Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

just after dinner, as I was waiting I bantered him not a little, and by rather impatiently to reply, I did contradicting occasionally, or discrewhat foolish people sometimes foolish- diting the accounts of robberies and ly do, with my finger picked up the assassinations given him, really en. crumbs off the table ; in doing this, larged the sphere of his terrors. There and with my eye fixed at the same was always, therefore, between us a time upon the spot, I saw, how shall sort of combat upon these matters. I tell it, the crumbs running away One day I observed him listening with from me.

What became of the argu- a very woful face, one quite of desment I know not. My antagonists in pair, as if the ever getting back to it had it all to themselves.

Islington were hopeless, listening, I

say, to a dragoon officer, who, all tags “ Licito tandem sermone fruentur."

and stars, sat beside him at dinner, and There was very little “ Comfort” was, whether quizzingly or not, I do in these “ Crumbs.” The next day I not know, giving an account of being went off to Naples; but as I left my attacked in the very town of Fondi, trunks and many things at Rome, and and that one of the banditti, with a intended not to stay long in it again, slash, cut off his servant's (coachand flattering myself that such an ac- man's) foot. After a moment's pause, cidental licence would not befal me a the Islington forsaken assumed ensecond time, on my return I was con- ergy, and pointing one hand to me, strained to go to the same hotel. I the other to the officer, and lookcould not sit down at the same side of ing at each alternately, he cried out, the table I had sat before, and with “ There, sir, what do you think of a misgiving mind took a more distant that, sir? Here, sir, is a gentleman place. Before I began to touch any of veracity-no false account this, sir thing I examined the cloth,

-had his servant's foot cut off, sir, “ Infandum, Regina, jubes renovare

going through Fondi. Oh, I wish Í

had never come to Italy, but was safe dolorem !”

home at Islington! But how to get Down dropt my knife and fork. It was there, sir?" This poor frightened the nature of the place and people. gentleman bad brought a nephew with “ Naturam expellas furcâ, tamen usque him, as travelling companion, probably recurret ;" that is, you may throw to give him some notion of the classidown your fork, if you please, but you cal allusions to be met with in tour shall have the same dish for dinner to- books. He was the most forlorn look

The company at this hotel ing youth I ever saw. I thought his was sometimes very amusing. There uncle had bored him into the dismals was one timid gentleman, who appear with his fears; and, therefore, to turn ed to have retired early from the busi, the conversation, and endeavour to ness of the world, or to have escaped make him lively, I asked him how he from it for the wisdom and polish to liked Italy. He answered, with a very be acquired by travel, to have some- hollow voice, “ I have had a bowel thing of travelled knowledge to impart complaint ever since I have been in it." at his parties at Islington-for there Tot hominum, tot mentes. “ O Italia, was he, according to his own free Italia !” said Felicaia. The deuce take communication, most comfortably do- Italy! thought these comfortless commiciled, with a maiden sister who kept fortables. This was before my friend house for him. Quite delicious were and I fell in with the banditti. It must the descriptions of his home happiness. have been a curious struggle between Oh, if his sister did but know the dan- triumph for the argument and increase gers he was in ! did he often say. No- of fear, when the Islingtonian received thing frightened this poor gentleman an account of our disaster. I most so much as accounts of robbers; and I sincerely hope he has escaped all perils, make no doubt his courier, for he had and amuses Islington's snug parties one, played upon his fears upon all with the account of his travels, and occasions. He looked upon himself that the nephew has not died of the in Rome as in a robber's trap, and cholera. which way to get out of it he did not All this by way of episode. Now know. He had no conversation but to return. You are not to imagine, about banditti, and Islington comforts Eusebius, that the Italians resort to —and they were in fearful contrast. these great systems of robberies, be

morrow

cause they have no genius for the little. once put my head within half an inch There cannot be a greater mistake. of one, in closing a shutter, going to They have astonishing acumen for the bed at Subiaco ; nor of tarantulas and minutiæ minutissime of the art. Be “ such small deer," because I have you ever so acute yourself (I mean not been reading an account of spiders in in the art predatory), you will find Persia, that, as I perfectly detest the that it is a contest of heads, from the genus, make me quite shudder to think time you enter to the time you quit of; and, in comparison, all these matItaly. I say not much about the inns, ters in Italy, excepting the fleas-I for I think there we beat them, or we cannot give up them, for they never used to do. I have not been of late a gave up me—are nothing. Nothing traveller, and I hope reform has reach- more astonished me than the universal ed our own inns; and that no longer, cheating of shopkeepers, and even if you remark upon a bill, and that bankers. I have received a small copthere must be a mistake, the waiter percoin-undera farthing, nicely packshall say, “ Yes, sir, we have omitted ed in the middle of a rouleau of Nato charge the vegetables :" or, that poleons, from the bank; and have been he shall tell you, with the coolest air cheated out of a few pounds, in the in the world, when you say " Why," in transfer from a bank in one place to a tone of remonstrance, “ why, this a bank in another, because the banker is dearer than the at Oxford;" chose to omit moneta fina. But, at a Yes, sir, we are reckoned a trifle shop, if you offered often a third, or higher.” But there is this difference even a quarter, you would pay too in the two countries ; in the one you much. I travelled some days in comare cheated out of your money, but pany with the wife of a manufacturer, into comforts ; in the other out of both, who cautioned me on this point. I but certainly less money. I will, there could not believe it; and, when I ar. fore, give up inps, and in every sense, rived at Rome, she desired me to go for, in Italy, I never mean to enter out and try the experiment. I bought another. But the cafés are very cheap a common article to ascertain the and abominably dirty. When I was point. I forget what I gave, but it was there, there were two things which about a third of what I was asked, and rendered them odious-the number of I felt ashamed to offer it, but I did so beggars and the number of flies. At for the experiment's sake, and found I every sip of coffee you took, multitudes had given a little too much. But the of beggars' hands were close to your following account as to this matter will mouth, and multitudes of flies in it. surprise you :- I went to a bookselThere could be no conversation for the ler's--a publisher's library. He had no reiterated cry of “ Datemi qualche shop, not to external appearance. He cosa. But vermin of all kinds was a most urbane, aged, gentlemanly, abound; and, what is curious, places white-headed man, the author of antilong unlet, humanly untenanted, the quities, &c. &c. &c. There, I supfleas take possession of. I left Italy pose, were the literati and the dilet

most imperfect notion of tanti, for the room, in respect of comMichael Angelo's great work, “ The pany, reminded me of Mr Murray's Day of Judgment." I wore white pan- in Albemarle Street, where you may taloons when I entered the chapel, and, breathe an atmosphere of learning, in an instant they were like pepper and wisdom, and most urbane sociality ; salt worsted, covered with thousands there was I introduced, and, when of fleas

there, turned over some portfolios of

prints. I had been collecting prints " Qui color albus erat nunc est contrarius

from the works of a favourite master; albo."

and, in one of the portfolios, I found They are, I doubt not, the Pope's an injured, soiled print of one of his body-guard, whose business it is to subjects, which I had not before seen. keep your hands employed that you The man looked so like an author, and take away nothing of his. I suppose so far above all matters extra the love they do good and keep down the fever of the antique and antiquities, that I of the blood, and so you need no other scarcely knew how to make my wishes phlebotomy. I will not attempt to known. I did it, therefore, by a cirfrighten your young friend with ac- cumlocation, first admiring the print; counts of scorpions, &c., though I and then, as it was a modern one, ask

with a

ing if it was published in Rome, then This was pretty well, for I came off if sold in Rome. He caught eagerly with “flying colours," that is with the at the word sold, and, without much colour of my money, which was sure to ado, told me the price—five scudi; that fly upon some other occasion ; for the is, about twenty-five shillings. I saw Italians were too much for me. And at once it was enormous, and thought so it happened; for in my love of the of the caution ; and, remarking that it antique I forgot my prudence ; and, was a little soiled, said I ought to have being desirous of having some plaster it for three. He took three, and off I casts, was recommended to an honest went with my print. Within an hour tradesman, who was to take them for I passed a Stamperia, where I saw at me from some sculpture at the Vati. the window a clean impression of the can, the subjects of which much very print, and a printed list of the pleased me. They were a pastoral prices, and, would you believe it, figure, and a freize, the search of Ceres. Eusebius, it was under one scudo; and, I made my bargain, and like a fool for a damaged copy, I had been asked paid my money, and paid for the pack. by this white-haired piece of antiquity, ing and the shipping. But the unand inquitous antiquity, five, and had plastered shepherd is still piping ; and actually given three! Oh, Eusebius, all I can hope is that Ceres has sent you would not have been contented the plaster-cast maker to Hades. inwith blowing him up, you would have stead of going there herself, and that, taken fire throughout, and gunpow- having some interest with Proserpine, dered the whole edifice, regardless of he will be flogged daily, for my money the literati and dilettanti, all the while has been cast upon the worthless. I gravely discussing the probabilities of bequeath the debt a legacy to the the tombs of the Horatii and Curiatii; Pope. but, as you were not there, those dis- I have written enough, though I cussions are still going on, and still will have matter more, and abundant, but go on. But what did I do? I quietly there is a time for all things. Whatwalked back to the grand library, ever effect this account may have upon and as quietly told the old gentleman your young friend, I am sure you, who that he was a thief, a rascal, and that know me, will be satisfied that I unI would expose him to all the English. derstate things. You know I have The last words did the business; he look- no talent at exaggeration, Probably ed dreadfully alarmed, and looked be- your friend will read Eustace, and, if hind him to see who might be within he be very young, believe him. Perhearing; and, making significant nods, haps he will read Rogers' “ Italy," and putting one hand to my mouth, and tell you that it is not 'mine, and to prevent my doing mischief, in great you will add that I have not Rogers's haste put the other hand into his pocket Pleasures of Memory.” and handed me back all my money.

Vive valeque.

Z.

DE LAMARTINE.

ALPHONSE DE LAMARTINE is a de. of Ain, seated near the Rhone, he re. scendant of one of the ancient noble ceived his education, and early showed provincial families of France, whose a great aptitude for learning, bearing members were always actively employ- away all the prizes and crowns yearly ed in the service of their country. In distributed. A French provincial eduthe 15th century one of his ancestors

cation is at best, however, a sorry is mentioned as “Capitaine de la Ville affair ; and, when De Lamartine rede Cluny,” and his female ancestors ceived his, there was certainly not continued to receive a (6 redevanced more, but less attention paid than at from the monastery of Cluny, until present, to the formation of the mind the first French Revolution, which of the student. This was, however, abolished all such dues. In the Me- partially compensated for by the sumorial des Etats de Bourgogne the perior moral and religious education family is registered. Several seign- he then obtained. But De Lamartine ories belonged to it, such as those of was a genius and a poet. He bad, in D'Hurigny, D'Urcy, De Monceaux, his earliest years, a passion for all that &c., &c., and the chateau and estate was beautiful, harmonious, and tasteof Monceaux still in his possession, by ful. He loved the quiet landscape, inheritance, have been for centuries in the domestic and family hearth, the the family.

grouping of virtue and cheerfulness, ALPHONSE Maria Louis de LAMAR

the melody of the birds, the humming TINE was born on 21st October, 1791. of the bee, the active perseverance of His father was Captain of Cavalry in the ant, the gay wings of the butterthe Dauphiny regiment, and Chevalier fly, the variegated foliage of the forest, of St Louis. He was one of those who the murmuring of the rill—the homeremained faithful to the unfortunate stead, the barn, the thatched roof--the and forsaken Louis XVI. ; and, to- knell of the curfew, the ivy of the gether with his grandfather, uncles, church, the village cemetery, the viaunts, &c., was imprisoned for his po- gorous peasant, the harmony of litical opinions at Macon. The mother nature, and the works of God. As he of Alphonse took a house looking on grew up, he found the moral world the prison gate, that she might show replete also with good. Noble and geher infant daily to his father through nerous sentiments, a disinterested love the bars of the jail. Had it not been of his fellow-creatures, and an elefor the timely death of Robespierre vated piety towards the Father of heathey would all have ascended the scaf- ven and earth, took possession of his fold; but, in consequence of that nature; and, as Aimé Martin says, event, they escaped, and retired to a in his Education des Maurs de . small residence on a wine estate called mille, Voilà pourquoi les grands Milly, which he has since celebrated écrivains nous ravissent ; voilà pourin one of his Harmonies, entitled “ La quoi les grands poètes nous enlèvent ! Terre Natale." Is it not extraordinary voilà pourquoi, d'un trait de leur géthat he, who was in his infancy the nie, ils souillent sur la foule vulgaire le son of a political prisoner at Macon, dénouément des Grecques pour la pashould now be the political representa- trie, ou les transports de Socrate pour tive of that town, his birth-place, in la vertu." parliament? At Milly he passed his On leaving college De Lamartine infancy in rustic liberty, and his fond. returned to his family, and often reest affections gratefully attach him tired alone to the Chateau de St Point, to this spot. There he first acquired which belonged to his father, but which his taste for nature. Birds, butter- was then uninhabited, and nearly in flies, flowers, and vineyards, were his ruins. This solitary and romantic companions, and the scenes of his scene was admirably adapted to the early wanderings; and there the sun- character of his mind, and suited his sets and sunrises, storms and tem. imaginative and poetic tendencies. He pests of the year, made an indelible continually studied nature whilst he impression on his young mind. At the read history, and examined, with the college of Bellay, in the Department eye of Christiah philosopby, the natural, as well as the moral world which Chamberry, they first saw each other, he inhabited.

and a deep-settled attachment was As, during the reign of Napoleon, formed, which was, however, opposed his family would not allow him to ac- by both the mother and family of Miss cept any public employment, remaining, Birch. At length the consent of the as it did, faithful to the eldest branch former was obtained, on condition that of the House of Bourbon, the young De Lamartine should quit the military De Lamartine resolved on foreign career, should enter on that of diplotravel, and made a journey to Italy, macy, and should obtain the appointand a long residence there, for the pur- ment of secretary to the French empose of supplying his mind with those bassy in London. The father of Miss classical recollections which should Birch was an officer of merit in the improve his natural taste, and prepare British army, and spent half his forhim for his future career as a French tune in equipping a volunteer corps poet. Want of occupation, to the and battery to resist a threatened young De Lamartine, neither suited French descent on the coast of Enghis principles nor his tastes. He had land. Little did he think at that time no notion of a young man of talent, that his then infant child would become fortune, and family, having the right the wife of the greatest French poet to eat, and drink, and laugh, and dance, of the age in which he lived.

The and sleep, without making any attempt maternal great-grandfather of Madame to mitigate the sorrows, improve the de Lamartine was the Governor Holcharacter, increase the knowledge, or well, who survived the catastrophe of ameliorate the taste of his fellow-mor- the Black Hole in Calcutta, and lived tals. As, then, he was interdicted by to the advanced age of 99. Her father his family from accepting any civil or and brothers all served in India in the military employment under Napoleon, civil department, and held very high he determined on so actively occupy- situations. Thus the families of De ing his time as to render himself, at Lamartine and Birch, with all their least, prepared for future usefulness, branches, have belonged to the aristowhen any change should take place in cracy of the two countries. the destinies of France. Though not Immediately after the marriage of a soldier by profession, he yet received De Lamartine with Miss Birch, they military preparation; and, when the set off to Naples, he having been ap. Restoration arrived, he was permitted pointed secretary to the embassy there. to become a member of the body- They then proceeded to Rome, to anguard of Louis XVIII.

other diplomatic nomination; thence, Tne mother of De Lamartine was for a short time, to London; and finMademoiselle Des Roys, a young lady ally, to Florence, where he acted in of distinguished merit and beauty. Her the capacity of chargé d'affaires. mother was governess to the royal In 1829 he left Florence to be apprinces, and she was herself brought pointed Minister in Greece, and then up with the present King of the French, arrived those events of 1830, which Louis Philippe, and with Madame once more changed the whole tenor of Adelaide, his sister. She lived to an his life, since, from principle, he gave advanced age, and died in 1828. The in his resignation, and has never since father of De Lamartine is still living, accepted any post under Government. in his 87th year, in full possession of Apprehensive of a long and sangui. all his faculties, and not less venerable nary revolution-disapproving, on the for his noble and consistent character, one hand, the ordinances of Charles than for the number of years during X., and, on the other hand, the exclu. which he has lived, beloved by his sion of the Duke de Bourdeaux from family, his friends, and his princes. the throne of France—resolved on se

De Lamartine had five sisters, and parating himself from political party on occasion of the marriage of one of agitation-convinced that his country them to the Count de Viguet, at Cham- had need of order and repose, and not berry in Savoy, the poet became ac- of agitation and discussion, and above quainted with his amiable and accom- and before all things, anxious to visit plished lady, the daughter of W. H. the Holy Land, and to impregnate his Birch, Esq., who was then travelling very soul on the spot with those emoon the Continent with her mother. tions which he wished to feel, and At the Marquise de la Pierre's, at which he desired to cultivate - De

« AnteriorContinuar »