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feeling aroused by passing over the site of the accident in the very first train that ran.
The Gallery of Illustration was decorated with flowers and carpets in honour of the royal visit, and a special buffet for refreshments was put up. We need not dwell on M. Andersen's analysis of the piece, which is familiar to all of us, but we will quote his description of Charles Dickens's acting as confirmatory of the prevailing opinion:
Dickens performed the character of Richard with affecting truth and great dramatic geniality; he also acted with a quiet and naturalness which differed greatly from the usual way of performing tragedy in England and France. In my fatherland he would have gained admiration and recognition, even had the fact been known that he was the great author; in many respects he resembled the Danish actor Michael Weihe. In the same piece performed with Dickens his two daughters, his eldest son, his two sisters-in-law, and his brother Alfred. The writer of the play undertook the character of Frank Aldersby. The performance before her Majesty was concluded by a farce, "Two o'clock in the Morning." It was acted with incomparable animation and sparkling humour by Charles Dickens and Mark Lemon, the editor of Punch. These two also played the principal parts at the public performance in the farce of "Uncle John." Dickens was as admirable in comedy as in tragedy, and is indubitably one of the first dramatic artists of our age.
After the first performance all the actors and assistants assembled at the Household Words office to spend a jolly evening: there was abundance of fun and sparkling humour, and the festival was followed a few days later by a pic-nic party at the house of Albert Smith. The days passed only too rapidly for our author at Dickens's residence. The parting morning arrived, and M. Andersen could delay no longer, as he was invited to Weimar to the unveiling of the statues of Goethe, Schiller, and Wieland. "From the land of Shakspeare, from the home of Dickens, he was proceeding to the country of the Minnesänger and the poetic capital of Weimar." Dickens had his horse put to, and himself drove M. Andersen to Maidstone, whence he would proceed by train to Folkestone. They had thus an opportunity of spending two more hours together amid the richest landscapes of Kent: they rattled past rich fields and glorious woods. Dickens was as hearty and lively as ever, but M. Andersen could not overcome the melancholy feeling which preyed upon him as he felt the hour of parting approach. In the station they shook hands for the last time, and our author gazed in the honest, soul-full eyes of one in whom he admires the poet and loves the man.
In conclusion, we think it but fair to say that the volume from which we have borrowed these extracts contains some very charming stories told in Hans Christian Andersen's best manner. Although we do not approve of the way in which he has betrayed private confidence, possibly the other contents of the volume will condone for this.
ACROSS THE TWEED.
WE are much gratified at noticing a very decided propensity German literary men are evincing for writing special books of travel connected with the British islands. Following in the footsteps of M. J. G. Kohl, we have Dr. Julius Rodenberg, who has written a most valuable monogram on Ireland, under the title of the "Isle of the Saints," and to which we hope to call our readers' attention next month. For the present, however, we must confine ourselves to M. T. Fontane's "Jenseit des Tweed," in which he has given his untravelled countrymen a very fair notion of the manners and customs of our northern brethren. As several passages possess a special value, we will not so much dwell upon this gentleman's travels as upon the deductions he draws from them. Indeed, we hardly know in what category to place M. Fontane : perhaps, though, if we say that he devotes himself to the philosophy of history, we shall most concisely convey our meaning.
Even in the train that started from King's-cross our author commenced his observations. As a German, we need not say that he travelled third class, partly through economy, partly for the sake of observation, and the carriage in which he sat was occupied by poor Englishmen and saving Scots. For, as he remarks, the Englishman travels third class if he must, the Scot if he can. But M. Fontane has not noticed a growing dislike among the English for extortion, or the large number among us who now habitually travel third class, since the second has been rendered untenable. Among the characters collected in our author's carriage was an old lady in mourning, who was so ascetic that she despised the employment of the wooden back-board of her bench. She was evidently the widow of some officer, who, having fallen on the banks of the Jumna, or in the Punjab, left her an honoured name, and nothing more. The first disillusion took place at York: for fifteen years M. Fontane had yearned to visit the spot where Percy fell, and found it occupied by a refreshment-room with double prices. Leaving Newcastle to the left, which lay gloomy and dark, as if built on lumps of coal, Berwick was reached. The entire town bears the impression of a frontier locality, although the old watch-tower only warns the traveller now of times long past. The Tweed here runs into the sea, and its bed, which resembles more a wide rocky ravine than a navigable stream, only supports the idea that a border river is reached here. On entering Scotland, the fields, the mode of cultivation, and the rarity of hedges, reminded our traveller of his Teutonic fatherland, while at Dunbar a further reminiscence crops out in the shape of the German Ocean, majestically laving the right-hand coast of Scotland.
At Edinburgh our traveller put up at Johnson's Temperance Hotel. As he justly says, this ostensible abstinence is half a falsehood, half a caricature, and in the best of cases only a snare; but, on the other hand, such houses possess a certain value in expensive, stiff-necked, self-tormenting England, because in their simplicity they are the reverse of that modern palace which, under the name of hotel, contains so many fancied charms and so many prosaic realities. What the traveller needs most in England is an unpretending, pleasant reception, and respectable treatment
at a decent rate. The old axiom may still continue to exist, that the large hotels are the best. But we question whether they are always the most comfortable.
After washing the inevitable sleep from his eyes, M. Fontane proceeded to the monument of Sir Walter Scott, in Prince's-street, whence the finest view in the world is obtained—at least, the Scotch tell you so. We have heard the same of Naples, but not attempting to settle the moot point, we may say that the scene presented at Edinburgh is beautiful, especially when a mist lies over the city, producing that marvellous neutral tint which we admire in old cathedrals, and which imbues us with a reverend spirit. When, however, you commence examining into the reality, you feel slightly disgusted; at any rate, our German friend
It is impossible to describe the separate houses, even the best among them. One resembles the other. Grey, stony, unornamented, they rise into the sky, singly inartistic, but picturesque as a whole, and always effective through mass and proportion. What imparts to them a special feature on closer inspection, are the so-called "closes," which have attained a species of notoriety throughout England. There is nothing particularly nice or strange about them. Apart from their mingled character, which certainly causes them to appear more peculiar than they really are, they owe their reputation chiefly to the circumstance that there are but few old towns in England, i. e. few towns that present themselves to the world in their antiquarian garb. There is no lack of such closes in our old towns, such as Vienna, Augsburg, Leipzig. Even more similar to them are the "courts" in the old parts of London, especially in the Strand, round Drury-lane, and in Fleet-street. The latter street is so full of them, that it may almost be placed by the side of Edinburgh High-street. But what imparts to these closes their appearance of strangeness is their peculiar narrowness. You pass first through a narrow arched passage, often, alas ! serving as gutters, which runs through the whole depth of the house, like the gate of a fortress. After leaving this pestiferous stream behind you, you find yourself in a court-yard, which, from the height of the houses, looks more like a chimney. Stairs mount from this, indescribable dirt and lumber lies in the corners, and from every floor linen hangs out to dry attached to poles. I should like to have discovered how long the process takes in the absence of light and air. Such are the Edinburgh closes.
Another curiosity of Edinburgh is the High-street, where the poorer classes go for a walk every evening. There is something of a southern character about the street-life of old Edinburgh. Folk walk up and down between the Canongate and Edinburgh Castle, joining one group and then the other, but continually turning into the grog shops, the doors of which are besieged by temperance preachers. To Mr. Fontane it was a matter of difficulty to decide whether the grammar or the arguments of the latter were the worse; but it was of very little consequence after all, as they converted nobody, and, indeed, bore a suspicious resemblance to the money-changers in the temple.
According to the Act of Union, Scotland possesses four castles: Edinburgh, Stirling, Blackness, and Dumbarton. They resemble each other like brothers, and may be compared in many respects with our Tower of London. Edinburgh Castle, in especial, justifies this comparison, for it contains the regalia of Scotland. On this point our author makes a remark that deserves quotation:
We went into the room where the Scottish crown jewels are displayed, but
felt in their presence possibly less than when looking at the various crowns and sceptres strewn in the Tower of London. Most dutifully one looks at such things, listens with half an ear to the oft-repeated tale, pays the usual sixpence, and is happy to get out again of the room with its large hexagonal glass-case. I asked myself the question: Why this indifference? The chief cause appears to me to be, that these things in their general applicability lost the charm of the peculiar, or rather personal. We must be able to refer all relics to some certain person: "This is Jane Grey's prayer-book, the great Elector's worn hat, or old Fritz's tobacco-box;" that possesses interest; the person seems to rise from the grave to wear the thing, and thus imparts to it a charm. But what can rise before our mental eye when we hear, "That is the imperial sword of Scotland ?" Nothing: all the seven Jameses who press forward, even if we knew anything about them, only confuse us, and we are at length glad to have an excuse to escape.
M. Fontane goes very deeply into the question of the Mary Stuart portraits, and is decidedly an iconoclast. One argument he employs seems to us worth something that of all the portraits he has seen no two are alike. The conclusion at which he arrives is, that only three pictures are real: the one at Hampton Court, that at Windsor Castle, and the last in the possession of Lord Morton. There is a certain amount of resemblance in these three pictures, not exactly in the features, but in the fact that both possess life and truth, and have nothing of the doll's-head manner about them.
During the visit to Edinburgh Castle our author had a further opportunity for analysing the instinctive dislike existing between English and Scotch. A friend of M. Fontane's began making a sketch from the HalfMoon Battery; he was checked by the sentry, a young Sussex militiaman, just arrived from Dover Castle. This aroused the indignation of an old Scotch sailor standing by, who was very drastic in his remarks about the soldiers. The comical thing about it was how the Scotch patriotism peered out: the Southrons were intruders, nay, enemies, as if the kingdom of Great Britain were non-existent, and that victorious England had again established a garrison in the capital of Scotland. This feeling of opposition between victor and conquered M. Fontane had repeated opportunity for noticing during his travels in the north. The English, thoroughly aware of the feeling, laugh at it; but that only renders the Scotch more savage. The sailor, however, had a perfect triumph. There were no special instructions about sketching Edinburgh, they only related to Dover, whence the regiment had just arrived. M. Fontane expresses a decided doubt whether anything is hidden as to the state of the fortresses on both sides the Channel. At any rate, we suspect that the state of Dover Castle is as well known in Paris as in London, whatever may be the case with Lorient or Brest.
An interesting chapter is devoted by our author to haunted houses in old Edinburgh. According to his idea, the old national superstition has remained in force in Scotland, in spite of Puritanism and the printingpress. You need but slight observation to perceive how thin is the blanket beneath which the old favourite forms slumber. Ghosts appear to be a national production, and, in fact, M. Fontane doubts whether any one could ride by night past Scone and Dunsinane without meeting ghosts. For miles not a tree or shrub: the Grampians to the right, a mountain torrent on the left, nothing audible save the hoof-play of your
horse and the plashing of the water; the mountain shadows fall across the road, or a startled ptarmigan rises with a whirring sound. Any man who can take such a ride, and has not seen Macbeth's witches peering over a precipice, has convicted himself. The spiritual world is closed to him. All the Scottish poets have willingly shared in the superstitions of the nation; and though it may be objected that Burns in his "Tam o'Shanter" ridiculed the timidity of the people, we know what value to attach to such witticisms: they only hold their ground by daylight. Walter Scott, on the other hand, had a passion for ghost stories, and a special talent in telling them.
It is true that on looking on the haunted houses of old Edinburgh we make no absolutely fresh acquaintances: the northern people seem to have formed the objects of their terror upon a similar pattern and under similar impressions, but we find certain shades of difference in many similar stories. We may pass over the horse with the fiery mane, the invisible carriage which rolls noisily into the yard, even the pale man who takes off his head now and then, the hand which places lighted candles on the table, or the three pair of feet which dance a jig, are familiar throughout the entire north. But one house close to the High-street, which stands empty and deserted to the present hour, merits its story told:
The house I mean stands on the Lawn Market. The owners-respectable people had invited some guests to dinner. It was bright day, the clock was just going to strike twelve, the table was laid and the fire crackled in the chimney. Each took his seat, and the housefather began to say grace. When he reached the words "lead us not into temptation," a spot in the wall opened, where no one had ever noticed a door, and a female form emerged. She shook her head, pointed to the spot on the ground, and then walked, partly averted as if in the conscience of her guilt, to the spot she had indicated. All present fled in horror from the house. A hundred years have passed away since the disturbed dinner, and just so long the house has remained deserted. No one has been yet found with the inclination to turn the key in the rusty door, and see whether the table yet remains laid or not.
A walk to St. Anthony's Chapel gives M. Fontane occasion to express his views about another phase of the Scottish character. On Calton Hill are some half-dozen monuments, which appeared intended to represent the National Walhalla. There is an uncompleted temple in remembrance of the battle of Waterloo and the gallant conduct of the Scotch regiments; a monument of Robert Burns, and two others-one to the memory of Dugald Stewart, the other to that of Professor Playfair. Our author says anent this:
The majority of my readers will probably here ask the question who these gentlemen were, and what they have done specially to merit a national monument on Carlton Hill? I was obliged to ask myself the very same question, as I had hitherto grown up in the vain idea that every Scotchman deserving a statue in poetry or history was, at any rate, known to me by name. But during my stay in Scotland, I was too often reminded of the erroneousness of my idea. The truth is, that we foreigners only know the romantic side of Scotland, and little or nothing of the reverse. In reading poetry and romances, we have stuck fast with our sympathies in the past of Scotland, while the Scotch themselves have had nothing more serious to do than to break with this past, and establish perfectly new and different celebrities. In Oban, on the west coast, I found a book in the hotel bearing the title "The Worthies of our Nation." I turned over its pages for half an hour, and sought names known to me, but in vain.