• TABLE OF CONTENTS
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 Advertising
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Childhood
 Youth
 Maidenhood
 Marriage
 The national assembly
 The ministry of M. Roland
 Madame Roland and the Jacobins
 Last struggles of the Girondis...
 Arrest of Madame Roland
 Fate of the Girondists
 Prison life
 Trial and execution of Madame...
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Group Title: Abbott's histories
Title: History of Madame Roland
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 Material Information
Title: History of Madame Roland
Series Title: Abbott's histories
Physical Description: 219 p., 1 leaf of plates : port. ; 13 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Abbott, John S. C ( John Stevens Cabot ), 1805-1877
Allman, Thomas, 1792-1870 ( Publisher )
W.J. and J. Sears ( Printer )
Publisher: Thomas Allman
Place of Publication: London
Manufacturer: W.J. and J. Sears
Publication Date: 1851
 Subjects
Subject: History -- Juvenile literature -- France -- Revolution, 1789-1799   ( lcsh )
Pictorial cloth bindings (Binding) -- 1851   ( rbbin )
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Bldn -- 1851
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Spatial Coverage: England -- London
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Statement of Responsibility: by John S.C. Abbott.
General Note: Publisher's advertisement: p.<2> & p.<3> of cover and end papers.
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Bibliographic ID: UF00002116
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
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Resource Identifier: aleph - 002446017
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notis - AMF1260
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Table of Contents
    Advertising
        Advertising 1
        Advertising 2
    Frontispiece
        Frontispiece
    Title Page
        Title Page 1
        Title Page 2
    Table of Contents
        Table of Contents 1
        Table of Contents 2
    Childhood
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
    Youth
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
    Maidenhood
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
    Marriage
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
    The national assembly
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
    The ministry of M. Roland
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
    Madame Roland and the Jacobins
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
    Last struggles of the Girondists
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
    Arrest of Madame Roland
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
    Fate of the Girondists
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
    Prison life
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
    Trial and execution of Madame Roland
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
        Page 208
        Page 209
        Page 210
        Page 211
        Page 212
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
        Page 218
        Page 219
    Advertising
        Page 220
        Page 221
Full Text


ABBOTT'S ,
asrsps&aYaxmxa asir PUBLISHED BT
THOMAS AtLIAN, 42, HOLBOHM HILL.
** Bach Volume of this r rl.s is handsomely printed
In royal 32mo, bound uniform in Crimsnu Cloth, (ilt
PdIes, and adorifed with a fine Steel Engrayi g. Price
One Shilling.

ALFRED THE GREAT.
WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR.
MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS.
QUEEN ELIZABETH.,
CHARLES TIE FIRST.
CHARLES THE SECOND.
MARIE ANTOINETTE.
CYRUS THE GREAT.
ALEXANDER THE GREAT..:
HANNIBAL THE CARTHAGINIAN
JULIUS CASAB.
CLEOPATRA.
JOSEPHINE.
DARIUS, KING OF PERSIAM
XERXES TIHE GREAT ,
MADAME ROLAND.
*' -fwe very amuming and i
populs riy adapted sitbh it p ewsoaUw
tor as choolIL. din* Books. i sh Bal
and entertaing knowledge.
(Fu1l AlloMancr.

S The Baldwin Library








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HISTORY


O0?


MADAME


ROLAND.


BY JOHN S. C. ABBOTT.







LONDON:
THOMAS ALLMAN, 42, HOLBORN HILL
1851.













CONTENT S.





CHAPTER PAUS
I. Childhood .. 1
II. Youth . . 14
III. Maidenhood . .. .29
IV. Marriage . ... 47
V. The National Assembly .. 62
VI. The Ministry of M. Roland 82
VII. Madame Roland and the Jacobins 99
VIII. Last Struggles of the Girondists 120
IX. Arrest of Madame Roland 140
X. Fate of the Girondists. .. 158
X 1. Prison Life . .. .178
XII. Trial and Execution of Madame
Roland . . 195








MADAME ROLAND.


CHAPTER I.
CHILDHOOD.
MANY characters of unusual grandeur were
developed by the French Revolution. Among
them all, there are few more worthy of notice,
than that of Madame Roland. The eventful
story of her life contains much to inspire the
mind with admiration and with enthusiasm,
and to stimulate one to live worthily of those
capabilities with which every human heart is
endowed. No person 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 fascinations 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, from the
cradle to the hour of her heroic death, '
In the year 1754, there was living in an
obscure workshop in Paris, on the crowded




2 MADAME ROLAND.
Quai des Orfevres, an engraver by the name
of Gratien Phlippon. He had married a very
beautiful woman, whose placid temperament
and cheerful content contrasted strikingly with
the restlessness and ceaseless repinings of
her husband. 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. Bitterly and unceasingly he
murmured that his lot had been cast in the
ranks of obscurity and of unsparing labour.
This thought of the unjust inequality in man's
condition, which soon broke forth with all the
volcanic energy of the French Revolution,
already began to ferment in the bosoms of the
labouring classes, and no one pondered these
wide diversities with a more restless spirit, or
murmured more loudly and more incessantly
than Phlippon. When the day's toil was
ended, he loved to gather around him asso-
ciates whose feelings harmonized with his own,
and to descant upon their own grievous oppres-
sion, and upon the arrogance of aristocratic
greatness. With an eloquence which often
deeply moved his sympathizing auditory, he
contrasted their doom of sleepless labour and





CHILDHOOD, 3
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 splen-
dour through the Champs Elysee.
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
powerful enginery of the Roman Catholic
Church, was, in his view, but a formidable
barrier against the liberty and the elevation of
the people-a bulwark, bristling with super-
stition and bayonets, behind which nobles and
kings were securely intrenched. He conse-
quently became as hostile to the doctrines of
the Church as he was to the institutions of the
state. The monarch was, in his eye, a tyrant,
and God a delusion. 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 theatres and cafis. They
were urged by workmen in their shops, by
students in their closets. They became the
inspiring spirit of science in encyclopedias
and reviews, and formed the chorus in all the
songs of revelry and libertinism.





4 MADAME ROLAND.
Madame Phlippon 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 uninquiring in her devotion, undoubt-
edly sincere in her piety. In every event of
life she recognized the overruling hand of Pror
evidence, and feeling that the comparatively
humble lot assigned her was in accordance
with the will of God, she indulged in no repin-
ings, and envied not the more brilliant des-
tiny of lords and ladies. An industrious
housewife, she hummed the hymns of content-
ment and peace from morning till evening.
In the cheerful performance of her daily toil,
she was ever pouring the balm of her peaceful
spirit upon the restless heart of her spouse.
Phlippon loved his wife, and often felt the
superiority of her Christian temperament.
Of eight children born to these parents, one
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, and enduring. And





CHILDHOOD. 5
now Jane became the central star in this
domestic system. Both parents lived in her
and for her. She was their earthly 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 repined.
Why should his bright and beautiful child--
who even in these her infantile years was
giving indication of the most brilliant intel-
lect-why should she be doomed to a life of
obscurity and toil, while the garden of the
Tuilleries and the Elysian Fields were thronged
with children, neither so beautiful nor so intel-
ligent, who were revelling in boundless wealth,
and living in a world of luxury and splendour
which, to Phlippon's imagination, seemed more
alluring than any idea he could form of hea-
ven ? These thoughts were a consuming fire
in the bosom of the ambitious father. They
burned with inextinguishable flame.
The fond parent made the sprightly and
fascinating child his daily companion. He
led her by the hand, and confided to her infan-
tile spirit all his thoughts, his illusions, his
day-dreams. To her listening ear he told
the story of the arrogance of nobles, of the
pride of kings, and of the oppression by which
he deemed himself unjustly doomed to a life





6 MADAME ROLAND.
of penury and toil. The light-hearted child
was often weary of these complaining, and
turned for relief to the placidity and cheerful-
ness of her mother's mind. Here she found
repose-a soothing, calm, and holy submis-
sion. Still the gloom of her father's spirit
cast a pensive shade over her own feelings,
and infused a tone of melancholy and an air
of unnatural reflection into her character. By
nature, Jane was endowed with a soul of unu-
sual delicacy. From early childhood, all that
is beautiful or sublime in nature, in literature,
in character, had charms to rivet her entranced
attention. She loved to sit alone at her cham-
ber window in the evening of a summer's day,
to gaze upon the gorgeous hues of sunset.
Books of impassioned poetry, and descriptions
of heroic character and achievements, were
her especial delight. Plutarch's Lives, that
book which, more than any other, appears to
be the incentive of early genius, was hid be-
neath her pillow, and read and re-read with
tireless avidity. Those illustrious heroes of
antiquity became the companions of her soli-
tude and of her hourly thoughts. She adored
them and loved them as her own most intimate
personal friends. Her character became in-
sensibly moulded to their forms, and she was
inspired with restless enthusiasm to imitate
their deeds. When but twelve years of age,




CHILDHOOD. 7
her father found her, one day, weeping that
she was not born a Roman maiden. Little
did she then imagine that, by talent, by suf-
fering, 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 fri-
volity and thoughtlessness of childhood. Be-
fore 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 sufficient supply. She not only
read with eagerness every book which met her
eye, but pursued this uninterrupted miscella-
neous reading to singular advantage, treasur-
ing up all important facts in her retentive me-
mory. So 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 continued, 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 thought no more of
play than did her father and mother, who
were her only and her constant companions.
From infancy she was accustomed to the
thoughts and the emotions of mature minds.
In personal appearance she was, in earliest




8 MADAME ROLAND.
childhood and through life, peculiarly interest-
ing rather than beautiful.
Ift a bright summer's afternoon she might
be seen sauntering along the Boulevards, led
by her father's hand, gazing upon that scene
of gaiety 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 amws 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,
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 li-
veried servants, and out-riders. She thinks of






politics, 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-
mistocles with his Spartan virtues, of Brutus,
and of the mother of the Gracchi. 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.
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 sympathised with the specu-
lations 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
destous 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 ablaze of enthusiasm. Fondly as she
loved her home, she was impatient for the hour
to arrive, when with heroic self-sacrifice she


CHILDHOOD.


9




lU MADAME ROLAND.
could withdraw from the world and its plea-
sures, 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 sre fell at her feet,
and, bursting into tears, besought that she
might be sent to a convent, to prepare to re-
ceive her first Christian communion in a suit-
able frame of mind.
The convent of the sisterhood of the Con-
gregation in Paris was selected for Jane.
Her thirst for knowledge was insatiate, and
with untiring assiduity she pursued her studies.
Every hour of the day had its appropriate
employment, and time flew upon its swiftest
wings. Every book which fell in her way she
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, po-
litical philosophy, poetry, and treatises upon
morals, were all read and meditated upon by
this young child. She had no taste for any
childish amusements; and in the hours of re-
creation, when the mirthful girls around her
were forgetting study and care in those games
appropriate to their years, she would walk
alone in the garden, admiring the flowers, and
gazing upon the fleecy clouds in the sky. In
all the beauties of nature, her eye ever recog-




CHILDHOOD. 11
nised the hand of God, and she ever took plea-
sure in those sublime thoughts of infinity and
eternity which must engross every noble mind.
In music and drawing she made great pro-
ficiency. She was even more fond of all that
is beautiful and graceful in the accomplish-
ments of a highly-cultivated mind, than in
those more solid studies which she neverthe-
less pursued with so much energy and inter-
est.
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 sombre
twilight, and its dimly-burning tapers; the
dirges which the organ breathed upon the
trembling ear ; the imposing pageant of prayer
and praise, with the blended costumes of
monks and hooded 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 con-
comitants of that system of pageantry, ar-
ranged so skilfully to impress the senses of
the young and the imaginative, fanned to the
highest elevation the flames of that poetic
temperament she so eminently possessed.
God thus became in Jane's mind a vision of
poetic beauty. Religion was the inspiration of
enthusiasm and of sentiment. The worship of




12 MADAME ROLAND.
the Deity was blended with all that was en.
nobling and beautiful. Moved by these glow-
ing fancies, her susceptible spirit, in these
tender years, turned away from atheism, from
infidelity, from irreligion, as from that which
was unrefined, revolting, and vulgar. The
consciousness of the presence of God, the
adoration of his being, became a passion of
her soul. This state of mind was poetry, not
religion. It involved no sense of the spiritu-
ality of the Divine law, no consciousness of
unworthiness, no need of a Saviour.
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
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 determina-
tion, she then takes the black veil, and utters
her solemn and irrevocable vows to bury her-
self in the gloom of the cloister, never again to
emerge. From this step there is no return.






The throbbing 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 consequen-
ces without the deepest emotion. The scene
produced an effect upon the spirit of Jane
which was never effaced. The wreath of flowers
which crowned 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 hel con-
signment to a living tomb,-all so deeply af-
fected 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-
pealed irresistibly to her admiration of the
morally sublime. There was in that relinquish-
ment of all the joys of earth, a self-surrender
to a passionless life of mortification, and pen-
ance, and prayer, an apparent heroism, which
reminded Jane of her much-admired Roman
maidens and matrons. She aspired with most
romantic ardour to do, herself, something great
and noble. While her sound judgment could
not but condemn this abandonment of life, she
was inspired with the loftiest enthusiasm to


13


CHILDHOOD.





14 MADAME ROLAND.
enter, in some worthy way, upon a life of en.
durance, of sacrifice, 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 sceptre.


CHAPTER II.
YOUTH.
THE 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
for a time became entirely fascinated by the






novel scenes around her, and surrendered her
whole soul to the dominion of the associations
with which she was engrossed.
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 aHied 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
contributed so much to her subsequent cele-
brity.
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.
During several weeks previous to her recep-
tion of this solemn ordinance, by solitude, self-
examination,.and prayer, she endeavoured 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 incapable of walking to the altar.
She was borne in the arms of two of the nuns.
This depth of emotion was entirely unaffected,


15


YOUTH.





16 MADAME ROLAND.
and secured for h6r the peculiar reverence of
the sacred sisters.
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
Angelieu. Her grandmother was a dignified
lady, of much refinement of mind, and grace-
fulness of demeanour, who laid great stress
upon all the courtesies of life, and the elegances
of manners and address. Her aunt was gentle
and warm-hearted, and her spirit was deeply
imbued with that humble and docile piety
which has so often shone out with pure lustre
even through all the encumbrances of the Ro-
man 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 interrupted the quiet routine of daily
duties. Books continued still her employment
and her delight.
She thus continued to dwell in the bound-
less regions of the intellect and the affections.
Even the most common-place duties of life





YOUTH. 17
were rendered 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 and aspirations, though she
did not despise those of a more humble men-
tal 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
splendour and happiness which the scene ap-
peared to reveal.
The father of Jane was delighted with all
these indications of a marked and elevated
character, and did all in his power to stimulate
her to greater zeal in her lofty studies and
meditations. Jane became his idol, and the
more her imaginative mind became imbued
with the spirit of romantic aspirations, the
better was he pleased. The ardour of her zeal
enabled her to succeed in everything which she
undertook. Invincible industry and energy
were united with these dreams. She was am-
bitious of knowing everything; and when her
father placed in her hands the burin, wishing
to teach her to engrave, she immediately ac-
quired such skill as to astonish both of her





1S MADAME ROLA Nb.
parents. And she afterward passed many
pleasant hours in engraving, on highly-polished
plates of brass, beautiful emblems of flowers,
as tokens of affection for her friends.
The mother of Jane, with far better judg-
ment, endeavoured to call back her daughter
from that unreal world in which she loved to
dwell, and to interest her in the practical
duties of life. She began to be impatient for
her return home, that she might introduce her
to those household employment, the know-
ledge ef which is of such unspeakable import-
ance to every lady. In this she was far from
being unsuccessful; for while Jane continued
to dream in accordance with the encourage-
ment of her father, she also cordially recog-
nized the good sense of her mother's counsels,
and held herself ever in readiness to co-
operate with her in all her plans.
A little incident which took place at this
time strikingly illustrates the reflective matu-
rity which her character had already acquired.
One morning the grandmother of Jane, took
her to the house of Madame De Boismorel, a
lady of noble rank, whose children she had
partly educated. It was a great event, and
Jane was dressed with the utmost 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 wil-






lingness to do homage to those above her, was
entirely unconscious of the mortifying con-
descension with which she was to be received.
The porter at the door saluted Madame Phlip-
pon 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 instinc-
tive pride of Jane took instant alarm. She
felt that servants had no right to presume to
pay her compliments-that they were thus
assuming that she was upon their level. Alas !
for poor human nature. All love to ascend.
Few are willing to favour equality by step-
ping down. A tall footman announced them
at the door of the magnificent saloon. All
the furnishing and arrangements of this aris-
tocratic apartment were calculated to dazzle
the eye and bewilder the mind of one unac-
customed to such splendour. 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 em-
broidery, and fixing a cold and unfeeling
glance upon them, without rising to receive


19


YOUTH.





20 MADAME ROLAND.
them, or even making the slightest inclination
of her body, in a very patronizing and con.
descending tone said to the grandmother,
"Ah! Miss Phlippon, good morning to you !"
Jane, who was far from pleased with her
reception in the hall, was exceedingly dis-
pleased with her reception in the saloon.
The pride of the Roman maiden rose in her
hosom, and indignantly she exclaimed to her-
self, So my grandmother is called Miss in
this house!"
I am very glad to see you," continued
Madame De Boismorel: and who is this
fine girl? your grarnd-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 Phlippon ? 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 beau-
tiful hand you have got. That hand must be
a lucky one. Did you ever venture in a lot-
try, my dear ?"
Never, madame," replied Jane, promptly;
" I am not fend of gaming."






What an admirable voice !" exclaimed the
lady. "So sweet and yet so full-toned! But
how grave she is! Pray, my dear, are you
not a little of a devotee ?"
I know my duty to God," replied Jane,
"and I endeavour to fulfil it."
That's good girl," the noblelady 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 con-
jecture it."
How very sententious!" Madame De Bois-
morel replied. Your grand-daughter reads
a great deal, does she not, Miss Phlippon ?"
Yes, madam, reading is her greatest
delight."
Ay, ay," rejoined the lady; I see how
it is. But have a care that she does not turn
author. 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. Con-
scious 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 occupant of the parlour as she


21


YOUTH.





22 MADAME ROLAND.
had repelled the affected equality of the ser-
vants in the hall.
A short time after this she was taken to pass a
week at the luxurious abode of Idaria Antoinette.
Versailles was in itself a city of palaces and
of courtiers, where all that could dazzle the
eye in regal pomp and princely voluptuous-
ness was concentred. Most girls of her age
would have been enchanted and bewildered
by this display of royal grandeur. Jane was
permitted to witness, and partially to share,
all the pomp of luxuriously-spread tables, and
presentations, and court balls, and illumina-
tions, and the gilded equipages of ambassadors
and princes. But this maiden, just emerging
from the period of childhood and the seclusion
of the cloister, undazzled by all this bril-
liance, looked sadly on the scene with the con-
demning eye of a philosopher. The servility
of the courtiers excited her contempt. She
contrasted the boundless profusion and extra-
vagance which filled these palaces with the
absence of comfort in the dwellings of the
over-taxed poor, and pondered deeply the value
of that regal despotism, which starved the
millions to pander to the dissolute indulgence
of the few. Disgusted with the frivolity of
the living, she sought solace for her wounded
feelings in companionship with the illustrious
dead. She chose the gardens for her resort,






and, lingering around the statues which em-
bellished these scenes of almost fairy enchant-
ment, surrendered herself to the luxury of
those oft-indulged dreams, which lured her
thoughts away from the trivialities around her
to heroic character 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 repub-
lican power upon the ruin of the throne of the
Bourbons.
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
poverty, and, without difficulty, provided his
family with a frugal competence. Jane now


23


YOUTH.





24 MADAME ROLAND.
pursued her studies and her limitless reading
with unabated ardour. Her mind, demanding
reality and truth as basis for thought, in the
developments of character as revealed in bio-
graphy, in the rise and fall of empires as
portrayed in history, in the facts of science,
and in the principles of mental and physical
philosophy, found its congenial aliment. She
accustomed herself to read with her pen in her
hand, taking copious abstracts of facts and
sentiments which particularly interested her.
With these abstracts and extracts there were
freely intermingled her own reflections, and
thus all that she read was carefully 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
vegetables, and occasionally placed upon her
the responsibility of most of the family pur-
chases; and yet the unaffected, queenly dig-
nity with which the imaginative girl yielded
herself to these most useful, yet prosaic avo-
cations, 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 indescrib-
able indications of superiority which ever






gave her such a resistless influence over other
minds. It is quite remarkable that Jane, ap-
parently, never turned with repugnance from
these humble avocations of domestic life. 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 elevate and 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, receiving from
her judicious lips lessons upon frugality, and
industry, and economy. There was thus uni-
ted in the character of Jane the appreciation
of all that is beautiful, chivalric, and sublime
in the world of fact and the world of imagi-
nation, and also domestic skill and practical
common sense. She was thus prepared to
fascinate by the graces and elegances of a re-
fined and polished mind, andfto create for
herself, in the midst of all the vicissitudes 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.
Jane was thus prepared by Providence for
that career which she rendered so illustrious


25


YOUTH.





o0 MADAME ROLAND.
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. The dissolute lives of many of
the Catholic clergy, and their indolence and
luxury, began to alarm her faith. The un-
ceasing denunciations of her father, gave ad-
ditional impulse to every such suggestion.
She could not but admire her mother's placid
piety, neither coull she conceal from herself
that her faith was feeling, her principles sen-
timents. 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.
Still, the influence of Christian sentiments,
like a guardian angel, ever hovered around
her, and when her bewildered mind was grop-
ing amid the labyrinths of unbelief, her heart
still clung to all that is pure in Christian mo-
rals, and to all that is consolatory in the hopes
o( immortality; and even when benighted in
the most painful atheistic doubts, conscience
became her deity; its voice she most reve-
rently obeyed.
She turned from the Church to the state.
She saw the sons and the daughters of aristo-





YOUTH. 27
cratic pride, glittering in gilded chariots, and
surrounded by insolent menials, sweep 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 op-
pression. 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 splendour. Indignation
nerved her spirit, as she reflected upon the
usurpation thus ostentatiously displayed.
At this time, circumstances brought her in
contact with several ladies connected with
noble 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 father's family. This lady was
forty years of age, insufferably proud of her
pedigree, and in her manners, stiff and revul.




28 MADAME ROLAND.
sive. She was exceedingly illiterate and un-
informed, being unable to write a line with
correctness, and having no knowledge beyond
thatwhich may be picked up in the ball-room
and the theatre. There was nothing in her
character to win esteem. She was trying by
a law-suit, to recover a portion of her lost
fortune. Jane wrote petitions for her, and
letters, and sometimes went with her to make
interest with persons whose influence would
be important. She perceived, that, notwith-
standing her deficiency in every personal qua-
lity 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 illi-
terate descendant of nobility enjoyed with the
reception which her grandmother encountered
in the visit to Madame De Boismorel, and it
appeared 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 enamoured of the
republican liberty of antiquity. She was ready
tu embrace with enthusiasm any hopes of





change. All the games and amusements of
girlhood appeared to her frivolous, as, day
after day, her whole mental powers were en-
grossed by these profound contemplations,
and by aspirations for the elevation of herself
and of mankind.


CHAPTER III.
MAIDENHOOD.
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.
It seems that there was a youthful painter
named Taboral, of pale, and pensive, and in-
tellectual countenance-an artist with soul-
inspired enthusiasm beaming from his eye-
who occasionally called upon her father.
Jane had just been reading the Heloise of
Rousseau, that gushing fountain of sentimen-
tality. Her young heart took fire. His
features mingled insensibly in her dreamings
and her visions, and dwelt, a welcome guest,
in her castles in the air. The diffident young
man, with all the sensitiveness of genius,
could not speak to the daughter, of whose ac-
complishments the father was so justly proud,
without blushing like a girl. When Jane
heard him in the shop, she always contrived


29


MAIDENHOOD.





30s MADAME ROLAND.
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
entered, and with a palpitating heart ran to
hide herself in her little chamber.
This emotion, however, was fleeting and
transient, and soon forgotten. Indeed, highly
imaginative 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 per-
son could not but attract much attention.
Many suitors began to appear, one after an-
other, 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 sought the hand of Jane to
obtain an introduction 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, know-
ing her intellectual superiority, looked to her
as his secretary to reply to all these letters.
She consequently wrote the answers, which
her father carefully copied, and sent in his




MAIDENHOOD. ;1
own name. She was often amused with the
gravity with which she, as the father of her-
self, with parental prudence discussed her
own interests.
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 an-
cient heroes, and her ambitious aspiring to
dwell in the loftiest regions of intellect, she
could not think of allying her soul with those
whose energies were expended in buying and
selling; and she declared that she would have
no husband but one with whom she could
cherish congenial sympathies.
At one time a rich meat merchant of the
neighbourhood solicited her hand. Her fa-
ther, allured by his wealth, was very anxious
that his daughter should accept the offer. In
reply to his urgency Jane firmly replied,
"I cannot, dear father, descend from my
noble 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




32 MADAME ROLAND.
union with a being with whom I have no
sympathies."
"But, my daughter, there are many men
of business who have extensive information
and polished manners."
"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 hus-
band to possess."
"I suppose, then, you want a counsellor
for 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 care
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 parlour while your husband
is accumulating 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 per-
fectly understand that branch of business
since you studied the treatise on precious





MAID.NIIOOD.


stones. You might do whatever you please.
You would have led a very happy life if you
could but have fancied Delorme, 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 work-
man. I could never descend to such practices;
nor could I respect a man who made them
his occupation from morning till night."
Do you then suppose that there are no
honest 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,
a


33




MADAME ROLAND.


my child. It is very pleasant to soar to such
a height, but it is not so easy to keep the
elevation."
The judicious mother of Jane, anxious to
see her daughter settled in life, endeavourid
to form a match for her with a young physi-
cian. Much manceuvring was necessary to
bring about the desired result. The young
practitioner was 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 in-
terview. The friends so overacted their part,
that Jane immediately saw through the plot.
Her mother was pensive and anxious. Her
friends were voluble, and prodigal of sly inti-
mations. The young gentleman was very
lavish of his powers of pleasing, loaded Jane
b with flippant compliments, devoured confec-
tionwry with high relish, and chattered most
flippantly in the most approved style of
fashionable inanition. The high-spirited girl
had oo idea of being thus disposed of in the
matrimonial bazaar. The profession of the
doctor was pleasing to her, as it promised an
enlightened mind, and she was willing to con-


34






sent to make his acquaintance. Her mother
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
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 pro-
per 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 addresses. You seem fully resolved
never to marry a man in business. You may
never have another such offer. The present
match is very eligible in every external point
of view. Beware how you reject it too lightly."
Jane, thus urged, consented to see the
young physician at her father's house. 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 ar-
rangements, and which broke off all further
connection between the parties.
Her mother's health now began rapidly to
decline. A stroke of palsy deprived her of


35


MAIDENHOOD.





36 MADAME ROLAND.
her accustomed elasticity of spirits, and, se-
cluding herself from society, she became silent
and sad. In view of approaching death, she
often lamented that she could not see her
daughter well married before she left the
world. An offer which Jane received from a
very honest, industrious, and thrifty jeweller,
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 knows
that you have a superior mind. He professes
great esteem for you, and will be proud of
following your advice."
"But, my dear mother, I do not want a
husband who is to be led. He would be too
cumbersome a child for me to take care of."
"Do you know that you are a very whim-
sical girl, my child ? And how do you think
you would like a husband who was your mas-
ter and tyrant ?"
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 was necessary for me to govern. I
should be ashamed of my own power."
"I understand you, Jane. You would like




MAIDENHOOD. 37
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
contributing 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 1 envy."
"Very well; but among those matches
which you do not envy, there may be some
far preferable to remaining always single. I
may be called out of the world sooner than
you imagine. Your father is still young. I
cannot 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 before I die."
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 emaciate frame, and the dreadful
truth, with the suddenness of a revelation





38 MADAME ROLAND.
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 consideration all chances. A worthy
man offers you his hand. You have now
attained your twentieth year. You cannot
expect as many 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 excite-
ment 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 perceive existed between her father
and her mother. Indeed, her mother's cha-
racter for patience and placid submission was
so remarkable, that Jane did not know how
deeply she had suffered, nor what a life of
martyrdom she was leading. The effect of
Jane's unpremeditated remark opened her
eyes to the sad reality. Her mother was




MAIDENHOOD. JU
greatly disconcerted. Her cheek changed
colour. 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 ex-
posed by the character of the times. He
neglected his business. He formed disrepu-
table acquaintances. He became irritable
and domineering over his wife, and was often
absent from home, at 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-
sisting parent.
The poor mother, in silence and sorrow,
was sinking to the tomb far more rapidly than
Jane imagined. One summer's day, the father,
mother, 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




40 MADAME ROLAND.
the dying wife became 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, Madame Phlippon, fa-
tigued with the excursion, retired to her
chamber for rest. Jane, accompanied 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
Sister Agatha.
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
by a little girl, who informed her that her
mother 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 affectionately patted the
cheek of her beloved daughter, and wiped
the tears which were flowing down her cheeks.





MAIDENHOOD. 91
The priest came to administer the last conso-
lations of religion. Jane, with her eyes riveted
upon her dying parent, endeavoured 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 mother was
dead.
Jane was entirely overwhelmed with un-
controllable 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, It is a good thing
to possess sensibility. It is very unfortunate
to have so much of it." Gradually Jane
regained her composure, but life, to her, was
darkened.
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 ot
dissipation. A victim to that infidelity which
presents no obstacle to crime, he yielded
himself a willing captive to the dominion of
passion, and disorder reigned through the




42 MADAME ROLAND.
desolated household. Jane had the mortifica-
tion 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 chamber with her thoughts
and her books. All the chords of her sen-
sitive 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 pen became
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
power 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 stamped upon her nature. Philo-






sophy, romance, and religious sentiment, an
impassioned mind and a glowing heart, admi-,
ration of heroism, and emulation of martyrdom
in some noble cause, all conspired to give her
sovereignty over the affections of others, and
enable her to sway human wills at pleasure.
M. Boismorel, nusband of the aristocratic
lady to whom Jane once paid so disagreeable
a visit, called one day at the shop of M. Phlip-
pon, 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
displayed, 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 literary pursuits, and at once to
commence authorship. Jane was highly
gratified by this commendation, and most
eagerly availed herself of his valuable offer.
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 interested
in his young friend, that he wished to connect
her in marriage with his son. This young
man was indolent and irresolute in character,
and his father thought that he would be greatly
benefited by a wife of decision and judgment.
Jane, however, was no more disposed to fall


43


MAIDENHOOD.




44 MADAME ROLAND.
in love with rank than with wealth, and took
no fancy whatever to the characterless young
nobleman. 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 fascinat-
ing young lady, and her brilliant talents and
accomplishments secured her invitations to
many social interviews to which she would
not have been entitled by her birth. This
slight acquaintance with the nobility of France
did not, however, elevate them in her esteem.
She found the conversation of the old mar-
quises and antiquated dowagers who frequen-
ted the saloon of Madame De Boismorel more
insipid and illiterate than that of the trades-
people who visited 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 voluptuousness, but of dissipation and
utter want of principle. 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 un-
ostentatious and simple in her style of dress,




MAIDENHOOD. 45
and never, in the slightest degree, affected the
mannerism of mindless and heartless fashion.
Madame De Boismorel, at one time eulo-
gizing 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,
"because I do not think that they would
correspond with the condition in life of an
artist's daughter who is going about on foot."
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
rapidly in tie career of dissipation. Jane did
every thing in her power to lure him to love
his home. All her efforts were entirely una-
vailing. 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 con-
geniality of taste, but who must have excited
in her emotions the deepest repugnance.
These companions were often at his house





46 MADAME ROLAND.
and the comfortable property which M. Phlip -
pon possessed, under this course of dissipation,
was fast melting 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 utterly penniless.
Her father was daily becoming more neglect-
ful and unkind to his daughter, as he became
more dissatisfied with himself and with the
world. Under these circumstances, Jane, by
the advice of friends, had resort to a legal
process, by which there was secured to her,
from the wreck of her mother's fortune, an
annual income of about twenty pounds.
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, she forgot
her griefs and beguiled many hours, which
would otherwise have been burdened with in-
tolerable wretchedness. Maria Antoinette,
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 maiden could
utter the same exclamation in accents of joy-
fulness.




47


CHAPTER IV.

MARRIAGE.

WHEN Jane was in the convent she became
acquainted with a young lady from Amiens,
Sophia Camet. They formed for each other
a strong attachment, and commenced a cor-
respondence which continued for many years.
There was a gentleman in Amiens by the name
of Roland de la Platiere, born of an opulent
family, and holding the quite important office
of inspector of manufactures. His time was
mainly occupied in travelling and study. Being
deeply interested in all subjects relating to
political economy, he had devoted much atten-
tion to that noble science, and had written
several treatises upon commerce, mechanics,
and agriculture, which had given him, in the
literary and scientific world, no little celebrity.
He frequently 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 maiden, 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




48 MADAME ROLAND.
friend, whom she regarded with so much re-
verence.
One day Jane was sitting alone in her de-
solate home, absorbed in pensive musings,
when M. Roland entered, bearing a letter of
introduction to her from Sophia. You will
receive this letter," her friend wrote, by the
hand of the philosopher of whom I have so
often written to you. K1. Roland is an en-
lightened 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 own virtue."
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. His
broad and intellectual brow, covered with but
few hairs, added to the imposing attractive-
ness of his features. When listening, his
countenance had an expression of deep thought-
fulness, and almost of sadness; but when
excited in speaking, a smile of great cheerful-
ness spread over his animated features. His
voice was rich and sonorous; his mode of






speech brief and sententious ; 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
antiquity, and almost literally bowed and
worshipped. All the sentiments of M. Roland
were in accordance with themost cherished emo-
tions 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 Jove. She looked up to M.
Roland as to a superior being-to an oracle,
by whose decisions she could judge whether
her own opinions were right or wrong. She
adored him as a disciple adores his master.
She listened eagerly to all his words, and loved
communion 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 because she was so delighted with
his own conversation. The two minds, not
hearts, were at once united; but this platonic
union soon led to one more tender.
M. Roland had recently been travelling in
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. They
z


49


MARRIAGE.




50 MADAME ROLAND.
consisted of travels, reflections, plans of
literary works, and personal anecdotes. A
strong mind, strict principles, and personal
taste, were evident in every page. He also
introduced Jane to his brother, a Benedictine
monk. During the eighteen months of his
absence from Paris, he was travelling in Italy,
Switzerland, Sicily, and Malta, and writing
notes upon those countries, which he after-
ward published. These notes he communi-
cated to his brother the monk, and he trans-
mitted them to Jane. She read them with
intense interest. At length he returned again
to Paris, and their acquaintance was renewed.
M. Roland submitted to her his literary pro-
jects, and was much gratified in finding that
she approved of all that he did and all that he
contemplated. She found in him an invalu-
able friend. His gravity, his intellectual
life, his almost stoical philosophy, impressed
her imagination and captivated her understand-
ing. Two or three years passed away ere
either seemed to have thought of the other in
the light of a lover. She regarded him as a
guide and friend. Intellectual enthusiasm
alone animated her in welcoming an intellec-
tual 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





MARRIAGE. 51
charms of her conversation, and, above all,
by her profound admiration of himself. They
were mutually happy in each other's society,
and were glad to meet and loth to part. They
conversed upon literary projects, upon political
reforms, upon speculations in philosophy and
science. M. Roland was naturally self-con.
fident, 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. He forwarded 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 after their acquaintance commenced
before M. Roland 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 estima-
tion, the connection would not seem an advan-
tageous one. She also was too proud to enter
into a family who might feel dishonoured by
the alliance. She therefore frankly told him




52 MADAME ROLAND.
that she felt much honoured by his addresses,
and that she esteemed him more highly than
any other man she had ever met. She as-
sured 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 en-
tailed upon all connected with him ; and she
therefore could not think of allowing M. Ho-
land to make his generosity to her a source
of future mortification to himself.
This was not the spirit most likely to repel
the philosophic lover. The more she mani-
fested this elevation of soul, in wlich Jane
was perfectly sincere, the more earnestly did
M. Roland persist in his plea. At last Jane,
influenced by his entreaties, consented that he
should make proposals to her father. He
wrote to M. Phlippon. In reply, he received
an insulting letter, containing a blunt refusal.
M. Phlippon declared that he had no idea of
having for a son-in-law a man of such rigid
principles, 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 father deeply to heart, and, re-
solving that if she could not marry the man





MARRIAGE. O3
of her choice, she would marry no one else,
she wrote to M. Roland, requesting him to
abandon his design, and not 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 necessary for her to live with the utmost
frugality. She determined to regulate her ex-
penses in accordance with this small sum
Potatoes, 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 father, and look over his linen. She
had a little room under the roof, in the attic,
where the pattering of the rain upon the tile.
soothed to pensive thought, and lulled her to
sleep by night. She carefully secluded her-
self from association with the other inmates
of the convent, receiving only a visit of an
hour each evening from the much-loved Sis-
ter Agatha. Her time she devoted, with
unremitting diligence, to those literary avo-
cations in which she found so much delight.
M. Roland continued a very constant and
kind correspondence with Jane. In the




54 MADAME ROLAND.
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 somewhat fading
away. He again renewed his offer, and en-
treated her to allow the marriage ceremony to
be performed by his brother the prior. Jane,
without 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, en-
tered into all his literary enterprises. With
great care and accuracy, she prepared his
manuscripts for the press, and corrected the
proofs. She lived in the study with him, be-
came the companion of all his thoughts, and
hi4 assistant in all his labours. The only
recreations in which she indulged, during the
winter, were to attend a course of lectures
upon natural history and botany. M. Ro-
land had hired ready-furnished lodgings.






She, well instructed by her mother in domes-
tic duties, observing that all kinds of cooking
did not agree with him, took pleasure in pre-
paring his food with her own hands. Her
husband engrossed her whole time, and, being
naturally rather austere and imperious, he
wished so to seclude her from the society of
others as to monopolize all her capabilities of
friendly feeling. She submitted to the exac-
tion 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. Accustomed as she was
to share in all his pursuits, he began to think
that he could not do without her at any time,
or en any occasion.
At the close of the year M. Roland re-
turned to Amiens with his wife. She soon
gave birth to a daughter, her only child, whom
she nurtured with the most assiduous care.
Her literary labours were, however, unre-
mitted, and, though a mother and a nurse,
she still lived in the study with her books and
her pen. M. Roland was writing several
articles for an encyclopedia. She aided most
efficiently in collecting the materials and ar-
ranging the matter. Indeed, she wielded a


55


MARRIAGE.




56 MADAME ROLAND.
far more vigorous pen than he did. Her
copiousness of language, her facility of expres-
sion, 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 glowing imagi-
nation of his wife. Frequent sickness of her
husband alarmed her for his life. The ten-
derness 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
blessings. 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 development of her infantile mind.
The office of M. Roland was highly lucrative,
and his literary projects successful ; and their
position in society was that of an opulent
family of illustrious descent-for the ancestors
of M. Roland had been nobles. He now,
vith his accumulated wealth, was desirous of
being reinstated in that ancestral rank which
the family had lost with the loss of fortune.
Eucountering some embarrassments in their
application for letters-patent of nobility, the
subject was set aside for the time and was





MARRIAGE. 52
never after renewed. The attempt, however,
subsequently exposed them to great ridicule
from their democratic opponents.
About this time they visited England. They
were received with much attention, and Ma-
dame Roland admired exceedingly the com-1
/paratively free institutions of that country.
She felt that the English, as a nation, were im-
measurably superior to the French, and re-
turned to her own home more than ever dis-
satisfied with the despotic monarchy by which
the people 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,
resided on the same estate. They constituted
the ingredient of bitterness in their cup ofjoy.
Her mother-in-law was proud, imperious, ig-
norant, petulant, and disagreeable in every
development of character. The brother was
coarse and arrogant, without any delicacy of
feeling himself, and apparently unconscious
that others could be troubled by any such sen-
sitiveness. The disciplined spirit of Madame




58 MADAME ROLAND.
Roland triumphed over even these annoyances,
and she gradually infused through the discor-
dant household, by her own cheerful spirit, a
great improvement in harmony aud 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, attracted by the quiet of this
secluded retreat, they took up their abode
there for both summer 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.
Here, in this social solitude, in this harmony
of silence, in this wide expanse of nature,
Madame Roland passed five of the happiest
years of her life-five such years as few mor-
tals 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 exuber-
ance of the prospect of mountain and meadow,






water and sky, so lavishly spread out before
her. The expanse, apparently so limitless,
open to her view, invited her fancy to a range
equally boundless. Nature and imagination
were her friends, and in their realms she found
her home. Enjoying an ample income, en-
gaged constantly in the most ennobling lite-
rary pursuits, rejoicing in the society of her
husband and her little Eudora, and superin-
tending 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 at-
tractive. She rose with the sun, devoted sundry
attentions to her husband and child, and per-
sonally superintended the arrangements for
breakfast, taking an affectionate pleasure in
preparing very nicely her husband's frugal
food with her own hands. That social meal,
ever, in a loving family, the most joyous inter-
view of the day, being past, M. Roland en-
tered the library 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


59


MARRIAGE.




OU MADAME ROLAND.
systematic energy to her domestic concerns.
She was a perfect housekeeper, and each morn-
ing all the interest of her family, from the cel-
lar to the garret, 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 attention of a good housewife.
The systematic division of time, which seemed
to be an instinctive principle of her nature,
enabled her to accomplish all this in two hours.
She had faithful and devoted servants to do
the work. The superintendence was all that
was required. Madame Roland, having thus
attended to her domestic concerns, laid aside
those cares for the remainder of the day, and
entered the study to join her husband in his
labours there. At the close of the literary
labours of the morning, Madame Roland dressed
for dinner, and, with all that fascination of
mind and manners so peculiarly her own, met
her guests at the dinner-table. The labour of
the day was then over. The repast was pro-
longed with social converse. After dinner,
they walked in the garden, sauntered through
the vineyard, and looked at the innumerable
objects of interest which are ever to be found
in the yard of a spacious farm. Madame Ro-
land frequently retired to the library to write
letters to her friends, or to superintend the






lessons of Eudora. Occasionally, of a fine
day, leaning upon her husband's arm, she
would walk for several miles, calling at the
cottages of the peasantry, whom she greatly
endeared to her by her unvarying kindness.
In the evening, after tea, they again resorted
to the library. Guests of distinguished name
and influence were frequently with them, and
the hours glided swiftly, cheered by the bril-
liance of philosophy and genius. The journals
of the day were read, Madame Roland being
usually called upon as reader.
Madame Roland, among her other innume-
rable accomplishments, had acquired no little
skill in the science of medicine. Situated in
a region where the poor peasants had no access
to physicians, she was not only liberal in dis-
tributing among them many little comforts,
but, with the most self-denying assiduity, she
visited them in sickness, and prescribed for
their maladies. Her republican notions, which
she had cherished so fondly in her early years,
began now to revive. She was regarded as
peculiarly the friend of the poor ard the hum-
ble ; and at all the hearth-fires in the cottages
of that retired valley her name was pro-
nounced in tones almost of adoration. More
and more Madame Roland and her husband
began to identify their interests'witl those of
tlhe poor around them, and to pletad with tongue


61


MARRIAGE.




62 MADAME ROLAND.
and pen for popular rights. Her intercourse
with the poor led her to feel more deeply the
oppression of laws, framed to indulge the few
in luxury, while the many were consigned to
penury and hopeless ignorance. She acquired
boundless faith in the virtue of the people, and
thought that their disenthralment would usher
in a millennium of unalloyed happiness. She
now saw the ocean of human passions reposing
in its perfect calm. She afterward saw that
same ocean when lashed by the tempest.


CHAPTER V.
THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY.
MADAME ROLAND was thus living at La
Platiere, in the enjoyment of all that this
world can give of peace and happiness, when
the first portentous mutterings of that terrible
moral tempest, the French Revolution, fell
upon her ears. She eagerly caught the sounds,
and, believing them the precursor of the most
signal political and social blessings, rejoiced
in the assurance that the hour was approach-
ing, when long-oppressed humanity would re-
assert its rights, and achieve its triumph. Her
enthusiastic devotion stimulated the ardour of
her less excitable spouse; and all her friends,
by her fascinating powers of eloquence both of




THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY.


voice and pen, were gradually inspired by the
same intense emotions which had absorbed her
whole being.
Louis XVI. and Maria Antoinette had but
recently inherited the throne of the Bourbons.
Louis was benevolent, but destitute of the de-
cision of character requisite to hold the reins of
government in so stormy a period. Maria An-
toinette had neither culture of mind nor know-
ledge of the world. She was an amiable but
spoiled child, with great native nobleness of
character, but with those defects which are the
natural and inevitable consequence of the fri-
volous education she had received. She thought
never of duty and responsibility ; always and
only of pleasure. It would be hardly possible
to conceive of two characters less qualified to
occupy the throne in stormy times than were
Louis and Maria. The people were slowly,
but with resistless power, rising against the
abuses, enormous and hoary with age, of the
aristocracy and the monarchy. Louis, a man
of unblemished kindness, integrity, and purity,
was made the scape-goat for the sins of haugh-
ty, oppressive, profligate princes, who for cen-
turies had trodden, with iron hoofs, upon the
necks of their subjects. The accumulated
hate of ages was poured upon his devoted
head. The irresolute monarch had no con-
ception of his position.


63




64 MADAME ROLAND.
The king, in pursuance of his system of
conciliation, as the clamours of discontent
swelled louder and longer from all parts of
France, convened the National Assembly. This
body consisted of the nobility, the higher cler-
gy, and representatives chosen by the people
from all parts of France. M. Roland, who
was quite an idol with the populace of Lyons
and its vicinity, and who now was beginning
to lose caste with the aristocracy, was chosen,
by a very strong vote, as the representative of
the Assembly from the city of Lyons. In that
busy city the revolutionary movement had
commenced with great power, and the name
of Roland was the rallying point of the people
now struggling to escape from ages of oppres-
sion. M. Roland spent some time in his city
residence, drawn thither by the intense interest
of the times, and in the saloon of Madame
Roland meetings were every evening held by
the most influential gentlemen of the revolu-
tionary party. Her ardour stimulated their
zeal, and her well-stored mind and fascinating
conversational eloquence guided their councils.
The impetuous young men of the city gathered
around this impassioned woman, from whose
lips words of liberty fell so enchantingly upon
their ears, and with chivalric devotion sur-
rendered themselves to the guidance of her
mind.




THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY.


In this rising conflict between plebeian and
patrician, between democrat and aristocrat, the
position in which M. Roland and his wife were
placed, as most conspicuous and influential
members of the revolutionary party, arrayed
against them, with daily increasing animosity,
all the aristocratic community of Lyons. Each
day their names were pronounced by the advo-
cates of reform with more enthusiasm, and by
their opponents with deepening hostility. The
applause and the censure alike invigorated
Madame Roland, and her whole soul became
absorbed in the one idea of popular liberty.
This object became her passion, and she de-
voted herself to it with the concentration of
every energy of mind and heart.
On the 20th of February, 1791, Madame
Roland accompanied her husband to Paris, as
he took his seat, with a name already promi-
nent, in the National Assembly. Five years
before, she had left the metropolis in obscurity
and depression. She now returned with wealth,
with elevated rank, with brilliant reputation,
anBs'ltIting in conscious power. Her per-
S influence was dictating those measures
'ere driving the ancient nobility of
from their chateaux, and her vigorous
hI 'was guiding those blows before which -
the throne of the Bourbons trembled. The
unblemished and incorruptible integrity of M.
y


65




6( MADAME ROLAND.
Roland, his simplicity of manners and acknow-
ledged ability, invested him immediately with
much authority among his associates. The
brilliance of his wife, and her most fascinating
colloquial powers, also reflected much lustre
upon his name. Madame Roland, with her
glowing zeal, had just written a pamphlet upon
the new order of things, in language so power-
ful and impressive that more than sixty thou-
sand copies had been sold-an enormous num-
ber, considering the comparative fewness of
readers at that time. She, of course, was
received with the most flattering attention,
and great deference was paid to her opinions.
She attended daily the sittings of the Assembly,
and listened with the deepest interest to the
debates. The king and queen had already
been torn from their places at Versailles, and
were virtually prisoners in the Tuileries.
Many of the nobles had fled from the perils
which seemed to be gathering around them,
and had joined the army of emigrants at Cob-
lentz. A few, however, of the nobility, and
many of the higher clergy, remained heroically
at their posts, and, as members of the Assem-
bly, made valiant but unavailing efforts to de-
fend the ancient prerogatives of the crown and
of the Church. Madame Roland witnessed
with mortification, what she could neither
repress nor conceal, the decided superiority of





THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY. 67
the court party in dignity, and polish of man-
ners, and in general intellectual culture, over
those of plebeian origin, who were struggling,
with the energy of an infant Hercules, for the
overthrow of despotic power. All her tastes
were with the ancient nobility and their defen-
ders. All her principles were with the
people. And as she contrasted the unrefined
exterior and clumsy speech of the democratic
leaders with the courtly bearing and elegant
diction of those who rallied around the throne,
she was aroused to a more vehement desire
for the social and intellectual elevation of those
with whom she had cast in her lot. The con-
flict with the nobles was of short continuance.
The energy of rising democracy soon van-
quished them. Violence took the place of
law. And now the conflict for power arose
between those of the Republicans who were
more and those who were less radical in their
plans of reform. The most moderate party,
consisting of those who would sustain the
throne, but limit its powers by a free consti-
tution, retaining many of the institutions and
customs which antiquity had rendered vene-
rable, was called the Girondist party. It
was so called because their most prominent
leaders were from the department of the Gi-
ronde. They would deprive the king of many
of his prerogatives, but not of his crown.





68 MADAME ROALND.
They would take from him his despotic power,
but not his life. They would raise the mass
of the people to the enjoyment of liberty, but
to liberty controlled by vigorous law. Opposed
to them were the Jacobins-far more radical
in their views of reform. They would over-
throw both throne and altar, break down all
privileged orders, confiscate the property of
the nobles, and place, prince and beggar on
the footing of equality. These were the two
great parties into which revolutionary France
was divided, and the conflict between them
was the most fierce and implacable earth has
ever witnessed.
M. Roland and his wife, occupying a resi-
dence in Paris, which was a convenient place of
rendezvous, by their attractions gathered around
them every evening many of the most influen-
tial members of the Assembly. They attached
themselves, with all their zeal and energy, to
the Girondists. Four evenings of every week,
the leaders of this party met in the saloon of
Madame Roland, to deliberate respecting their
measures. Among them there was a young
lawyer from the country, with a stupid expres-
sion of countenance, sallow complexion, and
ungainly gestures, who liad made himself
excessively unpopular by the prosy speeches
with which lie was ever wearying the Assem-
bly He had often been floored by argument,




THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY.


and coughed down by contempt, but he seem-
ed alike insensible to sarcasm and to insult.
Alone in the Assembly, without a friend, he
attacked all parties alike, and was by all disre-
garded. But he possessed an indomitable
energy and unwavering fixedness of purpose,
a profound contempt for luxury and wealth,
and a stoical indifference to reputation and to
personal indulgence, which secured to him
more and more of an ascendancy, until, at the
name of Robespierre, all France trembled.
This young man, silent and moody, appeared
with others in the saloon of Madame Roland.
She was struck with his singularity, and im-
pressed with an instinctive consciousness of
his peculiar genius. He was captivated by
those charms of conversation in which Madame
Roland was unrivalled. Silently-for he had
no conversational powers-he lingered around
her chair, treasured up her spontaneous tropes
and metaphors, and absorbed her sentiments.
He had a clear perception of the state of the
times, was perhaps a sincere patriot, and had
no ties of friendship, no scruples of conscience,
no instincts of mercy, to turn him aside from
any measures of blood or woe which might
accomplish his plans.
Though the Girondists and the Jacobins
were the two great parties now contending in
the tumultuous arena of French revolution,


69





70 MADAME ROLAND.
there still remained the enfeebled and broken
remains of the court party, with their insulted
and humiliated king at their head, and also
numerous cliques and minor divisions of those
struggling for power. At the political even-
ing re-unions in the saloon of Madame Roland,
she was invariably present, not as a prominent
actor in the scenes, taking a conspicuous part
in the social debates, but as a quiet and modest
lady, of well-known intellectual supremacy,
whose active mind took the liveliest interest
in the agitations of the hour. The influence
she exerted was the polished, refined, attrac-
tive influence of an accomplished woman, who
moved in her own appropriate sphere. She
made no Amazonian speeches. She mingled
not with men in the clamour of debate. With
an invisible hand she gently and winningly
touched the springs of action in other hearts.
WNith feminine conversational eloquence, she
threw out sagacious suggestions, which others
eagerly adopted, and advocated, and carried
into vigorous execution. She did no violence
to that delicacy of perception which is woman's
tower and strength. She moved not from
that sphere where woman reigns so resistlessly,
and dreamed not of laying aside the graceful
tnd polished weapons of her own sex, to grasp
the heavier and coarser armour of man, which
no woman can wield. By such an endeavour,




THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY.


one does but excite the repugnance of all
except the unfortunate few, who see no pecu-
liar sacredness in woman's person, mind, or
heart.
As the gentlemen assembled in the retired
parlour, or rather library and study, appropri-
ated to these confidential interviews, Madame
Roland took her seat at a little work-table,
aside from the circle where her husband and
his friends were discussing their political mea-
sures. Busy with her needle or with her pen,
she listened to every word that was uttered,
and often bit her lips to check the almost irre-
pressible desire to speak out in condemnation
of some feeble proposal, or to urge some
bolder action. At the close of the evening,
when frank and social converse ensued, her
voice was heard in low, but sweet and win-
ning tones, as one after another of the mem-
bers were attracted to her side. Robespierre,
at such times silent and thoughtful, was ever
bending over her chair. He studied Madame
Roland with even more of stoical apathy than
another man would study a book which he ad-
mires. The next day his companions would
smile at the effrontery with which Robespierre
would give utterance, in the Assembly, not
only to the sentiments, but even to the very
words and phrases which he had so carefully
garnered from the exuberant diction of his


71




72 MADAME ROLAND.
eloquent instructress. Occasionally, every eye
would be rivetted upon him, and every ear
attentive, as he gave utterance to some lofty
sentiment, in impassioned language, which
had been heard before, in sweeter tones, from
more persuasive lips.
But the Revolution, like a spirit of des-
truction, was now careering onward with
resistless power. Liberty was becoming law-
lessness. Mobs rioted through the streets,
burned chateaux, demolished convents, hunted,
even to death, priests and nobles, sacked the
palaces of the king, and defiled the altars of
religion. The Girondists, illustrious, eloquent,
patriotic men, sincerely desirous of breaking
the arm of despotism and of introducing a
well-regulated liberty, now began to tremble.
They saw that a spirit was evoked which
might trample every thing sacred in the dust.
Their opponents, the Jacobins, rallying the
populace around them with the cry, "Kill,
burn, destroy," were for rushing onward in
this career of demolition, till every vestige
of gradations of rank, and every restraint of
religion, should be swept from the land. The
Girondists paused in deep embarrassment.
They.could not retrace their steps and try to
re-establish the throne. The endeavour would
not only be utterly unavailing, but would,
with certainty, involve them in speedy and




THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY. 73
retrieveless ruin. They could not unite with
the Jacobins in their reckless onset upon
every thing which time had rendered venerable,
and substitute for decency, and law, and
order, the capricious volitions of an insolent,
ignorant, and degraded mob. The only hope
that remained for them was to struggle to
continue firm in the position which they had
already assumed. It was the only hope for
France. The restoration of the monarchy
was impossible. The triumph of the Jacobins
was ruin. Which of these two parties in the
Assembly shall array around its banners the
millions of the populace of France, now
aroused to the full consciousness of their
power? Which can bid highest for the
popular vote ? Which can pander most suc-
cessfully to the popular palate? The Giron-
dists had talent, and integrity, and incorrupt-
ible patriotism. They foresaw their peril,
but they resolved to meet it, and, if they
must perish, to perish with their armour on.
No one discerned this danger at an earlier
period than Madame Roland. She warned
her friends of its approach, even before they
were conscious of the gulf to which they
were tending. She urged the adoption of
precautionary measures, by which a retreat
might be effected when their post should be
no longer tenable. "I once thought," said





74 MADAME ROLAND.
Madame Roland, that there were no evils
worse than regal despotism. I now see that
there are other calamities vastly more to be
dreaded."
Robespierre, who had associated with the
Girondists with rather a sullen and Ishmaelitish
spirit, holding himself in readiness to go here
or there, as events might indicate to be politic,
began now to incline toward the more popular
party, of which he subsequently became the
inspiring demon. Though he was daily attract-
ing more attention, he had not yet risen to
popularity. On one occasion, being accused
of advocating some unpopular measure, the
clamours of the multitude were raised against
him, and vows of vengeance were uttered,
loud and deep, through the streets of Paris.
His enemies in the Assembly took advantage
of this to bring an act of accusation against
him, which would relieve them of his presence
by the decisive energy of the axe of the
guillotine. Robespierre's danger was most
imminent, and he was obliged to conceal
himself. Madame Roland, inspired by those
courageous impulses which ever ennobled
her, went at midnight, accompanied by her
husband, to his retreat, to invite him to a
more secure asylum in their own house.
Madame Roland then hastened to a very in-
fluential friend, M. Busot, allowing no weari-




THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY. 70
ness to interrupt her philanthropy, and en-
treated him to hasten immediately and en-
deavour to exculpate Robespierre, before an
act of accusation should be issued against
him. M. Busot hesitated, but, unable to
resist the earnest appeal of Madame Roland,
replied, "I will do all in my power to save
this unfortunate young man, although I am
far from partaking the opinion of many re-
specting him. He thinks too much of himself
to love liberty: but he serves it, and that is
enough for me. I will defend him." Thus
was the life of Robespierre saved. He lived
to reward his benefactors by consigning them
all to prison and to death. Says'Lamartine
sublimely, Beneath the dungeons of the
Conciergerie, Madame Roland remembered
that night with satisfaction. If Robespierre
recalled it in his power, this memory must
have fallen colder upon his heart than the
axe of the headsman."
The powerful influence which Madame
Roland was thus exerting could not be con-
cealed. Her husband became more illustrious
through that brilliance she was ever anxious
to reflect upon him. She appeared to have
no ambition for personal renown. She sought
only to elevate the position and expand the
celebrity of her companion. It was whispered
from ear to ear, and now and then openly-





76 MADAME ROLAND.
asserted in the Assembly, that the bold and
decisive measures of the Girondists received
their impulse from the youthful and lovely
wife of M. Roland.
In September, 1791, the Assembly was
dissolved, and M. and Madame Roland re-
turned to the rural quiet of La Platiere. But
in pruning the vines, and feeding the poultry,
and cultivating the flowers which so peacefully
bloomed in their garden, they could not forget
lthe exciting scenes through which they had
passed, and the still more exciting scenes
which they foresaw were to come. She kept
up a constant correspondence with Robespierre
and Busot, and furnished many very able
articles for a widely-circulated journal, estab-
lished by the Girondists for the advocacy of
their political views. The question now arose
between herself and her husband, whether
they should relinquish the agitations and the
perils of a political life in these stormy times,
and cloister themselves in rural seclusion, in
the calm luxury of literary and scientific en-
terprise, or launch forth again upon the
storm-swept ocean of revolution and anarchy.
Few who understand the human heart will
doubt of the decision to which they came.
The chickens were left in the yard, the rabbits
n the warren, and the flowers were abandoned
o bloom in solitude; and before the snows of





THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY. 77
December had whitened the hills, they were
again installed in tumultuous Paris. A new
Assembly had just been convened, from which
all the members of the one but recently dis-
solved were by law excluded. Their friends
were rapidly assembling in Paris from their
summer retreats, and influential men from all
parts of the empire were gathering in the me-
tropolis to watch the progress of affairs. Clubs
were formed to discuss the great questions of
the day, to mould public opinion, and to over-
awe the Assembly. It was a period of dark-
ness and of gloom; but there is something so
intoxicating in the draughts of homage and
power, that those who have once quaffed them
find all milder stimulants stale and insipid.
No sooner were M3. and Madame Roland es-
tablished in their city residence, than they
were involved in all the plots and the counter-
plots of the Revolution. M. Roland was
grave, taciturn, oracular. He had no brilliance
of talent to excite envy. He displayed no
ostentation in dress, or equipage, or manners,
to provoke the desire in others to humble him.
His reputation for stoical virtue gave a wide
sweep to his influence. His very silence in-
vested him with a mysterious wisdom. Con-
sequently, no one feared him as a rival, and
he was freely thrust forward as the unobjec-
tionable head of a party by all who hoped





78 MADAME ROLAND.
through him to promote their own interests.
Madame Roland, on the contrary, was ani-
mated and brilliant. Her genius was univer-
sally admired. Her bold suggestions, her
shrewd counsel, her lively repartee, her capa-
bility of cutting sarcasm, (rarely exercised,) her
deep and impassioned benevolence, her unvary-
ing cheerfulness, the sincerity and enthusiasm
of her philanthropy, and the unrivalled bril-
liance of her conversational powers, made her
the centre of a system, around which the
brightest intellects were revolving.
The spirit of the Revolution was still ad-
vancing with gigantic strides, and the already
shattered throne was reeling beneath the re-
doubled blows of the insurgent people. Mlas-
sacres were rife all over the kingdom. The
sky was nightly illumined by conflagrations.
The nobles were abandoning their estates, and
escaping from perils and death, to take refuge
in the bosom of the little army of emigrants
at Coblentz. The king, insulted and a pri-
soner, reigned but in name. Under these
circumstances, Louis was compelled to dismiss
his ministry, and to call in another more ac-
ceptable to the people. The king hoped, by
the appointment of a Republican ministry,
to pacify the democratic spirit. There was
no other resource left him but abdication.
It was a bitter cup for him to drink.




THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY.


His proud and spirited queen declared
that she would rather die, than throw her-
self into the arms of Republicans for pro-
tection. He yielded to the pressure, dis-
missed his ministers, and surrendered himself
to the Girondists for the appointment of a new
ministry. The Girondists called upon 1M.
Roland to take the important post of Minister
of the Interior. It was a perilous position
to fill, but what danger will not ambition
face ? In the present posture of affairs, the
Minister of the Interior was the monarch of
France. M. Roland, whose quiet and hidden
ambition had been feeding upon its success,
smiled nervously at the power which, thus
unsolicited, was passing into his hands.
Madame Roland, whose all-absorbing passion
it now was to elevate her husband to the high-
est summits of greatness, was gratified in
view of the honour and agitated in view of
the peril; but, to her exalted spirit, the
greater the danger, the more heroic the act.
" The burden is heavy," she said; but Ro.
land has a great consciousness of his own
powers, and would derive fresh strength from
the feeling of being useful to liberty and his
country."
In March, 1792, he entered upon his arduous
and exalted office. The palace, formerly oc-
cupied by the Comptroller General of Finance


79




80 MADAME ROLAND.
most gorgeously furnished by Madame Necker
in the days of her glory, was appropriated to
their use. Madame Roland entered this
splendid establishment, and, elevated in social
eminence above the most exalted nobles of
France, fulfilled all the complicated duties of
her station with a grace and dignity which
have never been surpassed. Thus had Jane
risen from that humble position in which the
daughter of the engraver, in solitude com-
muned with her books, to be the mistress of
a palace of aristocratic grandeur, and the as-
sociate of statesmen and princes.
When M. Roland made his first appearance
at court as the minister of his royal master,
instead of arraying himself in the court-dress
which the customs of the times required, he
affected, in his costume, the simplicity of his
principles. He wished to appear in his ex-
alted station still the man of the people. He
accordingly presented himself at the Tuileries
in a plain black coat, with a round hat, and
dusty shoes fastened with ribbons instead of
buckles. The courtiers were indignant. The
king was highly displeased at what ne con-
sidered an act of disrespect. The master of
ceremonies was in consternation, and ex-
claimed with a look of horror to General
Damuriez, "My dear sir, he has not even
buckles in his shoes!" "' Mercy on us !" ex-





THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY. 81
claimed the old general, with the most laugh-
able expression of affected gravity, we shall
then all go to ruin together !"
The king, however, soon forgot the neglect
of etiquette in the momentous questions which
were pressing upon his attention. He felt
the importance of securing the confidence and
good will of his ministers, and he approached
them with the utmost affability and concilia-
tion. M. Roland returned from his first in-
terview with the monarch quite enchanted with
his excellent disposition and his patriotic spirit.
He assured his wife that the community had
formed a totally erroneous estimate of the
king; that he was sincerely a friend to the
reforms which were taking place, and was a
hearty supporter of the constitution which had
been apparently forced upon him. The prompt
reply of Madame Roland displayed even more
than her characteristic sagacity. If Louis is
sincerely a friend of the Constitution, he
must be virtuous beyond the common race of
mortals. Mistrust your own virtue, M. Ro-
land. You are only an honest countryman,
wandering amid a crowd of courtiers-virtue
in danger amid a myriad of vices. They
speak our language; we do not know theirs.
No! Louis cannot love the chains that fetter
him. He may feign to caress them. H
G




OZ MADAME ROLAND.
thinks only of how he can spurn them.
Fallen greatness loves not its decadence. No
man likes his humiliation. Trust in human
nature ; that never deceives. Distrust
courts. Your virtue is too elevated to see
the snares which courtiers spread beneath
your feet."


CHAPTER VI.
THE MINISTRY OF M. ROLAND.
FROM all the spacious apartments of the
magnificent mansion allotted as the residence
of the Minister of the Interior, Madame
Roland selected a small and retired parlour,
which she had furnished with every attraction
as a library and a study. This was her much
loved retreat, and here M. Roland, in the
presence of his wife, was accustomed to see
his friends in all their confidential intercourse.
Thus, she was not only made acquainted with
all the important occurrences of the times, but
she formed an intimate personal acquaintance
with the leading actors in these eventful
movements. Louis, adopting a vacillating
policy, in his endeavours to conciliate each
party wan losing the confidence and the sup-
pert of all. The Girondists, foreseeing the





THE MINISTRY OF M. ROLAND. 83
danger which threatened the king, and all the
institutions of government, were anxious that
he should be persuaded to abandon these mis-
taken measures, and firmly and openly advo-
cate the reforms which had already taken
place. They felt, that if he would energeti-
cally take his stand in the position which the
Girondists had assumed, there was still safety
for himself and the nation. The Girondists,
at this time, wished to sustain the throne, but
they wished to limit its power and surround
it by the institutions of republican liberty.
The king, animated by his far more strong-
minded, energetic, and ambitious queen, was
slowly and reluctantly surrendering point by
point as the pressure of the multitude com-
pelled, while he was continually hoping that
some change in affairs would enable him to
regain his lost power.
The position of the Girondists began to be
more and more perilous. The army of emi-
grant nobles at Coblentz, within the dominions
of the King of Prussia, was rapidly increasing
in numbers. Frederic was threatening, in al-
liance with all the most powerful crowns of
Europe, to march with a resistless army to
Paris, reinstate the king in his lost authority,
and take signal vengeance upon the leaders of
the Revolution. There were hundreds of thou-
sands in France, the most illustrious in rank




84 MADAME ROLAND.
and opulence, who would join such an army.
The Roman Catholic priesthood, to a man,
would lend to it the influence of all its spiritual
authority. Paris was every hour agitated by
rumours of the approach of the armies of in-
vasion. The people all believed that Louis
wished to escape from Paris and head that
army. The king was spiritless, undecided,
and even vacillating in his plans. Maria An-
toinette would have gone through fire and
blood to have rallied those hosts around her
banner. Such was the position of the Girondists,
in reference to the Royalists. They were ready
to adopt the most energetic measures to repel
the interference of this armed confederacy.
On the other hand, they saw another party,
noisy, turbulent, sanguinary, rising beneath
them, and threatening with destruction all con-
nected in any way with the execrated throne.
This new party, now emerging from the lowest
strata of society, upheaving all its superincum-
bent masses, consisted of the wan, the starving,
the haggard, the reckless. All of the aban-
doned and the dissolute rallied beneath its ban-
ners. They called themselves the people.
Amazonian fish-women; over-grown boys, with
the faces and the hearts of demons ; men and
girls, who had no homes but the kennels of
Paris, in countless thousands swelled its de-
monstrations of power, whenever it pleased its




MINISTRY OF M. ROLAND. 85
leaders to call them out. This was the Jacobin
party.
The Girondists trembled before this myste-
rious apparition now looming up before them,
and clamouring for the overthrow of all human
distinctions. The crown had been struck from
the head of the king, and was snatched at by
the most menial and degraded of his subjects.
The Girondists, through Madame Roland,
urged the Minister of the Interior that he
should demand of the king an immediate pro-
clamation of war against the emigrants and
their supporters, and that he should also issue
a decree against the Catholic clergy who would
not support the measures of the Revolution.
It was, indeed, a bitter draught for the king
to drink. Louis declared that he would rather
die than sign such a decree. The pressure of
the populace was so tremendous, displayed in
mobs, and conflagrations, and massacres, that
these decisive measures seemed absolutely in-
dispensable for the preservation of the Giron-
dist party, and the safety of the king.
M. Roland was urged to present to the throne
a most earnest letter of expostulation and ad-
vice. Madame Roland sat down at her desk,
and wrote the letter for her husband. It was
expressed in that glowing and impassioned
style so eminently at her command. Its fervid
eloquence was inspired by the foresight she




86 MADAME ROLAND.
had of impending perils. M. Roland, im-
pressed by its eloquence, yet almost trembling
in view of its boldness and its truths, present-
ed the letter to the king. Its last paragraph
will give one some idea of its character.
Love, serve the Revolution, and the people
will love it, and serve it in you. Deposed priests
agitate the provinces. Ratify the measures to
extirpate their fanaticism. Paris trembles in
view of its danger. Surround its walls with an
army of defence. Delay longer, and you will
be deemed a conspirator and an accomplice.
Just Heaven hast thou stricken kings with
blindness ? I know that truth is rarely wel-
comed at the foot of thrones. I know, too, that
the withholding of truth from kings renders
revolutions so often necessary. As a citizen,
a minister, I owe truth to the king, and no-
thing shall prevent me from making it reach
his ear."
The advice contained in this letter was most
unpalatable to the enfeebled monarch. The
adoption of the course it recommended was,
apparently, his only chance of refuge from
certain destruction. We must respect the
magnanimity of the king in refusing to sign
the decree against the firmest friends of his
throne, and we must also respect those who
were struggling against despotic power for the
establishment of civil and religious freedom.




MINISTRY OF M. ROLAND.


This celebrated letter was presented to the
king on the 11th of June, 1792. On the
same day, M. Roland received a letter from
the king, informing him that he was dismissed
from office. It is impossible to refrain from
applauding the king for this manifestation of
spirit and self-respect. Had he exhibited
more of this energy, he might at least have
had the honour of dying more gloriously ; but,
as the intrepid wife of the minister dictated
the letter to the king, we cannot doubt that it
was the imperious wife of the king who dic-
tated the dismissal in reply. Maria Antoinette
and Madame Roland met as Greek meets
Greek.
"Here am I, dismissed from office," was
M. Roland's exclamation to his wife on his
return home.
Present your letter to the Assembly, that
the nation may see for what counsel you have
been dismissed," replied the undaunted wife.
M. Roland did so. Hewas received as a
martyr to patriotism. The letter was read
amid the loudest applause. It was ordered to
be printed, and circulated by tens of thousands
through the eighty-three departments of the
kingdom ; and from all those departments there
came rolling back upon the metropolis the echo
of the most tumultuous indignation and ap-
plause. The famous letter was read by all


87




88 MADAME ROLAND.
France-nay, more, by all Europe. Roland
was a hero. The plaudits of the million fell
upon the ear of the defeated minister, while
the execrations of the million rose more loudly
and ominously around the tottering throne.
This blow, struck by Madame Roland, was by
far the heaviest the throne of France had yet
received. She who so loved to play the part
of a heroine, was not at all dismayed by de-
feat, when it came with such an aggrandize-
ment of power. Upon this wave of enthusi-
astic popularity, Madame Roland and her hus-
band retired from the magnificent palace where
they had dwelt for so short a time, and, with
a little pardonable ostentation, selected for
their retreat very humble apartments in an
apparently obscure street of the agitated me-
tropolis. It was the retirementof the philo-
sopher, proud of the gloom of his garret. But
M. Roland and wife were more powerful now
than ever before. The famous letter had placed
them in the front ranks of the friends of re-
form, and enshrined them in the hearts of the
ever-fickle populace. Even the Jacobins were
compelled to swell the universal voice of com-
mendation. M. Roland's apartments were ever
thronged. All important plans were discussed
and shaped by him and his wife before they
were presented in the Assembly.
There was a young statesman then in Paris




MINISTRY OF M. ROLAND.


named Barbaroux, of remarkable beauty of
person, and of the richest mental endowments.
The elegance of his stature, and the pensive
melancholy of his classic features, invested him
with a peculiar power of fascination. Between
him and Madame Roland there existed the
most .pure, though the strongest friendship.
One day he was sitting with M. Roland and
wife, in social conference upon the desperate
troubles of the times, when the dismissed
minister said to him, What is to be done to
save France ? There is no army upon which
we can rely to resist invasion. Unless we can
circumvent the plots of the court, all we have
gained is lost. In six weeks the Austrians
will be at Paris. Have we, then, laboured at
the most glorious of revolutions for so many
years, to see it overthrown in a single day ? If
liberty dies in France, it is lost for ever to
mankind. All the hopes of philosophy are de..
ceived. Prejudice and tyranny will again
grasp the world. Let us prevent this misfor-
tune. If the armies of despotism overrun the
north of France, let us retire to the southern
provinces, and there establish a republic of
freemen."
The tears glistened in the eyes of his wife
as she listened to this bold proposal, so heroic
in its conception, so full of hazard, and do-
manding such miracles of self-sacrifice and


89





90 MADAME ROLAND.
devotion. Madame Roland, who, perhaps,
originally suggested the idea to her husband,
urged it with all her impassioned energy. Bar-
baroux was just the man to have his whole
soul inflamed by an enterprise of such gran-
deur. He drew a rapid sketch of the resources
and hopes of liberty in the south, and, taking
a map, traced the limits of the republic, from
the Doubs, the Aire, and the Rhone, to La
Dordogne; and from the inaccessible moun-
tains of Auvergne, to Durance and the sea. A
serene joy passed over the features of the
three thus quietly originating a plan, which
was, with an earthquake's power, to make
every throne in Europe tottle, and to convulse
Christendom to its very centre. Barbaroux
left them, deeply impressed with a sense of
the grandeur and the perils of the enterprise,
and remarked to a friend, Of all the men of
modern times, Roland seems to me most to
resemble Cato ; but it must be owned that it
is to his wife that his courage and talents are
due." Previous to this hour, the Girondists
had wished to sustain the throne, and merely
to surround it with free institutions. They
had taken the government of England for their
model. From this day, the Girondists, freed
from all obligations to the king, conspired se-
cretly in Madame Roland's chamber, and pub-
licly in the tribune, for the entire overthrow of




MINISTRY OF M. ROLAND. 91
the monarchy, and the establishment of a re-
public. They rivalled the Jacobins in the en-
deavour to see who could strike the heaviest
blows against the throne. It was now a struggle
between life and death. The triumph of the
invading army would be the utter destruction
of all connected with the revolutionary move-
ment. And thus did Madame Roland exert
an influence more powerful, perhaps, than that
of any other one mind, in the demolition of
the Bourbon despotism.
Her influence over the Girondist party was
such as no man ever can exert. Her conduct,
frank and open-hearted, was irreproachable,
ever above even the slightest suspicion of in-
discretion. She could not be insensible to the
homage, the admiration, of those she gathered
around her. Buzot adored Madame Roland as
the inspiration of his mind, as the idol of his
worship. She had involuntarily gained that
entire ascendancy over his whole being, which
made her the world to him. She writes of
Buzot, Sensible, ardent, melancholy, he
seems born to give and share happiness. This
man would forget the universe in the sweet-
ness of private virtues. Capable of sublime
impulses and unvarying affections, the vulgar,
who like to depreciate what it cannot equal,
accuse him of being a dreamer. Of sweet
countenance, elegant figure, there is always in




92 MADAME ROLAND.
his attire that care, neatness, and propriety,
which announce the respect of self as well as
of others. While the dregs of the nation
elevate the flatterers and corrupters of the
people to station-while cut-throats swear,
drink, and clothe themselves in rags, in order
to fraternise with the populace-Buzot pos-
sesses the morality of Socrates, and maintains
the decorum of Scipio. So they pull down
his house, and banish him, as they did Aris-
tides. I am astonished that they have not is-
sued a decree that his name should be for-
gotten."
These words Madame Roland wrote in her
dungeon on the night before her execution.
Buzot was then an exile, pursued by unrelent-
ing fury, and concealed in the caves of St.
Emilion. When the tidings reached him of
the death of Madame Roland, he fell to the
ground as if struck by lightning. For many
days he was in a state of phrensy, and was
never again restored to cheerfulness.
Danton now appeared in the saloon of Ma-
dame Roland, with his gigantic stature, and
shaggy hair, and voice of thunder, and crouched
at the feet of this mistress of hearts, whom
his sagacity perceived was soon again to be the
dispenser of power. She comprehended at a
glance his herculean abilities, and the import-
ant aid he could render to the republican cause.




MINISTRY OF M. ROLAND.


She wished to win his co-operation, and at first
tried to conciliate him, as a woman would
pat a lion ;" but soon, convinced of his heart-
lessness, and utter want of principle, she
spurned him with abhorrence. He subse-
quently endeavoured, again and again, to re-
instate himself in her favour, but in vain.
Every hour scenes of new violence were being
enacted in Paris, and throughout all France.
Roland was the idol of the nation. The fa-
mous letter was the subject of universal ad-
miration. The outcry against his dismission
was falling in thunder-tones on the ear of the
king. This act had fanned to increased in-
tensity those flames of revolutionary phrensy
which were now glaring with portentous flashes
in every part of France. The people, intoxi-
cated and maddened by the discovery of their
power, were now arrayed, with irresistible
thirsting for destruction and blood, against the
king, the court, and the nobility. The royal
family, imprisoned in the Tuileries, were each
day drinking of the cup of humiliation to its
lowest dregs. Austria and Prussia, united
with the emigrants at Coblentz, prepared to
march to Paris, to reinstate the king upon his
throne. Excitement, consternation, phrensy,
pervaded all hearts. A vast assemblage of
countless thousands of women, and boys, and
wan and starving men, gathered in the street


93




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