Page images
PDF
EPUB

Ihe services of the offending actross on the •jccasion. SumarokofF did not venture to take *ny step against his Excellency the Governor; but when the heroin« advanced in full Muscovite costume on the stage, the indignant poet rushed forward from behind the scenes, seized her reluctantly by the collar and waist, and tossed her furiously from the boards. He then went home, and indited two querulous and sublime epistles to the Empress. Catherine, in the midst of her gigantic schemes of conquest and improvement, had (he patience to sit down and address the following good-humoured and sensible exhortation to the disordered bard.

"Monsieur Sumarokoff, j'ai clé fort étonnée de тенге lettre du 28 Janvier, et encore plus de celle du premier Kévrier. Toutes deux contiennent, à ce qu'il me semble, des plaintes contre la Belmonlia qui pourtant n'a fait que suivre les ordres du comte Soltikoff. Le feld-maréchal a désiré de voir représenter votre tragédie; cela vous fait honneur. П Hait convenable de vous conformer au désir de la première personne en autorité à Moscou; mais si elle a juge à propos d'ordonner que cette pièce fût représentée, il fallait exécuter sa volonté sana conleetanon. je crois que vous savez mieux que personne combien de respect méritent des homines qui ont servi avec gloire, et dont la tète est couverte de cheveux blancs; c'est pourquoi je vous conseille d'éviter de pareilles disputes à l'avenir. Par ce moyen vous conserverez la tranquillité d'âme qui est nécessaire pour vos ouvrages, et il me sera toujours plus agréable de voir les passions représentées dans vos drames quede les lire dans vos lettres.

"Au surplus, je suis votre affectionnée.

Sifné Catherine."

"Je conseille," adds M. Grimm, "à tout min«re chargé du département des lettres de cachet, d'enregistrer ce formulaire à son greffe, et à tout haf.ird de n'en jamais délivrer d'autres aux poètes et à (ont ce qui a droit d'être du genre irritable, c'est-à-dire enfant et fou par état. Apres cette lettre qui mérite peut-être autant l'immortalité que l«9 mnnumens de In sagesse et de la gloire du règne tctuel de la Russie, je meurs de peur de m'affermir dins la pensée hérétique que l'esprit ne gâte jamais ri«), même sur le trône."

But it is at last necessary to close these entertaining volumes,—though we have not been able to furnish our readers with any tiling like a fair specimen of their various and

I miscellaneous contents. Whoever wishes to ! see the economist wittily abused—to read a full and picturesque account of the tragical rejoicings that filled Paris with mourning at the marriage of the late King—to learn how Paul Jones was a writer of pastorals and love songs—or how they made carriages of leather, and evaporated diamonds in 1772—to trace the debut of Madame de Staël as an author at the age of twelve, in the year !—to understand M. Grimm's notions on suicide and happiness—to know in what the unique charm of Madlle. Thevenin consisted—and in what manner the dispute between the patrons of the French and the Italian music was conducted—will do well to peruse the five thick volumes, in which these, and innumerable other matters of equal importance are discussed, with the talent and vivacity with which the reader must have been struck, in the least of the foregoing extracts.

We add but one trivial remark, which is forced upon us, indeed, at almost every page of this correspondence. The profession of literature must be much wholesomer in France than in any other country :—for though the volumes before us may be regarded as a great literary obituary, and record the deaths, we suppose, of more than an hundred persons of some note in the world of letters, we scarcely meet with an individual who is less than seventy or eighty years of age—and no very small proportion actually last till near ninety or an hundred—although the greater part of them seem neither to have lodged so high, nor lived so low, as their more active and abstemious brethren in other cities. M. Grimm observes that, by a remarkable fatality, Europe was deprived, in the course of little more than six months, of the splendid and commanding talents of Rousseau. Voltaire, Haller, LinntEus, Heidegger, Lord Chatham, and Le Kain—a constellation of genius, he adds, that when it set to us, must have carried a dazzling light into the domains of the King of Terrors, and excited no small alarm in his ministers— if they bear any resemblance to the ministers of other sovereigns.

(Даппагв, 1810.)

Mtmoirj of the Life and Writings of Victor Alfieri. Written by Himself. 2 vols. 8vo.

pp.614. London: 1810.

Tms book contains the delineation of an extraordinary and not very engaging character; and an imperfect sketch of the rise and progrese of a great poetical genius. It is deserving of notice in both capacities—but chiefly in the first; as there probably never was an instance in which the works of an author were more likely to be influenced by 'sis personal peculiarities. Pride and enthusiasm—irrepressible vehemence and ambition —and an arrogant, fastidious, and somewhat narrow system of taste and opinions, were the

great leading features in the mind of Alfieri. Strengthened, and in some degree produced, by a loose and injudicious education, those traits were still further developed by the premature and protracted indulgences of a very dissipated youth; and when, at last, they admitted of an application to study, imparted their own character of impetuosity to those more meritorious exertions:—converted a taste into a passion; and left him, for a great part of his life, under the influence of a true and irresistible inspiration. Every thing in him, indeed, appears to have been passion and ungoverned impulse; and, while he was raised above the common level of his degenerate countrymen by a stern and self-willed haughtiness, that might have become an ancient Roman, her was chiefly distinguished from other erect spirits by the vehemence which formed the basis of his character, and by the uncontrolled dominion which he allowed to his various anil successive propensities. So constantly and entirely, indeed, was he under the influence of these domineering attachments, that his whole life and character might be summed up by describing him as the victim, successively, of a passion for horses—a passion for travelling—a passion for literature—and a passion for what he called independence.

The memoirs of such a life, and the confessions of such a man, seem to hold out a promise of no common interest and amusement. Yet, though they are here presented to us with considerable fulness and apparent fidelity, we cannot say that we have been much amused or interested by the perusal. There is a proud coldness in the narrative, which neither invites sympathy, nor kindles the imagination. The author seems to disdain giving himself en spectacle to his readers; and chronicles his various acts of extravagance and fits of passion, with a sober and languid gravity, to which we can recollect no parallel. In this review of the events and feelings of a life of adventure and agitation, he is never once betrayed into the genuine language of emotion ; but dwells on the scenes of his childhood without tenderness, and on the struggles and tumults of his riper years without any sort of animation. We look in vain through the whole narrative for one gleam of that magical eloquence by which Rousseau transports us into the scenes he describes, and into the heart which responded to those scenes,—or even for a trait of that social garrulity which has enabled Marmontel and Cumberland to give a grace to obsolete anecdote, and to people the whole space around them with living pictures of the beings among whom they existed. There is not one character attempted, from beginning to end of this biography;—which is neither lively, in short, nor eloquent—neither playful, impassioned, nor sarcastic. Neither is it a mere unassuming outline of the author's history and publications, like the short notices of Hume or Smith. It is, on the contrary, a pretty copious and minute narrative of all his feelings and adventures; and contains, as we should suppose, a tolerably accurate enumeration of his migrations, prejudices, and antipathies. It is not that he does not condescend to talk about trifling things, but that he will not talk about them in a lively or interesting manner: and systematically declines investing any part of his statement with those picturesque details, and that warm colouring, by which alone the story of an individual can often excite much interest among strangers. Though we have not been able to see the original of these Memoirs, we will venture to add, that they

are by no means well written; and that they will form no exception to the general observation, that almost all Italian prose is feeble and deficient in precision. There is something, indeed, quite remarkable in the wordiness of most of the modem writers in thii language,—the very copiousness and smoothness of which seems to form an apology i« the want of force or exactness—and to tide, with its sweet and uniform flow, both from the writer and the reader, that penury 01 thought, and looseness of reasoning, which are so easily detected when it is rendered into a harsher dialect. Unsatisfactory, however, as they are in many particulars, it is still impossible to peruse the memoirs of such a man as Alfieri without interest and gratificatkc. The traits of ardour and originality that ire disclosed through all the reserve and gravity of the style, beget a continual expectation and curiosity; and even those parts of the story which seem to belong ramer to his youth, rank, and education, than to his genius or peculiar character, acquire a degree of importance, from considering how far those very circumstances may have assisted the formation, and obstructed the development of that character and genius; and in what respecü its peculiarities may be referred to the obstacles it had to encounter, in misguidance, passion, and prejudice.

Alfieri was born at Asti, in Piedmont, of noble and rich, but illiterate parents, in January 1749. The history oi his chililhood, which fills five chapters, contains nothing very remarkable. The earliest thing he remembers, is being fed with sweetmeats by an old uncle with square-toed shoes. Hewai educated at home by a good-nalured, stupid priest; and having no brother of his own age, was without any friend or companion for the greater part of his childhood. When about seven years old, he falls in love with the smooth faces of some male novices in a neighbouring church; and is obliged to walk about with a green net on his hair, as a punishment for fibbing. To the agony which he endureJ from this infliction, he ascribes his scrupulous adherence to truth through the rest of his life; —all this notwithstanding, he is tempted Io steal a fan from an old lady in the family, and grows silent, melancholy, and reserved; —at last, when about ten years of age, he is sent to the academy at Turin.

This migration adds but little to the interest of the narrative, or the improvement of the writer. The academy was a great, ill-regulated establishment; in one quarter of which the pages of the court, and foreigners of distinction, were indulged in every sort of dif?ipation—while the younger pupils were stowed into filthy cells, ill fed, and worse educated. There he learned a little Latin, and tried, in vain, to acquire the elements of mathematics; for, after the painful application of aérerai months, he was never able to comprehend the fourth proposition of Euclid ; ana found; he says, all his life after, that he had "a completely anti-geometrical head." From the had diet, and preposterously early hour« of the academy, he soon fell into wretched health, and. growing more melancholy and «clitary than ever, became covered over with »ores and ulcers. Even in this situation, however, a little glimmering of literary ambition became visible. He procured a copy of Anosto from a voracious schoolfellow, by giving up to him his share of the chickens which formed their Sunday regale; and read Metastasio and Gil Bias with great ardour and debeht. The inflammability of his imagination, however, was more strikingly manifested in the effects of the first opera to which he was admitted, when he was only about twelve years of age.

"This varied and enchanting music," he observes, sunk deep into my soul, and made the most aalunithing impression on my imaginaiion ;—it agitated tbe inmoet recesses of my heart to such a degré«, that for several weeks I experienced the most profound melancholy, which was not, however, wholly unattended with pleasure. I became tired and disgusted with my studies, while at the •ame time the most wild ала whimsical ideas took such possession of my mind, as would have led me lo portray them in the most impassioned verses, had 1 not been wholly unacquainted with the true nature of my own feelings. It was the first lime ramie had produced such a powerful effect on my mind. I had never experienced any thing similar, »nd it long remained engraven on my memory. When I recollect the feelings excited by the representation of the grand operas, at which I was prêtent during several carnivals, and compare them wiih i hose which I now experience, on returning from the performance of a piece I have not witnessed for some time, I am fully convinced thnt nothing acts so powerfully on my mind as all spcciej of music, and particularly the sound of female voice«, and of contra-alto. Nothing excites more various or terrific sensations in my mind. Tim. 'he plots of the greatest number of my tragedies »ere either formed while listening to music, or a te* hours afterwards."—p. 71—73.

With this tragic and Italian passion for Music, he had a sovereign contempt and abhorrence for Dancing. His own account of the origin of this antipathy, and of the first rise of those national prejudices, which he never afterwards made any effort to overcome, is among the most striking and characteristic passages in the earlier part of the story.

"To the natural hatred I had to dancing, was joined an invincible antipathy towards my master —a Frenchman newly arrived from Paris. He pn»«Med a certain air of polite assurance, which. jnmtd to his ridiculous motions and absurd dis«wrt*. greatly increased the innate aversion I felt towards this frivolous art. So unconquerable was this aversion, thai, after leaving school, I could ne'er be prevailed on to join in any dance whnt"*r. The very name of this amusement still »rake« me shudder, and laugh at the same lime— »Hrcumstanre by no means unusual with me. I »"nbuie. also, in a great measure, to this dnncingin«ier the unfavourable, and perhaps erroneous. "pinion 1 have formed of the French people! who, ""ertheless, it must be confessed, possess ninny ЦтееаЫе. and estimable qualities. But it is difficult to weaken or efface impresione received in *rlv youth. Two other causes also contributed to ftndtr me from my infancy disgusted with the french character. The first was the impression тме on my mind by the sieht of the ladies who Duchess ofParma in her jiurnev

to Aati, and were all bedaubed with rouge—the use of which was then exclusively confined to the French. I have frequently mentioned this circumstance several years afterwards, not being able to account for such an absurd and ridiculous practice, which is wholly at variance with nature; lor when men, to disguise the effects of sickness, or other calamities, besmear themselves with this detestable rouge,—they carefully conceal it; well knowing that, when discovered, it only excites the laughter or pity of the beholders. These painted French figures left a deep and lasting impression on my mind, and inspired me with a certain feeling of disgust toward« the females of this nation.

"From my geographical studies resulted another cause of antipathy to that nation. Having seen on the chart the eieat difference in extent and population between England or Prussia and France; and hearing, every time news arrived from the armies, that the French had been beaten by sea and land; —recalling to mind the first ideas of my infancy, during which I was told that the French had frequently been in possession of Asti ; and that during the last time, they had suffered themselves to be taken prisoners to the number of six or seven thousand, without resistance, after conducting themselves, while they remained in possession of the place, with the greatest insolence and tyranny ;— all these different circumstances, being astociated with the idea of the ridiculous dancing-matter.' tended more and more to rivet in my mind an aversion to the French nation."—pp. 83—86.

At the early age of fourteen. Alfieri was put in possession of a considerable part of his fortune; and launched immediately into every sort of fashionable folly and extravagance. His passion for horses, from which he was never entirely emancipated, now took entire possession of his soul; and his days were spent in galloping up and down the environs of Turin, in company chiefly with the young English who were resident in that capital. From this society, and these exercises, he soon derived such improvement, that in a short time he became by far the most skilful jockey, farrier, and coachman, that modern Italy could boast of producing.

For ten or twelve years after this period, the life of Alfieri presents a most humiliating, but instructive picture of idleness, dissipation, and ennui. It is the finest and most flattering illustration of Miss Edgeworth's admirable tale of Lord Glenthorn; and, indeed, rather outgoes, than falls short of that high-coloured and apparently exaggerated representation.— Such, indeed, is the coincidence between the traits of the fictitious and the real character, that if these Memoirs had been published when Miss Edgeworth's story was written, it would have been impossible not to suppose that she had derived from them every thing that is striking and extraordinary in her narrative. For two or three years, Alfieri contented himself with running, restless and discontented, over the different states and cities of Italy; almost ignorant of its language, and utterly indifferent both to its literature and its arts. Consumed, at every moment of inaction, with the most oppressive discontent and unhappinew, he had no relief but in the velocity of his movements and the rapidity of his transitions. Disappointed with every thing, and believing himself incapable of application or reflection, he passed his days in a perpetual fever of impatience and dissipation ;—apparently pursuing enjoyment with an eagerness which was in reality inspired by the vain hope of escaping from misery. There is much general truth, as well as peculiar character, in the following simple confession.

"In spite, however, of this constant whirl of dissipation, my being master of my own actions; notwithstanding I had plenty of money, was in the heyday of youth, and possessed a prepossessing? figure; I yet felt every where satiety, ennui, and disgust. My greatest pleasure consisted in attending the opera luillii, though the gay and lively music left a deep and melancholy impression in my mind. Л thousand gloomy and mournful ideas assailed my imagination, in which I delighted to indulge by wandering alone on the shores near the Chiaja and Portici."—Vol. i. p. 128.

When he gets to Venice, things are, if possible, still worse,—though like other hypochondriacs, he is disposed to lay the blame on the winds and the weather. The tumult of the carnival kept him alive, it seems, for a few days.

"But no sooner was the novelty over, than my habitual melancholy and ennui returned. I passed several days together in complete solitude, never leaving the house nor stirring from the window, whence I made signs to a young lady who lodged opposite, and with whom I occasionally exchanged a few words. During the rest of the day, which hung very heavy on my hands, I passed my time either in sleeping or in dreaming, I knew not which, and frequently in weeping without any apparent motive. I had lost my tranquillity, and 1 was unable even to divine what had deprived me of it. A few years aficrwirds, on investigating the cause of this occurrence, I discovered that it proceeded from a malady which attacked me every spring, sometimes in April, and sometimes in June: its duration was longer or shorter, and ils violence very dînèrent, according as my mind was occupied.

"I likewise experienced that my intellectual faculties resembled a barometer, and that I possessed more or less talent for composition, in proportion to the weight of the atmosphere. During the Prevalence of the solstitial and equinoctial winds, was always remarkably stupid, and uniformly ernced less penetration in the evening than the 'morning. I likewise perceived that the force of my imagination, the ardour of enthusiasm, and capability of invention, were possessed by me in a lusher degree in the middle of winter, or in the middle of summer, than during the intermediate periods. This materiality, which I believe lo be common to all men of a delicate nervous system, has greatly contributed to lessen the pride with which the good I have done might have inspired me, in like manner as it has tended lo diminish the shame I might have felt for the errors I have committed, particularly in my own art."—Vol. i. pp. 140—142.

In his nineteenth year, he extends his travels to France, and stops a few weeks at Marseilles, where he passed his evenings exactly as Lord Glenthorn is represented to have done his at his Irish castle. To help away the hours, he went every night to the play, although his Italian ears were disgusted with the poverty of the recitation; and,

—"after the performance was over, it was my regular practire to bathe every evening in the wa. I was induced to indulge myself in this luxury, in consequence of finding a very agreeable spot, on a tongue of land lying to the riffht of the harbour, where, seated on the sand, with my back 'caning

against a rock, I could behoM the sea and iky without interruption. In the contemplation of the« objects, embellished by the rays of the setting щк, I passed my time dreaming ot future delights."— Vol. i. pp. 150, 151.

In a very short time, however, these rer»ries became intolerable; and he very nearly killed himself and his horses in rushing, w uk incredible velocity, to Paris. This is his own account of the impression which was made upon him by his first sight of this brilliant metropolis.

"It was on a cold, cloudy, and rainy morning, between the 15th and 20th of August, inn I entered Paris, by the wretched suburb of St. MÎtceau. Accustomed to the clear and serene sky oí Italy and Provence, I felt much surprised at the thick fog which enveloped the city, especial!? s: this season. Never in my life did I experience more disagreeable feelings than on entering t« damp and dirty suburb of St. Germain, where I was to take up my lodging. What inconsiderate haste, what mad folly had led me into this sink of filth and nastiness! On entering the inn, I fell myself thoroughly undeceived; and I should certainly have set off again immediately, had not»h»me and fatigue withheld me. My illusions were nil further dissipated when I began to ramble through Paris. The mean and wretched buildings; tst contemptible ostentation displayed in a few house« dignified with the pompous appellation of hoteb and palaces; the filthiness of the Gothic rhurcli»»: the truly vandal-like construction of the public I heal res at that time, besides innumerable «ir.tr disagreeable objects, of which not the Ifjst dir gusting to me was the plastered countenances of many very ugly women, far outweighed m m' mind the beauty and elegance of the public w«lk« and gardens, the infinite variety of fine ramage*, the lofty façade of the Louvre, as well as the number of spectacles and entertainments ot епп kind."—Vol. L pp. 153, 154.

There, then, as was naturally to be No pected, he again found himself tormented "by the demon of melancholy;" and." trying in vain the boasted stimulate of he speedily grew wearied of the place all its amusements, and resolved to м t o;¡. without delay, for England. To Encland, accordingly, hie goes, at midwinter; anJwtb such a characteristic and compassiuiiubk' i•'-• ving for all sorts of powerful sensations, that "he rejoiced exceedingly at the extreme coU. which actually froze the wine and bread in bis carriage during a part of the journey.'' ¥u~ pared, as he was, for disappointment, by the continual extravagance ot hie expectaliffl; Allieri was delighted with England roads, the inns', the horses, and, above all. *•-' incessant bustle in the suburbs, as well as i the capital, all conspired to fil! ray mind wild delight." He passed a part of the winter ffood society, in London ; but soon "'Ычч'П; disgusted with assemblies and routs «М''mined no longer to play the lord in iw drawing-room, but tk' coachman at the С3'6', and accordingly contrived lo get througD three laborious months, by being Ilfive' six hours every morning on horsei««-* ( being scaled on the coachbox for two °> hours every evening, whatever was the -s a' of the weather." Even these greti' meritorious exertions, however, coul"'

long keep down his inveterate malady, nor quell the evil spirit that possessed him; and he was driven to make a hasty tour through the west of England, which appears to have

afforded him very considerable relief.

J

"The coontry then so much enchanted me that I determined to settle in it; not that I was much attached to any individual, but because I wns delight«! with the scenery, the simple manners of the mhabittnts. the modesty and beauty ot the women, and. above all. with the enjoyment of political liberty,—all which made me overlook its mutable climate, the melancholy almost inseparable from it, and ibe exorbitant price of all the necessaries of life."—Vol. i. pp. 162, 163.

Scarcely, however, was this bold resolution oi stilling adopted, when the author is again "seized with the mania of travelling;" and skims over to Holland in the beginning of summer. And here he is still more effectually diverted than ever, by falling in love with a young married lady at the Hague, who \ras obliging enough to return his affection. Circumstances, however, at last compel the fair one to rejoin her husband in Switzerland; and the impetuous Italian is affected with such violent despair, that he makes a desperate attempt on his life, by taking off the bandages after being let blood; and retnms sullenly to Italy, without stopping to look at any thing, or uttering a single word to hi« sen-ant during the whole course of the journey.

This violent fit of depression, however, and the seclusion by which it was followed, led him, for the first time, to look into his books; and the perusal of the Lives of Plutarch seems !'•' have made such an impression on his ardent ni'] susceptible spirit, that a passion for liberty and independence now took the lead of e veryother in his soul, and he became for life an emulator of the ancient republicans. He read the story of Timoleon, Brutus, &c., he assures ns, with floods of tears, and agonies of admiration. "I was like one beside himself; and rtieil tears of minsled grief and rage at having been born at Piedmont; and at a period, and under a government, where it was impossible !" conceive or execute any great design." The sime sentiment, indeed, seems to have haunted him for the greater part of his life; and is expressed in many passages of these Memoirs besides the following.

"Hering lived two or three years almost wholly imwjr ihe English; havinc heard their power and rrh?s every where celebrated ; having contemplated 'beir гтем poliiical influence, and on the other hand r:?Hinc Italy wholly degraded from her rank as a "anon, and the Italians divided, weak, and enslaved, 1 »as ashamed of being an Italian, and wished not : 'Pissess any thing in common with this nation."— "oLi. p. 121.

"I was naturally attached to a domestic life ; hut •пег hiving visited England at nineteen, and read Piiiiiuch with the greatest interest at twenty years "jf age, I experienced the most insufferable repug'"ice at marrying and having my children born at Turin."—Vol. i. p. 175.

The time, however, was not yet come »hen study was to ballast and anchor this ted spirit. Plutarch was soon thrown ; ana the patriot and hie horses gallop

off to Vienna. The state of his mmd, both as to idleness and politics, is strikingly represented in the following short passage.

"I might easily, during my stay at Vienna, have been introduced to the celebrated poet Metastasio, at whose house our minisler, the old and respectable Count Canale, passed his evenings in a select company of men of letters, whose chief amusement consisted in reading portions from the Greek, Latin, and Italian classics. Having taken an affection for me, he wished, out of pity to my idleness, to conduct me thither. But I declined accompanying him, either from my usual awkwardness, or from the contempt which the constant habit of reading French works had given me for Italian productions. Hence I concluded, that this assemblage of men of letters, with their classics, could be only a dismal company of pedants. Besides, I had seen Metastasio, in the gardens of Schoenbrunn, perform the customary genuflexion to Maria Theresa in such a servile and adulatory manner, that I, who had my head stuffed with Plutarch, and who exaggerated every thine I conceived, could not think of binding myself, either by the ties of familiatity or friendship, with a poet who had sold himself to a despotism which I so cordially detested."

Vol. i. pp. 182, 183.

From Vienna he flew to Prussia, which, he says, looked all like one great guardhouse; and where he could not repress "the horror and indignation he felt at beholding oppression and despotism assuming the mask of virtue." From Prussia he passed on to Denmark; where his health was seriously affected by the profligacy in which he indulged; and where the only amusement he could relish, consisted in "driving a sledge with inconceivable velocity overlhe snow." In this way he wandered on through Sweden and Finland to Russia ; and experienced, as usual, a miserable disappointment on arriving at St. Petersburg.

"Alas! no sooner had I reached this Asiatic assemblage of wooden huts, than Rome, Genoa, Venice, and Florence rose to my recollection; and I could not refrain from laughing. What I afterwards saw ol this country tended still more strongly to confirm my first impression, that it merited not to be seen. Every thing, except their beards and their horses, disgusted me so much, that, during six weeks I remained among these savages, I determined not to become acquainted with any one ; nor sven to see the two or three youths with whom I bad associated at Turin, and who were descended From the first families of the country. I took no measure to be presented to the celebrated Autocratrix Catherine II.; nor did I even behold the countenance of a sovereign who in our days has outstripped fame. On investigating, at a future period, the reason of such extraordinary conduct, I became convinced that it proceeded from a certain intolerance of character, and a hatred to every species of tyranny, and which in this particular instance ittached itself to a person suspected of the most terrible crime—the murder of a defenceless husband."—Vol. i. pp. 194, 195.

This rage for liberty continued to possess him in his return through Prussia, and really seems to have reached its acmé when it dictated the following most preposterous passage.—which, we cannot help suspecting, is

ndebted for part of its absurdity to the trans

ator.

"I visited Zorndorff, a spot rendered famous by he sanguinary battle fought between the Russians und Prussians, where thousands of men on both

« PreviousContinue »