Imagens das páginas
PDF

foreigners reside, there is scarcely any house without a shop. The powers of attraction must be played off to a minute, to a step; for a minute too late, or a step further, and the passenger is before another shop, in which he finds the articles which he is seeking. Your eyes are, as it were, forcibly taken captive; you must look up, and stop till they return. The name of the shopkeeper and his trade is written ten times over above the doors and windows; the exterior of the shop looks like a schoolboy's copy-book, in which the few words of the copy are incessantly repeated. It is not sufficient to exhibit patterns of stuffs, large rolls of them are hung before the door and windows. In many instances they are fastened high up the second floor, and descend twisted in all sorts of forms to the very pavement. The shoemaker has the outside of his whole house painted with shoes of all colours, drawn up en bataillon. The locksmith's sign is a gilt key six feet high; the mighty gates of heaven would not need a larger. On the hosiers' shops are painted whitestockings four yards long, which in the dusk are enough to frighten people, when they may easily be mistaken for gigantic spectres flitting by. Thus has everyone a prodigious hook even for the smallest fish that he intends to catch. But feet and eyes are arrested in a more agreeable manner by the paintings which are hung up in front of many shops, and in general furmish representations allusive to the trades carried on in them. These paintings are not rarely real works of art, and if they were exhibited in the gallery of the Louvre, connoisseurs

would pause before them, if not with ||

admiration, at least with pleasure.

They are at the same time characteristic sketches of Parisian life, and the study of them is therefore equally instructive and entertaining. I will briefly describe a few that have struck me. The shop of a dealer in shawls is graced by a picture containing seven figures of the size of life: it bears the superscription—AUSERMENT. Three men are reaching several shawls to three ladies, and at the same time making with their hands motions of solemn asseveration. They swear that these are genuine French shawls, and may well add, that good French

men abhor English commodities, for

an Englishman in the back-ground casts angry glances at the patrioticomercantile triumvirate. Such is the obvious meaning of the picture, which, however, had formerly a secret signification. Till within these two years the shawls offered to the ladies were white, red, and blue, and the gentlemen of the shop swore that these were the genuine colours cherished by every Frenchman; but by command of the hypochondriac police, which is afraid of every breath that blows, the shopkeeper was obliged to have one of the colours erased.

Before the house of a wig-maker, not far from the preceding, is a painting, which, though ill executed, conveys a curious idea. Absalom, the prince royal, is seen hanging by the hair from a tree, in which situation he is run through the body by an enemy's spear. Underneath are these lines: ... • * *

Contemplez d’Absolon le déplorable sort! S'il eut porté perruque, il évitait la mort;

which may be thus Englished:

Beware the fate of Absalom,
who ran a dangerous rig: *

For certes, he had saved his life
Had he but worn a wig."

Another very well painted picture, Representing a girl who has won the prize at a rose-feast, receiving the crown on her knees from the hands of a gentleman, decorates the shopdoor of a marchande des modes. The girl looks so innocent and devout, that young persons without experience, of whom, however, there are none in Paris, might be deterred by it, and induced to pass on and buy their gloves at another shop. A dealer in birds draws attention by a painting representing Noah's ark. The whole prologue of the deluge is comprised in it. The ark lies quite comfortably on dry ground, waiting till the water shall come to set it afloat. Father Noah is playing with an ape, and looks very cunning: he alone knows what is about to happen. The four-footed animals are coming in endless procession to save themselves in the ark. They walk two and two, but without any regard to rank, as is usual in cases of emergency: the lion follows the horse, the fox precedes the ass, and the hare trots after the dog. I have been particularly amused by a picture which a professor of the German language, and to judge by his name, a native of Germany, exhibits before his residence in the Palais Royal. A man in the prime of life, no doubt Mr. Professor himself, is sitting in an arm-chair, with a book in his hand, hearing a boy who stands before him say his lesson. A little farther back sits a young female of extraordinary "beauty, and behind her, bending over her chair, stands an officer of the Red Hussars, who, according to all mimic probability, is

making a declaration of love. The girl is pointing with her finger at a place in the book, and the French

hussar, with his hand on his heart,

seems to be pronouncing after her: Ick liebe (Ich liebe, I love). The professor himself seems to have profited by his residence in Paris, for in his own country he would never have acquired the assurance to make known by a show-board that he kept a school for mutual instruction between young females and officers of the Red Hussars.

I must not omit the shop of M. Franchet, jeweller, in the Rue Vivienne. The workmen were employed six months upon this shop, and the happy mortals who had the good fortune to get a peep behind the curtains that were hung before it, could not sufficiently extol the wonderful sight. At length, about three weeks before the birthday of the little Duke of Bordeaux, the shop was opened. I should have observed that M. Franchet is jeweller to the Duchess of Berry. This shop, a room of at the utmost 20 feet in length, cost 40,000 francs; such is the magnificence with which it is fitted up. Over the entrance from the street there are two coats of arms, painted with great care, encompassed in gold circles. One of these coats emblazons the united arms of the houses of France and Naples; those in the other are of a rather mystic nature. They are the points of crystallization of future glories, embryos of kingdoms, crowns in the egg-shell—in short, something more is meant than meets the eye; but it has all some reference to the Duke of Bordeaux. The political representatives of other powers, who understand their business, will certainly not have failed to send forth their spies to discover whether something edifying and instructive may not here be decyphered.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small]

THE Journal of a Tour through Norway in the year 1817, by Mr. F. Boie, gives the following curious picture of a Norwegian bishop, whom the author chanced to meet with in the island of Tiótoe.

The wind increased in violence, it began to rain, the sea ran very high, and we were compelled to land at Tiðtoe. Wet through with rain and the spray of the waves, and chilled by the wind, we here felt with double force the comfort of the patriarchal custom of not shutting up the house even at night, but giving a hospitable reception to the stranger, without so much as inquiring his name or his errand. The island is considered as the finest propertynorth of Numedalen: indeed, few houses in Drontheim can compare with the magnificent mansion of M. Brodkorb; and you may imagine how surprising such a phenomenon must appear in these parts. We requested the servants not to awake the master of the house; and though unknown and wet, were conducted into the handsomely furnished apartments appropriated to strangers, where we passed the rest of the night in an ill-humour at this new delay. I was, indeed, apprehensive of being obliged to remain longer here, recollecting an anecdote which was related to us concerning the late owner of Forviig, who, on the arrival of strangers, caused the rudder to be taken from their boat, that he might detain them at least so long as it would require to make another. r

Previously to breakfast we were introduced to the family, the proprietor of the island and his son, who is likewise married. About noon a

[ocr errors]

portly man, whose whole person had at the first glance something uncommonly imposing, entered the house. He wore a short jacket, and we should scarcely have guessed whom we had before us, had we not been apprized that it was Mr. Krogh von Belsvaag of Alstenoe, the right chivalrous Bishop of Nordland, to say nothing of his Danish and Swedish orders of knighthood. He had on a hat, jacket, and breeches of goatskin, the genuine Norwegian maritime dress; and a bold and almost enthusiastic seaman, he had just come up from the Fierring, attended by only one young fellow. He is a handsome man of seventy, though apparently much younger, and who can still make so free with his constitution, that being too warm when in company at Christiana, he rubbed his face and breast with snow. He has lately been to that city, where he sat as a member of the Storthing. He speaks French and English fluently, and during the war with England, he once endeavoured to profit by the latter in order to make prize of a hostile ship off Drontheim. A vessel namely was discovered, that was manifestly unacquainted with the channel, and which it was of course considered could be no other than an enemy. General consternation

ensued: Krogh quickly formed a plan

for running the ship ashore; disguised himself, and rowed in a boat on board the supposed privateer, pretending, in order to gain confidence, that he was an English sailor who had escaped from a wreck. His plan

succeeded according to his wishes;

but it presently turned out that the ship was not an enemy, but a native

vessel, and the affair terminated in a hearty laugh. On another occasion, the bishop thought to surprise some visitors whom he expected. Perceiving their sailing-boat at a distance, he swam towards her, and concealed himself among the sea-grass on a jutting cliff; a joke for which, however, he had well nigh paid dearly, for one of the company, mistaking him for a seal, was just going to point his gun, when the bishop deemed it advisable to make himself known. We heard many more such-like anecdotes of this prelate, whenever

he became the subject of conversation. His bluntjovial manner, which in the capital produced a general prepossession in his favour, cannot derogate in the least from his episcopal character in his diocese: it would be extremely difficult to find a person better suited to the post. Here example alone can operate powerfully; and how could the Norwegian feel such enthusiastic affection and respect for a bishop, who neither knew how to brave the sea, the peculiar element of the people, nor to accommodate himself to the manners

of the country?

ROYAL OCCUPATIONS IN THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY.

TO THE

SIR,

IN your last Number you have introduced a brief description of an entertainment given to our Charles I. followed by a just animadversion on the puerile taste of the age which could relish such frivolities. What sentence, then, ought to be passed on the amusements which were the delight of a French monarch only half

a century earlier? The favourite occupations of Henry III. consisted in dressing his own and the queen's hair, and in starching and plaiting his own ruff and that of his consort. These employments took up so much of his time on the day of his coronation, and af. terwards on that of his nuptials, that the procession could not repair to the church before six o'clock, and the lateness of the mass caused the Te Deum to be forgotten to be sung. At balls and other diversions, he appeared habited as an Amazon, in female attire, with his bosom uncover

EDITOR.

ed, and a collar of pearls hanging down upon his breast. He wore be-, sides, like the ladies of his court, a small toque, over which he himself frizzed his hair, and three bands of fine linen, two of which were plaited into ruffs, and the other inverted. These bands occasioned the remark, that his head looked like that of John the Baptist presented to King Herod upon a charger. When Sully was admitted to an interview with him in 1586, he had a toque on his head, a. tippet on his shoulders, and a broad ribbon round his neck, from which was suspended a basket full of puppies. As Henry assumed the female attire, so he enjoined the ladies of his court to adopt the dress of men. They were obliged to obey, and attended at a grand entertainment in male apparel made of damask of two different colours. Notwithstanding these follies, Henry III, introduced into the etiquette

of the court many regulations, which continued for a considerable time af. ter his death. He made the dress worn on extraordinary occasions by members of the Parliament much more splendid than it had ever been before. He set the first example of mourning in black on the death of his brother; the Kings of France having previously been accustomed to wear violet-coloured clothes for mourning. The ladies mourned for

husbands and lovers in brown apparel, with death's heads or floods of

tears painted or wrought in gold on

their collars or bracelets. By way of second mourning, they exchanged the death's heads and bones for miniatures of the deceased, which they wore at their breasts, but which were still surrounded with representations of showers of tears. Had Henry's character betrayed no worse propensities than these puerilities bespeak, it would have excited pity, instead of being devoted, as it is, to universal abhorrence and execration. I am, &c. Historticus.

LISBON AND THE PORTUGUESE. (Ertracted front Letters written in 1821 and 1822.)

- Nov. 1821.

THE Portuguese apply to their capital the well-known saying, “Whoever has not seen Lisbon has not seen any thing beautiful.” Many of them are even perfectly well disposed to believe the assertions of their historians, that Lisbon was founded by Ulysses, and Setuval, a port not far from it, by Tubal, the son of Noah. Be this as it may, we must do Ulysses the justice to admit, that he shewed great judgment in his selection of a site for the capital of the Lusitanian monarchy.

Situated in the 38th degree of north latitude, Lisbon enjoys a healthy climate, neither too hot nor too cold, a fertile soil, delightful environs, and a favourable position for the commerce of the old and new world. The majestic Tagus, on the shore of which the city stands, about twelve miles from its mouth, is capable of admitting the largest fleets, and ships of war of all demensions can lie at a short distance from the

quays. In some parts the river is.

rather narrow, but towards the east end of the city it forms a spacious bay, which, however, is not very safe for vessels in the winter season. The city, built upon hills, extends, with the suburbs, nearly nine miles along the river; and that portion of it which is on the left bank presents a view that is highly picturesque. In general, it is irregularly built, with the exception of that part which was destroyed by the earthquake of 1755, and succeeded by handsome regular streets. To this quarter belongs a fine square, composed entirely of public edifices, which are not yet quite finished. To these belong the Exchange, the Custom-House, the India-House, the offices of the six ministers, the Junta of Commerce, the Town-House, and several courts of justice; and in the centre of the square is an equestrian statue in bronze of King Joseph I. The south side of the square is bounded by a fine quay; on the west begins the great arsenal; and from the north run three regular, broad, and pretty long streets to

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »