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to allay my grief; it will only end with my life. Il to cure the disease of our friend. Persuaded that What can comfort a man for the loss of her he the phantasm which pursued bim would disadored?' Absence: but that resource does not appear when opposed to the real object, and that exist for me."
his imagination would be undeceived when he He stopped. We attended in silence the ex- found his senses struck, we determined to inplanation of those strange words. All at once troduce to him, in the dress of Mary, the female his looks were animated; he arose, and ex- who was so like her. claimed -“ Mary is dead! she is dead, but she i After having agreed with this woman about is not absent. She is there," added he, looking the disguise she was to assuune, the place she stedfastly at an arined chair towards which he should go to, the signal a: which she was to pointed. “Yes, there she is, I see her as plainly advance, hier aitituile, her gait, and all Die reas I do you; she fixes her eyes on me, she hears i quisites for the part she was to aci, we went to me; if I approach her she retreats, but she never Darville, and asked him a last proof of his friend. disappears."
ship. “We are going to leave the place,” said He was silent, and we ceased to offer him any we, embracing him; “ perhaps we may never more consolations which were of no avail, for his meet again." Seeing he was moved, we pressed affliction was of a nature too uncommon to yield him to come and sup with us that same evening, io ordinary means. Chance, which in the crisis saying that was the only proof we desired. He of fantastical cases sometimes collects different knew not how to refuse our invitation; he means, appeared to offer one which gave us came, and we sat down to table. The repast hopes of saving our friend, and restoring him to was nearly finished, and he had not spoken a himself.
word, when, in order to raise to its height an A public entertainment was given; all those emotion necessary to cause a total revolution, contemptible wonen, who, it is said, preserve We talked to him about the fatal day on which the morals of a town by corrupting them, ap- he received the last sigh of his mistress. peared there. I was observing thein in the ball Without making any answer, he looked earroom, when I perceived one whose resemblance nestly towards a dark closet opposite to his seat; to Mary astonished me. I flew to an Officer of he arose, and extended his arms as if to reunite my regiment, and asked him whether I might himself to the object which bis delirium realised. show him a portrait of Darville's mistress, pro- We that instant gave the signal; the counterbably more exact, and certainly more real, than feit Mary entered; he perceived her, and fell that with which that unfortunate man was beset. backwards; he shuddered, and cried, “ () my His surprise equalled mine. We placed our. friends, my friends, save ine! I am lose! I saw selves by the side of that woman, and studied her Il but one, and I see two." We attempted to fatures. This examination confirmed the truth convince him of his error..He fell into conof our first glance; and we immediately formed vulsions, and expired pronoutlicing the naine of the design of profiting by so singular a meeting | Mary.
ON EPISTOLARY STYLE, AND ON MADAME DE SEVIGNE.
What is it that essentially characterises the genera: the term of perfection in every genus epistulary style? It is a difficult question to re- is the extreme point at which ibe bust writer has sulre. Epistolary style is that which is most stopped, and his manner is takvil as a model. suitable to the person who writes, and to the This critical spirit has indeed served to dissemisobjects written upon. Cardinal d'Ossat cannotnate a more sound and general criticism, but has write like Ninon de l’Enclos; and Cicero does at the same time contributed to clog talents, and not write on the murder of Caesar, in the same to contract the career of the arts. Happily ge. tone as he records the supper he gave Cæsar.nius will not be shackled by those petty rules The same principle may be applied to the style which pedantry, mediocrity, the fury of judging of history, of fables, &c. The style of Tacitus have invented, and endeavour to maintain. The has nothing in common with that of Tirus man of genius is like Gulliver among the LilliLivius, nor the style of La Fontaine with that of putians, who bind him while he sleeps; he Phedrus,
wakes, and without effort breaks those feeble To what purpose are the e doctrines of general bands which the dwarfs took for cables. and others which liave been introduced into lice! Nothing is more dissimilar than the epistolary fature ? Every thing is now reduced to classes and style of Cicero and that of Plins; the style of Madame de Sevigné and that of Voltaire, which ll ners prescribe them, serves to whet their wit, are we to imitate? Neither; for we have, pro and on certain objects it ispires them with more perly speaking, no style, unless it is adapted to refined and delicate turns; infine, their thoughts our character and turn of mind, modified by our | participate less of reflection, their opinions are feelings at the time of writing.
more connected with their sentiments, and their Letters have no other object than to com mind is always modified by the impression of the municate our thoughts and sentiments to absent moment; thence that suppleness and variety persons; they are dictated by friendship, con which are usually found in their letters; that fidence, and politeness. It is a conversation in facility of passing from one object to others very writing; so that the style of letters ought to be different, without effort, and by unexpected akthe same as that of common conversation, with though natural transitions; those expressions and somewhat more choice in the subjects, and more associalions of words, novel and keen without correction in the words and phrases. The rapidity being sought for; those refined and often proof speech causes an infinite number of negligences fourid views of things, which appear like inspirato be overlooked, which the mind has time to tion; and lastly, those happy negligences, more reject whilst we write, be it ever so rapidly; and, I pleasing than exactness. moreover, he who reads is not so indulgent as he Men of talents, more accustomed to think and who listens.
10 write naturally, and, as it were, in spite of The essential character of the epistolary style themselves, arrange their ideas so methodically is then to be natural and easy; laboured wit, l as to render too much reflection apparent; and elegance, or correctness are insupportable. their style is of a correctness incompatible with
Philosophy, politics, anecdotes, the arts, bon- that careless and negligent grace we so much mots, all may be introduced in letters; but with | admire in the letters of women. . the easy carelessness and unpremeditation which Learned men, says Voltaire, do not usually characterise the conversation of well-educated write familiar letters well; like professed dancers, persons.
who cannot make a gracefui bow. Who is he tbat writes best? He who has the | The letters of Balzac and Voiture, which were greatest flexibility of imagination, the most so much admired in the last age, are at this time promptness, gaiety, and originality of mind, the I forgotten; because the passion for mere wit is most taste and fucility io his manner of expres- ||
Il less lively, the taste more formed, and the art of sion.
writing better known. There remains still of But whence comes it that the man who in that immortal age, letters of two women which conversation is animated, gay, and witty, is in will live as long as the French language. Every his letters generally dull, dry, and heavy? It is body has read the letters of Madame de Maintebecause there are men who are excited by so- || non, and one never tires of repeatedly reading ciely, and others who are disconcerted. The I those of Madame de Sevigné. But what a dilimpulse of society gives to the wit of some men ference between these two celebrated women! more spring and activity, whils: it dulls and per. The letters of the first are full of wit and reason, plexes others. The former remain frigid whilst the style is elegant and natural, but the tone is they sit in their study, pen in hand; the latter, serious and uniform. On the contrary what in the same situation, regain the free exercise of grace! what variety! what vivacity in those of all their faculties.
Madame de Sevigné! · It may easily be conceived that those women What particularly distinguishes her, is that who have wit, and a cultivated mind, write better U momentaneous sensibility which is affected at letters than the best writers among inen. Na every thing, which is every where diffused, which ture has bestowed on them more pliableness of receives with extreme rapidity different species fancy, and a more delicate organisation; their of impressions. Her imagination is a pure and mind, less accustomed to reflection, possesses brilliant glass, wherein every object is painted, more vivacity and ready thoughts, it rambles and reflected with a lustre they do not naturally into more digressions; shut up in society, and possess. This pliancy of soul forms the talent of less distracted with business or study, they are poets, especially dramatic poets, who are obliged more attentive in observing characters and man- almost at the same time to invent characters exners, they are more interested in all the little tremely different, and to be penetrated with the events which occupy or amuse what is termed must opposite sentiments; when they are in the the world.
same scene, to represent a pa-sionnie and a sedate Their sensibility is more alert, more lively, and man, a virtuous man and a villain, Nero and embraces a greater number of objects. They na- | Brutus, Mahom-t and Zopirus, &c. turally express themselves with more facility; It has been said that Madame de Sevigné was even ibe reserve which their education and man- a gossip; that may be, if we simply undersiand
a gossip to be a woman incessantly occupied by where, “ When we have read a letter of Madame all the motions of society, by every word which de Sevigné, we feel a kind of regres, because we escapes, by all the events which succeed each have one the less to read.” This sentence is other, who collects every slanderous aspersion, li worth his whole collection. vbo recounts with the same vivacity a pleasant What adds to the value of Madame de Sefolly and the death of a great man, the success vigné's letters, is the great number of strokes of a sermon and the gain of a battle; but how which depict the brilliant court of Louis XIV. can we apply the epithet of gossip to a woman We are pleased to find ourselves, as it were, in of the first rank, well-instructed, full of wit, company with the greatest personages of that graces, gaiety, and imagination, adınired and splendid reign, which, notwithstanding the cencourted by the most distinguished men in the sures of a severe and rigid philosophy, always age of Louis XIV.?
retains an air of grandeur which attracts us, and It is very difficult for a foreigner to feel the strikes us with awe. It is not likely that our merit of her style; it originates from the progress || age will ever have the same attraction for our which society had made in France, where she descendants. “What disgusts me with history," has created a language which is well understood said a sensible lady, “is to think that what I by such persons only as Have frequented good see happen to day, will one day be history." company for some time. The niceries of that | This is a witty saying, but should not be taken language consist particularly in a great number literally. The history of the intrigues of the of terms, which, being a little diverted from their Vatican ought not to give us disgust for that of primitive sense, express accessory ideas, of which the Roman republic. the various shades are more readily felt than It appears as if most of those persons who addesned. There are nuinberless expressions and mire the writings of this extraordinary woman, turns which continually recur in our conversa - do not yet sufficiently feel her superiority. She tons, and which have no equivalent in our lan- is rational and frivolous, pleasant and sublime, guages, A stranger must be far advanced in the as occasion requires, and enters into all these French language to be able to feel the charm of varieties with inconceivable facility. The graces, the letters of Madame de Sevigné, and of the suppleness, and liveliness of her style, shine above fables of La Fontaine.
all in her narratives. Count de la Riviere, of whom we have a col
( 'To be concluded in our newt.) lection of letters, in two volumes, says some
THE LADIES' TOILETTE; OR, ENCYCLOPÆDIA OF BEAUTY.
[Continued from Page 83.]
But, let us return to our subject, to fashion, l has delineated upon it, is as proud of those de. properly so called, that haughty rival of nature, 1 corations as is an English belle of a robe embroito whose dictates both the graces and beauty are i dered by a fashionable milliner; and the negress of frequently sacrificed.
|| Zanquebar who wears a bell about her neck, does Women, ever jealous of maintaining, and per- so only in conformity to the fashion, as one of haps of extending the empire they possess over our dashing females suspends from it a medallion our sex, had no arms more powerful than those of encircled with brilliants. . beauty, and to give more force to its fascinating But have women while they have nade attenattractions they have called in art to the assistance tion to the toilette to consist in perpetual change, of nature-art, so often a dangerous ally! while, in short, they have submitted to the dis
Hence sprung the love of the toilette, a pro- graceful yoke of fashion; have they, I ask, atpensity as ancient as the world, a propensity uni- tained the object they proposed ? 1 venture to versally diffused, and which is observable in the affirm that they have not. stark naked savage, as in the European clad in Dress is to beauty what harmony is to melody; gold and silks.
it ought to set it off to advantage, to enhance its In the savage! you exclaim. Most certainly. I lustre; never to cover or to disguise it. Luxury That Mogul women whose whole body is covered in dress is like luxury in accompaniments, which with flowers and the figures of animals, which she so far from giving greater effect to the voice of the singer only serves 10 drown it. Farther, the I Fashion, I repeat, is the tyrant of taste, and is toileite, like an accompaniinent in music ought || frequently the exterminating angel of beauty. to harmonize with the person it is intended to Here, I know, the younger portion of the sex embellish; it ought to vary according to the hgure will be ready to exclaim : “What, speak ill of the features, the physiognomy, the colour of the fashion! how atrocious ! of fa-hion, an object so complexion and of the hair; it ought also to be seductive, that mext to the felicity of following, modified according to age, condition or character. there can be no greater pleasure than talking of It would be as absurd to dress all women in the lit!” same manner, as to sing every tune with the same | A moment's patience, ladies; let me explain accompaniment.
myself; for, in truth, I should be extremely sorry Woman of taste know perfectly well that the || to give you cause of offence. dress ought to be adapted to the wearer; accord You will, doubtless agree with me, that fashion ingly, they are cautious not to follow any new || changes very often, that, to gratify this insaciable fashions which would betray their beauty, which thirst of such everlasting variety, it is necessary would not tend to set off the brilliancy of their to be incessantly inventing, and that when simple charms, which would not shew the preci. || and elegant forms are exhausted, it is time to have ous gifts of nature to advantage or which would recourse to the most irregular and frequently the ill disguise her pariial neglect. Such females | most absurd. Are all these forms, and all these consult not the fashion, but their own persons; inventions sanctioned by good taste? Assuredly they imitate not, but invent. The productions not: but just now you would say-I understand of their fertile imagination cannot fail to appear you; the fashion of the day is charming, delighi. extremely handsome, since their imagination has || ful; but the fashion of ten years ago is odivus, is been guided by taste and not by caprice. Other horrible: that is clear. women eagerly avail themselves of these new at. Nevertheless, this odious, this horrible fashion, tractions, regardless whether or not they are adapt- ll was the fashion of the day, ten years ago; it was ed to their persons; and hence arises the abuse then charming : and the fashion of to-jay-What of fashion.
will you say of it ten years hence, ladies ? But what is fashion, in the limited signification How sincerely I regret that the fairy tales are which we here give it? 'Iis a kind of dress which but tales ! Why do not those wonderful beings sometimes is perfectly suited to certain females, who perform such prodigies by the mere motion and which all are anxious to adopt. It is, for of a little wand actually exist! How convenient example, a head-dress which makes Horiensia it would be! But let us suppose for a moment look horribly ugly, but which Hortensia adopts I that it were so. because it appears charming when worn by Ernestine is a charining woman; she places her Olympia. It is a robe which exhibits all the de- || seli at her toilette, and the elegance and beauty of fects in the figure of Euphemia, but which her dress are about to excite envious pangs in the Euphemia is determined to wear, because it en- l bosom of all her rivals. I have no occasion to tell chantingly displays the divine form of the youth. ll you that Ernestine wears nothing but what is in ful Eleonora. This being the case, how many the newest style: Ernestine is young, a Parisian, contrasts does not a delicate eye perceive between | and a coquette. the persons and the dress of women who are the li The toilette is finished, but a!l at once, a hostile slaves of fashion ! Here it is a young female | fairy waves her magic wand. Emestine falls whose arm should have been prudenly concealed l asleep. And how long does she remain in that by the officious covering of a discreet sleeve, but state? Ten years—a mere trille for a fairy. who, in obedience to the fashion, displays it Ernestine has slept ten years; she awakes withnaked, and exhibits the ominous spectacle of ll out perceiving that she has been asleep; she goes skeleton leanness; there it is a robe cut down too | to the play. What is her astonishment! Peals low, making a general confession of sins. of unextinguishable Jaughter salute hier on her
I could produce a thousand instances of the entrance; every eye is fixed upon her and she is bad taste of many ferrales, and of the manner in pointerl at by every finger. Ernestine, unable to which they disfigure themselves by blindly follow conceive the cause of such a singular reception, ing the fashions; but what occasion havel to say remains thunderstruck. “Madam”, at length mure? Women perceive much more clearly says one of the ladies in the same box with her, than we all these absurdities in persons of their “how could you venture to appear in public in sex, and whenever I have been in places where such a ridiculous dress?" “ What do you say, many females were assembled, a quarter of an Madam?" rejoins Ernestine; “it is in the very hour's conversation with only one of them was newest fashion. But it is you, ladies”, says she sufficient to inform me how ill all the others were i to those who surround her," that appear to me to dressed.
be dressed in a manner equally extraordinary and ridiculous. Or is this a masquerade?" "A || its absolute power condemns the fair sex to folmasquerade !” exclaims the prim Amelia ; “the |low. lady, I perceive can be jocular if she pleases." A few days afterwards I met Zephirina, but, "It is you, Madam,” says the young and unaf.
| alas! how changed ! she was no longer the same fec:ed Ursula,“ who seem to have been preparing
woman. Under the dark contour of a deep and for a masquerade; but indeed you are too young,
unlucky hat, her beauty was totally extinguished; and too pretiy, lo muffle yourself up so in that old her brow no longer exhibited that graceful display fashioned dress. I have an aunt, who always
which is so well adapted to youth; her eyes had keeps to the good old customs, and one might lost their lustre; her head had not the harmonia swear, for all the world that you had borrowed her ous accompaniment of an elegant dress; the frolic dothes."
train of sports and loves no longer played in the My readers will not find it difficult to supply moving ringlets of her flowing hair : in a word, the remainder of this conversation.
Zephirina atiracted not the facinated eyes of man, Such, however, is the scene which would ac but Zephirina was dressed after the fashion of the tually take place, were it possible to bring !ogether day. Custom, then, would not permit her to unexpectedly two females between the fashions | appear more handsome. of whose dresses there should be an interval of a There are indisputably charming fashions, few years,
fashions authorized by good taste, but in every It is, therefore, evident that custom alone thing there is a perfection, that is a point which sanctions fashions, and extols to-day what it will I good taste cannot pass without losing its way. cause to be despised to-morrow: consequently it | As soon as this perfection is attained, no change is not the good taste of a dress that constitutes its can be niade without removing farther from it; thent, but solely the fancy of the moment. You and this is exactly our case. are thought exceedingly handsome in a very ugly To the honour of the female Parisians I must fashion, if it be but new, and you are thought say, that about five years since they had attained ridiculous in a very handsome fashion, if it be out the degree of perfection of which I am speaking, of date.
Their dress at that time combined simplicity, ele.' I had one day a striking example of this tyranny l gance, good taste, and gracefulness. They exhi. of fashion, which so frequently deprives women bited to us an image of those lovely Grecian women of the advantage of adopling the dress which is whose charms are celebrated in history. Their best suited to their persons.
garments seemed to have been designed by the At a masquerade during the carnival, I met pencil of the Graces, and their head-dress was at with a lady of my acquaintance, a young and a once simple and nobie. very handsome woman; but what terms can ex Why has the genius of inconstancy obliged the press the charms with which she was on that day | sex to abandon so seducing a costume? Custom adorned! No, never did I see such brilliancy, you know requires change, they have therefore such vivacity; never did I behold a physiognomy changed in compliance with its dictates. Every more open, more interesting, more animated eyes, day, introducing a new fashion, has destroyed a a more sweetly smiling mouth. It was not the ll charm; every day has beheld a grace supplanted same person, but one of those airy nymphs with Il by something ridiculous, and caprice has succeed. whom the voluptuous imagination of the poets || ed good taste. has embellished the banks of the Eurotas. All The sex cannot be too thoroughly convinced Eyes were fixed upon her. What was the reason that absurdity kills taste, and that simplicity will of this extraordinary change? A dress proscribed always have just claims to embellish even beauty by custom for several years, the wearing of which itself. The caprices of fashion, so far from increas. nothing but the carnival could then sanction. A ing the influence which women pretend to exersimple shepherdess's hat of white straw, placed cise over our sex, only serve very often to render rather backward on the head, a luft of flowers, them ridiculous or ugly, I will mention but one bair gracefully towing--such was the talisman example out of a thousand. Ought not the figure that created these new charms in Zephirina! of the head to be oval? Should not every thing “What a pity" said I, coming up to her, “that which alters this figure, be considered as detractyou cannot always wear a hat which becoms you ing froin nature? What then are we to think 99 well!” “At any other time than a masque of those bonnets that project both before and rade,” said she, smiling, “I should be thought behind, and give the head of a woman, seen in ridiculous.” “I know it,” replied I, “but then ll profile, the form of a hammer! Have savages how handsome you would look !"
ever invented any thing more ridiculous ? Hence it appears that there are extremely pleas- |
The time when the women of Greece acted
The time when the ing fashions, which custom absolutely proscribes, ll such a distinguished part, when they received the and that there are others equally ridiculous which homage of the greatest mer), was when the sim. No. XV. Vol. II.