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brought me a quantity of vases to choose from. I people, but no one for an instant imagined that dusted them carefully, and placed them on a ma. anything would occur to shake the monarchy to hogany table, laid without a cloth. I then placed a its foundations. France in 1786 was apparently large screen behind the chairs, which I concealed by as powerful as ever. She had been victorious in covering it here and there with a drapery like that war, she was ruling Holland, building out the which is seen in some of Poussin's paintings. A
sea at Cherbourg, and concluding a commercial hanging lamp threw a strong light on the table. At treaty with England, which was calculated to last everything was prepared, even my costumes: restore material prosperity to her people. But the first to arrive was a daughter of Joseph Vernet, the cost of the war to free America had been the charming Madame Chalgrin. Immediately I dressed her hair and draped her; then came Ma
And there was
enormous—seventy millions. dame de Verneuil, renowned for her beauty; Ma- this danger: the King of France was in the dame Vigée, my sister-in-law, who, without being same situation as “ The Divine Figure from the pretty, had the most lovely eyes; and there they North” is now. He had dispensed liberty abroad, were all three metamorphosed into bona fide Athe- and it was demanded at home. The King of nians. Le Brun-Pindare came in, we took off his France tried concession; it failed. The Empowder, and undid his side-curls, and on his head I peror of Russia is using repression; it may sucplaced a wreath of laurel. The Comte de Parois ceed. In addition to this, the hard winter of had a large purple mantle which served for drapery 1788–'89, combined with the scarcity of corn, for my poet, and in a twinkling there was Pindare exasperated the people to the last degree; and transformed into Anacreon. Then came the Mar- the most alarming symptoms of popular disconquis de Cubières ; while they went to his house for tent began to appear. But no one even then his guitar, which he had mounted as a golden lyre, imagined the catastrophe so near. I dressed him also, as well as M. de Rivière (my
Madame Le Brun writes : sister-in-law's brother), Ginguere, and Chaudet, the famous sculptor.
About the same time I went to spend a few days It was getting late ; I had not much time to think at Marly with Madame Auguier, a sister of Madame of myself, but, as I always wore white, tunic-shaped Campans, and attached, like herself, to the Queen's dresses, now called blouses, I only needed a veil and household. She had a château and a fine park near a crown of flowers on my head. I took great pains the weir. One day as we were standing at a window with my daughter, a charming child, and Mademoi- looking on to the court, and thence to the high-road, selle de Bonneuil, now Madame Regnault d'Angély, we saw a drunken man enter and fall down. Mawho was very pretty. Both were most graceful to dame Auguier, with her usual kindness, called to behold, bearing each an antique vase and waiting her husband's valet and told him to pick up this unon us.
fortunate creature, take him to the kitchen, and look At half-past nine the preparations were over, after him. Soon after the valet returned. and as soon as we were seated the effect of the ar- “Madame is really too kind,” said he ; "this rangement was so novel and picturesque that we man is a scoundrel! here are the papers he let fall kept rising in turns in order to look at those who from his pocket"; and he placed in our hands sevwere seated. At ten we heard the carriage of the eral documents, one of which began with, “ Down Comte de Vaudreuil and De Boutin, and when these with the royal family! Down with the nobles and two gentlemen entered the room they found us sing- priests!” Then followed revolutionary litanies and ing the chorus of Gluck, “ The God of Paphos and a thousand atrocious prophecies, drawn up in lanGuido,” while M. de Cubières accompanied us on guage which made one's hair stand on end. Mahis lyre.
dame Auguier had the village-guards called up; four I never in my life saw two such astonished faces of these soldiers came, who were desired to take as those of M. de Vaudreuil and his companion. the man away and make inquiries about him; they They were surprised and delighted, and could hardly led him off, but the valet, who followed them from tear themselves away from looking at us, in order to
some distance without their knowledge, saw them, sit down in the places reserved for them. Besides as soon as they had turned the road, take their pristhe two dishes I have mentioned, we had a cake soner by the arm and dance about and sing with him made of honey and Corinthian grapes, and two as though they were the best of friends. I can not plates of vegetables. We did, indeed, drink that tell you how this alarmed us ; what was to become evening a bottle of old Cyprian wine, which I had of us if the civil guard even lent itself to the cause given me, but that was our only excess. We sat a of the wicked ? long time at table, and Le Brun recited several odes I advised Madame Auguier to show these papers to us. We all spent a most enjoyable evening.
to the Queen, and a few days after, being on duty No one had at this time any apprehension of them, saying: “It is impossible that they should
again, she read them to her Majesty, who returned what was coming. Life was a carnival; every meditate such wickedness; I will never believe them one lived for pleasure, and pleasure alone. Eve- capable of it!" rything was for the best in the best of all pos- Alas ! subsequent events have shown the fallacy sible worlds. There was discontent among the of this noble doubt ; and, without speaking of the
august victim who would not believe in such horrors, It was in Italy that Madame Le Brun heard poor Madame Auguier herself was destined to pay the details of the horrors in Paris, of the death for her devotion with her life.
of so many dear friends. It is a curious fact This devotion never wavered. In the cruel times that the only person guillotined who showed signs of the Revolution, knowing the Queen was without of fear was Madame du Barry, the celebrated money, she insisted on lending her twenty-five louis. mistress of Louis XV. The revolutionists heard of it, and hastened to the
Madame Le Brun writes : Tuileries to conduct her to prison-or, in other words, to the guillotine. On seeing them coming She is the only woman, among the numbers who furiously toward her with menaces on their lips, Ma- perished in those days, who was unable to face the dame Auguier preferred speedy death to the agony scaffold : she wept, she implored mercy from the of falling into their hands; she threw herself out of horrible crowd which surrounded her, and that the window and was killed.
crowd was so affected that the executioner hastened
to put an end to her agony. I am convinced that, The soldiers and police were not to be de- had the victims of that awful time not died so cou. pended on. In fact, the extinguishers were on rageously, the Terror would have ceased much soonfire, and the revolutionists were emboldened to Men whose intellects are not fully developed proceed to extremities. The famous “ Maison have too little imagination to feel touched by interdu Roi," the descendants of the heroes who had nal suffering, and the pity of the populace was more turned the tide of battle at Steinkirk and Fonte- easily aroused than its admiration. noy, had been disbanded for financial reasons. The Swiss regiments were alone to be depended du Barry should have produced more effect on
It is singular that the screams of Madame on, who fought for their master nobly, but in the bloodthirsty populace than the sight men. vain.
tioned by De Tocqueville of a tumbrel full of Madame Le Brun writes :
noble ladies being dragged to the place of exeThe dreadful year of 1789 had begun, and fear cution who were looking as serene and tranquil had taken possession of all wise minds. I remem- as if they were going “ à la messe." ber in particular one evening, having invited some On her arrival in Rome Madame Le Brun friends to hear some music, that the greater part of was warmly received by her friends: them arrived with consternation depicted on their faces ; "they had been that morning to Longchamps;
The Abbé Maury came to tell me that the Pope the populace, assembled at the Barrière de l'Etoile, wished me to take his portrait. I greatly desired to had abused frightfully all those who were in car- do so, but it was necessary that I should be veiled riages; some wretches got out on the steps of the while painting his Holiness, and the fear that under carriages, crying out, “ Next year you will be behind the circumstances I should not be able to do justice your coaches, and we shall be inside !" This and to my subject compelled me to decline this honor. I many other still worse remarks they were exposed was very sorry about it, for Pius VI. was one of the
handsomest men I had seen. In October, after the King and Queen were The French nobility flying from the Revoludragged to Paris by the triumphant populace, tion were now arriving in Rome. There were Madame Le Brun sought safety in flight-luckily also many distinguished ladies from different for herself, as the favorite of royalty would have countries who sat to Madame Le Brun for their probably shared the fate of so many of her portraits. Miss Pitt, the daughter of Lord friends.
Camelford, afterward Lady Grenville, who only On her way to Italy,
died the other day at an advanced age, then six
teen and very pretty, was painted as “ Hebe on I had opposite me in the diligence a man ex- clouds, holding a goblet in her hand, from which tremely dirty and unpleasantly odorous, who told me
an eagle was drinking.” very coolly that he had stolen watches and other
Madame Le Brun writes : articles of value. Fortunately he saw nothing on me to tempt him ; for I had only a little linen with me At the same time I took the portrait of a Polish and eighty louis for my journey; all my trinkets I lady, the Countess Potocki. She came to me with had left at Paris. The thief, not content with re- her husband, and, when he had left us, she coolly lating these acts of prowess, spoke continually about observed: “It is my third husband; but I think I hanging such and such persons, naming several peo- shall take up with my first again, who suited me betple of my acquaintance. My little girl was so fright- ter, although he is a regular scamp." ened at the man's manner and conversation that I took courage to say to him, “Sir, I beg of you, do
Will the ties of marriage ever become as not speak of murder before this child." He was si- loose in England ? We really are in fear. Only lenced, and ended by having a game of play with the other day three thousand Norfolk farmers her.
were seized with a burning desire to marry their
wives' sisters, * and this at a time of agricultural the most singular habits and prejudices. Madepression! They will surely go further when dame Le Brun was invited to see him ride, which the good old times return. And their petition to the Prince imagined that he did better than any Parliament was presented in such cold weather! one. Sydney Smith had an idea that people were more Madame Le Brun writes : moral in the winter than the summer; heat made their virtue ooze out of their fingers' ends. As
He rode like a Frenchman ; his costume and fig. an illustration of this he oncet called out to
ure reminded me of the cavaliers of the time of Mrs. Norton at a large dinner-party, “ If this hot Louis XIV., such as we see them represented in the
beautiful pictures of Wouvermans. weather lasts we must give up port wine and marriage, and addict ourselves to sherbet and
Although so old, he would never allow the polygamy.” A woman with three husbands passage to the other world to be mentioned in alive must have such delightful reminiscences! his presence. There was no such thing as death. We were reading the other day about Lady Han- When Maria Theresa died the event was anmer, the wise of Sir Thomas Hanmer, the Speak- nounced to the Prince thus: “ The Empress signs er, who ran off with Tom Hervey. Sir Thomas no more." He was always very independent in did not care much about that, but he was horri- his manner with Maria Theresa. One day her bly disgusted with Tom, who kept on writing Majesty began to talk to him about his scanletter after letter to him about "our wife.” The dalous mode of life. The Prince promptly rethree proprietors of Madame Potoçki must have plied, “I came here to talk about your Majesty's had moments of strange perplexity about their affairs, not about my own." Madame Le Brun wise.
frequently dined with him, and committed the Another of Madame Le Brun's acquaint- most atrocious fault a guest can commit: she ances had escaped from the prisons of Paris, and would not, or could not, eat anything, which arrived at Rome, who is described by her friend, very much annoyed the Prince. We wonder Horace Walpole, as “the pretty, little, wicked whether she was witness to that tremendous opDuchesse de Fleury," who seems, like Madame eration after dinner which is described by SwinPotocki, to have had relays of husbands always burne in his “Courts of Europe": in waiting It is of this lady that Madame Le Brun re
After dinner the Prince treated us with the cleanlates the following anecdote: “Before the re
ing of his gums—one of the most nauseous operaturn of the Bourbons, having occasion one day long time, accompanied with all manner of noises.
tions I ever witnessed ; and it lasted a prodigious to visit the Emperor Napoleon, he said to her He carries a hundred implements in his pocket for brusquely, 'Do you still love men?' 'Yes, sire, this purpose, such as glasses of all sorts for seeing when they are polite,' she replied."
before and behind his teeth, a whetting steel for his The Bonapartes were not polite, and the read- knife, pincers to hold the steel with, knives and ers of these memoirs will contrast the insolent scissors without number, and cottons and lawns for manner of Madame Murat, when sitting for her wiping his eyes. His whims are innumerable; noportrait to Madame Le Brun, with the gracious- thing allusive to the mortality of human nature must ness of Marie Antoinette.
ever be rung in his ears. To mention the small-pox At Naples Madame Le Brun met Lady Ham- is enough to knock him up for the day. . , . The ilton, and speaks with wonder at the facility she other day he sent a favorite dish of meat as a preshad of expressing in her features either joy or ent to an aunt of his, four years after her decease, sorrow, and of imitating different persons.
and would not have known it but for a blundering
servant, who blabbed it to him. One moment she would be a delightful Bacchante with animated eyes, and hair in disorder, then
Madame Le Brun's account of the state of all at once her face would express sorrow, and you society in Russia during the closing days of the saw a beautiful repentant Magdalen.
Empress Catharine, and the mad reign of Paul,
are peculiarly interesting at the present time. At Vienna, as in every other capital in Eu
Madame Le Brun writes : rope, Madame Le Brun was received in the highest society. Among other friends she was very Paul was extremely ugly. A fiat nose, and a very kindly treated by Prince Kaunitz, the celebrated large mouth, full of long teeth, made him resemble minister of Maria Theresa. The Prince was
a death's-head. then in his eighty-third year. He was a man of In the “Memoirs of Madame d'Oberkirch," * Lord Palmerston said the great advantage of this Paris, when they visited France as the Comte
who accompanied Paul and his beautiful wife to kind of marriage would be that it required only one and Comtesse du Nord, the character of the unmother-in-law. † From a note-book.
fortunate Prince is drawn in favorable colors, but on his advent to the throne it is clear that his and her opinion will perhaps convince some mind was unhinged.
doubters who imagine that the acting of the Madame Le Brun writes :
Kembles was conventional and unnatural :
Once he made me witness a rather curious scene. I was more fortunate with Mrs. Siddons, whose I had placed a screen behind the Empress, to visit I did not lose; I had seen this celebrated achave a stationary background. During one of the tress for the first time in “The Gamester," and I can pauses, Paul began to cut all sorts of capers, like a
not express the pleasure with which I applauded monkey: scratching at the screen and pretending to her. I do not believe it possible for any one to climb over it; this game lasted some time. Alex- possess greater talent for the stage than Mrs. Sid. ander and Constantine were evidently grieved at dons had; all the English were unanimous in praisseeing their father behave in such an extraordinary ing her perfect and natural style. The tone of her manner before a stranger, and it made me very un- voice was enchanting ; that of Mademoiselle Mars comfortable also.
alone at all resembling it; and what above all, to
my mind, constituted the great tragedian was the Madame Le Brun was at Moscow when the eloquence of her silence. murder of Paul was accomplished. At midnight on the 24th of March, in the midst of a group of We have now concluded, although we fear people, a young noble pulled out his watch, and imperfectly, the agreeable task of reviewing such said, “ It must be over now.” It was over. Five a book as this. It may be gossiping, but then conspirators, headed by Zouboff, the lover of the how dull history would be without its gossip ! Empress Catharine, had entered Paul's sleeping Where did Macaulay procure his wonderful hisapartment, and murdered him after a desperate torical portraits but from memoirs like these? resistance.
From those of Saint-Simon, Grammont, Pepys, Madame Le Brun writes :
and Dangeau, were produced the lifelike char
acters of Charles II. and Louis XIV. So the His body was embalmed and exposed for six future historian will from these “Souvenirs " obweeks on a state bed, the face uncovered and very tain a picturesque description of that charming little decomposed, for they had put on rouge. The Empress Maria, his widow, went every day and society which
existed in France in the ancient prayed beside this funeral couch ; she took her two days. How France has suffered since 1789! youngest sons, Nicholas and Michael, with her, who Three times has her capital been occupied by were of such tender years that the former asked her foreign armies. Revolution has followed revoluonce “why papa was always asleep?"
tion. In 1870 her end seemed at hand. But
that is not to be. Always falling over like a What a reminiscence for the Emperor Nicho- tumbler pigeon, how rapidly she resumes her las !
flight! The pleasure of this revival to EnglishIn 1802 Madame Le Brun paid a visit to Eng- men is not marred by envy. We are indebted land, where she was received with the utmost to France for many pleasures of our life, and distinction. Madame Le Brun seems to have there is no greater pleasure than in reading the found society in London, like its climate, rather manners and customs of bygone times written in dull and oppressive. We give an extract from the style of that accomplished artist, Madame her journal respecting the great actress of the Vigée Le Brun. time. Madame Le Brun was an excellent critic,
AN HOUR WITH THACKERAY.
HAD the pleasure of making the personal I certainly had, personally, no desire whatever to
acquaintance of Mr. Thackeray at Richmond, “lionize" him. A natural interest in, and curiVirginia, in 1855. A friend, coming into my of- osity to meet, so favorite a writer, I felt in comfice one morning, said, “Would you like to call mon with many others; and perhaps no sention Mr. Thackeray ?” I said “Yes," and I was ment is more general than this interest in the introduced to Mr. Thackeray in the parlor of his writers of fiction especially. There really seems hotel.
to be an enormous amount of curiosity as to the The famous author of “Vanity Fair" was characters, habits, and modes of living of the quite a lion, as may be supposed, in the “ quiet, “pen - holders,” and the fact is not very diffifriendly little city,” as he called Richmond; but cult of explanation. The book which excites a
reader's sympathy is a bond of union between sons in the afternoon, as he rode toward the himself and the author. He may admire celeb- Park, with a movement of the head so cold and rities in other departments—great soldiers, states, indifferent that it quite froze them. He rarely men, or public speakers—but his favorite authors smiled; had nothing about him either natural or stand in a closer relation to him. Marlborough inviting; to quote the words of one of his critand Bolingbroke are nearly forgotten, but the ics, “ His bearing is cold and uninviting, his style world has not forgotten Addison smoking, out of conversation either openly cynical or affectedat elbows, in his garret, and Steele, with his wig ly good-natured and benevolent; his bonhomie is awry, writing his “Tatlers” on a tavern table, or forced, his wit biting, his pride easily touched.” keeping a keen lookout for the bailiffs. We take As to his character, that was said to be as disbut a faint interest in this or that King George, agreeable as his manners. He was one mass of but follow the gay author of “Tom Jones” to gloom and misanthropy: Cynicism was his phithe playhouse, where he yawns over his own bad losophy, and contempt his religion. Seeing nocomedies, and laughs when they are hissed; or thing to love or respect in human nature, he purGoldsmith, in his gorgeous laced coat, to the sued his species with merciless ridicule-especlub; hear Johnson growl as he snubs his friend cially woman. If they were good, they were feeble Boswell; and Coleridge delivering his wonderful in intellect; if they possessed brains, they were monologues at Highgate. A great many famous uniformly vicious—as in the cases of Amelia orators and politicians are mere names to us Sedley and Becky Sharp. Fancying himself the now, but we hear the friendly laugh of honest English Juvenal, he had something bitter to say Walter Scott at Abbotsford; Lamb stutters out of everybody and everything. A mixture of Tihis epigrams; the dapper little figure of Tommon and Diogenes, he went about with a scowl Moore slides through the crowd of admiring on his brow and a sneer on his lips, refusing to duchesses to the piano; and Bryon scribbles see good anywhere, and spitting out his hate and “Don Juan" in the Italian nights with the glass venom on the whole human species. of gin at his elbow. There seems at first no If any reader doubts whether “good old good reason why the children of the pen should Thackeray,” as his friends in this country used excite so much interest when their contempo- to call him, was ever thus painted, he has only raries, filling a far larger space at the time in the to turn over the leaves of certain English periworld's eye, should be lost sight of; but the in- odicals published twenty years ago, where he terest exists. An authentic anecdote of William will find that the warm-hearted gentleman was Shakespeare would far outweigh one of Queen actually at that time so described. The decoElizabeth ; and the explanation is that given rous quarterlies were less personal, but their esabove—that Hamlet, Ophelia, Falstaff, and the timate of the character of his writings was very rest appeal directly to the reader's sympathy, and similar. He took the gloomiest views, they said, are a bond of union between himself and the au- of life and his fellow creatures. His pictures of thor.
human nature had incontestable force; but, even Though very far indeed from being a hero- when truthful as far as they went, were really unworshiper of anybody whatever, I had this inter- truthful from the predominance of shadow and est in and curiosity about Mr. Thackeray, height- their fatal one-sidedness. Mr. Thackeray, in a ened, no doubt, by the fact that I pursued, longo word, was a full-blooded cynic, and his books reintervallo, the same craft. What impressed me flected the character of the author. first was the remarkable difference between the These criticisms, or rather caricatures, were real man and the malicious cartoons drawn of quite familiar to me when I went to call on Mr. him by his English critics. These gentlemen Thackeray that morning in 1855, and I was quite seemed to have dipped their pens in gall before surprised, as I have said, to find how different drawing his likeness. Their outlines were bit in the real person was from the portraits drawn of with acid. There had never lived, according to him. I saw a tall, ruddy, simple-looking Engthem, a more unamiable human being than the lishman, who cordially held out his hand, and author of “Vanity Fair.” Persons with any re- met me with a friendly smile. There was nospect for themselves could not endure him. His thing like a scowl on the face, and it was neither heart was cold, his disposition cynical, and his thin, bilious, nor ill-natured, but pluinp, rubimanners so haughty and repelling that everybody cund, and indicative of an excellent digestion. thrown in contact with him became his enemy. His voice was neither curt nor ungracious, but As he strode by, he scarcely deigned to return courteous and cordial—the voice of a gentleman the salutes of his friends, if he had any. He receiving a friend under his own roof. In person would stare, or respond with a curt nod. He he was a "large man "-his height I think was would sit up hobnobbing with intimates until above six feet. His eyes were mild in expression, four in the morning, and then pass the same per- his hair nearly gray, his dress plain and unpre