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In one branch of art the English do excel-I mean in water-colour drawing. I am convinced of their pre-eminence here, not only from my own judgment, but because I know the Court of France thinks so too. Turner, full of genius and eccentricity, plays tricks on his tight rope without fear of falling: Paganini's one string is the only thing I can compare with Turner's pencil. I confess I prefer the four, and should admire the talented Royal Academician, if his views were a little more like nature, and his figures somewhat more resembling humanity. However, it is treason to murmur against his vagaries; and so popular is he in this country, that you see Try Turner” chalked on every dead wall where there is space to write it.
Prout, for boldness of outline, correctness of transcript, and power of execution, stands highest and first of all painters of ancient towns and cities: I have bought his first sketch-book for you; the views, which are admirably done, will recall to your mind the agreeable tour we made in 1820. Copley Fielding is another delightful artist; I scarcely think it possible to put him second to any one. A grotesque yet faithful copyist of nature in low life is Hunt; some of his works are perfect. A pair of drawings of a boy before and after he has eaten a pie, which were exhibited last year, are incomparable: they were bought by Mr. Bernal, a friend of mine, who is Chairman of the Committee “ de Chemins et Moyens”-I do not know how else to translate it-“Ways and Means." Stanfield, who is a most extraordinary genius, wastes his great talent in painting scenes for the melo-drames which the wits of England buy at a man's in the Burlington Arcade,-the condemned of the Variétés, the Vaudeville, or the Gymnase, -which, as English authors, they translate as they fancy. But he is rising to fame of the highest character. His drawings are beautiful-his paintings admirable.
You will find that our Tomie Duncombe is Member of the Commons House for Finsbury. He is capital fun to me. He is very favoured by the ladies, but I believe does not care more for politics than our excellent friend De Lacy Evans, who is married to a charming and rich widow; both of them are glad to be before the town as Deputies, or, as they are here called, Members; they both make great noises about liberty and all that, but in what I have observed (being, as I told you, honorary member of a club to which some of these people belong), I do not believe that they care much about it, and that is what I wrote to our friend.
You will see by the newspapers what has happened in public about Lord Grey. There has been what they call here foul play going on for a long time, and our yellow friend I believe to be at the bottom of it. Mr. Ællice, who is a friend and uncle-in-law to D., is a very agreeable man. I have had many conversations with him on the subject of what they call“ free trade." I hate to bore you with politics, but it is curious to see that this long-headed man, who represents Coventry, which is a town all made of manufacturers of ribands and such things, to be the advocate of letting into England all our works of industry. He has much consulted me, and of course I am too glad to encourage him to let in our manufactures, because my papa does much in ribands, and your aunt's son-in-law is good in gloves; but to me it is droll how this
Sept.-VOL. XLII. NO. CLXV.
Ellice should, in his character of champion of the English ribandmakers, go to speak in favour of importing French goods.
I write so in rambling manner, that perhaps you cannot make tail or head of me, but the truth is, that just as I am to go to some place, some one comes in and speaks much to me of affairs, when I, who have some fish to fry in another place, cannot stop to give him audience: and I go about like what they call here a “ bizzybe,” and cull Honi wherever I can find him, glad not to catch only wax. There is something odd to me in this one circumstance, that I fall off in my facility to talk or write English every day I stop here. I fancy when we studied together I was bound to follow your beautiful example of patience and study; but now I think I can do without anything but some confidence to write and talk, and I find myself sometimes to be laughed at. The other day I was riding in the Park of Richmond with one of the most beautiful of English beauties-don't be alarmed, dear Henriette-and she was going fast for me, for I could not catch her to ride by her side; and I called out to her to stop her horse, for I could not get my horse into a decanter; upon which this bright-eyed rosy-cheek Venus burst into a fit of great laughter. You see I should have said canter, but as in Frenchified names
the De gives a sort of nobility, I fancied it would be civil to dignify her horse's pace by the distinctive syllable. I never got over that, for these barbarians laugh out at the mistakes of what they call“ foreigners."
I remember hearing that the late King, George the Fourth, who was the most perfect gentleman in the world, did upon one occasion-being extremely anxious for that opportunity-receive Mademoiselle Burgoin, an admirable actress, at Carlton House. The party was small, somewhat odd, but very agreeable; and it was an understood compact on the part of the Prince that while a French lady was at tablemerely an actress too—nothing but our beautiful language should be spoken; of course no other tongue was heard. When Mademoiselle Burgoin went home to the Adelphi, a street which she was fond to, she was asked what she thought of the Prince Regent? “ Oh! he was delightful-most charming.” “But what,” said a Lord whose name I now forget, “what did you think of his speaking French-was it good ?" "What," said the actress, “does he ever speak anything else ?"
This is a proof that King George the Fourth must have been a much cleverer man in the tongues than many of those who were his constant associates, for I declare to you, I met the other day with one of his courtiers, who sat next to me, and conversed, very good-naturedly, in a tongue which I did not the least comprehend, until at last I said to him, “Mi Lor, do you ever speak French ?" He stared at me like a sticken pig; so I said, “Does your Lordship ever speak English?” which I to him said in proper idiom, in his own tongue.
“ To be sure I do,” said he, “ but I thought you liked French best;” by the which I found he had been speaking to me in my own tongue, as he fancied. Nothing is to me so ridiculous as to perceive one trying to make comprehend another one with some tongue of which he shall not be perceived to be intelligent.
I have been to a strange sight here which they call a “musick-miting ;" it was in the Abbey Church of Westminster. The King, the Queen,
and some other highly respectable people were there : some thousands put about in seats to hear very strange sounds of great crashes from Handel. You remember a print of him which your uncle had with a long wig: he ate himself blind, and made the choruses which we heard, and which, I suppose, everybody within three miles heard as well. Í liked it for one hour, then I grew hungry, and then I went to sleep. The King went to his luncheon, and I went away. I cannot make myself conceive what Handel's Water-piece is, but it is something, a very old gentleman with a pinching nose and besicles told me, was very beautiful. I could not help to go, for the exhibition was not fine, and the noise was all whisper and whirlwind; the solos were—I try to make a pun—" so low” nobody could hear them, and the choruses was so loud and cracking, that I could not bear them in my ear-drums.
I have given Miss Martineau a letter to you. Although she may perhaps go to America instead of France, I quite know that you will not like her proposals. She is what they call here a Malthusian, --what that is I don't know, unless it is derived from the English malt-housc, so that she is a saint in grain. I heard at a place one night Lord Alvanley say that, so I putted him down. She is very ugly lady, and will not have no ladies have any families. They had a good joke in town the other day :- There was an address to Parliament got up in a place called Kingsinton,–because the King's palace at that end of the town stands there,—and this address was about the poors’-rates, or some such thing, which Miss Martincau took great interest in, but she had not sufficient confidence in herself to get up without consulting the Bishop of London. She therefore imparted her difficulty to Dr. Blomfield, who helped her out; and when this precious thing came before the public, it was called Miss Martineau's first child by the Bishop of London. Thus, you see, the jestibility of the thing, as a queez upon the Malt housian faction, made much mirth amongst the right-minded part of the population.
They have odd notions here, as I told you before the way in which they reconcile themselves to the washings of elephants and the flirtings of monkies on Sundays, when, I verily believe, they themselves would flirt from week to week. Marvellous !
And now there is the Duke of Buckingham has produced a bill in the House of Commons to prevent all gentlemen from drinking anything but water. It is a curious thing, to be sure, that, in a very free country, a man shall not be able to do what he shall like with his own mouth and his own money. Oh; Henriette! this is the land of liberty; and yet Committees of Parliament meet and decide what a man may, and what he may not do, to a tenfold degree more arbitrarily than even our own dear good Louis Philippe dare do, who has, entre nous, done more tyrannical acts since he has been in the chair (ci-devant throne) which he has usurped, than any of his discarded relations ever attempted. Oh! how I envy my monarch the cool and intrepid impudence which could denounce the barricade-makers, and drive them to desperation and death three years after he had been made a king by blood and barricades. I love him with all my heart, and shall continue to do so, until he is knocked over. I love him the more as I think he is safe ; and Palmerston's valet, I am told, is still favourable to his schemes. It sounds odd, but, Henriette, you know something about statesmen, and will believe it, -I am told that Lord Palmerston-the elderly man with the whiskers who used to be
dancing after that pretty woman with the nez retroussé (I forget her name,)-is entirely governed by an old valet,—(these elderly people always console themselves by having servants older than themselves,) who loves our old poodle, and who completely manages Cupidon.
When I come back from Scotland, if I get away safe from a ravenous lady of high rank, who is extremely formidable, I shall, I think, cross directly from Dover to Calais; but at present so much is offered to one in the north, that it is impossible to say what I can do. My object you know, so no jealousy. I completely turn these muddy-headed islanders inside-out: they fancy they are “ doing the thing," and making the aimable to the foreigner. God bless their noses! they are the game I. want, to lay open their own hollownesses and littlenesses. If I dare tell you all the intrigues, and plots, and counterplots that are going on, I should astonish you : however, you can see them when printed, for while I shoot their grouse, drink their ginger-beer champagne, flirt with their daughters, and live upon their sons, I still keep an eye to the great point, and continue to contribute such traits of character and facts illustrative of their manners and customs to our friend, that I feel I am doing more good to my country than I am to myself; and, considering how I am fêted, that is not saying a little.
Adieu, dear Henriette ! Remember me to all around you,—not forgetting the dear bird; I hope he has got over his moulting well. What thousands of recollections that word excites ! Light-blue riband. Henriette ! adieu! adieu! adieu! You shall hear from me soon from the Moors and the Boors. Adieu!
TOM FANE AND I.
“ Common as light is love,
Tom Fane's four Canadian ponies were whizzing his light phaeton through the sand at a rate that would have put spirits into anything but a lover absent from his mistress. The “heaven-kissing" pines towered on every side like the thousand and one columns of the Cistern of the Palæologi at Constantinople; their flat and spreading tops shutting out the light of heaven almost as effectually as the world of Mussulmen, mosques, kiosks, bazaars, and Giaours sustained on those innumerable capitals, darkens the subterranean wonder of Stamboul. An American pine forest is as like a temple, and a sublime one, as any dream that ever entered into the architectural brain of the slumbering Martin. The Yankee methodists, in their camp-meetings, have but followed an irresistible instinct to worship God in the religious dimness of these interminable aisles of the wilderness.
Tom Fane and I had stoned the storks together in the palace of Creesus at Sardis. We had read Anastasius on a mufti's tomb in the Nekro-.
polis of Scutari. We had burned with fig fevers in the same caravanserai at Smyrna. We had cooled our hot foreheads and cursed the Greeks in emulous Romaic in the dim tomb of Agamemnon at Argos. We had been grave at Paris, and merry at Rome; and we had pic-nic’d with the beauties of the Fanar in the valley of Sweet Waters in pleasant Roumelia ; and when, after parting in France, he had returned to England and his regiment, and I to New England and law, whom should I meet in a summer's trip to the St. Lawrence but Captain Tom Fane of the
-th, quartered at the cliff-perched and doughty garrison of Quebec, and ready for any “lark” that would vary the monotony of duty !
Having eaten seven mess dinners, driven to the Falls of Montmorenci, and paid my respects to Lord Dalhousie, the hospitable and able Governor of the Canadas, Quebec had no longer a temptation, and obey. ing a magnet, of which more anon, I announced to Fane that my traps were packed, and my heart sent on a l'avant courier, to Saratoga.
“ Is she pretty ? " said Tom.
“ As the starry-eyed Circassian we gazed at through the grill in the slave-market at Constantinople!” (Heaven and my mistress forgive me for the comparison !—but it conveyed more to Tom Fane than a folio of more respectful similitudes.)
“ Have you any objection to be drawn to your lady-love by four cattle that would buy the soul of Osbaldiston ?"
“Objection !' quotha ?
The next morning four double-jointed and well-groomed ponies were munching their corn in the bow of a steamer, upon the St. Lawrence, wondering possibly what, in the name of Bucephalus, had set the hills and churches flying at such a rate down the river. The hills and churches came to a stand-still with the steamer opposite Montreal, and the ponies were landed and put to their mettle for some twenty miles, where they were destined to be astonished by a similar flying phenomenon in the mountains girding the lengthening waters of Lake Champlain. Landed at Ticonderoga, a few miles' trot brought them to Lake George and a third steamer, and, with a winding passage among green islands and overhanging precipices loaded like a harvest waggon with vegetation, we made our last landing on the edge of the pine-forest, where our story opens.
“Well, I must object,” says Tom, setting his whip in the socket and edging round upon his driving-box,—“I must object to this republican gravity of yours. I should take it for melancholy, did I not know it was the complexion' of your never-smiling countrymen."
“ Spare me, Tom! I see a hand you cannot see. Talk to your ponies, and let me be miserable if
love me.” “ For what, in the name of common sense ? Are you not within five hours of your mistress ? Is not this cursed sand your natal soil? Do not
• The pine-boughs sing
Old songs with new gladness ?' and in the years that we have dangled about, here-and-there-ians' totogether, were you ever before grave, sad, or sulky? and will you without a precedent, and you a lawyer, inflict your stupidity upon me for the first time in this waste and being-less solitude ? Half an hour more of the dread silence of this forest, and it will not need the horn of Astolpho to set me irremediably mad!"