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The passage beginning, “O thou that tellest good tidings," &c., ending with “Arise, shine," &c., being a chorus, was transporting.
But never-never shall I forget the part, “For unto us a child is born; unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called”— Ah, what?-50 wonderful was the transition at this point-s0 cverpowering was the burst of every voice and every instrument, with the full power of each and all combined, as they passed from the previous soft and often repeated strains, as if they could never leave them, till at last, when expectation was spent, and the soul made contented to remain rapt in the harmonies by which it was enchained, heaven itself seemed suddenly, in an instant, to have opened its portals, pouring its full and inexpressible exclamation down to earth:-" Wonderful !"-" Counsellor!”_"The mighty God !” “The Everlasting Father !” — “ The Prince of Peace !"--And over, and over, and over again, they dwelt upon the peal, as if they had got to their everlasting homeas if nothing could draw them away. Then back they returned :-"For unto us a child is born," &c.—that they might fall again, with higher ecstasies, on the more de. lightful theme-“Wonderful !”-and each time they passed the mighty transition, it was no less amazing, but the more 80 ; the wonder increased.
Nothing but that inimitable pastoral symphony which followed, assisted by every instrument in the band, and yet so soft and soothing that one might easily imagine it was distant and heavenly music, softened by the length of its passage-nothing else could possibly have let us down, without violence, from those sublime ethereal regions into which we had been raised. I had often, a thousand times, thought, that the simple eloquence of this passage, as it presents itself to the eye on the sacred page, could never be improved, But He that formed the eye made also the ear. He gave us no faculty in vain. He that seemed “all glorious," as his names had been read, is more glorious and more wonderful when his “ Wonderful" names are sung: As if his glory had been concealed, the curtain was now withdrawn, and it seemed to burst upon us in all its fulness !
What a preparation for the strain-" There were shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And lo! the angel of the Lord,” &c.
* And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly hosts, praising God, and saying :
GRAND CHORUS. “ Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth, good. will towards men !"
In the passage representing the sufferings of Christ, heav
en and the universe seemed wrapped in a deep, portentous gloom!
Then came the triumph, by the principal singers, and semi-chorus: “Lift up your heads, o ye gates,” &c., until they came to the last clause : “He is the king of glory;" which burst upon us in full chorus, in strains so loud and triumphant, and so long protracted, as to compel us to share in the victory!
The passage commonly called the “Hallelujah chorus," - Hallelujah! for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. King of kings, and Lord of lords. HALLELUJAH !" rose so high above all the rest, that language is utterly inadequate to express the difference. The “King of kings! and Lord of lords !” was worthy of a better world than this; and the final “Hallelujah," enough, one would think, to fill the arches of heaven, as if it were sung by the universe in separate worlds, each world a separate choir, and each choir regardless of every other in their movements, and rivalling all in their efforts to render praise !
When they came to the final passage, “ Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, and hath redeemed us to God by his blood-to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.”-“Blessing and honour, and glory and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne; and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever, Amen'--the king and queen and all the assembly rose. The effect was electrical and sublime. It seemed most suitable. It would have been profane to remain seated. It was a doxology never to be forgotten. The “Amen” continued long and loud, reiterated in a thousand varying forms, as if by ten thousand voices unwilling to close the song.
THE KING'S LEVEE AND THE QUEEN'S DRAW
The difference between a levee and drawing-room is, that the former is held by the king, at which he receives delegates from public corporations for any purpose they may have in view, whether to profess their respect and attachment to his person and government, or to petition for any acts of grace at his hands, or any other lawful object; to receive the members of his government and the various officers of state in a social manner; to admit into his immedi. ate presence, and be honoured with the respects of, all for
eign ambassadors resident at his court; to honour distinguished strangers that may be presented ; to give access into his presence to the various orders of nobility and to distinguished commoners, to officers of the army and navy, to bishops and clergy, and to such other men of eminence as may be entitled to this privilege, on account of their rank, or public service, or distinction as travellers, men of letters, science, arts, &c. A levee is not a fête, but a social interview-a great state pageant-a momentary display of royal magnificence-for the confluence of all that is great, splendid, and gorgeous around the throne of earthly majesty--for the concentration of great men in their best dress and show in an hour of leisure. Nor is the occasion merely social. Privileges are solicited by public corporations, and bestowed; honours and dignities conferred upon individuals ; favours granted; and such other acts of condescension, grace, and courtesy rendered, as are consonant with the exercise of the best feelings of the various and high relations grouped on such an occasion. From the levee the queen and all her sex are excluded. It is held about once a week during the session of parliament, like that of our president at the City of Washington, though there is some difference between the two things.
The drawing-room is ostensibly held by the queen, and is always the next day after a levee, though not so frequent. There is all the difference between a levee and a drawing-room, which the presence of the female sex, with a queen at their head, themselves queenlike in dress and bearing, can impart to such an assemblage, convened in the most magnificent apartments, where hosts of men and women, arrayed in the richest apparel that earth and its treasures can afford, float along in crowds-borne to the place in the equipage of princes, pouring in columns into the palace of a king, where the sword and epaulet, stars and ribands, the ermine and mitre, the sparkling of precious stones and the waving of plumes, mingle together in a sea of splendour, which might admonish one that the gorgeous fabrics and rich gems of the east had combined with the arts of the west to pour into one centre all the magic of their created beauty and effulgence.
Both the one and the other are great state occasions, principally for social purposes ; and yet not social in the sense of a close intimacy; but for that intercourse, where mind acts on mind in agreeable and easy circumstances of the greatest possible display of this world's wealth, and of state splendour-where all the means of this species of excitement converge to one focus, fire the mind to purposes of ambition, and stir up the affections to a vague intensity after some imaginary good, supposed to be connected with these distinctions. It is understood to be court effect in the sense
of stage or theatrical effect. It is show-as my friend said -“ an apparition.” And it is something more than an apparition. There is magic in it, indeed, but it is the magic of reality. To distinguish it from other social occasions, it is a state machinery for state purposes. In these circumstances men feel that they are related to each other by high, mysterious, and undefinable ties. And one who had seen it all—and seen it too in its greatest splendour-inscribed upon it,“ vanity of vanities—all is vanity.”
Court etiquette renders to resident ambassadors special honour. They have precedence in all things, not only as guests, and as being entitled to the rites of hospitality, but because it is the interest of one government to pay respect to the representatives of others with whom they have friendly relations. To go to court with an ambassador, and to be presented by him, is to go under the greatest advantages; it is to receive all the honour which royal courtesy pays to a nation in amity. The ambassador (and in the absence of a minister the chargé d'affaires acts in that capacity) always has what is called the entré for state occasions, which is a privileged ticket, goes to the palace by a select route, his carriage drives into the ambassadors' court, he is admitted by the portrait-gallery, and joins the diplomatic corps in the ambassadors' anteroom, in company with princes, dukes, noblemen of distinction, and high officers of government. Ambassadors are the first admitted into the royal presence, and it is expected that they will wait around the throne, or near the person of the king or the queen, during the ceremonies of a levee or drawing-room. To be presented by an ambassador, therefore, is to participate in all his rights of precedence and to enjoy the benefit of that information which he is capable of giving of persons and transactions.
Having made all necessary arrangements, and received suitable hints, I repaired to the residence of Mr. Vail, our chargé d'affaires at the court of St. James, by whose politeness I was presented to the king and queen. At a quarter before 2 o'clock we stepped into his carriage, drove down Bond-street, across Piccadilly, into St. James's-street, where the usual crowd had assembled in the vicinity of the palace ; and we were soon whirled into the ambassadors' court, where carriages were arriving in rapid succession, and letting down persons of distinction. Immediately before us was the carriage of Prince Talleyrand. We waited, of course, till he had alighted, which, with him, in the decrepitude of his age, and the goutiness of one of his feet, is not so easy or expeditious a matter. By the kind assistance, however, of the many hands that were ready to serve him, he was out on the pavement in a reasonable time. Ourselves, more sprightly, were soon at his heels. Out of respect to him, and quite to my own gratification, we kept
hanging on his rear, and waited for the slowness of his movements up the broad stairway, and around into the portrait-gallery." Having arrived in the centre of the gallery, the prince stopped and wrote his own name on a blank card at the table of the reporter. We left ours at the same moment, and followed him into the room of George the Third, one of the state apartments, and which, on occasion of a levee and drawing-room, is the anteroom appropriated to foreign ambassadors and ministers, and to those who have the privilege of the entré.
I had the best opportunity of observing Prince Talleyrand for two successive days in the same apartment, and often, in the transpositions of the crowd, standing by his side. He is a short, small man; his head emaciate, pale, and housed in a wig; one of his feet always muffled up and dressed for the gout;* he totters on his staff, is cheerful, and apparently happy. And is this Talleyrand, thought I ! Talleyrand? The very man? I had seen him before, however, but not with the same opportunity of getting an impression of the living reality. Those who have seen the caricatures of him in the shops would recognise him any. where. It is remarkable how these caricaturists will hit off the main points of the distinguishing features of the persons they take. · The state apartments principally occupied on these occasions are three : viz., Queen Anne's room, George the Third's room, and the Throne room. The king's closet is of course in use. These four are the grand state-rooms of the palace. Those who have not the entré are required to wait in Queen Anne's room, the first in order on the east, till the more privileged corps have been received into the royal presence. Some of these, not a few, are sprigs of nobility; a great proportion are epaulet gentlemen, of rank, and probably of merit; men high on the civil list are there, strangers of respectability are there; clergymen, jurists, men of literature, science, and the arts; and if we speak of both days, all the men and all the women in that apartment might be taken, in any other place, for princes and princesses.
These apartments are in a line, east and west, looking into the gardens of the palace on the south. At right angles on the north, nearly in the centre, is the long gallery of portraits-portraits of the royal line—which serves as a passage of ingress and egress on these occasions, and also connects the banqueting-hall and other parts of the palace with the state apartments. Adjoining the throne-room, on the west, is the king's closet.
The throne-room is the place of reception; the adjoining * It has been suggested, that this foot of Talleyrand is cloven, and that he came legitimately by it. If this be a fact, it may furnish the key to his history.