Many years ago, it was the fashion to ridicule the idea of “love at first sight;”
but those who think, not less than those who feel deeply, have always advocated its existence.
Modern discoveries, indeed, in what may be termed ethical magnetism or magnetœsthetics, render it probable
that the most natural, and, consequently, the truest and most intense of the human affections, are those
which arise in the heart as if by electric sympathy — in a word,
that the brightest and most enduring of the psychal fetters are those which are riveted by a glance.
The confession I am about to make, will add another to the already almost innumerable instances of the truth of the position.
My story requires that I should be somewhat minute. I am still a very young man — not yet twenty-two years of age.
My name, at present, is a very usual and rather plebeian one — Simpson.
I say “at present;” for it is only lately that I have been so called —
having legislatively adopted this surname within the last year, in order to receive a large inheritance
left me by a distant male relative, Adolphus Simpson, Esq.
The bequest was conditioned upon my taking the name of the testator; — the family, not the Christian name;
my Christian name is Napoleon Bonaparte — or, more properly, these are my first and middle appellations.
I assumed the name, Simpson, with some reluctance, as in my true patronym, Froissart, I felt a very pardonable pride
— believing that I could trace a descent from the immortal author of the “Chronicles.”
While on the subject of names, by the by, I may mention a singular coincidence of sound attending the names of some of my immediate predecessors.
My father was a Monsieur Froissart, of Paris.
His wife — my mother, whom he married at fifteen — was a Mademoiselle Croissart, eldest daughter of Croissart the banker;
whose wife, again, being only sixteen when married, was the eldest daughter of one Victor Voissart.
Monsieur Voissart, very singularly, had married a lady of similar name — a Mademoiselle Moissart.
She, too, was quite a child when married; and her mother, also, Madame Moissart, was only fourteen when led to the altar.
These early marriages are usual in France.
Here, however, are Moissart, Voissart, Croissart, and Froissart, all in the direct line of descent.
My own name, though, as I say, became Simpson, by act of Legislature,
and with so much repugnance on my part, that, at one period, I actually hesitated about accepting the legacy
with the useless and annoying proviso attached.