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Within a week after this brilliant close of his career, the rival of Voltaire, if he had one, Rousseau, who had scarcely completed his 66th year, terminated, on the 3d of June, an existence, the burden of which he was suspected of having voluntarily thrown off. These two spectacles thus brought together, seemed emblematical of what was wanting in the philosophy of these two great writers. The one, passionately fond of eclat, of the world, and the theatre, even to extreme old age, had hastened his death by declaring the verses of his last tragedy more feeble even than Irene. The other, solitary, savage, with his reason disordered, with a genius still full of vigour, perhaps committed suicide, or died consumed by anxiety without a cause, and pride that knew no bounds.
Thus disappeared the two most influential personages of the 18th century; or rather their death displayed more clearly the influence of their opinions, and the strength of the impression which they left behind them. We cannot admit, in this respect, the terms of the parallel, such as they have been laid down. We are no believers in the providential contrast which Bernardin de St Pierre supposes, and which makes him see in Voltaire and Rousseau, the embodied representations of the evil and the good genius of the time. For each of them in turn has had his share in this double part, and this share, more or less equally distributed, is found in all the history of our present society.
The action of these two men on the opinion of society, however, was in some respects as different as the nature of their genius. Voltaire had more influence on common opinion; Rousseau on characters and talents. Voltaire had no pupils of any originality; he trained up no men of superior ability; he had no disciples but France, of which he was the organ, and Europe, which he dazzled with the ideas of France. By that sceptical irony, and that zeal for humanity, independence, and political well-being, which he found or excited in his time, he has, more than any one else, prepared the spirit of our own, and the singular contrast of our ideas and our manners. His admirable judgment, which one passion only had distorted upon the most important point of the social problem, still constitutes the
basis of opinion in France, and is dominant even over those by whom his name is rejected.
Rousseau has exercised a less durable influence over men's minds. Except during those times of social crisis, when his doctrines were commented on by inflamed passions, he has remained in the class of speculative writers, and of writers who are eloquent without the power of persuasion. Though he has bequeathed a legacy of expressions to our political writers, and even of forms to our institutions, his theories have lost their absolute hold over the mind: after having convulsed the political world, he continued to retain an influence only over a literary school, which, however, it is true, exercises in turn some influence on society. But at the commencement of the Revolution, his double influence inspired by turns St Pierre and Mirabeau-the man of contemplation and the tribune of the people-the elegant painter of nature, and the impetuous orator armed with genius and indignation. And soon after, amidst the social chaos which followed, it animated the wandering studies of a youthful French officer (Chateaubriand), thrown first amidst the savages of Louisiana, then back from the desert into the camp of civil war, and thence into the melancholy isolation of a great foreign city; it nourished, with mingled sorrow and hope, this fugitive then unknown, and sustained him by the example of what genius can do against obscurity and misfortune.
The influence of Rousseau is not less decidedly marked in the works of the great English poet of our age. But while strengthening, in Byron, that hatred against society which is never the judgment pronounced by the virtuous or the wise, it contracts in him a still more fatal alliance with scepticism. Hence that poetry, melancholy and yet sensual, bitter without being serious, borrowing the richest colours from the spectacle of nature, kindling into enthusiasm at the physical beauties of the world, but never carrying into them that moral emotion which should constitute their greatness and their life. The genius of
Rousseau has not had a less share in the production of the poetical egotism of the painter of Childe Harold and Lara, than that of Voltaire has had on the philosophical education of the painter of Don Juan.
HAVING shown our number, the boxkeeper smiles (we soon see why), and bidding us follow, stops in front of a long receding box, which she opens stealthily, and in a twinkling we find ourselves keyed in with a double row of male and female occupants. It is a party evidently unprepared for our reception: accordingly, tawny and black moustache are seen to rise vindictively at our blameless intrusion; and even the ladies, whose eyes are yet red with the pathos of a double adultery and an incidental parricide, on which the curtain fell a minute ago, scan our altitude reproachfully. We had got into the wrong box indeed; but it is too late to retreat, for the next piece is commencing, and the orchestra is no longer empty; already are some of the purveyors of noise in their places, and at work. What a pandemonium of sounds to drive one mad, is an orchestra getting itself into tune! There they go-scrape, scrape; tweedle, tweedle; grumble, grumble; tootle, tootle! Such a diapason of discord as only one other place on earth can be found to match, that place, reader, being the long ward of sick dogs in the hospital of Alfort. I wonder when those two brown bassoons will understand each other! Look at those fellows, cheek by cheek, spitting alternately into the side holes of hollow cylinders, which distil water at their nether end! Here a thorough bass, grumbling minor discords into subjection; there a clarionet modulates something between wind and cat, gut; there an incorrigible melodist sits teaching his horn its horn-book, while half a score of fiddlers, barnacled and without barnacles, are twisting and screwing, lowering or tightening the elastic fibre. All this dreadful note of preparation finds an end at last, and the leader of the band, who is to “ride in the whirlwind and direct the storm," stands erect! Hush! he points his chin at the central stage lamp, and after a hawk-like glance to his myrmidons, right and left, and
with the proud bearing of one who feels his own importance, gives the sign, and the first broadside strikes the receding curtain! A pause; crash the second! A second silence, and then-why then?without any apparent motive, a frisky transition from adagio to jig, followed by a love dialogue between flute and clarionet. By degrees, and still you know not why, other instruments have something to say in the conversation, which waxes general, not to say disputatious. The smothered note of a lethargic bassoon, heard fitfully, makes you, indeed, for the moment, fear a new storm; but he lies down again, till a sudden swell of all the instruments chafes him into the decided growl of a chained mastiff ;-in short, each by turns wishes to make an umpire of the public, and solicit a private hearing, but luckily the wind instruments must pause to take breath, and the fiddles are left in undisputed possession. Bravo, fiddles!—and now for those long and majestic sweeps of persuasive horse-hair, riding in triumph over the back of the purring cat-gut! Soothed by the lengthened melody, you would gladly close your eyes in submission if not in satisfaction; but this the Composer, the Maestro, wills not. Your thought is dislocated by the animating waltz; the eye can no longer discern the rapid evolutions of flying fingers, nor the ear the sounds; when fairly dazzled, deafened, and done up, three more crashes, with their conclusive bangs, fortunately announce the overture at an end, and up goes the curtain. We glance from our play-bill, which says "Mariage de Raison," to the boards. A coquettishly dressed young lady sits em broidering; as soon as the curtain has cleared the plane of the last tier of boxes, she puts down her work, dove-tails her fingers, deposits the double phalanges of her white hands on her apron, and begins to tell you of her youth, her inexperience, and her innocence (topics on which they are
always communicative-ces dames ci, and never veracious). Presently a young gentleman comes out of a side door, at which he surprises sua innocenza listening! Suzette and he are thus found (we suspect, not for the first time, though so they instruct the pit) publicly. Presently she falls to talking again about her innocence, when" le cher Monsieur Edouard" insinuates a liberal proposal to take the incumbrance off her hands at her own price-an offer which she very decidedly declines in a song, partly addressed to the polisson in question, and partly to the pit,-which, or whom, it now seems our Suzette intends to make her confidant throughout. But the young Moustache is a soldier ; the song has no other effect than that of causing him to attempt familiarities, which compel her once more to remind him of her virtue. More empressement on the part of M. Edouard, who appears quite incorrigible-his arm is round her waist-a stage resistance follows selon les regles; in vain she invites him to be reasonable; he upturns his head, and swears by the gods (in the gallery) that But hark-at this new, touching, and unexpected proof of his devotion, the lady breathing at the rate of forty inspirations per minute, and putting, we must think, to rather an unfair trial the laces of her corsets elastiques (you know, reader, that a brass knocker on the stage is often appealed to in the straits and difficulties of female virtue)—a stormy discharge of double knocks is directed to one of the side doors, before the audacious youth has had time to understand his advantage,-knock, knock, knock, knock, knock! The whereabouts to hide has been vainly sought, as in those cases, passim, between the impracticable cupboard, shallow firescreen, and a table that would not conceal a cat.-Come, come, sir, you must really let the old gentleman (it is his father) in, in common decency.(Scene shifts.) The brown Suit enters accordingly, and a jolly old fellow he is, and wherefore comes he? Not to scold, or to talk big-wig morality, as you suppose, to the young people, but merely, it seems, to sing to them and the audience! To do which more majorum, he tucks an arm respectively of Suzette and the gallant under his own, and leading them in front of the stage, full in the
flare of the lamps, the patriarchal man, smiling now on her and now on him, acquits himself of the said song with prodigious success! But the object of his visit is yet a mystery: he comes then, it appears, to propose to Suzette, not M. Edouard, of whose energetic and summary way of making love he cannot be supposed to know any thing, but a certain brave militaire, with a wooden leg, who had been wounded in Spain, in his son's defence, and has loved said mademoiselle, in secret, for two years odd! On this communication, Suzette, a reasonable young woman, first cries a little, but on reflection consents, and the pit cries bravo! On fait les noces-and the evening of the marriage ceremony arrives. Act 3d, Suzette comes alone, and is making up her mind to try to love her new husband on French philosophical principles, and has nearly succeeded, when who should tap at her window (which she opens) at this hour, but that incorrigible Edouard? Neither gods
nor knockers should be invoked for nothing, and certainly the dignus vindice nodus does appear to be arrived. Our old friend of hinged brass, "good at need," is a second time in exercise, and our gallant lies perdu, while admission is given to a female cousin, who comes (at this unseasonable hour, when every body is going to bed), to congratulate her on her mariage de raison; she finds occasion, in the course of the conversation, to relate many things to the advantage of the accepted spouse, and not a few of an opposite kind, for the edification of M. Edouard, who, becoming assured, from behind the screen, of his own pretty character, takes the earliest opportunity to bolt. And now, nothing hindering the mariage de rai son being consummated, a nuptial dialogue takes place in public, coram populo, in which the husband manages his prooemial part so well, that Suzette is fairly birdlimed into a new affection, and, coming forward, assures the audience, as the curtain modestly falls on his marital privileges, that she has determined to live henceforth the blameless spouse of her "brave Henri ;" and the pit as instantly determining that, such being the case, she shall receive its most unanimous support, white kid gloves are shaken in the boxes, and coloured cotton streamers wave from the gallery!-They call these things Vaudevilles!
CHAMPS ELYSEES-ON A FETE.
It is a crowd of people amongst the trees, some of whom, at the rate of five centimes per shock, per person, are about to take a dose of electricity in public, whilst others, detected by the keen-eyed owner of the apparatus contriving to filch a little of it on the sly, are informed that his wheel does not brew electricity without materials. Walking round his ring of bystanders with electric cord in hand, he offers it liberally, to all and sundry, for a farthing a shock, while many a brave moustache, not afraid of gunpowder, turns away his head from the unknown agent, not exactly feeling the courage to accept, till some curiosité from the country steps forward, and asks boldly for a whole sous worth of the product of the wheel-him the "physicien" salutes with courteous bow, and, presenting the magic string, nods to his attendant. When a sufficient accumulation to stun an ox has been produced, "touch," says the man in black to his hob-nailed customer, and "go" says Electricity, as she flings him back in terror amidst the admiring crowd! He is now offered, with becoming gravity, another charge without further expense; but, thinking the amusement rather overcharged, he slinks away, with aching shoulders, to pastimes better suited to his physical and intellectual capacities. A hundred such shall not be missed from that gay arena, where tinfoil and gold leaf, and brass-knobbed phials of different dimensions, the enchanted house, the dancing paper, the horse-shoe magnet, the pith balls (now rubbing shoulders, now standing aloof, from each other, like dear friends in difficulties), and many other marvels, afford their thousand attractions! But when the "physicien," emboldened by an increasing auditory, flocking from all sides, begins to tell of the medical virtues of the agent to which he is Agent, then, not Punch himself, in any act of his brief and eventful careernot even when it comes to his "last squeak," when the battered head of the hero leaning over the stage of his agonistic exploits against the " Adversary," exhibits all the symptoms of incurable concussion-not even then can he compete for public attention with the mar
vels which are related by the man of that wonderful wheel!-of wasting muscles restored to strength and size; of sightless eyeballs filled with instantaneous light; of ears that never heard before becoming avenues of sound; of palsy, touched by that life-giving spark, starting up to run after an omnibus! Such are his themes, and they are, of course, backed by a suitable display of electric power, well calculated to make the hair stand on end, and extort for the peripatetic exhibitor as many sous as there be fools or philosophers to hear.
Near this monopolizer of so much of the public money, but out of his dan gerous atmosphere, roulette tables rattle away to the wooden ball, or small metal discs ring upon a copper floor, over which knives, candlesticks, and cork-screws hang as prizes for the successful discobolus. Plaster cats, stuck upon skewers, fall victims to ambitious archery-a yielding cushion measures the strength of your forearm-the Gondole, confronted by a mirror, clicks your weight, and shows you how you look, for the same penny. Here is the facile princeps of puppetshows, in which, pull but the string, you may say your prayers in St Peter's, or fight at Eylau or at Wagram. But make way for a troop of young schonobatists; and don't mind that stentorvoiced tooth-extractor who wishes you for a customer. To refuse the syrens who sell the bad gingerbread called "plaisir" is no great act of virtue or frugality, but the indefatigable chairletters are not to be resisted. The tinkling limonadier's bell may be a cheerful sound to the thirsty; but dare we here affirm αριστον μεν ύδωρ, or trust that his lemons ever had a peel upon them? The turbaned venders of the date of Egypt or the fig of Smyrna, want not their customers; but for those whose whole commerce is the smouldering pastille of many a detestable aroma, one is at a loss to conceive how they get on ;-in short, go where you will, it is the same scene; every body looking merry but one's self, and that affrighted cur that yelps at his adventurous master carried round and round on ship or wooden nag. But who can put down a tithe of the provisions
made by a bountiful government to keep people merry-and quiet? And there be greater things than these: The giant's strength, which succumbs not to a pyramid of pigmies, and the fat woman's charms, proclaimed in stentorian tone, with drum and cymbal: look along that line of canvass which records in glowing colours, the acta et gesta of Napoleon; or, scarcely less attractive, that group of bold Europeans engaged in rescuing Circassian loveliness (for two sous it is to be
seen within) from a yelling horde of red barbarians, who, it must be owned, look abductive in the extreme; those poor fellows, so actively engaged in green icebergs with Arctic bears, make one shudder; while the Indian, in act to throw the compulsory lasso over the head of a tiger, whom he waits for with such sang froid, makes one sweat. In short, visit the Champs Elysées on one of the "trois jours," and see if I have overcharged the picture.
A DAY AT ST DENYS.
You start on this journey from the Porte St Denys, the arch of Gladness and of Sadness," as kingloving chroniclers have styled it, through which all the early monarchs made at least two journeys. By this portal they entered Paris en rois; through the same, their funeral cortége proceeded to the church of the acephalous saint, in the cold vaults of which they are deposited. To count, on a fête day, the arrivals and departures, during only a few minutes, from the Porte St Denys, were as impossible a task as that imposed on Cinderella by her ball-going sisters!
Around this spot is generally collected, as now, a large stationary crowd, of what the journalists and play-wrights call canaille, when the law and the soldiery have the upper hand; but when blood and rapine have secured to this canaille more respectful consideration, they obtain the endearing name of enfans du peuple. Here you see fellows waiting for a job with gold ear rings and a doubtful physiognomy; here halts the bas. ket-burthened countryman to breathe under the shadow of the huge architecture; against its walls lounges the dissatisfied labourer, with hands in a dangerous state of inactivity; here congregate the knights of industry to speculate on the probabilities of untried pockets, which they do with an instinct that rarely misleads. Here the shoe black offers an assistance which is rarely declined in a city where clean shoes are "de rigueur," and the frequent polish still embellishes the deformed or cracked leather of the superannuated boot, whose wearer, perhaps, never exhibited a shirt front, but who pays ungrudgingly more, in a
year, for an amalgam of tallow and blacking, than it has cost him for half his life in soap. See how complacently he looks on the shining surface now in progress, and with what satisfaction he pays the coin which requites the indispensable, and the only indispensable item of his toilet. Here, too, you are annoyed by the street merchandise of little sluts of thirteen, who look you audaciously in the face, and try hard to seduce you with violet and rosebud nosegays, and of course generally succeed.
Among signs and ensigns on the houses which surround this ομφαλος γης, who can fail to be attracted by yonder vast portrait of a green Lady, in whose arms a winged messenger is depositing a young nursling, on whom the painter contrives to make her look with such affectionate interest, that you almost wish you were its papa! But do not suppose the sage femme, whose tenderness this production unequivocally attests, has it all her own way; for opposite, a younger rival, equally captivating, unbonneted, and in pink, stands over two eggs, on a richly painted carpet, out of which eggs two oviparous babes are making their way, at a huge destruction of shell
in the background a languid female, half hid under the quilt. Between these rival midwives you may read, and doubt for a moment if you understand, an intimation that dolls' eyes are manufactured within, and that children's playthings may be mended on the lowest terms.
In this quarter, too, you can scarcely move your own length without being confronted by a smartly-dressed man, placed conveniently to intercept in a the crowd that passes betwixt him and