Imagens das páginas

the Louvre. Nor on a closer survey is the aspect diminished. The saffron marble columns, supporting the roof, may be objected to as dull, but their effect is warm; and the roof itself, glass exquisitely cut, as well as the rare Mosaic floor ground of the richest combinations, may be considered the happiest architectural efforts in the building. From the vestibule branch off the dining-room, drawing-room, library, and various departments of the edifice, each of which may be considered perfect in its degree, and is elegantly adorned with pictures, embroidery, and statuary.

The upper part of the Reform Club contains the usual apartments for billiards, play, &c., which it is said was once carried on here to a considerable extent, though now we believe greatly diminished, if not suppressed. In this part of the edifice, too, are a certain number of dormitories allotted to the insatiable quid-nuncs of the building, or those who pass their whole existence amid club gossip and politics-one of the peculiarities, and by no means a desirable one, of the establishment. But it is in the lower regions, where Soyer reigns supreme, that the true glory of the Reform Club consists; and here the divine art of cookery-or, as he himself styles it, Gastronomy-is to be seen in all its splendour. Heliogabolus himself never glutted over such a kitchen-for steam is here introduced and made to supply the part of man. In state the great dignitary sits and issues his inspiring orders to a body of lieutenants, each of whom has pretensions to be considered a chef in himself. Gardez les Rotis, les Entremets sont perdus was never more impressively uttered by Cambacéres, when tormented by Napoleon detaining him from dinner, than are the orders by Soyer for preparing the refection of some modern attorney; and all the energies of the vast establishment are at once called into action to obey them-steam eventually conducting the triumphs of the cook's art from the scene of its production to a recess adjoining the dining-room, where all is to disappear.

Soyer is, indeed, the glory of the edifice the genus loci. Peers and plebeian gourmands alike penetrate into the recesses of the kitchen to render him homage; and conscious of his dignity, or at least of his power, he receives them with all the calm assurance of the Grand Monarque himself. Louis XIV., in the plenitude of his glory, was never more impressive; and yet there is an aspect-we shall not say assumptionof modesty about the great chef, as he loves to be designated, which is positively wondrous, when we reflect that we stand in the presence of the great" Gastronomic Regenerator"-the last of his titles, and that by which, we presume, he would wish by posterity to be known. Soyer, indeed, is a man of discrimination, and taste, and genius. He was led to conceive the idea of his immortal work, he tells us, by observing in the elegant library of an accomplished nobleman the works of Shakspeare, Milton, and Johnson, in gorgeous bindings, but wholly dust-clad and overlooked, while a book on cookery bore every indication of being daily consulted and revered. "This is fame," exclaimed Soyer, seizing the happy inference; and forthwith betaking himself to his chamber and to meditation, his divine work on Gastronomic Regeneration was the result. We all remember the glowing passage of Gibbon describing the conception of his great achievment as he stood amid the ruins of the Roman forum, and surveyed the spot "where Romulas stood, and Tully spoke,

and Cæsar fell;" we are familiar too with his still more exquisite description of its completion amid the groves of Switzerland, when" in a midsummer night" (we quote from memory)" at the extremity of a row of Acacias, he wrote the last line of the last page of his history, and felt for a moment elated with the conclusion of his labour, perhaps the establishment of his fame; but was immediately stricken to the dust by the reflection that whatever might be the fate of the history, the life of the historian might be short and precarious." Yet what is this to the conception and completion of Soyer's immortal work-from the possible effect of which he himself shrank in horror, as he tells us it will cause a complete "revolution in the whole culinary art."

And having a wholesome dread of " revolutions" even in cookery, we beg leave at the first to take leave of Monsieur Soyer and the Reform Club, of which he is at once the atlas and ornament; premising, however, that in other respects he is an estimable man, and not only fondly exhibits a series of remarkably well-executed tableaux by his late consort, whose memory he seems warmly to cherish, but also possesses a considerable taste, and, we believe, power of execution too, in the fine arts himself; independently of the merit to which he is entitled for having endeavoured to relieve the sufferings of the humbler classes of our countrymen during the severe famine of last winter.

Side by side with the Reform, separated only by a narrow pass, stands its great rival in politics, and senior, if we mistake not, in origin,


which still retains its first designation, though removed from the lordly terrace which gives rise to it, to the shady side of Pall Mall.

As it originally stood-and still in part stands-in Pall Mall, the Carlton, though light, elegant, and fastidious, presents a much less imposing appearance than its popular neighbour; but when the present improvements, or rather external re-construction of the edifice shall be completed, it will eclipse the other as completely as it formerly was thrown into shade.

Nothing, indeed, can be more striking than the new exterior which the Carlton exhibits. A space equalling in dimensions the old extent of the Club has been acquired on the western side, and on this has been raised a superstructure which none in the metropolis equals, if we except the gorgeous building of the Army and Navy Club in St. James's Square. And even this is less remarkable; for though in gigantic dimensions and architectural splendour it may vie with the Carlton, it has no such conspicuous feature as the latter, in its gorgeous red granite columns, contrasted with the ordinary colour of the edifice, affords. Some, indeed, may object to a want of harmony in the style, and represent that the dark red granite and highly-polished marble columns are inconsistent with the rich yellow Portland stone bases, and offer an incongruity not in unison with our clime; yet the effect is exceedingly dazzling, and on the whole we cannot help considering it to be good at once rich, striking, and chaste in design; and calculated, so far as external appearance is concerned, to throw the other as completely into the shade, as the Reform, we still believe will be found internally to surpass it in architectural beauty and thorough adaption to the purposes of a club.

The Carlton is the head-quarters of Conservative, as the Reform Club is of Liberal politics. A nominally Conservative Club has been erected in St. James's-street, for the reception of the inferior members, but in Pall Mall congregate the Tritons of the party. Here the great political "moves" are concerted which upset a Whig or overturn a Conservative administration. Here the grand mysteries of a General Election are determined on, and here are the vast sums subscribed which are to put the whole forces of the party in motion. Here are tactics propounded which are to be directed by the experienced hand of a Bonham, and the operations determined on that are to flow from the ample purse of a Buccleuch, From it went forth the voice, the energy, and the action, which, after years of exertion, placed the late Premier in office at the head of the great Conservative party; and out of the same portals issued the resolute consistence of the old county or protectionist members who eventually ejected him from office. The Carlton contains them all-Conservatives of every hue, from the good oldfashioned Tory who adheres to the doctrines of Lord Eldon and William Pitt, to the liberal advancing man who almost moves ahead of Sir Robert; but they are all men of consequence-they are the Corinthians of the order. The members of both houses are there. Here do the gentlemen and leaders of the party assemble, whether they own allegiance to their late chieftain, or follow the banner of Lord George. They are, almost without exception, men of the highest standing either in fortune or politics. Not a doubtful attorney or disreputable roué is to be found in their ranks. They are pre-eminently the representatives of England's congregated gentlemen-men whose opinions may be objected to by their political opponents, but whose public and personal honour is unimpeached and unimpeachable; from whose ranks the members of every Tory or Conservative government have in past times been taken, and must in future ministries of like principles continue to come.

But in every grade of life, whether military or ministerial, private or political, there must necessarily be subordinates; and hence when the Carlton became unduly crowded, or there appeared a necessity for classification, there arose another club of similar principles


which was designed first to provide accommodation for the immense number of candidates for admission to the Carlton, and ultimately to form a general re-union for the Dii minores, or smaller stars, but in many cases equally indispensable members of the party.

We state this in no invidious sense. To the external eye, the Conservative Club in St. James's street presents no inferiority to its more aristocratic relative in Pall Mall, and until lately it eclipsed the Carlton in so far as splendour was concerned. Nothing, indeed, could be conceived more gorgeous than the aspect of its exterior, and nothing equal to it existed in the metropolis till the modern Carlton and Army and Navy Club arose. It may even yet be considered by many as more chaste than the one, and less gaudy than the other, though the internal arrangements of the building are not fashioned with equal architectural ability for display. In this respect, too, it yields to the great edifice of Barry;

the interior of which, as already mentioned, is perfect, although the exterior is plain almost to a fault. In all the essential requisites of a Clubhouse, the Conservative is unobjectionable; and, situated within a stonethrow of the palace, with a full view of the glories of St. James's-street on drawing-room day, it must form an admirable lounge for its members, as well as a nucleus exceedingly desirable for collecting the forces of the party when a great political movement is to be attempted. Into it a few members of doubtful reputation may possibly have found admission; but still the components of the club as a body are sound, and number amongst their ranks a large majority of the secondary order of Conservatives both of the metropolis and provinces, on whose power and support the influence of the party so greatly depends; for, be it observed, each of these parties, though small in London, where many a man is sadly shorn of his dimensions, is of importance in his county or respective sphere, and the leaders of the phalanx are too well aware of the weight and the value of their support to treat them with contumely.

The chiefs of the Tory party are consequently members of the Conservative Club; but in most cases merely honorary, and rarely make their appearance within its walls. Lord Stanley seldom enters it; Sir Robert Peel, we believe, except to view the edifice, was never within its portals; but Lord George here beats up for recruits, more genial or less fastidious than the late Premier, whose habit it was while in office to hold little intercourse with his subordinates save in Parliament, and to know nothing unless it came before him in the shape of a despatch; even the ordinary journals of the day, by which the policy of his predecessors was supposed to be guided, being strangers to him. When an election, however, is to be decided, or the great and vital question of "Who shall be out or who shall be in?" is to be determined, the Conservative presents a host whose numbers and power are not to be despised; and if few of its members be components or candidates for seats in the legislature, still in their ranks are to be found the knowledge and the strength by which the battle is to be fought and the victory to be gained.

With the Conservative we conclude our description of the political clubs. There is a small establishment of a semi-political, if not ultra character, named


recently established in Regent-street, and thence removed to some quarter in the neighbourhood of St. James's-square. Messrs. Cobden, Bright, Moore, and other members of the late confederacy, known by the name of the Anti Corn Law League, nre its founders and principal frequenters; but it has never come into vogue with the community, and as at this moment the doctrines of these gentlemen are by no means in especial

It is a well-known joke of the late Whig Premier, Lord Melbourne, that, being asked what he intended to do next, he replied, "Can't say till I've seen the newspapers," which generally were very liberal in supplying him with intentions. This was a far superior mot to a similar jeu d'esprit by Pitt, who, to the usual interrogatory respecting the news, by the celebrated Duchess of Gordon, solemnly replied: “Madame, I have not seen the newspapers."

favour with the country, and have failed to realize expectations or predictions in the estimation of their adherents. The Club is at present undergoing a change, and will shortly, it is said, be, in its new residence, more showy than before.


is, perhaps, another Club of a semi-political character, but of an opposite class of politics, and of a very different order. It is situated in St. James's-street, and was erected in 1811, by Mr. Hopper, the architect of the celebrated edifice of Penryn Castle. It consists of six hundred members-the smallest in this respect of any of the old-established clubs. Its members are chiefly country gentlemen of Conservative opinions; but politics, we believe, form no essential feature in its constitution, and any peculiar tendency which it may on this point exhibit, arises chiefly from such principles being prevalent amongst the order in society to which we have alluded.

We now approach to the

and first of



the oldest of the modern race, and the parent, if it may be so-named, of them all. It took its rise in 1816, after the conclusion of the late wars, when so many officers of the army and navy were thrown out of commission. These habits, from old mess-room associations, being gregarious, and their reduced incomes no longer affording the luxuries of the camp or barrack-room on full pay, the late Lord Lyndoch, on their position being represented to him, was led to propose some such institution as a mess-room, in peace, for the benefit of his old companionsin-arms. A few other officers of influence in both branches of the service concurred, and the United Service Club was the result. It was at first established at the corner of Charles-street, St. James's, where the junior establishment of the same name is now situated; but the funds soon becoming large, and the number of candidates for admission great, the large and classic edifice at the corner of Waterloo Place was erected by Mr. Burton, for their accommodation. The exterior is exceedingly elegant, yet severe and chaste; but the interior is by no means commensurate, and is destitute of many of the improvements in the erection of modern clubs. There has been talk, indeed, of pulling it down, and erecting a more convenient one in its stead; but whatever may be done with the interior, we trust the old classic and highly appropriate exterior will be preserved.

Old reminiscences are attached to it, independently of its being the origin of the modern clubs. There Lyndoch reposed-that martial and chivalrous old man, who entering upon arms not until he had attained his forty-fifth year, and that, too, chiefly in expectation of finding a speedy grave to relieve him from romantic attachment or domestic affliction, bore the British standard victorious through all the stormy campaigns of the

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