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“Yes, I am sleepy."
“There you are ; one night of pleasure and study makes you sick! Come, young man ! Be strong; follow the example of your senior. Perhaps the wheel of my destiny, good or bad, is taking a turn at this moment. Rouge or noir ? The game must be played, and I am not more agitated than if only a forin were at stake!”
He was not agitated, I dare say, but he was nervous; and every time he passed a certain mirror in the style of Louis XIV., he unconsciously adjusted some part of his dress. I see him still, leaning back in his arm-chair à la Voltaire, whilst his valet, upon his knees, put on his boots ; I see him walking the pavement of the Chaussée d'Antin with great strides, his foot delicate as that of any Parisienne, his leg like that of a mountaineer! And I could paint him entering the rickety church, swept away two or three years ago by ruthless hands. He had on iron-gray pantaloons and vest, and a well-fitting blue frock-coat, which set off his figure without inconveniencing him. A small piece of red ribbon was in his button-hole, his overcoat was thrown over his left arm, and his right hand held bis hat. I shall add that he wore a turn-down collar, a long cravat, Swedish gloves, and not a particle of jewelry. Nothing more simple and bourgeois than this morning attire, and yet ļ swear to you that Francis I. and Henry VIII., meeting upon the Field of the Cloth of Gold, had not a loftier air combined.
He stood motionless and collected for some minutes, then, resolutely entering the little aisle on the right, he walked up the entire length of the church. He then faced about and slowly returned, casting his eyes over the crowd, like a man commissioned with numbering the blue bonnets. When he rejoined me, I had no need of questioning him ; his face expressed ill-humor and scorn.
“ I was sure of it," he said. Come, let us have breakfast."
“You saw nobody?”
Go and louk for yourself!" He did not need to entreat me to make the trial again, and I had no difficulty in finding Madame Bersac. She was in the middle of the first row of seats, dressed as she had previously announced to us, and I may add that the blue velvet became her exceedingly well. Her personal appearance was most appetising, if I may be allowed to use the word. Her roundish face had the color and solidity of a Sèvres biscuit, and her figure all the daintiness belonging to a Clodian beauty. The contrast between her golden hair, her brown eyebrows, and black eyes was lovely. Her hand, too strictly gloved, after the fashion of the provinces, was small, and her teeth were beautiful. This is all I was able to note during a cursory and unfavorable examination, as an officer makes a survey under the fire from a citadel. The young widow, whose age her greatest enemy would not have estimated to be more than twenty-six years, was seated between two fantastic dragons in human shape, who had escaped, it seemed to me, from some one or other of Toepffer's stories. Picture to yourself an undersized man of seventy-five years, withered, shrunken, and faded as a flower in an herbarium ; and an old virago,
with something of a beard, frightful-looking and monstrously fat. It was impossible to see such a pair without thinking of those spider couples, of which the female devours her mate after marriage. The greatest harmony seemed, however, to exist between these monsters ; they watched by turns, following the mass in their books: as soon as the man lowered his eyes the woman would raise her head, and when the woman resumed her prayers he would resume his watching.
I hastily rejoined Etienne and rendered him an account of what I had seen, not concealing my admiration for the beautiful and touching victim. At the first words that I spoke his skepticism, his dandyism, and his freezing looks gave place to sincere emotion; he grew pale and leaned upon me for support. I could not prevail upon him to await the moment fixed for his going back to the front of the church; he darted away like an arrow, upset several chairs, elbowed some worshippers, and returned with a radiant face, his hat in his left hand and his handkerchief in his right. “ You are right,” he said, “she is simply charming. We love each other, I shall marry her, and I shall invite you ; but let us go out, I need air." His imagination was so greatly heated that but for me he would have forgotten to put on his overcoat at a temperature of thirty or forty degrees. We left, and during a full quarter of an hour hé unheedingly shuffled about in the black and sticky dust which is the snow of Paris. For my part I forgot to freeze, though nothing chills your blood like a sleepless night; I felt a strange rapture in listening to the nonsense of this great child.
We saw the congregation come out and disperse in various directions. Hortense left the church upon the arm of the withered old man and flanked by the giantess; all three entered the Rue de Tivoli. The young woman did not see us, or, if she perceived Etienne, she did not show it; but her two companions, relieving each other, turned backed a number of times, the one looking ahead whilst the other guarded the rear. Etienne burned with a desire to follow them n; I restrained him by proving that he would risk compromising all parties, and so we wended our way to breakfast.
Happy man! With what an appetite he devoured time and space, not slighting the chicken à la Marengo! The obstacles, the rivalry,
d the plots of the Bersac family disappeared before him like the muttonchops; he tasted both the Musigny wine and the happiness of being loved like a true connoisseur. He ate a dozen or fifteen splendid crabs, making quite as many projects more than splendid. It was a double pleasure to see and hear him. He furnished his house, discussed the liveries, stocked the stables, galloped upon his favorite horse in the side-alleys of the Bois de Boulogne, and designed costumes for Hortense such as princesses have not; he would open his drawing-rooms to the élite of talent, while the great lords might stand waiting at his door. All at once he plunged into the very depths of the country, and began one of those idyls which youthis dream at eighteen years, gathering violets by the bushel and raising triumphal arches of corn-flowers.
Le loup se forge une félicité
Qui le fait pleurer de tendresse. *
The world wearied him ; he would be all to his wife, in order to have her all to himself. If he found her a little unpolished still (nothing more excusable, poor thing !), he would remould her with his own hands. “It is not a more difficult task, after all, than to create a perfect heroine, as we do every day in our novels. I have fashioned more than twenty women, true as life, to please the public; I would now fashion the best and most charming for my own use. Zounds! every one for himself. Is it not quite just and natural for a poor romancer to enjoy the luxury of a romance for once in his life ? "
I intimated that his air-castle lacked one important thing.
“My dear friend,” he replied, in a graver tone, "you know what I have been able to produce amidst the hubbub of Paris. Boulevards, cards, women, boon companions, creditors, theatres, suppers, duels, newspapers, letters,- they have still left me the time to write two or three genuine books. You saw this morning that, even with two bottles of champagne in my head, I can improvise merrily enough. Judge from this what I shall be able to do when quiet, security, happiness, and honorable love shall have given me back to myself thoroughly regenerated! I shall produce masterpieces."
Jean Moreau ?”
Jean Moreau first, and a hundred others afterwards. What is an 18mo volume? Seven or eight thousand lines of print. I can dictate five hundred in less than two hours, as you have seen; one day of a free and happy man's life represents ten working hours at the lowest count, that is five thousand lines. At this rate I should produce a volume every two days, one hundred and eighty in a year, with plenty of time for rest. If this large number frightens you, reduce it to a half, a fourth, a tenth ; there will still remain eighteen volumes per annum. Give me thirty years to live, and I shall have at least five hundred and forty volumes upon the shelf. If I die in my prime, fifteen years hence, I shall still leave the booksellers a more imposing stock than that of Voltaire. We know why the writers of our age are all barren, or nearly so: it is because they waste nine-tenths of their time and ink in soliciting favors from a figurante, indulgence from the tailor, and delays from the bailiff. A million lines are daily lost in Paris, to the detriment of the provinces and posterity. Take all the men of talent, I know fully two hundred and fifty, marry them to women like Hortense, give to each two hundred louis per month, and the ages of Pericles, Augustus, and Louis XIV. will be but as a day in midsummer compared with ours!”
He continued in this strain till two o'clock of the afternoon, and then he sent me home to bed without the promised letter of introduction. I, young and careless, did not awake before nine o'clock the next day.
(TO BY CONTINUED.)
N October 31, 1872, the good people of Weimar celebrated the
fourth centenary of the birth of Lucas Cranach, the painter of the Reformation. From a brief sketch of the life of this friend of Luther, which recently appeared in commemoration of that day, written by Pastor German, a descendant of Cranach, we make a few interesting extracts, and'endeavor to weave them into something like a connected narrative.
We possess no exact information of the time of Cranach's birth, nor of the struggles through which he finally emerged the first religious portrait-painter of his time. He was born about 1472, at Kronach, in the former Franconian bishopric of Bamberg. Nor do we know his parentage ; only so much seems to be certain, that his family-name was Sunder," or even “Sünder,” a name still extant in Franconia. As Lucas Cranach always wrote his name with C and not with K, and often simply signed himself “Master Lucas, Maler," the erroneous supposition arose that his family-name was Maler, Moler, or Müller, while the word “Maler" meant simply his profession, painter. He himself assumed, as was then often, and is even yet sometimes done, the name of the place of his nativity, Kronach, changing it into Cranach ; his most usual signature being " Lukas Cranach, Maler zu Wittenberg." The name Cranach is likewise given to him in the letters-patent of nobility issued by the Elector Frederick the Wise in 1508 at Nuremberg ; in which also his coat ofarms is prescribed, consisting of a winged dragon holding in his mouth a ring set with a ruby; by which his and his son's pictures may readily be recognised, both having been in the habit of affixing this coat-of-arms to their works.
His first teacher was his own father. This is assured by a Latin memoir written by the tutor of his son's children, Matthew Gunderam, a native of Kronach, and in 1556 deposited with other documents in the ball supporiing the vane on the top of the church of Wittenberg; in which memoir it is stated that "he was taught his art by his father.” The first works which directed the attention of the Saxon princes to Cranach, are said to have been a pair of antlers and a deer, which he painted for Cobourg Castle, in so masterly a manner that both hunters and dogs were deceived by them. This faithful, life-like imitation of nature, to which he devoted his powers by preference, is the distinguishing characteristic of his works; hence it is that his portraits are valued above all others of that time for their historic truthfulness. If we wish, for example, to obtain at one glance a life-like representation of the great coryphæus of the Reformation, we need only contemplate his master-work, the altar-piece in the church at Weimar; where Luther, surrounded by Melanchthon, Frederick the Wise, and others, life-sized figures, looks down upon us; and if we are not mistaken, the painter, too, has depicted himself upon this canvas. But a higher flight of genius Cranach never attained; he is below his countryman Albrecht Dürer, and much below bis Italian and Dutch contemporaries, in point of imaginative creativeness.
We know not when Lucas Cranach first became acquainted with the Elector of Saxony, Frederick the Wise, nor when he painted the above-mentioned pictures for Cobourg Castle. But that he was already known favorably beyond Germany at an early period in life, we may assume from the fact that one of his paintings is suill extant at the Sciarra Gallery of Rome, which bears the date 1504, and which is said to be a fine work of art; as also from this, that after having become the court-painter of the Elector, he maintained an interesting correspondence with the mother of King Francis I. of France, in which he offers to barter bis pictures for ancient relics in her possession. The pictures thus obtained by the king's mother are still here and there to be met with in the State-Galleries of France.
He seems to have led, up to 1505, a sort of Bohemian life, with no assured place of residence. In that year we see him permanently established at Wittenberg, however ; as appears from an entry in the Electoral accounts: "50 MH. Meister Lukas von Wittenberg, dem Maler uff Bereth "- 50 Misnia florins to Master Lucas, of Wittenberg, the painter, by order. The honorable position of court-painter was held by Cranach with three successive Saxon Electors, Frederick the Wise ; his brother, John the Constant; and Frederick's son, John Frederick the Magnanimous. An anecdote we may here relate in reference to his picture of Countess Catharine, daughter of Henry, Count of Henneberg, the ancestress of Frederick the Wise. When the Elector commissioned him to paint this picture, he pleasantly said to the painter: "Er möge ihm doch ja diese Hennebergische Henne recht wohl malen, als welche dem Hause Sachsen ein gar schönes Ei gelegt habe”—“Paint me well this Henneberg hen, since she has laid so pretty an egg in the nest of our Saxon house ;' from her the powerful lordship of Henneberg came to the Saxon country; Henneberg means “Hen on the Hill," and the coat-of-arms of the Henneberg Counts was a black hen on a hill — still to be seen in the present Saxon coat-of-arms; this will explain the Elector's little pleasantry.
The esteem in which Cranach was held by the Princes was shown him by the burghers of Wittenberg likewise. In the year 1519 the town-council made him their chamberlain, and in 1537 he was elected to the burgomastership, which he filled for seven years, after which he voluntarily relinquished it. His townsman, Dr. Martinus Luther, seems to have had an unwonted sway and influence over bis Wittenbergers, as appears from the following circumstance. Bread being at one time very scarce at Wittenberg, and the poor suffering greatly, Luther gave to the town authorities a heavy rasping in the person of Dr. Cruciger, the chairman of the board of town-councillors. Master Lucas was deputed by them to pacify the irascible old gentleman, and succeeded perfectly; which may show the degree of influence the painter had with the reformer. However intimate Luther became with him later, it is nevertheless a noteworthy fact, and one which still further bears testimony to the reformer's hardihood, that Cranach,