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The American Quarterly Review, No. 17, March 1831   By: (1784-1859)

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MARCH, 1831.

Philadelphia: CAREY & LEA.





MARCH, 1831.

ART. I. France in 1829 30. By LADY MORGAN. Author of " France in 1816 ," " Italy ," &c. &c. &c. 2 vols. J. & J. Harper: New York.

It was that solemn hour of the night, when, in the words of the poet, "creation sleeps;" a silence as of the dead reigned amid the streets and alleys of the great city of Dublin, interrupted, ever and anon, only by the solitary voice of the watchman, announcing the time, and the prospects of fair or foul weather for the ensuing day. Even the noise of carriages returning from revels and festive scenes of various kinds, was no longer heard

"The diligence of trades and noiseful gain, And luxury more late, asleep were laid: All was the night's:"

All! save the inhabitants of one mansion, situated in Kildare street, who were still invading nature's rest. Why were they alone up and stirring? Why were they debarred from taking their needful repose, and obliged to employ the time which should have been devoted to it, in active occupation? The reason is easily understood. Early in the morning, the master and mistress were to set off on a trip to Paris, and there was no small quantity of "packing up" yet to be done. Trunks innumerable lay scattered about a romantically furnished bed chamber; some were partly filled with different articles of female habiliment; others seemed to be appropriated to literary purposes, and books without number, and of all descriptions, were lying around them here was a pile of novels, amongst which, the titles of "The Novice of St. Dominick," "Ida of Athens," "The Wild Irish Girl," &c. &c. could be discerned there was a heap of "Travels," composed of "Italy," "France in 1816," and others: a couple of volumes, entitled "Life and Times of Salvator Rosa," were reposing in graceful dignity on the open lid of a portmanteau. Several maids were exerting all their activity to get every thing properly arranged; all was bustle and preparation.

Adjoining the chamber was a boudoir, furnished likewise in the most romantic manner, in which sat a lady of even a more romantic appearance than that of either of the apartments. How shall we describe her? She certainly (we must tell the truth, and shame you know whom) did not seem to be of that delightful age, in which a due regard to veracity would allow us to apply to her the line of the poet, "Le printemps dans sa fleur sur son visage est peint." Her cheeks, to be sure, were deeply tinged with a roseate hue, but it was not that with which nature loves to paint the face of spring; the colour proved too palpably, that it had been placed there by the exercise of those "curious arts" with which the sex are enabled to revive dim charms, "and triumph in the bloom of fifty five." Her dress was romantic in the extreme. Of the unity of time , at all events, it was in direct violation, for its "gay rainbow colours," and modish arrangement, were out of all keeping with her matronly age. One would easily have inferred from it that she was fully impressed with the conviction, that the years which had glided over her head, were not of the old fashioned kind that contain twelve months, or at least, that she did not consider the lapse of time as at all calculated to impair the attractions of her physiognomy, however prejudicial its effect might be upon the faces of the rest of the female part of the creation. In her countenance there was such an expression of blended affectation and self complacency, that it was impossible to look upon it without feeling an inclination to smile. She was sitting near a prettily ornamented writing desk, surmounted by a mirror (in which, by the way, she always found her greatest admirer), with her head reclining on her open hand, her elbow resting on a volume which bore on its back the appropriate title of "The Book of the Boudoir," and her eyes directed, we need hardly say where, for who does not love to be admired? Her reflections were suddenly disturbed by a knock at the door, which she answered by an "Entrez!" " Ah, Sir Charles, c'est vous ," she lisped, as the door opened, and a person in male attire entered, " eh bien , is every thing prêt for our voyage ?" "Yes, my dear" we presume, from this appellation, that the gentleman was her caro sposo , as she might say, "or at least every thing will be ready shortly; but let me essay again to dissuade you from this foolish expedition" " de grâce , Sir Charles, ayez pitié de moi ; do not pester me with your bétises ; I am determined to faire une autre visite to my cher Paris, so that all you may say will be tout à fait inutile ... Continue reading book >>

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