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and wine by drawing them. You need not speak German. Ye shall make signs for sausages, and they shall be put in your plates. Come hither! In England you are nobodies and nothings to nobodies, – but here you shall be all Van Eycks and Hemlincks; at least you shall paint, as they did, on shutters. Impartial hangers shall hang your works upon hinges, and not too high up, but full in the public gaze, in a good light; and when that is gone, they shall show you “fiery off indeed” with the lamplight and candle. Instead of neglect and omissions, here you shall have plentiful commissions. You shall take off hats, brush at boots and coats, and do perukes in oil; and whereas in England you would scarcely get one face to copy, you shall here take the portraits of a score of mugs! One sight more, and we will finish our stroll. It is the Fishmarket. Look at those great oval tubs, like the cooling-tubs in a brewery. They contain the living fish. What monstrous jack and carp ! — and species strange to us, – and one grown almost out of knowledge — prodigious bream | You may look at them, but beware what you say of them, to that old woman, who sits near them in an immense shiny black bonnet, very like a common coal-scuttle; for if you provoke her, no scold, on the banks of Thames, can be more fluently abusive and vulgarly sarcastic | Strange it is, and worthy of philosophical investigation; but so surely as horse-dealing and dishonesty go together, so do fish-fagging and vituperative eloquence. It would seem as if the powers of speech, denied to her mute commodity, were added to the natural gifts of the female dealer therein: however, from Billingsgate to Berlin, every fishmonger in petticoats is as rough-tongued as a buffalo But farewell to the capital of Prussia. A letter of recall from my uncle has just come to hand; and I am booked again by the Eilwagen. Considering the distance, you will own that I have had a miraculously cheap ride hither, when I tell you that, besides paying no turnpikes, I have disposed of my nag, at twenty shillings' loss, to a timid invalid, recommended to take horse-exercise. I honestly warranted the animal sound, quiet, and free from vice: and have no doubt it will carry the old gentleman very pleasantly, provided he is not too particular as to the way he goes; for I shrewdly suspect, wherever soldiers may be marching, my late horse will be sure to follow in the same direction. I have bought some black iron Berlin-ware for Emily, and with love to you both, am, My dear Gerard, Yours ever truly, FRANK SOMERVILLE.
FROM A LETTER TO GERARD BRookE, Esq.
THIS is simply to announce my safe return to the banks of the Rhine. The rest of the family party met me at Mayence, and we returned together to Coblentz, quite enchanted with the scenery of one of the finest portions of the renowned river. The alleged reason for my recall was the lateness of the season; but I rather suspect my worthy uncle is impatient to relate his observations and adventures to his old friends Bagshaw and the Doctor, – as my aunt is eager to impart her wanderings to Miss Wilmot. Like other travellers, they are longing to publish, – and no doubt will talk quartos and folios when they return to Woodlands.
The changes I found in the family on my return were almost as strange as those which so astonished Rip Van Winkle on awaking from his supernatural sleep. My uncle was literally a new man. His warnings had had warning, and gone off for good; and he has now no more idea of dying than a man of twice his age: a paradox in sound, but a philosophical truth. My aunt, instead of perpetually reminding us that she is a disconsolate widow, has almost forgotten it herself; and it is only on a dull and very wet day that we hear of “poor George.” Even Martha is altered for the better; for she is reconciled to her mistress, to herself, and to her old religion. The truth is, that her zeal in the new one was so hot, that, like a fire with the blower on, it soon burnt itself out. Her mistress says, the re-conversion was much hastened by a very long procession, on a very warm day, which Martha accompanied, and returned dusty, dry, famished, and foot-sore, and rather sorry, no doubt, that she had ever given up her seat under the Rev. Mr. Groger.
4. 3. 3. 3. 3.
You will be glad to hear that poor Markham so nas won my uncle's esteem, that the latter promises, between himself and Bagster, to take his affairs in hand and set them to rights. Markham, of course, is delighted; and the change in his own prospects makes him take much pleasanter views both of men and things.
In short, Gerard, if you or any of your friends ever suffer from hypochondriasis, weak nerves, melancholy, morbid sensibility, or mere ennui, let me advise you, and them, as you value your lives, health, and spirits, your bodies and your minds, to do as we have done, and go UP THE RHINE.