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could accept a professorship in Kiel without a blush , and discharge its duties without disgracingor overworking myself . " ^ _ Niebuhr was essentially a scholar—a bookworm ; and he carried Jus feelings thoroughly with him in his studies . There was a certain ^ tiffness of Son about him , an intellectual narrowness which has repelled many , curiously illustrated in this passage : — " My acquaintance with M . has been put a stop to by the difference of our principles- and what is strange , not in politic hut philosophy . He denies the freedom of the will , and the moral -law ; is a fatalist and indifferentist : I subscribe to Kant ' principles with all my heart . I have broken with M ., not from any dispute we hare had , but on account of the detestable conclusions which necessarily follow froni his opinions , — conclusions that absolutely annihilate all morality . I really loved him notwithstanding , but with such principles I could not be his ¦ ¦
friend . " . Yet , lest this should leave an unpleasant impression , we will quote tne following , wherein his moral nature finds expression : — - « Manly worth , elevation of intellect , and enthusiasm , are to me the noblest things on earth , superhuman , and the best pledge of our higher destination , heavenly origin , and divine illumination . I cannot worship the abstractions of virtue , —she only charms me when she addresses herself to my heart , speaks through the love from which she springs . " Or , this beautiful
aphorism"To be strong in love is the only way to become noble , and all softening through education , which is not based on love , is merely pernicious . " We must reserve many other extracts , to be quoted elsewhere from time to time , and conclude this notice by an emphatic recommendation to all our studious readers to possess themselves of the work .
MEN AND WOMEN OF FEANCE . Men and Women ofFrance . duriyiWklMSt Century . In Three Volumes . Bentley . If Mr . Bentley accepted this work in the belief that it was original , we venture to say that he has been grossly deceived . It is French from the first page to the last . We have no time to hunt up the originals , but the internal evidenee is conclusive as to these sketches being translationsand we will add , very indifferent translations ; an opinion the following samples will prove . The common French idiom , prendre la chef des champs betrays a translator , and a bad one-, for ne has rendered it literally , " Ah , sire , is it not enough for to-day to have given me the hey of the fields ? " By way of literalness also read this : " She is rehearsing her part with that animal Lafontaine , who makes half my pieces . ¦ ' to
" ITomme d ' esprit" istranslated " a man of spirit ; and tor a sentence puzzle the English reader take this : " As soon as Fontenelle presented himself at the Academy the old satirist took the field against him . Everywhere after the visit of Fontenelle . followed that of Boueau . " Who would imagine that this meant to describe how Fontenelle wanted to be elected as a Member of the Academy , and that every visit he paid to the members to solicit their votes was succeeded by a visit from Boileau P Indeed , the whole style of this work is not only transparently Gallic , but is , as we said , a very indifferent translation . " Yet no name is on the titlepage j no hint is given in the preface ( which is dated February , 1852 , ) that the work is a translation ; and we began it under the bona-fide impression that some English author had produced a companion work to
Miss Kavanagh ' s Women of France . Nevertheless the book is extremely amusing . It was worth translating for the gay picture it presents of literary and artistic France during that wonderful epoch . It is a portrait gallery wherein every head has a family resemblance with the rest , and all arrest the eye . The author has studied history-from its anecdotical side , and he sketches Dufresny , Fontenelle , Marivaux , Piron , Prevost , Gentil Bernard , Florian , Boufners , Hivarol , La Clos Gretry , Diderot , Boucher , Lantara , Louis XV ., Camargo , Guimard , Sophie Arnould , Crebillon , Lamotte , BufFon , Bernis , Vade * , Madame do
Dorat , Trublct , Watteau , Lancret , Vanloo , Grcuze , Pompadour , Dancourt , and Mdlle . Clairon , in the liveliest colours . One must not look in it for profound appreciation of character , or for justness of criticism ; but for anecdote , piquant biography , and pleasant pictures of the atelier , the court , the theatre , and the salon of the eighteenth century . It is no more like the true life of that epoch than novels are like reality ; but it is as amusing as the most brilliant of novels , and cannot be set down unread . Such an omelette soufflie of literature it would be pedantry to criticise , so we will content ourselves with this brief indication of its nature , and select an extract or so . contains almost
Here is a passage about Piron , which as many jokes as sentences : — " In the eighteenth century , the gentlemen of Beaune were not all men of wit . Piron found it a barren soil , if not for Bacchus , at least for Apollo . It was a fertile field for epigram ; but a joke , to bo intelligible to them , must needs bo broad . Piron dressed up a jackass as an archer , and dragged him by main force to the training-ground . * Here / snys he , ' is one of the company whom I met as I came along . ' The animal began to bray , and the archers looked at one another with vexation , liko people whoso secret has been found out . In the evening , all the archers except the iackass went to the theatre . As tho actors spoke somewhat
low , tho spectators began to cry , ' Louder , louder ; wo can't hear ! ' * It is not for want of oars / exclaimed Piron . Tho indignant audience threw themselves on tho poot , who made Ins escape with tho greatest difficulty in tho world , exclaiming , ' Alono , I could whip them all / In sober earnest ,, twojity rusty swords were drawn upon him . Tho next day , as ho returned to Dijon , ho mowed down vigorously all tho thiatlos which ho found along tho road . Soino of tho people of Beaune , meeting him slashing away in this manner , asked , ' What aro you about ?' ' Parbleu ! I am at war with the inhabitants of Beauno , and am cutting off their provisions ! ' Tho war lasted a long time ; it was as celebrated ns tho battle of Fontonoy . To this day tho gentlemen of Beaune do not relish pleasantry on the
subject /' Hero ia another , ;—" At that time , Piron wont occasionally into society , dining here and there at a great mansion . He Jkwew very well that it was hia wit which \ m invited j as ho
said , ' They hire roe on wages / He , went everywhere without bending the knee One day , at the house of some . marquis , whose name I have forgotten , a noblema ' made way for him to enter the dining-room before him . The marquis , observing this ceremony , addressed the nobleman : ' Oh , my dear Count , don't be so ce * monious ; he is only a poet / Piron repelled the insult like a man of spirit . H " raised his head proudly , and went in - first , saying , ¦ ' Since our titles are known , I take my rank / " _ How poets married in the eighteenth century is amusingly illustrated by Dufresny and Piron : ~ „ ; . \ , .
DUFEESNT S WA 8 HBBWOMAN . " Dufresny returned to his lodging , thinking that a wife , the first he could get would be a treasure to him in his misery . With a wife he would be sure of a home and of his daily bread ; he had his days of ennui , and a wife woidd make them pass pleasantly . A letter from Biancoletti came to dissipate this odd reverie . Biancoletti invoked the aid of his humour to gi , ye the finishing touch to a piece he had in hand . Dufresny mended his pen , and sat down to answer the letter . He had not written three lines , when a woman , without any _ previous noticp '
walked into his room . . * Alas ! ' said he , * people formerly took thrf trouble , to wait in the ante-chamber ; this is the inconvenience of being no longer a fine gentleman , and particularly of not having an ante-chamber / The woman , who had heard Dufresny ' s remark , quietly said to him , ' I went through all youroother rooms without meeting a single valet , otherwise I should have had myself announced / Dufresny , recognising the voice , turned with , a merry smile , 'Ah , isit you , Angdlique ? I am glad of it . . I was waiting with impatience for my ruffles / ' That is all very well , Monsieur Dufresny ; but you" have had no ruffles in the wash this
longtime . , " This woman ^ as Dufresny ' s washerwoman , a fine girl , pleasant and fair-complexioned , and dressed coquettishly . ' Do you know ; Angelique / continued the poet , resuming his letter , ' that you are a very pretty , girl ? ' ' That is possible , Monsieur Dufresny ; but I am not to be paid with that kind of money to-day You have owed me eighty livres this long time . I beg you to remember me , for I am going to be married / ' What is that ? you are going to he married ! ' cried Dufresny , suddenly starting from his chair . ' And why not , if you please ? Am I not old enough ?' " Dufresny had become thoughtful . ' With whom and with what ? ' ' With a valet-de-chambre of the Due D'Harcourt , and with twelve hundred livres which
come to me from my family / ' Indeed ! the miserable fellow is not to be pitied ; a good mateh in faith ! Has anything yet-- — - " ' What do you take me for , Monsieur Dufresny ? ' ' For a fine girl wEb desires only to become a fine wife / ' That is all very well , Monsieur Dufresny , but you are making me lose my time with aU yoar fine talk . Come , be kind enough to settle our little bill / 'I have a horror ofngures . See here : to finish' this -matter , I will marry you , and we shall be quits / ' You are joking ! A gentleman—If I take you at your word - » < That is what I wish . But what will your other friend say ¦?* ' Say no more about him / ' Are you sure he has had nothing on account from your twelve hundred livres or from yourself ? ' 'I should have liked to have seen him try it ! It is only to you that people give anything on account / ' Well , embrace me , and let us be off to the next tavern . What a prettywife I am going to have ! Bythe-by , have you a little money about you . ? ' ' Do you know that yoa do me a
great deal of honour ? A man of your rank and of your talents to marry a poor girl incapable of playing the part of a duchess / 'It is you who will be the dupe ; look at the matter twice ; see to what a state I have arrived , with all my talent and my forty-five years / Angeiique , weeping , embraced him . . ' To-morrow / said she , with charming simplicity , ' I will make you look as well as I have seen you formerly . But , first and foremost , you must ask me in marriage of my aunt Durand , for form ' s sake : it is not far—Quai des Tournelles . She is a good woman , and besides—she keeps my money for me . ' ' Let us go instanter ; we should never put off anything to the morrow . If you will take my advice , we will afterwards say a short prayer together at Notre-Dame , and it will be all over . ' So , this is the style in which you wish to marry me ! Thank Heaven , I do not agree with you I' * Oh , I am willing to marry you in any style you wish . I will not even object to the marriage contract , though all such things are superfluous . bucn
" Three weeks afterwards , the marriage took place rather privately , was the manner in which Dufresny married his washerwoman . Nothing was ever more reasonable or more natural than this marriage , which catised so much scandal . But what mattered tho vain satires of tho world to Dufresny ? He had a y oung and handsome wife who loved him , so he said those who pitied him were jealous . pibon ' s wife . t " One evening after supper , Piron was ruminating on I know not what in Gallot a shop ( Gallot , tho gay song-writer , the merry tippler , was , besides and above all , grocer ) , when a damsel entered , whb asks for coffee and matches . Gallet *"""" » gone out , Piron undertook to eorve the lady . ' Is that all you want ? «» ' «« , entering at that moment , laughingly said , ' Mademoiselle ought to have a J > '"\ in the bargain / ' Excellent / said Piron , ' if tho damsel will take up with any kind of wood for lier arrow / Tho lady blushed , and departed without saying
word . . | cr " Tho next morning , Piron had scarcoly risen when she ontorod his cim w ' Monsieur / said slio , all in a tremor , ' wo aro two children of Burgundy . 1 long wanted to see a man of so much wit , and having learned yesterday tn '"\ was you with whom I had to do in M . Gallot ' s shop , I have come to-day unu , ^ moniouely to pay you a visit . Oh , monsieur , how weary you must grow nor was very much afraid of finding some handBomo lady from tho theatre hero ; » Heaven bo praised ! you liyo liko a Trappist . Have you never thought ot mu J an end of this , Monsieur Piron ? ' Piron , completely stunned by this talk , < in ^ ^ ^ ' Alas , mademoiselle , I loavo tho cure of that to la Camarde ; but * ir you 1 > > what do you moan by that P' ' I wish to say , have you evor thought ^ "' ^ don't ' Not limch , mademoiselle j pray sit down while I light the # * " «• * " t shall know " , Monsiour PironP it will mako you laugh : so much the , p . ^ JTM ) r 0 speak plainly . If your heart lias tho same Hontinionts aHinino . i . i M \ y ronf and more astonished , looked at tho lady in silence . ' In a word , Monsioui ^ I come to offer you my heart and hand , not forgetting my Hfo annuity
thousand hvres . ' , ¦ . flnd " Piron , contrary to his custom , took all this seriously ; ho waa ¦ touoiicait ^ at last a compiwaionato bouI ; tho woman had tears in her eyes ; ho oml ) r " wo ( i < with warmth . I leave to you / naid he to hor , ' ull tho preparations « w ™ V th 0 ding . Gallet will write our opithttlamium / ' Yo ^ make mo , MonHieur xnv »>
278 THE ¦) : : J ^ &p $ ^ -- / - '// . }; -- ^ C ^ tiRb ^
Leader (1850-1860), March 20, 1852, page 278, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/l/issues/vm2-ncseproduct1927/page/18/