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bowls of rich cream from her full dairy, and bottles of various cordials-whisky plain, and whisky spiced, and whisky sweetened. Visitors on intimate terms were shown, without ceremony, by the mistress of this humble household into her ordinary living room, where the refreshments always offered were at hand. Those of higher degree passed on to the best parlour, there to wait for the bareheaded, barefooted maid in her blue flannel petticoat, and her white neatly-frilled bedgown, with her tray; for to meet without both eating and drinking, was unheard of in those days in the Highlands. And it was not a mere taste of cake and wine a mere form of civility—it was good honest hunger well satisfied, the visitor having generally made a journey of some miles. It was a matter of duty with the host to partake of every article offered, even to the cordials, which had also to be tasted with every fresh arrival. Mrs Macneil carried her scrupulous adherence to these ceremonies of the olden time so far, that, in presenting powdered sugar and whisky, which was then much the fashion with the ladies, she invariably took the first spoonful out of the glass herself-a real relic of the barbarous ages, as the same spoon served all. Guests of their own degree often remained to a late dinner, when, if there were only gentlemen-which indeed mostly happened, as the Highland ladies seldom left their homes-the goodwife saw little more of them, her part being behind the scenes, to keep the punchbowls going till long after they had better have been filled no more. It was rather a thickly-inhabited part of the country, full of half-pay officers and small lairds, and one or two retired merchants, at that time of day but little thought of, with one great house only, within a very large circuit of miles, the noble residence of the chief, to whom Mrs Macneil was distantly related.
Castle Fruich was a large building of gray stone, very irregularly constructed, surrounded by a perfect town of small houses and offices, placed on a wide moor, sheltered by a few very formal plantations, of what has been till lately called by the name of the Scotch fir; although its miserable appearance beside the natural forests of black pine, stretching in their grave beauty far up some of the more sheltered glens, might have shown to any observing eye how misnamed had been the interloper. A fine background of mountains relieved in some degree the uninteresting nature of the home scenery, and extensive shrubberies added a cheerful look to the immediate precincts of the castle. The laird of the clan Fruich passed the greater part of the year in this his bleak residence, keeping open house during the whole of the summer and autumn, and generally surrounding himself at all times with a constant variety of guests. He lived plainly in the hospitable manner befitting his station, his board being most plentifully provided, and the ever-changing company of all degrees being welcomed with unfailing cordiality. There was no attempt to encourage a select society. It was no mark of high caste to dine at the castle. Every one felt entitled to a place there, in a country where, however poor individual means might be, every man considered himself born a gentleman. The company consisted for the most part of the clan, all bearing the same surname with their chief, and repeating so constantly among them the one or two Christian names in favour with their race, that they could never have been distinguished but for the prevailing custom of conferring a sort of title on these far-spreading members of one family, each man being commonly known by the name of the place he lived at, whether it were his own, or merely a wadset, or even but his rented farm. And as in larger communities, so there was in this, degrees of rank perfectly recognised, although never offensively paraded. There were branches to the clan-cadets of the great house, gifted in far back times with such lands as they could keep or take, who had risen to independence, though they gloried in acknowledging the source from whence they had sprung. In their turn they had similarly provided for scions of their own stock; and thus in time the name
spread wide over the wild country they had settled in, descending even to those who laboured for their daily bread, though these, in general, had rather been adopted into the clan, when fleeing from justice or injustice in some other. All, however, felt themselves links of the one great chain which connected the least among them with their chief. When associating in his baronial hall, each fell into his own place easily, thus keeping up the manner of perfect equality, while, in reality, there was a wide difference between those whose station was below the salt' and the 'yellow drawing-room' section of the company, who entered the banqueting-room, and retired with Lady Margaret, the laird's high-bred lady, none of the miscellaneous remainder offering to attend upon her unless specially invited. Mr Macneil held a sort of middle rank amongst this assemblage. His commission, his manners, his wife's good birth, placed him above his wadset; but his known mercantile descent, and his very humble means, reduced him again in the scale of Highland society; so that he owed it to his sound common sense that he was a frequent invited guest at the castle.
As the lieutenant's sons grew up, they occasionally accompanied their father on these visits. They were ushered into what was to them the world,' with no further preparation than the donning of their Sunday suit; and they took their places in it with that simple composure born with the Highlanders. Their mother, indeed, had not omitted to inform them of their claim to a seat at their great relation's table; for she had her full share of pride, and she had given a due proportion to her sons of this failing of her age, instilling at the same time into their young minds firm moral feelings, worthy of the race from which she had descended. She was a woman of high principles, accurately discriminating between right and wrong, and never compromising the matter between them; yet, shrewd and active, she had always all her senses about her. After her household thrift, the one aim and end of her existence was the advancement in life of her children. She had hitherto well done her part as a good Highland wife and mother. She had gathered gear, kept all hands busy, advised her husband, nursed the babies, given habits of industry and obedience both to sons and daughters, with the best instruction within her reach. She had now to push her family on; and for this purpose, as regarded her sons, she looked to her chief for assistance, not as a favour, but as a right, for he well knew that they were his blood relations. It was the custom of the times for the great to keep their patronage, like their charity, at home among their own connexions and dependents, on whom, indeed, no act of kindness was spared when occasion offered for its being exercised. The laird, therefore, made little difficulty about obliging his cousin. Labour of any sort being utterly distasteful to the spirit of these children of the mountains, the army was then the refuge of all the unemployed to serve' being the sole ambition of the young Highlanders. And as commissions were easily obtained in that warlike period, when any man of influence asked for them, the lieutenant's eldest son had not long to wait before he saw himself gazetted. He passed the interim principally at the castle, Lady Margaret, out of regard to the parents, condescending to aid in fashioning the manners of the son. It was a happy novitiate for the future knight. With well-bred companions of his own age and sex, the days sped rapidly on in the pursuit of those active sports which still occupy the higher ranks during a Highland autumn, and were then almost the principal employment of all classes; while the fair daughters of the house, accomplished far beyond his simple ideas of female merit, gaily contributed to the cheerful passing of the evenings. Whether these influences altogether worked for good as to the young soldier's future happiness, however much they might elevate his feelings, is almost doubtful; for broken hints were scattered among the earlier letters, from which rather a melancholy romance of real life
vations of the solar spots. To all this labour, and to the bringing out of the work, a period of twelve years has been devoted. The results are described in language as philosophical as it is eloquent: many passages among the scientific details of the catalogues produce an impression on the reader equal to that caused by a sublime strain of poetry. We propose to lay before our readers such portions of the work as may appear most popularly interesting.
could, with a little ingenuity, have been woven. But whatever may have been his youthful dream, his manhood was none the less vigorous for its indulgence. Bravely and honourably he won his way, well supporting, throughout his prosperous career, the character of a gentleman. With no education beyond the mere rudiments of such knowledge as he could acquire at the parish school, his manners formed only by the principles of rectitude, and the habits of application he had imbibed at home very slightly polished by a few months The late Sir William Herschel made, during his life, of intercourse with more refined society, Hector Macneil what he called sweeps of the heavens,' in which, as is prepared to enter life without one feeling of timidity. well known, he discovered and investigated, amongst Strong in the simple resolve to do his duty under every other celestial phenomena, those presented by nebulæ. circumstance, he quitted his father's roof not without The results of these researches were published in the sorrow, but without fear. He had been brought up to Transactions of the Royal Society; but about the expect this separation, to look forward to it as to a year 1825, Sir John Herschel proposed to re-examine starting-point from whence his own independence was the whole of his father's work, and spent eight years in to spring, and good to result, through his means, to his the survey, which extended over 2306 nebulæ and clusfamily. Thus nerved by the hope of assisting those heters of stars, 525 of which were described for the first loved, while reflecting credit on them by his own suc- time; and in addition, the places of 3000 or 4000 double cess, there was little room in his honest heart for the stars determined. In this re-examination Sir J. Hermere indulgence of the grief of leaving them. His schel made use of his father's twenty-feet reflector, over courage drooped for one short moment only, when he the manipulation of which, and the process of polishing bent before his mother for her blessing. Solemnly but the mirrors, he obtained a complete mastery. Aftercalmly it was given, though the unusual paleness of her wards, in obedience to an impulse arising out of the countenance betrayed something of what she felt on absorbing nature of the pursuit, he resolved on making dismissing to the turmoil of the world her first-born. a survey of the southern hemisphere, for the purpose of He left the north country with the chief. It was usual instituting comparisons with the northern. In pursuwith the great men of those days to spend the winter ance of this object, as many readers are aware, he emfrequently in the south with their families, and it was barked with his apparatus for the Cape of Good Hope, the custom for a considerable number of the clan always where he arrived in January 1834. Having found a to attend their chief on this his progress. It was a suitable residence, bearing the name of Feldhuysen or very stately migration. There was a sort of body-guard Feldhausen, about six miles from Cape Town, in the of mounted gentlemen, with a crowd of humbler re-direction of Wynberg, the instruments were fixed early tainers on foot. The escort fell off as the great man in March, and ready to commence a regular course of travelled, till, towards the close of his journey, when he sweeping.' left the hills to enter upon the plains, only a few of his most intimate friends remained to take leave of him. At this point the lieutenant and his son parted. Calm, yet sorrowful, the old man retraced his steps to his humble mountain home. The young man moved on with equal steadiness to the fulfilment of his destiny. That they ever met again, is at the best uncertain; as among the papers alluded to there is no evidence of the fortunate soldier ever having revisited the High
The hot season at the Cape-October to March-is said to afford many superb nights for observation, interrupted occasionally, however, by a wind called the black south-easter,' which attaches a black belt of clouds to the mountain, and stretches it over a large surface of the sky. At other times the air is so disturbed by the intense heat of the arid sandy plains, that distinct vision is impossible. Even in the hottest season, however, nights of admirable definition occur, especially looking southwards. But what is not a little remarkable, in the very hottest days, looking northwards over the burning tract intervening between Feldhausen and Table or Saldanha Bay, the most admirable and tranquil definition of the solar spots, and other phenomena of the sun's disk, is by no means unfrequent. In such cases, I presume the strongly-heated stratum of air incumbent on the surface of the soil, is swept off by the south-east wind blowing from False to Table Bay, visual ray. It is, however, we read, in the cooler before it ascends high enough to interfere with the months, from May to October inclusive, and more especially in June and July, that the finest opportunities occur for observation. The state of the air in these months, as regards definition, is habitually good, and imperfect vision is rather the exception than the rule. The best nights occur after the heavy rains which fall at this season have ceased for a day or two; and on these occasions the tranquillity of the images and sharpness of vision is such, that hardly any limit is set to magnifying power, but what the aberrations of the specula necessitate.'
A singular phenomenon was frequently observed, 'a nebulous haze,' which came on suddenly, and disappeared as rapidly; making the stars appear, while it lasted. as though surrounded by a nebulous photosphere of greater or less extent,' while to the naked eye the sky was perfectly clear. Similar phenomena occur in the atmosphere of England, but not with the frequency or suddenness of those at the Cape. The clouds, too, as seen from the southern extremity of Africa, are more opaque than in our latitudes: in England, astronomers not unfrequently observe the stars while veiled by a
NEW FACTS IN ASTRONOMY. A WORK has just been published which reminds one of some of the achievements of the early ages of literature, when an enthusiastic and patient philosopher found a patron equally zealous, and devoted many years of his life to the accomplishment of a single object. We refer to Sir John Herschel's work*—the title of which is given below-and to the manner of its publication. To quote the author's words:- To the munificent destination of his Grace the late Duke of Northumberland of a large sum in aid of its publication, it owes its appearance as a single and separate work, instead of a series of unconnected memoirs, scattered over the volumes of academical bodies.' Greatly to his honour, the present duke has completely carried out the intentions of his predecessor, who died before the volume was finished.
A simple enumeration of the contents of the book a large quarto will serve to convey some slight idea of its great scientific value. The observations comprise those of the southern nebulæ, double stars of the southern hemisphere; astrometry, apparent magnitudes of stars; constitution of the galaxy in the southern hemisphere; Halley's comet, with remarks on its physical condition; satellites of Saturn; and lastly, obser
*Results of Astronomical Observations made during the years 1834, 5, 6, 7, 8, at the Cape of Good Hope; being the Completion of a Telescopic Survey of the whole Surface of the Visible Heavens, commenced in 1825. By Sir J. F. W. Herschel, Bart. London: Smith and Elder. 1847.
thin stratum of cloud; but at the Cape, the clouds are too opaque for the rays of light to pass through them. Of the star marked n, in the constellation Argus, and the great nebula surrounding it, we are informed that 'there is perhaps no other sidereal object which unites more points of interest than this. Its situation is very remarkable, being in the midst of one of those rich and brilliant masses-a succession of which, curiously contrasted with dark adjacent spaces (called by the old navigators "coal-sacks"), constitute the milky way in that portion of its course which lies between the Centaur and the main body of Argo.' The number of stars in this region is immense, as many as 250 being in the field of the telescope at one time. But the great point of interest is the star n, which, in Halley's Catalogue, 1677, is marked as of the fourth magnitude, and in later Catalogues as of the second magnitude. 'It was on the 16th December 1837,' writes Sir John Herschel, 'that resuming the photometrical comparisons, in which, according to regular practice, the brightest stars in sight, in whatever part of the heavens, were first noticed, and arranged on a list, my astonishment was excited by the appearance of a new candidate for distinction among the very brightest stars of the first magnitude, in a part of the heavens with which, being perfectly familiar, I was certain that no such brilliant object had before been seen. After a momentary hesitation, the natural consequence of a phenomenon so utterly unexpected, and referring to a map for its configurations with the other conspicuous stars in the neighbourhood, I became satisfied of its identity with my old acquaintance n Argus. Its light was, however, nearly tripled.' The star attained its maximum of brightness, when it was nearly equal to a of the Centaur, on the 2d January 1838, after which it faded into its former appearance. But since that period, it has again brightened so as to have surpassed Canopus, and even to have approached Sirius in lustre.' This was in 1843, and was noticed by observers in different parts of the world; and again, in 1845, the star passed through a similar state of fluctuating brilliance. As Sir John Herschel observes'A strange field of speculation is opened by this phenomenon. The temporary stars heretofore recorded have all become totally extinct. Variable stars, so far as they have been carefully attended to, have exhibited periodical alternations, in some degree at least regular, of splendour and comparative obscurity. But here we have a star fitfully variable to an astonishing extent, and whose fluctuations are spread over centuries, apparently in no settled period, and with no regularity of progression. What origin can we ascribe to these sudden flashes and relapses? What conclusions are we to draw as to the comfort or habitability of a system depending for its supply of light and heat on so uncertain a source?'
Little Bear have been detected of late years, on which Sir John Herschel writes, in a profound and suggestive strain of reasoning- Future observation will decide whether the change which is thus proved to have taken place be of periodical recurrence. . . . Ignorant as we are, however, both of the cause of solar and stellar light, and of the conditions which may influence its amount at different times, the law of regular periodicity is one which ought not to be too hastily generalised; and at all events, there is evidence enough of slow and gradual change of lustre in many stars, since the earlier ages of astronomy, to refute all a priori assumption as to the possible length of the cycle of variation of any particular star. The subject is one of the utmost physical interest. The grand phenomena of geology afford, as it appears to me, the highest presumptive evidence of changes in the general climate of our globe. I cannot otherwise understand alternations of heat and cold, so extensive, as at one epoch to have clothed high northern latitudes with a more than tropical luxuriance of vegetation; at another, to have buried vast tracts of middle Europe, now enjoying a genial climate, and smiling with fertility, under a glacier crust of enormous thickness. Such changes seem to point to some cause more powerful than the mere local distribution of land and water (according to Mr Lyell's views) can be well supposed to have been. In the slow secular variations of our supply of light and heat from the sun, which, in the immensity of time past, may have gone to any extent, and succeeded each other in any order, without violating the analogy of sidereal phenomena which we know to have taken place, we have a cause, not indeed established as a fact, but readily admissible as something beyond a bare possibility, fully adequate to the utmost requirements of geology. A change of half a magnitude in the lustre of the sun, regarded as a fixed star, spread over successive geological epochs-now progressive, now receding, now stationary, according to the evidence of warmer or colder general temperature which geological research has disclosed, or may hereafter reveal-is what no astronomer would now hesitate to admit as in itself a perfectly reasonable and not improbable supposition. Such a supposition has assuredly far less of extravagance about it than the idea that the sun, by its own proper motion, may, in indefinite ages past, have traversed regions so crowded with stars, as to affect the climate of our planet by the influence of their radiation. Nor can it be objected that the character of a vera causa is wanting in such a hypothesis. Of the exciting cause of the radiant emanations from the sun and stars, we know nothing. It may consist, for aught we can tell, in vast currents of electricity traversing space (according to cosmical laws), and which, meeting in the higher regions of their atmospheres with matter properly attenuated, and otherwise disposed to electric phosphorescence, may render such matter radiant, after the manner of our own aurora borealis, under the influence of terrestrial electric streams. Or it may result from actual combustion going on in the higher regions of their atmospheres, the elements of which, so united, may be in a constant course of separation and restoration to their active state of mutual combustibility, by vital processes of extreme activity going on at their habitable surfaces, analogous to that by which vegetation on our earth separates carbonic acid (a product of combustion) into its elements, and so restores their combustibility. With specific hypotheses as to the cause of solar and sidereal light and heat, we have, however, no concern. It suffices that they must have a cause, and that this cause, inscrutable as it may be, does in several cases, and therefore may, in one more, determine the production of phenomena of the kind in question.'
Of the nebula in connection with Argus, we read that, 'It would manifestly be impossible, by verbal description, to give any just idea of the capricious forms and irregular gradations of light affected by the different branches and appendages of this nebula. Nor is it easy for language to convey a full impression of the beauty and sublimity of the spectacle it offers when viewed in a sweep, ushered in as it is by so glorious and innumerable a procession of stars, to which it forms a sort of climax, justifying expressions which, though I find them written in my journal in the excitement of the moment, would be thought extravagant if transferred to these pages. In fact, it is impossible for any one with the least spark of astronomical enthusiasm about him to pass soberly in review, with a powerful telescope, and in a fine night, that portion of the southern sky which is comprised between the sixth and thirteenth hours of right ascension, and from 146 to 149 degrees of north polar distance; such are the variety and interest of the objects he will encounter, and such the dazzling richness of the starry ground on which they are represented to his gaze.' Instances of variability in some of the stars of the
Turning to that portion of the volume in which the observations of the solar spots are contained, we read that, during a part of 1836-7, a more than usual accumulation and disturbance took place in the spots on the surface of the great luminary. One of the spots, on
measurement, was found to occupy a space of nearly five square minutes. Now, a minute in linear dimension on the sun being 27,500 miles, and a square minute 756,000,000, we have here an area of 3,780,000,000 square miles included in one vast region of disturbance, and this requires to be increased for the effect of foreshortening. The black centre of the spot of May 25 would have allowed the globe of the earth to drop through it, leaving a thousand miles clear of contact on all sides of that tremendous gulf.' From January to March of 1837, numerous spots of most complex structure and character were formed in copious succession. During April and May the spots were fewer in number, and assumed generally a rounded appearance; in June and July they again increased; while we read that August and October, so far as observed, the sun seemed to have passed into a quiescent state, the spots being few, small, and irregularly disposed.'
Sir John Herschel insists strongly upon a continuous and systematic observation of the solar spots, as the only means by which to explain the phenomena they present. 'We are naturally led to inquire for an efficient causefor a vis matrix-to give rise to such enormous dynamical phenomena, for such they undoubtedly are. The efficient cause of fluctuations in our atmosphere, in terrestrial meteorology, is apparent enough; namely, external agency-the heating power of the sun. Without this, all would be tranquil enough; but in the solar meteorology we have no such extraneous source of alternate elevations and depressions of temperature, altering the specific gravity, and disturbing the equilibrium, of its atmospheric strata. The cause of such movements as we observe, and upon so immense a scale, must therefore reside within the sun itself; and it is there we must seek it.' Sir John proceeds to show that the rotation of the sun upon its own axis may be the chief cause, by producing currents of air in opposite directions, similar to our trade-winds, and with a density at the equator different from that at the poles. The spots, in this view of the subject,' he then pursues, would come to be assimilated to those regions on the earth's surface in which, for the moment, hurricanes and tornadoes prevail. The upper strata being temporarily carried downwards, displacing, by its impetus, the two strata of luminous matter beneath (which may be conceived as forming a habitually tranquil limit between the opposite, upper, and under currents), the upper of course to a greater extent than the lower; and thus wholly or partially denuding the opaque surface of the sun below. Such processes cannot be unaccompanied with vorticose motions, which, left to themselves, die away by degrees, and dissipate; with this peculiarity, that their lower portions come to rest more speedily than their upper, by reason of the greater resistance below, as well as the remoteness from the point of action, which lies in a higher region, so that their centre (as seen in our water-spouts, which are nothing but small tornadoes) appears to retreat upwards. Now, this agrees perfectly with what is observed during the obliteration of the solar spots, which appear as if filled in by the collapse of their sides, the penumbra closing in upon the spot, and disappearing after it. ... The spots are black; the penumbra a nearly uniform half-shadow, with, however, here and there undefinable definite spaces of a second depth of shade. There is no gradual melting of the one shade into the other-spot into penumbra, penumbra into full light. The idea conveyed is more that of the successive withdrawal of veils, the partial removal of definite films, than the melting away of a mist, or the mutual dilution of gaseous media. Films of immiscible liquids having a certain cohesion, floating on a dark or transparent ocean, and liable to temporary removal by winds, would rather seem suggested by the general tenor of the appearances, though they are far from being wholly explicable by this conception, at least if any considerable degree of transparency be allowed to the luminous matter.'
The sagacity of these views is only equalled by the
earnest philosophical spirit in which they are written. Such works as that just passed in review become landmarks for science, by which present and future discoverers may direct their steps. We feel much pleasure in making it known to a large circle of readers, who │ otherwise would never hear of its publication.
THE KING AND THE CONSUL IT was the fortune of France, during the course of the eighteenth century, to be governed, at an interval of about ninety years, by two men who filled all Europe | shall we not rather say the world?-with their renown. One of these was Louis XIV., the descendant of a hundred kings, whose early promise of goodness was too quickly blighted by the baneful atmosphere of a brilliant and adulatory court; but who, amid his faults and errors, never ceased for a moment to be the courteous gentleman, as well as the despotic monarch. The other was Napoleon Bonaparte, who bore upon his brow the stamp of natural royalty, and who, by various qualities, won the hearts of his comrades in arms; but whose attempts at courtesy were as rare as they were unsuc cessful. He found it easier to become an emperor than a gentleman; and this deficiency was felt by him more acutely than might have been expected from a man of his gigantic mind.
It was the singular fate of one woman, the Marquise de Créquy, to have been presented to both these great men, and to have been received by each of them with distinguished marks of attention. She has left behind her a brief sketch of these remarkable interviews, which we present to our readers, with the hope that it may prove interesting. Let us, however, say a few words first of the fair and distinguished writer.
Victoire de Froulay, Marquise de Créquy, was one of the most noble and witty, as well as one of the loveliest women of her day; and during the profligate reign of Louis XV., her life was so irreproachable, that the shaft of slander could find no arrow wherewith to wound her peace. At the age of ten or eleven, Victoire de Froulay accompanied her uncle, the Maréchal de Tessé, and her grandmother, the Marquise de Froulay, to St Cyr, where Mme de Maintenon was then staying; but we will give her own account of the visit.
We stepped into the maréchal's carriage, and found ourselves on the road to St Cyr. At the end of a few minutes the equipage stops, and our laquais open the doors and let down the steps with precipitation. It is the king," said my uncle, and we got out of the carriage leisurely; for the maréchal's people were too well trained not to have given ample notice of his majesty's approach. The king's carriage soon overtook us. It was drawn, as usual, by eight horses, and escorted by three mousquetaires, and as many light horse. There were two pages in front, and four behind, all of whom were clad in light-blue velvet, at that time the livery of France. Louis XIV. was alone in the carriage, and the moment he perceived us, the equipage and its escort stopped as by enchantment. His majesty let down the glass at our side, and saluted us with the most graceful courtesy. "That is the king, then," said I with tears in my eyes--" the great king?" "You may add, the good, the unhappy king," replied the maréchal in a grave and melancholy tone.
On arriving at St Cyr, we passed through a large apartment filled with the pages and attendants of his majesty, who was gone into the convent garden with the Bishop of Chartres and some other noblemen. Mme de Maintenon received us in a lofty chamber, wainscotted in oak, and singularly free from decora- | tions of any kind. There were no paintings on the walls, neither was the floor of the apartment carpeted; but a small square of tapestry was placed before each of the chairs. Mme de Maintenon called me over to her, and fixing on me a look full of intelligence and sweetness, kissed me on the forehead. She then spoke to me of the high consideration in which she held my
family; and my grandmother rising soon afterwards to take leave of her, because the hour for the king's visit had arrived-"Stay, marquise, stay," said Mme de Maintenon in an earnest tone; and my grandmother readily yielded to her request.
The monarch entered without any announcement, save that the folding-doors were all opened wide, and a gentleman-in-ordinary, who preceded his majesty by two or three minutes, approached Mme de Maintenon, making her a profound and silent obeisance, as is done to royal personages when their repast is ready. Mme de Maintenon advanced five or six steps to meet his majesty, who seemed to walk with difficulty, but nevertheless saluted her with the most graceful courtesy.
"Here is a young lady," she said, "whom I have taken the liberty to detain a while, that I might present her to the king. It is not needful that I should name her."
"I believe," replied the king, "that there is some sort of spiritual relationship between this young lady and myself; but we are also relations after another fashion," added he, looking upon me as if he meant to congratulate me on the honour I enjoyed in being his cousin.
"I ask permission of the king that you may kiss his hand," said my grandmother with an air of solicitude, which had, however, no shade of obsequiousness about it. 'The king extended his hand with the palm downwards, as if he had presented it with the intention that I should kiss it; but a moment afterwards, he closed his hand quickly upon mine, which he deigned to press to his lips, and then he had the goodness-the exquisite politeness-or, if you will, the gallantry (for I know not how to designate his proceeding)-to place my hand gently by my side, and to detain it there long enough for me to understand that he did not choose me to offer him my intended homage.'
The same mark of distinction which had been conferred upon Mme de Créquy by Louis XIV. as an act of gentle courtesy to a child, was rendered to her eighty-five years later by Napoleon Bonaparte, as a proof of respect and veneration. But before transcribing her account of this interview, we will relate her earliest impressions of Bonaparte, when she obtained a passing glimpse of him during his boyish days.
'It was the 31st December, in the year 1780. I had gone to pass a day at Elysée Marboeuf with my invalid friend, the Marquise de Marbœuf, and was sitting têteà-tête with that dear woman, who was drinking applewater incessantly, and talked of nothing but coughs and colds, tubercles and inflammations, until I was wearied to death with her conversation. The servant announced some lady, who was waiting in the antechamber, and had come to wish her a happy New-Year.
May heaven bless her, and deliver me from her visit! Tell her that I have come out to Elysée on purpose to avoid company, because I do nothing but cough from morning to night. Why should she thus pursue me to Elysée? Have I never spoken to you of this Mme Bonne-ou Mal-àparté?"
Malaparte you call her? I rather think it is Bonaparté." And then Mme de Marbœuf began telling me how her husband had become acquainted with this family while he was governor of Corsica, and that he had procured for the husband a situation in the customs, as they were very poor, although persons of good family. 'Being thoroughly wearied of my friend's society, I proposed that Mme Bonaparte should be admitted; and accordingly there was ushered in a fine-looking woman, with a legion of ill-dressed children. Amid this covey of unfledged Corsicans, there was a little boy, whose red eyes betrayed some recent vexation, and who was making a strong effort to gulp down his tears. By way of being civil, I inquired, in a kind tone, what was the matter with her son. "Madama," she replied, with a loud provincial voice, “è oun piti monstro!"—(" he is a little monster!")
*Her grandmother was the goddaughter of Louis XIV.
'Mme de Marbœuf looked quite distressed at the jargon of her visitor; but as it was rather amusing to me, I continued my inquiries until Mme Bonaparte related how she had taken her children to see the Bishop of Autun, and how this proud schoolboy had refused to kiss my lord bishop's hand, and how she had boxed his ears soundly as soon as they were outside the episcopal palace, by way of teaching him better manners for the future. "Ma e ouna testa de fer, madama!”—(" He has an iron head, madam!") Assuredly, I will not contradict the glorious mother of the citizen Bonaparte, now that the "piti monstro" is become the hero of St Roche and the Pont-tourmant.'
About twenty years had elapsed since Mme de Créquy's first meeting with the Bonaparte familyyears of multiplied trials to her, and of ardent activity to the iron-headed boy,' whose proud spirit a maternal hand had vainly endeavoured to repress. Early in the nineteenth century, she dictates to her faithful secretary, Dupont, as follows:
'Bonaparte had returned from Egypt, and was dwelling in the palace of our kings. Talleyrand was using all his address to draw the nobility into communication with the republican government. Many of them had solicited an audience of the First Consul, in order to obtain a restitution of their sequestered forests. My cousin and heir, the Baron de Breteuil, was very desirous that I should write to Bonaparte, and with infinite repugnance I consented to do so. It is impossible either to conceive or to express the painful effort it cost me to take this step.*
'Two days afterwards, Colonel (I forget his name), aid-de-camp to the First Consul, was announced; and I behold a tall fine young man, who, on entering my drawing-room, makes three profound bows, and tells me in a most respectful tone that the First Consul desires to see me, and requests my presence at the Tuileries on the ensuing day, at two in the afternoon. This summons perplexed me. I gave for answer that I was very aged and very feeble, but that, if possible, I would wait on the First Consul at the time appointed. Having applied to the Baron de Breteuil for his advice in this perplexing juncture, he counselled me by no means to neglect the invitation of the chief of the Republic, especially as he seemed willing to restore the confiscated forests. He added, that the Princesse de Guemenée had already presented herself to Bonaparte at his request, and that, after giving her a very polite reception, he had restored to her her forfeited lands. Let me confess that curiosity in some measure swayed my decision, and it was finally settled that I should wait on General Bonaparte.
'It was the 12th of November 1800, when I was carried in a sedan chair to the Tuileries. This poor castle seemed to me sadly dilapidated. The porters landed me at the entrance of the last saloon. (I must tell you that, for lack of dresses made according to the fashion of the day, I was habited in my usual costume; that is to say, in a petticoat and short pelisse of carmelite taffety, with a mantle and hood of the same material.) The "Citoyenne Créquy" was announced, and I found myself tête-à-tête with the conqueror of the Pyramids. He looked thoughtfully at me for a moment, and then addressing me in a kind manner, "I have wished to see you, Mme la Maréchale." But quickly assuming a more imperious tone, "I have desired to see you. Are you not a hundred years old?"
Not quite, perhaps; but I am very near it."
*Extract of note from Mme de Créquy, relative to the letter which she had consented to write to Bonaparte. I will sign this letter, which I must not have the trouble to correct or to write. All the necessary formulas may be employed; but care must be taken not to use any expression which may convey the false idea of submission on my part; and I will not sign anything which can be at variance with sincerity or dignity of character. Therefore, let there be perfect politeness in the expressions, but no superfluous compliments. I ask for justice, not favour.'