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force that we discover wices, and charitable while so many dreary even. He cood over Neapolitan cashionable enough. Howolent conversazion?,
midst, in these days when education is so much talked about; as well managed, and as kindly, on the whole, as Mr. Wilderspin's.
Our model of a social doctor is, it will be seen, a very humble individual. Yet, as we wandered in the midst of the Dublin theorists, we could not help thinking of the good man—doing his work bravely and without ado—leaving the platform and the theatre to be occupied by others. Conversazione philanthropy does not recommend itself to us with the force that we discover in the doings of the old Spitalfields tutor. To be good over Neapolitan ices, and charitable while grappling with a lemon over clear turtle,-this is fashionable enough. How many dreary evenings in the dog-days have we not spent at benevolent conversazioni, gazing wearily at heaps of photographs, and looking at mighty specimens of Hunt and Roskell's workmanship, until, to quote L. E. L.,until “one longed to pawn them"! Hot intellectual lecturers, with a set rostrum grin, screwing microscopes of marvellous power, that a scholarly young lady of thirty-eight may see the eye-brows of the animalculæ! A refreshment-room with steamy atmospbere, from cold coffee and hot bread-and-butter! Professors in the bud talking, like Lady Dufferin's charming women, “ of things which they don't understand” over luke-warm lemonade! A sprinkling of infant prodigies, who could “do” the rule-of-three before they were weaned, led from admirer to admirer by bald papas! A scramble for hats and ladies’ hoods! And lastly, a fair stand-up fight to get the carriage to the door. Shade of Wilderspin, may social science carry us to quiet scenes like that Spitalfields schoolroom, where good is being done unseen! We confess that even the Vale of Avoca, the Seven Churches, the Glen of the Downs, and the Devil's Glen, are not best enjoyed in the company of a hundred professors of social science. Where the dark-faced sheep are browsing on the misty mountains fired with the blooming heather ; where an emerald lake lies like a gem set in the hills; where the cruel story of the roofless cabin falls under the eye; where Moore's tree, by the bridge of his beloved vale, gives pleasant shade,-we choose to be alone, even at the risk of losing some very wise discourse on national education from Professor Catacomb. We have had talk enough, and are anxious, our holiday over, to be doing.
Dead Man's Isle.
Then a long white bundle shot from the bark,
A moment more, and the shark gave chase
But a touch from the shark, and it moved again,
Through the sea-weed beds the burden pass’d,
But the living coral united afresh,
X. Did this anchor bring tidings of what lay there At the roots of the isle, which was ocean bare ? When they passed it first, did they guess for whom The new world had grown,—for their comrade's tomb?
The Precieuses of the Seventeenth Century.
By Joux OxEXFORD.
EVERY body who takes an interest in French literature has at some time of his life become acquainted with Molière's early comedy, Les Précieuses Ridicules ; and as comparatively few persons are familiar with the substantive précieuse save in connection with that celebrated piece, the belief is pretty generally established that a female to whom it was applied was, as a matter of course, ridiculous. The play shows us two young ladies, who seek their rule of conduct in the ponderous romances of Mademoiselle Scudéry, and regard the pompous gallantries with which those works abound as the ne plus ultra of elegance and refinement. From the same source they borrow high-sounding names, in favour of which they drop the unpretending “Madelon” and “Cathos" they received at the baptismal font; and they interlard their discourse with pedantic phrases, which they substitute for the expressions in common use,—very much after the fashion of the English prig who is reported to have said “ Amputate the luminaries," instead of “Snuff the candles." In their dislike of a prosaic courtship, and their inclination to follow the example of romance heroines rather than comply with the precepts of ordinary life, they appear at the first glance to resemble our old friend Miss Lydia Languish; but the resemblance is extremely superficial. Miss Lydia, who would rather marry a poor Ensign Beverley than a rich Captain Absolute, symbolises the " love-in-a-cottage” school of sentimentality,—that desire to break through the artificial conventionalities of society, and live in a state of natural simplicity, which found so remarkable an expression in the writings of Rousseau. On the contrary, the précieuses of Molière, the affected daughters of the bon bourgeois Gorgibus, long to enter a society the rules of which are infinitely more conventional than those under which they have been brought up. They disgust their father scarcely less by their strange rhodomontade than by the expensive apparatus of their toilette. The gallants who sport with their folly are not captains who pretend to be ensigns, but valets who affect the rank of marquises. It is no dream-land to which they aspire; they are the reverse of “romantic," in the common acceptation of the word; for the notions which appear fantastic to Gorgibus refer to things which have a real existence in fashionable circles. In a word, Madelon and Cathos are simply young ladies who wish to take a position among the nobility, and are only another type of the weakness satirised in Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme.
However, there is no doubt that Molière, while he showed that préciosité was ridiculous when affected by the daughter of a bon bourgeois, also cast ridicule, intentionally or not, on the tone and phraseology which had become common among persons of a higher class; and préciosité in general is still marked with the stigma which the comic poet somewhat recklessly
the mobility ilhomme borred
put upon it. Only within the last few years has the world in general been informed that the ridiculous précieuse was merely the base imitator of the estimable précieux and précieuses, who, far from being ridiculous, comprised the best intellects of France. Let the reader who would move in the atmosphere of veritable préciosité devour M. Victor Cousin's delightful book, Le Jeunesse de Madame de Longueville, and turn over the pages of the volume entitled Précieux et Précieuses, in which M. Livet has collected his studies of the seventeenth century. If, however, he would merely sniff the said atmosphere for half an hour, he may content himself with the following pages, in which I have attempted, chiefly under the guidance of the two autbors just mentioned, to give some notion both of the genuine and the Brummagem article.
Let the Brummagem come first, being more in accordance with received impressions. Somaize, who shares with Molière the honour of exhibiting préciosité on its ridiculous side only, has bequeathed to us the attributes of such a précieux as would be a fitting companion of the Préci. euses Ridicules, and these have been effectively worked up into a tableau de genre by M. Livet.
An imaginary gentleman from the provinces, Bélisandre by name, has come up to Paris, his head filled with pleasing anticipations respecting those select circles in which all the men are well-bebaved, and all the women elaborately coquettish ; and he is fortunate enough to find an abbe galant named Brindesius, who promises to introduce him to one of the delightful coteries. Deeply impressed with the honour which is in store for him, he devotes the evening which precedes the day of introduction to a course of preparatory study. He turns over the fashionable romances, he practises the most elegant manner of entering and leaving a room, he lays in a store of choice expressions, and before he goes to bed he is thoroughly curled, pomaded, and perfumed. At break of day, he further prepares himself by an employment of rare scents and cosmetics, and attires himself in clothes of most unimpeachable fashion. The labours of the toilette complete, he mounts into his carriage ; and at ten o'clock, accompanied by his mentor, he arrives at the residence of Cléogarite, a noted précieuse, who of course lives in the Marais, then the most exquisite quarter of Paris. The knocker by which they denote their arrival is muffled, lest its too violent sound should disturb the refined conversation of the guests assembled within the sacred precincts. Cléogarite is in her bed, which stands upon a dais, and is separated from the rest of the room by a balustrade. The light of day is softened by the curtains, which are still drawn; a screen extends from the door to the fireplace; the walls are hung with portraits, and the bookshelves are laden with new books published by Sercy, the Parisian Murray of the time. The ruelle* is occupied by several of the ladies, of whom those attached to the court are honoured with fauteuils, while simple chairs suffice for those of less dis
* The ruelle is the part of the room between the bed and the wall, and is constantly mentioned in connection with these réunions.-J. O.