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SKETCHES OF SOCIETY AND MANNERS IN LONDON
Sir Charles Darnley, Bart. at Paris, to the Marquess de Vermont,
My dear VERMONT,
disappointment (which I have the Ever since my return from Ame- vanity to believe you will regret no rica, where I spent so many happy less than myself,) may eventually days in your society, I have medita- prove favourable to the attainment ted a journey to Paris--to that Paris of the objects which we have mutuwhich you made me anxious to see, ally in view. No doubt, in visiting by the enthusiastic terms in which London, it is your wish, as it is mine you used to speak of it. After in coming hither, to examine every having been prevented again and thing with impartiality and fairness again, by a variety of circumstances, -had you met me in England, or I from carrying this favourite project met you in France, would this have into execution, I at last availed my been possible? The stranger resself of the opportunity of being at pecting the judgment of his resident Brighton, from which place packets friend, would have been implicitly sail daily for the coast of France- governed by his opinions—admiring and embarking on board one of these what he admired, and censuring vessels on Friday last, arrived here what he censured-he would have yesterday evening. As one of my
As one of my lost all the pleasure of first impresprincipal inducements for coming sions, and would have seen none of hither was the hope of renewing our the objects of curiosity presented to former habits of intimacy, and, un his attention with unprejudiced eyes. der your auspices, of seeing the Left to ourselves we shall, doubtless, Gallic capital to the greatest possi- be both guilty of a thousand ridicuble advantage, I need scarcely say lous mistakes; and, with the precihow great was my disappointment, pitancy so common to all travellers, when on going this morning to your we shall alike praise and condemn hotel, I learnt from your old Swiss improperly--still, let us determine porter that you were absent, and to communicate to each other our gone to London: the latter piece of respective remarks and observations intelligence has increased my cha- with the utmost candour; and the grin; for I am thus not only de errors of each may be subsequently prived of your expected aid in pi- corrected by the maturer knowledge loting my way through the unknown of his correspondent. In losing my regions of the French metropolis, “fidus achates,” I shall
, therefore, but also of the sincere pleasure with make a merit of necessity, and learn which I should have offered you to depend on myself. Hoping that mine, in exploring the wonders of in your letters to me you will speak London.
of England with no less freedom On receiving these unwelcome ti than I shall use towards you in dings, I was so surprised, and so talking of France, I shall throw distressed, that had I allowed myself aside all ceremony, and tell you
hoto be governed by my first impres- nestly and freely what I think. sions, I should immediately have or Having been only four days in dered post-horses, and should have France, and but four and twenty now been on my road back to Eng- hours at Paris, you will not expect land ; in order, if I may be permite in this first epistle that I should have ted to use a French phrase, de vous much to say. Yet, perhaps, you will faire les honneurs de mon pay receive, with a smile of good humour,
Having, however, allowed myself the crude reflections of an inexperia few moments for reflection, (with- enced foreigner, the novelty of whose out which you know we sober Eng- situation may plead his excuse for lish seldom take any decided step,) 'I innumerable faults. begin to think that this apparent In landing at Dieppe, I experi
enced (never having been before on linen delicately white, but the furnithe Continent of Europe) all that ture, of silk or satin, was often surprise which prior tourists have ragged, and sometimes dirty; and described, and, indeed, after an ex a mahogany dining-table seemed an peditious voyage of a few hours, I unknown luxury. found such a change of scene in all I had an early specimen of the around me, that I seemed much
manners of your people, exhibited more in a new world, than when, in those of a short boy, about fourafter traversing the Atlantic, I set teen years of age, who waited on me foot in America. There, the objects at dinner, on the day of my landing. which presented themselves, were all He displayed no trifling marks of similar to those which I had left be- their volubility, vivacity, and officibind. The countenances of the peo ous politeness, which are supposed ple, their dress, their manners, and to be inherent in Frenchmen, in every theirlanguage wéreallthe same. Here class of society, and at every period every thing seemed metamorphosed. of life. But though no creature The darker complexions and more could be possibly more civil, and he marked features of the crowds who might well be called rempli de grace; thronged the shore, the large cocked I was surprised at certain improhats and fieree looks of the military, prieties in his behaviour, of which the high head-dresses, and other pecu the aukwardest clown in our island liarities of the Norman costume, which would be ashamed. When I asked the female peasantry displayed, and him for drink, he took a small tumthe unaccustomed sounds of French bler from the table (exactly such a and Patois, which assaulted my ears, one as we use in our dressing-rooms presented altogether a picture so dif- in England,) and throwing some ferent from that which I had taken water which it contained under the leave of a few hours before at Brigh. cinders of the fire, wiped the glass ton, that I had some difficulty in with a dirty napkin, which he carpersuading myself, that what I saw ried under his arm, and then filled and heard, was real, and not the it with wine. phantom of a dream.
This seemed to me no very deWhen I had sufficiently recovered corous mode of executing, my commy astonishment to observe them; mands; but my surprise increased, I found myself surrounded with the when, at the conclusion of the dinimportunate, but civil emissaries of ner, the same graceful youth, after numerous inns; each of whom in. removing the cloth, threw the crumbs sisted, as he forced a card into my of bread, parings of apples, orange hånd, that the house which he re- peel, and other relics of the meal commended was incomparably the which it contained, under the table, best. The one to which, by the ads at which I sat, without attempting to vice of a fellow passenger, I allowed sweep them away, or to offer any myself to be conducted at Dieppe, as apology for what he had done. well as most of those at which I In the course of conversation (for stopped on the road, afforded much this pigmy waiter had chatted away better accommodations than I had during the whole of his services, bee'n led to expect; but you must and let me into all his secrets,) he pardon me for observing, thật I re had informed me, that he was very marked in all of them, an incon- partial to the English, and was gruity of the most extraordinary going very soon to Brighton, in kind. The walls of the rooms order to learn our language, and to were generally painted with Arabesq study our manñers. I therefore figures, or otherwise ornamented took the liberty of hinting, that but the floors, rarely carpeted, were among other improvements which often tiled, and commonly far from probably he would derive from his clean. Every where we found mag- visit to Great Britain, I hoped he nificent looking glasses, marble chim- would discover, that (at least accordney pieces, and or-moulu clocks of ing to our prejudices,) it was not great value and beauty; while the very delicate to empty a glass in the doors would not shut, and the win- fire-place, or to throw a cloth full of dows displayed many a broken pane crumbs under the table. He stared, the beds were excellent, and the thanked me; and, seeming to be
quite unconscious of having been the company seemed disposed to guilty of the least impropriety, ob- agree, was to disbelieve my eviserved, as he shrugged up his shoul dence; and, in spite of the repeated ders, and walked out of the room, assurances which I gave them, that " Que tout pays a ses usages.”
I had left London perfectly quiet In respect to the appearance of only two days before, my declarathe country, I had heard much of tions produced no effect on these the beauty of Normandy, and was ardent politicians; and though they not disappointed: it fully answered were too well bred to tell me I lied, my expectations, particularly as we I read in their countenances that drove along the smiling banks of the such was their opinion. Seine. The scenery is, indeed, de In the course of the same converlightful, and wants nothing to com sation, I was informed (and many plete the landscape but some of those an Englishman has before heard the elegant villas, thatched cottages, and same news in France,) that Bonaromantic villages, which are so
com- parte's return from Elba was a Britmon on the English side of the Chan ish manœuvre; that L'affaire meurnel. The specimens of Gothic archi trierede de Mont St. Jean (as the tecture which the buildings of Rouen, battle of Waterloo was called,) was and other towns which I traversed on not a victory gained, but a fortunate my way to Paris, so profusely offer to
escape on our part, on which occathe attention of the antiquary, I did sion we owed our escape to the accinot stop critically to examine, but dental arrival of the Prussians; and what I saw both pleased and sur that the victor at Toulouse was not prised.me, and, perhaps, on some the Duke of Wellington, but Marshal future occasion, I may be tempted Soult. to come hither again, purposely to I have no doubt that you will find study these interesting edifices. English quid-nuncs making very
On the road, I made it my prac- egregious errors in their estimate tice to dine at the Tables d'Hote, of the present state of France ; both for the sake of society, and in but I apprehend you will scarcely order to have an opportunity of see meet with an instance of mis-stateing the manners of the people who ments, as gross as those which I frequent them. At one of those din- have just related, yet those who ners, finding that politics were the were guilty of them belonged to order of the day, I determined to rather a higher class of society, take no share in the conversation, consisting. (besides ladies) of two but to listen in silent attention. Ecclesiastics, several military men,
One of the company, however, and three returned emigrants, on seemed resolved not to let me off so whose button-hole dangled the cross easily. From his dress, I concluded of St. Louis. that he was an Abbé, and, from his Of Paris, I have as yet only seen mode of arguing, that he belonged the principal features, and I am so to that party, which bears, in this bewildered with gazing at the varicountry, the name of Ultra-Royalist. ous splendid objects which claim my -Having made some observations, attention, that I shall reserve my which, by his looks, he seemed to observations till another time. expect that I should approve, but to For the present, then, adieu. I which I neither expressed assent nor enclose some letters, which, I hope, dissent," Mais parlez donc, Mon- will procure you an entrée into some sieur L'Anglois,” exclaimed he,“ et of our most distinguished circles, in dites nous n'est il pas vrai que vous which you may study the English commencez d'eprouver dans votre pays charaeter en beau. As to John Bull les tristes effets de principes revolu- in his rough garb, he is so very tionaires que l'insurrection est or- easily known, that I shall leave him, ginazeć á Londres, l'anneé séduite, et with all his faults and merits, to the un gouvernement provisionné formé unbiassed examination of your penechez le Lord Mayor."
trating eye. Such seemed to be the current re
Believe me, port of the day, and when I met this enquiry with a positive negative, I
C. DARNLEY. found the only point, upon which
FERDINAND and ISABELLA.
Isabella. On! Ferdinand, didst mark the setting sun ?
Fer. Ay, let it stand. But prithee tell me, love,
Isa. A sight, I guess, more precious in thy view,
Fer. Heav'n keep ye both! Who would not be a mother?
Isa. Not quite so dark, but very, very bright;
Fer. Genius! That likes me not !-Rather would I
Isa. Give me my humour; let me think to see him
Fer. Hold, my dear wife ; 'twere hardly well to let our
Isa. Cruel father, write not his doom to die ;
Fer. Not yet of many months; but if prevail
Isa. Convey'd to other shores! Think ye I'll brook
Blossom of life ! how could I live without thee!
Fer. A frank confession !
Isa. So, now I've anger'd him, the jealous churl!
(Goes out, but shortly returns.)
(Throws herself between the alligator and the child.)
Enter Scipio and Slaves.
Scipio. What shriek I heard :—'Twas like my mistress' voice !
the child, I'll raise the lady up;
LINES TO SAPPHO.
On! there is a joy in straying
Alone by the deep,
And savage waters sleep.
A radiance more divine,
Of that dark eye of thine.
And listen to the shell,
Of the sea maiden well.
More truly by far,
O'er thy simple guitar.
Of ocean in song,
Sweep lightly along;
Or earth's troubled sea,
Most lovely of her daughters,
Is thy lone voice to me.
Than the notes of delight,
From her mantle of light :-
Like the nightingale's lay,
At the parting of day.
When the day-beams depart,
It steals on the heart.
And spurning controul;
It rules o'er the soul :
Submits to the chain,