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there is a nation which keeps its ground with all that tenacity of a toad on a tile*-a nation which, compared by some to tigers, by others to monkeys, and by Voltaire to both, appears to have been the least understood of any nation on earth. For while the North in hordes come swarming, as of old, over the sunny regions of the South, and while the south seems to change sides, hands across, down the middle and up again, in a cosmopolitical country-dance with the natives of the frozen North, the French, who stand between both, are sure to be always found at home. For one French traveller, of either sex, to be met on the high roads of Europe, one thousand, at least, of any, or every other nation, may be seen scampering from the Tagus to the Neva, and from Thebes to the Giant's Causeway. The French are, in fact, the most grave, sedentary, and immovable people of Europe. Even their women, so falsely accused of vivacity and activity, expend their energies in perpetual movement of mind and muscle. Under the old régime (when the women in France led the lives of the sultanas in the harem, one particular only excepted), all the institutions, both political and social, tended to encourage habits of indolence, in which, in free states, and under happier moral combinations, the sex can never indulge. The very forms and language of high society were borrowed from the inveterate habits of a slavish, idle, and sedentary existence. Did any affliction befal a lady of rank, she forthwith went to bed, to receive the condolence of friends dans la ruelle. If she went to drive, it was but to promener en voiture; and even in modern Paris, a promenade extends but to a seat in the gardens of the Tuileries, or a chair on the Boulevards.

* A friend of mine kept a pet toad in his cellar, and for nine years it never stirred off the tile which it had chosen for its habita. tion.

I had a friend in Paris, some few years ago, who was the most charming and most indolent creature in the world. She was one of the best remains of the old régime of rank and fashion, who had survived the plebeian bustle and democratic activity of the Revolution. Though she had nearly reached her grand climacteric, she was, as she often assured me, still “ as active, vivacious, and locomotive as she had been in the flower and bloom of her youth ;” and, witty

and indolent as Madame du Deffand herself, she was a finely preserved specimen of a genus, now rapidly disappearing, which philosophy might have contemplated with rapturous curiosity. Madame de — was a perfect impersonation of a lady of fashion of the days of Marie Antoinette. Her ruelle was her empire; her chaise longue her throne. She took her chocolate, and received visits in bed, during the day ; rose late, dined at the hour of the old French souper, between eight and nine, and sat up half the night, surrounded by her habitués, among whom were to be numbered all the bel esprit of Paris.

I was as much with her as my health and our very opposed habits would permit, for she was a perfect study; and I generally left her in the midst of her media noche, in all the vigour of spirits which are vulgarly supposed to belong to the early part of the day. As I made many sacrifices to these habits of indolence, I occasionally required them in turn; and I sometimes succeeded in digging her out of her hotel, where she had for years been niched, motionless as the priestesses of the temples of Pompeii, which modern virtù excavates from their domicile of centuries. I once routed her from her bed at mid-day; and had her dressed and driving at Longchamp, just as the beau monde were turning their horses' heads homeward. I also once produced her, to the amazement of her friends, at the opera, before the ballet was half over; and I actually had her at a séance of the Institut before the expected discours of the long-winded Mons. Quatremère de Quincy had quite concluded.

My indolent and agreeable friend, notwithstanding this decided vis inertiæ, talked in raptures of the country (like all French women), and had a campagne three leagues from Paris, about which she raved, and from which her jardinière was duly replenished with March violets, April hyacinths, and immortels all the year. Daily projects were made, and as daily broken, for taking me to this “ Délices;” and it was not till after a thousand - Nous remettrons celà à un autre jour," that the day at last arrived, when, having myself made all the necessary preparations for a formidable journey of three leagues, assisted at the levée, hurried forward the toilette, and bribed over Félicie, her unfelicitous femme de chambre, to unusual expedition, I at last got Madame de under weigh, and absolutely transported her from her dormeuse au coin du feu, to her calèche. With horses and a coachman as lazy as herself, it was late in the evening when we arrived within view of the iron gates of the campagne ; and before we had reached the end of the straight avenue of limes, it was so dark that we could scarcely discern the grim, grotesque stone statues of Arlequin and Colombine, which guarded the fight of marble steps, leading to the broad paved terrace on which the maison de campagne was perched.

Before we had reposed from the fatigues of the journey, and swallowed our goûté, it was what is vulgarly called pitch-dark; and as the motive for making this course was to see the gardens, the serres chaudes, and the luxuriant beds of hyacinths, then in all their “redolence of bloom,” I could not help expressing my disappointment, with a captiousness which afforded infinite amusement to Madame de —, whose bursts of laughter were interrupted with “Et tout cela pour une fleur! pour un promenade! pour une fatigue manqué !"* My ill-humour, however, was at once

* " And all this for a flower and a walk--for a fatigue the less."

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