Imágenes de páginas
[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]


SEAUX DU TIBRE, &c. &c. PAR MADAME LA COMTESSE DE GENLIS. A NEW. volume of Tales has just ap. Phonix of the hour; and half a dozen

peared from the pleasing and proli- sinart quips with as many happy turns of fic pen of Madame de Genlis, whose ge- expression or bon mots, will introduce to dius seems to resemble more than any every company of that amusing city, the lady's of our acquaintance, that of the admired mortal who possesses the faculty accomplished Scheherazade, whose in- of being neat or epigrammatic in convervention saved her head under a tyranny sation, and above all in what we are apt almost as odious and sanguinary as that to consider the most useful property in of the French Revolution, from which old nurses, relating little fables for the our fair authoress had also the good for- entertaintment of circling auditors. In tune to escape. These Tales are five in England a certain degree of reputation number, and we can assure the writer, may indeed be formed from Joe Miller that, were we even as severe in our criti- and his modern imitators; the pun oft cal chair as the Arabian Sultan was cruel repeated, the jest an hundred times told, on his despotic throne, we should feel the brief anecdote rendered long and the our resentment equally disarmed, and our sharp repartee made dull by immemorial resolution to decapitate, (or according to usage-these are the stock in trade of a the reviewing phrase, “ cut up”) the few unfortunate witlings among us, and narrator still more largely postponed than serve them as species of passports into from night to morning by the gratifica. parties which are denominated literary, tion we have received from her agreeable because they neither drink punch por exertions.

play at whist; and informed, because the The talent for story-telling is one names of the newest authors are heard which the French cultivate more sedu- intermixed with relations of the newest lously and successfully than we do. With scandal. But still we are only plodding them it is not only beneficial in the clos. at an immense distance behind our Gal. et, but of eminent advantage in society. lic neighbours. They meet often and in the coteries of Paris, the best Racon- professedly as children gather round a teur is the leading person of the evening kitchen fire, to recite and hear tales of the observed of all observers--the ghost or fairy, of love or murder, of fatal ATHENEVM. Vol. 2

intrigue or successful gallantry, of moral

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

instruction or questionable decency. Mu- be so classed) meeting in death. There sic, and ices, and the occasional excita- is a beauty and enthusiasm-a taste and tion of gambling give variety to these en- imagination-a fancy and sad conviction tertainments, and after they have run the of reality about this tale which would round of the salons, the most favoured have pressed it upon us irresistibly for efforts of invention issue from the press selection, but that much of its effect defor the amusement of the demi-barbarians pends upon the original language, and of the provinces and foreign countries, that it would occupy more of our space who do not breathe within the sole circle than can be spared with justice from othof fashion and civilization-Paris. er matters. We admire it so highly

To such source are we indebted for a however that we will not pledge ourmultitude of the Contes with which the selves not to reprint it in some of our fuFrench language teems; a language, be ture numbers, though we must now pass it remarked, peculiarly adapted to this to what will furnish an adequate notion species of composition. We know not, of the merits of this volume, namely, however, whether Madame de Genlis is

ZUMA, now much addicted to the intercourse of Ou la découverte de Quinquina. Parisian life, or retired in her babits About the middle of the seventeenth whether she mixes with the throng to ac- century, the animosity of the Indians to. quire fresh ideas and later combinations, wards the Spaniards existed in all its or draws upon the stores of early accom- force ; tradition, too faithful, maintained plishments. Certainly there is nothing among this oppressed and devoted peoexclusively appropriated to the present ple the dreadful recollection of the cruday in her last publication. Two of the elty of their conquerors. They were subjects only grow out of the Revolution, subjugated, but had not submitted. The and the other three embrace the romance Spaniards had only conquered slaves, of a former era or the circumstances of and their reign was merely the dominion distant climes and remoter ages. Their of terror. About this period a Viceroy, titles are-“ Zuma ou la Découverte more severe than all who had preceded du Quinquina—La BellePaule-Zenéide him, excited their powerless and secret ou la perfection idéale- Les Roseaux batred to its utmost extent. His Secredu Tibre- La Veuve de Luzi.”

tary, the rigorous Minister of his arbitraAs we intend to subinit a transla- ry will, was a man of insatiable cupidition of the first tale entirely to our read- ty; and the Indians detested him even ers as a specimen of the work, we shall more than they did his master. He confine ourselves to notice that this pref- died suddenly and the horrid symptoms erence arises froin its being the most which preceded his death, induced a unidramatic of these productions and the versal belief that he had been poisoned by most conformable to our limits. Of the the Indians. Investigations were instiothers we shall content ourselves with tuted, but the criminals remained undissaying, that La Belle Paule is a piece of covered. This event occasioped a great early chivalry, which might have been sensation, for it was not the first crime of an Episode in the “ Knights of the the same description which had occurred Swan :"--Zénéide a well written fairy among the Indians. It was well known tale : la Veuve de Luzi a very simple that they were acquainted with various and pathetic story of a widow, whose mortal poisons: they had oftener than only son is one of the victims of that in- once been detected in administering them; fernal system called Conscription : and but neither torture nor the punishment of Les Roseaux du Tibre one of the most death, bad been successful in drawing affecting and elegant as well as feeling from them any confession of these dreadcompositions of the kind we have ever ful secrets, read. He tells with a touching simplic. In the meanwhile the Viceroy was reity and refined sensibility the fate of two called ; and Count de Cinchon was aplovers in humble life, separated by the pointed by the Court of Spain to fill his reign of terror, and after many adven- place. The Count was in.the vigour of tures (if the transactions of the heart may his age, and endowed with every amiable

VOL. 2.]

Zuma : a Tale, by Madame de Genlis.


quality and every virtue, calculated to with feelings of injustice and tyranoy conciliate the affection and win the con- and a thirst for wealth. In vain were fidence of all around him. He had a they informed that the Court was mild, short time before married a charming humane and equitable ; they repeated young lady, whom he adored, and by one to the other, he is a Spaniard ! and whom he was passionately beloved. The these words conveyed the most energetic Countess had resolved on following her expression of hatred. Religion had not husband, who dreading, on her account, yei modified these impetuous feelings, the perfidy and hatred of the Indians, her sublime morality was hitherto unexpressed a wish that she should remain known to the Indians. Their rulers had in Spain, notwithstanding the distress merely compelled them to observe a few which the very thought of such a separa- exterior ceremonies, and they still retaiotion excited in his mind. But the Coun- ed a great portion of their former supertess was filled with terrors when she re- stition and idolatry. flected, that her husband would be ex. Amidst all their misery, the Indians posed to all the dark conspiracies of ba. had exercised, ever since the conquest of tred and revenge. The facts attested by America, a secret vengeance which had the late Viceroy, and above all his exag- not yet roused the suspicion of any Spangerated recitals, represented the Indians iard; they had been forced to yield to as vile slaves, who, under the mask of their oppressors the gold and diamonds docility, and even attachment, were ca- of the new world, but they had concealpable of plotting in secret the blackest ed from them treasures more precious and most criminal treachery. Surprise and more useful to humanity. Though ing stories were related of the inconceive they had resigned to them all the luxury abie subtilty of the poisons of South of nature, they had exclusively reserved America, and indeed without exaggera- real benefits to themselves. They alone tion.* The alarm which these dreadful knew the powerful counter-poisons and ideas excited in the mind of the Count- wonderful antidotes which cautious naess, proved an additional motive in de- ture or rather Providence has distributtermining her to follow the Viceroy, that ed over these regions as remedies against she might watch over his safety with all extreme disorders. The Indians alone the precautions of fear and all the vigi. were aware of the admirable virtues of lance of love. She took along with her the Bark of the Quinquina, and by a solsome Spanish ladies, who were to com- emn and faithfully observed coinpact, by pose her Court at Lima, and among them the most dreadful and frequently renewwas the intimate friend of her childhood. ed oaths, they had pledged themselves Beatrice, (for this was her name,) was never to reveal to their oppressors these only a few years older than the Vice- important secrets.* Queen; but the attachinent she enter- Ainidst the rigours of slavery the Intained for her was of so tender a nature, dians had always maintained a kind of that it reserubled the affection of a moth- internal government among themselves ; er. She had used every effort to per- they nominated a chief whose mysterious suade the countess to remain at Madrid, functions consisted in assembling them but finding that her resolution was unal- together during the night, at certain peterably fixed, she determined to accom- riods, to renew their oaths and sometimes paby her.

for the purpose of marking out victims Though the Indians were overjoyed among their enemies. The Indians of at being freed from the yoke of their the townships, who enjoyed greater free. Viceroy, they were not the better dispos- dom than those who were subjected to ed to receive his successor. He was service in the palace of the Viceroy, and a Spaniard, and they consequently ex- who were employed in the public works, pected that he would be animated only never failed to join these nocturnal as

* From the accounts of Travellers and Nas semblies, which were held amongst the turalists, there are in America certain plants mountains in desert places, the only acof so venomous a nature, that the poison takes cess to which was by-roads which apeffect on those who bappen to step upon them, even with shoes on tbeir feet.

* These details are all historical.


Zuma : a tale, by Madame de Genlis.

(vol. 2

peared impassable to the Europeans. darkness! Uohappy children of the But these retreats were to them, if not Sun, we are reduced to conceal ourthe happy asylums of liberty, at least the selves amidst the shades of night!.... sole refuge which could protect thein Let us renew around the Tree of Health against tyranny. At this time, their se- the awful contract which binds us for cret and supreme chief (for they had ever to conceal our secrets." Ximeo several), was named Ximeo. Irritated then, in a more elevated and firm voice, by misfortune and private injustice, his pronounced the following words ; * We soul, though naturally great and gener- swear never to discover to the children of ous, had long since been a stranger to Europe the divine virtues of the sacred every mild and tender sentiment. A tree, the only treasure that remains to us! feeling of vehement indignation, which Woe to the faitbless and perjured Indian no principle tended to repress, bad, by wbo, being seduced by false virtue, or daily increase, at length rendered him fear, or weakness, shall reveal this secret cruel and ferocious. But the base and to the destroyers of his Gods, of bis sovcowardly atrocity of poisoning was re- ereigns, and of his country! Woe to pugnant to his character. He himself the coward who sball make a gift of this had never employed this horrible instru- treasure of health to the Barbarians who ment of revenge, he had even interdict- have enslaved us, and whose ancestors ed it to his companions, and every act burned our temples and cities, invaded of villainy committed in that way was our plajos, and bathed their hands in the done in contradiction to his will. Ximeo, blood of our fathers, after having inflicted was a father, he had an only son named on them upheard of torments!.... Let Mirvan whom he fondly loved and them keep the gold which they have whorn he bad inspired with a portion of wrested from us, and of which they are his hatred of the Spaniards. Mirvan was insatiable; that gold which has cost them young, handsome and generous. About so many crimes : but we will at least three years helore, he had been married reserve to ourselves this gift of Heaven! to Zuma, the most beautiful of all the .... Should a traitor ever arise amongst Indian women of the environs of Lima. us, we swear to pursue and exterminate The tenderness and sensibility of Zuma him, tho' he should be our father, our were equal to the charms of her person ; brother, or our son. We swear, should she formed the happiness of her husband, he be engaged in the bonds of marriage, and lived only for him and for a child, to pursue in him his wife and children, two years of age, of which she was the if they have not been his accusers; and mother.

if his children are in the cradle, to sacriAnother chief, named Azan, next to fice them,so that his guilty race may be forXimeo, possessed the greatest ascen- ever extinet..... My friends, pronounce dance over the Indians. Azan was vio- from your inmost souls, these formidable lent and cruel, and no natural virtue tem- oaths, the formula of which was bequeathpered the instinct of fury by which he ed to you by your grandfathers,and wbich was constantly aniinated. These two you have already so many times repeatchiefs believed themselves to be of illus- ed !".... “ Yes, yes, the Indians extrious origin, they boasted of their de- claimed with one voice, we pronounce scent from the royal race of the Incas. all these imprecations against him who

A few days after the arrival of the shall betray this secret; we swear to new Viceroy, Ximeo convoked, for the keep it with inviolable fidelity, to endure following night, a nocturnal meeting on the most dreadful torments and even the hill of the Tree of Health, thus they death itself, rather than reveal it." designated the tree from which is obtaine “Look back," said the ferocious Azan, ed the Quinquina, or Peruvian Bark, “on the early days of our subjection, at “ My friends," he said, when they had that terrible period whea millions of In. all collected, “ a new tyrant is about to dians were put to the torture, not one would reign over us : let us repeat our oaths of save his life by the disclosure of this sejust revenge, Alas ! we dare utter cret, which our countrymen have kept them only when we are surrounded by locked within their bosoms for more than

VOL. 2.]
Zuma : a tale, by Madame de Genlis.

165 two hundred years!.... Judge then natural generosity of her character, she whether we can invent a punishment yielded to every sinister alarm and every sufficiently severe for bim who may be- black suspicion, which gloomy distrust tray it !.... For my own part, I once and terror were capable of inspiring : more swear that if there be an Indian she was excusable; it was her friend's among us capable of such a crime, that safety, and not her own, that excited her he shall perish only by my hand ; and apprehensions ! She observed with disshould he have a wife, and children tress the friendsbip of the Vice-queen sucking at their mother's breast, I again for an Indian female, and the women of swear to plunge my poigoard in their the Countess conceived an extreme jeahearts !"....

lousy of Zuma. They took advantage This ferocious speech was not pro- of the weakness of Beatrice to fill her nounced without a design. Azan hated mind with prejudice : they represented the young Mirvan, the son of Ximeo, Zuma as being false, dissembling and not merely because he did not carry his ambitious, and one who fancied that ber animosity against the Spaniards to a suf- pleasing person would pardon every act ficient length, but above all because Mir- of presumption ; that she was far from van, the adored husband of the beautifui loving the Countess, and that she enterZuma, and the father of a charming child, tained an inveterate abhorrence of the was bappy. The wicked are always un- Spaniards. They soon went still greater fortunate and always envious. “Azan," lengths, and attributed to her the most replied Mirvan, “it is possible to keep extravagant discourse. Beatrice did not one's promise without possessing your indeed give credit to all that was related ferocity ; no one here is capable of per- to ber, but she conceived a degree of injury ; your menaces can therefore excite quietude and distrust which inspired her Do terror, and are useless. We all know with a real aversion for Zuma. This that in excuse for cruelty you neither enmity became the stronger when she want a traitor to pursue nor a crime to found that Zuma was immoveably fixed puoish.” Azan, irritated, was about to in the good graces of the Vice-queen, seply ; but Ximeo prevented a violent who daily testified more and more atdispute, by representing the imprudence tachment towards the object of so much and danger of uselessly prolonging these hatred, injustice and caluinny. Zuma, clandestine assemblies, and all immedi- on her part, entertained the tenderest afately dispersed.

fection for the Countess ; nevertheless, The Indians being forced to dissem- to avoid disagreeable sienes, she almost ble, maintained an appearance of respect wholly confined herself to her own and submission. A numerous troop of chamber, and seldom appeared except young lodian women, carrying baskets when the Countess required her services. of flowers assembled at the gates of Lima The Viceroy spared no endeavours to to receive the Vice-queen. Zuma was render himself beloved by the Indians : at their head, and the Countess was so but the latter had known instances of struck with her beauty, her grace, and several Viceroys having manifested mildthe gentle expression of her countenance, ress, justice, and affability at the comthat in the course of a few days she ex- mencement of their government, who afpressed a wish to have her among the terwards belied all these happy promises. number of Indian slaves, who were ein. Thus the real goodness of the Count ployed in the interior of the palace for made no favorablu impression upon them. the service of the Vice-queen. The They regarded it as hypocrisy or weakCountess quickly conceived such a friend- ness occasioned by fear on account of ship for Zuma that she attached her to the sudden death of the secretary of bis the private service of her chamber and predecessor. her person. This favor seemed an act of The Countess had now resided about inprudence in the eyes of Beatrice, four months at Lima, and a visible dewhose mind was so prepossessed by the cline had taken place in her health. accounts she had heard of the perfidy of This distressing change was at first atthe Indians, that, notwithstanding the tributed to the buroing heat of the cli

« AnteriorContinuar »