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characters which made him sometimes rise from | lover of religion, he entertained an honest detestathe ground, when at church, in sight of all the tion for those who, under its mask, violated its congregation. The intendant having questioned tenets; and he pillories a priest as readily and
the accused on this subject, he was so disconcerted heartily as he does Mad Canillac, or Montvallat the that he nearly lost his senses; he fell into a furi- extortioner, or any other of the profane and tyranous passion, and then entreated they would not nical gentry of Auvergne. And some very pretty press him further, that he was not disposed to tales he finds to tell about his brethren in black, acknowledge anything that day, but that on the conveying most unflattering ideas of their morality morrow he would confess all the irregularities of and Christian virtues. Amongst others, is that of his life. His prayer was granted, and M. de For- a certain curé of St. Babel, who was condemned tia gave him in charge to four of his people. I do to death for murder, upon very strong evidencenot know if the devil had promised to rescue him a companion of the slain man having sworn posifrom the hands of a master of requests, or if, by tively to the murderer's identity, and there being his art, he bewitched his keepers; but it is certain besides a mass of circumstantial evidence. When he made his escape to the woods and mountains, the curé had been hung his innocence was discovwhere they have now for three days pursued him. ered. He denied to the very last moment the Here is an instance how the devil is friendly and crime for which he suffered, avowing, however, of good faith with those who love him, and how that he was guilty of many others. And some of he deceives even intendants. I was very sorry to his offences, written down by Fléchier, deserve miss this opportunity of hearing news of the severe castigation, although the gallows was rather witches' sabbath, and of learning the secret of the too violent a penalty for them. He was particcharacters; perhaps some good angel, hostile to ularly blamed for his amors, and so indiscreet in his demon, will deliver him again into the hands the choice of time and place, that he was known to of justice." This tone of mockery, when refer- make love to a servant maid whilst her mistress lay ring to a belief pretty universal in those days—the dying in an adjoining apartment, anxiously awaitbelief, namely, in witchcraft and sorcerers-con- ing the last sacrament. "He forgot where he trasts oddly enough with the strain of grave credu-was," says Fléchier, “and love overcame duty. lity in which the same writer tells the touching Instead of hearing the confession of the one, he tale of a shepherd and shepherdess who gathered made a declaration to the other, and far from exflowers together in the meadows, held tender ren- horting the sick woman to a pious death, he solicited dezvous in a green alley formed by nature at the the healthy one to an evil life." And then this anfoot of a rock, made reciprocal presents of fruits tithetical chronicler proceeds, rather unnecessarily, and flowers, and drank the water of the limpid to a verbatim report of the libertine curé's love fountain out of the hollow of each other's hands. speeches, adding, we suspect, some slight embelThis loving pair, the Corydon and Phillis of lishments of his own. The priest's profligacy was Auvergne, were ultimately united in the bonds of indirectly the cause of his death, for the murder wedlock, when, behold, a malicious farmer, two for which he undeservedly suffered was committed of whose ducks had been devoured by Phillis' on a peasant who had detected him in an intrigue, poodle, laid a spell upon them, greatly to the and fastened him into a barn with one of the obhindrance of the connubial felicity they had so jects of his illicit flame. When, in a day or two fondly anticipated. The charm was dissolved by afterwards, the author of this practical joke was set the prayers and interposition of Mother Church ;| upon and slain, suspicion naturally fell on him who and this little history, Fléchier admonishes us, had been its object, and he was arrested by the "shows that we ought not to treat these enchant-lieutenant of the watch, who apparently anticipated ments as fables." Notwithstanding which injunc- an attempt at evasion, for "he insinuated himself tion we should think the abbé was indulging in a bit of grave fun, did he not quote Hincmar, archbishop of Rheims, and Virgil's Eclogues and other authorities, in support of the authenticity of these malevolent practices.
into his house under pretence of having masses said, and conducted him very adroitly to Clermont." Upon the day of the man's condemnation or execution, (it does not appear very clearly which of the two is meant,) a ray of sunshine again seduced Fléchier It could hardly have excited surprise, if, in a and his company out of town, and they made an exnarrative of criminal assizes written by a church-pedition to the country-house called Oradoux, then man, the misdeeds of the priests had been softened and still the property of the family of Champflour. down, lightly passed over, or even entirely sup- The grounds were rendered very agreeable to the pressed. The least jesuitical of abbés might have party by a multitude of purling streams, whose reconciled such a course to his conscience by the waters were applied to various fantastical purposes, argument that, although the crimes of the individ-"making pleasant figures," as Fléchier informs us. uals merited infamous publicity, the interests of religion and of the ecclesiastic body would suffer by their revelation. No such plausible plea is set up by Fléchier, either mentally or openly. He is unsparing in his censure of the laxity of the clergy, and records their derelictions as freely and unreservedly as those of the lay population. A sincere
"One finds basins supplied by a thousand streams, floating islands forming small apartments, where all manner of parties of pleasure take place; an aviary enclosing cascades, a grotto whence the water flows on all sides by a hundred little leaden tubes, and a Diana in a niche who throws up streamlets of water, and is completely covered by a liquid veil fall
FLÉCHIER'S CHRONICLE OF CLERMONT ASSIZES.
ing unceasingly and always preserving its form." Whilst perambulating these aqueous parterres, the if they made a movement, he would run his sword prevented bloodshed and sacrilege by swearing that abbé fell in with a canon, seemingly a worthy through the viscount's body. The bishop's firmand sensible man, who had sought that retirement ness, although it had a degree of violence less bewith a view to serious meditation. Unrestrained coming in a church dignitary than in a temporal by this latter consideration, Fléchier, having formed warrior, is approved by Fléchier as an episcopal at first sight so good an opinion of the stranger's virtue. The faults he finds with the diocesan of worth and wisdom, courteously addressed him. "I Clermont are of a different stamp. He deplores saluted him as civilly as I could, accosting him with his weaknesses, as tending, by example, to the ena smiling air, in which was mingled, however, a couragement of immorality, and to the disrepute little of my habitual gravity." The canon took of the church. "All the balls were held at his the interruption kindly, and the pair walked and house, which, instead of an abode of prayer and talked together. Their dialogue is given at length penitence, was one of festival and rejoicing; and in the Mémoires, indebted, no doubt, to Fléchier's he appeared there not as a bishop instructing his nimble pen for many flowers of style, and, perhaps, flock, but as a gentleman in a violet coat, saying for much of the subject matter. The church of soft things to the ladies. His manner of saluting Clermont was the subject of discourse, and from these was other than paternal; and, passing his the church a transition to the bishops was very hands over their faces, he would form an exact eseasy. Various saints, and more than one sinner, timate of their appearance, never deceiving himself had ruled the diocese of Clermont; and in the lat- as to their beauty, blind though he was; having ter class was reckoned a certain Joachim d'Estaing, his discernment in his hands as others have in their who had worn the mitre for the first six and thirty eyes, and, like a good shepherd, knowing all his years of the seventeenth century. He was stone sheep." These facial manipulations were of small blind, but the infirmity affected him little. When impropriety compared to other particulars of the overtaken by it (at an early age) he took for his bishop's conduct and discourse. Under such a motto, Charitate et fide, non oculis, Christi diri- prelate the conduct of the clergy was not likely to guntur oves. Charitable he was, faith he may be very exemplary, and accordingly we read that have had, his cecity was perhaps no absolute im- canons were seen habitually dressed in colored pediment to the discharge of his pastoral duties; clothes, throwing aside their ecclesiastical garb but neither charity, faith, nor blindness, sufficed to when service was over, and appearing covered with restrain him within the limits of ecclesiastical de- gay ribbons. They left the altar to run to the playcorum. Such a rattling, love-making, rollicking house, escorting ladies thither, and making a scanboy of a bishop had seldom been heard of. His dalous mixture of worldly vanity and external piety. principal occupations were making war with his The parish priests were no better; and we are chapter and pleading against his canons. These told of one so fond of the chase that he passed all maintained their privileges with much vigor and his time in it, to the neglect of his parochial duSo that when he was on the point of ties. To such an extent did he carry his passion death, some one having exhorted him to do good for field sports, that, when conveying the conseto a chapter whose tranquillity he had so long crated wafer to a distant farm, he was known to troubled:-"I have done them more good than all make his clerk carry his fowling-piece, so that he my predecessors," was his sharp and prompt reply, might have a shot at any game he met upon the "since in pleading against them, I have estab-road; which piece of profanity elicits from the lished their privileges upon an immovable basis." worthy Fléchier an angry and indignant ejaculation. When overtaken by blindness, he had assigned to It is not surprising that, under the lax rule of Monhim, as an episcopal aide-de-camp, André de Sau- seigneur Joachim, the clerical profession was in sia, Bishop of Bethlehem, who, proceeding to per- favor with the idle and dissolute. During his time form some particular duties in the church of Cler- a vast number of religious fraternities sprang up in mont, the canons shut the door against him, the diocese; no less than eight convents and monpretending that only the Bishop of Clermont had asteries being established in the town of Clermont. that privilege. Thereupon M. L'Estaing, having An ordinance, published in 1651, by Jacques Peobtained the sanction of the temporal authorities, reyret, canon of the cathedral church, is directed burst open the doors with battering-rams, "not at ecclesiastics who "frequent public games, unlike those formerly used by the Romans." On taverns, and gambling tables; buying and selling another occasion, the Viscount de Polignac, gov- at fairs and markets; having commerce with perernor of the province, having had a praying-desk sons of profligate life, and abandoning themselves (prie-Dieu) placed for him in the nave of the church, to all manner of vices and excesses," &c. &c. without regard to a previous warning that the king This state of things, however, was not limited to alone had that right, the blind bishop had sufficient the diocese of Clermont, but was at that time only courage and decision to expel him the sacred ed- too general in France. The following is curious, ifice. Fléchier does not give the details of this on account both of the state of things it exhibits, scandalous scene, but they are to be found in con- and of the cavalier manner in which Fléchier refers temporary authors. The bishop, it appears, used to his holiness the pope." So great were the force to expel M. de Polignac, who ordered his irregularities of the clergy of Clermont, that there guards to fire, when one of the bishop's gentlemen exists a papal bull exempting the canons and the
children they might have had, by any crime what- she loved with great fidelity. And after her mar
ever, from the bishop's jurisdiction. This bull appeared to us of an extraordinary form, and we admired the effrontery of the court of Rome and of the canons of that day."
riage, one of her former suitors risking a daring attempt upon her virtue, she mustered the courage of Lucretia, to protect herself from the evil designs of a modern Tarquin. Finding tears and entreaties unavailing, and as the sole means of preserving her honor, she seized a halbert that stood in a corner of the chamber, and inflicted a deadly wound on her insolent pursuer. "She pierced," says Fléchier, in his flowery style, and not in the very best taste, "the wretch's heart that burned for her; two or three ardent sighs escaped it, and he expired." The testimony of the neighbors, whom she called in, and her reputation for virtue, absolved her in the eyes of her judges. But when the Grands-Jours came, the relatives of the deceased revived the case; and that tribunal-upon what grounds it is difficult to say-condemned the woman and her family to a heavy fine. There seems to have been scanty justice. At the present day in France, the verdict of justifiable homicide does not preclude a civil action for damages; but these would now hardly be granted by any French court in such a case as the above. The justice of the Grands-Jours was evidently of a very loose description. They had not to dread the revision of a higher court, or the lash of a newspaper satire; the king would not trouble himself much about them, so long as they duly scourged the tyrannical counts and barons who impoverished the country and caused discontent amongst the peasantry; and thus, unfettered by any of the usual checks, the bench of gentlemen in square caps, loose cloaks, flowing curls, and delicate moustaches, represented in the frontispiece to M. Gonod's publication, certainly did render some very inexplicable, and, as it appears from FléAt chier's chronicle, very iniquitous judgments. Whilst they blundered and mismanaged in their
We find several ladies, amongst them some of high family and name, appearing as plaintiffs or defendants, before the tribunal of the Grands-Jours. The commencement of the third month's sitting was signalized by "an audience that everybody found very diverting, because there was pleaded the cause of the Countess of Saigne against her husband, on a pleasant difference they had together." The old count had committed the common blunder of marrying a young and pretty wife, who became desirous of a separation, and brought a variety of scandalous charges against him. She had the sympathy and support of many of her own sex, and especially of the grisettes, whom the reverend Fléchier gravely defines as 66 young bourgeoises, having rather a bold style of gallantry, and priding themselves on much liberty." Finally, the count and countess made up their quarrel. The affair of Madame de Vieuxpont, a Norman lady, was of a more serious nature. She was arraigned for conspiracy against the procureur du Roi at Evreux, against whom she conceived so violent an animosity, that she resolved to ruin him at any price, and to that end associated herself with an intendant of woods and forests, a serjeant, and three or four other persons. Her plot being ripe, she accused the obnoxious magistrate of conspiracy against the state, of having called the king a tyrant, and of a design to establish in France a republic after the model of Venice. The unfortunate functionary was arrested and sent to Paris, where he died before his trial was at an end, and narrowly escaped posthumous condemnation. last his memory was cleared by a decision of the Chamber of Justice, and his perjured accusers were department, an elderly lady of great enterprise and brought before the Grands-Jours. M. Talon, the activity made herself exceedingly busy in hers. public prosecutor, pressed for the perpetual ban- It was a jurisdiction she had created for herself, ishment of Madame de Vieuxpont and the confis- without the least shadow of a right, and it is cation of all her property. She was even in fear inconceivable how she was allowed to exercise, of capital punishment, and her countenance bright- even for a day, her self-conferred authority. Madened greatly when the decision of the court, con- ame Talon, the respectable mother of the advocatedemning her to three years' exile, and a fine of general, had no sooner arrived at Clermont, than two thousand livres, was intimated to her. She she undertook the whole police regulation of the was a lady of violent character, and had lived on town, imposing taxes, correcting weights and measvery bad terms with her husband, in whose death ures, fixing a tariff of prices, and lecturing the some hinted her agency; but this, Fléchier chari- Clermont ladies as to the mode of distributing tably remarks, was perhaps a mere calumny, in- their alms. At last the housewives of Auvergne vented in retaliation of those wherewith she had would stand this no longer, and then she turned assailed other persons. It is distinctly stated, her attention to monastic abuses, and hospital reghowever, that she went so far as to challenge her ulations. She was evidently an officious nuisance; husband to fight a duel; and when he declined a and although Fléchier supports her, it is after a combat in all respects so singular, her mother feeble manner, his faint praise strongly resembling wounded him with a pistol-shot-an advertisement, condemnation. "When people do good," he the abbé quietly remarks, never to fall out with says, "it is impossible to keep the world from one's mother-in-law. Then we have the story of murmuring. Some say she would do better to a handsome village maiden, who might have pleased alter her head-dress, which is a very extraordinary the most fastidious courtiers as well as the bump- one; others have remarked, that she wears a kins of Mirefleurs. She was besieged by admir- spreading cap, bearing a resemblance to a mitre, ers, from amongst whom she selected one whom which is the livery of her mission and the charac
As at Riom, he
ter of her authority. Others complain, that she | joying the winter sunbeams. spoils everything instead of doing good, prevents always manages to pick up some anonymous but charities by her rigorous examination of charitable intelligent acquaintance, to enlighten him concernladies, destroys the hospital by endeavoring to reg-ing the gossip of the country, and to father those ulate it, because she sends away those who, to her thinking, are not ill enough, leaving it empty, &c., &c. And it is said, she ought not to meddle so much, examining everything, even to a prison allowance and an executioner's wages; but," concludes the sly abbé-who doubtless concealed a little solemn irony under this long recapitulation of charges and brief acquittal of the accused-" virtue is generous and puts itself above all such murmurs."
Amidst the bustle of judicial proceedings, whilst each day some sanguinary drama was recapitulated before the court, whilst sentences, often of savage severity, were recorded, and executions, for the most part in effigy, were of daily occurrence, time was still found for gayety and amusement. Balls and assemblies went on, encouraged by the President de Novion, in order to do pleasure to his daughters; and all the ladies of quality in the province, as well as those gentlemen who had managed to compound their offences, having established themselves for the time at Clermont, there was no lack of dancers. And the grave members of the tribunal did not disdain to mingle in these terpsichorean gambols. But somehow or other there was always disorder at the assemblies. Decidedly the demon of discord was abroad in Auvergne. "Sometimes the ladies quarrelled, menaced each other, after the manner of provincial dames, with what little credit they chanced to possess, and were on the point of seizing each other by the hair and fighting with their muffs. This disturbed the company, but they managed to appease the disputants; and a few more bourrées and goignades were danced." The bourrée d'Auvergne, now confined to peasants and water-carriers, was at that time a favorite and fashionable dance. "There are very pretty women here," says Madame de Sevigné, writing from Vichy, the 26th May, 1676. Yesterday, they danced the bourrées of the country, which are truly the prettiest in the world. They give themselves a great deal of movement, and dégogne themselves exceedingly. But if at Versailles these dancers were introduced at masquerades, people would be delighted by the novelty, for they even surpass the Bohemiennes." Fléchier was scandalized by this peculiar movement or dégognement, esteemed so captivating by the marchioness. He makes no doubt that these dancers are worthy successors of "the Bacchantes of whom so much is spoken in the books of the ancients. The Bishop of Aleth excommunicates in his diocese those who dance in that fashion. Nevertheless, the practice is so common in Auvergne, that children learn at one time to walk and to dance."
sallies and innuendoes of which he himself is unwilling to assume the responsibility. His account of a visit to the Dominican convent is full of quiet satire. He was accompanied by his friend, Monsieur de B— "a sensible man, well acquainted with the belles lettres, and of very agreeable conversation." M. de B- is made the scapegoat for the sly hits at the abuses of the church, and at the pictures and records of miracles to which they are introduced by a simple and garrulous monk. There were few founders of religious orders, they were informed, of such good family as St. Dominick, who was a grandee of Spain, and consequently far superior to St. Ignatius, whose nobility the Jesuits vaunted, and who, after all, was but a mere gentleman. There were, of course, many pictures of the grandee upon the church and cloister walls, representing him engaged in various pious acts. "In one of them he was depicted presenting a request to the pope, surrounded by his cardinals, while on the same canvass was seen the horse of Troy, dragged by Priam and by the gentlemen and ladies of the town, with all the circumstances related by Virgil in the second book of the Æneid." Fléchier was considerably puzzled by this mixture of sacred and profane personages; but his guide explained its singularity by assigning the picture to a pious and learned monk, as well read in Virgil and Homer as in his breviary, who made a good use of his reading, and was particularly happy in employing it to the glorification of God and the saints. Another picture represented a Dominican holding a pair of scales, in one of which was a basket full of fruit, and in the other an empty basket, with the inscription, Retribuat tibi Deus. The promissory note of the Jacobins was so heavy that it outweighed the laden basket. The guide would have expatiated on the beauty of this allegory, suggested, as he maintained, by a miracle actually wrought in favor of his order, but Fléchier cut him short in his homily, and passed on to the next painting, the representation of one of those "piously impious" legends, as M. Gonod justly styles them, so often met with in monkish chronicles. This one, in which the Saviour of mankind is represented as supping with and converting a beautiful Roman courtesan, shocked the religious feelings of the Abbé Fléchier in the year 1666, although in the year 1832, it was not deemed too irreverent for reproduction in a work entitled "Pouvoir de Marie," written by the notorious Liguori, and published at Clermont Ferrand, by the Catholic Society for pious books. "I could not help telling him," says Fléchier, “that I had seen pictures more devout and touching than this one; that these disguises of Jesus Christ as a gallant, were rather extraordinary; that there are so many other stories more edifying, and perhaps, Here the monk interrupted
Did space permit, we would gladly accompany the abbé on other of the excursions in the environs of Clermont, for which he continually finds excuse truer. in the necessity either of escorting ladies or of en- the abbé, and was about to repeat a whole volume
of miracles, compiled by one of the brotherhood, and brutality as well as vice on the part of the when the vesper bell summoned him to prayer, to higher orders of the province, who appear to have the great relief of Fléchier, who manifestly disap- been deficient in the military virtues and redeemproved as much the profane travesty of holy things,ing qualities sometimes found in outlawed and desas the lying miracles by which the Dominicans perate banditti. We should have had less gratifistrove to attract into their begging-box and larder the contributions of the credulously charitable.
cation in dwelling upon the crimes and excesses narrated in the Mémoires, than we have derived from the consideration of their lighter passages, and of the occasional eccentricities and many admirable qualities of their estimable and reverend author.
Jane Eyre-an Autobiography. Edited by Currer Bell. New York: Harper & Brothers. Boston: Redding & Co.
AN impassioned temperament, a quick and sound intellect, extraordinary strength of nerve, and an the leading characteristics of the heroine of this almost complete and constant presence of mind, are novel. She is zealous and fanciful, yet cool and prudent, impulsive, yet deliberate, foreseeing, yet not calculating. She is moulded from a heap of opposites, but her composition being once admitted, she is consistent in every act and thought. The hero is also another bunch of incongruities, being comes out at the end a most excellent Christian. everything by turns, but nothing long, until he The incidents of the lunatic and the attempted deception of Jane are improbable, while the intellectual hearing of voices a hundred miles off is extravagant if not absurd. More than these the book abounds in twaddling dialogue, and the love-discourses of both hero and heroine are, for the most part, clumsy and silly. But, nevertheless, the book will be read. The leading characters are vividly drawn, after their kind, and the novel contains a deal of strong, hon
We perhaps risk censure by terminating this paper without a more minute consideration of the Grands-Jours themselves, the ostensible subject of Fléchier's book, and without examining in greater detail the nature of the crimes and characters of the culprits brought before the arbitrary tribunal. Although we have shown that a large portion of the Mémoires consists of matters wholly unconnected with the proceedings of the court, it must not be thence inferred that the abbé neglects his reporting duties, and does not frequently apply himself to give long and elaborate accounts of the trials, especially of the criminal ones. Many of these are sufficiently remarkable to merit a place in the pages of the Causes Célébres. Some have actually found their way thither. In Fléchier's narrative their interest is often obscured and diminished by wordiness and digression; and persons interested in the civil or criminal jurisprudence of the period will surely quarrel with the divine, who is a poor lawyer, apt to shirk legal points, or, when he endeavors to unravel them, to make confusion worse confounded. The state of society in Auvergne, in the seventeenth century, is exhibited in a most unfavorable light. We find a brutal and unchivalrous nobility, deficient in every principle of honor, and even of common honesty, un-est writing. One cannot readily leave it, after feeling to their dependents, discourteous to ladies, beginning with the charity school at Brocklehurst, perfidious to each other. Here we behold a no- Miss Temple, and Helen Burns. To be sure, bleman of an ancient name offering his adversary "Jane Eyre" tells too good a story of herself, but, in a duel the choice of two pistols, from one of admitting the truth of her tale, she seems to stand which he has drawn the ball, with a resolution to given well, and these two are sufficient to redeem take his advantage if the loaded weapon is left a much worse book. The author ought to write a him, and to find a pretext for discharging and re-first-rate novel, for he or she (perhaps) is gifted loading the other, should it fall to his share. He with passion, power, will, and fluency of language, gets the loaded pistol, and shoots his man. A but from the present specimen it would seem as if gentleman of rank and quality enforces the droit her forte lay in throwing one strong and intense de nôces, formerly known in Auvergne by a less de-light from one side of her lantern, leaving all surcent name—but language, as Fléchier says, purifies rounding objects in comparative darkness.—Boston
itself even in the most barbarous countries. And certainly there was much of the barbarian in the Auvergnat, even so late as 1666. The odious exaction referred to was compounded by payment of heavy tribute, often amounting to half the bride's dowry. The Baron d'Espinchal was another brilliant specimen of the aristocracy of Auvergne. After committing a series of crimes we have nɔ inclination to detail, he pursued his wife (a daughter of the Marquis of Châteaumorand) with gross insult, even in her convent-sanctuary at Clermont. The unfortunate lady had contracted such a habit of fear, that she could not be in his presence without trembling; and on his putting his hand to his pocket to take out his watch, while separated from her by the grating of the convent parlor, she thought he was about to draw a pistol, and fell fainting from her chair. Numerous traits of this description prove baseness
before us as an old friend. "Rochester" is also
From the Olive Branch.
On the limb of an oak sat a jolly old crow,
I could find it much better I'm sure I'm sure. "I've learned all the tricks of this wonderful man,
Who has such a regard for the crow-the crow,
He tries to entrap me enough-enough;