Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

1

has united. It is difficult for a man, to believe in the divinity of a beautiful woman, after he has seen her heaving, like a Pythoness, with extended jaws, upturned eyes, and But for a woman, who, conscious of her own helplessness, relies for succour on the man she loves, what can restore her confidence in his supposed strength and superiority, when she has beheld him-oh! degradation of the manly character-overpowered by sickness in its most revolting shape; and heard him uttering sounds that betray at once the internal strife, and his consequent probable oblivion of her

very

existence! Oh! the comfort of a French bed! commend me to its soft and even mattrasses, its light curtains, and genial couvre pied of eider down. Commend me, also, to a French cuisine with its soup, sans pepper, its cutlets a la minute, and its poulet au jus, its café a la creme, and its dessert. But defend me from the slamming of French doors, and the shaking of French windows; and above all, from pye-dishes, as substitutes for washingbasins; and from the odours of cigars, with which the clothes of the waiters of all French inns are impregnated.

1

Rouen, 28th.--To avoid the uninteresting, and often traversed route of Abbeville, we have taken that of Rouen ; and have been repaid, by passing through a much prettier country, and, above all, by seeing the cathedral.

This is, indeed, a noble pile, and inspires one with a respect for its founders. There is something highly imposing in the sight of such an edifice, with its towers and spire; and all the picturesque

decoration of Gothic architecture with which it abounds. They surely must have truly worshipped the Deity, who took such pains to build a temple for His homage: though persons are not wanting who declare, that such temples owe their foundation less to devotion, than to superstition.

The church of St. Ouen is beautiful, and the gorgeous stained glass windows, add to its rich effect. We do not sufficiently employ stained glass, in our domestic decorations; it being generally objected to on the plea, that our sky is too obscure to admit of our exclusion of any portion of its light. Yet if instead of staring without impediment at our leaden clouds, their rays came to us in hues almost as beautiful as those of the prism, this advantage

[merged small][ocr errors]

would be more than an equivalent for a slight diminution of their brilliancy.

At the Benedictine Abbey, they showed us a MS. missal, richly ornamented ; the adornment of which, is said to have employed a monk for thirty years. What a waste of time! yet he who could so pass thirty years, was not likely to make a more judicious use of it. Nous avons changé tout cela. Who would now give thirty months to a work, unless he was assured of receiving a large remuneration for it, either in gold, or in immediate celebrity? Time is become more valuable; and men are proportionably less disposed to devote more than a limited, and well paid portion of it, to posterity. Posterity ? how few work for it, how few think of it, and how few live for it! Luckily for our generation, we have had a Wellington; and his fame will preserve our times from oblivion.

The Museum at Rouen contains some passable pictures, chiefly by French masters; but as I as much dislike filling my pages, as my head with catalogues, their names shall find no place in my journal.

I wish the English had not to answer for the death of Joan of Arc. It was an unnecessary

[ocr errors]

barbarism, that I liked not to be reminded of, and that casts a stain on our country. Some fragments of a tower, in which it is asserted that she was confined, were pointed out to us.

Poor enthusiast! her courage deserved a better fate!

Who could pass through Rouen, without remembering that it gave birth to Corneille? Glorious privilege of genius, which can render a name deathless, and awaken sympathy for the

spot that

gave

it life. Fontenelle, Fleury, and Vertot, also, were born at Rouen, but one forgets them, in the stronger interest excited by the memory of Corneille ; that mighty mover of the passions, and powerful deliniator of their struggles and results. Yet Fontenelle, too, deserves to be remembered, if it were only for his Plurality of Worlds ;” a delightful work that renders a gratifying homage to my sex, by making one of it the medium of conveying lightly and pleasantly many of the most valuable elements of philosophy, in a dialogue full of sense, vivacity, and refinement. His dramatic works fall infinitely short of those of his uncle Corneille ; but his “ Dialogues of the Dead,” and his “ Reflections on Dramatic Poetry," are excellent.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors][merged small]

One is often tempted to wish, that anecdotes, derogatory to literary characters, were less generally known. Who can think as well of those writers, whose works have charmed us, after having ascertained that they were cold, selfish, and unfeeling. Thus, many of the anecdotes related of Fontenelle, have left a prejudice against him in my mind that renders me less disposed to remember him with complacency. None of them is more illustrative of the selfishness of his disposition than that related of him by Grimm, who states, that Fontenelle, having a great partiality to asparagus dressed with oil, was, on a certain day, that he intended to regale himself with his favourite dish, surprised by a visit from the Abbe Terrasson, who proposed staying to dine with him. Fontenelle told him of the asparagus, when the Abbe Terrasson declared, he would only eat it dressed with butter. The host explained the sacrifice he made, in consenting that one half should be dressed with butter; but shortly after, the Abbe Terrasson fell from his chair, struck dead by apoplexy, when Fontenelle ran to the door of his kitchen, exclaiming,

“ All the asparagus to be dressed with oil-all to be dressed with oil !”

1

« ForrigeFortsett »