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Title: A Bibliographical, Antiquarian and Picturesque Tour in France and Germany, Volume Two
Author: Dibdin, Thomas Frognall, 1776-1847
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Bibliographical, Antiquarian and Picturesque Tour in France and Germany, Volume Two" ***

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by the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF/Gallica) at
http://gallica.bnf.fr)



A

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL

_Antiquarian_

AND

PICTURESQUE TOUR.



PRINTED BY WILLIAM NICOL, AT THE
Shakespeare Press.



[Illustration: ANN OF BRITTANY.
From an Illustrated Missal in the Royal Library at Paris.]


London. Published June 1829. by R. Jennings. Poultry.



A

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL

_Antiquarian_

AND

PICTURESQUE TOUR

IN

FRANCE AND GERMANY.

BY THE REVEREND
THOMAS FROGNALL DIBDIN, D.D.

MEMBER OF THE ROYAL ACADEMY AT ROUEN, AND OF THE
ACADEMY OF UTRECHT.

SECOND EDITION.

VOLUME II.



DEI OMNIA PLENA.

LONDON:

PUBLISHED BY ROBERT JENNINGS,
AND JOHN MAJOR.

1829.



CONTENTS OF VOLUME II.



CONTENTS.

VOLUME II.



LETTER I.

PARIS. _The Boulevards. Public Buildings. Street Scenery.
Fountains_.                                                              1

LETTER II.

_General Description of the Bibliothèque du Roi. The
Librarians_.                                                            42

LETTER III.

_The same subject continued_.                                           64

LETTER IV.

_The same subject continued_.                                           82

LETTER V.

PARIS. _Some Account of the early printed and rare
Books in the Royal Library_.                                           101

LETTER VI.

_Conclusion of the Account of the Royal Library. The
Library of the Arsenal_.                                               144

LETTER VII.

_Library of Ste. Geneviève. The Abbé Mercier St.
Léger. Library of the Mazarine College, or Institute.
Private Library of the King. Mons. Barbier,
Librarian_.                                                            169

_Introduction to Letter VIII_.                                         209

LETTER VIII.

_Some Account of the late Abbé Rive. Booksellers.
Printers. Book Binders_.                                               214

LETTER IX.

_Men of Letters. Dom Brial. The Abbé Bétencourt.
Messrs. Gail, Millin, and Langlès. A Roxburghe
Banquet_.                                                              251

LETTER X.

_The Collections of Denon, Quintin Craufurd, and the
Marquis de Sommariva_.                                                 279

LETTER XI.

_Notice of M. Willemin's Monumens Français inédits.
Miscellaneous Antiquities. Present State of the
Fine Arts. General Observations upon the National
Character_.                                                            317

LETTER XII.

_Paris to Strasbourg. Nancy_.                                          343

LETTER XIII.

STRASBOURG. _Establishment of the Protestant Religion.
The Cathedral. The Public Library_.                                    374

LETTER XIV.

_Society. Environs of Strasbourg. Domestic Architecture.
Manners and Customs. Literature. Language_.                            413


[Illustration]


_LETTER I._

PARIS. THE BOULEVARDS. PUBLIC BUILDINGS. STREET SCENERY. FOUNTAINS.[1]


_Paris, June 18, 1818_.

You are probably beginning to wonder at the tardiness of my promised
Despatch, in which the architectural minutiæ of this City were to be
somewhat systematically described. But, as I have told you towards the
conclusion of my previous letter, it would be to very little purpose to
conduct you over every inch of ground which had been trodden and described
by a host of Tourists, and from which little of interest or of novelty
could be imparted. Yet it seems to be absolutely incumbent upon me to say
_something_ by way of local description.

Perhaps the BOULEVARDS form the most interesting feature about Paris. I
speak here of the _principal_ Boulevards:--of those, extending from _Ste.
Madelaine_ to _St. Antoine_; which encircle nearly one half the capital.
Either on foot, or in a carriage, they afford you singular gratification. A
very broad road way, flanked by two rows of trees on each side, within
which the population of Paris seems to be in incessant agitation--lofty
houses, splendid shops, occasionally a retired mansion, with a parterre of
blooming flowers in front--all manner of merchandize exposed in the open
air--prints, muslins, _kaleidoscopes_, (they have just introduced them[2])
trinkets, and especially watch chains and strings of beads, spread in gay
colours upon the ground--the undulations of the chaussée--and a bright blue
sky above the green trees--all these things irresistibly rivet the
attention and extort the admiration of a stranger. You may have your boots
cleaned, and your breakfast prepared, upon these same boulevards.
Felicitous junction of conveniences!

This however is only a hasty sketch of what may be called a morning scene.
AFTERNOON approaches: then, the innumerable chairs, which have been a long
time unoccupied, are put into immediate requisition: then commences the
"high exchange" of the loungers. One man hires two chairs, for which he
pays two sous: he places his legs upon one of them; while his body, in a
slanting position, occupies the other. The places, where these chairs are
found, are usually flanked by coffee houses. Incessant reports from drawing
the corks of beer bottles resound on all sides. The ordinary people are
fond of this beverage; and for four or six sous they get a bottle of
pleasant, refreshing, small beer. The draught is usually succeeded by a
doze--in the open air. What is common, excites no surprise; and the stream
of population rushes on without stopping one instant to notice these
somniferous indulgences. Or, if they are not disposed to sleep, they sit
and look about them: abstractedly gazing upon the multitude around, or at
the heavens above. Pure, idle, unproductive listlessness is the necessary
cause of such enjoyment.

Evening approaches: when the Boulevards put on their gayest and most
fascinating livery. Then commences the bustle of the _Ice Mart_: in other
words, then commences the general demand for ices: while the rival and
neighbouring _caffés_ of TORTONI and RICHE have their porches of entrance
choked by the incessant ingress and egress of customers. The full moon
shines beautifully above the foliage of the trees; and an equal number of
customers, occupying chairs, sit without, and call for ices to be brought
to them. Meanwhile, between these loungers, and the entrances to the
caffés, move on, closely wedged, and yet scarcely in perceptible motion,
the mass of human beings who come only to exercise their eyes, by turning
them to the right or to the left: while, on the outside, upon the chaussée,
are drawn up the carriages of visitors (chiefly English ladies) who prefer
taking their ice within their closed morocco quarters. The varieties of ice
are endless, but that of the _Vanille_ is justly a general favourite: not
but that you may have coffee, chocolate, punch, peach, almond, and in short
every species of gratification of this kind; while the glasses are filled
to a great height, in a pyramidal shape, and some of them with layers of
strawberry, gooseberry, and other coloured ice--looking like pieces of a
Harlequin's jacket--are seen moving to and fro, to be silently and
certainly devoured by those who bespeak them. Add to this, every one has
his tumbler and small water-bottle by the side of him: in the centre of the
bottle is a large piece of ice, and with a tumbler of water, poured out
from it, the visitor usually concludes his repast. The most luxurious of
these ices scarcely exceeds a shilling of our money; and the quantity is at
least half as much again as you get at a certain well-known confectioner's
in Piccadilly.

It is getting towards MIDNIGHT; but the bustle and activity of the
Boulevards have not yet much abated. Groups of musicians, ballad-singers,
tumblers, actors, conjurors, slight-of-hand professors, and raree-shew men,
have each their distinct audiences. You advance. A little girl with a
raised turban (as usual, tastefully put on) seems to have no mercy either
upon her own voice or upon the hurdy-gurdy on which she plays: her father
shews his skill upon a violin, and the mother is equally active with the
organ; after "a flourish"--not of "trumpets"--but of these instruments--the
tumblers commence their operations. But a great crowd is collected to the
right. What may this mean? All are silent; a ring is made, of which the
boundaries are marked by small lighted candles stuck in pieces of clay.
Within this circle stands a man--apparently strangled: both arms are
extended, and his eyes are stretched to their utmost limits. You look more
closely--and the hilt of a dagger is seen in his mouth, of which the blade
is introduced into his stomach! He is almost breathless, and ready to
faint--but he approaches, with the crown of a hat in one hand, into which
he expects you should drop a sous. Having made his collection, he draws
forth the dagger from its carnal sheath, and, making his bow, seems to
anticipate the plaudits which invariably follow.[3] Or, he changes his plan
of operations on the following evening. Instead of the dagger put down his
throat, he introduces a piece of wire up one nostril, to descend by the
other--and, thus self-tortured, demands the remuneration and the applause
of his audience. In short, from one end of the Boulevards to the other, for
nearly two English miles, there is nought but animation, good humour, and,
it is right to add, good order;--while, having strolled as far as the
Boulevards _de Bondy_, and watched the moon-beams sparkling in the waters
which play there within the beautiful fountain so called,--I retread my
steps, and seek the quiet quarters in which this epistle is penned.

The next out-of-door sources of gratification, of importance, are the
_Gardens of the Thuileries_, the _Champs Elysées_, and the promenade within
the _Palais Royal_; in which latter plays a small, but, in my humble
opinion, the most beautifully constructed fountain which Paris can boast
of. Of this, presently. The former of these spots is rather pretty than
picturesque: rather limited than extensive: a raised terrace to the left,
on looking from the front of the Thuileries, is the only commanding
situation--from which you observe the Seine, running with its green tint,
and rapid current, to the left--while on the right you leisurely examine
the rows of orange trees and statuary which give an imposing air of
grandeur to the scene. At this season of the year, the fragrance of the
blossoms of the orange trees is most delicious. The statues are of a
colossal, and rather superior kind ... for garden decoration. There are
pleasing vistas and wide gravel walks, and a fine evening usually fills
them with crowds of Parisians. The palace is long, but rather too low and
narrow; yet there is an air of elegance about it, which, with the
immediately surrounding scenery, cannot fail to strike you very agreeably.
The white flag of St. Louis floats upon the top of the central dome. The
_Champs Elysées_ consist of extensive wooded walks; and a magnificent road
divides them, which serves as the great attractive mall for carriages--
especially on Sundays--while, upon the grass, between the trees, on that
day, appear knots of male and female citizens enjoying the waltz or
quadrille. It is doubtless a most singular, and animated scene: the utmost
order and good humour prevailing. The _Place Louis Quinze_, running at
right angles with the Thuileries, and which is intersected in your route to
the _Rue de la Paix_, is certainly a most magnificent front elevation;
containing large and splendid houses, of elaborate exterior ornament. When
completed, to the right, it will present an almost matchless front of
domestic architecture, built upon the Grecian model. It was in this place,
facing his own regal residence of the Thuileries, that the unfortunate
Louis--surrounded by a ferocious and bloodthirsty mob--was butchered by the
guillotine.

Come back with me now into the very heart of Paris, and let us stroll
within the area of the _Palais Royal_. You may remember that I spoke of a
fountain, which played within the centre of this popular resort. The
different branches, or _jets d'eau_, spring from a low, central point; and
crossing each other in a variety of angles, and in the most pleasing manner
of intersection, produce, altogether, the appearance of the blossom of a
large flower: so silvery and transparent is the water, and so gracefully
are its glassy petals disposed. Meanwhile, the rays of the sun, streaming
down from above, produce a sort of stationary rainbow: and, in the heat of
the day, as you sit upon the chairs, or saunter beneath the trees, the
effect is both grateful and refreshing. The little flower garden, in the
centre of which this fountain seems to be for ever playing, is a perfect
model of neatness and tasteful disposition: not a weed dare intrude: and
the earth seems always fresh and moist from the spray of the fountain--
while roses, jonquils, and hyacinths scatter their delicious fragrance
around. For one minute only let us visit the _Caffé des Mille Colonnes_: so
called (as you well know) from the number of upright mirrors and glasses
which reflect the small columns by which the ceiling is supported.
Brilliant and singular as is this effect, it is almost eclipsed by the
appearance of the Mistress of the House; who, decorated with rich and rare
gems, and seated upon a sort of elevated throne--uniting great comeliness
and (as some think) beauty of person--receives both the homage and (what is
doubtless preferable to her) the _francs_ of numerous customers and
admirers. The "wealth of either Ind" sparkles upon her hand, or glitters
upon her attire: and if the sun of her beauty be somewhat verging towards
its declension, it sets with a glow which reminds her old acquaintance of
the splendour of its noon-day power. It is yet a sharply contested point
whether the ice of this house be preferable to that of Tortoni: a point,
too intricate and momentous for my solution. "Non nostrum est ... tantas
componere lites."

Of the _Jardin des Plantes_, which I have once visited, but am not likely
to revisit--owing to the extreme heat of the weather, and the distance of
the spot from this place--scarcely too much can be said in commendation:
whether we consider it as a _dépôt_ for live or dead animals, or as a
school of study and instruction for the cultivators of natural history. The
wild animals are kept, in their respective cages, out of doors, which is
equally salutary for themselves and agreeable to their visitors. I was much
struck by the perpetual motion of a huge, restless, black bear, who has
left the marks of his footsteps by a concavity in the floor:--as well as by
the panting, and apparently painful, inaction of an equally huge white or
gray bear--who, nurtured upon beds of Greenland ice, seemed to be dying
beneath the oppressive heat of a Parisian atmosphere. The same misery
appeared to beset the bears who are confined, in an open space, below. They
searched every where for shade; while a scorching sun was darting its
vertical rays upon their heads. In the Museum of dead, or stuffed animals,
you have every thing that is minute or magnificent in nature, from the
creeping lizard to the towering giraffe, arranged systematically, and in a
manner the most obvious and intelligible: while Cuvier's collection of
fossil bones equally surprises and instructs you. It is worth all the
_catacombs_ of all the capitals in the world. If we turn to the softer and
more beauteous parts of creation, we are dazzled and bewildered by the
radiance and variety of the tribes of vegetables--whether as fruits or
flowers; and, upon the whole, this is an establishment which, in no age or
country, hath been surpassed.

It is not necessary to trouble you with much more of this strain. The
out-of-door enjoyments in Paris are so well known, and have been so
frequently described--and my objects of research being altogether of a very
different complexion--you will not, I conclude, scold me if I cease to
expatiate upon this topic, but direct your attention to others. Not however
but that I think you may wish to know my sentiments about the principal
ARCHITECTURAL BUILDINGS of Paris--as you are yourself not only a lover, but
a judge, of these matters--and therefore the better qualified to criticise
and correct the following remarks--which flow "au bout de la plume"--as
Madame de Sévigné says. In the first place, then, let us stop a few minutes
before the THUILERIES. It hath a beautiful front: beautiful from its
lightness and airiness of effect. The small central dome is the only raised
part in the long horizontal line of this extended building: not but what
the extremities are raised in the old fashioned sloping manner: but if
there had been a similar dome at each end, and that in the centre had been
just double its present height, the effect, in my humble opinion, would
have harmonised better with the extreme length of the building. It is very
narrow; so much so, that the same room contains windows from which you may
look on either side of the palace: upon the gardens to the west, or within
the square to the east.

Adjoining to the Thuileries is the LOUVRE: that is to say, a long range of
building to the south, parallel with the Seine, connects these magnificent
residences: and it is precisely along this extensive range that the
celebrated _Gallery of the Louvre_ runs. The principal exterior front, or
southern extremity of the Louvre, faces the Seine; and to my eye it is
nearly faultless as a piece of architecture constructed upon Grecian and
Roman models. But the interior is yet more splendid. I speak more
particularly of the south and western fronts: that facing the north being
more ancient, and containing female figure ornaments which are palpably of
a disproportionate length. The Louvre quadrangle (if I may borrow our old
college phrase) is assuredly the most splendid piece of ornamental
architecture which Paris contains. The interior of the edifice itself is as
yet in an unfinished condition;[4] but you must not conclude the
examination of this glorious pile of building, without going round to visit
the _eastern_ exterior front--looking towards Notre-Dame. Of all sides of
the square, within or without, this colonnade front is doubtless the most
perfect of its kind. It is less rich and crowded with ornament than any
side of the interior--but it assumes one of the most elegant, airy, and
perfectly proportionate aspects, of any which I am just now able to
recollect. Perhaps the basement story, upon which this double columned
colonnade of the Corinthian Order runs, is somewhat too plain--a sort of
affectation of the rustic. The alto-relievo figures in the centre of the
tympanum have a decisive and appropriate effect. The advantage both of the
Thuileries and Louvre is, that they are well seen from the principal
thoroughfares of Paris: that is to say, along the quays, and from the chief
streets running from the more ancient parts on the south side of the Seine.
The evil attending our own principal public edifices is, that they are
generally constructed where they _cannot_ be seen to advantage. Supposing
one of the principal entrances or malls of London, both for carriages and
foot, to be on the _south_ side of the Thames, what could be more
magnificent than the front of _Somerset House_, rising upon its hundred
columns perpendicularly from the sides of a river... three times as broad
as the Seine, with the majestic arches of _Waterloo Bridge!_--before which,
however, the stupendous elevation of _St. Paul's_ and its correspondent
bridge of _Black Friars_, could not fail to excite the wonder, and extort
the praise, of the most anti-anglican stranger. And to crown the whole, how
would the venerable nave and the towers of _Westminster Abbey_--with its
peculiar bridge of Westminster ... give a finish to such a succession of
architectural objects of metropolitan grandeur! Although in the very heart,
of Parisian wonder, I cannot help, you see, carrying my imagination towards
our own capital; and suggesting that, if, instead of furnaces, forges, and
flickering flames--and correspondent clouds of dense smoke--which give to
the southern side of the Thames the appearance of its being the abode of
legions of blacksmiths, and glass and shot makers--we introduced a little
of the good taste and good sense of our neighbours--and if ... But all this
is mighty easily said--though not quite so easily put in practice. The
truth however is, my dear friend, that we should _approximate_ a little
towards each other. Let the Parisians attend somewhat more to our domestic
comforts and commercial advantages--and let the Londoners sacrifice
somewhat of their love of warehouses and manufactories--and then you will
have hit the happy medium, which, in the metropolis of a great empire,
would unite all the conveniences, with all the magnificence, of situation.

Of other buildings, devoted to civil purposes, the CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES, the
HÔTEL DES INVALIDES, with its gilded dome (a little too profusely adorned,)
the INSTITUTE, and more particularly the MINT, are the chief ornaments on
the south side of the Seine. In these I am not disposed to pick the least
hole, by fastidious or hypercritical observations. Only I wish that they
would contrive to let the lions, in front of the façade of the Institute,
(sometimes called the _Collège Mazarin_ or _des Quatre Nations_--upon the
whole, a magnificent pile) discharge a good large mouthful of water--
instead of the drivelling stream which is for ever trickling from their
closed jaws. Nothing can be more ridiculous than the appearance of these
meagre and unappropriate objects: the more to be condemned, because the
French in general assume great credit for the management of their
fountains. Of the four great buildings just noticed, that of the Mint, or
rather its façade, pleases me most. It is a beautiful elevation, in pure
good taste; but the stone is unfortunately of a coarse grain and of a dingy
colour. Of the BRIDGES thrown across the Seine, connecting all the fine
objects on either side, it must be allowed that they are generally in good
taste: light, yet firm; but those, in iron, of Louis XVI. and _des Arts_,
are perhaps to be preferred. The _Pont Neuf_, where the ancient part of
Paris begins, is a large, long, clumsy piece of stone work: communicating
with the island upon which _Notre Dame_ is built. But if you look eastward,
towards old Paris, from the top of this bridge--or if you look in the same
direction, a little towards the western side, or upon the quays,--you
contemplate, in my humble opinion, one of the grandest views of street
scenery that can be imagined! The houses are very lofty--occasionally of
six or even eight stories--the material with which they are built is a fine
cream-coloured stone: the two branches of the river, and the back ground
afforded by _Notre Dame_, and a few other subordinate public buildings,
altogether produce an effect--especially as you turn your back upon the
sun, sinking low behind the _Barrière de Neuilly_--which would equally warm
the hearts and exercise the pencils of the TURNERS and CALCOTS of our own
shores. Indeed, I learn that the former distinguished artist has actually
made a drawing of this picture. But let me add, that my own unqualified
admiration had preceded the knowledge of this latter fact. Among other
buildings, I must put in a word of praise in behalf of the
HALLE-AUX-BLÉ'S--built after the model of the Pantheon at Rome. It is one
hundred and twenty French feet in diameter; has twenty-five covered
archways, or arcades, of ten feet in width; of which six are open, as
passages of ingress and egress--corresponding with the like number of
opposite streets. The present cupola (preceded by one almost as large as
that of the Pantheon at Rome) is built of iron and brass--of a curious,
light, and yet sufficiently substantial construction--and is unassailable
by fire. I never passed through this building without seeing it well
stocked with provender; while its area was filled with farmers, who, like
our own, assemble to make the best bargain. Yet let me observe that, owing
to the height of the neighbouring houses, this building loses almost the
whole of its appropriate effect.

Nor should the EXCHANGE, in the _Rue des Filles St. Thomas_, be dismissed
without slight notice and commendation. It is equally simple, magnificent,
and striking: composed of a single row, or peristyle, of Corinthian
pillars, flanking a square of no mean dimensions, and presenting fourteen
pillars in its principal front. At this present moment, it is not quite
finished; but when completed, it promises to be among the most splendid and
the most perfect specimens of public architecture in Paris.[5] Beautiful as
many may think _our_ Exchange, in my humble opinion it has no pretensions
to compete with that at Paris. The HÔTEL DE VILLE, near the _Place de
Grève_, is rather in the character of the more ancient buildings in France:
it is exceedingly picturesque, and presents a noble façade. Being situated
amidst the older streets of Paris, nothing can harmonise better with the
surrounding objects. Compared with the metropolis, on its present extended
scale, it is hardly of sufficient importance for the consequence usually
attached to this kind of building; but you must remember that the greater
part of it was built in the sixteenth century, when the capital had
scarcely attained half its present size. The _Place de Grève_ during the
Revolution, was the spot in which the guillotine performed almost all its
butcheries. I walked over it with a hurrying step: fancying the earth to be
yet moist with the blood of so many immolated victims. Of other HÔTELS, I
shall mention only those of DE SENS and DE SOUBISE. The entrance into the
former yet exhibits a most picturesque specimen of the architecture of the
early part of the XVIth century. Its interior is devoted to every thing ...
which it ought _not_ to be. The Hôtel de Soubise is still a consequential
building. It was sufficiently notorious during the reigns of Charles V. and
VI.: and it owes its present form to the enterprising spirit of Cardinal
Rohan, who purchased it of the Guise family towards the end of the XVIIth
century. There is now, neither pomp nor splendour, nor revelry, within this
vast building. All its aristocratic magnificence is fled; but the antiquary
and the man of curious research console themselves on its possessing
treasures of a more substantial and covetable kind. You are to know that it
contains the _Archives of State_ and the _Royal Printing Office_.

Paris has doubtless good reason to be proud of her public buildings; for
they are numerous, splendid, and commodious; and have the extraordinary
advantage over our own of not being tinted with soot and smoke. Indeed,
when one thinks of the sure invasion of every new stone or brick building
in London, by these enemies of external beauty, one is almost sick at heart
during the work of erection. The lower tier of windows and columns round
St. Paul's have been covered with the dirt and smoke of upwards of a
century: and the fillagree-like embellishments which distinguish the recent
restorations of Henry the VIIth's chapel, in Westminster Abbey, are already
beginning to lose their delicacy of appearance from a similar cause. But I
check myself. I am at Paris--and not in the metropolis of our own country.

A word now for STREET SCENERY. Paris is perhaps here unrivalled: still I
speak under correction--having never seen Edinburgh. But, although
_portions_ of that northern capital, from its undulating or hilly site,
must necessarily present more picturesque appearances, yet, upon the whole,
from the superior size of Paris, there must be more numerous examples of
the kind of scenery of which I am speaking. The specimens are endless. I
select only a few--the more familiar to me. In turning to the left, from
the _Boulevard Montmartre_ or _Poissonière_, and going towards the _Rue St.
Marc_, or _Rue des Filles St. Thomas_ (as I have been in the habit of
doing, almost every morning, for the last ten days--in my way to the Royal
Library) you leave the _Rue Montmartre_ obliquely to the left. The houses
here seem to run up to the sky; and appear to have been constructed with
the same ease and facility as children build houses of cards. In every
direction about this spot, the houses, built of stone, as they generally
are, assume the most imposing and picturesque forms; and if a Canaletti
resided here, who would condescend to paint without water and wherries,
some really magnificent specimens of this species of composition might be
executed--equally to the credit of the artist and the place.

If you want old fashioned houses, you must lounge in the long and parallel
streets of _St. Denis_ and _St. Martin_; but be sure that you choose dry
weather for the excursion. Two hours of heavy rain (as I once witnessed)
would cause a little rushing rivulet in the centre of these streets--and
you could only pass from one side to the other by means of a plank. The
absence of _trottoirs_--- or foot-pavement--is indeed here found to be a
most grievous defect. With the exception of the _Place Vendome_ and the
_Rue de la Paix_, where something like this sort of pavement prevails,
Paris presents you with hardly any thing of the kind; so that, methinks, I
hear you say, "what though your Paris be gayer and more grand, our London
is larger and more commodious." Doubtless this is a fair criticism. But
from the _Marché des Innocens_--a considerable space, where they sell
chiefly fruit and vegetables,[6]--(and which reminded me something of the
market-places of Rouen) towards the _Hôtel de Ville_ and the _Hôtel de
Soubise_, you will meet with many extremely curious and interesting
specimens of house and street scenery: while, as I before observed to you,
the view of the houses and streets in the _Isle St. Louis_, from the _Pont
des Ars_, the _Quai de Conti_, the _Pont Neuf_, or the _Quai des
Augustins_--or, still better, the _Pont Royal_--is absolutely one of the
grandest and completest specimens of metropolitan scenery which can be
contemplated. Once more: go as far as the _Pont Louis XVI._, cast your eye
down to the left; and observe how magnificently the Seine is flanked by the
Thuileries and the Louvre. Surely, it is but a sense of justice and a love
of truth which compel an impartial observer to say, that this is a view of
regal and public splendor--without a parallel in our own country!

The _Rue de Richelieu_ is called the Bond-street of Paris. Parallel with
it, is the _Rue Vivienne_. They are both pleasant streets; especially the
former, which is much longer, and is rendered more striking by containing
some of the finest hotels in Paris. Hosiers, artificial flower makers,
clock-makers, and jewellers, are the principal tradesmen in the Rue de
Richelieu; but it has no similarity with Bond-street. The houses are of
stone, and generally very lofty--while the _Academie de Musique_[7] and the
_Bibliothèque du Roi_ are public buildings of such consequence and capacity
(especially the former) that it is absurd to name the street in which they
are situated with our own. The Rue Vivienne is comparatively short; but it
is pleasing, from the number of flowers, shrubs, and fruits, brought
thither from the public markets for sale. No doubt the _Place Vendome_ and
the _Rue de la Paix_ claim precedence, on the score of magnificence and
comfort, to either of these, or to any other streets; but to my taste there
is nothing (next to the Boulevards) which is so thoroughly gratifying as
the Rue de Richelieu. Is it because some few hundred thousand _printed
volumes_ are deposited therein? But of all these, the _Rue St. Honoré_,
with its faubourg so called, is doubtless the most distinguished and
consequential. It seems to run from west to east entirely through Paris;
and is considered, on the score of length, as more than a match for our
Oxford street.

It may be so; but if the houses are loftier, the street is much narrower;
and where, again, is your foot-pavement--to protect you from the eternal
movements of fiacre, cabriolet, voiture and diligence? Besides, the
undulating line of our Oxford-street presents, to the tasteful observer, a
sight--perfectly unrivalled of its kind--especially if it be witnessed on a
clear night, when its thousand gas-lighted lamps below emulate the starry
lustre of the heavens above! To an inexperienced eye, this has the effect
of enchantment. Add to the houses of Oxford-street but two stories, and the
appearance of this street, in the day time, would be equally imposing: to
which add--what can never be added--the atmosphere of Paris!

You will remark that, all this time, I have been wholly silent about the
_Palace de Luxembourg_, with its beautiful though flat gardens--of tulips,
jonquils, roses, wall flowers, lilac and orange trees--its broad and narrow
walks--its terraces and statues. The façade, in a line with the _Rue
Vaugirard_, has a grand effect--in every point of view. But the south
front, facing the gardens, is extremely beautiful and magnificent; while
across the gardens, and in front,--some short English mile--stands the
OBSERVATORY. Yet fail not to visit the interior square of the palace, for
it is well worth your notice and admiration. This building is now the
_Chambre des Pairs_. Its most celebrated ornament was the famous suite of
paintings, by Rubens, descriptive of the history of Henry IV. These now
adorn the gallery of the Louvre. It is a pity that this very tasteful
structure--which seems to be built of the choicest stone--should be so far
removed from what may be called the fashionable part of the city. It is in
consequence reluctantly visited by our countrymen; although a lover of
botany, or a florist, will not fail to procure two or three roots of the
different species of _tulips_, which, it is allowed, blow here in uncommon
luxuriance and splendor.

The preceding is, I am aware, but a feeble and partial sketch--compared
with what a longer residence, and a temperature more favourable to exercise
(for we are half scorched up with heat, positive and reflected)--would
enable me to make. But "where are my favourite ECCLESIASTICAL EDIFICES?"
methinks I hear you exclaim. Truly you shall know as much as I know myself;
which is probably little enough. Of NOTRE-DAME, the west front, with its
marygold window, is striking both from its antiquity and richness. It is
almost black from age; but the alto-relievos, and especially those above
the doors, stand out in almost perfect condition. These ornaments are
rather fine of their kind. There is, throughout the whole of this west
front, a beautiful keeping; and the towers are, _here_, somewhat more
endurable--and therefore somewhat in harmony. Over the north-transept door,
on the outside, is a figure of the Virgin--once holding the infant Jesus in
her arms. Of the latter, only the feet remain. The drapery of this figure
is in perfectly good taste: a fine specimen of that excellent art which
prevailed towards the end of the XIIIth century. Above, is an alto-relievo
subject of the slaughter of the Innocents. The soldiers are in quilted
armour. I entered the cathedral from the western door, during service-time.
A sight of the different clergymen engaged in the office, filled me with
melancholy--and made me predict sad things of what was probably to come to
pass! These clergymen were old, feeble, wretchedly attired in their
respective vestments--and walked and sung in a tremulous and faltering
manner. The architectural effect in the interior is not very imposing:
although the solid circular pillars of the nave--the double aisles round
the choir--and the old basso-relievo representations of the life of Christ,
upon the exterior of the walls of the choir--cannot fail to afford an
antiquary very singular satisfaction. The choir appeared to be not unlike
that of St. Denis.

The next Gothic church, in size and importance, is that of St. GERVAIS--
situated to the left, in the Rue de Monceau. It has a very lofty nave, but
the interior is exceedingly flat and divested of ornament. The pillars have
scarcely any capitals. The choir is totally destitute of effect. Some of
the stained glass is rich and old, but a great deal has been stolen or
demolished during the Revolution. There is a good large modern picture, in
one of the side chapels to the right: and yet a more modern one, much
inferior, on the opposite side. In almost every side chapel, and in the
confessionals, the priests were busily engaged in the catechetical
examination of young people previous to the first Communion on the
following sabbath, which was the Fête-Dieu. The western front is wholly
Grecian--perhaps about two hundred years old. It is too lofty for its
width--but has a grand effect, and is justly much celebrated. Yet the
_situation_ of this fine old Gothic church is among the most wretched of
those in Paris. It is preserved from suffocation, only by holding it head
so high. Next in importance to St. Gervais, is the Gothic church of St.
EUSTACHE: a perfect specimen, throughout, of that adulterated style of
Gothic architecture (called its _restoration!_) which prevailed at the
commencement of the reign of Francis I. Faulty, and even meretricious, as
is the whole of the interior, the choir will not fail to strike you with
surprise and gratification. It is light, rich, and lofty. This church is
very large, but not so capacious as St. Gervais--while situation is, if
possible, still more objectionable.

Let me not forget my two old favourite churches of ST. GERMAIN DES PRÈS,
_and St. Geneviève_; although of the latter I hardly know whether a hasty
glimpse, both of the exterior and interior, be not sufficient; the greater
part having been destroyed during the Revolution.[8] The immediate vicinity
of the former is sadly choaked by stalls and shops--and the west-front has
been cruelly covered by modern appendages. It is the church dearest to
antiquaries; and with reason.[9] I first visited it on a Sunday, when that
part of the Service was performed which required the fullest intonations of
the organ. The effect altogether was very striking. The singular pillars--
of which the capitals are equally massive and grotesque, being sometimes
composed of human beings, and sometimes of birds and beasts, especially
towards the choir--the rising up and sitting down of the congregation, and
the yet more frequent movements of the priests--the swinging of the
censers--and the parade of the vergers, dressed in bag wigs, with broad red
sashes of silk, and silk stockings--but, above all, the most scientifically
touched, as well as the deepest and loudest toned, organ I ever heard--
perfectly bewildered and amazed me! Upon the dispersion of the
congregation--which very shortly followed this religious excitation--I had
ample leisure to survey every part of this curious old structure; which
reminded me, although upon a much larger scale, of the peculiarities of St.
Georges de Bocherville, and Notre Dame at Guibray. Certainly, very much of
this church is of the twelfth century--and as I am not writing to our
friend P*** I will make bold to say that some portions of it yet "smack
strongly" of the eleventh.

Nearer to my residence, and of a kindred style of architecture, is the
church of ST. GERMAIN AUX AUXERROIS. The west front or porch is yet sound
and good. Nothing particularly strikes you on the entrance, but there are
some interesting specimens of rich old stained glass in the windows of the
transepts. The choir is completely and cruelly modernised. In the side
chapels are several good modern paintings; and over an altar of twisted
columns, round which ivy leaves, apparently composed of ivory, are
creeping, is a picture of three figures in the flames of purgatory. This
side-chapel is consecrated to the offering up of orisons "_for the souls in
purgatory_." It is gloomy and repulsive. Death's heads and thigh bones are
painted, in white colours, upon the stained wall; and in the midst of all
these fearful devices, I saw three young ladies intensely occupied in their
devotions at the railing facing the altar. Here again, I observed priests
examining young people in their catechism; and others in confessionals,
receiving the confessions of the young of both sexes, previous to their
taking the first sacrament on the approaching _Fête-Dieu_.

Contiguous to the Sorbonne church, there stands, raising its neatly
constructed dome aloft in air, the _Nouvelle Eglise Ste. Geneviève_, better
known by the name of the PANTHEON. The interior presents to my eye the most
beautiful and perfect specimen of Grecian architecture with which I am
acquainted. In the crypt are seen the tombs of French warriors; and upon
the pavement above, is a white marble statue of General Leclerc (brother in
law of Bonaparte,) who died in the expedition to St. Domingo. This, statue
is too full of conceit and affectation both in attitude and expression. The
interior of the building is about 370 English feet in length, by 270 in
width; but it is said that the foundation is too weak. From the gallery,
running along the bottom of the dome--the whole a miniature representation
of our St. Paul's--you have a sort of Panorama of Paris; but not, I think,
a very favourable one. The absence of sea-coal fume strikes you very
agreeably; but, for picturesque effect, I could not help thinking of the
superior beauty of the panorama of Rouen from the heights of Mont Ste.
Catharine. It appears to me that the small lantern on the top of the dome
wants a finishing apex.[10]

Yonder majestic portico forms the west front of the church called St.
SULPICE ... It is at once airy and grand. There are two tiers of pillars,
of which this front is composed: the lower is Doric; the upper Ionic: and
each row, as I am told, is nearly forty French feet in height, exclusively
of their entablatures, each of ten feet. We have nothing like this,
certainly, as the front of a parish church, in London. When I except St.
Paul's, such exception is made in reference to the most majestic piece of
architectural composition, which, to my eye, the wit of man hath yet
devised. The architect of the magnificent front of St. Sulpice was
SERVANDONI; and a street hard by (in which Dom Brial, the father of French
history, resides) takes its name from this architect. There are two
towers--one at each end of this front,--about two hundred and twenty feet
in height from the pavement: harmonising well with the general style of
architecture, but of which, that to the south (to the best of my
recollection) is left in an unaccountably, if not shamefully, unfinished
state.[11] These towers are said to be about one _toise_ higher than those
of Notre Dame. The interior of this church is hardly less imposing than its
exterior. The vaulted roofs are exceedingly lofty; but for the length of
the nave, and more especially the choir, the transepts are
disproportionably short. Nor are there sufficiently prominent ornaments to
give relief to the massive appearance of the sides. These sides are
decorated by fluted pilasters of the Corinthian order; which, for so large
and lofty a building, have a tame effect. There is nothing like the huge,
single, insulated column, or the clustered slim pilasters, that separate
the nave from the side aisles of the Gothic churches of the early and
middle ages.

The principal altar, between the nave and the choir, is admired for its
size, and grandeur of effect; but it is certainly ill-placed, and is
perhaps too ornamental, looking like a detached piece which does not
harmonise with the surrounding objects. Indeed, most of the altars in
French churches want simplicity and appropriate effect: and the whole of
the interior of the choir is (perhaps to my fastidious eye only,) destitute
of that quiet solemn character, which ought always to belong to places of
worship. Rich, minute, and elaborate as are many of the Gothic choirs of
our own country, they are yet in harmony; and equally free from a frivolous
or unappropriate effect. Behind the choir, is the Chapel of Our Lady: which
is certainly both splendid and imposing. Upon the ceiling is represented
the Assumption of the Virgin, and the walls are covered with a profusion of
gilt ornament, which, upon the whole, has a very striking effect. In a
recess, above the altar, is a sculptured representation of the Virgin and
Infant Christ, in white marble, of a remarkably high polish: nor are the
countenances of the mother and child divested of sweetness of expression.
They are represented upon a large globe, or with the world at their feet:
upon the top of which, slightly coiled, lies the "bruised" or dead serpent.
The light, in front of the spectator, from a concealed window, (a
contrivance to which the French seem partial) produces a sort of magical
effect. I should add, that this is the largest parochial church in Paris;
and that its organ has been pronounced to be matchless.

The rival churches of St. Sulpice--rival ones, rather from similarity of
structure, than extent of dimensions--are the ORATOIRE and St. ROCH: both
situated in the Rue St. Honoré. St. Roch is doubtless a very fine
building--with a well-proportioned front--and a noble flight of steps; but
the interior is too plain and severe for my taste. The walls are decorated
by unfluted pilasters, with capitals scarcely conformable to any one order
of architecture. The choir however is lofty, and behind it, in Our Lady's
Chapel if I remember rightly, there is a striking piece of sculpture, of
the Crucifixion, sunk into a rock, which receives the light from an
invisible aperture as at St. Sulpice. To the right, or rather behind this
chapel, there is another--called the _Chapel of Calvary_,--in which you
observe a celebrated piece of sculpture, of rather colossal dimensions, of
the entombment of Christ. The dead Saviour is borne to the sepulchre by
Joseph of Arimathea, St. John, and the three Maries. The name of the
sculptor is _Deseine_. Certainly you cannot but be struck with the effect
of such representations--which accounts for these two chapels being a great
deal more attended, than the choir or the nave of the church. It is right
however to add, that the pictures here are preferable to those at St.
Sulpice: and the series of bas-reliefs, descriptive of the principal events
in the life of Christ, is among the very best specimens of art, of that
species, which Paris can boast of.

Very different from either of these interiors is that of _St. Philippe du
Roule_; which presents you with a single insulated row of fluted Ionic
pillars, on each side of the nave; very airy, yet impressive and imposing.
It is much to my taste; and I wish such a plan were more generally adopted
in the interiors of Grecian-constructed churches. The choir, the altar ...
the whole is extremely simple and elegant. Nor must the roof be omitted to
be particularly mentioned. It is an arch, constructed of wood; upon a plan
originally invented by Philibert Delorme--so well known in the annals of
art in the sixteenth century. The whole is painted in stone colour, and may
deceive the most experienced eye. This beautiful church was built after the
designs of Chalgrin, about the year 1700; and is considered to be a purer
resemblance of the antique than any other in Paris. This church, well worth
your examination, is situated in a quarter rarely visited by our
countrymen--in the _Rue du Faubourg du Roule_, not far from the barriers.

Not very remotely connected with the topic of CHURCHES, is that of the
SABBATHS ... as spent in Paris. They are nearly the same throughout all
France. As Bonaparte had no respect for religion itself, so he had less for
the forms connected with the upholding of it. Parades, battles, and
campaigns--were all that he cared about: and the Parisians, if they
supplied him with men and money--the _materiel_ for the execution of these
objects--were left to pray, preach, dance, or work, just as they pleased on
the Sabbath day. The present King,[12] as you well know, attempted the
introduction of something like an _English Sabbath_: but it would not do.
When the French read and understand GRAHAME[13] as well as they do THOMSON,
they will peradventure lend a ready and helping hand towards the completion
of this laudable plan. At present, there is much which hurts the eye and
ear of a well-educated and well-principled Englishman. There is a partial
shutting up of the shops before twelve; but after mid-day the shop-windows
are uniformly closed throughout Paris. Meanwhile the cart, the cabriolet,
the crier of herbs and of other marketable produce--the sound of the whip
or of the carpenter's saw and hammer--the shelling of peas in the open air,
and the plentiful strewing of the pod hard by--together with sundry, other
offensive and littering accompaniments--all strike you as disagreeable
deviations from what you have been accustomed to witness at home. Add to
this, the half-dirty attire--the unshaven beard of the men, and the unkempt
locks of the women--produce further revolting sensations. It is not till
past mid-day that the noise of labour ceases, and that the toilette is put
into a complete state for the captivation of the beholder. By four or five
o'clock the streets become half thinned. On a Sunday, every body rushes
into the country. The tradesman has his little villa, and the gentleman and
man of fortune his more capacious rural domain; and those, who aspire
neither to the one or the other, resort to the _Bois de Boulogne_ and the
_Champs Elysées_, or to the gardens of _Beaujon_, and _Tivoli_--or to the
yet more attractive magnificence of the palace and fountains of
_Versailles_--where, in one or the other of these places, they carouse, or
disport themselves--in promenades, or dancing groups--till

   ... Majores.. cadunt de montibus umbræ.

This, generally and fairly speaking, is a summer Sabbath in the metropolis
of France.

Unconscionable as you may have deemed the length of this epistle, I must
nevertheless extend it by the mention of what I conceive to be a very
essential feature both of beauty and utility in the street scenery of
Paris. It is of the FOUNTAINS that I am now about to speak; and of some of
which a slight mention has been already made. I yet adhere to the
preference given to that in the _Palais Royal_; considered with reference
to the management of the water. It is indeed a purely aqueous exhibition,
in which architecture and sculpture have nothing to do. Not so are the more
imposing fountains of the MARCHÉ DES INNOCENS, DE GRENELLE, and the
BOULEVARD BONDY. For the first of these,[14] the celebrated _Lescot_, abbé
de Clagny, was the designer of the general form; and the more celebrated
Jean Goujon the sculptor of the figures in bas-relief. It was re-touched
and perfected in 1551, and originally stood in the angle of the two
streets, of _aux Fers_ and _St. Denis_, presenting only two façades to the
beholder. It was restored and beautified in 1708; and in 1788 it changed
both its form and its position by being transported to the present spot--
the _Marché des Innocens_--the market for vegetables. Two other similar
sides were then added, making it a square: but the original performances of
Goujon, which are considered almost as his master-piece, attract infinitely
more admiration than the more recent ones of Pajou. Goujon's figures are
doubtless very delicately and successfully executed. The water bubbles up
in the centre of the square, beneath the arch, in small sheets, or masses;
and its first and second subsequent falls, also in sheets, have a very
beautiful effect. They are like pieces of thin, transparent ice, tumbling
upon each other; but the _lead_, of which the lower half of the fountain is
composed--as the reservoir of the water--might have been advantageously
exchanged for _marble_. The lion at each corner of the pedestal, squirting
water into a sarcophagus-shaped reservoir, has a very absurd appearance.
Upon the whole, this fountain is well deserving of particular attention.
The inscription upon it is FONTIVM NYMPHIS; but perhaps, critically
speaking, it is now in too exposed a situation for the character of it's
ornaments. A retired, rural, umbrageous recess, beneath larch and pine--
whose boughs

  Wave high and murmur in the hollow wind--

seems to be the kind of position fitted for the reception of a fountain of
this character.

The FONTAINE DE GRENELLE is almost entirely architectural; and gives an
idea of a public office, rather than of a conduit. You look above--to the
right and the left--but no water appears. At last, almost by accident, you
look down, quite at its base, and observe two insignificant streams
trickling from the head of an animal. The central figure in front is a
representation of the city of Paris: the recumbent figures, on each side,
represent, the one the Seine, the other the Marne. Above, there are four
figures which represent the four Seasons. This fountain, the work of
Bouchardon, was erected in 1739 upon the site of what formed a part of an
old convent. A more simple, and a more striking fountain, to my taste, is
that of the ECOLE DE CHIRURGIE; in which a comparatively large column of
water rushes down precipitously between two Doric pillars--which form the
central ones of four--in an elegant façade.

Yet more simple, more graceful, and more capacious, is the fountain of the
BOULEVARD BONDY--which I first saw sparkling beneath the lustre of a full
moon. This is, in every sense of the word, a fountain. A constant but
gentle undulation of water, from three aqueous terraces, surmounted by
three basins, gradually diminishing in size, strike you with peculiar
gratification--view it from whatever quarter you will: but seen in the
neighbourhood of _trees_, the effect, in weather like this, is absolutely
heart-refreshing. The only objectionable part of this elegant structure, on
the score of art, are the lions, and their positions. In the first place,
it is difficult to comprehend why the mouth of a _lion_ is introduced as a
channel for the transmission of water; and, in the second place, these
lions should have occupied the basement portion of the structure. This
beautiful fountain, of which the water is supplied by the _Canal d'Ourcq_,
was finished only about seven or eight years ago. Nor let the FOUNTAIN OF
TRIUMPH or VICTORY, in the _Place du Châtelet_, be forgotten. It is a
column, surmounted by a gilt statue of Victory, with four figures towards
its pedestal. The four jets-d'eau, from its base,--which are sufficiently
insignificant--empty themselves into a circular basin; but the shaft of the
column, to my eye, is not free from affectation. The names of some of
Bonaparte's principal victories are inscribed upon that part of the column
which faces the Pont au Change. There is a classical air of elegance about
this fountain, which is fifty feet in height.

But where is the ELEPHANT Fountain?--methinks I hear you exclaim. It is yet
little more than in embryo: that is to say, the plaster-cast of it only is
visible--with the model, on a smaller scale, completed in all its parts, by
the side of it. It is really a stupendous affair.[15] On entering the
temporary shed erected for its construction, on the site of the Bastille, I
was almost breathless with astonishment for a moment. Imagine an enormous
figure of the unwieldy elephant, _full fifty feet high!_ You see it, in the
front, foreshortened--as you enter; and as the head is the bulkiest portion
of the animal, you may imagine something of the probable resulting effect.
Certainly it is most imposing. The visitor, who wishes to make himself
acquainted with the older, and more original, national character of the
French--whether as respects manners, dresses, domestic occupations, and
public places of resort--will take up his residence in the _Rue du Bac_, or
at the _Hotel des Bourbons_; within twenty minutes walk of the more curious
objects which are to be found in the Quartiers Saint André des Arcs, du
Luxembourg, and Saint Germain des Près. Ere he commence his morning
perambulations, he will look well at his map, and to what is described, in
the route which he is to take, in the works of Landon and of Legrand, or of
other equally accurate topographers. Two things he ought invariably to bear
in mind: the first, not to undertake too much, for the sake of saying how
_many_ things he has seen:--and the second, to make himself thoroughly
master of what he _does_ see. All this is very easily accomplished: and a
fare of thirty sous will take you, at starting, to almost any part of
Paris, however remote: from whence you may shape your course homewards at
leisure, and with little fatigue. Such a visitor will, however, sigh, ere
he set out on his journey, on being told that the old Gothic church of _St.
André-des-Arcs_--the Abbey of _St. Victor_--the churches of the
_Bernardins_, and of _St. Etienne des Près_, the _Cloisters_ of _the
Cordeliers_, and the _Convent of the Celestins_ ... exist no longer ... or,
that their remains are mere shadows of shades! But in the three quarters of
Paris, above mentioned, he will gather much curious information--in spite
of the havoc and waste which the Revolution has made; and on his return to
his own country he will reflect, with pride and satisfaction, on the result
of his enterprise and perseverance.

To my whimsically formed taste, OLD PARIS has in it very much to delight,
and afford valuable information. Not that I would decry the absolute
splendor, gaiety, comfort, and interminable variety, which prevail in its
more modern and fashionable quarters. And certainly one may fairly say,
that, on either side the Seine, Paris is a city in which an Englishman,--
who is resolved to be in good humour with all about him, and to shew that
civility to others which he is sure to receive from the better educated
classes of society here--cannot fail to find himself pleased, perfectly at
ease, and well contented with his fare. Compared with the older part of
London, the more ancient division of Paris is infinitely more interesting,
and of a finer architectural construction. The conical roofs every now and
then remind you of the times of Francis I.; and the clustered arabesques,
upon pilasters, or running between the bolder projections of the façades,
confirm you in the chronology of the buildings. But time, caprice, fashion,
or poverty, will, in less than half a century, materially change both the
substance and surfaces of things. It is here, as at Rouen--you bewail the
work of destruction which has oftentimes converted cloisters into
workshops, and consecrated edifices into warehouses of every description.
Human nature and the fate of human works are every where the same. Let two
more centuries revolve, and the THUILERIES and the LOUVRE may possibly be
as the BASTILLE and the TEMPLE.

Such, to my feelings, is Paris--considered only with reference to its
_local_: for I have really done little more than perambulate its streets,
and survey its house-tops--with the important exceptions to be detailed in
the succeeding letters from hence. Of the treasures contained _beneath_
some of those "housetops"--more especially of such as are found in the
shape of a BOOK--whether as a MS. or a Printed Volume--prepare to receive
some particulars in my next.


[1] [Several Notes in this volume having reference to MONS. CRAPELET, a
    Printer of very considerable eminence at Paris, it may be proper to
    inform the Reader that that portion of this Tour, which may be said to
    have a more exclusive reference to France, usually speaking--including
    the notice of Strasbourg--was almost entirely translated by Mons.
    Crapelet himself. An exception however must be made to those parts
    which relate to the _King's Private Library_ at Paris, and to
    _Strasbourg_: these having been executed by different pens, evidently
    in the hands of individuals of less wrongheadedness and acrimony of
    feeling than the Parisian Printer. Mons. Crapelet has prefixed a
    Preface to his labours, in which he tells the world, that, using my
    more favourite metaphorical style of expression, "a CRUSADE has risen
    up against the INFIDEL DIBDIN."

    Metaphorical as may be this style, it is yet somewhat alarming: for,
    most assuredly, when I entered and quitted the "beau pays" of France,
    I had imagined myself to have been a courteous, a grateful, and, under
    all points of view, an ORTHODOX Visitor. It seems however, from the
    language of the French Typographer, that I acted under a gross
    delusion; and that it was necessary to have recourse to his sharp-set
    sickle to cut away all the tares which I had sown in the soil of his
    country. Upon the motive and the merit of his labours, I have already
    given my unbiassed opinion.[A] Here, it is only necessary to observe,
    that I have not, consciously, falsified his opinions, or undervalued
    his worth. Let the Reader judge between us.

        [A] Vide Preface.

[2] [They have now entirely lost the recollection, as well as the sight, of
    them.]

[3] ["The Parisians would doubtless very willingly get rid of such a horrid
    spectacle in the streets and places of the Metropolis: besides, it is
    not unattended with danger to the Actors themselves."--CRAPELET.]

[4] ["And will continue to be so, it is feared--to the regret of all
    Frenchmen--for a long time. It is however the beginning of a new
    reign. The building of some new Edifices will doubtless be undertaken.
    But if the King were to order the _finishing_ of all the public
    Buildings of Paris, the epoch of the reign of Charles X. would
    assuredly be the most memorable for Arts, and the embellishment of the
    Capital." CRAPELET. 1825.]

[5] [It is now completed: but seven years elapsed, after the above
    description, before the building was in all respects considered to be
    finished.]

[6] [A most admirable view of this Market Place, with its picturesque
    fountain in the centre, was painted by the younger Mr. Chalon, and
    exhibited at Somerset House. A well executed _print_ of such a
    thoroughly characteristic performance might, one would imagine, sell
    prosperously on either side of the channel.]

[7] [This building, which may perhaps be better known as that of the
    _Opera_, is now rased to the ground--in consequence of the
    assassination of the Duke de Berri there, in February, 1820, on his
    stepping into his carriage on quitting the Opera. But five years were
    suffered to elapse before the work of demolition was quite completed.
    And when will the monument to the Duke's memory be raised?--CRAPELET.]

[8] [It is now entirely demolished, to make way for a large and commodious
    Street which gives a complete view of the church of St. Stephen.
    CRAPELET.]

[9] The views of it, as it appeared in the XVIth century, represent it
    nearly surrounded by a wall and a moat. It takes its name as having
    been originally situated _in the fields_.

[10] [Two years ago was placed, upon the top of this small lantern, a gilt
    cross, thirty-eight feet high: 41 of English measurement: and the
    church has been consecrated to the Catholic service. CRAPELET. Thus,
    the criticism of an English traveller, in 1818, was not entirely void
    of foundation.]

[11] [Our public buildings, which have continued long in an unfinished
    state, strike the eyes of foreigners more vividly than they do our
    own: but it is impossible to face the front of St. Sulpice without
    partaking of the sentiment of the author. CRAPELET.]

[12] [Louis XVIII.]

[13] [_read and understand_ GRAHAME.]--Mr. Grahame is both a very readable
    and understandable author. He has reason to be proud of his poem
    called the SABBATH: for it is one of the sweetest and one of the
    purest of modern times. His _scene_ however is laid in the country,
    and not in the metropolis. The very opening of this poem refreshes the
    heart--and prepares us for the more edifying portions of it, connected
    with the performance of the religious offices of our country. This
    beautiful work will LIVE as long as sensibility, and taste, and a
    virtuous feeling, shall possess the bosoms of a British Public.

[14] See the note p. 20, ante.

[15] It is now completed.



_LETTER II._

GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF THE BIBLIOTHÈQUE DU ROI. THE LIBRARIANS.


_Hôtel des Colonies, Rue de Richelieu_.

The moment is at length arrived when you are to receive from me an account
of some of the principal treasures contained in the ROYAL LIBRARY of Paris.
I say "_some_":--because, in an epistolary communication, consistently with
my time, and general objects of research--it must be considered only as a
slight selection, compared with what a longer residence, and a more general
examination of the contents of such a collection, might furnish. Yet,
limited as my view may have been, the objects of that view are at once rich
and rare, and likely to afford all true sons of BIBLIOMANIA and VIRTU the
most lively gratification. This is a bold avowal: but I fear not to make
it, and: the sequel shall be the test of its modesty and truth.

You observe, I have dated my letter from a different quarter. In fact, the
distance of my former residence from the Bibliothèque du Roi--coupled with
the oppressive heat of the weather--rendered my morning excursions thither
rather uncomfortable; and instead of going to work with elastic spirits,
and an untired frame, both Mr. Lewis and myself felt jaded and oppressed
upon our arrival. We are now, on the contrary, scarcely fifty yards from
the grand door of entrance into the library. But this is only tantalizing
you. To the LIBRARY, therefore, at once let us go. The exterior and
interior, as to architectural appearance, are rather of a sorry
description: heavy; comparatively low, without ornament, and of a dark and
dingy tint. Towards the street, it has the melancholy air of a workhouse.
But none of the apartments, in which the books are contained, look into
this street; so that, consequently, little inconvenience is experienced
from the incessant motion and rattling of carts and carriages--the Rue de
Richelieu being probably the most frequented in Paris. Yet, repulsive as
may be this exterior, it was observed to me--on my suggesting what a fine
situation the quadrangle of the Louvre would make for the reception of the
royal library--that, it might be questioned whether even _that_ quadrangle
were large enough to contain it;--and that the present building, however
heavy and ungracious of aspect, was better calculated for its present
purpose than probably any other in Paris. In the centre of the edifice--for
it is a square, or rather a parallelogram-shaped building--stands a bronze
naked figure of Diana; stiff and meagre both in design and execution. It is
of the size of life; but surely a statue of _Minerva_ would have been a
little more appropriate? On entering the principal door, in the street just
mentioned, you turn to the right, and mount a large stone staircase--after
attending to the request, printed in large characters, of "_Essuyez vos
Souliers_"--as fixed against the wall. This entrance goes directly to the
collection of PRINTED BOOKS. On reaching the first floor, you go straight
forward, within folding doors; and the first room, of considerable extent,
immediately receives you. The light is uniformly admitted by large windows,
to the right, looking into the quadrangle before mentioned.

You pass through this room--where scarcely any body lingers--and enter the
second, where are placed the EDITIONES PRINCIPES, and other volumes printed
in the fifteenth century. To an _experienced_ eye, the first view of the
contents of this second room is absolutely magical; Such copies of such
rare, precious, magnificent, and long-sought after impressions!... It is
fairy-land throughout. There stands the _first Homer_, unshorn by the
binder; a little above, is the first _Roman edition of Eustathius's_
Commentary upon that poet, in gorgeous red morocco, but printed UPON
VELLUM! A Budæus _Greek Lexicon_ (Francis I.'s own copy) also UPON VELLUM!
The _Virgils, Ovids, Plinies_ ... and, above all, the _Bibles_--But I check
myself; in order to conduct you regularly through the apartments, ere you
sit down with me before each volume which I may open. In this second-room
are two small tables, rarely occupied, but at one or the other of which I
was stationed (by the kind offices of M. Van Praet) for fourteen days--with
almost every thing that was exquisite and rare, in the old book-way, behind
and before me. Let us however gradually move onwards. You pass into the
third room. Here is the grand rendezvous of readers. Six circular or rather
oval tables, each capable of accommodating twelve students, and each
generally occupied by the full number, strike your eye in a very pleasing
manner, in the centre of this apparently interminable vista of printed
volumes.

But I must call your particular attention to the _foreground_ of this
magical book-view. To the left of this third room, on entering, you observe
a well-dressed Gentleman (of somewhat shorter stature than the author of
this description) busied behind a table; taking down and putting up
volumes: inscribing names, and numbers, and titles, in a large folio
volume; giving orders on all sides; and putting several pairs of legs into
motion in consequence of those orders--while his own are perhaps the least
spared of any. This gentleman is no less a personage than the celebrated
Monsieur VAN PRAET; one of the chief librarians in the department of the
printed books. His aspect is mild and pleasant; while his smart attire
frequently forms a striking contrast to habiliments and personal
appearances of a very different, and less conciliating description, by
which he is surrounded.[16] M. Van Praet must be now approaching his
sixtieth year; but his age sits bravely upon him--for his step is rapid and
firm, and his physiognomical expression indicative of a much less
protracted period of existence.[17] He is a Fleming by birth; and, even in
shewing his first Eustathius, or first Pliny, UPON VELLUM, you may observe
the natural enthusiasm of a Frenchman tempered by the graver emotions of a
native of the Netherlands.

This distinguished Bibliographer (of whom, somewhat more in a future
epistle) has now continued nearly forty years in his present situation; and
when infirmity, or other causes, shall compel him to quit it, France will
never replace him by one possessing more appropriate talents! He doats upon
the objects committed to his trust. He lives almost entirely among his dear
books ... either on the first floor or on the ground floor: for when the
hour of departure, two o'clock, arrives, M. Van Praet betakes him to the
quieter book realms below--where, surrounded by _Grolier, De Thou_, and
_Diane de Poictiers_, copies, he disports him till his dinner hour of four
or five--and 'as the evening shades prevail,' away hies he to his favourite
'_Théatre des Italiens_,' and the scientific treat of Italian music. This I
know, however--and this I will say--in regard to the amiable and excellent
gentleman under description--that, if I were King of France, Mons. Van
Praet should be desired to sit in a roomy, morocco-bottomed, mahogany arm
chair--not to stir therefrom--but to issue out his edicts, for the delivery
of books, to the several athletic myrmidons under his command. Of course
there must be occasional exceptions to this rigid, but upon the whole
salutary, "Ordonnance du Roy." Indeed I have reason to mention a most
flattering exception to it--in my own favour: for M. Van Praet would come
into the second room, (just mentioned) and with his own hands supply me
with half a score volumes at a time--of such as I wished to examine. But,
generally speaking, this worthy and obliging creature is too lavish of his
own personal exertions. He knows, to be sure, all the bye-passes, and
abrupt ascents and descents; and if he be out of sight--in a moment,
through some secret aperture, he returns as quickly through another equally
unseen passage. Upon an average, I set his bibliomaniacal peregrinations
down at the rate of a full French league per day. It is the absence of all
pretension and quackery--the quiet, unobtrusive manner in which he opens
his well-charged battery of information upon you--but, more than all, the
glorious honours which are due to him, for having assisted to rescue the
book treasures of the Abbey of St. Germain des Près from destruction,
during the horrors of the Revolution--that cannot fail to secure to him the
esteem of the living, and the gratitude of posterity.

[Illustration: GOLD MEDAL OF LOUIS XII.
From the Cabinet des Medailles at Paris.]

We must now leave this well occupied and richly furnished chamber, and pass
on to the fourth room--in the centre of which is a large raised bronze
ornament, representing Apollo and the Muses--surrounded by the more eminent
literary characters of France in the seventeenth century. It is raised to
the glory of the grand monarque Louis XIV. and the figure of Apollo is
intended for that of his Majesty. The whole is a palpable failure: a
glaring exhibition of bad French taste. Pegasus, the Muses, rocks, and
streams, are all scattered about in a very confused manner; without
connection, and of course without effect. Even the French allow it to be
"mesquin, et de mauvais goût." But let me be methodical. As you enter this
fourth room, you observe, opposite--before you turn to the right--a door,
having the inscription of CABINET DES MEDAILLES. This door however is open
only twice in the week; when the cabinet is freely and most conveniently
shewn. Of its contents--in part, precious beyond comparison--this is the
place to say only one little word or two: for really there would be no end
of detail were I to describe even its most remarkable treasures. Francis I.
and his son Henry II. were among its earliest patrons; when the cabinet was
deposited in the Louvre. The former enriched it with a series of valuable
gold medals, and among them with one of Louis XII., his predecessor; which
has not only the distinction of being beautifully executed, but of being
the largest, if not the first of its kind in France.[18]

The specimens of Greek art, in coins, and other small productions, are
equally precious and select. Vases, shields, gems, and cameos--the greater
part of which are described in Caylus's well-known work--are perfectly
enchanting. But the famous AGAT of the STE. CHAPELLE--supposed to be the
largest in the world, and which has been engraved by Giradet in a manner
perfectly unrivalled--will not fail to rivet your attention, and claim your
most unqualified commendation. The sardonyx, called the VASE of PTOLEMY, is
another of the great objects of attraction in the room where we are now
tarrying--and beautiful, and curious, and precious, it unquestionably is.
Doubtless, in such a chamber as this, the classical archæologist will gaze
with no ordinary emotions, and meditate with no ordinary satisfaction. But
I think I hear the wish escape him--as he casts an attentive eye over the
whole--"why do they not imitate us in a publication relating to them? Why
do they not put forth something similar to what we have done for our
_Museum Marbles_? Or rather, speaking more correctly, why are not the
_Marlborough Gems_ considered as an object of rivalry, by the curators of
this exquisite cabinet? Paris is not wanting both in artists who design,
and who engrave, in this department, with at least equal skill to our
own."[19]

Let us now return to the Books. In the fourth book-room there is an opening
in the centre, to the left, nearly facing the bronze ornament--through
which, as you enter, and look to the left, appear the upper halves of two
enormous GLOBES. The effect is at first, inconceivably puzzling and even
startling: but you advance, and looking down the huge aperture occasioned
by these gigantic globes, you observe their bases resting on the ground
floor: both the upper and ground floor having the wainscots entirely
covered by books. These globes are the performance of Vincent Coronelli, a
Venetian; and were presented to Louis XIV. by the Cardinal d'Etrées, who
had them made for his Majesty. You return back into the fourth room--pace
on to its extremity, and then, at right angles, view the fifth room--or,
comprising the upper and lower globe rooms, a seventh room; the whole
admirably well lighted up from large side windows. Observe further--the
whole corresponding suite of rooms, on the ground floor, is also nearly
filled with printed books, comprising the _unbound copies_--and one
chamber, occupied by the more exquisite specimens of the presses of the
_Alduses_, the _Giuntæ_, the _Stephens_, &c. UPON VELLUM, or on _large
paper_. Another chamber is exclusively devoted to large paper copies of
_all_ descriptions, from the presses of all countries; and in one or the
other of these chambers are deposited the volumes from the Library of
_Grolier_ and _De Thou_--names, dear to Book-Collectors; as an indifferent
copy has hardly ever yet been found which was once deposited on the shelves
of either. You should know that the public do not visit this lower suite of
rooms, it being open only to the particular friends of the several
Librarians. The measurement of these rooms, from the entrance to the
extremity of the fifth room, is upwards of 700 feet.

Now, my good friend, if you ask me whether the interior of this library be
superior to that of our dear BODLEIAN, I answer, at once, and without fear
of contradiction--it is very much _inferior_. It represents an interminable
range of homely and commodious apartments; but the Bodleian library, from
beginning to end--from floor to ceiling--is grand, impressive, and entirely
of a bookish appearance. In that spacious and lofty receptacle--of which
the ceiling, in my humble opinion, is an unique and beautiful piece of
workmanship--all is solemn, and grave, and inviting to study: yet echoing,
as it were, to the footsteps of those who once meditated within its almost
hallowed precincts--the _Bodleys_, the _Seldens_, the _Digbys_, the _Lauds_
and _Tanners_, of other times![20] But I am dreaming: forgetting that, at
this moment, you are impatient to enter the _MS. Department_ of the Royal
Library at Paris. Be it so, therefore. And yet the very approach to this
invaluable collection is difficult of discovery. Instead of a corresponding
lofty stone stair-case, you cross a corner of the square, and enter a
passage, with an iron gate at the extremity--leading to the apartments of
Messrs. Millin and Langlès. A narrow staircase, to the right, receives you:
and this stair-case would appear to lead rather to an old armoury, in a
corner-tower of some baronial castle, than to a suite of large modern
apartments, containing probably, upon the whole, the finest collection of
_Engravings_ and of _Manuscripts_, of all ages and characters, in Europe.
Nevertheless, as we cannot mount by any other means, we will e'en set
footing upon this stair-case, humble and obscure as it may be. You scarcely
gain the height of some twenty steps, when you observe the magical
inscription of CABINET DES ESTAMPES. Your spirits dance, and your eyes
sparkle, as you pull the little wire--and hear the clink of a small
corresponding bell. The door is opened by one of the attendants in livery--
arrayed in blue and silver and red--very handsome, and rendered more
attractive by the respectful behaviour of those who wear that royal
costume. I forgot to say that the same kind of attendants are found in all
the apartments attached to this magnificent collection--and, when not
occupied in their particular vocation of carrying books to and fro, these
attendants are engaged in reading, or sitting quietly with crossed legs,
and peradventure dosing a little. But nothing can exceed their civility;
accompanied with a certain air of politeness, not altogether divested of a
kind of gentlemanly deportment.

On entering the first of those rooms, where the prints are kept, you are
immediately struck with the narrow dimensions of the place--for the
succeeding room, though perhaps more than twice as large, is still
inadequate to the reception of its numerous visitors.[21] In this first
room you observe a few of the very choicest productions of the burin, from
the earliest periods of the art, to the more recent performances of
_Desnoyer_, displayed within glazed frames upon the wainscot. It really
makes the heart of a connoisseur leap with ecstacy to see such
_Finiguerras, Baldinis, Boticellis, Mantegnas, Pollaiuolos, Israel Van
Meckens, Albert Durers, Marc Antonios, Rembrandts, Hollar, Nanteuils,
Edelincks, &c._; while specimens of our own great master engravers, among
whom are _Woollet_ and _Sharp_, maintain a conspicuous situation, and add
to the gratification of the beholder. The idea is a good one; but to carry
it into complete effect, there should be a gallery, fifty feet long, of a
confined width, and lighted from above:[22] whereas the present room is
scarcely twenty feet square, with a disproportionably low ceiling. However,
you cannot fail to be highly gratified--and onwards you go--diagonally--and
find yourself in a comparatively long room--in the midst of which is a
table, reaching from nearly one end to the other, and entirely filled
(every day) with visitors, or rather students--busied each in their several
pursuits. Some are quietly turning over the succeeding leaves, on which the
prints are pasted: others are pausing upon each fine specimen, in silent
ecstacy--checking themselves every instant lest they should break forth
into rapturous exclamations!... "silence" being rigidly prescribed by the
Curators--and, I must say, as rigidly maintained. Others again are busied
in deep critical examination of some ancient ruin from the pages of
_Piranesi_ or of _Montfaucon_--now making notes, and now copying particular
parts. Meanwhile, from the top to the bottom of the sides of the, room, are
huge volumes of prints, bound in red morocco; which form indeed the
materials for the occupations just described.[23]

But, hanging upon a pillar, at the hither end of this second room, you
observe a large old drawing of a head or portrait, in a glazed frame; which
strikes you in every respect as a great curiosity. M. Du Chesne, the
obliging and able director of this department of the collection, attended
me on my first visit. He saw me looking at this head with great eagerness.
"Enfin voilà quelque chose qui mérite bien vôtre attention"--observed he.
It was in fact the portrait of "their good but unfortunate KING JOHN"--as
my guide designated him. This Drawing is executed in a sort of thick body
colour, upon fine linen: the back-ground is gold: now almost entirely
tarnished--and there is a sort of frame, stamped, or pricked out, upon the
surface of the gold--as we see in the illuminations of books of that
period. It should also seem as if the first layer, upon which the gold is
placed, had been composed of the white of an egg--or of some such glutinous
substance. Upon the whole, it is an exceedingly curious and interesting
relic of antient graphic art.

To examine minutely the treasures of such a collection of prints--whether
in regard to ancient or modern art--would demand the unremitted attention
of the better part of a month; and in consequence, a proportionate quantity
of time and paper in embodying the fruits of that attention.[24] There is
only one other curiosity, just now, to which I shall call your attention.
It is the old wood cut of ST. CHRISTOPHER--of which certain authors have
discoursed largely.[25] They suppose they have an impression of it here--
whereas that of Lord Spencer has been hitherto considered as unique. His
Lordship's copy, as you well know, was obtained from the Buxheim monastery,
and was first made public in the interesting work of Heineken.[26] The copy
now under consideration is not pasted upon boards, as is Lord Spencer's--
forming the interior linings in the cover or binding of an old MS.--but it
is a loose leaf, and is therefore subject to the most minute examination,
or to any conclusion respecting the date which may be drawn from the
_watermark_. Upon _such_ a foundation I will never attempt to build an
hypothesis, or to draw a conclusion; because the same water-mark of Bamberg
and of Mentz, of Venice and of Rome, may be found within books printed both
at the commencement and at the end of the fifteenth century. But for the
print--as it _is_. I have not only examined it carefully, but have
procured, from M. Coeuré, a fac-simile of the head only--the most essential
part--and both the examination and the fac-simile convince me... that the
St. Christopher in the Bibliothèque du Roi is NOT an impression from the
_same block_ which furnished the St. Christopher now in the library of St.
James's Place.

The general character of the figure, in the Royal Library here, is thin and
feeble compared with that in Lord Spencer's collection; and I am quite
persuaded that M. Du Chesne,--who fights his ground inch by inch, and
reluctantly (to his honour, let me add) assents to any remarks which may
make his own cherished St. Christopher of a comparatively modern date--
will, in the end, admit that the Parisian impression is a _copy_ of a later
date--and that, had an opportunity presented itself of comparing the two
impressions with each other,[27] it would never have been received into the
Library at the price at which it was obtained--I think, at about 620
francs. However, although it be not THE St. Christopher, it is a graphic
representation of the Saint which may possibly be as old as the year 1460.

But we have tarried quite long enough, for the present, within the cabinet
of Engravings. Let us return: ascend about a dozen more steps; and enter
the LIBRARY OF MANUSCRIPTS. As before, you are struck with the smallness of
the first room; which leads, however, to a second of much larger
dimensions--then to a third, of a boudoir character; afterwards to a fourth
and fifth, rather straitened--and sixthly, and lastly, to one of a noble
length and elevation of ceiling--worthy in all respects of the glorious
treasures which it contains. Let me, however, be more explicit. In the very
first room you have an earnest of all the bibliomaniacal felicity which
these MSS. hold out. Look to the left--upon entering--and view, perhaps
lost in a very ecstacy of admiration--the _Romances_ ... of all sizes and
character, which at first strike you! What _Launcelot du Lacs, Tristans,
Leonnois, Arturs, Ysaises_, and feats of the _Table Ronde_, stand closely
wedged within the brass-wired doors that incircle this and every other
apartment! _Bibles, Rituals, Moralities_, ... next claim your attention.
You go on--_History, Philosophy, Arts and Sciences_ ... but it is useless
to indulge in these rhapsodies. The fourth apartment, of which I spake,
exhibits specimens of what are seen more plentifully, but not of more
curious workmanship, in the larger room to which it leads. Here glitter,
behind glazed doors, old volumes of devotion bound in ivory, or gilt, or
brass, studded with cameos and precious stones; and covered with figures of
all characters and ages--some of the XIIth--and more of the immediately
following centuries. Some of these bindings (among which I include
_Diptychs_) may be as old as the eleventh--and they have been even carried
up to the tenth century.

Let us however return quickly back again; and begin at the beginning. The
first room, as I before observed, has some of the most exquisitely
illuminated, as well as some of the most ancient MSS., in the whole
library. A phalanx of _Romances_ meets the eye; which rather provokes the
courage, than damps the ardor, of the bibliographical champion. Nor are the
illuminated _Bibles_ of less interest to the graphic antiquary. In my next
letter you shall see what use I have made of the unrestrained liberty
granted me, by the kind-hearted Curators, to open what doors, and examine
what volumes, I pleased. Meanwhile let me introduce you to the excellent
MONSIEUR GAIL, who is sitting at yonder desk--examining a beautiful Greek
MS. of Polybius, which once belonged to Henry II. and his favourite Diane
de Poictiers. M. Gail is the chief Librarian presiding over the Greek and
Latin MSS., and is himself Professor of the Greek language in the royal
college of France. Of this gentleman I shall speak more particularly anon.
At the present moment it may suffice only to observe that he is thoroughly
frank, amiable, and communicative, and dexterous in his particular
vocation: and that he is, what we should both call, a hearty, good fellow--
a natural character. M. Gail is accompanied by the assistant librarians MM.
De. l'EPINE, and MÉON: gentlemen of equal ability in their particular
department, and at all times willing to aid and abet the researches of
those who come to examine and appreciate the treasures of which they are
the joint Curators. Indeed I cannot speak too highly of these gentlemen--
nor can I too much admire the system and the silence which uniformly
prevail.

Another principal librarian is M. LANGLÈS:[28] an author of equal
reputation with Monsieur Gail--but his strength lies in Oriental
literature; and he presides more especially over the Persian, Arabic, and
other Oriental MSS. To the naïveté of M. Gail, he adds the peculiar
vivacity and enthusiasm of his countrymen. To see him presiding in his
chair (for he and M. Gail take alternate turns) and occupied in reading,
you would think that a book worm could scarcely creep between the tip of
his nose and the surface of the _Codex Bombycinus_ over which he is poring.
He is among the most short-sighted of mortals--as to _ocular_ vision. But
he has a bravely furnished mind; and such a store of spirits and of good
humour--talking withal unintermittingly, but very pleasantly---that you
find it difficult to get away from him. He is no indifferent speaker of our
own language; and I must say, seems rather proud of such an acquirement.
Both he and M. Gail, and M. Van Praet, are men of rather small, stature--
_triplicates_, as it were, of the same work[29]--but of which M. Gail is
the tallest copy. One of the two head librarians, just mentioned, sits at a
desk in the second room--and when any friends come to see, or to converse
with him--the discussion is immediately adjourned to the contiguous
boudoir-like apartment, where are deposited the rich old bindings of which
you have just had a hasty description. Here the voices are elevated, and
the flourishes of speech and of action freely indulged in.

In the way to the further apartment, from the boudoir so frequently
mentioned, you pass a small room--in which there is a plaster bust of the
King--and among the books, bound, as they almost all are, in red morocco,
you observe two volumes of tremendously thick dimensions; the one entitled
_Alexander Aphrodiæsus, Hippocrates, &c._--the other _Plutarchi Vitæ
Parallelæ et Moralia, &c._ They contain nothing remarkable for ornament, or
what is more essential, for intrinsic worth. Nevertheless you pass on: and
the last--but the most magnificent--of _all_ the rooms, appropriated to the
reception of books, whether in ms. or in print, now occupies a very
considerable portion of your attention. It is replete with treasures of
every description: in ancient art, antiquities, and both sacred and profane
learning: in languages from all quarters, and almost of all ages of the
world. Here I opened, with indescribable delight the ponderous and famous
_Latin Bible of Charles the Bald_--and the religious manual of his brother
the _Emperor Lotharius_--composed chiefly of transcripts from the Gospels.
Here are ivory bindings, whether as diptychs, or attached to regular
volumes. Here are all sorts and sizes of the uncial or capital-letter MSS--
in portions, or entire. Here, too, are very precious old illuminations, and
specimens--almost without number--admirably arranged, of every species of
BIBLIOGRAPHICAL VIRTÙ, which cannot fail to fix the attention, enlarge the
knowledge, and improve the judgment, of the curious in this department of
research.

Such, my dear friend, is the necessarily rapid--and, I fear, consequently
imperfect--sketch which I send you of the general character of the
BIBLIOTHÈQUE DU ROI; both as respects its dead and its living treasures. It
remains to be seen how this sketch will be completed.--- and I hereby give
you notice, that my next letter will contain some account of a few of the
more ancient, curious, and splendid MANUSCRIPTS--to be followed by a second
letter, exclusively devoted to a similar account of the PRINTED BOOKS. If I
execute this task according to my present inclinations--and with the
disposition which I now feel, together with the opportunities which have
been afforded me--it will not, I trust, be said that I have been an idle or
unworthy visitor of this magnificent collection.


[16] [Mons. Crapelet takes fire at the above passage: simply because he
    misunderstands it. In not one-word, or expression of it, is there any
    thing which implies, directly or indirectly, that "it would be
    difficult to find another public establishment where the officers are
    more active, more obliging, more anxious to satisfy the Public than in
    the above." I am talking only of _dress_--and commending the silk
    stockings of Mons. Van Praet at the expense of those by whom he is
    occasionally surrounded.]

[17] So, even NOW: 1829.

[18] In the year 1814, the late M. Millin published a dissertation upon
    this medal, to which he prefixed an engraving of the figure of Louis.
    There can indeed be but one opinion that the Engraving is unworthy of
    the Original.

    [For an illustration of the _Medallic History of France_, I scarcely
    recollect any one object of Art which would be more gratifying, as
    well as apposite, than a faithful Engraving of such a Medal: and I
    call upon my good friend M. DU CHESNE to set such a History on foot.
    There is however another medal, of the same Monarch, of a smaller
    size, but of equal merit of execution, which has been selected to
    grace the pages of this second edition--in the OPPOSITE PLATE. The
    inscription is as follows: LUDOVICO XII. REGNANTE CÆSARE ALTERO.
    GAUDET OMNIS NATIO: from which it is inferred that the Medal was
    struck in consequence of the victory of Ravenna, or of Louis's
    triumphant campaigns in Italy. A short but spirited account is given
    of these campaigns in Le Noir's _Musée des Monumens Français_, tome
    ii. p. 145-7.]

[19] ["And it is Mr. DIBDIN who makes this confession! Let us render
    justice to his impartiality on this occasion. Such a confession ought
    to cause some regret to those who go to seek engravings in London."
    CRAPELET, vol. ii. p. 89. The reader shall make his own remark on the
    force, if there be any, of this gratuitous piece of criticism of the
    French Translator.]

[20] [And, till within these few months, those of the REV. DR. NICOLL,
    Regius Professor of the Hebrew Language! That amiable and modest and
    surprisingly learned Oriental Scholar died in the flower of his age
    (in his 36th year) to the deep regret of all his friends and
    acquaintances, and, I had well nigh said, to the irreparable loss of
    the University.]

[21] ["This observation is just; and it is to be hoped that they will soon
    carry into execution the Royal ordonance of October, 1816, which
    appropriates the apartments of the Treasury, contiguous, to be united
    to the establishment, as they become void. However, what took place in
    1825, respecting some buildings in the Rue Neuve des Petits Champs,
    forbids us to suppose that this wished for addition will take place."
    CRAPELET, p. 93.]

[22] [M. Crapelet admits the propriety of such a suggested improvement; and
    hopes that government will soon take it up for the accommodation of
    the Visitors--who sometimes are obliged to wait for a _vacancy_,
    before they can commence these researches.]

[23] [Mons. Crapelet estimates the number of these splendid volumes (in
    1825,) at "more than six thousand!"]

[24] [M. Crapelet might have considered this confession as a reason, or
    apology, sufficient for not entering into all those details or
    descriptions, which he seems surprised and vexed that I omitted to
    travel into.]

[25] _An enquiry into the History of Engraving upon Copper and in
    Wood_, 1816, 4to. 2 vol. by W.Y. Ottley. Mr. Ottley, in vol. i. p. 90,
    has given the whole of the original cut: while in the first volume p.
    iii. of the _Bibliotheca Spenceriana_, only the figure and date are
    given.

[26] _Idée générale d'une Collection complette des Estampes. Leips._
    1771. 8vo.

[27] Since the above was written, the RIVAL ST. CRISTOPHER have been placed
    _side by side_. When Lord Spencer was at Paris, last year, (1819,) on
    his return from Italy--he wrote to me, requesting I would visit him
    there, and bring St. Christopher with me. That Saint was therefore, in
    turn, carried across the water--and on being confronted with his
    name-sake, at the Royal Library ... it was quite evident, at the first
    glance, as M. Du Chesne admitted--that they were impressions taken
    from _different blocks_. The question therefore, was, after a good
    deal of pertinacious argument on both sides--which of the two
    impressions was the MORE ANCIENT? Undoubtedly it was that of Lord[B]
    Spencer's.

        [B] [The reasons, upon which this conclusion was founded, are
        stated at length in the preceding edition of this work: since
        which, I very strongly incline to the supposition that the Paris
        impression is a _proof_--of one of the _cheats_ of DE MURR.]

[28] He died in 1824 and a notice of his Life and Labours appeared in the
    _Annales Encyclopèdiques_.

[29] "M. Dibdin may well make the _fourth_ copy--as to size."
    CRAPELET, p. 115.



_LETTER III._

THE SAME SUBJECTS CONTINUED.


_Paris, June 14, 1818_.

As I promised, at the conclusion of my last, you shall accompany me
immediately to the ROYAL LIBRARY; and taking down a few of the more ancient
MANUSCRIPTS relating to _Theology_--especially those, which, from age, art,
or intrinsic worth, demand a more particular examination--we will both sit
down together to the enjoyment of what the librarians have placed before
us. In other words, I shall proceed to fill up the outline (executed with a
hurrying pencil) which was submitted to you in my previous letter. First,
therefore, for

BIBLES, LITURGIES, RITUALS, LEGENDS, MORAL TREATISES, &C.

_Quatuor Evangelia. "Codex Membranaceus, Olim Abbatiæ S. Medardi
Suessionensis in uncialibus litteris et auricis scriptus. Sæc. VI."_ The
preceding is written in an old hand, inserted in the book. It is a folio
volume of unquestionably great antiquity; but I should apprehend that it is
_antedated_ by at least _two_ centuries. It is full of embellishment, of a
varied and splendid character. The title to each Gospel is in very large
capital letters of gold, upon a purple ground: both the initial letter and
the border round the page being elaborately ornamented. The letter prefixed
to St. Matthew's Gospel is highly adorned, and in very good taste. Each
page consists of two columns, in capital letters of gold, throughout:
within borders of a quiet purple, or lilac tint, edged with gold. It has
been said that no two borders are alike altogether. A portrait of each
Evangelist is prefixed to the title; apparently coeval with the time: the
composition is rather grotesque; the colours are without any glaze, and the
perspective is bad.

LATIN BIBLE OF CHARLES THE BALD. Folio. When this volume was described by
me, on a former occasion,[30] from merely printed authorities, of course it
was not in my power to do it, if I may so speak, "after the life,"--for
although nearly ten centuries have elapsed since this Bible has been
executed, yet, considering its remote age, it may be said to be fresh and
in most desirable condition. The authority, just hinted at, notices that
this magnificent volume was deposited in the library by _Baluze_, the head
librarian to Colbert; but a note in that eminent man's hand writing,
prefixed, informs us that the Canons of the Cathedral church at Metz made
Colbert a present of it.

The reverse of the last leaf but one is occupied by Latin verses, in
capital letters of gold, at the top of which, in two lines, we make out--"
_Qualiter uiuian monachus sci martini consecrat hanc bibliam Karolo
ipatorj_," &c. The ensuing and last leaf is probably, in the eye of an
antiquarian virtuoso, more precious than either of its decorative
precursors. It exhibits the PORTRAIT OF CHARLES THE BALD; who is surrounded
by four attendants, blended, as it were, with a group of twelve below--in
the habits of priests--listening to the oration of one, who stands nearly
in the centre.[31] This illumination, in the whole, measures about fourteen
inches in height by nearly ten and a half in width: the purple ground being
frequently faded into a greenish tint. The volume itself is about twenty
inches in height by fifteen wide.

PSALTER OF CHARLES THE BALD. This very precious volume was also in the
library of the Great Colbert. It is a small quarto, bound in the most
sumptuous manner. The exterior of the first side of the binding has an
elaborate piece of sculpture, in ivory, consisting of small human figures,
beasts, &c.; and surrounded with oval and square coloured stones. The
exterior of the other, or corresponding, side of the binding has the same
species of sculpture, in ivory; but no stones. The text of the volume is in
gold capitals throughout; but the ornaments, as well as the portrait of
Charles, are much inferior to those in that just described. However, this
is doubtless a valuable relic.

PRAYER BOOK OF CHARLES THE BALD; in small 4to. This is rather an
_Evangelistarium_, or excerpts from the four Gospels. The writing is a
small roman lower-case. The illuminations, like those in the Bible, are
rubbed and faded, and they are smaller. The exterior ornament of the
binding, in the middle, contains a group of ivory figures--taken from the
_original_ covering or binding.

BOOK OF THE GOSPELS, OF THE EMPEROR LOTHARIUS. Although it is very probable
that this book may be of a somewhat earlier date than the MS. just
described, yet as its original possessor was brother to _Charles the Bald_,
it is but courtesy to place him in the second rank after the French
monarch; and accordingly I have here inserted the volume in the order which
I apprehend ought to be observed. An ancient ms. memorandum tells us that
this book was executed in the 855th year of the Christian era, and in the
15th of the Emperor's reign. On the reverse of the first leaf is the
portrait of the Emperor, with an attendant on each side. The text commences
on the recto of the second leaf. On the reverse of the same leaf, is a
representation of the Creator. Upon the whole, this book may be classed
among the most precious specimens of early art in this library. On the
cover are the royal arms.

LATIN BIBLE. Fol. This MS. of the sacred text is in four folio volumes, and
undoubtedly cannot be later than the thirteenth century. The text is
written with three columns in each page. Of the illuminations, the figures
are sketches, but freely executed: the colouring coarse and slightly put
on: the wings of some of the angels reminded me of those in the curious
_Hyde-Book_, belonging to the Marquis of Buckingham at Stowe; and of which,
as you may remember, there are fac-similes in _the Bibliographical
Decameron_.[32] The group of angels (on the reverse of the fourth leaf of
the first volume), attending the Almighty's commands, is cleverly managed
as to the draperies. The soldiers have quilted or net armour. The initial
letters are sometimes large, in the fashion of those in the Bible of
Charles the Bald, but very inferior in execution. In this MS. we may trace
something, I think, of the decline of art.

PSALTERIUM LATINÈ, 8vo. If I were called upon to select any one volume, of
given octavo dimensions, I do not know whether I should not put my hand
upon the _present_--for you are hereby to know that this was the religious
manual of ST. LOUIS:--his own choice copy--selected, I warrant, from half a
score of performances of rival scribes, rubricators, and illuminators. Its
condition is absolutely wonderful--nor is the history of its locomotiveness
less surprising. First, for an account of its contents. On the reverse of
the first fly-leaf, we read the following memorandum--in red: "_Cest
psaultier fu saint loys. Et le dona la royne Iehanne deureux au roy
Charles filz du roy Iehan, lan de nres' mil troys cens soissante et neuf.
Et le roy charles pnt filz du dit Roy charles le donna a madame Marie de
frace sa fille religieuse a poissi. le iour saint michel lan mil
iiij^c._" This hand writing is undoubtedly of the time.

A word now about the history of this volume. As this extract indicates, it
was deposited in a monastery at Poissy. When that establishment was
dissolved, the book was brought to M. Chardin, a bookseller and a
bibliomaniac. He sold it, some twenty-five years ago, to a Russian
gentleman, from whom it was obtained, at Moscow, by the Grand Duke
Nicholas.[33] The late King of France, through his ambassador, the Count de
Noailles, obtained it from the Grand Duke--who received, in return, from
his Majesty, a handsome present of two Sèvre vases. It is now therefore
safely and judiciously lodged in the Royal Library of France. It is in
wooden covers, wrapped in red velvet. The vellum is singularly soft, and of
its original pure tint.

HISTORICAL PARAPHRASE OF THE BIBLE. Lat. and Fr. Folio. If any MS. of the
sacred text were to be estimated according to the _number of the
illuminations_ which it contained, the present would unquestionably claim
precedence over every other. In short, this is the MS. of which Camus, in
the _Notices et Extraits des MSS. de la Bibliothèque Nationale_, vol. vi.
p. 106, has given not only a pretty copious account, but has embellished
that account with fac-similes--one large plate, and two others--each
containing four subjects of the illuminations. After an attentive survey of
the various styles of art observable in these decorations, I am not
disposed to allow the antiquity of the MS. to go beyond the commencement of
the XVth century. A sight of the frontispiece causes a re-action of the
blood in a lover of genuine large margins. The book is cropt--not _quite_
to the quick!... but then this frontispiece displays a most delicate and
interesting specimen of graphic art. It is executed in a sort of gray
tone:--totally destitute of other colour. According to Camus, there are
upwards of five thousand illuminations; and a similar work, in his
estimation, could not _now_ be executed under 100,000 francs.

A SIMILAR MS. This consists but of one volume, of a larger size, of 321
leaves. It is also an historical Bible. The illuminations are arranged in a
manner like those of the preceding; but in black and white only, delicately
shaded. The figures are tall, and the females have small heads; just what
we observe in those of the _Roman d'Alexandre_, in the Bodleian library. It
is doubtless a manuscript of nearly the same age, although this may be
somewhat more recent.

LIBER GENERATIONIS IHI XTI. Of all portions of the sacred text--not
absolutely a consecutive series of the Gospels, or of any of the books of
the Old Testament--the present is probably, not only the oldest MS. in that
particular department, but, with the exception of the well known _Codex
Claromontanus_, the most ancient volume in the Royal Library. It is a
folio, having purple leaves throughout, upon which the text is executed in
silver capitals. Both the purple and the silver are faded. On the exterior
of the binding are carvings in ivory, exceedingly curious, but rather
clumsy. The binding is probably coeval with the MS. They call it of the
ninth century; but I should rather estimate it of the eighth. It is
undoubtedly an interesting and uncommon volume.

EVANGELIUM STI. IOHANNIS. This is a small oblong folio, bound in red
velvet. It is executed in a very large, lower-case, coarse gothic and roman
letter, alternately:--in letters of gold throughout. The page is narrow,
the margin is large, and the vellum soft and beautiful. There is a rude
portrait of the Evangelist prefixed, on a ground entirely of gold. The
capital initial letter is also rude. The date of this manuscript is pushed
as high as the eleventh century: but I doubt this antiquity.

LIBER PRECUM: CUM NOTIS, CANTICIS ET FIGURIS. I shall begin my account of
PRAYER BOOKS, BREVIARIES, &C. with the present: in all probability the most
ancient within these walls. The volume before me is an oblong folio, not
much unlike a tradesman's day-book. A ms. note by Maugerard, correcting a
previous one, assigns the composition of this book to a certain Monk, of
the name of _Wickingus_, of the abbey of Prum, of the Benedictin order. It
was executed, as appears on the reverse of the forty-eighth leaf, "_under
the abbotships of Gilderius and Stephanus_." It is full of illuminations,
heavily and clumsily done, in colours, which are now become very dull. I do
not consider it as older than the twelfth century, from the shield with a
boss, and the depressed helmet. There are interlineary annotations in a
fine state of preservation. In the whole, ninety-one leaves. It is bound in
red morocco.

BREVIARE DE BELLEVILLE: Octavo. 2 volumes. Rich and rare as may be the
graphic gems in this marvellous collection, I do assure you, my good
friend, that it would be difficult to select two octavo volumes of greater
intrinsic curiosity and artist-like execution, than are those to which I am
now about to introduce you:--especially the first. They were latterly the
property of Louis XIV. but had been originally a present from Charles VI.
to our Richard II. Thus you see a good deal of personal history is attached
to them. They are written in a small, close, Gothic character, upon vellum
of the most beautiful colour. Each page is surrounded by a border,
(executed in the style of the age--perhaps not later than 1380) and very
many pages are adorned by illuminations, especially in the first volume,
which are, even now, as fresh and perfect as if just painted. The figures
are small, but have more finish (to the best of my recollection) than those
in our Roman d'Alexandre, at Oxford.

At the end of the first volume is the following inscription--written in a
stiff, gothic, or court-hand character: the capital letters being very tall
and highly ornamented. "_Cest Breuiare est a l'usaige des Jacobins. Et est
en deux volumes Dont cest cy Le premier, et est nomme Le Breuiaire de
Belleville. Et le donna el Roy Charles le vj^e. Au roy Richart Dangleterre,
quant il fut mort Le Roy Henry son successeur L'envoya a son oncle Le Duc
de Berry, auquel il est a present."_ This memorandum has the signature of
"Flamel," who was Secretary to Charles VI. On the opposite page, in the
same ancient Gothic character, we read: "_Lesquelz volumes mon dit Seigneur
a donnez a ma Dame Seur Marie de France. Ma niepce."_ Signed by the same.
The Abbé L'Epine informs me that Flamel was a very distinguished character
among the French: and that the royal library contains several books which
belonged to him.

BREVIARY OF JOHN DUKE OF BEDFORD. Pursuing what I imagine to be a tolerably
correct chronological order, I am now about to place before you this
far-famed _Breviary_: companion to the MISSAL which originally belonged to
the same eminent Possessor, and of which our countrymen[34] have had more
frequent opportunities of appreciating the splendour and beauty than the
Parisians; as it is not likely that the former will ever again become the
property of an Englishman. Doubtless, at the sale of the Duchess of
Portland's effects in 1786, some gallant French nobleman, if not Louis XVI.
himself, should have given an unlimited commission to purchase it, in order
that both _Missal_ and _Breviary_ might have resumed that close and
intimate acquaintance, which no doubt originally subsisted between them,
when they lay side by side upon the oaken shelves of their first
illustrious Owner. Of the _two_ performances, however, there can be no
question that the superiority lies decidedly with the _Missal_: on the
score of splendour, variety, and skilfulness of execution.

The last, and by much the most splendid illumination, is _that_ for which
the artists of the middle age, and especially the old illuminators, seem to
have reserved all their powers, and upon which they lavished all their
stock of gold, ultramarine, and carmine. You will readily anticipate that I
am about to add--the _Assumption of the Virgin_. One's memory is generally
fallacious in these matters; but of all the exquisite, and of all the
minute, elaborate, and dazzling works of art, of the illuminatory kind, I
am quite sure that I have not seen any thing which _exceeds_ this. To
_equal_ it--there may be some few: but its superior, (of its own particular
class of subject) I think it would be very difficult to discover.

HORÆ BEATÆ MARIÆ VIRGINIS. This may be called either a large thick octavo,
or a very small folio. Probably it was originally more decidedly of the
latter kind. It is bound in fish skin; and a ms. note prefixed thus informs
us. "_Manuscrit aqui du C^{en} Papillon au commencement du mois de Frimaire
de lan XII. de la République."_ This is without doubt among the most superb
and beautiful books, of its class, in the Royal Library. The title is
ornamented in an unusual but splendid manner. Some of the larger
illuminations are elaborately executed; especially the first--representing
the _Annunciation_. The robe of the Angel, kneeling, is studded with small
pearls, finished with the minutest touches. The character of ART, generally
throughout, is that of the time and manner of the volume last described:
but the present is very frequently inferior in merit to what may be
observed in the Bedford Breviary. In regard to the number of decorations,
this volume must also be considered as less interesting: but it possesses
some very striking and very brilliant performances. Thus, _St. Michael and
the Devil_ is absolutely in a blaze of splendor; while the illumination on
the reverse of the same leaf is not less remarkable for a different effect.
A quiet, soft tone--from a profusion of tender touches of a grey tint, in
the architectural parts of the ornaments--struck me as among the most
pleasing specimens of the kind I had ever seen. The latter and larger
illuminations have occasionally great power of effect, from their splendid
style of execution--especially that in which the central compartment is
occupied by _St. George and the Dragon_. Some of the smaller illuminations,
in which an Angel is shewing the cruelties about to be inflicted on the
wicked, by demons, are terrific little bits! As for the vellum, it is "de
toute beauté."

HISTORIA BEATÆ MARIÆ VIRGINIS. Folio. This is briefly described in the
printed catalogue, under number 6811. It is a large and splendid folio, in
a very fine state of preservation; but of which the art is, upon the whole,
of the ordinary and secondary class of merit. Yet it is doubtless a volume
of great interest and curiosity. Even to English feelings, it will be
gratifying to observe in it the portrait of _Louisa of Savoy_, mother of
Francis I. That illustrious lady is sitting in a chair, surrounded by her
attendants; and is in all probability a copy from the life. The performance
is a metrical composition, in stanzas of eleven verses. I select the
opening lines, because they relate immediately to the portrait in question.

  _Tres excellente illustre et magnificque
  Fleur de noblesse exquise et redolente
  Dame dhonneur princesse pacifique
  Salut a ta maieste precellente
  Tes seruiteurs par voye raisonnable
  Tant iusticiers que le peuple amyable.
  De amyens cite dicte de amenite
  Recomandant sont par humilite
  Leur bien publicque en ta grace et puissance
  Toy confessant estre en realite
  Mere humble et franche au grant espoir de France_.

The text is accompanied by the common-place flower Arabesques of the
period.

HOURS OF ANNE OF BRITTANY. The order of this little catalogue of a few of
the more splendid and curious ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPTS, in the Royal Library
of France, has at length, my worthy friend, brought me in contact with the
magical and matchless volume usually designated by the foregoing title. You
are to know--in the first place--that, of ALL the volumes in this most
marvellous Library, the present is deemed THE MOST PRECIOUS. Not even the
wishes and regulations of Royalty itself allow of its migration beyond the
walls of the public library. There it is kept: there it is opened, and
shewn, and extolled beyond any limits fixed to the admiration of the
beholder. It is a rare and bewitching piece of art, I do assure you: and
so, raising your expectations to their highest pitch, I will allow you to
anticipate whatever is wonderful in FRANCESCO VERONESE and gorgeous in
GIROLAMO DEI LIBRI.[35] Perhaps, however, this is not the most happy
illustration of the art which it displays.

The first view of this magical volume is doubtless rather disheartening:
but the sight of the original silver clasps (luckily still preserved) will
operate by way of a comforter. Upon them you observe this ornament:

[Illustration.]

denoting, by the letter and the ducal crown, that the book belonged to
Anne, Duchess of Brittany. On the reverse of the second leaf we observe the
_Dead Christ_ and the _three Maries_. These figures are about six inches in
height. They are executed with great delicacy, but in a style somewhat too
feeble for their size. One or two of the heads, however, have rather a good
expression.

Opposite to this illumination is the _truly invaluable_ PORTRAIT OF ANNE
herself: attended by two females, each crowned with a glory; one is
displaying a banner, the other holding a cross in her hand. To the left of
these attendants, is an old woman, hooded, with her head encircled by a
glory. They are all three sweetly and delicately touched; but there are
many evident marks of injury and ill usage about the surface of the
colouring. Yet, as being _ideal_ personages, my eye hastily glided off them
to gaze upon the illustrious Lady, by whose orders, and at whose expense,
these figures were executed. It is upon the DUCHESS that I fix my eye, and
lavish my commendations. Look at her[36] as you here behold her. Her gown
is brown and gold, trimmed with dark brown fur. Her hair is brown. Her
necklace is composed of coloured jewels. Her cheek has a fresh tint; and
the missal, upon which her eyes are bent, displays highly ornamented art.
The cloth upon the table is dark crimson.

The _Calendar_ follows; in which, in one of the winter months, we observe a
very puerile imitation of flakes of snow falling over the figures and the
landscape below. The calendar occupies a space of about six inches by four,
completely enclosed by a coloured margin. Then begins a series of the most
beautiful ornaments of FLOWERS, FRUITS, INSECTS, &C. for which the
illuminators of this period were often eminently distinguished. These
ornaments are almost uniformly introduced in the fore-edges, or right-side
margins, of the leaves; although occasionally, but rarely, they encircle
the text. They are from five to six inches in length, or height; having the
Latin name of the plant at top, and the French name at the bottom. Probably
these titles were introduced by a later hand. It is really impossible to
describe many of them in terms of adequate praise. The downy plum is almost
bursting with ripeness: the butterfly's wings seem to be in tremulous
motion, while they dazzle you by their varied lustre: the hairy insect puts
every muscle and fibre into action, as he insinuates himself within the
curling of the crisped leaves; while these leaves are sometimes glittering
with dew, or coated with the finest down. The flowers and the vegetables
are equally admirable, and equally true to nature. To particularise would
be endless. Assuredly these efforts of art have no rival--of their kind.
_Scripture Subjects. Saints, Confessors, &c._ succeed in regular order,
with accompaniments of fruits and flowers, more or less exquisitely
executed:--the whole, a collection of peculiar, and, of its kind,
UNRIVALLED ART. This extraordinary volume measures twelve inches by seven
and a half.

HOURS BELONGING TO POPE PAUL III. 8vo. The portrait of the Pope is at the
bottom of the first ornament, which fixes the period of its execution to
about the middle of the sixteenth century. Towards the end the pages are
elaborately ornamented in the arabesque manner. There are some pleasing
children: of that style of art which is seen in the Missal belonging to Sir
M.M. Sykes, of the time of Francis I.[37] The scription is very beautiful.
The volume afterwards belonged to Pius VI., whose arms are worked in
tambour on the outside. It is kept in a case, and is doubtless a fine book.

MISSALS: numbers 19-4650. Under this head I shall notice two pretty volumes
of the devotional kind; of which the subjects are executed in red, blue,
&c.--and of which the one seems to be a copy of the other. The borders
exhibit a style of art somewhat between that of Julio Clovio and what is
seen in the famous Missal just mentioned.

MISSAL OF HENRY IV. No. 1171. This book is of the end of the XVIth century.
The ground is gold, with a small brilliant, roman letter for text. The
subjects are executed in a pale chocolate tint, rather capricious than
tasteful. It has been cropt in the binding. The name and arms of Henry are
on the exterior.

Thus much, my dear friend, for the SACRED TEXT--either in its original,
uninterrupted state--or as partially embodied in _Missals_, _Hours_, or
_Rituals_. I think it will now be but reasonable to give you some little
respite from the toil of further perusal; especially as the next class of
MSS. is so essentially different. In the mean while, I leave you to carry
the image of ANNE OF BRITTANY to your pillow, to beguile the hours of
languor or of restlessness. A hearty adieu.


[30] _Bibliographical Decameron_, vol. i. p. xxxi.

[31] Earl Vivian, and eleven monks, in the act of presenting the volume to
    Charles.

[32] Vol. i. p. lvi.-vii.

[33] The present Emperor of Russia.

[34] A very minute and particular description of this Missal, together with
    a fac-simile of the DUKE OF BEDFORD kneeling before his tutelary SAINT
    GEORGE, will be found in the _Bibliographical Decameron_, vol. i.
    p. cxxxvi-cxxxix.

[35] For an account of these ancient worthies in the art of illumination,
    consult the _Bibliographical Decameron_, vol. i. p. cxlii.-clxiv.

[36] See the OPPOSITE PLATE. [The beautiful copy of the Original, by Mr. G.
    Lewis, from which the Plates in this work were taken, is now in the
    possession of Thomas Ponton, Esq.]

[37] [It was bought at Sir Mark's sale, by Messrs. Rivington and Cochrane.
    See a fac-simile of one of the illuminations in the _Bibliographical
    Decameron_, vol. i. p. clxxix.]



_LETTER IV._

THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED.


Are you thoroughly awake, and disenchanted from the magic which the
contents of the preceding letter may have probably thrown around you?
Arouse--to scenes of a different aspect, but of a not less splendid and
spirit-stirring character. Buckle on your helmet, ... for the trumpet
sounds to arms. The _Knights of the Round Table_ call upon you, from their
rock-hewn, or wood-embowered, recesses, to be vigilant, faithful,
enterprising, and undaunted. In language less elevated, and somewhat more
intelligible, I am about to place before you a few illuminated MSS.
relating to HISTORY and ROMANCE; not without, in the first place, making a
digression into one or two volumes of MORALITIES, if they may be so called.
Prepare therefore, in the first place, for the inspection of a couple of
volumes--which, for size, splendor, and general state of preservation, have
no superior in the Royal Library of France.

CITÉ DE DIEU: No. 6712: folio. 2 vols. These are doubtless among the most
magnificent _shew-books_ in this collection; somewhat similar, in size and
style of art, to the MS. of _Valerius Maximus_, in our British Museum--of
which, should you not have forgotten it, some account may be read in the
_Bibliographical Decameron_.[38] At the very first page we observe an
assemblage of Popes, Cardinals, and Bishops, with a King seated on his
throne in the midst of them. The figures in the fore-ground are from four
to five inches high; and so in gradation upwards. The colouring of some of
the draperies is in a most delightful tone. The countenances have also a
soft and quiet expression. The arms of _Graville_ (Grauille?) are in the
circular border. Three leaves beyond, a still larger and more crowded
illumination appears--in a surprising state of freshness and beauty;
measuring nearly a foot and a half in height. It is prefixed to the _First
Book_, and is divided into a group in the clouds, and various groups upon
the earth below. These latter are representations of human beings in all
situations and occupations of life--exhibiting the prevalence both of
virtues and vices. They are encircled at bottom by a group of Demons. The
figures do not exceed two inches in height. Nothing can exceed the delicacy
and brilliancy of this specimen of art about the middle of the fifteenth
century:---a ms. date of 1469 shewing the precise period of its execution.
This latter is at the end of the first volume. Each book, into which the
work is divided, has a large illumination prefixed, of nearly equal beauty
and splendor.

LES ECHECS AMOUREUX. Folio. No. 6808. The title does not savour of any
moral application to be derived from the perusal of the work. Nevertheless,
there are portions of it which were evidently written with that view. It is
so lovely, and I had almost said so matchless, a volume, that you ought to
rejoice to have an account of it in any shape. On the score of delicate,
fresh, carefully-executed art, this folio may challenge comparison with any
similar treasure in the Bibliothèque du Roi. The subjects are not crowded,
nor minute; nor of a very wonderful and intricate nature; but they are
quietly composed, softly executed, and are, at this present moment, in a
state of preservation perfectly beautiful and entire.

BOCCACE; DES CAS DES NOBLES HOMMES ET FEMMES: No. 6878. The present seems
to be the fit place to notice this very beautiful folio volume of one of
the most popular works of Boccaccio. Copies of it, both in ms. and early
print--are indeed common in foreign libraries. There is a date of 1409 at
the very commencement of the volume: but I take the liberty to question
whether that be the date of its actual execution. The illuminations in this
manuscript exhibit a fine specimen of the commencement of that soft, and as
some may think woolly, style of art, which appears to so much advantage in
the _Bedford Missal and Bedford Breviary_; and of which, indeed, a choice
specimen of circular ornaments is seen round the first large illumination
of the creation and expulsion of Adam and Eve. These illuminations are not
of first rate merit, nor are they all by the same hand.

THE SAME WORK: with the same date--but the hand-writing is evidently more
modern. Of the illuminations, it will be only necessary to mention the
large one at fol. iij.c. (ccc.) in which the gray tints and the gold are
very cleverly managed. At the end is seen, in a large sprawling character,
the following inscription: "_Ce Livre est A Le Harne. Fille Et Seur de Roys
de France, Duchesse de Bourbonnois et dauuergne. Contesse de Clermont et de
Tourez. Dame de Beaujeu."_ This inscription bears the date of 1468; not
very long before which I suspect the MS. to have been executed.

THE SAME: of the same date--which date I am persuaded was copied by each
succeeding scribe. The illuminations are here generally of a very inferior
character: but the first has much merit, and is by a superior hand. The
text is executed in a running secretary Gothic. There are two other MSS. of
the same work which I examined; and in one of which the well known subject
of the _wheel of fortune_ is perhaps represented for the first time. It
usually accompanied the printed editions, and may be seen in that of our
Pynson, in 1494,[39] folio. I suspect, from one of the introductory
prefaces, that the celebrated _Laurent le Premier Fait_ was the principal
scribe who gave a sort of fashion to this MS. in France.

PTOLEMÆUS, _Latinè_. A magnificent MS.--if size and condition be alone
considered. It is however precious in the estimation of Collectors of
portraits, as it contains one of Louis XII;[40]--This portrait is nearly in
the centre of the frontispiece to the book. Behind the monarch stand two
men; one leaning upon his staff. A large gothic window is above. A crucifix
and altar are beneath it. There is but one other similar illumination in
the volume; and each nearly occupies the whole of the page--which is almost
twenty-three inches long by fourteen wide. The other illumination is hardly
worth describing. This noble volume, which almost made the bearer stoop
beneath its weight, is bound in wood:--covered with blue velvet, with a
running yellow pattern, of the time of Louis--but now almost worn away.

TITE-LIVE. Fol. A noble and magnificent MS. apparently of the beginning of
the XVth. century. It seems to point out the precise period when the
artists introduced those soft, full-coloured, circular borders--just after
the abandonment of the sharp outline, and thin coat of colour--discoverable
in the illuminations of the XIIIth and XIVth centuries. The first grand
illumination, with a circular border, is an interesting illustration of
this remark. The backgrounds to the pictures are the well-known small
bright squares of blue and gold. The text is in a firm square and short
gothic character.

L'HISTOIRE ROMAINE: No. 6984: Folio, 3 vols. written in the French
language. These are among the _shew books_ of the library. The exterior
pattern of the binding is beautiful in the extreme. Such a play of lines,
in all directions, but chiefly circular, I never before saw. The date, on
the outside, is 1556. The writing and the illuminations are of the latter
part of the XVth century; and although they are gorgeous, and in a fine
state of preservation, yet is the character of the art but secondary, and
rather common.

ROYAL BIOGRAPHY OF FRANCE. Fol. This exquisite volume may be justly
designated as the _nonpareil_ of its kind. It is rather a book of
PORTRAITS, than a MS. with intermixed illuminations. The scription, in a
sort of cursive, secretary gothic character, merits not a moment's
attention: the pencil of the artist having wholly eclipsed the efforts of
the scribe. Such a series of exquisitely finished portraits, of all the
Kings of France (with the unaccountable omission, unless it has been taken
out, of that of Louis XII.) is perhaps no where else to be seen. M. Coeuré,
the French artist employed by me, stood in ecstasies before it! These
portraits are taken from old monuments, missals, and other ancient and
supposed authentic documents. They are here touched and finished in a
manner the most surprisingly perfect. The book appears to have been
executed expressly for CHARLES IX.--to whom it was in fact presented by
_Dutilliet_, (the artist or the superintendant of the volume) in his proper
person. The gilt stamp of the two reversed C's are on the sides of the
binding. I should add, that the portraits are surrounded by borders of
gold, shaded in brown, in the arabesque manner. All the portraits are whole
lengths; and if my time and pursuits had permitted it, I should, ere this,
have caused M. Coeuré to have transfused a little of his enthusiasm into
faithful facsimiles of those of Francis I.--my avowed favourite--of which
one represents him in youth, and the other in old age. Why do not the
Noblesse of France devote some portion of that wealth, which may be applied
to worse purposes, in obtaining a series of engravings executed from this
matchless volume?!


ROMANCES, BOOKS OF TOURNAMENT, &c.

LANCELOT DU LAC shall lead the way. He was always considered among the
finest fellows who ever encircled the _Table Ronde_--and _such_ a copy of
his exploits, as is at this moment before me, it is probably not very easy
for even Yourself to conceive. If the height and bulk of the knight were in
proportion to this written record of achievements, the plume of his helmet
must have brushed the clouds. This enormous volume (No. 6783) is divided
into three books or parts: of which the first part is illuminated in the
usual coarse style of the latter end of the XIVth century. The title to
this first part, in red ink, is the most perfect resemblance of the
earliest type used by Caxton, which I remember to have seen in an ancient
manuscript. The other titles do not exhibit that similarity. The first part
has ccxlviij. leaves. The second part has no illuminations: if we except a
tenderly touched outline, in a brownish black, upon the third leaf--which
is much superior to any specimen of art in the volume. This second part has
cccj. leaves. At the end:--

  _Sensuit le liure du saint graal_.

The spaces for illuminations are regularly preserved, but by what accident
or design they were not filled up remains to be conjectured. The third
part, or book, is fully illuminated like the first. There is a very droll
illumination on folio vij.^{xx}. xij. At the end of the volume, on folio
ccxxxiij., recto, is the following date: "_Aujourduy iiij. Jour du Jullet
lan mil ccc. soixante dix a este escript ce livre darmes par Micheaugatelet
prestre demeurant en la ville de Tournay_." Just before the colophon, on
the reverse of the preceding leaf, is a common-place illumination of the
interment of a figure in a white sheet--with this incription:

    ICI: GIST. LECORS: GALAHAVT: SEIGNEVR
    DES. LOINTENES. ILES. ET. AVECQVES. LVI. REPOVSE: MESIRE
    LANCELOT. DVLAC. MELLIEVR. CHRL. DV. MVDE. APRES. GVALEAT.

There are two or three more illuminated MSS. of our well-beloved Lancelot.
One, in six volumes, has illuminations, but they are of the usual character
of those of the fifteenth century.

LANCELOT DU LAC, &C. This MS. is in three volumes. The first contains only,
as it were, an incipient illumination: but there is preserved, on the
reverse of the binding, and written in the same character with the text,
three lines--of which the private history, or particular application, is
now forgotten--although we learn, from the word _bloys_ being written at
top, that this MS. came from the library of Catherine de Medici--when she
resided at Blois.

The second volume of this copy is in quite a different character, and much
older than the first. The colophon assigns to it the date of 1344. The
volume is full of illuminations, and the first leaf exhibits a fair good
specimen of those drolleries which are so frequently seen in illuminated
MSS. of that period. The third volume is in a still different hand-writing:
perhaps a little more ancient. It has a few slight illuminations, only as
capital initials.

LANCELOT DU LAC: No. 6782. This MS. is executed in a small gothic
character, in ink which has now become much faded. From the character of
the illuminations, I should consider it to be much more ancient than either
of the preceding--even at the commencement of the thirteenth century. Among
the illuminations there is a very curious one, with this prefix;

    _Vne dame venant a.c. chr. q dort en son
    lit & ele le volt baisier. mais vne
    damoiselle li deffendi_

You will not fail to bear in mind that the history of Lancelot du Lac will
be also found in those of Tristan and Arthur. I shall now therefore
introduce you to a MS. or two relating to the former.

TRISTAN. No. 6957, 2 vols. _folio_. This is a very fine old MS. apparently
of the middle of the XIVth century. The writing and the embellishments
fairly justify this inference. The first volume contains three hundred and
fifty-one leaves. On the reverse of the last leaf but one, is the word
"_anne_" in large lower-case letters; but a ms. memorandum, in a later
hand, at the end, tells us that this copy was once the property of "_the
late Dame Agnes" &c_. The second volume is written in more of the secretary
gothic character--and is probably somewhat later than the first. It is
executed in double columns. The illuminations are little more than
outlines, prettily executed upon a white ground--or rather the vellum is
uncoloured. This volume seems to want a leaf at the commencement, and yet
it has a title at top, as if the text actually began there. The colophon is
thus:

    _Explicit le Romat de. T. et de yseut
    qui fut fait lan mille. iijc. iiijxx. et xix.
    la veille de pasques grans._

TRISTAN, FILS DE MELIADUS. No. 6773. A folio of almost unparalleled breadth
of back;--measuring more than six inches and a quarter, without the
binding. A beautiful illumination once graced the first leaf, divided into
four compartments, which is now almost effaced. In the third compartment,
there are two men and two women playing at chess, in a vessel. What
remains, only conveys an imperfect idea of its original beauty. The lady
seems to have received check-mate, from the melancholy cast of her
countenance, and her paralised attitude. The man is lifting up both hands,
as if in the act of exultation upon his victory. The two other figures are
attendants, who throw the dice. Upon the whole, this is among the prettiest
bits I have yet seen. It is worth noticing that the yellow paint, like our
Indian yellow, is here very much used; shaded with red. The generality of
the illuminations are fresh; but there is none of equal beauty with that
just described. From the scription, and the style of art, I should judge
this MS. to have been executed about the year 1400 or 1420; but a
memorandum, apparently in a somewhat later hand, says it was finished in
1485:--_Par Michean gonnot de la brouce pstre demeurant a croysant._
Some lines below have been scratched out. The colophon, just before, is on
the recto of the last leaf:

  _Explicit le romans de tristan et de la Royne
  Yseult la blonde Royne de cornoalle._

TRISTAN: No. 6774. _Folio._ 2 vols. The illuminations are magnificent, but
lightly coloured and shaded. The draperies are in good taste. The border to
the first large illumination, in four parts, is equally elegant in
composition and colouring, and a portion of it might be worth copying.
There is a pretty illumination of two women sitting down. A table cloth,
with dinner upon it, is spread upon the grass between them:--a bottle is
plunged into a running stream from a fountain, with an ewer on one side in
the fore-ground. One woman plays upon the guitar while the other eats her
dinner. The second volume has a fine illumination divided into four parts,
with a handsome border--not quite perhaps so rich as the preceding. Among
the subjects, there is a singular one of Lancelot du Lac helping a lady out
of a cauldron in a state of nudity: two gentlemen and a lady are quietly
looking on. The text appertaining to this subject runs thus: "_Et quant
elle voit lancelot si lui dist hoa sire cheualiers pour dieu ostes moy de
ceste aure ou il a eaue qui toute mait Et lancelot vint a la aure et prent
la damoiselle par la main et lentrait hors. Et quant elle se voit deliure
elle luy chiet aux pies et lui baise la iambe et lui dist sire benoite soit
leure que vous feustes oncques nes, &c_." The top of the last leaf is cut
off: and the date has been probably destroyed. The colophon runs thus:

  _Cy fenist le livre de tristan et de la
  royne yseult de cornouaille et
  le graal que plus nen va_.

The present is a fine genuine old copy: in faded yellow morocco binding--
apparently not having been subjected to the torturing instruments of De
Rome.

LE ROY ARTUS. No. 6963. Folio. I consider this to be the oldest illuminated
MS. of the present Romance which I have yet seen. It is of the date of
1274, as its colophon imports. It is written in double columns, but the
illuminations are heavy and sombre;--about two inches in height, generally
oblong. There are grotesques, attached to letters, in the margin. The
backgrounds are thick, shining gold. At the end:

  _Explicit de lanselot. del lac[41]
  Ces Roumans fu par escris. En lan
  del Incarnation nostre Segnor. mil
  deus cens et sixante et quatorse le
  semedi apres pour ce li ki lescrist_.

It is in a fine state of preservation. Mons. Méon shewed me a manuscript of
the ST. GRAAL, executed in a similar style, and written in treble columns.

LE MEME. This is a metrical MS of the XIIIth century: executed in double
columns. The illuminations are small but rather coarse. It is in fine
preservation. Bound in green velvet. Formerly the outsides of this binding
had silver gilt medallions; five on each side. These have been latterly
stolen. I also saw a fine PERCEFOREST, in four large folio volumes upon
vellum, written in a comparatively modern Gothic hand. The illuminations
were to be _supplied_--as spaces are left for them. There is also a paper
MS. of the same Romance, not illuminated.

ROMAN DE LA ROSE: No. 6983. I consider this to be the oldest MS. of its
subject which I have seen. It is executed in a small Gothic character, in
two columns, with ink which has become much faded: and from the character,
both of the scription and the embellishments, I apprehend the date of it to
be somewhere about the middle of the XIVth century. The illuminations are
small, but pretty and perfect; the backgrounds are generally square,
diamond-wise, without gold; but there are backgrounds of solid shining
gold. The subjects are rather quaintly and whimsically, than elegantly,
treated. In the whole, one hundred and sixty leaves. From Romances, of all
and of every kind, let us turn our eyes towards a representation of
subjects intimately connected with them: to wit,

A BOOK OF TOURNAMENTS. No. 8351. Folio. This volume is in a perfect blaze
of splendour. Hither let PROSPERO and PALMERIN resort--to choose their
casques, their gauntlets, their cuirasses, and lances: yea, let more than
one-half of the Roxburghers make an annual pilgrimage to visit this tome!--
which developes, in thirteen minutes, more chivalrous intelligence than is
contained even in the mystical leaves of the _Fayt of Arms and Chyvalrye_
of our beloved Caxton. Be my pulse calm, and my wits composed, as I essay
the description of this marvellous volume. Beneath a large illumination,
much injured, of Louis XI. sitting upon his throne--are the following
verses:

  _Pour exemple aulx nobles et gens darmes
  Qui appetent les faitz darmes hautes
  Le Sire de gremthumsé duyt es armes
  Volut au roy ce livre presenter_.

Next ensue knights on horseback, heralds, &c.--with a profusion of
coat-armours: each illumination occupying a full page. On the reverse of
the ninth leaf, is a most interesting illumination, in which is seen the
figure of _John Duke of Brittany_. He is delivering a sword to a king at
arms, to carry to his cousin, the Duke of Bourbon; as he learns, from
general report, that the Duke is among the bravest champions in
Christendom, and in consequence he wishes to break a lance with him.

The illumination, where the Duke thus appears, is quite perfect, and full
of interest: and I make no doubt but the countenance of the herald, who is
kneeling to receive the sword, is a faithful portrait. It is full of what
may be called individuality of character. The next illumination represents
the _Duke of Bourbon accepting the challenge_, by receiving the sword. His
countenance is slightly injured. The group of figures, behind him, is very
clever. The ensuing illumination exhibits the herald offering the Duke de
Bourbon the choice of eight coats of armour, to put on upon the occasion. A
still greater injury is here observable in the countenance of the Duke. The
process of conducting the tournay, up to the moment of the meeting of the
combatants, is next detailed; and several illuminations of the respective
armours of the knights and their attendants, next claim our attention. On
the reverse of the xxxijnd, and on the recto of the xxxiijd leaf, the
combat of the two Dukes is represented. The seats and benches of the
spectators are then displayed: next a very large illumination of the
procession of knights and their attendants to the place of contest. Then
follows an interesting one of banners, coat armours, &c. suspended from
buildings--and another, yet larger and equally interesting, of the entry of
the judges.

I am yet in the midst of the emblazoned throng. Look at yonder herald, with
four banners in his hand. It is a curious and imposing sight. Next succeeds
a formal procession--preparing for the combat. It is exceedingly
interesting, and many of the countenances are full of natural expression.
This is followed by a still more magnificent cavalcade, with judges in the
fore-ground; and the "dames et damoiselles," in fair array to the right. We
have next a grand rencontre of the knights attendant--carried on beneath a
balcony of ladies

                      whose bright eyes
  Reign influence, and decide the prize.

These ladies, thus comfortably seated in the raised balcony, wear what we
should now call the _cauchoise_ cap. A group of grave judges is in another
balcony, with sundry mottos spread below. In the rencontre which takes
place, the mace seems to be the general instrument of attack and defence.
Splendid as are these illuminations, they yield to those which follow;
especially to that which _immediately_ succeeds, and which displays the
preparation for a tournament to be conducted upon a very large scale. We
observe throngs of combatants, and of female spectators in boxes above.
These are rather more delicately touched. Now comes ... the mixed and
stubborn fight of the combatants. They are desperately engaged with each
other; while their martial spirit is raised to the highest pitch by the
sharp and reverberating blasts of the trumpet. The trumpeters blow their
instruments with all their might. Every thing is in animation, bustle,
energy, and confusion. A man's head is cut off, and extended by an arm, to
which--in the position and of the size we behold--it would be difficult to
attach a body. Blood flows copiously on all sides. The reward of victory is
seen in the next and _last_ illumination. The ladies bring the white mantle
to throw over the shoulders of the conqueror. In the whole, there are only
lxxiiij. leaves. This is unquestionably a volume of equal interest and
splendor; and, when it was fresh from the pencil of the illuminator, its
effect must have been exquisite.[42]

BOOK OF TOURNAMENTS: No. 8204. 8vo. We have here a sort of miniature
exhibition of the chief circumstances displayed in the previous and larger
MS. It is questionless a very precious book; but has been cruelly cropt.
The text and ornaments are clearly of the end of the fifteenth century;
perhaps about 1470. Nothing can well exceed the brilliancy and power of
many of the illuminations, which are very small and very perfect. The
knight, with a representation of the trefoil, (or what is called club, in
card playing) upon a gold mantle, kills the other with a black star upon a
white mantle. This mortal combat is the last in the book. Each of the
knights, praying before going to combat, is executed with considerable
power of expression. The ladies have the high (cauchoise) cap or bonnet.
The borders, of flowers, are but of secondary merit.

POLYBIUS, _Græcè_. Folio. M. Gail placed before me, in a sly manner--as if
to draw off my attention from the volumes of chivalry just described,--the
present beautiful MS. of Polybius. It is comparatively recent, being of the
very commencement of the sixteenth century: but the writing exhibits a
perfect specimen of that style or form of character which the Stephenses
and Turnebus, &c. appear to have copied in their respective founts of the
Greek letter. It has also other, and perhaps stronger, claims to notice.
The volume belonged to Henry II. and Diane de Poictiers, and the
decorations of the pencil are worthy of the library to which it was
attached. The top ornament, and the initial letter,--at the beginning of
the text--are each executed upon a blue ground, shaded in brown and gold,
in the most exquisitely tasteful manner. This initial letter has been
copied "ad amussim" by old Robert Stephen. Upon the whole, this is really
an enchanting book, whether on the score of writing or of ornament.

Farewell, now, therefore--to the Collection of MSS. in the _Bibliothèque du
Roi_ at Paris. Months and years may be spent among them, and the
vicissitudes of seasons (provided fires were occasionally introduced)
hardly felt. I seem, for the last fortnight, to have lived entirely in the
"olden time;" in a succession of ages from that of Charles the Bald to that
of Henri Quatre: and my eyes have scarcely yet recovered from the dazzling
effects of the illuminator's pencil. "II faut se reposer un peu."


[38] Vol. i. p. ccxx-i.

[39] See _Bibl. Spenceriana_, vol. iv p. 421.

[40] The fac-simile drawing of this portrait, by M. Coeuré--from which the
    print was taken, in the previous edition of this work--is also in the
    possession of my friend Mr. Ponton. See note, page 79 ante.

[41] The words "del lac" are in a later hand.

[42] What is rather singular, there is a duplicate of this book: a copy of
    every illumination, done towards the beginning of the sixteenth
    century; but the text is copied in a smaller hand, so as to compress
    the volume into lxviij. leaves. Unluckily, the copies of the
    illuminations are not only comparatively coarse, but are absolutely
    faithless as to resemblances. There is a letter prefixed, from a
    person named _Le Hay_, of the date of 1707, in which the author
    tells some gentleman that he was in hopes to procure the volume for
    100 crowns; but afterwards, the owner obstinately asking 200, _Le
    Hay_ tells his friend to split the difference, and offer 150. This
    book once belonged to one "_Hector Le Breton Sievr de la
    Doynetrie_"--as the lettering upon the exterior of the binding
    implies--and as a letter to his son, of the date of 1660, within the
    volume, also shows. This letter is signed by Le Breton.



_LETTER V._

SOME ACCOUNT OF EARLY PRINTED AND RARE BOOKS IN THE ROYAL LIBRARY.


As the ART of PRINTING rather suddenly, than gradually, checked the
progress of that of writing and illuminating--and as the pressman in
consequence pretty speedily tripped up the heels of the scribe--it will be
a natural and necessary result...that I take you with me to the collection
of PRINTED BOOKS. Accordingly, let us ascend the forementioned lofty flight
of stone steps, and paying attention to the affiche of "wiping our shoes,"
let us enter: go straight forward: make our obeisance to Monsieur Van
Praet, and sit down doggedly but joyfully to the glorious volumes...many of
them

  Rough with barbaric gold,

which, through his polite directions, are placed before us. To come to
plain matter of fact. Receive, my good friend, in right earnest and with
the strictest adherence to truth, a list of some of those rarer and more
magnificent productions of the ancient art of printing, which I have been
so many years desirous of inspecting, and which now, for the first time,
present themselves to my notice and admiration. After the respectable
example of M. Van Praet,[43] I shall generally, add the sizes, or
measurement[44] of the respective books examined--not so much for the sake
of making those unhappy whose copies are of less capacious dimensions, as
for the consolation of those whose copies may lift up their heads in a yet
more aspiring attitude. One further preliminary remark. I send you this
list precisely in the order in which chance, rather than a preconcerted
plan, happened to present the books to me.

RECUEIL DES HISTOIRES DE TROYE. _Printed by Caxton_. Folio. The late M. De
La Serna Santander, who was Head Librarian of the public Library at
Brussels, purchased this book for the Royal Library for 150 francs.[45] It
is in the finest possible state of preservation; and is bound in red
morocco, with rather a tawdry lining of light blue water-tabby silk.

THE SAME WORK. _Printed by Verard, without date_. Folio. This copy is UPON
VELLUM; in the finest possible condition both for size and colour. It is
printed in Verard's small gothic type, in long lines, with a very broad
margin. The wood-cuts are coloured. The last leaf of the first book is MS.:
containing only sixteen lines upon the recto of the leaf. This fine copy is
bound in red morocco.

HORÆ BEATÆ VIRGINIS, Gr. _Printed by Aldus_. 1497. 12mo. Perhaps the rarest
Aldine volume in the world:--when found in a perfect state. M. Renouard had
not been able to discover a copy to enrich his instructive annals of the
Aldine typography.[46] The present copy is four inches and five eighths, by
three inches and a half. It is in its original clasp binding, with stamped
leather-outsides.[47]

THE SHYPPE OF FOOLES. _Printed by Wynkyn de Worde_. 1509. 8vo. At length
this far-famed and long talked of volume has been examined. It is doubtless
a prodigious curiosity, and unique--inasmuch as this copy is UPON VELLUM.
The vellum is stout but soft. I suspect this copy to be rather cropt. It is
bound in red morocco, and is perfectly clean and sound throughout.

ROMAN DE JASON. In French. _Printed by Caxton_. Folio. A little history is
attached to the acquisition of this book, which may be worth recital. An
unknown, and I may add an unknowing, person, bought this most exceedingly
rare volume, with the _Qudriloge of Alain Chartier_, 1477, Folio, in one
and the same ancient wooden binding, for the marvellously moderate sum of--
_one louis_! The purchaser brought the volume to M. de La Serna Santander,
and asked him if he thought _two_ louis too much for their value. That wary
Bibliographer only replied, "I do not think it is." He became the
purchaser; and instantly and generously consigned the volumes to their
present place of destination.[48] You may remember that the collection of
Anthony Storer, in the library of Eton College, also possesses this book--
at present wanting in Lord Spencer's library. The present copy contains one
hundred and thirty-two leaves, including a blank leaf; and is in a perfect
state of preservation.

PSALTERIUM, Latinè. _Printed by Fust and Schoiffher_. 1457. Folio. EDITIO
PRINCEPS. This celebrated volume is a recent acquisition. It was formerly
the copy of Girardot de Préfond, and latterly that of Count M'Carthy; at
whose sale it was bought for 12,000 francs. It is cruelly cropt, especially
at the side margins; and is of too sombre and sallow a tint. Measurement--
fourteen inches, by nine and a half. It is doubtless an absolutely
necessary volume in a collection like the present. Only SEVEN known copies
in the world.

PSALTERIUM, Latinè. _Printed by the same_. 1459: Folio. _Editio Secunda_.
The first six leaves have been evidently much thumbed; and the copy, from
the appearance of the first leaf alone, is as evidently cropt. For the
colophon, both of this and of the preceding edition, examine the catalogue
of Lord Spencer's library.[49] Upon the whole, it strikes me, as far as
recollection may serve, that his Lordship's copy of each edition is
preferable to those under consideration.[50] This copy measures sixteen
inches and a quarter, by twelve and one-eighth.

PSALTERIUM, Latinè. _Printed by Schoiffher_. 1490. Folio. A magnificent
volume: and what renders it still more desirable, it is printed UPON
VELLUM. Lord Spencer's copy is upon paper. The _previous_ editions are
_always_ found upon vellum. Fine and imposing as is the copy before me, it
is nevertheless evident--from the mutilated ancient numerals at top--that
it has been somewhat cropt. This fine book measures sixteen inches and five
eighths, by eleven inches and seven eighths.

PSALTERIUM, Latinè. _Printed by Schoiffher_. 1502. Folio. This book
(wanting in the cabinet at St. James's Place) is upon paper. As far as
folio Cxxxvij. the leaves are numbered: afterwards, the printed numerals
cease. A ms. note, in the first leaf, says, that the text of the first
sixteen leaves precisely follows that of the first edition of 1457. The
present volume will be always held dear in the estimation of the
typographical antiquary. It is THE LAST in which the name of _Peter
Schoiffher_, the son-in-law of Fust, appears to have been introduced. That
printer died probably a short time afterwards. It measures fifteen inches
and one eighth in height, by ten inches and seven eighths in width.

PSALTERIUM, Latinè. _Printed by Schoiffher's Son_. 1516. Folio. A fine and
desirable copy, printed UPON VELLUM. It is tolerably fair: measuring
fifteen inches, by ten inches and three quarters.

I have little hesitation in estimating _these five copies_ of the earlier
editions of the Psalter, to be worth, at least, one thousand pounds.

BIBLIA LATINA. (_Supposed to have been printed in 1455.)_ Folio. This is
the famous edition called the MAZARINE BIBLE, from the first known copy of
it having been discovered in the library of that Cardinal, in the college
founded by himself. Bibliography has nearly exhausted itself in
disquisitions upon it. But this copy--which is upon paper--is THE COPY _of
all copies_; inasmuch as it contains the memorable inscription, or coeval
ms. memorandum, of its having been illuminated in 1456.[51] In the first
volume, this inscription occurs at the end of the printed text, in three
short lines, but to the best of my recollection, the memorandum resembles
the printed text rather more than the fac-simile of it formerly published
by me. In the second volume, this inscription is in three long lines and is
well enough copied in the M'Carthy catalogue. It may be as well to give you
a transcript of this celebrated memorandum, as it proves unquestionably the
impression to have been executed before any known volume with a printed
date. It is taken from the end of the second volume.[52]

THE SAME EDITION.--This is a sound and desirable copy, printed UPON VELLUM;
but much inferior in every respect, to another similar copy in the
possession of Messrs. G. and W. Nicol, booksellers to his Majesty.[53] It
measures fifteen inches and three-fourths, by nearly eleven and six
eighths.

BIBLIA LATINA. _Printed by Pfister, at Bamberg_. Folio. Three volumes. The
rarest of all Latin Bibles, when found in a perfect state. This was Lord
Oxford's copy, and is not to be equalled for its beauty and soundness of
condition. What renders it precious and unique, is an undoubted coeval ms.
date, in red ink, of 1461. Some of the leaves in the first volume are
wholly uncut. It is in handsome, substantial russia binding.

DURANDI RATIONALE DIV. OFF. _Printed by Fust and Schoiffher_. 1459. Folio.
Here are not fewer than _three_ copies of this early, and much coveted
volume: all of course UPON VELLUM. The tallest of them measures sixteen
inches and a half, by twelve and one eighth; and is in red morocco binding.

BIBLIA GERMANICA. _Supposed to be printed by Mentelin_. _Without date_.
Folio. If we except the earlier leaves--of which the first is in ms., upon
vellum, and the three succeeding, which are a little tender and soiled--
this is a very fine copy; so large, as to have many bottom rough margins.
At the end of the second volume an ancient ms. memorandum absurdly assigns
the printing of this edition to Fust, and its date to 1472. The paper of
this impression is certainly not very unlike that of the _Catholicon_ of
1460.

BIBLIA PAUPERUM. A block-book. This is a cropt, but clean and uncoloured
copy. I suspect, however, that it has been washed in some parts. It is in
red morocco binding.

BIBLIA POLONICA. 1563. Folio. This is the famous Protestant Polish Bible,
put forth under the patronage of Prince Radziwill; and concerning which a
good deal has been already submitted to the public attention.[54] But the
copy under consideration was a _presentation_ copy from a descendant of
Prince Radziwill--to the public Library of Sedan, to be there deposited
through the intervention of Lord James Russell; as the following
memorandum, in the Prince's own hand writing, attests: "_Hoc sacrarum
Literarum Veteris Nouique Testamenti opus, fidelissima Cura Maiorum meorum
vetustis Typis Polonicis excusum, In Bibliothecam Sedanensem per Nobilem
Virum Dominum Jacobum Russelium, Ill^{mi} Principis Friderici Mauritii
Bullionei ad me exlegatum inferendum committo_.

_H. Radziwill_."

It is nevertheless an imperfect copy, as it wants the title-page. M. Van
Praet thinks it otherwise complete, but I suspect that it is not so.

BIBLIA SCLAVONICA; 1587. Folio. Of this exceedingly scarce volume--which M.
Van Praet placed before me as almost unique--the present is a fine and
desirable copy: in its original binding--with a stamped ornament of the
Crucifixion on each side. One of these ornaments is quite perfect: the
other is somewhat injured.

BIBLIA BOHEMICA. _Printed in 1488_. Folio. Among the rarest of the
early-printed versions of the sacred text: and this copy happens to be a
most beautiful and desirable one. It is wanting in Lord Spencer's
collection; which renders a minute description of it the more desirable.
The first signature, _a i_, appears to be blank. On _a ii_ begins a
prologue or prefatory proheme, ending on the reverse of _a vj_. It has a
prefix, or title, in fifteen lines, printed in red. The text is uniformly
printed in double columns, in a sharp secretary-gothic character, with ink
sufficiently black, upon paper not remarkably stout, but well manufactured.
There are running titles, throughout. The last eight leaves upon signature
_i_ are printed in red and black lines alternately, and appear to be an
index. The colophon, in nineteen lines, is at the bottom of the second
column, on the reverse of _mm viij_. This book is thought to have been
printed at _Prague_. The present copy is bound in blue morocco.

NEW TESTAMENT: _in the Dutch and Russian languages_. This volume, which is
considered to be unique, and of which indeed I never saw, or heard of,
another copy, bears the imprint of "_'T Gravenhage--Iohannes Van Duren,
Boecverkoper_. MDCCXVII." Folio. The Dutch text is uniformly printed in
capital letters; the Russian, in what I conceive to be lowercase, and about
two-thirds the size of the Dutch.

The cause of the scarcity of perfect copies is, that very nearly the whole
of the impression was _lost at sea_. The present copy undoubtedly affords
decided demonstrations of a marine soaking: parts of it being in the most
piteous condition. The first volume contains 255 leaves: the second, 196
leaves. The copy is yet in boards, in the most tender condition. M. Van
Praet thinks it _just_ possible that there may be a _second_ similar copy.
The _third_ (if there be a second) is known to have perished in the flames
at Moscow.

THE PENTATEUCH: _in Hebrew_. _Printed in 1491_. _Folio_. A very fine copy,
printed UPON VELLUM. The press work has a rich and black appearance; but
the vellum is rather soiled. One leaf presents us with the recto covered by
ms. of a brown tint--and the reverse covered by printed text. The last page
is certainly ms. This however is a rare and costly tome.

TRACTS PRINTED BY PFISTER, _at Bamberg_; Folio. This is really a matchless
volume, on the score of rarity and curiosity. It begins with a tract, or
moral treatise, upon death. The wood cuts, five in number, are very large,
filling nearly the whole page. One of them presents us with death upon a
white horse; and the other was immediately recognised by me, as being the
identical subject of which a fac-simile of a portion is given to the public
in Lord Spencer's Catalogue[55]--but which, at that time, I was unable to
appropriate. This tract contains twenty-four leaves, having twenty-eight
lines in a full page. In all probability it was the _first_ of the tracts
printed by Pfister in the present volume. The FOUR HISTORIES, so fully
detailed in the work just referred to, immediately follow. This is of the
date of 1462. Then the BIBLIA PAUPERUM, also fully described in the same
work. This treatise is without date, and contains seventeen leaves; with a
profusion of wood cuts, of which fac-similes have been given by me to the
public. These three copies are in remarkably fine preservation; and this
volume will be always highly treasured in the estimation of the
typographical antiquary. The Latin Bible, by Pfister, has been just
described to you. There was a yet MORE PRECIOUS typographical gem ... in
this very library; by the same printer--with very curious wood cuts,--of
one of which Heineken has indulged us with a fac-simile. I mean the
FABLES ... with the express date of 1461. But recent events have caused it
to be restored to its original quarters.[56]

LACTANTII INSTITUTIONES, &C. _Printed in the Soubiaco Monastery_. 1465.
Folio. This was Lord Oxford's copy, and may be called almost uncut. You are
to learn, that copies of this beautifully printed book are by no means very
uncommon--although formerly, if I remember rightly, De Bure knew but of one
copy in France--but copies in a fine state, and of such dimensions as are
Mr. Grenville's and the one now before me, must be considered as of
extremely rare occurrence. This copy measures thirteen inches, one-eighth,
and one-sixteenth--by very nearly nine inches one-eighth. You will smile at
this particularity; but depend upon it there are ruler-carrying collectors
who will thank me heartily for such a rigidly minute measurement.

STS. AUGUSTINUS DE CIVITATE DEI. _Printed in the Soubiaco Monastery_. 1467.
Folio. It always does the heart of a bibliographer good to gaze upon a fine
copy of this resplendent volume. It is truly among the master-pieces of
early printing: but what will be your notions of the copy NOW under
description, when I tell you, not only that it once belonged to our beloved
FRANCIS I., but that, for amplitude and condition, it rivals the copy in
the library at _St. James's Place_? In short, it was precisely between
_this very copy_, and that of my Lord Spencer, that M. Van Praet paused--
("J'ai balancé" were, I think, the words used to me by that knowing
bibliographer) and pondered and hesitated ... again and again ... ere he
could decide upon which of the two was to be parted with! But, supposing
the size and condition of each to be fairly "balanced" against the other,
M. Van Praet could not, in honour and conscience, surrender the copy which
had been formerly in the library of one of the greatest of the French
monarchs ... and so the spirit of Francis I. rests in peace ... as far as
the retention of this copy may contribute to its repose. It is doubtless
more brilliant and more attractive than Lord Spencer's--which, however, has
no equal on the _other_ side of the channel: but it is more beaten, and I
suspect, somewhat more cropt. I forgot to say, that there are several
capital initials in this copy tolerably well illuminated, apparently of the
time of Francis--who, I am persuaded, loved illuminators of books to his
heart.

I shall now continue literally as I began:--without any regard to dates, or
places where printed.

CATHOLICON. _Printed by Gutenburg_: 1460. Folio. 2 vols. This copy is UPON
VELLUM; but yet much inferior to the absolutely unrivalled membranaceous
copy in Mr. Grenville's precious library. This copy measures fifteen inches
one eighth, by eleven inches one eighth. It is bound in red morocco.

GRAMMATICA RHYTHMICA. _Printed by Fust and Schoiffher_; 1466. Folio. How
you would start back with surprise--peradventure mingled with indignation--
to be told that, for this very meagre little folio, somewhat cropt,
consisting but of eleven leaves cruelly scribbled upon ... not fewer than
_three thousand three hundred livres_ were given--at the sale of Cardinal
Lomenie's library, about thirty years ago! It is even so. And wherefore?
Because only _one_ other copy of it is known:--and that "other" is luckily
reposing upon the mahogany shelves in St. James's Place. The present copy
measures ten inches seven eighths, by eight inches.

VOCABULARIUS. _Printed by Bechtermuntze_; 1467. Quarto. EDITIO PRINCEPS--
one of the rarest books in the world. Indeed I apprehend this copy to be
absolutely UNIQUE. This work is a Latin and German Vocabulary, of which a
good notion may be formed by the account of the _second_ edition of it, in
1469, in a certain descriptive catalogue.[57] To be perfect, there should
be 215 leaves. A full page has thirty-five lines. This copy is in as fine,
clean, and crackling condition, as is that of Lord Spencer of the second
impression. It is eight inches and a half in height, by five inches and
five eighths in width.

HARTLIEB'S BOOK OF CHIROMANCY. _Supposed to have been printed with wooden
blocks_. Folio. You may remember the amusement which you said was afforded
you by the account of, and the fac-similes from, this very strange and
bizarre production--in the _Bibliographical Decameron_. The copy before me
is much larger and finer than that in Lord Spencer's collection. The figure
of the Doctor and of the Princess Anna are also much clearer in their
respective impressions; and the latter has really no very remote
resemblance to what is given in the _Bibl. Spenceriana_[58] of one of the
Queens of Hungary. If so, perhaps the period of its execution may not be
quite so remote as is generally imagined: for the Hungarian Chronicle, from
which that regal figure was taken, is of the date of 1485.

HISTORIA BEATÆ VIRGINIS. _Without date_. This is doubtless rather an
extraordinary volume. The text is printed only on one side of the leaf: so
as to leave, alternately, the reverses and rectos blank--facing each other.
But this _alone_ is no proof of its antiquity; for, from the character both
of the wood cuts and the type, I am quite persuaded that this volume could
not have been executed much before the year 1480. It is not improbable that
this book might have been printed at _Ulm_. It is a very beautiful copy,
and bound in blue morocco.

VIRGILIUS. _Printed by Sweynheym and Pannartz_. 1469. Folio. EDITIO
PRINCEPS. The enormous worth and rarity of this exceedingly precious volume
may be estimated from this very copy having been purchased, at the sale of
the Duke de la Valliere's library, in 1783, for four thousand one hundred
and one livres. The first leaf of the _Bucolics_, of which the margin of
the page is surrounded by an ancient illumination, gives unfortunate
evidence of the binding of Chamot.[59] In other words, this copy, although
in other respects white and sound, has been too much cropt. It measures
eleven inches and six eighths, by nearly seven inches and five eighths.

VIRGILIUS. _Printed by Vindelin de Spira_. 1470. Here are not fewer than
_two_ delicious copies of this exceedingly rare impression--and the most
delicious happens to be UPON VELLUM. "O rare felicity!... (you exclaim) to
spend so many hours within scarcely more than an arm's length of such
cherished and long-sought after treasures!" But it is true nevertheless.
The vellum copy demands our more immediate attention. It is very rarely,
indeed, that this volume can be obtained in any state, whether upon vellum
or paper;[60] but in the condition in which it is here found, it is a very
precious acquisition. Some few leaves are a little tawny or foxy, and the
top of the very first page makes it manifest that the volume has suffered a
slight degree of amputation. But such defects are only as specks upon the
sun's disk. This copy, bound in old yellow morocco binding of the Gaignat
period, measures very nearly twelve inches and three quarters, by eight
inches and five eighths.

The SAME EDITION. A copy upon paper: in the most unusual condition. The
pages are numbered with a pen, rather neatly: but these numerals had better
have been away. A frightful (gratuitous) ms. title--copied in a modern
hand, from another of the date of 1474--strikes us; on opening the volume,
in a very disagreeable manner. At top we read "_Ad usum H.D. Henrici
E.C.M.C._" The first page of the text is surrounded by an old illumination:
and the title to the Bucolics is inserted, by the hand, in gold capital
letters. From the impression appearing on the six following leaves, it
should seem that this illuminated border had been stamped, after the book
was bound. The condition of this classical treasure may be pronounced, upon
the whole, to be equally beautiful and desirable. Perhaps there has been
the slightest possible cropping; as the ancient ms. numerals are
occasionally somewhat invisible. However, this is a most lovely book:
measuring thirteen inches and one quarter, in height, by nine inches and
very nearly one quarter in width.

VIRGILIUS. _Printed by Sweynheym and Pannartz_. 1471. Folio. SECOND ROMAN
EDITION; of yet greater scarcity than the first. This was Politian's own
copy, and is so large as to be almost _uncut_: having the margins filled
with Scholia, and critical observations, in almost the smallest
hand-writing to be met with: supposed to be also from the pen of Politian.
The autograph and subscription of that eminent scholar meet our eye at the
top of the very first fly leaf.

Of all ancient editions of Virgil, this is probably not only the most
estimable, but is so scarce as to have been, till lately, perfectly
unknown. According to the ancient ms. numerals in this copy, there should
be 225 leaves--to render the volume perfect. In our own country, it is--
with a sigh I speak it!--only to be found (and _that_, in an _imperfect_
state) in the library of Dr. Wm. Hunter at Glasgow.[61] This invaluable
volume is preserved in good, sound, characteristic old binding.

VIRGILIUS. _Printed by Ghering_. 1478. _Quarto_. This impression is perhaps
rather rare than valuable; although I am free to admit it is yet a
desideratum in the Spencerian collection. It commences with an address by
the famous Beroaldus to I. Francus, his pupil, on the reverse of the first
leaf--in which the tutor expresses his admiration of Virgil in the
following manner: "te amantissime mi Johannes hortor, te moneo, et si
pateris oro, ut VIRGILIUM lectites. Virgilio inhies: Illum colas; illum
dies noctesque decates. Ille sit semper in manibus. Et ut præceptoris
fungar officio, illud potissimum tibi pecipia et repetens iterumque
iterumque monebo: ut humanitatis studia ac masuetiores musas avidissime
complectaris." This edition is executed in the printer's second (handsome)
fount of roman type, upon very thick paper.[62] The present copy, although
apparently cropt, is sound and desirable.

PLINII HIST. NATURALIS. _Printed by J. de Spira_. 1469. Folio. EDITIO
PRINCEPS:--but oh,! marvellous specimen--a copy UPON VELLUM! Fair is the
colour and soft is the texture of this exquisite production--bound in two
volumes. I examined both volumes thoroughly, and am not sure that I
discovered what might be fairly called one discoloured leaf. It is with
equal pain and difficulty that one withdraws one's eyes from such a
beautiful book-gem. This copy measures fifteen inches and a half, by ten
inches and three-eighths.

The SAME EDITION. Upon paper. A remarkably fine copy: well beaten however--
and, I should be loth to assert positively, not free from some washing--for
the ancient red numerals, introduced by the pencil of the rubricator, and
designating the several books and chapters, seem to have faded and been
retouched. I observe also, that some of the ancient illuminated letters,
which had probably faded during the process of washing or cleaning, have
been retouched, and even painted afresh--especially in the blue
back-grounds. The first page is prettily illuminated; but there are slight
indications of the worm at the end of the volume. Upon the whole, however,
this is a magnificent book, and inferior only to Lord Spencer's unrivalled
copy--upon paper. It measures sixteen inches and five eighths, by eleven
inches and one sixteenth, and is handsomely bound in red morocco.

PLINII HISTORIA NATURALIS. _Printed by Jenson_, 1472. Folio. A copy UPON
VELLUM: but, upon the whole, I was disappointed in the size and condition
of this book. The vellum has not had justice done to it in the binding,
being in parts crumpled. The first page is however beautifully illuminated.
This copy measures sixteen inches, by ten and three eighths.


PLINII HIST. NAT. Italicè. _Printed by Jenson_. 1476. Folio. A copy UPON
VELLUM. About the first forty leaves are cruelly stained at top. The last
eight or ten leaves are almost of a yellow tint. In other parts, where the
vellum is white, (for it is of a remarkably fine quality) nothing can
exceed the beauty of this book: but it has been, I suspect, very severely
cropt--if an opinion may be formed from its companion upon paper, about to
be described. It is fifteen inches in height, by ten and a quarter in
width.

THE SAME EDITION. _Printed by the same Printer_. I suspect this to be
perhaps the finest paper copy in the world: as perfect as Lord Spencer's
copy of the first edition of the same author. Every thing breathes of its
pristine condition: the colour and the substance of the paper: the width of
the margin, and the purity of the embellishments:[63] This copy will also
serve to convince the most obstinate, that, when one catches more than a
glimpse of the ms. numerals at top, and ms. signatures at bottom, one has
hopes of possessing the book in its primitive plenitude. It is sixteen
inches and three quarters in height, by nearly eleven inches and a quarter
in width.

LIVIUS. _Printed by Sweynheym and Pannartz_. 1469. Folio. EDITIO PRINCEPS.
A fine copy, in three thin volumes. The margins, however, are not free from
ms. notes, and there are palpable evidences of a slight truncation. Yet it
is a fine copy: measuring fifteen inches and very nearly three quarters, by
eleven inches one eighth. In red morocco binding.

LIVIUS. _Printed by Ulric Han_. _Without Date_. Folio. In three thin
volumes. A large copy, but evidently much washed, from the faint appearance
of the marginal notes. Some leaves are very bad--especially the earlier
ones of the preface and the text. The latter, however, have a very pretty
ancient illumination. This copy measures fifteen inches five eighths, by
ten seven eighths.[64]

LIVIUS. _Printed by Vindelin de Spira_. 1470. Fol. A magnificent copy, in
two volumes: much preferable to either of the preceding. The first page of
text has a fine old illumination. It is clean and sound throughout:
measuring fifteen inches five eighths, by eleven inches--within an eighth.

THE SAME EDITION. Printed UPON VELLUM. This copy, if I remember rightly, is
considered to be unique.[65] It is that which was formerly preserved in the
public library at Lyons, and had been lent to the late Duke de la Vallière
during his life only--to enrich his book-shelves--having been restored to
its original place of destination upon the death of the Duke. It is both in
an imperfect and lacerated condition: the latter, owing to a cannon ball,
which struck it during the siege of Lyons. The first volume, which begins
abruptly thus: "ex parte altera ripe, &c." is a beautiful book; the vellum
being of a uniform, but rather yellow tint. It measures fourteen inches
five eighths, by nine and six eighths. The second volume makes a
kind-hearted bibliographer shudder. The cannon ball took it obliquely, so
as to leave the first part of the volume less lacerated than the latter. In
the latter part, however, the direction of the destructive weapon went,
capriciously enough, across the page. This second volume yet exhibits a
fine old illumination on the first page.

LIVIUS. _Printed by Sweynheym and Pannartz_. 1472. Fol. 2 vols. A fine
copy, and larger than either of the preceding: but the beginning of the
first volume and the conclusion of the second are slightly wormed. There is
a duplicate leaf of the beginning of the text, which is rather brown, but
illuminated in the ancient manner. This copy measures fifteen inches and a
half, by eleven one eighth.

Let me now vary the bibliographical theme, by the mention of a few copies
of works of a miscellaneous but not unamusing character. And first, for a
small cluster of CAXTONS and MACHLINIAS.

TULLY OF OLD AGE, &C. _Printed by Caxton_, 1481. A cropt and soiled copy;
whereas copies of this Caxtonian production are usually in a clean and
sound condition. The binding is infinitely too gaudy for the state of the
interior. It appears to want the treatise upon Friendship. This book once
belonged to William Burton the Leicestershire historian; as we learn from
this inscription below the colophon: "_Liber Willmi Burton Lindliaci
Leicestrensis socij inter. Templi, ex dono amici mei singularis M^{ri}.
Iohanis Price, socij Interioris. Templi, 28. Jan. 1606. Anno regni regis
Iacobi quarto_." On the reverse is a fac-simile of the same subscription,
beneath an exceedingly well executed head of Burton, in pen and ink.

ART AND CRAFTE TO KNOW WELL TO DYE. _Printed by Caxton_. 1490. Folio. This
book was sold to the Royal Library of France, many years ago, by Mr. Payne,
for the moderate sum of £10. 10s. It is among the rarest of the volumes
from the press of Caxton. Every leaf of this copy exhibits proof of the
skill and care of Roger Payne; for every leaf is inlaid and mounted, with
four lines of red ink round each page--not perhaps in the very best taste.
The copy is also cramped or choked in the back.

STATUTES OF RICHARD III. _Printed by Machlinia_. Folio. _Without Date_. A
perfect copy for size and condition; but the binding is much too gay. I
refer you to the Typographical Antiquities[66] for an account of this
edition:

NOVA STATUTA. _Printed by the Same_. Folio. You must examine the pages last
referred to, for a description of this elaborately executed volume; printed
upon paper of an admirable quality. The present is a sound, clean, and
desirable copy: but why in such gay, red morocco, binding?

LIBER MODORUM SIGNIFICANDI. _Printed at St. Alban's_; 1480. Quarto. The
only copy of this rare volume I have ever seen. It appears to be bound in
what is called the old Oxford binding, and the text is preceded by a
considerable quantity of old coeval ms. relating to the science of
arithmetic. A full page has thirty-two lines.

The signatures _a_, _b_, _c_, _d_, _e_, run in eights: _f_ has six leaves.
On the recto of _f_ vj is the colophon:

This copy had belonged successively to Tutet and Wodhull. A ms. treatise,
in a later hand, concludes the volume. The present is a sound and desirable
copy.

BOCCACCIO. IL DECAMERONE. _Printed by Valdarfer_. 1471. Folio. This is the
famous edition about which all the Journals of Europe have recently "rung
from side to side." But it wants much in value of THE yet more famous
COPY[67] which was sold at the sale of the Duke of Roxburghe's library;
inasmuch as it is defective in the first leaf of the text, and three leaves
of the table. In the whole, according to the comparatively recent numerals,
there are 265 leaves. This copy measures eleven inches and a half, by seven
inches and seven eighths. It is bound in red morocco, with inside marble
leaves.

THE SAME WORK. _Printed by P. Adam de Michaelibus_. _Mantua_, 1472. An
edition of almost equal rarity with the preceding; and of which, I suspect,
there is only one perfect copy (at Blenheim) in our own country.

The table contains seven leaves; and the text, according to the numbers of
this copy, has 256 leaves. A full page has forty-one lines. The present is
a sound, genuine copy; measuring, exclusively of the cover, twelve inches
three eighths, by eight seven eighths.

BOCCACE. RUINES DES NOBLES HOMMES & FEMMES. _Printed by Colard Mansion, at
Bruges_. 1476. Folio. This edition is printed in double columns, in
Mansion's larger type, precisely similar to what has been published in the
Bibliotheca Spenceriana.[68] The title is in red--with a considerable space
below, before the commencement of the text, as if this vacuum were to be
supplied by the pencil of the illuminator. The present is a remarkably fine
copy. The colophon is in six lines.

FAIT DE LA GUERRE. _Printed by Colard Mansion_. _Without Date_. Folio. This
rare book is printed in a very different type from that usually known as
the type of Colard Mansion: being smaller and closer--but decidedly gothic.
A full page has thirty-two lines. There are neither numerals, signatures,
nor catchwords. On the recto of the twenty-ninth and last leaf, we read

  _Impressum brugis per Colardum Mansion._

The reverse is blank. This is a fine genuine copy, in red morocco binding.

LASCARIS GRAMMATICA GRÆCA. 1476. Quarto. The first book printed in the
Greek language; and, as such, greatly sought after by the curious. This is
a clean, neat copy, but I suspect a little washed and cropt. Nevertheless,
it is a most desirable volume.[69]

AULUS GELLIUS. _Printed by Sweynheym and Pannartz_. 1469. Folio. Editio
Princeps. A sound and rather fine copy: almost the whole of the old ms.
numerals at top remaining. It is very slightly wormed at the beginning.
This copy measures thirteen inches by nine.

CÆSAR. _Printed by Sweynheym and Pannartz_. 1469. Folio. Editio Princeps:
with ms. notes by Victorius. A large sound copy, but the first few leaves
are soiled or rather thumbed. The marginal edges are apparently uncut. It
measures twelve inches seven eighths by nine inches one eighth.

APULEIUS. _Printed by the Same_. 1469. Folio. Editio Princeps. All these
FIRST EDITIONS are of considerable rarity. The present copy is, upon the
whole, large and sound: though not free from marginal notes and stains. The
first few leaves at top are slightly injured. It measures thirteen inches
one eighth, by nine inches.[70]

AUSONIUS. 1472. Folio: with all the accompanying pieces.[71] Editio
Princeps; and undoubtedly much rarer than either of the preceding volumes.
Of the present copy, the first few leaves are wormed in the centre, and a
little stained. The first illuminated leaf of the text is stained; so is
the second leaf, not illuminated. In the whole, eighty-six leaves. The
latter leaves are wormed. This copy is evidently cropt.

CATULLUS, TIBULLUS & PROPERTIUS. 1472. Folio. Editio Princeps. Of equal, if
not greater, rarity than even the Ausonius. This is a sound and very
desirable copy--displaying the ancient ms. signatures. The edges of the
leaves are rather of a foxy tint. After the Catullus, a blank leaf. This
copy measures eleven inches one eighth, by very nearly seven inches five
eighths.

HOMERI OPERA. Gr. 1488. Folio. Editio Princeps. When you are informed that
this copy is ... UNCUT ... you will necessarily figure to yourself a volume
of magnificent, as well as pristine, dimensions. Yet, without putting on
spectacles, one discovers occasionally a few foxy spots towards the edges;
and the first few leaves are perhaps somewhat tawny. Upon the whole,
however, the condition is wonderful: and I am almost ashamed of myself at
having talked about foxy spots and tawny tints. This copy is bound in red
morocco, in a sensible, unassuming manner. For the comfort of such, whose
copies aspire to the distinction of being _almost_ uncut, I add, that this
volume measures fourteen inches, by about nine inches and five eighths.

HOMERI OPERA. Gr. 1808. _Printed by Bodoni_. Folio. 2 volumes. This grand
copy is printed UPON VELLUM, and is the presentation copy to Bonaparte--to
whom this edition was dedicated, by Bodoni.[72] Splendid, large, and
beautiful, as is this typographical performance, I must candidly own that
there is something about it which "likes me not." The vellum, however
choice, and culled by Bodoni's most experienced foragers, is, to my eye,
too white--which arises perhaps from the text occupying so comparatively
small a space in the page. Nor is the type pleasing to my taste. It is too
cursive and sparkling; and the upper strokes are uniformly too thin. In
short, the whole has a cold effect. However, this is questionless one of
the most magnificent productions of the modern press. The volumes measure
two feet in length.

CRONIQUES DE FRANCE. _Printed by Verard_. 1493. Folio. Three vols. A
glorious copy--printed UPON VELLUM! The wood-cuts are coloured. It is bound
in red morocco.

LAUNCELOT DU LAC. _Printed by Verard_. 1494. Folio. 3 vols. Also UPON
VELLUM. In red morocco binding. There is yet another copy of the same date,
upon vellum, but with different illuminations: equally magnificent and
covetable. In red morocco binding.

GYRON LE COURTOYS: auecques la devise des armes de tous les cheualiers de
la table ronde. _Printed by Verard_. _Without Date_. Folio. Printed UPON
VELLUM. This was once a fine thumping fellow of a copy!--but it has lost
somewhat of its stature by the knife of the binder--or rather from the
destruction of the Library of St. Germain des Près: whence it was thrown
into the streets, and found next day by M. Van Praet. Many of the books,
from the same library, were thrown into cellars. It is evident, from the
larger illuminations, and especially from the fourth, on the recto of _d
vj_, that this volume has suffered in the process of binding. In old blue
morocco.

ROMAN DE LA ROSE. _Printed by Verard_. _Without Date_. Small folio. In
double columns, in prose. This superbly bound volume--once the property of
H. Durfé, having his arms in the centre, and corner embellishments, in
metal, on which are the entwined initials T.C.--is but an indifferent copy.
It is printed UPON VELLUM; and has been, as I suspect, rather cruelly cropt
in the binding. Much of the vellum is also crumpled and tawny.

L'HORLOGE DE SAPIENCE. _Printed by Verard_. 1493. Folio. One of the
loveliest books ever opened, and printed UPON VELLUM. Every thing is here
perfect. The page is finely proportioned, the vellum is exceedingly
beautiful, and the illuminations have a brilliance and delicacy of finish
not usually seen in volumes of this kind. The borders are decorated by the
pencil, and the second may be considered quite perfect of its kind. This
book is bound by Bradel l'Ainé.

MILLES ET AMYS. _Printed by Verard_. _Without Date_. Folio. A copy UPON
VELLUM. From the same library as the copy of the Roman de la Rose, just
described; and in the same style of binding. It is kept in the same case;
but, although cropt, it is a much finer book. The cuts are coloured, and
the text is printed in double columns. I do not at this present moment
remember to have seen another copy of this edition of the work.

IEU DES ESCHEZ. _Without name of Printer (but probably by Verard) or Date_.
Folio.[73] This is one of the numerous French originals from which Caxton
printed his well known moralised work, under the title of the _Game and
Play of the Chesse_. This fine copy is printed UPON VELLUM, in a large
gothic letter, in double columns. The type has rather an uneven appearance,
from the thickness of the vellum. There are several large prints, which, in
this copy, are illuminated.

L'ARBRE DES BATAILLES. _Printed by Verard_. 1493. Folio. Another fine
volume, printed UPON VELLUM. With the exception only of one or two crumpled
or soiled leaves, this copy is as perfect as can be desired. Look from _d
iiij_. to _ej_, for a set of exquisitely printed leaves upon vellum, which
cannot be surpassed. The cuts are here coloured in the usually bold and
brilliant style.

LA CHASSE ET LE DEPART D'AMOURS. _Printed by Verard_. 1509. Folio. This
volume of interesting old French poetry, UPON VELLUM, which is printed in
double columns, formerly belonged to the abbey of St. Germain des Près--as
an inscription upon the title denotes. The work abounds with very curious,
and very delectable old French poetry. Look, amongst a hundred other
similar things, at the _"Balade ioyeuse des taverniers_," on the reverse
_Q_. i: each stanza ending with

  _Les tauerniers qui brouillent nostre vin._

LA NEF DES FOLZ DU MONDE. _Printed by Verard. Without Date_. Folio. A most
magnificent copy; printed UPON VELLUM. Every page is highly illuminated,
with ample margins. What is a little extraordinary, the reverse of the
sixth leaf has ms. text above and below the large illumination; while the
recto of the same leaf has printed text. The present noble volume, which
has the royal arms stamped on the exterior, is one of the few old books
which has not suffered amputation by recent binding.

THE SAME WORK. _Printed by the Same_. Folio. The poetry is in double
columns, and the cuts are coloured. I apprehend this copy to be much cropt.
It is UPON VELLUM: rather tawny, but upon the whole exceedingly sound and
desirable.

L'ART DE BIEN MOURIR. _Printed for Verard_. _Without Date_. Folio. A
fragment only of the Work. In large gothic type; double columns: cuts
coloured. There are two cuts of demons torturing people in a cauldron, such
as may be seen in the second volume of my Typographical Antiquities.[74]
Some of these cuts, in turn, may be taken from the older ones in block
books. The present copy is UPON VELLUM, rather tawny: but it is large and
sound. In calf binding.

PARABOLES [de] MAISTRE ALAIN [De Lille] _Printed by Verard_, 1492. Folio. A
magnificent volume, for size and condition. It is printed in Verard's large
type, in long lines. The illuminations are highly coloured. This copy is
UPON VELLUM.[75]

Suppose, now, I throw in a little variety from the preceding, by the
mention of a rare _Italian_ book or two? Let me place before you a choice
copy of the

MONTE SANCTO DI DIO. _Printed in 1477_. Folio. This, you know, is the
volume about which the collectors of early copper-plate engraving are never
thoroughly happy until they possess a perfect copy of it: perhaps a copy of
a more covetable description than that which is now before me. There is a
duplicate of the first cut: of which one impression is faint, and miserably
coloured, and the other is so much cut away to the left, as to deprive the
man, looking up, of his left arm. There is an exceedingly well executed
duplicate of the large Christ, drawn with a pen. In the genuine print there
is too much of the burr. The impression of the Devil eating human beings,
within the lake of fire, is a good bold one. This copy is bound in red
morocco, but in a flaunting style of ornament.

LA SFORZIADA. _Printed in 1480_. Folio. It is just possible you may not
have forgotten the description of a copy of this work--like the present,
struck off UPON VELLUM--which appears in the _Bibliographical
Decameron_.[76] That copy, you may remember, adorns the choice collection
of our friend George Hibbert, Esq.[77] The book before me is doubtless a
most exquisite one; and the copy is of large dimensions. The illuminated
first page very strongly resembles that in the copy just mentioned. The
portraits appear to be the same: but the Cardinal is differently habited,
and his phisiognomical expression is less characteristic here than in the
same portrait in Mr. Hibbert's copy. The head of Duke Sforza, his brother,
seems to be about the same.

The lower compartment of this splendidly illuminated page differs
materially from that of Mr. Hibbert's copy. There are two figures kneeling,
apparently portraits; with the sea in the distance. The figure of St. Louis
appears in the horizon--very curious. To the right, there are rabbits
within an enclosure, and human beings growing into trees. The touch and
style of the whole are precisely similar to what we observe in the other
copy so frequently mentioned. The capital initials are also very similar.
It is a pity that, during the binding, (which is in red morocco) the vellum
has been so very much crumpled. This copy measures thirteen inches and
seven eighths, by nine inches and three eighths.

I must now lay before you a few more Classics, and conclude the whole with
miscellaneous articles.

TERENTIUS. _Printed by Ulric Han_. Folio. _Without date_. In all
probability the first edition of the author by Ulric Han, and perhaps the
second in chronological order; that of Mentelin being considered the first.
It is printed in Ulric Han's larger roman type. This may be considered a
fine genuine copy--in old French binding, with the royal arms.

ARISTOTELIS OPERA. _Printed by Aldus_. 1495, &c. 6 vols. Would you believe
it--here are absolutely TWO copies of this glorious effort of the Aldine
Press, printed UPON VELLUM!? One copy belonged to the famous _Henri II. and
Diane de Poictiers_, and is about an eighth of an inch taller and wider
than the other; but the other has not met with fair play, from the
unskilful manner in which it has been bound--in red morocco. Perhaps the
interior of this second copy may be preferred to that of Henri II. The
illuminations are ancient, and elegantly executed, and the vellum seems
equally white and beautiful. Probably the tone of the vellum in the other
copy may be a _little_ more sombre, but there reigns throughout it such a
sober, uniform, mellow and genuine air--that, brilliant and captivating as
may be the red morocco copy--_he_ ought to think more than _once_ or
_twice_ who should give it the preference. The arms of the morocco copy, in
the first page of the Life of Aristotle, from Diogenes Laertius, have been
cut out. This copy came from the monastery of St. Salvador; and the
original, roughly stamped, edges of the leaves are judiciously preserved in
the binding. Both copies have the _first_ volume upon _paper_. Indeed it
seems now clearly ascertained that it was never printed upon vellum.[78]
The copy of Henri II. measures twelve inches and a quarter, by eight and an
eighth.

PLUTARCHI OPUSCULA MORALIA. _Printed by Aldus_. 1509. Folio. 2 vols.
Another, delicious MEMBRANACEOUS treasure from the fine library of Henri
II. and Diane de Poictiers; in the good old original coverture, besprinkled
with interlaced D's and H's. It is in truth a lovely book--measuring ten
inches and five eighths, by seven inches and three eighths; but I suspect a
little cropt. Some of the vellum is also rather tawny--especially the first
and second leaves, and the first page of the text of Plutarch. These
volumes reminded me of the first Aldine Plato, also UPON VELLUM, in the
library of Dr. W. Hunter; but I question if the Plato be _quite_ so
beautiful a production.

EUSTATHIUS IN HOMERUM. 1542. Folio. 4 vols. Printed UPON VELLUM--and
probably unique. A set of matchless volumes--yet has the binder done them
great injustice, by the manner in which the backs are cramped or choked.
The exteriors, in blazing red morocco, are not in the very best taste. A
good deal of the vellum is also of too yellow a tint, but it is of a most
delicate quality.

ARISTOTELIS ETHICA NICHOMACHEA. Gr. This volume forms a part only of the
first Aldine edition of the Nichomachean ethics of Aristotle. The margins
are plentifully charged with the Scholia of Basil the Great, as we learn
from an original letter of "Constantinus Palæocappa, grecus" to Henry the
Second--whose book it was, and who shewed the high sense he entertained of
the Scholia, by having the volume bound in a style of luxury and splendour
beyond any thing which I remember to have seen--as coming from his library.
The reverse of the first leaf exhibits a beautiful frame work, of silver
ornaments upon a black ground--now faded; with the initials and devices of
Henry and Diane de Poictiers. Their arms and supporters are at top. Within
this frame work is the original and beautifully written letter of
Constantine Palæocappa. On the opposite page the text begins--surrounded by
the same brilliant kind of ornament; having an initial H of extraordinary
beauty. The words, designating the Scholia, are thus:

  [Greek: META SCHOLIÔN BASILEIOU TOU MEGALOU.]

These Scholia are written in a small, close, and yet free Greek character,
with frequent contractions. Several other pages exhibit the peculiar
devices of Henry and Diana--having silver crescents and arrow-stocked
quivers. This book is bound in boards, and covered with dark green velvet,
now almost torn to threads. In its original condition, it must have been an
equally precious and resplendent tome. It measures twelve inches and a
quarter, by eight inches and three eighths.

EUCLIDES. _Printed by Ratdolt_. 1482. Folio. A copy UPON VELLUM. The
address of Ratdolt, as it sometimes occurs, is printed in golden letters;
but I was disappointed in the view of this book. Unluckily the first leaf
of the text is ms. but of the time. At the bottom, in an ancient hand, we
read "_Monasterii S. Saluatoris bonon. signatus In Inuentario numero 524._"
It is a large copy, but the vellum is rather tawny.

PRISCIANUS. _Printed by V. de Spira_. 1470. Folio. First edition, UPON
VELLUM. This is a book, of which, as you may remember, some mention has
been previously made;[79] and I own I was glad to turn over the
membranaceous leaves of a volume which had given rise, at the period of its
acquisition, to a good deal of festive mirth. At the first glance of it, I
recognised the cropping system. The very first page of the text has lost,
if I may so speak, its head and shoulders: nor is such amputation to be
wondered at, when we read, to the left, "_Relié par_ DEROME dit le Jeune."
Would you believe it--nearly one half of the illumination, at top, has been
sliced away? The vellum is beautifully delicate, but unluckily not
uniformly white. Slight, but melancholy, indications of the worm are
visible at the beginning--which do not, however, penetrate a great way.
Yet, towards the end, the ravages of this book-devourer are renewed: and
the six last leaves exhibit most terrific evidences of his power. This
volume is bound in gay green morocco--with water-tabby pink lining.

BUDÆUS. COMMENT. GR. LING. 1529. Folio. Francis the First's own copy--and
UPON VELLUM! You may remember that this book was slightly alluded to at the
commencement of a preceding letter. It is indeed a perfect gem, and does
one's heart good to look at it. Budæus was the tutor of Francis, and I
warrant that he selected the very leaves, of which this copy is composed,
for his gallant pupil. Old Ascensius was the printer: which completes the
illustrious trio. The illuminations, upon the rectos of the first and
second leaves, are as beautiful as they are sound. Upon the whole, this
book may fairly rank with any volume in either of the vellum sets of the
Aldine Aristotle. It is bound in red morocco; a little too gaudily.

CICERONIS ORATIONES. _Printed by Valdarfer_. 1471: Folio. Still revelling
among VELLUM copies of the early classics. This is a fine book, but it is
unluckily imperfect. I should say that it was of large and genuine
dimensions, did not a little close cropping upon the first illuminated page
tell a different tale. It measures twelve inches and six eighths, by eight
inches and a half. Upon the whole, though there be a few uncomfortably
looking perforations of the worm, this is a very charming copy. Its
imperfections do not consist of more than the deficiency of one leaf, which
contains the table.

OVIDII OPERA OMNIA. _Printed by Azoguidi_. 1471. Folio. 3 vols. The
supposed FIRST EDITION, and perhaps (when complete)[80] the rarest Editio
Princeps in existence. The copy before me partakes of the imperfection of
almost every thing earthly. It wants two leaves: but it is a magnificent,
and I should think unrivalled, copy--bating such imperfection. It measures
very nearly thirteen inches and a quarter, by little more than eight inches
three quarters. It is bound in red morocco.

ÆSOPUS. Latinè. _Printed by Dom. de Vivaldis, &c_. 1481. Folio. A most
singular volume--in hexameter and pentameter, verses. To every fable is a
wood cut, quite in the ballad style of execution, with a back-ground like
coarse mosaic work. The text is printed in a large clumsy gothic letter.
The present is a sound copy, but not free from stain. Bound in blue
morocco.

ÆSOPUS. Italicè. _Edited by Tuppi_. 1485. Folio. A well known and highly
coveted edition: but copies are very rare, especially when of goodly
dimensions. This is a large and beautiful book; although I observe that the
border, on the right margin of the first leaf, is somewhat cut away. The
graphic art in this volume has a very imposing appearance.

---- Germanicè. _Without Date or Name of Printer_. Folio. This edition is
printed in a fine large open gothic type. There is the usual whole length
cut of Æsop. The other cuts are spirited, after the fashion of those in
Boccacio De Malis Mulier. Illust.--printed by John Zeiner at Ulm in 1473.
The present is a fine, sound copy: in red morocco binding.

ÆSOPUS. Germanicè. _Without Date, &c_. Folio. This impression, which, like
the preceding, is destitute of signatures and catchwords, is printed in a
smaller gothic type. The wood cuts are spirited, with more of shadow. Some
of the initial letters are pretty and curious. Some of the pages (see the
last but fifteen) contain as many as forty-five lines. The present is a
fine, large copy.

---- Hispanicè. _Printed at Burgos._ 1496. Folio. This is a beautiful and
interesting volume, full of wood cuts. The title is within a broad bold
border, thus: "_Libro del asopo famoso fabulador historiado en romace_."
On the reverse is the usual large wood cut of Æsop, but his mouth is
terribly diminished in size. The leaves are numbered in large roman
numerals. A fine clean copy, in blue morocco binding.

And now, my dear friend, let us both breathe a little, by way of cessation
from labour: yourself from reading, and your correspondent from the
exercise of his pen. I own that I am fairly tired ... but in a few days I
shall resume the BOOK THEME with as much ardour as heretofore.


[43] In his meditated Catalogue raisonné of the books PRINTED UPON VELLUM
    in the Royal Library. [This Catalogue is now printed, in 8vo. 5 vols.
    1822. There are copies on LARGE PAPER. It is a work in all respects
    worthy of the high reputation of its author. A _Supplement_ to it--of
    books printed UPON VELLUM in _other_ public, and many distinguished
    _private_ libraries, appeared in 1824, 8vo. 3 vols.--with two
    additional volumes in 1828. These volumes are the joy of the heart of
    a thorough bred Bibliographer.]

[44] The measurement is necessarily confined to the leaves--_exclusively_
    of the binding.

[45] See the Art. "_Roman de Jason_"

[46] [There are, now, ten known _perfect_ copies of this book, of
    which six are in England. M. Renouard, in his recent edition of the
    _Annals of the Aldine Press_, vol. i. p. 36, has been copious and
    exact.]

[47] [Since bound in blue morocco by Thouvenin.]

[48] [This anecdote, in the preceding Edition of the Tour, was told,
    inaccurately, as belonging to the Caxton's edition of the _Recueil
    des Hist. de Troye_: see p. 102 ante. I thank M. Crapelet for the
    correction.]

[49] _Bibl. Spenceriana_, vol. i. p. 107, &c.

[50] [The finest copy in the world of the second edition, as to amplitude,
    is, I believe, that in the Bodleian library at Oxford. A very singular
    piece of good fortune has now made it PERFECT. It was procured by
    Messrs. Payne and Foss of M. Artaria at Manheim.]

[51] Nine years ago I obtained a fac-simile of this memorandum; and
    published an Essay upon the antiquity of the date of the above Bible,
    in the _Classical Journal_, vol. iv. p. 471-484. of Mr. J.A. Valpy.
    But latterly a more complete fac-simile of it appeared in the
    Catalogue of Count M'Carthy's books.

[52] "_Iste liber illuminatus, ligatus & completus est per Henricum
    Cremer vicariu ecclesie sancti Stephani Maguntini sub anno dni
    Millesimo quatringentesimo quinquagesimo sexto, festo Assumptionis
    gloriose virginis Marie. Deo gracias. Alleluja_."

[53] [This copy having one leaf of MS.--but executed with such
    extraordinary accuracy as almost to deceive the most experienced
    eye--was sold in 1827, by public auction, for 504_l_. and is now
    in the collection of Henry Perkins, Esq.]

[54] _Bibl. Spenceriana_; vol. i. p. 85-89.

[55] _Bibl. Spenceriana_; vol. i. p. 103-4; where there is also an
    account of the book itself--from the description of Camus. The work is
    entitled by Camus, The ALLEGORY OF DEATH.

[56] This subject is briefly noticed in the _Bibliographical Decameron_,
    vol. i. 371; and the book itself is somewhat particularly described
    there. I think I remember Lord Spencer to have once observed, that
    more than a slight hope was held out to him, by the late Duke of
    Brunswick, of obtaining this typographical treasure. This was before
    the French over-ran Prussia.

[57] See _Bibl. Spenceriana_; vol. iii. p. 129, vol. iv. p. 500.

[58] Vol. iii. p. 484.

[59] [I had said "De Rome"--incorrectly--in the previous edition. "M.
    Dibdin poursuit partout d'un trait vengeur le coupable Derome: mais
    ici c'est au relieur CHAMOT qu'il doit l'addresser." CRAPELET; vol.
    iii. p. 268.]

[60] [The very sound copy of it, upon paper, belonging to the late Sir M.M.
    Sykes, Bart. was sold at the sale of his library for 100 guineas.]

[61] That sigh has at length ceased to rend my breast. It will be seen,
    from the sequel of this Tour, that a good, sound, perfect copy of it,
    now adorns the shelves of the _Spencerion Library_. The VIRGILS
    indeed, in that library, are perfectly unequalled throughout Europe.

[62] [There is a fine copy of this very rare edition in the Public Library
    at Cambridge.]

[63] [Fine as is this book, it is yet inferior in _altitude_ to the
    copy in the Public Library at Cambridge.]

[64] [There was another copy of this edition, free from the foregoing
    objections, which had escaped me. This omission frets M. Crapelet
    exceedingly; but I can assure him that it was unintentional; and that
    I have a far greater pleasure in describing _fine_, than
    _ordinary_, copies--be they WHOSE they may.]

[65] [Not so. There was another copy upon vellum, in the library of Count
    Melzi, which is now in that of G.H. Standish, Esq. I _know_ that
    500 guineas were once offered for this most extraordinary copy, bound
    in 3 volumes in foreign coarse vellum.]

[66] Vol. ii. p. 11: or to the _Bibliotheca Spenceriana_; vol. iv. p.
    385.

[67] Now in Lord Spencer's Collection.

[68] Vol. i. p. 281-2.

[69] [To the best of my recollection and belief, the finest copy of this
    most estimable book, is that in the Library of the Rt. Hon. Thomas
    Grenville.]

[70] [The finest copy of this valuable edition, which I ever saw, is that
    in the Public Library at Cambridge.]

[71] _See Bibl. Spenceriana_; vol. i. page 272.

[72] [I had called it a UNIQUE copy; but M. Crapelet says, that there was a
    second similar copy, offered to the late Eugene Beauharnais.]

[73] [It is the Edition of Verard, of the date of 1504. The copy looks as
    if it had neither Printer's name or date, because the last lines of
    the colophon have been defaced. See _Cat. des Livr. Iniprim. sur Vèlin
    de la Bibl. du Roi_. vol. iii. p. 35. CRAPELET.]

[74] At page 599, &c.

[75] [See _Cat. des Livr. sur Vélin_, vol. iv. No. 236.]

[76] Vol. iii. p. 176.

[77] [Mr. Hibbert's beautiful copy, above referred to, is about to be sold
    at the sale of his library, in the ensuing Spring; and is fully
    described in the Catalogue of that Library, at p. 414: But the
    fac-simile portrait of Francis Sforza, prefixed to the Catalogue,
    wants, I suspect, the high finished brilliancy, or force, of the
    original.]

[78] [Not so: see the _Introduction to the Classics_, vol. 1. p. 313. edit.
    1827 The _only known_ copy of the first volume, UPON VELLUM, is that
    in the Library of New College, Oxford.]

[79] See the _Bibliographical Decameron_; vol. iii. p. 165.

[80] [The only ENTIRELY PERFECT copy in Europe, to my knowledge, is that in
    the library of the Right Hon. Thomas Grenville.]



_LETTER VI._

CONCLUSION OF THE ACCOUNT OF THE ROYAL LIBRARY. THE LIBRARY OF THE ARSENAL.


My last letter left me on the first floor of the Royal Library. I am now
about to descend, and to take you with me to the ground floor--where, as
you may remember I formerly remarked, are deposited the _Aldine Vellums_
and _Large Papers_, and choice and curious copies from the libraries of
_Grolier, Diane de Poictiers_, and _de Thou_. The banquet is equally
delicious of its kind, although the dishes are of a date somewhat more
remote from the time of Apicius.

Corresponding with the almost interminable suite of book-rooms above, is a
similar suite below stairs: but the general appearance of the latter is
comparatively cold, desolate, and sombre. The light comes in, to the right,
less abundantly; and, in the first two rooms, the garniture of the volumes
is less brilliant and attractive. In short, these first two lower rooms may
be considered rather as the depot for the cataloguing and forwarding of all
modern books recently purchased. Let me now conduct you to the _third room_
in this lower suite, which may probably have a more decided claim upon your
attention. Here are deposited, as I just observed, the VELLUM ALDUSES and
other curious and choice old printed volumes. I will first mention nearly
the whole of the former.

HOMERI OPERA. Gr. _Printed by Aldus. Without Date_. 8vo. 2 vols. A white
and beautiful copy--with large, and genuine margins--printed UPON VELLUM.
In its original binding, with the ornaments tolerably entire:--and what
binding should this be, but that of Henry the Second and Diane de
Poictiers? Let me just notice that this copy measures six inches and a
half, by three inches and six eighths.

EURIPIDIS OPERA. Gr. 1503. 8vo. 2 vols. A fair and desirable copy UPON
VELLUM; but a little objectionable, as being ruled with red lines rather
unskilfully. It is somewhat coarsely bound in red morocco, and preserved in
a case. This vellum treasure is among the desiderata of Earl Spencer's
library; and I sincerely wish his Lordship no worse luck than the
possession of a copy like that before me.[81]

HECUBA, ET IPHIGENIA IN AULIDE. Gr. and Lat. 1507. 8vo. A very rare book,
and quite perfect, as far as it goes. This copy, also UPON VELLUM, is much
taller than the preceding of the entire works of Euripides; but the vellum
is not of so white a tint.

ANTHOLOGIA GRÆCA. Gr. 1503. 8vo. A very fine genuine copy, upon excellent
VELLUM. I suspect this copy to be a little broader, but by no means taller,
than a similar copy in Lord Spencer's collection.

HORATIUS. 1501. 8vo. UPON VELLUM: a good, sound copy; although inferior to
Lord Spencer's.

MARTIALIS. 1502. 8vo. Would you believe it?--here are _two_ copies UPON
VELLUM, and _both_ originally belonged to Grolier. They are differently
illuminated, but the tallest--measuring six inches three eighths, by three
inches six eighths--is the whitest, and the preferable copy,
notwithstanding one may discern the effects of the nibbling of a worm at
the bottom corner. It is, however, a beautiful book, in every respect. The
initial letters are gold. In the other copy there are the arms of Grolier,
with a pretty illumination in the first page of the text. It is also a
sound copy.

LUCRETIUS. 1515. 8vo. This copy, UPON VELLUM, is considered to be unique.
It is fair, sound, and in all respects desirable.

CICERO DE OFFICIIS. _Without Date_. 8vo. This is but a moderate specimen of
the Aldine VELLUM, if it be not a counterfeit--which I suspect.[82]

CICERONIS ORATIONES. 1519. 8vo. UPON VELLUM. Only the first volume, which
however is quite perfect and desirable--measuring six inches and a quarter,
by very nearly four inches. But prepare for an account of a perfect, and
still more magnificent, vellum copy of the Orations of Cicero--when I
introduce you to the _Library of St. Geneviève_.

HIST. AUGUST. SCRIPTORES. 1521. 8vo. 2 vols. A sound and fair copy--of
course UPON VELLUM--but too much cropt in the binding. The foregoing are
all the _Aldine, Greek and Latin Classics_, printed UPON VELLUM, which the
liberal kindness of M. Van Praet enabled me to lay my hands upon. But here
follows another membranaceous gem of the Aldine Family.

PETRARCHA. 1501. 8vo. A beautiful, white copy, measuring six inches and a
half, by three and three quarters. It is, however, somewhat choked in the
binding, (in blue morocco) as too many of Bozerian's performances usually
are.[83] Close to this book is the Giunta reprint of 1515--ALSO UPON
VELLUM: but of a foxy and unpleasing tint. Now for a few LARGE PAPER
ALDUSES--of a variety of forms and of characters. But I must premise that
the ensuing list of those upon vellum, is very far indeed from being
complete.

HORÆ. Gr. 1497. 12mo. A beautiful copy, among the very rarest of books
which have issued from the Aldine press. Here is also _one_ volume of the
Aldine ARISTOTLE, upon _large paper_: and only one. Did the _remaining_
volumes ever so exist? I should presume they did.

BIBLIA GRÆCA. 1518. Folio. Upon _thick paper_. Francis the First's own
copy. A glorious and perhaps matchless copy. Yet it is rebacked, in modern
binding, in a manner ... almost shameful!

PLAUTUS. 1522. Small quarto. A very fine copy; in all appearance large
paper, and formerly belonging to Grolier.

AUSONIUS. 1517. 8vo. Large paper; very fine; and belonging to the same.

VALERIUS MAXIMUS. 1534. 8vo. The same--in _all_ respects.

PRISCIANUS. 1527. 8vo. Every characteristic before mentioned.

SANNAZARII ARCADIA. _Ital_. 1514. 8vo. The same.

---- _De Partu Virginis_. 1533. 8vo. An oblong, large paper Grolier, like
most of the preceding.

ISOCRATES. Gr. 1534. Folio. EUSTRATIUS IN ARISTOT. Gr. 1536. Both upon
_large paper_, of the largest possible dimensions, and in the finest
possible condition; add to which--rich and rare old binding! Both these
books, upon large paper, are wanting in Lord Spencer's collection; but
then, as a pretty stiff set-off, his Lordship has the THEMISTIUS of 1534--
which, for size and condition, may challenge either of the preceding--and
which is here wanting.

GALENUS. 1525. Gr. Folio. 5 vols. A matchless set, upon _large paper_. The
binding claims as much attention, before you open the volumes, as does a
finely-proportioned Greek portico--ere you enter the temple or the mansion.
The foregoing are all, doubtless, equally splendid and uncommon specimens
of the beauty and magnificence of the press of the _Alduses_: and they are
also, with very few exceptions, as intrinsically valuable as they are fine.
I shall conclude my survey of these lower-book-regions by noticing a few
more uncommon books of their kind.

CATHARIN DE SIENA. 1500. Folio. This volume is also a peculiarity in the
Aldine department. It is, in the first place, a very fine copy--and
formerly belonged to Anne of Brittany. In the second place, it has a
wood-cut prefixed, and several introductory pieces, which, if I remember
rightly, do not belong to Lord Spencer's copy of the same edition.

ISOCRATES. Gr. _Printed at Milan_. 1493. Folio. What is somewhat singular,
there is another copy of this book which has a title and imprint of the
date of 1535 or 1524; in which the old Greek character of the body of the
work is rather successfully imitated.[84]

BIBLIA POLYGLOTTA COMPLUTENSIA. 1516-22. Fol. 6 vols. I doubt exceedingly
whether this be not the largest and finest copy in existence. It may
possibly be even _large paper_--but certainly, if otherwise, it is among
the most ample and beautiful. The colour, throughout, is white and uniform;
which is not the usual characteristic of copies of this work. It measures
fourteen inches and three quarters in height, and belonged originally to
Henry II. and Diane de Poictiers. It wanted only _this_ to render it
unrivalled; and it now undoubtedly _is_ so.

TESTAMENTUM NOVUM. Gr. _Printed by R. Stephen_. 1550. Folio. Another
treasure from the same richly-fraught collection. It is quite a perfect
copy; but some of the silver ornaments of the sides have been taken off.
Let me now place before you a few more testimonies of the splendour of that
library, which was originally the chief ornament of the _Chateau
d'Anet_,[85] and not of the Louvre.

HERODOTUS. Gr. _Printed by Aldus_, 1502. Folio. I had long supposed Lord
Spencer's copy--like this, upon LARGE PAPER--to be the finest first Aldine
Herodotus in existence: but the first glimpse only of the present served to
dissipate that belief. What must repeated glimpses have produced?

LUCIANUS. Gr. _Printed by the Same_. 1503. Folio. Equally beautiful--large,
white, and crackling--with the preceding.

SUIDAS. Gr. _Printed by the Same_. 1503. Folio. The same praise belongs to
this copy; which, like its precursors, is clothed in the first mellow and
picturesque binding.

EUSTATHIUS IN HOMERUM. 1542. Folio. 3 vols. A noble copy--eclipsed perhaps,
in amplitude only, by that in the collection of Mr. Grenville.

DION CASSIUS. Gr. 1548. Folio. APPIANUS. Gr. 1551. Folio. DIONYSIUS
HALICARNASSENSIS. 1546. Folio. These exquisitely well printed volumes are
from the press of the Stephens. The present copies, clothed in their
peculiar bindings, are perhaps the most beautiful that exist. They are from
the library of the Chateau d'Anet. Let it not be henceforth said that the
taste of Henri II. was not _well_ directed by the influence of Diane de
Poictiers, in the choice of BOOKS.

CICERONIS OPERA OMNIA. _Printed by the Giunti_, 1534. Folio. 4 vols. I
introduce this copy to your notice, because there are four leaves of
_Various Readings_, at the end of the fourth volume, which M. Van Praet
said he had never observed, nor heard of, in any other copy.[86] I think
also that there are two volumes of the same edition upon LARGE PAPER:--the
rest being deficient. Does any perfect copy, of this kind, exist?

POETÆ GRÆCI HEROICI. 1556. _Printed by H. Stephen._ Folio. De Thou's own
copy--and, upon the whole, perhaps MATCHLESS. The sight of this splendid
volume would repay the toil of a pilgrimage of some fourscore miles, over
Lapland snows. There is another fine copy of the same edition, which
belonged to Diana and her royal slave; but it is much inferior to De
Thou's.

The frequent mention of DE THOU reminds me of the extraordinary number of
copies, which came from his library, and which are placed upon the shelves
of the _fourth_ or following room. Perhaps no other library can boast of
such a numerous collection of similar copies. It was, while gazing upon
these interesting volumes along with M. Van Praet, that the latter told me
he remembered seeing the ENTIRE LIBRARY of De Thou--before it was dispersed
by the sale of the collection of the Prince de Soubise in 1788--in which it
had been wholly embodied, partly by descent, and partly by purchase. And
now farewell ... to the BIBLIOTHÈQUE DU ROI. We have, I think, tarried in
it a good long time; and recreated ourselves with a profusion of RICH AND
RARE GEMS in the book-way--whether as specimens of the pencil, or of the
press. I can never regret the time so devoted--nor shall ever banish from
my recollection the attention, civility, and kindness which I have
received, from all quarters, in this magnificent library. It remains only
to shake hands with the whole _Corps Bibliographique_, who preside over
these regions of knowledge, and whose names have been so frequently
mentioned--and, making our bow, to walk arm in arm together to the

LIBRARY OF THE ARSENAL.

The way thither is very interesting, although not very short. Whether your
hackney coachman take you through the _Marché des Innocents_, or straight
forward, along the banks of the Seine--passing two or three bridges--you
will be almost equally amused. But reflections of a graver cast will arise,
when you call to mind that it was in his way to THIS VERY LIBRARY--to have
a little bibliographical, or rather perhaps political, chat with his
beloved Sully--that Henry IV. fell by the hand of an Assassin.[87] They
shew you, at the further end of the apartments--distinguished by its
ornaments of gilt, and elaborate carvings--the _very boudoir_ ... where
that monarch and his prime minister frequently retired to settle the
affairs of the nation. Certainly, no man of education or of taste can enter
such an apartment without a diversion of some kind being given to the
current of his feelings. I will frankly own that I lost, for one little
minute, the recollection of the hundreds and thousands of volumes--
including even those which adorn the chamber wherein the head librarian
sits--which I had surveyed in my route thither. However, my present object
must be exclusively confined to an account of a very few choice articles of
these hundreds and thousands of volumes.

BIBLIA LATINA. _Printed by Fust and Schoiffher_, 1462. 2 vols. There are
not fewer than _three_ copies of this edition, which I shall almost begin
to think must be ranked among books of ordinary occurrence. Of these three,
two are UPON VELLUM, and the third is upon paper. The latter, or paper
copy, is cruelly cropt, and bad in every respect. Of the two upon vellum,
one is in vellum binding, and a fair sound copy; except that it has a few
initials cut out. The other vellum copy, which is bound in red morocco--
measuring full fifteen inches and a half, by eleven inches and a quarter--
affords the comfortable evidence of ancient ms. signatures at bottom. There
are doubtless some exceptionable leaves; but, upon the whole, it is a very
sound and desirable copy. It was obtained of the elder M. Brunet, father of
the well-known author of the Manuel du Libraire. M. Brunet senior found it
in the garret of a monastery, of which he had purchased the entire library;
and he sold it to the father of the present Comte d'Artois for six hundred
livres ... only!

ROMAUNT DE JASON, _Supposed to be printed by Caxton_. Folio. _Without
date_. This is a finer copy than the one in the Royal Library; but it is
imperfect, wanting two leaves.

Here is a copy of the very rare edition of the MORLINI _Novella Comoediæ et
Fabulæ_, printed in 1520 in 4to.:--also of the _Teatro Jesuitico--impresso
en Coimbra_, 1634, 4to.:--and of the _Missa Latina_, printed by Mylius in
1557, 8vo. which latter is a satire upon the mass, and considered
exceedingly rare. I regretted to observe so very bad a copy of the original
_Giunta_ Edition of the BOCCACCIO of 1527, 4to.

MISSALE PARISIENSE. 1522. Folio. A copy UPON VELLUM. I do not think it
possible for any library, in any part of the world, to produce a more
lovely volume than that upon which, at this moment, I must be supposed to
be gazing! In the illuminated initial letters, wood-cuts, tone and quality
of the vellum, and extreme skilfulness of the printer--it surely cannot be
surpassed. Nor is the taste of the binding inferior to its interior
condition. It is habited in the richly-starred morocco livery of Claude
d'Urfé: in other words, it came from that distinguished man's library.
Originally it appears to have been in the "_Bibliothèque de l'Eglise à
Paris_."

_Mozarabic Missal and Breviary_. 1500, 1502. Folio. Original Editions.
These copies are rather cropt, but sound and perfect.

THE DELPHIN STATIUS. Two copies: of which that in calf is the whitest, and
less beaten: the other is in dark morocco. The Abbé Grosier told me that De
Bure had offered him forty louis for one of them: to which I replied, and
now repeat the question, "where is the use of keeping _two_?" Rely upon it,
that, within a dozen years from hence, it will turn out that these Delphin
Statiuses have never been even _singed_ by a fire![88] I begin to suspect
that this story may be classed in the number of BIBLIOGRAPHICAL DELUSIONS--
upon which subject our friend * * could publish a most interesting crown
octavo volume: meet garniture for a Bibliomaniac's breakfast table.

Here is the ALDINE BIBLE of 1518, in Greek, upon _thick paper_, bound in
red morocco. Also a very fine copy of the _Icelandic Bible_ of 1644, folio,
bound in the same manner. Among the religious formularies, I observed a
copy of the _Liturgia Svecanæ Ecclesiæ catliolicæ et orthodoxæ conformis_,
in 1576, folio--which contains only LXXVI leaves, besides the dedication
and preface. It has a wood-cut frontispiece, and the text is printed in a
very large gothic letter. The commentary is in a smaller type. This may be
classed among the rarer books of its kind. But I must not forget a MS. of
_The Hours of St. Louis_--considered as _contemporaneous_. It is a most
beautiful small folio, or rather imperial octavo; and is in every respect
brilliant and precious. The gold, raised greatly beyond what is usually
seen in MSS. of this period, is as entire as it is splendid. The miniature
paintings are all in a charming state of preservation, and few things of
this kind can be considered more interesting.

This library has been long celebrated for its collection of _French
Topography_ and of early _French_ and _Spanish Romances_; a great portion
of the latter having been obtained at the sale of the Nyon Library. I shall
be forgiven, I trust, if I neglect the former for the latter. Prepare
therefore for a list of some choice articles of this description--in every
respect worthy of conspicuous places in all future _Roxburghe_ and
_Stanley_ collections. The books now about to be described are, I think,
almost all in that apartment which leads immediately into Sully's boudoir.
They are described just as I took them from the shelves.

RICHARD-SANS PEUR, &c. "_A Paris Par Nicolas et Pierre Bonfons_," &c.
_Without Date_. 4to. It is executed in a small roman type, in double
columns. There is an imposing wood-cut of Richard upon horseback, in the
frontispiece, and a very clumsy one of the same character on the reverse.
The signatures run to E in fours. An excellent copy.

LE MEME ROMANT. "_Imprime nouuelement a Paris_." At the end, printed by
"_Alain Lotrain et Denis Janot_." 4to. _Without Date_. The title, just
given is printed in a large gothic letter, in red and black lines,
alternately, over a rude-wood cut of Richard upon horseback. The signatures
A, B, C, run in fours: D in eight, and E four. The text is executed in a
small coarse gothic letter, in long lines. The present is a sound good
copy.

ROBERT LE DYABLE. "La terrible Et merueilleuse vie de Robert Le Dyable iiii
C." 4to. _Without Date_. The preceding is over a large wood-cut of Robert,
with a club in his hand, forming the frontispiece. The signatures run to D,
in fours; with the exception of A, which has eight leaves. The work is
printed in double columns, in a small gothic type. A sound desirable copy.

SYPPERTS DE VINEUAULX. "Lhystoire plaisante et recreative faisant metion
des prouesses et vaillaces du noble Sypperts de Vineuaulx Et de ses dix
septs filz Nouuellement imprime." At the end: printed for "_Claude veufue
de feu Iehan sainct denys_," 4to. _Without Date_. On the reverse of this
leaf there is a huge figure of a man straddling, holding a spear and
shield, and looking over his left shoulder. I think I have seen this figure
before. This impression is executed in long lines, in a small gothic
letter. A sound copy of a very rare book.[89]

GUY DE VVARWICH. "Lhystoire de Guy de vvarwich Cheualier dagleterre &c.
4to. _No Date_. The preceding is over a wood-cut of the famous Guy and his
fair Felixe. At bottom, we learn that it is executed in a small gothic
type, in double columns. The colophon is on the reverse of V. six.

MESSER NOBILE SOCIO. "Le Miserie de li Amanti di Messer Mobile Socio."
Colophon: "_Stampata in Vinegia per Maestro Bernardino de Vitali Veneciano_
MDXXXIII." 4to. This impression is executed in long lines, in a fair, good,
italic letter. The signatures, from _a_ to _y_ inclusively, run in fours.
The colophon, just given, is on the reverse of _z_ i. Of this romance I
freely avow my total ignorance.

CASTILLE ET ARTUS D'ALGARBE. 4to. This title is over what may be called
rather a spirited wood-cut. The date below is 1587. It is printed in double
columns, in a small roman type. In the whole, forty-eight leaves. A
desirable copy.

LA NEF DES DAMES. 4to, _Without Date_. This title is composed of one line,
in large lower-case gothic, in black, (just as we see in some of the title
pages of Gerard de Leeu) with the rest in four lines, in a smaller gothic
letter, printed in red. In this title page is also seen a wood-cut of a
ship, with the virgin and child beneath.

This book exhibits a fine specimen of rich gothic type, especially in the
larger fount--with which the poetry is printed. There is rather an abundant
sprinkling of wood cuts, with marginal annotations. The greater part of the
work is in prose, in a grave moral strain. The colophon is a recapitulation
of the title, ending thus: "_Imprime a Lyon sur le rosne par Iaques
arnollet_." This is a sound but somewhat soiled copy. In torn parchment
binding.

NOVELAS FOR MARIA DE ZAYAS, &c. _En Zaragoça, en el Hospital Real_, &c.
_Ano 1637_." 4to. These novels are ten in number; some of them containing
Spanish poetry. An apparently much enlarged edition appeared in 1729. 4to.
"_Corregidas y enmendadas en esta ultima impression_."

NOVELAS AMOROSAS. _Madrid_, 1624. 4to. Twelve novels, in prose: 192
leaves. Subjoined in this copy, are the "Heroydas Belicas, y Amoras, &c."
_En Barcelona_, &c. 1622. 4to. The whole of these latter are in three-line
stanzas: 109 leaves.

SVCESSOS Y PRODIGOS DE AMOR. _En Madrid_. 1626. 4to. 166 leaves. At the
end: "Orfeo, en lengva Castellana. A la decima Mvsa." By the same author:
in four cantos: thirty-one leaves.

EL CAVALLERO CID. "El Cid rvy Diez de Viuar."

The preceding title is over a wood-cut of a man on horseback, trampling
upon four human bodies. At bottom: _Impresso con licencia en Salamanca,
Ano de 1627_." 4to.: 103 pages. At the end are, the "_Seys Romances del
Cid Ruy Diaz de Biuar_." The preceding is on A (i). Only four leaves in the
whole; quite perfect, and, as I should apprehend, of considerable rarity.
This slender tract appears to have been printed at _Valladolid por la viuda
de Francisco de Cordoua, Ano de 1627_." 4to.

FIORIO E BIANCIFIORE. "_Impressa, &c. ne bologna, Delanno del nostro
signore m.cccclxxx. adi. xxiii. di decembre. Laus deo."_ Folio. Doubtless
this must be the _Prima Edizione_ of this long popular romance; and perhaps
the present may be a unique copy of it. Caxton, as you may remember,
published an English prosaïc version of it in the year 1485; and no copy of
_that_ version is known, save the one in the cabinet at St. James's Place.
This edition has only eight leaves, and this copy happens unluckily to be
in a dreadfully shattered and tender state. At the end:

  _Finito e il libra del fidelissimo Amore
  Che portorno insieme Fiorio e Biancifiore_

Subjoined to the copy just described is another work, thus entitled:

  SECRETO SOLO e in arma ben amaistrato
  Sia qualunqua nole essere inamorato.
  Got gebe ir eynen guten seligen mogen.

The preceding, line for line, is printed in a large gothic type: the rest
of the work in a small close gothic letter. Both pieces, together, contain
sixty-three leaves.

COMMEDIA DE CELESTINA. "_Vendese la presente obra en la ciudad de Anuers_,"
&c. 18mo. _Without Date_. I suspect however that this scarce little volume
was _printed_ as well as "_sold_" at Paris.

MILLES ET AMYS. "_A Rouen chez la Veufue de Louys Costé_." 4to. Without
Date. The frontispiece has a wood-cut of no very extraordinary beauty, and
the whole book exhibits a sort of ballad-style of printing. It is executed
in a roman letter, in double columns.

OGIER LE DANOIS. "_On les vend a Lyon_, &c." Folio. At the end is the date
of 1525, over the printer's device of a lion couchant, and a heart and
crown upon a shield. It is a small folio, printed in a neat and rather
brilliant gothic type, with several wood-cuts.

GALIEN ET JAQUELINE. "_Les nobles prouesses et vaillances de Galien
restaure_," &c. 1525, Folio. The preceding is over a large wood-cut of a
man on horseback; and this romance is printed by the same printer, in the
same place, and, as you observe, in the same year--as is that just before
described.

HUON DE BOURDEAUX. Here are four editions of this Romance:--to which I
suspect fourscore more might be added. The first is printed at _Paris_ for
_Bonfons_, in double columns, black letter, with rude wood-cuts. A fine
copy: from the Colbert Collection. The second edition is of the date of
1586: in long lines, roman letter, approaching the ballad-style of
printing. The third edition is "_A Troyes, Chez Nicolas Oudot_, &c. 1634."
4to. in double columns, small roman letter. No cuts, but on the recto and
reverse of the frontispiece. The fourth edition is also "_A Troyes Chez
Pierre Garnier_, 1726," 4to. in double columns, roman letter. A very
ballad-like production.

LES QUATRE FILZ AYMON, Two. editions. One. "_à Lyon par Benoist Rigaud_,
1583," 4to. The printing is of the ballad-kind, although there are some
spirited wood-cuts, which have been wretchedly pulled. The generality are
as bad as the type and paper.

MABRIAN. &c. "_A Troyes, Chez Oudot_, 1625," 4to. A vastly clever wood-cut
frontispiece, but wretched paper and printing. From the _Cat. de Nyon_; no.
8135.

MORGANT LE GEANT. "_A Troyes, Chez Nicholas Oudot_, 1650, 4to." A pretty
wood-cut frontispiece, and an extraordinary large cut of St. George and the
Dragon on the reverse. There was a previous Edition by the same Printer at
Rouen, in 1618, which contains the second book--wanting in this copy.

GERARD COMTE DE NEVERS, &C. 1526, 4to. The title is over the arms of
France, and the text is executed in a handsome gothic letter, in long
lines. At the end, it appears to have been printed for _Philip le Noir_. It
is a very small quarto, and the volume is of excessive rarity. The present
is a fine copy, in red morocco binding.

CRONIQUE DE FLORIMONT, &C. At "_Lyons--par Olivier Arnoullet_," 4to. At the
end is the date of 1529. This impression is executed in a handsome gothic
type, in long lines.

TROYS FILZ DE ROYS. Printed for "_Nicolas Chrestien--en la Rue neufue
nostre Dame_," &c. Without date, 4to. The frontispiece displays a large
rude wood cut; and the edition is printed in the black letter, in double
columns. All the cuts are coarse. The book, however, is of uncommon
occurrence.

PARIS ET VIENNE:--"_à Paris, Chez Simon Caluarin rue St. Jacques_." Without
date: in double columns; black letter, coarsely printed. A pretty wood-cut
at the beginning is repeated at the end. This copy is from the Colbert
Library.

PIERRE DE PROVENCE ET LA BELLE MAGUELONNE. 1490. 4to. The title is over a
large wood-cut of a man and woman, repeated on the reverse of the leaf. The
impression is in black letter, printed in long lines, with rather coarse
wood-cuts. I apprehend this small quarto volume to be of extreme rarity.

JEHAN DE SAINTRE--"_Paris, pour Jehan Bonfons_," &c. 4to. _Without date_. A
neatly printed book, in double columns, in the gothic character. There is
no cut but in the frontispiece. A ms. note says, "This is the first and
rarest edition, and was once worth twelve louis." The impression is
probably full three centuries old.

BERINUS ET AYGRES DE LAYMANT. At bottom: sold at "_Paris par Jehan de
Bonfons_, 4to. _No date._ It is in double columns, black letter, with the
device of the printer on the reverse of the last leaf. A rare book.

JEAN DE PARIS. "Le Romat de Iehan de Paris, &c. _à Paris, par Jehan
Bonfons_, 4to. _Without date_. In black letter, long lines: with rather
pretty wood-cuts. A ms. note at the end says: "Ce roman que jay lu tout
entier est fort singulier et amusant--cest de luy douvient le proverbe
"_train de Jean de Paris_." Cest ici la plus ancienne edition. Elle est
rare." The present is a sound copy. There are some pleasing wood-cuts at
the end.

CRONIQUE DE CLERIADUS, &C. "_On les vend à Lyon au pres de nostre dame de
confort cheulx Oliuier Arnoullet_. At the end; 1529. 4to. This edition,
which is very scarce, is executed in a handsome gothic type, in long lines.
The present is a cropt but sound copy.

GUILLAUME DE PALERNE, &C. At bottom--beneath a singular wood-cut of some
wild animal (wolf or fox) running away with a child, and a group of
affrighted people retreating--we read: "_On les vent a Lyon aupres Dame de
Confort chez Oliuier Arnoulle_." At the end is the date of 1552.

---- Another edition of the same romance, _printed at Rouen, without date,
by the widow of Louis Costé_, 4to. A mere ballad-style of publication:
perhaps not later than 1634.--the date of our wretched and yet most popular
impression of the Knights of the Round Table.

DAIGREMONT ET VIVIAN. _Printed by Arnoullet, at Lyons_, in 1538, 4to. It is
executed in a handsome gothic letter, in long lines. This copy is bound up
with the _first_ edition of the Cronique de Florimont--for which turn to a
preceding page[90]. In the same volume is a third romance, entitled

LA BELLE HELAYNE, 1528, 4to.:--_Printed by the same printer_, with a
singular wood-cut frontispiece; in a gothic character not quite so handsome
as in the two preceding pieces.

JOURDAIN DE BLAVE. _A Paris, par Nicolas Chrestien_," 4to. _Without date_.
Printed in double columns, in a small coarse gothic letter.

DOOLIN DE MAYENCE. _A Paris--N. Bonfons_. _Without date_, 4to. Probably
towards the end of the sixteenth century; in double columns, in the roman
letter. Here is another edition, _printed at Rouen_, by _Pierre Mullot_; in
roman letter; in double columns. A coarse, wretched performance.

MEURVIN FILS D'OGER, &C. _A Paris;--Nicolas Bonfons_." 4to. _Without date_.
In the roman letter, in double columns. A fine copy.

MELUSINE. Evidently by _Philip le Noir_, from his device at the end. It is
executed in a coarse small gothic letter; with a strange, barbarous
frontispiece. Another edition, having a copy of the same frontispiece,--
"_Nouuellement Imprimee a Troyes par Nicolas Oudot. 1649."_ 4to. Numerous
wood-cuts. In long lines, in the roman letter.

TREBISOND. At the end: for "_Iehan Trepperel demourat en la rue neufue
nostre dame A lenseigne de lescu de frac_. Without date, 4to. The device
of the printer is at the back of the colophon. This impression is executed
in the black letter, in double columns, with divers wood-cuts.

HECTOR DE TROYE. The title is over a bold wood-cut frontispiece, and
_Arnoullet_ has the honour of being printer of the volume. It is executed
in the black letter, in long lines. After the colophon, at the end, is a
leaf containing a wood-cut of a man and woman, which I remember to have
seen more than once before.

And now, methinks, you have had a pretty liberal assortment of ROMANCES
placed before you, and may feel disposed to breathe the open air, and quit
for a while this retired but interesting collection of ancient tomes. Here,
then, let us make a general obeisance and withdraw; especially as the
official announce of "deux heures viennent de sonner" dissipates the charm
of chivalrous fiction, and warns us to shut up our volumes and begone.


[81] [The only copy of it in England, UPON VELLUM, is that in the Royal
    Library in the British Museum.]

[82] [It seems that it is a production of the GIUNTI Press. Cat. _des
    Livr. &c. sur Vélin_, vol. ii. p. 59.]

[83] [I learn from M. Crapelet that this book is a _Lyons Counterfeit_
    of the Aldine Press; and that the _genuine_ Aldine volume, upon
    vellum, was obtained, after my visit to Paris, from the Macarthy
    Collection.]

[84] [I had blundered sadly, it seems, in the description of this book in
    the previous edition of this work: calling it a _Theocritus_, and
    saying there was a second copy on _large paper_. M. Crapelet is
    copious and emphatic in his detection of this error.]

[85] [I thank M. Crapelet for the following piece of information--from
    whatever source he may have obtained it: "The library of Henri II. and
    Diane de Poictiers was sold by public auction in 1724, after the death
    of Madame La Princesse Marie de Bourbon, wife of Louis-Joseph, Duc de
    Vendome, who became Proprietor of the Chateau d'Anet. The Library, was
    composed of a great number of MSS. and Printed Books, exceedingly
    precious. The sale catalogue of the Library, which is a small
    duodecimo of 50 pages, including the addenda, is become very scarce."
    CRAPELET; vol. iii. 347.

    My friend M. GAIL published a very interesting brochure, about ten
    years ago, entitled _Lettres Inedites de Henri II. Diane de Poitiers,
    Marie Stuart, François, Roi Dauphin &c_. Amongst these letters, there
    was only ONE specimen which the author could obtain of the _united_
    scription, or rather signatures, of Henry and Diana. Of these
    signatures he has given a fac-simile; for which the Reader, in common
    with myself, is here indebted to him. Below this _united_ signature,
    is one of Diana HERSELF--from a letter entirely written in her own
    hand. It must be confessed that she was no Calligraphist.

    [Autographs: Henri II, Diane de Poitiers]

[86] [My friend Mr. Drury possessed a similar copy.]

[87] It may not be generally known that one of the most minute and
    interesting accounts of this assassination is given in _Howell's
    Familiar Letters_. The author had it from a friend who was an
    eye-witness of the transaction.

[88] As for the "_singeing_."--or the reputed story of the greater
    part of them having been _burnt_--my opinion still continues to be as
    implied above: I will only now say that FORTUNATE is that _Vendor_ who
    can obtain _25l._ for a copy--be that copy brown or fair.

[89] [My friend, the late Robert Lang, Esq. whose extraordinary Collection
    of Romances was sold at the close of the preceding year, often told
    me, that THE ABOVE was the _only_ Romance which he wanted to complete
    his Collection.]

[90] Page 164, ante.



_LETTER VII._

LIBRARY OF STE. GENEVIÈVE. THE ABBÉ MERCIER ST. LÉGER. LIBRARY OF THE
MAZARINE COLLEGE, OR INSTITUTE. PRIVATE LIBRARY OF THE KING. MONS. BARBIER,
LIBRARIAN.


It is just possible that you may not have forgotten, in a previous letter,
the mention of STE. GENEVIÈVE--situated in the old quarter of Paris, on the
other side of the Seine; and that, in opposition to the _ancient_ place or
church, so called, there was the _new_ Ste. Geneviève--or the Pantheon. My
present business is with the _old_ establishment: or rather with the
LIBRARY, hard by the old church of Ste. Geneviève. Of all interiors of
libraries, this is probably the most beautiful and striking; and it is an
absolute reproach to the taste of antiquarian art at Paris, that so
beautiful an interior has not been adequately represented by the burin.
There is surely spirit and taste enough in this magnificent capital to
prevent such a reproach from being of a much longer continuance. But my
business is with the _original_, and not with any _copy_ of it--however
successful. M. Flocon is the principal librarian, but he is just now from
home[91]. M. Le Chevalier is the next in succession, and is rarely from his
official station. He is a portly gentleman; unaffected, good-natured, and
kind-hearted. He has lived much in England, and speaks our language
fluently: and catching my arm, and leaning upon it, he exclaimed, with a
sort of heart's chuckle--in English, "with all my soul I attend you to the
library."

On entering that singularly striking interior, he whispered gently in my
ear "you shall be consigned to a clever attendant, who will bring you what
you want, and I must then leave you to your occupations." "You cannot
confer upon me a greater favour," I replied. "Bon, (rejoined he) je vois
bien que vous aimez les livres. A ça, marchons." I was consigned to a
gentleman who sat at the beginning of the left rectangular compartment--for
the library is in the form of a cross--and making my bow to my worthy
conductor, requested he would retire to his own more important concerns. He
shook me by the hand, and added, in English--"Good day, God bless you,
Sir." I was not wanting in returning a similar salutation.

The LIBRARY OF STE. GENEVIÈVE exhibits a local of a very imposing, as well
as extensive, appearance. From its extreme length,--which cannot be less
than two hundred and thirty feet, as I should conjecture--it looks rather
low. Yet the ceiling being arched, and tolerably well ornamented, the whole
has a very harmonious appearance. In the centre is a cupola: of which the
elder Restout, about ninety years ago, painted the ceiling. They talk much
of this painting, but I was not disposed to look at it a second time. The
charm of the whole arises, first, from the mellow tone of light which is
admitted from the glazed top of this cupola; and, secondly, from the
numerous busts, arranged along the sides, which recal to your remembrance
some of the most illustrious characters of France--for arts, for arms, for
learning, and for public spirit. These busts are at the hither end, as you
enter. Busts of foreigners continue the suite towards the other
extremities. A good deal of white carved ornament presents itself, but not
unpleasantly: the principal ground colour being of a sombre tint,
harmonising with that of the books. The floor is of glazed tile. It was one
of the hottest of days when I first put my foot within this interior; and
my very heart seemed to be refreshed by the coolness--the tranquillity--the
congeniality of character--of every thing around me! In such a place,
"hours" (as Cowper somewhere expresses it) may be "thought down to
moments." A sort of soft, gently-stealing, echo accompanies every tread of
the foot. You long to take your place among the studious, who come every
day to read in the right compartment of the cross; and which compartment
they as regularly _fill_. Meanwhile, scarcely a whisper escapes them. The
whole is, indeed, singularly inviting to contemplation, research, and
instruction. But it was to the left of the cupola--and therefore opposite
the studious corps just mentioned--that M. Le Chevalier consigned me to my
bibliographical attendant. I am ignorant of his name, but cannot be
forgetful of his kind offices. The MS. Catalogue (they have no printed one)
was placed before me, and I was requested to cater for myself. Among the
_Libri Desiderati_ of the fifteenth century, I smiled to observe the
_Naples Horace of_ 1474 ... but you wish to be informed of the _acquired_,
and not of the _desiderated_, treasures. Prepare, therefore, for a treat--
of its kind.

LACTANTIUS. _Printed in the Soubiaco Monastery_. 1465. Folio. This was Pope
Pius the Sixth's copy. Indeed the greater number of the more valuable early
books belonged to that amiable Pontiff; upon whom Audiffredi (as you may
well remember) has passed so warm and so well merited an eulogium[92]. The
papal copy, however, has its margins scribbled upon, and is defective in
the leaf which contains the errata.

AUGUSTINUS DE CIVITATE DEI. _Printed in the same Monastery_. 1467. Folio.
The margins are broad, but occasionally much stained. The copy is also
short. From the same papal collection.

CICERO DE ORATORE. _Printed in the same Monastery_. _Without Date_. Folio.
A sound copy, but occasionally scribbled upon. The side margins are rather
closely cropt.

BIBLIA LATINA. 1462. Folio. 2 vols. I saw only the first volume, which
displays a well-proportioned length and breadth of margin. The
illuminations appear to be nearly coeval, and are of a soft and pleasing
style of execution. Yet the margins are rather deformed by the designation
of the chapters, in large roman numerals, of a sprawling character.

BIBLIA ITALICA. _Kalend. de Octobrio_. 1471. Folio. 2 vols. A perfectly
magnificent copy (measuring sixteen inches three eighths, by ten and six
eighths) of this very rare edition; of which a minute and particular
account will be found in the Catalogue of Earl Spencer's Library.[93] After
a careful inspection--rather than from actual comparison--I incline to
think that these noble volumes came from the press of _Valdarfer_. The copy
under description is bound in brown calf, with red speckled edges to the
leaves. This is a copy of an impression of which the library may justly be
proud.

BIBLIA POLONICA. 1599. Folio. In style of printing and embellishment like
our Coverdale's Bible of 1535. Whether it be a reprint (which is most
probable) of the famous Polish Bible of 1563, I am unable to ascertain.

VIRGILIUS. _Printed by Sweynheym and Pannartz_. (1469.) Folio. FIRST
EDITION; of the greatest rarity. Probably this is the finest copy (once
belonging to Pius VI.) which is known to exist; but it must be considered
as imperfect--wanting the Priapeia. And yet it may be doubted whether the
latter were absolutely printed by Sweynheym and Pannartz for their _first_
edition? This copy, bound in white calf, with the papal arms on the sides,
measures twelves inches and a quarter in length, by eight inches and five
eighths in width: but the state of the illumination, at the beginning of
the Bucolics, shews the volume to have been cropt--however slightly. All
the illuminations are quiet and pretty. Upon the whole, this is a very
precious book; and superior in most respects to the copy in the Royal
Library.[94]

PLINIUS SENIOR. 1469. Folio. EDITIO PRINCEPS. A copy from the same papal
library; very fine, both as to length and width.--You rarely meet with a
finer copy. _The Jenson edition_ of 1472 is here comparatively much
inferior.

CICERO. RHETORICA VETUS. _Printed by Jenson_. 1470. Folio. A great
curiosity: inasmuch as it is a copy UPON VELLUM. It has been cruelly cut
down, but the vellum is beautiful. It is also choked in the back, in
binding. From the collection of the same Pope.

SUETONIUS. _Printed by I.P. de Lignamine_. 1470. Folio. A magnificent copy;
measuring thirteen inches and one eighth in height. The first leaf is,
however, objectionable. From the same collection.

QUINTILIANUS. INSTITUTIONES. _By the same Printer_. 1470. Folio. This and
the preceding book are FIRST EDITIONS. A copy of equal beauty and equal
size with the Suetonius. From the same Collection.

PRISCIANUS. _Printed by V. de Spira_. 1470. Folio. First Edition. We have
here a truly delicious copy--UPON VELLUM--and much superior to a similar
copy in the Royal Library[95] I ought slightly to notice that a few of the
leaves, following the date, are tawny, and others mended. Upon the whole,
however, this is a book which rejoices the eye and warms the heart of a
classical bibliographer. It is bound in pale calf, with gilt stamped edges,
and once belonged to the Pontiff from whose library almost every
previously-described volume was obtained.

DANTE. _Printed by Petrus [Adam de Michaelibus.] Mantua_. 1472. Folio. A
large and fair copy of an exceedingly rare edition. It appears to be quite
perfect.

BOETIUS. _Printed by Frater Iohannes_ 1474. 4to. It is for the first time
that I open the leaves of this scarce edition. It is printed in a sharp and
rather handsome roman type, and this copy has sixty-three numbered leaves.

ANTHOLOGIA GRÆCA. 1498. 4to. We have here a most desirable copy--UPON
VELLUM, which is equally soft and white. It has been however peppered a
little by a worm, at the beginning and end; especially at the end. It is
coated in a goodly sort ofGaignat binding.

CICERONIS OPERA OMNIA. _Milan_. 1498. Folio. 4 vols. This is the finest
copy of this rare set of volumes which it has been my lot yet to examine;
but the dedication of the printer, Minutianus, to I.I. Trivulcius, on the
reverse of the first leaf of the first volume, is unluckily wanting. There
are, who would call this a _large paper_ copy.

MARSILIUS FICINUS: IN DIONYSIUM AREOPAGITAM. _Printed by Laurentius, the
Son of Franciscus a Venetian; at Florence. Without Date_. Folio. This is
certainly a very beautiful and genuine book, in this particular condition--
UPON VELLUM--but the small gothic type, in which it is printed, is a good
deal blurred. The binding is in its first state: in a deep red-coloured
leather, over boards. I should apprehend this impression to be chiefly
valuable on the score of rarity and high price, when it is found upon
vellum.

The foregoing are what I selected from the _Fifteeners_; after running an
attentive eye over the shelves upon which the books, of that description
are placed. In the same case or division where these Fifteeners are lodged,
there happen to be a few _Alduses_, UPON VELLUM--so beautiful, rare, and in
such uncommon condition, that I question whether M. Van Praet doth not
occasionally cast an envious eye upon these membranaceous treasures--
secretly, and perhaps commendably, wishing that some of them may one day
find their way into the Royal Collection!... You shall judge for yourself.

HOMERI OPERA. Gr. _Printed by Aldus. Without date_. 12mo. 2 vols. First
Aldine impression; and this copy perhaps yields only to the one in the
Royal Library.[96] These volumes are differently bound; but of the two,
that containing the _Iliad_, gains in length what it loses in breadth. The
vellum is equally soft, white, and well-conditioned; and perhaps,
altogether, the copy is only one little degree inferior to that in the
Royal Library. The Odyssey is bound in old red morocco, with stampt gilt
edges. This copy was purchased from the Salviati Library.

CICERONIS ORATIONES. _Printed at the Aldine Press_. 1519. 8vo. 3 vols.
Surely this copy is the _ne plus ultra_ of a VELLUM ALDUS! In size,
condition, and colour, nothing can surpass it. When I say this, I am not
unmindful of the Royal copies here, and more particularly of the _Pindar
and Ovid_ in St. James's Place. But, in truth, there reigns throughout the
rectos and reverses of each of these volumes, such a mellow, quiet, and
genuine tone of colour, that the most knowing bibliographer and the most
fastidious Collector cannot fail to express his astonishment on turning
over the leaves. They are bound in old red morocco, with the arms of a
Cardinal on the exterior; and (with the exception of the first volume,
which is some _very_ little shorter) full six inches and a half, by four
inches. Shew me its like if you can!

I shall mention only three more volumes; but neither of them Aldine; and
then take leave of the library of Ste. Geneviève.

MISSALE MOZARABICUM. 1500. Folio. A fine copy for size and colour; but
unluckily much wormed at the beginning, though a little less so at the end.
It measures nearly thirteen inches one quarter, by nine three eighths. From
the stamped arms of three stars and three lizards, this copy appears to
have belonged to the _Cardinal Juigné_, Archbishop of Paris; who had a fine
taste for early printed books.

VITRUVIUS, _Printed by the Giunti_, 1513. 8vo. A delicious copy; upon
white, soft, spotless VELLUM. I question if it be not superior to Mr.
Dent's;[97] as it measures six inches and three-quarters, by four. A cruel
worm, however, has perforated as far as folio 76; leaving one continued
hole behind him. The binding of this exquisite book is as gaudy as it is
vulgar.

TEWERDANCKHS. _Printed in 1517_. Folio. First Edition. This is doubtless a
fine copy--upon thick, but soft and white, VELLUM. Fortunately the plates
are uncoloured, and the copy is quite complete in the table. It measures
fifteen inches in length, by nine inches three quarters in width.

Such appeared to me, on a tolerably careful examination of the titles of
the volumes, to be among the chief treasures in the early and more curious
department of books belonging to the STE. GENEVIÈVE LIBRARY. Without doubt,
many more may be added; but I greatly suspect that the learned in
bibliography would have made pretty nearly a similar selection; Frequently,
during the progress of my examinations, I looked out of window upon the
square, or area, below--which was covered at times by numerous little
parties of youths (from the College of Henry IV.) who were partaking of all
manner of amusements, characteristic of their ages and habits. With, and
without, coats--walking, sitting, or running,--there they were! All gay,
all occupied, all happy:--unconscious of the alternate miseries and
luxuries of the _Bibliomania_!--unknowing in the nice distinctions of type
from the presses of _George Laver_, _Schurener de Bopardia_, and _Adam
Rot_: uninitiated in the agonising mysteries of rough edges, large margins,
and original bindings! But ...

  Where ignorance is bliss
    'Tis folly to be wise.

This is soberly quoted--not meaning thereby to scratch the cuticle, or
ruffle the temper, of a single Roxburgher. And now, my friend, as we are
about to quit this magnificent assemblage of books, I owe it to myself--but
much more to your own inextinguishable love of bibliographical history--to
say "one little word, or two"--ere we quit the threshold--respecting the
Abbé MERCIER SAINT LÉGER ... the head librarian, and great living ornament
of the collection, some fifty years ago. I am enabled to do this with the
greater propriety, as my friend M. Barbier is in possession of a number of
literary anecdotes and notices respecting the Abbé--and has supplied me
with a brochure, by Chardon De La Rochette, which contains a notice of the
life and writings of the character in question. I am sure you will be
interested by the account, limited and partial as it must necessarily be:
especially as I have known those, to whose judgments I always defer with
pleasure and profit, assert, that, of all BIBLIOGRAPHERS, the Abbé Mercier
St. Léger was the FIRST, in eminence, which France possessed, I have said
so myself a hundred times, and I repeat the asseveration. Yet we must not
forget Niceron.

Mercier Saint Léger was born on the 1st of April, 1734. At fifteen years of
age, he began to consider what line of life he should follow. A love of
knowledge, and a violent passion for study and retirement, inclined him to
enter the congregation of the _Chanoines Réguliers_--distinguished for men
of literature; and, agreeably to form, he went through a course of rhetoric
and philosophy, before he passed into divinity, as a resident in the Abbey
_de Chatrices_ in the diocese of _Chalons sur Marne_. It was there that he
laid the foundation of his future celebrity as a literary bibliographer. He
met there the venerable CAULET, who had voluntarily resigned the bishopric
of Grenoble, to pass the remainder of his days in the abbey in question--of
which he was the titular head--in the midst of books, solitude, and
literary society. Mercier Saint Léger quickly caught the old man's eye, and
entwined himself round his heart. Approaching blindness induced the
ex-bishop to confide the care of his library to St. Léger--who was also
instructed by him in the elements of bibliography and literary history. He
taught him also that love of order and of method which are so
distinguishable in the productions of the pupil. Death, however, in a
little time separated the master from the scholar; and the latter scarcely
ever mentioned the name, or dwelt upon the virtues, of the former, without
emotions which knew of no relief but in a flood of tears. The heart of
Mercier St. Léger was yet more admirable than his head.

St. Léger, at twenty years of age, returned to Paris. The celebrated Pingré
was chief librarian of the Ste. GENEVIEVE COLLECTION; and St. Léger
attached himself with ardour and affection to the society and instructions
of his Principal. He became joint SECOND LIBRARIAN in 1759; when Pingré,
eminent for astronomy, departing for India to observe the transit of Venus
over the sun's disk, St. Léger was appointed to succeed him as CHIEF--and
kept the place till the year 1772. These twelve years were always
considered by St. Léger as the happiest and most profitable of his life.
During this period he lent a helping hand in abridging the _Journal de
Trevoux_. In September, 1764, Louis XV. laid the foundation-stone, with
great pomp and ceremony, of the new church of Ste. Geneviève. After the
ceremony, he desired to see the library of the old establishment--in which
we have both been so long tarrying. Mercier spread all the more ancient and
curious books upon the table, to catch the eye of the monarch: who, with
sundry Lords of the bed-chamber, and his _own_ librarian BIGNON, examined
them with great attention, and received from Mercier certain information
respecting their relative value, and rarity. Every now and then Louis
turned round, and said to Bignon, "Bignon, have I got that book in my
library?" The royal librarian ... answered not a word--but hiding himself
behind CHOISEUL, the prime minister, seemed to avoid the sight of his
master. Mercier, however, had the courage and honesty to reply, "No, Sire,
that book is _not_ in your library." The king spent about an hour in
examining the books, chatting with the librarian, (Mercier) and informing
himself on those points in which he was ignorant. It was during this
conversation, that the noble spirit of Mercier was manifested. The building
of the library of St. Victor was in a very crazy state: it was necessary to
repair it, but the public treasury could not support that expense. "I will
tell your Majesty, (said Mercier) how this may be managed without costing
you a single crown. The headship of the Abbey of St. Victor is vacant: name
a new Abbot; upon condition, each year, of his ceding a portion of his
revenue to the reparation of the Library." If the king had had one spark of
generous feeling, he would have replied by naming Mercier to the abbey in
question, and by enjoining the strict fulfilment of his own proposition.
But it was not so. Yet the scheme was carried into effect, although others
had the glory of it. However, the king had not forgotten Mercier, nor the
bibliographical lesson which he had received in the library of Ste.
Geneviève. One of these lessons consisted in having the distinctive marks
pointed out of the famous _Bible of Sixtus V_. published in 1590. A short
time after, on returning from mass, along the great gallery of Versailles,
Louis saw the head librarian of Ste. Geneviève among the spectators.. and
turning to his prime minister, exclaimed "Choiseul, how can one distinguish
the _true_ Bible of Sixtus V.?" "Sire, (replied the unsuspecting minister)
I never was acquainted with that book." Then, addressing himself to
Mercier, the king repeated to him--without the least hesitation or
inaccuracy--the lesson which he had learnt in the library of Ste.
Geneviève. There are few stories, I apprehend, which redound so much to
this king's credit.

Louis gave yet more substantial proofs of his respect for his
bibliographical master, by appointing him, at the age of thirty-two, to the
headship of the abbey of _St. Léger de Soissons_--and hence our hero
derives his name. In 1772 Mercier surrendered the Ste. Geneviève library to
Pingré, on his return from abroad--and in the privacy of his own society,
set about composing his celebrated _Supplément à l'Histoire de l'Imprimerie
par Prosper Marchand_--of which the second edition, in 1775, is not only
more copious but more correct. The Abbé Rive, who loved to fasten his teeth
in every thing that had credit with the world, endeavoured to shake the
reputation of this performance.. but in vain. Mercier now travelled abroad;
was received every where with banqueting and caresses; a distinction due to
his bibliographical merits--and was particularly made welcome by Meerman
and Crevenna. M. Ochéda, Earl Spencer's late librarian--and formerly
librarian to Crevenna--has often told me how pleased he used to be with
Mercier's society and conversation during his visit to Crevenna. On his
return, Mercier continued his work, too long suspended, upon the LATIN
POETS OF THE MIDDLE AGE. His object was, to give a brief biography of each;
an analysis of their works, with little brilliant extracts and piquant
anecdotes; traits of history little known; which, say Chardon De La
Rochette and M. Barbier, (who have read a great part of the original MS.)
"are as amusing as they are instructive."

But the Revolution was now fast approaching, and the meek spirit of Mercier
could ill sustain the shock of such a frightful calamity. Besides, he loved
his country yet dearer than his books. His property became involved: his
income regularly diminished; and even his privacy was invaded. In 1792 a
decree passed the convention for issuing a "Commission for the examination
of monuments." Mercier was appointed one of the thirty-three members of
which the commission was composed, and the famous Barrère was also of the
number. Barrère, fertile in projects however visionary and destructive,
proposed to Mercier, as a _bright thought_, "to make a short extract from
every book in the national library: to have these extracts superbly printed
by Didot;--and to ... BURN ALL THE BOOKS FROM WHICH THEY WERE TAKEN!" It
never occurred to this revolutionising idiot that there might be a
_thousand_ copies of the _same work_, and that some hundreds of these
copies might be OUT of the national library! Of course, Mercier laughed at
the project, and made the projector ashamed of it.[98] Robespierre, rather
fiend than man, now ruled the destinies of France. On the 7th of July,
1794, Mercier happened to be passing along the streets when he saw
_sixty-seven human beings_ about to undergo the butchery of the GUILLOTINE.
Every avenue was crowded by spectators--who were hurrying towards the
horrid spectacle. Mercier was carried along by the torrent; but, having
just strength enough to raise his head, he looked up ... and beheld his old
and intimate friend the ex-abbé ROGER ... in the number of DEVOTED VICTIMS!
That sight cost him his life. A sudden horror ... followed by alternate
shiverings, and flushings of heat ... immediately seized him. A cold
perspiration hung upon his brow. He was carried into the house of a
stranger. His utterance became feeble and indistinct, and it seemed as if
the hand of death were already upon him.

Yet he rallied awhile. His friends came to soothe him. Hopes were
entertained of a rapid and perfect recovery. He even made a few little
visits to his friends in the vicinity of Paris. But ... his fine full
figure gradually shrunk: the colour as gradually deserted his cheek--and
his eye sensibly lacked that lustre which it used to shed upon all around.
His limbs became feeble, and his step was both tremulous and slow. He
lingered five years ... and died at ten at night, on the 13th of May 1799,
just upon the completion of his jubilee of his bibliographical toil. What
he left behind, as annotations, both in separate papers, and on the margins
of books, is prodigious. M. Barbier shewed me his projected _third_ edition
of the _Supplément to Marchand_, and a copy of the _Bibliothèque Françoise
of De La Croix du Maine_, &c. covered, from one end to the other, with
marginal notes by him.[99] That amiable biographer also gave me one of his
little bibliographical notices, as a specimen of his hand writing and of
his manner of pursuing his enquiries.[100]

Such are the feelings, and such the gratifications; connected with a view
of the LIBRARY of STE. GENEVIÈVE. Whenever I visit it, I imagine that the
gentle spirit of MERCIER yet presides there; and that, as it is among the
most ancient, so is it among the most interesting, of BOOK LOCALS in Paris.

Come away with me, now, to a rival collection of books--in the MAZARINE
COLLEGE, or Institute. Of the magnificence of the exterior of this building
I have made mention in a previous letter. My immediate business is with the
interior; and more especially with that portion of it which relates to
_paper_ and _print_. You are to know, however, that this establishment
contains _two Libraries_; one, peculiar to the Institute, and running at
right angles with the room in which the members of that learned body
assemble: the other, belonging to the College, to the left, on entering the
first square--from the principal front.

The latter is the _old_ collection, of the time of Cardinal Mazarin, and
with _that_ I begin. It is deposited chiefly on the first floor; in two
rooms running at right angles with each other: the two, about 140 feet
long. These rooms may be considered very lofty; certainly somewhat more
elevated than those in the Royal Library. The gallery is supported by
slender columns, of polished oak, with Corinthian capitals. The general
appearance is airy and imposing. A huge globe, eight feet in diameter, is
in the centre of the angle where the two rooms meet. The students read in
either apartment: and, as usual, the greatest order and silence prevail.
But not a _Fust and Schoiffher_--nor a _Sweynheym and Pannartz_--nor an
_Ulric Han_--in this lower region ... although they say the collection
contains about 90,000 volumes. What therefore is to be done? The attendant
sees your misery, and approaches: "Que desirez vous, Monsieur?" That
question was balm to my agitated spirits. "Are the old and more curious
books deposited here?" "Be seated, Sir. You shall know in an instant." Away
goes this obliging creature, and pulls a bell by the side of a small door.
In a minute, a gentleman, clothed in black--the true bibliographical
attire--descends. The attendant points to me: we approach each other: "A la
bonne heure--je suis charmé...." You will readily guess the remainder.
"Donnez vous la peine de monter." I followed my guide up a small winding
stair-case, and reached the topmost landing place. A succession of small
rooms--(I think _ten_ in number) lined with the _true_ furniture, strikes
my astonished eye, and makes warm my palpitating heart. "This is
charming"--exclaimed I, to my guide, Monsieur Thiebaut--"this is as it
should be." M. Thieubaut bowed graciously.

The floors are all composed of octagonal, deeply-tinted red, tiles: a
little too highly glazed, as usual; but cool, of a good picturesque tint,
and perfectly harmonising with the backs of the books. The first little
room which you gain, contains a plaster-bust of the late Abbé HOOKE,[101]
who lived sometime in England with the good Cardinal----. His bust faces
another of Palissot. You turn to the right, and obtain the first
foreshortened view of the "ten little chambers" of which I just spoke. I
continued to accompany my guide: when, reaching the _first_ of the last
_three_ rooms, he turned round and bade me remark that these last three
rooms were devoted exclusively to "books printed in the _Fifteenth
Century_: of which they possessed about fifteen hundred." This intelligence
recruited my spirits; and I began to look around with eagerness. But alas!
although the crop was plentiful, a deadly blight had prevailed. In other
words, there was number without choice: quantity rather than quality. Yet I
will not be ill-natured; for, on reaching the third of these rooms, and the
last in the suite, Monsieur Thiebaut placed before me the following select
articles.

BIBLIA LATINA. _Printed by Fust and Schoiffher: Without Date, but supposed
to be in the year 1455 or 1456_. Folio. 2 vols. For the last dozen years of
my life, I had earnestly desired to see this copy: not because I had heard
much of its beauty, but because it is the _identical_ copy which gave rise
to the calling of this impression the MAZARINE BIBLE.[102] Certainly, all
those copies which I had previously seen--and they cannot be fewer than ten
or twelve--were generally superior; nor must this edition be henceforth
designated as "of the very first degree of rarity."

BIBLIA LATINA. _Printed by the Same_, 1462. Folio. 2 vols. A fair, sound,
large copy: UPON VELLUM. The date is printed in red, at the end of each
volume--a variety, which is not always observable. This copy is in red
morocco binding.

BIBLIA ITALICA. _Printed by Vindelin de Spira, Kalend. August. 1471_.
Folio. 2 vols. A fine copy of an extremely rare edition; perhaps the rarest
of all those of the early Italian versions of the Bible. It is in calf
binding, but cropt a little.

LEGENDA SANCTORUM. Italicè. "_Impresse per Maestro Nicolo ienson, &c.
Without Date_. Folio. The author of the version is _Manerbi_: and the
present is the _first impression_ of it. It is executed in double columns,
in the usually delicate style of printing by Jenson: and this volume is
doubtless among the rarer productions of the printer.

SERVIUS IN VIRGILIUM. _Printed by Ulric Han. Without Date_. Folio. This is
a volume of the most unquestionable rarity; and _such_ a copy of it as that
now before me, is of most uncommon occurrence.[103] Can this be surprising,
when I tell you that it once belonged to Henri II. and Diane de Poictiers!
The leaves absolutely talk to you, as you turn them over. Yet why do I find
it in my heart to tell you that, towards the middle, many leaves are
stained at the top of the right margin?! There are also two worm holes
towards the end. But what then? The sun has its spots.

PLAUTUS. 1472. Folio. Editio Princeps. Although _this_ volume came also
from the collection of the _illustrious Pair_ to whom the previous one
belonged, yet is it unworthy of such owners. I suspect it has been cropt in
its second binding. It is stained all through, at top, and the three
introductory leaves are cruelly repellent.

CÆSAR. 1469. Folio. Editio Princeps. A very fine, genuine copy; in the
original binding--such as all Sweynheym and Pannartz's _ought_ to be. It is
tall and broad: but has been unluckily too much written upon.

LACTANTIUS. 1470. _By the same Printers_. Perhaps, upon the whole, the
finest copy of this impression which exists. Yet a love of truth compels me
to observe--only in a very slight sound, approaching to a whisper--that
there are indications of the ravages of the worm, both at the beginning and
end; but very, very trivial. It is bound like the preceding volume; and
measures thirteen inches and nearly three quarters, by about nine inches
and one eighth.

CICERO DE OFFICIIS. 1466. 4to. Second Edition, upon paper; and therefore
rare. But this copy is sadly stained and wormed.

CICERO DE NATURA DEORUM, &c. _Printed by Vindelin de Spiraa_. 1471. Folio.
A fine sound copy, in the original binding.

SILIUS ITALICUS. _Printed by Laver_. 1471. Folio. A good, sound copy; and
among the very rarest books from the press of Laver, in such condition.

CATULLUS, TIBULLUS, ET PROPERTIUS. 1472. Folio. The knowing, in early
classical bibliography, are aware that this _Editio Princeps_ is perhaps to
be considered as only _one_ degree below the first impressions of Lucretius
and Virgil in rarity. The longest life may pass away without an opportunity
of becoming the purchaser of such a treasure. The present is a tall, fair
copy; quite perfect. In red morocco binding.

DANTE. _Printed by Numeister_. 1472. Folio. Considered to be the earliest
impression. This is rather a broad than a tall copy; and not free from
stain and the worm. But it is among the very best copies which I have seen.

       *       *       *       *       *

It will not be necessary to select more flowers from this choice corner of
the tenth and last room of the upper suite of apartments: nor am I sure
that, upon further investigation, the toil would be attended with any very
productive result. Yet I ought not to omit observing to you that this
Library owes its chief celebrity to the care, skill, and enthusiasm of the
famous _Gabriel Naudé_, the first librarian under the Cardinal its founder.
Of Naudé, you may have before read somewhat in certain publications;[104]
where his praises are set forth with no sparing hand. He was perhaps never
excelled in activity, bibliographical _diplomacy_, or zeal for his master;
and his expressive countenance affords the best index of his ardent mind.
He purchased every where, and of all kinds, of bodies corporate and of
individuals. But you must not imagine that the _Mazarine Library_, as you
now behold it, is precisely of the same dimensions, or contains the same
books, as formerly. If many rare and precious volumes have been disposed
of, or are missing, or lost, many have been also procured. The late
librarian was LUCAS JOSEPH HOOKE, and the present is Mons. PETIT
RADEL.[105] We will descend, therefore, from these quiet and congenial
regions; and passing through the lower rooms, seek the _other_ collection
of books attached to this establishment.

The library, which is more immediately appropriated to the INSTITUTE OF
FRANCE, may consist of 20,000 volumes,[106] and is contained in a long
room--perhaps of one hundred feet--of which the further extremity is
supposed to be _adorned_ by a statue of VOLTAIRE. This statue is raised
within a recess, and the light is thrown upon it from above from a
concealed window. Of all deviations from good taste, this statue exhibits
one of the most palpable. Voltaire, who was as thin as a hurdle, and a mere
bag of bones, is here represented as an almost _naked_ figure, sitting: a
slight mantle over his left arm being the only piece of drapery which the
statue exhibits. The poet is slightly inclining his head to the left,
holding a pen in his right hand. The countenance has neither the fire,
force, nor truth, which Denon's terra-cotta head of the poet seems to
display. The extremities are meagre and offensive. In short, the whole, as
it appears to me, has an air approaching the burlesque. Opposite to this
statue are the colossal busts of LA-GRANGE and MALESHERBES; while those of
PEIRESC and FRANKLIN are nearly of the size of nature. They are all in
white marble. That of Peiresc has considerable expression.

This may be called a collection of _Books of Business_; in other words, of
books of almost every day's reference--which every one may consult. It is
particularly strong in _Antiquities_ and _History_: and for the latter, it
is chiefly indebted to Dom Brial--the living father of French
history[107]--that excellent and able man (who is also one of the
Secretaries of the Institute) having recommended full two-thirds of the
_long sets_ (as they are called) which relate to ancient history. The
written catalogue is contained in fourteen folio volumes, interleaved;
there being generally only four articles written in a page, and those four
always upon the recto of each leaf. This is a good plan: for you may insert
your acquisitions, with the greatest convenience, for a full dozen years to
come. No _printed_ catalogue of either of these libraries, or of those of
the Arsenal and Ste. Geneviève, exists: which I consider to be a
_stain_--much more frightful than that which marks the copy of the
"_Servius in Virgilium_," just before described!

It remains now to make mention of a _third_ Collection of Books--which may
be considered in the light both of a public and a private Library. I mean,
the Collection appropriated more particularly for the _King's private
use_,[108] and which is deposited beneath the long gallery of the Louvre.
Its local is as charming as it is peculiar. You walk by the banks of the
Seine, in a line with the south side of the Louvre, and gain admittance
beneath an archway, which is defended by an iron grating. An attendant, in
the royal livery, opens the door of the library--just after you have
ascended above the entresol. You enquire "whether Monsieur BARBIER, the
chief Librarian, be within?" "Sir, he is never absent. Be pleased to go
straight forward, as far as you can see."[109] What a sight is before me!
Nothing less than _thirteen_ rooms, with a small arched door in the centre,
through which I gaze as if looking through a tube. Each of these rooms is
filled with books; and in one or the other of them are assembled the
several visitors who come to read. The whole is perfectly magical.
Meanwhile the nephew of M. Barbier walks quickly, but softly, from one room
to another, to take down the several volumes enquired after. At length,
having paced along upwards of 200 feet of glazed red tile, and wondering
when this apparently interminable suite of apartments will end, I view my
estimable friend, the HEAD LIBRARIAN deeply occupied in some correction of
Bayle or of Moreri--sitting at the further extremity. His reception of me
is more than kind. It is hearty and enthusiastic.

"Now that I am in this magical region, my good friend, allow me to inspect
the famous PRAYER BOOK of CHARLEMAGNE?"--was my first solicitation to Mons.
Barbier. "Gently,"--said my guide. "You are almost asking to partake of
forbidden fruit. But I suppose you must not be disappointed." This was only
sharpening the edge of my curiosity--for "wherefore this mystery, good M.
Barbier?" "_That_ you may know another time. The book is here: and you
shall immediately inspect it."--was his reply. M. Barbier unlocked the
recess in which it is religiously preserved; took off the crimson velvet in
which it is enveloped; and springing backward only two feet and a half,
exclaimed, on presenting it, "Le voilà--dans toute sa beauté pristine." I
own that I even forgot _Charles the Bald_--and eke his imperial brother
_Lotharius_,[110]--as I gazed upon the contents of it. With these contents
it is now high time that you should be made acquainted.

EVANGELISTARIUM, or PRAYER BOOK--once belonging to CHARLEMAGNE. Folio. The
subject-matter of this most precious book is thus arranged. In the first
place, there are five large illuminations, of the entire size of the page,
which are much discoloured. The first four represent the _Evangelists_:
each sitting upon a cushion, not unlike a bolster. The fifth is the figure
of our SAVIOUR. The back ground is purple: the pillow-like seat, upon which
Christ sits, is scarlet, relieved by white and gold. The upper garment of
the figure is dark green: the lower, purple, bordered in part with gold.
The foot-stool is gold: the book, in the left hand, is red and gold: the
arabesque ornaments, in the border, are blue, red, and gold. The hair of
our Saviour is intended to be flaxen.

The text is in double columns, upon a purple ground, within an arabesque
border of red, purple, yellow, and bluish green. It is uniformly executed
in letters of gold, of which the surface is occasionally rather splendid.
It consists of a series of gospel extracts, for the whole year, amounting
to about two hundred and forty-two. These extracts terminate with "_Et ego
resuscitabo eum in novissimo die. Amen_"

Next comes a Christian Calendar, from the dominical year Dcclxxv. to
Dccxcvii. On casting the eye down these years, and resting it on that of
Dcclxxxi, you observe, in the columns of the opposite leaf, this very
important entry, or memorandum--in the undoubted writing of the time: "_In
isto Anno ivit Dominus_, REX KAROLUS, _ad scm Petrvm et baptisatus est
filius eius_ PIPPINUS _a Domino Apostolico_;" from which I think it is
evident (as is observed in the account of this precious volume in the
_Annales Encyclopédiques_, vol. iii. p. 378) that this very book was
commanded to be written chiefly to perpetuate a notice of the baptism, by
Pope Adrian, of the emperor's son PIPPIN.[111] There is no appearance
whatever of fabrication, in this memorandum. The whole is coeval, and
doubtless of the time when it is professed to have been executed. The last
two pages are occupied by Latin verses, written in a lower-case, cursive
hand; but contemporaneous, and upon a purple ground. From these verses we
learn that the last scribe, or copyist, of the text of this splendid
volume, was one GODESCALE, or GODSCHALCUS, a German. The verses are
reprinted in the _Décades Philosophiques_.

This MS. was given to the _Abbey of St. Servin_, at Toulouse; and it was
religiously preserved there, in a case of massive silver, richly embossed,
till the year 1793; when the silver was stolen, and the book carried off,
with several precious relics of antiquity, by order of the President of the
Administration, (Le Sieur S*****) and thrown into a magazine, in which were
many other vellum MSS. destined ... TO BE BURNT! One's blood curdles at the
narrative. There it lay--- expecting its melancholy fate; till a Monsieur
de Puymaurin, then detained as a prisoner in the magazine, happened to
throw his eye upon the precious volume; and, writing a certain letter about
it, to a certain quarter--(which letter is preserved in the fly leaves, but
of which I was denied the transcription, from motives of delicacy--) an
order was issued by government for the conveyance of the MS. to the
metropolis. This restoration was effected in May 1811.[112] I think you
must admit, that, in every point of view, THIS MS. ranks among the most
interesting and curious, as well as the most ancient, of those in the
several libraries of Paris.

But this is the _only_ piece of antiquity, of the book kind, in the
Library. Of modern performances, I ought to mention a French version of
OSSIAN, in quarto, which was the favourite reading book of the ex-Emperor;
and to which Isabey, at his express command, prefixed a frontispiece after
the design of Gérard. This frontispiece is beautifully and tenderly
executed: a group of heroes, veiled in a mist, forms the back-ground. The
only other modern curiosity, in this way, which I deem it necessary to
notice, is a collection of ORIGINAL DRAWINGS of flowers, in water colours,
by RÉDOUTÉ, upon vellum: in seven folio volumes; and which cost 70,000
francs.[113] Nothing can exceed--and very few efforts of the pencil can
equal--this wonderful performance. Such a collection were reasonable at the
fore-mentioned price.

And now, my good friend, suppose I furnish you with an outline of the
worthy head-librarian himself? A.A. BARBIER has perhaps not long "turned
the corner" of his fiftieth year. Peradventure he may be fifty three.[114]
In stature, he is above the middle height, but not very tall. In form, he
is robust; and his countenance expressive of great conciliatoriness and
benignity. There is a dash of the "old school" about the attire of M.
Barbier, which I am Goth enough to admire: while his ardour of
conversation, and rapidity of utterance, relieved by frequent and
expressive smiles, make his society, equally agreeable and instructive. He
is a literary bibliographer to the very back bone; and talks of what he has
done, and of what he purposes to do, with a "gaieté de coeur" which is
quite delightful. He is now engaged in an _Examen Critique et Complément
des Dictionnaires Historiques les plus repandus_;[115] while his
_Dictionnaire des Auteurs Anonymes et Pseudonymes_, in 4 vols. 8vo., and
his _Bibliothéque d'un Homme de gout_," in five similar volumes, have
already placed him in the foremost rank of French bibliographers. Such is
his attention to the duties of his situation, as Librarian, that from one
year's end to the other, with the exception of Sundays, he has _no
holiday_. His home-occupations, after the hours of public employment (from
twelve to four) are over, are not less unintermitting--in the pursuits of
literary bibliography.

It was at this home, that M. Barbier shewed me, in his library, some of the
fruits of his long and vigorously pursued "travail." He possesses Mercier
Saint Léger's own copy of his intended _third_ edition of the _Supplement
to Marchand's History of Printing_. It is, in short, the second edition,
covered with ms. notes in the hand-writing of Mercier himself.[117] He also
possesses (but as the property of the Royal Library) the same eminent
bibliographer's copy of the _Bibliothèque Française De La Croix du Maine_,
in six volumes, covered in like manner with ms. notes by the same hand. To
a man of M. Barbier's keen literary appetite, this latter must prove an
inexhaustible feast. I was shewn, in this same well-garnished, but
unostentatious collection, GOUJET'S own catalogue of his own library. It is
in six folio volumes; well written; with a ruled frame work round each
page, and an ornamental frontispiece to the first volume. Every book in the
catalogue has a note subjoined; and the index is at once full and
complete.[118] M. Barbier has rather a high notion, and with justice, of
Goujet: observing to me, that _five_ volumes, out of the _ten_ of the last
edition of Moreri's Dictionary--which were edited by Goujet--as well as his
_Bibliothéque Française_, in eighteen duodecimo volumes--entitled him to
the lasting gratitude of posterity. On my remarking that the want of an
index, to this _latter_ work, was a great drawback to the use which might
be derived from it, M.B. readily coincided with me--and hoped that a
projected new edition would remedy this defect. M.B. also told me that
Goujet was the editor of the _Dictionnaire de Richelet_, of 1758, in three
folio volumes--which had escaped my recollection.

My first visit to M. Barbier was concluded by his begging my acceptance of
a copy of the _first edition of Phædrus_, in 1596, 12mo.; which contained,
bound up with it, a copy of the _second_ edition of 1600; with various
readings to the _latter_, from a MS. which was burnt in 1774. This gift was
expressly intended for Lord Spencer's library, and in a few months from
hence (as I have previously apprized his Lordship) it shall "repose upon
the shelves" of his Collection.[119]

It is now high time to relieve you; as you must begin to be almost wearied
with BIBLIOGRAPHY. You have indeed, from the tenor of these five last
letters, been made acquainted with some of the chief treasures in the
principal libraries of Paris. You have wandered with me through a world of
books; and have been equally, with myself, astonished and delighted with
what has been placed before you. Here, then, I drop the subject of
bibliography--only to be resumed as connected with an account of book-men.


[91] [Because I have said that M. FLOCON was "from home" at the time I
    visited the library, and that M. Le CHEVALIER was rarely to be found
    abroad, M. Crapelet lets loose such a tirade of vituperation as is
    downright marvellous and amusing to peruse. Most assuredly I was not
    to know M. Flocon's bibliographical achievements and distinction by
    _inspiration_; and therefore I hasten to make known both the one and
    the other--in a version of a portion of the note of my sensitive
    translator: "M. Flocon is always at work; and one of the most zealous
    Librarians in Paris: he has worked twenty years at a Catalogue of the
    immense Library of Ste. Geneviève, of which the fruits are,
    twenty-four volumes--ready for press. Assuredly such a man cannot be
    said to pass his life away from his post." CRAPELET, vol iv. p. 3, 4.
    Most true--and who has said that HE DOES? Certainly not the Author of
    this Work. My translator must have here read without his spectacles.]

[92] _Editiones Italicæ_; 1793. _Præf._

[93] Vol. i. p. 63-7. It is there observed that "there does not seem to be
    any reason for assigning this edition, to a _Roman_ press."

[94] See page 116 ante

[95] See page 139 ante.

[96] See page 145 ante.

[97] [Now the property of the Right Hon. T. Grenville; having been
    purchased at the sale of Mr. Dent's Library for 107_l_.]

[98] M. Crapelet doubts the truth of this story. He need not.

[99] [See the account of M. Barbier, post.]

[100] It is on a small piece of paper, addressed to M. Barbier: "Cherchez
    dans les depôts bien soigneusement, tous les ouvrages d'ANDRE CIRINE:
    entr'autres ses _De Venatione libri ii: Messanæ_ 1650. 8vo. _De natura
    et solertia Canum; Panormi_, 1653. 4to. _De Venatione et Natura
    Animalium Libri V. ibid_, 1653. 3 vol. in 4to.--tous avec figures
    gravées en bois. Peut être dans la _Bibl. des Théatres_ y étoient-ils.
    Je me recommande toujours à M, Barbier pour la _Scala Coeli_, in
    folio, pour les _Lettres de Rangouge_, et pour les autres livres qu'il
    a bien voulu se charger de rechercher pour moy." ST. LEGER.

[101] The Abbé Hooke preceded the abbé Le Blond; the late head librarian.
    The present head librarian M. PETIT RADEL, has given a good account of
    the Mazarine Library in his _Recherches sur les Bibliotheques_, &c.
    1819, 8vo.; but he has been reproached with a sort of studied omission
    of the name of Liblond--who, according to a safe and skilful writer,
    may be well considered the SECOND FOUNDER of the Mazarine Library. The
    Abbé Liblond died at St. Cloud in 1796. In M. Renouard's Catalogue of
    his own books, vol. ii. p. 253, an amusing story is told about Hooke's
    successor, the Abbé Le Blond, and Renouard himself.

[102] _Bibl. Spenceriana_, vol. i. p. 3, &c. and page 154 ante.

[103] When Lord Spencer was at Paris in 1819, he told MM. Petit Radel and
    Thiebaut, who attended him, that it was "the finest copy he had ever
    seen." Whereupon, one of these gentlemen wrote with a pencil, in the
    fly-leaf, "Lord Spencer dit que c'est le plus bel exemplaire qu'il ait
    vu." And well might his Lordship say so.

[104] _Bibliomania_, p. 50. _Bibliographical Decameron_, vol. ii.
    p. 493.

[105] Mons. Petit-Radel has lately (1819) published an interesting octavo
    volume, entitled "_Recherches sur les Bibliothéques anciennes et
    modernes,&c._ with a "_Notice Historique sur la Bibliothéque
    Mazarine_: to which latter is prefixed a plate, containing portraits
    in outline, of Mazarin, Colbert, Naudé and Le Blond." At the end, is a
    list of the number of volumes in the several public libraries at
    Paris: from which the following is selected.

    ROYAL LIBRARY    _Printed Volumes_ about         350,000
                     _Ditto, as brochures_, &c.      350,000
                             Manuscripts              50,000

    LIBRARY OF THE ARSENAL   Printed Volumes         150,000
                             Manuscripts               5,000

    LIBRARY OF ST. GENEVIEVE Printed Volumes         110,000
                             Manuscripts               2,000

    MAZARINE LIBRARY         Printed Volumes          90,000
                             Manuscripts               3,500

    LIBRARY OF THE PREFECTURE
    (Hotel de la Ville)      Printed Volumes          15,000

   ------- INSTITUTE        Printed Volumes           50,000

    This last calculation I should think very incorrect. M. Petit Radel
    concludes his statement by making the WHOLE NUMBER OF ACCESSIBLE
    VOLUMES IN Paris amount to _One Million, one hundred and twenty-five
    thousand, four hundred and thirty-seven_. In the several DEPARTMENTS
    OF FRANCE, collectively, there is _more_ than that number. But see the
    note ensuing.

[106] [Mons. Crapelet says, 60,000 volumes: but I have more faith in the
    first, than in the second, computation: not because it comes from
    myself, but because a pretty long experience, in the numbering of
    books, has taught me to be very moderate in my numerical estimates. I
    am about to tell the reader rather a curious anecdote connected with
    this subject. He may, or he may not, be acquainted with the Public
    Library at Cambridge; where, twenty-five years ago, they boasted of
    having 90,000 volumes; and now, 120,000 volumes. In the year 1823, I
    ventured to make, what I considered to be, rather a minute and
    carefull calculation of the whole number: and in a sub note in the
    _Library Companion_, p. 657, edit. 1824, stated my conviction of that
    number's not exceeding 65,000 volumes, including MSS. In the following
    year, a very careful estimate was made, by the Librarians, of the
    whole number:--and the result was, that there were only.... 64,800
    volumes!]

[107] Now, numbered with THE DEAD. Vide post.

[108] [The translation of the whole of the concluding part of this letter,
    beginning from above, together with the few notes supplied, as seen in
    M. Crapelet's publication, is the work of M. Barbier's nephew.]

[109] [For M. Barbier Junior's note, which, in M. Crapelet's publication,
    is here subjoined, consult the end of the Letter.]

[110] See pages 65-7 ante.

[111] [This conclusion is questioned with acuteness and success by M.
    Barbier's nephew. It seems rather that the MS. was finished in 781, to
    commemorate the victories of Charlemagne over his Lombardic enemies in
    774.]

[112] [This restoration, in the name of the City of Toulouse, was made in
    the above year--on the occasion of the baptism of Bonaparte's son. But
    it was not placed in the King's private library till 1814. BARBIER
    Jun.]

[113] [Now complete in 8 volumes--at the cost of 80,000 francs!]

[114] [The latter was the true guess: for M. Barbier died in 1825, in his
    60th year.]

[115] It was published in 1821. In one of his recent letters to me, the
    author thus observes--thereby giving a true portraiture of himself--
    "Je sais, Monsieur, quelle est votre ardeur pour le travail: je sais
    aussi que c'est le moyen d'être heureux: ainsi je vous félicite d'être
    constamment occupé." M. Barbier is also one of the contributors to the
    _Biographie Universelle_,[116] and has written largely in the _Annales
    Encyclopédiques_. Among his contributions to the latter, is a very
    interesting "_Notice des principaux écrits relatifs à la personne et
    aux ouvrages de J.J. Rousseau_." His "_Catalogue des livres dans la
    Bibliothéque du Conseil d'Etat_, transported to Fontainbleau in 1807,
    and which was executed in a handsome folio volume, in 1802, is a
    correct and useful publication. I boast with justice of a copy of it,
    on fine paper, of which the author several years ago was so obliging
    as to beg my acceptance. [From an inscription in the fly-leaf of this
    Catalogue, I present the reader with a fac-simile of the hand-writing
    of its distinguished author.]

    [Autograph]


[116] [I "ALONE am responsible for this Sin. _Suum Cuique_."
    BARBIER, Jun.]

[117] [These volumes form the numbers 1316 and 1317 of the Catalogue of M.
    Barbier's library, sold by auction in 1828.]

[118] [Consult _Bibl. Barbier_: Nos. 1490, 1491, 1861.]

[119] [The agreeable and well instructed Bibliographer, to the
    praises of whom, in the preceding edition of this work, I was too
    happy to devote the above few pages, is now NO MORE. Mons. Barbier
    died in 1825, and his library--the richest in literary bibliography in
    Paris,--was sold in 1828. On referring to page 197 ante, it will be
    seen that I have alluded to a note of M. Barbier's nephew, of which
    some mention was to be made in this place. I will give that note in
    its _original language_, because the most felicitous version of it
    would only impair its force. It is subjoined to these words of my
    text: "Be pleased to go strait forward as far as you can see."
    "L'homme de service lui-même ne ferait plus cette rêponse aujourd'hui.
    Peu de temps après l'impression du Voyage de M. Dibdin, ce qu'on
    appelle une _organisation_ eut lieu. Après vingt-sept ans de travaux
    consacrés à la bibliographique et aux devoirs de sa place, M. Barbier,
    que ses fonctions paisibles avoient protégés contre les terribles
    dénonciations de 1815, n'a pu régister, en 1822, aux délations
    mensongères de quelque commis sous M. Lauriston.

      _Insere nunc, Meliboee, pyros; pone ordine vites_!

    J'ai partagé pendant vingt ans les travaux de mon oncle pour former la
    bibliothéque de la couronne, et j'ai du, ainsi que lui, être mis a la
    retraite au moment de la promotion du nouveau Conservateur." CRAPELET,
    vol. iv. p. 45.

    I will not pretend to say _what_ were the causes which led to such a
    disgraceful, because wholly unmerited, result. But I have reason to
    BELIEVE that a dirty faction was at work, to defame the character of
    the Librarian, and in consequence, to warp the judgment of the
    Monarch. Nothing short of infidelity to his trust should have moved
    SUCH a Man from the Chair which he had so honourably filled in the
    private Library of Louis XVIII. But M. Barbier was beyond suspicion on
    this head; and in ability he had perhaps, scarcely an equal--in the
    particular range of his pursuits. His _retreating_ PENSION was a very
    insufficient balm to heal the wounds which had been inflicted upon
    him; and it was evident to those, who had known him long and well,
    that he was secretly pining at heart, and that his days of happiness
    were gone. He survived the dismissal from his beloved Library only
    five years: dying in the plenitude of mental vigour. I shall always
    think of him with no common feelings of regret: for never did a kinder
    heart animate a well-stored head. I had hoped, if ever good fortune
    should carry me again to Paris, to have renewed, in person, an
    acquaintance, than which none had been more agreeable to me, since my
    first visit there in 1818: But ... "Diis aliter visum est." There is
    however a mournful pleasure in making public these attestations to the
    honour of his memory; and, in turn, I must be permitted to quote from
    the same author as the nephew of M. Barbier has done....

      His saltem accumulem donis, et fungar inani
      Munere....

    Perhaps the following anecdote relating to the deceased, may be as
    acceptable as it is curious. Those of my readers who have visited
    Paris, will have constantly observed, on the outsides of houses, the
    following letters, painted in large capitals:

        MACL:

    implying--as the different emblems of our Fire Offices imply--

        "M[aison] A[ssurée] C[ontre] L'[incendie]:"

    in plain English, that such houses are insured against fire. Walking
    one afternoon with M. Barbier, I pointed to these letters, and said,
    "You, who have written upon _Anonymes_ and _Pseudonymes_, do you know
    what those letters signify?" He replied, "Assuredly--and they can have
    but _one_ meaning." "What is that?" He then explained them as I have
    just explained them. "But (rejoined I) since I have been at Paris, I
    have learnt that they also imply _another_ meaning." "What might that
    be?" Stopping him, and gently touching his arm, and looking round to
    see that we were not overheard, I answered in a suppressed tone:--

        "M[es] A[mis] C[hassez] L[ouis]."

    He was thunderstruck. He had never heard it before: and to be told it
    by a stranger! "Mais (says he, smiling, and resuming his steps) "voila
    une chose infiniment drole!"

    Let it be remembered, that this HERETICAL construction upon these
    Initial Capitals was put at a time when the _Bonaparte Fever_ was yet
    making some of the pulses of the Parisians beat 85 strokes to the
    minute. _Now_, his Majesty Charles X. will smile as readily at this
    anecdote as did the incomparable Librarian of his Regal Predecessor.



[INTRODUCTION TO LETTER VIII.]


Before entering upon the perusal of this memorable Letter--which, in the
previous edition, was numbered LETTER XXX,--(owing to the Letters having
been numbered consecutively from the beginning to the end) I request the
Reader's attention to a few preliminary remarks, which may possibly guide
him to form a more correct estimate of its real character. MONS. LICQUET
having published a French version of my Ninth Letter, descriptive of the
Public Library at Rouen, (and to which an allusion has been made in vol. i.
p. 99.) MONS. CRAPELET (see p. 1, ante) undertook a version of the
_ensuing_ Letter: of which he printed _one hundred copies_. Both
translations were printed in M. Crapelet's office, to arrange, in type and
form of publication, as much as possible with my own; so that, if the
_intrinsic_ merit of these versions could not secure purchasers, the beauty
of the paper and of the press work (for both are very beautiful) might
contribute to their circulation. To the version of M. Crapelet[120] was
prefixed a _Preface_, combining such a mixture of malignity and
misconception, that I did not hesitate answering it, in a privately printed
tract, entitled "A ROLAND FOR AN OLIVER." Of this Tract, "only _thirty-six
copies were printed_." "So much the better for the Author"--says M.
Crapelet. The sequel will shew.

In the publication of the _entire_ version of my Tour, by M.M. Licquet and
Crapelet, the translation of this VIIIth Letter appears as it did in the
previous publication--with the exception of the omission of the _Preface_:
but in lieu of which, there is another and a short preface, by M. Crapelet,
to the third volume, where, after telling his readers that his previous
attempt had excited my "holy wrath," he seems to rejoice in the severity of
those criticisms, which, in certain of our _own_ public Journals, have been
passed upon my subsequent bibliographical labours. With these criticisms I
have here nothing to do. If the authors of them can reconcile them to their
own good sense and subsequent reflections, and the Public to their own
INDEPENDENCE of JUDGMENT, the voice of remonstrance will be ineffectual.
Time will strike the balance between the Critic and the Author: and without
pretending to explore the mysteries of an occasional _getting-up_ of
Reviews of particular articles, I think I can speak in the language of
justice, as well as of confidence, of the Author of ONE of these reviews,
by a quotation from the _Ajax Flagellifer_ of SOPHOCLES.

 [Greek: Blepô gar echthron phôta, kai tach' an kakois
 Gelôn, ha dê kakourgos exikoit' anêr.--]

To return to M. Crapelet; and to have done with him. The _motive_ for his
undertaking the version of this memorable Letter, about "BOOKSELLERS,
PRINTERS, and BOOKBINDERS at Paris," seems to be wholly inconceivable;
since the logic of the undertaking would be as follows. BECAUSE I have
spoken favourably of the whole typographical fraternity--and because, in
particular, of M. Crapelet, his _Ménage_, and Madame who is at the head of
it--_because_ I have lauded his Press equally with his Cellar--THEREFORE
the "_un_holy wrath" of M. Crapelet is excited; and he cannot endure the
freedom taken by the English traveller. It would be abusing the confidence
reposed in me by written communications, from characters of the first
respectability, were I to make public a few of the sentiments contained in
them--expressive of surprise and contempt at the performance of the French
typographer. But in mercy to my adversary, he shall be spared the pain of
their perusal.


[120] [A young stranger, a Frenchman--living near the mountainous solitudes
    between Lyons and the entrance into Italy--and ardently attached to
    the study of bibliography--applied himself, under the guidance of a
    common friend--dear to us both from the excellence of his head and
    heart--to a steady perusal of the _Bibliographical Decameron_, and the
    _Tour_. He mastered both works within a comparatively short time. He
    then read _A Roland for an Oliver_--and voluntarily tendered to me his
    French translation of it. How successfully the whole has been
    accomplished, may be judged from the following part--being the version
    of my preface only.

    OBSERVATION PRELIMINAIRE.

    "La production de M. Crapelet rappelée, dans le titre précédent, sera
    considérée comme un phénomène dans son genre. Elle est, certes, sans
    antécédent et, pour l'honneur de la France, je desire qu'elle n'ait
    pas d'imitateurs. Quiconque prendra la peine de lire la trentième
    lettre de mon voyage, soit dans l'original, soit dans la version de M.
    Crapelet, en laissant de coté les notes qui appartiennent an
    traducteur, conviendra facilement que cette lettre manifeste les
    sentimens les plus impartiaux et les plus honorables à l'état actuel
    de la librairie et de l'imprimerie à Paris. Dans plusieurs passages,
    où l'on compare l'éxécution typographique, dans les deux pays, la
    supériorité est décidée en faveur de la France. Quant a _l'esprit_ qui
    a dicté cette lettre, je déclare, comme homme d'honneur, ne l'avoir
    pas composée, dans un systême d'opposition, envers ceux qu'elle
    concerne plus particulièrement.

    "Cependant, il n'en a pas moins plu à M. Crapelet, imprimeur de Paris,
    l'un de ceux dont il y est fait plus spécialement l'éloge,
    d'accompagner sa traduction de cette lettre, de notes déplacées et
    injurieuses pour le caractère de l'auteur et de son ouvrage. Par suite
    probablement du peu d'étendue de ses idées et de l'organisation
    vicieuse de ses autres sens, ce typographe s'est livré a une séries
    d'observations qui outragent autant la raison que la politesse, et qui
    décèlent hautement sa malignité et sa noirceur. Les formes de son
    procédé ne sont pas moins méprisables que le fond. Avec la prétention
    avouée de ne répandre que partiellement sa version,

      (Voulant blesser et cependant timide pour frapper)

    il s'est servi de ses propres presses et il a imprimé le texte et les
    notes avec des caractères et sur un papier aussi semblables que
    possible à ceux de l'ouvrage qu'il venait de traduire. Il en a
    surveillé, a ce qu'on assure, l'impression, avec l'attention
    personelle la plus scrupuleuse, en sorte qu'il n'est aucune _epreuvé
    égarée_, qui ait été soumise à d'autres yeux que les siens. Il a prit
    soin, en outre, d'en faire tirer, au moins, cent exemplaires, et de
    les répandre.[C] Comme ces cent exemplaires seront probablement lus
    par dix fois le même nombre de personnes, il y aurait eu plus de
    franchisé et peut-être plus de bon sens de la part de M. Crapelet à
    diriger publiquement ses coups contre moi que de le faire sous la
    couverture d'un _pamphlet privé_. Il a fait choix de ce genre
    d'attaque; il ne me reste plus qu'à adopter une semblable méthode de
    défense: si ce n'est, qu'au lieu de cent exemplaires, ces remarques ne
    seront véritablement imprimée qu'a _trente six_. Ce procédé est certes
    plus délicat que celui de mon adversaire; mais soit que M. Crapelet
    ait préféré l'obscurité à la lumière, il n'en est pas moins évident
    que son intention a été d'employer tous ses petits moyens, a renverser
    la réputation d'un ouvrage, dont il avoue lui-même avoir à peine lu la
    cinquantième partie!

    "Par le contenu de ses notes, on voit qu'il a cherché, avec une
    assiduité condamnable, a recueillir le mal qu'il me suppose avoir eu
    l'intention de dire des personnes que j'ai citées, et cependant, après
    tout ce travail, a peine a-t-il pû découvrir l'ombre d'une seule
    allusion maligne. Jamais on ne fit un usage plus déplorable de son
    tems et de ses peines, car toutes les phrases de cette production sont
    aussi obscures que tirées de loin.

    "Il est difficile, ainsi que je l'ai déjà observé, de se rendre compte
    des motifs d'une telle conduite. Mais M. Crapelet n'a fait part de son
    secret à personne, et d'après l'échantillon dont il s'agit ici, je
    n'ai nulle envie de le lui demander.

    T.F.D.

    "J'avais eu d'abord l'intention de relever chacunes des notes de M.
    Crapelet, mais de plus mûres réfléxions m'ont fait connaitre
    l'absurdité d'une telle enterprise. Je m'en suis donc tenu à la
    préface, sans toutefois, ainsi que le lecteur pourra s'en appercevoir,
    laisser tomber dans l'oubli le mérite des notes. Encore un mot; M.
    Crapelet m'a attaqué et je me suis défendu. Il peut récommencer, si
    cela lui fait plaisir; mais désormais je ne lui répondrai que par le
    silence et le mépris."

        [C] "M. Crapelet, en sa qualité de critique, a mis ici du
        raffinement; car je soupçonne qu'il y a eu au moins vingt cinq
        exemplaires tirés sur papier vélin. C'est ainsi qu'il sait dorer
        sa pillule, pour la rendre plus présentable aux dignes amis de
        l'auteur, les bibliophiles de Paris. Mais ces Messieurs ont trop
        bon gout pour l'accepter.



_LETTER VIII._

SOME ACCOUNT OF THE LATE ABBÉ RIVE. BOOKSELLERS. PRINTERS. BOOK-BINDERS.


I make no doubt that the conclusion of my last letter has led you to expect
a renewal of the BOOK THEME: but rather, I should hope, as connected with
those Bibliographers, Booksellers, and Printers, who have for so many years
shed a sort of lustre upon _Parisian Literature_. It will therefore be no
unappropriate continuation of this subject, if I commence by furnishing you
with some particulars respecting a Bibliographer who was considered, in his
life time, as the terror of his acquaintance, and the pride of his patron:
and who seems to have never walked abroad, or sat at home, without a
scourge in one hand, and a looking-glass in the other. Droll combination!--
you will exclaim. But it is of the ABBÉ RIVE of whom I now speak; the very
_Ajax flagellifer_ of the bibliographical tribe, and at the same time the
vainest and most self-sufficient. He seems, amidst all the controversy in
which he delighted to be involved, to have always had _one_ never-failing
source of consolation left:--that of seeing himself favourably reflected--
from the recollection of his past performances--in the mirror of his own
conceit! I have before[121] descanted somewhat upon probably the most
splendid of his projected performances, and now hasten to a more particular
account of the man himself.

It was early one morning--before I had even commenced my breakfast--that a
stranger was announced to me. And who, think you, should that stranger turn
out to be? Nothing less than the _Nephew_ of the late Abbé Rive. His name
was MORENAS. His countenance was somewhat like that which Sir Thomas More
describes the hero of his Utopia to have had. It was hard, swarthy, and
severe. He seemed in every respect to be "a travelled man." But his manners
and voice were mild and conciliating. "Some one had told him that I had
written about the Abbé Rive, and that I was partial to his work. Would I do
him the favour of a visit? when I might see, at his house, (_Rue du Vieux
Colombier, près St. Sulpice_) the whole of the Abbé's MSS. and all his
projected works for the press. They were for sale. Possibly I might wish to
possess them?" I thanked the stranger for his intelligence, and promised I
would call that same morning.

M. Morenas has been indeed a great traveller. When I called, I found him
living up two pair of stairs, preparing for another voyage to Senegal. He
was surrounded by _trunks_ ... in which were deposited the literary remains
of his uncle. In other words, these remains consisted of innumerable
_cards_, closely packed, upon which the Abbé had written all his memoranda
relating to ... I scarcely know what. But the whole, from the nephew's
statement, seemed to be an encyclopædia of knowledge. In one trunk, were
about _six thousand_ notices of MSS. of all ages; and of editions in the
fifteenth century. In another trunk, were wedged about _twelve thousand_
descriptions of books in all languages, except those of French and Italian,
from the sixteenth century to his own period: these were professed to be
accompanied with critical notes. In a third trunk was a bundle of papers
relating to the _History of the Troubadours_; in a fourth, was a collection
of memoranda and literary sketches, connected with the invention of Arts
and Sciences, with Antiquities, Dictionaries, and pieces exclusively
bibliographical. A fifth trunk contained between _two and three thousand_
cards, written upon on each side, respecting a collection of prints;
describing the ranks, degrees, and dignities of all nations--of which
eleven folio _cahiers_ were published, in 1779--without the letter-press--
but in a manner to make the Abbé extremely dissatisfied with the engraver.
In a sixth trunk were contained his papers respecting earthquakes,
volcanoes, and geographical subjects: so that, you see, the Abbé Rive at
least fancied himself a man of tolerably universal attainments. It was of
course impossible to calculate the number, or to appreciate the merits, of
such a multifarious collection; but on asking M. Morenas if he had made up
his mind respecting the _price_ to be put upon it, he answered, that he
thought he might safely demand 6000 francs for such a body of miscellaneous
information. I told him that this was a sum much beyond my means to
adventure; but that it was at least an object worthy of the consideration
of the "higher powers" of his own government. He replied, that he had
little hopes of success in those quarters: that he was anxious to resume
his travels; talked of another trip to Senegal; for that, after so
locomotive a life, a sedentary one was wearisome to him....

  ... "trahit sua quemque voluptas!"

Over the chimney-piece was a portrait, in pencil, of his late uncle: done
from the life. It was the only one extant. It struck me indeed as
singularly indicative of the keen, lively, penetrating talents of the
original. On the back of the portrait were the lines which are here
subjoined:

  _Dès sa plus tendre enfance aux études livré,
  La soif de la science l'a toujours dévoré.
  Une immense lecture enrichit ses écrits,
  Et la critique sure en augmente le prix._

These lines are copied from the _Journal des Savans_ for October 1779. Iean
Joseph Rive was born at Apt, in 1730, and died at Marseilles in 1791. He
had doubtless great parts, natural and acquired: a retentive memory, a
quick perception, and a vast and varied reading. He probably commenced
amassing his literary treasures as early as his fourteenth year; and to his
latest breath he pursued his researches with unabated ardour. But his
career was embittered by broils and controversies; while the frequent acts
of kindness, and the general warmth of heart, evinced in his conduct,
hardly sufficed to soften the asperity, or to mitigate the wrath, of a host
of enemies--which assailed him to the very last. But Cadmus-like, he sowed
the seeds from which these combatants sprung. Whatever were his defects, as
a public character, he is said to have been, in private, a kind parent, a
warm friend, and an excellent master. The only servant which he ever had,
and who remained with him twenty-four years, mourned his loss as that of a
father. Peace to his ashes!

From bibliography let me gently, and naturally, as it were, conduct you
towards BIBLIOPOLISM. In other words, allow me to give you a sketch of a
few of the principal Booksellers in this gay metropolis; who strive, by the
sale of instructive and curious tomes, sometimes printed in the black
letter of _Gourmont_ and _Marnef_, to stem the torrent of those trivial or
mischievous productions which swarm about the avenues of the Palais Royal.
In ancient times, the neighbourhood of the SORBONNE was the great mart for
books. When I dined in this neighbourhood, with my friend M. Gail, the
Greek Professor at the College Royale, I took an opportunity of leisurely
examining this once renowned quarter. I felt even proud and happy to walk
the streets, or rather tread the earth, which had been once trodden by
_Gering_, _Crantz_, and _Fiburger_.[122] Their spirits seemed yet to haunt
the spot:--but no volume, nor even traces of one--executed at their press--
could be discovered. To have found a perfect copy of _Terence_, printed in
their first Roman character, would have been a _trouvaille_ sufficiently
lucky to have compensated for all previous toil, and to have franked me as
far as Strasbourg.

The principal mart for booksellers, of old and second hand books, is now
nearer the Seine; and especially in the _Quai des Augustins_. _Messrs.
Treuttel and Würtz, Panckoucke, Renouard_, and _Brunet_, live within a
quarter of a mile of each other: about a couple of hundred yards from the
_Quai des Augustins_. Further to the south, and not far from the Hotel de
Clugny, in the _Rue Serpente_, live the celebrated DEBURE. They are
booksellers to the King, and to the Royal Library; and a more respectable
house, or a more ancient firm, is probably not to be found in Europe.
Messrs. Debure are as straight-forward, obliging, and correct, in their
transactions, as they are knowing in the value, and upright in the sale, of
their stock in trade. No bookseller in Paris possesses a more judicious
stock, or can point to so many rare and curious books. A young collector
may rely with perfect safety upon them; and accumulate, for a few hundred
pounds, a very respectable stock of _Editiones principes_ or _rarissimæ_. I
do not say that such young collector would find them _cheaper there_, or
_so cheap_ as in _Pall-Mall_; but I do say that he may rest assured that
Messieurs Debure would never, knowingly, sell him an imperfect book. Of the
Debure, there are two brothers: of whom the elder hath a most gallant
propensity to _portrait-collecting_--and is even rich in portraits relating
to _our_ history. Of course the chief strength lies in French history; and
I should think that Monsieur Debure l'ainé shewed me almost as many
portraits of Louis XIV. as there are editions of the various works of
Cicero in the fifteenth century.[123] But my attention was more
particularly directed to a certain boudoir, up one pair of stairs, in which
Madame Debure, their venerable and excellent mother, chooses to deposit
some few very choice copies of works in almost every department of
knowledge. There was about _one_ of the _best_ editions in each department:
and whether it were the Bible, or the History of the Bucaineers--whether a
lyrical poet of the reign of Louis XIV. or the ballad metres of that of
François Premier ... there you found it!--bound by Padaloup, or Deseuille,
or De Rome. What think you, among these "choice copies," of the _Cancionero
Generale_ printed at Toledo in 1527, in the black letter, double columned,
in folio? Enough to madden even our poet-laureat--for life! I should add,
that these books are not thus carefully kept together for the sake of
_shew_: for their owner is a fair good linguist, and can read the Spanish
with tolerable fluency. Long may she yet read it.[124]

The Debure had the selling, by auction, of the far-famed M'CARTHY LIBRARY;
and I saw upon their shelves some of the remains of that splendid
membranaceous collection. Indeed I bought several desirable specimens of
it: among them, a fine copy of _Vindelin de Spira's_ edition (1471) of _St.
Cyprians Epistles_, UPON VELLUM.[125] Like their leading brethren in the
neighbourhood, Messieurs Debure keep their country house, and there pass
the Sabbath.

The house of TREUTTEL and WURTZ is one of the richest and one of the most
respectable in Europe. The commerce of that House is chiefly in the
wholesale way; and they are, in particular, the publishers and proprietors
of all the great classical works put forth at _Strasbourg_. Indeed, it was
at this latter place where the family first took root: but the branches of
their prosperity have spread to Paris and to London with nearly equal
luxuriance. They have a noble house in the _Rue de Bourbon_, no. 17: like
unto an hotel; where each day's post brings them despatches from the chief
towns in Europe. Their business is regulated with care, civility, and
dispatch; and their manners are at once courteous and frank. Nothing would
satisfy them but I must spend a Sabbath with them, at their country house
at _Groslai_; hard by the village and vale of Montmorenci. I assented
willingly. On the following Sunday, their capacious family coach, and pair
of sleek, round, fat black horses, arrived at my lodgings by ten o'clock;
and an hour and three quarters brought me to Groslai. The cherries were
ripe, and the trees were well laden with fruit: for Montmorenci cherries,
as you may have heard, are proverbial for their excellence. I spent a very
agreeable day with mine hosts. Their house is large and pleasantly
situated, and the view of Paris from thence is rather picturesque. But I
was most struck with the conversation and conduct of Madame Treuttel. She
is a thoroughly good woman. She has raised, at her own expense, an
alms-house in the village for twelve poor men; and built a national school
for the instruction of the poor and ignorant of both sexes. She is herself
a Lutheran Protestant; as are her husband and her son-in-law M. Würtz. At
first, she had some difficulties to encounter respecting the _school_; and
sundry conferences with the village Curé, and some of the head clergy of
Paris, were in consequence held. At length all difficulties were surmounted
by the promise given, on the part of Madame Treuttel, to introduce only the
French version of the Bible by _De Sacy_. Hence the school was built, and
the children of the village flocked in numbers to it for instruction. I
visited both the alms-house and the school, and could not withhold my
tribute of hearty commendation at the generosity, and thoroughly Christian
spirit, of the foundress of such establishments. There is more good sense
and more private and public virtue, in the application of superfluous
wealth in this manner, than in the erection of a hundred palaces like that
at _Versailles!_[126]

A different, and a more touching object presented itself to my view in the
garden. Walking with Madame, we came, through various détours, into a
retired and wooded part: where, on opening a sort of wicket gate, I found
myself in a small square space, with hillocks in the shape of _tumuli_
before me. A bench was at the extremity. It was a resting place for the
living, and a depository of the dead. Flowers, now a good deal faded, were
growing upon these little mounds--beneath which the dead seemed to sleep in
peace. "What might this mean?" "Sir," replied Madame Treuttel, "this is
consecrated ground. My son-in-law sleeps here--and his only and beloved
child lies by the side of him. You will meet my daughter, his wife, at
dinner. She, with myself, visit this spot at stated seasons--when we renew
and indulge our sorrows on the recollection of those who sleep beneath.
These are losses which the world can never repair. We all mean to be
interred within the same little fenced space.[127] I have obtained a long
lease of it--for some fifty years: at the expiration of which time, the
work of dissolution will be sufficiently complete with us all." So spake my
amiable and enlightened guide. The remainder of the day--during which we
took a stroll to Montmorenci, and saw the house and gardens where Rousseau
wrote his _Emile_--was spent in a mixed but not irrational manner: much
accordant with my own feelings, and most congenial with a languid state of
body which had endured the heats of Paris for a month, without feeling
scarcely a breath of air the whole time.

ANTOINE-AUGUSTIN RENOUARD, living in the _Rue St. André des Arts_, is the
next bibliopolist whom I shall introduce to your attention. He is among the
most lynx-eyed of his fraternity: has a great knowledge of books; a
delightful ALDINE LIBRARY;[128]--from which his Annals of the Aldine Press
were chiefly composed--and is withal a man in a great and successful line
of business. I should say he is a rich man; not because he has five hundred
bottles of Burgundy in his cellar, which some may think to be of a more
piquant quality than the like number of his _Alduses_--but because he has
published some very beautiful and expensive editions of the Latin and
French Classics, with equal credit to himself and advantage to his
finances.[129] He _debuted_ with a fine edition of _Lucan_ in 1795, folio;
and the first catalogue of his books was put forth the following year. From
that moment to the present, he has never slackened head, hand, or foot, in
the prosecution of his business; while the publication of his _Annals of
the Aldine Press_ places him among the most skilful and most instructive
booksellers in Europe. It is indeed a masterly performance: and as useful
as it is elegantly printed.[130] M. Renouard is now occupied in an improved
edition of _Voltaire_, which he means to adorn with engravings; and of
which he shewed me the original drawings by Moreau, with many of the
plates.[131] He seems in high spirits about the success of it, and leans
with confidence upon the strength of a host of subscribers. Nor does a
rival edition, just struggling into day, cause him to entertain less
sanguine expectations of final success. This enterprising bookseller is now
also busily occupied about a _Descriptive Catalogue of his own library_, in
which he means to indulge himself in sundry gossipping notes, critical
disquisitions, and piquant anecdotes. I look forward with pleasure to its
appearance; and turn a deaf ear to the whispers which have reached me of an
intended _brush_ at the Decameron.[132]

M. Renouard has allowed me free access to his library; which also contains
some very beautiful copies of books printed in the fifteenth century. Among
these latter, his VELLUM VALDARFER is of course considered, by himself and
his friends, as the _keimelion_ of the collection. It is the edition of the
_Orations of Cicero_, printed by Valdarfer, at Venice, in 1471, folio: a
most exquisite book--which may be fairly considered as perfect throughout.
It is in its second binding, but _that_ may be as old as the time of
Francis I.: perhaps about the middle of the sixteenth century. This copy
measures thirteen inches in height, by eight inches and seven-eighths in
width:--almost, I conceive, in its original state of amplitude. I will
frankly own that I turned over the leaves of this precious book, again and
again--"sighed and looked, &c." "But would no price tempt the owner to part
with it?" "None. It is reserved as the bijou of my catalogue, and departs
not from hence." Severe, but just decree! There is only one other known
copy of it upon vellum, which is in the Royal Library[133]--but which wants
a leaf of the table; an imperfection, not belonging to the present copy.

The other "great guns," as VELLUM BOOKS, in the collection of M. Renouard,
are what is called the _Familiar Epistles of Cicero_ printed by _Aldus_ in
1502, 12mo: and the _Petrarch_ of 1514, 8vo. also printed by Aldus. Of
these, the _latter_ is by much the preferable volume. It is almost as large
as it can well be: but badly bound in red morocco.[134] The Cicero is short
and sallow-looking. It was on the occasion of his son starting for the
first time on a bibliographical tour, and, on crossing the Rhine, and
finding this Cicero and the almost equally rare _Aldine Virgil_ of 1505,
that a relation of this "fortunate youth" invoked his muse in some few
verses, which he printed and gave to me.[135] These are little
"plaisanteries" which give a relish to our favourite pursuits; and which
may at some future day make the son transcend the father in bibliographical
renown. Perhaps the father has already preferred a prayer upon the subject,
as thus:

  [Greek: Zeu, alloi te Theoi, dote dê kai tonde genesthai
  Paid emon ôs kai egô per, ....]

There are some few noble volumes, from the press of _Sweynheym and
Pannartz_, in this collection; and the finest copy of the FIRST LUCIAN in
Greek, which perhaps any where exists.[136] It was obtained at a recent
sale, (where it was coated in a lapping-over vellum surtout) at a pretty
smart price; and has been recently clothed in blue morocco. M. Renouard has
also some beautiful copies from the library of _De Thou_, and a partly
uncut _Aldine Theophrastus_ of 1497, which belonged to Henry the Second and
Diane de Poictiers; as well as a completely uncut copy of the first _Aldine
Aristotle_.[137] Few men probably have been luckier in obtaining several of
their choice articles; and the little anecdotes which he related to me, are
such as I make no doubt will appear in the projected catalogue raisonné of
his library. He is just now briskly engaged in the pursuit of _uncut
Elzevirs_ ... and coming to breakfast with me, the other morning, he must
needs pick up a beautiful copy of this kind, in two small volumes, neatly
half bound, (of which I have forgotten the title,) and of which he had been
for some time in the pursuit. M. Renouard also took occasion to tell me
that, in his way to my chambers, he had sold, or subscribed, of a
forthcoming work to be published by him--just _nine hundred and ninety-nine
copies!_ Of course, after such a _trouvaille_ and such a subscription, he
relished his breakfast exceedingly. He is a man of quick movements, of
acute perceptions, of unremitting ardour and activity of mind and body--
constantly engaged in his business, managing a very extensive
correspondence, and personally known to the most distinguished Collectors
of Italy. Like his neighbours, he has his country-house, or rather farm, in
Picardy[138] whither he retires, occasionally to view the condition and
growing strength of that species of animal, from the backs of which his
beloved Aldus of old, obtained the _matériel_ for his vellum copies. But it
is time to wish M. Renouard a good morning, and to take you with me to his
neighbour--

MONS. BRUNET, THE YOUNGER. This distinguished bibliographer, rather than
bookseller, lives hard by--in the _Rue Gît-Le-Coeur_. He lives with his
father, who superintends the business of the shop. The Rue Gît-Le-Coeur is
a sorry street--very diminutive, and a sort of cropt copy--to what it
should have been, or what it might have been. However, there lives JACQ.
CH. BRUNET, FILS: a writer, who will be known to the latest times in the
bibliographical world. He will be also thanked as well as known; for his
_Manuel du Libraire_ is a performance of incomparable utility to all
classes of readers and collectors. You mount up one pair of stairs:--the
way is gloomy, and might well lead to a chamber in the monastery of La
Trappe. You then read an incription, which tells you that "in turning the
button you pull the bell." The bell sounds, and _Mons. Brunet, Pere_,
receives you--with, or without, a silken cap upon his head. He sits in a
small room, sufficiently well filled with books. "Is the Son at home?"
"Open that door, Sir, you will find him in the next room." The door is
immediately opened--and there sits the son, surrounded by, and almost
imprisoned in, papers and books. His pen is in his hand: his spectacles are
upon his nose: and he is transcribing or re-casting some precious little
bit of bibliographical intelligence; while, on looking up and receiving
you, he seems to be "full of the labouring God!" In short, he is just now
deeply and unintermittingly engaged in a new and _third_ edition of his
_Manuel_.[139] The shelves of his room almost groan beneath the weight of
those writers from whom he gathers his principal materials. "Vous voilà,
Mons. Brunet, bien occupé!;" "Oui, Monsieur, cela me fait autant de plaisir
que de peine."

This is a very picture of the man.... "The labour we delight in physics
pain,"--said Lady Macbeth of old; and of a most extraordinary kind must the
labour of Mons. Brunet be considered, when the pleasure in the prosecution
of it balances the pain. We talked much and variously at our first
interview: having previously interchanged many civilities by letter, and
myself having been benefitted by such correspondence, in the possession of
a _large paper_ copy of his first edition--of which he was pleased to make
me a present, and of which only twenty copies were struck off. I told him
that I had given Charles Lewis a carte blanche for its binding, and that I
would back _his_ skill--the result of such an order--against any binding at
that time visible in any quarter of Paris! Mons. B. could not, in his
heart, have considered any other binding superior.

He told me, somewhat to my astonishment, and much to my gratification,
that, of the first edition of his _Manuel_, he had printed and sold _two
thousand_ copies. This could never have been done in our country: because,
doubting whether it would have been so accurately printed, it could never
have been published, in the same elegant manner, for the same price. The
charges of our printers would have been at least double. In the
typographical execution of it, M. Crapelet has almost outdone himself.
Reverting to the author, I must honestly declare that he has well merited
all he has gained, and will well merit all the gains which are in store for
him. His application is severe, constant, and of long continuance. He
discards all ornament,[140] whether graphic or literary. He is never
therefore digressive; having only a simple tale to tell, and that tale
being almost always _well_ and _truly_ told.[141] In his opinions, he is
firm and rational, and sometimes a little pugnacious in the upholding of
them. But he loves only to breathe in a bibliographical element, and is
never happier than when he has detected some error, or acquired some new
information; especially if it relate to an _Editio Princeps_.[142] There is
also something very naïf and characteristic in his manner and conversation.
He copies no one; and may be said to be a citizen of the world. In short,
he has as little _nationality_ in his opinions and conversation, as any
Frenchman with whom I have yet conversed.

Thus much for the leading booksellers of Paris on the south side of the
Seine: or, indeed, I may say in the whole city. But, because the south is a
warm and genial aspect in the bringing forth of all species of productions,
it does not necessarily follow that ... there should be _no_ bibliopolistic
vegetation on the _north_ side of the Seine. Prepare therefore to be
introduced to MONS. CHARDIN, in the _Rue St. Anne_, no. 19; running nearly
at right angles with the _Rue St. Honoré_, not far from the _Eglise St.
Roq._ M. Chardin is the last surviving remains of the OLD SCHOOL of
booksellers in Paris; and as I love antiquities of almost all kinds, I love
to have a little occasional gossip with M. Chardin. A finer old man, with a
more characteristic physiognomy, hath not appeared in France from the time
of Gering downwards. M. Chardin is above the mean height; is usually
attired in a rocquelaure; and his fine flowing grey locks are usually
surmounted by a small black silk cap. His countenance is penetrating, but
mild: and he has a certain air of the "Old School" about him, which is
always, to my old-fashioned taste, interesting and pleasing.

In his youth he must have been handsome, and his complexion is yet
delicate. But good old M. Chardin is an oddity in his way. He physics
"according to the book"--that is, according to the Almanack; although I
should think he had scarcely one spare ounce of blood in his veins.
Phlebotomy is his "dear delight." He is always complaining, and yet expects
to be always free from complaint. But Madame will have it so, and Monsieur
is consenting. He lives on the floor just above the entresol, and his two
or three small apartments are gaily furnished with books. The interior is
very interesting; for his chief treasures are locked up within glazed
cabinets, which display many a rich and rare article. These cabinets are
beautifully ornamented: and I do assure you that it is but justice to their
owner to say, that they contain many an article which does credit to his
taste.

This taste consists principally in a love of ornamented MSS. and printed
books UPON VELLUM, in general very richly bound.[143] It is scarcely seven
years ago since M. Chardin published an octavo catalogue, of nearly two
hundred pages, of MSS. and printed books ... all upon vellum. He has been
long noted for rarities of this kind. "Il n'y a que des livres rares" is
his constant exclamation--as you open his glazed doors, and stretch forth
your hand to take down his treasures. He is the EDWARDS of France, but upon
a smaller scale of action. Nor does he push his _wares_, although he does
his _prices_. You may buy or not, but you must _pay_ for what you _do_ buy.
There is another oddity about this courteous and venerable bibliopolist. He
has a great passion for making his _Alduses_ perfect by means of
_manuscript_; and I must say, that, supposing this plan to be a good one,
he has carried it into execution in a surprisingly perfect manner: for you
can scarcely, by candle-light, detect the difference between what is
printed and what is executed with a pen. I think it was the whole of the
_Scholia_ attached to the Aldine _Discorides_, in folio, and a great number
of leaves in the _Grammatical Institutes of Urbanus_, of 1497, 4to. with
several other smaller volumes, which I saw thus rendered perfect: How any
scribe can be sufficiently paid for such toil, is to me inconceivable: and
how it can answer the purpose of any bookseller so to complete his copies,
is also equally unaccountable: for be it known, that good M. Chardin leaves
_you_ to make the _discovery_ of the MS. portion; and when you _have_ made
it,--he innocently subjoins--"Oui, Monsieur, n'est il pas beau?" In a sort
of passage, between his principal shew-room and his bed room, is contained
a very large collection of tracts and printed volumes relating to the FAIR
SEX: being, in fact, nothing less than a prodigious heap of publications
"FOR and AGAINST" the ladies. M. Chardin will not separate them--adding
that the "bane and antidote must always go together."

This singular character is also vehemently attached to antiquarian
_nick-knackery_. Old china, old drawings, old paintings, old carvings, and
old relics--of whatever kind--are surveyed by him with a curious eye, and
purchased with a well-laden purse. He never speaks of GOUJIN but in
raptures. We made an exchange the other day. M. Chardin hath no small
variety of walking canes. He visited me at the Hôtel one morning, leaning
upon a fine dark bamboo-stick, which was _headed_ by an elaborately carved
piece of ivory--the performance of the said Goujon. It consisted of a
recumbent female, (with a large flapped hat on) of which the head was
supported by a shield of coat armour.[144] We struck a bargain in five
minutes. He presented me the _stick_, on condition of my presenting him
with a choice copy of the _Ædes Althorpianæ_. We parted well satisfied with
each other; but I suspect that the purchase of about four-score pounds
worth of books, added much to the satisfaction on his part. Like all his
brethren of the same craft, M. Chardin disports himself on Saturdays and
Sundays at his little "ferme ornée," within some four miles of Paris--
having, as he gaily told me "nothing now to do but to make poesies for the
fair sex."[145]

With Chardin I close my bibliopolistic narrative; not meaning thereby to
throw other booksellers into the least degree of shade, but simply to
transmit to you an account of such as I have seen and have transacted
business with. And now, prepare for some account of PRINTERS ... or rather
of _three presses_ only,--certainly the most distinguished in Paris. I mean
those of the DIDOT and that of M. CRAPELET. The name of Didot will last as
long as learning and taste shall last in any quarter of the globe: nor am I
sure, after all, that what _Bodoni, Bensley_, and _Bulmer_ have done,
collectively, has redounded _more_ to the credit of their countries than
what Didot has achieved for France. In ancient classical literature,
however, Bodoni has a right to claim an exception and a superiority. The
elder, _Pierre Didot_, is Printer to his Majesty. But when Pierre Didot
l'ainé chose to adopt his _own_ fount of letter--how exquisitely does his
skill appear in the folio _Virgil_ of 1798, and yet more, perhaps, in the
folio Horace of 1799!? These are books which never have been, and never
_can_ be, eclipsed. Yet I own that the Horace, from the enchanting
vignettes of _Percier_, engraved by Girardais, is to my taste the
preferable volume.[146]

FIRMIN DIDOT now manages the press in the _Rué Jacob;_ and if he had never
executed any thing but the _Lusiad_ of _Camoens_, his name would be worthy
to go down to posterity by the side of that of his uncle. The number of
books printed and published by the Didots is almost incredible; especially
of publications in the Latin and French languages. Of course I include the
_Stereotype_ productions: which are very neat and very commodious--but
perhaps the page has rather too dazzling an effect. I paid a visit the
other day to the office of Firmin Didot; who is a letter founder "as well
as a printer.[147] To a question which I asked the nephew, (I think)
respecting the number of copies and sizes, of the famous _Lusiad_ just
mentioned, he answered, that there were only _two hundred_ copies, and
those only of _one size_. Let that suffice to comfort those who are in
terror of having the small paper, and to silence such as try to depreciate
the value of the book, from the supposed additional number of copies struck
off.

I wished to know the costs and charges of _printing_, &c.--from which the
comparative price of labour in the two countries might be estimated. M.
Didot told me that the entire charges for printing, and pulling, one
thousand copies of a full octavo size volume--containing thirty lines in a
page, in a middle-size-letter--including _every thing_ but _paper_--was
thirty-five francs per sheet. I am persuaded that such a thing could not be
done at home under very little short of double the price:--whether it be
that our printers, including the most respectable, are absolutely more
extravagant in their charges, or that the wages of the compositors are
double those which are given in France.

After Didot, comes CRAPELET--in business, skill, and celebrity. He is
himself a very pleasant, unaffected man; scarcely thirty-six; and likely,
in consequence, to become the richest printer in Paris. I have visited him
frequently, and dined with him once--when he was pleased to invite some
agreeable, well-informed, and gentlemanly guests to meet me. Among them was
a M. REY, who has written "_Essais Historiques et Critiques sur Richard
III. Roi d'Angleterre_," just printed in a handsome octavo volume by our
Host. Our conversation, upon the whole; was mixed; agreeable, and
instructive. Madame Crapelet, who is at this moment (as I should
conjecture) perhaps pretty equally divided between her twenty-fifth and
twenty-sixth year, and who may be classed among the prettier ladies of
Paris, did the honours of the fête in a very agreeable manner: nor can it
be a matter of surprise that the choicest Chambertin and Champagne sparkled
upon the table of _one_--who, during the libations of his guests; had the
tympans and friskets of _twenty-two Presses_ in full play![148] We retired,
after dinner, into a spacious drawing room to coffee and liqueurs: and
anon, to a further room, wherein was a BOOK-CASE filled by some of the
choicest specimens of the press of its owner, as well as of other
celebrated printers. I have forgotten what we took down or what we
especially admired: but, to a question respecting the _present_ state of
business, as connected with _literature_ and _printing_, at Paris, M.
Crapelet replied (as indeed, if I remember rightly, M. Didot did also) that
"matters never went on better." Reprints even of old authors were in
agitation: and two editions of _Montaigne_ were at that moment going on in
his own house. I complimented M. Crapelet--and with equal sincerity and
justice--upon the typographical execution of M. Brunet's _Manuel du
Libraire_. No printer in our own country, could have executed it more
perfectly. "What might have been the charge per sheet?" My host received
the compliment very soberly and properly; and gave me a general item about
the expense of printing and paper, &c., which really surprised me; and
returned it with a warm eulogy upon the paper and press-work of a recent
publication from the _Shakspeare press_--which, said he, "I despair of
excelling." "And then (added he), your prettily executed vignettes, and
larger prints! In France this branch of the art is absolutely not
understood[149]--and besides, we cannot publish books at _your_ prices!"

We must now bid adieu to the types of M. Crapelet below stairs, and to his
"good cheer" above; and with him take our leave of Parisian booksellers and
printers.[150] What then remains, in the book way, worthy of especial
notice? Do you ask this question? I will answer it in a
trice--BOOK-BINDING. Yes ... some few hours of my residence in this
metropolis have been devoted to an examination of this _seductive_ branch
of book commerce. And yet I have not seen--nor am I likely to see--one
single binder: either _Thouvenin, or Simier, or Braidel, or Lesné_. I am
not sure whether Courteval, or either of the Bozérians, be living: but
their _handy works_ live and are lauded in every quarter of Paris.

The restorer, or the Father, (if you prefer this latter appellative) of
modern Book-binding in France, was the Elder Bozérian: of whose productions
the book-amateurs of Paris are enthusiastically fond. Bozérian undoubtedly
had his merits;[151] but he was fond of gilt tooling to excess. His
ornaments are too minute and too profuse; and moreover, occasionally, very
unskilfully worked. His choice of morocco is not always to my taste; while
his joints are neither carefully measured, nor do they play easily; and his
linings are often gaudy to excess. He is however hailed as the legitimate
restorer of that taste in binding, which delighted the purchasers in the
Augustan age of book-collecting. One merit must not be denied him: his
boards are usually square, and well measured. His volumes open well, and
are beaten ... too unmercifully. It is the reigning error of French
binders. They think they can never beat a book sufficiently. They exercise
a tyranny over the leaves, as bad as that of eastern despots over their
prostrate slaves. Let them look a little into the bindings of those volumes
before described by me, in the lower regions of the Royal Library[152]--and
hence learn, that, to hear the leases crackle as they are turned over,
produces _nearly_ as much comfort to the thorough-bred collector, as does
the prattling of the first infant to the doating parent.

THOUVENIN[153] and SIMIER are now the morning and evening stars in the
bibliopegistic hemisphere. Of these, Thouvenin makes a higher circle in the
heavens; but Simier shines with no very despicable lustre. Their work is
good, substantial, and pretty nearly in the same taste. The folio Psalter
of 1502, (I think) in the Royal Library, is considered to be the _ne plus
ultra_ of modern book-binding at Paris; and, if I mistake not, Thouvenin is
the artist in whose charcoal furnace, the tools, which produced this
_êchantillon_, were heated. I have no hesitation in saying, that,
considered as an extraordinary specimen of art, it is a failure. The
ornaments are common place; the lining is decidedly bad; and there is a
clumsiness of finish throughout the whole. The head-bands--as indeed are
those of Bozérian--are clumsily managed: and I may say that it exhibits a
manifest inferiority even to the productions of Mackinlay, Hering, Clarke,
and Fairbairn. Indeed either of these artists would greatly eclipse it. I
learn that Thouvenin keeps books in his possession as long as does a
_certain_ binder with us--- who just now shall be nameless. Of course
Charles Lewis would smile complacently if you talked to _him_ about
rivalling such a performance![154]

There is a book-binder of the name of LESNÉ--just now occupied, as I learn,
in writing a poem upon his Art[155]--who is also talked of as an artist of
respectable skill. They say, however, that he _writes_ better than he
_binds_. So much the worse for his little ones, if he be married. Indeed
several very sensible and impartial collectors, with whom I have
discoursed, also seem to think that the art of book-binding in France is
just now, if not retrograding, at least stationary--and apparently
incapable of being carried to a higher pitch of excellence. I doubt this
very much. They can do what they have done before. And no such great
conjuration is required in going even far beyond it. Let Thouvenin and
Simier, and even the _Poet_ himself, examine carefully the choice of tools,
and manner of gilding, used by our more celebrated binders, and they need
not despair of rivalling them. Above all, let them look well to the
management of the backs of their books, and especially to the headbands.
The latter are in general heavy and inelegant. Let them also avoid too much
choking and beating, (I use technical words--- which you understand as well
as any French or English bookbinder) and especially to be square, even, and
delicate in the bands; and the "Saturnia regna" of book-binding in France
may speedily return.


[121] _Bibliomania_; p. 79. _Bibliographical Decameron_; vol. i.
    p. xxii.

[122] See the _Bibliographical Decameron_; vol. ii. p. 20.

[123] [Consistently with the plan intended to be pursued in this edition, I
    annex a fac-simile of their autograph.]

    [Illustration]

[124] [Madame Debure died a few years ago at an advanced age.]

[125] [Mr. Hibbert obtained this volume from me, which will be sold at the
    sale of his Library in the course of this season.]

[126] [Nothing can be more perfectly ridiculous and absurd than the manner
    in which M. Crapelet flies out at the above expression! He taunts us,
    poor English, with always drawing comparisons against other nations,
    in favour of the splendour and opulence of our own Hospitals and
    Charitable Foundations--a thought, that never possessed me while
    writing the above, and which would require the peculiar obliquity, or
    perversity of talents, of my translator to detect. I once thought of
    _dissecting_ his petulant and unprovoked note--but it is not worth
    blunting the edge of one's pen in the attempt.]

[127] [In a few years afterwards, the body of the husband of Madame
    Treuttel was consigned to _this_, its _last_ earthly resting-place. M.
    JEAN-GEORGE TREUTTEL, died on the 14th Dec. 1825, not long after the
    completion of his 82d year: full of years, full of reputation, and
    credit, and of every sublunary comfort, to soothe those who survived
    him. I have before me a printed Memoir of his Obsequies--graced by the
    presence and by the orations of several excellent Ministers of the
    Lutheran persuasion: by all the branches of his numerous family; and
    by a great concourse of sympathising neighbours. Few citizens of the
    world, in the largest sense of this expression, have so adorned the
    particular line of life in which they have walked; and M. Treuttel was
    equally, to his country and to his family, an ornament of a high cast
    of character. "O bon et vertueux ami, que ne peut tu voir les regrets
    de tous ceux qui t' accompagnent à ta derniere demeure, pour te dire
    encore une fois à REVOIR!" _Discours_ de M. COMARTIN _Maire de
    Groslai_: Dec. 17.]

[128] ["Delightful" as was this Library, the thought of the money for which
    it might sell, seems to have been more delightful. The sale of it--
    consisting of 1028 articles--took place in the spring of last year,
    under the hammer of Mr. Evans; and a surprisingly prosperous sale it
    was. I would venture to stake a good round sum, that no one individual
    was _more_ surprized at this prosperous result than the OWNER of the
    Library himself. The gross produce was £2704. 1s. The net produce was
    such... as ought to make that said owner grateful for the spirit of
    competition and high liberality which marked the biddings of the
    purchasers. In what country but OLD ENGLAND could such a spirit have
    been manifested! Will Mons. Renouard, in consequence, venture upon the
    transportation of the _remaining_ portion of his Library hither? There
    is a strong feeling that he _will_. With all my heart--but let him
    beware of his MODERN VELLUMS!!]

[129] [I shall _now_ presume to say, that M. Renouard is a "VERY rich
    man;" and has by this time added _another_ 500 bottles of
    high-flavoured Burgundy to his previous stock. The mention of M.
    Renouard's Burgundy has again chafed M. Crapelet: who remarks, that
    "it is useless to observe how ridiculous such an observation is." Then
    why _dwell_ upon it--and why quote three verses of Boileau to bolster
    up your vapid prose, Mons. G.A. Crapelet.?]

[130] [The _second_ edition of this work, greatly enlarged and
    corrected, appeared in 1825, in 3 volumes: printed very elegantly at
    the son's (Paul Renouard's) office. Of this improved edition, the
    father was so obliging as to present me with a copy, accompanied by a
    letter, of which I am sure that its author will forgive the quotation
    of its conclusion--to which is affixed his autograph. "Quoiqu'il en
    soit, je vous prie de vouloir bien l'agréer comme un témoignage de nos
    anciennes liaisons, et d'être bien persuadé du dévouement sincere et
    amical avec lequel je n'ai jamais cessé d'être.

    Votre très humble Serviteur,

    [Autograph: AulAug. Renouard]

[131] [Now completed in 60 volumes 8vo.: and the most copious and correct
    of ALL the editions of the author. It is a monument, as splendid as
    honourable, of the Publisher's spirit of enterprise. For particulars,
    consult the _Library Companion_, p. 771, edit. 1824.]

[132] The year following the above description, the Catalogue, alluded to,
    made its appearance under the title of "_Catalogue de la Bibliothèque
    d'un Amateur_," in four not _very_ capacious octavo volumes: printed
    by CRAPELET, who finds it impossible to print--_ill_. I am very glad
    such a catalogue has been published; and I hope it will be at once a
    stimulus and a model for other booksellers, with large and curious
    stocks in hand, to do the same thing. But I think M. Renouard might
    have conveniently got the essentials of his bibliographical gossipping
    into _two_ volumes; particularly as, in reading such a work, one must
    necessarily turn rapidly over many leaves which contain articles of
    comparatively common occurrence, and of scarcely common interest. It
    is more especially in regard to _modern_ French books, of which he
    seems to rejoice and revel in the description--(see, among other
    references, vol. iii. p. 286-310) that we may be allowed to regret
    such dilated statements; the more so, as, to the fastidious taste of
    the English, the engravings, in the different articles described, have
    not the beauty and merit which are attached to them by the French. Yet
    does M. Renouard narrate pleasantly, and write elegantly.

    In regard to the "_brush_ at the Decameron," above alluded to, I read
    it with surprise and pleasure--on the score of the moderate tone of
    criticism which it displayed--and shall wear it in my hat with as much
    triumph as a sportsman does a "brush" of a different description! Was
    it _originally_ more _piquan?_ I have reason not only to suspect, but
    to know, that it WAS. Be this as it may, I should never, in the first
    place, have been backward in returning all home thrusts upon the
    aggressor--and, in the second place, I am perfectly disposed that my
    work may stand by the test of such criticism. It is, upon the whole,
    fair and just; and _justice_ always implies the mention of _defects_
    as well as of excellencies. It may, however, be material to remark,
    that the _third_ volume of the Decameron is hardly amenable to the
    tribunal of French criticism; inasmuch as the information which it
    contains is almost entirely national--and therefore partial in its
    application.

[133] [Not so. Messrs. Payne and Foss once shewed me a yet _larger_
    copy of it upon vellum, than even M. Renouard's: but so many of the
    leaves had imbibed an indelible stain, which no skill could eradicate,
    that it was scarcely a saleable article. It was afterwards bought by
    Mr. Bohn at a public auction.]

[134] [It was sold at the Sale of his Aldine Library for £68. 15s. 8d. and
    is now, I believe, in the fine Collection of Sir John Thorold, Bart,
    at Syston Park. The Cicero did not come over for sale.]

[135] [In the previous edition I had supposed, erroneously, that it was the
    Father, M. Renouard himself, who had invoked his name on the occasion.
    The verses are pretty enough, and may as well find a place _here_
    as in M. Crapelet's performance.

      Je l'ai vu ce fameux bouquin
      Qui te fait un titre de gloire:
      Tout Francois qui passe le Rhin
      Doit remporter une Victoire.]


[136] [M. Renouard obtained it at a public sale in Paris, against a very
    stiff commission left for it by myself. A copy of equal beauty is in
    the Library of the Right Hon. T. Grenville.]

[137] [The Theophrastus was sold for £12 1s. 6d. and the Aristotle for £40.
    The latter is in the Library of the Rt. Hon. T. Grenville, having been
    subsequently coated in red morocco by C. Lewis.]

[138] [It seems that I have committed a very grave error, in the preceding
    edition, by making Mons. Renouard "superintend the gathering in of his
    VINTAGE," at his country-house (St. Valerie) whereas there are no
    Vineyards in Picardy. France and Wine seemed such synonymes, that I
    almost naturally attached a vineyard to every country villa.]

[139] [It was published in 1820.]

[140] "The luxurious English Bibliographer is astonished at the publication
    of the "Manuel" without the accompaniment of Plates, Fac-similes,
    Vignettes, and other graphic attractions. It is because _intrinsic
    merit_ is preferable to form and ornament: _that_ at once establishes
    its worth and its success." CRAPELET, vol. iv. p. 88. This amiable
    Translator and sharp-sighted Critic never loses an opportunity of a
    _fling_ at the "luxurious English Bibliographer!"

[141] [My translator again brandishes his pen in order to draw
    _good-natured_ comparisons. "It would be lucky for him, if, to the
    qualities he possesses, M. Dibdin would unite those which he praises
    in M. Brunet: his work and the public would be considerable gainers by
    it: his books would not be so costly, and would be more profitable.
    The English Author describes nothing in a _sang-froid_ manner: he is
    for ever _charging_: and, as he does not want originality in his
    vivacity, he should seem to wish to be the CALLOT of Bibliography."
    CRAPELET. _Ibid_. I accept the title with all my heart.]

[142] When he waited upon Lord Spencer at Paris, in 1819, and was shewn by
    his Lordship the _Ulric Han Juvenal_ (in the smallest character of the
    printer) and the _Horace_ of 1474, by _Arnoldus de Bruxella_, his
    voice, eyes, arms, and entire action ... gave manifest proofs how he
    FELT upon the occasion! [It only remains to dismiss this slight and
    inadequate account of so amiable and well-versed a bibliographer, with
    the ensuing-fac-simile of his autograph.]

    [Autograph: Brunet, Libraire, rue Gît-le-Couer, No 10.]

[143]

  Chardin passe surtout parmi les amateurs
  Pour le plus vétilleux de tous les connaisseurs;
  Il fait naître, encourage, anime l'industrie;
  LES BEAUX LIVRES font seul le CHARME DE SA VIE.
          LA RELIURE, _poëme didactique_.
               Par LESNE'. 1820, 8vo. p. 31.

[144] [This curiosity is now in the limited, but choice and curious,
    collection of my old and very worthy friend Mr. Joseph Haslewood. The
    handle of the stick is decorated by a bird's head, in ivory, which I
    conjectured to be that of an _Eagle_; but my friend insisted upon it
    that it was the head of an _Hawk_. I knew what this _meant_--and what
    it would _end_ in: especially when he grasped and brandished the Cane,
    as if he were convinced that the sculptor had anticipated the
    possession of it by the Editor of Juliana Barnes. It is whispered that
    my friend intends to surprise the ROXBURGHE CLUB (of which he is, in
    all respects a most efficient member) with proofs of an _Engraving_ of
    this charming little piece of old French carving.]

[145] Mons. Chardin is since dead at a very advanced age. His mental
    faculties had deserted him a good while before his decease: and his
    decease was gentle and scarcely perceptible. The portrait of him, in
    the preceding edition of this work, is literally the MAN HIMSELF. M.
    Crapelet has appended one very silly, and one very rude, if not
    insulting, note, to my account of the deceased, which I will not
    gratify him by translating, or by quoting in its original words.

[146] [A copy of the Horace UPON VELLUM (and I believe, the _only_
    one) with the original drawings of Percier, will be sold in the
    library of Mr. Hibbert, during the present season.]

[147] ["And unquestionably the best Letter Founder. His son, M. Amb. Firmin
    Didot; who has for a long time past cut the punches for his father,
    exhibits proof of a talent worthy, of his instructor." CRAPELET.]

[148] [The translation of the above passage runs so smoothly and so evenly
    upon "all fours," that the curious reader may be gratified by its
    transcription: "On ne doit pas être surpris que le meilleur vin de
    Champagne et de Chambertin ait été servi sur la tablé de celui qui, au
    milieu des toasts de ses convives, avait pour accompagnement le bruit
    agréable. des frisquettes et des tympans de vingt-deux presses.".Vol.
    ii. 102.]

[149] ["Would one not suppose that I had told M. Dibdin that it was
    impossible for the French to execute as fine plates as the English? If
    so, I should stand alone in that opinion. I only expatiated on the
    beauty of the wood-cut vignettes which adorn many volumes of the 4to.
    Shakspeare by Bulmer. (N.B. Mr. Bulmer never printed a Shakspeare in
    4to. or with wood cuts; but Mr. Bensley _did_--in an 8vo. form.) Their
    execution is astonishing. Wood engraving, carried to such a pitch of
    excellence in England, is, in fact, very little advanced in France:
    and on this head I agree with M. Dibdin." CRAPELET, iv. 104.]

[150] ["How can M. Dibdin forget the respect due to his readers, to give
    them a recital of dinners, partaken of at the houses of private
    persons, as if he were describing those of a tavern? How comes it that
    he was never conscious of the want of good taste and propriety of
    conduct, to put the individuals, of whom he was speaking, into a sort
    of dramatic form, and even the MISTTRESSES OF THE HOUSE! CRAPELET:
    Vol. iv. 106. I have given as unsparing a version as I could (against
    myself) in the preceding extract; but the _sting_ of the whole matter,
    as affecting M. Crapelet, may be drawn from the concluding words. And
    yet, where have I spoken ungraciously and uncourteously of Madame?]

[151] [_Bozérian undoubtedly had his merits_.]--Lesné has been
    singularly lively in describing the character of Bozérian's binding.
    In the verse ...

      Il dit, et secouant le joug de la manie....

    he appears to have been emulous of rivalling the strains, of the Epic
    Muse; recalling, as it were, a sort of Homeric scene to our
    recollection: as thus--of Achilles rushing to fight, after having
    addressed his horses:

      [Greek: E ra, kai en prôtois iachôn eche mônuchas hippos]

[152] Some account of French bookbinders may be also found in the
    _Bibliographical Decameron_, vol. ii. p. 496-8.

[153] Cependant Thouvenin est un de ces hommes extraordinaires qui,
    semblables à ces _corps lumineux_ que l'on est convenu d'appeler
    _cometes_, paraissent une fois en un siècle. Si, plus ambitieux de
    gloire que de fortune, il continue à, se surveiller; si, moins ouvrier
    qu'artiste, il s'occupe sans relache du perfectionnement de la
    reliure, il fera époque dans son art comme ces grands hommes que nous
    admirons font époque dans la littérature. p. 117.

[154] [In the year 1819, Lord Spencer sent over to the Marquis de
    Chateaugiron, a copy of the _Ovid De Tristilus, translated by
    Churchyard_, 1578, 4to. (his contribution to the Roxburghe Club) as a
    present from ONE President of Bibliophiles to ANOTHER. It was bound by
    Lewis, in his very best style, in morocco, with vellum linings, within
    a broad border of gold, and all other similar seductive adjuncts.
    Lewis considered it as a CHALLENGE to the whole bibliopegistic
    fraternity at Paris:--a sort of book-gauntlet;--thrown down for the
    most resolute champion to pick up--if he dare! Thouvenin, Simier,
    Bozérian (as has been intimated to me) were convened on the
    occasion:--they looked at the gauntlet: admired and feared it: but no
    man durst pick it up!

      Obstupuere animi:----

      Ante omnes stupet ipse Dares[D]....

    In other words, the Marquis de Chateaugiron avowed to me that it was
    considered to be the _ne plus ultra_ of the art. What say you to
    this, Messrs. Lesné and Crapelet?

        [D] _Thouvenin_.

[155] This poem appeared early in the year 1820, under the following title.
    "_La Reliure, poème didactique en six chants_; précédé d'une idée
    analytique de cet art, suivi de notes historiques et critiques, et
    d'un Mémoire soumis à la Société d'Encouragement, ainsi qu'au Jury
    d'exposition de 1819, relatif à des moyens de perfectionnement,
    propres à retarder le renouvellement des reliures. PAR LESNÉ. Paris,
    1820. 8vo. pp. 246. The motto is thus:

      Hâtez-vous lentement, et sans perdre courage,
      Vingt fois sur le métier remettez votre ouvrage;
      Polissez-le sans cesse et le repolissez.

      _Boileau Art. Poét._ ch. 1.

    This curious production is dedicated to the Author's Son: his first
    workman; seventeen years of age; and "as knowing, in his business at
    that early period of life as his father was at the age of
    twenty-seven." The dedication is followed by a preface, and an
    advertisement, or "Idée analytique de la Reliure." In the preface, the
    author deprecates both precipitate and severe criticism; "He is himself
    but a book-binder--and what can be expected from a muse so cultivated?"
    He doubts whether it will be read all through; but his aim and object
    have been to fix, upon a solid basis, the fundamental principles of
    his art. The subject, as treated in the Dictionary of Arts and Trades
    by the French Academy, is equally scanty and inaccurate. The author
    wishes that all arts were described by artists, as the reader would
    gain in information what he would lose in style. "I here repeat (says
    he) what I have elsewhere said in bad verse. There are amateur
    collectors who know more about book-binding, than even certain good
    workmen; but there are also others, of a capricious taste, who are
    rather likely to lead half-instructed workmen astray, than to put them
    in the proper road." In the poetical epistle which concludes the
    preface, he tells us that he had almost observed the Horatian precept:
    his poem having cost eight years labour. The opening of it may
    probably be quite sufficient to give the reader a proper notion of its
    character and merits.

      Je célèbre mon art; je dirai dans mes vers,
      Combien il éprouva de changemens divers;
      Je dirai ce que fut cet art en sa naissance;
      Je dirai ses progrès, et, de sa décadence.
      Je nommerai sans fard les ineptes auteurs:
      Oui, je vais dérouler aux yeux des amateurs:
      Des mauvais procédés la déplorable liste.
      Je nommerai le bon et le mauvais artiste;



_LETTER IX._

MEN OF LETTERS. DOM BRIAL. THE ABBÉ BÉTENCOURT. MESSRS. GAIL, MILLIN, AND
LANGÈS. A ROXBURGHE BANQUET.


_Paris, June 20, 1818_.

MY DEAR FRIEND,

We have had of late the hottest weather in the memory of the oldest
Parisian: but we have also had a few flying thunder showers, which have
helped to cool the air, and to refresh both the earth and its inhabitants.
In consequence, I have made more frequent visits; and have followed up my
morning occupations among BOOKS, by the evening society of those who are so
capable, from their talents, of adding successfully to their number. Among
the most eminent, as well as most venerable of historical antiquaries, is
the celebrated Dom BRIAL, an ex-Benedictin. He lives in the _Rue
Servandoni_, on the second-floor, in the very bosom, as it were, of his
library, and of city solitude. My first visit to him, about three weeks
ago, was fortified by an introductory letter from our friend * * *. The old
gentleman (for he is about seventy four) was busily occupied at his
dinner--about one o'clock; and wearing a silk night cap, and habited en
rocquelaure, had his back turned as his servant announced me. He is very
deaf; but on receiving the letter, and recognising the hand-writing of our
friend, he made me heartily welcome, and begged that I would partake of his
humble fare. This I declined; begging, on the other hand that he would
pursue his present occupation, and allow me to examine his library. "With
the greatest pleasure (replied he); but you will find it a very
common-place one."

His books occupy each of the four rooms which form the suite of his
dwelling. Of course I include the bed room. They are admirably selected:
chiefly historical, and including a very considerable number in the
ecclesiastical department. He has all the historians relating to our own
country. In short, it is with tools like these, and from original MSS. lent
him from the Royal Library--which his official situation authorizes--- that
he carries on the herculean labour of the _Recueil des Historiens des
Gaules, &c._ commenced by BOUQUET and other editors, and of which he shewed
me a great portion of the XVIIth volume--as well as the commencement of the
XVIIIth--already printed. Providence may be graciously pleased to prolong
the life of this learned and excellent old man till the _latter_ volume be
completed; but _beyond_ that period, it is hardly reasonable or desirable
to wish it; for if he die, he will then have been gathered to his fathers
in a good old age.[156] But the labours of Dom Brial are not confined to
the "Recueil," just mentioned. They shine conspicuous in the "_Histoire
Littéraire de la France_," of which fifteen goodly quarto volumes are
already printed; and they may be also traced in the famous work entitled
_L'Art de, Verifier les Dates_, in three large folio volumes, published in
1783, &c. "Quand il est mort, il n'a point son élevè"[157]--says his old
and intimate friend the ABBÉ BÉTENCOURT; an observation, which, when I
heard it, filled me with mingled regret and surprise--for why is this
valuable, and most _patriotic_ of all departments of literature, neglected
_abroad_ as well as _at home_? It is worth all the _digamma_ disquisitions
in the world; and France, as well as Italy, was once rich in historical
Literati.

Dom Brial is very little above the mean height. He stoops somewhat from
age; but, considering his years, and incessantly sedentary labours, it is
rather marvellous that he does not exhibit more striking proofs of
infirmity. His voice is full and strong; his memory is yet retentive, and
his judgment sound. His hand-writing is extremely firm and legible. No man
ever lived, or ever will, or can live, more completely devoted to his
labours. They are his meat and drink--as much as his "bouilli et petites
poies:"--of which I saw him partaking on repeated visits. Occupied from
morning till night in the prosecution of his studies--in a quarter of Paris
extremely secluded--he appears to be almost unconscious of passing
occurrences without;[158] except it be of the sittings of the _Institute_,
which he constantly attends, on Fridays, as one of the Secretaries. I have
twice dined with him; and, each time, in company with the Abbé Bétencourt,
his brother Secretary at the Institute; and his old, long-tried, and most
intimate friend.

The Abbé BÉTENCOURT was not unknown to me during his late residence in
England, as an Emigré: but he is still-better known to our common friend
* * *, who gave me the letter of introduction to Dom Brial. That mutual
knowledge brought us quickly together, and made us as quickly intimate. The
Abbé is above the middle height; wears his own grey hair; has an expressive
countenance, talks much; and well, and at times drolly. Yet his wit or
mirth is well attempered to his years. His manner of _rallying_ his
venerable friend is very amusing; for Dom Brial, from his deafness, (like
most deaf men) drops at times into silence and abstraction. On each of my
dinner-visits, it was difficult to say which was the hotter day. But Dom
Brial's residence, at the hour of dinner, (which was four--for my own
accommodation) happened luckily to be in the _shade_. We sat down, three,
to a small circular table, (in the further or fourth room) on the tiled
floor of which was some very ancient wine, within the immediate grasp of
the right hand of the host. An elderly female servant attended in the
neighbouring room. The dinner was equally simple, relishing, and abundant;
and the virtues of the "old wine" were quickly put into circulation by the
Benedictin founder of the feast.

At six we rose from table, and walked in the Luxembourg gardens, hard by.
The air had become somewhat cooler. The sun was partially concealed by
thin, speckled clouds: a gentle wind was rising; and the fragrance of
innumerable flowers, from terraces crowded with rose-trees, was altogether
so genial and refreshing, that my venerable companions--between whom I
walked arm in arm--declared that "they hardly knew when the gardens had
smelt so sweetly." We went straight onward--towards the _Observatoire_, the
residence of the Astronomer Royal. In our way thither we could not avoid
crossing the _Rue d' Enfer_, where Marshal Ney was shot. The spot, which
had been stained with his blood, was at this moment covered by skittles,
and groups of stout lads were enjoying themselves in all directions. It
should seem that nothing but youthful sports and pastimes had ever
prevailed there: so insensibly do succeeding occupations wear away all
traces of the past. I paused for half a minute, casting a thoughtful eye
towards the spot. The Abbé Bétencourt moralised aloud, and Dom Brial seemed
inwardly to meditate. We now reached the Observatory. The Sub-Principal was
at home, and was overjoyed to receive his venerable visitors. He was a
fellow-townsman of Dom Brial, and we were shewn every thing deserving of
notice. It was nearly night-fall, when, on reaching the Rue Servandoni, I
wished my amiable companions adieu, till we met again.

I have before mentioned the name of M. GAIL. Let me devote a little more
time and attention to him. He is, as you have been also previously told,
the curator of the Greek and Latin MSS. in the Royal Library, and a Greek
Professor in the Collège Royale. There is no man, at all alive to a
generous and kind feeling, who can deny M. Gail the merit of a frank,
benevolent, and hearty disposition. His Greek and Latin studies, for the
last thirty-five years, have neither given a severe bias to his judgment,
nor repressed the ebullitions of an ardent and active imagination. His
heart is yet all warmth and kindness. His fulfilment of the duties of his
chair has been exemplary and beneficial; and it is impossible for the most
zealous and grateful of her sons, to have the prosperity of the Collège
Royale more constantly in view, than my friend I.B. Gail has that of the
University of Paris. His labours, as a scholar, have been rather useful
than critical. He has edited _Anacreon_ more than once: and to the
duodecimo edition of 1794, is prefixed a small portrait--medallion-wise--of
the editor; which, from the costume of dress and juvenility of expression,
does not much remind me of the Editor as he now is. M. Gail's great
scholastic work is his Greek, Latin, and French, editions of _Xenophon_ and
_Thucydides_, in twenty-four quarto volumes; but in the execution of this
performance he suffered himself to be rather led astray by the attractions
of the _Bibliomania_. In other words, he chose to indulge in membranaceous
propensities; and nothing would serve M. Gail's turn but he must have a
unique COPY UPON VELLUM! in a quarto form.[159] Twenty four quarto volumes
upon vellum!.. enough to chill the ardour and drain the purse of the most
resolute and opulent publisher.

When I dined with the Editor, the other day, I was shewn these superb
volumes with all due form and solemnity: and I must say that they do very
great credit to the press of the Elder Didot. Yet I fear that it will be a
long time before the worthy M. Gail is remunerated for his enterprising and
speculative spirit. In all the duties attached to his situation in the
Royal Library, this worthy character is equally correct and commendable. He
is never so fully occupied with old Greek and Latin MSS., but that he will
immediately attend to your wants; and, as much as depends upon himself,
will satisfy them most completely. Anacreon has left behind some little
deposit of good humour and urbanity, which has continued to nourish the
heart of his Translator; for M. Gail is yet jocose, and mirth-loving; fond
of a lively repartee, whether in conversation or in writing. He may count
some sixty-two years.

But it is high time to introduce you to another of these "Confrères" at the
Bibliothèque du Roi; of whom indeed, hitherto, I have made but a slight
mention. You will readily guess that this must be the well-known AUBIN
LOUIS MILLIN--the Head of the department of Antiquities; or the principal
_Archaeologist_ of the establishment. My friend Mr. Dawson Turner having
furnished me with introductory credentials, I called upon M. Millin within
twenty-four hours of my arrival at Paris. In consequence, from that time to
this, I have had frequent intercourse with him. Indeed I am willing to hope
that our acquaintance has well nigh mellowed into friendship. He is a
short, spare, man; with a countenance lighted up by intelligence rather
than moulded by beauty. But he is evidently just now (and indeed, as I
learn, has been for some time past) labouring under severe indisposition.
He is the thorough Frenchman both in figure and manners: light, cheerful,
active, diligent, and exceedingly good natured and communicative. His
apartments are admirably furnished: and his LIBRARY does him infinite
honour--considering the limited means by which it has been got together.
His abode is the constant resort of foreigners, from all countries, and of
all denominations; and the library is the common property of his friends,
and even of strangers--when they are well recommended to him.

Millin has been a great traveller; but, if the reports which have reached
me prove true, his second voyage to Italy, recently accomplished, have sown
the seeds of incurable disease in his constitution. Indeed: when I look at
him, at times, I fancy that I discover _that_ in his countenance ... which
I wish were not so palpable ... to my observation. His collection of
drawings, of fac-similes of all descriptions--of prints and of atlasses--is
immense. They are freely laid open to the inspection of any curious
observer: and I have already told you how heartily M. Millin begged that
Mr. Lewis would consider his house as his _home_--for the prosecution of
his drawings from the illuminated MSS. in the Royal Library, when the
regular time of attendance in that place was closed. The other day, we had
a superb déjeuné à la fourchette at M. Millin's--about three o'clock. It
was attended by two Marchionesses, of the _bas bleu_ order; and by the
whole corps of the confrères bibliographiques of the Royal Library. Several
other literary _distingués_ were of the party: and we sat down, a very
agreeable mélange, both to gossip and to eat and drink. M. Langlès was all
animation and all intelligence; and M. Van Praet seemed for a time to have
forgotten VELLUM ARISTOTLES and VIRGILS in alternate libations of champagne
and noyeau. Meanwhile, the worthy Gail, by his playful sallies and
repartees, afforded a striking contrast to the balanced attitude and grave
remarks of the respectable Caperonnier, the senior Librarian. Poor Millin
himself had no appetite, but picked a little here and there. We sat down
about fourteen; rose at six--to coffee and conversazione; and retired
shortly after: some to the theatre, and others to their country houses.
This is pretty nearly a correct picture of the bettermost society of Paris
at this time of the year.

In regard to the literary reputation of MILLIN, I well know that, in
England, it is rather the fashion to sneer at him; but this sneer may
proceed as often from ignorance, as from superiority of information. The
truth is, M. Millin does _too much_ to do every thing _well_. At one
moment, he is busied with a dyptych: at another, he is examining a coin or
a medal: during the third, he is lost in admiration over a drawing of a
tomb or statue:--his attendant enters with a proof-sheet to engage his
fourth moment--and so it goes on--from sunrise to sunset; with pen in hand,
or blank or printed paper before him, he is constantly occupied in the
pursuit of some archaeological enquiry or other. THIS praise, however--and
no mean or unperishable praise it is--most indisputably belongs to him. He
was almost the ONLY ONE in France; who, during the reign of terror,
bloodshed, and despotism--cherished and kept alive a taste for NATIONAL
ANTIQUITIES. But for _his_ perseverance, and the artists employed by _him_,
we should not now have had those _graphic_ representations of many
buildings, and relics of art, which have since perished irretrievably.
Another praise also belongs to him; of no very insignificant description.
He is among the most obliging and communicative of literary Parisians; and
does not suffer his good nature to be soured, or his activity to abate,
from the influence of _national_ prejudice. He has a large acquaintance
among foreigners; and I really think that he loves the English next best to
his own countrymen. But whoever applies to him with civility, is sure to be
as civilly received. So much for MILLIN.[160]

This group of literary _whole lengths_ would however be imperfect without
the introduction of Monsieur LANGLÈS. The _forte_ of M. Langlès consists in
his cultivation of, and enthusiastic ardor for, _oriental literature_. He
presides, in fact, over the Persian, Arabic, and other Oriental MSS. and he
performs the duties of his office, as a public librarian, with equal
punctuality and credit. He has also published much upon the languages of
the East, but is considered less profound than DE SACY: although both his
conversation and his library attest his predilection for his particular
studies. M. Langlès is eclipsed by no one for that "gaieté de coeur" which,
when joined with good manners and honourable principles, renders a
well-bred Frenchman an exceedingly desirable companion. He loves also the
arts; as well of sculpture as of painting and of engraving. His further
room affords unquestionable evidence of his attachment to _English Prints_.
Wilson, West, and Wilkie--from the burins of Woollett, Raimbach, and
Burnet--struck my eye very forcibly and pleasingly. M. Langlès admires and
speaks our language. "Your charming Wilkie (says he) pleases me more and
more. Why does he not visit us? He will at least find here some _good
proofs_ of my respect for his talents." Of course he could not mean to pun.
I was then told to admire his impression of Woollett's _Battle of La
Hogue_; and indeed I must allow that it is one of the very best which I
have seen. He who possesses _that_, need not distress himself about any of
the impressions of the _Death of Wolfe_; which is also in the collection of
Langlès.

His library is probably less extensive than Millin's; but it is not less
choice and valuable. His collection of books (in which are a great number
of our best Voyages and Travels) relating to Asia--and particularly his
philological volumes, as connected with the different languages of that
country, cannot be too much commended. I saw Sir John Malcolm's _History of
Persia_ lying upon his table. "How do you like that work, M. Langlès?" "Sir
(replied he) I more than like it--I love it: because I love the author." In
fact, I knew that Sir John and he were well acquainted with each other, and
I believe that the copy in question bore the distinctive mark of being "ex
dono auctoris." I have had a good deal of interesting conversation with M.
Langlès about the history of books during the Revolution; or rather about
that of the ROYAL LIBRARY. He told me he was appointed one of the
commissioners to attend to the distribution of those countless volumes
which were piled up in different warehouses, as the produce of the
_ransacked monasteries_. I am not sure, whether, within the immediate
neighbourhood of the Royal Library, he did not say that there were at least
_half a million of books_. At that time, every public meeting of
Parisians--whatever might be the professed object--was agitated, and
often furious. One of the red-hot demagogues got up in the assembly, and
advised "mangling, maiming, or burning the books: they were only fit for
cartridges, wadding, or fuel: they were replete with marks of feudalism and
royalty--for they had arms or embellishments on them, which denoted them to
belong to Aristocrats." This speech made some impression: his comrades were
for carrying the motion immediately into execution, by sword and faggot....
But M. Langlès rose ... calm, collected, and actuated by feelings a little
more accordant with the true spirit of patrotism. "Citizens," said the
Orientalist, "we must not do mischief, in the desire of doing good. Let the
books remain where they are. If you set fire to them, can you say how far
the flames shall extend? Our own great national library, so renowned and
celebrated throughout Europe! may become the prey of the devouring element,
and _then_ how will you be reproached by posterity! Again--if you convert
them to _other_ purposes of destruction, how can you hope to prevent the
same example from being followed in other places? The madness of the
multitude will make no distinction; and as many pikes and swords may be
carried within the great library, as within the various depositories of the
monastic books. Pause awhile. Respect those collections of books, and you
will both respect yourselves and preserve the great national library. In
due time, we shall make a proper selection from them, and enrich the book
stores of the capital!" So spake M. Langlès; and the Assembly assented to
his contre-projet--luckily for Paris and themselves.[161]

But nearly all these worthy characters, of whom I have just made mention,
had an opportunity of exhibiting their social qualities, of whatever
description, at a sort of FESTIVAL which I gave the other day (last
Wednesday) in honour of the _Roxburghe Club_--which met on that same day, I
presume, at the Clarendon Hotel. This Parisian Roxburghe Banquet went off
upon the whole with flying colours. You shall know as much about it as is
likely to interest you. Having secured my guests, (Messrs. DENON, GAIL,
LANGLÈS, VAN PRAET and MILLIN) and fixed both the place and hour of repast,
I endeavoured to dress out a little bill of fare of a _bibliomaniacal_
description--to rival, in its way, that of _Mons. Grignon_, in the _Rue
Neuve des Petits Champs_, (within two minutes walk of the Royal Library,)
where we were to assemble, at five o'clock. I knew that Millin would put my
toasts or sentiments into good French, and so I took courage against the
hour of meeting. I had secured a ground-floor apartment, looking upon a
lawn, with which it communicated by open doors. The day was unusually hot
and oppressive. After finishing my labours at the Royal Library, I returned
to my hotel, arranged my little matters connected with the by-play of the
festival--dressed--and resorted to Grignon's. Every thing looked well and
auspiciously. Our room was in the shade; and a few lingering breezes seemed
to play beneath the branches of an acacia. The dark green bottles, of
various tapering shapes, were embedded in pails of ice, upon the table: and
napkins and other goodly garniture graced the curiously woven cloth. I hung
up, in the simplicity of my heart--over the seat which I was to occupy,--
the portrait of _John King of France_, which M. Coeuré had just finished;--
not considering that this said John had been beaten and taken prisoner, at
the battle of Poictiers by our Black Prince! Never was a step more
injudicious, or an ornament more unappropriate. However, there it hung
throughout the day. A dinner of the very best description, exclusively of
the wine, was to be served up for _twelve francs_ a head. I make no doubt
but the Club paid a _little_ more where they assembled in London!

At length came the hour of dinner, and with the hour the guests. I
requested Brother Van Praet to be deputy chairman; and taking my seat
beneath the unfortunate John King of France, gave the signal for a general
attack--upon whatever was placed before the guests. Monsieur Denon,
however, did not arrive till after the first course. He had been detained
by a visit from the Duke of Bedford. M. Millin sat at my right hand, and M.
Gail at my left. The first course consisted chiefly of fruit, and slices of
anchovy, crossed. A large paper copy of a _melon_ cut a magnificent
appearance in the centre; but all this quickly gave way to fish, flesh, and
fowl of a various but substantial description. Poor Millin had no appetite,
and would only carve. He looked particularly ill. The rest ate, drank, and
were merry. The desert was of the very best quality: and this was succeeded
by the introduction of a little of English fashion and manners. We drank
toasts, connected with the object of the day's festival; and never were a
set of guests more disposed to relish both the wine and the sentiment which
accompanied each glass. They even insisted upon a "three times three" for
"Lord Spencer and the Club!" But if we were merry, we were wise. Shortly
after dinner, M. Gail rose, as if in a moment of inspiration, from his
seat--and recited the Latin verses which are here enclosed.[162] They will
at least make you admire the good humour of thé poet. He afterwards chanted
a song: his own literal version of thé XIXth ode of Anacreon, beginning
[Greek: Hê gê melaina pinei]. The guests declared that they had never sat
so long at table, or were more happy. I proposed a stroll or a seat upon
the lawn. Chairs and benches were at hand; and we requested that the coffee
might be brought to us out of doors. It was now after sun-set; and a lurid
sky was above our head. Our conversation was desultory as to topics, but
animated as to manner. I had never witnessed M. Van Praet more alive to
social disquisition. We talked of books, of pictures, and of antiquities...
and I happened, with the same witless simplicity which had pinned the
portrait of King John over my seat at dinner, to mention that volume, of
almost unparalleled rarity, ycleped _the Fables of Pfister, printed at
Bamberg_ in 1461:--which they had recently RESTORED to the Wolfenbuttel
Library! It was "more than enough" for the acute feelings of the devoted
head-librarian. M. Van Praet talked with legs and arms, as well as with
tongue, in reply to my observations upon the extraordinary worth and
singular rarity of that singular volume. "Alas, Sir, nothing pained me
more. Truly--"Here a smart flash of lightning came across us--which
illumined our countenances with due effect: for it had been sometime past
almost wholly dark, and we had been talking to each other without
perceiving a feature in our respective faces. M. Langlès joined in M. Van
Praet's lamentation; and the Baron Denon, who (as I learnt) had been the
means of obtaining that identical precious volume, united his tones of
commiseration with those of his brethren.

The lightning now became more frequent, and in larger flashes--but neither
sharp nor very dazzling. Meanwhile the notes of a skilfully touched harp
were heard from one of the windows of a neighbouring house, with a mingled
effect which it was difficult to describe. _Pfister_, books, busts, and
music, now wholly engrossed our attention--and we were absolutely enveloped
in blue lightning. We had continued our discourse till towards midnight,
had not the rain come down in a manner equally sudden and severe. It was
one of the heaviest showers which I remember to have witnessed. The storm
was directly in the centre of Paris, and over our heads. We retreated
precipitately to the deserted banqueting room; and had a reinforcement of
coffee. After such a series of melting hot weather, I shall not easily
forget the refreshing sweetness emitted from every shrub upon the lawn.
About ten o'clock, we thought of our respective homes.[163] I went into
another room to pay the reckoning; liberated King John from his second
confinement; shook hands very heartily with my guests--and returned to my
lodgings by no means out of humour or out of heart with the day's
entertainment. Whether they have been more rational, or more _economical_,
in the celebration of the same festival, AT HOME, is a point, which I have
some curiosity, but no right, to discuss. Certainly they could not have
been happier.

Having come to the conclusion of my account of the ROXBURGHE BANQUET, and
it being just now hard upon the hour of midnight, I must relinquish my
correspondent for my pillow. A good night.


[156] He died on the 24th of May, 1828; on the completion of his 85th year.
    See the next note but one.

[157] The reader may be amused with the following testy note of my vigilant
    translator, M. Crapelet: the very Sir Fretful Plagiary of the minor
    tribe of French critics! "Cette phrase, qui n'est pas Française, est
    ainsi rapportée par l'auteur. M. l'Abbé Bétencourt, aura dit a peu
    près: "Il mourra sans laisser d'élève." M. Dibdin qui parle et entend
    fort bien le Français, EST IL EXCUSABLE DE FAIRE MAL PARLER UN
    ACADEMICIEN FRANÇAIS, et surtout de rendre vicieuses presque toutes
    les phrases qu'il veut citer textuellement? L'exactitude!
    l'exactitude! C'est la première vertu du bibliographe; on ne saurait
    trop le répéter a M. Dibdin." CRAPELET. vol. iv. 124. Quære tamen?
    Ought not M. Crapelet to have said "il mourrira?" The sense implies
    the future tense: But ... how inexpiable the offence of making a
    French Academician speak bad French!!--as if every reader of common
    sense would not have given _me_, rather than the _Abbé Bétencourt_,
    credit for this bad speaking?

[158] [In a short, and pleasing, memoir of him, in the _Révue
    Encyclopédique, 115th livraison, p. 277, &c._ it is well and
    pleasantly observed, that, "such was his abstraction from all
    surrounding objects and passing events, he could tell you who was
    Bishop of such a diocese, and who was Lord of such a fief, in the
    XIIth century, much more readily, and with greater chance of being
    correct, than he would, who was the living Minister of the Interior,
    or who was the then Prefect of the department of the Seine?" By the
    kindness of a common friend, I have it in my power to subjoin a
    fac-simile of the autograph of this venerable Departed:]

    [Autograph]

[159] The _Thucydides_ was published first; in twelve volumes 8vo.
    VOL. II. 1807; with various readings, for the first time, from
    thirteen MSS. not before submitted to the public eye. The French
    version, in four volumes, with the critical notes of the Editor, may
    be had separately. The VELLUM 4to. copy of the Thucydides consists of
    fourteen volumes; but as the volumes are less bulky than those of the
    Xenophon, they may be reduced to seven. The _Xenophon_ was published
    in 1809, in seven volumes, 4to. The Latin version is that of
    Leunclavius; the French version and critical notes are those of M.
    Gail. The vellum copy, above alluded to, is divided into ten volumes;
    the tenth being an Atlas of fifty-four maps. Some of these volumes are
    very bulky from the thickness of the vellum.

    Upon this unique copy, M. Gail submitted to me, in writing, the
    following remarks. "Of the Xenophon, two vellum copies were printed;
    but of these, one was sent to the father of the present King of Spain,
    and received by him in an incomplete state--as the Spanish Ambassador
    told M. Gail: only six volumes having reached the place of their
    destination. The Editor undertakes to give authenticated attestations
    of this fact." "If," say M. Gail's written observations, "one
    considers that each sheet of vellum, consisting of eight pages, cost
    five francs ten sous, and three more francs in working off--and that
    skins of vellum were frequently obliged to be had from foreign
    countries, owing to the dearth of them at Paris--whereby the most
    extravagant demands were sometimes obliged to be complied with--add to
    which, that fifteen years have passed away since these sums were paid
    down in hard cash,--the amount of the original expenses is doubled."
    The volumes are in stout boards, and preserved in cases. In one of his
    letters to me, respecting the sale of his vellum copy--the worthy
    Professor thus pleasantly remarks: "Je ne veux pas m'enricher avec ce
    livre qui, lorsque je serai cendres, aura un bien grand prix. Je n'ai
    que le desir de me débarrasser d'une richesse qui m'est à charge, et
    ne convient nullement à un modeste et obscur particulier, comme moi."
    I subjoin the autograph of this worthy and learned Professor: hoping
    yet to shake the hand heartily which guided the pen.

    [Autograph]

[160] M. Millin DIED about the middle of the following month, ere I had
    reached Vienna. His library was sold by auction in May 1819, under the
    superintendence of Messrs. Debure, who compiled the sale catalogue. It
    produced 53,626 francs. The catalogue contained 2556 articles or
    numbers; of which several were very long sets. One article alone, no.
    866., consisted of 326 volumes in folio, quarto, and octavo. It is
    thus designated, "RECUEIL DE PIECES SUR LES ARTS, LA LITTE'RATURE, LES
    ANTIQUITE'S, _en Latin, en Italien, et en François_. This article
    produced 4501 francs, and was purchased by the Grand Duke of Tuscany.
    Millin had brought up from boyhood, and rescued from poverty and
    obscurity, a lad of the name of _Mention_. This lad lived with him
    many years, in the capacity of a valet and private secretary. In his
    second and last voyage to Italy, Millin declined taking him with him,
    but left him at home, in his house, with a salary of fifty francs per
    month. Five months after his departure, in February, 1812, a great
    quantity of smoke was seen issuing from the windows of Millin's
    apartments. Several people rushed into the room. They found the
    drawings and loose papers taken from the portfolios, rolled up
    lightly, and the room on fire at the four corners! A lighted candle
    was placed in the middle of the room. Suspicion immediately fell upon
    Mention. They ran to his bed chamber: found the door fastened: burst
    it open--and saw the wretched valet weltering in his blood ... yet
    holding, in his-right hand, the razor with which he had cut his
    throat! He was entirely dead. Millin's collection of Letters from his
    numerous Correspondents perished in the flames.

    This accident, which also deprived Millin of a fund of valuable
    materials that he was preparing for a _Dictionary of the Fine Arts_,
    and for a _Recueil de Pièces gravées Inédites_--might have also had an
    infinitely more fatal tendency: as it occurred _within_ the walls
    which contain the ROYAL LIBRARY! Millin received the news of this
    misfortune, in Italy, with uncommon fortitude and resignation. But
    this second voyage, as has been already intimated, (see p. 260)
    hastened his dissolution. He planned and executed infinitely too much;
    and never thoroughly recovered the consequent state of exhaustion of
    body and mind. As he found his end approaching, he is reported to have
    said--"I should like to have lived longer, in order to have done more
    good--but God's will be done! I have lived fifty-nine years, the
    happiest of men--and should I not be ungrateful towards Providence, if
    I complained of its decrees?!" And when still nearer his latter
    moments--he exclaimed: "I have always lived, and I die, a Frenchman:
    hating no one: complaining only of those who retard the cause of
    reason and truth. I have never, intentionally, hurt a single creature.
    If I have injured any one, I ask pardon of him for the error of my
    understanding." He died on the 18th of August, and his body was
    interred in the churchyard of Père la Chaise. His old friend and
    colleague, M. GAIL, pronounced a funeral discourse over his grave--in
    which, as may be well supposed, his feelings were most acutely
    excited. I subjoin a facsimile of Millin's autograph: from the richly
    furnished collection of Mr. Upcott, of the London Institution.

    [Autograph: A.L. Millin]

[161] [Mons. Langlès survived the above account between five and six years;
    dying January 28, 1824. His Library was sold by auction in March,
    1825. It was copious and highly creditable to his memory. From the
    source whence the preceding autograph was derived, I subjoin the
    following autograph.

    [Autograph: L Langlès]


[162] Monsieur Millin had been before hand in his description of this day's
    festival, but his description was in prose. It appeared in the
    _Annales Encyclopédiques_, for the ensuing month, July, 1818, and was
    preceded by a slight historical sketch of the Club, taken chiefly from
    the Bibliographical Decameron. His account of the festival may amuse
    some of my readers, who have not been accustomed to peruse _English
    toasts_ cloathed in French language. It is briefly thus:

    "Pendant que les membres du Roxburghe Club célébroient le 17 juin 1818
    la mémoire des premiers imprimeurs de Boccace, à Venise et en
    Angleterre, sous la présidence de sa grâce lord Spencer; M. Dibdin,
    vice-président, s'unissoit à ce banquet bibliographique par une
    répétition qu'il en faisoit à Paris. Il avoit appelé à ce banquet M.
    DENON, à qui la France doit encore une grande partie des manuscrits et
    des éditions rares dont elle s'est enrichie, et plusieurs
    conservateurs de la bibliothèque royale, MM. VANPRAET, LANGLE'S, GAIL,
    et MILLIN. On pense bien que l'histoire littéraire, la bibliographie,
    devinrent un inépuisable sujet pour la conversation. L'entretien
    offrit un mélange de gaïté et de gravité qui convient aux banquets des
    muses; et selon l'adage antique, les convives étoient plus que trois
    et moins que neuf. M. Gail lut sur cette réunion des vers latins, dont
    les toasts bruyans ne permirent pas de savourer d'abord tout le sel et
    l'esprit. Ils doivent être imprimés dans _l'Hermes Romanus_.

    "M.D., amphitryon et président du festin, porta, comme il convenoit,
    les premiers toasts:

    1°. A la santé de milord Spencer et des honorables membres du
    Roxburghe Club. 2°. A la mémoire de Christophe Valdarfer, inprimeur du
    Boccace de 1471; livre dont l'acquisition fait par le duc de
    Marlborough, fut l'occasion de la fondation du Roxburghe Club. 3°. A
    la mémoire immortelle de Guillaume Caxton, premier imprimeur anglois.
    4°. A la gloire de la France. 5°. A l'union perpétuelle de la France
    et de l'Angleterre. 6°. A la prospérité de la bibliothèque royale de
    France. 7°. A la santé de ses dignes conservateurs, dont le savoir est
    inépuisable, et dont l'obligeance ne se lasse jamais. 8°. A la
    propagation des sciences, des arts, des lettres, et de la bibliomanie.
    9°. Au désir de se revoir le même jour chaque année.

    "Les convives ont rendu ces toasts par un autre qu'ils ont porté, avec
    les hurras et les trois fois d'usage en Angleterre, au vice-président
    du Roxburghe-Club, qui leur avoit fait l'honneur de les rassembler.

    "La Séance a fini à l'heure où le président du Roxburghe-Club lève
    celle de Londres; et le vice-président, M. Dibdin, a soigneusement
    réuni les bouchons, pour les porter en Angleterre comme un signe
    commémoratif de cet agréable banquet."[E]

    The verses of Monsieur Gail were as follow:--but I should premise that
    he recited them with zest and animation.

      Auspice jam Phæbo, SPENCEROQUE AUSPICE, vestrum
      Illa renascentis celebravit gaudia lucis
      Concilium, stupuit quondam quâ talibus emptus
      Boccacius cunctorum animis, miratus honores
      Ipse suos, atque ipsa superbiit umbra triumpho.
      Magna quidem lux illa, omni lux tempore digna.
      Cui redivivus honos et gloria longa supersit
      _Atque utinam ex vobis unus, vestræque fuissem_
      Lætitiæ comes, et doctæ conviva _trapezæ_.
      Sed nune invitorque epulis, interque volentes
      Gallus Apollineâ sedeo quasi lege Britannos.

      Arridet D***: habet nos una voluptas.
      Me quoque librorum meministis amore teneri,
      Atque virûm studiis, quos Gallia jactat alumnos:
      Nam si _Caxtonio_ felix nunc Anglia gaudet,
      Non minus ipsa etiam _Stephanorum_ nomina laudat.
      Hic nonnulla manent priscæ vestigia famæ.
      Nobis Thucydides, Xenophon quoque pumice et auro,
      Quem poliit non parca manus; felicior ille
      Si possit ...[F] melius conjungere Musas!
      [Greek: Koina ta panta philôn] perhibent: at semper amici
      Quidquid doctorum est: tantis ego lætor amicis.
      Æternum hæc vigeat concordia pocula firment
      Artesque et libri, quæ nectant foedera reges,
      Utramque et socient simul omnia vincula gentem.

      CECINIT JOAN. B. GAIL,

      Lector regius in biblioth. regiâ codd. gr. et lat. præfectus.

    While one of the London morning newspapers (which shall be here
    nameless) chose to convert this harmless scene of festive mirth into a
    coarse and contemptible attack upon its author, the well-bred
    Bibliomanes of Paris viewed it with a different feeling, and drew from
    it a more rational inference. It was supposed, by several gentlemen of
    education and fortune, that a RIVAL SOCIETY might be established among
    themselves--partaking in some degree of the nature of that of the
    ROXBURGHE, although necessarily regulated by a few different laws.

    Taking the regulations of the ROXBURGHE CLUB (as laid down in the
    _Ninth Day_ of the _Decameron_) as the basis, they put together a code
    of laws for the regulation of a similar Society which they chose, very
    aptly, to call LES BIBLIOPHILES. Behold then, under a new name, a
    _Parisian Roxburghe Society_. When I visited Paris, in the summer, of
    1819, I got speedily introduced to the leading Members of the club,
    and obtained, from M. DURAND DE LANÇON, (one of the most devoted and
    most efficient of the members) that information--which is here
    submitted to the public: from a persuasion that it cannot be deemed
    wholly uninteresting, or out of order, even by the most violent
    enemies of the _cause_." The _object_ of this Society of the
    BIBLIOPHILES must be expressed in the proper language of the country.
    It is "_pour nourrir, reléver, et faire naître méme la passion de la_
    _Bibliomanie_." I put it to the conscience of the most sober-minded
    observer of men and things--if any earthly object can be more orthodox
    and legitimate? The Society meet, as a corporate body, twice in the
    year: once in April, the second time in December; and date the
    foundation of their Club from the 1st of January 1820. Whatever they
    print, bears the general title of "_Mélanges_;"[G] but whether this
    word will be executed in the black-letter, lower-case, or in roman
    capitals, is not yet determined upon. One or two things, however, at
    starting, cannot fail to be premised; and indeed has been already
    observed upon--as a species of _heresy_. The Society assemble to a
    "déjeuné à la fourchette," about twelve o'clock: instead of to a
    "seven o'clock dinner," as do the London Roxburghers: whereby their
    constitutions and pockets are less affected. The other thing, to
    observe upon, is, that they do not print (and publish among
    themselves) such very strange, and out-of-the way productions, as do
    the London Roxburghers. For truly, of _some_ of the latter, it may be
    said with the anonymous poet in the _Adversaria_ of Barthius,

      Verum hæc nee puer edidici, nee tradita patre
      Accepi, nee Aristotelis de moribus umquam
      Librum, aut divini Platonis dogmata legi.
                           _Edit. Fabri_. 1624, col. 345, vol. i.

    And why is it thus? Because these reprints are occasionally taken
    (quoting Caspar Barthius himself, in the xxth chapter of his iid book
    of Adversaria, _Edit. Ead_.) "ex libro egregiè obscuro et a blattis
    tineisque fere confecto." But, on the other hand, they are perfectly
    harmless:

      Sweet without soure, and honny without gall:

    as Spenser observes in his _Colin Clout's come home again: edit._
    1595: sign. E.F. Or, as is observed in _Les Illustrations de France,
    edit_. 1513, 4to. litt. goth.:

      Le dedens nest, ne trop cler, ne trop brun,
      Mais delectable a veoir...comme il me semble. _Sign. Cii. rev_.

    A genuine disciple of the Roxburghe Club will always exclaim
    "delectable a veoir" let the contents of the book be "cler," or
    "brun." Nor will such enthusiastic Member allow of the epithets of
    "hodg-podge, gallimaufry, rhapsody," &c. which are to be found in the
    "Transdentals General," of Bishop Wilkins's famous "_Essay towards a
    real character and a philosophical language:"_ edit. 1668, fol. p.
    28--as applicable to his beloved reprints! I annex the names of the
    Members of the Societé des Bibliophiles, as that club was first
    established.

    1. Le Marquis de Chateaugiron, _Président_. 2. Guilbert de
    Pixérécours, _Secrétaire_. 3. Le Chevalier Walckenaer, _Membre de
    l'Institut, Trésorier._ 4. Alph. de Malartic, _Maître des Requêtes._
    5. Durand de Lançon. 6. Edouard de Chabrol. 7. Berard, _Maître des
    Requêtes_. 8. Le Vcte. de Morel-Vindé, _Pair de France._ 9. Madame la
    Duchesse de Raguse, (_par courtoisie_.) 10. Pensier. 11. Comte Juste
    de Noailles. 12. Le Baron Hely d'Oisel, _Conseiller d'etat._ 13. Le
    Marquis Scipion du Nocere, _Officier Superieur du Garde du Corps_. 14.
    Hippolyte de la Porte. 15. De Monmerqué, _Conseiller à la Cour
    Royale_. 16. Coulon, _à Lyon._ 17. Le Duc de Crussol. 18. Le Comte
    d'Ourches, _à Nancy._ 19. Le Chevalier Langlès, _Membre de
    l'Institut._ 20. Duriez, _à Lille._ 21. Le Marquis Germain Garnier,
    _Pair de France_. 22. Monsieur le Chevalier Artaud, _Secrétaire d'
    Ambass. à Rome_.

    It remains to conclude this, I fear unconscionably long, note, as the
    above letter is concluded, with the mention of ANOTHER BANQUET. This
    banquet was given by the Bibliophiles to the NOBLE PRESIDENT of the
    Roxburghe Club, when the latter was at Paris in the Spring of the year
    1820. The Vice-President of the Roxburghe Club, who happened at the
    same time to be at Paris, also received the honour of an invitation.
    The festival took place at _Beauvilliers'_, the modern Apicius of
    Parisian restorateurs. About twelve guests sat down to table. The
    Marquis de Chateaugiron was in the chair. They assembled at six, and
    separated at half-past nine. All that refinement and luxury could
    produce, was produced on the occasion. Champagnes of different tints,
    and of different qualities--_lively_ like M. Langlès, or _still_ like
    Monsieur ****; fish, dressed as they dress it à la Rocher de Cancale--
    poultry, and pastry--varied in form, and piquant in taste--but better,
    and more palatable than either, conversation--well regulated and
    instructive--mingled with the most respectful attention to the
    ILLUSTRIOUS GUEST for whom the banquet had been prepared--gave a charm
    and a "joyaunce" to the character of that festival--which will not be
    easily effaced from the tablets of the narrator's memory. Where all
    shine pretty equally, it seems invidious to particularise. Yet I may
    be allowed to notice the hearty urbanity of the Marquis, the thorough
    good humour and bibliomaniacal experience of the Comte d'Ourches,
    (who, ever and anon, would talk about an edition of _Virgil's
    Pastorals printed by Eggesteyn_) the vivacious sallies of the
    Chevalier Langlès, the keen yet circumspect remarks of the Comte
    Noailles, the vigilant attention and toast-stirring propensities of
    M.D. de Lançon, the _Elzevirian_ enthusiasm of M. Berard, the ... But
    enough ... "Claudite jam rivos pueri--sat prata biberunt."

        [E] These Corks are yet (1829) in my possession: preserved in an
        old wooden box, with ribs of iron, of the time of Louis XI.

        [F] The word here in the original is not clear.

        [G] [They have now published FOUR VOLUMES, in royal 8vo. of
        singular beauty and splendour: but the fourth vol. falls far short
        of its precursors in the intrinsic value of its contents. The
        first volume is so scarce, as to have brought £20. at a sale in
        Paris. I possess the three latter vols. only, by the kindness of
        the Society, in making me, with Earl Spencer, an Honorary
        Associate.]

[163] [The Reader must not break up with the party, until he has cast his
    eye upon the autograph of an Individual, of as high merit and
    distinction in the department which he occupies, as any to which he
    has yet been introduced. It only remains to say--it is the autograph
    of Mons.

    [Autograph]



_LETTER X._

THE COLLECTIONS OF DENON, QUINTIN CRAUFURD, AND THE MARQUIS DE SOMMARIVA.


All the world has heard of the famous DENON, the Egyptian traveller; and
editor of the great work of the _Antiquities of Egypt_, published in 1802,
in two sumptuous folio volumes. As you possess a copy of the French
work,[164] with choice impressions of the plates, I need say nothing
further upon the subject--except that I believe it to be one of the very
finest works of the kind, which has ever appeared ... on the score of art.
But the author has other claims to attention and popularity. He was an
intimate friend--and certainly the confidential adviser--of Buonaparte, in
all public schemes connected with the acquisition of pictures and statues:
and undoubtedly he executed the task confided to him with _ability_. He was
verging oh his sixtieth year, when he started with his master upon the
Egyptian expedition--a proof at least of energy, as well as of good
disposition, in the cause. But Denon has been a great European traveller:
he has had access to private, as well as to public, cabinets; and has
brought home some rich fruits of his enterprise and taste.

His house, on the _Quai Malaquais_, is the rendezvous of all the English of
any taste--who have respectable letters of introduction; and I must do him
the justice to say, that, never did a man endure the _inconveniences_ which
must frequently result from keeping such open house, with greater
adroitness and good humour than does the Baron Denon. I have sometimes
found his principal rooms entirely filled by my countrymen and
countrywomen; and I once, from the purest accident, headed a party of
_twenty-two_ ... in which were three British officers, and more than that
number of members of either University. I will fairly own that, on
receiving us, he drew me quietly aside, and observed:--"Mon ami, quand vous
viendrez une autre fois, ne commandez pas, je vous prie, une armée si
nombreuse. Je m'imaginois encore en Egypte." What was still more
perplexing, we found there a party of English as numerous as ourselves. It
was thus, however, that he rebuked my indiscretion.

We had twice exchanged visits and cards before we met. The card of Denon
was worth possessing, from the simple, unaffected modesty which it evinced.
You merely read the word DENON upon it!... The owner of the collection
which I am about to describe, is certainly "un peu passé" as to years; but
he has a cheerful countenance, with the tint of health upon it; small,
gray, sparkling eyes, and teeth both regular and white.[165] He is
generally dressed in black, and always as a gentleman. His figure, not
above the middle height, is well formed; and his step is at once light and
firm. There is doubtless a good deal which is very prepossessing in his
manners. As he understands nothing of the English language, he can of
course neither read nor speak it.

It is now time to give you some idea of this curious collection. You ascend
a lofty and commodious stone staircase (not very common in Paris) and stop
at the _first_ floor:--another comfort, also very rare in Paris. This
collection is contained in about half a dozen rooms: lofty, airy, and well
furnished. The greater number of these rooms faces the Seine. The first
contains a miscellaneous assemblage of bronze busts, and pictures of
Teniers, Watteau, and of the more modern School of Paris. Of these, the
Watteau is singular, rather than happy, from its size.[166] The two Teniers
are light, thin, pictures; sketches of pigs and asses; but they are very
covetable morsels of the artist.[167] In a corner, stands the skeleton of a
female mummy in a glass case, of which the integuments are preserved in a
basket. This is thought to be equally precious and uncommon. M. Denon shews
the foot of the figure (which is mere bone and muscle) with amazing triumph
and satisfaction. He thinks it is as fine as that of the Venus de Medicis,
but there is no accounting for tastes. Among the busts is one of West, of
Neckar, and of Denon himself: which latter I choose here to call "_Denon
the First_." The second room contains a very surprising, collection of
Phoenician, Egyptian, and other oriental curiosities: and in a corner, to
the left, is a set of small drawers, filled with very interesting medals of
eminent characters, of all descriptions, chiefly of the sixteenth century.
Above them is a portrait of the owner of the collection--which I choose to
call "_Denon the Second_." This room exhibits a very interesting mélange.
Over the fire place are some busts; of which the most remarkable are those
of _Petrarch_ and _Voltaire_; the former in bronze, the latter in
terra-cotta; each of the size of life. Voltaire's bust strikes me as being
the best representation of the original extant. It is full of character; a
wonderful mixture of malignity, wit, and genius.[168]

The third room is the largest, and the most splendidly hung with pictures.
Of these, the circular little Guercino--a holy family--is, to my poor
judgment, worth the whole.[169] The Rysdael and Both are very second rate.
As you approach the fire-place, your attention is somewhat powerfully
directed to a small bronze whole length figure of Buonaparte--leaning upon
a table, with his right hand holding a compass, and his left resting upon
his left thigh.[170] Some charts, with a pair of compasses, are upon the
table; and I believe this represents him in his cabin, on his voyage to
Egypt. Is there any representation of him, in the same situation, upon his
_return_? However, it is an admirable piece of workmanship. In this room is
also (if I remember rightly) the original colossal head of the ex-emperor,
when a young man, in white marble, by CANOVA. But I must not omit informing
you that here is also another portrait, in oil, of the owner of the
collection--which, if you please, we will call "_Denon the Third_." You
next enter a narrow, boudoir-shaped apartment, which contains, to my taste,
the most curious and precious morsels of art which the Baron Denon
possesses. They are specimens of the earlier schools of painting,
commencing with what are called _Giottos_ and _Cimabues_--down to a very
striking modern picture of a group of children, by a late French artist,
just before the time of our Reynolds. This latter you would really conceive
to have been the production of Sir Joshua himself. Of the specimens of the
earlier schools, I was most struck with the head of PISANI, the inventor of
medals--of the fifteenth century--painted by _Antonello da Messina_, a
pupil of John Van Eyk. It is full of nature and of character. I could not
get away from it. "Is it possible to obtain a copy of this picture?"--said
I to its owner. "I understand you, (replied Denon) you wish to carry that
copy to your own country. And to have it engraved there?" ... "Most
unquestionably"--resumed I. "It is at your service (he rejoined); Laurent
will copy it admirably." I hardly knew how to thank Mons. Denon
sufficiently.[171]

[Illustration: PISANI.]

[Illustration: DENON.]

There was another head ...but "non omnia possumus omnes." I mean, one of a
female in profile, by MASACCIO. It was full of expression.[172] "What,
(said its owner,) must you have an engraving of _that_ head also? It is
bespoke; by myself. In short, every thing which you behold in these rooms
(including even your favourite Pisani) will be _lithographised_ for the
publication of my own collection." Of course, after this declaration, I was
careful of what I did or said. "But there was yet _one_ thing in this
collection--of which, as I saw such a variety, he could not refuse me a
copy." "What might that be?" "A portrait of HIMSELF: from marble, from oil,
or from enamel." "Take your choice: he replied: "faites ce que vous
voulez,"--and it was agreed that M. Laguiche should make a drawing of the
bust, in white marble, (I think the sculptor's name is Bosio) which is
indeed very like him.[173] There is also a large and beautiful enamel of
Denon, full dressed with all his orders, by Augustin; perhaps the most
perfect specimen of that artist which France possesses. It is the work of
several years past, when Denon had more flesh upon his cheek, and more fire
in his eye. We may therefore say that this room contains "_Denon the
Fourth, and Denon the Fifth_!"

In the same room you observe a very complete specimen of a papyrus
inscription; brought from Egypt. Indeed the curiosities brought from that
country (as might naturally be supposed) are numerous and valuable. But my
attention was directed to more _understandable_ objects of art. Opposite to
the bust of Denon, is one of his late master, the ex-Emperor, in bronze:
and above this latter, is a small picture, by _Lucas Cranach_, of a man
with a bag of money tempting a young woman: full of character, and
singularly striking. This room--or the one adjoining, I have forgotten
which--contains M. Denon's collection of the prints of MARC ANTONIO or of
REMBRANDT--or of both; a collection, which is said to be _unequalled_.[174]
Whether the former be more precious than the latter, or whether both be
superior to what our British Museum contains of the same masters, is a
point which has not yet been fairly determined. But I asked, one morning,
for a glimpse of the Rembrandts. We were alone; just after we had
breakfasted together. M. Denon commenced by shewing me two different states
of the _Coach Landscape_, and the two _great Coppinols_ with _white
grounds_--each varying somewhat!!! "Enough," cried I--holding up both
hands,--"you beat all in England and all in France!"

From hence you pass into a fourth room, which is M. Denon's bed-chamber.
About the fire-place are numerous little choice bits of the graphic art.
Two small _Watteaus_, in particular, are perfectly delicious;[175] as well
as a very small _Sebastian Bourdon_; of a holy family. In a corner, too
much darkened, is a fine small portrait of _Parmegiano_ in profile: full of
expression--and, to the best of my recollection, never engraved. These are,
I think, the chief bijoux in the bed-room; except that I might notice some
ancient little bronzes, and an enamel or two by Petitot. You now retrace
your steps, and go into a fifth room, which has many fair good pictures, of
a comparatively modern date; and where, if I mistake not, you observe at
least _one_ portrait in oil of the master of the premises. This therefore
gives us "_Denon the Seventh_!" It is here that the master chiefly sits:
and he calls it his workshop. His drawers and port-folios are, I think,
filled with prints and old-drawings: innumerable, and in the estimation of
the owner, invaluable. You yet continue your route into a further room,--
somewhat bereft of furniture, or en dishabille. Here, among other prints, I
was struck with seeing that of _the late Mr. Pitt_; from Edridge's small
whole length. The story attached to it is rather singular. It was found on
board the first naval prize (a frigate) which the French made during the
late war; and the Captain begged Monsieur Denon's acceptance of it. Here
were also, if I remember rightly, prints of Mr. Fox and Lord Nelson; but,
as objects of _art_, I could not help looking with admiration--approaching
to incredulity--upon three or four large prints, after Rembrandt and Paul
Potter, which M. Denon assured me were the production of _his_ burin! I
could scarcely believe it. Whatever be the merits of Denon, as a critical
judge of art, ancient or modern, there is no person, not wholly blinded by
prejudice, or soured by national antipathies, that can deny him great zeal,
great talent, and great feeling ... in the several pursuits of art, of
which his apartments furnish such splendid evidence.

But, you may be disposed to add, "has this celebrated man no collection of
Books?--no LIBRARY? At least he must have a _missal_ or two?" 'Tis even so,
my friend. Library, he has none: for as "one swallow does not make a
summer," so three or four pretty little illuminated volumes do not
constitute a library. However, what he has of this kind, has been freely
exhibited to me; and I here send you a transscript of some notes taken upon
the spot.

I was first shewn a small missal, prettily executed in a gothic type, of
the Italian form, after the models of those of Jenson and Hailbrun. The
calendar has the paintings injured. On the reverse of the last leaf of the
Calendar, we read, in roman capitals, the following impressive annotation:
DEUM TIME, PAUPERES SUSTINE, MEMENTO FINIS. On the reverse of the ensuing
leaf, is a large head of Christ, highly coloured: but with the lower part
of the face disproportionately short: not unlike a figure of a similar
kind, in the Duke of Devonshire's Missal, described on a former
occasion.[176] The crucifixon, on the next leaf but one, is full of spirit
and effect. Then commence the _Drolleries_: or a series of subjects most
whimsically conceived, but most sweetly touched and finished. You cannot
imagine any thing more perfect of their kind and for their size, than are
the beasts, birds, insects, fruits, and flowers. The vellum harmonises
admirably, from its colour and quality. There are several comparatively
large illuminations: some with very small figures; and two (one of St. John
the Baptist, and the other of Christ mocked) are of great beauty in respect
to force of colour. The initial capitals are executed with equal attention
to taste in composition, and delicacy in colouring. This diminutive volume
is only four inches high, by about two inches and three quarters wide. It
is bound in red velvet, and mounted with silver knobs, with heads of
cherubim upon them. It is fastened by a silver clasp; upon which is
painted, and glazed, a head of Christ--of the time, as I conceive. M. Denon
told me he bought this little gem of a bookseller in Italy, for 400 francs.

He has another Missal, about half an inch wider and taller, in the binding
of the time, with stamped ornaments. This exhibits flowers, fruits, and
birds, in the margins; touched with great delicacy and truth. Some of the
borders have a gold ground, shaded with brown, upon which the fruit is
richly brought out in relief: others have human figures; and the border,
encircling the temptation of our first Parents, has nothing superior to
it--and is really worth an engraved fac-simile: but not in _lithography!_
It is on the forty-fifth leaf. One of the heads, in the border, is like
that of our Edward VI. The third illuminated ms. volume, in M. Denon's
possession, is probably the most valuable. It is a quarto, written in the
Spanish language, and bearing the date of 1553. The scription is in red and
black letters, alternately. This book contains several large illuminations,
and coloured borders; and I was told, by its owner, that it was the _very
book_ upon which the OATHS OF INITIATION INTO THE SPANISH INQUISITION were
administered. Its condition is most perfect. The first large illumination
represents a Saint, with his scull divided by a sword, and blood streaming
copiously from him: a palm, with three crowns, is in his right hand; a book
is in his left: at top we read "_Exsurge Domine, et judica Causam tuam_."
The Saint is surrounded by a border of fruits and flowers. It is the
principal embellishment in the volume. This book is in its original, black
leather, stamped binding, with knobs and clasps. A marginal note thus
remarks: "_ynoscan obligados asseruier cargome off^o. de ella salbo si
de su voluntad loquisier en servi_."

In my last visit to Denon,[177] I met with ANDRIEU; a name which reflects
lustre upon the Fine Arts. As a medallist, he has no equal, nor perhaps
ever had any, among the French. Our own SIMON enables us to oppose to him a
rival of great and unquestionable talents; but we have slept soundly, both
in the _medallic_ and _numismatic_ art, since the time of Cromwell: except
that we were shook a little out of our slumbers during the reigns of Anne
and George I. Andrieu has more of the pure Greek feeling about him, than
Simon ever evinced: and prefers executing his _hair_ more in masses than in
detail. He is therefore on this head, a copyist; but he transfuses into the
countenance that soul and intelligence which we delight to contemplate, and
which we are prompt to own, in the countenances upon Greek coins. The
series of _Bonaparte-Medals_ are, almost entirely, I believe, the work of
his hand. But _every_ head is _safe_ with Andrieu. He had just brought a
medal of the present King (Louis XVIII.) to shew Denon. It was about the
size of our half crown, in bronze. The countenance was in profile:--an
admirable, and a very strong resemblance. The reverse was the equestrian
statue of Henri IV., upon the Pont-Neuf.[178] Upon the whole, quite as
good, as an effort of _art_, as what has been done for Bonaparte. The
artist had well nigh succeeded in drawing me into a sort of half temptation
to bespeak an impression of the medal _in gold_. "It was but a trifling
sum--some twenty louis, or thereabouts. It would look so sharp and splendid
in gold! and...." "I thank you much Sir, (replied I) but twenty louis will
carry me almost to _Strasbourg_, whither I am to proceed in about a week or
ten days." One thing I must add, much to his good sense and pure patriotic
feeling:--he had been indirectly solicited to strike some medals,
commemorative of the illustrious achievements of our WELLINGTON: but this
he pointedly declined. "It was not, Sir, for _me_ to perpetuate the name of
a man who had humbled the power, and the military glory, of my _own
country_." Such was his remark to me. What is commendable in MUDIE,[179]
would have been ill-timed, if not disgraceful, in Andrieu.

Come with me, now, to a very different exhibition: to a unique collection,
of its kind: to a collection, not frequently visited: as little known; but
undoubtedly well deserving both of being often visited and described. It is
of the _Collection of Paintings_ belonging to MR. QUINTIN CRAUFURD, living
in the _Rue d'Anjou_, no. 21, that I am about to speak:--the fruits of a
long residence (upwards of thirty years) in France; during the alternate
commotions of republicanism and despotism. A letter of introduction
procured me every facility of access to make repeated examinations of these
treasures; and during my sojournings I fancied myself holding converse
alternately with some of the grandees of the time of Francis I. and Louis
XIV.

Such a collection of _French portraits_--almost entirely of characters who
have cut a figure in _history_--is no where else to be seen in Paris. In my
estimation, it is beyond all price.

Facing you, as you enter, stands--firmly upon his legs, and looking you
manfully in the face--- the gallant and faithful _Comte De Brienne, Grand
Master of the Ceremonies to Francis I. and Henry II._ A fine picture; and
quite perfect.[180] To the left, is a charming whole length portrait, by
_Velasquez_: a tender and exquisitely careful specimen of art. Of other
whole lengths, but subordinately executed, you should notice one of
_Christine, Duchesse de Savoie_, daughter of Henry II. and Catherine de
Medicis; very curious, and in perfect preservation. There is a duplicate of
this picture in the Louvre. A much more curious picture is a whole length,
supposed to be of _Agnes Sorel_, mistress of Charles VII. One minute's
reflection will correct this designation of the portrait. In the time of
Agnes Sorel, portrait painting, in oil, was unknown--at least in France.
The costume betrays the misnomer: for it is palpably not of the time of
Agnes Sorel. Here is also a whole length of _Isabella, daughter of Philip
II._ and Governess of the Low Countries. There are several small fancy
pictures; among which I was chiefly, and indeed greatly struck, with a
woman and two children by _Stella_. 'Tis a gem of its kind.

[Illustration: COMTE DE BRIENNE,

From an original Painting in the Collection of the late Quintin Crauford
Esq.

London, Published June 1829, by R. Jennings, Poultry.]

Leaving this room, you turn, to the left--into a small room, but obscurely
lighted. Here is a Virgin and Child, by _Sasso Ferrato_, that cannot be
surpassed. There is a freedom of design, a crispness of touch, and a
mellowness of colouring, in this picture, that render it a performance very
much above the usual representations of this subject. In the same room is a
spirited, but somewhat singular, picture of the _birth of Venus_. It
exhibits the conception and touch of a master. The colouring is very sober.
The name of the artist is not upon the frame, and as I was generally alone
when I made my memoranda, I had no one to instruct me. You leave this room,
and pass on--catching a glimpse of a lawn richly bedecked with flowers and
shrubs--into a long and lofty room, which unites the two enviable
distinctions of LIBRARY and GALLERY. Here you are bewildered for an
instant: that is to say, you are divided in your attention between the
admiration of the proportion and structure of the room, and the alternate
captivation of books, busts, and pictures. But as you have had enough of
_paper_ and _print_ in former despatches, I shall confine myself here
exclusively to the _pencil_ and the _chisel_.

Let us first walk leisurely about the ground floor, ere we mount the
gallery. To begin with the busts. That of the late _Abbé Barthelemi_, in
white marble, immediately strikes you.[181] It is full of nature and of
character; and the hair has just enough of the antique gusto about it to
render the toute ensemble equally classical and individualised--if you will
allow this latter expression. Here is a terra-cotta head of _Corneille_, of
very indifferent workmanship; and much inferior to a similar representation
of him at Rouen. The terra-cotta head of _Rousseau_ is considerably better.
But the marble bust of _Voltaire_, by Houdon, throws every thing about it
into tameness. It is as fine as is the terra-cotta bust of the same person
which Denon possesses. Here, however, the poet is in a peruque, or
dress-wig. His eyes sparkle with animation. Every feature and every muscle
seems to be in action: and yet it is perfectly free from caricature or
affectation. A surprising performance. This head and that of Barthelemi are
quite perfect of their kind. And yet I am not sure whether I should not
have preferred the fine bronze bust of _Henri II._, somewhat larger than
life, to either of the preceding. But I must not forget the colossal head
of _Bonaparte_, when a young man, by Canova. It is of white marble:
considered to be the original. Denon has a similar head, by the same
artist. I am not sure if I do not prefer Mr. Craufurd's. Of paintings, on
this floor, the head of _Francis I_. by Titian--(which may be called rather
a finished sketch, and which is retouched in parts) is a very desirable
performance; but it is inferior to the same head, by the same artist, in
the Louvre. Here is a charming portrait of a Lady in the time of Louis XV.,
who chose to lead the life of a _Réligieuse_: sweetly and naturally
touched. A fine portrait of _Grotius_ is also here; well deserving a
conspicuous place in any cabinet of learning.[182]

We will now walk up stairs to the gallery. Of course, in the confined space
between the balustrade and the wainscot (not much more than three feet), it
is barely possible to appreciate the full effect of the paintings; but I
here send you a list of the greater part of them, with brief remarks, upon
the general accuracy of which you may rely.

_Madame Scarron_, with the _Duc du Maine_; apparently by Mignard: in a very
fresh and perfect state.

A fine head of _Racine_, and similar one of _De La Motte_.

_Mademoiselle de Guiche, Princesse de Monaco_; in all probability by
Mignard. Good.

_Mademoiselle Hamilton, Comtesse de Grammont_; by Mignard. If the Comte de
Grammont chose to fall in love only with beautiful women, he could
scarcely, upon his own principles, (which indeed were any thing but moral)
have found any one so lovely as was his WIFE. Yet I have seen handsomer
portraits of her than this.

_Anne de Gonzague_. She was Princess Palatine, and daughter of Charles Duke
of Nevers. This is a half length portrait. A garland is in her right hand.
A gay and pleasing picture.

_Le Chancelier d'Aguesseau_. By Rigaud. A fine mellow portrait.

_Louis XI_. A whole length; supposed to be by Leonardo da Vinci. Not very
credible. It is a fine, bold, horribly-looking portrait: not in the very
best state of preservation.

_Blaise Pascal_. Very fine. The artist's name is not inscribed; but there
is a Murillo-like effect about this portrait, which is very striking.
Pascal holds a letter in his hand.

Next to Pascal is a prodigiously fine oval portrait (is it of _Fontaine_?)
by Rigaud. No name is subjoined.

_Comtesse de la Fayette_. A fine countenance: hands apparently recoloured.
In yellow drapery.

_Julie-Lucie d'Augennes, Duchesse de Montausier._ She died in 1671. The
portrait is by Mignard. It represents this celebrated female, when young,
_encadred_ by flowers. The carnation tints of the flesh, and the blue
lustre of the eye, have nothing finer in the whole circle of Mignard's
performances. This is a picture from which the eye is withdrawn with no
common reluctance. It is clear, bright, fresh, and speaking.[183]

The _Wife of P. de Champagne_. She holds a small oval portrait of the
mother of her husband, the famous painter, in her lap. The picture is by P.
de Champagne himself. The head of the mother is very clever: but the flesh
has perhaps too predominant a tint of pinkish-purple throughout.

_Madame de la Sabliere_. Oval: very clever.

_Madame Deshoulieres_. Similar, in both repects.

_Madame Cornuel_. Oval: a stiff performance.

_Madame la Duchesse d'Orleans_. She is represented as Hebe. A pretty
picture; but a little too much "frenchified."

_Madame de Staal_. Oval. Beautiful and perfect.

_Madame la Marquise de Rambouillet_. A° 1646. A most beautiful picture. The
head and shoulders are worthy of Vandyke. The curtain, in the background,
is flowered; and perhaps too hard.

_Madame la Duchesse de la Valliere, mère du dernier duc de ce nom_. She was
the mother of the Duke de la Valliere who had the celebrated library; and
died in 1782, within three months of reaching her hundredth year! She was
an old woman, but yet very handsome, when this portrait was painted. Her
colour is yet tender, and her features are small and regular. The eyes have
unusual intelligence, for so protracted a period of life. It is a half
length, and I should think by Rigaud. She is sitting in a chair, holding a
tea spoon in her right hand, and a tea cup in her left. This may have some
allusion, of which I am ignorant. The whole picture is full of nature, and
in a fine tone of colour.

The _Duke of Monmouth_. He is sitting: holding a truncheon in his right
hand. A helmet and plume are before him. He wears a white sash. This is a
dark, but may be called a finely painted, picture. Yet the Duke is not
represented as a handsome man.

_Turenne_. By P. de Champagne. Fine.

_Bossuet_. By Rigaud. This is not only considered as the chef-d'oeuvre of
Rigaud, but it has been pronounced to be the finest portrait ever executed
within the last century of the French School.[184] It is a whole length;
and is well known to you from the wonderful print of it by Drevet. The
representation is worthy of the original; for Bossuet was one of the last
of the really great men of France. He had a fine capacity and fine
scholarship: and was as adroit in polemics as Richelieu was in politics. He
resembled somewhat our Horsley in his pulpit eloquence,--and was almost as
pugnacious and overbearing in controversy. He excelled in quickness of
perception, strength of argument, and vehemence of invective; yet his
sermons are gradually becoming neglected--while those of Fenelon,
Massillon, and Saurin are constantly resorted to ... for the fine taste,
pure feeling, and Christianlike consolation which breathe throughout them.
One thing, in this fine whole length portrait of Bossuet, cannot fail to be
noticed by the curious. The head seems to have been separately painted, on
a small square piece of canvass, and _let into_ the picture.

There is certainly a _rifacimento_ of some kind or other; which should
denote the head to have been twice painted.

_C. Paulin_. By Champagne. Paulin was first confessor to Louis XIV.; and
had therefore, I should apprehend, enough upon his hands. This is a fine
portrait.

_William III_. Harsh and stiff. It is a performance (as most of those of
William seem to be) for the model of a head of a ship.

_Colbert, Evéque de Montpellier_. A fine head.

_Fléchier, Evéque de Nismes_. A very fine portrait. The name of the painter
does not appear.

A fine half length portrait of a _Marshal of France_, with a truncheon in
his hand. Both the hands are beautifully drawn and coloured.

_Maréchal duc d'Harcourt_. By Rigaud.

_Eliz. Angelique de Montmorenci, Duchesse de Chatillon_. She died in 1695
in her 69th year. This is a fine picture, but injured and retouched. The
left hand rests upon a lion's head.

_F. Marie de Bourbon, fille de Madame de Montespan, et femme du Régent_. A
stiffish picture; but the countenance is pleasing.

_Madame la Duchesse de Névers, fille de Madame de Thianges, et nièce de
Madame de Montespan_. A bow is in her right hand, and a dog in her left.
The countenance is beautiful and well painted. The eyes and mouth in
particular have great sweetness of expression.

_Duc de Montausier_; in a hat and red feather. By Rigaud.

_Madame la Duchesse de Sforce: fille cadette de Madame de Thianges_. A
small whole length, sitting: with two greyhounds in her lap, and a third at
her side.

_Le Ministre Colbert_. By Mignard. A fine picture.[185]

_Marie Leezinska, femme de Louis XV_. A cleverly painted head.

_Le Cardinal Mazarin_. By P. de Champagne. Whole length. A fine portrait--
which I never contemplate without thinking of the poor unfortunate "man in
an iron mask!"

_Madame de Motteville_. She died in her 74th year, in 1689. This is merely
the head and shoulders; but in the Vandyke style of execution.

_Charles Paris d'Orleans, dernier Duc de Longueville._ He was killed in the
famous passage of the Rhine, at Tolhuys, in 1672.

_Charles I_. By Vandyke. A beautiful half length portrait. Perhaps too
highly varnished.

_Le Marquis de Cinq-Mars_. He was beheaded at the age of twenty-two, in
September 1642. There is also a whole length of him, in a rich, white,
flowered dress. A genuine and interesting picture.

_Mary Queen of Scots_. Whole length: in a white dress. A copy; or, if an
old picture, repainted all over.

_Don Carlos_, the unfortunate son of Philip II. of Spain. A beautiful
youth; but this picture, alleged to have been painted by Alfonso Sanchez
Coello, must be a copy.

The foregoing are the principal decorations along the gallery of this
handsome and interesting room. In an adjoining closet, where were once two
or three portraits of Bonaparte, is a beautiful and highly finished small
whole length of _Philip Duke of Orleans_, Regent of France. Also a whole
length of _Marmontel_, sitting; executed in crayon. The curiously carved
frame, in a brown-coloured wood, in which this latter drawing is contained,
is justly an object of admiration with visitors. I have scarcely seen a
more appropriate ornament, for a choice cabinet, than this estimable
portrait of Marmontel. Here are portraits of _Neckar_, and _Clement Marot_,
in crayons: the latter a copy. Here is, too, a cleverly painted portrait of
_L. de Boulogne_.

We descend--to a fourth room, or rather to a richly furnished cabinet--
below stairs. Every thing here is "en petit." Whether whole lengths, or
half lengths, they are representations in miniature. What is this singular
portrait, which strikes one to the left, on entering? Can it be so? Yes ...
DIANE DE POICTIERS again! She yet lives every where in France. 'Tis a
strange performance; but I have no hesitation in calling it AN ORIGINAL ...
although in parts it has been palpably retouched. But the features--and
especially the eyes--(those "glasses of the soul," as old Boiastuau calls
them[186]) seem to retain their former lustre and expression. This highly
curious portrait is a half length, measuring only ten inches by about
eight. It represents the original without any drapery, except a crimson
mantle thrown over her back. She is leaning upon her left arm, which is
supported by a bank. A sort of tiara is upon her head. Her hair is braided.
Above her, within a frame, is the following inscription, in capital roman
letters: "_Comme le Cerf brait après le décours des Eaues; ainsi brait mon
Ame, après Toy, ô Dieu_." Ps. XLII. Upon the whole, this is perhaps the
most legitimate representation of the original which France possesses.[187]

In the same boudoir is a small and beautifully coloured head of _Francis
I._ Here is a portrait of the famous _Duchess of Portsmouth_, on horseback,
in red; and another of the _Duchess of Nevers_, in a blue riding jacket.
But much more estimable, and highly to be prized--as works of art--- are
the TWO MURILLOS: one, apparently of St. Francis, which was always
religiously preserved in the bed-chamber of Madame de Maintenon, having
been given to her by Louis XIV. The other, although fine, has less general
interest. I could hardly sufficiently admire the whole length of _Jacques
Callot_, painted by himself. It is delicious, of its kind. There is a very
curious and probably coeval picture representing whole length portraits of
the _Cardinals of Guise and Lorraine_, and the _Dukes of Guise and
Mayenne_,[188] The figures are very small, but appear to be faithful
representations. An old portrait of _Louis Roi de Sicile, Père de Réné_,--a
small head, supposed to be of the fifteenth century--is sufficiently
singular, but I take this to be a copy. Yet the likeness may be correct. A
whole length of _Washington_, with a black servant holding his horse, did
not escape my attention. Nor, as an antiquary, could I refuse bestowing
several minutes attention upon the curious old portrait (supposed to be by
_Jean de Bruges_) of _Charlotte, Wife of Louis XI._ It is much in the style
of the old illuminations. In one of the lower rooms, I forget which, is a
portrait of Bonaparte; the upper part of the same representation of him
which appeared in London from the pencil of David. He is placed by the side
of a portrait (of the same dimensions) of his conqueror, Wellington: but I
am not much disposed to admire the style of execution of our hero. It is a
stiff, formal, and severely executed picture. Assuredly the present school
of French portrait painters is most egregiously defective in expression;
while ours, since the days of Reynolds, has maintained a most decided
superiority. I believe I have now noticed every thing that is more
particularly deserving of attention in the Collection of Mr. Quintin
Craufurd ... But I cannot retrace my steps without again expressing my
admiration of the _local_ of this little domain. The garden, offices, and
neighbourhood render it one of the most desirable residences in Paris.[189]

As I happen to be just now in the humour for gossiping about the fine arts,
suppose I take you with me to the collection of paintings of the MARQUIS DE
SOMMARIVA, in the _Rue du Bas Rempart_? It is among the most distinguished,
and the most celebrated, in Paris; but I should say it is rather eminent
for sculpture than for painting. It is here that Canova reigns without a
rival. The early acquaintance and long tried friend of the Marquis, that
unrivalled sculptor has deposited here what he considers to be the
_chef-d'oeuvre_ of his art, as a single figure. Of course, I speak of his
_Magdalen_. But let me be methodical. The open day for the inspection of
his treasures is _Friday_.

When I entered, not a creature was in the rooms. The general effect was
splendid and imposing. I took out my memorandum-book, and went directly to
work; noticing only those subjects which appeared, on one account or other,
to be more particularly deserving of attention. There is a pretty picture
of CUPID AND PSYCHE, by _Carlo Cignani_; the simple and quiet effect of
which is much heightened by being contrasted with the very worst
representation of the _same subject_, which I ever saw, by _David_: painted
last year at Brussels. How the Marquis can afford so many square yards of
his walls for the reception of such a performance, is almost marvellous. It
is, throughout, in the worst possible taste. The countenance of Cupid, who
is sitting on the bed or couch with the vacant grin of an ideot, is that of
a negro. It is dark, and of an utterly inane expression. The colouring is
also too ruddy throughout. Near to this really heartless picture, is one of
a woman flying; well drawn, and rather tenderly coloured. Opposite, is a
picture of Venus supported in the air by a group of Cupids. The artist is
_Prudhon_. In the general glare of colour, which distinguishes the French
school, it is absolutely refreshing to have the eye soothed by something
like an attempt, as in this picture, at a mellow chiaro-oscuro. It has
undoubted merit. It is, upon the whole, finely coloured; but the
countenance of Venus is so pale as to have an almost deathly effect. It is
intended to represent her as snatched away from the sight of her dead
Adonis.

In common courtesy I must make but brief mention of a very clumsy, and
ill-drawn child, by De Broisefremont: and hasten, in the next room, to the
magnificent picture of _Diana and Endymion_, painted by Guerin in 1810, and
lately engraved. This picture is a very fair illustration of the merits and
demerits of the FRENCH SCHOOL OF PAINTING. The drawing of Endymion is, upon
the whole, good; but a palpable copy of the antique. This necessarily gives
it somewhat an air of affectation. The shepherd lies upon a bed of clouds,
(terminated by an horizon which is warmed by the rays of a setting sun)
very gracefully and perhaps naturally. He seems to sleep soundly. His whole
figure and countenance glow with the warmth of beauty and youth. I will not
disturb his slumbers by finding the least fault--even with the disposition
of the extremities. But his nightly visitor--the enamoured goddess--is, of
all female figures which I have ever seen upon canvass, one of the most
affected, meagre, and uninteresting. Diana has been exchanged for an opera
dancer. The waist is pinched in, the attitude is full of conceit, and there
is a dark shadow about the neck, as if she had been trying some previous
experiment with a _rope_! Endymion could never open his eyes to gaze upon a
figure so utterly unworthy of the representation of an enamoured
deity.[190] The Cupids must also be condemned; for they are poor in form,
and indifferent in execution. The back ground has considerable merit: but I
fear the picture is too highly glazed. In this room also is the famous
picture of _Belisarius_, engraved with so much éclat by Desnoyers. I own
that I like the engraving better than the painting; for I see no occasion
for such a disproportionate quantity of warm colouring as this picture
exhibits.

Pope (in his Epistle to Jarvis, I think) says of artists, that, "to paint
the naked is their dear delight." No artists ever delighted so much in this
branch of painting as the French. Does not this taste argue a want--not
only of respect, but--of _feeling?_ It was therefore pleasing to me, my
dear friend, to turn my attention from the studied display of naked
goddesses, in the collection of the worthy Marquis of Sommariva, towards
objects a little more qualified to gratify the higher feelings connected
with art:--and the first thing which soothed me, when I _had_ so turned my
attention, was, the _Terpsichore_ of _Canova_. You know it from the print
by Morghen. The countenance, to my eye, is the perfection of female
beauty:--yet it is a countenance which seems to be the abstract--the result
of study, and of combination--rather than of beauty, as seen "in mortal
race which walks the earth." The drapery appears to be studiously
neglected--giving it the appearance of the antique, which had been battered
and bruised by the casualties of some two thousand years. By this, I mean
that the folds are not only numerous, but the intermediate parts are not
marked by that degree of precision and finish, which, in my opinion, they
ought to have received. Yet the whole has an enchantingly simple air: at
once classical, pure, and impressive. The Marquis has indeed great reason
to be proud of it.

But if I pat the right cheek of Canova with one hand, I must cuff his left
cheek with the other. Here is a Cupid by him, executed in 1787. It is
evidently the production of a mind not ripened to its fullest powers. In
other words, I should call it "a poor, flat thing."

We approach the far-famed MAGDALEN. Immediately opposite the boudoir, where
the last mentioned treasures are deposited, you observe a door, or
aperture, half covered with silken drapery of a greyish brown tint. There
was something mysterious in the appearance, and equally so in the approach.
I had no intimation of what it led to; for, as I told you, not a creature
besides myself was in the rooms. With a gently raised hand I drew the
drapery aside, entered ... and looked before me. There stood the MAGDALEN.
There she was, (more correctly speaking) kneeling; in anguish and
wretchedness of soul--her head hanging down--contemplating a scull and
cross, which were supported by her knees. Her dishevelled hair flowed
profusely over her back and shoulders. Her cheeks were sunk. Her eyes were
hollow. Her attitude was lowly and submissive. You could not look at her
without feeling pity and compassion.

Such, in few words, is the Magdalen of Canova. For the first five minutes I
was lost in surprise and admiration. The windows are hid by white curtains;
and the interior is hung all over with the same grey silk drapery, before
noticed. A glass, placed behind the figure, affords you a view of the back
while you are contemplating the front. This is very ingenious; but it is
probably too artificial. The effect of the room, however--from the silken
drapery with which it is entirely covered--is, although studied, upon the
whole excellent. Of course the minutes flew away quickly in such a place,
and before such an object; and I think I viewed the figure, in every
possible direction, for full three quarters of an hour. The result of that
view--after the first feelings of admiration had subsided--I proceeded
forthwith to impart: and shall be most happy to be set right if I have
erred, in the conclusion which I draw. In truth, there can be only one or
two little supposed impeachments of the artist's judgment, in the
contemplation of this extraordinary figure. The Magdalen has probably too
much of the abject expression of _mendicity_ in her attitude; and, for a
creature thus poor and prostrate, one is surprised to find her gazing upon
a _golden_ cross. It is a piece of finery ill placed in the midst of such
wretchedness. But Canova is fond of gilt; yet what is appropriate in _Hebe_
may be discordant in the _Magdalen_. This penitent creature, here so
touchingly expressed, is deeply wrapped in meditation upon her crucified
Master. She has forsaken the world ... to follow the cross!--but surely
this idea would have been more powerfully expressed, if the cross had _not_
been _visible_?. Was this object necessary to tell the tale?--or, rather,
did not the sculptor deem it necessary to _balance_ (as is called) the
figure? Nor am I over well satisfied with the scull. It is common-place. At
any rate, if scull and cross must be there, I wish the cross had been
simply of stone--as is the scull.

My next objection relates to a somewhat more important point. I think the
_face_ and _figure_ do not seem to belong to the _same_ human being: the
former is shrunken, ghastly, and indicative of extreme constitutional
debility: the latter is plump, well formed, and bespeaks a subject in the
enjoyment of full health. Can such an union, therefore, be quite correct?
In the different views of this figure, especially in profile, or behind,
you cannot fail to be struck with the general beauty of the form; but this
beauty arises from its fulness and just proportion. In gazing upon it, in
front, you are pained by the view of a countenance shrunk almost to
emaciation! Can this be in nature? And do not mental affliction and bodily
debility generally go together? The old painters, even as far back as the
time of illuminators of books, used to represent the Magdalen as plump,
even to fatness,--and stout in all respects; but her _countenance_ usually
partook of this vigour of stamina. It was full, rosy, and healthful. The
older artists sometimes placed the Magdalen in a very awkward, and perhaps
impossible, situation; and she was even made to be buried up to the bosom
in earth--still exercising her devotions. Canova has doubtless displayed
great pathos in the wretched aspect, and humiliated attitude, of his
Magdalen; but he has, at the same time, not been inattentive to beauty of
form. I only wish she appeared to be in as good condition as the _torso_
indicates. A fastidious observer might say the figure was not _quite
balanced_, and that she must fall backward--if she retained such an
attitude for a quarter of an hour. But this is hyper-criticism. The date of
the execution of this figure is 1796: and parts of it clearly indicate
that, if the sculptor were now to re-execute it, he would have paid even
yet more attention to the finishing of the hair. Upon the whole, however,
it is a masterly effort of modern art.

It is almost fixed that we leave Paris within a week or ten days from
hence:--and then, for green fields, yellow corn, running streams, ripened
fruit, and all the rural evidences of a matured summer.


[164] It was translated into English, and published in this country on a
    reduced scale, both as to text and engravings--but a reprint of it,
    with a folio volume of plates, &c. had appeared also in 1802. At the
    time, few publications had such a run; or received a commendation, not
    more unqualified than it was just. See an account of this work in the
    _Library Companion_, p. 442. edit. 1824.

[165] [M. Denon DIED in 1825, aged 78. The sale of his _Marbles, Bronzes,
    Pictures, Engravings, &c._ took place in 1826.]

[166] [It was sold at the sale of M. Denon's pictures for 650 francs, and
    is numbered 187 in the Catalogue.]

[167] [One of these pictures brought 1,400, and the other 220 francs:
    prices, infinitely below their real worth. They should have been sold
    HERE!]

[168] [M. Crapelet says--this bust was modelled after the life by PIGALLE:
    and was, in turn, the model of that belonging to the figure of
    Voltaire in the library of the Institute: see p. 195 ante.]

[169] [The result--judging from the comparative prices obtained at the
    sale--has confirmed the propriety of my predilection. It brought 5000
    francs. In the sale catalogue, is the following observation attached:
    "On admire dans ce précieux tableau de chevalet la facilité
    surprenante de pinceau et cette harmonic parfaite de couleur qui
    faisaient dire au Tiarini, peintre contemporain, "Seigneur Guerchin,
    vous faites ce que vous voulez, et nous autres ce que nous pouvons."
    No. 14.]

[170] ["This figure was cast from a model made by Montoni in 1809. There
    were ONLY six copies of it, of which four were in _bronze_ and
    two in _silver_." _Cat._ No. 717. I have not been able to
    learn the price for which it was sold.]

[171] The OPPOSITE PLATE will best attest the truth of the above remark. It
    exhibits a specimen of that precise period of art, when a taste for
    the gothic was beginning somewhat to subside. The countenance is yet
    hard and severely marked; but the expression is easy and natural, and
    the _likeness_ I should conceive to be perfect. As such, the picture
    is invaluable. [So far in the preceding edition. The sequel is a
    little mortifying. The above picture, an undoubted _original_--and by
    a master (the supposed pupil of John Van Eyk) who introduced the art
    of oil-painting into Italy--was sold for only 162 francs: whereas the
    _copy_ of it, in oil, by Laurent, executed expressly for the
    accompanying plate (and executed with great skill and fidelity) cost
    400 francs!]

[172] [What a taste have the Virtuosi at Paris! This interesting picture
    was allowed to be sold for 162 francs only. Who is its fortunate
    Possessor?]

[173] [The OPPOSITE PLATE, which exhibits the head in question, is a
    sufficient confirmation of the above remark.]

[174] [First, of the MARC ANTONIOS. Since the sale of the _Silvestre_
    Collection, in 1810, nothing had been seen at Paris like that of M.
    Denon. It was begun to be formed in the eighteenth century: from which
    it is clear, that, not only was every proof at least an hundred years
    old, but, at that period, ZANETTI, the previous possessor of this
    Collection, sought far and wide, and with unremitting diligence, for
    the acquisition of the choicest impressions of the engraver. In fact,
    this Collection, (contained in an imperial folio volume, bound in
    morocco--and of which I necessarily took but a hasty glance) consisted
    of 117 _original_ impressions, and of 26 of such as were executed in
    the _school_ of M. Antonio. Of the original impressions, the whole,
    with the exception of four only, belonged to Zanetti. "If, says the
    compiler of the Catalogue, (1826, 8vo. p. ij.) some of the impressions
    have a dingy tint, from the casualties of time, none have been washed,
    cleaned, or passed through chemical experiments to give them a
    treacherous look of cleanliness." This is sound orthodoxy. The whole
    was put up in one lot, and ... BOUGHT IN.

    Secondly, for the REMBRANDTS. The like had never been before submitted
    to public auction. The Collections of _Silvestre_ and _Morel de Vindé_
    out and out eclipsed! _Zanetti_ again--the incomparable--the
    felicitous--the unrivalled Zanetti had been the possessor of THIS
    Collection also. But yet more ... John Peter Zoomer, a contemporary
    (and peradventure a boon companion) of Rembrandt, was the original
    former of the Collection. It is therefore announced as being COMPLETE
    in all respects--"exhibiting all the changes, retouches, beautiful
    proofs, on India and other paper: ample margins, unstained, uninjured;
    and the impressions themselves, in every stage, bright, rich, and
    perfect. The result of all the trouble and expence of 50 years toil of
    collection is concentrated in this Collection." So says John Peter
    Zoomer, the original collector and contemporary of Rembrandt. It
    consisted of 394 original pieces: 3, attributed to Rembrandt, without
    his name: 11, of John Lievens, Ferdinand Bol, and J.G. Villet: 11
    copies: and 9 engraved in the manner of Rembrandt. The whole contained
    in 3 large folio volumes, bound in red morocco.

    No reasonable man will expect even a précis of the treasures of this
    marvellous Collection: A glance of the text will justify every thing
    to follow: but the "Advertisement" to the Catalogue prepares the
    purchaser for the portrait of _Rembrandt with the bordered cloak_--
    Ditto, _with the Sabre--Ephraim Bonus_ with the _black ring_--the
    _Coppinol_, as above described--the _Advocate Tolling_--the
    _Annunciation of Christ's Nativity to the Shepherds--the _Resurrection
    of Lazarus--Christ healing the Sick_; called the _Hundred
    Guilders_[H]--the _Astrologer asleep_--and several _Landscapes_ not
    elsewhere to be found--of which one, called the _Fishermen_ (No. 456)
    had escaped Bartsch, &c. &c. The descriptions of the several articles
    of which this Collection was composed, occupy 47 pages of the
    Catalogue. The three volumes were put up to sale--as a SINGLE LOT--at
    the price of 50,000 francs:--and there was _no purchaser_. Of its
    present destiny, I am ignorant: but there are those in this country,
    who, to my knowledge, would have given 35,000 francs.

    I ought to add, that M. Denon's collection of CALLOT'S WORKS, in three
    large folio volumes,--bound in calf--also once the property of
    Zanetti--and than which a finer set is supposed never to have been
    exhibited for sale--produced 1000 francs: certainly a moderate sum, if
    what Zanetti here says of it (in a letter to his friend Gaburri, of
    the date of 1726) be true. "If ever you do this country (Venice) the
    honour of a visit, you will see in my little cabinet a collection of
    CALLOTS, such as you will not see elsewhere--not in the royal
    collection at Paris, nor in the Prince Eugene's, at Vienna--where the
    finest and rarest impressions are supposed to be collected. I possess
    _every_ impression of the plates which Callot executed; many of them
    containing first proofs, retouched and corrected by the engraver
    himself in red chalk. I bought this Collection at Paris, and it cost
    me 1950 francs. They say it was formed by the engraver himself for his
    friend M. Gérard an Amateur of Prints." "It should seem that Zanetti's
    description was a little overcharged; but in _his_ time there was no
    complete catalogue of the artists." Cat. p. 153.

        [H] It formed No. 345 of the Catalogue; where it is described as
        being "a magnificent proof upon India paper, with a margin of 15
        lines all round it. It was with the bur, and before the
        cross-hatchings upon the mane of the Ass." The finest copy of this
        subject, sold in this country, was that formerly in the collection
        of M. Bernard; and recently purchased by T. Wilson, Esq. Will the
        reader object to disporting himself with some REMBRANDTIANA, in
        the _Bibliomania_ p. 680-2.?

[175] One of those pictures (No. 188 in the Catalogue) produced 3015
    francs: the other, only 180 francs. The Sebastian Bourdon (No. 139,)
    was sold for 67 francs, and the Parmegiano, (No. 34) for 288 francs.

[176] See the _Bibliographical Decameron_; vol. i. p. clvii. &c. [M.
    Denon's Missal was purchased by an English amateur, and sold at the
    sale of the Rev. Theodore Williams's Library for £143. 17s.]

[177] [Ere we take leave of this distinguished Frenchman, let us dwell for
    two seconds on his autograph.

    [Autograph: Denon]

[178] There has been recently struck (I think, in 1819) a medal with the
    same obverse and reverse, of about the size between an English
    farthing and halfpenny. The statue of Henry is perhaps the MIRACLE OF
    ART: but it requires a microscopic glass to appreciate its wonders.
    Correctly speaking, probably, such efforts are not in the purest good
    taste. Simplicity is the soul of numismatic beauty.

[179] The Artist who struck the series of medals to commemorate the
    campaigns of the Duke of Wellington, from his landing in Portugal to
    the battle of Waterloo.

[180] [See the OPPOSITE PLATE, which represents the upper part of the
    Picture.]

[181] [I sent a commission for it, for a friend, at the sale of Mr.
    Craufurd's effects, but lost it.]

[182] [Purchased by myself: and now at Hodnet.]

[183] [This picture was purchased for the gallery at ALTHORP. There is an
    exquisite drawing of it by Wright, for the purpose of a stipling
    engraving.]

[184] It was purchased by the late King of France for 10,000 francs.

[185] [Purchased for the gallery at ALTHORP.]

[186] The above quotation is incomplete; for the passage alluded to runs
    thus.--"Where is the painter so well sorting his colours, that could
    paint these faire eyes that are the _windows of the body, and glasses
    of the soul_." The continuation is in a very picturesque style. See
    the _Theatre or Rule of the World_, p. 236-7, quoted in a recent
    (1808) edition of _More's Utopia_, vol. ii. p. 143. But _Primaudaye's
    French Academy_, Lond. 1605, 4to. runs very much in the same strain.

[187] A little graphic history belongs to this picture. I obtained a most
    beautiful and accurate copy of it by M. Le Coeuré, on a reduced scale:
    from which Mr. J. Thomson made an Engraving, as a PRIVATE PLATE, and
    only 75 copies were struck off. The plate was then destroyed; the
    impressions selling for a guinea. They are now so rare as to be worth
    treble that sum: and proofs upon India paper, before the letter, may
    be worth £5. 5s. Three proofs only were struck off of the plate in its
    _mutilated_ state; of which my friends Mr. Haslewood and Mr. G. H.
    Freeling rejoice in their possession of a copy. The drawing, by
    Coeuré, was sold for 20 guineas at the sale of my drawings, by Mr.
    Evans, in 1822, but it has been subsequently sold for only _nine_
    guineas; and of which my worthy friend A. Nicholson, Esq.--"a good
    man, and a true"--is in the possession.

    Subsequently, the ABOVE ORIGINAL picture was sold; and I was too happy
    to procure it for the gallery at Althorp for _twelve_ guineas only!

[188] [A magnificent whole length portrait of this first DUKE DE GUISE,
    painted by PORBUS--with a warmth and vigour of touch, throughout,
    which are not unworthy of Titian--now adorns the very fine gallery at
    Althorp: where is also a whole length portrait of ANNE OF AUSTRIA, by
    Mignard. Both pictures are from the same Collection; and are each
    probably the masterpiece of the artist. They are of the size of life.]

[189] [Mr. Craufurd died at Paris in 1821.]

[190] ["Amateurs, connaisseurs, examinateurs, auteurs de revues du Salon,
    parodistes même, vous n'entendez rien à ce genre de critique; prenez
    M. Dibdin pour modèle: voila' la _bonne école_!" CHAPELET, vol.
    iv. p. 200. My translator shall here have the full benefit of his own
    bombastical nonsense.]



_LETTER XI._

NOTICE OF M. WILLEMIN'S MONUMENS FRANÇAIS INÉDITS. MISCELLANEOUS
ANTIQUITIES. PRESENT STATE OF THE FINE ARTS. GENERAL OBSERVATIONS UPON THE
NATIONAL CHARACTER.

_July 8, 1818_.


I rejoice that it is in my power once more--and certainly for the last
time, from hence--to address you upon a few subjects, which, from your
earlier replies to my Paris letters, you seem to think that I have lost
sight of. These subjects, relate chiefly to ANTIQUITIES. Be assured that I
have never, for one moment, been indifferent to them; but in the vast
bibliographical field which the public libraries of this place held out for
my perambulation, it was impossible, in the first instance, not to take
advantage of the curious, and probably useful information, to be derived
from thence.

I must begin therefore by telling you that I had often heard of the
unassuming and assiduous author of the _Monumens Français Inédits_, and was
resolved to pay him a visit. I found him in the _Rue Babile_ towards the
eastern end of the Rue St. Honoré, living on the third floor. Several young
females were in the ante-room, colouring the plates of that work; which are
chiefly in outline and in aqua-tint. Each livraison contains six plates, at
twelve francs the livraison. The form is folio, and about twenty-eight
numbers are printed.[191] There is something in them of every thing:
furniture, dresses, houses, castles, churches, stained glass, paintings,
and sculpture. Illuminated MSS. are as freely laid under contribution as
are the outsides and insides of buildings, of whatsoever description.
Indeed I hardly ever visited the Public Library without finding M. Willemin
busied, with his pencil and tracing paper, with some ancient illuminated
MS. The style of art in the publication here noticed, is, upon the whole,
feeble; but as the price of the work is moderate, no purchaser can
reasonably complain. The variety and quantity of the embellishments will
always render M. Willemin's work an acceptable inmate in every well-chosen
library. I recommend it to you strongly; premising, that the author
professedly discards all pretension to profound or very critical
antiquarian learning.

For himself, M. Willemin is among the most enthusiastic, but most modest,
of his antiquarian brethren. He has seen better days. His abode and manners
afford evidence that he was once surrounded by comparative affluence and
respectability. A picture of his deceased wife hung over the chimney-piece.
The back-ground evinced a gaily furnished apartment. "Yes, Sir, (said
M.W.--on observing that I noticed it) such was _once_ my room, and its
_chief ornament_"--Of course I construed the latter to be his late wife.
"Alas! (resumed he) in better days, I had six splendid cabinets filled with
curiosities. I have now--not a single one! Such is life." He admitted that
his publication brought him a very trifling profit; and that, out of his
own country, he considered the _London_ market as the most advantageous to
him. A large broken phial, containing water and a fleur-de-lis in full
bloom, was the only, ornament of his mantle piece. "Have you no curiosities
of any kind--(said I to him) for sale?" "None--" replied he; but he had
_drawings_ of a few. "Have the kindness to shew me some of these
drawings"--and forthwith appeared the case and _pocket-knife of Diane de
Poictiers_, drawn from the original by Langlois. "Where is the original?"
observed I, hastily. "Ha, Sir, you are not singular in your question. A
nobleman of your country was almost losing his wits because he could not
purchase it:--and yet, this original was once to be obtained for _twenty
louis_!" I confess I was glad to obtain the drawing of Langlois for two
napoleons. It is minutely and prettily executed, and apparently with great
fidelity.

M. Willemin proceeded to shew me a few more drawings for his national work,
telling me precisely what he _meant_, and what he did _not_ mean, to
publish. His own drawings with a pen are, some of them, of a masterly
execution; and although of a less brilliant and less classical style than
those of LE NOIR, M. Willemin is still an artist of whom his country will
always have reason to be proud. I bought several drawings of him.[192] One
represents the sculptured figures upon the outside of the _grand portal_ of
the _Cathedral of Chartres._ These figures seem to be of the thirteenth
century. The other drawing is of a rich piece of _fayence_, or of painted
and glazed earthenware dish, and about the middle of the sixteenth century:
of which I remember to have seen some very curious specimens at Denon's.
But nothing can be more singular, and at the same time more beautiful of
its kind, than the present specimen--supposed to be the work of the famous
Bernard Palissy. Paris is full of such treasures.

Of all cities, PARIS is probably that which abounds with rich and curious
relics of ancient art. Its churches, its palaces, its public buildings--
sometimes grotesque and sometimes magnificent--furnish alike subjects for
admiration and materials for collection. But the genius of the French does
not lie in this pursuit. From the commencement of the sixteenth century,
the ANTIQUITIES OF PARIS might have supplied a critical antiquary with
matter for a publication which could have been second only to the immortal
work of Piranesi. But with the exception of Montfaucon, (which I admit to
be a most splendid exception) and recently of MILLIN and LE NOIR, France
hardly boasts of an indigenous Antiquary. In our own country, we have good
reason to be proud of this department of literature. The names of Leland,
Camden, Cotton, Dugdale, Gibson, Tanner, Gough, and Lysons, place us even
upon a level with the antiquarians of Italy. It was only the other day that
M. Willemin was urging me, on my return to England, to take _Beauvais_ in
my way, in order to pay a visit to Madame la Comtesse de G., living at a
chateau about three leagues from that place. She possesses a collection of
carved wood, in bas-reliefs, porches, stair-cases, &c. all from a
neighbouring dilapidated abbey; and, among other things, one singular piece
of sculpture, descriptive of the temptation of St Anthony. He had reason to
think that the Countess might be more successfully tempted than was the
Saint just mentioned; in other words, that these things were to be had
rather for "money" than for "love."

For specimens of the costume of the lower classes, the _south_ side of the
Seine must be chiefly visited. The great streets which lead thither are
those of _St. Victor, St. Jaques_, and _De La Harpe_. Mr. Lewis had
frequently strolled to this quarter of Paris; and his attention was one
morning particularly directed to a group of _Blanchisseuses_--who were
halting beneath their burdens to have a little gossip with each other. See
how characteristically he has treated the subject.

[Illustration]

One of the causes of the want of encouragement in NATIONAL ANTIQUITIES,
among the French, may arise from the natural love of the people for what is
gay and gaudy, rather than for what is grave and instructive. And yet, when
will nations learn that few things tend so strongly to keep alive a pure
spirit of PATRIOTISM as _such_ a study or pursuit? As we reverence the
past, so do we anticipate the future. To love what our forefathers have
done in arts, in arms, or in learning, is to lay the surest foundation for
a proper respect for our own memories in after ages. But with Millin, I
fear, the study of Archaeology will sleep soundly, if not expire, among the
Parisians. VISCONTI has doubtless left a splendid name behind him here; but
Visconti was an Italian. No; my friend--the ARTS have recently taken an
exclusive turn for the admiration, even to adoration, of portrait and
historical painters: No LYSONSES, no BLORES, no MACKENZIES are patronised
either at Paris or in the other great cities of France. I must however make
an honourable exception in favour of the direction given to the splendid
talents of MADAME JAQUOTOT. And I cannot, in common justice, omit, on this
occasion, paying a very sincere tribute of respect to the PRESENT
KING[193]--who has really been instrumental to this direction. I have
lately paid this clever lady a morning visit, with a letter of introduction
from our common friend M. Langlès. As I was very courteously received, I
begged that I might only see such specimens of her art as would give her
the least possible trouble, and afford me at the same time an opportunity
of judging of her talents.

Madame Jaquotot was as liberal in the display of her productions, as she
was agreeable and polite in her conversation. I saw all her performances.
Her copies of Leonardo da Vinci and Guido, in black crayons, are beautiful
of their kind; but her enamel copies, upon porcelaine, of the _Portraits of
the more celebrated Characters of France_--executed at the desire and
expense of his Majesty--perfectly delighted me. The plan is as excellent as
its execution is perfect. But such performances have not been accomplished
without a heavy previous expense, on the score of experiments. I was told
that the artist had sunk a sum little short of five or six hundred pounds
sterling, in the different processes for trying and fixing her colours. But
she seems now to walk upon firm ground, and has nothing but an abundant
harvest to look forward to. Indeed, for every portrait, square, or oval,
(although scarcely more than _three inches_ in height) she receives a
hundred louis d'or. This is a truly princely remuneration: but I do not
consider it overpaid. Some of the earlier portraits are taken from
illuminated manuscripts; and, among them, I quickly recognised that of my
old friend _Anne of Brittany_,--head and shoulders only: very brilliant and
characteristic--but Mr. Lewis is "yet a painter."

As all these bijoux (amounting perhaps to twelve or fifteen in number) were
displayed before me, I fancied I was conversing with the very Originals
themselves. The whole length of _Henri IV_., of the same size as the
original in the Louvre, is probably the chef d'oeuvre of Madame Jaquotot.
It is exquisitely perfect. When she comes down to the reign of Louis XIV.,
she has necessarily recourse to the originals of PETITOT; of which the
Louvre contains a precious glazed case, enclosing about four or five dozen,
of them. Here again the copyist treads closely upon the heels of her
predecessor; while her portrait of _Anne of Austria_ comes fully up to
every thing we discover in the original. Upon the whole, I spent a pleasant
and most instructive hour with this accomplished lady; and sincerely wish
that all talents, like hers, may receive a similar direction and meet with
an equally liberal reward. You must not fail to bear in mind that, in my
humble judgment, this department of art belongs strictly to NATIONAL
ANTIQUITIES.

For _one_, who would turn his horse's head towards Madame Jaquotot's
dwelling, in the _Rue Jacob_, fifty would fly with rapture to view a whole
length by GÉRARD, or a group by DAVID. In portrait painting, and historical
composition, these are the peculiar heroes. None dare walk within their
circle: although I think GIRODET may sometimes venture to measure swords
with the latter. Would you believe it? The other day, when dining with some
smart, lively, young Parisians, I was compelled to defend RAFFAELLE against
David? the latter being considered by them _superior_ to the Italian artist
in a _knowledge of drawing_. Proh pudor! This will remind you of Jervas's
celebrated piece of nonsensical flattery to himself--when, on Pope's
complimenting that artist upon one of his portraits, he compassionately
exclaimed "_Poor little Tit_!"--Surely all these national prejudices are as
unwise as they are disgusting. Of Gérard, I would wish to speak with
respect; but an artist, who receives from fifteen to twenty thousand francs
for the painting of a whole length portrait, stands upon an eminence which
exposes him to the observation of every man. In the same degree, also, does
his elevation provoke the criticism of every man. But, however respectfully
I may wish to speak of Gérard, I do not, in my conscience, consider him
superior to what may be called the _second rate_ class of portrait-painters
in England.[194] His outline is often hard, and full of affectation of a
knowledge of drawing: his colouring is as frequently severe and metallic,
and there is rarely any expression of mind or soul in his faces. I saw at
Laugier's the other day, his portrait of Madame de Stael--painted from
_recollection_. He certainly had _forgotten_ how to _colour_ when he
executed it. Forster (a very clever, sensible, and amiable young man) is
busied, or rather has just finished, the engraving of a portrait of the
Duke of Wellington, by the same painter. What has depended upon _him_ has
been charmingly done: but the figure of the great Original--instead of
giving you the notion of the FIRST CAPTAIN OF HIS AGE[195]--is a poor,
trussed-up, unmeaning piece of composition: looking-out of the canvas with
a pair of eyes, which, instead of seeming to anticipate and frustrate (as
they _have_ done) the movements of his adversary, as if by magic, betray an
almost torpidity or vacancy of expression! The attitude is equally
unnatural and ungraceful. Another defect, to my eye, in Gérard's portraits,
is, the quantity of flaunting colour and glare of varnish with which his
canvas is covered.

The French cognoscenti swear by "the _swearing of the Horatii_" of David. I
saw a reduced copy of the large picture at the Luxembourg, by the artist
himself--at Didot's: and it was while discussing the comparative merits and
demerits of this famous production, that I ventured to observe that
Raffaelle would have drawn the hands better. A simultaneous shout of
opposition followed the remark. I could scarcely preserve common gravity or
decorum: but as my antagonists were serious, I was also resolved to enact a
serious part. It is not necessary to trouble you with a summary of my
remarks; although I am persuaded I never talked so much French, without
interruption, for so long a space of time. However, my opponents admitted,
with a little reluctance, that, if the hands of the Horatii were not ill
drawn, the _position_ of them was sufficiently affected. I then drew their
attention, to the _Cupid and Psyche_ of the same master, in the collection
of the Marquis of Sommariva, (in the notice of which my last letter was
pretty liberal) but I had here a less obstinate battle to encounter. It
certainly appeared (they admitted) that David did not improve as he became
older.

Among the Painters of eminence I must not forget to mention LAURENT. The
French are not very fond of him, and certainly they under-rate his talents.
As a colourist, some of his satins may vie with those of Vanderwerf. He
paints portraits, in small, as well as fancy-subjects. Of the former, that
of his daughter is beautifully executed. Of the latter, his _Young
Falconer_ is a production of the most captivating kind. But it is his _Joan
of Arc_ which runs away with the prize of admiration. The Government have
purchased the house in which that celebrated female was born,[196] and over
the door of which an ancient statue of her is to be seen. Laurent's
portrait is also purchased to be placed over the chimney-piece of the room;
and it is intended to supply furniture, of the character which it
originally might have possessed.

But if France cannot now boast her Mignard, Rigaud, or the Poussins, she
has reason to be proud of her present race of _Engravers_. Of these,
DESNOYERS evidently takes the lead. He is just now in Italy, and I shall
probably not see him--having twice called in vain. I own undisguisedly that
I am charmed with all his performances; and especially with his sacred
subjects from Raffaelle:--whom, it is just possible, he may consider to be
a somewhat better draftsman than David. There is hardly any thing but what
he adorns by his touch. He may consider the whole length portrait of
_Bonaparte_ to be his chef-d'oeuvre; but his _Vierge au Linge, Vierge dite
la Belle Jardinière_,--and perhaps, still finer, that called _au
Donataire_--are infinitely preferable, to my taste. The portrait has too
much of detail. It is a combination of little parts; of flowered robes,
with a cabinet-like background: every thing being almost mechanical, and
the shield of the ex-Emperor having all the elaborate minutiæ of Grignion.
I am heretic enough to prefer the famous whole length of poor Louis XVI, by
Bervic after Callet: there is such a flow of line and gracefulness of
expression in this latter performance! But Desnoyers has uncommon force, as
well as sweetness and tenderness, in the management of historical subjects:
although I think that his recent production of _Eliezer and Rebecca_, from
_Nicolo Poussin_, is unhappy--as to choice. His females have great
elegance. His line never flows more freely than in the treatment of his
female figures; yet he has nothing of the style of finishing of our
STRANGE. His _Francis_ I, and _Marguerite de Valois_ is, to my eye, one of
the most finished, successful, and interesting of his performances. It is
throughout a charming picture, and should hang over half the mantle pieces
in the kingdom. His portrait of _Talleyrand_ is brilliant; but there are
parts very much too black. It will bear no comparison with the glorious
portrait of our _John Hunter_, by Sharp--from Sir J. Reynolds. Desnoyers
engraves only for himself: that is to say, he is the sole proprietor of his
performances, and report speaks him to be in the receipt of some
twenty-five thousand francs per annum. He deserves all he has gained--both
in fortune and reputation.

MASSARD works in the same school with Desnoyers. He is harder in his style
of outline as well as of finishing; but he understands his subject
thoroughly, and treats it with skill and effect. ANDOUIN is lately come out
with a whole length portrait of the present king: a palpable copy, as to
composition, of that of his late brother. There are parts of the detail
most exquisitely managed, but the countenance is rather too severely
marked. LIGNON is the prince of portrait-engravers. His head of
_Mademoiselle Mars_--though, upon the whole, exhibiting a flat, and
unmeaning countenance, when we consider that it represents the first comic
actress in Europe--is a master-piece of graphic art. It is wrought with
infinite care, brilliancy, and accuracy. The lace, over the lady's
shoulder, may bid defiance even to what Drevet and Masson have effected of
the like kind. The eyes and the gems of Mademoiselle Mars seem to sparkle
with a rival lustre; but the countenance is too flat, and the nose wants
elevation and beauty. For this latter, however, neither Gérard nor Lignon
are amenable to criticism. Upon the whole, it is a very surprising
performance. If I were called upon to notice Lignon's chef d'oeuvre, I
would mention the frontispiece to the magnificent impression of _Camoens'
Lusiad_, containing the head of the author, surrounded by an arabesque
border of the most surprising brilliancy of composition and execution. You
must however remember, that it is in the splendid work entitled LE MUSÉE
FRANÇAIS, that many fine specimens of all the artists just mentioned are to
be found. There is no occasion to be more particular in the present place.

I must not omit the notice of FORSTER and LAUGIER: both of whom I have
visited more than once. At the same time, I beg it may be distinctly
understood that the omission of the names of _other_ engravers is no
implication that they are passed over as being unworthy of regard. On the
contrary, there are several whom I could mention who might take precedence
even of the two last noticed. Some of Forster's academic figures, which
gained him the prize, are very skilfully treated; both as to drawing and
finishing. His print of _Titian's Mistress_ exhibits, in the face and bosom
of the female, a power and richness of effect which may contend with some
of the best efforts of Desnoyers's burin. The reflex-light, in the mirror
behind, is admirably managed; but the figure of Titian, and the lower parts
of his Mistress--especially the arms and hands--are coarse, black, and
inharmonious. His _Wellington_ is a fine performance, as to mechanical
skill. M. Bénard, the well-known print-seller to his Majesty, living on the
_Boulevards Italiens_, laughed with me the other day at the rival
Wellington--painted by Lawrence, and engraved by Bromley,--as a piece of
very inferior art! But men may laugh on the wrong side of the face. I
consider, however, that what has depended upon Forster, has been done with
equal ability and truth. Undoubtedly the great failing of the picture is,
that it can hardly be said to have even a faint resemblance of the
original.

M. Laugier has not yet reached his full powers of maturity; but what he has
done is remarkable for feeling and force. His _Daphne and Chloe_, and _Hero
and Leander_ are early performances, but they are full of promise, and
abound in excellences. Colour and feeling are their chief merit. The latter
print has the shadows too dark. The former is more transparent, more
tender, and in better keeping. The foreground has, in some parts, the
crispness and richness of Woollett. They tell me that it is a rare print,
and that only 250 copies were struck off--at the expense of the Society of
Arts. Laugier has recently executed a very elaborate print of Leander, just
in the act of reaching the shore--(where his mistress is trembling for his
arrival in a lighted watch-tower) but about to be buried in the
overwhelming waves. The composition of the figure is as replete with
affectation, as its position is unnatural, if not impossible. The waves
seem to be suspended over him--on purpose to shew off his limbs to every
degree of advantage. He is perfectly canopied by their "gracefully-curled
tops." The engraving itself is elaborate to excess: but too stiff, even to
a metallic effect. It can never be popular with us; and will, I fear, find
but few purchasers in the richly garnished repertoire of the worthy
Colnaghi. Indeed it is a painful, and almost repulsive, subject. Laugier's
portrait of _Le Vicomte de Chateaubriand_ exhibits his prevailing error of
giving blackness, rather than depth, to his shadows. Black hair, a black
cravat, and black collar to the coat--with the lower part of the background
almost "gloomy as night"--are not good accessories. This worthy engraver
lives at present with his wife, an agreeable and unaffected little woman,
up four pair of stairs, in the _Rue de Paradis_. I told him--and as I
thought with the true spirit of prediction--that, on a second visit to
Paris I should find him descended--full two stories: in proportion as he
was ascending in fortune and fame.

The French are either not fond of, or they do not much patronise, engraving
in the _stippling_ manner: "_au poinctilliet_"--as they term it. Roger is
their chief artist in this department. He is clever, undoubtedly; but his
shadows are too black, and the lighter parts of his subjects want
brilliancy. What he does "en petit," is better than what he does upon a
larger scale." In _mezzotint_ the Parisians have not a single artist
particularly deserving of commendation. They are perhaps as indifferent as
we are somewhat too extravagantly attached, to it. Speaking of the FRENCH
SCHOOL OF ENGRAVING, in a general and summary manner--especially of the
line engravers--one must admit that there is a great variety of talent;
combined with equal knowledge of drawing and of execution; but the general
effect is too frequently hard, glittering, and metallic. The draperies have
sometimes the severity of armour; and the accessories, of furniture or
other objects, are frequently too highly and elaborately finished. Nor is
the flesh always free from the appearance of marble. But the names I have
mentioned, although not entirely without some of these defects, have great
and more than counter-balancing excellences.

In the midst of all the graphic splendour of modern Paris, it was
delightful music to my ears to hear WILKIE and RAIMBACH so highly extolled
by M. Bénard. "Ha, votre _Wilkie_--voilà un génie distingué!" Who could say
"nay?" But let BURNET have his share of graphic praise; for the _Blind
Fiddler_ owes its popularity throughout Europe to _his_ burin. They have
recently copied our friend Wilkie's productions on a small scale, in
aqua-tint; cleverly enough--for three francs a piece. I told Benard that
the Duke of Wellington had recently bespoke a picture from Mr. Wilkie's
pencil. "What is the subject to be?"--demanded he, quickly. I replied, in
the very simplicity of my heart, "Soldiers regaling themselves, on
receiving the news of the victory of Waterloo." Mons. Bénard was paralised
for one little moment: but rallying quickly, he answered, with perfect
truth, as I conceive "_Comment donc_, TOUT EST WATERLOO, _chez vous!_" M.
Bénard spoke very naturally, and I will not find fault with him for such a
response; for he is an obliging, knowing, and a very pleasant tradesman to
do business with. He admits, readily and warmly, that we have great
artists, both as painters and engravers; and pointing to Sharpe's _John
Hunter_ and _The Doctors of the Church_--which happened to be hanging just
before us--he observed that "these, efforts had never been surpassed by his
own countrymen." I told him (while conversing about the respective merits
of the British and French Schools of Engraving) that it appeared to me,
that in France, there was no fine feeling for LANDSCAPE ENGRAVING; and
that, as to ANTIQUARIAN art, what had been produced in the publications of
Mr. Britton, and in the two fine topographical works--Mr. Clutterbuck's
Hertfordshire," and. Mr. Surtees' Durham--exhibited such specimens of the
burin, in that department, as could scarcely be hoped to be excelled.[197]
M. Bénard did not very strenuously combat these observations. The great
mart for _Printselling_ is the Boulevards; and more especially that of the
_Boulevards Italiens_. A stranger can have no conception of the gaiety and
brilliance of the print-shops, and print-stalls, in this neighbourhood. Let
him first visit it in the morning about nine o'clock; with the sun-beams
sparkling among the foliage of the trees, and the incessant movements of
the populace below, who are about commencing another day's pilgrimage of
human life. A pleasant air is stirring at this time; and the freshness
arising from the watering of the footpath--but more particularly the
fragrance from innumerable bouquets, with mignonette, rose trees, and
lilacs--extended in fair array--is altogether quite charming and singularly
characteristic. But my present business is with prints. You see them,
hanging in the open air--framed and not framed--for some quarter of a mile:
with the intermediate space filled by piles of calf-bound volumes and sets
of apparently countless folios. Here are _Moreri, Bayle_, the _Dictionnaire
de Trévoux, Charpentier_, and the interminable _Encyclopédie_: all very
tempting of their kind, and in price:--but all utterly unpurchasable--on
account of the heavy duties of importation, arising from their weight.

However--again I say--my present business is with _Prints_. Generally
speaking, these prints are pleasing in their manner of execution,
reasonable in price, and of endless variety. But the perpetual intrusion of
subjects of studied nudity is really at times quite disgusting. It is
surprising (as I think I before remarked to you) with what utter
indifference and apathy, even females, of respectable appearance and dress,
will be gazing upon these subjects; and now that the art of _lithography_
is become fashionable, the print-shops of Paris will be deluged with an
inundation of these odious representations, which threaten equally to
debase the art and to corrupt morals. This cheap and wholesale circulation
of what is mischievous, and of really most miserable execution, is much to
be deplored. Even in the better part of art, lithography will have a
pernicious effect. Not only a well-educated and distinguished engraver will
find, in the long run his business slackening from the reduced prices at
which prints. are sold, but a _bad taste_ will necessarily be the result:
for the generality of purchasers, not caring for comparative excellence in
art, will be well pleased to give _one_ franc, for what, before, they could
not obtain under _three_ or _five_. Hence we may date the decline and
downfall of art itself. I was surprised, the other day, at hearing DENON
talk so strongly in favour of lithography. I told him "it was a bastard
art; and I rejoiced, in common with every man of taste or feeling, that
_that_ art had not made its appearance before the publication of his work
upon Egypt." It may do well for

  "The whisker'd pandour and the fierce hussar"--

or it may, in the hands of such a clever artist as VERNET, be managed with
good effect in representations of skirmishes of horse and foot--groups of
banditti--a ruined battlement, or mouldering tower--overhanging rocks--
rushing torrents--or umbrageous trees--but, in the higher department of
art, as connected with portrait and historical engraving, it cannot, I
apprehend, attain to any marked excellence.[198] Portraits however--of a
particular description--_may_ be treated with tolerable success; but when
you come to put lithographic engraving in opposition to that of _line_--the
_latter_ will always and necessarily be

  ... velut inter ignes
             LUNA minores!

I cannot take leave of A CITY, in which I have tarried so long, and with so
much advantage to myself, without saying one word about the manners,
customs, and little peculiarities of character of those with whom I have
been recently associating. Yet the national character is pretty nearly the
same at Rouen and at Caen, as at Paris; except that you do not meet with
those insults from the _canaille_ which are but too frequent at these
first-mentioned places. Every body here is busy and active, yet very few.
have any thing _to do_--in the way of what an Englishman would call
_business_. The thoughtful brow, the abstracted, look, the hurried step..
which you see along Cheapside and Cornhill ... are here of comparatively
rare appearance. Yet every body is "sur le pavé." Every body seems to live
out of doors. How the _ménage_ goes on--and: how domestic education is
regulated--strikes the inexperienced eye of an Englishman as a thing quite
inconceivable. The temperature of Paris is no doubt very fine, although it
has been of late unprecedentedly hot; and a French workman, or labourer,
enjoys, out of doors--from morning till night those meals, which, with us,
are usually partaken of within. The public places of entertainment are
pretty sure to receive a prodigious proportion of the population of Paris
every evening. A mechanic, or artisan, will devote two thirds of his daily
gains to the participation of this pleasure. His dinner will consist of the
most meagre fare--at the lowest possible price--provided, in the evening,
he can hear _Talma_ declaim, _or Albert_ warble, or see _Pol_ leap, or
_Bigotini_ entrance a wondering audience by the grace of her movements, and
the pathos of her dumb shew, in _Nina._

The preceding strikes me as the general complexion of character of three
fourths of the Parisians: but then they are gay, and cheerful, and
apparently happy. If they have not the phlegm of the German, or the
thoughtfulness of ourselves, they are less cold, and less insensible to the
passing occurrences of life. A little pleases them, and they give in return
much more than they receive. One thing, however, cannot fail to strike and
surprise an attentive observer of national character. With all their
quickness, enthusiasm, and activity, the mass of French people want that
admirable quality which I unfeignedly think is the particular
characteristic of ourselves:--I mean, _common sense_. In the midst of their
architectural splendor--while their rooms are refulgent with gilding and
plate-glass; while their mantle-pieces sparkle with or-molu clocks; or
their tables are decorated with vases, and artificial flowers of the most
exquisite workmanship--and while their carpets and curtains betray
occasionally all the voluptuousness of eastern pomp ... you can scarcely
obtain egress or ingress into the respective apartments, from the
wretchedness of their _locks_ and _keys!_ Mechanical studies or
improvements should seem to be almost entirely uncultivated--for those who
remember France nearly half a century ago, tell me that it was pretty much
then as it is now. Another thing discomposes the sensitive nerves of the
English; especially those of our notable housewives. I allude to the
rubbishing appearance of their _grates_--and the dingy and sometimes
disgusting aspect of carpets and flowered furniture. A good mahogany dining
table is a perfect rarity[199]--and let him, who stands upon a chair to
take down a quarto or octavo, beware how he encounter a broken shin or
bruised elbow, from the perpendicularity of the legs of that same chair.

The same want of common-sense, cleanliness, and convenience--is visible in
nearly the whole of the French ménage. Again, in the streets--their
cabriolet drivers and hackney coachmen are sometimes the most furious of
their tribe. I rescued, the other day, an old and respectable gentleman--
with the cross of St. Louis appendant to his button-hole--from a situation,
in which, but for such a rescue, he must have been absolutely knocked down
and rode over. He shook his cane at the offender; and, thanking me very
heartily for my protection, observed, "these rascals improve daily in their
studied insult of all good Frenchmen." The want of _trottoirs_ is a serious
and even absurd want; as it might be so readily supplied. Their carts are
obviously ill-constructed, and especially in the caps of the wheels; which,
in a narrow street--as those of Paris usually are--unnecessarily occupy a
_foot_ of room, where scarcely an _inch_ can be spared. The rubbish piled
against the posts, in different parts of the street, is as disgusting as it
is obviously inconvenient. A police "ordonnance" would obviate all this in
twenty-four hours.

Yet in many important respects the Parisian multitude read a lesson to
ourselves. In their public places of resort, the French are wonderfully
decorous; and along the streets, no lady is insulted by the impudence of
either sex. You are sure to walk in peace, if you conduct yourself
peaceably. I had intended to say a word upon morals: and religion; but the
subject, while it is of the highest moment, is beyond the reach of a
traveller whose stay is necessarily short, and whose occupations, upon the
whole, have been confined rather among the dead than the living.

Farewell, therefore, to PARIS. I have purchased a very commodious
travelling carriage; to which a pair of post-horses will be attached in a
couple of days--and then, for upwards of three hundred miles of
journey--towards STRASBOURG! No schoolboy ever longed for a holiday more
ardently than I do for the relaxation which this journey will afford me. A
thousand hearty farewells!


[191] [The work is now perfect in 3 volumes.]

[192] [I here annex a fac-simile of his autograph from the foot of the
    account for these drawings.]

    [Illustration]

[193] Then, Louis XVIII.

[194] ["Sir T. Lawrence, who painted the portrait of the late Duke de
    Richlieu, which was seen at the last exhibition, is undoubtedly of the
    first class of British Portrait painters; but, according to Mr.
    Dibdin's judgment, many artists would have preferred to have sided
    with our Gérard." CRAPELET. vol. iv. 220. I confess I do not
    understand this reasoning: nor perhaps will my readers.]

[195] [Here, Mons. Crapelet drily and pithily says, "Translated from the
    English." What then? Can there be the smallest shadow of doubt about
    the truth of the above assertion? None--with Posterity.]

[196] At Domremi, in Lorraine.

[197] When Desnoyers was over here, in 1819, he unequivocally expressed his
    rapture about our antiquarian engravings--especially of Gothic
    churches. Mr. Wild's _Lincoln Cathedral_ produced a succession of
    ecstatic remarks. "When your fine engravings of this kind come over to
    Paris we get little committees to sit upon them"--observed Desnoyers
    to an engraver--who communicated the fact to the author.

[198] [The experience of ten years has confirmed THE TRUTH of the above
    remark.]

[199] [Not so now! Mahogany, according to M. Crapelet, is every where at
    Paris, and at the lowest prices.]



_LETTER XII._

PARIS TO STRASBOURG.

_Hotel de l'Esprit, Strasbourg, July 20, 1818_.


I can hardly describe to you the gratification I felt on quitting the
"trein-trein".of Paris for the long, and upon the whole interesting,
journey to the place whence I date this despatch. My love of rural sights,
and of rural enjoyments of almost every kind, has been only equalled by my
admiration of the stupendous Cathedral of this celebrated city. But not a
word about the city of Strasbourg itself, for the present. My description,
both of _that_ and of its _curiosities_, will be properly reserved for
another letter; when I shall necessarily have had more leisure and fitter
opportunities for the execution of the task. On the eleventh of this month,
precisely at ten o'clock, the rattling of the hoofs of two lusty post
horses--together with the cracking of an _experimental_ flourish or two of
the postilion's whip--were heard in the court-yard of the Hôtel des
Colonies. Nothing can exceed the punctuality of the Poste Royale in the
attendance of the horses at the precise hour of ordering them. Travellers,
and especially those from our _own_ country, are not _quite_ so punctual in
availing themselves of this regularity; but if you keep the horses for the
better part of an hour before you start, you must pay something extra for
your tardiness. Of all people, the _English_ are likely to receive the most
useful lesson from this wholesome regulation. By a quarter past ten, Mr.
Lewis and myself having mounted our voiture, and given the signal for
departure, received the "derniers adieux" of Madame the hostess, and of the
whole corps of attendants. On leaving the gates of the hotel, the postilion
put forth all his energies in sundry loud smackings of his whip; and as we
went at a cautious pace through the narrower streets, towards the _Barriers
of St. Martin_, I could not but think, with inward satisfaction, that, on
visiting and leaving a city, so renowned as Paris, for the _first_ time, I
had gleaned more intellectual fruit than I had presumed to hope for; and
that I had made acquaintances which might probably ripen into a long and
steady friendship. In short, my own memoranda, together with the drawings
of Messrs. Lewis and Coeuré, were results, which convinced me that my time
had not been mispent, and that my objects of research were not quite
undeserving of being recorded. Few reflections give one so much pleasure,
on leaving, a city--where there are so many thousand temptations to abuse
time and to destroy character.

The day of our departure was very fine, tending rather to heat. In a little
half hour we cleared the barrier of St. Martin, and found ourselves on the
broad, open, route royale--bordered by poplars and limes. To the right, was
the pretty village of _Belleville:_ to the left, at the distance of some
six or eight English miles, we observed _Montmorenci, St. Germain en Laye_,
and, considerably nearer, _St. Denis_. All these places, together with
_Versailles,_ I had previously visited--Montmorenci and St. Denis twice--
and intended to have given you an account of them; but you could have
received from me scarcely any thing more than what the pages of the
commonest tour would have supplied you with. We first changed horses at
_Bondy_, the forest of which was once very extensive and much celebrated.
You now behold little more than a formal avenue of trees. The _Castle of
Raincy_, situated in this forest, is to the right, well-wooded--and the
property of the Duke of Orleans. _Ville-Parisis_ was the next prettiest
spot, in our route to _Claye_, where we again changed horses. The whole
route, from _Ville-Parisis_ to _Meaux_, was exceedingly pleasing and even
picturesque. At Meaux we dined, and have reason to remember the extravagant
charges of the woman who kept the inn. The heat of the day was now becoming
rather intense. While our veal-cutlet was preparing, we visited the church;
which had frequently, and most picturesquely, peeped out upon us during our
route. It is a large, cathedral-like looking church, without transepts,
Only one tower (in the west front), is built--with the evident intention of
raising another in the same aspect. They were repairing the west front,
which is somewhat elaborately ornamented; but so intensely hot was the
sun--on our coming out to examine it--that we were obliged to retreat into
the interior, which seemed to contain the atmosphere of a different
climate. A tall, well-dressed, elderly priest, in company with a
middle-aged lady, were ascending the front steps to attend divine service.
Hot as it was, the priest saluted us, and stood a half minute without his
black cap--with the piercing rays of the sun upon a bald head. The bell
tolled softly, and there was a quiet calm about the whole which almost
invited, us to _postpone_ our attack upon the dinner we had ordered.

Ten francs for a miserable cutlet--and a yet more wretchedly-prepared
fricandeau--with half boiled artichokes, and a bottle of undrinkable vin
ordinaire--was a charge sufficiently monstrous to have excited the well
known warmth of expostulation of an English traveller--but it was really
too hot to talk aloud! The landlady pocketed my money, and I pocketed the
affront which so shameful a charge may be considered as having put upon me.
We now rolled leisurely on towards _La Ferté-sous-Jouarre:_ about five
French-leagues from Meaux--not without stopping to change horses at _St.
Jean,_ &c. The heat would not even allow of the exercise of the postilion's
whip. Every body, and every thing seemed to be oppressed by it. The
labourer was stretched out in the shade, and the husbandman slept within
the porch of his cottage. We had no sooner entered the little town of La
Ferté-sous-Jouarre, and driven to the post-house, when not fewer than four
blacksmiths came rushing out of their respective forges, to examine every
part of the carriage. "A nail had started here: a screw was wanting there:
and a fracture had taken place in another direction: even the perch was
given way in the centre!" "Alas, for my voiture de voyage!" exclaimed I to
my companion. Meanwhile, a man came forward with a red-hot piece of iron,
in the shape of a cramp, to fix round the perch--which hissed as the
application was made. And all this--before I could say wherefore! or even
open my mouth to express astonishment! They were absolutely about to take
off the wheels of the carriage; to examine, and to grease them--but it was
then for the first time, that I opened a well-directed fire of
expostulation; from which I apprehend that they discovered I was not
perfectly ignorant either of their language or of their trickery. However,
the rogues had _four_ francs for what they had the impudence to ask _six_;
and considering my vehicle to be now proof against the probability of an
accident, I was resolved to leave the town in the same good humour in which
I had entered it.

On quitting, we mounted slowly up a high ascent, and saw from thence the
village of _Jouarre_, on a neighbouring summit, smothered with trees. It
seemed to consist of a collection of small and elegant country houses, each
with a lawn and an orchard. At the foot of the summit winds the
unostentatious little stream of _Le Petit Morin_ The whole of this scenery,
including the village of _Montreuil-aux-Lions_--a little onwards--was
perfectly charming, and after the English fashion: and as the sky became
mellowed by the rays of the declining sun, the entire landscape assumed a
hue and character which absolutely refreshed our spirits after the heat of
the previous part of the journey. We had resolved to sleep at
_Chateau-Thierry_, about seven leagues off, and the second posting-place
from where we had last halted. Night was coming on, and the moon rose
slowly through a somewhat dense horizon, as we approached our rendezvous
for the evening. All was tranquil and sweet. We drove to the inn called the
_Sirène_, situated in the worst possible part of the town: but we quickly
changed our determination, and bespoke beds for the night, and horses for
the following morning, at the _Poste Royale_. The landlady of the Inn was a
tartar--of her species. She knew how to talk civilly; and, for her, a more
agreeable occupation--how to charge! We had little rest, and less sleep. By
a quarter past five I was in the carriage; intending to breakfast at
_Epernay_, about twenty-five miles off.

The first post-station is _Parois_. It is a beautiful drive thither, and
the village itself is exceedingly picturesque. From _Parois_ to _Dormans_,
the next post village, the road continues equally interesting. We seemed to
go each post like the wind; and reached _Epernay_ by nine o'clock. The
drive from Dormans to Epernay is charming; and as the sky got well nigh
covered by soft fleecy clouds when we reached the latter place, our
physical strength, as well as animal spirits, seemed benefited by the
change. I was resolved to _bargain_ for every future meal at an inn: and at
Epernay I bespoke an excellent breakfast of fruit, eggs, coffee and tea, at
three francs a head. This town is the great place in France for the
manufacture of _Vin de Champagne_. It is here where they make it in the
greatest quantities; although _Sillery_, near Rheims, boasts of champagne
of a more delicate quality. I learnt here that the Prussians, in their
invasion of France in 1814, committed sad havoc with this tempting
property. They had been insulted, and even partially fired upon--as they
passed through the town,--and to revenge themselves, they broke open the
cellars of M ..., the principal wine merchant; and drank the contents of
only--_one hundred thousand bottles of champagne_!" "But," said the owner
of these cellars, (beyond the reach of the hearing of the Prussians, as you
may be well assured!) "they did not break open my _largest vault_ ... where
I had _half as much again!_. "Indeed, I was told that the wine vaults of
Epernay were as well worth inspection, as the catacombs of Paris.

I should observe to you that the river _Marne_, one of the second-rate
rivers, of France, accompanies you pretty closely all the way from Chateau
Thierry to Chalons--designated as _Chalons-sur-Marne._ From Epernay to
Chalons you pass through nothing but corn fields. It is a wide and vast
ocean of corn--with hardly a tree, excepting those occasionally along the
road, within a boundary of ten miles. Chalons is a large and populous town;
but the churches bear sad traces of revolutionary fury. Some of the
porches, once covered with a profusion of rich, alto-relievo sculpture, are
absolutely treated as if these ornaments had been pared away to the very
quick! Scarcely a vestige remains. It is in this town where the two great
roads to STRASBOURG--one by _Metz_, and the other by _Nancy_--unite. The
former is to the north, the latter to the south. I chose the latter;
intending to return to Paris by the former. On leaving Chalons, we purposed
halting to dine at _Vitry-sur-Marne_--distant two posts, of about four
leagues each. _La Chaussée,_ which we reached at a very smart trot, was the
first post town, and is about half way to Vitry. From thence we had "to
mount a huge hill"--- as the postilion told us; but it was here, as in
Normandy--these huge hills only provoked our laughter. However, the wheel
was subjected to the drag-chain--and midst clouds of white dust, which
converted us into millers, we were compelled to descend slowly. Vitry was
seen in the distance, which only excited our appetite and made us anxious
to increase our pace.

On reaching Vitry, I made my terms for dinner with the landlady of the
principal inn--who was literally as sharp as a razor. However, we had a
comfortable room, a good plain dinner, with an excellent bottle of _Vin de
Beaune_, for three francs each. "Could Monsieur refuse this trifling
payment?" He could not. Before dinner I strolled to the principal church--
which is indeed a structure of a most noble appearance--like that of St.
Sulpice in form, and perhaps of a little more than half its size. It is the
largest parish church which I have yet seen; but it is comparatively
modern. It was Sunday; and a pleasing spectacle presented itself on
entering. A numerous group of young women, dressed almost entirely in
white, with white caps and veils, were singing a sort of evening hymn--
which I understood to be called the _Chaplet of the Virgin_. Their voices,
unaccompanied by instrumental music, sounded sweetly from the loftiness of
the roof; and every singer seemed to be touched with the deepest sense of
devotion. They sang in an attitude with the body leaning forward, and the
head gently inclined. The silence of the place--its distance from the
metropolis--the grey aspect of the heavens--and the advanced hour of the
day ... all contributed to produce in our minds very pleasing and yet
serious sensations. I shall not easily forget the hymn called THE CHAPLET
OF THE VIRGIN, as it was sung in the church of Vitry.

After leaving this place we successively changed horses at _Longchamp_ and
at _St. Dizier_. To our great comfort, it began to threaten rain. While the
horses were being changed at the former place, I sat down upon a rough
piece of stone, in the high road, by the side of a well dressed paysanne,
and asked her if she remembered the retreat of Bonaparte in the campaign of
1814--and whether he had passed there? She said she remembered it well.
Bonaparte was on horseback, a little in advance of his troops--and ambled
gently, within six paces of where we were sitting. His head was rather
inclined, and he appeared to be very thoughtful. _St. Dizier_ was the
memorable place upon which Bonaparte made a rapid retrograde march, in
order to get into the rear of the allied troops, and thus possess himself
of their supplies. But this desperate movement, you know, cost him his
capital, and eventually his empire. St. Dizier is rather a large place, and
the houses are almost uniformly white. Night and rain came on together as
we halted to change horses. But we were resolved upon another stage--to
_Saudrupt_: and were now about entering the department of LORRAINE.

The moon struggled through a murky sky, after the cessation of rain, as we
entered _Saudrupt_: which is little better than a miserable village.
Travellers seldom or never sleep here; but we had gone a very considerable
distance since five in the morning, and were glad of any thing in the shape
of beds. Not an inn in Normandy which we had visited, either by day or by
night, seemed to be more sorry and wretched than this, where we--stretched
our limbs, rather than partook of slumber. At one in the morning, a young
and ardent lover chose to serenade his mistress, who was in the next house,
with a screaming tune upon a half-cracked violin--which, added to the
never-ceasing smacking of whips of farmers, going to the next market town--
completed our state of restlessness and misery. Yet, the next morning, we
had a breakfast ... so choice, so clean, and so refreshing--in a place of
all others the least apparently likely to afford it--that we almost fancied
our strength had been recruited by a good night's sleep. The landlord could
not help his miserable mansion, for he was very poor: so I paid him
cheerfully and liberally for the accommodation he was capable of affording,
and at nine o'clock left Saudrupt in the hope of a late dinner at NANCY--
the capital of Lorraine.

The morning was fresh and fair. In the immediate neighbourhood of Saudrupt
is the pretty village of _Brillon_, where I noticed some stone crosses; and
where I observed that particular species of domestic architecture, which,
commencing almost at Longchamps, obtains till within nearly three stages of
Strasbourg. It consists in having rather low or flat roofs, in the Italian
manner, with all the beams projecting _outside_ of the walls: which gives
it a very unfinished and barbarous look. And here too I began to be more
and more surprised at the meagreness of the population of the _country_.
Even on quitting Epernay, I had noticed it to my companion. The human
beings you see, are chiefly females--ill-featured, and ill complexioned--
working hard beneath the rays of a scorching sun. As to that sabbath-attire
of cleanliness, even to smartness among our _own_ country people, it is a
thing very rarely to be seen in the villages of France. At Brillon, we
bought fine cherries, of a countrywoman for two sous the pound.

_Bar-le Duc_ is the next post-town. It is a place of considerable extent
and population: and is divided into the upper and lower town. The approach
to it, along hilly passes, covered with vineyards, is pleasant enough. The
driver wished to take us to the upper town--to see the church of St. Peter,
wherein is contained "a skeleton perforated with worm-holes, which was the
admiration of the best connoisseurs." We civilly declined such a sight, but
had no objection to visit the church. It was a Saint's day: and the
interior of the church was crowded to excess by women and lads. An old
priest was giving his admonition from the high altar, with great propriety
and effect: but we could not stay 'till the conclusion of the service. The
carriage was at the door; and, reascending, we drove to the lower town,
down a somewhat fearful descent, to change horses. It was impossible to
avoid noticing the prodigious quantity of fruit--especially of currants and
strawberries. _Ligny_ was our next halting place, to change horses. The
route thither was sufficiently pleasant. You leave the town through rather
a consequential gateway, of chaste Tuscan architecture, and commence
ascending a lofty hill. From hence you observe, to the left, an old castle
in the outskirts of the town. The road is here broad and grand: and
although a very lively breeze was playing in our faces, yet we were not
insensible to the increasing heat of the day. We dined at _St. Aubin_. A
hearty good-humoured landlady placed before us a very comfortable meal,
with a bottle of rather highly-flavoured vin ordinaire. The inn was little
better than a common ale house in England: but every thing was "très
propre." On leaving, we seemed to be approaching high hills, through flat
meadows--where very poor cattle were feeding. A pretty drive towards _Void_
and _Laye_, the next post-towns: but it was still prettier on approaching
_Toul_, of which the church, at a distance, had rather a cathedral-like
appearance. We drank tea at Toul--but first proceeded to the church, which
we found to be greatly superior to that of Meaux. Its interior is indeed,
in parts, very elegant: and one lancet-shaped window, in particular, of
stained glass, may even vie with much of what the cathedral of this place
affords.

At Toul, for the first time since quitting Paris, we were asked for our
passports; it being a fortified town. Our next stage was _Dommartin_;
behind which appeared to be a fine hilly country, now purpled by the rays
of a declining sun. The church of Toul, in our rear, assumed a more
picturesque appearance than before. At _Velaine_, the following post-town,
we had a pair of fine mettlesome Prussian horses harnessed to our voiture,
and started at a full swing trot--through the forest of Hayes, about a
French league in length. The shade and coolness of this drive, as the sun
was getting low, were quite refreshing. The very postilion seemed to enjoy
it, and awakened the echoes of each avenue by the unintermitting sounds of
numberless flourishes of his whip. "How tranquil and how grand!" would he
occasionally exclaim. On clearing the forest, we obtained the first glimpse
of something like a distant mountainous country: which led us to conclude
that we were beginning to approach the VOSGES--or the great chain of
mountains, which, running almost due north and south, separates France from
ALSACE. Below, glittered the spires of _Nancy_--as the sun's last rays
rested upon them. A little distance beyond, shot up the two elegant towers
of _St. Nicholas_; but I am getting on a little too fast.... The forest of
Hayes can be scarcely less than a dozen English miles in breadth. I had
never before seen so much wood in France. Yet the want of water is a great
draw-back to the perfection of rural scenery in this country. We had hardly
observed one rivulet since we had quitted the little glimmering stream at
Chateau-Thierry.

We now gained fast upon NANCY, the capital of Lorraine. It is doubtless
among the handsomest provincial towns in Europe; and is chiefly indebted
for its magnificence to Stanislaus, King of Poland, who spent the latter
part of his life there, and whose daughter was married to Louis XV. The
annexation of Lorraine to France has been considered the masterpiece of
Louis's policy. Nancy may well boast of her broad and long streets: running
chiefly at right angles with each other: well paved, and tolerably clean.
The houses are built chiefly of stone. Here are churches, a theatre, a
college, a public library--palace-like buildings--public gardens--
hospitals, coffee houses, and barracks. In short, Nancy is another Caen;
but more magnificent, although less fruitful in antiquities. The _Place de
la Liberté_ et _d'alliance_ et _de la Carriére_ may vie with the public
buildings of Bath; but some of the sculptured ornaments of the _former_,
exhibit miserable proofs of the fury of the Revolutionists. Indeed Nancy
was particularly distinguished by a visit of the Marseillois gentry, who
chose to leave behind pretty strong proofs of their detestation of what was
at once elegant and harmless. The headless busts of men and women, round
the house of the governor, yet prove the excesses of the mob; and the
destruction of two places of worship was the close of their devastating
labours.

Nancy is divided into the _Old_ and the _New Town_. The four principal
streets, dividing the latter nearly at right angles, are terminated by
handsome arches, in the character of _gateways_. They have a noble
appearance.

On the first evening of our arrival at Nancy, we walked, after a late cup
of tea, into the public garden--at the extremity of the town. It was broad
moon light; and the appearance of the _Caffés_, and several _Places_, had
quite a new and imposing effect; they being somewhat after the Parisian
fashion. After a day of dust, heat, and rapid motion, a seat upon one of
the stone-benches of the garden--surrounded by dark green trees, of which
the tops were tipt with silver by the moon beam--could not fail to refresh
and delight me: especially as the tranquillity of the place was only
disturbed by the sounds of two or three groups of _bourgeoises_, strolling
arm in arm, and singing what seemed to be a popular, national air--of which
the tune was somewhat psalm-like. The broad walks abounded with bowers, and
open seats; and the general effect was at once singular and pleasing. The
Hotel-Royal is an excellent inn; and the owners of it are very civil
people.

My first visits were paid to churches and to bookseller's shops. Of
churches, the _Cathedral_ is necessarily the principal. It is large, lofty,
and of an elegant construction, of the Grecian order: finished during the
time of Stanislaus. The ornamental parts are too flaunting; too profuse,
and in bad taste. This excess of decoration pervades also the house of the
Governor; which, were it not so, might vie with that of Lord Burlington;
which it is not unlike in its general appearance. In the Cathedral, the
monument of Stanislaus, by Girardon, is _considered_ to be a chef-d'ouvre.
There was a Girardet--chief painter to Stanislaus, who is here called "the
rival of Apelles:" a rival with a vengeance! From thence I went to an old
church--perhaps of the thirteenth, but certainly of the fourteenth century.
They call it, I think, _St. Epreuve._ In this church I was much struck with
a curious old painting, executed in distemper, upon the walls of a side
aisle, which seemed to be at least three hundred years old. It displayed
the perils and afflictions of various Saints, on various emergencies, and
how they were all eventually saved by the interposition of the Virgin. A
fine swaggering figure, in the foreground, dressed out in black and
yellow-striped hose, much delighted me. Parts of this curious old picture
were worth copying. Near to this curiosity seemed to be a fine, genuine
painting, by Vandyke, of the Virgin and Child--the first exhibition of the
kind which I had seen since leaving Paris. It formed a singular contrast to
the picture before described. On quitting this old church, I could not help
smiling to observe a bunch of flowers, in an old mustard pot--on which was
inscribed "_Moutarde Fine de Nageon, à Dijon_--" placed at the feet of a
statue of the Virgin as a sacred deposit!

On leaving the church, I visited two booksellers: one of them rather
distinguished for his collection of _Alduses_--as I was informed. I found
him very chatty, very civil, but not very reasonable in his prices. He told
me that he had plenty of old books--_Alduses_ and _Elzevirs, &c_.--with
lapping-over vellum-bindings. I desired nothing better; and followed him up
stairs. Drawer after drawer was pulled out. These M. Renouard had seen:
those the Comte d'Ourches had wished to purchase; and a third pile was
destined for some nobleman in the neighbourhood. There was absolutely
nothing in the shape of temptation--except a _Greek Herodian_, by Theodore
Martin of Louvain, and a droll and rather rare little duodecimo volume,
printed at Amsterdam in 1658, entitled _La Comédie de Proverbes_. The next
bookseller I visited, was a printer. "Had he any thing old and curious?" He
replied, with a sort of triumphant chuckle, that he "once had _such_ a
treasure of this kind!" "What might it have been?" "A superb missal--for
which a goldsmith had offered him twelve sous for each initial letter upon
a gold ground--but which he had parted with, for 100 francs, to the library
of a Benedictin monastery--now destroyed. It had cost him twelve sous."
"But see, Sir, (continued he) is not this curious?" "It is a mere reprint,
(replied I) of what was first published three hundred years ago." "No
matter--buy it, and read it--it will amuse you--and it costs only five
sous." I purchased two copies, and I send you here the title and the
frontispiece. "_Le Dragon Rouge, ou l'art de commander les Esprits
Célestes, Aériens, Terrestres, Infernaux. Avec le vrai Secret de faire
parler les Morts; de gagner toutes les fois qu'on met aux Lotteries; de
découvrir les Trésors," &c_.

[Illustration]

The bookseller told me that he regularly sold hundreds of copies of this
work, and that the country people yet believed in the efficacy of its
contents! I had been told that it was in this very town that a copy of _the
Mazarine Bible_ had been picked up for some _half_ _dozen francs!_--and
conveyed to the public library at Munich.

Towards the evening, I visited the public library by appointment. Indeed I
had casually met the public librarian at the first Bouquiniste's: and he
fixed the hour of half-past six. I was punctual almost to the minute; and
on entering the library, found a sort of BODLEY in miniature: except that
there was a great mass of books in the middle of the room--placed in a
parallelogram form--which I thought must have a prodigiously heavy pressure
upon the floor. I quickly began to look about for _Editiones Principes_;
but, at starting, my guide placed before me two copies of the celebrated
_Liber Nanceidos_:[200] of which _one_ might be fairly said to be _large
paper_. On continuing my examination, I found civil and canon law--
pandects, glosses, decretals, and commentaries--out of number: together
with no small sprinkling of medical works. Among the latter was a curious,
and _Mentelin_-like looking, edition of _Avicenna_. But _Ludolphus's Life
of Christ_, in Latin, printed in the smallest type of _Eggesteyn_, in 1474,
a folio, was a volume really worth opening and worth coveting. It was in
its original monastic binding--large, white, unsullied, and abounding with
rough marginal edges.

It is supposed that the library contains 25,000 volumes. Attached to it is
a Museum of Natural History. But alas! since the revolution it exhibits a
frightful picture of decay, devastation, and confusion. To my eye, it was
little better than the apothecary's shop described by Romeo. It contained a
number of portraits in oil, of eminent Naturalists; which are palpable
copies, by the same hand, of originals ... that have probably perished. The
museum had been gutted of almost every thing that was curious or precious.
Indeed they want funds, both for the museum and the library. It was near
night-fall when I quitted the library, and walked with the librarian in a
pleasant, open space, near one of the chief gates or entrances before
mentioned. The evening was uncommonly sweet and serene: and the moon, now
nearly full, rose with more than her usual lustre ... in a sky of the
deepest blue which I had yet witnessed. I shall not readily forget the
conversation of that walk. My companion spoke of his own country with the
sincerity of a patriot, but with the good sense of an honest, observing,
reflecting man. I had never listened to observations better founded, or
which seemed calculated to produce more beneficial results. Of _our_
country, he spoke with an animation approaching to rapture. It is only the
exercise of a grateful feeling to record this--of a man--whose name I have
forgotten, and whose person I may never see again. On quitting each other,
I proceeded somewhat thoughtfully, to an avenue of shady trees, where
groups of men and women were sitting or strolling--beneath the broad moon
beam--and chanting the popular airs of their country.

The next morning I quitted Nancy. The first place of halting was _St.
Nicholas_--of which the elegant towers had struck us on the other side of
Nancy. It was no post town: but we could not pass such an ecclesiastical
edifice without examining it with attention. The village itself is most
miserable; yet it could once boast of a _press_ which gave birth to the
_Liber Nanceidos_.[201] The space before the west front of the church is
absolutely choked by houses of the most squalid appearance--so that there
is hardly getting a good general view of the towers. The interior struck us
as exceedingly interesting. There are handsome transepts; in one of which
is a large, circular, central pillar; in the other, an equally large one,
but twisted. One is astonished at finding such a large and beautiful
building in such a situation; but formerly the place might have been large
and flourishing. The west front of this church may rival two-thirds of
similar edifices in France.

_Domballe_ was the next post: the drive thither being somewhat picturesque.
_Luneville_ is the immediately following post town. It is a large and
considerable place; looking however more picturesque at a distance than on
its near approach: owing to the red tiles of which the roofs are composed.
Here are handsome public buildings; a fountain, with eight jets d'eau--
barracks, a theatre, and the castle of Prince Charles, of Lorraine. A good
deal of business is carried on in the earthenware and cotton trade--of both
which there is a manufactory--together with that of porcelaine. This place
is known in modern history from the _Treaty of Luneville_ between the
Austrians and French in 1801. From hence we went to _Bénaménil_, the next
stage; and in our way thither, we saw, for the first time since leaving
Paris, a _flock of geese!_ Dined at _Blamont_--the succeeding post town.
While our cutlets were preparing we strolled to the old castle, now in a
state of dilapidation. It is not spacious, but is a picturesque relic.
Within the exterior walls is a fine kitchen garden. From the top of what
might have been the donjon, we surveyed the surrounding country--at that
moment rendered hazy by an atmosphere of dense, heated, vapour. Indeed it
was uncommonly hot. Upon the whole, both the village and _Castle of
Blamont_ merit at least the leisurely survey of an entire day.

On starting for _Héming_, the next post, we were much pleased by the sight
of a rich, verdant valley, fertilized by a meandering rivulet. The village
of _Richeval_ had particular attractions; and the sight of alternate woods
and meadows seemed to mitigate the severity of the heat of the day. At
Héming we changed horses, opposite a large fountain where cattle were
coming to drink. The effect was very picturesque; but there was no time for
the pencil of Mr. Lewis to be exercised. In less than five minutes we were
off for _Sarrebourg_. Evening came on as we approached it. Here I saw
_hops_ growing, for the first time; and here, for the first time, I heard
the _German language_ spoken--and observed much of the German character in
the countenances of the inhabitants. The postilion was a German, and could
not speak one word of French. However, he knew the art of driving--for we
seemed to fly like the wind towards _Hommarting_--which we reached in half
an hour. It was just two leagues from Sarrebourg. We stopped to change
horses close to what seemed to be a farm house; and as the animals were
being "yoked to the car," for another German Phaeton, I walked into a very
large room, which appeared to be a kitchen. Two long tables were covered
with supper; at each of which sat--as closely wedged as well could be--a
great number of work-people of both sexes, and of all ages. Huge dogs were
moving backwards and forwards, in the hope of receiving some charitable
morsel;, and before the fire, on a littered hearth, lay stretched out two
tremendous mastiffs. I walked with fear and trembling. The cooks were
carrying the evening meal; and the whole place afforded such an
_interior_--as Jan Steen would have viewed with rapture, and Wilkie have
been delighted to copy. Meanwhile the postilion's whip was sounded: the
fresh horses were neighing: and I was told that every thing was ready. I
mounted with alacrity. It was getting dark; and I requested the good people
of the house to tell the postilion that I did not wish him to _sleep_ upon
the road.

The hint was sufficient. This second German postilion seemed to have taken
a leaf out of the book of his predecessor: for we exchanged a sharp trot
for a full swing canter--terminating in a gallop; and found ourselves
unexpectedly before the gates of _Phalsbourg_. Did you ever, my dear
friend, approach a fortified town by the doubtful light of a clouded moon,
towards eleven of the clock? A mysterious gloom envelopes every thing. The
drawbridge is up. The solitary centinel gives the pass-word upon the
ramparts; and every footstep, however slight, has its particular echo.
Judge then of the noise made by our heavy-hoofed coursers, as we neared the
drawbridge. "What want you there?" said a thundering voice, in the French
language, from within. "A night's lodging," replied I. "We are English
travellers, bound for Strasbourg." "You must wait till I speak with the
sub-mayor." "Be it so." We waited patiently; but heard a great deal of
parleying within the gates. I began to think we should be doomed to retrace
our course--when, after a delay of full twenty minutes, we heard ... to our
extreme satisfaction ... the creaking of the hinges (but not as "harsh
thunder") of the ponderous portals--which opened slowly and stubbornly--and
which was succeeded by the clanking of the huge chain, and the letting down
of the drawbridge. This latter rebounded slightly as it reached its level:
and I think I hear, at this moment, the hollow rumbling noise of our
horses' feet, as we passed over the deep yawning fosse below. Our passports
were now demanded. We surrendered them willingly, on the assurance given of
receiving them the following morning. The gates were now closed behind us,
and we entered the town in high glee. "You are a good fellow," said I to
the gatesman: come to me at the inn, to-morrow morning, and you shall be
thanked in the way you like best."

The landlord of the inn was not yet a-bed. As he heard our approach, he
called all his myrmidons about him--and bade us heartily welcome. He was a
good-looking, sleek, jolly-faced man: civilly spoken, with a ready
utterance, which seemed prepared to touch upon all kinds of topics. After I
had bespoken tea and beds, and as the boiling water was getting ready, he
began after the following fashion: "Hé bien Mons. Le Comte ... comment vont
les affaires en Angleterre? Et votre grand capitaine, le DUC DE VELLINGTON,
comment se porte il? Ma foi, à ce moment, il joue un beau rôle." I answered
that "matters were going on very well in England, and that our great
Captain was in perfectly good health." "Vous le connoissez parfaitement
bien, sans doute?"--was his next remark. I told him I could not boast of
that honour. "Neanmoins, (added he) il est connu par-tout." I readily
admitted the truth of this observation. Our dialogue concluded by an
assurance on his part, that we should find our beds excellent, our
breakfast on the morrow delicious--and he would order such a pair of horses
(although he strongly recommended _four_,) to be put to our carriage, as
should set all competition at defiance.

His prediction was verified in every particular. The beds were excellent;
the breakfast, consisting of coffee, eggs, fruit, and bread and butter,
(very superior to what is usually obtained in France) was delicious; and
the horses appeared to be perfect of their kind. The reckoning was, to be
sure, a little severe: but I considered this as the payment or punishment
of having received the title of _Count_ ... without contradiction. It fell
on my ears as mere words of course; but it shall not deceive me a second
time. We started a little time after nine; and on leaving the place I felt
more than usual anxiety and curiosity to catch the first glimpse of the top
of _Strasbourg Cathedral_,--a building, of which I had so long cherished
even the most extravagant notions. The next post town was _Saverne_; and
our route thither was in every respect the most delightful and gratifying
of any, and even of all the routes, collectively, which we had yet
experienced. As you approach it, you cross over a part of the famous chain
of mountains which divide OLD FRANCE from Germany, and which we thought we
had seen from the high ground on the other side of Nancy. The country so
divided, was, and is yet, called ALSACE: and the mountains, just mentioned,
are called the _Vosges_. They run almost due north and south: and form a
commanding feature of the landscape in every point of view. But for
Saverne. It lies, with its fine old castle, at the foot of the pass of
these mountains; but the descent to it--is glorious beyond all
anticipation!

It has been comparatively only of late years that this road, or pass, has
been completed. In former times, it was almost impassable. As the descent
is rapid and very considerable, the danger attending it is obviated by the
high road having been cut into a cork-screw-shape;[202] which presents, at
every spiral turn (if I may so speak) something new, beautiful, and
interesting. You continue, descending, gazing on all sides. To the right,
suspended almost in the air--over a beetling, perpendicular, rocky cliff--
feathered half way up with nut and beech--stands, or rather nods, an old
castle in ruins. It seems to shake with every breeze that blows: but there
it stands--and has stood--for some four centuries: once the terror of the
vassal, and now ... the admiration of the traveller! The castle was, to my
eye, of all castles which I had seen, the most elevated in its situation,
and the most difficult of access. The clouds of heaven seemed to be resting
upon its battlements. But what do I see yonder? "Is it the top of the spire
of Strasbourg Cathedral?" "It _is,_ Sir," replied the postilion. I pulled
off my travelling cap, by way of doing homage; and as I looked at my watch,
to know the precise time, found it was just ten o'clock. It was worth
making a minute of. Yet, owing to the hills before--or rather to those
beyond, on the other side of the Rhine, which are very much loftier--the
first impression gives no idea of the extraordinary height of the spire. We
continued to descend, slowly and cautiously, with _Saverne_ before us in
the bottom. To the left, close to the road side, stands an obelisk: on
which is fixed, hi gilt letters, this emphatic inscription:

_ALSATIA._

Every thing, on reaching the level road, bespoke a distinct national
character. It was clear that we had forsaken French costume, as well as the
French language, among the common people: so obvious is it, as has been
remarked to me by a Strasbourgeois, that "mountains, and not rivers, are
the natural boundaries of countries." The women wore large, flat, straw
hats, with a small rose at the bottom of a shallow crown; while their
throats were covered, sometimes up to the mouth, with black, silk cravats.
Their hair was platted, hanging down in two equal divisions. The face
appeared to be flat. The men wore shovel hats, of which the front part
projected to a considerable distance; and the perpetually recurring
response of "_yaw yaw_"--left it beyond all doubt that we had taken leave
of the language of "the polite nation." At length we reached Saverne, and
changed horses. This town is large and bustling, and is said to contain
upwards of four thousand inhabitants. We did not stop to examine any of its
wonders or its beauties; for we were becoming impatient for Strasbourg. The
next two intermediate post towns were _Wasselonne_ and _Ittenheim_--and
thence to Strasbourg: the three posts united being about ten leagues. From
Ittenheim we darted along yet more swiftly than before. The postilion,
speaking in a germanised French accent, told us, that "we were about to
visit one of the most famous cities in the world--and _such_ a CATHEDRAL!"
The immediate approach to Strasbourg is flat and uninteresting; nor could
I, in every possible view of the tower of the cathedral, bring myself to
suppose it--what it is admitted to be--the _loftiest ecclesiastical edifice
in the world_!

The fortifications about Strasbourg are said to afford one of the finest
specimens of the skill of Vauban. They may do so; but they are very flat,
tame, and unpicturesque. We now neared the barriers: delivered our
passports; and darted under the first large brick arched way. A devious
paved route brought us to the second gate;--and thus we entered the town;
desiring the post-boy to drive to the _Hôtel de l'Esprit_. "You judge
wisely, Sir, (replied he) for there is no Hotel, either in France or
Germany, like it." So saying, he continued, without the least intermission,
to make circular flourishes with his whip--accompanied by such ear-piercing
sounds, as caused every inhabitant to gaze at us. I entreated him to
desist; but in vain. "The English always enter in this manner," said he--
and having reached the hotel, he gave _one_ super-eminent flourish--which
threw him off his balance, and nearly brought him to the ground. When I
paid him, he pleaded hard for an _extra five sous_ for this concluding
flourish!

I am now therefore safely and comfortably lodged in this spacious hotel, by
the side of the river _Ill_--of which it is pleasing to catch the lingering
breezes as they stray into my chamber. God bless you.

       *       *       *       *       *

P.S. One thing I cannot help adding--perhaps hardly deserving of a
postscript. All the way from Paris to Strasbourg, I am persuaded that we
did not meet _six_ travelling equipages. The lumbering diligence and steady
Poste Royale were almost the only vehicles in action besides our own. Nor
were _villas_ or _chateaux_ visible; such as, in our own country, enliven
the scene and put the traveller in spirits.


[200] A folio volume, printed at St. Nicolas, a neighbouring village, in
    1518. It is a poem, written in Latin hexameter verse by P. Blaru [P.
    de Blarrovivo]--descriptive of the memorable siege of Nancy in 1476,
    by CHARLES THE RASH, Duke of Burgundy: who perished before the walls.
    His death is described in the sixth book, _sign_. t. iiij: the
    passage relating to it, beginning

      "Est in Nanceijs aratro locus utilis aruis:"

    A wood cut portrait of the commanding French general, Renet, is in the
    frontispiece. A good copy of this interesting work should always grace
    the shelves of an historical collector. Brunet notices a copy of it
    UPON VELLUM, in some monastic library in Lorraine. [Three days have
    not elapsed, since I saw a similar copy in the possession of Messrs.
    Payne and Foss, destined for the Royal Library at Paris. A pretty,
    rather than a magnificent, book.]

[201] See page 362.

[202] When this 'chaussée,' or route royale, was completed, it was so
    admired, that the ladies imitated its cork-screw shape, by pearls
    arranged spirally in their hair; and this head dress was called
    _Coiffure à la Saverne_.



_LETTER XIII._

STRASBOURG. ESTABLISHMENT OF THE PROTESTANT RELIGION. THE CATHEDRAL. THE
PUBLIC LIBRARY.


_Hôtel de l'Esprit, July 26, 1818_.

MY DEAR FRIEND;

It is Sunday; and scarcely half an hour ago, I heard, from a Lutheran
church on the other side of the water, what I call good, hearty, rational
psalm-singing: without fiddles or trombones or serpents. Thus, although
considerably further from home, I almost fancied myself in old England.
This letter will touch chiefly upon topics of an antiquarian cast, but of
which I venture to anticipate your approbation; because I have long known
your attachment to the history of ALSACE--and that you have Schoepflin's
admirable work[203] upon that country almost at your finger's ends. The
city of Strasbourg encloses within its walls a population of about fifty
thousand souls. I suspect, however, that in former times its population was
more numerous. At this present moment there are about two hundred-and fifty
streets, great and small; including squares and alleys. The main streets,
upon the whole, are neither wide nor narrow; but to a stranger they have a
very singular appearance, from the windows being occasionally covered, on
the outside, with _iron bars_, arranged after divers fashions. This gives
them a very prison-like effect, and is far from being ornamental. The
glazing of the windows is also frequently very curious. In general, the
panes of glass are small, and circular, confined in leaden casements. The
number of houses in Strasbourg is estimated at three thousand five hundred.

There are not fewer than forty-seven bridges in the interior of the town.
These cross the branches of the rivers _Ill_ and _Bruche_--which empty
themselves into the _Rhine_. The fortifications of Strasbourg are equally
strong and extensive; but they assumed formerly a more picturesque, if not
a more powerful aspect.[204]

There are _seven parishes_; of which four are catholic, and three
protestant. This brings me to lay before you a brief outline of the rise
and progress of PROTESTANTISM in this place. Yet, as a preliminary remark,
and as connected with our mutual antiquarian pursuits, you are to know
that, besides parish churches, there were formerly _fourteen convents_,
exclusively of chapelries. All these are minutely detailed in the recent
work of M. Hermann,[205] from which indeed I have gleaned the chief of the
foregoing particulars. A great many of these convents were suppressed in
the sixteenth century, upon the establishment of the protestant religion.

But for a brief outline of the rise and progress of this establishment. It
must indeed be brief; but if so, it shall at least be clear and faithful.
The forerunner of Luther (in my opinion) was JOHN GEYLER; a man of singular
intrepidity of head and heart. He was a very extraordinary genius,
unquestionably; and the works which he has bequeathed to posterity evince
the variety of his attainments. Geyler preached boldly in the cathedral
against the lax manners and doubtful morality of the clergy. He exhorted
the magistrates to do their duty, and predicted that there must be an
alteration of religious worship ere the general morals of the community
could be amended. They preserve a stone chair or pulpit, of very curious
workmanship, but which had nearly been destroyed during the Revolution, in
which Geyler used to deliver his lectures. He died in 1510; and within a
dozen years after his death the doctrines of LUTHER, were sedulously
inculcated. The ground had been well prepared for such seed. The court of
Rome looked on with uneasiness; and the Pope sent a legate to Strasbourg in
1522, to vent his anathemas, and to raise a strong party against the growth
of this new heresy--as it was called. At this time, the reformed doctrine
was even taught in the cathedral; and, a more remarkable thing to strike
the common people, the RECTOR of the church of St. Thomas (the second
religious establishment of importance, after that of the cathedral)
VENTURED TO MARRY! He was applauded both by the common people and by many
of the more respectable families. His example was followed: and the
religious of both sexes were allowed to leave their establishments, to go
where they would, and to enter upon the married state. In 1530 the mass was
generally abolished: and the protestant religion was constantly exercised
in the cathedral.

The spirit both of Geyler and of Luther might have rejoiced to find, in
1550, the chapter of St. Thomas resolutely avowing its determination to
perform the protestant--and nothing but the protestant--religion within its
own extensive establishment. The flame of the new religion seemed now to
have reached all quarters, and warmed all hearts. But a temporary check to
its progress was given by the cautious policy of Charles V. That wary and
heartless monarch (who had even less religion than he had of the ordinary
feelings of humanity) interfered with the weight of his power, and the
denunciations of his vengeance. Yet he found it necessary neither wholly to
suppress, nor wholly to check, the progress of the protestant religion:
while, on the other hand, the Strasbourgeois dreaded too much the effects
of his power to dispute his will by any compact or alliance of opposition.
In 1550, therefore, the matter stood thus. The cathedral, and the
collegiate and parish churches of St. Peter the Elder and St. Peter the
Younger, as well as the Oratory of all Saints, adopted the _catholic_ form
of worship. The other parish churches adopted that of the _protestant_. Yet
in 1559 there happened such a serious affray in the cathedral church
itself--between the Catholics and Protestants--as taught the former the
obvious necessity of conceding as much as possible to the latter. It
followed, that, towards the end of the same century, there were, in the
cathedral chapter, _seventeen protestant_, and _eight catholic_ canons.
Among the _latter_, however, was the celebrated Cardinal de Lorraine:--one
of the most powerful, the most furious, and the most implacable of the
enemies of Protestantism. The part he took in the massacre of St.
Bartholomew's day, consigns his name to everlasting ignominy and
detestation.

In 1610 a league was formed for the adjustment of the differences between
the Catholics and Protestants: but the unfortunate thirty years war
breaking out in 1618, and desolating nearly the whole of Germany, prevented
the permanent consolidation of the interests of either party. All this time
Strasbourg was under the power, as it even now speaks the language, and
partakes of the customs and manners, of GERMANY: but its very situation
rendered it the prey of both the contending powers of Germany and France.
At length came the memorable, and as I suspect treacherous, surrender of
Strasbourg to the arms of Louis XIV, in September 1681; when the respective
rights and privileges of the Catholics and Protestants were placed upon a
definite footing: although, before this event, the latter had considerably
the ascendancy. These rights were endeavoured to be shaken by the
revocation of the edict of Nantes in 1685--not however before the Jesuits
had been striving to warp the feelings of the latter in favour of the
former. The catholic religion was, by the articles of the surrender of the
city, established in the cathedral, in the subordinate churches of St.
Peter the Elder and St. Peter the Younger, and in the Oratory of All
Saints: and it has continued to be exercised pretty much in the same
proportion unto this day. The majority of the inhabitants are however
decidedly Protestants. Such is a succinct, but I believe not unfaithful,
account of the establishment of the PROTESTANT RELIGION at Strasbourg.

This subject therefore naturally brings me to notice the principal _Temple
of Worship_ in which the rites of either religion seem, for a long time, to
have been alternately exercised; and this temple can be no other than _the
Minster_--or, as we should say, the _Cathedral._ Ere I assume the office of
the historian, let me gratify my inclinations as a spectator. Let me walk
round this stupendous structure. At this moment, therefore, consider me as
standing in full gaze before its west front--from which the tower springs.
This tower seems to reach to heaven. Indeed the whole front quite
overwhelms you with alternate emotions of wonder and delight. Luckily there
is some little space before it, in which trees have been recently planted;
and where (as I understand) the fruit and vegetable market is held. At the
further end of this space in approaching the Cathedral, and in running the
eye over the whole front, the first thing that strikes you is, the red or
copperas colour of the stone--which I presume to be a species of sand
stone. This gives a sort of severe metallic effect. However you are riveted
to the spot wherein you command the first general survey of this
unparalleled front. The delicacy, the finish, the harmonious intricacy, and
faery-like lightness, of the whole--even to the summit of the spire;--which
latter indeed has the appearance of filigree work, raised by enchantment,
and through the interstices of which the bright blue sky appears with a
lustre of which you have no conception in England--all this, I say,
perfectly delights and overwhelms you. You want words to express your
ideas, and the extent of your gratification. You feel convinced that the
magnificent edifice before you seems to be the _ne plus ultra_ of human
skill in ornamental gothic architecture. Undoubtedly one regrets here, as
at Antwerp, the absence of a corresponding tower; but you are to form your
judgment upon what is _actually_ before you, and, at the same time, to bear
in mind that this tower and spire--for it partakes of both characters--is
full _four hundred and seventy four_ English feet in height![206]--and,
consequently, some twenty or thirty feet only lower than the top of St.
Peter's at Rome. One is lost in astonishment, on bearing such an altitude
in mind, considering the delicacy of the spire. There is no place fitting
for a satisfactory view of it, within its immediate vicinity.[207]

This western front, or facade, is divided into three stages or
compartments. The bottom or lower one is occupied by three magnificent
porches; of which the central is by far the loftiest and most ornamental.
The period of their execution is from the year 1270 to 1320: a period, when
gothic architecture was probably at its highest pitch of perfection. The
central porch is divided into five compartments on each side--forming an
angle of about forty-five degrees with the door-way. The lower parts of
these divisions contain each a statue, of the size of life, upon its
respective pediment. The upper parts, which blend with the arch-like
construction, are filled with small statues, upon pediments, having a sort
of brilliant, fretted appearance. All these figures are representations of
characters in Scripture. Again, above this archway, forming the central
ornaments of the sharper angles, are the figures of the Almighty, the
Virgin and Child, and Solomon. In front, above the door way, upon a flat
surface, are four sculptured compartments; devoted to scriptural subjects.
The same may be said of the right and left porch. They are equally
elaborate, and equally devoted to representations of scriptural subjects.
They will have it, that, according to tradition, the daughter of Ervin de
Steinbach, the chief architect of the western front, worked a great deal at
this central porch, and even sculptured several of the figures. However
this may be, the _tout ensemble_ is really beyond any thing which could be
satisfactorily conveyed by a written description.

We now cast our eye upon the second division of this stupendous facade; and
here our attention is almost exclusively devoted to the enormous circular
or marygold window, in the central compartment. It is filled with stained
glass--and you are to know that the circumference of the outer circle is
one hundred and sixty-English feet: or about fifty-three feet in diameter;
and I challenge you to shew me the like--in any building of which you have
any knowledge!

Perhaps the most wonderful part of this structure is the open filigree work
of the tower, immediately above the platform: though I admit that the
_spiral_ part is exceedingly curious and elaborate. Of course there was no
examining such a wonder without mounting to the platform, and ascending the
tower itself. The platform is about three hundred feet from the pavement.
We quitted this tenement, and walked straight forward upon the platform.
What a prospect was before us. There flowed the RHINE! I felt an
indescribable joy on my first view of that majestic river. There it
flowed ... broad and rapid ... and apparently peaceful, within its low
banks. On the other, or eastern side of it, was a range of lofty hills,
of a mountainous character. On the opposite side of the town ran the great
chain of hills--called the VOSGES--which we had crossed in our route
hither; and of which we had now a most extensive and unobstructed view.
These hills were once the abode of adventurous chieftains and powerful
nobles; and there was scarcely an eminence but what had been formerly
crowned by a baronial castle.[208] Below, appeared the houses of
Strasbourg ... shrunk to rabbit-hutches--and the people ... to emmets!

It remained to ascend the opposite tower. At each of the four corners there
is a spiral stair-case, of which the exterior is open work, consisting of
slender but lofty pillars; so that the ascending figure is seen at every
convolution. It has a fearful appearance to the adventurer: but there is
scarcely the possibility of danger. You go round and round, and observe
three distinct terminations of the central work within--forming three
roofs--of which, the _third_ is eminently beautiful. I could not help
expressing my astonishment at some of the exterior columns, which could not
be much less than threescore feet in height, and scarcely twelve inches in
diameter! Having gained the top of one of these corner spiral stair-cases,
I breathed and looked around me. A new feature presented itself to my view.
About one hundred feet beneath, was the body of this huge cathedral.
Immediately above, rose the beautifully-tapering and curiously ornamented
SPIRE--to the height of probably, one hundred and twenty-five feet! It
seemed indeed as if both tower and spire were direct ladders to the sky.
The immortal artist who constructed them, and who lived to witness the
completion of his structure, was JOAN HÜLTZ, a native of Cologne. The date
of their completion is 1449. Thus, on the continent as well as in England,
the period of the most florid style of gothic architecture was during the
first half of the fifteenth century.

I essayed to mount to the very pinnacle; or _bouton_ of the spire; but the
ascent was impracticable--owing to the stair-case being under repair. On
the summit of this spire, there once stood a _statue of the Virgin,_ above
a cross. That statue was taken down at the end of the fifteenth century,
and is now placed over the south porch. But, what do you think supplied its
place during the late Revolution, or in the year of our Lord 1794, on the
4th day of May? Truly, nothing less than a large cap, made of tin, and
painted red--called the _Cap of Liberty!_ Thank heaven, this latter was
pulled down in due time--and an oblong diamond-shaped stone is now the
finishing piece of masonry of this wonderful building. In descending, I
stopped again at the platform, and was requested to see the GREAT BELL; of
which I had heard the deep-mouthed roar half a dozen times a day, since my
arrival. It is perhaps the finest toned bell in Europe, and appeared to me
terrifically large--being nearer eight than seven feet high.[209] They
begin to toll it at four or five o'clock in the summer-mornings, to
announce that the gates of the town are opened. In case of fire at night,
it is very loudly tolled; and during a similar accident in the day time,
they suspend a pole, with a red flag at the end of it, over that part of
the platform which is in a line with the direction of the fire.

A grand defect in the structure of this Cathedral, as it strikes me, is,
that the nave and transepts do not seem to belong to such a western front.
They sink into perfect insignificance. Nor is the style of their exterior
particularly deserving of description. Yet there is _one_ feature in the
external architecture of this Cathedral--namely, a series or suite of
DROLLERIES ... of about four or five feet high ... which cannot fail to
attract the antiquary's especial notice. These figures are coarsely but
spiritedly cut in stone. They are placed upon the bracket which supports
the galleries, or balcony, of the eastern side of the facade of the tower,
and are about sixty-five English feet from the ground. They extend to
thirty-two feet in length. Through the kind offices of my friend Mr.
Schweighæuser, junior, (of whom by and by) I have obtained drawings of
these droll subjects,[210] and I am sure that, in common with many of our
friends, you will be amused with the sight of a few of them. They are
probably of the date of 1370;

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

The common people call this series the _Sabbath of Demons,_ or _the Dance
of the Witches_. You are to know, however, that on the opposite side of the
cathedral there is a series of figures, of the same size, and executed
nearly in the same style of art, descriptive of scriptural events, mixed
with allegorical subjects. Having now pointed out what appears to me to be
chiefly interesting in the _exterior_ of this marvellous building, it is
right that I give you some notion of its _interior_: which will however
occupy but a short portion of your attention. Indeed--I grieve to speak
it--both the exterior and interior of the _nave_ are wholly unworthy of
such a magnificent west-front.

The nave and choir together are about three hundred and fifty-five English
feet in length; of which the nave is two hundred and forty-four--evidently
of too scanty dimensions. The width of the nave and side aisles is one
hundred and thirty-two feet: the height of the nave is only seventy-two
feet. The larger of the nine clustered columns is full seventy-two feet in
circumference; the more delicate, thirty feet. There is really nothing
striking in this nave; except that, on turning round, and looking up to the
painted glass of the circular or marygold window, you observe the colours
of it, which are very rich, and absolutely gay, compared with those of the
other windows. There is a profusion of painted glass in almost all the
windows; but generally of a sombre tint, and of a correspondent gloomy
effect. Indeed, in consequence of this profusion, the cathedral absolutely
wants light.

The choir is sixty-seven feet wide, without side aisles, and is much lower
than the nave. It is impossible to speak of this choir without indignation.
My good friend--the whole of this interior has recently undergone rather a
martyrdom than a metamorphosis. The sides are almost entirely covered with
_Grecian_ pilasters and pillars; and so are the ornaments about the altar.
What adds to the wretched effect of the whole, is, a coat of _white-wash_,
which was liberally bestowed upon it some forty years ago; and which will
require at least the lapse of another century to subdue its staring effect.
There are only three chapels in this cathedral. Of _altars_ there are not
fewer than twelve: the principal being in the chapels of St. Lawrence and
St. Catharine.

It was near the chapel of _St. Catharine_, that, on the morning of our
first visit, we witnessed a group of country people, apparently from the
neighbourhood of _Saverne_--from their huge, broad, flat hats--engaged in
devotion before the image of some favourite saint. The rays of a bright sun
darted through the windows, softened by the varied tints of the stained
glass, upon their singular countenances and costumes; and the effect was
irresistibly striking and interesting.

In the centre of the south transept, there rises a fine, slender, clustered
column, reaching to its very summit. On the exterior of this column--placed
one above another, but retreating or advancing, or in full view, according
to the position of the spectator--are several figures, chiefly females;
probably five feet high, with labels or scrolls, upon each of which is an
inscription. I never saw any thing more elegant and more striking of its
kind. These figures reach a great way up the pillar--probably to the top--
but at this moment I cannot say decidedly. It is here, too, that the famous
Strasbourg _Clock_, (about which one Dasypodius hath published a Latin
treatise in a slim quarto volume[211]) is placed. This, and the tower, were
called the _two great wonders of Germany_. This clock may be described in
few words: premising, that it was preceded by a clock of very extraordinary
workmanship, fabricated in the middle of the fourteenth century--of which,
the _only_ existing portion is, a _cock_, upon the top of the left
perpendicular ornament, which, upon the hourly chiming of the bells, used
to flap his wings, stretch out his neck, and crow twice; but being struck
by lightning in the year 1640, it lost its power of action and of sending
forth sound. No modern skill has been able to make this cock crow, or to
shake his wings again. The clock however is now wholly out of order, and
should be placed elsewhere. It is very lofty; perhaps twenty feet high: is
divided into three parts, of which the central part represents _Our
Saviour_ and _Death_, in the middle, each in the act as if to strike a
bell. When, in complete order, Death used to come forward to strike the
_quarters_; and, having struck them, was instantly repelled by our Saviour.
When he came forward to strike the _hour_, our Saviour in turn retreated:--
a whimsical and not very comprehensible arrangement. But old clocks used to
be full of these conceits.

Upon throwing an eye over what I have just written, I find that I have
omitted to notice the celebrated STONE PULPIT, in the nave, enriched with
small figures--of the latter end of the fifteenth century. In fact, the
date of 1485, in arabic numerals, (if I remember rightly) is at the bottom
of it, to the right of the steps. This pulpit, my good friend, is nothing
less than the very ecclesiastical rostrum from which the famous _John
Geyler_ thundered his anathemas against the monkish clergy. You may
remember that some slight notice was taken of it at the beginning of this
letter, in which the progress of Protestantism at Strasbourg was attempted
to be traced. I will frankly own to you, that, of all pulpits, throughout
Normandy, or in Paris--as yet examined by me--I have seen none which
approaches to THIS; so rich, varied, and elaborate are its sculptured
ornaments.[212] The Revolutionists could only contrive to knock off the
figure which was upon the top of the canopy, with other contiguous
ornaments; all of which might be easily restored.

[Illustration: STONE PULPIT, STRASBOURG CATHEDRAL.]

A word now about the great _Organ_. If Strasbourg have been famous for
architects, masons, bell-founders, and clock-makers, it has been not less
so for organ builders. As early as the end of the thirteenth century, there
were several organs in this cathedral: very curious in their structure, and
very sonorous in their notes. The present great organ, on the _left side_
of the nave, on entering at the western door, was built by Silbermann about
a century-ago: and is placed about fifty feet above the pavement. It has
six bellowses, each bellows being twelve feet long and six wide: but they
are made to act by a very simple and sure process. The tone is tremendous--
when all the stops are pulled out--as I once heard it, during the
performance of a particularly grand chorus! Yet is this tone mellow and
pleasing at the same time. Notwithstanding the organ could be hardly less
than three hundred feet distant from the musicians in the choir, it sent
forth sounds so powerful and grand--as almost to overwhelm the human voice,
with the accompaniments of trombones and serpents. Perhaps you will not be
astonished at this, when I inform you that it contains not fewer than two
thousand two hundred and forty-two pipes. This is not the first time you
have heard me commend the organs upon the Continent.

One of the most remarkable features belonging to the history of Strasbourg
cathedral, is, the number of _shocks of earthquakes_ which have affected
the building. It is barely possible to enumerate all these frightful
accidents; and still more difficult to give credence to one third of them.
They seem to have happened two or three times every century; and, latterly,
yet more frequently. Take one recital as a specimen: and believe it--if you
can. In the year 1728, so great was the agitation of the earth, that the
tower was moved one foot out of its perpendicular direction--but recovered
its former position presently. "What however is _quite certain_--(says
Grandidier)--the holy water, contained in a stone reservoir or basin, at
the bottom of a column, near the pavement, was thrown by this same
agitation, to upwards of _half the height of a man_--and to the distance of
_eighteen feet!_ The record of this marvellous transaction is preserved in
a Latin inscription, on a slab of black marble, fastened to the lower part
of the tower, near the platform."[213] In 1744 a severe tempest of thunder
and lightning occasioned some serious injuries to portions of the
cathedral; but in 1759 it suffered still more from a similar cause. Indeed
the havoc among the slighter ornamental parts, including several delicately
carved figures, is recorded to have been dreadful.

Of the subordinate churches of Strasbourg, the principal, both for size and
antiquity, is that of _St. Thomas_. I visited it several times. The
exterior is one of the most tasteless jumbles of all styles and ages of art
that can be imagined; and a portion of it is covered with brick. But I
question if there be not parts much older than the cathedral. The interior
compensates somewhat for the barbarism of the outside. It is large and
commodious, but sadly altered from its original construction; and has
recently been trimmed up and smartened in the true church-warden style. The
great boast of this church is its MONUMENTS; which, it must be confessed,
are upon the whole exceedingly interesting. As to their antiquity, I
noticed two or three of the thirteenth century; but they pretend to run up
as high as the tenth. Indeed I saw one inscription of the eleventh
century--executed in gothic letters, such as we observe of the latter end
of the sixteenth. This could not be a coeval inscription; for I doubt
whether there exist, any where, a monumental tablet of the eleventh century
executed in _coeval gothic_ letters. The service performed here is after
the confession of Augsbourg; in other words, according to the reformed
Lutheran church. A small crucifix, placed upon an altar between the nave
and the choir, delicately marks this distinction; for Luther, you know, did
not wage an interminable war against crucifixes.

Of _modern_ monuments, the boast and glory of this church is that of the
famous MARSHAL SAXE; who died at the age of 55, in the year 1755. While I
was looking very intently at it, the good verger gently put a printed
description of it into my hands, on a loose quarto sheet. I trust to be
forgiven if I read only its first sentence:--_Cette grande composition
réunit aux richesse de l'art des Phidias et des Bouchardon, les traits de
la grande poésie._" "Take any shape but this"--thought I to myself--and,
folding it up as gently as it had been delivered to me, I put it into my
pocket. My good friend, I do beseech you to hear me out--when I preface my
remarks by saying, that, of all monuments, _this_ is one of the most
tasteless and uninteresting. Listen to a brief but faithful description of
it.

An immense pyramidal-shaped gray marble forms the background. Upon such a
back-ground there might have been a group of a _dozen_ figures at least.
However, there happen to be only _four_ of the human species, and three of
animals. These human figures are, the Marshal; a woman weeping lustily--I
had almost said blubbering; (intended to represent France) Hercules; and a
little child--of some order or degree, not less affected than the female.
The animals are, a lion, a leopard, (which latter has a bear-like form) and
an eagle. I will now tell you what they are all doing. Before the Marshal,
is an opened grave; into which this illustrious hero, clad in complete
armour, is about to march with a quiet, measured step--as unconcernedly, as
if he were descending a flight of steps which led to a conservatory. The
woman--that is France--is, in the meantime, weeping aloud; pointing to the
grave, and very persuasively intreating the Marshal to enter--as his mortal
moments have expired. I should add that death--a large formidable-looking
figure, veiled by a piece of drapery, is also at hand: seeming to imply
that hesitation and reluctance, on the part of the hero, are equally
unavailing. Next comes Hercules; who is represented as stationary,
thoughtful, and sorrow-stricken, as France is agitated and in motion. The
lion and leopard (one representing Holland, and the other England--
intending to convey the idea that the hero had beaten the armies of both
countries) are between the Marshal and Hercules: the leopard is lying upon
his back--in a very frolicksome attitude. The lion is also not less
abstracted from the general grief of the figures. And this large, ugly,
unmeaning composition--they have the temerity to call the union of art by
Phidias and Bouchardon--with the inspiration of sublime poetry! I will make
no comments.[214] It is one of those _felicitous_ efforts which have the
enviable distinction of carrying its own text and commentary. Below this
vast mural monument, is a vault, containing the body of the Marshal. I
descended into it, and found it well ventilated and dry. The coffin is
immediately obvious: it contains the body of the chieftain enclosed in two
cases--of which the first is _silver_, and the second _copper_. The heart
is, I believe, elsewhere.

Forming a strikingly happy contrast to this huge, unmeaning production--are
the modest and unassuming monuments of _Schoepflin_, _Oberlin_, and _Koch_:
men, of whom Strasbourg has good reason to be proud. Nor let the monument
of old _Sebastian Schmidt_ escape the notice and commendation of the
pensive observer. These were all "fine fellows in their day:" and died,
including the illustrious Marshal, steady in the faith they had espoused--
that is, in the belief and practice of the tenets of the reformed church. I
have no time for a particular description of these monuments. Schoepflin's
consists of a bronze bust of himself placed in the front of a white marble
urn, between two cinnamon-colour columns, of the Corinthian order--of free
stone. The head is thought to be very like. Oberlin's is in better taste.
You see only his profile, by Ohmacht, in white marble--very striking. The
accompaniments are figures in white marble, of which a muse, in rilievo, is
larger than life. The inscriptions, both for Schoepflin and Oberlin, are
short and simple, and therefore appropriate. The monument of Koch is not
less simple. It consists of his bust--about to be crowned with a fillet of
oaken leaves--by a figure representing the city of Strasbourg. Below the
bust is another figure weeping--and holding beneath its arms, a scroll,
upon which the works of the deceased are enumerated. Koch died in his
seventy-sixth year, in the year 1813. Ohmacht is also the sculptor of
Koch's monument. Upon the whole, I am not sure that I have visited any
church, since the cathedral of Rouen, of which the interior is more
interesting, on the score of monuments, than that of St. Thomas at
Strasbourg.

I do not know that it is necessary to say any thing about the old churches
of St. Stephen and St. Martin: except that the former is supposed to be the
most ancient. It was built of stone, and said to be placed upon a spot in
which was a Roman fort--the materials of which served for a portion of the
present building. St. Martin's was erected in 1381 upon a much finer plan
than that of _St. Arbogaste_--which is said to have been built in the
middle of the twelfth century. Among the churches, now no longer _wholly_
appropriated to sacred uses, is that called the _New Temple_--attached to
which is the Public Library. The service in this church is according to the
Protestant persuasion. I say this Church is not _wholly_ devoted to
religious rites: for what was once the _choir_, contains, at bottom, the
BOOKS belonging to the public University; and, at top, those which were
bequeathed to the same establishment by Schoepflin. The general effect--
both from the pavement below, and the gallery above--is absolutely
transporting. Shall I tell you wherefore? This same ancient choir--now
devoted to _printed tomes_--contains some lancet-shaped windows of _stained
glass_ of the most beautiful and exquisite pattern and colours!... such as
made me wholly forget those at _Toul_, and _almost_ those at _St. Owen_.
Even the stained glass of the cathedral, here, was recollected... only to
suffer by the comparison! It should seem that the artist had worked with
alternate dissolutions of amethyst, topaz, ruby, garnet, and emerald. Look
at the first three windows, to the left on entering, about an hour before
sun-set:--they seem to fill the whole place with a preternatural splendor!
The pattern is somewhat of a Persian description, and I should apprehend
the antiquity of the workmanship to be scarcely exceeding three hundred
years. Yet I must be allowed to say, that these exquisitely sparkling, if
not unrivalled, specimens of stained glass, do not belong to a place now
_wholly_ occupied by _books_. Could they not be placed in the chapel of St.
Lawrence, or of St. Catharine, in the cathedral?

As I am now at the close of my account of ecclesiastical edifices--and as
this last church happens to be closely connected with a building of a
different description--namely, The PUBLIC LIBRARY--you will allow me to
_colophonise_ my first Strasbourg epistle with some account of the
_contents_ of this library.

The amiable and excellent younger Schweighæuser, who is head librarian, and
one of the Professors in this Gymnase, was so obliging as to lend me the
key of the library, to which I had access at all hours of the day. The
public hours are from two till four, Sundays excepted. I own that this
accommodation was extremely agreeable and convenient to me. I was under no
restraint, and thus left to my own conscience alone not to abuse the
privilege conceded. That conscience has never given me one "prick" since
the conclusion of my researches.[215]

My researches were usually carried on above stairs, at the table where the
visitors sat. Of the MSS. I did not deem it worth while to take any
particular account; but there was _one_, so choice, so splendid, so
curious, so interesting, and in such an extraordinary state of
preservation, that you may as well know it is called the famous _Hortus
Deliciarum_ of _Herarde, Abbess of Landsberg_. The subjects are
miscellaneous; and most elaborately represented by illuminations. Battles,
sieges, men tumbling from ladders which reach to the sky--conflagrations,
agriculture--devotion, penitence--revenge, murder,--in short, there is
hardly a passion, animating the human breast, but what is represented here.
The figures in armour have _nasals_, and are in quilted mail: and I think
there can be little doubt but that both the text and the decorations are of
the latter end of the twelfth century. It is so perfect in all its parts,
and so rich of its particular description, that it not only well merits the
labour which has been bestowed upon it by its recent editor Mr.
Engleheardt, but it may probably vie with any similar production in
Europe.[216]

However, of other MSS. you will I am sure give me credit for having
examined the celebrated _Depositions in the law-suit between Fust and
Gutemberg_--so intimately connected with the history of early printing, and
so copiously treated upon by recent bibliographers.[217] I own that I
inspected these depositions (in the German language) with no ordinary
curiosity. They are doubtless most precious; yet I cannot help suspecting
that the _character_ or letter is _not_ of the time; namely of 1440. It
should rather seem to be of the sixteenth century. Perhaps at the
commencement of it. These documents are written in a small folio volume, in
one uniform hand--a kind of law-gothic--from beginning to end. The volume
has the following title on the exterior; "_Dicta Testium magni consilij
Anno dni m^o. cccc^o. Tricesimo nono_. The paper is strong and thick, and
has a pair of scales for the water-mark. The younger Schweighæuser thinks
my doubts about its age not well founded; conceiving it to be a coeval
document. But this does not affect its authenticity, as it may have been an
accurate and attested copy--of an original which has now perished.
Certainly the whole book has very much the air of a _Copy_: and besides,
would not the originals have been upon separate rolls of parchment?[218]

I now come to the PRINTED BOOKS: of which, according to the MS. catalogue
by Oberlin, (who was head librarian here) there are not fewer _than four
thousand three hundred, printed before the year 1520_:--and of these,
again, upwards of _eleven hundred without dates_. This, at first hearing,
sounds, what the curious would call, promising; but I must say, that of the
_dated_ and _dateless_ books, printed before the year 1500, which I took
down, and carefully opened--and this number could not be less than four or
five hundred--there was scarcely one in five which repaid the toil of
examination: and this too, with a thermometer frequently standing at
eighty-nine and ninety, in the shade in the open air! Fortunately for my
health, and for the exertion of physical strength, the public library
happened to be very cool--while all the windows were opened, and through
the openings was frequently heard the sound of young voices, practising the
famous _Martin Luther's Hymn_--as it is called. This latter was
particularly grateful to me. I heard the master first sing a stave, and he
was in general accurately followed by his pupils--who displayed the
well-known early tact of Germans in the science of music. But to revert to
the early printed books.

FIRST GERMAN BIBLE; supposed to have been _printed by Mentelin_; without
date: Folio. Towards the latter half of this copy, there are some
interesting embellishments, in outline, in a bistre tint. The invention and
execution of many of them are admirable. Where they are _coloured_, they
lose their proper effect. An illumination, at the beginning of the book of
_Esther_, bears the unequivocal date of 1470: but the edition was certainly
four or five years earlier. This Bible is considered to be the earliest
German version: but it is not so.

LATIN BIBLE, BY MENTELIN: in his second character. This Bible I saw for the
first time; but Panzer is decidedly wrong in saying that the types resemble
the larger ones in Mentelin's _Valerius Maximus_, _Virgil_ and _Terence_:
they may be nearly as tall, but are not so broad and large. From a ms.
note, the 402d leaf appears to be wanting. This copy is a singularly fine
one. It is white, and large, and with rough edges throughout. It is also in
its first binding, of wood.

LATIN BIBLE; _printed by Eggesteyn_. Here are several editions, and a
duplicate of the first--which is printed in the second smallest character
of Eggesteyn.[219] The two copies of this first edition are pretty much
alike for size and condition: but _one_ of them, with handsome
illuminations at the beginning of each volume, has the precious coeval ms.
date of 1468--as represented by the fac-simile of it in _Schoepflin's Vind.
Typog. Tab. V._ Probably the date of the printing might have been at least
a year earlier.

LATIN BIBLE: _printed by Jenson_, 1479. Folio. A fine copy, upon paper. The
first page is illuminated.

To this list of impressions of the SACRED TEXT, may be added a fine copy of
the SCLAVONIAN BIBLE of 1584, folio, with wood cuts, and another of the
HUNGARIAN Bible of 1626, folio: the latter in double columns, with a
crowdedly-printed margin, and an engraved frontispiece.

As to books upon miscellaneous subjects, I shall lay before you, without
any particular order, my notes of the following: Of the _Speculum Morale_
of P. Bellovacensis, here said to be printed by Mentelin in 1476, in double
columns, roman type, folio--there is a copy, in one volume, of tremendously
large dimensions; as fine, clean, and crackling as possible. Also a copy of
the _Speculum Judiciale_ of Durandus, _printed at Strasbourg by Hussner and
Rekenhub_, in 1473, folio. Hussner was a citizen of Strasbourg, and his
associate a priest at Mentz. Here is also a perfect copy of the Latin
PTOLEMY, of the supposed date of 1462, with a fine set of the
copper-plates.

But I must make distinct mention of a _Latin Chronicle, printed by Gotz de
Sletztat_ in 1474, in folio. It is executed in a coarse, large gothic type,
with many capital roman letters. At the end of the alphabetical index of 35
leaves, we read as follows:

    DEO GRATIAS.
    _A tpe ade vsqz ad annos cristi 1474
    Acta et gesta hic suffitienter nuclient
    Sola spes mea. In virginis gracia
    Nicholaus Gotz. De Sletzstat._

The preceding is on the recto; on the reverse of the same leaf is an
account of Inventors of _arts_: no mention is made of that of _printing_.
Then the prologue to the Chronicle, below which is the device of Gotz;[220]
having his name subjoined. The text of the Chronicle concludes at page
CCLXXX--printed numerals--with an account of an event which took place in
the year 1470. But the present copy contains another, and the concluding
leaf--which may be missing in some copies--wherein there is a particular
notice of a splendid event which took place in 1473, between Charles Duke
of Burgundy, and Frederick the Roman Emperor, with Maximilian his Son;
together with divers dukes, earls, and counts attending. The text of this
leaf ends thus;

    _SAVE GAIRT VIVE BVRGVND._

Below, within a circle, "Sixtus quartus." This work is called, in a ms.
prefix, the _Chronicle of Foresius_. I never saw, or heard of, another
copy. The present is fine and sound; and bound in wood, covered with
leather.

Here are two copies of St. _Jerom's Epistles, printed by Schoeffher_ in
1470; of which that below stairs is one of the most magnificent imaginable;
in two folio volumes. Hardly any book can exceed, and few equal it, in size
and condition--unless it be the theological works of ARCHBISHOP ANTONIUS,
_printed by Koeberger_, in 1477, in one enormous folio volume. As a
specimen of Koeberger's press, I am unable at the present moment to mention
any thing which approaches it. I must also notice a copy of the _Speculum
Humanæ Salvationis, printed at Basle, by Richel_, in 1476, folio. It is a
prodigious volume, full of wood cuts, and printed in double columns in a
handsome gothic type. This work seems to be rather a _History of the
Bible_; having ten times the matter of that which belongs to the work with
this title usually prefixed. The copy is in its original wooden binding.

JUNIANUS MAIUS. _De Propriet. Priscor. Verborum, printed at Treviso by
Bernard de Colonia_, 1477, folio. I do not remember to have before seen any
specimen of this printer's type: but what he has done here, is sufficient
to secure for him typographical immortality. This is indeed a glorious
copy--perfectly large paper--of an elegantly printed book, in a neat gothic
type, in double columns. The first letter of the text is charmingly
illuminated. I shall conclude these miscellaneous articles by the notice of
two volumes, in the list of ROMANCES, of exceedingly rare occurrence. These
romances are called _Tyturell_ and _Partzifal_. The author of them was
_Wolfram von Escenbach_. They are each of the date of 1477, in folio. The
Tyturell is printed prose-wise, and the Partzifal in a metrical form.

We now come to the Roman CLASSICS, (for of the Greek there are _few or
none_)--before the year 1500. Let me begin with _Virgil_. Here is
_Mentelin's_ very rare edition; but cropt, scribbled upon, and wanting
several leaves. However, there is a most noble and perfect copy of
Servius's Commentary upon the same poet, _printed by Valdarfer_ in 1471,
folio, and bound in primitive boards. There are two perfect copies of
_Mentelin's_ edition (which is the first) of VALERIUS MAXIMUS, of which one
is wormed and cropt. The _other_ Mentelin copy of the Valerius Maximus,
without the Commentary, is perhaps the largest I ever saw--with the ancient
ms. signatures at the bottom-corners of the leaves. Unluckily, the margins
are rather plentifully charged with ms. memoranda.

Of CICERO, there are of course numerous early editions. I did not see the
_De Officiis_ of 1465, or of 1466, of which Hermann speaks, and to which he
affixes the _novel_ date of 1462:--but I did see the _De Oratore_, printed
by _Vindelin de Spira_ without date; and _such_ a copy I shall probably
never see again! The colour and substance of the paper are yet more
surprising than the size.

It is hardly possible to see a finer copy of the _Scriptores Hist. Augustæ,
printed by P. de Lavagna_ in 1475, folio. It possesses all the legitimate
evidences of pristine condition, and is bound in its first coat of oak.
Here is a very fine copy of the _Plutarchi Vitæ Paralellæ_, printed in the
letter R, in two large folio volumes, bound in wood, covered by vellum of
the sixteenth century. But, if of _any_ book, it is of the first edition of
_Catullus Tibullus et Propertius_, of 1472, folio--that this Library has
just reason to be proud. Here are in fact _two_ copies, equally sound, pure
and large: but in _one_ the _Propertius_ is wanting;[221] in lieu of which,
however, there is the first edition of JUVENAL and PERSIUS by V. de Spira--
in equal purity of condition. The perfect copy has the SYLVÆ of STATIUS
subjoined. It should seem, therefore, that the Juvenal and Persius had
supplied the place of the Propertius and Statius, in one copy. You are well
aware of the extreme rarity of this first edition of Catullus Tibullus et
Propertius.

I now take leave of the _Public Library of Strasbourg_; not however without
mentioning rather an amusing anecdote connected with some of the books just
described; nor without an observation or two upon the present state of the
library. The anecdote is thoroughly bibliographical. After having examined
some of the finer books before mentioned, and especially having dwelt upon
the Latin Bible of Mentelin, and a few copies of the rarer Classics, I
ventured to descant upon the propriety of _parting_ with those for which
there was _no use_, and which, without materially strengthening their own
collection, might, by an advantageous sale, enable them to enrich their
collection by valuable modern books: of which they obviously stood in
_need_. I then proposed so many hundred francs, for such and such volumes.
Messrs. Schweighæuser, jun. Dahler, and several other professors were
standing round me--when I made this proposition. On the conclusion of it,
professor Dahler put his hand upon my shoulder--stooped down--(for I was
sitting the whole time)--and looking half archly, replied thus: "Monsieur
le Bibliographe, vous raisonnez bien: mais--nous conserverons nos anciens
livres." These sturdy conservators were not to be shaken; and none but
_duplicates_ were to be parted with.[222]

The next observation relates to the collection. Never did a collection
stand in greater need of being weeded. There are medical books sufficient
to supply six copies for the library of every castellated mansion along the
Vosges[223]--should any of them ever be repaired and put in order.
Schoepflin's library furnishes many duplicates both in history and
theology; and in _Classics_ they should at least make good their series of
the more important _first Editions_. The want of a perfect _Virgil_ by
_Mentelin_, and the want of a _first Terence_, by the same printer--their
boasted townsman--are reproachful wants. At any rate, they should not let
slip any opportunity of purchasing the first _Ovid, Horace, Ausonius_, and
_Lucretius_. No man is more deeply impressed with a conviction of these
wants, than the present chief librarian, the younger Schweighæuser; but,
unfortunately, the pecuniary means of supplying them are slender indeed. I
find this to be the case wherever I go. The deficiency of funds, for the
completion of libraries, may however be the cry of _other_ countries
besides _France_.

As to booksellers, for the sale of modern works, and for doing, what is
called "a great stroke of business," there is no one to compare with the
house of TREUTTEL and WÜRTZ--of which firm, as you may remember, very
honourable mention was made in one of my latter letters from Paris. Their
friendly attention and hospitable kindness are equal to their high
character as men of business. It was frequently in their shop that I met
with some of the savants of Strasbourg; and among them, the venerable and
amiable LICHTENBERGER, author of that very judicious and pains taking
compilation entitled _Initia Typographica_. I was also introduced to divers
of the learned, whose names I may be pardoned for having forgotten. The
simplicity of character, which here marks almost every man of education, is
not less pleasing than profitable to a traveller who wishes to make himself
acquainted with the literature of the country through which he passes.


[203] _Alsatia Illustrata_, 1751-61, folio, two volumes.

[204] In the middle of the fifteenth century there were not fewer than nine
    principal gates of entrance: and above the walls were built, at equal
    distances, fifty-five towers--surmounted, in turn, by nearly thirty
    towers of observation on the exterior of the walls. But in the
    beginning of the sixteenth century, from the general adoption of
    gunpowder in the art of war, a different system of defence was
    necessarily adopted; and the number of these towers was in consequence
    diminished. At present there are none. They are supplied by bastions
    and redoubts, which answer yet better the purposes of warfare.

[205] This work is entitled "_Notices Historiques, Statistiques et
    Littéraires, sur la Ville de Strasbourg_." 1817, 8vo. A second
    volume, published in 1819, completes it. A more judicious, and, as I
    learn, faithful compilation, respecting the very interesting city of
    which it treats, has not yet been published.

[206] I had before said 530 English feet; but a note in M. Crapelet's
    version (supplied, as I suspect, by my friend M. Schweighæuser,) says,
    that from recent strict trigonometrical measurement, it is 437 French
    feet in height.

[207] The _Robertsau_, about three quarters of a mile from Strasbourg,
    is considered to be the best place for a view of the cathedral. The
    Robertsau is a well peopled and well built suburb. It consists of
    three nearly parallel streets, composed chiefly of houses separated by
    gardens--the whole very much after the English fashion. In short,
    these are the country houses of the wealthier inhabitants of
    Strasbourg; and there are upwards of seventy of them, flanked by
    meadows, orchards, or a fruit or kitchen garden. It derives the name
    of _Robertsau_ from a gentleman of the name of _Robert,_ of the
    ancient family of _Bock_. He first took up his residence there about
    the year 1200, and was father of twenty children. Consult _Hermann_;
    vol. i. p. 209.

[208] "The engineer Specklin, who, in order to complete his MAP of ALSACE,
    traversed the whole chain of the VOSGES, estimates the number of these
    castles at little short of _two hundred_: and pushes the antiquity of
    some of them as far back as the time of the Romans." See _Hermann_;
    vol. i. p. 128, note 20: whose compressed account of a few of these
    castellated mansions is well worth perusal, I add this note, from
    something like a strong persuasion, that, should it meet the eye of
    some enterprising and intelligent English antiquary, it may stimulate
    him--within the waning of two moons from reading it, provided those
    moons be in the months of Spring--to put his equipage in order for a
    leisurely journey along the VOSGES!

[209] This was formerly called the bell of the HOLY GHOST. It was cast in
    1427, by John Gremp of Strasbourg. It cost 1300 florins; and weighs
    eighty quintals;, or 8320 lb.: nearly four tons. It is twenty-two
    French feet in circumference, and requires six men to toll it. In
    regard to the height, I must not be supposed to speak from absolute
    data. Yet I apprehend that its altitude is not much over-rated.
    Grandidier has quite an amusing chapter (p. 241, &c.) upon the
    thirteen bells which are contained in the tower of this cathedral.

[210] It was necessary, on the part of my friend, to obtain the consent of
    the Prefect to make these drawings. A moveable scaffold was
    constructed, which was suspended from the upper parts--and in this
    _nervous_ situation the artist made his copies--of the size of the
    foregoing cuts. The expense of the scaffold, and of making the
    designs, was very inconsiderable indeed. The worthy Prefect, or Mayor,
    was so obliging as to make the scaffold a mere gratuitous affair; six
    francs only being required for the men to drink! [Can I ever forget,
    or think slightly of, such kindness? Never.]

    Cicognara, in his _Storia della Scultura_, 1813, folio, has given but
    a very small portion of the above dance; which was taken from the
    upper part of a neighbouring house. It is consequently less faithful
    and less complete. [In the preceding edition of this work, there are
    not fewer than _eleven_ representations of these Drolleries.]

[211] I think this volume is of the date of 1580. CONRAD DASYPODIUS was
    both the author of the work, and the chief mechanic or artisan
    employed in making the clock--about which he appears to have taken
    several journeys to employ, and to consult with, the most clever
    workmen in Germany. The wheels and movements were made by the two
    HABRECHTS, natives of Schaffhausen.

[212] [The Reader may form some notion of its beauty and elaboration of
    ornament, from the OPPOSITE PLATE: taken from a print published about
    a century and a half ago.]

[213] See Grandidier, p. 177: where the Latin inscription is given. The
    _Ephémérides de l'Académie des Curieux de la Nature_, vol. ii. p.
    400, &c. are quoted by this author--as a contemporaneous authority in
    support of the event above mentioned.

[214] My French translator will have it, that, "this composition, though
    not without its faults, is considered, in the estimation of all
    connoisseurs, as one of the finest funereal monuments which the modern
    chisel has produced." It may be, in the estimation of _some_--but
    certainly of a _very small_ portion of--Connoisseurs of first rate
    merit. Our Chantry would sicken or faint at the sight of such
    allegorical absurdity.

[215] [This avowal has subjected me to the gentle remonstrance of the
    Librarian in question, and to the tart censure of M. Crapelet in
    particular. "Voilà le Reverend M. Dibdin (exclaims the latter) qui se
    croit obligé de déclarer qu'il n'a rien derobé!" And he then quotes,
    apparently with infinite delight, a passage from the _Quarterly
    Review_, (No. LXIII. June 1825) in which I am designated as having
    "extraordinary talents for ridicule!" But how my talents "for
    ridicule" (of which I very honestly declare my unconsciousness) can be
    supposed to bear upon the above "prick of conscience," is a matter
    which I have yet to learn. My amiable friend might have perhaps
    somewhat exceeded the prescribed line of his duty in letting me have
    the key of the Library in question--but, can a declaration of such
    confidence not having been MISPLACED, justify the flippant remarks of
    my Annotator?]

[216] [It is now published in an entire state by the above competent
    Editor.]

[217] See the authorities quoted, and the subject itself handled, in the
    _Bibliographical Decameron_, vol. i. p. 316, &c.

[218] [Here again my sensitive Annotator breaks out into something little
    short of personal abuse, for my DARING to _doubt_ what all the world
    before had held in solemn _belief_! Still, I will continue to doubt;
    without wishing this doubt to be considered as "paroles d'Evangile"--
    as M. Crapelet expresses it.]

[219] Fully described in the _Bibl. Spenceriana_, vol. i. p. 39, with
    a fac-simile of the type.

[220] A fac-simile of this device appears in a Latin Bible, without name of
    printer, particularly described in the _Ædes Althorpianæ_; vol. ii. p.
    41. Hence we learn that the Bible in question, about the printer of
    which there appears to be some uncertainty among bibliographers, was
    absolutely printed by Gotz.

[221] The imperfect copy, being a duplicate, was disposed of for a copy of
    the _Bibl. Spenceriana_; and it is now in the fine library of the
    Rt. Hon. T. Grenville. The very first glance at this copy will shew
    that the above description is not overcharged.

[222] "These Duplicates related to some few articles of minor importance
    belonging to the library of the Public School, and which had escaped a
    former revision. The cession was made with due attention to forms, and
    with every facility." Such (as I have reason to believe) is the remark
    of M. Schweighæuser himself. What follows--evidently by the hand of M.
    Crapelet--is perfectly delicious ... of its kind. "That M. Dibdin
    should have preferred such an indiscreet request to the Librarians in
    question--impelled by his habitual vivacity and love of possessing
    books--is conceivable enough: but, that he should _publish_ such an
    anecdote--that he should delight in telling us of the rudeness which
    he committed in SITTING while the gentlemen about him were STANDING,
    is to affect a very uncommon singularity"!!! [Greek: Ô popoi!]

[223] There are yet libraries, and rare books, in the district. I obtained
    for my friend the Rev. H. Drury, one of the finest copies in England
    of the first edition of _Cicero's Offices_, of 1465, 4to. UPON
    VELLUM--from the collection of a physician living in one of the
    smaller towns near the Vosges. This copy was in its ancient oaken
    attire, and had been formerly in a monastic library. For this
    acquisition my friend was indebted to the kind offices of the
    younger M. Schweighæuser.



_LETTER XIV._

SOCIETY. ENVIRONS OF STRASBOURG. DOMESTIC ARCHITECTURE, MANNERS AND
CUSTOMS. LITERATURE. LANGUAGE.


My last letter, however copious, was almost wholly confined to _views of
interiors_; that is to say, to an account of the Cathedral and of the
Public Library. I shall now continue the narrative with views of interiors
of a different description; with some slight notices of the _society_ and
of the city of Strasbourg; concluding the whole, as well as closing my
Strasbourg despatches, with a summary account of manners, customs, and
literature.

The great _Greek luminary_, not only of this place, but perhaps of
Germany--the ELDER SCHWEIGHÆUSER--happens to be absent. His son tells me
that he is at _Baden_ for the benefit of the waters, and advises me to take
that "enchanting spot" (as he calls it) in my way to Stuttgart. "'Twill be
only a trifling détour." What however will be the _chief_ temptation--as I
frankly told the younger Schweighæuser--would be the society of his Father;
to whom the son has promised a strong letter of introduction. I told you in
my last that I had seen LICHTENBERGER at Treuttel and Würtz's. I have since
called upon the old gentleman; and we immediately commenced a
bibliographical parley. But it was chiefly respecting Lord Spencer's copies
of the _Letters of Indulgence of Pope Nicolas V._ of the date of 1455, that
he made the keenest enquiries. "Was the date legitimate?" I assured him
there could be no doubt of it; and that what Hæberlin had said, followed by
Lambinet, had no reference whatever to his Lordship's copies--for that, in
_them_, the final units were compressed into a V and not extended by five
strokes, thus--_iiiij_. As he was unacquainted with my account of these
copies in the _Bibliotheca Spenceriana_, I was necessarily minute in the
foregoing statement. The worthy old bibliographer was so pleased with this
account, that he lifted up his eyes and hands, and exclaimed, "one grows
old always to learn something."

M. Haffner, who was one of the guests at a splendid, but extremely sociable
dinner party at _Madame Franc's_[224] the principal banker here--is a
pleasing, communicative, open-countenanced, and open-hearted gentleman. He
may be about sixty years of age. I viewed his library with admiration. The
order was excellent; and considering what were his _means_, I could not but
highly compliment him upon his prudence and enthusiasm. This was among the
happiest illustrations of the _Bibliomania_ which I had ever witnessed. The
owner of this well chosen collection shewed me with triumph his copy of the
first Greek Testament by _Erasmus_, and his copies of the same sacred book
by _R. Stephen_ and _Wetstein_, in folio. Here too I saw a body of
philological theology (if I may use this term) headed by _Walchius_ and
_Wolff_, upon the possession of a similar collection of which, my late
neighbour and friend, Dr. Gosset, used to expatiate with delight.

Let me now take you with me out of doors. You love architecture of all
descriptions: but "the olden" is always your "dear delight." In the
construction of the streets of Strasbourg, they generally contrive that the
corner house should _not_ terminate with a right angle. Such a termination
is pretty general throughout Strasbourg. Of the differently, and sometimes
curiously, constructed iron bars in front of the windows, I have also
before made mention. The houses are generally lofty; and the roofs contain
two or three tiers of open windows, garret-fashioned; which gives them a
picturesque appearance; but which, I learn, were constructed as granaries
to hold flour--for the support of the inhabitants, when the city should
sustain a long and rigorous siege. As to _very ancient_ houses, I cannot
charge my memory with having seen any; and the most ancient are those on
the other side of the _Ill_; of which several are near the convent before
mentioned.

The immediate environs of Strasbourg (as I have before remarked) are very
flat and poor, in a picturesque point of view. They consist chiefly of
fields covered with the _tobacco plant_, which resembles that of our
horse-radish; and the trade of tobacco may be considered the staple, as
well as the indigenous, commodity of the place. This trade is at once
extensive and lucrative; and regulated by very wholesome laws. The
outskirts of the town, considered in an architectural point of view, are
also very indifferent.

As to the general character, or rather appearance, of the Strasbourgeois,
it is such as to afford very considerable satisfaction. The manners and
customs of the people are simple and sober. The women, even to the class of
menial servants, go abroad with their hair brushed and platted in rather a
tasteful manner, as we even sometimes observe in the best circles of our
own country. The hair is dressed _à la grecque_, and the head is usually
uncovered: contrary to the broad round hats, and depending queues, of the
women inhabiting the neighbourhood of _Saverne_. But you should know that
the farmers about Strasbourg are generally rich in pocket, and choice and
dainty in the disposition of their daughters--with respect to wedlock. They
will not deign to marry them to bourgeois of the ordinary class. They
consider the blood running in their families' veins to be polluted by such
an intermixture; and accordingly they are oftentimes saucy, and hold their
heads high. Even some of the fair dames coming from the high "countre,"
whom we saw kneeling the other day, in the cathedral, with their rural
attire, would not commute their circular head pieces for the most curiously
braided head of hair in the city of Strasbourg.

The utmost order and decency, both in dress and conduct, prevail in the
streets and at spectacles. There seems to be that sober good sense among
the Strasbourgeois--which forms a happy medium between the gaiety of their
western, and the phlegm of their eastern, neighbours; and while this
general good order obtains, we may forgive "officers for mounting guard in
white silk stockings, or for dancing in boots at an assembly--and young
gentlemen for wearing such scanty skirts to their coats:"--subjects, which
appear to have ruffled the good temper of the recent historian of
Strasbourg.[225] It seems clear that the morals of the community, and
especially of the female part, were greatly benefited by the
Reformation,[226] or establishment of the protestant religion.

In alluding to manners and customs, or social establishments of this place,
you ought to know that some have imagined the origin of _Free-masonry_ may
be traced to Strasbourg; and that the first _lodges_ of that description
were held in this city. The story is this. The cathedral, considered at the
time of its erection as a second _Solomon's temple_, was viewed as the
wonder of the modern world. Its masons, or architects, were the theme of
universal praise. Up rose, in consequence, the cathedrals of _Vienna,
Cologne, Landshut_ and others: and it was resolved that, on the completion
of such stately structures, those, whose mechanical skill had been
instrumental to their erection, should meet in one common bond, and chant
together, periodically, at least their _own_ praises. Their object was to
be considered very much above the common labourer, who wore his apron in
front, and carried his trowel in his hand: on the contrary, _they_ adopted,
as the only emblems worthy of their profession, the level, the square, and
the compass. All the lodges, wherever established, considered that of
Strasbourg as the common parent; and at a meeting held at Ratisbon in 1459,
it was agreed that the ARCHITECT OF STRASBOURG CATHEDRAL should be the
_Grand Master of Free-masons_; and one DOTZINGER of Worms, who had
succeeded Hulz in 1449, (just after the latter, had finished the spire) was
acknowledged to be the FIRST GRAND MASTER. I own my utter ignorance in the
lore of free-masonry; but have thought it worth while to send you these
particulars: as I know you to be very "curious and prying" in antiquarian
researches connected with this subject.

Strasbourg has been always eminent for its literary reputation, from the
time of the two STURMII, or rather from that of GEYLER, downwards. It
boasts of historians, chroniclers, poets, critics, and philologists. At
this present moment the public school, or university, is allowed to be in a
most flourishing condition; and the name of SCHWEIGHÆUSER alone is
sufficient to rest its pretensions to celebrity on the score of _classical_
acumen and learning. While, within these last hundred years, the names of
SCHOEPFLIN, OBERLIN, and KOCH, form a host in the department of
_topography_ and _political economy_.

In _Annals_ and _Chronicles_, perhaps no provincial city in Europe is
richer; while in _old Alsatian poetry_ there is an almost inexhaustible
banquet to feast upon. M. Engelhardt, the brother in law of M.
Schweighæuser junr. is just now busily engaged in giving an account of some
of the ancient love poets, or _Minne-Singers_; and he shewed me the other
day some curious drawings relating to the same, taken from a MS. of the
XIIIth century, in the public library. But Oberlin, in 1786, published an
interesting work "_De Poetis Alsatiæ eroticis medii ævi_"--and more lately
in 1806; M. Arnold in his "_Notice littéraire et historique sur les poëtes
alsaciens_," 1806, 8vo.--enriched by the previous remarks of Schoepflin,
Oberlin, and Frantz--has given a very satisfactory account of the
achievements of the Muses who seem to have inhabited the mountain-tops of
Alsatia--from the ninth to the sixteenth century inclusively. It is a
fertile and an interesting subject. Feign would I, if space and time
allowed, give you an outline of the same; from the religious metres of
_Ottfried_ in the ninth--to the charming and tender touches which are to be
found in the _Hortus deliciarum_[227] of _Herade_ Abbess of Landsberg, in
the twelfth-century: not meaning to pass over, in my progress, the
effusions of philology and poetry which distinguished the rival abbey of
_Hohenbourg_ in the same century. Indeed; not fewer than three Abbesses--
_Rélinde, Herade, and _Edelinde_--cultivated literature at one and the same
time: when, in Arnold's opinion, almost the whole of Europe was plunged in
barbarism and ignorance. Then comes _Günther_, in the fifteenth century;
with several brave geniuses in the intervening period: and, latterly, the
collection of the _Old Troubadour Poetry of Alsace_, by _Roger Maness_--of
which there is a MS. in the Royal Library at Paris; and another (containing
matter of a somewhat later period) in the Public library here; of which
latter not a specimen, as I understand, has seen the light in the form of a
printed text.

In later times, _Brandt, Wimphelin, Locher, Baldus, Pfeffel_, and
_Nicolay_, are enough to establish the cause of good poetry, and the
celebrity of this city in the production of such poets. As to the
_Meister-Sængers_ (or Master-Singers) who composed the strains which they
sang, perhaps the cities of Mentz and Nuremberg may vie with that of
Strasbourg, in the production of this particular class. _Hans Sachs_ of
Nuremberg, formerly a cobler, was considered to be the very _Coryphoeus_
of these Master-Singers. At the age of fourscore he is said to have
composed four thousand three hundred and seventy verses.

A word or two only respecting the language spoken at Strasbourg. From the
relative situation of the town, this language would necessarily be of a
mixed character: that is to say, there would be intermarriages between the
Germans and French--and the offspring of such marriages would necessarily
speak a _patois_. This seems to be generally admitted. The ancient language
of Strasbourg is said to have been the pure dialect of _Suabia_; but, at
present, the dialect of _Saxony_, which is thought to be purer as well as
more fashionable, is carefully taught in the schools of both sexes, and
spoken by all the ministers in the pulpit. Luther wrote in this dialect,
and all protestant preachers make use of it as a matter of course. Yet
Hermann labours to prove how much softer the dialect of High Germany is
than that of High Saxony. There have lately appeared several small
brochures in the _common language_ of the town--such, of course, as is
ordinarily spoken in the shops and streets: and among others, a comedy
called; _Der Pfingst-Montag_, written (says Hermann) with much spirit; but
the author of this latter work has been obliged to mark the pronunciation,
which renders the perusal of it somewhat puzzling. It is also accompanied
with a glossary. But that you, or your friends, may judge for yourselves, I
send you a specimen of the _patois_, or common language spoken in the
street--in the enclosed ballad: which I purchased the other day, for about
a penny of our money, from an old goody, who was standing upon a stool, and
chanting it aloud to an admiring audience. I send you the first four
stanzas.[228]

  Im Namen der allerheiligsten Dreifaltigkeit

  das goldene ABC,

  Neu verfasst für Jedermann, dass er mit Ehr' bestehen kann.

  Alles ist an Gottes Segen,
  Was wir immer thun, gelegen,
  Arbeit aber bleibt doch unsre Pflicht:
  Der Träge hat den segen Gottes nicht.

  Behalt' ein weises Maass in allen Stücken;
  Das Uebertriebne kann dich nicht beglücken.
  Dies Sprichwort trifft in allen Dingen ein:
  Das Gute selbst muss eingeschränket seyn.

  Christ! sey der Rache nicht ergeben,
  Der Zorn verbittert nur das Leben;
  Und wer dem Feinde gern verzeiht,
  Geniesst schon hier der Seligkeit.

  Der wird verachtet von der Welt,
  Der das gegebne Wort nicht hält:
  Drum gieb dein Wort nich leicht von dir;
  Hast du's gethan, so steh' dafür.



  _In the name of the most Holy Trinity._

  THE GOLDEN A B C.

  _Newly set forth to enable every man to stand fast in honour._

  _Howe'er employed, we ev'ry nerve should strain
  On all our works God's blessings to obtain.
  Whilst here on earth to labour we're ordain'd;
  The lazy never yet God's blessing gain'd._

  _In all things strive a medium to procure;
  Redundance never can success insure:
  This proverb will in all things be found true,
  That good itself, should have its limits due.
  Christian! avoid revenge and strife,
  For anger tends to embitter life:
  And he who readily forgives his foe,
  Ev'n here on earth true happiness shall know.

  He who the promise he hath given denies,
  Will find the world most justly him despise;
  Be cautious then how thou a promise make,
  But, having made it, ne'er that promise break_.

DANNBACH is the principal Greek printer of this place; his Greek type
(which I cannot too much commend) is precisely that used in the _Bipont
Thucydydes_ and _Plato_. The principal printers, for works in which the
Greek type is not introduced, is LEVRAULT _Pere et Fils_: and I must say
that, if even a fastidious author, a resident Strasbourgeois,--whose
typographical taste had been formed upon the beautifully executed volumes
of Bodoni, Didot, or Bulmer--chose to publish a fine book, he need not send
it to _Paris_ to be printed; for M. Levrault is both a skilful,
intelligent, and very able printer and publisher. I visited him more than
once. He has a considerable commercial establishment. His shop and
warehouses are large and commodious; and Madame Levrault is both active and
knowing in aiding and abetting the concerns of her husband. I should
consider their house to be a rich one. M. Levrault is also a very fair
typographical antiquary. He talked of Fust and Jenson with earnestness, and
with a knowledge of their productions; and told me that he had, up stairs,
a room full of old books, especially of those printed by _Aldus_--and
begged I would walk up and inspect them. You will give me credit for having
done so readily. But it was a "poor affair,"--for the fastidious taste of
an Englishman. There was literally nothing in the way of temptation; and so
I abstained from tempting the possessor by the offer of napoleons or golden
ducats. We had a long and a very gratifying interview; and I think he
shewed me (not for the purpose of sale) a copy of the famous tract of St.
Austin, called _De Arte prædicandi_, printed by _Fust_ or by _Mentelin_; in
which however, as the copy was imperfect, he was not thoroughly conversant.
They are all proud at Strasbourg of their countryman Mentelin, and of
course yet more so of Gutenberg; although this latter was a native of
Mentz. Mr. Levrault concluded his conversation by urging me, in strong
terms, to visit _Colmar_ ere I crossed the Rhine; as that place abounded
with "DES INCUNABLES TYPOGRAPHIQUES." I told him that it was impossible;
that I had a great deal on my hands to accomplish on the other side of the
Rhine; and that my first great stroke, in the way of BOOK-ACQUISITIONS,
must be struck at _Stuttgart_. M. Levrault seemed surprised--"for truly,"
(added he) "there are no _old_ books there, save in the _Public Library_."
I smiled, and wished him a good day.

Upon the whole, my dear friend, I have taken rather an affection for this
place. All classes of people are civil, kind, and communicative: but my
obligations are due, in a more especial manner, to the younger Mr.
Schweighæuser and to Madame Francs. I have passed several pleasant evenings
with the former, and talked much of the literature of our country with him
and his newly married spouse: a lively, lady-like, and intelligent woman.
She is warm in commendation of the _Mary Stuart_ of Schiller; which, in
reply to a question on my part, she considers to be the most impassioned of
that Dramatist's performances. Of English she knows nothing; but her
husband is well read in Thomson, Akenside, and Pope; and of course is
sufficiently well acquainted with our language. A more amiable and zealous
man, in the discharge of his duties as a teacher of youth, the town of
Strasbourg does not possess. His little memoir of Koch has quite won my
heart.[229]

You have heard me mention the name of OHMACHT, a sculptor. He is much
caressed by the gentry of this place. Madame Francs shewed me what I
consider to be his best performance; a profile, in white marble, of her
late daughter, who died in childbed, in her twenty-first year. It is a
sweet and tender production: executed upon the Greek model--and said to be
a strong resemblance of the deceased. Madame Francs shewed it to me, and
expatiated upon it with tears in her eyes: as she well might--for the
_character_ of the deceased was allowed to have been as attractive as her
countenance.[230] I will candidly confess that, in other respects, I am a
very _qualified_ admirer of the talents of Ohmacht. His head of Oberlin is
good; but it is only a profile. I visited his _Studio_, and saw him busy
upon a colossal head of Luther--in a close-grained, but coarse-tinted,
stone. I liked it as little as I have always liked heads of that celebrated
man. I want to see a resemblance of him in which vulgarity shall be lost in
energy of expression. Never was there a countenance which bespoke greater
intrepidity of heart.

I am hastening to the close of this despatch, and to take leave of this
place. Through the interposition of Messrs. Treuttel and Würtz, I have
hired a respectable servant, or laquais, to accompany me to Vienna, and
back again to Manheim. His name is _Rohfritsch_; and he has twice visited
the Austrian capital in the rear of Napoleon's army,--when he was only in
his sixteenth or seventeenth year--as a page or attendant upon one of the
Generals. He talks the French and German languages with equal fluency. I
asked him if we needed fire arms; at which he smiled--as if wondering at my
simplicity or ignorance. In truth, the question was a little precipitate;
for, the other evening, I saw two or three whiskered Bavarian travellers,
starting hence for Munich, in an open, fourgon-shaped travelling carriage,
with two benches across it: on the front bench sat the two gentlemen,
wrapped round with clokes: on the hinder bench, the servant took his
station--not before he had thrown into the carriage two huge bags of
_florins_, as unconcernedly as if they had been bags of _pebbles_. They
were to travel all night--without sabre, pistol, or carbine, for
protection.

I own this gave me a very favourable opinion of the country I was about to
visit; and on recollecting it, had good reason to acquiesce in the
propriety of the smiles of Rohfritsch. Every thing, therefore, is now
settled: gold ducats and silver florins have been obtained from Madame
Francs; and to morrow we start. My next will be from _Stuttgart_--where a
"deed of note" will, I trust, be accomplished. Fare you well.


[224] [This dinner party is somewhat largely detailed in the preceding
    edition of this work; but it scarcely merits repetition here; the more
    so, since the presiding Hostess is NO MORE!]

[225] _Hermann_; vol. i. p. 154.

[226] _greatly benefited by the Reformation_.]--Among the benefactors
    to the cause of public morality, was the late lamented and ever
    memorable KOCH. Before the year 1536, it should seem, from Koch's
    statement, that even whole streets as well as houses were occupied by
    women of a certain description. After this year, there were only two
    houses of ill fame left. The women, of the description before alluded
    to, used to wear black and white hats, of a sugar-loaf form, over the
    veil which covered their faces; and they were confined strictly to
    this dress by the magistrates. These women were sometimes represented
    in the sculptured figures about the cathedral. Hermann says that there
    may yet be seen, over the door of a house in the _Bickergase_ (one of
    the streets now called _Rue de la fontaine_, which was formerly
    devoted to the residence of women of ill fame) a bas-relief,
    representing two figures, with the following German inscription
    beneath:

      _Diss haus steht in Gottes Hand
      Wird zu deu freud'gen kindern gennant._

    which he translates thus:

      _Cette maison; dans la main de Dieu,
      S'appelle aux enfans bien joyeux_.

    It should seem, therefore, (continues Hermann) that this was one of
    the houses in which a public officer attended, to keep order, prevent
    quarrels, and exact municipal rights. The book, in which the receipt
    of this tax was entered, existed during the time of the Revolution,
    and is thought to be yet in existence. Hermann, vol. i. p. 156.

[227] See p. 401 ante.

[228] For the English metrical version I am indebted to "an old hand at
    these matters."

[229] Since the publication of this Tour, I have received several pleasant
    and thoroughly friendly letters from the above excellent Individual:
    and I could scarcely forgive myself if I omitted this opportunity of
    annexing his autograph:--as a worthy companion to those which have
    preceded it.

    [Autograph: Schweighæuser]

[230] [Madame Francs, whose kind and liberal conduct towards me can never
    be forgotten, has now herself become the subject of a monumental
    effigy. She DIED (as I learn) in the year 1826.]



END OF VOL. II.

       *       *       *       *       *

London: Printed by W. Nicol,
Cleveland-row, St. James's.





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large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



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