« AnteriorContinuar »
severity of the English summer," I through some of the heaviest showers amused myself for a while by looking that I have seen even in this showery at the progress of the preparations. The country. English are not so expert at turning Still the carpentering, the nailing cities inside out as we are. And Paris up of canvass, and the torrents of rain would have been converted into a city of went on with equal activity. The bandboxes, or have exhibited a hundred sulky-looking streets were rapidly palaces of lath, tapestry, and painted ca. transforming into the look of a vast lico fit for as many Emperors; or have booth at a vast fair, and it wanted run up a dozen amphitheatres of Titus, nothing but the canals, we had water with all their flags, embroidered cano. enough, and the masquers, to imagine pies, and all the lions and tigers of the qurselves a thousand miles from the Jardin des Plantes gamboling in their huge city of London, and preparing arenas, before John Bull was able to dis. for the carnival in the Piazza di San figure one of his old brick-built streets. Marco, in Venice, the lovely, the de. But it was done at last; and by the licious, and alas! the dying. help of planks, enough to have stripped A large party at the hotel of the a Norwegian forest of all its pines, of embassy. The Marshal's arrival has vast quantities of canvass and calico, been the signal for throwing off that and of zealous carpentering for a week intolerable darkness which seems to together, London began to look un- be the etiquette of ambassadorship in like itself, and like a Continental city this region of tempests. The people on a fête day. This finery made it are, like their climate, calm, of the look odd, without making it look gay. most overwhelming calmness, and to
The nature of the place predominated be roused by nothing but a war or a over the powers of the brush and the revolution. Since I have come here, hammer.
the spirit of the season, or the counYour friend Charles D. and I em- try, had sunk me at least fifty deployed ourselves in imagining what grees in the thermometer. The merthe venerable city of rost bif and cury rapidly approached zero. What smoke most resembled in its new cos- was to be done, where a ball scarcely tume and its ancient gravity. He said once a month, a drawing-room scarcethat it was most like the Boeuf Gras, ly once a quarter, and the closed winthat most honest of beasts, and most dows and doors of every embassy for capital specimen of its kind, covered six months in the year together, made from horn to hoof with ribbons and life one long funeral procession ? In garlands, yet seeming utterly regard- Paris, under such circumstances, we less of the honour, and going through should have an emeute, nothing else the show with all the original serious- could restore the circulation of the ness of his character. Another sug- blood. In Italy we should go upon gestion was that of a company of the the stage. In Vienna we should Banlieu preparing for a review in the smoke opium and swallow sour-krout. Champ de Mars; the gentlemen of In Stamboul we should break into the trowel, the forge, and the milk, the llarem, or take the Grand Turk pail, adopting the sword, the sash, and by the beard; any thing either to exthe shako, and marching to the sound tinguish our sensibilities, or to stimuof trumpet and drum with the dignity late them. But here the English are of Sunday saviours of their country. a provident nation. Till my residence Or, most questionable and flattering at the embassy I did not perceive the of all, our venerable and excellent ac- use of their multitude of canals! But quaintance, Madame La Contesse, in- the Marshal's ambassadorship-extravesting herself with the costume of ordinary has promised us a change; that fairest of the fashionable, and most saved your friend from the necessity of fashionable of the fair, that pride of plunging himself and his crimes togeambassadresses, Madame De Hon, and ther into the bottom of one of those waforgetting the fifty years interval be- tery receptacles for attachés tired of tween her and beauty, going to a fancy life, and saved you from receiving as a ball at the Tuilleries in silk-web dra. last legacy my opera-glass, the payperies and silver wings, as Psyche. ment of my debts, and the honour of Such was our contrivance for escaping discharging my pension to---, instead tlıe recollection that we were walking of these little despatches from the very court of all the muses and graces, all However, I am not one of the royal presiding over the belles jours of young suitors.
Yours, &c. queens. “ Mais cette belle voix, et ces beaux yeux,
" And now to bed, to bed, to bed.”
June 28. I went last night to see the “ Coro- threatened wofully for the canvass nation." This, too, twelve hours be- houses, and for the fair myriads who fore its existence. But I hate to be were so soon to take up their abode in taken by surprise in any thing, and as them. But all London set the eleone of the suburb theatres exhibited ments at defiance; all was in motion ; all the glories of English royalty in the principal streets were a perpetual advance, I ordered my cabriolet, and line of life, a gulf-stream of man, enjoyed its trumpets, drums, huzzas, woman, and child, all hurrying in the and horses, by anticipation. Nothing same direction towards the west. The could be more loyal and laughable. movement was almost à Corso, with The house, perfectly suburban, a phrase carriages crowding after each other which, as you have no such idea in and flying along, filled with women Paris or any where else on the conti- fashionably dressed; here and there nent, implies at once showy and squalid, an officer of rank enjoying the luxury tremendous dancing, and sometimes of a whole vehicle to himself, and lookvery pretty figurantes actors ; every ing conteniptuously enough on the thing that is outrageous, and audiences pedestrians on the trottoir. But, exgood-humoured à l'outrance, grumb- cept for the crowd, the streets looked ling only when they insist on the en- as gloomy as the weather; the shops core of some song, which would break were all shut, and as the shops form the voices and the hearts of all the all the show of London, and as they Italians on earth, and bursting out are shut only on Sundays, or on thie into laughter in the very depths of days of Royal funerals, coronations melodrame.
being rare visitants, a stranger sudI went to bed with my eyes full of denly dropped on this globe of ours stage-lights, tinsel, and odd faces, and would have had only his choice of dreamed that I was ambassador-extra. conjecturing that the middle of the ordinary on a mission to marry the week had suddenly jumped back to the daughter of the great Mogul by proxy beginning, or that there was a new to the Emperor of Mexico. A shower hiatus in the House of Hanover. of diamonds was poured upon me by But, when I reached the scene of the magnificent father-in-law, and, the royal programme, the gloom was choking with brilliancy, I woke, and all past. Round me were the faces, found my valet standing, coffee in the bonnets, the hats, and the clamours hand, by my bed-side, and shaking of at least a hundred thousand people. me from my slumber, to say that it From the spot where the bronze stawas five in the morning, and all the tue of the first Charles looks down the world was up!
vista, at whose end he lost his head, As it was not well to continue in all before me was a sea of heads and rear of all the world, I rose, and after all in full motion. Some taking their despatching the trivialities which make places on the scaffoldings raised in us fit to mingle in the presence of our front of the houses ; some mounting fellow men, I went to look for the the posts of the gas lamps, which then house of our friend D- , if, with bore the true illuminations of the age, its new gown and petticoat of calico, whatever might be the state of their and mask of planks and paint, I should coats and breeches; some fixing thembe able to recognise it again. My selves steadily in positions on the Valet had told me truth, but he had trottoir, with the desperate determinanot told me the whole truth. The tion not to be unfixed for four or five day had begun with gloom, the gloom solid hours; and others, like myself, soon deepened into rain, and all elbowing their way through the multitude to the houses where their places the subject. You know D-_'s hoshad been kept. Whatever Charles and pitality. On this day it shone. His his charger might have thought of the English father gave him the taste for vista, to me it was remarkably lively. pieces de resistance, solid masses of As far as the eye could glance all was a every thing eatable which distinguishes succession of waving banners, the flags the native of this country. His French of every nation, and of none, hung out mother gave him the propensity to from balconies ; scaffold above scaf- enjoy every thing enjoyable, which fold, looking in the distance like vast follows the native of ours every tents, of every colour of the rainbow; where, from Paris to Kamschatka. the roofs of the houses crested with His house to-day was a complete regroups of gathering spectators, which, fectory. Its tables would have made still rather scattered, and looking one of the fathers of the Chartreuse loungingly below, might at that dis- break his vow of eating nothing but tance have been taken for scattered pulse, or have satisfied the superb statues. At that moment, too, a regi. longings of a cardinal. They were ment of heavy cavalry entered the piled with such luxuries as London street, to take up its place in the pro- can muster; I admit, not such as the cession; and the glitter of their brass Paris cuisine would produce to be helmets, their scarlet coats, and the proud of, but very well notwithprancing of their handsome horses, standing. We first had been sumgave the mass exactly the relief which moned to breakfast. The English, it the eye of a painter would have de must be acknowledged, breakfast well. sired. The sun, too, threw in an They even exhibit some taste in the auspicious burst, and the long column arrangement. Other nations overload of the cavalry under it looked like a the table, or starve the sitters. h stream of fire working its way through England there is the happy mediuni. a stubborn and sullen-coloured soil. Tea, coffee, toast, and eggs, with a
We Frenchmen have heard so few slices of ham, intermixed with much of the buffalo spirit of John wings of chickens, form the juste Bull, that I had prepared myself for a milieu. All beyond spoils the appetough struggle. But I made my way tite, occupies attention, and degenewith tolerable ease, neither fought, rates into dinner. As for us, Frenchnor was challenged to the combat; men never breakfast, except where was neither trampled to death, nor we take our chocolate in a café. As called a frog-eating villain for not the ladies never make their appearhaving English for my mother tongue. ance in the morning, and as we never On the contrary, I escaped without do any thing without them, our morneither proving my heroism or being ings pass in picking our teeth, tying forced to deny my country. French our neckcloths, and calculating when man as I was I passed on, saw every we are to dine. The formality of thing that I wanted to see ; went breakfasting is therefore out of the every where, during the day, where I question. wished to go, and preserved my limbs At the tables was another feature and my conscience entire, till I took equally novel to a Frenchman, and them both with me to bed.
captivating to all the world. Between My first movement had all the pre- forty and fifty ladies, generally young, cipitation of fear. D—_'s house was for the matrons had probably been at the bottom of the immense cul de scared by the prospect of an ultrasac before me. I feared for my place, squeezing ; generally pretty, all very my breakfast, and my corporeal ex handsomely costumed, and all in full istence. I plunged on accordingly. smiles, sat down to the table. The But I reached our friend's with auch gentlemen at first did themselves the comparative ease that, like all who honour of supplying those fair creaare alarmed without cause, on getting tures with all that was necessary for rid of my alarm, I adopted the peril their appetites, whose delicacy, fine ous course of leaving my proper bal- and fashionable as it was, was not alcony, and again returning into the together proof against the singularity crowd, and seeing all that was to be of rising at six o'clock instead of noon, seen before the arrival of the pageant. and of inhaliug the morning air instead
Yet I had some compunctions on of the midnight effluvia of the ballroom. When the ladies had sipped ception, and finished in its details, and smiled to the extent of their incli. But its position is unfortunate. It nations, they retired, and the gentle. touches à suburb filled with steammen took their places. In this happy engines and chimneys enough to alternation of indulgences we spent blacken ten palaces. The Parthenon, an hour or two, and if the English in its site, would have worn a robe of proverb is true, that “ a good begin- soot in a week. The temple of Luxor ning is half the battle," a proverb, in would have looked like a colossal my opinion, much superior to the tar- blacksmith's shop. The palace of diness of the old Roman saw, that "it Queen Victoria is, therefore, any thing is the end which crowns the mark,” but an emblem of her innocence. It the gaiety of the morning's meal gave is the atrabilious reverse of “ Candipromise of a goodly day.
dior nive,” and has the look of one I am determined to say no more of hackneyed in the ways, and those the the rain. But, once for all, I must most fuliginous ways, of the world. say, that if the whole body of the Lon- The plan, too, is no more fortunate don citizens had been one mighty glass than the position. It forms three sides tube, and the whole circulation within of a square, the next deformity to four. it quicksilver, the multitude could not The wings thus effect the purpose have exhibited more susceptibility to directly opposite to that of all other every passing cloud. Half a million wings of earth, or air, if that be lightof eyes were turned every half minute ness. Those wings darken and de. upon the sky, and, as if to tantalize press. After all, the most graceful, them, that sky was a perpetual suc. as well as the noblest of all ornaments cession of clouds and sunshine. Below to a great palace is the colonnade. me the street was lined with a detach- Connecting the outer buildings with ment of the Foot Guards. The officers the body of the edifice, they are the put on their blue cloaks, and made pen-feathers, the strength and decorathemselves ready for a winter cam- tion of the wing together. Whether paign. A smart shower came down. smooth or fluted, whether surmounted The hubbub of the streets instantly with the severe beauty of the lonic subsided into silence. John Bull drew capital, or the luxuriancy of the Comhis hat across his brows, and awaited posite, they are always a charm : and the deluge with the fortitude of one the chief fault of the palace of the prepared to be drowned on the spot young English Queen is, that it sabut not to be moved. To reward his crifices this truly Greek spell to sullen constancy, I suppose, the face of the magnitude and heavy solidity. sky finally changed, the sun blazed But the view in front is pretty and forth, every countenance was lighted gentle; a sort of Tuilleries garden, but up along with it, and from that mowithout the statues, but with what is ment commenced a lovely day-a day infinitely more refreshing to the eye made expressly for this national festi- - a sheet of water, broken by one or vity.
two little islands ; primitive spots, I now sallied forth in good earnest, whose only inhabitants are waterfowl. and directed my march to the Queen's The Englishman shows in every thing palace, naturally the centre of all at that he is born surrounded by the sea. traction. I found the Park in which Wherever he is surrounded by the it stands crowded ; a detachment of land, he makes a mimic ocean, inartillery posted in view of the palace dulges his amphibious instincts by a to fire salutes ; bodies of cuirassiers pond in front, and fabricates a little at intervals, and the infantry of the St George's Channel at the bottom of Royal Guards under arms.
his garden. You have asked me what kind of Far be it from me to decry our monster is this palace? I have not Tuilleries, the multitude of days which now time to talk of it; but the de. I have spent under its shades in that scriptions which reached us in Paris most delightful of all occupations, dowere ridiculously en caricature. It is ing nothing; the quantity of newspaper certainly not a planet among palaces, lucubrations from the pens of all our nor even a meteor. But it has merits illuminati,from Armand Carrell, down much superior to any thing that I had to the incarcerated editors of the Tri. been taught to expect. It is even bune, while I was imbibing the gloria showy edifice, elegant in its con- ous science of politics at two sous a day; and the half-million of black, cerns consist in cutting off the heads brown, demi-brown, and blonde of the of a whole dynasty when they grow makers of human finery and soothers tired of them with their heads on, forof human cares, who pour through the tunate for the national honour if they little groves in an uninterrupted stream do not roast and eat them ; republics of sportiveness, smiles, and short petti. whose existence began last month, and coats, have made it to me classic will close the next, all send diplomaground. Still it does not engross all tists here to represent the high interests the loveliness of the globe. Its marble of their country, and cultivate their licroes, rude as they may be, its stunt- own by dining and dancing at Court cd trecs, its fishes gasping for water, and every where else that they can. its loungers gasping for air, and its But on this occasion we, always the philosophers gasping for news, revolu- masters of the ceremonies to the great tions, and young Napoleon, do not al, Salle de Danse of Europe, ue, par together supersede the velvet softness excellence the nation of gallantry, had and showery green of even this Eng- the lionour of setting the example of lish promenade, this quiet and cool homage to the sex,-We resolved to water-giving quietness and coolness to send our oldest and baldest Marshal every thing round it ; the trees, which, to dance before the pretty Queen Vicyoung as they are, seem never to have toria. worn the stays which make our French Our gallantry, too, was of some scrtrees look so prodigiously well-behav- vice. The ambassadorial faculty chief. ed; all have a sense of Nature's hav. ly consisting in two points, keeping ing her own way that I am beginning secrets that everyone knows, and to like. I almost doubt whether the religiously respecting ceremonies that spot would be much improved by a all the world besides have exploded ; naked Meleager exhibiting his atti- the proposal that those solemn pertndes in the purest marble before an sonages should go in the procession, equally naked Atalanta, or even the produced a universal sludder. Etithree is Graces of Canova," as palpa- quette was in despair, the whole body of ble as the most unhesitating chisel attachés were ordered to prepare them.. could make them, and revealing to the selves for the last extremities, and their eyes of La Nation Boutiquière those principals were ready to die, portfolio Parian proportions which were once in land, rather than to hazard this unreserved for the petits soupers of Olym. heard of innovation. Old Soult had pus.
the merit of bringing them to their But now trumpets and drums began senses. Whether he used his old arguto sound. The plot was evidently ment of the sabre and tho cannon, thickening, and I made my way to the that “ ultima ratio” which the repubesplanade in front of the palace; the licans learned so quickly from the display here was brilliart. A trium- kings, and the pupils handsomely paid phal arch, exactly modelled on ours back upon iheir teachers ; or whether in the Place du Carousal, placed, with he appealed to such understandings equal bad taste, as a gateway to the as nature has given to Austrians, palace, and differing from it only in Prussians, Swedes, and Spaniards, are having cost twice the money, and being among the secrets of their function, the repetition of an error, bore upon its and are to be kept in profound secrecy summit the national flag, attended by till any living man shall trouble him. sailors, its natural guardians, Oneither self about the matter. Probably he side were lofty scaffoldings, crowded suggested that, as it was the purpose with ladies, the palace roof had its of their mission to be present at the share of spectators; and every eye performance in the metropolitan Cathewas fixed on the portico from which dral, and as they could go by no other the young sovereign was to descend. way than the streets, they might as
One of the most remarkable features well go along with her Majesty as of the whole ceremonial was the pre- without her. At all events, they came sence of the Foreign Ambassadors. to the determination of joining the These functionaries abound at the file, first mentally protesting against English Court. They came flocking the breach of etiquette, and severally, from every corner of the earth. Na- as I am told, sending off couriers to entions unheard of till within these half quire of their Courts, what was to be dozen years, and whose political con done in this formidable emergency,