" elle y doyoit,he immediately knows that you intend to convey

the idea " she was able to see ; she had her eyesight.' What we observed respecting en, page 21, No. II. applies with equal force to this adverb or pronoun indeterminate y. Indeed it is these three little words, on, en, and y, and the abundance of witty figurative expressions used by the French, which give to their conversation so much vivacity. The latter expressions, in order to be properly introduced, must, however, be correctly remembered ; and the words on, en, and y, must be diligently studied in all their bearings, that they may not be misapplied.

We now beg leave to entertain our readers with one of those light narratives to which the French language is so peculiarly adapted; it will afford us some idiomatic expressions of frequent recurrence in familiar conversation.

Certain soir dans une maison
Chacon racontoit sa folie ;
C'étoient des bons môts à foison,
Maint quolibet, mainte saillie ;
Parfois un peu de déraison.
Qu'importe ? pourvuque l'on rie.
Mieux valent ces doux passe-temps
Que ces bouillottes insipides
Où mes bons amis sont avides
De s'enrichir à mes dépens.
Voici, parmi les traits d'histoire
Qui, ce jour-là, furent contés
L'une des deux naïvetés
Dont j'ai conservé la mémoire.

Une Duchesse de Bouillon,
Jeune encore, unissoit, dit-on,
A l'humeur vive et joviale
Une franchise originale.
Sans nulle gêne elle disoit
Trop vite ce qu'elle pensoit.
Après une assez longue absence,
A Paris étant de retour,
Elle voulut revoir un jour
La campagne de son enfance,
Toujours chère à son souvenir.

Une matin elle va chez elle;
Hortense venoit de sortir;
A sa place elle voit venir
Une vieille sempiternelle
(Sara, c'est ainsi qu'on l'appelle)
Marchant, ou plutôt se trainant
Sur un appui qu'elle se donne.
Vous cussiez dit, en la voyant,
La décrépitude en personne.
La Duchesse d'abord s'étonne
De voir ce squelette ambulant;
Puis craignant qu'à chaque moment
Elle ne tombe en défaillance,
Elle se hâte, en se nommant,
De demander sa chère Hortense.
A ce nom l'antique Sara
Lai dit, d'une voix tremblotante:
Votre chère Hortense est absente,
Elle dine en ville, et de la
On la mène à la Comédie,
D'où bien tard elle reviendra.-
Ma bonne, eh bien! je vous en prie,
Quand elle rentrera ce soir,
Si vous êtes encore en vie
Dites lui de venir me voir.

[ocr errors]


ONE evening in company every one was relating some story. Along with jests in plenty we had many puns and flashes of wit, and now and then a little nonsense. But what matters it? provided the company laugh. Amusements of this kind are indeed preferable to those insipid games at cards, by which my dear friends are anxious to enrich themselves at my expense. Here are, from the facts related on that day, one or two instances of laughable frankness, which I remember.

A young Duchess of Bouillon combined, it is said, an eccentric frankness with a lively temper and a merry disposition. She would over-hastily utter, without restraint, whatever she thought. On her return to Paris, after a long absence, she very much wished to see the companion of her childhood, whom she always remembered with affection. One morning she went to her. Hortensia had just left the house. Instead of her friend she saw a very old female, (Sarah was her name) who walked, or rather crept along, leaning upon a support. You would have fancied you saw decrepitude personified. The Duchess at first startled at beholding this walking skeleton ; then, fearing every moment that the old woman might fall into a swoon, she hastily gave her name, and inquired after her dear Hortensia. Whereupon the antique Sarah replied in a quaking voice, your dear Hortensia is from home; she is dining out, and ofter dinner they take her to the play, from whence she will return very late. Well, my good woman! when she gets home at night, if you are then alive, pray tell her to come and see me.

Un trait de naïveté. We have in this title two French words which it is extremely difficult to render in English ; indeed both expressions are frequently employed as if they were English. The French naïveté, f. however means not only natural frankness, but an uncouscious expression of sentiments which we ought not to harbour, or not to avow. It is in this latter sense that it is used bere. All French words in eté are f. Un trait, (m. like all the words in ait,) an instance. It has a great variety of meanings, as, an arrow, a dart, a stroke, a dash, a touch of the pencil, a feature, a draught, a thought, a sentiment, a turn.

Certain soir dans une maison. Maison, (f. like all the words in aison) house ; but here it means a company assembled at a bouse: maison is likewise a commercial house. Les frères B. ont une maison à Londres et une autre à Amsterdam ; c'est une bonne maison.

Une folie, f. a folly, a laughable story; faire des folies, to be guilty of foolish, imprudent, extravagant actions; dire des folies, to say merry, witty things. Un bon môt, a jest, a joke. à foison, adv. in plenty. maint, e, adj. many a; maintefois, adv. many a time.

un quolibet, (m. like all the words in et) a bad pun. une saillie, f. a witty sally, a flash of wit; a jutting out, a step in dancing. In the pl. it osten means fils of passion. La femme a d'heureuses saillies, mais le mari dans sa colère a souvent de facheuses saillies. Parfois, adv. sometimes. It begins to be obsolete in conversation.

Déraison, f. want of reason, nonsense, is pronounced exactly like des raisons, some motives; un peu de déraison, a little non


The late Prince de Ligne used to say, il n'y a que les bétises (silly nonsense) qui fassent rire.

Qu'importe ? what matters it? n'importe, no matter, from the impers. v. il importe, it is of material importance. pourcúque, conj. provided that, gov. the subj. ; pouroúque l'on rie, the prop. gener. on, and the verb p. rire, to laugh, which is irr. in the subj.

Mieux valent ces doux passe-temps, is a poëtical inversion for ces doux passe-temps valent mieux, these sweet (pleasing) diversions are better. See page 72, No. V. Une bouillotte, (f. like all the words in otte) a game of chance at cards, resembling the English game of Loo, à mes dépens, at my expense; dépens, a subst. pl. m.; is also used for law costs. Dépense compensés, means that each party is to pay their costs.

Dont j'ai conservé la mémoire, of which I have preserved the memory, which I remember. La mémoire, memory, has no pl.

M. de Montmaur had an astonishing memory, but little judgment, which circumstance gave rise to this epitaph :

Sous cette casaque noire
Repose bien doucement
Montmaur, d'heureuse mémoire,

Attendant le jugement. Mémoire, m. is a bill, a note, an account; in the pl. Historical Memoirs. Je viens d'acquitter le mémoire de mon tailleur, I have just paid my tailor's bill; avez vous lu les mémoires de Sully? have you read the memoirs of Sully? The name of this minister reminds us of Henry IV. of France, whom a poët bas most worthily eulogised, by calling bim

“Seul roi de qui le pauvre ait gardé la mémoire." And this line shews that you may say either conserver or garder la mémoire d'un fait, to preserve the memory of a fact.

Dit-on, is used instead of on-dit, it is said, whenever it is placed in the middle of the sentence as an interpolation. It has the advantage of avoiding that everlasting que, the frequent recurrence of which is so monotonous and annoying in the French language. Elle est, dit on, fort aimable, she is said to be very amiable, is preferable to “ on dit qu'elle est

fort aimable."

On dit ful de tout temps la Gazette des tsos.”—GRESSET.

une franchise originale, an eccentric frankness. Franchise, f. frankness, sincerity, exemption, immunity; les franchises des églises n'ont pas lieu en France : churches are not an asylum for criminals in France. original, e, adj. eccentric, original,

Sans nulle gêne, without any restraint. We had gêner, page 103, No. VII. la gêne, f. constraint, restraint, uneasiness, rack, torture; étre à la géne, or dans un état de gêne, to be in straitened circumstances.

trop vite, over hastily, too quickly.

ce qu'elle pensoit, what she thought, what was uppermost in her thoughts; from penser, r. a. 1. to think, which must be carefully distinguished from panser, r. a. 1. (with an a) to dress wounds, and horses. The motto of the Star and Garter is : Honi soit qui mul y pense, “ Evil to him who thinks ill of it.” The father of the present Duke of Orleans having built splendid stables, had the same inscription placed over them, with the slight change of e into a: Honi soit qui mal y panse, Evil to him who dresses (the horses) ill here.

Après une assez longue absence à Paris étant de retour, would be in prose, étant de retour à Paris, après une assez longue absence. The adv. of quantity assez, “enough,” placed before an adj. often means tolerably, rather.

la compagne, f. the female companion. Of the words in agne, there are 4 m. and 7 f.; un compagnon, m. is a male companion. l'enfance, childhood, infancy, is f. like all the words in ance. souvenir, m. recollection, remembrance, memory, memorial.

Elle voit tenir, she sees coming up to her. Voir venir is taken bere in its literal meaning; but it is often employed figuratively to denote that one sees what a person is aiming at, or that one waits to know what a person would be at, to regulate one's own measures accordingly; je vous roir venir, I see what you would be at. il est loin d'être franc, il voit toujours venir, he is far from being frank, he alwaits waits for what one has to say. Une vieille sempiternelle, a very old woman.

Une vieille,

« ͹˹Թõ