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practisen t-up, vivacity eeting gaily we are conjug
view certain trials of patience. The French detest ennui; the English abominate a bore; each party also has as much indulgence for his neighbour's bête noire as impatience of his own. The one had rather be bored than dull—the other had rather be dull than bored. We look upon quiet monotony after the labour of the day as domestic and proper, and, thankful to be exempt from trying to make what most of us make so ill, never suspect that in the French sense we are conjugating the verb s'ennuyer. They, meeting gaily of an evening to discharge the pent-up vivacity of the day, and naturally delighting to practise that in which they all excel, are too content with themselves and everybody else to detect the large percentage of what we would think supreme bores among them. For the French salon, while the scene of the greatest geniality and intelligence that the educated world can offer, is also, it must be confessed, the natural refuge of many for whom our impertinent monosyllable gives the only definition. Madame de Staël's sulon was perhaps the most brilliant realisation ever known of the power of one woman's genius; but for all that she had her bore. And when, on the Duke of Wellington's first visit to her in 1815, the Abbé Pradt caught the great man as he entered, and pinned him by the button-hole for three quarters of an hour, the lady's fever of impatience confessed him to be that for which her own rich repertory of words had no available term.
At the period we are describing (1820), the salon life in Paris had been restored as far as possible upon the traditions of the ancien régime ; coupled with such innovations as the intervening changes had entailed. The vulgar New had to be amalgamated with the frivolous Old; upstart intelligence with stately dulness; the real ability of whichever side brought to mix amicably for the entertainment of all. Over such a
fusion' Madame Récamier-herself a child of the Revolution, and ever true to its principles of liberty--was peculiarly fitted to preside. At the same time her salon, as Jean-Jacques Ampère stated just forty years later, * was far from being a • bureau d'esprit,' and if talents were brought forward it was more in the service of friendship than of intellect.
To return to this particular salon now entered. There is something serio-comic in the scene it conjures up. The Goddess in the centre, enveloped in clouds of diaphanous muslin, and reclining on a car-like sofa of blue satin damask, terminating in a 'col de cygne doré, à l'Empire.' The older lovers
* Mémoire d'Alexis de Tocqueville, Le Correspondant. June 1859.
all worshipping around—too malicious to warn, and too hopeless to grudge-as they watched the young 'aspirant' who thus boldly entered the lists. There is no doubt that the fresh incense and new mind thus imported were grateful both to the shrine and its votaries, and in neither did young JeanJacques stand one whit behind his fellow-adorers. Meanwhile no time was lost in training the new-comer, who, to do her justice, she immediately recognised as a prize. He was invited to her country house; he was included in the magic
nous' which designated her select circle ; he was christened · Edouard,' as a more euphonious appellation than that he had derived from his murdered grandfather; he was alternately petted as a lad and tortured as a man. His letters to the lady, which have escaped the usual and desirable fate of most youthful follies in that shape, are a record of a passion the most absurd and misplaced that was ever fanned, and yet too manly and earnest for mere derision. In these he does not venture beyond the apostrophe Madame! though his feelings show small trace of restraint in other respects. The young man was difficult to break in. It was long before he could be brought to comprehend that those who sighed like himself were not his rivals, but his very excellent friends. He even forgot himself so far as to show jealousy and dislike. Of M. de Châteaubriand, especially, he was jealous, and with good reason; and M. de Châteaubriand, especially, he disliked, and, as those who knew that celebrated man would again say, with good reason too. He persisted also in pleading that none of them loved her as he did. “Moi, qui vous aime comme on ne
vous a jamais aimée ; vous, qu'on a tant aimée.' He endures his existence, he says, every day but to reach the hour which admits him to the Abbaye-aux-Bois (her residence), and yet he turns restive at the conditions he finds there. The trial of being chez vous sans être avec vous' is more than he can bear.
'I cannot accustom myself to place our rapport-a rapport so intense, so mournful, so unique to me-at the mercy of the bavardage de votre intérieur, with which I have nothing in common. You know I do justice to those who compose your salon, but why should because I have a passionate attachment to you—be obliged to form an integral part in the existence of Madame this, or Monsieur that? Why should all this be mixed up together, and not each have their separate opportunity ? Rather one quarter of an hour certain, and entirely to myself with you, than eight hours a day used up in waiting, and hoping, and catching peeps of you; in chattering about Dante or anything else; when you are there—you, to whom I have so much to say! -you, who are all in all to me! Once for all, this mode of existence kills me.'
This kind of rebellion was quite hors de régle, and Ballanche, ever the meekest and best behaved of the party, gently reproves him : Mon ami ! certaines de vos idées m'attristent:
il faut être raisonnable.' Still Jean-Jacques plunged deeper and deeper ; ever sustained by homeopathic doses of encouragement-by a tender look, a slight caress, or even very occasionally by a 'petit billet délicieux.' Of these last, which must have been compositions of consummate art, none appear; and as a rule the lady was far too discreet often to put pen to paper. Once even the sudden administration of a strong tonic --for what capricious purpose it is impossible to guess--seems to have completely turned his head. The traces of this state are too delirious for any serious diagnosis, but the reader is permitted to conclude that the possibility of a divorce from M. Récamier, with which, nearly twenty years before, the lady had dazzled the imagination of Prince Augustus of Prussia, was also offered, though only in a momentary and tantalising glimpse, to the man young enough to have been her son.
Madame Récamier never had an Englishman in her toils, and it may be doubted whether a life-long friendship would in that case have ensued. Still, viewing the fact that JeanJacques' passion subsided into a respectful and filial devotion such as few women have received, some justice must be done to the compensations she procured him. The society he met under her auspices was what no other salon could have given him. Besides the lovers en titrem the Dukes Matthieu and Laval de Montmorency, the Vicomte de Châteaubriand, and the unfailing Ballanche—the élite of the literary and political world in Paris, never more rich in talent of every kind, were sure to be found at the Abbaye-aux-Bois. Most of them, as it has been said, biding their time as a kind of reserve force, and ready at any moment to spring forward on active service. To her interest also with Duke Laval de Montmorency, then French ambassador at the Papal Court, he owed his first winter in Rome, where she went (1822-3) to divert the only passion that ever disturbed her peace—that for Châteaubriand -and Jean-Jacques (and of course Ballanche), for any reason that kept him at her side. There, though still engaged in dramatic and poetic efforts, the first idea of that Histoire • Romaine à Rome' was suggested, which in after years drew him winter after winter to the Eternal City, and which in two forms constitutes his most important work. Nor can it be doubted that in the manly effort to conquer the passion which consumed him, and to retrieve the bitterly-owned sense of a youth sacrificed to it, he threw himself into a scheme of study which finally bore him a brilliant harvest. This scheme, the • finest thing in the world, and an infallible means for arriving • at almost universal knowledge, is simply to note the most
important points in every book I read—to concentrate my attention on them—to impress them on my memory, and to try and forget all the rest. With the additional condition of only reading what is best on every subject and in every lan'guage.' He adds, 'I am busy with Chinese, Hebrew, his.tory, poetry, mathematics, physics; n'êtes vous pas contente ?'
For all this, the spell which was at once his happiness and his despair proved too strong for such a recipe, and urged by
other complications, Jean-Jacques fairly slipped his anchors and left Paris, ostensibly for Lyons, but with far more distant intentions. These other complications arose on the part of André-Marie. It is not to be supposed that all these agitations had escaped the observation of the most tender of fathers. We catch signs in his letters of the distress which the young man's infatuation caused him ; but for which, strange to say, forgetting all his own sad experience, the worthy man had but one remedy to urge-namely, the speedy choice of a wife! In his simplicity he had even taken steps, in true French fashion, rather compromising to his son, and dreamed of no greater felicity than, firstly, to see him married to a certain Mademoiselle Clementine, daughter of Cuvier; and, secondly, distinguished in the dramatic line. Under all these circumstances, it was time for poor Jean-Jacques to seek safety in absence. He knew better than to hope for cure from a mariage de convenances; while his dramatic flights, under cover of which he had of late years indulged the expression of his passion, had lost all attraction for him.
It is my wish,' he writes to Madame Récamier,' to break definitively with the poetic career-by way of profession; to quit that miserable class of petty tragic authors--played or unplayed-into which I have been led; and to endeavour to take a place in the rising school, historical, philosophical, and literary, of the day. I shall pass the winter, therefore, in learning German and Germany. In the spring I shall go from town to town, getting acquainted with men and libraries ; and, after this period of self-test and austere study, fortified with the conscience and habit of my purpose, I shall come back to you with my head, I hope, clear from phantoms, and my heart full of that real attachment in which you believe. And then, happen what may, there will be always two persons inseparable from my life, my father and
The purpose here alluded to was that of a grand work, * L'Histoire de toutes les Littératures,' never executed as a
whole; though his · Histoire de la Poésie;' • Esquisses du • Nord;' • Littérature Danoise, Allemande, Slave, Bohémienne,
et Scandinave,' suffice to show the universality of knowledge he brought to the subject.
We must forbear following him to Bonn, where he attended the lectures of Schlegel and Niebuhr, and expresses himself as ' appalled at the extent of knowledge thought indispensable
in this country, with which we dispense in France.' It was during these eighteen months' stay in Germany that young Ampère, by severe study, qualified himself to take his place in that rising school to which he had alluded, and which during the next quarter of a century presented a galaxy of intellect and learning in all forms never before united in France, and not soon to be hoped for there again! also, it may be added, more than comparable with the Germany of the same time. Such men as Thiers, Mignet, Guizot, Léonce de Lavergne, Thierry, Sainte Beuve, Victor Cousin, Barthélemy de St. Hilaire, Merimée, Gustave de Beaumont, Montalembert, Lacordaire, and especially Alexis de Tocqueville, may be enumerated—all of them finally destined to occupy with both the Ampères the benches of the French Institute, and most of them bound to each other by ties of friendship first contracted in the evening gatherings of the Abbaye-aux-Bois. And of all these ties there was none so warm as that which united Jean-Jacques and Alexis de Tocqueville—friends par excellence in the highest French sense. If Ampère's attachment to Madame Récamier-on which we have dwelt the more, as, until the publication of these two volumes, it was comparatively unknown-constitutes the first episode of importance in his life, his friendship for Tocqueville may be deemed the second. In every interval of travel, and no Frenchman ever travelled so widely as he, having, as his friend expressed himself, l'humeur voyageuse de l'hirondelle,' he was sure to be found returned to that nest in the Château de Tocqueville, which went by the name of “la chambre d'Ampère.' Tocqueville, on his part, as many still living can testify, never wearied of dwelling on the charm which Ampère's society had for him ; and naively writes that visitors were wont to start • le chapitre d'Ampère,' in order to set him talking, as a clever 'causeur will lead his neighbour to speak of himself in order
to put him “ en train.” There were plenty of reasons, in their mutual studies and differing temperaments--Tocqueville often anxious and desponding, Ampère ever cheerful and equal—to bring them together; but reasons were super