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From the Monastery of St. Peter, at Salzburg, Mr. Dibdin was recommended to visit that of Chremsminster, in the route to Lintz, through a country of mountains and lakes, on the high road to Vienna. The courteous manners, and information of the brethren of Chremsminster, it is delightful even to read of. The conversation was all carried on in Latin; but urbanity is an excellent interpreter: none of the parties appears to have been in want of any other. The magnificent St. Florian, and the finely situated Monastery of Malk, were the next halting-places, both most interestingly described. At the latter place our author was strongly advised to take the Monastery of Göttwic in his way to Vienna. He had never heard of it; but " its library contains incunabula of the most curious and scarce kind." Behold him at its gates! But alas! the librarian, Odilo Klama, was from home; not a creature was to be found, and he was dejectedly pacing the cloisters, when his servant announced to him that the vice-principal would receive him, and conduct him to the head or president.
" The principal, whose name is Altmann,” says Mr. Dibdin, attired in a sort of half-dignity dress; a gold chain and cross hung upon his breast, and a black silk cap covered his head. A gown, and what seemed to be a cassock, covered his body. He had the complete air of a gentleman, and might have turned his fiftieth year. His countenance bespoke equal intelligence and benevolence; but, alas! not a word of French could he speak, and Latin was therefore necessarily resorted to by all parties. I intreated him to forgive all defects of composition and of pronunciation, at which he smiled graciously. The vice-principal then bowed to the abbot, and retreated; but not before I had observed them to whisper apart, and to make gesticulations, which I augured to portend something in the shape of providing refreshment, if not dinner. My suspicion was quickly confirmed: for, on the vice-principal quitting the apartment, the abbot observed to me, • You will necessarily partake of our dinner, which is usually at one o'clock, but which I have postponed till three, in order that I may conduct you over the monastery, and shew you what is worthy of observation. You have made a long journey hither, and must not be disappointed.' This courteous address was followed by an interesting conversation on the situation of the monastery, and the vicissitudes to which it had been exposed. 'Look on the prospect around you,' said the abbot : 'it is unbounded. On yon opposite wooded heights, on the other side of the Danube, we all saw, from these very windows, the fire and smoke of the advanced guard of the French army, in contest with the Austrians, upon Bonaparte's first advance towards Vienna. The French emperor himself took possession of this monastery. He slept here, and we entertained him, the next day, with the best déjeuné à la fourchette which we could afford. He seemed well satisfied with his reception ; but I own that I was glad when he left us. Strangers to arms, in this tranquil retreat, and visited only, as you may now visit us, for the purpose of peaceful hospitality, it agitated ns extremely to come in contact with warriors and chieftains.-Observe yonder, continued the abbot: 'Do you notice an old castle in the distance, to the left, situated almost upon the very banks of the Danube ? That castle, so tradition reports, once held your Richard the First, when he was detained a prisoner by Leopold, Marquis of Austria, on his return from the Holy Land. The more the abbot spoke, and the more I continued to gaze around, the more I fancied myself treading upon faery ground, and that the scene in which I was engaged partook of the illusion of romance.”-At the door of the library three or four Benedictincs, for this famous convent is of the order of St. Benedict, “ were apparently waiting to receive us. They first saluted the abbot very respectfully, and then myself, with a degree of cheerfulness almost amounting to familiarity. In a remote and strange place, of such a character, nothing is more encouraging than such a reception." The library is probably the richest in bibliographical lore in Austria, after that of Vienna ; but we must, for the present, content ourselves with what in such company may scarcely be considered less “ the feast of reason,” which is exhibited to us in the dinner-saloon. " It was a large, light, and lofty room. The ceiling was covered with paintings of allegorical subjects in fresco, descriptive of the advantages of piety and learning. ....We sat down at the high table, precisely as you may remember it in the halls at Oxford, to a plentiful and even elegant repast. The principal did me the honour of placing me at his right hand. Grace was no sooner said than Mr. Lewis made his appearance, and seemed to eye the scene before him with mingled delight and astonishment. He had, in fact, just completed his sketch of the monastery, and seemed well satisfied at seeing me in such quarters, and so well occupied. The brethren were well pleased to receive him, but first begged to have a glance at the drawing, with which they were highly gratified.
* My companion having joined the festive board, the conversation and the cups of Rhenish wine seemed equally to circulate without restraint. We were cheerful even to loud mirth; and the smallness of the party compared with the size of the hall, caused the sounds of our voices to be reverberated from every quarter. Meantime the sun threw his radiant beams across a window of noble dimensions, quite across the saloon, so as to keep us in shadow, and illuminate the other parts of the room. Thus we were cool, but the day without had begun to be sultry. Behind me, or rather between the abbot and myself, stood a grave, sedate, and inflexible-looking attendant, of large square dimensions, habited in a black gown, which scarcely reached the skirts of his coat. Ile spoke not; he moved not, save when he saw my glass emptied, which, without any previous notice or permission, he made a scrupulous point of filling even to the very brim, with the most highly-flavoured Rhenish wine which I had yet tasted in Germany. Our glasses being almost of the size of ale-glasses, it behoved me to cast an attentive eye on this replenishing process; and I told the worthy master that we should be quickly revelling in our cups. He assured me that the wine, although good, was weak, but begged that I would consider myself at liberty to act as I pleased. In due tiine the cloth was cleared, and a dessert, consisting chiefly of delicious peaches, succeeded. A new order of bottles was introduced ; tall, square, and
capacious; which were said to contain wine of the same quality, but of a more delicate flavour. It proved indeed to be most exquisite. The past labours of the day, together with the growing heat, had given a relish to every thing which I tasted ; and in the full flow of my spirits I proposed a sentiment, which I trusted would be considered as perfectly orthodox, Long life and happy times to the present members, and increasing prosperity to the monastery of Göttwic. It was received and drunk with enthusiasm. .... I then requested that we might withdraw, as the hours were flying away, and we proposed sleeping within one stage of Vienna, on that same evening. • Your wishes shall be mine,' answered the abbot. Whereupon he rose, with all the company, and stepping some few paces backwards, placed his hands across his breast upon the gold cross, half closed his eyes, and said grace briefly and softly, in a manner the most impressive which I had ever witnessed.”—The whole party then proceeded forth to view the church and the state apartments. The abbot, with a kindness and elegance of manner that added to the worth of the gift, pressed upon Mr. Dibdin's acceptance a copy of the “Chronicon Göttwicense,” a treasure to the antiquary, of which it is probable there are not four copies in this kingdom.
“ The courtesy, the frankness, the downright heartiness of feeling with which all this was done, added to the value of the present, rendered it one of the most delightful moments of my existence. I instinctively caught the abbot's arm, pressed his hand with a cordial warmth between both of mine, and pausing one little moment, exclaimed, • Dies hic omninò commemoratione dignus.'
"On quitting the church and passing through the last court, or smaller quadrangle, we came to the outer walls; and leaving them, we discerned below, the horses, carriage, and valet, waiting to receive us. Our amiable host and his Benedictine brethren determined to walk a little way down the hill, to see us fairly seated, and ready to start. I intreated and remonstrated that this might not be, but in vain. On reaching the carriage, we all shook hands very cordially together ; but certainly I pressed those of the abbot more earnestly than the rest. We then saluted by uncovering, and stepping into the carriage, I held aloft the first volume of the Göttwic Chronicle,' exclaiming Valete, domini eruditissimi, dies hic commemoratione dignus; to which the abbot replied, with peculiarly emphatic sonorousness of voice, · Vale ; Deus te, omnesque tibi charissimos conservet. They then stopped for a moment, as the horses began to be put in motion ; and retracing their steps up the hill, towards the outer gate of the monastery, disappeared. I thought, but it might not be so, that I discerned ihe abbot, at the distance of some two hundred yards, yet lingering alone, with his right arm raised, and shaking it as the last and most affectionate token of farewell. And now I ask you, my dear friend, how is it possible for me ever to forget this day of joyaunce spent at the Monastery of Göttwie? Nulla dies unquam," &c.
And now we, also, will say, Valete domini eruditissimi! But we should be guilty of great injustice towards Mr. Lewis, did we close our remarks without observing, that the volumes which have given rise to them owe half their attractions to his pencil ; which by a happy and
rare combination of talent brings every thing that Mr. Dibdin describes as most interesting, immediately before the eye of the reader ; whether it pertain to the peculiarities of costume, the interest of portrait, the fidelity of fac-similes, the beauty of romantic landscape, or the imposing characteristics of ancient architecture.
GRIMM's GHOST. LETTER III. Tue Annual Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Artists, at Somerset House, is just closed. So are the Courts of Law at Westininster, to make way for the ceremony of the King's Coronation ; but they will not long be re-opened before a curious subject of litigation will, in all probability, exercise the ingenuity of the gentlemen of the long robe. Let the defendant's solicitor tell his own story.
TIIE ARTISTS' LETTER-BOX. Case, for the opinion of Mr. Serjeant SPLIT-HAIR. The artists who exhibit their pictures annually at the Royal Academy at Somerset House, situate in the parish of Saint Mary-le-Strand, in the county of Middlesex, are, by a bye-law of the committee, entitled to receive letters upon professional business, whether by the general or twopenny post, free of postage. This privilege, in process of time, became the source of considerable abuse. Communications of the most trivial and unprofessional affairs were, through the medium of the Lombard-street office, opened between Somerset House and all parts of the united kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. One-pound notes to miniature painters from sweethearts at Bath and Bristol; bills for turpentine and canvass from Manchester to gentlemen in the historical line; how-d'ye-do's from aunts at Whitby ; and dunning scrawls from unpaid bathers at Margate and Brighton, were, like the operation of the poor-rates upon the landholders, gradually undermining the funds of the committee.
To check this growing evil, the committee on the 1st of May, 1820, entered into the following resolution:
" Resolved—That, in order to diminish the late alarming, and as it is suspected, unnecessary increase in the charge of postage, all letters addressed to artists, at the Royal Exhibition in Somerset House, be opened by the secretary ; that such letters as relate to private business be forwarded to the parties to whom they are addressed, to be by them paid for ; and that such letters as relate to professional business be impounded by this committee, and kept in a box to be entitled • The Artists' Letter-Box,' where they may be severally and occasionally inspected by the painters for whom they are intended. But that the same be upon no account removed, except by this committee, or its agent or agents duly authorized.”
According to invariable usage, all waste papers, consisting of covers of letters, cancelled tickets, paid checks, &c. &c. are
lelivered over as perquisites to the porter who waits in the hall near the gigantic statue of Hercules. That office is now, and has been for eighteen months, occupied by Tobias Trudge.
On the 12th of July, 1821, Tobias Trudge brought to the shop of Messrs. Colburn and Co. in Conduit-street, a mahogany box, about two feet square, with an aperture at the top sufficiently large to admit letters, with the words “ Artists' Letter-Box“ marked with white paint upon the lid. The porter stated that, according to custom, the box was delivered to him, by the chairman of the committee, the key being at that time in the lock, that he might take out and appropriate its contents, as wastepaper. Tobias Trudge further alledged, that in crossing Catherinestreet, in the parish aforesaid, in order to enter his lodgings, situate in Broad-court, Bow-street, also in the parish aforesaid, he was corporeally encountered by a very tall new Haymarket comic actor ; and that the jostle of the encounter caused the key of the box to fly from the lock, and to fall down the area of the Feather-bed Warehouse at the corner of Catherine-street, whence, notwithstanding all his labour and pains, he had been unable to extricate it. The porter, therefore, brought the box, locked as it was, to the aforesaid publishers, offering to sell to them its contents at a venture. The words used upon that occasion by the porter were as follows; “ Will you buy a pig in a poke?” The porter was desired to call again on the morrow. In the mean time your opinion is requested,
1. Whether Messrs. Colburn and Co. can safely, legally, and equitably complete the bargain so as above-mentioned offered to be made with them?
2. Whether, by so doing, and subsequently publishing the contents of the box in the New Monthly, or any other Magazine, they will render themselves liable to an action, of Trover, of debet et detinet, an action upon the case, a bill in equity, a bill for an injunction, an indictment, an ex-officio information at the suit of the Attorney General, or any and what other process, at the suit of the artists, the committee, the trustees of Somerset House, the writers of the letters, the frequenters of the exhibition, the creditors of the porter, or any and which of them, or any and what other person or persons ?
3. And, upon the whole, how would you advise Messrs. Colburn and Co. to act, in order to obtain the greatest possible profit at the least possible risk?
Upon this case Mr. Serjeant Split-Hair, on the following day, gave
the following opinion: 1. This case is not without its difficulties. I am disposed to think that I am of opinion, that had the proferred article been bona fide a Pig in a Poke, no action would lie.-See Law dicta, caveat emptor, in pari delicto, and volenti non fit injuria. In the case of Pig in Poke, the laxity and elasticity of the latter, enables the purchaser of the former, by the aid of finger and thumb, to ascertain the limbs and liveliness, the gaiety and grunt, of the Pig, howsoever small. See Bacon's Abridgment, vol. 1. p. 42. But this is a case of mahogany: a more obdurate material, yet I am disposed to think that both buyer and carrier are ex necessitate bound to a knowledge of its contents.-See Wood's Conveyancing, vol. 2. p. 56. Non constat but its contents may