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istence : no connexions, no interest, no friendships were to sepa--rate them: to love Guibert, or to give up her existence, were the only alternatives she desired. A correspondence between Guibert ant L'Epinasse ensues, which it is evident lasts some years: yet, though she is in love with him to distraction, no proposal of marriage takes place; on the contrary, she recommends several partners for life to him, and when he is actually wedded, continues the same amatory intercourse with him in the same violent, fervid, inflamed strain as before, till the very day of her death, without any apparent compunction or idea of criminality. There is something so inexplicable in this behaviour, that I am almost tempted to think with M. du Deffand, that her intercourse with Guibert was only pour faire l'esprit; that the tactician served her as an object to shew her epistolary powers. Marriage would have put an end to this fine correspondence; and like the old duke, who being asked why he did not marry a widow, with whom he had been in the habit of spending his evenings for many years, replied that he should then want a friend with whom to pass his evenings: so Mademoiselle L'Espinasse might have thought that a settled union with Guibert would have put a stop to these wild effusions, which appear so entirely to have engrossed her thoughts. She perhaps was ambitious of proving by her own example, a maxim to which she often adverts in her letters, that many things happen in real life more wonderful than those which are represented in fictious life. If neither of these reasons will suffice to explain the matter, no other resource seems to be left but in that shorthand logic for explaining all incongruities, which is at present practised with so'much success. Those who have witnessed the readiness with which eccentricities of behaviour in England are explained by a shrug of the shoulders, a significant application of the finger to the cerebellum, and a volume-speaking nod of the head, will easily understand what I mean. In fact, it is not im. probable that the deadly drug which Mademoiselle L. had imbibed sometime before her passion for Guibert, for the purpose of put. ting an end to her existence, but without accomplishing her purpose, had left a torpifying effect behind it, and had disordered her imagination. In her first letters she indeed hazards a little gaiety, and even ventures upon a conceit or two: but after the death of Mora her correspondence becomes of the most sombre kind, and he who sits down to read it, will do well to arm him. self with Dante's abandonment of Hope, and expect nothing but
Sospiri, pianti, et alti guai,
Voci alte et fiocche,
people satisfied with themselves, but cold to the objects of their affections, were points which she affected not to understand. That degree of worldly prudence and those duties of friendship, which substitute discretion for interest and delicacy for sensibility; were to her detestable. The temperate atmosphere was in her opinion fit only for fools: she disliked even the calm, which allows the understanding to act; the virtues, which she valued in herself and which she expected in others were an entire abandonment to the feelings, a ready acquiescence in first emotions, an approximation to a state of nature, and to the simplicity and sincerity of savage life. To be amiable and to please were objects which she left for inferior souls: to love and to be loved was her aim : agitation, suffering, and feeling, were the food on which her mind subsisted ; days of delight and nights of pain; the joys of heaven and the horrors of hell; such were the emotions in which her soul delighted to revel.
The character and talents of Mademoiselle L'Espinasse appear to have excited uncommon interest among the literati of her day : and certainly the letters before us do no discredit to their accounts of her. Amid illness, sadness, distraction and desolation, they display an intelligence, an acuteness, and á wildness of eloquence, that are not often witnessed. In most people we see two stages of passion: they feel first and reason afterwards : but Mademoiselle L'Espinasse displays reasoning and feeling at the same time; she suffers all the violence of passion, and analizes it with all the pene. tration of a philosopher. Her vehemence is such, that the bon mot by which Voltaire characterized the fervid style of Rousseau, almost loses its extravagance when applied to her: her paper must have burned as she wrote. There is little variety however in her letters ; as soon as you have found the key-note, (and a few pages Jet you into it) all seems mere repetition: the same melancholy, the same reproaches, the same raving. The following specimens, taken nearly at random, will give a complete picture of her
" You are not my friend ; you cannot become my friend : I have no sort of confidence in you : it is you who have caused me the deepest and bitterest evil, which can befal an honourable mind : at this very moment you rob me, and perhaps for ever, of the only consolation which heaven reserved for the few days that are left me: in short, what shall I say? You have completed every thing : the past, the present, and the future, offer me nothing but scenos of grief, regret, and remorse: well, my friend, all this I know, all this I am aware of; and yet I am drawn to you by a charm, by a feeling which I abhor; yet which has the force of a cursed fatality upon me. You do well to take no account of it: I have no right to make any demands upon you: the most ardent wish I have is, that you were nothing to me."-Vol. I, p. 143.
yor. 11. NO. Ili
“ Yes, it is to you that I am indebted for the power of knowing and feeling that intoxication of the soul, which removes every sentiment of pain and sorrow. But witness, whether you deserve my thanks for it: the moment you quit me, the charm vanishes, and on entering into myself, I find myself consumed with regret and remorse: the loss which I have sustained, tears me to pieces. I was beloved, yes, beloved to a degree, which staggers the imagination. All that I have read of was cold and weak when compared with the feelings of M. de M****; it filled, it support. ed his whole life: I leave you to judge whether it ought to occupy mine. A regret like this would of itself suffice to form the misery of a feeling mind. 'Tis well: what must be my sensations, whose soul is weighed down with the additional pains of remorse : I see myself guilty; I feel myself unworthy of the happiness which I have enjoyed : I have been wanting to the most virtuous, the most sensible of men: in one word, I have been wanting to myself, I have lost my own esteem; judge whether I have any claim to yours; and if I cannot pretend to your esteem, can I be 80 blind as to believe that I have any title to your love?"-Vol.I.
« Oh, my friend, how my soul is afflicted! Words I have none, nothing is left me but shrieks. I have read again and again, and will read a hundred times more, your epistle. Oh, my friend, what a compound of blessings and evils! What a mixture of pleasure and bitterness ! All the agitations of my heart havo been increased and redoubled by the perusal of this letter: I can compose myself no longer : you have alternately transported and rent my frame in pieces : never have I found you more amiable, never more worthy to be loved; and never did the remembrance of M. de M**** cost me a pang so deep, so sharp, so bitter. Yes; the thought was very death to me: my heart was overwhelmed : all last night I was in a delirium: such violence must either an. nihilate me, or drive me mad. Alas; I fear neither the one nor the other: if the love I bore you were less, if the regret I feel were not so dear to me, with what madness, with what transport would I rid myself of this life, which oppresses me.
Oh nerer, never did creature live in such torture and despair."-V. II. p. 36.
The following extract is from a curious letter, which she ad. dresses to Guibert, previously to his marriage :
" It is your wish then, while I see you, while my senses and my soul are filled with the charm of your presence, that I should recount to you what effect your marriage will have upon me: my friend, I know nothing of the matter, positively nothing. If it had the effect of curing me, I would tell you of it; and you are candid enougb not to blame me for it. If, on the other hand, it carried despair into my soul, I should utter no complaint, and my sufferings would last but a very little time. You would then pos. sess sense and delicacy to approve of a conduct, which would cost you but a trifling regret; a regret which the pleasure of your new situation would soon do away; I can assure you, that this consideration is a kind of consolation to me; I feel myself the more free for it. Do not ask me then any more what I shall do, when you have engaged yourself for life to another. If I were only vain and conceited, I should be much more enlightened, as to what my feelings would be: vanity is seldom mistaken in her calculations: her foresight is correct enough : passion has nothing to do with the future: when I tell you therefore, that I love you, I tell you all that I know and all that I feel."-V. II. p. 228.
One extract more and I have done : the flight however is so much above me, that I scarcely know whether I translate cor. rectly :
6 O how soothing are the delights, which a soul intoxicated with passion knows! My friend, I feel that my existence depends upon my folly: if I were to become composed, if I were restored to reason, I should not exist twenty-four hours.
Can you guess what my soul most requires, when it has been violently agitated by pleasure or pain? It is the pleasure of writing to M. de M****, I reanimate him, I recall him to life, I repose my heart upon his, I pour my soul into his soul: the heat, the rapidity of my blood, sets death at defiance: I actually see him, he lives, he breathes for me, he understands me; my head becomes elevated, and wanders to that degree that I have no more occasion for delusion; all be. comes truth, pure, real truth: yes, you yourself are not a more present object to my senses, than M. de M. has just been to me for a whole hour. O divine creature, he has forgiven me! he loved me."-V. II. p. 234.
These are doubtless the very dreams of madness, yet it is ime possible to read them without emotion. To behold a woman of powers which would have dignified the most accomplished, and a sensibility which would have graced the most amiable; a woman full of exalted sentiments, and as capable of relishing all that is grand in the human character, as she was earnest in her detestation of all that degrades it; to see such a woman, after a life began in misfortune and spent in misery, wailing out her latter days in the agonies of a hopeless passion, and cleaving, with irresistible pertinacity, amid pain and exhaustion, amid the pangs of disease and dissolution, with death before her eyes and suicide for ever in her thoughts, to an attachment that assailed her with the triple tortures of guilt, remorse, and hopelessness, is a spectacle that wrings the heart with pity, with humiliation and horror.
The lady herself, however, probably did not see the matter in so serious a light. Her manner of dying is completely en philosophe, and utterly puts to the blush those softer countrymen of our own,
who think that the only resource under a similar disappointment, is to besot themselves in night caps : to exhibit a strong contrast between their waistcoats and under garments, and become what is called a character: The death of our heroine is more in the style of French philosophy; instead of sending for a confessor, she enlarges her dose of opium ; in the place of prayer and penitenee, she soothes herself with a calmunt ; like the characters in the Greek tragedies, she seems resolved to exhibit all her sufferings - upon the stage, and with the symptoms of death upon her, arranges dinner parties for the week, fills her drawing-room with company,
and appears more interested about a box at the Opera than her own approaching dissolution. Veritablement, as some French writer has observed, tous les hommes sont fous, à mencer par les sages :-Truly thë whole world are fools, and the wise are more so than the rest.
ART. XIII.--Specimens from the Writings of Fuller, the Church
The writings of Fuller are usually designated by the title of quaint, and with sufficient reason; for such was his natural bias to con. ceits, that I doubt not upon most occasions it would have been going out of his way to have expressed himself out of them. But his wit is not always a lumen siccum, a dry faculty of surprizing; on the contrary, his conceits are oftentimes deeply steeped in human feeling and passion. Above all, his way of telling a story, for its eager liveliness, and the perpetual running commentary of the narrator happily blended with the narration, is perhaps un, equalled.
As his works are now scarcely perused but by Antiquaries, I thought it might not be unacceptable to the Readers of the Reflector to present them with some Specimens of his manner, in single thoughts and phrases; and in some few
of greater length, chiefly of a narrative description. I shall arrange them as I casually find them in my Book of Extracts, without being solicitous to specify the particular Work from which they are taken.
Pyramids." The Pyramids themselves, doting with age, have forgotten the names of their founders.”
Virtue in a short person.— Ilis soul had but a short diocese to visit, and therefore might the better attend the effectual informing thereof."