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to bend the duchess to his selfish will, and to
break the sceptre of a dethroned queen. La
Longueville is the first woman of salon notoriety
who bowed herself at the foot of man; and in
her humiliation may be traced the beginning of
that comparative decline in female influence
which has been of such evil consequence to
France. I say comparative, for there were still
many years of salon supremacy to come: years
when Madame de Maintenon and Madame de
Sévigné, Madame Roland, Madame de Staël,
Joséphine, and Madame Récamier gave laws to
their various worlds; years when woman's grace
and purity and fine moral perceptions and
spiritual insight helped men through many a
miry way of conscientious difficulty, made many
a doubtful matter clear and bright, made politics,
religion, and friendship, an article of faith, and
preserved still to modern manners something of
the fragrant delicacy of the old chivalric times.

But the greatest result which this recognised
influence of women has worked in Francefar
greater, even now in its decay, than what has
ever been allowed with usis the higher position
it has accorded the literary men. When
our best poets and authors were standing, shabby
and mean, hat in hand, humbly waiting on some
rich man's levee, or wallowing in every species
of low vice; when they were hiding in the
contemptuous poverty of Grub-street, unable to face
a dun or pay a milkwoman's paltry score; when
they took their victuals behind a screen, and
submitted to the insolence of footmen for sake of
the paltry pound which was the price of a fulsome
dedication,—in France they were courted, fêted,
caressed, protected; the favourite visitors to
those desired salons which sifted out all that
was best and brightest for their special keeping;
the only kings holding joint rule with those
beloved queens. " Where, except in France, do
we find it a general rule and custom for women
of all ranks to make common cause with the
whole talent and genius of the country?" asks
Madame M. Assuredly not here in England,
nor yet in Germany. Here a woman waits for
a man's fame before she extends her hand to
him; in France she makes his fame by her friendship;
here, he must add to his reputation some
aroma of birth or wealth before becoming
thoroughly adopted in our drawing-rooms
(temporary lionising is not adoption); there, he needs
only to be witty, and well bred, to have the
entrée to the best salons in Paris. Therefore,
in France, literature is the highest profession a
man can follow, higher even than art; here, it is
no passport of itself, but only the occasion, the
accident. Women who love art and literature
and all the finer phases of mind, have so little
social influence here, that they do not rule and
refine. If they did, we should never have heard
a word of the penny-a-liner, or the old degrading
Grub-street taunt; such histories as Chatterton
and Otway in the past. The chivalry which
exalted women would react upon men, and the
homage paid to beauty, would be rewarded by the
purification and refinement of force. Wherever
women have had most influence, there has society
been most virtuous, and manners and intelligence
more cared for than mere birth and possessions.


WHEN the glaring day
Slow has died away,
The glowing sun
Gathers his barbs of light
Into his quiver bright
And Day is done.

O'er the brilliant scene
Stealeth Night serene
Majestic, calm;
From the drowsy Earth
Ascends in pious mirth
A wondrous Psalm

Of thanks and praise to Him
Who gave to us the dim
And shad'wy Night;
A Psalm of Hope and Love
To Him who rules above
O'er dark and light.

With footsteps soft and calm,
Breathing heav'nly balm
Glides on the Night;
O'er the sleeping World
Holdeth she unfurl'd
Her flag of might.

Peace with her she brings
On her dusky wings
To breaking hearts,
E'en when gentle Sleep,
Poppied, soft, and deep,
From them departs.

Her great tender eyes
From the darkened skies,
Mournfully look;
Look with grief on those
Who with many throes
Learn in Life's Book

That what always seems
Fair and bright in dreams
Is bitter truth;
One by one they lie
Stricken and then die,
The hopes of youth.

Of the aching heart
Calmeth she the smart,
And on the head
And sleepless weary lids
Lays her hands, and bids
The pain be dead.

Anguish deep, that flees
Man's cold look, she sees
With her calm eyes;
Grief that longs for tears
Jealous, biting fears
Hate that ne'er dies.

Deep remorse and keen
All this she has seen;
Her pity'ng care
She extends o'er all,
Be they great or small,
Who mis'ry share.