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intended, or can afford; so taking leave of Bob and his charge, without waiting for his " true and particular account" of its "life, character, and behaviour," we will at once descend to the great room which we came principally to see.
This room does really contain a magnificent collection of objects— such a one as probably was never before collected together in modem times. The whole of the hither end is occupied by the huge bulk of the elephant, which reaches from side to side, and from the floor to the ceiling, and is divided from the rest of the room by solid beams of wood banded with iron, which cross each other in the form of a grating. At the opposite end is the great lion, gazing around him with the air of an imprisoned emperor, and swishing his tail about, "as a gentleman swishes his cane." All along the right-hand side of the room are dens containing seven or eight other lions, male and female, of different ages and species, besides tigers, leopards, panthers, hyenas, porcupines, &c. And on the left side is a fine Arabian camel. They are all at this time on the qui vive; but there is an air of doubt and uncertainty about them all, as they have not yet heard the signal (of a blow on the gong), which immediately precedes their feeding. At length that signal is given, outside the room, and unexpectedly by the visitors; and then the scene which instantly takes place has in it a most extraordinary mixture of the terrific and the agreeable. A huge discordant roar bursts from almost every den at the same moment; and the inhabitants of each rush against the bars, rampant, and with their eyes flashing fire, and seem on the point of tearing their way into the open space where the spectators are standing. And yet in the midst of all, we feel that pleasantest of all securities, which exists in the presence of, and almost in contact with, danger and death. We are here surrounded, and as it were, looked upon, by death under its most frightful form; and yet we hold our life as securely as if we were seated by our own hearths. I know of no other situation of the kind that can be compared with this. In other cases, if we would feel the sense of danger we must encounter danger; we cannot feel it without fearing it: but here we can enjoy all the stimulus of the one, without suffering the debasing and counteracting effects of the other. To have experienced a storm at sea, or been present in a great battle, and escaped from them, are fine things doubtless; but who would risk the danger for the after pleasure 1 The situation nearest to the one before us is that of sailing on a calm ocean, and feeling that there is nothing between us and the fathomless abyss below, but a deal plank. Or perhaps the standing in a coalmine in the mid3t of the fire-damp, and holding in one's hand a lighted safety-lamp, is a still stronger example of the presence of danger and safety together, or rather of the actual contact of them; for there is actually nothing intervening between the light of the lamp and the matter which it is to act upon—nothing but a stratum of that matter itself, which is not sufficiently heated to permit the communication of the flame. But in both these instances, though the danger is there, we do not see it, and therefore do not feel it—we only, or chiefly feel the safety. But here, the danger is visible to our eyes—it rings and rattles in our ears —it actually moves our whole frames ;—for the roarings and rampings of the beasts shake the very building in which we stand. And yet here we stand, as if it were a mere performance that we were wit
nessing—an imitation, and not the real thing. But that it is the real thing, is the secret of the pleasure, or whatever else it is to be called, that we derive from it. In tact, it is sought after on the same principle that we go to see a public execution: and if I might venture to say so much in the presence of ladies, I would add that the measure of the satisfaction to be derived from exhibitions of this nature is, the degree of healthful strength of nerve in the deriver of it. If the habits of modern life had not wasted away the nerves of our nobility and gentry to mere gossamers, and thus rendered nervousness an indispensable qualification for a fine lady,—changing "a disease to a commodity,"—we should have combats of gladiators and athletic, and battles of wild beasts, as they had in days of old; and the ladies would distribute the prizes at them! But the looks of some of the said ladies warn me that I am treading on tender ground; so I return to my descriptions.
The gong sounds—the beasts (losing all sense of courtly decorum) seem ready to burst from their dens—and a man with an iron hand, who acts as carver to the royal banquet, apportions out the different meats on the sideboard, and proceeds to deliver them in the order of precedence which the guests seem naturally to claim;—the great lion being served first, then the lioness, (for royalty supersedes politeness among beasts as well as men); and then the inferior guests,—from the younger branches of the blood royal, through the nobility of leopards, tigers, panthers, &c. down to the monkeys that chatter and make mops and mows all the while, like the little dwarfs and fools of the old courts. The guests not being troubled with delicate appetites and squeamish stomachs, the cates served up on the occasion are, as you may suppose, not "composed of all the delicacies of the season." On the contrary, the first course consists of bare bones.—the thigh, leg, and knuckle bones of an ox—which are thrown into the dens through a small opening at the bottom in front. And when they have had time to discuss these sufficiently, and to whet their appetite upon them instead of satisfying it, they receive the meat which had been previously cut off.
I shall only notice, in particular, the behaviour of the chief guests on this occasion, lest my account of the feast should last longer than the feast itself Nero, the great lion, who, until the sound of the gong, and the receipt of his ration, had maintained a becoming majesty of deportment, immediately descended from the centre of his gravity, and roared, growled, and flew about his den, exactly like a wild beast!—urged to this unseemly behaviour (I confess) by the irritating conduct of the man with the iron hand—who approached him to a disrespectful nearness, and pretended to be about to take away his plate before he had done with it.—The consort royal (who is a beast of extraordinary personal charms, and of most gentle manners,) conducted herself in a very different, and perhaps a no less characteristic style. When the bare bones were given to her, she took one of them (a long thigh bone of an ox) Into her mouth, without touching it with her fmgers as all the rest did—and proceeded to march deliberately round and round her den with it; and this she continued to do after she had been served with the second course, of meat,—and indeed, during the whole time that the banquet lasted; as much as to indicate, to whomsoever it might concern, that she knew better what became her birth and station than to eat in the presence of observers. I confess there seemed to me a little affectation in this—a little over-niceness; especially as a royal cousin of hers,—a queen-duchess, who is said to partake in some of her propensities, and who at present reigns by divine right, as she used to do in her native woods by quite as good a title, namely, divine might, —does not deem it beneath her dignity to dine in the presence of her admiring subjects.
The only other personage whose conduct I shall notice on this occasion, is the elephant; and it offers a singular contrast to that of the rest of the guests. Amidst all the stir, hubbub, and turmoil that I have described above, he remains grave, silent, and self-possessed— his lithe proboscis weaving fantastic wreaths in tho air outside the bars of his den, as we flourish with our finger when we are thoughtlessly thoughtful, and his huge bulk rising through the half-darkness behind, like a deeper shadow in the midst of shade. And when he of the iron hand comes to wait upon him in his turn, he still maintains the same philosophic gravity, and does every thing that he is bid with the air of one who is not afraid to disobey, but who is willing to serve since circumstances have made servitude his lot. There is in fact something extiemely interesting in the behaviour of this extraordinary animal,— who seems to possess a ten horse power, only that he may exercise it with the gentleness and docility of a well-conditioned child. He obeys his keeper in the minutest particulars, and without the slightest hesitation or doubt, though his orders are issued without any change of tone or manner from that in which he is almost at the same moment addressing the spectators, or answering their questions. Indeed, the elephant's natural sagacity seems to have enabled him to reach that happiest consummation at which even the human mind can arrive—namely, the faculty of adapting itself to the circumstances in which it is placed,' and " doing its spiriting gently," whatever it may be.
In conclusion, there are two things to which I decidedly object in this feast; both of them appertaining to the treatment of the chief partaker of it—the great lion. The first is the unhandsome manner in which his feelings are tampered with, by pretending to take away his food after it is given to him, merely that he may be induced to " exaggerate his voice," and roar for the recreation of the spectators ;—thus depriving him of that privilege which is allowed even to convicts and felons themselves, of eating their meal in peace. The next and more important circumstance, is their choosing-to indignify him with the name of Nero. This latter I hold to be low treason at the least, if not high. They might as well dub him a member of the Holy Alliance at once! And to say the truth, I should not object to this, if the other members of that august body would occasionally admit him to their meetings!—But to call the king of beasts by the name of one who was scarcely worthy to be a king of men, is a manifest libel; and the Constitutional Association should look to it. Adieu for the present.
Your loving Cousin,
Ring, joyous chords!—yet again, again!
Ring, joyous chords!—but who art Thou
Ring, joyous chords !—yet again, again!
Ring, joyous chords!—yet again, again!
Ring, joyous chords 1—yet again, againl
A swifter still, and a wilder strain!
And bring new wreaths !—We will banish all
Save the free in heart, from our festive hall.
On through the maze of the fleet dance, on!
—But where are the young and the lovely i—gone!
tVhere'aM the brows with the fresh'rose crowri'd >
Aim) the floating forms with the bright zone bound f
And the waving locks and the flying feet,
That still should be where the mirthful meet?
—They are gone—they are fled—they are parted all—
—Alas! the forsaken Hall! F. H.
GltlMM S GHOST.
You tell me, my dear Mr. Pinchbeck, that you have never yet explored the country beyond Stratford-le-Bow on the East, Hammersmith on the West, Holloway Turnpike on the North, and' the Windmill upon Clapham Common on the South: you add, that you can now well afford to look a little about you, and you call upon the devil to fetch you'if you will take it as you have done: you conclude with intimating an intention of spending a fortnight " somewhere or another" a hundred miles from town, and with doing me the honour of asking my advice as to the spot to be fixed upon for your rural sojourn, feeling as I do in my own mind a laudable impartiality upon that subject, all parts of the country being to me pretty much upon a par, let me advise you to pack your portmanteau, and mounting a hackneycoach, to desire the driver to convey you. either to the Elephant and Castle in Saint George's Fields, or to the White Horse Cellar in Piccadilly, whichsoever the said driver pleaseth. As the distance from your residence in Guildford-street to the former of these houses of call is greater than to the latter, and consequently the coach-fare higher, I assume it as an admitted proposition that you will have been conveyed to the Elephant and Castle. A variety of importunate messengers, commonly called cads, will here have surrounded you, and will have been very urgent in their inquiries as to the coach by which you are going to quit London. If you possess the equitable feeling upon that subject which appertains to the writer of this letter, you will have told one of them to pitch your portmanteau- into the first on the stand : "Whereever fate shall lead me," as John Kemble used to say in the Stranger. The old man in green spectacles and pepper and salt whole gaiters, who faces yon on the coach, will have informed you that the present wet weather, if it continues, will thin the watering-places; and the young woman with the little hand-basket on your left, will have been eyed by the young man her' brother on the roof, at every change of, horses, to ascertain that she has not, like Harlequin Lun, leaped through the coach-window. I omit dwelling, at any length, upon the sage in a grey stubble beard, who proffered you pears to sell at the end of the second stage, or upon the cleanly middle-aged woman in a mob cap, who asked you, at the close of the third, if you wanted any nice ducks, protruding, white speaking, a basket containing half a dozen defunct waddlers. A stage passenger, however hungry, cannot well make a luncheon upon a raw duck, and therefore the thing may appear strange, but I will make affidavit of its having occurred to you once, if not oftener, before the close of your journey.
You have now, my dear Joshua Pinchbeck, alighted at the Roe
vOL. XI, NO. XI.v1. 2 B