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One day a fellow, at a country fair,
To make the people stare, And “raise the wind,” gave out he'd show the Devil.
'Tis a superstition
Of remote tradition,
Can“ raise the wind" whene'er he please,
And passengers grow very sick,
Tells you it's blowing like Old Nick.
That in the fair
The prince of air
Eager to view the horn'd monstrosity,
To baulk a reasonable curiosity,)
Waited to see what they should see.”
Half pleased, half frighted,
Stared at the showman, who, they thought,
The Devil in a bag had brought. Ladies and gentlemen,” quoth he, This most surprising purse you see!
Pray search it well,
Look in it carefully, and tell
With much commotion,
His most infernal majesty,
As expectation sank,
The purse put down;
Cried, '"* Zounds, 'tis empty
I've done my task :
COUNTRY LIFE IN ENGLAND. A Second Letter from Mons. le Vicomte de to Mons. C. de B- at Paris.
From the French MS. On returning to London a few days after our fête champêtre described in my last, I found the town in the most deplorable state of desertion. Pompeii or Herculaneum could hardly present a more sombre or lifeless image of the grandeur and beauty of their former days, than St. James'sstreet now offered of what St. James's-street had been two months before. Then the very air breathed of gaiety, bustle, and pleasure. From three to six o'clock what an emporium of dissipation and fashion! what strings of equipages! what crowds of horsemen! what phalanxes and files of loungers! what an animating buzz on the pavement (a thousand times finer than Delille's buzz of the insects in the sunny fields at noon)what rencontres of friends—what nodding of lovely faces from carriage windows,-not a vacant chair or an unoccupied Morning Post at a clubhouse: B- -m conning over a flaming speech in the back-room at Brooks's, and H -s beating up voters for the House among the country gentlemen (gentilshommes de province) at Boodle's. The Rue Vivienne is a mere magazin de bas et de souliers compared to St. James's-street; and the Boulevards, delightful as they are, are too large, too rambling, and too much thronged with canaille, ever to offer this delightful concentration of fashion, rank, taste, finery, caricatures, and club-houses. A-propos, Vous ne sarez pas ce qu'ils sont que ces Clubs. Je m'en rais vous dire. A club is a grand hotel, in a fashionable street, with a handsome restibule—un Suisse à la porte-a lofty saloon qui donne on the street with a bow-window, from which loungers exercise their spy-glasses on passers with great comfort and ease. The walls hung with maps on rollers rarely unrolled, an immense table covered with journals, newspapers, blue Edenbourg Reviews, court-guides, peerages, inkstands, and wax-tapers. Noblemen and members of parliament, with boots and horsewhips, are lolling over the chaos of periodical literature; and young dandies, who have just escaped the black-ball
, are yawning in the window—making bets on the numerical amount of the Ministers' majority, or the favourite horse at Newmarket --and scanning with languid nonchalance the passengers, who look up at this castle of indolence without being privileged to enter its sacred precincts. In an adjoining room a billiard-table helps to kill the hours for some stiff-cravatted dandies till dressing-time; and upstairs are card-rooms, with glittering chandeliers, where peers and squires often contrive to lose a year's rental at a sitting at short whist: all winnings and losings being transacted in the elegant ivory currency of the club, till the periodical settling-day brings a heavy account, often to be provided for by a mortgage on an Irish estate, or an annuity at 15 per cent, to a Jew broker. Just now there is quite a manie pour
les clubs in London; for there is always some predominant rage here, even more than in Paris.-- Every party, and even every little junta in politics have their head-quarters at one of these establishments. Bknow, is the quartier-général of the Opposition. To sit and vote assiduously on the Opposition benches, to attend summonses to divisions in the House sent round by my Lord D—," the whipper-in of the pack” (as a mechant wit entitles him)—to surveiller the interest of the "party" in a county or great borough-these are the only qualifications required
to sit “with B-ks's elders on the bench of wit." Wh—'s is the hot-bed of Tory statesmen, the focus of Pitt principles-the nursery of dandyism and orthodoxy of all sorts of respect for existing institutions and existing fashions-where half-fledged Peers and embryo members have the advantage of studying the best models of surtouts and senators; where Burke and the Racing Calendar are studied conjointly, and beard less senators are sworn on a volume of Bubb Dodington (like young Hannibal) to uphold borough interest, to cleave to Eldon and eschew H——to admire L-and abuse G-y-to cheer C—g and cough at B---m; to be in at a division and out at the debate; and, above all, to abjure parliamentary reform, retrenchment, and the Deputé for Aberdeen. Besides these, there is B- -le's, the rendezvous of foxhunters and country gentlemen (where the Duke of B- was unceremoniously blackballed (rejeté) the other day)—there is a Lawyers' Club, christened after the great Chancelier d'Etat Verulam, and where young avocats drink deep, play high, and do every thing which the great philosophe never did there is the Naval Club--the United Service Club—the Travellers' Club, where all the beaur esprits who have seen the Vatican and can talk about Pompeii and Parmegiano resort, and where no one is eligible until he can produce undoubted testimonials of his having been seen at least 170 leagues from St. Paul's. In short, no man can now show his face in London society unless he belongs to some one or more of these juntas, which have well nigh ruined, by their competition, all the cafés and restaurateurs of London, and which present so powerful a counter-attraction to the joys of home and a domestic fire-side, that they are every day making rakes and roués of the jolis garçons, young and old, of the capital. Hélas ! on my return
from - Park, these rendezvous of ton and dissipation were just any thing but what I have described them : not a'dandy
-s; not a radical at B- -ks's; the Avocats were on the Circuit (of which more tout-à-l'heure); Bms was full of paint and bricklayers! at the Travellers' (at which we foreigners are most politely received and admitted) I found a solitary old Lord spelling the Courier, and two members of the corps diplomatique waiting in town to attend the funeral of the feu pauvre Londonderri. The cooks were en vacances, like every body else, and my cotelettes à la Tartare were baked to a coal by a cuisinière en sous ordres. At Paris you can form no idea of the utter desert which London, at least habitable London, presents in the month of August. We have no such marked division of the season :-a few noblesse go to vegetate for four months in a dismal château ; 'a few travel in Italy--more proceed aur caur--and sea-bathing at Havre and Dieppe is now growing a little into fashion : but half of our beau monde still live all the year in the Fauxbourgs St. Germain and St. Honoré. Country-seats, country-pleasures, sea-bathing, assizes, and partridgeshooting, drain London deplorably; but have little effect on Paris. It is true, la Chambre closes, l'Institut, la Bibliothéque--the lions, in short, of Paris, have a few weeks of relache ; but Bigottini danse toujoursthe Opera is always well frequented, and society, comme il faut, is never absolutely wanting. You may conceive that solitude in a capital had few attractions for me. Two days sufficed to put an end to some tiresome business and despatch a courier to
I then packed up my portmanteau and put myself into the — mail, which passes through
the county of L-s, and within two leagues of the seat of my hospitable acquaintance Mr. B-, one of the finest old places of its size in the kingdom. I had for companions in the mail, a Yorkshire Baronet, full of agriculture and corn-laws, a Curate going to be ordained by the Bishop, at B-n, a young damsel just arrived by the steam-packet from New York, and--a brace of pointers. Fourteen hours carried us 130 English miles. No wonder tout le monde travels by the mail. A lazy, loitering stage-coach, with six persons inside, and a diligence in France, full of smoke and canaille, high and low, sometimes afford a singular assortment and display of characters and manners ; but the mail in England is the most silent and incommunicative of ve, hicles. The darkness of night, the rapidity of the motion, the distrustful ignorance of every passenger as to the looks and character of his coated and night-capped neighbours, wrap every one up in a selfish attention to himself, his luggage, his legs, and other appurtenances.
At a little inn by the road-side my friend's groom met me with a capacious buggy, in which we arrived in an hour at the village of S—, a neat cluster of thatched cottages, barns, and farm-houses, forming a picturesque little street, at the end of which stands the lodge and entrance to the park of S. The village-church, with an antiquated tower half overgrown with ivy, stands just within the paling of the park, near the entrance. The parsonage-house, one of the most comfortable and picturesque ,residences imaginable, something between a cottage and a cháteau, is situated with its front towards the village, enclosed in walls and gates, while its back-front opens on a beautiful lawn, only separated from the park and woods by a green sunk fence. Mr. B-would, perhaps, find the parson somewhat too near a neighbour ; but the worthy rector, you must know, is his younger brother, and the living a part of the family estate, and for many generations a regular appanage of a steadily-disposed younger son of the Squire for the time being. This is often the case with the benefices in England.-A wide sweeping gravel road winds for half a mile through fine plantations to the mansion. The dew was yet upon the grass, and the hares were frisking about and scudding into a paled preserve, as we approached. The house, a fine old turreted chûteuu of the time of James I. stands on a slight eminence sloping gently down to the little river N. which waters the bottom of the park. Mr. B- and his amiable family received me most hospitably. My host I found fou pour la chasse--and possessing some of the finest manors and best-stocked preserves in the county. A chasseur in the month of August is rather an unhappy animal-with no present occupation on earth, and only saved from absolute ennui by the fidgets and anxieties respecting the amusements of the next month. Will the harvest be well off the ground ? Are there many young birds ? Are they strong and forward on the wing? How are the turnips and after-grass ? Will there be cover enough for them to lie in? Is the ground sufficiently softened for the scent to lie? Are the dogs in good condition--the puppies well broken? Farmers, gamekeepers, grooms, are all kept in perpetual bustle for weeks before, in contributing their various assistance to preparations for the eventful 1st of September. You may conceive the hearty laugh these inveterate sportsmen enjoyed at my expense, one day at dinner, when I happened to admire La Fontaine's beautiful description of the mother-partridge's wiles in order to save her young :
Quand le perdrix
De l'homme qui, confus, des yeux en vain la suit.” The young ladies, however, all joined warmly in admiring the poet and commiserating the bird. En attendant, the resources of amusement at the Hall were not of the most varied or lively description. The fine Gothic library was well stocked with authors of the old school, but the noureautés are not abundant. The newspapers came two days old, and the collection of Walter Scott's admirable romans had not proceeded farther than “ The Antiquary.” A ride before dinner; a fishing-party on the lake (a fine piece of water joining the river at the end of the park)—a game at billiards—a drive in the barouche with Lady
and the young ladies to the next market-town, to shop and do errands for the household, and flirt with some elegant young hussars, ennuiés à la mort in country-town quarters, and to whom the aspect of the open barouche, with its fair contents, was like a drop of rain to a traveller in the desert-such were our every-day expedients for passing away the sultry month of August. The young ladies were accomplished horsewomen; and when by accident two horses out of the score in the stable could be found at leisure from their ordinary exercise, of being scampered over the country after pointer bitches and setter puppies, orders to gamekeepers, and notices against poachers, their young mistresses were presently accoutred in their graceful ridinghabits, and delighted to enjoy rare independence and release from maternal surveillance on the backs of their curveting and bounding coursers. Nothing can be more lovely than a handsome Englishwoman on her favourite steed—not a little shuffling palfrey, such as old lady abbesses and holy sisters used to amble upon il y a trois siècles. These fair Amazons disdain anything beneath the sleek, well-shaped, and high-bred hunter, whose docility is accompanied with spirit, and shows high birth and good breeding~-who holds his head more erect and steps the more proudly for the fair and ornamental burden which sets him off to such advantage, and takes a pride in submitting his power and his fleetness to the lily hand which controls them with such gentleness. Though the county of L-possesses about as much picturesque as the Departement du pas de Calais, yet our rides were sometimes very pleasant. Conversation is never more agreeable than on horseback--the animation of the motion, the feeling of independence and superiority that accompanies it, the rapid change of scene and objects, the facility of observing and exploring all that is worth notice, put every one in good humour with every other and with themselves. Sometimes we used to pay visits to families in the neighbourhood; though this was rather a corrée imposed on the young ladies by their mamma. Sometimes the young ladies would stop at the houses of the tenants and cottagers to talk to favourite old servants, and petmaids married to young farmers; and not unfrequently to make kind inquiries, and show compassionating attentions to the indigent and suf