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than to endure the galling misery, the eternal slavery of a marriage for money. Day after day, year after year, never to be free from the oppressive presence of the loathed object and loathe her I should, however undeservedly, had I married her on such terms, and for such a cause. Like the dead corpse chained to the living man, so would her presence blunt my energies, and dull my faculties, conscious but of the load which unceasingly oppressed them. And supposing he should love another,' added the enthusiast, whilst his eye dilated with an expression which in these moments of excitement had often given me painful forebodings. 'Supposing two spirits should be doomed to misery by this accursed craving for luxury and wealth, because the one-the man-that should be the most vigorous and self-denying of the two, cannot resist the temptation of wearing out a few more short years in the career of frivolity to which he has accustomed himself, till the silken fetters have grown strong and heavy as an iron chain. What an unnatural state has this world arrived at, when such unholy alliances are made every day, and called, forsooth, marriages of necessity-when half the men we know are driven, by their previous habits and the false position in which they find themselves placed, to close what I must of necessity call a career of dishonesty, by such a crowning disgrace as the deliberate prostitution of the heart. You know my conviction of the eternity of marriages. You know my belief in the communion we are sometimes permitted to hold with the other world, and it will not surprise you, Digby, to hear me declare, that rather than be guilty of the baseness which Lavish is about to commit, and of which he and the men amongst whom we live think so lightly, I would beg my bread barefoot from door to door. Rather than be faithless in word or deed to my spirit-love, I would seek her in those regions to which my own death alone could give me access.'
As Hillingdon ceased, his wasted features glowing with the energy of his feelings, and his form dilating as he touched upon the subject of death-a subject which to him al
VOL. XLV. NO. CCLXX.
ways appeared fraught with interest and excitement, not unmingled with triumph, I could not help acknowledging to myself the truth of the well-known line,
Great wits to madness often are allied,
as I reflected that the sentiments thus expressed by my gifted friend, would, by the mass of his fellowcreatures, the every-day denizens of this practical world, be considered but as the workings of an overexcited imagination, the vagaries of a diseased mind.
Like Hamlet, poor Hillingdon was one whose nobility of sentiment, and acuteness of feelings, ill fitted him to mingle with beings formed of grosser clay. The ideal was to him what the real is to the rest of mankind; and such a temperament, undirected by the mild and steady light of true religion, unschooled in the harsh but wholesome training of necessity, was but too prone to lose itself in the dreamy phantasies and vague conceptions of mysticism and superstition.
With varied talents of no common order, with a memory enriched with all of good and great that history has emblazoned on her undying page for the guidance and the emulation of unborn ages, with a gallant heart that danger or difficulty might strive in vain to daunt or overcome, and nerves which, though cased in no iron frame, were yet not to be shaken by the direst catastrophe, I could not help thinking, when Hillingdon left my rooms that morning, what materials for a hero were in him, spoilt and wasted by the accidental preponderance of a too susceptible imagination. Poor Hillingdon! how few amongst the associates who were charmed by his manners and delighted with his wit, to whom he was but the pleasant acquisition, the jovial companion-how few knew aught of his character, beyond his every day power of making himself agreeable, or troubled themselves to look below that polished surface, and calm, selfpossessed exterior? I believe none knew him as well as I did: to none had he opened his heart so freely, or disclosed his sentiments so entirely, as to myself; and none, despite the difference of our characters, the di
rectly opposite views that we entertained upon many important subjects, could admire him more or love him half so well; and yet, although not generally given to forebodings of evil. I always felt conscious that I valued his society as a thing of
which I should too soon be deprived. There was a melancholy charm in our intimacy, enhanced by the presentiment that it would not last long, although I was in mercy spared the anticipation of its too horrible conclusion.
AN UNLOOKED FOR ACQUAINTANCE-A SOCIAL DINNER PARTY-THE HISTORY OF A ‘DANSEUSE'—AN INDEPENDENT SPINSTER-THEATRICAL ETHICS.
THE short days of December were now drawing to so early a close, that it was usually twilight before I found myself dressed for the morning, and sallying forth for a breath of fresh air in the Park, or an hour's gossip at the Clubs. One afternoon, as I was wending my way leisurely down to the latter rendezvous of the great unemployed,' I was startled by the peculiar carriage and graceful springy step of a muffled-up female figure a few yards in advance of me, whose gait and manner, as she came into the light of one lamp after another, for the gas was already on duty.) appeared more and more familar to my recollection. Can it be: no-ris impossible at this time of year. Besides, she is in Russia. But there never was anything so like Coralie. And quickening my pace, merely to ascertain, by looking under the close little bonnet, that it was not the dancer, I found myself seized by both hands, with a most cordial and affectionate greeting, which I could hardly return with sufficient warmth, in my surprise at Madlle. De Rivolte's unexpected appearance in London during December.
You will come with me to my hotel-I shall present you to mon consin-you will dine with us, mon cher Digby-I go away in two days, exclaimed the voluble lady, whose delight at again seeing me was however sufficiently gratifying to induce me to accept her invitation, and send an excuse to old Burgonet, with whom I was engaged to dine, on the plea that I was on duty; nor had I cause to regret my duplicity in thus throwing over the venerable General, for at a pleasanter party than discussed a perfect little dinner at Coralie's hotel, I have seldom had the luck to be present. There was no one but the fair
dancer, her cousin, and myself. But the way we discussed by-gone jests, new scandal and old times (of last season), would have furnished mirth and matter for a dozen of the regular dull banquets which single men attend so perseveringly for their sins. Coralie had an off-hand way of taking up and dropping her adorers, just as it suited her own convenience and caprice, and without the slightest reference to their inclination, which was as amusing as it was unaccountable, and I now found myself on the footing of an old and valued friend, but nothing more; this, under existing circumstances, jumped with my humour far better than affecting a regard I did not feel, and put me completely at my ease in the society of my eidevant flame.
Mon cousin was a delightful fellow, and whatever might have been his real relationship, acted the part of chaperon and collateral to admiration. He was connected in some way with the opera at St. Petersburg, and his anecdotes of that highly-favoured institution, and its illustrious patron, were, as may be supposed, neither tame nor uninteresting. He was a thorough Frenchman, and entered into everything with a spirit and jouissance only possessed by that mercurial nation. We dined, we talked, we laughed, we made the most of the present, for my two companions were to return almost immedi ately to Russia, and London, usudelightful ally voted so triste, was so much in comparison as being nearer Paris. We sent for a box at the French play, we criticized the audience and quizzed the performers. We returned to the hotel to supper, where we again eat, drank, laughed, and talked as though dinner was completely for
gotten; and towards two o'clock in the morning, after Coralie had retired, mon cousin, whether or not instructed to that effect I cannot tell, disclosed to me over a cigar the eventful career and singular history of the famous dancer. Coralie's mother, it appears, was a Spaniard by birth, married to an English officer, of whom she was frantically jealous. Having reason to suppose that her husband was more attentive than he should be to a younger sister of her own-for hers was a family in which beauty was as hereditary as the strong passions which made it a curse-she concealed herself near the spot where they were accustomed to meet, and without waiting for ocular demonstration of her suspicions, rushed upon the astonished pair, and stabbed the ill-fated girl to the heart. Report adds, that nothing but the husband's superior strength saved him from the same fate. In any other country but the wild district of Catalonia, in which this tragedy took place, justice must have overtaken the murderess, but the unsettled state of the frontier, and the exertions of her friends, enabled her to escape into France, accompanied by her little girl, the child of that husband whom she was never to see more. What added to the horror of the story, my informant went on to state, was the fact that the husband was passionately attached to his wife, whose jealousy was totally unfounded, and caused by the friendly interest taken by the Englishman in a love affair, concerning which his unprotected sister-in-law sought his advice and assistance. My informant, however, knew but little more of the fierce donna's antecedents, and his acquaintance with her person and character only dated from her second marriage with Monsieur De Rivolte, a relation, as he said, of his own. Friendless and unprotected in the French capital, never expecting to hear more of her outraged and indignant husband, bearing along with her the heavy curse of Cain at her heart, the Spaniard was too glad to avail herself of a legiti mate protector, under whose roof she might shelter her own head and that of her friendless little girl. De Rivolte took a great fancy to
the child, who went by his own name, and whose fascinating manners and infantine beauty were not lost upon her old step-father, as being a Frenchman he was of course a man of taste.
It was fortunate for little Coralie that she thus wound herself round his heart, for a very short period deprived her of a mother, amongst whose faults, many and great as they were, want of affection could not be numbered. After the death of his Spanish wife, old De Rivolte appeared more than ever wrapped up in her daughter, and all the advantages of masters and education which Paris could boast were lavished upon the graceful and charming little girl. As she grew up, the faultless symmetry of her form, the wondrous ease and smoothness of her motions, made it apparent that she had but to go upon the stage to become the first dancer in the first dancing city of the world. De Rivolte, however, who had himself been concerned in theatrical pursuits, would not hear of such an arrangement, and had he lived, and his affairs remained prosperous, Coralie might have gained a comfortable and respectable establishment in exchange for a brilliant though not unspotted fame, whilst the opera would have lost a sylphide airy as the creation of a poet's dream-glorious as the brightest conception of the painter's brain. But old De Rivolte was a politician and a gourmand, pursuits which, separately may be considered apt to shorten life, but, when united in the same individual, are so antagonistic in their tendencies as speedily to undermine the most robust constitution. The repose absolutely essential to health after a gastronomic triumph of seven courses and a dessert, being broken in upon by the unwelcome intelligence that he was in a list of proscribed' for conspiracy against the government, produced an attack of apoplexy, which carried off the wellfed Republican in six hours, leaving his affairs in a state of confusion, which imposed upon his young heiress the absolute necessity of doing something for her livelihood. And here it was that the proud independence and hereditary spirit of the Anglo-Spanish maiden showed themselves undamped by the dis
heartening position of an unprotected girl of seventeen. Alone she stood, that young, slight thing, exposed to danger and temptation, annoyance and importunity of every description; alone, but firm as the rock of the ocean, which stems a thousand wild waves on the shore,' and from the rebuff with which she discomfited a presuming dandy, to the bargain which she made with an exacting manager, she proved herself capable of confronting all the ills and perils of her position with no assistance save her own high courage and ready wit. Enough had been saved from the wreck of old De Rivolte's property to furnish a competence, which relieved her from the fear of actual starvation, and this gave her confidence to refuse the first very insufficient offers which were made to tempt her appearance on the stage. The self-relying girl stood out firmly until a liberal and adequate remuneration was proposed, and then with a proud step and undaunted brow made her first appearance before those footlights that have witnessed the débût of so many a quailing heart. It is needless to say that this first appearance was a triumph-nay, an absolute fureur. The good Parisians, albeit critical and discriminating in their perceptions, do not give their approbation by halves, and the new danseuse, De Rivolte, was in every one's mouth. She was charmante-she was magnifique-she was a génie colossalshe was everything to which a par exemple could be added; and whilst print shops teemed with her likeness, and itinerant statuaries staggered under her image, the ladies clad themselves in flowing toilettes De Rivolte, and the dandies courted strangulation in gorgeous cravattes à la Coralie. Like Byron, she literally woke one morning and found herself famous;' nor did the reputation which she had acquired as a dancer suffer any diminution amongst those circles of clever people to which she immediately found herself admitted, from that lack of intellect which is too often concealed by so faultless a form. On the contrary, those whose eyes had already been dazzled by the bounding Sylphide,' soon found their hearts in danger of being captivated by the
fascinating countenance, and their imaginations enthralled by the sparkling wit of the famous Coralie; and many a good offer of marriage was refused, many a splendid proposal scouted by her whom all seemed to vie with each other in striving to win and wear. Her energetic reply to an over-pressing suitor, who suffered his ardour somewhat to outstep his delicacy, will long be remembered by those who witnessed the insult and its summary chastisement. Snatching a heavy riding. whip from the hand of one of his companions, she struck her persecutor a blow across the face which raised a wheal that snowy arm could hardly have been supposed capable of inflicting, and drawing her stately form to its utmost height, whilst her nostril dilated with fury, and her eye flashed with fire, she shook the weapon in his face, as if threatening a repetition of the punishment, and
thus addressed him:
"You think, because I am a girl, and unprotected, that you are safe; but repeat this insult if you dare, and I will show you that a Spanish lady needs no champion but her own courage! I will summon you to the Bois de Boulogne at ten paces with the pistol, and should you re fuse to meet me, I will post you in society and at your clubs as a bully, a coward, and a dishonoured man!'
It is needless to say, that the advances henceforth made to Madlle. De Rivolte were couched in the most cautious language, and carried on in the most decorous manner. Nevertheless, fence her in as you will, the bee must hum his love-tale to the rose, and the more fragrant the flower, the greater will be the number of its insect admirers. Coralie was but a woman after all-a gallant and high-spirited woman certainly— but still like the rest of her sex, 'to be wooed,' and, consequently, 'to be won.' There was a handsome young French officer to whom she became attached, and to whom report, more charitable than its wont, affirms she was married. The gal lant militaire, however, had served in Algeria, and perhaps borrowed from his Moslem foes some of their more liberal ideas with regard to a plurality of help-mates. However that might be, he had one wife at
least living when Coralie bestowed her hand upon him, and the discovery of his perfidy created a total change in the character and conduct of the high-minded and deluded girl. Hitherto she had been pure and irreproachable, now she became reckless and imprudent. She left him immediately, but, alas! it was with another, and from that time, though generally more
sinned against than sinning,' the uncharitable construction which the world placed upon her actions was not wholly without foundation.
A perfectly irreproachable character, however, though doubtless a most desirable addition, is not absolutely essential to theatrical reputation, and in most of the European capitals the name of De Rivolte' was as familiar as that of the reigning sovereign. In Paris, I have already said, she created an absolute delirium of admiration. At Vienna, the phlegmatic Austrians simmered up into enthusiasm when the very airs were played to which she was accustomed to harmonize her graceful gestures. At Berlin, preparations were made to receive her that suggested the idea of some ancient Roman conqueror returning from the subjugation of an empire, rather than the arrival of a good-looking young woman, whose chief merit lay in the twinkling rapidity of her footsteps. And at St. Petersburg, not only did a deluge of gold pour itself unceasingly into the lap of this modern Danaë, but the Northern thunderer sent her his own autocratic portrait, valuable from its accurate representation of his handsome and colossal person, and not deteriorated by a costly setting of diamonds, each sparkling gem of which might have bought the ransom of a thousand serfs. In London, we rather flatter ourselves, we are not behind our neighbours in adoration for anything which they have already stamped with their Continental taste; and the harvest reaped by Coralie in our murky atmosphere was, as usual, enormous, in proportion to her being what we call the fashion,' an idol to whom we bow even more obsequiously than to Mammon,-nay, to whom on occasion we hesitate not to sacrifice altogether the latter divinity.
Pit, boxes, stalls, and gallery, all were crowded to overflowing on a 'De Rivolte night;' and the occu pants of all and each seemed, like Briareus, to have a hundred hands a-piece with which to prolong their welcome. The glove-trade in Paris received unheard of stimulus, and Houbigant realized a fortune by the unwonted wear and tear of white kid, consequent upon such rapturous applause. Ladies stayed out the ballet, and declared her dancing was perfectly quiet and decorous, though
how any one could call her pretty, they could not understand;' whilst dandies of all ages, peers, commoners, soldiers, statesmen, and idlers, voted her perfection.' St. Heliers himself, the man for whom nothing had ever yet been good enough, who sneered independently at the idols set up by his fellow-creatures, and disposed of a character for talent by a single bon-mot-St. Heliers was at her feet; and such was the position of Coralie De Rivolte when I first met her in that eventful thundershower at Richmond, which ripened our acquaintance into an intimacy delightful as dangerous; and such was the history, given by her cousin, of the career of this European celebrity; but it was only in an interview with the lady the following morning that I learned how this flattered, courted, and distinguished paragon was herself a victim to unfortunate circumstances, a prey to constant anxiety and terror, from causes arising in her own inconsiderate misconduct. She sent for me before she again departed for Russia, and it was evident to me, that with the inconsistency of her sex, she was now anxious to resume those relations between us which the day before she had given me to understand by her manner were no longer to exist. I was not, however, disposed to gratify this craving for admiration, and we parted with, perhaps, hardly so much cordiality as we had met, although not until she had explained to me the mystery which I had never yet unra velled, of the attack made upon my person by the dark-looking stranger at the door of the Opera-house, when handing her to her carriage.
I will give her account as nearly as possible in her own words, only