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a queue six inches long, no coat, or waistcoat, or neckcloth, but clothed in a pair and a half of jean trowsers, leaped, Curtiuslike, into two enormous gambado boots, which stood in the yard like columns upright, and one of which would have silenced Trim's battery in five minutes. Curtius had a whip like a threshing flail, the lash being simply a long broad piece of leather, - such as boys use to flog their tops with. This was his whip, his horn, and blunderbuss. When any thing was in his way, Curtius could crack his flail in a portentous manner; the noise was louder and worse than a horn, and the sacrés came ever and anon like small shot in your ears.
Yet Curtius drove his five horses at six miles an hour, without spending so much whip on their backs as an English coachman would have done in one! The stages were very short, and we were not detained two minutes. Upon the whole, so far as my experience has gone, the French travelling has been much traduced; it is not bang-up, but it is safe, comfortable, and steady. No guard or coachman comes to impose upon you at every forty miles ; all is fixed; there are no gratuities; the conducteur pays every thing, and demands from you at the end the exact amount. This is inestimable to a wretch who cannot understand five syllables that are spoken to him, and hardly knows the value of the silver counters he has in his purse.
We dined at Sterne's Montreuil, and breakfasted at Beauvais, both fortified towns. Let me expatiate upon the dinner. Bear with me. In a room quite smart with sofas, and pier glasses, and flowers, and marble clock-stands, and Apollo, and Venus, and those kinds of folks, we sat down to excellent soup, by no means meagre ; then fish ; ere we had blunted our appetite on that, came pork-steaks; then Maintenon cutlets; then chickens ; then very savoury ebullitions of fungous batter with a panoply of white sugar; of these last I absorbed seven, but they were unsubstantial as a lover's dream, in fact mere crust. A bottle of wine and a bottle of water were placed between every two persons. Salad, melons, grapes, peaches, and apricots abounded. We got all this, besides coffee, for four franks and a half a-piece; not to mention half a dozen sous to a pretty Picardy girl, for which she dropped two curtesies and a half, shot three or four glances from very black eyes, and said; “ Bien obligée, Monsieur, et je vous remercie!"
The conducteur sate with us, and seemed thoroughly at home. This last was a queer fellow. I could not catch all he said, for he was a downright Picard, and tobacco in every shape had played the devil with his grinders. But this was amusing. Am. “Qu'est-ce, que ce bâtiment-ci ?” C. “ Bâtiment ! C'est une église de Notre Dame. Vous savez, nous sommes tous
Catholiques dans ce pays-ci!” Am. “ Oui.” C. 6. Mais vous êtes Protestans !” Am. “ Oui; et vous nous detestez! C.“ Oh, que non! mais vous vous en plaindrez la-haut !” looking up to heaven. And two minutes afterwards this scoundrel commenced of his own accord a monologue so obscene in word and action as would have made
sick! I remember at Calais we went into the church; and here I must describe, not stones and mortar, but flesh and blood. Imagine—but you cannot, highly gifted with the shaping power as you are; nevertheless essay to imagine yourself entering the parish church at
on a week-day, and seeing a tall gaunt figure crested with a wig and tail, two black Munchausen patches on his forehead and cheek, and enormous whiskers, mustachios, and military stock! Continue to imagine this figure arrayed in a rezé blue cloak and a broad admiral's belt across his shoulder, from which was appended an immeasurable sword; a pair of silk pantaloons a world too large for his shrunk shanks, white stockings, pumps, and buckles six inches square, completed his armour. This figure approached us; we shrunk ;
an awful moment. It spoke; “ Hé, hé! vous êtes Anglais ! hé, hé! c'est bien! Voici une église ! Je vous conduirai. L'autel, tout marbre! Magnifique! hé, hé! Voilà Notre Dame! Magnifique ! Le tableau de l'Adoration! Magnifique ! bien coloré; hé, hé! Tout est magnifique ici! Le confessionnal! hé, hé! Ici on obtient l'absolution! Magnifique ! mais vous riez!” Am. “ Pardon! nous sommes héretiques !' 66 Ah!”
?-a shrug of the shoulders; then in a moment afterwards; “ Hé, hé! c'est bien ! c'est fort bien ! hé, hé,! ah! uh !”
But to return. At five of the clock on Thursday evening we entered Paris by the Porte St. Denis, and landed in an immense yard in the Rue N. D. des Victoires, whence half the coaches in France depart for their several destinations. Mhave taken lodgings for us, and to have met us,
but no M was there. It was no very enviable situation. You know it is somewhat difficult to be philosophical on a debarkation at the White Horse Cellar ;-conceive the tempest five times doubled, the villains five times as impudent, and yourself not able to comprehend or perhaps utter one syllable of the Babylonish around you! Ultimately we took shelter in a blackguard hotel in the yard, and dispatched a note to Mchoused out of two francs for having our luggage carried ten yards. After we had wetted our faces in a pye-dish up-stairs, we descended into the café, and took dinner. M-- came; he had taken no lodgings, there being a difficulty in getting them for a fortnight. We agreed to meet the next morning and renew the search. That night we prowled about; but
nothing remarkable occurred except that we most miserably lost our way, which however, all things considered, was not so very extraordinary, and got choused again by the jarvy who. extricated us from our pilgrimage.
We are now settled in the centre of the most splendid quarter of Paris, with the Place Vendôme on one side, and the gardens of the Tuilleries on the other. Our apartments are smart, and Panchette is pretty. We had great fun in our treaty with my landlady, who is a native of Lorraine, with a good humoured German husband. After various questions, and beating her down sundry francs, we asked if there was a bell, upon which she showed it to us, and enlarged upon its excellence.
Ecoutez, Monsieur!” and hear we did, and still may hear it: for it seemeth that this bell is constructed on the novel and entertaining principle of affording exercise to the arm and a lesson of patience to the mind of the ringer, at the same time that it gives no trouble to the domestic in attending to it. In a few words, although the said bell soundeth bien fortement up stairs, it soundeth point du tout in the kitchen.
We went to the Theatre Français on Friday night, and saw Talma and Duchesnois. The play was “Regulus." Let him be judged, as is fair, upon the principles and after the fashion of the drama of the French, and I should think Talma the finest actor in the world. He is more majestic, more tender, more overpowering than Kemble ; his figure is as great, though perhaps not so correct, and his voice is inexpressibly touching. But I saw none of the workings of Kean's face, none of that fearful agony of the upper lip, none of the tremulous agitations of his hands and breast; Talma's great feat was to thrust his fingers into his eyes, and to show the whites to the people. Duchesnois is a plain woman, yet she equals O'Neill in many things; in some surpasses her. I have never heard such an unaffected yet affecting change of voice from declamation to grief. Every accent could be heard distinctly. The play, upon the whole, was certainly better acted than in England. There was no bad acting.
Rue du Mont-Thabor, 16th. MY DEAR MARGERY, Don't afflict yourself so much as to attempt to decipher what I am about to write, but hand the letter over at once to Miss Lucy, and bid her preach it for the general good. Take notice, however, that you run a good chance of being bothered with tirades about the Louvre, and the Pantheon, and the Opera, and the weather, concerning all and singular of which, and things of a similar nature, you are, I am well aware, profoundly indifferent. Nevertheless I have not forgotten to cater for you in other respects; and if I succeed in adding to your recipe book the processes of making potage à la julienne, omelette soufflée, artichauts à la barigoule, and tourtes à la franchipane, then I shall think I have well deserved of you, and of whoever may be your guests hereafter; and upon the strength of that confidence, I shall take the liberty of prosing about any thing I like, in any manner I like. I should premise that I am in excellent health, except that the rough pavement and the hot sun cause my feet to swell so, that I have found it necessary to get into a pair of large soft French shoes ; that the usually laxative waters of the Seine (forgive the domestic communication,) have not had the common effects of a dose of Epsom salts ; that I still Protestant, still have a huge affection for old England, and hate wooden shoes as I do the devil. So, you see, notwithstanding a monstrous straw hat which I wear to shroud my eyes from the intense glare, I am substantially the same I was a fortnight ago :
: if a few prejudices had not vanished, and a few mistakes not been rectified, I might as well have been drawing a settlement in Lincoln's-Inn New Square.
I have a thousand fine things to talk about, but none of them finer or more novel than the Fête of the Assumption of the Virgin on Thursday, and the Procession of the Vow of Louis XIII. I was in Notre Dame from half past ten until half past five, and during nearly the whole time I was rivetted as it were by magic. I was seated immediately over the altar, in a gallery which runs round the whole cathedral, something as it is at Exeter, and of course I commanded the whole vista to the western door, there being no screen or organ to obstruct the sight. The parts of the gallery intervening between the columns of the arches were filled throughout with pany, and the whole nave was animated with a countless multitude of men, women, and children, ceaselessly moving in a thousand directions, and arrayed in thousands of fantastic but harmonious colours. Within the choir, all the ceremonies
of the Romish religion were enacted in full splendor ;-enormous gilded crucifixes were erected over the altar,-incense was dashed upwards from silver censers in all corners,—the Bible was kissed, and the image of the Virgin adored with ten hundred bows, and with ten thousand crosses.
It was peculiar service in honour of the Virgin Mary, and continued more than three hours; about two and a half of which were employed in performing some enchanting services by Mozart and Haydn. A regular operatic band of violins, harps, and horns, was placed in the centre of the choir, where the performers sat round upon chairs, as at a common concert, with their books before them. The choristers sang in the middle of the ring. The power of such music in such a place was indescribable ; I felt myself perfectly overcome by the matchless scene below me; and upon an almost heavenly burst of the chorus in these words, “ Exaltata es in coelis, 0 Maria! Ave Maria, Regina coeli ! ” albeit unused to the melting mood, I fairly burst forth into a flood of tears. I mention this, as the shortest and most effectual way I have of conveying to you a notion of the impressions which the music, and the accompanying pomps and vanities, could make upon a contemptuous and phlegmatic Protestant. Conceive the case of a tender and devout girl, susceptible from nature, credulous from ignorance, and unsuspecting from unquestioned habits of practice and belief;—is it wonderful that such a creature should worship the immaculate mother of Him who is God; or neglect to inquire upon what authority it is that such adoration is enjoined in her honour? That such worship is in its nature idolatrous and unchristian I do not doubt ;-that many of the sweet little girls, who come into the churches at all hours, and go and kneel before a shrine, and read or hear what, in the latter case at least, they do not understand, are themselves idolaters, I cannot admit. Idolatry may be easily known ;- who are the idolaters, is and can only be known by a Power to whom the secrets of all hearts are open. Don't imagine that, from my mode of viewing this subject, I shrink from the boldest tenets of a Protestant upon thə nature of the Romish church; on the contrary, although I have lit up candles both to St. Roch and our Lady, and cross myself with holy water whenever I enter or leave a church, yet all my expectations of the mummeries, and the absurdities, and the profane pageantries of this mighty superstition are confirmed beyond measure. Nay, why should Lord Byron or Mr. Shelley have regretted the fanciful and elegant religion of the Greeks, when they may still bend before the altars of a religion more beautiful, more fanciful, and in many respects equally false? Why should they look for a statue of Venus to worship, when they may kiss the feet of that of the Virgin in Notre Dame? I have gazed upon that statue