Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

ranged, where a frivolous affection miserably displays itself, in hanging an artificial garland, bought at the gate for two sous, upon the tomb of the lover who was adored! There lie Abelard and Heloise-the monk and his mistress : how many thoughts, customs, doctrines, chances, changes, revolutions, in that sepulchre! There is Masséna, general of the empireDe Foy, statesman of the restoration ; for yonder cemetery, opened only twenty years ago, already contains two dynasties. But pass through the crowd of pyramids, obelisks, mounds, columns, that surround you on either side ; turn from the tombs that are yet fresh, and look down from yonder elevation on the monuments that mingle ages!—what a mass of history is there! Behold the ruins of that palace, built for the modern King of Rome!-behold the church of Saint Louis, the statue of Bonaparte !-look for the site of the temple of Jupiter !--for the house of Ninon de l'Enclos !—for the apartment of Dantonthe palace of Richelieu! It is time that gives a magnificence to vastness: it is memory that gives a venerability to age.

Let your imagination darken that river by the overshadowing gloom of the wood, sacred to the weird mysteries of Druidical superstition! Lead through the narrow streets of yonder isle the gay procession of Bacchus and of Ceres! People the city that I see with the flitting and intermingling figures of cowled monks and steel-armed warriors ! Paint the tumulls of the League—the inassacre of St. Bartholomew! Paint Charles, with the fatal arquebuss in his hand, at yonder window, and the Seine red and tumid with Protestant blood! Behold the Parliament, stiff and sombre, marching on foot to the Palais Cardinal, in deliverance of Broussel; and the town, distracted with the fêtes, and the duels, and the ambition, and the quarrels, of the gay and noble cavaliers of that courtly and gallant time! And now see the

cocked on one side. The poor and more studious carry a book under their arm, the richer and more adventurous brandish a stick.

In the same quarter as the students, and mingling with them, live a great number of the young literary men of France ; of the journalists, of the novelists, of the dramatists, melodramatists, writers of tales, reviewers, &c., &c.; less seriously ocoupied than the poorer students, not so idle as the wealthier ones, they form an intermediate link between the two, and tend doubtless to inspire both with that love of polite learning, that passion for lighter literature, with wbich all the young part of France is imbued.

stalls of the Rue Quincampoix, miserable exbibition of the degraded chivalry of France! and lo! Mirabeau in the tribune!-Lafayette, on his white horse, in the Champs de Mars ! _Napoleon returning from Egypt, and walking to the Institut! . -- the Grande Armée, drawn up on the Place de Carrousel! the Cossacks encamped in the Champs Elysées !.--the Garde Royale flying from the Louvre!--and the Garde Nationale reviewing on the Boulevards!

THE CHARACTERISTICS.

"La nature montre partout la lutte de l'ombre et de la lumière."-VICTOR Hugo.—Littérature et Philosophie mélées.

The truth is, they be not the highest instances that give the securest information; as may be well expressed in the tale so common of the philosopher, that while he gazed upwards to the stars he fell into the water; for if he had looked down, he might have seen the stars in the water, but looking aloft he could not see the water in the stars. So it cometh often to pass, that mean and small things discover great, better than great can discover the small.”– Bacon's Advancement.

[ocr errors]

!

CHARACTERISTICS.

POLITENESS.

Beggar like the Courtier in the time of Louis XV.--Arrival at Calais.-Innkeeper at Rouen.-Comparison between Hotel at Paris and Hotel in London. - Manners of Servants and Tradespeople in the two countries.-Our idea of Civility—The manners, checquered in England by softness and insolence, are not sufficiently courteous and gentle in France.-You see no longer in France that noble air, that great manner, as it was called, which you found sormerly.---Grace in the Creed of Père Enfantin.-Expression of old Ségur.

We have arrived in France. We have seen Paris--the epitome of France—now let us take within our view some of the characteristics of the French people! Many are those landmarks of manners in every nation which laws and circumstances will alter and efface; and many are those which laws and circumstances will alter, will modify, but which they cannot efface :I proceed to consider both. What, reader, should I say of the ancient reputation which France enjoyed for politeness ?.....

“ Je me recommande à vous," was said to me the other day by an old gentleman dressed in very tattered garments, who was thus soliciting a sou.

The old man was a picture. His long grey hairs fell gracefully over his shoulders. Tall-he was so bent forward, as to take with a becoming air the position in which he had placed himself. One hand was pressed to his heart, the other held his hat. His voice, soft and plaintive, did not want a certain dignity. In that very attitude, and in that very voice, a nobleman of the ancient régime might have solicited a pension from the Duc de Choiseul n the time of Louis I confess that I was the more struck by the manner of the venerable suppliant from the contrast which it formed with the demeanour of his countrymen in general.

« VorigeDoorgaan »