ePub 版

with a sufficient portion by the Chevalier’s generosity; the old keeper no longer withheld his consent, and the lovers were united, jointly imploring a thousand blessings for their benefactor.

Twenty years passed away, and France fell into the confusion of political dissensions, and, at length, into all the horrors of the Revolution. Bouffiers, though friendly to all the opinions which were then propagated by the true lovers of liberty, was compelled, after the deplorable 10th of August, 1792, to quit France and take refuge in Berlin. Prince Henry and the King of Prussia, after keeping him for some time with them, gave him an estate in Poland, where, like a true French Knight, he founded a colony for all the emigrants who were driven from their unhappy country. But in spite of all the advantages, and all the consolations he received in foreign lands, be never ceased to sigh after Paris, where he had passed the early part of his life in that atmosphere of pleasure and of urbanity which was not to be found in any other capital in Europe. Thither his family, his friends, his most cherished habits, all called him. The compliments paid him on his poems, only served to remind him of the lovely and captivating women who had inspired them; those on his novel, of the delights of Chanteloup, of the amiable Duchess de Choiseul, (who had survived her husband only a few years,) and of the Temple of Butterflies.

The storm of the Revolution having subsided, many proscribed persons obtained leave to return to France ; among these was Boufflers, who left Poland, travelling homeward through Bohemia, Bavaria, and Switzerland. He wished to revisit the beautiful shores of the lake of Geneva, where, thirty years ago, he had passed a time which he never recurred to without animation and delight. Be therefore stopped at Lausanne, and fearing lest his name might expose him to some disagreeable curiosity or supervision, he had furnished himself with a passport under the name of Foubers, a French painter. In this character, which he had more than once assumed before, he presented himself in the first houses of Lausanne, where he was soon received with all the attentions due to genuine talent, embellished by wit and great knowledge of the world. The rage for M. Foubers and for his fine miniature portraits was universal. As he was anxious to obtain beautiful subjects, he was constantly told that he ought to paint the Countess de Lauterbach; she was described to him as a lady of French origin, and the widow of a Bavarian general, who, at his death, had left her considerable property, ineluding a magnificent estate situated on the banks of the lake, at a few miles distance from Lausanne. She was universally spoke of for her beauty, her grace, and above all for that obliging affability which wins all hearts. How many stimulants to Boufiler's curiosity! Nor was it long ungratified. At a fete given by one of the principal inhabitants of Lausanne, the beautiful Countess of Lauterbach was present, and not only justified all his expectations, but enchanted him by that inimitable grace which distinguishes his countrywomen.

He was introduced to the Countess, who appeared struck by the sound of his voice, and agitated by some emotion which she strove to dissemble. They entered into conversation, and Bouffers expressed the most earnest desire to paint from so fine a model. After s his eyes.

moment's refexion, the Countess accepted his offer; and as if struck by some sudden thought, fixed a day for Foubers to go to her house, at the same time expressing her pleasure at being painted by a French artist.

On the day appointed, an elegant calèche stopped at the door of his lodging, and conveyed him to the Chateau de St. Sulpice, situated on the banks of the lake, opposite to the superb amphitheatre traced by the Alps on the horizon. Boufflers arrived; he crossed a spacious outer court, passed through a handsome hall, and entered a vast. saloon, in which every thing announced opulence and the most crquisite taste. On one side of the room hung a full-length portrait of the late Duchess de Choiseul, seated near the Temple of Butterflies, with a volume of Bouffler's works in her hand. The Chevalier could not control the emotions which agitated him, and forced tears from

" What recollections !” exclaimed he involuntarily: “ this Countess de Lauterbach must certainly be of the Choiseul family. I shall like her the better.” Whilst he gave himself up to his reflections, a chamberlain came to tell him that his lady would be occupied for a short time, that she begged M. Foubers to excuse her, and desired him to ask whether he would be pleased to walk into her plantation à la Française. Boufflers followed his conductor through a long suite of apartments, all furnished with wonderful magnificence and variety. · He entered an avenue of limes, and at the first turning, he saw, under the shade of some very large trees, a temple of gauze precisely like the Duchess de Choiseul's. The temple was filled with the most beautiful butterflies of every species, and over the door was an inscription in verse which Boufflers had formerly written over the entrance to the temple at Chanteloup, and even the hand-writing was so exactly his own, that he stood before it agitated, yet motionless with astonishment, and thought himself transported by magic to the banks of the Loire. But his surprise was increased, and his emotion heightened, when he saw advancing towards him, a young girl of fourteen or fifteen, in the dress of the villagers of Lorraine, whose features, shape, and gait were so precisely those of the girl hè remembered with so affectionate an interest, that he thought it was she herself who stood before him, and whose deep rich voice met his ear. “Your servant, Monsieur de Boufflers,” said she, with a graceful curtesy, and presenting to him a little gauze net ; “ what do you think of my butterflies? you are such a fine judge.” “ What are you—angelsylph-enchantress?" “ What! do you not remember Alina, the daughter of the forester of Amboise, who used so often to bring you butterflies ?” “Do I dream!” said Bouffers, rubbing his eyes; and, taking the sweet girl's hand, he pressed it to his heart, and then to his lips : “ Alina, lovely Alina !-it cannot be you?” “ How ! it cannot be 1 ?-Who then won the prize for the finest butterflies ?Who received from the hands of the Duchess, a prize of twenty-five louis, and from your's this golden cross, which I promised to wear as long as I live, and which I have never parted with for an instant ?” " I do indeed remember that cross-it is the very one! Never was illusion so perfect-never was inan so bewildered. Divine creature, oh! take pity on the confusion into which you have thrown me. Your elegance betrays you. No, you are not a mere country girl. Tell me then, to whom am I indebted for the most delicious emotion ever felt in my life?-Whence do you come ?-Who are you?” “ She is my daughter,” cried the Countess de Lauterbach, suddenly stepping from the concealment of a thicket, and throwing herself into the arms of Bouffiers. “My dear protector-kind author of my happiness and of my good fortune_.behold the true Alina, the wife and widow of Charles Verner, whose only daughter stands before you. Your emotion, however strong, cannot equal mine.” “ How, madam! are you that simple village girl ?-Yes, yes, there are those large deep-blue penetrating eyes—there is that expressive mouth-there is that enchanting smile; I could almost believe I can still see the traces of the kiss so innocently received. Good and beautiful as you were, you had a right to become what you now are. But tell me, how happened it that, for once, Fortune was not blind ?-have the kindness to satisfy my curiosity ; be consistent with the affection my dear Alina always had for me.” “ Listen then," replied the Countess, with confiding delight.

“ Charles, in whom you took such a generous interest, having distinguished himself by repeated acts of bravery, obtained a commission shortly after our marriage. The war which broke out between France and Germany, called him to the field, and I followed him. He afterwards rose to the rank of colonel of cavalry, when he saved the life of the Count de Lauterbach, commander of a Bavarian division, on the field of battle; but in this act he received a mortal wound, and with his last breath recommended his wife and child, then an infant, to the General's care. Count Lauterbach thought that in no way could he so effectually prove his gratitude to his preserver, as by becoming the husband of his widow, and the father of his child. After a few years of a happy union, he died of the numerous wounds he had received, leaving me a large fortune and a revered and cherished memory. At that time," added the Countess, “ I knew that you had been compelled to quit France and to take refuge in Prussia: I left no means untried to discover the place of your residence ; but your change of name, your travelling as a French painter, as you have so often done, always prevented my accomplishing the most ardent wishes of my heart. Judge what was my emotion on meeting you the other day at Lausanne. I instantly determined to prove to you, in some degree at least, my joy and gratitude; and taking advantage of my daughter's age, and of her perfect resemblance to that Alina who owed to you the hand of Charles Verner, and all that she has subsequently possessed or enjoyed, I made use of your own colours ; I copied the most beautiful scene of your elegant story which I have read so often-in short, I tried to bewitch you with your own enchantments."

“Ah!” exclaimed Boufflers, pressing the mother and daughter to his heart, never shall I forget this ingenious delicacy; it is true, that the memory of the heart is indestructible in women; and I see that the little good one may be able to do to the simplest village girl, may become a capital which gratitude will repay with interest."



No. III.
From Poland they came on through Prussia proper,

And Königsberg the capital, whose vaunt,
Beside some veins of iron, lead, and corper,

Hias lately been the great Professor Kant. In describing any country beyond the British (and not excluding the Irish) channel, an English writer seldom fails to dwell upon certain prescribed subjects of censure. Ile exclaims against the native want of cleanliness, to imply his own nicety in such matters ; he charms his wealthy brother Bulls by sneering at the foreigners' poverty; and if (unlike the greater part of travellers) he has associated with them at all, he rails at their intolerable pride, whenever he has excited indignant feelings by his arrogance or ill-bred national reflections. He condemns customs if (as Jonathan Wild's chaplain says “they in any way differ from his own laws and received opinions, either because he has not enough of sagacity to penetrate their meaning, or the candour to refer them to religion, government, climate, and other local causes that have created, or may justify them. It is particularly his business to be shocked at the licence of foreign manners, to shudder at the mention of a liaison, to drop his pen after naming a cortejo, and he starts from the too-appalling description of cicisbeism to paint the horrors of an assassination committed only a few years before in the Papal States upon the person of a higlıly respected and virtuous Jew pedlar. Our authors of Travels generally overlook the probability that the same day that their works are published, the newspapers will contain some cases of Crim. Con. in the middle classes of society, very amply detailed; hints of the existence of two or three unfortunate, but very interesting, attachments between married people of high station, and the opposites of their legitimate spouses ; robberies, seductions, and frauds out of number; and a family or two burnt in their dwellings by the good-humoured natives of the county Kildare.

The truth is, that despite our well-paid clergy and unpaid magistracy, we are very little better, or, considering our condensed population, very-little worse, than our Continental neighbours.

Before I proceed farther in describing this country, I must repeat that I am not a bigot to the customs of my own. A very good Englishman may prefer the sun of Florence to the fog of London, and see beauties in Chamouni that he did not find in Llangollen. I own that I prefer dining upon a fricandeau and St. Emilion at Dessein's, to swallowing a tepid beef-steak, with its dark adjunct, Port wine, at Wright's, at Dover. Neither is this preference grounded upon the reflection that I must pay sixteen shilings for the latter repast, and five francs for the former. I do not love my country, or the accomplished portion of my countrywomen, less, because I would rather meet a svelte petite bourgeoise bien chaussée et mise à quatres epingles, without a crease in her stocking, (nor anywhere else where a crease ought not to be,), or a stain upon her slender foot, than I would encounter a Margate helle in her costly and tumbled finery—a shawl worth a hundred guineas, and well-worn gloves-paddling with her APRIL, 1826.

2 L

arms-occasionally darting a parasol at right angles, or levelling it steadily at a shop window-taking the full regulation step of thirty inchies, and carefully turning up the toe of her capacious shoe to the admiration of Mr. Edwards and his friends. Is it not more agreeable to address yourself for information to the lively and garrulous Frenchman, than to wring sullen and reluctant answers from an Englishman? The courtesy of the former furnishes all you require for the occasional purpose, and it is only upon long acquaintance, and in events of rare occurrence, that the surly good qualities of the latter can be available to you.

Certes you will admit all that I have postulated. My object in doing so, is to show that it is not national prejudice which leads me to conclude that Prussia has nothing good in it, save the iron and the infantry, dragoons and deals, linseed and lancers, cuirassiers and caviar, artillery and amber, miners and metaphysicians. There are, it is true, some institutions that belong to countries in a highly cultivated state, but the general habits are still barbarous. Prussia has not gone through the intermediate stages of civilization, and her affected maturity looks like the condition of those females who have arrived at the state of widowhood without passing through matrimony. A Russian noble has been compared to a naked savage, with liis hair well dressed and powdered. The Prussian has the same figurative aspect, except that his hair does not hold in curl. He is, however, a less immoral savage than his northern brother, of whom Dr. Lyall has told “nothing but the truth," though he has not told (because he did not arrive at) “the whole truth.”

You wish to be informed of the present literary state of Germany. In point of production, it is absolutely null; nothing but translations are read, and I hope the taste will be improved by it. Walter Scott, Irving, Cooper, and Captain Rock, have successively occupied the public attention. At present, this grave family are mainly engaged in the study of Harriet Wilson's Memoirs. The stage has conformed to this change. For weeks together you will not see the announcement of a single play originally German. Shakspeare, Calderon, and even Goldoni, have taken place of Schiller and Goethe. This is commendable, and the translations are for the most part tolerable ; but what I complain of is, that they disfigure French afterpieces to suit them to the national taste. They seize a work of poor Scribe or Dumersan, and having knocked out the brains of the little plot, rubbed off the point of the dialogue, and adapted a new version of the songs to vulgar German melodies, (Volkslieder,) they call the stupid mystification a Vaudeville. A piece of this kind, in which an old bourgeois is brought upon the stage to have his legs scalded or his wig set on fire, is sure of success. It is, however, but just to mention that, in Berlin at least, the two afterpieces that have produced the greatest sensation, were purely German, and without any incidents of the kind. The first of these has for title and plot—The Seven Girls in Uniform, (die sieben Mädchen in Uniform.). On the night of its first representation, the thick-legged Mädchens showed so perfect a knowledge of the manual exercise, that the King sent each of them a shawl on the following morning, in token of his admiration ; and not as others might have done, to imply that such a covering became a maiden better than

« 上一頁繼續 »