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queen, and dreamed that her sway would not speak it. She stood as fair and endure for ever. Contiguous was a room timid as the Boreal light ; he was about in which sat alone, at twilight, the same to leave her, and as she, knowing not woman; unaltered, almost, in face and what she did, put her hand fearfully in form, but with six more years upon her his, at that touch he quivered through life. She sat without an admirer, with his whole frame; and they stood with out one flatterer ; she thought of that downcast eyes, trembling unrestrainably, first ball, and of the changes which had like the magnetic needle when an elecbefallen every one who was present at tric cloud is passing through the air. that time : her memory ran over all the And I looked at Time, and seemed to say bright scenes where she once had been, to him, " art thou or love more potent ?'' and her comment upon all, was a long, and he let a few, a very few sands pass deep sigh.
through his glass, and I looked again In a small, neat parlour sat a father before me; the two were together in surrounded by a happy family. I have another room ; she sat by the fire, talking seen in life, the man who sat to my fancy with some earnestness, and he lay upon for this picture in this strange dream : a sofa, executing a long, interminable he was the noblest man, that ever yet yawn. Time looked at me, and smiled; was placed on earth, to find his way to and the scene passed away. heaven. It was on Sunday morning ; Next, we were in a city on the first of and he had been hearing his children May, and it was Sunday. A long row of repeat the catechism, and answer various children, little boys walking with little questions connected with it; and they girls, were passing, neat and clean in were now waiting for the last bell to ring, their simple dresses, from a Sundaybefore going to church. He looked school to the adjoining church, each with round with a placid smile upon the little a small bunch of flowers in the hand; circle, his cheerful wife, his two beauti- and they were as lovely, and the bloom ful young daughters, his innocent, fair, upon their hearts was as fresh, as that smiling boys, with the little presents upon the roses they carried. And I which he had given them, for having watched them tripping carelessly along, said their catechism without an error and smiling and nodding to one another, and the good man's heart was happy; till the last couple turned round the corhe thought of no coming evil, for he ner and passed out of view. I thought knew no past sin. In the same room, that it was with a repressed emotion and unchanged in its appearance, on Sunday something of a reluctant effort, that morning, a few years afterward, sat the Time turned down his glass, that twenty same man, but he sat alone. His wife years might do their work; but I arrested had fallen from a window and had been his hand. “Not that," I cried. “ In killed. One of his daughters had mar- mercy hide that change." ried a vagabond against her parents' And I saw, afterward, innumerable will, and died in misery; the other was strange reverses which the dropping of living hopelessly insane in a distant hos- a few of Time's little sands could work pital. Of his sons, the eldest had pe- in the life of man. I saw the young aspirished in a duel, which he had compelled rant for poetic fame, rushing confidently himself; the youngest had been confined on the scene, and I saw his subsequent in prison for the crime of forgery, and fate. I saw the fate of the rich carouser he had just heard that he had hanged and the cautious merchant, of the happy himself in his cell. And, as the father and the miserable: a victorious general thought of all these things, and of the returning home with the freedom of his former innocence and perfect purity of country in his hand, worshipped and his children, of his instruction and la- deified, and ten years afterward pelted bours for their benefit, and his hopes in the streets. But I hastened to the that they would be virtuous and distin- last scene. guished, and a blessing and a comfort to Upon the carpet of a chamber, there himself and their mother, there was a was gambolling a little child; a child smile of agony upon his cheek and a look that felt no thought that was not holy, of unutterable anguish in his tearful and knew no word that was not pure. eye. His heart was broken.
Its heart was a shrine of heavenly reThere were standing near to one an- membrances, a dwelling-place of love other, a young maiden and a boy. And and adoration. It looked upward, to they loved madly, but dared not, could adore ; it looked around, to love. There rested in its mind neither the world's features of their evanescent physiognolight madness which is called folly, nor my; those things which cannot be done the world's deep madness which is called or told without a harmony of time, and wisdom: but innocent in its ignorance, place, a juncture of fate, a moral fitness, pure in its inexperience, holy in its help- or predisposition of temper. Such an lessness, with no knowledge but that union of mysterious influences was absowhich it brought from the bosom of its lutely necessary to recount this simple Father and its God; it played and tossed history, by which the author desires to its arms, and “mispoke half-uttered interest those thoughtful and melancholy words ;'amused with a trinket or a toy, hearts, which live on soft and tender it laughed-laughed with its whole face, emotions. But if the writer, like a suras infants only do, for in severer man- geon by the bedside of a dying friend, hood that emblem of light-heartedness, feels a respect for the subject on which the smile, retreats to its last citadel, the he is engaged : in the same manner mouth. Presently there came into the should the reader participate in this inroom a man, whose youthful features explicable sentiment, and be imbued were repulsive from the harshness of old with that vague and soothing sadness, and saddened feelings, and whose brow which, without tangible cause, spreads was dark with the soberness of thought. its violet-coloured tints. around us; He looked severe and unhappy; and the that weakness of the heart whose gentle frolic gentleness of that little child was sorrows are not disagreeable to us. If, so repugnant to his care-wearied spirit, perchance, you are dreaming of some that, as it clung about his feet and looked dear friends lost to you for ever; if you up in his scornful face, he almost flung are alone, at midnight, or the hour of the infant from him with contempt. closing day, you may go on with this Checking an exclamation of rebuke story; but at any other time you would against this cold-hearted man, which fling it aside at the first page. If your rose involuntarily to my lips, I turned to heart has never been softened by sorrow, Time and said, -' who are these discor- if you have never buried some sister, or dant beings ?” My interpreter moved fair-browed girl, these pages will be inslowly away from me, and as he was comprehensible to you. To some hearts, passing from my sight exclaimed, “Thy they will be redolent of perfume ; to past and thy present self.” With a groan, others they will appear as vapid, prosing, I awoke in darkness.
and spiritless as those of Florian. In short, you must have enjoyed the rapture of tears; you must have felt the mute
sorrow of a remembrance which passes, MADAME FIRMIANI.
away as lightly and involuntarily as it
came, accompanied by a precious, but IN TWO CHAPTERS.
indistinct and distant phantom; and
that your heart should be full of those CHAPTER J.
recollections which make us sigh for TAERE are many narratives, so rich what the grave has robbed us of, and in incident, and so dramatic by the num- then smile while we conjure up the joys berless turns of fortune they embrace, that were. Believe me, that I would that they hurry the reader on by their not, for the wealth of England, extort own peculiar and intrinsic interest, and from poetry the slightest of its illusions will bear to be told, all simply or elabo. to embellish this narrative. This is a rately, by any lip, without the subject true story, on which you can display the losing the minutest of its graces. But pearls of your sensibility—if you possess there are some events in our existence any. whose vivid reality can only be represented by the accents of the heart; there A few years ago there was no person are certain details of by-gone things, in Paris whose character and position whose slender fibres, to speak anatomi- was so mysterious as that of Madame cally, can only be demonstrated under Firmiani. That she was very rich, her the most delicate, and, at the same time, style of living denoted, but no one knew the most vigorous shades of thought; from whence her wealth was derived ; there are portraits which must be en- her name signified that she was married, dowed with a soul, and which convey no but no one had ever seen her husband ; fancy unless you can realise the finest in fact there were as many opinions
about, as there were mouths that spoke of the old school, as the radicals of his of her. Like many women of noble, department represented him. but proud spirits, which make a sanc- " Madame," said he to the Countess tuary of their own hearts, and despise de Frontenac, as he offered her his arm, the world, she incurred the danger of as they entered Madame Firmiani's, misconstruction by others, and more “how I pity my nephew, if this woman particularly by the Count de Valesnes, be really his mistress! How can she an old nobleman of Touraine, in 1830. live in this exquisite luxury while she He had just arrived from his country knows that he is languishing in a garret? mansion, was a punctiliously honourable She can have no soul! What a fool gentleman, and had an only nephew on Octave must have been to have given the whom he doted, whom he destined for purchase-money of Villaines for the his heir, and who bore the name of caresses of a heartless Octave de Champs. Country people “But suppose he lost his property at have an awkward custom of stamping play," observed the old lady. with their reprobation those young men «In that event, madame," said the who alienate their estates; now Octave old soldier, “ he might at all events conde Champs, all at once, and without sole himself with having had the pleasure consulting his uncle, or any of his con- and excitement of the game." nexions, had disposed of his patrimony “Do you think, then, that he has had to some unknown person, who had put no enjoyment here?" asked the countess. it in charge of a poor family in the “Stop ; look at Madame Firmiani.” neighbourhood, and who would have The most enchanting recollections of demolished the old castle of Villaines, the sexagenarian uncle were eclipsed by had it not been for the urgent instances the appearance of his nephew's mistress. which the old uncle made for delay. To His anger expired in the gracious comaugment the wrath of the old gentleman pliment which the sight of Madame against his nephew, a friend-in fact, a Firmiani drew involuntarily from him. distant relative of Octave and his uncle By one of those chances which only -dropped in one day, quite by chance happen to lovely women, she was in an of course, and informed him of his ne- attitude and mood of mind, when every phew's ruin. According to his state- charm shone with an especial lustre, ment. Monsieur Octave de Champs, owing, perhaps, to the soft gleam of the after having dissipated his fortune on a tapers, the exquisite simplicity of her certain Madame Firmiani, was reduced toilette, or to some indescribable reflecto become a teacher of mathematics, tion of the elegant and tasteful luxury until the death of his uncle, whose for- which surrounded her. One must have tune he expected, and to whom he dared studied and analysed all the impercepnot avow his indiscretions.
tible revolutions of a soirée in a Parisian M. de Valesnes instantly posted off to saloon to appreciate the imperceptible Paris. without writing to Octave, in colours which throw a shadow and a order to learn all the particulars respect- change upon a woman's features. There ing his intended heir's actual position is a moment, in which, satisfied with the The old gentleman still kept up his con- effect of her dress, with a wit and a nexions with the noble families of the fancy unusually brilliant and animated, Faubourg St. Germain, where in two happy in the knowledge of being the days he heard so many truths, slanders, conspicuous object of admiration, and and falsehoods about Madame Firmiani, finding herself the queen of a circle filled that he made up his mind to procure an with the choicest spirits of the age, she introduction to her under the title of revels in the full consciousness of the M. de Rouxellay, the name of one of his influence of her beauty, grace, and wit; estates. He was formerly a mousque- and then she enriches herself with the taire of the guard, had moved in his sparkle of each eye that gazes at her, youth among ladies of the highest rank, but whose mute homage is only prized as with whom he had been very successful; a sacrifice to the superior claims of the his address was polished and courteous one beloved being whose image is enin the extreme; his language was elegant shrined in her heart of hearts. In and refined ; and although he loved the moments like these, a woman seems to Bourbons with a noble frankness, and be invested, like a magician, with a believed in God, as all gentlemen do, he species of supernatural power. She is was by no means so absurd a specimen coquettish without being aware of it ;
and inspires love all around her, with Firmiani. When M. de Valesnes had which her heart is secretly intoxicated, conversed for a quarter of an hour with while she throws an atmosphere of light this woman, seated by her side, his and life about her, made up of smiles nephew was absolved by him; and he that enrapture, and glances that fascinate. perceived that, whethedftrue or false, the If this splendid transfiguration, which is connexion of Octave and Madame Fir. the work of the soul, can give such a miani involved some mystery. Looking charm even to the plain ; with what a through the long vista of years, he resurpassing beauty must it not shine forth turned to the illusions which gilded the in a woman naturally elegant, with fault. early days of his youth, and judging of less, fair, and rosy limbs, and sparkling Madame Firmiani's heart by her beauty, eyes; and, above all, dressed with a he concluded that a woman, so conscious taste which artists might admire and of her dignity as she appeared to be, was imitate, and which even the rivals of her incapable of a disgraceful action. There own sex admitted.
was such a deep calm in her black eyes; Have you, to your delight, ever met the lines of her face were so nobly drawn, with a being whose voice of melody and her features so purely regular, while imprinted that soft charm on her accent the passion of which she was accused which was equally conspicuous in her appeared to have so little influence over manners, and who knew when and how her heart, that the count, admitting the to speak, and be silent; whose attentions promises made to love and virtue by her were paid with that delicacy and tact physiognomy, could not avoid drawing which set you at once and for ever at the conclusion that his nephew must ease ; whose expressions were felicitously have committed some egregious blunder. chosen, and whose language was a model Madame Firmiani owned to twentyof style? The raillery of such a woman five years of age; but the busy-bodies is a caress, and her criticism does not averred that, as she was married in 1817 wound; she does not preach any more in her sixteenth year, she must be than she argues; and although she laugh- twenty-eight in 1830. Yet these preingly joins a discussion, she knows when cisians, at the same time, admitted, that to pause; her face is always affable and at no period of her life had she ever smiling; in her politeness there is no looked so desirable, or so completely constraint ; her anxiety to please is not feminine. The problematical Monsieur servile or obsequious ; never fatiguing Firmiani, a very respectable octogenarian you; and dismissing you satisfied with in 1817, could only endow her with his her and yourself. Her exquisite taste name and fortune. All acknowledged will be found impressed upon everything that her beauty was the most aristocra. that surrounds her; in her presence all tic in Paris. Still young, rich, an all. flatters the sight: and you breathe an accomplished musician, witty, refined, air like that of your own country. This and received in the most exalted hotels woman is always natural: there is no of the noble faubourg, from a regard effort, nothing forced in her, and no for the Carignans, to which she belonged pretension about her; her sentiments by her mother, she was sought after by are ever expressed in the simplest lan. too many gentlemen not to be the vicguage, because they are true; she is tim of that polished Parisian scandal, frank, and yet never offends any one's and those consummate calumnies, which self-love. She receives men as Heaven are so adroitly conveyed behind a fan, has made them, pitying the vicious, or in a whispered remark at the opera. pardoning faults, and sparing follies, If some of her own sex forgave her for humouring the foibles and fancies of all her wealth, others could not pardon her ages, and taking offence at nothing, for the correctness and decency of ber because her womanly tact has enabled life; and nothing is more awkward, her beforehand to foresee everything; particularly at Paris, than suspicions she obliges, before she attempts to con- without grounds or details, precisely sole ; she is tender in her gaiety; you because it is impossible to disprove love her irresistibly; and if such an them. angel should err, you feel yourself com
(To be continued.) pelled to justify her. Such was Madame
suffers by his mere presence in such a THE PARISIAN ROAD TO RUIN. place, and gather sufficient experience
to free his life from that wanton dallying “ Like a plague will memory break out, with principle, which is apt to fill a And, in the blank and solitude of things, spendthrift's days with misery and Upon his spirit with a fever's strength crime. I was first tempted to Frascati's Will conscience prey. Feebly must they by a friend. We entered an extensive have felt,
court-yard—ascended a broad stairway Who, in old time, attired with snakes -the door of an ante-chamber was and whips
thrown open by servants in rich liveries, The vengeful Furies!"
and we were ushered with all the etiWordsworth. quette of a palace into a large room
brilliant with light, thronged with wellIn the course of curiosity-hunting, I dressed men, and rendered still more passed away many an evening in the attractive by the elegant tournure of the gorgeous saloons of the Rue Richelieu, women. This was the roulette chamber where the government reaps a princely —the haunt of small gamblers, and in income from the ruin of her citizens; fact the room for general conversation ; and I cannot think, though older and of but as we wished to see the chief attracmore quiet temper, that the time I spent tion of the house, we passed on to the there was entirely lost. Indeed, many adjoining apartment, and there found a lesson of worldly prudence may be the business of the evening conducted learned, as it were, instinctively; and with more ceremony and resolve. Four one who has but common firmness to croupiers, pale from late watching, with resist the excessive enticements of the lips as cold and expressionless as if cut table, may linger in those Parisian halls, from steel, and eyes as dead as a statue's, where the bright lights flash over the were seated about the middle of a large jewels of the fair and the wrinkles of the oblong table, which was covered with gambler, without feeling that character green cloth, bearing certain signs in
VOL. I. (9.)