Obrazy na stronie

Voltaire, of whom he truly said that he | Both were equally debased. All were parti(Voltaire) only attempted to overthrow su- sans, none were patriots. The very priestperstition by undermining morality.,. His in- hood was as corrupt in the mass as the mulvectives were so bitter against philosophy titude of the people generally, and God was and education that he acquired the surname dethroned in France long before the Goddess of “ the Ape of Jean Jacques !” He was a of Reason had been raised on the desecrated denouncer of the immoral system of lotteries altars, by men not perhaps so much more until he was offered the lucrative place of wicked than their predecessors as more bold “ controller-general" of that gambling de- in their wickedness. partment. “ All men,” said he, by way of In the childhood of some yet living Paris apology for his inconsistency, "all men are paid to the king's purse one hundred million authorized to live at the expense of the en- francs yearly in duties. The citizens grumemy;" a maxim unsound in itself, and here bled, and when the murmur reached Versailles altogether misapplied. Towards the end of the powdered beaux were wont to say that the century he was appointed to the professor- the frogs were croaking.”. It was alleged ship of history in the central school of Paris, in return against those very beaux that they from the labors of which post he found relax- consumed more four in hair powder than ation in various literary works, among others would feed many scores of the famished in ridiculing Condillac and Locke, in laughing families of the capital. Into that capital the at Newton as a plagiarist, in denouncing sci- king never entered but a rise occurred in the ence generally, and in maintaining that there price of provisions, and the fifty thousand was nothing new under the sun, and that all barbers of the city fanned into fame the innovel inventions were in truth but ancient dignation of their customers while they discoveries. As a member of the Institute shaved their beards and combed their perukes. he put the assembly into a condition of pro- Let what would occur, however, the court found somnolency by reading his ponderous was ever gay. Madame d'Oberkirch speaks paper on Cato of Utica, and he had a violent of the expectations of triumph held out by the quarrel with the few who had remained Count d'Artois when he proceeded to the awake, and who wished the angry author to siege of Gibraltar. His failure was visited put an end to his wearisome discourse. He with a shower of witty epigrams. “Comment liked the empire as little as he had loved va le siège de Gibraltar? Assez bien il se royalty, and used to say in his pleasant way lève," is one recorded by Mercier. Madame in the café wherein he reigned supreme, and d'Oberkirch tells us of another made by where he was highly popular and ever wel the deceased count himself. A courtier come, that he should like to see how it would was flattering him on the way he managed all end, and that he only desired to live from his batteries at the fatal rock="My kitchen a motive of simple curiosity. He did live battery, particularly!" was the comment of just long enough to witness the first Restora- the gastronomic prince, who at home had four tion of 1814, having then reached the age of servants to present him with one cup of 74 years.

chocolate, and to save whose ears, in common Of all the works of this voluminous author with those of the king and royal family, the we have now only to do with his famous church bells at Versailles never rang a peal " Tableau de Paris.” In this, as in the during the residence of those great ones of the Memoirs of the Baroness d'Oberkirch, we earth within the walls of the palace. But have a picture of what France was in the Eliza Bonaparte showed even greater sensilifetime of many who are yet living — a pic- tiveness than this. When in Italy she pulled ture so different from any that could represent down a church adjoining her palace, on the present deeds, their actors, or the very stage plea that the smell of the incense made her on which they play out their little drama of sick, and that the noise of the organ made her intrigue and life, that, though to many it rep- head ache. resents contemporary history, it reads like The bourgeois of Versailles were probably romance, the scene of which is in a far-off less democratic than those of the capital, for land, and the incidents too improbable to tradesmen of repute vied with each other in even require belief.

purchasing the dishes that came untasted Wide apart as were the conditions, oppo- from the royal table. Commoner people site as were the sympathies, and also the bought as eagerly, but for superstitious purantipathies, of the baroness and the bour- poses, the fat of the dead from the execugeois, their respective testimony conducts to tioner, who was paid eighteen thousand but one conclusion — that, when they wrote, francs yearly for performing his terrible the entire social state of France was rotten to duties. The executioner, in consequence, the very core. The nobles were loyal only was himself something of an aristocrat. He because they found their interests concerned was a potentate and was well paid. He kept in so being; the commons were rebellious of less flaming fires on his hearth perhaps, and spirit, and careless of judgment to direct it. I wore less fine linen, than the grave-diggers

a class who found their fuel in coffins and who bespattering the philosophers, mathemati. wore no shirts but such as they could steal cians, and linguists that plodded basely by out of aristocratic graves. It was a time them on foot. “ La Robe dine, Finance when honesty consisted solely in being well- soupe," is a saying that also illustrates a dressed. Clerks at forty pounds a year, says fashion of the day. Of fashion at court, Mercier, walk abroad in velvet coats and lace Madame d'Oberkirch tells us that at presentafrills – hence the proverb, “ Gold-laced coat tions the king was obligeil to kiss duchesses and belly of bran." As long as appearance and the cousins of kings, but not less poble was maintained, little else was cared for ; persons. Louis XVI. was timid in the pres. but even the twenty thousand in the capital ence of ladies. Marie-Antoinette was ever who professionally existed as “ diners-out,” self-possessed, whatever might be the occamight have taken exception to the custom of sion. It was etiquette to kiss the edge of her placing carved fruits and wooden joints upon robe. The following is highly characteristic otherwise scantily furnished tables. T'he of the stilted fashion of the times. wooden pears of Australia were not then

I had an adventure this evening that at first known they would have been the fashiona- embarrassed me a little, but from which I had ble fruit at a Parisian dessert in the year 1780. the good fortune to come off with honor. I wore There was another fashion of the day that on my arm a very handsome bracelet that had was wittily inveighed against by the priests; been given me by the Countess du Nord (wife that of ladies wearing on what was called of the Grand Duke Paul of Russia, then traveltheir “necks," a cross held by the dove, ling under the title of Count du Nord), and the typical of faith by the Holy Ghost. “Why value of which was greatly enhanced to me by suspend such symbols on your bosoms ?'' having her portrait in its centre. The queen asked the ungallant churchmen, “ do you not noticed it, and asked me to show it her. I imknow that the cross is the sign of morti-mediately opened my fan, to present the bracefication, and the Holy Spirit that of virtuous let on it to her majesty, according to etiquette. thoughts ?" The ladies smiled, and retained This is the only occasion on which a lady can the insignia till all-powerful fashion motioned open her fan before the queen. My fan, which

was of ivory, and wrought like the most delicate to a change. And then female coteries were lace, was not able to bear the weight of the absorbed in the merits of the respective bracelet, which sank through it to the ground. shades of color implied by “ dos de puce,” or I was in a very awkward position. The queen's “ ventre” of the same. Our ladies have more hand was held out, and I felt that every eye nicely retained the name of the animal in the was on me; but I think that I got out of the dicatalogue of colors, without venturing to lemma very well - I stooped, which was very translate it; but their less susceptible sisters painful with my stiff petticoat, and, picking up across the channel could, under the old the bracelet, immediately presented it to her monarchy, and even under the empire, un- majesty, saying, “ Will the queen have the goodblushingly talk of their satins, using names

ness to forget me, and think only of the grand for their colors which would have called up a

duchess ?The queen smiled and bowed ; and blush even on the brow of the imperturbable everybody admired my presence of mind. Dean Swist. If small delicacy prevailed, the When we read of such delicate homage as luxury was astounding. A fermier general this paid to the divinity that hedged the was served by twenty-four valets in livery, queen, we can more fully sympathize with and never less than six " women” assisted at her in her fall when she, who had been so the toilet of " my lady.” Two dozen cooks daintily worshipped, was unceasingly watched daily excited the palate of that self-denying in her dungeon by the coarsest of men, and priest the Cardinal de Rohan, while his emi- who was dragged to execution with no other nence's very footmen looked doubly grand by sign that human love yet inclined to her than appearing like “ Tiddy Bob, with a watch in that afforded by the infant child of a pois. each fob.” Gentlemen then dined in their sarde, who, raised on her mother's shoulders swords, eat rapidly, and hastened from table to view the spectacle of a queen passing on when it suited them, without any formal her way to death, put her little fingers to her leave-taking. This was felt more acutely by lips, and wasted a kiss to the meek pilgrim as . the cooks than by the ladies-in compliment she passed. to whom the cavaliers finally dropped their Madame d'Oberkirch, speaking of the swords and assumed canes. The latter came Chevalier de Morney, notices his strong: in when the ladies wore such high-heeled method of expression as one " which, except shoes that without the support of a cane it in the society of her husband, would be too was almost impossible to walk. The gentle- broad for the ears of a modest woman" men, with “ clouded heads” to their canes, singular exception! But our fair diarist does tottered, or sauntered, along in company, not appear to be herself over particular. She while fans were furled and snuff-boxes carried, is the warm apologist of the Duchess de according to the instructions of masters, who Bourbon, the unworthy mother of the heroic thundered through Paris in gilded chariots, | Duc d'Enghien. She, however,

tells the

following, “ with great hesitation,” as a sign name of possessed maniacs, flocked thither of the depravity of the times - it is certainly in crowds. They flung themselves before the rather piquant.

relic in wild contortions; they grimaced,

howled, swore, blasphemed, and struggled The Duchess of had one day, received a fiercely with the half-dozen men who seemed visit from her lover, M. Archambault de Talley- unable to restrain them. The better all this rand Perigord, when, the husband unexpectedly was acted the more money w returning, the gallant was obliged to make his

was showered on escape by the window. Some persons seeing him the actors. Mercier declares that all the imdescend,

made him prisoner, thinking he was a precations that had ever been uttered against robber ; but, having explained who he was, he Christ and the Virgin could not amount to was allowed to go, without being brought before the mass of inexpressible infamy which he the injured husband. The story soon became heard uttered by one particular blasphemer. generally known, and the king reproved the lovely duchess for her coquetry "You intend

It was for me (he says) and for all the assemto imitate your mother, I perceive, madame," bly, a novel and strange thing to hear a human said he, in a very severe tone. The tale at last being in a voice of thunder publicly cast defiance reached the ears of the duke, who complained to at the God of the very temple, insult His worthe mother-in-law of the conduct of his wife ; ship, provoke His wrath, and belch forth the but she coolly said to him, “You make a great most atrocious invectives — all of which were noise about a trifle ; your father was much more laid to the account, not of the energetic blaspolite !"

phemer, but of the Devil. The people present

tremblingly made the sign of the cross, and This lady was of the quality of Madame de prostrated themselves with their faces to the Matignon, who gave twenty-four thousand ground, muttering the while, “ It is the Demon livres to Bailard, on condition that he would who speaks !After eight men had with diffisend her every morning a new head-dress. culty dragged him three times to the shrine The people were at this period suffering from which held the relic of the cross, his blasphemies famine and high prices. Selfishness and became so outrageously filthy that he was cast other vices survived the period, however ;- forever to the dominion of Satan, and unworthy

out at the door of the church as one surrendered witness Madame Tronchin, who, in the Revo- of being cured by the miraculous cross. Imagine lution, was daily losing her relatives by the that a detachment of soldiers publicly mounted guillotine, but who sympathizingly remarked guard that night over this inconceivable farve to a friend, that if it were not for her darling and that in an age like the present ! little cup of café à la crême, she really did not know how she should survive such mis Such acts were not so much in advance of fortunes ! Such was the fine lady who wore the age. Four years later the inquisitors of a “ Cadogan" and looked like a man, while Seville publicly burned at the stake a girl the gallants took to English great-coats, with charged with holding criminal intercourse buttons on them larger than crown-pieces, with Satan. She was a very beautiful young and on every button the portrait of a mis- creature, and, that her beauty might not extress.

cite too much sympathy for her fate, her nose A curious and revolting custom prevailed at was cut off previous to her being led to executhis same period. During Passion Week all tion! Mercier relates this on the authority theatres were closed; but more infamous of an eye-witness. It occurred barely more places remained open; the royal family cut than seventy years ago, and Dr. Cahill, of vegetables curiously arranged to represent fish gloomy memory, may rejoice therefore to and other food, and court chaplains enjoyed think that the executive hand of his Church on Holy Thursday the privilege of unlimited can hardly yet be out of practice. liberty of speech in presence of the king. It “ An age like the present !" wrote Mercier, was on a Holy Thursday that a court chaplain in the days only of our fathers. In that age ventured to say from the pulpit, in the royal it was deemed impossible to carry the shrines hearing of Louis XIV., that " we are all of St. Marcel and Geneviève at the same time mortal," and when the monarch, who could through one street. Whenever the respective not bear the sight of the towers of the cathe-bearers ventured on such a feat they invaridral of St. Denis, sternly looked up at the ably beheld a miracle, exemplifying the atpreacher, the latter, trembling for his chance traction of cohesion. The two shrines were of a bishopric, amended his phrase and its drawn to each other, in spite of all opposing doctrine by adding, “ Yes, sire; almost all human effort, and remained inseparable for of us !" The custom to which I have alluded the whole space of three days ! at the beginning of this paragraph is narrated At this period Pretestant marriages were by Mercier, and is substantially to this effect. accounted as concubinage by the law, while On the night between Holy Thursday and Jewish marriages were held legal. A Jew Good Friday a relic of the true cross was ex- who purchased the estate of Pepuigny bought posed for public adoration in the "Sainte with it the undisputed right to nominate the Chapello." Epileptic beggars, under the curés and canons of the church. It is worth

recording also, as midnight masses have just | respective works — placed before the world at been reestablished in Paris, that they were such wide intervals. That much-wished-for suppressed in that capital three quarters of a consummation was, however, supposed to be century ago, in consequence of the irreligious then “ looming in the future!" scenes which occurred in the churches. Mercier pertinently remarks on the singularity of news which gave me great pleasure. It was that

This day (says the lady) I heard a piece of the fact that Roman Catholics who believed the king had registered in the parliament an in the ever real presence of Christ in their ordonnance by which all curés were enjoined to temples, behaved before that presence like record the declarations of all persons who preunclean heathens, while Protestants, who sented their children, without questioning them denied the presence, behaved with decorum. in any way. This was to prevent certain curés The great attraction for many years at many from trying to cast a doubt on the legitimacy of of these masses was the organ-playing of the Protestant children. It did not recognize the great Daquin. His imitation of the song of validity of Protestant marriages, but it gave us the nightingale used to elicit a whirlwind hope for a better future. of applause from the so-called worshippers. This mixture of delight and devotion was to a close. Those who will take the troublo

But it is time to draw these rapid notices after all but natural in the people. The to peruse the works which have suggested cleverest abbés of the day composed not only them will find their reward therein. The musical masses but operas. Yet the Church and the Stage were ever indeed have been judiciously condensed into

three volumes of Madame d'Oberkirch might in antagonism in France. Mercier tells a pleasant story, which recounts how the one. There is a superabundance in them of famous actress Clairon wrote a plea in "claim what squires call potter and what men call of funereal rites being allowed to the bodies

of prose,” but there is much besides that is of deceased stage-players. With some difficulty interest. The writer is by far a more correct she found an avocat bold enough to present that the society in which she gloried was fall

prophet of the future than Mercier. She saw and read this plea to the " parliament. latter august body struck the lawyer of the ing into ruins. Mercier depicted its vices, rolls. Mille. Clairon, out of gratitude, in; of them, that he patriotically exulted that

but so little could he foresee the consequences structed him in elocution, and he adopted Paris was so secured by its police from such the stage as his future profession. On his first appearance, however, he proved himself enormities as the Gordon riots, which had so indifferent an actor that he was summarily disgraced London, as to render revolution imcondemned, amid an avalanche of hisses. He possible. The opinions of the writers apart, so took the failure to heart that he died

their respective records are well worth readand, being an actor in the eye of the church, ing: That of Mercier has been well-nigh forwas pronounced excommunicate and was gotten, but its graphic power, its wit, and buried like Ophelia, with “maimed rites."

variety ill-deserved such oblivion. That of Mercier tells us that there were not less the baroness, prolix and ill-translated as it is, than five thousand special masses daily cele- mirrors of the times, and all that passed

has also its certain value. Both are real brated in Paris at the charge of sevenpence-before their polished surface is represented halfpenny each! The Irish priests in the capital, he says, were not too scrupulous to thereon with a fidelity that soinetimes terrifies celebrate two in one day, thus obtaining a

as much as it amuses. second sevenpence-halfpenny by what their under the first head; but it is far from being

The following, from Mercier, may come French confrères considered rank impiety: the worst case that might be cited. As an Among the poorer brotherhood was chosen the • Porte-Dieu.” Such was the rather start instance of the results of common hospital ling, popular name for the penniless priest hired practice, it contrasts startlingly with what to sit up o’nights, and carry the holy sacra- now occurs in the same locality. ment" to the sick or dying. In rainy weather The corpses daily vomited forth by the hospital la bon Dieu” was conveyed by the reverend of the Hotel Dieu are carried to Clamart, a vast porter in a hackney coach, on which occasions cemetery whose gulf is ever open. These bodies The coachman always drove with his hat rev- are uncoffined ; they are simply sewed up in a erently under his arm. When the “ Porte- winding sheet. They are hurriedly dragged Dieu” entered an apartment the inmates from the beds, and more than one patient prohurriedly covered the

looking-glasses, in order nounced dead has awoke to life under the eager that the holy sacrament” might not be Others have shrieked out that they were living, multiplied therein. There was a superstitious in the very cart that was conveying them to idea that it was impious.

burial. The cart is drawn by twelve men ; a I have stated above that Protestant mar- dirty and bemired priest, a bels, and a crucifix riages were not valid when Madame d'Ober

such is the sum of the honors paid to the kirch and M. Mercier were engaged on their poor. This gloomy cart starts every morning


from the Hôtel Dieu'at four o'clock, and journeys! These last extracts will serve to show the amid a silence as of night. The bell which pre- different staple of which are composed the cedes it awakes some who slept ; but you must respective works of the Baroness and the meet this cart on the highway to correctly ap- Bourgeois. That of the former will be read preciate the effect produced on the mind both by its sight and sound. In sick seasons it has merely to amuse the passing hour, but in the

sketches of Mercier there will always be found been seen performing the same journey four times in the twenty-four hours. It can contain something worthy of the attention, not only fifty bodies. The corpses of children

of the general reader, but of the statesman, squeezed in between the legs of adults. The the moralist, and the philosopher. whole freight is tossed into a deep and open pit,

J. Dorax. quick-lime is liberally poured in, and the horrorstricken eye of the observer plunges into an abyss yet spacious enough to hold all the living inhabitants of the capital. There is holiday rember morning, when the sky, the air, and all

A TAME BUTTERFLY. - One cold, bleak Nohere on All Souls' day. The populace contem- nature wore that sullen and desponding look so plate the spot wherein so many of them are des, peculiar to our climate at this season, a lady, who tined to lie ; and kneeling and praying only for the first time had risen from a bed of sickness, precede the universal drinking and debauchery.

went into an adjoining apartment, where she

perceived a gay and beautiful butterfly in the Let us turn, by way of conclusion, from window. Astonished at finding this creature of burials to bridals. In the account given by flowers and sunshine in so uncongenial a situation, Madame d'Oberkirch of the marriage of the she watched its movements and operations. As the Prince de Nassau Saarbruck with Mle. de sun came out for a bright, brief space, it fluttered Montbarrey we recognize not only what the joyously about the window, and imparted to the fair authoress calls “ a very grand affair," sick-room an air of cheerfulness and hope. Tobut an infinitely amusing one to boot. We wards evening, however, the tiny creature spare our readers the execrable poetry, by“ a drooped its wings; the lady then placed it in a drawing-room poet,” which was read with glass tumbler on the mantel-piece. During the great aridity during the bridal festivities. night, hard frost came on, and the room was in it is necessary, howerer, to allude to the butterfly lay in the bottom of the tumbler appa

consequence very cold. In the morning, the effusion, as will be seen from what follows :

rently dead. The invalid, grieved that her

gentle companion of the previous day should so These verses are very stupid, but I quote them soon perish, made some effort to restore its fragile because they amused us exceedingly when we con- existence. She put it on her own warm hand, sidered that this husband,“ possessor of your and breathing upon it, perceived it give signs of charms,” and who “ to love's enchanting bliss returning animation ; she then once more placed shall wake," was a child of twelve years of age, it in its glass-house on the rug before the fire. who wept from morning to night, frantic at be- Soon the elegant little insect spread out its maing made an object of universal curiosity, flying ny-colored wings, and flew to the window, where from his wife, and eren repulsing her with the the sun was shining brightly. By and hy, the rudeness of an ill-bred child, and having no sun retired, and the window-panes getting cold, desire to claim a title whose signification he did the creature sank down on the carpet again, not understand.

During the ball, the apparently lifeless. The same means were used bridegroom could on no account consent to dance to restore animation, and with the same success. with the bride. He was at length threatened This alternation of life and death went on for with a whipping in case of further refusal, and many days, till at last the grateful little thing promised a deluge of sugar-plums and all sorts became quite tame, and seemed to be acquainted of amusements if he complied. Whereupon he with its benefactress. When she went to the consented to lead her through a minuet. Though window, and held out her finger, it would, of its he showed so great an aversion to her who had own accord, hop upon it ; sometimes it would a legal claim upon his attentions, he manifested settle for an hour at a time upon her hand a great sympathy for little Louisa de Dietrich, a or neck, when she was reading or writing. Its child of his own age, and returned to sit beside food consisted of honey ; a drop of which the her as soon as he could free himself from the lady would put upon her hand, when the butennuyeuse ceremony of attending on his bride. terfly would uncurl its sucker, and gradually sip This was the husband whose “ rapt embrace" it up ; then it usually sipped up a drop of water awaited the young princess. My brother under- in the same way. The feeding took place only took to console him, and was showing him some once in three or four days. In this manner its prints in a large book. Amongst them there existence was prolonged through the whole winhappened to be one which represented a marriage ter, and part of the following spring. As it approcession, which, as soon as the child saw, he proached the end of its career, its wings became shut the book, exclaiming, " Take it away, sir, quite transparent, and its spirits apparently de take it away! What have I to do with that? jected. It would rest quietly in its “crystal palit is shocking — and hold,” continued he, point- ace" even when the sun was wooing it to come ing out a tall figure in the group, “ there is one out, and at last, one morning in April, it was that is like Mademoiselle de Montbarrey.” found dead - quite dcad. — Chambers' Journal.


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