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to humble himself before the umpire who had been sent to him, the more the latter felt his perplexity increase--a perplexity amounting to downright terror, when he heard the latter address him in a sort of summous, urgently impelled as he was by his earnest wish to put an end to his doubts and to escape from future remorse.

“ Is the measure in question,” said he, “ or is it not, fatal to religion ?”

On hearing this last question, to which he could make no evasive answer, the priest, pushed to the foot of the wall, turned deadly pale, and to clear up at once a situation so truly embarrassing, he hastily replied, No,-but in the despairing tone of a man who was pronouncing his own sentence of death. For his own security, he received a solemn promise never to reveal his name, and the man who made that promise kept it to the last.

Such is the thrilling incident which M. Rio had from the lips of his noble friend in 1837, and there is more than one no less interesting in the book now before us. La Ferronnays had studied diplomacy under the Duke de Richelieu, the best and most enlightened minister of the elder Bourbons. His lessons were not lost upon the Count, who, on more than one occasion maintained the dignity of the French crown against the secret enmity, and the corrupt and all but omnipotent influence of Prince Metternich. llowever, for this as well as for other matters, throwing a new light on the internal intrigues of the French court at that period, we must refer the reader to the work itself: it will well requite his trouble.

Yet if M. de la Ferronnays' services were no longer required as a minister, his successor, Prince de Polignac, would not dispense with them as ambassador at Rome. To the great surprise of young Rio, the Count offered him again a confidential station in the Embassy, and Albert was the messenger selected to make the proposal. Such was the delicate way in which he was introduced into the family circle of the ambassador. Of course an offer of this kind was not to be rejected, for one of the most ardent wishes of our author was naturally to study on the spot the productions of the great Italian schools.

At last, says he, on the 15th of April, 1830, one of the happiest days of my life, I could exclaim, on awaking : Italiam, Ituliam!” We travelled at a slow rate, especially on the other side of the Alps, and I easily obtained of my companions that we should stop at Pisa to see the Campo Santo, and at Florence, to visit the Uffizi Gallery and the Pitti, where I should feel the most exquisite delight on contemplating the Judith of C'ristofano Allori ! I candidly confess that I was quite disconcerted by my own ignorance, when thus suddenly placed before so many wonderful masterpieces, without the slightest respect to their chronological or genetical order. Not one of the books I had read gave me a clue to guide me through the labyrinth. Valery's work on Italy had not yet been published, I had not even heard of the one by which the German Rumohr had just struck out a new road in a branch of literature, forming the very basis of æsthetics.

But this transitory disappointment was compensated for by sundry emotions, the keenness of which was not always in due proportion to the importance of the different objects, nor to the sights that produced them. It was a delightful mixture of childish and serious admiration, which was to culminate in Rome, where we entered at night, on the 1st of May, in the midst of a deep, solemn silence, interrupted only ly the rumbling noise of our vehicle and the waterworks of the Piazza del Popolo. Yet neither the fatigues of a long journey, nor the need of food and sleep, were so imperious as that of prayer. Mine had never been so long and ardent. Methought I was entering the city of God, whose wonders I was about to contemplate.

It was a strange tine that for Christian artists, or, simply Christian connoisseurs, as we may now call M. Rio. Both in England and France, it was a matter laid down as a rule, we may say, that certain pictures, and certain pictures alone, were worth seeing at Rome, Florence, and elsewhere. The strangest of all was that those very pictures bore the stamp of decline and mannerism in every part of their composition. For instance, Danielo da Volterra, Andrea Sacchi, and Giulio Romano, rere placed on the same level as Raphael ; and a visit to the Catacombs, with a view of studying within their dark recesses the first efforts of Christian art, would have been deemed puerile. We may well imagine how all this sort of official admiration jarred upon the young Breton's feelings; however, in company of the pure souls that surrounded him, he gave himself up to his own spontaneous impressions, enjoying this or that wonderful masterpiece without much discrimination perhaps, but then without any hackneyed prepossession. In fact, he had as yet no one to guide him, no higher direction to appeal to, and he began to feel the sad deficiencies of his education in this respect. Upon the whole, he did not reap from his two months' residence in Rome the amount of practical information or ideas which he had been led to cxpect. One thing, however, made a decp impression on his mind; we mean certain Madonnas, known by the name of St. Luke. They brought,” he says, “as it were, the first ray of light to my æsthetical horizon ; and from that day I began to see the possi

I bility of writing a history of Christian art according to a plan, which would make its progress depend far more on the depth of inspiration than on any perfection in its technical parts."

Doubtless he sadly felt at that very moment his ignorance as to those "technical parts”; but in our opinion, he sought for his criterion of an aesthetical ideal in a far better sphere. Whilst admiring the frescoes of Michael Angelo, he became enraptured with the wonderful productions of Ghirlandajo, Botticelli, Perugino ; close to the Sixtine he discovered--the word is not too strong-a small

chapel called Di Sesto Quinto ; and, next to unknown at that period, a great artist and a great saint, Fra Angelico, who had covered tié walls with the marvellous effusions of his art and of his adoration. Well might M. Rio fall down and worship in mute admiration : before these Madonnas, saints, and martyrs : when a man of innate taste has approached his lips to such pure waters, he can drink no others. At any rate, he could now exclaim,-Eureka !

Eureka might he say likewise in another sense. To have found at once the purest types of asthetical beauty was a piece of good fortune which rarely falls to the lot of any man in our times, but that man must likewise be himslf peculiarly gifted to discern. among those around him the conditions of that selfsame beauty as it is revealed instinctively to the human soul. Now this was exactly the case with the daughters of M. de la Ferronnays, who unconsciously tanght him more in this respect than all bis meditations on the splendid pictures he had before his eyes. He was from the very first struck with their attitude, and in order, as far as possible, to enter into their feelings, his eyes followed their slow evolutions from sanctuary to sanctuary: “I endeavoured,” adds he, “to guess at their prayers to join in them, and I almost envied the tears which bathed their cheeks when their prostrate heads rose from the ground.” One of them, yielding to the feeling which then overpowered her, without the slightest subserviency to any archaeological notion, or any technical admiration, expressed in aftertimes her own impressions in the following admirable words :-

“Fatherland is the place where we live, which we love, where we should wish to be, after which we pant. Heaven alone is our fatherland, and if we must need choose one here below, it is in Thy churches, ( my God, in the places where Thou art worshipped, in the cross which recalls Thy sufferings.”

Such was the spectacle V. Rio had constantly before him, and we may well imagine that it taught him more than one useful lesson. Indeed we might affirm that one of the great attractions of his book is the perpetual blending of real life and historical personages with his views on the principles of the fine arts. It gives a charm to the whole, which even works of fiction seldoni possess. As we go on, his narrative is ever interwoven with a real network of religious emotions, patriotic feelings, dear remembrances, and still more endearing attachments. Following him through all his pilgrimages in search of the beautiful, in every large European centre, where he may meet with it, we ever find his enthusiasm for the delights of friendship, his deep and sincere reverence for the living models he had before him, on a level with that æsthetical enthusiasm, which seems to be the groundwork and very basis of his own character. The reader cannot even dream of satiety ; as for dry

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scientific disquisitions, they are utterly out of the question ; from Guizot, Cousin, or Montalambert, who stand before us in strong relief and speak their own language in their own way, you are suddenly called back to Dante, Petrarca, and other wonderful poets of olden times ; or again, to the different characters of legendary lore, arising out of the different countries in which they spring up. On M. Rio's first visit to Venice he seems to have been immediately struck with the grandeur of its memories, with its doges, its sonate, its warriors, above all with the touching mixture of rcligious inspiration and chivalrous feeling that characterized the primitive effulgence of its school of art, as represented by Carpaccio, the two Bellinis, Luini, and Francia. Perhaps there was a mysterious link between himself and these old masters; the man, who yet a boy, had fought for the faith and liberties of his forefathers, could understand better than others the patriotism and faith of the Venetian mediæval worthies. At any rate, had we to make a choice among the manifold discoveries of the writer in the field of asthetics, we should certainly give the preference to his chapter on Venice.

But he was torn from the absorbing attractions of Venice itself by an irresistible appeal from another quarter. His two bɔsom friends, Albert de la Ferronnays and Count de Montalembert, were waiting for him at Leghorn, to proceed from thence to Florence. The three youths at once put forth their energies to serve the Church, according to their different callings; and if we had time or space to quote we might here produce a most touching picture of their common life, wherein devotedness, prayer, study, mutual affection, and refined enjoyments were all blended together. But a few years after, death had laid his cold hand on one of them, and saddened these dear remembrances into a melancholy legend of the past.

We have come to the year 1831. It was just at that time that Count de la Ferronnays commenced with M. Rio a most admirable correspondence, of which we propose to give a few specimens hereafter, but which must be read from one end to the other if we wish to form a correct idea of what is true Christian friendship: We do not believe that in any language nor in any other times has there existed such a model of the kind. At that time again M. de la Menrais was at Rome, whither the three friends joined him, little dreaming of the sombre part he was about to play, and, consequently, full ready, all three, to give themselves up to the influence of that giant mind. After a

a sojourn of six months alternately at Rome and Naples, the author of“ Christian Art” resumed his artistic peregrinations, and dwelt successively in the Romagnas, Umbria, Tuscany, Ferrara, and Venice, ever plunging deeper and deeper into the mysteries of the old schools, ever reaping new results and documents for his future publication.

Yet still it must be remembered he was left to his own individual researches, still he felt the want of a guide, a director of those technical no less than theoretical studies, which were to be met with at Munich alone, in the opinion of Count de Motalembert. So hie resolved to visit that town, in company with M. de la Mennais. It was a splendid focus of art and science in those days, that capital of Bavaria. Just imagine the scene. Joseph Gærres, himself a power, Schelling, Mæhler, Baader, Döllinger (quantum mutatus ab illo Hectore!) in the field of religion and philosophy ;-Cornelius, Veit, Kaulbach, Schwanthaler, all rising in the field of art. At their head and above them King Ludwig, who in those times was ambitious of becoming the patron of letters and art, of making his capital a German Athens. Such was the company into which M. de la Mennais introduced his youthful compatriot; nor could such masters have found a more intelligent pupil. But first of all let us show our readers in what high estimation was then held his introducer.

La Mennais was in the full blaze of his reputation. Whatever might be thought of his speculations in politics, or his violence in controversy, he ranked high as a priest and as a most powerful writer. IIis influence over the young French clergy was next to unbounded. Yet, strange to say, the man whose writings recalled

. the best pages penned by the best authors in French literature never lived, we may venture to say, upon a footing of close intimacy with those whom we might otherwise call his bosom friends. The present writer resided under his roof for a whole year, and, as our recollections still turn back with gratitude and fondness towards that blessed period, when, with the grace of God, he succeeded in bringing us back to the Church, we remember, likewise, that chilly feeling, akin both to fear and awe, which all felt in his presence. There was a sternness, a want of geniality in his nature, that froze within its very germ the bud of tenderness. The kindly, loving Abbé Gerbet often winced and shivered under this freezing influence; and Montalembert, as well as Lacordaire, would have confirmed the truth of the above observations. La Mennais-we are speaking of his best times—was framed to man other men's nerves for the onslaught, and he set them a bright example ; himself of steel, like steel he rebounded with double force against a presumptuous adversary. We could quote certain passages of his in which he has outjuvenalled Juvenal, if there were any use whatsoever in these retrospective reminiscences. We should not even have recalled the fact had not M. Rio experienced the same feeling after living for three months together with the celebrated philosopher of La Chesnaie.

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