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'Je m'y donnai (i. e. in a comedy she had written) un rôle très brillant, dans lequel je chantois, je dansois, je jouois du clavecin, de la harpe, de la guitarre, de la musette, du tympanon, et de la vielle.'

Comme M. de Clermont avoit beaucoup vanté ma harpe, et que cet instrument n'étoit point connu en Italie, la reine (of Naples) eut la plus grande envie de m'entendre. . . . elle fut si enthousiasmée que dans un de ses transports elle me baisa la main.'

After a conversation with the Duke of Orleans, she says, ‹ Enfin je m'arrêtai pour recevoir des complimens sur mon éloquence.'

Le tems que j'ai passé au Palais-Royal fut le plus brillant, et le plus malheureux de ma vie. J'étois dans tout l'éclat de mes talens, et à cet âge où l'on joint à la fraicheur et aux graces de la jeunesse, tout l'agrément que peut donner l'usage du monde. J'étois admirée, louée, flattée, recherchée,' &c.

While governess in the Orleans family she and a friend went both disguised as cooks, to 'la plus belle guinguette des Porcherons. Her friend, she says, did not look well in her dress:' 'tandis que moi, au contraire, je ne perdis rien de ce que mon visage pouvoit avoir d'élégant et de distingué; et j'étois même plus remarquable qu'avec un bel habit.'

Two persons at this time became enamoured of her, and declared their passion. One of them was La Harpe, the author, who inscribed upon her bust, as she relates:

Elle a tout le charme des petites choses, et tout le sublime des grandes.' She studied many of the manual arts along with her pupils:

J'ai fait avec eux une énorme quantité de portefeuilles de maroquin, aussi bien fait que ceux d'Angleterre; le métier de vannier où j'ai excellé; des lacets, des rubans, de la gaze, du cartonnage, des plans en relief, des fleurs artificielles, des grillages de bibliothèque en laiton, du papier marbré, la dorure sur bois, tous les ouvrages imaginables en cheveux, jusqu'aux perruques.'

Mademoiselle d'Orleans had the measles at Mons.

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'Je connoissois,' she says, parfaitement le traitement de cette maladie, et je fus plus utile que le médecin.'

She charmed, by her harp, the grandmother of M. de Genlis, aged 87, who immediately told her that she preferred her to all her other granddaughters; yet one of these étoit jolie comme un ange, et charmante par ses manières, sa douceur et son caractère.'

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'Nulle émigrée n'auroit été plus paisible et plus heureuse que moi dans les pays étrangers. Avec le goût général qu'on y avoit pour mes ouvrages, ma réputation littéraire, et les talens agréables que j'y portois, j'aurois trouvé,' &c.

Of one of her own novels she says:

'On ne parloit dans la société que de Mad. de la Vallière; on ne me rencontroit point dans le monde sans prononcer ce nom, avec les épithètes



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de charmant, ravissant ; et à tel point que j'en étois véritablement en-
nuyée, et que je n'écoutois qu'avec envui.'
She adds that a lady had been expressing her admiration of it in
the current language of rapture, when, after a certain time, she
herself, 'par distraction' as she assures us, joined in the general ex-
clamation charmant, ravissant,' to the surprize of all beholders, &c.
So industrious a caterer is her vanity that it finds aliment in the
praises bestowed upon another person, and she quotes the follow-
ing charming couplet on the talent of her pupil Casimir on the
harp, and addressed to her:

' Au jeune Orphée, à son luth enchanteur,
Quand le public rend un si juste bonimage,

Vous ressemblez au créateur

Qui s'applaudit de son ouvrage.' A propos of an inundation which happened at Genlis, she mentions the wonders which she beheld in her life; another inundation at Hamburgh; a fire at St. Aubin; from which indeed she was separated by the Loire; she saw the lightning fall near the ponds at Genlis; at Villers-Cotterets a famous globe of fire; at St. Leu, for the second time, an extraordinary shower of hail; at the Arsenal a tornado which carried off a lad of fifteen to the distance of five hundred yards, without killing him; at Origny a véritable eclipse of the sun, and two comets (we should be happy to learn what the eclipse is which is not véritable). Beside all this, she was at sea in a storm. C'est un cours pratique d'histoire naturelle' (we never thought that these things belonged to natural history). • Il ne m'a manqué qu'un tremblement de terre, et une éruption du Vésuve.' These are the wonders of her life which she thinks worth recounting.

One evening, in the dark, she stumbled over a trunk, and cut her leg, broke two teeth, and scratched her face in three places : and here follow the words of our great authoress, in her seventieth year at least, upon this occasion.

* Je croyois bien que je serois défigurée ; mais je ne l'ai point été : cet accident a tout à fait changé ma physiognomie ; j'avois le nez légèrement retroussé, et, comme tous les nez de ce genre, il avoit une petite bosse, et le bout du nez avoit ces petites faucettes que les peintres appellent des méplats. Je puis dire à présent que ce nez étoit fort délicat, fort joli : il a été très célébré en vers et en prose, et je l'avois parfaitement conservé dans toute sa délicatesse. Il n'est depuis cet accident ni grossi ni le noins du monde de travers ; mais la petite bosse est enfoncée, et les méplats ont disparu. Je fus pendant quinze jours si défigurée que je ne regardois point une seule fois dans un miroir, car je savois à quel point mon visage étoit effrayant, par l'impression que je remarquois sur la physiognomie de toutes les personnes qui me voyoient.' This quotation, we think, is nearly sufficient. But one or two

more, dear



more, and we have done. She counselled Buonaparte, on his return from Elba, to be great enough to protect the Bourbons.

Je ne me fatte point que cette seule lettre ait décidé sa conduite; mais j'ose croire qu'elle contribua à l'affermir dans cette idée.'

We have reserved the most precious specimen for the last. • Mon voyage en Angleterre fut excessivement brillant; nulle femme ne pouvoit entrer dans la chambre des communes. Cette chambre, PAR UN ARRET PARTICULIER, M'accoRDA LA PERMISSION D'ASSISTER A SEANCE.'

This we take for insanity. The trick was, most probably, Mr Sheridan's.

All the passages that we have been giving are to be found before three-fourths of the work are accomplished; and we can assure the reader that we have spared him nine-tenths of the examples which we might have produced. It is quite impossible, by extracts, to give the spirit of vanity which pervades the whole performance. Every thought, every word, every turn of expression is replete with it; neither is there a single subject on which it is not exorbitant. She recounts every compliment that ever was paid to her in prose or in verse; and gives whole pages of miserable hymns merely because they were composed in her honour. We cannot stop to give specimens of these; but with the exception of a very few indeed, not a line is quoted that is not below contempt. No beings upon earth are less endowed with poetic fire than the drawing-room versifiers of France; and had this celebrated lady a particle of the modesty of which she boasts, or of the critical delicacy which she claims, she would have blushed at the incense, and condemned the authors to perpetual obscurity. A few changes rung upon the combinations of mythology, lines cut into any number of syllables, with a jingle at the end of each, and a blunted point or threadbare epigram to close the couplet, constitute a poet in the unimaginative circles of the French capital.

The biographer of Burke, describing Madame Genlis's visit to Butlerscourt in 1792, gives ul an anecdote which we beg leave to quote.

* Her great ambition was to do, or be thought to do, everything: to possess an universal genius both in inịnd and in mechanical powers, beyond the attainments of her own or even the other sex. A ring which she wore of very curious, indeed exquisite workmanship, having attracted the notice of Sir Joshua Reynolds, he inquired by what good fortune it had come into her possession, and received for answer that it was executed by herself." Sir Joshua stared, but made no reply: "I have done with her,” said he, the first time he was alone with Mr. Burke afterwards; to have the assurance to tell me such a tale! Why, my




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dear sir, it is an antique ; no living artist in Europe can equal it.” Prior's Burke, vol. ii. P:

177. Frivolity is no less characteristic of Madame's own performance than vanity. She went to a fishing party at Genlis, shortly after her marriage, in white embroidered shoes; which drew upon her the epithet of a “belle dame de Paris.' This reproach stung her; add the mode she took to efface it was as follows: 'Je me penche, je ramasse un petit poisson long comme le doigt, et je l'avale tout entier, en disant: “ Voyez comme je suis une belle dame de Paris.” J'ai fait d'autres folies dans ma vie, mais certainement je n'ai jamais rien fait d'aussi bizarre. Tout le monde fut confondu. M. de G. me gronda beaucoup, et me fit peur en disant que ce poisson pourroit vivre, et grossir dans mon estomac, frayeur que je conservai pendant plusieurs mois.

Absurdity cannot go much beyond this. When M. de Genlis went to join his regiment at Nancy, she retired into the convent of Origny, there to spend the time of his absence. * Je pleurai beaucoup en me séparant de M. de Genlis; ensuite je n'a

; musai infiniment.' • Je m'y plaisois ; je jouois de la harpe, je chantois des motets dans la tribune de l'église, et je faisois des espiègleries aux religieuses.'

Another of her exploits was this: • Il prit à mon frère une gaieté ; il frappa contre les vîtres (of the wine shops in a village where they were) en criant, Bonnes gens, vendezvous du sacré chien?” et après cet exploit il m'entraîna en courant dans une petite ruelle obscure, à côté de ces cabarets, où nous nous cachames en nourant de rire. Notre joie s'augmentoit encore en entendant le cabaretier, sur le pas de sa porte, menacer de coups de gourdin les polissons qui avoient frappé aux vîtres. Mon frère m'expliqua que sacré chien vouloit dire de l'eau de vie. Nous répétames plusieurs fois cette agréable plaisanterie, nous disputant à qui diroit sacré chien, et finissant par le dire en duo, et toujours à chaque fois nous sauvant à toutes jambes dans la petite ruelle, où nous faisions des rire à tomber par terre. Heureux l'age où on est transporté d'aise à si bon marché, quand rien n'a encore exalté l'imagination et troublé le cœur.' Would our readers suppose that this was written by a female philosopher, married, and on the eve of becoming a mother? There was at Genlis a bathing tub large enough to hold four persons. She had it filled with milk collected from all the neighbouring farms, and, with her sister-in-law, she went into it when thus filled. She represents it as the most agreeable thing in the world. "Nous avions fait couvrir la surface du bain de feuilles de roses, et nous restames plus de deux heures dans ce charmant bain.'

She seems at every period of her life to have been particularly fond of bonbons and patisserie ; and indeed of eating in general. She once made a poor man weep bitterly by devouring the whole liver of a fish, without offering him any of it. The Duke of


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Orleans, (Philippe Egalité) enamoured of her aunt, sought to make the niece pròpitious, and took her some barley-sugar, which, as she avows, put her in perfect good humour. She frequently mentions presents of this kind; but her most rapturous exclamations are upon the following occasion. On January 1st, 1825, the Duke of Orleans, formerly her pupil, sent her; as a new year's present, a thing in the form of a large log of wood, hollow, made of pasteboard, and containing bonbons. On this log she made some verses, expressing her astonishment that Monseigneur should approach her armed with a club to knock her down; she suspects, however, that the club is but a trick, and discovering at length that it contains' des douceurs,' she cries out, “O surprise! O ravissement!' and receives with delight the gift equally sweet to age, to maturity, and to childhood. But we must conclude these trifling matters; we only request the reader to inspect a few pages of the original, in order that he may be convinced of the moderation which we have shown toward our authoress.

In all that we have been quoting, it is difficult to find any trace of the life or writings of a literary character; or to suspect that the author cited is the most voluminous female novelist of this, or perhaps of any age; that she stands high among the ladies of her country who have evriched it by their imagination, and that that country claims pre-eminence in all that is retined and graceful in intellect. Certainly, did the biographer not take most special care to make us acquainted with her various labours, and to let us know the value which the public set upon them, we never should have guessed that she had composed the · Théâtre d’Education, les Væux téméraires, les Chevaliers du Cigue,' &c. &c. —that she had ever produced any thing which could outlive the hour that gave it being.

That-except in her Memoirs—Madame de Genlis is a novelist of great fire and animation, of considerable truth and invention-that she has the talent of carrying her readers with interest through her pages—is most certain. Certain it is that whatever she paints of human actions and passions, she paints with minuteness and accuracy; and that, in all the details of description, she is exact and exuberant. But praise ends here. We must not look for merit of a higher order in any of her productions. We must not expect to find her creating new forms, transfusing souls into bodies that become animated by her touch, or taking any of the large views of nature which bespeak true genius. In the smaller intellectual faculties, as the perception of facts, the arrangement of incidents—in all that is necessary to catch some happy glimpses of manners-she is eminently rich; but not in those which compare, combine, and follow up the greater relations that join effects to causes. If we may be allowed thus


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