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JOHN S. C. ABBOTT.
HARPER & BROTHERS, PUBLISHERS,
BS cLIFrr STrE T.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year one thousand
eight hundred and fifty, by
HARPza & BaOTIas,
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Southern District
of New York.
THE history of Madame Roland embraces the
most interesting events of the French Revolu-
tion, that most instructive tragedy which time
has yet enacted. There is, perhaps, contained
in the memoirs of no other woman so much to
invigorate the mind with the desire for high
intellectual culture, and so much to animate
the spirit heroically to meet all the ills of this
eventful life. Notwithstanding her experience
of the heaviest temporal calamities, she found,
in the opulence of her own intellectual tress-
ures, an unfailing resource. These inward joys
peopled her solitude with society, and dispelled
even from the dungeon its gloom. I know not
where to look for a career more full of suggest-
I. CHILDHOOD............................. 12
II. TOUTH ................................ 33
III. MAIDENHOOD ........................... 57
IV. MARRIAGE.............................. 80
V. THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ................ 105
VI. THE MINISTRY OF M. ROLAND ............ 130
VII. MADAME ROLAND AND THE JACOBINS.... 155
VIII. LAST STRUGGLE OF THE GIRONDISTS...... 178
IX. ARREST OF MADAME ROLAND ............. 201
X. FATE OF THE GIRONDIST.................. 224
XI. PRISON LIFE............................. 262
XII. TRIAL AND EXECUTION OF MADAME ROLAND 277
MADAME ROLAND ......................Frontipice.
THE VISIT .................................. 42
LA PLATIERE............................... 97
ROBESPIERRE .............................. 116
THE LIBRARY ............................... 146
EXECUTION OF THE GIRONDIST ................. 247
MADAME ROLAND IN PRISON.................... 269
EXECUTION OF MADAME ROLAND............... 301
Chracters developed by the French Reoluto. Madame Roland.
M ANY characters of unusual grandeur were
developed by the French Revolution.
Among them all, there are few more illustri-
ous, or more worthy of notice, than that of Ma-
dame Roland. The eventful story of her life
contains much to inspire the mind with admi.
ration and with enthusiasm, and to stimulate
one to live worthily of those capabilities with
which every human heart is endowed. No per-
son can read the record of her lofty spirit and
of her heroic acts without a higher appreciation
of woman's power, and of the mighty influence
one may wield, who combines the charms of a
noble and highly-cultivated mind with the fas-
cinations of female delicacy and loveliness. To
understand the secret of the almost miraculous
influence she exerted, it is necessary to trace
her career, with some degree of minuteness,
14 MADAME ROLAND. [1754.
Portion Phllppon. Hli repinlap t hil lot
from the cradle to the hour of her sublime and
In the year 1754, there was living, in an ob-
scure workshop in Paris, on the crowded Quai
des Orfevres, an engraver by the name of Gra-
tien Phlippon. He had married a very beau-
tiful woman, whose placid temperament and
cheerful content contrasted strikingly with the
restlessness and ceaseless repinings of her hus-
band. The comfortable yet humble apartments
of the engraver were over the shop where he
plied his daily toil. He was much dissatisfied
with his lowly condition in life, and that his
family, in the enjoyment of frugal competence
alone, were debarred from those luxuries which
were so profusely showered upon others. Bit-
terly and unceasingly he murmured that his lot
had been cast in the ranks of obscurity and of
unsparing labor, while others, by a more fortu.
nate, although no better merited destiny, were
born to ease and affluence, and honor and lux-
ury. This thought of the unjust inequality in
man's condition, which soon broke forth with
all the volcanic energy of the French Revolu-
tion, already began to ferment in the bosoms of
the laboring classes, and no one pondered these
wide diversities with a more restless spirit, or
1764.] CHILDHOOD. 15
View of Phlippon. His bes"ry tol*0 CbheC
murmured more loudly and more incessantly
than Phlippon. When the day's toil was end-
ed, he loved to gather around him associates
whose feelings harmonized with his own, and
to descant upon their own grievous oppression,
and upon the arrogance of aristocratic great-
ness. With an eloquence which often deeply
moved his sympathizing auditory, and fanned to
greater intensity the fires which were consum-
ing his own heart, he contrasted their doom of
sleepless labor and of comparative penury with
the brilliance of the courtly throng, living in
idle luxury, and squandering millions in the
amusements at Versailles, and sweeping in
charioted splendor through the Champs Elys6e.
Phlippon was a philosopher, not a Christian.
Submission was a virtue he had never learned,
and never wished to learn. Christianity, as he
saw it developed before him only in the power-
ful enginery of the Roman Catholic Church,
was, in his view, but a formidable barrier
against the liberty and the elevation of the peo-
ple-a bulwark, bristling with superstition and
bayonets, behind which nobles and kings were
securely intrenched. He consequently became
as hostile to the doctrines of the Church as he
was to the institutions of the state. The mon-
Oriin of di Frech Revoluon. Character of Madame Phltppo
arch was, in his eye, a tyrant, and God a delu-
sion. The enfranchisement of the people, in his
judgment, required the overthrow of both the
earthly and the celestial monarch. In these
ideas, agitating the heart of Phlippon, behold
the origin of the French Revolution. They
were diffused in pamphlets and daily papers in
theaters and cafts. They were urged by work-
men in their shops, by students in their closets.
They became the inspiring spirit of science in
encyclopedias and reviews, and formed the cho-
rus in all the songs of revelry and libertinism.
These sentiments spread from heart to heart,
through Paris, through the provinces, till France
rose like a demon in its wrath, and the very
globe trembled beneath its gigantic and indig-
Madame PhJippon was just the reverse of her
husband. She was a woman in whom faith,
and trust, and submission predominated. She
surrendered her will, without questioning, to all
the teachings of the Church of Rome. She was
placid, contented, and cheerful, and, though un-
inquiring in her devotion, undoubtedly sincere
in her piety. In every event of life she recog-
nized the overruling hand of Providence, and
feeling that the comparatively humble lot as.
1764.] CHILDHOOD. 17
Birth of Jae Maris. Adored by bhr param
signed her was in accordance with the will of
God, she indulged in no repinings, and envied
not the more brilliant destiny of lords and la-
dies. An industrious housewife, she hummed
the hymns ofcontentment and peace from morn-
ing till evening. In the a ful performance
of her daily toil, she was ever p ing the balm
of her peaceful spirit upon the rest]e heart of
her spouse. Phlippon loved his wife, often
felt the superiority of her Christian tpe
Of eight children born to these parents,
only, Jeanne Manon, or Jane Mary, survived
the hour of birth. Her father first received her
to his arms in 1754, and she became the object
of his painful and most passionate adoration.
Her mother pressed the coveted treasure to her
bosom with maternal love, more calm, and deep,
Sand during. And now Jane became the oen-
I r in this domestic system. Both parents
liv in her and fyr her. She was their earth-
ly all. The mother wished to train her for the
Church and for heaven, that she might become
an angel and dwell by the throne of God.
These bright hopes gilded a prayerful mother's
hours of toil and care. The father bitterly re-
pined. Why should his bright and beautiful
18 MADAME ROLAND. [1755.
DWIoBmnt of PhHppon. His complainln to hi child.
child-who even in these her infantile years
was giving indication of the most brilliant in-
tellect-why should she be domed to a life of
obscurity and toil, while thWe garden of the Tuil-
erles and the Elysid Fields were thronged
with children, y r so beautiful nor so intel-
ligent, who vf reveling in boundless wealth,
and living a world of luxury and splendor
which, hlippon's imagination, seemed more
allure' than any idea he could form of heaven ?
T thoughts were a consuming fire in the
m of the ambitious father. They burned
ith inextinguishable flame.
The fond parent made the sprightly and fas-
cinating child his daily companion. He led her
by the hand, and confided to her infantile spirit
all his thoughts, his illusions, his day-dreams.
To her listening ear he told the story of the ar-
rogance of nobles, of the pride of kings, and of
the oppression by which he deemed himself un-
justly doomed to a life of penury and toil. The
light-hearted child was often weary of these
complaining, and turned for relief to the pla-
cidity and cheerfulness of her mother's mind.
Here she found repose-a soothing, calm, and
holy submission. Still the gloom of her father's
spirit cast a pensive shade over her own feel.
1756.] CHILDHOOD. 19
Early ts ofcharacter. Lae o books
ings, and infused a tone of melancholy and an
air of unnatural reflection into her character.
By nature, Jane was endowed with a soul of
unusual delicacy. From early childhood, all
that is beautiful or sublime in nature, litera-
ture, in character, had oha's to rikt her en-
tranced attention. She loved; o sit alone at
her chamber window in the evening of a sum-
mer's day, to gaze upon the gorgeous hues of
sunset. As her imagination roved through
those portals of a brighter world, which seemed
thus, through far-reaching vistas of glory, to be
opened to her, she peopled the sun-lit expanse
with the creations of her own fancy, and often
wept in uncontrollable emotion through the in-
fluence of these gathering thoughts. Books
of impassioned poetry, and descriptions of he-
roic character and achievements, were her '|
special delight. Plutarch's Lives, that bok
which, more than any other, appears to be the
incentive of'early genius, was hid beneath her
pillow, and read and re-read with tireless avid-
ity. Those illustrious heroes of antiquity be.
came the companions of her solitude and of her
hourly thoughts. She adored them and loved
mas her own most intimate personal friends.
character became insensibly molded to
20 MADAME ROLAND. [1757.
Jane's thir for reading. Her love of power.
their forms, and she was inspired with restless
enthusiasm to imitate their deeds. When but
twelve years of age, her father found her, one
day, weeping that she was not born a Roman
maiden."Little did she then imagine that, by
talent, byenffering, and by heroism, she was
to display a character the history of which
would eclipse the proudest narratives in Greek
or Roman story.
Jane appears never to have known the frivol-
ity and thoughtlessness of childhood. Before
she had entered the fourth year of her age she
knew how to read. From that time her thirst
for reading was so great, that her parents found
no little difficulty in furnishing her with a suf-
ficient supply. She not only read with eager-
ness every book which met her eye, but pur-
sued this uninterrupted miscellaneous reading
to singular advantage, treasuring up all import-
ant facts in her retentive memory. So entire-
ly absorbed was she in her books, that the only
successful mode of withdrawing her from them
was by offering her flowers, of which she was
passionately fond. Books and flowers contin-
ued, through all the vicissitudes of her life, even
till the hour of her death, to afford her the most
exquisite pleasure. She had no playmates, and
1760.] CHILDHOOD. 91
Jane' personal appearance. Thirst br knowlid.
thought no more of play than did her father and
mother, who were her only and her constant
companions. From infancy she was accustom.
ed to the thoughts and the emotions of mature
minds. In personal appearance she was, in ear-
liest childhood and through life, peculiarly in.
teresting rather than beautiful. As mature
years perfected her features and her form, there
was in the contour of her graceful figure, and
her intellectual countenance, that air of thought-
fulness, of pensiveness, of glowing tenderness
and delicacy, which gave her a power of fasci-
nation over all hearts. She sought not this
power; she thought not of it; but an almost
resistless attraction and persuasion accompa-
nied all her words and actions.
It was, perhaps, the absence of playmates,
and the habitual converse with mature minds,
which, at so early an age, inspired Jane with
that insatiate thirst for knowledge which she
ever manifested. Books were her only resource
in every unoccupied hour. From her walks
with her father, and her domestic employment
with her mother, she turned to her little library
and to her chamber window, and lost herself in
the limitless realms of thought. It is often im-
agined that character is the result of accident
Intelectual gift. A walk on the Boulrd
-that there is a native and inherent tendency,
-which triumphs over circumstances, and works
out its own results. Without denying that
there may be different intellectual gifts with
which the soul may be endowed as it comes
from the hand of the Creator, it surely is not
difficult to perceive that the peculiar training
through which the childhood of Jane was con-
ducted was calculated to form the peculiar char-
acter which she developed.
In a bright summer's afternoon she might be
seen sauntering along the Boulevards, led by
her father's hand, gazing upon that scene of
gayety with which the eye is never wearied.
A gilded coach, drawn by the most beautiful
horses in the richest trappings, sweeps along
the streets-a gorgeous vision. Servants in
showy livery, and out-riders proudly mounted,
invest the spectacle with a degree of grandeur,
beneath which the imagination of a child sinks
exhausted. Phlippon takes his little daughter
in his arms to show her the sight, and, as she
gazes in infantile wonder and delight, the dis-
contented father says, "Look at that lord, and
lady, and child, lolling so voluptuously in their
coach. They have no right there. Why must
I and my child walk on this hot pavement,
Phlppon's talk to his child. Youthful dream.
while they repose on velvet cushions and revel
in all luxury? Oppressive laws compel me to
pay a portion of my hard earnings to support
them in their pride and indolence. But a time
will come when the people will awake to the
consciousness of their wrongs, and their tyrants
will tremble before them." He continues his
walk in moody silence, brooding over his sense
of injustice. They return to their home. Jane
wishes that her father kept a carriage, and liv-
eried servants and out-riders. She thinks of
polities, and of the tyranny of kings and nobles,
and of the unjust inequalities of man. She re-
tires to the solitude of her loved chamber win-
dow, and reads of Aristides the Just, of The-
mistooles with his Spartan virtues, of Brutus,
and of the mother of the Graochi. Greece and
Rome rise before her in all their ancient re-
nown. She despises the frivolity of Paris, the
effeminacy of the moderns, and her youthful
bosom throbs with the desire of being noble in
spirit and of achieving great exploits. Thus,
when other children of her age were playing
with their dolls, she was dreaming of the pros
tration of nobles and of the overthrow of thrones
-of liberty, and fraternity, and equality among
Infheae of Jane' parents over her. Education in convent.
mankind. Strange dreams for a child, but still
more strange in their fulfillment.
The infidelity of her father and the piety of
her mother contended, like counter currents of
the ocean, in her bosom. Her active intellect
and love of freedom sympathized with the spec-
ulations of the so-called philosopher. Her ami-
able and affectionate disposition and her pensive
meditations led her to seek repose in the sub-
lime conceptions and in the soul-soothing con-
solations of the Christian. Her parents were
deeply interested in her education, and were
desirous of giving her every advantage for se.
curing the highest attainments. The educa-
tion of young ladies, at that time, in France,
was conducted almost exclusively by nuns in
convents. The idea of the silence and solitude
of the cloister inspired the highly-imaginative
girl with a blaze of enthusiasm. Fondly as she
loved her home, she was impatient for the hour
to arrive when, with heroic self-sacrifice, she
could withdraw from the world and its pleas-
ures, and devote her whole soul to devotion, to
meditation, and to study. Her mother's spirit
of religion was exerting a powerful influence
over her, and one evening she fell at her feet,
and, bursting into tears, besought that she
Jae ant to a covet PartUn with her mother.
might be sent to a convent to prepare to receive
her first Christian communion in a suitable
frame of mind.
The convent of the sisterhood of the Congre-
gation in Paris was selected for Jane. In the
review of her life which she subsequently wrote
while immured in the dungeons of the Concier-
gerie, she says, in relation to this event, "While
pressing my dear mother in my arms, at the
moment of parting with her for the first time
in my life, I thought my heart would have bro-
ken; but I was acting in obedience to the voice
of God, and I passed the threshold of the clois-
ter, tearfully offering up to him the greatest
sacrifice I was capable of making. This was
on the 7th of May, 1765, when I was eleven
years and two months old. In the gloom of a
prison, in the midst of political storms which
ravage my country, and sweep away all that is
dear to me, how shall I recall to my mind, and
how describe the rapture and tranquillity I en-
joyed at this period of my life? What lively
colors can express the soft emotions of a young
heart endued with tenderness and sensibility,
greedy of happiness, beginning to be alive to
the beauties of nature, and perceiving the Deity
alone? The first night I spent in the convent
26 MADAME ROLAND. [1765.
Madame Roland's account of her first night in the convent.
was a night of agitation. I was no longer un-
der the paternal roof. I was at a distance from
that kind mother, who was doubtless thinking
of me with affectionate emotion. A dim light
diffused itself through the room in which I had
been put to bed with four children of my own
age. I stole softly from my couch, and drew
near the window, the light of the moon enabling
me to distinguish the garden, which it over-
looked. The deepest silence prevailed around,
and I listened to it, if I may use the expression,
with a sort of respect. Lofty trees cast their
gigantic shadows along the ground, and prom-
ised a secure asylum to peaceful meditation.
I lifted up rny eyes to the heavens; they were
unclouded and serene. I imagined that I felt
the presence of the Deity smiling upon my sac-
rifice, and already offering me a reward in the
consolatory hope of a celestial abode. Tears of
delight flowed down my cheeks. I repeated my
vows with holy ecstasy, and went to bed again
to taste the slumber of God's chosen children."
Her thirst for knowledge was insatiate, and
with untiring assiduity she pursued her stud-
ies. Every hour of the day had its appropriate
employment, and time flew upon its swiftest
wings. Every.book which fell in her way she
Jane's booLk of study. Her profieency nla mnneo d drawn.
eagerly perused, and treasured its knowledge or
its literary beauties in her memory. Heraldry
and books of romance, lives of the saints and
fairy legends, biography, travels, history, polit-
ical philosophy, poetry, and treatises upon mor-
als, were all read and meditated upon by this
young child. She had no taste for any childish
amusements; and in the hours of recreation,
when the mirthful girls around her were forget.
ting study and care in those games appropriate
to their years, she would walk alone in the gar-
den, admiring the flowers, and gazing upon the
fleecy clouds in the sky. In all the beauties of
nature her eye ever recognized the hand of God,
and she ever took pleasure in those sublime
thoughts of infinity and eternity which must
engross every noble mind. Her teachers had
but little to do. Whatever study she engaged
in was pursued with such spontaneous zeal,
that success had crowned her efforts before oth-
ers had hardly made a beginning.
In music and drawing she made great profi-
ciency. She was even more fond of all that is
beautiful and graceful in the accomplishments
of a highly-cultivated mind, than in those more
solid studies which she nevertheless pursued
with so much energy and interest.
28 MADAME ROLAND. [1766.
Scene in the convent Impression made by them.
The scenes which she witnessed in the con-
vent were peculiarly calculated to produce an
indelible impression upon a mind so imagina-
tive. The chapel for prayer, with its somber
twilight and its dimly-burning tapers; the dirg-
es which the organ breathed upon the trembling
ear; the imposing pageant of prayer and praise,
with the blended costumes of monks and hood-
ed nuns; the knell which tolled the requiem of
a departed sister, as, in the gloom of night and
by the light of torches, she was conveyed to her
burial-all these concomitants of that system
of pageantry, arranged so skillfully to impress
the senses of the young and the imaginative,
fanned to the highest elevation the flames of
that poetic temperament she so eminently pos-
God thus became in Jane's mind a vision of
poetic beauty. Religion was the inspiration of
enthusiasm and of sentiment. The worship of
the Deity was blended with all that was enno-
bling and beautiful. Moved by these glowing
fancies, her susceptible spirit, in these tender
years, turned away from atheism, from infidel-
ity, from irreligion, as from that which was un-
refined, revolting, vulgar. The consciousness
of the presence of God, the adoration of his be-
1766.] CEILDHOOD. 29
Poei .atidulua. Tiikng e. VlOL
ing, became a passion of her soul. This state
of mind was poetry, not religion. It involved
no sense of the spirituality of the Divine Law,
no consciousness of unworthiness, no need of a
Savior. It was an emotion sublime and beau-
tiful, yet merely such in emotion as any one of
susceptible temperament might feel when stand-
ing in the Vale of Chamouni at midnight, or
when listening to the crash of thunder as the
tempest wrecks the sky, or when one gazes en-
tranced upon the fair face of nature in a mild
and lovely morning of June, when no cloud ap-
pears in the blue canopy above us, and no breeze
ruffles the leaves of the grove or the glassy sur-
face of the lake, and the songs of birds and the
perfume of flowers fill the air. Many mistake
the highly poetic enthusiasm which such scenes
excite for the spirit of piety.
While Jane was an inmate of the convent,
a very interesting young lady, from some dis-
appointment weary of the world, took the veil.
When one enters a convent with the intention
of becoming a nun, she first takes the white
veil, which is an expression of her intention,
and thus enters the grade of a novice. During
the period of her novitiate, which continues for
several months, she is exposed to the severest
'Iklig the black vel. Efect upon Jm.
discipline of vigils, and fastings, and solitude,
and prayer, that she may distinctly understand
the life of weariness and self-denial upon which
she has entered. If, unintimidated by these
hardships, she still persists in her determination,
she then takes the black veil, and utters her
solemn and irrevocable vows to bury herself in
the gloom of the cloister, never again to emerge.
From this step there is no return. The throb-
bing heart, which neither cowls nor veils can
still, finds in the taper-lighted cell its living
tomb, till it sleeps in death. No one with even
an ordinary share of sensibility can witness a
ceremony involving such consequences without
the deepest emotion. The scene produced an
effect upon the spirit of Jane which was never
effaced. The wreath of flowers which crown-
ed the beautiful victim; the veil enveloping her
person; the solemn and dirge-like chant, the
requiem of her burial to all the pleasures of
sense and time; the pall which overspread her,
emblematic of her consignment to a living tomb,
all so deeply affected the impassioned child,
that, burying her face in her hands, she wept
with uncontrollable emotion.
The thought of the magnitude of the sacri.
fice which the young novice was making ap-
177.] CHILDHOOD. 31
Lofty "Opiro-s. BRmark oat peom.
pealed irresistibly to her admiration of the mor-
ally sublime. There was in that relinquish.
ment of all the joys of earth a self-surrender to
a passionless life of mortification, and penance,
and prayer, an apparent heroism, which remind-
ed Jane of her much-admired Roman maidens
and matrons. She aspired with most romantic
ardor to do, herself, something great and noble.
While her sound judgment could not but con-
demn this abandonment of life, she was inspired
with the loftiest enthusiasm to enter, in some
worthy way, upon a life of endurance, of saori-
fice, and of martyrdom. She felt that she was
born for the performance of some great deeds,
and she looked down with contempt upon all
the ordinary vocations of every-day life. These
were the dreams of a romantic girl. They were
not, however, the fleeting visions of a sickly and
sentimental mind, but the deep, soul-moving
aspirations of one of the strongest intellects over
which imagination has ever swayed its scepter.
One is reminded by these early developments
of character of the remark of Napoleon, when
some one said, in his presence, It is nothing
but imagination." "Nothing but imagina-
tion !" replied this sagacious observer; imag-
ination rules the world /"
32 MADAME ROLAND. [1767.
Jane' contempt of eae and luxury. Her mlf-denal.
These dim visions of greatness, these lofty
aspirations, not for renown, but for the inward
consciousness of intellectual elevation, of moral
sublimity, of heroism, had no influence, as is
ordinarily the case with day-dreams, to give
Jane a distaste for life's energetic duties. They
did not enervate her character, or convert her
into a mere visionary; on the contrary, they
but roused and invigorated her to alacrity in
the discharge of every duty. They led her to
despise ease and luxury, to rejoice in self-de-
nial, and to cultivate, to the highest possible
degree, all her faculties of body and of mind,
that she might be prepared for any possible des-
tiny. Wild as, at times, her imaginings might
have been, her most vivid fancy never could
have pictured a career so extraordinary as that
to which reality introduced her; and in all the
annals of ancient story, she could find no record
of sufferings and privations more severe than
those which she was called upon to endure.
And neither heroine nor hero of any age has
shed greater luster upon human nature by the
cheerful fortitude with which adversity has been
Convent life. Its influoce upon Jae.
T HE influence of those intense emotions
which were excited in the bosom of Jane
by the scenes which she witnessed in her child-
hood in the nunnery were never effaced from
her imaginative mind. Nothing can be con-
ceived more strongly calculated to impress the
feelings of a romantic girl, than the poetic at-
tractions which are thrown around the Roman
Catholic religion by nuns, and cloisters, and
dimly-lighted chapels, and faintly-burning ta-
pers, and matins, and vespers, and midnight
dirges. Jane had just the spirit to be most
deeply captivated by such enchantments. She
reveled in those imaginings which clustered in
the dim shades of the cloister, in an ecstasy of
luxurious enjoyment. The ordinary motives
which influence young girls of her age seem to
have had no control over her. Her joys were
most highly intellectual and spiritual, and her
aspirations were far above the usual conceptions
of childhood. She, for a time, became entirely
34 MADAME ROLAND.
Jae leave the convent Her aftachment to one of the neun
fascinated by the novel scenes around her, and
surrendered her whole soul to the dominion of
the associations with which she was engrossed.
In subsequent years, by the energies of a vigor-
ous philosophy, she disenfranchised her intellect
from these illusions, and, proceeding to another
extreme, wandered in the midst of the cheerless
mazes of unbelief; but.her fancy retained the
traces of these early impressions until the hour
of her death. Christianity, even when most
heavily encumbered with earthly corruption, is
infinitely preferable to no religion at all. Even
papacy has never swayed so bloody a scepter as
Jane remained in the convent one year, and
then, with deep regret, left the nuns, to whom
she had become extremely attached. With one
of the sisters, who was allied to the nobility,
she formed a strong friendship, which continued
through life. For many years she kept up a
constant correspondence with this friend, and
to this correspondence she attributes, in a great
degree, that facility in writing which contrib-
uted so much to her subsequent celebrity. This
letter-writing is one of the best schools of com-
position, and the parent who is emulous of the
improvement of his children in that respect,
Ja partakes of the Lord's Buppr. Preparatiats for the solely.
will do all in his power to encourage the con-
stant use of the pen in these familiar epistles.
Thus the most important study, the study of
the power of expression, is converted into a
pleasure, and is pursued with an avidity which
will infallibly secure success. It is a sad mis-
take to frown upon such efforts as a waste of
While in the convent, she, for the first time,
partook of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper.
Her spirit was most deeply impressed and over-
awed by the sacredness of the ceremony. Du-
ring several weeks previous to her reception of
this solemn ordinance, by solitude, self-examin-
ation, and prayer, she endeavored to prepare
herself for that sacred engagement, which she
deemed the pledge of her union to God, and of
her eternal felicity. When the hour arrived,
her feelings were so intensely excited that she
wept convulsively, and she was entirely incap-
able of walking to the altar. She was borne in
the arms of two of the nuns. This depth of
emotion was entirely unaffected, and secured for
her the peculiar reverence of the sacred sisters.
That spirit of pensive reverie, so dangerous
and yet so fascinating, to which she loved to
surrender herself, was peculiarly in harmony
36 MADAME ROLAND.
Jae'l delight in meditation. Departure from tho convent.
'with all the influences with which she was sur-
rounded in the convent, and constituted the
very soul of the piety of its inmates. She was
encouraged by the commendations of all the
sisters to deliver her mind up to the dominion
of these day-dreams, with whose intoxicating
power every heart is more or less familiar. She
loved to retire to the solitude of the cloisters,
when the twilight was deepening into darkness,
and alone, with measured steps, to pace to and
fro, listening to the monotonous echoes of her
own footfall, which alone disturbed the solemn
silence. At the tomb of a departed sister she
would often linger, and, indulging in those mel-
ancholy meditations which had for her so many
charms, long for her own departure to the bo-
som of her heavenly Father, where she might
enjoy that perfect happiness for which, at times,
her spirit glowed with such intense aspirations.
At the close of the year Jane left the peace-
ful retreat where she had enjoyed so much, and
where she had received so many impressions
never to be effaced. Her parents, engrossed
with care, were unable to pay that attention to
their child which her expanding mind required,
and she was sent to pass her thirteenth year
with her paternal grandmother and her aunt
Jane goes to live with her grandmother. Chaater of t latter.
Angelieu. Her grandmother was a dignified
lady, of much refinement of mind and graceful-
ness of demeanor, who laid great stress upon all
the courtesies of life and the elegances of man-
,ners and address. Her aunt was gentle and
warm-hearted, and her spirit was deeply im-
bued with that humble and docile piety, which
has so often shone out with pure luster even
through all the encumbrances of the Roman
Catholic Church. With them she spent a year,
in a seclusion from the world almost as entire
as that which she found in the solitude of the
convent. An occasional visit to her parents,
and to her old friends the nuns, was all that in-
terrupted the quiet routine of daily duties.
Books continued still her employment and her
delight. Her habits of reverie continued un-
broken. Her lofty dreams gained a daily in-
creasing ascendency over her character.
She thus continued to dwell in the boundless
regions of the intellect and the affections. Even
the most commonplace duties of life were ren-
dered attractive to her by investing them with
a mysterious connection with her own limitless
being. Absorbed in her own thoughts, ever
communing with herself, with nature, with the
Deity, as the object of her highest sentiment
38 MADAME ROLAND.
Jane' Inteilectual progreu. Her fathers deligh
and aspirations, though she did notdespise those
of a more humble mental organization, she gave
them not a thought. The evening twilight of
every fine day still found her at her chamber
window, admiring the glories of the setting sun,
and feeding her impassioned spirit with those
visions of future splendor and happiness which
the scene appeared to reveal. She fancied she
could almost see the wings of angels gleaming
in the purple sunlight. Through those gor-
geous avenues, where clouds were piled on gold.
en clouds, she imagined, far away, the man-
sions of the blessed. These emotions glowing
within her, gave themselves utterance in pray-
ers earnest and ardent, while the tears of irre-
pressible feeling filled her eyes as she thought
of that exalted Being, so worthy of her pure
and intensest homage.
The father of Jane was delighted with all
these indications of a marked and elevated char-
aoter, and did all in his power to stimulate her
to greater zeal in her lofty studies and medita-
tions. Jane became his idol, and the more her
imaginative mind became imbued with the spir-
it of romantic aspirations, the better was he
pleased. The ardor of her zeal enabled her to
succeed in every thing which she undertook.
Jae learm to egrave. Her mother imptient for her retm.
Invincible industry and energy were united
with these dreams. She was ambitious of
knowing every thing; and when her father
placed in her hands the burin, wishing to teach
her to engrave, she immediately acquired such
skill as to astonish both of her parents. And
she afterward passed many pleasant hours in
engraving, on highly-polished plates of brass,
beautiful emblems of flowers as tokens of'affec-
tion for her friends.
The mother of Jane, with far better judg-
ment, endeavored to call back her daughter
from that unreal world in which she loved to
dwell, and to interest her in the practical du-
ties of life. She began to be impatient for her
return home, that she might introduce her to
those household employment, the knowledge of
which is of such unspeakable importance to ev-
ery lady. In this she was far from being un-
successful; for while Jane continued to dream
in accordance with the encouragement of her
father, she also cordially recognized the good
sense of her mother's counsels, and held herself
ever in readiness to co-operate with her in all
A little incident which took place at this
-time strikingly illustrates the reflective matu-
40 MADAME RULIAND.
The riit to Madame De Boiamorel. Remarks of servant
rity which her character had already acquired.
Before the French Revolution, the haughty de-
meanor of the nobility of France assumed such
an aspect as an American, at the present day,
can but feebly conceive. One morning, the
grandmother of Jane, a woman of dignity and
cultivated mind, took her to the house of Ma-
dame De Boismorel, a lady of noble rank, whose
children she had partly educated. It was a
great event, and Jane was dressed with the ut-
most care to visit the aristocratic mansion.
The aspiring girl, with no disposition to come
down to the level of those beneath her, and with
still less willingness to do homage to those above
her, was entirely unconscious of the mortifying
condescension with which she was to be receiv-
ed. The porter at the door saluted Madame
Phlippon with politeness, and all .the servants
whom she met in the hall addressed her with
civility. She replied to each with courtesy and
with dignity. The grandmother was proud of
her grand-daughter, and the servants paid the
young lady many compliments. The instinct
ive pride of Jane took instant alarm. She felt
that servants had no right to presume to pay
her compliments-that they were thus assurm-
ing that she was upon their level. Alas! for
Appearoe of Madae De BolmoreL Her recptlo oflhe riitors.
poor human nature. All love to ifnd. Few
are willing to favor equality stepping down.
A tall footman announced thenrt the door of
the magnificent sadbon. All the furnishing and
arrangements of this aristocratic apartment
were calculated to dazzle the eye and bewilder
the mind of one unaccustomed to such splen-
dor. Madame De Boismorel, dressed with the
most ostentatious display of wealth, was seated
upon an ottoman, in stately dignity, employing
her fingers with fancy needle-work. Her face
was thickly covered with rouge, and, as her
guests were announced, she raised her eyes
from her embroidery, and fixing a cold and un-
feeling glance upon them, without rising to re-
ceive them, or even making the slightest in.
clination of her body, in a very patronizing and
condescending tone said to the grandmother,
"Ah Miss Phlippon, good morning to yon !"
Jane, who was far from pleased with her re-
ception in the hall, was exceedingly displeased
with her reception in the saloon. The pride of
the Roman maiden rose in her bosom, and in-
dignantly she exclaimed to herself, So my
grandmother is called Miss in this house!"
"I am very glad to see you," continued Ma-
dame Do Boismorel; "and who is this fine
44 MADAME ROLAND.
iMadame De Boismorel's volubility. Jane's digntiod rejoinders.
girl ? youngand-daughter, I suppose ? She
will make a very pretty woman. Come here
my dear. Ah! I see she is a little bashful.
How old is your grand-daughter, Miss Phlip-
pon? Her complexion is rather brown, to be
sure, but her skin is clear, and will grow fairer
in a few years. She is quite a woman already."
Thus she rattled on for some time, waiting
for no answers. At length, turning again to
Jane, who had hardly ventured to raise her
eyes from the floor, she said, What a beauti-
ful hand you have got. That hand must be a
lucky one. Did you ever venture in a lottery,
"Never, madam," replied Jane, promptly;
"I am not fond of gaming."
"What an admirable voice !" exclaimed the
lady. So sweet and yet so full-toned! But
hof grave she is! Pray, my dear, are you not
a little of a devotee ?"
"I know my duty to God," replied Jane,
"and I endeavor to fulfill it."
That's a good girl," the noble lady rejoined.
"You wish to take the veil, do you not ?"
"I do not know what may be my destina-
tion, neither am I at present anxious to conjec-
Ieas indigunaon. She virl Verefllfe.
"How very 'sententious!" Madqpe De Bois-
-morel replied. "Your grand-daughter reads a
great deal, does she not, Miss Phlippon ?"
"Yes, madam, reading is her greatest de-
"Ay, ay," rejoined the lady; "I see how it
is. But have a care that she does not turn au-
thor. That would be a pity indeed."
During this conversation the cheeks of Jane
were flushed with wounded pride, and her heart
throbbed most violently. She felt indignant
and degraded, and was exceedingly impatient to
escape from the humiliating visit. Conscious
that she was, in spirit, in no respect inferior to
the maidens of Greece and Rome who had so
engrossed her admiration, she as instinctively
recoiled from the arrogance of the haughty oc-
cupant of the parlor as she had repelled the
affected equality of the servants in the halt.
A short time after this she was taken to pass
a week at the luxurious abodes of Maria An-
toinette. Versailles was in itself a city of pal-
aces and of courtiers, where all that could daz-
zle the eye in regal pomp and princely volup-
tuousness was concentered. Most girls of her
age would have been enchanted and bewildered
by this display of royal grandeur. Jane was
46 MADAME ROLAND.
Jam'I disgut at palace life. She resorts to t gardens.
permitted to witness, and partially to share, all
the pomp of luxuriously-spread tables, and pres-
entations, and court balls, and,illuminations,
and the gilded equipages of embassadors and
princes. But this maiden, just emerging from
the period of childhood and the seclusion of the
cloister, undazzled by all this brilliance, looked
sadly on the scene with the condemning eye of
a philosopher. The servility of the courtiers ex-
cited her contempt. She contrasted the bound-
less profusion and extravagance which filled
these palaces with the absence of comfort in
the dwellings of the over-taxed poor, and pon-
dered deeply the value of that regal despotism,
which starved the millions to pander to the dis-
solute indulgence of the few. Her personal
pride was also severely stung by perceiving
that her own attractions, mental and physical,
were entirely overlooked by the crowds which
were bowing before the shrines of rank and pow-
er. She soon became weary of the painful spec-
tacle. Disgusted with the frivolity of the liv-
ing, she sought solace for her wounded feelings
in companionship with the illustrious dead.
She chose the gardens for her resort, and, lin-
gering around the statues which embellished
these scenes of almost fairy enchantment, sur-
Jm's meditations. Characterio remak.
rendered herself to the luxury of those oft-in.
dulged dreams, which lured her thoughts away
from the trivialities around her to heroic char-
acter and brilliant exploits.
"How do you enjoy your visit, my daugh-
ter ?" inquired her mother.
I shall be glad when it is ended," was the
characteristic reply, else, in a few more days,
I shall so detest all the persons I see that I shall
not know what to do with my hatred."
"Why, what harm have these persons done
you, my child ?"
They make me feel injustice and look upon
absurdity," replied this philosopher of thirteen.
Thus early did she commence her political
meditations, and here were planted the germs
of that enthusiasm which subsequently nerved
her to such exertions for the disenthralment of
the people, and the establishment of republican
power upon the ruin of the throne of the Bour-
bons. She thought of the ancient republics,
encircled by a halo of visionary glory, and of
the heroes and heroines who had been the mar-
tyrs of liberty; or, to use her own energetic
language, "I sighed at the recollection of Ath-
ens, where I could have enjoyed the fine arts
without being annoyed at the sight of despot-
48 MADAME ROLAND.
Jane return home. Her manner of readig
ism. I was out of all patience at being a
French-woman. Enchanted with the golden
period of the Grecian republic, I passed over
the storms by which it had been agitated. I
forgot the exile of Aristides, the death of Soc-
rates, and the condemnation of Phocion. I lit-
tle thought that Heaven reserved me to be a
witness of similar errors, to profess the same
principles, and to participate in the glory of the
Soon after Jane had entered her fourteenth
year, she left her grandmother's and returned
to her parental home. Her father, though far
from opulence, was equally removed from pov-
erty, and, without difficulty, provided his fam-
ily with a frugal competence. Jane now pur-
sued her studies and her limitless reading with
unabated ardor. Her mind, demanding reality
and truth as basis for thought, in the develop-
ments of character as revealed in biography, in
the rise and fall of empires as portrayed in his-
tory, in the facts of science, and in the princi-
ples of mental and physical philosophy, found
its congenial aliment. She accustomed herself
to read with her pen in her hand, taking copi-
ous abstracts of facts and sentiments which par-
tioularly interested her. Not having a largo
Jml derot heref to domesuc dudte. S.e go to mnurket
library of her own, many of the books which
she read were borrowed, and she carefully ex-
tracted from them and treasured in her com-
mon-place book those passages which particu-
larly interested her, that she might read them
again and again. With these abstracts and ex-
tracts there were freely intermingled her own
reflections, and thus all that she read was care-
fully stored up in her own mind and became a
portion of her own intellectual being.
Jane's mother, conscious of the importance
to her child of a knowledge of domestic duties,
took her to the market to obtain meat and veg-
etables, and occasionally placed upon her the
responsibility of most of the family purchases;
and yet the unaffected, queenly dignity with
which the imaginative girl yielded herself to
these most useful yet prosaic avocations was
such, that when she entered the market, the
fruit-women hastened to serve her before the
other customers. The first comers, instead of
being offended by this neglect, stepped aside,
struck by those indescribable indications of su-
periority which ever gave her such a resistless
influence over other minds. It is quite remark-
able that Jane, apparently, never turned with
repugnance from these humble avocations of
50 MADAME ROLAND.
Jhe' aptitude for domestic duties. From the study to the kitchen.
domestic life. It speaks most highly in behalf
of the intelligence and sound judgment of her
mother, that she was enabled thus successfully
to allure her daughter from her proud imagin-
ings and her realms of romance to those unat-
tractive practical duties which our daily neces-
sities demand. At one hour, this ardent and
impassioned maiden might have been seen in
her little chamber absorbed in studies of deepest
research. The highest themes which can ele-
vate or engross the mind of man claimed her
profound and delighted reveries. The next hour
she might be seen in the kitchen, under the
guidance of her placid and pious mother, re-
ceiving from her judicious lips lessons upon fru-
gality, and industry, and economy. The white
apron was bound around her waist, and her
hands, which, but a few moments before, were
busy with the circles of the celestial globe, were
now occupied in preparing vegetables for din-
ner. There was thus united in the character
of Jane the appreciation of all that is beautiful,
chivalric, and sublime in the world of fact and
the world of imagination, and also domestic
skill and practical common sense. She was
thus prepared to fascinate by the graces and el-
egances of a refined and polished mind, and to
create for herself, in the midst of all the vicis-
situdes of life, a region of loveliness in which
her spirit could ever dwell; and, at the same
time, she possessed that sagacity and tact, and
those habits of usefulness, which prepared her
to meet calmly all the changes of fortune, and
over them all to triumph. With that self-ap-
preciation, the expression of which, with her,
was frankness rather than vanity, she subse-
quently writes, This mixture of serious stud-
ies, agreeable relaxations, and domestic cares,
was rendered pleasant by my mother's good
management, and fitted me for every thing. It
seemed to forebode the vicissitudes of future
life, and enabled me to bear them. In every
place I am at home. I can prepare my own
dinner with as much address as Philopoemen
cut wood; but no one seeing me thus engaged
would think it an office in which I ought to be
Jane was thus prepared by Providence for
that career which she rendered so illustrious
through her talents and her sufferings. At this
early period there were struggling in her bosom
those very emotions which soon after agitated
every mind in France, and which overthrew in
chaotic ruin both the altar and the throne.
6s MADAME ROLAND.
Diasolute l of the Catholic clergy. New emomon.
The dissolute lives of many of the Catholio
clergy, and their indolence and luxury, began
to alarm her faith. The unceasing denuncia-
tions of her father gave additional impulse to
every such suggestion. She could not but see
that the pride and power of the state were sus-
tained by the superstitious terrors wielded by
the Church. She could not be blind to the
trickery by which money was wrested from tor-
tured consciences, and from ignorance, imbecil-
ity, and dotage. She could not but admire her
mother's placid piety, neither could she conceal
from herself that her faith was feeling, her prin-
ciples sentiments. Deeply as her own feelings
had been impressed in the convent, and much
as she loved the gentle sisters there, she sought
in vain for a foundation for the gigantic fabric
of spiritual dominion towering above her. She
looked upon the gorgeous pomp of papal wor-
ship, with its gormandizing pastors and its starv.
ing flocks, with its pageants to excite the sense
and to paralyze the mind, with its friars and
monks loitering in sloth and uselessness, and
often in the grossest dissipation, and her reason
gradually began to condemn it as a gigantic
superstition for the enthrallment of mankind.
Still, the influence of Christian sentiments, like
liolMea of the abocracy. Jm. WAPriAm
a guardian angel, ever hovered around her, and
when her bewildered mind was groping amid
the labyrinths of unbelief, her heart still clung
to all that is pure in Christian morals, and to
all that is consolatory in the hopes of immor-
tality; and even when benighted in the most
painful atheistic doubts, conscience became her
deity; its voice she most reverently obeyed.
She turned from the Church to the state.
She saw the sons and the daughters of aristo-
oratic pride, glittering in gilded chariots, and
surrounded by insolent menialyweep by her,
through the Elysian Fields, while she trod the
dusty pathway. Her proud spirit revolted, more
and more, at the apparent injustice. She had
studied the organization of society. She was
familiar with the modes of popular oppression.
She understood the operation of that system of
taxes, so ingeniously devised to sink the mass
of the people in poverty and degradation, that
princes and nobles might revel in voluptuous
splendor. Indignation nerved her spirit as she
reflected upon the usurpation thus ostentatious-
ly displayed. The seclusion in which she lived
encouraged deep musings upon these vast ine.
qualities of life. Piety had not taught her sub.
mission. Philosophy had not yet taught her
54 MADAME ROLAND.
New acquaintance. Jane's contempt for their ignorance and pride.
the impossibility of adjusting these allotments
of our earthly state, so as to distribute the gifts
of fortune in accordance with merit. Little,
however, did the proud grandees imagine, as in
courtly splendor they swept by the plebeian
maiden, enveloping her in the dust of their char-
iots, that her voice would yet aid to upheave
their castles from their foundations, and whelm
the monarchy and the aristocracy of France in
one common ruin.
At this time circumstances brought her in
contact with several ladies connected with no-
ble families. The ignorance of these ladies,
their pride, their arrogance, excited in Jane's
mind deep contempt. She could not but feel
her own immeasurable superiority over them,
and yet she perceived with indignation that the
accident of birth invested them with a factitious
dignity, which enabled them to look down upon
her with condescension. A lady of noble birth,
who had lost fortune and friends through the
fraud and dissipation of those connected with
her, came to board for a short time in her fa-
ther's family. This lady was forty years of
age, insufferably proud of her pedigree, and in
her manners stiff and repulsive. She was ex-
ceedingly illiterate and uninformed, being un-
A noble but iNrt lady. De ce pid to khr.
able to write a line with correctness, and hav-
ing no knowledge beyond that which may be
picked up in the ball-room and the theater.
There was nothing in her character to win es-
teem. She was trying, by a law-suit, to recov-
er a portion of her lost fortune. Jane wrote pe-
titions for her, and letters, and sometimes went
with her to make interest with persons whose
influence would be important. She perceived
that, notwithstanding her deficiency in every
personal quality to inspire esteem or love, she
was treated, in consequence of her birth, with
the most marked deference. Whenever she
mentioned the names of her high-born ancestry
-and those names were ever upon her lips-
she was listened to with the greatest respect.
Jane contrasted the reception which this illiter-
ate descendant of nobility enjoyed with the re-
ception which her grandmother encountered in
the visit to Madame De Boismorel, and it ap-
peared to her that the world was exceedingly
unjust, and that the institutions of society were
highly absurd. Thus was her mind training
for activity in the arena of revolution. She
was pondering deeply all the abuses of society.
She had become enamored of the republican lib.
erty of antiquity. She was ready to embrace
56 MADAME ROLAND.
Habits of reflection.
with enthusiasm any hopes of change. All the
games and amusements of girlhood appeared to
her frivolous, as, day after day, her whole men-
tal powers were engrossed by these profound
contemplations, and by aspirations for the ele-
vation of herself and of mankind.
1770.] MAIDENHOOD. 67
Firmootiom of lov. A youatfl rtIit.
A SOUL so active, so imaginative, and so
full of feeling as that of Jane, could not
long slumber unconscious of the emotion of love.
In the unaffected and touching narrative wAich
she gives of her own character, in the Journal
which she subsequently wrote in the gloom of
a prison, she alludes to the first rising of that
mysterious passion in her bosom. With that
frankness which ever marked her character,
she describes the strange fluttering of her heart,
the embarrassment, the attraction, and the in-
stinctive diffidence she experienced when in the
presence of a young man who had, all uncon-
soiously, interested her affections. It seems
that there was a youthful painter named Tabo.
ral, of pale, and pensive, and intellectual coun-
tenanoe-an artist with soul-inspired enthusi-
asm beaming from his eye--who occasionally
called upon her father. Jane had just been
reading the Heloise of Rousseau, that gushing
fountain of sentimentality. Her young heart
Maiden timidity. Number of sitor.
took fire. His features mingled insensibly in
her dreamings and her visions, and dwelt, a wel-
come guest, in her castles in the air. The dif-
fident young man, with all the sensitiveness of
genius, could not speak to the daughter, of
whose accomplishments the father was so just-
ly proud, without blushing like a girl. When
Jane heard him in the shop, she always con-
trived to make some errand to go in. There
was a pencil or something else to be sought for.
But the moment she was in the presence of
Taboral, instinctive embarrassment drove her
away, and she retired more rapidly than she en-
tered, and with a palpitating heart ran to hide
herself in her little chamber.
This emotion, however, was fleeting and tran-
sient, and soon forgotten. Indeed, highly im-
aginative as was Jane, her imagination was
vigorous and intellectual, and her tastes led her
far away from those enervating love-dreams in
which a weaker mind would have indulged. A
young lady so fascinating in mind and person
could not but attract much attention. Many
suitors began to appear, one after another, but
she manifested no interest in any of them. The
customs of society in France were such at that
time, that it was difficult for any one who
Jane a letter writer. Her entments adopted by the French mintry.
sought the hand of Jane to obtain an introduc-
tion to her. Consequently, the expedient was
usually adopted of writing first to her parents.
These letters were always immediately shown
to Jane. She judged of the character of the
writer by the character of the epistles. Her
father, knowing her intellectual superiority,
looked to her as his secretary to reply to all
these letters. She consequently wrote the an-
swers, which her father carefully copied, and
sent in his own name. She was often amused
with the gravity with which she, as the father
of herself, with parental prudence discussed her
own interests. In subsequent years she wrote
to kings and to cabinets in the name of her hus-
band; and the sentiments which flowed fiom
her pen, adopted by the ministry of France as
their own, guided the councils of nations.
Her father, regarding commerce as the source
of wealth, and wealth as the source of power
and dignity, was very anxious that his daughter
should accept some of the lucrative offers she
was receiving from young men of the family
acquaintance who were engaged in trade. But
Jane had no such thought. Her proud spirit
revolted from such a connection. From her
sublimated position among the ancient heroes,
A rich meat merchant poposer for Jane' hand.
and her ambitious aspiring to dwell in the loft-
iest regions of intellect, she could not think of
allying her soul with those whose energies were
expended in buying and selling; and she de-
clared that she would have no husband but one
with whom she could cherish congenial sym-
At one time a rich meat merchant of the
neighborhood solicited her hand. Her father,
allured by his wealth, was very anxious that
his daughter should accept the offer. In reply
to his urgency Jane firmly replied,
"I can not, dear father, descend from my no-
ble imaginings. What I want in a husband is
-a soul, not a fortune. I will die single rather
than prostitute my own mind in a union with
a being with whom I have no sympathies.
Brought up from my infancy in connection with
the great men of all ages-familiar with lofty
ideas and illustrious examples-have I lived
with Plato, with all the philosophers, all the
poets, all the politicians of antiquity, merely to
unite myself with a shop-keeper, who will nei.
their appreciate nor feel any thing as I do?
Why have you suffered me, father, to contract
these intellectual habits and tastes, if you wish
me to form such an alliance? I know not
Conversnon between Jane and her father about msarimoy.
whom I may marry; but it must be one who
can share my thoughts and sympathize with my
But, my daughter, there are many men of
business who have extensive information and
"That may be," Jane answered, "but they
do not possess the kind of information, and the
character of mind, and the intellectual tastes
which I wish any one who is my husband to
Do you not suppose," rejoined her father,
"that Mr. and his wife are happy? He
has just retired from business with an ample
fortune. They have a beautiful house, and re-
ceive the best of company."
I am no judge," was the reply, "of other
people's happiness. But my own heart is not
fixed on riches. I conceive that the strictest
union of affection is requisite to conjugal felici-
ty. I can not connect myself with any man
whose tastes and sympathies are not in accord-
ance with my own. My husband must be my
superior. Since both nature and the laws give
him the pre-eminence, I should be ashamed if
he did not really deserve it."
"I suppose, then, you want a counselor for
Views of Jane in regard to marlrge.
your husband. But ladies are seldom happy
with these learned gentlemen. They have a
great deal of pride, and very little money."
"Father," Jane earnestly replied, "I oare not
about the profession. I wish only to marry a
man whom I can love."
"But you persist in thinking such a man will
never be found in trade. You will find it,
however, a very pleasant thing to sit at ease in
your own parlor while your husband is accu-
mulating a fortune. Now there is Madame
Dargens: she understands diamonds as well as
her husband. She can make good bargains in
his absence, and could carry on all his business
perfectly well if she were left a widow. You
are intelligent. You perfectly understand that
branch of business since you studied the treat-
ise on precious stones. You might do what-
ever you please. You would have led a very
happy life if you could but have fancied De-
lorme, Dabrieul, or-"
Father," earnestly exclaimed Jane, "I have
discovered that the only way to make a fortune
in trade is by selling dear that which has been
bought cheap; by overcharging the customer,
and beating down the poor workman. I could
never descend to such practices; nor could I
Jane' objection to a tradman. Se is immoTvbl.
respect a man who made them his occupation
from morning till night."
"Do you then suppose that there are no hon-
est tradesmen ?"
"I presume that there are," was the reply;
"but the number is not large; and among
them I am not likely to find a husband who
will sympathize with me."
"And what will you do if you do not find
the idol of your imagination ?"
"I will live single."
Perhaps you will not find that as pleasant
as you imagine. You may think that there is
time enough yet. But weariness will come at
last. The crowd of lovers will soon pass away,
and you know the fable."
"Well, then, by meriting happiness, I will
take revenge upon the injustice which would
deprive me of it."
Oh! now you are in the clouds again, my
child. It is very pleasant to soar to such a
height, but it is not easy to keep the elevation."
The judicious mother of Jane, anxious to see
her daughter settled in life, endeavored to form
a match for her with a young physician. Much
maneuvering was necessary to bring about the
desired result. The young practitioner was
The young phyidlacn a lover. Curious hInrview.
nothing loth to lend his aid. The pecuniary
arrangements were all made, and the bargain
completed, before Jane knew any thing of the
matter. The mother and daughter went out
one morning to make a call upon a friend, at
whose house the prospective husband of Jane,
by previous appointment, was accidentally to
be. It was a curious interview. The friends
so overacted their part, that Jane immediately
saw through the plot. Her mother was pen-
sive and anxious. Her friends were voluble,
and prodigal of sly intimations. The young
gentleman was very lavish of his powers of
pleasing, loaded Jane with flippant compliments,
devoured confectionary with high relish, and
chattered most flippantly in the most approved
style of fashionable inanition. The high-spir-
ited girl had no idea of being thus disposed of
in the matrimonial bazar. The profession of
the doctor was pleasing to her, as it promised
an enlightened mind, and she was willing to
consent to make his acquaintance. Her moth-
er urged her to decide at once.
"What, mother!" she exclaimed, "would
you have me take one for my husband upon the
strength of a single interview ?"
"It is not exactly so," she replied. "This
The physlcan taken n trial. The comneo broke of.
young gentleman's intimacy with our friends
enables us to judge of his conduct and way of
life. We know his disposition. These are the
main points. You have attained the proper age
to be settled in the world. You have refused
many offers from tradesmen, and it is from that
class alone that you are likely to receive ad-
dresses. You seem fully resolved never to mar-
ry a man in business. You may never have
another such offer. The present match is very
eligible in every external point of view. Be-
ware how you reject it too lightly."
Jane, thus urged, consented to see the young
physician at her father's house, that she might
become acquainted with him. She, however,
determined that no earthly power should induce
her to marry him, unless she found in him a
congenial spirit. Fortunately, she was saved
all further trouble in the matter by a dispute
which arose between her lover and her father
respecting the pecuniary arrangements, and
which broke off all further connection between
Her mother's health now began rapidly to
decline. A stroke of palsy deprived her of her
accustomed elasticity of spirits, and, secluding
herWsf from society, she became silent and sad.
Innes of Jlae' mother. The jewelry.
In view of approaching death, she often lament-
ed that she could not see her daughter well
married before she left the world. An offer
which Jane received from a very honest, in-
dustrious, and thrifty jeweler, aroused anew a
mother's maternal solicitude.
"Why," she exclaimed, with melancholy
earnestness, "will you reject this young man?
He has an amiable disposition, and high repu-
tation for integrity and sobriety. He is already
in easy circumstances, and is in a fair way of
soon acquiring a brilliant fortune. He knows
that you have a superior mind. He professes
great esteem for you, and will be proud of fol-
lowing your advice. You might lead him in
any way you like."
But, my dear mother, I do not want a hus-
band who is to be led. He would be too cum-
bersome a child for me to take care of."
Do you know that you are a very whimsi-
cal girl, my child ? And how do you think you
would like a husband who was your master and
I certainly," Jane replied, should not like
a man who assumed airs of authority, for that
would only provoke me to resist. But I am
sure that I could never love a husband whom it
1772.) MAIDENHOOD. 67
June's views of congealty between mmn and wif.
was necessary for me to govern. I should be
ashamed of my own power."
"I understand you, Jane. You would like
to have a man think himself the master, while
he obeyed you in every particular."
No, mother, it is not that either. I hate
servitude; but empire would only embarrass
me. I wish to gain the affections of a man
who would make his happiness consist in con-
tributing to mine, as his good sense and regard
for me should dictate."
But, my daughter, there would be hardly
such a thing in the world as a happy couple, if
happiness could not exist without that perfect
congeniality of taste and opinions which you
imagine to be so necessary."
"I do not know, mother, of a single person
whose happiness I envy."
Very well; but among those matches which
you do not envy, there may be some far pref-
erable to remaining always single. I may be
called out of the world sooner than you imag-
ine. Your father is still young. I can not tell
you all the disagreeable things my fondness for
you makes me fear. I should be indeed happy,
could I see you united to some worthy man bea
fore I die."
Her mothers death.
This was the first time that the idea of her
mother's death ever seriously entered the mind
of Jane. With an eager gaze, she fixed her eye
upon her pale and wasted cheek and her ema-
ciate frame, and the dreadful truth, with the
suddenness of a revelation, burst upon her.
Her whole frame shook with emotion, and she
burst into a flood of tears. Her mother, much
moved, tried to console her.
"Do not be alarmed, my dear child," said
she, tenderly. I am not dangerously ill. But
in forming our plans, we should take into con-
sideration all chances. A worthy man offers
you his hand. You have now attained your
twentieth year. You can not expect as many
suitors as you have had for the last five years.
I may be suddenly taken from you. Do not,
then, reject a husband who, it is true, has not
all the refinement you could desire, but who will
love you, and with whom you can be happy."
"Yes, my dear mother," exclaimed Jane,
with a deep and impassioned sigh, as happy
as you have been."
The expression escaped her in the excitement
of the moment. Never before had she ventured
in the remotest way to allude to the total want
of congeniality which she could not but per-
Jae's father becomes dilpmted. Meeknea of her mother.
oeive existed between her father and her moth-
er. Indeed, her mother's character for patience
and placid submission was so remarkable, that
Jane did not know how deeply she had suffer-
ed, nor what a life of martyrdom she was lead-
ing. The effect of Jane's unpremeditated re-
mark opened her eyes to the sad reality. Her
mother was greatly disconcerted. Her cheek
changed color. Her lip trembled. She made
no reply. She never again opened her lips upon
the subject of the marriage of her child.
The father of Jane, with no religious belief
to control his passions or guide his conduct, was
gradually falling into those habits of dissipation
to which he was peculiarly exposed by the char-
acter of the times. He neglected his business.
He formed disreputable acquaintances. He be-
came irritable and domineering over his wife,
and was often absent from home, with convivial
clubs, until a late hour of the night. Neither
mother nor daughter ever uttered one word to
each other in reference to the failings of the
husband and father. Jane, however, had so
powerful an influence over him, that she often,
by her persuasive skill, averted the storm which
was about to descend upon her meek and unre-
Excurdson to the country. Doltuive hope.
The poor mother, in silence and sorrow, was
sinking to the tomb far more rapidly than Jane
imagined. One summer's day, the father, moth-
er, and daughter took a short excursion into the
country. The day was warm and beautiful.
In a little boat they glided over the pleasant
waters of the Seine, feasting their eyes with the
beauties of nature and art which fringed the
shores. The pale cheek of the dying wife be-
came flushed with animation as she once again
breathed the invigorating air of the country,
and the daughter beguiled her fears with the
delusive hope that it was the flush of returning
health. When they reached their home, Ma-
dame Phlippon, fatigued with the excursion,.
retired to her chamber for rest. Jane, accom-
panied by her maid, went to the convent to call
upon her old friends the nuns. She made a
very short call.
"Why are you in such haste ?" inquired Sis-
"I am anxious to return to my mother."
"But you told me that she was better."
"She is much better than usual. But I have
a strange feeling of solicitude about her. I shall
not feel easy until I see her again."
She hurried home, and was met at the door
Death of Madame Phllppon. Effects upo Jm.
by a little girl, who informed her that her moth-
er was very dangerously ill. She flew to the
room, and found her almost lifeless. Another
stroke of paralysis had done its work, and she
was dying. She raised her languid eyes to her
child, but her palsied tongue could speak no
word of tenderness. One arm only obeyed the
impulse of her will. She raised it, and affec-
tionately patted the cheek of her beloved daugh-
ter, and wiped the tears which were flowing
down her cheeks. The priest came to admin-
ister the last consolations of religion. Jane,
with her eyes riveted upon her dying parent,
endeavored to hold the light. Overpowered
with anguish, the light suddenly dropped from
her hand, and she fell senseless upon the floor.
When she recovered from this swoon her moth-
er was dead.
Jane was entirely overwhelmed with uncon-
trollable and delirious sorrow. For many days
it was apprehended that her own life would fall
a sacrifice to the blow which her affections had
received. Instead of being a support to the
family in this hour of trial, she added to the
burden and the care. The Abbe Legrand, who
stood by her bedside as her whole frame was
shaken by convulsions, very sensibly remarked,
Recovery of Jane. Chtarcter of tr mother.
" It is a good thing to possess sensibility. It is
very unfortunate to have so much of it." Grad-
ually Jane regained composure, but life, to her,
was darkened. She now began to realize all
those evils which her fond mother had appre-
hended. Speaking of her departed parent, she
says, The world never contained a better or a
more amiable woman. There was nothing brill-
iant in her character, but she possessed every
quality to endear her to all by whom she was
known. Naturally endowed with the sweetest
disposition, virtue seemed never to cost her any
effort. Her pure and tranquil spirit pursued its
even course like the docile stream that bathes,
with equal gentleness, the foot of the rook which
holds it captive, and the valley which it at once
enriches and adorns. With her death was con-
eluded the tranquillity of my youth, which till
then was passed in the enjoyment of blissful
affections and beloved occupations."
Jane soon found her parental home, indeed,
a melancholy abode. She was truly alone in
the world. Her father now began to advance
with more rapid footsteps in the career of dissi-
pation. A victim to that infidelity which pre-
sents no obstacle to crime, he yielded himself a
willing captive to the dominion of passion, and
1774.] MAIDENHOOD. .73
Jae' melancholy. She rmorM to wriga
disorder reigned through the desolated hoase-
hold. Jane had the mortification of seeing a
woman received into the family to take her
mother's place, in a union unsanctified by the
laws of God. A deep melancholy settled down
upon the mind of the wounded girl, and she
felt that she was desolate and an alien in her
own home. She shut herself up in her cham-
ber with her thoughts and her books. All the
chords of her sensitive nature now vibrated only
responsive to those melancholy tones which are
the dirges of the broken heart. As there never
was genius untinged by melancholy, so may it
be doubted whether there ever was greatness
of character which had not been nurtured in the
school of great affliction. Her heart now began
to feel irrepressible longings for the sympathy
of some congenial friend, upon whose support-
ing bosom she could lean her aching head. In
lonely musings she solaced herself, and nurtur-
ed her own thoughts by writing. Her pen be.
came her friend, and the resource of every
weary hour. She freely gave utterance in her
diary to all her feelings and all her emotions.
Her manuscripts of abstracts, and extracts, and
original thoughts, became quite voluminous.
In this way she was daily cultivating that pow-
74 MADAME ROLAND. [1775.
Development of character. Letter fom N. BoimoroL
er of expression and that force of eloquence
which so often, in subsequent life, astonished
and charmed her friends.
In every development of character in her most
eventful future career, one can distinctly trace
the influence of these vicissitudes of early life,
and of these impressions thus powerfully stamp-
ed upon her nature. Philosophy, romance, and
religious sentiment, an impassioned mind and
a glowing heart, admiration of heroism, and
emulation of martyrdom in some noble cause,
all conspired to give her sovereignty over the
affections of others, and to enable her to sway
human wills almost at pleasure.
M. Boismorel, husband of the aristocratic lady
to whom Jane once paid so disagreeable a vis-
it, called one day at the shop of M. Phlippon,
and the proud father could not refrain from
showing him some of the writings of Jane.
The nobleman had sense enough to be very
much pleased with the talent which they dis-
played, and wrote her a very flattering letter,
offering her the free use of his very valuable
library, and urging her to devote her life to lit-
erary pursuits, and at once to commence au-
thorship. Jane was highly gratified by this
commendation, and most eagerly availed her-
Reply to M.De Bolsmorel. Tranmlatna.
self of his most valuable offer. In reply to his
suggestion respecting authorship, she inolosed
the following lines:
"Aux homes onvrant la carribre
Des grand et des nobles talents,
Ils n'ont mis aucune barribre
A leurs plus sublimes alans.
"De mon sexe foible et sensible,
Ils ne veulent que des vertus;
Nous pouvons imiter Titus,
Mais dans un sentier moins penible.
"Jonssiez du bien d'etre admis
A toutes ces sorts de gloire
Pour nous le temple de m6moire
Est dans le occurs de nos amis."
These lines have been thus vigorously trans-
lated in the interesting sketch given by Mrs.
Child of Madame Roland:
"To man's aspiring sex 'tis given
To climb the highest hill of fame;
To tread the shortest road to heaven,
And gain by death a deathless name.
"Of well-fought fields and trophies won
The memory lives while ages pas;
Graven on everlasting stone,
Or written on retentive brass.
"But to poor feeble womankind
The meed of glory is denied;
Within a narrow sphere confined,
The lowly virtues are their pride.
Character of De Bolomorl. Jane introduced to the noilty.
"Yet not deciduous is their fame,
Ending where frail existence ends;
A sacred temple holds their name-
The heart of their surviving friends."
A friendly correspondence ensued between
Jane and M. De Boismorel, which continued
through his life. He was a very worthy and
intelligent man, and became so much interest-
ed in his young friend, that he wished to con-
nect her in marriage with his son. This young
man was indolent and irresolute in character,
and his father thought that he would be great-
ly benefited by a wife of decision and judgment.
Jane, however, was no more disposed to fall in
love with rank than with wealth, and took no
fancy whatever to the characterless young no-
bleman. The judicious father saw that it
would be utterly unavailing to urge the suit,
and the matter was dropped.
Through the friendship of M. De Boismorel,
she was often introduced to the great world of
lords and ladies. Even his formal and haughty
wife became much interested in the fascinating
young lady, and her brilliant talents and ac-
complishments secured her invitations to many
social interviews to which she would not have
been entitled by her birth. This slight ac-
quaintance with the nobility of France did not,
Ja.'. ontempt for the urtocracy. Bar oo".0
however, elevate them in her esteem. She
found the conversation of the old marquises and
antiquated dowagers who frequented the saloon
of Madame De Boismorel more insipid and il-
literate than that of the tradespeople who vis-
ited her father's shop, and upon whom these
nobles looked down with such contempt. Jane
was also disgusted with the many indications
she saw, not only of indolence and voluptuous-
ness, but of dissipation and utter want of prin-
ciple. Her good sense enabled her to move
among these people as a studious observer of
this aspect of human nature, neither adopting
their costume nor imitating their manners. She
was very unostentatious and simple in her style
of dress, and never, in the slightest degree, af-
fected the mannerism of mindless and heart-
Madame De Boismorel, at one time eulogiz-
ing her taste in these respects, remarked,
"You do not love feathers, do you, Miss
Phlippon? How very different you are from
the giddy-headed girls around us!"
I never wear feathers," Jane replied, "be-
cause I do not think that they would correspond
with the condition in life of an artist's daugh-
ter who is going about on foot."
78 MADAME ROLAND. [177b.
M. Phlppoan proreu in dialpaion. Jana' painful itAutlon.
But, were you in a different situation in
life, would you then wear feathers ?"
"I do not know what I should do in that
case. I attach very slight importance to such
trifles. I merely consider what is suitable for
myself, and should be very sorry to judge of
others by the superficial information afforded
by their dress."
M. Phlippon now began to advance more rap-
idly in the career of dissipation. Jane did ev-
ery thing in her power to lure him to love his
home. All her efforts were entirely unavail-
ing. Night after night he was absent until the
latest hours at convivial clubs and card-parties.
He formed acquaintance with those with whom
Jane could not only have no congeniality of
taste, but who must have excited in her emo-
tions of the deepest repugnance. These com-
panions were often at his house; and the com-
fortable property which M. Phlippon possessed,
under this course of dissipation was fast melt-
ing away. Jane's situation was now painful in
the extreme. Her mother, who had been the
guardian angel of her life, was sleeping in the
grave. Her father was advancing with the
most rapid strides in the road to ruin. Jane
was in danger of soon being left an orphan and
1775.] MAIDENHOOD. 79
Jme secures a all Inoome. Cooladoa oflda
utterly penniless. Her father was daily becom-
ing more neglectful and unkind to his daughter,
as he became more dissatisfied with himself
and with the world. Under these ciroum-
stances, Jane, by the advice of friends, had re-
sort to a legal process, by which there was se-
cured to her, from the wreck of her mother's
fortune, an annual income of about one hund-
In these gloomy hours which clouded the
morning of life's tempestuous day, Jane found
an unfailing resource and solace in her love of
literature. With pen in hand, extracting beau-
tiful passages and expanding suggested thoughts,
she forgot her griefs and beguiled many hours,
which would otherwise have been burdened
with intolerable wretchedness. Maria Antoi.
nette, woe-worn and weary, in tones of despair
uttered the exclamation, Oh! what a resource,
amid the casualties of life, must there be in a
highly-cultivated mind." The plebeian maid-
en could utter the same exclamation in accents
80 MADAME ROLAND. [1776.
Sophi Canet. Roland doe k Plare.
W HEN Jane was in the convent, she be.
came acquainted with a young lady from
Amiens, Sophia Cannet. They formed for each
other a strong attachment, and commenced a
correspondence which continued for many years.
There was a gentleman in Amiens by the name
of Roland de la Platidre, born of an opulent
family, and holding the quite important office
of inspector of manufactures. His time was
mainly occupied in traveling and study. Being
deeply interested in all subjects relating to po-
litical economy, he had devoted much attention
to that noble science, and had written several
treatises upon commerce, mechanics, and agri-
culture, which had given him, in the literary
and scientific world, no little celebrity. He fre-
quently visited the father of Sophia. She often
spoke to him of her friend Jane, showed him
her portrait, and read to him extracts from her
glowing letters. The calm philosopher became
very much interested in the enthusiastic maid-
1776.] MARRIAGE. 81
M.Roland. His personal appearance.
en, and entreated Sophia to give him a letter
of introduction to her, upon one of his annual
visits to Paris. Sophia had also often written
to Jane of her father's friend, whom she regard-
ed with so much reverence.
One day Jane was sitting alone in her deso-
late home, absorbed in pensive musings, when
M. Roland entered, bearing a letter of introduc-
tion to her from Sophia. "You will receive
this letter," her friend wrote, "by the hand of
the philosopher of whom I have so often writ-
ten to you. M. Roland is an enlightened man,
of antique manners, without reproach, except
for his passion for the ancients, his contempt for
the moderns, and his too high estimation of his
The gentleman thus introduced to her was
about forty years old. He was tall, slender,
and well formed, with a little stoop in his gait,
and manifested in his manners that self-pos-
session which is the result of conscious worth
and intellectual power, while, at the same time,
he exhibited that slight and not displeasing
awkwardness which one unavoidably acquires
in hours devoted to silence and study. Still,
Madame Roland says, in her description of his
person, that he was courteous and winning;
Charater of M. Roland. First impreulon.
and though his manners did not possess all the
easy elegance of the man of fashion, they unit-
ed the politeness of the well-bred man with the
unostentatious gravity of the philosopher. He
was thin, with a complexion much tanned. His
broad and intellectual brow, covered with but
few hairs, added to the imposing attractiveness
of his features. When listening, his counte-
nance had an expression of deep thoughtful-
ness, and almost of sadness; but when excited
in speaking, a smile of great cheerfulness spread
over his animated features. His voice was rich
and sonorous; his mode of speech brief and sen-
tentious; his conversation full of information,
and rich in suggestive thought.
Jane, the enthusiastic, romantic Jane, saw in
the serene philosopher one of the sages of anti-
quity, and almost literally bowed and worship-
ed. All the sentiments of M. Roland were in
accordance with the most cherished emotions
which glowed in her own mind. She found
what she had ever been seeking, but had never
found before, a truly sympathetic soul. She
thought not of love. She looked up to M. Ro-
land as to a superior being-to an oracle, by
whose decisions she could judge whether her
own opinions were right or wrong. It is true
Jam's appreciation of M. Roland. Minds and heart
that M. Roland, cool and unimpassioned in all
his mental operations, never entered those airy
realms of beauty and those visionary regions of
romance where Jane loved, at times, to revel.
And perhaps Jane venerated him still more for
his more stern and unimaginative philosophy.
But his meditative wisdom, his abstraction from
the frivolous pursuits of life, his high ambition,
his elevated pleasures, his consciousness of su-
periority over the mass of his fellow-men, and
his sleepless desire to be a benefactor of human-
ity, were all traits of character which resistless-
ly attracted the admiration of Jane. She ador-
ed him as a disciple adores his master. She
listened eagerly to all his words, and loved com-
munion with his thoughts. M. Roland was by
no means insensible to this homage, and though
he looked upon her with none of the emotions
of a lover, he was charmed with her society be-
cause she was so delighted with his own conver-
sation. By the faculty of attentively listening
to what others had to say, Madame Roland
affirms that she made more friends than by any
remarks she ever made of her own. The two
minds, not hearts, were at once united; but
this platonic union soon led to one more tender.
M. Roland had recently been traveling in
84 MADAME ROLAND. 1777.
Journal of M. Roland. His notes on Italy.
Germany, and had written a copious journal
of his tour. As he was about to depart from
Paris for Italy, he left this journal, with other
manuscripts, in the hands of Jane. "These
manuscripts," she writes, made me better ac-
quainted with him, during the eighteen months
he passed in Italy, than frequent visits could
have done. They consisted of travels, reflec-
tions, plans of literary works, and personal an-
ecdotes. A strong mind, strict principles, and
personal taste, were evident in every page."
He also introduced Jane to his brother, a Ben-
edictine monk. During the eighteen months of
his absence from Paris, he was traveling in It-
aly, Switzerland, Sicily, and Malta, and writ-
ing notes upon those countries, which he after-
ward published. These notes he communicat-
ed to his brother the monk, and he transmitted
them to Jane. She read them with intense in-
terest. At length he returned again to Paris,
and their acquaintance was renewed. M. Ro-
land submitted to her his literary projects, and
was much gratified in finding that she approved
of all that he did and all that he contemplated.
She found in him an invaluable friend. His
gravity, his intellectual life, his almost stoical
philosophy, impressed her imagination and cap-
1778.] MARRIAGE. 85
The light In which Jane and M. Roland regrd each other.
tivated her understanding. Two or three years
passed away ere either of them seemed to have
thought of the other in the light of a lover.
She regarded him as a guide and friend. There
was no ardor of youthful love warming her
heart. There were no impassioned affections
glowing in her bosom and impelling her to his
side. Intellectual enthusiasm alone animated
her in welcoming an intellectual union with a
noble mind. M. Roland, on the other hand,
looked with placid and paternal admiration upon
the brilliant girl. He was captivated by her
genius and the charms of her conversation, and,
above all, by her profound admiration of him-
self. They were mutually happy in each oth-
er's society, and were glad to meet and loth to
part. They conversed upon literary projects,
upon political reforms, upon speculations in phi-
losophy and science. M. Roland was natural-
ly self-confident, opinionated, and domineering.
Jane regarded him with so much reverence that
she received his opinions for law. Thus he was
flattered and she was happy.
M. Roland returned to his official post at
Amiens, and engaged in preparing his work on
Italy for the press. They carried on a volumi-
nous and regular correspondence. He forward-
M. Roland professe his attachment. Feeling of Jne.
ed to her, in manuscript, all the sheets of his
proposed publication, and she returned them
with the accompanying thoughts which their
perusal elicited. Now and then an expression
of decorous endearment would escape from each
pen in the midst of philosophic discussions and
political speculations. It was several years aft-
er their acquaintance commenced before M. Ro-
land made an avowal of his attachment. Jane
knew very well the pride of the Roland family,
and that her worldly circumstances were such
that, in their estimation, the connection would
not seem an advantageous one. She also was
too proud to enter into a family who might feel
dishonored by the alliance. She therefore frank-
ly told him that she felt much honored by his
addresses, and that she esteemed him more
highly than any other man she had ever met.
She assured him that she should be most happy
to make him a full return for his affection, but
that her father was a ruined man, and that, by
his increasing debts and his errors of character,
still deeper disgrace might be entailed upon all
connected with him; and she therefore could
not think of allowing M. Roland to make his
generosity to her a source of future mortifica-
tion to himself.
1778.1 MARRIAGE. 87
M. Roland writes to Jane' father. Insuling letter of M. Phbppoa
This was not the spirit most likely to repel
the philosophic lover. The more she manifest-
ed this elevation of soul, in which Jane was
perfectly sincere, the more earnestly did M. Ro-
land persist in his plea. At last Jane, influ-
enced by his entreaties, consented that he
should make proposals to her father. He wrote
to M. Phlippon. In reply, he received an in-
sulting letter, containing a blunt refusal. M.
Phlippon declared that he had no idea of hav-
ing for a son-in-law a man of such rigid princi-
ples, who would ever be reproaching him for all
his little errors. He also told his daughter that
she would find in a man of such austere virtue,
not a companion and an equal, but a censor
and a tyrant. Jane laid this refusal of her fa-
ther deeply to heart, and, resolving that if she
could not marry the man of her choice, she
would marry no one else, she wrote to M. Ro-
land, requesting him to abandon his design, and
.,ut to expose himself to any further affronts.
She then requested permission of her father to
retire to a convent.
Her reception at the convent, where she was
already held in such high esteem, was cordial
in the extreme. The scanty income she had
saved from her mother's property rendered it
Jane redre to a convent Her mode of lfe there.
necessary for her 'to live with the utmost fru-
gality. She determined to regulate her ex-
penses in accordance with this small sum. Po-
tatoes, rice, and beans, with a little salt, and
occasionally the luxury of a little butter, were
her only food. She allowed herself to leave the
convent but twice a week: once, to call, for an
hour, upon a relative, and once to visit her fa-
ther, and look over his linen. She had a little
room under the roof, in the attic, where the
pattering of the rain upon the tiles soothed to
pensive thought, and lulled her to sleep by
night. She carefully secluded herself from as-
sociation with the other inmates of the convent,
receiving only a visit of an hour each evening
from the much-loved Sister Agatha. Her time
she devoted, with unremitting diligence, to those
literary avocations in which she found so much
delight. The quiet and seclusion of this life
had many charms for Jane. Indeed, a person
with such resources for enjoyment within her-
self could never be very weary. The votaries
of fashion and gayety are they to whom exist-
ence grows languid and life a burden. Several
months thus glided away in tranquillity. She
occasionally walked in the garden, at hours
when no one else was there. The spirit of res-
1779.] MARRIAGE. 89
Correpoodence with M. Roland H return to Part.
ignation, which she had so long cultivated; the
peaceful conscience she enjoyed, in view of
duty performed; the elevation of spirit, which
enabled her to rise superior to misfortune; the
methodical arrangement of time, which assign-
ed to each hour its appropriate duty; the habit
of close application, which riveted her attention
to her studies; the highly-cultivated taste and
buoyantly-winged imagination, which opened
before her all the fairy realms of fancy, were
treasures which gilded her cell and enriched
her heart. She passed, it is true, some melan-
choly hours; but even that melancholy had its
charms, and was more rich in enjoyment than
the most mirthful moments through which the
unreflecting flutter. M. Roland continued a
very constant and kind correspondence with
Jane, but she was not a little wounded by the
philosophic resignation with which he submit-
ted to her father's stern refusal. In the course
of five or six months he again visited Paris, and
called at the convent to see Jane. He saw her
pale and pensive face behind a grating, and the
sight of one who had suffered so much from her
faithful love for him, and the sound of her voice,
which ever possessed a peculiar charm, revived
in his mind those impressions which had been
. Roland renews his offer, to Jane. They are married.
somewhat fading away. He again renewed his
offer, and entreated her to allow the marriage
ceremony at once to be performed by his broth-
er the prior. Jane was in much perplexity.
She did not feel that her father was in a situ-
ation longer to control her, and she was a little
mortified by the want of ardor which her phil-
osophical lover had displayed. The illusion of
romantic love was entirely dispelled from her
mind, and, at the same time, she felt flattered
by his perseverance, by the evidence that his
most mature judgment approved of his choice,
and by his readiness to encounter all the un-
pleasant circumstances in which he might be
involved by his alliance with her. Jane, with-
out much delay, yielded to .his appeals. They
were married in the winter of 1780. Jane was
then twenty-five years of age. Her husband
was twenty years her senior.
The first year of their marriage life they
passed in Paris. It was to Madame Roland a
year of great enjoyment. Her husband was
publishing a work upon the arts, and she, with
all the energy of her enthusiastic mind, entered
into all his literary enterprises. With great
care and accuracy, she prepared his manuscripts
for the press, and corrected the proofs. She
First year of married life. Madame Roland's devotion to her husband
lived in the study with him, became the com-
panion of all his thoughts, and his assistant in
all his labors. The only recreations in which
she indulged, during the winter, were to attend
a course of lectures upon natural history and
botany. M. Roland had hired ready-furnished
lodgings. She, well instructed by her mother
in domestic duties, observing that all kinds of
cooking did not agree with him, took pleasure
in preparing his food with her own hands. Her
husband engrossed her whole time, and, being
naturally rather austere and imperious, he wish-
ed so to seclude her from the society of others
as to monopolize all her capabilities of friendly
feeling. She submitted to the exaction without
a murmur, though there were hours in which
she felt that she had made, indeed, a serious
sacrifice of her youthful and buoyant affections.
Madame Roland devoted herself so entirely to
the studies in which her husband was engaged
that her health was seriously impaired. Accus-
tomed as she was to share in all his pursuits,
he began to think that he could not do without
her at any time or on any occasion.
At the close of the year M. Roland returned
to Amiens with his wife. She soon gave birth
to a daughter, her only child, whom she nur-
Brth of a daughter. LUerry pura.nl
tured with the most assiduous care. Her lit-
erary labors were, however, unremitted, and,
though a mother and a nurse, she still lived in
the study with her books and her pen. M. Ro-
land was writing several articles for an ency.
clopedia. She aided most efficiently in collect-
ing the materials and arranging the matter.
Indeed, she wielded a far more vigorous pen
than he did. Her copiousness of language, her
facility of expression, and the play of her fancy,
gave her the command of a very fascinating
style; and M. Roland obtained the credit for
many passages rich in diction and beautiful in
imagery for which he was indebted to the glow-
ing imagination of his wife. Frequent sickness
of her husband alarmed her for his life. The
tenderness with which she watched over him
strengthened the tie which united them. He
could not but love a young and beautiful wife
so devoted to him. She could not but love one
upon whom she was conferring such rich bless-
ings. They remained in Amiens for four years.
Their little daughter Eudora was a source of
great delight to the fond parents, and Madame
Roland took the deepest interest in the devel-
opments of her infantile mind. The office of
M. Roland was highly lucrative, and his liter-
Applloatfon for lettes-ptent of nobility. Visit to EngaLd
ary projects successful; and their position in
society was that of an opulent family of illus-
trious descent-for the ancestors of M. Roland
had been nobles. He now, with his accumu-
lated wealth, was desirous of being reinstated
in that ancestral rank which the family had
lost with the loss of fortune. Neither must we
blame our republican heroine too much that,
under this change of circumstances, she was
not unwilling that he should resume that ex-
alted social position to which she believed him
to be so richly entitled. It could hardly be un-
pleasant to her to be addressed as Lady Roland.
It is the infirmity of our frail nature that it is
more agreeable to ascend to the heights of those
who are above us, than to aid those below to
reach the level we have attained. Encounter-
ing some embarrassments in their application
for letters-patent of nobility, the subject was
set aside for the time, and was never after re-
newed. The attempt, however, subsequently
exposed them to great ridicule from their dem-
About this time they visited England. They
were received with much attention, and Ma-
dame Roland admired exceedingly the compar-
atively free institutions of that country. She
Removal to Lyons. La PlatUre and it inmate.
felt that the English, as a nation, were im-
measurably superior to the French, and return-
ed to her own home more than ever dissatisfied
with the despotic monarchy by which the peo-
ple of France were oppressed.
From Amiens, M. Roland removed to the
city of Lyons, his native place, in which wider
sphere he continued the duties of his office as
Inspector General of Commerce and Manufac-
tures. In the winter they resided in the city.
During the summer they retired to M. Roland's
paternal estate, La Platiere, a very beautiful
rural retreat but a few miles from Lyons. The
mother of M. Roland and an elder brother resid-
ed on the same estate. They constituted the
ingredient of bitterness in their cup of joy. It
seems that in this life it must ever be that each
pleasure shall have its pain. No happiness can
come unalloyed. La Platiere possessed for Ma-
dame Roland all the essentials of an earthly
paradise; but those trials which are the unva-
rying lot of fallen humanity obtained entrance
there. Her mother-in-law was proud, imperi-
ous, ignorant, petulant, and disagreeable in ev-
ery development of character. There are few
greater annoyances of life than an irritable
woman, rendered doubly morose by the infirm.
Death of M. Roland'- mother. Situation of La Pltra.
ities of years. The brother was coarse and ar-
rogant, without any delicacy of feeling himself,
and apparently unconscious that others could
be troubled by any such sensitiveness. The
disciplined spirit of Madame Roland triumphed
over even these annoyances, and she gradually
infused through the discordant household, by
her own cheerful spirit, a great improvement
in harmony and peace. It is not, however,
possible that Madame Roland should have shed
many tears when, on one bright autumnal day,
this hasty tongue and turbulent spirit were
hushed in that repose from which there is no
awaking. Immediately after this event, at-
tracted by the quiet of this secluded retreat,
they took up their abode there for both sum-
mer and winter.
La Platiere, the paternal inheritance of M.
Roland, was an estate situated at the base of
the mountains of Beaujolais, in the valley of
the Saone. It is a region solitary and wild, with
rivulets, meandering down from the mountains,
fringed with willows and poplars, and thread-
ing their way through narrow, yet smooth and
fertile meadows, luxuriant with vineyards. A
lage, square stone house, with regular win-
dow, and a roof, nearly flat, of red tiles, con-
96 MADAME ROLAND. [1781.
Description of La Platire. Surrounding semery.
stituted the comfortable, spacious, and substan-
tial mansion. The eaves projected quite a dis-
tance beyond the walls, to protect the windows
from the summer's sun and the winter's rain
and snow. The external walls, straight, and
entirely unornamented, were covered with white
plaster, which, in many places, the storms of
years had cracked and peeled off. The house
stood elevated from the ground, and the front
door was entered by ascending five massive
stone steps, which were surmounted by a rusty
iron balustrade. Barns, wine-presses, dove-cots,
and sheep-pens were clustered about, so that
the farm-house, with its out-buildings, almost
presented the aspect of a little village. A veg-
etable garden; a flower garden, with serpentine
walks and arbors embowered in odoriferous and
flowering shrubs; an orchard, casting the shade
of a great variety of fruit-trees over the closely-
mown greensward, and a vineyard, with long
lines of low-trimmed grape vines, gave a finish
to this most rural and attractive picture. In
the distance was seen the rugged range of the
mountains of Beaujolais, while still further in
the distance rose towering above them the
snow-capped summits of the Alps. Here, in
this social solitude, in this harmony of silence,
1782.] MARRIAGE. 99
Yea of happlnes Mod of lie.
in this'wide expanse of nature, Madame Roland
passed five of the happiest years of her life--
five such years as few mortals enjoy on earth.
She, whose spirit had been so often exhilarated
by the view of the tree tops and the few square
yards of blue sky which were visible from the
window of her city home, was enchanted with
the exuberance of the prospect of mountain and
meadow, water and sky, so lavishly spread out
before her. The expanse, apparently so limit-
less, open to her view, invited her fancy to a
range equally boundless. Nature and imagina-
tion were her friends, and in their realms she
found her home. Enjoying an ample income,
engaged constantly in the most ennobling liter-
ary pursuits, rejoicing in the society of her hus-
band and her little Eudora, and superintending
her domestic concerns with an ease and skill
which made that superintendence a pleasure,
time flew upon its swiftest wings.
Her mode of life-during these five calm and
sunny years which intervened between the
cloudy morning and the tempestuous evening
of her days, must have been exceedingly attract-
ive. She rose with the sun, devoted sundry at-
tentions to her husband and child,'and person-
ally superintended the arrangements for break-
Eudora Dometle duties.
fast, taking an affectionate pleasure in prepar-
ing very nicely her husband's frugal food with
her own hands. That social meal, ever, in a
loving family, the most joyous interview of the
day, being passed, M. Roland entered the libra-
ry for his intellectual toil, taking with him, for
his silent companion, the idolized little Eudora.
She amused herself with her pencil, or reading,
or other studies, which her father and mother
superintended. Madame Roland, in the mean
time, devoted herself, with most systematic en-
ergy, to her domestic concerns. She was a per-
fect housekeeper, and each morning all the in-
terests of her family, from the cellar to the gar-
ret, passed under her eye. She superintended
the preservation of the fruit, the storage of the
wine, the sorting of the linen, and those other
details of domestic life which engross the atten-
tion of a good housewife. The systematic divi-
sion of time, which seemed to be an instinctive
principle of her nature, enabled her to accom-
plish all this in two hours. She had faithful
and devoted servants to do the work. The su-
perintendence was all that was required. This
genius to superintend and be the head, while
others contribute the hands, is not the most
common of human endowments. Madame Ro-