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chateau, of which I speak, is a good way off, and lies quite secluded among the hills. I should be glad to have a look at it, and its misanthrope : but though the building has the most forlorn dilapidated air possible; and I fancy the old fellow, like some neglected ruin, almost public property as a curiosity ; suppose, if, instead of a great bear with a long beard, one should stumble upon a genuine “ancien militaire," a man of sense and experience who has seen the world, and has not one ounce of romance in his composition, and that one should cut a most ridiculous figure, eh? That would not be well.
There is nothing on earth so dreadful to me, as a man of sense, who knows the world ; questionless, nothing is so terrible. A fierce man, a clever man, a man of genius, a man of rank, a man of influence, a man of violence, one can face any of these ; but a man of sense!...,
Good-night. One by one, the twinkling lights in this little hamlet are going out; the song is lulling into silence, door after door closes, the ceaseless chattering of the children is at last hushed; the parents are following to rest,
“And leave the world to darkness and to me.” Beautiful line! Farewell.
EUGENE TO VICTOR.
Many thanks, dearest Victor, for all your abominable nonsense. It is so exactly yourself, that like an execrable caricature of an ugly face, one values it for its resemblance. The picture of your mind I thank you for, for strange, and out of all keeping as it is, one likes it because it is of you. But where, in the name of all most absurd, did you pick up this German way of looking at things ? Why cannot is a primrose on a river's brink, be a yellow primrose to you," as well as to any one else in the world ? In what corner of this city, or kingdom, indeed, did you pick up your idle humour ? But I am a fool to ask this question; there is abundance of this stuff afloat, witness Victor Hugo, La Sue, La Martine, &c., &c,, &c., who all see, and believe, and make out so much more than any one else in their senses can.
I profess to understand none of these things. I think life a very pleasant affair, so long as one passes it in the most charming of capital cities, with plenty of francs in one's pocket, and I don't comprehend the wit of going to walk by a purling stream and hear Phyllis sing, when one might, among a galaxy of lights, surrounded by all that is most beautiful upon earth, devour the volumes of sweet sound poured forth by that enchantress Grisi. To me a dinner at Grillon's is better than the very best pot au feu ever çons cocted by Pierre. To say nothing of companionship with man, (that “ vegetable animal of six feet in length !") still less with woman, that mere insect, in this vast infinitude of yours; for a being so sublime, doubtless, they are very unfit companions, and I recommend you heartily to the whisperers in the woods. ....
However, nonsense apart, just let me warn you not to go and make yourself ridiculous by storming the castle of Montalembert. He is a gentleman, I advertise you, and neither barbu nor bear, and was well known as fort beau garçon, not five hundred years ago. He has resided, of late years, upon his estate in those remote parts; but I don't suppose there is anything very romantic in that; he kept a very fine establishment when in Paris, and frequented certain tables in the Palais Royal ; so he is probably poor, and lives where he does for economy.
If you present yourself in one of your strange moods, you will make the somewhat silly figure of a man who knows nothing of life and its usages; and you have just sense enough left, I take it, to be ready to shoot yourself, if you had looked like a fool; that is, if you perceived that you had looked like a fool; on the other condition you would have bidden the world good-night long ago.
Madame de S. inquires for you sometimes. La douce, et blanche, et gentille Euphemie sighs and lifts up her blue eyes, and is contracted to La Riviere—so go hang yourself.
VICTOR TO EUGENE.
There has been a wedding in our village, and a dance, and a sort of fêle champétre. A young fellow has been to fetch him a wife from among us, a niece of Pierre's, and grand doings had we upon the occasion. My meadow has been turned into a ballroom, my old trees hung with paper lamps. One particular favourite, that spreads his branches far and wide from a huge, knotted trunk, has served for an orchestra; we had three fiddles and a drum.
There were plenty of pretty girls and ugly old women, all in their white caps and short petticoats; some with rich crimson handkerchiefs, most with gay coloured ribands, merrily dancing away. A little booth, in one corner, served us with refreshments; sweet bread with rather more sugar than usual, andouilles de cochon, gateaux de Nanterre, plenty of sour wine, &c., &c., and very happy we were. I with my air
Parisien, for I flatter myself, however I may feel, I do not look German—took out one pretty girl after another. Nay, I did more, I danced with Pierre's mother-sixty at leastbut she chasseed, and pas de basqued, like the best; and as for Pierre himself, I wish you could have seen him; you would have been ashamed of your own performances.....
It was a very pretty sight, and I enjoyed myself much, free from all that gene, weight, ennui, and insipidity which I find in your grandes reunions ; chatting with my innocent and lively friends; amusing myself with these dear little rural coquettes, whose graces, like those of children, are so naïve and so guileless, so full of little tricks, that trick no one, and pretty artifices, that hide nothing.
Thus was I passing away my time pleasantly enough, as I have said, when, under the shade of two or three trees which grow together, a little apart from the rest, I perceived a figure standing, which bore an air somewhat different from the remainder of the company. It was taller and slenderer, and had a more graceful outline than those little full-skirted dumplings. It was dressed in white, and wore a hat instead of a cap, which sufficiently denoted it a being of a better world. This fair creature leaned upon the arm of a dwarfish, withered thing, that looked more like a little sprite, a mere bubble of the earth, than anything else. A tiny, puckered face, with two odd sharp eyes, appeared under her droll oldfashioned cap; and her miniature arms, and elfish figure, were clothed in a quaint open gown-black, covered with gaudycoloured flowers, which was tucked up in a bunch behind. A black quilted petticoat under, and a scarlet and gold handkerchief, pinned with formality across her breast, completed her costunie.
The fair creature in white stood very still; the waving branches of the trees throwing a strange, flickering shadow over and around her. Every now and then, the little hag addressed her, and I fancied she smiled ; and as I got nearer, I could hear a very low voice murmur a few syllables in return.
I don't know what there was in this couple, but I was particularly attracted by it, and in a lounging, careless way, I contrived at last to get pretty near.
I shan't tell you what I saw. I am not going to draw a picture for you to caricature after the manner of Cruikshank. You can't make much of a figure in white, standing under a tree; and as for the little hag, niake what you like of her.
You read Milton as well as I
I took her for some creature of the element,
.... And, as I pass'd I worshipped.
There, laugh at that-laugh at me—you shall not have a syllable more.
I pulled off my hat, according to the fashion of these asseniblies, and asked the young lady-for after all she was a real young lady, she was not a nymph of the woods—to dance.
“ Oh yes! do, mademoiselle," said the little hag, earnestly, “do, now, it will do you good.”
I pressed my suit, on this hint, as gently and respectfully as I could. She hesitated.
1" Pierre will be so pleased," said the little woman. “Such an honour, mademoiselle.”
I must have looked very charming, I dare swear I did you know I am a very handsome fellow; so at last, out came a little hand, and it was put into mine—and we were perforniing La Poule before we knew where we were. Neither am I going to describe to you how she danced; rest assured it was not like Euphemie, nor any young lady educated a la Campan, that I ever saw. Be content, it was very ill indeed. I am not in the least in the world enchanted, don't fancy that 1 an. Nothing could be worse done-there, you thought I was going into a rapture. Bah! you are caught.
She is a very .... Oh! I was going to let out the secret of her face-a very awkward-Pooh! the description of her figure-such a hand! And then her carriage! her attitude ! Moreover, I could not get a word from her, so probably she is an idiot, and that little hag has the care of her, and brought the poor thing to see the dance. Upon my honour, I don't think she uttered three syllables : stupid to a degree-no, beyond all degrees. Not one atom of savoir vivre, grace, vivacity, coquetry, or anything charming in her composition; still! like Madame Tussaud's waxwork figures, and delicate!... You know how I hate that abominable slipslop delicacy, that some women affect; and that, honestly, I think a good round-faced, jolly poissarde, who has carried a ton weight of luggage from a packet boat for me, a thousand times more attractive creature than one of your languid, lean, pale, spiritless, nervous lie-a-bed beings.
You scarcely ever saw so delicate a looking creature as this alive. Her hand is almost transparent, and her figuremore like a sylph than a woman-so slender-yet not angular. I don't mean that she is a skeleton.
However, good-night. Pierre goes to the post town tomorrow; and I am writing, as the steeds of the dusky night are preparing to go to bed in the ocean : for the dissipation of this evening has somewhat discomposed me, and I cannot rest.....
This is the very sweetest window that I have. Oh how lovely looks that little meadow, and that bright planet over the chestnut tree; and the rippling water of my brook ; the stars glimmering in it. However, good-night.
I forgot to tell you that she went away very early, and the little black petticoat with her. I saw Pierre attend her, hat in hand, to some distance; my own attendance had been courteously declined. I asked Pierre who she was, but he affected not to know. I did not care to question others—I shall get it all out of Pierre by-and-by; that is to say, it is a matter of perfect indifference to me who she is; for I shall never see her again, probably-I care not whether I do or not—that is to say, scarcely at all. Good-night.
IMITATION OF OSSIAN. (Written upon a scrap of paper and then torn in two.) And she came upon my soul like a gleam in a dull gloomy day, when it beams on the heaving bosom of the ocean; like a strain in the silence of the woods, when it falls upon the ear awakening all the charmed thoughts that dwell within the soul ; like the angel, when, with his golden flowing locks and swanlike wings, he bears from the high heavens, notices of better worlds. I think I shall go mad with ecstasy.
Write him-no, not for the universe. I am a hoarding miser, I am more-I would not have even the sun behold my treasure, could it be so: the evening, the twilight, when the moon sheds her soft mysterious light; yes, as I saw her first, so might I see her ever, as a mystery, and a dream, and a poesy; a spirit of these wild woods, in harmony with all around; in harmony with my soul - with my fond wild imaginings. Oh, that she were in truth a mysterious dweller in these solitudes-a dryad to be sought and worshipped in these deep and silent shades, alone.
EUGENE TO VICTOR.
Dear Victor, What are you about? Send me more of your silly rhapsodies, I pray--don't be afraid that I shall betray you to any one. I am too much ashamed of such stuff to do that. But let me have another chapter of this Daphnis ; showing how the nymph was shy, and how she was wild, and how she was captured ; and how, crowned with myrtle, she was at length happily espoused before the altar of the cloven-footed Pan; that is to say, in a dingy parlour before jolly red-faced Monsieur le Maire ; and how she was brought to Paris, and installed in a fashionable saloon; and how she made a very modish, or a very silly wife-either will do; and how Romeo asked, too late, "Wherefore was he Romeo ?" and wished he had been Victor all the time.
It is in vain to hide it. I see the whole plan of your romance; but as I think you write prettily, pray send me therest.
P.S.--Now don't go and be very absurd.