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and delights not in those details which make the essence of impressive writing. Dr. Johnson, who loved, or fancied he loved, his she-bear, and was, therefore, (good bruin !) the better authority on the subject, has said, that “ he who woos his mistress in verse, deserves to lose her;" and there is no woman of sense, who would not come to the same conclusion.
I have heard an odd, paradoxical person assign a physiological reason for this. When one great organ, he says, is much and permanently excited, the development is at the expense of all the other functions. Head workers in particular, have uniformly bad digestions; and how can a man be heroically in love with a feeble stomach ? I, who am no physiologist, can only appeal to facts. Pope, Dryden, Swift, Racine, Boileau, La Fontaine, were none of them famous as lovers ; they had no great passion, and excited none; some of them were absolutely insensible to female charms, and were sceptics to their influence. La Fontaine, with all his naïveté (which is generally - so indicative of passion) was as cold as an icicle.
“ Je doute,” says Ninon, his friend, “ qu'il y ait un filtre amoureux pour La Fontaine. Il n'a guère aimé les femmes." I have some doubts of the sensibility even of the divine Petrarch, notwithstanding his thousand and one sonnets, which made so little impression on Laura. As to Ovid, his conceits are the antipodes of passion and feeling ; and Anacreon was so mere a roué, that I should as soon take Don Juan for a martyr to the belle passion, as he. Cowley, who wrote so much upon love, was an anchorite. Prior, who wrote so freely on it, was a rake; and Rousseau, a poet in
wrote “ Julie," and lived with Thérèse, who, besides being an imbécille, was neither chaste nor sober, and was all for love, and a little for the bottle.” When Doctor de Pruli chided Rousseau, a few days before his death, for exposing himself, in his weak health, by going to the cellar, Rousseau, pointing to Thérèse, observed, “ Que voulez-vous ? quand elle y va, elle y reste."*
A propos to St. Preux and his Julie : nobody thought of visiting Switzerland for its picturesque scenery, till Rousseau brought it into fashion. Now every body goes to drop a sentimental tear at his “rochers de Meillerie," and to visit Mont Blanc. It is well for les rochers that this lachrymal humour has not the properties of Hannibal's vinegar ! What would our magazines do but for these visitors to the mountains! I never see an article headed “ Journey to Mont Blanc,” without being tempted to wish, that its author had done as Thérèse did by the wine cellar.
*“ What would you have me do ? When she goes to the cellar, she always stays there.”
MADAME DE GENLIS, whose general information it would be uncandid to dispute, (though it be so frequently perverted to substantiate her favourite doctrine of the optimism of the past), has attributed the invention of that pretty bauble, the fan, to the excessive modesty of the French ladies before the revolution ! In the happy times which preceded that terrible event, the times of Agnes Sorrel, Diana of Poitiers, Montespan, Pompadour, and Du Barry, the fan, it seems, was an object of solute necessity to screen the blushes of the timid and bashful innocents who used them. “In times when the ladies often blushed, and desired to hide their embarrassment and timidity, they carried large fans. They were at once a veil and a countenance. * By agitating the fan the female concealed herself. In the present times ladies blush but little, and are not at all timid; they have no desire whatever to conceal themselves, and they carry only invisible fans, (des éventails imperceptibles).”
What a falling off since the times of the Palais Royal, and of the petits soupers at Monceaux, when the king's mistresses displaced his ministers, and made out plans of campaigns with their rouge, and patches for field marshals; when the de Boufflers and the Luxembourghs, the highest rank and oldest blood in France, were candidates on the list of royal concubinage ; when nothing was natural but the children, and nothing moral but that which was past the power of sin. These were the times, the only times, when Frenchwomen
* Dans le tems où l'on rougissait souvent, où l'on vouloit dissimuler son embarras et sa timidité, on portait de grands éventails. Aujourd'hui l'on ne rougit pas, &c. &c. &c. -MAD. DE GENLIS.
blushed, and used fans : and well they might! Let Madame de Genlis compare the Orleans family in the time of Louis the Fourteenth, when the duke poisoned his wife; in the time of the regency, as reported by the Dowager Duchess of Orleans herself; in the time of the husband or lover of her aunt, Madame de Montesson, and in the time of her own friend Egalité; and let her compare these Orleans with the Orleans of the present times, the model of husbands, fathers, citizens, and princes-schooled, not by the lessons given in the cloisters of Belle Chasse, but by those of the world and of the circumstances in which he has lived and then talk of anti-revolutionary modesty and timidity, and the origin of fans! The fan, like every thing else, applicable to human use, has its origin in necessity. It is purely an oriental fashion, and was invented for personal relief and convenience in those ardent climates, where such portable ventilators and shades were indispensable. А Chinese dandy would no more be seen without his fan, than a Chinese belle; and the fan of the Rajah serves far better purposes, than concealing the blushes and embarrassment of his wives. The