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THE COUSIN OF THE MARRIED, AND THE COUSIN OF THE DEAD. bark with silken wings; they welcomed the arrival of a modest, unpretending female, instead of the proud dictator of their laws; it was a Danseuse, not a Doge, that greeted their longing eyes; though her return to Venice resembled that of the conqueror who revisits the country he has subdued by his valour, and governed by kindness.

On the same night La Zerbi graced the theatre of Fenicia, looking more lovely than ever; and once again she found herself the object of public adoration. La Zerbi was herself again, and all Venice at her feet.

The count, perfectly wretched while absent from his wife, shortly returned, and nightly witnessed with delight the homage paid the countess. In him, that rare occurrence in life, the lover and the husband were combined. His own immediate circle of friends were made acquainted with his marriage, which La Zerbi implored him not to make more public. The doubts and rumours on that subject gave her, strange to say, some amusement; and the consciousness of her own integrity reconciled her to the malicious whispers of petty scandal.

Season after season thus passed away, until the care of a young family, and the necessity of quitting the theatre on their account, compelled the countess to withdraw from her professional pursuits. But the recollection of her talent and amiable character long survived her retirement. Indeed, so great was the enthusiasm she had inspired, that a poem now exists in which it is said, "There is but one city, and one La Zerbi in the world."

THE COUSIN OF THE MARRIED, AND THE COUSIN OF THE DEAD.

(From the French.)

THERE was found, under the Restoration, a man who was surnamed, "The Cousin of the Married," and who merited the appellation by a course of industry and ingenuity truly singular. He repaired every morning to the office of the Mayor of the twelve districts of Paris, and stationed himself before the little gate, where are exhibited notices of all marriages about to take place. He read attentively the names of the affianced persons, learned their qualities, and informed himself of their fortune. When he had obtained all this information, the ingenious Cousin made his choice, always deciding, however, in favour of the marriage which was expected to attract the greatest number of guests, and which promised the most sumptuous dinner. He would then arm himself with an enormous bouquet, put on his fine black

coat, a pair of open-work stockings and light pumps, and then take from his bandbox his new hat; so attired, he would proceed cautiously among the carriages, with a buoyant step, to the church where the marriage ceremony was to be performed, join the crowd of attendants, and officiously offer to hold the nuptial veil. When the benediction was pronounced, he created himself Master of the Ceremonies, leading the way to the carriages, giving his hand to the ladies, carefully lifting their dresses to prevent them from coming in contact with the coach wheels, shutting the coach doors, and bidding the drivers to proceed to the appointed hotel. For his own share he was careful, as he always contrived to secure a place for himself in one of the carriages, so as to arrive with the company. It was then that he was brilliant, and then that his gaiety and liveliness served to beguile, with the company, the tedious hour before dinner. He had for all some remark to excite laughter-he repeated a pleasant little story, adapted to the time and circumstances of the assembly, he hastened the preparations for the repast -humourously recommended the guests to be patient, and to prepare their appetites for eating, and when all was ready he would announce the fact himself. He was the major domo of the house,—the man indispensable,—the commissary of the feast. Every voice would be in his praise :-" that gentleman is amiable and polite ;"-and if any one indirectly inquired his name, it was answered that he was presumed to be the parent or friend of the bride, or a cousin or an intimate friend of the bridegroom.

But it was at the table that his efforts to please were most particularly conspicuous. He would post himself in the place of honour-seize the great carving knife, cut up the meats with admirable promptness and dexterity, and carefully and politely wait upon every guest. He directed the servants, overlooked the courses, and tasted the wines. Then, when the dessert was brought, he would take from his pocket a piece of pink paper, mysteriously unfold it, and sing from it a stanza in honour of the newly married couple, composed by himself expressly for the occasion. The good fellow knew but one little story, and but one stanza, and he served them up every morning in a new edition.

At length this witty sharper was detected in his career of imposition. Seduced by the attraction of great names, he went to the marriage festival of a rich nobleman of the Faubourg St. Germain. He had assisted at the mass, returned in an elegant barouche to the hotel,-had glided unobserved into the parlour, and waiting for a suitable opportunity to rehearse his amusing little story, and to commence his impromptu remarks, so often before repeated. All at once he became the object of general attention; every eye was fixed upon him. The mistress of the feast had counted her plates

and her guests, and had ascertained that of the latter there was one too many, She was astonished, on inquiring the name of the Cousin, that no one knew him, and that no one recognized him as a friend. For the first time, "The Cousin of the Married" lost his self-possession and his assurance. How was he to escape the gaze of the eyes fixed upon him? How was he to answer the questions which might be addressed to him? Presently a gentleman advances towards him and inquires,-" By which of the married couple were you invited? On which side are you?"

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"On which side ?" said "The Cousin of the Married," taking his hat, "on the side of the door ;" and so saying, he quickly descended the stairs and left the house. Since that day no one has heard tell of him.

But if we have no longer "The Cousin of the Married," we have now "The Cousin of the Dead," an expression equally as significant as the first.

Ruined by the Revolution of 1793, the Count of V- -was obliged to ac. cept of a very modest employment. In consequence of a change in the ministry, the old clerk was compelled to leave his office, with no other resource to sustain life, than a miserable income of 400 francs per annum. He was old and alone in the world. His strength did not permit him to labour, and by constantly dwelling on his poverty, he became melancholy, and subsequently fell dangerously sick: By carefully attending to the advice of his physician, who generously refused to accept the small sum the old man offered to give for his services, he became, in time, somewhat restored. The physician prescribed to his patient, on pain of a relapse, frequent exercise and a daily ride. You may judge of the poor man's embarrassment! How could he ride every day in a carriage, when his little income was scarcely sufficient to procure the essentials of life? The smallest excursion in a cabriolet cost twenty five sous-one excursion per day would be four hundred and fifty francs per annum, and his whole yearly income amounted to only four hundred. At that time omnibuses were not invented.

He was beginning utterly to despond when heaven sent him succour. În passing near St. Rock, he observed that the gate of the church was hung in black, and that a long line of vehicles were in waiting to conduct a funeral procession to Père la Chaise. The coachmen were on their seats, and their strong and beautiful horses, covered with the trappings of mourning, were awaiting with impatience the moment of departure. The advice of the phy sician recurred with force to the mind of poor V-, a feeling of jealousy glided into his inoffensive heart. He envied the fortune of those who could thus ride gratis-he envied, for an instant, the happy destiny of the deceased, in being conveyed to his last earthly home in a splendid hearse, drawn by four magnificent horses. Feeling a curiosity to know the name and history

222 THE COUSIN OF THE MARRIED, AND THE COUSIN OF THE DEAD.

of one upon whom fortune had so lavished her favours, he entered the church and piously knelt down among the mourners. V- had on his only black coat, and he was immediately taken for one of the friends of the deceased; and after the ceremonies in the church, was offered a place in one of the funeral carriages. The occasion was too opportune to be neglected, and he gladly jumped into the wished-for vehicle.

On the way a thousand ideas passed through his imagination. He thanked heaven for having furnished him with the means to fulfil, in so economical a manner, the recommendation of his physician. He accompanied the corpse to the grave-saw the coffin laid in the tomb, and on leaving the church, he found the coach in waiting, and the coachman ready to convey him home.

Since that event V became the willing assistant of all public interments; and what was, at first, only useful as a means of exercise, grew to be for him a pleasure and a delight. He went to a funeral as others went to a theatre, to a ball, or to a festival. He daily read the lists of deaths in the city, and these lists were to him a journal, and the only one for which he conceived there was any use. Still more, he had taken lodgings opposite the dwelling of the undertaker, and every morning he crossed the street to converse with him, and obtain information relative to the burials of the day. He put on his blue surtout or his black dress, according to the rank and fortune of the deceased, the expenses of the funeral, &c., and for all grand ceremonies he wore crape on his arm. V came now generally to be known by the title of the "Cousin of the Dead." For fifteen years he had not missed a single funeral that could be reached. His views were too liberal to adopt party feelings; he assisted to inter Bellart and Manuel, Talma and the Bishop of Beauvais, a female follower of St. Simon and the lady superior of the Convent of Minimes. He once presented to the Chamber of Deputies, a petition for a law interdicting the embalming of infants, by which the number of funeral processions is considerably lessened.

The Cousin of the Dead possessed a remarkably expansive sensibility, and an extraordinary quantity of sympathy for the afflictions of others. He felt the grief of a bereaved mother, the sorrow of a childless father, with the poignancy of reality. Many a legator, in noticing his grief at the grave, has taken him for a disinherited relative; many a mother has been gratified to see him shed tears over her favourite son, and many a husband, on losing a beloved wife, has been astonished at his emotions over her remains. He composed funeral orations for all illustrious persons; the burial place was his life and his world. At times, struck with the appearance of anguish depicted on his countenance, the friends of the dead have desired him to be the principal mourner.

One day, during the burial of a person of considerable importance, the Cousin of the Dead was observed to shed an unusual abundance of tears. One of the mourners approached him, and desired that he would make a few appropriate remarks on the individual whose remains they had just deposited in the cold earth.

"The tomb," said he, in obedience to the call, "is again about to enclose the remains of a distinguished citizen." He stopped for a moment, and inquired, in a low tone of voice, the name of the deceased. He was answered, "Augustus Leger."

"Augustus Leger," he resumed, "was a man, grave and austere. His long life was but a combined series of virtuous and benevolent acts. He was entirely devoted to the holy, the legitimate cause of

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He was a regicide!
"The rights of the sovereign people. His disinterestedness-
He was a usurer!

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"His laudable economy, his aversion to luxury, his unassuming and modest deportment, had gained for him universal esteem. But still more worthy of admiration were his virtues in private life-his patience, his humanity, and his devoted and unchangeable attachment to the wife of his bosom, the lady of his choice."

He had been divorced!

"For his children he cherished the most affectionate and tender regard." He had driven them from his home!

"Virtuous friend! May the earth rest lightly on thy coffin !"

A LAMENT.

"THERE is a voice I shall hear no more;
There are tones whose music for me is o'er;
Sweet as the odours of spring were they-
Precious and rich-but they died away:

They came like peace to my heart and ear→
Never again will they murmur here:

They have gone like the blush of a summer morn--
Like a crimson cloud through the sunset borne.

"There were eyes, that late were lit up for me,
Whose kindly glance was a joy to see:
They revealed the thoughts of a trusting heart,
Untouched by sorrow--untaught by art:

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