« PreviousContinue »
she could not retain. But she said, name did not remain a whole day • Walk in, sir,' and went before me in his memory. Happy am I, neverthrough one of those long and narrow theless, that his regards have fallen corridors, which serve as a vestibule upon me. I have felt myself warmed to English houses. She introduced by them during the rest of my life. me into a parlour, and told me the There is virtue in the regard of a General would attend me.
great man. I have seen since not moved ; greatness of soul or of Bonaparte. Thus Providence has fortune never disconcert me. I ad- shewn me two persons, whom it has mire the first, without being hum. been pleased to place at the head of bled by it. The world inspires me the destinies of their age.” with more pity than respect. Never Having taken leave of Washington, has the face of man troubled me. Monsieur de Chateaubriand pursues In a few minutes the General enter his route. The following passage, ed. He was a man of large stature, which will find a place in his Mehis demeanour calm, rather cold than moirs, will shew, however, how little noble. He resembles his pictures. I his mind was bent on discovery. presented him my letter in silence; The fact seems to be, that this prohe opened it, turned to the signa- ject originated in that ardent longing ture, which he read aloud, exclaim- for indefinable enterprise which chaa ing—Colonel Armand !' It was thus racterises genius, before it knows its that the Marquis de la Rouverie had own nature and quality. Monsieur signed. We sat down. I explained Chateaubriand soon found the vast to him as well as I could the motive and the romantic in bis heart and in of my voyage. He answered me by nature, which had allured him in a monosyllables in French or English. project which he only saw in its disHe listened to me with astonish- tance and its consummation, withment. I approached him, and said out calculating the severe self-denial with vivacily — But it is less diffi- which it would impose upon the cult to discover the North-East pas- fancy. The passage we allude to is sage than to create a people as you as follows:have done'- Well, well, said he, “ I then set out for the country of young man,' stretching to me his savages, and embarked in a packethand. He invited me to dine with boat, which ascended the river him on the following day, and we Hudson from New York to Albany. parted.
The society of passengers was nu. “I was exact to the rendezvous. merous and agreeable, consisting of We were but five or six guests. The many women, and some American conversation turned almost entirely officers. A fresh breeze impelled us on the French Revolution. The Gee gently to our destination. Towards neral shewed us the key of the Bas- the evening of the first day, we astile. These keys were silly toys, sembled on the deck to take a collawhich were then distributed in the tion of fruits and milk. The women two worlds. If Washington had seen, „were seated on benches, and the like me, the vanquisbers of the Bas- men placed themselves at their feet. tile in the gutters of Paris, he would - The conversation was not long noisy. have had less faith in his relic. The I have always remarked that the seriousness and the force of this re- aspect of a fine scene of nature provolution was not in its bloody orgies. duces an involuntary silence. SudAt the revocation of the Édict of denly one of the company cried out, Nantes, in 1685, the same populace. It was here where Major André of the faubourg St Antoine demo- was executed.' Immediately all my lished the Protestant temple of Cha- ideas were scattered. A very pretty renton with as much zeal as they American lady was asked to sing a devastated the church of St Denis romance made on this unfortunate in 1793. Such was my meeting with young man. She yielded to our enthis man, who has emancipated a treaties, and sung with a voice, whole world. Washington had sunk timid, but full of softness and emointo the tomb before any fame was tion. The sun was setting. We attached to my name; I passed be were then sailing between lofty fore him as the most unknown being mountains. Here and there, susHe was in all his splendour, and I pended over their abysses, single in all my obscurity. Perhaps my cabins sometimes appeared and sometimes disappeared, among would be to him slavery. No; let his clouds, partly white, and partly thoughts and fancies come and go rose-coloured, which floated" bori- like the airs of heaven. There is zontally at the height of these habi- room in his breast for their circulatations. The points of rocks, and tion, since he is untrammelled by the bare tops of pine-trees, were civilisation. Let him cast himself sometimes seen above these clouds, on the lake Erie, and from its banks and looked like little islands floating behold those splendid serpents in the sea. The majestic rives, now which inhabit them; let him learn locked up between two parallel their habits, and call them by their banks, stretched in a straight line names; or, if you will, he will make before us, and anon turning towards them dance to his flute. Sometimes the east, rolled its golden waves let him stand on the banks of the round some mount, which, advan- lake to contemplate the thousand cing into the stream with all its fish that disport on its translucent plauts, resembled a great bouquet of waves; or let him stop suddenly to verdure bound to the foot of a blue listen to the song of strange birds; and purple zone. We all kept a or, shutting his eyes, barken to the profound silence. For my part, I multitudinous waters of the river as bardly dared to breathe. Nothing they rush into the sea. interrupted the plaintive song of the This ecstasy, says an auditor of the young passenger, except the noise Memoirs, has no end. Long pages which the vessel made in gliding are sometimes only long exclamathrough the water."
tions, breathing the very essence of His rapture goes on increasing as contentment and happiness. In one he advances into the interior-into place he says—" I was more than a the virgin forests of America. king. If fate had placed me on a
“After having passed the Mohawk, throne, and a revolution hurled me I found myself in woods that had from it, instead of exhibiting my never felt the axe, and fell into a sort misery through Europe, like Charles of ecstasy. I went from tree to tree, and James, I should have said to to the right and left indifferently, amateurs : If my place inspires you saying to myself—no more roads to with so much envy, try it, you will follow-no more cities-no more see it is not so good. Cut one narrow houses--no more presidents, another's throats for my old mantle. republics, kings. : . To try if I had For my part, I will go and enjoy in recovered my original rights, I played the forests of America the liberty a thousand wilful freaks, which en. you have restored me to.” raged the big Dutchman, who served But this realized dream must me as a guide, and who thought me end; and this is the manner he was mad.”
awakened from it. This state of rapturous excite- Wandering from forest to forest, ment, this intoxication of delight, so I approached a new American settlepure, so free, so buoyant, awakens ment. One evening, I saw on the all our interest, all our affection, for banks of a streamlet, a farm-house the young enthusiast. He has ex- built of the trunks of trees. I deperienced, he has enraptured him. manded hospitality, and it was self, with the reality of a poet's granted. The night fell. The babi. dream. We ask not what has be- tation was only lighted by the flame come of his passage. How can a of the hearth. I sat down by the thought of civilized life come to
corner of the chimney; and whilst disturb his enjoyments ? He is among my hostess prepared my supper, I the savages. He accompanies the amused myself in reading, stooping wild Indian on his hunting parties; my head, an English journal which he drinks, smokes, and broils his had fallen on the ground. I persteak in his hut; he is one of his ceived these words written in large family, dancing and singing with the letters: Flight OF THE King?' pretty Indian girls, sharing in their This was an account of the evasion soves, and in the exercises and pas. of Louis XVI., and the arrest of the times of their brothers; or he is in unfortunate monarch at Varennes. the great forests-free, free! Why The journal also spoke of the inshould he compel his mind to think creased emigration, and the assemon any particular subject? This bling of nearly all the officers of the army under the banners of the French democracy, and the latter for a moprinces. In this I thought I heard narchy, the facts are the same. the voice of honour, and I abandoned “An honest foreigner by his firemy projects.”
side, in a tranquil country, sure to Returned to Philadelphia to em- rise in the morning as be laid down at bark, the first thing that reminded night, in possession of his fortune, him he was a civilized man, was his doors well shut, his friends his want of money to pay his within, and security without, may passage. The Captain, however, prove, whilst drinking his glass of consented to take him, trusting to wine, that the French emigrants his word for payment. In his pas- were to blame, and that a citizen sage, he encounters a terrible tem- should never quit his country. But pest. The description of this tempest this honest foreigner is at his ease; finishes the fourth book.
no one persecutes bim; he can go a Dutch vessel is assailed by a tem- where he will, without the fear of pest, officers and sailors shut them- being insulted or assassinated; his selves up in the inside of the vessel; house is not set fire to; he is not all the port holes are shut; the dog bunted like a wild beast, merely of the vessel is alone left on the because his name is John, and not deck, who bowls at the storm. Mean- Peter, and that his grandfather who time the officers and sailors drink died forty years ago had a right to and smoke till the storm ceases. sit in a church with three or four When it is over, the dog ceases to harlequins in livery behind him. * * bark, and the crew come again on But it is for misfortune to judge of the deck-and 1,” says he, “I am misfortune. The vulgar heart of the dog of the vessel, whom the re- prosperity cannot comprehend the storation left on the deck to give delicate sentiments of misfortune. warning of the storm, whilst it was If one considers without passion under shelter."
what the emigrants suffered in As soon as Monsieur de Chateau- France, who is the man, who, putting briand returns to Paris, he marries, his hand to his heart, would dare to and takes obscure lodgings in a little say, 'I would not have done as they obscure street, bebind the church of did !'” St Sulpice. His picture of Paris, at Monsieur de Chateaubriand then that moment of terror, is said to be determines to emigrate, but he has magnificent and terrible. Robespierre, no money; the fortune of his wife Danton, Marat, the Convention, the consisted only of assignats. At last Jacobin club, the theatres, the cries, he gets a notary in the Faubourg St the clamours, the atrocious vocifera. Honoré'to advance him 12,000 francs tions of the Mountain, of the popu- on these assignats. But on returnlace, the street scenes, the tribune, ing home he meets with a friend; the prisons: everything which the ra- they walk and talk together, and at velled up scene of horror, which Paris last they enter a gambling-house. in 92 presented, bas afforded matter At that time gaming was perhaps for his eloquent pen. But honour the most innocent amusement that and patriotism called him away from remained. To a gentleman society these orgies of blood and crime. He was dangerous, and the relaxations emigrates; and the following justi- of the people were in the clubs and fication of this step, as it might pro- round the scaffold. Whether from perly find a place in his Memoirs, curiosity, or ennui, or weakness, we here transcribe.
Monsieur de Chateaubriand plays, “ I put to myself this question and loses all his money except 1500 when writing the Siege of Trent. francs. With this he departs, gets Why has Thrasybulus been raised to into a fiacre, and drives home. On the clouds ? And why are French arriving, however, when he would emigrants trodden to the dust ? hand his portfolio to his wife, he finds Both cases are rigorously the same. it gone. He had left it, with his last The fugitives of the two countries, 1500 francs, in the hackney-coach. forced into exile by persecution, Nevertheless, Monsieur de Chateautook arms in foreign lands in favour briand had imbibed too much equaof an ancient constitution of their nimity of soul in the forests and country. Words cannot alter things. among the savages of America, to be Except that the first contended for a disturbed by this. He sleeps as pro,
VOL. XXXY, NO. CCXXI,
foundly and tranquilly as if nothing We regret that our limits will not had happened. In the morning, by permit us to follow the young solgreat good luck, a young priest comes dier through his campaigns, and to to him and returns him his portfolio, give in his own words, for no other within which was his name and ad- words could do them justice, the dress, with the money. This priesthad piquant anecdotes he relates, and to hired the hackney-coach immediate shew the sportive happy spirit with ly after he left it. He now directs which he sustained - enjoyed, we his course to Bruxelles, travelling as might say every privation. Somea wine-merchant, and commissary of times we have him preparing the the army. Bruxelles was then the soup for his company, at others washgeneral rendezvous of the army of ing his shirt in the stream; but we the Princes. The emigration was at wonder not at the gaiety and serethat time divided into two parties, nity of his temper, for at this moment the first come and the last come; he was writing Atala. One day the the first attributed to themselves ex- manuscript of Atala, which he car. clusively the right of restoring the ried in his knapsack, was pierced by ancient dynasty. Monsieur de Cha- a ball, and thus saved the poet's life; teaubriand was therefore very ill re- but he adds, with a smile, “ Atala ceived, and from captain of cavalry had still to sustain the fire of the Abbé became simple soldier, in one of Morellet." the Breton companies, which were But he had heavier hardships than marching to form the siege of Thion- mere privations to suffer. He reville. With his knapsack on bis ceives a wound in the leg, and is at back, and his musket on bis shoulder, the same time attacked by the smallhe marched gaily forward. One day pox and the dysentery, which was he met the King of Prussia, Frede- called the malady of the Prussians. rick William, on horseback. “Where But his courage does not abandon are you going ?" said the monarch. him. He marches as long as he can "I am going to fight," replied
young walk. When he passed through the Chateaubriand. see the French towns, the road to the hospital was nobleman in that answer,” said Fre- always pointed out to him, but he derick, and, saluting him, passed on. passed on. At Namur, & poor wa Monsieur Chateaubriand had a simi. man seeing him tremble with fever, lar conversation at Bruxelles with feeling pity for him, threw an old Champfort, a man once of celebrity, blanket over his shoulders, and he but whose name is now almost for- continued his route with this covergotten. " From whence do you ing. At last he is perfectly exbaustcome?” asked Champfort. "From ed, and falls into a ditch by the roadNiagara."-" Where are you going side. In this state, motionless and to?"_"To where battles are fought." senseless, he is pieked up by a comNevertheless, in spite of this gaiety pany of the Prince de Ligne which and buoyancy of spirit, he felt sen- chanced to pass, and transported in sibly the immense sacrifice he had a waggon to Bruxelles. But there made to principle, and the very small he found every door shut against return of gratitude and consideration him; he goes from hotel to hotel, it brought with it. “The Bourbons from house to house, in vain. He had not need," says he, “ that a cadet has no money to pay for his lorigof Brittany should return from be- ing; and lame, siek, ill, and appayond the seas to offer them his ob- rently on the point of death, he is seure devotion : If I had lit the lamp everywhere refused harbour. When of my hostess with the journal which in this abandoned condition, without changed the destinies of my life, and help and without resource, seeking continued my voyage, no one would only a place to lie down and die, a have perceived my absence, for none carriage passes him; in this carriage knew that I existed. It was a sim- was his brother. He had 1200 francs ple question between me and my in his pocket-he gives the half to conscience, which brought me back Francis, and bids him adieu to reto the theatre of the world. I might enter France, and to die on the scafhave done as I wished, as I was the fold. Having had his wounds dressonly witness of the debate. But of ed, and recovered a little strength, all witnesses this is the one before M. de Chateaubriand determines to which I should fear most to blush.” go to Jersey, to rejoin the royaliste of Brittany. He is conducted to Os- to notice. The Memoirs, 80 far as tend. "At Ostend," the Memoirs they have yet proceeded, terminate here speak," I met several Bretons, nearly in this place. They stop afmy compatriots and my comrades, ter his first voyage to England. "Newho had formed the same project as vertheless, his last reading was the myself. We hired a little bark for relation of his journey to the place Jersey, and were shut up during the of exile of Charles the Tenth; so passage in its hold. The bad wea- that they are not written consecu. Ther, the want of air and space, and tively, but are filled up according as the motion of the sea, exhausted the his humour dictates. 'He has made little strength I had left; the wind only two copies of them; one in and the tide obliged us to put in at the hands of Madame de ChateauGuernsey. As I was on the point briand, and the other in those of Maof death, I was carried on shore and dame Recambier. It is said that placed against a wall, my face turned they are already sold to an English to thesun, that I might breathemy last. bookseller for L.1000 per volume. The wife of a sailor happened to It is needless to add any comment. pass; she took compassion on me, Doubtless it will be an invaluable called her husband, and aided by acquisition to have the mighty events two or three other English sailors, which have checquered Mons. de transported me into the house of a Chateaubriand's lite, and the destifisherman, and placed me in a good nies of the world of Europe during bed. It is probably to this act of its period, exhibited to us, as they charity that I owe my life. The have passed through and been conext day I was re-embarked on board loured by such a mind. He himself å sloop of Ostend. When we arri- in his own person represents a prinved at Jersey I was completely deli- ciple; the aristocratic and religious rious. I was received by my ma principle of society. He represents ternal uncle, the Count de Bedée, it in all its splendour, in all its puriand remained several months in á ty, in all its power; a more unex. state between life and death. In the ceptionable representative could not spring of 1793, thinking myself suf- be chosen to place it in its happiest ficiently strong to take arms again, I light. Mons. de Talleyrand too, we crossed into England, where I hoped are told, is writing his Memoirs. He to find the direction of the princes; also represents a principle—the an. but my health, instead of mending, tagonist principle; the principle of continued to decline; my chest was popular ascendency, of unbelief, of affected, and I could hardly breathe. expediency. He is equally a most Some skilful doctors who were con- favourable representative, to set his sulted, declared that I might linger principle in its best point of view, on for some weeks, perhaps for some being without violence, without months, perhaps for some years, but crime, without exaggeration, and that I must avoid all fatigue, and not sincerely desirous of the good and count on a long existence.
happiness of mankind. When we * Throw open the doors for his Ex. have the Memoirs of these two cellency my Lord Viscount de Cha- master-minds, we may say we hava teaubriand,
Peer of France, Ambassa- the picture of the mind of Europe dor at London, and Grand Officer of during their epoch, and of the two the Legion of Honour, &c.!” It is antagonist prineiples, whose collision with this exclamation that Mons. de has looded Europe with blood, and Chateaubriand breaks off, when the still continues to agitate and threaten contrast between his first and second it with further revolutions. But how sojourn in England presents itself to differently will the same events ap his mind. His Memoirs are filled pear seen through such different opa with these admirable contrasts and tics ! sudden exclamations. We must here
0. D. break off; indeed there is little more