Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

which were very successful on the Theatre Italien, but have contributed little to the posthumous fame of their author.

[ocr errors][merged small]

was born at Hesdin, in Artois, in 1697. In his youth he twice entered into the order of the Jesuits, which he twice quitted for a military life. Tired with dissipation, he became, after the accustomed noviciate, one of the Benedictines of St Maur. But scarcely had he taken the triple and irrevocable yow of chastity, obedience, and poverty, than he repented of his choice, and, disgusted with the restraint of the monastic profession, escaped into England, where he wrote some of his earliest works, and formed a tender connection, which removed him still farther from the bosom of the church. By the medias tion, however, of the prince of Conti, he was permitted to return to France, and soon after became the secretary and grand almoner of his patron. In this situation he continued busily employed in the composition of qumerous writings of all descriptions, till, having imprudently contributed to the periodical productions of a journalist, who indulged in rather free remarks on the government and religion of his country, he was banished to Brussels. Ile was soon, however, recalled to France, and entered

anew on those immense literary pursuits, of which the fruits were the Histoire General de Voyages, the translations of Richardson's novels, &c. The year preceding his decease, he retired from Paris to a small house at St Firmin, near Chantilly. His death happened in the neighbourhood of this retreat, in the shocking and unbeard-of manner thus related by his biographer : “ Comme il s' en retournoit seul a Saint-Firmin, le 23, Novembre 1763, par la forêt de Chantilly, il fut frappé d'une apoplexie subite, et demeura sur la place. Des paysans qui survinrent par hazard, ayant apperçu son corps étendu au pied d'un arbre, le porterent au curé du village le plus prochain. Le Curé le fit deposer dans song église, en attendant la justice, qui fut appellée, comme c'est l'usage lorsqu'un cadavre a eté trouvé. Elle se rassembla avec precipitation, et fit proceder sur le champ par le Chirurgien, a l'ouverture Un cri du Malheureux, qui n'etoit pas mort, fit juger la verité a celui qui dirigeoit l'instrument, et glaça d'effroi les assistans. Le chirurgeon s’ arreta; il etoit trop tard, le coup porté etoit mortel. L' Abbé Prevot ne pouvrit les yeux que pour voir l' appareil cruel qui l'environnoit, et de quelle maniere horrible on lui arrachoit la vie." !

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

MAD. D’AULNOY, MURAT, AND LA FORCE,

were the three principal writers of fairy tales in France. The first of these ladies was the daughter of M. Le Jumel de Barneville, a gentleman of one of the first families of Normandy, and was married to Francis, Count D'Aulnoy. To the advantages of noble birth and alliance, she united those of beauty and wit—she was distin. guished for the elegance of her manners, and talents for conversation. Besides her celebrity as the author of fairy tales, she is also well known by her Travels in Spain.

Mad. Murat, daughter of the Marquis de Castelnau, and wife of the Count de Murat, was born in 1670. She is said to have been of a very lively and ardent disposition, and devoted to pleasure, which is indeed acknowledged in the species of confession which she has made in the Memoires de sa Vie, a work which is believed to have been written by herself. She had the misfortune to displease Mad. de Maintenon, who suspected her of having written a libel, in which the private court of Lewis XIV., towards the close of the seventeenth century, was grossly insulted, and she was in consequence banished to a distance from the capital. She was recalled, however, in 1715, by the regent, duke of Orleans, at the intercession of Mad. de Parabere, her intimate friend. She did not, however, long enjoy the pleasure of again partaking in the amusements of the capital, as she died at Paris the year after her recall.

Mademoiselle de la Force was grand-daughter of Ja. ques de Caumont, subsequently Duc de la Force, whose escape from the massacre of St Bartholomew has been celebrated in the Henriade, and who afterwards greatly signalized himself by his exploits, during the reigns of Henry IV. and Lewis XIII. His grand-daughter was united, in 1687, to Charles de Brion, but the marriage was declared null ten days after its celebration. She survived this short union nearly forty years, during which she distinguished herself by various compositions, besides her Contes de Fées. Of these productions, her poetical epistle to Mad. de Maintenon, and her Chateau en Espagne, have been chiefly celebrated.

« ZurückWeiter »