« 前へ次へ »
“ Nop, l'on ne met point au feu de pareilles lettres. On a trouré brulantes celles de la Julie. Eh, dieu! qu'aurait-on donc dit de celles-là? Si ces lettres sont encore en être, et qu'un jour elles soient vues, on connoîtra comment j'ai aimé."*
Many years after, a Madame Broutain, anxious to ascertain their fate, inquired after them from Madame d'Houdetot. She replied, " that she had really burnt them all, one only excepted, which she had not the courage to destroy, it being a master-piece of eloquence and passion."- This one she had committed to the custody of M. St. Lambert, who, it turned out, had either mislaid or lost it-a fatality which M. de Musset deeply deplores-and we are Jean-Jaquists enough to sympathise in his regrets.
Madame d'Épinay-There is a curious letter of this lady, and peculiarly characteristic of the time. She had heard, it seems, that J.J. was treating a select party of his friends to readings of the Confessions, and becoming alarmed for her character (“il y va de mon repos,” are her words) she made a formal application to M. de Sartine, the police magistrate, to interfere, and put a stop to this libel. lous recitation. It is a little remarkable, that her letter charging Rousseau as a calumniator, indirectly attests his veracity.
“Si vous lui faites donner sa parole (to discontinue,) je crois qu'il la tiendra."
This is only one of the many instances recorded in these volumes, of such summary appeals against troublesome authors. Diderot, we have already seen, was immured for a joke. St. Lainbert procured a lettre de cachet against a M. Clement for a rough critique on his Poem of the Seasons, (ii. 295)—and mention is made (ii. 347) of a scribbling Marquis (de Ximénès) who regularly applied to M. de Sartine, to muzzle all impertinent commentators upon his trasb.
D'Alembert.-M. Corancez relates, that after the death of Rous. seau, D'Alembert bitterly reproached himself for his conduct towards him, and even went so far as to shed some tears. Upon this, M. de Musset, who questions the geometrician's sincerity, informs us that he was a perfect master of mimickry—“il pleurait ou riait à volonté”-and in confirmation he introduces the following story:
“C'est à ce don des larmes que La Harpe dut le succès de sa Milanie.L'etiquette voulait qu'on eût pleuré à ce drame. D'Alembert ne manquait jamais d'accompagner La Harpe. Il prenait un air sérieux et composé, qui fixait d'abord l'attention. Au premier acte, il faisait remarquer les aperçus philosophiques de l'ouvrage; ensuite profitant du talent qu'il avait pour la pantomime, il pleurait toujours aux mêmes endroits, ce qui imposait aux femmes la nécessité de s'attendrir-et comment auraient-elles eu les yeux secs, lorsqu'un philosophe fondait en larmes ?”f Tom. ü. 10.
No! letters like those could not be committed to the flames! If the letters of Julie were said to be ardent, what would be thought of those ? If those letters be still in existence, and shall ever be seen, it will be known how I have loved.
† To D'Alembert's power of shedding tears at pleasure, La Harpe was indebted for the success of his Milanie. Etiquette required that the audience should weep at the representation. D'Alembert never failed to accompany La Harpe to the theatre. He assumed a serious and composed air, which at first rivetted attentios. In the first act, he pointed out the philosophic views of the work; then, availing himself of his pantomimic talents, he invariably wept at the same passages, which
Among the anecdotes there is an amusing and well-told account of a mystification practised by Sophie Arnould upon a party of her high acquaintances, who insisted upon her inviting her friend JeanJaques to meet them at her house. This was a few
before his death. Rousseau, as she anticipated, refused to come.
“Voici (continues M. de Musset) comment elle se tira d'affaire. Le tailleur de la comèdie avait quelque resemblance avec Jean-Jaques. Elle le remarque, et se résout à lui faire jouer le rôle de Rousseau. Les conventions sont bientôt faites-les voici-le tailleur doit prendre la perruque ronde, l'habit marron sans collet, la longue et grosse canne, tout le costume enfin de Jean-Jaques. Il aura soin de tenir la tête un peu penchée, de ne pas dire un seul mot-on lui laisse la liberté de manger et de boire, mais en observant toujours le même silenceil se levera de table à un signal convenu pour se retirer, et décampera sans rentrer dans le salon—il sera payé largement."*
After these preliminaries the guests were invited to a supperparty, where the pretended
Jean-Jaques appeared upon the right of Mademoiselle Arnould.The scene is described at length-To complete the illusion, the hostess circulated the bottle briskly. The mock-philosopher performed his part to admiration, as long as he continued sober; but, in spite of all Sophie's precautions, he at last became as drunk as the rest, “il tint des propos qui, sans l'iyresse des convives, leur auraient paru fort étranges." --However, the trick was not discovered till afterwards revealed by the contriver.
“Chacun admira le muet-et trouve qu'il répondait parfaitement à l'idée qu'on s'était faite de son esprit et de ses talens.' Tom i. 182.
There are also the details of another mystification, where the real Jean-Jaques is presented to Madame Genlis, and supposed by her to be Preville the actor, dressed up to personate him. (ii. 193.) It is very cleverly related by Madame G-but we must refer for the particulars to the book itself.
Upon the whole, M. de Musset's work, though not an admirable specimen of biography, and unnecessarily voluminous, contains a large stock of new matter, tending to elucidate many passages in the life and character of his subject; and as such, must be considered to be a valuable and necessary supplement to the published editions of Rousseau's writings.
imposed on the ladies the necessity of appearing moved; for how could they keep their eyes dry, when even a philosopher was melted in tears ?
**She got over the difficulty in the following manner. The tailor of the theatre somewhat resembled Jean-Jaques. She had remarked this, and determined to make him act the part of Rousseau. The arrangements, were speedily made, as follows:- The tailor to appear with the round wig, the chesnut-coloured coat without a collar, the long thick cane, in short the whole costume of Jean-Jaques. He must hold his head a little inclined, and not vtter a single word. He is to be allowed the freedom of eating and drinking, always preserving the same silence. He must rise from table at a given signal, retire without returning to the salon, and finally he shall be handsomely paid.
TRANSLATION OF A SONNET BY MONTI.* (The Shade of Alfieri addresses the Northumberland.) Trou, British Oak, in laurell'd pride elate,
Who to far shores, athwart the Atlantic tide,
The conquer'd Conqueror of Kings dost guide,
That his false Gauls are shamed on every side :-
In what unworthy chains she wept and sigh'd-
And basely to a worthless harlot gave.-
Lofty or spurn'd, in every change a slave,
To some the song of love is given, they raise
A thousand pleasing phantoms, which engross
Of sweetest melody do they impart
Theirs is a masque of bitterness, and wo,
The loss of truth and liberty. Oh! shun,
So shalt thou never mourn o'er pleasures gone,
* L'OMBRA D'ALFIERI CHE PARLA AL NORTHUMBERLAND.
Anglico altiero Pin d'alloro ornato,
Che su’londe d'Atlante a estremi lidi
Il vincitor de' ré vinto alfin guidi,
L'onta palesa de' suoi Galli infidi,
E i non mertati ceppi, e il pianto, e i gridi
La sua, perchè vendeva con arte prava
Or superba or viliacca, e sempre schiava,