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concealed under his cloak. The truth is, that the conduct and bearing of Hargrave, and their results on the sentiments and opinions of the world in which he moves, are too natural to pass for such in the estimation of ordinary observers-or rather people in general do not observe actual facts at all, but take their impressions of what is natural from books or stage representations, and the consequence is, that the details of fictitious narratives, if they would seem true, must be exaggerated into falsehood.
That the " Adventures of a Man of Fashion" should comprise a tissue of the most atrocious crimes, perpetrated almost in the open face of day; the perpetrator assisting, with a smooth brow and a smiling lip, to canvass and discuss with his fashionable confreres, and even with his own relatives and children, the circumstances under which those crimes have been committed, the probable motives and means of their perpetration, &c.; and this for months and years together, without the smallest suspicion attaching to him in any quarter, or the smallest evidence of his guilt being apparent even to the reader of the narrative until it suits the objects of the author to make it so: all this will, to many, seem incredible and out of nature. But in this it is that the skill, as well as the boldness of the writer, are shown in the present instance; for it is only on the stages of the Adelphi and the Surrey Theatres, that villains placard their villany on their faces, and proclaim it in their movements and whereabout. Witness the innumerable instances that have occurred in our own day and countrythe Beaumont Smiths, the Fauntleroys, &c., and more notably still among our neighbours in France, where the mere "complement extern" of manner and bearing have reached that pitch of perfection at which they actually create the condition of feeling which they seek to express.
But the remarkable character of this new novel of Mrs. Trollope, and our admiration of the singular union of skill and courage, by means of which she has worked out her purpose, have led us into remarks which preclude any thing more than a passing glance at those details which, after all, the reader will doubtless deem superfluous; for this is a work which all who indulge in such reading at all, will of course examine for themselves. It may suffice, therefore, to say that "Hargrave" is entirely different in its general character and construction from any of Mrs. Trollope's previous works, and that it includes much of the good qualities which have given such vogue to the fictions of Sir Edward Bulwer on the one hand, and of Mrs. Gore on the other, without falling into the errors of either-that it often attains to the passionate interest and highwrought eloquence of the first of these accomplished writers, without ever falling into the overstrained "sentiment" which sometimes disfigures his otherwise beautiful delineations; and that it maintains throughout the felicitous ease and grace of Mrs. Gore, without any of that occasional flippancy which, however, are, after all, the fault of her subjects, not her style.
At the opening of the story, Hargrave has long been the chief leader of the gay world of Paris-"the glass of fashion and the mould of form" his (apparently) inexhaustible wealth, his connexion by marriage with the French aristocracy, and above all, his two lovely and accomplished daughters, having chiefly contributed to acquire him that
position, and to maintain him there; and at the period of our acquaintance with him, he has reached that crisis in his brilliant career at which he has all along been aiming-namely, the establishment of his two daughters (one of them, however, a step-daughter only) in a position realizing the very ideal of his hopes, both as regards his own ambition and their happiness. We find him, in fact, at the very summit of worldly prosperity; but we find also that the ground beneath, and all about him, is undermined, and that a single false movement may precipitate the whole fabric into ruin, and involve therein the fate of all in whom we have become interested. And now it is that the "Adventures" of the "Man of Fashion" fairly commence; and where else in fictitious narrative, to find so intensely interesting a tissue of events, so skilfully concentrated together, so exactly fitted to the purposes for which they are brought before us, and so ingeniously developed-or rather so far only developed as to satisfy the ends of justice without overthrowing the happiness of those who deserve our sympathy, is more than we know.
We must not impair the interest of the reader by further allusion to this, in its way, capital production; but an extract must be given to show the new style which Mrs. Trollope has adopted.
There is no character in this novel more nicely and delicately discriminated than that of Madame de Hautrivage, a Parisian widow of a certain age, sister-in-law to Hargrave; and nothing more natural and characteristic than the ridiculous blunder into which she falls in the following piquant scene between herself and the favoured lover of her beautiful niece, Adèle de Cordillac, on whose behalf she (the aunt) has up to this period, been hourly expecting, through her medium, the offer of his hand and fortune.
There is something very peculiar, and demanding a good deal of observation de près in order to comprehend it, in the tone taken occasionally in France by a pretender to a young lady's hand towards the mother or aunt of la belle. It sometimes happens, without, however, giving the slightest ground for scandal, that ladies so circumstanced, and being still à prétension, like to receive, and actually do receive, a very considerable number of sighs, hand-kissings, and tender glances from the identical men who are soliciting their interest with their direct or collateral descendants. In ninety-nine cases out of a hundred this may fairly be understood to express nothing more than a latent regret on the part of the prétendant, that he had not flourished at the time when the lady before him might herself have been free to accept his honourable vows; and though, by gentle degrees, this chastened gallantry merges in all wellregulated families into a tone more consonant to the relationship in which the parties subsequently stand to each other, its existence, while it lasts, is productive of a good deal of sentimental coquetry, which in some way or another is probably amusing to both parties.
Madame de Hautrivage was the last woman in the world to think of marrying a niece without coming in for her full share of this species of offering, and was most pleasantly persuaded that she actually did receive it every time Alfred Coventry offered her one arm, while Adèle hung upon the other, during a crowded exit from the opera, or entrée to the supper-room of a fete.
On entering the elegant little salon to which, by her orders, Mr. Coventry had been shown on the morning that she intended should witness the consummation of her hopes for her eldest niece's establishment, she found him engaged in examining a miniature, of which there were many, cased in velvet and gold, lying upon a table. It chanced that the portrait which at that moment occupied his attention was her own, and it was with a sort of tender smile that she remarked it.
"This is very beautiful," said Mr. Coventry, after paying his compliments to her as she entered. "I have seldom seen a lovelier face."
"Ah, flatterer!" she replied, shaking her head; "I greatly doubt your thinking so."
But for this bashful disclaiming of his compliment, which most assuredly was not intended for her, though it was for her picture, Coventry would never have guessed that the one was a "counterfeit presentment" of the other; for, although Madame de Hautrivage was still what is called "a fine woman,” there was but little resemblance between her neatly wigged and carefully rouged face, and the blooming little Hebe he held in his haud. But thus schooled, he of course took care not to betray his own dulness in tracing a resemblance, and gallantly replied that nobody could doubt the beauty of the face but herself. She drew near him, and laid a finger on his shoulder.
"Come, come, my friend," she said, with a slight sigh, no more of this. It would be great folly to deny that those poor features, such as they are, have been gazed upon by the eye of love; but this is not a moment for you to think of it; your thoughts, cher ami, are, and ought to be, elsewhere. French women are proverbially called coquets-I know it! But trust me, Alfred, we are capable of checking the tenderness of nature, which leads to this, whenever more important business is to be attended to. Such is the case now; I think not that I am capable of doubting it. Speak then, Mr. Coventry, and be assured that it is not an indifferent ear which will listen to you. When Clementina de Hautrivage professes friendship, it is no weak sentiment which fills her breast."
As Madame de Hautrivage concluded these words, she placed her right elbow on the palm of her left hand, and shielding her eyes behind the richly jewelled fingers thus supported, seemed to await his answer with that sort of forced composure, which arises from high principle when struggling with sensibility.
Alfred Coventry understood her perfectly. He knew, as well as she did herself, that she desired he should propose for her niece, and that she was ready to bind him in chains of eternal gratitude by promising her influence in his favour. But rather than have conveyed his fond devotion to Adèle through such a medium, and have suffered the eyes which now languished at him between diamond fingers to catch from those of his beloved the first answer to his acknowledged hopes, instead of receiving that hoped-for answer into his own bosom, he would have endured any thing-he would have done any thing, even to making downright love to the disagreeable personage before him.
In truth, he felt himself placed in so very awkward and critical a situation by this direct and unexpected appeal, that he saw he must make rather a desperate plunge to get out of it; and knowing that words of the most unmeaning gallantry are a sort of false coin which is permitted to pass current in France, without subjecting the utterer to any heavy pains and penalties, he replied, "My charming Madame de Hautrivage! can you believe it possible that in your presence the thoughts of any man can turn elsewhere?"
Under many other circumstances the exquisite Clementina de Hautrivage might have listened to this, and much more in the same strain, without perceiving in it any thing out of the common way, or calling for any return beyond the dropping of her eyelids, and, perhaps, a slight sigh. But the case was different now. In the first place, she knew, from considerable experience, that the most volage of Englishmen are, generally speaking, infinitely more in earnest, for the time being at least, than the most fidèle of Frenchmen. Secondly, the unremitting assiduity of the young man before her could not be mistaken. If he was not in pursuit of Adèle de Cordillac, he must be in pursuit of some other of the family. The thing was clear, and admitted not the slightest doubt. Sabina Hargrave it could not be, for he had never distinguished her by any particular attention whatever. But with herself the case was far otherwise; he had distinguished her “Oh, Ciel!" could she doubt it!
Her relationship with Madame Hargrave had given her some acquaintance with the English language, and at this critical moment she remembered an anecdote of George the Fourth, which had led to a phrase, now passed into a proverb, always pleasantly recalled by beauties of a certain age.
Faat, farre, and forté," she inwardly repeated, and, with all the quickness of thought, reasoned upon it. Faal-grosse? Je ne suis pas maigre.... Farre, blonde ou belle... belle donc . . . . et n'est-ce pas que je suis belle? Forté.... ça veut dire quarante .. et bien.... j'ai quarante ans, je même quelques jours de plus. mais qu'est-ce que cela fait? .. Faat, farre, and forté! Alfred!... c'est moi!.... c'est moi que tu aimes!.... Ah, Dieu! Comment est-ce que je l'ai jamais doubté ?"
le sais ....
During the moment thus employed by the lady, Mr. Coventry had recourse to the miniatures, and, as ill luck would have it, again opened that of the Madame Clementina. Had any doubt still remained on her mind, this act would have removed it. What could it mean at such a moment, but that in the extremity of his emotion, her lover found relief in gazing at her portrait rather than at herself?-a portrait indeed was, as she well knew, a sort of hieroglyphic in love, the mere perusal of which was an act of faith.
But, although Madame Hautrivage was thus satisfactorily convinced of his passion, there were other things, besides its existence, which it deeply behoved her to know, ere she decided upon her own line of conduct in return. Had the young man been a Frenchman, she would have been less perplexed-but as it was, she had doubts. Did the devoted, the noble-minded Alfred contemplate marriage? There was nothing cruel in the nature of Madame de Hautrivage, and had she felt certain that he did not, her education and her principles would probably have led her to pass a very lenient judgment on his indiscretion; but in her particular position it would be vastly more convenient that he should. She felt called upon, therefore, to act with becoming caution, lest any imprudent symptom of weakness on her part might lead him to change the better line of conduct for the worse. But, while fully impressed with the necessity for this sort of reserve, she at the same time felt it to be absolutely necessary that she should ascertain whether the attachment so openly avowed was of the graver or the lighter quality. From her knowledge of mankind in general, as well as from a latent consciousness that she was not quite so young and so lovely as she had been, she might, perhaps, have been prematurely led to the conclusion that Mr. Coventry intended nothing more than one of those liaisons par amours, for which her happy country was so justly celebrated. But there was a gentle decorum of manner about him, which made her hope better things; and she very nearly convinced herself during the next five minutes' conversation with him, that his views were most strictly honourable, and that she had nothing whatever to fear from the vehemence of his passion, which could militate against the hope-every moment becoming stronger-that his purpose was to win her affections, with no other object than to make her his wife.
After remaining in very idle chit-chat as long as he thought there was any hope of seeing Adèle enter, Mr. Coventry's patience gave way, and suddenly rising, he said,
"My dearest Madame de Hautrivage, I must wish you good morning; and must trust to your goodness to excuse the unreasonable length of the visit I have made. I am not, I confess, without hope, that though I have not dared fully to open my heart to you, yet that you have guessed in some degree what is passing there, and that you do not altogether look upon it with displeasure." "Thank God!" mentally exclaimed Madame de Hautrivage; "he has ventured to speak out at last.”
"Mr. Coventry," she replied, "I will not affect to misunderstand you; such dissimulation would be unworthy of us both; and I am persuaded that I could only lose in your estimation by resorting to it. I scorn to do so, Alfred Coventry, I scorn the appearance of throwing difficulties in your way, when my own heart tells me that none exist. I have now said enough, I trust, to still
the agitation of your spirits; and to make you feel all the delicious calm produced by hope unchilled by fear. One word more, and you shall leave me, Alfred. Be assured that the delicacy which has prevented your explaining yourself more fully is well appreciated by me; and that, though a Frenchwoman, and accustomed, perhaps, to plainer speaking, I am not insensible to the charm of that reserve which seems ever, in your countrymen, to accompany the most perfect faith and the truest sincerity. May I not thus interpret it, dear Alfred?"
"You may, indeed," returned Mr. Coventry, with great earnestness, and not a little pleased at believing that he had succeeded in propitiating the aunt without forfeiting the English privilege of himself confessing his love to the woman who had inspired it. But knowing, as he did, what the manners and customs of "la grande nation" demanded on such occasions, he could not but feel a vast deal of gratitude to the kind-hearted woman who had thus permitted him to break through them all, without testifying the slightest displeasure at it. In truth, at that moment his heart was overflowing with a multitude of happy, gentle, and affectionate feelings; and not wishing to prolong the dialogue, lest he might be led on to say to another what he had determined to utter only to the ear of Adèle, he relieved the overflowing fulness of his emotions by respectfully impressing a kiss on either cheek of his intended aunt.
Had he not left the room the moment after he had perpetrated this audacity, all the foregone conclusions of Madame de Hautrivage might have been overthrown; and all the satisfactory composure of spirit, derived from the conviction that the sanctity of his honourable attachment had put a bridle on its ardour, lost. As it was, however, no man ever left a lady more completely satisfied with his words and conduct.
MEMOIRS OF FRANCIS HORNER, M.P.*
INDEPENDENTLY of the other strong and sterling attractions of this work, we receive it with unusual pleasure, as a new proof of the many advantages attendant on allowing distinguished men to be their own biographers; for such they may always be made, provided there be due diligence, and an absence of misplaced pride and ambition, in the friends or relatives on whom the duty may devolve, of placing on record the history of their public and personal career.
In reference to this point in the instance of the late Francis Horner, we cannot sufficiently express our satisfaction at the successive" disappointments" which have delayed this work till the present time: not on account of that delay-for the matters now placed before us could not have come forward too early; but because it has given us the materials of the feast in that genuine form in which they are not only more wholesome, but more appetising than all the cooking and all the condiments with which the most skilful and experienced chef of the literary cuisine could have served them up. It appears, however, that they have undergone the serious risk of being so treated; first, at the hands of one whose "engagements of official life, and the attractions of a widelyextended society," compelled him, "after several years had elapsed,"
* Memoirs and Correspondence of Francis Horner, M.P. 2 vols.