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ephemeral Elasses and bursta ments. Amid pears
are light; the room for the entertainment is decorated, and, in honor of the day, every one appears dressed in his newest habiliments. Amidst the jingling of glasses and bursts of joy, the lots of this ephemeral dignity are drawn, and a sceptre is gained which weighs not too heavy for the hands of the monarch. Sometimes a little trick is practised which, redoubling the mirth of the subjects, and exciting the complaints of the young sovereign alone, elevates to the throne the daughter of the host, and the son of a neighbour lately arrived from the army. The young pair blush, as if their crown embarrassed them; the mothers laugh, and the grandfather, with a full goblet, drinks to the new queen. The curate, who is at the feast, receives for the purpose of distribution, with other assistance, the first part, called the Poor's Piece. Old games, and a dance, at which some aged domestic supplies the place of musician, prolong their pleasure; and the whole family, nurses, children, tenants, servants, and masters, mix promiscuously in the mazy wanderings of the ball.'
"I could not deny myself the pleasure of bringing before my readers this lovely picture, full of gracefulness and truth, though at the hazard of a comparison, of which I feel all the disadvantage.
“ I was reading, a few days since, the passage which I have just cited to a Mr. Fergus, a scholar more estimable than orthodox, with whom I had formerly studied, and who did not approve of M. de Chateaubriand's having given to christianity the honor of an institution, evidently borrowed from the Greeks and Romans.
“. What the devil,' said he, knitting his large black eyebrows, does he talk to us of the inagi and their presents for, when discoursing on a custom, whose profane origin is so well known to us ? Who is there that is not acquainted with the amusement of the King of the Bean, derived to us from
the Romans, when the children, during the Saturnalia, drew lots for the part of the king of the festival? This custom of the bean, to trace it still higher, goes back to the Greeks, who made use of beans in the election of their magistrates. We have transplanted to the beginning of January a feast which the ancients celebrated towards the end of December, in the winter solstice, and which the Romans, if we may believe Lucian, Strabo, and Vossius, had borrowed from the Persians. The election of this temporary king was made at table, as with us; but after having been treated, during the short term of his reign, with all the respect and regard due to his rank, the ephemeral monarch was hanged, to terminate the feast. It is proper, however, to add, that he was chosen from among the class of slaves, and still oftener from among the criminals.'
“ I know very well,' answered I to my learned friend in us, that by dint of learning, the charm may be taken from every thing ; but I must own that one of the best written discourses of the King of the Bean, would never amuse me half so much as one of those domestic meetings which have latterly become too unfrequent.'
Among the company you keep,' interrupted M. Fergus; for my own part I have only to choose among three parties to which I am invited for this evening, to draw twelfth cake, at one of which I can answer that you will be extremely well received, if you like to accompany me.'
“ He mentioned M. Bruno, another old schoolfellow, with whom I was some time a boarder at M. Doppi's, Rue Mazarine. We left the school together, myself to go to college; M. Bruno, to follow, the profession of his father, a linen-draper, åt the Golden Fleece, in the Rue des Marmozets. We had not seen each other for more than twenty years, but I had always dealt with him, and I knew he retained some friendship for me. I did not hesitate, therefore, to take Fergus at his word,
“ It was four o'clock before we arrived at this dean's of the ancient shrievalty. We found the good old man in a room over the shop, which a fashionable merchant of the Rue Vivienne would be in these times ashamed to call his anti-chamber. He was seated by the fire-side in a large arm-chair, of Utrecht velvet; a little child on his knees, and two others seated on the ground, who displayed to grand-papa their punchinellos, their Chinese monkeys, and their leaden soldiers, which they had received as new year's gifts. A young girl of sixteen or seventeen assisted an old servant to lay the cloth. M. Charles Bruno, the younger son, was reading a newspaper, in a loud voice at the window, while an old aunt cut slips of paper of various colors, to put round the bottom of the candles. The Nestor of the city merchants received me with open arms, and presented me in the most friendly manner to his family, by whom I was greeted in the same affectionate style. It may very well be believed, that in the conversation which followed in the chimneycorner between the three old schoolfellows, M. Doppi was not forgotten, and that the phrase, Do you remember? occurred more than once in our discourse. The rest of the company came in order ; . the first was M. Boutard, son-in-law of M. Bruno, and one of the most famous lace-makers in the Rue des Bourdonnais; he brought with him two of his children, M. Boutard is a very proper man, and has no other fault than that of a little too much vanity, on account of the attention he pays to the church of St. Opportune, of which he is the eldest churchwarden. The Abbe Daillot, nephew of the patriarch, and vicar of St. Magloire, came next; he was followed by M. Melchior Bruno, captain of the veterans of the barracks Notre Dame des Victoires, who gave his arm to Madame Boutard and her
daughter, a little brunette of the most lively figure.
“Dinner was served; we waited only for M. Daumont, an old clerk of M. Bruno, and a most intimate friend of the family. Mademoiselle Françoise Bruno, the aunt, begged her brother to sit down to table. according to the old axiom :-That waiting prevents one from eating, but eating does not prevent one from coming. Her advice was followed. The grandfather's arm-chair was placed at the head of the table, the back to the fire. Every one stood by his chair, while the father of the family said grace, and seated themselves as soon as he set them the example. A small table for the children, of wbich aunt Bruno had the direction, had been prepared in one corner of the room. . “ Daumont came in just as the soup was removed; he announced himself with a loud laugh, with which I observed he always preceded his jokes, 'I see you have waited for me as the abbé waits for his monks,' said he, shaking the hands of the company round, without omitting myself, though I was a stranger to him. The abbé answered him by a tarde venientibus ossa, which produced some mirth. ." The tureen being carried away, a twelfth cake was brought before Madame Boutard, who did the honors of the table, on which she bestowed her benediction, tracing there the sign of the cross, and then cut it into eighteen parts. The youngest of the company came forward, which gave the vicar an opportunity of putting in a surgat junior, of which, he seemed to take himself a good part. The cake was covered with a napkin, and the dish having been turned round two or three times to prevent all idea of fraud or favor, the child distributed the portions. The first drawn was that for the poor'; this was immediately given to the vicar, with the alms which every one hastened to subscribe : the grandfather was served second ; in respect to my age, and being a stranger, I had the third part, in which was discovered the bean. My election to the sovereignty of the feast was announced by a round of applause, to which succeeded reiterated exclamations of vive le roi. I was respectfully invited by my new subjects to make choice of a companion, who should share with me the splendour of my exalted dignity. I cast my eyes on Mademoiselle Rose Boutard, who seemed, however, to be less sensible of the honor of enjoying a throne, than displeased at quitting her seat by her young cousin Bruno. The dinner was gay, even a little noisy, and the cries of the queen drinks—the king drinks !' resounded through the whole repast. The precaution which the wise Fergus had taken, to bring half a dozen of excellent Bourdeaux wine with him, (a precaution which nobody valued more highly than the captain,) succeeded in putting friend Daumont in high spirits, and the vicar took care not to lose so fine an opportunity as, when he emptied his glass to his uncle's health, to tell us 'bonum vinum lætificat cor hominis. During the dessert, according to custom, we proceeded to choose the great crown officers, and every body admired my penetration, when I chose M. Boutard my minister of finances—Daumont, master of the household Captain Melchior, commander in chief of my armies
-Abbé Daillot, my grand almoner, and Madame Bruno, maid of honor to the queen. These appointments being complete, the grand almoner, the minister of the finances, and the master of the household, roared out a bacchanalian song; after which the queen and her little cousin sung under my royal nose a duet, so tender and passionate, that, with a prince less mild than myself, the singers would have fared but badly.
“ Coffee was served in the chimney corner:some neighbours came in to join the family, and I took advantage of the preparation for a Loto table, to slip from the company, fully resolved to return