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Richelieu lies chiefly in the developement of character. But there is great merit in the narrative also, and considerable vigour in the dialogue. It is not easy, by means of any extract which our limits will permit us to give, to convey to the reader any adequate idea of the good qualities of the book. A" sample" of a work in three volumes, comprehending more than a score characters, and ranging in its tone to the extremes of vivacity and pathos, must necessarily be imperfect. Nevertheless, we will venture to take one passage, (longer, indeed, than we are in the habit of admitting,) in order to show that a portion of our eulogy is not undeserved. The reader will understand that, by the intrigues of Richelieu, the King is induced to believe that his wife is guilty of a traitorous correspondence with Spain. She is brought before the Council of State, and arraigned :
“At that moment, the huisseur threw open the door of the council-chamber, and the Queen, with her ladies, entered, and found themselves in the presence of the King and all his principal ministers. In the centre of the room, strewed with various papers, and materials for writing, stood a long table, at the top of which, in a seat slightly raised above the rest, sate Louis himself, dressed, as was usual with him, in a suit of black silk, without any ornament whatever, except three rows of sugar-loaf buttons of polished jet -if these could be considered as ornamental. His hat, indeed, which he continued to wear, was looped up with a small string of jewels; and the feather, which fell much on one side, was buttoned with a diamond of some value; but these were the only indications by which his apparel could have been distinguished from that of some poor avoué, or greffier de la cour.
“On the right-hand of the King was placed the Cardinal de Richelieu, in his robes ; and on the left was the Chancellor Seguier. Bouthilliers, Chavigni, Mazarin, and other members of the council, filled the rest of the seats round the table; but at the farther end was a vacant space, in front of which the Queen now presented herself, facing the chair of the King.
“There was an angry spot on Louis's brow, and as Anne of Austria entered, he continued playing with the hilt of his sword, without once raising his eyes toward her. The Queen's heart sank, but still she bore an undismayed countenance, while the Cardinal fixed upon her the full glance of his dark commanding eyes, and, rising from his seat, slightly inclined his head at her approach.
“ The rest of the Council rose, and Chavigni turned away his eyes, with an ill-defined sensation of pain and regret; but the more subtle Mazarin, ever watchful to court good opinion, whether for present or future purposes, glided quietly round, and placed a chair for her at the table. It was an action not forgotten in after-days.
“A moment's pause ensued. As soon as the Queen was seated, Richelieu glanced his eye towards the countenance of the King, as if to instigate him to open the business of the day: but Louis's attention was deeply engaged in his sword-knot, or at least seemed to be so, and the Cardinal was at length forced to proceed himself.
“ Your Majesty's presence has been desired by the King, who is like a god in justice and in equity,' said Richelieu, proceeding in that bold and figurative style, in which all his public addresses were conceived, in order to enable you to cast off, like a raiment that has been soiled by a foul touch, the accusation which has been secretly made against you, and to explain some parts of your conduct, which, as clouds between the earth and the sun, have come between yourself and your royal husband, intercepting the beams of his princely approbation. All this your Majesty can doubtless do; and the King has permitted the Council to hear your exculpation from your own lips, that we may trample under our feet the foul suspicions that appear against yo:1.' P" Lord Cardinal,' replied the Queen, calmly, but firmly, “I wonder at
the boldness of your language. Remember, Sir, whom it is that you thuis presume to address--the wife of your Sovereign, Sir, who sits there, bound to protect her from insult and from injury.'
66Cease, cease, Madam!' cried Louis, breaking silence. “First prove yourself innocent, and then use the high tone of innocence, if you will.
«« To you, my Lord,' replied the Queen, I am ready to answer every thing, truly and faithfully, as a good wife and a good subject; but not to that audacious vassal, who, in oppressing and insulting me, but degrades your authority and weakens your power.'
""Spare your invectives, Madam,' said the Cardinal calmly, 'for, if I bę not much mistaken, before you leave this chamber you will be obliged to acknowledge all that is contained in the paper before me; in which case, the bad opinion of your Majesty would be as the roar of the idle wind, that burteth not the mariner on shore.'
"My Lord and Sovereign,' said the Queen, addressing Louis, without deigning to, notice the Cardinal, it seems that some evil is laid to my charge: will you condescend to inform me of what crime I am accused, that now calls your Majesty's anger upon me?- If loving you too well,-if lamenting your frequent absence from me,- if giving my whole time and care to your children, be no crimes, tell me, my Lord, tell me, what I have done!'
oro What you have done, Madam, is easily told,'exclaimed Louis, his eyes flashing fire. «Give me that paper, Lord Cardinal;' and passing hastily from article to article of its contents, he continued-Have you not, contrary to my express command, and the command of the Council, corresponded with Philip of Spain? Have you not played the spy upon the plans of my Government, and caused the defeat of my armies in Flanders, the losses of the Protestants in Germany, the failure of all our schemes in Italy, by the information you have conveyed? Have you not written to Don Francisco de Mello, and your cousin the Archduke? Have you not
“Never, never !' exclaimed the Queen, clasping her hands, ‘so help me Heaven!
“What! cried Louis, dashing the paper angrily upon the table, - darest thou deny what is as evident as the sun in the noon-day sky? Remember, Madam, that your minion, De Blenau, is in the Bastille, and will soon forfeit his life upon the scaffold, if his obstinacy does not make hiin die under the question.'
«« For poor De Blenau's sake, my Lord,' replied the Queen,-' for the sake of as noble, and as innocent a man as ever was the victim of tyranny, I will tell you at once that I have written to Philip of Spain, my own dear brother. And who can blame me, my Lord, for loving one who has always loved me? But I know my duty better than ever once to mention even the little that I knew of the public affairs of this kingdom: and far less, your Majesty, did I pry into secret plans of State policy, for the purpose of divulging them. My letters, my Lord, were wholly domestic. I spoke of myself, of my husband, of my children. I spoke as a woman, as a wife, and a mother; but never, my Lord, as a Queen; and never, never as a spy!”
If the reader be insensible to the quality of the foregoing extract, we despair of convincing him of its goodness, by any argument or asseveration of ours. Yet we must, nevertheless, be excused for saving that it appears to us to possess great beauty, as well as considerable pathos; utterly free both from drivelling and exaggeration. Yet, after all, it is but a slight specimen; and we may have arrived at our opinions (even of this particular scene) by reading, as it were, up to it, and only by traversing the whole previous history. Be this as it may, if the reader should (which we do not apprehend) differ with us on this subject, we will counsel biin to read the volumes throughout. He will find it to be a pleasant occupation at all events, and perhaps not an unprofitable task.
"We do not mean, in this slight notice, to attempt to acquaint the reader with the principal incidents of the book. It is sufficient to say, briefly, that the Comte de Bienau, the hero, (the lover of Pauline de Beaumont,) after escaping assassination, and actually encountering a broken head in the forest of Mantes, is safely lodged in his Majesty's prison of the Bastille, by the contrivances of the contriving Richelieu. The ground of his detention is a suspicion that he has been "aiding and abetting" the Queen to correspond with the enemies of the State. The Queen herself is arraigned during the time of De Blenau's imprisonment, but denies boldly, as we have seen, all traitorous correspondence. She is, in fact, innocent ; but Richelieu, hoping to extract some evidence against her from the confession of De Blenau, puts him also upon his trial. Previously to this, he is privately interrogated by Lafema (a creature of the Cardinal), but nothing being obtained, he is brought before the King and his minister ; and is about to be put to the torture for contumacy, when a note is delivered to him from the Queen, admonishing him to state all that he has done in her affairs. He has now no farther scruple, but confessing the particulars of his services, entirely exonerates the Queen from all blame. Louis, upon this, perceives the malignity of Richelieu's accusations; his Queen is raised to favour, after a long disgrace, and the sentence of banishment, passed by Richelieu upon De Blenau, is annulled in the Cardinal's presence. This is the first step of the great minister's descent.
During the imprisonment of our hero, Pauline de Beaumont-in order to apprise him of certain facts necessary to his exculpation or defence -succeeds in entering the Bastille, (in the dress of her waiting-maid,) as the daughter of a woodman who is confined there, and whose children are allowed to visit him. She is seized, however, on her return, by one of the emissaries of Chavigni, and conducted, disguised as she is, into the statesman's presence. And here (vol. ii. p. 269) our author has managed to present as pretty a picture as we remember to have read for a long time in any work of fiction. The heroine is sitting in a chair of dark green velvet in the house of Chavigni, distressed and fluttered by her seizure and forgetful of her assumed character, with the handsome and lordly statesman before her; when he taunts her with her disguise, which she instantly, of course, recollects. The rich costumes of the time, the contrast between the personages, and the pretty look of vexation and shame in the lady's countenance, the nobility and beauty of which surmounts the homeliness of her dress, might, we think, he turned to an excellent account. Our version of the matter is, we confess, but a poor one; but we think that some of the very clever artists,* (whose works we have seen at the house of Mr. Roberts, of Percy-street,) would turn their attention to this subject, and do-what Mr. Bonington has done before them.
There are various other pictures which we might select from the volumes of Richelieu-and fifty passages of merit which we might quote - but why should we perplex the reader with our opinions, or strive to bias his taste unnecessarily? It is surely enough to say, that we have
* We intend, some day or other, to devote a paper to this subject. We have seen at the house of Mr. Roberts, (decidedly the best place for modern drawings,) works of art not only by the more established painters, but also by young inen who want nothing more than to be known in order to ensure their celebrity.
reaped great pleasure from the book that we have read it twice over with undiminished interest—and that we look forward with the greatest hope, and with some anxiety too (for we would not be thought to have failed in our prophecies) for his next work. Let him do his best ; we are sorry to say that this is but too frequently neglected by a successful author in his second performance; and we will ensure him a high and a lasting place among the pleasantest English writers. He has already attained an excellent station. One step more-and the goal is won !
THE CORONATION OF CORINNA.
Re-echo'd far and wide,
As in her days of pride,
Rollid o'er the Sacred Way,
Out-flashed the light of day.
Walk'd barefoot and alone,
And a dungeon for a throne !
And the conqueror was adored.
Her friends and lovers came,
Was the pure reward of Fame!
Were captives in her train,
Which enrich'd her brilliant reign.
A woman seeks thee now
Once twined for Glory's brow!
And Love proclaims her fair,
Swell on the joyous air.
Too much, too much for one!
But storms will veil its sun.
The fatal torch of Fame!
WHAT HAS EMANCIPATION DONE FOR IRELAND ? “What will Catholic Emancipation do for Ireland ?" was the interrogatory which the opponents of that measure (called by many great men, a great one,) bad, for years before its enactment, strenuously reiterated. It was said in reply, that Catholic Emancipation would, by the removal of the causes for dissension, annihilate dissension itself that it would banish those disastrous divisions which were the sources of not only national rancour, but of crime, which, from its universality, became almost equally national-that tranquillity would be speedily restored, and that peace would lead commerce and capital into a country from which an agitation, bordering upon insurrection, had made them exiles that the distinctions between Protestants and Roman Catholics would almost instantaneously vanish, and the feeling of common citizenship would supersede the artificial and odious relations of sect in which men were placed towards each other—that the ancient antipathy to England would not merely subside, but that the hostility which previously prevailed, would be superseded by a lofty gratitude for the great boon of liberty—that the Union, which had hitherto consisted in a mere statute, would be converted into palpably beneficial results; and, that if Ireland had lost her existence as a province, she would become an integral portion of the empire, co-ordinate with England itself. These, and still warmer even than these, were the prophecies of those annunciators of felicity, who discovered in this single measure a remedy for every evil, and the origin of every good; who believed that Emancipation would operate as a specific as immediate in its relief, as universal in its influence; and that nothing else would be required in order to convert a country beyond almost every other in the European system distracted and miserable, into a spot as happy as perfect civilization, equal laws, well-regulated habits, the general diffusion of wealth, and the unlimited propagation of intelligence, could render it. The event, which was regarded as the probable author of all this good, has taken place; and in lieu of the former interrogatory, which was so long pressed in earnest reiteration upon our ears, another has been substituted; and instead of hearing it asked, “ What will Emancipation do ?” we hear it every day inquired, “ What has Emancipation done for Ireland ?”
The last time this question was put to me, I happened to be sitting at the table of a friend of mine, who, although he differed from me in politics and in religion, has not allowed his polemical and theological predilections to interrupt a friendship which has been of some years' continuance. He put the question to me with a good deal of taunting, anticipating that I should be unable to give him a satisfactory answer. I remained for a moment silent, and he availed himself of my taciturnity to repeat the question. “Has it,” he added, “realized those visions of prosperity which were spread out in all the gorgeousness of a splendid rhetoric before us? Has it at all contributed to calm the public mind, to charm the envenomed antipathies which are twined about our hearts, and to make them let loose their hold; to introduce into society a more kindly, and cordial demeanour; to produce a confidence between the landlord and the tenant; to generate cordiality amongst those who stand so much in need of all the mutualities of
Dec. 1829.-VOL. XXVI. NO, CVIII.