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THIS is altogether one of the most curious books which the present publishing season has brought forth. It is, as its name imports, an account of a four year's residence in "La belle France," and is written by an Englishman of observant mind, and very peculiar opinions.

The book is prefaced by a singular and interesting tract, descriptive of the author's conversion from the communion of the Church of England to that of the Church of Rome. This circumstance, being one of unfrequent occurrence, becomes particularly deserving of notice in the present instance, as the party in question had been a Protestant clergyman. He gives us a narrative, at some length, of the feelings which preceded and led to this unusual consummation, and labours, with great zeal, to make it appear a matter of reason rather than sentiment. Of this, however, we must be permitted to doubt; and our doubts arise from the consideration of his own story. It appears that his ancestors, on his mother's side, and that not remotely, had been Catholics; and of his mother herself, he says,—

"Some rags of popery hung about her: she was very devout, and made long prayers: she had not her breviary, indeed, but the psalms and chapters of the day served equally well :"

Again, speaking of St. Mary Magdalen College, Oxford,

"Here we all turned towards the altar during the recital of the creed; at Lincoln, this point of etiquette was rather disputed among the congregation; my mother always insisted on my complying with it. I learned to have a great respect for the altar."

In another place, he observes,

"It will be seen, from the account given of my infancy, that I had been from the first familiarised with popery; that I had been brought up without any horror of it."

Now, from these and other passages of the author's apologetic tract, we are certainly led to infer that his imagination had been strongly acted upon at a very early period, by the ceremonials of Catholicism, and by the curious mixture of it, which was left unexpunged at the time the Protestant reformers of England made up the ritual of the Established Church.

"From my earliest years," says he, "my mother took me regularly every Sunday to the cathedral service, in which there is some degree of pomp and solemnity. The table at the east end of the church, is covered with a cloth of red velvet on it are placed two large candlesticks, the candles in which are lighted at evensong from Martinmas to Candlemas, and the choir is illumined by a sufficient number of wax tapers. The litanies are not said by the minister in his desk, but chanted in the middle of the choir, from what I have since learned to call a prie-Dieu. The prebendary in residence, walks from his seat, preceded by beadles, and followed by a vicar or minor canon, and chanting the Sanctus. This being finished, and the prebendary arrived at the altar, he reads the first part of the Communion Service, including the Ten Commandments, with the humble responses of the Choir; he then in

* Four Years in France; or Narrative of an English Family's Residence there during that period; preceded by some account of the Conversion of the Author to the Catholic Faith. 8vo. 14s.

tones the Nicene Creed, during the music of which he returns to his seat, with the same state as before. Here are disjectæ membra ecclesia: no wonder that the puritans of Charles the First's time called for a 'godly thorough reformation.""

We have quoted these sentences, to show what was the avowed bias of the author's thoughts and mind in his youth: how the first natural feelings of Protestant aversion to the Romish ritual being overcome, a predisposition to it succeeded-and hence conclusions were jumped at, which we think the attentive reader of the book will agree with us in saying, are unwarranted by any sturdy exercise of the reasoning faculty. The amiable and liberal-minded author, who does not appear to have adopted any of the bigotry of the sect with which he has identified himself, evidently acted throughout in the spirit of candour and principle; of which, indeed, he gave the most unquestionable evidence, in forfeiting all those prospects laid open to him on his entrance into the Protestant ministry: but so far as strength of argument is concerned, we, although unpractised in theological disquisition, should scarcely hesitate to enter the lists with him. It cannot be denied, however, that his narrative is deeply interesting; more particularly where he speaks of his emotions before his confirmation, at high mass on the feast of the Ascension; and his subsequent interview with Dr. Douglass, the then Catholic Bishop of London, when our author presented himself to that ecclesiastic, renounced his Protestantism, and solicited to be received into the bosom of the Catholic church.

But, to pass on to the main body of the volume. The first thing that strikes our observation is the very lively manner in which the author describes whatever falls under his notice, which, by-the-bye, comprises al! that class of subjects likely to prove important to an English settler in France. His style is exceedingly antithetical: instances of which are continually occurring; and he does not even throw aside this disposition when speaking in a foreign language. Arriving at Sens, he finds in the cathedral a very fine piece of sculpture, the tomb of the dauphin, son of Louis the Fifteenth. Upon being informed that, during the revolutionary fury, it was only by force the populace were restrained from destroying this royal monument, he exclaims, "Le bon peuple de Sens n'est pas apparemment un peuple de bon sens!" In fact, throughout the work, there runs the same good-humoured, cheerful spirit, evidencing the hopeful, self-satisfied condition of the author's mind, and throwing over his remarks an amenity and grace by which they are rendered doubly acceptable.

There is abundant information conveyed in these pages, calculated for the use of travellers in the rival kingdom, as well as of settlers therein, particularly of the South of France, where, indeed, the author resided between three and four years. It is not a flashy volume, made up of sentiment and prejudice-of undigested opinions and superficial knowledge. The writer is obviously a thoughtful, family man, who has made a point of understanding what he discusses, and (as he might himself say) of discussing whatever point it was desirable to understand. In speaking of the methods of travelling in the provincial parts of France, he says:

"This mode of travelling by the voiturier is now generally adopted by travellers of the first respectability; and, where the whole voiture is engaged,

differs in no respect from travelling in a private carriage, except that the right of property in the horses and carriage is but temporary, and the coachman does not wear a livery. I am acquainted with persons, who would not choose to be considered otherwise than as persons of distinction, who have travelled in this way. I have seen attestations of the good conduct of the coachman, or voiturier, signed with names, some of which were known to me, and sealed with armorial bearings, according to the English use abroad. I dwell on this point, because voituriers are unknown in England, and the mode of travelling is in low repute abroad; where, from the way in which it is practised, it is impossible it should be creditable.

"In France and Italy there are but few stage-coaches, and no good ones but between the towns on the Channel and Paris. The post-houses furnish no carriages, but horses only. In every great town there are persons, whose trade is to keep carriages ready for those who want to take journeys, but have no carriages of their own. Two or three places being engaged, the voiturier, now afloat, makes up his cargo as be can: rather than have any vacant space in his carriage, he will sell it at a low rate to such as can afford to pay but low prices: he then makes up in dead lumber what is wanting in weight of live stock; and the good people, thus assembled, thus encumbered, proceed as they can, under the auspices of the conductor, who presides at their meals. All this accounts very well for some English making a difficulty in avowing their having travelled by the voiturier, and for the French aubergistes and others, confounding, at first, all inmates of carriages of the same denomination. I do not suppose that any respectable English family has travelled in the manner above described. I do not know that any single persons have done so. It is evident that a voiture engaged for the sole use and service of him who hires it, is quite another thing."

The author describes himself to have suffered, in a pecuniary way, in many instances, from having deferred the examination of accounts until he was just about to leave a place, and from having omitted to scrutinize, at the time, the charges of whatever things were furnished to him. Our countrymen seem to be considered lawful game as soon as they set foot on Continental ground. Towards this, many feelings, no doubt, combine, among our worthy neighbours, the French. Old national jealousy; deep-rooted hatred, arising from the prominent part we took in the late war; the vulgar belief of our superior wealth-and we suspect a native love of over-reaching ;-all these causes conduce to mark us out as the victims of Gallican chicanery, and, if we must continue the game of expatriation, should, at least, set us circumspectly on our guard. Our author's hint touching the frequent rascality of voituriers, might advantageously be enlarged, so as to include the dealings of travelling English with foreigners generally-" See every thing, write down every thing, and, above all, have time at com. mand."

The account given us of the writer's laudable endeavours to introduce, or rather to insinuate, during his residence at Avignon, coal fires and English cookery, is very amusing.

"The French, who have seen the atmosphere of smoke in which London is enveloped, and the sea-coal pouring its volumes of smoke up the chimney, have disseminated throughout France a certain horror of coal fires. There are, near Lyons, mines of coal, of a quality superior to any I have yet seen, like the Wednesbury, but better. I had some difficulty in making the blacksmith comprehend what ought to be the form of such machines as grate, poker, fender-Things by their names I call;' though, to my blacksmith, I was obliged to use every sort of paraphrasis. My poker was made with a hook at the end of it, the fender had a handle to it; the bars of the

grate were too small and too near each other. The hook of the poker was soon straightened in the fire: of the fender-handle I was contented to declare, Il n'y a pas de mal à cela:' as the bars of my grate, though near, were not thick, they did not intercept more heat than usual.

"Taking the precaution to have a wood fire in my second salon, I ventured to invite my friends to see my fire de charbon de terre. They were much surprised and pleased. Il n'y a pas de mauvaise odeur: ce feu se fait respecter: quelle chaleur! The combined advantages of greater heat and less cost (for the coal fire was maintained at about half the expense of a wood fire) procured imitators."

Every body is acquainted with the character and routine of a French dinner; and opinions with respect to its merits, as compared with our own cookery, are as various as upon debateable questions of a more important nature. It is curious to observe how great a mistake was universally, and still is generally, made concerning the substantial nature of a Frenchman's meal. He has been supposed to regale wholly on viands of the most unsufficing kind; to eat little meat, and drink a prodigious quantity of soup maigre. The direct contrary is the fact. An Englishman is quite surprised, on his first introduction to a French dinner party, to see the immense succession of dishes, and the heartiness with which each in turn is assailed. He is compelled to give in, long before his continental neighbour appears to be thoroughly warmed to his work. An ordinary Englishman will dine most contentedly from a single joint; the absence of which your Frenchman supplies by a dozen different dishes, each by its artificial preparation stimulating the appetite, which would otherwise naturally become jaded. On the relative healthiness of these two modes, it is not our business here to enlarge. We will subjoin the attempt of our author to improve on the French fashion.

"It will be seen that the arbitrary parts of a French dinner are the made dishes and the sweets: the bouilli and rôti are obligatory; the former because you are hungry, the latter, lest you should still be so. I approve of the order in which the fish appears, having seen many persons choke themselves in England by eating of it with an appetite as yet unsatiated. Even to the fried-fish I ventured, contrary to usage, to add a sauce, (in a sauceboat, be it well understood) which those who partook of admitted to be an improvement. A stuffed turkey, with sausage balls, was allowed to be better than a dry rôti: a hare with a pudding and currant-jelly was declared to be delicious. I obtained permission to serve the cheese, as a thing of mauvaise odeur, by itself, recalling only the sallad, instead of making it a part of the dessert. By these means, and by the help of stuffed loins of mutton, roasted tongues, or boiled, with but little flavour of salt, new college puddings, and other unknown luxuries, too tedious to mention, (a phrase I ought to have employed long ago) I have the patriotic consolation of thinking that I gave a favourable idea of the English kitchen, which, in defiance of popular opinion, I affirm to be better than the French, though their artists in this line are superior. The chief differences are, that the French make prepared and high-seasoned dishes of their vegetables, and think it barbarous to eat them au naturel along with their meat; and that they will not believe that their meat contains any juice, or gravy, or flavour, till they have extracted it by culinary process, and laid it beside the meat in the dish. Indeed, their climate, which provides for them so many excellent things, refuses them pasture to fatten beef; but they have fine artificial grasses and hay: of every other object of gourmandise, except fat beef, they have all that the most voracious or the most delicate appetite can demand."

There are some very sensible observations on the speculation of a freer importation of genuine French wines into this country, for which we must refer the reader to the volume itself. He will not be a little surprised to hear that, even as it is, French wines are not so uncommon as may be supposed; since, by means of a trade carried on between the French shores of the Mediteranean and Oporto, wines are shipped off to the latter place, which, by the aid of brandy and other modes of treatment, become good port wine for the London market.

We suppose every good Catholic is bound to be, more or less, a believer in signs and prodigies. At all events, the author before us participates in this frailty, if such it be. He speaks with reverential caution of certain "miracles" of his church, and witnesses supernatural appearances in his bedchamber at night. These circumstances, whatever degree of faith, or want of it, his readers may entertain, are certainly not calculated to render the book less curious or interesting: "Quite the reverse." Together with the little history which serves as a preface, and another of a different and more mournful cast, towards the conclusion of the volume (an account of the illness and death of the author's eldest son) it gives to the whole work a very peculiar character, highly deserving an attentive perusal, which it will not fail to repaynot only in temporary entertainment, but in benefit of a far more sterling kind-exposition of a man's mind and conduct, and of the events which occurred to him during a foreign residence, calculated to afford much useful speculation to the philosophical canvasser of human motive and action, and to display the candid individual himself in an amiable point of view.


"What god-what genius, did the pencil move,
When Kneller painted these?"— Pope,

THE "Beauties at Windsor" lead us naturally to the consideration of those at Hampton Court, scarcely less celebrated, and, from their vicinity to the metropolis, perhaps more generally known and admired; and these bring down our illustrations of the Court Beauties of England to the end of William the Third's reign.

William had great and good qualities, but he was deficient in those amiable feelings and social accomplishments which render greatness attractive. "He courted fame, but none of her ministers," and even in his youngest and gayest years, seems to have been as devoid of feeling for beauty as of taste in the fine arts. The Hampton Court Beauties, like the Windsor Beauties, owe their existence to a woman's pride in her own sex, not to the gallantry of ours. The thought was first suggested by Queen Mary, and its execution was begun during one of the King's absences. Walpole relates, on the authority of an old lady of the Court, that no parts of the Queen's conduct, political or domestic, ever rendered her so unpopular as these unfortunate Beauties:-all the fair ones who were excluded thinking themselves aggrieved by the preference shown to a few; and fathers, husbands, brothers, and lovers, making common cause with these injured beauties. Lady Dorchester, the witty and profligate daughter of the greatest wit and profligate in

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