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to them in all walks of life. The working classes have their somewhat famous “ mariages de St. Jacques,” which among themselves are highly respectable. The working man, and the lady who takes in washing, or who makes linen, find it cheaper and more comfortable (for the French have their idea of comfort) to take a room together. They take a room, put in their joint furniture; (one bed answers for both ;) the lady cooks; a common ménage and a common purse are established, and the couple's affection usually endures at least as long as their lease. People so living, though the one calls himself Monsieur Thomas, and the other Mademoiselle Clare, are married à la St. Jacques, and their union is considered in every way reputable by their friends and neighbours during the time of its continuance.
The proportion of illegitimate to legitimate children in the department of the Seine, as given by M. Chabrol, would be one to two,* add to this proportion the children born in marriage and illegitimately begotten! ......
The hospitals of the “Enfans trouvés,' which, under their present regulations, are * Naissances par mois.— Département de la Seine, in marriage,
20,782, out of marriage, 10,139.
nothing less than a human sacrifice to sensual indulgence, remove the only check that in a country without religion can exist to illicit intercourse. There is, then, far more libertinage in France than in any other civilized country in Europe ; but it leads less than in other countries to further depravity. Not being considered a crime, incontinence does not bring down the mind to the level of crime. It is looked upon, in fact, as merely a matter of taste ; and very few people, in forming their opinion of the character of a woman, would even take her virtue into consideration. Great indeed are the evils of this, but it also has its advantages : in England, where honour, probity, and charity are nothing to the woman in whom chastity is not found,- to her who has committed one error there is no hope,- and six months frequently separate the honest girl of respectable parents and good prospects from the abandoned prostitute associated with thieves, and whipped in Bridewell for her disorders.
But the quasi legitimate domesticity consecrated by the name of St. Jacques, is French gallantry in its sober, modern, and republican form : it dates, probably, from the revolution of 1789; while the more light and courtly style of
gallantry, which you find not less at the Elysées Belleville* and the Chaumière than in the stately Hôtels of the Faubourg St. Germain and the Chaussée D'Antin, mingles with the ancient history of France, and has long taken that root among the manners which might be expected from the character of the nation.
Commencing with François I., it succeeded that chivalric adoration with which the fair had been hitherto superstitiously adored. The veil which till then had been drawn about the sex was of that pure and ethereal nature which suited the barbarism of an age that could not be trusted to see things with the naked eye. On first ceasing to be a divinity, woman became little better than a harlot; and amidst the masked debauchery of the Medici, there was not even the pretence of sentiment to sanctify the passionate caprice.
A more gentle refinement breathed over the gallantry of the Fronde, when still in the memory of Buckingham's romantic passion, a sovereign was braved for the smile of a mistress, and the cavalier who has come down to us as a sage, said so gracefully to the queen of his affections,
* See the excellent caricature of " Le Diable hors barrières.”
“Pour mériter votre cæur, pour plaire à vos beaux
yeux, J'ai fait la guerre aux rois, je l'aurais faite aux Dieux."
- No! Monsieur le Chevalier de St. Louis! it is not from the destruction of the Bastille that we are to date those soft indecorums you so religiously deplore. I forget the cardinal's name (perhaps you will remember it) whom the conclave ought to have elected in order to suit the tablets of the mother of the great Condé, and of that beautiful Duchesse de Longueville, to whom the graceful couplet I have quoted was addressed. Is it not Madame de Motteville, who says that this great lady, sitting one day with Anne of Austria and the ladies of her court, was informed that the cardinal, whose name I cannot at this moment call to mind, had been unsuccessful in his candidature for the papal chair ?—“Ah !” said the good princess, “j'en suis fáchée: il ne me manquait qu'un pape, pour dire que j'avais eu des amans-pape, roi, ministres, guerriers, et simples gentilshommes.”
The excellent Ninon, whom I have already quoted, and who lived and loved at this time, as she lived and loved long afterwards, has left
* De la Rochefoucauld.
us, in her farewell letter to Monsieur de Sévigné, a charming description of that French gallantry which existed in her day, and survives in ours. “ It is over, Marquis; I must open my heart to you without reserve: sincerity, you know, was always the predominant quality of my character. Here is a new proof of it. When we swore, by all that lovers hold most sacred, that death alone could disunite us -that our passion should endure for ever-our vows, on my side, at all events, were sincere. Admire the strangeness of this heart, and the multitude of contradictions of which, alas! it is capable. I now write in the same sincerity that breathed in my former oaths, to assure you that the love I felt-I feel no longer. Instead of endeavouring to deceive myself, and to deceive you, I have thought it more worthy of both to speak frankly. When the thing is true, why not say, “I love you no more,' with the same sincerity with which one said, ' I love you ?""
Nor was this levity in love the lady's peculiar characteristic. A little history in Madame de Sévigné describes a scene in which the gentleman acts perfectly à la Ninon. “ The Chevalier de Lorraine called the other day upon the F; she wished to play La Désespérée. The chevalier, with that beautiful air which