Imagens das páginas

those whom they do not like, and relax their The natural and instinctive passion of love is extreme severity proportionably in favour of excited by qualities not peculiar to artists, those that they do like, and who in general care authors, and men of letters. It is not the jest as little about them. Hence we see so many but the laugh that follows, not the sentiment desponding lovers and forlorn damsels. Love but the glance that accompanies it, that tells in women (at least) is either vanity, or interest, in a word, the sense of actual enjoyment that or fancy. It is a merely selfish feeling. It has imparts itself to others, and excites mutual nothing to do (I am sorry to say) with friend. | understanding and inclination. Authors, on the ship, or esteem, or even pity. I once asked a other hand, feel nothing spontaneously. The girl, the pattern of her sex in shape and mind common incidents and circumstances of life with and attractions, whether she did not think Mr which others are taken up, make no alteration Coleridge bad done wrong in making the heroine in them, nor provoke any of the common expresof his beautiful ballad story of Geneviève take sions of surprise, joy, admiration, anger, or compassion on her hapless lover

merriment. Nothing stirs their blood or accel.

erates their juices or tickles their veins. Instead “When on the yellow forest-leaves

of yielding to the first natural and lively impulses A dying man he lay;"

of things, in which they would find sympathy, and whether she believed that any woman ever they screw themselves up to some far-fetched fell in love through a sense of compassion; and view of the subject in order to be unintelligible. she made answer, “Not if it was against her Realities are not good enough for them, till they inclination !" I would take this lady's word for undergo the process of imagination and reflection. a thousand pounds on this point. Pain holds If you offer them your hand to shake, they will antipathy to pleasure; pity is not akin to love; hardly take it; for this does not amount to a a dying man has more need of a nurse than of a | proposition. If you enter their room suddenly, mistress. There is no forcing liking. It is as they testify neither surprise nor satisfaction: no little to be fostered by reason and good-nature new idea is elicited by it. Yet if you suppose as it can be controlled by prudence or propriety. this to be a repulse, you are mistaken. They It is a mere blind, headstrong impulse. Least will enter into your affairs or combat your ideas of all, flatter yourself that talents or virtue will with all the warmth and vehemence imaginable recommend you to the favour of the sex in lieu as soon as they have a subject started. But of exterior advantages. Oh! no. Women care | their faculty for thinking must be set in motion, nothing about poets, or philosophers, or politi. before you can put any soul into them. They cians. They go by a man's looks and manner. are intellectual dram-drinkers; and without Richardson calls them “an eye-judging sex ;'* their necessary stimulus, are torpid, dead, iriand I am sure he knew more about them than sensible to everything. They have great life of I can pretend to do. If you run away with a mind, but none of body. They do not drift with pedantic notion that they care a pin's point about the stream of company or of passing occurrences, your head or your heart, you will repent it too but are straining at some hyberbole, or striking late. Some blue-stocking may have her vanity out a by-path of their own. Follow them who flattered by your reputation, or be edified by the list. Their minds are a sort of Herculaneum, solution of a metaphysical problem, or a critical | full of old, petrified images; are set in stereoremark, or a dissertation on the state of the type, and little fitted to the ordinary occasions nation, and fancy that she has a taste for intel. of life. lect and is an epicure in sentiment. No true What chance, then, can they have with woman ever regarded anything but her lover's women, who deal only in the pantornime of disperson and address. Gravity will here answer course, in gesticulation and the flippant byall the same purpose without understanding, play of the senses, “nods and winks and gaiety without wit, folly without good-nature. | wreathed smiles ;” and to whom to offer a reand impudence without any other pretension. mark is an impertinence, or a reason an affront?

The only way in which I ever knew mental The occasional conduct of the writer of this essay is gnalities or distinction tell was in the clerical an amusing commentary on his own opinions. Charles

character; and women do certainly incline Lamb, in a letter to a friend, tells in his usual quaint

to this with some sort of favourable regard. style of a visit paid to some of the eye-judging sex:

Whether it is that the sanctity of pretension "Mr Hazlitt is in town. I took him to see a very pretty girl professedly where there were two young

piques curiosity, or that the habitual submission girls the very head and sum of the girlery were two of their understandings to their spiritual guides young girls. They neither laughed nor sneered, nor subdues the will, a popular preacher generally giggled, nor whispered-but they were young girls— has the choice among the elite of his female and he sat and frowned blacker and blacker ; indignant flock. According to Mrs Inch bald (see her that there should be such a thing as youth and beauty,

“Simple Story") there is another reason why till he toro me away before supper in perfect misery, and owned he could not bear young girls : they drove religious courtship is not without its charms him mad. So I took him to my old purse, where he | But as I do not intend you for the Church, do recovered perfect tranquillity."

not, in thinking to study yourself into the good graces of the fair, study yourself out of them, passed away; and only turned false hope to millions of miles. Do not place thought as a fixed despair. And as my frail bark sails down barrier between you and love: do not abstract the stream of time, the god of love stands on yourself into the regions of truth, far from the the shore, and as I stretch out my hands to him smile of earthly beauty. Let not the cloud sit in vain, claps his wings, and mocks me as I pass ! upon your brow: let not the canker sink into There is but one other point on which I meant your heart. Look up, laugh loud, talk big, to speak to you, and that is the choice of a prokeep the colour in your cheek and the fire in fession. This, probably, had better be left to your eye, adorn your person, maintain your time or accident or your own inclination. You health, your beauty, and your animal spirits, have a very fine ear, but I have somehow a preand you will pass for a fine man. But should judice against men-singers, and indeed against you let your blood stagnate in some deep meta- the stage altogether. It is an uncertain and unphysical question, or refine too much in your grateful soil. All professions are bad that deideas of the sex, forgetting yourself in a dream pend on reputation, which is “as often got withof exalted perfection, you will want an eye to out merit as lost without deserving." Yet I cheer you, a hand to guide you, a bosom to lean cannot easily reconcile myself to your being a on, and will stagger into your grave, old before slave to business, and I shall hardly be able to your time, unloved and unlovely. If you feel leave you an independence. A situation in a that you have not the necessary advantages of public office is secure, but laborious and me. person, confidence, and manner, and that it is chanical, and without the two great springs of up-hill work with you to gain the ear of beauty, life, Hope and Fear. Perhaps, however, it quit the pursuit at once, and seek for other might ensure you a competence, and leave you satisfactions and consolations.

leisure for some other favourite amusement or A spider, my dear, the meanest creature that pursuit. I have said all reputation is hazardous, crawls or lives, ba; its mate or fellow: but a hard to win, harder to keep. Many never attain scholar has no mate or fellow. For myself, I a glimpse of what they have all their lives been had courted thought, I had felt pain; and Love looking for, and others survive a passing shadow turned away his face from me.* I have gazed of it. Yet if I were to name one pursuit rather along the silent air for that smile which had than another, I should wish you to be a good lured me to my doom. I no more heard those painter, if such a thing could be hoped. I have accents which would have burst upon me like a failed in this myself, and should wish you to be voice from heaven. I loathed the light that able to do what I have not-to paint like Claude shone on my disgrace. Hours, daye, years or Rembrandt, or Guido or Vandyke, if it were

possible. Artists, I think, who have succeeded

in their chief object, live to be old, and are *“Hazlitt, like other men, and perhaps with more

agreeable old men. Their minds keep alive to bitterness than other men, sought for love and for intervals of rest, in which all anger might sleep, and

the last. Cosway's spirits never flagged till after enmity might be laid aside like a travelling dress, after

ninety, and Nollekins, though nearly blind, tumultuous journeys.... But Hazlitt, restless nevs.

But Hazlitt. restless passed all his mornings in giving directions about as the sea-horse, as the raven, as the chamois, found some group or* bust in his workshop. You not their respites from storm; he sought, but sought have seen Mr Northcote. that delightful speci. in vain. ... Domicile he had not round whose i men of the last age. With what avidity he hearth his affections might gather; rest he had not for takes up his pencil, or lays it down again to talk the sole of his burning foot.”-De Quincey.

of numberless things! His eye has not lost its Another writer quoted by De Quincey says: “With

lustre, nor “paled its ineffectual fire." His body no hope, no fortune, no status in society; no certain popularity as a writer, no domestic peace, little sym

is a shadow: he himself is a pure spirit. There pathy from kindred spirits, little support from his is a kind of immortality about this sort of ideal political party, no moral management, no definite be and visionary existence that dallies with Fate, lief; with great powers and great passions within, and and baffles the grim monster, Death. If I with a host of powerful enemies without, it was his thought you could make as clever an artist, and to enact one of the saddest tragedies on which the sun

arrive at such an agreeable old age, as Mr Northever shone." Carlyle writes: “How many a poor Hazlitt must

cote, I should declare at once for your devoting wander over God's verdant earth, like the unblest

yourself to this enchanting profession; and in burning deserts--passionately dig wells, and draw up that reliance, should feel less regret at some of only the dry quicksand, and at last dio and make no my own disappointments, and little anxiety on sigu,"

your account?


(From the Mirror and Lounger.)

| into compassion, it was, at least, not difficult to TALE OF LA ROCHE.

awaken his benevolence. WHEN I first undertook this publication, it was One morning, while he sat busied in those suggested by some of my friends, and, indeed, speculations which afterwards astonished the accorded entirely with my own ideas, that there world, an old female domestic, who served him should be nothing of religion in it. There is a for a housekeeper, brought him word that an sacredness in the subject, that might seem pro- elderly gentleman and his daughter had arrived faned by its introduction into a work, which, to in the village the preceding evening, on their be extensively read, must sometimes be ludicrous, way to some distant country, and that the father and often ironical. This consideration will apply, had been suddenly seized in the night with a in the strongest manner, to anything mystic or dangerous disorder, which the people of the inn controversial; but it may, perhaps, admit of an where they lodged feared would prove mortal; exception, when religion is only introduced as a that she had been sent for, as having some know. feeling, not a system, as appealing to the senti- ledge in medicine, the village surgeon being then ments of the heart, not to disquisitions of the absent; and that it was truly piteous to see the bead. The following story holds it up in that good old man, who seemed not so much afflicted light, and is therefore, I think, admissible into by his own distress as by that which it caused the Mirror. It was sent to my editor as a trans- to his daughter. Her master laid aside the vol. lation from the French. Of this my readers will | ume in his hand, and broke off the chain of ideas judge. Perhaps they might be apt to suspect, it had inspired. His night-gown was exchanged without any suggestion from me, that it is an for a coat, and he followed his gouvernante tu original, not a translation. Indeed, I cannot the sick man's apartment. help thinking, that it contains in it much of It was the best in the little inn where they that picturesque description, and that power of lay, but a paltry one notwithstanding. Mr — awakening the tender feelings, which so remark- was obliged to stoop as he entered it. It was ably distinguish the composition of a gentleman floored with earth, and above were the joists not whose writings I have often read with pleasure. plastered, and hung with cobwebs. On a flock But, be that as it may, as I felt myself interested bed at one end lay the old man he came to visit; in the narrative, and believed that it would affect at the foot of it sat his daughter. She was dressed my readers in the like manner, I have ventured in a clean white bedgown; her dark locks hung to give it entire as I received it, though it will loosely over it as she bent forward, watching the take up the room of three successive papers. languid looks of her father. Mr — and his

housekeeper had stood some moments in the More than forty years ago, an English philo- room without the young lady's being sensible of sopher, whose works have since been read and their entering it. “Mademoiselle !" said the admired by all Europe, resided at a little town old woman at last, in a soft tone, She turned, in France. Some disappointments in his native and showed one of the finest faces in the world. country had first driven him abroad, and he was It was touched, not spoiled, with sorrow; and afterwards induced to remain there, from having when she perceived a stranger, whom the old found in this retreat, where the connections even woman now introduced to her, a blush at first, of nation and language were avoided, a perfeet | and then the gentle ceremonial of native politeseclusion and retirement highly favourable to the ness, which the atlliction of the time tempered development of abstract subjects, in which he but did not extinguish, crossed it for a moment, excelled all the writers of his time.

and changed its expression. It was sweetness Perhaps in the structure of such a mind as all, however, and our philosopher felt it strongly. Mr —'s, the finer and more delicate sensibili. It was not a time for words; he offered his serties are seldom known to have place; or, if origi- vices in a few sincere 'ones. “Monsieur lies nally implanted there, are in a great measure miserably ill here," said the gouvernante; “if extinguished by the exertions of intense study | he could possibly be moved anywhere “If and profound investigation. Hence the idea of he could be moved to our house,” said her master, philosophy and unfeelingness being united has | He had a spare bed for a friend, and there was become proverbial, and in common language the a garret room unoccupied, next to the gouverformer word is often used to express the latter. | nante's. It was contrived accordingly. The Our philosopher had been censured by some as scruples of the stranger, who could look scruples deficient in warmth and feeling, but the mild | though he could not speak them, were overcome, ness of his manners has been allowed by all; and the bashful reluctance of his daughter gave and it is certain that if he was not easily melted way to mer belief of its use to her father. The sick man was wrapped in blankets, and carried and regards every breach of it, not with disap across the street to the English gentleman's. probation, but with horror," “You say righit, The old woman helped his daughter to nurse my dear sir," replied the philosopher; “but him there. The surgeon, who arrived soon after, you are not yet re-established enough to talk prescribed a little, and nature did much for him; / much-you must take care of your health, and in a week he was able to thank his benefactor. neither study nor preach for some time. I have

By that time his host had learned the name been thinking over a scheme that struck me toand character of his guest. He was a Protestant day, when you mentioned your intended departclergyman of Switzerland, called La Roche, a ure. I never was in Switzerland : I have a great widower, who had lately buried his wife, after a mind to accompany your daughter and you into long and lingering illness, for which travelling that country. I will help to take care of you had been prescribed, and was now returning | by the road; for, as I was your first physician, home, after an ineffectual and melancholy jour. I hold myself responsible for your cure." La ney, with his only child, the daughter we have Roche's eyes glistened at the proposal; his mentioned.

daughter was called in and told of it. She was He was a devout man, as became his profes- equally pleased with her father; for they really sion. He possessed devotion in all its warmth, loved their landlord-not perhaps the less for his but with none of its asperity; I mean that as. | infidelity; at least that circumstance mixed it a perity which men, called devout, sometimes in. | sort of pity with their regard for him—their souls dulge in. Mr- though he felt no devotion, were not of a mould for harsher feelings; hatred never quarrelled with it in others. His gouver | never dwelt in them. nante joined the old man and his daughter in They travelled by short stages; for the philothe prayers and thanksgivings which they put sopher was as good as his word, in taking care up on his recovery; for she, too, was a heretic, that the old man should not be fatigued. The in the phrase of the village. The philosopher | party had time to be well acquainted with one walked out, with his long staff and his dog, and another, and their friendship was increased by left them to their prayers and thanksgivings. | acquaintance. La Roche found a degree of sim. “ My master," said the old woman, “alas ! he plicity and gentleness in his companion, which is not a Christian; but he is the best of unbe- is not always annexed to the character of a lievers.” “Not a Christian !” exclaimed Made- learned or a wise man. His daughter, who was moiselle La Roche, “yet he saved my father! | prepared to be afraid of him, was equally undeHeaven bless him for it; I would he were a ceived. She found in him nothing of that selfChristian !” “There is a pride in human know. | importance, which superior parts, or great cul. ledge, my child," said her father, “which often tivation of them, is apt to confer. He talked of blinds men to the sublime truths of revelation; everything but philosophy or religion; he seemed hence opposers of Christianity are found among to enjoy every pleasure and amusement of ordimen of virtuous lives, as well as among those of nary life, and to be interested in the most com. dissipated and licentious characters. Nay, some- mon topics of discourse : when his knowledge or times, I have known the latter more easily con- learning at any time appeared, it was delivered verted to the true faith than the former, because with the utmost plainness, and without the least the fume of passion is more easily dissipated than shadow of dogmatism. the mist of false theory and delusive specula On his part, he was charmed with the society tion.” “But Mr—," said his daughter, "alas ! of the good clergyman and his lovely daughter. my father, he shall be a Christian before he dies." He found in them the guileless manner of the She was interrupted by the arrival of their land. earliest times, with the culture and accomplish. lord. He took her hand with an air of kindness: ment of the most refined ones. Every better she drew it away from him in silence; threw feeling, warm and vivid ; every ungentle one, down her eyes to the ground, and left the room. repressed or overcome. He was not addicted to “I have been thanking God," said the good La love; but he felt himself happy in being the Roche, “for my recovery." "That is right," friend of Mademoiselle La Roche, and somereplied his landlord. “I would not wish," con- | times envied her father the possession of such tinued the old man, hesitatingly, “to think a child. otherwise ; did I not look up with gratitude to After a journey of eleven days, they arrived that Being, I should barely be satisfied with my at the dwelling of La Roche. It was situated in recovery, as a continuation of life, which, it may one of those valleys of the canton of Berne, be, is not a real good. Alas ! I may live to wish | where Nature seenis to repose, as it were, in I had died, that you had left me to die, sir, quiet, and has enclosed her retreat with mouninstead of kindly relieving me" (he clasped Mr | tains inaccessible. A stream, that spent its fury

- 's hand); “but, when I look on this reno. in the hills above, ran in front of the house, and vated being as the gift of the Almighty, I feel a a broken water-fall was seen through the wood far different sentiment-my heart dilates with that covered its sides ; below, it circled round a gratitude and love to Him : it is prepared for tufted plain, and formed a little lake in front of doing His will, not as a duty, but as a pleasure, a village, at tho end of which appeared the spire

of La Roche's church, rising above a clump of organ was touched with a hand less firm ;-it boeches.

paused, it ceased; and the sobbing of Ma'moi. Mr- enjoyed the beauty of the scene ; but selle La Roche was heard in its stead. Her to his companions, it recalled the memory of a father gave a sign for stopping the psalmody, wife and parent they had lost. The old man's and rose to pray. He was discomposed at first, SORTOW was silent; his daughter sobbed and and his voice faltered as he spoke; but his heart wept. Her father took her hand, kissed it was in his words, and his warmth overcame his twice, pressed it to his bosom, threw up his embarrassment. He addressed a Being whom eyes to heaven; and, having wiped off a tear, he loved, and he spoke for those he loved. His that was just about to drop from each, began to parishioners caught the ardour of the good old point out to his guest some of the most striking man; even the philosopher felt himself moved, objects which the prospect atforded. The philo- and forgot, for a moment, to think why he should sopher interpreted all this; and he could but not. slightly censure the creed from which it arose. La Roche's religion was that of sentiment, not

They had not been long arrived, when a num- theory, and his guest was averse from disputaber of La Roche's parishioners, who had heard tion; their discourse, therefore, did not lead to of his return, came to the house to see and wel- questions concerning the belief of either; yet come him. The honest folks were awkward, but would the old man sometimes speak of his, from sincere, in their professions of regard. They the fulness of a heart impressed with its force, made some attempts at condolence; it was too and wishing to spread the pleasure he enjoyed delicate for their handling ; but La Roche took in it. The ideas of his God and his Saviour it in good part. “It has pleased God," said he; were so congenial to his mind, that every emoand they saw he had settled the matter with tion of it naturally awakened them. A philohimself. Philosophy could not have done so sopher might have called him an enthusiast; much with a thousand words.

but, if he possessed the fervour of enthusiasts, It was now evening, and the good peasants he was guiltless of their bigotry. “Our Father were about to depart, when a clock was heard to which art in heaven !” might the good man strike seven, and the hour was followed by a say, for he felt it, and all mankind were his particular chime. The country folks, who had brethren. come to welcome their pastor, turned their looks “You regret, my friend,” said he to Mr —, towards him at the sound; he explained their “when my daughter and I talk of the exquisite meaning to his guest. “That is the signal," pleasure derived from music, you regret your said he, "for our evening exercise; this is one want of musical power.and musical feelings ; it of the nights of the week in which some of my | is a department of soul, you say, which nature parishioners are wont to join in it: a little rustic has almost denied you, which, from the effects saloon serves for the chapel of our family, and you see it have on others, you are sure must be such of the good people as are with us ; if you highly delightful. Why should not the same choose rather to walk out, I will furnish you with thing be said of religion ? Trust me, I feel it in an attendant; or here are a few old books, that the same way, an energy, an inspiration, which may afford you some entertainment within.” I would not lose for all the blessings of sense or “By no means," answered the philosopher; “I enjoyments of the world; yet so far from lessenwill attend Ma’moiselle at her devotions." "She ing my relish of the pleasures of life, methinks I is our organist," said La Roche; “our neighbour. feel it heighten them all. The thought of rehood is the country of musical mechanism ; and ceiving it from God, adds the blessing of sentiI have a small organ fitted up for the purpose of ment to that of sensation in overy good thing I assisting our singing.” “'Tis an additional in possess; and when calamities overtake me, and ducement,” replied the other; and they walked I have had my share, it confers a dignity on my into the room together. At the end stood the affliction, so lifts me above the world! Man, I organ mentioned by La Roche; before it was a know, is but a worm, yet, methinks, I am then curtain, which his daughter drew aside, and, allied to God !" It would have been inhuman placing herself on a seat within, and drawing in our philosopher to have clouded, even with a the curtain close, so as to save her the awkward doubt, the sunshine of this belief. ness of an exhibition, began a voluntary, solemn His discourse, indeed, was very remote from and beautiful in the highest degree. Mr — metaphysical disquisition, or religious contro. was no musician, but he was not altogether in | versy. Of all men I ever knew, his ordinary sensible to music; this fastened on his mind conversation was the least tinctured with pedanmore strongly, from its beauty being unexpected. try, or liable to dissertation. With La Roche The solemn prelude introduced a hymn, in which and his daughter it was perfectly familiar. The such of the audience as could sing immediately country round them, the manners of the villagers, joined ; the words were mostly taken. from Holy the comparison of both with those of England, Writ; it spoke the praises of God, and His care remarks on the works of favourite authors, on of good men. Something was said of the death the sentiments they conveyed, and the passions of the just, of such as die in the Lord. The they excited, with many other topics in which

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »