« 上一頁繼續 »
encouragement. It will be no reasonable | Constant; and having been in England subject of surprise, therefore, that with the in early life he speaks English like a united addresses of the young man himself, native. I must confess that I wish you to added to the persuasions of my father, I give him something beyond an ordinary became tenderly attached to Constant, al- welcome; I wish you to do this from remost before I knew the very nature of the spect to my wife.' sentiment. Constant, in the intervals of leave of absence, had improved this affection; he was naturally, as it were, formed for a lover; ardent, extravagant, and with that mixture of romantic absurdity which in a man of acknowledged sense is all powerful with the women. I will not weary you by unnecessary circumstances; to cut the matter short, therefore, when Constant returned to my father's house ou the conclusion of the American war, I loved him as affectionately as was consistent with modesty; Constant was equally enamoured upon his part, and the neighbourhood were in impatient expectation that our wedding would revive the en:e: tainments and hospitalities which had been lately given on account of my father's marriage.
"I need not observe to you, Madam, that the highest point of happiness is naturally too adjacent to the lowest depth of misery; that the one is, as it were, but too frequently a precipice, upon gaining the summit of which we almost necessarily fall into the other. Alas! how soon was this verified with respect to me and Constant.
"With these words my father led us to
"His disposition, his gaiety, his apparent goodness of intention, rendered him our inseparable companion; and the Commodore, my father, became as attached to him as Constant and myself. Indeed I know not how it was that he grew so in
I am now speaking), under these circum-sensibly into our general esteem and af
fection, that even when an occurrence took place, which should totally have changed my opinion, it seemed as it were to lose its very nature, and what would have been a crime and a breach of hospi tality in another, seemed in the Count but an act of thoughtless gaiety, an imprudence resulting from the carelessness, or the softness of his nature.
"Constaut and myself had one day been walking in my father's park, and as the day of our union was now fixed to take place on my father's birth-day (an interval of about a month from the time of which
"His manners corresponded with the elegance of his personal figure. He had been brought up at the old court of France under the Duke de Choiseul, and having recommended himself to the sovereign ard the minister, bad been successively made Colonel of a regiment at twenty-five, and a peer of France at thirty. Some part indeed of his speedy advancement had been imputed to the favour of the Queen, and this favour itself was in no inconsiderable degree attributed to his handsome person and his elegant manners. Be this as it may, he was sent on a special commission to the court of the Empress of Russia, and thence, as it was supposed in progress of the same affair, to England.-Such was the cause of his arrival amongst us.
stances, I say, we were settling the future
"That I may not weary you, Madam, I will endeavour to abridge my narrative. even at the expence of perspicuity; suf fice it therefore to say, that a short period after the arrival of the Count had elapsed, before I thought I discovered something particular in his attentions to myself.
Women are generally very quick sighted in these affairs; and let me confess, that from the natural vanity of women I was not displeased with my conquest. I did not indeed forget at I was, as it were, betrothed to Constant, and I certainly loved Constant beyond every other in the world; but I flattered myself with the common delusion, that the addresses of the Count could certainly have no effect against my will; that they were therefore a mere harmless gratification; that conquest and lovers belonged to every woman of natural right, and that nothing was so easy as to rid myself of them whenever they exceed ed certain bounds. Whilst I am unmarried, said 1, what should prevent me from enjoying the attentions of the Count, from receiving the natural homage of my beauty, from becoming the envy of women, which I need not tell you, Madam, constitutes the main triumph of the coquette. "Under these impressions, I certainly did not treat the levity of the Count with that severity which might have repelied and terminated his pursuit. The Count, like most of his sex perhaps, construing this passiveness into encouragement, resolved that I should no longer be in any doubt as to the nature and extent of his pretensions. An opportunity soon offered. Constant, the Count, and myself, were one day walk-could no: Jake offence.' ing in the fields, and at some distance from my father's house, when there was every appearance of a storm. It was agreed that Constant should run to the house to procure an umbrella, whilst the Count should remain with me under the shelter of an adjacent tree. Constant bad left me but a very few minutes, when the cloud pass ing over, the Count and myself agreed to extend our walk in the expectation that Constant would follow us in the same direction. The expected shower, however, overtook us, and we were compelled to turn out of our former path, which was through an open field, and to run for shelter into a bye lane which lay in a cross direction. Whether the act of sheltering me, as it were, in his arms, or the mere favourableness of the opportunity, encouraged a more than usual freedom, I know not; suffice it to say, that from mere complimentary levity he quickly passed into a serious explanation, and terminated
by an unequivocal and ardent declaration of his love. Do not reject me,' said he, in the first impulse of your indignation. I know your situation, and I respect the rights of Constant, I follow the guidance of my passion in opposition to my understanding. Assist me, sweetest girl, to conquer myself; consider my love as a disease; endure its extravagancies till your gentle admonition and consolatory friendship can gradually cure it. Indeed, my lovely girl, I am no profligate; I am unfortunate and deserve your pity.'
"Is this the return,' exclaimed I, for the hospitalities of my father and the friendship of Constant? and can you pretend to excuse it by necessity?'
"As to your father,' continued he, 'I am not insensible that his hospitality deserves a better return, and under these impressions I have day after day signified my intention of leaving him; you know that your father would not permit it, and, to confess the truth, I fear that my honour dictated more than my love could have obeyed. I have this consolation, however, that I have not abused the kindness of your father. My love for you has been the incidental and not the intended consequence of my reception at your father's; if your father himself were now to hear me, be
"Have you any objection, then,' resumed I, 'that I should inform my father and Constant that you made this declaration.'
"Lovely Alicia,' said he, consult your own understanding; you cannot suppose that I am a man who fear another; but there is one thing I should fear, I should fear to give you pain; I would wish to avoid every thing which by any possibility could give a moment's uneasiness to one whom, in despite of honour and conscience, I so tenderly love. If you inform Constant of what has occurred, Constant like myself is a military officer; I need not speak more fully.'
"You have made me very unhappy,' rejoined I. What am I to do? Am I to. be exposed to the same daily declarations
“No, Madam,' said he, 'command any thing and you shall be obeyed. I ask nothing of you but that degree of pity and compassionate friendship which by south
ing my passion in the beginning will gradually enable me to overcome it; I ask your assistance against myself; I implore you to act as ny guardian genius.'
"In this part of our conversation we were joined by Constant. Had he possessed any previous suspicions, there was enough in the appearance of both of us to have confirmed them. For my own part, the Count had perfectly confounded me, and I had not enough collected my faculties to determine what I should do. As to the Count, approaching Coustant,- Confess,' said he, that you English lovers are either very confident of yourselves, or of your mistresses; you have left me long enough with your mistress to have made a declaration of love to her.'
"I consider my mistress,' said Constant, • as a sailor who is one of my crew. If they can be tempted to desert, I think that by their desertion I lose nothing but what was not worth keeping; I should wish neither mistress nor sailor any longer than they are volunteers'
"When I returned to my apartment, and had passed over in my mind the conversation of the Count, I deemed it my duty immediately to inform my mother of it.
expected that she would of course instruct me what farther proceeding to take. What was my astonishment when, after having heard me with a smile, and rallied my own seriousness, she replied as follows:- You must not wonder, my dear, that I do not think so gravely of these things as you; what you consider as a miracle, occurs every day in life. You ought to have too good an opinion of your own beauty to feel any surprise that the Count is amongst your admirers. And as to the rights of
your lover, why, the admiration of those who behold her charms is the natural right of every unmarried woman. You will not deny that such admiration has its pleasures. And why should you deprive yourself of that pleasure under the idea of an imagin |ary injury to Constant. You see that the Count is any thing but a profligate and a libertine. Take my advice; hear him, and amuse yourself with him, but hear bim with indifference; let his love evaporate in verbal declarations. Do not make any thing serious of what is in itself a mere gaieté du cœur. You may do much mischief and can do no good. It is surely always within your own power to confine the Count within proper bounds; to answer his seriousness by levity, and repress his levity by the awe which always hangs upon modesty. Believe me, my dear, these men are never terrible as long as we are careful to hold the reins. If nature has given them the powers of flattery, she has given us those of coquetry. Assert your privileges, and fear nothing.'
Behold me, Madam, the dupe of this insidious advice. It flattered my vanity, and I left the apartment of my mother with a resolution to suffer the Count to proceed as he might choose, and to trust to my own discretion for repressing and repelling him.
"In my next, I will proceed to inform you of the very fatal consequences which followed from this imprudence, consequences which have plunged me and others into almost hopeless misery.-For the present, I am, Madam, Your's 1
FASHIONABLE WORLD AT ST. PETERSBURGII.
ON THE PRESENT HANNERS, MODE OF LIVING, AND AMUSEMENTS OF THE RUSSIAN
A cuarosty very naturally attaches | years since, the grand tour, or the fashionto the present state of manners in foreign able foreign progress, comprehended only nations, and this curiosity increases in pro- France, Italy, and Switzerland, and if any portion to the probable expectation that one trespassed into Germany, he was conthe time may arrive, when we may become sidered as having lost his way. The French spectators of what we now only read. Some revolution has changed this line,aud Russia
when the war breaking out necessarily suspended all intercourse. It has been well observed, however, that the hostility of Russia to England is so little natural that it cannot be expected to continue long. Under this idea, every one who is in a station of life which may enable him to travel abroad, very naturally thinks of Petersburgh, and there are more than one projected party on foot against the expected recommencement of the relations of peace and amity.
was rapidly coming into gene al fashion, || importunes, the lady is coy; the gentleman urges, the lady softens; the gentleman begins dancing, the lady after some reluctance gives him her hand, and the dance begins. It resembles, as will be seen, very strongly the Spanish fandango, but has more modesty, though equal expression. It is invariably the favourite dance at all entertainments. Another characteristic amusement amongst the Russians is the bathing-house. The bath is as national and universal in Russia as it was formerly in Greece and Rome, and is at present in Turkey. The Russians of all classes frequent the baths as if they were playhouses, These baths are usually situated by the side of the rivers or canals, and are all of them open to both sexes. The greater part of them are vapour-baths, the bath-room having a large vaulted oven, which is so strongly heated that the field stones which form the upper part of it are glowing hot. For augmenting this heat, water is sprinkled on these stones, by which means the room is immediately filled with vapour. Round the walls are benches and scaffolds, by which every person may ascend, or descend into what degree of heat he may prefer. The bathers sit or lie in this hot vapour until they are covered with a perspiration, which falls from them like rain. From time to time, they stand up in tubs, and have buckets of hot and cold water poured over them. In summer they run out of the bath, men and women indiscriminately, and plunge into the adjoining river, or if it be winter, will roll themselves in the snow.
The cold baths are nothing but parts of the river assigned for any one who choses to avail himself of it. In Moscow the foreign traveller has a curious, and not a very decent spectacle, men and women bathe indiscriminately, and all in a state of perfect nudity. No one seems to dream that there is any indecency in this practice; women of all classes practise it. In Petersburgh, the Empress forbade it, but in Moscow it is still retained, and even considered as one of the best privileges of the city.
The following sketch of the present state of the manners and amusements of the Russians is intended for such of our fashionable readers as may have conceived such a purpose. We have endeavoured to render it as full as possible, or in other words, to render it a complete tableau of the present condition of the Russian peasantry, gentry, and nobility, with respect to their social life
The Russians have nothing in common with the Germans; they are active, cheerful, and fond of pleasure; gaiety is as characteristic of a Russian as of a Frenchman; he is to the full as thoughtless and as volatile.
A Russian neither walks, rides, and scarcely can remain in his seat a moment without singing. Every labour has its appropriate tune, and in the burthen of his song he seems to forget the load of his fatigue. It is therefore a customary recreation of the higher ranks in Petersburgh to take with them into their boats, on their parties of pleasure, a band of good singers, who may sing to them the popular Russian airs. In summer the Neva is covered with boats which are full of these singers, and nothing can be more delightful than a walk on the Quay, to listen to this music as sweet as it is simple. The Russian popular music has a very strong resemblance to the Scotch.
The Russians are equally fond of the dance: they have a particular dance amongst them, which they distinguish by the name of the dove dance, and which in fact is the natural dance of the country. It is performed by one couple, who stand facing each other, at some distance, and act through all its parts the drama of making love to each other. The gentleman No. XLIV. Vol. VI.
The common Russians are as fond of boxing and wrestling as the common English, but they have not their fashionable boxers as in England. A Russian nobleman would P
still think himself disgraced by bringing
Another amusement with the Russians is the swing. In order to understand this diversion, it is necessary to understand the mechanism of the swings in use. They are
of three kinds, some have a vibrating mo-burgh, their carriages, horses, &c. are not unfrequently supported on the bosom of the Neva, in a place where perhaps a few weeks previously large ships were sailing. If the mildness of the season, however, be such as to cause any apprehensions that the river could not stand this pressure, precautions are taken by the police to prevent accidents.'
The public amusements of the higher classes of St. Petersburgh differ very considerably from those of other countries. The establishments for public amusement are neither in number nor in sumptuousness proportionate to the wealth and popu lation of Petersburgh. The reason of this is in the prevailing fashion, which is not in favour of an intermixture of the different classes of society. Here, in fact, is the main characteristic of Petersburgh as a metropolis. In London and Paris entertainments are fashionable in proportion as they are crowded; there is an intermix. ture even to confusion of all classes; every one may go and does go who can pay the price of admission. In Russia every thing is the reverse; what is called good company, is confined in family parties, circles of acquaintance, clubs, &c. to which a traveller cannot obtain admission without great difficulty, and which being without intermixture, and generally with a very high opinion of themselves, are formal, stately, and unentertaining. It is even deemed unbecoming to visit public places; ladies scarcely ever enter a play house. In a word, the fashion is against them.
As a substitute for theatres, therefore, the Russian fashionable world have instituted clubs. These are usually close and select circles, and have the usual append. ages of such; an empty pride and unmeaning and artificial formality. The three principal clubs at present existing are the English club, the Noble club, and the Burghers club.
The English club is the first in the rank
tion, others are turned round in a perpendicular, and others in an horizontal direction. The first of them consists of two high posts, on the top of which rests an axle having two pair of poles fixed in its centre. Each of these pair of poles has at its two extremities a seat suspended to a moveable axis. The proprietor, by turning the axis that rests on two posts, makes -all the eight seats go round in a perpen dicular circle, so that they alternately almost touch the ground, and then are -mounted aloft in the air. The last kind is composed of chairs, chariots, sledges, wooden horses, swans, goats, &c. fastened at the extremity of long poles, and forced rapidly round in an horizontal circle. In the Easter holidays all kinds of machines are set up in the public squares, and the towns are one uniform scene of motion and pleasure. The nobility sometimes actually mix in these diversions, at others they drive round the scene in their splendid coaches, and altogether render the tout ensemble a most brilliant and picturesque spectacle.
But the main diversion of the Russians of all classes is the ice-hill, This amusement can necessarily take place only in the winter, when the Neva is frozen over, The ice-hill is then thus constructed. It is composed of a scaffold of large timbers, about six fathoms in height, having steps on one side for ascending it, and on the other a steep inclined plane, formed of large blocks of ice laid together and consolidated by pouring water over them till the whole has frozen together. Along this plain the men descend as well as the women, in little low sledges with the most astonishing rapidity, and by the momentum required in the descent are impelled to a great distance along a large field of ice carefully swept clear of snow for that purpose, which brings them to a second hill, on which they mount, and return as before. The
Neva is covered with carriages in which the nobility and gentry are spectators, and not unfrequently actors in these sports. Booths are erected on every part of the river; the whole, during the winter, has a strong resemblance to an English fair, only that it is continued from day to day through the whole season. All the population of Peters