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started from a painful reverie—she rose with agitation. A chambermaid, with an air of consternation, entered, and told her that M. de Melun's confidential servant wished to speak to her. M'lle de Clermont shuddered, and answered only by a gesture. The servant made his appear
His looks, bis bearing, announced, but too well, the dreadful truth. The Princess fell back into a chair; the paleness of death spread i:self over all her features. The servant approached, and presented a letter. The wretched Princess threw herself on her knees to receive it, and rallying the little strength that remained to her, she opened the fatal scroll; it was the first note she had formerly written to her lover, and which contained but this sentence; “ For Ever !" But her dying husband, before he uttered the last sigh, had also retraced, on the note, his own declaration : he had added these affecting words:
“I deposit in your hands, all I held most sacred ! Farewell, forget not him who loved you 'Till death !"
Such is the purport of the story; but the skill with which Madame de Genlis has filled up and finished the whole affair, cannot be conceived from this rude sketch. It is a faithful picture of love and despair under the ancien régime of Louis the fifteenth; and what gives a zest to the whole is, that Madame de Genlis preserves throughout an air of earnest gravity which makes it hard to believe that she is not seriously appealing to the tenderest sympathies of the reader.
The stories of Rosa, and The Wife, are of a more cheerful character, and furnish, each, a variety of touching incidents and striking scenes,—without which two ingredients a French novel is nothing. The reader is kept ingeniously in doubt about the termination of the stories, but all ends wisely and well; Rosa is transferred to the arms of her lover, and the Wife is restored to the esteem of her husband.
The Funereal Flowers is a tale full of mournful interest. The dark progress and fatal issue of an unlawful passion are feelingly and powerfully portrayed; and bating a little exaggeration, and a little too much scene-making, the materials of the story are skilfully disposed, and the catastrophe strikingly broughtout. We have room for no quotations ; but our readers may find them in the book. The translator appears to have executed his part with more attention and success than generally distinguish English versions of French novels. The selections are from the best of Madame de Genlis's untranslated tales; the style, with a few exceptions,* is easy and correct; and pains have plainly been taken to soften and reduce the more unpleasant exaggerations in the languaye of the original work.
The other volume is the first of a projected Series of Tales, “translated and compiled from the writings of different authors,
* How could that awkward Americanism, page 194, l. ix. escape the pen of the translator? And again, page 212, 1. xxviii.
in every country, who have acquired celebrity in this department of literature.” The selections, for the present volume, are, The Freebooter, Transmigration, The Thessalian Lovers, Mary Stukeley, The Fair Marselloise, The Crusaders,* The Fortress of Saguntum, Imilda de' Lambertazzi, The Monks of La Trappe, Goodrich Castle, and Master and Man. We have not room for a particular discussion of the merits of these tales ; and shall therefore simply say, that they appear, in the language of physicians, to be well calculated to "fulfil the indications” hinted at by us above. They are short, well imagined, in different styles, and of various merits. The first is a heartthrilling story, admirably told. The second is a very good specimen of that ingenious bedevilling of the horrible, which consists in giving it a burlesque catastrophe. It is a tiger of a story, with a pig's tail to him instead of his own. The Thessalian Lovers is a sweet pretty pastoral, but the “Greek” who wrote it, we opine, had read Florian and Gessner. The fourth tale reminds us of our Brown; it has all his gloom, his abruptness, and his daring inconsistency. The Fair Marselloise is moral and Mahometan. The Crusaders we skipt. The seventh is a compound of Spanish chivalry and German devilry, with a very good winding up. Imilda de' Lambertazzi is tragical and trucidating. The ninth is a very melancholy affair indeed; Goodrich Castle, one would think, was furnished by “Old Mortality;" and Master and Man is one of those legends, we presume, which the last Quarterly Review so liberally praises.
All these stories are excellent in their way, and their way we are not so peevish as to quarrel with. Although we should much rather see the talents of our young writers engaged in something more original, yet if they cannot do better, good translations and good selections from well contrived and well told stories, will always be acceptable. Some people, we are aware, make it a point to set up against this sort of writing a most obstreperous and pertinacious clamour, which is either sheer affectation, or the fruit of a dull and unexcitable fancy. We insist that there is more true talent, more originality, more genius, required for the invention of a really good Tale, aye, even
“ Tale for the Nursery,” than is wanted for the concoction of volumes of the solemn quackery, which passes in these days of humbug for science and philosophy.
* This is not enumerated in the table of contents.
LETTERS FROM A YOUNG AMERICAN. [The following letters have been handed to us for insertion. They are written by a young American now travelling in Europe, and we should presume, from the unstudied ease and graceful spirit which distinguish them, that they never were intended to meet the public eye. It is precisely for this reason that they merit publication ; a few careless notes from a traveller's memorandum-book, being in our opinion worth. whole reams of more prepense and deliberate epistles.)
LONDON, April 28th, 1825. I have just got back, my dear B-, from an excursion into the country, and thank you for your letter, which I found on
Your account of the improvements you are making, and their great success, makes me wish myself at home again, if it were only to execute some plans, which your example has instigated me to undertake. When I get back, i think I shall take to clearing the long meadow at — and rescuing it from destruction ; perhaps I may make it yield, as it once did, more hay than any piece of its size on the farm. I shall also get other fields in good heart, and make them look cheerful with purple clover; and plant trees, and beautify the grounds. When I have thus had something to do improving and ornamenting, I shall enjoy hearing others praise it so much, and be able with a proud smile to say “ It was I that did it.” I know you will read with patience my dreams of pleasure to come. They give us while they last, you know, (and it is a pity they did not last a little while longer,) as much, or rather a great deal more pleasure, than the reality. Speaking of plans—is that of yours of coming over here, you mention, a serious one, or is it like that of going to Niagara last summer, which expired at Utica, only to talk about. Projecting is indeed very pleasant, and I have a project of taking a look at Spain, going from Marseilles to. Barcelona on my way home. I never heard you praise Spain much; but I should like to see a bull fight, if it were only to compare it with a boxing Vol. I.
match. You probably were surprised at my not going to Italy immediately ; but I did not know the language, and had no companion when I first got to Paris. Then, after I had been there two or three months, it was too late for me to go, return to the coronation, which I am anxious to see, as people are so fond of talking about it afterwards. Besides, it tickles one's vanity so finely, to say “ I was there,” when you hear every body taking up with hearsay accounts. It gives a man almost as much consequence as to have seen the Chinese wall, or being the lucky owner of the winning horse at Newmarket; I should expect all the ladies would turn up their noses at me, if I were to come home without seeing the coronation. All I could say about Westminster Abbey, the Tower, the French Gallery, the Pantheon, Mount Ætna, and St. Peter's Church, would not quiet them. These may be seen by all travellers ;but a coronation !—that is a puppet show which is exhibited but once in an age, and happy is the man that sees it with his own eyes.
As to any pleasure, however, from the show, even those who are fond of seeing dresses, gold and purple, and such things, would enjoy it much more sitting comfortably in a box at the theatre, and seeing an imitation. My old friend
plays the king at the coronation in Henry VIII. with sufficient dignity and gravity, to give one a very reasonable and sufficient idea of a real kingly body. What little pleasure arises in seeing these ceremonies that excite our admiration, is, I imagine, not worth while going out of one's way for. A robe stiff with gold and embroidery-red velvet canopies, and such like, every man has seen, either on the stage or elsewhere, and they dont make the impression they would on a child or a savage.
Among other places, I visited Newmarket :-It was an ani. mating scene—the horsemen, almost an army, galloping about, and four in hand, and pony phaetons, and stable boys, and black legs, and fine ladies, if fine feathers make fine birds.But I couldn't see any thing on the whole better than we have at home; except the amount of bets, which were somewhat higher. I heard three and four hundred pounds offered several times. With all the fine sights, and the excessive pleasure of travelling, I often wish I had got through my plan, and was a little nearer home. I suppose you can recollect something of this feeling, when you were abroad.
Good-by, my dear B- Although in London, I have little news to interest you. The Catholic question is still undecided. Mr. Brougham quite astonished the loyal members the other day, by his boldness in censuring the Duke of
York, the heir apparent. An attack like this is quite contrary to etiquette; and while there are a hundred Englishmen who would march into the cannon's mouth, there is hardly one capable of the heroism of Mr. Brougham, who is held a braver man by half, than if he had actually killed his man.
Paris, May 23d, 1825. 1 received your letter, my dear B-, about a week ago, one or two days before I left London, having staid, as travellers I suspect often do, a little beyond the time appointed; at least it is often my case. You express some surprise at my going to England this spring; but wanting to see some of the fêtestiruce and displays at the coronation, I did not know where else I could better employ a couple of months. I was particularly tempted, among other things, by the prospect of great pleasure in hearing the great men on the Catholic Question—in other words, by a prospect altogether illusory. I went to the House of Commons one night, and the speaking was wretched ; and one gentleman among the audience stole my pocket handkerchief. Such a breach of law, in the presence of the lawmakers themselves, was certainly ungenteel, though I believe no very uncommon circumstance. I however satisfied me that legislation was of little consequence unless supported by morals. This night, therefore, I went away not very much delighted. A second time I was equally disappointed. In the course of three or four attempts, however, I heard the Right Honourable Mr. Secretary Peal, Mr. Brougham, and Mr. Plunkett, with a voice shaking and nervous, and stammering speech. Mr. Brougham is the only one who pleased me much; a courteous, gentlemanly speaker, with a vivid imagination, and at the same time very rich in argument. His greatest fault appears to me to be a habit of wandering from his subject, like Mr. Randolph. But even Mr. Brougham, I do not think by any means equal to Mr. Clay, either in manner or mind. In the heat of debate, like a drunken man, he lets out secrets, and betrays feelings which should be secrets. For instance, his hostility to the Duke of York, which he displayed in a manner, which in such a loyal assembly as the house of commons, could hardly fail of frightening many members from supporting a question coupled with such blasphemies against an heir apparent, who is just as likely to be the dispenser of honours next week as not. Perhaps I expected too much of Mr. Brougham-but I must confess I was disappointed. In this instance we are at least equal, if we do not excel, at home. But thank heaven,