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tures, chiefly by French masters; but as I as much dislike filling my pages as my head with catalogues, their names shall find no place in my journal.
I wish the English had not to answer for the death of Joan of Arc. It was an unnecessary barbarism, that I liked not to be reminded of, and that casts a stain on our country. Some fragments of a tower, in which it is asserted that she was confined, were pointed out to us. Poor enthusiast! her courage deserved a better fate!
Who could pass through Rouen without remembering that it gave birth to Corneille ? Glorious privilege of genius, which can render a name deathless, and awaken sympathy for the spot that gave it life. Fontenelle, Fleury, and Vertot, also were born at Rouen, but one forgets them, in the stronger interest excited by the memory of Corneille; that mighty mover of the passions, and powerful delineator of their struggles and results. Yet Fontenelle, too, deserves to be remembered, if it were only for his “ Plurality of Worlds;" a delightful work that renders a gratifying homage to my sex, by making one of it the medium of conveying lightly and pleasantly many of the most valuable elements of philosophy, in a dialogue full of sense, vivacity, and refinement. His dramatic works fall infinitely short of those of his uncle Corneille ; but his “Dialogues of the Dead,” and his “ Reflections on Dramatic Poetry,” are excellent.
One is often tempted to wish, that anecdotes derogatory to literary characters were less generally known. Who can think as well of those writers whose works have charmed us, after having ascertained that they were cold, selfish, and unfeeling? Thus many of the anecdotes related of Fontenelle have left a prejudice against him in my mind, that renders me less disposed to remember him with complacency. None of them is more illustrative of the selfishness of his disposition than that related of him by Grimm, who states, that Fontenelle having a great partiality to asparagus dressed with oil, was, on a certain day that he intended to regale himself with his favourite dish, surprised by a visit from the Abbé Terrasson, who proposed staying to dine with him. Fontenelle told him of the asparagus, when the Abbé Terrasson declared he would only eat it dressed with butter. The host explained the sacrifice he made, in consenting that one-half should be dressed with butter ; but shortly after, the Abbé Terrasson fell from his chair, struck dead by apoplexy, when Fontenelle ran to the door of his kitchen, exclaiming, “ All the asparagus to be dressed with oil—all to be dressed with oil !"
Dining at Lord Hyde's a few days after, he remarked, that the anecdote of the Abbé Terrasson had brought asparagus into fashion, and increased the price. With an esprit the most caustic and epigrammatic, Fontenelle was inordinately fond of praise. A person one day said, “That to praise Fontenelle required the finesse and talent of Fontenelle.”
N'importe," replied the latter, “ loues-moi, toujours.”
Vertot's works are very voluminous, and his “ Histories of Revolutions," of which he wrote no less than three, are worth perusal.
St. GERMAIN EN LAYE, 30th. I like this old place. Its very atmosphere inspires a dreamy sort of reverie, in which the mind is carried out of the busy present, into the pensive past. Here dwelt the Sybarite Louis XIV.; and here died, in exile, the dethroned James II. of England! How many heartburnings must the latter have endured from the period of being treated as the fêted monarch, until he became to be considered only as the pensioned refugee ; his misfortunes aggravated by the knowledge that a daughter usurped his throne. He must, indeed, have felt “ how sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child.” That the ties of consanguinity are less regarded in the families of sovereigns than in those of any other class, history has given us many examples, from the most remote periods down to modern days; nay, even to Austria, in its abandonment of Napoleon. The son-in-law, the husband of a daughter, and the father of a grandchild of that royal house, Napoleon was too much of a parvenu among sovereigns to have calculated on this desertion. A legitimate king would have been prepared for it.
The Forest of St. Germain is delightful, and as I observed the sunbeams glancing through its umbrageous shades, my imagination peopled it with a royal cavalcade, as in days of yore, when the Fourteenth Louis, attended by his courtiers and ladies, pursued the chace, and the sound of hunting horns rang through the woods.
Here appeared the fair and timid La Vallière, struggling between love and religion, and doomed to find in a convent the peace a court denied her. Then passed the beautiful, but
ST. GERMAIN EN LAYE.
vain and ambitious De Montespan, proud of her shame, and glorying in her sin, Fontanges, and a whole host of other beauties, glided by; the cortège closed by Maintenon with grave yet sweet countenance, already meditating on the throne which she aspired to share ; and enslaving her royal lover, by a resistance, whose novelty formed, perhaps, her greatest, if not only attraction.
I could wander for hours in the Forest of St. Germain, reflecting on the glittering pageants that have appeared among its stately avenues in the olden time, and on the mighty changes that have since occurred. Here all remains the same. The same blue sky looks down on the gigantic trees; the same air rustles their leaves ; and the same green sward offers a carpet to the feet. But they, the proud, the gay, where are they? He who abandoned the palace of St. Germain because it commanded a view of the towers of St. Denis, where he was one day to repose,
has long been consigned to that spot he could not bear to contemplate, followed by little regret, and remembered but as a vain-glorious voluptuary ; a slave to love and luxury in his youth, and to bigotry and superstition in his old age. The coarser vices of the Fifteenth Louis screened the memory of his predecessor from the severity of censure he merited. Pompadour and Du Barry were considered to be more degrading mistresses to a monarch than les grandes dames selected for that glittering shame by Louis XIV., and the Parc aux Cerfs a mure demoralizing example than a court which might be almost looked on as a harem. French morals were shocked at the low intrigues of one monarch, though they had more than tolerated the more elevated profligacy of the other. But a true morality would be disposed to consider the courtly splendour attached to the loves of Louis XIV. as the more demoralizing example of the two, from being the less disgusting.
31st.-Left St. Germain with regret; but the fair, to which crowds were flocking, destroyed its greatest attraction for me, who like its solitude and repose. Fine ladies and gentlemen, mingling in the dance with grisettes and shopmen, beneath trees from which lamps were suspended, soon fatigues even a looker-on; and the witnessing whole piles of edibles demolished, and whole bevies of lovers rendering themselves agreeable, by filling the ears of their mistresses with flattery, and their mouths with cakes and bon-bons, soon ceases to interest. What most strikes me in France, is the predetermination of being gay, evinced by all who frequent any place of amusement. Here are never seen the vapid countenances, or air ennuyé, sure to be encountered at similar scenes in England; where people, especially those of the upper class, seem to go only for the purpose of exhibiting their discontent. This facility of being amused is a great blessing; more particularly to those who cannot exist without at least making the effort to seek amusement. For myself, a book, or the society of two or three friends, is always sufficient, provided the book be one that makes me feel, or think, -in fact, be what I call a suggestive book,—and that the friends are imaginative people. But defend me from matter-of-fact ones! who reason