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King William, making fifty constitutions and republics ; was appointed in his place; conquered all Europe and America ; diadems rained on my head, and — I awoke! ‘Et je suis Gros Jean comme devant.'
I now lay upon my humble cot, and listened to the pattering of the rain, blown rashly against the house, by the winds; one of those rallyings of the winter upon the spring, so common in America; and to the clicking of pattens upon the pavement, and the clattering of umbrellas upon the window casements, with the doleful cries of a London morning: 'Fresh water-cresses! Milk, milk ! Åny sparrow grass !' and, as tlie day advanced, 'Dust-dus ! “Any old cloash to shell !' in a low Jew voice, like the tearing of a rag.
These are the sounds with which I am regaled, you listening, the while, to the orisons of the Boblink.
There is something mournful in the return to life of a great city, of an early morning. Its joys, its gayeties, the loud laugh, the bewitching smile, all are now dissolved in sleep; it is the labors and necessities of man, only, his cares and miseries, that awake; and in the London districts where poverty haunts, it is the resuscitation of Lazarus. There is something mournful, too, in the reflection, that in a city so attentive to the comforts and luxuries of its own citizens, and so refined by the humanity and civilization of many centuries, a stranger may wander like an outlaw in the night. I do not speak of facility, or probability, but with scarce the possibility, of finding a shelter from the dangers of the streets, or the rigors of an inhospitable climate.
I am rëinstated in my Threadneedle-street hotel, again to hug the Bank; to be awakened again by the Bow-bells! Like Whittington, I have turned again,' or rather, with a heart that, like Noah's dove, having found no terra firma, no little spot where it might rest, has come back with the olive branch into the ark. I have sent for my wardrobe, with a very certain resolve, that all intercourse between me and the maids of Adam-street shall cease from this date.
THE FOURTH DAY. If Thomson had lived in a country where spring came of itself, he would not have begun
with an invitation. It is cold, and no fire upon the grate, and the rain not abated, any more than my detestation of London, and its unsocial and cynical inhabitants. The north wind sweeps, you know how fiercely, over the naked plains of the Ouisconsin ; yet are they breezes from Arabia, compared to the breath of these unsympathizing strangers. At least Englishmen are not degenerate; and Hospitibus feros' is as true now
• Why, you simpleton, lost in reason as in in spirits you ! born without father or mother, and with no recommendation of learning or wit, or title or equipage ; lacking even that, which is itself society, friendship, liberty, and without which, virtue is but sea-weed; no Spaniard in mustachios, or Italian fiddler, and lodging in Threadneedle-street, and yet expect to be noticed, as if preceded by your fame or dignity; and in your ill-nature, rail .
like a very drab' at Englishmen and English hospitality; perhaps not even letters.'
I have (you are mistaken) one to Cobbett, who, on purpose,
I presume, has died since I left home; one to my Lord Brougham, ill in the country; to Sheridan Knowles, unanswered
for three days, the barbarian; and one to Bulwer, whose 'public and private duties'
But I have done. I am going to read over this letter.
I have; and it seems to have been written, through the whole five pages, by some one in the last gasp of the spleen; and so it has. With the exception of the poetry and the wit, it is King Lear, raving through the five acts; and now that I am convalescent, it seems to me very stupid and senseless. But I am glad the fit is over. Melancholy, like the measles, or whooping-cough, is only dangerous in the first attack. As I came into my room, a few minutes ago, I found on my table, what do you think? looking me tenderly in the face ? I had resolved, on rising this morning, to give sorrow to the winds; and to strengthen this resolution, went to Dolby's chop-house for a beef-steak, having experienced that nothing so improves one's magnanimity, as his breakfast ; and my advice is, that you never fight a duel, make a declaration, or do any thing that requires courage, on an empty stomach. I came in, and found on my table three notes, prettily folded, gilt-edged, and perfumed; an invitation of Mr. Knowles, to breakfast, of Mr. Vaughn, to dinner, and of an amiable and pretty woman, of Tavistock Square, • O sola miserata ."' offering a seat in her carriage to Chiswick; with a fourth, soon after, containing ' Admission to the House of Commons,' from Mr. Bulwer :
. Sunt hic etiam
Lacrymæ rerum.' The rain, too, has subsided, and the sun now and then beams upon the dispersing clouds, sweet as the smile of Caradori. A few rays have even penetrated as far as St. Paul's dome. I would re-compose this letter, but for the labor. I have so freely abused my new acquaintances, it will spoil my appetite for their dinners; but it will do them no harm, and it did me some good. I felt better after it. I have written too much Greek and Latin, and other pedantry; but to one who read her Virgil and Homer at twelve years, I will not apologize. I have said too much of nothing but myself; but I is the traveller's emphatic letter. It is his privilege, and if used ingenuously, to describe his own feeling, rather than to please that capricious old lady, the Public, it is, I think, one of his merits. It is of interest to know men's different views of foreign countries; but to know something more of that badly-explored country, the human mind, is of interest also. To my taste, Cæsar (I pray you make no comparisons) spoiled not a little his Commentaries, by his affected third person. One would like to know how Cæsar, I, Cæsar, felt at the battle of the Nervii.
I have found, happily, apartments, to be occupied in ten days, in Sackville-street, No. 7, where I will expect the angel visits of your letters.
Very tenderly Yours,
ON A NAKED STATUE OF APOL LO CROWNING MERIT.
MERIT, if thou art blest with riches,
THERE is her history; the world knows it by heart. There is Boston, and Concord, and Lexington, and Buoker-Hill; and there they will remaiu for ever!
RECOLLECTIONS OF THE ALHAMBRA.
BY THE AUTHOR OF THE SKETCH BOUK.
During a summer's residence in the old Moorish palace of the Alhambra, of which I have already given numerous anecdotes to the public, I used to pass much of my time in the beautiful hall of the Abencerrages, beside the fountain celebrated in the tragic story of that devoted race. Here it was, that thirty-six cavaliers of that heroic line were treacherously sacrificed, to appease the jealousy or allay the fears of a tyrant. The fountain which now throws up its sparkling jet, and sheds a dewy freshness around, ran red with the noblest blood of Granada, and a deep stain on the marble pavement is still pointed out, by the cicerones of the pile, as a sanguinary record of the massacre. I have regarded it with the same determined faith with which I have regarded the traditional stains of Rizzio's blood on the floor of the chamber of the unfortunate Mary, at Holyrood. I thank no one for endeavoring to enlighten my credulity, on such points of popular belief. It is like breaking up the shrine of the pilgrim; it is robbing a poor traveller of half the reward of his toils; for, strip travelling of its historical illusions, and what a mere fag you make of it!
For my part, I gave myself up, during my sojourn in the Alhambra, to all the romantic and fabulous traditions connected with the pile. I lived in the midst of an Arabian tale, and shut my eyes, as much as possible, to every thing that called me back to every day life; and if there is any country in Europe where one can do so, it is in poor, wild, legendary, proud-spirited, romantic Spain; where the old magnificent barbaric spirit still contends against the utilitarianism of modern civilization.
In the silent and deserted halls of the Alhambra; surrounded with the insignia of regal sway, and the still vivid, though dilapidated traces of oriental voluptuousness, I was in the strong-hold of Moorish story, and every thing spoke and breathed of the glorious days of Granada, when under the dominion of the crescent. When I sat in the hall of the Abencerrages, I suffered my mind to conjure up all that I had read of that illustrious line. In the proudest days of Moslem domination, the Abencerrages were the soul of every thing noble and chivalrous. The veterans of the family, who sat in the royal council, were the foremost to devise those heroic enterprises, which carried dismay into the territories of the Christians; and what the sages of the family devised, the young men of the name were the foremost to execute. In all services of hazard; in all adventurous forays, and hair-breadth hazards; the Abencerrages were sure to win the brightest laurels. In those noble recreations, too, which bear so close an affinity to war; in the tilt and tourney, the riding at the ring, and the daring bull-fight; still the Abencerrages carried off the palm. None could equal them for the splendor of their array, the gallantry of their devices; for their noble bearing, and glorious horsemanship. Their open-handed munificence made them the idols of the populace,
while their lofty magnanimity, and perfect faith, gained them golden opinions from the generous and high-minded. Never were they known to decry the merits of a rival, or to betray the confidings of a friend; and the word of an Abencerrage' was a guarantee that never admitted of a doubt.
And then their devotion to the fair! Never did Moorish beauty consider the fame of her charms established, until she had an Abencerrage for a lover; and never did an Abencerrage prove recreant to his vows. Lovely Granada! City of delights! Who ever bore the favors of thy dames more proudly on their casques, or championed them more gallantly in the chivalrous tilts of the Vivarambla ? Or who ever made thy moon-lit balconies, thy gardens of myrtles and roses, of oranges, citrons, and pomegranates, respond to more tender serenades?
I speak with enthusiasm on this theme; for it is connected with the recollection of one of the sweetest evenings and sweetest scenes that ever I enjoyed in Spain. One of the greatest pleasures of the Spaniards is, to sit in the beautiful summer evenings, and listen to traditional ballads, and tales about the wars of the Moors and Christians, and the “buenas andanzas' and 'grandes hechos,' the 'good fortunes' and 'great exploits' of the hardy warriors of yore. It is worthy of remark, also, that many of these songs, or romances, as they are called, celebrate the prowess and magnanimity in war, and the tenderness and fidelity in love, of the Moorish cavaliers, once their most formidable and liated foes. But centuries have elapsed, to extinguish the bigotry of the zealot; and the once detested warriors of Granada are now held up by Spanish poets, as the mirrors of chivalric virtue.
Such was the amusement of the evening in question. A number of us were seated in the Hall of the Abencerrages, listening to one of the most gifted and fascinating beings that I had ever met with in my wanderings. She was young and beautiful; and light and ethereal; full of fire, and spirit, and pure enthusiasm. She wore the fanciful Andalusian dress; touched the guitar with speaking eloquence ; improvised with wonderful facility ; and, as she became excited by her
; theme, or by the rapt attention of her auditors, would pour forth, in the richest and most melodious strains, a succession of couplets, full of striking description, or stirring narration, and composed, as I was assured, at the moment. Most of these were suggested by the place, and related to the ancient glories of Granada, and the prowess of her chivalry. The Abencerrages were her favorite heroes; she felt a woman's admiration of their gallant courtesy, and high-souled honor; and it was touching and inspiring to hear the praises of that generous but devoted race, chanted in this fated hall of their calamity, by the lips of Spanish beauty.
Among the subjects of which she treated, was a tale of Moslem honor, and old-fashioned Spanish courtesy, which made a strong impression on me. She disclaimed all merit of invention, however, and said she had merely dilated into verse a popular tradition ; and, indeed, I have since found the main facts inserted at the end of Conde's History of the Domination of the Arabs, and the story itself embodied in the form of an episode in the Diana of Montemayor. From these