Un miroir magique dans la littérature romantique
britannique :

Sir Walter SCOTT, "My Aunt Margaret's Mirror", 
Keepsake, London, 1829.

 Un conte romantique

On retrouve le thème du "miroir magique" dans un récit du grand romancier historique Sir Walter Scott, l'auteur d'Ivanhoe et des Chroniques de Waverley.

Initialement écrit pour la seconde série des Chronicles of Mr Croftangry, le récit "My Aunt Margaret's Mirror" avait été refusé par les éditeurs de Scott, Cadell and Ballantyne. Scott céda ce texte, pour ensuite le regretter, à l'éditeur Heath, qui le publia en 1829 dans son journal Keepsake. Le Keepsake était un magazine s'adressant aux femmes de la classe moyenne et qui, longtemps délaissé par les historiens de la littérature, est aujourd'hui reconnu comme une source importante pour la compréhension de la sensibilité romantique en Angleterre.

Dans le récit "My Aunt Margaret's Mirror", le narrateur rapporte les contes de sa tante Margaret et en particulier la curieuse expérience arrivée à Lady Forester et à soeur, lady Bothwell, au début du dix-huitième siècle.. Les deux dames sont à la recherche du mari de Lady Forester, le beau Sir Philip Forester. Celui-ci a suivi Malborough sur le continent pour aller batailler en Flandres et ne donne plus signe de vie. Désespérée Lady Forester, accomapgnée de sa soeur, consulte un mystérieur docteur originaire de Padoue, qui va leur permettre de revoir Sir Philip grâce à un miroir magique.


W. SCOTT, "My Aunt Margaret's Mirror", Pagebypagebooks.

Th CARLYLE, "On Sir Walter Scott", 1838.

Introduction to The Keepsake of 1829 (L.E.L.'s 'Verses' and The Keepsake for 1829. Edited by Terence Hoagwood, Kathryn Ledbetter, and Martin M. Jacobsen.)


Le Keepsake de 1829 dans lequel paru le récit "My Aunt Margaret's Mirror" de Sir Walter Scott.

"(...) The master then placed himself between the two ladies, and, pointing to the mirror, took each by the hand, but without speaking a syllable. They gazed intently on the polished and sable space to which he had directed their attention. Suddenly the surface assumed a new and singular appearance. It no longer simply reflected the objects placed before it, but, as if it had self-contained scenery of its own, objects began to appear within it, at first in a disorderly, indistinct, and miscellaneous manner, like form arranging itself out of chaos; at length, in distinct and defined shape and symmetry. It was thus that, after some shifting of light and darkness over the face of the wonderful glass, a long perspective of arches and columns began to arrange itself on its sides, and a vaulted roof on the upper part of it, till, after many oscillations, the whole vision gained a fixed and stationary appearance, representing the interior of a foreign church. The pillars were stately, and hung with scutcheons; the arches were lofty and magnificent; the floor was lettered with funeral inscriptions. But there were no separate shrines, no images, no display of chalice or crucifix on the altar. It was, therefore, a Protestant church upon the Continent. A clergyman dressed in the Geneva gown and band stood by the communion table, and, with the Bible opened before him, and his clerk awaiting in the background, seemed prepared to perform some service of the church to which he belonged.

At length, there entered the middle aisle of the building a numerous party, which appeared to be a bridal one, as a lady and gentleman walked first, hand in hand, followed by a large concourse of persons of both sexes, gaily, nay richly, attired. The bride, whose features they could distinctly see, seemed not more than sixteen years old, and extremely beautiful. The bridegroom, for some seconds, moved rather with his shoulder towards them, and his face averted; but his elegance of form and step struck the sisters at once with the same apprehension. As he turned his face suddenly, it was frightfully realized, and they saw, in the gay bridegroom before them, Sir Philip Forester. His wife uttered an imperfect exclamation, at the sound of which the whole scene stirred and seemed to separate.

"I could compare it to nothing," said Lady Bothwell, while recounting the wonderful tale, "but to the dispersion of the reflection offered by a deep and calm pool, when a stone is suddenly cast into it, and the shadows become dissipated and broken." The master pressed both the ladies' hands severely, as if to remind them of their promise, and of the danger which they incurred. The exclamation died away on Lady Forester's tongue, without attaining perfect utterance, and the scene in the glass, after the fluctuation of a minute, again resumed to the eye its former appearance of a real scene, existing within the mirror, as if represented in a picture, save that the figures were movable instead of being stationary.

The representation of Sir Philip Forester, now distinctly visible in form and feature, was seen to lead on towards the clergyman that beautiful girl, who advanced at once with diffidence and with a species of affectionate pride. In the meantime, and just as the clergyman had arranged the bridal company before him, and seemed about to commence the service, another group of persons, of whom two or three were officers, entered the church. They moved, at first, forward, as though they came to witness the bridal ceremony; but suddenly one of the officers, whose back was towards the spectators, detached himself from his companions, and rushed hastily towards the marriage party, when the whole of them turned towards him, as if attracted by some exclamation which had accompanied his advance. Suddenly the intruder drew his sword; the bridegroom unsheathed his own, and made towards him; swords were also drawn by other individuals, both of the marriage party and of those who had last entered. They fell into a sort of confusion, the clergyman, and some elder and graver persons, labouring apparently to keep the peace, while the hotter spirits on both sides brandished their weapons. But now, the period of the brief space during which the soothsayer, as he pretended, was permitted to exhibit his art, was arrived. The fumes again mixed together, and dissolved gradually from observation; the vaults and columns of the church rolled asunder, and disappeared; and the front of the mirror reflected nothing save the blazing torches and the melancholy apparatus placed on the altar or table before it. (...)



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Dernière mise à jour : 31 mars 2002