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sum of three hundred and seven million five hun-ernment which Napoleon had established. But dred thousand dollars was extorted from the peo- it was too late to repent. Napoleon, a captive on ple, to pay the Allies for the expense incurred in a British ship, was passing far away to cruel imcrushing the independence of France. An army of prisonment, and to a lingering death. France, one hundred and fifty thousand allied troops were bound hand and foot, exhausted and bleeding stationed in all the French fortresses along the from chastising blows, could resist no more. frontier, to be supported by the French people, for By the Capitulation of Paris it was expressly from three to five years, to keep France in subjec- declared, that “no person should be molested for lion. This scene of exultation was closed by a re- his political opinions or conduct during the Hunview of the whole Russian army in one field. The dred Days." Wellington and Blucher concluded mighty host consisted of one hundred and sixty the capitulation, and their sovereigns ratified it. thousand men, including twenty-eight thousand But the Allies seem never to have paid any regard cavalry, and five hundred and forty pieces of can- to their plighted faith. Fifty-eight persons were non. They were assembled upon an immense banished, and three condemned to death. Among plain at a short distance from Chalons. At the these three was Marshal Ney, who had yielded to signal of a single gun fired from a height, three perhaps the most powerful temptation which had cheers were given by all the troops. The awful ever been presented to a generous soul, The magroar, never forgotten by those who heard it, re- nanimity of Napoleon would with eagerness have 'verberated through France, and fell upon the ear pardoned such a crime. The noble Marshal, who of the nation as the knell of death. It was des- had fought a hundred battles for France, and not potism's defiant and exultant yell. Then did one one against her, was led out into the garden of and all, except the few partisans of the Bourbons, the Luxembourg, to be shot like a dog in a ditch. bitterly deplore that they had not adhered to the In those days of spiritual darkness, he cherished Emperor, and followed those wise counsels which a profound reverence for the Christian religion. alone could save France. Then did it become He sent for a clergyman, and devoutly partook of evident to every mind, that the only government the last sacraments of the gospel, saying, "I wish which could by any possibility be sustained against to die as becomes a Christian." the encroachment of the Allies and the usurpation He stood erect, but a few feet from the soldiers, of the Bourbons, was the wise and efficient gov- with his hat in his left hand, and his right upon his
heart. Fixing for a moment his eagle eye upon the glittering muskets before him, he calmly said, “My comrades, fire on me." Ten bullets pierced his heart, and he fell dead. A warmer heart never beat. A braver man, a kinder friend, a more devoted patriot, never lived. His wife upon her knees had implored of Louis XVIII. the pardon of her husband, but was sternly repulsed. The tidings that he was no more threw her into convulsions, and she soon followed her beloved companion to the grave.
Wellington can never escape condemnation for permitting such a violation of national honor. No matter how guilty Ney might have been deemed by the Allies, the capitulation which Wellington had signed pledged his safety. The weight of the world's censure has fallen upon Wellington rather than upon Blucher, for no one expected any thing but barbarism from “Prussia's debauched dragoon." But England's proud Duke, unfortunately, at that time, allowed his mind to be sadly darkened by angry prejudices.
every body is at liberty to give it another crack. A shopkeeper might as profitably employ his time in searching for the philosopher's stone, as his eloquence in endeavoring to sell any thing once put under the ban of fashion. The interdict of beauty is upon it. Accursed of good taste has it become, and excommunicated from the depths of every well-filled purse. No matter how becoming it has been considered a few short weeks before, whatever may be its intrinsic merits of elegance, art, or costliness ; however much human brains and hands have labored to make it a combination of utility and beauty, it is now a sunken, degraded thing, despised of women and scorned of men, barely tolerated by the necessities of poverty, or reduced to seek a home in the haunts of vice.
This caprice, which looks only to change for its aliment, is as old as buman invention. I make no doubt that Eve never wore twice the same pattern of fig-leaves, while Adam searched diligently the forests through to diversify the colors of his vegetable breeches. The Polynesian turns to nature for his book of fashions, and seeks to rival the hues of the bird of Paradise in the ample folds of his brilliant-colored “tappas." Every savage finds his greatest wants in the bright gewgaws of civilization. If there be a nation on earth that clings to its old clothes and furniture because they are good and useful, that deprecates change as innovation upon good habits and customs, that does not dive into the bowels of the earth, fish the seas, and penetrate the heavens, racking nature to find material wherewith to distort and crucify nature in form, stuff, and pattern, out of sheer disgust of the old and capricious love for the new, I have yet to discover it. ! A passion so universal must be productive of more good than evil, or else it would die of neglect. At first glance, nothing appears more unreasonable, and more destructive of excellence, than this devotion to variety. The “love" of one season is
the “fright" of the next. No sooner have we THE “MERVEILLEUSE," 1793.
reconciled our eyes and shoulders to one fit, and
begun to think it tolerable, than we abandon it for THE GENERATIONS OF FASHIONS. some fresh abomination of the tailor or modiste, TF there be one earthly object more deserving and recommence our penance of new-formed inex1 of pity than another, what do you think it is, pressibles and new-cut whalebone. Every change curious reader? As a Yankee, with all your in- of coat or boot is another martyrdom. The rack herited traditionary 'cuteness, you will never has indeed left the halls of justice, but it has taken guess! I leave that to a Frenchman ; and, not up its residence on the counters of St. Crispin and to keep you longer in suspense—the worst possi- kindred saints. Human flesh has become a mere ble policy for an author-I will tell you." It is machine—a sort of clay model—for the masters an “old fashion !" How many delicately-chis- and mistresses of the shears and needles to fit eled noses are turned up at that irrevocable sen- their garments upon. Bone and muscle are sectence of condemnation, while disgust at the sight, ondary in their system ; the primary object is to and ainazement at the audacity of the shopkeep-display their “fashions," which, as they are mainer, play about the lines of the fairest mouths, as ly of late of the “grotesque" order, we may class, their lovely possessors turn their backs peremptor-according to the views of Ruskin's architecture, ily upon an article which but a month before was rather as the labor of little minds than the repose the coveted object of all eyes—" a perfect beauty" of great. -a“sweet love”—with an exclamatory “Pooh! So in other things. We no sooner combine it is old-fashioned.” To use an expressive, though utility and beauty, forming an article which is vulgar phrase, that is “a clincher." The fate of an truly excellent in itself, than we abandon it, and old pot is not more hopeless. When once that Mede content ourselves with some crude novelty, to be and Persian fiat has gone forth from feminine lips, discarded in its turn, as soon as it has advanced
through its several degrers of fashion to any thing | French under Napolcon, by force of arms, sought like comfortable excellence. An individual who to win a universal empire. Tailing in this, they ventures to like what suits and fits him well, in bave since employed the more subtle weapons of opposition to the novel and fashionable, becomes | taste and fashion to attain the same end. Their a pariah at once. He is abandoned of society ; conquests extend with a rapidity that far surlucky if known as nothing worse than an “odd, passes the warlike exploits of the grand Emold-fashioned fellow," and of no more account in pereur." There is not a race on the globe that creation than a dead leaf. In usiel they are does not seem destined to lose its national identidoomed to equal consideration with an old hat, ties of costumes and habits before the invincible substituting a stale joke for the decided kick, either power of French fashions. They have penetrated of which is an effectual barrier to the firmament the huts of the South Sea savages. They march of fashion.
with the rapidity of commerce along the steppes If this love of variety had no other recommend of Central Asia, and have climbed the Chinese ation than to prevent repletion in the purses of wall. The turban of the descendants of the the rich, it would still be a social blessing. It Prophet rolls in the dust before the hat of the infeeds, clothes, and houses half the world. It feels fidel. This infiltration of Parisian fashions is seen the way to artistic perfection, opens the doors to every where; sometimes with an elegance that ingenuity, favors invention, and prevents mental rivals Paris itself, but more often with an awkstagnation. Costly and annoying to the individ- ward imitation destructive of every grace of the ual it may be, but to the nation it is beneficial. original. It threatens to subjugate every European The very whims of beauty are so much bounty to costume, however venerable from antiquity or industry and art. Mere dandyism is the rust of picturesque in effect. The traveler must hast en civilization. Like corroded steel, it shows the if he would see what remains of the beautiful or most where the polish is most brilliant.
odd in the dresses of the Italian, the national cos. Paris is the central star of fashion. Whatever tumes of the Swiss, the furred robes of the Pole, is seen elsewhere is a ray from her light, dimin- and the medley mediæval civilization of the Asiishing in lustre as it recedes from that city. The atic and European tribes that now are ruled by
the Autocrat of all the Russias. The conquests of effect by the obliteration of national costumes may the modistes ara wider than those of the marshals. well be doubted; but whether French taste has
A French army of “artistes" have insinuated not a wide gulf yet to pass, before it can make themselves, as worms into old books and furni- any thing graceful and comfortable of the stoveture, into every cranny of past civilization. They pipe hat, dismal colors, and swaddling clothes to are rapidly undermining every habit, both of the which it dooms its male devotees, is no matter of body and for the bo:ly, of the past. At present doubt at all. It is in the infancy of its empire, the adulterine mixture is becoming to neither con- and has yet much to learn before mankind will dition ; but before the army of French cooks, danc- acknowledge its sway an easy one. The most ing-masters, tailors, modistes, coiffeurs, valets, that can now be said in its favor is, that in its restfemmes-de-chambres, and mechanics of knick | lessness it may by chance hit upon some combinaknackery, every other knick-knackery and fash- tion which shall reconcile comfort and beauty. But ion not absolutely Parisian in its origin and edu- we very much fear, if it succeeded in this, that it cation is rapidly giving way. Whether this is an would not allow it to live a month. incipient stage of the millennium or not, when : One secret of Parisian success in the empire mankind are to be all brethren, alike in speech, of fashion is this: In the past, it cunningly borhabits, and rule, remains to be seen. This much rowed of all nations every peculiarity that could we know, that French millinery is the dominant be turned to account in its own rage for novelty. power of civilization. England's Queen and Rus- The Romans admitted the deities of conquered sia's Czar alike acknowledge its supremacy. Par- nations into their mythology without scrutiny. isian fashion, which, like all others, once had a Their great scheme of government comprehended local character of its own, has now become a every worship, provided it was not purer than cosmopolite, making itself equally at home in Tiin- their own. Parisians borrowed every hue and cut buctoo as in the Champs Elysées.
from rival costumes, and transformed them to Whether the world will gain in picturesque their own tastes and purposes. Receiving every
thing in the beginning, they have ended by giving every thing, and the whole world now looks to Paris as the arbitress of fashion, as the Jew does to Jerusalem, and the Romanist to Rome, for the seat of their religions.
With all this, however, the French once had fashions peculiarly their own. Indeed their empire is of very recent date, and it is well worth our trouble to go back a little, and see by what strange metamorphoses French taste has assumed its present shape. To do this, I shall be compelled to illustrate freely, for two reasons. I detest the technicalities of dress, and if I employed the terms in description, I could neither understand the costumes myself or make them intelligible to my readers; therefore I shall adopt the better plan of letting them see for themselves.
After gunpowder had put an end to metallic armor, the French nobles, by the usual force of contradiction, ran into the opposite extreme, and from iron by the pound on their necks, began to wear
" CLASSICAL COSTUME," 1796.