صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

expansion of business in New York State is further illustrated by the increase in the value of real and personal taxable estates which have increased as follows :



5,461,302,752 1905

7,738,165,640 1907


It will be noticed that during the last twelve years the wealth of New York State, as measured by the value of real and personal taxable estate, has exactly doubled. This enormous increase in wealth has made possible the great increase of employment which is shown by the census figures.

Of late we have frequently been told that unemployment and consequent distress are very great in Germany and the United States. It is quite true that the United States and Germany have been, and still are, passing through an industrial crisis, accompanied by a considerable amount of unemployment. It is true that in these two countries a great reaction has taken place, a reaction which was only to be expected after the prolonged and unprecedented boom which preceded it. However, there is a material difference between unemployment in the United States and Germany and unemployment in Great Britain. In Germany and the United States, full employment is the rule; in Great Britain it is the exception. In the United States and in Germany unemployment is usually unknown; in Great Britain it is permanent and it varies only in degree. Pathologically considered, the United States and Germany suffer at present from unemployment in an acute form, whilst Great Britain suffers from chronic and malignant unemployment which is constantly increasing, and which has lately become very acute. The fragmentary employment statistics relating to the United States are not a sufficient criterion to decide whether at the present moment unemployment is greater in America or in Great Britain, but the comprehensive employment statistics of Germany suffice to show that unemployment in that country is trifling if compared with unemployment in Great Britain, and that it is less severe at the present moment of acute unemployment in Germany than it is in Great Britain during times when employment is considered to be normal.



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

THERE is no more pathetic figure in the annals of the French
Revolution than that of Pauline de Beaumont, the dying woman
--dying of consumption-whom Chateaubriand loved for a season,
while he was writing “Le Génie du Christianisme."

She was by birth a Montmorin-the daughter of the Comte
de Montmorin, who had been Foreign Minister in Necker's
Administration. She and her husband, Comte Louis de Beau-
mont, the nephew of the Archbishop of Paris whom Rousseau
confounded in controversy, had long since ceased to live together;
and, during the Terror, fate was very cruel to her. Her father

one of the victims of the September massacres. Her mother and her brother perished on the scaffold on the day of the execution of Madame Elisabeth. Her sister, thrown into prison with them, only escaped the same death by declaring herself “enceinte.” She herself was arrested with them at the Château de Passy, in the dead of winter; but she was ill and an encumbrance, so that the Republican commissioners turned her out of the carriage, and left her by the way side in the snow. A vine-dresser who had once been one of her father's servants, gave her shelter in his cottage. Joubert—the famous aphorist whom Matthew Arnold has praised so eloquently-heard of her distress, came to her rescue, and cheered her solitude with his friendship.

That friendship was a great event-perhaps the greatest of all events-in Joubert's life. The aphorist had a homely wife, and Pauline de Beaumont was an aristocrat. She descended like an angel from heaven upon his homely hearth, causing him to realise how very homely it was; and Madame Joubert, as Mrs. Humphry Ward has written, “knew neither selfish passions nor small jealousies.” Probably it was well for the peace of the household that she did not know them ; for, though her husband's infidelity seems only to have been intellectual, he got as far as to write letters to Madame de Beaumont apologising for his wife's homeliness, and consequently-

But that is a side of the subject on which there is no space to enter. Enough to say that the time passed, and the friendship was consolidated; that the Terror ceased, and that Madame de Beaumont returned to Paris and opened her salon there, in the Rue Neuve du Luxembourg ; and that someone-it may have been Joubert himself-introduced Chateaubriand.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

The word "salon," however, must not mislead us. To au English reader it probably suggests grandeur and glittering lights, glorious apparel and sparkling jewellery, a fashionable mob on a wide staircase, powdered footmen shouting the names of guests, a weary hostess interminably shaking hands with a long procession of people whom she scarcely knows by sight. There was no such display, and no such crush, in the salon of Madame de Beaumont. She merely received a few friends every night in her "apartment,” without luxury or ostentation. They came, not to flirt, or to play cards, or to show themselves and pass on to some other entertainment, but to talk.

Most of them were Catholic reactionaries—men and women of the world whose religious beliefs did not materially affect the details of their daily lives, but who nevertheless found comfort in envisaging spiritual things differently from their neighbours. Joubert, Fontanes, Bonald, Molé, Pasquier, and Chênedollé were regularly of the company. They all talked brilliantly about religion, politics, literature, and the drama ; and the day came when one of them brought and introduced Chateaubriand, a penniless adventurer, lately returned from exile, and quite unknown to fame-known only, in fact, to Fontanes and Joubert.

They had already spoken to her of him as the young man of genius who was about to put the philosophers to shame and restore religion with a blare of trumpets; and he looked the part and could sustain it. He was thirty-two, broad-shouldered, handsome, with a head that was, by universal testimony, "magnificent." His voice was rich and sympathetic; his smile, when he chose to smile, was "irresistible.” His broad brow bore the stamp of intellect; and melancholy—the disdainful melancholy of the proud man whom fate has persecuted—had marked him for its own. He instinctively struck the pose of “l'homme fatal.” Napoleon, indeed, with his cynical way of putting things, declared that he looked like “a conspirator who had come down the chimney”; but Madame de Beaumont did what the Englishwomen whom Chateaubriand had admired in Kensington Gardyns had failed to do-she "divined the invisible presence of René.”

René, from the very first, was favoured beyond her other guests-beyond even Joubert, who, until then, had been favoured beyond the rest. The aphorist, after all, was fifteen years her elder, and lived with the wife for whom he apologised to her. She was very grateful to him for all that he had done for her, but still-- She was thirty, and she had never loved, and


She knew, of course, that Chateaubriand was married. Though


he had concealed the fact from Charlotte Ives at Bungay, he did not hide it from her. But Madame de Chateaubriand was in Brittany; and Brittany was a long way from Paris; and Chateaubriand had not seen his wife for ten years, and did not seem to wish to see her; and Madame de Beaumont, having fallen under the spell of “the Enchanter," as they all called him, doubtless concluded that there were reasons for this of which he was too chivalrous to speak. What else could she conclude when he told her that he hoped to restore religion in France? Moreover, she was in the grip of a disease that does not spare ; and, knowing that she had not long to live, she wanted to love and be loved before she had to die. This was her chance, and she grasped at it.

In order to be near Chateaubriand, she stayed in Paris at seasons when it was her general custom to go into the country; and she was always at home to him when she was at home to no one else. The others, including Joubert, came to see her, at the most, only once a day; but he came twice. In the evenings he joined in the general talk, or read the burning pages of "René" or "Atala " aloud; but in the mornings and the afternoons, he sat alone with her, exchanging confidences, hypnotising her with his caressing voice, sympathising with the sufferings which had left her almost alone in the world, speaking of his childhood in the solitary Breton castle, and of the relentless "ennui" which had followed him like a shadow in his wanderings "in the huts of the savages" and on the still waters of the Floridan lagoons--which, as a matter of strict and sober fact, he had never visited at all.

They were in love with each other, according to their several capacities for love. Chateaubriand's love, as always, was “of his life a thing apart.” Pauline de Beaumont's love was her “whole existence "—the one love of her life, of which she must, therefore, make the most. That she might make the most of it, she and her lover must be alone. Not alone in the midst of the crowds of Paris, where they were daily interrupted by the claims of politeness and the salon, but alone in the country among woods and meadows. No one and nothing must stand in the way-neither Joubert, nor Madame de Chateaubriand, nor the fear of what people might say; and she must make haste-for her lover was threatening to become famous.

“Atala” had been published, and had warned the world that a new sun was about to rise in the hemisphere of letters. “Le Génie du Christianisme" had been announced, and the world was eagerly expecting it. Chateaubriand was re-writing it under the critical eyes of Fontanes and Joubert. Might he not write

[ocr errors]

faster-might he not also write better-in the quiet of the country, with only the woman who loved him by his side? So Madame de Beaumont argued ; and she planned her coup accordingly, taking a furnished house at Savigny, and carrying Chateaubriand off there to live with her. “Every morning," she said to her friend, Madame de Vintimille, "I shall hear the sound of his voice; and I shall sit and watch him while he works.” And so they started on their honeymoon, in May, 1801.

The house which they occupied is still standing. Vine-clad terraces rise behind it, and a curtain of trees screens it from the high road. Some of the most glowing pages of the "Mémoires d'Outre-tombe” are consecrated to Chateaubriand's recollections of his sojourn there :

In the morning we breakfasted together. After breakfast I withdrew to my work, and Madame de Beaumont most kindly copied out for me the quotations which I indicated. This noble woman offered me a refuge when I had none. Had it not been for the tranquillity which she afforded me, I should very likely never have finished a work which I had failed to bring to completion in the days of my misfortunes.

Never to the end of my days shall I forget certain of the evenings spent in this haven of friendship. We used to gather, when we returned from our daily walk, close to a pool of running water in the midst of a lawn in the garden. Madame Joubert, Madame de Beaumont, and I sat side by side on a bench. Madame Joubert's son played on the grass at our feet. M. Joubert paced to and fro on a gravel path at a little distance from us.

He might well do so, having discovered that two were company, and that he was no longer one of the two; but his stay at Savigny was only of brief duration. For the greater part of the time Chateaubriand and Pauline de Beaumont were alone, as honeymooners should be; and Chateaubriand kept ennui at bay and was happy. "What bliss," he exclaims, "for a man who had lately returned from exile, and who, save for a few days too quickly passed, had for eight years lived a life of complete isolation !” And then with the inevitable touch of egotism : "Never have I depicted the wildernesses of the New World so eloquently!” And then with the inevitable touch of sentiment :

At night, when the windows of our rustic drawing-room were open, Madame de Beaumont used to point out the various constellations, telling me that, some day, I should remember that it was from her that I had learnt to know them. Since I have lost her, I have, again and again, at Rome, in the midst of the Campagna, looked for the stars whose names she taught me. I have seen them shining brightly above the Sabine Hills, their long rays smiting the surface of the Tiber.

Did he also, one wonders, search for them, on those other nights, only a few years later, when at Fervacques, with Del

« السابقةمتابعة »