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bourgeoisie always. It is odd that an aristocratic form, so easily learned, should not have been adopted by all who pretend to be gentry. I remember being present when an Englishman and his wife, much accustomed to good French society, but unacquainted with this nuance, were laboriously tutoyering each other. I relieved them much by assuring them that it was not merely unnecessary, but objectionable.

May 2.-Tocqueville dined with us.

A lady at the table d'hôte was full of a sermon which she had heard at the Madeleine. The preacher said, sinking his voice to an audible whisper, ‘I will tell you a secret, but it must go no farther. There is more religion among the Protestants than with us, they are better acquainted with the Bible, and make more use of their reading : we have much to learn from them.'

I asked Tocqueville, when we were in our own room, as to the feelings of the religious world in France with respect to heretics.

* The religious laity,' he answered, ‘have probably little opinion on the subject. They suppose the heretic to be less favourably situated than themselves, but do not waste much thought upon him. The ignorant priests of course consign him to perdition. The better instructed think, like Protestants, that error is dangerous only so far as it influences practice.

• Dr. Bretonneau, at Tours, was one of the best men that I have known, but an unbeliever. The archbishop tried in his last illness to reconcile him to the Church : Bretonneau died as he had lived. But the archbishop,

1857.)

Ancient Prejudices.

175

when lamenting to me his death, expressed his own conviction that so excellent a soul could not perish.

• You recollect the duchesse in St.-Simon, who, on the death of a sinner of illustrious race, said, “On me dira ce qu'on voudra, on ne me persuadera pas que Dieu n'y regarde deux fois avant de damner un homme de sa qualité.” The archbishop's feeling was the same, only changing qualité into virtue.

"There is something amusing,' he continued, 'when, separated as we are from it by such a chasm, we look back on the prejudices of the Ancien Régime. An old lady once said to me, “I have been reading with great satisfaction the genealogies which prove that Jesus Christ descended from David. Ça montre que notre Seigneur était Gentilhomme."

We are somewhat ashamed,' I said, 'in general of Jewish blood, yet the Lévis boast of their descent from the Hebrew Levi.'

. They are proud of it,' said Tocqueville, because they make themselves out to be cousins of the Blessed Virgin. They have a picture in which a Duc de Lévi stands bareheaded before the Virgin. “ Couvrez-vous donc, mon cousin,” she says. C'est pour ma commodité," he answers.'

The conversation passed to literature.

'I am glad,' said Tocqueville, 'to find that, imperfect as my knowledge of English is, I can feel the difference in styles.'

'I feel strongly,' I said, 'the difference in French styles in prose, but little in poetry.'

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* The fact is,' said Tocqueville, 'that the only French poetry, except that of Racine, that is worth reading is the light poetry. I do not think that I could now read Lamartine, though thirty years ago he delighted me.'

The French taste,' I said, 'in English poetry differs from ours.

You read Ossian and the Night Thoughts.

"As for Ossian,' he answered, 'he does not seem to have been ever popular in England. But the frequent reference to the "Night Thoughts," in the books and letters of the last century, shows that the poem was then in everybody's memory. Foreigners are in fact provincials. They take up fashions of literature as country people do fashions of dress, when the capital has left them off. When I was young you probably had ceased to be familiar with Richardson. We knew him by heart. We used to weep over the Lady Clementina, whom I dare say

Miss Senior never heard of. . During the first Empire, we of the old régime abandoned Paris, as we do now, and for the same reasons. We used to live in our châteaux, where I remember as a boy hearing Sir Charles Grandison and Fielding read aloud. A new novel was then an event. Madame Cottin was much more celebrated than George Sand is now.

For all her books were read, and by everybody. Notwithstanding the great merits of George Sand's style, her plots and her characters are so exaggerated and so unnatural, and her morality is so perverted, that we have ceased to read her.'

1857.]

Montalembert.

177

We talked of Montalembert, and I mentioned his sortie the other day against the clergy.

'I can guess pretty well,' said Tocqueville, 'what he said to you, for it probably was a résumé of his article in the “Correspondant.” Like most men accustomed to public speaking, he repeats himself. He is as honest perhaps as a man who is very passionné can be; but his oscillations are from one extreme to another. Immediately after the coup d'état, when he believed Louis Napoleon to be Ultramontane, he was as servile as his great enemy the “Univers” is now. “ Ce sont les nuances qui se querellent, non les couleurs ;” and between him and the “Univers” there is only a nuance.

The Bishop of Agen has oscillated like him, but began at the other end. The other day the Bishop made a most servile address to the Emperor. He had formerly been a furious anti-Bonapartist. “How is it possible,” said Montalembert, “that a man can rush so completely from one opinion to another ? On the 4th of December in 1851 this same Bishop denounced the coup d'état with such violence that the President sent me to the Nuncio to request his interference. Now he is on his knees before him. Such changes can scarcely be honest." Montalembert does not see that the only difference between them is that they have trod in opposite directions the very same path.'

Thursday, May 5.—Tocqueville and I dined with M. and Madame de Bourke, and met there General Dumas and Ary Scheffer.

We talked of Delaroche's pictures, and Scheffer VOL. II.

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agreed with me in preferring the smaller ones. He thought that Delaroche improved up to the time of his death, and preferred his Moses, and Drowned Martyr, painted in 1853 and 1855, to the other large ones, and his Girondins, finished in 1856, to the earlier small ones.

We passed on to the increased and increasing population of Paris.

“The population of Paris,' I said, “is only half that of London, while that of the British Islands is not threefourths that of France. If you were to double the population of Paris, therefore, it would still be proportionally less than that of London.'

“That is true,' said Tocqueville, ‘but yet there are many circumstances connected with the Parisian population each of which renders it more dangerous than the London one. In the first place, there is the absence of any right to relief. The English workman knows that neither he nor his family can starve. The Frenchman becomes anxious as soon as his employment is irregular, and desperate when it fails. The English workmen are unacquainted with arms, and have no leaders with military experience. The bulk of the Frenchmen have served, many of them are veterans in civil war, and they have commanders skilled in street-fighting. The English workmen have been gradually attracted to London by a real and permanent demand for their labour. They have wives and children. At least 100,000 men have been added to the working population of Paris since the coup d'état. They are young men in the vigour of their strength and passions, unrestrained by wives or families.

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