صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

returned on my arrival. Her broken accents “ May 22.- Well, I am not apt to were like those of a child, the language as well shrink from that which is my duty, merely be. as the tones broken, but in the most gentle cause it is painful; but I wish this funeralvoice of submission. “Poor mamma-never day over. A kind of cloud of stupidity hangs return again-gone for ever-a better place." about me, as if all were unreal that men seem Then, when she came to herself, she spoke to be doing and talking." with sense, freedom, and strength of mind, till her weakness returned. It wou have been “ May 26,- * Were an enemy coming inexpressibly moving to me as a stranger upon my house, would I not do my best to what was ii then to the father and the hus- fight, although oppressed in spirits; and shall band? For myself, I scarce know how I feel; a similar despondency prevent me from mental sometimes as firm as the Bass Rock, some exertion ? It shall not, by Heaven !" times as weak as the water that breaks on it. I am as alert at thinking and deciding as I “ Edinburgh, May 30.—Returned to town last ever was in my life. Yet, when I contrast night with Charles. This morning resume what this place now is, with what it has been ordinary habits of rising early, working in the not long since, I think my heart will break. morning, and attending the Court.” ** "I Lonely, aged, deprived of my family-all but finished correcting the proofs for the Quarterpoor Anne; an impoverished, an embarrassed ly; it is but a flimsy article, but then the cirman, deprived of the sharer of my thoughts cumstances were most untoward.—This has and counsels, who could always talk down my been a melancholy day-most melancholy. I sense of the calamitous apprehensions which am afraid poor Charles found me weeping. I break the heart that must bear them alone.- do not know what other folks feel, but with me Even her foibles were of service to me, by the hysterical passion that impels tears is a giving me things to think of beyond my weary terrible violence-a sort of throttling sensa. self-reflections.

tion-then succeeded by a state of dreaming “ I have seen her. The figure I beheld is, stupidity, in which I ask if my poor Charlotte and is not my Charlotte-my thirty years' com- can actually be dead."-Vol. vi. pp. 297, 307. panion. There is the same symmetry of form, This is beautiful as well as tragical. Other though those limbs are rigid which were once scenes, in that Seventh Volume, must come, so gracefully elastic-but that yellow mask, which will have no beauty, but be iragical only. with pinched features, which seems to mock It is better that we are to end here. life rather than emulate it, can it be the face And so the curtain falls; and the strong that was once so full of lively expression ? 1 Walter Scott is with us no more. A posseswill not look on it again. Anne thinks hersion from him does remain; widely scattered; Jittle changed, because the latest idea she had yet attainable ; not inconsiderable. It can be formed of her mother is as she appeared under said of him, “when he departed he took a circumstances of extreme pain. Mine go back Man's life along with him.” No sounder piece to a period of comparative ease. If I write of British manhood was put together in that long in this way, I shall write down my reso- eighteenth century of time. Alas, his fine Jution, which I should rather write up, if I Scotch face, with its shaggy honesty, sagacity, could.”

and goodness, when we saw it latterly on the “May 18.-.. Cerements of lead and of Edinburgh streets, was all worn with care, the wood already hold her; cold earth mus: kave joy all fled from it;—ploughed deep with laher soon. But it is not my Charlotie, it is not bour and sorrow. We shall never forget it; the bride of my youth, the mother of my chil- we shall never see it again. Adien, Sir Waldren, that will be laid among the ruins of Dry- ter, pride of all Scotchmen, take our proud and burgh, which we have so often visited in gaye. I sad farewell. ty and pastime. No, no.”



The Lady Rahel, or Rachel, surnamed Levin many.” Nine volumes of Memoirs cut of in her maiden days, who died some five years Berlin will surely contain something for us. ago as Madam Varnhagen von Ense, seems to Samuel Johnson, or perhaps another, used be still memorable and notable, or to have be- to say, there was no man on the streets whose come more than ever so, among our German biography he would not like to be acquainted friends. The widower, long known in Berlin with. No rudest mortal walking there who and Germany for an intelligent and estimable has not seen and known experimentally someman, has here published successively, as thing, which, could he tell it, the wisese would author, or as editor and annotator, so many hear willingly from him! Nay, after all that volumes, nine in all, about her, about himself, can be said and celebrated about poetry, elo-1 and the things that occupied and environed quence, and the higher forms of composition them. Nine volumes, properly, of German and utterance; is not the primary use of Memoirs; of letters, of miscellanies, biographi- speech itself this same, to utter memoirs, that is, cal and autobiographical; which we have read memorable experiences to our fellow-crea-, not without zeal and diligence, and in part tures? A fact is a fact; man is for ever the with great pleasure. It seems to us that such brother of man. That thou, Oh my brother, of our readers as take interest in things Ger- impart to me truly how it stands with thee in man, ought to be apprized of this publication; that inner man of thine, what lively images of and withal that there are in it enough of things passed thy memory has painted there; things European and universal to furnish out what hopes, what thoughis, affections, knowo, a few pages for readers not specially of that ledges, do now dwell there: for this and for no class.

other object that I can see, was the gift of One may hope, Germany is no longer to any speech and of hearing bestowed on us two. I person that vacant land, of gray vapour and say not how thou feignest. Thy fictions, and chimeras, which it was to most Englishmen, thousand and one Arabian Nights, promul. not many years ago. One may hope that, as gated as fictions, what are they also at bottom readers of German have increased a hundred- but this, things that are in thee, though only fold, some partial intelligence of Germany, images of things? But to bewilder me with some interest in things German, may have in- falsehoods, indeed; to ray out error and darkcreased in a proportionably higher ratio. At ness-misintelligence, which means misatall events, Memoirs of men, German or other, tainment, otherwise failure and sorrow; 10 go. will find listeners among men. Sure enough, about confusing worse our poor world's conBerlin city, on the sandy banks of the Spree, fusion, and, as a son of Nox and Chaos, propais a living city, even as London is, on the gate delirium on earth: not surely with this muddy banks of Thames. Daily, with every view, but with a far different one, was that rising of the blessed heavenly light, Berlin miraculous tongue suspended in thy head, and sends up the smoke of a hundred thousand set vibrating there! In a word, do not two kindled hearths, the fret and stir of five hun. things, veracity and memoir-uriling, seem :o be dred thousand new-awakened human souls; prescribed by Nature herself and the very con-marking or defacing with such smoke-cloud, stitution of man? Let us read, therefore, acmaterial or spiritual, the serene of our com-cording to opportunity,—and, with judicious . mon all-embracing Heaven. One Heaven, the audacity, review! same for all, embraces that smoke-cloud too, Our nine printed volumes we called Ger adopts it, absorbs it, like the rest. Are there man Memoirs. They agree in this general pot dinner-parties, “æsthetic teas;" scandal- character, but are otherwise to be distinguished mongeries, changes of ministry, police cases, into kinds, and differ very much in their worth literary gazeltes ? The clack of iongues, the for us. The first book on our list, entitled sound of hammers, mount up in that corner

“Rahel,” is a book of private letters; three of the planet too, for certain centuries of time. thick volumes of Letters written by thai lady: Berlin has its royalties and diplomacies, its selected from her wide correspondence; wiib traffickings, travailings; literatures, sculptures, a short introduction, with here and there a cultivated heads, male and female; and boasts short note, and that on Varnhagen's part all, itself to be “the intellectual capital of Ger. Then follows, in two volumes, the work nained

“Gallery of Portraits;" consisting principally

of Letters to Rahel, by various persons, mostly * 1. Rahel. Ein Buch des Andenkens für ihre Freunde. (Rahel. A Book of Memorial for her Friends.) 3 vols: persons of note; to which Varnhagen, as edi. Berlin, 1834.

tor, has joined some slight commentary, some 2. Gallerie von Bildnissen aus Rahel's Umgang und short biographical sketch of each. Of these, cle of society and Correspondence.) Edited by K. A. five volumes of German Letters we will say,

for the present, that they seem to be calculated 3. Denkrürdigkeiten und vermischte Schriften, (Me- for Germany, and even for some special circle moirs and Miscellaneous Writings) By K. A. Varnhagen von Ense. 4 vols. Mannheim, 1837-38.

there, rather than for England or us. A glance

at them afterwards, we hope, will be possible. I been a student of literature, an author, a sluBut the third work, that of Varuhagen himself dent of medicine, a soldier, a secretary, a is the one we must chiefly depend on here; the diplomatist. A man withal of mode-i, affecfour volumes of Memoirs and Miscellauies;" | lionate nature ; courteous and yet truthful; Jively pieces; which can be safely recom- of quick apprehension, precise in utterance; mended as altogether pleasant reading to of just, extensive, occasionally of deep and every one. They are “Miscellaneous Writo line insight,—this is a man qualified beyond ings," as their title indicates; in part col- most to write memoirs. We should call him lected and reprinted out of periodicals, or one of the best memoir-writers we have met wherever they lay scattered; in part sent forth with ; decidedly the best we know of in these Bow for the first time. There are criticisms, days. For clearness, grace of method, easy potices literary or didactic; always of a praise comprehensibility, he is worihy lo he ranked worthy sort, generally of small extent. There among the French, who have a natural turn are narrations; there is a long personal nar- for memoir-writing; and in respect of honesty, rative, as it might be called, of service in the valourous gentleness, and simplicity of heart, “Liberation War," of 1814, wherein Varnha- his character is German, not French. gen did duty, as a volunteer officer, in Tellen- Such a man, conducting us in the spirit of born's corps, among the Cossacks: this is the cheersul friendliness, along his course of life, longest piece, by no means the best. There and delineating what he has found must me. is farther a curious narrative of Lafayette's morable in it, produces one of the pleasantest escape (brief escape with recapture) from the books. Brave old Germany, in this and the Prison of Olmütz. Then also there is a cu- other living phasis, now here, now there, from rious biography of Doctor Bollmann, the brave Rhineland to the East-sea, from Hamburg and young Hanoverian, who aided Lafayette in Berlin to Deutsch-Wagram and the Marche that adventure. Then other biographies not field, paints itself in the colours of reality; so curious; on the whole, there are many with notable persons, with notable events biographies : Biography, we might say, is the For consider withal in what a time this man's staple article; an article in which Varnhagen life has lain: in the thick of European things, has long been known to excel. Lastly, as basis while the Nineteenth Century was opening for the whole, there are presented, fitfully, itself. Amid convulsions and revolutions, outnow here, now there, and with long intervals, ward and inward,—with Napoleons, Goethes, considerable sections of Autobiography :-not Fichtes; while prodigies and battle-thunder confessions, indeed, or questionable work of shook the world, and, “ amid the glare of con. the Rousseau sort, but discreet reminiscences, flagrations, and the noise of falimg towns and personal and other, of a man who having kingdoms,” a new era of thought was also looked on much, may be sure of willing audi- evolving itself: one of the wonderfullest times! ence in reporting it well. These are the four On the whole, if men like Varnhagen were to volumes written by Varnhagen von Ense; be met with, why have we not innunerable those are the five edited by him. We shall Memoirs ? Alas, it is because the men like regard his autobiographic memorials as a Varnhagen are yol to be met with; men with general substratum, upholding and uniting the clear eye and the open heart. Without into a certain coherence the multifarious con- such qualities, memoir-writers are but a nui. tents of these publications: it is Varnhagen sance; which so often as they show themvon Ense's passage through life; this is what selves, a judicious world is obliged to sweep it yielded him; these are the things and per- into the cesspool, with loudest possible prohisons he took note of, and had to do with, in bition of the like. If a man is not open-minded, travelling thus far.

he is ignorant, perverse, egoistic, splenetic; Beyond ascertaining for ourselves what on the whole, if he is false and stupid, how manner of eyesight and way of judgment shall he write memoirs ?— this our memoir-writer has, it is not necessary to insist much on Varnhagen's qualities or From Varnhagen's young years, especially literary character here. He seems to us a from his college years, we could extract many man peculiarly fitted, both by natural endow- a lively little sketch, of figures partially known ment and by position and opportunity, for to the reader; of Chamisso, La Motte Fouqué, writing memoirs. In the space of half a cen- Raumer, and other the like; of Platonic låry that he has lived in this world, his course Schleiermacher, sharp, crabbed, shrunken, has been what we might call erratic in a high with his wire-drawn logic, bis sarcasms, his degree: from the student's garret in Halle or sly malicious ways; of Homeric Wolf, with Tübingen to the Tuileries hall of audience his biting wit, with his grim earnestness and and the Wagram battle-field, from Chamisso inextinguishable Homeric laugh, the irascible the poet 10 Napoleon the Emperor, his path great-hearted man. Or of La Fontaine, the has intersected all manner of paths of men. sentimental novelist, over whose rose-colonred He has a fine intellectual gift; and what is moral-sublime what fair eye has not wept ! the foundation of that and of all, an honest, Varnhagen found him “in a pleasant house sympathizing, manfully patient, manfully cou- near the Saale-gate” of Halle, with an ugly rageous heart

. His way of life, too erratic good-tempered wife, with a pretty niece, which we should fear for happiness or ease, and sin- latter he would not allow to read a word of his gularly checkered by vicissitude, has had this romance stuff, but “kept it locked from her considerable advantage, if no other, that it like poison;" a man jovial as Boniface, swolhas trained him, and could not but train him, len out on booksellers' profit, church, prefera to a certain Catholicism of mind. He has ments, and fat things, “to the size of a hogs. heal;" for the rest, writing with such velocity nothing forced, nothing studied, nothing that (he did some hundred and fifty weeping vo- went beyond the burgher tone. His courtesy lumes in his time) that he was obliged to hold was the free expression of a kind heart; his in, and “write oniy two days in the week;" way and bearing were patriarchal, considerate this was La Fontaine, the sentimental novelist. of the stranger, yet for himself tvo altogether But omitting all these, let us pick out a fa- unconstrained. Neither in the animation to mily-picture of one far better worth looking which some word or topic would excite him, at, Jean Paul in his little home at Bai- was this fundamental temper ever altered; reuth,—“little city of my habitation, which I nowhere did severity appear, nowhere any exbelong to on this side the grave!" It is Sun- hibiting of himself, any watching or spring of day, the 23d of October, 1808, according to his hearer; everywhere kindheartedness, free Varnhagen's note-book. The ingenious youth movement of his somewhat loose-lowing na. of four-and-twenty, as a rambling student, ture, open course for him, with a hundred passes the day of rest there, and luckily for transitions from one course to the other, howus has kept memorandums :

soever or whithersoever it seemed good to Visit to Jean Paul Friedrich Richter. This him to go. At first he praised every thing that forenoon I went to Jean Paul's. Friend Har- was named of our new appearances in Litera. scher was out of humour, and would not go, ture; and then when we caine a little closer say what I would. I too, for that matter, am to the matter, there was blame enough and lo but a poor, nameless student: but what of spare. So of Adam Müller's Lectures, of that?

Friedrich Schlegel, of Tieck and others. He “A pleasant, kindly, inquisitive, woman, said, German writers ought to hold by the who had opened the door to me, I at once re- people, not by the upper classes, among whom cognised for Jean Paul's wife by her likeness all was already dead and gone; and yet he had to her sister. A child was sent off to call its just been praising Adam Müller, that he had father. He came directly: he had been for the gift of speaking a deep word to cultivated warned of my visit by letters from Berlin and people of the world. He is convinced that, Leipsic; and received me with great kindness. from the opening of the old Indian world, As he seated himself beside me on the sofa, I nothing is to be got for us, except the adding had almost laughed in his face, for in bending of one other mode of poetry to the many modes down somewhat he had the very look our we have already, but no increase of ideas: and Neumann, in his Versuchen und Hindernis- yet he had just been celebrating Friedrich sen,' has jestingly given him, and his speaking Schlegel's labours with the Sanscrit, as if a and what he spoke confirmed that impression. new salvation were to issue out of thai. He Jean Paul is of stout figure; has a full, well. was free to confess that a right Christian ic ordered face; the eyes small, gleaming out on these days, if not a Protestant one, was incon. you with lambent fire, then again veiled in ceivable to him; that changing from Protestsoft dimness; the mouth friendly, and with antism to Catholicism seemed a monstrous soine slight motion in it even when silent. His perversion; and with this opinion great hope speech is rapid, almost hasty, even stuttering had been expressed, a few minutes before, somewhat here and there ; not without a cer- that the Catholic spirit in Friedrich Schlegel, tain degree of dialect, difficult to designate, combined with the Indian, would produce but which probably is some mixture of Frank- much good! Of Schleiermacher he spoko ish and Saxon, and of course is altogether with respect; signified, however, that he did kept down within the rules of cultivated lan- not relish his ‘Plato' greatly; that in Jacobi's, guage.

in Herder's soaring flight of soul he traced far “ First of all I had to tell him what I was more of those divine old sages than in the charged with in the shape of messages, then learned acumen of Schleiermacher; a deliverwhatsoever I could tell in any way, about his ance which I could not let pass without priBerlin friends. He willingly remembered the test. Fichte, of whose . Addresses to the Gertime he had lived in Berlin, as Marcus Herz's man Nation,' held in Berlin under the sound neighbour, in Leder's house where I, seven of French drums, I had much to say, was not years before, had first seen him in the garden a favourite of his; the decisiveness of that by the Spree, with papers in his hand, which energy gave him uneasiness; he said he could it was privately whispered were leaves of only read Fichte as an exercise, gymnastic• Hesperus.' This talk about persons, and ally,' and that with the purport of his Philothen still more about Literature growing out sophy he had now nothing more to do. of that, set him fairly underway, and soon he “ Jean Paul was called out, and I staid had more to impart ihan to inquire. His con- a while alone with his wife. I hal now to versation was throughout amiable and good- answer many new questions about Birlin: her natured, always full of meaning, but in quite interest in persons and things of her native simple tone and expression. Though I knew town was by no means satei rith what she beforehand that his wit and humour belonged had already heard. The lady pleased me exonly to his pen, that he could hardly write the ceedingly; soft, refined, acute, se united wit shortest note without these introducing them the loveliest expression of household goodness selves, while on the contrary his oral utterance an air of higher breeding and freer manageseldom showed the like-yet it struck me ment than Jean Paul seemed to mariht. Yet, much that, in this continual movement and in this respect too, she willingly he'd herself vivacity of mood to which he yielded himself, inferior, and looked up to her gified husband. I observed no trace of these qualities. His It was apparent every way that their life toge. demeanour otherwise was like his speaking;lther was a right happy one. Their three children, a boy and two girls, are beautiful, seen in Hamburgh. Jean Paul said he at no healthy, well-conditioned creatures.

I had a

moment doubted, but the Germans, like the hearty pleasure in them; they recalled other Spaniards, would one day rise, and Prussia dear children to my thoughts, whom I had would avenge its disgrace, and free the counlately been beside !

try; he hoped his son would live to see it, and “With continual copiousness and in the did not deny that he was bringing him up for best humour, Jean Paul (we were now at a soldier. table) expatiated on all manner of objects. October 251h.-I staid to supper, contrary Among the rest, I had been charged with a to my purpose, having to set out next morning salutation from Rahel Levin to him, and the early. The lady was so kind, and Jean Paul modest question, Whether he remembered himself so trustful and blithe, I could not withher still ? His face beamed with joyful satis- stand their entreaties. At the neat and wellfaction: How could one forget such a per- furnished table (reminding you that South son?' cried he impressively. “That is a woman Germany was now near) the best humour alone of her kind: I liked her heartily well, and reigned. Among other things we had a good more now than ever, as I gain in sense an ap- laugh at this, that Jean Paul offered me an inprehension to do it; she is the only woman in troduction to one of, what he called his dearest whom I have found genuine humour, the one friends in Stuttgart,--and then was obliged to woman of this world who had humour !' He give it up, having irrevocably forgotten his called me a lucky fellow to have such a friend; name! Of a more serious sort again was our and asked, as if proving me and measuring conversation about Tieck, Friedrich and Wilmy value, 'How I had deserved that ?' helm Schlegel, and others of the romantic

« Monday, 24th October.—Being invited, I school. He seemed in ill humour with Tieck went a second time to dine. Jean Paul had at the moment. Of Goethe he said: “Goethe just returned from a walk; his wife, with one is a consecrated head; he has a place of his of the children, was still out. We came upon own, high above us all.' We spoke of Goethe his writings; that questionable string with afterwards for some time : Jean Paul, with most authors, which the one will not have you more and more admiration, nay, with a sort of touch, which another will have you keep fear and awe-struck reverence. jingling continually. He was here what I ex. • Some beautiful fruit was brought in for pected him to be; free, unconstrained, good- dessert. On a sudden, Jean Paul started up, natured, and sincere with his whole heart. gave me his hand, and said: Forgive me, I His · Dream of a Madman,' just published by must go to bed! Stay you here in God's name, Cotta, was what had led us upon this. He for it is still early, and chat with my wife; said he could write such things at any time; there is much to say, between you, which my the mood for it, when he was in health, lay in talking has kept back. I am a Spiessburger, his own power; he did but seat himself at the (of the Club of Odd Fellows,) and my hour is harpsichord, and fantasying for a while on it, come for sleep.' He took a candle, and said, in the wildest way, deliver himself over to the good night. We parted with great cordiality, feeling of the moment, and then write his ima and the wish expressed on both sides, that I ginings,-according to a certain predetermined might stay at Baireuth another time.” course, indeed, which however he would often These biographic phenomena ; Jean Paul's alter as he went on. In this kind he had once loose-flowing talk, his careless variable judg undertaken to write a 'Ilell,' such as mortalments of men and things; the prosaic basis never heard of; and a great deal of it is actu- of the free-and-easy in domestic life with the ally done, but not fit for print. Speaking of poetic Shandean, Shakspearean, and even descriptive composition, he also started as in Dantesque, that grew from it as its public outfright when I ventured to say that Goethe was come; all this Varnhagen had to rhyme and less complete in this province; he reminded reconcile for himself as he best could. The me of two passages in Werter,' which are in- loose-flowing talk and variable judgments, the deed among the finest descriptions. He said fact that Richter went along, “ Jooking only that to describe any scene well the poet must right before him as with blinders on," seemed make the bosom of a man his camera obscura, to Varnhagen a pardonable, nay, an amiable and look at it through this, then would he see peculiarity, the mark of a trustful, spontaneit poetically.

ous, artless nature ; connected with whatever “The conversation turned on public occur- was best in Jean Paul. He found him on the rences, on the condition of Germany, and the whole (what we at a distance have always oppressive rule of the French. To me discus- done) “ a genuine and noble man: no decepsions of that sort are usually disagreeable; but tion or impunity exists in his life: he is altoit was delightful to hear Jean Paul express, on gether as he writes, loveable, hearty, robust, such occasion, his noble patriotic sentiments; and brave. A valiant man I do believe: did and for the sake of this rock-island I willingly the cause summon, I fancy he would be reaswam through the empty tide of uncertain dier with his sword too than the most." And news and wavering suppositions which envie so we quit our loved Jean Paul, and his simroned it. What he said was deep, considerate, ple little Baireuth home. The lights are blown hearty, valiant, German to the marrow of the out there, the fruit platters swept away, a dobone. I had to tell him much; of Napoleon, zen years ago, and all is dark now,-swalwhom he knew only by portraits ; of Johannes lowed in the long night. Thanks to Varnhavon Müller; of Fichte, whom he now as a gen that he has, though imperfectly, rescued patriot admired cordially; of the Marquez de any glimpse of it, one scene of it, still visible la Romana and his Spaniards, whom I had to eyes, by the magic of pen and ink

« السابقةمتابعة »