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more mortal aspect. I felt a pang ; but it did not
continue long. Inevitable things are not the hardest
to be borne. iVt all events, there was no time for
pondering on the subject; the carriage which had
brought the order and the government hnissier, was
at the gate. The commandant, with an ominous
look, wished me "good fortune." I hurried into
the carriage, and we flew on the road to Paris.

On reaching the barrier, we turned to the quarter
of the Luxembourg, and stopped at the gate of a
moderate-looking house. I Avas shown into a small
and simple room ; where I found a man, advanced
in years, and of a striking aspect. He said not a
word; and I had no inclination to converse. The one
or two hesitating syllables which I addressed to him,
were answered only by a bow, and a look, as if he
did not imderstand the language. I spoke no more ;
and I awaited the approach of the terror of France,
and horror of Europe ; during half an hoin-, which
seemed to me interminable.

The door at last opened, a valet came in, and



102 MARSTON.

the name of " Robespierre " thrilled through every
fibre ; but, instead of the frowning giant to which
my fancy had involuntarily attached the name, I saw
following him, a slight figure, highly dressed, and
even with the air of a fop on the stage. Holding a
perfumed handkerchief in one hand, which he waved
towards his face like one indulging in the fragrance ;
and a diamond snuff-box in the other, he advanced
with a sliding step ; and after a sallow smile to me,
and a solemn bow to the old man, congratulated
himself on the " honour of the acquaintance, which
he had been indebted to his friend Elnathan for
making, in person.'^

I was all astonishment : I had come, in expecta-
tion of my death-warrant — I had a reception like
an ambassador. I now perplexed myself with the
idea, that I had been mistaken for some stranger
in the foreign diplomacy ; but I was soon set right,
by his pronouncing my name, and making some
allusions to " the influence of my family in the
British Parliament."

Yet, I was still in the tiger's den, and I expected
to feel the talons. I was happily disappointed ; the
claw was sheathed in velvet. A slight refection was
brought in by an embroidered domestic, and it was
evidently the wish of this tremendous demagogue to
appear the man of refinement, for the time.

" My friend Elnathan," said he, " has informed
me, that you wish to return to England ? "

This was pronounced in the meekest tone of in-
terrogatory ; and, with eyes scarcely raised to either
of us, he awaited my confirmation of his idea.



MARSTON. 163

It •vvas given most unhesitatingly ; and my glance
at the countenance of the old man was answered by
another ; which told me, that I saw the corre-
spondent of my friend Mordecai.

"The circumstances are simply these/' said the
dictator, in the same delicate tone ; " the govern-
ment lias occasion to arrange some matters of im-
portance with the British cabinet. The successes of
the Republic have raised jealousies ; which it is for
the advantage of human nature that we should re-
concile, if possible. — France and England are the
only free countries : their hostility can only be in-
jurious to freedom."

He paused, and his cold grey eye, after traversing
the floor, was slowly raised to me.

I admitted my perfect agreement in the opinion,
that " wherever national conflict could be avoided, it
was the business of all rational men to maintain
j)eace." I saw a grim smile pass over his sallow
features, probably at having found another dupe.
Elnathan sat in profound silence, without the move-
ment of a muscle.

Robespierre, rising, now took a letter from a port-
folio, and put it into the Jew's hand. He had got
over that strange embarrassment with which his
habitual nervousness marked his first address ; and
spoke largely, and with a considerable expression of
authority.

"The English government," said he, "have ex-
pressed some unnecessary uneasiness at the ])rogress
of opinion in Europe. The late victory, which has
decided the fate of the Austrian Netherlands, will



1G4 MARSTON.

probably increase that uneasiness. — Communications
through the usual channels are slow, imperfect, and
open to espionage. — I have, therefore, applied to my
friend Elnathan, to point out some individual in
whom he has perfect confidence, and through whom
the communication can be made. — He has named
you."

Elnathan, with his huge hands clasped on his
breast, and his bushy brows bent deep over his eyes,
bent forward, with almost oriental affirmation.

"When will you be ready to set out for Calais ? ''

" This moment," was my willing answer.

"No, we are not quite prepared." He walked for
a while about the room, pondering on the subject;
then, turning to Elnathan, he directed the Jew to
get ready some papers connected with the financial
dealings which his Jewish brethren were then be-
ginning to carry on extensively throughout Europe.
Those were to be arranged by the next day, and for
those T must wait.

" You shall be under the care of Elnathan," said
the master of ray fate. " He will obtain 3'our pass-
ports from the Foreign Office, and you will leave
Paris to-morrow evening, at furthest. — We must
avoid all observation, in this matter, Elnathan," said
he, turning to the Jew. " Paris is a hot-bed of
spies. Apropos, M. Marston, where do you propose
to spend the evening ? "

My mind glanced at Vincenncs ; and his eye, cold
as it was, caught my startled conception.

" Pardon me," said the man of terrors, Avith the
blandest smile which his physiognomy could put on ;



MARSTON. 165

" your return to-niglit to the fortress, would only set
all the tongues of Paris in motion to-morrow. — You
must be seen in public to-night, at the opera, the
theatre, or where you will. You must figure as an
Englishman, travelling at his pleasure and his leisure;
a Milor. What say you, Elnathan?"

"Madame Roland gives a 5oi?*ee to-night," humbly
interposed the Jew.

"Ha ! — that is the best of all. — You must go
there. You will be seen by all the world. Elnathan
will introduce you to the ' philosophic lad}' ' of the
circle." He then resumed his pacing round the
room. I could observe the vulpine expression of his
visage, the twitching of his hands, the keen sidelong
look of a man living in perpetual alarm. I saw the
man.

We now prepared to take our leave ; but he sud-
denly resumed the petit-maitre, flourished his per-
fumed handkerchief again, gave a passing smile to
the mirror, and offered me the honours of his snuff-
box with the affectation of the stage. But, as we
reached the door of the apartment, he made a long,
single stride, which brought him up close to me.
'• Remember, sir," said he, in a stern voice, wholly
unlike the past — "you have it in charge from me,
to inform your government of the actual feeling of
France. It is true, that there are madmen among
us ; Brissotins, Girondists, and other enthusiasts ;
who talk of war. — / tell you that they are madmen,
and that / will have no war. —There may be con-
spirators, who wish to shake the Republic, and look
to war as the means of raisin"; themselves on its



166 MARSTON.

ruins. — /tell you, and you may tell your cabinet,
that they shall not accomplish their objects here ;
and that, if they accomplish them, it will be alone
the fault and the folly of Enj^land. — Impress those
truths on the minds of your coimtrymen : the Re-
public desires no war ; her principle is peace, her
purpot,e is peace, her prosperity is peace. There
will be, there shall be, there must be, no war." He
folded his arms, and stood like a pillar, till we with-
drew.

I happened to ascertain shortly afterwards, that,
on this very day, Robespierre had presided at a
council, which sent off orders to Dumourier, to open
the Scheldt; the notorious and direct preliminary
to war with England. — Such is the sincerity of
diplomacy !



CHAPTER XXIII.

■ The star that bids the shepherd fold,
Now the top of heaven doth hold.
And the gilded car of day
His glowing axle doth allay,
In the steep Atlantic stream
And the slope sun his upward heam
Shoots against the dusky Pole,
Pacing toward the other goal
Of his chamber in the east.
Meanwhile, welcome Joy and Feast,
Midnight Shout and Revelry,
Tipsy Dance, and Jollity.
Bx'aid you locks with rosy twine,
Dropping odours, ch'opping wine."



MiLTO.V.



I SPENT the rest of the day with Elnathan. His
hotel was splendid, and all that surrounded him gave
the impression of great opulence ; but it was obvious,
that he lived like a man in a gunpowder magazine.
He had several sons and daughters, whom, in his
fears, he had contrived to send for safety, to his con-
nexions in Germany ; and he now lived alone ; his
wife having been dead for some years. All his
wealth could not compensate him for the anxiety of his
position ; and doubtless he would have perished long



16S MARSTON.

before, in the general massacre of the opulent ; ex-
cept for his being the chief channel of moneyed com-
munication between the government and Germany.
In the course of our lonely, but most recherche, dinner,
he explained to me slightly the means of my recent
preservation. The police-officer had acquainted him
with my being the bearer of a letter from his friend.
The message of the head of the Republic, requiring
a confidential bearer of documents, struck him as
affording an opportunity for my liberation; and no
time was lost in proposing my name to authority.

" And now," said my entertainer, after drinking
my safe arrival, in a bumjjer of imperial tokay, " En
avant, for Madame Roland."

We drove to a splendid mansion in the Rue de la
Revolution, The street in front was crowded with
equipages. The house had belonged to the Austrian
ambassador ; and, on the declaration of war, it had
been taken possession of by the Republic without
ceremony.

I observed to Elnathan, as we passed through the
long and stately suite of rooms, that, "to judge from
the furniture, republicanism was not republican every
where."

" Nowhere, but in the streets, or the prisons," was
his reply, in a whisper. " Since the Austrian left it,
the whole hotel has been furnished anew, at the most
})rofuse expense, which I had the honour of supply-
ing. — Roland is a great personage, but a nobody, a
mill-horse at the wheel of office. He is probably
drudging over his desk, at this moment ; but Ma-
dame is of another mould. — La voila!" He turned^



MARSTON. 169

and made a profound bow to a very showy female,
who had advanced from a group, for the purpose of
receiving the Jew and the stranger. I had now, for
the first time, the honour of seeing this remarkable
personage. Her figure was certainly striking, and
her physiognomy conveyed a great deal of her cha-
racter for intelligence and decision. She had evi-
dently dressed herself on the model of the classique ;
and though not handsome enough for a A^enus, nor
light enough for a nymph, she might have made a
tolerable Minerva. She had probably some thoughts
of the kind ; for before we had time to make our
bows, she threw herself into an attitude of the
Galerie des Antiques, and, with her eyes fixed pro-
foundly on the ground, awaited our incense. But
when this part was played, the idol condescended to
become human, and she spoke with that torrent of
language which her clever countrywomen have at
such unrivalled command.

She was " delighted, charmed, enchanted," to make
my acquaintance. — "She had owed many marks of
friendship to M. Elnathan ; but this surpassed them
all — she admired the English — they were always the
friends of liberty — France was now beginning a race
in the arena of freedom. The rivalry was brilliant,
the prize was inestimable." I could only bow.
Again, "she was enraptured to meet an Englishman ;
the countryman of Milton and Wilkes, of Charles Fox
and William Tell." I fear that I gave a smile to
her remorseless melange. But she was above all
embarrassment ; and still poured out her historic

VOL. II. I



170 MARSTON.

raptures. " She adored England, the cradle of
Cromwell and Luther — she had been lately study-
ing our history, and had wept floods of tears over
the execution of William III. — Enfin, she hoped that
Shakspeare, *ce beau, ce superbe Shakspeare,' was
in good health, and meant to give the world many,
many more charming tragedies."

Madame had now discharged her first volley ; and
she wheeled back upon a group of members of the Con-
vention, sullen-looking sages, with wild hair hang-
ing over their shoulders, and the genuine Carmagnole
physiognomy. With these men she was evidently
deep in vehement discussion, and her whole volume of
politics was flung at their heads with as little mercy,
as her literary stores had been poured upon me.

But the crowd pressed towards another object of
curiosity, and I followed it, under the guidance of
my Asmodeus ; to a music room, splendidly fitted
up, and filled with the most select orchestra of the
capital. But it was an amateur, that was there to
attract all eyes and ears. — " Madame de Fontenai,"
whispered the Jew, as he glanced towards a woman of
a singularly expressive countenance and statue-like
form, half sitting, half reposing, on a sofa. She was
surrounded by a group soliciting her, for a " few notes,
a suspiration, a sotipcon'' — of, as Elnathan observed
to me, " one of the most delicious voices which had
ever crossed the Pyrenees," and the Jew had all the
musical taste of his nation. At last, the siren con-
sented, and a harp was brought, and placed before
her, with the same homage which might have at-



MARSTON. 171

tended an offering to the Queen of Cyprus, in her
own island, three thousand vears ae;o.

After a brief and brilliant prelude, which showed
her perfect command of the instrument, and trying
her voice, in a few notes, whose sweetness justified
Elnathan's panegyric ; throwing up her fine eyes, as
if to meet some descending inspiration, she began.
Her style was to me entirely new, and was exquisite ;
and rather letting her hand drop among the strings,
than striking them, and rather breathing out her
feelings, than performing any music of mortal com-
position, she sang one of the fantastic, but impas-
sioned reveries of " the sweet south."

MADRIGAL.

" Tus ojos y los mios

Se miran y hablan.
Pero los corazones

No se declaran.
Mas te prevengo
Que si tu no te explicas,
Yo no te entiendo.

" Las dudas de un amante

No han de saberse.
Que al decirlas se sabe.

Que desmerecen.

No — en el sileneio
No son pensamientos
Del mas aprecio*."

* " Silence is the true love-token ;

Passion only speaks in sighs ;
Would you keep its charm unbroken,
Trust the eloquence of eyes.
Ah no !
Not so. [From

I 2



] 72 MARSTON.

The song closed in a burst of plaudits, as general
and marked as if they had been given to a prima
donna in a theatre, and she received them as if she
was in a theatre.

"You should be presented to Madame de Fon-
tenai," was my guide's suggestion. — " She is our
reigning celebrite at present, as Madame Roland is
our publicite. You see we are nice in our dis-
tinctions. — I shall probably to-night show you an-
other, a very handsome creature indeed, without half
the talents of either, but with more admirers than
both; who has obtained the title o^ owe f elicit e.""

But who, or what, is this fascinating creature ?

" The daughter of Cabarus, the Spanish am-
bassador here some years ago. She is now a widow,
rich, giving recherche suppers, followed by all the
world, and, as she declares, -persecuted by M. Tallien ;
who, as perseverance is nine-tenths of success in
everything, will probably succeed in making her
Madame Talhen."

I had now the honour of being presented, and was
received with very flattering attention. This I pro-
bably owed to the Jew, who seemed to have the key

From my soul all doubts remove ;
Tell me, tell me — that you love.

" Looks the heart alone discover ;

If the tongue its thoughts can tell,
'Tis in vain you play the lover.
You have wgsqv felt the spell.
Ah no !
Not so.
Speak the word, all words above ;
Tdl me, tell mc — that you love."



MARSTON. 173

to every one's smiles, as he had to most of their
escritoires. She was certainly a person of most
distinguished appearance. — Not handsome, so far as
beauty depends on feature ; for she had the olive
tinge of her country, and she had the not Spanish
"petit nez retrousse." But her figure was fine ; and
never was any costume more studied to exhibit all
its graces. Accustomed as I had become to foreign
life, I acknowledge, that I was a little surprised at
the unhesitatingly classical development of her
form ; — arms naked to the shoulder, or clasped only
with golden serpents; a robe a la Diane, and suc-
cinct as ever huntress wore ; silver sandals, a jewelled
cestus, and a tunic of white satin deeply embroidered
with gold, depending simply to the knee !

But when she placed me on the sofa beside her,
and entered into conversation, everything was for-
gotten, in her incomparable elegance of manner.
She had singular brilliancy of eye ; it almost spoke ;
it perpetually flashed, and it filled up the pauses
when she ceased to speak, with a meaning absolutely
mental. But her language was eloquent ; sometimes,
in that tone of gentle and touching confidence, which
wins upon the feelings ; sometimes, in that anima-
tion, which made the hearer almost think that he
was looking at her soul through her vivid coun-
tenance. Before a few minutes had elapsed, I could
fully comprehend her title, to the renown of the most
captivating conv^ersationist of Paris.

As I at length relinquished this enviable and
envied position, to give way to the crowd who
brought their tribute to the fauteuil, or rather the
I 3



174 MARSTON.

shrine, of this dazzling woman — " You have still,"
said my companion, " to see another of our sove-
reigns ; for, as we have a triumvirate in the Tuileries,
the world of taste is ruled by three rivals ; and they
are curiously characteristic of the classes from which
they have sprung. The lady of the mansion, you
must have perceived to be, republican, in every sense
of the word — clever undoubtedly, but as undoubtedly
bourgeoise ; intelligent in no slight degree, but too
much in earnest for elegance ; perpetually taking
the lead on those desperate subjects, in which women
can only be, and ought to be, smatterers ; and all
this, to the infinite amusement of her hearers, and
the unbounded terror of her meek and very helpless
husband."

I remarked, '* that she had, at least, the important
merit, of giving very splendid entertainments."

" Yes, and of also possessing as honest a heart as
she possesses a rash brain. She is kind, generous,
and even rational, where she has not a revolution to
make, or to unmake. But, suffer her to touch on
politics, and you might as well bring a lunatic into
the light of the full moon."

" But that singular being, to whom we have just
been listening, and whose song I shall hear to-night
in my dreams — can she be a politician, a republican ?
I have never seen a countenance more likely to be
contemptuous of the canaille ! "

" You are perfectly in the right. She has a sphere
of her own, which has no more to do with our world,
than if she lived in the evening star. — She exists
simply to enjoy homage, and to reward it, as you



MARSTON 175

have seen, by a song or a smile ; yet she too has
been on the verge of the scaffold. Some of our
leading political characters are contending for her
influence, her fortune, or her hand ; and whether
the contest will end in raising M.TalHen to the head
of the Republic, or extinguishing him within the
week, is a question which chance alone can decide. —
She may yet be a queen."

" She seems fitter to be a Circe, or a Calypso.
Or if a queen, she would be a Cleopatra."

^' No," said Elnathan, with the only laugh which
I had seen on his solemn visage during the night.
" She has known too much of courts, to desire
royalty. She reigns, as the widow of M. de Fon-
tenai. If Tallien falls, she will have the power of
choosing from all his successors. — When age comes
at last, and conquests are hopeless, she will turn
devote, fly to her native Spain, abjure the face of
man, spend her money on wax-dolls ; and after
being worshipped by the multitude as a saint, and
panegyrized by the monks as a miracle; she Avill
die with her face turned to Paris after all, as good
Mussulmen send their last breath in the direction of
Mecca."



I 4



CHAPTER XXIV.

" Ci'owds in the lighted street,

And the chariots rush and roll,
And the stifling throng, as when numbers meet

With one impulse of soul :
I plunged into that tide,

As it rushed resistless where
The proud theatre's portals wide

Shook to the echoing air.
Slowly the curtain rose:

A woman there stood lone,
'Mid a pulseless hush, such as marks the close

Of some warring trumpet's tone ;
Parted her lips, and from that hour.

My life of life began."

Simmons.

We now plunged into the centre of a circle of
men in military costume, full of the war, and criti-
cising Dumourier's campaign with the utmost seve-
rity. As I listened, with some surprise at the
multiplicity of capital errors, which the most suc-
cessful general of France had contrived to squeeze
into a single month of operations, I observed a man,
of a pale thin visage, like one suffering from ill
health or excessive mental toil, but of a singularly



MARSTON. 177

intellectual expression ; listening to the group of
tacticians, with a quiet smile.

" Let me have the honour of presenting M.
Marston to the minister at war," was my introduc-
tion to the celebrated Carnot; with whom Elnathan
seemed to be on terms of peculiar intimacy. The
minister entered at once, and good-humouredly, into
conversation.

" You must not think our favourite general," said
he, " altogether the military novice, which those
gentlemen of the National Guard have decided him
to be. I feel an additional interest in the question,
because I myself had a little official battle to fight,
to place him at the head of the army of Flinders.
But I saw that he had military talent, and that, with
a republic, cancels all sins."

I made some passing remark, on the idleness of
disputing the ability of an officer who answered
cavils by conquests ; observing, that the only rational
altar raised by the Romans, a people of warriors, was
to " Good Fortune."

"Ah yes, you think, in the Choiseul style, that
the first question in choosing a general should be,
' is he lucky ? ' I must own, that General Du-
mourier has fought his battle, against principle. But
those gentlemen do not perceive, that there lies the
very merit for which the Republic must uphold him.
His troops were in an exhausted country ; they had
provisions but for two days. He must fight at once
or retreat. — Another general might have retreated ;
and made his apology by the state of his haversacks.
Dumourier took the other alternative : he fought ;

I 5



178 MARSTON.

and the general who fights, is the only general who
gains victories."

One of the tacticians at whom he had indulged in
a sneer, Santerre, the commandant of the city
cavalry, a huge and heavy hero, with enormous jack-
boots and a clattering sabre, now strode up to us,
and pronounced that the campaign had been hitherto
*' against all rule."

" You mistake, my good friend," said the now
half angry minister — " you mistake acting above rule,
for acting against rule. — Our war is new, our force is
new, our position new ; and we must meet the strug-
gle by new means. Follow the routine, and all is
lost. Invent, act, hazard, strike, and we shall tri-
umph ; as Dumourier has done."

Santerre attempted to say something ; but the
fieiy little tactician would not be interrupted.

" France is surrounded with enemies. To conquer,
we must astonish. If we wait to be attacked, we
must feel the weakness of defence — the spirit of the
French soldier is attack. Within the frontier, he is
a bird in a cage ; beyond it, he is a bird in the air.
Why has France always triumphed in the beginning
of a war ? because she has always invaded. — The
French soldier must march, he must fight, he must
feel that he hazards every thing, before he rises to
that pitch of daring, that ardour, that elan, by which
he gains every thing. — Let him, like the Greek, burn
his ships behind him, and from that moment he is


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