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too was part of it. From its bosom rose and vanished, in perpetual change, the lordliest Real-Phantasmagory, (which was Being;) and ever anew rose and vanished; and ever that lordliest many-coloured scene was full, another yet the same. Oak-trees fell, young acorns sprang: Men too, new-sent from the Unknown, he met, of tiniest size, who waxed into stature, into strength of sinew, passionate fire and light: in other Men the light was growing dim, the sinews all feeble; they sank, motionless, into ashes, into invisibility; returned back to the Unknown, beckoning him their mute farewell. He wanders still by the parting-spot; cannot hear them; they are far, how far!-It was a sight for angels, and archangels; for, indeed, God himself had made it wholly. One many-glancing asbestos-thread in the Web of Universal-History, spirit-woven, it rustled there, as with the howl of mighty winds, through that "wild roaring Loom of Time." Generation after generation, (hundreds of them, or thousands of them, from the unknown Beginning,) so loud, so stormful busy, rushed torrent-wise, thundering down, down; and fell all silent (only some feeble re-echo, which grew ever feebler, struggling up,) and Oblivion swallowed them all. Thousands more, to the unknown Ending, will follow and thou here (of this present one) hangest as a drop, still sungilt, on the giddy edge; one moment, while the Darkness has not yet engulphed thee. O Brother! is that what thou callest prosaic; of small interest? Of small interest, and for thee? Awake, poor troubled sleeper: shake off thy torpid nightmare-dream; look, see, behold it, the Flame-image; splendours high as Heaven, terrors deep as Hell: this is God's Creation; this is Man's Life!-Such things has the writer of these lines witnessed, in this poor Nineteenth Century of ours; and what are all such to the things he yet hopes to witness? Hopes, with truest assurance. "I have painted so much," said the good Jean Paul, in his old days," and I have never seen the Ocean; the Ocean of Eternity I shall not fail to see!"
Such being the intrinsic quality of this Time, and of all Time whatsoever, might not the Poet who chanced to walk through it find objects enough to paint? What object soever he fixed on, were it the meanest of the mean, let him but paint it in its actual truth, as it swims there, in such environment; world-old, yet new, and never ending; an indestructible portion of the miraculous All,-his picture of it were a Poem. How much more if the object fixed on were not mean, but one already wonderful; the (mystic) "actual truth" of which, if it lay not on the surface, yet shone through the surface, and invited even Prosaists to search for it!
The present writer, who unhappily belongs to that class, has, nevertheless, a firmer and firmer persuasion of two things: first, as was seen, that Romance exists; secondly, that now, and formerly, and ever more it exists, strictly speaking, in Reality alone. The thing that is, what can be so wonderful; what, especially to us that are, can have such significance? Study Reality, he is ever and anon saying to himself; search out deeper and deeper is quite endless
mystery: see it, know it; then, whether thou wouldst learn from it, and again teach; or weep over it, or laugh over it, or love it, or despise it or in any way relate thyself to it, thou hast the firmest enduring basis: that hieroglyphic page is one thou canst read on for ever, find new meaning in for ever.
Finally, and in a word, do not the critics teach us: "In whatsoever thing thou hast thyself felt interest, in that or in nothing hope to inspire others with interest ?"—In partial obedience to all which, and to many other principles, shall the following small Romance of the Diamond Necklace begin to come together. A small Romance, let the reader again and again assure himself, which is no brainweb of mine, or of any other foolish man's; but a fraction of that mystic "spirit-woven web," from the "Loom of Time," spoken of above. It is an actual Transaction that happened in this Earth of ours. Wherewith our whole business, as already urged, is to paint it truly.
For the rest, an earnest inspection, faithful endeavour has not been wanting, on our part; nor (singular as it may seem) the strictest regard to chronology, geography, (or rather in this case, topography.) documentary evidence, and what else true historical research would yield. Were there but on the reader's part a kindred openness, a kindred spirit of endeavour! Beshone strongly, on both sides, by such united twofold Philosophy, this poor opaque Intrigue of the Diamond Necklace be came quite translucent between us; transfigured, lifted up into the serene of Universal History; and might hang there like a smallest Diamond Constellation, visible without telescope, so long as it could.
THE NECKLACE IS MADE.
Herr, or as he is now called Monsieur, Boehmer, to all appearance wanted not that last infirmity of noble and ignoble minds-a love of fame; he was destined also to be famous more than enough. His outlooks into the world were rather of a smiling character: he has long since exchanged his guttural speech, as far as possible, for a nasal one; his rustic Saxon fatherland for a polished city of Paris, and thriven there. United in partnership with worthy Monsieur Bassange, a sound practical man, skilled in the valuation of all precious stones, in the management of workmen, in the judgment of their work, he already sees himself among the highest of his guild: nay, rather the very highest,-for he has secured (by purchase and hard money paid) the title of King's Jeweller; and can enter the Court itself, leaving all other Jewellers, and even innumerable Gentlemen, Gigmen, and small Nobility, to languish in the vestibule. With the costliest ornaments in his pocket, or borne after him by assiduous shopboys, the happy Boehmer sees high drawingrooms and sacred ruelles fly open, as with talismanic Sesame; and the brightest eyes of the whole world grow brighter: to him alone of
with their many-coloured glances smiled back on him. How they served next (let us say) as eyes of Heathen Idols, and received worship. How they had then, by fortune of war or theft, been knocked out; and exchanged among camp-suttlers for a little spirituous liquor, and bought by Jews, and worn as signets on the fingers of tawny or white Majesties; and again been lost, with the fingers too, and perhaps life, (as by Charles the Rash, among the mud-ditches of Nancy,) in old-forCould the man but have been content with gotten glorious victories: and so, through init! He could not: Icarus-like, he must mount numerable varieties of fortune,-had come at too high; have his wax-wings melted, and last to the cutting-wheel of Boehmer; to be descend prostrate,-amid a cloud of vain united in strange fellowship, with comrades goose-quills. One day, a fatal day (of some also blown together from all ends of the Earth, year, probably, among the Seventies of last each with a History of its own! Could these Century,) it struck Boehmer: Why should aged stones (the youngest of them Six Thounot I, who, as Most Christian King's Jeweller, sand years of age, and upwards) but have am properly first Jeweller of the Universe,- spoken,-there were an Experience for Philomake a Jewel which the Universe has not sophy to teach by. But now, as was said, by matched? Nothing can prevent thee, Boeh- little caps of gold (which gold also has a hismer, if thou have the skill to do it. Skill or no tory,) and daintiest rings of the same, they skill, answers he, I have the ambition: my are all, being so to speak, enlisted under BoehJewel, if not the beautifullest, shall be the dear-mer's flag,-made to take rank and file, in est. Thus was the Diamond Necklace deter- new order; no Jewel asking his neighbour mined on. whence he came; and parade there for a season. For a season only; and then-to disperse, and enlist anew ad infinitum. In such inexplicable wise are Jewels, and Men also, and indeed all earthly things, jumbled together and asunder, and shovelled and wafted to and fro, in our inexplicable chaos of a World. This was what Boehmer called making his Necklace.
So, in fact, do other men speak, and with even less reason. How many inen, for example, hast thou heard talk of making money: of making say a million and a half of money? Of which million and a half, how much, if one were to look into it, had they made? The accurate value of their Industry: not a sixpence more. Their making, then, was but, like Boehmer's, a clutching and heaping together;-by-and-by to be followed also by a dispersion. Made? Thou too vain individual! were these towered ashlar edifices; were these fair bounteous leas, with their bosky umbrages and yellow harvests; and the sunshine that lights them from above, and the granite rocks and fire-reservoirs that support them from below, made by thee? I think, by another. The very shilling that thou hast was dug (by man's force) in Carinthia and Paraguay; smelted sufficiently; and stamped, as would seem, not without the advice of our late Defender of the Faith, his Majesty George the Fourth. Thou hast it, and holdest it; but whether, or in what sense, thou hast made any farthing of it, thyself canst not say. If the courteous reader ask, What things, then, are made by man? I will answer him, Very few indeed. A Heroism, a Wisdom (a god-given Volition that has realized itself) is made now and then: for example, some five or six Books (since the Creation) have been made. Strange that there are not more; for surely every encouragement is held out. Could 1, or thou, happy reader, but make one, the world would let us keep it (unstolen) for Fourteen whole years, and take what we could get for it.
men the Unapproachable reveals herself in mysterious negligée; taking and giving counsel. Do not, on all gala-days and gala-nights, his works praise him? On the gorgeous robes of State, on Court-dresses and Lords' stars, on the diadem of Royalty; better still, on the swan-neck of Beauty, and her queenly garniture from plume-bearing aigrette to shoebuckle on fairy-slipper,-that blinding play of colours is Boehmer's doing: he in JouaillierBijoutier de la Reine.
Did worthy Bassange give a willing or a reluctant consent? In any case he consents; and co-operates. Plans are sketched, consultations held, stucco models made; by money or credit the costliest diamonds come in; cunning craftsmen cut them, set them: proud Boehmer sees the work go prosperously on. Proud man! Behold him on a morning after breakfast: he has stepped down to the innermost workshop, before sallying out; stands there with his laced three-cornered hat, cane under arm; drawing on his gloves: with nod, with nasal-guttural word, he gives judicious confirmation, judicious abnegation, censure, and approval. A still joy is dawning over that bland, blond face of his; he can think (while in many a sacred boudoir he visits the Unapproachable) that an opus magnum, of which the world wotteth not, is progressing. At length comes a morning when care has terminated, and joy cannot only dawn but shine; the Necklace, that shall be famous and world-famous, is made.
Made we call it, in conformity with common speech: but properly it was not made; only, with more or less spirit of method, arranged and agglomerated. What "spirit of method" lay in it, might be made; nothing more. But to tell the various Histories of those various Diamonds, from the first making of them; or even (omitting all the rest) from the first digging of them in the far Indian mines! How they lay, for uncounted ages and acons (under the uproar and splashing of such Deucalion Deluges, and Hutton Explosions, with steam enough, and Werner Submersions) silently imbedded in the rock; nevertheless (when their hour came) emerged from it, and first beheld the glorious Sun smile on them, and
Except that Madame Campan (Memoires, tome ii.) says the Necklace" was intended for Du Barry," one cannot discover, within many years, the date of its manufacture. Du Barry went "into half-pay "" on the 10th of May, 1774,-the day when her king died.
THE NECKLACE CANNOT BE SOLD.
But in a word, Monsieur Boehmer has made | mazes; with every movement a flash of starhis Necklace, what he calls made it: happy rainbow colours, bright almost as the moveman is he. From a Drawing as large as ments of the fair young soul it emblems! A reality, kindly furnished by "Taunay, Print- glorious ornament; fit only for the Sultana of seller, of the Rue d'Enfer;* and again, in late the World. Indeed, only attainable by such; years, by the Abbé Georgel, in the Second for it is valued at 1,800,000 livres; say in Volume of his Mémoires, curious readers can round numbers, and sterling money, between still fancy to themselves what a princely Orna- eighty and ninety thousand pounds. ment it was. A row of seventeen glorious diamonds, as large almost as filberts, encircle, not too tightly, the neck, a first time. Looser, gracefully fastened thrice to these, a threewreathed festoon, and pendants enough (simple pear-shaped, multiple star-shaped, or clustering amorphous) encircle it, enwreath it, a second time. Loosest of all, softly flowing round from behind, in priceless catenary, rush down two broad threefold rows; seem to knot themselves (round a very Queen of Diamonds,) on the bosom; then rush on, again separated, as if there were length in plenty; the very tassels of them were a fortune for some men. And now, lastly, two other inexpressible three- good only for looking at, are intrinsically fold rows, also with their tassels, unite them-worth less to us than a string of as many dry selves (when the Necklace is on at rest) and Irish potatoes, on which a famishing Sanscuinto a doubly inexpressible sixfold row; stream lotte might fill his belly. Little knowest thou, down (together or asunder) over the hind-laughing Jouaillier-Bijoutier, great in thy pride neck, we may fancy, like lambent Zodiacal of place, in thy pride of savoir-faire, what the world has in store for thee. Thou laughest there; by-and-by thou wilt laugh on the wrong side of thy face mainly.
Miscalculating Boehmer! The Sultana of the Earth shall never wear that Necklace of thine; no neck, either royal or vassal, shall ever be the lovelier for it. In the present distressed state of our finances, (with the American War raging round us,) where thinkest thou are eighty thousand pounds to be raised for such a thing? In this hungry world, thou fool, these five hundred and odd Diamonds,
or Aurora-Borealis fire.
All these on a neck of snow slight-tinged with rose-bloom, and within it royal Life: amidst the blaze of lustres; in sylphish movements, espiegleries, coquetteries, and minuet
*Frontispiece of the "Affaire du Collier, Paris 1785;" where from Georgel's Editor has copied it. This "Affaire du Collier, Paris, 1785," is not, properly a Book: but a bound Collection of such Law Papers (Memoires pour, &c.) as were printed and emitted by the various parties in that famed "Necklace Trial." These Law-Papers, bound into Two Volumes quarto: with Portraits, such
as the Printshops yielded them at the time; likewise with patches of MS., containing Notes, Pasquinadesongs, and the like, of the most unspeakable character Occasionally, constitute this "Affaire du Collier;"
which the Paris Dealers in Old Books can still procure there. It is one of the largest collections of Falsehoods that exist in print; and, unfortunately, still, after all the narrating and history there has been on the subject, forms our chief means of getting at the truth of that Transaction. The First Volume contains some Twentyone Mémoires pour: not, of course, Historical statements of truth; but Culprits' and Lawyers' statements
of what they wished to be believed; each party lying according to his ability to lie. To reach the truth, or even any honest guess at the truth, the immensities of rubbish must be sifted, contrasted, rejected: what grain of historical evidence may lie at the bottom is then attainable. Thus, as this Transaction of the Diamond Necklace has been called the "Largest Lie of the Eighteenth Century," so it comes to us borne, not unfitly,
on a dim Chaos of Lies!
Nay, the Second Volume, entitled Suite de l'Affaire du Collier, is still stranger. It relates to the Intrigue and Trial of one Bette d'Etienville, who represents himself as a poor lad that had been kidnapped, blindfolded, introduced to beautiful Ladies, and engaged to get hus
bands for them; as setting out on this task, and gradually
getting quite bewitched and bewildered;-most indubitably, going on to bewitch and bewilder other people on all hands of him: the whole in consequence of this "Necklace Trial," and the noise it was making! Very
curious. The Lawyers did verily busy themselves with this affair of Bette's; there are scarecrow Portraits given, that stood in the Printshops, and no man can know whether the Originals ever so much as existed. It is like the Dream of a Dream. The human mind stands stupent; ejaculates the wish that such Gulph of Falsehood would close itself, before general Delirium supervene, and the Speech of Man become mere incredible, meaningless jargon, like that of choughs and daws. Even from Bette, however, by assiduous sifting, 9ne gathers a particle of truth here and there.
While the Necklace lay in stucco effigy, and the stones of it were still "circulating in Commerce," Du Barry's was the neck it was meant for. Unhappily, as all dogs (male and female) have but their day, her day is gone; and now (so busy has Death been) she sits retired, on mere half-pay, without prospects, at Saint-Cyr. A generous France will buy no more neckornaments for her :-O Heaven! the Guillotineaxe is already forging (North, in Swedish Dalecarìia, by sledge-hammers and fire; South, too, by taxes and tailles) that will sheer her neck in twain!
But, indeed, what of Du Barry! A foul worm; hatched by royal heat, on foul composts, into a flaunting butterfly; now diswinged, and again a worm! Are there not Kings' Daughters and Kings' Consorts: is not Decoration the first wish of a female heart,—often also (if the heart is empty) the last? The Portuguese Ambassador is here, and his rigorous Pombal is no longer Minister: there is an Infanta in Portugal, purposing by Heaven's blessing to wed.-Singular! the Portuguese Ambassador, though without fear of Pombal praises, but will not purchase.
toinette, once Dauphiness only; now every Or why not our own loveliest Marie-Aninch a Queen: what neck in the whole Earth would it beseem better? It is fit only for her.
Alas, Boehmer! King Louis has an eye for diamonds; but, he too, is without overplus of money: his high Queen herself answers queenlike, "We have more need of Seventy-fours than of Necklaces." Laulatur et alget !-Not without a qualmish feeling, we apply next to the Queen and King of the Two Sicilies.* In
* See Alémoires de Compan, ii. 1–-26.
vain, O Boehmer! In crowned heads there is | Siamese-Twins, for the astonishment of man no hope for thee. Not a crowned head of them kind. can spare the eighty thousand pounds. The age of Chivalry is gone, and that of Bankruptcy is come. A dull, deep, pressing movement rocks all thrones: Bankruptcy is beating down the gate, and no Chancellor can longer barricade her out. She will enter; and the shoreless fire-lava of DEMOCRACY is at her back! Well may Kings, a second time, "sit still with awful eye," and think of far other things than Necklaces.
Thus for poor Boehmer are the mournfullest days and nights appointed; and this highpromising year (1780, as we laboriously guess and gather) stands blacker than all others in his calendar. In vain shall he, on his sleepless pillow, more and more desperately revolve the problem; it is a problem of the insoluble sort, a true "irreducible case of Cardan:" the Diamond Necklace will not sell.
AFFINITIES: THE TWO FIXED-IDEAS.
Nevertheless, a man's little Work lies not isolated, stranded; a whole busy World (a whole native-element of mysterious, neverresting Force) environs it; will catch it up; will carry it forward, or else backward: always, infallibly, either as living growth, or at worst as well-rotted manure, the Thing Done I will come to use. Often, accordingly, for a man that had finished any little work, this were the most interesting question: In such a boundless whirl of a world, what hook will it be, and what hooks, that shall catch up this little work of mine; and whirl it also,-through such a dance? A question, we need not say, which, in the simplest of cases, would bring the whole Royal Society to a nonplus.-Good Corsican Letitia! while thou nursest thy little Napoleon, and he answers thy mother-smile with those deep eyes of his, a world-famous French Revolution, with Federations of the Champ de Mars, and September Massacres, and Bakers' Customers en queue, is getting ready: many a Danton and Desmoulins; prim-visaged, Tartuffe-looking Robespierre, (as yet all school boys;) and Marat weeping (and cursing) bitter rheum, as he pounds horse-drugs,—are preparing the fittest arena for him!
Thus, too, while poor Boehmer is busy with those Diamonds of his, picking them out of Commerce," and his craftsmen are grinding and setting them; a certain ecclesiastical Coadjutor and Grand Almoner, and prospective Commendator and Cardinal, is in Austria, hunting and giving suppers; for whom mainly it is that Boehmer and his craftsmen so employ themselves. Strange enough, once more! The foolish Jeweller at Paris, making foolish trinkets; the foolish Ambassador at Vienna, making blunders and debaucheries: these Two, all uncommunicating, wide asunder as the Poles, are hourly forging for each other the wonderfullest hook-and-eye; that will hook them together, one day,-into artificial |
Prince Louis de Rohan is one of those select mortals born to honours, as the sparks fly upwards; and, alas, also (as all men are) to troubles no less. Of his genesis and descent much might be said, by the curious in such matters; yet, perhaps, if we weigh it well, intrinsically little. He can, by diligence and faith, be traced back some hand-breadth or two, (some century or two;) but after that, merges in the mere "blood-royal of Brittany;" long, long on this side of the Northern Immigrations, he is not so much as to be sought for;-and leaves the whole space onwards from that, into the bosom of Eternity, a blank, marked only by one point, the Fall of Man! However, and what alone concerns us, his kindred, in these quite recent times, have been much about the Most Christian Majesty; could there pick up what was going. In particular, they have had a turn of some continuance for Cardinalship and Commendatorship. Safest trades these, of the calm, do-nothing sort:, in the do-something line, in Generalship, or such like, (witness poor Cousin Soubise, at Rossbach,*) they might fare not so well. In any case, the actual Prince Louis, Coadjutor at Strasburg, while his uncle, the Cardinal-Archbishop, has not yet deceased, and left him his dignities, but only fallen sick, already takes his place on one grandest occasion: he, thrice-happy Coadjutor, receives the fair, young, trembling Dauphiness, Marie-Antoinette, on her first entrance into France; and can there, as Ceremonial Fugleman, with fit bearing and semblance, (being a tall man, of six-and-thirty,) do the needful. Of his other performances up to this date, a refined History had rather say nothing.
In fact, if the tolerating mind will meditate it with any sympathy, what could poor Rohan perform? Performing needs light, needs strength, and a firm clear footing; all of which had been denied him. Nourished, from birth, with the choicest physical spoon-meat, indeed; yet, also, with no better spiritual Doctrine and Evangel of Life than a French Court of Louis the Well-beloved could yield; gifted, moreover, (and this, too, was but a new perplexity for him,) with shrewdness enough to see through much, with vigour enough to despise much; unhappily, not with vigour enough to spurn it from him, and be for ever enfranchised of it, he awakes, at man's stature, with man's wild desires, in a World of the merest incoherent Lies and Delirium; himself a nameless Mass of delirious Incoherence,covered over, at most, (and held in a little,) by
conventional Politesse, and a Cloak of pros- congeries of contradictions, somnolence and pective Cardinal's Plush. Are not Intrigues, violence, foul passions, and foul habits. It is might Rohan say, the industry of this our by his plush cloaks and wrappages mainly, as Universe; nay, is not the Universe itself, at above hinted, that such a figure sticks together bottom, properly an Intrigue? A Most Chris- (what we call, "coheres,") in any measure; tian Majesty, in the Parc-aux-cerfs: he, thou were it not for these, he would flow out boundseest, is the god of this lower world; our war-lessly on all sides. Conceive him further, with a kind of radical vigour and fire, (for he can see clearly at times, and speak fiercely ;) yet left in this way to stagnate and ferment, and lie overlaid with such floods of fat material,-have we not a true image of the shamefullest Mud-volcano, gurgling and sluttishly simmering, amid continual steamy indistinctness, (except, as was hinted, in wind-gusts :) with occasional terrifico-absurd Mud-explosions!
banner (in the fight of Life) and celestial Entouto-nika is a Strumpet's Petticoat: these are thy gods, O France!-What, in such singular circumstances, could poor Rohan's creed and world-theory be, that he should "perform" thereby Atheism? Alas, no; not even Atheism: only Machiavelism; and the indestructible faith that "ginger is hot in the mouth." Get ever new and better ginger, therefore; chew it ever the more diligently: 't is all thou hast to look to, and that only for a day.
Ginger enough, poor Louis de Rohan: too much of ginger! Whatsoever of it, for the five senses, money, or money's worth, or backstairs diplomacy, can buy; nay, for the sixth sense, too, the far spicier ginger: Antecedence of thy fellow-creatures,-merited, at least, by infinitely finer housing than theirs. Coadjutor of Strasburg, Archbishop of Strasburg, Grand Almoner of France, Commander of the Order of the Holy Ghost, Cardinal, Commendator of St. Wast d'Arras (one of the fattest benefices here below): all these shall be housings for Monseigneur: to all these shall his Jesuit Nursing-mother, (our vulpine Abbé Georgel,) through fair court-weather and through foul, triumphantly bear him,-and wrap him with them, fat, somnolent, Nurseling as he is.-By the way, a most assiduous, ever-wakeful Abbé is this Georgel; and wholly Monseigneur's. He has scouts dim-flying, far out, in the great deep of the world's business; has spiderthreads that over-net the whole world; himself sits in the centre ready to run. In vain shall King and Queen combine against Monseigneur: "I was at M. de Maurepas' pillow before six," -persuasively wagging my sleek coif, and the sleek reynard-head under it; I managed it all for him. Here, too, on occasion of Reynard Georgel, we could not but reflect what a singular species of creature your Jesuit must have been. Outwardly, you would say, a man; the smooth semblance of a man: inwardly, to the centre, filled with stone! Yet in all breathing things, even in stone Jesuits, are inscrutable sympathies: how else does a Reynard Abbé so loyally give himself, soul and body, to a somnolent Monseigneur;-how else does the poor Tit, to the neglect of its own eggs and interests, nurse up a huge lumbering Cuckoo; and think its pains all paid, if the soot-brown Stupidity will merely grow bigger and bigger!-Enough, by Jesuitic or other means, Prince Louis de Rohan shall be passively kneaded and baked into Commendator of St. Wast and much else; and truly such a Commendator as hardly, since King Thierri (first of the Fainéans) founded that Establishment, has played his part there.
Such, however, have Nature and Art combined together to make Prince Louis. A figure thrice-clothed with honours; with plush, and civic, and ecclesiastic garniture of all kinds; but in itself little other than an amorphous
This, garnish it and fringe it never so handsomely, is, alas, the intrinsic character of Prince Louis. A shameful spectacle: such, however, as the world has beheld many times; as it were to be wished (but is not yet to be hoped) the world might behold no more. Nay, are not all possible delirious incoherences, outward and inward, summed up, for poor Rohan, in this one incrediblest incoherence, that he, Prince Louis de Rohan, is named Priest, Cardinal of the Church? A debauched, merely libidinous mortal, lying there quite helpless, dis-solute, (as we well say;) whom to see Church Cardinal (that is, symbolical Hinge, or main Corner, of the Invisible Holy in this World) an Inhabitant of Saturn might split with laughing,-if he did not rather swoon with pity and horror!
Prince Louis, as ceremonial fugleman at Strasburg, might have hoped to make some way with the fair young Dauphiness; but seems not to have made any. Perhaps, in those great days, so trying for a fifteen years' Bride and Dauphiness, the fair Antoinette was too preoccupied : perhaps, in the very face and looks of Prospective-Cardinal Prince Louis, her fair young soul read, all unconsciously, an incoherent Roué-ism, (bottomless Mud-volcano-ism,) from which she by instinct rather recoiled.
However, as above hinted, he is now gone, in these years, on Embassy to Vienna: with "four-and-twenty pages," (if our remembrance of Abbé Georgel serve) "of noble birth," all in scarlet breeches; and such a retinue and parade as drowns even his fat revenue in perennial debt. Above all things, his Jesuit Familiar is with him. For so everywhere they must manage: Eminence Rohan is the cloak, Jesuit Georgel the man or automaton within it. Rohan, indeed, sees Poland a-partitioning; or rather Georgel, with his "masked Austrian" traitor, "on the ramparts," sees it for him: but what can he do? He exhibits his four-and-twenty scarlet pages, (who "smuggle" to quite unconscionable lengths;) rides through a Catholic procession, Prospective-Cardinal as he is, because it is too long, and keeps him from an appointment: hunts, gallants; gives suppers, Sardanapalus-wise, the finest ever seen in Vienna. Abbé Georgel (as we fancy it was) writes a Despatch in his name "every fortnight;"-mentions, in