never then did I find the time pass heavily. Perhaps thou didst take a book, and read to me, or went to the harpsichord while I accompanied thee with my flute.-Ye blissful hours, never, never can ye be repeated !-Oh, we were so all-sufficient to each other, that everything else appeared superfluous to us. sometimes we fancied we might find amusement at a ball, or some other diversion, and went thither;

the moment the clock struck ten my Frederica came to me, or I went to her—“My love shall we not go home?"-" Oh, yes," was the constant answer, and the first words as we entered our own house were, “ Thank God we are again here!”

Ye, who have never tasted the sweets of wedded happiness, may perhaps distend your faces into a sarcastic smile at reading these effusions. Poor men! In one respect only are ye to be envied, ye have nothing to lose.

In the evening I was so much better, that I ventured to the opera, where the splendid spectacle of Armida' was performed. I say nothing of the music; I do not pretend to be a connoisseur; but the name of Gluck bespeaks excellence. The decorations are indeed superb beyond all expression. The shower of fire that falls from heaven, in which Armida ascends into the air, and looks down upon the burning ruins of her castle, was horribly fine.

I must here make a remark, which principally concerns our German players. The opera was this evening uncommonly thin, probably because the comedians of Monsieur first opened their new theatre, and the company all thronged thither. But notwithstanding this failure of spectators, the performers exerted themselves with no less ardour than if the house had been crowded in every part. No ill-humour was visible on a single countenance, no appearance of sullenness or discontent. Our German players, on the contrary, are always disconcerted at a thin house, and gabble over their parts with evident peevishness and ill-will They seem rejoiced to get off the stage, and the audience are not very sorry to see them go. This I have often observed, even in our best players, and I must severely reprobate it.

January 3. I cannot remain longer at Paris, for were I to con: tinue here a whole year, I should never find myself at home, and where I am not at home I cannot be even contented. A number of trifles, each of which taken separately might appear insignificant, all together make my stay here very uncomfortable. I do indeed believe that the same will always be felt by those who have been accustomed to a certain uniform mode of life ; or,—why should I not speak in plain terms?who are somewhat precise, which is certainly my case.

I like to rise at six in the morning. In Germany, I can have my breakfast at any time, here I must wait till the garçon at the coffee-house shall be pleased to leave his bed, which may not be perhaps till between eight and nine, consequently I am kept fasting for three hours; this is so contrary to my usual practice, that it gives me very unpleasant sensations.

In the second place, the fire warms me only in front, and the room it does not warm at all. I love an equal warmth throughout. Besides, the intole. rable blaze in the chimney is extremely pernicious to

Thirdly.--Notwithstanding that our handsomely furnished with silk and mahogany, they are only paved with stone. This I dislike most heartily, since I must always sit in warm boots, to prevent the chill and damp affecting my feet.

Fourthly.—As the good people here do not usually rise till noon, so they do not dine till evening. This is insufferable to those who are accustomed to order their meals with the regularity of clock-work.

Fifthly.--After having waited so long for dinner, it is at last not worth having, unless ydeed one can be content to purchase a tolerable meal at the intolerable price of a louis. I, for my part, who am of opinion that half a dollar ought to furnish the table decently, do not like to pay more.

But for this I only get meagre broth with sodden beef, a nauseous fricasee

the eyes;

rooms

are

« PoprzedniaDalej »