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rences, the disputes between soldiers and citizens, and questions of debts and of quarrels. He was the Count Thorane, a native of Grasse in Provence, not far from Antibes, a long, thin, grave figure, with a face much disfigured by small pox, black fiery eyes, and a dignified, composed demearour. His very first entrance was favourable for the family. There was some talk of the different rooms, which were, some of them to be given up to him, some to remain for our use; and, as the Count heard a picture-room spoken of, he immediately proposed, that although it was already night, he should at least hastily look at the pictures by candlelight. He took extreme pleasure in these things, behaved most obligingly to my father, who accompanied him; and when he heard that most of the artists were still living, and in Frankfort or its neighbourhood, he said that he wished for nothing more eagerly than to see them as soon as possible, and give them employ
But even this sympathy as to art could not change my father's feelings, nor bend his character. He let happen what he could not prevent, but kept himself in inactivity at a distance; and the extraordinary state of things about him was, even in the smallest trifle, intolerable to him.
Meanwhile the conduct of Count Thorane was exemplary. He would not even have his maps nailed on the walls, for fear of spoiling the new room papers. His people were dexterous, quiet, and orderly; but, in truth, as all day long, and part of the night, there was no quiet near him-one complainant following another, accused persons brought in and led out, and all officers and adjutants admitted; and as, morover, the Count had every day an open dinner-table-thus in the moderate-sized house, planned only for a family, and having but one open staircase running from top to bottomthere was a perpetual movement and buzz as if in a beehive, though all was temperately, gravely, and severely managed.
As mediator between a master of the house, daily more and more a prey to melancholy self-torment, and a friendly but very grave and precise military guest, there
happily a smooth interpreter, a handsome, corpulent, cheerful man, who was
a citizen of Frankfort, and spokе good French, could adapt himself to every thing, and only made a jest of many small annoyances. Through him my mother had sent a representation to the Count, of the situation she was placed in owing to her husband's temper. He had so judiciously explained the matter, laying before him the new house, not even completely arranged, the natural reserve of the owner, his employment in the education of his children, and whatever else could be thought of to the same purport, that the Count, who in his official post took the highest pride in the utmost justice, disinterestedness, and honourable conduct, resolved also to play an exemplary part with reference to those on whom he was quartered; and in fact did so without failure, during the varying circumstances of the years in which he remained with us.
My mother had some knowledge of Italian, a language not altogether strange to any of the family. She therefore determined to learn French also, as soon as possible, for which purpose she employed the interpreter. She had lately, in the midst of these stormy events, stood godmother for a child of his, and this connexion doubled his regard for us; so that he willingly devoted to his child's godmother every leisure moment-for he lived just oppositeand, above all, he taught her those phrases which she would herself have to use to the Count. This answered perfectly. The Count was flattered by the pains which, at her years, the mistress of the house took; and as he had a vein of cheerful pleasantry in his character, and even liked to display a certain dry gallantry, there arose the most friendly relation between the two; and the godmother and father who had contrived it, could gain whatever they wanted from our guest.
Had it been possible, as I said before, to conciliate my father, this altered state of things would have had little inconvenience. The Count prac tised the severest disinterestedness. He even refused presents which belonged properly to his situation. Any thing, however trifling, that could have borne the appearance of a bribe was rejected. with anger, even with punishment. His people were most severely forbidden
to put the landlord of the house to the smallest expense. On the other hand,
we children were sumptuously supplied from the dessert. On this opportunity, I may give a notion of the simplicity of those times, by mentioning that my mother one day distressed us extremely, by throwing away the ices which had been sent us from the table, because she fancied it impossible that the stomach should bear a real ice however sweetened.
Besides these dainties, which we gradually learned to enjoy and digest extremely well, it also seemed to us children a great pleasure to be in a measure released from fixed hours of lessons, and from severe discipline. My father's ill-humour increased; he could not resign himself to the inevitable. How did he torment himself, my mother, and her friend the interpreter, the counsellors, and all his friends, only to get rid of the Count! In vain was it represented to him that the presence of such a man in the house, under the actual circumstances, was a real benefit; that a perpetual succession either of officers or privates would follow on the removal of the Count. None of these arguments would hit him. The present seemed to him so intolerable, that his vexation prevented him conceiving any thing worse which might follow.
In this way was his activity restrained which he had been used to employ on us. The tasks which he set us he now no longer required with his former exactness, and we tried in all possible ways to gratify our curiosity for military and other public proceedings, not only at home but also in the streets, which was easily accomplished, as the house-door, open day and night, was guarded by sentries who did not trouble themselves about the running in and out of restless children.
The many affairs which were settled before the tribunal of the King's lieutenant, gained a special charm from his peculiar care to accompany his decisions with some witty, sharp, and pleasant turn. What he decreed was severely just; his mode of expressing it was whimsical and poignant. He seemed to have taken the Duke of Ossuna* as his model. There passed
hardly a day in which the interpreter did not relate some anecdote or other of the kind to entertain us and my mother. This lively man had made for himself a little collection of such Solomonian decisions. But I remember only the general impression, and cannot recall any one case in particular.
Time made the strange character of the Count more and more intelligible. This man had the clearest consciousness of himself and his own peculiarities; and as there were certain times when a kind of ill-humour, hypochon dria, or whatever may be the name of the evil demon, seized him, therefore at such hours, which often prolonged themselves to days, he retired into his chamber, saw no one but his servant, and even in urgent cases could not be prevailed on to receive any one. But as soon as the evil spirit had left him, he appeared, as before, mild, cheerful, and active. From the talk of his servant, Saint Jean, a small, lean man, of lively good nature, it might be inferred that, in earlier years, when overpowered by this temper, he had caused some great misfortune; and that, therefore, in so important a post as his, and exposed to the eyes of all the world, he was rigidly determined in avoiding the like errors.
In the very first days of the Count's residence, all the Frankfort artists, as Hirt, Schütz, Trautmann, Nothnagel, Junker, were sent for to him. They showed him the pictures they had ready, and the Count purchased what was for sale.
My pretty light end-room in the attic was given up to him, and was immediately turned into a cabinet and painting-room; for he designed to employ, for a considerable time, all the artists, but especially Seekaz of Darmstadt, whose pencil highly delighted him by its natural and simple representations. He therefore had an account sent from Grasse, where his elder brother had a handsome house, of the dimensions of all the rooms and cabinets, considered with the artists the proper divisions of the walls, and determined accordingly the sizes of the large oil-pictures, which were not to be placed in frames, but to be fixed on the walls, like the pieces of room
*See St Réal-Conspiration de Venise. Tr.
XO, CCXCI. VOL. XLVII.
he had a little, fat, good, but disagreeable-looking wife, who would let him have no model but herself, he could produce nothing attractive in this way. Moreover, he had been compelled to exceed the usual size of his figures. His trees had truth, but an over-minute kind of foliage. He was a pupil of Brintmann, whose pencil in easelpictures is not contemptible.
Schütz, the landscape painter, was perhaps most at home in the undertaking. He was thoroughly master of the Rhine country, and of the sunny tone which animates it in the fine season of the year. He was not altogether unpractised in working on a larger scale, in which he showed no defect of execution or harmony. He produced very pleasing pictures.
Trautmann Rembrandtized some resuscitation miracles of the New Testament, and, along with them, set fire to villages and mills on canvass. He, as
I found from the sketches of the rooms, had a cabinet entirely allotted to him. Hirt painted some good oak and beech forests. His cattle were praiseworthy. Junker, being accustomed to imitate the most laboured of the Dutch, could least of all manage this furniture style. Yet he prevailed on himself to ornament many compartments with flowers and fruits, in return for ample pay
As I had known all these men from my earliest youth up, and had often visited them in their painting-roomsand as the Count also willingly had me with him—I was present at the suggestions, consultations, orderings, as well as at the deliveries of the pictures, and safely ventured, especially when sketches and designs were presented, to offer my opinion. I had already obtained among amateursbut particularly at auctions, which I diligently attended the renown of knowing immediately what any historical picture represented, whether taken from Biblical or profane history, or from mythology; and even if I did not always hit the meaning of allegorical pictures, yet there was sel
dom any one present who understood it better than I. Thus I had often persuaded the artists to represent this or that object, and I now most gladly made use of my actual opportunities. I still remember that I composed a detailed essay, in which I described twelve pictures, which were to exhi bit the story of Joseph. Some of them were executed.
After these proceedings, that for a boy were certainly praiseworthy, I shall also mention a little disgrace which happened to me within this circle of artists. I was familiar with all the pictures which had been gra dually brought into that room. My youthful curiosity left nothing unseen or unexamined. Once I found, be hind the stove, a black little box. I did not fail to pry into its contents, and, without much deliberation, I drew back the bolt. The picture within was indeed of a kind not commonly displayed to the eyes, and, although I began to bolt it up again immediately, I could not do this fast enough. The Count entered and caught me. "Who gave you leave to open this box?" said he, with his air of King's lieutenant. I had no very ready answer, and he instantly decreed my punishment with much severity: "For eight days you shall not enter this room." I made a bow, and went out: and most accurately did I obey the command, so as much to vex the good Seekaz, who used to work in the very room -for he liked me to be with him; and, out of a little spite, I carried my obedience so far, that I left on the threshold Seekaz's coffee, which I usually took to him. Thus he was obliged to leave his work and fetch it, which he took so ill that he grew almost to dislike me.
It must now seem necessary to state more clearly, and make intelligible, how in such cases I made my way through, more or less easily, with French, which, however, I had not learned. In this, also, I found the use of my natural gift, by which I could readily catch the sound of a language, the rhythm, the accent, the tone, and all its outward peculiarities. I knew many Latin words; Italian suggested still more, and so in a short time I picked up so much by listening to servants and soldiers, sentries and visiters, that, if unable to mix in conversation, I could yet manage some questions and answers. All this,
however, was little compared with the profit which I derived from the theatre. I had received from my grandfather a free ticket, which, in spite of my father's reluctance, and by dint of my mother's support, I made use of daily. Thus I sat now in the pit, before a foreign stage, and kept the sharper watch on the movement, and the expressiveness of gesture and speech, because I understood little or nothing of what was said, and could derive my entertainment only from the action and tone of voice. I understood least of the comedy, because it was spoken quickly, and related to matters of common life, of the phrases of which I knew nothing. Tragedy was not so often played, and the measured step, the mechanical rhythm of the Alexandrines, the generality of the expression, made it every way more in=telligible to me. So it was not long before I took up Racine, which I found in my father's library, and declaimed the pieces to myself in the stage manner, as the organ of my ear, and my organ of speech, so closely allied to that, had caught it; and this I did with great animation, before I could = understand any one speech from beginning to end. Nay, I learned whole passages by rote, and recited them like a trained speaking-bird; which was the easier to me, because I had previously learned by rote passages of the Bible, which are mostly unintelligible to a child, and had accustomed myself to recite them in the tone of the Protestant preachers. The versified French comedy was, therefore, a great favourite. The pieces of Destouches, Marivaux, La Chaupée, were often produced, and I still remember distinctly many characteristic figures. Of those of Molière I recollect less. That which made the greatest impression on me was the Hypermenstra of Lemière, which, as a new piece, was performed with care, and often repeated. The impression which the Devin du Village, Rose and Colas, Annette and Lubin made on me, was very agreeable. I can even now recall the youths and girls, the ribands they were covered with, and the gestures they used. Before long, the wish arose in me to examine the theatre itself, for doing which abundant occasion offered; for, as I had not always patience to hear out the whole piece, and often amused myself among children of my
own age, with many pranks in the corridors, and even, in the mild season, before the door, a handsome lively boy joined us, who belonged to the theatre, and whom I had seen in many little parts, though only casually. He could come best to an understanding with me, as I could use with him what I knew of French; and he sought me the more, because there was no boy of his age and nation in the theatre, or any where in the neigh bourhood.
We kept each other company at other times as well as during the play; and even while the representation went on, he seldom left me alone. He was a most delightful young braggart, prated charmingly and without ceasing, and had so much to tell of his adventures, quarrels, and other wonders, that he gave me extraordinary amusement. In four weeks I gained from him more of the language, and the art of communicating in it, than could have been imagined; so that no one knew how at once, and as if by inspiration, I had learned the foreign tongue.
In the very earliest days of our acquaintance he drew me with him to the theatre, and took me specially to the green-room, where the actors and actresses remained in the intervals of their performance, and dressed and undressed themselves. The place was neither pleasant nor convenient; for the theatre had been crammed into a concert-room, so that there were no separate rooms behind the stage for the actors. A moderately-sized sideroom, which had formerly served for card parties, was now mostly occupied in common by both sexes, who appeared as little bashful before each other as before us children, when in putting on, or changing any part of the dress, there was some little infringement of decency. I had never seen any thing of the kind; yet from habit, on repeated visits, I soon learned to regard it as quite natural.
Before long, however, a private and peculiar interest of my own sprang up. The young Derones-for so I will name the boy with whom I continued to keep up my connexion-was, except as to his boasting, a boy of good morals and very agreeable demeanour. He introduced me to his sister, who was a couple of years older than me, and a most pleasing girl, well grown, of regular shape, brown complexion, and
black hair and eyes. Her whole demeanour had something quiet, even sad. I tried in every way to please her; but I could not win her notice. Young girls think themselves very far advanced beyond younger boys; and, fixing their attention on grown-up young men, behave like aunts towards a boy whose first inclination is directed to them. There was a younger brother with whom I had no inter
Often, when the mother was at rehearsals, or in society, we came together in her house, in order to play or amuse ourselves. I never went there without giving the fair one a flower, a fruit, or something else, which, indeed, she always received with much courtesy, and thanked me most graciously. But I never saw her melancholy look brighten, and found no sign that she ever gave me any further thought. At last I fancied that I had discovered her secret. The boy showed me behind his mother's bed, which was ornamented with elegant silk curtains, a crayon drawing, the portrait of a handsome man; and he remarked at the same time, with a sly look, he is not exactly papa, but all the same thing. While he praised this man, and related many things in his circumstantial and boastful manner, I thought I made out that the daughter probably belonged to the father, and the two other children to the friend. Thus I now explained to myself her melancholy look, and only loved her for it the more.
My liking for this girl helped me to put up with the extravagances of her brother, who did not always keep within bounds. I had often to endure the prolix narration of his exploits, the many duels he had fought, yet without choosing to hurt the other -all for the mere sake of honour. He had always been able to disarm his antagonist, and had then forgiven him. Nay, he was such a master of fencing, that he had been once himself in great difficulty from striking the sword of his opponent up into a high tree, so that it was hard to fetch it down again.
It much facilitated my visits to the theatre, that my free ticket, being from the hands of the chief magistrate, gave me admission to any of the seats, and therefore, also, to those in the proscenium. This, in the French fashion, was very deep, and enclosed on each side
with seats, which, being surrounded by a low rail, ascended in several rows behind each other, so that the lowest were raised but a little above the stage. The whole was regarded as a place of special honour, and in general only officers made use of it; although the nearness of the actors destroyed, I will not say all illusion, but even in a measure all enjoyment. Thus I had myself experienced, and seen with my own eyes, that usage or abuse which Voltaire so much complains of. When in a very full house, for instance if troops were passing through, distinguished officers strove for those privileged seats, which were nevertheless generally occupied before; then some rows of benches and chairs were added in the proscenium on the stage itself, and nothing remained for the heroes and heroines but to disclose their secrets in the very limited space which was left between the uniforms and orders. I have seen even the Hypermnestra itself played in this way.
The curtain did not fall between the acts; and I still remember an odd custom, which I could not but think very extraordinary, as its inconsistency with art seemed to an honest German boy like me altogether insupportable. For the theatre was considered as a high sanctuary, and any disturbance occurring there, would have required to be immediately punished as the worst of offences against the majesty of the public. Two grenadiers, with their muskets grounded, stood therefore, in all comedies, quite in view at each side of the flat scene, and were witnesses of all that went on in the bosom of the family. Because, as I said before, the curtain was not dropped between the acts, therefore, when the music struck up, two others relieved guard by coming from the side scenes right before those others, who then in the same orderly way retired. Now, if such a practice was exactly fitted to destroy whatever in a theatre is called illusion--this is the more striking, be. cause it was done at a time when, according to Diderot's principles and example, the most natural of naturalness was required on the stage, and a perfect deception was proposed as the proper aim of scenic art. Tragedy, however, was freed from this regulation of military police, and the heroes of antiquity had the right of guarding themselves. The same grenadiers,