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a disconsolate face, their hands in their laps, saying, “Providence alone can help us.” But still the habitués went to the Abbaye, and even the merry laugh often went round at the queer stories about the Republicans, and the farces that were acted to show their absurdity; for, to do them justice, they did not attempt to muzzle the press or the theatre. M. de Chateaubriand, like an old oak struck by lightning, beautiful in its decay, sat, seemed to listen, and smiled when any of his favourites entered; but in reality he was indifferent to all. About March a bad cough grew worse; in May he could not leave his room. Mme. Récamier came every day at the hour he used to go to her ; her friends joined her, and now and then an old friend of his own. During the terrible days of June, when he was asked what he thought, he said he cared nothing about it.
The cannons and the thunder on the worst day seemed to vie with each other. He was a little roused by the death of the Archbishop. In spite of the constant firing, only heard by her it is true, not seen; in spite of barricades, the Garde Mobile stationed at the corner of every street,— Madame Récamier, blind and nervous, never missed a day coming from the Abbaye to the Rue du Bac. Fortunately there are two unfrequented backstreets by which she persuaded the coachman to drive. Since her blindness she could not walk in the streets, and as coaches were in danger of being taken and piled up as barricades, they would not go along the streets. It was most painful to her not to see M. de Chateaubriand's countenance. She often whispered to the friend who was always there, “How does he look? what expression has he ? does he seem in pain? does he ever smile?" and this anxiety to see him had made her undergo a second operation five months after the first, but all in vain. She was never to see him again. Soon after these terrible days, he took to his bed, and rose no more. Madame Récamier would leave his bedside at times to conceal her tears ; his eyes followed her, but he scarcely ever spoke, and not once after the extreme unction had been administered. A high fever gave an unnatural colour to his cheeks and brightness to his eyes. She could not see him, and his silence seemed cruel, but he could no longer speak. She dreaded his dying in the night, when it might be impossible to send for her in time; and it was a comfort to her that she had a friend living up-stairs in the same house who could give her a room, where she spent three nights. On the morning of the 3d July, at about seven, she was called down; in about an hour all was over. He never spoke to the last. The current of her life seemed dried up. She wished for nothing in the world but to be good enough to die.
In April 1819 the cholera reappeared. The ravages of 1832
had left an impression of terror at the very name, and Madame Recamier had always felt it. She was not afraid of death, but in that form it was dreadful to her. Madame Lenormant proposed that she should go to the National Library, where she lived. This appeared to her other friends a great mistake, and they did what they could to persuade her to remain, for the Abbaye was in a less crowded part of the town than the National Library; but they did not succeed. Three weeks after her removal she expressed to Madame Salvage her desire to return, and that she was determined to be at the Abbaye the following week. Two days after this she was seized at four o'clock with a strange sensation; she soon felt convinced that there was no hope, and asked for her confessor. At ten next day all was
She suffered with patience the terrible death which she had always dreaded.
The account we have given of Madame Récamier's life may appear to English readers more minute than the subject required, but it is important if only as illustrating the different position held by women in France and in all other countries.
Chivalry originated first in the South of France, with all its complicated code of sentiments and customs, and left an indelible trace, not merely on the manners, but on the whole imagination of France. It is the feeling which lay at the root of French chivalry that still influences the position of women in France. They are highly esteemed in England, they deserve it; they have made their own position. But in France their society, independently of their merit, is indispensable. Few men past thirty years old will go habitually to a house except for the mistress of it. The clubs in England and the salons in France have been spoken of as the place where public affairs are talked of and governments criticised, almost as they were in the porticos of Athens. Now the French feeling is not gallantry in the usual acceptation of the word; it is not the young and handsome only that are centres of society. It might be objected that Madame Recamier is a proof of the contrary, for few women have inspired more love. But we do not say that a woman's beauty and grace are drawbacks to this position ; we say they have it independently of these. The taste for their society and sympathy is universal, and beauties are exceptions. In England a woman's beauty and her virtues are what every man thinks of as the charm of his house. He talks with rapture of the woman who will nurse him and pour out his tea. In France you do not hear much about a woman's coffee. « Est-elle aimable?" (aimable does not mean a virtue but an agrément).
“ A-t-elle de l'esprit ?" is the second question, if not the first, that every man asks. It does not mean any thing wonderful : it means, Has she the quick perception that seizes what is said, and returns change for your thoughts? The sociability, the love of conversing, is an absolute necessity. We know men who had rather live in extreme poverty in Paris than go away for a comfortable income; not from any love of its localities, but they are afraid of being ennuyéd for want of the conversation they find in every salon. Why does a man in London prefer his club to a drawing-room, where a lady presides? And why do men in Germany never go to one but by special invitation, with a supper to make it bearable? They are as fond of their homes as the French, but they have less need of companionship in their wives. But whatever is the cause, the effect is certain; and in consequence of this preference for their society, the middle-aged and the old ladies have the same relative value, according to their intellectual merit, that men have. We never heard any body in France call a man an old woman because he was a fool of a particularly twaddling kind. Old women are thought quite as capable of wisdom as old men, and in fact they have more influence. We do not say that women are not duly appreciated in England. We have often been struck by the patronising and also kindly manner with which a gentleman will go up to a lady, and endeavour to draw her out. But he does it from good feeling, and not at all for his own satisfaction, so that she ought to be the more obliged. There is also a more habitual belief in women's capacity in France. It runs through all classes, and it may be seen in the numbers who are employed in business. They keep the accounts of all the shops in Paris. 'Ifa woman has a lawsuit, she follows it up; goes to her lawyer, gives him her ideas, and he thinks she has a full right to look after her own busi
In the days of the Fronde, we see that women were as busy in all the intrigues of the time as the men. Later, when St. Simon relates all his means of gaining information, he descants upon the talents of some of the women with whom he is intimate, and he constantly quotes Madame de St. Simon as much wiser than himself.
The peculiar aptness of the French language for conversation, the subdued and graceful shading of the phrases, is due to the conversation with women. But if we enter into the past, we shall never end. We must, however, admit that if their position is better than elsewhere, there is a set-off. We have just seen Madame de Staël, Madame Récamier, Madame de Chevreuse, exiled for their politics ; and under the elder Bourbon branch, in 1822, we know of two ladies, both foreigners, who were sent away from Paris for their liberal political opinions. But the highest proof of their importance was during the Revolution. They were guillotined for being aristocrats, royalists, or suspecte de moderantisme, and of conspiring against the Republic. And how they mounted the scaffold! Madame Roland's
last words might have been pronounced by Brutus, and her whole political career shows that no Brutus ever wielded more influence.
These habits explain why Madame Récamier's friendships excited no jealousy in Madame Mathieu de Montmorency or Madame de Chateaubriand. The former writes to Madame Récamier, after her husband's death, as an additional reason for loving her, “ He was so fond of you. Madame de Chateaubriand used to say in a querulous tone to Madame Récamier, when the latter was leaving Paris for a while, “And what is M. de Chateaubriand to do without you ?” She did not like him to lose his daily amusement. Madame Récamier's and M. de Chateaubriand's was certainly not the friendship so frequent in France, but there was nothing contrary to custom in their habits. Madame de Chateaubriand had been entirely separated from her husband by circumstances almost all the first twenty years after her marriage. She saw more of him after his constant intimacy with Madame Récamier than she ever did before. The habitual belief (we would call it superstition, if it would be understood favourably) in friendship is more general in France than with us,—both in friendship between man and woman, and in friendship between man and man.
After seeing Madame Récamier exiled because she would go to see Madame de Stael against all prudent advice; after seeing her lose the chance of recovering her sight because she would go to attend M. Ballanche on his death-bed; after seeing her for eighteen years devote herself to M. de Chateaubriand, old and infirm,- we shall not take the trouble to refute the critics who have written that Mme. Récamier was a very charming person without much heart. Madame Récamier delighted in pleasing : she was not perfect. In the case of Benjamin Constant she was to blame. She reproached herself for it, and wished his letters to be published after her death to justify him. We think it was a mistake to have prevented this publication. We have not space to enter into the story ; but one day, when she spoke of this part of her life, she said she had been quite unhappy when she saw the wretchedness she had caused, and her words were, “ J'avais trop de qualités pour mes défauts,” which means, that her kind heart punished her for the delight she took in charming people if they were unhappy. This charm it would be difficult to describe, but it especially consisted in doing all she could to make persons satisfied with themselves, and showing them off to the best advantage. Life is full of thorns, and she liked to pluck them out of their path; and, to conclude with a moral, as Dr. Johnson does, we wish there were more who would go and do likewise.
ART. VI.-THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES; HOW FAR
Paulus, der Apostel Jesu Christi. Ein Beitrag zu einer kritischen
Geschichte des Urchristenthums. (Paul, the Apostle of Jesus
anity.) Von Dr. F. C. Baur. Stuttgart, 1845. History of the Planting and Training of the Christian Church by
the Apostles. By Dr. Augustus Neander. Translated from the
German by J. E. Ryland. London, 1856. Das apostolische und das nach apostolische Zeitalter. (The Apostolic
and Post-apostolic Age.) Von Dr. G. V. Lechler. Stuttgart,
1857. Commentar über den Brief Pauli an die Galater, mit besonderer
Rücksicht auf die Lehre und Geschichte des Apostels. (Commentary on Paul's Epistle to the Galatians, with especial reference to the Doctrine and History of the Apostle.) Von Dr. Karl Wieseler. Göttingen, 1859.
The legend that the Evangelist Luke was a painter as well as a physician, though entirely without foundation in history, may notwithstanding be thought to have something to correspond to it in the character of the writings ascribed to him ; for certainly no other New Testament author displays so much artistic power in the arrangement of his materials, or so plainly betrays his desire to captivate and carry away the minds of his readers by the beauty and sublimity of the pictures with which he presents them. That he has ever, either intentionally or unintentionally, sacrificed strict truth to love of effect, will, of course, not be thought of by any who are accustomed to assume that every portion of Scripture, historical or doctrinal, is literally inspired. Criticism, however, cannot afford to make any assumption of this kind, and must not therefore shrink from such a result as that just indicated, should there appear to be sufficient grounds for adopting it. All inspiration-theories, indeed, if allowed to remain as the immovable basis upon which every examination into the meaning and character of Scripture must rest, are at open war with the critical spirit; and to succumb to them would be, on the part of the latter, simply an act of suicide. When once any writing has been proved to be perfectly accurate and truthful, so far as those tests avail which would be unhesitatingly applied to all acknowledged secular compositions, we may be allowed to entertain a view of its origin such as would raise it above the rank of ordinary works; but not till then.