Page images


w enough fpr a soldier," replied the fair one, wiih a bewitching smile. "Well then," observed the sunbrown general, "should the war ever be renewed, ** you ihall attend me to charm away its calamities/'

Madame S-—, like a true French mother, was. delighted with the little compliment, and presenting her snuff box, to the gallant Marescot, she said, "thank you, my dear general, the brave always think .^•generoufly of the fair-"

:, ..... CHAP. XVIH. .- v

Bonaparte's Talents in Finance.—Garrici and the Mailman.Palace of the Conservative Senate.—Process »f transferring Oil Paintings from Wood to Canvas, —The Dmner Knife.—Commodities.—-Hall of the

National Convention.The Minister Talleyrand's

"<•,.. *"»*< :'! t'.'^'i- ,».-us•*. Tr.'r.TT v'•;"•> ^/r.'.

^THE.sirst: consul' is said to add'to his other extraordinary powers, an acute and comprehensive knowledge of sinance.. Monsieur S. informed me,

that whenever he waited upon him in his ossicial-capacity, with the national accounts, he displayed an acquaintance with.the most complicated statements,, which seemed intuitivev , .*'

He exhibits, the fame talents in philosophy, and' in • matters which are foreign tathofa vast objects of public sapIoy> which have raised him', to his present

neight of glory, and which in general preclude the subordinate enjoyment of elegant study.

Those acquirements, which providence in its wisdom has thinly scattered amongst: mankind, aod which . seldom ripen to full maturity, although cherished by; the most propitious advantages, and by the uWreposiflg • labours of a long, and blisssul existence, spread their rich abundance, in the May morning of lise, before '' this extraordinary being, who in the commencement of that very revolution, upon the ruins of which he' has stepped to surpreme authority, was a beardless' stripling.i-."' • . '•.«.' • - oiijs

From the great performers upon the public stage of

life, our conversation, one evening, at Madame S- 's I

by a natural transition, embraced a review of the won-' derful talents, which have at various times adorned the lesser drama of the theatre. Madame S—— made some judicious remarks upon the French players of! distinction, to all of whom she imputed a manner, and enunciation which have been imbibed in a school, in which nature has not been permitted to preside. Their tragedy, she said, was inflated with too much pomp, and their elegant comedy suffered by too voj-, atile an airiness. She bestowed upon oar immortal. Garrick, the most decided preferencs, and superiority-to any actor whom she had ever seen. The opportunity which she load of judging his powers, was short, and singular, but fully enabled her to form a decitise; opinion. When Garrick visited Paris sor the la&


•HAS. XVIfl&r.i "VHrMNlC*. 3HT. *U"v,

time, she mts just married. This*elebr^led actor had letters of introduction to Monsieur Sr—. At a large

party which Monsieur S sormed for the purpose

of doing honour to his undistinguished visitor, he exhibited several specimens, of his unrivalled talents. Amongst others, he represented in dumb show, by the wonderful powers of rhis expressive ceuntenance, the seelings of a father, who, in .looking over a loft y balcony with his only child in his arms, by accident dropped it. The disaster drove the unhappy pareat. mad. G.frr;ick had visited him in bis cell.; where, the miserable maniac was accustomed, several,times m the course of the day, to exhibit all those looks and attitudes which he had displayed at the balcony.* On»a, sudden,he would bend himself forward, as if looking from a window int:>..the, street, with his arms folded , as if they embraced a child, then he would start back,,,, and appear a» if. he had loft something, search the. room round and round, run. again, forward, as to the railing of a window, look, down, and beat, his forehead,, as if he had beheld his. infant bleeding, and breath-••. less ..upon the pavement,. Garrick's imitation was ex- , quisite. The feelings, of his beholders were wrought up to horror, The tears, and, consternation of a gay fashionable. French party, were applauses more flatter

*. Tha cwfe-which induced G,trick to visit thi^ unhappy person, was, it is s»id, to render tbe represents tioa o£ his Kiing Lear more pev sea.


ing to the British Roscius, than the thunder of that acclamation, which, in the crowded theatre, followed the flash,ofhi& siery eye,, or the close of his appalling speech. . , „. • ,

The EngUfli drama, however, has not escapes tbe animadversions of a French critic, whose taste and liberality are not very congenial with those of my charming, and generous friendi. "Their tragedies," he fays, (speaking of the English) u it is true, though. u interesting, and replete with beauties, are neverthe"less dramatic monsters, half butchery, and half farce. "Grotesque characters, and extravagant pleasantry/ *■ constitute the chief part of their comedies. Th one. ** of them, (not named) the devil enters sneezing, and. "somebody says to the devil, Ged bliss you. They "are not, however, all of this-ftamp. They ha,ve even, **same in very good taste**.

,. Yes Monsieur Dour?, I agree with, you, I thiivJr. we have some in very good taste. I know not in what dramatic work the facetious Frenchman has discovered the introduction of his satanic majesty under theinsluence os a cold, and receiving, as he. enters, the. usual deprecation on.fuch occasions.. Irather suspect that the adventures of Punch, and his sickle lady,, who are always,attended by a dancing demon, have afforded the materials for this sapient observation.

In the course of one of my morning-rambles' in PaVis, T visited the ruins of the celebrated BastiUe, of


•~'€HAP. XVni.] IN FRANCE. «13

massy walls, and two or three dungeons remain. His * volcanic vengeance of the people, has swept away this - mighty fabric, which the revolting mind of republican liberty denounced as the frightful den of despot ~ tism, upon the approach of which no marks of returnirig footsteps were imprinted, whilst, in her mad career, shecoverted every private dwelling in the me* tropolis into a revolutionary prison : So much fop popular consistency!

In the mutations of time, to what different purposes are the fame places appplied! Where the consuming martyr expired,* the unwieldy prize hog is exposed to sale i and the modern Parisian derives the sources of warmth and comfort, from a place, the very name of which, once chilled the circulation of his blood. The site of the Bastille is now a magazine of wood which supplies the city with fuel. *» Every lover of pure liberty must leap with delight upon the disincumbered esrth, where ence stocd that gloomy abode of " broken hearts," and reflect upon the sufferings of the wretched Latude, and the various victims of capricious pique, or prostitute resentment. * It was here that, in the beautiful lines of Cowper, the hopeless prisoner was doomed

^ .Torfly for refuge from distracting though? ... «.To such amusements as ingenious wpe V,. ." Contrives, hard shifting, and without her tools— „: To read, engraven on the mouldy walls,, .• . H, ,; • ^iihf.eld.

« PreviousContinue »