Webster Nesta Helen - The Chevalier de Boufflers A romance of the French Revolution


Author : Webster Nesta Helen (Mrs. Arthur Webster)
Title : The Chevalier de Boufflers A romance of the French Revolution
Year : 1910

Link download : Webster_Nesta_Helen_-_The_Chevalier_de_Boufflers_A_romance_of_the_French_Revolution.zip

PREFACE. In history, as in modern life, the most celebrated people are not necessarily the most interesting. Historians, like journalists, have predilections for certain personages whom they combine to immortalize whilst passing over others who often present a far more absorbing psychological study. This is particularly so in the history of the eighteenth century in France. We have been told a dozen times the story of Julie de Lespinasse and her love-affairs modelled on " Clarissa Harlowe," of Madame de Stael and the victims of her amatory experiments, of Madame du Deffand, Madame Geoffrin, of Lauzun, Fersen, and Lafayette ; yet one of the greatest romances of this enthralling period, the love-story of the Chevalier de Boufflers and the Comtesse de Sabran, has been allowed by English writers to pass into oblivion. Theirs was the " grande passion " of the times, " they loved each other," says Monsieur Victor du Bled, " with a deep love, so different to the liaisons a la mode, with a love such as we understand it " - we of to-day. Both curiously modern, their letters have none of the rounded periods and stilted phrases of their contemporaries ; they talk to each other, smile, laugh, and weep -we can almost hear them as we turn the pages. More than any other woman of her day- far more than the cynic of the Couvent Saint-Joseph-Madame de Sabran might be called the " SeVigne* of the eighteenth century." Several writers have compared the two women, for both in character and circumstances there are striking points of resemblance between them but Madame de Sabran was far more original than her seventeenth-century predecessor. " I feel your charm like that of Madame de S£vign£," Madame de Stael once wrote to her, " and in a greater degree, for there is more real feeling beneath it." Madame de SeVigne\ for all her wit, was quite conventional, and perfectly satisfied with the outer show of things. She entertained a deep respect for society, whilst Madame de Sabran was apt to be bored in crowds, even when composed of all the most important people ; her simple, naive letters, sometimes wrongly dated, often not dated at all, sometimes hastily scribbled at midnight when she was tired out after a party, sometimes lengthened out into lively causeries, have none of the tabulated accuracy of the great marquise, who, as she sat at her writing-table in the Hotel Carnavalet, doubtless realized that her words would survive in large and magnificently bound volumes on the library shelves of the future. Madame de Sabran evidently never thought of publication ; essentially a creature of moods, she wrote just as she felt, with something of the impromptu charm of Chopin, now gay, now plaintive, with here a little flash of temper, there a gleam of everlurking humour, here a riotous joie de vivre, there a tender melancholy, then all at once a wild outburst of passion like a stormy passage in the " Nocturnes M that in its turn dies down into peace and harmony once more. ...

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