« VorigeDoorgaan »
the gates of Laon were opened for the lating, they had known how to take admission of provisions, and the two advantage of that enthusiasm, had officers succeeded in escaping from the armed the faubourgs of Paris, and astown, disguised as charcoal-burners. sumed the offensive, a certain victory After some romantic adventures, the would have driven back the enemy, narrative of which imparts a strong who would have found his grave in interest to Colonel Combe's thirty- France." This, it must be rememsixth chapter, they arrived at Soissons, bered, is the opinion of a sanguine still occupied by a French garrison, soldier and an ardent Buonapartbut invested, although not very close ist. ly, by the Allies. Thence they had On the return of the Bourbons, M. no difficulty in reaching Paris.
Combe, in common with the rest of The French capital was in great the army, mounted the white cockade. agitation, and even fear. A few days He was charged with the formation before M. Combe's arrival, his father of the 1st Chasseurs, known as Chashad thought it prudent to bury in his seurs du Roi, and was afterwards cellar nearly all his plate and jewellery, aide-de-camp to his former colonel, and a sum of 800,000 francs in gold. then General de Périgord. He passed A large stone was removed, an exca- a happy year in Paris, his happiness vation made beneath it, the precious being disturbed only by the presence store deposited, and the block replaced. of the Allies. He and his friend PasBut M. Combe, senior, carried his cal could not forget the humiliations precautions rather far, and left the they had undergone during their capmoney buried for three years, at heavy tivity; the sight of men whom they loss of interest.
had so long been accustomed to treat When the Allies, after a cautious as enemies, acted upon them as does a advance, often impeded by the gallant red rag on a Spanish bull, producing resistance of the French, arrived close an irritation which generally led to to Paris, and the cannon was beard bloodshed. Captains Combe and thundering below Montmartre, Cap- Pascal had duels nearly every week, tain Combe got on horseback, and and escaped with some slight wounds. rode out by the barrier of Clichy. He The sabre was invariably the weapon did not intend to fight, being on parole, used. M. Combe gives a description but, considering, he says that the of two of these encounters, in one of agreement had not been executed as which he killed an officer of the Red regarded him, since he had been re- Cossacks of the guard. More credit. fused a passage at the Russian adable conflicts were in store for the vanced posts, and that he might fiery hussar. " The return of the therefore consider himself as an es- emperor, in 1815, put us in a cruel caped prisoner-tempted also by the alternative between our affection for sight of his old enemies, and furious him and our duty to our new soveat beholding them at the threshold of reign." It was at Essonne that Gehis home,-he drew sabre and charged neral de Périgord's hussar brigade with the Polish lancers. Returning received news of the flight of the to Paris for a fresh horse, he went out Bourbons. A courier from Paris again, and remained fighting until passed through the place, a tricolournightfall, escaping wounds, although ed cockade in his hat, and shouting his charger received a lance-thrust. « Vive l'Empereur /" The soldiers “During the whole of that day, a great soon showed that, if their officers hesicrowd of curious persons repaired to tated between their old and their new the plains of Montmartre and Clichy, allegiance, they did not. They got exactly as to a theatre. Elegant tumultuously to horse, under command women in carriages, and young men of their sergeants, the very vedettes on horseback, drove and rode about going to the right about, so that, inas if in the Bois de Boulogne, notwith- stead of facing the direction from standing the danger from the shells, which Napoleon was expected, they which already reached the houses of faced their own troops, and seemed the faubourg. .... In the army tbe watching for the Emperor's safety. enthusiasm was general, and there can As soon as his approach was anbe no doubt that if, instead of capitu- nounced, the whole brigade, sabre in hand, galloped to meet him, and the tricolour from his schako, and joined his escort.
made his way to Paris. He had a After some hesitation, M. Combe, uniform which was not that of any carried away by his feelings of devo French hussar regiment, and by speaktion to the Emperor, and persuaded ing bad French, he passed himself off by his friends, offered his services to as an English officer, aide-de-camp to Davoust, then minister-of-war, was the Duke of Wellington. Arrested at promoted to the rank of major, and his father's house, his presence of sent to assist in raising and organising mind again saved him. He put the a body of partisans in Burgundy, un- gendarmes off their guard, locked der the orders of General Lecourbe. them into a room, and escaped by a On the Swiss frontier he had nume. back door. Three days afterwards rous encounters with the Austrians, he left Paris disguised as a livery but the news of Waterloo put an end servant. An English physician, Dr to the campaign, and to the exploits Tupper, who was about to proceed to of the free corps of the Côte d'Or, for Brussels by diligence, and who had a whose dissolution an order came from passport for himself and servant, had Marsbal Jourdan. Before executing agreed, at the request of M. Combe's it, Major Combe and some other former general-then the Duke de officers had an interview with the Dino-Périgord—to travel post, and to Austrians commanding at the outposts, take with him the person who should who had received, only the night be- present himself at his hotel in the fore, the order to cross the frontier Rue de la Paix, on the morning apand enter France. They told the pointed for his departure. As long as French that they could never have they were on French territory, the opposed them so long at that point, Englishman, with perfect sang-froid, had not the Austrians, who were much allowed his travelling companion to superior in force, had positive orders perform the duties of a servant; but to keep on the frontier, and on the de- as soon as they had passed the fronfensive, until they had official news of tier, he held out his hand, and exa battle having been won by the Allies. pressed his gratification at having M. Combe was at the same time been able to save him from persecuassured that, if the Emperor bad won tion. At Brussels they found a large the battle, the Austrians were to assemblage of political refugees : the assume a friendly attitude, or at least Abbé Sieyès, David the painter, Marto have retired. The policy of the shal (then General) Gerard, Colonel Cabinet of Vienna was just then of a Desaix, M. Teste-since notorious as temporising character—almost neces- minister of public works under Louis sarily, it may be said, owing to the Philippe- the editors of the Nain family connection with Napoleon. Jaune, and many others. And at
The peace that followed Waterloo Brussels M. Combe made acquaintdid not quite terminate Colonel ance with the English Colonel HalCombe's adventures, although with it cott, whose daughter he afterwards must close our notice of his interesting married. For his subsequent history, book. He did not despair of the for an account of his imprisonment as imperial cause, and when the army a Buonapartist conspirator, and for the was disbanded, and bis services were narrative of the various misfortunes dispensed with, instead of returning to that befell him, we refer our readers to Paris, he bid himself at a friend's the Mémoires themselves. These, we house in Franche-Comté, to wait, as learn, were originally written only for he says, for a favourable opportunity. Colonel Combe's family, but the soliciNot long after his arrival there, he tations of his friends at last induced learned the persecutions that were him to publish them. The reader of then directed against those who had the present article will probably agree shared in the campaign of 1815. For with us, that his friends were quite some time he and a brother officer justified in persuading him not to conlived in a charcoal-burner's hut, in the fine to a narrow circle the gratification depths of a forest; but at last, weary that is to be derived from the perusal of uncertainty and inaction, he took of his very interesting autobiography.
MODERN NOVELISTS-GREAT AND SMALL.
GREATNESS is always comparative: eminences, by permitting every indithere are few things so hard to adjust vidual of them to be great “ in his as the sliding-scale of fame. We re- way." member once looking over a book of And there is no sphere in which it autographs, which impressed us with is so necessary to exercise this toleraan acute perception of this principle. tion as among the great army of As we turned over the fair and novelists who minister to our pleaprecious leaves, we lighted upon name sures. In no other department of after name, unknown to us as to a literature is the field so crowded; in savage. What were these? They few others do success and failure dewere famous pames-scraps of notes pend so entirely upon the gifts of the and hoarded signatures from the great artist. A biography, however indifProfessor this, and the great Mr that, ferently executed, must always have gentlemen who wrote F.R.S., and a something real in it. History may score of other initial letters against be intolerably heavy-may be partial, their names, and were ranked among or disingenuous, or flippant, but still the remarkable people of their genera- it is impossible to remove fact and tion. Yet we-we say it with humi- significance altogether from its pages. liation-knew them not, and we flatter Fiction, on the other hand, has no ourselves that we were not inferior in such foundation to build upon, and it this particular to the mass of the depends entirely on the individual literature-loving public. They were powers of its professors, whether it is great, but only in their own sphere. merely a lying legend of impossible How many spheres are there enter- people, or a broad and noble picture taining each its own company of mag- of real things and real men. To nates? How few who attain the balance this, it is also true that few universal recognition, and are great people are without tbeir bit of insight, in the sight of all men ! There is not of whatever kind it may be, and that a parish or a county in the three the greater portion of those who have kingdoms without its eminent person the power of speech, the trick of com- not an art or a science but has its position, have really seen or known established oligarchy; and the great something which their neighbours philosopher, who maps the sky like would be the better for hearing. So any familiar ocean, is not more em- far as it professes to represent this phatically distinguished among his great crowded world, and the broad fellows tban is some individual work- lights and shadows of universal life, man in the manufactory from which with all its depths and heights, its came his great telescope-so true is it, wonders and mysteries, there are but in spite of the infinite diversity of in- few successful artists in fiction, and dividual constitution, that we have these few are of universal fame; but but a series of endless repetitions in there remains many a byway and the social economy of human nature. corner, many a pook of secret secluNor is it much easier to define great- sion, and homes of kindly charity, ness than to limit the number of those which genius which is not the highfor whom it is claimed. In the genera- est, and minds of a lower range and tion which has just passed, are there scantier experience, may well be connot two or three grand names of un- tent to embellish and illustrate. Nor questionable magnitude and influence, does it seldom happen that a story. the secret of whose power we cannot teller of this second rank finds a discover in anything they have left straight road and a speedy entrance behind them ? In fact, all that we to the natural heart which has but can do when we descend from that admired and wondered at the master highest platform whose occupants are minstrel's loftier tale. visible to the whole world, and uni- Place aux dames ! how does it versally acknowledged, is to reconcile happen that the cowardice of womanthe claims of the lesser and narrower kind is a fact so clearly established, and that so little notice is ever taken Miss Mitford's beautiful English of the desperate temerity of this half sketches in Our Village; but they are of the creation? It is in vain that more vigorous and picturesque, and we call to the amazon, as the lookers- bright with an animated and warm on at that famous tourney at Ashby- nationality, apologetic and defensive, de-la-Zouch called to the disinherited which Miss Mitford, writing of one knight, “Strike the Hospitaller's shield class of English to another, had no
- he is weak in his saddle." While occasion to use. we are speaking, the feminine knight. The novel of conventional and artierrant rushes past us to thunder upon ficial life belongs to no one so much as the buckler of Bois Guilbert, the to Mrs Gore. Who does not know the champion of champions. Where philo- ring of her regular sentences?—the diasopbic magnates fear to tread, and logue wbich chimes in exactly the same bodies of divinity approach with measure, whether the speakers speakin trembling, the fair novelist flies at a club, or in the dowager duchess's a gallop. Her warfare, it is true, sombre and pious boudoir? Mammon is after the manner of women : there is a good representation of her averis a rush, a flash, a sbriek, and the age productions; and so is Transmucombatant comes forth from the melée tation, an anonymous novel recently trembling with delight and terror; but published, in which, if it is not Mrs the sudden daring of her attack puts Gore's, we are wonderfully deceived. bravery to shame. This, which is the Even in works of the highest genius age of so many things—of enlighten- it is seldom difficult to trace a family ment, of science, of progress-is quite resemblance between the different as distinctly the age of female novelists; creations of the same hand; and it is and women, wbo rarely or never find impossible to imagine that any mortal their way to the loftiest class, have a fancy could retain originality through natural right and claim to rank fore- the long period which this lady has most in the second. The vexed spent in the composition of novels; questions of social morality, the grand so it is not wonderful that we need to problems of human experience, are pay especial attention to the names, seldom so summarily discussed and to make ourselves quite sure that it settled as in the novels of this day is a new and not an old novel of which are written by women ; and, Mrs Gore's which we have in ourhand. though we have little reason to com- There is the same country house—the plain of the first group of experienced same meek lady and morose gentlenovelists who lead our lists, we tremble man—the same “pice young man" for to encounter the sweeping judgments hero—and the same young ladies, good and wonderful theories of the very and naughty, in the same white musstrange world revealed to us in the lin and blue ribbons. There is the books of many of the younger sister- same chorus kept up through the bood.
book, of conversation at clubs upon No; Mrs Gore with her shining, other people's business, wbich the cbilly sketches — Mrs Trollope with parties interested either overhear or do her rough wit and intense cleverness not overhear, as is best for the story.
-Mrs Marsh with her exemplary and And so the tale glides on smoothly most didactic narratives-are ortho- and easily, its sorrows disturbing our dox and proper beyond criticism. To placidity as little as its joys, and have remained so long in possession of every body concerned having the most the popular ear is no small tribute to composed and tranquil certainty as to their powers; and we must join, to how it is to end. Nevertheless, Mrs these long-established and well-known Gore's novels have a host of readers, names, the name of a writer more and Mrs Gore's readers are interested. genial and kindly than any of them, People will be interested, we suspect, and one who has wisely rested long till the end of the world, in the old, upon her modest laurels, without old story, how Edwin and Angelina entering into competitions with the fell in love with each other; how young and restless powers of to-day- they were separated, persecuted, and Mrs S. C. Hall. The Irish Sketches tempted ; and how their virtue and of this lady resemble considerably constancy triumphed over all their misfortunes. And there is much lovingly with Mrs Barnaby, there is a vivacity and liveliness, and a good venom and bitterness in her picture deal of shrewd observation in these of the Low Church Vicar, which is books. They are amusing, pleasant not very edifying. She is perhaps a beguilers of a stray hour; and, after cleverer woman, but we miss the all our grand pretensions, how valu- silken rustle and ladylike pace of her able a property is this in the genas contemporary, and find Mrs Trollope novel, which proclaims itself an ephe- a less agreeable companion than Mrs meron in its very name!
Gore. Mrs Trollope is a different person. The author of Emilia Wyndham It pleases this lady to put her is of an entirely distinct character. fortune to the touch, whether she This lady, whatever else she is, must will delight or disgust us, and accord- always be exemplary. We have a ing to her auditors is her success. distinct impression of a little circle The bold, buxom, daring, yet very of young ladies, emancipated from foolish Mrs Barnaby, seems to have the schoolroom, but scarcely entered been a work entirely after this upon the world, sitting in one of her author's heart, and at which she la- own pretty orderly morning rooms, boured con amore; but we cannot clustered about the kind but precise profess to have the smallest scrap of story-teller, when we open one of her admiration for Mrs Barnaby, though novels. They dare never be so much there is no doubt that the coarse engrossed in the tale as to forget the tricks, the coarse rouge, the trans- " deportment" which their instrucparent devices, which were too bare- tress is so careful of; and she has faced to deceive any body, are perfect- leisure to pause now and then to bid ly kept up throughout the book. We some forgetful little one hold up her are afraid it is a fundamental error bead or throw back her shoulders. in a book to seek, not our admiration Yet there is real goodness, some and interest, but our disgust and dramatic power, and the natural inreprobation for its principal character. stinct of telling a story in Mrs We do not choose to leave the hero Marsh. Her first and most ambitious or the heroine, whose fate we have work is not addressed to her audience followed through three volumes, in of young ladies, nor would it be very the hands of Nemesis ; we would suitable for them ; but we prefer the much rather that it could be possible good Emilia to the high-souled and for her to “take a thought and sinful Lucy, and feel that the author mend ;" and though we can resign to is more in her element with one of poetic justice a secondary villain, we her own pleasant groups of girls—the revolt against entering upon a his- good one with her innocent wisdoms, tory which is only to end in confusion and the other who is not quite good, and overthrow to its principal actor. with her almost equally innocent That Mrs Barnaby is a real kind of naughtinesses-or with her two lovers, woman, it is impossible to deny; and the wild, gay, handsome, young galthe success of her representation is lant, and the grave, quiet, passionate but another proof of how strangely man-than with those mysteries of people are attracted in fiction by sin and misery, which in very abhorcharacters from which they cannot rence and pity a good woman is keep themselves sufficiently far away sometimes fascinated to look into, in real life ; but we do not think the wondering whether something may creation of this redoubtable adven- not be found there to account for the turer, nor of her companion portrait, tremendous fall. But the author of the Vicar of Wrexhill, are things Emilia Wyndham bas lost some ground which bring the author nearer to any during these last few years. She has heart. Mrs Trollope has the same taken to making books rather than to broad coarse humour, which, with telling stories, and has perceptibly such an odd, unlooked - for contrast, had the printing - press and certain breaks into those mincing genteel editorial censors before her, instead histories of Cecilia and Evelina, of the dove's eyes of her sweet young which Jobpson and Burke sat up all audience. Yet there is something night to read ; and though she deals pleasant always in her anxious care