« PreviousContinue »
216' CELERITY OF MONS. FOUCHE's INFORMATION.
Chap. dismiss h in the words of the holy and resigned descendant of xx" Nahor, ** Let that day be darkness; let not God regard it from above, neither let the light shine upon it; let darkness and the shadow of death stain it; let a cloud dwell upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify it."
I have before had occasion to notice the promptitude and activity of the french police, under the penetrating eye of Mons. Fouche. No one can escape the vigilance of this man and his emissaries. An emigrant of respectability assured me, that when he and a friend of his waited upon him for their passports to enable them to quit Paris for the South of France, he surprised them by relating to them the names of the towns,
the streets, and of the people with whom they had lodged, at various times, during their emigration in England.
Whilst I was at Paris, an affair happened very near the hotel in which I lodged, which in its sequel displayed that high spirit and sensibility which appear to form the presiding features in the french character, to which may be attributed all the excesses which have stained, and all the glory which has embellished it. A lady of fortune, and her only daughter, an elegant and lovely young woman, resided in the Fauxbourg St. Germain. A young man of merit and accomplishments, but unaided by the powerful pretensions of suitable fortune, cherished a passion for the young lady, to whom he had frequent access, on account of his being distantly related to her. His affection was requited with return; and before the parent suspected the attachment, the lovers were solemnly engaged. The indications of pure love are generally too unguarded to
escape THE TWO LOVERS.
escape the keen, observing eye of a cold, mercenary mother. Chap. She charged her .-daughter -with her fondness, and forbade her distracted lover the house. To close up every avenue of hope, she withdrew with her wretched child into Italy, where they remained for two years; at the expiration of which, the mother had arranged for her daughter a match more congenial to her own pride and avarice, with an elderly gentleman, who had considerable fortune and property in the vicinity of Bourdeaux. Every necessary preparation was made .£bf this cruel union, which it was determined should be celebrated in Paris, to which city they returned for that purpose. Two days before the marriage was intended to take place, the young lover, wrought • up to frenzy by the intelligence of the approaching nuptials, contrived, by bribing the porter whilst the mother was at the opera with her intended son-in-law, to reach the room of the beloved being from whom he was about to be separated for ever. Emaciated by grief, she presented the mere spectre of what she was when he last left her. As soon as he entered the room, he fell senseless at her feet, from which state he was roused by the loud fits of her frightful maniac laughter. She stared upon him, like one bewildered. He clasped her with one hand, and with the other drew from his pocket a vial containing double distilled laurel water: he pressed it to her lips, until she had swallowed half of its contents; the remainder he drank himself.—The drug of death soon began to operate.-^ Clasped in each other's arms, pale and expiring, they reviewed their hard fate, and, in faint and lessening sentences, implored of the great God of mercy, that he would pardon them for , F F what
218 THE TWO LOVERS.
Chap. what they had done, and that he would receive their spirits * into his regions of eternal repose \ that he would be pleased*. in his divine goodness, to forgive the misjudging severity which, had driven them to despair, and would support the unconscious author of it, under the heavy afflictions which their disastrous deaths would occasion. They had scarcely finished their prayer,. when they heard footsteps approaching the room. Madamfr
R , who had been indisposed at the opera, returned home
before its conclusion, with the intended bridegFOOm. The young man awoke, as it were, from his deadly drowsiness, and, exerting his last strength, pulled from his breast a dagger, stabbed the expiring being, upon whom he doated, to the heart; and, falling upon her body, gave himself several mortal wounds. The door opened; the frantic mother appeared. All the house was in an instant alarmed; and the fatal explanation which furnished the materials of this short and sad' recital, was taken from the lips of the dying lover, who had scarcely finished it before he breathed his last. Two daysafterwards, the story was hawked about the streets.
From this painful narrative, in which the French impetuosity i& strongly depicted, I must turn to mention my visit
to Mons. le G , who lives in the Rue Florentine, and
is considered to be one of the first architects in France; in which are many monuments of his taste and elegance It is -a curious circumstance that all artists exercise their talents more successfully for their patrons than for themselves. Whether it is the hope of a more substantial reward than that of mere self-complacency, which usually excites the mind to its happiest
exertions, SELF-PRESCRIBING PHYSICIAN. . 219
■exertions, I will not pretend to determine; but the point seems Chap.
to be in some degree settled by the conduct of a celebrated"
Bath physician, of whom it is related, that, happening once to suffer under a malady from which as his skill had frequently relieved others, he determined to prescribe for himself. The recipe at first had not the desired effect. The doctor was surprised. At last he recollected that he had not feed himself. Upon making this discovery, he drew the strings of his purse, and with his left hand placed a guinea in his right, and then prescribed. The story concludes by informing its readers, that the prescription succeeded, and the doctor recovered. — In adorning the front of his own hotel, Mons. le G—:—, in my very humble opinion, has not exhibited liis accustomed powers. In a small confined court-yard he has attempted to give to a private dwelling the appearance of one of those vast temples of which he became enamoured when at Athens. The roof is supported by two massy fluted pilastres, which in size are calculated to bear the burthen of some prodigious dome. The muscular powers of Hercules seem to be here exercised in raising a grasshopper from the ground. The genius of Mons.
le G , unlike the world's charity, does not begin at home,
but seems more disposed to display its most successful energies abroad. His roof, however, contains such a monument of his goodness and generosity, that I must not pass it over. This distinguished architect is one of those unfortunate beings who have been decreed to taste the bitterness, very soon after the sweets of matrimony. Upon discovering the infidelity of his lady, who is very pretty and prepossessing, the distracted hus
F F 2 band
220 "ANECDOTE OF MONS. LE G.
Chap. band immediately sought a divorce from the laws of-his country. xx" This affair happened a very short time before the revolution afforded unusual acceleration and facilities to the wishes of parties, who, under similar circumstances, wished to get rid of each other as soon as possible. The then " law's delay" afforded
some cause of vexation to Mons. le G , who was deeply
injured. Before his suit had passed through its last forms, the father of his wife, who at the time of their marriage lived in great affluence, became a bankrupt. In the vortex of his fa/lure, all the means of supporting his family were swallowed
up. The generous'le G —, disdaining to expose to waftt and
ignominy the woman who had once been dear to him, would proceed no further. Sh'e-ia still his wife;. she bears his name; is maintained by him, and iii a separate suite of apartments lives under the same roof with him. ; But Mons. and Madame
le G have had n& intercourse whatever with each other
for eleven- years; If in the gallery an in the halh they meet by; accident, they pa^s -without the interchange of. a word*. This painful and' difficult arrangement has now lost a eorr> siderable portion of: its misery, by having become familiar to the unfortunate couple, < . '.,) '. \ .,
.. ;|n the valuable and curious cabinet of Mons. le G ,- I
found out* behind several- other casts; a bust of Robespierre; which . was taken of him, a. short period before he fell. A tyrant, i.Svhose .offences look. white,. contrasted,with the deep delinquency of the oppressor of France, is said to be indebted more to his character, than to nature, for the representation