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the lawn below. Within less than an hour a servant came to conduct me to the Salle-d-manger, or Dining Room, on the ground floor, where the family were already assembled. It was a large hall sufficient for the accommodation of sixty or seventy persons; there were about twenty present. Dinner, in France, is always an important affair. It is, in fact, the only considerable meal of the day; and being taken just at evening when all business and care are over, it is considered as the chief season of social enjoyment, when the family assemble, quite as much for conversation, as to satisfy the wants of nature. Vive la bagatelle, is the motto. A thousand pleasantries enliven the scene, and the meal is rarely ended under two hours. We rose from table a little before eight, and as the evening was fine, the General proposed a walk round the farm. One of his grand-daughters, who had taken me under her special charge at dinner, gave me her arm, and we sallied forth just after sunset, in one of the most beautiful evenings of the year. She began by lamenting that she could not talk to me in English.
"We tried hard to learn it," said she," while grand-papa was gone. We made a law that nothing should be spoken in the family but English we meant to be a little colony of Americans in the midst of France."
"And how did your colony succeed?" "Oh, it broke up after the second day, for it tied all our tongues."
"A hard case for a Frenchman !"
"What, then, do you say of a French woman? Besides, you know how natural it is to talk French. Don't you think it was always intended to be the common language of mankind? Every other language is so hard, and French so easy."
I could see she was full in the faith, that French was the original speech of Paradise; and that any one who talks any other language, violates the first principles of his nature.
She went on to tell me, how thankful they all were to the good Americans, for their kind treatment of her dear grand-papa. "Do you think," said she, "we did not expect anything of the kind. We thought he would get into the diligence at New York like other people, and travel quietly on to Boston, and then round by Kentucky (she was not very deep in our geography), to Philadelphia. and Washington. But to think of a procession of steamboats going out to meet him, and conduct him into port; of tens of thousands standing ready to receive him on the wharf; of his passing from town to town
and city to city, amidst the joyful acclamations of a great and generous people-oh, it was too much"-and her eyes began to fill with
"And then," said she, "we got the atlas as the letters arrived, and followed them on their journey from place to place; and oh, how we did laugh to think of little fat Levasseur (the General's secretary) tumbling over into the water, on the Ohio river! I asked him, when he came back, how he felt. Oh, said she (mimicking his English), he said it was very in-con-veni-ent.' "And then the kindest thing of all was, when grand-papa had been to a town called Connecticut, just after his arrival, and had been writing letters all night on his way back in the steamboat, to send us by the Havre packet, do you think it had sailed only an hour before he reached New York; and when he felt so bad, and knew we all should feel so bad to have no letters, a kind gentleman sent the steamboat out to sea after the packet, that we might have our letters!"
"Do you know who that gentleman was?" "No."
"There he is before you, walking with your mother on his arm."
"Oh, I must run and tell him how much we love him for his kindness;" and in a few moinents she contrived that her mother took my arm and she had Mr. E. entirely to herself.
The wife of Washington La Fayette had a seriousness and depth of feeling, not commonly manifested by French ladies. She spoke of religious subjects with interest and solemnity; and I could not but hope, that the misfortunes of the family might have been made the instrument, under divine grace, of imbuing her mind with true spiritual feeling. Our walk ended about nine, and after an hour of general conversation, each one retired to his own apartment; and by the time when the splendid saloons of Paris were filling up with their glittering throngs, all was buried in repose at the quiet residence of La Fayette.
The next morning, the General took us round his farm, to exhibit his stock and improvements in agriculture, of which he was justly proud. In the course of conversation, I asked him what history of the French Revolution he would recommend as best. Mignet's, he said, was brief, comprehensive and correct. The only error he mentioned, was a false theory-a kind of FATALISM, in respect to the atrocities of the reign of ter ror, as if they were a necessary part of the re
There is no such danger. The people hate the government-they hate the Jesuits, who completely govern the king. A revolution must come; perhaps not in my day-certainly not under my direction. But the people have arms concealed by thousands throughout the country. Those arms will come forth, and a few days will decide the conflict."
I confess I was utterly unbelieving, and regarded these remarks as a proof of that credulity with which Lafayette has been often charged. But in less than four years, his prediction was fulfilled. The people of Paris, maddened by oppression, flew to arms, and in three days the revolution was completed. La Fayette was called to Paris to organize a new government. He might have placed himself at the summit of
power; but he preferred to call Louis Philippe to the throne. For a time his opinion had the force of law. But he was destined again to experience the ingratitude of those whom he had raised to power. He retired from Paris, carrying with him only the blessings of the people, and the increasing admiration of every lover of virtue.
The day passed away in varied and instructive conversation. It was delightful to follow La Fayette through the momentous scenes of his life, and to listen to his remarks so full of wisdom and benevolence. At evening, the carriage was announced that was to carry us to the nearest large town on our route to Geneva. La Fayette accompanied us to the extremity of his estate; and throwing his arms around us, with the warmth of a true Frenchman, gave us his parting embrace.
"Farewell, General," said I, "we part at last to meet no more."
"Say not so," he replied with great quickness. "In France we never speak of a last farewell. We always hope to meet again.”
May that hope be realized! May the trials of his eventful life have prepared him, through divine grace, for an inheritance in the kingdom of God; and may he who traces these lines, be training up through the same grace, to join him in those mansions of rest, where no enemy shall ever enter, and whence no friend shall ever depart. C. A. G.
BY MRS. L. H. SIGOURNEY.
JOSHUA, 21. 45.
"There failed not aught of any good thing, which the Lord had spoken unto the house of Israel." "Fail'd not!" How could it fail?
Thou who didst bid
At God's command, the sun and moon stand still,
Astonished in their mansions, it is fit
That thou shouldst teach the fickle tribes, what truth
Dwells with Omnipotence. Jehovah's word
Hath not the mournful property to fail.
This appertaineth to the breath that man
He, with his secret heart doth make resolve,
In the wan features of the pale-fac'd moon,
And lo! his deed and resolution stand
Divorc❜d, the poles apart
Anon, he speaks
A pleasant promise to his neighbor's ear,
Round which the expectant vine of hope doth climb;
To ripen what he planted, and retires
Crab-like, with looks of shame.
Yea, some there are,
Who with their false and glozing words, are fain
Over the ruin and the wreck they make.
God shall reward them. He,-to whom belongs
The vengeance, and the right to recompense—
Who cometh on,
From Carmel, up to Gilgal, with his host
Behold, an awful Seer,
The silver-bearded, and the lightning-eyed,
Meets him with stern rebuke. The flimsy veil,
Is rent away, and in Jehovah's name
The truth disclosed.-Reddens the royal brow
Ye who in meek obedience keep His law.
Gird on the shield of faith, from whose clear disk,
Like diamond pure, all envious shafts recoil.
Earth's props, indeed, may break and pierce the heart,
But the Eternal promise standeth sure.
So walk with tranquil brow these shores of time,
And do His will whose changeless truth you trust.
DANTE; HIS RELIGION AND POETRY.
BY M. M. BACKUS.
THE political enterprise and magnificence of Florence, at a period when Northern Europe was still sunk in a state of semi-barbarism, have so long been the themes of the novelist and the poet, that we have come to look upon the whole as a fancy sketch. We have retained a vague notion of a beautiful and fertile vale, embracing upon its bosom the gently gliding Arno, and breathed upon by the mildest and healthiest breezes of sunny Italy. In the centre of that vale, we have in like fancy deposited Florence la bella, adorned it with the noblest efforts of architectural skill, enriched it with the choicest treasures of art, filled its coffers with the gold and the pearls of a thousand tributaries, and blessed its enterprise with the fundamental principles of a republican government: and now as the morning sun shed its pure rays over the city, it was enlivened with the grateful hum of commerce and the hammer of the artisan, with merry tradesmen and swarthy seamen, hastening to and fro with the cares and plots of merchandise. A thousand fairy tales have their scenes amid its endless palaces and luxuriant gardens; the cathedral and the convents were peopled with cowled monks having nothing of their St. Anthony in them but his fire, and with religieuses in black robes and jewelled crucifixes, laid in a moral death-house to putrefy unseen: the streets were filled with brave knights and ladies fair, the princely palace with grave counsellors, the environs with nutbrown maids and honest yeomen, the groves with the twittering, wanton songsters, the air with perfume, and the sky with the clear sunlight,-thus the picture was wont to fill itself up with discordant materials, till its irregularity made us sick of what was fancy, and sceptical of what was fact.
And yet if we compare what fancy has ascribed to Florence with what she has showered upon other portions of this earth, or form our judgment even by what a modern schedule of tabulary statistics, with item this and item that in exact series, would award to her genius and national policy, the same picture of beauty and prosperity again rises before us with its graces and its artless symmetry to distract and enchant the beholder. It is all true. Florence once pushed her agriculture to the tops of the Apennines,
supplanting the chestnut by the blade of corn, in places now left desolate in despair: once the fabrics of her artisans were famous throughout Europe: once her sails were wooing and kissing every breeze: her arms made her terrible in the earth, and covered her with military glory. The painter and the sculptor embodied the manifold forms of beauty, and the poet in glowing numbers flung the bright halo of sparkling song around her brow. Her judges presided in wisdom, and her princes ruled in splendor. But the vision has passed. Indolence, torpor, spiritless vanity now brood upon her palaces and her fields: the industrious live by the negligence of an imbecile government, and the rest are too lazy to dig, and just mean enough to do the thief and the beggar in a small way. The fires which were once kindled in her realms, have long since been extinguished: her former energy and her opulence have fled northward to the fast-anchored isle, and her political genius and spirit have travelled westward over the Atlantic, and rested on a soil then unknown to her geography.
In the latter years of the thirteenth century, Florence was the scene of a violent political contest between the Bianchi and Neri, or the Whites and Blacks. It was the design of the latter party to co-operate with the selfish schemes of the Pope, Boniface VIII., and, at his suggestion, resign their city to the tender mercies of Charles of Valois, Count of Anjou, and brother of the king of France. The independent character of the Florentines had for some time annoyed the pride of the Pontifical See, and every opportunity had been sought by both parties to maintain the spiritual and temporal prerogatives. But it was a day of darkness, superstition, and slavery. Few men knew enough of freedom to think it worth struggling for common folk and gentle folk were allowed just that amount of religion, which made them tremble at a priest, and just that amount of knowledge, and in that form, which left the impression that it was a thing for angels instead of creatures of flesh and blood. Men were born with innate impressions of servitude, and were baptized into the name of the Pope and the Prince. The glass, through which mankind might see heavenly
things darkly, had become smutted over with the dingy smoke of scholasticism and mysticism, till human eyes could not see through it at all. All was disease and wretchedness and despair. But God had reserved unto himself many choice spirits, and was ordering events for the speedy release of his oppressed creatures. Upon the very lands where the darkness was the deepest, He was pouring down the silent and lively beams of truth; and was placing motives in their hearts and weapons in their hands to assert and maintain the rights, with which He had endowed them.
In Florence the little band of Bianchi, with the prior of the city at their head, were holding their ground as witnesses to the doctrine of inalienable rights. They had their nocturnal meetings and their esoteric maxims, their secret oaths and their inspiriting watchword, their indomitable purposes and their ennobling aims. In the year 1300, this true-hearted band had for their leader a man, who had seen some thirtyfive summers, and had studied philosophy at Bologna and Padua, theology in the schoolmen, literature in Virgil, arms and glory at Compaldino against the Ghibelines of Arezzo, love in the eyes of Beatrice Portinari, and domestic infelicity with Gemma Donati. With a heart generous as the rain of heaven, a temper firm but engaging by its many virtues, a wit busy with the fascinating forms and images of nature, a spirit burning with the purifying fires of patriotism, he moved amid the narrow circle of leagued liberators, the very pride of the band. His hours were engaged in laying skilful plots to countermine a wary foe. One day at Rome,
the next at Florence, and the third at the court of some neighboring prince, he pushed his negotiations, and put every means in motion to secure the best interests of his countrymen. a stupid race, and a barbarous age, discarded his philanthropic efforts: even his fellow-citizens looked on with an indifferent air, and he found himself, after several partial successes, in a small minority and in poor repute within his native walls.
Dante Alighieri-for he was this prior, and politician, and poet-determined to resist to the last the encroachments of Boniface. We can fancy the little knot of Bianchi gathered in their nocturnal assembly room, discussing the changing events of the day, proposing and weighing various expedients for their often emergencies, lamenting the fickleness and sluggish stupidity of the Florentine populace, and seeking through the thick darkness to catch some far off ray of
hope in the distant future, when their free and just principles should triumph in the world. But they saw none; and yet, with true patriotism, when they were rejected of their countrymen, and with true religion, when they were anathematized by the supposed vicegerent of God, they clung to their homes and their faith with unfaltering purpose; while Dante, the very joint and sinew of the society, still swept the loud chords of his lyre in mingled tones of submission and rebuke.
O Almighty Power!
Of thy sage counsel, made for some good end,
Turning from the sad scene, which met his eyes everywhere in Italy, his heart wanders back to his Firenze la bella.
My Florence! Thou may'st well remain unmov'd
If thou reinember'st well, and canst see clear, Thou wilt perceive thyself like a sick wretch, Who finds no rest upon her down, but oft Shifting her side, short respite seeks from pain. Purg. CANTO VI.
A company of such choice spirits, feeding the flames of liberty with holy hands, without an example in story to encourage them to believe their principles practicable, making head against the ecclesiastical purple with not a precedent in Christendom of successful opposition to her wiles and power, forgiving and forgetting the ingratitude of their fellows, constant amid difficulties and indomitable amid despair-such a company is worth looking in upon. It assures us that even in that dismal period there was other light besides the external rays of the sun, that there was other generosity besides what existed in the bountiful bosom of nature; and with our clearer vision, and brighter prospects, we seem to go back to that secret chamber, and mingle with that devoted band, and speak to them words of consolation and hope, "Brothers, have good cheer. The night is far spent."
The Neri triumphed, and in 1302 the leaders of the Bianchi were banished. Dante, being on an einbassy to Rome, was mulcted by the Flo