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Title: Famous Persons and Places
Author: Willis, N. (Nathaniel) Parker
Language: English
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                      F A M O U S   P E R S O N S


                                  AND


                             P L A C E S .


                                   BY

                   N .   P A R K E R   W I L L I S .



                           N E W   Y O R K :
                  CHARLES SCRIBNER, 145 NASSAU STREET.
                                  1854



       Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1854, by
                           CHARLES SCRIBNER,
in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the United States for the
                     Southern District of New York.


                       TOBITT’S COMBINATION-TYPE,
                            185 William St.


                        PRINTED BY R. CRAIGHEAD
                         63 VESEY STREET, N. Y.



                            P R E F A C E .

For some remarks that should properly introduce much of the contents of
the present volume, the reader is referred to the Preface published with
a previous number of the Series, entitled “Pencillings by the Way.” A
portion of the original “Pencillings” is here given, the size of the
work having compelled an unequal division of it, and the remaining and
smaller part serving to complete another volume, with some additional
sketches of the same character.

The _personal portrayings of distinguished contemporaries_, of which
this volume is mainly composed, will, (as has been abundantly proved in
their previous shapes of publication,) ensure its readableness. It will
have a value, from the same quality, that will increase with time, and
be, also, independent, to a certain degree, of its literary merits.
Sketches of the men of mark of any period are eagerly devoured—more
eagerly as the subjects pass away, and are beyond farther seeing and
describing—the public requiring less that they should be ably done than
that they should be _true to the life_. Correctness, in such pencilling,
is more important than grace in the art. And this I claim to have been
proved for these sketches. In the years that they have been before the
public, _not a single incorrectness_ has ever been proved or even
charged upon them. I sketched what I saw at the time, and, to the best
of my ability, sketched _truly_. With the acrid and persevering warfare
that has been waged upon them by the critics, their _truth_ would have
been invalidated long ago, if flaw or blemish in this shield of their
chief merit could have been found. Expecting vague charges of
incorrectness from the malice of criticism, however, I have accumulated
testimonials that have never yet been called forth—no friend or
acquaintance having ever been estranged or offended by the descriptions
I have ventured to give, and subsequent intimacy or exchange of
courtesies furnishing ample proof, that, to such sharing of my
admiration and opportunities to see more nearly, the world was welcome.

I will add a few remarks, upon somewhat the same point, from a previous
Preface:—

For the living portraitures of the book I have a word to say. That
sketches of the whim of the hour, its manners, fashions, and those
ephemeral trifles, which, slight as they are, constitute in a great
measure its “form and pressure”—that these, and familiar traits of
persons distinguished in our time, are popular and amusing, I have the
most weighty reasons certainly to know. _They sell._ “Are they
innocent?” is the next question. And to this I know no more discreet
answer than that mine have offended nobody but the critics. It has been
said that sketches of contemporary society require little talent, and
belong to an inferior order of literature. Perhaps. Yet they must be
well done to attract notice at all; and if true and graphic, they are
not only excellent material for future biographers, but to all who live
out of the magic circles of fashion and genius, they are more than
amusing—they are instructive. To such persons, living authors, orators,
and statesmen, are as much characters of history, and society in cities
is as much a subject of philosophic curiosity, as if a century had
intervened. The critic who finds these matters “stale and unprofitable,”
lives in the circles described, and the pictures drawn at his elbow lack
to his eye the effect of distance; but the same critic would delight in
a familiar sketch of a supper with “my lord of Leicester” in Elizabeth’s
time, of an evening with Raleigh and Spenser, or perhaps he would be
amused with a description by an eye-witness of Mary Queen of Scots,
riding home to Holyrood with her train of admiring nobles. I have not
named in the same sentence the ever-deplored blank in our knowledge of
Shakspere’s person and manners. What would not a trait by the most
unskilful hand be worth now—if it were nothing but how he gave the
good-morrow to Ben Jonson in Eastcheap?

How far sketches of the living are a breach of courtesy committed by the
author toward the persons described, depends, of course, on the temper
in which they are done. To select a subject for complimentary
description is to pay the most undoubted tribute to celebrity, and, as
far as I have observed, most distinguished persons sympathize with the
public interest in them and their belongings, and are willing to have
their portraits drawn, either with pen or pencil, by as many as offer
them the compliment. It would be ungracious to the admiring world if
they were not.

The outer man is a debtor for the homage paid to the soul which inhabits
him, and he is bound, like a porter at the gate, to satisfy all
reasonable curiosity as to the habits of the nobler and invisible
tenant. He owes his peculiarities to the world.

                 *        *        *        *        *

For myself, I am free to confess that no age interests me like the
present; that no pictures of society since the world began, are half so
entertaining to me as those of English society in our day; and that,
whatever comparison the living great men of England may sustain with
those of other days, there is no doubt in my mind that English social
life, at the present moment, is at a higher pitch of refinement and
cultivation than it was ever here or elsewhere since the world
began—consequently it, and all who form and figure in it, are dignified
and legitimate subjects of curiosity and speculation. The Count Mirabel
and Lady Bellair of D’Israeli’s last romance, are, to my mind, the
cleverest portraits, as well as the most entertaining characters, of
modern novel-writing; and D’Israeli, by the way, is the only English
author who seems to have the power of enlarging his horizon, and getting
a perspective view of the times he lives in. His novels are far more
popular in America than in England, because _the Atlantic is to us a
century_. We picture to ourselves England and Victoria as we picture to
ourselves England and Elizabeth. We relish an anecdote of Sheridan
Knowles as we should one of Ford or Marlowe. This immense ocean between
us is like the distance of time; and while all that is minute and
bewildering is lost to us, the greater lights of the age and the
prominent features of society stand out apart, and we judge of them like
posterity. Much as I have myself lived in England, I have never been
able to remove this long perspective from between my eye and the great
men of whom I read and thought on the other side of the Atlantic. When I
find myself in the same room with the hero of Waterloo, my blood creeps
as if I had seen Cromwell or Marlborough; and I sit down afterward to
describe how he looked, with the eagerness with which I should
communicate to my friends some disinterred description of these renowned
heroes by a contemporary writer. If Cornelius Agrippa were _redivivus_,
in short, and would show me his magic mirror, I should as soon call up
Moore as Dryden—Wordsworth or Wilson as soon as Pope or Crichton.

                    *    *    *    *    *    *    *



                           C O N T E N T S .


                                LETTER I.
                                                                  PAGE
    Immensity of London—Voyage to Leith—Society of the Steam
      Packet—Analogy between Scotch and American manners—Strict
      observance of the Sabbath on board—Edinburgh—Unexpected
      recognition                                                   11

                                LETTER II.
    Edinburgh—A Scotch Breakfast—The Castle—Palace of
      Holyrood—Queen Mary—Rizzio—Charles the Tenth                  17

                               LETTER III.
    Dalhousie Castle—The Earl and Countess—Antiquity of their
      Family                                                        23

                                LETTER IV.
    Sporting and Its Equipments—Roslin Castle and Chapel            28

                                LETTER V.
    “Christopher North”—Mr. Blackwood—The Ettrick
      Shepherd—Lockhart—Noctes
      Ambrosianæ—Wordsworth—Southey—Captain Hamilton and his
      Book on America—Professor Wilson’s Family, etc.               34

                                LETTER VI.
    Lord Jeffrey and his family—Lord Brougham—Count
      Flahault—Politics—The “Grey” Ball—Aberdeen—Gordon Castle      46

                               LETTER VII.
    Gordon Castle—Company There—The Park—Duke of Gordon—Personal
      Beauty of the English Aristocracy                             52

                               LETTER VIII.
    English Breakfast—Salmon Fishery—Lord Aberdeen—Mr.
      McLane—Sporting Establishment of Gordon Castle                59

                                LETTER IX.
    Scotch Hospitality—Immense Possessions of the
      Nobility—Dutchess’ Infant School—Manners of High Life—The
      Tone of Conversation in England and America Contrasted        66

                                LETTER X.
    Departure from Gordon Castle—The Pretender—Scotch Character
      Misapprehended—Observance of Sunday—Highland Chieftains       73

                                LETTER XI.
    Caledonian Canal—Dogs—English Exclusiveness—English
      Insensibility of Fine Scenery—Flora Macdonald and the
      Pretender—Highland Travelling                                 80

                               LETTER XII.
    Invarenden—Tarbot—Cockney Tourists—Loch
      Lomond—Inversnade—Rob Roy’s Cave—Discomfiture—The
      Birthplace of Helen M’Gregor                                  87

                               LETTER XIII.
    Highland Hut, its Furniture and Inmates—Highland Amusement
      and Dinner—“Rob Roy,” and Scenery of the “Lady of the
      Lake”                                                         94

                               LETTER XIV.
    Scottish Stages—Thorough-bred Setter—Scenery—Female
      Peasantry—Mary, Queen of Scots—Stirling Castle               101

                                LETTER XV.
    Scotch Scenery—A Race—Cheapness of Lodgings in
      Edinburgh—Abbottsford—Scott—Lord Dalhousie—Thomas
      Moore—Jane Porter—The Grave of Scott                         108

                               LETTER XVI.
    Border Scenery—Coachmanship—English Country-seats—Their
      Exquisite Comfort—Old Customs in High Preservation—Pride
      and Stateliness of the Lancashire Gentry—Their Contempt
      for Parvenues                                                118

                               LETTER XVII.
    English Cordiality and Hospitality, and the Feelings
      awakened by it—Liverpool—Uncomfortable Coffee-house
      there—Travelling Americans—New York Packets—The
      Railway—Manchester                                           125

    SECOND VISIT TO ENGLAND                                        132

    EGLINTON TOURNAMENT                                            188

    TALKS OVER TRAVEL                                              217

    The Streets of London                                          229

    London                                                         235

    London                                                         241

    London                                                         247

    London                                                         254

    Isle of Wight—Ryde                                             259

    Comparison of the Climate of Europe and America                265

    Stratford-on-Avon                                              271

    Visit to Stratford-on-Avon—Shakspere                           280

    Charlecote                                                     291

    Warwick Castle                                                 294

    Kenilworth                                                     297

    A Visit to Dublin about the time of the Queen’s Marriage       305

    Closing Scenes of the Session at Washington                    313

    The Inauguration                                               319

    Washington in the Session                                      324

    Washington after the Session                                   335


                        ARTICLES FROM THE JOURNAL.


            LETTERS FROM ENGLAND AND THE CONTINENT IN 1845–’46

                                LETTER I.
    What the Writer has seen of this World for twenty-four
      days—The Passengers of the Britannia—The Difference
      Between the American and English Custom-house Officers—The
      Working Classes—Female Dress—Bustles—Writing against the
      Doctor’s Orders, etc.                                        345

                                LETTER II.
    London                                                         349

                               LETTER III.
    S—— Vicarage                                                   354

    LETTER IV.                                                     359

    LETTER V.                                                      362

    LETTER VI.                                                     364

    LETTER VII.                                                    368

    LETTER VIII.                                                   374

    LETTER IX.                                                     378

    LETTER X.                                                      385

                                LETTER XI.
    To any Lady Subscriber who may wish for Gleanings from that
      first Concert of Jenny Lind which the Critics of the Daily
      Papers have so well harvested                                392

                               LETTER XII.
    To the Lady-Subscriber in the Country                          399

                               LETTER XIII.
    To the Lady-Subscriber in the Country                          407

                          THE REQUESTED LETTER.
    To the Lady-reader in the Country                              412

                        NATURE CRITICISED BY ART.
    Jenny Lind’s Propitiatory Acceptance of one Invitation from
      New York Fashionable Society—The History of the Day of
      which it was the Evening—Her Martyrdom by Charity-Seekers
      and other Wanters of Money and Gratifiers of their own
      Impertinent Curiosity—The Criticism of her Manners at the
      Party, as given in the “Courrier des Etats Unis”—A
      Counter-picture of her Conversation and
      Appearance—Singular Accidental “Tableau Vivant,” &c., &c.    417

    JENNY LIND                                                     429

                             THE KOSSUTH DAY.
    The Magyar and the Aztec, or the Two Extremes of Human
      Development                                                  433

    Near View of Kossuth                                           443

    DEATH OF LADY BLESSINGTON                                      454

    MOORE AND BARRY CORNWALL                                       463

    JANE PORTER, AUTHORESS OF “SCOTTISH CHIEFS,” “THADDEUS OF
      WARSAW,” ETC.; ETC.                                          471

    OLE BULL’S NIAGARA                                             484

    DR. LARDNER’S LECTURE                                          489



                       FAMOUS PERSONS AND PLACES



                               LETTER I.


   IMMENSITY OF LONDON—VOYAGE TO LEITH—SOCIETY OF THE STEAM PACKET
     —ANALOGY BETWEEN SCOTCH AND AMERICAN MANNERS—STRICT OBSERVANCE
     OF THE SABBATH ON BOARD—EDINBURGH—UNEXPECTED RECOGNITION.

Almost giddy with the many pleasures and occupations of London, I had
outstayed the last fashionable lingerer; and, appearing again, after a
fortnight’s confinement with the epidemic of the season, I found myself
almost without an acquaintance, and was driven to follow the world. A
preponderance of letters and friends determined my route toward
Scotland.

One realizes the immensity of London when he is compelled to measure its
length on a single errand. I took a cab at my lodgings at nine in the
evening, and drove six miles through one succession of crowded and
blazing streets to the East India Docks, and with the single misfortune
of being robbed, on the way, of a valuable cloak, secured a berth in the
Monarch steamer, bound presently for Edinburgh.

I found the drawing-room cabin quite crowded, cold supper on the two
long tables, every body very busy with knife and fork, and
whiskey-and-water and broad Scotch circulating merrily. All the world
seemed acquainted, and each man talked to his neighbor, and it was as
unlike a ship’s company of dumb English as could easily be conceived. I
had dined too late to attack the solids, but imitating my neighbor’s
potation of whiskey and hot water, I crowded in between two good-humored
Scotchmen, and took the happy color of the spirits of the company. A
small centre-table was occupied by a party who afforded considerable
amusement. An excessively fat old woman, with a tall scraggy daughter
and a stubby little old fellow, whom they called “pa;” and a singular
man, a Major Somebody, who seemed showing them up, composed the
quartette. Noisier women I never saw, nor more hideous. They bullied the
waiter, were facetious with the steward, and talked down all the united
buzz of the cabin. Opposite me sat a pale, severe-looking Scotchman, who
had addressed one or two remarks to me; and, upon an uncommon burst of
uproariousness, he laughed with the rest, and remarked that the ladies
were excusable, for they were doubtless Americans, and knew no better.

“It strikes me,” said I, “that both in manners and accent they are
particularly Scotch.”

“Sir!” said the pale gentleman.

“Sir!” said several of my neighbors on the right and left.

“Have you ever been in Scotland?” asked the pale gentleman, with rather
a ferocious air.

“No, sir! Have you ever been in America?”

“No, sir! but I have read Mrs. Trollope.”

“And I have read Cyril Thornton; and the manners delineated in Mrs.
Trollope, I must say, are rather elegant in comparison.”

I particularized the descriptions I alluded to, which will occur
immediately to those who have read the novel I have named; and then
confessing I was an American, and withdrawing my illiberal remark, which
I had only made to show the gentleman the injustice and absurdity of his
own, we called for another tass of whiskey, and became very good
friends. Heaven knows I have no prejudice against the Scotch, or any
other nation—but it is extraordinary how universal the feeling seems to
be against America. A half hour incog. in any mixed company in England I
should think would satisfy the most rose-colored doubter on the subject.

We got under way at eleven o’clock, and the passengers turned in. The
next morning was Sunday. It was fortunately of a “Sabbath stillness;”
and the open sea through which we were driving, with an easy south wind
in our favor, graciously permitted us to do honor to as substantial a
breakfast as ever was set before a traveller, even in America. (Why _we_
should be ridiculed for our breakfasts I do not know.)

The “Monarch” is a superb boat, and, with the aid of sails and a wind
right aft, we made twelve miles in the hour easily. I was pleased to see
an observance of the Sabbath which had not crossed my path before in
three years’ travel. Half the passengers at least took their Bibles
after breakfast, and devoted an hour or two evidently to grave religious
reading and reflection. With this exception, I have not seen a person
with the Bible in his hand, in travelling over half the world.

The weather continued fine, and smooth water tempted us up to breakfast
again on Monday. The wash-room was full of half-clad men, but the
week-day manners of the passengers were perceptibly gayer. The captain
honored us by taking the head of the table, which he had not done on the
day previous, and his appearance was hailed by three general cheers.
When the meats were removed, a gentleman rose, and, after a very long
and parliamentary speech, proposed the health of the captain. The
company stood up, ladies and all, and it was drank with a tremendous
“hip-hip-hurrah,” in bumpers of whiskey. They don’t do that on the
Mississippi, I reckon. If they did, the travellers would be down upon
us, “I guess,” out-Hamiltoning Hamilton.

We rounded St. Abb’s head into the Forth, at five, in the afternoon, and
soon dropped anchor off Leith. The view of Edinburgh, from the water,
is, I think, second only to that of Constantinople. The singular
resemblance, in one or two features, to the view of Athens, as you
approach from the Piræus, seems to have struck other eyes than mine, and
an imitation Acropolis is commenced on the Calton Hill, and has already,
in its half finished state, much the effect of the Parthenon. Hymettus
is rather loftier than the Pentland-hills, and Pentelicus farther off
and grander than Arthur’s seat, but the old castle of Edinburgh is a
noble and peculiar feature of its own, and soars up against the sky,
with its pinnacle-placed turrets, superbly magnificent. The Forth has a
high shore on either side, and, with the island of Inchkeith in its
broad bosom, it looks more like a lake than an arm of the sea.

It is odd what strange links of acquaintance will develop between people
thrown together in the most casual manner, and in the most
out-of-the-way places. I have never entered a steamboat in my life
without finding, if not an acquaintance, some one who should have been
an acquaintance from mutual knowledge of friends. I thought, through the
first day, that the Monarch would be an exception. On the second
morning, however, a gentleman came up and called me by name. He was an
American, and had seen me in Boston. Soon after, another gentleman
addressed some remark to me, and, in a few minutes, we discovered that
we were members of the same club in London, and bound to the same
hospitable roof in Scotland. We went on, talking together, and I
happened to mention having lately been in Greece, when one of a large
party of ladies, overhearing the remark, turned, and asked me if I had
met Lady —— in my travels. I had met her at Athens, and this was her
sister. I found I had many interesting particulars of the delightful
person in question, which were new to them, and, _sequitur_, a
friendship struck up immediately between me and a party of six. You
would have never dreamed, to have seen the adieux on the landing, that
we had been unaware of each other’s existence forty-four hours previous.

Leith is a mile or more from the town, and we drove into the new side of
Edinburgh—a splendid city of stone—and, with my English friend, I was
soon installed in a comfortable parlor at Douglass’s—an hotel to which
the Tremont, in Boston, is the only parallel. It is built of the same
stone and is smaller, but it has a better situation than the Tremont,
standing in a magnificent square, with a column and statue to Lord
Melville in the centre, and a perspective of a noble street stretching
through the city from the opposite side.

We dined upon _grouse_, to begin Scotland fairly, and nailed down our
sherry with a tass of Glenlivet, and then we had still an hour of
daylight for a ramble.



                               LETTER II.


   EDINBURGH—A SCOTCH BREAKFAST—THE CASTLE—PALACE OF HOLYROOD—
     QUEEN MARY—RIZZIO—CHARLES THE TENTH.

It is an old place, Edinboro’. The old town and the new are separated by
a broad and deep ravine, planted with trees and shrubbery; and across
this, on a level with the streets on either side, stretches a bridge of
a most giddy height, without which all communication would apparently be
cut off. “Auld Reekie” itself looks built on the back-bone of a ridgy
crag, and towers along on the opposite side of the ravine, running up
its twelve-story houses to the sky in an ascending curve, till it
terminates in the frowning and battlemented castle, whose base is
literally on a mountain top in the midst of the city. At the foot of
this ridge, in the lap of the valley, lies Holyrood-house; and between
this and the castle runs a single street, part of which is the old
Canongate. Princes street, the Broadway of the new town, is built along
the opposite edge of the ravine facing the long, many-windowed walls of
the Canongate, and from every part of Edinboro’ these singular features
are conspicuously visible. A more striking contrast than exists between
these two parts of the same city could hardly be imagined. On one side a
succession of splendid squares, elegant granite houses, broad and
well-paved streets, columns, statues, and clean sidewalks, thinly
promenaded and by the well-dressed exclusively—a kind of wholly grand
and half deserted city, which has been built too ambitiously for its
population—and on the other, an antique wilderness of streets and
“wynds,” so narrow and lofty as to shut out much of the light of heaven;
a thronging, busy, and particularly dirty population, sidewalks almost
impassable from children and other respected nuisances; and altogether,
between the irregular and massive architecture, and the unintelligible
jargon agonizing the air about you, a most outlandish and strange city.
Paris is not more unlike Constantinople than one side of Edinboro’ is
unlike the other. Nature has probably placed “a great gulf” between
them.

We toiled up the castle to see the sunset. Oh, but it was beautiful! I
have no idea of describing it; but Edinboro’, to me, will be a picture
seen through an atmosphere of powdered gold, mellow as an eve on the
Campagna. We looked down on the surging sea of architecture below us,
and whether it was the wavy cloudiness of a myriad of reeking chimneys,
or whether it was a fancy Glenlivet-born in my eye, the city seemed to
me like a troop of war-horses, rearing into the air with their gallant
riders. The singular boldness of the hills on which it is built, and of
the crags and mountains which look down upon it, and the impressive
_lift_ of its towering architecture into the sky, gave it altogether a
look of pride and war-likeness that answers peculiarly well to the
chivalric history of Scotland. And so much for the first look at “Auld
Reekie.”

My friend had determined to have what he called a “flare-up” of a Scotch
breakfast, and we were set down, the morning after our arrival, at nine,
to cold grouse, salmon, cold beef, marmalade, jellies, honey, five kinds
of bread, oatmeal cakes, coffee, tea, and toast; and I am by no means
sure that that is all. It is a fine country in which one gets so much by
the simple order of “breakfast at nine.”

We parted after having achieved it, my companion going before me to
Dumbartonshire; and, with a “wee callant” for a guide, I took my way to
Holyrood.

At the very foot of Edinboro’ stands this most interesting of royal
palaces—a fine old pile, though at the first view rather disappointing.
It might have been in the sky, which was dun and cold, or it might have
been in the melancholy story most prominent in its history, but it
oppressed me with its gloom. A rosy cicerone in petticoats stepped out
from the porter’s lodge, and rather brightened my mood with her smile
and courtesy, and I followed on to the chapel royal, built, Heaven knows
when, but in a beautiful state of gothic ruin. The girl went on with her
knitting and her well-drilled recitation of the sights upon which those
old fretted and stone traceries had let in the light; and I walked about
feeding my eyes upon its hoar and touching beauty, listening little till
she came to the high altar, and in the same broad Scotch monotony, and
with her eyes still upon her work, hurried over something about Mary
Queen of Scots. She was married to Darnley on the spot where I stood!
The mechanical guide was accustomed evidently to an interruption here,
and stood still a minute or two to give my surprise the usual grace.
Poor, poor Mary! I had the common feeling, and made probably the same
ejaculation that thousands have made on the spot, that I had never
before realized the melancholy romance of her life half so nearly. It
had been the sadness of an hour before—a feeling laid aside with the
book that recorded it—now it was, as it were, a pity and a grief for
the living, and I felt struck with it as if it had happened yesterday.
If Rizzio’s harp had sounded from her chamber, it could not have seemed
more tangibly a scene of living story.

“And through this door they dragged the murdered favorite; and here
under this stone, he was buried!”

“Yes, sir.”

“Poor Rizzio!”

“I’m thinkin’ that’s a’, sir!”

It was a broad hint, but I took another turn down the nave of the old
ruin, and another look at the scene of the murder, and the grave of the
victim.

“And this door communicated with Mary’s apartments!”

“Yes—ye hae it a’ the noo!”

I paid my shilling, and exit.

On inquiry for the private apartments, I was directed to another Girzy,
who took me up to a suite of rooms appropriated to the use of the Earl
of Breadalbane, and furnished very much like lodgings for a guinea a
week in London.

“And which was Queen Mary’s chamber?”

“Ech! sir! It’s t’ither side. I dinna show that.”

“And what am I brought here for?”

“Ye cam’ yoursell!”

With this wholesome truth, I paid my shilling again, and was handed over
to another woman, who took me into a large hall containing portraits of
Robert Bruce, Baliol, Macbeth, Queen Mary, and some forty other men and
women famous in Scotch story; and nothing is clearer than that one
patient person sat to the painter for the whole. After “doing” these, I
was led with extreme deliberativeness through a suite of unfurnished
rooms, twelve, I think, the only interest of which was their having been
tenanted of late by the royal exile of France. As if anybody would give
a shilling to see where Charles the Tenth slept and breakfasted!

I thanked Heaven that I stumbled next upon the right person, and was
introduced into an ill-lighted room, with one deep window looking upon
the court, and a fireplace like that of a country inn—the state chamber
of the unfortunate Mary. Here was a chair she embroidered—there was a
seat of tarnished velvet, where she sat in state with Darnley—the very
grate in the chimney that she had sat before—the mirror in which her
fairest face had been imaged—the table at which she had worked—the
walls on which her eyes had rested in her gay and her melancholy
hours—all, save the touch and mould of time, as she lived in it and
left it. It was a place for a thousand thoughts.

The woman led on. We entered another room—her chamber. A small, low
bed, with tattered hangings of red and figured silk, tall, ill-shapen
posts, and altogether a paltry look, stood in a room of irregular shape;
and here, in all her peerless beauty, she had slept. A small cabinet, a
closet merely, opened on the right, and in this she was supping with
Rizzio when he was plucked from her and murdered. We went back to the
audience chamber to see the stain of his blood on the floor. She
partitioned it off after his death, not bearing to look upon it.
Again—“poor Mary!”

On the opposite side was a similar closet, which served as her dressing
room, and the small mirror, scarce larger than your hand, which she used
at her toilet. Oh for a magic wand, to wave back, upon that senseless
surface, the visions of beauty it has reflected!



                              LETTER III.


   DALHOUSIE CASTLE—THE EARL AND COUNTESS—ANTIQUITY OF THEIR
     FAMILY.

Edinboro’ has extended to “St. Leonard’s,” and the home of Jeanie Deans
is now the commencement of the railway! How sadly is romance ridden over
by the march of intellect!

With twenty-four persons and some climbers behind, I was drawn ten miles
in the hour by a single horse upon the Dalkeith railroad, and landed
within a mile of Dalhousie Castle. Two “wee callants” here undertook my
portmanteau, and in ten minutes more I was at the rustic lodge in the
park, the gate of which swung hospitably open with the welcome
announcement that I was expected. An avenue of near three quarters of a
mile of firs, cedars, laburnums, and larches, wound through the park to
the castle; and dipping over the edge of a deep and wild dell, I found
the venerable old pile below me, its round towers and battlemented
turrets frowning among the trees, and forming with the river, which
swept round its base, one of the finest specimens imaginable of the
feudal picturesque.[1] The nicely-gravelled terraces, as I approached,
the plate-glass windows and rich curtains, diminished somewhat of the
romance; but I am not free to say that the promise they gave of the
luxury within did not offer a succedaneum.

I was met at the threshold by the castle’s noble and distinguished
master, and as the light modern gothic door swung open on its noiseless
hinges, I looked up at the rude armorial scutcheon above, and at the
slits for the port-cullis chains and the rough hollows in the walls
which had served for its rest, and it seemed to me that the kind and
polished earl, in his velvet cap, and the modern door on its patent
hinges, were pleasant substitutes even for a raised drawbridge and a
helmeted knight. I beg pardon of the romantic, if this be treason
against Della Crusca.

The gong had sounded its first summons to dinner, and I went immediately
to my room to achieve my toilet. I found myself in the south wing, with
a glorious view up the valley of the Esk, and comforts about me such as
are only found in a private chamber in England. The nicely-fitted
carpet, the heavy curtains, the well-appointed dressing-table, the
patent grate and its blazing fire (for where is a fire not welcome in
Scotland?) the tapestry, the books, the boundless bed, the bell that
_will_ ring, and the servants that anticipate the pull——oh, you should
have pined for comfort in France and Italy to know what this catalogue
is worth.

After dinner, Lady Dalhousie, who is much of an invalid, mounted a small
poney to show me the grounds. We took a winding path away from the door,
and descended at once into the romantic dell over which the castle
towers. It is naturally a most wild and precipitous glen, through which
the rapid Esk pursues its way almost in darkness; but, leaving only the
steep and rocky shelves leaning over the river with their crown of
pines, the successive lords of Dalhousie have cultivated the banks and
hills around for a park and a paradise. The smooth gravel walks cross
and interweave, the smoother lawns sink and swell with their green
bosoms, the stream dashes on murmuring below, and the lofty trees shadow
and overhang all. At one extremity of the grounds are a flower and a
fruit garden, and beyond it the castle farm; at the other, a little
village of the family dependants, with their rose-imbowered cottages;
and, as far as you would ramble in a day, extend the woods and glades,
and hares leap across your path, and pheasants and partridges whirr up
as you approach, and you may fatigue yourself in a scene that is formed
in every feature from the gentle-born and the refined. The labor and the
taste of successive generations can alone create such an Eden.
Primogeniture! I half forgive thee.

The various views of the castle from the bottom of the dell are
perfectly beautiful. With all its internal refinement, it is still the
warlike fortress at a little distance, and bartizan and battlement bring
boldly back the days when Bruce was at Hawthornden (six miles distant,)
and Lord Dalhousie’s ancestor, the knightly Sir Alexander Ramsay,
defended the ford of the Esk, and made himself a man in Scottish story
in the days of Wallace and the Douglasses. Dalhousie was besieged by
Edward the first and by John of Gaunt, among others, and being the
nearest of a chain of castles from the Esk to the Pentland Hills, it was
the scene of some pretty fighting in most of the wars of Scotland.

Lord Dalhousie showed me a singular old bridle-bit, the history of which
is thus told in Scott’s Tales of a Grandfather:

    “Sir Alexander Ramsay having taken by storm the strong castle of
    Roxburgh, the king bestowed on him the office of sheriff of the
    county, which was before engaged by the knight of Liddesdale. As
    this was placing another person in his room, the knight of
    Liddesdale altogether forgot his old friendship for Ramsay, and
    resolved to put him to death. He came suddenly upon him with a
    strong party of men while he was administering justice at
    Harwick. Ramsay, having no suspicion of injury from the hands of
    his old comrade, and having few men with him, was easily
    overpowered; and, being wounded, was hurried away to the lonely
    castle of the Hermitage, which stands in the middle of the
    morasses of Liddesdale. Here he was thrown into a dungeon (with
    his horse) where he had no other sustenance than some grain
    which fell down from a granary above; and, after lingering
    awhile in that dreadful condition, the brave Sir Alexander
    Ramsay died. This was in 1412. Nearly four hundred and fifty
    years afterward, that is, about forty years ago, a mason,
    digging among the ruins of Hermitage Castle, broke into a
    dungeon, where lay a quantity of chaff, some human bones and a
    bridle-bit, which were supposed to mark the vault as the place
    of Ramsay’s death. The bridle-bit was given to grandpapa, who
    presented it to the present gallant earl of Dalhousie, a brave
    soldier, like his ancestor, Sir Alexander Ramsay, from whom he
    is lineally descended.”

There is another singular story connected with the family which escaped
Sir Walter, and which has never appeared in print. Lady Dalhousie is of
the ancient family of Coulston, one of the ancestors of which, Brown of
Coulston, married the daughter of the famous Warlock of Gifford,
described in Marmion. As they were proceeding to the church, the wizard
lord stopped the bridal procession beneath a pear-tree, and plucking one
of the pears, he gave it to his daughter, telling her that he had no
dowry to give her, but that as long as she kept that gift, good fortune
would never desert her or her descendants. This was in 1270, and the
pear is still preserved in a silver box. About two centuries ago, a
maiden lady of the family chose to try her teeth upon it, and very soon
after two of the best farms of the estate were lost in some
litigation—the only misfortune that has befallen the inheritance of the
Coulstons in six centuries—thanks (perhaps) to the _Warlock pear_!

-----

[1] “The castle of Dalhousie upon the South-Esk, is a strong and large
castle, with a large wall of aslure work going round about the same,
with a tower upon ilk corner thereof.”—_Grose’s Antiquities._



                               LETTER IV.


   SPORTING AND ITS EQUIPMENTS—ROSLIN CASTLE AND CHAPEL.

The nominal attraction of Scotland, particularly at this season, is the
shooting. Immediately on your arrival, you are asked whether you prefer
a flint or a percussion lock, and (supposing that you do _not_ travel
with a gun, which all Englishmen _do_,) a double-barrelled Manton is
appropriated to your use, the game-keeper fills your powder and
shot-pouches, and waits with the dogs in a leash till you have done your
breakfast; and the ladies leave the table, wishing you a good day’s
sport, all as matters of course.

I would rather have gone to the library. An aversion to walking, except
upon smooth flag stones, a poetical tenderness on the subject of
“putting birds out of misery,” as the last office is elegantly called,
and hands much more at home with a goose-quill than a gun, were some of
my private objections to the “order of the day.” Between persuasion and
a most truant sunshine, I was overruled, however; and, with a silent
prayer that I might not destroy the hopes of my noble host, by shooting
his only son, who was to be my companion and instructor, I shouldered
the proffered Manton and joined the game-keeper in the park.

Lord Ramsay and his man looked at me with some astonishment as I
approached, and I was equally surprised at the young nobleman’s
metamorphosis. From the elegant Oxonian I had seen at breakfast, he was
transformed to a figure something rougher than his highland dependant,
in a woollen shooting-jacket, that might have been cut in Kentucky,
pockets of any number and capacity, trousers of the coarsest plaid,
hob-nailed shoes, and leather gaiters, and a manner of handling his gun
that would have been respected on the Mississippi. My own appearance in
high-heeled French boots and other corresponding geer for a tramp over
stubble and marsh, amused them equally; but my wardrobe was exclusively
metropolitan, and there was no alternative.

The dogs were loosed from their leash and bounded away, and crossing the
Esk under the castle walls, we found our way out of the park, and took
to the open fields. A large patch of stubble was our first ground, and
with a “hie away!” from the gamekeeper, the beautiful setters darted on
before, their tails busy with delight and their noses to the ground,
first dividing, each for a wall side, and beating along till they met,
and then scouring toward the centre, as regularly as if every step were
guided by human reason. Suddenly they both dropped low into the stubble,
and with heads eagerly bent forward and the intensest gaze upon a spot,
a yard or more in advance, stood as motionless as stone. “A covey, my
lord!” said the game-keeper, and, with our guns cocked, we advanced to
the dogs, who had crouched, and lay as still, while we passed them, as
if their lives depended upon our shot. Another step, and whirr! whirr! a
dozen partridges started up from the furrow, and while Lord Ramsay cried
“Now!” and reserved his fire to give me the opportunity, I stood stock
still in my surprise, and the whole covey disappeared over the wall. My
friend laughed, the game-keeper smiled, and the dogs hied on once more.

I mended my shooting in the course of the morning, but it was both
exciting and hard work. A heavy shower soaked us through, without
extracting the slightest notice from my companion; and on we trudged
through peas, beans, turnips, and corn, mudded to the knees and smoking
with moisture, excessively to the astonishment, I doubt not, of the
productions of Monsieur Clerx, of the Rue Vivienne, which were reduced
to the consistency of brown paper, and those of my London tailor, which
were equally entitled to some surprise at the use they were put to. It
was quite beautiful, however, to see the ardor and training of the dogs;
their caution, their obedience, and their perfect understanding of every
motion of their master. I found myself interested quite beyond fatigue,
and it was only when we jumped the park paling and took it once more
leisurely down the gravel walks, that I realized at what an expense of
mud, water, and weariness, my day’s sport had been purchased. _Mem._
Never to come to Scotland again without hob-nailed shoes and a
shooting-jacket.

                 *        *        *        *        *

Rode over to Roslin castle. The country between Dalhousie castle and
Roslin, including the village of Lasswade, is of uncommon loveliness.
Lasswade itself clings to the two sides of a small valley, with its
village church buried in trees, and the country seat of Lord Melvill
looking down upon it, from its green woods; and away over the shoulder
of the hill, swell the forests and rocks which imbosom Hawthornden (the
residence of Drummond, the poet, in the days of Ben Jonson,) and the
Pentland Hills, with their bold outline, form a background that
completes the picture.

We left our horses at the neighboring inn, and walked first to Roslin
chapel. This little gem of florid architecture is scarcely a ruin, so
perfect are its arches and pillars, its fretted cornices and its painted
windows. A whimsical booby undertook the cicerone, with a long cane-pole
to point out the beauties. We entered the low side door, whose stone
threshold the feet of Cromwell’s church stabled troopers assisted to
wear, and walked at once to a singular column of twisted marble, most
curiously carved, standing under the choir. Our friend with the
cane-pole, who had condescended to familiar Scotch on the way, took his
distance from the base, and drawing up his feet like a soldier on drill,
assumed a most extraordinary elevation of voice, and recited its history
in a declamation of which I could only comprehend the words “A_w_braham
and Isaac.” I saw by the direction of the pole that there was a bas
relief of the Father of the Faithful, done on the capital—but for the
rest I was indebted to Lord Ramsay, who did it into English as follows:
“The master-mason of this chapel, meeting with some difficulties in the
execution of his design, found it necessary to go to Rome for
information, during which time his apprentice carried on the work, and
even executed some parts concerning which his master had been most
doubtful; particularly this fine fluted column, ornamented with wreaths
of foliage and flowers twisting spirally round it. The master on his
return, stung with envy at this proof of the superior abilities of his
apprentice, slew him by a blow of his hammer.”

The whole interior of the chapel is excessively rich. The roof,
capitals, key-stones, and architraves, are covered with sculptures. On
the architrave joining the apprentice’s pillar to a smaller one, is
graved the sententious inscription, “_Forte est vinum, fortior est rex,
fortiores sunt mulieres; super omnia vincit veritas._” It has been built
about four hundred years, and is, I am told, the most perfect thing of
its kind in Scotland.

The ruins of Roslin castle are a few minutes’ walk beyond. They stand on
a kind of island rock, in the midst of one of the wildest glens of
Scotland, separated from the hill nearest to the base by a drawbridge,
swung over a tremendous chasm. I have seen nothing so absolutely
picturesque in my travels. The North Esk runs its dark course, unseen,
in the ravine below; the rocks on every side frown down upon it in black
shadows, the woods are tangled and apparently pathless, and were it not
for a most undeniable two-story farm house, built directly in the court
of the old castle, you might convince yourself that foot had never
approached it since the days of Wallace.

The fortress was built by William St. Clair, of whom Grose writes: “He
kept a great court, and was royally served at his own table in vessels
of gold and silver; Lord Dirleton being his master-household; Lord
Borthwick his cup-bearer, and Lord Fleming his carver; in whose absence
they had deputies to attend, viz: Stewart, Laird of Drumlanrig; Tweddie,
Laird of Drumerline, and Sandilands, Laird of Calder. He had his halls
and other apartments richly adorned with embroidered hangings. He
flourished in the reigns of James the First and Second. His princess,
Elizabeth Douglas, was served by seventy-five gentlewomen, whereof
fifty-three were daughters of noblemen, all clothed in velvets and
silks, with their chains of gold and other ornaments, and was attended
by two hundred riding gentlemen in all her journeys; and, if it happened
to be dark when she went to Edinburgh, where her lodgings were at the
foot of the Black Fryar’s Wynd, eighty torches were carried before her.”

With a scrambling walk up the glen, which is, as says truly Mr. Grose,
“inconceivably romantic,” we returned to our horses, and rode back to
our dinner at Dalhousie, delighted with Roslin castle, and uncommonly
hungry.



                               LETTER V.


   “CHRISTOPHER NORTH”—MR. BLACKWOOD—THE ETTRICK SHEPHERD—LOCKHART
     —NOCTES AMBROSIANÆ—WORDSWORTH—SOUTHEY—CAPTAIN HAMILTON AND
     HIS BOOK ON AMERICA—PROFESSOR WILSON’S FAMILY, ETC.

One of my most valued letters to Scotland was an introduction to
Professor Wilson—the “Christopher North” of Blackwood, and the well
known poet. The acknowledgment of the reception of my note came with an
invitation to breakfast the following morning, at the early hour of
nine.

The professor’s family were at a summer residence in the country, and he
was alone in his house in Gloucester-place, having come to town on the
melancholy errand of a visit to poor Blackwood—(since dead.) I was
punctual to my hour, and found the poet standing before the fire with
his coat skirts expanded—a large, muscular man, something slovenly in
his dress, but with a manner and face of high good humor, and remarkably
frank and prepossessing address. While he was finding me a chair, and
saying civil things of the noble friend who had been the medium of our
acquaintance, I was trying to reconcile my idea of him, gathered from
portraits and descriptions, with the person before me. I had imagined a
thinner and more scholar-like looking man, with a much paler face, and a
much more polished exterior. His head is exceedingly ample, his eye blue
and restless, his mouth full of character, and his hair, of a very light
sandy color, is brushed up to cover an incipient baldness, but takes
very much its own way, and has the wildness of a highlander’s. He has
the stamp upon him of a remarkable man to a degree seldom seen, and is,
on the whole, fine-looking and certainly a gentleman in his appearance;
but (I know not whether the impression is common) I expected in
Christopher North, a finished and rather over-refined man of the world
of the old school, and I was so far disappointed.

The tea was made, and the breakfast smoked upon the table, but the
professor showed no signs of being aware of the fact, and talked away
famously, getting up and sitting down, walking to the window and
standing before the fire, and apparently carried quite away with his own
too rapid process of thought. He talked of the American poets, praised
Percival and Pierpont more particularly; expressed great pleasure at the
criticisms of his own works that had appeared in the American papers and
magazines—and still the toast was getting cold, and with every move he
seemed less and less aware of the presence of breakfast. There were
plates and cups but for two, so that he was not waiting for another
guest,—and after half an hour had thus elapsed, I began to fear he
thought he had already breakfasted. If I had wished to have reminded him
of it, however, I should have had no opportunity, for the stream of his
eloquence ran on without a break; and eloquence it certainly was. His
accent is very broadly Scotch, but his words are singularly well chosen,
and his illustrations more novel and poetical than those of any man I
ever conversed with. He spoke of Blackwood, returning to the subject
repeatedly, and always with a softened tone of voice and a more
impressive manner, as if his feelings were entirely engrossed by the
circumstances of his illness. “Poor Blackwood,” he said, setting his
hands together and fixing his eyes on the wall, as if he were
soliloquising with the picture of the sick man vividly before him,
“there never was a more honest creature, or a better friend. I have
known him intimately for years, and owe him much; and I could lose no
friend that would affect me more nearly. There is something quite awful
in the striking down thus of a familiar companion by your side—the
passing away—the death—the end forever of a man you have been
accustomed to meet as surely as the morning or evening, and have grown
to consider a part of your existence almost. To have the share he took
in your thoughts thrown back upon you—and his aid and counsel and
company with you no more. His own mind is in a very singular state. He
knows he is to die, and he has made every preparation in the most
composed and sensible manner, and if the subject is alluded to directly,
does not even express a hope of recovery; yet, the moment the theme is
changed, he talks as if death were as far from him as ever, and looks
forward, and mingles himself up in his remarks on the future, as if he
were here to see this and the other thing completed, and share with you
the advantages for years to come. What a strange thing it is—this
balancing between death and life—standing on the edge of the grave, and
turning, first to look into its approaching darkness, and then back on
the familiar and pleasant world, yet with a certain downward progress,
and no hope of life, beyond the day over your head!”

I asked if Blackwood was a man of refined literary taste.

“Yes,” he said. “I would trust his opinion of a book sooner than that of
any man I know. He might not publish everything he approved, for it was
his business to print only things that would sell; and, therefore, there
are perhaps many authors who would complain of him; but, if his opinion
had been against my own, and it had been my own book, I should believe
he was right and give up my own judgment. He was a patron of literature,
and it owes him much. He is a loss to the world.”

I spoke of the “_Noctes_.”

He smiled, as you would suppose Christopher North would do, with the
twinkle proper of genuine hilarity in his eye, and said, “Yes, they have
been very popular. Many people in Scotland believe them to be
transcripts of real scenes, and wonder how a professor of moral
philosophy can descend to such carousings, and poor Hogg comes in for
his share of abuse, for they never doubt he was there and said
everything that is put down for him.”

“How does the Shepherd take it?”

“Very good humoredly, with the exception of one or two occasions, when
cockney scribblers have visited him in their tours, and tried to flatter
him by convincing him he was treated disrespectfully. But five minutes’
conversation and two words of banter restore his good humor, and he is
convinced, as he ought to be, that he owes half his reputation to the
Noctes.”

“What do you think of his Life of Sir Walter, which Lockhart has so
butchered in Frazer?”

“_Did_ Lockhart write that?”

“I was assured so in London.”

“It was a barbarous and unjustifiable attack; and, oddly enough, I said
so yesterday to Lockhart himself, who was here, and he differed from me
entirely. Now you mention it, I think from his manner he _must_ have
written it.”

“Will Hogg forgive him?”

“Never! never! I do not think he knows yet who has done it, but I hear
that he is dreadfully exasperated. Lockhart is quite wrong. To attack an
old man, with gray hairs, like the Shepherd, and accuse him so flatly
and unnecessarily of lie upon lie—oh, it was not right.”

“Do you think Hogg misrepresented facts willingly?”

“No, oh no! he is perfectly honest, no doubt, and quite revered Sir
Walter. He has an unlucky inaccuracy of mind, however; and his own
vanity, which is something quite ridiculous, has given a coloring to his
conversations with Scott, which puts them in a very false light; and Sir
Walter, who was the best natured of men, may have said the things
ascribed to him in a variety of moods, such as no one can understand who
does not know what a bore Hogg must sometimes have been at Abbottsford.
Do you know Lockhart?”

“No, I do not. He is almost the only literary man in London I have not
met; and I must say, as the editor of the Quarterly, and the most unfair
and unprincipled critic of the day, I have no wish to know him. I never
heard him well spoken of. I probably have met a hundred of his
acquaintances, but I have not seen one who pretended to be his friend.”

“Yet there is a great deal of good in Lockhart. I allow all you say of
his unfairness and severity; but if he were sitting there, opposite you,
you would find him the mildest and most unpresuming of men, and so he
appears in private life always.”

“Not always. A celebrated foreigner, who had been very intimate with
him, called one morning to deprecate his severity upon Baron D’Haussez’s
book in a forthcoming review. He did his errand in a friendly way, and,
on taking his leave, Lockhart, with much ceremony, accompanied him down
to his carriage. ‘Pray don’t give yourself the trouble to come down,’
said the polite Frenchman. ‘I make a point of doing it, sir,’ said
Lockhart, with a very offensive manner, ‘for I understand from your
friend’s book, that we are not considered a polite nation in France.’
Nothing certainly could be more ill-bred and insulting.”

“Still it is not his nature. I do believe that it is merely an unhappy
talent that he has for sarcasm, with which his heart has nothing to do.
When he sits down to review a book, he never thinks of the author or his
feelings. He cuts it up with pleasure, because he does it with skill in
the way of his profession, as a surgeon dissects a dead body. He would
be the first to show the man a real kindness if he stood before him. I
have known Lockhart long. He was in Edinboro’ a great while, and when he
was writing ‘Valerius,’ we were in the habit of walking out together
every morning, and when we reached a quiet spot in the country, he read
to me the chapters as he wrote them. He finished it in _three weeks_. I
heard it all thus by piecemeal as it went on, and had much difficulty in
persuading him that it was worth publishing. He wrote it very rapidly,
and thought nothing of it. We used to sup together with Blackwood, and
that was the real origin of the ‘Noctes.’”

“At Ambrose’s?”

“At Ambrose’s.”

“But is there such a tavern, really?”

“Oh, certainly. Anybody will show it to you. It is a small house, kept
in an out-of-the-way corner of the town, by Ambrose, who is an excellent
fellow in his way, and had a great influx of custom in consequence of
his celebrity in the Noctes. We were there one night very late, and had
all been remarkably gay and agreeable. ‘What a pity,’ said Lockhart,
‘that some short hand writer had not been here to take down the good
things that have been said at this supper.’ The next day he produced a
paper called ‘Noctes _Ambro_sianæ,’ and that was the first. I continued
them afterward.”

“Have you no idea of publishing them separately? I think a volume or two
should be made of the more poetical and and critical parts, certainly.
Leaving out the politics and the merely local topics of the day, no book
could be more agreeable.”

“It was one of the things pending when poor Blackwood was taken ill. But
will you have some breakfast?”

The breakfast had been cooling for an hour, and I most willingly acceded
to his proposition. Without rising, he leaned back, with his chair still
toward the fire, and seizing the tea-pot as if it were a sledge-hammer,
he poured from one cup to the other without interrupting the stream,
overrunning both cup and saucer, and partly overflooding the tea-tray.
He then set the cream toward me with a carelessness which nearly overset
it, and in trying to reach an egg from the centre of the table, broke
two. He took no notice of his own awkwardness, but drank his cup of tea
at a single draught, ate his egg in the same expeditious manner, and
went on talking of the Noctes and Lockhart and Blackwood, as if eating
his breakfast were rather a troublesome parenthesis in his conversation.
After a while he digressed to Wordsworth and Southey, and asked me if I
was going to return by the Lakes. I proposed doing so.

“I will give you letters to both, if you haven’t them. I lived a long
time in that neighborhood, and know Wordsworth perhaps as well as any
one. Many a day I have walked over the hills with him, and listened to
his repetition of his own poetry, which of course filled my mind
completely at the time, and perhaps started the poetical vein in me,
though I cannot agree with the critics that my poetry is an imitation of
Wordsworth’s.”

“Did Wordsworth repeat any other poetry than his own?”

“Never in a single instance, to my knowledge. He is remarkable for the
manner in which he is wrapped up in his own poetical life. He thinks of
nothing else. Everything is done with reference to it. He is all and
only a poet.”

“Was the story true that was told in the papers of his seeing, for the
first time, in a large company some new novel of Scott’s, in which there
was a motto taken from his works; and that he went immediately to the
shelf and took down one of his own volumes and read the whole poem to
the party, who were waiting for a reading of the new book?”

“Perfectly true. It happened in this very house. Wordsworth was very
angry at the paragraph, and I believe accused me of giving it to the
world. I was as much surprised as himself, however, to see it in print.”

“What is Southey’s manner of life?”

“Walter Scott said of him that he lived too much with women. He is
secluded in the country, and surrounded by a circle of admiring friends
who glorify every literary project he undertakes, and persuade him in
spite of his natural modesty, that he can do nothing wrong or
imperfectly. He has great genius and is a most estimable man.”

“Hamilton lives on the Lakes too—does he not?”

“Yes. How terribly he was annoyed by the review of his book in the North
American. Who wrote it?”

“I have not heard positively, but I presume it was Everett. I know
nobody else in the country who holds such a pen. He is the American
Junius.”

“It was excessively clever but dreadfully severe, and Hamilton was
frantic about it. I sent it to him myself, and could scarce have done
him a more ungracious office. But what a strange thing it is that nobody
can write a good book on America! The ridiculous part of it seems to me
that men of common sense go there as travellers, and fill their books
with scenes such as they may see every day within five minutes’ walk of
their own doors, and call them American. Vulgar people are to be found
all over the world, and I will match any scene in Hamilton or Mrs.
Trollope, any day or night here in Edinburgh. I have always had an idea
that I should be the best traveller in America myself. I have been so in
the habit of associating with people of every class in my own country,
that I am better fitted to draw the proper distinctions, I think,
between what is universal over the world or peculiar to America.”

“I promise you a hearty welcome, if you should be inclined to try.”

“I have thought seriously of it. It is, after all, not more than a
journey to Switzerland or Italy, of which we think nothing, and my
vacation of five months would give me ample time, I suppose, to run
through the principal cities. I shall do it, I think.”

I asked if he had written a poem of any length within the last few
years.

“No, though I am always wishing to do it. Many things interfere with my
poetry. In the first place I am obliged to give a lecture once a day for
six months, and in the summer it is such a delight to be released, and
get away into the country with my girls and boys, that I never put pen
to paper till I am driven. Then Blackwood is a great care; and, greater
objection still, I have been discouraged in various ways by criticism.
It used to gall me to have my poems called imitations of Wordsworth and
his school; a thing I could not see myself, but which was asserted even
by those who praised me, and which modesty forbade I should disavow. I
really can see no resemblance between the Isle of Palms and anything of
Wordsworth’s. I _think_ I have a style of my own, and as my _ain barn_,
I think better of it than other people, and so pride prevents my
writing. Until late years, too, I have been the subject of much
political abuse, and for that I should not have cared if it were not
disagreeable to have children and servants reading it in the morning
papers, and a fear of giving them another handle in my poetry, was
another inducement for not writing.”

I expressed my surprise at what he said, for, as far as I knew the
periodicals, Wilson had been a singularly continued favorite.

“Yes, out of this immediate sphere, perhaps—but it requires a strong
mind to suffer annoyance at one’s lips, and comfort oneself with the
praise of a distant and outer circle of public opinion. I had a family
growing up, of sons and daughters, who felt for me more than I should
have felt for myself, and I was annoyed perpetually. Now, these very
papers praise me, and I really can hardly believe my eyes when I open
them and find the same type and imprint expressing such different
opinions. It is absurd to mind such weathercocks; and, in truth, the
only people worth heeding or writing for are the quiet readers in the
country, who read for pleasure, and form sober opinions apart from
political or personal prejudice. I would give more for the praise of one
country clergyman and his family than I would for the admiration of a
whole city. People in towns require a constant phantasmagoria, to keep
up even the remembrance of your name. What books and authors, what
battles and heroes, are forgotten in a day!”

My letter is getting too long, and I must make it shorter, as it is
vastly less agreeable than the visit itself. Wilson went on to speak of
his family, and his eyes kindled with pleasure in talking of his
children. He invited me to stop and visit him at his place near Selkirk,
in my way south, and promised me that I should see Hogg, who lived not
far off. Such inducement was scarce necessary, and I made a half promise
to do it and left him, after having passed several hours of the highest
pleasure in his fascinating society.



                               LETTER VI.


   LORD JEFFREY AND HIS FAMILY—LORD BROUGHAM—COUNT FLAHAULT—
     POLITICS—THE “GREY” BALL—ABERDEEN—GORDON CASTLE.

I was engaged to dine with Lord Jeffrey on the same day that I had
breakfasted with Wilson, and the opportunity of contrasting so closely
these two distinguished men, both editors of leading Reviews, yet of
different politics, and no less different minds, persons, and manners,
was highly gratifying.

At seven o’clock I drove to Moray-place, the Grosvenor-square of
Edinburgh. I was not sorry to be early, for never having seen my host,
nor his lady (who, as is well known, is an American,) I had some little
advantage over the awkwardness of meeting a large party of strangers.
After a few minutes’ conversation with Mrs. Jeffrey, the door was thrown
quickly open, and the celebrated editor of the Edinburgh, the
distinguished lawyer, the humane and learned judge, and the wit of the
day, _par excellence_, entered with his daughter. A frank, almost merry
smile, a perfectly unceremonious, hearty manner, and a most playful and
graceful style of saying the half-apologetic, half-courteous things,
incident to a first meeting after a letter of introduction, put me at
once at my ease, and established a partiality for him, impromptu, in my
feelings. Jeffrey is rather below the middle size, slight, rapid in his
speech and motion, never still, and glances from one subject to another,
with less abruptness and more quickness than any man I had ever seen.
His head is small, but compact and well-shaped; and the expression of
his face, when serious, is that of quick and discriminating earnestness.
His voice is rather thin, but pleasing; and if I had met him
incidentally, I should have described him, I think, as a most witty and
well-bred gentleman of the school of Wilkes and Sheridan. Perhaps as
distinguishing a mark as either his wit or his politeness, is an honest
goodness of heart; which, however it makes itself apparent, no one could
doubt, who had been with Jeffrey ten minutes.

To my great disappointment, Mrs. Jeffrey informed me that Lord Brougham,
who was their guest at the time, was engaged to a dinner, given by the
new lord advocate to Earl Grey. I had calculated much on seeing two such
old friends and fellow-wits as Jeffrey and Brougham at the same table,
and I could well believe what my neighbor told me at dinner, that it was
more than a common misfortune to have missed it.

A large dinner-party began to assemble, some distinguished men in the
law among them, and last of all was announced Lady Keith, rather a
striking and very fashionable person, with her husband, Count Flahault,
who, after being Napoleon’s aid-de-camp at the battle of Waterloo,
offered his beauty and talents, both very much above the ordinary mark,
to the above named noble heiress. I have seen few as striking-looking
men as Count Flahault, and never a foreigner who spoke English so
absolutely like a native of the country.

The great “Grey dinner” had been given the day before, and politics were
the only subject at table. It had been my lot to be thrown principally
among tories (_conservatives_ is the new name,) since my arrival in
England, and it was difficult to rid myself at once of the impressions
of a fortnight just passed in the castle of a tory Earl. My sympathies
in the “great and glorious” occasion were slower than those of the
company, and much of their enthusiasm seemed to me overstrained. Then I
had not even dined with the two thousand whigs under the pavilion, and
as I was incautious enough to confess it, I was rallied upon having
fallen into bad company, and altogether entered less into the spirit of
the hour than I could have wished. Politics are seldom witty or amusing,
and though I was charmed with the good sense and occasional eloquence of
Lord Jeffrey, I was glad to get up stairs after dinner to _chasse-café_
and the ladies.

We were all bound to the public ball that evening, and at eleven I
accompanied my distinguished host to the assembly-room. Dancing was
going on with great spirit when we entered; Lord Grey’s statesman-like
head was bowing industriously on the platform; Lady Grey and her
daughters sat looking on from the same elevated position, and Lord
Brougham’s ugliest and shrewdest of human faces, flitted about through
the crowd, good fellow to everybody, and followed by all eyes but those
of the young. One or two of the Scotch nobility were there, but whigism
is not popular among _les hautes volailles_, and the ball, though
crowded, was but thinly sprinkled with “porcelain.” I danced till three
o’clock, without finding my partners better or worse for their politics,
and having aggravated a temporary lameness by my exertions, went home
with a leg like an elephant to repent my abandonment of tory quiet.

Two or three days under the hands of the doctor, with the society of a
Highland crone, of whose ceaseless garrulity over my poultices and
plasters I could not understand two consecutive words, fairly finished
my patience, and abandoning with no little regret a charming land route
to the north of Scotland, I had myself taken, “this side up,” on board
the steamer for Aberdeen. The loss of a wedding in Perthshire by the
way, of a week’s deer-shooting in the forest of Athol, and a week’s
fishing with a noble friend at Kinrara, (long-standing engagements all,)
I lay at the door of the whigs. Add to this Loch Leven, Cairn-Gorm, the
pass of Killicrankie, other sights lost on that side of Scotland, and I
paid dearly for “the Grey ball.”

We steamed the hundred and twenty miles in twelve hours, paying about
three dollars for our passage. I mention it for the curiosity of a cheap
thing in this country.

I lay at Aberdeen four days, getting out but once, and then for a drive
to the “Marichal College,” the Alma Mater of Dugald Dalgetty. It is a
curious and rather picturesque old place, half in ruins, and is about
being pulled down. A Scotch gentleman, who was a fellow-passenger in the
steamer, and who lived in the town, called on me kindly twice a day,
brought me books and papers, offered me the use of his carriage, and did
everything for my comfort that could have been suggested by the warmest
friendship. Considering that it was a casual acquaintance of a day, it
speaks well, certainly, for the “Good Samaritanism” of Scotland.

I took two places in the coach at last (one for my leg,) and bowled away
seventy miles across the country, with the delightful speed of these
admirable contrivances, for Gordon Castle. I arrived at Lochabers, a
small town on the estate of the Duke of Gordon, at three in the
afternoon, and immediately took a post-chaise for the castle, the gate
of which was a stone’s throw from the inn.

The immense iron gate surmounted by the Gordon arms, the handsome and
spacious stone lodges on either side, the canonically fat porter in
white stockings and gay livery, lifting his hat as he swung open the
massive portal, all bespoke the entrance to a noble residence. The road
within was edged with velvet sward, and rolled to the smoothness of a
terrace walk, the winding avenue lengthened away before, with trees of
every variety of foliage; light carriages passed me driven by ladies or
gentlemen bound on their afternoon airing; a groom led up and down two
beautiful blood horses, prancing along, with side-saddles and morocco
stirrups, and keepers with hounds and terriers; gentlemen on foot,
idling along the walks, and servants in different liveries, hurrying to
and fro, betokened a scene of busy gayety before me. I had hardly noted
these various circumstances, before a sudden curve in the road brought
the castle into view, a vast stone pile with castellated wings, and in
another moment I was at the door, where a dozen lounging and powdered
menials were waiting on a party of ladies and gentlemen to their several
carriages. It was the moment for the afternoon drive.



                              LETTER VII.


   GORDON CASTLE—COMPANY THERE—THE PARK—DUKE OF GORDON—PERSONAL
     BEAUTY OF THE ENGLISH ARISTOCRACY.

The last phæton dashed away, and my chaise advanced to the door. A
handsome boy, in a kind of page’s dress, immediately came to the window,
addressed me by name, and informed me that His Grace was out
deer-shooting, but that my room was prepared, and he was ordered to wait
on me. I followed him through a hall lined with statues, deers’ horns,
and armor, and was ushered into a large chamber, looking out on a park,
extending with its lawns and woods to the edge of the horizon. A more
lovely view never feasted human eye.

“Who is at the castle?” I asked, as the boy busied himself in
unstrapping my portmanteau.

“Oh, a great many, sir.” He stopped in his occupation, and began
counting on his fingers. “There’s Lord Aberdeen, and Lord Claud Hamilton
and Lady Harriette Hamilton (them’s his lordship’s two step children,
you know, sir,) and the Dutchess of Richmond and Lady Sophia Lennox, and
Lady Keith, and Lord Mandeville and Lord Aboyne, and Lord Stormont and
Lady Stormont, and Lord Morton and Lady Morton, and Lady Alicia,
and—and—and—twenty more, sir.”

“Twenty more lords and ladies?”

“No, sir! that’s all the nobility.”

“And you can’t remember the names of the others?”

“No, sir.”

He was a proper page. He could not trouble his memory with the names of
commoners.

“And how many sit down to dinner?”

“Above thirty, besides the Duke and Dutchess.”

“That will do.” And off tripped my slender gentleman with his laced
jacket, giving the fire a terrible stir-up in his way out, and turning
back to inform me that the dinner hour was seven precisely.

It was a mild, bright afternoon, quite warm for the end of an English
September, and with a fire in the room, and a soft sunshine pouring in
at the windows, a seat by the open casement was far from disagreeable. I
passed the time till the sun set, looking out on the park. Hill and
valley lay between my eye and the horizon; sheep fed in picturesque
flocks, and small fallow deer grazed near them; the trees were planted,
and the distant forest shaped by the hand of taste; and broad and
beautiful as was the expanse taken in by the eye, it was evidently one
princely possession. A mile from the castle wall, the shaven sward
extended in a carpet of velvet softness, as bright as emerald, studded
by clumps of shrubbery, like flowers wrought elegantly on tapestry; and
across it bounded occasionally a hare, and the pheasants feel
undisturbed near the thickets, or a lady with flowing riding-dress and
flaunting feather, dashed into sight upon her fleet blood palfrey, and
was lost the next moment, in the woods, or a boy put his pony to its
mettle up the ascent, or a gamekeeper idled into sight with his gun in
the hollow of his arm, and his hounds at his heels—and all this little
world of enjoyment and luxury, and beauty, lay in the hand of one man,
and was created by his wealth in these northern wilds of Scotland, a
day’s journey almost from the possession of another human being. I never
realized so forcibly the splendid result of wealth and primogeniture.

The sun set in a blaze of fire among the pointed firs crowning the
hills, and by the occasional prance of a horse’s feet on the gravel, and
the roll of rapid wheels, and now and then a gay laugh and merry voices,
the different parties were returning to the castle. Soon after a loud
gong sounded through the gallery, the signal to dress, and I left my
musing occupation unwillingly to make my toilet for an appearance in a
formidable circle of titled aristocrats, not one of whom I had ever
seen, the Duke himself a stranger to me, except through the kind letter
of introduction lying upon the table.

I was sitting by the fire imagining forms and faces for the different
persons who had been named to me, when there was a knock at the door,
and a tall, white-haired gentleman, of noble physiognomy, but singularly
cordial address, entered, with the broad red riband of a duke across his
breast, and welcomed me most heartily to the castle. The gong sounded at
the next moment, and, in our way down, he named over his other guests,
and prepared me in a measure for the introductions which followed. The
drawing-room was crowded like a _soirée_. The Dutchess, a very tall and
very handsome woman, with a smile of the most winning sweetness,
received me at the door, and I was presented successively to every
person present. Dinner was announced immediately, and the difficult
question of precedence being sooner settled than I had ever seen it
before in so large a party, we passed through files of servants to the
dining room.

It was a large and very lofty hall, supported at the ends by marble
columns, within which was stationed a band of music, playing
delightfully. The walls were lined with full length family pictures,
from old knights in armor to the modern dukes in kilt of the Gordon
plaid; and on the sideboards stood services of gold plate, the most
gorgeously massive, and the most beautiful in workmanship I have ever
seen. There were, among the vases, several large coursing-cups, won by
the duke’s hounds, of exquisite shape and ornament.

I fell into my place between a gentleman and a very beautiful woman, of
perhaps twenty-two, neither of whose names I remembered, though I had
but just been introduced. The Duke probably anticipated as much, and as
I took my seat he called out to me, from the top of the table, that I
had upon my right, Lady ——, “the most agreeable woman in Scotland.” It
was unnecessary to say that she was the most lovely.

I have been struck everywhere in England with the beauty of the higher
classes, and as I looked around me upon the aristocratic company at the
table, I thought I never had seen “heaven’s image double-stamped as man
and noble” so unequivocally clear. There were two young men and four or
five young ladies of rank—and five or six people of more decided
personal attractions could scarcely be found; the style of form and face
at the same time being of that cast of superiority which goes by the
expressive name of “thorough-bred.” There is a striking difference in
this respect between England and the countries on the continent—the
_paysans_ of France and the _bontadini_ of Italy being physically far
superior to their degenerate masters; while the gentry and nobility of
England differ from the peasantry in limb and feature as the racer
differs from the dray-horse, or the greyhound from the cur. The contrast
between the manners of English and French gentlemen is quite as
striking. The _empressment_, the warmth, the shrug and gesture of the
Parisian, and the working eyebrow, dilating or contracting eye, and
conspirator-like action of the Italian in the most common conversation,
are the antipodes of English high breeding. I should say a North
American Indian, in his more dignified phase, approached nearer to the
manner of an English nobleman than any other person. The calm repose of
person and feature, the self-possession under all circumstances, that
incapability of surprise or _dérèglement_, and that decision about the
slightest circumstance, and the apparent certainty that he is acting
absolutely _comme il faut_, is equally “gentlemanlike” and Indianlike.
You cannot astonish an English gentleman. If a man goes into a fit at
his side, or a servant drops a dish upon his shoulder, or he hears that
the house is on fire, he sets down his wine-glass with the same
deliberation. He has made up his mind what to do in all possible cases,
and he does it. He is cold at a first introduction, and may bow stiffly,
(which he always does) in drinking wine with you, but it is his manner;
and he would think an Englishman out of his senses who should bow down
to his very plate and smile as a Frenchman does on a similar occasion.
Rather chilled by this, you are a little astonished when the ladies have
left the table, and he closes his chair up to you, to receive an
invitation to pass a month with him at his country house, and to
discover that at the very moment he bowed so coldly, he was thinking how
he should contrive to facilitate your plans for getting to him or seeing
the country to advantage on the way.

The band ceased playing when the ladies left the table, the gentlemen
closed up, conversation assumed a merrier cast, coffee and _chasse-café_
were brought in when the wines began to be circulated more slowly; and
at eleven, there was a general move to the drawing-room. Cards, tea, and
music, filled up the time till twelve, and then the ladies took their
departure, and the gentlemen sat down to supper. I got to bed somewhere
about two o’clock; and thus ended an evening which I had anticipated as
stiff and embarrassing, but which is marked in my tablets as one of the
most social and kindly I have had the good fortune to record on my
travels. I have described it, and shall describe others minutely—and I
hope there is no necessity of my reminding any one that my apology for
thus disclosing scenes of private life has been already made. Their
interest as sketches by an American of the society that most interests
Americans, and the distance at which they are published, justify them, I
would hope, from any charge of indelicacy.



                              LETTER VIII.


   ENGLISH BREAKFASTS—SALMON FISHERY—LORD ABERDEEN—MR. MCLANE—
     SPORTING ESTABLISHMENT OF GORDON CASTLE.

I arose late on the first morning after my arrival at Gordon Castle, and
found the large party already assembled about the breakfast table. I was
struck on entering with the different air of the room. The deep windows,
opening out upon the park, had the effect of sombre landscapes in oaken
frames; the troops of liveried servants, the glitter of plate, the
music, that had contributed to the splendor of the night before, were
gone; the Duke sat laughing at the head of the table, with a newspaper
in his hand, dressed in a coarse shooting-jacket and colored cravat; the
Dutchess was in a plain morning-dress and cap of the simplest character;
and the high-born women about the table, whom I had left glittering with
jewels, and dressed in all the attractions of fashion, appeared with the
simplest coiffure and a toilet of studied plainness. The ten or twelve
noblemen present were engrossed with their letters or newspapers over
tea and toast; and in them, perhaps, the transformation was still
greater. The _soigné_ man of fashion of the night before, faultless in
costume and distinguished in his appearance, in the full force of the
term, was enveloped now in a coat of fustian, with a coarse waistcoat of
plaid, a gingham cravat, and hob-nailed shoes, (for shooting,) and in
place of the gay hilarity of the supper-table, wore a face of calm
indifference, and ate his breakfast and read the paper in a rarely
broken silence. I wondered, as I looked about me, what would be the
impression of many people in my own country, could they look in upon
that plain party, aware that it was composed of the proudest nobility
and the highest fashion of England.

Breakfast in England is a confidential and unceremonious hour, and
servants are generally dispensed with. This is to me, I confess, an
advantage over every other meal. I detest eating with twenty tall
fellows standing opposite, whose business it is to watch me. The coffee
and tea were on the table, with toast, muffins, oat-cakes, marmalade,
jellies, fish, and all the paraphernalia of a Scotch breakfast; and on
the sideboard stood cold meats for those who liked them, and they were
expected to go to it and help themselves. Nothing could be more easy,
unceremonious, and affable, than the whole tone of the meal. One after
another rose and fell into groups in the windows, or walked up and down
the long room—and, with one or two others, I joined the Duke at the
head of the table, who gave us some interesting particulars of the
salmon fisheries of the Spey. The privilege of fishing the river within
his lands, is bought of him at the pretty sum of eight thousand pounds a
year! A salmon was brought in for me to see, as of remarkable size,
which was not more than half the weight of our common American salmon.

The ladies went off unaccompanied to their walks in the park and other
avocations, those bound for the covers joined the gamekeepers, who were
waiting with their dogs in the leash at the stables; some paired off to
the billiard-room, and I was left with Lord Aberdeen in the breakfast
room alone. The tory ex-minister made many inquiries, with great
apparent interest, about America. When secretary for foreign affairs, in
the Wellington cabinet, he had known Mr. McLane intimately. He said he
seldom had been so impressed with a man’s honesty and
straight-forwardness, and never did public business with any one with
more pleasure. He admired Mr. McLane, and hoped he enjoyed his
friendship. He wished he might return as our minister to England. One
such honorable, uncompromising man, he said, was worth a score of
practised diplomatists. He spoke of Gallatin and Rush in the same
flattering manner, but recurred continually to Mr. McLane, of whom he
could scarcely say enough. His politics would naturally lead him to
approve of the administration of General Jackson, but he seemed to
admire the President very much as a man.

Lord Aberdeen has the name of being the proudest and coldest aristocrat
of England. It is amusing to see the person who bears such a character.
He is of the middle height, rather clumsily made, with an address more
of sober dignity than of pride or reserve. With a black coat much worn,
and always too large for him, a pair of coarse check trousers very ill
made, a waistcoat buttoned up to his throat, and a cravat of the most
primitive _négligé_, his aristocracy is certainly not in his dress. His
manners are of absolute simplicity, amounting almost to want of style.
He crosses his hands behind him, and balances on his heels; in
conversation his voice is low and cold, and he seldom smiles. Yet there
is a certain benignity in his countenance, and an indefinable
superiority and high breeding in his simple address, that would betray
his rank after a few minutes’ conversation to any shrewd observer. It is
only in his manner toward the ladies of the party that he would be
immediately distinguishable from men of lower rank in society.

Still suffering from lameness, I declined all invitations to the
shooting parties, who started across the park, with the dogs leaping
about them in a phrensy of delight, and accepted the Dutchess’s kind
offer of a pony phæton to drive down to the kennels. The Duke’s breed,
both of setters and hounds, is celebrated throughout the kingdom. They
occupy a spacious building in the centre of a wood, a quadrangle
enclosing a court, and large enough for a respectable poor-house. The
chief huntsman and his family, and perhaps a gamekeeper or two, lodge on
the premises, and the dogs are divided by palings across the court. I
was rather startled to be introduced into the small enclosure with a
dozen gigantic blood-hounds, as high as my breast, the keeper’s whip in
my hand the only defence. I was not easier for the man’s assertion that,
without it, they would “hae the life oot o’ me in a crack.” They came
around me very quietly, and one immense fellow, with a chest like a
horse, and a head of the finest expression, stood up and laid his paws
on my shoulders, with the deliberation of a friend about to favor me
with some grave advice. One can scarce believe these noble creatures
have not reason like ourselves. Those slender, thorough-bred heads,
large, speaking eyes, and beautiful limbs and graceful action, should be
gifted with more than mere animal instinct. The greyhounds were the
beauties of the kennel, however. I never had seen such perfect
creatures. “Dinna tak’ pains to caress ’em, sir,” said the huntsman,
“they’ll only be hangit for it!” I asked for an explanation, and the
man, with an air as if I was uncommonly ignorant, told me that a hound
was hung the moment he betrayed attachment to any one, or in any way
showed signs of superior sagacity. In coursing the hare, for instance,
if the dog abandoned the scent to cut across and intercept the poor
animal, he was considered as spoiling the sport. Greyhounds are valuable
only as they obey their mere natural instinct, and if they leave the
track of the hare, either in their own sagacity, or to follow their
master, in intercepting it, they spoil the pack, and are hung without
mercy. It is an object, of course, to preserve them what they usually
are, the greatest fools as well as the handsomest of the canine
species—and on the first sign of attachment to their master, their
death warrant is signed. They are too sensible to live. The Dutchess
told me afterward that she had the greatest difficulty in saving the
life of the finest hound in the pack, who had committed the sin of
showing pleasure once or twice when she appeared.

The setters were in the next division, and really they were quite
lovely. The rare tan and black dog of this race, with his silky, floss
hair, intelligent muzzle, good-humored face and caressing fondness
(lucky dog! that affection is permitted in _his_ family!) quite excited
my admiration. There were thirty or forty of these, old and young; and a
friend of the Duke’s would as soon ask him for a church living as for
the present of one of them. The former would be by much the smaller
favor. Then there were terriers of four or five breeds, of one family of
which (long-haired, long-bodied, short-legged, and perfectly white
little wretches) the keeper seemed particularly proud. I evidently sunk
in his opinion for not admiring them.

I passed the remainder of the morning in threading the lovely alleys and
avenues of the park, miles after miles of gravel walk, extending away in
every direction, with every variety of turn and shade, now a deep wood,
now a sunny opening upon a glade, here along the bank of a stream, and
there around the borders of a small lagoon, the little ponies flying on
over the smoothly-rolled paths, and tossing their mimicking heads, as if
they too enjoyed the beauty of the princely domain. This, I thought to
myself, as I sped on through light and shadow, is very like what is
called happiness; and this (if to be a duke were to enjoy it as I do
with this fresh feeling of novelty and delight) is a condition of life
it is not quite irrational to envy. And giving my little steeds the
rein, I repeated to myself Scott’s graphic description, which seems
written for the park of Gordon castle, and thanked Heaven for one more
day of unalloyed happiness.

              “And there soft swept in velvet green,
               The plain with many a glade between
               Whose tangled alleys far invade
               The depths of the brown forest shade;
               And the tall fern obscured the lawn,
               Fair shelter for the sportive fawn.
               There, tufted close with copse-wood green,
               Was many a swelling hillock seen,
               And all around was verdure meet
               For pressure of the fairies’ feet.
               The glossy valley loved the park,
               The yew tree lent its shadows dark,
               And many an old oak worn and bare,
               With all its shivered boughs was there.”



                               LETTER IX.


   SCOTCH HOSPITALITY—IMMENSE POSSESSIONS OF THE NOBILITY—DUTCHESS’
     INFANT SCHOOL—MANNERS OF HIGH LIFE—THE TONE OF CONVERSATION IN
     ENGLAND AND AMERICA CONTRASTED.

The aim of Scotch hospitality seems to be, to convince you that the
house and all that is in it is your own, and you are at liberty to enjoy
it as if you were, in the French sense of the French phrase, _chez
vous_. The routine of Gordon castle was what each one chose to make it.
Between breakfast and lunch the ladies were generally invisible, and the
gentlemen rode or shot, or played billiards, or kept their rooms. At two
o’clock, a dish or two of hot game and a profusion of cold meats were
set on the small tables in the dining room, and every body came in for a
kind of lounging half-meal, which occupied perhaps an hour. Thence all
adjourned to the drawing-room, under the windows of which were drawn up
carriages of all descriptions, with grooms, outriders, footmen, and
saddle horses for gentlemen and ladies. Parties were then made up for
driving or riding, and from a pony-chaise to a phæton and four, there
was no class of vehicle which was not at your disposal. In ten minutes
the carriages were usually all filled, and away they flew, some to the
banks of the Spey or the sea-side, some to the drives in the park, and
with the delightful consciousness that, speed where you would, the
horizon scarce limited the possession of your host, and you were
everywhere at home. The ornamental gates flying open at your approach,
miles distant from the castle; the herds of red deer trooping away from
the sound of wheels in the silent park; the stately pheasants feeding
tamely in the immense preserves; the hares scarce troubling themselves
to get out of the length of the whip; the stalking gamekeepers lifting
their hats in the dark recesses of the forest—there was something in
this perpetual reminding of your privileges, which, as a novelty, was
far from disagreeable. I could not at the time bring myself to feel,
what perhaps would be more poetical and republican, that a ride in the
wild and unfenced forest of my own country would have been more to my
taste.

The second afternoon of my arrival, I took a seat in the carriage with
Lord Aberdeen and his daughter, and we followed the Dutchess, who drove
herself in a pony-chaise, to visit a school on the estate. Attached to a
small gothic chapel, a few minutes’ drive from the castle, stood a
building in the same style, appropriated to the instruction of the
children of the Duke’s tenantry. There were a hundred and thirty little
creatures, from two years to five or six, and, like all infant schools
in these days of improved education, it was an interesting and affecting
sight. The last one I had been in was at Athens, and though I missed
here the dark eyes and Grecian faces of the Ægean, I saw health and
beauty of a kind which stirred up more images of home, and promised,
perhaps, more for the future. They went through their evolutions, and
answered their questions, with an intelligence and cheerfulness that
were quite delightful, and I was sorry to leave them even for a drive in
the loveliest sun-set of a lingering day of summer.

People in Europe are more curious about the comparison of the natural
productions of America with those of England than about our social and
political differences. A man who does not care to know whether the
president has destroyed the bank, or the bank the president, or whether
Mrs. Trollope has flattered the Americans or not, will be very much
interested to know if the pine tree in his park is comparable to the
same tree in America, if the same cattle are found there, or the woods
stocked with the same game as his own. I would recommend a little study
of trees particularly, and of vegetation generally, as valuable
knowledge for an American coming abroad. I think there is nothing on
which I have been so often questioned. The Dutchess led the way to a
plantation of American trees, at some distance from the castle, and
stopping beneath some really noble firs, asked if our forest trees were
often larger, with an air as if she believed they were not. They were
shrubs, however, compared to the gigantic productions of the West.
Whatever else we may see abroad, we must return home to find the
magnificence of nature.

The number at the dinner-table of Gordon castle was seldom less than
thirty, but the company was continually varied by departures and
arrivals. No sensation was made by either one or the other. A travelling
carriage dashed up to the door, was disburdened of its load, and drove
round to the stables, and the question was seldom asked, “Who is
arrived?” You were sure to see at dinner—and an addition of half a
dozen to the party made no perceptible difference in anything.
Leave-takings were managed in the same quiet way. Adieus were made to
the Duke and Dutchess, and to no one else, except he happened to
encounter the parting guest upon the staircase, or were more than a
common acquaintance. In short, in every way the _gêne_ of life seemed
weeded out, and if unhappiness or ennui found its way into the castle,
it was introduced in the sufferer’s own bosom. For me, I gave myself up
to enjoyment with an _abandon_ I could not resist. With kindness and
courtesy in every look, the luxuries and comforts of a regal
establishment at my freest disposal; solitude when I pleased, company
when I pleased, the whole visible horizon fenced in for the enjoyment of
a household, of which I was a temporary portion, and no enemy except
time and the gout, I felt as if I had been spirited into some castle of
felicity, and had not come by the royal mail-coach at all.

The great spell of high life in this country seems to be _repose_. All
violent sensations are avoided as out of taste. In conversation, nothing
is so “odd” (a word, by the way, that in England means everything
disagreeable) as emphasis or startling epithet, or gesture, and in
common intercourse nothing so vulgar as any approach to “a scene.” The
high-bred Englishman studies to express himself in the plainest words
that will convey his meaning, and is just as simple and calm in
describing the death of his friend, and just as technical, so to speak,
as in discussing the weather. For all extraordinary admiration the word
“capital” suffices; for all ordinary praise the word “nice!” for all
condemnation in morals, manners, or religion, the word “odd!” To express
yourself out of this simple vocabulary is to raise the eyebrows of the
whole company at once, and stamp yourself under-bred, or a foreigner.

This sounds ridiculous, but it is the exponent not only of good
breeding, but of the true philosophy of social life. The general
happiness of a party consists in giving every individual an equal
chance, and in wounding no one’s self-love. What is called an
“overpowering person,” is immediately shunned, for he talks too much,
and excites too much attention. In any other country he would be called
“amusing.” He is considered here as a mere monopolizer of the general
interest—and his laurels, talk he never so well, shadow the rest of the
company. You meet your most intimate friend in society after a long
separation, and he gives you his hand as if you had parted at breakfast.
If he had expressed all he felt, it would have been “a scene,” and the
repose of the company would have been disturbed. You invite a clever man
to dine with you, and he enriches his descriptions with new epithets and
original words. He is offensive. He eclipses the language of your other
guests, and is out of keeping with the received and subdued tone to
which the most common intellect rises with ease. Society on this footing
is delightful to all, and the diffident man, or the dull man, or the
quiet man, enjoys it as much as another. For violent sensations you must
go elsewhere. Your escape-valve is not at your neighbor’s ear.

There is a great advantage in this in another respect. Your tongue never
gets you into mischief. The “unsafeness of Americans” in society (I
quote a phrase I have heard used a thousand times) arises wholly from
the American habit of applying high-wrought language to trifles. I can
tell one of my countrymen abroad by his first remark. Ten to one his
first sentence contains a superlative that would make an Englishman
imagine he had lost his senses. The natural consequence is continual
misapprehension, offence is given where none was intended, words that
have no meaning are the ground of quarrel, and gentlemen are shy of us.
A good-natured young nobleman, whom I sat next to at dinner on my first
arrival at Gordon castle, told me he was hunting with Lord Abercorn when
two very gentleman-like young men rode up and requested leave to follow
the hounds, but in such extraordinary language that they were not at
first understood. The hunt continued for some days, and at last the
strangers, who rode well, and were seen continually, were invited to
dine with the principal nobleman of the neighborhood. They turned out to
be Americans, and were every way well-bred and agreeable, but their
extraordinary mode of expressing themselves kept the company in
continual astonishment. They were treated with politeness, of course,
while they remained, but no little fun was made of their phraseology
after their departure, and the impression on the mind of my informant
was very much against the purity of the English language, as spoken by
the Americans. I mention it for the benefit of those whom it may
concern.



                               LETTER X.


   DEPARTURE FROM GORDON CASTLE—THE PRETENDER—SCOTCH CHARACTER
     MISAPPREHENDED—OBSERVANCE OF SUNDAY—HIGHLAND CHIEFTAINS.

The days had gone by like the “Days of Thalaba,” and I took my leave of
Gordon castle. It seemed to me, as I looked back upon it, as if I had
passed a separate life there—so beautiful had been every object on
which I had looked in that time, and so free from every mixture of ennui
had been the hours from the first to the last, I have set them apart in
my memory, those days, as a bright ellipse in the usual procession of
joys and sorrows. It is a little world, walled in from rudeness and
vexation, in which I have lived a life.

I took the coach from Elgin, and visited the fine old ruins of the
cathedral, and then kept on to Inverness, passing over the “Blasted
Heath,” the tryst of Macbeth and the witches. We passed within sight of
Culloden Moor, at sunset, and the driver pointed out to me a lonely
castle where the Pretender slept the night before the battle. The
interest with which I had read the romantic history of Prince Charlie,
in my boyhood, was fully awakened, for his name is still a watch-word of
aristocracy in Scotland; and the jacobite songs, with their
half-warlike, half-melancholy music, were favorites of the Dutchess of
Gordon, who sung them in their original Scotch, with an enthusiasm and
sweetness that stirred my blood like the sound of a trumpet. There
certainly never was a cause so indebted to music and poetry as that
which was lost at Culloden.

The hotel at Inverness was crowded with livery-servants, and the door
inaccessible for carriages. I had arrived on the last day of a county
meeting, and all the chieftains and lairds of the north and west of
Scotland were together. The last ball was to be given that evening, and
I was strongly tempted to go, by four or five acquaintances whom I found
in the hotel—but the gout was peremptory. My shoe would not go on, and
I went to bed.

I was limping about in the morning with a kind old baronet whom I had
met at Gordon Castle, when I was warmly accosted by a gentleman whom I
did not immediately remember. On his reminding me that we had parted
last on Lake Leman, however, I recollected a gentlemanlike Scotchman,
who had offered me his glass opposite Copet to look at the house of
Madame de Stael, and whom I had left afterward at Lausanne, without even
knowing his name. He invited me immediately to dine, and in about an
hour or two after, called in his carriage, and drove me to a charming
country house, a few miles down the shore of Loch Ness, where he
presented me to his family, and treated me in every respect as if I had
been the oldest of his friends. I mention the circumstance for the sake
of a comment on what seems to me a universal error with regard to the
Scotch character. Instead of a calculating and cold people, as they are
always described by the English, they seem to me more a nation of
impulse and warm feeling than any other I have seen. Their history
certainly goes to prove a most chivalrous character in days gone by, and
as far as I know Scotchmen, they preserve it still with even less of the
modification of the times than any other nations. The instance I have
mentioned above, is one of many that have come under my own observation,
and in many inquiries since, I have never found an Englishman, _who had
been in Scotland_, who did not confirm my impression. I have not traded
with them, it is true, and I have seen only the wealthier class, but
still I think my judgment a fair one. The Scotch in England are, in a
manner, what the Yankees are in the Southern States, and their
advantages of superior quickness and education have given them a success
which is ascribed to meaner causes. I think (common prejudice
_contradicente_) that neither the Scotch nor the English are a cold or
an unfriendly people, but the Scotch certainly the farther remove from
coldness of the two.

Inverness is the only place I have ever been in where no medicine could
be procured on a Sunday. I did not want indeed for other mementoes of
the sacredness of the day. In the crowd of the public room of the hotel,
half the persons at least, had either bible or prayer-book, and there
was a hush through the house, and a gravity in the faces of the people
passing in the street, that reminded me more of New England than
anything I have seen. I had wanted some linen washed on Saturday.
“Impossible!” said the waiter, “no one does up linen on Sunday.” Toward
evening I wished for a carriage to drive over to my hospitable friend.
Mine host stared, and I found it was indecorous to drive out on Sunday.
I must add, however, that the apothecary’s shop was opened after the
second service, and that I was allowed a carriage on pleading my
lameness.

Inverness is a romantic looking town, charmingly situated between Loch
Ness and the Murray Firth, with the bright river Ness running through
it, parallel to its principal street, and the most picturesque eminences
in its neighborhood. There is a very singular elevation on the other
side of the Ness, shaped like a ship, keel up, and rising from the
centre of the plain, covered with beautiful trees. It is called, in
Gaelic, Tonnaheuric, or the Hill of the Fairies.

It has been in one respect like getting abroad again, to come to
Scotland. Nothing seemed more odd to me on my first arrival in England,
than having suddenly ceased to be a “foreigner.” I was as little at home
myself, as in France or Turkey, (much less than in Italy,) yet there was
that in the manner of every person who approached me which conveyed the
presumption that I was as familiar with every thing about me as himself.
In Scotland, however, the Englishman is the “Sassenach,” and a stranger;
and, as I was always taken for one, I found myself once more invested
with that agreeable consequence which accompanies it, my supposed
prejudices consulted, my opinion about another country asked, and
comparisons referred to me as an _ex parte_ judge. I found here, as
abroad, too, that the Englishman was expected to pay more for trifling
services than a native, and that he would be much more difficult about
his accommodations, and more particular in his chance company. I was
amused at the hotel with an instance of the want of honor shown “the
prophet in his own country.” I went down to the coffee room for my
breakfast about noon, and found a remarkably fashionable, pale,
“Werter-like man,” excessively dressed, but with all the air of a
gentleman, sitting with a newspaper on one side of the fire. He offered
me the newspaper after a few minutes, but with the cold,
half-supercilious politeness which marks the dandy tribe, and strolled
off to the window. The landlord entered presently, and asked me if I had
any objection to breakfasting with that gentleman, as it would be a
convenience in serving it up. “None in the world,” I said, “but you had
better ask the other gentleman first.” “Hoot!” said Boniface, throwing
up his chin with an incredulous expression,—“it’s honor for the like o’
him. He’s joost a laddie born and brought up i’ the toon. I kenn’d him
weel.” And so enter breakfast for two. I found my companion a well-bred
man; rather surprised, however, if not vexed, to discover that I knew he
was of Inverness. He had been in the civil services of the East India
Company for some years (hence his paleness,) and had returned to
Scotland for his health. He was not the least aware that he was known,
apparently and he certainly had not the slightest trace of his Scotch
birth. The landlord told me afterward that his parents were poor, and he
had raised himself by his own cleverness alone, and yet it was “honor
for the like o’ him” to sit at table with a common stranger! The world
is really very much the same all over.

In the three days I passed at Inverness, I made the acquaintance of
several of the warm-hearted Highland chiefs, and found great difficulty
in refusing to go home with them. One of the “Lords of the Isles” was
among the number—a handsome, high-spirited youth, who would have been
the chivalrous Lord Ronald of a century ago, but was now only the best
shot, the best rider, the most elegant man, and the most “capital
fellow” in the west of Scotland. He had lost every thing but his “Isle”
in his London campaigns, and was beginning to look out for a wife to
mend his fortune and his morals. There was a peculiar style about all
these young men, something very like the manner of our high bred
Virginians—a free, gallant, self-possessed bearing, fiery and prompt,
yet full of courtesy. I was pleased with them altogether.

I had formed an agreeable acquaintance, on my passage from London to
Edinburgh in the steamer, with a gentleman bound to the Highlands for
the shooting season. He was engaged to pay a visit to Lord Lumley, with
whom I had myself promised to pass a week, and we parted at Edinboro’ in
the hope of meeting at Kinrara. On my return from Dalhousie, a fortnight
after, we met by chance at the hotel in Edinboro’, he having arrived the
same day, and having taken a passage like myself for Aberdeen. We made
another agreeable passage together, and he left me at the gate of Gordon
castle, proceeding north on another visit. I was sitting in the coffee
room at Inverness, pondering how I should reach Kinrara, when, enter
again my friend, to my great surprise, who informed me that Lord Lumley
had returned to England. Disappointed alike in our visit, we took a
passage together once more in the steamer from Inverness to Fort William
for the following morning. It was a singular train of coincidences, but
I was indebted to it for one of the most agreeable chance acquaintances
I have yet made.



                               LETTER XI.


   CALEDONIAN CANAL—DOGS—ENGLISH EXCLUSIVENESS—ENGLISH
     INSENSIBILITY OF FINE SCENERY—FLORA MACDONALD AND THE PRETENDER
     —HIGHLAND TRAVELLING.

We embarked early in the morning in the steamer which goes across
Scotland from sea to sea, by the half-natural, half-artificial passage
of the Caledonian canal. One long glen, as the reader knows, extends
quite through this mountainous country, and in its bosom lies a chain of
the loveliest lakes, whose extremities so nearly meet, that it seems as
if a blow of a spade should have run them together. Their different
elevations, however, made it an expensive work in the locks, and the
canal altogether cost ten times the original calculation.

I went on board with my London friend, who, from our meeting so
frequently, had now become my constant companion. The boat was crowded,
yet more with dogs than people; for every man, I think, had his brace of
terriers or his pointers, and every lady her hound or poodle, and they
were chained to every leg of a sofa, chair, portmanteau, and fixture in
the vessel. It was like a floating kennel, and every passenger was fully
occupied in keeping the peace between his own dog and his neighbor’s.
The same thing would have been a much greater annoyance in any other
country; but in Scotland the dogs are all of beautiful and thorough-bred
races, and it is a pleasure to see them. Half as many French pugs would
have been insufferable.

We opened into Loch Ness immediately, and the scenery was superb. The
waters were like a mirror; and the hills draped in mist, and rising one
or two thousand feet directly from the shore, and nothing to break the
wildness of the crags but the ruins of the constantly occurring castles,
perched like eyries upon their summits. You might have had the same
natural scenery in America, but the ruins and the thousand associations
would have been wanting; and it is this, much more than the mere beauty
of hill and lake, which makes the pleasure of travel. We ran close in to
a green cleft in the mountains on the southern shore, in which stands
one of the few old castles, still inhabited by the chief of his
clan—that of Fraser of Lovat, so well known in Scottish story. Our
object was to visit the Fall of Foyers, in sight of which it stands, and
the boat came off to the point, and gave us an hour for the excursion.
It was a pretty stroll up through the woods, and we found a cascade very
like the Turtmann in Switzerland, but with no remarkable feature which
would make it interesting in description.

I was amused after breakfast with what has always struck me on board
English steamers—the gradual division of the company into parties of
congenial rank or consequence. Not for conversation—for fellow
travellers of a day seldom become acquainted—but, as if it was a
process of crystallization, the well-bred and the half-bred, and the
vulgar, each separating to his natural neighbor, apparently from a mere
fitness of propinquity. This takes place sometimes, but rarely and in a
much less degree, on board an American steamer. There are, of course, in
England, as with us, those who are presuming and impertinent, but an
instance of it has seldom fallen under my observation. The English seem
to have an instinct of each other’s position in life. A gentleman enters
a crowd, looks about him, makes up his mind at once from whom an advance
of civility would be agreeable or the contrary, gets near the best set
without seeming to notice them, and if any chance accident brings on
conversation with his neighbor, you may be certain he is sure of his
man.

We had about a hundred persons on board, (Miss Inverarity, the singer,
among others,) and I could see no one who seemed to notice or enjoy the
lovely scenery we were passing through. I made the remark to my
companion, who was an old stager in London fashion, fifty, but still a
beau, and he was compelled to allow it, though piqued for the taste of
his countrymen. A baronet with his wife and sister sat in the corner
opposite us, and neither saw a feature of the scenery except by an
accidental glance in changing her position. Yet it was more beautiful
than most things I have seen that are celebrated, and the ladies, as my
friend said, looked like “nice persons.”

I had taken up a book while we were passing the locks at the junction of
Loch Ness and Loch Oich, and was reading aloud to my friend the
interesting description of Flora Macdonald’s heroic devotion to Prince
Charles Edward. A very lady-like girl, who sat next me, turned around as
I laid down the book, and informed me, with a look of pleased pride,
that the heroine was her grandmother. She was returning from the first
visit she had ever made to the Isle (I think of Skye,) of which the
Macdonalds were the hereditary lords, and in which the fugitive prince
was concealed. Her brother, an officer, just returned from India, had
accompanied her in her pilgrimage, and as he sat on the other side of
his sister he joined in the conversation, and entered into the details
of Flora’s history with great enthusiasm. The book belonged to the boat,
and my friend had brought it from below, and the coincidence was
certainly singular. The present chief of the Macdonalds was on board,
accompanying his relatives back to their home in Sussex; and on arriving
at Fort William, where the boat stopped for the night, the young lady
invited us to take tea with her at the inn; and for so improvised an
acquaintance, I have rarely made three friends more to my taste.

We had decided to leave the steamer at Fort William, and cross through
the heart of Scotland to Loch Lomond. My companion was very fond of
London hours, and slept late, knowing that the cart—the only conveyance
to be had in that country—would wait our time. I was lounging about the
inn, and amusing myself with listening to the Gaelic spoken by everybody
who belonged to the place, when the pleasant family with whom we had
passed the evening, drove out of the yard, (having brought their horses
down in the boat,) intending to proceed by land to Glasgow. We renewed
our adieus, on my part with the sincerest regret, and I strolled down
the road and watched them till they were out of sight, feeling that
(selfish world as it is,) there are some things that _look_ at least
like impulse and kindness—so like, that I can make out of them a very
passable happiness.

We mounted our cart at eleven o’clock, and with a bright sun, a clear,
vital air, a handsome and good-humored callant for a driver, and the
most renowned of Scottish scenery before us, the day looked very
auspicious. I could not help smiling at the appearance of my fashionable
friend sitting, with his well-poised hat and nicely-adjusted curls, upon
the springless cross-board of a most undisguised and unscrupulous
market-cart, yet in the highest good humor with himself and the world.
The boy sat on the shafts, and talked Gaelic to his horse; the mountains
and the lake, spread out before us, looked as if human eye had never
profaned their solitary beauty, and I enjoyed it all the more, perhaps,
that our conversation was of London and its delights; and the racy
scandal of the distinguished people of that great Babel amused me in the
midst of that which is most unlike it—pure and lovely nature.
Everything is seen so much better by contrast!

We crossed the head of Loch Linnhe, and kept down its eastern bank,
skirting the water by a winding road directly under the wall of the
mountains. We were to dine at Ballyhulish, and just before reaching it
we passed the opening of a glen on the opposite side of the lake, in
which lay, in a green paradise shut in by the loftiest rocks, one of the
most enviable habitations I have ever seen. I found on inquiry that it
was the house of a Highland chief, to whom Lord Dalhousie had kindly
given me a letter, but my lameness and the presence of my companion
induced me to abandon the visit; and, hailing a fishing-boat, I
dispatched my letters, which were sealed, across the loch, and we kept
on to the inn. We dined here; and I just mention, for the information of
scenery-hunters, that the mountain opposite Ballyhulish sweeps down to
the lake with a curve which is even more exquisitely graceful than that
of Vesuvius in its far-famed descent to Portici. That same inn of
Ballyhulish, by the way, stands in the midst of a scene, altogether,
that does not pass easily from the memory—a lonely and serene spot that
would recur to one in a moment of violent love or hate, when the heart
shrinks from the intercourse and observation of men.

We found the travellers’ book, at the inn, full of records of
admiration, expressed in all degrees of doggerel. People on the road
write very bad poetry. I found the names of one or two Americans, whom I
knew, and it was a pleasure to feel that my enjoyment would be
sympathized in. Our host had been a nobleman’s travelling valet, and he
amused us with his descriptions of our friends, every one of whom he
perfectly remembered. He had learned to use his eyes, at least, and had
made very shrewd guesses at the condition and tempers of his visiters.
His life, in that lonely inn, must be in sufficient contrast with his
former vocation.

We had jolted sixteen miles behind our Highland horse, but he came out
fresh for the remaining twenty of our day’s journey, and with cushions
of dried and fragrant fern, gathered and put in by our considerate
landlord, we crossed the ferry and turned eastward into the far-famed
and much boasted valley of Glencoe. The description of it must lie over
till my next letter.



                              LETTER XII.


   INVARENDEN—TARBOT—COCKNEY TOURISTS—LOCH LOMOND—INVERSNADE—ROB
     ROY’S CAVE—DISCOMFITURE—THE BIRTHPLACE OF HELEN M’GREGOR.

We passed the head of the valley near Tyndrum, where M’Dougal of Lorn
defeated the Bruce, and were half way up the wild pass that makes its
southern outlet, when our Highland driver, with a shout of delight,
pointed out to us a red deer, standing on the very summit of the highest
mountain above us. It was an incredible distance to see any living
thing, but he stood clear against the sky, in a relief as strong as if
he had been suspended in the air, and with his head up, and his chest
toward us, seemed the true monarch of the wild.

At Invarenden, Donald M’Phee begged for the discharge of himself and his
horse and cart from our service. He had come with us eighty miles, and
was afraid to venture farther on his travels, having never before been
twenty miles from the Highland village where he lived. It was amusing to
see the curiosity with which he looked about him, and the caution with
which he suffered the hostler at the inn to take the black mare out of
his sight. The responsibility of the horse and cart weighed heavily on
his mind, and he expressed his hope to “get her back safe,” with an
apprehensive resolution that would have become a knight-errant guiding
himself for his most perilous encounter. Poor Donald! how little he knew
how wide is the world, and how very like one part of it is to another!

Our host of Invarenden supplied us with another cart to take us down to
Tarbot, and having dined with a waterfall-looking inn at each of our two
opposite windows, (the inn stands in a valley between two mountains,) we
were committed to the care of his eldest boy, and jolted off for the
head of Loch Lomond.

I have never happened to see a traveller who had seen Loch Lomond in
perfectly good weather. My companion had been there every summer for
several years, and believed it always rained under Ben Lomond. As we
came in sight of the lake, however, the water looked like one sheet of
gold leaf, trembling, as if by the motion of fish below, but unruffled
by wind; and if paradise were made so fair, and had such waters in its
midst, I could better conceive than before, the unhappiness of Adam when
driven forth. The sun was just setting, and the road descended
immediately to the shore, and kept close under precipitous rocks, and
slopes of alternate cultivation and heather, to the place of our
destination. And a lovely place it is! Send me to Tarbot when I would
retreat from the world. It is an inn buried in a grove at the foot of
the hills, and set in a bend of the lake shore, like a diamond upon an
“orbed brow;” and the light in its kitchen, as we approached in the
twilight, was as interesting as a ray of the “first water” from the
same. We had now reached the route of the cockney tourists, and while we
perceived it agreeably in the excellence of the hotel, we perceived it
disagreeably in the price of the wines, and the presence of what my
friend called “unmitigated vulgarisms” in the coffee room. That is the
worst of England. The people are vulgar, but not vulgar enough. One
dances with the lazzaroni at Naples, when he would scarce think of
handing the newspaper to the “person” on a tour at Tarbot. Condescension
is the only agreeable virtue, I have made up my mind.

Well—it was moonlight. The wind was south and affectionate, and the
road in front of the hotel “fleck’d with silver,” and my friend’s wife,
and the corresponding object of interest to myself, being on the other
side of Ben Lomond and the Tweed, we had nothing for it after supper but
to walk up and down with one another, and talk of the past. In the
course of our ramble, we walked through an open gate, and ascending a
gravel walk, found a beautiful cottage, built between two mountain
streams, and ornamented with every device of taste and contrivance. The
mild pure torrents were led over falls, and brought to the thresholds of
bowers; and seats, and bridges, and winding paths, were distributed up
the steep channels, in a way that might make it a haunt for Titania. It
is the property, we found afterward, of a Scotch gentleman, and a great
summer retreat of the celebrated Jeffrey, his friend. It was one more
place to which my heart clung in parting.

Loch Lomond sat still for its picture in the morning, and after an early
breakfast, we took a row-boat, with a couple of Highlanders, for
Inversnade, and pulled across the lake with a kind of drowsy
delightfulness in the scene and air which I have never before found out
of Italy. We overshot our destination a little to look into Rob Roy’s
Cave, a dark den in the face of the rock, which has the look of his
vocation; and then pulling back along the shore, we were landed, in the
spray of a waterfall, at a cottage occupied by the boatmen of this
Highland ferry. From this point across to Loch Katrine, is some five
miles, and the scene of Scott’s novel of Rob Roy. It has been “done” so
often by tourists, that I leave all particular description of the
localities and scenery to the well-hammered remembrance of readers of
magazines, and confine myself to my own private adventures.

The distance between the lakes is usually performed by ladies on
donkeys, and by gentlemen on foot, but being myself rather tender-toed
with the gout, my companion started off alone, and I lay down on the
grass at Inversnade to wait the return of the long-eared troop, who were
gone across with an earlier party. The waterfall and the cottage just
above the edge of the lake, a sharp hill behind, closely wooded with
birch and fir, and, on a greensward platform in the rear of the house,
two Highland lasses and a laddie, treading down a stack of new hay, were
not bad circumstances in which to be left alone with the witcheries of
the great enchanter.

I must narrate here an adventure in which my own part was rather a
discomfiture, but which will show somewhat the manners of the people. My
companion had been gone half an hour, and I was lying at the foot of a
tree, listening to the waterfall and looking off on the lake, and
watching, by fits, the lad and lasses I have spoken of, who were
building a haystack between them, and chattering away most unceasingly
in Gaelic. The eldest of the girls was a tall, ill-favored damsel, merry
as an Oread, but as ugly as Donald Bean; and, after a while, I began to
suspect, by the looks of the boy below, that I had furnished her with a
new theme. She addressed some remark to me presently, and a skirmish of
banter ensued, which ended in a challenge to me to climb upon the stack.
It was about ten feet high, and shelving outward from the bottom, and my
Armida had drawn up the ladder. The stack was built, however, under a
high tree, and I was soon up the trunk, and, swinging off from a long
branch, dropped into the middle of the stack. In the same instant I was
raised in a grasp to which I could offer no resistance, and, with a
fling to which I should have believed the strength of few men equal,
thrown clear of the stack to the ground. I alighted on my back, with a
fall of, perhaps, twelve feet, and felt seriously hurt. The next moment,
however, my gentle friend had me in her arms (I am six feet high in my
stockings) and I was carried into the cottage, and laid on a flock bed,
before I could well decide whether my back was broken or no. Whiskey was
applied externally and internally, and the old crone, who was the only
inhabitant of the hovel, commenced a lecture in Gaelic, as I stood once
more sound upon my legs, which seemed to take effect upon the penitent,
though her victim was no wiser for it. I took the opportunity to look at
the frame which had proved itself of such vigorous power; but, except
arms of extraordinary length, she was like any other equally ugly,
middle-sized woman. In the remaining half hour, before the donkeys
arrived, we became the best of friends, and she set me off for Loch
Katrine, with a caution to the ass-driver to take care of me, which that
sandy-haired Highlander took as an excellent joke. And no wonder!

The long mountain glen between these two lakes was the home of Rob Roy,
and the Highlanders point out various localities, all commemorated in
Scott’s incomparable story. The house where Helen M’Gregor was born lies
a stone’s throw off the road to the left, and Rob Roy’s gun is shown by
an old woman who lives near by. He must have been rich in arms by the
same token; for, beside the well-authenticated one at Abbotsford, I have
seen some dozen guns, and twice as many daggers and shot-pouches, which
lay claim to the same honor. I paid my shilling to the old woman not the
less. She owed it to the pleasure I had received from Sir Walter’s
novel.

The view of Loch Lomond back from the highest point of the pass is
incomparably fine; at least, when I saw it; for sunshine and
temperature, and the effect of the light vapors on the hills, were at
their loveliest and most favorable. It looks more like the haunt of a
robber and his caterans, probably, in its more common garb of Scotch
mist; but, to my eye, it was a scene of the most Arcadian peace and
serenity. I dawdled along the five miles upon my donkey, with something
of an ache in my back, but a very healthful and sunny freedom from pain
and impatience at my heart. And so did _not_ Baillie Nicol Jarvey make
the same memorable journey.



                              LETTER XIII.


   HIGHLAND HUT, ITS FURNITURE AND INMATES—HIGHLAND AMUSEMENT AND
     DINNER—“ROB ROY,” AND SCENERY OF THE “LADY OF THE LAKE.”

The cottage-inn at the head of Loch Katrine, was tenanted by a woman who
might have been a horse-guardsman in petticoats, and who kept her smiles
for other cattle than the Sassenach. We bought her whiskey and milk,
praised her butter, and were civil to the little Highlandman at her
breast; but neither mother nor child were to be mollified. The rocks
were bare around, we were too tired for a pull in the boat, and three
mortal hours lay between us and the nearest event in our history. I
first penetrated, in the absence of our Hecate, to the inner room of the
shieling. On the wall hung a broadsword, two guns, a trophy or two of
deers’ horns, and a Sunday suit of plaid, philibeg and short red coat,
surmounted by a gallant bonnet and feather. Four cribs, like the berths
in a ship, occupied the farther side of the chamber, each large enough
to contain two persons; a snow-white table stood between the windows; a
sixpenny glass, with an eagle’s feather stuck in the frame, hung at such
a height that, “though tall of my hands,” I could just see my nose; and
just under the ceiling on the left was a broad and capacious shelf, on
which reposed apparently the old clothes of a century—a sort of place
where the gude-wife would have hidden Prince Charlie, or might rummage
for her grandmother’s baby-linen.

The heavy steps of the dame came over the threshold, and I began to
doubt, from the look in her eyes, whether I should get a blow of her
hairy arm or a “persuader” from the butt of a gun for my intrusion.
“What are ye wantin’ here?” she _speered_ at me, with a Helen
M’Gregor-to-Baillie-Nicol-Jarvie-sort of an expression.

“I was looking for a potato to roast, my good woman.”

“Is that a’? Ye’ll find it ayont, then!” and pointing to a bag in the
corner, she stood while I subtracted the largest, and then followed me
to the general kitchen and receiving-room, where I buried my
_improvista_ dinner in the remains of the peat fire, and congratulated
myself on my ready apology.

What to do while the potato was roasting! My English friend had already
cleaned his gun for amusement, and I had looked on. We had stoned the
pony till he had got beyond us in the morass, (small thanks to us, if
the dame knew it.) We had tried to make a chicken swim ashore from the
boat, we had fired away all my friend’s percussion caps, and there was
nothing for it but to converse _ à rigueur_. We lay on our backs till
the dame brought us the hot potato on a shovel, with oat-cake and
butter, and, with this Highland dinner, the last hour came decently to
its death.

An Englishman, with his wife and lady’s maid, came over the hills with a
boat’s crew; and a lassie, who was not very pretty, but who lived on the
lake and had found the means to get “Captain Rob” and his men pretty
well under her thumb. We were all embarked, the lassie in the
stern-sheets with the captain; and ourselves, though we “paid the Scot,”
of no more consideration than our portmanteaus. I was amused, for it was
the first instance I had seen in any country (my own not excepted) of
thorough emancipation from the distinction of superiors. Luckily the
girl was bent on showing the captain to advantage, and by ingenious
prompting and catechism she induced him to do what probably was his
custom when he could not better amuse himself—point out the localities
as the boat sped on, and quote the Lady of the Lake with an accent which
made it a piece of good fortune to have “crammed” the poem before hand.

The shores of the lake are flat and uninteresting at the head, but,
toward the scene of Scott’s romance, they rise into bold precipices, and
gradually become worthy of their celebrity. The Trosachs are a cluster
of small, green mountains, strewn, or rather piled, with shrubs and
mossy verdure, and from a distance you would think only a bird, or
Ranald of the Mist, could penetrate their labyrinthine recesses. Captain
Rob showed us successively the Braes of Balquidder, Rob Roy’s birth and
burial place, Benledi, and the crag from which hung, by the well woven
skirts of braidcloth, the worthy baillie of Glasgow; and, beneath a
precipice of remarkable wildness, the half intoxicated steersman raised
his arm, and began to repeat, in the most unmitigated gutterals:—

            “High _o’er_ the south huge Ben_ven_ue
            Down _to_ the lake _his_ masses threw,
            Crags, knowls, _and_ mounds _con_fusedly hurl’d
            The frag_ments_ of an earlier _wurruld_!” etc.

I have underlined it according to the captain’s judicious emphasis, and
in the last word have endeavored to spell after his remarkable
pronunciation. Probably to a Frenchman, however, it would have seemed
all very fine—for Captain Rob (I must do him justice, though he broke
the strap of my portmanteau) was as good-looking a ruffian as you would
sketch on a summer’s tour.

Some of the loveliest water I have ever seen in my life (and I am rather
an amateur of that element—to look at,) lies deep down at the bases of
these divine Trosachs. The usual approaches from lake to mountain (beach
or sloping shore,) are here dispensed with; and, straight up from the
deep water, rise the green precipices and bold and ragged rocks,
over-shadowing the glassy mirror below with teints like a cool corner in
a landscape of Ruysdael’s. It is something—(indeed on a second thought,
exceedingly) like—Lake George; only that the islands in this extremity
of Loch Katrine lie closer together, and permit the sun no entrance
except by a ray almost perpendicular. A painter will easily understand
the effect of this—the loss of all that _makes a surface_ to the water,
and the consequent far depth to the eye, as if the boat in which you
shot over it brought with it its own water and sent its ripple through
the transparent air. I write _currente calamo_, and have no time to
clear up my meaning, but it will be evident to all lovers of nature.

Captain Rob put up his helm for a little fairy green island, lying like
a lapfull of green moss on the water, and, rounding a point, we ran
suddenly into a cove sheltered by a tree, and in a moment the boat
grated on the pebbles of a natural beach perhaps ten feet in length. A
flight of winding steps, made roughly of roots and stones, ascended from
the water’s edge.

“Gentlemen and ladies!” said the captain, with a hiccup, “this is
Ellen’s Isle. This is the gnarled oak,” (catching at a branch of the
tree as the boat swung astern,) “and —— you’ll please to go up _them_
steps, and I’ll tell ye the rest in Ellen’s bower.”

The Highland lassie sprang on shore, and we followed up the steep
ascent, arriving breathless at last at the door of a fanciful bower,
built by Lord Willoughby D’Eresby, the owner of the island, exactly
after the description in the Lady of the Lake. The chairs were made of
crooked branches of trees and covered with deer-skins, the tables were
laden with armor and every variety of weapon, and the rough beams of the
building were hung with antlers and other spoils of the chase.

“Here’s where she lived!” said the captain, with the gravity of a
cicerone at the Forum, “and _noo_, if ye’ll come out, I’ll _show_ you
the echo!”

We followed to the highest point of the island, and the Highlandman gave
a scream that showed considerable practice, but I thought he would have
burst his throat in the effort. The awful echo went round, “as mentioned
in the bill of performance,” every separate mountain screaming back the
discord till you would have thought the Trosachs a crew of mocking
giants. It was a wonderful echo, but, like most wonders, I could have
been content to have had less for my money.

There was a “small silver beach” on the mainland opposite, and above it
a high mass of mountain.

“There,” said the captain, “gentlemen and ladies, is where Fitz-James
_blow’d_ his bugle, and waited for the ‘light shallop’ of Ellen Douglas;
and here, where you landed and came up _them_ steps, is where she
brought him to the bower, and the very tree’s still there—as you see’d
me tak’ hold of it—and over the hill, yonder, is where the gallant gray
giv’ out, and breathed _his_ last, and (will you turn round, if you
please, them that likes) yonder’s where Fitz-James met Red Murdoch that
killed Blanche of Devon, and right across this water _swum_ young Greme
that disdained the regular boat, and I s’pose on that lower step set the
old Harper and Ellen many a time a-watching for Douglas—and now, if
you’d like to hear the echo once more—”

“Heaven forbid!” was the universal cry; and, in fear of our ears, we put
the bower between us and Captain Rob’s lungs, and followed the Highland
girl back to the boat.

From Ellen’s Isle to the head of the small creek, so beautifully
described in the Lady of the Lake, the scenery has the same air of
lavish and graceful vegetation, and the same features of mingled
boldness and beauty. It is a spot altogether that one is sure to live
much in with memory. I see it as clearly now as then.

The whiskey had circulated pretty freely among the crew, and all were
more or less intoxicated. Captain Rob’s first feat on his legs was to
drop my friend’s gun case and break it to pieces, for which he instantly
got a cuff between the eyes from the boxing dandy, that would have done
the business for a softer head. The Scot was a powerful fellow, and I
anticipated a row; but the tremendous power of the blow and the skill
with which it was planted, quite subdued him. He rose from the grass as
white as a sheet, but quietly shouldered the portmanteau with which he
had fallen, and trudged on with sobered steps to the inn.

We took a post-chaise immediately for Callender, and it was not till we
were five miles from the foot of the lake that I lost my apprehensions
of an apparition of the Highlander from the darkening woods. We arrived
at Callender at nine, and the next morning at sunrise were on our way to
breakfast at Stirling.



                              LETTER XIV.


   SCOTTISH STAGES—THOROUGH-BRED SETTER—SCENERY—FEMALE PEASANTRY—
     MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS, STIRLING CASTLE.

The lakes of Scotland are without the limits of stage-coach and
post-horse civilization, and to arrive at these pleasant conveniences is
to be consoled for the corresponding change in the character of the
scenery. From Callander there is a coach to Stirling, and it was on the
top of the “Highlander,” (a brilliant red coach, with a picture of Rob
Roy on the panels,) that, with my friend and his dog, I was on the road,
bright and early, for the banks of the Teith. I have scarce done
justice, by the way, to my last mentioned companion, (a superb,
thorough-bred setter, who answered to the derogatory appellation of
Flirt,) for he had accompanied me in most of my wanderings for a couple
of months, and his society had been preferred to that of many a
reasoning animal on the road, in the frequent dearth of amusement.
Flirt’s pedigree had been taken on trust by my friend, the dog-fancier,
of whom he was bought, only knowing that he came of a famous race,
belonging to a gentleman living somewhere between Stirling and
Callander; and to determine his birthplace and get another of the same
breed, was a greater object with his master than to see all the lakes
and mountains of Caledonia. Poor Flirt was elevated to the highest seat
on the coach, little aware that his reputation for birth and breeding
depended on his recognising the scenes of his puppyhood—for if his
former master had told truly, these were the fields where his young
ideas had been taught a dog’s share in shooting, and his unconscious
tail and ears were now under watchful surveillance for a betrayal of his
presumed reminiscences.

The coach rolled on over the dew-damp road, crossing continually those
bright and sparkling rivulets, which gladden the favored neighborhood of
mountains; and the fields and farm houses took gradually the look of
thrift and care, which indicates an approach to a thickly settled
country. The castle of Doune, a lovely hunting seat of the Queen of
Scots, appeared in the distance, with its gray towers half-buried in
trees, when Flirt began to look before and behind, and take less notice
of the shabby gentleman on his left, who, from sharing with him a volant
breakfast of bread and bacon, had hitherto received the most of his
attention. We kept on at a pretty pace, and Flirt’s tail shifted sides
once or twice with a very decided whisk, and his intelligent head
gradually grew more erect upon his neck of white-and-tan. It was evident
he had travelled the road before. Still on, and as the pellucid Teith
began to reflect in her eddying mirror the towers of Castle Doune—a
scene worthy of its tender and chivalrous associations—a suppressed
whine and a fixed look over the fields to the right, satisfied us that
the soul of the setter was stirring up with the recognition of the past.
The coach was stopped and Flirt loosed from his chain, and, with a
promise to join me at Stirling at dinner, my friend “hied away” the
delighted dog over the hedge, and followed himself on foot, to visit, by
canine guidance, the birthplace of this accomplished family. It was
quite beautiful to see the fine creature beat the field over and over in
his impatience, returning to his slower-footed master, as if to hurry
him onward, and leaping about him with an extravagance eloquent of such
unusual joy. I lost sight of them by a turning in the road, and reverted
for consolation to that loveliest river, on whose bank I could have lain
(had I breakfasted) and dreamed till the sunset of the unfortunate
queen, for whose soft eyes and loving heart it perhaps flowed no more
brightly in the days of Rizzio, than now for mine and those of the early
marketers to Stirling.

The road was thronged with carts, and peasants in their best attire. The
gentleman who had provided against the enemy with a brown paper of bread
and bacon, informed me that it was market day. A very great proportion
of the country people were women and girls, walking all of them
barefoot, but with shoes in their hands, and gowns and bonnets that
would have eclipsed in finery the bevy of noble ladies at Gordon Castle.
Leghorn straw-hats and dresses of silk, with ribands of any quantity and
brilliancy, were the commonest articles. Feet excepted, however, (for
they had no triflers of pedestals, and stumped along the road with a
sovereign independence of pools and pebbles) they were a
wholesome-looking and rather pretty class of females; and, with the
exception of here and there a prim lassie who dropped her dress over her
feet while the coach passed, and hid her shoes under her handkerchief,
they seemed perfectly satisfied with their own mode of conveyance, and
gave us a smile in passing, which said very distinctly, “You’ll be there
before us, but it’s only seven miles, and we’ll foot it in time.” How
various are the joys of life! I went on with the coach, wondering
whether I ever could be reduced to find pleasure in walking ten miles
barefoot to a fair—and back again!

I thought again of Mary, as the turrets of the proud castle where she
was crowned became more distinct in the approach—but it is difficult in
entering a crowded town, with a real breakfast in prospect and live
Scotchmen about me, to remember with any continuous enthusiasm even the
most brilliant events in history.

               “Can history cut my hay or get my corn in?
                Or can philosophy vend it in the market?”

says somebody in the play, and with a similar thought I looked up at the
lofty towers of the home of Scotland’s kings, as the “Highlander” bowled
round its rocky base to the inn. The landlord appeared with his white
apron, “boots” with his ladder, the coachman and guards with their hints
to your memory; and, having ordered breakfast of the first, descended
the “convenience” of the second, and received a tip of the hat for a
shilling to the remaining two, I was at liberty to walk up stairs and
while away a melancholy half hour in humming such charitable stanzas as
would come uncalled to my aid.

                  “Oh for a plump fat leg of mutton,
                     Veal, lamb, capon, pig, and cony,
                   None is happy but a glutton,
                     None an ass but who wants money.”

So sang the servant of Diogenes, with an exceptionable morality, which,
nevertheless, it is difficult to get out of one’s head at Stirling, if
one has not already breakfasted.

                 *        *        *        *        *

I limped up the long street leading to the castle, stopping on the way
to look at a group of natives who were gaping at an advertisement just
stuck to the wall, offering to take emigrants to New York on terms
“ridiculously trifling.” Remembering the “bannocks o’ barley meal” I had
eaten for breakfast, the haddocks and marmalade, the cold grouse and
porridge, I longed to pull Sawney by the coat, and tell him he was just
as well where he was. Yet the temptation of the Greenock trader, “cheap
and nasty” though it were, was not uninviting to me!

I was met on the drawbridge of the castle by a trim corporal, who
offered to show me the lions for a consideration. I put myself under his
guidance, and he took me to Queen Mary’s apartments, used at present for
a mess-room, to the chamber where Earl Douglas was murdered, etc. etc.
etc., in particulars which are accurately treated of in the guide-books.
The pipers were playing in the court, and a company or two of a Highland
regiment, in their tartans and feathers, were under parade. This was
attractive metal to me, and I sat down on a parapet, where I soon struck
up a friendship with a curly-headed varlet, some four years old, who
shouldered my stick without the ceremony of “by-your-leave,” and
commenced the drill upon an unwashed regiment of his equals in a
sunshiny corner below. It was delightful to see their gravity, and the
military air with which they cocked their bonnets and stuck out their
little round stomachs at the word of command. My little Captain
Cockchafer returned my stick like a knight of honor, and familiarly
climbed upon my knee to repose after his campaign, very much to the
surprise of his mother, who was hanging out to dry, what looked like his
father’s inexpressibles, from a window above, and who came down and
apologized in the most unmitigated Scotch for the liberty the “babby”
had taken with “his honor.” For the child of a camp-follower, it was a
gallant boy, and I remember him better than the drill-sergeant or the
piper.

On the north side of Stirling Castle the view is bounded by the
Grampians and laced by the winding Teith; and just under the battlements
lies a green hollow called the “King’s Knot,” where the gay tournaments
were held, and the “Ladies’ Hill,” where sat the gay and lovely
spectators of the chivalry of Scotland. Heading Hill is near it, where
James executed Albany and his sons, and the scenes and events of history
and poetry are thickly sown at your feet. Once recapitulated,
however—the Bruce and the Douglas, Mary and the “Gudeman of
Ballengiech,” once honored in memory—the surpassing beauty of the
prospect from Stirling towers, engross the fancy and fill the eye. It
was a day of predominant sunshine, with here and there the shadow of a
cloud darkening a field of stubble or a bend of the river, and I
wandered round from bastion to bastion, never sated with gazing, and
returning continually to the points from which the corporal had hurried
me on. There lay the Forth—here Bannockburn and Falkirk, and all bathed
and flooded with beauty. Let him who thinks the earth ill-looking, peep
at it through the embrasures of Stirling Castle.

My friend, the corporal, got but sixteen pence a day, and had a wife and
children—but much as I should dislike all three as disconnected items,
I envied him his lot altogether. A garrison life at Stirling, and plenty
of leisure, would reconcile one almost to wife and children and a couple
of pistareens _per diem_.



                               LETTER XV.


   SCOTCH SCENERY—A RACE—CHEAPNESS OF LODGINGS IN EDINBURGH—
     ABBOTTSFORD—SCOTT—LORD DALHOUSIE—THOMAS MOORE—JANE PORTER—
     THE GRAVE OF SCOTT.

I was delighted to find Stirling rather worse than Albany in the matter
of steamers. I had a running fight for my portmanteau and carpet-bag
from the hotel to the pier, and was at last embarked in entirely the
wrong boat, by sheer force of pulling and lying. They could scarce have
put me in a greater rage between Cruttenden’s and the Overslaugh.

The two rival steamers, the Victory and the Ben Lomond, got under way
together; the former, in which I was a compulsory passenger, having a
flagelet and a bass drum by way of a band, and the other a dozen lusty
performers and most of the company. The river was very narrow and the
tide down, and though the other was the better boat, we had the bolder
pilot, and were lighter laden and twice as desperate. I found my own
spunk stirred irresistibly after the first mile. We were contending
against odds, and there was something in it that touched my Americanism
nearly. We had three small boys mounted on the box over the wheel, who
cheered and waved their hats at our momentary advantages; but the
channel was full of windings, and if we gained on the larboard tack we
lost on the starboard. Whenever we were quite abreast and the wheels
touched with the narrowness of the river, we marched our flagelet and
bass-drum close to the enemy and gave them a blast “to wake the dead,”
taking occasion, during our moments of defeat, to recover breath and ply
the principal musician with beer and encouragement. It was a scene for
Cooper to describe. The two pilots stood broad on their legs, every
muscle on the alert; and though Ben Lomond wore the cleaner jacket,
Victory had the “varminter” look. You would have bet on Victory to have
seen the man. He was that wickedest of all wicked things, a wicked
Scotchman—a sort of saint-turned-sinner. The expression of early good
principles was glazed over with drink and recklessness, like a scene
from the Inferno painted over a Madonna of Raphael’s. It was written in
his face that he was a transgressor against knowledge. We were perhaps,
a half-dozen passengers, exclusive of the boys, and we rallied round our
Bardolph nosed hero and applauded his skilful manœuvres; sun, steam, and
excitement together, producing a temperature on deck that left nothing
to dread from the boiler. As we approached a sharp bend in the course of
the stream, I perceived by the countenance of our pilot, that it was to
be a critical moment. The Ben Lomond was a little ahead, but we had the
advantage of the inside of the course, and very soon, with the
commencement of the curve, we gained sensibly on the enemy, and I saw
clearly that we should cut her off by a half-boat’s length. The three
boys on the wheel began to shout, the flagelet made all split again with
“the Campbells are comin’,” the bass-drum was never so belabored, and
“Up with your helm!” cried every voice, as we came at the rate of twelve
miles in the hour sharp on to the angle of mud and bulrushes, and, to
our utter surprise, the pilot jammed down his tiller, and ran the
battered nose of the Victory plump in upon the enemy’s forward quarter!
The next moment we were going it like mad down the middle of the river,
and far astern stuck the Ben Lomond in the mud, her paddles driving her
deeper at every stroke, her music hushed, and the crowd on her deck
standing speechless with amazement. The flagelet and bass-drum marched
aft and played louder than ever, and we were soon in the open Frith,
getting on merrily, but without competition, to the sleeping isle of
Inchkeith. Lucky Victory! luckier pilot! to have found an historian! How
many a red-nosed Palinurus—how many a bass drum and flagelet, have done
their duty as well, yet achieved no immortality.

I was glad to see “Auld Reekie” again, though the influx of strangers to
the “Scientific Meeting” had over-run every hotel, and I was an hour or
two without a home. I lit at last upon a good old Scotchwoman who had “a
flat” to herself, and who, for the sum of one shilling and sixpence per
diem, proposed to transfer her only boarder from his bed to a sofa, as
long as I should wish to stay. I made a humane remonstrance against the
inconvenience to her friend. “It’s only a Jew,” she said, “and they’re
na difficult, puir bodies!” The Hebrew came in while we were debating
the point—a smirking gentleman, with very elaborate whiskers, much
better dressed than the proposed usurper of his sanctum—and without the
slightest hesitation professed that nothing would give him so much pain
as to stand in the way of his landlady’s interest. So for
eighteen-pence—and I could not prevail on her to take another
farthing—I had a Jew put to inconvenience, a bed, boots and clothes
brushed, and Mrs. Mac—to sit up for me till two in the morning—what
the Jew himself would have called a “cheap article.”

                 *        *        *        *        *

I returned to my delightful quarters at Dalhousie Castle on the
following day, and among many excursions in the neighborhood during the
ensuing week, accomplished a visit to Abbottsford. This most interesting
of all spots has been so minutely and so often described, that a
detailed account of it would be a mere repetition. Description, however,
has anticipated nothing to the visiter. The home of Sir Walter Scott
would possess an interest to thrill the heart, if it were as well
painted to the eye of fancy as the homes of his own heroes.

It is a dreary country about Abbottsford, and the house itself looks
from a distance like a small, low castle, buried in stunted trees, on
the side of a long, sloping upland or moor. The river is between you and
the chateau as you come down to Melrose from the north, and you see the
gray towers opposite you from the road at the distance of a mile—the
only habitable spot in an almost desolate waste of country. From the
town of Melrose you approach Abbottsford by a long, green lane, and,
from the height of the hedge and the descending ground on which the
house is built, you would scarce suspect its vicinity till you enter a
small gate on the right and find yourself in an avenue of young trees.
This conducts you immediately to the door, and the first effect on me
was that of a spacious castle seen through a reversed glass. In fact it
is a kind of castle cottage—not larger than what is often called a
cottage in England, yet to the minutest point and proportion a model of
an ancient castle. The deception in the engravings of the place lies in
the scale. It seems like a vast building as usually drawn.

One or two hounds were lounging round the door; but the only tenant of
the place was a slovenly housemaid, whom we interrupted in the profane
task of scrubbing the furniture in the library. I could have pitched her
and her scrubbing brushes out of the window with a good will. It is
really a pity that this sacred place, with its thousand valuable and
irreplaceable curiosities, should be so carelessly neglected. We were
left to wander over the house and the museum as we liked. I could have
brought away—and nothing is more common than this species of theft in
England—twenty things from that rare collection, of which the value
could scarce be estimated. The pistols and dagger of Rob Roy, and a
hundred equally valuable and pocketable things, lay on the shelves
unprotected, quite at the mercy of the ill-disposed, to say nothing of
the merciless “cleanings” of the housemaid. The present Sir Walter Scott
is a captain of dragoons, with his regiment in Ireland, and the place is
never occupied by the family. Why does not _Scotland_ buy Abbotsford,
and secure to herself, while it is still perfect, the home of her great
magician, and the spot that to after ages would be, if preserved in its
curious details, the most interesting in Great Britain?

After showing us the principal rooms, the woman opened a small closet
adjoining the study, in which hung the last clothes that Sir Walter had
worn. There was the broad-skirted blue coat with large buttons, the
plaid trousers, the heavy shoes, the broad-rimmed hat and stout
walking-stick—the dress in which he rambled about in the morning, and
which he laid off when he took to his bed in his last illness. She took
down the coat and gave it a shake and a wipe of the collar, as if he
were waiting to put it on again!

It was encroaching somewhat on the province of Touchstone and Wamba to
moralize on a suit of clothes—but I am convinced I got from them a
better idea of Scott, as he was in his familiar hours, than any man can
have who has seen neither him nor them. There was a character in the hat
and shoes. The coat was an honest and hearty coat. The stout, rough
walking-stick, seemed as if it could have belonged to no other man. I
appeal to my kind friends and fellow travellers who were there three
days before me (I saw their names on the book,) if the same impression
was not made on them.

I asked for the room in which Sir Walter died. She showed it to me, and
the place where the bed had stood, which was now removed. I was curious
to see the wall or the picture over which his last looks must have
passed. Directly opposite the foot of the bed hung a remarkable
picture—the head of Mary Queen of Scots, in a dish taken after her
execution. The features were composed and beautiful. On either side of
it hung spirited drawings from the Tales of a Grandfather—one very
clever sketch, representing the wife of a border-knight serving up her
husband’s spurs for dinner, to remind him of the poverty of the larder
and the necessity of a foray. On the left side of the bed was a broad
window to the west—the entrance of the last light to his eyes—and from
hence had sped the greatest spirit that has walked the world since
Shakspeare. It almost makes the heart stand still to be silent and alone
on such a spot.

What an interest there is in the trees of Abbotsford—planted every one
by the same hand that waved its wand of enchantment over the world! One
walks among them as if they had thoughts and memories.

Everybody talks of Scott who has ever had the happiness of seeing him,
and it is strange how interesting it is even when there is no anecdote,
and only the most commonplace interview is narrated. I have heard, since
I have been in England, hundreds of people describe their conversations
with him, and never the dullest without a certain interest far beyond
that of common topics. Some of these have been celebrated people, and
there is the additional weight that they were honored friends of Sir
Walter’s.

Lord Dalhousie told me that he was Scott’s playfellow at the high school
of Edinboro’. There was a peculiar arrangement of the benches with a
head and foot, so that the boys sat above or below, according to their
success in recitation. It so happened that the warmest seat in the
school, that next to the stove, was about two from the bottom, and this
Scott, who was a very good scholar, contrived never to leave. He stuck
to his seat from autumn till spring, never so deficient as to get down,
and never choosing to answer rightly if the result was to go up. He was
very lame, and seldom shared in the sports of the other boys, but was a
prodigious favorite, and loved to sit in the sunshine, with a knot of
boys around him, telling stories. Lord Dalhousie’s friendship with him
was uninterrupted through life, and he invariably breakfasted at the
castle on his way to and from Edinboro’.

I met Moore at a dinner party not long since, and Scott was again, (as
at a previous dinner I have described) the subject of conversation. “He
was the soul of honesty,” said Moore. “When I was on a visit to him, we
were coming up from Kelso at sunset, and as there was to be a fine moon,
I quoted to him his own rule for seeing ‘fair Melrose aright,’ and
proposed to stay an hour and enjoy it. ‘Bah!’ said he, ‘_I_ never saw it
by moonlight.’ We went, however; and Scott, who seemed to be on the most
familiar terms with the cicerone, pointed to an empty niche and said to
him, ‘I think, by the way, that I have a Virgin and Child that will just
do for your niche. I’ll send it to you!’ ‘How happy you have made that
man!’ said I to him. ‘Oh,’ said Scott, ‘it was always in the way, and
Madame S. is constantly grudging it house-room. We’re well rid of it.’

“Any other man,” said Moore, “would have allowed himself at least the
credit of a kind action.”

I have had the happiness since I have been in England of passing some
weeks at a country house where Miss Jane Porter was an honored guest,
and, among a thousand of the most delightful reminiscences that were
ever treasured, she has told me a great deal of Scott, who visited at
her mother’s as a boy. She remembers him then as a good-humored lad, but
very fond of fun, who used to take her younger sister, (Anna Maria
Porter) and frighten her by holding her out of the window. Miss Porter
had not seen him since that age; but, after the appearance of Guy
Mannering, she heard that he was in London, and drove with a friend to
his house. Not quite sure (as she modestly says) of being remembered,
she sent in a note, saying, that if he remembered the Porters, whom he
used to visit, Jane would like to see him. He came rushing to the door,
and exclaimed, “_Remember_ you! Miss Porter,” and threw his arms about
her neck and burst into tears. After this he corresponded constantly
with the family, and about the time of his first stroke of paralysis,
when his mind and memory failed him, the mother of Miss Porter died, and
Scott sent a letter of condolence. It began—“Dear Miss Porter”—but, as
he went on, he forgot himself, and continued the letter as if addressed
to her mother, ending it with—“And now, dear Mrs. Porter, farewell! and
believe me yours for ever (as long as there is anything of me) Walter
Scott.” Miss Porter bears testimony, like every one else who knew him,
to his greatheartedness no less than to his genius.

I am not sure that others like as well as myself these “nothings” about
men of genius. I would rather hear the conversation between Scott and a
peasant on the road, for example, than the most piquant anecdote of his
brighter hours. I like a great mind in dishabille.

We returned by Melrose Abbey, of which I can say nothing new, and drove
to Dryburgh to see the grave of Scott. He is buried in a rich old Gothic
corner of a ruin—fittingly. He chose the spot, and he sleeps well. The
sunshine is broken on his breast by a fretted and pinnacled window,
over-run with ivy, and the small chapel in which he lies is open to the
air, and ornamented with the mouldering scutcheons of his race. There
are few more beautiful ruins than Dryburgh Abbey, and Scott lies in its
sunniest and most fanciful nook—a grave that seems divested of the
usual horrors of a grave.

We were ascending the Gala-water at sunset, and supped at Dalhousie,
after a day crowned with thought and feeling.



                               LETTER XVI


   BORDER SCENERY—COACHMANSHIP—ENGLISH COUNTRY-SEATS—THEIR
     EXQUISITE COMFORT—OLD CUSTOMS IN HIGH PRESERVATION—PRIDE AND
     STATELINESS OF THE LANCASHIRE AND CHESHIRE GENTRY—THEIR
     CONTEMPT FOR PARVENUS.

If Scott had done nothing else, he would have deserved well of his
country for giving an interest to the barren wastes by which Scotland is
separated from England. “A’ the blue bonnets” must have had a melancholy
march of it “Over the Border.” From Gala-Water to Carlisle it might be
anywhere a scene for the witches’ meeting in Macbeth. We bowled away at
nearly twelve miles in the hour, however, (which would unwind almost any
“serpent of care” from the heart,) and if the road was not lined with
witches and moss-troopers, it was well macadamized. I got a treacherous
supper at Howick, where the Douglas pounced upon Sir Alexander Ramsay;
and, recovering my good humor at Carlisle, grew happier as the fields
grew greener, and came down by Kendal and its emerald valleys with the
speed of an arrow and the light heartedness of its feather. How little
the farmer thinks when he plants his hedges and sows his fields, that
the passing wayfarer will anticipate the gleaners and gather sunshine
from his ripening harvest.

I was admiring the fine old castle of Lancaster, (now desecrated to the
purposes of a county jail,) when our thirteen-mile whip ran over a
phæton standing quietly in the road, and spilt several women and
children, as you may say, _en passant_. The coach must arrive, though it
kill as many as Juggernaut, and Jehu neither changed color, nor spoke a
word, but laid the silk over his leaders to make up the back-water of
the jar, and rattled away up the street, with the guard blowing the
French horn to the air of “Smile again, my bonny lassie.” Nobody threw
stones after us; the horses were changed in a minute and three quarters,
and away we sped from the town of the “red nose.” There was a cool,
you-know-where-to-find-me sort of indifference in this adventure, which
is peculiarly English. I suppose if his leaders had changed suddenly
into griffins, he would have touched them under the wing and kept his
pace.

Bound on a visit to —— Hall in Lancashire, I left the coach at
Preston. The landlady of the Red Lion became very suddenly anxious that
I should not take cold when she found out the destination of her
post-chaise. I arrived just after sunset at my friend’s lodge, and
ordering the postillion to a walk, drove leisurely through the gathering
twilight to the Hall. It was a mile of winding road through the
peculiarly delicious scenery of an English park, the game visible in
every direction, and the glades and woods disposed with that breadth and
luxuriance of taste that make the country houses of England palaces in
Arcadia. Anxious as I had been to meet my friend, whose hospitality I
had before experienced in Italy, I was almost sorry when the
closely-shaven sward and glancing lights informed me that my twilight
drive was near its end.

An arrival in a strange house in England seems, to a foreigner, almost
magical. The absence of all the bustle consequent on the same event
abroad, the silence, respectfulness, and self-possession of the
servants, the ease and expedition with which he is installed in a
luxurious room, almost with his second breath under the roof—his
portmanteau unstrapped, his toilet laid out, his dress shoes and
stockings at his feet, and the fire burning as if he had sat by it all
day—it is like the golden facility of a dream. “Dinner at seven!” are
the only words he has heard, and he finds himself (some three minutes
having elapsed since he was on the road) as much at home as if he had
lived there all his life, and pouring the hot water into his wash-basin
with the feeling that comfort and luxury in this country are very much
matters of course.

The bell rings for dinner, and the new-comer finds his way to the
drawing-room. He has not seen his host, perhaps, for a year; but his
_entrée_ is anything but a scene. A cordial shake of the hand, a simple
inquiry after his health, while the different members of the family
collect in the darkened room, and the preference of his arm by the lady
of the house to walk into dinner, are all that would remind him that he
and his host had ever parted. The soup is criticised, the weather
“resumed,” as the French have it, gravity prevails, and the wine that he
used to drink is brought him without question by the remembering butler.
The stranger is an object of no more attention than any other person,
except in the brief “glad to see you,” and the accompanying just
perceptible nod with which the host drinks wine with him; and, not even
in the _abandon_ of after-dinner conversation, are the mutual
reminiscences of the host and his friend suffered to intrude on the
indifferent portion of the company. The object is the general enjoyment,
and you are not permitted to monopolize the sympathies of the hour. You
thus escape the aversion with which even a momentary favorite is looked
upon in society, and in your turn you are not neglected, or bored with a
sensation, on the arrival of another. In what other country is
civilization carried to the same rational perfection?

I was under the hands of a physician during the week of my stay at
—— Hall, and only crept out with the lizards for a little sunshine at
noon. There was shooting in the park for those who liked it, and fox
hunting in the neighborhood for those who could follow, but I was
content (upon compulsion) to be innocent of the blood of hares and
partridges, and the ditches of Lancashire are innocent of mine. The
well-stocked library, with its caressing chairs, was a paradise of
repose after travel; and the dinner, with its delightful society,
sufficed for the day’s event.

My host was himself very much of a cosmopolite; but his neighbors, one
or two most respectable squires of the old school among them, had the
usual characteristics of people who have passed their lives on one spot,
and though gentlemanlike and good-humored, were rather difficult to
amuse. I found none of the uproariousness which distinguished the Squire
Western of other times. The hale fox-hunter was in white cravat and
black coat, and took wine and politics moderately; and his wife and
daughters, though silent and impracticable, were well-dressed, and
marked by that indefinable stamp of “blood,” visible no less in the
gentry than in the nobility of England.

I was delighted to encounter at my friend’s table one or two of the old
English peculiarities, gone out nearer the metropolis. Toasted cheese
and spiced ale—“familiar creatures” in common life—were here served up
with all the circumstance that attended them when they were not
disdained as the allowance of maids of honor. On the disappearance of
the pastry, a massive silver dish, chased with the ornate elegance of
ancient plate, holding coals beneath, and protected by a hinged cover,
was set before the lady of the house. At the other extremity of the
table stood a “peg tankard” of the same fashion, in the same massive
metal, with two handles, and of an almost fabulous capacity. Cold cheese
and port were at a discount. The celery, albeit both modish and popular,
was neglected. The crested cover erected itself on its hinge, and
displayed a flat surface, covered thinly with blistering cheese, with a
_soupçon_ of brown in its complexion, quivering and delicate, and of a
most stimulating odor. A little was served to each guest, and commended
as it deserved, and then the flagon’s head was lifted in its turn by the
staid butler, and the master of the house drank first. It went around
with the sun, not disdained by the ladies’ lips in passing, and came to
me, something lightened of its load. As a stranger I was advised of the
law before lifting it to my head. Within, from the rim to the bottom,
extended a line of silver pegs, supposed to contain, in the depth from
one to the other, a fair draught for each bibber. The flagon must not be
taken from the lips, and the penalty of drinking deeper than the first
peg below the surface, was to drink to the second—a task for the friar
of Copmanhurst. As the visible measure was of course lost when the
tankard was dipped, it required some practice or a cool judgment not to
exceed the draught. Raising it with my two hands, I measured the
distance with my eye, and watched till the floating argosy of toast
should swim beyond the reach of my nose. The spicy odor ascended
gratefully to the brain. The cloves and cinnamon clung in a dark circle
to the edges. I drank without drawing breath, and complacently passed
the flagon. As the sea of all settled to a calm, my next neighbor
silently returned the tankard. I had exceeded the draught. There was a
general cry of “drink! drink!” and sounding my remaining capacity with
the plummet of a long breath, I laid my hands once more on the vessel,
and should have paid the penalty or perished in the attempt, but for the
grace shown me as a foreigner, at the intercession of that sex
distinguished for its mercy.

This adherence to the more hearty viands and customs of olden time, by
the way, is an exponent of a feeling sustained with peculiar tenacity in
that part of England. Cheshire and Lancashire are the stronghold of that
race peculiar to this country, the _gentry_. In these counties the
peerage is no authority for gentle birth. A title unsupported by
centuries of honorable descent, is worse than nothing; and there is many
a squire, living in his immemorial “Hall,” who would not exchange his
name and pedigree for the title of ninety-nine in a hundred of the
nobility of England. Here reigns _aristocracy_. Your Baron Rothschild,
or your new-created lord from the Bank or the Temple, might build
palaces in Cheshire, and live years in the midst of its proud gentry
unvisited. They are the cold cheese, celery, and port, in comparison
with the toasted cheese and spiced ale.



                              LETTER XVII.


   ENGLISH CORDIALITY AND HOSPITALITY, AND THE FEELINGS AWAKENED BY
     IT—LIVERPOOL, UNCOMFORTABLE COFFEE-HOUSE THERE—TRAVELLING
     AMERICANS—NEW YORK PACKETS—THE RAILWAY—MANCHESTER.

England would be a more pleasant country to travel in if one’s feelings
took root with less facility. In the continental countries, the local
ties are those of the mind and the senses. In England they are those of
the affections. One wanders from Italy to Greece, and from Athens to
Ephesus, and returns and departs again; and, as he gets on shipboard, or
mounts his horse or his camel, it is with a sigh over some picture or
statue left behind, some temple or waterfall—perhaps some cook or
vintage. He makes his last visit to the Fount of Egeria, or the Venus of
the Tribune—to the Caryatides of the Parthenon, or the Cascatelles of
Tivoli—or pathetically calls for his last bottle of untransferable
lachra christi, or his last _côtelettes provençales_. He has “five
hundred friends” like other people, and has made the usual continental
intimacies—but his valet-de-place takes charge of his
adieus—(distributes his “p. p. c’s” for a penny each,) and he forgets
and is forgotten by those he leaves behind, ere his passport is recorded
at the gates. In all these countries, it is only as a resident or a
native that you are treated with kindness or admitted to the penetralia
of domestic life. You are a bird of passage, expected to contribute a
feather to every nest, but welcomed to none. In England this same
disqualification becomes a claim. The name of a stranger opens the
private house, sets you the chair of honor, prepares your bed, and makes
everything that contributes to your comfort or pleasure temporarily your
own. And when you take your departure, your host has informed himself of
your route, and provided you with letters to his friends, and you may go
through the country from end to end, and experience everywhere the same
confiding and liberal hospitality. Every foreigner who has come
well-introduced to England, knows how unexaggerated is this picture.

I was put upon the road again by my kind friend, and with a strong west
wind coming off the Atlantic, drove along within sound of the waves, on
the road to Liverpool. It was a mild wind, and came with a welcome—for
it was freighted with thoughts of home. Goethe says, we are never
separated from our friends as long as the streams run down from them to
us. Certain it is, that distance seems less that is measured by waters
and winds. America seemed near, with the ocean at my feet and only its
waste paths between. I sent my heart over (against wind and tide) with a
blessing and a prayer.

There are good inns, I believe, at Liverpool, but the coach put me down
at the dirtiest and worst specimen of a public house that I have
encountered in England. As I was to stay but a night, I overcame the
prejudice of the first _coup d’œil_, and made the best of a dinner in
the coffee room. It was crowded with people, principally merchants, I
presumed, and the dinner hour having barely passed, most of them were
sitting over their wine or toddy at the small tables, discussing prices
or reading the newspapers. Near me were two young men, whose faces I
thought familiar to me, and with a second look I resolved them into two
of my countrymen, who, I found out presently by their conversation, were
eating their first dinner in England. They were gentlemanlike young men,
of good education, and I pleased myself with looking about and imagining
the comparison they would draw, with their own country fresh in their
recollection, between it and this. I could not help feeling how
erroneous in this case would be a first impression. The gloomy coffee
room, the hurried and uncivil waiters, the atrocious cookery, the bad
air, greasy tables, filthy carpet, and unsocial company—and this one of
the most popular and crowded inns of the first commercial town in
England! My neighbors themselves, too, afforded me some little
speculation. They were a fair specimen of the young men of our country,
and after several years’ exclusive conversance with other nations, I was
curious to compare an untravelled American with the Europeans around me.
I was struck with the exceeding _ambitiousness_ of their style of
conversation. Dr. Pangloss himself would have given them a degree. They
called nothing by its week-day name, and avoided with singular
pertinacity exactly that upon which the modern English are as
pertinaciously bent—a concise homeliness of phraseology. They were
dressed much better than the people about them, (who were apparently in
the same sphere of life,) and had on the whole a superior air—owing
possibly to the custom prevalent in America of giving young men a
university education before they enter into trade. Like myself, too,
they had not yet learned the English accomplishment of total
unconsciousness in the presence of others. When not conversing they did
not study profoundly the grain of the mahogany, nor gaze with solemn
earnestness into the bottom of their wine-glasses, nor peruse with the
absorbed fixedness of Belshazzar, the figures on the wall. They looked
about them with undisguised curiosity, ordered a great deal more wine
than they wanted (_very_ American, that!) and were totally without the
self-complacent, self-amused, sober-felicity air which John Bull assumes
after his cheese in a coffee room.

I did not introduce myself to my countrymen, for an American is the last
person in the world with whom one should depart from the ordinary rules
of society. Having no fixed rank either in their own or a foreign
country, they construe all uncommon civility into either a freedom, or a
desire to patronise—and the last is the unpardonable sin. They called
after a while for a “mint julep,” (unknown in England,) for slippers,
(rather an unusual call also—gentlemen usually wearing their own,) and
seemed very much surprised on asking for candles, at being ushered to
bed by the chambermaid.

I passed the next morning in walking about Liverpool. It is singularly
like New York in its general air, and quite like it in the character of
its population. I presume I must have met many of my countrymen, for
there were some who passed me in the street whom I could have sworn to.
In a walk to the American consul’s, (to whose polite kindness I, as well
as all my compatriots, have been very much indebted,) I was lucky enough
to see a New York packet drive into the harbor under full sail—as
gallant a sight as you would wish to see. It was blowing rather stiffly,
and she ran up to her anchorage like a bird, and taking in her canvass
with the speed of a man-of-war, was lying in a few moments with her head
to the tide, as neat and as tranquil as if she had slept for the last
month at her moorings. I could feel in the air that came ashore from
her, that I had letters on board.

                 *        *        *        *        *

Anxious to get on to Cheshire, where, as they say of the mails, I had
been due some days, and very anxious to get rid of the perfume of beer,
beefsteaks, and bad soup, with which I had become impregnated at the
inn, I got embarked in an omnibus at noon, and was taken to the railway.
I was just in time, and down we dived into the long tunnel, emerging
from the darkness at a pace that made my hair sensibly tighten and hold
on with apprehension. Thirty miles in the hour is pleasant going when
one is a little accustomed to it. It gives one such a contempt for time
and distance! The whizzing past of the return trains, going in the other
direction with the same velocity, making you recoil in one second, and a
mile off the next—was the only thing which, after a few minutes, I did
not take to very kindly. There were near a hundred passengers, most of
them precisely the class of English which we see in our country—the
fags of Manchester and Birmingham—a class, I dare say, honest and
worthy, but much more to my taste in their own country than mine.

I must confess to a want of curiosity respecting spinning-jennies. Half
an hour of Manchester contented me, yet in that half hour I was cheated
to the amount of four and-six-pence—unless the experience was worth the
money. Under a sovereign I think it not worth while to lose one’s
temper, and I contented myself with telling the man (he was a coach
proprietor) as I paid him the second time for the same thing in the
course of twenty minutes, that the time and trouble he must have had in
bronzing his face to that degree of impudence gave him some title to the
money. I saw some pretty scenery between Manchester and my destination,
and having calculated my time very accurately, I was set down at the
gates of —— Hall, as the dressing bell for dinner came over the park
upon the wind. I found another English welcome, passed three weeks amid
the pleasures of English country life, departed as before with regrets,
and without much more incident or adventure reached London on the first
of November, and established myself for the winter.



                        SECOND VISIT TO ENGLAND.


                                  Ship Gladiator, off the Isle of Wight,
                                            Evening of June 9th, 1839.

The bullet which preserves the perpendicular of my cabin-lamp is at last
still, I congratulate myself; and with it my optic nerve resumes its
proper and steady function. The vagrant tumblers, the peripatetic
teeth-brushes, the dancing stools, the sidling wash-basins and
_et-ceteras_, have returned to a steady life. The creaking bulkheads cry
no more. I sit on a trunk which will not run away with me, and pen and
paper look up into my face with their natural sobriety and attention. I
have no apology for not writing to you, except want of event since we
parted. There is not a milestone in the three thousand four hundred
miles I have travelled. “Travelled!” said I. I am as unconscious of
having moved from the wave on which you left me at Staten Island as the
prisoner in the hulk. I have pitched forward and backward, and rolled
from my left cheek to my right; but as to any feeling of having gone
_onward_ I am as unconscious of it as a lobster backing after the ebb.
The sea is a dreary vacuity, in which he, perhaps, who was ever well
upon it, can find material for thought. But for one, I will sell at
sixpence a month, all copyhold upon so much of my life as is destined
“to the deep, the blue, the black” (and whatever else he calls it,) of
my friend the song-writer.

Yet there are some moments recorded, first with a sigh, which we find
afterward copied into memory with a smile. Here and there a thought has
come to me from the wave, snatched listlessly from the elements—here
and there a word has been said which on shore should have been wit or
good feeling—here and there a “good morning,” responded to with an
effort, has from its courtesy or heartiness, left an impression which
will make to-morrow’s parting phrases more earnest than I had
anticipated.—With this green isle to windward and the smell of earth
and flowers coming to my nostrils once more, I begin to feel an interest
in several who have sailed with me. Humanity, killed in me invariably by
salt-water, revives, I think, with this breath of hawthorn.

The pilot tells us that the Montreal, which sailed ten days before us,
has not yet passed up the channel, and that we have brought with us the
first west wind they have had in many weeks. The sailors do not know
what to say to this, for we had four parsons on board, and, by all
sea-canons, they are invariable Jonahs. One of these gentlemen, by the
way, is an abolitionist, on a begging crusade for a school devoted to
the amalgam of color, and very much to the amusement of the passengers,
he met the steward’s usual demand for a fee with an application for a
contribution to the funds of his society! His expectations from British
sympathy are large, for he is accompanied by a lay brother “used to
keeping accounts,” whose sole errand is to record the golden results of
his friend’s eloquence. But “eight bells” warn me to bed; so when I have
recorded the good qualities of the Gladiator, which are many, and those
of her captain, which are more, I will put out my sea lamp for the last
time, and get into my _premonitory_ “six feet by two.”

                 *        *        *        *        *

_The George Inn, Portsmouth._—This is a morning in which (under my
circumstances) it would be difficult not to be pleased with the entire
world. A fair day in June, newly from sea, and with a journey of seventy
miles before me on a swift coach, through rural England, is what I call
a programme of a pleasant day. Determined not to put myself in the way
of a disappointment, I accepted, without the slightest hesitation, on
landing at the wharf, the services of an elderly gentleman in shabby
black, who proposed to stand between me and all my annoyances of the
morning. He was to get my baggage through the customs, submit for me to
all the inevitable impositions of tide-waiters, secure my place in the
coach, bespeak me a fried sole and green peas, and sum up his services,
all in one short phrase of _l. s. d._ So putting my temper into my
pocket, and making up my mind to let roguery take the wall of me for one
day unchallenged, I mounted to the grassy ramparts of the town to walk
off the small remainder of sea-air from my stomach, and admire
everything that came in my way. I would recommend to all newly landed
passengers from the packets to step up and accept of the sympathy of the
oaks of the “king’s bastion” in their disgust for the sea. Those
sensible trees, leaning toward the earth, and throwing out their boughs
as usual to the landward, present to the seaward exposure a turned-up
and gnarled look of nausea and disgust which is as expressive to the
commonest observer as a sick man’s first look at his bolus. I have great
affinity with trees, and I believe implicitly, that what is disagreeable
to the tree can not be pleasant to the man. The salt air is not so
corrosive here as in the Mediterranean, where the leaves of the olive
are eaten off entirely on the side toward the sea; but it is quite
enough to make a sensible tree turn up its nose, and in that attitude
stands most expressively every oak on the “king’s bastion.”

                 *        *        *        *        *

The first few miles out of Portsmouth form one long alley of ornamented
cottages—wood-bine creeping and roses flowering over them all. If there
were but two between Portsmouth and London—two even of the meanest we
saw—a traveller from any other land would think it worth his while to
describe them minutely. As there are two thousand (more or less,) they
must pass with a bare mention. Yet I became conscious of a new feeling
in seeing these rural paradises; and I record it as the first point in
which I find myself worse for having become a “dweller in the shade.” I
was envious. Formerly, in passing a tasteful retreat, or a fine manor, I
could say, “What a bright lawn! What a trim and fragrant hedge! What
luxuriant creepers! I congratulate their fortunate owner!” Now it is,
“How I wish I had that hedge at Glenmary! How I envy these people their
shrubs, trellises, and flowers!” I wonder not a little how the English
Emigrant can make a home among our unsightly stumps that can ever breed
a forgetfulness of all these refined ruralities.

After the first few miles, I discovered that the two windows of the
coach were very limited frames for the rapid succession of pictures
presented to my eye, and changing places with William, who was on the
top of the coach, I found myself between two tory politicians setting
forth to each other most eloquently the mal-administration of the whigs
and the queen’s mismanagement. As I was two months behind the English
news I listened with some interest. They made out to their own
satisfaction that the queen was a silly girl; that she had been caught
in a decided fib about Sir Robert Peel’s exactions with respect to the
household; and one of the Jeremiahs, who seemed to be a sturdy grazier,
said that “in ’igh life the queen-dowager’s ’ealth was now received
uniwersally with three times three, while Victoria’s was drank in solemn
silence.” Her majesty received no better treatment at the hands of a
whig on the other end of the seat; and as we whirled under the long park
fence of Claremont, the country palace of Leopold and the Princess
Charlotte, he took the pension of the Belgian king for the burden of his
lamentation, and, between whig and tory, England certainly seemed to be
in a bad way. This Claremont, it will be remembered by the readers of
D’Israeli’s novels, is the original of the picture of the luxurious
_maison de plaisance_, drawn in “the Young Duke.”

We got glimpses of the old palace at Esher, of Hampton Court, of Pitt’s
country seat at Putney, and of Jane Porter’s cottage at Esher, and in
the seventh hour from leaving Portsmouth (seventy-four miles) we found
the vehicles thickening, the omnibuses passing, the blue-coated
policemen occurring at short intervals, and the roads delightfully
watered—symptoms of suburban London. We skirted the privileged paling
of Hyde Park; and I could see, over the rails, the flying and gay
colored equipages, the dandy horsemen, the pedestrian ladies followed by
footmen with their gold sticks, the fashionable throng, in short, which,
separated by an iron barrier from all contact with unsightliness and
vulgarity, struts its hour in this green cage of aristocracy.

Around the triumphal arch opposite the duke of Wellington’s was
assembled a large crowd of carriages and horsemen. The queen was coming
from Buckingham palace through the Green park, and they were waiting for
a glimpse of Her Majesty on horseback. The Regulator whirled mercilessly
on; but far down, through the long avenues of trees, I could see a
movement of scarlet liveries, and a party coming rapidly toward us on
horseback. We missed the Queen by a couple of minutes.

It was just the hour when all London is abroad, and Piccadilly was one
long cavalcade of splendid equipages on their way to the park. I
remembered many a face, and many a crest; but either the faces had
beautified in my memory, or three years had done time’s pitiless work on
them all. Near Devonshire house I saw, fretting behind the slow-moving
press of vehicle, a pair of magnificent and fiery blood horses, drawing
a coach, which, though quite new, was of a color and picked out with a
peculiar stripe that was familiar to my eye. The next glance convinced
me that the livery was that of Lady Blessington; but, for the light
chariot in which she used to drive, here was a stately coach—for the
one tall footman, two—for the plain but elegant harness, a sumptuous
and superb caparison—the whole turn-out on a scale of splendor
unequalled by anything around us. Another moment decided the doubt—for
as we came against the carriage, following, ourselves, an embarrassed
press of vehicles, her ladyship appeared, leaning back in the corner
with her wrists crossed, the same in the grace of her attitude and the
elegance of her toilet, but stouter, more energetic, and graver in the
expression of her face, than I ever remembered to have seen her. From
the top of the stage-coach I looked, unseen, directly down upon her, and
probably got, by chance, a daylight and more correct view of her
countenance than I should obtain in a year of opera and drawing-room
observation. Tired and dusty, we were turned from hotel to hotel, all
full and overflowing; and finding at last a corner at Ragget’s in Dover
street, we dressed, dined, and posted to Woolwich. Unexpected and
mournful news closed our first day in England with tears.

                 *        *        *        *        *

I drove up to London the second day after our arrival, and having a
little “Grub-street” business, made my way to the purlieus of
publishers, Paternoster row. If you could imagine a paper-mine, with a
very deep cut shaft laid open to the surface of the earth, you might get
some idea of Ivy lane. One walks along through its dim subterranean
light, with no idea of breathing the proper atmosphere of day and open
air. A strong smell of new books in the nostrils, and one long stripe of
blue sky much farther off than usual, are the predominant impressions.

From the dens of the publishers, I wormed my way through the crowds of
Cheapside and the Strand, toward that part of London, which, as Horace
Smith says, is “open at the top.” Something in the way of a ship’s
fender, to save the hips and elbows would sell well, I should think, to
pedestrians in London. What crowds, to be sure! On a Sunday, in New
York, when all the churches are pouring forth their congregations at the
same moment, you have seen a faint image of the Strand. The style of the
hack cabriolets is very much changed since I was in London. The
passenger sits about as high up from the ground as he would in a common
chair—the body of the vehicle suspended from the axle instead of being
placed upon it, and the wheels very high. The driver’s seat would suit a
sailor, for it answers to the ship’s tiller, well astern. He whips over
the passenger’s head. I saw one or two private vehicles built on this
principle, certainly one of safety, though they have something the
_beauty_ of a prize hog.

The new National Gallery in Trafalgar square, not finished when I left
England, opened upon me as I entered Charing Cross, with what I could
not but feel was a very fine effect, though critically, its
“pepper-boxity” is not very creditable to the architect. Fine old
Northumberland house, with its stern lion atop on one side, the
beautiful Club house on the other, St. Martin’s noble church and the
Gallery—with such a fine opening in the very _cor cordium_ of London,
could not fail of producing a noble metropolitan view.

The street in front of the gallery was crowded with carriages, showing a
throng of visiters within; and mounting the imposing steps, (the
loftiness of the vestibule dropping plump as I paid my shilling
entrance,) I found myself in a hall whose extending lines of pillars ran
through the entire length of the building, offering to the eye a truly
noble perspective. Off from this hall, to the right and left, lay the
galleries of antique and modern paintings, and the latter were crowded
with the fair and fashionable mistresses of the equipages without. You
will not care to be bothered with criticism on pictures, and mine was a
cursory glance—but a delicious, full-length portrait of a noble lady by
Grant, whose talent is now making some noise in London, a glorious
painting of Van Amburgh among his lions by Edwin Landseer, and a
portrait of Miss Pardoe in a Turkish costume with her pretty feet coiled
under her on a Persian carpet, by Pickersgill, are among those I
remember. I found a great many acquaintances in the gallery; and I was
sitting upon a bench with a lady, who pointed out to me a portrait of
Lord Lyndhurst in his chancellor’s wig and robes—a very fine picture of
a man of sixty or thereabouts. Directly between me and it, as I looked,
sidled a person with his back to me, cutting off my view very
provokingly. “When this dandy gets out of the way with his eyeglass,”
said I, “I shall be able to see the picture.” My friend smiled. “Who do
you take the dandy to be?” It was a well formed man, dressed in the top
of the fashion with very straight back, curling brown hair, and the look
of perhaps thirty years of age. As he passed on and I caught his
profile, I saw it was Lord Lyndhurst himself.

                 *        *        *        *        *

I had not seen Taglioni since the first representation of the Sylphide,
eight or nine years ago at Paris. Last night I was at the opera, and saw
her in La Gitana; and except that her limbs are the least in the world
rounder and fuller, she is, in person, absolutely unchanged. I can
appreciate now, better than I could then (when opera dancing was new to
me,) what it is that gives this divine woman the right to her proud
title of _La Déesse de la Danse_. It is easy for the Ellslers and
Augusta, and others who are said to be only second to her, to copy her
flying steps, and even to produce by elasticity of limb, the beautiful
effect of touching the earth, like a thing afloat, without being
indebted to it for the rebound. But Taglioni alone _finishes_ the step,
or the pirouette, or the arrowy bound over the scene, as calmly, as
accurately, as faultlessly, as she begins it. She floats out of a
pirouette as if instead of being made giddy, she had been lulled by it
into a smiling and child-like dream, and instead of trying herself and
her _a plomb_ (as is seen all other dancers, by their effort to recover
composure,) it had been the moment when she had rallied and been
refreshed. The smile, so expressive of enjoyment in her own grace, which
steals over Taglioni’s lips when she closes a difficult step, seems
communicated in an indefinable languor, to her limbs. You cannot fancy
her fatigued when, with her peculiar softness of motion, she courtesies
to the applause of an enchanted audience, and walks lightly away. You
are never apprehensive that she has undertaken too much. You never
detect as you do in all other dancers, defects slurred over adroitly and
movements that, from their anticipating the music of the ballet, are
known by the critical eye to cover some flaw in the step, from giddiness
or loss of balance. But oh what a new relation bears the music to the
dance, when this spirit of grace replaces her companions in the ballet!
Whether the motion seems born of the music, or the music floats out of
her dreamy motion, the enchanted gazer might be almost embarrassed to
know.

In the new ballet of La Gitana, the music is based upon the Mazurka. The
story is the old one of the child of a grandee of Spain, stolen by
gipsies, and recovered by chance in Russia. The gradual stealing over
her of music she had heard in her childhood was the finest piece of
pantomimic acting I ever saw. But there is one dance, _the Cachucha_,
introduced at the close of the ballet, in which Taglioni has enchanted
the world anew. It could only be done by herself; for there is a
succession of flying movements expressive of alarm, in the midst of
which she alights and stands poised upon the points of her feet, with a
look over her shoulder of _fierté_ and animation possible to no other
face, I think, in the world. It was like a deer standing with expanded
nostril and neck uplifted to its loftiest height, at the first scent of
his pursuers in the breeze. It was the very soul of swiftness embodied
in a look! How can I describe it to you?

                 *        *        *        *        *

My last eight hours have been spent between Bedlam and the opera—one of
those antipodal contrasts of which London life affords so many. Thanks
to God, and to the Howards who have arizen in our time, a madhouse is no
longer the heart-rending scene that it used to be; and Bedlam, though a
place of melancholy imprisonment, is as cheering a spectacle to the
humane as imprisonment can be made by care and kindness. Of the three
hundred persons who are inmates of its wards, the greater part seemed
quiet and content, some playing at ball in the spacious court-yards,
some lying on the grass, and some working voluntarily at a kind of wheel
arranged for raising water to their rooms.

On the end of a bench in one of the courts, quite apart from the other
patients, sat the youth who came up two hundred miles from the country
to marry the queen! You will remember the story of his forcing himself
into Buckingham palace. He was a stout, sandy-haired, sad-looking young
man, of perhaps twenty-four; and with his arms crossed, and his eyes on
the ground, he sat like a statue, never moving even an eyelash while we
were there. There was a very gentlemanlike man working at the
waterwheel, or rather walking round with his hand on the bar, in a gait
that would have suited the most finished exquisite of a
drawing-room—Mr. Davis, who shot (I think) at Lord Londonderry. Then in
an upper room we saw the Captain Brown who shook his fist in the queen’s
face when she went to the city—really a most officer-like and handsome
fellow; and in the next room poor old Hatfield who shot at George the
Third, and has been in Bedlam for forty years—quite sane! He was a
gallant dragoon, and his face is seamed with scars got in battle before
his crime. He employs himself with writing poetry on the death of his
birds and cats whom he has outlived in prison—all the society he has
had in this long and weary imprisonment. He received us very
courteously; and called our attention to his favorite canary, showed us
his poetry, and all with a sad, mild, subdued resignation that quite
moved me.

In the female wards I saw nothing very striking, except one very
noble-looking woman who was standing at her grated window, entirely
absorbed in reading the Bible. Her face expressed the most heart-rending
melancholy I had ever witnessed. She has been for years under the
terrible belief that she has committed “the unpardonable sin,” and
though quiet all the day, her agony at night becomes horrible. What a
comment on a much practiced mode of preaching the mild and forgiving
religion of our Savior!

As I was leaving one of the wards, a young woman of nineteen or twenty
came up to me with a very polite courtesy and said, “Will you be so kind
as to have me released from this dreadful place?” “I am afraid I can
not,” said I. “Then,” she replied laying her hand on my arm, with a most
appealing earnestness, “perhaps you will on Monday—you know I’ve
nothing to pack!” The matron here interposed, and led her away, but she
kept her eyes on us till the door closed. She was confined there for the
murder of her child.

We visited the kitchens, wash-houses, bakery, &c., &c.—all clean,
orderly, and admirable, and left our names on the visitors’ book, quite
of the opinion of a Frenchman who was there just before us, and who had
written under his own name this expressive praise:—“_J’ai visite
certains palais moins beaux et moins bien entretenus que cette maison de
la folie._”

Two hours after I was listening to the overture of La Cenerentola, and
watching the entrance, to the opera, of the gay, the celebrated, and the
noble. In the house I had left, night had brought with it (as it does
always to the insane) a maddening and terrific exaltation of brain and
spirit—but how different from that exaltation of brain and spirit
sought at the same hour by creatures of the same human family, at the
opera! It was difficult not to wonder at the distribution of allotments
to mankind. In a box on the left of me sat the Queen, keeping time with
a fan to the delicious singing of Pauline Garcia, her favorite minister
standing behind her chair, and her maids of honor around—herself the
smiling, youthful, and admired Sovereign of the most powerful nation on
earth! I thought of the poor girl in her miserable cell at Bedlam
imploring release.

The Queen’s face has thinned and grown more oval since I saw her at a
drawing-room four years ago, as Princess Victoria. She has been
compelled to _think_ since then, and such exigencies, in all stations of
life, work out the expression of the face. She has now what I should
pronounce a decidedly intellectual countenance, a little petulant withal
when she turns to speak, but on the whole quite beautiful enough for a
virgin queen. No particular attention seemed paid to her by the
audience. She was dressed less gayly than many others around her. Her
box was at the left side of the house undistinguished by any mark of
royalty, and a stranger would never have suspected her presence.

Pauline Garcia sang better than I thought it possible for any one to
sing after Malibran was dead. She has her sister’s look about the
forehead and eyes, and all her sister’s soul and passionateness in her
style of singing. Her face is otherwise very plain, but, plain as it is,
the opera-going public prefer her already to the beautiful and more
powerful Grisi. The latter long triumphant _prima donna_ is said to be
very unhappy at her eclipse by this new favorite; and it is curious
enough to hear the hundred and one faults found in the declining
songstress by those who once would not admit that she could be
transcended on earth. A very celebrated person, whom I remembered, when
in London before, giving Grisi the most unqualified eulogy, assured the
gay admirers in her box last night that she had _always_ said that Grisi
had nothing but lungs and fine eyes. She was a great healthy Italian
girl, and could sing in tune; but soul or sentiment she never had! Poor
Grisi! Hers is the lot of all who are so unhappy as to have been much
admired. “_Le monde ne hait rien autant que ses idoles quand ils sont à
terre_,” said the wise La Bruyere.

                 *        *        *        *        *

Some of the most delightful events in one’s travels are those which
afford the least _matériel_ for description, and such is our _séjour_ of
a few days at the vicarage of B——. It was a venerable old house with
pointed gables, elaborate and pointed windows, with panes of glass of
the size of the palm of the hand, low doors, narrow staircases, all
sorts of unsuspected rooms and creepers outside, trellised and trained
to every corner and angle. Then there was the modern wing, with library
and dining room, large windows, marble fireplaces, and French paper; and
in going from your bedroom to breakfast you might fancy yourself
stepping from Queen Elizabeth’s time to Queen Victoria’s. A high hedge
of holly divided the smoothly-shaven lawn from the church-yard, and in
the midst of the moss-grown headstones stood a gray old church with four
venerable towers, one of the most picturesque and beautiful specimens of
the old English architecture that I have ever seen. The whole group,
church, vicarage, and a small hamlet of vine covered and embowered stone
cottages, lay in the lap of a gently rising sweep of hills, and all
around were spread landscapes of the finished and serene character
peculiar to England—rich fields framed in flowering hedges, clumps of
forest trees, glimpses of distant parks, country seats, and village
spires, and on the horizon a line of mist-clad hills, scarce ever more
distinct than the banks of low-lying clouds retiring after a thunder
storm in America.

Early on Sunday morning we were awakened by the melody of the bells in
the old towers; and with brief pauses between the tunes, they were
played upon most musically, till the hour for the morning services. We
have little idea in America of the perfection to which the chiming of
bells is carried in England. In the towers of this small rural church
are hung eight bells of different tone, and the tunes played on them by
the more accomplished ringers of the neighboring hamlet are varied
endlessly. I lay and listened to the simple airs as they died away over
the valley, with a pleasure I can scarcely express. The morning was
serene and bright, the perfume of the clematis and jasmine flowers at
the window penetrated to the curtains of my bed, and Sunday seemed to
have dawned with the audible worship and palpable incense of nature. We
were told at breakfast that the chimes had been unusually merry, and
were a compliment to ourselves, the villagers always expressing thus
their congratulations on the arrival of guests at the vicarage. The
compliment was repeated between services, and a very long peal rang in
the twilight—our near relationship to the vicar’s family authorizing a
very special rejoicing.

The interior of the church was very ancient looking and rough, the pews
of unpainted oak, and the massive stone walls simply whitewashed. The
congregation was small, perhaps fifty persons, and the men were (with
two exceptions) dressed in russet carters’ frocks, and most of them in
leather leggins. The children sat on low benches placed in the centre of
the one aisle, and the boys, like their fathers, were in smock frocks of
homespun, their heavy shoes shod with iron like horses’ hoofs, and their
little legs buttoned up in the impenetrable gaiters of coarse leather.
They looked, men and boys, as if they were intended to wear but one suit
in this world.

I was struck with the solemnity of the service, and the decorous
attention of men, women, and children, to the responses. It was a
beautiful specimen of simple and pastoral worship. Each family had the
name of their farm or place of residence printed on the back of the pew,
with the number of seats to which they were entitled, probably in
proportion to their tithes. The “living” is worth, if I remember right,
not much over a hundred pounds—an insufficient sum to support so
luxurious a vicarage as is appended to it; but, happily for the people,
the vicar chances to be a man of fortune, and he unites in his excellent
character the exemplary pastor with the physician and lord of the manor.
I left B—— with the conviction that if peace, contentment, and
happiness, inhabit one spot more than all others in a world whose
allotments are so difficult to estimate, it is the vicarage in the bosom
of that rural upland.

                 *        *        *        *        *

We left B—— at twelve in the Brighton “Age”—the “swell coach” of
England. We were to dine thirty miles nearer London, at —— Park, and
we did the distance in exactly three hours, including a stop of fifteen
minutes to dine. We are abused by all travellers for our alacrity in
dining on the road; but what stage-coach in the United States ever
limited its dining time to fifteen minutes, and what American dinner of
roast, pastry, and cheese, was ever dispatched so briefly? Yet the
travellers to Brighton are of the better class; and whose who were my
fellow passengers the day I refer to were particularly well-dressed and
gentlemanly—yet _all_ of them achieved a substantial dinner of beef,
pudding, and cheese, paid their bills, and drained their glass of
porter, within the quarter of an hour. John Bull’s blindness to the beam
in his own eye is perhaps owing to the fact that this hasty meal is
sometimes _called_ a “lunch!”

The _two_ places beside our own in the inside were occupied by a lady
and her maid and two children—an interpretation of number two to which
I would not have agreed if I could have helped it. We cannot always tell
at first sight what will be most amusing, however; and the child of two
years, who sprawled over my rheumatic knees with her mother’s
permission, thereby occasioning on my part a most fixed look out of the
window, furnished me with a curious bit of observation. At one of the
commons we passed, the children running out from a gipsy encampment
flung bunches of heath flowers into the coach, which the little girl
appropriated, and commenced presenting rather graciously to her mother,
the maid, and Mrs. W., all of whom received them with smiles and thanks.
Having rather a sulky face of my own when not particularly called on to
be pleased, the child omitted me for a long time in her distributions.
At last, after collecting and redistributing the flowers for above an
hour, she grew suddenly grave, laid the heath all out upon her lap,
selected the largest and brightest flowers, and made them into a
nosegay. My attention was attracted by the seriousness of the child’s
occupation; and I was watching her without thinking my notice observed,
when she raised her eyes to me timidly, turned her new boquet over and
over, and at last, with a blush, deeper than I ever saw before upon a
child, placed the flowers in my hand and hid her face in her mother’s
bosom. My sulkiness gave way, of course, and the little coquette’s
pleasure in her victory was excessive. For the remainder of the journey,
those who had given her their smiles too readily were entirely
neglected, and all her attentions were showered upon the only one she
had found it difficult to please. I thought it as pretty a specimen of
the ruling passion strong in baby-hood as I ever saw. It was a piece of
finished coquetry in a child not old enough to speak plain.

The coachman of “the Age” was a young man of perhaps thirty, who is
understood to have run through a considerable fortune, and drives for a
living—but he was not at all the sort of looking person you would fancy
for a “swell whip.” He drove beautifully, helped the passengers out and
in, lifted their baggage, &c., very handily, but evidently shunned
notice, and had no desire to chat with the “outsides.” The excessive
difficulty in England of finding _any_ clean way of making a living
after the initiatory age is passed—a difficulty which reduced gentlemen
feel most keenly—probably forced this person as it has others to take
up a vocation for which the world fortunately finds an excuse in
eccentricity. He touches his hat for the half crown or shilling,
although probably if it were offered to him when the whip was out of his
hand he would knock the giver down for his impertinence. I may as well
record here, by the way, for the benefit of those who may wish to know a
comparison between the expense of travelling hero and at home, for two
inside places for thirty miles the coach fare was two pounds, and the
coachman’s fee five shillings, or half a-crown each inside. To get from
the post town to —— Park (two miles) cost me five-and-sixpence for a
“fly,” so that for thirty-two miles travel I paid 2_l._ 10_s._ 6_d._, a
little more than twelve dollars.

And speaking of vocations, it would be a useful lesson to some of our
ambitious youths to try a _beginning_ at getting a living in England. I
was never at all aware of the difficulty of finding even bread and salt
for a young man till I had occasion lately to endeavor to better the
condition of a servant of my own—a lad who has been with me four or
five years, and whose singular intelligence, good principle and high
self-improvement, fitted him, I thought, for any confidential trust or
place whatever.[2] His own ideas, too (I thought, not unreasonably,) had
become somewhat sublimated in America, and he was unwilling to continue
longer as a servant. He went home to his mother, a working woman of
London, and I did my utmost, the month I was in town, inquiring among
all classes of my friends, advertising, &c., to find him any possible
livelihood above menial service. I was met everywhere with the same
answer; “There are hundreds of gentleman’s sons wearing out their youth
in looking for the same thing.” I was told daily that it was quite in
vain—that apprenticeships were as much sought as clerkships, and that
every avenue to the making of a sixpence was overcrammed and
inaccessible. My boy and his mother at last came to their senses; and,
consenting to apply once more for a servant’s place, he was fortunate
enough to engage as valet to bachelor, and is now gone with his new
master on a tour to France. As Harding the painter said to me, when he
returned after his foreign trip; “England is a great place to take the
nonsense out of people.”

                 *        *        *        *        *

When London shall have become the Rome or Athens of a fallen empire (qu.
will it ever?) the termini of the railways will be among its finest
ruins. That of the Birmingham and Liverpool track is almost as
magnificent as that flower of sumptuousness, the royal palace of
Caserta, near Naples. It is really an impressive scene simply to embark
for “Brummagem;” and there is that utility in all this showy expenditure
for arch, gateway, and pillar, that no one is admitted but the
passenger, and you are refreshingly permitted to manage your baggage,
&c. without the assistance of a hundred blackguards at a shilling each.
Then there are “ladies’ waiting-rooms,” and “gentlemen’s waiting-rooms,”
and attached to them every possible convenience, studiously clean and
orderly. I wish the president and directors of the Utica and other
American railroads would step over and take a sumptuary hint.

The cars are divided into stalls, _i. e._ each passenger is cushioned
off by a stuffed partition from his neighbor’s shoulder, and sleeps
without offence or encroachment. When they are crowded, that is an
admirable arrangement; but I have found it very comfortable in long
journeys in America to take advantage of an empty car, and stretch
myself to sleep along the vacant seat. Here, full or empty, you can
occupy but your upright place. In every car are suspended lamps to give
light during the long passages through the subterranean tunnels.

We rolled from under the Brobdignag roof of the terminus, as the church
of Mary-le-bone (Cockney for Marie la-bonne, but so carved on the
frieze) struck six. Our speed was increased presently to thirty miles in
the hour; and with the exception of the slower rate in passing the
tunnels, and the slackening and getting under way at the different
stations, this rate was kept up throughout. We arrived at Liverpool (205
miles or upward) at three o’clock, our stoppages having exceeded an hour
altogether.

I thought toward the end, that all this might be very pleasant with a
consignment of buttons or an errand to Gretna Green. But for the
_pleasure_ of the thing I would as lief sit in an arm-chair and see
bales of striped green silk unfolded for eight hours as _travel_ the
same length of time by the railroad. (I have described in this simile
exactly the appearance of the fields as you see them in flying past.)
The old women and cabbages gain by it, perhaps, for you cannot tell
whether they are not girls and roses. The washerwoman at her tub follows
the lady on the lawn so quickly that you confound the two
irresistibly—the thatched cottages look like browsing donkeys, and the
browsing donkeys like thatched cottages—you ask the name of a town, and
by the time you get up your finger you point at a spot three miles
off—in short, the salmon well packed in straw on the top of the coach,
and called fresh fish after a journey of 200 miles, sees quite as much
of the country as his most intellectual fellow-passenger. I foresee in
all this a new distinction in phraseology. “Have you travelled in
England?” will soon be a question having no reference to railroads. The
winding turnpike and cross-roads, the coaches and post carriages, will
be resumed by all those who consider the sense of sight as useful in
travel, and the bagmen and letter-bags will have almost undisputed
possession of the rail-cars.

The _Adelphi_ is the Astor house of Liverpool, a very large and showy
hotel near the terminus of the railway. We were shown into rather a
magnificent parlor on our arrival; and very hungry with rail-roading
since six in the morning, we ordered dinner at their earliest
convenience. It came after a full hour, and we sat down to four superb
silver covers, anticipating a meal corresponding to the stout person and
pompous manners of the fattest waiter I have seen in my travels. The
grand cover was removed with a flourish and disclosed—divers small bits
of second hand beefsteak, toasted brown and warped at the corners by a
second fire; and, on the removal of the other three silver pagodas, our
eyes were gratified by a dish of peas that had been once used for green
soup, three similarly toasted and warped mutton chops, and three
potatoes. Quite incredulous of the cook’s intentions, I ventured to
suggest to the waiter that he had probably mistaken the tray and brought
us the dinner of some sportsman’s respectable brace of pointers; but on
being assured that there were no dogs in the cellar, I sent word to the
master of the house that we had rather a preference for a dinner new and
hot, and would wait till he could provide it. Half an hour more brought
up the landlord’s apologies and a fresh and hot beefsteak, followed by a
tough crusted apple-pie, custard, and cheese—and with a bottle of
Moselle which _was_ good, we finished our dinner at one of the most
expensive and showy hotels in England. The manners and fare at the
American hotels being always described as exponents of civilization by
English travellers, I shall be excused for giving a counter-picture of
one of the most boasted of their own.

Regretting exceedingly that the recent mourning of my two companions
must prevent their presence at the gay festivities of Eglington, I put
them on board the steamer, bound on a visit to relatives in Dublin, and
returned to the Adelphi to wait _en garçon_ for the Glasgow steamer of
Monday. My chamber is a large and well-furnished room, with windows
looking out on the area shut in by the wings of the house; and I must
make you still more contented at the Astor, by describing what is going
on below at this moment. It is half-past eight, and a Sunday morning.
All the bells of the house, it seems to me, are ringing, most of them
very impatiently, and in the area before the kitchen windows are six or
eight idle waiters, and four or five female scullions, playing,
quarrelling, scolding and screaming; the language of both men and women
more profane and indecent than anything I have ever before chanced to
hear, and every word audible in every room in this quarter of the hotel.
This has been going on since six this morning; and I seriously declare I
do not think I ever heard as much indecent conversation in my life as
for three mortal hours must have “murdered sleep” for every lady and
gentleman lodged on the rear side of the “crack hotel” of Liverpool.

Sick of the scene described above, I went out just now to take a turn or
two in my slippers in the long entry. Up and down, giving me a most
appealing stare whenever we met, dawdled also the fat waiter who served
up the cold victuals of yesterday. He evidently had some errand with me,
but what I did not immediately fathom. At last he approached—

“You—a—got your things, sir?”

“What things?”

“The stick and umbrella, I carried to your bedroom, sir?”

“Yes, thank you,” and I resumed my walk.

The waiter resumed his, and presently approached again.

“You—a—don’t intend to use the parlor again, sir?”

“No: I have explained to the master of the house that I shall breakfast
in the coffee-room.” And again I walked on.

My friend began again at the next turn.

“You—a—pay for those ladies’ dinner yourself, sir?”

“Yes.” I walked on once more.

Once more approaches my fat incubus, and with a twirl of the towel in
his hand looks as if he would fain be delivered of something.

“Why the d—l am I badgered in this way?” I stormed out at last, losing
patience at his stammering hesitation, and making a move to get round
the fat obstruction and pursue my walk.

“Will you—a—remember the waiter, if you please, sir?”

“Oh! I was not aware that I was to pay the waiter at every meal. I
generally do it when I leave the house. Perhaps you’ll be kind enough to
let me finish my walk, and trust me till to-morrow morning?”

P. S. _Evening in the coffee-room._—They say the best beginning in love
is a decided aversion, and badly as I began at Liverpool, I shall always
have a tender recollection of it for the unequalled luxury of its
_baths_. A long and beautiful Grecian building crests the head of
George’s pier, built by the corporation of Liverpool, and devoted
exclusively to salt-water baths. I walked down in the twilight to enjoy
this refreshing luxury, and it being Sunday evening, I was shown into
the ladies’ end of the building. The room where I waited till the bath
was prepared was a lofty and finely proportioned apartment, elegantly
furnished, and lined with superbly bound books and pictures, the tables
covered with engravings, and the whole looking like a central apartment
in a nobleman’s residence. A boy showed me presently into a small
drawing-room, to which was attached a bath closet, the two rooms lined,
boudoir fashion, with chintz, a clock over the bath, a nice carpet and
stove, in short, every luxury possible to such an establishment. I asked
the boy if the gentlemen’s baths were as elegant as these. “Oh yes,” he
said: “there are two splendid pictures of Niagara Falls and Catskill.”
“Who painted them?” “Mr. Wall.” “And whose are they?” “They belong to
our father, sir!” I made up my mind that “our father” was a man of taste
and a credit to Liverpool.

                 *        *        *        *        *

I have just returned from the dinner given to Macready at the
Freemason’s tavern. The hall, so celebrated for public “feeds,” is a
beautiful room of a very showy style of architecture, with three
galleries, and a raised floor at the end, usually occupied by the
cross-table. It accommodated on this occasion four hundred persons.

From the peculiar object of the meeting to do honor to an actor for his
intellectual qualities, and for his efforts to spiritualize and elevate
the stage, there probably never was collected together in one room so
much talent and accomplishment. Artists, authors, critics, publishers
and amateurs of the stage—a large body in London—made up the company.
My attention was called by one of my neighbors to the singularly
superior character of the _heads_ about us, and I had already observed
the striking difference, both in head and physiognomy, between this and
a common assemblage of men. Most of the persons connected with the
press, it was said, were present; and perhaps it would have been a
worthy service to the world had some shorn Samson, among the authors,
pulled the temple upon the heads of the Philistines.

The cry of “make way!” introduced the duke of Sussex, the chairman of
the meeting—a stout, mild-looking, dignified old man, wearing a close
black scull-cap and the star and riband. He was followed by Lord
Conyngham, who, as grand chamberlain, had done much to promote the
interest of the drama; by Lord Nugent (whom I had last seen sailing a
_scampavia_ in the bay of Corfu,) by Sir Lytton Bulwer, Mr. Sheil, Sir
Martin Shee, Young, the actor, Mr. Milnes, the poet, and other
distinguished men. I should have said, by the way, Mr. Macready followed
next his Royal Highness.

The cheering and huzzas, as this procession walked up the room, were
completely deafening. Macready looked deadly pale and rather overcome;
and amid the waving of handkerchiefs and the stunning uproar of four
hundred “gentlemen and scholars,” the Duke placed the tragedian at his
right hand, and took his seat before the turbot.

The dinner was an uncommonly bad one; but of this I had been forewarned,
and so had taken a provisory chop at the club. I had leisure, therefore,
to look about me, and truly there was work enough for the eyes. M——’s
head interested me more than any one’s else, for it was the
personification of his lofty, liberal, and poetic genius. His hair,
which was long and profuse, curled in tendrils over the loftiest
forehead; but about the lower part of the face lay all the
characteristics which go to make up a voluptuous yet generous, an
enthusiastic and fiery, yet self-possessed and well-directed character.
He was excessively handsome; yet it was the beauty of Massaniello, or
Salvator Rosa, with more of intellect than both together. All in all, I
never saw a finer face for an artist; and judging from his looks and
from his works (he is perhaps twenty-four,) I would stake my sagacity on
a bold prophecy of his greatness.

On the same side were the L——s, very quiet-looking men, and S—— the
portrait-painter, a merry looking grenadier, and L—— B—— the poet,
with a face _like_ a poet. Near me was Lover, the painter, poet,
novelist, song and music writer, dramatist, and good fellow—seven
characters of which his friends scarce know in which he is most
excellent—and he has a round Irish face, with a bright twinkle in his
eye, and a plump little body which carries off all his gifts as if they
were no load at all.—And on my left was S——, the glorious painter of
Venice, of the battle of Trafalgar, the unequalled painter of the sea in
all its belongings; and you would take him for a gallant lieutenant of
the navy, and with the fire of a score of battles asleep in his eye, and
the roughening of a hundred tempests in his cheek. A franker and more
manly face would not cross your eye in a year’s travel.

Mr. J—— was just beyond, a tall, sagacious looking good humored person
of forty-five. He was a man of very kind manners, and was treated with
great marks of liking and respect by all about him. But directly
opposite to me sat so exact a picture of Paul Pry as he is represented
on the stage, particularly of my friend Finn in that character, that it
was difficult not to smile in looking at him. To my surprise, I heard
some one point him out, soon after, as the well-known original in that
character—the gentleman, whose peculiarities of person, as well as
manners, were copied in the farce of Mr. Poole. “That’s my name—what’s
yours?” said he the moment after he had seated himself, thrusting his
card close to the nose of the gentleman next him. I took it of course
for a piece of fun between two very old friends, but to my astonishment
the gentleman next him was as much astonished as I.

The few servants scattered up and down were deaf to everything but calls
for champagne (furnished only at an extra charge when called for—a very
mean system for a public dinner by the way,) and the wines on the table
seemed selected to drive one to champagne or the doctor. Each person had
four plates, and when used, they were to be put under the bench, or on
the top of your head, or to be sat upon, or what you would except to be
taken away, and the soup and fish, and the roast and boiled and all,
having been put on together, was all removed at one fell swoop—the
entire operation of dinner having lasted just _twenty-five minutes_.
Keep this fact till we are recorded by some new English traveller as the
most expeditious eaters in Christendom.

Here end my croakings, however, for the speeches commenced directly, and
admirable they were. To the undoing of much prejudice got by hearsay, I
listened to Bulwer. He is, beyond all comparison, the most graceful and
effective speaker I ever heard in England. All the world tells you that
he makes signal failures in oratory—yet he rose, when his health was
drank, and, in self-possessed, graceful, unhesitating language, playful,
yet dignified, warm, yet not extravagant, he replied to the compliments
of His Royal Highness, and brought forward his plan (as you have seen it
reported in the newspapers) for the erection of a new theatre for the
legitimate drama and Macready. I remember once hearing that Bulwer had a
belief in his future eminence as an orator—and I would warrant his
warmest anticipations in that career of ambition. He is a better speaker
than Sheil, who followed him, and Sheil is renowned as an orator. Really
there is nothing like one’s own eyes and ears in this world of envy and
misrepresentation.

D—— sat near Sheil, at the cross-table, very silent, as is his custom
and that of most keen observers. The courtly Sir Martin Shea was near
B——, looking like some fine old picture of a wit of Charles the
second’s time, and he and Y—— the actor made two very opposite and
gentlemanlike speeches. I believe I have told you nearly all that struck
me except what was reported in the gazettes, and that you have no need
to read over again. I got away at eleven, and reached the opera in time
to hear the last act of the Puritani, and see the Elsslers dance in the
ballet, and with a look in at a ball, I concluded one of those
exhausting, exciting, overdone London days, which are pleasanter to
remember than to enjoy, and pleasanter to read about than either.

                 *        *        *        *        *

One of the most elegant and agreeable persons I ever saw was Miss Jane
Porter, and I think her conversation more delightful to remember than
any person’s I ever knew. A distinguished artist told me that he
remembered her when she was his beau-ideal of female beauty; but in
those days she was more “fancy-rapt,” and gave in less to the current
and spirit of society. Age has made her, if it may be so expressed, less
selfish in her use of thought, and she pours it forth like
Pactolus—that gold which is sand from others. She is still what I
should call a handsome woman, or, if that be not allowed, she is the
wreck of more than a common allotment of beauty, and looks it. Her
person is remarkably erect, her eyes and eyelids (in this latter
resembling Scott) very heavily moulded, and her smile is beautiful. It
strikes me that it always is so—where it ever was. The smile seems to
be the work of the soul.

I have passed months under the same roof with Miss Porter, and nothing
gave me more pleasure than to find the company in that hospitable house
dwindled to a “fit audience though few,” and gathered around the figure
in deep mourning which occupied the warmest corner of the sofa. In any
vein, and _apropos_ to the gravest and the gayest subject, her
well-stored mind and memory flowed forth in the same rich current of
mingled story and reflection, and I never saw an impatient listener
beside her. I recollect, one evening, a lady’s singing “Auld Robin
Gray,” and some one remarking, (rather unsentimentally) at the close,
“By-the-by, what is Lady ——, (the authoress of the ballad) doing with
so many carpenters. Berkely square is quite deafened with their
hammering.” “_Apropos_ of carpenters and Lady ——,” said Miss
Porter—“this same charming ballad writer owes something to the craft.
She was better-born than provided with the gifts of fortune, and in her
younger days was once on a visit to a noble house, when to her dismay, a
large and fashionable company arrived, who brought with them a mania for
private theatricals. Her wardrobe was very slender, barely sufficient
for the ordinary events of a week-day, and her purse contained one
solitary shilling. To leave the house was out of the question, to feign
illness as much so, and to decline taking a part was impossible, for her
talent and sprightliness were the hope of the theatre. A part was cast
for her, and, in despair, she excused herself from the gay party bound
to the country town to make purchases of silk and satin, and shut
herself up, a prey to mortified low spirits. The character required a
smart village dress, and it certainly did not seem that it could come
out of a shilling. She sat at her window, biting her lips, and turning
over in her mind whether she could borrow of some one, when her
attention was attracted to a carpenter, who was employed in the
construction of a stage in the large hall, and who, in the court below,
was turning off from his plane broad and long shavings of a peculiarly
striped wood. It struck her that it was like riband. The next moment she
was below, and begged of the man to give her half a dozen lengths as
smooth as he could shave them. He performed his task well, and
depositing them in her apartment, she set off alone on horseback to the
village, and with her single shilling succeeded in purchasing a chip hat
of the coarsest fabric. She carried it home, exultingly, trimmed it with
her pine shavings, and on the evening of the performance appeared with a
white dress, and hat and belt ribands which were the envy of the
audience. The success of her invention gave her spirits and assurance,
and she played to admiration. The sequel will justify my first remark.
She made a conquest on that night of one of her titled auditors, whom
she afterward married.—You will allow that Lady —— may afford to be
tolerant of carpenters.”

An eminent clergyman one evening became the subject of conversation, and
a wonder was expressed that he had never married. “That wonder,” said
Miss Porter, “was once expressed to the reverend gentleman himself, in
my hearing, and he told a story in answer which I will tell you—and
perhaps, slight as it may seem, it is the history of other hearts as
sensitive and delicate as his own. Soon after his ordination, he
preached once every Sabbath, for a clergyman in a village not twenty
miles from London. Among his auditors, from Sunday to Sunday, he
observed a young lady, who always occupied a certain seat, and whose
close attention began insensibly to grow to him an object of thought and
pleasure. She left the church as soon as service was over, and it so
chanced that he went on for a year without knowing her name; but his
sermon was never written without many a thought how she would approve
it, nor preached with satisfaction unless he read approbation in her
face. Gradually he came to think on her at other times than when writing
sermons, and to wish to see her on other days than Sundays; but the
weeks slipped on, and though he fancied she grew paler and thinner, he
never brought himself to the resolution either to ask her name, or to
seek to speak with her. By these silent steps, however, love had worked
into his heart, and he had made up his mind to seek her acquaintance and
marry her, if possible, when one day he was sent for to minister at a
funeral. The face of the corpse was the same that had looked up to him
Sunday after Sunday, till he had learned to make it a part of his
religion and his life. He was unable to perform the service, and another
clergyman present officiated; and after she was buried, her father took
him aside, and begged his pardon for giving him pain—but he could not
resist the impulse to tell him that his daughter had mentioned his name
with her last breath, and he was afraid that a concealed affection for
him had hurried her to the grave. Since that, said the clergyman in
question, my heart has been dead within me, and I look forward only. I
shall speak to her in heaven.”

                 *        *        *        *        *

London is wonderfully embellished within the last three years—not so
much by new buildings, public or private, but by the almost insane
rivalry that exists among the tradesmen to outshow each other in the
expensive magnificence of their shops. When I was in England before,
there were two or three of these palaces of columns and plate-glass—a
couple of shawl shops, and a glass warehouse or two, but now the west
end and the city have each their scores of establishments, of which you
would think the plate-glass alone would ruin any body but Aladdin. After
an absence of a month from town lately, I gave myself the always
delightful treat of an after-dinner ramble among the illuminated palaces
of Regent street and its neighborhood, and to my surprise found four new
wonders of this description—a shawl house in the upper Regent’s Circus,
a silk mercer’s in Oxford street, a whip maker’s in Regent street, and a
fancy stationer’s in the Quadrant—either of which establishments fifty
years ago would have been the talk of all Europe. The first-mentioned
warehouse lines one of the quarters of the Regent Circus, and turns the
corner of Oxford street with what seems but one window—a series of
glass plates, only divided by brass rods, reaching from the ground to
the roof—window panes twelve feet high, and four or five feet broad!
The opportunity which this immense transparency of front gives for the
display of goods is proportionately improved; and in the mixture of
colors and fabrics to attract attention there is evidently no small
degree of art—so harmonious are the colors and yet so gorgeous the
show. I see that several more _renovations_ are taking place in
different parts of both “city” and “town;” and London promises,
somewhere in the next decimals, to complete its emergence from the
chrysalis with a glory to which eastern tales will be very gingerbread
matters indeed.

If I may judge by my own experience and by what I can see in the
streets, all this night-splendor out of doors empties the
playhouses—for I would rather walk Regent street of an evening than see
ninety-nine plays in a hundred; and so think apparently multitudes of
people, who stroll up and down the clean and broad London sidewalks,
gazing in at the gorgeous succession of shop-windows, and by the
day-bright glare of the illumination extending nods and smiles—the
street, indeed, becoming gradually a fashionable evening promenade, as
cheap as it is amusing and delightful. There are large classes of
society, who find the evenings long in their dingy and inconvenient
homes, and who must go _somewhere_; and while the streets were dark, and
poorly paved and lighted, the play-house was the only resort where they
could beguile their cares with splendor and amusement, and in those days
theatricals flourished, as in these days of improved thoroughfares and
gay shops they evidently languish. I will lend the hint to the next
essayist on the “Decline of the Drama.”

The increased attractiveness of London, from thus disclosing the secrets
of its wondrous wealth, compensates in a degree for what increases as
rapidly on me—the distastefulness of the suburbs, from the forbidding
and repulsive exclusiveness of high garden walls, impermeable
shrubberies, and every sort of contrivance for confining the traveller
to the road, and nothing but the road. What should we say in America to
travelling miles between two brick walls, with no prospect but the
branches of overhanging trees from the invisible park lands on either
side, and the _alley_ of cloudy sky overhead?—How tantalizing to pass
daily by a noble estate with a fine specimen of architecture in its
centre, and see no more of it than a rustic lodge and some miles of the
tops of trees over a paling! All this to me is oppressive—I feel
abridged of breathing room and eyesight—deprived of my liberty—robbed
of my horizon. Much as I admire high preservation and cultivation, I
would almost compromise for a “snake fence” in this part of England.

On a visit to a friend a week or two since in the neighborhood of
London, I chanced, during a long walk, to get a glimpse over the wall of
a nicely-gravelled and secluded path, which commanded what the
proprietor’s fence enviously shut from the road—a noble view of London
and the Thames. Accustomed to see people traversing my own lawn and
fields in America without question, as suits their purpose, and tired of
the bricks, hedges, and placards of blacking and pills, I jumped the
fence, and with feelings of great relief and expansion aired my eyes and
my imagination in the beautiful grounds of my friend’s opulent neighbor.
The Thames, with its innumerable steamers, men-of-war, yachts, wherries,
and ships—a vein of commercial and maritime life lying between the soft
green meadows of Kent and Essex—formed a delicious picture of contrast
and meaning beauty, which I gazed on with great delight for—some ten
minutes. In about that time I was perceived by Mr. B——’s gardener,
who, with a very pokerish stick in his hand, came running toward me,
evidently by his pace, prepared for a vigorous pursuit of the audacious
intruder. He came up to where I stood, quite out of breath, and
demanded, with a tight grasp of his stick, what business I had there. I
was not very well prepared with an answer, and short of beating the man
for his impudence, (which in several ways might have been a losing job,)
I did not see my way very clearly out of Mr. B.’s grounds. My first
intention, to call on the proprietor and apologise for my intrusion
while I complained of the man’s insolence, was defeated by the
information, evidently correct, that Mr. B—— was not resident at the
place, and so I was walked out of the lodge gate with a vagabond’s
warning—never to let him “catch me there again.” So much for my liberal
translation of a park fence.

This spirit of exclusion makes itself even more disagreeably felt where
a gentleman’s paling chances to include any natural curiosity. One of
the wildest, as well as most exquisitely beautiful spots on earth is the
Dargle, in the county Wicklow, in Ireland. It is interesting, besides,
as belonging to the estate of the orator and patriot Grattan. To get to
it, we were let through a gate by an old man, who received a douceur: we
crossed a newly reaped field, and came to another gate; another person
opened this, and we paid another shilling. We walked on toward the glen,
and in the middle of the path, without any object apparently but the
toll, there was another locked gate, and another porter to pay; and when
we made our exit from the opposite extremity of the grounds, after
seeing the Dargle, there was a fourth gate and a fourth porter. The
first field and fee belonged, if I remember rightly, to a Captain
Somebody, but the other three gates belong to the present Mr. Grattan,
who is very welcome to my three shillings, either as a tribute to his
father’s memory, or to the beauty of Tinnehinch and the Dargle. But on
whichever ground he pockets it, the _mode_ of assessment is, to say the
least, ungracious. Without subjecting myself to the charge of a
mercenary feeling, I think I may say that the enthusiasm for natural
scenery is very much clipped and belittled by seeing it at a shilling
the perch—paying the money and taking the look. I should think no sum
lost which was expended in bringing me to so romantic a glen as the
Dargle; but it should be levied somewhere else than within sound of its
wild waterfall—somewhere else than between the waterfall and the fine
mansion of Tinnehinch.

                 *        *        *        *        *

The fish most “out of water” in the world is certainly a Frenchman in
England without acquaintances. The illness of a friend has lately
occasioned me one or two hasty visits to Brighton; and being abandoned
on the first evening to the solitary mercies of the coffee-room of the
hotel, I amused myself not a little with watching the _ennui_ of one of
these unfortunate foreigners who was evidently there simply to qualify
himself to say that he had been at Brighton in the season. I arrived
late, and was dining by myself at one of the small tables, when I became
aware that some one at the other end of the room was watching me very
steadily. The place was as silent as coffee-rooms usually are after the
dinner hour, the rustling of newspapers the only sound that disturbed
the digestion of eight or ten persons present, when the unmistakeable
call of “Vaitare!” informed me that if I looked up I should encounter
the eyes of a Frenchman. The waiter entered at the call, and after a
considerable parley with my opposite neighbor, came over to me and said
in rather an apologetic tone, “Beg pardon, sir, but the _shevaleer_
wishes to know if your name is _Coopair_.” Not very much inclined,
fatigued as I was, for a conversation in French, which I saw would be
the result of a polite answer to his question, I merely shook my head,
and took up the newspaper. The Frenchman drew a long sigh, poured out
his last glass of claret, and crossing his thumbs on the edge of the
table, fell into a profound study of the grain of the mahogany.

What with dawdling over coffee and tea and reading half a dozen
newspapers, I whiled away the time till ten o’clock, pitying
occasionally the unhappy chevalier who exhibited every symptom of a
person bored to the last extremity. One person after another called for
a bedroom candle, and exit finally the Frenchman himself, making me,
however, a most courteous bow as he passed out. There were two gentlemen
left in the room, one a tall and thin old man of seventy, the other a
short and portly man of fifty or thereabouts, both quite bald. They rose
together and came to the fire near which I was sitting.

“That last man that went out calls himself a chevalier,” said the thin
gentleman.

“Yes,” said his stout friend—“he took me for a Mr. Cooper he had
travelled with.”

“The deuce he did,” said the other—“why he took me for a Mr. Cooper,
too, and we are not very much alike.”

“I beg pardon, gentlemen,” said I—“he took me for this Mr. Cooper too.”

The Frenchman’s _ruse_ was discovered. It was instead of a snuff-box—a
way he had of making acquaintance. We had a good laugh at our triple
resemblance (three men more unlike it would be difficult to find,) and
bidding the two Messrs. Cooper good-night, I followed the ingenious
chevalier up stairs.

The next morning I came down rather late to breakfast, and found my
friend chipping his egg-shells to pieces at the table next to the one I
had occupied the night before. He rose immediately with a look of
radiant relief in his countenance, made a most elaborate apology for
having taken me for Mr. Cooper (whom I was so like, _cependant_, that we
should be mistaken for each other by our nearest friends,) and in a few
minutes, Mr. Cooper himself, if he had entered by chance, would have
returned the compliment, and taken me for the chevalier’s most intimate
friend and fellow-traveller.

I remained two or three days at Brighton, and never discovered in that
time that the chevalier’s _ruse_ succeeded with any other person. I was
his only successful resemblance to “Monsieur Coopair.” He always waited
breakfast for me in the coffee room, and when I called for my bill on
the last morning, he dropped his knife and asked if I was going to
London—and at what hour—and if I would be so obliging as to take a
place for him in the same coach.

It was a remarkably fine day; and with my friend by my side outside of
“the Age,” we sped on toward London, the sun getting dimmer and dimmer,
and the fog thicker and more chilly at every mile farther from the sea.
It was a trying atmosphere for the best of spirits—let alone the ever
depressed bosom of a stranger in England. The coach stopped at the
Elephant and Castle, and I ordered down my baggage, and informed my
friend, for the first time, that I was bound to a country-house six
miles from town. I scarce knew how I had escaped telling him of it
before, but his “_impossible! mon ami!_” was said in a tone and
accompanied with a look of the most complete surprise and despair. I was
evidently his only hope in London.

I went up to town a day or two after; and in making my way to
Paternoster Row, I saw my friend on the opposite side of the Strand,
with his hands thrust up to the wrists in the pockets of his “Taglioni,”
and his hat jammed down over his eyes, looking into the shop-windows
without much distinction between the trunkmaker’s and the
printseller’s—evidently miserable beyond being amused by anything. I
was too much in a hurry to cross over and resume my office as
escape-valve to his _ennui_, and I soon outwalked his slow pace, and
lost sight of him. Whatever title he had to “chevalier” (and he was
decidedly too deficient in address to belong to the order
“_d’industrie_”) he had no letter of recommendation in his personal
appearance, and as little the air of even a Frenchman of “quality” as
any man I ever saw in the station of a gentleman. He is, in short, the
person who would first occur to me if I were to see a paragraph in the
Times headed “suicide by a foreigner.”

_Revenons un peu._ Brighton at this season (November) enjoys a climate,
which, as a change from the heavy air in the neighborhood of London, is
extremely exhilarating and agreeable. Though the first day of my arrival
was rainy, a walk up the west cliff gave me a feeling of elasticity and
lightness of spirits, of which I was beginning to forget the very
existence, in the eternal fogs of the six months I had passed inland. I
do not wonder at the passion of the English for Brighton. It is, in
addition to the excellence of the air, both a magnificent city and the
most advantageous ground for the discomfiture of the common enemy,
“winter and rough weather.” The miles of broad gravel walk just out of
reach of the surf of the sea, so hard and so smoothly rolled that they
are dry in five minutes after the rain has ceased to fall, are, alone,
no small item in the comfort of a town of professed idlers and invalids.
I was never tired of sauntering along this smooth promenade so close to
the sea. The beautiful children, who throng the walks in almost all
weathers, (and what children on earth are half as beautiful as English
children?) were to me a constant source of pleasure and amusement. Tire
of this, and by crossing the street you meet a transfer of the gay
throngs of Regent street and Hyde Park, with splendid shops and all the
features of a metropolis, while midway between the sea and this crowded
sidewalk pours a tide of handsome equipages, parties on horseback, and
vehicles of every description, all subservient to exercise and pleasure.

My first visit to Brighton was made in a _very cold day in summer_, and
I saw it through most unfavorable spectacles. But I should think that
along the cliffs, where there are no trees or verdure to be seen, there
is very little apparent difference between summer and winter; and coming
here with the additional clothing of a severer season, the temperature
of the elastic and saline air is not even chilly. The most delicate
children play upon the beach in days when there is no sunshine; and
invalids, wheeled out in these convenient bath chairs, sit for hours by
the seaside, watching the coming and retreating of the waves, apparently
without any sensation of cold—and this in December. In America (in the
same latitudes with Leghorn and Venice) an invalid sitting out of doors
at this season would freeze to death in half an hour. Yet it was as cold
in August, in England, as it has been in November, and it is this
temperate evenness of the weather throughout the year which makes
English climate, on the whole, perhaps the healthiest in the world.

In the few days I was at Brighton, I became very fond of the perpetual
loud beat of the sea upon the shore. Whether, like the “music of the
spheres,” it becomes at last “too constant to be heard,” I did not
ask—but I never lost the consciousness of it except when engaged in
conversation, and I found it company to my thoughts when I dined or
walked alone, and a most agreeable lullaby at night. This majestic
monotone is audible all over Brighton, in-doors and out, and nothing
overpowers it but the wind in a storm; it is even then only by fits, and
the alternation of the hissing and moaning of the blast with the broken
and heavy plash of the waters is so like the sound of a tempest at sea
(the whistling in the rigging, and the burst of the waves) that those
who have been at Brighton in rough weather, have realized all of a storm
at sea but the motion and the sea-sickness—rather a large, but not an
undesirable diminution of experience.

Calling on a friend at Brighton, I was introduced casually to a Mr.
Smith. The name, of course, did not awaken any immediate curiosity, but
a second look at the gentleman did—for I thought I had never seen a
more intellectual or finer head. A fifteen minutes’ conversation, which
touched upon nothing that could give me a clue to his profession, still
satisfied me that so distinguished an address, and so keen an eye, could
belong to no nameless person, and I was scarcely surprised when I read
upon his card at parting—HORACE SMITH. I need not say it was a very
great pleasure to meet him. I was delighted, too, that the author of
books we love as much as “Zillah,” and “Brambletye House,” looks unlike
other men. It gratifies somehow a personal feeling—as if those who had
won so much admiration from us should, for our pride’s sake, wear the
undeniable stamp of superiority—as if we had acquired a property in him
by loving him. How natural it is, when we have talked and thought a
great deal about an author, to call him “ours.” “What Smith? Why _our_
Smith—Horace Smith”—is as common a dialogue between persons who never
saw him as it is among his personal friends.

These two remarkable brothers, James and Horace Smith, are both gifted
with exteriors such as are not often possessed with genius—yet only
James is so fortunate as to have stumbled upon a good painter.
Lonsdale’s portrait of James Smith, engraved by Cousens, is both the
author and the man—as fine a picture of him, with his mind seen through
his features, as was ever done. But there is an engraved picture extant
of the author of Zillah, that, though it is no likeness of the _author_,
is a detestable caricature of the _man_. Really this is a point about
which distinguished men, in justice to themselves, should take some
little care. Sir Thomas Lawrence’s portraits, and Sir Joshua Reynolds’s,
are a sort of biography of the eminent men they painted. The most
enduring history, it has been said, is written in coins. Certainly the
most effective biography is expressed in portraits. Long after the book
and your impressions of the character of which it treats have become dim
in your memory, your impression of the features and mien of a hero or a
poet, as received from a picture, remains indelible. How often does the
face belie the biography—making us think better or worse of the man,
after forming an opinion from a _portrait in words_, that was either
partial or malicious! I am persuaded the world would think better of
Shelley, if there were a correct and adequate portrait of his face, as
it has been described to me by one or two who knew him. How much of the
Byronic idolatry is born and fed from the idealized pictures of him
treasured in every portfolio! Sir Thomas Lawrence, Chalon, and Parris,
have composed between them a biography of Lady Blessington, that have
made her quite independent of the “memoirs” of the next century. And
who, I may safely ask, even in America, has seen the nice, cheerful,
sensible, and motherly face which prefaces the new edition of “The
Manners of the American Domestics,” (I beg pardon for giving the title
from my Kentucky copy) without liking Mrs. Trollope a great deal better
and at once dismissing all idea of “the bazar” as a libel on that most
lady-like countenance?

                 *        *        *        *        *

I think Lady S—— had more talent and distinction crowded into her
pretty rooms last night, than I ever before saw in such small compass.
It is a bijou of a house, full of gems of statuary and painting, but all
its capacity for company lies in a small drawing-room, a smaller
reception room, and a very small, but very exquisite boudoir—yet to
tell you who were there would read like Colburn’s list of authors, added
to a paragraph of noble diners-out from the Morning Post.

The largest lion of the evening certainly was the new Persian
ambassador, a man six feet in his slippers; a height which, with his
peaked calpack, of a foot and a half, super-added, keeps him very much
among the chandeliers. The principal article of his dress does not
diminish the effect of his eminence—a long white shawl worn like a
cloak, and completely enveloping him from beard to toe. From the twisted
shawl around his waist glitters a dagger’s hilt, lumped with
diamonds—and diamonds, in most dazzling profusion, almost cover his
breast. I never saw so many together except in a cabinet of regalia.
Close behind this steeple of shawl and gem, keeps, like a short shadow
when the sun is high, his excellency’s shadow, a dwarfishly small man,
dressed also in cashmere and calpack, and of a most ill-favored and
bow-stringish countenance and mien. The master and man seem chosen for
contrast, the countenance of the ambassador expressing nothing but
extreme good nature. The ambassador talks, too, and the secretary is
dumb.

T—— H—— stood bolt upright against a mirror door, looking like two
T—— H——s trying to see which was taller. The one with his face to me
looked like the incarnation of the John Bull newspaper, for which
expression he was indebted to a very hearty face, and a very round
subject for a buttoned up coat; while the H—— with his back to me
looked like an author, for which he was indebted to an exclusive view of
his cranium. I dare say Mr. H—— would agree with me that he was seen,
on the whole, at a most enviable advantage. It is so seldom we look,
_beyond the man_, at the author.

I have rarely seen a greater contrast in person and expression than
between H—— and B——, who stood near him. Both were talking to
ladies—one bald, burly, upright, and with a face of immovable gravity,
the other slight, with a profusion of curling hair, restless in his
movements, and of a countenance which lights up with a sudden inward
illumination. H——’s partner in the conversation looked into his face
with a ready-prepared smile for what he was going to say, B——’s
listened with an interest complete, but without effort. H—— was
suffering from what I think is the common curse of a reputation for
wit—the expectation of the listener had outrun the performance.

H—— B——, whose diplomatic promotion goes on much faster than can be
pleasing to “_Lady Cheveley_,” has just received his appointment to
Paris—the object of his first wishes. He stood near his brother,
talking to a beautiful and celebrated woman, and I thought, spite of her
ladyship’s unflattering description, I had seldom seen a more
intellectual face, or a more gentlemanly and elegant exterior.

Late in the evening came in his Royal Highness the duke of C——, and I
wondered, as I had done many times before, when in company with one of
these royal brothers, at the uncomfortable etiquette so laboriously
observed toward them. Wherever he moved in the crowded rooms, everybody
rose and stood silent, and by giving way much more than for any one
else, left a perpetual circular space around him, in which, of course,
his conversation had the effect of a lecture to a listening audience. A
more embarrassed manner and a more hesitating mode of speech than the
duke’s, I can not conceive. He is evidently _gene_ to the last degree
with this burdensome deference; and one would think that in the society
of highly-cultivated and aristocratic persons, such as were present, he
would be delighted to put his highness into his pocket when the footman
leaves him at the door, and hear no more of it till he goes again to his
carriage. There was great curiosity to know whether the Duke would think
it etiquetical to speak to the Persian, as in consequence of the
difference between the Shah and the British Envoy the tall minister is
not received at the court of St. James. Lady S—— introduced them,
however, and then the Duke again must have felt his rank nothing less
than a nuisance. It is awkward enough at any time, to converse with a
foreigner who has not forty English words in his vocabulary, but what
with the Duke’s hesitating and difficult utterance, the silence and
attention of the listening guests, and the Persian’s deference and
complete inability to comprehend a syllable, the scene was quite
painful.

There was some of the most exquisite amateur singing I ever heard after
the company thinned off a little, and the fashionable song of the day
was sung by a most beautiful woman in a way to move half the company to
tears. It is called “Ruth,” and is a kind of recitative of the passage
in Scripture, “_Where thou goest I will go_,” &c.

                 *        *        *        *        *

I have driven in the park several days, admiring the queen on horseback,
and observing the changes in the fashions of driving, equipages, &c.,
&c. Her Majesty seems to me to ride very securely and fearlessly, though
it is no wonder that in a country where every body rides, there should
be bolder and better horsewomen. Miss Quentin, one of the maids of
honor, said to be the best female equestrian in England, “takes the
courage out” of the Queen’s horse every morning before the ride—so she
is secured against one class of accidents. I met the royal party
yesterday in full gallop near the centre of Rotten Row, and the two
grooms who ride ahead had brief time to do their work of making the
crowd of carriages give way. On came the Queen upon a dun-colored,
highly-groomed horse, with her prime minister on one side of her, and
Lord Byron upon the other, her _cortège_ of maids of honor and ladies
and lords in waiting checking their more spirited horses, and preserving
always a slight distance between themselves and Her Majesty. Victoria’s
round and plump figure looks extremely well in her dark-green
riding-dress, but I thought the man’s hat unbecoming. Her profile is not
sufficiently good for that trying style, and the cloth riding-cap is so
much prettier, that I wonder she does not remember that “nice customs
courtesy to great _queens_,” and wear what suits her. She rode with her
mouth open, and looked exhilarated with the exercise. Lord Melbourne, it
struck me, was the only person in her party whose face had not the
constrained look of consciousness of observation.

I observe that the “crack men” ride without martingales, and that the
best turn-outs are driven without a check-rein. The outstretched neck
which is the consequence, has a sort of Arab or blood look, probably the
object of the change; but the drooping head when the horse is walking or
standing seems to me ugly and out of taste. All the new carriages are
built near the ground. The low park-phæton, light as a child’s plaything
and drawn by a pair of ponies, is the fashionable equipage. I saw the
prettiest thing conceivable of this kind yesterday in the park—a lady
driving a pair of small cream-colored horses of great beauty, with her
two children in the phæton, and two grooms behind mounted on
cream-colored saddle-horses, all four of the animals of the finest shape
and action. The new street cabs (precisely the old-fashioned sedan-chair
suspended between four wheels, a foot from the ground) are imitated by
private carriages, and driven with two horses—ugly enough. The
cab-phæton is in great fashion, with either one or two horses. The race
of ponies is greatly improved since I was in England. They are as
well-shaped as the large horse, with very fine coats and great spirit.
The children of the nobility go scampering through the park upon them,
looking like horsemen and horsewomen seen through a reversed
opera-glass. They are scarce larger than a Newfoundland dog, but they
patter along with great speed. There is one fine lad of about eight
years, whose parents seem to have very little care for his neck, and
who, upon a fleet, milk-white, long tailed pony, is seen daily riding at
a rate of twelve miles an hour through the most crowded streets, with a
servant on a tall horse plying whip and spur to keep up with him. The
whole system has the droll effect of a mixture of Lilliput and
Brobdignag.

                 *        *        *        *        *

We met the King of Oude a few days since at a party, and were honored by
an invitation to dine with his Majesty at his house in the Regent’s
park. Yesterday was the appointed day; and with the pleasant
anticipation of an oriental feast we drove up at seven, and were
received by his turbaned _ayahs_, who took shawl and hat with a
reverential salaam, and introduced us to the large drawing-room
overlooking the park. The King was not yet down; but in the corner sat
three parsees or fire worshippers, guests like ourselves, who in their
long white linen robes, bronze faces, and high caps, looked like
anything but “diners-out” in London. To our surprise they addressed us
in excellent English, and we were told afterward that they were all
learned men—facts not put down to the credit of the Ghebirs in Lalla
Rookh.

We were called out upon the balcony to look at a balloon that was
hovering over the park, and on stepping back into the drawing-room, we
found the company all assembled, and our royal host alone wanting. There
were sixteen English ladies present, and five white gentlemen beside
myself. The Orient, however, was well represented. In a corner, leaning
silently against a table, stood Prince Hussein Mirza, the King’s cousin,
and a more romantic and captivating specimen of Hindoo beauty could
scarcely be imagined. He was slender, tall, and of the clearest olive
complexion, his night-black hair falling over his shoulders in
profusion, and his large antelope eyes fixed with calm and lustrous
surprise upon the half denuded forms sitting in a circle before him. We
heard afterward that he has conceived a most uncontrollable and unhappy
passion for a high-born English girl whom he met in society, and that it
is with difficulty that he is persuaded to come out of his room. His
dress was of shawls most gracefully draped about him, and a cap of gold
cloth was thrown carelessly on the side of his head. Altogether he was
like a picture of the imagination.

A middle-aged stout man, ashy black, with Grecian features, and a most
determined and dignified expression of mouth, sat between Lady —— and
Miss Porter, and this was the _Wakeel_ or ambassador of the prince of
Sutara, by name Afzul Ali. He is in England on business for his master,
and if he does not succeed it will be no fault of his under lip. His
secretary, Keeram Ali, stood behind him—the Wakeel dressed in shawls of
bright scarlet, with a white cashmere turban, and the scribe in darker
stuffs of the same fashion. Then there was the King’s physician, a
short, wiry, merry looking, quick-eyed Hindoo, with a sort of quizzical
angle in the pose of his turban: the high-priest, also a most
merry-looking Oriental, and Ali Acbar, a Persian _attaché_. I think
these were all the Asiatics.

The King entered in a few minutes, and made the circuit of the room,
shaking hands most cordially with all his guests. He is a very
royal-looking person indeed. Perhaps you might call him too corpulent,
if his fine height (a little over six feet,) and very fine proportions,
did not give his large size a character of majesty. His chest is full
and round, and his walk erect and full of dignity. He has the Italian
olive complexion, with straight hair, and my own remark at first seeing
him was that of many others, “How like a bronze cast of Napoleon!” The
subsequent study of his features remove this impression, however, for he
is a most “merry monarch,” and is seldom seen without a smile. His dress
was a mixture of oriental and English fashions—a pair of baggy blue
pantaloons, bound around the waist with a rich shawl, a splendid scarlet
waistcoat buttoned close over his spacious chest, and a robe of a very
fine snuff-colored cloth something like a loose dressing gown without a
collar. A cap of silver cloth, and a brilliant blue-satin cravat
completed his costume, unless in his _covering_ should be reckoned an
enormous turquoise ring, which almost entirely concealed one of his
fingers.

_Ekbal-ood-Dowdah_, Nawaub of Oude (his name and title) is at present
appealing to the English against his uncle, who usurps his throne by the
aid and countenance of the East India company. The Mohammedan law, as I
understand, empowers a king to choose his successor from his children
without reference to primogeniture, and the usurper, though an elder
brother, having been imbecile from his youth, Ekbal’s father was
selected by the then king of Oude to succeed him. The question having
been referred to Lord Wellesley, however, then governor of India, he
decided that the English law of primogeniture should prevail, or in
other words—as the king’s friends say—preferred to have for the king
of a subject province an imbecile who would give him no trouble. So
slipped from the Nawaub’s hands a pretty kingdom of six millions of
faithful Mohammedans! I believe this is the “short” of the story. I
wonder (we are reproached so very often by the English for our treatment
of the Indians) whether a counter-chapter of “expedient wrong” might not
be made out from the history of the Indians under British government in
the East.

Dinner was announced with a Hindostanee salaam, and the King gave his
arm to Lady ——. The rest of us “stood not upon the order of our
going,” and I found myself seated at table between my wife and a Polish
Countess, some half-dozen removes from the Nawaub’s right hand. His
Highness commenced helping those about him most plentifully from a large
pillau, talking all the while most merrily in broken English, or
resorting to Hindostanee and his interpreter whenever his tongue got
into trouble. With the exception of one or two English joints, all the
dishes were prepared with rice or saffron, and (wine being forbidden by
the Mohammedan law,) iced water was served round from Indian coolers
freely. For one, I would have compounded for a bottle of wine by taking
the sin of the entire party on my soul, for, what with the exhaustion of
a long London day, and the cloying quality of the Nawaub’s rich dishes,
I began to be sorry I had not brought a flask in my pocket. His
Majesty’s spirits seemed to require no aid from wine. He talked
constantly, and shrewdly, and well. He impresses every one with a high
estimate of his talents, though a more complete and undisguised child of
nature I never saw. Good sense, with good humor, frankness, and
simplicity, seem to be his leading qualities.

We were obliged to take our leave early after dinner, having other
engagements for the evening, but while coffee was serving, the
Hindostanee cook, a funny little old man, came in to receive the
compliments of the company upon his dinner, and to play and dance for
His Majesty’s amusement. He had at his back a long Indian drum, which he
called his “tum tum,” and playing himself an accompaniment upon this, he
sang two or three comic songs in his own language to a sort of wild yet
merry air, very much to the delight of all the orientals. Singer,
dancer, musician, and cook, the king certainly has a jewel of a servant
in him.

One moment bowing ourselves out from the presence of a Hindoo king, and
the next beset by an Irishman with “Heaven bless your honor for the
sixpence you mean to give me!” what contrasts strike the traveller in
this great heart of the world! Paddy lighted us to our carriage with his
lantern, implored the coachman to “dhrive carefully,” and then stood
with his head beat to catch the sound upon the pavement of another
sixpence for his tenderness. Wherever there is a party in the
fashionable quarters of London, these Tantaluses flit about with their
lanterns—for ever at the door of pleasure, yet shivering and starving
for ever in their rags. What a life!

                 *        *        *        *        *

One of the most rational and agreeable of the fashionable resorts in
London is Kensington Gardens, on the days when the royal band plays,
from five to seven o’clock, near the bridge of the Serpentine. Some
twenty of the best instrumental musicians of London station themselves
under the trees in this superb park—for though called “gardens,” it is
but a park with old trees and greensward—and up and down the fine silky
carpet stroll hundreds of the fashionables of “May Fair and Belgrave
Square,” listening a little, perhaps, and chattering a great deal
certainly. It is a good opportunity to see what celebrated beauties look
like by daylight; and, truth to say, one comes to the conclusion, there,
that candle-light is your true Kalydor. It is very ingeniously contrived
by the grand chamberlain that this _public_ music should be played in a
far-away corner of the park, inaccessible except by those who have
carriages. The plebeians, for whose use and pleasure it seems at first
sight graciously contrived, are pretty well sifted by the two miles
walk, and a very aristocratic and well-dressed assembly indeed is that
of Kensington Gardens.

Near the usual stand of the musicians runs a bridle path for horsemen,
separated from the greensward by a sunk fence, and as I was standing by
the edge of the ditch yesterday, the Queen rode by, pulling up to listen
to the music, and smile right and left to the crowd of cavaliers drawn
up in the road. I pulled off my hat and stood uncovered instinctively,
but looking around to see how the promenaders received her, I found to
my surprise that with the exception of a bald-headed nobleman whom I
chanced to know, the Yankee stood alone in his homage to her.

-----

[2] I can record—now fifteen years after—that, in six years from that
time, he had become the conductor of a Scientific Review, in London.



                         EGLINGTON TOURNAMENT.


That Irish channel has, as the English say, “a nasty way with it.” I
embarked at noon on the 26th, in a magnificent steamer, the Royal
Sovereign, which had been engaged by Lord Eglington (as _per_
advertisement) to set down at Ardrossan all passengers bound to the
tournament. This was a seventeen hours’ job, including a very cold,
blowy, and rough night; and of the two hundred passengers on board, one
half were so blest as to have berths or settees—the others were
_unblest_, indeed.

I found on board several Americans; and by the time I had looked at the
shape of the Liverpool harbor and seen one or two vessels run in before
a slapping breeze, the premonitory symptom (which had already sent many
to their berths) sent me to mine. The boat was pitching backward and
forward with a sort of handsaw action that was not endurable. By
foregoing my dinner and preserving a horizontal position I escaped all
sickness, and landed at Ardrossan at six the next morning with a
thirty-six hours’ _fast_ upon me, which I trusted my incipient gout
would remember as a _per contra_ to the _feast_ in the promised
“banquet.”

Ardrossan, built chiefly, I believe, by Lord Eglington’s family, and
about eight miles from the castle, is a small but very clean and thrifty
looking hamlet on that part of the western coast of Scotland which lies
opposite the Isle of Arran. Ailsa rock, famous in song, slumbers like a
cloud on the south-western horizon. The long breakers of the channel lay
their lines of foam almost upon the street, and the harbor is formed by
a pier jutting out from a little promontory on the northern extremity of
the town. The one thoroughfare of Ardrossan is kept clean by the broom
of every wind that _sweeps_ the Irish sea. A cleaner or bleaker spot I
never saw.

A Gael, who did not comprehend a syllable of such English as a Yankee
delivers, shouldered my portmanteau without direction or request, and
travelled away to the inn, where he deposited it and held out his hand
in silence. There was certainly quite enough said between us; and
remembering the boisterous accompaniment with which the claims of
porters are usually pushed upon one’s notice, I could well wish that
Gaelic tide-waiters were more common.

“Any room, landlord?” was the first question. “Not a cupboard, sir,” was
the answer.—“Can you give me some breakfast?” asked fifty others in a
breath.—“Breakfast will be put upon all the tables presently,
gentlemen,” said the dismayed Boniface, glancing at the crowds who were
pouring in, and, Scotchmanlike, making no promises to
individuals.—“Landlord!” vociferated a gentleman from the other side of
the hall—“what the devil does this mean? Here’s the room I engaged a
fortnight ago occupied by a dozen people shaving and dressing!”—“I
canna help it, sir! Ye’re welcome to to turn ’em a’ out—_if ye can!_”
said the poor man, lifting up his hands in despair, and retreating to
the kitchen. The hint was a good one, and taking up my own portmanteau,
I opened a door in one of the passages. It led into a small apartment,
which, in more roomy times might have been a pantry, but was now
occupied by three beds and a great variety of baggage. There was a
twopenny glass on the mantel-piece, and a drop or two of water in a
pitcher, and where there were sheets I could make shift for a towel. I
found presently, by the way, that I had had a narrow escape of
surprising some one in bed, for the sheet which did duty as a napkin was
still warm with pressure of the newly-fled occupant.

Three or four smart-looking damsels in caps looked in while I was
engaged in my toilet, and this, with one or two slight observations made
in the apartment, convinced me that I had intruded on the dormitory of
the ladies’ maids belonging to the various parties in the house. A
hurried “God bless us!” as they retreated, however, was all either of
reproach or remonstrance that I was troubled with; and I emerged with a
smooth chin in time for breakfast, very much to the envy and surprise of
my less-enterprising companions.

There was a great scramble for the tea and toast; but uniting forces
with a distinguished literary man whose acquaintance I had been
fortunate enough to make on board the the steamer, we managed to get
places at one of the tables, and achieved our breakfasts in tolerable
comfort. We were still eight miles from Eglington, however, and a
lodging was the next matter of moment. My friend thought he was provided
for nearer the castle, and I went into the street, which I found crowded
with distressed looking people, flying from door to door, with ladies on
their arms and wheelbarrows of baggage at their heels, the townspeople
standing at the doors and corners staring at the novel spectacle in
open-mouthed wonder. Quite in a dilemma whether or not to go on to
Irvine (which, being within two miles of the castle, was probably much
more over-run than Ardrossan) I was standing at the corner of the
street, when a Liverpool gentleman, whose kindness I must record as well
as my pleasure in his society for the two or three days we were
together, came up and offered me a part of a lodging he had that moment
taken. The bed was what we call in America a _bunk_, or a kind of berth
sunk into the wall, and there were two in the same garret, but the
sheets were clean; and there was a large Bible on the table—the latter
a warrant for civility, neatness, and honesty, which, after many years
of travel, I have never found deceptive. I closed immediately with my
friend; and whether it was from a smack of authorship or no, I must say
I took to my garret very kindly.

It was but nine o’clock, and the day was on my hands. Just beneath the
window ran a railroad, built to bring coal to the seaside, and extending
to within a mile of the castle; and with some thirty or forty others, I
embarked in a horse-car for Eglinton to see the preparations for the
following day’s tournament. We were landed near the park gate, after an
hour’s drive through a flat country blackened with coal pits; and it was
with no little relief to the eye that I entered upon a smooth and
gravelled avenue, leading by a mile of shaded windings to the castle.
The day was heavenly; the sun-flecks lay bright as “patines of gold” on
the close-shaven grass beneath the trees; and I thought that nature had
consented for once to remove her eternal mist veil from Scotland, and
let pleasure and sunshine have a holiday together. The sky looked hard
and deep; and I had no more apprehension of rain for the morrow than I
should have had under a July sun in Asia.

Crossing a bright little river (the Lugton I think it is called) whose
sloping banks, as far as I could see up and down, were shaven to the
rich smoothness of “velvet of three-pile,” I came in sight of the castle
towers. Another bridge over a winding of the same river lay to the left,
a Gothic structure of the most rich and airy mould, and from either end
of this extended the enclosed passage for the procession to the lists.
The castle stood high upon a mound beyond. Its round towers were half
concealed by some of the finest trees I ever saw—and though less
antique and of a less frowning and rude aspect than I had expected, it
was a very perfect specimen of modern castellated architecture. On
ascending to the lawn in front of the castle, I found that it was built
less upon a mound than upon the brow of a broad plateau of table-land,
turned sharply by the Lugton, close under the castle walls—a natural
site of singular beauty. Two Saracenic-looking tents of the gayest
colors were pitched upon the bright green lawn at a short distance, and
off to the left, by several glimpses through the trees, I traced along
the banks of the river the winding enclosures for the procession.

The large hall was crowded with servants; but presuming that a knight
who was to do his devoir so conspicuously on the morrow would not be
stirring at so early an hour, I took merely a glance of the armor upon
the walls in passing, and deferring the honor of paying my respects,
crossed the lawn and passed over the Lugton by a rustic foot-bridge in
search of the lists. A crosspath (leading by a small temple enclosed
with wire netting, once an aviary, perhaps, but now hung around in
glorious profusion with game, vension, a boar’s head, and other
comestibles,) brought me in two or three minutes to a hill-side
overlooking the chivalric arena. It was a beautiful sight of itself
without plume or armor. In the centre of a verdant plain, shut in by
hills of an easy slope, wooded richly, appeared an oblong enclosure
glittering at either end with a cluster of tents, striped with the
gayest colors of the rainbow. Between them, on the farther side, stood
three galleries, of which the centre was covered with a Gothic roof
highly ornamented, the four front pillars draped with blue damask, and
supporting a canopy over the throne intended for the Queen of Beauty. A
strongly-built barrier extended through the lists; and heaps of lances,
gay flags, and the heraldic ornaments, still to be added to the tents,
lay around on the bright grass in a picture of no little richness. I was
glad afterward that I had seen thus much with the advantage of an
unclouded sun.

In returning, I passed in the rear of the castle, and looked into the
temporary pavilions erected for the banquet and ball. They were covered
exteriorly with rough board and sails, and communicated by an enclosed
gallery with one of the larger apartments of the castle. The workmen
were still nailing up the drapery, and arranging lamps and flowers; but
with all this disadvantage, the effect of the two immense halls, lined
as they were with crimson and white in broad alternate stripes,
resembling in shape and fashion two gigantic tents, was exceedingly
imposing. Had the magnificent design of Lord Eglinton been successfully
carried out it would have been a scene, with the splendor of the
costumes, the lights, music, and revelry unsurpassed probably by
anything short of enchantment.

                 *        *        *        *        *

PRINCIPAL DAY.—I was awakened at an early hour the morning after
arriving at Ardrossan by a band of music in the street. My first feeling
was delight at seeing a bit of blue sky of the size of my garret
skylight, and a dazzling sunshine on the floor. “Skirling” above all
other instruments of the band, the Highland bagpipe made the air reel
with “A’ the blue bonnets are over the border,” and, hoisting the window
above my head, I strained over the house-leads to look at the performer.
A band of a dozen men in kilt and bonnet were marching up and down, led
by a piper, something in the face like the heathen representations of
Boreas; and on a line of roughly-constructed rail-cars were piled, two
or three deep, a crowd resembling at first sight, a crushed bed of
tulips. Bonnets of every cut and color, from the courtier’s green velvet
to the shepherd’s homely gray, struggled at the top; and over the sides
hung red legs and yellow legs, cross barred stockings and buff boots,
bare feet and pilgrim’s sandals. The masqueraders scolded and laughed,
the boys halloed, the quiet people of Ardrossan stared in grave
astonishment, and, with the assistance of some brawny shoulders, applied
to the sides of the overladen vehicles, the one unhappy horse got his
whimsical load under way for the tournament.

Train followed train, packed with the same motley array; and at ten
o’clock, after a clean and comfortable Scotch breakfast in our host’s
little parlor, we sallied forth to try our luck in the scramble for
places. After a considerable fight we were seated, each with a man in
his lap, when we were ordered down by the conductor, who informed us
that the Chief of the Campbells had taken the car for his party, and
that, with his band in the succeeding one, he was to go in state (upon a
railroad!) to Eglinton. Up swore half-a-dozen Glasgow people, usurpers
like ourselves, that they would give way for no Campbell in the world;
and finding a stout hand laid on my leg to prevent my yielding to the
order to quit, I gave in to what might be called as pretty a bit of
rebellious republicanism as you would find on the Mississippi. The
conductor stormed, but the Scotch bodies sat firm; and as Scot met Scot
in the fight, I was content to sit in silence and take advantage of the
victory. I learned afterwards that the Campbell Chieftain was a Glasgow
manufacturer; and though he undoubtedly had a right to gather his clan,
and take piper and eagle’s plume, there might, possibly, be some jealous
disapprobation at the bottom of his townsmen’s rudeness.

Campbell and his party presently appeared, and a dozen or twenty very
fine-looking men they were. One of the ladies, as well as I could see
through the black lace veil thrown over her cap and plumes, was a
remarkably handsome woman, and I was very glad when the matter was
compromised, and the Campbells distributed among our company. We jogged
on at a slow pace toward the tournament, passing thousands of
pedestrians, the men all shod, and the women all barefoot, with their
shoes in their hands, and nearly every one, in accordance with Lord
Eglinton’s printed request, showing some touch of fancy in his dress. A
plaid over the shoulder, or a Glengary bonnet, or, perhaps, a
goose-feather stuck jauntily in the cap, was enough to show the feeling
of the wearer, and quite enough to give the crowd, all in all, a most
festal and joyous aspect.

The secluded bit of road between the rail-track and the castle lodge,
probably never before disturbed by more than two vehicles at a time, was
thronged with a press of wheels, as closely jammed as Fleet street at
noon. Countrymen’s carts piled with women and children like loads of
market baskets in Kent; post-chaises with exhausted horses and occupants
straining their eyes forward for a sight of the castle; carriages of the
neighboring gentry with “bodkins” and over-packed dickeys, all in
costume; stout farmers on horseback, with plaid and bonnet; gingerbread
and ale carts, pony carts, and coal carts; wheelbarrows with baggage,
and porters with carpet bags and hat boxes, were mixed up in merry
confusion with the most motley throng of pedestrians it has ever been my
fortune to join. The vari-colored tide poured in at the open gate of the
castle; and if I had seen no other procession, the long-extended mass of
caps, bonnets, and plumes, winding through that shaded and beautiful
avenue, would have repaid me for no small proportion of my subsequent
discomfort. I remarked, by the way, that I did not see a _hat_ in the
entire mile between the porter’s lodge and the castle.

The stables, which lay on the left of the approach (a large square
structure with turret and clock, very like four Methodist churches,
_dos-à-dos_,) presented another busy and picturesque scene—horses
half-caparisoned, men-at-arms in buff and steel, and the gay liveries of
the nineteenth century paled by the revived glories of the servitude of
more knightly times. And this part of the scene, too, had its crowd of
laughing and wondering spectators.

On reaching the Gothic bridge over the Lugton, we came upon a _cordon_
of police who encircled the castle, turning the crowd off by the bridge
in the direction of the lists. Sorry to leave my merry and motley
fellow-pedestrians, I presented my card of invitation and passed on
alone to the castle. The sun was at this time shining with occasional
cloudings-over; and the sward and road, after the two or three fine days
we had had, were in the best condition for every purpose of the
tournament.

Two or three noble trees with their foliage nearly to the ground stood
between me and the front of the castle, as I ascended the slope above
the river; and the lifting of a stage-curtain could scarce be more
sudden, or the scene of a drama, more effectively composed, than the
picture disclosed by the last step upon the terrace. Any just
description of it, indeed, must read like a passage from the “prompter’s
book.” I stood for a moment, exactly where you would have placed an
audience. On my left rose a noble castle with four round towers, the
entrance thronged with men-at-arms, and comers and goers in every
variety of costume. On the greensward in front of the castle lounged
three or four gentlemen archers in suits of green silk and velvet. A
cluster of grooms under an immense tree on the right were fitting two or
three superb horses with their armor and caparisons, while one beautiful
blood palfrey, whose fine limbs and delicately veined head and neck were
alone visible under his embroidered saddle and gorgeous trappings of
silk, was held by two “tigers” at a short distance. Still farther on the
right, stood a cluster of gayly decorated tents; and in and out of the
looped-up curtain of the farthest passed constantly the slight forms of
lady archers in caps with snowy plumes, kirtles of green velvet, and
petticoats of white satin, quivers at their backs and bows in their
hands—one tall and stately girl (an Ayrshire lady of very uncommon
beauty, whose name I took some pains to inquire,) conspicuous by her
grace and dignity above all.

The back-ground was equally well composed—the farther side of the lawn
making a sharp descent to the small river which bends around the castle,
the opposite shore thronged with thousands of spectators watching the
scene I have described; and in the distance behind them, the winding
avenue, railed in for the procession, hidden and disclosed by turns
among the noble trees of the park, and alive throughout its whole extent
with the multitudes crowding to the lists. There was a chivalric
splendor in the whole scene, which I thought at the time would repay one
for a long pilgrimage to see it—even should the clouds, which by this
time were coming up very threateningly from the horizon, put a stop to
the tournament altogether.

On entering the castle hall, a lofty room hung round with arms, trophies
of the chase, ancient shields, and armor of every description, I found
myself in a crowd of a very merry and rather a motley character—knights
half armed, esquires in buff, palmers, halberdiers, archers, and
servants in modern livery, here and there a lady, and here and there a
spectator like myself, and in a corner by one of the Gothic
windows—what think you?—a minstrel?—a gray-haired harper?—a jester?
Guess again—_a reporter for the Times!_ With a “walking dictionary” at
his elbow, in the person of the fat butler of the castle, he was
inquiring out the various characters in the crowd, and the rapidity of
his stenographic jottings-down (with their lucid apparition in print two
days after in London) would in the times represented by the costumes
about him, have burnt him at the stake for a wizard with the consent of
every knight in Christendom.

I was received by the knight-marshal of the lists, who did the honors of
hospitality for Lord Eglington during his preparation for the “passage
of arms;” and finding an old friend under the gray beard and scallop
shell of a venerable palmer, whose sandal and bare toes I chanced to
stumble over, we passed in together to the large dining room of the
castle. “Lunch” was on the long table, and some two hundred of the
earl’s out-lodging guests were busy at knife and fork, while here and
there were visible some of those anachronisms which, to me, made the
zest of the tournament—pilgrims eating _Périgord pies_, esquires
dressing after the manner of the thirteenth century diving most
scientifically into the richer veins of _pâtés de foie-gras_, dames in
ruff and farthingale discussing _blue_ blanc-mange, and a knight with an
over-night headache calling out for a cup of tea!

On returning to the hall of the castle, which was the principal place of
assemblage, I saw with no little regret that ladies were coming from
their carriages under umbrellas. The fair archers tripped in doors from
their crowded tent, the knight of the dragon, who had been out to look
after his charger, was being wiped dry by a friendly
pocket-handkerchief, and all countenances had fallen with the barometer.
It was time for the procession to start, however, and the knights
appeared, one by one, armed _cap-à-pie_, all save the helmet, till at
last the hall was crowded with steel-clad and chivalric forms; and they
waited only for the advent of the Queen of Beauty. After admiring not a
little the manly bearing and powerful “thewes and sinews” displayed by
the array of modern English nobility in the trying costumes and harness
of olden time, I stepped out upon the lawn with some curiosity to see
how so much heavy metal was to be got into a demipique saddle. After one
or two ineffectual attempts, foiled partly by the restlessness of his
horse, the first knight called ingloriously for a chair. Another
scrambled over with great difficulty; and I fancy, though Lord Waterford
and Lord Eglinton, and one other whom I noticed, mounted very gallantly
and gracefully, the getting to saddle was possibly the most difficult
feat of the day. The ancient achievement of leaping on the steed’s back
from the ground in complete armor would certainly have broken the spine
of any horse present, and was probably never done but in story. Once in
the saddle, however, English horsemanship told well; and one of the
finest sights of the day I thought was the breaking away of a powerful
horse from the grooms, before his rider had gathered up his reins, and a
career at furious speed through the open park, during which the steel
encumbered horseman rode as safely as a fox-hunter, and subdued the
affrighted animal, and brought him back in a style worthy of a wreath
from the Queen of Beauty.

Driven in by the rain, I was standing at the upper side of the hall,
when a movement in the crowd and an unusual “making-way” announced the
coming of the “cynosure of all eyes.” She entered from the interior of
the castle with her train held up by two beautiful pages of ten or
twelve years of age, and attended by two fair and very young maids of
honor. Her jacket of ermine, her drapery of violet and blue velvet, the
collars of superb jewels which embraced her throat and bosom, and her
sparkling crown, were on her (what they seldom are, but should be only)
mere accessaries to her own predominating and radiant beauty. Lady
Seymour’s features are as nearly faultless as is consistent with
expression; her figure and face are rounded to the complete fulness of
the mould for a Juno; her walk is queenly, and peculiarly unstudied and
graceful, yet (I could not but think then and since) she was not well
chosen for the Queen of a Tournament. The character of her beauty,
uncommon and perfect as it is, is that of delicacy and loveliness—the
lily rather than the rose—the modest pearl, not the imperial diamond.
The eyes to flash over a crowd at a tournament, to be admired from a
distance, to beam down upon a knight kneeling for a public award of
honor, should be full of command, dark, lustrous, and fiery. Hers are of
the sweetest and most tranquil blue that ever reflected the serene
heaven of a happy hearth—eyes to love, not wonder at, to adore and rely
upon, not admire and tremble for. At the distance at which most of the
spectators of the tournament saw Lady Seymour, Fanny Kemble’s stormy
orbs would have shown much finer, and the forced and imperative action
of a stage-taught head and figure would have been more applauded than
the quiet, nameless, and indescribable grace lost to all but those
immediately round her. I had seen the Queen of Beauty in a small
society, dressed in simple white, without an ornament, when she was far
more becomingly dressed and more beautiful than here, and I have never
seen, since, the engravings and prints of Lady Seymour which fill every
window in the London shops, without feeling that it was a profanation of
a style of loveliness that would be—

                ——“prodigal enough
                If it unveiled its beauty to the moon.”

The day wore on, and the knight-marshal of the lists, (Sir Charles Lamb,
the stepfather of Lord Eglinton, by far the most knightly looking person
at the tournament,) appeared in his rich surcoat and embossed armor, and
with a despairing look at the increasing torrents of rain, gave the
order to get to horse. At the first blast of the trumpet, the
thick-leaved trees around the castle gave out each a dozen or two of
gay-colored horsemen who had stood almost unseen under the low hanging
branches—mounted musicians in silk and gay trappings, mounted
men-at-arms in demi-suits of armor, deputy marshals and halberdiers; and
around the western tower, where their caparisons had been arranged and
their horse armor carefully looked to, rode the glittering and noble
company of knights, Lord Eglinton in his armor of inlaid gold, and Lord
Alford, with his athletic frame and very handsome features, conspicuous
above all. The rain, meantime, spared neither the rich tabard of the
pursuivant, nor the embroidered saddle cloths of the queen’s impatient
palfrey: and after a half-dozen of dripping detachments had formed and
led on, as the head of the procession, the lady archers—who were to go
on foot—were called by the marshal with a smile and a glance upward
which might have been construed into a tacit advice to stay in doors.
Gracefully and majestically, however, with quiver at her back, and bow
in hand, the tall and fair archer of whose uncommon beauty I have
already spoken, stepped from the castle door; and, regardless of the
rain which fell in drops as large as pearls on her unprotected forehead
and snowy shoulders, she took her place in the procession with her
silken-booted troop picking their way very gingerly over the pools
behind her. Slight as the circumstance may seem, there was in the manner
of the lady, and her calm disregard of self in the cause she had
undertaken, which would leave me in no doubt where to look for a heroine
were the days of Wallace, (whose compatriot she is) to come over again.
The knight-marshal put spurs to his horse, and re-ordered the little
troop to the castle; and regretting that I had not the honor of the
lady’s acquaintance for my authority, I performed my only chivalric
achievement for the day, the sending a halberdier whom I had chanced to
remember as the servant of an old friend, on a crusade into the castle
for a lady’s maid and a pair of dry stockings! Whether they were found,
and the fair archer wore them, or where she and her silk-shod company
have the tournament consumption, rheumatism, or cough, at this hour, I
am sorry I cannot say.

The judge of peace, Lord Saltoun, with his wand, and retainers on foot
bearing heavy battle axes, was one of the best figures in the
procession; though, as he was slightly gray, and his ruby velvet cap and
saturated ruff were poor substitutes for a warm cravat and hat-brim, I
could not but associate his fine horsemanship with a sore throat, and
his retainers and their battle axes with relays of nurses and hot
flannels. The flower of the tournament, in the representing and keeping
up of the assumed character, however, was its king, Lord Londonderry.
He, too, is a man, I should think, on the shady side of fifty, but of
just the high preservation and _embonpoint_ necessary for a royal
presence. His robe of red velvet and ermine swept the ground as he sat
in his saddle; and he managed to keep its immense folds free of his
horse’s legs, and yet to preserve its flow in his prancing motion, with
a grace and ease, I must say, which seemed truly imperial.—His palfrey
was like a fiery Arabian, all action, nerve, and fire; and every step
was a rearing prance, which, but for the tranquil self-possession and
easy control of the king, would have given the spectators some fears for
his royal safety. Lord Londonderry’s whole performance of his part was
without a fault, and chiefly admirable, I thought, from his sustaining
it with that unconsciousness and entire freedom from _mauvaise honte_
which the English seldom can command in new or conspicuous situations.

The Queen of Beauty was called, and her horse led to the door; but the
water ran from the blue saddle cloth and housings like rain from a roof,
and the storm seemed to have increased with the sound of her name. She
came to the door, and gave a deprecating look upward which would have
mollified any thing but a Scotch sky, and, by command of the
knight-marshal, retired again to wait for a less chivalric but drier
conveyance. Her example was followed by the other ladies, and their
horses were led riderless in the procession.

The knights were but half called when I accepted a friend’s kind offer
of a seat in his carriage to the lists. The entire park, as we drove
along, was one vast expanse of umbrellas; and it looked from the
carriage window, like an army of animated and gigantic mushrooms,
shouldering each other in a march. I had no idea till then of the
immense crowd the occasion had called together. The circuitous route
railed in for the procession was lined with spectators six or seven
deep, on either side, throughout its whole extent of a mile; the most
distant recesses of the park were crowded with men, horses, and
vehicles, all pressing onward; and as we approached the lists, we found
the multitude full a quarter of a mile deep, standing on all the
eminences which looked down upon the enclosure, as closely serried
almost as the pit of the opera, and all eyes bent in one direction,
anxiously watching the guarded entrance. I heard the number of persons
present variously estimated during the day, the estimates ranging from
fifty to seventy-five thousand, but I should think the latter was nearer
the mark.

We presented our tickets at the private door, in the rear of the
principal gallery, and found ourselves introduced to a very dry place
among the supports and rafters of the privileged structure. The look-out
was excellent in front, and here I proposed to remain, declining the wet
honor of a place above stairs. The gentleman-usher, however, was very
urgent for our promotion; but as we found him afterward chatting very
familiarly with a party who occupied the seats we had selected, we were
compelled to relinquish the flattering unction that he was actuated by
an intuitive sense of our deservings. On ascending to the covered
gallery, I saw, to my surprise, that some of the best seats in front
were left vacant, and here and there, along the different tiers of
benches, ladies were crowding excessively close together, while before
or behind them there seemed plenty of unoccupied room. A second look
showed me small streams of water coming through the roof, and I found
that a dry seat was totally unattainable. The gallery held about a
thousand persons (the number Lord Eglinton had invited to the banquet
and ball,) and the greater part of these were ladies, most of them in
fancy dresses, and the remainder in very slight
_demi-toilette_—everybody having dressed apparently with a full
reliance on the morning’s promise of fair weather. Less fortunate than
the multitude outside the Earl’s guests seemed not to have numbered
umbrellas among the necessities of a tournament; and the demand for this
despised invention was sufficient (if merit was ever rewarded) to
elevate it for ever after to a rank among chivalric appointments.
Substitutes and imitations of it were made of swords and cashmeres; and
the lenders of veritable umbrellas received smiles which should induce
them, one would think, to carry half-a-dozen to all future tournaments
in Scotland. It was pitiable to see the wreck going on among the
perishable elegancies of Victorine and Herbault—chip hats of the most
faultless _tournure_ collapsing with the wet; starched ruffs quite flat;
dresses passing helplessly from “Lesbia’s” style to “Nora Creina’s;”
shawls, tied by anxious mammas over chapeau and coiffure, crushing
pitilessly the delicate fabric of months of invention; and, more
lamentable still, the fair brows and shoulders of many a lovely woman
proving with rainbow clearness that the colors of the silk or velvet
composing her head-dress were by no means ‘fast.’ The Irvine archers, by
the way, who as the Queen’s body guard, were compelled to expose
themselves to the rain on the grand staircase, resembled a troop of New
Zealanders with their faces tattooed of a delicate green; though, as
their Lincoln bonnets were all made of the same faithless velvet, they
were fortunately streaked so nearly alike as to preserve their uniform.

After a brief consultation between the rheumatisms in my different
limbs, it was decided (since it was vain to hope for shelter for the
entire person) that my cloth cap would be the best recipient for the
inevitable wet; and selecting the best of the vacated places, I seated
myself so as to receive one of the small streams as nearly as possible
on my organ of firmness. Here I was undisturbed, except once that I was
asked, (my seat supposed to be a dry one) to give place for a lady newly
arrived, who, receiving my appropriated rivulet in her neck, immediately
restored it to me with many acknowledgments, and passed on. In point of
position, my seat, which was very near the pavilion of the Queen of
Beauty, was one of the best at the tournament; and diverting my
aqueduct, by a little management, over my left shoulder, I contrived to
be more comfortable, probably, than most of my shivering and melancholy
neighbors.

A great agitation in the crowd, and a dampish sound of coming trumpets
announced the approach of the procession. As it came in sight, and wound
along the curved passage to the lists, its long and serpentine line of
helmets and glittering armor, gonfalons, spear-points, and plumes, just
surging above the moving sea of umbrellas, had the effect of some
gorgeous and bright-scaled dragon swimming in troubled waters. The
leaders of the long cavalcade pranced into the arena at last, and a
tremendous shout from the multitude announced their admiration of the
spectacle. On they came toward the canopy of the Queen of Beauty,
men-at-arms, trumpeters, heralds, and halberdiers, and soon after them
the king of the tournament, with his long scarlet robe flying to the
tempest, and his rearing palfrey straining every nerve to show his pride
and beauty. The first shout from the principal gallery was given in
approbation of this display of horsemanship, as Lord Londonderry rode
past; and considering the damp enthusiasm which prompted it, it should
have been considered rather flattering. Lord Eglinton came on presently,
distinguished above all others no less by the magnificence of his
appointments than by the ease and dignity with which he rode, and his
knightly bearing and stature. His golden armor sat on him as if he had
been used to wear it; and he managed his beautiful charger, and bowed in
reply to the reiterated shouts of the multitude and his friends, with a
grace and chivalric courtesy which drew murmurs of applause from the
spectators long after the cheering had subsided.

The jester rode into the lists upon a gray steed, shaking his bells over
his head, and dressed in an odd costume of blue and yellow, with a broad
flapped hat, asses’ ears, &c. His character was not at first understood
by the crowd, but he soon began to excite merriment by his jokes, and no
little admiration by his capital riding. He was a professional person, I
think it was said, from Astley’s, but as he spoke with a most excellent
Scotch “burr,” he easily passed for an indigenous “fool.” He rode from
side to side of the lists during the whole of the tournament, borrowing
umbrellas, quizzing the knights, &c.

One of the most striking features of the procession was the turn-out of
the knight of the Gael, Lord Glenlyon, with seventy of his clansmen at
his back in plaid and philibeg, and a finer exhibition of calves
(without a joke) could scarce be desired. They followed their chieftain
on foot, and when the procession separated, took up their places in a
line along the palisade serving as a guard to the lists.

After the procession had twice made the circuit of the enclosure, doing
obeisance to the Queen of Beauty, the jester had possession of the field
while the knights retired to don their helmets, (hitherto carried by
their esquires,) and to await the challenge to combat. All eyes were now
bent upon the gorgeous clusters of tents at either extremity of the
oblong area; and in a very few minutes the herald’s trumpet sounded, and
the Knight of the Swan rode forth, having sent his defiance to the
Knight of the Golden Lion. At another blast of the trumpet they set
their lances in rest, selected opposite sides of the long fence or
barrier running lengthwise through the lists, and rode furiously past
each other, the fence of course preventing any contact except that of
their lances. This part of the tournament (the essential part, one would
think) was, from the necessity of the case, the least satisfactory of
all. The knights, though they rode admirably, were so oppressed by the
weight of their armor, and so embarrassed in their motions by the
ill-adjusted joints, that they were like men of wood, unable apparently
even to raise the lance from the thigh on which it rested. I presume no
one of them either saw where he should strike his opponent, or had any
power of directing the weapon. As they rode close to the fence, however,
and a ten-foot pole sawed nearly off in two or three places was laid
crosswise on the legs of each, it would be odd if they did not come in
contact; and the least shock of course splintered the lance—in other
words, finished what was begun by the carpenter’s saw. The great
difficulty was to ride at all under such a tremendous weight, and manage
a horse of spirit, totally unused both to the weight and the clatter of
his own and his rider’s armor. I am sure that Lord Eglinton’s horse, for
one, would have bothered Ivanhoe himself to “bring to the scratch;” and
Lord Waterford’s was the only one that, for all the fright he showed,
might have been selected (as they all should have been) for the virtue
of having peddled tin-ware. These two knights, by the way, ran the best
career, Lord Eglinton, _malgré_ his bolter, coming off the victor.

The rain, meantime, had increased to a deluge, the Queen of Beauty sat
shivering under an umbrella, the jester’s long ears were water-logged,
and lay flat on his shoulders, and everybody in my neighborhood had
expressed a wish for a dry seat and a glass of sherry. The word
“banquet” occurred frequently right and left; hopes for “mulled wine or
something hot before dinner” stole from the lips of a mamma on the seat
behind; and there seemed to be but one chance for the salvation of
health predominant in the minds of all—and that was drinking rather
more freely than usual at the approaching banquet. Judge what must have
been the astonishment, vexation, dread, and despair, of the one thousand
wet, shivering, and hungry candidates for the feast, when Lord Eglinton
rode up to the gallery unhelmeted, and delivered himself as follows:—

“Ladies and gentlemen, I had hoped to have given you all a good dinner;
but to my extreme mortification and regret, I am just informed that the
rain has penetrated the banqueting pavilions, and that, in consequence,
I shall only be able to entertain so many of my friends as can meet
around my ordinary table.”

About as uncomfortable a piece of intelligence to some nine hundred and
sixty of his audience, as they could have received, short of a sentence
for their immediate execution.

To comprehend fully the disastrous extent of the disappointment in the
principal gallery, it must be taken into consideration that the
domicils, fixed or temporary, of the rejected sufferers, were from five
to twenty miles distant—a long ride at best, if begun on the point of
famishing, and in very thin and well-saturated fancy dresses. Grievance
the first, however, was nothing to grievance the second; viz. that from
the tremendous run upon post-horses, and horses of all descriptions,
during the three or four previous days, the _getting to_ the tournament
was the utmost that many parties could achieve. The nearest
baiting-place was several miles off; and in compassion to the poor
beasts, and with the weather promising fair on their arrival, most
persons had consented to take their chance for the quarter of a mile
from the lists to the castle, and had dismissed their carriages with
orders to return at the close of the banquet and ball—daylight the next
morning! The castle, every body knew, was crammed, from “donjon-keep to
turret-top,” with the relatives and friends of the noble earl, and his
private table could accommodate no more than these. _To get home_ was
the inevitable alternative.

The rain poured in a deluge. The entire park was trodden into a slough,
or standing in pools of water—carts, carriages, and horsemen, with
fifty thousand flying pedestrians, crowding every road and avenue. How
to get home _with_ a carriage! How the deuce to get home _without_ one!

A gentleman who had been sent out on the errand of Noah’s dove by a lady
whose carriage and horses were ordered at four the following morning,
came back with the mud up to his knees, and reported that there was not
a wheelbarrow to be had for love or money. After threading the crowd in
every direction, he had offered a large sum, in vain, for a one-horse
cart!

Night was coming on, meantime, very fast; but absorbed by the distresses
of the shivering groups around me, I had scarce remembered that my own
invitation was but to the banquet and ball—and my dinner, consequently,
nine miles off, at Ardrossan. Thanking Heaven, that, at least, I had no
ladies to share my evening’s pilgrimage, I followed the Queen of Beauty
down the muddy and slippery staircase, and, when her majesty had stepped
into her carriage, I stepped over ankles in mud and water, and began my
_wade_ toward the castle.

Six hours of rain, and the trampling of such an immense multitude of men
and horses, had converted the soft and moist sod and soil of the park
into a deep and most adhesive quagmire. Glancing through the labyrinth
of vehicles on every side, and seeing men and horses with their feet
completely sunk below the surface, I saw that there was no possibility
of shying the matter, and that _wade_ was the word. I thought at first,
that I had a claim for a little sympathy on the score of being rather
slenderly shod (the impalpable sole of a pattern leather boot being all
that separated me from the subsoil of the estate of Eglinton;) but
overtaking, presently, a party of four ladies who had lost several shoes
in the mire, and were positively wading on in silk stockings, I took
patience to myself from my advantage in the comparison, and thanked fate
for the thinnest sole with leather to keep it on. The ladies I speak of
were under the charge of a most despairing-looking gentleman, but had
neither cloak nor umbrella, and had evidently made no calculations for a
walk. We differed in our choice of the two sides of a slough, presently,
and they were lost in the crowd; but I could not help smiling, with all
my pity of their woes, to think what a turning up of prunella shoes
there will be, should Lord Eglinton ever plough the chivalric field of
the Tournament.

As I reached the castle, I got upon the Macadamised road, which had the
advantage of a bottom _somewhere_, though it was covered with a liquid
mud, of which every passing foot gave you a spatter to the hips. My
exterior was by this time equally divided between water and dirt, and I
trudged on in comfortable fellowship with farmers, coal-miners, and
Scotch lasses—envying very much the last, for they carried their shoes
in their hands, and held their petticoats, to say the least, clear of
the mud. Many a good joke they seemed to have among them, but as they
spoke in Gaelic, it was lost on my Sassenach ears.

I had looked forward with a faint hope to a gingerbread and ale-cart,
which I remembered having seen in the morning established near the
terminus of the railroad, trusting to refresh my strength and patience
with a glass of anything that goes under the generic name of “summat;”
but though the cart was there, the gingerbread shelf was occupied by a
row of Scotch lasses, crouching together under cover from the rain, and
the pedlar assured me that “there wasna a drap o’ speerit to be got
within ten mile o’ the castle.” One glance at the railroad, where a car
with a single horse was beset by some thousands of shoving and fighting
applicants, convinced me that I had a walk of eight miles to finish my
“purgation by” tournament; and as it was getting too dark to trust to
any picking of the way, I took the middle of the rail-track, and set
forward.

             “Oh, but a weary wight was he
             When he reached the foot of the dogwood tree.”

Eight miles in a heavy rain, with boots of the consistence of brown
paper, and a road of alternate deep mud and broken stone, should entitle
one to the green turban. I will make the pilgrimage of a Hadjii from the
“farthest inn” with half the endurance.

I found my Liverpool friends over a mutton chop in the snug parlor of
our host, and with a strong brew of hot toddy, and many a laugh at the
day’s adventures by land and water, we got comfortably to bed “somewhere
in the small hours.” And so ended (for me) the great day of the
tournament.

After witnessing the disasters of the first day, the demolition of
costumes, and the perils by water, of masqueraders and spectators, it
was natural to fancy that the tournament was over. So did not seem to
think several thousands of newly-arrived persons, pouring from steamer
after steamer upon the pier of Ardrossan, and in every variety of
costume, from the shepherd’s maud to the courtier’s satin, crowding to
the rail-cars from Eglinton. It appeared from the chance remarks of one
or two who came to our lodgings to deposite their carpet bags, that it
had rained very little in the places from which the steamers had come,
and that they had calculated on the second as the great day of the
joust. No dissuasion had the least effect upon them, and away they went,
bedecked and merry, the sufferers of the day before looking out upon
them, from comfortable hotel and lodging, with prophetic pity.

At noon the sky brightened; and as the cars were running by this time
with diminished loads, I parted from my agreeable friends, and bade
adieu to my garret at Ardrossan. I was bound to Ireland, and my road lay
by Eglinton to Irvine and Ayr. Fellow-passengers with me were twenty or
thirty men in Glengary bonnets, plaids, &c.; and I came in for my share
of the jeers and jokes showered on them by the passengers in the
return-cars, as men bound on a fruitless errand. As we neared the
castle, the crowds of people with disconsolate faces waiting for
conveyances, or standing by the reopened ginger-bread carts in listless
idleness, convinced my companions, at last, that there was nothing to be
seen, for that day at least, at Eglinton. I left them sitting on the
cars, undecided whether to go on or return without losing their places;
and seeing a coach marked “Irvine” standing in the road, I jumped in
without question or ceremony. It belonged to a private party of
gentlemen, who were to visit the castle and tilting-ground on their way
to Irvine; and as they very kindly insisted on my remaining after I had
apologised for the intrusion, I found myself “booked” for a glimpse of
the second day’s attractions.

The avenue to the castle was as crowded as on the day before; but it was
curious to remark how the general aspect of the multitude was changed by
the substitution of disappointment for expectation. The lagging gait and
surly silence, instead of the elastic step and merry joke, seemed to
have darkened the scene more than the withdrawal of the sun, and I was
glad to wrap myself in my cloak, and remember that I was on the wing.
The banner flying at the castle tower was the only sign of motion I
could see in its immediate vicinity; the sail-cloth coverings of the
pavilion were dark with wet; the fine sward was everywhere disfigured
with traces of mud, and the whole scene was dismal and uncomfortable. We
kept on to the lists, and found them, as one of my companions expressed
it, more like a cattle-pen after a fair than a scene of
pleasure—trodden, wet, miry, and deserted. The crowd, content to view
them from a distance, were assembled around the large booths on the
ascent of the rising ground toward the castle, where a band was playing
some merry reels, and the gingerbread and ale venders plied a busy
vocation. A look was enough; and we shaped our course for Irvine,
sympathizing deeply with the disappointment of the high-spirited and
generous Lord of the Tourney. I heard at Irvine, and farther on, that
the tilting would be renewed, and the banquet and ball given on the
succeeding days; but after the wreck of dresses and peril of health I
had witnessed, I was persuaded that the best that could be done would be
but a slender patching up of the original glories as well as a halting
rally of the original spirits of the tournament. So I kept on my way.



                           TALKS OVER TRAVEL.
                                 LONDON.


There is an inborn and inbred distrust of “foreigners” in
England—continental foreigners, I should say—which keeps the current
of French and Italian society as distinct amid the sea of London, as the
blue Rhone in Lake Leman. The word “foreigner,” in England, conveys
exclusively the idea of a dark-complexioned and whiskered individual, in
a frogged coat and distressed circumstances; and to introduce a
smooth-cheeked, plainly-dressed, _quiet_-looking person by that name,
would strike any circle of ladies and gentlemen as a palpable misnomer.
The violent and unhappy contrast between the Parisian’s mode of life in
London and in Paris, makes it very certain that few of those _bien n’es
et convenablement riches_ will live in London for pleasure; and then the
flood of political _émigrés_, for the last half-century, has monopolised
hair-dressing, &c., &c., to such a degree, that the word Frenchman is
synonymous in English ears with barber and dancing-master. If a dark
gentleman, wearing either whisker or mustache, chance to offend John
Bull in the street, the first opprobrious language he hears—the
strongest that occurs to the fellow’s mind—is “Get out, you
—— Frenchman!”

All this, _malgré_ the rage for foreign lions in London society. A
well-introduced foreigner gets easily into this, and while he keeps his
cabriolet and confines himself to frequenting _soirées_ and accepting
invitations to dine, he will never suspect that he is not on an equal
footing with any “_milor_” in London. If he wishes to be disenchanted,
he has only to change his lodgings from Long’s to Great Russell street,
or (bitterer and readier trial) to propose marriage to the honorable
Augusta or Lady Fanny.

Everybody who knows the society of Paris knows something of a handsome
and very elegant young baron of the Faubourg St. Germain, who, with
small fortune, very great taste, and greater credit, contrived to go on
very swimmingly as an adorable _roue_ and _vaurien_ till he was hard
upon twenty-five. At the first crisis in his affairs, the ladies, who
hold all the politics in their laps, got him appointed consul to
Algiers, or minister to Venezuela, and with this pretty pretext for
selling his horses and dressing-gowns, these cherished articles brought
twice their original value and saved his _loyauté_, and set him up in
fans and monkeys at his place of exile. A year of this was enough for
the darling of Paris, and not more than a day before his desolate loves
would have ceased to mourn for him, he galloped into his hotel with a
new fashion of whiskers, a black female slave, and the most delicious
histories of his adventures during the ages he had been exiled. Down to
the earth and their previous obscurity dropped the rivals who were just
beginning to usurp his glories. A new stud, an indescribable vehicle, a
suite of rooms _à l’Africaine_, and a mystery, preserved at some
expense, about his negress, kept all Paris, including his new creditors,
in admiring astonishment for a year. Among the crowd of his worshippers,
not the last or least fervent, were the fair-haired and glowing beauties
who assemble at the _levees_ of their ambassador in the Rue St. Honore,
and upon whom _le beau Adolphe_ had looked as pretty savages, whose
frightful toilets and horrid French accent might be tolerated one
evening in the week—_vu le souper!_

Eclipses will arrive as calculated by insignificant astronomers,
however, and debts will become due as presumed by vulgar tradesmen. _Le
beau Adolphe_ began to see another crisis, and betook himself to his old
advisers, who were _désolés_ to the last degree; but there was a new
government, and the blood of the Faubourg was at a discount. No
embassies were to be had for nothing. With a deep sigh, and a gentle
tone, to spare his feelings as much as possible, his friend ventures to
suggest to him that it will be necessary to sacrifice himself.

“_Ahi! mais comment!_”

“Marry one of these _bêtes Anglaises_, who drink you up with their great
blue eyes, and are made of gold!”

Adolph buried his face in his gold-fringed oriental pocket-handkerchief;
but when the first agony was passed, his resolution was taken, and he
determined to go to England. The first beautiful creature he should see,
whose funds were enormous and well-invested, should bear away from all
the love, rank, and poverty of France, the perfumed hand he looked upon.

A flourishing letter, written in a small, cramped hand, but with a seal
on whose breadth of wax and blazon all the united heraldry of France was
interwoven, arrived, through the ambassador’s despatch box, to the
address of Miladi ——, Belgrave square, announcing, in full, that _le
beau Adolphe_ was coming to London to marry the richest heiress in good
society—and as Paris could not spare him more than a week, he wished
those who had daughters to marry, answering the description, to be _bien
prévenus_ of his visit and errand. With the letter came a compend of his
genealogy, from the man who spoke French in the confusion of Babel to
_le dit_ Baron Adolphe.

To London came the valet of _le beau_ baron, two days before his master,
bringing his slippers and dressing gown to be aired after their sea
voyage across the channel. To London followed the irresistible youth,
cursing, in the politest French, the necessity which subtracted a week
from a life measured with such “diamond sparks” as his own in Paris. He
sat himself down in his hotel, sent his man Porphyre with his card to
every noble and rich house, whose barbarian tenants he had ever seen in
the Champs Elysees, and waited the result. Invitations from fair ladies,
who remembered him as the man the French belles were mad about, and from
literary ladies, who wanted his whiskers and black eyes to give their
_soirées_ the necessary foreign complexion, flowed in on all sides, and
Monsieur Adolphe selected his most _mignon_ cane and his happiest design
in a stocking, and “_rendered himself_” through the rain like a martyr.

No offers of marriage the first evening!

None the second!!

None the third!!!

_Le beau Adolphe_ began to think either that English papas did not
propose their daughters to people as in France; or, perhaps, that the
lady whom he had commissioned to circulate his wishes had not
sufficiently advertised him. She _had_, however.

He took advice, and found it would be necessary to take the first step
himself. This was disagreeable, and he said to himself, “_Le jeu ne vaut
pas la chandelle_”; but his youth was passing, and his English fortune
was at interest.

He went to Almack’s, and proposed to the first authenticated fortune
that accepted his hand for a waltz. The young lady first laughed, and
then told her mother, who told her son, who thought it an insult, and
called out _le beau Adolphe_, very much to the astonishment of himself
and Porphyre. The thing was explained, and the baron looked about the
next day for one _pas si bête_. Found a young lady with half a million
sterling, proposed in a morning call, and was obliged to ring for
assistance, his intended having gone into convulsions with laughing at
him. The story by this time had got pretty well distributed through the
different strata of London society;—and when _le beau Adolphe_,
convinced that he would not succeed with the noble heiresses of Belgrave
square, condescended, in his extremity, to send his heart by his valet
to a rich little vulgarian, who “never had a grandfather,” and lived in
Harley street, he narrowly escaped being prosecuted for a nuisance, and,
Paris being now in possession of the enemy, he buried his sorrows in
Belgium. After a short exile his friends procured him a vice-consulate
in some port in the North Sea, and there probably at this moment he
sorrowfully vegetates.

This is not a story _founded upon_ fact, but literally true.—Many of
the circumstances came under my own observation; and the whole thus
affords a laughable example of the esteem in which what an English
fox-hunter would call a “trashy Frenchman” is held in England, as well
as of the _travestie_ produced by transplanting the usages of one
country to another.

Ridiculous as any intimate mixture of English and French ideas and
persons seems to be in London, the foreign society of itself in that
capital is exceedingly spiritual and agreeable. The various European
embassies and their _attachés_, with their distinguished travellers,
from their several countries, accidentally belonging to each; the French
and Italians, married to English noblemen and gentry, and living in
London, and the English themselves, who have become cosmopolite by
residence in other countries, form a very large society in which mix,
_on perfectly equal terms_, the first singers of the opera, and foreign
musicians and artists generally. This last circumstance gives a peculiar
charm to these _reunions_, though it imparts a pride and haughty bearing
to the _prima donna_ and her fraternity, which is, at least, sometimes
very inconvenient to themselves. The remark recalls to my mind a scene I
once witnessed in London, which will illustrate the feeling better than
an essay upon it.

I was at one of those private concerts given at an enormous expense
during the opera season, at which “assisted” Julia Grisi, Rubini,
Lablache, Tamburini, and Ivanhoff. Grisi came in the carriage of a
foreign lady of rank, _who had dined with her_, and she walked into the
room looking like an empress. She was dressed in the plainest white,
with her glossy haircut smooth from her brow, and a single white
japonica dropped over one of her temples. The lady who brought her
chaperoned her during the evening, as if she had been her daughter, and
under the excitement of her own table and the kindness of her friends,
she sung with a rapture and a _freshet_ of glory (if one may borrow a
word from the Mississippi) which set all hearts on fire. She surpassed
her most applauded hour on the stage—for it was worth her while. The
audience was composed, almost exclusively, of those who are not only
cultivated judges, but who sometimes repay delight with a present of
diamonds.

Lablache shook the house to its foundations in his turn; Rubini ran
through his miraculous compass with the ease, truth, and melody, for
which his singing is unsurpassed; Tamburini poured his rich and even
fullness on the ear, and Russian Ivanhoff, the one southern singing-bird
who has come out of the north, wire-drew his fine and spiritual notes,
till they who had been flushed, and tearful, and silent, when the others
had sang, drowned his voice in the poorer applause of exclamation and
surprise.

The concert was over by twelve, the gold and silver paper bills of the
performance were turned into fans, and every one was waiting till supper
should be announced—the _prima donna_ still sitting by her friend, but
surrounded by foreign _attachés_, and in the highest elation at her own
success. The doors of an inner suite of rooms were thrown open at last,
and Grisi’s _cordon_ of admirers prepared to follow her in and wait on
her at supper. At this moment, one of the powdered menials of the house
stepped up and informed her very respectfully _that supper was prepared
in a separate room for the singers_!

Medea, in her most tragic hour, never stood so absolutely the picture of
hate as did Grisi for a single instant, in the centre of that
aristocratic crowd. Her chest swelled and rose, her lips closed over her
snowy teeth, and compressed till the blood left them, and, for myself, I
looked unconsciously to see where she would strike. I knew, then, that
there was more than fancy—there was nature and capability of the
_real_—in the _imaginary_ passions she plays so powerfully. A laugh of
extreme amusement at the scene from the high-born woman who had
accompanied her, suddenly turned her humor, and she stopped in the midst
of a muttering of Italian, in which I could distinguish only the
terminations, and, with a sort of theatrical quickness of transition,
joined heartily in her mirth. It was immediately proposed by this lady,
however, that herself and their particular circle should join the
insulted _prima donna_ at the lower table, and they succeeded by this
manœuvre in retaining Rubini and the others, who were leaving the house
in a most unequivocal Italian fury.

I had been fortunate enough to be included in the invitation, and with
one or two foreign diplomatic men, I followed Grisi and her amused
friend to a small room on a lower floor, that seemed to be the
housekeeper’s parlor. Here supper was set for six (including the man who
had played the piano,) and on the side-table stood every variety of wine
and fruit, and there was nothing in the supper, at least, to make us
regret the table we had left. With a most imperative gesture and rather
an amusing attempt at English, Grisi ordered the servants out of the
room, and locked the door, and from that moment the conversation
commenced and continued in their own musical, passionate, and energetic
Italian. My long residence in that country had made me at home in it;
every one present spoke it fluently; and I had an opportunity I might
never have again, of seeing with what abandonment these children of the
sun throw aside rank and distinction (yet without forgetting it,) and
join with those who are their superiors in every circumstance of life in
the gayeties of a chance hour.

Out of their own country these singers would probably acknowledge no
higher rank than that of the kind and gifted lady who was their guest;
yet, with the briefest apology at finding the room too cold after the
heat of the concert, they put on their cloaks and hats as a safeguard to
their lungs (more valuable to them than to others;) and as most of the
cloaks were the worse for travel, and the hats were opera-hats with two
corners, the grotesque contrast with the diamonds of one lady, and the
radiant beauty of the other, may easily be imagined.

Singing should be hungry work, by the knife and fork they played; and
between the excavations of truffle pies, and the bumpers of champagne
and burgundy, the words were few. Lablache appeared to be an established
droll, and every syllable he found time to utter was received with the
most unbounded laughter. Kubini could not recover from the slight he
conceived put upon him and his profession by the separate table; and he
continually reminded Grisi, who by this time had quite recovered her
good humor, that, the night before, supping at Devonshire house, the
Duke of Wellington had held her gloves on one side, while His Grace,
their host attended to her on the other.

“_E vero!_” said Ivanhoff, with a look of modest admiration at the
_prima donna_.

“_E vero, e bravo!_” cried Tamburini, with his sepulchral-talking tone,
much deeper than his singing.

“_Si, si, si, bravo!_” echoed all the company; and the haughty and happy
actress nodded all round with a radiant smile, and repeated, in her
silver tones, “_Grazie! cari amici! grazie!_”

As the servants had been turned out, the removal of the first course was
managed in _pic-nic_ fashion; and when the fruit and fresh bottles of
wine were set upon the table by the _attachés_, and younger gentlemen,
the health of the Princess who honored them by her presence was proposed
in that language, which, it seems to me, is more capable than all others
of expressing affectionate and respectful devotion. All uncovered and
stood up, and Grisi, with tears in her eyes, kissed the hand of her
benefactress and friend, and drank her health in silence.

It is a polite and common accomplishment in Italy to improvise in verse,
and the lady I speak of is well known among her immediate friends for a
singular facility in this beautiful art. She reflected a moment or two
with the moisture in her eyes, and then commenced, low and soft, a poem,
of which it would be difficult, nay impossible, to convey, in English,
an idea of its music and beauty. It took us back to Italy, to its
heavenly climate, its glorious arts, its beauty and its ruins, and
concluded with a line of which I remember the sentiment to have been,
“_out of Italy every land is exile!_”

The glasses were raised as she ceased, and every one repeated after her,
“_Fuori d’Italia tutto e esilio!_”

“_Ma!_” cried out the fat Lablache, holding up his glass of champagne,
and looking through it with one eye, “_siamo ben esiliati qua!_” and
with a word of drollery, the party recovered its gayer tone, and the
humor and wit flowed on brilliantly as before.

The house had long been still, and the last carriage belonging to the
company above stairs had rolled from the door, when Grisi suddenly
remembered a bird that she had lately bought, of which she proceeded to
give us a description that probably penetrated to every corner of the
silent mansion. It was a mocking bird, that had been kept two years in
the opera house, and between rehearsal and performance had learned parts
of everything it had overheard. It was the property of the woman who
took care of the wardrobes. Grisi had accidentally seen it, and
immediately purchased it for two guineas. How much of embellishment
there was in her imitations of her treasure I do not know; but certainly
the whole power of her wondrous voice, passion, and knowledge of music,
seemed drunk up at once in the wild, various, difficult, and rapid
mixture of the capricious melody she undertook. First came, without the
passage which it usually terminates, the long throat-down, gurgling,
water-toned trill, in which Rubini (but for the bird and its mistress,
it seemed to me,) would have been inimitable: then, right upon it, as if
it were the beginning of a bar, and in the most unbreathing continuity,
followed a brilliant passage from the Barber of Seville run into the
passionate prayer of Anna Bolena in her madness, and followed by the air
of “_Suoni la tromba intrepida_,” the tremendous duet in the Puritani,
between Tamburini and Lablache. Up to the sky and down to the earth
again—away with a note of the wildest gladness, and back upon a note of
the most touching melancholy—if the bird but half equals the imitation
of his mistress, he were worth the jewel in a sultan’s turban.

“Giulia!” “Giulietta!” “Giuliettina!” cried out one and another as she
ceased, expressing in their Italian diminutives, the love and delight
she had inspired by her incomparable execution.

The stillness of the house in the occasional pauses of conversation
reminded the gay party, at last, that it was wearing late. The door was
unlocked, and the half-dozen sleepy footmen hanging about the hall were
dispatched for the cloaks and carriages; the drowsy porter was roused
from his deep leathern _dormeuse_, and opened the door—and broad upon
the street lay the cold gray light of a summer’s morning. I declined an
offer to be set down by a friend’s cab, and strolled off to Hyde Park to
surprise myself with a sunrise; balancing the silent rebuke in the fresh
and healthy countenances of early laborers going to their toil, against
the effervescence of a champagne hour which, since such come so rarely,
may come, for me, with what untimeliness they please.



                         THE STREETS OF LONDON.


It has been said that “few men know _how_ to take a walk.” In London it
requires some experience to know _where_ to take a walk. The taste of
the perambulator, the hour of the day, and the season of the year, would
each affect materially the decision of the question.

If you are up early—I mean early for London—say ten o’clock—we would
start from your hotel in Bond street, and hastening through Regent
street and the Quadrant (deserts at that hour) strike into the zig-zag
alleys, cutting traversely from Coventry street to Covent Garden. The
horses on the cab stand in the Haymarket “are at this hour asleep.” The
late supper-eaters at Dubourg’s and the _Café de l’Europe_ were the last
infliction upon their galled wisthers, and while dissipation slumbers
they may find an hour to hang their heads upon the bit, and forget gall
and spavin in the sunshiny drowse of morning. The cabman, too, nods on
his perch outside, careless of the custom of “them as pays only their
fare,” and quite sure not to get “a gemman to drive” at that
unseasonable hour. The “waterman” (called a “_water_-man,” as he will
tell you, “because he gives _hay_ to the ’orses”) leans against the
gas-lamp at the corner, looking with a vacant indifference of habit at
the splendid coach with its four blood-bays just starting from the
Brighton coach-office in the Crescent. The side-walk of Coventry street,
usually radiant with the flaunting dresses of the frail and vicious, is
now sober with the dull habiliments of the early stirring and the poor.
The town, (for this is _town_, not _city_) beats its more honest pulse.
Industry alone is abroad.

Rupert street on the left is the haunt of shabby-genteel poverty. To its
low-doored chop-houses steal the more needy loungers of Regent street,
and in confined and greasy, but separate and exclusive boxes, they eat
their mutton-chop and potato unseen of their gayer acquaintances. Here
comes the half-pay officer, whose half-pay is halved or quartered with
wife and children, to drink his solitary half-pint of sherry, and, over
a niggardly portion of soup and vegetables, recall, as he may in
imagination, the gay dinners at mess, and the companions now grown
cold—in death or worldliness! Here comes the sharper out of luck, the
debtor newly out of prison. And here comes many a “gay fellow about
town,” who will dine to-morrow, or may have dined yesterday, at a table
of unsparing luxury, but who now turns up Rupert street at seven,
cursing the mischance that draws upon his own slender pocket for the
dinner of to-day. Here are found the watchful host and the suspicious
waiter—the closely-measured wine, and the more closely-measured
attention—the silent and shrinking company, the close-drawn curtain,
the suppressed call for the bill, the lingering at the table of those
who value the retreat and the shelter to recover from the embarrassing
recognition and the objectless saunter through the streets. The ruin,
the distress, the despair, that wait so closely upon the heels of
fashion, pass here with their victims. It is the last step within the
bounds of respectability. They still live “at the West end,” while they
dine in Rupert street. They may still linger in the Park, or stroll in
Bond street, till their better-fledged friends flit to dinner at the
clubs, and, within a stone’s throw of the luxurious tables and the gay
mirth they so bitterly remember, sit down to an ill-dressed meal, and
satisfy the calls of hunger in silence. Ah, the outskirts of the bright
places in life are darker for the light that shines so near them! How
much sweeter is the coarsest meal shared with the savage in the
wilderness, than the comparative comfort of cooked meats and wine in a
neighborhood like this!

Come through this narrow lane into Leicester Square. You cross here the
first limit of the fashionable quarter. The Sabloniere hotel is in this
square; but you may not give it as your address unless you are a
foreigner. This is the home of that most miserable fish out of water—a
Frenchman in London. A bad French hotel, and two or three execrable
French restaurants, make this spot the most habitable to the exiled
_habitué_ of the Palais Royal. Here he gets a mocking imitation of what,
in any possible degree, is better than the _sacré biftek_, or the
half-raw mutton-chop and barbarous boiled potato! Here he comes forth,
if the sun shine perchance for one hour at noon, and paces up and down
on the side-walk, trying to get the better of his bile and his bad
breakfast. Here waits for him at three, the shabby, but most expensive
_remise_ cab, hired by the day for as much as would support him a month
in Paris. Leicester square is the place for conjurors, bird-fanciers,
showmen, and generally for every foreign novelty in the line of nostrums
and marvels. If there is a dwarf in London, or a child with two heads,
you will see one or all in that building, so radiant with placards, and
so thronged with beggars.

Come on through Cranbourne alley. Old clothes, second-hand stays, _idem_
shawls, capes, collars, and ladies’ articles of ornamental ware
generally; cheap straw bonnets, old books, gingerbread, and stationery!
Look at this once-expensive and finely-worked muslin cape! What fair
shoulders did it adorn when these dingy flowers were new—when this fine
lace edging bounded some heaving bosom, perhaps, like frost-work on the
edge of a snow-drift. It has been the property of some minion of
elegance and wealth, vicious or virtuous, and by what hard necessity
came it here? Ten to one, could it speak, its history would keep us
standing at this shop-window, indifferent alike to the curious glances
of these passing damsels, and the gentle eloquence of the Jew on the
other side, who pays us the unflattering compliment of suggesting an
improvement in our toilet by the purchase of the half-worn habiliments
he exposes.

I like Cranbourne alley, because it reminds me of Venice. The
half-daylight between the high and overhanging roofs, the just audible
hum of voices and occupation from the different shops, the shuffling of
hasty feet over the smooth flags, and particularly the absence of horses
and wheels, make it (in all but the damp air and the softer speech) a
fair resemblance to those close passages in the rear of the canals
between St. Mark’s and the Rialto. Then I like studying a pawnbroker’s
window, and I like ferreting in the old book-stalls that abound here. It
is a good lesson in humility for an author to see what he can be bought
for in Cranbourne alley. Some “gentle reader,” who has paid a guinea and
a half for you, has resold you for two-and-sixpence. For three shillings
you may have the three volumes, “as good as new,” and the shopman, by
his civility, pleased to be rid of it on the terms. If you would console
yourself, however, buy Milton for one-and-sixpence, and credit your
vanity with the eighteen-pence of the remainder.

The labyrinth of alleys between this and Covent Garden are redolent of
poverty and pot-houses. In crossing St. Martin’s lane, life appears to
have become suddenly a struggle and a calamity. Turbulent and dirty
women are everywhere visible through the open windows; the half-naked
children at the doors look already care-worn and incapable of a smile;
and the men throng the gin-shops, bloated, surly, and repulsive. Hurry
through this leprous spot in the vast body of London, and let us emerge
in the Strand.

You would think London Strand the main artery of the world. I suppose
there is no thoroughfare on the face of the earth where the stream of
human life runs with a tide so overwhelming. In any other street in the
world you catch the eye of the passer-by. In the Strand, no man sees
another except as a solid body, whose contact is to be avoided. You are
safe nowhere on the pavement without all the vigilance of your senses.
Omnibuses and cabs, drays, carriages, wheelbarrows, and porters, beset
the street. Newspaper-hawkers, pickpockets, shop-boys, coal-heavers, and
a perpetual and selfish crowd dispute the sidewalk. If you venture to
look at a print in a shop-window, you arrest the tide of passengers, who
immediately walk over you; and, if you stop to speak with a friend, who
by chance has run his nose against yours rather than another man’s, you
impede the way, and are made to understand it by the force of jostling.
If you would get into an omnibus you are quarrelled for by half-a-dozen
who catch your eye at once; and after using all your physical strength
and most of your discrimination, you are most probably embarked in the
wrong one, and are going at ten miles the hour to Blackwell, when you
are bound to Islington. A Londoner passes his life in learning the most
adroit mode of threading a crowd, and escaping compulsory journeys in
cabs and omnibuses; and dine with any man in that metropolis from
twenty-five to sixty years of age, and he will entertain you, from the
soup to the Curacoa, with his hair-breadth escapes and difficulties with
cads and coach-drivers.



                                LONDON.


A Londoner, if met abroad, answers very vaguely any questions you may be
rash enough to put to him about “the city.” Talk to him of “town,” and
he would rather miss seeing St. Peter’s, than appear ignorant of any
person, thing, custom, or fashion, concerning whom or which you might
have a curiosity. It is understood all over the world that the “city” of
London is that crowded, smoky, jostling, omnibus and cab-haunted portion
of the metropolis of England which lies east of Temple Bar. A kind of
debatable country, consisting of the Strand, Covent Garden, and
Tottenham Court road, then intervenes, and west of these lies what is
called “the town.” A transit from one to the other by an inhabitant of
either, is a matter of some forethought and provision. If _milord_, in
Carlton Terrace, for example, finds it necessary to visit his banker in
Lombard street, he orders—not the blood bay and the cane tilbury which
he is wont to drive in the morning—but the crop roadster in the cab,
with the night harness, and Poppet his tiger in plain hat and gaiters.
If the banker in Lombard street, on the contrary, emerges from the
twilight of his counting-house to make a morning call on the wife of
some foreign correspondent, lodging at the Clarendon, he steps into a
Piccadilly omnibus, not in the salt-and-pepper creations of his
Cheapside tailor, but (for he has an account with Stultz also for the
west-end business) in a claret-colored frock of the last fashion at
Crockford’s, a fresh hat from New Bond street, and (if he is young) a
pair of cherished boots from the Rue St. Honore. He sits very clear of
his neighbors on the way, and, getting out at the crossing at
Farrance’s, the pastry cook, steps in and indulges in a soup, and then
walks slowly past the clubs to his rendezvous, at a pace that would ruin
his credit irrevocably if practised a mile to the eastward. The
difference between the two migrations is, simply, that though the
nobleman affects the plainness of the city, he would not for the world
be taken for a citizen; while the junior partner of the house of Firkins
and Co. would feel unpleasantly surprised if he were not supposed to be
a member of the Clubs, lounging to a late breakfast.

There is a “town” manner, too, and a “city” manner, practised with great
nicety by all who frequent both extremities of London. Nothing could be
in more violent contrast, for example, than the manner of your banker
when you dine with him at his country house, and the same person when
you meet him on the narrow sidewalk in Throgmorton street. If you had
seen him first in his suburban retreat, you would wonder how the deuce
such a cordial, joyous, spare-nothing sort of good fellow could ever
reduce himself to the cautious proportions of Change alley. If you met
him first in Change alley, on the contrary, you would wonder, with quite
as much embarrassment, how such a cold, two-fingered, pucker-browed
slave of Mammon could ever, by any license of interpretation, be called
a gentleman. And when you have seen him in both places, and know him
well, if he is a favorable specimen of his class, you will be astonished
still more to see how completely he will sustain both characters—giving
you the cold shoulder, in a way that half insults you, at twelve in the
morning, and putting his home, horses, cellar, and servants, completely
at your disposal at four in the afternoon. Two souls inhabit the
banker’s body, and each is apparently sole tenant in turn. As the
Hampstead early coach turns the corner by St. Giles’s, on its way to the
bank, the spirit of gain enters into the bosom of the junior Firkins,
ejecting, till the coach passes the same spot at three in the afternoon,
the more gentlemanly inhabitants. Between those hours, look to Firkins
for no larger sentiment than may be written upon the blank lines of a
note of hand, and expect no courtesy that would occupy the head or hands
of the junior partner longer than one second by St. Paul’s. With the
broad beam of sunshine that inundates the returning omnibus emerging
from Holborn into Tottenham Court road, the angel of port wine and green
fields passes his finger across Firkins’s brow, and _presto!_ the man is
changed. The sight of a long and narrow strip of paper, sticking from
his neighbor’s pocket, depreciates that person in his estimation, he
criticises the livery and riding of the groom trotting past, says some
very true things of the architecture of the new cottage on the roadside,
and is landed at the end of his own shrubbery, as pleasant and
joyous-looking a fellow as you would meet on that side of London. You
have ridden out to dine with him, and as he meets you on the lawn, there
is still an hour to dinner, and a blood horse spatters round from the
stables, which you are welcome to drive to the devil if you like,
accompanied either by Mrs. Firkins or himself; or, if you like it
better, there are Mrs. Firkins’s two ponies, and the chaise holds two
and the tiger. Ten to one Mrs. Firkins is a pretty woman, and has her
whims, and when you are fairly on the road, she proposes to leave the
soup and champagne at home to equalize their extremes of temperature,
drive to Whitehall Stairs, take boat and dine, _extempore_, at Richmond.
And Firkins, to whom it will be at least twenty pounds out of pocket,
claps his hands and says—“By Jove, it’s a bright thought! touch up the
near pony, Mrs. Firkins.” And away you go, Firkins amusing himself the
whole way from Hampstead to Richmond, imagining the consternation of his
cook and butler when nobody comes to dine.

There is an aristocracy in the city, of course, and Firkins will do
business with twenty persons in a day whom he could never introduce to
Mrs. Firkins. The situation of that lady with respect to her society is
(she will tell you in confidence) rather embarrassing. There are very
many worthy persons, she will say, who represent large sums of money or
great interests in trade, whom it is necessary to ask to the Lodge, but
who are far from being ornamental to her new blue-satin boudoir. She has
often proposed to Firkins to have them labelled in tens and thousands,
according to their fortunes; that if, by any unpleasant accident, Lord
Augustus should meet them there, he might respect them like = in
algebra, for what they stand for. But as it is, she is really never safe
in calculating on a _société choisie_ to dine or sup. When Hook or Smith
is just beginning to melt out, or Lady Priscilla is in the middle of a
charade, in walks Mr. Snooks, of the foreign house of Snooks, Son, and
Co.—“unexpectedly arrived from Lisbon, and run down without ceremony to
call on his respectable correspondent.”

“Isn’t it tiresome?”

“Very, my dear madam! But then you have the happiness of knowing that
you promote very essentially your husband’s interests, and when he has
made a plum——”

“Yes, very true; and then, to be sure, Firkins has had to build papa a
villa, and buy my brother Wilfred a commission, and settle an annuity on
my aunt, and fit out my youngest brother Bob to India; and when I think
of what he does for my family, why I don’t mind making now and then a
sacrifice—but, after all, it’s a great evil not to be able to cultivate
one’s own class of society.”

And so murmurs Mrs. Firkins, who is the prettiest and sweetest creature
in the world, and really loves the husband she married for his fortune;
but as the prosperity of Haman was nothing while Mordecai sat at the
gate, it is nothing to Mrs. Firkins that her father lives in luxury,
that her brothers are portioned off, and that she herself can have blue
boudoirs and pony-chaises _ad libitum_, while Snooks, Son and Co. may at
any moment break in upon the charade of Lady Priscilla!

There is a class of business people in London, mostly bachelors, who
have wisely declared themselves independent of the West End, and live in
a style of their own in the dark courts and alleys about the Exchange,
but with a luxury not exceeded even in the silken recesses of May Fair.
You will sometimes meet at the opera a young man of decided style,
unexceptionable in his toilet, and quiet and gentlemanlike in his
address, who contents himself with the side alley of the pit, and looks
at the bright circles of beauty and fashion about him with an
indifference it is difficult to explain. Make his acquaintance by
chance, and he takes you home to supper in a plain chariot on the best
springs Long Acre can turn out; and while you are speculating where, in
the name of the Prince of Darkness, these narrow streets will bring you
to, you are introduced through a small door into saloons, perfect in
taste and luxury, where, ten to one, you sup with the _prima donna_, or
_la première danseuse_, but certainly with the most polished persons of
your own sex, not one of whom, though you may have passed a life in
London, you ever met in society before. There are, I doubt not, in that
vast metropolis, hundreds of small circles of society, composed thus of
persons refined by travel and luxury, whose very existence in
unsuspected by the fine gentleman at the West End, but who, in the
science of living agreeably, are almost as well entitled to rank among
the _cognoscenti_ as Lord Sefton or the “Member for Finsbury.”



                                LONDON.


You return from your ramble in “the city” by two o’clock. A bright day
“toward,” and the season in its palmy time. The old veterans are just
creeping out upon the portico of the United Service Club, having crammed
“The Times” over their late breakfast, and thus prepared their politics
against surprise for the day; the broad steps of the Athenæum are as yet
unthronged by the shuffling feet of the literati, whose morning is
longer and more secluded than that of idler men, but who will be seen in
swarms, at four, entering that superb edifice in company with the
_employés_ and politicians who affect their society. Not a cab stands
yet at the “Travellers,” whose members, noble or fashionable, are
probably at this hour in their dressing-gowns of brocade or shawl of the
orient, smoking a hookah over Balzac’s last romance, or pursuing at this
(to them) desert time of day some adventure which waited upon their love
and leisure. It is early yet for the Park; but the equipages you will
see by-and-by “in the ring” are standing now at Howell and James’s, and
while the high-bred horses are fretting at the door, and the liveried
footmen lean on their gold-headed sticks on the pavement, the fair
creature whose slightest nod these trained minions and their fine-limbed
animals live to obey, sits upon a three-legged stool within, and in the
voice which is a spell upon all hearts, and with eyes to which rank and
genius turn like Persians to the sun, discusses with a pert clerk the
quality of stockings!

Look at these equipages and their appointments! Mark the exquisite
balance of that claret-bodied chariot upon its springs—the fine sway of
its sumptuous hammercloth in which the un-smiling coachman sits buried
to the middle—the exact fit of the saddles, setting into the curve of
the horse’s backs so as not to break, to the most careless eye, the fine
lines which exhibit action and grace! See how they stand
together—alert, fiery, yet obedient to the weight of a silken thread;
and as the coachman sees you studying his turn-out, observe the
imperceptible feel of the reins and the just-visible motion of his lips,
conveying to the quick ears of his horses the premonitory, and, to us,
inaudible sound, to which, without drawing a hair’s breadth upon the
traces, they paw their fine hoofs, and expand their nostrils
impatiently! Come nearer, and find a speck or a raised hair, if you can,
on these glossy coats! Observe the nice fitness of the dead-black
harness, the modest crest upon the panel, the delicate picking out of
white in the wheels, and, if you will venture upon a freedom in manners,
look in through the window of rose-teinted glass, and see the splendid
cushions and the costly and splendid adaptation of the interior. The
twin-mated footmen fly to the carriage-door, and the pomatumed clerk who
has enjoyed a _tête-à-tête_ for which a Prince Royal might sigh, and an
Ambassador might negociate in vain, hands in his parcel. The small foot
presses on the carpeted step, the airy vehicle yields lightly and
recovers from the slight weight of the descending form, the coachman
inclines his ear for the half-suppressed order from the footman, and off
whirls the admirable structure, compact, true, steady, but magically
free and fast—as if horses, footmen, and chariot were but the parts of
some complicated centaur—some swift-moving monster upon legs and
wheels!

Walk on a little farther to the Quadrant. Here commences the most
thronged promenade in London. These crescent colonnades are the haunt of
foreigners on the lookout for amusement, and of strangers in the
metropolis generally. You will seldom find a town-bred man there, for he
prefers haunting his clubs; or, if he is not a member of them, he avoids
lounging much in the Quadrant, lest he should _appear_ to have no other
resort. You will observe a town dandy getting fidgety after his second
turn in the Quadrant, while you will meet the same Frenchman there from
noon till dusk, bounding his walk by those columns as if they were the
bars of a cage. The western side toward Piccadilly is the thoroughfare
of the honest passer-by; but under the long portico opposite, you will
meet vice in every degree, and perhaps more beauty than on any other
_pavé_ in the world. It is given up to the vicious and their followers
by general consent. To frequent it, or to be seen loitering there at
all, is to make but one impression on the mind of those who may observe
you.

The two sides of Regent street continue to partake of this distinction
to the end. Go up on the left, and you meet the sober citizen
perambulating with his wife, the lady followed by her footman, the grave
and the respectable of all classes. Go up on the other, and in color and
mien it is the difference between a grass-walk and a bed of tulips. What
proof is here that beauty is dangerous to its possessor! It is said
commonly of Regent street, that it shows more beauty in an hour than
could be found in all the capitals of the continent. It is the beauty,
however, of brilliant health—of complexion and freshness, more than of
sentiment or classic correctness. The English features, at least in the
middle and lower ranks, are seldom good, though the round cheek, the
sparkling lip, the soft blue eyes and hair of dark auburn, common as
health and youth, produce the effect of high and almost universal beauty
on the eye of the stranger. The rarest thing in these classes is a
finely-turned limb, and to the clumsiness of their feet and ankles must
be attributed the want of grace usually remarked in their movements.

Regent street has appeared to me the greatest and most oppressive
solitude in the world. In a crowd of business men, or in the thronged
and mixed gardens of the continent, the pre-occupation of others is less
attractive, or at least, more within our reach, if we would share in it.
Here, it is wealth beyond competition, exclusiveness and indifference
perfectly unapproachable. In the cold and stern mien of the practised
Londoner, it is difficult for a stranger not to read distrust, and very
difficult for a depressed mind not to feel a marked repulsion. There is
no solitude after all like the solitude of cities.

“O dear, dear London” (says the companion of Asmodeus on his return from
France,) “dear even in October! Regent street, I salute you! Bond
street, my good fellow, how are you? And you, oh, beloved Oxford street,
whom the opium-eater called ‘stony-hearted,’ and whom I, eating no
opium, and speaking as I find, shall ever consider the most kindly and
maternal of all streets—the street of the middle classes—busy without
uproar, wealthy without ostentation. Ah, the pretty ankles that trip
along thy pavement! Ah! the odd country-cousin bonnets that peer into
thy windows, which are lined with cheap yellow shawls, price one pound
four shillings marked in the corner! Ah! the brisk young lawyers
flocking from their quarters at the back of Holborn! Ah! the quiet old
ladies, living in Duchess street, and visiting thee with their eldest
daughters in the hope of a bargain! Ah, the bumpkins from Norfolk just
disgorged by the Bull and Mouth—the soldiers—the milliners—the
Frenchmen—the swindlers—the porters with four-post beds on their
backs, who add the excitement of danger to that of amusement! The
various shifting, motley group that belong to Oxford street, and Oxford
street alone! What thoroughfares equal thee in the variety of human
specimens! in the choice of objects for remark, satire, admiration!
Besides, the other streets seem chalked out for a sect—narrow-minded
and devoted to a _coterie_. Thou alone art catholic—all-receiving.
Regent street belongs to foreigners, segars, and ladies in red silk,
whose characters are above scandal. Bond street belongs to dandies and
picture dealers. St. James’s street to club loungers and young men in
the guards, with mustaches properly blackened by the _cire_ of Mr.
Delcroix; but thou, Oxford Street, what class can especially claim thee
as its own? Thou mockest at oligarchies; thou knowest nothing of select
orders! Thou art liberal as air—a chartered libertine; accepting the
homage of all, and retaining the stamp of none. And to call thee
‘stony-hearted!’—certainly thou art so to _beggars_—to people who have
not the WHEREWITHAL. But thou wouldst not be so respectable if thou wert
not capable of a certain reserve to paupers. Thou art civil enough, in
all conscience, to those who have a shilling in their pocket—those who
have not, why do they live at all?”



                                LONDON.


It is near four o’clock, and in Bond street you might almost walk on the
heads of livery-servants—at every stride stepping over the heads of two
ladies and a dandy exclusive. Thoroughfare it is none, for the carriages
are creeping on, inch by inch, the blood horses “marking time,” the
coachman watchful for his panels and whippletrees, and the lady within
her silken chariot, lounging back, with her eyes upon the passing line,
neither impatient nor surprised at the delay, for she came there on
purpose. Between the swaying bodies of the carriages, _hesitating_ past,
she receives the smiles and recognitions of all her male acquaintances;
while occasionally a female ally (for allies against the rest of the sex
are as necessary in society to women, as in war to
monarchs)—occasionally, I say, a female ally announced by the crest
upon the blinker of an advancing horse, arrives opposite her window,
and, with only the necessary delay in passing, they exchange, perhaps,
inquiries for health, but, certainly, programmes, comprehensive though
brief, for the prosecution of each other’s loves or hates. Occasionally
a hack cab, seduced into attempting Bond street by some momentary
opening, finds itself closed in, forty deep, by chariots, britzas,
landaus, and family coaches; and amid the imperturbable and unanswering
whips of the hammercloth, with a passenger who is losing the coach by
the delay, he must wait, will-he-nill-he, till some “pottering” Dowager
has purchased the old Lord his winter flannels, or till the Countess of
Loiter has said all she has to say to the guardsman whom she has met
accidentally at Pluckrose the perfumer’s. The three tall fellows, with
gold sticks, would see the entire plebeian population of London
thrice-sodden in vitriol, before they would advance miladi’s carriage a
step, or appear to possess eyes or ears for the infuriated cabman.

Bond street, at this hour, is a study for such observers, as, having
gone through an apprenticeship of criticism upon all the other races and
grades of men and gentlemen in the world, are now prepared to study
their species in its highest fashionable phase—that of “nice persons”
at the West End. The Oxford street “swell,” and the Regent street dandy,
if seen here, are out of place. The expressive word “quiet” (with its
present London signification,) defines the dress, manner, bow, and even
physiognomy, of every true denizen of St. James’s and Bond street. The
great principle among men of the Clubs, in all these particulars, is to
_subdue_—to deprive their coats, hats, and manners, of everything
sufficiently marked to be caricatured by the satirical or imitated by
the vulgar. The triumph of _style_ seems to be that the lines which
define it shall be imperceptible to the common eye—that it shall
require the difficult education which creates it to know its form and
limit. Hence an almost universal error with regard to English
gentlemen—that they are repulsive and cold. With a thousand times the
heart and real politeness of the Frenchman, they meet you with the
simple and unaffected address which would probably be that of shades in
Elysium, between whom (we may suppose) there is no longer etiquette or
concealment. The only exceptions to this rule in London, are, first and
alone, Count D’Orsay, whose extraordinary and original style, marked as
it is, is inimitable by any man of less brilliant talents and less
beauty of person, and the king’s guardsmen, who are dandies by
prescriptive right, or, as it were, professionally. All other men who
are members of Brooks’s and the Traveller’s, and frequent Bond street in
the flush of the afternoon, are what would be called in America, plain
unornamental, and, perhaps, ill-dressed individuals, who would strike
you more by the absence than the possession of all the peculiarities
which we generally suppose marks a “picked man of countries.” In
America, particularly, we are liable to error on this point, as, of the
great number of our travellers for improvement, scarce one in a thousand
remains longer in London than to visit the Tower and the Thames tunnel.
The nine hundred and ninety-nine reside principally, and acquire all
they get of foreign manner and style, at Paris—the very most
artificial, corrupt, and affected school for _gentlemen_ in the polite
world.

Prejudice against any one country is an illiberal feeling, which common
reflection should, and which enlightened travel usually does, entirely
remove. There is a vulgar prejudice against the English in almost all
countries, but more particularly in ours, which blinds its entertainers
to much that is admirable, and deprives them of the good drawn from the
best models. The troop of scurrilous critics, the class of English
bagmen, and errant vulgarians of all kinds, and the industriously-blown
coals of old hostilities, are barriers which an educated mind may well
overlook, and barriers beyond which lie, no doubt, the best examples of
true civilization and refinement the world ever saw. But we are getting
into an essay when we should be turning down Bruton street, on our way
to the Park, with all the fashion of Bond street and May Fair.

_May Fair!_ what a name for the core of dissipated and exclusive London!
A name that brings with it only the scent of crushed flowers in a green
field, of a pole wreathed with roses, booths crowded with dancing
peasant-girls, and nature in its holyday! This—to express the costly,
the courtlike, the _so called_ “heartless” precinct of fashion and art,
in their most authentic and envied perfection. _Mais, les extrêmes se
touchent_, and, perhaps, there is more nature in May Fair than in Rose
Cottage or Honeysuckle Lodge.

We stroll on through Berkeley square, by Chesterfield and Curzon streets
to the Park gate. What an aristocratic quiet reigns here! How plain are
the exteriors of these houses:—how unexpressive these doors, without a
name, of the luxury and high-born pride within! At the open window of
the hall sit the butler and footman, reading the morning paper, while
they wait to dispense the “not at home” to callers _not_ disappointed.
The rooks are noisy in the old trees of Chesterfield house. The painted
window-screens of the probably still-slumbering Count D’Orsay, in his
bachelor’s den, are closely drawn, and, as we pass Seymour place, a
crowd of gay cabs and diplomatic chariots, drawn up before the
dark-green door at the farther extremity, announce to you the residence
of one whose morning and evening _levees_ are alike thronged by
distinction and talent—the beautiful Lady Blessington.

This short turn brings us to the Park, which is rapidly filling with
vehicles of every fashion and color, and with pedestrians and horsemen
innumerable. No hackney coach, street-cab, cart, or pauper, is allowed
to pass the porters at the several gates: the road is macadamised and
watered, and the grass within the ring is fresh and verdant. The sun
here triumphs partially over the skirt of London smoke, which sways
backward and forward over the chimneys of Park lane, and, as far as it
is possible so near the dingy halo of the metropolis, the gay occupants
of these varied conveyances “take the air.”

Let us stand by the railing a moment, and see what comes by. This is the
field of display for the coachman, who sits upon his sumptuous
hammercloth, and takes more pride in his horses than their owner, and
considers them, if not like his own honor and blood, very like his own
property. Watch the delicate handling of his ribands, the affected
nonchalance of his air, and see how perfectly, how admirably, how
beautifully, move his blood horses, and how steadily and well follows
the compact carriage! Within (it is a dark-green _calèche_, and the
liveries are drab, with red edgings) sits the oriental form and bright
spiritual face of a banker’s wife, the daughter of a noble race, who
might have been, but was not, sacrificed in “marrying into the finance,”
and who soars up into the sky of happiness, like the unconscious bird
that has escaped the silent arrow of the savage, as if her destiny could
not but have been thus fulfilled. Who follows? D’Israeli, alone in his
cab; thoughtful, melancholy, disappointed in his political schemes, and
undervaluing his literary success, and expressing, in his scholar-like
and beautiful profile, as he passes us, both the thirst at his heart and
the satiety at his lips. The livery of his “tiger” is neglected, and he
drives like a man who has to choose between running and being run
against, and takes that which leaves him the most leisure for
reflection. Poor D’Israeli! With a kind and generous heart, talents of
the most brilliant order, an ambition which consumes his soul, and a
father who expects everything from his son; lost for the want of a tact
common to understandings fathoms deep below his own, and likely to drive
in Hyde Park forty years hence—if he die not of the corrosion of
disappointment—no more distinguished than now, and a thousand times
more melancholy.[3]

An open barouche follows, drawn by a pair of dark bays, the coachman and
footman in suits of plain gray, and no crest on the panels. A lady, of
remarkable small person, sits, with the fairest foot ever seen, just
peeping from under a cashmere, on the forward cushion, and from under
her peculiarly plain and small bonnet burn, in liquid fire, the most
lambent and spiritual eyes that night and sleep ever hid from the world.
She is a niece of Napoleon, married to an English nobleman; and beside
her sits her father, who refused the throne of Tuscany, a noble-looking
man, with an expression of calm and tranquil resignation in his face,
unusually plain in his exterior, and less alive than most of the gay
promenaders to the bright scene passing about him. He will play in the
charade at his daughter’s _soirée_ in the evening, however, and forget
his exile and his misfortunes; for he is a fond father and a true
philosopher.

-----

[3] This picture of D’Israeli as _he was_, notwithstanding its erroneous
prophecy, may not be uninteresting now.



                                LONDON.


If you dine with all the world at seven, you have, still an hour or more
for Hyde Park, and “Rotten Row;” this half mile between Oxford street
and Piccadilly, to which the fashion of London confines itself as if the
remainder of the bright green Park were forbidden ground, is now fuller
than ever. There is the advantage of this _condensed_ drive, that you
are sure to see your friends here, earlier or later, in every day—(for
wherever you are to go with the horses, the conclusion of the order to
the coachman is, “home by the Park”)—and then if there is anything new
in the way of an arrival, a pretty foreigner, or a fresh face from the
country, some dandy’s tiger leaves his master at the gate, and brings
him at his Club, over his coffee, all possible particulars of her name,
residence, condition, and whatever other circumstances fall in his way.
By dropping in at Lady ——’s _soirée_ in the evening, if you were
interested in the face, you may inform yourself of more than you would
have drawn in a year’s acquaintance from the subject of your curiosity.
_Malapropos_ to my remark, here comes a turn-out, concerning which and
its occupant I have made many inquiries in vain—the pale-colored
chariot, with a pair of grays, dashing toward us from the Seymour gate.
As it comes by you will see, sitting quite in the corner, and in a very
languid and elegant attitude, a slight woman of perhaps twenty-four,
dressed in the simplest white cottage-bonnet that could be made, and,
with her head down, looking up through heavy black eyelashes, as if she
but waited till she had passed a particular object, to resume some
engrossing revery. Her features are Italian, and her attitude, always
the same indolent one, has also a redolence of that land of repose; but
there has been an English taste, and no ordinary one, in the arrangement
of that equipage and its dependants; and by the expressions, never
mistaken in London, of the well-appointed menials, you may be certain
that both master and mistress (if master there be,) exact no common
deference. She is always alone, and not often seen in the Park; and
whenever I have enquired of those likely to know, I found that she had
been observed, but could get no satisfactory information. She disappears
by the side toward the Regent’s park, and when once out of the gate, her
horses are let off at a speed that distances all pursuit that would not
attract observation. There is a look of “Who the deuce can it be?” in
the faces of all the mounted dandies, wherever she passes, for it is a
face which once seen is not easily thought of with indifference, or
forgotten. Immense as London is, a woman of anything like extraordinary
beauty would find it difficult to live there, incognito, a week; and how
this fair incomprehensible has contrived to elude the curiosity of
Hyde-park admiration, for nearly two years, is rather a marvel. There
she goes, however, and without danger of being arrested for a flying
highwayman, you could scarcely follow.

It is getting late, and, as we turn down toward the Clubs, we shall meet
the last and most fashionable comers to the Park. Here is a horseman,[4]
surrounded with half a dozen of the first young noblemen of England. He
rides a light bay horse with dark legs, whose delicate veins are like
the tracery of silken threads beneath the gloss of his limbs, and whose
small, animated head seems to express the very essence of speed and
fire. He is the most beautiful Park horse in England; and behind follows
a high-bred milk-white pony, ridden by a small, faultlessly-dressed
groom, who sits the spirited and fretting creature as if he anticipated
every movement before the fine hoof rose from the ground. He rides
admirably, but his master is more of a study. A luxuriance of black
curls escapes from the broad rim of a peculiar hat, and forms a relief
to the small and sculpture-like profile of a face as perfect, by every
rule of beauty, as the Greek Antinous. It would be too feminine but for
the muscular neck and broad chest from which the head rises, and the
indications of great personal strength in the Herculean shoulders. His
loose coat would disguise the proportions of a less admirable figure;
but, _au reste_, his dress is without fold or wrinkle and no _figurante_
of the ballet ever showed finer or more skilfully developed limbs. He is
one of the most daring in this country of bold riders; but modifies the
stiff English school of equestrianism, with the ease and grace of that
of his own country. His manner, though he is rather _Anglomane_, is in
striking contrast to the grave and quiet air of his companions; and
between his recognitions, right and left, to the passing promenaders, he
laughs and amuses himself with the joyous and thoughtless gayety of a
child. Acknowledged by all his acquaintances to possess splendid
talents, this “observed of all observers” is a singular instance of a
modern Sybarite—content to sacrifice time, opportunity, and the highest
advantages of mind and body, to the pleasure of the moment. He seems
exempt from all the usual penalties of such a career. Nothing seems to
do its usual work on him—care, nor exhaustion, nor recklessness, nor
the disapprobation of the heavy-handed opinion of the world. Always gay,
always brilliant, ready to embark at any moment, or at any hazard, in
anything that will amuse an hour, one wonders how and where such an
unwonted meteor will disappear.

But here comes a carriage without hammercloth or liveries—one of those
shabby-genteel conveyances, hired by the week, containing three or four
persons in the highest spirits, all talking and gesticulating at once.
As the carriage passes the “beau-knot,” (as ——, and his inseparable
group are sometimes called) one or two of the dandies spur up, and
resting their hands on the windows, offer the compliments of the day to
the old lady within, with the most earnest looks of admiration. The
gentlemen in her company become silent, and answer to the slight bows of
the cavaliers with foreign monosyllables, and presently the coachman
whips up once more, the horsemen drop off, and the excessive gayety of
the party resumes its tone. You must have been struck, as the carriage
passed, with the brilliant whiteness and regularity of the lady’s teeth,
and still more with the remarkable play of her lips, which move as if
the blood in them were imprisoned lightning. (The figure is strong, but
nothing else conveys to my own mind what I am trying to describe.)
Energy, grace, fire, rapidity, and a capability of utter abandonment to
passion and expression, live visibly on those lips. Her eyes are
magnificent. Her nose is regular, with nostrils rimmed round with an
expansive nerve, that gives them constantly the kind of animation
visible in the head of a fiery Arab. Her complexion is one of those
which, dark and wanting in brilliance by day, light up at night with an
alabaster fairness; and when the glossy black hair, which is now put
away so plainly under her simple bonnet, falls over her shoulders in
heavy masses, the contrast is radiant. The gentlemen in that carriage
are Rubini, Lablache, and a gentleman who passes for the lady’s uncle;
and the lady is _Julia Grisi_.

The smoke over the heart of the city begins to thicken into darkness,
the gas lamps are shooting up, bright and star-like, along the
Kensington road, and the last promenaders disappear. And now the world
of London, the rich and gay portions of it at least, enjoy that which
compensates them for the absence of the bright nights and skies of
Italy—a climate within doors, of comfort and luxury, unknown under
brighter heavens.

-----

[4] Count D’Orsay.



                          ISLE OF WIGHT—RYDE.


“Instead of parboiling you with a _soirée_ or a dinner,” said a sensible
and kind friend, who called on us at Ryde, “I shall make a pic-nic to
Netley.” And on a bright, breezy morning of June, a merry party of some
twenty of the inhabitants of the green Isle of Wight shot away from the
long pier, in one of the swift boats of those waters, with a fair wind
for Southampton.

Ryde is the most American-looking town I have seen abroad; a cluster of
white houses and summery villas on the side of a hill, leaning up from
the sea. Geneva, on the Seneca lake, resembles it. It is a place of
baths, boarding-houses, and people of damaged constitutions, with very
select society, and quiet and rather primitive habits. The climate is
deliciously soft, and the sun seems always to shine there.

As we got out into the open channel, I was assisting the skipper to
tighten his bowline, when a beautiful ship, in the distance, putting
about on a fresh tack, caught the sun full on her snowy sails, and
seemed to start like an apparition from the sea.

“She’s a _liner_, sir!” said the bronzed boatman, suspending his haul to
give her a look of involuntary admiration.

“An American packet, you mean?”

“They’re the prettiest ships afloat, sir,” he continued, “and the
smartest handled. They’re out to New York, and back again, before you
can look round, a’most. Ah, I see her flag now—stars and stripes. Can
you see it, sir?”

“Are the captains Englishmen, principally?” I asked.

“No, sir! all ‘cal_ky_lators,’ sharp as a needle!”

“Thank you,” said I; “I am a _calculator_ too!”

The conversation ceased, and I thought from the boatman’s look, that he
had more respect than love for us. The cloud of snowy sail traversed the
breadth of the channel with the speed of a bird, wheeled again upon her
opposite tack, and soon disappeared from view, taking with her the dove
of my imagination to return with an olive-branch from home. It must be a
cold American heart whose strings are not swept by that bright flag in a
foreign land, like a harp with the impassioned prelude of the master.

Cowes was soon upon our lee, with her fairy fleet of yachts lying at
anchor—Lord Yarborough’s frigate-looking craft asleep amid its
dependent brood, with all its fine tracery of rigging drawn on a
cloudless sky, the picture of what it is, and what all vessels seem to
me, a thing for pleasure only. Darting about like a swallow on the wing,
a small, gayly-painted sloop-yacht, as graceful and slender as the first
bow of the new moon, played off the roadstead for the sole pleasure of
motion, careless whither; and meantime the low-fringed shores of the
Southampton side grew more and more distinct, and before we had well
settled upon our cushions, the old tower of the Abbey lay sharp over the
bow.

We enjoyed the first ramble through the ruins the better, that to see
them was a secondary object. The first was to select a grassy spot for
our table. Threading the old unroofed vaults with this errand, the pause
of involuntary homage exacted by a sudden burst upon an arch or a
fretted window, was natural and true; and for those who are disturbed by
the formal and trite enthusiasm of companions who admire by a prompter,
this stalking-horse of another pursuit was not an indifferent advantage.

The great roof over the principal nave of the Abbey has fallen in, and
lies in rugged and picturesque masses within the Gothic shell—windows,
arches, secret staircases, and gray walls, all breaking up the blue sky
around, but leaving above, for a smooth and eternal roof, an oblong and
ivy-fringed segment of the blue plane of heaven. It seems to rest on
those crumbling corners as you stand within.

We selected a rising bank under the shoulder of a rock, grown over with
moss and ivy, and following the suggestion of a pretty lover of the
picturesque, the shawls and cloaks, with their bright colors, were
thrown over the nearest fragments of the roof, and every body unbonneted
and assisted in the arrangements. An old woman who sold apples outside
the walls was employed to built a fire for our teakettle in a niche
where, doubtless, in its holier days, had stood the effigy of a saint;
and at the pedestals of a cluster of slender columns our attendants
displayed upon a table a show of pasties and bright wines, that, if
there be monkish spirits who walk at Netley, we have added a poignant
regret to their purgatories, that their airy stomachs can be no more
_vino ciboque gravati_.

We were doing justice to a pretty shoulder of lamb, with mint sauce,
when a slender youth, who had been wandering around with a portfolio,
took up an artist’s position in the farther corner of the ruins, and
began to sketch the scene. I mentally felicitated him on the accident
that had brought him to Netley at that particular moment, for a prettier
picture than that before him an artist could scarce have thrown
together. The inequalities of the floor of the Abbey provided a mossy
table for every two or three of the gayly-dressed ladies, and there they
reclined in small and graceful groups, their white dresses relieved on
the luxuriant grass, and between them, half-buried in moss, the
sparkling glasses full of bright wines, and an air of ease and grace
over all, which could belong only to the two extremes of Arcadian
simplicity, or its high bred imitation. We amused ourselves with the
idea of appearing, some six months after, in the middle ground of a
landscape, in a picturesque annual; and I am afraid that I detected, on
the first suggestion of the idea, a little unconscious attitudinizing in
some of the younger members of the party. It was proposed that the
artist should be invited to take wine with us; but as a rosy-cheeked
page donned his gold hat to carry our compliments, the busy draughtsman
was joined by one or two ladies not quite so attractive-looking as
himself, but evidently of his own party, and our messenger was recalled.
_Sequitur_—they who would find adventure should travel alone.

The monastic ruins of England derive a very peculiar and touching beauty
from the bright veil of ivy which almost buries them from the sun. This
constant and affectionate mourner draws from the moisture of the climate
a vividness and luxuriance which is found in no other land. Hence the
remarkable _loveliness_ of Netley—a quality which impresses the
visiters to this spot, far more than the melancholy usually inspired by
decay.

Our gayety shocked some of the sentimental people rambling about the
ruins, for it is difficult for those who have not dined to sympathize
with the mirth of those who have. How often we mistake for sadness the
depression of an empty stomach! How differently authors and travellers
would write, if they commenced the day, instead of ending it, with meats
and wine! I was led to these reflections by coming suddenly upon a young
lady and her companion (possibly her lover,) in climbing a ruined
staircase sheathed within the wall of the Abbey. They were standing at
one of the windows, quite unconscious of my neighborhood, and looking
down upon the gay party of ladies below, who were still amid the
_débris_ of the feast arranging their bonnets for a walk.

“What a want of soul,” said the lady, “to be eating and drinking in such
a place!”

“_Some_ people have _no_ souls,” responded the gentleman.

After this verdict, I thought the best thing I could do was to take care
of my _body_, and I very carefully backed down the old staircase, which
is probably more hazardous now than in the days when it was used to
admit damsels and haunches of venison to the reverend fathers.

I reached the bottom in safety, and informed my friends that they had no
souls, but they manifested the usual unconcern on the subject, and
strolled away through the echoing arches, in search of new points of
view and fresh wild-flowers. “Commend me at least,” I thought, as I
followed on, “to those whose pulses can be quickened even by a cold pie
and a glass of champagne. Sadness and envy are sown thickly enough by
the wayside.”

We were embarked once more by the middle of the afternoon, and with a
head wind, but smooth water and cool temperature, beat back to Ryde. If
the young lady and her lover have forgiven or forgotten us, and the
ghosts of Netley, frocked or petticoated, have taken no umbrage, I have
not done amiss in marking the day with a stone of the purest white. How
much more sensible is a party like this in the open air, and at healthy
hours, than the untimely and ceremonious civilities usually paid to
strangers. If the world would mend by moralising, however, we should
have had a Utopia long ago.



                      COMPARISON OF THE CLIMATE OF
                           EUROPE AND AMERICA.


One of Hazlitt’s nail-driving remarks is to the effect that _he should
like very well to pass the whole of his life in travelling, if he could
anywhere borrow another life to spend afterward at home_. How far action
is necessary to happiness, and how far repose—how far the appetite for
novelty and adventure will drive, and how far the attractions of home
and domestic comfort will recall us—in short, what are the precise
exactions of the antagonist principles in our bosoms of curiosity and
sloth, energy and sufferance, hope and memory—are questions which each
one must settle for himself, and which none can settle but he who has
passed his life in the eternal and fruitless search after the happiest
place, climate, and station.

Contentment depends upon many things within our own control, but, with a
certain education it depends partly upon things beyond it. To persons
delicately constituted or delicately brought up, and to all idle
persons, the principal ingredient of the cup of enjoyment is _climate_;
and Providence, that consults “the greatest happiness of the greatest
number,” has made the poor and the roughly-nurtured independent of the
changes of the wind. Those who have the misfortune to be delicate as
well as poor—those, particularly, for whom there is no hope but in a
change of clime, but whom pitiless poverty compels to languish in vain
after the reviving south, are happily few; but they have thus much more
than their share of human calamity.

In throwing together my recollections of the climates with which I have
become acquainted in other lands, I am aware that there is a greater
difference of opinion on this subject than on most others. A man who has
agreeable society about him in Montreal, but who was without friends in
Florence, would be very likely to bring the climate in for its share of
the difference, and prefer Canada to Italy; and health and circumstances
of all kinds affect, in no slight degree, our susceptibility to skies
and atmosphere. But it is sometimes interesting to know the impressions
of others, even though they agree not with our own; and I will only say
of mine on this subject, that they are so far likely to be fair, as I
have been blessed with the same perfect health in all countries, and
have been happy alike in every latitude and season.

It is almost a matter of course to decry the climate of England. The
English writers themselves talk of _suicidal months_; and it is the only
country where part of the livery of a mounted groom is his master’s
great-coat strapped about his waist. It is certainly a damp climate, and
the sun shines less in England than in most other countries. But to
persons of full habit this moisture in the air is extremely agreeable;
and the high condition of all animals in England, from man downward,
proves its healthfulness. A stranger who has been accustomed to a
brighter sky, will, at first, find a gloom in the gray light so
characteristic of an English atmosphere; but this soon wears off, and he
finds a compensation, as far as the eye is concerned, in the exquisite
softness of the verdure, and the deep and enduring brightness of the
foliage. The effect of this moisture on the skin is singularly grateful.
The pores become accustomed to a healthy action, which is unknown in
other countries; and the bloom by which an English complexion is known
all over the world is the index of an activity in this important part of
the system, which, when first experienced, is almost like a new
sensation. The transition to a dry climate, such as ours, deteriorates
the condition and quality of the skin, and produces a feeling, if I may
so express it, like that of being _glazed_. It is a common remark in
England that an officer’s wife and daughters follow his regiment to
Canada at the expense of their complexions; and it is a well-known fact
that the bloom of female beauty is, in our country, painfully
evanescent.

The climate of America is, in many points, very different from that of
France and Great Britain. In the middle and northern states, it is a
dry, invigorating, and bracing climate, in which a strong man may do
more work than in almost any other, and which makes continual exercise,
or occupation of some sort, absolutely necessary. With the exception of
the “Indian summer,” and here and there a day scattered through the
spring and the hot months, there is no weather tempered so finely, that
one would think of passing the day in merely enjoying it, and life is
passed, by those who have the misfortune to be idle, in continual and
active dread of the elements. The cold is so acrid, and the heat so
sultry, and the changes from one to the other are so violent, that no
enjoyment can be depended upon out-of-doors, and no system of clothing
or protection is good for a day together. He who has full occupation for
head and hand (as by far the greatest majority of our countrymen have)
may live as long in America as in any portion of the globe—_vide_ the
bills of mortality. He whose spirits lean upon the temperature of the
wind, or whose nerves require a genial and constant atmosphere, may find
more favorable climes; and the habits and delicate constitutions of
scholars and people of sedentary pursuits generally, in the United
States, prove the truth of the observation.

The habit of regular exercise in the open air, which is found to be so
salutary in England, is scarcely possible in America. It is said, and
said truly, of the first, that there is no day in the year when a lady
may not ride comfortably on horseback—but with us, the extremes of heat
and cold, and the tempestuous character of our snows and rains, totally
forbid, to a delicate person, anything like regularity in exercise. The
consequence is, that the habit rarely exists, and the high and glowing
health so common in England, and consequent, no doubt, upon the equable
character of the climate in some measure, is with us sufficiently rare
to excite remark. “Very English-looking,” is a common phrase, and means
very healthy-looking. Still our people _last_—and though I should
define the English climate as the one in which the human frame is in the
highest condition, I should say of America, that it is the one in which
you could get the most work out of it.

Atmosphere, in England and America, is the first of the _necessaries_ of
life. In Italy, it is the first of its _luxuries_. We breathe in
America, and walk abroad, without thinking of these common acts but as a
means of arriving at happiness. In Italy, to breathe and to walk abroad
are themselves happiness. Day after day—week after week—month after
month—you wake with the breath of flowers coming in at your open
window, and a sky of serene and unfathomable blue, and mornings and
evenings of tranquil, assured, heavenly purity and beauty. The few weeks
of the rainy season are forgotten in these long halcyon months of
sunshine. No one can have lived in Italy a year, who remembers anything
but the sapphire sky and the kindling and ever-seen stars. You grow
insensibly to associate the sunshine and the moonlight only with the
fountain you have lived near, or the columns of the temple you have seen
from your window, for on no objects in other lands have you seen their
light so constant.

I scarce know how to convey, in language, the effect of the climate of
Italy on mind and body. Sitting here, indeed, in the latitude of
thirty-nine, in the middle of April, by a warm fire, and with a cold
wind whistling at the window, it is difficult to recall it, even to the
fancy. I do not know whether life is prolonged, but it is infinitely
enriched and brightened, by the delicious atmosphere of Italy. You rise
in the morning, thanking Heaven for life and liberty to go abroad. There
is a sort of opiate in the air, which makes idleness, that would be the
vulture of Prometheus in America, the dove of promise in Italy. It is
delicious to do nothing—delicious to stand an hour looking at a
Savoyard and his monkey—delicious to sit away the long, silent noon, in
the shade of a column, or on the grass of a fountain—delicious to be
with a friend without the interchange of an idea—to dabble in a book or
look into the cup of a flower. You do not read, for you wish to enjoy
the weather. You do not visit, for you hate to enter a door while the
weather is so fine. You lie down unwillingly for your siesta in the hot
noon, for you fear you may oversleep the first coolness of the long
shadows of sunset. The fancy, meantime, is free, and seems liberated by
the same languor that enervates the severer faculties; and nothing seems
fed by the air but thoughts, which minister to enjoyment.

The climate of Greece is very much that of Italy. The Mediterranean is
all beloved of the sun. Life has a value there, of which the rheumatic,
shivering, snow breasting, blue-devilled idler of northern regions has
no shadow, even in a dream. No wonder Dante mourned and languished for
it. No wonder at the sentiment I once heard from distinguished
lips—_Fuori d’Italia tutto e esilio._

This appears like describing a Utopia; but it is what Italy seemed to
me. I have expressed myself much more to my mind, however, in rhyme, for
a prose essay is, at best, but a cold medium.



                           STRATFORD-ON-AVON.


“One-p’un’-five outside, sir, two p’un’ in.”

It was a bright, calm afternoon in September, promising nothing but a
morrow of sunshine and autumn, when I stepped in at the “White Horse
Cellar,” in Piccadilly, to take my place in the Tantivy coach for
Stratford-on-Avon. Preferring the outside of the coach, at least by as
much as the difference in the prices, and accustomed from long habit to
pay dearest for that which most pleased me, I wrote myself down for the
outside, and deposited my two pounds in the horny palm of the old
ex-coachman, retired from the box, and playing clerk in this dingy den
of parcels and portmanteaus. Supposing my business concluded, I stood a
minute speculating on the weather-beaten, cramp-handed old Jehu before
me, and trying to reconcile his ideas of “retirement from office” with
those of his almost next door neighbor, the hero of Strathfield-Saye.

I had mounted the first stair toward daylight, when a touch on the
shoulder with the end of a long whip—a technical “reminder,” which
probably came easier to the old driver than the phrasing of a sentence
to a “gemman”—recalled me to the cellar.

“Fifteen shillin’, sir,” said he laconically, pointing with the same
expressive exponent of his profession to the change for my outside
place, which I had left lying on the counter.

“You are at least as honest as the Duke,” I soliloquised as I pocketed
the six bright and substantial half-crowns.

I was at the “White Horse Cellar” again the following morning at six,
promising myself with great sincerity never to rely again on the
constancy of an English sky. It rained in torrents. The four inside
places were all taken, and with twelve fellow outsides, I mounted to the
wet seat, and begging a little straw by way of cushion from the ostler,
spread my umbrella, abandoned my knees with a single effort of mind to
the drippings of the driver’s weather-proof upper Benjamin, and away we
sped. I was “due” at the house of a hospitable Catholic Baronet, a
hundred and two miles from London, at the dinner hour of that day, and
to wait till it had done raining in England is to expect the millennium.

London in the morning—I mean the poor man’s morning, daylight—is to me
matter for the most speculative and intense melancholy. Hyde park in the
sunshine of a bright afternoon, glittering with equipages, and gay with
the Aladdin splendors of rank and wealth, is a scene which sends the
mercurial qualities of the blood trippingly through the veins. But Hyde
park at daylight seen from Piccadilly through fog and rain, is perhaps,
of all contrasts, to one who has frequented it in its bright hours, the
most dispiriting and dreary. To remember that behind the barricaded and
wet windows of Apsley house sleeps the hero of Waterloo—that under
these crowded and fog-wrapped houses lie, in their dim chambers
breathing of perfume and luxury, the high-born and nobly-moulded
creatures who preserve for the aristocracy of England the palm of the
world’s beauty—to remember this, and a thousand other associations
linked with the spot, is not at all to diminish, but rather to deepen,
the melancholy of the picture. Why is it that the deserted stage of a
theatre, the echo of an empty ball-room, the loneliness of a frequented
promenade in untimely hours—any scene, in short, of gayety gone by but
remembered—oppresses and dissatisfies the heart! One would think memory
should re-brighten and re-populate such places.

The wheels hissed through the shallow pools in the Macadam road, the
regular pattering of the small hoofs in the wet carriage-tracks
maintained its quick and monotonous beat on the ear; the silent driver
kept his eye on the traces, and “reminded” now and then with but the
weight of his slight lash a lagging wheeler or leader, and the
complicated but compact machine of which the square foot that I occupied
had been so nicely calculated, sped on its ten miles in the hour with
the steadfastness of a star in its orbit, and as independent of clouds
and rain.

“_Est ce que monsieur parle François?_” asked at the end of the first
stage my right-hand neighbor, a little gentleman, of whom I had hitherto
only remarked that he was holding on to the iron railing of the seat
with great tenacity.

Having admitted in an evil moment that I had been in France, I was first
distinctly made to understand that my neighbor was on his way to
Birmingham purely for pleasure, and without the most distant object of
business—a point on which he insisted so long, and recurred to so
often, that he succeeded at last in persuading me that he was doubtless
a candidate for the French clerkship of some exporter of buttons. After
listening to an amusing dissertation on the rashness of committing one’s
life to an English stage-coach with scarce room enough for the perch of
a parrot, and a velocity so _diablement dangereux_, I tired of my
Frenchman; and, since I could not have my own thoughts in peace, opened
a conversation with a straw-bonnet and shawl on my left—the property, I
soon discovered, of a very smart lady’s maid, very indignant at having
been made to change places with Master George, who, with his mother and
her mistress, were dry and comfortable inside. She “would not have
minded the outside place,” she said, “for there were sometimes very
agreeable gentlemen on the outside, _very!_—but she had been promised
to go inside, and had dressed accordingly; and it was very provoking to
spoil a nice new shawl and best bonnet, just because a great school-boy,
that had nothing on that would damage, chose not to ride in the rain.”

“Very provoking, indeed!” I responded, letting in the rain upon myself
unconsciously, in extending my umbrella forward so as to protect her on
the side of the wind.

“_We_ should have gone down in the carriage, sir,” she continued, edging
a little closer to get the full advantage of my umbrella; “but John the
coachman has got the _hinfluenzy_, and my missis wo’n’t be driven by no
other coachman; she’s as obstinate as a mule, sir. And that isn’t all I
could tell, sir; but I scorns to hurt the character of one of my own
sex.” And the pretty abigail pursed up her red lips, and looked
determined not to destroy her mistress’s character—unless particularly
requested.

I detest what may be called a proper road-book—even would it be less
absurd than it is to write one on a country so well conned as England.

I shall say nothing, therefore, of Marlow, which looked the picture of
rural loveliness though seen through fog, nor of Oxford, of which all I
remember is that I dined there with my teeth chattering, and my knees
saturated with rain. All England is lovely to the wild eye of an
American unused to high cultivation; and though my enthusiasm was
somewhat damp, I arrived at the bridge over the Avon, blessing England
sufficiently for its beauty, and much more for the speed of its coaches.

The Avon, above and below the bridge, ran brightly along between low
banks, half sward, half meadow; and on the other side lay the native
town of the immortal wool-comber—a gay cheerful-looking village,
narrowing in the centre to a closely-built street, across which swung,
broad and fair, the sign of the “Red horse.” More ambitious hotels lay
beyond, and broader streets; but while Washington Irving is remembered
(and that will be while the language lasts,) the quiet inn in which the
great Geoffrey thought and wrote of Shakspere will be the altar of the
pilgrim’s devotions.

My baggage was set down, the coachman and guard tipped their hats for a
shilling, and, chilled to the bone, I raised my hat instinctively to the
courtesy of a slender gentlewoman in black, who, by the keys at her
girdle should be the landlady. Having expected to see a rosy little Mrs.
Boniface, with a brown pinafore and worsted mittens, I made up my mind
at once that the inn had changed mistresses. On the right of the
old-fashioned entrance blazed cheerily the kitchen fire, and with my
enthusiasm rather dashed by my disappointment, I stepped in to make
friends with the cook, and get a little warmth and information.

“So your old mistress is dead, Mrs. Cook,” said I rubbing my hands with
great satisfaction between the fire and a well-roasted chicken.

“Lauk, sir, no, she isn’t!” answered the rosy lass, pointing with a
dredging-box to the same respectable lady in black who was just entering
to look after me.

“I beg pardon, sir,” she said, dropping a courtesy; “but are you the
gentleman expected by Sir Charles ——?”

“Yes, madam. And can you tell me anything of your predecessor who had
the inn in the days of Washington Irving?”

She dropped another courtesy and drew up her thin person to its full
height, while a smile of gratified vanity stole out at the corners of
her mouth.

“The carriage has been waiting some time for you, sir,” she said, with a
softer tone than that in which she had hitherto addressed me; “and you
will hardly be at C—— in time for dinner. You will be coming over
to-morrow or the day after, perhaps, sir; and then, if you would honor
my little room by taking a cup of tea with me, I should be pleased to
tell you all about it, sir.”

I remembered a promise I had nearly forgotten, that I would reserve my
visit to Stratford till I could be accompanied by Miss Jane Porter, whom
I was to have the honor of meeting at my place of destination; and
promising an early acceptance of the kind landlady’s invitation, I
hurried on to my appointment over the fertile hills of Warwickshire.

I was established in one of those old Elizabethan country-houses, which,
with their vast parks, their self-sufficing resources of subsistence and
company, and the absolute deference shown on all sides to the lord of
the manor, give one the impression rather of a little kingdom with a
castle in its heart, than of an abode for a gentleman subject. The house
itself, (called, like most houses of this size and consequence in
Warwickshire, a “Court,”) was a Gothic, half-castellated square, with
four round towers, and innumerable embrasures and windows; two wings in
front, probably more modern than the body of the house, and again two
long wings extending to the rear, at right angles, and enclosing a
flowery and formal parterre. There had been a trench about it, now
filled up, and at a short distance from the house stood a polyangular
and massive structure, well calculated for defence, and intended as a
stronghold for the retreat of the family and tenants in more troubled
times. One of these rear wings enclosed a catholic chapel, for the
worship of the Baronet and those of his tenants who professed the same
faith; while on the northern side, between the house and the garden,
stood a large protestant stone church, with a turret and spire, both
chapel and church, with their clergyman and priest, dependant on the
estate, and equally favored by the liberal and high-minded baronet. The
tenantry formed two considerable congregations, and lived and worshipped
side by side, with the most perfect harmony—an instance of _real_
Christianity, in my opinion, which the angels of heaven might come down
to see. A lovely rural grave-yard for the lord and tenants, and a
secluded lake below the garden, in which hundreds of wild ducks swam and
screamed unmolested, completed the outward features of C—— court.

There are noble houses in England, with a door communicating from the
dining room to the stables, that the master and his friends may see
their favorites, after dinner, without exposure to the weather. In the
place of this rather _bizarre_ luxury, the oak-panelled and spacious
dining-hall of C—— is on a level with the organ loft of the chapel,
and when the cloth is removed, the large door between is thrown open,
and the noble instrument pours the rich and thrilling music of vespers
through the rooms. When the service is concluded, and the lights on the
altar extinguished, the blind organist (an accomplished musician, and a
tenant on the estate) continues his voluntaries in the dark until the
hall-door informs him of the retreat of the company to the drawing-room.
There is not only refinement and luxury in this beautiful arrangement,
but food for the soul and heart.

I chose my room from among the endless vacant but equally luxurious
chambers of the rambling old house; my preference solely directed by the
portrait of a nun, one of the family in ages gone by—a picture full of
melancholy beauty, which hung opposite the window. The face was
distinguished by all that in England marks the gentlewoman of ancient
and pure descent; and while it was a woman with the more tender
qualities of her sex breathing through her features, it was still a
lofty and sainted sister, true to her cross, and sincere in her vows and
seclusion. It was the work of a master, probably Vandyke, and a picture
in which the most solitary man would find company and communion. On the
other walls, and in most of the other rooms and corridors, were
distributed portraits of the gentlemen and soldiers of the family, most
of them bearing some resemblance to the nun, but differing, as brothers
in those wild times may be supposed to have differed from the gentle
creatures of the same blood, nursed in the privacy of peace.



                 VISIT TO STRATFORD-ON-AVON—SHAKSPERE.


One of the first visits in the neighborhood was naturally to
Stratford-on-Avon. It lay some ten miles south of us, and I drove down,
with the distinguished literary friend I have before mentioned, in the
carriage of our kind host, securing, by the presence of his servants and
equipage, a degree of respect and attention which would not have been
accorded to us in our simple character of travellers. The prim mistress
of the “Red Horse,” in her close black bonnet and widow’s weeds,
received us at the door with a deeper courtesy than usual, and a smile
of less wintry formality; and proposing to dine at the inn, and “suck
the brain” of the hostess more at our leisure, we started immediately
for the house of the wool-comber—the birthplace of Shakspere.

Stratford should have been forbidden ground to builders, masons,
shopkeepers, and generally to all people of thrift and whitewash. It is
now rather a smart town, with gay calicoes, shawls of the last pattern,
hardware, and millinery, exhibited in all their splendor down the
widened and newer streets;—and though here and there remains a gloomy
and inconvenient abode, which looks as if Shakspere might have taken
shelter under its eaves, the gayer features of the town have the best of
it, and flaunt their gaudy and unrespected newness in the very windows
of that immortal birthplace. I stepped into a shop to inquire the way to
it.

“_Shiksper’s_ ’ouse, sir? Yes, sir!” said a dapper clerk, with his hair
astonished into the most impossible directions by force of brushing;
“keep to the right, sir! Shiksper lived in the wite ’ouse, sir—the
’ouse, you see beyond, with the windy swung up, sir.”

A low, old-fashioned house, with a window suspended on a hinge, newly
whitewashed and scrubbed, stood a little up the street. A sign over the
door informed us in an inflated paragraph, that the immortal Will
Shakspere was born under this roof, and that an old woman within would
show it to us for a consideration. It had been used until very lately, I
had been told, for a butcher’s shop.

A “garrulous old lady” met us at the bottom of the narrow stair leading
to the second floor, and began—not to say anything of Shakspere—but to
show us the names of Byron, Moore, Rogers, &c., written among thousands
of others, on the wall! She had worn out Shakspere! She had told that
story till she was tired of it! or (what, perhaps, is more probable)
most people who go there fall to reading the names of the visiters so
industriously, that she has grown to think some of Shakspere’s pilgrims
greater than Shakspeare.

“Was this old oaken chest here in the days of Shakspere, madam?” I
asked.

“Yes, sir, and here’s the name of Byron, with a capital B. Here’s a
curiosity, sir.”

“And this small wooden box?”

“Made of Shakspere’s mulberry, sir. I had sich a time about that box,
sir. Two young gemmen were here the other day—just run up, while the
coach was changing horses, to see the house. As soon as they were gone I
misses my box. Off scuds my son to the ‘Red Horse,’ and there they sat
on the top looking as innocent as may be. ‘Stop the coach,’ says my son.
‘What do you want?’ says the driver. ‘My mother’s mulberry
box—Shakspere’s mulberry box!—One of them ’ere young men’s got it in
his pocket.’ And true enough, sir, one on ’em had the imperence to take
it out of his pocket, and fling it into my son’s face: and you know the
coach never stops a minnit for nothing, or he’d a’ smarted for it.”

Spirit of Shakspere! dost thou not sometimes walk _alone_ in this humble
chamber! Must one’s inmost soul be fretted and frighted _always_ from
its devotion by an abominable old woman? Why should not such lucrative
occupations be given in charity to the deaf and dumb? The pointing of a
finger were enough in such spots of earth!

I sat down in despair to look over the book of visiters, trusting that
she would tire of my inattention. As it was no use to point out names to
those who would not look, however, she commenced a long story of an
American who had lately taken the whim to sleep in Shakspere’s
birthplace. She had shaken him down a bed on the floor, and he had
passed the night there. It seemed to bother her to comprehend why
two-thirds of her visiters should be Americans—a circumstance that was
abundantly proved by the books.

It was only when we were fairly in the street, that I began to realize
that I had seen one of the most glorious altars of memory—that
deathless Will Shakspere, the mortal, who was, perhaps (not to speak
profanely) next to his Maker, in the divine faculty of creation, first
saw the light through the low lattice on which we turned back to look.

The single window of the room in which Scott died at Abbotsford, and
this in the birth-chamber of Shakspere, have seemed to me almost marked
with the touch of the fire of those great souls—for I think we have an
instinct which tells us on the spot where mighty spirits have come or
gone, that they came and went with the light of heaven.

We walked down the street to see the house where Shakspere lived on his
return to Stratford. It stands at the corner of a lane, not far from the
church where he was buried, and is a newish un-Shaksperian looking
place—no doubt, if it be indeed the same house, most profanely and
considerably altered. The present proprietor or occupant of the house or
site took upon himself some time since the odium of cutting down the
famous mulberry tree planted by the poet’s hand in the garden.

I forgot to mention in the beginning of these notes that two or three
miles before coming to Stratford we passed through Shottery, where Anne
Hathaway lived. A nephew of the excellent baronet whose guests we were
occupies the house. I looked up and down the green lanes about it, and
glanced my eye round upon the hills over which the sun has continued to
set and the moon to rise in her love inspiring beauty ever since. There
were doubtless outlines in the landscape which had been followed by the
eye of Shakespere when coming, a trembling lover, to
Shottery—doubtless, teints in the sky, crops on the fields,
smoke-wreaths from the old homesteads on the high hill-sides which are
little altered now. How daringly imagination plucks back the past in
such places! How boldly we ask of fancy and probability the thousand
questions we would put, if we might, to the magic mirror of Agrippa? Did
that great mortal love timidly, like ourselves? Was the passionate
outpouring of his heart simple, and suited to the humble condition of
Anne Hathaway, or was it the first fiery coinage of Romeo and Othello?
Did she know the immortal honor and light poured upon woman by the love
of genius? Did she know how this common and oftenest terrestrial passion
becomes fused in the poet’s bosom with celestial fire, and, in its
wondrous elevation and purity, ascends lambently and musically to the
very stars? Did she coy it with him? Was she a _woman_ to him, as
commoner mortals find woman—capricious, tender, cruel, intoxicating,
cold—everything by changes impossible to calculate or foresee? Did he
walk home to Stratford, sometimes, despairing, in perfect sick
heartedness, of her affection, and was he recalled by a message or a
lover’s instinct to find her weeping and passionately repentant?

How natural it is by such questions and speculations to betray our
innate desire to bring the lofty spirits of our common mould to our own
inward level—to seek analogies between _our_ affections, passions,
appetites, and _theirs_—to wish they might have been no more exalted,
no more fervent, no more worthy of the adorable love of woman than
ourselves! The same temper that prompts the depreciation, the envy, the
hatred, exercised toward the poet in his lifetime, mingles, not
inconsiderably, in the researches so industriously prosecuted after his
death into his youth and history. To be admired in this world, and much
more to be beloved for higher qualities than his fellow-men, insures to
genius not only to be persecuted in life, but to be ferreted out with
all his frailties and imperfections from the grave.

The church in which Shakspere is buried stands near the banks of the
Avon, and is a most picturesque and proper place of repose for his
ashes. An avenue of small trees and vines, ingeniously overlaced,
extends from the street to the principal door, and the interior is
broken up into that confused and accidental medley of tombs, pews,
cross-lights, and pillars, for which the old churches of England are
remarkable. The tomb and effigy of the great poet lie in an inner
chapel, and are as described in every traveller’s book. I will not take
up room with the repetition.

It gives one an odd feeling to see the tomb of his wife and daughter
beside him. One does not realize before, that Shakspere had wife,
children, kinsmen, like other men—that there were those who had a right
to lie in the same tomb; to whom he owed the charities of life; whom he
may have benefited or offended; who may have influenced materially his
destiny, or he theirs; who were the inheritors of his household goods,
his wardrobe, his books—people who looked on him—on Shakspere—as a
landholder, a renter of a pew, a townsman; a relative, in short, who had
claims upon them, not for the eternal homage due to celestial
inspiration, but for the charity of shelter and bread had he been poor,
for kindness and ministry had he been sick, for burial and the tears of
natural affection when he died. It is painful and embarrassing to the
mind to go to Stratford—to reconcile the immortality and the
incomprehensible power of genius like Shakspere’s, with the space,
tenement, and circumstance of a man! The poet should be like the
sea-bird, seen only on the wing—his birth, his slumber, and his death,
mysteries alike.

I had stipulated with the hostess that my baggage should be put into the
chamber occupied by Washington Irving. I was shown into it to dress for
dinner—a small neat room, a perfect specimen, in short, of an English
bedroom, with snow-white curtains, a looking-glass the size of the face,
a well-polished grate and poker, a well-fitted carpet, and as much light
as heaven permits to the climate.

Our dinner for two was served in a neat parlor on the same floor—an
English inn dinner—simple, neat and comfortable, in the sense of that
word unknown in other countries. There was _just_ fire enough in the
grate, _just_ enough for two in the different dishes, a servant who was
_just_ enough in the room, and _just_ civil enough—in short, it was,
like everything else in that _country of adaptation and fitness_, just
what was ordered and wanted, and no more.

The evening turned out stormy, and the rain pattered merrily against the
windows. The shutters were closed, the fire blazed up with new
brightness, the well-fitted wax lights were set on the table; and when
the dishes were removed, we replaced the wine with a tea-tray, and Miss
Porter sent for the hostess to give us her company and a little gossip
over our cups.

Nothing could be more nicely understood and defined than the manner of
English hostesses generally in such situations, and of Mrs. Gardiner
particularly in this. Respectful without servility, perfectly sure of
the propriety of her own manner and mode of expression, yet preserving
in every look and word the proper distinction between herself and her
guests, she insured from them that kindness and ease of communication
which would make a long evening of social conversation pass, not only
without embarrassment on either side, but with mutual pleasure and
gratification.

“I have brought up, mem,” she said, producing a well-polished poker from
under her black apron, before she took the chair set for her at the
table—“I have brought up a relic for you to see, that no money would
buy from me.”

She turned it over in my hand, and I read on one of the flat sides at
the bottom—“GEOFFREY CRAYON’S SCEPTRE.”

“Do you remember Mr. Irving,” asked my friend, “or have you supposed,
since reading his sketch of Stratford-on-Avon that the gentleman in
number three _might_ be the person?”

The hostess drew up her thin figure, and the expression of a person
about to compliment herself stole into the corners of her mouth.

“Why, you see, mem, I am very much in the habit of observing my guests,
and I think I may say I knows a superior gentleman when I sees him. If
you remember, mem,” (and she took down from the mantle-piece a much-worn
copy of the Sketch-Book,) “Geoffrey Crayon tells the circumstance of my
stepping in when it was getting late, and asking if he had rung. I knows
it by that, and then the gentleman I mean was an American, and I think,
mem, besides,” (and she hesitated a little, as if she was about to
advance an original and rather venturesome opinion)—“I think I can see
that gentleman’s likeness all through this book.”

A truer remark or a more just criticism was perhaps never made on the
Sketch-Book. We smiled, and Mrs. Gardiner proceeded:—

    “I was in and out of the coffee room the night he arrived, mem,
    and I sees directly by his modest ways and timid look that he
    was a gentleman, and not fit company for the other travellers.
    They were all young men, sir, and business travellers, and you
    know, mem, _ignorance takes the advantage of modest merit_, and
    after their dinner they were very noisy and rude. So, I says to
    Sarah, the chambermaid, says I, ‘That nice gentleman can’t get
    near the fire, and you go and light a fire in number three, and
    he shall sit alone, and it shan’t cost him nothing, for I like
    the look on him.’ Well, mem, he seemed pleased to be alone, and
    after his tea, he puts his legs up over the grate, and there he
    sits with the poker in his hand till ten o’clock. The other
    travellers went to bed, and at last the house was as still as
    midnight, all but a poke in the grate now and then in number
    three, and every time I heard it, I jumped up and lit a
    bed-candle, for I was getting very sleepy, and I hoped he was
    getting up to ring for a light. Well, mem, I nodded and nodded,
    and still no ring at the bell. At last I says to Sarah, says I,
    ‘Go into number three, and upset something, for I am sure that
    gentleman has fallen asleep.’—‘La, ma’am,’ says Sarah,’I don’t
    dare.’ ‘Well, then,’ says I, ‘I’ll go.’ So I opens the door, and
    I says, ‘If you please, sir, did you ring?’—little thinking
    that question would ever be written down in such a beautiful
    book, mem. He sat with his feet on the fender poking the fire,
    and a smile on his face, as if some pleasant thought was in his
    mind. ‘No, ma’am,’ says he, ‘I did not.’ I shuts the door, and
    sits down again, for I hadn’t the heart to tell him that it was
    late, for _he was a gentleman not to speak rudely to_, mem.
    Well, it was past twelve o’clock when the bell _did_ ring.
    ‘There,’ says I to Sarah, ‘thank Heaven he has done thinking,
    and we can go to bed.’ So he walked up stairs with his light,
    and the next morning he was up early and off to the Shakspere
    house, and he brings me home a box of the mulberry tree, and
    asks me if I thought it was genuine, and said it was for his
    mother in America. And I loved him still more for that, and I’m
    sure I prayed she might live to see him return.”

“I believe she did, Mrs. Gardiner; but how soon after did you set aside
the poker?”

“Why, sir, you see there’s a Mr. Vincent that comes here sometimes, and
he says to me one day—‘So, Mrs. Gardiner, you’re finely immortalized.
Read that.’ So the minnit I read it, I remembered who it was, and all
about it, and I runs and gets the number three poker, and locks it up
safe and sound, and by-and-by I sends it to Brummagem, and has his name
engraved on it, and here you see it, sir—and I wouldn’t take no money
for it.”

I had never the honor to meet or know Mr. Irving, and I evidently lost
ground with the hostess of the “Red Horse” for that misfortune. I
delighted her, however, with the account which I had seen in a late
newspaper, of his having shot a buffalo in the prairies of the west; and
she soon courtesied herself out, and left me to the delightful society
of the distinguished lady who had accompanied me. Among all my many
loiterings in many lands, I remember none more intellectually pure and
gratifying, than this at Stratford-on-Avon. My sleep, in the little bed
consecrated by the slumbers of the immortal Geoffrey, was sweet and
light; and I write myself his debtor for a large share of the pleasure
which genius like his lavishes on the world.



                              CHARLECOTE.


Once more posting through Shottery and Stratford-on-Avon, on the road to
Kenilworth and Warwick, I felt a pleasure in becoming an _habitué_ in
Shakspere’s town—it being recognized by the Stratford post-boys, known
at the Stratford inn, and remembered at the toll-gates. It is pleasant
to be welcomed by name anywhere; but at Stratford-on-Avon, it is a
recognition by those whose fathers or predecessors were the companions
of Shakspere’s frolics. Every fellow in a slouched hat—every idler on a
tavern bench—every saunterer with a dog at his heels on the
highway—should be a deer-stealer from Charlecote. You would almost ask
him, “Was Will Shakspere with you last night?”

The Lucys still live at Charlecote, immortalized by a varlet poacher who
was tried before old Sir Thomas for stealing a buck. They have drawn an
apology from Walter Savage Landor for making too free with the family
history, under cover of an imaginary account of the trial. I thought, as
we drove along in sight of the fine old hall, with its broad park and
majestic trees—very much as it stood in the days of Sir Thomas, I
believe—that most probably the descendants of the old justice look even
now upon Shakspere more as an offender against the game-laws than as a
writer of immortal plays. I venture to say, it would be bad tact in a
visiter to Charlecote to felicitate the family on the _honor_ of
possessing a park in which Shakspere had stolen deer—to show more
interest in seeing the hall in which he was tried than in the family
portraits.

On the road which I was travelling (from Stratford to Charlecote)
Shakspere had been dragged as a culprit. What were his feelings before
Sir Thomas? He felt, doubtless, as every possessor of the divine fire of
genius must feel, when brought rudely in contact with his fellow-men,
that he was too much their superior to be angry. The humor in which he
has drawn Justice Shallow proves abundantly that he was more amused than
displeased with his own trial. But was there no vexation at the moment?
A reflection, it might be, from the estimate of his position in the
minds of those who were about him—who looked on him simply as a stealer
of so much venison. Did he care for Anne Hathaway’s opinion then?

How little did Sir Thomas Lucy understand the relation between Judge and
culprit on that trial! How little did he dream he was sitting for his
picture to the pestilent varlet at the bar; that the deer-stealer could
better afford to forgive _him_ than he the deer-stealer! Genius
forgives, or rather forgets, all wrongs done in ignorance of its
immortal presence. Had Ben Jonson made a wilful jest on a line in his
new play, it would have rankled longer than fine and imprisonment for
deer-stealing. Those who crowd back and trample upon men of genius in
the common walk of life; who cheat them, misrepresent them, take
advantage of their inattention or their generosity in worldly matters,
are sometimes surprised how their injuries, if not themselves, are
forgotten. Old Adam Woodcock might as well have held malice against
Roland Græme for the stab in the stuffed doublet of the Abbot of
Misrule.

Yet, as I might have remarked in the paragraph gone before, it is
probably not easy to put conscious and secret superiority entirely
between the mind and the opinions of those around who think differently.
It is one reason why men of genius love more than the common share of
solitude—_to recover self-respect_. In the midst of the amusing
travesty he was drawing in his own mind of the grave scene about him,
Shakspere possibly felt at moments as like a detected culprit as he
seemed to the gamekeeper and the justice. It is a small penalty to pay
for the after worship of the world! The ragged and proverbially
ill-dressed peasants who are selected from the whole campagna, as models
to the sculptors of Rome, care little what is thought of their good
looks in the Corso. The disguised proportions beneath their rags will be
admired in deathless marble, when the noble who scarce deigns their
possessor a look will lie in forgotten dust under his stone scutcheon.



                            WARWICK CASTLE.


Were it not for the “out-heroded” descriptions in the guide-books, one
might say a great deal of Warwick castle. It is the quality of overdone
or ill-expressed enthusiasm to silence that which is more rational and
real. Warwick is, perhaps, the best kept of all the famous old castles
of England. It is a superb and admirably-appointed modern dwelling, in
the shell, and with all the means and appliances preserved of an ancient
stronghold. It is a curious union, too. My lady’s maid and my lord’s
valet coquet upon the bartizan, where old Guy of Warwick stalked in his
coat-of-mail. The London cockney, from his two days’ watering at
Leamington, stops his pony-chaise, hired at half-a-crown the hour, and
walks Mrs. Popkins over the old drawbridge as peacefully as if it were
the threshold of his shop in the Strand. Scot and Frenchman saunter
through fosse and tower, and no ghost of the middle ages stalks forth,
with closed visor, to challenge these once natural foes. The powdered
butler yawns through an embrasure, expecting “miladi,” the countess of
this fair domain, who in one day’s posting from London seeks relief in
Warwick castle from the routs and _soirées_ of town. What would old Guy
say, or the “noble imp” whose effigy is among the escutcheoned tombs of
his fathers, if they could rise through their marble slabs, and be
whirled over the drawbridge in a post-chaise? How indignantly they would
listen to the reckoning within their own port-cullis, of the rates for
chaise and postillion. How astonished they would be at the butler’s bow
and the proffered officiousness of the valet. “Shall I draw off your
lordship’s boots? Which of these new vests from Staub will your lordship
put on for dinner?”

Among the pictures at Warwick, I was interested by a portrait of Queen
Elizabeth, (the best of that sovereign I ever saw;) one of Machiavelli,
one of Essex, and one of Sir Philip Sidney. The delightful and gifted
woman whom I had accompanied to the castle observed of the latter, that
the _hand_ alone expressed all his character. I had often made the
remark in real life, but I had never seen an instance on painting where
the likeness was so true. No one could doubt, who knew Sir Philip
Sidney’s character, that it was a literal portrait of his hand. In our
day, if you have an artist for a friend, he makes use of you while you
call, to “sit for the hand” of the portrait on his easel. Having a
preference for the society of artists myself, and frequenting their
studios habitually, I know of some hundred and fifty unsuspecting
gentlemen on canvass, who have procured for posterity and their children
portraits of their own heads and dress-coats to be sure, but of the
hands of other persons!

The head of Machiavelli is, as is seen in the marble in the gallery of
Florence, small, slender, and visibly “made to creep into crevices.” The
face is impassive and calm, and the lips, though slight and almost
feminine, have an indefinable firmness and character. Essex is the bold,
plain, and blunt soldier history makes him, and Elizabeth not unqueenly,
nor (to my thinking) of an uninteresting countenance; but, with all the
artist’s flattery, ugly enough to be the abode of the murderous envy
that brought Mary to the block.

We paid our five shillings for having been walked through the marble
hall of Castle Warwick, and the dressing room of its modern lady, and,
gratified much more by our visit than I have expressed in this brief
description, posted on to Kenilworth.



                              KENILWORTH.


On the road from Warwick to Kenilworth, I thought more of poor Pierce
Gaveston than of Elizabeth and her proud earls. Edward’s gay favorite
was tried at Warwick, and beheaded on Blacklow hill, which we passed
soon after leaving the town. He was executed in June; and I looked about
on the lovely hills and valleys that surround the place of his last
moments, and figured to myself very vividly his despair at this hurried
leave-taking of this bright world in its brightest spot and hour. Poor
Gaveston! It was not in his vocation to die! He was neither soldier nor
prelate, hermit nor monk. His political sins, for which he suffered,
were no offence against good fellowship, and were ten times more venial
than those of the “black dog of Arden,” who betrayed and helped to
murder him. He was the reckless minion of a king, but he must have been
a merry and pleasant fellow; and now that the world (on _our_ side the
water at least) is grown so grave, one could go back with Old Mortality,
and freshen the epitaph of a heart that took life more gayly.

As we approached the castle of the proud Leicester, I found it easier to
people the road with the flying Amy Robsart and her faithful attendant,
with Mike Lambourne, Flibbertigibbat, Richard Varney, and the troop of
mummers and players, than with the more real characters of history. To
assist the romance, a little Italian boy, with his organ and monkey, was
fording the brook on his way to the castle, as if its old towers still
held listeners for the wandering minstrel. I tossed him a shilling from
the carriage window, and while the horses slowly forded the brook, asked
him in his own delicious tongue, where he was from.

“_Son’ di Firenze, signore!_”

“And where are you going?”

“_Li! al castello._”

Come from Florence and bound to Kenilworth! Who would not grind an organ
and sleep under a hedge, to answer the hail of the passing traveller in
terms like these? I have seen many a beggar in Italy, whose inheritance
of sunshine and leisure in that delicious clime I could have found it in
my heart to envy, even with all its concomitants of uncertainty and
want; but here was a bright-faced and inky-eyed child of the sun, with
his wardrobe and means upon his back, travelling from one land to
another, and loitering wherever there was a resort for pleasure, without
a friend or a care; and, upon my life, I could have donned his velveteen
jacket, and with his cheerful heart to button it over, have shouldered
his organ, put my trust in _i forestieri_, and kept on for Kenilworth.
There really is, I thought, as I left him behind, no profit or reward
consequent upon a life of confinement and toil; no moss ever gathered by
the unturned stone, that repays, by a thousandth part, the loss of even
this poor boy’s share of the pleasures of change. What would not the
tardy winner of fortune give to exchange his worn-out frame, his
unloveable and furrowed features, his dulled senses, and his vain
regrets, for the elastic frame, the unbroken spirits, and the redeemable
yet not oppressive poverty of this Florentine _regazzo_! The
irrecoverable gem of youth is too often dissolved, like the pearl of
Cleopatra, in a cup which thins the blood and leaves disgust upon the
lip.

The magnificent ruins of Kenilworth broke in upon my moralities, and a
crowd of halt and crippled _ciceroni_ beset the carriage-door as we
alighted at the outer tower. The neighborhood of the Spa of Leamington
makes Kenilworth a place of easy resort; and the beggars of Warwickshire
have discovered that your traveller is more liberal of his coin than
your sitter-at-home. Some dozens of pony-chaises, and small, crop
saddle-horses, clustered around the gate, assured us that we should not
muse alone amid the ruins of Elizabeth’s princely gift to her favorite.
We passed into the tilt-yard, leaving on our left the tower in which
Edward was confined, now the only habitable part of Kenilworth. It gives
a comfortable shelter to an old seneschal, who stands where the giant
probably stood, with Flibbertigibbet under his doublet for a prompter;
but it is not the tail of a rhyme that serves now for a passport.

Kenilworth, as it now stands, would probably disenchant almost any one
of the gorgeous dreams conjured up by reading Scott’s romance. Yet it is
one of the most superb ruins in the world. It would scarce be complete
to a novel-reader, naturally, without a warder at the gate, and the
flashing of a spear-point and helmet through the embrasures of the
tower. A horseman in armor should pace over the drawbridge, and a squire
be seen polishing his cuirass through the opening gate; while on the
airy bartizan should be observed a lady in hoop and farthingdale,
philandering with my lord of Leicester in silk doublet and rapier. In
the place of this, the visiter enters Kenilworth as I have already
described, and stepping out into the tilt-yard, he sees, on an elevation
before him, a fretted and ivy-covered ruin, relieved like a cloud-castle
on the sky; the bright blue plane of the western heavens shining through
window and broken wall, flecked with waving and luxuriant leaves, and
the crusted and ornamental pinnacles of tottering masonry and sculpture
just leaning to their fall, though the foundations upon which they were
laid, one would still think, might sustain the firmament. The swelling
root of a creeper has lifted that arch from its base, and the protruding
branch of a chance-sprung tree, (sown perhaps by a field-sparrow) has
unseated the keystone of the next; and so perish castles and
reputations, the masonry of the human hand, and the fabrics of human
forethought; not by the strength which they feared, but by the weakness
they despised! Little thought old John of Gaunt, when these rudely-hewn
blocks were heaved into their seat by his herculean workmen, that, after
resisting fire and foe, they would be sapped and overthrown at last by a
vine-tendril and a sparrow!

Clinging against the outer wall, on that side of the castle overlooking
the meadow, which was overflowed for the aquatic sports of Kenilworth,
stands an antique and highly ornamental fireplace, which belonged,
doubtless, to the principal hall. The windows on either side looking
forth upon the fields below, must have been those from which Elizabeth
and her train observed the feats of Arion and his dolphin; and at all
times, the large and spacious chimney-place, from the castle’s first
occupation to its last, must have been the centre of the evening
revelry, and conversation of its guests. It was a hook whereon to hang a
revery, and between the roars of vulgar laughter which assailed my ears
from a party lolling on the grass below, I contrived to figure to
myself, with some distinctness, the personages who had stood about it. A
visit to Kenilworth, without the deceptions of fancy, would be as
disconnected from our previous enthusiasm on the subject as from any
other scene with which it had no relation. The general effect at first,
in any such spot, is only to dispossess us, by a powerful violence, of
the cherished picture we had drawn of it in imagination; and it is only
after the real recollection has taken root and ripened—after months, it
may be—that we can fully bring the visionary characters we have drawn
to inhabit it. If I read Kenilworth now, I see Mike Lambourne stealing
out, not from the ruined postern which I clambered through, over heaps
of rubbish, but from a little gate that turned noiselessly on its
hinges, in the unreal castle built ten years ago in my brain.

I had wandered away from my companion, Miss Jane Porter, to climb up a
secret staircase in the wall, rather too difficult of ascent for a
female foot, and from my elevated position I caught an accidental view
of that distinguished lady through the arch of a Gothic window, with a
background of broken architecture and foliage—presenting, by chance,
perhaps the most fitting and admirable picture of the authoress of the
Scottish Chiefs, that a painter in his brightest hour could have
fancied. Miss Porter, with her tall and striking figure, her noble face
(said by Sir Martin Shee to have approached nearer in its youth to his
_beau idéal_ of the female features than any other, and still possessing
the remains of uncommon beauty,) is at all times a person whom it would
be difficult to see without a feeling of involuntary admiration. But
standing, as I saw her at that moment, motionless and erect, in the
mourning dress, with dark feathers, which she has worn since the death
of her beloved and gifted sister, her wrists folded across, her large
and still beautiful eyes fixed on a distant object in the view, and her
nobly-cast lineaments reposing in their usual calm and benevolent
tranquillity, while, around and above her, lay the material and breathed
the spirit over which she had held the first great mastery—it was a
_tableau vivant_ which I was sorry to be alone to see.

Was she thinking of the great mind that had evoked the spirits of the
ruins she stood among—a mind in which (by Sir Walter’s own confession)
she had first bared the vein of romance which breathed so freely for the
world’s delight? Were the visions which sweep with such supernatural
distinctness and rapidity through the imagination of genius—visions of
which the millionth portion is probably scarce communicated to the world
in a literary lifetime—were Elizabeth’s courtiers, Elizabeth’s
passions, secret hours, interviews with Leicester—were the imprisoned
king’s nights of loneliness and dread, his hopes, his indignant, but
unheeded thoughts—were all the possible circumstances, real or
imaginary, of which that proud castle might have been the scene,
thronging in those few moments of revery through her fancy? Or was her
heart busy with its kindly affections, and had the beauty and interest
of the scene but awakened a thought of one who was most wont to number
with her the sands of those brighter hours?

Who shall say? The very question would perhaps startle the thoughts
beyond recall—so elusive are even the most angelic of the mind’s unseen
visitants.

I have recorded here the speculations of a moment while I leaned over
the wall of Kenilworth, but as I descended by the giddy staircase, a
peal of rude laughter broke from the party in the fosse below, and I
could not but speculate on the difference between the various classes
whom curiosity draws to the spot. The distinguished mind that conceives
a romance that enchants the world, comes in the same guise and is
treated with but the same respect as theirs. The old porter makes no
distinction in his charge of half-a-crown, and the grocer’s wife who
sucks an orange on the grass, looks at the dark crape hat and plain
exterior—her only standards—and thinks herself as well-dressed, and
therefore equal or superior to the tall lady, whom she presumes is out
like herself on a day’s pleasuring. One comes and goes like the other,
and is forgotten alike by the beggars at the gate and the seneschal
within, and thus invisibly and unsuspected, before our very eyes, does
genius gather its golden fruit, and while _we_ walk in a plain and
commonplace world, with commonplace and sordid thoughts and feelings,
the gifted walk side by side with us in a world of their own—a world of
which we see distant glimpses in their after-creations, and marvel in
what unsunned mine its gems of thought were gathered!



                  A VISIT TO DUBLIN ABOUT THE TIME OF
                          THE QUEEN’S MARRIAGE.


The usual directions for costume, in the corner of the court card of
invitation, included, on the occasion of the Queen’s marriage, a wedding
favor, to be worn by ladies on the shoulder, and by gentlemen on the
left breast. This trifling addition to the dress of the individual was a
matter of considerable importance to the milliners, hatters, etc., who,
in a sale of ten or twelve hundred white cockades (price from two
dollars to five) made a very pretty profit. The power of giving a large
ball to the more expensive classes, and ordering a particular addition
to the costume—in other words, of laying a tax on the rich for the
benefit of the poor, is exercised more frequently in Ireland than in
other countries, and serves the double purpose of popularity to the Lord
Lieutenant, and benefit to any particular branch of industry that may be
suffering from the decline of a fashion.

The large quadrangular court-yard of the castle rattled with the tramp
of horses’ feet and the clatter of sabres and spurs, and in the
uncertain glare of torches and lamps, the gay colors and glittering arms
of the mounted guard of lancers had a most warlike appearance. The
procession which the guard was stationed to regulate and protect, rather
detracted from the romantic effect—the greater proportion of equipages
being the covered hack cars of the city—vehicles of the most
unmitigated and ludicrous vulgarity. A coffin for two, set on its end,
with the driver riding on the turned-down lid, would be a very near
resemblance; and the rags of the driver, and the translucent leanness of
his beast, make it altogether the most deplorable of conveyances. Here
and there a carriage with liveries, and here and there a sedan-chair
with four stout Milesian calves in blue stockings trotting under the
poles, rather served as a foil than a mitigation of the effect, and the
hour we passed in the line, edging slowly toward the castle, was far
from unfruitful in amusement. I learned afterward that even those who
have equipages in Dublin go to Court in hack cars as a matter of
economy—one of the many indications of that feeling of lost pride which
has existed in Ireland since the removal of the parliament.

A hall and staircase lined with files of soldiers is not quite as
festive an entrance to a ball as the more common one of alleys of
flowering shrubs; but with a waltz by a military band resounding from
the lofty ceiling, I am not sure that it does not temper the blood as
aptly for the spirit of the hour. It was a rainy night, and the streets
were dark, and the effect upon myself of coming suddenly into so
enchanted a scene—arms glittering on either side, and a procession of
uniforms and plumed dames winding up the spacious stairs—was thrilling,
even with the chivalric scenes of Eglinton fresh in my remembrance.

At the head of the ascent we entered a long hall, lined with the private
servants of Lord Ebrington, and the ceremony of presentation having been
achieved the week before, we left the throne-room on the right, and
passed directly to St. Patrick’s Hall, the grand scene of the evening’s
festivities. This, I have said before, is the finest ball-room I
remember in Europe. Twelve hundred people, seated, dancing, or
promenading, were within its lofty walls on the night whose festivities
I am describing; and at either end a gallery, supported by columns of
marble, contained a band of music, relieving each other with alternate
waltzes and quadrilles. On the long sides of the hall were raised tiers
of divans, filled with chaperons, veteran officers, and other
lookers-on, and at the upper end was raised a platform with a throne in
the centre, and seats on either side for the family of the Lord
Lieutenant, and the more distinguished persons of the nobility. Lord
Ebrington was rather in his character of a noble host than that of
Viceroy, and I did not observe him once seated under his canopy of
state; but with his Aids and some one of the noble ladies of his family
on his arm, he promenaded the hall conversing with his acquaintances,
and seemingly enjoying in a high degree the brilliant gayety of the
scene. His dress, by the way, was the simple diplomatic dress of most
continental courts, a blue uniform embroidered with gold, the various
orders on his breast forming its principal distinction. I seldom have
seen a man of a more calm and noble dignity of presence than the Lord
Lieutenant, and never a face that expressed more strongly the
benevolence and high purity of character for which he is distinguished.
In person, except that he is taller, he bears a remarkably close
resemblance to the Duke of Wellington.

We can scarcely conceive, in this country of black coats, the brilliant
effect of a large assembly in which there is no person out of uniform or
court-dress—every lady’s head nodding with plumes, and every gentleman
in military scarlet and gold or lace and embroidery. I may add, too,
that in this country of care-worn and pale faces, we can as little
conceive the effect of an assembly rosy with universal health,
habitually unacquainted with care, and abandoned with the apparent
child-like simplicity of high breeding, to the inspiring gayety of the
hour. The greater contrast, however, is between a nation where health is
the first care, and one in which health is never thought of till lost;
and light and shade are not more contrasted than the mere general effect
of countenance in one and in the other. A stranger travelling in our
country, once remarked to me that a party he had attended seemed like an
entertainment given in the convalescent ward of a hospital—the ladies
were so pale and fragile, and the men so unjoyous and sallow. And my own
invariable impression, in the assemblies I have first seen after leaving
my own country, was a corresponding one—that the men and women had the
rosy health and untroubled gayety of children round a May-pole. That
this is _not_ the effect of climate, I do most religiously believe. It
is _over-much care_ and _over-much carelessness_—the corroding care of
an avid temerity in business, and the carelessness of all the functions
of life till their complaints become too imperative to be disregarded.
But this is a theme out of place.

The ball was managed by the Grand Chamberlain (Sir William Leeson,) and
the aids-de-camp of the Lord Lieutenant, and except that now and then
you were reminded by the movement around you that you stood with your
back to the representative of royalty, there was little to draw your
attention from the attractions of the dance. Waltz, quadrille, and
gallop, followed each other in giddy succession, and “what do you think
of Irish beauty?” had been asked me as often as “how do you like
America?” was ever mumbled through the trumpet of Miss Martineau, when I
mounted with a friend to one of the upper divans, and tried, what is
always a difficult task, and nowhere so difficult as in Ireland, to call
in the intoxicated fancy, and anatomize the charm of the hour.

Moore’s remark has been often quoted—“there is nothing like an Irish
woman to take a man off his feet;” but whether this figure of speech was
suggested by the little bard’s common _soubriquet_ of
“Jump-up-and-kiss-me[5] Tom Moore,” or simply conveyed his idea of the
bewildering character of Irish beauty, it contains, to any one who has
ever travelled (or waltzed) in that country, a very just, as well as
realizing description. Physically, Irish women are probably the finest
race in the world—I mean, taller, better limbed and chested, larger
eyed, and with more luxuriant hair, and freer action, than any other
nation I have observed. The Phœnician and Spanish blood which has run
hundreds of years in their veins, still kindles its dark fire in their
eyes, and with the vivacity of the northern mind and the bright color of
the northern skin, these southern qualities mingle in most admirable and
superb harmony. The idea we form of Italian and Grecian beauty is never
realized in Greece and Italy, but we find it in Ireland, heightened and
exceeded. Cheeks and lips of the delicacy and bright teint of carnation,
with snowy teeth, and hair and eyebrows of jet, are what we should look
for on the palette of Apelles, could we recall the painter, and
re-animate his far-famed models; and these varied charms, united, fall
very commonly to the share of the fair Milesian of the upper classes. In
other lands of dark eyes, the rareness of a fine-grained skin, so
necessary to a brunette, makes beauty as rare—but whether it is the
damp softness of the climate or the infusion of Saxon blood, a coarse
skin is almost never seen in Ireland. I speak now only of the
better-born ranks of society, for in all my travels in Ireland I did not
chance to see even one peasant girl of any pretensions to good looks.
From north to south, they looked, to me, coarse, ill-formed, and
repulsive.

I noticed in St. Patrick’s Hall what I had remarked ever since I had
been in the country, that with all their beauty, the Irish women are
very deficient in what in England is called _style_. The men, on the
contrary, were particularly _comme il faut_, and as they are a
magnificent race (corresponding to such mothers and sisters) I
frequently observed I had never seen so many handsome and elegant men in
a day. Whenever I saw a gentleman and lady together, riding, driving, or
walking, my first impression was, almost universally, that the man was
in attendance upon a woman of an inferior class to his own. This
difference may be partly accounted for by the reduced circumstances of
the gentry of Ireland, which keeps the daughters at home, that the sons
may travel and improve; but it works differently in America, where,
spite of travel and every other advantage to the contrary, the daughters
of a family are much oftener lady-like than the sons are gentleman-like.
After wondering for some time, however, why the quick-witted women of
Ireland should be less apt than those of other countries in catching the
air of high breeding usually deemed so desirable, I began to like them
better for the deficiency, and to find a reason for it in the very
qualities which make them so attractive. Nothing could be more
captivating and delightful than the manners of Irish women, and nothing,
at the same time, could be more at war with the first principles of
English high breeding—coldness and _retenu_. The frank, almost
hilarious “how are you?” of an Irish girl, her whole-handed and cordial
grasp, as often in the day as you meet her, the perfectly un-missy-ish,
confiding, direct character of her conversation, are all traits which
would stamp her as somewhat rudely bred in England, and as desperately
vulgar in New York or Philadelphia.

Modest to a proverb, the Irish woman is as unsuspecting of an
impropriety as if it were an impossible thing, and she is as fearless
and joyous as a midshipman, and sometimes as noisy. In a ball-room she
looks ill-dressed, not because her dress was ill-put-on, but because she
dances, not glides, sits down without care, pulls her flowers to pieces,
and if her head-dress incommodes her, gives it a pull or a push—acts
which would be perfect insanity at Almack’s. If she is offended, she
asks for an explanation. If she does not understand you, she confesses
her ignorance. If she wishes to see you the next day, she tells you how
and when. She is the child of nature, and children are not “stylish.”
The niminy-piminy, eye-avoiding, finger-tipped, drawling, don’t-touch-me
manner of some of the fashionable ladies of our country, would amuse a
cold and reserved English woman sufficiently, but they would drive an
Irish girl into hysterics. I have met one of our fair country-people
abroad, whose “Grecian stoop,” and exquisitely subdued manner, was
invariably taken for a fit of indigestion.

The ball-supper was royally sumptuous, and served in a long hall thrown
open at midnight; and in the gray of the morning, I left the floor
covered with waltzers, and confessed to an Irish friend, that I never in
my life, not even at Almack’s, had seen the half as much true beauty as
had brightened St. Patrick’s Hall at the celebration of the queen’s
marriage.

-----

[5] The name of a small flower, common in Ireland.



                    CLOSING SCENES OF THE SESSION AT
                               WASHINGTON.


The paradox of “the more one does, the more one can do,” is resolved in
life at Washington with more success than I have seen it elsewhere. The
inexorable bell at the hotel or boarding-house pronounces the
irrevocable and swift transit of breakfast to all sleepers after eight.
The elastic depths of the pillow have scarcely yielded their last
feather to the sleeper’s head before the drowse is rudely shaken from
his eyelids, and with an alacrity which surprises himself, he finds his
toilet achieved, his breakfast over, and himself abroad to lounge in the
sunshine till the flag waves on the capitol. He would retire to his
chamber to read during these two or three vacant hours, but the one
chair in his pigeon-hole creaks, or has no back or bottom, or his
anthracite fire is out, or, is too hot for the size of the room; or, in
short, Washington, from whatever cause, is a place where none read
except those who stand up to a padlocked newspaper. The stars and
stripes, moving over the two wings of the capitol at eleven announce
that the two chambers of legislation are in session, and the hard
working idler makes his way to the senate or the house. He lingers in
the lobby awhile, amused with the button-hole seizers plying the
unwilling ears of members with their claims, or enters the library,
where ladies turn over prints, and enfilade, with their battery of
truant eyes the comers in at the green door. He then gropes up the dark
staircase to the senate gallery, and stifles in the pressure of a hot
gallery, forgetting, like listeners at a crowded opera, that bodily
discomfort will unlink the finest harmonies of song or oratory. Thence
he descends to the rotunda to draw breath and listen to the more
practical, but quite as earnest eloquence of candidates for patents; and
passes, after a while to the crowded gallery of the house, where, by
some acoustic phenomena in the construction of the building, the voices
of the speakers come to his ears as articulate as water from a
narrow-necked bottle. “Small blame to them!” he thinks, however; for
behind the brexia columns are grouped all the fair forms of Washington;
and in making his bow to two hundred despotic lawgivers in feathers and
velvet, he is readily consoled that the duller legislators who yield to
their sway are inaudible and forgotten. To this upper house drop in,
occasionally, the younger or gayer members of the lower, bringing, if
not political scandal, at least some slight _resumer_ of what Mr.
Somebody is beating his desk about below; and thus, crammed with the
day’s trifles or the day’s business, and fatigued from heel to eyelid,
our idler goes home at five to dress for dinner and the night’s
campaign, having been up and on his legs for ten mortal hours.

Cold water and a little silence in his own room have rather refreshed
him, and he dines at six with a party of from fifteen to twenty-five
persons. He discusses the vital interests of fourteen millions of people
over a glass of wine with the man whose vote, possibly, will decide
their destiny, and thence hurries to a ball-room crammed like a perigord
pie, where he pants, elbows, eats supper, and waltzes till three in the
morning. How human constitutions stand this, and stand it daily and
nightly, from the beginning to the end of a session, may well puzzle the
philosophy of those who rise and breakfast in comfortable leisure.

I joined the crowd on the twenty-second of February, to pay my respects
to the President, and see _the cheese_. Whatever veneration existed in
the minds of the people toward the former, their curiosity in reference
to the latter predominated, unquestionably. The circular _pavé_,
extending from the gate to the White House, was thronged with citizens
of all classes, those coming away having each a small brown paper parcel
and a very strong smell; those advancing manifesting, by shakings of the
head and frequent exclamations, that there may be too much of a good
thing, and particularly of a cheese. The beautiful portico was thronged
with boys and coach-drivers, and the odor strengthened with every step.
We forced our way over the threshold, and encountered an atmosphere, to
which the mephitic gas floating over Avernus must be faint and
innocuous. On the side of the hall hung a rough likeness of the general,
emblazoned with eagle and stars, forming a background to the huge tub in
which the cheese had been packed; and in the centre of the vestibule
stood the “fragrant gift,” surrounded with a dense crowd, who, without
crackers, or even “malt to their cheese,” had, in two hours, eaten and
purveyed away _fourteen hundred pounds_! The small segment reserved for
the President’s use counted for nothing in the abstractions.

Glad to compromise for a breath of cheeseless air, we desisted from the
struggle to obtain a sight of the table, and mingled with the crowd in
the east room. Here were diplomates in their gold coats and officers in
uniform, ladies of secretaries and other ladies, soldiers on volunteer
duty, and Indians in war-dress and paint. Bonnets, feathers, uniforms,
and all—it was rather a gay assemblage. I remembered the descriptions
in travellers’ books, and looked out for millers and blacksmiths in
their working gear, and for rudeness and vulgarity in all. The offer of
a mammoth cheese to the public was likely to attract to the presidential
mansion more of the lower class than would throng to a common levee.
Great-coats there were, and not a few of them, for the day was raw, and
unless they were hung on the palings outside, they must remain on the
owners’ shoulders; but, with a single exception (a fellow with his coat
torn down his back, possibly in getting at the cheese,) I saw no man in
a dress that was not respectable and clean of its kind, and abundantly
fit for a tradesman out of his shop. Those who were much pressed by the
crowd put their hats on; but there was a general air of decorum which
would surprise any one who had pinned his faith on travellers. An
intelligent Englishman, very much inclined to take a disgust to
mobocracy, expressed to me great surprise at the decency and proper
behavior of the people. The same experiment in England, he thought,
would result in as pretty a riot as a paragraph-monger would desire to
see.

The President was down stairs in the oval reception room, and, though
his health would not permit him to stand, he sat in his chair for two or
three hours, and received his friends with his usual bland and dignified
courtesy. By his side stood the lady of the mansion, dressed in full
court costume, and doing the honors of her place with a grace and
amenity which every one felt, and which threw a bloom over the hour.
General Jackson retired, after awhile, to his chamber, and the President
elect remained to support his relative, and present to her the still
thronging multitude, and by four o’clock the guests were gone, and the
“banquet hall” was deserted. Not to leave a wrong impression of the
cheese, I dined afterward at a table to which the President had sent a
piece of it, and found it of excellent quality. It is like many other
things, more agreeable in small qualities.

Some eccentric mechanic has presented to the President a sulkey, made
entirely (except the wheels) of rough-cut hickory, with the bark on. It
looks rough enough, but has very much the everlasting look of old
Hickory himself; and if he could be seen driving a high-stepping, bony
old iron-gray steed in it, any passer-by would see that there was as
much fitness in the whole thing as in the chariot of Bacchus and his
reeling leopards. Some curiously twisted and gnarled branches have been
very ingeniously turned into handles and whip-box, and the vehicle is
compact and strong. The President has left it to Mr. Van Buren.

In very strong contrast to the sulkey, stood close by, the elegant
phæton, made of the wood of the old frigate Constitution. It has a seat
for two, with a driver’s box, covered with a superb hammercloth, and set
up rather high in front; the wheels and body are low, and there are bars
for baggage behind; altogether, for lightness and elegance, it would be
a turn out for Long Acre. The material is excessively beautiful—a
fine-grained oak, polished to a very high degree, with its colors
delicately brought out by a coat of varnish. The wheels are very slender
and light, but strong, and, with all its finish, it looks a vehicle
capable of a great deal of service. A portrait of the Constitution,
under full sail, is painted on the panels.



                           THE INAUGURATION.


While the votes for president were being counted in the senate, Mr. Clay
remarked to Mr. Van Buren with courteous significance:—

“It is a cloudy day, sir!”

“The sun will shine on the fourth of March!” was the confident reply.

True to his augury, the sun shone out of heaven without a cloud on the
inaugural morning. The air was cold, but clear and life-giving; and the
broad avenues of Washington for once seemed not too large for the
thronging population. The crowds who had been pouring in from every
direction for several days before, ransacking the town for but a shelter
from the night, were apparent on the spacious sidewalks; and the old
campaigners of the winter seemed but a thin sprinkling among the
thousands of new and strange faces. The sun shone alike on the friends
and opponents of the new Administration, and, as far as one might
observe in a walk to the capitol, all were made cheerful alike by its
brightness. It was another augury, perhaps, and may foretell a more
extended fusion under the light of the luminary new risen. In a whole
day passed in a crowd composed of all classes and parties, I heard no
remark that the president would have been unwilling to hear.

I was at the capitol a half hour before the procession arrived, and had
leisure to study a scene for which I was not at all prepared. The noble
staircase of the east front of the building leaps over three arches,
under one of which carriages pass to the basement-door; and, as you
approach from the gate, the eye cuts the ascent at right angles, and the
sky, broken by a small spire at a short distance, is visible beneath.
Broad stairs occur at equal distances, with corresponding projections;
and from the upper platform rise the outer columns of the portico, with
ranges of columns three deep extending back to the pilasters. I had
often admired this front with its many graceful columns, and its superb
flight of stairs, as one of the finest things I had seen in the world.
Like the effect of the assembled population of Rome waiting to receive
the blessing before the font of St. Peter’s, however, the assembled
crowd on the steps and at the base of the capitol heightened
inconceivably the grandeur of the design. They were piled up like the
people on the temples of Babylon, in one of Martin’s sublime
pictures—every projection covered, and an inexpressible soul and
character given by their presence to the architecture. Boys climbed
about the base of the columns, single figures stood on the posts of the
surrounding railings in the boldest relief against the sky; and the
whole thing was exactly what Paul Veronese would have delighted to draw.
I stood near an accomplished artist who is commissioned to fill one of
the panels of the rotunda, and I can not but hope he may have chosen
this magnificent scene for his subject.

The republican procession, consisting of the Presidents and their
families, escorted by a small volunteer corps, arrived soon after
twelve. The General and Mr. Van Buren were in the “constitution phæton,”
drawn by four grays, and as it entered the gate, they both rode
uncovered. Descending from the carriage at the foot of the steps, a
passage was made for them through the dense crowd, and the tall white
head of the old Chieftain, still uncovered, went steadily up through the
agitated mass, marked by its peculiarity from all around it.

I was in the crowd thronging the opposite side of the court, and lost
sight of the principal actors in this imposing drama, till they returned
from the Senate Chamber. A temporary platform had been laid, and railed
in on the broad stair which supports the portico, and, for all
preparation to one of the most important and most meaning and solemn
ceremonies on earth—for the inauguration of a chief magistrate over a
republic of fifteen millions of freemen—the whole addition to the open
air, and the presence of the people, was a volume of holy writ. In
comparing the impressive simplicity of this consummation of the wishes
of a mighty people, with the tricked-out ceremonial, and hollow show,
which embarrass a corresponding event in other lands, it was impossible
not to feel that the moral sublime was here—that a transaction so
important, and of such extended and weighty import, could borrow nothing
from drapery or decoration, and that the simple presence of the sacred
volume, consecrating the act, spoke more thrillingly to the heart than
the trumpets of a thousand heralds.

The crowd of diplomatists and senators in the rear of the columns made
way, and the Ex-President and Mr. Van Buren advanced with uncovered
heads. A murmur of feeling rose up from the moving mass below, and the
infirm old man, emerged from a sick-chamber, which his physician had
thought it impossible he should leave, bowed to the people, and, still
uncovered in the cold air, took his seat beneath the portico. Mr. Van
Buren then advanced, and with a voice remarkably distinct, and with
great dignity, read his address to the people. The air was elastic, and
the day still; and it is supposed that near twenty thousand persons
heard him from his elevated position distinctly. I stood myself on the
outer limit of the crowd, and though I lost occasionally a sentence from
the interruption near by, his words came clearly articulated to my ear.

When the address was closed, the chief justice advanced and administered
the oath. As the book touched the lips of the new President, there arose
a general shout, and expression of feeling common enough in other
countries but drawn with difficulty from an American assemblage. The
sons, and the immediate friends of Mr. Van Buren, then closed about him;
the Ex-President, the chief justice, and others, gave him the hand of
congratulation, and the ceremony was over. They descended the steps, the
people gave one more shout as they mounted the constitution carriage
together, and the procession returned through the avenue, followed by
the whole population of Washington.

Mr. Van Buren held a levee immediately afterward, but I endeavored in
vain to get my foot over the threshold. The crowd was immense. At four,
the diplomatic body had an audience; and in replying to the address of
Don Angel Calderon, the President astonished the gold coats, by
addressing them as the _democratic corps_. The representatives of the
crowned heads of Europe stood rather uneasily under the epithet, till it
was suggested that he possibly meant to say _diplomatic_.



                       WASHINGTON IN THE SESSION.


There is a sagacity acquired by travel on the subject of forage and
quarters, which is useful in all other cities in the world where one may
happen to be a stranger, but which is as inapplicable to the emergencies
of an arrival in Washington as waltzing in a shipwreck. It is a capital
whose peculiarities are as much _sui generis_ as those of Venice; but as
those who have become wise by a season’s experience neither remain on
the spot to give warning, nor have recorded their experiences in a book,
the stranger is worse off in a coach in Washington than in a gondola in
the “city of silver streets.”

It is well known, I believe, that when the future city of Washington was
about being laid out, there were two large lot-buyers or land-owners,
living two miles apart, each of whom was interested in having the public
buildings upon the centre of his own domain. Like children quarrelling
for a sugar horse, the subject of dispute was pulled in two, and one got
the head, the other the tail. The capitol stands on a rising ground in
solitary grandeur, and the President’s house and department buildings
two miles off on another. The city straddles and stretches between,
doing its best to look continuous and compact; but the stranger soon
sees that it is, after all, but a “city of magnificent distances,” built
to please nobody on earth but a hackney-coachman.

The new-comer, when asked what hotel he will drive to, thinks himself
very safe if he chooses that nearest the capitol—supposing, of course,
that, as Washington is purely a legislative metropolis, the most central
part will naturally be near the scene of action. He is accordingly set
down at Gadsby’s, and, at a price that would startle an English
nobleman, he engages a pigeon-hole in the seventh heaven of that
boundless caravansary. Even at Gadsby’s, however, he finds himself over
half a mile from the capitol, and wonders, for two or three days, why
the deuce the hotel was not built on some of the waste lots at the foot
of Capitol hill, an improvement which might have saved him, in rainy
weather, at least five dollars a day in hack-hire. Meantime the
secretaries and foreign ministers leave their cards, and the party and
dinner-giving people shower upon him the “small rain” of pink billets.
He sets apart the third or fourth day to return their calls, and
inquires the addresses of his friends (which they never write on their
cards, because, if they did, it would be no guide,) and is told it is
impossible to direct him, _but the hackney-coachmen all know_! He calls
the least ferocious-looking of the most bullying and ragged set of
tatterdemalions he has ever seen, and delivers himself and his
visiting-list into his hands. The first thing is a straight drive two
miles away from the capitol. He passes the President’s house, and
getting off the smooth road, begins to drive and drag through cross
lanes and open lots, laid out according to no plan that his loose ideas
of geometry can comprehend, and finds his friends living in houses that
want nothing of being in the country, but trees, garden, and fences. It
looks as if it had rained naked brick houses upon a waste plain, and
each occupant had made a street with reference to his own front door.
The much-shaken and more-astonished victim consumes his morning and his
temper, and has made, by dinner-time, but six out of forty calls, all
imperatively due, and all scattered far and wide with the same loose and
irreconcilable geography.

A fortnight’s experience satisfies the stranger that the same journey is
worse at night than at morning; and that, as he leaves his dinner which
he pays for at home, runs the risk of his neck, passes an hour or two on
the road, and ruins himself in hack-hire, it must be a very—yes, a
_very_ pleasant dinner party to compensate him. Consequently, he either
sends a “p. p. c.” to all his acquaintances, and lives incog., or, which
is a more sensible thing, moves up to the other settlement, and abandons
the capitol.

Those who live on the other side of the President’s house are the
secretaries, diplomatists, and a few wealthy citizens. There is no hotel
in this quarter, but there are one or two boarding-houses, and (what we
had been lucky enough to secure ourselves) furnished lodgings, in which
you have every thing but board. Your dinner is sent you from a French
cook’s near by, and your servant gets your breakfast—a plan which gives
you the advantage of dining at your own hour, choosing your own society,
and of having covers for a friend or two whenever it suits your humor,
and at half an hour’s warning. There are very few of these lodgings
(which combine many other advantages over a boarding-house,) but more of
them would be a good speculation to house-owners, and I wish it were
suggested, not only here, but in every city in our country.

Aside from society, the only amusement in Washington is frequenting the
capitol. If one has a great deal of patience, and nothing better to do,
this is very well; and it is very well at any rate till one becomes
acquainted with the heads of the celebrated men in both the chambers,
with the noble architecture of the building, and the routine of
business. This done, it is time wearily spent for a spectator. The finer
orators seldom speak, or seldom speak warmly, the floor is oftenest
occupied by prosing and very sensible gentlemen, whose excellent ideas
enter the mind more agreeably by the eye than the ear, or, in other
words, are better delivered by the newspapers, and there is a great deal
of formula and etiquetical sparring which is not even entertaining to
the members, and which consumes time “consumedly.” Now and then the
senate adjourns when some one of the great orators has taken the floor,
and you are sure of a great effort the next morning. If you are there in
time, and can sit, like Atlas with a world on your back, you may enjoy a
front seat and hear oratory, unsurpassed, in my opinion, in the world.

The society in Washington, take it all in all, is by many degrees the
best in the United States. One is prepared, though I cannot conceive
why, for the contrary. We read in books of travels, and we are told by
everybody, that the society here is promiscuous, rough, inelegant and
even barbarous. This is an untrue representation, or it has very much
changed.

There is no city, probably no village in America, where the female
society is not refined, cultivated, and elegant. With or without regular
advantages, woman attains the refinements and tact necessary to polite
intercourse. No traveller ever ventured to complain of this part of
American society. The great deficiency is that of agreeable,
highly-cultivated men, whose pursuits have been elevated, and whose
minds are pliable to the grace and changing spirit of conversation.
Every man of talents possesses these qualities naturally, and hence the
great advantage which Washington enjoys over every other city in our
country. None but a shallow observer, or a malicious book-maker, would
ever sneer at the exteriors or talk of the ill-breeding of such men as
form, in great numbers, the agreeable society of this place—for a man
of great talents never could be vulgar; and there is a superiority about
most of these which raises them above the petty standard which regulates
the outside of a coxcomb. Even compared with the dress and address of
men of similar positions and pursuits in Europe, however (members of the
house of commons, for example, or of the chamber of deputies in France,)
it is positively the fact that the senators and representatives of the
United States have a decided advantage. It is all very well for Mr.
Hamilton, and other scribblers whose books must be spiced to go down, to
ridicule a Washington _soirée_ for English readers; but if the
observation of one who has seen assemblies of legislators and
diplomatists in all the countries of Europe may be fairly placed against
his and Mrs. Trollope’s, I may assert, upon my own authority, that they
will not find, out of May Fair in England, so well-dressed and dignified
a body of men. I have seen as yet no specimen of the rough animal
described by them and others as the “western member;” and if David
Crockett, (whom I was never so fortunate as to see) was of that
description, the race must have died with him. It is a thing I have
learned since I have been in Washington, to feel a wish that foreigners
should see Congress in session. We are so humbugged, one way and
another, by travellers’ lies.

I have heard the observation once or twice from strangers since I have
been here, and it struck myself on my first arrival, that I had never
seen within the same limit before, so many of what may be called “men of
mark.” You will scarce meet a gentleman on the sidewalk in Washington,
who would not attract your notice, seen elsewhere, as an individual
possessing in his eye or general features a certain superiority. Never
having seen most of the celebrated speakers of the senate, I busied
myself for the first day or two in examining the faces that passed me in
the street, in the hope of knowing them by the outward stamp which, we
are apt to suppose, belongs to greatness. I gave it up at last, simply
from the great number I met who might be (for all that features had to
do with it) the remarkable men I sought.

There is a very simple reason why a Congress of the United States should
be, as they certainly are, a much more marked body of men than the
English house of commons or lords, or the chamber of peers or deputies
in France. I refer to the mere means by which, in either case, they come
to their honors. In England and France the lords and peers are
legislators by hereditary right, and the members of the commons and
deputies from the possession of extensive property or family influence,
or some other cause, arguing, in most cases, no great personal talent in
the individual. They are legislators, but they are devoted very often
much more heartily to other pursuits—hunting or farming, racing,
driving, and similar out-of-door passions common to English gentlemen
and lords, or the corresponding _penchants_ of French peers and
deputies. It is only the few great leaders and orators who devote
themselves to politics exclusively. With us every one knows it is quite
the contrary. An American politician delivers himself, body and soul, to
his pursuit. He never sleeps, eats, walks, or dreams, but in
subservience to his aim. He cannot afford to have another passion of any
kind till he has reached the point of his ambition—and then it has
become a mordent necessity from habit. The consequence is, that no man
can be found in an elevated sphere in our country, who has not had
occasion for more than ordinary talent to arrive there. He inherited
nothing of his distinction, and has made himself. Such ordeals leave
their marks, and they who have thought, and watched, and struggled, and
contended with the passions of men as an American politician inevitably
must, cannot well escape the traces of such work. It usually elevates
the character of the face—it always strongly marks it.

_A-propos_ of “men of mark;” the dress-circle of the theatre at Power’s
benefit, not long since, was graced by three Indians in full costume,
the chief of the Foxes, the chief of the Ioways, and a celebrated
warrior of the latter tribe, called the Sioux-killer. The Fox is an old
man of apparently fifty, with a heavy, aquiline nose, a treacherous eye,
sharp as an eagle’s, and a person rather small in proportion to his head
and features. He was dressed in a bright scarlet blanket, and a crown of
feathers, with an eagle’s plume, standing erect on the top of his head,
all dyed in the same deep hue. His face was painted to match, except his
lips, which looked of a most ghastly sallow, in contrast with his fiery
nose, forehead, and cheeks. His tomahawk lay in the hollow of his arm,
decked with feathers of the same brilliant color with the rest of his
drapery. Next him sat the Sioux-killer, in a dingy blanket, with a crown
made of a great quantity of the feathers of a pea-hen, which fell over
his face, and concealed his features almost entirely. He is very small,
but is famous for his personal feats, having, among other things, walked
one hundred and thirty miles in thirty successive hours, and killed
three Sioux (hence his name) in one battle with that nation. He is but
twenty-three, but very compact and wiry-looking, and his eye glowed
through his veil of hen feathers like a coal of fire.

Next to the Sioux-killer sat “White Cloud,” the chief of the Ioways. His
face was the least warlike of the three, and expressed a good nature and
freedom from guile, remarkable in an Indian. He is about twenty-four,
has very large features, and a fine, erect person, with broad shoulders
and chest. He was painted less than the Fox chief, but of nearly the
same color, and carried, in the hollow of his arm, a small, glittering
tomahawk, ornamented with blue feathers. His head was encircled by a
kind of turban of silver-fringed cloth, with some metallic pendents for
earrings, and his blanket, not particularly clean or handsome, was
partly open on the breast, and disclosed a calico shirt, which was
probably sold to him by a trader in the west. They were all very
attentive to the play, but the Fox chief and White Cloud departed from
the traditionary dignity of Indians, and laughed a great deal at some of
Power’s fun. The Sioux-killer sat between them, as motionless and grim
as a marble knight on a tombstone.

The next day I had the pleasure of dining with Mr. Power, who lived at
the same hotel with the Indian delegation; and while at dinner he
received a message from the Ioways, expressing a wish to call on him. We
were sitting over our wine when White Cloud and the Sioux-killer came in
with their interpreter. There were several gentlemen present, one of
them in the naval undress uniform, whose face the Sioux-killer
scrutinized very sharply. They smiled in bowing to Power, but made very
grave inclinations to the rest of us. The chief took his seat, assuming
a very erect and dignified attitude, which he preserved immovable during
the interview; but the Sioux-killer drew up his legs, resting them on
the round of the chair, and, with his head and body bent forward, seemed
to forget himself, and give his undivided attention to the study of
Power and his naval friend.

Tumblers of champagne were given them, which they drank with great
relish, though the Sioux-killer provoked a little ridicule from White
Cloud, by coughing as he swallowed it. The interpreter was a half-breed
between an Indian and a negro, and a most intelligent fellow. He had
been reared in the Ioway tribe, but had been among the whites a great
deal for the last few years, and had picked up English very fairly. He
told us that White Cloud was the son of old White Cloud, who died three
years since, and that the young chief had acquired entire command over
the tribe by his mildness and dignity. He had paid the debts of the
Ioways to the traders, very much against the will of the tribe; but he
commenced by declaring firmly that he would be just, and had carried his
point. He had come to Washington to receive a great deal of money from
the sale of the lands of the tribe, and the distribution of it lay
entirely in his own power. Only one old warrior had ventured to rise in
council and object to his measures; but when White Cloud spoke, he had
dropped his head on his bosom and submitted. This information and that
which followed was given in English, of which neither of the Ioways
understood a word.

Mr. Power expressed a surprise that the Sioux-killer should have known
him in his citizen’s dress. The interpreter translated it, and the
Indian said in answer:—

“The dress is very different, but when I see a man’s eye I know him
again.”

He then told Power that he wished, in the theatre, to raise his war-cry
and help him fight the three bad-looking men who were his enemies
(referring to the three bailiffs in the scene in Paddy Carey.) Power
asked what part of the play he liked best. He said that part where he
seized the girl in his arms and ran off the stage with her (at the close
of an Irish jig in the same play).

The interpreter informed us that this was the first time the
Sioux-killer had come among the whites. He had disliked them always till
now, but he said he had seen enough to keep him telling tales all the
rest of his life. Power offered them cigars, which they refused. We
expressed our surprise; and the Sioux-killer said that the Indians who
smoked gave out soonest in the chase; and White Cloud added, very
gravely, that the young women of his tribe did not like the breaths of
the smokers. In answer to an enquiry I made about the comparative size
of Indians and white men, the chief said that the old men of the whites
were larger than old Indians, but the young whites were not so tall and
straight as the youths of his tribe. We were struck with the smallness
of the chief’s hands and feet; but he seemed very much mortified when
the interpreter translated our remark to him. He turned the little
sallow fingers over and over, and said that old White Cloud, his father,
who had been a great warrior, had small hands like his. The young chief,
we were told by the interpreter, has never yet been in an engagement,
and is always spared from the heavier fatigues undergone by the rest of
the tribe.

They showed great good nature in allowing us to look at their ornaments,
tomahawks, &c. White Cloud wore a collar of bear’s claws, which marked
him for a chief; and the Sioux-killer carried a great cluster of brass
bells on the end of his tomahawk, of which he explained the use very
energetically. It was to shake when he stood over his fallen enemy in
the fight, to let the tribe know he had killed him. After another
tumbler of champagne each, they rose to take their leave, and White
Cloud gave us his hand, gently, with a friendly nod. We were all amused,
however, with the Sioux-killer’s more characteristic adieu. He looked us
in the eye like a hawk, and gave us each a grip of his iron fist, that
made the blood tingle under our nails. He would be an awkward customer
in a fight, or his fixed lips and keen eye very much belie him.



                     WASHINGTON AFTER THE SESSION.


The leaf that is lodged in some sunny dell, after drifting on the
whirlwind—the Indian’s canoe, after it has shot the rapids—the drop of
water that has struggled out from the phlegethon of Niagara, and sleeps
on the tranquil bosom of Ontario—are faint images of contrast and
repose, compared with a Washingtonian after the session. I have read
somewhere, in an oriental tale, that a lover, having agreed to share his
life with his dying mistress, took her place in the grave six months in
the year. In Bagdad it might have been a sacrifice. In Washington I
could conceive such an arrangement to make very little difference.

Nothing is done leisurely in our country; and, by the haste with which
everybody rushes to the rail-road the morning after the rising of
Congress, you would fancy that the cars, like Cinderella’s coach would
be changed into pumpkins at the stroke of twelve. The town was evacuated
_in a day_. On the fifth of March a placard was sent back by the
inn-keepers at Baltimore, declaring that there was not so much as a
garret to be had in that city, and imploring gentlemen and ladies to
remain quietly at Washington for twenty-four hours. The railroad engine
twice a day, tugged and puffed away through the hills, drawing after it,
on its sinuous course, a train of brick colored cars, that resembled the
fabulous red dragon trailing its slimy length through the valley of
Crete. The gentlemen who sit by the fire in the bar-room at Gadsby’s,
like Theodore Hook’s secretary, who could hear his master write “Yours
faithfully” in the next room, learned to distinguish “Received payment,”
from “Sundries,” by listening to the ceaseless scratch of the
book-keeper. The ticket-office at the depot was a scene of struggle and
confusion between those who wanted places; while, looking their last on
these vanishing paymasters, stood hundreds of tatterdemalions, white,
yellow, and black, with their hands in their pockets, and (if sincere
regret at their departure could have wrung it forth) a tear in their
eye. The bell rang, and the six hundred departures flocked to their
places—young ladies, with long faces, leaving the delights of
Washington for the dull repose of the country—their lovers, with longer
faces, trying, in vain, to solve the X quantity expressed by the
aforesaid “Sundries” in their bill—and members of congress with long
faces, too—for not one in twenty has “made the impression” he expected;
and he is moralizing on the decline of the taste for eloquence, and on
the want of “golden opportunity” for the display of indignant virtue!

Nothing but an army, or such a concourse of people as collects to
witness an inauguration, could ever make Washington look populous. But
when Congress, and its train of ten thousand casual visiters are gone,
and only the official and indigenous inhabitants remain, Balbec, or
Palmyra, with a dozen Arabs scattered among its ruins, has less a look
of desolation. The few stragglers in the streets add to its
loneliness—producing exactly the effect sometimes given to a woodland
solitude by the presence of a single bird. The vast streets seem grown
vaster and more disproportionate—the houses seem straggling to greater
distances—the walk from the President’s house to the capitol seems
twice as long—and new faces are seen here and there, at the doors and
windows—for cooks and inn-keepers that had never time to lounge, lounge
now, and their families take quiet possession of the unrented front
parlor. He who would be reminded of his departed friends should walk
down on the avenue. The carpet, associated with so many pleasant
recollections—which has been pressed by the dainty feet of wits and
beauties—to tread on which was a privilege and a delight—is displayed
on a heap of old furniture, and while its sacred defects are rudely
scanned by the curious, is knocked down, with all its memories, under
the hammer of the auctioneer. Tables, chairs, ottomans—all linked with
the same glowing recollections—go—for most unworthy prices; and while,
humiliated with the sight, you wonder at the artificial value given to
things by their possessors, you begin to wonder whether your friends
themselves, subjected to the same searching valuation, would not be
depreciated too! Ten to one, if their characters were displayed like
their carpets, there would come to light defects as unsuspected!

The person to whom this desolation is the “unkindest cut” is the
hackney-coachman. “His vocation” is emphatically _gone_! _Gone_ is the
dollar made every successive half hour! _Gone_ is the pleasant sum in
compound addition, done “in the head,” while waiting at the doors of the
public offices! _Gone_ are the short, but profitable trips to the
theatre! _Gone_ the four or five families, all taken the same evening to
parties, and each paying the item of “carriage from nine till twelve!”
_Gone_ the absorbed politician, who would rather give the five-dollar
bill than wait for his change! the lady who sends the driver to be paid
at “the bar;” the uplifted fingers, hither and thither, which embarrass
his choice of a fare—_gone_, all! The chop-fallen coachy drives to the
stand in the morning and drives home at noon; he creeps up to Fuller’s
at a snail-pace, and, in very mockery of hope, asks the homeward-bound
clerk from the department if he wants a coach! Night comes on, and his
horses begin to believe in the millennium—and the cobwebs are wove over
his whip-socket.

These changes, however, affect not unpleasantly the diplomatic and
official colony extending westward from the president’s. The inhabitants
of this thin sprinkled settlement are away from the great thoroughfare,
and do not miss its crowds. The cessation of parties is to them a relief
from night journeys, colds, card-leavings, and much wear and tear of
carriage-horses. They live now in dressing-gowns and slippers, read the
reviews and the French papers, get their dinners comfortably from the
_restaurateurs_, and thank Heaven that the capitol is locked up. The
_attachés_ grow fat, and the despatches grow thin.

There are several reasons why Washington, till the month of May, spite
of all the drawbacks in the picture delineated above, is a more
agreeable residence than the northern cities. In the first place, its
climate is at least a month earlier than that of New York, and, in the
spring, is delightful. The trees are at this moment (the last week in
March) bursting into buds; open carriages are everywhere in use; walking
in the sun is oppressive; and for the last fortnight, this has been a
fair chronicle of the weather. Boston and New York have been corroded
with east winds, meantime, and even so near as Baltimore, they are still
wrapped in cloaks and shawls. To those who, in reckoning the comforts of
life, agree with me in making climate stand for nine-tenths, this is
powerful attraction.

Then the country about Washington, the drives and rides, are among the
most lovely in the world. The banks of Rock creek are a little
wilderness of beauty. More bright waters, more secluded bridle-paths,
more sunny and sheltered hill-sides, or finer mingling of rock, hill,
and valley, I never rode among. Within a half-hour’s gallop, you have a
sylvan retreat of every variety of beauty, and in almost any direction;
and from this you come home (and this is not the case with most sylvan
rides) to an excellent French dinner and agreeable society, if you like
it. You have all the seclusion of a rural town, and none of its petty
politics and scandal—all the means and appliances of a large
metropolis, and none of its exactions and limitations. That which makes
the charm of a city, and that for which we seek the country, are equally
here, and the penalties of both are removed.

Until the reflux of population from the Rocky mountains, I suppose
Washington will never be a metropolis of residence. But if it were an
object with the inhabitants to make it more so, the advantages I have
just enumerated, and a little outlay of capital and enterprise would
certainly, in some degree, effect it. People especially who come from
Europe, or have been accustomed to foreign modes of living, would be
glad to live near a society composed of such attractive materials as the
official and diplomatic persons at the seat of government. That which
keeps them away is, principally, want of accommodation, and, in a less
degree, it is want of comfortable accommodation in the other cities
which drives them back to Europe. In Washington you must either live at
an hotel or a boarding-house. In either case, the mode of life is only
endurable for the shortest possible period, and the moment Congress
rises, every sufferer in these detestable places is off for relief. The
hotels are crowded to suffocation; there is an utter want of privacy in
the arrangement of the suites of apartments; the service is ill ordered,
and the prices out of all sense or reason. You pay for that which you
have not, and you can not get by paying for it that which you want.

The boarding-house system is worse yet. To possess but one room in
privacy, and that opening on a common passage; to be obliged to come to
meals at certain hours, with chance table companions, and no place for a
friend, and to live entirely in your bedroom or in a public parlor, may
truly be called as abominable a routine as a gentleman could well
suffer. Yet the great majority of those who come to Washington are in
one or the other of these two categories.

The use of _lodgings_ for strangers or transient residents in the city
does not, after all the descriptions in books, seem at all understood in
our country. This is what Washington wants, but it is what every city in
the country wants generally. Let us describe it as if it was never
before heard of, and perhaps some enlightened speculator may advance us
half a century in some of the cities, by creating this luxury.

Lodgings of the ordinary kind in Europe generally consist of the
apartments on one floor. The house, we will suppose, consists of three
stories above the basement, and each floor contains a parlor, bedroom,
and dressing-room, with a small antechamber. (This arrangement of rooms
varies, of course, and a larger family occupies two floors.) These three
suites of apartments are neatly furnished; bed-clothes, table-linen, and
plate, if required, are found by the proprietor, and in the basement
story usually lives a man and his wife, who attend to the service of the
lodgers; _i. e._, bring water, answer the doorbell, take in letters,
keep the rooms in order, make the fires, and, if it is wished, do any
little cookery in case of sickness. These people are paid by the
proprietor, but receive a fee for extra service, and a small gratuity,
at departure, from the lodger. It should be added to this, that it is
not _infra. dig._ to live in the second or third story.

In connexion with lodgings, there must be of course a cook or
_restaurateur_ within a quarter of a mile. The stranger agrees with him
for his dinner, to consist of so many dishes, and to be sent to him at a
certain hour. He gives notice in the morning if he dines out, buys his
own wine of the wine-merchant, and thus saves two heavy items of
overcharge in the hotel or boarding-house. His own servant makes his tea
or coffee (and for this purpose has access to the fire in the basement,)
and does all personal service, such as brushing clothes, waiting at
table, going on errands, &c., &c. The stranger comes in, in short, at a
moment’s warning, brings nothing but his servant and baggage, and finds
himself in five minutes at home, his apartments private, and every
comfort and convenience as completely about him as if he had lived there
for years.

At from ten to fourteen dollars a week, such apartments would pay the
proprietor handsomely, and afford a reasonable luxury to the lodger. A
cook would make a good thing of sending in a plain dinner for a dollar a
head (or more if the dinner were more expensive,) and at this rate, a
family of two or more persons might have a hundred times the comfort now
enjoyed at hotels, at certainly half the cost.

We have been seduced into a very unsentimental chapter of “ways and
means,” but we trust the suggestions, though containing nothing new, may
not be altogether without use. The want of some such thing as we have
recommended is daily and hourly felt and complained of.



                       ARTICLES FROM THE JOURNAL,

                    OF WHICH THE AUTHOR WAS EDITOR,

                         PUBLISHED IN NEW YORK.



          LETTERS FROM ENGLAND AND THE CONTINENT IN 1845–’46.



                               LETTER I.


   WHAT THE WRITER HAS SEEN OF THIS WORLD FOR TWENTY-FOUR DAYS.—THE
     PASSENGERS OF THE BRITANNIA.—THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE
     AMERICAN AND ENGLISH CUSTOM-HOUSE OFFICERS.—THE WORKING
     CLASSES.—FEMALE DRESS.—BUSTLES.—WRITING AGAINST THE DOCTOR’S
     ORDERS, ETC.

MY DEAR MORRIS.—All I have seen of England for the last twelve days,
has been the four walls of a bedroom, and, as all I saw of the world for
the twelve days previous, was the interior of a packet’s state-room, I
may fairly claim, like the razor-grinder, to have “no story to tell.”
You shall have, however, what cobwebs I picked from the corners.

If the ‘Britannia’ had burnt on the passage, and a phœnix had arisen
from its ashes, the phœnix would have been a well compounded
cosmopolite, for—did you ever see such variety of nation in one ship’s
company as this?

      From England,              16     From Mexico,                1
           Scotland,              6          West Indies,           2
           Ireland,               3          East Indies,           3
           Wales,                 1          British Guiana,        1
           Canada,                2          Guatamala,             2
           United States,        12          Denmark,               1
           France,                4          Poland,                1
           Spain,                 1          Germany,               9

Of the Germans, 2 were from Hanover, 2 from Hamburgh, 1 from Baden, 1
from Lubec, 2 from Bremen, and 1 from Heinault. Mr. Robert Owen was one
of the Scotchmen, and he was the only one on board, I fancy, for whom
fame had made any great outlay of trumpeting. Six clergymen (!!) served
as our protection against the icebergs. I doubt whether the Atlantic,
had, ever before such a broadwake of divinity drawn across it. Probably,
the true faith was in some one of their keepings!

I wish to ask a personal favor of all the friends of the Journal who are
in the offices of the American Custom Houses, viz: that they would
retaliate upon Englishmen in the most vexatious manner possible, the
silly and useless impediments thrown in the way of passengers landing at
Liverpool. We dropped anchor with a Custom House steamer alongside, and
our baggage lay on deck two hours, (time enough to be examined twice
over) before it was transferred to the government vessel. We and our
baggage were then taken ashore and landed at a Custom House. But not to
be examined there! Oh, no! It must be put into carts, and carried _a
mile and a half to another Custom House_, and there it would be
delivered to us if we were there to see it examined! We landed at ten
o’clock in the morning, and with my utmost exertions, I did not get my
baggage till three. The cost to me, of porterage, fees, etc., was three
dollars and a half, besides the theft of two or three small articles
belonging to my child. I was too ill to laugh, and I therefore passed
the matter over to my resentments.

During the four or five hours that I was playing the hanger-on to a
vulgar and saucy custom house officer at Liverpool, one or two contrasts
crept in at my dull eyes—contrasts between what I had left, and what
was before me. The most striking was the _utter want of hope_ in the
countenances of the working classes—the look of dogged submission and
animal endurance of their condition of life. They act like horses and
cows. A showy equipage goes by, and they have not the curiosity to look
up. Their gait is that of tired donkeys, saving as much trouble at
leg-lifting as possible. Their mouths and eyes are wholly sensual,
expressing no capability of a want above food. Their dress is without a
thought of more than warmth and covering, drab covered with dirt. Their
voices are a half-note above a grunt. Indeed, comparing their condition
with the horse, I would prefer being an English horse to being an
English working-man. And you will easily see the very strong contrast
there is, between this picture, and that of the ambitious and lively
working-men of our country.

Another contrast strikes, probably, all Americans on first landing—that
of female dress. The entire absence of the ornamental—of any thing
indeed, except decent covering—in all classes below the wealthy, is
particularly English and particularly un-American. I do not believe you
would find ten female servants in New-York without (pardon my naming it)
a “bustle.” Yet I saw as many as two hundred women in the streets of
Liverpool, and not one with a bustle! I saw some ladies get out of
carriages who wore them, so that it is not because it is not the
fashion, but simply because the pride (of those whose backs form but one
line) does not outweigh the price of the bran. They wore thick shoes,
such as scarcely a man would wear with us, no gloves of course, and
their whole appearance was that of females in whose minds never entered
the thought of ornament on week days. This trifling exponent of the
condition of women in England, has a large field of speculation within
and around it, and the result of philosophizing on it would be vastly in
favor of our side of the water.

As this letter is written on my first day of sitting up, and directly
against the doctor’s orders, you will give my invalid brain the credit
of coming cheerfully into harness.



                               LETTER II.


Having some delay in giving my little Imogen her first English dinner,
we saved our passage by half a minute, and were off from Liverpool at 4
precisely. The distance to London is, I believe, 220 miles, and we did
it in five hours—an acceleration of speed which is lately introduced
upon the English railways. There are slower trains on the same route,
and the price, by these, is less. There are also three or four different
kinds of cars to each train, and at different prices. I chanced to light
upon the first class, and paid £5 for two places—my nurse and child
counting as one. I understand, since, that many gentlemen and ladies of
the most respectable rank take the second-class cars—(as few Americans
would, I am sorry to say, though there would be two degrees still below
them.)

This travelling at forty odd miles the hour give one’s eyes hardly time
to know a tree from a cow, but here and there I got a distant view in
crossing a valley, and recognized the lovely rural beauty of England,
the first impression of which lasts one, like an enchanted memory,
through life. Notwithstanding the great speed, the cars ran so evenly on
their admirable rails, that there was no jar to prevent one’s sleeping
or being comfortable, and I awoke from a very pleasant dream to find
myself in London.

As I was dressing to dine out on the following day, I stopped tying my
cravat to send for a physician, and here, if you please, we will make a
jump over twelve days, and come to a bright morning when I was let out
for a walk in Regent-street.

                 *        *        *        *        *

It is extraordinary how little the English change! Regent-street, after
four or five years, is exactly what Regent-street _was_. The men have
the same tight cravats, coats too small, overbrushed whiskers, and look
of being excessively wash’d. The carriages and horses exactly the same.
The cheap shops have the same placard of “SELLING OFF” in their broad
windows. The blind beggars tell the same story, and are led by the same
dogs; but what is stranger than all this sameness, is that the _ladies_
look the same! The fashions have perhaps changed—in the milliners’
shops! But the _Englishing_ that is done to French bonnets after they
are bought, or the English way in which they are worn, overpowers the
novelty, and gives the fair occupants of the splendid carriages of
London the very same look they had ten years ago.

Still there are some slight differences observable in the street, and
among others, I observe that the economical private carriage called a
“Brougham” is very common. These are low cabs, holding two or four
persons, with a driver, and perhaps a footman in livery on the outside
seat, and one horse seems to do the work as well as two. This fashion
would be well, introduced into New York—that is to say, if our city is
ever to be well enough paved to make a drive any thing but a dire
necessity. The paving of London is really most admirable. Vast city as
it is, the streets are smooth as a floor all over it, and to ride is
indeed a luxury. The break-neck, hat-jamming and dislocating jolts of
Broadway must seem to English judgment an inexcusable stain on our
public spirit. And, _apropos_ of paving—the wooden pavement seems to be
entirely out of favor. Regent-street is laid in wooden blocks, and in
wet weather (and it rains here some part of every day,) it is so
slippery that an omnibus which has been stopped in going _up_ the street
is with difficulty started again. The horses almost always come to their
knees, though the ascent is very slight, and the falls of cart and
carriage-horses are occurring continually. Nothing seems to “do” like
the McAdam pavement, and wherever you find it in London, you find it in
as perfect order as the floor of a bowling-alley. I see that all heavy
vehicles are compelled to have very broad wheels, and they rather
improve the road than spoil it. A law to the same effect should be
passed in New York, if it ever has a pavement worth preserving.

Observing Lady Blessington’s faultless equipage standing at the door of
the Cosmorama, I went in and saw her Ladyship for a moment. She said she
was suffering from recent illness, but I thought her looking far better
than when I was last in England. Her two beautiful nieces were with her,
and Lord ——; and the celebrated Vidocq (for this was what they had
come to see,) was showing them the disguises he had worn in his
wonderful detections of criminals, the weapons he had taken from them,
and all the curiosities of his career—himself the greatest. I looked at
the Prince of Policemen with no little interest of course, after reading
his singular memoirs. He is a fat man, very like the outline of Louis
Phillippe’s figure, and his head, enormously developed in the perceptive
organs, goes up so small to the top, as to resemble the pear with which
the King of the French is commonly caricatured. Vidocq’s bow to me when
I came in was the model of elegant and respectful suavity, but I could
not repress a feeling of repugnance to him, nevertheless.

I made a couple of calls before I went home. The chief topic of
conversation at both houses was the charms and eccentricities of an
American belle who had lately married into a noble family. She seems to
have enchanted the exclusives by treating them with the most
un-deferential freedom. A few evenings since, she chanced to be
surrounded by a half-dozen high bred admirers, and conversation going
rather heavily, she proposed a cock-fight. Dividing the party into two
sides, she tied the legs of the young men together, and set them to a
game of fisticuffs—ending in a very fair representation of an action
between belligerent roosters! One of her expressions was narrated with
great glee. She chanced to have occasion to sneeze when sitting at
dinner between two venerable noblemen. “La!” she exclaimed, “I hope I
didn’t splash either of you!” I have mentioned only the drolleries of
what I heard. Several instances of her readiness and wit were given, and
as those who mentioned them were of the class she is shining in, their
admiring tone gave a fair reflection of how she is looked upon—as the
most celebrated belle and notability of high life for the present
season.



                              LETTER III.


S—— VICARAGE.

I took yesterday an afternoon’s country-drive to a neighboring town,
with no idea of finding anything of note-worthy interest, but it strikes
me that one or two little matters that made a mark in my memory, may be
worth recording. England is so paved and hedged with matter to think
about, that you can scarce stir without pencilling by the way.

I strolled towards a very picturesque church while the ladies of my
party were shopping. The town (Abingdon) is a tumbled-up, elbowy,
crooked old place, with the houses all frowning at each other across the
gutters, and the streets narrow and intricate. The church was a rough
antique, with the mendings of a century or two on the originally
beautiful turrets and windows, but as I walked around it, I came upon
the church-yard, hemmed in at awkward angles by three long and venerable
buildings. Two of these seemed to have been built with proper reference
to the climate, for the lower stories were faced with covered galleries,
wherein the occupants might take the air, and yet be sheltered from the
rain. Through the low arches of one of the galleries, I saw a couple of
old men pacing up and down, and on inquiring of one of them, I found it
was a poor-house, of curious as well as ancient endowment—the funds
being devoted to the support of twenty-five widowers and as many widows.
What else, (beside being left destitute) was necessary to make one a
recipient of the charity, I could not learn of my informant. He ushered
me, however, into his apartment, and a charming little rubbishy,
odd-angled, confused cupboard it was! I could not but mentally
congratulate him on the difference between his _snuggery for one_, (for
each man had a niche to himself,) and the dreadfully whitewashed halls,
like new churches that have never been prayed in, in which the poor are
elsewhere imprisoned. He had old shoes lying in one corner, and a smoked
print stuck against the wall, and things hung up and stuffed away
untidily, here and there—in short, it looked like a _home_! The whole
building was but a row of these single rooms—a long, one-storied and
narrow structure, and behind was a garden with a portion divided off to
each pensioner—his window so near that he could sit in-doors and inhale
the fragrance from flowers of his own tending. I rather think every man
was his own turnkey and superintendent.

But we visited in the course of the afternoon, a poor-house which was in
direct contrast to this. Abingdon is distinguished for possessing the
_model work-house_ of the new _Union System_, which has diminished the
burthensome cost of the poor, to the country, one half. It used to be
customary to give the helpless paupers two shillings a week, and let
them shift for themselves, if they preferred it. Now, the poor of half a
dozen villages, more or less, are provided for in one “improved”
work-house, and if they do not live _in it_, they can receive nothing.
And, to live in it, they must work and submit to the discipline.

The new work-house was a building of three long wings, in the form of a
Y; the superintendent’s room placed in the crotch, and his windows
commanding a complete view of the two sides of each wing. The gardens
and workshops were in the angles, and there was scarce an inch of the
premises that was not overlooked from the centre. We were kindly shown
over the different apartments. The cleanliness was enough to discourage
a fly. A smell of soap-and-water’s utmost completely impregnated the
atmosphere. The grain of the scrubbed tables stood on end. The little
straight beds looked as if it must be a bold man who would crook his
legs in them. The windows were too high for a child or a short person to
look out. It was like an insane hospital or a prison. In one of the
first rooms we entered, was a delicate and pretty child of seven or
eight years of age, a new inmate. Her mother, who was her only relative,
had just died in a neighboring village, and left her quite alone in the
world. She was shut up in a room with an old woman, for by the
“regulations,” she was to be separated some days from the other
children, to make sure that she brought no disease into the work-house.
But the sight of the poor little sobbing thing, sitting on the middle of
a long clean bench, with no object to look at within the four white
walls, except a table and a soured old woman, looked very little like
“charity.” And the hopeless down-hill of her sob sounded as if she felt
but little like one newly befriended. “She’s done nothing but cry all
the day long!” said the old woman. Fortunately I had a pocket full of
sweets, intended for a happier child, and I was able to make one break
in her long day’s monotony.

In another room we found ten or twelve old women, who were too decrepid
for work of any kind. But they _had laps left_![6] And in each one’s lap
lay a baby. The old knees were trotting with the new-born of pauper
mothers, and but for its dreadful uniformity—each old trunk grafted
with a bud, and trunks and buds dressed and swathed in the poor-house
uniform—this room full of life’s helpless extremities would have seemed
the happiest of all. They cuddled up their druling charges as we
approached the benches on which they sat, and chirruped their toothless
“tsup! tsup! tsup!” as if each was proud of her charge. One of the old
women complained bitterly of not being allowed to have a pinch of snuff.
The reason why, was because the others would want it too, or demand an
equivalent, paupers being cared for _by system_. The unhappy and
improvident creature had educated a superfluous want!

The sick rooms were marked with the same painful naked neatness. Old
people, disposed of to die, economically tucked up in rows against the
wall, with no person to come near them except the one to nurse a dozen,
form a dreadful _series_. Really, there should be some things sacred
from classification. The fifth acts of dramas, like whole human lives,
should not pass like the shelving of utensils that are one degree short
of worthless. I stood looking for a minute or two at an old man whose
only reply to “well, how are you now?” was a hopeless lifting and
dropping of the eyelids, and I wondered whether a life was worth having,
that had such possible terminations in its dark lottery.

The children’s school seemed under more genial charge, and there were
prints hung upon the walls of their school-room. The weaving and
spinning-rooms looked cheerful also. Some thirty boys singing hymns
together while at work, and seeming contentedly employed. To the old of
both sexes, however, this kind of poor-house is utterly repulsive, I was
told, and the taking refuge in it is considered by the poor hardly
better than starvation. One of the rules seems to bear very
hard—married paupers (an old couple for instance,) being put into
different wards, and only permitted to see each other _once a week_, and
then in the presence of superintendents.

The flower-beds at the front door were in great splendor with the
lillies in bloom. I called the door keeper’s attention to the
inappropriateness of this particular ornament to the threshold of a
work-house. “They toil not, neither do they spin,” etc., etc., etc.

-----

[6] Bloomers please take notice.



                               LETTER IV.


An excursion of fifty miles and back “to pass the day” at a
place—setting off after breakfast, and getting home “before tea”—used
to be done on a witch’s broom exclusively. People who are neither
bewitched nor _bewitching_ can do it now! Railroads have disenchanted
the world. The secluded Vicarage of S——, is half way from London to
BATH, in a village lying upon the route of the Great Western Railroad. I
had never seen the Saratoga of England, and, chatting with my kind
relatives, over the things that were to be seen in the neighborhood, I
was rather startled to hear of the possibility of “passing the day at
Bath.” Beau Nash and the Pumproom, rose up, of course, vividly and
instantly. The scene of the loves and gayeties of the gayest age of
England, was close at my elbow—near enough, at least, to visit without
a carpet-bag. The opportunity was not to be lost.

By the “Express” train we might “do” the fifty miles in _an hour_, but
we preferred the _slow_ train to do it in _two_. We in-_car_-cerated
ourselves, at 10 o’clock of the first fair day I have seen in a month,
and were presently getting, (_very literally indeed_,) a bird’s eye view
of the carpet-like scenery of Berkshire.

At the second or third station, we took in, for passengers, four idiots,
under the care of an hospital-keeper. When taken out of the carriage in
which they were brought, two of them _collapsed_ to the ground, not
having mind enough to stand on their legs, though apparently in perfect
health. One minute thus and the next minute going at the rate of thirty
miles an hour, is a contrast!

At Swindon, the junction between the Gloucester Railway and this, the
station buildings are really unnecessarily splendid. The reception room,
with its immense mirrors, velvet sofas, bronzes and waiting women in
full dress, is as sumptuous as a royal palace. The windows are as large
as doors, and of one pane of pier-glass. The room itself is as large and
high as the gentlemen’s dining room at the Astor, and yet a room exactly
corresponding is on the other side of the track—one to accommodate the
“up train,” and the other the “down train.” The rustic inhabitants of
the little village of Swindon must live in surprise at the magnificent
wants of travellers—the curls and chemisettes of the waiting-girls
behind the counter included!

At the little village of “Box,” (a snug name for a village, by the bye)
commences the two mile tunnel under the chalk hills, and so suddenly do
the cars dive into the darkness, that one’s eyes are at a loss to know
what to do with the light left in the eyeballs. If a man ever threatens
to “knock the daylight out of me” again, I shall have a glimmer of its
having been done before—(at Box.) But I predict an awful smash in this
tunnel, yet. Chalk and flint-stones are very friable neighbors, and
hills are heavy, and the concussion of air, with a train going under
ground at the rate of a mile a minute, is enough to sift away particles
very speedily. A train might come out with a load of stone it never went
in with, and there is gloomy time enough to anticipate it, while one is
whizzing and thundering onwards toward the black dark of the Box tunnel.

The villages thicken, and the hills grow steeper as we approach Bath,
and at last you are suddenly shot into a bowl of palaces and
verdure—the bottom covered with gardens, and the sides with terraced
crescents of architecture. I had just time to exclaim with wonder at the
unexpected splendor of the hill-sides rounding us in, when the station
roof slid over us like an extinguisher, and the conductor’s voice
announced that we were at Bath.



                               LETTER V.


Boys by dozens, offering to be our guides, and six or seven rival
omnibusses begging us for the hotels.

Leaving cloak and shawl, and ordering dinner at three, at the hotel
adjoining the station, we sallied forth to ramble the town over, with
three good hours before us—the return-cars leaving at four. As I just
now said, the bottom of this vase of hills is laid out in gardens, and
we crossed to the other side upon a raised road which looks down upon a
beautiful parterre of gravel walks and flowers, free to the public to
look at. But the stranger stops at every second step, to gaze about and
wonder. I had read very glowing descriptions of Bath, but my
anticipation, even of its size, was three fourths less than the reality.
Its picturesqueness is theatrical. No scene painter could cluster and
pile up palaces, gardens and spires, with more daring extravagance. The
abundant quarries of free-stone in the neighborhood, have furnished all
their building materials, and _every house_ that is not beautifully
antique, is of ornamental architecture. I saw one or two beggars, but I
did not see where they could live. Splendid squares, crescents, terraces
and colonades, monopolize the town.

We made straight for the “Pump-Room,” of course. It lies behind a
prodigally Gothic abbey, (one of the most ornate and beautiful specimens
of the Gothic I ever saw,) and with a large paved court before it,
surrounded by shops. It is merely one large room in a building, which is
one of a block, and though it was doubtless a very splendid hall when
first built, it is now outdone by the saloons of common theatres, and by
the “refreshment rooms” of railroad stations. A semicircular counter
projects from the wall on one side, studded with cake and glasses of
chalybeate water, a large mirror hangs opposite, and the recess at one
end is filled with seats and lounges for rest or gossip. Had I been the
solitary traveller I usually am, I should have sat down in a corner and
“put the screws” to the ghost of Beau Nash and the belles of his
brilliant time and circle—but I had better company than my own
imagination, and the old master of ceremonies had only a thought sent
after him.



                               LETTER VI.


                                                               London.

I could copy a new leaf from my memory that would be very interesting to
you, for I dined yesterday in a party of admirable talkers, and heard
much that I shall remember. But, though the brilliant people
_themselves_, whose conversation we thus record, are far from being
offended at the record—the critics (who were not so fortunate _as to be
there too_) are offended _for them_. The giving the talk without naming
the talkers would make common-place of it, I am afraid, just as taking
the wooden labels from the large trees, in the botanical park at Kew,
would make the exotic groves look indigenous—but we must submit to this
noisy demand of the critics notwithstanding. In a world where one
_might_, possibly, have a _real_ fault to be defended for by his
friends, it is a pity to put them to the trouble of defending them _for
nothing_!

I hear much said of two of our countrymen who seem to have made a strong
impression on society in England. Mr. Colman, the agriculturist, is one
of them, and his strong good sense, and fresh originality of mind were
well suited to be relished in this country. The other is a gentleman
whose peculiar talent was never before brought to its best market,
popular as it is in New York—“Major Jack Downing;” and of his power as
a _raconteur_, I hear frequent and strong expressions of admiration.
This, by the way, and similar talents, which are only used for the
enlivening of private society, are, in our country, like gold ingots at
the mine—scarce recognised as value till brought over the water and
stamped. I know more than one man in America who has gifts from nature
that would be most valuable to him in English society, and are of no
value to him in ours.

To-night is Taglioni’s farewell performance, before quitting the stage,
and I had made up my mind to go and see her, “on her last legs,” but a
more tempting engagement draws me another way. I saw her a few nights
since, when she was doing her best in honor of the approbation of the
King of the Netherlands. It was in the new ballet of “Diana,” but though
there were certainly some beautiful overcomings of “obedience to the
centre of gravity,” it was dull’d in the memory by the dancing of Cerito
who followed her. May this latter dancer live and stay pretty, till you
see her, my dear General!

The presence of the King of the Netherlands was quite an event at the
opera, accustomed as are stall and pit to royal company. You know, that,
besides being a king, he is a distinguished _man_—(better known as the
Prince of Orange who fought in the English army at Waterloo.) He looks
like a person of superior talent. His face is cleanly chiselled, and his
eye is keen. He was dressed in plain clothes, and wore a white cravat,
and had the air of a high-bred barrister, or of one whose constant
exercise of his intellect had made its mark on his physiognomy. He was
received first in the box of the Duke of Cambridge, all the ladies in
the box standing till he was seated. The Duke, who talks very loud, and
who makes the audience smile several times every evening, with some
remark audible all over the house, kept up a conversation with him, for
a while, and His Majesty then made a visit to the adjoining box, where
sat the superb and influential Lady Jersey, and her very beautiful
daughter, Lady Clementina Villiers. (You have seen portraits of these
ladies in the annuals.) I did not envy him his reception in the first
box very particularly, though one would like very well to “see how it
feels” to be a king—but his reception in the second box seemed a heaven
that would reward one for a great deal of virtue.

Lady Morgan was present in widows’ weeds, and thereby very much improved
in appearance—(as many women are!) I had not seen her ladyship for five
or six years, but time seems to have been content with taking away Sir
Charles. She looks well as in 1840—a long _statu quo_! She had with her
a very fascinating niece, and a very large bouquet.

I write my letters so hastily that I digress as one does in
conversation. I began with the intention of telling a curious story that
I had from no less than second hand touching the King of the Netherlands
and the Princess Charlotte. It was told me, a few days since by my
neighbor at dinner, a distinguished person, a great admirer of his
Majesty, and who prefaced it with a wonder at the caprice of taste. The
Prince of Orange, as is well known, was originally chalked off, by the
“high contracting powers,” to be the husband of the lovely English
princess. It was of the first moment to him, then, that he should second
Destiny in its kind endeavors, and succeed in winning her royal
affections. He was, however, a prince, and princes in those days, drank
hard. He had the misfortune to come in tipsy from the dinner-table, when
rejoining the ladies after a party at which he met his designated
future. The Princess took an invincible dislike to him on that occasion.
The lady who told the anecdote (to her who told it to me) was in
attendance on the princess when the prince called upon his return from a
campaign in which he had distinguished himself. He was received very
coldly. His uniform was a red coat with green feathers in his cap, and
when he took his leave, the princess walked to the window to see him go
down the avenue. “Aha!” thought the lady in waiting; “if she goes to
look after him, the case is not so desperate, after all!” But the remark
of the princess, as she looked at his red coat and green feathers, undid
the momentary illusion—“How like a radish he looks!” said the royal
Charlotte. A lady often hates the man she loves, but she seldom
ridicules him. The princess was resolute in her aversion, and the
“forked radish” (which we all resemble according to Shakspeare) was
superseded by Prince Leopold.

This being the ‘town-talk’ (as is the Dutch king at present) revives all
the defunct anecdotes, of course, and greatness has to take into account
what it awakes, besides homage, when it makes the world take notice of
its existence! (Alas, for drawbacks!)



                              LETTER VII.


Tired of visiting, dining out, and endless new acquaintances, I
determined yesterday, to encounter, if possible, nobody who would need
to be spoken to, but to see sights all day, and try what mere absorption
would do in the way of mental refreshment. I began with what I presume,
is the most varied show in the world, the _Colosseum_ in the Regent’s
Park. This is such an aggregation of wonders that the visitor must have
very small compassion not to be sorry for everybody who has not been
there, and very large confidence in his powers of description to
undertake to describe it. How so much is represented in so small a
compass is as puzzling as the miracles of clairvoyance. If one were
conjured, bodily, indeed, for five minutes to the ruins of Athens, the
next five minutes left lounging in a Moorish palace, then dropped into
Switzerland, then held in an angel’s lap high over London—winding up
with a wilderness of galleries, aviaries, conservatories, statuary and
grottoes—it would, probably, be not a bit more astonishing than a visit
to the Colosseum, and, of course, not near so agreeable. The guide-book,
by the way, with drawings of everything, which one buys for a shilling
at the door, is rather graphically written, and an extract from it may
help me in conveying an idea of the place:—

“The conservatories are elaborately decorated in the Arabesque style. In
the centre is the Gothic aviary, superbly fitted up with gilt carved
work and looking-glass, such as Isabella of Castile might be supposed to
have constructed amidst the relics of a Moorish palace; or Abu-Abdallah,
with true Arabian gallantry, to have conjured up for the solace of some
fair Christian captive, within the enchanted halls of his own Alhambra.
But of the ingenious and tasteful combination of Moorish and Gothic
architecture, and decoration of this spot, amidst the murmur of
sparkling fountains, the songs of gaily-plumed birds, and the fragrance
of exotic plants and flowers, may transport us in imagination to the
country of the Cid and the borders of the Xenil, we have but to open the
glass door which leads to the exterior promenade; and, in an instant,
the still more picturesque and instructive sight of golden pinnacles and
eastern domes, springing up amongst the marble columns and mouldering
frescoes of ancient Greece and Rome, wafts us at once to the banks of
the Bosphorus or the shores of the Mediterranean. In these days of
steam-navigation, and overland journeys to India, when Parisian
_flâneurs_ are to be met among the ruins of Carthage, and Bond street
loungers in the great desert of Sahara—when, in turning a corner of the
great pyramid you may run against your London friend in a Chesterfield
wrapper, or, in ascending Mount Lebanon, recognize a recent partner at
Almack’s, in all the glory of her last new bonnet from Maradan’s, the
reality of the scene before us is nowise impaired by the modern European
costume of the visitors, and we may sit us down upon this mossy stone,
and look upon them as the latest arrivals by “the Oriental,” _via_ Malta
and Alexandria, or by the “Dampschiff” from Vienna to the “Golden Horn.”
It is perhaps more than half an hour since we flew from the top of St.
Paul’s to the south of Spain, to the shores of the Mediterranean, to the
verge of Christendom. We must hurry home by the shortest cut—through
Switzerland—but not without halting for one moment to gaze from the
windows of an Alpine cottage upon the never-trodden snow, and the hoar
glaciers of Mont Blanc. We enter then the chalet, or Swiss cottage,
guided by the roar of the mountain torrent, which, leaping over the
nearest rocks, comes thundering down the precipices, and, after forming
a small lake in front of the cottage windows, overflows its stony basin,
and with a second fall, disappears in the gulf below.”

This flowery naming-over of the things one sees at the Colosseum is
anything but adequate to the reality—the Swiss valley (which has a
_real_ waterfall, forty-feet high, and a _real_ lake) being,
particularly, a complete illusion. And there is another illusion quite
as complete, which you would scarcely think possible—a view _down upon_
London by night, with all the streets illuminated, the shop-windows
glittering, the markets crowded, and the moon shining over all! I could
not persuade myself that part of it, at least, was not a bit of real
London let in to the view, and I believed in the moon till I had seen it
for half an hour—just such a one being really outside. The guide-book
says:—“We confidently state, that it is next to impossible that any
person can lean over the balustrade for five or six minutes, and mark
the fleecy clouds sailing steadily along, lighted as they come within
the influence of the halo-encircled moon, which has just emerged from
the smoke of the great city, and then fading from sight, or occasionally
obscuring the stars that twinkle here and there in the apparently
illimitable space—we say it is next to impossible that they can, after
such contemplation, recall themselves immediately to the conviction that
the scene before them is but an illusion. Add to this the reflection of
the innumerable lights upon the bridges in the river, and that of the
moon, as the flow of the tide occasionally causes the ripple to catch
for a moment, again to be lost as speedily, the silvery beams of the
rising luminary, the brilliancy of the shops in Cheapside, and on
Ludgate Hill—the colored lights of the chemists in all directions—the
flaring naked gas in the open stalls and markets—the cold, pale,
moonlight on the windows of Christ Church Hospital, and other high and
isolated buildings, and nothing short of reality can equal the amazing
_coup d’œil_ before us.”

I wanted some one to monosyllable-ize to—(for it is as bad to be
astonished alone, as it is to be astonishingly tired of people) but with
this one lack, the morning and the evening—(I returned in the evening,)
were plenitudes of occupation. I felt afterwards, and feel now, as if I
had been to the far countries represented, and up in air and down in
caverns. Many a traveller earns the right _really_ to wear the green
turban, whose impressions and memories are less worth having.

One sight I saw, by the way, that was not “down on the bill.” The centre
of the Colosseum is occupied by a circular gallery, carpeted and filled
with lounges, and in many respects luxurious, _besides_ exhibiting an
admirable collection of statuary. I was standing before a bust of Mrs.
Norton, (the poetess) and comparing its exquisite chiselling with my
remembrance of her beautiful features, when a party of ladies with very
refined, soft voices, approached a statue near by, and began criticising
it. An instinctive feeling of delicacy forbad me to look around, at
first, as the statue was the rude figure of a reclining woman, but a
_very_ masculine guttural following a critical remark, I ventured to
turn my head towards the party. Three ladies, dressed with the most
respectable elegance, one elderly, and the other two, apparently her
daughters, and both pretty, stood in a patronizing tripod—_surrounding
a negro!_ It was a lad of nineteen or twenty, in a jacket and trowsers,
entirely black, and as ugly and ill-shaped a negro as you could easily
find. His hands showed that he had been used to hard work, and he had
evidently newly arrived in London. The ladies were making a pet of him.
One caught hold of his arm, and pointed to a bust, and another pulled
him to see a statue, and they were evidently enjoying the sights, only
through his astonishment. The figure of the naked saint, asleep, with
the cross in her bosom, did _not_ seem to shock the ladies, but _did_
seem to shock the negro. These ladies were probably enthusiasts in
anti-slavery, and had got a _protégé_ who was interesting as having been
a slave. At least, this was the only theory I could build to account for
their excessive interest in him—but one need not be an American to
wonder at their mode of amusing him. I see, daily, blacks, walking with
white women, and occupying seats in the dress-circle of theatres, quite
unnoticed by the English; but it was a degree too much to see a black
boy in a fair way to _have his taste corrupted_ by white ladies!

There is a superb bust of D’Orsay’s father in this collection—by the
Count himself. It represents a magnificent man. My letter is getting
long.



                              LETTER VIII.


There is little need of widening the ditch of prejudice over which
American books must jump, to be read in England, but one of the most
original and readable books ever published in our country, (Mr. Poe’s
Tales,) “is fixed,” for the present, on the nether side of popularity,
by the use of a single Americanism. The word _bug_, which with us, may
mean an honorable insect, as well as an unclean one, is hardly nameable
in England, to ears polite. The first story opened to, in Mr. Poe’s
book, is “The Golden Bug,” and the publisher informs me that his English
brethren of the craft turn their backs upon it for this disqualification
only. The work is too full of genius to be kept, finally, from English
admiration, but a word on the first page which makes publishers shut the
book without looking farther, will retard its departure from the shelf.

And, _apropos_—I see that our brilliant contributor “Fanny Forrester,”
is about to collect her stories, letters, etc., into a volume. You will
remember the confidence with which I hailed the advent of genius in the
first letter we received from this now well-known pet of the
periodicals. I saw, even in that hasty production, the rare quality of
_playfulness ever constant to good sense_—a frolicsome gayety that was
rememberable for its wisdom when the laugh had died away. The
playfulness is common enough, and the good sense is common enough, but
they are not often found together; and, apart, they form the two large
classes of writers, the trivial and the heavy. With one quality to
relieve the other, however, as is seen in all the productions of
charming “Fanny Forrester,” a style is formed which is eminently
captivating to the casual reader, and therefore the very best for a
contributor to periodicals. But hers is a style, also, the charm of
which is lasting. For the thoughts it is freighted with, are from one of
the most gifted and most loveable of female natures—thoughts first
schooled by heavenly purity and tenderness, and then loosed to play with
the freedom of birds on the wing. I take no small pride in having been
the first to pronounce the “Eureka” at the discovery of this bright
star. And she has risen rapidly in the literary firmament, for it is but
a year since “Fanny Forrester” was first heard of, through our columns,
and there are few readers now in our wide country who do not know her
well.

I have been shivering about town to-day, as usual, in a
great-coat—scarce having seen a day this summer when I was comfortable
without it. What do you mean by keeping the upper end of the thermometer
all to yourselves? The English live in overcoats and under umbrellas,
while you are recording the dropping down of people in the street with
the heat of the weather! Among other pastimes I went over the river and
spent a chilly hour in that vast village of wild beasts and birds, the
Surrey Zoological Gardens. It is enough to give one the heart ache to
see the many shapes of the agony of imprisonment undergone within these
pretty shrubberies and hedges. The expression of distress by all manner
of creatures except monkeys, is so painful, that I wonder it should be
popular as a place of resort for ladies. But there they lounge out the
day in great numbers, feeding the elephants, tormenting the monkeys, and
gazing in upon the howling bears, tigers and lions, as if the poor
creatures were as happy as parlor poodles. I saw, by the way, that most
of the names upon the cages had the word _American_ before them, which
helps account for the common English wonder at seeing a white man from
New York! I was very glad to get out of the “Gardens!” It would be
better named a Hell of wild animals.

I see the dark complexions of the East Indies plentifully sprinkled
among the beggars and street sweepers in London. People in turbans and
Hindoo coats walk in the crowd unnoticed. The subjugated nations of this
modern Rome, are represented among the wretched, though half the globe
lies between their begging place and their home. These Asiatics are a
symmetrical little people by the way, and their graceful Oriental touch
to the turban, when they ask alms, looks strangely out of place amid a
populace of such angular rudeness.

London for once, really _looks_ deserted. It is often said to be, when
there is very little sign of it to a stranger’s eye. But the Queen’s
trip to Germany has taken off an unusual number to the land of beer, and
Bond-street is gloomy.



                               LETTER IX.


London has been enshrouded to-day in what they call a ‘_blight_’—a
blanket-like atmosphere which dulls the sun without the aid of clouds.
By taking the pains to hold your arm close to your eye, on days like
this you find it covered with small insects, and the trees, in the
course of a week will show what is their errand from the morasses. Why
these leaf-eaters did not come before, or why they did not stay longer
where they were, seems to be a mystery, even to the newspapers.

I saw a new combination this morning—_a whip and a parasol_. A lady
most unhappily plain, (whose impression, however, was very much
mollified by the beautiful equipage she drove,) came very near running
me down at the crowded corner of Oxford and Regent streets. She was
driving a pair of snow-white ponies at a famous pace, and, as she laid
the lash on very vigorously, in passing me by, I discovered that the
whip was but a _continuation of the handle of the parasol_.—In holding
up the protector for her own skin, therefore, she held up the terror of
the skins of her ponies! It was like so many other things in this world,
that I went on my way moralizing.

It should be recorded, by the way, that though one sees good-looking and
cleanly-dressed women trundling wheelbarrows in the streets of London,
one sees also that very many of the equipages of pleasure are driven by
ladies—the usurpation covering the sunshiny and voluntary, as well as
the shady and involuntary extreme of masculine pursuit. It really does
somewhat modify one’s ideas of the fragile sex, however, to see some
hundreds of them mounted on spirited blood horses every day, and every
third carriage in the Park driven by the fingers that we are taught to
press the like of, so very lightly. How far this near blending of
pursuits, male and female, adds to the sympathy and rationality of their
intercourse, or how far it breaks down the barriers that enshrine
delicacy and romance, are questions that our friend Godey should settle
in the “Lady’s Book.”

One does not very often see Americans in London, somehow, though one
sees them by hundreds in Paris: but last night, I saw one or two
distinguished country people at the opera. Mr. Bryant’s sachem-like head
was in un-recognised contact with the profane miscellany of the pit. Mr.
Reed, the able Philadelphia lawyer, (who made the capital speech, you
will remember, at the dinner of the Historical Society a year ago) was
with a party in the stalls. Mr. Colden of New York was present also. A
very distinguished _looking_ countryman of ours, as well as a very
distinguished one, by the way, passed through London a few days since on
his route to Vienna—Mr. Stiles, of Georgia, who was lately appointed
our _Charge_ to the capital of Austria. With this gentleman, I was
delighted to meet, as he was a school-boy friend whom I had not seen for
many years, and for the pleasure of joining him at Vienna, I have
changed my plans, and given up my proposed wintering in Paris. Mr.
Stiles was kind enough to confer upon me a very easily-given, but, at
the same time, very useful addition to my passport, since as a
_Charge’s_ secretary and _attaché_, I may defy custom-houses and see
courts—privileges denied to Mr.’s and editors! I shall leave London
soon, and zig-zag it to Austria, visiting the intermediate cities in the
centre of Europe, where you know I have never been, and in the
police-ified and etiquettical atmosphere of which my embroidered
passport, trifling as is the addition to it, will save me a deal of
trouble.[7]

To return once more to the subject of the paragraph preceeding the
last:—I have often remarked another interchange of male and female
occupation, which, if not peculiar to England, is at least different
from the habits of the sexes in our country. The _men_, of the middle
and lower classes, _share freely in the out-doors’ care of the
children_. Ten minutes ago, a handsome young soldier, a private of the
Queen’s Guards—an elegant fellow, in a high bear-skin cap and full
uniform—passed up Regent-street before my window, carrying a baby in
his arms, very leisurely, and _not at all remarked by the crowd_, though
no woman accompanied him. He was probably carrying “the child” home,
having left the mother to shop or gossip; but what one of your private
soldiers, my dear General, would quietly walk up Broadway in full
uniform, with a baby in his arms? You could not take a walk in London,
any pleasant day, without meeting a number of well-dressed men drawing
children in basket wagons. They sit at shop-doors with them in their
laps, or smoke their pipes while keeping the cradle going behind the
counter. To any possibility of ridicule of such duties, the men of this
country seem wholly insensible. In this and some other matters we have a
false pride in America, which is both peculiarly American and peculiarly
against nature.

And, _apropos_ of children—I have taken some vain pains, the last day
or two, to find in the London shops, India-rubber shoes for my little
daughter. This article and suspenders of curled India-rubber, which I
have also enquired for in vain, are two out of many varieties of this
particular manufacture in which London still remains to be civilized,
and for that step in civilization, the Queen (whose children go out in
all weathers, and whose husband wears suspenders,) would probably be
willing to thank our friend DAY of Maiden-lane. Most of the uses to
which the magical king of Caoutchouc has put his subject gum, would be
novelties in England, I fancy, and he should be advised to set up a
branch shop in Regent street, with his celebrated portable India-rubber
canoe for a sign.

The Morning Post states that FREDERIKA BREMER is on her way to our
country. If ever there was a writer who sees things as every one wishes
to, and nobody else can—whose eyes penetrate just to the right depth
through the skin of human nature, neither too much nor too little—who
describes people with an unequalled novelty and just-enough-ness, that
is to say, and at the same time, invariably betters the heart of the
reader, it is this Swedish authoress. I would rather see her than any
woman living whom I have not seen, and I feel very much interested that
our country should cherish her, and show her its appreciation of her
womanly and yet wonderful genius.

I write with a pen keeping tune with some very indifferent music under
my window. My lodgings look out upon Regent street, and they have but
one objection—the neighborhood of a vender of beer who draws customers
by giving some manner or other of music, nightly, in front of his shop.
It is now ten o’clock, and six musicians are posted on the side-walk who
play just well enough to entertain a street crowd of two or three
hundred people—just well enough to bewitch a man’s pen, without making
it worth his while to stop and listen. They are just now murdering the
incomparable air to Mrs. Norton’s song of “Love not,” and, to one who
has ever had his tears startled with it, (as who has not?) it is a
desecration indeed. But what a tune to play to such an audience! The
flaunting guilt that nightly parades the broad sidewalks of
Regent-street is now embodied in one dense crowd listening attentively
to the bitter caution of the song! It would be curious to know how many
among them would be now on the other side of the possibility of
profiting by it, had they been blessed with more careful example and
education.

I went on Sunday to “the city,” to hear the poet Croly preach in the
chapel of St. Stephen’s—a small church adjoining the mansion house of
the Lord Mayor. Of Croly’s drama of “Cataline” and of his poems, I am
(as you know by my frequent quoting from them,) a very great admirer. He
is a fine scholar, and a man of naturally a most _dramatic_ cast of
mind—all his poems being conceived and presented to the reader with
invariable stage effect, so to speak. I was curious to see him—for, to
begin to know a man, _mind-first_, is like living in a house without
having ever seen the outside of it. The church service was
long—precisely two hours and a quarter before the sermon—and though
there was a fine picture of the stoning of Stephen over the altar, and
tablets to the memory of several worthy citizens on the walls and
columns which it was profitable to read, I found the time pass heavily.
Mr. Croly was shown into the pulpit at last. He is a tall powerfully
built man of sixty—stern, gray, and more military than clerical in his
look and manner. His voice, too, was very much more suited to command
than to plead. He preaches extemporaneously, and he took the chapter
from the morning service for his subject—the prophet’s triumph over the
prophets of Baal. His sermon lasted half an hour, and it was, _entirely
and only_, a magnificent painting of the sublime scene outlined in the
Bible. It was done in admirable language, and altogether like a
scholar-poet inspired with his theme—(its _poetry_, that is to
say)—but very little like most efforts one hears in the pulpit. When he
had pronounced his Amen, I suposed he had only laid out foreground of
his sermon. Incidentally he expressed two sentiments—one, that God
chose to have miracles prayed for, even when they were certain to come
to pass, having been predicted by Himself. Second, that the _popular
voice_ (to which the prophet appealed to pass judgment on the trial
between the Lord and Baal) was the _only true test of everything_! I
thought this last _rather_ a republican sentiment for the Lord Mayor’s
chapel.

Dr. Croly would have made a modern Peter the Hermit, if a new crusade
were to be preached up, but he is little likely to lead much faster to
Heaven than they would otherwise go, the charity-school of girls who sit
in the broad aisle of his chapel. I shall return to my ideal of him as a
poet.

-----

[7] Of this and the opportunity of a similar appointment by Mr. Wheaton,
our Minister at Berlin, I was unable to avail myself, from increasing
illness.



                               LETTER X.


If the water in Lake George were turned to meadow, and its numberless
tall islands left standing as hills, it would be very like the natural
scenery from Liege to Aix la Chapelle. The railroad follows the meadow
level, and pierces these little mountains so continually, that it has
been compared to a needle passing through the length of a corkscrew.
Liege was a scene of Quentin Durward, you will remember, and at present
is the gunsmithery of Europe, but it graces the lovely scenery around
it, as a blacksmith in his apron would grace a ball-room, and I was not
tempted to see much more of it than lay in the bottom of a bowl of soup.
No bones of Charles the Bold, promised in the guide-book, nor tusk nor
armour of the “Wild Boar of Ardennes.” Scott was never here, and his
descriptions of town and castle were, of course, imaginary.

A river is much more of an acquaintance than a mountain, and I never see
one for the first time, without a mental salutation, especially if I
have heard of it before. The Vesdre would scarce be called a river in
our country, but it is a lovely little stream, that has seen a world of
romance, what with love and war, and it runs visibly dark from the
closeness of the hill-sides to it, and with a more musical ripple (if
you please,) for the spirits that haunt it. We got but a glimpse of the
Meuse, crossing it at Liege, but we tracked the Vesdre for some distance
by railroad. Of course it quite knocks a novel on the head to be dragged
through its scenes by a locomotive, and if you care much for Quentin
Durward, you had better not railroad it, from Brussels to the Rhine.

We were stopped an hour to show our credentials on the frontier of
Prussia, and here (at Aix la Chapelle) I had intended to make a day’s
halt. It rained in torrents, however. I pulled out my guide-book, and
balanced long between staying dry in the rail-cars, and going wet to see
the wonders. Here are to be seen the swaddling-clothes of our Saviour,
the robe of the Virgin Mary, the shroud of John the Baptist, some of the
manna of the Israelites in the wilderness, a lock of the Virgin’s hair,
and the leathern girdle of the Saviour. Here, also, is to be seen (with
more certainty) the tomb of Charlemagne. The church towers, which cover
these marvellous sights, loomed up through the shower, but my usual
philosophy of “making the most of to-day” gave way for once. Promising
myself to see the wonders of Aix on my return, I ordered my baggage into
the cars, and rolled away through the rain, to the fragrant-named city
of Cologne.

I got my first glimpse of the Rhine through the window of an omnibus.
From so prosaic a look-out, I may be excused for remarking, (what I
might not have done, perhaps, from the embrasure of a ruined castle,)
that it was a very ordinary looking river, with low banks, and of about
the breadth of the Susquehannah at Owego. A party of beer-drinkers,
bearded and piped, sitting under a bower of dried branches in front of a
tavern, were all that I could see at the moment that looked either
picturesque or poetical. This was on the way from the rail-road station
to the Hotel at Cologne. As it was the only view I had of the Rhine that
does not compel admiration, I seize the opportunity to disparage it.

In _doing_ the curiosities of Cologne with a guide and a party, I found
nothing not thrice told in the many books. Fortunately for the
traveller, things newly seen are quite as enjoyable, though ever so far
gone beyond a new description. I relished exceedingly my ramble through
the narrow streets, and over the beautiful cathedral, and I puckered my
lips with due wonder at the sight of the bones of the “Eleven Thousand
Virgins” in the Convent of St. Ursula. Alas, that, of any thing
loveable, such relics may have been a part! There was no choice, I
thought, between the skulls—yet there must have been differences of
beauty in the flesh that covered them.

I was lucky enough to bring the moonlight and my eyes to bear on the
cathedral at the same moment—the half-filled horn of the Queen of Stars
pouring upon the fine old towers, a light of beautiful tenderness, while
I strolled around them once more in the evening. The cathedral of
Cologne looks, indeed, a lovely confusion. And quite as lovely, I fancy,
to eyes that have no knowledge of how window and pinnacle put their
Gothic legs, ultimately, to the ground. I believe in Gothic. I am sure,
that is to say, that these interlaced points and angles have a harmony
in which lies architectural strength; and with this unexamined creed in
my mind, like capital in bank, I give to impressions of beauty,
unlimited credit. This is sometimes the kind of trust with which we
admire poetry. There is many a strain of Byron’s, learned by heart for
the music that it floats with, the meaning alone of which would not have
immortalized it for a nameless poet.

                   “The castled crag of Drachenfels,”

for example. The noble Cathedral of Cologne, however, like others in
Germany, stands knee-deep in common houses stuck against the wall—a
pitiful economy that makes more of a blot on their national taste than
all the “cologne” of “Jean Maria Farina” will ever wash away. And,
apropos, it was easier to forget the proper sovereign of Cologne than
the great prince of essences, and I stepped into his shop in passing,
and breathed for once without a doubt, the atmosphere of the genuine
“Farina.” It was a great warehouse of perfume—boxes and baskets piled
up in pyramids of sweetness—the sight of so much, however, most
effectually overpowering my desire for the single bottle. Luxuries, to
be valuable in this world of small parcels, should be guardedly shown to
the enjoyer.

After a little pondering upon the Rhine while sitting on one of the
stone posts of the wharf, I started for a moonlight ramble through the
streets. I felt somewhat lonely at that moment—in a city of 80,000
inhabitants without a soul to speak to—but I feel, _now_, as if there
was a link of music between me and an unknown player at Cologne, for I
stood under a window and listened to what seemed an improvisation upon
the piano, but done by a hand that sought nothing from the instrument
but melody in tune with sadness. Commonly, in listening long to music,
one has to suspend his heart at intervals, and wait for a return to the
chord from which the player has wandered; but in the varied and
continuous harmonies of this unseen hand, there was no note or
transition for which my mood was not instinctively ready. It was
evidently a performer whose fingers syllabled his thoughts in music, and
one, too, who had no listener but myself. The street was still, and all
around seemed to be buried in sleep, not a light to be seen, except
through the crack of the shutters which concealed the musician. A few
minutes after twelve the sounds ceased and the light departed, but the
music was apt and sweet enough to be remembered as an angel’s
ministration.

The day that had, among its errands, the duty of showing me the Rhine,
made its obeisance in sober grey, a half hour before sunrise. I arose
unwillingly, as one does, so early, whatever is to befal; but the
steamer was to start at 6, and steamers are punctual, even on the track
of Childe Harold. Following my baggage to the water-side, I found myself
on board a boat which would hardly pass muster as a ferry boat to Staten
Island—decks wet, seats dirty, and all hands, apparently, smoking pipe
while the passengers came on board. Many kinds of people were hurrying
over the plank, however. A young man who chose to sit in his travelling
carriage while it was drawn from the hotel by men’s hands, attracted
some notice, and it was soon whispered about that he was Prince
Napoleon, nephew to the Emperor. He was a pale discontented looking
youth, apparently twenty-two or twenty-five, and his servants waited on
him with an impassive doggedness of servility, that made its comment on
the temper of the master. The cashmeres thickened, and spurs and
moustaches, students’ caps and pedestrians’ knapsacks, soon crowded the
decks in most republican condition. I looked around, of course, in the
hope of seeing some one to whom I could say, of the beautiful scenery,
“how beautiful,” and, as my fellow travellers had passed under my eye, I
had mentally ticketed them as one generally does—possible
acquaintances, probable or impossible. And, among those who looked to me
both possible and desirable acquaintances, were three Englishmen, whose
manners and countenances at once took my fancy, and who, on exchanging
cards with me at night, gave me names that I had long been familiar
with—three of the most distinguished young artists of England. Somehow,
in all the countries where I have travelled and made chance
acquaintances, artists have been, of all the people I have met, the most
attractive and agreeable.

I was taking a turn on the wharf, for the sake of a few minutes of dry
footing before the boat should draw in her plank, when, to my surprise,
I heard my name, with a feminine ‘good morning,’ from a window overhead.
Looking up, I spied a lady, leaning out in shawl and night-cap and
smoking a cigar! I immediately recognised her as a handsome person whom
I had chanced to sit beside at a _table d’hôte_, at Brussels, and who
had the enviable gift of speaking two foreign languages, French and
English, absolutely as well as her own. She was a German. From the soup
to the pudding (two-thirds of a hotel-dinner) I had supposed I was
listening to an English woman, and as we had French and Germans at
table, and her German husband among them, her accomplishments as a
practical linguist were put to the test and remarked upon. She certainly
presented (to the rising sun and me) rather a startling _tableau_—one
long lock of hair escaping from her cap, ribbons flying,_ et
cetera_—but she removed her cigar so carelessly for the convenience of
smiling, and showed so little thought of caring about the impression she
might make in such trying dishabille, that I rather admired my new view
of her, on the whole. The same show from the window of the Astor hotel,
in New York, would perhaps be thought odd.



                               LETTER XI.


   TO ANY LADY SUBSCRIBER WHO MAY WISH FOR GLEANINGS FROM THAT FIRST
     CONCERT OF JENNY LIND WHICH THE CRITICS OF THE DAILY PAPERS HAVE
     SO WELL HARVESTED.
                                     Highland Terrace, Sept. 21, 1850.

DEAR MADAM—My delight at Jenny Lind’s First Concert is sandwiched
between slices of rural tranquillity—as I went to town for that only,
and returned the next day—so that I date from where I write, and treat
to sidewalk gossip in a letter “writ by the running brook.” Like the
previous “Rural Letters” of this series, the present one would have made
no special call on your attention, and would have been addressed to my
friend and partner—but, as he accompanied me to the concert, I could
not with propriety write him the news of it, and I therefore address
myself, without intermediation, to the real reader for whom my
correspondence is of course always intended. Not at all sure that I can
tell you anything new about the one topic of the hour, I will, at least,
endeavor to leave out what has been most dwelt upon.

On the road to town there seemed to be but one subject of conversation,
in cars and steamers; and “Barnum,” “Jenny Lind,” and “Castle Garden,”
were the only words to be overheard, either from passengers around, or
from the rabble at platforms and landing places. The oddity of it lay in
the entire saturation of the sea of public mind—from the ooze at the
bottom, to the “crest of the rising swell”—with the same un-commercial,
un-political, and un-sectarian excitement. When, before, was a foreign
singer the only theme among travellers and baggage porters, ladies and
loafers, Irishmen and “colored folks,” rowdies and the respectable rich?
By dint of nothing else, and constant iteration of the three syllables
“Jenny Lind,” it seemed to me, at last, as if the wheels of the car flew
round with it—“Jenny Lind,” “Jenny Lind,” “Jenny Lind” in tripping or
drawling syllables, according to the velocity.

The doors were advertised to be open at five; and, though it was thence
three hours to the beginning of the concert, we abridged our dinner
(your other servant, the song-king and myself,) and took omnibus with
the early crowd bound downwards. On the way, I saw indications of a
counter current—(private carriages with fashionables starting for their
evening drive out of town, and several ruling dandies of the hour
strolling up, with an air of leisure which was perfectly expressive of
no part in the excitement of the evening)—and then I first comprehended
that there might possibly be a small class of dissenters. As we were in
time to see the assembling of most of the multitude who had tickets, it
occurred to me to observe the proportion of _fashionables_ among them,
and, with much pains-taking, and the aid of an opera-glass, I could
number but _eleven_. Of the Five Hundred who give “the ton,” this seemed
to be the whole representation in an audience of six thousand—a
minority I was sorry to see, as an angel like Jenny Lind may well touch
the enthusiasm of every human heart, while, as a matter of taste, no
more exquisite feast than her singing was ever offered to the refined.
There should, properly, have been no class in New York—at least none
that could afford the price of attendance—that was not proportionately
represented at that Concert. The songstress, herself, as is easy to see,
prefers to be the “People’s choice,” and would rather sing to the Fifty
Thousand than to the Five Hundred—but she touches a chord that should
vibrate far deeper than the distinctions of society, and I hope yet to
see her as much “the fashion” as “the popular rage” in our republican
metropolis.

                 *        *        *        *        *

                                                        Sept. 21, 1851

Jenny’s first coming upon the stage at the Concert has been described by
every critic. Several of them have pronounced it done rather awkwardly.
It seemed to me, however, that the language of curtesies was never
before so varied—never before so eloquently effective. She expressed
more than the three degrees of humility—profound, profounder
profoundest—more than the three degrees of simplicity—simple, simpler,
simplest. In the impression she produced, there was conviction of the
superlative of both, and something to spare. Who, of the spectators that
remembered Steffanoni’s superb indifference to the public—(expressed by
curtesies just as low when making her first appearance to sing the very
solo that Jenny was about to sing)—did not recognize, at Castle Garden,
that night, the eloquent inspiration there might be, if not the
excessive art, in a curtsey on the stage? I may as well record, for the
satisfaction of the great Good-as-you—(the “Casta Diva” of our
country)—that Jenny’s reverence to this our divinity, the other night,
was not practised before Kings and Courts. I was particularly struck, in
Germany, with the reluctant civility expressed by her curtesies to the
box of the Sovereign Grand Duke, and to the audience of nobles and
gamblers. In England, when the Queen was present, it seemed to me that
Jenny wished to convey, in her manner of acknowledging the applause for
her performance of La Somnambula, that her profession was distasteful to
her. In both these instances, there was certainly great reserve in her
“making of her manners”—in this country there has, as certainly, been
none.

The opening solo of “Casta Diva” was well selected to show the _quality_
of Jenny Lind’s voice, though the dramatic effect of this passage of
Bellini’s opera could not be given by a voice that had formed itself
upon her life and character. Pure invocation to the Moon, the Norman
Deity, as the two first stanzas are, the latter half of the solo is a
passionate prayer of the erring Priestess to her unlawful love; and, to
be sung truly, must be sung passionately, and with the cadences of love
and sin. On Jenny’s lips, the devout purity and imploring worship and
contrition, proper to the stanzas in which the Deity is addressed, are
_continued throughout_; and the Roman, who has both desecrated and been
faithless to her, is besought to return and sin again, with accents of
sublimely unconscious innocence. To those who listened without thought
of the words, it was a delicious melody, and the voice of an angel—for,
in its pathetic and half mournful sweetness, that passage, on such a
voice, goes straight to the least expectant and least wakeful fountain
of tears—but it was Jenny Lind, and not Norma, and she should have the
air set to new words or to an affecting and elevated passage of
Scripture.

And it strikes me, by the way, as a little wonderful—Jenny Lind being
what she is, and the religious world being so numerous—that the
inspired Swede, in giving up the stage, has not gone over to sacred
music altogether. It would have been worthy of her, as well as
abundantly in her power, to have created a Sacred Musical Drama—or, at
least, so much of one, as the _singing the songs of Scripture, in
costume and character_. Had the divine music of Casta Diva, the other
night, for instance, been the Lamentation of the Daughter of Jeptha, and
had a background of religious reverence given to the singer its strong
relief, while the six thousand listeners were gazing with moist eyes
upon her, how immeasurably would not the effect of that mere Operatic
music have been heightened! With a voice and skill capable of almost
miraculous personation, and with a character of her own which gives her
the sacredness of an angel, she might truly “carry the world away,” were
the music but equal to that of the popular operas. Is it not possible to
originate this in our country? With hundreds of thousands of religious
people ready to form new audiences, when she has sung out her worldly
music, will not the pure-hearted, humble, simple, saint-like and gifted
Jenny commence a new career of _Sacred_ Music, on this side the water?
Some one told me, once, that he had heard her sing, in a private room,
that beautiful song, “I know that my Redeemer liveth!” with feeling and
expression such as he had never before thought possible. What a field
for a composer is the Bible! For how many of its personages—Mary,
Hagar, Miriam, Ruth—might single songs be written, that, sung in the
costume in which they are usually painted, and with such action as the
meaning required, would give boundless pleasure to the religious! The
class is well worth composing for, and they are well worthy of the
service of a _sequestrated choir_ of the world’s best singers—of whom
Jenny Lind may most triumphantly be the first.

That Jenny Lind sings like a woman with no weaknesses—that there is
plenty of soul in her singing, but no flesh and blood—that her voice
expresses more tender pity than tender passion, and more guidance in the
right way than sympathy with liability to the wrong—are reasons, I
think, why she should compare unfavorably with the impassioned sinners
of the opera, in opera scenes and characters. Grisi and Steffanoni give
better and more correct representations of “Norma,” both musical and
dramatic, than she—and naturally enough. It is wonderful how
differently the same music may be correctly sung; and how the quality of
the voice—which is inevitably an expression of the natural character
and habits of mind—makes its meaning! It is one of the most interesting
events to have seen Jenny Lind at all—but, her character and her
angelic acts apart, a woman “as is a woman” may better sing much of the
music she takes from operas.

Of the “Flute Song” and the “Echo Song” the papers have said enough, and
I will save what else I have to say of the great-souled maiden, till I
get back to my quarters in the city and have heard her again.

Pardon the gravity of my letter, dear Madam, and believe me

                                              Your humble servant.



                              LETTER XII.


                 TO THE LADY-SUBSCRIBER IN THE COUNTRY.
                                                  New York Sept. 1850.

One prefers to write to those for whom one has the most to tell, and I
have an ink-stand full of gossip about the great Jenny, which, though it
might hardly be news to those who have the run of the sidewalk, may
possibly be interesting where the grass grows. Nothing else is talked
of, and now and then a thing is said which escapes the omniverous traps
of the daily papers. Upon the faint chance of telling you something
which you might not otherwise hear without coming to town, I put my
ink-stand into the clairvoyant state, and choose you for the listener
with whom to put it “in communication.”

Jenny has an imperfection—which I hasten to record. That she might turn
out to be quite too perfect for human sympathy, has been the rock ahead
in her navigation of popularity. “Pretend to a fault if you haven’t
one,” says a shrewd old writer, “for, the one thing the world never
forgives is perfection.” There was really a gloomy probability that
Jenny would turn out to be that hateful monstrosity—a woman without a
fault—but the suspense is over. _She cannot mount on horseback without
a chair!_ No lady who is common-place enough to love, and marry, and
give her money to her husband, ever climbed more awkwardly into a
side-saddle than Jenny Lind. The necessity of finding something in which
she was surpassed by somebody, has been so painfully felt, “up town,”
that this discovery was circulated, within an hour after it was
observed, to every corner of the fashionable part of the city. She
occupies the private wing of the New-York Hotel, on the more secluded
side of Washington Place, and a lady eating an ice at the confectioner’s
opposite, was the fortunate witness of this her first authenticated
human weakness. Fly she may! (is the feeling now,) for, to birds and
angels it comes easy enough—but she is no horsewoman! Fanny Kemble,
whom we know to be human, beats her at that!

Another liability of the divine Jenny has come to my knowledge, though I
should not mention it as a weakness without some clearer light as to the
susceptibilities of the angelic nature. It was mentioned to a
lady-friend of mine, that, on reading some malicious insinuations as to
the motives of her charities, published a few days since in one of the
daily papers of this city, she wept bitterly. Now, though we mourn that
the world holds a man who would so groundlessly belie the acts of a
ministering angel, there is still a certain pleasure in knowing that
she, too, is subject to tears. We love her more—almost as much more as
if tears were human only—because injustice can reach and move so pure a
creature, as it can us. God forbid that such sublime benevolence, as
this munificent singing girl’s, should be maligned again—but so might
Christ’s motive in raising Lazarus have been misinterpreted, and we can
scarce regret that it has once happened, for, we know, now, that she is
within the circle in which we feel and suffer. Sweet, tearful Jenny! She
is one of us—God bless her!—subject to the cruel misinterpretation of
the vile, and with a heart in her angelic bosom, that, like other human
hearts, needs and pleads to be believed in!

I made one of the seven thousand who formed her audience on Saturday
night; and, when I noticed how the best music she gave forth during the
evening was least applauded—the Hon. Public evidently not knowing the
difference between Jenny Lind’s singing and Mrs. Bochsa Bishop’s, nor
between Benedict’s composition and Bellini’s—I fell to musing on the
secret of her charm over four thousand of those present—(allowing one
thousand to be appreciators of her voice and skill, and two thousand to
be honest lovers of her goodness, and the remaining four thousand, who
were also buyers of five-dollar tickets, constituting my little
problem.)

I fancy, the great charm of Jenny Lind, to those who think little, is,
that she stands before them as an angel in possession of a gift which is
usually entrusted only to sinners. That God has not made her a wonderful
singer _and there left her_, is the curious exception she forms to
common human allotment. To give away more money in charity than any
other mortal and still be the first of primas donnas! To be an
irreproachably modest girl, and still be the first of primas donnas! To
be humble, simple, genial, and unassuming, and still be the first of
primas donnas! To have begun as a beggar-child, and risen to receive
more adulation than any Queen, and still be the first of primas donnas!
To be unquestionably the most admired and distinguished woman on earth,
doing the most good and exercising the most power, and still be a prima
donna that can be applauded and encored! It is the _combination_, of
superiorities and interests, that makes the wonder—it is the
concentrating of the stuff for half-a-dozen heroines in one simple girl,
and that girl a candidate for applause—that so vehemently stimulates
the curiosity. We are not sufficiently aware, I have long thought, that
the world is getting tired of single-barrelled greatness. You must be
two things or more—a revolver of genius—to be much thought of, now.
There was very much such a period in Roman history. Nero found it by no
means enough to be an Emperor. He went on the stage as a singer. With
the world to kill if he chose, he must also have the world’s willing
admiration. He slept with a plate of lead on his stomach, abstained from
all fruits and other food that would affect his voice, poisoned
Britannicus because he sang better than himself, and was more delighted
when encored than when crowned. So sighed the Emperor Commodus for a
two-story place in history, and went on the stage as a dancer and
gladiator. Does any one suppose that Queen Victoria has not envied Jenny
Lind? Does Washington Irving, as he sits at Sunnyside, and watches the
sloops beating up against the wind, feel no discontent that he is
immortal only on one tack? No! no! And it is in America that the
atmosphere is found (Oh prophetic _e pluribus unum!_) for this plurality
of greatness. Europe, in bigotry of respect for precedent, forgets what
the times may be ready for. Jenny Lind, when she gets to the prompt,
un-crusted and foreshadowing West of this country, will find her
six-barrelled greatness for the first time subject to a single trigger
of appreciation. Queens may have given her lap-dogs, and Kings may have
clasped bracelets on her plump arms, but she will prize more the
admiration _for the whole of her_, felt here by a _whole people_. It
will have been the first time in her career, (if one may speak like a
schoolmaster,) that the heaven-written philactery of her worth will have
been read without stopping to parse it. Never before has she received
homage so impulsive and universal—better than that, indeed, for like Le
Verrier’s planet, she was recognised, and this far-away world was
vibrating to her influence, long before she was seen.

One wonders, as one looks upon her soft eyes, and her affectionate
profusion of sunny hair, what Jenny’s _heart_ can be doing, all this
time? Is fame a substitute for the tender passion? She must have been
desperately loved, in her varied and bright path. I saw a student at
Leipsic, who, after making great sacrifices and efforts to get a ticket
to her last concert at that place, gave it away, and went to stroll out
the evening in the lonely Rosenthal, because he felt his happiness at
stake, and could not bear the fascination that she exercised upon him.
Or, is her rocket of devotion divided up into many and more manageable
little crackers of friendship? Even that most impassioned of women,
Madam George Sand, says:—“_Si l’on rencontrait une amitié parfaite dans
toute sa vie, on pourrait presque se passer d’amour._” Do the devoted
friendships, that Jenny Lind inspires, make love seem to her but like
the performance, to one listener, of a concert, the main portion of
whose programme has hitherto been sufficient for so many? We would not
be disrespectful with these speculations. To see such a heaven as her
heart untenanted, one longs to write its advertisement of “To Let.” Yet
it would take polygamy to match her; for, half-a-dozen poets, two
Mexican heroes, several dry-goods merchants, and a rising politician,
would hardly “boil down” into a man of gifts enough to be worthy of her.
The truth is, that all “institutions” should be so modified as not to
interfere with the rights of the world at large; and, matrimony of the
ordinary kind—(which would bestow her voice like a sun dial in a
grave)—would rob the Public of its natural property in Jenny Lind. But
an “arrangement” could be managed with no unreasonable impoverishment of
her husband; for, a month of her time being equal to a year of other
people’s, her marriage contract might be graduated accordingly—eleven
months reserved to celibacy and fame. It is a “Procrustes bed,” which
cuts all love of the same length, and what “committee of reference”
would not award a twelfth of Jenny Lind as an equivalent consideration
for the whole of an average husband?

Doubting whether I should ever venture upon so delicate a subject again,
I will make a good round transgression of it, by recording a little bit
of gossip, to show you that the fond Public is capable of its little
jealousy, like other lovers. There is a Swedish settlement in Michigan,
which, on Jenny’s arrival, sent a committee of one—a young Swedish
officer who had given up his epaulettes for the plough—to ask a
contribution for the building of a church. Jenny promptly gave five
hundred dollars, and the deputation was very contented with that—but
added the trifling request for a doxology in the shape of a
Daguerreotype of the donor. Willing as a child to give pleasure to the
good, the sweet nightingale drove straight to Brady’s, allowed the happy
sun to take her portrait, and gave it to her countryman. But now comes
the part of it which the enamoured Public does not like—for, the
Committee stays on! Instead of going home to set those carpenters to
work, he is seen waiting to help Jenny into her carriage after the
concerts, and, in the comments made upon this, his looks are pulled to
pieces in a way that shows how any approach to a monopoly of her is
jealously resented. Fancy the possibility of a small settlement in
Michigan having such a “new settler” as Jenny Lind!

There is an indication that Providence intended this remarkable woman
for a citizen of no one country, in the peculiar talent she possesses as
a linguist. A gentleman who resided in Germany when she was there, told
me yesterday that one of the delights the Germans found, in her singing
and in her society, was the wonderful beauty of her pronunciation of
their language. It was a common remark that she spoke it “better than a
German,” for, with her keen perception and fine taste, she threw out the
local abbreviations and corruptions of the familiar dialect, and, with
her mastery of sound, she gave every syllable its just fulness and
proportion. She is perfect mistress of French, and speaks English very
sweetly, every day making rapid advance in the knowledge of it.

Several of our fashionable people are preparing to give large parties,
as soon as the fair Swede is willing to honor them with her company, but
she is so beset, at present, that she needs the invisible ring of Gyges
even to get a look at the weather without having “an audience” thrown
in. She can scarce tell, of course, what civilities to accept, or who
calls to honor her or who to beg charity, but her unconquerable
simplicity and directness serve to evade much that would annoy other
people.



                              LETTER XIII.


                 TO THE LADY SUBSCRIBER IN THE COUNTRY.

DEAR MADAM,—It is slender picking at the feast of news, after the Daily
Papers have had their fill, and, if I make the most of a trifle that I
find here or there, you will read with reference to my emergency. Put
yourself in my situation, and imagine how all the best gossip of the
village you live in, would be used up before you had any chance at it,
if you were at liberty to speak but once in seven days!

The belated Equinox is upon us. Jenny Lind, having occasion for fair
weather when she was here, the Sun dismissed his storm train, and
stepped over the Equator on tiptoe, leaving the thunder and lightning to
sweep this part of the sky when she had done with it. She left for
Boston and the deferred storm followed close upon her departure, doing
up its semi-annual “chore” with unusual energy. The cobwebs of September
were brushed away by the most vivid lightning, and the floor of heaven
was well washed for Jenny’s return. October and the New York Hotel are
now ready for her.

Pray what do the respectable trees, that have no enthusiasms, think of
our mania for Jenny Lind? The maniacs here, in their lucid intervals,
moralize on themselves. Ready as they are to receive her with a fresh
paroxysm next week, the most busy question of this week is, “what has
ailed us?” I trust the leisurely observer of “The Lorgnette” is watching
this analysis of a crazy metropolis by itself, and will give it us, in a
separate number; for it will describe a curious stage of the formation
of musical taste in our emulous and fast-growing civilization. I think I
can discern an advanced step in the taste of my own acquaintances,
showing that people learn fast by the effort to define what they admire.
But, of course, there is great difference of opinion. The fashionables
and foreigners go “for curiosity” to the Lind Concerts, but form a
steady faction against her in conversation. The two French Editors of
New York, and the English Editor of the _Albion_—(unwilling, perhaps,
to let young and fast America promote to a _full_ angel, one who had
only been _brevetted_ an angel in their older and slower
countries)—furnish regular supplies of ammunition to the opposition.
You may hear, at present, in any up-town circle, precisely what Jenny
Lind is _not_—as convincingly as the enemies of the flute could show
you that it was neither a clarionet nor a bass viol, neither a trombone
nor a drum, neither a fife, a fiddle, nor a bassoon. The only
embarrassment her dissecters find, is in reconciling the round, full,
substantial body of her voice, with their declarations that she soars
out of the reach of ordinary sympathy, and is aerially incapable of
expressing the passion of the every day human heart. “She sings with
mere organic skill, and without soul,” says one, while another proves
that she sings only to the soul and not at all to the body. Between
these two opposing battledoors, the shuttlecock, of course, stays where
Barnum likes to see it.

The private life of the great Jenny is matter of almost universal
inquisitiveness, and the anecdotes afloat, of her evasions of intrusion,
her frank receptions, her independence and her good nature, would fill a
volume. She is so hunted that it is a wonder how she finds time to
remember herself—yet that she invariably does. Nothing one hears of her
is at all out of character. She is fearlessly direct and simple in every
thing. Though “The People” are not impertinent, the bores who push their
annoyances under cover of representing this her constituency, are
grossly impertinent; and she is a sagacious judge of the difference
between them. A charming instance of this occurred just before she left
Boston. Let me give it you, with a mended pen and a new paragraph.

Jenny was at home one morning, but, having indispensable business to
attend to, gave directions to the servants to admit no visiters
whatever. Waiters and maids may be walked past, however, and a fat lady
availed herself of this mechanical possibility, and entered Jenny’s
chamber, declaring that she must see the dear creature who had given
away so much money. Her reception was civilly cold, of course, but she
went into such a flood of tears, after throwing her arms round Jenny’s
neck, that the nightingale’s heart was softened. She pleaded positive
occupation for the moment, but said that she should be at leisure in the
evening, and would send her carriage for her weeping admirer if she
could come at a certain hour. The carriage was duly sent, but it
brought, not only the fat lady, but _three more_ female admirers, of
most unpromising and vulgar exterior. They were shewn into the
drawing-room, and, in a few minutes, Jenny entered from an adjoining
room, followed by half-a-dozen professional persons, with whom she had
been making some business arrangements.

“How is this?” said the simple Swede, looking around as she got into the
room; “here are four ladies, and I sent for but one!”

They commenced an apology in some confusion.

“No, ladies! no!” said Jenny; “your uninvited presence here is an
intrusion. I cannot send you away, because you have no escort; but your
coming is an impertinence, and I am very much troubled with this kind of
thing.”

The three intruders chose to remain, however, and taking seats, they
stayed out their fat friend’s visit—Jenny taking no further notice of
them till their departure. As they got up to go, the singer’s kind heart
was moved again, and she partly apologised for her reception of them,
stating how her privacy was invaded at all hours, and how injurious it
was to her profession as well as her comfort. And, with this
consolation, she sent them all home again in her carriage.

To any genuine and reasonable approach, Jenny is the soul of
graciousness and kindness. An old lady of eighty sent to her the other
day, pleading that she was about to leave town, and that her age and
infirmities prevented her from seeing Miss Lind in public, but that she
wished the privilege of expressing her admiration of her character, and
of resting her eyes upon one so good and gifted. Jenny immediately sent
for her, and, asking if she would like to hear her sing, sang to her for
an hour and a half, with the simplicity of a child delighted to give
pleasure. It is the mixture of this undiminished freshness and
ingenuousness, with her unbending independence and tact at business,
which show this remarkable creature’s gifts in such strong relief.
Nature, who usually departs as Art and Honours come in, has stayed with
Jenny.

Of course, the city is full of discontented stars that have been forced
to “pale their intellectual fires” before this brighter glory, and
lecturers, concert-singers, primas-donnas and dancers are waiting the
setting of the orb of Jenny Lind. We are promised all sorts of
novelties, at her disappearance, and of those, and of other events in
this busy capital, I will duly write you.



                          THE REQUESTED LETTER


                  (TO THE LADY-READER IN THE COUNTRY.)
                                               New York, Nov. —, 1850.

DEAR MADAM,—Your note, of some weeks since requesting “a more
particular account of Jenny Lind as a woman,” I threw aside, at first,
as one I was not likely to have the means of answering. Overrun as she
is, in her few leisure moments, by numberless visits of ceremony, as
well as of intrusion and impertinent curiosity, I felt unwilling to be
one of the unremembered particulars of a general complimentary
persecution, and had given up all idea of seeing Jenny Lind except over
the heads of an audience. Fortunate chance has enabled me to see a
little more of her than a ticket entitles one to, however, and, as this
“little more” rather confirms and explains to me the superiority of her
gifts, I may be excused for putting it into print as a debt due from
herself to her celebrity.

Jenny Lind’s reception, of the two or three intellectual men into the
wake of whose visit I had been accidentally invited to fall, was not
with such manners as would be learned in society. It was like a just
descended spirit, practising politeness for the first time, but with
perfect intelligence of what it was meant to express. The freshness and
sincerity of thoughts taken as they rise—the trustful deference due a
stranger, and yet the natural cordiality which self-respect could well
afford—the ease of one who had nothing to learn of courtesy, and yet
the impulsive eagerness to shape word and manner to the want of the
moment—these, which would seem to be the elements of a simple
politeness, were all there, but in Jenny Lind, notwithstanding, they
composed a manner that was altogether her own. A strict Lady of the
Court might have objected to the frank eagerness with which she seated
her company—like a school girl preparing her playfellows for a game of
forfeits—but it was charming to those who were made at home by it. In
the seating of herself, in the posture of attention and disposal of her
hands and dress—(small lore sometimes deeply studied, as the ladies
know!)—she evidently left all to nature—the thought of her own
personal appearance, apparently never once entering her mind. So
self-omitting a manner, indeed, for one in which none of the uses of
politeness were forgotten, I had not before seen.

In the conversation of this visit of an hour, and in the times that I
have subsequently observed Jenny Lind’s intercourse with other minds, I
was powerfully impressed with a quality that is perhaps the key to her
character and her success in life—a _singularly prompt and absolute
power of concentration_. No matter what the subject, the “burning-glass”
of her mind was instantly brought to a focus upon it, and her question
or comment, the moment after, sent the light through the matter, with a
clearness that a lawyer would admire. Although conversing in a foreign
language, she comprehended everything by the time it was half expressed,
and her occasional anticipation of the speaker’s meaning, though it had
a momentary look of abruptness, were invariably the mile-stones ahead at
which he was bound to arrive. In one or two instances, where the topics
were rather more abstract than is common in a morning call, and probably
altogether new to her, she summed up the scope and bearing of them with
a graphic suddenness that could receive its impulse from nothing but
genius. I have been startled, indeed, with this true swift-thoughtedness
whenever I have seen her, and have analyzed it afterwards, and I have no
hesitation in saying that the same faculty, exercised through a pen,
would be the inspiration of genius. Jenny Lind, I venture to believe, is
only not a brilliant writer, because circumstances have chained her to
the wheel of a lesser excellence. Perhaps a vague consciousness that the
perfection of this smaller gift was not the destiny of which she was
most worthy, prompted the devotion of its gains to the mission which
compensates to her self-respect. Her charities are given out, instead of
thoughts “the world would not willingly let die.” Blessings are
returned, instead of a fame to her. She moves those within reach of her
voice, instead of covering all distance with the magnetic net-work which
will electrify while the world lasts. The lesser service to mankind is
paid in gold, the higher in immortality—but, fated to choose the
lesser, she so uses the gold that the after-death profit will be made up
to her in heaven. Jenny Lind choosing between gold by her voice or fame
by her pen, has been a _tableau_ the angels have watched with
interest—I fancy the “knockers” would rap twice to affirm!

But I doubt, after all, whether Sweden has yet lost the poetess or
essayist that Song has thus misled or hindered. She says very frankly
that she shall not sing much longer—only till this mission of
benevolence is completed—and what then is to be the sphere of her
spirit of undying activity? There is no shelf for such a mind. There is
no exhaustion for the youth of such faculties. I am told she has a
wonderful memory, and—for one work alone—fancy what reminiscences she
might write of her unprecedented career! Having seen everything
truthfully—estimated persons of all ranks profoundly—been intimate
with every station in life, from the Queen’s to the cottager’s—studied
human allotment behind its closest curtains, and received more homage
than any living being of her time—what a book of Memories Jenny Lind
might give us! If she were to throw away such material, it seems to me,
she would rob the eye of more than she has given to the ear.

The more one sees of Jenny Lind, the more one is puzzled as to her
countenance. One’s sight, in her presence, does not seem to act with its
usual reliable discretion. Like the sinner who “went to scoff and
remained to pray,” the eye goes to find her plain, and comes back with a
report of her exceeding beauty. The expression, as she animates,
positively alters the lines; and there is an expansion of her irregular
features to a noble breadth of harmony, at times, which, had Michael
Angelo painted her, would have given to Art one of its richest types of
female loveliness. Having once seen this, the enchantment of her face
has thrown its chain over you, and you watch for its capricious
illuminations with an eagerness not excited by perpetual beauty. Of
course, she never sees this herself, and hence her evident conviction
that she is plain, and the careless willingness with which she lets
painters and Daguerreotypists make what they please of her. I noticed,
by the way, that the engraved likenesses, which stick in every
shop-window, had not made the public acquainted with her physiognomy,
for, in a walk of two or three miles in which I had the happiness of
bearing her company, on a Sunday, and when the streets were crowded with
the comers from church, there was no sign of a single recognition of
her. It seemed the more strange, as many passed who, I knew, were among
her worshippers, and any one of whom would confidently give a
description of her features. So do not be sure that you know how Jenny
Lind looks, even when you have seen her Daguerreotypes and heard her
sing.

In reading over what I have hastily written, I find it expresses what
has grown upon me with seeing and hearing the great Songstress—a
conviction that her present wonderful influence is but the forecast
shadow of a different and more inspired exercise of power hereafter. Her
magnetism is not all from a voice and a benevolent heart. The soul,
while it feels her pass, recognizes the step of a spirit of tall
stature, complete and unhalting in its proportions. We shall yet be
called upon to admire rarer gifts in her than her voice. Deference and
honor to her, meantime!

And with this invocation, I will close!



                       NATURE CRITICISED BY ART.


   JENNY LIND’S PROPITIATORY ACCEPTANCE OF ONE INVITATION FROM NEW
     YORK FASHIONABLE SOCIETY—THE HISTORY OF THE DAY OF WHICH IT WAS
     THE EVENING—HER MARTYRDOM BY CHARITY-SEEKERS AND OTHER WANTERS
     OF MONEY AND GRATIFIERS OF THEIR OWN IMPERTINENT CURIOSITY—THE
     CRITICISM OF HER MANNERS AT THE PARTY, AS GIVEN IN THE ‘COURIER
     DES ETATS UNIS’—A COUNTER-PICTURE OF HER CONVERSATION AND
     APPEARANCE—SINGULAR ACCIDENTAL ‘TABLEAU VIVANT,’ &C. &C.

The stars shine by the light their elevation still enables them to
receive from the day that has gone past; and—though there would be a
severity in limiting ordinary belles to shine in the evening only
according to the lofty position given them by their course through the
morning—it is but just that those whose mornings so lift them above us
that they would shine in heaven itself, should at least be looked up to
with that appreciating deference, which we give more to stars than to
lights we can trim and brighten. We have expressed, in this similitude,
why a late severe criticism of Jenny Lind’s manners and appearance at an
evening party in New York society, seems to us as inappreciative and
irreverent as it is inaccordant with our own observation of what it
describes. Our friend M. de Trobriand, who wrote it, has, in many
previous articles, expressed the same national pique and national want
of sympathy with the Northern Songstress and Benefactress. She has
refused to sing in Paris, it is true. She has openly avowed her distaste
for French customs and standards. She knew, doubtless, when our friend
was presented to her, that he was a Frenchman, and the editor of a
French paper which had invariably disparaged and ridiculed her; and,
when he spoke to her in three languages, (as he did,) and she answered
only in monosyllables, (as was the case,) he could (reasonably, we
think) have attributed it to something beside dullness. A fashionable
belle might have put aside a national prejudice, to be agreeable to an
elegant nobleman brought up at a Court—but it would have been very
unlike honest and simple Jenny Lind. For the monosyllables to our friend
it is easy to account, thus, without blame to her. For those she gave to
others, there is still a better apology, if one were needed—but, let us
precede what we wish to say of this, by translating the passage to which
we are replying:—

    “Jenny Lind danced very little—but once, if I remember rightly,
    and without evincing any of that ardor of movement which people
    had pleased themselves by gratuitously according to her. She
    talked as little, and, take it altogether, her celebrity would
    not have been so great, if her singing had been as disappointing
    as her personal appearance. We must be excused if we follow her,
    with pen in hand, even into the drawing-rooms, where she found
    herself in contact with a less numerous but more select, and if
    we put upon their guard for the future, those who believe, upon
    hearsay, in the brilliant sayings, the enchanting graces, the
    affable reception of courtesies, etc. etc. of Miss Lind, as seen
    by the naked eye, and without the illusion of an opera-glass.
    When she ceases to sing, and begins to converse, the celebrated
    Swede becomes extremely national again. She has, in her voice,
    but two favorite notes, which she never varies, they say, but
    for the privileged, and to which she adheres, with a persistence
    which ordinary martyrs cannot break through—and these two notes
    are _Yes_ and _No_.”

In all the countries where she has been, Miss Lind has invariably
avoided gay and fashionable society, dividing what leisure she could
command, between a few friends chosen with reference to nothing but
their qualities of heart, and the visits of charity to institutions or
individuals she could benefit. Pleasure, as pursued in “the first
society,” seems wholly distasteful to her. In New York, however, great
dissatisfaction had been expressed at her refusals of invitations, her
non-delivery of letters of introduction which were known to have been
given to her in England, and her inaccessibility by “the first people.”
This troubled her, for she feels grateful to our country for the love
poured forth to her, and is unwilling to offend any class of its
citizens, high or low. From a lady, therefore, with whom she had formed
a very intimate and confiding friendship, she accepted an invitation to
an evening party, to be given the day after her last concert in this
city. It was at this party that M. de Trobriand describes her, in the
article from which we have quoted above. The country villa at which it
was given is the most tasteful and sumptuous residence in the
neighborhood of New York, and a select company from the most refined
circles of society was there to meet her. Before giving our own
impression of how she appeared at this party, it may be, not only just
but instructive, to tell how she had passed the day of which this was
the evening.

It was the morning after her closing Concert, and among the business to
be attended to, (in the winding up of a visit to a city where she had
given away $30,000 in charity,) was the result certified to in the
following report:

    “The undersigned, a Committee named by Miss Lind to divide the
    appropriation of the sum of five thousand and seventy-three
    dollars and twenty cents, [$5,073 20] the proceeds of the
    Morning Concert recently given by that lady for charitable
    purposes, have distributed the said fund as follows:

    New York. Nov. 26, 1850.

                         C. S. WOODHULL,
                         R. BAIRD,
                         R. B. MINTURN,
                         WM. H. ASPINWALL,
                         JOHN JAY.”

           To the society for improving the
             condition of the poor,                  $1,000 00
           To the society for relief of widows with
             poor children,                             300 00
           To the Roman Catholic Orphan Asylum,         300 00
           To the Female Assistance Society,            300 00
           To the Eastern Dispensary,                   250 00
           To the Northern Dispensary,                  250 00
           To the Eye and Ear Infirmary,                250 00
           To the Hebrew Benevolent Society,            200 00
           To the Home Branch of the Prison
             Association,                               200 00
           To the Home for destitute children of
             Seamen                                     200 00
           To the Institution for education and
             care of homeless and destitute boys,       100 00
           To the relief of poor Swedes and
             Norwegians in the city of New York,
             per the Rev. Mr. Hedstrom,                 273 20
           To the distribution of Swedish Bibles
             and Testaments in New York                 200 00
           To the Brooklyn Orphan Asylum,               250 00
           To the relief of the poor of
             Williamsburgh,                             100 00
           To the relief of the poor of Newark,         100 00
           To the relief of the poor of Jersey
             City,                                      100 00
           To the National Temperance Society,
             $200; to the relief of the poor at the
             Five Points, by the Temperance
             Association, Rev. Mr. Pease,
             President, $200; to the American
             Temperance Union                           500 00
           To the St. George’s Society                  500 00
                                                          ————
           Total,                                    $5,073 20

There was also another matter which formed an item in the “squaring up”
of the New York accounts on that day. A paragraph had reached her,
making mention of a Swedish sailor who had perished in endeavoring to
save the lives of passengers, on the wreck of a vessel. Jenny Lind had
sent to the Swedish Consul to make inquiries whether he had left a
family. His widow and children were found by Mr. Habicht, and Jenny had
sent him five hundred dollars for their use. This was mentioned by the
Consul to a lady, who mentioned it to us, and by this chance alone it
becomes public.

But, while all these sufferers were receiving her bounty, and she was
settling with Banks and Managers for the payments—what else was her
life made up of, on that day?

It was half-past nine in the morning, and three servants of the hotel,
and two of her own servants, had been ordered to guard her rooms till
she could eat her breakfast. Well-dressed ladies cannot be stopped by
men servants, in this country, however, and her drawing-room was already
half full of visiters “on particular business,” who had crowded past,
insisting on entrance. Most of them were applicants for charities, some
for autographs, some to offer acquaintance, but none, of course, with
the least claim whatever on her pocket or her time. A lady-friend, who
was admitted by her servant, saw the onslaught of these intruders, as
she rose from her breakfast,—(fatigued and dispirited as she always is
after the effort and nervous excitement of a concert)—and this friend
was not a little astonished at her humble and submissive endurance.

First came a person who had sent a musical box for her to look at, and,
as “she had kept it,” he wanted the money immediately. Jenny knew
nothing of it, but the maid was called, who pointed to one which had
been left mysteriously in the room, and the man was at liberty to take
it away, but would not do it, of course, without remonstrance and
argument. Then advanced the lady-beggars, who, in so many instances,
have “put the screw to her” in the same way, that, without
particularizing, we must describe them as a class. To such unexamined
and unexpected applications, Miss Lind has usually offered twenty or
thirty dollars, as the shortest way to be left to herself. In almost
every instance, she has had this sum returned to her, with some
reproachful and disparaging remark, such as—“We did not expect this
pittance from _you_!” “We have been mistaken in your character, Madam,
for we had heard you were generous!” “This from Miss Lind, is too little
to accept, and not worthy of you!” “Excuse us, we came for a donation,
not for alms!”—these and similar speeches, of which, we are assured,
Jenny Lind has had one or more specimens, every day of her visit to New
York! With one or two such visiters on the morning we speak of, were
mingled applicants for musical employment; passionate female admirers
who had come to express their raptures to her; a dozen ladies with
albums; one or two with things they had worked for her, for which, by
unmistakable tokens, they expected diamond rings in return; one who had
come indignantly to know why a note containing a poem had not been
answered; and constant messages, meantime, from those who had
professional and other authorized errands requiring answers. Letters and
notes came in at the rate of one every other minute.

This sort of “audience” lasted, at Miss Lind’s rooms, _all day_. To use
her own expression, she was “torn in pieces”—and it was by those whom
nothing would keep out. A police force would have protected her, but,
while she habitually declined the calls and attentions of fashionable
society, she was in constant dread of driving more humble claimants from
her door. She submitted, _every day_, to the visits of strangers, as far
as strength, and her professional duties, would any way endure—but, as
her stay in a place drew to a close, the pressure became so pertinacious
and overwhelming as to exceed what may be borne by human powers of
attention, human spirits and human nerves. Her imperfect acquaintance
with our language, of course, very materially increased the fatigue—few
people speaking simply and distinctly enough for a foreigner, and the
annoyance of answering half-understood remarks from strangers, or of
requesting from them a repetition of a question, being a nervous
exercise, for six or eight hours together, which the reader will easily
allow to be “trying.”

But—though we have thus explained how there were excuse enough for ever
so monosyllabic a reception of introductions, by Jenny Lind, that
evening—our own impression of her address and manners was very
different from that of the gay Baron. Let us tell, in turn, what _we_
saw, though our discourse is getting long, and though our rule is never
to put private society into print except as hominy comes to market—the
kernel of the matter, with no clue to the stalk that bore it, or the
_field_ in which it grew.

The party was at a most lovely villa, ten miles from town on the bank of
the Hudson, and the invitations were to an “At Home, at five P. M.” We
were somewhat late, and were told, on reaching the drawing-room, that
Jenny Lind had just danced in a quadrille, and was receiving
introductions in a deep alcove of one of the many apartments opening
from the hall. The band was playing delightfully in a central passage
from which the principal rooms radiated; and, while the dance was still
going on beyond, and the guests were rambling about in the labyrinths of
apartments crowded with statuary, pictures, and exotic trees laden with
fruits and flowers, there was a smaller crowd continually renewed at the
entrance of the alcove which caged the beloved Nightingale.

Succeeding, after a while, in getting near her, we found her seated in
lively conversation with a circle of young ladies, and, (to balance M.
de Trobriand’s account of her monosyllabic incommunicativeness,) we may
venture to add, that she received us with a merry inquiry as to which
world we came from. This was _apropos_ of the “spirit-knockings” which
we had accompanied her to visit a few days before; and a remark of her
own, a moment or two after, was characteristic enough to be also worth
recording. We had made a call on the same “Spirit” since, and proceeded
to tell her of the interview, and of a question we asked them concerning
herself—her love of fun and ready wit commenting with droll
interruptions as the narrative went on. We named the question at
last:—“Has Jenny Lind any special talent which she would have developed
but for the chance possession of a remarkable voice; and if so what is
it?”

“And the spirit said it was making frocks for poor little children, I
suppose,” was her immediate anticipation of the reply—uttered with an
expression of arch earnestness, which confirmed us in the opinion we
have gradually formed, that the love of the comic and joyous is the
leading quality in her temperament.

Miss Lind complained repeatedly of great exhaustion and fatigue, during
the evening, and, (as a lady remarked who had seen her frequently in
private,) looked “as if she could hardly sustain herself upon her feet.”
During the time that we remained near her, there were constant
introductions, and she was constantly conversing freely—though, of
course, when three or four were listening at a time, there must have
been some who received only “monosyllables” of reply. We noticed one
thing, however, which we had noticed before, and which we safely record
as a peculiarity of Miss Lind’s—perhaps the one which has jarred upon
the Parisian perceptions of our courtly friend. She is a resolute
non-conformist to the flattering deceptions of polite society. She
bandies no compliments. If a remark is made which has no rebound to it,
she drops it with a “monosyllable,” and without gracing its downfall
with an insincere smile. She affects no interest which she does not
feel—puts an abrupt end to a conversation which could only be sustained
by mutual pretence of something to say—differs suddenly and
uncompromisingly when her sense of truth prompts her so to do—repels,
(instead of even listening silently to,) complimentary speeches—in fact
is, at all times, so courageously and pertinaciously honest and simple,
that “society,” as carried on in “the first circles,” is no atmosphere
for her. If she were an angel in disguise on a mission to this world,
(which we are by no means sure she is not,) we should expect the elegant
M. de Trobriand—_l’homme comme il faut_, belonging to a Court of Exiled
Royalty—to describe her precisely as he does.

But our friend has written one more sentence, against which he must put
a _tableau en vis-à-vis_. He says:—“Her celebrity would not have been
what it is, very certainly, if her singing had ever produced as much
disappointment as her personal appearance.” Let us conclude this very
long discourse, (which we hope our friends have Niblo-fied with a “half
hour for refreshment” at some convenient betweenity,) with a picture of
Jenny Lind, as we saw her, a few minutes before she took leave, on the
evening of the party:—

The dancing and drawing-rooms were deserted, and the company were at
supper. Miss Lind, too tired to stand up with the crowd, had been waited
on by one of the gentlemen of the family, and now sat, in one of the
deep alcoves of the saloon farthest removed from the gay scene, with one
of the trellised windows, which look out upon the park, forming a
background to her figure. We sought her to make our adieux, presuming we
should not see her again before her departure for the South, and chance
presented her to our eye with a combination of effect that we shall
remember, certainly, till the dawn of another light throws a twilight
over this. An intimate friend, with kind attentiveness, was rather
preserving her from interruption than talking with her, and she sat in a
posture of careless and graceful repose, with her head wearily bent on
one side, her eyes drooped, and her hands crossed before her in the
characteristic habit which has been seized by the painters who have
drawn her. There was an expression of dismissed care replaced by a kind
of child-like and innocent sadness, that struck us as inexpressibly
sweet—which we mentally treasured away, at the time, as another of the
phases of excessive beauty of which that strong face is capable—and, as
we looked at her, there suddenly appeared, through the window behind,
half concealed by her shoulder, the golden edge of the just risen moon.
It crept to her cheek, before she had changed the attitude in which she
indolently listened to her friend, and, for a moment, the tableau was
complete, (to our own eye as we stood motionless)—of a drooping head
pillowed on the bosom of the Queen of Night. It was so startling, and at
the same time so apt and so consistent, that, for an instant, it
confused our thoughts, as the wonders of fairy transitions confuse
realities in the perceptions of a child—but the taking of a step
forward disturbed the tableau, and we could, then, only call her own
attention and that of one or two gentlemen who had come up, to the
bright orb lifting behind her. The moment after, she had said
good-night, and was gone—little dreaming, in her weary brain, that she
had been made part, by Nature, at one of the fatigued instants just past
in a picture—than which an angel, thoughtfully reposing in heaven,
could scarce have been more beautiful.

Parts of the foregoing, of course, we should never have unlocked from
our casket of memories, but as a counter-balance to different
impressions of the same admired object, recorded by a pen we are fond
of. There is another purpose that portions of the article may serve,
however—the making the Public aware how pretended charity-seekers, and
intrusive visitors, persecute and weary the noble creature who is now
sojourning in the country, and the showing through how much difficulty
and hinderance she accomplishes her work. We would aid, if we could, in
having her rightly understood while she is among us.



                              JENNY LIND.


An engraving ordered upon the inside of a wedding ring—_Otto
Goldschmidt to Jenny Lind_—gave the news of a certain event to “Ball,
Tompkins & Black,” a week before it was telegraphed to the papers.
Jewellers keep secrets. The ring went to its destiny, unwhispered of.
Its spring—for it is fastened with a spring—has closed over the blue
vein that has so oft carried to that third finger the news of the
heart’s refusal to surrender. _Jenny Lind loves._ She who filled more
place in the world’s knowledge and attention than Sweden itself—the
Swede greater than Sweden—has acknowledged “the small, sweet need of
woman to be loved.” Her star-name, which she had spent half a life, with
energy unequalled, in placing bright and alone in the heaven of renown,
is merged after all in the Via Lactea of common humanity. “=Jenny
Lind=” is a _wife_.

A year or more ago, Jenny Lind stood by the cradle of a sleeping and
beautiful infant. She looked at it, long and thoughtfully, stooped and
kissed its heel and the back of its neck, (the Swedish geography, we
believe, for a kiss with a blessing to a child) and, turning to its
mother, said, with a deep sigh, “_You_ have something to live for!” She
was, at this time, in the busiest tumult of a welcome by half a world.
Her ambition—so athirst from the first dawn of her mind that it seemed
to have absorbed her entire being—had a full cup at its lips. She was,
with unblemished repute, the most renowned of living women, and with the
fortune and moral power of a queen. Yet, up from the heart under it
all—a heart so deep down under pyramids of golden laurels—the
outermost approach to which was apparently hidden in clouds of
incense—comes a sigh over the cradle of a child!

At one of the concerts of Jenny Lind, at Tripler Hall—we forget just
how long ago—a newly arrived pianist made his first appearance. There
was little curiosity about him. The songstress, whom the thousands
present had gone only to hear, sang—lifting all hearts into the air she
stirred, to drop back with an eternal memory of her, when she ceased.
And then came—according to programme—“_Herr_ Otto Goldschmidt.” He
played, and the best-educated musical critic in New-York said to a lady
sitting beside him, “The audience don’t know what playing that is!” But
the audience had another object for their attention. The side door of
the stage had opened, and Jenny Lind, breaking through her accustomed
rule of reserving her personal presence for her own performances, stood
in full view as a listener. The eyes of the audience were on her, but
hers were on the player. She listened with absorbed attention, nodding
approbation at the points of artistic achievement, and, when he closed,
(four thousand people will remember it,) she took a step forward upon
the stage, and beat her gloved hands together with enthusiasm unbounded.
The audience put it down to her generous sympathy for a modest young
stranger; and so, perhaps did the recording angel—with a prophetic
smile!

We are sorry we can give our far-away readers no assistance in their
efforts to form an idea of the Nightingale’s mate. Ladies are good
observers, and one who remembers to have looked to see the effect of
Jenny Lind’s compliment, on the new-comer, tells us he was “a pale,
thin, dreamy, poetical-looking youth.” He will soon be seen and
described, however, if newspapers live; but, meantime, if we were to
give a guess at the sort of man he is, we should begin with one
probability—that he is the most unworldly, unaffected, and
truth-loving, of all the mates that have ever offered to fold wing
beside her. With what she has seen of the world and of the stuff for
husbands, Jenny Lind has probably come round to whence she
started—choosing, like a child, by the instinct of the heart. Her
_Otto_-biography will show how wisely.

The interest in Jenny Lind’s marriage is as varied as it is tender and
respectful. There is scarce a woman in the land, probably, who, if she
felt at liberty to do so, would not send her a bridal token. But there
is more than a sisterly well-wishing, in the general excitement among
her own sex on the subject. The power, in one person, of trying, purely
and to such completeness, the two experiments for happiness—love and
fame—were interesting enough; but it is strange and exciting to see the
usual order reversed—_fame first, and love afterwards_. To turn
unsatisfied from love to fame, has been a common transit in the history
of gifted women. To turn unsatisfied from fame to love—and that, too,
with no volatile caprice of disappointment, but with fame’s most
brimming cup fairly won and fully tasted—is a novelty indeed. Simple
every day love, with such experience on the heart’s record before it,
has never been pictured, even in poetry.

Jenny Lind has genius, and the impulses and sensibilities of genius are
an eternal Spring. She is more right and wise than would seem probable
at a first glance, in marrying one younger than herself. The Summer and
Autumn of a heart that observes the common Seasons of life, will pass
and leave her the younger. Her prospect for happiness seems to us,
indeed, all brightness. The “world without” well tried, and found
wanting—public esteem wherever she may be, and fortune ample and of her
own winning—the tastes of both bride and bridegroom cultured for
delightful appreciation, and the lessons of the school of adversity in
the memory of both—it seems as if “circumstances,” that responsible
committee of happiness, could scarce do more. Frau Goldschmidt will be
happier than Jenny Lind, we venture to predict. God bless her!



                            THE KOSSUTH DAY.


   THE MAGYAR AND THE AZTEC, OR THE TWO EXTREMES OF HUMAN
     DEVELOPMENT.

The great Magyar’s first impression of Broadway—if he was cool enough
to lay it away with tolerable distinctness—will be as peculiar material
for future dream and remembrance as any spectacle in which he could have
taken part. The excessive brilliancy of the weather made a novel portion
of it, to him. They do not see such sunshine nor breathe such elastic
air where the world is older. It was an American day, juicy and
fruity—a slice, full of flavor, from the newly-cut side of a planet
half eaten. But there were features in the pageant, beside, which were
probably new to the Magyar. A town all dressed with flags and
transparencies, and streets crowded with people, he may have been
welcomed by, before. Poles and bunting are easily made enthusiastic, and
so are the crowds afloat in a large city. We went out, for one,
expecting these demonstrations only. What was new—what gave the Magyar
a welcome unforeseen and peculiar—was the two miles of French bonnets
and waving cambric pocket-handkerchiefs through which he passed—two
miles of from three to six-story houses, and every window crowded with
fair faces, and alive with gloved hands waving the perfumed white flags
of individual admiration.

The _ladies_ of America have received Kossuth as their hero—and this is
not a trifle. It might readily have been foreseen, however. The dominant
intellect and purpose that can control the mind of a nation, and the
perseverance that can follow its cause to imprisonment and exile, make a
statesman and patriot worth seeing—even if that were all. But Kossuth
is, _besides_, “potent with sword and pen”—he is, _besides_, eloquent
beyond all living men—he is, _besides_, heroic-looking, courteous and
high-bred—and he is, _besides all this_, a faultless husband and
parent. That he dresses picturesquely in furs and velvet, wears “light
kid gloves” and a moustache, and has a carefully set feather in his hat,
may be disparagements among the men—but not among the ladies. He is, to
them, all that he could be or should be—nothing that he should not be.
And when we remember what the ladies are, in our country—free to read,
and expand in intellect, while their husbands and brothers drudge and
harrow—we can safely repeat what we say above, that the
_lady-constituency_ which welcomed Kossuth to America, and will sustain
him here, is by no means a trifle.

It was really curious, (to leave speculation and confine ourself to
description, that is more amusing,) to be one in the crowd on the
reception day, and observe the character of the enthusiasm. We followed
the carriage of Kossuth, ourself, from the Astor House to Leonard
street—half-a-mile—and can speak of Broadway for that much of his
progress. In this country (where there is no window tax, and every house
is as full of windows as a sieve is full of holes,) the houses look like
flat-sided beehives, to a foreigner’s eye; and the sudden outbreak,
apparently, of every brick with a pocket-handkerchief, as he rode along,
must have seemed to Kossuth very extraordinary. The houses looked hidden
in snowflakes of immense size. It was an aisle between walls of waving
cambric—and, either from the oddity of this phenomenon, or from the
attractive glimpses of the smiles behind them, all eyes were on the
windows and handkerchiefs, none on the sidewalks and soldiers. As far as
we saw, it was a show of elegantly-dressed ladies, throughout; and, of
the beauty and taste of the city, the discriminating Magyar can have
received no indifferent idea. We did not know, (or had “forgotten, in
the press of business,”) that so much loveliness was around us, and we
are very sure that Kossuth will never see so much assembled in any city
of Europe.

The rest of the show—the troops, flags, arches and civic
ceremonies—are over-described in the other papers; and, of Kossuth
himself we omit any special mention till we have seen him closer and
heard him speak. In our next number, perhaps, we shall be able to
portray him for our distant readers, with some material for accuracy.

At the same time that the “_greatest_ specimen of humanity” was thus
passing in triumph on one side of the Park, the _smallest_ specimen of
humanity was comfortably lodged upon the other. We crossed over—partly
to astonish the same ten minutes with a sight of the two extremes of
human nature, (contrasts so help one to realize things,) and partly in
the way of humble servant to our readers, for whom we are bound to take
every means to be astonished—and called upon the =Aztec
Children=, at the Clinton. We will precede our account of the
visit, by a sketch of the facts concerning them, which we find in the
_Evening Post_:

    “The two children of the South American race, commonly called
    the Aztec Children, have recently been brought to this city.
    They are altogether the most remarkable specimens of the human
    species we have seen—decidedly human, yet so variant from the
    common type of our race, so peculiar in conformation of
    features, in size, attitude and gesture, that they impress one
    at first with a feeling for which surprise is hardly the true
    name. One can hardly help at first looking upon them as
    belonging to the race of gnomes with which the superstition of
    former times once peopled the chambers of the earth—a tradition
    which some have referred to the existence of an ancient race, of
    diminutive stature, dwelling in caverns, and structures of
    unhewn stones, which have long since disappeared.

    “The race to which they appear to belong—with precisely the
    remarkable conformation of skull—has hitherto been thought to
    be extinct. That it did once exist, and was a numerous and
    populous race, is proved, not so much by the sculptures of
    Yucatan—though these furnish corroborative proof—as by the
    skulls found in the ancient burial places of Peru and Brazil.
    These skulls have much occupied the attention of ethnologists,
    to whom they have furnished arguments and difficulties in the
    controversy concerning the unity of the human race. Until now,
    however, it has been agreed that no living sample of this
    extraordinary variety was remaining on the surface of the globe.

    “The manner in which these specimens of a race supposed no
    longer to exist have been procured, is related in a pamphlet
    just printed, entitled ‘A Memoir of an Eventful Expedition in
    Central America,’ partly compiled and partly translated from the
    Spanish of Pedro Velasquez, of San Salvador. Our readers will
    remember the account given in Stevens’s Travels in Central
    America, of a large city among the mountains of Central America,
    inhabited by a race which had never been subdued by the white
    man, and the inhabitants of which slew every white man who
    penetrated into their country.

    “Two young men, Mr. Huertis, of Baltimore, and Mr. Hammond, a
    civil engineer, of Upper Canada, determined to visit this city.
    They landed at Balize, in the autumn of 1848, and proceeded to
    Copan, where they were joined by Velasquez, the author of the
    narrative. He accompanied them to Santa Cruz del Quiche, where
    the curate lived who gave Mr. Stevens the account of the
    mysterious and inaccessible city, the white limits of which he
    had seen from the mountains, glittering in the sun.

    “They obtained a guide, climbed the mountains, and were rewarded
    with a view of the city—the city of Ivimaya. It was of vast
    dimensions, with lofty walls and domes of temples. They were not
    permitted to enter, however, without fighting for it, and an
    engagement took place between the inhabitants and the visiters,
    in which the former, who were without the use of fire-arms, were
    worsted, and consented to admit the strangers into the city.

    “It was not expected, however, that the guests would ever leave
    the city, and accordingly they were carefully watched. Hammond
    died at Iximaya, but Huertis and Velasquez made their escape,
    carrying with them two orphan children—the children who are now
    in this city—of the ancient priestly race, who are described in
    the following paragraph—

        “The place of residence assigned to our travellers, was
        the vacant wing of a spacious and sumptuous structure at
        the western extremity of the city, which had been
        appropriated, from time immemorial, to the surviving
        remnant of an ancient and singular order of priesthood,
        called Kaanas, which it was distinctly asserted, in
        their annals and traditions, had accompanied the first
        migration of this people from the Assyrian plains. Their
        peculiar and strongly distinctive lineaments, it is now
        perfectly well ascertained are to be traced in many of
        the sculptured monuments of the central American ruins,
        and were found still more abundantly on those of
        Iximaya. Forbidden, by inviolably sacred laws, from
        intermarrying with any persons but those of their own
        caste, they had dwindled down in the course of many
        centuries, to a few insignificant individuals,
        diminutive in stature, and imbecile in intellect. They
        were, nevertheless, held in high veneration and
        affection by the whole Iximayan community, probably as
        living specimens of an antique race so nearly extinct.
        Their position, as an order of priesthood, it is now
        known, had not been higher, for many ages, if ever, than
        that of religious mimes and bacchanals in a certain
        class of pagan ceremonies, highly popular with the
        multitude.”

Shown, unannounced, into a private room where these Aztec children were
playing, we came upon them rather suddenly. The surprise was mostly on
our own part, however. Two strange-looking little creatures jumped up
from the floor and ran to shake hands with us, then darted quickly to a
washstand and seized comb and hair-brush to give to the attendant, that
they might be made presentable to strangers—and, with the entire
novelty of the impression, we were completely taken aback. If we had
been suddenly dropped upon another planet and had rang at the first door
we came to, we should not have expected to see things more peculiar.
There was nothing monstrous in their appearance. They were not even
miraculously small. But they were of an entirely new type—a kind of
human being which we had never before seen—with physiognomies formed by
descent through ages of thought and association of which we had no
knowledge—moving, observing and gesticulating differently from all
other children—and somehow, with an unexplainable look of authenticity
and conscious priority, as if _they_ were of the “old family” of human
nature, and _we_ were the mushrooms of to-day. Their size and form—but
we will save labor by copying a literal description of their appearance
from the _Journal of Commerce_:—

    “The race of priests to which they belong is supposed to have
    become Lilliputian by the degeneracy which results from limiting
    intermarriage to those of their own caste. The specimens brought
    here are perfect in form, though slight. Maximo, the boy, is
    only thirty-three inches in height, and Bartola, the girl, three
    or four inches shorter. Their ages can only be conjectured, but
    there are indications of maturity about the boy, that are
    seldom, if ever, witnessed at so early an age as twelve. The
    girl is supposed to be about nine. Their skin is of the Indian
    hue, hair and eyes jet black, the latter, large, brilliant and
    expressive. The hair is wavy and very beautiful. Their neat
    little figures were exhibited to great advantage, in black
    stockinet dresses, fitting closely to their bodies and limbs,
    and short fanciful tunics. They received us with easy gayety.
    Indeed, they seem to have perfect confidence in all who approach
    them. Nothing restrains their lively, juvenile propensities.
    They seemed to derive infinite amusement from their tin cups,
    presenting them, as in giving water, to all who were present,
    and finally to the cane on which they seemed to think it fun
    alive to ride horseback fashion. They are exceedingly docile and
    affectionate, and the little girl seemed quite emulous of
    receiving as much notice as her companion. Their heads are
    singularly formed—the forehead forming nearly a straight line
    with the nose, and receding to an apex which it forms with the
    back of the head—strikingly similar to the sculptured figures
    on Central American monuments. Nor are they less peculiar in
    their manners and carriage. In general, their attitudes exhibit
    perfect grace; but we noticed that whenever the boy sat upon the
    floor, as he frequently did, he invariably sat upon the inside
    of his legs and thighs, bending his knees outwards, and forming
    with his legs on the floor the letter W inverted. This attitude
    we have frequently seen exhibited in drawings from Egyptian
    sculptures.”

You do not charge to the original race, as you look at these little
creatures, either their diminutive size, or their deficiency of room for
brain. The type of a noble breed is in the aquiline nose and soft
lustrous eye, and in the symmetrical frame and peculiar and
indescribable _presence_; and, while you remember the intermarriage by
which they have been kept sacred, and become thus homœopathic in size,
you cannot but feel that the essence is still there, and the quality
still recognizable and potent. With little intelligence, and skulls of
such shape that no hope can be entertained of their being ever
self-relying or responsible, they still inspire an indefinable feeling
of interest, and a deference for the something they vaguely
after-shadow.

We sat a half hour, studying these little wonders. The little girl,
Bartola, held our hand, and looked us full in the eye with affectionate
confidingness, while the boy backed in between the open knees of our
partner, Gen. Morris, and signified his wish, with the careless
authority of a little Emperor, to be taken into the lap. With no words
of their own, they understood what the attendant said to them, and
seemed to be relieved of their loneliness by our company. A band of
music approaching while we were there, the little Aztecs showed the
greatest excitement. We held the boy up to the window while the military
company went by, and his little kitten frame trembled and jumped
nervously to the measure of the march—music happily being of no
language, and stirring brains of all stages of progress, from Kossuth’s,
at the noon of a race’s developement, to the Iximayan’s, in its fading
twilight.

Our readers will not expect, in our columns, the details of Kossuth’s
Progress, nor a literal report of his speeches. They overwhelm even the
double sheets of the daily papers. But we shall chronicle a distinct
outline of his movements, and see that the readers of the _Home Journal_
lose none of the _ideas_, either of his producing or suggesting. He has
begun with magnificent frankness and boldness, and is unquestionably a
magnanimous and admirable man, equal to, and embarked upon, a great
errand. We wish him success—not with the legislators, but with the
_dollars_ of our country. _Money enough will set Hungary free._ We trust
the enlistment of these gold and silver recruits will be organized and
in progress while his eloquence is thundering an accompaniment. Many
ways will be devised for raising contributions. Let us close our present
remarks by _proposing one_—as a natural sequent to the peculiarity of
which we have spoken in his reception. The Magyar’s _lady constituency_
in America—each one giving but the price of a pair of gloves—a dollar
from each of the fair admirers of Kossuth and his cause—might, almost
of itself, secure the independence of Hungary. The dollars are willing
and waiting—who can doubt? Will not some ruling spirit devise a way to
reach and enrol them?



                         NEAR VIEW OF KOSSUTH.


The eye has opinions of its own. Pour into the mind, by all its other
avenues, the most minute and authentic knowledge of a man, and, when you
_see him_, your opinion is more or less changed or modified. This is our
apology for adding another to the numberless descriptions of Kossuth.
Having been favored with an opportunity to stand near him during the
delivery of one of his most stirring speeches, we found that our
previous impression of him was altered, or, rather, perhaps, somewhat
added to. Trifling as the difference of our view from that of others may
be, Kossuth is a star about whom the astronomy can scarce be too minute;
and our distant readers, who are in the habit of hearing of new planets
from us, may be willing to see how also the Magyar looks, through the
small telescope of our quill.

With our distant readers mainly in view, we shall be excused for
describing Kossuth’s surroundings, as well as himself, with a
particularity unnecessary for the city reader.

It has been difficult, without some official errand, to approach near
enough to the Magyar to distinguish the finer lines of his face, and we
were beginning to despair of this privilege when the Delegation arrived
from Baltimore, and, from friends among them, we received an invitation
to go in at the presentation of the _silver book_. This, we may
anticipatorily explain, was the “freedom of the city” in a written
address, of folio size, and bound between two leaves of massive silver;
the whole enclosed in a case of red velvet. It was suitably and
creditably magnificent; and its history would not all be told without
mentioning that it received a kiss from Madame Kossuth—Mr. Brantz Mayer
having mindfully and courteously presented it to that lady—the
Governor’s Secretary insisting on taking charge of it—and she refusing
to release it before pressing it to her lips. Baltimore’s blood will
warm with the compliment.

On reaching the Irving House at the hour when the silver book was to be
presented, we found the hotel in a state of siege, inside and out.
Broadway was packed with people, and the staircases of the hotel were
hardly passable. One Hungarian officer, in brilliant uniform, stood
sentry at the drawing-room door, and here and there a Magyar hat, with
its go-against-the-wind-looking black feather, wound through the crowd;
but by the numerous “highly respectables” in body coats and important
expressions of countenance, there were evidently uncounted Committees
waiting to get audience _within_, while flags and bands of music
indicated the more popular deputations whose hopes were on the balcony
_without_.

There seemed little chance of any special reception by the Magyar, when
Howard sent word that he could give the Baltimore Delegation his own
private parlor, where Kossuth would presently come to them. We took
advantage of the “presently” to get a look into the street, from one of
the front windows. It was a sea of upturned faces, with hats all falling
one way, like shadows—Kossuth the light. He stood on the balcony. The
many colored flags of the “European Democracy” throbbed over the
crowd—Italians, Germans, Frenchmen, Poles—the refugees of all nations
standing gazing on the prophet of Liberty. It was a scene, and had a
meaning, for history. Yet it was but the _one hour’s event, in a day all
occupied with such_. A band of one hundred of the clergy had linked an
imperishable testimonial to _the hour before_. The reply to the
Baltimore Delegation contained truths that will radiate through all time
_from the hour after_. Truly, a man’s life may be so high and so deep,
that, to measure it by its length, is meaningless.

The Baltimoreans made their way to the room appointed, which was
immediately crowded by privileged spectators, and reporters for the
press, with a small party of ladies in the corner. We were kindly urged
to take our place directly behind Judge Le Grand, who was the central
figure of the Delegation group, and, as Kossuth stood but four or five
feet distant, during his reply to the addresses, and with his eye upon
the Judge almost unvaryingly, we were so fortunate as to see him with
every advantage of the closest observation.

Madam Kossuth was presently introduced with Madam Pulzky, her companion,
and seated a little in advance of the lady spectators. She is an
invalid, pale and slightly bent—her figure fragile, and her expression
of face a mingled imprint of bodily suffering and conscious belonging to
greatness. Her countenance, we observed, though earnestly attentive, was
profoundly tranquil, alike through the more even flow of her husband’s
eloquence and its overwhelming and impassioned outbreaks.

The crowd near the door parted at last, and Kossuth entered. The
gentleman on whose arm he leaned led him to the centre of the room, and
presented him to the Delegation.

The reader must remember the tumultuous scene, of which Kossuth had been
the centre a moment before, when we say that he entered and was
presented to the Committee, with a face as calm as if he had just risen
from his morning prayer. He bowed, with grave and deliberate deference,
at each introduction. It had been communicated to the gentlemen in the
room, that, from the injury of movement to his chest after the
hemorrhage of the morning, he must be excused from shaking hands, and he
bowed only—assuming the attitude of a listener, with an immediate
earnestness which showed that he felt little strength for more than the
main purpose of the interview. He stood in the centre of the room,
motionless, and the reading of the Addresses proceeded.

The surprise of a man who had placed himself at a window to watch for
the coming of a stranger, but discovers, after a while, that the
stranger has been for some time enjoying the welcome of the household
within, may vaguely express the feeling to which we awoke, after looking
for five minutes at Kossuth. He had been, from the first instant, in
full possession of our heart, and yet the eyes that we had set to
scrutinize him had not noted a single feature. It was the strongest
instance we had ever experienced, of what we knew to be true, by lesser
examples, that the soul, _with neighborhood only_, makes recognitions of
what could neither be painted nor sculptured, neither uttered nor
written. His mere _presence_ opened to him the door, told who he was,
and set the heart, like Mary, to the washing of his feet. We loved and
revered the man—why, or with what beginning or progress, we could not
have explained. But—let us describe what we afterwards called upon the
eye to take note of.

Kossuth is of medium height, with hollow chest and the forward-brought
shoulders of a sedentary life. His head is set firmly, not proudly or
aristocratically erect, upon his neck. He stood so long and so
tranquilly immovable in single postures, that it raised a question in
our mind whether he could be of the nervous construction which men of
great intellect oftenest are; and, on looking at the hand, that tablet
of nervous action, we saw that he was not. The broad smooth back of it
was unwritten with needless suffering, and the thumb joint projected,
like that of a man used to manual labor. It was a hand, had we seen its
like elsewhere, from whose owner we should have expected nothing more
poetical or heroic than a well-considered vote. We found a subsequent
confirmation of this, we may mention, in the singular immovableness of
the sockets, and lids of his eyes, during the eloquent outpourings of
his heart which followed. When his lips were compressed, and a quivering
movement in his chin showed that emotion was restrained with difficulty,
his eye was immovably serene, and its largely spread lids were as
tranquil as the sky around a moon unclouded. We were strongly impressed
with these outer signs of the two natures of Kossuth. He has a heart
like other men—his exquisitely moulded chin and lips of exceeding
physical beauty and expression sufficiently show. But, from all that can
reach these, his intellect is islanded away. The upper part of his face
is calmly separate, not only from the movement, but from the look, of
emotion. It is a mind unreachable by nerves—a brain that thinks on, as
the sun pursues its way across the heavens, unhindered by the clouds
that may gather beneath. A face, in the lower part of which, sensuous
beauty is so remarkably complete—and, around the temples, and beneath
the brow of which, is so stamped the divine impress of an intellect high
above weakness and human by limit only—we had never before seen.

It was quite evident that Kossuth had entered the room, simply to fulfil
a duty—feeling unequal to it, from his illness of the morning and the
fatigues he had already undergone—and with no idea of making more than
the briefest acknowledgment of courtesy for what he should hear from the
Committee. Even his dress showed that he was not prepared for “an
occasion.” He wore a brown cut-away coat, (which must have been selected
for him by a waiter, sent to a ready made clothes shop with a verbal
description of the gentleman to be fitted,) a black waistcoat buttoned
to the throat, no shirt visible, and trousers of uninfluenceable
salt-and-pepper. That the mien and bearing of an Oriental gentleman, as
well as the dignity of a prophet, were as fully and impressively
recognizable through these Edward-P.-Fox-ables, as through the braided
cloak and under the black plume of the Magyar, is a standard, though a
homely one, by which some may be helped to an estimate of the man.

We have seen repeated mention of the “perpetual smile” of Kossuth. This
conveys a wrong impression. He may smile often and easily when receiving
introductions or bowing to the cheers of a crowd; but it is a
demonstration which, habitually, he keeps very much in reserve, and
which, of all the visible weapons of his eloquence, is the most rarely
and aptly introduced, the most captivating and effective. We are
inclined to think his heavy mustache accidentally favors this, by aiding
the unexpectedness of the smile, and by leaving its fading glow to the
imagination—but, at moments when the lips of another orator would be
cloud-wrapt in the darkest expression of solemnity, a gleam, like the
breaking away for a transfiguration, comes suddenly over the lips of
Kossuth—as beautiful and inspired a smile certainly as was ever seen on
the face of a human being—and the effect is in the peculiar triumph
that he achieves. Love irresistibly follows conviction.

As we said before, Kossuth had evidently no idea of making the speech
which was drawn from him by the Baltimore Delegation—drawn from him, we
think, by the superior cast of the gentlemen who formed it, and by the
fitness, both of the manner and accompaniments of the honors they paid
him. He spoke altogether extemporaneously, and with difficulty and
hesitation, at first; but, with one or two brilliant and successful
illustrations, his words grew more fluent, and, in the following
passage, he became fully and gloriously aroused. It was the first
mention he had yet made to the world of his intention to return to
Hungary _a soldier_!

    “As for the future, I shall devote my life to the resurrection
    of my native land. I will endeavor to wrest Hungary from the
    power of tyrants and despots, to procure for her her sovereign
    rights, and the fundamental rights which belong to every nation.
    Should Providence assign me a place in the accomplishment of
    these great designs, I will take care that they shall receive no
    injury from me. I will here remark that I have always been
    extremely anxious not to assume or take upon my humble shoulders
    any duty which I had not a positive conviction would not answer
    me, or which I could not perform. Though I was never in actual
    military service, I was ready to help my country in every way I
    could. I was not able to be in every place at the same time, and
    I had not the boldness to take the practical direction of the
    military operations because I feared I was not sufficiently
    familiar with military tactics to do so. I thought that if it so
    happened that any thing should go amiss, and my people be
    defeated, that I should not only be condemned by my countrymen,
    but that my conscience would torture me with the feeling, that
    if I had not undertook to do a thing which I did not understand,
    the fall of my country would not have taken place. This was my
    conviction. _I was not master of the practice and strategy of
    war, and I gave the cause of my country thus far into other
    hands._ I have seen that cause destroyed, and become a failure,
    and I weep for my country, not for my own misfortunes. _Since I
    have been in exile I have endeavored to improve my intellect
    from the movements of the past, and to prepare myself for the
    future_, and I rely on my people, whose confidence in me is not
    shaken by my misfortunes, nor broken by my calumniators, who
    have misrepresented me. _I have had all in my own hands once,
    and if I get in the same position again, I will act._ I will not
    become a Napoleon nor an Alexander, and labor for the sake of my
    own ambition, but I will labor for freedom.”

These are not his words, though they embody the sentiments expressed.
His own language was as much finer, and as different from this, as a
poem is from its story told in prose. The reporters are not to blame,
taking their notes standing amid a crowd as they do—but, (let us say
here,) the public should give Kossuth credit for incomparably more
eloquent speeches than they read. An admirable passage, left out in what
we have quoted, for instance, followed the allusion he made to his
disappointment in Gœrgey, the traitor, the shock it gave to his belief
in the power of one man to read the soul of another, and the lonely
_trust in himself only_, to which it had driven him. To the words and
the manner with which he repeated the declaration that he _believed in
himself_, we do not think we shall ever hear the parallel for impressive
eloquence. Those who heard it would believe in Kossuth—against the
testimony of angels.

Kossuth is too heroic a man to be over-cautious; and, from the kind of
freshly impulsive and chivalric energy with which he spoke of holding
the army in his own hand on his return, we were impressed with the idea
that this evidently unpremeditated giving of shape to his thought for
the future had another element in its momentum. _It was the reading
aloud of a newly turned over leaf of his nature._ In prison, he says, he
prepared himself for the next struggle of Hungary by making “the science
and strategy of war” a study. Profound and careful, of course, must be
the _theory_ of war—but its _practice_ is with trumpet and banner; and
ever so abstruse though the _tactics_ are, they are tried even for the
holiest cause, with those accompaniments, of personal daring and danger,
which have, to all lofty minds, a charm irresistible. Of the statesman
and hero united in Kossuth, the _statesman_ has been more wanted,
hitherto—but there is a call, now, for the _hero_—and, if he betrays
joy and eagerness long suppressed, (as we mean to say he did,) in
answering that he is ready, what American will “wish he had been more
careful?”

In farther illustration of what we are saying, the reader will permit us
to change the scene of our sketch, and speak of Kossuth as we saw him
more recently—addressing the five thousand of our soldiery in the
amphitheatre of Castle Garden. It was not, _there_, the pale, carelessly
dressed, and slightly bent invalid of the few days before. Oh no!
Neither in mien nor in dress would he have been recognized by the
picture we have drawn of him, above. The scene was enough to inspire him
it is true. Five thousand brilliantly equipped men—with but one thought
under every plume and belt, and that thought the cause whose highest
altar was in his own bosom—were marshalled beneath his glance, waiting
breathlessly to hear him. His look, that night, will never be forgot, by
those who saw it. He wore a black velvet frock with standing collar, and
buttons of jet—the single ornament being the slender belt of gold about
his waist, holding a sword gracefully to his side. The marked simplicity
of this elegant dress made his figure distinguished among the brilliant
uniforms of the officers upon the stage; but his countenance, as he
became animated, and walked to and fro before that magnificently arrayed
audience, was the idealization of a look to inspire armies. When Captain
French (to whom we make our admiring compliments) rose in the far
gallery, and insisted on being heard, while he offered a thousand
dollars from the Fusileers to the cause, would any one have doubted that
the life’s blood of those fine fellows _would have come as easy_, with
opportunity?

We stop with this mere description. The Kossuth questions are discussed
sufficiently elsewhere. Our object has been to aid the distant reader in
imagining the personal appearance of the man whose thoughts of lightning
reach them, gleaming gloriously even through the clouds of impoverished
language on which they travel. We close with a prayer—_God keep Kossuth
to take the field for Hungary!_



                       DEATH OF LADY BLESSINGTON.


The Parisian correspondent of the _London Morning Post_ thus makes the
first mention of this unexpected event:—

    “We have all been much shocked this afternoon by the sudden
    death of Lady Blessington. Her ladyship dined yesterday with the
    Duchess de Grammont, and returned home late in her usual health
    and spirits. In the course of this morning she felt unwell, and
    her homœopathic medical adviser, Dr. Simon, was sent for. After
    a short consultation, the doctor announced that his patient was
    dying of apoplexy, and his sad prediction was unhappily verified
    but too rapidly, as her ladyship expired in his arms about an
    hour and a half ago.”

We doubt whether a death could have taken place, in private life, in
Europe, that would have made a more vivid sensation than this, or have
been more sincerely regretted. Indeed, a possessor of more power, in its
most attractive shape, could hardly have been named, in life public or
private—for the extent of Lady Blessington’s friendships with
distinguished men of every nation, quality, character, rank and creed,
was without a parallel. Her friends were carefully chosen—but, once
admitted to her intimacy, they never were neglected and never lessened
in their attachment to her. She has a circle of mourners, at this
moment, in which there is more genius, more distinction, and more
sincere sorrowing, than has embalmed a name within the lapse of a
century. Noblemen, statesmen, soldiers, church-dignitaries, poets and
authors, artists, actors, musicians, bankers,—a galaxy of the best of
their different stations and pursuits—have received, with tears at the
door of the heart, the first intelligence of her death.

The deceased will have a biographer—no doubt an able and renowned one.
Bulwer, who enjoyed her friendship as intimately, perhaps, for the last
ten years of her life, as any other man, might describe her best, and is
not likely to leave, undone, a task so obviously his own. Without hoping
to anticipate, at all, the portraiture, by an abler hand, of this
remarkable woman, we may venture to send to our readers this first
announcement of her death, accompanied with such a sketch of her
qualities of mind and heart as our own memory, of the acquaintance we
had the privilege of enjoying, enables us easily to draw.

Lady Blessington, as her writings show, was not a woman of genius in the
creative sense of the term. She has originated nothing that would, of
itself, have made a mark upon the age she lived in. Her peculiarity lay
in the curiously felicitous combination of the best qualities of the two
sexes, in her single character as it came from nature. She had the cool
common sense and intrepid unsubserviency which together give a man the
best social superiority, and she had the tact, the delicacy and the
impassioned devotedness which are essentials in the finest compounds of
woman. She did not know what fear was,—either of persons or of
opinions,—and it was as like herself when she shook her gloved fist in
defiance at the mob in Whitehall, on their threatening to break her
carriage windows if she drove through, as it was to return to London
after her long residence on the continent, and establish herself as the
centre of a society from which her own sex were excluded. Under more
guarded and fortunate circumstances of early life, and had she attained
“the age of discretion” before taking any decided step, she would
probably have been one of those guiding stars of _individualism_, in
common life, alike peculiar, admirable and irreproachable.

Lady Blessington’s generous estimate of _what services were due in
friendship_—her habitual conduct in such relations amounting to a
romantic chivalry of devotedness—bound to her with a naturalness of
affection not very common in that class of life, those who formed the
circle of her intimacy. She did not wait to be solicited. Her tact and
knowledge of the world enabled her to understand, with a truth that
sometimes seemed like divination, the position of a friend at the
moment—his hopes and difficulties, his wants and capabilities. She had
a much larger influence than was generally supposed, with persons in
power, who were not of her known acquaintance, many an important spring
of political and social movement was unsuspectedly within her control.
She could aid ambition, promote literary distinction, remove
difficulties in society which she did not herself frequent, serve
artists, harmonize and prevent misunderstandings, and give valuable
counsel on almost any subject that could come up in the career of a man,
with a skill and a control of resources of which few had any idea. Many
a one of her brilliant and unsurpassed dinners had a kindly object which
its titled guests little dreamed of, but which was not forgotten for a
moment, amid the wit and eloquence that seemed so purposeless and
impulsive. On some errand of good will to others, her superb equipage,
the most faultless thing of its kind in the world, was almost invariably
bound, when gazed after in the streets of London. Princes and noblemen,
(who, as well as poets and artists, have aims which need the devotion of
friendship,) were the objects of her watchful aid and ministration; and
we doubt, indeed, whether any woman lived, who was so valuable a friend
to so many, setting aside the high careers that were influenced among
them, and the high station and rank that were befriended with no more
assiduity than lesser ambitions and distinctions.

The conversation, at the table in Gore House, was allowed to be the most
brilliant in Europe, but Lady Blessington herself seldom took the lead
in it. Her manners were such as to put every one at his ease, and her
absolute tact at suggestion and change of topics, made any one shine who
had it in him, when she chose to call it forth. She had the display of
her guests as completely under her hand as the pianist his keys; and,
forgetful of herself—giving the most earnest and appreciative attention
to others—she seemed to desire no share in the happiness of the hour
except that of making each, in his way, show to advantage. If there was
any impulse of her mind to which she gave way with a feeling of
carelessness, it was to the love of humor in her Irish nature, and her
mirthfulness at such moments, was most joyously unrestrained and
natural.

In 1835, when we first saw Lady Blessington, she confessed to forty, and
was then exceedingly handsome. Her beauty, it is true, was more in pose
and demeanor than in the features of her face, but she produced the full
impression of great beauty. Her mouth was the very type of freshness and
frankness. The irregularity of her nose gave a vivacity to her
expression, and her thin and pliant nostrils added a look of spirit
which was unmistakable, but there was a steady penetration in the
character of her eye which threw a singular earnestness and sincerity
over all. Like Victoria, Tom Moore, the Duke of Wellington and Grisi,
she sat tall—her body being longer in proportion than her limbs—and,
probably from some little sensitiveness on this point, she was seldom
seen walking. Her grace of posture in her carriage struck the commonest
observer, and, seated at her table, or in the gold and satin arm-chair
in her drawing room, she was majestically elegant and dignified. Of the
singular beauty of her hands and arms, celebrated as they were in poetry
and sculpture, she seemed at least unconscious, and used them
carelessly, gracefully and expressively, in the gestures of
conversation. At the time we speak of, she was in perfect maturity
portion and figure, but beginning, even then, to conceal, by a peculiar
cap, the increasing fullness under her chin. Her natural tendency to
plethora was not counteracted by exercise, and when we saw her last, two
years ago, she was exceedingly altered from her former self, and had
evidently given up to an indolence of personal habits which has since
ended in apoplexy and death.

There is an ignorance with regard to the early history of this
distinguished woman, and a degree of misrepresentation in the popular
report of her life in later years, which a simple statement of the
outline of her career will properly correct. Her death takes away from
her friends the freedom of speaking carelessly of her faults, but it
binds them, also, to guard her memory as far as Truth can do it, from
injustice and perversion.

Lady Blessington’s maiden name was Margaret Power. She was born in
Ireland, the daughter of the printer and editor of the _Clonmel Herald_,
and up to the age of twelve or fourteen, (as we once heard her say) had
hardly worn a shoe or been in a house where there was a carpet. At this
age of her girlhood, however, she and her sister (who was afterwards
Lady Canterbury) were fancied by a family of wealthy old maids, to whom
they were distantly related, and taken to a home where they proved apt
scholars in the knowledge of luxury and manners. On their return to
Clonmel, two young girls of singular beauty, they became at once the
attraction of a dashing English regiment newly stationed there, and
Margaret was soon married to an officer by the name of Farmer. From this
hasty connection, into which she was crowded by busy and ambitious
friends, sprang all the subsequent canker of her life. Her husband
proved to be liable to temporary insanity, and, at best, was cruel and
capricious. Others were kinder and more attentive. She was but sixteen.
Flying from her husband who was pursuing her with a pistol in his hand
to take her life, she left her home, and, in the retreat where she took
refuge, was found by a wealthy and accomplished officer, who had long
been her admirer, and whose “protection” she now fatally accepted.

With this gentleman, Captain Jenkinson, she lived four years in complete
seclusion. His return to dissipated habits, at the end of that time,
destroyed his fortune and brought about a separation; and, her husband,
meantime, having died, she received an offer of marriage from Lord
Blessington, who was then a widower with one daughter. She refused the
offer, at first, from delicate motives, easily understood: but it was at
last pressed on her acceptance, and she married and went abroad.

Received into the best society of the continent at once, and with her
remarkable beauty and her husband’s enormous wealth, entering upon a
most brilliant career, she became easily an accomplished woman of the
world, and readily supplied for herself, any deficiencies in her early
education. It was during this first residence in Paris that Lord
Blessington became exceedingly attached to Count Alfred D’Orsay, the
handsomest and most talented young nobleman of France. Determined not to
be separated from one he declared he could not live without, he
affianced his daughter to him, persuaded his father to let him give up
his commission in the army, and fairly adopted him into his family to
share his fortune with him as a son. They soon left Paris for Italy, and
at Genoa fell in with Lord Byron, who was a friend of Lord
Blessington’s, and with whom they made a party, for residence in that
beautiful climate, the delightful socialities of which are well
described in her Ladyship’s “Conversations.”

A year or two afterwards, Lord Blessington’s daughter came to him from
school, and was married to Count D’Orsay at Naples. The union proved
inharmonious, and they separated, after living but a year together. Lord
Blessington died soon after, and, on Lady Blessington’s return to
England, the Count rejoined her, and they formed but one household till
her death.

It was this residence of Lord Blessington’s widow and her son-in-law
under the same roof—he, meantime, separated from his wife, Lady Harriet
D’Orsay—which, by the English code of appearances in morals,
compromised the position of Lady Blessington. She chose to disregard
public opinion, where it interfered with what she deliberately made up
her mind was best, and, disdaining to explain or submit, guarded against
slight or injury, by excluding from her house all who would condemn her,
viz:—her own sex. Yet all who knew her and her son-in-law, were
satisfied that it was a useful and, indeed, absolutely necessary
arrangement for _him_—her strict business habits, practical good sense,
and the protection of her roof, being an indispensable safeguard to his
personal liberty and fortunes—and that this need of serving him and the
strongest and most disinterested friendship were _her_ only motives,
every one was completely sure who knew them at all. By those intimate at
her house, including the best and greatest men of England, Lady
Blessington was held in unqualified respect, and no shadow even of
suspicion, thrown over her life of widowhood. She had many entreaties
from her own sex to depart from her resolve and interchange visits, and
we chanced to be at her house, one morning, when a note was handed to
her from one of the most distinguished noble ladies of England, making
such a proposal. We saw the reply. It expressed, with her felicitous
tact, a full appreciation of the confidence and kindness of the note she
had received, but declined its request, from an unwillingness to place
herself in any position where she might, by the remotest possibility,
suffer from doubt or injustice. She persevered in this to the end of her
life, a few relatives and one or two intimates of her continental
acquaintance being the only ladies seen at her house. When seized with
her last illness, she had been dining with Count D’Orsay’s sister, the
beautiful Duchess de Grammont.

Faulty as a portion of Lady Blessington’s life may have been, we doubt
whether a woman has lived, in her time, who did so many actions of
truest kindness, and whose life altogether was so benevolently and
largely instrumental for the happiness of others. With the circumstances
that bore upon her destiny, with her beauty, her fascination and her
boundless influence over all men who approached her, she might easily,
almost excusably, have left a less worthy memory to fame. Few in their
graves, now, deserve a more honoring remembrance.



                       MOORE AND BARRY CORNWALL.


Well—how does Moore write a song?

In the twilight of a September evening he strolls through the park to
dine with the marquis. As he draws on his white gloves, he sees the
evening star looking at him steadily through the long vista of the
avenue, and he construes its punctual dispensation of light into a
reproach for having, himself a star, passed a day of poetic idleness.
“Damme,” soliloquizes the little fat planet, “this will never do! Here
have I hammered the whole morning at a worthless idea, that, with the
mere prospect of a dinner, shows as trumpery as a ‘penny fairing.’ Labor
wasted! And at my time of life, too! Faith!—it’s dining at home these
two days with nobody to drink with me! It’s eyewater I want! Don’t
trouble yourself to sit up for me, brother Hesper! I shall see clearer
when I come back!

                         ‘Bad are the rhymes
                          That scorn old wine.’

as my friend Barry sings. Poetry? hum! Claret? Prithee, call it claret!”

And Moore is mistaken! He draws his inspiration, it is true, with the
stem of a glass between his thumb and finger, but the wine is the least
stimulus to his brain. _He talks and is listened to admiringly_, and
that is his Castaly. He sits next to Lady Fanny at dinner, who thinks
him an “adorable little love,” and he employs the first two courses in
making her in love with herself, i. e., blowing everything she says up
to the red heat of poetry. Moore can do this, for the most stupid things
on earth are, after all, the beginnings of ideas, and every fool is
susceptible of the flattery of seeing the words go straight from his
lips to the “highest heaven of invention.” And Lady Fanny is not a fool,
but a quick and appreciative woman, and to almost everything she says,
the poet’s _trump_ is a germ of poetry. “Ah!” says Lady Fanny with a
sigh, “this will be a memorable dinner—not to you, but to me; for you
see pretty women every day, but I seldom see Tom Moore!” The poet looks
into Lady Fanny’s eyes and makes no immediate answer. Presently she
asks, with a delicious look of simplicity, “Are you as agreeable to
everybody, Mr. Moore?”—“There is but one Lady Fanny,” replies the poet;
“or, _to use your own_ beautiful simile, ‘The moon sees many brooks, but
the brook sees but one moon!’” (Mem. jot that down.) And so is treasured
up _one_ idea for the morrow, and when the marchioness rises, and the
ladies follow her to the drawing-room, Moore finds himself sandwiched
between a couple of whig lords, and opposite a past or future
premier—an audience of cultivation, talent, scholarship, and
appreciation; and as the fresh pitcher of claret is passed round, all
regards radiate to the Anacreon of the world, and with that sanction of
expectation, let alone Tom Moore. Even our “Secretary of the Navy and
National Songster” would “turn out his lining”—such as it is. And Moore
is delightful, and with his “As you say, my lord!” he gives birth to a
constellation of bright things, no one of which is dismissed with the
claret. Every one at the table, except Moore, is subject to the hour—to
its enthusiasm, its enjoyment—but the hour is to Moore a precious
slave. So is the wine. It works for him! It brings him money from
Longman! It plays his trumpet in the reviews! It is his filter among the
ladies! Well may he sing its praises! Of all the poets, Moore is
probably the only one who is thus _master of his wine_. The glorious
_abandon_ with which we fancy him, a brimming glass in his hand, singing
“Fly not yet!” exists only in the fancy. He keeps a cool head and coins
his conviviality; and to revert to my former figure, they who wish to
know what Moore’s electricity amounts to _without_ the convivial
friction, may read his history of Ireland. Not a sparkle in it, from the
landing of the Phœnicians to the battle of Vinegar Hill! He wrote _that_
as other people write—with nothing left from the day before but the
habit of labor—and the travel of a collapsed balloon on a man’s back,
is not more unlike the same thing, inflated and soaring, than Tom Moore,
historian, and Tom Moore, bard!

Somewhere in the small hours the poet walks home, and sitting down
soberly in his little library, he puts on paper the half-score
scintillations that collision, in one shape or another, has struck into
the tinder of his fancy. If read from this paper, the world would
probably think little of their prospect of ever becoming poetry. But the
mysterious part is done—the life is breathed into the chrysalis—and
the clothing of these naked fancies with winged words, Mr. Moore knows
very well can be done in very uninspired moods by patient industry. Most
people have very little idea what that industry is—how deeply language
is ransacked, how often turned over, how untiringly rejected and
recalled with some new combination, how resolutely sacrificed when only
tolerable enough to pass, how left untouched day after day in the hope
of a fresh impulse after repose. The vexation of a Chinese puzzle is
slight, probably, to that which Moore has expended on some of his most
natural and flowing single verses. The exquisite nicety of his ear,
though it eventually gives his poetry its honied fluidity, gives him no
quicker choice of words, nor does more, in any way, than pass inexorable
judgment on what his industry brings forward. Those who think a song
dashed off like an invitation to dinner, would be edified by the
progressive phases of a “Moore’s Melody.” Taken with all its rewritings,
emendations, &c., I doubt whether, in his most industrious seclusion,
Moore averages a couplet a day. Yet this persevering, resolute,
unconquerable patience of labor is the secret of his fame. Take the best
thing he ever wrote, and translate its sentiments and similitudes into
plain prose, and do the thing by a song of any second-rate imitator of
Moore, one abstract would read as well as the other. Yet Moore’s song is
immortal, and the other ephemeral as a paragraph in a newspaper, and the
difference consists in a patient elaboration of language and harmony,
and in that only. And even thus short, _seems_ the space between the
_ephemeron_ and the immortal. But it is wider than they think, oh,
glorious Tom Moore!

And how does Barry Cornwall write?

I answer, from the efflux of his soul! Poetry is not labor to him. He
_works_ at _law_—he plays, relaxes, luxuriates in _poetry_. Mr. Proctor
has at no moment of his life, probably, after finishing a poetic
effusion, designed ever to write another line. No more than the sedate
man, who, walking on the edge of a playground, sees a ball coming
directly towards him, and seized suddenly with a boyish impulse, jumps
aside and sends it whizzing back, as he had not done for twenty years,
with his cane—no more than that unconscious school-boy of fourscore
(thank God there _are_ many such live coals under the ashes) thinks he
shall play again at ball. Proctor is a prosperous barrister, drawing a
large income from his profession. He married the daughter of Basil
Montague (well known as the accomplished scholar, and the friend of
Coleridge, Lamb, and that bright constellation of spirits,) and with a
family of children of whom, the world knows, he is passionately fond, he
leads a more domestic life, or, rather, a life more within himself and
his own, than any author, present or past, with whose habits I am
conversant. He has drawn his own portrait; however, in outline, and as
far as it goes, nothing could be truer. In an epistle to his friend
Charles Lamb, he says:—

             “Seated beside this Sherris wine,
              And near to books and shapes divine,
              Which poets and the painters past
              Have wrought in line that aye shall last,—
              E’en I, with Shakspere’s self beside me,
              And one whose tender talk can guide me
              Through fears and pains and troublous themes,
              Whose smile doth fall upon my dreams
              Like sunshine on a stormy sea,******”

Proctor slights the world’s love for his wife and books, and, as might
be expected, the world only plies him the more with its caresses. He is
now and then seen in the choicest circles of London, where, though love
and attention mark most flatteringly the rare pleasure of his presence,
he plays a retired and silent part, and steals early away. His library
is his Paradise. His enjoyment of literature should be mentioned as
often in his biography as the “feeding among the lilies” in the Songs of
Solomon. He forgets himself, he forgets the world in his favorite
authors, and that, I fancy, was the golden link in his friendship with
Lamb. Surrounded by exquisite specimens of art, (he has a fine taste,
and is much beloved by artists,) a choice book in his hand, his wife
beside him, and the world shut out, Barry is in the meridian of his true
orbit. Oh, then, a more loving and refined spirit is not breathing
beneath the stars! He reads and muses; and as something in the pages
stirs some distant association, suggests some brighter image than its
own, he half leans over to the table, and scrawls it in unstudied but
inspired verse. He thinks no more of it. You might have it to light your
cigar. But there sits by his side one who knows its value, and it is
treasured. Here, for instance, in the volume I have spoken of before,
are some forty pages of “fragments”—thrown in to eke out the volume of
his songs. I am sure, that when he was making up his book, perhaps
expressing a fear that there would not be pages enough for the
publisher’s design, these fragments were produced from their secret
hiding-place to his great surprise. The quotations I have made were all
from this portion of his volume, and, as I said before, they are worthy
of Shakspere. There is no mark of labor in them. I do not believe there
was an erasure in the entire manuscript. They bear all the marks of a
sudden, unstudied impulse, immediately and unhesitatingly expressed.
Here are several fragments. How evident it is that they were suggested
directly by his reading:—

        “She was a princess—but she fell; and now
         Her shame goes blushing through a line of kings.

            *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

         Sometimes a deep thought crossed
         My fancy, like the sullen bat that flies
         Athwart the melancholy moon at eve.

            *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

         Let not thy tale tell but of stormy sorrows!
         She—who was late a maid, but now doth lie
         In Hymen’s bosom, like a rose grown pale,
         A sad, sweet wedded wife—why is _she_ left
         Out of the story? Are good deeds—great griefs,
         That live but ne’er complain—naught? What are tears?—
         Remorse?—deceit? at best weak water drops
         Which wash out the bloom of sorrow.

            *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

                                  Is she dead?
         Why so shall I be—ere these autumn blasts
         Have blown on the beard of winter. Is she dead?
         Aye, she is dead—quite dead! The wild sea kissed her
         With its cold, white lips, and then—put her to sleep:
         She has a sand pillow, and a water sheet,
         And never turns her head, or knows ’tis morning!

            *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

         Mark, when he died, his tombs, his epitaphs!
         Men did not pluck the ostrich for his sake,
         Nor dyed’t in sable. No black steeds were there,
         Caparisoned in wo; no hired crowds;
         No hearse, wherein the crumbling clay (imprisoned
         Like ammunition in a tumbril) rolled
         Rattling along the street, and silenced grief;
         No arch whereon the bloody laurel hung;
         No stone; no gilded verse;—poor common shows!
         But tears and tearful words, and sighs as deep
         As sorrow is—these were _his_ epitaphs!
         Thus—(fitly graced)—he lieth now, inurned
         In hearts that loved him, on whose tender sides
         Are graved his many virtues. When they perish,
         He’s lost!—and so’t should be. The poet’s name.
         And hero’s—on the brazen book of Time,
         Are writ in sunbeams, by Fame’s loving hand;
         But none record the household virtues there.
         These better sleep (when all dear friends are fled)
         In endless and serene oblivion.”

            *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *



                              JANE PORTER,


    AUTHORESS OF “SCOTTISH CHIEFS,” “THADDEUS OF WARSAW,” ETC., ETC.

This distinguished woman died recently at Bristol, England, at the age
of seventy-four. We shall, doubtless, soon have an authentic biography
of her, from some one to whom her papers and other materials will have
been entrusted by the brother who survives her; but, meantime, let us
yield to the tide of remembrance which her death has awakened, and
arrest, ere they float by and are lost, the scattered leaf-memories that
may recall the summers when we knew her. For the sixteen years that we
enjoyed the privilege of her friendship, her correspondence with us was
interrupted only by illness, and we hope yet to find the leisure to put
some of those high-thoughted and invaluable letters into print—true
reflex as they are of the lofty and true mind which made her fame. Our
present memoranda will be brief, with a view to that better justice to
the theme.

We first saw Miss Porter at the house of Lady S——, the sister of Lady
Franklin, a few weeks after our first arrival in London, in 1834. It was
at a large party, thronged with the scientific and literary persons who
form the society of a man like Sir John Franklin. The great navigator,
whose fate now excites so deep an interest, was present, and he was
almost the only celebrity in the room whom we did not then see for the
first time—Sir John having been in command of the English fleet in the
Mediterranean, and Lady Franklin at Athens when we chanced to be there.
The noble head and majestic frame of the fine old sailor showed in
strong relief, even among the great men who surrounded him, and we well
remember the confirmed impression, of his native dignity and superiority
of presence, which we received at that time.

A very tall lady, apparently about fifty years of age, had arrested our
attention early in the evening, and, whenever unoccupied, we found
ourself turning to observe her, with a magnetism which we could not
resist. She was dressed completely in black, with black lace upon the
neck, and black feathers drooping over the knot of her slightly grey
hair. Her person was very erect, and, though her conversation was
evidently playful with all who spoke with her, there was an exceeding
loftiness, and an air of unconscious and easy nobility, in her mien and
countenance, which was truly remarkable. She was like the ideal which
one forms of a Lady Abbess of noble blood, or of Queen Katharine. The
deference with which she was addressed was mingled invariably with an
affectionate cordiality, however, which puzzled our conjectures a
little, for it is not common to see the two feelings inspired with equal
certainty by the same presence. It chanced to be late in the evening
before we had an opportunity of enquiring the name of this lady, and,
when we heard who she was, we recognized at once that very unusual
phenomenon—a complete fitness of the outer temple to the fame whose
deathless lamp is enshrined within it. It was Jane Porter, and she
looked as one would have expected her to look, who had conjured up her
image by aid of magic, after being carried away by her enchantments of
story.

We were presented to Miss Porter by Sir John Franklin, just before the
breaking up of the party that evening, and, soon after, we were so
fortunate as to be a guest, with her, at one of those English
country-houses which are the perfection of luxury and refinement, and
where there was the opportunity to see her with her proper surroundings.
Of the impression received at that time, we have already made a slight
record, which some of our readers may remember:—

    “One of the most elegant and agreeable persons I ever saw was
    Miss Porter, and I think her conversation more delightful to
    remember than any person’s I ever knew. A distinguished artist
    told me that he remembered her when she was his beau ideal of
    female beauty; but in those days she was more “fancy-rapt,” and
    gave in less to the current and spirit of society. Age has made
    her, if it may be so expressed, less selfish in her use of
    thought, and she pours it forth like Pactolus—that gold which
    is sand from others. She is still what I should call a handsome
    woman, or, if that be not allowed, she is the wreck of more than
    a common allotment of beauty, and looks it. Her person is
    remarkably erect, her eyes and eyelids (in this latter
    resembling Scott) very heavily moulded, and her smile is
    beautiful. It strikes me that it always is so—where it ever
    was. The smile seems to be the work of the soul.

    “I have passed months under the same roof with Miss Porter, and
    nothing gave me more pleasure than to find the company in that
    hospitable house dwindled to a “fit audience though few,” and
    gathered around the figure in deep mourning which occupied the
    warmest corner of the sofa. In any vein, and _apropos_ to the
    gravest and the gayest subject, her well-stored mind and memory
    flowed forth in the same rich current of mingled story and
    reflection, and I never saw an impatient listener beside her. I
    recollect one evening a lady’s singing “Auld Robin Gray,” and
    some one remarking (rather unsentimentally,) at the close,
    “By-the-by what is Lady —— (the authoress of the ballad) doing
    with so many carpenters? Berkeley square is quite deafened with
    their hammering!” “_Apropos_ of carpenters and Lady ——,” said
    Miss Porter, “this charming ballad-writer owes something to the
    craft. She was better-born than provided with the gifts of
    fortune, and in her younger days was once on a visit to a noble
    house, when, to her dismay, a large and fashionable company
    arrived who brought with them a mania for private theatricals.
    Her wardrobe was very slender, barely sufficient for the
    ordinary events of a week-day, and her purse contained one
    solitary shilling. To leave the house was out of the question,
    to feign illness as much so, and to decline taking a part was
    impossible, for her talent and sprightliness were the hope of
    the theatre. A part was cast for her, and, in despair, she
    excused herself from the gay party bound to the country town to
    make purchases of silk and satin, and shut herself up, a prey to
    mortified low spirits. The character required a smart village
    dress, and it certainly did not seem that it could come out of a
    shilling. She sat at her window, biting her lips, and turning
    over in her mind whether she could borrow of some one, when her
    attention was attracted to a carpenter, who was employed in the
    construction of a stage in the large hall, and who, in the court
    below, was turning off from his plane broad and long shavings of
    a peculiarly striped wood. It struck her that it was like
    riband. The next moment she was below, and begged of the man to
    give her half-a-dozen lengths as smooth as he could shave them.
    He performed his task well, and depositing them in her
    apartment, she set off alone on horseback to the village, and
    with her single shilling succeeded in purchasing a chip hat of
    the coarsest fabric. She carried it home, exultingly, trimmed it
    with her pine shavings, and on the evening of the performance
    appeared with a white dress, and hat and belt ribands which were
    the envy of the audience. The success of her invention gave her
    spirits and assurance, and she played to admiration. The sequel
    will justify my first remark. She made a conquest on that night
    of one of her titled auditors, whom she afterward married. You
    will allow that Lady —— may afford to be tolerant of
    carpenters.”

It was two years after this first meeting of Miss Porter at —— Park,
that we accepted an invitation to meet her at the house of a Baronet in
Warwickshire, and of that visit the following mention is made in
Sketches of Travel already published:—

    “I remembered a promise I had nearly forgotten, that I would
    reserve my visit to Stratford till I could be accompanied by
    Miss J. Porter, whom I was to have the honor of meeting at my
    place of destination; and promising an early acceptance of the
    landlady’s invitation, I hurried on to my appointment over the
    fertile hills of Warwickshire.

    “I was established in one of those old Elizabethan
    country-houses which with their vast parks, their self-sufficing
    resources of subsistence and company, and the absolute deference
    shown on all sides to the lord of the manor, give one the
    impression rather of a little kingdom with a castle in its
    heart, than of an abode for a gentleman subject. The house
    itself (called, like most houses of this size and consequence in
    Warwickshire, a ‘Court,’) was a Gothic half-castellated square,
    with four round towers, and innumerable embrasures and windows;
    two wings in front, probably more modern than the body of the
    house, and again two long wings extending to the rear, at right
    angles, and enclosing a flowery and formal parterre. There had
    been a trench about it, now filled up, and at a short distance
    from the house stood a polyangular and massive structure, well
    calculated for defence, and intended as a stronghold for the
    retreat of the family and tenants in more troubled times. One of
    these rear wings enclosed a catholic chapel, for the worship of
    the baronet and those of his tenants who professed the same
    faith; while on the northern side, between the house and the
    garden, stood a large, protestant stone church, with a turret
    and spire, both chapel and church, with their clergyman and
    priest, dependant on the estate, and equally favored by the
    liberal and high-minded baronet. The tenantry formed two
    considerable congregations, and lived and worshipped side by
    side, with the most perfect harmony—an instance of _real_
    Christianity, in my opinion, which the angels of heaven might
    come down to see. A lovely rural grave-yard for the lord and
    tenants, and a secluded lake below the garden, in which hundreds
    of wild ducks swam and screamed unmolested, completed the
    outward features of C—— Court.

    “There are noble houses in England with a door communicating
    from the dining room to the stables, that the master and his
    friends may see their favorites, after dinner, without exposure
    to the weather. In the place of this rather _bizarre_ luxury,
    the oak-panelled and spacious dining-hall of C—— is on a level
    with the organ loft of the chapel, and when the cloth is
    removed, the large door between is thrown open, and the noble
    instrument pours the rich and thrilling music of vespers through
    the rooms. When the service is concluded, and the lights on the
    altar extinguished, the blind organist (an accomplished
    musician, and a tenant on the estate,) continues his voluntaries
    in the dark until the hall-door informs him of the retreat of
    the company to the drawing-room. There is not only refinement
    and luxury in this beautiful, arrangement, but food for the soul
    and heart.

    “I chose my room from among the endless vacant but equally
    luxurious chambers of the rambling old house; my preference
    solely directed by the portrait of a nun, one of the family in
    ages gone by—a picture full of melancholy beauty, which hung
    opposite the window. The face was distinguished by all that in
    England marks the gentlewoman of ancient and pure descent; and
    while it was a woman with the more tender qualities of her sex
    breathing through her features, it was still a lofty and sainted
    sister, true to her cross, and sincere in her vows and
    seclusion. It was the work of a master, probably Vandyke, and a
    picture in which the most solitary man would find company and
    communion. On the other walls, and in most of the other rooms
    and corridors, were distributed portraits of the gentlemen and
    soldiers of the family, most of them bearing some resemblance to
    the nun, but differing, as brothers in those wild times may be
    supposed to have differed, from the gentle creatures of the same
    blood, nursed in the privacy of peace.”

Warwick Castle, Stratford-on-Avon, and Kenilworth, were all within the
reach of what might be called neighborhood, and our hospitable host (in
his eightieth year, and unable to accompany us,) had made the
arrangements for our visit to these places. We were to be gone three
days, but were to remain his guests in all respects. The carriage was
packed with the books which might be needed for reference, the butler of
the old Baronet was to go with us and provide post-horses and everything
we could want at inns upon the road, and, under this kind and luxurious
provision, we took seat beside Miss Porter, and visited Kenilworth,
Warwick, and Stratford, with no thought or care which need divide our
pleasure in her society. From the description of this journey (given
without mention of the above circumstances,) let us copy one more
passage:—

    “I had wandered away from my companion, Miss Jane Porter, to
    climb up a secret staircase in the wall, rather too difficult of
    ascent for a female foot, and from my elevated position I caught
    an accidental view of that distinguished lady through the arch
    of a Gothic window, with a background of broken architecture and
    foliage—presenting, by chance, perhaps, the most fitting and
    admirable picture of the authoress of the “Scottish Chiefs,”
    that a painter in his brightest hour could have fancied. Miss
    Porter, with her tall and striking figure, her noble face (said
    by Mr. Martin Shee to have approached nearer in its youth to his
    _beau idéal_ of the female features than any other, and still
    possessing the remains of uncommon beauty,) is at all times a
    person whom it would be difficult to see without a feeling of
    involuntary admiration. But standing, as I saw her at that
    moment, motionless and erect, in the morning-dress, with dark
    feathers, which she has worn since the death of her beloved and
    gifted sister, her wrists folded across, her large and still
    beautiful eyes fixed on a distant object in the view, and her
    nobly-cast lineaments reposing in their usual calm and
    benevolent tranquility, while, around and above her, lay the
    material and breathed the spirit over which she had held the
    first great mastery—it was a _tableau vivant_ which I was sorry
    to be alone to see.

    “Was she thinking of the great mind that had evoked the spirits
    of the ruins she stood among—a mind in which (by Sir Walter’s
    own confession) she had first bared the vein of romance which
    breathed so freely for the world’s delight? where the visions
    which sweep with such supernatural distinctness and rapidity
    through the imagination of genius—vision of which the millionth
    portion is probably scarcely communicated to the world in a
    literary lifetime—were Elizabeth’s courtiers, Elizabeth’s
    passions, secret hours, interviews with Leicester—were the
    imprisoned king’s nights of loneliness and dread, his hopes, his
    indignant, but unheeded thoughts—were all the possible
    circumstances, real or imaginary, of which that proud castle
    might have been the scene, thronging in those few moments of
    revery through her fancy? or was her heart busy with its kindly
    affections, and had the beauty and interest of the scene but
    awakened a thought of one who was most wont to number with her
    the sands of those brighter hours.

    “Who shall say? The very question would perhaps startle the
    thoughts beyond recall—so illusive are even the most angelic of
    the mind’s unseen visitants?”

In another place we made the following memoranda of what we knew of her
biography, etc.:—

    “Miss Porter was the daughter of a gallant English officer, who
    died, leaving a widow and four children, then very young, but
    three of them destined to remarkable fame, Sir Robert Ker
    Porter, Jane Porter, and Anna Maria Porter. Sir Robert, as is
    well known, was the celebrated historical painter, traveller in
    Persia, soldier, diplomatist, and author, lately deceased. He
    went to Russia with one of his great pictures when very young,
    married a wealthy Russian princess, and passed his subsequent
    years between the camp and diplomacy, honored and admired in
    every station and relation of his life. The two girls were
    playmates and neighbors of Walter Scott. Jane published her
    “Scottish Chiefs,” at the age of eighteen, and became
    immediately the great literary wonder of her time. Her widowed
    mother, however, withdrew her immediately from society to the
    seclusion of a country town, and she was little seen in the gay
    world of London before several of her works had become classics.
    Anna Maria, the second sister, commenced her admirable series of
    novels soon after the first celebrity of Jane’s works, and they
    wrote and passed the brightest years of their life together in a
    cottage retreat. The two sisters were singularly beautiful. Sir
    Thomas Lawrence was an unsuccessful suitor to Anna Maria, and
    Jane was engaged to a young soldier who was killed in the
    Peninsula. She is a woman to have but one love in a lifetime.
    Her betrothed was killed when she was twenty years of age, and
    she has ever since worn mourning, and remained true to his
    memory. Jane is now the only survivor of the three; her
    admirable mother and her sister having died some twelve or
    fourteen years ago, and Sir Robert having died lately, while
    revisiting England after many years’ diplomatic residence in
    Venezuela.

    “Miss Porter is now near seventy. She has suffered within the
    last two or three years from ill health, but she is still erect,
    graceful, and majestic in person and still possessed of
    admirable beauty of countenance. Her large dark eyes have a
    striking lambency of lustre, her smile inspires love in all who
    see her, and her habit of mind, up to the time we last saw her,
    (three or four years ago,) was that of _reflecting the mood of
    others in conversation_, thinking never of herself, and
    endeavoring only to _make others shine_, and all this with a
    tact, a playfulness and simplicity, an occasional unconscious
    brilliancy and penetration, which have made her, up to seventy
    years of age, a most interesting, engaging, and lovely woman.
    Considering the extent of her charm, over old and young, titled
    and humble, masters and servants, we sincerely think we never
    have seen a woman so beloved and so fascinating. She is the idol
    of many different circles of very high rank, and passes her time
    in yielding, month after month, to pressing invitations from the
    friends who love her. The dowager queen Adelaide is one of her
    warmest friends, the highest families of nobility contend for
    her as a resident guest, distinguished and noble foreigners pay
    court to her invariably on arriving in England, she has been
    ennobled by a decree of the king of Prussia, and with all this
    weight of honor on her head, you might pass weeks with her
    (ignorant of her history) without suspecting her to be more than
    the loveliest of women past their prime, and born but to grace a
    contented mediocrity of station.”

We know nothing more to the honor of the English nobility of this day,
than that Jane Porter—such as she was—should have chosen and cherished
the greater number of her friendships from among them. Utterly incapable
of a servility or an obsequiousness as her gifted and lofty nature was
always admitted to be, she still moved in the highest sphere of rank,
with sympathies all expanded, and the imprint of congeniality, with all
around her, stamped upon countenance and mien. Yet she had mingled, more
or less, with all classes, and knew the world well. Had she found it
necessary to sacrifice the slightest shadow of purity or independence to
retain her position, or had she believed, or conjectured, that purer or
simpler natures were to be found in the ranks below, she was not one to
hesitate or compromise for an instant. But, with the intuitive
perceptions of genius, and a disposition as open as the day, she chose
this for her sphere, and lived in it as one who had no thought or need
of managements, either to belong to, or to grace it. The class of
society, in a country, with which simple and proud genius finds itself
most at home, is its superior and true nobility; and, that England’s
circles of high rank are so preferred, and so honored and brightened, by
spirits like Jane Porter, is, we think, the evidence that proves most
for England’s present civilization and glory.



                          OLE BULL’S NIAGARA.


                   (AN HOUR BEFORE THE PERFORMANCE.)

Saddle, as, of course, we are, under any very striking event, we find
ourselves bestridden, now and then, with a much wider occupancy than the
plumb-line of a newspaper column. Ole Bull possesses us over our
tea-table; he will possess us over our supper-table—his performance of
Niagara equi-distant between the two. We must think of him and his
violin for this coming hour. Let us take pen and ink into our
confidence.

The “origin of the harp” has been satisfactorily recorded. We shall not
pretend to put forward a credible story of the _origin of the violin_;
but we wish to name a circumstance in natural history. The house-cricket
that chirps upon our hearth, is well known as belonging to the genus
Pneumora. Its insect size consists almost entirely of a pellucid
abdomen, crossed with a number of transverse ridges. This, when
inflated, resembles a bladder, and upon its tightened ridges the insect
plays like a fiddler, by drawing its thin legs over them. The cricket
is, in fact, a _living violin_; and as a fiddler is “scarce himself”
without his violin, we may call the cricket a stray portion of a
fiddler.

Ole Bull “is himself” with his violin before him—but without it, the
commonest eye must remark that he is of the invariable build of the
restless searchers after something lost—the build of enthusiasts—that
is to say, chest enormous, and _stomach, if anything, rather wanting_!
The great musician of Scripture, it will be remembered, expressed his
mere mental affliction by calling out “My bowels! my bowels!” and, after
various experiments on twisted silk, smeared with the white of eggs, and
on single threads of the silk-worm, passed through heated oil, the
animal fibre of _cat-gut_ has proved to be the only string that answers
to the want of the musician. Without trying to reduce these natural
phenomena to a theory (except by suggesting that Ole Bull may very
properly take the cricket as an emblem of his instinctive pursuit), we
must yield to an ominous foreboding for this evening. The objection to
cat-gut as a musical string is its _sensibility to moisture_: and in a
damp atmosphere it is next to impossible to keep it in tune. The string
comes honestly enough by its sensitiveness (as any one will allow who
has seen a cat cross a street after a shower)—but, if _the_ cat of Ole
Bull’s violin had the least particle of imagination _in_ her, can what
is left of her be expected to discourse lovingly of her natural
antipathy—a _water_-fall?

But—before we draw on our gloves to go over to Palmo’s—a serious word
as what is to be attempted to-night.

Ole Bull is a great creature. He is fitted, if ever mortal man was, to
represent the attendant spirit in Milton, who

          “Well knew to still the wild woods when they roared
           And hush the moaning winds;”

but it seems to us that, without a printed programme, showing what he
intends to express _besides_ the mere sound of waters he is trusting far
too rashly to the comprehension of his audience and their power of
musical interpretation. He is to tell a story by music! Will it be
understood?

We remember being very much astonished, a year or two ago, at finding
ourself able to read the thoughts of a lady of this city, as she
expressed them in an admirable improvisation upon the piano. The delight
we experienced in this surprise induced us to look into the extent to
which musical _meaning_ had been perfected in Europe. We found it
recorded that a Mons. Sudre, a violinist of Paris, had once brought the
expression of his instrument to so nice a point that he “could convey
information to a stranger in another room,” and it is added that, upon
the evidence thus given of the capability of music, it was proposed to
the French government to educate military bands _in the expression of
orders and heroic encouragements in battle_! Hayden is criticised by a
writer on music as having failed in attempting (in his great composition
“The Seasons”) to express “the dawn of day,” “the husbandman’s
satisfaction,” “the rustling of leaves,” “the running of a brook,” “the
coming on of winter,” “thick fogs,” etc., etc. The same writer laughs at
a commentator on Mozart, who, by a “second violin quartette in D minor,”
imagines himself informed how a loving female felt on being abandoned,
and thought the music fully expressed that it was Dido! Beethoven
undertook to convey distinct pictures in his famous Pastoral Symphony,
but it was thought at the time that no one would have distinguished
between his musical sensations on visiting the country and his musical
sensations while sitting beside a river—unless previously told what was
coming!

Still, Ole Bull is of a primary order of genius, and he is not to wait
upon precedent. He has come to our country, an inspired wanderer from a
far away shore, and our greatest scenic feature has called on him for an
expression of its wonders in music. He may be inspired, however, and we,
who listen, still be disappointed. He may not have felt Niagara as we
did. He may have been subdued where a meaner spirit would be aroused—as

              “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”

                    (Seven o’clock, and time to go.)
                    *    *    *    *    *    *    *
                        (after the performance.)

We believe that we have heard a transfusion into music—not of
“Niagara,” which the audience seemed bona-fide to expect, but—of the
_pulses of the human heart AT Niagara_. We had a prophetic boding of the
result of calling the piece vaguely “Niagara”—the listener furnished
with no “argument,” as a guide through the wilderness of “treatment” to
which the subject was open. This mistake allowed, however, it must be
said that Ole Bull has, genius-like, refused to misinterpret the voice
within him—refused to play the charlatan, and “bring the house
down”—as he _might well have done by any kind of “uttermost” from the
drums and trumpets of the orchestra._

The emotion at Niagara is all but mute. It is a “small, still voice”
that replies within us to the thunder of waters. The musical mission of
the Norwegian was to represent the insensate element _as it was to
him_—to a human soul, stirred in its seldom-reached depths by the call
of power. It was the _answer_ to Niagara that he endeavored to render in
music—not the _call_! We defer attempting to _read_ further, or
rightly, this musical composition till we have heard it again. It was
received by a crowded audience, in breathless silence, but with no
applause.



                         DR. LARDNER’S LECTURE.


We did not chance to hear Dr. Lardner’s excellent and amusing lecture on
the “London _literati_,” etc., but the report of it in the “Republic”
has scraped the moss from one corner of our memory, and we may, perhaps,
aid in the true portraiture of one or two distinguished men by showing a
shade or two in which our observation of them differed from that of the
Doctor. We may remark here, that Dr. Lardner has been conversant with
all the wits and scholars of England for the last two or three lustrums,
and we would suggest to him that, with the freedom given him by
withdrawal from their sphere, he might give us a book of anecdotical
biography that would have a prosperous sale and be both instructive and
amusing. We shall not poach upon the doctor’s manor, by the way, if we
give our impression of _one_ of these literati—himself—as he appeared
to us, once in very distinguished company, in England. We were in a ball
in the height of the season, at Brighton. Somewhere about the later
hours, we chanced to be in attendance upon a noble lady, in company with
two celebrated men, Mr. Ricardo and Horace Smith (the author of
Brambletye House, and Rejected Addresses), Lady Stepney, authoress of
the “New Road to Ruin,” approached our charming centre of attraction
with a proposition to present to her the celebrated Dr. Lardner. “Yes,
my dear! I should like to know him of all things!” was the reply, and
the doctor was conjured forthwith into a magic circle. He bowed “with
spectacles on nose,” but no other extraneous mark of philosopher or
scholar. We shall not offend the doctor by stating that, on this
evening, he was a very different looking person from his present
practical exterior. With showy waistcoat, black tights, fancy stockings
and small patent-leather shoes, he appeared to us an elegant of very
bright water, smacking not at all, in manner no more than in dress, of
the smutch and toil of the laboratory. We looked at and listened to him,
we remember, with great interest and curiosity. He left us to dance a
quadrille, and finding ourself accidentally in the same set, we looked
at his ornamental and lover-like acquittal of himself with a kind of
wonder at what Minerva would say! This was just before the doctor left
England. We may add our expression of pleasure that the Protean facility
of our accomplished and learned friend has served him in this
country—making of him the best lecturer on all subjects, and the carver
out of prosperity under a wholly new meridian.

But, to revert to the report of the Lecture:—

“The doctor gave some very amusing descriptions of the personal
peculiarities of Bulwer and D’Israeli, the author of ‘Coningsby,’
observing that those who have read the works of the former, would
naturally conclude him to be very fascinating in private society. Such,
however, was not the case. He had not a particle of conversational
facility, and could not utter twelve sentences free from hesitation and
embarrassment. In fact, Bulwer was only Bulwer when his pen was in his
hand and his meerschaum in his mouth. He is intimate with Count D’Orsay,
one of the handsomest men of the day, and in his excessive admiration of
that gentleman has adopted his style of dress, which is adapted
admirably to the figure of the second Beau Brummell, but sits strangely
on the feeble, rickety and skeleton form, of the man of genius.”

Now it struck us, on the contrary, that there was no more playful,
animated, _facile_ creature in London society than Bulwer. He seemed to
have a horror of stilted topics, it is true, and never mingled in
general conversation unless merrily. But at Lady Blessington’s, where
there was but one woman present (herself), and where, consequently,
there could be no _têtes-à-têtes_, Bulwer’s entrance was the certain
precursor of fun. He _was a brilliant rattle_, and as to any “hesitation
and embarrassment,” we never saw a symptom of it. At evening parties in
other houses, Bulwer’s powers of conversation could scarce be fairly
judged, for his system of attention is very concentrative, and he was
generally deep in conversation with some one beautiful woman whom he
could engross. We differ from the doctor, too, as to his style of
dandyism. Spready upper works, trousers closely fitting to the leg, a
broad-brimmed hat, and cornucopial whiskers, distinguished D’Orsay,
while Bulwer wore always the loose French pantaloon, a measurable
hat-brim, and whiskers carefully limited to the cheek. We pronounced the
doctor’s astrology (as to _the_ stars) based upon an error in
“observation.”

The reporter adds:—

“D’Israeli he described as an affected coxcomb, with a restless desire
to appear witty; yet he never remembered him to have said a good thing
in his life except one, and that was generally repeated with the
preface, ‘D’Israeli has said a good thing at last.’”

That D’Israeli is not a “bon-mot” man, is doubtless true. It never
struck us that he manifested a “desire to appear witty.” He is very
silent in the general _melee_ of conversation, but we have never yet
seen him leave a room before he had made an impression by some burst in
the way of _monologue_—either an eloquent description or a dashing new
absurdity, an anecdote or a criticism. He sits indolently with his head
on his breast, taking sight through his eyebrows till he finds his cue
to break in, and as far as our observation goes, nobody was ever willing
to interrupt him. The doctor calls him an “affected coxcomb,” but it is
only of his dress that this is any way true. No school-boy is more frank
in his manners. When we were first in London, he was the immortal tenant
of one room and a recess, and with manners indolently pensive. Three
years after, returning to England, we found him master of a lordly
establishment on Hyde Park, and, except that he looked of a less lively
melancholy, his manners were as untroubled with affectation as before.

                                THE END



                           TRANSCRIBER NOTES

Numerous misspelled words and printer errors have been corrected. Where
more than one spelling was used, the most frequent spelling was adopted
throughout the book. French diacritics were corrected.

Inconsistencies in punctuation have been maintained.

A cover was created for this eBook by the Transcriber and is placed in
the public domain.

[The end of _Famous Persons and Places_, by N.(Nathaniel) Parker
Willis.]





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