Imágenes de páginas

moment all consolation," was a blow tion was the correspondence with Madame which he could not long resist.”

de Mounier, permitted through the pity of It would perhaps, however, have been the Lieutenant-General of Police, M. de better for him if this vigorous imprison- Lanoir, whose affection he entirely gained. ment had continued. A slight relaxation These “ Lettres à Sophie"-famous letof its severity brought him into contact ters, which have been thought as far suwith Claude François Marquis de Mou- perior to Rousseau as passion is to sennier, and his wife Marie Thérèse Richard timent, or truth to fiction-were intrusted de Ruffey, who pitying sincerely the con- to the care of M. Boucher, an excellent, dition of the captive, obtained for him disinterested man, who was appointed by permission to visit them at Pontarlier. M. Lenoir for the immediate surveillance

The Marquis, an old man, liked to hear of Mirabeau; and for some time he obhim recount the history of his misfortunes, served with rigor the prescribed injuncand to lavish upon him much good ad- tions as to their length, number, the subvice; and his wife, who was only eighteen ject on which they were written, and the years of age, found the society of a man interval to elapse between each one; but who united all the charms of sensibility by degrees, touched by the ever-renewed and genius to suffering and sorrow, only expressions of gratitude, and reassured by too dangerously seductive. Sad as was the resignation and docility of his prisonthe end of the story, the beginning doubt- er, M. Boucher relaxed some of the imless had his charm, when in the words of posed restrictions. He allowed him to St. Beuve, the poor prisoner, rejoicing in a write so many and such interminable effupartial freedom from captivity, came to sions, that it may be fairly surmised he did Pontarlier to the old Marquis de Mounier, not always find time to read them. He whose house alone was open to him; was only strict in insisting on the originals when he related before him and his young being returned to him, when he religiously wife the misfortunes and the faults which placed them among the prison documents, had brought him to so sad a pass; and where they were found thirteen years afshe, like Desdemona and Dido and every terwards, and taken, or rather stolen, by woman that ever lived, wept over all that Manuel, the Procureur de la Commune, he had done and suffered-loving him the who made a good speculation of them. more for it.

Through the exertions of his friends, “I was very unhappy," Mirabeau Mirabeau was at length liberated and was pleads, “and unhappiness makes one permitted to join the Marquis, who wrote doubly susceptible. I needed kindness, to his brother, the Bailli, in the following and every charm of wit and beauty was terms : displayed before me. I sought consola- “I must tell you that Honoré improves tion--and what consoler like love ?” visibly, although when I first saw him he

He did not, however, yield without a was madder than ever. They were all struggle to this unhappy passion, He frightened to death at my taking him; wrote to his father; he implored permis- the more so, that my children* were left sion to return to his family: was refused, behind. However, I flatter myself I can escaped from the Château d'If—and was see as well as most people, when I look joined by Sophie de Mounier.

about me; and in spite of the ugly face, They fled to Holland, and there for the bad walk, the bullying precipitation, some time Mirabeau supported himself by the puffed-up hurry and pride of the man, his writings; but Monsieur and Madame and his atrocious stare, or rather frown, de Ruffey took measures to pursue their when he listens and reflects, something daughter, and Mirabeau was still followed tells me that he is only an empty bugbear, by his father's unrelenting animosity. Both and that all the ferocity with which he has were arrested at Amsterdam,

contrived to surround his person, his repuMay 14,-1777. Madame de Mounier tation, and his behavior, is nothing but was imprisoned in Paris. Mirabeau in

smoke, as well as his learning and his talk, the dungeon of Vincennes, where he re- and that at the bottom he is perhaps the mained nearly four years, treated with the last man in the kingdom to commit a willutmost severity, deprived of all com- ful act of wickedness.” panionship, and where, in his own words, “ tête-à-tête with grief,” his only consola

* M. and Madame de Saillant.

Madame de Mounier had also regained with some hesitation, but only sufficient to her freedom on the death of her husband, excite interest; he appeared to be seeking but she remained in the Convent of the for the most desirable expression; to re“ Saintes Claires," where she had found a ject, to choose, to weigh every term until safe and peaceable asylum.

he became animated, and that the bellows It has been said that Mirabeau desert- of the forge were in full play. In his ed her, and that she committed suicide most impetuous moments, the sentiment at finding herself abandoned by him to which made him weigh every word to give whom she had sacrificed every thing; but it its full force, prevented him from being the facts are otherwise, and however pain- ever rapid. ful the history may be, there can be little He had the greatest contempt for doubt that the “douce Sophie" of “Ho- French volubility, and for that clap-trap noré Gabriel" was the one love of his life. fervor which he called the thunders and

The first part of the life of Mirabeau the tempests of the opera. He never lost was filled with Sophie; the second by the the gravity of the statesman; and his one Revolution. Alone with his genius, he defect was, perhaps, a little too much study attacked with all the force of his ardent and pretension. He raised his head with nature, the despotism from which he had too much pride, and marked his disdain so cruelly suffered—the Government, the sometimes almost to insolence. He used laws, the tribunals which he hated. Pater- to count amongst his advantages, his nity had been to him what royalty was to strong square figure, his marked features, the nation. He became an orator; not his heavy brows, his enormous head of according to Cicero, but after his own hair. “No one knows,” he would say, soul, after his own life-because he had “ all the power of my ugliness: when I suffered—because he had failed.

shake my terrible mane, none dare interWhen he first arrived as the Aix deputy rupt me!” to the States-General, his appearance nei- The one drawback to a power which ther created remark nor envy; but his em- would otherwise have been irresistible, and inent talents, his delicate tact—and per- which might have altered the destinies of haps more than all, his audacity—soon won his country, was the stigma attached to for him the position which he only lost his youth. He knew-none better—that with his life. Dumont, the friend of Sher- if he had enjoyed a high personal conidan, Fox, and Lord Holland, describes sideration, all France would have been at his eloquence as irresistible. His voice his feet. As it was, he shines out from was full

, manly, sonorous, and not the the darkness of the time with all the somleast inflection of it was lost. His man- ber splendor which surrounds the names ner is described by the same pen as being of revolutionary men. ordinarily a little slow. He would begin

[From London Society.


Arthur, for aught we knew, might be lying ON CAVIARE AND OTHER MATTERS.

smashed up in a Yorkshire ditch. He

had not overtaken us even on the morn* At the inn where we stopped he was exceedingly dissatisfied with some roast mutton which ing after our arrival in Kendal. No mes. he had for dinner. The ladies, I saw, wonder- sage had come from him. Was this a time ed to see the great

philosopher, whose wisdom to liken him to the Father of Lies, when and wit they had been admiring all the way, perhaps the Major's cob had taken him get into ill-humor for such a cause."

down a railway cutting or thrown him in“THERE is no Paradise without its Ser- to a disused coalpit? What, for example, pent,” said my Lady, with a sigh, as we if his corpse had been brought into the were about to leave the white streets of King's Arms in which the above words Kendal for the green heart of the Lake were uttered? Would the Lieutenant district.

have spoken of him contemptuously as A more cruel speech was never made. “a pitiful fellow-oh, a very pitiful fellow !" Would Bell have borne his pres- Then again, when she recalled our old ence with a meek and embarrassed re- evenings in Surrey, and the pleasant time signation; or would Queen Tita have re- the boy had in sweethearting with our garded the young man-who used to be a Bonny Bell during the long and lazy great friend of hers—as one intending to afternoon walks, she was visited with redo her a deadly injury ?

morse, and wished she could do some“ Poor Arthur !" I say. “ Whither have thing for him. But a claimant of this all thy friends departed ?”

sort who represents an injury is certain, “At least, he does not want for an apol- sooner or later, to be regarded with disogist,” says Tita, with a little unnecessary like. He is continually reminding us that fierceness.

we have injured him, and disturbing our “ Perhaps thou art lying under two peace of mind. Sometimes Tita resented wheels in a peaceful glade. Perhaps thou this claim (which was entirely of her own art floating out to the ocean on the bosom imagining) so strongly as to look upon of a friendly stream-with all the com- Arthur as a perverse and wicked interpanions of thy youth unheeding

meddler with the happiness of two young “Stuff!" says Queen Titania; and when lovers. So the world wags.

The person I observe that I will address no further who is inconvenient to us does us a wrong. appeal to her—for that a lady who lends At the very basis of our theatrical drama herself to match-making abandons all nat- lies the principle that non-success in a love ural instincts and is insensible to a cry affair is criminal. Two young men shall for pity—she turns impatiently and asks woo a young woman; the one shall be what I have done with her eau-de-cologne, taken, and the other made a villain beas if the fate of Arthur were of less import- cause he paid the girl the compliment of ance to her than that trumpery flask. wanting to marry her, and justice shall not

Wherever the young man was, we could be satisfied until every body has hounded gain no tidings of him; and so we went and hunted the poor villain through all forth once more on our journey. But as the phases of the play, until all the good the certainty was that he had not passed people meet to witness his discomfiture, us, how was it that Queen Tita feared the and he is bidden to go away and be a represence of this evil thing in the beautiful jected suitor no more. land before us ?

It was only in one of these varying “For,” said the Lieutenant, pretending moods that Tita had shown a partial indifhe was quite anxious about the safety of ference to Arthur's fate. She was really the young man, and, on the whole, desir- concerned about his absence. When she ous of seeing him, “ he may have gone to took her seat in the phaeton, she looked Carlisle, as he at first proposed, to meet back and down the main thoroughfare of us there."

Kendal, half expecting to see the Major's “Oh, do you think so ?” said Bell, cob and a small dogcart come driving eagerly. Was she glad, then, to think along. The suggestion that he might that during our wanderings in her native have gone on to Penrith or Carlisle comcounty we should not be accompanied by forted her greatly. The only inexplicable that unhappy youth?

circumstance was that Arthur had not But the emotions which perplexed my written or telegraphed to Kendal, at which Lady's heart at this time were of the most town he knew we were to stop. curious sort. It was only by bits and' About five minutes after our leaving snatches that the odd contradictions and Kendal, Arthur was as completely forgotintricacies of them were revealed. To be- ten as though no such hapless creature gin with, she had a sneaking fondness for was in existence. We were all on foot Arthur, begotten of old associations. She except Tita, who remained in the phaeton was vexed with him, because he was likely to hold the reins in a formal fashion. For to ruin her plan for the marriage of Bell about a mile and a half the road gradually and the Lieutenant; and when Tita rises, giving a long spell of collar-work to thought of this delightful prospect being horses with weight to drag behind them. destroyed by the interference of Arthur, Tita, who weighs about a feather and a she grew angry, and regarded him as an half, was commissioned to the charge of unreasonable and officious young man, the phaeton while the rest of us dawdled who ought to be sent about his business. along the road, giving Castor and Pollux plenty of time. It was a pleasant walk. ing across alternate splatches of gloom The Lieutenant-with an amount of hy and bursts of sunlight. More than once, pocrisy of which I had not suspected him too, the tail-end of a shower caught us; guilty—seemed to prefer to go by the side but we cared little for rain that had wind of the phaeton, and talk to the small lady and sunlight on the other side of it; and sitting enthroned there ; but Bell, once on Bell, indeed, rather rejoiced in the pictorial foot and in her native air, could not so effects produced by changing clouds, when moderate her pace. We set off up the the sunshine caused the heavier masses to hill. There was a scent of peat-reek in grow black and ominous, or shone mistily

A cool west wind was blowing through the frail sheet produced by the through the tall hedges and the trees; thinner masses melting into rain. and sudden shafts and gleams of sunlight Tita is a pretty safe driver in Surrey, fell from the uncertain sky and lit up the where she knows every inch of the roads wild masses of weeds and flowers by the and lanes, and has nothing to distract her roadside. Bell pulled a white dog-rose, attention ; but now, among these hilly and kissed it as though a Westmoreland and stony Westmoreland roads, her enjoyrose was an old friend she had come to ment of the bright panorama around her

She saw good jests in the idlest talk, considerably drew her attention away from and laughed; and all her face was aglow the horses feet. Then she was sorely with delight as she looked at the beautiful troubled by news that had reached us country, and the breezy sky, and the blue that morning from home. An evil-doer, peaks of the mountains that seemed to whom she had hitherto kept in order by grow higher and higher the further we alternate bribes and threats, had broken ascended the hill.

out again, and given his wife a desperate “You silly girl,” I say to her, when she thrashing. Now this occurrence seldom is eager to point out cottages built of happened except when both husband and stone, and stone-walls separating small or- wife were intoxicated; and for some time chards from the undulating meadows," do back my Lady had succeeded in stopping you think there are no stone cottages any- their periodical bouts. With these evil where but in Westmoreland ?"

tidings came the report that a horrible old “I didn't say there wasn't,” she an- creature of sixty-as arrant a rogue as swers, regardless of grammar.

ever went on crutches, although my Lady Yes, we were certainly in Westmore would have taken the life of any one land. She had scarcely uttered the words who dared to say so of one of her petswhen a rapid pattering was heard among had deliberately gone to Guildford and the trees, and presently a brisk shower pawned certain pieces of flannel which was raining down upon us. Would she had been given her to sew. In short, as return to the phaeton for a shawl ? No. Bell proceeded to point out, the whole She knew the ways of Westmoreland neighborhood was in revolt. The chief showers on such a day as this—indeed, administrator of justice and Queen's Alshe had predicted that some of the heavy moner of the district was up here skylarkclouds being blown over from the other ing in a phaeton, while lier subjects down side of Windermere would visit us in pass- in the south had broken out into flagrant ing. In a few minutes the shower light- rebellion. History tells of a Scotch parened, the wind that shook the heavy drops ish that suddenly rose and hanged the from the trees seemed to bring dryness minister, drowned the precentor, and rafwith it, and presently a warm glow of fled the church bell; who was now to ansunshine sprang down upon the road, and swer for the safety of our most cherished the air grew sweet with resinous and fra- parochial institutions when the guardian grant smells.

of law and order had withdrawn herself " It was merely to lay the dust,” said into the regions of the mountains ? Bell, as though she had ordered the shower. “That revolt," it is observed, “is the

After you pass Rather Heath, you go natural consequence of tyranny. For down into the valley of the Gowan. The years you have crushed down and domiroad is more of a lane than a highway; neered over that unhappy parish; and and the bright and showery day added to the unenfranchised millions, who had no the picturesqueness of the tall hedges and more liberty than is vouchsafed to a stathe wooded country on both sides by send- bled horse or a chained dog, have risen at last. Mort aux tyrans! Will they takes to instruct her elders in the history, chase us, do you think, Bell ?”

traditions, manners, customs, and peculiari“ I am quite convinced,” remarked my ties of Westmoreland, she has not much Lady, deliberately and calmly, “ that the time for strumming on a guitar. Belle poor old woman has done nothing of the acted the part of valet de place to perfeckind. She could not do it. Why should tion, and preached at us just as if we were she seek to gain a few shillings at the ex- all as great strangers as the Lieutenant pense of forfeiting all the assistance she was. It is true our guide was not infallihad to expect from ine?"

ble. Sometimes we could see that she was “An independent peasantry is not to be in deep distress over the names of the bought over by pitįful bribes. 'Tis a free peaks up in the neighborhood of the Langcountry; and the three balls ought to be dale Pikes; but what did it matter to us placed among the insignia of Royalty, in- which was Scawfell and which was Bowfell, stead of that meaningless sphere. Can or which was Great Gable and which any student of history now present ex- Great End? We had come to enjoy ourplain the original purpose of that instru- selves, not to correct the Ordnance Survey ment ?"

Maps. “I suppose,” says Bell, “ that Queen “I am afraid,” said my Lady, when some Elizabeth, who always has it in her hand, proposal to stop at Ambleside and climb used to chastise her maid-servants with Wansfell Pike had been unanimously reit ?"

jected, "that we have been throughout this “Wrong. With that weapon Henry journey disgracefully remiss. We have the Eighth was wont to strike down and gone to see nothing that we ought to have murder the good priests that interfered seen. We have never paid any attention with his unholy wishes."

to ancient ruins, or galleries of pictures, or “Henry the Eighth- -” says my Lady; celebrated monuments. We have not but just at this moment Castor caught a climbed a single mountain. We went stone slightly with his foot, and the brief past Woodstock without looking in at the stumble caused my lady to mind her driv- gates-we did not even go to see the obeing; so that Henry the Eighth, wherever lisk on Evesham Plain" he is, may be congratulated on the fact “ That was because some of you drove that she did not finish her sentence. the horses the wrong way,” it is remarked.

Then we ran pleasantly along the valley “ Indeed, we have done nothing that we until we came in sight, once more, of Win- ought to have done." dermere. We drove round the foot of the Perhaps, Madame," said the Lieutengreen slopes of Elleray. We plunged in- ant, “ that is why the voyage has been so to the wood, and there was all around us pleasant to us. One can not always be ina moist odor of toadstools and fern. We structing oneself, like a tourist.” went by St. Catherine's, and over Trout- If you wish to vex my lady, call her a beck Bridge, and so down to the lake-side tourist

. This subtle compliment of the by Ecclerigg House and Lowood. It was Lieutenant pleased her immensely: but I along this road that our Bell and her com- confess myself unable to see in what repanion had walked the night before, when spects we were not tourists, except that we the yellow moon rose up in the south and were a little more ignorant, and indifferent threw a strange light over Windermere. to our ignorance, than holiday travelers The Lieutenant had said not a word about generally are. What tourist, for example, the results of that long interview; but would have done such a barbaric thing as they had clearly not been unfavorable to go through Ambleside without stopping a him, for he had been in excellent good day there? spirits during the rest of the evening, and That was all along of Bell, however, now he was chatting to Bell as if nothing who insisted on our spending the treasure had occurred to break the even tenor of of our leisure time upon Grasmere; and their acquaintanceship. They had quite who was strengthened in her demands by resumed their old relations, which was a my Lady, when she came in view of a blessing to the two remaining members of considerable number of unmistakable tourthe party. Indeed, there was no bar now ists lounging about the former town. The placed on Bell's singing except her own poor men were for the most part dresstalking; and when a young lady under- ed as mountaineers-otherwise they were

« AnteriorContinuar »