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of deep emotion, as if the question had struck a painful chord in her own heart.” “Far away in those Eastern climes, so recently the scenes of sanguinary conflict; the reported renewal of which, when she was in hourly expectation of his return, has occasioned that deeper shade of sorrow which this evening, more than usual, has marked the young girl's features. His name cannot be unknown to you, as he was employed by his government in those fields where your own laurels were acquired, and though opposed to the cause you served, the reputation he there obtained must, in all probability, have become known to you, and perhaps inpressed it more fully upon your memory than when you drew my attention to it in former years in the pages of his country's poet and historian, Walter Scott, wherein he observes, those who bore it ever seemed destined to die in the field, in their stirrups, or on the quarter-deck.”
And the lady mentioned the name of this absent soldier, which I well remembered as that of an English officer whom, more than once, I had met some ten years previously at Constantinople and in Asia Minor, and whom our German savans and literary journals had frequently spoken of with the highest eulogium as an active and enterprising traveller.
“He is indeed no stranger to me by reputation," said the Prince, after a thoughtful pause ; “and if rumour is to be credited, he was in prin. ciple disposed towards the cause against which he was arrayed, though with the true feeling of a soldier, whatever the nature of his sympathies, he looked solely to his military duty. He, then, is the betrothed of this young girl ?"
“ He has been for the last eighteen months,” was the reply. you now disposed to enter the lists against him? To wear the coronet of your powerful and princely house is, indeed, a temptation it may be thought few women could resist, though rank, wealth, and station have already repeatedly been laid at her feet, and as often rejected. Look at that short, fat man with the brilliant star; he is the vice-governor, Count B. Despondency and regret seem to mark his heavy, un meaning features as he gazes upon her, since up to the period of her engagement he was the most persevering and devoted of the admirers surrounding her ; but even his vanity-for, unprepossessing as his exterior is, he imagines himself a mangeur des caurs—at length succumbed, and he resigned the pursuit as hopeless. The soldier, though much the poorer, is by far the more formidable and nobler rival of the two."
"He would meet with but little success," returned the Prince, in the same thoughtful, half-abstracted tone, “ whoever attempted to withdraw her
young affections from the object upon whom they have been bestowed. That delicate form, unless I am much deceived, enshrines a determined spirit, and, her heart once given, the choice is made for life.”
At this period, the crowd in the immediate neighbourhood where I was standing having become much thinned, I had turned to leave, when a long, thin, bony hand was laid upon my arm, and a harsh female voice, wholly unknown to me, exclaimed, in abrupt tones, “Who is that young girl ?” pointing at the same time to the English demoiselle who had formed the theme of the conversation I had so recently heard. As I looked round to reply, my attention became fixed upon the speaker, whose exterior presented an appearance certainly somewhat out of character with the royal and courtly throng around. The figure was that of an elderly
woman, of masculine height and manner, with a countenance expressive of corresponding characteristics. She wore a dress of black velvet, which, fitting close to her person, and closing round the throat somewhat similar to a military surtout, seemed equally to add to her stature as well as the oddity of her appearance. As I stared at her without giving any reply, the lady, somewhat wrathfully, repeated her query.
“ Upon my word, madame, I can't say. I believe she is English." “I know that as well as yourself. But who or what is she ?"
“I regret that, being a perfect stranger here, I cannot inform you," I replied, somewhat nettled, though scarcely able to keep from laughing at her singular and peremptory manner.
“It is the only head in the room I should wish to have a cast of," soliloquised this eccentric personage, as if to herself. “ I wonder how I could obtain it? Ah! perhaps her Royal Highness Madame la Duchesse will assist me."
As these last observations seemed in no way addressed to myself, I quitted my newly formed acquaintance, and found upon inquiry that she was a female sculptor of pre-eminent ability, who was much patronised by the imperial and royal circles, and was no less remarkable for her eccentric character and manners, than the highly-finished taste and ability which had distinguished the many works of art which had emanated from her chisel.*
It was at a little past midnight that the circle broke up. As I passed into the ante-room, where the company were now assembled, assuming their cloaks and mantles previous to quitting the palace, I observed the Archduchess consign her young favourite, with a caressing movement, to the charge of her mother, and in the grand entrance-hall two muffled figures glided past me, whom I at once recognised as the Prince de L. and the Countess de M. The countenance of the latter was shrouded in a large hood, which wholly concealed her features, but it struck me that low and suppressed sobs, with difficulty controlled, fell upon my ear. I returned to my hotel, and for many days afterwards mused upon the singular and unaccountable interest with which this assembly and the persons I have adverted to inspired me, complete stranger as I was to them all. Was it a presentiment of how subsequent events were destined to impress this feeling upon me in characters of a yet far deeper and more lasting nature ?
* Mademoiselle L. N., a native, I believe, of Lyons. There was another young female sculptor, Signora K., by birth a Venetian, who at this period seemed destined to attain considerable eminence, but who, unfortunately, died of a decline at the early age of twenty-two, though not till her works had acquired some degree of celebrity, and become much sought after.
WINES AND WINE-SHOPS IN THE SEVENTEENTH
“How infinitely witty these Frenchmen are!" exclaimed Count Poelnitz, as he issued forth in company with the Prince de Ligne from a wine-shop of olden times.
“No wonder," retorted the prince, “when one has wine like that to drink !"
“ Wine,” says M. de la Fizelière, “is a sublime inspirer, and, so long as it remained the necessary and exclusive drink, the literature of France enlightened the universe with the majestic brilliancy of its explosions. They say that it pales at the present moment, that it decays, and is threatened with being extinguished by a contemptible corruption. If it is so, the fault must be laid upon the ever-increasing rarity of good wines, the invasion of beer, and the contagion of absinthe."
Yet did the old poets—those of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries—when French poetry attained “that height from whence it irradiated the whole intellectual world”—imbibe their vinous inspiration in the depths of some smoky wine-shop, and the oaken table of a hospitable" cabaret” has often been their only desk. Beroald de Verville, Rabelais, and other poets of that epoch, often allude to "vin d'une oreille," in allusion to an edict of Philippe Auguste's, in which any one convicted of stealing grapes was sentenced to lose an ear, or pay a fine of five sols. With the poets, “one-eared wine” meant then that it was so good, that it was worth risking an ear to obtain it.
Information as to the kind of wines consumed before the thirteenth century is very scanty. It is known that, in the time of Charles the Bald, the wines of Rueil and of Charlevanne (now called Bougival) were high in repute; and about the year 1100, Raymond de SaintGilles, Count of Toulouse, transmitted seven grape-vines from Constantinople with orders to plant them in Languedoc. These were the originals of the vineyards and wines of Frontignan, Lunel, and Rivesaltes. The first time that the vineyards of France are spoken of with some detail is in the "fabliau” of the “ Battle of Wines," attributed to Rutebauf, and written for the amusement of Philippe the Bold, who had instructed his chaplain, on the occasion of certain bacchanalian orgies, to draw up an hierarchy of the wines of Europe. In this chapter of honour, Cyprus was declared to be pope; Aquila, cardinal; and Argenteuil was named king. This wine, now so much contemned, was, however, beloved by Julian, who favoured Lutetia as a residence. Nor is it surprising that it remained so long in vogue with the
Franks, for the great vineyards of Gaul did not belong to them. The Burgundies were drank by the ducal house of the same name; and the country of Clarets was in the hands of the English. It is little more than a century since Bordeaux wines became, indeed, known to the Parisians. They are indebted for their introduction to
* Vins à la Mode et Cabarets au XVIIme Siècle. Par Albert de la Fizelière. Paris: René Princebourde.
the Duke of Richelieu, who, returning from Mahon, was struck with the bouquet of certain Medoc that was served up at his repasts, and the report he gave of this wine of the south made the fortune of the vineyards on the Garonne.
As we know little of the wines of the ancients except through the poets, who have sung the praises of Chio, of Lesbos, of Člazomene, and of Falerno, so little is known of the wines of France in early times save through its bards. We are indebted to a poet for the receipt for the Diacbyton-the nectar of the Greeks. The grapes were left to dry on raised platforms. They were taken in at night to preserve them from the dew, and it was not till they had been thus allowed to mature for seven days that the rich juices were pressed out. Certain wines are prepared in precisely the same way in France to the present day, only the grapes are laid out on straw. Hence it is that they are termed "vins de paille.". The wines of most repute of this description are those called Arbois, Hermitage, Argentac, and Colmar. Rousillon, however, and most of the wines of Provence, undergo a similar preparatory process; and so also with regard to some of the wines of the Meurthe and the Moselle. What is known as the “vin cuit” of Provence, more commonly called “Cassis” and “Aubagne," becomes so strong by this process as to resemble Tokay, as a good Rousillon does an inferior port; others have by the same process been made to rival Alicant and Malaga--so perfectly so as to deceive connoisseurs. Writing of Tokay, this wine is the produce of a grape known as Formint, and hence certain vinous archæologists, as Szirmay of Szirma, have argued its descent from the Formia of Horace; but the vineyards were, it is historically known, originally planted with grape-vines from Malvasia, anciently Epidaurus, on the eastern coast of the Morea—the country of Malmsey-whence they were introduced by the Venetians in 1241. These vines grow on the slopes of the hills called Hegy-allya, in which name it is easy to recognise the Oriental “Hajji" pilgrim, “ Ali," or " Aliya.”
This, however, is a discursus. French poets have celebrated an order, or society, called “ Des Côteaux,” by which is meant the slopes of hills with an aspect favourable for the ripening of grapes. Boileau, for example, notices a
Certain hâbleur, à la gueule affamée,
Qui vint à ce festin conduit par la fumée,
qu s'est dit profès dans l'ordre des côteaux. Father Bouhours tells us that the founders of this order were the Commander de Souvré, the Duke of Mortemart, and the Marquis Sillery. The latter must have been an interested party. Ménage, however, says that the founders of the order were the Marquis de Bois-Dauphin, the Count d'Olonne, the Abbé de Villarceau, and M. du Broussin. There it another version of the same story in the life of Saint-Evremond, by Des Maizeaux, wherein it is recorded that Monseigneur de Lavardin, Bishop of Mans, having said of his three friends–M. de Saint-Evremond, D'Olonne, and De Bois-Dauphin that they would only drink of the three côteaux, Aï, Haut-Villiers, and Avenay, they were ever afterwards called the three côteaux. The origin of the epithet dates, at all events, in each version of the story, to the same epoch, and the word became as much associated with a
connoisseur in wine, as “ cordon bleu” did to a good cookấthe latter byword having its origin with the same personages—De Souvré, D'Olonne, De Lavardin, and De Mortemart--the leaders and arbiters of good living in their time.
In the fourteenth century, and for a very long time, the wine of Orleans enjoyed with Suresne the honourable distinction of being served up at the banquets of the kings of France. The Suresne here alluded to is not the wine of the suburbs of Paris, now known by that name, but a wine that came from Vendôme in “Loir et Cher," and which was reputed to be generous and enlivening.
The wines of Orleans are now no longer in repute, although the brandy manufactured from its grapes is equal to any Cognac, and it was from its vineyards that many renowned vintages have had their origin. Such was the case in respect to Johannisberg, and, at the epoch of the repeal of the Edict of Nantes, Protestant emigrants to the Cape of ood Hope took with them a few cuttings, which afterwards, under a hot sun, produced the wine of Constantia. The
grapevine of Orleans itself appears, however, to have come originally from Auvergne—the same that Boileau speaks of:
Cet Auvernas fameux, qui, mêlé de lignage,
Se vendait chez Crenet pour vin de l'Ermitage. If the kings of France continued at this epoch to drink Orleans and Surêsne wine, it must be attributed to the fact, as before observed, that Burgundy and Bordeaux still belonged, the one to its dukes, and the other to the English.
Henry IV., who, according to the popular song, had the threefold talent of loving, drinking, and fighting, preferred “ Arbois," a white wine, which is the produce of a judicious combination of the grapes of Pulsart and of Sauvignon. The “roi vert galant” is accredited, indeed, with the composition of a bacchanalian song in celebration of the virtues of this wine, the last words of which were:
Voici que je bois
De mon viel Arbois !
Hosanna, Bacchus et Silène ! The way in which claret came to be a fasbionable wine in Paris is not disputed, but it is not so with champagne. Some writers attribute its first introduetion to public notice to the ministers Colbert and Letellier, both of whom held property near Rheims; others give credit to the Maréchale d'Estrée, who owned the property of Sillery, for bringing it into notice. But, according to Saint-Evremond, Pope Leo X., François I., and Henry VIII., all placed Aï at the head of wines, because they said it had less earthy flavour tban any other. Henry IV., although delighting in “vieux Arbois,” is stated to have by no means despised champagne. An ambassador detailing one day before the king the titles of his Majesty of Spain, Castile, Leon, Estramadura, and other provinces, Henry cut him short by retorting, “ Tell him that Henri, Roi de France, de Gonesse et d'Aï—that is to say, King of France, of good bread and of good wine.