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that the period at which our Chatsworth records open was about the third week in August,-just as the princely hospitalities of that noble demesne, having commenced earlier than usual, (with a view to a subsequent sojourn beneath Italian skies,) had collected within its classic walls, one of the most charmingly assorted companies, that even the fine intellectual taste and consummate social tact of the noble host himself had ever before nade acceptable to each other.
But stay,--as we desire that the chief stars in our constellation of illuminati should obtain for themselves in the reader's imagination that “local habitation” in the absence of which they would presently pass into empty abstractions—would not merely
come like shadows,” (which is what we de sire),—but would inevitably “so depart,”— (which is what we deprecate),—the patience of the better-instructed among those readers
must be content to tolerate us for a brief space, whilst we try our skill in landscapepainting: “a soul” for which, the fairy-land wherein we shall presently find ourselves might create under the ribs" of himself. (Here the reader of taste is requested to insert the name of his or her favourite aversion among the existing professors of that ill-understood art.)
In virtue, then, of that unlimited power which we “slaves of the lamp” possess for the nonce over all those who voluntarily place themselves within the scope of our spell, we take the liberty of casting that spell over our readers, wheresoever they may be--of listing them, one and all, “ above this visible diurnal sphere" — wafting them for a moment, by a fiat of our sovereign will, through the pleasant empyrean—and then gently depositing them on the bosom of their mother earth, at that particular spot where it is our pleasure that they should commence their local associations
“ with us and with our comedy;" the spot which we choose to consider as the threshold of the demesne of Chatsworth Palace.
AN ENGLISH SPA.
On opening their eyes, shaking their ears, and looking immediately around them, our aërial travellers will find themselves on a little patch of sinooth-shaven turf, inclosed by a low, light, iron railing; dotted with diminutive flower beds, that look as if they had been cut out by a pastrycook’s pie-mould; furnished here and there with green gardenchairs; and finished in the centre by a baby fountain, falling into what may be mistaken for a moderate-sized punch-bowl,—its edges glittering with moss-grown spar, its surface floating a single water-lily, and its shallow's gay with gold and silver fish.
Doubtless the reader at first imagines that we have, by way of being facetious, conveyed him to the “lawn” of some London cit's
cottage of gentility,” on Clapham Common or Brixton Hill. Yet the great lumbering white-washed building that bounds his view close at hand,—with its gaping doors, staring windows, and straggling walls, - looking like something between a barrack and a cotton mill, only uglier than either,—forbids this conclusion.
A glance upward discloses the truth: we are standing on the “terrace" in front of “ The Old Bath HOTEL,” at Matlock Bath.
It may please us, presently, to enter for a moment the obsolete halls of Dame Cumming; for they are classical ground: but metal more attractive than all the classics in anti-Christendom awaits us where we stand. Turn your back then, reader, on yonder oldfashioned boarding-house, which the Wizard of the North has preserved from demolition by writing his magic name on one of its window panes, and where the beautiful Lady of Annesley made herself and her lover immortal by writing her's on the heart of the boy Byron-step a little to the left of the spot where we first took the liberty of depositing you—and look before, above, and on either side of you.
Of course, if a male, you belong to “The Travellers," or are qualified for it; and if a female, you are as familiar with the hills and plains, the groves and glades, which form the picturesque “lions” of Italy and Greece, as your kitchen-maid is with those of Greenwich, or your couturière with those of the Rhine. Yet, if you ever before looked upon a scene which, space for space, equalled in the three great components of scenic effect,grandeur, beauty, and singularity,—the one that now lies within your ken,-be pleased to point it out, that we may proceed to do over again our travels in search of the picturesque.