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proof of the fact. But we have had an opportunity of testing it beyond the power of doubt or question. On St. Valentine's day, the number of amatory poems despatched per post has hitherto averaged one hundred thousand; this year they did not exceed forty thousand. Taking this circumstance in connexion with the fact that at least double the number of people likely to send Valentines are now able to write than were some twenty years ago, the falling off is lamentable. Perhaps the enlightenment of the age, and a due disregard of the potentiality of saints, have operated to work this change in the manners of the nation; or perhaps they have discovered that, in matters of love, practice is better than theory, and that Sterne was quite right when he said that a man might as well try to make a black-pudding as make love successfully by talking about it.
ARCHITECTURE AND PETER WILKINS.- Mr. Wilkins is working "double-tides," as they say in the dock-yards: his National Gallery is growing as fast as asparagus; and if the front, or end, or side, or whatever it may be, which gives, as the French call it, to St. Martin's-lane, the measure of its breadth, a most splendid affair it will be. fault of that magnificent gallery in the Louvre, which is as long as Pallmall, is its narrowness; but this thing in St. Martin's-lane is about a quarter the width of that ;-to be sure, it will not be one quarter its length. But even supposing the relative faulty proportions to be retained, what a thing it will be to have a little National Gallery, a hundred and fifty feet long, and about thirteen feet wide! However, we shall wait all we hope is there may be, a portico-something to cut up St. Martin's Church-something to emulate the beauties of the London U.; only we do pray that Mr. Wilkins, on the present occasion, may be good enough to put his staircase inside of the house, and not leave it on the outside, as he has done at the place up in Gower-street St. George's Hospital, now the railing is clear, is a cheering prospect to those who hope the best it is a splendid edifice; and is, we are informed by our medical friends, quite as convenient within, as it is beautiful without.
Talking of architecture, it seems that Mr. Nash-who, mind, at his present age, is as active as ever-has removed the whole of the splendid fittings of his incomparable gallery in Regent-street to his castle in the Isle of Wight, where he has built a room in every respect precisely the same as the original one, and in which the fresco-paintings, statues, and pictures, (a fac-simile of one of the Loggi of the Vatican,)-are to be placed, thus concentrating, in one spot, with his magnificent library, all the objects of taste and virtù which he has collected during his long and eventful life. This addition to East Cowes Castle will render that beautiful residence perfectly unique; and, as its talented owner passes the greatest part of the year there, nothing can be wiser than his new arrangement, although it robs the metropolis of one of its rarest ornaments, and converts one of its most beautiful gems into an auction-room;-for such is the case. What was Mr. Nash's gallery in Regent-street is now Mr. Rainy's office and sale-room;-a rainy day for Regent-street may they say, who have seen what the gallery was; and a day we lament to have seen, because Regent-street is identified with Mr. Nash: it was the creation of his mind, and he ought never to have deserted it. He
may have faults on minor points of taste: which, as taste is not arbitrary, may be no faults at all; but if he had thousands of such crimes, they are venial, and sink into nothingness when compared with the benefits his enterprising genius has conferred upon the metropolis in the neighbourhood of Charing Cross and the Strand, and by the design and completion of the unquestionably finest metropolitan promenade in Europe.
THE OXFORD INSTALLATION.—All the world is alive about the Oxford Installation. The Duke of Wellington has taken the Star Inn for the week for 1000/.; and common lodgings in High-street have been let for the same period at fifty guineas. The 10th of June is the day fixed for the ceremony, so that the musical festival in Westminster Abbey will not be interfered with by the splendid and interesting proceedings at the University. We should have been very sorry that the charitable intentions of the royal founder of the festival should have been thwarted by the too close approximation of the two great events. The music in Westminster Abbey may be heard some other time;-the installation of the Duke of Wellington can happen but once, and as the crowning evidence of the universal greatness of his fame and character, nothing can be more attractive to Englishmen and Englishwomen.
THE SABBATH NON-OBSERVANCE BILL.-What is to happen to us if Sir Andrew Agnew's bill" for the better Observance of the Sabbath" should pass, it seems hardly possible to guess; its provisions are most extraordinary. No man is to be permitted to dine at an inn or coffeehouse on a Sunday, unless he has slept there the night before; nor is he to be allowed to go into his club, under a penalty; no innkeeper or tavern-keeper is to be permitted to send out any victuals or drink; nobody is to let horses; no boats are to sail; no coaches to travel on Sundays. This last prohibition stops the mails, which, as has been observed in one of the newspapers, locks up four mail coaches for fourand-twenty hours at different points of the road between London and Edinburgh. Taverns and tea-gardens are to be scrupulously closed; the relaxations of the day of rest are to be at an end, except as regards menial servants, who are to be forced to work as usual, which seems to us very much to savour of Hudibras's scheme of those who
5 Compound for sins they have a mind to,
By damning those they're not inclined to."
Sir Andrew himself and his friends are extremely unlikely persons either to go to taverns and tea-gardens on Sundays, or to hire gigs and horses to carry them thither, seeing that they have horses and carriages of their own, and, moreover, frequent neither tea-gardens nor taverns ; but as these are not their habits, and as they stay at home on Sundays, or visit each other in a grave, pious manner, the servants, who have to do all the necessary work for their domestic convenience, are kept at it. Neither is there any kind of veto against the use of private horses and carriages; as, indeed, how should there be? and yet men who have boats must not use them even for pleasure, although boats neither complain nor feel the effects of being worked.
Nothing can be more injudicious than this sort of legislation; nothing more dangerous: and we foresee, if the Bill passes, (which, however, its impracticability will almost certainly prevent,) that it will be one of the first "bones" of contention thrown down to the people, and one which, we have no hesitation in saying, will be likely to be productive of the most serious results.
THE WAR IN PORTUGAL.-We seldom speak on politics; perhaps for a strange reason-because we are, not careless as regards the welfare of the country, but because we are indifferent to the claims and pretensions of party. When we do, therefore, touch the subject, it is rather to disabuse our readers from the deceptions practised upon their credulity by over-zealous partisans, and bring their minds to a fit state to receive what they hear with caution, and to judge after consideration.
No foreign convulsion-except, indeed, the great French Revolutionwas ever of more serious importance to the political and mercantile interests of England than the struggle between the rival brothers in Portugal; and no political circumstance ever was so ill understood. Whether Don Miguel forfeited his claim to the throne, which unquestionably was (by the often-quoted decree of Lamego) his, when he swore to the charter and constitution—or whether Don Pedro lost all right to the crown when he accepted the diadem of Brazil, and, by a solemn ceremony, naturalized himself in that empire, is not the question. War is actually raging between the brothers; for it is not denied by either party that the cause of Donna Maria has become but a secondary consideration. Now all we stickle for is the truth; and we have no hesitation in saying, that there is no reliance whatever to be placed in the reports-official or non-official-which reach this country; and, as a striking proof of the absolute necessity of exercising a certain degree of incredulity, even at the present moment, we need only mention that an evening newspaper, about a week or ten days since, gave its readers the details of a decisive victory gained by the Belgian auxiliaries of Don Pedro over Don Miguel's army, signed and authenticated by a Major Brownson, who, at the very moment at which the said decisive conflict took place, was living quietly in London, and was actually walking in Hyde Park when the intelligence for which he was made to vouch was communicated to him. We have frequently heard the caution givento "Hear both sides" in the present affair; we add, "But believe neither."
DRAWING-ROOM ARRANGEMENTS.--The Queen has held two drawingrooms-one on the day fixed for the celebration of Her Majesty's birth-day, and the other on the 20th. We have heard it very generally lamented that the celebration and consequent commencement of the drawing-rooms should be fixed at so early a period of the year. As we have already said, according to the fashionable arrangements of the season, winter does not begin in London until after Easter, and cannot be said to set-in with " unmitigated rigour" till Whitsuntide. The consequence, therefore, of having the drawing-rooms in February and March, is, that numbers of ladies who are most anxious to pay their dutiful respects to
Her Majesty, are prevented from doing so, either from being in the country or out of the country; the emigrants, as well as the rusticators, abstaining from London until the clustering roses and the blooming trees proclaim the winter fairly set in.
This influence has been very much felt upon the two occasions to which we now refer. The birth-day was, of the two drawing-rooms, much the fuller; but even that lacked much of the splendour of female attendance. That of the 20th was literally thin-indeed, in addition to the fashionable reasons for the absenteeism of beauty, nature offered another in the shape of a sharp north-east wind, which, to ladies undressed for court, has, in its whistling course along the passages of St. James's, a cruel influence.
It is true that Queen Charlotte's birth-day was celebrated in the middle of January; but it is also true that the King's birth-day, on the 4th of June, was considered the close of the season. Parliament rarely sat beyond it, and the Court always left town, it being then imagined-erroneously, perhaps that June and July were agreeable months for the country, and that the beauties of Nature, luxuriantly wild and blooming, were quite as pleasing objects as three dozen and five smoke-dried shrubs transported from Mr. Cormack's nursery to Lady Roundabout's staircase. In those days, the lark and the nightingale sounded even sweeter than Mr. Litolf's flageolet; and the verdant meads with daisies spangled felt more refreshing than the painted floors of Almack's.
As it is, casting an eye over the Order-book of the House of Commons, and feeling confident in the domestic attachment of all the ladies who have husbands in either House of Parliament, it seems as if the present season would last till partridge-shooting begins-indeed, as we are confidently told, there will be no partridges to shoot, even that may not stop it; and therefore this year the beginning of court gaiety might have been advantageously postponed till the middle of April.
The King having adopted the custom of King George the Third, of holding weekly levees, the number of persons attending them is, of course, greatly diminished, and the fatigue to his Majesty proportionably decreased; but we regretted much to see so scant a show at the last drawing-room, and hope that milder air and a brighter sun will draw together a more numerous assemblage on the 17th, when several presentations are to take place of young and blooming beauties, yet unknown to the great and busy world.
TRUE LOCALITY OF THE ATHENÆUM.-People-wise people, and clever people-sometimes say the strangest things, and talk, unintentionally, no doubt, the greatest nonsense. At the Clerkenwell Sessions, the other day, on the trial of some persons for keeping a gambling-house in St. James's-street, which they have somewhat impudently called the Athenæum, Mr. Alley, having occasion to disclaim any personal knowledge of a place of the sort, said, that "he had not been at Crockford's for the last thirty years."
Thirty years ago, no such place as Crockford's existed, for the best of all possible reasons, that Crockford, at that time, was in another line of business, and was not known to the sporting world at all. Nevertheless, Mr. Alley, having talked of Crockford's, hoped that great bail would not
be required for his clients, who belonged to the " humble" Athenæum. Upon which Mr. Rotch, with considerable archness and quickness, exclaims, "What! do you call the Athenæum humble ?"
Mr. Rotch, we think, could not have believed that the Athenæum, of which Mr. Alley was speaking, was the Athenæum in Pall-Mall, a club into which it is rather difficult to get elected, as Mr. Rotch might know; and if Mr. Rotch did not believe it to be the same place, it was unlucky that he used an expression which must have induced those of his hearers who knew anything of London, and not a great deal, to believe that the respectable community of peers, bishops, judges, doctors, professors, senators, lawyers, artists, and literati, who congregate in the fane at the corner of Waterloo-place, are in the habit of playing sham matches at hazard with masks on their faces, in order to attract a crowd to follow their example. It seems to us that the adoption of the name of the house by the gamblers would be fair matter for an injunction.
MR. O'CONNELL AND BARON SMITH.-It not unfrequently happens that, in unskilful hands, the gun, by its recoil, does more mischief to the shooter than the shot-at. Never was there a stronger illustration of this probability than in the case of Mr. O'Connell and Baron Smith; -nothing, perhaps, could have turned out so exactly the contrary of what was anticipated by the Repalers through this whole affair. Mr. O'Connell denounced the judge upon information which has since been authoritatively and officially contradicted; and the Government, literally afraid of opposing him, supported his motion, even after having resolved to vote against it. The next division of the House annulled this decision, and, so far as a Parliamentary majority went, Baron Smith was exonerated from blame. But that is not all the result has been the placing Baron Smith in the most enviable possible position in the country, and the calling forth of a feeling which the friends of peace and good order must rejoice to see so strongly manifested. The first to congratulate his Lordship upon the result of the decision of the House was the Lord-Lieutenant himself; since which period, besides congratulations and compliments from the Irish Bar, the attornies and solicitors, the law-club and the Corporation of Dublin, thirty counties, out of thirty-two, have presented addresses to the venerable judge, expressive of their affection and confidence in his known judgment and integrity.
We can scarcely conceive anything more gratifying to man; and we must say, considering that all the data upon which Mr. O'Connell founded his charges against the learned Baron have been disproved, we are not a little surprised that the honourable gentleman does not produce at the bar of the House, whom he misled by his mis-statements, Mr. Egan of Moate, who is stated by Mr. O'Connell to be his informant.
THE LATE LADY DUNCANNON.-We regret very much to announce the death of the Right Honourable Viscountess Duncannon, wife of Viscount Duncannon, Chief Commissioner of Woods and Forests. Her Ladyship was the daughter of the Earl of Westmoreland, and was born May 11, 1787. Her Ladyship's second daughter-of fourteen children,