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Next we have Laud; a man who had most of Strafford's faults, without either his talents or his better qualities. His powers of mind did not rise above subtlety; and his cruelty, though still most cruel, was of a mean and pitiful nature. The bigoted High Church opinions he put forth did not amount to that grand fanaticism, which, mingled with sternness, distinguished the Puritans, and, with fierceness, the Catholics. They issued only in a paltry fidgeting about forms, ceremonies, and pageants, in which no single point of faith was involved; and which were calculated only to add gingerbread finery to the proceedings of the Archbishop. And yet his ideas of the authority of a primate, and the savage serenity with which he enforced it, might have made one think that Christianity itself was identified with his power. We can see little of all this in his picture. The countenance bespeaks dullness rather than anything else; there is no token of pride or ferocity; his little pig-eyes and puckered aspect, together with his costume, give him exceedingly the quiet, narrow, poking appearance of an ordinary fellow of a college. It would have been well for himself and his master if he had never risen to be anything more.
The two handsomest men in the room are, we think, beyond all comparison, Prince Rupert and the Earl of Essex, the Parliamentary General. The Prince is here represented as a lad of about twenty, still beardless, but with a profusion of the most beautiful hair, of a rich brown, hanging, to the length of love-locks, down his neck, but in far more thickly-clustering ringlets than that term strictly describes. - His eyes are finely shaped, and of a rich hazel ; his face is graceful, oval, and his mouth most delicate. For his age he has a very manly look; but we seek in vain for that fierce impetuosity of aspect which should characterise “ fiery Rupert.” But, at this time, he had not charged at Edge Hill.
Lord Essex is in strong contrast to all this. He is very like his character. He is represented as a man in the very prime of his years, with dark close curling hair, an open, free, black eye, acquiline nose, and a moustache. He has a fine frank manly aspect, but no appearance of great intellect : he is as handsome as he can be consistently with the absence of that appearance.
Lord Falkland is curiously in opposition to the chivalrous character which is drawn of him by Clarendon, and conceded to him by the writers on all sides. He is here a dull, quiet, common-place, country parson, instead of bearing the appearance of the brilliant characteristics so generally ascribed to him. This is another of the many proofs in this gallery of how little Lavater is to be trusted.
Cromwell himself has little of the appearance of the greatness of his extraordinary mind. This portrait, which is somewhat unlike the usual one which we have seen of him, displays a very firm keen eye, and a good forehead; but it does not bespeak the force and power of his character either for good or evil. There are but few pictures of the subaltern leaders in the Civil War or the Parliamentary. They were chiefly plebeians, and there have been no family-houses to keep them in. Their side has, till quite of late years, been in evil odour, and no one has thrust them forward, and made a boast of them as their ancestors.
Montrose is one of the few who looks like himself. Firm, strong, and energetic, he seems, indeed, the Great Marquis, whose speed was that of the eagle, and whose blow was like the lion's stroke. It is impossible not to take an interest in the adventures of this very extraordinary man; and although the similarity of the circumstances of his two great defeats has cast discredit on his military skill, yet his earlier exploits can never fail to throw a splendor over his fame, such as no criticisms of a tactician can efface.
The great historian of the period is also here. He appears, in this portrait, round, fat, sleek, yellow-haired, and with but little meaning in his countenance ; rather pompous, and, like all pompous people, but little intellectual. But, with all Lord Clarendon's faults, he was by no means this. Subtle he was, and, perhaps, tiine-serving ; but whether his hair was yellow or not, he, undoubtedly, was anything but dull.
But if so many of these portraits have fallen below the expectations we had formed-whether of the beauty or the intellect of the originals —that of Charles II. in every way surpasses every history and tradition of mind or person. His picture here makes him absolutely handsome. The harsh lines of his countenance are softened down, the
eyes are remarkably fine, his air is noble, and a powerful intellect is stamped upon his brow. In many, if not most, of these points, this picture differs from those we ordinarily see of Old Rowley; but, in one point, it agrees with them. There is not a vestige of that gaiety and constitutional light-heartedness which were so prominent in his character. On the contrary, the expression of his face is grave, not sad; whereas, he never was grave in his life, except, perhaps, in the royal oak; and never had heart enough to be sad for anything.
There are much fewer of “ King Charles's beauties” here than we should have expected, considering the easy access to the original pictures. Indeed, - la belle Stuart," Duchess of Richmond, is, we believe, the only one. This lady is, undoubtedly, exceedingly handsome; but, we think, we should have admired her beauty in any other shape better than that of Minerva, in whose costume she is here decked out, as the catalogue tells us, by the direction of Charles II. It is also said there that this figure is the original of the figure of Britannia on
copper coin of the realm, and certainly the resemblance is striking
There is a very singular and striking difference between the description of Dundee, in ‘Old Mortality, and the picture here :
“ Grahame of Claverhouse," says Sir Walter Scott, was in the prime of life, rather low of stature, and slightly, though elegantly, formed; his gesture, language, and manners, were those of one whose life had been spent among the noble and the gay.
His features exhibited even feminine regularity. An oval face, a straight and wellformed nose, dark hazel eyes, a complexion just sufficiently tinged with brown to save it from the charge of effeminacy, a short upper lip, curved upward like that of a Grecian statue, and slightly shaded by small mustachios of light brown, joined to a profusion of long curled locks of the same colour, which fell down on each side of his face, contributed to form such a countenance as limners love to paint and ladies to look upon."
Now, the person in this gallery is quite the reverse of all this, except
that he has beautiful eyes, and is very aristocratic in his mien. He is much taller, much fuller, and in every shape a larger man. a wig à la Charles II. ; and looks certainly far more a camp than a carpet knight. We should like to be able to compare the picture from which Sir Walter drew his likeness with this.
We must stop somewhere: page after page grows under our pen, and still there remain numberless eminent persons whose portraits we have not noticed. We name, then, only one more, and there are two good reasons to chuse it as a closing. It is the latest, in point of the date of the death of the original, and it is by far the most beautiful female portrait among them all. We wonder whether our readers will be as surprised as we were, perhaps it was our ignorance, but undoubtedly we were exceedingly surprised when, on turning to the catalogue to know who this most lovely creature was, we found written opposite to the number, “ Sarah Jennings, Duchess of Marlborough.' This picture must have been taken early in life, not only as the person represented cannot be more than two or three and twenty; but also as it is painted by Lely. It represents her in deep mourning, and rather carelessly habited. Not only beauty, but feeling and mind, are beaming from her beautifully formed eyes and exquisite forehead. The sweep of the shoulder, and of the bosom, is one of the most perfect things we ever beheld; and, in the whole aspect, there is a delicacy and a tenderness which it does amaze us to find the personal characteristics of Sal Jennings. We little thought it would ever be our fate to fall in love with her, which we certainly have done to a considerable extent.
And, now, if we have not gone through this most interesting collection, we have at least culled its most prominent flowers, and we hope our bouquet will not be unpleasing to our readers. Certainly our anticipations are not often in consonance with that which we find; and, what is curious, in most of the instances we have singled out, the result has been below what we expected. Truly this speaks well for the honesty of the old painters. And, if our readers will, which we strongly advise them to do, go to the gallery themselves, they will find that we have been most honest also; aye, though we have denied grace to Surrey and to Raleigh,' and the air of a great intellect to Bacon and to Cromwell; aye, even although we have represented Mary Queen of Scots as exceedingly plain, and given the apple of beauty to the Duchess of Marlborough. But we forget ourselves. The gallery is closed; and the only remedy for this privation is to buy the beautiful work, which is multiplying, in the finest way which engraving can reach, the rare portraits which formed this exhibition.
CHARACTERS OF CONTEMPORARY FOREIGN AUTHORS
No. VII.-MADAME DE GENLIS.
Who, in Europe, has not heard of Madame de Genlis ? Who can deny her genius, her humility, her benignity and kindness of heart, her modesty, her goodness, after reading her own record of them in her voluminous memoirs ?—We declare them loudly. Enemies as we are in general to trifling works, we have been unable to resist the desire of pondering over the charming productions which have obtained for Madame de Genlis the high literary reputation she enjoys. Prepossessed against her, because some persons had been malicious enough to say that, for sixty years, this lady had had the misfortune to be at war with all the world,—the perusal of her memoirs has cured us of all our prejudices. And if, attacked by all, treated with contumely as regards her writings, her opinions, her very person,-she have need of defence against all, we are ready to proclaim ourselves her champion, and to break, if need be, a thousand lances in her cause.
All that Madame de Genlis says is to us gospel : we believe, without , discussion, without examination, without reserve, all her confessions, all her accusations, all her judgments. The detractors of this woman of genius would, no doubt, have some trouble to explain to themselves how, in 1759, Madame de Genlis, who was only thirteen, could often meet in literary society, the poet Berlin, who was six years younger than her. They would, perhaps, be astonished that at the time when Madame de Genlis published the first volume of her “Théâtre d'Education,' that is to say in 1777, she had already read not only the first half of the Confessions' of J. J. Rousseau, which appeared only in 1781—but also the second part, which was not given to the world till seven years later. They, perhaps, will have some difficulty in believing the guilt of the poet Lebrun, whom she accuses of having excited the profanation of the royal tombs in 1793, by the publication of an ode which did not appear till 1795: for ourselves, we believe all these facts, because Madame de Genlis asserts them in her Memoirs.
The picture which Madame de Genlis draws of the past is full of charms : that which she traces from her observation of the present is, on the contrary, hideous and revolting. To this double portrait M. Toulotte has expressed an unpolite unbelief, and very formidable contradiction. This Madame de Genlis might expect, for it is not every one that pins his faith upon her as we do. But M. Toulotte may draw a frightful portrait of the ancien régime as much as he pleases; we shall not the less believe Madame de Genlis, because we are sure of the veracity of the memoirs.
Thirty gay gallants, young and old, handsome and ugly, noble and lowly-born, rich and poor, clever and stupid, have attacked the heart of Madame de Genlis, without triumphing over her rigour. You will find in Paris and in London an hundred women who will tell you this is impossible, false, incredible—and a thousand who will cite to you the name of the republican Péthion, and will talk to you of the gross and licen
tious orgies of the Palais-Royal.-Still, we find no difficulty in believing Madame de Genlis. Like St. Augustine, we believe because it is absurd.
Madame de Genlis has spoken well of all the world, and, without cause, all the world has declared against her. M. l'Abbé Feletz, forgetting all that consideration which, in France at least, is the privilege of the sex, may tell us quite plumply that she does not speak the truth, and that her memory is not the happiest in the world: he may say what he pleases; we are convinced that so pious a woman as Madame de Genlis had no intention to deceive upon a point in which Christian charity is involved ;—and that if, in the course of her life, she has abused some of her rivals, and attacked Voltaire, d'Alembert, Rousseau, (whom she accuses of faults of style, and all the philosophes,-her epigrams have always been exceedingly innocent and incapable of injuring the reputation of her antagonists. If the women who have caused annoyance to the fair painter, or who have been guilty of injuries against her, are always, in her writings, represented as being as homely in person, as deformed in heart and mind--and if, to compensate for this, those who have loved or admired her are always presented to us as angels of light and beauty,--still we are far from concluding from this, as do the enemies of Madame de Genlis, that this arises from prejudice. Heaven forbid! We find for it an explanation far more polite, and not less natural. That silly, ugly, and insipid women should have shown dislike for her is the most natural thing in the world :-there was incompatibility.—That, on the other hand, charming women, in whom every thing was a prodigy--wit, grace, beauty,-should have unanimously declared for her, was quite inevitable :—there was sympathy.
That Chénier, and the great majority of Frenchmen of letters, should have placed the author of the 'Siége de la Rochelle,' and the 'Souvenirs de Félicie,' below Madame de Staël, and Madame Cottin, is their business; let them look to it. For us, we believe with the memoirs, although it is a thing which they want to persuade us it is difficult to believe, that Madame de Staël would have been able to become a tolerably agreeable writer, solely if Madame de Genlis had directed her studies—if she had guided her hand, and taught her the secret of fine language. And thoroughly as we are convinced of the great superiority which Madame de Genlis states herself to have possesed over all the other great reputations of the time, we have not the slightest doubts that d'Alembert offered to propose to the Academy to create four female academicians, that she might be placed at their head.
All these things are true, because they are written in the ‘Memoirs of Madame de Genlis.' The following facts are still less to be disputed :
Why, because a M. Toulotte, in a book he has recently published, calls to our recollection, that Madame de Genlis embraced, with warmth, all the principles of the revolution; recalling to us a certain medallion, made from a polished stone of the çi-devant castle of despotism, which this lady shewed to strangers, with so much pride, that they all thought they saw in her one of the conquerors of the Bastile : why, because a certain writer in the ‘Révue Encyclopédique,' quotes some passages from the writings of Madame de Genlis, which