« AnteriorContinuar »
arranged, and can think of no one so capa- at the same time assuring him all resistance ble of executing that task as her young and on the part ofhis men will be vain, for that bandsome protege. That the lady should he himself has a far stronger troop under his feel no scruples in this business is at least own command, lying in wait just by and preintelligible; but that the baron should offer pared to attack on the slightest - signal. 'Of no objections to an arrangement likely to this he convinces the officer by taking him lead to something more than a mere cata- to the spot where his myrmidons are posted, logue of books, is somewhat staggering; on which the other submits to necessity, and yet never was there more bat eyed indiffer- surrenders
who ence than he manifests on the occasion. makes his appearance thus mysteriously and
While the task itself gets on very slowly melodramatically, is no other than Nicolas the consequences of it develope themselves Barenklau,or Bearspaw, himself, who although rapidly; since Paul quickly becomes what it has not been mentioned by us, has already the baron has only the reputation of being. Sigured in the novel under a different character This amour, however, does not prevent him namely, that of an Hungarian noble, enthusi. from seeking private interviews with Adelaide astically enamoured of Henrietta. NotwithNeuperg, who, with her mother and intended standing he is aware that in Paul he has a husband, General Braun, happens at this powerful rival in her affections, this Nicolas juncture to be at Vienna. These clandestine is romantically generous towards him, for, meetings are discovered, and Baroness Neu. among other good offices, it was he who had perg and the general apply to Seckendorff caused the purse to be conveyed into Paul's io remove Werner, but the minister only or- bundle at the village inn. It should also be ders him to be put under arrest for a few known that he is the brother of the Countess days. It is not long, however, before Seck. R., and that banished from his native country endorff himself, discovering the familiarity ex. for political offences, he has made himself isting between him and the countess, becomes captain of a very numerous and formidable Werner's most determined persecutor. The band of smugglers in the vicinity of Breslaw. lovers instantly seek to save themselves by The success of Nicolas' plan for Werner's flight but are intercepted, and Seckendorff liberation, proves however of no avail, for he endeavors to prevail on the emperor (Charles is shortly after relaken by some of Frederick VI.) to have Paul imprisoned for life, and William's spies, and conducted to Berlin. kept to labor in one of the fortresses; urging, His arrival there is particularly opportune, among other accusations, that he had en- for the exultation the king feels at obtaining deavored to inveigle Adelaide Neuperg from so fine an addition to his collection of human her relations, and had been guilty of great specimens, entirely cures him of a fit of hy. violence towards General Braun. All he pochondria, in which he announced to his can obtain is, that Paul is sentenced to serve family and ministers his intention to abdicate in the ranks as a common soldier. At this and resign the crown to his eldest son “Fritz.” juncture, Seckendorff proceeds as ambassa- Paul is forthwith, not only taken into favour, dor to Prussia, and has instructions to raise but treated also with unusual familiarity, and from among the Austrians a picked compa- appointed a sort of governor to the crownny of the tallest men, as a present the most prince, of whose conduct it is his duty to likely to conciliate the good will of Frederick make daily report to the king. For a while William ; this monarch, though the very re. he discharges this office with tolerable exac. verse of prodigal in every other respect, being titude ; but as he grows more intimate with well known to have spa red neither pains nor "Fritz,” he becomes also less accurate in his cost in collecting warriors of gigantic stature, reports, and conceals from the father all that for which purpose he retained agents in other would irritate him against the son. He even countries besides his own dominions. Liite abets the prince's attempt to escape, which imagining that he shall thereby be instrumen. being frustrated, he has nothing left but to tal in advancing Paul's fortunes
, Baron, now effect his own, and at length makes his way Count Seckendorff, causes him to be enroll-to Holland. In the interim his father and ed in this new corps, giving strict injunctions Henrietta, who have been residing for some to have him sharply watched, lest he should time at Berlin, are filled with the utmost anxattempt to escape on the route, for the march iety for his fate, when the Hungarian sudden. lies through Silesia and passes the neighbor. ly makes his appearance before them. He hood of Breslaw. On ariving at a village in promises to discover and protect Paul, which that district, the captain of the troop received generosity obtains for him Henrietta's consent a visit in quarters from a stranger who offers to become his wife, especially as it is accom. him a considerable sum of money on condi- panied by the greater generosity of offering tion of his giving up Paul, threatening to to resign her hand should the disclosure of send a bullet through his head if he refuses; his history, which he now relates, make her
desirous of retracting her promise. As we sent moment, the lovers had neither thoughts must abridge our analysis of events, we shall nor wishes in regard to what time might have only say that we afterwards find the count in store for them. and his wife, and also the Countess R. and
“ About an hour afterwards Paul returned Werner, inhabiting a castle belonging to the
to the assembled male-contents, and read latter, in the environs of Ofen, which the aloud the document which he had drawn up. countess and her brother have fortified, and *** As soon as the Countess was able to made the strong.hold of the insurgent Hun- speak again with Paul quite alone she renew. garian party. In the new character she here ed their late conversation, endeavouring plays, which is certainly very different from to reassure and convince him of the probabil. that of a gay woman of fashion at Vienna, the ity of their enterprize being crowned with countess shows no ordinary resolution. And if she has a good deal of an amazon's spirit to the Cabinets-Rath, this is already, the
"• Dearest Matilda, 'replied he,' as I stated in her composition, she has also something of twelfth war which Hungary has declared Helosia’s, though arising less from passion against Austria. Austria herself does not than family pride, as will be evident from the require to be told so; but I wish to impress following extract.
the fact forcibly upon yourself and all your We have only to premise that the gover. partizans, with the view of convincing you nor of Ofen and his companions have just less the struggle, and consequently how un
how fruitless are your exertions, how hope. been secured as prisoners in the countess's
lawful your resistance.' castle.
"• Unlawful, do you say?' exclaimed the “ The dinner over, it was agreed that Countess, with evident dissatisfaction, and in a Werner, as being the most competent person tone of reproach. among then for such a task, should immedi 5. The term unlawful displeases you I find ately draw up a full report of the whole Matilda; nevertheless it appears to me a very transaction, in the German language, in mild one. Yet why should we now enter into order that it might be forth with dispatched such discussions; and quarrel about matters to the Austrian Cabinets-Rath. He accor- like these? Of what importance can it be, dingly proceeded to the countess's closet, whether I sincerely approve or not what has whither he was almost immediately followed been done, so long as my whole soul, all my by Matilda herself, under the pretence of wishes, my very existence are centred in you giving him instructions in respect to the exact alone? Do you doubt my readiness to die particulars that ought to be stated.
for you, even could I thereby gratify only "•So Paul,' exclaimed the countess, after the slightest of your wishes ? But truce to they had embraced in a style very unusual at all reflections on affairs that have nothing political conferences, 'the die is at length cast! whatever to do with our feelings towards
" • And it is now my duty,' returned he, 'to each other. In all other places you are the submit implicitly to your orders, and to leader of the Hungarian insurgents, and myshare your destiny::
self no more than your adjutant and secreta. Yet I plainly discern by your counten- ry,—the vassal who owes you unqualified ance that ihis business does not meet your obedience,-strict fidelity to your friends approbation.'
and counsellors. Elsewhere I cheerfully per#Consult your own bosom, Matilda, and form all your mandates, and am ready to when you shall have put the question fairly to lay down my life in your service. But here yourself, tell me if you feel justified in be- you are my own Matilda - mine by all the coming the instigator of a rebellion ?' ties of rapturous love. Here I breathe only
“What! Paul, and do you, too, like our the most devoted passion,-feel only the oppressors, stigmatize our exertions in the transport of being beloved with a ferveur defelice of our holiest rights, by the oppro- equal to my own. Here I have no other brious'name of rebellion ?'
thought, no wish beyond Matilda. Did you "• When subjects demand to have their fully participate in these feelings, you would rights restored to them, with weapons in their not have your mind engaged with thoughts hands, it certainly does not look much un. of Austria and the dangers that menace us like open insurrection.'
thence. But you yourself have both seen and “And is it from you Paul, that I am forced heard what are their intentions towards me.' to hear this! Ungrateful man! Is it thus
" . And you knew that we were all ready that you pretend to judge of a woman's feelto defend you to the very last. But now the die ings?—of that depth of tenderness and pas. as you observe is thrown. All therefore, I sion that fills her breast? Who knows how have to pray for is, that it may be my fate soon I may have cause to reproach you with to breathe my last upon your bosom.' infidelity or indifference towards me! But
A long and impassioned kiss was the reply never will you experience any change of to this speech.
In one moment, the letter to sentiment on my part.' the Cabinets-Rath, the affairs of Hungary, and
u. Matilda, what an idea! Can you then the future, with its gloomy shadows of danger
really allow yourself to imagine and bloodshed, and suffering, were all for. have hearis and feelings differently framed
Enough, Paul. You are a man; men gotten. Entranced in the full rapture ofthe pre. 'from ours; and so far you are to be excused.
But you men have no idea of the enthusiasm, torment yourself by fancying the possibility of love, save in enjoyinent. Devoted as you of my becoming estranged. Why not then fancy yourselves to be, let but some fresh consent to what wculd effectually set both of conquest present itself, and you are ready to us quite at ease on that point. Were you to pursue it instantly, without the slightest com- agree to even a secret marriage between punction : nay, perhaps, immediately after- us wards return to your former object, and “That subject again!'exclaimed the Count. breathe out protestations of unchangeable at ess in a tone of displeasure, at the same time tachment.'
disengaging herself from his arms. • What And you women,' returned Paul, with singular and cold beings you men are. You some warmth, are incapable of judging of the never know when to be satisfied. What is it intenseness and impetuosity of feeling which you want, Paul ? What is it you would fain animales us men. Nature has bestowed on persuade me to do? Were I not fully convinyou less susceptibility-passions not only less ced that your solicitation arises merely out of energetic, but more transient. To feed your the prejudices in which you have been vanity by seeing a swarm of admirers flutter- brought up, I should begin to suspect that it ing round you, this is the triumph dearest 10 was dictated by interested and ambitious moa woman's soul. Ever eager to catch at emp- tives, if not by somethng worse. Hear my rety toys and painted baubles, she has little ply. Hitherio I have always put a stop to sympathy for the sincere homage of the your importune and idle request, either by heart : she neither values nor comprehends, jesting or caresses; but now, when our oppobut treats it with incredulous leviiy. Nay, sition to Austria opens a new career to us, instead of endeavoring to repair the mischief -when, perhaps within a brief week, either she has wrought, by compasionating the vic- you or myself may fall in the contest with tim of her cruel thoughtlessness, she leaves our foes, I am compelled to tell you decidhim to his fate, and to despair.'
edly, and without reserve, that a marriage be. “* And pray, Paul, whom are you describ-tween us is impossible. My person, my love, ing,—a woman, or a monster? Or are you my actions, are my own; for them I am res. of opinion that picture at all resembles me?' ponsible tu no one: but my name, Paul, that
“Oh! no, no! Pardon me, Matilda, my belongs to my country and iny ancestors. Beown enchanting Matilda, I entreat you to par- lieve me, I am actuated neither by ambition, don me.'
nor by selfishness. No, it is a duty even su
perior to that of love; a duty towards the " Away with these reproachful forebod- laws of my conntry; towards the honour of ings. Is it possible that you can doubt the my forefathers. And should you, Paul, ever continuance of the passion I entertain for you? have to choose between the claims of your Is it possible that I can ever become chang- country and those of love, sacrifice the latter ed towards you? Even could I cease to to the former, and discharge your duty to love,—were any traitor feeling of incon. your futherland, though at the cost of all stancy to harbour itself in my bosom, should besides.' I not still remain bound to you by every sa "Both continued for some minutes in si. cred tie, both of honour and gratitude, as lence. A feeling perfectly new, and for which strongly as by the most passionato love ?' he could not account, took possession of Paul.
“ Paul,' replied the Countess, with an ex. It was astonishment at the loftiness of spirit pression of seriousness, ' little do you com- displayed by the Countess; yet it served prehend either the sentiment of love, or the rather to chill him. Nor could he help conheart of a woman. If you can feel that you fessing to himself, that it is better for a woman are capable of remaining attached to me out to remain a woman; and that it would have of gratitude alone, you are already estranged been infinitely more flattering to him, had the from me in your soul-already become more Countess, after so many more important sathan indifferent. Love asks not gratitude crifices prevailed upon herself to sacrifice her in return, but equal love. There is no other haughty pride to her passion.” sentiment which can make up for the want of it, or its place. To my love for you I have The castle is besieged next day by the sacrificed all. All I seek in repayment is Austrian General Braun, and after a dread. your gratitude ?—the word chills me :-your ful resistance taken by assault. The count life?-No, your love. It is this, and this alone, loses his life, and both his sister and Werner that can satisfy me.'
The “Paul took advantage of this moment of
are wounded; the former mortally. high-wrought passion and tenderness, to scene now changes to Berlin, where Freder. touch upon a matter of deep interest to them ick II. has just succeeded to the throne; his both. Frequently before now had he ventur- character and mode of living are delineated ed to open the subject to Matilda, but on each at considerable length, with anecdotes of occasion had been able to obtain no other re- niany of his associates, including Voltaire; ply than kisses, which cut short his argu:/ --all which makes a gap in the story. ARments. Yet, brought up in the rules of strict ter serving some time in the Hungarian morality, he could not help, notwithstanding Guards of Maria Theresa, to whom he had all the felicity he experienced in their mutual love, feeling disquieted when he reflected that been recommended by the countess, who is it had not received the sanction of the church. related to have expired in the princess' arms, i "Dearest Matilda,' said he, you often Werner arrives at Berlin, where he is ta
ken into the closest favour by the king, his selves the passive playthings of circumstanformer companion, and becomes his constant ces. Of artistical power this romance, tamilitary associate during the Seven Years' ken generally, exhibits a very mediocre War. The various adventures he now en-grade; it being a novel merely of incident counters we shall pass over altogether, con- and anecdote, with scarcely any attempt at tenting ourselves with stating that he at either character or passion. Indeed, the length falls into the hands of the Russians at hero boasts no particular merit, unless that the battle of Zorndorff, and is carried prison- of being “a respectable tall youth," so freer to St. Petersburg. He is, however, not quently put forward by advertising footmen. only treated with all the consideration due to Nevertheless, he cannot be charged with bethe high military rank he has now attained, ing too perfect--one of those faultless but is noticed in the most flattering manner monsters of propriety whose very excellence by the Empress Elizabeth, and by the grand renders them intolerable bores. In truth, duke and his consort
, afterwards Catherine his good qualities are mixed with consideraII., who is here described in all the lustre ble alloy; for nothwithstanding the pious of youthful beauty. The grand-duke being education he has received, he is decidedly a warm admirer of Fredrick, the death of libertine in practice, if not in principle; and the empress causes a termination of hostili- his criminal errors in this respect are very ties, and Paul returns to his former master. gratuitously paraded by the author, not only Fast verging towards the mature age of fit- in scenes that are quite parasitical to the ty, a period of life when a man is quite unfit story, but, in situations of such imminent for service as the hero of a novel, nothing hazard, that none but a debauchee would remains for him but to retire to the chateau of yield to temptation at such time. Thus, Blankenthal, which has been bestowed up- just after being liberated by Nicholas, when on him by Frederick, and there settle tran. pursuing his way without knowing in what quilly for the remainder of his days. To be direction he is journeying, he is offered an so disposed of, however, without previously asylum for the night by a poor widow; in qualifying by undergoing the ceremony of return for which charitable act, he unscrumatrimony would be contrary to all legiti- pulously corrupts the honour of her daughmate precedent. Accordingly, he is married, ter. To say the least, all this is in very bad but at the pains of no longer courtship than taste: for, in the first place, such conduct a mere meeting and explanation; for on his bespeaks a hardened profligacy at variance arrival at Blankenthal he is startled at be- with the general character, and almost deholding the Adelaide of his first love re. stroys our sympathy for the fugitive; in the stored to him unchanged, in the budding next, this and other scenes of a similar debeauty between girlhood and womanhood. scription serve only to disgust the decent This fair vision turns out to be the daughter reader, without satisfying the more depravof Adelaide and General Braun, who, both or. her parents being dead, is residing with a Although justly dissatisfied with Zotov's sister of her father's at Blankenthal. The romance for the reason just mentioned,and for result, which has already been announced, its defective story and want of connected inis summed up in a couple of pages; and terest, we must confess that it engaged our atthe romance concludes with Werner's tention from beginning to end. Yet even here obtaining for a bride one to whose mother we have some misgivings as to its power,and he would willingly have united himself full suspect that had it not been in the Russian fifteen years before his second Adelaide was language and the production of a Russian born!
author we might possibly have laid it aside For this very extraordinary and unex- as mediocre if not tedious. In fact it is less pected conclusion the author comprises his attractive than it would have been had the apology in the single word sudba (fate!) story and actors likewise belonged to RusWe should rather ascribe it to the perplexi- sia, since as far as they are concerned it ly into which he had brought himself by his reads like an imitation, if not exactly a transown want of dexterity; for he seems to have lation, from the German. Unless they display written without any settled plan, trusting en- very superior talent we have no great preditirely to the chapter of accidents for filling lection for works of fiction, either drainatic up his narrative, as well as disposing of his or narrative, the scene of which is laid in a actors. Besides this, he seems to have com- different country from the writer's own. posed his story equally at random in an. Whatever ability may be shown in the genother respect, and without sentiment or in- eral conception, there is always something structive tendency of any kind, unless we that unpleasantly reminds us, from time to can bring ourselves to fancy it was his in- time, that the author is not at home; that, tention to show fate, and not conduct, as the even where costume is tolerably adhered to, arbiter of human destiny, and men them.' betrays the constraint produced by an imper
fect acquaintance, and imparts to the whole fon the boards full forty years. It is a thou. the sickly feebleness of an exotic. Rather sand pities we should be so exceedingly than such transplantations we would have thin-skinned and so readily take alarm at iho translations; the debilitation produced by character. It it time for us to understand
least indication of what looks like living transfusion from one language to another be that really faithful delineation does not con. ing—for those who cannot read the originals, sist in copying merely the broader and more preferable to the selection of a foreign sub- palpable traits, but in exhibiting, also much ject. Few of our readers require to be told that shall be specific both in mode and phywhat strange work French authors make siognomy, and at the same time bear the when they lay the scene of their novels in stamp of nationality; so as to produce a this country, and undertake to represent make us say to ourselves, we have met some
strong impression by its graphic power, and English society, manners, and feelings. The Italian dramatists, whenever they at the system we ought to adopt, as conforma
one whom this exactly resembles. Such is tempt the same are a degree more absurd, ble to nature and really instructive. But we, frequently giving us the most farcical cari- on the contrary, seem to have converted the catores, or else pictures only not contradic. theatre into an empty rattle for grown up tory to truth because destitute of the slightest babies, forgetting that it ought to be a school attempt at it. If truth be occasionally reach where an audience may be tutored while ed, it is but by accident and in one or two they go only to be amused." casual features, with which all the rest is Much of this would apply to other counout of keeping.
tries as well as Russia, for the comedy A writer in the Sovremennik, (one of the which reflects the actual habits and interests publications whose title is perfixed to this of society has been expelled from the stage article,) is nearly of the same opinion as to take refuge in novels. Whether this ourselves; for in speaking of the present change be not ascribable to that which has state of the drama, where opera and ballet taken place in the habits of society itself, reign paramount, he says,
is a question for whose solution we may re“ Most heartily do I pity the condition of drama in our 36th Number. Certain it is
fer to what was said on the subject of the our Russian actors, who live amidst a fresh and active population, exhibiting such diver- that even those who do show any power and sified shades of character and manners ; yet talent in writing for the stage resort to other instead of having to look at them for models, times and other lands for subjects. Had M. are obliged to personate beings whom they Zotov not played truant after a similar fanever encountered off the stage. What shion, but sought his materials on native can they possibly make of the fantastic heroes
ground, he would have produced a more init is their lot to represent; creatures who are neither Frenchmen nor Germans, but mere
teresting story, simply because bearing less puppets, vulgar counterfeits of humanity, resemblance to one of stale pattern and fodestitute both of physiognomy and emotion. reign manufacture. How can it be expected that talent should We should therefore unquestionably deeither display itself or be nourished in such cide in preference for the historical romance a school?' We are Russians: for heaven's from which a specimen of considerable sake then give us Russian characters. Let length is introduced in the Sovremennik. us behold our own follies, our own foi. Its title is “Prokopious Liapunov, or the bles, our own perversities. Drag these on the stage that they may there meet with the Times of the Interregnum," and its author is ridicule they so well merit. And the autho- a lady who has previously appeared before rity of ridicule is most powerful: while it the public as a novelist in her “ Knjaz takes from offenders neither life nor proper- Skopin Shuisky," to which this new ty, it punishes by humbling, and making mance is intended as a sequel. Not having them feel like a haunted hare with the dogs seen the former work we can judge of her just behind her. We, however, have so drill
, talent only by the portion here introduced; ed ourselves by the pattern of French and but if we may estimate the whole from this ly scared at the idea of producing any thing detached fragment, we should not scruple to strictly our own. Should any one make the say that it possesses strong interest, and exattempt and set before us a well drawn re-hibits much dramatic power. The most semblance of character such as we are ac- prominent character in the scenes selected, customed to, we instantly ask if it be not a is the Princess Catherine Gregorievna Skopersonal satire, and for whom it is intended; pin Shuisky, who, resembling Lady Macand this merely because it is not one of those beth,in order to pave the way for her husband hackneyed theatrical tyrants, bribe-taking
to the throne, has removed Prince Michael judges, or other stale worn-out personages which authors now grown toothless, parade by poison. The better to elude suspicion before us just as they do their eternal she pays a formal visit of condolence to the figuranti-some of whom must have capered prince's mother and widow, the latter of