« PreviousContinue »
man that he has been educated at Lunéville, or he has been to Paris, he has at once a good introduction for making his entrance into society. One is sure beforehand that he will have good manners, know French, and dance a minuet and quadrille with ease and grace. All these gentlemen who have been in France are much sought after, and very popular in society. I am really most anxious to see the two sons of the Palatine.
6th January. Saturday. They arrived yesterday after dinner, but they do not coincide at all with the idea I had formed of them, M. le Staroste even less than his brother. I expected to see a young slight amiable man, just like the Prince Charming in Madame de Beaumont's tales, always speaking French and trying to be agreeable ; but I was quite mistaken, M. le Staroste is no longer young, he is thirty years of age, and is stout, and does not like dancing, and never speaks a word of French. Sometimes he makes a Latin quotation just like my father. I like the Colonel better, he is younger and wears his uniform, and does say a few words in French. This is twelfth-night, and the day on which our page Michel Chronowski is to be emancipated. They are preparing an enormous cake which will contain a bean. Who will be king ? oh, if I could only be queen! I should wear a crown on my head all the evening and be absolute mistress. I should give my orders all through the Castle and would not we dance ? but without my commands, they will dance to-night, for the crowds have never ceased arriving from morning to night. The servants are all grumbling, and the butler is so cross as he sees all the carriages and phaetons drive up, for he says it gives him so much work. I in the meantime am jumping with joy, and that is the way in this world, “what is one man's food, is another man's poison.”
7th January. What numbers of people and what a state of confusion and excitement the Castle is in! I was not queen, it was Barbe who had the bean, and the moment she perceived it in her slice of cake she coloured
Madame who sat next her first mentioned it, and everybody, servants as well as visitors answered by hurrahs. Little Macienko said, laughing,
"Irto dostal Migdala,
Had to marry Michel.”
They have also a saying, that when a young girl has the bean, she always marries before the end of the carnival. I hope the prognostication will come true, for then we shall have a wedding and some dancing. I cannot become accustomed to M. le Staroste, he always looks so serious, and yesterday he would only dance Polish dances. has scarcely mentioned Paris or Lunéville, and then it seems so unaccountable of him never to take the smallest notice of young people, he never by any chance makes any small joke or gallant speech, such as one is accustomed to consider current coin in good society. He just talks to the parents, plays cards, and reads the newspapers. sure his brother must be superior to him, at least he is sociable and talks of Paris and Lunéville, and then he is younger ; but with all my remarks I am forgetting to describe the ceremony that took place yesterday for the emancipation of Michel Chronowski; it was very amusing. When all the company were assembled in the large hall
my father took his place on the highest seat, and then the folding doors were thrown open, and the Steward, accompanied by some of the Courtiers, introduced Michel very richly dressed in perfectly new clothes. He knelt down before my father, who, tapping him lightly on the cheek as a sign of good will, fastened a sword to his side, and after emptying a cup of wine, presented him with a fine horse and groom, with all the equipments and trappings. This horse with the one already belonging to him stood in the court yard of the Castle. My father then asked Chronowski if he would prefer seeing the world to staying with him. In a timid voice he replied, that he was very happy at the Castle, but he would prefer to see something of the world that lay beyond, and that he ventured to solicit an introduction to the Prince Lubomirski, Palatine of Lublin, who is my father's brother-in-law. This request was immediately granted, and my father slipped a little roll of twenty golden ducats into his hand, and invited him to spend the remainder of the Carnival with us. Chronowski appeared charmed with the proposal, and having “ placed his homages” at the feet of my father and mother, he kissed the hand of each lady present, and from that moment was admitted into our society to dance as well as he could the Cracoviack and Mazurka with Barbe. I must acknowledge that he dances beautifully, and my sister does not yield the palm to him in grace. It was a pretty sight to watch them, and I was sorry when they stopped dancing
(To be continued.)
THE myrtle bears a charmed leaf,
'Tis fresh through winter's drear,
'Tis green when they are sere,
It yields aroma sweet,
Type of her charms complete.
The Jewish maid “Hadassah” bore
The Myrtle's Hebrew name,
To Esther—"star" of fame!
Fair Esther's memory lives,
A hallowed lustre gives.
When summer beams his ambient ray,
And glads our Northern Isle,
To woo his florid smile,
In glistening showers descend,
Its snowy flowerets bend.
How camest thou, Myrtle, to our land,
Choice pride of Southern bower ?
'Twas Walter Raleigh's flower ::
In sunny classic clime,
A gift to bloom for time.
The changeful gale of fortune proved
In him, how vain to trust,
Stamped with the doom of dust : 1 Sir Walter Raleigh introduced the Myrtle into Britain and planted it on his estate at Youghal, Co. Cork.
Yet like thy leaves when crushed and rent,
That bruising, fragrance brought,
The grace affliction wrought.
What memories, Myrtle, ever green,
Thy lasting beauties bring,
Thy varied odours cling;
Wilt bear millennial flowers,
Bloom in New Eden bowers !
K. B. K.
LESSER LIGHTS; OR, SKETCHES FROM THE LITE
RATURE OF THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY.
SIR ROGER L'ESTRANGE, KT.
In the literary history of every country there are certain prominent names, which all people know as those of writers, continually coming to the front; but of writers whose works, of much esteem in their own day, are now seldom seen, there is very little said. Amongst these names of the secondary order are found wits, essayists, and poets—writers, whose works are known to a few as containing much that is interesting, relative to the manners and thoughts of their period. Let us go back to that time in our history when Charles the Second was restored, and we shall find a full field of secondary writers.
There lately came into my possession an old book containing a fine engraved folio portrait by R. White. In the handwriting of a hundred years ago, a former owner who was a reverend divine, has written beneath the portrait a pregnant line, suggestive of much serious thought;
“Here's his picture; here's his wit; but where is he?" Ah! where is Sir Roger L'Estrange, Kt. ? for it is a portrait of him, and the book is “The Fables of Æsop and other eminent Mythologists, with morals and reflections,” 1704. Perhaps to some, even cultured people, the name and works of L'Estrange are unknown, and yet the knight was no mean personage in his day. A short account of his career may not be devoid of interest.
Let me sketch, in words, his personal appearance from the engraving. A long flowing wig surrounding a clean shaven face, and reaching far down upon the shoulders; the face, not altogether an unpleasant one, but strongly marked ; good looking eyes, under brows projecting; a nose, large, and slightly aquiline ; a mouth and chin, heavy, sensual, with a grim humour lurking over them; all this depicted by the skilful mannerism of Kneller and you have before you the face of Sir Roger L'Estrange.
His life was a long and exciting one, falling as it did within two of the most remarkable periods of English History, the Rebellion and the Revolution. Busy, bustling, meddling, he lived a life of action, full of politics and political writing, yet withal finding time to “sprinkle the town” with little books of translations, valueless as such perhaps, but interesting as samples of the idiomatic English of his time.
Roger L'Estrange was born Dec. 17th, 1616, at Hunstanton in Norfolk, of an old and respectable family. In fact Jeremy Collier gives him a pedigree reaching to the Conqueror. He grew up receiving the usual education, and does not appear to have attracted much notice; but in 1640 the troubles began in England, and Roger, young and enthusiastic, at once attached himself to the Royal cause. In 1644, he received a commission from the king for surprising Lynn, in Norfolk, then in possession of the parliamentary army. He was betrayed by two of his associates, and was accordingly seized, conducted to London, and tried by a court martial who condemned him to be hanged as a spy. His life was saved only by Prince Rupert threatening to retaliate on some soldiers of the Parliament whom he had taken prisoners. He continued in Newgate upwards of three years, but having obtained his liberty he went abroad, returning during the usurpation of Cromwell. He was at once taken into custody, but upon a remonstrance being made to the Protector, he was discharged.
After these escapes Roger discreetly remained in the background until the course of events led to the recall of Charles, in 1660. Then he first began to appear as a writer by printing tracts in 1661, such as “The Relapsed Apostate; or, notes upon a Presbyterian pamphlet, entitled a Petition for Peace;" The Holy Cheat;
or, Interest mistaken, 1662;” in these, as in the “Memento of King Charles the Martyr, 1662,” the bent of L'Estrange's mind is evident,—he is the friend of high-handed measures in state and church, those courses which subsequently ruined the Stuarts. His friends now being in