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rary retreat. At length, however, circumstances drew me away from home, and carried me out of the sight and recollection of old acquaintances; so that, after an absence of ten years, I returned to my native capital almost an entire stranger.
The feeling of melancholy with which, like a ghost, I stalked through the favourite haunts of my former life, and, like a ghost too, sought for some one to relieve me by an interpellation, was beyond description bitter. Every step was taken over a prostrate propensity, or a broken association.
But in the irritable state of mind thus produced, every trifle becomes important; and those who have experienced the position, will acknowledge the fidelity of this picture. But much more severe was the shock which attended the necessity of taking shelter in an hotel. The paternal house, whose door had, on each return from school, and on the termination of every country ramble, stood hospitably open to welcome me to an affectionate circle, had now passed into other hands. The circle was broken up; the grave had closed on its dearest members; and the survivors were pursuing fortune in other channels : while strangers occupied the apartments endeared by the most indelible associations. It seemed so unnatural, so cruel to be thus driven from home, that it wore the air of an act of violence.
I remember to have experienced, though in less intensity, this feeling of loneliness on visiting the University to take a degree, and finding the contemporary generations replaced by a race of boys and strangers; and this analogous instance, being familiar to many readers, may serve as an illustration to those whose homebred habits have confined them to the spot in which accident first placed them. To those thus fixed and stationary, changes are scarcely sensible; they take place so gradually. Friends die, or drop from the circle but one at a time; and the ranks are filled up before the chasm is perceived: but to the returning stranger the desolation is apparent in its fullest extent and horror.
Every man in London, however obscure his station, is connected with a little oircle, or junta, with whom his domestic habits are more intimately entwined. This little knot, made up of friends, of accidental associates, companions of pleasure or of business, passes on with us through life, occasionally broken in upon by casual interlopers, but still holding together with a pertinacity which daily habit serves only to increase. By such a circle we find ourselves surrounded in our father's house; and though age, education, temperament, and disposition, may all tend to alienate the young man from it when he escapes into the world, yet there is none perhaps to which he occasionally returns with more pleasure, or clings to with greater attachment; especially when the parent, who was its centre, is no more. Here, however, it is, that a short time makes the widest and the deepest gashes; for as the individuals are all advanced in life, they are eminently obnoxious to accident and to decay. Nothing can be more painful to the stranger at home, than his return to the remnants of such a circle. The old friendship, the old bilarity, the old jokes are still preserved ; but one member has grown deaf, another blind, another doats, a fourth is paralytic; and all seem to be insensible to the loss of those who have dropped into the grave, unconscious of the lapse of time and
reckless of its dilapidations. It seems as if a wild and fantastic dream had conjured up the dead to mock at revelry, to feast with the traveller on his return, and welcome him to the spot in which, after all his wanderings, he is to rest for ever.
But if friendships are thus pregnant with suffering, the distastes are not less frequent which await the stranger in the scenes of his early amusements. The theatres more especially are the scenes of disappointment. Old favourites are dead; or, what perhaps is still worse, are grown too old for the parts they still sustain. A new race of performers treads the stage, with whose names, persons, and merits, the returned traveller is wholly unacquainted : and because he is himself no longer susceptible of the same vivid sensations, because his imagi. nation no longer lends itself with the same enthusiasm to scenic deception, the present race of actors infallibly appear to possess smaller talent than the actors of his recollection. Whoever is at all conversant with theatrical literature, must have remarked how each generation of critics has dwelt with fondness and regret on the memory
of the actors who are gone. Yet perhaps no other art has observed so progressive a march towards perfection, by a constant and steady approach to nature, the rejection of conventional bombast, and rising above received forms of theatrical gesture and elocution.
Besides, however, this disgust of satiety, this palling of the imagination, it must be admitted, that the theatres really have lost much of their attraction, through their increased size and consequent turn to show and pantomime. But this is not all. Before the stage lamps changes also have occurred. The race of critics which twenty years ago assembled to discuss the merits of Cooke's Richard, or to enjoy the raciness of poor Lewis's Prince Hal, have disappeared with the actors they admired : and the returned traveller might as well be in the Scala at Milan, or the San Carlos of Naples, as in Covent Garden or Drury Lane, for any chance the latter afford of old associates or a sympathizing audience. The idle Templars, who used to retire from the theatre to the coffee-house, who conspired to damn a play or conduct a riot, have now retired to their chambers, and are buried in briefs and cases. They may sometimes, by accident, be found in a church; but the theatre no longer exists for them, even in recollection.---Cætera quid memorem ? All the other places of public resort equally lose in the comparison of the present with the past. Vauxhall, if not in extent and in illumination, yet, at least, in gaiety, appears much less to the eye than to the memory; it is stripped of all the decorations which youth, health, and inexperience formerly conferred upon it. The“ pleased alacrity and cheer of mind” are wanting, which once gave zest to every amusement; and even the appetite, which formerly enhanced a Vauxhall supper and burnt Champaigne, has ceased to disguise the taste of the knife in its wafer-slices of ham, and to shut out from the palate the staleness of the cheesecakes. The only sense which seems awakened to a keener sensibility is the nose : at least, the oil and the steams of rack punch are now more disagreeably predominant, than when last I visited this once favourite resort.
Another source of disappointment from which few, even of the resident cocknies, at all advanced in life, escape, arises in the vast increase of buildings, which have sprung up round London. When I was a boy, the whole region north of Bloomsbury-square was as yet unoccupied by brick and mortar. The splendid mansions, like the fortunes by which they are supported, had not then been stolen from the children of agriculture. The fields (for fields they then were) had been the scenes of all my childish amusements. There I flew my kite, and played cricket, and enjoyed the keen delight of an escape from my plagosus Orbilius. Is the scene, or the actor, the most completely changed? Of the numerous triumphs of the genius of building (I cannot in conscience say of architecture) over the fauns and hamadryads of the London dairy farms, those which have been won in the fields near Hampstead are, to my imagination, the most intolerable. For those were the site of many a delightful walk, in the first spring of adolescence, in society with one long numbered with the dead, whose boyish and elastic cheerfulness was accompanied by a giant's mind. Even now, the earnest discussion, crossed by a pun, or a quotation, or an hop skip and jump over a ditch—the intent observation of some effect of colour in a summer evening's sky, of some combination of forms in a group of cattle or of trees--the enjoyable fatigue, the delicious refreshment of the tea which concluded our promenade, are still lively in my imagination, associated with the first crude developements of taste, science, and philosophy, to which these walks contributed. Poor D-! his scholastic acquirements were not many; but his mind, vigorous and comprehensive, had left few subjects uninvestigated; and if he wanted the instruction of the schools, he wanted likewise their prejudices and their errors. Self-instructed, self-supported, without friends to encou
courage, or the spirit of cabal to advance himself, how eould he hope for success in an art, in which the trade is so much more important than the profession? Broken-spirited and disappointed, ere half his course was run, he sunk under the struggle; leaving behind him works which the connoisseur is now eager to purchase at prices that would have crowned his modest wishes with affluence!
But why pause upon one monument ? London is the grave of so many sensations, so many associations ! Wherever else I go, I am still young in the enjoyment of the present, in the anticipation of the future ; in London, exclusively, I am chained to the past. There the thread of personal identity seems scarcely preserved, so wholly is the existence passed away which London recalls. To be alone with nature is not solitude: to be alone in a land of strangers, is, at least, not unnatural : but to be alone in the city of our birth, in the bosom as it were of our family, is an intolerable evil. Let him who commences life a wanderer, continue a wanderer; or if in middle life he must pitch his tent, let it be far from the haunts of his infancy. Man may make himself a position in new societies ; but he can never wholly recover the place he has once vacated.
OF LOVE. We have been a good deal struck with this little work, which has just appeared, and, though the subject be not very new, it has, we understand, already attained some rank among the literary novelties of Paris. It is altogether a singular production, and equally whimsical in many respects is the ingenious author. He is evidently a clever man. He seems to have passed a large share of his time in reading, writing, and travelling; taking shrewd views of the countries through which he passed, though sometimes forgetting to look at both sides of the road, and admiring fine women and the fine arts, and despising cant, wherever he found them. He was for some time at Napoleon's elbow as a confidential secretary. He also served him as a soldier ; and, during his campaigns, discovered that a cold night, passed upon an advanced piquet, in an enemy's country, was favourable to amorous meditation. He has been as far south as Naples, and as far north as Edinburgh, and is now at Paris, tossing up the tender passion into a philosophical treatise ; yet with all this, of which he has not the slightest cause to be ashamed, he has a mortal aversion to telling the world explicitly who he is. The first of his works that we met, and to which we were attracted by the commendation passed upon parts of it in the Edinburgh Review, was “Rome, Naples, and Florence." It purported to come from the pen of Count Stendhall. Then followed the very interesting account of the Lives of Haydn and Mozart. The English translation, which we believe came from the author, appeared anonymously; but it was whispered to us at the time, as a literary secret, that the writer was a Baron Bombo; and that the name being unknown in this country, and withal sounding unclassically to British ears, was suppressed at the suggestion of the publisher. After this we lighted upon “ L'Histoire de la Peinture en Italie, par M. Beyle, ” and finally upon the work before us. Now, we have lately ascertained that these four productions are positively derived from a common stock; that Stendhall, Bombo, and Beyle, are one and the same person : and we are farther assured by those in the confidence of the French police, that the last is the name by which they hold him accountable for his theories, and under which he will be muzzled one of these days, if he does not discourse more becomingly of cant and the holy alliance. M. Beyle, for such we must call him, almost admits, in the titlepage of “ L'Amour,” the case of identity we have been establishing against him ; yet he no sooner gets through the first short chapter, than one of his old incognito fits comes upon him, and he cries out in a note, that he is only the translator of a manuscript work written in choice Italian, by one Lisio Visconti, who died the other day at Volterre ; and then, to make the mystery two-deep, we are told that sundry parts of Lisio's production consist of extracts from the papers of his dear friend, poor Salviati, who also died (it is not said when and where) for love of Leonora. But we, as well as Mr. Cobbett, keep a little bird, which has just informed us that Lisio (as well as Salviati) still walks the earth—that he was seen last month, looking remarkably well, in the neighbourhood of the Palais Royal, and that he is actually em
“ De l'Amour,” 2 vols. 8vo. Paris, 1822
ployed in collecting materials for another publication, which he intends, when his next last hour shall approach, to hand over, as before, to his executor in ordinary M. Beyle.
When we first took up the present work, we expected from the titlepage, and from a hasty glance at the table of contents, to find a lively satire against the inveterate blemish of French society-the overweening and heartless gallantry of all classes, accompanied by an exposure of its effeminating influence upon the national character; but we were soon undeceived. Love, in our author's opinion, is no subject for levity. On the contrary, it is of prime importance that regenerated France should have a clear and scientific notion “ de cette passion, dont tous les développemens sincères ont un caractère de beauté;" and, accordingly, he has, with the most entire seriousness, composed a treatise, after the manner of Aristotle, setting forth in logical parlance the origin, progress, varieties, and (where it is not incurable) the cure of this tenderest of propensities, from the slightest impulse of “ l'Amour de vanité,” its mildest form, and the prevailing one, he says, in France, up to the most intense visitations of “ l'Amour-passion,” those sublime but tremendous love-shocks, which are technically termed “des coups de foudre.” The spirit in which he enters upon his task, he thus explains :-“I make every possible effort to be dry—I would impose silence upon my heart, which thinks it has much to say ;-at every turn, I tremble lest I may have only registered a sigh, where I imagined I had recorded a truth.” Our space will not allow us to follow Mr. B. in detail through all his disquisitions, or through, what we like much better, the many interesting illustrations that he has adduced to support his doctrines; but, as the matter of his work concerns so many of our readers of both sexes, we shall lay before them a brief outline of his amatory system.
There are four distinct varieties of love :-
2d. L'Amour-gout. This species prevailed in Paris about the
3d. L'Amour-physique—“A la chasse trouver une fraiche et belle paysanne qui fuit dans les bois."
4th. L'Amour de vanité-the most ordinary kind, particularly in modern France, where men form attachments as a matter of luxury, or as a conventional sort of thing that society expects from them. When a young man is smitten with an elderly lady of superior rank or .fortune, he belongs to No. 4. Vanity makes him blind to the crow's foot. • Une duchesse n'a jamais que trente ans pour un bourgeois," disait la Duchesse de Chaulnés.
These four grand divisions include every possible variety of the passion; though M. Beyle admits that he might have considered it under eight or ten distinet genera: but he assures us that “no difference in the nomenclature would affect his reasonings. Every form of love that is found here below, is born, lives, and dies, or lifts itself to immortality, according to the same immutable laws.” We next come to
The Birth of Love “Voici ce que passe dans l'ame.”