Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

an emergency which was to be over visible. Moustache, whisker, and china before an answer of any kind could be tuft accomplished this object for their received.

faces, and I was content with the priHowever, the gallant Marshal led yation, the way on this occasion, as he had As the time was approaching when done on so many others, and the diplo. the procession was to move, I returned matists-extraordinary ordered their to our friend's house. The streets had equipages to follow the stream, a prin- now assumed a new appearance. The ciple which is the essence of all success moving crowd moved no longer, it in diplomacy, as well as in all things had formed solid masses on the trotof this life.

toir ; the police force had taken their My next movement was to pass in stand along the line in front of the review their equipages, drawn up in masses; the troops were spread in the Bird-Cage Walk, now a wide and front of the police; the space in the public road, but once a retired path centre was gravelled over, and kept where Charles II., the brother of our clear for the carriages; and what was St Germain's King, a hundred and infinitely more to the purpose, in the fifty years ago, used to take his morn- way of ornament, the ladies had taken ing's promenade, attended by his cour- their places in the balconies. This tiers and spaniels, two races of animals view was worth all that I had seen, which, differing in the number of their and worth all the gilded carriages that legs, agreed in several capital points, I ever hope to see. the only exceptions of which I know Let me pause a moment to recoany thing being that the spaniels, ver my breath, and I shall give you though they fondle, do not flatter; my final opinion of the beauty of Engand though they may bite now and lishwomen. They are the only wothen, never betray.

men in the world who can venture to The carriages were fully worth the show their faces in daylight! Let this trouble of looking at them. They were be said without any undue qualificacertainly superb affairs. John Bull is tion of my homage for foreign beauty supposed to be the best of coach- in general, and French beauty in parmakers and the worst of politicians, ticular. to be unequalled in building an equi. “ Quoi !- Neron est il amoureux ? page, and the worst in constructing Depuis un moment; mais pour toute ma a treaty, of any man in existence. But

vie, time seems to equalize allthings; andas J'aime (que dis-je aimer ?) j'idolatre we have within these lateryearscertain- Junie. ly arrived at the art of making the most But it was made for the light of chanridiculous of possible treaties, we deliers. Its poignancy, like gunpowhave almost reached him in the art

der, sleeps until it is touched by flame. of panels, harness, and hammer

It is a fine picture, but the picture re. cloths. The Marshal's carriage was

quires to be placed in the right posi. a prodigiously glittering creation. A

tion, to be shaded by draperies, and cornice of fretted and flowered silver .coloured by contrast, and a hundred a foot high surrounded its top. The other ingenuities, which amply exersolitary star of the Legion of Honour cise the taste and talents of the possesblazed on its blue panels; half extin

In fact, its finest effect is like guished every where else, it flashed

every other fine thing in our country; from its blue escutcheon as from a sky. it is theatrical. The scene must not The Marshal had the good taste to al.

be approached too near, nor glared on low no competitor to rival it, among with too much light, nor dimmed with the fifty orders which he had conquer too little—but the lamps are essential, ed or commanded from the trembling and then we have nothing to do but courts of the continent. His baton was

to gaze, and be--undone. the only additional emblem. But it

For an hour or two we had amused was enough.

ourselves with the speetacle of the carThe other carriages were of Span, riages conveying the nobility to the ish and Portuguese, Austrian and Cathedral. Next to the women, by Russian grandeeism. Inside sat uni- far the finest things in England are forms of every conceivable embroid- the horses. The Duke of Northumery, spangled with every conceivable berland's steeds, covered with blue order. The wearers were all but in ribbons, the Duke of Devonshire's,

sor.

the Duke of Buccleuch's, and a mul- • But he has fought against them titude of others, were superb animals. so long." And the prices given for them are su- “ They like him the better for it. perb. An English gentleman, who He has fought stoutly, and you canseemed fully conversant with such mat- not get nearer to John Bull's heart, ters, told me that the Duchess of than by showing that you have a stout Kent's horses cost each upwards of heart of your own." 8000 francs ! But those English nobles “ But your newspapers are at this are the richest in the world. Many moment attacking his talents as a solof them could buy a German principa- dier, and discussing over again the lity, prince and all, and even their tenth battle of Thoulouse. class could swallow up a dozen of our Well, who can help them ? The majorats. This enormous opulence newspapers don't care a pin's-head arises from two things, the possession upon the subject, nor do the people. of pedigree, and the absence of pride. But newspapers are like those policeSome of the noble families reach back men before you, they flourish their to the Normans, and are like mighty staves to show that they can knock rivers whose course is perpetually down upon occasion; or, like the wild swelled by smaller rivers falling into beasts in the Zoological Gardens, they their course. Those families gradu- roar to remind you of their existence, ally become the deposit of a succession and show their teeth to tell you that of minor families. But when the Eng- they want something to eat. But, sir, lish noble family decays in its exche- with all respect for your country, I quer, it seldom exhibits any scruple never met a Frenchman who could be whatever, to recruit its losses by an al- persuaded that every peevish para. liance with the commercial classes. A graph in a London newspaper was not handsome girl is not thought the worse a declaration of war, and that the of for bringing a couple of millions of writer was not a Secretary of State.” francs in her hand. She gains her But your graver publications, grand object, a title; the honest trader your Reviews, have taken up the subwho has made her dower gains his ject, and angrily too." grand object, the honour of having a “ Well, and who can help the Repeer for a son-in-law; the peer gains views? We have no censorship here, his grand object, a sum sufficient to and every one who has an opinion pay off the incumbrances of the family may give it, and this very license estate ; and the bargain thus pleases breaks off the point of the sting. Who every body but the maiden aunts and cares for an opinion, when it is only the Herald's College, for whom no- one of a million of opinions? A man body cares.

in a garret thinks your Marshal the As I stood at one of the windows, greatest general that the sun ever looking down over a whole parterre shone upon. A man in a drawingof bonnets and beauties in front, at room, with a Turkey carpet, and an the endless stream of showy vehicles ormolu inkstand, thinks that he does which carried the elite of England to not know a musket from a pocketthe Abbey, I happened to say some pistol. A man in a printing office tothing implying a doubt of the Mar- day compares him to Marlborough shal's reception by the populace. and Turenne, next day he pronounces “ The higher ranks of your country,” that he is not fit to carry their knapI observed to a solid-looking English- sacks. Who cares for all this? Beman, who was uneasily standing on a sides, to do the English papers justice, bench to make the same experiment they did not begin. A pamphleteer over my shoulders, for we on the other side of the water opened crowded like pigeons in a coop, the ball, sank Wellington to the dust, “ will doubtless treat him with the and lifted Soult up to the skies. respect due to his rank, but the This put the match to the gun, and off people in the streets, what will they it went.” do ?"

Yes, the beginning of the skir- I shall undertake to say,” was mish I allow to have been French. But the reply, “ that they will treat him the pamphleteer wasso obscure, his reabetter than even the higher rauks, if sons were so absurd, and the whole he has the sense to prefer cordiality to was so evidently the work of Jacoceremony."

binism to sour the people of England

were

away with.

against the Marshal, and the Marshal boxing-match or a campaign, no peoagainst the people, that English saga- ple on earth are more ready to shake city should have seen through the hands when all is over, and say no scheme and despised it."

more about it." “ Perhaps so; they certainly ought After this homely exposition of the to have shown more temper than to soul of John Bull, how shall I rise to care about such tricks. But the bull- the description of the pomps within dog lives for fighting ; show him the the Abbey. I shall not attempt the bull, and whether it is for sport or difficulty. I must leave it to your slaughter he flies at it. As for the vivid imagination to conceive all that battle of Thoulouse, the whole affair is conceivable on such subjects—the has been over nearly a quarter of a splendour, the loyalty, the embroidercentury ; three-fourths of all men alive ed robes of the Duchess of Sutherland, were born since and know nothing and the diamond stomacher of Prince about it ; the other fourth have for- Esterhazy, whose outer man on this gotten it, excepting old women and day, I understand, has been valued by lords of the bedchamber. We might the authorities on such subjects at a as well abuse each other for the wars quarter of a million sterling. Never of the Edwards, or quarrel about the was a noble so well worth running chivalry of Amadis de Gaul.”

Never was a prince The trumpets of the squadrons lead- whose value would be so vexatiously ing the procession were now heard, diminished by his returning to those and all eyes were turned to its en- times of simplicity when coats and trance into the street. It looked as waiscoats were unknown. However, fine as plumes, cuirasses, chasseurs, and he is a favourite here, for reasons less valets all over gilding, and carriages sparkling, perhaps, than his wardrobe, hung all over with chasseurs and va- but not less important to his mission. lets, could look; it was an endless The newspapers will tell you all the column of all kinds of brilliancy glit- formal proceedings of the day. The tering under a cloudless sun. As the ceremony is the same in all its chief principal equipages passed, and were features with our own.

The Pope, recognised, the populace gave them however, neither comes across the huzzas, more or less loud according Alps for it, nor are the Cardinals an to their favouritism. The Duchess essential part of the performance. of Kent, as the Queen's mother, But the whole is ecclesiastical in the shared largely in the huzzas. The highest degree. The prelates are the Duke of Sussex, as her uncle, shared managers—every part of the crowning still more largely, his relationship and is performed by the hands of archbihis radicalism combining. But among shops and bishops. The laity, peers, this moving panorama of princes, by Privy Councillors, and even Ministers far the most warmly applauded was stand at an awful distance while the Soult. My English friend looked at Sovereign receives the diadem from me with a face of triumph at the the hands of the Church, and pledges success of his prediction. I told herself to its privileges for ever and you how it would be," said he. “ Yes,”

When the golden circlet is laid was my answer,

your nation knows on the royal brow the Peerage place how to pay the rights of hospitality.” their coronets on their own, and shout,

“ Not an atom of it," said this in- having nothing else to do. A roar of tractable Cicerone. “Do you think artillery announced the auspicious act that these fellows below are for any to the multitude without, and was anthing of the kind ? Not they ; they are swered by acclamations. We next merely indulging in the national cu- heard the answering roar of cannon riosity; and they are not the worse from their different positions round the for that neither. Every man of them city; and then the day of pomp was has heard of Soult, and every man is done. The Queen retired, followed by trying to get a sight of his weather the coroneted crowd, the pageantry beaten face. They know him to be a disappeared like phantoms, and a phibrave old soldier, and they don't care losopher, looking at the sudden cleara feather whether he fought against ance of the scarlet benches, might them or for them. To do them jus. have moralized on the vanity of human tice, they never think of the blow after things, though at the imminent hazard the battle ; and whether the affair is a "of being locked in for the night.

ever.

If he had, his philosophy would have which, shutting at once the heart, the cost him more than his supper-for brain, and the eyes of an empire, makes the night was even more amusing than ambition innocent, pleasure stingless, the day. London was one blaze of gaming dull; and money light as air ; illumination. Stars that eclipsed all makes the young Queen forget that their namesakes in the skies, flashed she has this day worn a crown worth from the fronts of numberless build. three millions of francs, and that a ings. Inscriptions of fire, portraits hundred dukes and princes are sighing framed in flaming rainbows, all the to lay their caps and coronets at her miracles of lamps and gas were in full footstool; hushes even Grisi's trumpetvigour, and the night closed with tones ; makes Taglioni's twinkling fireworks from various commanding feet as stiff as marble, and extinguishes points, which, at a distance, gave the all things for the time but policemeni idea of a general conflagration of the and parliamentary orators, the peacemetropolis, and which, if the astrono- makers and peace-breakers of that sysmers of the moon happened to have tem of refined barbarism which we been awake at the hour, must have call civilized society. Thus in soli. given them materials for many a paper tude, and reflections worthy of an of erudite absurdity in their “ Men ultra-philosopher, have I finished one moires de l'Institut," or immortalized day. I think the ghost of Titus stands some Lunarian Buckland.

before me, and bids me go to bed. I am now writing at midnight. A Or Burrhus himself, inspired by our million or two of sleepers are dream. immortal bard, exclaims, ing of the day, within the horizon of chimneys from my window. All now

“ Plât aux dieux, que ce fut le dernier de is still. How curious a magic is it

ses crimes !"

THE REVIEW.

July 5.

DEAR ALPHONSE

English themselves speak of it as the Since the coronation London has finest corps in Europe. I had, accordbeen a round of entertainments-bal- ingly, some curiosity to see its perloons in the public gardens-fetes at formances : not that I have quite the palace--and dinners at the ambas- got rid of that salutary idea which sadors'. The eternal succession has makes a Frenchman in every part of absorbed all our faculties. The life of the globe think that France can do a diplomatist in this country is no every thing better than any other trifle. Between trying to recollect the people, but that the remarkable calmfaces of the well-dressed multitude to ness with which an Englishman genewhom you are perpetually introduced, rally makes an assertion has some efand to whom you must afterwards bow feet in making you believe it to be a on pain of death; sitting out three inter- fact. The want of this calmness does minable courses every day; and after- us prodigious harm in the matter of wards either doing the honours of the imposing on mankind. We throw too embassy at home, or doing your own much passion into our statement to abroad, in the midst of some nightly win credulity. I never could fully thousands, with the thermometer at believe an Italian upon any subject 90 degrees, and Musard's band stun- whatever ; his visage worked too ning you with Polonaises for twelve strongly for the purpose, his arms and hours together, I have had serious legs were in too much muscular conthoughts of abandoning all hope of vulsion, his voice was too high ; in being minister for foreign affairs in short, he made my conviction so much my time, and retiring to the compara- an affair of his soul and body, that my tive solitudes of Paris.

confidence instinctively hung back; But, to-day, we have had something but when he proceeded to tear his of a higher kind to take off a little of hair, scream, and dance about the our ennui.

The English artillery, room, I set it down for a fiction at taken as a whole, is known to be one once. Why should any man put all this of the finest corps in their army. The machinery in motion when the fact was strong enough of itself? Here the popular distinction, many a man, as composure of the Englishman has all simple as your friend, became unconthe advantage. If he acts the knave, sciously a public character. The cahe does it with all the look of perfect valcade continued to rush on, now and indifference to the effect; he tells his then a little impeded by the obstinacy tale, and leaves you to take it just as of some noble driver of a barouche and you may; lie suppresses all the advo- four, who insisted on taking his own cate, and you accept him as the bis- way, and overtaking every body's else; torian. But-à nos moutons.

the sight of a dragoon posted across As the review was to be some miles the road to prevent our running out of from London, at the chief station the train; or the approach of some of the artillery in England, I rose supereminent personage to whom all two hours before my time, breakfasted the inferior world were bound to yield. with unusual despatch, and, after dis- I myself drew up in succession to a charging those petty cares of the toilet shoal of Ambassadors, took off my cap which form so important a part of with all humility to his Highness of our duty, I ordered my horse, and, Nemours, who rushed by me on a exactly at an hour before noon, gal- fierce, fast-trotting English horse, too loped towards the scene. You will rapidly, I fear, to have been sensible have to learn that, though Woolwich, of my loyalty in a strange land, and the place of rendezvous, is perhaps made a salaam, worthy of a dragoman, three leagues from what is called Lon- to his Highness Mahommed Ben Ali don, it is actually almost a part of this Ben Uglou, representative of the Submonster-metropolis-a monster which lime Porte, and through him represenis evidently proceeding to devour every tative of the Sun and Moon. He was field for fifty miles round; and which worthy of the magnitude of his miswill soon make a blade of grass as re- sion ; long-bearded and grim, equally markable a curiosity to the eyes of the vast and venerable, with the look of a citizens as a rhinoceros. The road, dreamer and diplomatist of the first though broad, level, and admirably water; the whole idea, however, much kept in order, as are all the high-roads diluted by a pair of spectacles. What of this country, was lined through the necessity can those Tartars have for chief part of the distance with houses, such contrivances of an effeminate civisome of those guinguettes, surmounted lisation ? The Turcoman sees a carawith full-length paintings of Welling- van fifty miles off, or shoots his man at ton, Howe, Mi Lord Grey, and other a mile off without spectacles. The warlike and civil lights and disturbers Tartar rides a hundred miles a-head, of this restless world; the paintings, throughswamp, sand, forest, and mounof course, wholly inferior to our French tain, straight as an arrow ; finds his signs, for we are excellent in medio. way from the Wall of China to the bat. crity, but exhibiting all the honour tlements of Astracan, and robs a prothat could be given by remorseless em- vince, or overruns an empire, without broidery and gigantic epaulettes. At them. It is only in cities, among the intervals rows of private houses, call. enfeebled sons of Europe, or this sued by the general name of terraces, preme generation of elegance who stretched along, and now and then a love debility for its own sake, that such pretty villa peeped from its bowery appendages can become necessary. trellises and silvan shades, as if to re- The Turk ought to wear them no mind the passenger that he was not more than the American Indian. Sastill in the heart of the most inordinate vages alike, and differing only by the collection of brick on the face of the difference between a cachemere shawl earth,

and a painted skin, they ought to The visitants, including all the fo- be alike contemptuous of every thing reign Ambassadors, all their suites, that can impair the original dignity of military and civil, a crowd of generals, their nature. The Moslem's spec. and a following crowd of fashionable tacles spoiled my homage for the man people, in dashing cquipages, now be- of the scymitar. I looked no more gan to pour along. The inhabitants of even at the head of Mohammed. the houses on both sides flocked to their The review ground lies beyond windows in their best apparel; we thus Woolwich, part of it along the banks had a preliminary review of our own; of the Thames, which here are low, and and if popular curiosity could stamp part of it on an elevated plain inland.

« AnteriorContinuar »