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CONDUCTED BY WILLIAM AND ROBERT CHAMBERS, EDITORS OF CHAMBERS'S INFORMATION FOR
THE PEOPLE,' CHAMBERS'S EDUCATIONAL COURSE,' &c.
No. 161. NEW SERIES.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 30, 1847.
himself as of humble, than of infamous extraction. JOHNSON AND SAVAGE.
When he afterwards became troublesome to her, and RICHARD SAVAGE serves in England as the type of a likely to revive her sad story before the world, she wretched man of letters ; not that he was singular in might be driven, in a paroxysm of selfish feeling, to this respect, but that the friendship of Johnson has wish him out of the country. This is not to excuse the caused the particulars of his life and habits to be re- unhappy woman; it is only an attempt to detect the corded with more than usual minuteness. His biography workings of natural passions in her bosom as a cause by the great lexicographer is still in some repute; more for her actions. We must at the same time, in simple read, as well as more praised, than any other of its justice, keep in mind that the whole story has been author's productions of that class. I was lately sur handed down to us by the enemies of the countess. prised, however, on an accidental re-perusal of it, after Savage, when he learned what he really was, worked an interval of many years, to find so much in this nar no more. He had education and abilities which were rative that appeared to me unsatisfactory. I shall en- enough in themselves to have put him above a humble deavour, though it is almost like broaching a heresy, to trade. Ambition and love of self-indulgence now deshow wherein I think it defective.
termined him into that false position which, with his Savage, as is well known, came into the world (1697) own bad passions, was the cause of his misery through under peculiar circumstances. In order to be divorced life. With an excuse for considering himself unfortufrom a husband with whom she lived unhappily, the nate, and constant hopes of something being done for him Countess of Macclesfield told a tale of infamy against on that account, he put common means of livelihood out herself. Her child, born soon after, and who otherwise of consideration. Sir Richard Steele took him by the would have been in time an English peer, was reared at hand—a bad Mentor, though a kindly and well-meana distance from her, in obscurity, and under strict care ing one. Under his care, Savage began, before twenty, that he should never know his real origin. He received, to write poems and plays. When, in consequence of nevertheless, a good education at a private school. It ridiculing his patron behind his back, he lost his friendwas while serving as apprentice to a shoemaker, that he ship, Mrs Oldfield the actress became his friend, and discovered by accident that he had received his birth, agreed, from pure generosity, to give him fifty pounds Dot from the poor woman who had reared him, but from a-year till he should be better provided for. The benea lady of brilliant rank, who lived in affluence in the ficence of these amiable people is praised by Johnson, west end of London. Curiosity, ambition, perhaps some without his seeing that it must have fatally encouraged working of the natural affections, then led him to make Savage in the irresponsibility he felt with regard to his an effort to see his real parent; but she never could be own support. On giving proof of his abilities by a play induced to grant him an interview. The poor youth on the story of Sir Thomas Overbury, many other perused to watch whole evenings in front of her elegant sons of eminence became his friends; and he realised a mansion, that he might have the chance of seeing her hundred pounds by the work when published, ten go out or in, or pass through her lighted apartments ; guineas being derived from its dedication to a man of but in vain. Rendered desperate at length, he tried on fortune. The story of the young poet was now known. one occasion to force his way into the house. She Unluckily, his friends encouraged him in a disposition either affected or felt alarm at the proceeding, screamed to trade upon it, by way of making up for the heartlessto alarm her servants and neighbours, and poor Savage ness of his mother, and as a kind of revenge against was thrust into the street without accomplishing his her. When it was narrated by a friend in a periodical object. So far from affording him any countenance or publication of the day, with a request that persons comkindly support, she attempted to get him kidnapped and miserating the hero should send contributions for him sent away as a slave to the colonies. Johnson tells these to Button's Coffeehouse, seventy guineas were deposited and many other particulars of the conduct of this un- there in the course of a few days. A duke remarked natural mother, but leaves her to be regarded as a mere that Savage should be looked upon as an injured nobleanomaly or monster in human form. It is, however, man, and supported accordingly by his own class. The always desirable to see motives or prompting causes for biographer tells all this, but makes no remark on the any extraordinary actions ; and it seems strange that possibility of his hero maintaining a truer dignity by Johnson should have been unable to conjecture why supporting himself, and sinking the birth which could this mother acted differently from her sex in general. reflect upon him no honour. It does not now seem difficult to suppose that the coun Supported chiefly by the bounty of others, and maktess regarded her child, from the first, as a memento ofing a very imprudent use of any resources of his own, painful circumstances in her own life, and shrunk from Savage advanced to thirty years of age, when he was seeing a being invested with such distressing associa- tried for murder. He and two friends, having sat up tions. She might think it better for him to regard till midnight drinking, went into a house of ill fame at
Charing Cross, and stumbled into an apartment already his longest poem, the Wanderer, the copyright of which occupied by a party. One of Savage's friends chose he sold for ten pounds, because he wanted some trifling deliberately to commence a quarrel with these people, gratification which this sum could purchase, and beby kicking over their table. In the confused contest cause this was the first offer! Dressing handsomely, which ensued, Savage wounded a Mr Sinclair in such a living as a kind of unfortunate nobleman, and possessed way that he died next day. A more wanton piece of of literary fame and attractive conversational powers, mischief than the whole conduct of Savage's party could he was now highly popular. “To admire Mr Savage not have been exhibited. Savage was condemned to be was a proof of discernment; to be acquainted with him executed. A pardon was interceded for, and, notwith- was a title to poetical reputation. His presence was standing opposition from his mother, obtained. It cer- sufficient to make any place of public entertainment tainly was right that he should not have suffered for popular; and his approbation and example constituted murder ; but it seems equally clear that a free pardon the fashion. So powerful,' says Johnson, 'is genius was a great stretch of mercy in a case of such culpable when it is invested with the glitter of affluence!' A homicide. Yet strange to say, Johnson presumes that man of independent mind will of course see that it was ‘his memory may not be much sullied by his trial;' as if not a situation fit to secure real happiness. It was but it was enough that he had not killed a fellow-creature a gilded servitude at the best, with only one redeeming out of deliberate malice. One can go along with the bio-circumstance for a man of letters—that it afforded opgrapher in a more placid humour when he relates a portunities for quiet study, and for the observation of subsequent act of his hero. “Some time after he had
some departments of society not usually very patent to obtained his liberty, he met in the street the woman inspection. But if there was anything in it which a who had sworn with so much malignity against him. virtuous and unassuming student could have profited She informed him that she was in distress, and, with a by, or by which such a person could have made it tolerdegree of confidence not easily attainable, desired him able, that person was not Richard Savage. to relieve her. He, instead of insulting her misery, and During this externally brilliant period of his life, he taking pleasure in the calamities of one who had brought published a poem in praise of Sir Robert Walpole, the his life into danger, reproved her gently for her perjury, then all-powerful minister. Its encomiums are in the and changing the only guinea that he had, divided it style of the dedications of that age, although the poet equally between her and himself.' Johnson adds, 'Com- boldly asserts that truth is his sole guide. Now, Johnpassion was the distinguishing quality of Savage; he son quietly tells us that Savage was in the custom of never appeared inclined to take advantage of weakness, privately speaking of Walpole in a very contemptuous to attack the defenceless, or to press upon the falling; manner. But Walpole sent the poet twenty pounds whoever was distressed, was certain at least of his good for his panegyric, and was no doubt expected to send wishes; and when he could give no assistance to extri- that or something more; and Lord Tyrconnel required cate them from misfortunes, he endeavoured to soothe his protegé, 'not without menaces,' to write in praise them by sympathy and tenderness. The partial bio- of his leader. In the eyes of the great English moralist, grapher at the same time admits that he was impla- it was all owing to the dependent state of Savage, and cable in resentment where his pity was not appealed to this dependence was his misfortune, so that circum
Savage continued for some time to live as he had stances alone were blameable! The utmost that Johndone before-indebted to the accident of the day for his son can admit is, that if his miseries were sometimes subsistence, sometimes deriving a little money from his the consequences of his faults, he ought not yet to be writings or a theatre benefit; at others treated by his wholly excluded from compassion, because his faults friends in taverns; and often retiring from a gay com were very often the effect of his misfortunes ' — as if pany, whom he had entertained by his wit, to wander, Savage had been under some moral prohibition to work solitary and homeless, through the streets. In John- honestly, as other men do, for his own bread! What son's strong phrase,' he spent his life between want and crime is there for which some such excuse could not be plenty - between beggary and extravagance.' What made ? he had, he was tempted to spend foolishly, “because he In no long time-we are not exactly informed how always hoped to be immediately supplied.' He would long — Lord Tyrconnel discharged Savage from his purchase the luxury of a single night by the anguish house, alleging reasons in the poet's own misconduct. of cold and hunger for a week. The biographer blames Savage, his lordship said, was accustomed to enter tafor this the conduct of his friends in treating him at verns with any company that proposed it; there he would taverns. It does not seem to have occurred to him that drink the most expensive wines with great profusion, the treated party had a power of declining this degra- and when the reckoning came, he was without money. dation, and that honest men choose to live otherwise. When his friends paid his share grudgingly, he brought Yet Savage became anxious for a settled income, and, them to Lord Tyrconnel's, where he would entertain after all the cruelty of his mother, attempted to extort them with wines from his lordship’s cellars, and disa provision from her by threatening to harass her with grace the house with riot and outrage. A set of valuable lampoons. Johnson triumphs in the partial success of books which he had bestowed upon Savage, stamped this expedient; of its essential unworthiness he says with his arms, he had the mortification to find on stalls not one word. In consequence of Savage's application, exposed to sale, it being Savage's custom, when he Lord Tyrconnel, a friend of the countess, agreed to re- wanted a small sum, to take his books to the pawnceive him into his house, and, besides supporting him, broker. On the other hand, the poet alleged that a give him an allowance of two hundred per annum. He shabby desire to escape the expense which he occasioned, now lived at a regular and luxurious table, with a was Lord Tyrconnel's motive for sending him adrift. nobleman, to enjoy whose conversation was, he himself | The reasons assigned by Lord Tyrconnel agreeing so says, 'to be elegantly introduced into the most instruc- well with the ordinary habits of Savage, as admitted by tive as well as entertaining parts of literature-to re- Johnson, we may well believe them to have been in the ceive from the most unassuming and winning candour main true. Undoubtedly the gist of the whole matter the worthiest and most polite maxims.' Here he finished | is, that Savage's recklessly dissolute conduct was incom
patible with the comfort of a sober gentleman's man- public function to such a man as Savage ; but Johnson sion. Yet still there is nothing from the moralist but sees nothing of the kind. He can only complain that a pity. It has since become known that Savage wrote to man of genius should not be supported by some means Lord Tyrconnel's chaplain, representing his deplorable not of his own earning. The biographer loudly asserts situation, and petitioning his intercession, in order that the dignity of many of his friend's sentiments: he loved he might be taken back. This deprives Savage, of course, goodness, it seems, though he did not practise it. He of all right to allege faults on his lordship's side. The was also inspired by religious sentiments; and at one case had been simply this—an undeserved bounty for- time contemplated a poem in which the freethinker feited by the guilty folly of the receiver.
should be shown going through all the stages of vice It was soon after this period that Savage published and folly, till dismissed from the world by his own his most celebrated poem, the Bastard, which he dedi- hand. Strange that Samuel Johnson should have failed cated, 'with all due reverence,' to Mrs Brett-such to perceive how little worth is to be attached to such an being now the appellation of his mother, in consequence idea, when he is himself delineating a man of contrary of her having married a gentleman of that name. The principles, who, nevertheless, goes through that very piece contains many striking lines, and as it related to career in sad reality, excepting only the last particular. his own story, now a pretty notorious one, it met a Savage was now living a half-outcast life, eating only large sale. Johnson informs us that it had the effect when he was invited to the tables of his acquaintances, of driving the poet's mother away from Bath, where from which the meanness of his dress often excluded she was living at the time. The biographer manifestly him.' 'Sometimes he passed the night in mean houses, rejoices in this poem. He quotes, as an apology for which are set open at night to any casual wanderers ; Savage, the lines
sometimes in cellars, among the riot and filth of the No mother's care
meanest and most profligate of the rabble; sometimes, Shielded my infant innocence with prayer :
when he had not money to support the expenses of even No father's guardian hand my youth maintained, these receptacles, he walked about the streets till he was Called forth my virtues, or from vice restrained.
weary, and lay down in the summer upon a balk, or in The grossness of the whole matter, the writing of such the winter, with his associates in poverty, among the a piece, and the publishing of it, is unperceived by ashes of a glass-house. In such places was to be Johnson. He sees not the ludicrousness of an able, found the man of exalted sentiments, extensive views, and well-educated man of between thirty and forty whining curious observations ; the man whose remarks on life about the hardships of such a peculiar orphanhood. might have assisted the statesman, whose ideas of virtue He sees not the utter folly of palliating a homicide might have enlightened the moralist, whose eloquence committed in a drunken brawl, by reference to any might have influenced senates, and whose delicacy might external circumstance whatever. Only one general re- have polished courts.' Nothing of the kind, I venture mark of the nature which justice would require, does to say. The balk and the glass-house never received he make about this part of Savage's life, where he says, any such tenant; they only sheltered an unreflecting * By imputing none of his miseries to himself, he con- sensualist and profligate. That any sensible man tinued to act upon the same principles, and to follow should have ever seriously spoken of one as possessing the same path; was never made wiser by his suffer- ideas of virtue which might have enlightened the ings, nor preserved by one misfortune from falling into moralist,' whom he at the same time represents as inanother.' The fact is, that Johnson himself continually dulging himself at all times without the least regard refers Savage's misfortunes, as well as his faults, to to others, and as utterly without any sense of the others, and but faintly in any case blames the sufferer. decencies of civilised life, is surely most strange. To show the mistaking spirit in which he writes, take Johnson now describes Savage as practising for some his remarks on the queen's bounty, in allowing Savage years the art described in the Vicar of Wakefield-keepfifty pounds a-year, in requital for a little complimen- | ing up a subscription for his works, which yet never tary poem which he sent annually on her birth-day, came out. Whatever he got in this way, even though under the character of the Volunteer Laureate. Caro- it might be a benefaction of ten guineas from a liberal line, with her characteristic goodness, had permitted nobleman, he immediately spent in luxuries at a tavern, Sarage to send such a poem. Let any one look at the never stopping till it was done. His friends at one verses, and then say if her majesty could have had any time commenced a plan of sending him a guinea every motive but to befriend one whom she believed to be an Monday; it was commonly spent before next morning. unfortunate man of genius. The very first ode, which Wherever he went, his lively conversation gained him led to the arrangement, is little but a new deploration new friends and support; but his irregularities quickly on the hackneyed story of his birth. Yet what says disgusted them, so that his only chance lay in a rapid Samuel? Her majesty's reception of the poem, though succession of new faces. Amidst all this essential by no means unkind, was yet not in the highest degree meanness, there was a fiery pride about trifles. When generous: to chain down the genius of the writer to an a gentleman, meaning to be of service to him, asked annual panegyric, showed in the queen too much desire him to call at a particular hour, he took it as an insult. of hearing her own praises, and a greater regard to her. When a few friends proposed to club for a new suit of self than to him on whom her bounty was conferred !' clothes for him, and sent a tailor to take his measure, Was there ever such miserable drivel as this ? though he flew into a violent rage, because, forsooth, he had it be a bold word to use towards Johnson. And this not himself been intrusted with his re-equipment. But writer almost immediately after tells us, without a word Samuel Johnson is hardly more reasonable, as will of comment, how the wretched volunteer laureate used presently appear. annually to retire with his fifty pounds to spend it in The last move of Savage's life was in consequence of obscure sensuality, reappearing after a brief space as an association of friends agreeing to allow him fifty penniless as usual - for Mr Savage had never been pounds a-year, on condition that he would go and live accustomed to dismiss any of his appetites without the upon it quietly in the country. This led him to Swangratification which they solicited,' and nothing but sea in 1739, having left London with much reluctance. Fant of money withheld him from partaking of every The arrangement, it seems, was not made very readily. pleasure which fell within his view!' What on earth 'Such,' says his biographer, was the generosity of is this but the very wantonness of prejudice and par- mankind, that what had been done by a player without tiality?
solicitation, could not now be effected by application After he had endured some years of penury, a few and interest; and Savage had a great number to court friends solicited Sir Robert Walpole in his behalf, and and to obey for a pension less than that which Mrs obtained a promise of a place for him ; but the pro- Oldfield paid him without exacting any servilities. In mise was never fulfilled. It is easy, of course, to see the name of wonder, how should this have passed for bow the minister might pause before trusting any | a century, in a popular book, without condemnation ?
Is it not, in reality, victimising the worthy and kind in my humble opinion, false and dangerous. And there hearted, to exalt the reckless and selfish? Actually, is no saying what fatal effects it may have had in the same page which contains the ungenerous remark, affording self-justifications to subsequent men of talent relates that Savage, having got fifteen guineas from disposed to lead idle and profligate, rather than sober these friends for his journey to Bristol, wrote on the and industrious lives. I am myself surprised to have fourteenth day, in a state of distress upon the road, for this to say of a work of Samuel Johnson; but since I want of funds to carry him forward! And this perversity am led to think so, it would be cowardly to pronounce exists in a work of the greatest English writer of the otherwise. Nor is it necessarily an assertion of pereighteenth century! It is now known that Pope alone sonal superiority to one of our greatest men, thus to contributed twenty pounds of Savage's allowance. Such arraign and condemn his moral views. I believe that I liberality from a successful to an unsuccessful literary write in the light of an age superior to that of Johnson, man, was surely as praiseworthy as it is uncommon. and only speak what hundreds of honest writers of our
While secluded in the west of England - residing, day would say, if they chanced to read with any care after all, chiefly in Bristol, and there acting much as he the Life of Richard Savage.
R. C. had done in London-Savage quarrelled with many of those concerned in the pension, whom, it would appear, he only thought illiberal because they did not give
THE HEROIC WIFE. him whatever he wanted. He would have returned to When the revolutionary tribunals were established in London, but never could save or keep enough for the 1793, Monsieur Duportail's name was one of the first journey. By degrees the unhappy wretch wore out the which figured on the list of those suspected, who were patience of all who had befriended him in the western to undergo trial, if the formula gone through on such capital, and then fell into actual want. Arrested at occasions could be called such, and which so quickly length for a debt of eight pounds, he spent the last sent its victims from the Conciérgerie to the scaffold. months of his parasitical life in the most appropriate M. Duportail had many titles to proscription, among manner possible--a dependent on the bounty of his which might be numbered his being steward of the jailor. A short illness carried him off in Bristol jail in royal farms, and an upright honest man. He had been 1743, and he was buried, also appropriately, at the married about three years to a lady he had brought expense of his last patron.
from Martinique, by whom he had two children: mutual So concludes this strange story. It is of course of affection, and all the happiness that wealth can bestow, no consequence, as a matter of literary history, how an centered in his household when the Reign of Terror obsolete poet of the worst age of English verse lived commenced. or died. But it is of great consequence how the tale Having fortunately received intimation of the threatof such a man's life is narrated. I venture to affirmened danger, he quitted his dwelling a few hours prethat it has been narrated by Johnson in a manner which vious to the arrival of the revolutionary emissaries, and outrages all propriety, and has no excuse but the im- secreted himself in the house of an old domestic in the perfect one, that the author, though himself a virtuous faubourgs. The same evening his wife joined him. In man, had been fascinated by the society of one unwor- expectation of such an event, she had, a few days prethy of his regard. He tells enough to condemn Savage viously, collected what money and valuables were in her for ever—as that he appeared to think himself born to possession, regulated the affairs most pressing, and prebe supported by others, and dispensed from all necessity pared everything which she deemed necessary for a of providing for himself;' that he retained hatred longer sudden departure. than good-will; and that, when a friand had trusted him, “We must instantly leave Paris,' said she; 'a car
he considered himself as discharged by the first quarrel riage containing the children waits for us; and if we from all ties of honour and gratitude.' Yet he can coolly reach Bourdeaux, we can easily conceal ourselves in my add, within the next two pages, ‘No wise man will pre- father's house until an opportunity offers for embarking sume to say, had I been in Savage's condition, I should for Martinique.' have lived better than Savage.' There is, indeed, a M. Duportail, unable to comprehend the extreme sounding conclusion which has been often quoted, ex- peril of his situation, endeavoured to dissuade her from pressing a belief that the narrative will not be without her resolution; and it was only when she implored him its use, “if those who, in confidence of superior capa- for their children's sake to flee, that he at length concities or attainments, disregard the common maxims of sented to leave Paris the next day. life, shall be reminded that nothing will supply the want During the evening, the old servant having gone out of prudence; and that negligence and irregularity, long to reconnoitre, returned with the startling intelligence continued, will make knowledge useless, wit ridiculous, that every conveyance was strictly searched at the barand genius contemptible. But this is the one drop of riers, and that many persons endeavouring to escape vinegar amidst hosts of honied palliations. And after had been arrested. The good fortune of his wife in all, it goes not to the root of the matter. Want of procuring two passports did not tranquillise him; and, prudence, and negligence, and irregularity, are not aware of the surveillance which existed in every town phrases which can express what brought Savage to through which they would have to pass, he determined contempt and misery. He was wholly an untrue and on pursuing another course, which would at least savo unworthy man. For what is it that constitutes good- her the misery of being a witness of his arrest. ness? Is it not mainly the ratio in which self-indulgence The next day he met the carriage at the appointed has been avoided, self-control been practised, and self-hour, and after some persuasion, prevailed on Madaine sacrifice encountered for kindly social objects? If so, Duportail to leave Paris accompanied only by the chilsee what title Richard Savage has to gentle considera- dren, promising that he would immediately quit the city tion—a man who acted upon heedless impulse all his on foot, and disguised. Once safe outside the barriers, days, who hardly ever was indebted for a mouthful to he hoped he might be able to procure horses, and rejoin his own honest industry, and who, while looking to her at Bourdeaux, or possibly on the road. others for everything, never denied himself a single As was expected, on reaching the barrier the coach pleasure which he could obtain. Even the excuses on was stopped, and at either side appeared a sinister counthe ground of his unfortunate origin, become absurd tenance, surmounted by the red cap. It is a woman!' when we consider, on the other hand, that nature had exclaimed one. • Who are you?' demanded the other. given him abilities superior to the generality of man Madame Duportail tendered her passport, and after kind. They become still more ridiculous, as referring, a short scrutiny, the order was given to proceed. With not to a person of tender age, which is perhaps the a lightened heart she continued her route, each moment common impression, but to one who advanced through hoping to be overtaken by her husband: but vain were the whole period of life's prime, and died at forty-six. her expectations. Hour after hour passed in feverish The whole strain of Johnson's narrative is therefore, I anxiety, her only solace being the caresses of her chil.
dren. On arriving at Tours, there was no intelligence Madame, I fear that Citizen Danton is at present in of him: the same disappointment awaited her at every the country, but I shall give you a letter which must town through which she passed. On reaching Buur- be delivered to him by yourself on his return.' deaux, she immediately drove to her father's residence. • Will his stay be long, monsieur?'
My husband?' was all she could utter, throwing • A few days.' herself into her parent's arms.
' But, monsieur • The scaffold will not await his • Your husband! Unhappy child, you are not then return,' she would have added, but her voice failed, and aware of his arrest?'
she burst into tears. Arrested! Where ?—when ?'
• He may perhaps be here to-morrow,' said the deputy, 'At Paris on the 9th of October.'
as he commenced writing. Her eyes followed the pen It was the very day of her departure. Though in its movements, and with difficulty she restrained stunned by the intelligence, she quickly recovered her: herself from sobbing aloud. “There,' added the deputy, self. Tell me all. He is arrested, but is he still as he folded the letter, 'I am confident my friend will living ?'
be satisfied that I have done all that lay in my power, “He is; but every day these monsters judge, con- as he has demanded. I am happy in having rendemn, and
dered you this little service,' continued he, as he rose • Leave the horses to the carriage!' exclaimed the and politely presented the letter. young wife; or rather get fresh ones : I shall instantly Madame Duportail had also risen. 'Do you think, return to Paris. I must save him-I shall save him!' monsieur, that Citizen Danton will take pity on me?'
All remonstrance was unheeded, nor would she even she asked in an almost inarticulate voice. allow her father to run any risk by accompanying her. The deputy regarded her for a moment silently, and The only delay to which she consented was while he with a scarcely perceptible smile replied, 'I have no went to procure a letter from an old acquaintance to doubt of it. He made a few steps towards the door, a member of the Convention, who, besides having some but returning, added, "Be sure to deliver the letter influence himself, happened to be the confidant of yourself.' Danton, the then minister of justice. Leaving the They descended the stairs, and the deputy, making children with her father, she retraced her route, and, a profound salute, rapidly traversed the courtyard. nearly exhausted, arrived in Paris eight days after Madame Duportail followed more slowly. It was only M. Duportail's arrest. Without loss of time, she sought then that she was struck by the peculiarity of the the deputy for whom the letter was directed; but on look which accompanied the injunction to deliver the inquiry, was told by an old porteress at the lodge that letter in person, and she felt some misgivings as the he was from home.
idea arose in her mind that there was a mystery linked 'I shall wait for him,' said Madame Duportail. with it which she could not fathom. While walking
· As you please,' replied the old woman; but where along the street, her attention was excited by a stenwill you stay?'
torian voice exclaiming, ' A list of the execrable con“I shall remain here,' replied madame, terrified by spirators who have been condemned by national justice the insolent tone of the speaker.
to suffer to-morrow morning.' She shuddered as she In the rain! You must be an aristocrat, then, for tendered a piece of money to the man, who, handing they are capable of anything. Our deputies have her one of the papers, continued his route, uttering his enough to do, I warrant; for they are beset from morn- funereal cry. With a palpitating heart she glanced ing till night with petitions. With a malicious glance over the list, which contained the names, ages, and she passed into the lodge.
rank of the victims whose doom had been pronounced ; Thus left to herself, the young wife could not avoid but her husband was not among the number. “He still reflecting upon the situation in which she was placed ; lives,' was the wife's silent ejaculation. But who could and though, under other circumstances, she would have speak for the morrow? The remainder of the day was shrunk at the idea of visiting a man unknown to her, passed in gleaning information respecting the prisoners : she was too much absorbed with the thought of her her husband, she learned, was incarcerated in the Orahusband's peril to heed it at that moment. A glance torio. at her travel-stained dress, and a fear that her appear The next morning she went to Danton's house. The ance in such plight would have an unfavourable effect citizen minister still slept. On her return some hours on the mind of her protector, made her hesitate as to after, she was told that he had left town. • Where has whether she should remain; but no time was allowed he gone?' for consideration, for at that moment a gentleman, • To Auteuil,' was the reply of the domestic, in a tone dressed in ball costume, carrying some papers in his of impertinent familiarity. hand, descended into the court.
This suspense was dreadful; but her hopes again Here is the deputy, young lady. I find that I was rose when, on consulting the public lists, her husband's mistaken in saying he had gone out,' exclaimed the name did not appear. The following day, changing her porteress, chuckling as she emerged from the lodge, dress so as not to be recognised by the valets, she inyet half afraid that her falsehood might get her into quired for Danton. The minister was in his office, but trouble.
could not be disturbed. Entering a cabaret at the oppoMadame Duportail presented the letter to the stranger, site side of the street, from whence the house was obwho, glancing at the writing, and then at his visitor, servable, she called for some wine. The woman of the requested her, with an air of constraint, to come into shop, interested by her youth and beauty, and rightly the house. Ön opening the letter, and perusing it guessing that some other motive than that of drinking rapidly, “I am going to the Convention,' said he, and wine induced her to remain so long, strove by her atbave no time to lose: this letter tells me who you are, tention to lessen the young wife's grief. The evening and is sufficient to make me do all in my power for fell, and thanking the woman for her kindness, Madame your husband. Oblige me by coming up stairs.' He Duportail, with the energy of despair, boldly entered led the way into an elegantly-furnished apartment, the the minister's hotel. On the domestics endeavouring furniture of which bore evident traces of the Revolu- to prevent her going beyond the courtyard, she showed tion. The pictures were surmounted by armorial bear- the letter, mentioning its being from Citizen R-, ings, some of the subjects being devotional, while others and the necessity of its immediate delivery. The derepresented battle scenes, in which members of the puty's name acted like a talisman, and she ascended royal family were conspicuous : the room evinced all the grand staircase. Servants were hurrying to and the luxury of a noble mansion of the old regime. fro, and in the confusion she reached the door of one
Having handed his visitor a chair, the deputy seated of the upper apartments, from whence the sound of himself before a table covered with papers and pam- boisterous mirth proceeded. She was here accosted by phlets.
a domestic, who inquired her business. Without making