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breeze through the moss-grown aisles, that I heard the sigh of some unquiet departed. A raven had built her nest over the spot where we were told the high altar had stood, and her noisy brood, frightened by my approach, flew about, and filled the silent welkin with their harsh screechings.
We partook of a substantial déjeûner amidst these picturesque scenes; and about three o'clock prepared to retrace our way by the same beautiful route towards Abbotsford. How little did any of us then think that, in three years time, our revered host would lie a shrouded corpse within those roofless walls ! We had several very pleasant days' sporting
among the woods of Yarrow, and along the flats on the banks of the Tweed; on one of which occasions an accident had like to have happened, which would have rendered my visit a painful reminiscence for the remainder of my life, instead of a pleasant recollection of happy moments. Sir Walter, G-, myself, and three or four more of the guests, had proceeded to the lower wood, armed with the implements of destruction to the winged tribes; for although I am no sportsman, and more used to managing briefs than barrels (I mean gun-barrels,) and memorandums than Mantons, I always wore my belt, and cocked my piece, with as desperate a determination as the best sportsman among them. We had been about two hours in the wood, when G-, attracted by something to the left of the path we were pursuing, called us to follow him, and darted through a thick clump of underwood. Our host was next to him; and, unfortunately, Gisgun got entangled among the brushwood, when, as he rather carelessly was carrying it with the butt foremost, it went off
, as we imagined, full in Sir Walter's face. All was consternation on the instant, and we crowded to the spot : the alarm, happily, was the only mischief, as our host was unharmed. The ball, however, had perforated his hat; and, as he lifted it from the ground, and pointed to the orifice, he said with a smile, " Mr. G- you have nearly done what all the reviewers and critics in the literary world could not effect,-put an end to the Waverley novels.” The good-humoured manner in which he said this, however, did not restore the harmony of the party. What might have been the consequences of this accident quite depressed our spirits, and we soon returned to Abbotsford. Mr. Hogg had left us the day before this; and I do not think that many of the guests but those with us were made acquainted with the awkward circumstance. Sir Walter plainly perceived how much G- blamed himself for his carelessness, and avoided touching on the subject.
I remained at Abbotsford more than a week, and should, but for pressing business, have made my stay much longer. The more I saw of this great man, the more my respect and admiration increased for his character and attainments. I little thought, when I parted from him to return home, that I should never see him again! Such a thought would, indeed, have embittered a parting already sufficiently regretted. I have received several familiar letters from him since that period, in most of which were pressing invitations to become once more his guest. I should have repeated my visit in the summer of 1831, but that his failing health compelled him to visit the continent; and when he returned, it was but to cast one long and lingering look at the beloved spot where he had spent so many happy days, –and die !
BUBBLES FROM BOULOGNE.
BY AN OLD LADY.
“ How are you off for soap?"-Peter Simple.
When old gentlemen blow bubbles from Germany, why may not an elderly lady amuse herself in the same manner after a transitory trip to the coast of France ? I see nothing to prevent her; and the former having gained by his work “the bubble reputation," I confidently expect that my “airy nothings” will eventually cause my name to be enrolled among the Starkes, Morgans, and Trollopes of the day.
Like my predecessor, the Old Man of the Brunnens, “when I got to the Tower stairs I found the wheels of the Queen of the Netherlands already in motion," and scarcely had my two trunks and a band-box been deposited on deck, before
"Fire burn, and cauldron bubble," round went the paddles, bang, bang, went the engine, and I felt that tremulous vibration in the seat on which I reclined, and in the boards beneath my feet, which never yet failed to give me exceedingly uncomfortable internal sensations. The day was just beginning to dawn, and a fog rendered the morning air unusually chilly for the period of the year, and at the same time veiled from my view the banks of the river. My female fellow-passengers sat enveloped in close bonnets, veils, and cloaks, and hung down their heads, evidently participating in my own aforenamed uncomfortable internal sensations; the men paced the deck, with collars of cloaks raised so high, and travelling caps pulled down so low, that thetips of their noses alone were visible.
The sun at length arose, and gradually the fog, having struggled to obscure him in vain, fled like a vanquished foe. We now began to look about us.
The females threw aside their wraps, and began carefully to arrange their ringlets, pull out their sleeves, and smooth down their canezous. The men emerged from their cloaks; and the cloth caps
that had hitherto enveloped their ears were elevated and placed smartly on one side, showing a portion of hair which had been carefully arranged by the owner's fingers.
But alas ! the farther we got out of the river, the greater became the motion of the vessel. Embarking in summer weather from Boulogne to London may possibly—I say may, for even then a commotion of the elements may arise when old ladies least expect it, but still it may be safe enough, for you see your way
leave the barbour on a clear calm morning, the chances are that no very material change can take place before you are snug in the river. But embarking at the Tower stairs is a very different affair : when paddling along between the banks of the river Thames, how little do the landsmen (and the watermen too) dream of the winds that are blowing, and the waves that are tossing, out of sight, and out at sea!
I would advise all elderly ladies to go by coach to Dover. This is my precept, and is much more sage than my example; for, as I have before
intimated, I went by long sea, as they call it, and when I got out of the river, I found myself in a gale! I was speedily carried below in a state bordering on insensibility. I saw nothing of Broadstairs, Margate, Ramsgate, Deal, and Dover; my note-book lay unmolested in my black silk bag; and, from the exhausted state of my feelings, I really began to believe that all my bubbles had burst. Nobody can describe sea-sickness, or rather the sensations that accompany it. The consciousness of going up-up-up, and then down-down-down; the sinking, die-away feel of the stomach ; the anxiety to cling for safety to some article or other, which moves all the time with you; and then, if you get a little bit better, and care for drowning, which really sick people utterly disregard, then what a horrible consciousness you have of the one little plank which separates you from the fishes; and above all, what a dread of the great big boiler, full to the brim of scalding water, which lies within a very few feet of you, and which is all the time shaken and tossed about to such a degree, that you cannot but marvel it does not burst!
Let all old ladies of enthusiastic minds, but of sedentary habits, imagine my sensations! I was about to breathe foreign air, to put my foot for the first time on a foreign shore ! 'Tis true I had only left the metropolis of England early that morning, and might, if I pleased, again seat myself in my own elbow-chair the next day; but, to a person of my stay-at-home habits, the approaching moment was an awful one !
Gentlemen travellers, who have crossed the Alps or the Atlantic, may sneer at my sensations; travelled ladies, too, may simper in their silken sleeves; but let Mr. Beckford boast of Italy—the Reverend Mr. Kinsey expatiate on Portugal-Captain Skinner rave about the Himalaya Mountains-Mrs. Trollope prate of America-and Lady Morgan lucubrate about all she has ever yet seen, heard, or imagined ; all I say is this :every traveller must make a beginning; and until I go
farther (and perhaps fare worse) Boulogne-sur-Mer has to me all the charms of novelty, and all the importance incidental to its being the first outlandish place on which a certain elderly lady ever set her eyes.
We at length reached the extremity of the new pier, the two sides of the harbour stretching into the sea like two long dark horns. For half an hour the tide was not sufficiently high for us to venture in, and there we lay rolling and pitching most lamentably. At·length a red flag was hoisted as a signal, and we dashed on rapidly between the said two horns towards the customary place of landing. I have now a misery to relate, which cannot fail to excite the sympathy of my readers. After a marine indisposition, what is it that the exhausted sufferer, whether male or female, is most eager to enjoy? surely seclusion,-a temporary retirement from the world, during which to compose the spirits, recruit the body, and restore and embellish the languid, disordered, dishevelled, and cadaverous exterior. Will it be believed that, at Boulogne-sur-Mer, among the fashionable public amusements may be reckoned the “ going to see the packets come in, and watch the passengers land ?” Having left London so very early, we arrived at Boulogne just in good time to make our début before a particularly crowded and elegant audience.
It was just six o'clock. Those who dined early had come forth for their evening promenade, and those who dined laté had not yet retired to dress for dinner. As we approached the landing place, I saw that a very ample space between the water and the custom-house had been marked out with
ropes, within which no one was permitted to intrude; and when the ladder was placed for our disembarkation, I was informed that between these ropes we were to walk to the custona-house, where our passports were to be examined; outside these ropes were ranged the elegantlydressed and eager audience assembled to witness our farcical arrival; in the front row were pedestrians, and a second and third row peeped over their shoulders; behind these were carriages of all descriptions, coaches, chariots, britchcas, cabs, gigs, and four-wheeled phaetons, all full of people; and beyond these were male and female equestrians, and a tandem or two, driven by some full-grown children, whose pretty playthings, during the ensuing season, might be expected to run over and massacre a man a month!
And what were all these people collected to see ? Actually a ship load of sea-sick people, and me, unfortunately, among the number.
Retreating as far as possible from the ladder, I permitted others to commence the entertainment, and silently watched their reception with an anxious palpitating heart.
Up went a very fat man, with his very lean wife and three wretched draggle-tail daughters: at the top of the ladder the fat man had to support the lean lady, and, not well knowing what he was about, he sidled off to the right, intending to get under the ropes, and make the best of his way to the town. Two dark green personages in huge cocked hats, belonging to the Douane, followed them, and stopped their progress, intimating that they must first proceed to the custom-house. The husband, in his hurry and embarrassment, very nearly dropped his lean and languid lady: the three draggle-tail girls curtsied awkwardly to the dark green men, and then, as the whole party followed the leader to the custom-house door, I distinctly heard a titter run round the elegantlydressed assembly. But their worst trial seemed yet to come, for round the entrance was assembled a crowd of the most vociferous biped nuisances I ever beheld, and these began shrieking into their ears in full chorus, each one endeavouring to drown the voice of the other, and thrusting into their faces little dirty cards. Each had a different cry; and I afterwards learnt that each was endeavouring to entice the victims to the particular hotel to which he belonged. “Hotel du Nord ” cried one. Hughes's Hotel ” bellowed an Englishman. “ Hotel de Londres" vociferated a third ; while a red-haired Londoner contrived to insinuate that “ Gentlefolks was always remarkable comfortable at the Shakspeare.” I cannot attempt to particularise each individual of our corps dramatique; another and another, and another, passed up the ladder (like criminals going to he turned off), and at length I alone remained behind. The steward, however, instead of whispering “ I'll not leave thee, thou lone one, to pine on the stem” (or on the stern) of the vessel, cried, Come
it's your turn now, if you please,” and, giving me his hand, he assisted me to climb the ladder. People learn wisdom, and when I go a journey, or more particularly a voyage, I always put on my worst clothes. I therefore left London in a very serviceable pepperand-salt habit, in which I used to ride on horseback five-and-twenty or thirty years ago, and on my head I wore a very large and umbrageous five-year-old Leghorn bonnet, with one long green dog's-tail feather, and a green veil. My whole person had been thoroughly soaked in sea water, therefore the green veil and dog's-tail feather had lost some of
their greenness, and had liberally imparted it to the bonnet, if bonnet it could be called, no longer retaining its shape, but being much more like a large ill-conditioned straw cocked hat: altogether, I believe I looked like a picture of fashions cut out of a Ladies' Magazine, bearing date seventeen hundred and eighty. The moment I got upon terra firma, and fully confronted the audience, there was a unanimous roar. How I walked through my part I know not; indeed, I have no very distinct recollection of anything until I found myself in my own bedroom at the Hotel du Nord.
It is one of the oddities of this place, that though it has a very excellent resident society, and a sufficiently large circle (somewhat difficult of access without the best introductions), everybody seems afraid of avowing that they like it, or that they are going to remain in it. If you meet a man of fashion in London in September, he assures you honour” that he is only “passing through:-came last night, -going away to-day.” And so it is with Boulogne : all the people are happy to say they are only en passant. Yet there they pitch for weeks and months, and look very much as if they enjoyed their quarters. And why is it that they enjoy themselves? Because the luxuries of life are cheaper than in England. Fine fat turkeys may be had for three shillings; claret for half-a-crown a bottle; large houses (if taken by the year) at moderate rents; and above all, if they have boys to whip, and girls to make musical, Latin and Greek, and crotchets and quavers are to be had cheap, and a most respectable middle-aged Frenchwoman will dispose of French conversation to you at the low rate of one franc an hour!
To my surprise I found that Boulogne had become during the summer months the resort of many foreigners of rank; they frequented the rooms and promenades, but appeared to avoid any particular intercourse with strangers : and as the English prate about Boulogne's bad name and avoid one another, it is but natural that the foreigners who visit the place should suppose that the resident English must be the best judges of its character, and therefore avoid all but their own especial party.
There are balls once a week (on Friday nights) at the public rooms, —these are exceedingly crowded, like all assemblies of the kind at large watering-places; but the mixture of French and English, the exquisite dress of the Parisian, in juxtaposition with the costume of a newly-imported Cockney, give an interest to these balls, which I have sought in vain elsewhere. There is of course what smart people call a great mixture; where is there not when money may be taken at the doors ? The Rotunda at Cheltenham, the Master of the Ceremonies' ball at Bath, the Race ball at the Long Rooms at Southampton, won't bear sifting, as I by experience can testify. But here, as at the other respectable places I have named, notoriously had characters are excluded. Persons may be present who are known to individuals to be objectionable ; but let those individuals point them out to the proprietor of the rooms, stating the reasons why they ought to be ejected, and he will in future shut his doors against them; and this, I take it, is all that can reasonably be expected.
The best English do not dance at these assemblies; neither do, if we may judge from appearances, the best French. The foreign custom of a young man asking any lady to dance, without a previous introOct.-Vol. XLII. NO. CLxvi.