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And when Fidelia returns to him, saying that Olivia has embraced her, by force, in a fit of love, he exclaims; "Her love!-a whore's, a witch's love! But what, did she not kiss well, sir? I'm sure, I thought her lips-but I must not think of 'em more-but yet they are such I could still kiss,grow to, and then tear off with my teeth, grind 'em into mammocks, and "pi 'em into her cuckold's face." ↑ These savage words indicate savage ictions. He goes by night to enter Olivia's house with Fidelia, and under her name; and Fidelia tries to prevent him, through jealousy. Then his blood boils, a storm of fury mounts to his face, and he speaks to her in a whispering, hissing voice: "What, you are my rival, then! and therefore you shall stay, and keep the door for me, whilst I go in for you; but when I'm gone, if you dare to stir off from this very board, or breathe the least murmuring accent, I'll cut her throat first; and if you love her, you will not venture her life.-Nay, then I'll cut your throat too, and I know you love your own life at least. . . . Not a word more, lest I begin my revenge on her by killing you." He knocks over Olivia's husband, another traitor seizes from her the casket of jewels he had given her, Casts her one or two of them, saying, “Here, madam, I never yet left my wench unpaid," and gives this same casket to Fidelia, whom he marries. All these actiors then appeared natural. Wycherley took to himself in his dedication the title of his hero, Plain Dealer; he fancied he had drawn the portrait of a frank, honest man, and praised
The Plain Dealer. iii. 1. ↑ Ibid. iv. 1.
↑ Ibid. iv. a.
And in the midst of all these, a great poet, blind, and sunk into obscurity, his soul saddened by the misery of the times, thus depicted the madness of the infernal rout:
"Belial came last, than whom a spirit more lewd
Fell not from heaven, or more gross to love
Of Belial, flown with insolence and wine."
2. THE WORLDLINGS.
IN the seventeenth century a new mode of life was inaugurated in Europe, of and shaped every other. In France the worldly, which soon took the lead especially, and in England, it appeared and gained ground, from the same
causes and at the same time.
In order to people the drawing. rooms, a certain political condition is necessary; and this condition, which is tion with a regular system of police, the supremacy of the king in combina. was established at the same period on both sides of the Channel. A regular police brings about peace among men, draws them out of their feudal inde pendence and provincial isolation, increases and facilitates intercommuni cation, confidence, union comfort, and pleasures. The kingly supremacy calls into existence a court, the centre of intercourse, from which all favors flow, and which calls for a display of pleasure and splendor. The aristocracy thus attracted to one another, and attracted to the throne by securi ty, curiosity, amusement, and interest • Paradise Lost, book i. l. 490-508.
meet together, and become at once | Stewart: "the queen in a white-laced men of the world and men of the court. waistcoate and a crimson short petty They are no longer, like the barons coate, and her hair dressed à la négli of a preceding age, standing in their gence;.. Mrs Stewart with her hat Lofty halls, armed and stern, possessed cocked and a red plume, with her by the idea that they might perhaps, sweet eye. little Roman nose, and ex when they quit their palace, cut each cellent taille." Then they returned other to pieces, and that if they fall to to Whitehall "where all the ladies blows in the precincts of the court, the walked, talking and fiddling with their executioner is ready to cut off their hats and feathers, and changing and band and stop the bleeding with a red- trying one another's by one another's hot iron; knowing, moreover, that the heads, and laughing." In such fine king may probably have them be- company there was no lack of gallantry. headed to-morrow, and ready accord- Perfumed gloves, pocket mirrors, work ingly to cast themselves on their knees cases fitted up, apricot paste, essences, and break out into protestations of and other little love-tokens, came over submissive fidelity, but counting under every week from Paris. London furnish their breath the number of swords that ed more substantial gifts, ear-rings, dia will be mustered on their side, and the monds, brilliants, and golden guineas: trusty men who keep sentinel behind the fair ones put up with these, as if they the drawbridge of their castles. The had come from a greater distance. rights, privileges, constraints, and at- There were plenty of intrigues-Heav tractions of feudal life have disappear-en knows how many or of what kind. ed. There is no more need that the manor should be a fortress. These men can no longer experience the joy of reigning there as in a petty state. It has palled on them, and they quit it. Having no further cause to quarrel with the king, they go to him. His court is a drawing-room, most agreeable to the sight, and most serviceable to those who frequent it. Here are festivities, splendid furniture, a decked and select company, news, and tittle-tattle; here they find pensions, titles, places for themselves and their friends; they receive amusement and profit; it is all gain and all pleasure. Here they attend the levée, are present at dinners, return to the ball, sit down to play, are there when the king goes to bed. Here they cut a dash with their half-French dress, their wigs, their hats loaded with feathers, their trunk-hose, their annions, the large rosettes on their shoes. The ladies paint and patch their faces, display robes of magnificent Batin and velvet, laced up with silver and very long, and above you may see their white busts, whose brilliant nakedness is extended to their shoulders and arms. They are gazed upon, saluted, approached. The king rides on horseback in Hyde Park; by his side canter the queen, and with her the two mistresses, Lady Castlemaine and Mrs. * Consult all Shakspeare's historical plays.
Naturally, also, conversation does not stop. They did not mince the adventures of Miss Warmestré the haughty who, " deceived apparently by a bad reckoning, took the liberty of lying-in in the midst of the court." They spoke in whispers about the attempts of Miss Hobart, or the happy misfortune of Miss Churchill, who, being very plain, but having the wit to fall from her horse, touched the eyes and heart of the Duke of York. The Chevalier de Grammont relates to the king the history of Termes, or of Poussatin the almoner: every one leaves the dance to hear it; and when it is over they all burst out laughing. We perceive that this is not the world of Louis XIV., and yet it is a world; and if it has more froth, it runs with the identical current. The great object here also is selfish amusement, and to put on appearances; people strive to be men of fashion; a coat bestows a certain kind of glory on its wearer. De Grammont was in despair when the roguery of his valet obliged him to wear the same suit twice over. Another courtier piques himself on his songs and his guitar-playing. "Russell had a collec tion of two or three hundred quadrilles in tablature, all of which he used to * Pepys Diary, ii. July 13, 1663. ↑ Ibid + Mémoires de Grammont, by A. Hamilton Ibid. ch. ix
dance without ever having studied | were, chews the cud and corrects itself them." Jermyn was known for his It finds a religion, an art, a philosophy Buccess with the fair. "A gentleman," to reform or to form anew. It is o said Etherege, "ought to dress well, longer the minister of inspired intui dance well, fence well, have a talent tion, but of a regular process of de for love-letters, a pleasant voice in a composition. It no longer feels or room, to be always very amorous, suf- looks for generalities; it handles and ficiently discreet, but not too constant.” observes specialties. It selects and These are already the court manners classifies; it refines and regulates. It as they continued in France up to the ceases to be a creator, and becomes a time of Louis XVI. With such man- discourser. It quits the province ners, words take the place of deeds. invention and settles down into criti Life is passed in visits and conversation. cism. It enters upon that magnificent The art of conversing became the chief and confused aggregate of dogmas and of all; of course to converse agreeably, forms, in which the preceding age has to fill up an idle hour, on twenty sub- gathered up indiscriminately its dreams jects in an hour, hinting always, with- and discoveries; it draws thence the out going deep, in such a fashion that ideas which it modifies and verifies. conversation should not be a labor, but It arranges them in long chains of sim a promenade. It was followed up by ple ratiocination, which descend link letters written in the evening, by by link to the vulgar apprehension. madrigals or epigrams to be read in the It expresses them in exact terms, which morning, by drawing-room tragedies, or present a graduated series, step by caricatures of society. In this manner step, to the vulgar reasoning power. a new literature was produced, the It marks out in the entire field of work and the portrait of the world thought a series of compartments and which was at once its audience and its a network of passages, which, exmodel, which sprung from it, and ended cluding all error and digression, lead gradually every mind to every object. It becomes at last clear, convenient, charming. And the world lends its The art of conversation being then a aid; contingent circumstances finish necessity, people set themselves to ac- the natural revolution; the taste bequire it. A revolution was effected in comes changed through a declivity of mind as well as in manners. As soon its own, but also through the influence as circumstances assume new aspects, of the court. When conversation bethought assumes a new form. The comes the chief business of life, it mod Renaissance is ended, the Classic Age ifies style after its own image, and acbegins, and the artist makes room for cording to its peculiar needs. It reputhe author. Man is returned from his diates digression, excessive metaphor, first voyage round the world of facts; impassioned exclamations, all loose enthusiasm, the labor of a troubled and overstrained ways. We cannot imagination, the tumultuous crowding bawl, gesticulate, dream aloud, in a of new ideas, all the faculties which a drawing-room; we restrain ourselves; first discovery calls into play, have be- we criticise and keep watch over our. come satiated, then depressed. The selves; we pass the time in narration incentive is blunted, because the work and discussion; we stand in need of is done. The eccentricities, the far concise expression, exact language, vistas, the unbridled originality, the all-clear and connected reasoning; other. powerful flights of genius aimed at the centre of truth through the extremes of folly, all the characteristics of grand inventive genius have disappeared. The imagination is tempered; the mind is disciplined: it retraces its steps; it walks its own domain once more with a satisfied curiosity, an acquired experience. Judgment, as it
wise we cannot fence or comprehend each other. Correct style, good lan guage, conversation, are self-generated, and very quickly perfected; for refinement is the aim of the man of the world: he studies to render every thing more becoming and more serviceable his furniture and his speech, his periods and his dress. Art and artifice are
there the distinguishing mark. People | specimens of this new refinement, ap pride themselves on being perfect in pears Sir William Temple, a diploma their mother tongue, never to miss the tist and man of the world, cautious, correct sense of any word, to avoid prudent, and polite, gifted with tact in vulgar expressions, to string together conversation and in business, expert in their antitheses, to develop their the knowledge of the times, and in the thoughts, to employ rhetoric. Noth- art of not compromising himself, adroit ing is more marked than the contrast in pressing forward and in standing of the conversations of Shakspeare aside, who knew how to attract to himand Fletcher with those of Wycherley self the favor and the expectations of and Congreve. In Shakspeare the England, to obtain the eulogies of mer dialogue resembles an assault of arms; of letters, of savants, of politicians, of we could imagine men of skill fencing the people, to gain a European reputa with words and gestures as it were in tion, to win all the crowns appropriated a fencing-school. They play the buf- to science, patriotism, virtue, genius, foon, sing, think aloud, burst out into without having too much of science, a laugh, into puns, into fishwomen's patriotism, genius, or virtue. Such a talk and into poet's talk, into quaint life is the masterpiece of that age: fine whimsicalities; they have a taste for externals on a foundation not so fine; the ridiculous, the sparkling; one of this is its abstract. His manner as an them dances while he speaks; they author agrees with his maxims as a would willingly walk on their hands; politician. His principles and style are there is not one grain of calculation to homogeneous; a genuine diplomatist, more than three grains of folly in their such as one meets in the drawing-rooms, heads. In Wycherley, on the other having probed Europe and touched hand, the characters are steady; they everywhere the bottom of things; tired reason and dispute; ratiocination is of every thing, specially of enthusiasm, the basis of their style; they are so admirable in an arm-chair or at a levee, perfect that the thing is overdone, and a good story-teller, waggish if need we see through it all the author string- were, but in moderation, accomplished ing his phrases. They arrange a tab- in the art of maintaining the dignity of leau, multiply ingenious comparisons, his station and of enjoying himself. In balance well-ordered periods. One his retreat at Sheen, afterwards at character delivers a satire, another Moor Park, he employs his leisure in serves up a little essay on morality. writing; and he writes as a man of his We might draw from the comedies of rank would speak, very well, that is to the time a volume of sentences; they say, with dignity and facility, particuare charged with literary morsels which larly when he writes of the countries he foreshadow the Spectator. They hunt has visited, of the incidents he has seen, for clever and suitable expressions, the noble amusements which serve to they clothe indecent circumstances pass his time.* He has an income of with decent words; they glide swiftly fifteen hundred a year, and a nice sineover the fragile ice of decorum, and cure in Ireland. He retired from pub scratch the surface without breaking it. lic life during momentous struggles, I see gentlemen, seated in gilt arm- siding neither with the king nor against chairs, of quiet wit and studied speech, him, resolved, as he tells us himself, cool in observation, eloquent skeptics, not to set himself against the current expert in the fashions, lovers of ele- when the current is irresistible. He lives gance, liking fine talk as much from peacefully in the country with his wife, vanity as from taste, who, while con- his sister, his secretary, his dependants, versing between a compliment and a receiving the visits of strangers, who are reverence, will no more neglect their anxious to see the negotiator of the Triple good style than their neat gloves or Alliance, and sometimes of the new King their hat. William, who unable to obtain his servi ces, comes occasionally to seek his coun
Amongst the best and most agreeable *Take, for example, Farquhar's Beaux Stratagem, íì. 1.
Consult especially, Observations rpm the United Provinces of the Netherlands; Gardening.
sel. He plants and gardens, in a fertile | dignity, not dogmatically nor haugh soil, in a country the climate of which tily, but in varied tones, aptly modu. agrees with him, amongst regular flower-lating his voice and gestures. He re beds, by the side of a very straight canal, counts the four kinds of grapes which bordered by a straight terrace; and he he has introduced into England, ana lauds himself in set terms, and with confesses that he has been extravagant, suitable discreetness, for the character yet does not regret it; for five years he he possesses and the part he has cho- has not once wished to see London. He sen "I have often wondered how intersperses technical advice with anec. such sharp and violent invectives come dotes; whereof one relates to Charles to be made so generally against Epi- II., who praised the English climate curus, by the ages that followed him, above all others, saying: "He thought whose admirable wit, felicity of expres- that was the best climate, where he sion, excellence of nature, sweetness of could be abroad in the air with pleas conversation, temperance of life and ure, or at least without trouble or in constancy of death made him so beloved convenience, most days of the year, and by his friends, admired by his scholars, most hours of the day." Another and honored by the Athenians." * He about the Bishop of Munster, who, un. does well to defend Epicurus, because able to grow any thing but cherries in he has followed his precepts, avoiding his orchard, had collected all varieties, every great confusion of the mind, and so perfected the trees that he had and installing himself, like one of Lucre- fruit from May to September. tius' gods, in the interspace of worlds; reader feels an inward gratification as he says: "Where factions were when he hears an eyewitness relate once entered and rooted in a state, they minute details of such great men. Our thought it madness for good men to attention is aroused immediately; we meddle with public affairs." And in consequence imagine ourselves deniagain: "The true service of the public zens of the court, and smile complacentis a business of so much labor and so ly; no matter if the details be slender, much care, that though a good and wise they serve passably well, they constiman may not refuse it, if he be called tute" a half hour with the aristocracy." to it by his prince or his country, and like a lordly way of taking snuff, or thinks he may be of more than vulgar shaking the lace of one's ruffles. Such use, yet he will seldom or never seek it; is the interest of courtly conversation; but leaves it commonly to men who, it can be held about nothing; the exunder the disguise of public good, pur-cellence of the manner lends this nosue their own designs of wealth, power, and such bastard honors as usually attend them, not that which is the true, and only true, reward of virtue." This is how he ushers himself in. Thus presented to us, he goes on to talk of the gardening which he practises, and first of the six grand Epicureans who have llustrated the doctrine of their master -Cæsar, Atticus, Lucretius, Horace, Mæcenas, Virgil; then of the various sorts of gardens which have a name in the world, from the garden of Eden and the garden of Alcinous, to those of Holland and Italy; and all this at some length, like a man who listens to himself and is listened to by others, who does rather profusely the honors of his house and of his wit to his guests, but does them with grace and
Temple's Works: Of Gardening, ii. 190. ↑ Ibid. 184.
thing a peculiar charm; you hear the sound of the voice, you are amused by the half smile, abandon yourself to the fluent stream, forget that these are ordinary ideas; you observe the narrator, his peculiar breeches, the cane he toys with, the be-ribboned shoes, his easy walk over the smooth gravel of his garden paths between the faultless hedges; the ear, the mind even is charmed, captivated by the appropriateness of his diction, by the abundance of his ornate periods, by the dignity and fulness of a style which is involuntarily regular, which, at first artificial, like good breeding, ends, like true good breeding, by being changed into a rea necessity and a natural talent.
Unfortunately, this talent occasionally leads to blunders; when a man speaks well about every thing, he thinks he has a right to speak of every thing. He