Imatges de pÓgina
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Varillas multiplied by three.' Now Menage tells us that happening once to say that every man was hit off by some passage or other in Martial, and having been challenged to prove it with respect to Varillas, he immediately quoted • Dimidiasque * nates Gallica palla tegit.' Short indeed, then, must have been the skirts of Magliabechi, according to Germain's arithmetic.

His bibliographical appetite and digestion formed, however, a psychological phenomenon absolutely prodigious. Mabillon called him · Museum inambulans, et viva quædam bibliotheca.' Father Finardi, with greater felicity, said of him, Is unus

bibliotheca magna,' that being the anagram of his Latinized name Antonius Magliabechius.

Having established a correspondence with this most learned savage, the Benedictines proceeded to Rome, where they were welcomed by Claude Estiennot, the procurator of their Order at the Papal court. He also devoted his pen to their entertainment. Light labour for such a pen! Within eleven years he had collected and transcribed forty-five bulky folios, at the various libraries of his society in the several dioceses of France, adding to them, says Dom Le Cerf, réflexions très sensées et judici*euses ;' a praise which probably no other mortal was ever able to gainsay or to affirm.

Germain found Rome agitated with the affair of the Quietists. His account of the dispute is rather facetious than theological. Just then a Spaniard had been sent to the gallies, and a priest to the gallows; the first for talking, the second for writing scandals, while the great Quietist Molinos was in the custody of the Inquisition. Marforio, says Germain, is asked by Pasquin why are you leaving Rome, and answers • Chi parla é mandato ,

è in galera; chi scrive è impiccato; chi sta quieto va al sant' officio. Marforio had good cause for his hurry; for the scandal which (as Germain pleasantly has it) broke the priest's neck' was merely his having said that “the mare had knocked the

snail out of its shell;' in allusion to the fact of the pope’s having been forced out of his darling seclusion and repose, to be present at a certain festival, at which a mare or palfrey was also an indispensable attendant. •The rogues continue to repeat the * jest notwithstanding,' observes the reverend looker on.

He gathered other pleasant stories, at the expense of his holiness, and these heretical aspirants after a devotional repose the soul. Some of them are not quite manageable in our more fastidious times, without the aid of a thicker veil than he chose to employ. For example, he tells of a Quietist bishop who, to escape an imaginary pursuit of the police, scaled the roof of his mansion in his night-dress, and so, running along the tops of the

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adjacent houses, unluckily made his descent through one of them into which he could not have entered, even in full canonicals and in broad day, without a grievous damage to his reputation. Then follows a fine buffo catastrophe, and when (says Germain) the

whole reaches the ears of Nostro Signore, the holy man has a good laugh and orders the bishop to quit Rome without delay.' Yet Germain himself breaks out into hot resentment against “the • wretched and abandoned Molinos,' and proposes to Magliabechi (in seeming seriousness) to arrest the progress of the evil, by publishing a manuscript discovered in their Italian tour, from which it would appear that the bones of a wicked Bohemian lady, of the name of Guillemine, who, three centuries ago, propagated nearly the same enormities, were at length taken, with public execration, out of her grave, and scattered to the winds.

Molinos, however, was strong in the protection of Christina, who then dwelt at Rome. Her abandonment of the faith of her illustrious father, was accepted there, not only as a cover for a multitude of sins, but as an apology for the assumption of an independent authority beneath the very shadow of the Vatican. Mabillon, accompanied by Germain, presented to her his book • De Liturgiâ Gallicanâ, in which, to her exceeding discontent, she found herself described as Serenissima.' My name,' she exclaimed, is Christina. That is eulogy enough. Never again call - me, and admonish

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Parisians never to call me, Serenissima.' Germain left her with the fullest conviction that the epithet was altogether out of place; but after all,' he says, she gave

, us free access to her library, - the best thing she could do for .us.' So great were her privileges, or such the weakness of the lazy Innocent XI., that, as we learn from these letters, an offender on his way to prison, having laid hold on the bars of one of her windows as a sanctuary, was violently rescued by her servants, whereupon they were tried and sentenced to be hanged. Christina wrote to the judge to inform him, that if her servants died any other than a natural death, they should not die alone. The judge complained to the pope; but his holiness

. laughed at the affair, and terminated it by sending her Majesty a peace-offering, which she contemptuously handed over to the complainant.

Germain looked upon the religious observances of Rome with the eye of a French encyclopediste. He declares that the Romans burn before the Madonna and in their Churches, more oil than the Parisians both burn and swallow. Long live St.

Anthony!'he exclaims, as he describes the horses, asses, and mules, all going, on the saint's festival, to be sprinkled with holy water and to receive the benediction of a reverend father. All

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' would go to ruin, say the Romans, if this act of piety were * omitted. So nobody escapes paying toll on this occasion, not * Nostro Signore himself.' Then follows an account of a procession to St. Peter's on the reception of certain new converts, which is compressed into a single paragraph purposely, long, intricate, and obscure; ' a sentence,' says Germain, which I have drawn out to this length to imitate the ceremony itself.'

. Soon after we meet him at the cemetery of Pontianus, • where,' he observes, with all the mock gravity of Bayle, there lie 50,263 martyrs, without counting the women and children. Each of us was allowed to carry off one of these holy bodies. That

which fell to my share had been too big for the hole in which Sit was found. I had infinite trouble in disinterring it, for it ' was quite wet, and the holy bones were all squeezed and * jammed together. I am still knocked up with the labour.'

The pope himself fares no better than the ceremonies and relics of his church. “If I should attempt,' he says, 'to give 'you an exact account of the health of his holiness, I must begin with Ovid, “In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas."

At ten he is sick, at fifteen well again, at eighteen eating as * much as four men, at twenty-four dropsical. They say he • has vowed never to leave his room. If so, M. Struse declares that he can never get a dispensation, not even from himself, as his confinement will be, de jure divino. The unpleasant part • of the affair is, that they say he has given up all thoughts of creating new cardinals, forgetting in his restored health the scruples he felt when sick; like other great sinners.'

Indolent and hypochondriacal as he was, Innocent XI. had signalised himself, not only by the virtues which Burnet ascribes to him in his travels, but by two remarkable edicts. One of them, which could not be decorously quoted, regulated the appearance on the stage of certain classes of singers; the other, (under the penalties of six days' excommunication, and of incapacity for absolution, even in the article of death, save from the pope himself,) commanded all ladies to wear up to their chins, and down to their wrists, draperies not transparent. •The Queen

of Spain,' says our facetious Benedictine, 'immediately had a new dress made, and sent it to her nuncio at Rome, to ascertain whether it tallied exactly with the ordinance, for' he continues (the inference is not very clear), one must allow that Spanish ladies have not as much delicacy as our own.'

He has another story for the exhilaration of St. Germain des Près, at the expense of both pope and cardinals. A party of the sacred college were astounded, after dinner, by the appearance of an austere capuchin, who, as an unexpected addition

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to their dessert, rebuked their indolence and luxury, and their talkativeness even during High Mass. Then, passing onwards to an inner chamber, the preacher addressed his holiness himself, on the sin of an inordinate solicitude about health — no inappro

priate theme; for he was lying in the centre of four fires, and beneath the load of seven coverlets, having recently sustained a surgical operation; on which Germain remarks, that if it had taken place in summer, it would have been all-up with the holy man.'

The Jesuits of course take their turn. At the table of the Cardinal Estrées, Mabillon and Germain meet the Father Couplet, who had passed thirty years in China. “I do not • know,' says Germain, whether he was mandarin and mathe

matical apostle at the same time; but he told us that one of • his brethren was so eminent an astrologer as to have been created a mandarin of the third class. He said that another of them was raising himself by contemplation to the third . heaven, before actually going there. I have my doubts about « his success. However, Father Couplet told us that he had a very numerous Chretienté. “ My Chretienté," he frequently said, “ consists of more than 30,000 souls.” Do you believe his story, that there are forty millions of inhabitants in Pekin, 6 and from two to three hundred millions in China at large? "I do not?

This keen observer is not silent on the cold reception at Rome of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. The claims of Louis XIV. on behalf of the Gallican Church had abated much of the enthusiasm with which the measure would otherwise have been hailed. Well,' observes Germain (one can see the rising of his shoulders as he writes), ' a hundred years ago they 'took a very different tone about the Huguenots. They not

only offered public thanksgiving on their massacre by Charles * IX., but hung the walls of the royal hall in the Vatican with 'pictures of the murder of Coligny and of the butcheries of St. • Bartholomew. They still form its chief ornaments.?

Even when accompanying Mabillon on a pilgrimage to the cradle of their Order at Monte Casino, Germain looks about him with the same esprit fort. At the foot of the mountain,

. ' we found an inn, where we learned to fast, as we got ' nothing but some cabbages which I could not eat, some nuts, ' and one apple for our supper. Then we paid thirty francs • for a wretched bed, which we divided between us, in the

midst of bugs and fleas.' On the next day they luckily fell in with the vicar-general of the Barnabites, a Frenchman, from whom (he says) we got some cheese and preserves, and, finally,

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a glass of Lachryma; as he told us, to strengthen the stomach. Reaching at length the mansion of the abbé of Monte Casino, • he made a fête for us, and bore witness to our excellent ! appetites.'

Mabillon’s devotion at the tomb of his patriarch is described as deep, fervent, and protracted. Germain sends to their friend

, Porcheron a picturesque account of the dress and aspect of the monks, an enthusiastic description of the library, a very pretty sketch of the adjacent country, with a graphic representation of the church and the ceremonial observed in it; and promises his correspondent 'to say a mass for him at the foot of Benedict's • tomb. With the exception of that assurance (whether grave or gay it is not easy to determine), the whole letter might have been written by Miss Martineau, and would have done no discredit even to her powers of converting her readers into her fellow travellers.

Such of the letters comprised in this collection as are written by Mabillon himself, relate exclusively to the duties of his mission ; and are grave and simple, though perhaps too elaborately courteous. In the last volume are some contributions from Quesnel, whose singular fate it is to have been censured by the Pope, Clement XI., and eulogised by De Rance the Trappist, by La Chaise the Jesuit, by Voltaire the Wit, and by Cousin the Philosopher. The pleasantries of Michel Germain and the freedoms of Estiennot are far from being the best things in M. Valery's book. We have selected them rather as being the most apposite to our immediate purpose.

In this correspondence three of the most eminent of the congregation of St. Maur transmit from Italy such intelligence and remarks as appear to them best adapted to interest other three of the most eminent of their brotherhood at Paris. If the table-talk of the refectory at St. Germain des Près was of the same general character, the monks there had no better title to the praise of an ascetic social intercourse, than the students or the barristers in the halls of Christ Church, or of Lincoln's Inn. It would be difficult to suppose an appetite for gossip more keen, or more luxuriously gratified.

The writers and the receivers of these letters were all men devoted by the most sacred vows to the duties of the Christian priesthood; yet in a confidential epistolary intercourse, extending through eighteen successive months, no one of them utters a sentiment, or discusses a question, from which it could be gathered that he sustained any religious office, or seriously entertained any religious belief whatever. It may be that our Protestant divines occasionally transgress the limits within

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