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and (pardon me if I add) the cat. And I trust I have not now intruded in any way upon the unaffectedly peaceful and modest tastes of the lady of whom I speak. I would not indeed willingly do so. May the feelings she wishes to keep sacred, whatever they may be, always be held so! She is at present in England, and may probably read these lines. If she does, she will soon, know who is the writer of them, and at the same time believe that he esteems and respects her, as the kind one who, in a strange country, sat by his bed-side of pain, and cheered him with the recitation of the ballads of her own Vaderland.
When I first saw Lafayette, he was in his seventy-sixth year; I had known that fact before he appeared, and therefore, from former disappointments as to the question of age, I may be forgiven, notwithstanding my moral estimate of the individual, some doubts which I allowed myself to form as to his personal expression. But never were groundless apprehensions more speedily removed. I saw before me a man certainly looking more than ten years less than his attributed age: tall, upright, and, with the exception of a very slight stiffness in his left knee, apparently quite disencumbered of years; and even this was accounted for as an accident. He was fully clothed in black, and wore only one little ribbon, through one of the button-holes of his coat. It would be ridiculous to speak of his over-kind manner to myself; but as to his general manner and bearing, they impressed me, after some little experience of modern Frenchmen, with the idea of what perhaps is now somewhat scarce-perfect politeness without courtierism or cullottism ;-I thought him, in fact, the most finished gentleman I had yet seen. Every word that he spoke in his deep, almost guttural, but still very melodious voice, was kind or forcible as the occasion required. His motions and action were perfectly graceful, though borrowed neither from the school of Louis XIV. nor from that of the Fauxbourg St. Antoine. In his early days he must have been taking face, and figure, and everything else into consideration-a very fine-looking animal; and along with his talents, virtues, and chivalrous character, how much natural accident must have served him! His face, at seventy-six, was full-muscled, clear-coloured, almost unmarked by a wrinkle, tranquil, self-possessed, intent; but, above all--all-benevolent. Indeed, I do not think I ever before saw in a living man, or in picture or statue, so much of benevolence as his countenance, taken altogether, conveyed. And yet, when brightened up with conversation, his fine manly eye opened more widely, and his out-breathing lips became more than usually compressed ;—the unostentatious spiritedness, the tranquil but forcible truth of their character, indicated the volumes, and almost the century, which we know of this true hero.
I felt that I was speaking with, perhaps (to his exclusive honour be it spoken) the public man without an arrière-pensée-with the unprovoked, and therefore the purer Mirabeau of the old Revolution—with the universal patriot who had studied Liberty in woods, before he returned to his own country to look for her in vain among courtiers and in palaces—who had begun his career of making his fellow-creatures more free and more happy, merely that they might be made so—who had never hidden under that God-like wish a single lurking notion of personal aggrandizement-who was as simple in the manifestation and in the.elements of his individuality, as were the objects of his life-long ambition,
Yes, and there was chivalry, too, in him, upon him, and about himchivalry, but balanced and directed—the chivalry of advanced society, or what ought to be advanced society—the chivalry of truth, of telling truth, and of acting by the telling of it; and that truth-Liberty! Liberty without blood! Liberty, accomplished without creating the occasion for encroaching upon the real peace or good of a living creature. Easiness of character I had heard attributed to Lafayette ; and in using this cant word“ easiness," a few that had discussed him in my presence used to smile, either really or pretendingly. But he was, and is, far above any little attempt of that kind. Lafayette has never yet acted from easiness of character; he has always acted from consistency, from uniqueness of character. Talky people mention Versailles, and so forth, but they do so without looking at the man. This must ever be said of him-that with the physical machinery often in his hands to work what he wished, he has invariably paused between his own dearest anticipations, and inhuman or uncivilized excess.
It may be sneered or whispered, also, that he wanted energy or good observation, in dealing, from youth upwards, with the men he had to encounter. But this is merely shallow. In real largeness, and truth, and virtuous clearness of view, while considering means for his great end; Lafayette was beyond his age—honester, ay, and wiser than it. But how was he to have learned, in the first instance, at least, his superiority over any man? Knowing himself to be straightforward, disinterested, and philanthropic, was that a reason why he should have suspected others, at a glance, of crookedness, of paltry selfish views, or of savage cruelty, at the very moment that the words of his own heart and mind seemed echoed on their false lips ? or was he to have tried to practise upon them, as they did upon him, and thus become even as they, and cease to be himself? 'Tis a silly aspersion of his true nature. He took men, not, credulously, as they affected to be, but as what they ought to have been from their time, their position, and their experience. If he did not so find them, whose was the fault? and having once unmasked them, could he act with them ? what could he do but what he did-withdraw from them? Woe has been to France in consequence of Lafayette’s having found few or none to build up with him a true liberty for her! and woe will visit her again, and the civilized world along with her, if men like him cannot be produced to stand at the helm of affairs, and smile at that coasting, shifting, cowardly, bad pilot-Diplomacy.
You may scribble, if you like, on Lafayette's tomb, with a black-lead pencil, that the very man he trusted to three or four years ago outwitted him ; that is, deliberately deceived him ; that is, seemed to tell him the plainest truth, but told him lies all the time: but what has that to do with the real character of Lafayette ? or can that scribble stain his real memory or his monument ?
It has been announced in the “ Constitutionnel " here, and not since contradicted, at least by that journal, that five soi-disant republicans, imprisoned at St. Pélagie, illuminated the windows of their apartments the evening of the day that they received intelligence of his death. And how can that circumstance affect Lafayette any more than the other? In truth, with the selfish, the intriguing, the despotic, or the ferocious, Lafayette never has had, never could have had any common cause. No matter how factions and parties differed from each other, they were equally unconnected with him. Terror did not scare him; the glory of military empire did not dazzle him; in restorations, he saw nothing restored; and in the very last attempt to mince matters, he felt that he still stood almost alone; and from each of the dominations alluded to, he retired, finding in estrangement his only self-assertion. Whenever he ought not to be abroad in the world, he was at home, at his own fireside, From the beginning of his youthful career to the hour of his death, there is indeed an almost unrivalled oneness in the great patriot's character. Yes—perhaps the very keystone of the arch of his fame is—consistency; that consistency meaning harmony with the good and the generous, as well as with the expanded and the aspiring.
A kind of niche had been remaining vacant in my mind, for want of a personal impression of Lafayette to fill it up, as it were, like a statue. We met, and it was immediately occupied, and in the manner that I had ever wished it to be. Had it been my fortune to have encountered him in the prime of his life, and in the first blossoming of his chivalrous honours, he could not, as an individual, have more gratified me. He knew I was Irish; and had even done me the honour of having looked over something of much that I have scribbled in connexion with my country, and, in the spirit of politeness and indulgence to me, Ireland was, therefore, his chosen theme. Her past history, that is, as much of it as he had himself lived through,-he particularly glanced at. He spoke with warmth and enthusiasm of the old Volunteers, and made my heart throb, and, I suppose, my cheeks flush with pride, when he admitted them to be the first national guard, worthy of the name, that the world had witnessed. To my infinite surprise, he was as intimately acquainted with their more important proceedings and concerns as if he had been amongst them, or as if they had been his own countrymen. He could faithfully trace their rise, decline, and extinction, giving reasons as he went along. He had been in correspondence, during the best days of the Volunteers, with one of their most zealous abettors, Sir Edward Newenham; and towards the memory of that gentleman he expressed himself in terms of much respect and regard. The accuracy and promptness of his memory as regarded persons, places, dates, and events, were to me truly wonderful, and supplied me with an additional reason for concluding that years had not yet encroached, to the slightest observable extent, upon his strongly-framed mind.
Changing topics at his own pleasure, for I did not presume to start one, the good old man next asked questions or made observations with a view of giving the individual pleasure. He flattered my poor goose-quill, he condoled with my inferior state of health, he inquired after my children, who he heard were at school in another town; he went up to a sketch of my little girl, praised its expression to her mother and to me; and, in fact, spoke and smiled in such a manner that, forgetting altogether the hero, it was impossible not to love the man.
Some one may possibly accuse me of making a great fuss about this visit-may sneer at me, and say, “ He seems so proud of it !” prouder of it than of any other event of my life. It was unexpected, and, false modesty apart, not felt to be merited ; and, therefore, perhaps I am prouder of it still: and, despite of my fears of criticism, I will add that, notwithstanding he had serious business to despatch in Paris, and that his stay was limited, the visit was a long, an unusually long one.
We seldom met afterwards. His residence in the country, my indisposition, and a Paris winter, separated us. But—and I boast again—I have in my possession an invitation to come and see him at La Grange, written in terms too flattering even for my vanity. He wrote to me, too, not many days before his death. The last time I saw him was at the gate of Père la Chaise; he had just come out from attending the obsequies of the poor young deputy who was killed, a few months ago, in a political duel with a general officer. The people were drawing him in his carriage. He looked exhausted and pale. I never heard more enthusiastic cheering; that day I learned that a French crowd could cheer, although former public scenes had led me to doubt the fact.
As he passed me, our eyes met, and he saluted me cordially: I joined—I could not help it -in the “ Vive le Général!” which rang around me; and whether it was that, or his kind notice of me, which produced the effect, I came in for a momentary and slight share of popular honours from a crowd who did not know a single thing in the world about me. The day was cold and bleak, and I fear that his long exposure to the air, bareheaded, while performing his duties to the deceased deputy in the churchyard, (that magnificent churchyard !) laid the foundation of the disease of which this morning he died. Indeed, I have heard as much. At all events, that was my last ominous glance of Lafayette.
N. M. Paris, May 24, 1834.
A PARTY OF PLEASURE ;
via Brussels as far as the Rhine!
Without the least fear of exhausting our cash.
We changed it to dollars before we set out;
“We'll drink Hock, when we get to the Rhine."
What! none ?" said Elizabeth Roe, turning pale,
Mr. Dee, “ Let our watches be sold;
Ye tourists, attend, and my moral discern;
Just money sufficient to carry you back!
T. H. B.