Part 2 out of 6
gold-coloured border, on which is a wreath of flowers that looks as if
newly culled from the garden, so rich, varied, and bright are their
hues. The curtains are of crimson satin, with embossed borders of
gold-colour; and the sofas, _bergeres, fauteuils_, and chairs, richly
carved and gilt, are covered with satin to correspond with the
Gilt _consoles_, and _chiffonnieres_, with white marble tops, are
placed wherever they could be disposed; and, on the chimney pieces, are
The next drawing-room, which I have appropriated as my sitting-room, is
furnished with blue satin, with rich white flowers. It has a carpet of
a chocolate-coloured ground with a blue border, round which is a wreath
of bright flowers, and carved and gilt sofas, _bergeres_, and
_fauteuils_, covered with blue satin like the curtains.
The recess we have lined with fluted blue silk, with a large mirror
placed in the centre of it, and five beautiful buhl cabinets around, on
which I intend to dispose all my treasures of old _Sevre_ china, and
I was told by the upholsterer, that he had pledged himself to _milord_
that _miladi_ was not to see her _chambre a coucher_, or dressing-room,
until they were furnished. This I well knew was some scheme laid by
Lord B. to surprise me, for he delights in such plans.
He will not tell me what is doing in the rooms, and refuses all my
entreaties to enter them, but shakes his head, and says he _thinks_ I
will be pleased when I see them; and so I think, too, for the only
complaint I ever have to make of his taste is its too great
splendour--a proof of which he gave me when I went to Mountjoy Forest
on my marriage, and found my private sitting-room hung with crimson
Genoa silk velvet, trimmed with gold bullion fringe, and all the
furniture of equal richness--a richness that was only suited to a state
room in a palace.
We feel like children with a new plaything, in our beautiful house; but
how, after it, shall we ever be able to reconcile ourselves to the
comparatively dingy rooms in St. James's Square, which no furniture or
decoration could render any thing like the Hotel Ney?
The Duc and Duchesse de Guiche leave Paris, to my great regret, in a
few days, and will be absent six weeks. He is to command the encampment
at Luneville, and she is to do the honours--giving dinners, balls,
concerts, and soirees, to the ladies who accompany their lords to "the
tented field," and to the numerous visitors who resort to see it. They
have invited us to go to them, but we cannot accept their kindness.
"On hospitable thoughts intent,"
and will, I doubt not, conciliate the esteem of all with whom they come
He is so well bred, that the men pardon his superiority both of person
and manner; and she is so warm-hearted and amiable, that the women,
with a few exceptions, forgive her rare beauty. How we shall miss them,
and the dear children, too!
Drove in the Bois de Boulogne yesterday, with the Duchesse de Guiche:
met my old acquaintance, Lord Yarmouth, who is as amusing and original
He has great natural talent and knowledge of the world, but uses both
to little purpose, save to laugh at its slaves. He might be any thing
he chose, but he is too indolent for exertion, and seems to think _le
jeu ne vaut pas la chandelle_. He is one of the many clever people
spoilt by being born to a great fortune and high rank, advantages which
exclude the necessity of exercising the talents he possesses.
It is, however, no trifling merit, that born to immense wealth and high
station, he should he wholly free from arrogance, or ostentation.
At length, the secret is out, the doors of my _chambre a coucher_ and
dressing-room are opened, and I am delighted with both. The whole
fitting up is in exquisite taste, and, as usual, when my most gallant
of all gallant husbands that it ever fell to the happy lot of woman to
possess, interferes, no expense has been spared.
The bed, which is silvered, instead of gilt, rests on the backs of two
large silver swans, so exquisitely sculptured that every feather is in
alto-relievo, and looks nearly as fleecy as those of the living bird.
The recess in which it is placed is lined with white fluted silk,
bordered with blue embossed lace; and from the columns that support the
frieze of the recess, pale blue silk curtains, lined with white, are
hung, which, when drawn, conceal the recess altogether.
The window curtain is of pale blue silk, with embroidered muslin
curtains, trimmed with lace inside them, and have borders of blue and
white lace to match those of the recess.
A silvered sofa has been made to fit the side of the room opposite the
fire-place, near to which stands a most inviting _bergere_. An
_ecritoire_ occupies one panel, a bookstand the other, and a rich
coffer for jewels forms a pendant to a similar one for lace, or India
A carpel of uncut pile, of a pale blue, a silver lamp, and a Psyche
glass, the ornaments silvered to correspond with the decorations of the
chamber, complete the furniture. The hangings of the dressing-room are
of blue silk, covered with lace, and trimmed with rich frills of the
same material, as are also the dressing-stools and _chaise longue_, and
the carpet and lamp are similar to those of the bed-room.
A toilette table stands before the window, and small _jardinieres_ are
placed in front of each panel of looking-glass, but so low as not to
impede a full view of the person dressing in this beautiful little
The _salle de bain_ is draped with white muslin trimmed with lace, and
the sofa and _bergere_ are covered with the same. The bath is of white
marble, inserted in the floor, with which its surface is level. On the
ceiling over it, is a painting of Flora scattering flowers with one
hand while from the other is suspended an alabaster lamp, in the form
of a lotos.
A more tasteful or elegant suite of apartments cannot be imagined; and
all this perfection of furniture has been completed in three days! Lord
B. has all the merit of the taste, and the upholsterer that of the
rapidity and excellence of the execution.
The effect of the whole suite is chastely beautiful; and a queen could
desire nothing better for her own private apartments. Few queens, most
probably, ever had such tasteful ones.
Our kind friend, Charles Mills, has arrived from Rome,--amiable and
agreeable as ever. He dined with us yesterday, and we talked over the
pleasant days spent in the Vigna Palatina, his beautiful villa.
Breakfasted to-day in the Rue d'Anjou, a take-leave repast given to the
Duc and Duchesse de Guiche by Madame Craufurd. Lady Barbara and Colonel
Craufurd were of the party, which was the only _triste_ one I have seen
in that house. The Duc de Gramont was there, and joined in the regret
we all felt at seeing our dear friends drive away.
It was touching to behold Madame Craufurd, kissing again and again her
grandchildren and great-grandchildren, the tears streaming down her
cheeks, and the venerable Duc de Gramont, scarcely less moved,
embracing his son and daughter-in-law, and exhorting the latter to take
care of her health, while the dear little Ida, his granddaughter, not
yet two years old, patted his cheeks, and smiled in his face.
It is truly delightful to witness the warm affection that subsists
between relatives in France, and the dutiful and respectful attention
paid by children to their parents. In no instance have I seen this more
strongly exemplified than in the Duc and Duchesse de Guiche, whose
unceasing tenderness towards the good Duc de Gramont not only makes his
happiness, but is gratifying to all who behold it, as is also their
conduct to Madame Craufurd.
I wish the encampment was over, and those dear friends back again.
Took possession of our new house to-day, and are delighted with it. Its
repose and quiet are very agreeable, after the noise and bustle of the
Rue de Rivoli. Spent several hours in superintending the arrangement of
my books, china, _bijouterie_, and flowers, and the rooms look as
habitable as if we had lived in them for weeks. How fortunate we are to
have found so charming an abode!
A chasm here occurs in my journal, occasioned by the arrival of some
dear relatives from England, with whom I was too much occupied to have
time to journalise. What changes five years effect in young people! The
dear girls I left children are now grown into women, but are as artless
and affectionate as in childhood. I could hardly believe my eyes when I
saw them, yet I soon traced the same dear countenances, and marvelled
that though changed from the round, dimpled ones of infancy, to the
more delicate oval of maidenly beauty, the expression of gaiety and
innocence of their faces is still the same.
A week has passed rapidly by, and now that they have returned to
England, their visit appears like a dream. I wish it had been longer,
for I have seen only enough of them to wish to see a great deal more.
The good Mrs. W. and her lively, clever, and her pretty daughter, Mrs.
R., dined with us yesterday. They are _en route_ for England, but give
many a sigh to dear Italy. It was pleasant to talk over the happy days
passed there, which we did with that tender regret with which the past
is always referred to by those who have sensibility, and they possess
no ordinary portion of this lovable quality. Les Dames Bellegarde also
dined with us, and they English friends took a mutual fancy to each
other. I like the Bellegardes exceedingly.
Our old friend, Lord Lilford, is at Paris, and is as amiable and
kind-hearted as ever. He dined with us yesterday, and we talked over
the pleasant days we spent at Florence. Well-educated, and addicted to
neither of the prevalent follies of the day, racing nor gaming, he only
requires a little ambition to prompt him to exertion, in order to
become a useful, as well as an agreeable member of the community, but
with a good fortune and rank, he requires an incentive to action.
Met last evening at Madame Craufurd's the Marquis and Marquise Zamperi
of Bologna. She is pretty and agreeable, and he is original and
amusing. They were very civil, and expressed regret at not having been
at Bologna when we were there.
Had a visit from Count Alexandre de Laborde to-day. His conversation is
lively and entertaining. Full of general information and good sense, he
is no niggard in imparting the results of both to those with whom he
comes in contact, and talks fluently, if not always faultlessly, in
Italian and English.
The Marquis de Mornay and his brother Count Charles de Mornay dined
here yesterday. How many associations of the olden time are recalled by
this ancient and noble name, Mornay du Plessis!
The Marquis is agreeable, sensible, well-informed, and well-bred.
Though justly proud of his high descent, the consciousness of it is
never rendered visible by any symptom of that arrogance too often met
with in those who have less cause for pride, and can only be traced by
a natural dignity and bearing, worthy a descendant of the noble Sully.
Count Charles de Mornay is a very remarkable young man. With a
brilliant wit, the sallies of which can "set the table in a roar;" it
is never used at the expense of others, and, when he chooses to be
grave, the quickness and justice of his perception, and the fine tact
and good sense which mark his reflections, betray a mind of no common
order, and give the promise of future distinction.
Nothing can be more agreeable than the mode in which I pass my time
here. I read from nine until twelve: order the household arrangements,
and inspect the _menu_ at twelve: write letters or journalise from one
until four; drive out till six or half-past; return home, dress, dine,
pay visits, or receive them at home, and get to bed at one o'clock.
How much preferable is the French system of evening visits, to the
English custom of morning ones, which cut up time so abominably! Few
who have lived much abroad could submit patiently to have their
mornings broken in upon, when evening, which is the most suitable time
for relaxation, can be enlivened by the visits that are irksome at
Paris is now nearly as empty as London is in September; all the _elite_
of French fashionable society having taken their departure for their
country houses, or for the different baths they frequent. I, who like
not crowds, prefer Paris at this season to any other, and shall be
rather sorry than glad when it fills again.
Madame Craufurd, Lady Barbara and Colonel Craufurd, the Ducs de
Gramont, Dalberg, and Mouchy, dined with us yesterday. We had music in
the evening, The Duc Dalberg is agreeable and well-bred, and his manner
has that suavity, mingled with reserve, said to be peculiar to those
who have lived much at courts, and filled diplomatic situations.
The Duc was Minister Plenipotentiary from Baden at Paris, when Napoleon
was First Consul, and escaped not censure on the occasion of the
seizure of the unfortunate Duc d'Enghien; of the intention of which it
was thought he ought to have apprised his court, and so have prevented
an event which has entailed just blame on all concerned in it, as well
as on some who were innocent.
There is nothing in the character of the Duc Dalberg to warrant a
belief of his being capable of lending himself to aught that was
disloyal, for he is an excellent man in all the relations of life, and
is esteemed and respected by as large a circle of friends as most
persons who have filled high situations can boast of.
The Duc de Mouchy is a very amiable as well as high-bred man; he has
been in England, and speaks English with fluency.
Letters from the camp of Luneville, received from our dear friends
to-day, give a very animated description of their doings there. The Duc
de Mouchy told me yesterday that they were winning golden opinions from
all with whom they came in contact there, by their urbanity and
hospitality. He said that people were not prepared to find the
handsomest and most fashionable woman at Paris, "the observed of all
observers," and the brightest ornament of the French court, doing the
honours to the wives of the officers of the camp with an amiability
that has captivated them all. The good Duc de Gramont was delighted at
hearing this account, for never was there a more affectionate father.
Went with a party yesterday to Montmorency. Madame Craufurd, the
Comtesse de Gand, the Baronne d'Ellingen, Comte F. de Belmont, and our
own circle, formed the party. It was gratifying to witness how much
dear Madame Craufurd enjoyed the excursion; she even rode on a donkey
through the woods, and the youngest person of the party did not enter
into the amusement with more spirit and gaiety. Montmorency is a
charming place, but not so the road to it, which, being paved, is very
We visited the hermitage where Rousseau wrote so many of his works, but
in which this strange and unhappy man found not that peace so long
sought by him in vain, and to which his own wayward temper and
suspicious nature offered an insurmountable obstacle.
As I sat in this humble abode, and looked around on the objects once
familiar to his eyes, I could not resist the sentiment of pity that
filled my breast, at the recollection that even in this tranquil
asylum, provided by friendship , and removed from the turmoil of the
busy world, so repugnant to his taste, the jealousies, the
heart-burnings, and the suspicions, that empoisoned his existence
followed him, rendering his life not only a source of misery to
himself, but of pain to others; for no one ever conferred kindness on
him without becoming the object of his suspicion, if not of his
The life of Rousseau is one of the most humiliating episodes in the
whole history of literary men, and the most calculated to bring genius
into disrepute: yet the misery he endured more than avenged the wrongs
he inflicted; and, while admiring the productions of a genius, of which
even his enemies could not deny him the possession, we are more than
ever compelled to avow how unavailing is this glorious gift to confer
happiness on its owner, or to secure him respect or esteem, if
unaccompanied by goodness.
Who can reflect on the life of this man without a sense of the danger
to which Genius exposes its children, and a pity for their sufferings,
though too often self-inflicted? Alas! the sensibility which is one of
the most invariable characteristics of Genius, and by which its most
glorious efforts are achieved, if excited into unhealthy action by
over-exercise, not unseldom renders its possessor unreasonable and
wretched, while his works are benefiting or delighting others, and
while the very persons who most highly appreciate them are often the
least disposed to pardon the errors of their author.
As the dancer, by the constant practice of her art, soon loses that
roundness of _contour_ which is one of the most beautiful peculiarities
of her sex, the muscles of the legs becoming unnaturally developed at
the expense of the rest of the figure, so does the man of genius, by
the undue exercise of this gift, acquire an irritability that soon
impairs the temper, and renders his excess of sensibility a torment to
himself and to others.
The solitude necessary to the exercise of Genius is another fruitful
source of evil to its children. Abstracted from the world, they are apt
to form a false estimate of themselves and of it, and to entertain
exaggerated expectations from it. Their morbid feelings are little able
to support the disappointment certain to ensue, and they either rush
into a reprisal of imaginary wrongs, by satire on others, or inflict
torture on themselves by the belief, often erroneous, of the injuries
they have sustained.
I remembered in this abode a passage in one of the best letters ever
written by Rousseau, and addressed to Voltaire, on the subject of his
poem, entitled _Sur la Loi Naturelle, et sur le Desastre de Lisbonne_;
in which, referring to an assertion of Voltaire's that few persons
would wish to live over again on the condition of enduring the same
trials, and which Rousseau combats by urging that it is only the rich,
fatigued by their pleasures, or literary men, of whom he writes--"_Des
gens de lettres, de tous les ordres d'hommes le plus sedentaire, le
plus malsain, le plus reflechissant, et, par consequent, le plus
malheureux_," who would decline to live over again, had they the power.
This description of men of letters, written by one of themselves, is a
melancholy, but, alas! a true one, and should console the enviers of
genius for the want of a gift that but too often entails such misery on
The church of Montmorency is a good specimen of Gothic architecture,
and greatly embellishes the little town, which is built on the side of
a hill, and commands a delicious view of the chestnut forest and
valley, clothed with pretty villas, that render it so much and so
It was amusing to listen to the diversity of opinions entertained by
our party relative to Rousseau, as we wandered through the scenes which
he so often frequented; each individual censuring or defending him,
according to the bias of his or her disposition. On one point all
agreed; which was, that, if judged by his actions, little could be said
in mitigation of the conduct of him who, while writing sentiments
fraught with passion and tenderness, could consign his offspring to a
Having visited every object worthy of attention at Montmorency, we
proceeded to Enghien, to examine the baths established there. The
building is of vast extent, containing no less than forty chambers,
comfortably furnished for the accommodation of bathers; and a good
_restaurateur_ furnishes the repasts. The apartments command a
beautiful view, and the park of St.-Gratien offers a delightful
promenade to the visitors of Enghien.
Our route back to Paris was rendered very agreeable by the lively and
clever conversation of the Comtesse de Gand. I have rarely met with a
more amusing person.
With a most retentive memory, she possesses the tact that does not
always accompany this precious gift--that of only repeating what is
perfectly _a propos_ and interesting, with a fund of anecdotes that
might form an inexhaustible capital for a professional diner-out to set
up with; an ill-natured one never escapes her lips, and yet--hear it
all ye who believe, or act as if ye believe, that malice and wit are
inseparable allies!--it would be difficult to find a more entertaining
and lively companion.
Our old friend, Col. E. Lygon, came to see us to-day, and is as amiable
as ever. He is a specimen of a military man of which England may well
The Ducs de Talleyrand and Dino, the Marquis de Mornay, the Marquis de
Dreux-Breze, and Count Charles de Mornay, dined here yesterday. The
Marquis de Breze is a clever man, and his conversation is highly
interesting. Well-informed and sensible, he has directed much of his
attention to politics without being, as is too often the case with
politicians, wholly engrossed by them. He appears to me to be a man
likely to distinguish himself in public life.
There could not be found two individuals more dissimilar, or more
formed for furnishing specimens of the noblemen of _la Vieille Cour_
and the present time, than the Duc de Talleyrand and the Marquis de
Dreux-Breze. The Duc, well-dressed and well-bred, but offering in his
toilette and in his manners irrefragable evidence that both have been
studied, and his conversation bearing that high polish and urbanity
which, if not always characteristics of talent, conceal the absence of
it, represents _l'ancien regime_, when _les grands seigneurs_ were more
desirous to serve _les belles dames_ than their country, and more
anxious to be distinguished in the _salons_ of the Faubourg St.-Germain
than in the _Chambre de Parlement_.
The Marquis de Dreux-Breze, well-dressed and well-bred, too, appears
not to have studied either his toilette or his manners; and, though by
no means deficient in polite attention to women, seems to believe that
there are higher and more praiseworthy pursuits than that of thinking
only how to please them, and bestows more thought on the _Chambre des
Pairs_ than on the _salons a la mode_.
One is a passive and ornamental member of society, the other a useful
and active politician, I have remarked that the Frenchmen of high birth
of the present time all seem disposed to take pains in fitting
themselves for the duties of their station. They read much and with
profit, travel much more than formerly, and are free from the narrow
prejudices against other countries, which, while they prove not a man's
attachment to his own, offer one of the most insurmountable of all
barriers to that good understanding so necessary to be maintained
Dined yesterday at St.-Cloud with the Baron and Baroness de Ruysch; a
very agreeable and intellectual pair, who have made a little paradise
around them in the shape of an English pleasure ground, blooming with
rare shrubs and flowers.
Our old friend, Mr. Douglas Kinnaird--"the honourable Dug," as poor
Lord Byron used to call him--paid me a visit to-day. I had not seen him
for seven years, and these same years have left their traces on his
brow. He is in delicate health, and is only come over to Paris for a
very few days.
He has lived in the same scenes and in the same routine that we left
him, wholly engrossed by them, while
"I've taught me other tongues, and in strange eyes
Have made me not a stranger;"
and wonder how people can be content to dwell whole years in so
circumscribed, however useful, a circle.
Those who live much in London seem to me to have tasted the lotus
which, according to the fable of old, induced forgetfulness of the
past, so wholly are they engrossed by the present, and by the vortex in
which they find themselves plunged.
Much as I like England, and few love it more dearly, I should not like
to pass all the rest of my life in it. _All, all_: it is thus we ever
count on futurity, reckoning as if our lives were certain of being
prolonged, when we know not that the _all_ on which we so boldly
calculate may not be terminated in a day, nay, even in an hour. Who is
there that can boast an English birth, that would not wish to die at
home and rest in an English grave?
Sir Francis Burdett has arrived, and means to stay some time here. He
called on us yesterday with Colonel Leicester Stanhope, and is as
agreeable and good-natured as ever. He is much _feted_ at Paris, and
receives great attention from the Duc d'Orleans, who has offered him
his boxes at the theatres, and shews him all manner of civilities.
Colonel Leicester Stanhope gave me some interesting details of poor
Byron's last days in Greece, and seems to have duly appreciated his
many fine qualities, in spite of the errors that shrouded but could not
eclipse them. The fine temper and good breeding that seem to be
characteristic of the Stanhope family, have not degenerated in this
branch of it; and his manner, as well as his voice and accent, remind
me very forcibly of my dear old friend his father, who is one of the
most amiable, as well as agreeable men I ever knew, and who I look
forward with pleasure to meeting on my return home.
The Marquise Palavicini from Genoa, her daughter-in-law the Princesse
Doria, sir Francis Burdett, and Colonel Leicester Stanhope, dined with
us yesterday. The marquise Palavicini is a very sensible and agreeable
woman, and the Princesse Doria is very pretty and amiable. Like most of
her countrywomen, this young and attractive person is wholly free from
that affectation which deteriorates from so many of the women of other
countries; and the simplicity of her manner, which is as remote from
_gaucherie_ as it is from affectation, invests her with a peculiar
We talked over Genoa, where we have spent so many pleasant days, and
the beautiful gardens of the villa Palavicini, the possession of which
has always tempted me to envy its owner. I have never passed an hour in
the society of Italian women without feeling the peculiar charm of
their manner, and wishing that its ease and simplicity were more
The absence of any effort to shine, the gentleness without insipidity,
the liveliness without levity, and above all, the perfect good nature
that precludes aught that could be disagreeable to others, form the
distinguishing characteristics of the manner of Italian women from the
princess to the peasant, and are alike practised by both towards all
with whom they converse.
Lord Darnley and Lord Charlemont dined here yesterday. It is pleasant
to see old and familiar faces again, even though the traces of Time on
their brows recall to mind the marks which the ruthless tyrant must
have inflicted on our own. We all declared that we saw no change in
each other, but the looks of surprise and disappointment exchanged at
meeting contradicted the assertion.
Mr. Charles Young, the tragedian, dined here to-day. We were very glad
to see him again, for he is a very estimable as well as agreeable
member of society, and reflects honour on his profession.
Lord Lansdowne came here with Count Flahault this evening. It is now
seven years since I last saw him, but time has dealt kindly with him
during that period, as it ever does to those who possess equanimity of
mind and health of body. Lord Lansdowne has always appeared to me to be
peculiarly formed for a statesman.
With a fortune that exempts him from incurring even the suspicion of
mercenary motives for holding office, and a rank which precludes that
of entertaining the ambition of seeking a higher, he is free from the
angry passions that more or loss influence the generality of other men.
To an unprejudiced mind, he joins self-respect without arrogance,
self-possession without effrontery, solid and general information,
considerable power of application to business, a calm and gentlemanly
demeanour, and an urbanity of manner which, while it conciliates good
will, never descends to, or encourages, familiarity.
A lover and liberal patron of the fine arts, he is an encourager of
literature, and partial to the society of literary men; irreproachable
in private life, and respected in public, what is there wanting to
render him faultless?
I, who used to enjoy a good deal of his society in England, am of
opinion, that the sole thing wanting is the warmth and cordiality of
manner which beget friends and retain partisans, and without which no
minister can count on constant supporters.
It is a curious circumstance, that the political party to which Lord
Lansdowne is opposed can boast a man among those most likely to hold
the reins of government, to whom all that I have said of Lord Lansdowne
might, with little modification, be applied. I refer to Sir Robert
Peel, whose acquaintance I enjoyed in England; and who is much younger,
and perhaps bolder, than Lord Lansdowne.
Happy, in my opinion, is the country which possesses such men; though
the friends and admirers of each would probably feel little disposed to
admit any comparison to be instituted between them, and would deride,
if not assail, any one for making it.
Sir Francis Burdell dined here yesterday, and we had the Count
Alexandra de Laborde and Count Charles de Mornay, to meet him. Several
people came in the evening. I have lent a pile of books to Sir F. B.,
who continues to read as much as formerly, and forgets nothing that he
peruses. His information is, consequently, very extensive, and renders
his conversation very interesting. His thirst for knowledge is
insatiable, and leads him to every scientific resort where it may be
Spent last evening at Madame Craufurd's. Met there, the Princesse
Castelcicala and her daughter, Lady Drummond, Mr. T. Steuart, and
various others--among them, a daughter of the Marquess of Ailesbury,
who has married a French nobleman, and resides in Paris.
Lady Drummond talked to me a good deal of Sir William, and evinced much
respect for his memory. She is proud, and she may well be so, of having
been the wife of such a man; though there was but little sympathy
between their tastes and pursuits, and his death can produce so little
change in her habits of life, that she can scarcely be said to miss
He passed his days and the greater portion of his nights in reading or
writing, living in a suite of rooms literally filled with books; the
tables, chairs, sofas, and even the floors, being encumbered with them,
going out only for a short time in a carriage to get a little air, or
occasionally to dine out.
He seldom saw Lady Drummond, except at dinner, surrounded by a large
party. She passed, as she still passes her time, in the duties of an
elaborate toilette, paying or receiving visits, giving or going to
_fetes_, and playing with her lap-dog. A strange wife for one of the
most intellectual men of his day! And yet this total dissimilarity
produced no discord between them; for she was proud of his
acquirements, and he was indulgent to her less _spirituelle_ tastes.
Lady Drummond does much good at Naples; for, while the _beau monde_ of
that gay capital are entertained in a style of profuse hospitality at
her house, the poor find her charity dispensed with a liberal hand in
all their exigencies; so that her vast wealth is a source of comfort to
others as well as to herself.
I have been reading _Vivian Grey_--a very wild, but very clever
book, full of genius in its unpruned luxuriance; the writer revels
in all the riches of a brilliant imagination, and expends them
prodigally--dazzling, at one moment, by his passionate eloquence, and,
at another, by his touching pathos.
A pleasant dinner-party, yesterday. The Duc de Mouchy, the Marquis de
Mornay, Count Flahault, the Count Maussion, Mons. de Montrond, and Mr.
Standish, were the guests. Count Flahault is so very agreeable and
gentlemanly a man, that no one can call in question the taste of the
Baroness Keith in selecting him for her husband.
Mr. Standish has married a French lady, accomplished, clever, and
pretty. Intermarriages between French and English are now not
unfrequent; and it is pleasant to observe the French politeness and
_bon ton_ ingrafted on English sincerity and good sense. Of this, Mr.
Standish offers a very good example; for, while he has acquired all the
Parisian ruse of manner, he has retained all the English good qualities
for which he has always been esteemed.
Charles Kemble dined here yesterday, and in the evening read to us his
daughter Fanny's Tragedy of _Francis the First_--a very wonderful
production for so young a girl. There is considerable vigour in many
parts of this work, and several passages in it reminded me of the old
dramatists. The character of "Louisa of Savoy" is forcibly
drawn--wonderfully so, indeed, when considered as the production of so
youthful a person. The constant association with minds deeply imbued
with a love of the old writers, must have greatly influenced the taste
of Miss Kemble.
_Francis the First_ bears irrefragable evidence that her reading has
lain much among the old poets, and that Shakspeare is one of her most
favourite ones. "Triboulet," the king's jester, may be instanced as an
example of this; and "Margaret of Valois" furnishes another. "Francoise
de Foix" is a more original conception; timid, yet fond, sacrificing
her honour to save her brother's life, but rendered wretched by
remorse; and not able to endure the presence of her affianced husband,
who, believing her pure and sinless as he left her, appeals to her,
when "Gonzales" reveals her shame.
This same "Gonzales," urged on by vengeance, and ready to do
aught--nay, more than "may become a man,"--to seek its gratification,
is a boldly drawn character.
The introduction of the poet "Clement Marot" is no less happy than
judicious; and Miss Kemble gives him a very beautiful speech, addressed
to his master "Francis the First," in which the charm that reigns about
the presence of a pure woman is so eloquently described, as to have
reminded me of the exquisite passage in _Comus_, although there is not
any plagiary in Miss Kemble's speech.
A poetess herself, she has rendered justice to the character of Clement
Marot, whose honest indignation at being employed to bear a letter from
the amorous "Francis" to the sister of "Lautrec," she has very
The "Constable Bourbon" is well drawn, and has some fine speeches
assigned to him; and "Gonzales" gives a spirited description of the
difference between encountering death in the battle-field, surrounded
by all the spirit-stirring "pomp and circumstance of glorious war," and
meeting the grisly tyrant on the scaffold, attended by all the
ignominious accessories of a traitor's doom.
This Tragedy, when given to the public, will establish Miss Kemble's
claims to distinction in the literary world, and add another laurel to
those acquired by her family.
There are certain passages in the speeches of "Gonzales," that, in my
opinion, require to be revised, lest they should provoke censures from
the fastidious critics of the present time, who are prone to detect
evil of which the authors, whose works they analyse, are quite
unconscious. Innocence sometimes leads young writers to a freedom of
expression from which experienced ones would shrink back in alarm; and
the perusal of the old dramatists gives a knowledge of passions, and of
sins, known only through their medium, but the skilful developement of
which, subjects a female writer, and more particularly a youthful one,
to ungenerous animadversion. It is to be hoped, that the friends of
this gifted girl will so prune the luxuriance of her pen, as to leave
nothing to detract from a work so creditable to her genius.
Charles Kemble rendered ample justice to his daughter's Tragedy by his
mode of reading it; and we counted not the hours devoted to the task.
How many reminiscences of the olden time were called up by hearing him!
I remembered those pleasant evenings when he used to read to us in
London, hour after hour, until the timepiece warned us to give over. I
remembered, too, John Kemble--"the great John Kemble," as Lord
Guildford used to call him--twice or thrice reading to us with Sir T.
Lawrence; and the tones of Charles Kemble's voice, and the expression
of his face, forcibly reminded me of our departed friend.
I have scarcely met with a more high-bred man, or a more agreeable
companion, than Charles Kemble. Indeed, were I called on to name the
professional men I have known most distinguished for good breeding and
manners, I should name our four tragedians,--the two Kembles, Young,
Sir Francis Burdett dined here yesterday _en famille_, and we passed
two very pleasant hours. He related to us many amusing and interesting
anecdotes connected with his political life.
Went to the Opera in the evening, whither he accompanied us. I like my
box very much. It is in the centre of the house, is draped with pale
blue silk, and has very comfortable chairs. The Parisians are, I find,
as addicted to staring as the English; for many were the glasses
levelled last night at Sir Francis Burdett who, totally unconscious of
the attention he excited, was wholly engrossed by the "Count Ory," some
of the choruses in which pleased me very much.
A visit to-day from our excellent and valued friend, Sir A. Barnard,
who has promised to dine with us to-morrow. Paris is now filling very
fast, which I regret, as I dislike crowds and having my time broken in
I become more convinced every day I live, that quiet and repose are the
secrets of happiness, for I never feel so near an approach to this
blessing as when in the possession of them. General society is a heavy
tax on time and patience, and one that I feel every year less
inclination to pay, as I witness the bad effect it produces not only on
the habits but on the mind.
Oh! the weariness of listening for hours to the repetition of past
gaieties, or the anticipation of future ones, to the commonplace
remarks or stupid conversation of persons whose whole thoughts are
engrossed by the frivolous amusements of Paris, which are all and every
thing to them!
How delicious is it to shut out all this weariness, and with a book, or
a few rationally minded friends, indulge in an interchange of ideas!
But the too frequent indulgence of this sensible mode of existence
exposes one to the sarcasms of the frivolous who are avoided.
One is deemed a pedant--a terrible charge at Paris!--or a _bas bleu_,
which is still worse, however free the individual may be from any
pretensions to merit such charges.
Paid a visit to the justly celebrated Mademoiselle Mars yesterday, at
her beautiful hotel in the Rue de la Tour des Dames. I have entertained
a wish ever since my return from Italy, to become acquainted with this
remarkable woman; and Mr. Young was the medium of accomplishing it.
Mademoiselle Mars is even more attractive off the stage than on; for
her countenance beams with intelligence, and her manners are at once so
animated, yet gentle; so kind, yet dignified; and there is such an
inexpressible charm in the tones of her voice, that no one can approach
without being delighted with her.
Her conversation is highly interesting, marked by a good sense and good
taste that render her knowledge always available, but never obtrusive.
Her features are regular and delicate; her figure, though inclined to
_embonpoint_, is very graceful, and her smile, like the tones of her
voice, is irresistibly sweet, and reveals teeth of rare beauty.
Mademoiselle Mars, off the stage, owes none of her attractions to the
artful aid of ornament; wearing her own dark hair simply arranged, and
her clear brown complexion free from any artificial tinge. In her air
and manner is the rare and happy mixture of _la grande dame et la femme
aimable_, without the slightest shade of affectation.
Mademoiselle Mars' hotel is the prettiest imaginable. It stands in a
court yard, wholly shut in from the street; and, though not vast, it
has all the elegance, if not the splendour, of a fine house. Nothing
can evince a purer taste than this dwelling, with its decorations and
furniture. It contains all that elegance and comfort can require,
without any thing meretricious or gaudy, and is a temple worthy of the
goddess to whom it is dedicated.
It has been well observed, that a just notion of the character of a
person can always be formed by the style of his or her dwelling. Who
can be deceived in the house of a _nouveau riche_? Every piece of
furniture in it vouches, not only for the wealth of its owner, but that
he has not yet got sufficiently habituated to the possession of it, to
be as indifferent to its attributes as are those to whom custom has
rendered splendour no longer a pleasure.
Every thing in the house of Mademoiselle Mars bespeaks its mistress to
be a woman of highly cultivated mind and of refined habits.
The boudoir is in the style of Louis XIV, and owes its tasteful
decorations to the pencil of Ciceri. The pictures that ornament it are
by Gerard, and are highly creditable to his reputation. The library
serves also as a picture-gallery; and in it may be seen beautiful
specimens of the talents of the most esteemed French artists, offered
by them as a homage to this celebrated woman. Gerard, Delacroix,
Isabey, Lany, Grevedon, and other distinguished artists, have
contributed to this valuable collection. A fine portrait of Madame
Pasta, and another of Talma, with two exquisite pictures of the mother
of Mademoiselle Mars, not less remarkable for the rare beauty of the
subject than for the merit of the artists, complete it.
One book-case in the library contains only the presentation copies of
the pieces in which Mademoiselle Mars has performed, magnificently
bound by the authors.
On a white marble _console_ in this gallery is placed an interesting
memorial of her brilliant theatrical career, presented to her by the
most enthusiastic of its numerous admirers. It consists of a laurel
crown, executed in pure gold; on the leaves of which are engraved on
one side, the name of each piece in which she appeared, and, on the
other, the _role_ which she acted in it. A very fine statue of Moliere
is placed in this apartment.
Never did two hours glide more rapidly away than those passed in the
society of this fascinating woman, whose presence I left penetrated
with the conviction that no one can know without admiring her; and that
when she retires from the stage, "we shall not look upon her like
Passed a very agreeable evening, at Madame Craufurd's, Met there la
Duchesse de la Force, and the usual circle of _habitues_. Talking of
theatres, some of _la Vieille Cour_, who happened to be present,
remarked on the distinction always made between the female performers
of the different ones. Those of the Theatre Francais were styled "_Les
Dames de la Comedie Francaise_"; "those of the Theatre Italien," "_Les
Demoiselles du Theatre Italien_;" and the dancers, "_Les Filles de
l'Opera_." This last mode of naming _les danseuses_, though in later
times considered as a reproach, was, originally, meant as an honourable
distinction; the king, on establishing the _Academie Royale de
Musique_, having obtained the privilege that the performers attached to
it should be exempt from excommunication. Hence they were named, "_Les
Filles de l'Opera_," as persons sometimes said "_Les Filles de la
_A propos_ of the Opera, Madame Grassini, once no less celebrated for
her beauty than for her voice, was of the party last night. She is, and
deservedly, a general favourite in Parisian society, in which her
vivacity, good-nature, and amiability, are duly appreciated. Her lively
sallies and _naive_ remarks are very amusing; and the frankness and
simplicity she has preserved in a profession and position so calculated
to induce the reverse, add to her attractions and give piquancy to her
There are moments in which Madame Grassini's countenance becomes
lighted up with such animation, that it seems to be invested with a
considerable portion of the rare beauty for which she was so
Her eyes are still glorious, and, like those only of the sunny South,
can flash with intelligence, or melt with tenderness. It is when
conversing on the grand _roles_ which she filled as _prima donna_, that
her face lights up as I have noticed,--as the war-horse, when hearing
the sound of the trumpet, remembers the scene of his past glory.
When in Italy, some years since, Madame Grassini's carriage was stopped
by brigands, who, having compelled her to descend, ransacked it and
took possession of her splendid theatrical wardrobe, and her
She witnessed the robbery with calmness, until she saw the brigands
seize the portrait of the Emperor Napoleon, presented to her by his own
hand, and set round with large brilliants, when she appealed to them
with tears streaming down her cheeks to take the settings and all the
diamonds, but not to deprive her of the portrait of her "dear, dear
Emperor!" When this circumstance was referred to she told me the story,
and her eyes glistened with tears while relating it.
Went to Orsay yesterday, and passed a very agreeable day there. It was
a fortified chateau, and must have been a very fine place before the
Revolution caused, not only its pillage, but nearly total destruction,
for only one wing of it now remains.
Built in the reign of Charles VII, it was esteemed one of the best
specimens of the feudal _chateau fort_ of that epoch; and the
subterranean portion of it still attests its former strength and
It is surrounded by a moat, not of stagnant water, but supplied by the
river Ivette, which flows at the base of the hill on which the chateau
stands. The water is clear and brisk and the chateau looks as if it
stood in a pellucid river. The view from the windows is very extensive,
commanding a rich and well-wooded country.
The chapel escaped not the ravages of the sacrilegious band, who
committed such havoc on the chateau; for the beautiful altar, and some
very interesting monuments, were barbarously mutilated, and the tomb of
the Princesse de Croy, the mother of General Count d'Orsay, on which a
vast sum had been expended, was nearly razed to the ground.
If aught was required to increase my horror of revolutions, and of the
baleful consequences to which they lead, the sight of this once
splendid chateau, and, above all, of its half-ruined chapel, in which
even the honoured dead were insulted, would have accomplished it.
An heiress of one of the most ancient houses in the _Pays-Bas_, the
Princesse de Croy brought a noble dowry to her husband, himself a man
of princely fortune. Young and beautiful, her munificence soon rendered
her an object of almost, adoration to the dependents of her lord; and
when soon after having given birth to a son and heir, the present
General Comte d'Orsay, she was called to another world, her remains
were followed to her untimely grave by a long train of weeping poor,
whose hearts her bounty had often cheered, and whose descendants were
subsequently horror-struck to see the sanctity of her last earthly
We passed through the hamlet of Palaiseau, on our return to Paris; and
saw in it the steeple where the magpie concealed the silver spoons he
had stolen, and which occasioned the event from which the drama of _La
Pie Voleuse_, known in so many languages, has had its origin.
The real story ended not so happily as the opera, for the poor girl was
executed--the spoons not having been discovered until after her death.
This tragedy in humble life has attached great interest to the steeple
at Palaiseau, and has drawn many persons to the secluded hamlet in
which it stands.
The Duc and Duchesse de Quiche returned from Luneville yesterday; and
we spent last evening with them. The good Duke de Gramont was there,
and was in great joy at their return. They all dine with us to-morrow;
and Madame Craufurd comes to meet them.
Never have I seen such children as the Duc de Quiche's. Uniting to the
most remarkable personal beauty an intelligence and docility as rare as
they are delightful; and never did I witness any thing like the
unceasing care and attention bestowed on their education by their
Those who only know the Duc and Duchesse in the gay circles, in which
they are universally esteemed among the brightest ornaments, can form
little idea of them in the privacy of their domestic one--emulating
each other in their devotion to their children, and giving only the
most judicious proofs of their attachment to them. No wonder that the
worthy Duc de Gramont doats on his grandchildren, and never seems so
happy as with his excellent son and daughter-in-law.
Went to the Vaudeville Theatre last evening, to see the new piece by
Scribe, so much talked of, entitled _Avant_, _Pendant, et Apres_. There
is a fearful _vraisemblance_ in some of the scenes with all that one
has read or pictured to oneself, as daily occurring during the terrible
days of the Revolution; and the tendency of the production is not, in
my opinion, calculated to produce salutary effects. I only wonder it is
permitted to be acted.
The piece is divided, as the title announces, into three different
epochs. The first represents the frivolity and vices attributed to the
days of _l'ancien regime_, and the _tableau des moeurs_, which is
vividly coloured, leaves no favourable impression in the minds of the
audience of that _noblesse_ whose sufferings subsequently expiated the
errors said to have accelerated, if not to have produced, the
Nothing is omitted that could cast odium on them, as a preparation for
the Reign of Terror that follows. The anarchy and confusion of the
second epoch--the fear and horror that prevail when the voices and
motions of a sanguinary mob are heard in the streets, and the terrified
inmates of the houses are seen crouching in speechless terror, are
displayed with wonderful truth.
The lesson is an awful, and I think a dangerous, one, and so seemed to
think many of the upper class among the audience, for I saw some fair
cheeks turn pale, and some furrowed brows look ominous, as the scene
was enacted, while those of the less elevated in rank among the
spectators assumed, or seemed to assume, a certain _fierte_, if not
ferocity, of aspect, at beholding this vivid representation of the
triumph achieved by their order over the _noblesse_.
It is not wise to exhibit to a people, and above all to so inflammable
a people as the French, what _they_ can effect; and I confess I felt
uneasy when I witnessed the deep interest and satisfaction evinced by
many in the _parterre_ during the representation.
The _Apres_, the third epoch, is even more calculated to encourage
revolutionary principles, for in it was displayed the elevation to the
highest grades in the army and in the state of those who in the _ancien
regime_ would have remained as the Revolution found them, in the most
obscure stations, but who by that event had brilliant opportunities
afforded for distinguishing themselves.
Heroic courage, boundless generosity, and devoted patriotism, are
liberally bestowed on the actors who figure in this last portion of the
drama; and, as these qualities are known to have appertained to many of
those who really filled the _roles_ enacted at the period now
represented, the scene had, as might be expected, a powerful effect on
a people so impressible as the French, and so liable to be hurried into
enthusiasm by aught that appeals to their imaginations.
The applause was deafening; and I venture to say, that those from whom
it proceeded left the theatre with a conviction that a revolution was a
certain means of achieving glory and fortune to those who, with all the
self-imagined qualities to merit both, had not been born to either.
Every Frenchman in the middle or lower class believes himself capable
of arriving at the highest honours. This belief sometimes half
accomplishes the destiny it imagines; but even when it fails to effect
this, it ever operates in rendering Frenchmen peculiarly liable to rush
into any change or measure likely to lead to even a chance of
As during the performance of _Avant, Pendant et Apres_, my eye glanced
on the faces of some of the emigrant _noblesse_, restored to France by
the entry of the Bourbons, I marked the changes produced on their
countenances by it. Anxiety, mingled with dismay, was visible; for the
scenes of the past were vividly recalled, while a vague dread of the
future was instilled. Yes, the representation of this piece is a
dangerous experiment, and so I fear it will turn out.
I am sometimes amused, but more frequently irritated, by observing the
_moeurs Parisiennes_, particularly in the shop-keepers. The airs of
self-complacency, amounting almost to impertinence, practised by this
class, cannot fail to surprise persons accustomed to the civility and
assiduity of those in London, who, whether the purchases made in their
shops be large or small, evince an equal politeness to the buyers.
In Paris, the tradesman assumes the right of dictating to the taste of
his customers; in London, he only administers to it. Enter a Parisian
shop, and ask to be shewn velvet, silk, or riband, to assort with a
pattern you have brought of some particular colour or quality, and the
mercer, having glanced at it somewhat contemptuously, places before you
six or eight pieces of a different tint and texture.
You tell him that they are not similar to the pattern, and he answers,
"That may be; nevertheless, his goods are of the newest fashion, and
infinitely superior to your model." You say, "You prefer the colour of
your pattern, and must match it." He produces half-a-dozen pieces still
more unlike what you require; and to your renewed assertion that no
colour but the one similar to your pattern will suit you, he assures
you, that his goods are superior to all others, and that what you
require is out of fashion, and a very bad article, and, consequently,
that you had much better abandon your taste and adopt his. This counsel
is given without any attempt at concealing the contempt the giver of it
entertains for your opinion, and the perfect satisfaction he indulges
for his own.
You once more ask, "If he has got nothing to match the colour you
require?" and he shrugs his shoulders and answers, "_Pourtant_, madame,
what I have shewn you is much superior," "Very possible; but no colour
will suit me but this one," holding up the pattern; "for I want to
replace a breadth of a new dress to which an accident has occurred."
"_Pourtant_, madame, my colours are precisely the same, but the quality
of the materials is infinitely better!" and with this answer, after
having lost half an hour--if not double that time--you are compelled to
be satisfied, and leave the shop, its owner looking as if he considered
you a person of decidedly bad taste, and very troublesome into the
Similar treatment awaits you in every shop; the owners having, as it
appears to me, decided on shewing you only what _they_ approve, and not
what you seek. The women of high rank in France seldom, if ever, enter
any shop except that of Herbault, who is esteemed the _modiste, par
excellence_, of Paris, and it is to this habit, probably, that the want
of _bienseance_ so visible in Parisian _boutiquiers_, is to be
An agreeable party dined here yesterday--Lord Stuart de Rothesay, our
Ambassador, the Duc and Duchesse de Guiche, the Duc de Mouchy, Sir
Francis Burdett, and Count Charles de Mornay. Lord Stuart de Rothesay
is very popular at Paris, as is also our Ambassadress; a proof that, in
addition to a vast fund of good-nature, no inconsiderable portion of
tact is conjoined--to please English and French too, which they
certainly do, requires no little degree of the rare talent of
To a profound knowledge of French society and its peculiarities, a
knowledge not easily acquired, Lord and Lady Stuart de Rothesay add the
happy art of adopting all that is agreeable in its usages, without
sacrificing any of the stateliness so essential in the representatives
of our more grave and reflecting nation.
Among the peculiarities that most strike one in French people, are the
good-breeding with which they listen, without even a smile, to the
almost incomprehensible attempts at speaking French made by many
strangers, and the quickness of apprehension with which they seize
their meaning, and assist them in rendering the sense complete.
I have seen innumerable proofs of this politeness--a politeness so
little understood, or at least so little practised, among the English,
that mistakes perfectly ludicrous, and which could not have failed to
set my compatriots in a titter, if not in a roar, have not produced the
movement of a single risible muscle, and yet the French are more prone
to gaiety than are the English.
Mr. D---- and Mr. T---- dined here yesterday. The former, mild,
gentlemanlike, and unostentatious, seems to forget what so many would,
if similarly situated, remember with arrogance, namely, that he is
immensely rich; an obliviousness that, in my opinion, greatly enhances
his other merits.
Mr. T---- is little changed since I last saw him, and is well-informed,
clover, and agreeable,--but his own too-evident consciousness of
possessing these recommendations prevents other people from according
him due merit for them.
In society, one who believes himself clever must become a hypocrite,
and so conceal all knowledge of his self-complacency, if he wishes to
avoid being unpopular; for woe be to him who lets the world see he
thinks highly of himself, however his abilities may justify his
The sight of Mr. T---- recalled his amiable and excellent mother to my
memory. I never esteemed any woman more highly, or enjoyed the society
of any other person more than hers. How many pleasant hours have I
passed with her! I so well remember John Kemble fancying that if I went
through a course of reading Shakspeare with his sister Mrs. T----, I
should make, as he said, a fine actress; and we were to get up private
theatricals at Mountjoy Forest.
In compliance with the request of Lord Blessington, I studied
Shakspeare with this amiable and gifted woman for many months, which
cemented a friendship between us that ended but with her life. Her
method of reading was admirable; for to the grandeur of her sister Mrs.
Siddons, she united a tenderness and softness, in which that great
actress was said to be deficient. I never open any of the plays of
Shakspeare which I studied with her without thinking I hear her voice,
and I like them better for the association.
To great personal attractions, which even to the last she retained
enough of to give a notion of what her beauty must have been in her
youth, Mrs. T---- added a charm of manners, a cultivation of mind, and
a goodness of heart seldom surpassed; and, in all the relations of
life, her conduct was most praiseworthy. Even now, though six years
have elapsed since her death, the recollection of it brings tears to my
eyes. Good and gentle woman, may your virtues on earth find their
reward in Heaven!
I passed last evening at Madame Craufurd's, where I met Lady Charlotte
Lindsay and the Misses Berry. How perfectly they answered to the
description given of them by Sir William Gell; who, though exceedingly
attached to all three, has not, as far as one interview permitted me to
judge, overrated their agreeability! Sir William Gell has read me many
letters from these ladies, replete with talent, of which their
conversation reminded me.
Francis Hare and his wife dined here to-day. They are _en route_ from
Germany--where they have been sojourning since their marriage--for
England, where her _accouchement_ is to take place. Francis Hare has
lived with us so much in Italy, that we almost consider him a member of
the domestic circle; and, on the faith of this, he expressed his desire
that we should receive _madame son epouse_ as if she were an old
Mrs. Hare is well-looking, and agreeable, appears amiable, and is a
good musician. I remember seeing her and her sisters with her mother,
Lady Paul, at Florence, when I had little notion that she was to be
Mrs. Hare. I never meet Francis Hare without being surprised by the
versatility of his information; it extends to the fine arts,
literature, rare books, the localities of pictures and statues; in
short, he is a moving library that may always be consulted with profit,
and his memory is as accurate as an index in rendering its precious
It is strange, that the prominent taste of his wife, which is for
music, is the only one denied to him. He afforded an amusing instance
of this fact last night, when Mrs. Hare, having performed several airs
on the piano-forte, he asked her, "Why she played the same tune so
often, for the monotony was tiresome?"--an observation that set us all
Took Mrs. Hare out shopping--saw piles of lace, heaps of silk, pyramids
of riband, and all other female gear. What a multiplicity of pretty
things we women require to render us what we consider presentable! And
how few of us, however good-looking we may chance to be, would agree
with the poet, that "loveliness needs not the foreign aid of ornament,
but is, when unadorned, adorned the most."
Even the fairest of the sex like to enhance the charms of nature by the
aid of dress; and the plainest hope to become less so by its
assistance. Men are never sufficiently sensible of our humility, in
considering it so necessary to increase our attractions in order to
please them, nor grateful enough for the pains we bestow in the
Husbands and fathers are particularly insensible to this amiable desire
on the parts of their wives and daughters; and, when asked to pay the
heavy bills incurred in consequence of this praiseworthy humility and
desire to please, evince any feeling rather than that of satisfaction.
It is only admirers not called on to pay these said bills who duly
appreciate the cause and effect, and who can hear of women passing
whole hours in tempting shops, without that elongation of countenance
peculiar to husbands and fathers.
I could not help thinking with the philosopher, how many things I saw
to-day that could be done without. If women could be made to understand
that costliness of attire seldom adds to beauty, and often deteriorates
it, a great amelioration in expense could be accomplished.
Transparent muslin, the cheapest of all materials, is one of the
prettiest, too, for summer's wear, and with the addition of some bows
of delicate-coloured riband, or a _bouquet_ of fresh flowers, forms a
most becoming dress. The lowness of the price of such a robe enables
the purchaser to have so frequent a change of it, that even those who
are far from rich may have half-a-dozen, while one single robe of a
more expensive material will cost more; and having done so, the owner
will think it right to wear it more frequently than is consistent with
the freshness and purity that should ever be the distinguishing
characteristics in female dress, in order to indemnify herself for the
I was never more struck with this fact, than a short time ago, when I
saw two ladies seated next each other, both young and handsome; but
one, owing to the freshness of her robe, which was of simple
_organdie_, looked infinitely better than the other, who was quite as
pretty, but who, wearing a robe of expensive lace, whose whiteness had
fallen into "the sere and yellow leaf," appeared faded and _passee_.
Be wise, then, ye young and fair; and if, as I suspect, your object be
to please the Lords of the Creation, let your dress, in summer, be
snowy-white muslin, never worn after its pristine purity becomes
problematical; and in winter, let some half-dozen plain and simple silk
gowns be purchased, instead of the two or three expensive ones that
generally form the wardrobe, and which, consequently, soon not only
lose their lustre but give the wearer the appearance of having suffered
the same fate!
And you, O husbands and fathers, present and future, be ye duly
impressed with a sense of your manifold obligations to me for thus
opening the eyes of your wives and daughters how to please without
draining your purses; and when the maledictions of lace, velvet, and
satin-sellers full on my hapless head, for counsel so injurious to
their interests, remember they were incurred for yours!
Mr. and Mrs. Hare dined here yesterday. They brought with them Madame
de la H----, who came up from near Chantilly to see them. She is as
pretty as I remember her at Florence, when Mademoiselle D----, and is
_piquante_ and _spirituelle_. Counts Charles de Mornay and Valeski
formed the party, and Count Maussion and some others came in the
I observe that few English shine in conversation with the French. There
is a lightness and brilliancy, a sort of touch and go, if I may say so,
in the latter, seldom, if ever, to be acquired by strangers. Never
dwelling long on any subject, and rarely entering profoundly into it,
they sparkle on the surface with great dexterity, bringing wit, gaiety,
and tact, into play.
Like summer lightning, French wit flashes frequently, brightly and
innocuously, leaving nothing disagreeable to remind one of its having
appeared. Conversation is, with the French, the aim and object of
society. All enter it prepared to take a part, and he best enacts it
who displays just enough knowledge to show that much remains behind.
Such is the tact of the Parisians, that even the ignorant conceal the
poverty of their minds, and might, to casual observers, pass as being
in no way deficient, owing to the address with which they glide in an
_a propos oui, ou non_, and an appropriate shake of the head, nod of
assent, or dissent.
The constitutional vivacity of the French depending much on their
mercurial temperaments, greatly aids them in conversation. A light and
playful sally acquires additional merit when uttered with gaiety; and
should a _bon mot_ even contain something calculated to pique any one
present, or reflect on the absent, the mode in which it is uttered
takes off from the force of the matter; whereas, on the contrary, the
more grave and sententious manner peculiar to the English adds pungency
to their satire. Our old and valued friend, Mr. J. Strangways, has
arrived at Paris, and very glad were we to see him once more. He passed
through a severe trial since last we parted; and his conduct under it
towards his poor friend, Mr. Anson, does him credit.
The two companions--one the brother of the Earl of Ilchester, and the
other of Lord Anson--were travelling in Syria together. They had passed
through Aleppo, where the plague had then appeared, and were at the
distance of several days' journey from it, congratulating themselves on
their safety, when, owing to some error on the part of those who
examined their firman, they were compelled to retrace their steps to
Aleppo, where, condemned to become the inhabitants of a lazaretto until
the imagined mistake could be corrected, they found themselves
The first two or three days passed without any thing to alarm the
friends. Engaged in drawing maps for their intended route, and plans
for the future, the hours glided away even cheerfully.
But this cheerfulness was not long to continue; for Mr. Anson, having
one morning asked Mr. Strangways to hold the end of his shawl while he
twisted it round his head as a turban, the latter observed, with a
degree of horror and dismay more easily to be imagined than described,
the fatal plague-spot clearly defined on the back of the neck of his
He concealed his emotion, well knowing that a suspicion of its cause
would add to the danger of Mr. Anson, who, as yet, was unconscious of
the fearful malady that had already assailed him. Totally alone,
without aid, save that contained in their own very limited resources,
what must have been the feelings of Mr. Strangways, as he contemplated
his luckless companion?
He dreaded to hear the announcement of physical suffering, though he
well knew it must soon come, and marked with indescribable anguish the
change that rapidly began to be manifested in his friend. But even this
most terrible of all maladies was influenced by the gallant spirit of
him on whom it was now preying; for not a complaint, not a murmur,
broke from his lips: and it was not until Mr. Strangways had repeatedly
urged the most affectionate inquiries that he admitted he was not quite
Delirium quickly followed; but even then this noble-minded young man
bore up against the fearful assaults of disease, and thought and spoke
only of those dear and absent friends he was doomed never again to
behold. It was a dreadful trial to Mr. Strangways to sit by the bed of
death, far, far away from home and friends, endeavouring to cool the
burning brow and to refresh the parched lips of him so fondly loved in
that distant land of which he raved.
He spoke of his home, of those who made it so dear to him, and even the
songs of infancy were again murmured by the dying lips. His friend
quitted him not for a minute until all was over; and _he_ was left
indeed alone to watch, over the corpse of him whom he had tried in vain
That Mr. Strangways should have escaped the contagion, seems little
less than miraculous. I, who have known him so long and so well,
attribute it to the state of his mind, which was so wholly occupied by
anxiety for his friend as to leave no room for any thought of self.
Made no entry in my journal for two days, owing to a slight
indisposition, which furnished an excuse for laziness.
Dined at Lointier's yesterday--a splendid repast given by Count A. de
Maussion, in consequence of a wager, lost on a subject connected with
the line arts. The party consisted of all those present at our house
when the wager was made. The Duc and Duchesse de Guiche, Mr. and Mrs.
Francis Hare, the Duc de Talleyrand, Duc de Dino, Count Valeski, Mr. J.
Strangways, and our own large family circle.
The dinner was the most _recherche_ that could be furnished: "all the
delicacies of the season," as a London paper would term it, were
provided; and an epicure, however fastidious, would have been satisfied
with the choice and variety of the _plats_; while a _gourmand_ would
have luxuriated in the quantity.
Nothing in the style of the apartments, or the service of the dinner,
bore the least indication that we were in the house of a _restaurant_.
A large and richly furnished _salon_, well lighted, received the
company before dinner; and in a _salle a manger_ of equal dimensions,
and equally well arranged, the dinner was served on a very fine service
of old plate.
Count de Maussion did the honours of the dinner _a merveille_, and it
passed off very gaily. It had been previously agreed that the whole
party were to adjourn to the Porte St. Martin, at which Count de
Maussion had engaged three large private boxes; and the ladies,
consequently, with one exception, came _en demi-toilette_.
The exception was Mrs. Hare, who, not aware that at Paris people never
go _en grande toilette_ to the theatres, came so smartly dressed, that,
seeing our simple toilettes, she was afraid of incurring observation if
she presented herself in a rich dress with short sleeves, a gold tissue
turban with a bird-of-paradise plume, and an _aigrette_ of coloured
stones; so she went to our house, with a few of the party, while I
accompanied the rest to the theatre.
The piece was _Faust_, adapted from Goethe, and was admirably
performed, more especially the parts of "Mephistopheles" and
"Margaret," in which Madame Dorval acts inimitably. This actress has
great merit; and the earnestness of her manner, and the touching tones
of her voice, give a great air of truth to her performances. The
prison-scene was powerfully acted; and the madness of "Margaret" when
stretched on her bed of straw, resisting the vain efforts of her lover
to rescue her, had a fearful reality.
The character of "Margaret" is a fine conception, and Goethe has
wrought it out beautifully. The simplicity, gentleness, and warm
feelings of the village maiden, excite a strong interest for her, even
when worked upon by Vanity; that alloy which, alas for Woman's virtue
and happiness! is too frequently found mixed up in the pure ore of her
The childish delight with which poor "Margaret" contemplates the
trinkets presented by her lover; the baleful ascendency acquired over
her by her female companion; and her rapid descent in the path of evil
when, as is ever the case, the commission of one sin entails so many,
render this drama a very effective moral lesson.
Of all Goethe's works, _Faust_ is the one I most like; and, of all his
female characters, "Margaret" is that which I prefer. A fine vein of
philosophy runs through the whole of this production, in which the
vanity of human knowledge without goodness was never more powerfully
"Faust," tempted by the desire of acquiring forbidden knowledge, yields
up his soul to the evil one; yet still retains enough of the humanity
of his nature to render him wretched, when her he loves, and has drawn
ruin on, suffers the penalty of his crime and of her love.
Exquisitely has Goethe wrought out the effects of the all-engrossing
passion of the poor "Margaret"--a passion that even in madness, still
clings to its object with all woman's tenderness and devotion,
investing even insanity with the touching charm of love. How perfect is
the part when, endeavouring to pray, the hapless "Margaret" fancies
that she hears the gibbering of evil spirits interrupting her
supplications, so that even the consolation of addressing the Divinity
is denied her!
But the last scene--that in the prison--is the most powerful of all.
Never was madness more touchingly delineated, or woman's nature more
truly developed;--that nature so little understood by those who are so
prone to pervert it, and whose triumphs over its virtues are always
achieved by means of the excess of that propensity to love, and to
believe in the truth of the object beloved, which is one of the most
beautiful characteristics in woman; though, wo to her! it is but too
often used to her undoing.
The feelings of poor "Margaret" are those of all her sex, ere vice has
sullied the nature it never can wholly subdue.
Mr. and Mrs. Hare left Paris to-day. I regret their departure; for she
is lively and agreeable, and I have known him so long, and like him so
well, that their society afforded me pleasure.
A large party at dinner, yesterday; among whom, was Mr. M----, who has
acquired a certain celebrity for his _bons mots_. He is said to be
decidedly clever, and to know the world thoroughly: appreciating it at
its just value, and using it as if formed for his peculiar profit and
pleasure. He is lately returned from England, where he has been
received with that hospitality that characterises the English, and has
gone a round of visits to many of the best houses.
He spoke in high terms of the hospitality he had experienced, but
agreed in the opinion I have often heard Lord Byron give, that the
society in English country-houses is any thing but agreeable.
I had heard so much of Mr. M----, that I listened to his conversation
with more interest than I might have done, had not so many reports of
his shrewdness and wit reached me. Neither seem to have been overrated;
for nothing escapes his quick perception; and his caustic wit is
unsparingly and fearlessly applied to all subjects and persons that
excite it into action.
He appears to be a privileged person--an anomaly seldom innoxiously
permitted in society: for those who may say _all they_ please, rarely
abstain from saying much that may displease others; and, though a laugh
may he often excited by their wit, some one of the circle is sure to be
wounded by it.
Great wit is not often allied to good-nature, for the indulgence of the
first is destructive to the existence of the second, except where the
wit is tempered by a more than ordinary share of sensibility and
refinement, directing its exercise towards works of imagination,
instead of playing it off, as is too frequently the case, against those
with whom its owner may come in contact.
Byron, had he not been a poet, would have become a wit in society; and,
instead of delighting his readers, would have wounded his associates.
Luckily for others, as well as for his own fame, he devoted to
literature that ready and brilliant wit which sparkles in so many of
his pages, instead of condescending to expend it in _bons mots_, or
_reparties_, that might have set the table on a roar, and have been
afterwards, as often occurs, mutilated in being repeated by, others.
The quickness of apprehension peculiar to the French, joined to the
excessive _amour propre_, which is one of the most striking of their
characteristics, render them exceedingly susceptible to the arrows of
wit; which, when barbed by ridicule, inflict wounds on their vanity
difficult to be healed, and which they are ever ready to avenge.
But this very acuteness of apprehension induces a caution in not
resenting the assaults of wit, unless the wounded can retort with
success by a similar weapon, or that the attack has been so obvious
that he is justified in resenting it by a less poetical one. Hence
arises a difficult position for him on whom a wit is pleased to
exercise his talent; and this is one of the many reasons why privileged
persons seldom add much to the harmony of society.
Went last night to the Porte St. Martin, and saw _Sept Heures_
represented. This piece has excited a considerable sensation at Paris;
and the part of the heroine, "Charlotte Corday," being enacted by
Madame Dorval, a very clever actress, it is very popular.
"Charlotte Corday" is represented in the piece, not as a heroine
actuated purely by patriotic motives in seeking the destruction of a
tyrant who inflicted such wounds on her country, but by the less
sublime one of avenging the death of her lover. This, in my opinion,
lessens the interest of the drama, and atones not for the horror always
inspired by a woman's arming herself for a scene of blood.
The taste of the Parisians has, I think, greatly degenerated, both in
their light literature and their dramas. The desire for excitement, and
not a decrease of talent, is the cause; and this morbid craving for it
will, I fear, lead to injurious consequences, not only in literature,
but in other and graver things.
The schoolmaster is, indeed, abroad in France, and has in all parts of
it found apt scholars--perhaps, too apt; and, like all such, the
digestion of what is acquired does not equal the appetite for
acquisition: consequently, the knowledge gained is as yet somewhat
crude and unavailable. Nevertheless, the people are making rapid
strides in improvement; and ignorance will soon be more rare than
knowledge formerly was.
At present, their minds are somewhat unsettled by the recentness of
their progress; and in the exuberance consequent on such a state, some
danger is to be apprehended.
Like a room from which light has been long excluded, and in which a
large window is opened, all the disagreeable objects in it so long
shrouded in darkness are so fully revealed, that the owner, becoming
impatient to remove them and substitute others in their place, often
does so at the expense of appropriateness, and crowds the chamber with
a heterogeneous _melange_ of furniture, which, however useful in
separate parts, are too incongruous to produce a good effect. So the
minds of the French people are now too enlightened any longer to suffer
the prejudices that formerly filled them to remain, and have, in their
impatience, stored them with new ideas and opinions--many of them good
and useful, but too hastily adopted, and not in harmony with each other
to be productive of a good result, until time has enabled their owners
to class and arrange them.
I am every day more forcibly struck with the natural quickness and
intelligence of the people here: but this very quickness is a cause
that may tend to retard their progress in knowledge, by inducing them
to jump at conclusions, instead of marching slowly but steadily to
them; and conclusions so rapidly made are apt to be as hastily acted
upon, and, consequently, occasion errors that take some time to be
discovered, and still more to be corrected, before the truth is
Made the acquaintance of the celebrated Dr. P----, today, at Madame
C----'s. He is a very interesting old man; and, though infirm in body,
his mind is as fresh, and his vivacity as unimpaired, as if he had not
numbered forty instead of eighty summers.
I am partial to the society of clever medical men, for the
opportunities afforded them of becoming acquainted with human nature,
by studying it under all the phases of illness, convalescence, and on
the bed of death, when the real character is exposed unveiled from the
motives that so often shadow, if not give it a false character, in the
days of health, render their conversation very interesting.
I have observed, too, that the knowledge of human nature thus attained
neither hardens the heart nor blunts the sensibility, for some of the
most kind-natured men I ever knew were also the most skilful physicians
and admirable, surgeons. Among these is Mr. Guthrie, of London, whose
rare dexterity in his art I have often thought may be in a great degree
attributed to this very kindness of nature, which has induced him to
bestow a more than usual attention to acquiring it, in order to abridge
the sufferings of his patients.
In operations on the eye, in which he has gained such a justly merited
celebrity, I have been told by those from whose eyes he had removed
cataracts, that his precision and celerity are so extraordinary as to
appear to them little short of miraculous.
Talking on this subject with Dr. P---- to-day, he observed, that he
considered strength of mind and kindness of heart indispensable
requisites to form a surgeon; and that it was a mistake to suppose that
these qualities had any other than a salutary influence over the nerves
of a surgeon.
"It braces them, Madame," said he; "for pity towards the patient
induces an operator to perform his difficult task _con amore_, in order
to relieve him."
Dr. P---- has nearly lost his voice, and speaks in a low but distinct
whisper. Tall and thin, with a face pale as marble, but full of
intelligence, he looks, when bending on his gold-headed cane, the very
_beau ideal_ of a physician of _la Vieille Cour_, and he still retains
the costume of that epoch. His manner, half jest and half earnest,
gives an idea of what that of the Philosopher of Ferney must have been
when in a good humour, and adds piquancy to his narrations. Madame
C----, who is an especial favourite of his, and who can draw him out in
conversation better than any one else, in paying him a delicate and
well-timed compliment on his celebrity, added, that few had ever so
well merited it.
"Ah! Madame, celebrity is not always accorded to real merit," said he,
smiling. "I have before told Madame that mine--if I may be permitted to
recur to it--was gained by an artifice I had recourse to, and without
which, I firmly believe I should have remained unknown."
"No, no! my dear doctor," replied Madame C----; "your merit must have,
in time, acquired you the great fame you enjoy." The Doctor laughed
heartily, but persisted in denying this; and the lady urged him to
relate to me the plan he had so successfully pursued in abridging his
road to Fortune. He seemed flattered by her request, and by my desire
for his compliance with it, and commenced as follows:--
"I came from the country, Mesdames, with no inconsiderable
claims to distinction in my profession. I had studied it _con
amore_, and, urged by the desire that continually haunted me
of becoming a benefactor to mankind--ay! ladies, and still
more anxious to relieve your fair and gentle sex from those
ills to which the delicacy of your frames and the sensibility
of your minds so peculiarly expose you--I came to Paris with
little money and few friends, and those few possessed no
power to forward my interest.
"It is true they recommended me to such of their acquaintance
as needed advice; but whether, owing to the season being a
peculiarly healthy one, or that the acquaintances of my
friends enjoyed an unusual portion of good health, I was
seldom called on to attend them; and, when I was, the
remuneration offered was proportioned, not to the relief
afforded, but to the want of fame of him who lent it.
"My purse diminished even more rapidly than my hopes, though
they, too, began to fade; and it was with a heavy heart that
I look my pen to write home to those dear friends who
believed that Paris was a second _El Dorado_, where all who
"At length, when one night stretched on my humble bed, and
sleepless from the cares that pressed heavily on my mind, it
occurred to me that I must put some plan into action for
getting myself known; and one suggested itself, which I next
"I changed one of the few remaining _louis d'or_ in my purse,
and, sallying forth into one of the most popular streets, I
wrote down the addresses of some of the most
respectable-looking houses, and going up to a porter, desired
him to knock at the doors named, and inquire if the
celebrated Doctor P---- was there, as his presence was
immediately required at the hotel of the Duc de ----.
"I despatched no less than twenty messengers through the
different streets on the same errand, and having succeeded in
persuading each that it was of the utmost importance that the
celebrated Doctor P---- should be found, they persuaded the
owners of the houses of the same necessity.
"I persevered in this system for a few days, and then tried
its efficacy at night, thinking that, when knocked up from
their beds, people would be sure to be more impressed with
the importance of a doctor in such general request.
"My scheme succeeded. In a few days, I was repeatedly called
in by various patients, and liberal fees poured into the
purse of the celebrated Dr. P----. Unfortunately my practice,
although every day multiplying even beyond my most sanguine
hopes, was entirely confined to the _bourgeoisie_; and though
they paid well, my ambition pointed to higher game, and I
longed to feel the pulses of _la haute noblesse_, and to
ascertain if the fine porcelain of which I had heard they
were formed was indeed as much superior to the delf of which
the _bourgeoisie_ are said to be manufactured, as I was led
"Luckily for me, the _femme de chambre_ of a grand lady
fancied herself ill, mentioned the fancy to her friend, who
was one of my patients, and who instantly advised her to
consult the _celebrated_ Dr. P----, adding a lively account
of the extent of my practice and the great request I was in.
"The _femme de chambre_ consulted me, described symptoms
enough to baffle all the schools of medicine in France, so
various and contradictory were they, and I, discovering that
she really had nothing the matter with her, advised what I
knew would be very palatable to her,--namely, a very
nutritious _regime_, as much air and amusement as was
possible in her position, and gave her a prescription for
some gentle medicine, to prevent any evil effect from the
luxurious fare I had recommended.
"I was half tempted to refuse the fee she slipped into my
hand, but I recollected that people never value what they get
for nothing, and so I pocketed it.
"In a few days, I was sent for to the Hotel--to attend the
Duchesse de ---- the mistress of the said _femme de chambre_.
This was an event beyond my hopes, and I determined to profit
by it. I found the Duchesse suffering under a malady--if
malady it could be called--to which I have since discovered
grand ladies are peculiarly subject; namely, a superfluity of
_embonpoint_, occasioned by luxurious habits and the want of
"'I am very much indisposed, Doctor,' lisped the lady, 'and
your prescription has done my _femme de chambre_ so much
good, that I determined to send for you. I am so very ill,
that I am fast losing my shape; my face, too, is no longer
the same; and my feet and hands are not to be recognised.'
"I drew out my watch, felt her pulse, looked grave,
inquired--though it was useless, her _embonpoint_ having
revealed it--what were her general habits and _regime_; and
then, having written a prescription, urged the necessity of
her abandoning _cafe au lait_, rich _consommes_, and
high-seasoned _entrees_; recommended early rising and
constant exercise; and promised that a strict attention to my
advice would soon restore her health, and with it her shape.
"I was told to call every day until further orders; and I,
pleading the excess of occupation which would render my daily
visits to her so difficult, consented to make them, only on
condition that my fair patient was to walk with me every day
six times around the garden of her hotel; for I guessed she
was too indolent to persevere in taking exercise if left to
"The system I pursued with her succeeded perfectly. I was
then a very active man, and I walked so fast that I left the
Duchesse every day when our promenade ended bathed in a
copious perspiration; which, aided by the medicine and
sparing _regime_, soon restored her figure to its former
"At her hotel, I daily met ladies of the highest rank and
distinction, many of whom were suffering from a similar
cause, the same annoyance for which the Duchesse consulted
me; and I then discovered that there is no malady, however
grave, so distressing to your sex, ladies, or for the cure of
which they are so willing to submit to the most disagreeable
_regime_, as for aught that impairs their personal beauty.
"When her female friends saw the improvement effected in the
appearance of the Duchesse by my treatment, I was consulted
by them all, and my fame and fortune rapidly increased. I was
proclaimed to be the most wonderful physician, and to have
effected the most extraordinary cures; when, in truth, I but
consulted Nature, and aided her efforts.
"Shortly after this period, a grand lady, an acquaintance of
one of my many patients among the _noblesse_, consulted me;
and here the case was wholly different to that of the
Duchesse, for this lady had grown so thin, that
wrinkles--those most frightful of all symptoms of decaying
beauty--had made their appearance. My new patient told me
that, hearing that hitherto my great celebrity had been
acquired by the cure of obesity, she feared it was useless to
consult me for a disease of so opposite a nature, but even
still more distressing.
"I inquired into her habits and _regime_. Found that she took
violent exercise; was abstemious at table; drank strong green
tea, and coffee without cream or milk; disliked nutritious
food; and, though she sat up late, was an early riser. I
ordered her the frequent use of warm baths, and to take all
that I had prohibited the Duchesse; permitted only gentle
exercise in a carriage; and, in short, soon succeeded in
rendering the thin lady plump and rosy, to the great joy of
herself, and the wonder of her friends.
"This treatment, which was only what any one possessed of
common sense would have prescribed in such a case, extended
my fame far and wide. Fat and thin ladies flocked to me for
advice, and not only liberally rewarded the success of my
system, but sounded my praises in all quarters.
"I became the doctor _a la mode_, soon amassed an
independence, and, though not without a confidence in my own
skill--for I have never lost any opportunity of improvement
in my profession--I must confess that I still retain the
conviction that the celebrated Doctor P---- would have had
little chance, at least for many years, of acquiring either
fame or wealth, had he not employed the means I have
confessed to you, ladies."
I cannot do justice to this _spirituel_ old man's mode of telling the
story, or describe the finesse of his arch smile while recounting it.
Mr. P.C. Scarlett, a son of our excellent and valued friend Sir James
Scarlett, dined here yesterday. He is a fine young man, clever,
well-informed, and amiable, with the same benignant countenance and
urbanity of manner that are so remarkable in his father.
I remember how much struck I was with Sir James Scarlett's countenance
when he was first presented to me. It has in it such a happy mixture of
sparkling intelligence and good-nature that I was immediately pleased
with him, even before I had an opportunity of knowing the rare and
excellent qualities for which he is distinguished, and the treasures of
knowledge with which his mind is stored.
I have seldom met any man so well versed in literature as Sir James
Scarlett, or with a more refined taste for it; and when one reflects on
the arduous duties of his profession--duties which he has ever
fulfilled with such credit to himself and advantage to others--it seems
little short of miraculous how he could have found time to have made
himself so intimately acquainted, not only with the classics, but with
all the elegant literature of England and France.
How many pleasant days have I passed in the society of Lord Erskine and
Sir James Scarlett! Poor Lord Erskine! never more shall I hear your
eloquent tongue utter _bons mots_ in which wit sparkled, but ill-nature
never appeared; nor see your luminous eyes flashing with joyousness, as
when, surrounded by friends at the festive board, you rendered the
banquet indeed "the feast of reason and the flow of soul!"
Mr. H---- B---- dined here yesterday, and he talked over the pleasant
days we had passed in Italy. He is an excellent specimen of the young
men of the present day. Well-informed, and with a mind highly
cultivated, he has travelled much in other countries, without losing
any of the good qualities and habits peculiar to his own.
Went to the Theatre Italien, last night, and heard Madame Malibran sing
for the first time. Her personation of "Desdemona" is exquisite, and
the thrilling tones of her voice were in perfect harmony with the deep
sensibility she evinced in every look and movement.
I have heard no singer to please me comparable to Malibran: there is
something positively electrical in the effect she produces on my
feelings. Her acting is as original as it is effective; Passion and
Nature are her guides, and she abandons herself to them _con amore_.
The only defect I can discover in her singing is an excess of
_fiorituri_, that sometimes destroys the _vraisemblance_ of the _role_
she is enacting, and makes one think more of the wonderful singer than
of "Desdemona." This defect, however, is atoned for by the bursts of
passion into which her powerful voice breaks when some deep emotion is
to be expressed, and the accomplished singer is forgotten in the
Spent last evening at Madame C----'s, and met there la Duchcsse de la
Force, la Marquise de Brehan, and the usual _habitues de la maison_. La
Duchesse is one of _l'ancien regime_, though less ceremonious than they
are in general said to be, and appears to be as good-natured as she is
The Marquise de B---- told me some amusing anecdotes of the Imperial
Court, and of the gaiety and love of dress of the beautiful Princesse
Pauline Borghese, to whom she was much attached.
The whole of the Buonaparte family seem to have possessed, in an
eminent degree, the happy art of conciliating good-will in those around
them--an art necessary in all persons filling elevated positions, but
doubly so in those who have achieved their own elevation. The family of
the Emperor Napoleon were remarkable for the kindness and consideration
they invariably evinced for those who in any way depended on them, yet
a natural dignity of manner precluded the possibility of familiarity.
The Marquise de B---- having mentioned the Duchesse d'Abrantes, Madame
C---- inquired kindly for her, and the Marquise told her that she had
been only a few days before to pay her a visit.
Anxious to learn something of a woman who filled so distinguished a
position during the imperial dynasty, I questioned Madame de B----, and
learned that the Duchesse d'Abrantes, who for many years lived in a
style of splendour that, even in the palmy days of her husband's
prosperity, when, governor of Paris, he supported almost a regal
establishment, excited the surprise, if not envy, of his
contemporaries, is now reduced to so limited an income that many of the
comforts, if not the necessaries of life, are denied her.
"She supports her privations cheerfully," added the Marquise; "her
conversation abounds in anecdotes of remarkable people, and she relates
them with a vivacity and piquancy peculiar to her, which render her
society very amusing and interesting. The humanity, if not the policy,
of the Bourbons may be questioned in their leaving the widow of a brave
general in a state of poverty that must remind her, with bitterness, of
the altered fortunes entailed on her and many others by their
When indemnities were granted to those whom the Revolution, which drove
the royal family from France, nearly beggared, it would have been well
if a modest competency had been assigned to those whose sons and
husbands shed their blood for their country, and helped to achieve for
it that military glory which none can deny it.
Went over the Luxembourg Palace and Gardens to-day. The only change in
the former since I last saw it, is that some pictures, painted by
French artists at Rome, and very creditable to them, have been added to
I like these old gardens, with their formal walks and prim _parterres_;
I like also the company by which they are chiefly frequented,
consisting of old people and young children.
Along the walk exposed to the southern aspect, several groups of old
men were sauntering, conversing with an animation seldom seen in
sexagenarians, except in France; old women, too, many of them holding
lapdogs by a riband, and attended by a female servant, were taking
their daily walk; while, occasionally, might be seen an elderly couple
exhibiting towards each other an assiduity pleasant to behold,
displayed by the husband's arranging the shawl or cloak of his wife, or
the wife gently brushing away with her glove the silken threads left on
his sleeve by its contact with hers.
No little portion of the love that united them in youth may still be
witnessed in these old couples. Each has lost every trace of the
comeliness that first attracted them to each other; but they remember
what they were, and memory, gilding the past, shews each to the other,
not as they actually are, but as they were many a long year ago. No
face, however fair,--not even the blooming one of their favourite
granddaughter, seems so lovely to the uxorious old husband as the one
he remembers to have been so proud of forty years ago, and which still
beams on him with an expression of tenderness that reminds him of its
former beauty. And she, too, with what complacency does she listen to
his oft-repealed reminiscences of her youthful attractions, and how
dear is the bond that still unites them!
Plain and uninteresting in the eyes of others, they present only the
aspect of age; alas! never lovely: but in them at least other gleams of
past good looks recall the past, when each considered the other
peerless, though now they alone remember that "such things were, and
were most sweet."
Their youth and their maturity have been passed together; their joys
and their sorrows have been shared, and they are advancing hand in hand
towards that rapid descent in the mountain of life, at whose base is
the grave, hoping that in death they may not be divided.
Who can look at those old couples, and not feel impressed with the
sanctity and blessedness of marriage, which, binding two destinies in
one, giving the same interests and the same objects of affection to
both, secures for each a companionship and a consolation for those days
which must come to all, when, fallen into the sere and yellow leaf, the
society of the young and gay can no longer charm them, and the present
requires the recollections of the past to render it less cheerless;
recollections only to be found in those who have grown old together?
Yonder old man, leaning on the arm of a middle-aged woman, who seems
less like his housekeeper than his domestic tyrant, offers an example
of the fate of those who have lived in what is commonly called a state
of single blessedness. A youth and maturity of pleasure have been
followed by an old age of infirmity.
He had a thousand pleasantries ready to utter on the subject of
marriage whenever it was mentioned; could cite endless examples of
unhappy couples (forgetting to name a single one of the happy); and
laughed and shook his head as he declared that _he_ never would be
As long as health remained, and that he could pass his evenings in gay
society, or at the theatres, he felt not the want of that greatest of
all comforts, _home_; a comfort inseparable from a wife to share, as
well as to make it. But the first attack of illness that confined him
to his room, with no tender hand to smooth his pillow, no gentle voice
to inquire into his wants, or to minister to them; no one to anticipate
his wishes almost before he had framed them; no loving face to look
fondly and anxiously on him; made him feel sensible, that though a
bachelor's life of pleasure may pass agreeably enough during the season
of health, it is a most cheerless and dreary state of existence when
deprived of it.
The discovery is, alas! made too late. All that he had ever heard or
urged against matrimony applies tenfold to cases where it is contracted
in old age. He can still admire youth and beauty, but he knows that
with such there can never exist any reciprocity with his own feelings.
The young beauty who would barter her charms for his wealth, would be,
he knows, no suitable companion for his fire-side; and to wed some
staid dame whose youth has been passed with some dear, kind, first
husband--of whom, if not often speaking, she might in all human
probability be sometimes thinking--has something too repugnant to his
feelings to be thought of.
An elderly maiden with a lap-dog, or a parrot, would be even more
insupportable; for how could one who has never had to consult the
pleasure or wishes of aught save self be able to study his? No! it is
now too late to think of marriage, and what, therefore, is to be done?
In this emergency, a severe attack of rheumatism confines him to his
chamber for many days. His valet is found out to be clumsy and awkward
in assisting him to put on his flannel gloves; the housekeeper, who is
called up to receive instructions about some particular broth that he
requires, is asked to officiate, and suggests so many little comforts,
and evinces so much sympathy for his sufferings, that she is soon
installed as nurse.
By administering to his wants, and still more by flattery and
obsequiousness, she soon renders herself indispensable to the invalid.
She is proclaimed to be a treasure, and her accounts, which hitherto
had been sharply scrutinised and severely censured, are henceforth
allowed to pass unblamed, and, consequently, soon amount to double the
sum which had formerly, and with reason, been found fault with. The
slightest symptom of illness is magnified into a serious attack by the
supposed affectionate and assiduous nurse, until her master, in
compliance with her advice, becomes a confirmed hypochondriac, whom she
governs despotically under a show of devoted attachment.
She has, by slow but sure degrees, alienated him from all his
relatives, and banished from his house the few friends whom she
believed possessed any influence over him. Having rendered herself
essential to his comfort, she menaces him continually with the threat
of leaving his service; and is only induced to remain by a considerable
increase to her salary, though not, as she asserts, by any interested
She lately informed her master, that she was "very sorry--very sorry,
indeed--but it was time for her to secure her future comfort; and M.
----, the rich grocer, had proposed marriage to her, and offered a good
settlement. It would be a great grief to her to leave so kind a master,
especially as she knew no one to whom she could confide the care of
him; but a settlement of 4000 francs a-year was not to be refused, and
she might never again receive so good an offer."
The proposal of the rich grocer, which never existed but in her own
fertile brain, is rejected, and her continuance as housekeeper and
nurse secured by a settlement of a similar sum made on her by her
master; who congratulates himself on having accomplished so
advantageous a bargain, while she is laughing with the valet at his
This same valet, finding her influence to be omnipotent with his
master, determines on marrying her secretly, that they may join in
plundering the valetudinarian, whose infirmities furnish a perpetual
subject for the coarse pleasantries of both these ungrateful menials.
She is now giving him his daily walk on the sunny side of the
Luxembourg Gardens. See how she turns abruptly down an alley, in
despite of his request to continue where he was: but the truth is, her
Argus eyes have discovered his niece and her beautiful children walking
at a distance; and, as she has not only prevented their admission to
his house, but concealed their visits, intercepted their letters,
making him believe they are absent from Paris and have forgotten him,
she now precludes their meeting; while to his querulous murmurs at
being hurried along, she answers that the alley she has taken him to is
It is true the invalid sometimes half suspects, not only that he is