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other side of Mons. Julien, but somewhat in front of him, sat Count D'Orsay, with a handkerchief occasionally lifted to his eyes; and ever and anon, a plaudit or an exclamation of pain was uttered by him at the recital of some particular “Chagrin.” At the very instant when the accents of the reciter were becoming most exceedingly lugubrious and ludicrous, and the difficulty of refraining from laughter was at its height, D'Orsay was heard to whisper in a sotto voce, as he leaned his head over the back of the chair I sat on" Pleurez donc !”
Doctor Quin, who was present at this scene, one of the richest, certainly, I ever witnessed, during the recital, contributed largely to its effect. Whenever D'Orsay would seize on some particular passage, and exclaim, “Ah que c'est beau !" then would Quin's “magnifique !" " superbe !” “ vraiement beau !” be intonated with all due solemnity, and a call for that moving passage over again would be preferred, and kindly complied with, so that there was not one of Mons. Julien's “ Chagrins Politiques” which was not received with the most marked attention and applause.
At the conclusion of each “ Chagrin,” poor Julien's eyes were always sure to be bathed with tears, and as much so, at the latest recital of his oft-repeated griefs, as at the earliest delivery of them.
It was always in this melting mood, at the conclusion of a recital, he was again conducted by the hand to the fauteuil of Lady Blessington by D'Orsay, and there bending low, as the noble lady of the mansion graciously smiled on him, he received compliments and consolations, most literally bestowed on his “ Chagrins Politiques.”
Of one of those displays of D'Orsay's peculiar power in drawing out absurd, eccentric, or outré people, of a similar kind, one of the most distinguished writers of his time thus writes, in April
, 1838 :
“Count D'Orsay may well speak of an evening being a happy one, to whose happiness he contributed so largely. It would be absurd if one did not know it to be true, to hear Dickens tell, as he has done ever since, of Count D'Orsay's power of drawing out always the best elements of the society around him, and of miraculously putting out the worst. Certainly I never saw it so marvellously exhibited as on the night in question. I shall think of him hereafter unceasingly, with the two guests that sat on either side of him that night. But it has been impossible for me to think of him at any time, since I have known him, but with the utmost admiration, affection, and respect, which genius and kindness can suggest to every one.”
The last time I met Monsieur Julien was at a breakfast given by Colonel Leicester Stanhope, on which occasion many remarkable persons were assembled. Julien, at that period, had abandoned his “ Chagrins Politiques,
Chagrins Politiques,” and adopted a new plan of attracting attention. He exhibited a small dial, on the circumference of which, in opposite directions, moral and evil tendencies were marked, and to these a more able index pointed, shewing the virtue to be cultivated when any particular defect in character was referred to. This instrument Monsieur Julien called his “Horloge Moral ” The old man was lapsing fast into second childhood, but with his senility, a large dash of charlatanerie was very obviously combined. On the occasion I allude to, a brother of Napoleon, one of the Ex-Kings of the Buonaparte family, was present for a short time, but on seeing Monsieur Julien he imme. diately departed. On the same occasion, L. E. L., who was one of the guests, was singled out by Julien for special instruction in the use of the “ Horloge Moral,” and she allowed
“ herself to be victimized with most exemplary patience and good humour, while Monsieur Julien was shewing off the latest product of his ethical and inventive faculties.
THE BREAK-UP AT GORE HOUSE.
Poor Lady Blessington, when she launched into the enormous · expenditure of her magnificent establishments, first in Seamore Place, next in Kensington Gore, had little idea of the difficulties of her position in the fashionable world, with a jointure of £2000 a year, to meet all the extensive and incessant claims on her resources, and those claims on them also of at least seven or eight persons, members of her family, who were mainly dependent on her. Little was she aware of the nature of those literary pursuits, and the precariousness of their remuneration, from which she imagined she could derive secure and permanent emolument, that would make such an addition to her ordinary income as would enable her to make head against the vast expenditure of her mode of life; an expenditure which the most constant anxiety to reduce within reasonable limits, by an economy of the most rigid kind in small household matters, was wholly inadequate to accomplish. *
A lady of quality, who sits down in fashionable life to get a livelihood by literature, or a large portion of the means necessary to sustain her in that position, at the hands of pub
* Lady Blessington's punctuality and strictness in examining accounts, at regular periods, inquiring into expenditure by servants, orders given to tradesmen, and the use made of ordinary articles of consumption, were remarkable. She kept a book of dinners, in which the mes of all persons at each entertainment were set down; this register of guests served a double purpose, as a reference for dates, and a check on the accounts of her maitre d'hotel.
lishers, had better build any other description of castles in the air, or if she must dream of “chateaus en Espagne,” let it be of fabrics somewhat less visionary as to the foundations.
Charles Lamb, the inimitable quaint teller of solemn truths, in amusing terms, in a letter to Bernard Barton, the Quaker poet, in 1823, thus speaks of “literature as a calling to get a livelihood.”
“What! throw yourself on the world without any rational plan of support, beyond what the chance of employment of booksellers would afford you ? Throw yourself rather, my dear Sir, from the steep Tarpeian rock, slap-dash, headlong down upon
iron spikes. “I have known many authors want bread; some repining, others enjoying the sweet security of a spunging house ; all agreeing they had rather have been tailors, weavers, what not ! rather than the things they were.
I have known some starved—some go mad—one dear friend literally dying in a workhouse.
“O! you know not, may you never know the miseries of subsisting by authorship! 'Tis a pretty appendage to situations like yours or mine, but a slavery worse than all slavery, to be a bookseller's dependant: to drudge your brains for pots of ale and breasts of mutton; to change your free thoughts and voluntary numbers, for ungracious taskwork! The booksellers hate us."
If Lamb had been an Irishman, one might imagine that the “h” in the penultimate word was an interpolation of some sarcastic copyist, who had been infelicitous in authorship, and that we should read—ate, and not hate. Emolument from literature must have been looked to by Lady Blessington, not in the sense of Lamb's pretty appendage to his situation, but as a main resource, to meet an expenditure which her ordinary income could not half suffice for.
The establishment of Gore House, and the incidental ex
penditure of its noble mistress, could not have been less than £4000 a year. Lady Blessington's jointure was only £2000. But then it must be borne in mind, a very large portion of that expenditure was incurred for aid and assistance given to members of her family; and that she frequently stated in her letters, particularly in those to Mr. Landor, thut nothing would induce her to continue her literary labours, but to be enabled to provide for those who were dependent on her.
There is a passage in a letter of Sir Walter Scott, in reference to the costly efforts made by a lady of bookish tastes to maintain a position in intellectual society, or rather to be the centre of a literary circle, which well deserves attention.
In his diary while in Italy, Sir Walter makes mention of “Lydia White.” “ Went to poor Lydia White's, and found her extended on a couch, frightfully swelled, unable to stir, rouged, jesting, and dying. She has a good heart, and is really a clever creature; but, unhappily, or rather, happily, she has set the whole staff of her life in keeping literary society about her. The world has not neglected her; it is
' not always so bad as it is called. She can always make up her circle, and generally has some people of real talent and distinction. She is wealthy, to be sure, and gives petits diners, but not in a style to carry the point à force d'argent. In her case the world is good-natured, and perhaps it is more frequently so than is generally supposed."*
Of the false position of distinguished women in society, it has been very justly observed, in a notice of the life of Madame de Stäel :
"The aspect of ill-will makes women tremble, however distinguished they may be. Courageous in misfortune, they are timid against enmity. Thought exalts them, yet their character remains feeble and timid. Most of the women in