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is an index of the current poverty or prosperity of Paris. It is in vain to attempt giving you any idea of the comparative desertion of the Cafés-the Restaurateurs-the Boulevards—the Tuileries—the Theatres. I scarcely recognized Paris-a ghost-like dreariness floats over the old places of enjoyment, and Ennui, the French word, is become the French deity. Talking of the theatres, it is right that I should give you some notion of the exquisite sort of taste that prevails there. The play the most à la mode is the Tour de Nesle. In this piece the heroine is a Queen of France, who gives secret assignations to all the good-looking foreigners who arrive at Paris; and, for fear they should boast of the bonne fortune, has them afterwards murdered and thrown into the Seine. Ah, my dear friend, what a good thing for Henry Pelham that this kind of royal condescension is no longer in vogue! T'his charitable lady has two sons—twins-of whose existence she knows nothing—one of these she loves, assassinates, and drowns-like the rest of her liaisons—and for the other, she forms-guess what?-is it not French?-a Platonic attachment! The Platonism does not, however, save the young gentleman, and he receives the death wound intended by the Queen for her first lover—(his own father.)
Such is the plot and the catastrophe. Certainly, the literary world of Paris do well to sneer at Corneille, and laud the purer taste of the romantic. The worst of it is, that the play evinces great vigor, and even genius, in the cast of the dialogue. When a clever man conceives such trash, there is no hope for him. In order to make their religion of a piece with their drama, they have brought the Père Enfantin into fashion-a handsome man, with such a beard ! and the best made inexpressibles in the world. The Père Enfantin has evidently no objection to be the Père des Enfans. With the Tour de Nesle' for a popular tragedy, and. St. Simon for a founder of religion, it must be confessed, that the French intellect is in a flourishing state of progression. What a wise device in the French to abandon their ancient standards of opinion! They sneer at Helvetius They are right: have not they got Cousin ? They call Voltaire •little,'— how can they think otherwise with so gigantic a genius as Victor Hugo? They shrug their shoulders at your old-fashioned notions, when you praise the tales of Marmontel, and point, with a triumphant Voilà, Monsieur, to the Peau de chagrin! The French running after the German genius is excellent. French grafted on German !-what a mixture! It is a reunion of all the horrors—a macedoine of extravagances: they have one excuse, however,--so much folly is not their own. Their books are abominable but they may thank Heaven that, at least, they are not original.
I went to spend the evening at the house of a great French politician -a liberal—I wanted to know what notion French liberals have of good government. I found the whole company very abusive of the ministers, and very facetious upon Louis Philippe. So far so good: Heaven forbid I should differ from them on those subjects !— But, 'said I change the men as you will, what principles do you wish to establish ?' My host was for nothing short of a republic. "Very well-you will alter the governmentyou will extend the number of rulers; will you extend also the number of the freemen?—will your republic have more free citizens than your king has free subjects ?-in a word, will you extend the elective franchise ? • Ah! the French did not care about that: the republic-voilà-the fine system for the deputies; but as to the number of electors, it was a bagatelle.
Thus you see how little the more patrician of their liberals know of the
real evil of the French system : the real evil is surely this,—they have a very small number of electors—a very large number of men shut out from the constitution, these latter have no vent for their political enthusiasm -they are always discontented, fretful, ripe for change--and if they had a republic to-morrow, would have a despot the next day. It is your quacks who think only of changing a government-your legislators should first make a people. A republic, with a handful of electors, is an oligarchy. I recommended these gentlemen to Paul Louis Courier and the · Examiner:' they assured me, with a satirical smile, that the first (though a clever man) was no doctrinaire, and that the latter wrote very well about England!
But the young men of a lower rank—the young politicians, who as yet are little known, are wiser than their elders, and discover where the shoe really pinches. Two things are quite certain—first, that the middle class of Paris, all those who live by commerce and have anything to gain, are desirous of quiet-above all things quiet; their revolution and their cholera have played the deuce with their trade. It is said that poor Lafitte always talks of the Three Glorious Days by the epithet of maudits. The second, certainly, is that quiet they can't, by any possibility, have—the immense number of idle young gentlemen, noble and pennyless—the crowds of men who, with beaucoup d'instruction, have point de sous-are resolved not to have an incapable and unpopular yovernment, for the sake of putting money into the tradesmen's pockets ; they see, and they urge, all the faults of the present system, and the present men—the honest folks, who have something to lose by new changes, see the faults too—but they look to the streets, emptied of foreigners, and the jolies maisons à louer in every corner, and the il faut vivre terribly damps all their patriotism.- Cela m'eut mieux valu que tous les droits du monde pour avoir le fauteuil, et pour garder le bien, 30 says the inimitabla Courier-so say messieurs his disciples in the Rue St. Honoré. But who can doubt which will ultimately win the day, the active mass or the inert?
You see, too, the messieurs of the press at Paris have a personal interest in siding with the movement : in the first place, they have been most villanously treated in the second place, they see, by experience, that in France the journalists are the chief persons to rise by every change; the redacteur of an able paper to-day may be a minister to-morrow. Were England like France, the editors of the Examiner, the Times, and the Chronicle, would have the offer, at least, of succeeding Lords Palmerston and Melbourne and Mr. Stanley. This prospect of power constantly urges on the ambition of the journalists; and whatever its disadvantage, it has at least this striking counterbalance of good,—the men whom even a selfish and impure ambition would throw uppermost, are men of knowledge and of talent; they have been compelled to make themselves masters of the intricate questions of government—they are not, like our English lords, dragged from the Bæotian ease of domestic tranquillity,' without a single notion of sound knowledge in their heads; they become powerful solely from talent, and by talent only can that power be preserved. Thus, journalism is really the Empire of Intellect -often honest—often dishonest-but intellect always ; a better empire, at least, than that of military insolence or aristocratic stolidity.
The Ministers will, I feel assured, have a majority in the next Chamber—and the Press will render the majority unavailing ;—from these prophecies draw your conclusion. I ordered a lock in my portmanteau to be m ded. They brought
me in a bill of nine francs for it. Diable !' said I, “is this the way you treat foreigners at Paris?'
• But Monsieur,' said the artificer, with a benevolent smile, 'will recollect that there is scarcely a foreigner to be met with at present !
The day after my arrival at the hotel, I had the satisfaction of seeing from my window the drap noir, which is a sign of death in the house.
*Doubtless the cholera,' thought I. "What an agreeable prospect!'-I summoned the frotteur in a hurry
"Who is dead ?'
No, sir,-of his own act.' * Ah, that's all !-you relieve me wonderfully ;-and how did he destroy himself?'
* By a pan of charcoal,' (a favorite mode of suicide at Paris.)
And for what?' • The poor gentleman had had—des malheurs—he had several houses on his hands, which he could not dispose of.
*Certainly, he did right then in disposing, a bon marche, of the only tencment he could get rid of.'
• But what completed the tragedie,' said the frotteur, which much pathos, was that his son, a most amiable young man, was so shocked at the sight, that he retired to his chamber and opened-his veins!'
What a happy union of the classic school and the romantic!
The frotteur omitted to tell me that this good son had been recovered by the surgeons. Two days afterwards this most amiable young man paid me a visit.
He announced himself as the son of my late landlord. "Pardon me, sir, I thought you were dead ?' The good son wiped his eyes— No! le bon Dieu had restored him to life ;-my rooms, in the confusion of his father's petit malheur, had been let for five francs a-day-he came to inform me that they ought to be eight.
from these two anecdotes you may see that an Englishman at Paris is become a rara avis, whom it is necessary to pluck to the last feather -they indemnify themselves on one for the desertion of the rest. Even in the despair of a house of death—with a charcoaled father yet fresh from the pan—this most amiable young man-who had opened his veins in filial sympathy .with his sire-could yet rise from the couch of debility to bleed his unfortunate lodger ;-perhaps he thought that the best way of replenishing his own veins.
Return, O return, my countrymen, or your unfortunate representative will be ruined !
Adieu, my dear friend. I amuse myself with examining with my own eyes the modes of taxation in France-preparatory to my final arrangement of that financial scheme, on the details of which you have so often given me your advice. An interesting and light occupation, you say
- very true-but at least it is better than walking about the depopulated Tuileries, with a score of hungry Frenchmen, anxious to eat up the little bien of the last of the Mohicans.-Adieu,
Your affectionate Friend, HENRY PELHAM.
MADAME JUNOT'S MEMOIRS. *
This volume opens with the commencement of the present century, when the scattered fragments of society were just beginning to reunite in Paris, and to gather round the government of a leader, who promised public security and prosperity. Fêtes began to be given as usual before the revolution ; foreigners began to crowd into France; the women had thrown off the red cap, that emblem of subverted civilization and of contemned religion; and families began to meet at stated festivals, to kiss the hand of the aged grandmother, to march in procession to the mother's room with bouquets of flowers, on the day of her patron saint; private balls were renewed; and the populace, no longer dreading the guillotine, were seen upon the boulevards, reviving their almost forgotten sports. The terrible tempest of fire and blood, that had for nearly ten years desolated France, had passed over ; the blue skies were again beginning to be perceived ; and when we remember how dreadfully the French had suffered, how rapturously they must have hailed the return of serenity, and how much reason they had to attribute it, under that Providence whom they had deserted, to the commanding genius of Napoleon, we ought not to be surprised at the excessive admiration with which his name and his rising glory were received in every quarter of the country which he had saved.
What a splendid fame might Buonaparte have left behind him, had he been content to remain for life the First Consul of the Republic !It was in his power to have planted free institutions, which by this time might have struck deep root in the heart of the new generation; to have cultivated peace; to have substituted the empire of law for that of men; to have restored the finances to prosperity ; to have freed commerce from ungenial restrictions; to have made France the vineyard of Europe, and the favorite temple of the sciences and arts. Instead of doing this, he gave the bridle to his ambition, deluged many fields with human blood, brought back upon France the Bourbons, deprived her of the only good fruits which her revolution produced, and caused her to retrograde to a position, from which she has not even yet succeeded in extricating herself. These reflections are almost common-place : but they have been prompted by those pages of Madame Junot's Memoirs which describe Napoleon's personal character; for they show that, great as were his talents for war, his abilities for peace, and for the execution of projects subservient to the welfare of a peaceful community, were, if possible, still greater. Free from prejudices of every description, his unclouded and comprehensive intellect, majestic in its severe simplicity, lighted upon the true and the useful on all occasions, and might have accomplished miracles in the way of legislation, had it not been, unfortunately for himself, and still more unfortunately for France and for all Europe, too soon engrossed by his military propensities.
* Meraoirs of the Duchess D'Abrantes (Madame Junot). London. 1832.
The home feelings, the hearty kindness, the thorough familiarity of friendship which appear throughout the following scene, display Buonaparte's personal character in the most favorable light.
"I was now in momentary expectation of my confinement, and notwithstanding the efforts of iny mother-in-law to support and reassure me, looked forward to the moment with dread. In the night of the 4th of January we had an alarm, which called up my mother-in-law, who had not undressed for a week past. Marchais was summoned, and pronounced that twenty-four or forty-eight hours would settle the business, and left me, recommending composure and sleep.
I was out of spirits during a part of the succeeding day; I performed my religious duties, and wrote to my mother, because she had forbidden me to leave the house; I then arranged my baby-linen and basket, and in this occupation I found the entire dissipation of my fears and melancholy. In the little cap, with its blue ribbons; and in the shirt, the sleeves of which I drew through those of the flannel waistcoat, I thought I could see the soft and fair head, and fat little mottled arms; in my joy, I imagined the pretty clothes already adorning my promised treasure, and pressed them to my bosoin, longing to clasp and to see my child, to feel its breath, while I said to myself— And this little being, which I expect, will be all my own!'Oh! what days of joy were before me !
Junot found me leaning over the cradle in a sort of ecstasy, and when I explained to him the cause of an emotion which his heart was well formed to understand, he embraced me with a tenderness which I felt prouder of than I should have done six months earlies.
• My thoughts now took a quite different direction ; 1 not only did not fear, but I desired the decisive moment; and when my friends met me in my drawing: room, they found me as gay and as happy as any young wife or young girl could be. Madame Hamelin formed one of our party. She was then young, gay, lively, and a most ready assistant in promoting that easy confidence which forms the great charm of intimate association. She had an original and striking wit; bordering a little on the maliciousness of the cat, and sometimes, it is true, showing that she had tolerably long claws; but I believe that, like puss also, she did not put them out, unless her paws or her tail were trodden on.
“The evening passed off very cheerfully ; my mother-in-law was delighted to see me in perfect oblivion of the critical moment, which, however, she knew could not be far distant. We sat down to table, and the turkey, the cake, the madeira, and champagne, redoubled our gaiety. In half an hour we laughed so heartily that, at this moment, I cannot think of it without pleasure. At length came the moment of drawing; General Suchet sat beside me ; I do not exactly recollect whether the prize of royalty fell to him or me; since that time so many sovereignties, which seemed vastly more solid, have sunk into crowns as fantastic, that my memory may well be excused its want of accuracy on this point. But whether this general had received his crown from me, or whether he had made me his queen, he addressed me in a compliment so absurd that it provoked a violent fit of laughter, with which the room resounded, and which was echoed with equal noise by seventeen or eighteen persons who surrounded the supper table. I stood up to answer with my glass of water, for I never in my life could drink wine, to the numerous glasses filled with sparkling froth which were extended towards me, when I fell backwards in my chair, a frightful cry escaped me, and my glass dropped from my hand. But the sudden attack which had caused this commotion was over in an instant, my cheeks recovered their color, and I looked up. Junot, still paler than I had been, still holding his glass of champagne, was looking at me with an air of consternation. The rest of the company seemed nearly equally alarıned, and the grotesque expression of so many countenances, hardly recovered from a fit of hilarity, while, as in duty bound, they were assuming, on the other side of their faces, the solemnity which the circumstances appeared to require ; these masquerade countenances, resembling at once-Jean qui pleure and Jean qui rit, produced so visible an effect, that I relapsed into a fit of uncontrollable laughter. "My mother-in-law now came behind my chair and whispered,
• " Take my arm, my dear daughter, and come to your room."