Oldalképek
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

GRASSE:
ITS PERFUMES AND PICTURES.

ciation, and, finally, prosperity and great-cation has shown us, therefore, new and oess, Françoise d'Aubigné quietly pre-loftier aspects in Madame de Maintenon's pares for the last stage of all, death. mind and soul; thanks to him, we see her

Four years after Louis had been laid now devoid of intrigue, and nobly given in St. Denis, the doors of her room are up to the cause of “education.' Only softly opened, the visitor silently beckons, once, the few lines Madame de Caylus and she, who in her days of darkness and writes on the days preceding the marriage, sorrow had never implored his aid, greets might lead one to see “she was but human bim with a tranquil smile and passes after all.” Still this statement is vague, away.

and comes not from her own pen. Rather

than conclude with Cousin, however, that You cannot doubt, my dear cousin (writes the Duchesse de Lude * shortly afterwards to Madame de Maintenon was heartless, we the Princesse des Ursins] that having lived prefer to agree with Larochefoucauld, sixteen years with so estimable a woman as qu'il n'y a qu'un amour," but that there Madame de Maintenon, I am deeply moved may be divers ways of feeling it, and that by her death. You will recognize her disin- in Françoise d'Aubigné's case the way terestedness by the fact that she possessed at was certainly determined secrecy, in her death only a sum of 16,000 francs, which speech and in writing was divided between Mesdames de Caylus and in death.

- secrecy in life,

YETTA DE BURY. and de Noailles. She had also about 12,000 francs' worth of silver, which also went between Mesdames de Caylus and de Noailles; the rest, as well as a red damask bed, went to Mademoiselle d'Aumale. As to her two es

From The Cornhill Magazine. tates, she had already settled them at her marriage on M. de Noailles. Madame de Maintenon's correspond

“GUEUSE PARFUMEE," or scented slut, ence, voluminous as it is, leaves us wholly is the nickname given to Grasse by the in the dark as to her motives and conduct most eminent of its bishops. Two cenin relation to all the most important events turies have passed since then, and Grasse, of her life. We have ream upon ream though no longer a “Gueuse," has still an about politics and St. Cyr, but as regards undisputed right to the title of the scented. the Scarron marriage, the introduction to

It is comforting in these days of chemMadame de Montespan, the acquaintance ical surprises, when bright colors and exwith the king. - as to what part she played quisite flavors are extracted from the most in these turning points in her career, we are without a syllable of information. In repulsive substances, to know that the truth, personal reticence, and, above all, the flowers whose name they bear.. A

wares of the perfumer do still come from reticence of the heart, are from first to visit to Grasse must remove all doubt last the characteristics of Madame de from the mind of the most sceptical. Maintenon's correspondence. It is sel. Flowers are the chief produce of the soil dom that the vibration of a woman's heart and the mainstay of the population. They is not somewhere or other perceptible in

are grown on every av

patch of her letters. Through their correspond- ground. Violets carpet the terraces under ence" mainly has the world become ac. the olive-trees, while on other terraces quainted with women such as Mesdames de Lafayette, de Sévigné, Angélique Ar- keeps its owner as busy as the poet fan

grows the orange-tree. That“ busy plant naud, de Lenclos, etc. - women whose

cied it was itself, for the leaves have to hearts, let it be noticed, whether moved be carefully syringed and wiped every now by buman or religious emotion, were al

. and again to keep it free from blight. lowed to beat normally. That is the main

Out in the open country there are fields point. With Françoise d’Aubigné, s pru; of jonquil, and of jessamine, and of the dence” having at the time of trust and muscadine rose, that Rose of Provence, enthusiasm reigned supreme, none of that which excels all other roses in fragrance. spontaneous emanation of feeling which But the rose and the jessamine lose much is the true “ being" with the woman can of their gracefulness in this field culture. be expected to spring forth even from her No straggling sprays are allowed to wan: letters.

der at their own sweet will; they are all M. Geffroy's highly interesting publi- caught and pioned down, bent over in * The Ducheese de Lude had been lady-in-waiting hoops close to the ground. to the Duchesse de Bourgogne, and consequently thrown

There is no scope left the flowers for much in the society of Madame de Maintenon. (Geffroy, vol. ii.. p. 395.)

wasting “their sweetness on the desert

.

66

you take

air" in this region. Every whiff of scent | Medici brought the taste for perfumes and has its money value, and all through the poisons from her native Italy. This taste flowering season the stills of the seventy reached its height under Louis Quioze, perfumers which the town can boast are when Versailles was known as the “Cour busy extracting and bottling up this sweet- parfumée," and etiquette required that ness for the London and Paris markets. every one pretending to fashion must have From earliest daw'n picturesque figures, a different scent every day. Scents were with huge discs of straw the size of cart one of the great extravagances of the age, wheels on their heads, and skirts whose and it is stated that the Pompadour spent roseate hue makes the roses themselves on perfumes five hundred thousand francs look dingy, are picking away for bare life a year. in the flower fields. Of the violet gath- Grasse has other attractions to boast of erers nothing is to be seen save the hats. besides the flowers and the scenery. In They look like a row of targets set up for an old-fashioned house near the Cour archery practice. It is only on closer in. there are some pictures which are well spection that you find a figure crouching worth a pilgrimage to visit. These are on all fours picking hard behind the shelter some masterpieces of Fragonard, who was of her headgear. As the flowers are a native of Grasse. He went to Paris picked they are carried in baskets into the and studied under Chardin, Vanloo, and town. The violets refuse to give up their Boucher. With Boucher he soon became scent, like the other flowers, to distillation. a favorite, because he could work fifteen Slabs of slate set in wooden frames are hours a day without fatigue. Fragonard spread thick with hog's lard to receive gained the Prix de Rome and set out to them. On this bed they are scattered, study the great masters. “ If and the slates are then stacked one above them seriously, you are done for," was the other like the shelves of a cabinet. Boucher's parting warning, and Fragonard The flowers must be renewed three times acted upon it. He said that Raphael and a day, all through the flowering season. Michael Angelo frightened him. So he By that time the lard is permeated with went about a great deal, and saw a great the scent which can then be withdrawn deal of Italian life, but studied not at all. from it into spirit. The orange blossom Thus he returned to Paris with his style is the chief source of wealth in the dis- unaltered. He was a Frenchman to the trict. The season lasts a month, and dur. backbone, and threw himself heart and ing that time flower-picking is the business soul into all the pleasures of a frivolous of life on the farms. So strong is the age, that made the joys of life the chief scent that it sometimes overpowers the end of existence. He gained admission pickers, and brings on prolonged fainting to the Academy by one serious effort, fits. The famous neroli is the concen- which called forth a ponderous éloge from trated essence of the orange flower. A Diderot. But he found a shorter cut to kilogramme of blossom yields one gramme fame by becoming the favored lover of or a thousandth part of its weight in the celebrated danseuse Guimard. This neroli, which is the chief ingredient in Squelette des Graces, so called because she eau-de-Cologne. Sixty thousand francs' was ugly, black, and thin, had all the bear worth of neroli go to Cologne from monde of Paris sighing at her feet. From Grasse yearly. To meet this demand two among them she singled out Fragonard. hundred thousand kilos of blossoms are He painted her as the dancing Muse, for used up. Much of the so-called attar of her new theatre, which she called the Temroses is made bere also, and finds its way ple of Terpsichore. The portrait gave from Grasse to Paris viâ Constantinople, her great delight, and she invited friends where it is transferred to the familiar gilt to a private view. Meanwhile the lovers glass bottles that seem to certify its East- had had a quarrel, and Fragonard, out of ern origin. The productions of Grasse pique, had effaced the smile of the Muse, are the premières matières or raw mate and replaced it by the head of a Fury, rials of perfume. They are much manip- with a striking likeness to the original. ulated in Paris before they reach the It was this startling caricature that Gui. public, and the favorite bouquets are mard found herself facing when the doors really produced by a cunning mixture of were ihrown open and the work of Fragothe esssences of many flowers. As the nard revealed." Rage at the mortifying sur: scent of flowers must be extracted where prise made the likeness more striking, and they grow, Grasse has a long lease of the the friends who came to admire could not monopoly of the perfume trade, which it restrain a laugh. The breach thus made has enjoyed ever since Catherine de' was too wide to be healed, and the painter was discarded. But it mattered little to and he would hold no communication with him now, for he had become the fashion. the intruder except through an interpreter, No boudoir of the period was complete and the whole household were kept on without some work from his brush. His tenter-hooks to avert the flare-up which pictures were eagerly competed for, and his they felt would come from a personal enprices were absurdly high. When he was counter with the count. Their mother at the zenith of his fame, the Dubarry took a different line. Her policy was one commissioned from him the pictures now of conciliation. In mature middle age she at Grasse, for the decoration of a salon in learnt French that she might talk to the her château at Luciennes. Fragonard count in his own language. As for the painted them when on a visit to his native children, they gathered a daily harvest of towa. There are four large canvases to dainties from the count's dessert. If they cover the walls and smaller pieces to put could escape their father's eye they deover the doors. The theme, as usual, is voured these io safety, all except the ices love. They set forth the four stages of a which the anxious mother intercepted. romance, said to be taken from the life of Such things had never been seen in simLouis Quinze. The figures are set in a ple Frankfort before, and she felt sure garden scene, with the picturesque ad- that no human stomach could digest them. juncts of fountains and balustrades. The The count himself was an interesting study coloring is bright, the figures very grace for young Goethe. He was a tall, dark, ful, and the execution full of freedom and dignified man, more like a Spaniard than vigor. The storm of the Revolution burst a Frenchman, giving a witty turn to his before the pictures were sent home, and decisions in the quarrels daily brought be. they still hang in the house where they fore him, and yet subject to fits of gloom were painted, and from which they have during which he would see no one, and never been removed. Thus the “ill wind” which gave occasion to endless surmises. that destroyed art treasures all over A whisper ran that a dark deed done in a France was the means of preserving those moment of passion had marred his whole of Grasse.

life and prospects. This dark mysterious Other pictures there are in the town, too, Count de Thoranne was a great lover of which, though of small merit in point of art. He found painting was cheap at art, are dear to all lovers of letters from Frankfort, and he resolved to have pictures having been painted under the very eyes painted for the walls of the family mansion of Goethe, when a boy in his father's at Grasse, sent home for the measure. house at Frankfort. The French occupa- ments of the walls, and then set the best tion of Frankfort made a great impression artists in Frankfort to work upon the can. on the poet's mind. It was his first vas. A room in the house was set aside glimpse of the world outside his quiet for the artists. There they painted busily, German home, and the vivid picture he and Goethe and the count seemed to have has drawn oft bears the stamp of truth passed most of their time there too in in its sharply touched-in lines. The free looking on. Each of these artists had his imperial city was accustomed to the sight specialty. One excelled in Dutch work of soldiers passing through to the seat of and could do fruit and flowers to perfec. war. But on New Year's day, 1759, it was tion. The forte of another was sunny surprised by the arrival of a French army, Rhine scenery. A third went in for Remwhich did not pass through but coolly brandt effects, and gloried in Resurrection planted itself in the town by means of miracles and flaming villages and mills. billeting itself on the citizens. Goethe's Seekatz, the most eminent among them, father had just finished his new and hand- shone in rural life. His old people and some house, and to his extreme disgust children were lifelike, because they were the French singled it out as the headquar- done from life, but his young men were ters of the king's lieutenant. This digni- far too thin, and his young women just as tary had to keep the peace between the much too fat. The reason of this was that soldiers and the citizens, and decide all his wife, who was stout and middle aged, quarrels between them. Then began stir- insisted on sitting as his model. When ring times for the children of the house; the count found out the special gift of each the constant coming and going of both artist, the bright idea struck him that the parties kept their home buzzing like a bee. pictures would be vastly improved if each hive. The relations between the master one painted in them what he could do best. of the house and his distinguished guest So he had cattle painted into a landscape were very strained. Their father, though finished by another hand. A third was he spoke French well, hated the nation, employed to put in sheep, which he did so lavishly that the flock flowed over the edge. one district from the tyranny of bandits The figure-painter was then told to add and another from the tyranny of bishops, some travellers and a few shepherds; thus and conferred on the peasants of the Es. the piece became so crowded with living terel the freedom of their forest. A frag. objects that they seemed to be choking ment of the kitchen stair is all that is left for want of air even in the open country. to show that this fascinating woman for This led to deadly quarrels among the whom the troubadours sang and Giotto painters, as each one accused the others painted, the queen who won the adoration of spoiling his work. At length this of Petrarch, the pupil of Boccaccio, and strange patchwork was finished and sent the bugbear of St. Catherine of Siena, home to Grasse, where it still decorates once beld her court in Grasse. one of the large, old-fashioned houses on We must not leave Grasse without rethe Place des Aires in the centre of the calling the memory of Antoine Godeau, town.

the greatest of her bishops. Godeau was Near this historic house there is an. drawn from the depths of provincial life other which contains a salon decorated by Conrart, who brought him to Paris to and furnished in the best taste of the style that literary gathering in his house in the of Louis Quinze. This was the boudoir Rue St. Martin which was denounced to of Louise, Marquise de Cabris, one of that Richelieu as a secret society. The carstrange family of Mirabeau who gave the dinal took away its secrecy, and gave it world so much to talk about. In this importance by conferring on it the royal satin lined nest perhaps she was surprised approval. He thus founded the Academy. by the sudden visit of her scapegrace Godeau was the darling of the Hotel Rambrother Honoré. He found the dulness bouillet, where he was known as the “naio of Manosque, whither he had been con. de Mademoiselle Julie.” His prose was signed by lettre de cachet, so intolerable, the model of style. The highest praise that he came down to Grasse to seek a that could be given to literary work was to little excitement. In a few days the whole call it "du Godeau.” He took orders at town was in a ferment, and the brother the mature age of thirty-five, in hope of and sister found themselves credited with preferment, and the cardinal gave him the an outrage on public decency of which, for see of Grasse. For a short time it was once, they were guiltless. A libel on the united with Vence, but thi union was so ladies of Grasse placarded the walls. A unpopular that Godeau resigned Grasse, gentleman of the neighborhood, M. de and ended his days at Vence. Here he Mouans, openly said what every one died from a fit of apoplexy as he was sing. thought, that this was the work of the ing the “Tenebræ" before the altar in dare-devil Mirabeaus. In revenge for this Passion Week. Mirabeau fell upon him, when he met him Apart from association, Grasse has natunprotected on the road, and beat him ural charms that win every heart. The nearly to death, with his sister looking on. climate and the scenery are both superb. A lawsuit followed in which many scandals But for the bigotry of one of the natives came out; it was found that the Marquis Grasse would long have held the place of de Cabris and not his wife was the author Cannes as a winter resort. Lord Brougham of the squibs which had raised this storm would have settled here, but was refused in a teacup, whose consequences were to the property he wished to buy on the gro. be wider than any of those concerned in it tesque ground that he was a Protestant. could imagine. For it was for his share He went on to Cannes, and became a pillar in this affair that the nobles turned their of the Church in the colony which he backs on Mirabeau when he tried to se. there founded. The great variety of walks cure their votes at Aix. This drove him and drives round Grasse prevents life from to open the clothshop which qualified him being monotonous. Antibes, with Vauas a deputy of the Tiers Etat, and made ban's fort, Vence with its Roman remaios, him the mouthpiece of the Revolution. Gourdon perched high on its rocky pindaOn the same Place des Aires there stood cle above the Loup where the caves and formerly the palace of a queen, who held clefts still echo the groans of hunted a front place in the history of her time. Huguenots, Tourette the stronghold of Queen Jeanne of Naples came to Grasse the Saracens, its rocky platform literally to avoid the revengers of her first hus. covered with aloes, are all within easy band, of whose death she was openly ac- range, and offer tempting subjects for cused. In Provence she made herself canvas or camera; while the geologist and popular, scattering her bounties with a botanist may find at every step rare treaslavish hand, gave a water conduit to one ures to serve as mementoes of their ram. commune and a charter to another, freed | bies in this sunny land of flowers.

a

From The Standard. In all other respects the wasp is the
THE BEE AND THE WASP.

equal, if not the superior of the bee. The It is undeniable that the bee occupies latter is content to make its home in any a far higher position in the regard of man place that comes to hand. If a hive than does the wasp. The bee is held up should not be forthcoming, the bees will as an example to the young for its strict establish themselves in a hollow tree, in a attention to business, its forethought, and chimney, or in the roof of a house, and prudence. It has been made the object of then and there begin to build their combs much study; its habits and manners have and prepare for the reception of brood and been watched in hives specially con-honey. The wasp, on the other hand, structed; and the behavior of the bees more industriously sets to to build its own towards their queen and towards each house, walls and all, and the labor required other have been as minutely investigated for such an undertaking is enormous. and described, and are, indeed, almost as Wood, the material it uses, is obtained by well known as are the customs of the gnawing posts, gates, rails, or other timber ancient Greeks or Romans. The wasp, that has lost its sap. This is chewed up on the other hand, is regarded with abso- by the wasp's strong jaws into a paste and lute hostility. He is viewed as an idler, spread out with its tongụe in layers finer as an irritable and hot-tempered creature, than tissue paper. Layer after layer is with no fixed aims and ends, prone to un- spread, until the house is made rain and provoked assaults, a disturber of picnics, weather tight, a model of symmetry, a maran intruder in the domestic circle -a vellous example of the result of patient and creature, in fact, to be promptly and sum- persevering labor, a white palace, by the marily put to death if opportunity offers side of which anything the bee can do is itself. This hasty and unjust conclusion but poor workmanship. The arrangement is, in fact, the result of man's natural self. inside the structure is at least equal to isbness. He does not really admire the that wl:ich the bee can accomplish in the bee because the bee stores up food for its most perfectly constructed 'hive. The winter use, but because he is able to plun- cells are as regular and as carefully arder that store, and to make it available for ranged, and it is kept with the same bis own purposes. The squirrel, the field scrupulous care and cleanliness. It is mouse, and many other creatures lay up not necessary for the wasp to collect stores for winter; but, as man is not par: honey and pollen for the use of its brood, ticularly fond of dried outs or shrivelled for these are fed upon insects, the juicy grain, he does not consider it necessary to caterpillar and the plump body of the profess any extreme admiration for the bluebottle being the morsels which they forethought of these creatures. The wasp mostly affect. In the capture of its prey is perfectly capable of storing up honey for the use of its young the wasp works for its winter use, did it see the slightest as assiduously as does the owl to gather occasion for doing so; but the wasp is not in field mice for the sustenance of its off. a fool. It knows perfectly well that its spring; and each capture, after being car. life is a short one; that it will die when ried to the nest, is stowed away in the cell the winter season approaches. Its in with the egg, until it is full, and the enstinct doubtless teaches it that only a few trance is then securely sealed. The queen of the autumn-born females will survive to wasp is in point of activity, energy, and create new colonies in the spring, and intelligence far ahead of the queen bee. that as these females will pass the winter As soon as the latter leaves her cell, a in a dormant state in some snug recess perfect insect, she is waited upon by a beyond the reach of frost, there is no oc- crowd of workers, who provide her with casion whatever to prepare stores of food food, attend her every movement, and for their use. Did the wasp endeavor to forestall her every wish, and her functions emulate the bee, and store its cells with are confined solely to the laying of her honey, it would rightly be held up to de- eggs. The queen wasp, on the contrary rision as an idiot, as the only creature who is the founder as well as the mother of her imitates the folly of man in continuing to colony. When she wakes up from he: work until the last to pile up riches for lethargy in the spring, she sallies out to others to enjoy after his death. If it is find a suitable spot for her future kingdom. admirable for the bee, who lives through Having fixed upon it, she proceeds to build the winter, to collect stores for his use her cells unaided. She has to feed her. during that time, it is no less admirable in self while engaged on this labor, and when the wasp, who dies before the winter, to a certain number of cells are completed avoid the absurd and ridiculous habit of she has then to store them with food suffi collecting stores which it cannot use. cient to support the young until, their sec

[ocr errors]
« ElőzőTovább »