as well as a wish to rescue my character from the imputation of neglect in any shape, I declare to God, I felt to care little whether I was saved or not. That which my hearts clings to, is a sight yet of you and my children, from which I look for more relief than from any other source." The same spirit breathes through all his letters relative to the melancholy event-"I am sure, when I recollect the heavy gale that blew the preceding night, we cannot be sufficiently thankful to Providence that the fire happened when it did, else a soul could not have been saved. I trust you have not neglected to write to the friends of the following people-Sibthorpe's ; Mr. Owen, the surgeon, whose wife lives at Canterbury; Lewis, Lord Sidmouth's protégé; Manners', Tighe's, Keene's, and Whalley's -some of whom, poor fellows, were taken up with life in them, but, from the extreme cold, died in the boats before they could reach the ships. You are the only soul I have put pen to paper to; nor do I think my spirits will be equal to do it for some time to come; I therefore hope you have written to

my mother, brother, Stevenson, and Lady Dallas, which, I think, are all. God bless you-farewell." And again, "In a few months, I trust, I shall again press my wife and babes in my arms; and, though a poor, melancholy, heartbroken husband, I feel I shall be welcome to my Harriet-cheered, and made as much of as if fortune had smiled upon me, and sent me home with wealth and honours. All that I have to console me is, a dear, affectionate wife, and that, though unfortunate, I am not disgraced."

All the letters written by captain Blackwood, to those dearest to him at home, giving an account of his disaster and escape, were detained at Malta, where he found them lying, after the expedition, and he was himself the bearer of them to England. The general reports in England were, that he had been lost; but lady Blackwood was relieved from her fears, by letters from Sir Alexander Ball and commissioner Lobb, who had written to say, that they had heard from her husband after the accident.


August Lafontaine was born at Brunswick, in 1758. His parents were excellent people; his father, a distinguished artist and sensible man, though eccentric, and, to his own loss, a dabbler in alchymy, taught him almost all the living languages of Europe, and his mother sang to him all the popular ballads of the country. August was committed to the care of a learned, conscientious, and kind schoolmaster, and was nearly as fortun

ate at college; although he there, in the person of the Conrector, met with one of those pedants who were once considered as the type of German learned men. This," says Gruber, the biographer of Lafontaine," was Schier, the philologist, well known by his editions of the Golden Verses of Pythagoras, and of the Idyls of Bion and Moschus. His great learning and critical acuteness were never called in question, and had pro

cured him the respect of the students, without their being much benefited by the said learning and critical acumen. He appears to have been one of those philologists who, caring little for the author, his work, and his spirit, devote their whole mind to his words, bebecause every word and every sentence affords them an opportunity of displaying the extent of their grammatical, antiquarian, geographical, and historical knowledge, whilst the original subject is altogether forgotten. That this must have been the case with Schier, we may gather from the following anecdote. The students had been reading Terence with him for a whole year. It happened one day, that he, who never made the shortest statement without the most di

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ligent and studious preparation, had not had time thus to prepare himself. To miss his hour of lecture would have been contrary to his strict sense of duty; and as he could not, without preparation, employ it in the usual mode, he told the students that for this day it should be dedicated to the Historia literaria Terentii (Literary History of Terence); and began with the question, Now, then, what are the works of Terence?' All are dumb. He questions one after another; none can answer. The Conrector is confounded, that no one knows what Terence wrote, after a year spent in the expounding of his writings. In some annoyance he exclaims, Look at the title-page then!' All eyes are turned upon it; and if the teacher had been previously astonished, the pupils are much more so upon discovering, what none had ever suspected, that Terence's works were comedies." At this college, Helmstadt, Lafontaine studied divinity to please

his mother; but he afterwards earned his bread by private tuition. In this occupation he took such pleasure, that, upon his mother's death, he chose it for his profession, giving up all thoughts of the church; and that, notwithstanding his having formed an attachment to Sophie Abel, an indigent orphan, and, except as a beneficed clergyman, having no prospect of being able to marry.

Lafontaine now became tutor to the son of colonel von Thadden, a Prussian officer in garrison at Halle. He there formed an intimate connexion with a set of literary and learned men, who first induced him to attempt authorship. He had indeed early discovered a talent for story-telling that had delighted his brothers and sisters at home, and his companions at school and college, and which, through life, seems to have formed one of the charms of his conversation: he had even, as a student, written a novel, but it failed, and he had abandoned all thoughts of the kind. But at one of the literary soirées at Halle, Arnaud's Euphemie was read; and upon Lafontaine vehemently criticising the conduct of the drama, his friends said, "Mend it." Hereupon he wrote his tragedy of Antonie, oder das Klostergelübde (Antonie, or the Conventual Vow), and the approbation it elicited encouraged him to persevere. But he soon found that his genius was better adapted to narrative than to the drama; and in 1791 he published, under the title of Gewalt der Liebe (Power of Love), a collection of tales, which attracted general fa.. vour, and first laid the foundation of his reputation, although a somewhat earlier publication, entitled Scenen (Scenes), which was not

much read, and which we have never met with, had called forth the following qualified eulogium from Schiller. In one of his letters Schiller said, "Read the accompanying book; it is by a young unfledged writer, who will assuredly come to good. There is already character in the language, a flowing dialogue, soft feelings, especially in the Cleomenes, together with much dross, it must be confessed."

Whilst these literary pursuits were beginning, war was threat ening with Austria; the Prussian army was completed in all its departments, and Lafontaine's fortune assumed a new aspect. "The chaplaincy of von Thadden's regiIment was vacant, but the most distant idea of asking for it had not occurred to Lafontaine, especially as the colonel, now a major general, had spoken to him upon the subject, without appearing to think of him. But when, in the year 1789, Prussia armed against Austria, and the Thadden regiment was ordered to hold itself in marching order, the general one day said to Lafontaine, "I wish you could accompany me.' Lafontaine, in whose fancy these words called up lively images of a camp life, of distant countries, and men to be known, of new experience to be acquired, and who was warmly attached to the general, answered abruptly, I am ready.'

Indeed?' said the general, I am glad of it, and you shall accompany me-but how?' 'Why not as your chaplain, if you like it,' returned Lafontaine. The general stared at him, and then said, smil ingly, but my dear Lafontaine, are you a theologian then? This is the fisrt word I have heard of it. Have patience, and we will talk further of the matter.'

The general wished to proceed upon a certainty, and that Lafontaine should first preach, but not at Halle, that he might not be disgraced in case of failure. It was therefore arranged, without Lafontaine's knowledge, that he should be asked to preach at Piesdorf, where the general's lady, being on a visit, might hear him; the general would not be present himfelf, for fear of an accident. All passed as the general and his wife had planned; and, to his patron's cordial delight, Lafontaine's sermon gained the most unanimous approbation. A few days afterwards the general informed him, that he should certainly be his regimental chaplain.

He was appointed, and devoted himself heart and soul to his pastoral duties. He constantly taught in the schools established by the late king, Frederick William 2nd, for the children of soldiers, and was equally beloved and revered by his little pupils. He preached regularly, in general extemporaneously; and, in his sermons, vigorously attacked whatever faults he had observed, either in soldier or officer, and this often so successfully, as to induce the conscience stricken culprit to undertake, at least, his own reformation. And his pastoral boldness, far from offending the higher ranks of his military flock, seems only to have superadded respect to the cordial liking produced by his wit, good humour, and, what the Germans call gemüthlichkeit, or geniality of disposition. The following extract from his biographer will show both his convivial character, and the light in which he was considered in the regiment:

"From the nobles with whom he was brought into relation, he had nothing to apprehend. He

observed all the laws of etiquette, not with fawning humility-which he called a dog's virtue-but with gentlemanly propriety; was never forward, but always frank; not obtrusive, but familiar; never transgressed the due bounds, but by his natural dignity kept others likewise within bounds." (It will be remembered that in Germany, at the period in question, the line of demarcation between the noble and the commoner was drawn with a strictness of which we, in England, have little idea.) "Besides, his skill in adapting his tone to circumstances, and giving every one his full value, and his agreeable conversation, made his society delightful, even to such as feared his wit, which, though generally playful, could be bitterly sarcastic. Was an attempt made to match wit against wit, nothing was more certain than that he would, in the end, have the laughers on his side, and few therefore engaged in such a contest with him. One day he gained the victory in such an encounter by a strange device. A major of the regiment received a visit from his brother, who was also feared as a wit, but chiefly because his jests were apt to be personal and offensive. Having heard of Lafontaine, he was seized with a desire to try a bout with him, and told his brother so. The major, who loved Lafontaine, tried for awhile to keep them apart, and when this became impossible, said to the chaplain, 'Dearest Lafontaine, do me the kindness not to engage in a dispute with my brother, for I must own to you that he always ends by growing warm, and then he becomes coarse.' 'I will not begin, I promise you,' returned Lafontaine; but, if your brother begins?"-That is the


very thing; he will begin. Do me the kindness.'-' Not to become coarse in my turn? Of that I give you my word. 1 will try whether we cannot part laughing.' The major shook his head; and at dinner the encounter began. At first they skirmished with light witticisms on either side. The major's brother, when he saw that he should not thus gain the victory, advanced his heavy artillery, whilst Lafontaine still contented himself with skirmishing. just what should have prevented warmth produced it. Lafontaine was now silent; but his antagonist heated himself more and more, and became coarsely personal. Lafontaine then had recourse to his pantomimic talent (he was a good actor). At the first offensive speech he assumed an air of silliness; a second coarseness followed, and a yet sillier countenance; and so it went on, until Lafontaine sat there, the very personification of idiotcy. The long-repressed laughter of the company now became uncontrollable, and burst forth in loud and universal peals, whilst Lafontaine sat by unmoved and immovable. The major's brother could not but laugh with the rest; and the major, starting up joyously, embraced Lafontaine, who held out his hand to the brother. The discomfited wit shook it heartily, and never more attempted to challenge him."

Soon after Lafontaine was established in a situation then considered as insuring future church preferment, and consequently a permanent provision, he married his long-loved Sophie, to whom, it should seem he had never written since their parting, until he formally offered her his hand and a competence. His honeymoon lasted

not long, for war was declared against revolutionary France, and general von Thadden's regiment formed part of the invading army under the duke of Brunswick.

In 1800, Lafontaine, to please his wife, who was of a retired disposition, gave up his chaplaincy, bought a villa near Halle, and resided there, trusting for their future support to his pen. At this epoch he was the most popular living novelist, not in Germany only, but throughout Europe, into almost all the languages of which his tales, as fast as they appeared, were translated.

He copied nature faithfully; painted men and women as they are ; with all their petty weaknesses, and did not even indulge our propensity to believe in the lasting constancy of first love. He drew from personal experience, and meant to give an exact representation of life, often saying, that novels ought to supply women with that experience which men gather in the real world.

"When he came," says Gruber, "to the conduct of his characters, out of which their fortunes were to grow, he lived with them, so transforming himself into them that he felt their sorrows and joys, not as a friend, but as his own. Cold blooded he could not remain, but laughed heartily over his comic scenes, and wrote the pathetic parts with tears in his eyes. ..... The fire with which he wrote, and his deep sympathy with his own creations, often hurried him beyond what he had intended, and produced situations that he had not contemplated. This brought no thought of alteration; he would rather laugh and say, 'I wonder how I am to get my people out of this scrape.' The only person

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who could induce him to make any alteration was his wife, to whom alone, indeed, he communicated any part of a work prior to its completion. When he read to her the newly-written sheets of an unfinished novel, she would sometimes say, if misfortune seemed to threaten a character that had won her affection; But, Lafontaine, you are not going to make her miserable?' If the thing was irremediable, he answered Yes: I myself am very sorry for her, but really cannot save her. I had rather make people happy than unhappy; but what God himself cannot do, still less can I. And even in a novel all things are not possible.' But if he saw a glimmering of hope, a possibility of escape, he invariably replied, Well Fiekchen (the German affectionate abbreviation of Sophia), we will see;' and he then exerted every power of invention to save her favourite."

Such were the charms of Lafontaine's writings; but they gradually lost their power over the public mind. The wane of his popularity, probably, joined with the abundance of his productions to weary his inventive faculties; for Lafontaine's latter years were devoted to a task which could scarcely have been anticipated. He assiduously laboured to correct the errors, and solve the difficulties, that impede the student of Æschylus, upon a new principle of his own, to our mind somewhat of the boldest. In 1821, he published an edition of the Agamemnon and the Choephora, thus amended.

In 1822 he lost his wife, after many years of a perfectly happy, though childless marriage. He survived her nine years, and gradually recovered his cheerfulness, but became more and more ab

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