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MAR. 1, 1867.
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PARIS, February 1, 1867. deal. The chief subject of discussion in the literary I have two pen-and-ink portraits of authors which world, just now, is the canvass for the vacant seats I think you will read with interest. The first is of in the French Academy. The candidates are M. M. Theodore Barrière, the dramatic author. " TheoJules Favre, M. Jules Simon, Father Gratry, M. dore Barrière is, above all, a man fond of struggles. Philarete Chasles, M. Ed. Laboulaye, and perhaps Don't understand me to say he is disdainful of dis. M. Théophile Gautier. The discussion loses some-cipline, far otherwise. Were you to see walking on thing of its interest from the knowledge that before the boulevards that dark-complexioned yonng man, a very long period of time there will be vacancies with an energetic and martial head, rigidly buttoned enough in the Academy to gratify all ambitions. in his frockcoat, you would say he was an officer in M. Villemain's health is deplorable, M. de Ponger- civil dress, rather a martinet, and not the least in ville is barely alive, M. de Segur is past 90, the the world one of the most ardent writers, and one Duke de Broglie and M. Viennet are above 80. It of the writers most impatient of restraint the age seems to be the general impression that M. Jules has produced. His first appearance avouches his Favre will be elected to M. de Barante's seat, and rectitude of mind and of life, and the broad temthat M. Jules Simon or Father Gratry will be elected ples and forehead indicate to him who knows how to succeed M. Victor Cousin. However, April is to read, he has a will which never bends and ever still distant, and the Academy is fickle. M. Sainte- goes resolutely to its aim. . He hates convention. Beuve's contribution to the “ Paris Guide,” which alities, common places, and all the convenient MM. Lacroix, Verbocken & Co, have in press for the morality in which hypocrisy takes shelter. He Exhibition, has attracted a good deal of attention. can't understand the precautions of Philistines' hy. I think I mentioned, in a recent letter, this firm in- giena which interdicts the breaking of a neighbor's tends to bring out a magnificent guide at a very windows because draughts of air are dangerous." low price; it reckons upon an immense sale to reim- The other portrait is of M. Mistral, the Provençal burse the costs and give it the profits it has a right poet, whose last work, “Calendau," has just been to expect from the original and bold venture. The published with the langue d'oil on one, and langue Guide is written by our most eminent writers ; M. d'oc on the other page, that persons unfamiliar with Victor Hugo has writen the preface, Mme. George the Provençal may read the poem in more familiar Sand contributes a chapter entitled the Landscapes French. He has come up to Paris to see his book of Paris, MM. Alex. Dumas, Sardou, Paul Feval, through the press : “Look at that young man; he Jules Janin, Théophile Gautier-in fine, all of our is still a young man. His large head rests placidly literary men-sign a chapter. M. Sainte-Beuve's on broad shoulders, his brown hair is cut short, his contribution is a chapter on the French Academy, eyes are brilliant and clear; he has a fresh comin the course of which he makes these remarks on plexion, a thin moustache and barbiche, between academical elections. After mentioning how M. the moustache and barbiche a good-natured but Littré was about to be elected when the influ- firm mouth on which his friends see a smile from ence of Bishop Dupanlou, of Orleans, defeated him, the heart, which is not one of the common-place M. Sainte-Beuve, says: “Ah! we have retrograded smiles one sees every day. He has the red ribbon indeed; we have retreated from our fathers' firm- of the Legion of Honor in his button-hole, which ness, and by this single example we may measure gives him a sort of half-military look." the distance of our retreat. This is a mournful The space I was obliged to give to M. Victor page in the Annals of the French Academy which Cousin in my last letter made me omit all mention cannot be effaced or annulled, and which there is of the career of M. Noel des Vergers, who died at but one way to tear. Let the day come (and may Nice not many days before the former. Joseph I live to see it) on which an almost unanimous Adolphe Noel des Vergers was born in Paris, in vote of the Academy shall spontaneously elect M. 1805. He early showed a taste for the languages Littrè without canvass by him; then alone the in- of the East, studied them, and while quite a young sult the Academy gave itself by ostracizing a sage, man visited Italian and Sicilian converts, to examine and by depriving itself of a man of whom it had their archives for every document relating to the the greatest need for its domestic labors, would be Arabian domination in those countries. He soon repaired and avenged. I reckon little upon this. afterwards became a member of the Council of the Politics, toward which the Academy has seemed to Asiatic Society, and Secretary of the Geographical incline too much, is really only one of the provinces Society. In 1837 he published Aboulfeda's * Life on which it should turn its attention, but solely of Mahomet," with the text opposite the translation, to introduce into itself that which is eminent in and with historical notes. In 1841 he gave to the talents or in eloquence. The highest impartiality world" L'Histoire de l'Afrique sous la Dynastie des under these circumstances would be the purest Aghlabites et de la Sicile sous la Domination Musaltaste, and I cannot see what the most exclusive man. In 1847 he brought out a “ Histoire de literary man could find to say if the same company l'Arabie.” About 1847 he purchased an estate united to it M. Berryer and M. Jules Favre as near Rimini and took up his residence there. The orators. The question of the Church is too deli- relations of neighborhood introduced him to the cate. The more reserved the Academy is on this acquaintance of Borghesi, the eminent epigraphist, subject, the wiser it will be. One day, in a discus- whose home was, as you know, at San Marino. sion upon some book in which Luther was damned to Acquaintance ripened into friendship, and comthe eternal fire, and which we were asked to crown merce with this eminent man changed the whole with one of our prizes, I could not help saying to an course of M. Neol des Vergers' studies. He nos orthodox Christian, of whom I have the honor to began to direct his whole attention to the study of be a brother academician, and who was astonished the history of Italy in Latin monuments. When by my protestation : “It is quite enough for the M. Villemain, during his tenure of the Ministry of Academy to be of Horace's religion.'" As M. Public Instruction, took the first step towanis Sainte Beuve's influence in the Academy is con- forming a general collection of Latin inscription stantly increasing, and the majority of the new (discarded after he quitted the Ministry, bat members are disposed to listen to his suggestions, adopted and executed by Germany), M. Noel des it is quite probable M. Littré will one day be elected Vergers began to organize among the scholars of a member of the Academy: meantime M. Sainte. ! Italy a correspondence to carry this scheme into
MAR. 16, 1967.
execution. How much he regretted its miscarriage“ Dictionnaire du Biographie et d'Histoire," errata may be seen in bis letter to M. Letronne. He next et supplement for all historical dictionaries from auwrote a " Vie de Marc Aurele,” which he drew al- thentic unpublished documents. most entirely from Latin inscriptions. He then M. Charles Muller, the well-known editor of turned his attention to ancient Etruria, visiting Greek classics, has been sent by the Minister of and exploring every inch of the Tuscan Maremma, Public Instruction to the East, to visit the libraries digging in the ground, opening tombs, collecting to see if they do not contain some unpublished every vestige of antiquity he could discover. He Greek works. . . The friends of Mery have colspent ten years in these labors, and then bronght lected 5,000f. to erect a tomb to his memory. A pubout“ L'Etrurie et les Etrusques,” which judges hold lic subscription was opened to raise a monument to no ways unworthy to be placed on the shelf with Beranger's memory; only 600f. were subscribed. . Ottfried Müller's great work. MM. Firmin Didot M. Michelet has begun to write the history of brought out the work in most sumptuous style, Louis XVI. . . Prince Paul de Broglie, second son and it will remain the great monument of his life. of the Duke de Broglie, brother of the Prince de His health was always delicate, and so frail was his Broglie, and grandson of Mme. de Stael, has entered appearance, it had ever been a wonder how he a theological seminary to study for the priesthood... lasted so long. Mortal disease surprised him while M. Lapaume has collected under the title Biblioworking on a history of the Antonines (fragments of thèque Elzevirienne de la Romane du Midi, all the which have appeared in MM. Didot’s “ Biographie patoises poesies of Dauphiny; they are contained in Générale"), and in collecting materials for a history four huge 41o. vols. of 600 pp. each; ali the poems of Borghesi's life and labors. The first mortal have an historical and literary commentary, a transsymptoms appeared two months ago. He had lation into modern French, and a glossary. . . The quitted Paris to pass the remainder of the winter excursion M. Paul Feval recently made to Switat San Lorenzo (his estate near Rimini). When he zerland, as an advocate of the Literary Men's got as far as Nice he found he could go no further, Society, has revived the memory of his maiden so ill was he. Disease made rapid progress, and cause at the Vannes bar-for he was bred to the at Nice he died. He married a daughter of M. law. A Breton rogue was arraigned for stealing Ambroise Firmin Didot.
chickens; M. Feval had with great eloquence I have noticed, among the more recent publica- defended his client, and had proved an alibi. The tions, A. d'Almbert's “ Physiology of Duelling;" judges, in confornuity with the French usage, before V. A. Malte Bruu's " Annales des Voyages, de la ordering the jury to retire, asked the prisoner if he Géographie, de l'Histoire, et de l'Archéologie pour had anything to add to the remarks of his learned 1866 ;" “ Catalogue of Vegetables and Seed on Sale counsel : “Judges, I ain't guilty. I did kill five at the Acclimatization Garden of Hamma, near chickens. I would have killed a hundred, for I Algiers ;” Mme. Caubet Darius's “ Les Deux Che had got to be bloodthirsty. I was a perfect alibi, mins de la Vie, or the power of principles ” (a but I sware, when I went into that chicken-house novel); Godefroy Cavaignac's Military Novels; I did not intend to kill more than one chicken; but, Dr. J. C. Charazac's “ La Clef du Diagnostic ;" H. judges, I was a perfect alibi.” The shouts of laughFerre and M. Robiou's “Chefs-d'uvre of Ancient ter with which this prisoner's speech was received Art, Architecture, Paintings, Statues, Bas-relief, disgusted M. Feval with the law. . . M. Michel Bronzes, Mosaics, Vases, Medals, Cameos, etc. taken Levy Frères are about to publish de Balzac's principally for the Royal Museum, at Naples," 1st Jacqueminot” and Henri Heine's unpublished vol. published in numbers; J. Claretie's “ Les correspondence, and they ask the public for letters Femmes de Proie, Mlle. Cachemire” (a novel); J. which may be in their possession. . . 400 editions Collin de Plancey's “ La Vie et les Legendes Intimes” of “ Don Quixote” have been published since 1605 of Napoleon I. and II. to the Accession of Napoleon (the date of the first edition) in Spain alone; 200 III. ; E. Flachat's "Navigation à Vapeur Trans- have appeared in English, 168 in French, 81 in Poroceanienne, Forms of Ships, Resistance to Motion, tuguese, 96 in Italian, 70 in German, 4 in Russian, Motive Power, etc. ;'' Dr. P. Foissac's “Influence of 4 in Greek, 8 in Polish, 6 in Danish, 13 in Swedish Climates on Man, and Physical Agents on Moral and in Latin. Dr. Thehuper, a German bibliopole Beings ;?' Fragments Anticipés d'un Essai de who died not long since, had all of these editions Mathematique sur la Divinité de Jesus Christ ;' in his library. . . The minister of public instrucLouise Göethe's "Les Puritains de Province" (a tion has determined to publish a report on the povel) ; A. Guillemin's “L’Egypte Actuelle;" Prof. situation of letters during the exhibition of 1867. Ch. Robin's “ Leçons sur les Humeurs normales et M. de Sacy is to write the introduction, M. Théomorbides du Corps de l'Homme ;” Count J. de phile Gautier is to write the report on poetry, Rochechouart “ Souvenirs of a Voyage to Persia ;” M. Paul Feval on novels, and M. Edouard the 40th edition of “ Picci la ;” “Saint Marc ;'' ierry on the theatre. . . A person who knew Girardin's " La Fontaine and Fable Writers” (the M. Cousin well, says: "He never read attentively substance of many years' lecture at the Sorbonne); a single line of contemporary prose. He looked Edmond About's “ Salon de 1866" (criticisms on the for nothing in reviews and newspapers but capital pictures shown in last year's Fine Arts' Exhibition); Cs—the initial of his name." The Minister E. Belot's “ History of the Roman Equestrian Order of Public Instruction has given orders to collect considered in its relations with the different Con- photographs of all the colleges and high schools stitutions of Rome from the Kings to the Gracchi ;” of France, and of all the scholars and professors M. Capefigue s “ Sainte Marie ;-M. Alcoq and the in them for the exhibition. . . The philosophical Congregations of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and of works of Father Gratry bring him copyright to the Mary, the Immaculate Conception;" L. Cellier's amount of $3,000 or $1,000 a year. His book," Les " Holy Week in the Vatican” (musical and pictur- Sources," is one of the four volumes M. Berryer esque study); M. D. Chaigneau's “Souvenirs of keeps constantly on his table—the three others Hué” (Cochinchina); Chs. Deslys's “Le Rachat are the Georgics, the Spirit of Laws, and Bossuet's du Passé” (a novel); Gus. Droz's “Entre Nous ;" Discourse on Universal History. The de La Euvre’s de Gerbert, Pope under the name of Rochejaquelein family have protested against the Syivestre II., collated with the manuscripts, pre- assertions of the newspapers that the late Baron de ceded by his biography, followed by critical and Barante was the author of their mother's memoirs historical notes, edited by A. Olleris; and A. Jal's " he encouraged her by his advice, and aided h