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“Monsieur de Langre wrote his own will then ?
And you're to pay me if I tip it off,
No bad thing, for the times we live in, d-mme!
Now pay me.”
M. l'Abbé de la Victoire said of G., who never ate at home, and who spoke ill of every one, “ That fellow never opens his mouth but at somebody's expense.”
Madame de c. L. had taught her grandchild to play at my lady. One day she must needs have her play in my presence. The footmen were brought in; and, among other things, the little girl said, “If M. Menage calls, say I'm not at home."
An Italian, haranguing a thin audience, opened his address with the following words :-“ Very few gentlemen!" (Pochissimi Signori !)
D. was in a company of ladies where they talked of the capture of Mons. On bis rising to go away, they laid hold of him, and protested he should not be let off without writing some verses on the new conquest. After contesting the point in vain, he wrote as follows :
" Mons étoit, disoit-on, pucelle
Qu'un Roi gardoit avec le dernier soin.
Louis le Grand en eut besoin ;
“Mons, they say, was a maiden town,
So Mons surrender'd ;-and so would you."
Instead of saying, “ I am not so meritorious as you," a French lady who knew a little Italian, said to an Italian lady, “ I am not so meretricious, Madam, as you are."*
They brought a child one day to a country church to be baptised. The priest had been drinking a little freely, and could not find the place in the book. 6 Bless me!" says he, turning over the leaves, is this child is very difficult to baptise.”
M. de la Roulerie, kinsman of M. de Bautru, having eaten himself out of house and land, an Italian, who was at table with him, said,“ Your Lordship eats nothing."_No said he, “my Lordship is
M. Sachot, vicar of St. Gervais, was chaunting a funeral service for a rich man, when they brought him an offering of one of the great wax
* This is like the end of Mrs. Malaprop's episode, “Yours, while meretricious, Delia." Such mistakes happen every day. A lady of my acquaintance, beginning to speak Italian, said one day to a coachman in Italy, using the word cucchiaio for cocchiero, " Spoon! spoon ! not so fast!"
candles stuck full of pieces of gold, “How beautiful," said he, "are the ceremonies of the church !"
The Marechal de had a chin a yard long. M. de la G. had none at all. One day at chace they set off full gallop after a stag, which nobody saw but themselves. “What's that for ?" said the king. “Sire,” said M. de Clarembaut, “the Marshal has run away with G.'s chin, and G. is after him for it."
M. de L. went to Rome to be made a cardinal, and returned with nothing but a cold. Somebody said, it was because he came back without his hat.
At Saint Barthelemy, near La Ferté-Gaucher, an old countryman lay on his death-bed. His son went to fetch the clergyman, and stood knocking softly at his door for three hours. “Why didn't you knock louder ?" said the clergyman. “ “ I was afraid of waking you,” said the clown. “Well, what is the matter ?"_“I left my father dying, Sir."
“ So! so! he must be dead, then, by this time ?”_"Oh no, Sir," returned the other, “neighbour Peter said he would amuse him till I came back.”
Cardinal de Retz said he saw a man lay hold of one of the sails of a windmill, and take a circuit with it in the air.*
Montmaur being at table one day with a noisy company, who were all talking, singing, and laughing at once, cried out, « A little silence, for God's sake, gentlemen. One don't know what one's eating.”
The Duke de Candale, who pretended to the title of Prince in right of his mother, (a natural daughter of Henry the IVth.) talked in the late Prince's presence of “ Monsieur my father," “ Madame my mo ther," &c. The Prince, to rally him, turned to his equerry, and said, “ Monsieur my equerry, go and tell Monsieur my coachman, to put Messieurs my horses to Monsieur my carriage."
Says a judge in a court of law, “Keep silence there ! It is very strange one cannot have silence ! Here have we been deciding God knows how many causes,
and have not heard one of them."
In solitude of thought,
Had his lofty spirit caught.
He saw earth at his feet,
All, save his native land-
With javelin and with brand ?
Dare he the bold emprize
And pierce his mother's side,
With the stain of parricide?
* This is inserted as a curiosity. The friend who made me a present of the Menagiana, has added, in a note, “ I saw a boy, named Wall, do the same thing at Rugby." Some have pronounced it an easy feat; but it unquestionably implies great personal courage. Is not a similar exploit related of Lord Clive ? He was capable of it. He was seen once, when a school-boy, astride the weathercock on the church steeple. VOL, X. No. 57.-1825,
He ponder'd-well he might
On that portentous day,
Upon fair Italy.
His fix'd eyes never stirr'd;
The winds had not been heard.
No leaf shook on the tree,
All seem'd awaiting death,
On proud ambition's breath
On the conqueror's pale smile,
On the red law of power,
On passions that devour !
By the Rubicon he stood,
And grasp'd the last realm free ;
To brave posterity.
Crept slow on the fearful day,
Dash'd back the stream in spray.
That foot was the deep stamp,
The signet of Rome's fall; And it struck on the wave as the spoiler's death-tramp
Strikes on a festival.
That moment shook his frame,
His guilt was at his heart,
And triumph'd o'er its smart.
But glory heal'd the wound
The world's great master past,
"To-morrow the bays of Gaul,”
He cried, “shall be dust with me,
In the sun of eternity. “My fortune I abide
And reck pot the where or when—
And fear to be first of men !"
LETTERS FROM ROME.NO. IV.
Rome, 1st August, 1825. A Book has been in circulation here within these few days, which has given rise to a feeling of general consternation. Ultras, as well as liberals--in fact, all parties—seem seriously annoyed at its publication. It is a history of “The Life of Scipio Ricci, Bishop of Pistoia and Prato," published at Brussels in 3 vols. 8vo.*
This work will make no impression in France, in consequence of the tedious and uninteresting manner in which it is written. "It is not the text, but the notes, and supporting documents, that are curious. The author, M. de Potter, is better acquainted than any other man in Europe, of the present day, with the history of Catholicism; he regards truth as superior to every other consideration ; he possesses both judgment and vivacity ; and is still young. But an unfortunate want of logic, in his otherwise original head, renders his writings upfit to be read excepting in Italy or Germany. In these countries every work is esteemed that is written conscientiously.
M. de Potter is well known at Rome, having passed nearly two years there in constant application, during fifteen hours of the day, at the public libraries. An anecdote has been related to me, connected with “ The Life of Bishop Ricci,” which I cannot but think highly creditable to him. M. de Potter had just devoted six weeks to the purpose of reading and making extracts from a collection of Bulls (Bullarium), consisting of four volumes in folio, of a thousand or twelve hundred pages each. The Chevalier Tambroni, with whom he took a pleasure in conversing relative to the history of the popes of the middle ages, asked him whether he had observed a particular bull, which he described to him. M. de Potter not recollecting it, inquired where it was to be found. The chevalier referred him to the very collection upon the perusal of which he had just bestowed six weeks. On the following day M. de Potter, apprehensive of having committed an oversight, recommenced his tedious labour ; and it was not till after the lapse of a fortnight that he observed one of the pages of the Bullarium to be double, and consequently that one of the bulls might thus be concealed. He hastened to the house of a monsignoret of his acquaintance (Monsignore Zen), who had a copy of the Bullarium in question, and found, to his great joy, that the page which was wanting in the copy he had been consulting, contained the identical bull described to him by the Chevalier Tambroni.
This little anecdote may serve to give you an idea of M. de Potter's scrupulous exactness. The reputation he enjoys in this respect in Italy is very great: I have heard him called, within these few days, the modern -Muratori. But Muratori was an ecclesiastic, and treated the church with deference. Had he dared to say all, like the Frenchman Freret, he would, in the middle of the eighteenth century, have found none to listen to him : whereas, at the present day, M. de Potter makes Rome tremble for the Christian religion.
* It is said that an attempt has recently been made to bring out the same work at Paris, but that it has been suppressed by authority. EDITOR.
An Ecclesiastical title at the See of Rome.
And what would Rome be without religion ? or, what is a much more serious inquiry for the present race of Ronans, what would they be without it? They are, for the most part, destitute of all real merit ; or, to speak with more precision, they would be absolutely and in every point of view useless, in a well-organized state of society. The persecutions of the Carbonari have already excited the curiosity of the young Italians; and a work unassailable in its reasoning, like “ The Life of Scipio Ricci," may create in Rome, what has never yet been seen there, a sect of philosophers avowing their incredulity; or, what would be much worse, maintaining thai Protestantism, such as it exists in some parts of Germany and in Scotland, is more favourable, or less adverse to the happiness of mankind than Popery.
“Well then, you will have a constitution, and be all the happier for it," I observed yesterday to a Roman monsignore. “ You reason badly, Mr. Philosopher," he eagerly replied ; " our grandchildren will be the happier for it, but I myself shall lose my occupation; my influence and fortune will be at an end, and every one will laugh at my knowledge, which is confined to theology and the art of advancing my interests in a court which is purely ecclesiastical. My happiness will be just that of a French emigrant during the Revolution. In one word, if such books as that of M. de Potter ever come to bear fruit, if I may so express it, in Italy, I am a ruined man." Nothing is more true : I was unable even to attempt a reply.
M. de Potter published several years ago two very learned works, which were, nevertheless, exceedingly irksome to read, the author being quite ignorant of the art of communicating his ideas to others. The first of them was entitled “Reflections upon the History of the Councils ;" the second was “ The Spirit of the Church.” He was at Florence in the year 1822, engaged in researches relative to a second edition of those works, when he learned that M. le Commandeur Lappo de Ricci possessed a library full of manuscripts of the celebrated Bishop Scipio Ricci, his relation, who, during the reign of Leopold of Austria (1765 to 1790), had endeavoured to reform the abuses of Catholicism in Tuscany ; that is to say, had renewed the attempt which had formerly proved fatal to the friar Savonarola, who, as you know, aspired to be the Luther of Tuscany, but, not being supported by public opinion, closed bis career in the flames. I shall not undertake to describe the means by which M de Potter obtained access to the manuscripts left by Bishop Ricci, as I would not willingly say any thing that might be prejudicial to the present holders of those curious documents : but of this fact I can give you the most positive assurance, that although his book has diffused so great an alarm amongst both the high and low clergy of Rome, I have never once heard the scrupulous accuracy of the learned Belgian called in question.
About the year 1779, Leopold, undertaking to civilize Tuscany, found that the population, which, from the habits engendered during its former state of a commercial republic, had acquired a character of gentleness and a disposition for order and economy, was untinctured by the ferocity common to the rest of Italy, except through the medium of religion. The only characters in Tuscany about the year 1770, that could be deemed truly atrocious, were to be found amongst the friars