The Project Gutenberg EBook of Four Years in France, by Henry Digby Beste

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Title: Four Years in France
       or, Narrative of an English Family's Residence there during
              that Period; Preceded by some Account of the Conversion
              of the Author to the Catholic Faith

Author: Henry Digby Beste

Release Date: September 7, 2011 [EBook #37344]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


Produced by KarenD, Julia Miller and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at (This file was
produced from images generously made available by the
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Rien n'est beau que LE VRAI.



[Pg iv]

Printed by A. J. Valpy, Red Lion Court, Fleet Street.

[Pg v]



The author's father and grandfather, prebendaries of Lincoln.—The Cathedral service described.—The service in Magdalen College Chapel at Oxford.—The author's mother and his maternal ancestry.—November 5th.—School at which the author studies.—Mrs. Ravenscroft, a Catholic neighbour.—Dr. Geddes.—The author matriculates at Oxford.—The Tale of a Tub, its speciousness.—The Douay Translation of the New Testament.—Advice of a schoolmaster.—Gibbon the Historian.—Defence of the Reformed Church.—Argument derived from the exclusive antiquity of the Roman Catholic Church.—The Kirk of Scotland denies that it can be in the wrong, as strenuously as the Church of England does.—Infallibility.—Richard Paget.—Archbishop Laud.—The author takes the degree of Master of Arts.—In Deacon's orders: [Pg vi] he fills a curacy in Lincoln.—Becomes a fellow of his college.—He resides on his fellowship.—His probationary exercise.—His sermon at St. Mary's Church, Oxford.—Its success.—He preaches against non-residence.—Decease of his mother.—The author resigns his fellowship, and removes to Lincoln.—The Bampton lecture.—Dr. Routh.—M. l'Abbé Beaumont, an emigrant priest at Lincoln.—A disputation.—Catholic arguments which impress the author's imagination.—Nicole and Arnaud.—Bossuet.—Ward's errata.—Of the sacraments.—Of purgatory.—Chillingworth.—Of abstinence.—The author convinced, after investigation, of the genuineness of the Roman Catholic doctrines, visits London.—He attends high mass.—His conversation with Dr. Douglas, the R. C. metropolitan bishop.—Rev. Mr. Hodgson appointed to be his priest and confessor.—His conversion completed.—The author baptised.—The author's apology to the Protestants, on account of his having been in holy orders of the Established Church.—He receives confirmation in the chapel of Virginia-street.—The author's idea that the Roman Catholic worship should be by law the established religion in Ireland.—Anecdote of Archdeacon Paley; who declared that he considered such a concession to the Irish nation expedient.3


Spirit of adventure of the English.—English [Pg vii] fox-hunters.—Money spent abroad.—Migration through France and Switzerland into Italy.—Return.—The English associate together.—In what consist their reasons for foreign residence.—Distrust with respect to Napoleon.—Gallery of the Louvre.—Its dispersion.—Exaggeration of the number of English absentees.—The foreign notions of our motives for travelling.—Reflections on international intercourse.—Nature of the author's observations gleaned during a long residence abroad.—Remarks on the character of the French revolution.—Its effects.—Elevation of Napoleon.—Great results that have accrued from the French revolution in the West Indies, in South America; and that may possibly take place in Africa.75


The author repairs with his two sons to Southampton.—They set sail for Havre de Grâce.—Gale of wind.—Fécamp in sight.—Continue their course for Havre.—Land after a long passage.—The routes from London to Paris compared.—Port regulations.—The English Hôtel.—Hôtel de la Ville du Havre.—Damp sheets, how aired.—Strong coffee.—Mass.—Douanier.—Extortion by porters.—Imposition respecting passports.—Ill-breeding of certain parrots.—Commissaire de Police.—Embouchure of the Seine.—Legend and statue of St. Denis.—Inquiring [Pg viii] peasant-boy.—French exactness.—The Rogation days.—Insolence of vulgar assistants in travelling abroad.—Commodious diligence.—Normandy.—Norman predilection.—Petition in verse.—The king of Yvetot.—Rouen.—Magny.—Abstinence, variously understood, and how practised.—Road along the banks of the Seine.—Village of St. Clair.—Pontoise.—Arrival at Paris.—Rate of travelling.—Lodge in the Rue de la Chaussée d'Antin.92


Description of Paris.—Place Louis XV.—Palais Bourbon.—Triumphal arch of Neuilly.—Champs Elysées.—The Louvre.—Its gallery of paintings, and museum.—Excellent arrangement of the statues.—The Italian school.—Progress of the French school of painting.—The Jardin des Plantes.—Museum of Natural History.—Ménagerie.—Manners of the Bourgeois.—Palais du Luxembourg.—King's library.—New structure at the Place du Carousel.—Pont Neuf.—Église de Notre Dame.—Ste. Geneviève.—Sepulture in that church.—Church of St. Sulpice.—Dome of the Invalides.—The Halle aux Bleds.—Pillar of the Place Vendôme.—Young Napoleon.—Duc de Bordeaux.—Preponderance of Russia.—History of the "Victoires et Conquêtes, &c."—Model of the elephant, designed for the Place de la Bastille.—Le Marais.—Agreeableness of the [Pg ix]Boulevards.—Great advantage of quais.—Hôtel Dieu.—La Morgue.—Manufactory of the Gobelins.—Le Palais Royal.118


Cemetery of Père la Chaise.—Graves there become a property.—Reflections respecting church-yards.—Computation of deaths, and room requisite for graves.—The Catacombs.—Arrival at Paris of the author's family.—Palace of Versailles described.—Royal chapel.—Anecdote of a mandarin.—Orange trees.—The gardens.—The Grand and Petit Trianon.—St. Germains.—Its terrace.—St. Cloud.—Its park.—Remark of George III.—Malmaison.—Marly.—Fine prospect.—Stability of the peace.—Meudon.—The Dauphiness (Duchesse d'Angoulême).—Manufacture of porcelain.—St. Denis.—The abbey of St. Denis.—Sceaux, popular festivities here.—Castle of Vincennes.—Duc d'Enghién.—Ancient oak.—Confluence of the Seine and the Marne.—The author attends mass in the Royal Chapel at the Tuilleries.141


Celebrated statues.—Various political opinions detailed.—Bargaining.—Two prices.—English travellers reputed to be very rich.—Parties.—The military.—Spoliation of the clergy.—Ambition of Bonaparte.—Prudence of Louis XVIII.—Increase of Paris.—Explanation of 'à la lanterne.'—Observations on the main streets of Paris.—High [Pg x]rents.—The Fauxbourg St. Germain.—The allied armies evacuate France.168


Inventory of a furnished apartment.—The pane of glass.—The author quits Paris.—Voiturier.—Berline with three horses.—Travelling arrangements.—Agreement for stipulated sums.—Comparison betwixt travelling by a voiture, thus agreed for, and travelling post.—Louis the coachman.—Sup at Essonne.184


The family of Fitz-James, settled at Essonne.—Description of Fontainebleau.—The Forest.—The King's bed.—The garden.—Maréchal de Coigny.—Tomb of a Dauphin at Sens.—Auxerre.—Banks of the Yonne.—Use of the hot-bath.—Cleanliness of the French.—Hilly country.—Vintages injured by the cold of 1816.—The coopers in activity.—The Plain of the Saône.—Coche d'eau.—Tournus.—Image of the Virgin.—Arrival at Lyons.—Fête de St. Louis.—The Cathedral.—Place Bellecour.—Cathedral at Vienne.—The Isere.—Valence.—Memoranda discovered at the 'Grand Monarque' Inn.—Country of the olive.—Flat roofs.—Bad inns.—Triumphal arch at Orange.193

[Pg xi]

The entrance into Avignon.—The Place de la Comédie.—Warm baths.—Expense of the journey from Paris to Avignon.—A négociant serves for a banker.—The Duke of Gloucester passes through Avignon.—Imprisonment of the hostess.—M. Moulin.—Visit paid by the author to the Prefect.—Also to the Mayor; an old noble.—His confiscated house repurchased.—The author inspects various houses.—Conditions of tenure.—Description of the house which he takes.—He furnishes it.—Observations on French trades-people.210


Description of Avignon.—The city walls.—Closing of the gates.—Inconvenience of this custom.—Public walk near the Rhone.—Tolls of the bridge.—Building of the bridge over the Rhone.—St. Benezet.—Of miracles.—Inundations.—The Rock of Avignon.—Palace of the Popes.—Cathedral.—The Glacière Tower.—Horrid history relating to it.—Avignon participated in the calamities of the revolution.—Conduct of the vice-legate.—Department of Vaucluse, of what it consists.—View from the summit of the Rock.—Château and town of Villeneuve.—Impressions left by the proscriptions and confiscations.—Rue Calade.—Public [Pg xii]Library.—Museum.—Infirmary.—Jesuits' College.—Stone of which the palace and the city walls were built.219


English families.—The Pretender.—Further account of the Revolution.—The revolutionary tribunal.—Condemnation of a mother and son.—Present state of society at Avignon.—Fêtes and card parties.—The author's tea-parties and dinners.—Contrast betwixt French and English cookery.—Mode of invitation.—Balls.—Etiquette of the town.—Difficulty of acquiring a thorough knowledge of the French language.230


Education.—Drawing-master.—Other private teachers.—Climate of England and of Avignon compared.—Degree of heat.—The bise or north-wind.—Rent.—Society.—Avignon inhabited by provincial gentry.—Number of French nobility.—Mode of letting farms.—On what tenure and for what consideration.—Excellent wines of the Rhone and of Provence.—On the duties upon French wines in England.—The author sets the example of burning coals at Avignon.—Dearness of fire-wood.—Domestic economy in France.—Comparison of expenses in the two countries.—Amount of savings.—The author's advice on this head is the result of experience.245


[Pg xiii]Remains of antiquity at Avignon, Nismes, St. Remy, and Arles.—Visit to Vaucluse.—Cavern of the Sources.—Dinner at Lisle.—Henry Kenelm, elder son of the author.—His birth.—Educated at Stoneyhurst in Lancashire.—The regulations and course of studies at that college.—He accompanies the author to the continent.—His scruples.—Observations on the study of the learned languages and of French.263


Excursion to the Pont du Gard.—The author meets with an Irish officer in the French service.—The stately aqueduct described.—Arrival at Nismes.—The Maison Quarrée.—Its surprising beauty.—The amphitheatre of Nismes.—Temple of Diana.—The Tour Magne.—Frejus.—Remarks on the neighbouring coast.—The Protestants of Nismes.—Supper and a political discussion at the inn (The Louvre) at Nismes.—Affray between the Catholics and Protestants soon after the restoration.289


Executions at present uncommon.—Mission preached at Avignon.—An account of the Missionnaires.—An old French officer.—The author makes acquaintance with the grandson of the President de Montesquieu.—Election of a deputy.—Henry Kenelm visits England.—On theatres and comedians.—The author's son [Pg xiv]returns to Avignon.—His journey detailed.—He copies an Infant Jesus after Raphael.—Fine season.—Ice required at a ball.—Olives.—Artificial grasses.—Haricots.—The French agriculture described.—Vines.—Silk-worms.—Mulberry trees stripped of their leaves.—Threshing-floors.—Abattoir for slaughtering cattle.301


Intended journey to Italy.—Character and studies of Henry Kenelm.—He resolves on the military profession.—Fair of Beaucaire.—Visit to Arles.—Ancient buildings.—St. Remy.—Cross the Durance.—Deficiency of gooseberries, strawberries, &c.—Cherries.—Mausoleum.—Triumphal arch.—Bière de Mars.—Maison des Fous.—Return to Avignon.326


Joûte d'eau on the Rhone.—Henry Kenelm is seized with fever.—The disorder at first is mistaken by the physician, who afterwards perseveres in a wrong treatment although he discovers it to be the typhus fever.—Symptoms.—Delirium.—The author's second son falls sick, and is neglected by Roche the physician.339


M. Guerard, an old physician, is called in, and countenances M. [Pg xv]Roche in his deception.—Guerard's neglect.—The author is farther deceived, and the secret kept from him.—Result of this ill-conduct.—M. Breugne, another medical man.352


M. Breugne, on visiting the patients, declares the truth.—He gives hope only of the younger brother.—The sacrament of extreme unction administered to Kenelm.—His piety.—His decease.—Visits of condolence.—The funeral.—His monument.—Resemblance which an antique bust has to the deceased youth.—Consolation.—Affecting vision, luminous, and similar to others on record.—Arguments and doctrine relating thereunto.365


M. Breugne detains the author in conversation until the funeral has quitted the house.—Zeal of M. Breugne for the recovery of the remaining patient.—Moment of anxiety.—Success of M. Breugne's treatment.—Convalescence.—Care in the administering diet, as well as medicines.—The author engages a voiture for his projected journey.—Passports.382


The author narrates the circumstances of a dream, which coincide with his subsequent history.—St. Clair.—The author's sentiments.—His idea of a rule or mode of living.394

[Pg xvi]

The author and his family quit Avignon.—Antoine accompanies them.—His history.—Orgon.—Aix.—The baths described.—Arrival at Marseilles.—The Hôtel de Ville.—Curiosities.—Bad inns.—Romantic approach to Toulon.—Description of that fine sea-port.—The Mediterranean.—Hyeres.—Frejus.—The Forêt d'Estrelles.—Danger of being overturned in crossing a river.—Arrival at Cannes.403


Journey to Nice continued.—Antoine's amusing account of the Rhone.—Spot on which Napoleon landed from Elba.—Antibes.—The river Var is the limit of France on this route.—Douanier.—Passage of the wooden bridge.—Nice.—Quarter of La Croix de Marbre.—The author rents a house.—His landlord is a French general.—Account of this officer.—Carnival.420


Description of Nice.—Place Victor.—The Corso and Terrace.—Details of the Carnival.—Franciscan friars.—Devotional exercises.—Stations for their observance during Lent.—The orange tree.—Its blossoms.—Its fruit.—English Protestants build a chapel at Nice.—The port of Nice.—Villefranche.—Galley slaves.—The cathedral.—Marshal Massena.—The author departs for the Col de Tende on his way to Italy.432

[Pg 1]






IN 1798.

[Pg 3]

&c. &c.

Eight and twenty years ago, when I became a catholic, I was told that I owed it, both to those whom I had joined, and to those whom I had quitted, to publish something in defence of the step I had taken. I answered, that the former had better apologists, and the latter better instructors than myself. My advisers were protestants, who, having thus defied any arguments I might by possibility adduce against them, were contented with my refusal of the challenge.

Even at this day I consider as utterly superfluous a serious refutation of protestantism, or a laboured vindication of the catholic faith, and, by consequence, of my conversion to it.[Pg 4] Some account of this change in my opinions is prefixed to the book now offered to the public, in the hope of removing the prejudices with which the book may be read, or, what would be still worse, through which it may not be read at all. It is not my intention to enter into controversy, but merely to state how the thing happened that I turned papist at the moment when the pope was a prisoner at Valence, when Rome was in possession of the French armies, and all around me cried out "Babylon is fallen."

I must first ask pardon of the Anglican clergy, for having engaged in the service of their church so lightly and unadvisedly. If I am blamed only by those who have taken, on this matter, better pains than myself to be well informed, I shall not be overwhelmed by the number of my censurers; for the solidity of the ground of the Reformation is usually taken for granted: popery is exploded.

Indeed, I have found the clergy of the establishment to be the most tolerant and moderate of my opponents. Some of them expressed their regret, some smiled, but most of them respected my motives, and none were angry. The Bishop, now of Winchester, approved of my acting according to the dictates of my conscience;[Pg 5] said that my conduct was evidently disinterested; expressing only his surprise, that a man of sense, as he was pleased to say he understood me to be, should be so convinced. Such was the purport of his lordship's observations, which was, as probably it was intended, repeated to me. His brother, Precentor of Lincoln, continued still to be my very good friend and neighbour.

A few years later, the ex-governor of —— said, in speaking of me,—"I knew his father well; a very worthy man: but this young man, they tell me, has taken an odd turn; but I will return his visit when I get out again." He did not, however, get out again: he had been ill for some days; feeling himself dying, he called for a glass of wine and water, drank it off, returned the glass to his servant, shook the man by the hand, and saying kindly, "Good b'ye, John!" threw himself back in his bed and expired, at the age of more than fourscore years. Here was no odd turn; the coolness with which his excellency met the grim king, was generally admired. But I am making a long Preface to a short Work; I must begin with my infancy, for reasons which the story of that infancy will explain.

I was born on the 21st October, 1768. My father was prebendary of the cathedral church[Pg 6] of Lincoln, as his father had been before him. My grandfather's prebend was a very good, or, as they say, a very fat one; my father's prebend was but a lean one, but he had sense enough to be a doctor in divinity, whereas my grandfather had sense enough not to be a doctor in divinity. They both rest behind the high altar of the cathedral with their wives.

So accustomed are we to a married clergy, that we are not at all surprised to see them, during life, with their wives and children; and in death it is perfectly decent that the husband and wife should repose together. All this is natural and in order, to those who are used to it. But the feeling of catholics on this subject is very different. The story of the poor seminarist of Douay, in the 17th century, is an instance: he went to England on a visit to his friends; on his return to the seminary, he was asked "Quid vidisti?" He mentioned what had most excited his astonishment: "Vidi episcopos, et episcopas, et episcopatulos." A French emigrant priest entered my house one day, bursting with laughter: "Why do you laugh, M. l'Abbé?" said I.—"I have just met the Rev. Mr. —— with the first volume of his theological works in his arms."—"What is there to laugh at in that?"—"He was carrying the eldest of his children,"[Pg 7]—"La coutume fait tout," said I: "you see the Rev. Mr. —— is not ashamed." Marriage is allowed to the priests, though not to the bishops of the Greek church. I think the catholic discipline is the best. The merriment of M. l'Abbé was excited, I am inclined to believe, not so much by a sense of the incongruous and ridiculous in the very natural scene he had just before witnessed, as by his own joke—"le premier tome de ses œuvres théologiques."

My father's house, in which I was born, was so near the cathedral, that my grandmother, good woman! when confined to her chamber by illness, was wont, with her Anglican translation of the Bible, and Book of Common Prayer on the table, before her, to go through the service along with the choir, by the help of the chant and of the organ, which she heard very plainly. From my earliest years, my mother took me regularly every Sunday to the cathedral service, in which there is some degree of pomp and solemnity. The table at the east end of the church is covered with a cloth of red velvet: on it are placed two large candlesticks, the candles in which are lighted at even-song from Martinmas to Candlemas, and the choir is illumined by a sufficient number of wax tapers. The litanies are not said by the minister in his desk, but[Pg 8] chanted in the middle of the choir, from what I have since learned to call a prie-Dieu. The prebendary in residence walks from his seat, preceded by beadles, and followed by a vicar or minor canon, and proceeds to the altar; the choir, during this sort of processional march, chanting the Sanctus. This being finished, and the prebendary arrived at the altar, he reads the first part of the Communion Service, including the Ten Commandments, with the humble responses of the choir; he then intones the Nicene Creed, during the music of which he returns to his seat with the same state as before. Here are disjectœ membra ecclesiœ: no wonder that the puritans of Charles the First's time called for a "godly, thorough reformation." At even-song, instead of the Antiphon to the Blessed Virgin, which is, of course, rejected, though the Magnificat is retained, with its astonishingly-fulfilled prophecy of the carpenter's wife, "all generations shall call me blessed;" at vespers was sung an anthem, generally of the composition of Purcell, Aldrich, Arne, or of some of the composers of the best school of English music.

Removed afterwards to St. Mary Magdalen College, Oxford, I found, in a smaller space, the same ceremonial; nay, the president even bowed to the altar on leaving the chapel, without any[Pg 9] dread lest the picture of Christ bearing the Cross, by Ludovico Caracci, should convict him of idolatry. Here we all turned towards the altar during the recital of the Creed; at Lincoln this point of etiquette was rather disputed among the congregation: my mother always insisted on my complying with it; I learned to have a great respect for the altar. Whence this tendency of my mother's religious opinions or feelings was derived, is now to be told.

She was daughter of Kenelm Digby, Esq. of North Luffenham, in the county of Rutland. A younger brother of this ancient family, in the reign of Edward IV. became the progenitor of this branch, which, illustrated by the names and the fame of Sir Everard and Sir Kenelm Digby, adhered to the religion of our forefathers down to the time of my maternal grandfather: he was the first protestant of his family: he had married a protestant: he died while my mother was very young, but she was able to remember his leading her one day to the private burial vault, which had been, at the Reformation, consecrated for the use of the family in a retired part of the garden, and in which he was soon after deposited himself. His abjuration does not seem to have carried with it that of all his relations, at least not immediately or notoriously; for, on the[Pg 10] approach of Prince Charles Edward, in 1745, when my mother was about twelve years old, the horses and arms of the family were provisionally taken from them, as being suspected papists: a precaution not unreasonable if their wishes were considered; for the children, as my mother told me, ran about the house, singing Jacobite songs, among which the following may vie, in poetical merit, though not in political effect, with the memorable Lilleburlero:

As I was a walking through James's Park,
I met an old man in a turnip cart;
I took up a turnip, and knocked him down,
And bid him surrender King James's crown.

It is eighty years since: twenty years since the publication of Waverly. The cultivation of turnips, by which our agriculture has been so much improved, was introduced from Hanover.

I am much inclined to doubt the fact of my grandfather's having renounced the errors of popery: his interment in the sepulchre of his ancestors, the suspicion attached to his family, as above stated, the advantage from the supposition of the fact to those who wished to educate his children in protestantism,—these are my reasons for doubting its truth. However this be, many catholic families fell away from their religion after the battle of Culloden: at this time the[Pg 11] whole Digby family was decidedly protestant, excepting three respectable virgins, aunts of my grandfather; and my mother, under the care of an uncle, became, at the age of twenty-two, the meet and willing bride of a young Anglican divine.

Nevertheless, some "rags of popery" hung about her; she was very devout, and made long prayers: she had not her breviary indeed, but the psalms and chapters of the day served equally well: she doubted whether the gunpowder treason was a popish or a ministerial plot: the R. R. Dr. Milner had not yet written the dissertation, in his "Letters to a Prebendary," which proves that it was the latter. For want of this well-argued and convincing statement, I was called on to read, on the 5th of November, while squibs and crackers sounded in my ears, and Guy Faux, suspended over the Castle Hill, was waiting his fate,—to read, I say, the life of Sir Everard Digby in the Biographia Britannica, where his character is treated with some kindness and respect. Sir Kenelm Digby is, of course, the next article in the "Biography:" all this while I was detained from the dangerous explosions of the fire-works, which was in part my mother's purpose, though she had, no doubt, her gratification in the lecture.

[Pg 12]

The youth of the present day are quite indifferent to the celebration of the 5th of November; they have not the grace to thank God for delivering them from "the hellish malice of popish conspirators;" few of them even know that this delicate phrase is to be found in their Book of Common Prayer. But five and forty or fifty years ago, before the repeal of the penal laws against catholics, when not a chapel was permitted to them, but by connivance, those of catholic ambassadors alone excepted; before the French Revolution had driven a catholic priest into almost every town in England,—the case was widely different: let the riots of 1780 bespeak the popular feeling of the people towards the religion of their forefathers. Here then, while they sung,

O then the wicked papishes ungodly did conspire
To blow up king and parliament with gun-pow-dire,—

I was taking a febrifuge draught, prepared by maternal caution and family pride.

I went every day to learn Greek and Latin at the school founded for the use of the city out of the spoils of some monastery abolished at the time of Henry the Eighth's schism. The sons of citizens are here taught gratis; others give a small honorarium to the master. The school was held in the very chapel of the old religious[Pg 13] house; the windows looked into a place called the Friars or Freres, and over the east window stood, and still stands, the cross, "la trionfante croie." But this was not all. Opposite to the door of the school-yard lived three elderly ladies, catholics, of small fortunes, who had united their incomes and dwelt here, not far from their chapel, in peace and piety. One of these ladies was Miss, or, as she chose to call herself, Mrs. Ravenscroft. Now my great grandfather, James Digby had married a lady of that family: it followed therefore that my mother and Mrs. Ravenscroft were cousins. My father's house was about a third of a mile from the school: Mrs. Ravenscroft obtained leave for me, whenever it should rain between nine and ten in the morning, the hour at which the school-boys went to breakfast, that I might call and take my bread and milk at her house. Some condition, I suppose, was made, that I should not be allowed to have tea: but they put sugar in my milk, and all the old ladies and their servants were very kind, and, as I observed, very cheerful; so that I was well pleased when it rained at nine o'clock.

One day it chanced to rain all the morning, an occurrence so common in England, that I wonder it only happened once. I staid to dine with Mrs. Ravenscroft and the other ladies. It[Pg 14] was a day of abstinence. My father, to do him justice as a true protestant, "an honest man who eat no fish," had not accustomed me to days of abstinence; but, as I had had no play all the morning, I found the boiled eggs and hot cockles very satisfactory, as well as amusing by their novelty. The priest came in after dinner, and Mrs. Ravenscroft telling him that I was her little cousin, Master ——, he spoke to me with great civility. At that time catholic priests did not dare to risk making themselves known as such, by wearing black coats. Mr. Knight was dressed in a grave suit of snuff-colour, with a close neat wig of dark brown hair, a cocked hat, almost an equilateral triangle, worsted stockings, and little silver buckles. By this detail may be inferred the impression that was made on my mind and fancy. I believe I was the only protestant lad in England, of my age, at that time, who had made an abstinence dinner, and shaken hands with a jesuit.

When the rain gave over, I returned home, and related to my father all the history of the day. This I did with so much apparent pleasure, that he said, in great good-nature, "These old women will make a papist of you, Harry." He sent them occasionally presents of game in return for their attentions to me.

[Pg 15]

The wife of the Earl of Traquair was also of the family of Ravenscroft, and Lord and Lady Traquair, in coming from or returning to Scotland, passed part of a day with my father and mother. Dr. Geddes, since so well known, accompanied his patron. I remember going with the party to see the ruins of the bishop's palace. Dr. Geddes's conversation was lively and pleasing. He was sure, he said, that my sister, some years older than myself, was a judge of poetry, since she read it so well: and he requested her acceptance of a copy of a satire of Horace which he had lately translated and printed. I know not if he ever pursued this work.

Catholic gentry, every now and then, made visits to my mother; I suppose, for the sake of "auld lang-syne." Amongst these, Mr. and Mrs. Arundel, afterwards Lord and Lady Arundel, called on her so soon after the death of my father, that she could not go with them to the cathedral where he had been but lately interred. I accompanied them, and, on entering the south door, pointed out the pedestal on which, and the canopy under which stood, in catholic times, an image of the Blessed Virgin, under whose invocation the church is dedicated.

Comparing the behaviour of these gentry to my mother with the conduct of all of the same[Pg 16] class, with three or four exceptions only, towards me,—I infer that the best way to be treated by them with common civility is, to be, not a convert, but a renegado.

My father died while I was yet in the fourteenth year of my age: in less than three years after this event, when I was not quite sixteen years and a half old, I became a commoner of University College, Oxford; and, having kept there three terms, was nominated, at the election held immediately after the feast of the Patroness Saint; a Demy of St. Mary Magdalen College. I passed the long or summer vacations at my mother's house. During the second of these vacations, when rummaging among my father's books, I found, thrown aside among waste papers in a neglected closet, an old copy of the Rheims or Douay translation of the New Testament. The preface to this work is admirable, and might be read by managers of Bible Societies, if not to their advantage, at least to their confusion.

By what chance the book came there, how long it had lain there, whether my father had even ever known of its existence, I cannot tell. The notes are equal in bulk to the text: they attracted my attention, and I read them greedily.

It will be observed, from the account given of my infancy, that I had been from the first[Pg 17] familiarized with popery; that I had been brought up without any horror of it. This was much: but this was all. I knew nothing of the doctrines of the catholic church, but what I had learned from the lies in Guthrie's Geographical Grammar, and from the witticisms in the "Tale of a Tub,"—a book, the whole argument of which may be refuted by a few dates added in the margin. My English reading had filled my head with the usual prejudices on these topics. Of popes I had conceived an idea that they were a succession of ferocious, insolent, and ambitious despots, always foaming with rage, and bellowing forth anathemas.

I now perceived that there was some ground in Scripture for believing that St. Peter was superior to the other apostles, ("Simon Peter, lovest thou me more than these?" "A greater charge required a greater love," argues one of the Fathers;) and that, by the consent of all antiquity, the Bishops of Rome were the successors of St. Peter. Of other doctrines I found rational, and what appeared to me plausible explanations. Transubstantiation was still a stumbling-block.

I talked without reserve to my mother of my book, and of the impression it had made on me.[Pg 18] She had no theological knowledge, but she had a great deal of religious feeling, and this feeling was all on the side of catholicism. Had she consulted an able catholic priest, perhaps had she consulted no one, I had at this time become a catholic: she would have been well pleased with my conversion, and her own would have followed. For her sake, as well as for many other reasons, I most sincerely regret that it did not at this time take place. Not that I doubt of the mercy of God towards innocent, involuntary error, but because, when we want to go to a place, it is better to be in the right road.

She consulted my old schoolmaster, a wise and prudent man, as well acquainted with the question as the Anglican clergy in general are. As my mother was perfectly free from poperyphobia, she proposed the matter at once: "Henry has been reading this book, and has a great mind to be a catholic: you know all my family were catholics." My counsellor, without looking even at the outside of the book, put on a grave face,—a tremendously grave face: "I had rather give five hundred pounds than that such a thing should come to pass." I well knew the value he set on five hundred pounds, and conceived an analogous idea of his repugnance[Pg 19]. Nevertheless, I pressed the book on his notice. "All this has been said a thousand times over;" meaning, and I so understood him, that it ought to have no more weight with me than with others; though the argument proved nothing but the usual obstinacy of those to whom arguments are addressed.

My old master was too wise a man to argue even with a woman and a boy. "What would the world think of such a step? What would your father say if he could come to life again? What will become of your education and future prospects?" My mother was alarmed at her own responsibility in the passive encouragement she had given. I was but seventeen years old. I did not, however, quite give up the point. "These people have a great deal to say for themselves."—"You think so? There's Christianity enough in the church of England." A few years later I found he thought there was too much.

I had subsequent conversations with him: I indirectly consulted others: I still read my book; but a book of notes has not the effect of a dissertation, well followed up, and leading to a conclusion. I found some insurmountable difficulties, and for the rest I said, "Le roi s'avisera."[Pg 20] I had no other catholic work, and no catholic adviser. I went back to my college, where other studies occupied me; yet I may say, I never lost sight of the subject.

Gibbon, who was a gentleman-commoner of Magdalen College, a few years before my time, declared himself a catholic before his twentieth year. He was still remembered in college as a young man who seldom or never associated with other young men, who always dressed in black, and always came into the hall or refectory too late at dinner time. He found catholics to help him in the work of his conversion. His father put him en pension with a Calvinist minister, to be re-made a protestant, no matter of what sort. He saw, and throughout his great work shows that he continued to see, that the truth of the Christian religion rests on the authority of the catholic church. "The predictions of the catholics are accomplished: the web of mystery has been unravelled by Arminians, Arians, and Socinians, whose numbers must be no longer counted from their separate congregations; and the pillars of revelation are shaken by men who profess the name without the substance of religion, who assume the licence without the temper of philosophy." Pity that such a man should[Pg 21] have been led away by the spirit of the age, so as not to perceive that true philosophy is the good and natural ally of the catholic faith.

If any grave doctor of the Anglican church had, at this time, attempted to lay the foundations of my belief in his own form of religion, he would probably have failed in his work; partly, because the respect due to such a personage from a youth like me would have hindered that freedom of question, reply, and rejoinder, by which satisfactory conviction is at length produced; partly, because I should have considered him as bound in honour and interest to maintain his own opinions, and require implicit submission; and because also I should probably have found, as I have since found, the arguments, which such an one would have adduced, to proceed on misrepresentation, and to be logically absurd.

There are two methods of defending the reformed church of England; one is, by asserting the right of private judgment; but this method is inconsistent with the authority of Scripture, and with the truth of the promises of Christ;—with the authority of Scripture, because it is absurd to allow to any body of men the right or power to say, "this book is Scripture, and this book is not Scripture," and to refuse to the same[Pg 22] body the right of deciding on its sense in case of dispute. Had this body the privilege of infallibility while deciding on the canon, and were they immediately deprived of it? Infallibility—I dispute not about words: were they providentially preserved from error during this important operation, and ever afterwards abandoned to error? Common sense and the rules of criticism may enable us to decide on the historical credit due to any work laid before us; but Scripture, the word of God,—something more is necessary to men who are thus to arbitrate between mankind and their faith; and it is absurd to suppose that this something more was taken from them when called on to determine matters of faith, by the help of this same Scripture, united to the tradition of the church. I might make my argument stronger, by remarking on the length of time which elapsed before the canon of Scripture was settled: was the church infallible during all that time, or only at intervals, by fits and starts? I will quote the words of St. Augustin, a Father often cited by the Anglican church: "Thou believest Scripture; thou doest well: ego vero Scripturæ non crederem nisi me ecclesiæ catholicæ urgeret auctoritas."

Indeed, so difficult is it to reconcile the more[Pg 23] than human authority of the Bible with the right of private judgment, that I believe the historical Christians, as they may be called, to be very numerous, and daily increasing in number.

This right of private judgment is also inconsistent with the truth of the promises of Christ. He sent his apostles to teach all nations, promising to be with them,—it must be presumed, in their teaching,—to the consummation of the age. In the exercise then of that private judgment, which the reformers of the sixteenth century asserted, all the Christian world fell into error: yes, all of them; for Luther says, "in principio solus eram." The clergy, it may be said, pretended to authority, and even persecuted to the death those who differed from them. Persecution is no theological argument, though it is one which Calvin and Cranmer and other reformers did not object to resort to. But the clergy merely pretended to authority: by the supposed case, each man's particular opinion is his rule of faith, and therefore the Church of England is justified in its reformation. But, by following this rule, all the Christian world, according to the reformers, had fallen into error. Jesus Christ therefore, though he promised to be with his disciples to the end of the world,[Pg 24] was unable or unwilling to keep his promise.

The other method of defending the reformation of the Church of England, is by admitting, that the Church of Rome, as the Anglicans call it, has been, and is, a true church, teaching with authority all doctrines necessary to salvation; that the Church of England, having purified itself from errors and abuses, is also a true church, an integral portion of the catholic or universal church, with all the authority to such a body ecclesiastical, of due right, appertaining.

This statement compels the Church of England to assert for itself something like infallibility; for, as Voltaire expresses it, "L'église catholique est infaillible, et l'église Anglicane n'a jamais tort." This must be so; for the authority of a church which may be in the wrong, must be always questioned.

This statement also deprives the Church of England of all advantage in arms (theological arms I mean,) against the dissenters and other reformers: they turn upon her, and ask how she is more infallible, or even more in the right, than the Church of Rome. The Kirk of Scotland will no more allow itself to be in the wrong than the Church of England. Thus disputes are endless; appeals to remote antiquity, instead of[Pg 25] uninterrupted tradition, involve the matter in hopeless intricacy; and the private judgment of nations has no more weight than the private judgment of individuals.

Such are the two modes of defending England's reformation adopted by the low and the high church parties, which once declaredly and still insensibly divide its clergy. I have explained both methods, as they are better understood by being contrasted: I have noted the vice of each, that I may give in part my reasons for rejecting both in due time. Till this due time arrived, I was induced to embrace, and, for the time, conscientiously embraced, the opinions of a high churchman; and I was induced to this by the arguments and example of my friend Richard Paget.

At the time when I became a member of Magdalen College, he had just taken the degree of Bachelor of Arts. A young under-graduate cannot help regarding with some deference one already in possession of the first of those academical honours to which himself aspires. Paget was besides three or four years older than me. This advantage of degree and age was not so great as to cause any subjection on my part; I looked up to him, but, if the pun may be allowed, did not suspect him. He, on his part,[Pg 26] treated me with the greatest kindness and familiarity. He was, as he said, the second son of a second son of a second son of a younger branch of a noble family. He had not much given himself to classical studies, but he was well skilled in antiquities, including heraldry; witness the exactitude of his own pedigree: he was well read in English history, particularly that of the time of Charles I. with every personage of which he might be said to be intimately acquainted. He had a great love and good taste for the fine arts and for music. His conversation was, in the highest degree, pleasing; it was lively, allusive, full of anecdote: his manner of expressing himself was at once forcible and easy; his judgment was discriminating, his temper gentle and equal. I never think of him without regretting his loss; and he is often recalled to my memory by the benefit and instruction which I have derived from his friendship.

We used to sit together hour after hour, cozing: I believe I must thus spell the word we have derived from the French causer; no other word has the same meaning. He would take up scraps of paper, and draw admirable caricature likenesses of the members of the college, not sparing the person before him; then a stroll[Pg 27] round the walks; and then, as we passed by the door of my rooms on our return, "come in again," and so, another hour's coze. Soon after the commencement of our acquaintance, he began the studies which he thought requisite as a preparation for being ordained a minister of the Church of England. I had the result of these studies, which he pursued according to his own taste, for there is or was no rule in this matter: great admiration of the character of Archbishop Laud; lamentation of the want of splendor and ceremonial in the Anglican service; blame of those clergy who allowed church authority to slip from their hands, lowering themselves into teachers of mere morality. He gave himself very little trouble about the opinions of the dissenters, condemning them all in a lump by a sort of ecclesiastical and political anathema; but he took great pains to convince himself that the Church of England was in the right in its polemical dispute with the Church of Rome. He was willing to allow to the bishop of that city a préséance above all other bishops, not merely on account of the former imperial dignity of the city, but also on account of his succession to St. Peter, who had the same precedence among the apostles, though the privileges of the apostles were equal, as those of bishops[Pg 28] ought to be. He saved the indefectibility of the church, by declaring that the Church of Rome was a true church, though not a pure church; that papists might be saved, since what they believed amiss did not destroy the effect of what they believed aright. He affirmed, that the separation of the Church of England from the Church of Rome was the pope's fault; that England had not separated from Rome, but had exercised its right of reforming errors in faith, and abuses in discipline, and approached nearer to the primitive model; that the pope, in excommunicating England for having done thus, had in fact, excommunicated himself. On several points he showed the practice of Rome to be right; on others, to regard things indifferent.

Many other matters relating to this subject were discussed in our conversations, occasionally resumed during the continuance of my friend's residence in college. He was ordained deacon, and some two years after died.

In the year 1791 I took my Master of Arts' degree in Act term, that is, in the beginning of summer, and went to Lincoln to pass some time with my mother, before I should put into execution a project which I had long meditated of a journey to France and Italy. Between my Bachelor's and Master's degrees, as I had no[Pg 29] excuse for non-residence in college, I had been obliged to reside: indeed I was sufficiently fond of the literary leisure which this mode of life secured to me. I had always considered myself as destined to Anglican orders; it was the profession which my father had chosen for me, and I had, in some sort, prepared for it: I had confirmed myself in high church principles, and read a little Hebrew; but I had also studied the French and Italian languages for the use and service of my foreign travels, as also because it was rather my wish and ambition to enter on the diplomatic career, if I should find occasion and protection. But how could any one propose to himself to pass any length of time on the continent, agitated, as it now was, by the beginnings of the French revolution? Many ventured to go abroad; but I was alarmed: the unsuccessful attempt of the king and queen of France to escape to Montmedi had thrown France into confusion: it was evident that a crisis was at hand.

I waited. During this time a violent inflammation in my eyes (a complaint to which I had been often subject, and which will, I fear, in its consequences, finally deprive me of sight,) confined me to the house, and prevented me from reading for some weeks. Deprived of the use of[Pg 30] books, at all times my chief employment and consolation, and compelled to occupy myself with my own thoughts, I passed in review the topics by which men are usually induced to devote themselves to the more immediate service of God. My education, whatever may have been its influence on my virtue, had been regular, monkish even, if any one please to call it so: the feeling of piety had never been entirely renounced by me; and I now easily brought myself to entertain the hope that, by entering into the ecclesiastical state, I might be of some use to the cause of religion. The first day that my eye-sight was restored to me, I wrote to the president of Magdalen College, then bishop of Norwich, requesting to be admitted as a candidate for deacon's orders at the next ordination in September.

The same motives which influenced me to this step, induced me also, three months afterwards, to take the curacy of a large parish in Lincoln; to engage, that is, to do the duties of him qui curat, as far as my inferior degree of deacon permitted. The stipend, about one fifth of the wages of an able mechanic, was known to be no object with me: I had an income more than sufficient for my wants as a single man, and, besides, lived in the house of my mother.[Pg 31] As usual, in similar cases, some applauded my zeal, while others laughed at it.

Within a few months, a fellowship became vacant on my county. I went up to college to pronounce my probationary oration. In this discourse, enumerating the former worthies of the house, I commended our predecessors at the time of the Reformation for having been of the number of those who did not wish that reformation to be excessive—nimia was the word; and of those who did not think, "the further from Rome, the nearer to truth." The orator, on this occasion, is introduced between the first and second course of the grand dinner of the 22d of July; his voice may be clear as his stomach is empty: his task completed, he is placed at the right hand of him who presides at the "strangers' table," ranged down the middle of the hall, and is served with the first slice of the haunch of venison. I took the place reserved for me; and not perceiving that my high church sentiments had displeased any of my auditors, found the second course of a public dinner, under such glorious and hopeful circumstances, an ample amends for being excluded from the first.

I was so much pleased with a college life, that I determined to return to my abode in college,[Pg 32] on my admission as actual fellow. I thought I had done enough to testify my devotion to the church by one year's volunteer service of the parish of St. Martin; for volunteer it was in the spirit, and almost in the letter. "Let all those who look for high preferment in the church, do as much," said I. My mother, who seemed quite to have forgotten the Rheims Translation of the New Testament, of which I was too besotted to remind her, received my promise to pass two or three months of every year with her. I soon found myself settled in a handsome apartment of the new building of Magdalen College.

It is the usage to require of every one, to be admitted actual fellow of Magdalen College, what is called a probationary exercise. On this occasion I composed a treatise, bearing for title, "The Christian Religion briefly defended against the Republicans and Levellers of France." There was no especial reason for levelling this treatise against the French levellers; but the French republic was, at this time, in England, the black dog upon every occasion: my work was a defence of general Christianity, upon a plan suggested by the pensées de Pascal. I had, however, my quarrel with the French legislators for making marriage a municipal ceremony[Pg 33] and permitting divorce. I had not a sense of justice clear enough to blame the English law, for insisting that the marriages of catholics and dissenters shall be celebrated according to the rite of the English church. I did not bring forward the remark, that divorce is permitted in England; nor did I observe, that by the French law on the subject, no yoke was imposed on the conscience, since no married persons were required to divorce themselves, but only allowed to do so. I am entirely of opinion that such a law is highly to be reprobated in a civil point of view; but in what concerns religion, let each man's conscience take care of itself.

But my main grief against the French legislators was the plunder and degradation of their church. In treating this matter, I as much forgot, as if I had never heard or read, that, not much more than two centuries before this period, all the bishops of England, (excepting only him of Llandaff,) and about ten thousand clergy, were deprived of their benefices, and sent to beg their bread all over Europe; and this, not because they would not accept a civil constitution, but because they would not accede to a new religion; and this, not in a time of civil tumult, and under the pressure of foreign invasion; but at the bidding of a young woman of five and twenty. But "tua res agitur[Pg 34] paries cum proximus ardet," was a sentiment pretty generally felt at this time in England: to this sentiment, more than to any love of their religion, the French clergy may attribute the hospitable reception they met with in England. The deed was benevolent whatever its motive, and in the deed I had more than my share.

In writing this essay, I struggled, and, as Longinus says, lashed my sides through two or three pages of introduction, and immediately afterwards found my composition to flow from me with tolerable ease: I wrote with less difficulty than I now experience, and am surprised that I so soon acquired a style by no means faulty. I do not say this for my petite gloriole, but because it seems a part of my story to give the reader a measure of my juvenile ability. I consulted two friends on the question of publication: they advised against it, told me I could do better, and pointed to the first part. Richard Paget also desired me to write the introduction over again, but did not, as my other better-judging friends had done, counsel the suppression. I went to London to find a printer: it was impossible here to sit down to correct; and I made a book of it as it was. Valenciennes was, at that time, besieged by the Duke of York, and it was generally supposed that the[Pg 35] allied armies were a better bulwark of Christianity than a shilling pamphlet. The printer told me that Christianity was a very good thing, and that nobody doubted it.

In November following I preached before the university, at St. Mary's church, a sermon on the text, "Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained." I asserted, that the power of absolving sin neither had been, nor could have been, abandoned by our reformers; defended the power against all impugners and repugners; and indicated the evil consequences resulting from allowing it to lie in abeyance. After some declamation respecting the horrors then perpetrated in a neighbouring nation, and some fears respecting the removal of our candlestick,—I concluded by trusting, that all whom it might concern would acquit themselves as faithful stewards of the mysteries of God. The leading members of the university were prodigal in praise of this discourse. One of them, afterwards a bishop, preached the Sunday following at St. Mary's, to assure the university that I was in the right; a confirmation which, considering my youth and inexperience, he justly deemed by no means superfluous. Another, whom I should be proud[Pg 36] to name were there no indiscretion in doing so, bought the sermon when published; a compliment which, my printer told me, he had not paid to any of those published for many years past. He might do this, it may be said, as finding the sermon supremely ridiculous; but this supposition is negatived by the gracious manner in which, from this time, though I had not yet the honour of his acquaintance, he always saluted me in passing; his high station and character permitted to him this mode of signifying his approbation to one unknown, and rendered it peculiarly gratifying to me.

Some, however, cried out "flat popery;" but the words in which the priest is directed to give absolution in the "Order for the Visitation of the Sick," are so precise; the assertion of the right in all cases is here so formal; (for it is not supposed that a physician is to be sent for to determine whether the penitent patient is sick enough to be absolved) the practice, in respect to penance, of those early ages to which the church of England appeals, is so well known;—that the cry of "flat popery" could not be sustained. Indeed, the sermon bears on the face of it some very outrageous abuse of the Romish church; but this abuse is so much a matter of course, that it would hardly have served as a[Pg 37] justification, had one been wanted. I professed myself contented to be as popish as the church of England.

One of the heads of the university said to me: "The doctrine of your excellent discourse is clearly the doctrine of the church of England: she asserts the right of absolution to be inherent in her clergy, but the people will not submit to the exercise of the power." This is true; it is true also, that the clergy very prudently abstain, in general, from sounding the inclinations of the people on the subject. My attempt must rather be considered, from the place in which the discourse was delivered, as a sort of concio ad clerum.

I have heard of one clergyman who made the attempt; he preached to his people of the power belonging to him, as a priest, of absolving them from their sins, and of the benefit which they would derive, if truly penitent, from confession and absolution; concluding by fixing a time, at which he would be at home, to hear all those who should have any communications to make to him with such intention. This discourse caused a mighty hubbub in the parish; people did not know what to make of it; some doubted if their clergyman could seriously mean what he had said: one old woman did not hesitate to[Pg 38] declare "she would be d——d if she would tell him all she knew." The confusion ceased in due time; but the people neglected to avail themselves of the offer of their pastor.

Some time before, a book had been recommended to me, which I found great difficulty in procuring; at last I found it in the very centre of the fashionable world. I went into Faulder's shop, in Bond Street. "Have you Pluralities Indefensible, by Dr. Newton, founder of Hertford College?"—"It is a book which I always take care to have by me, for the best of all possible reasons,—I am always sure of selling it."—"I should not have supposed that. Who buy it? Any clergymen?"—"Yes."—"What use do they make of it?" Mr. Faulder understood my question. I have forgotten his answer, but it was discreet.

Non-residence on benefices with cure of souls, was one of those abuses in catholic discipline, which, more than any other, tended to bring on the Reformation; it is an abuse which that Reformation has not yet reformed.

I read my book on Pluralities, and was convinced that they were indefensible. Having not yet learned,—perhaps having yet to learn, that "the better part of valour is discretion,"—soon after my sermon on absolution, I preached[Pg 39] in the same church as before, to a congregation composed as before, a discourse, in which I detailed the evils of pluralities, as necessitating non-residence, and the appointment of "hired substitutes, improperly called curates," to perform those duties, which the principal has engaged to perform, and which, unless disabled, he is in conscience bound to perform personally. This discourse was not heard with the same approbation as the former.

"Religious persuasion" is a phrase bandied about by men who have no very accurate notion of the sense in which they employ the words. One cannot be persuaded of a truth: he may believe that to be true which is not so; but then he judges it to be true,—he is not persuaded; one cannot even be persuaded of a fact; the judgment and the senses are not to be persuaded. In religion, a man either believes, or doubts, or rejects: if he believe, his belief, on account of the supernatural authority to which he submits himself, is called faith. But, if in religion there be sects and parties, he may be persuaded by circumstances to choose one party rather than another; but this is a persuasion that respects the accessaries to religion, not the religion itself. If he adopt or profess the religion, without believing it, he is[Pg 40] a hypocrite. I have laid down these principles by which to try my own conduct during my stay in Magdalen College.

If I were conscious of any insincerity in my adherence to the church of England, during this period, I would now declare it; I hold myself bound to tell the truth, and not intentionally to lead the reader into any misapprehension. I had certainly committed a great fault in not prosecuting the inquiry begun by the reading of the Rheims Translation of the New Testament: it was the fault of my boyhood,—a fault of which, on human grounds even, I have but too much cause to repent. By not bringing this inquiry, at that time, to the point to which I afterwards brought it, I lost twelve years of my life, dating from seventeen years old,—a time which might have been employed in diverting my education to other purposes, in adopting and following another profession, and in forming other connexions and friendships, than those which I have, of course, forfeited by my conversion. But, during these twelve years, excepting the last year only, passed in doubt and research, I firmly believed that "the church of Rome had erred, not only in matters of discipline, but also in matters of faith." Transubstantiation was the great stumbling-block; and[Pg 41] a church which had erred in so grave a matter was not a teacher to be implicitly confided in. I thought catholics were, not intentionally, but in fact, guilty of idolatry; and I thought the sin pardonable in them on account of the intention. Having once set myself at liberty to reject the authority of the church in communion with the bishop of Rome, I followed, among the various interpretations of which Scripture is capable, that given by the church of England, judging it to be most reasonable. Not sufficiently instructed in the distinction between matters of faith and questions of discipline, I believed the differences and points in dispute between these two portions of the catholic church, to be more numerous than they really are.

Archimedes said, "Give me where to stand, and I will move the earth." At Oxford I was on the peculiar ground, the terra firma, if firm it be, of the church of England: there I could not move or weigh it, or see it at a due distance, to judge of its form or proportion. Indifference was hardly to be obtained amidst so many sympathies. An event however occurred, which removed me to a distance from this scene, leaving my mind free for an investigation which, with the opinions and feelings which my friend, Richard Paget, had taught and infused, and[Pg 42] Oxford had confirmed, was soon brought to a fair conclusion.

On the 10th of April, 1797, I received, by an express at ten o'clock in the evening, a letter from a physician at Lincoln, acquainting me with the dangerous state of my mother's health, informing me, that it was hardly probable that on my arrival at her house, I should find her living. In an hour's time I was in a post chaise, and hastened by the shortest road through Northamptonshire. Though obliged to wait at every inn during the night time for fresh horses, and delayed two hours by being overturned, I got to Lincoln, a distance of a hundred and thirty miles, by seven the next evening. My mother had died at the hour at which the express had reached Oxford.

The estate which devolved to me by her death being freehold, my fellowship was not tenable with it. I quitted Magdalen College within three months, sent my books to Lincoln, and established myself there in a mode of life very much according with my former collegiate habits. Before I left Oxford, I acquainted the president of my college with my wish to be appointed to preach the Bampton lecture; he acquiesced, and desired me to write him word when I should be prepared, that he might propose[Pg 43] me to the heads of houses, with whom rests the nomination of the lecturer. This institution is so well known, that no account of it here is necessary. The subject of my lecture, as I mentioned to the president, was to be, Christianity proved against the objections of the Jews. Dr. Routh, with that amenity of manners, which distinguishes him as much as his great learning, gave me the titles of several books that might be useful to me.

While meditating the conversion of the Jews, I received one day at dinner a French emigrant priest and an Anglican clergyman. The esprit de son état in the former, and the total absence of it in the latter, were equally remarkable. However, we talked about religion. My Anglican attacked the catholic on account of certain practices which this one easily proved to be common to both communions, the only difference being that the church of England does not observe its own ordinances. The clergyman would not take refuge in the "slow and silent reformation," by which such deviations are usually excused: he knew he should not have me for an auxiliary; he retreated to transubstantiation. Here the Frenchman, who talked English well but not currently, was soon overpowered by two opponents; and the Anglican,[Pg 44] his retreat thus covered by me, carried off with him the honour of the day.

The emigrant was M. l'Abbé Beaumont, who had formerly been rector of the university of Caën, and appointed canon of the cathedral of Rouen: he was about to take possession of his stall, when the order was issued, on account of the approach of the Duke of Brunswick, that every priest who should still refuse to take the oath prescribed by the civil constitution of the clergy, should be banished from France within fifteen days. He had been brought to Lincoln by a gentleman of the neighbourhood, who had retained him for some time in his family to teach French to his children. On the death of Mr. Knight, whom I have mentioned above, he was appointed to the care of the little catholic congregation of Lincoln. When visiting at my mother's house, I had formerly known him; and, on this occasion, renewed my acquaintance with him.

After the Anglican had taken his leave, he talked for some time on indifferent topics, but at length renewed the former conversation with an air, as if he had recollected something, though I rather suspect he had prepared himself. "Pray, at what time did the change take place from your doctrine, respecting the Eucharist, to that professed by all Christians three hundred[Pg 45] years ago?" I begged of him to put his question more clearly. "If your doctrine on this point be the true one, it was taught by the apostles, and received by the first Christians; then, our interpretation must have been introduced at some subsequent period: I ask you to fix that period." There were better reasons than I at the time supposed for my inability to give a precise answer. "It was introduced gradually during the dark ages."—"In the first place, gradually—that is impossible: the question is, whether the body of Christ is really or figuratively present: the people must have known in which sense they believed it to be present, and would have resisted innovation. Do you think it would be easy at this day to make the people of England believe in the real presence?"—"No; because they have already rejected it."—"I admit the difference; but at any time it must have been impossible to change the faith of the people without their perceiving it; and the controversy, which the attempt must have excited, would have come down to our days in works written on both sides: the memory of the Arian controversy is not lost." I was struck by the argument and the parallel. He pressed me. "What do you call the dark ages?"—"The tenth century is called by Cave,[Pg 46] a learned English divine, seculum tenebrosum."—"Berenger of Angers, in the eleventh century, who first taught the figurative sense, found all the world in the belief of the real presence."—"First? you forget the apostles."—"It is for you to prove that they taught the figurative sense. St. John Chrysostom, who lived in the fourth age, preached on this subject like a catholic doctor of the present day."—"Really? I have his works; I will refer to the passages."—"Will you give me leave to send you a treatise on this subject, entitled La perpétuité de la foi de l'église touchant l'eucharistie?" As I was going to convert the Jews by a Bampton lecture, I said I did not wish to engage in reading a great work in old French: I inferred that it was old French from the word touchant. Mr. Beaumont assured me that it was written in very good French of the present time, as also in a very agreeable style: he told me, that at any rate I should have time to read the tract of Nicole, of a few pages only, stating the argument; that if I did not approve of it, I need not read the Perpétuité by Arnaud, which was the development of Nicole's text. I assented, and he wished me a good evening.

I immediately referred to my edition of Chrysostom, by Sir Henry Savile, in eight volumes folio,[Pg 47]—a master-piece of Greek typography, which I had bought for three shillings a volume. I had read at hazard some of the homilies. As these are in the form of a running commentary on the gospels and epistles, it was easy for me to turn to the texts in which the institution of the Lord's Supper is narrated, and to the Epistle to the Corinthians in which it is spoken of. I have no means at present of making quotations; those who are so inclined may refer as I did. I showed these passages afterwards to two protestant friends, who affirmed, "they must be figurative, because they were so strong for the literal meaning." Sacramentarians are obliged to treat in this way the words of Christ himself: this mode of begging the question (for it is nothing else) showed me the advantage of another sort of argument, which I found in Nicole and Arnaud.

They take it for granted that if it were certain Christ meant the words, "this is my body," in the literal sense, protestants would give up the cause. In the time of these writers it might be so: I would not be too sure of that in the present day: I think many would reject, perhaps have already rejected, the divinity of Christ, and his authority to teach such a doctrine, rather than admit the doctrine itself. I, however, was[Pg 48] not thus daring: I was prepared to admit the conclusion, if the premises were proved. Unbelievers and catholics are consistent: protestants are philosophers by halves.

The apostles then, according to Nicole, understood in what sense Christ spoke the words, "this is my body," &c. and taught that sense to the first Christians, and the same sense was delivered to succeeding ages. But, if this were the figurative sense, all the Christian world must, at some time, have gone to sleep in the belief of the figurative sense, and awaked in the belief of the literal. The change, if there was one, was effected without the least disturbance, nobody knows how; and this, not in a question of abstract doctrine, but in one which included the adoration of latria, or the divine honour paid to the consecrated elements, in which worship every individual Christian was interested.

Arnaud, in the Perpétuité, proves, century by century, that the real presence and transubstantiation were believed, not only by the catholic church, but by the Greeks, after their schism as well as before, and by other communions separated from Catholic unity. At this distance of time I cannot do justice, nor could I at any time have done justice, by any summary of mine, to the force and ability with which these two authors [Pg 49]conduct the argument. To them I must refer the well-disposed, the impartial, the disinterested, the honest inquirer.

The French theologians justly hold the first rank amongst all those of the Christian world. I was now to become acquainted with him who may take his place among the Fathers of the church,—the great Bossuet.

The church now re-entered on that claim to infallibility which it had lost with me by the supposed mistake touching the Eucharist. The book of "Les Variations des Églises Protestantes" showed that the protestants, by their own admission, had no claim to this privilege, since they were continually changing and contradicting themselves; asserting, however, the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in the enunciation of dogmas and formulas, which subsequent inspirations correct and amend.

"La réforme n'a jamais raison la première fois." How sharp, how cutting, how penetrating, how conclusive is this sarcasm!

That book or section of the "Variations" which treats of "the church," ought to be published as a separate tract. I recommend a translation of it to the pious and zealous catholic clergy of England; it would be a good work: no[Pg 50] men know better than they in what sense I use the words.

"Quærimus ecclesiam ubi sit," says St. Augustin; and from the words "The gospel shall be preached in all nations, beginning at Jerusalem," he infers, that the church is that body which began to teach at Jerusalem.

Of the four marks of the church, set down in the Nicene creed, "one, holy, catholic, apostolic,"—the first mark is exclusive and indisputable. Any church may say of itself that it is holy, and every good Christian will wish that it may be so. The church of England calls itself apostolic, because, as it affirms, its doctrine is apostolical; it also calls itself catholic, or a portion of the catholic church: but then it is apostolical in one sense, and catholic in another; apostolical by doctrine, and catholic by unity: then has the catholic church failed, since its doctrine was lost for so many ages: then may there be union without communion.

It is curious to observe with what facility the English church can distinguish between itself and the catholic in a question of persecution or civil exclusion, and how readily its portion of catholicity, when pressed by the argument of unity, is re-asserted and resumed.

[Pg 51]

A protestant Anglican friend said to me, one day, "We are all catholics; you are a Roman catholic, and I am—." He hesitated. "What?" said I; "an English catholic?"

No Christian community, separated from the church, can claim to be the church; the date of its separation precludes the claim. "Prior venio," says Tertullian. Neither can it be a portion of the church; community in things sacred being essential to unity. A mark is also given by Christ himself, by which his one church may be known: "Thou art Peter, and on this rock I will build my church." All antiquity has recognised the pope of Rome as successor of Peter.

Having obtained this view of the subject, from reading several works of the Fathers, I gave up the absurd notion of a true church teaching a false doctrine, and only wondered how I could have retained it so long. A church is essentially a teaching society, and, if it teach falsely, it has failed in the very end and purpose of its existence. There is another mode by which it is attempted to save the indefectibility of the church, namely, by supposing that, as there were seven thousand in Israel, known only to God, who had not bowed the knee to Baal, so there always existed somewhere some protestants.[Pg 52] This fancy I had never adopted. The church is a city on a hill, not a candle under a bushel. Having recognised the church by these marks, which are found united in it alone, I admired that Providence which supplied to the unlearned Christian or convert sufficient motives for submitting his judgment to the doctrine of the church, instead of laying him under the necessity of judging of the church by the doctrine: which, enabling him to verify the credentials of the ambassador, makes him confidently and joyfully receive the embassy of grace and peace.

In this disposition of mind not much road remained for me to travel, and I followed henceforward the guidance of the church; studying for instruction, not for dispute; to remove prejudices, and correct misapprehension.

Communion under one kind, as at present practised in the catholic church, is ridiculed by Swift, who tells how my lord Peter locked up his cellars. Swift might have added to his buffoonery, by telling how the same lord Peter, many hundred years before John or Martin were born or thought of, served no mutton to his wine. In the early ages, it was the use to give the blessed Eucharist, under the species of wine only, to sick persons and to children. While[Pg 53] inquiring on this subject, an ingenious mistake of the Anglican translation of the Bible was pointed out to me: the Apostle says, "he that eateth this bread or drinketh this cup of the Lord unworthily, is guilty of the body and blood of the Lord:" or being altered into and, this text can no longer be quoted to justify communion under one kind: it still remains, however, a strong argument for the real presence, since it would be impossible to be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord, if they were there only in figure. He who stabs the portrait of the prince commits an insolent outrage, but the prince is safe.

Ward's "Errata to the Protestant Translation of the Bible" is a book that will set many matters right in the minds of those who are not averse from conviction. The author was obliged to fly his country on the publication of his work; as was Bishop Challoner, on account of "Memoirs of Missionary Priests."

Of the seven sacraments, two are retained under that name by the Anglican church: I had already proclaimed myself the advocate of what is, to all intents and purposes, the sacrament of penance. Confirmation is administered by a bishop, as among catholics. The form of giving benediction by the imposition of hands is as[Pg 54] ancient as the patriarch Jacob, who thus blessed his grandsons, the sons of Joseph. Does any spiritual grace follow the blessing of the bishop? If so, it is a sacrament. The ordering of priests, in the church of England, is evidently sacramental; for the bishop, laying his hands on the person to be ordained, bids him "receive the Holy Ghost." Matrimony is called by the apostle "a great mystery;" mystery is the Greek word for sacrament: grace is required to sanctify so important a contract. The church of England celebrates it as a religious rite.

Thus far the dispute about the number of the sacraments seems to be a "question of words and names." Extreme unction is totally rejected by the church of England, because miraculous effects no longer follow the administration of it. It is not very clear that restoration to bodily health is promised by the apostle, St. James, c. 5. v. 14.; but "the prayer of faith shall save the sick man, and the Lord shall raise him up," may mean this, or may mean spiritual help; doubtless, however, the promise, "if he be in sins they shall be forgiven him," authorises the continuance of this rite. I have also heard it observed, that it fails in that condition annexed to the definition of a sacrament in the Anglican catechism; it is not "ordained by[Pg 55] Christ himself." But, if it was attended with miraculous effects, it is satisfactorily proved that the apostle was sufficiently authorised in its institution.

If the church of England will believe purgatory to be "a fond thing," far from recommending the book of the Macchabees as good for an example of life, it ought not to allow it to be read in churches at all; for there it is related that, after a victory, part of the spoil was sent to Jerusalem that prayer might be offered for the dead, "seeing it is a good and wholesome thing to pray for the dead." This was a downright popish practice, justified by a popish reason. Thus All Souls College was founded to pray for the souls of those slain at the battle of Agincourt. Of this ancient, this almost universal, this consolatory practice of praying for the dead, I shall say no more, than that it may be inferred from the words of Christ, that sins are forgiven after death; since he says, "all sins and blasphemies shall be forgiven to man," that is, are pardonable on repentance; "but the sin against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven, neither in this world, nor in that which is to come." There are then sins that are forgiven in the world to come: but when? immediately on the entrance of the soul into its future state of existence?[Pg 56] This would be equivalent to forgiveness in this world. After a delay then? this delay is itself a purgatory.

On this head, the catholic church has defined simply that there is a purgatory, and that souls, therein detained, receive help from the suffrages of the faithful: that this belief may be abused, does not prove it to be unfounded, or vain, or "fond."

Men abuse every thing, even the goodness and long-suffering of God. They rely on a death-bed repentance: they rely on purgatory. It is to be feared that many, by the hope of heaven after purgatory, have been betrayed into a state of final reprobation. On a death-bed repentance St. Austin remarks, that there is but one instance of its assured success,—that of the penitent thief; and he adds, very beautifully, "unus erat, ne desperes; unus tantum, ne præsumas."

The Reverend Father O'Leary replied to an Irish bishop of the establishment, who said to him, "Mr. O'Leary, I do not like your doctrine of purgatory,"—"My lord, you may go further, and fare worse."

Amongst its thirty-nine articles, the Anglican church has one against works of supererogation, for the purpose of casting a censure on certain[Pg 57] popish practices. The article bears a plausible show both of argument and humility; but the humility, taken as argument, proves too much, since it proves that our good works are useless to ourselves as well as to others. I will give the reader an instance of a work of supererogation, in which he will at least be at a loss to discover any "impiety." My mother wrote to me at Oxford,—"I went into a shop the other day to order some Gloucester cheese; a poor man was there, buying a cheese for his family; I paid for it for him: for this, I hope, God will bless you." My mother was no theologian, and suspected no more harm in giving an alms for me than in praying for me.

Every protestant, who thinks much about the matter, dresses up a certain bugbear in his own imagination, calls it popery, and holds it in horror. I had done thus, although my high-church principles had hindered me from surcharging the phantom with the usual quantity of deformity. "The Exposition of the Catholic Faith," by Bossuet, is well adapted to show the religion of our forefathers in its due proportions and real lineaments. I will own I was somewhat shocked at first to hear him talk of "Messieurs de la prétendue réforme:" I had not been used to be treated so unceremoniously: but he could not[Pg 58] help it; the reform was either pretended or real.

The council of Trent,—those decrees of the council of Trent which relate to matters of faith, and which are very few in number, at least comprised in few words; together with the catechism of the council of Trent, composed under the auspices of our countryman cardinal Pole,—are also excellent works for setting such matters in a right point of view.

I know many protestants who, if they would read these books, would be astonished at their own ignorance, which they have as yet neither discovered nor exposed, because they have talked only with each other, and have read books calculated rather to excite their passions than dispel their ignorance. Such a book is Chillingworth's.

I had formerly been scandalized by the non-observance of the days of fasting and abstinence appointed by the church of England: I once got myself laughed at for talking about it. Example and roast beef are powerful persuasives, and I continued to do as others did. While M. Beaumont was carrying on with me conversations tending to my conversion, he called one morning at a house where, the breakfast not being removed, he was civilly invited to eat[Pg 59] something. He excused himself because it was the season of Lent. The lady of the house said, "We have no superstitious way of keeping Lent."—"You keep it in your book, Madam." When M. Beaumont reported this to me, I observed, "That pun would not do in French." He agreed, adding, "They do not know what is fast; they know what is breakfast."

Another superstitious practice is the use of images: to set the people against this practice, and against those who practise it, the word "image" is lugged in at the beginning of the second commandment: in the original, the word is the participle passive of the verb, and ought to have been translated "graven thing," or "any thing graven;" but "image" was good for the iconoclasti.

But I cannot pursue any further the railing and raillery continually poured forth in England against the religion which all England professed for eight centuries; which those who converted our Saxon ancestors found to be the same as that professed by the ancient Britons in all points, except the time of the celebration of Easter; a conformity, which proves the faith of the church to have been, through the early ages, perpetual, not in respect to the Eucharist only, but in the whole body of its doctrine. Let this[Pg 60] argument be well weighed; it weighed much with me; and I think I shall be allowed to have made out a case, though I say nothing of indulgences, or celibacy, the invocation of the blessed Virgin and other saints, relics, or monastic vows, pilgrimages, ceremonies, or holy water.

I told M. Beaumont that, as he was subjected to the alien act, I would not draw on him the responsibility of receiving my abjuration; that I would go to town for the purpose of making it. Subsequent machinations against him proved my apprehensions to have been well-founded. He asked what I meant by my abjuration: "You will abjure nothing; you will continue to believe all that you believe at present: but you can go to London, if you think right, and the bishop will appoint a priest to reconcile you to the church." On the 17th of May, 1798, I was present at high mass in St. Patrick's chapel: it was the feast of the Ascension. My emotion betrayed itself in tears which, in a man of my age, might be regarded as rather a violent symptom; but it called forth no indecorous signs of surprise or curiosity in those near me. I forgot to inquire at the sacristy the address of the bishop, and next morning found myself walking in Hyde Park, alarmed at the step I was about to take, and almost undecided. A[Pg 61] friend, who was in my confidence, met me by chance, and, out of regard for my tranquillity, though a protestant, encouraged me to persevere. We turned into Grosvenor Square, and up Duke Street: old Mr. Keating informed us that the bishop lived at No. 4, Castle Street, Holborn. "We please ourselves by calling it the Castle." I parted from my friend, and proceeded to the Castle alone. An elderly, rather pompous, duenna-looking woman, opened the door of the house, for such it was; not the gate of a castle: his lordship was engaged, but I was desired to walk into the dining-room, which, no doubt, served as an anti-room for want of any other. While I waited here, a French priest came in, who, evidently alarmed at his approaching interview with the bishop, from whom probably he had "something to ask or something to fear," inquired of me, "Faut-il faire une génuflexion à Monseigneur?"[1] I answered, that I was unacquainted with the ceremonial expected by Monseigneur; but that he, M. l'Abbé, had better do as he would on being presented to his own bishop. He took me for a countryman, but "my speech betrayed me." He was called for before me; this I thought unjust; but in a[Pg 62] few minutes after the bishop came in, and addressed me with, "Qu'est-ce que vous demandez, Monsieur?"[2] Again, thought I, my country is about to be lost to me; but let us hope for a better. I told Dr. Douglass the purport of my visit: he, seeing the affair was one not quickly to be dispatched, requested me to walk up stairs. We seated ourselves on each side of the fire in an old-fashioned wainscotted room with corresponding furniture, the floor half covered by a well-worn Turkey carpet. On the walls, yellow with smoke, hung portraits, which, through the soot that incrusted them, I hardly discerned to be ecclesiastical worthies; Cardinal Allen, perhaps, founder of the college of Douay; a Campion, or Arrowsmith, or other martyrs of the Reformation. A crucifix was set in a conspicuous place: over the chimney a little engraving of Pius VI, then a prisoner. The bishop was a tall thin man, between sixty and seventy, of a healthy look, with a lively and good-natured countenance: he wore a suit of black, not very fresh, with a little, close, white wig. Martinus Scriblerus was proud of being able to form an abstract idea of a Lord Mayor without his gold chain, or red gown, or[Pg 63] any other accidents. I had no difficulty in detecting the bishop in the plain man before me; for, being in his own house, he showed without reserve his pectoral cross, and I saw on his finger a ring in which was set an amethyst.

"This is a very important step, sir; no doubt you have given it due consideration." I gave a succinct account of my studies and motives. "May I ask, have you consulted your family and friends?"—"My parents are not living: I am their only surviving child. For my friends, I know beforehand what they would say."—"Are you aware of all the civil consequences? The penal laws are repealed; but you will lose your état civil." I bowed my head. "As you are in orders of the church of England, your conversion will excite more than ordinary surprise, and (I say it only to warn you,) ill-will against you."—"I trust not; people are sufficiently indifferent about such matters."—"Perhaps you will lose some ecclesiastical benefice?"—"I have proceeded no further than deacon's orders, and therefore have no preferment."—"But your expectations?"—"I must live without them."

After a little more probing of this sort, and a short pause,—"There is a business which is very distressing to those who are not used to it,[Pg 64] as it is very consoling to those who are; I mean confession: we all go to confession; I, who am bishop,—the pope himself. You know, I presume, that you must begin by that?"—"I come to beg of your lordship to appoint me a priest." After a little consideration, "Would you wish your priest to be an old man or a young one?"—"My lord, you know your subjects better than I do: I leave the choice to you: his age is to me a matter of indifference."—"Many people think otherwise: however, if you will be pleased to call here to-morrow at this hour, I will introduce him to you." I took my leave without a genuflexion, but with a strong sentiment of respect and kindness for this worthy, amiable, old man.

The next day I found, in Castle Street, the Reverend Mr. Hodgson, one of the priests of the chapel in St. George's Fields. Of him, as I do not know but that he is still living, I shall only say, that I had every reason to be pleased and satisfied with his conduct and his counsels, and that I think of him with gratitude. I passed with him a part of every morning of the following week, except Sunday and Thursday, at his house near the chapel; and in this chapel of St. George, on the 26th of May, the feast of St. Augustin, apostle of England, was admitted[Pg 65] into the one fold, under the protection, as I humbly hope, of the one Shepherd.

Before Mr. Hodgson took me to the altar, where I was to read, for this purpose, the creed of Pope Pius V, he inquired how baptism was administered in the Church of England. I told him, by aspersion. He said, "We have reason to believe that baptism is given with you sometimes very carelessly, and it is a rule to baptise conditionally every convert under fifty years of age."—"How do you administer it?"—"By affusion; and the rule is, that there be so much water ut gutta guttam sequatur."—"That was very probably not the case in my baptism."—"There are other ceremonies, not of the essence of the sacrament, which I shall omit." He added, "Do not suppose that I question the validity of your baptism, if it were duly performed. Had you been a Quaker—" Even the grave circumstances in which I found myself did not repress a slight movement of offended pride, at its being supposed possible that I could have been a Quaker. "Had you been a Quaker, I should have been sure that you were not baptized, and should not even have received your confession."—"But you do not allow the orders of the Anglican church?"—"True: but[Pg 66] even lay persons are not only permitted, but enjoined to administer baptism, as an act of Christian charity, in case of necessity." Another distraction, as the French call it. Not having been used to belong to a tolerated and despised sect, I had felt my bile rise at the word Quaker; and now memory recalled the interesting scene in the "Gerusalemme Liberata," the helmet, the fountain, Tancred baptizing the dying Clorinda. I kneeled down, however, and the priest poured water on my head, repeating at the same time, "Si non es baptizatus, Henrice, ego te baptizo in nomine," &c. I then made my profession of catholic faith, and was thus reconciled to the church. The next morning I received the blessed Eucharist from the hands of the same priest.

It was Whitsunday: Bishop Douglass was to give confirmation in the chapel of Virginia Street. It was plain, for a reason above-stated, that I had not been confirmed. After breakfast, I walked with Mr. Hodgson over London Bridge, towards Ratcliffe Highway. It is usual for the person confirmed, to be addressed by the bishop, either by his name of baptism, or any other at his choice: I took the name of John, in honour of John, surnamed Chrysostom, to whom,[Pg 67] as having removed the great obstacle in limine, I owed the beginning of my conversion. May the good work be aided by his prayers!

I have made my apology to the protestants of England, especially to those with whom I was engaged, whose reform was conducted by the civil power, who are the national church. But, that a church is national is inconclusive in argument: a nation may be in possession of truth, but truth is not national; and civil power enters for nothing into a question of religious truth. But justice is civil truth, the genuine attribute, the appropriate ornament, the best defence of civil power. Let the civil power cease to deprive of their civil rights those who adhere to that religion which the same civil power protected, encouraged, and maintained, from the time of Ethelbert of Kent, down to the reign of the boy king, Edward the Sixth.

The religion of the people of Scotland is the established religion of Scotland: a great principle is here recognised: truth is out of the question; for more than one religion cannot be true. Let the principle be applied to Ireland: the people of that country still adhere to the ancient faith; let it be established there for them: to make them good subjects it is only necessary to treat them as such. Men quarrel not about[Pg 68] religion; there is nothing about which they are more indifferent, when the state does not quarrel with them about it; and every statesman, every reader of history, knows that, for the uses of the state, the catholic religion is at least as good as any other.

Extravagant as this project of establishing the catholic religion in Ireland will seem to those who "like to hear reason when they are determined, because then reason can do no harm;"—ridiculous, and even insolent as it will appear to the maintainers of protestant ascendency,—it is not my project, nor will I take on myself the undivided responsibility of it. It is the proposition of a much wiser man.

When I lived at Lincoln, after the death of my mother, the celebrated William Paley was sub-dean of the cathedral: I was in the habit of daily and familiar intercourse with him. One day, before one of those dinners which are given to the residentiary in a course as regular as that of the dinners of the cabinet-ministers, the company was standing in a circle round the fire; I stood next to Paley. He, almost pushing me out of the circle by a certain turn of his shoulder, to signify that what he was about to say would not be said out of complaisance to me as a catholic, while, at the same time he looked[Pg 69] over his other shoulder to assure himself that I was listening,—Paley, I say, began to assert the justice, the expediency, and the utility of establishing by law in Ireland the catholic worship, defending the measure by the arguments, and almost in the words set down by me; ending, by declaring himself persuaded that the catholic clergy of Ireland would be well contented when they were well paid, and the catholic population would, in that supposed case, be as good subjects as they are every where else under the same circumstances.

The greater part of Poland is subject to a schismatic; Silesia to a Lutheran; the Low Countries, formerly Austrian, to a Calvinist: the sovereigns of those several countries have not yet taken away the ecclesiastical revenues from the catholic clergy, nor their civil rights from the catholic people.

Having made out a case, as I express myself above, I mention several topics on which, for brevity's sake, I forbear to enlarge. I beg to be understood as having a due sense of the importance of these objects, of each in its kind, and as entertaining in regard to them the opinion held by the catholic church. I say this the rather, because many protestants, after talking with me[Pg 70] on religion, have found me, as they said, so reasonable, that they would not believe that I was really and truly a papist. The unreasonableness of the catholic faith exists only in the imagination of the protestants, who, in general, know nothing about it. One of them asked me why the prayers were translated into Latin: I answered, that the pope had ordered them to be subtracted in this manner from the curiosity of the good people of ——, naming the town nearest the country residence of my interrogator. Another, a little perplexed on the subject of unity, asked, "What is the catholic church?" as an answer, I asked, "What is the church of England?" An Anglican clergyman put the question, "What is the mass?" I told him it was what he had engaged to oppose. He was a worthy, quiet man, and did not want to oppose any thing.

In short, it is only from political causes that opposition, alienation, or dispute about this matter arise. Foreigners are astonished that a nation, so wise, so just, so tolerant as the English, should disqualify one-third of its people from serving the state, and perpetuate animosities which are laid at rest in every other country in Europe. The Baron —— was the only man in[Pg 71] France who saw through the whole matter at once: "You have your interests of the Reformation, as we have ours of the revolution."

It is a matter in which I have no interest but that of truth. I have given not as a polemic, but as a humble narrator, an account of my motives and reasons for adopting as truth that which has been believed as such by the bulk and great majority of the Christian world in all nations and in all ages, from the foundation of Christianity. I have done this in the hope of removing prepossessions, and to persuade the reader that he may accompany me abroad without any apprehension that I shall enter into controversy. Some extraordinary events are related in my narrative, which a regard for truth has alone induced me to set down, at the risk of being considered as enthusiastic or superstitious. Against such an interpretation, formed on a view of part only of this work, I am not afraid to appeal to the judgment of those who will take the pains to read and consider the whole.

Ad Clari Montem.
Clermont, en Auvergne. Clermont-Ferrand, Puy de Dôme.
21st March, 1826.


[1] Is it necessary to bend the knee before his Lordship?

[2] What is your pleasure, Sir?

[Pg 73]




[Pg 75]



The English are assuredly a most enterprising and restless people: they form establishments at the Antipodes, and plant colonies on the banks of the Loire, in an enemy's country, after a war of twenty years: their merchant-vessels cover the seas, and their opulent and unoccupied gentry inundate the continent of Europe: their hardy mariners search out the north-west passage, and the idle and curious among them strive, with no less difficulty, to discover lakes, mountains, and cascades, unvisited by former adventurers,

———qua nulla priorum

English reading-rooms are set up at Tours and in other great towns; English seminaries of[Pg 76] education are founded in France, Switzerland, and Italy; and English horse-races are exhibited at Naples. Fox-hunters and fox-hounds penetrate to covers where even the foxes never saw them before; where, coming from their holes, they gaze quietly upon them; where there is no sport, because no pursuit; no pursuit, because no flight; no flight, because no fear; no fear, because no experience of former enmity.

The French calculated, with some degree of satisfaction, that, during the occupation of their frontier by the army of observation, the English spent as much money at Paris as was contributed by themselves to the support of that army. At Florence, towards the end of the year 1822, I was informed by good authority, that there were twelve thousand foreigners in the city, of whom seven thousand were English.

By a migration, very much resembling the flight of birds of passage, they usually leave their country in the spring, and after a few weeks at Paris, set off to pass the summer in Switzerland, arrive in Italy in the autumn, cross the Apennines before the winter; the beginning of which season they spend at Florence: they go to Rome for the Carnival, to Naples for a month or five weeks of Lent, return to Rome for the holy[Pg 77] week, and then, much edified and instructed, they find their way home, during the ensuing summer, through France or Germany. I asked Lady A. at Rome, when she went to Naples: "I don't know;—when the others go:" so much is this route recognised as a matter of course.

The route is in truth admirably well traced, and eighteen months might thus be passed to great advantage by a well-prepared and impartial traveller. Rarely however are these English sufficiently acquainted with the languages of the countries through which they pass, to be able to sustain a conversation: they carry with them their insular prejudices, their pride of wealth, their unpliant manners, their attachment to their own customs, amusements, and cookery: though treated with indulgence and even civil attentions by the governments of the continent, they are suffered, rather than received by the inhabitants. For their choice of the objects of curiosity they visit, and the opinion to be formed upon them, they are at the mercy of guides and ciceroni: for society, they are guided by instinct, and reduced by necessity, to herd together. An Italian lady at Florence opened her salon for the reception of a mixed company of Florentines and English: the English occupied, first one corner, and then a whole side, of the salon,[Pg 78] their numbers increasing, but the chasm between them and the natives still remaining. The lady, fatigued with doing the honours of her house to two separate companies on the same evenings, and disgusted with these appearances of distrust and resiliency, invented some decent pretext for receiving no more.

Observing this propensity in the English to associate with each other, foreigners seem persuaded that Yorick alone did not quit England to seek Englishmen. I was asked if I had been at Tours, because there were so many of my countrymen there. "My countrymen," said I, "choose well; Touraine is said to be the garden of France." My interlocutor recurred to the idea with which he had first proposed the question. "Il y a là tant de vos compatriotes."—"Il y en a encore plus en Angleterre:"[3] and Sterne's argument prevailed.

Many persons of small incomes; many who wish to retrench their expenses, but are ashamed of doing so at home; some for the purpose of having wine and fruit at a cheaper rate; and some for the sake of a better climate,—pass several years abroad, fixed at the place of their[Pg 79] first choice, or travelling but little, and at great intervals of time. The economical residents abroad seldom proceed further from home than to the towns near the southern shore of the channel, and to those on the banks of the Loire. Some parents take their children abroad to enable them to acquire the use of those living languages, which, though very generally taught, are very rarely learned in England. Excluded from the greater part of the continent of Europe during twenty years of revolution and of war, English travellers had been obliged to waste their activity in voyages to the western isles of Scotland, or in picturesque tours to the Giant's Causeway, or the Lake of Killarney: some cooled their ardour amid the snows of Scandinavia, and others roused their classical enthusiasm by the view of Salamis and Thermopylæ: some measured the Pyramids of Egypt, others performed pilgrimages to the Holy Land. The peace of Amiens opened to them, though but for a few short months, the road to Paris, and the gallery of the Louvre, enriched with the spoils of nations.

It is not forgotten how, on the rupture of that peace, they were arrested, throughout the whole extent of the French republic and its dependencies, and detained as prisoners of war, in reprisal[Pg 80] of the seizure of French ships and citizens throughout the maritime empire of England: succeeding English travellers, twelve years later, remembered it well: the crowds, again attracted to Paris on the restoration of the king, fled in all directions on the landing of Napoleon from Elba. "Pourquoi me fuient-ils?" said he: "je ne me répète pas."[4]

Perhaps the outlawry fulminated against him by the congress of Vienna would have been as good a reason for doing again what he had done before, as the sweeping the seas without declaration of war was alleged to be on the former occasion: perhaps he regretted the failure of a second opportunity of retorting on England, in this way, the hatred and insult with which he had ever been treated by its government. At any rate, the distrust of the English travellers was founded on experience, and the reproach conveyed in this manifestation of it was answered by an ingenious, spirited, and in some sort conciliatory pleasantry.

After the battle of Waterloo, the travellers, some of whom had retired no further than to the Low Countries, followed in the train of the victorious,[Pg 81] and invading armies: all were impatient to return to Paris; in truth their impatience was not without good cause. All the monuments of the fine arts were now to be dispersed: the fruits of victory deposited at Paris were soon to be restored to their former owners.

It was evidently the interest of England, that this superb collection should remain within three days journey of London; but the principle "suum cuique" forbad it. Yet the republic of Genoa had the same right to its ancient constitution as to the far-famed emerald dish, which I saw in the Hotel de Ville at Genoa, with a piece broken out of it. The union of the littoral to the dominion of Sardinia is an advantage to both parties: but then what becomes of the principle which dictated the restitution of the emerald dish?

Notwithstanding the necessity thus imposed on our travellers of wandering all over Europe in search of objects once assembled near their own doors,—the nations of the continent are not too much inclined to believe in the bonhommie of English politicians; nor indeed can it be certainly known how far their good will was an ingredient in this, so called, act of justice.

Since the second restoration of the King of France, peace, and the visits of the English to[Pg 82] the countries to which ingress is no longer prohibited, have continued without interruption: residence abroad has assumed an appearance of stability and design. An outcry has been raised in England against these emigrations, and it has been proposed to tax absentees; a measure which, in its application to those who take a journey for a few months, would be at once vexatious and ridiculous, and in its operation on those who retire abroad on account of contracted income, would be severe and unproductive; and which could, in neither case, be effected without a partial income-tax. The number of travellers and residents abroad, though great, has been much exaggerated: wherever exact inquiry has been made, it has turned out to be less than was reported. I could not hear of more than six or eight English families resident by the year in each of the three great towns of Italy, Florence, Rome, and Naples.

The French, persuaded that society can no where else be so well enjoyed as in France, feel little inclination to travel. The Italians, satisfied that all that is best worth beholding both in art and nature is to be found on their side of the Alps, seldom take the trouble of passing that barrier. I speak of the same class of persons, in both nations, as that in which the English[Pg 83] traveller is to be found,—the rich and idle; for the poorer French and Italians are more adventurous, and more frequently leave their own country to gain their living abroad, than those of the lower condition of life in our sea-girt isle. I have therefore frequently been called upon to explain the phenomenon of the British spirit of excursion. My friends at Avignon could hardly believe that curiosity, the desire of instruction, the purpose of employing usefully a portion of time which would otherwise be employed in the ordinary routine of life, were motives sufficient for incurring the expense, trouble, and risk of long journeys: the expense, they allowed, might be a consideration of no importance to a people so rich as the English; besides, they travelled cheaper in France than in England; yet it would cost still less to stay at home: the defiance of fatigue and danger were very gravely accounted for by the supposition of something peculiar to the English character, a certain restlessness and locomotive propensity, which dislodged them from the centre of repose, and impelled them to wander in wide and extravagant orbits. The astonishment of the Avignonais was excessive, when a lady, who intended to pass some years in the south of France, coming to visit my family, and changing her purpose, returned to Paris[Pg 84] within a fortnight. "Les Anglois font tout ce qu'ils veulent: un voyage de trois cents lieues pour une visite de quinze jours."[5] Like the rustic in the fable, they waited to see the end of this current of travellers; and I could hardly obtain credit when I assured them that, though some extraordinary degree of expansion was to be expected after twenty years compression, yet when the present generation should cease, the succeeding one would still supply the stream.

May this stream still hold on in an equal and uninterrupted course; may no wars arrest it; no jealousies divert it; no disgusts dry up its source! The division of mankind into nations is the great calamity of the human race. War, with all its horrors, and all its crimes, (for crimes there must be; since no war can be just on both sides, and may on both sides be unjust,) war, with all its inflictions, is the first great evil arising from this separation of those who ought, as creatures and sons of the same Creator and Father, to be "a band of brothers." From war results that other great evil, seen in the administration of the internal concerns of each country; the government being of necessity entrusted,[Pg 85] for the defence of the people, with the power of the sword, the people are governed by the sword of power. Hostile prejudices, the strife of interests ill understood, false judgments, and the jargon of languages mutually unintelligible, fears, suspicions, and precautions perpetuate the evil of disunion when the work of havoc and desolation is suspended. Short and feverish are the periods of suspension: they are put out to inestimable profit when the means are employed of making the several peoples of the earth better known to each other, of softening asperities, removing misunderstandings, and conciliating mutual good-will.

Such ought to be, over and above the peculiar advantage and pleasure of each individual traveller, the object of foreign travel. To the furtherance of this object it is hoped that this account of a long residence in France and Italy may in some slight degree contribute: it is written without prepossession, in good-will towards the people I have visited, in the conviction that human nature, though not virtuous, is in all countries capable of, and inclined to virtue. For variety of usages, which makes men appear more alien from each other than they really are,—either it regards things indifferent, or there exists a good reason for it, which observation enables us[Pg 86] to discover. To me in truth this difference in European customs appears so slight, that, were it not for the language, I could easily forget that I was abroad. "Omne solum forti patria:" but it requires still more fortitude to have no patria at all, as is the case of an English catholic: for political rights are included in the idea of patria.

Having lived between three and four months in Paris, and between three and four years in the south of France with my family, I have made observations, which I hope may be useful to those who have the same plan of foreign residence or travel, and not less interesting, both to them, and to those who are content with their English home, than the remarks of a more hasty tourist. The care of a household and of the education of children brings the head of a family to the knowledge of many circumstances and combinations which escape the notice of the single traveller; and intercourse with the society of a place during a sojourn gives some insight into the character, some perception of the manners and opinions of a people.

I have also lived three years and a half in Italy, of which country I seem to myself to have much to say; but for reasons that may be conjectured by the reader of this book, I defer my Italian narrative till the present work shall have under[Pg 87]gone the judgment of the public. Meantime, this is a separate composition, and independent of any thing I may hereafter write on Italy.

I have lived so long in the world, that, although, from motives of charity, I wish to have the good report of all, few remain for whose commendation I am anxious, even as an author. I think it right however, to request the reader's indulgence for a style of writing by no means current or easy,—a fault owing to the habitual, daily use of two, or even three languages: often does the foreign phrase present itself, and then the English one is to be sought for. I have besides, for these last eight years, had but a very sparing intercourse with English literature.

For the sake of obviating misconstruction of my occasional remarks on political subjects, I think it right, in this introductory chapter, to make a few general observations on the French revolution. I detest, or obtest, against all revolutions, for two reasons: change of forms and names, and, generally speaking, of persons even, does not always produce a change of principles or of conduct; tyrannical democracies and benevolent despotisms are no new things in the history of the world: secondly, revolutions cannot change the condition of the great bulk of mankind, of persons without property, of the poor: poor they must be; for property is necessary to[Pg 88] the existence of society; work they must, because they are poor. A man of this class at Paris, whom I wanted to engage to talk on the late revolution, cut short the matter by saying, "pour nous autres, on ne demande à nous qu'à travailler."[6] That some of them may benefit by a political change, proves nothing against the uselessness of such a change to them, considered as, what they are in effect, the mass of mankind, and in reference to the continued duration of the social state.

On the 23d of June, 1789, Louis XVI offered to the states-general a constitution very much resembling the charter since given by Louis XVIII. What has the French nation gained by the refusal of the Etats Généraux, to accede to the project of this séance royale? Their church is impoverished; they are endeavouring to form an aristocracy, of which destruction has hardly left them the elements; and the number of electors,—of persons represented,—is now much smaller than it would have been in the Etats Généraux. Since that day, little permanent advantage has been obtained, except the abolition of feudal rights; but of these, exemption[Pg 89] from taxation had been abandoned; all that was unjust or grievous besides, would soon have followed. A deficit of fifty millions of francs caused the revolution; and in its consequence it has trebled the taxes: it rejected titles and ribands as unworthy of the dignity of man, and it has produced a second set of nobles, and a new order of knighthood.

True liberal principles cannot be disgraced; like religion, they may be the pretext, but are not the cause of excesses and of crimes; but the conduct of the revolution has retarded their spread and influence, by making every wise and prudent man afraid to trust to the professors of them. After the perpetration of horrors, on which the human mind cannot bear to look fixedly, a military despotism is quietly submitted to, as if nothing but, "res novæ," new wealth, new power, had been sought for.

———"Ubi nunc facundus Ulysses?"

The leaders of the revolution and of the republic did not recognise the true limit of civil authority: it has nothing to do but to defend the state against foreign enemies, and the citizens against each other: whatever government attempts to do more, only supplies means of vexation to subordinate agents. They tyrannised over the religious and political conscience[Pg 90] of the people by the civil constitution of the clergy, who, when their property was taken away, ought to have been let alone; by persecutions which belied the tolerance of philosophy; by oaths of hatred of royalty, which kept up the memory of the cowardly murder of the king,—that aping of the English under circumstances totally different. War, after the promulgation of perpetual peace, seemed interminable; and the offer to assist all nations in the recovery of liberty, was seen to be a scheme for domineering in all nations by means of civil dissension.

These things prepared the way for Napoleon Bonaparte, whose elevation was, at first, by no means unpopular in Europe. He must be admired by the present age, and by posterity, as a great man: he offered himself as pacificator, and in a few years subjected a hundred millions of Europeans: such a force as this,—the arts, the knowledge, and by consequence, the power of those whom he commanded taken into the account,—no man ever yet had wielded. "He gave not God the glory:" in this he was not alone; such was, such is, the spirit of the age: his fall was caused by the coming on of the snow and frost in Russia a week or fortnight sooner than usual. History records nothing equal to his elevation and his fall. That fall[Pg 91] must be dated at the retreat from Moscow; the rest was but the struggle of the dying lion. The French revolution seems like a bloody tragedy, after the representation of which, the actors put on their every-day clothes, and resume their ordinary occupations: it has disappointed the hopes of the philanthropist, and delayed the effect of the moral revolution, prepared long before, and working in the minds of enlightened men. This sort of revolution is the only one that can be permanent or beneficial to mankind. Christianity itself is, in its influence on civil society, a revolution of this sort, and, in respect to this life only, has done incalculable good.

The great results of the French revolution are to be looked for beyond the Atlantic. Owing to the distracted state of Europe, a continent, more abounding than the old world in the means of prosperity and power, is become independent: the slaves of Hayti have broken their chains, and may carry civilization and freedom to the country of their origin. Yet another century, and Europe itself may sink into comparative insignificance. But let the wise and virtuous unite in opinion; and Europe, though no longer the proprietor, may still be the teacher of the new world, and in the old may aid suffering humanity.


[3] "There are so many of your countrymen there."—"There are still more of them in England."

[4] "Why do they run away from me? I do not do the same thing twice over."

[5] "The English do whatever they have a mind to: a journey of three hundred leagues for a visit of a fortnight!"

[6] As for us, nothing is required of us but that we should work.

[Pg 92]


On the 23d of April, which the English now know to be the feast of St. George, though, before the accession of King George IV. who observes that day as his birth-day, few of them knew the name of their patron or the day of his feast; "such honour have the saints" in England;—on that day, in the year 1818, I arrived with my two sons at Southampton, on the shore of that sea, which on the morrow was to separate me from my native country.

The son of the captain (for by courtesy he is called captain,) of the Chesterfield packet came to us at the Dolphin Inn, and informed us that the tide would serve at two o'clock the next afternoon. We had hastened through rain and darkness, during the last stage, with a grumbling postilion; for, though we knew the day, we knew not the hour of embarkation. The time we had to spare we might have passed more agreeably at Winchester. Southampton, a very pretty town, is so regularly built, that we had time more than enough to see it, and not enough to go to enjoy the beautiful view from the heights which command the bay, the channel[Pg 93] between Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, and the isle itself. All this, however, we saw from the deck of our vessel, more advantageously than in what is called a bird's-eye view, which is only useful when necessary for peeping into the inside of amphitheatres, and the hollows of ravines and craters.

Our travelling trunks were sent to the custom-house. A year before, owing to a discussion concerning cotton yarn, which Mr. Brougham may perhaps remember, an old lady, of seventy years of age, had been despoiled of a pound of cotton thread which she was taking with her to amuse herself with knitting: the stockings or garters thus fabricated she would have brought back to England, without the least injury to its manufacturing interests. But, on such important occasions, how can discretionary powers be entrusted to custom-house officers? We, being not knitters of stockings, on this occasion, had the good fortune to excite very little of their curiosity. They did not even wish us a good voyage.

A boat conveyed us to the packet: we set sail, if setting sail it might be called, when there was hardly wind to swell the canvass. The air was sultry, the sky was cloudy; and when we had cleared the Isle of Wight, and night was[Pg 94] coming on, there was every appearance of an approaching storm: Captain Wood even allowed that there might be "a puff." I admired the self-possession he maintained, notwithstanding the troublesome questions put to him, and expressions of fear and anxiety from the passengers: answering every one with the greatest civility, he yet never turned aside from the conduct of the vessel. "It is silly in us, captain, to disturb you thus: we might trust to you."—"Sir, my son and I are on board: the vessel cost me three thousand pounds." I drew the inference desired, and left him.

With every inclination, after the event, to begin my book with a description of a storm at sea, as Virgil begins his Æneid, I forego this attempt at amusing my reader, for two reasons: without the machinery of Juno, Æolus, and Neptune, the storm even of Virgil would hardly be raised in dignity above a common occurrence; and next, because my storm was really a very moderate one, hardly sufficient to excite that degree of terror in me, and of pity in others, which is necessary to sublimity. In sober guise then, I have to relate that it rained, lightened, and thundered; but thunder at sea, I remarked, is not so loud as thunder heard on land, re-echoed by houses and buildings: and lightning in that[Pg 95] vast space does not seem so directly aimed at one, as when flashed into one's face through the narrow boundary of a window. The rolling of the sea was not very violent; but the wind drove us out of our course, and we found ourselves, in the morning, to the eastward of Fécamp. We could with the greatest ease have entered the port of Dieppe: I proposed to the captain to do so; but his affairs and his port papers, which this little stress of weather was not a sufficient excuse for contravening, recalled him to Havre. The other passengers also were desirous of landing at Dieppe; but rules and regulations,—a phrase which I translated into English for the benefit of a certain provincial book club, which had thus entitled its by-laws, rules, and rulations,—at every step vexatiously and uselessly embarrass the intercourse of mankind.

In the present case we had to employ sixteen hours in working our way back again towards Havre. The voyage was, however, pleasant. We were, all the while, almost within a stone's throw of the French coast: we talked with several fishermen: we seemed to be all but landed. The clouds, which had so thickly covered the sky, and poured down so much rain the preceding night, had passed away to the eastward. In the afternoon, a brilliant rainbow was stretched[Pg 96] across the channel, and seemed to unite, by an aërial arch, the countries of France and England. Our impatience was put to the proof by a calm, which arrested our progress for two hours: the elements seemed to have conspired to treat us with a specimen of every sort of weather that can be experienced at sea. At last a breeze sprung up; slowly we crept along towards the mouth of the Seine; and a quarter of an hour before midnight entered the port of Havre, after a voyage of thirty-two hours, the latter half of which was useless to my purpose of coming to France, and would have been dangerous had the storm come on again, as we were close on the rocks, and had very little sea-room.

The passage by Dover takes the traveller from London to Paris about a hundred miles out of his way. Brighton is the point of the English coast nearest to Paris; but, though the opposite harbour of Dieppe is good, the embarkation and disembarkation at Brighton is exposed to all the violence of the winds and waves. The passage from Southampton may be performed in ten hours, and Havre is very little further than Dieppe from the capital of France.

Before we entered the harbour, our steward descended to extinguish a large lamp that[Pg 97] burnt in the cabin: he gave us (that is, to me and my sons) our choice of going on deck, or staying below in the dark: we loitered, and were punished afterwards for our delay by breaking our shins against the cabin stairs. The vessel was not allowed to enter the port with a light on board; a lantern is hung out on the prow. The use of the lantern is evident: it is not quite so clear why our lights were to be put out: against an accidental fire this was no sufficient precaution; had we wished to set our vessel in a state of conflagration, and run her amongst the French shipping, nothing was requisite but a tinder-box, or a gallipot of phosphorus. Regulations seem to be made sometimes, in order that those who are in employment may have something to do: work is invented for places, instead of places being created on account of work.

We waited some little time for the officer of the port, who was to receive our passports. I stood on the deck, and looked around on the light-house, the shipping, and the lights from the windows; heard the mixture of French and English bandied in talk between us on board and those on shore, and was delighted with these assurances that we were restored to human life and society, and no longer tossed on[Pg 98] the sea, where, as Homer says, there are no vintages. I quote this expression, not because I am insensible to the beauty of a poetical amplification, but for three reasons: first, to show my learning,—a motive which I by no means approve, but leave it to be appreciated by other authors: secondly, because this epithet conveys precisely the reason of my dislike of sea voyages: Edie Ochiltre says, "the worst of a prison is, that one can't get out of it;" and I say, the worst of the sea is, that it is not dry land; an objection in both cases essential and fatal: thirdly, I wish to make a remark, which has, I believe, escaped all former commentators,—that Homer had probably no more notion of lands in which there were no grapes, than the African prince of walking on the surface of a river.

The tide had raised our deck to the level of the quay: the clock struck twelve; it was now the anniversary of the birth of my younger son, and we set our feet on the soil of France. The other passengers had announced their intention of going, in a mass, to the English inn, where a part of my family, three months later, found, what was to be expected, high charges; and, what was not to be expected, plenty of bugs. Fearing a contest for beds amongst such a[Pg 99] number, (for there were ten or twelve of us,) and the delay of getting them ready for so many, I went to the Hôtel de la Ville du Havre, recommended by Captain Wood, who conducted us thither, roused the sleeping family, introduced, and left us! M. and Madame Marre appeared in night-cap and dressing-gown, very much resembling (I say it with all due respect for very worthy persons,) the caricatures of French physiognomy exhibited in our print-shops. Madame Marre told the chamber-maid to show me the beds: I went up stairs, and on my return was asked if I was contented with what the "bonne" had shown me. I have heard of an old lady who was very much offended by being called good woman; and the expression "la bonne" appeared to me a contemptuous one: such a novice was I, that I looked at the girl to see whether she took it as an affront or a compliment; she was quite unmoved. I told the mistress that the three beds were very good, and desired to see the sheets: they were more than damp; they might be said to be wet: to have them aired at one in the morning was out of the question; our resource was to do without them for that night. I know an English family who, arriving early in the evening at an inn in France, and, as a matter of course, ordering[Pg 100] the sheets to be aired, were charged, the next morning, five francs for fire-wood. Our sheets were aired, on the next day, without any instructions on our part to that effect, according to the custom of the country, au soleil.

This sun enabled us to sit at an open window during our breakfast: for this meal we had French rolls, excellent Norman butter, and café au lait. The coffee usually served in England is considered by the French as no better than coffee and water; what was now furnished to us was so strong, that, though mixed with an equal quantity of boiling milk, it had more of the taste of coffee than I have found in what was called very good coffee at those splendid and fatiguing assemblies, which the ladies call routs, at Bath and other towns,—where, in order that four persons may amuse themselves at whist in a creditable way, forty others are crowded together for the same laudable purpose.

It was Sunday: we went to mass: the church was crowded to excess: so many churches have been confiscated to the use of the nation, that, in the great towns, not enough of them remain for the use of the people. We went to the port to inquire after our trunks: it was low water; and our packet-boat, which rode so high in the night, was now hardly afloat: we went down[Pg 101] into it by a ladder, and found that our goods had been sent to the custom-house: thither we bent our steps: the officer attended, a smart young man in a military dress: he ascertained the nature of the contents of my boxes, and the object of my journey, and gave no unnecessary trouble: he talked much of English commerce, and did not affect to conceal his satisfaction that it was "écrasé par les impôts."[7] I ought therefore to believe in the sincerity of his wishes, that my journey in France might be as agreeable and advantageous as I myself desired. I now had to disengage myself from three out of five stout porters, who stood in readiness to bear away my two hair trunks and writing-desk: I told them, two men could carry the whole: they assured me it was impossible. I then endeavoured to get rid of one at least of the five, by placing the writing-desk on one of the trunks, making a civil leave-taking sign, at the same time, to the man who seemed to consider the desk as his share in this weighty matter: the man answered me by a low reverence, and by taking the desk under his arm; the other four seized each the ring of a trunk, and all set off at full speed to the inn. Nothing remained but to follow, and pay them according to their number.

[Pg 102]

Our passport, granted by the Marquis d'Osmond, the French ambassador at the English court, allowing us to circulate freely within the kingdom of France, had been forwarded to Paris, and we were to receive another for the limited purpose of following our passport. I had not found the Bureau open: this was no inconvenience, as I intended to rest this day at Havre. M. Marre gave us a very good dinner, at three francs a head, and claret at the same price a bottle: he sat down with us, and did the honours, and animated the conversation, "like any other gentleman." Among the company was a priest, who showed at once his gratitude and his discontent, by telling me that the English government, which had taken nothing from him, allowed him, during his emigration, a larger pension than the French government now paid him, though it was in possession of the property of which he had been deprived: he forgot that the spoliators and those who compensated were different parties; that in 1818, nothing was left of the biens nationaux of 1789.

We viewed the town and the port, and saw nothing particularly remarkable, but the great number of parrots hung at doors and windows, and crying out—"damn" and "damn your[Pg 103] eyes." Their voyage from the tropics had been performed under English auspices. Havre is a great depôt of colonial produce; and this bird may probably be in great demand in a nation, so loquacious as we, in our vulgar prejudices, suppose the French to be. The commerce of the place assumed at this time a great degree of activity in objects of more importance than parrots, however accomplished. But the day was a day of rest.

The next morning I went to the Bureau de Police for my passport: the Commissaire, for reasons or from feelings best known to himself, desired me to call again in two hours. I have seen many instances of the hatred of the French towards the English, which the imperial government had excited to the utmost degree of intensity, and which did not begin to subside till the removal of the army of observation. M. le Commissaire, I suspect, indulged in a little ebullition of this unamiable sentiment: in vain I represented that my passport had been in his office the whole of the preceding day, during which I had called there three times: this seemed to increase his triumph; and he coolly, though very civilly, repeated his request that I would call again in two hours.

He procured for us a very pleasant walk on[Pg 104] the hills, which command a view of the town, the mouth of the Seine, and the channel. The trees, in this land of cyder, were in full blossom; the rye was in ear; all seemed to be a month earlier than in the northern region we had left a week before, when we quitted our home. We entered the church; the parish is called St. Vic: I was surprised to see the exact resemblance of this church to those edifices, the remains of former times, which, in our villages, are opened once a week for divine worship: the altar and images excepted, it was the same sort of interior: there was indeed the holy water pot, but of that the trace at least is to be found in almost all our old churches: but the images; ay, there was St. Denis, with his head, not under his arm, but held between his hands. On this I shall only remark, that he who, on account of the legend of St. Denis, believes the catholic religion to be false, may deceive himself in a matter of the greatest moment; whereas he who believes the legend to be true, may be deceived, but in a matter of no moment at all.

A farmer's lad, of about fourteen, came up to us in the church-yard, and entered into a conversation, which he conducted without bashfulness, and with the greatest propriety. He told us, that mass was said every morning at break[Pg 105] of day, and that the peasantry attended it before going to their labour. He talked of the principal tombs before us, and of the families in two or three large houses within our view: he asked questions respecting England, where, he supposed, there were no poor, because he had never seen any: undeceived on this point, he inquired after the state of these poor, with marks of fellow-feeling; what wages they gained: and when I, in my turn, was informed of the wages and price of bread in his country, and showed him, that though the Englishman gained more sous, the Frenchman gained more bread, he clearly apprehended the nature of the case, pitying at the same time those who had less bread to eat than he had himself. He took leave of us, and certainly had not the least expectation of a present to make him drink: that we were strangers,—that we talked his language with difficulty,—all that would have repelled an English peasant,—excited his curiosity, and even his good-will.

We returned to the town, found a commis who expedited our passport in five minutes, and went to take our places in the Paris diligence. A woman gave me a receipt for my arrhes. I told her it would save trouble to include my luggage in the same receipt. "When you shall have sent it, sir," was the answer. A distinguishing[Pg 106] character of the French is exactness; in criticism, in style of writing, in calculation, in affairs, they are exact. I give my own opinion, not perhaps that of others.

It was the first of the Rogation days, which an Anglican may see, in his book of common-prayer, noted as days of abstinence. M. Marre, profiting by the neighbourhood of the sea, gave us a very fine turbot, part of a good dinner, at which appeared some dishes of meat. I paid my bill, (about fifty francs for three persons during two days,) and took my departure, but was arrested, in my way to the diligence, in a curious manner. I had given a franc to a boy for taking my two trunks in a wheel-barrow a short distance to the coach-office; Boots, at an inn in England, would have been contented with a sixpence; but the porte-faix of the douane had admonished me of the high expectations from English wealth and generosity. The father of this boy stopped me in the street; charged me with having robbed his son by paying only one franc instead of three, to which he had a right; threatening to take me before the commissary of police, "who," said he, "will put you in prison." He acted his part very well; he could not have been more angry, had I in reality committed an act of injustice towards so dear a part[Pg 107] of his family as this son, dressed, like himself, in a stout jacket of English fustian, and the heir apparent of all his impudence, who took his share in the scene by barring the passage to my elder son, not so stout, though rather taller than himself. I dreaded some act of vivacity on the part of my son, and called out to him at all events to be quiet. The boy of the inn, who carried my writing-desk and great coats, had no need of such a caution. My younger son, now in the first day of his thirteenth year, though alarmed by the hubbub, had the sense to see that the only way to get out of the affray was to pay the man, and begged me to do so. The clock struck five, the hour of the departure of the diligence,—a circumstance which made compliance with this sage counsel no longer a matter of choice, and on which the man had calculated with more reason than on the assistance of the police. After all, the lad was not much better paid than the porte-faix of the douane, who had attacked me only with the smell of garlic and tobacco, issuing from their mouths together with bad French. So much for Havre, ci-devant, de Grâce.

We found the diligence to be a convenient and even handsome public carriage, made to hold six persons within, and three in the cabriolet [Pg 108]or covered seat attached to it in front: at first, we had all this space to ourselves. After about an hour's ride, we got out of the coach to walk up a steep hill, and took our last leave of the semblance of English landscape. France and Italy offer no views of luxuriant pastures, with herds and flocks grazing in them, of trees irregularly planted, of enclosures unequally distributed, of fine swelling clouds hanging in the horizon,—themselves a beautiful object, and adding variety of light and shade to the picture. These we were to exchange for vines, like bushes, planted in rows, or trained in festoons from one pollard elm to another; for the pale leaf of the olive, for skies almost always cloudless, for fields abundant in produce, but without any thing living or moving in them. But we were as yet unable to make the comparison. As night came on, we took up other passengers who were going to a short distance: they were Normans; at least such I judged them to be from the great breadth of their bases, which took up a considerable space on the seats of the coach: in manners as well as in form they were different from Frenchmen; they were not indeed reserved, they had no mauvaise honte, but they were rude and selfish. The French proverb however says, and it is certainly right,[Pg 109] "il y a des honnêtes gens partout, même en Normandie;"[8] a proverb, cited by way of reprisal for a saying reported by a Norman; in contempt of the people of Champagne; "quatre-vingt dix-neuf moutons et un Champenois font cent bonnes bêtes."[9] It is curious to find jokes, like our own on Yorkshire honesty and Gloucestershire ingenuity, repeated in a foreign land.

To return to the country through which I am passing; the Normans are said to be very litigious; in proportion to the frequency of the discussion of questions of meum and tuum, are the illegal attempts at appropriating what belongs to another; an offence which the law calls theft, and punishes capitally. It seems that, before the Revolution, this capital punishment was administered at the gallows; a machine of which our Norman conqueror brought with him perhaps a model into England,—an excellent subsidiary to the curfew, as lately tried in Ireland; for our Saxon legislators are recorded to have hung offenders on trees, but I am ignorant that any proof exists of their having contrived a gallows.

[Pg 110]

The invention of the guillotine was a still further improvement; but, either from dislike to the shedding of blood, or from attachment to long-established modes, the Normans are said to have prepared for the king, on his restoration, a petition, of which here follows a copy:—

Pétition adressée par les Normands à S. M. Louis XVIII. à son Retour en France.
Sage Prince! quand tu nous rends
Tous nos anciens usages,
Accepte les hommages
Et comble les vœux des Normands!
Que la potence
Revive en France,
Daigne d'avance
Nous donner l'assurance
Que sous le règne des vertus
Les gibets nous seront rendus;
Heureux Normands! nous serons donc pendus!
Sous un roi débonnaire,
Comme on pendait nos pères!! (bis)
Oui, les bons Normands vont ravoir
L'antique privilège
D'aller en grand cortège
Danser à la Croix du Trahair;[10]
Nouvelle étude
Nous semble rude,

[Pg 111]

De l'attitude
Nous avons l'habitude,
Avec le sang de père en fils
Ce penchant nous était transmis:
Venez encore orner notre pays
Gibets héréditaires
Où l'on pendait nos pères!!

I am sorry I cannot give the notes of the music to which this song or petition was set, as that doubtless lent to it additional charms in the ears of His Majesty.

We arrived at Yvetot: I heard some talk, amongst my companions, concerning the king of Yvetot, but was unable to obtain from them a satisfactory explanation of its import. I have since been told, that there is a family in this neighbourhood, the head of which, by an immemorial traditionary usage, bore the title of King of Yvetot, with the consent and approbation of the king of France, which consent was regularly asked for, on every demise of the crown of Yvetot, and never refused till the time of Louis XIV: he refused it, however, saying, he was determined to be the only king in France: since this time the king of Yvetot has disappeared from among the sovereigns of Europe, or, according to the form of anathema of republican or imperial France, "has ceased to reign." The family still subsists, and its chief is, no[Pg 112] doubt, contented to be a private gentleman. I have forgotten his name.

We breakfasted at Rouen, at five in the morning: I much regretted the want of time to visit this great city, so well worthy of the curiosity of strangers. Here our companions left us, and we were again "all alone by ourselves."

At Magny they served soup and bouilli as the first part of our dinner, or déjeuné à la fourchette: I protested against the use of meat on a Rogation day. "C'est égal,"[11] said the landlady, an elderly woman of dry and quiet comportment. "I thought France was a catholic country," said I. "C'est égal," repeated the imperturbable landlady. She gave us, however, with some symptoms of approbation of our conduct, and of compassion for my young fellow-travellers, plenty of coffee and its accompaniments, with boiled eggs at discretion. I have often been ridiculed, by those who never dine without roast beef or its equivalent, for "taking thought what I should eat," on a day of abstinence; they have told me, that if mortification was my purpose, it would be most effectually accomplished by dining on bread and water. They forgot, or chose not to remember, that fasting or abstinence[Pg 113] is a positive duty consequent on a precept, and that it suffices to comply with a precept to the extent of the precept. I find fault with no one for eating meat on whatever day of the year, but for so doing in defiance of a precept, the obligation of which he himself recognizes, while he aggravates his inconsistency by thinking scorn of those who comply with it.

An old relation of mine, in Devonshire, told me he went to dine with a catholic family, in that county, who made an excuse for being obliged to give him what he would find a bad dinner: "They set me down," said he, "to eleven dishes of fish, and, d—n 'em, they called that fasting." My relation was gourmand enough to have preferred eleven dishes of meat. Besides, none but those who have made the experiment know how insipid fish is to those who do not eat it, as all men of true taste do eat it, for variety only. So sensible are catholics of this insipidity, that one, at whose house I dined with a large party, called out to us on entering his dining room,—"No fish, gentlemen: we have enough of that on other days."

There is another road from Rouen to Paris, called the lower road, following, at a little distance, the course of the Seine, and exhibiting a great variety of fine scenery: that taken by our[Pg 114] coach passed over a high plain of land of little fertility, but very well cultivated; it was in a straight line, and bordered by rows of apple trees, which, for some time before the season of gathering the fruit for cyder, are guarded in the night by dogs: during the day, their situation by the side of the road secures them from all but petty pilfering. At intervals were seen farm-houses, which seemed adapted for large farms; and the country bore signs of being occupied on the plan of what is called grand cultivation, except near the towns, where small patches of land, of different crops, marked the minute subdivision of property.

We passed through the village of St. Clair. A very particular circumstance, which had occurred five months before, caused me to be much affected, while in sight of this town. My elder son, who sat opposite to me, remarked the change of my countenance, and asked the reason: I eluded his question for the present: I was not aware how much what I then revolved in my mind regarded the fate of this son. St. Clair was an English priest, who, in the eighth century, retired into the pays de Vexin, led there an eremitical life, and occupied himself in the religious instruction of the inhabitants. His name and memory are held in great honour,[Pg 115] particularly in the dioceses of Beauvais and Paris.

We crossed the bridge of Pontoise without entering that ancient town, in which the Etats Généraux were sometime held. The building of a bridge was formerly so great an exploit, and the possession of one an advantage so uncommon, that the word enters into the composition of many names of towns: we find even Deuxponts, and Bracebridge. The waters of all the rivers which fall into the Seine seem to be of the same colour; all bring with them chalk and clay. The soil of the whole basin, or valley of the Seine, is generally uniform.

Paris is hidden, from those who approach it by the road of St. Denis, by the interposition of Montmartre, a bare hill of no pleasing form. No increasing populousness or bustle, or passage of exits and entrances, announces the vicinity of a great town: Paris is all within its own walls. We were stopt at the gate; for every gate is a douane, as all provisions pay a tax on entering the city, except bread, corn, and flour, which receive a premium: even one of my trunks was opened. As the parts of a town, remote from its centre, are, of course, inhabited by the poorer classes, it is unreasonable to expect magnificence on the first entering, even of Paris; but it improved as we proceeded. We crossed[Pg 116] the Boulevards, and were set down at the Messageries, the grand establishment of all the public carriages, whence we proceeded to the Hôtel de Conti, at a little distance, and near the Palais Royal. We had performed the whole journey in twenty-five hours, at the rate of about six miles an hour, all stoppages included. During the night, and where the road was bad, we went slowly; but from Rouen to Paris we went more than seven miles and a half an hour, the rate of an English mail coach; the relays of horses always being in readiness at the door of each post-house. The expense for three persons, including breakfast and dinner, was about five pounds.

A friend, whom I had hastened to see before his departure from Paris, and who, to my very great satisfaction, prolonged his stay there for four weeks after my arrival, came to us in the evening: we passed the next day with him, and on Thursday, after attending mass, on the feast of the Ascension, at the magnificent Gothic church of St. Eustache, settled ourselves in an apartment in the Rue de la Chaussée d'Autin, called otherwise, while Savoy was a department of France, Rue Mont Blanc, a name not yet entirely forgotten. It is, for length and width, one of the best in Paris, but very noisy. Garçons, however, did not mind noise: I too was a[Pg 117] garçon, waiting the arrival of the female part of my family. We had two sitting-rooms with cabinets, and three good beds. The house supplied us with hot water for our tea; we had our mid-day repast of fruit; and, when we did not dine at a café, which we did but rarely, were supplied with our dinner by a neighbouring traiteur. Thus we lived for nearly three months: a French master and drawing-master attended my sons; I superintended their other studies; and we employed our time in the attainment of the object immediately within our reach—in becoming acquainted with Paris and its environs.


[7] Overwhelmed by duties.

[8] There are honest people every where, even in Normandy.

[9] Ninety-nine sheep and one native of Champagne make a hundred good beasts.

[10] The Tyburn of Paris.

[11] It is all the same.

[Pg 118]


He, who, on his return to Edinburgh from London, should publish his remarks on the latter city, would not take more superfluous pains, for the instruction of his countrymen, than the Englishman who should publish in England an account of Paris: it is there almost as well known as London itself. Still it is a foreign city: and many, who would scorn to take up a London Guide, may, for the hundredth time, amuse themselves with notices of Paris.

"Il n'y a qu'une Paris dans le monde,"[12] say the French, and of that world they consider it as the capital: they are in some measure justified in so considering it, by the universality of their language, by the general imitation of their manners, and, above all, by the liberality with which every thing that a stranger can desire to view is offered to his inspection. There is certainly a greater resort of foreigners to Paris, independently of commerce, than to any other city of Europe.

[Pg 119]

I followed the advice of a former tourist, and went, first of all, to the Place Louis XV. It is almost the only object I have seen in my travels, that I have heard much praised beforehand, which has not disappointed me. Perhaps I was thus well contented, because the feeling of admiration was now, for the first time, excited in the beginning of my tour in foreign parts; and I pleased myself in expecting a frequent renewal of it; and I have since admired less, because I have seen more things to admire. But, to the Place Louis XV. Entering it from the north, you have the Seine, with its bridge, and the Palais Bourbon before you; advancing to the middle of the square, you have public buildings with magnificent colonnades behind you; on the left is the garden of the Tuilleries, at the end of the central allée of which is seen the château; on the right, the Champs Elysées; and, at the end of the grand avenue, the triumphal arch, which shared the fate of the triumphs of its founder, being left incomplete: it has since been finished in honour of his Royal Highness the Duc d'Angoulême on account of his Spanish campaign of 1823. A very good taste dictated to Napoleon the site of this arch; without it the fourth side of this magnificent square was trees and country only; but the arch seems to[Pg 120] enclose the Champs Elysées, as the Palace encloses the garden of the Tuilleries; the extent of the Place is increased by making the Champs Elysées appear as a part of it, and the whole is perfected. The daughter of Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette avoids this Place with a pious horror, in which every honest heart is disposed to sympathise.

The Museum of the Louvre consists of the lower apartments, in which the statues are placed, and of the gallery of paintings; but as it has become usual to call the gallery by the name of the Gallery only, the lower rooms have retained sole possession of the name of Museum. At the door may be bought catalogues of the statues and paintings, which enter, in some cases, into a short detail of their history and merits. The statues are well placed: one may go round them, and see them on every side. Common sense directs, that a statue should be placed thus; yet at Rome, statues, the admiration of the world, are placed in dark cabinets, in niches, close to the wall; as if statues, like paintings, were to be seen only on one side: they are thus robbed of half their glory, nay of all their glory; since, to judge of a statue, it must be contemplated as a whole. "They order these things better in France."

[Pg 121]

It is easy to say, and it has often been said, that the gallery is too long,—too long, that is, for its breadth: but who would wish it to be shorter? and as, on each side, there is sufficient distance to allow a good view of the pictures opposite, it cannot be said to be too narrow for its use. By two arches, thrown across the ceiling, it seems to be divided into three compartments; and thus the length is, in some sort, broken. The paintings of the Italian school have the place of honour, in the compartment at the end furthest from the door; the French school is, however, in a most flourishing state, and boasts great names: it will soon rival, if it does not already rival, the old Italian school; to surpass it, is, I suppose, impossible.

This gallery, originally intended as a passage from the Louvre to the Tuilleries, from the town-house to the country-house of the kings of France,—is now, with the rooms on the ground-floor, and some large chambers that have been added, the repository of the finest collection of monuments of the arts, that is to be found out of Italy. Indeed no single Italian collection equals it, saving always the reverence due to certain renowned and incomparable chefs-d'œuvre.

The Museum of Natural History, in the Jardin[Pg 122] des Plantes, is said to be the first in the world. That class of society which has but one day in the week of relief from labour is admitted here as well as at the Louvre. Sunday is not the day on which the museums are closed; as the French government has not discovered the wisdom of driving the people into the cabaret by depriving them of all other amusement on that day. I have attended on that day at both museums, and have been equally surprised and pleased in witnessing the behaviour of those who on that day only have leisure to attend in great numbers. They had not the pretensions of savans and connoisseurs; though probably there might be found amongst them their fair proportion of connoisseurs and savans. There was no crowding or jostling,—not so much as I have sometimes observed in assemblies of people more fashionably dressed: there was no noise or clamour; they conducted themselves with the greatest decorum: in the botanical garden, they kept themselves on the walks and allées without ever stepping among the plants; they did not even teaze the poor animals imprisoned in the ménagerie. No apprehension seemed to be entertained by any one that they would injure any object of art or science. This love of mischief is only excited in the people by the jealousy[Pg 123] or disdain of their superiors, refusing to share with them pleasures that may, at so cheap a rate, be made common to all. Dr. Willis used to have some of the persons entrusted to his charge as his daily guests at dinner: he was asked how he succeeded in making his patients behave so well at table,—"By treating them as if they were in their senses."

The palace of the Luxembourg contains many very fine paintings, the works chiefly of living authors: its beautiful garden is a source of health and enjoyment to the inhabitants of this distant quarter of the city; and this garden, as well as that of the Tuilleries, is open every day to the public. Even the passage from the Place du Carousel to the garden, through the château, or from the front door to the back door of the king's palace, is a public thoroughfare; a practice not very respectful to the king, say some: I say it is a mark of his kindness; and I hope the people, to reward him for it, and show their gratitude, will cry "Vive le Roi" whenever his Majesty appears on the balcony.

The library of the king of France is second only to that of the Vatican, and superior to the imperial library at Vienna, and to the Bodleian at Oxford: it is not generally known, even to the English, that this last-named ranks as the fourth[Pg 124] library in Europe. The king of France gives the use of his library to the public during four hours every day of the week not a festival, except Thursdays. Persons are in attendance, who, with an air of civility, as if pleased with the service required of them, find and present every book that may be asked for; and although the number of readers is great, the most perfect decorum and silence prevail. There are five or six other great public libraries at Paris, at all of which the same accommodation is afforded. The apartment in which the king's library is kept is handsome, but not sufficiently so, and is in the midst of other buildings: if a fire should happen, a risk is incurred of an irreparable loss. When the building, now in construction, opposite to the Museum of the Louvre, shall be completed, and the Place du Carousel shall form one vast quadrangle, it is to be hoped that this building will contain a gallery, like that of the paintings, in which may be deposited this superb and useful collection of books. With two palaces united by two such galleries, the king of France will be more magnificently lodged than any monarch of ancient or modern time: he need not envy the golden palace of the Cæsars: he may even be contented under the inconvenience consequent on his condescension[Pg 125] to the wants of his people,—of having no place where he can take the air, but that very balcony, on which I augur to him the continuance of their felicitations. The Pont Neuf is a fine point of view from which to see the eastern and southern fronts of this edifice, with the garden and Champs Elysées and country beyond.

Of the churches of Paris, the cathedral of Notre Dame may rank with the cathedral churches of the second order in England. Ste. Geneviève, sometime the Pantheon, although the inscription, "aux grands hommes la patrie reconnoissante,"[13] was still legible in 1818, is now restored to the use for which it was built. The portico is so extremely beautiful, that the architect was blamed by a pun, not transferable into English, for having turned all his architecture out of doors,—"mis à la porte toute son architecture." A greater and more unequivocal fault than this was committed; it was found necessary to support the dome by a double thickness of wall within. This church is not equal in grandeur to St. Paul's, which the little boy called "the church of England;" but the inside is more beautiful, and would appear larger, (as[Pg 126] the pillars do not occupy so much space,) were it not too short in the part beyond the dome; shorter than the due proportion of the cross demands.

A traveller, soon after the restoration, having visited the tombs below the pavement of this church, and seen the torch, typical of philosophy, issuing from that of Voltaire,—observed a monument which seemed to him a new one; he inquired whose it was, and was told by the attendant, "that of a member of the ancient Senate."—"But," said the traveller, "I thought this edifice was the place of interment for great men."—"C'est vrai; mais, en attendant, on y enterre des sénateurs."[14] It is not certain whether this was said in simplicity or in persiflage.

I recommend to the attention of those who visit the church of St. Sulpice an image or statue of the Blessed Virgin, with the infant Saviour in her arms, seated on a globe, and surrounded by angels. The light, from an unseen opening above, falls on the figures in such a manner, as to give to the whole scene an appearance of animation beyond what the sculptor, however great his merit, could have produced. There are[Pg 127] other objects in this church worthy of notice. The double portico, or rather two porticos, one above the other, are much to be admired. I cannot be persuaded, however, even by the numerous examples of this practice, that it is not absurd for pillars to support pillars: it seems as if children were playing at architecture, and trying how high they could make their building reach. Yet there is nothing childish in these porticos; they are grand and imposing.

The gilded dome of the Church of the Invalids, from whatever point it can be seen, is the ornament of Paris, and it is an ornament because it is gilded. A dome is, on the outside, an ugly and heavy object to the view; and therefore gilding, or what is better, architectural ornament, like that left incomplete at Florence, is well employed on a dome. I know I have Cicero against me, who speaks in high praise of the dome of the Capitol. Cicero and the Capitol are great names; but, much as I venerate that great orator and philosopher, I hope there is no harm in saying, that I have seen more domes than he had an opportunity of seeing. I reserve what I have to say on the interior of domes till I shall arrive at St. Peter's and the Pantheon. The Church of the Invalids is a very handsome one: I attended military mass there: none but those[Pg 128] who have proved it can judge of the fine effect produced, on such an occasion, by the military music and ceremonial.

The Halle aux Bleds is an object very likely to be overlooked by an elegant traveller. I have heard of a young man of fashion, who, being requested to call at Child's bank, declared he never had been so far in the city in his life. In this Halle is deposited the corn and flour brought for the supply of Paris: it is conveniently situated for the distribution of this supply, being in the most populous quarter of the city; but the streets leading to it are narrow; and it has, unfortunately both for its commercial uses and for the view of it, no open space around it. It is in form and dimensions exactly like the Pantheon at Rome, without the portico: no timber is employed in its construction; it is built entirely of stone and iron; even the doors are of iron. I know not if I saw it on a gloomy day, or if the sky of Italy be clearer than that of France, or if the corn and flour sacks hindered the reflection of the sun; but, though the opening at the top be equally large, it did not seem to admit so much day-light as that of the Pantheon.

Napoleon did much, and projected still more, for the embellishment of Paris. The pillar in the Place Vendôme is superior to those of Trajan[Pg 129] and Antonine in every thing, but in the veneration due to antiquity and the name of Rome. His son bore the title of King of that ancient capital of the world; and for him,—for the king of Rome,—was projected a palace on the right bank of the Seine opposite the Hôtel des Invalides, that from his infancy the view of these emeriti of French valour might inspire him with an ardour for military exploits, and that these warriors also might find a part of their recompense in being continually under the eye of the heir of so much glory. This project has, of course, been abandoned. Yet why should not the education of the young Henry, the future heir of the French monarchy, be conducted in the same spirit as would have been that of the young Napoleon? There exists, indeed, but too much cause why it should be so conducted, as to form a leader fit to head the armies and direct the energies of France. A million of bayonets threaten Europe from the north, and France only can array itself against them, Russia has already absorbed, within its empire, that great limitrophe nation which might have been a barrier against its further progress: its nearest neighbour has a force not more than a third of that which Russia itself can wield: the first military power of Germany, Prussia,—a camp[Pg 130] rather than a kingdom, a state rather than a nation,—must continue the voluntary or involuntary ally of Russia: the rest of Germany is divided into petty sovereignties. Russia has an army, the half of which is sufficient for its own defence; nay, it is secure from attack: what then may it do, What will it do, with the other half? The irruption of the now half-civilised and well-disciplined hordes of the north, directed by one will, which rules from the Aleutian isles to the banks of the Vistula, is an event that may take place before the infant Henry shall have attained the age of manhood: then, instead of the prospect of the Invalides, he may have that of the "tented field;" instead of mimic war and reviews on the Champ de Mars, he may join in real battle for the security of France and the protection of Europe.

The building which was to have been a monument dedicated to the grand army, is converted into a church, for which, by its form, it was well adapted. But, instead of this edifice, a monument has been raised to the glory of the French warriors, ære perennius;—a work in twenty-six volumes, by a society of military men and men of letters: it is entitled "Victoires et Conquêtes" in very large capitals, "désastres et revers" in very small capitals, of the French[Pg 131] armies, from 1792 to 1815. It is composed in the spirit of the liberal party, but with great moderation: it speaks with constant respect of the royal family of France, with unreserved freedom of Bonaparte, and with severe censure of the faults of the republican government: its hatred of England is more than patriotic,—plus quam civilia: it is written in a very respectable style, itself a history, and forming a collection of materials to be embodied into future, general, or partial histories of the revolution. Even "the Great Unknown" himself, than whom no one has a better right to disprove the assertion of Pindar, that fable delights more than truth, since so much of what is delightful in fable is of his own creation, and every one may do what he wills with his own;—even he, who may dispute with Cervantes, Shakspeare, and Ariosto, the title of "the greatest liar that ever lived,"—may have recourse to more than the latter half of these twenty-six volumes, in the composition of that story, in which every thing shall be true, yet every thing shall be astonishing. It is superfluous to wish him success: of that he is assured, both by his subject, and by the novel manner in which it will be handled; but I wish he would take the trouble of once revising his manuscript before impression, to correct the blunders of rapid composition.

[Pg 132]

I saw the model in plaister of the statue in marble, of an elephant, which statue was to have been raised upon a high pedestal in the Place de la Bastille: a staircase, beginning within one of the fore-legs of the elephant, was to have led to the top of a tower on his back, from which would have been seen all Paris and its environs: from his proboscis was to have issued a fountain. The model, I am told, is now broken in pieces. Perhaps this is fortunate: the elephant might in future times have answered the purpose, if not of the Bastille, of the bull of Phalaris: after the pleasant jests we have heard of la petite fenêtre nationale,[15] and the baptême republicain[16],—who knows whether the sovereign people, calling to mind the bull of Phalaris oh the site of the Bastille, and justifying, according to custom, its own tyranny by that of others,—might not have amused itself with the bellowing of an elephant? Despots, of one or many heads, resemble each other:

——facies non omnibus una,
Nee diversa tamen.

[Pg 133]

Still it is a pity that the elephant is not to be erected: he would have been at once a curious and majestic figure; and his absence will not deprive cruelty, if the disposition to it should unhappily again exist, of the means of inflicting vengeance. It is always an easy matter, says the English proverb, to find a stick to beat a dog; and when one portion of society become dogs to the other and more powerful portion, of course the dogs must be beaten.

The model of the elephant drew me into the neighbourhood of the Marais: this quarter of Paris was once the court end of the town, and Vincennes was what St. Cloud has since become. The streets of the Marais are much wider and cleaner, and better built than the other ancient streets of Paris; and this quarter, with the Place Royale, is well worth visiting, though seldom visited: it is inhabited by an old-fashioned set of gentry, who prefer Paris, as a residence, to any country town, but take no part in its amusements; who go to church, and do not go to the opera; who persist obstinately in the more ancient mode of dining at one o'clock; who gave no assistance or encouragement to the revolution, it may be, because it brought in so many innovations. I am assured that, during the most tumultuous scenes of that[Pg 134] period, the Marais was always tranquil. Strangers who mean to spend some time in Paris, and who have a carriage, or can do without one, would do well to establish themselves in the Marais: they would indeed be at a great distance from their astonished friends and from the places of amusement, but the line of the Boulevards would lead them any where.

The Boulevards are a great, and precious, and a peculiar advantage, which the city of Paris enjoys above all cities that I have seen or heard of. This ancient enclosure of the town is now at about half-way from the Seine to the walls; so much have the Fauxbourgs increased; for all beyond the Boulevards is called Fauxbourg. Thus, in the midst of Paris, for the whole of the distance from the bridge of the Jardin des Plantes to the Place Louis XV. in a line running at first from south to north, then westward, and then inclining to the south, is found a wide street, with a broad walk on each side, shaded by two rows of trees. Here you may walk in safety, without fear of the cabriolets or one-horse chairs, which, in all the streets of Paris, even on the trottoirs, endanger life and limb. Here you may see exposed to sale, on tables niched in between the trees on one side, and between the trees and houses[Pg 135] on the other, all kinds of wares; millinery and bon-bons, literature and jou-jous, maps, prints, and cutlery. "Voilà," says a boy, flashing in your eyes his string of steel watch-chains, "voilà des chaines superbes."—"Voilà le règne de Napoléon," says a moralist, out of time and place. Here you may find petits gâteaux and eau de groseille, to allay both hunger and thirst; and chairs, for a sous a-piece, to repose while you refresh yourself. The houses are lofty, and many have balconies: the shops are well supplied; at every step are theatres, and spectacles, and cafés, and public gardens and diversions of every sort: an infinite variety of physiognomy, character, and occupation is continually flitting before you. It is the most amusing morning scene of this amusing metropolis.

Napoleon gave to Paris the bridges of Austerlitz and Jena: the names have been changed to those of "du Jardin du Roi," and "des Invalides;" but the benefit remains: thus the extension of the city, at both extremities, was encouraged, and the value of property increased. Along the Seine, on both banks, from the one to the other of these bridges, is a space of the width of a very broad street between the houses and the river. This too, as well as the Boulevards,[Pg 136] is an advantage peculiar to Paris. In London, to get a view, or a peep at the Thames, you must go to the ends of the streets at right angles with it: the projected terrace, when accomplished, will, I hope, form a magnificent answer to this reproach. At Florence, the lungarnata extends for about one third only of the course of the Arno through that beautiful city.

The Hotel-Dieu is in a central situation, more convenient, both for the patients and their medical attendants, than the sites now often chosen for such institutions in the precincts of cities. The course of the Seine supplies it with air and water. An admirable cleanliness is observed in the wards: even the beds of the patients are free from all offensive odour. This infirmary is a school of medicine: young surgical practitioners flock to Paris for instruction. The French have unhappily had of late so many opportunities of perfecting themselves in this science, that they are well qualified to give lessons. If honour hath no skill in surgery, he is obliged to lead in his train many who have. The Hotel-Dieu is a credit to the country.

It is very easy to find your way in Paris: between the Seine and the Boulevards you may always arrive quickly at a point where you may know whereabouts you are. This is facilitated[Pg 137] too by a trifling, but ingenious arrangement: the streets parallel to the river are distinguished from those at right angles with it, by inscribing the names of the one set in black letters on a light ground, and of the other set in white letters on a black ground.

The Morgue is an excellently well-contrived establishment. It is a little building, on the bank of the river, where are deposited the bodies of persons found drowned or otherwise accidentally slain. These bodies are laid on an inclined plane, in a space partitioned off by glass doors and windows, stript of part of their clothes, which are hung up over their heads. By this simple method, the members of a family, of whom one is lost or missing, have the means of finding and reclaiming their own, if there, without inquiry,—without exposing to public remark a mischance which may be only temporary. Calling here one day, I was witness to a scene on which the genius of Sterne would have lived and revelled most sentimentally. The body of a middle-aged man, who, by the clothes suspended above, appeared to have been a sailor, was laid in its place to be recognised. After gazing on this sight for some little time, I was retiring, when I met, at the outer door, an elderly woman accompanied by a lad of about[Pg 138] fourteen years old. Their steps were hurried: their countenances full of anxiety and terror. "They have lost," said I, "a son and a father." I waited the event. They advanced to the window, with what I will call, if the phrase may be allowed, a precipitate irresolution,—dreading to find what they sought. They returned consoled, but still dejected: the expression of their faces said plainly,—"It is not he; but then, where is he?" He was not found there, yet still he was lost.

There are several manufactures at Paris worthy of attention. Old renown led me to the Gobelins: it was not in a state of great activity at this time, but I saw some works both finished and carrying on, worthy of that old renown. The process of making this tapestry is exceedingly tedious. I observed that the workmen, like clock-makers, and printers, and other men of letters, were almost all short-sighted.

The Palais Royal, as a centre of wealth and dissipation, deserves all the celebrity it has acquired: it is besides a very handsome quadrangle, as I once was used to call the interior of buildings of this form: it is not a square; it would be pedantic to call it a parallelogram, and not according to usage to call it an oblong. The arches are not wide enough; and the arcade (the space,[Pg 139] I mean, between the arches and the shops,) is not broad enough. Here is more splendour, but less of variety to be seen, than on the Boulevards. The shop-keepers are not dearer here than in other quarters of Paris: the greater number of their transactions pays their higher rents, though their profits may be only equal to those of their brethren in trade. I took ice at the Café de Mille Colonnes, and found that, counting shadows or reflections in the mirrors with which the rooms are lined, the number, though indefinite, may not be exaggerated.

The garden is enclosed by iron palisades between the arches: it is closed in the night, the arcade being still left as a thoroughfare. I found no reason to avoid passing through it with my elder son, a youth of seventeen, though I should have been most unwilling to lead him in the evening into any street in London. When will the police of the capital of the British empire take shame to themselves?

The colonnade of the Louvre, which the Gascon said was very much like the back front of his father's stables, is justly admired. The court I thought to be too much ornamented, and the ornaments too much subdivided, and the height of the building within too great for its extent of area. It is, however, an exceedingly[Pg 140] handsome building: I was glad to see it completed, at least as to the exterior. I was told it had been nearly two centuries in building. He who had Versailles wanted no other dwelling.

I shall be well pleased to have excited the reader's attention to my remarks also on the curiosities of Paris: at any rate I have not detained him long. I hope he will not be disinclined to accompany me to the environs.


[12] There is but one Paris in the world.

[13] To great men their grateful country.

[14] That is true; but, in the mean time, they bury senators.

[15] The little national window—the hole of the guillotine that receives the neck.

[16] Republican baptism—drowning people by boatsfull.

[Pg 141]


The cemetery of Père la Chaise is on a height commanding a view of Paris and of the whole extent of country from Vincennes to St. Cloud. Le Père la Chaise was confessor to Louis XIV. and sometime proprietor of this large field, now the burying-ground of a great proportion of the population of Paris. It is laid out, with due regard to the irregularity of the ground, in walks and allées; and the care of adorning and planting is left to the relations and friends of the deceased here interred. It is adorned with tombs and monuments, some of which display more taste than is usually brought to such designs: around these tombs are planted poplars and cypresses, roses and jasmines; and thus the quarter where the rich are buried, (for even here "the people of quality flock all together,") has the air of a pretty shrubbery. The price of so much land as may suffice for one corpse is now three hundred francs, and the ground, with whatever may be erected upon it, becomes the property of "heirs and assigns for ever." The money so[Pg 142] raised is, I believe, applied to the maintenance of infirmaries or other public charities. That part of the cemetery where the poor, or those who do not buy their graves, are buried, is dug very deep on the occasion of each interment: the ground is taken up regularly; and it is supposed that the bodies first buried will be reduced to earth before it shall be necessary to dig over the same ground a second time.

Such is, by law, the mode of sepulture throughout France: no one can be buried in a church, nor even in his own garden or field, unless at a certain distance from all habitation; and cemeteries, regulated like that of Père la Chaise, are every where provided. These burying-grounds are to be restored to cultivation, wholly or in part, as the case may require, during the time necessary for the complete rotting of the bodies beneath; a space of fourteen years, says Hamlet's grave-digger, for "all but your tanner:" this however must depend more on the nature of the soil than on the former occupation of the persons deceased; but Shakspeare is allowed to jest on every subject.

I will own that the view of the great cemetery of the capital of France displeased, and even disgusted me; and that the law in regard to this matter appeared to me a scheme of irreligious[Pg 143] legislators for putting out of sight all that might remind them of death, and for desecrating church-yards, and for rooting out of the minds of the people their veneration for ancient usages and consecrated places. An enclosure, destined to the uses of a church-yard, turned into a flower-garden,—or a flower-garden, still retaining its finery, turned into a church-yard;—monuments surmounted, not by the symbol of salvation, but by vases in which no ashes were contained, and which are absurd in a place where bodies are not burned, but buried;—inscriptions, which spoke not of eternity, but were such as if the person beneath had died without hope or fear,—all this offended me. The provisions of the law of burial, which does not allow families to repose together even in death, since each corpse must take its place in the row or line,—this law, which destroys all sepulchral memorials of families or individuals,—(for if the land be restored to cultivation the sepulchres cannot well be preserved,) all this shocked my habitual notions and ancient prejudices.

Yet what can be more dangerous to the health of a great city, than that, in every populous part of it, there should be a small enclosure, containing, at a little depth under ground, dead bodies in every stage of putrefaction,—a dunghill of[Pg 144] most noxious exhalation, slightly covered with mould? How much is this danger increased by the contagious, (I was going to say pestilential, but it is now doubted whether pestilence be contagious or not,) by the contagious nature of many diseases! What can be more indecent, and at the same time dangerous, than that, at the digging of a grave, bodies should be disturbed before they are assimilated to the dust to which they are committed, and that skulls and other bones should be thrown out for play-things to thoughtless children? Such things I have seen, and so has every man who has been present at the digging of a grave in any town in England; such things are even represented on the stage, to the disgrace of our national character, for the sake of the grave-diggers' puns, and an ingenious moralizing on the skull of Yorick. Custom reconciles us to things in themselves most shocking. Medea might have slain her children coram populo, if the people had been used to it. They were used to gladiators.

Yet custom will not prevent infection: we ought, in spite of custom, to be sensible of the indecency of our mode of interment, and of the risk we run by heaping our dead on each other in a narrow boundary, yearly encroached upon by the altar-tombs of the wealthy, and rendered[Pg 145] still narrower by a predilection, foolish as it may seem, for the sunny side of the church-yard. How then are the dead to be disposed of? a question to my mind more difficult to answer than "how are the dead raised up?"

In populous cities,—a situation unfavourable to human life,—of thirty persons, one dies yearly: each individual requires for his grave two square yards of earth; grown persons rather more, as every grave ought to be separated from that nearest to it; and children will require less than two square yards; but upon an average, a population of seventy-two thousand six hundred souls, or more properly on this occasion, bodies, will cover with their dead, in the space of one year, an acre of land. The dead of the city of Paris in fourteen years,—Shakspeare's period for entire decomposition,—would take up a hundred and forty acres. If cemeteries are not restored to cultivation, the dead, after a few generations, will starve the living; at least it must be borne in mind that cemeteries, near great towns, must be allotted in situations where land is most valuable. Unwillingly I abandon all my prepossessions in favour of holy ground and other "circumstance" of christian burial. The dead ought not to be carried into the church before interment: that practice is still allowed[Pg 146] in France, but ought, for obvious reasons, to be suppressed: the coffin ought to have no lid or cover; thus the compression of the ascending vapour will be more complete, and the assimilation of the body to the surrounding mould will not be retarded: if the horrible accident of burying any one alive should unhappily occur, at the least, that which most aggravates the horror of such a misfortune,—the lingering torments of the interred,—are prevented: portions of land ought to be appropriated, in the neighbourhood of great cities, to the uses of sepulture and cultivation successively: lastly, the rich ought to be contented with cenotaphs and inscriptions to their memory on the walls and pavements of churches, while masses and other commemorations may be celebrated in the presence of catafalques.

The catacombs are, or is, (for I have forgotten my English grammar,) one of the lions of the environs of Paris; and such a lion! Let the word "lumen" mean "life," and call it "monstrum horrendum, informe, ingens, cui lumen ademptum." When the Cimetière du Père la Chaise was substituted for church-yards, out of these latter, now to be applied to secular uses, were dug the human bones that were found in laying the foundations of buildings: these bones were[Pg 147] carried to certain stone quarries, now no longer worked, a little to the south of Paris. So far, so good: but it came into the heads of the managers of this affair to make a pretty thing of it: on the sides of the passages of the quarry, and in the wider spaces, they ranged these bones in squares and circles, and wheels and stars; a skull in the middle, and rays of thighbones, brachia, and lacerti; of the ossa, ilium, ischium, and coccygis,—there was no os sacrum,—they made obelisks and pyramids; and this "region of horror,"—these "doleful shades,"—under the abused name of the catacombs, attract the idle and curious traveller to see by what fantastic devices that which is most respectable and venerable to humanity and to faith can be tricked out into raree-show. This place cannot be visited without inconvenience: it were to be wished, as in the case of the opera tune, that, instead of difficulty, there might be impossibility: it is excessively damp; moisture issues from above, though on the sides it is hidden by the choice tapestry with which they are decorated; but the ground is slippery; each person gropes along with a wax taper in his hand, sometimes obliged to curve himself. It is some consolation, at length, to find here an altar, on which, once in the year, on All Souls' Day, a missa pro de[Pg 148]functis is said. I trust in the good taste, if not in the piety of the French people, so far, as to hope that this altar will be set up in a chapel above-ground, and that the catacombs will be filled with earth, and closed till the consummation of all things.

The cimetière and the catacombs are, strictly speaking, in the environs of Paris, being without the walls. I made however with my sons several excursions to places in the neighbourhood, setting out in the morning, passing the day at the place of our visit, and returning in the cool of the evening. Mrs. ——, and my daughters, who had remained in England for the purpose of spending some time with her relations before quitting the country, arrived at Paris, under the conduct of one of her brothers, towards the middle of July,—in fact, as it happened, on the memorable fourteenth. I took an apartment for a month in the Rue Neuve des Mathurins, and during that month also we made excursions. I shall make a few observations on what I saw; and "first with the first," the pride of Louis XIV and of France, the deserted palace or château of Versailles.

It is rather a handsome and extensive building, than a monument to the glory of a great king and a great nation. The front toward Paris,[Pg 149] composed in part of some corps-de-logis of the ancient hunting-seat of Louis XIII. is irregular, and this grande cour, (and a grand court it certainly is,) does not form a whole. The approach to the garden front is through a passage, and to take a view of this front one must first go away from it. At the edge of the terrace one does not see the wings, which recede, and form a line with the back of this part of the palace: below the steps of the terrace, the lower part of the building is hidden by the intervening ground. This inversion of the wings has not the effect of breaking the too great length of the building: it is said to have been the project of Napoleon to erect a magnificent colonnade or portico in front of that part which stands forward on the terrace; thus the wings, if such they may be called, would be thrown into the back ground: for this they are indeed too handsome; but in the back ground they have been placed by the plan of Louis XIV. One would suppose that they retire to form, on the other side, a part of the eastern front; but they are not even seen from the grand court. The architectural ornaments of the garden façade are not many; slight Corinthian pilasters only; the entrance, even, is what may be called a garden door, hardly distinguishable from the other windows of the ground floor.

[Pg 150]

The staircase is handsome, but not sufficiently so for that to which it leads. I shall not pretend to describe the suite of state apartments. One wonders that men of five feet and some inches high should build, for their own use, rooms so disproportionate to their stature. The chamber in which Louis XIV. died is amongst the largest of these rooms: from its windows are seen the three avenues, called la patte de corbeau, or of some other bird: the ends of these avenues are not near enough to the palace; a defect easily to be supplied. This chamber, the central one of the grande cour, remained unoccupied, in token of respect for the memory of that great monarch, who rendered null the efforts of a powerful coalition against him, put his grandson in quiet possession of Spain and the Indies, carried the frontier of France to the Rhine, made all Europe begin to learn French, and exemplified the truth of William of Wykeham's motto,—"manners maketh man."

When I saw the palace of Versailles, it was unfurnished; they were renewing the gilding, and repairing the damages of revolution and neglect. The celebrated gallery runs the whole length of the central part of the garden front. The side opposite the windows is panelled with mirrors in a manner exactly resembling the old wainscot which I remember in my youth, and[Pg 151] which has now given place to stucco, silk, and paper. What splendid scenes have these mirrors reflected! and all that was then so glorious is now as unsubstantial as the shadowed form.

The chapel is such an one as may be expected in such a palace. The seat of the royal family is in what is called the tribune, which is entered from the state apartments, and is at the height of half the chapel from the pavement, looking down on the altar at the opposite end. In all the royal chapels, the place of the king is thus situated, thus elevated above the altar. Of this I cannot approve: let me quote a story which will explain my meaning. King George III. sent, as a present to the Emperor of China, a handsome town-built chariot. On board the vessel which conveyed it, (it was packed up in separate pieces) a mandarin attended, to see it mounted and put together, that he might inform himself of the uses of the several parts.—He readily understood all the rest; but the two seats, the one within, and the coachman's seat, covered, of course, with a superb hammer-cloth, perplexed him. "For whom is that seat?" said he, pointing to the inside of the carriage. He was told that it was for the Emperor. "And that?" pointing to the[Pg 152] coach-box. "For the man who guides the horses." "Do you think," said he, with a sudden burst of indignation, "that our glorious sovereign, the son of the sun, &c. &c. will allow any one to be placed higher than himself?"

From the southern end of the terrace is seen the orangery below, sheltered from the north by the terrace, and the southern end of the central part of the palace; and from the east by that wing in which are the petits appartements. Oranges, in this climate, endure the open air during five months in the year: those of the Tuilleries had already taken their station in the garden when I arrived at Paris, in the end of April. It is said that Louis XIV. received a Turkish ambassador at a first audience in this orangery. This envoy having learned at Paris that Versailles was a most magnificent palace, and at the Sublime Porte that flattery was a most important part of his trade, began to offer to the king his prepared compliments. The king quietly allowed him to proceed and finish; and then taking him on the terrace, and into the state rooms, enjoyed his surprise, mingled, as may be supposed, with some confusion, at having repeated his lesson rather too soon.

The formal arrangement and straight lines of the garden have, of course, been blamed by[Pg 153] those who, according to the present English taste, wish every thing in this kind to be tortured into irregularity. I do not desire that the trees should be clipt, but sympathize rather with the old duchess, who said it made her melancholy to see so many millions of leaves, not one of which was permitted to grow as it pleased. But a garden near a house ought to partake of the regularity of the building; and the house ought not to look, according to the ingenious expression of the author of Waverly, as if it had walked out of the town, and found its place in the fields by chance. The grand central walk leads down to the water-works, which are, doubtless, very fine, when the water spouts forth from the shells of tritons and the mouths of dolphins. On each side of this allée, are bowers and bosquets, statues and fountains, vases and beds of flowers. Turning to the right, through avenues of well-grown, unclipt trees, one arrives at the Grand and Petit Trianon,—two very pretty country-seats, at which grandeur was pleased to escape from itself. In the Jardin Anglois, the good taste of Marie Antoinette has shown itself superior to rules for avoiding rule, and planned all according to the advantages of the site.

The view of the country from Versailles is[Pg 154] pleasing: but how was it possible for him, who had the choice of this spot or of St. Germains for his purpose, to choose the former? I will not believe the reason that from the latter are seen the towers of St. Denis: his piety, or, if not his piety, that force by which most men are unhappily but too well enabled to shut their eyes on death, and all that may remind them of it, would have surmounted this objection. A superbly-elevated natural terrace, with a wide and varied prospect; the Seine, here a lordly stream; an extensive forest abounding with game; a proud height, from which his palace would have shown majestically to the country around;—all these advantages, not one of which is possessed by Versailles, ought to have induced Louis XIV. to prefer St. Germains. The only unpleasing feature in the view from the terrace is the aqueduct, made to carry to Versailles the water of the Seine raised by the machine of Marly. Certainly he who can command money can command labour; and labour can erect a series of arches on the side of a high hill. Let this fault be redeemed by the canal of Languedoc.

The handsome tower-like château of St. Germains, when I saw it, was used as a caserne: the chapel was filled with military stores. We entered the apartment in which our James II.[Pg 155] lived and died an exile, chased from his house and home by his son-in-law. History records many deeds more atrocious, but none more disgraceful, than this violation of family confidence,—of the pledge of good faith given and received. But, what is more disgraceful still, the English nation, besotted by prejudices, sees nothing disgraceful in the transaction.

The palace of St. Cloud is an agreeable, and, according to the favourite English phrase, a comfortable habitation, splendidly, but not too richly furnished. The salle-à-manger particularly attracted my notice, being the first good specimen I had seen of a French dining-room. It is a room large enough for about forty persons to dine in it conveniently. A round table of mahogany, or coloured like mahogany, one fauteuil, and half a dozen chairs, seemingly not belonging to this room, but brought from another, standing round the table on a mat which went underneath it; a chandelier, or lustre, hanging over the tables;—such, with a few articles for the use of the attendants, was the furniture of the room. Instead of a sideboard, a painted shelf went round the room at about four feet from the floor. On one of the panes of the window, a thermometer, with the scale marked on glass, was fixed on the outside: thus the[Pg 156] temperature of the outer air might be known without opening the casement.

An English family of moderate fortune lives very much in the dining-room: a French family would as soon think of sitting in the kitchen as in the salle-à-manger at any other than eating hours. The English think it marvellous that a French lady should receive visits in her bed-room; but to this bed-room is annexed a cabinet; which conceals all objects that ought to be put out of sight: the bed is either hidden by the drapery, or covered by a handsome counterpane, with a traversin or bolster at each end, which, as it is placed lengthways against the wall, the two ends resembling each other in the woodwork also, gives it, during the day-time, the appearance of a couch.

The park of St. Cloud is not a park in the English sense of the word; it is a pretty pleasure-ground, with great variety of surface. If King George III. had been as much accustomed to the continental notion of a park as the king his grandfather probably was, he would not have expressed so much surprise, when, on his visit to Magdalen College, Oxford, he was asked if he would be pleased to see the park. "Park! what, have you got a park?"—"We call it a park, sir, because there are deer in it."[Pg 157]—"Deer! How big is it?"—"Nine acres, an it please your Majesty."—"Well, well, I must go and see a park of nine acres: let us go and see a park of nine acres."

From the elevated ground of the park of St. Cloud, where the lantern rears its head, Paris is seen over an extent of flat and marshy ground, over which the Seine winds with as many evolutions and curvatures as a serpent. The fable of the sun and the wind contending which of them could first induce a traveller to quit his cloak, might be paralleled by one invented on the sinuosity of rivers in plain countries. Let nature oppose rocks and mountains, the river holds on its way by torrent and by cataract: arrived at a level country, it seems to amuse itself by delay. If it were told, at an English gaming club, that the mountain and the plain had engaged in a contest, which of them should most effectually divert the course of a river from its direct line to the ocean, the odds would, most likely, be in favour of the mountain. But the result is otherwise.

The road from Paris to St. Germains en Laye is the most varied and agreeable of any in the environs. From the avenue and bridge of Neuilly it passes by Mont Valerien, a finely-wooded hill; through Nanterre, the birth-place of[Pg 158] Ste. Geneviève, patroness of Paris; near Malmaison, the last abode of Napoleon in France; by Marly, where all is beautiful except the aqueduct. There is a steam-engine to raise the water, and pipes to conduct it, which workmen were repairing. We clambered up by the side of the pipes, at every step induced to mount higher by the beauties of the prospect, the same as that from the terrace of St. Germains. It reminded me of the view from Richmond Hill, but it is bolder and more romantic; and the Seine, being nearer to the hill than the Thames at Richmond, appears an equally important feature in the landscape.

One of the roads to St. Cloud passes through the Bois de Boulogne: this wood was much injured while the allied armies remained in the neighbourhood of Paris: young trees had been planted, and appeared thriving. Let us hope that a long, a very long peace, may obliterate all traces of a war which desolated all Europe, and more than Europe, for a quarter of a century. Indeed, I cannot help agreeing in the wish expressed by one of the common people, in answer to another who congratulated him on the good news of the peace of Amiens:—"Ay," said the first, "I wish we may never have such good news again." A third cried out, "D—n your[Pg 159] jacobin eyes, what do you mean by that?" The congratulator explained, "Why, doesn't see, that, for us to have good news of peace again, we must first have war again? and he wishes we may never have another war." The wish, it seems, was then a symptom of jacobinism; but in the present day, it must be considered as laudable to join in it, as I do most cordially, since it is the end proposed by the Holy Alliance.

At Meudon, is a very pretty palace, from the terrace of which the eye looks down on a beautiful ravine, and then traverses the plain which is seen from the park of St. Cloud. While my sons and I were loitering on the bridge of this latter place, the daughter of Louis XVI. passed by on horseback. She returned our salute by an inclination of the body, while the principal person in attendance (a general officer he seemed to be,) took off his hat, as Dr. —— said, determinately. Three years only after the restoration, to see this princess for the first time was an interesting occurrence; and I certainly regarded her with a very different feeling from that of the Parisian, who, on her entrance into the capital, after five and twenty years of suffering and exile, showed what he was not thinking of, by exclaiming, "Comme son chapeau est petit!"[17]

[Pg 160]

We returned to the restaurateur's to dine; and, passing the bridge in the evening, saw the water works play in honour of the arrival of the king; a sheet of water thrown down artificial rocks; a pretty play-thing enough.

We saw at Sévre a most splendid collection of china, for the greatest part ornamental. Every one has seen some of this china, but it is well worth while to see it en masse in a great quantity at this repository. The working part of the manufacture was not opened to us; as I had not been aware that, for this purpose, it was necessary to be fortified, muni, with a permission of the director. If I translate muni by fortified, it is in the sense of the Englishman, who being invited to be present at a mass, "assister à une messe,"—asked what it was expected of him to do there.

We went to St. Ouen, celebrated by Madame de Stäel as the birth-place of the revolution and of the charte; and thence, along the bank of the Seine, to the port of St. Denis,—the point, that is on the river, towards which one of the streets of the town extends itself. It is a small bourg; but the seat of a sous-prefecture. On the abolition of royalty, the ashes of the kings of France, who for many ages had been interred in the church of St. Denis, were dug up and thrown to the winds: they were punished for the crime[Pg 161] of having been kings, as Cromwell was punished for having been an usurper. Royalty was called an usurpation on the sovereign people. The roof of the church was stripped of its lead to be melted into bullets for the use of the armies, and the windows were broken for no use at all. The building was thus left exposed to all the injuries of the seasons, till that great counter-revolutionist Napoleon undertook to repair it as a burial-place for the monarchs of "the fourth dynasty,"—a phrase by which he ingeniously reminded the French that, as the race of Capet was not the first, it had no imprescriptible right to be the last race of their sovereigns. The force of this argument prevailed, while maintained by the argument of force. The audacious roturier who had seized on the sceptre of royalty, like the daring mortal who stole fire from heaven, was chained on a barren rock, with vultures,—their prey a fallen great man,—to gnaw his entrails: on this rock he found his grave. The reparations of the church of St. Denis, continued by order of the king, were, at this time, nearly completed. Some remains of the bodies of Louis XVI. and his queen, rescued from the unseemly sepulture to which infuriated republicanism had consigned them, had been here honourably deposited. We had seen the mortal spoil of the[Pg 162] brave Prince de Condé lying in state at the Palais Bourbon; it had here also found its place. The church resembles that of Notre Dame; it is not so large, but proportionably loftier; and the pillars, with the whole of the architecture, are lighter.

Sceaux is a small town, six miles to the south of Paris, situated on a ridge commanding a fine view to the south and north. It is, as well as St. Denis, the seat of a sous-prefecture. Hither the Parisians resort during summer on Sundays to dance under arbours in gardens, and enjoy other sports, with the zest of those who have been "long in populous cities pent."

James I. issued an ordinance in favour of Sunday sports: Charles I. renewed it: the spirit of those who observe no festival but Sunday, and who keep Sunday like a fast, prevails in England. Such persons will hardly think it a sufficient set-off against the enormities of the amusements of Sceaux, that, during four months residence at Paris, I did not see one drunken man, not even on a Sunday.

The château of Vincennes is an ancient feudal castle with modern additions: it has a chace before it, an extensive open space left for military exercises and sports of chivalry, and to prevent surprise from an enemy, who might, under[Pg 163] the shadow of a wood, have approached too near without being discovered. In the moat, surrounding the castle, the Duc d'Enghién was put to death. Every one must lament the early fate of this prince, and the extinction of an illustrious house. The duke perished for having done or attempted to do what he thought to be his duty, and Bonaparte, in causing him to suffer death, regarded himself as acting according to his own. He is said to have declared at St. Helena that, were the deed to be done again, he would do it. The "greenest usurpation," to use a phrase of Burke's, has never scrupled to inflict capital punishment on those who endeavoured its overthrow. In the beginning of the reign of William III. a man was guilty of intending the death of the king; and having nothing to plead in his defence except the defect, according to his reasoning, of the king's title, and that "murderare" was bad Latin,—both which pleas were considered as equally valid by the court,—received the sentence of a traitor. But some time must elapse ere the conduct of Bonaparte be judged by principles applied to that of other men.

Seventeen years ago, I entertained the design of writing the history of the French revolution, which then appeared to be terminated by the[Pg 164] assumption of the imperial title by Bonaparte: a counter-revolution was in reality effected; all was reversed that had been done during the revolution; republican principles,—the very name of republic,—was extinguished, and, as a Frenchman well expressed himself, "à la chute de Bonaparte les Bourbons n'avoient qu' à monter le trône tout dressé."[18] I was told it was too soon to write the history of so stormy a period. Yet Thucydides, Tacitus, Davila, Clarendon, were contemporary with the times of which they wrote. It was not too soon, at the time of Bonaparte's elevation, to write with impartiality, as I was disposed to do, the history of the preceding events, but it was too soon for readers to judge without passion.

In the château is a small room, hung with black, with an altar, on which, by the care of the family of Condé, masses are said for the repose of the soul of their unfortunate relative; and some military accoutrements, said to have been his, are shown to strangers whom sympathy may render credulous. He desired to have the assistance of a priest before the execution of the sentence of the commission. "Veux-tu [Pg 165]mourir en capucin?"[19] is said to have been the answer. I pass over all other obvious reflections on this circumstance, to remark that it implied an eulogy on the Capucins, which, from all that I have seen and know of them, they well deserve. Brutus and Cassius were called the last of Romans; the Capucins may perhaps be the last of Christians.

The bottom of the fosse is flat, about twelve feet broad: a wall, of the height of a man, supports the earth of the outer side: the spot, where the execution took place, was pointed out to us. The sign of the cross fortified him in the absence of that other spiritual succour which had been refused to him.

In front of the castle is shown an oak under which Saint Louis was wont to sit. The title of saint was given to this king honoris causâ: in his time it was honourable; at the present day, the recollection of his valour, probity, piety, disinterestedness, and great talents is necessary to rescue Louis IX. from the ridicule of having been a saint and a crusader. The fashion of this world passeth away: religion would have passed away with it, had it depended on the fashion of this world. Veritas Domini manet in[Pg 166] æternum. Let those, who now wish to maintain it, remember that it is not truth because useful, but useful because truth.

Forty years ago, who could return into the country, after having made the visit of a countryman to London, without having seen Bedlam? I was contented with the view of the two admirable statues of furious and melancholy madness at the entrance of the court. I went to Charenton without seeing the Maison des Fous. Such an asylum ought not to be an object of passing curiosity: there may be among the patients some who are amused by visits, but there are others who are very much afflicted by them. Besides, my sons were with me: it requires long experience and observation of the miseries of human life to harden the mind to the endurance of such a scene as a mad-house presents. Terror and pity have sometimes too strong an influence on young imaginations, when excited by theatric exhibition of fictitious woe; how much more when called forth by the sight of real misery such as this,—of man in his lowest state of degradation and wretchedness!

We made our remarks on the confluence of the Seine and Marne: the latter is by far the more rapid river of the two, and, though not quite so broad, seems to bear along a greater[Pg 167] quantity of water. It flows, for some distance, in the same bed with the river in which its independent existence is merged, and its name lost, without mingling with it, as if resenting the injustice of its own lot. This appearance I afterwards looked for in vain at the junction of the Rhone and Saöne, though it is recorded, if I mistake not, by classical authority. The Saöne has no pretension to an equality with the Rhone, and ought quietly to submit to its fate.

On the day of my departure from Paris, I attended mass in the chapel of the Palace of the Tuilleries. This is one of the sights that the English go to gaze at, it being new to them not only in deed, but in thought; and even "Augusto mense," there was great resort of them. To me it appeared nothing wonderful that the Most Christian King should assist at mass; that, supported by his attendants on account of his great bulk, he should place himself on his knees, and his guards present arms, at the moment of the elevation of the host. Monsieur, now Charles X. and other members of the royal family, passed through the room in which we were, in their way to the tribune of the king.

Before I leave Paris, I must indulge in a few remarks on the spirit of the times, and the state of the public mind at this epoch.


[17] What a little hat!

[18] At the fall of Bonaparte the Bourbons had only to mount the throne that had been set up again.

[19] Dost thou want to die like a capucin?

[Pg 168]


O Fortunatos nimium! O too fortunate those who visited Paris in the year 1814! They knew not however their own advantage, as they foresaw not the events of the following year, and all the changes consequent on those events. The pictures and statues of the Louvre were sent back in 1815 to the countries which had produced them, where, says an enthusiast for Italy, it is more natural to see them: just as a whig chancellor of the exchequer said that ten per cent was the natural limit of the income tax. Venus and the Graces fled to climes resembling those of Paphos and Cythera; Apollo and Laocöon went to be shut up in dark closets at Rome; the horses of St. Mark galloped off to Venice, leaving the beautiful arch, constructed by Napoleon as a pedestal for this trophy of his victories, to be a misplaced entrance to an iron palisade.

But this was not all, nor the worst: it even served the English as an excuse, though a superfluous one, for travelling further from home: the spirit of the French people was changed,[Pg 169] both in regard to foreigners, and towards each other.

In 1818, I found it to be pretty generally believed in France, that the English government contrived and connived at the return of Napoleon from Elba, as an expedient for dividing, weakening, humbling, and despoiling a rival nation. It was in vain that I argued, that the experiment was too hazardous a one to have been ventured upon; that the imperial government was implacably hostile to England, while the royal government was, for the present at least, friendly, and likely to continue so; that the English people were overwhelmed by a load of debt and taxation, and needed repose after so long a war; that, had the battle of Waterloo been lost, they were very ill disposed for the struggle that must have ensued.

I was answered point by point; that, happen what might as to the success or discomfiture of Napoleon, England was secure, fearing no invasion so long as France had no marine; that it was the rival of France under whatever government; that, spite of its debt, it would find means to hire the troops of the continent; that, had the Prussians not come up in time to gain the battle of Mont St. Jean, the Austrians and Russians would have arrived shortly after, and[Pg 170] the whole force of Europe would have been set in array.

Before the "hundred days," all that had happened from 1789 was considered as the result of a concatenation of circumstances neither to be foreseen nor controlled;—as a visitation of Providence, a fatality, a delirium. This explanation had been given and received between the restored government and individuals, and by individuals amongst each other: all things proceeded towards union and amnesty. But during the "cent jours," the medal was reversed: many were compelled or persuaded, or joyfully availed themselves of the occasion to manifest opinions and engage in acts contrary to royalty: jacobinism or republicanism, which Napoleon in the vigour of his sway had stifled, began again to take breath during his short and fleeting apparition; so that the second restoration of the king found the people in every town, in every society, divided and discordant.

After the battle, which it was unkind and unjust to refuse to call by the name of "La Belle Alliance;"—after this battle, in which so many thousand human beings lost their lives,—the French submitted to sacrifices, galling to every man of every party among them; for in France it is permitted to every man to be a patriot.[Pg 171] Their frontier-line was remeasured in a manner unfavourable to them, in a sense contrary to that in which it had been marked out the year before: then all that was enclavé was ceded to them; now, whatever stretched out into the neighbouring territory was taken from them; some fortresses were abandoned; others were to be temporarily occupied by allied forces, for whose sustenance the French paid what they regarded as enormous sums: "the spoils of victory," and such they really were, at the Louvre, were yielded up.

Let any Englishman suppose what would be his own feelings were such treatment dealt out to England by a hostile country; and how much the soreness of his mind would be irritated, if he imagined, (whether truly or falsely imports not,) that these evils were the result of the machinations of the government of that country. He would think the display of a little ill-humour towards individuals of that country to be very natural at least, if not very reasonable. I was therefore not much surprised nor offended by the "civil god-dems," with which we were occasionally saluted at Paris. At Auxerre, I overheard a god-dem which rather amused me. My younger son had placed a table on the balcony, and was drawing a view of the church. "Voilà[Pg 172] un petit god-dem qui dessine,"[20] said they: this might even have been good-naturedly meant. At Chalons-sur-Sâone, as we walked in the evening by the side of the river, we were greeted by hisses, low and suppressed, but still audible hisses. At Lyons, some soldiers, contrary to the rule of military discipline, (for they were marching in their ranks,) and contrary to the gallantry of the military profession, cried out "à bas les Anglois." From several instances of resiliency, coldness, and alienation, inconsistent with the genius of the people, and their well-known politeness, it was evident that the spirit of enmity was not yet subsided.

The practice of barter is not so well understood in France as in England. A French shop-keeper, (many of them at least, though the number of such is, I believe, daily diminishing,) proposes to himself to gain, not a certain profit on each article, but as much as he can obtain, the wealth, ignorance, and other circumstances of the customer taken into consideration. A French gentleman, or, rather let us put the case, a French lady, after beating down the price of an object for half an hour, will, as a[Pg 173] last effort, leave the shop; and, if this valedictory demonstration does not succeed, will return in the course of the morning to complete her purchase, in a renewed treaty, of which the basis is the price last named: if, by these manœuvres, a few francs are saved, the morning has been well employed. If the French thus bargain amongst themselves, it may easily be imagined how they would treat, in money matters, with the English, supposed to be indefinitely rich, coming from a country where prices were, during the currency of paper money, higher than in France, ignorant of French prices, and affording an occasion of political revenge.

I really believe that, in many instances, the gratification of this passion was an incitement to overcharging, stronger even than private interest. At any rate, during the first years of peace, the English are said to have thrown their money out of the window: I knew one of them at Avignon who did so literally. They paid English prices and gave English gratifications; sometimes they paid more than was demanded, as they said, for the honour of old England: having deposited a certain sum with a banker, if the sum was spent sooner than they expected, they had only to return home so much the sooner; like the young Oxonian, who being[Pg 174] asked how long he should stay in town, answered "twenty pounds."

The French, who had any thing to dispose of for money naturally wished to profit by this disposition of the English, which they flatteringly termed generosity; and to have the advantage of the highest prices which these latter were willing to give: but, at this time, these prices were unknown and unsettled, and every affair of bargain and sale rose into a contest. "Quel est votre prix, Monsieur?"[21] said one, of whom I was buying a parasol. The Parisian shop-keepers, when they saw an Englishman, nodded, and cried, "Speculation." "On ne dit plus god-dem, on dit speculation,"[22] said my informant. "As you are an Englishman, you ought to pay double," said one, whose opinion was asked on occasion of an over-charge. My voiturier, who, for a certain sum, paid my expenses on the road, told me that he would do this for a German family for half the money. "The inn-keepers set no bounds to their charges," said he, "when they know you to be English;" muttering besides some words, from [Pg 175]which I inferred the hostile mind above-mentioned.

La jeunesse Française (so the young men of an age for military service affected to call themselves, as if they were a corps apart,) seemed still to breathe war and defiance, and to endeavour by fierceness of look to make up for the want of cockades and epaulettes. An especial ordinance was required to prevent all who were not officers in the army from wearing moustaches. These symptoms of a warlike temper were not pleasing to a peaceful visitant. The whole French nation was, at this time, discontented; and it was evident that some years must pass away before it could resume that amenity of manners which rendered it heretofore the delight of strangers. All parties were discontented.

The prudent and conciliatory conduct of the king displeased the royalists. The emigrants said, that the restoration was to them no restoration, since they had lost their estates; and they complained bitterly of that provision by which the purchasers of the national domains were confirmed in their possessions: had nothing been said on this matter,—had silence been observed on a subject on which themselves only had a right to speak,—a great part of the lands[Pg 176] confiscated during the revolution would have been restored unconditionally, or on terms of easy compromise, to the ancient titulars. The clause by which, as the emigrants said, their estates were thus a second time given away without their consent or avowal, was reported to have been of ecclesiastical suggestion. It would be unfair to suppose any man, least of all an ecclesiastic, capable of deriving an uncharitable consolation from having companions in misfortune; but it is remarkable, that no mention was ever made of the restitution of ecclesiastical property. It "died and made no sign." The French clergy endured this spoliation with the patience of Christians and the good humour of Frenchmen, as every one can witness who knew them in their emigration: but, on their return home, they found their appointments inadequate to their services and to the augmented price of the necessaries of life.

That Napoleon should descend from the throne when he could no longer maintain himself upon it,—that France should re-enter within her former limits,—that what was gained by victory should be lost by defeat;—all this was in order. But military glory had consoled many for the loss of liberty and republican forms,—synonymes in their vocabulary: though they[Pg 177] needed not to go very far back in history to discover that they did not always subsist together. Of military glory Napoleon had obtained for the French more, beyond all comparison, than was ever gained by any people within an equal number of years. Possessed of absolute power over a great empire, he had used the means, at his disposal, of drawing to himself many adherents,—of founding the fortunes of many. Frequent suicides took place, after his fall, of persons whose hopes were ruined by that event. Some of these chose, in preference to any other mode of self-destruction, to throw themselves from the top of the column erected by Napoleon in the Place Vendôme: insomuch that, when I was in Paris, an order was still in force that no one should be allowed to ascend the column without a permission, that it might be ascertained that they had no motive but curiosity. Such were the discontents of the Bonapartists.

Had Bonaparte contented himself with being the first magistrate of the republic,—had he allowed its name and forms to subsist,—he would have identified himself with the cause and party of the revolution. But he had put down the revolution; and in 1814 the question was no longer between a monarchical and democratic government, but between the ancient claimant[Pg 178] and the recent possessor. One of the evils, (and they were many,) resulting to Napoleon from the assumption of the imperial purple, was that he himself became personally the object of hostilities. Of this no one was more sensible than himself: he said to his friends, "They will crush, first me, then you, then France." France was not crushed: the king returned, and the charter was given. The republicans could not complain that a monarchy, a government by one, was imposed upon them; they had themselves submitted to it. But an argument drawn from a former defeat was not suited to make them quite pleased with a second. They reposed; but it was the repose of lassitude, not of contented acquiescence.

The prudence of Louis XVIII. succeeded in uniting all parties, though blamed by all; in obliterating, if not the memory, at least many of the sensible traces of what France had endured. Both Royalists and Napoleonists complained that whatever the court had to dispose of was given to the other party. Just before I left England, I was advised by a friend, lately returned from Paris, by no means to venture into France. "If the king dies," said he, "and his health is very bad, there will certainly be a kick-up." My counsellor saw a very little way[Pg 179] into futurity: he himself, being about the age of Louis XVIII. died within two years after. Five years later the king terminated in peace an anxious but successful reign: the demise of the crown caused not the least disturbance; its quiet devolution on his successor seems rather to have strengthened the ancient notion of hereditary right.

Paris, since the time to which my account of it refers, has been improved and increased. It is the lot of all old cities in a state of great prosperity to have a new town built near them: of this London, Edinburgh, Marseilles, Lyons, Bath, and Liverpool are examples. "Mend you?" said the chairman to Mr. Pope, in reply to his accustomed exclamation,—"God mend me," "Mend you? it would not be half the trouble to make another." Old Paris is, however, worth mending: the case is by no means so desperate as that of a deformed man like Pope. They have begun to make trottoirs. When I was in Paris, the trottoirs being paved like the middle of the street, persons on foot had no inducement to walk on them in preference to the middle of the street; people exposed merchandises there, roasted coffee, blacked shoes, or played at cards: the cabriolets ran along them where there was a vacant space, sometimes where there was no[Pg 180] vacant space at all. When the trottoirs shall be such as carriages cannot drive on, the foot passengers will occupy them, and the encumbrances, above-mentioned, will be removed of course.

I went up to a man who was cleaning a lantern in the Rue Neuve des Mathurins, and made him understand that I wished to be instructed in what manner the popular sentence of condemnation "à la lanterne" was executed in the beginning of the revolution. I had remarked, that he was old enough to have remembered such scenes; when near him, I saw a face that testified that he had in all probability been an agent in them: he told me drily, "On ôte la lanterne, et on monte l'homme à sa place."[23] He spoke in the present tense, be it observed: the recollection of such achievements was fresh in his mind, and he showed no symptom that it was unpleasant to him. These lanterns have a cumbrous and heavy appearance in the day time; and hanging over the middle of the street, they stop all passing while they are cleaned or lighted. They have begun to light the streets of Paris with gas: the pipes, I am informed,[Pg 181] are not air-tight; but, once undertaken, this enterprise will no doubt be soon brought to perfection, as well as others already in contemplation.

Paris, in the old parts of it, is, as the French express it, mal percée. The way to remedy this evil is obvious. I will venture to suggest one improvement,—that the Rue St. Honoré be continued, no matter whether in a straight or curved line, through the streets of St. Denis and St. Martin, by piercing these two streets, to the line of streets which lead to the Place de l'Elephant and the Rue du Fauxbourg St. Antoine.

I will also take the liberty of hinting that a populous city can well afford to keep its streets clean: the streets themselves pay this expense; and the greater the quantity of dirt, the better they defray it. I have sometimes passed into the most thickly-inhabited parts of the city of London, and have been surprised to observe the streets to be cleaner than in Mary-la-bonne and at the west end of the town, where the population is less condensed. The reason is plain: it oftener becomes worth while to carry away the material of the dung-heap from the streets of the city, than from the quarter where they are wider in proportion to the population. But every parish of the English capital receives a[Pg 182] sum towards its poor-rate, in exchange for the privilege of cleaning its streets. At Paris nothing is wanting but a réglement de police.

Paris is extending itself, towards the west and the north especially: in time, the Boulevard without the walls may become a second interior Boulevard. While I doubted whether I should continue in Paris, or go to live in a provincial town, I looked at several hotels, houses with a porte cochére,[24] in the Fauxbourg St. Germain: the rent demanded for these was three or four thousand francs: at present they are let for ten thousand francs a year. The speculators in building, of course, find their profit in what they undertake so largely.

I congratulated those who had visited Paris in 1814. Many highly estimable works of art of the French school begin however now to supply the place of those taken away by their old owners. English travellers in France, and those with whom they have to do, understand each other better than at the time when I began my journey; and more accommodations to the English taste are provided. The rivalry between France and England will subsist as long as the geographical position of the two[Pg 183] countries: but no people are more willing than the French, in ordinary cases, and when not stimulated by strong incitements, to distinguish between the nation and the individual. Thus far we may all be cosmopolites; though nations be divided, let men be united. Indeed, I observed a sensible difference in the behaviour of my neighbours at Avignon, from the day which Louis XVIII. wisely declared to be the happiest of his life,—when no banner but that of France floated within its territory.


[20] Look at that little god-dem who is drawing.

[21] What is your price, Sir?

[22] They do not say, "god-dem" any longer; they say "speculation."

[23] They take down the lamp, and mount the man up in its place.

[24] Gate at which a coach can enter.

[Pg 184]


On the sixteenth of August, at one in the afternoon, the carriage came to the door which was to convey us from Paris. We took a light and hasty lunch, or nuncheon, or noonshine, or meridian repast, while the trunks were tying on; and at two, were ready to depart; when up steps the mistress of the house, requesting me to verify the inventory. "Why did you not come sooner?"—"We were unwilling to disturb you while you were dining."—"Why did not you propose this business to me this morning when I paid my rent?"—"We did not know you were going away." It is very improbable that I should not have made them understand that it was because I was going away that I paid my rent; but it is one disadvantage of being a foreigner, that all, who find it their interest, may choose to misunderstand.

I had taken lodgings for short periods in London, and at what are called watering-places in England, where no inventory was made, consequently none was verified: but here confidence was not so well established, or there were other[Pg 185] reasons. It was the usage of the country; it was necessary to submit.

The apartment was furnished with an abundance of mirrors, some handsome pieces of mahogany, a rare wood in France; sofas, and fauteuils, and a most plentiful lack of almost every necessary article. My cook had hardly wherewithal to prepare our meals, and was obliged to sleep in the kitchen: a chamber had been promised; but the key of this chamber was not to be found when the lodging was taken, and the door was never opened afterwards. Kitchen utensils had been promised, and, during the first fortnight, frequently demanded: at last the silence of despair succeeded to hopeless importunity, as a fine writer might perhaps express himself. But, to the inventory.

The grand articles were quickly dispatched: luckily my children had broken no looking-glasses, though surrounded by them. But when we came to the china and the crockery,—ay, then was the question: after the bona fide broken had been disposed of, about which there could be no dispute, except that some were broken only because they were already cracked,—then was the question whether such or such articles were damaged by us, or before we came to the house. An ornamental[Pg 186] china vase had been supplied, and its fellow promised: this fellow jar was now found to have but one ear, whereas its mate had two. The edges of the fracture were rounded by use, and dirt was seen in the interstices. But I paid what was required, for the carriage was at the door.

I have heard of a travelling Englishman, of whom was demanded, on his leaving his apartment, the price of a cracked pane of glass: his conscience acquitted him of the deed: after having for some time fruitlessly pleaded his innocence, he quietly raised his cane, and broke in pieces the cause of the altercation. "This pane shall be paid for no more," said he, patriotically mindful of the interests of his successors.

At length we were seated in our coach. It was a roomy, handsome berline, holding conveniently six persons: on the outside was a covered seat or cabriolet: the place of the voiturier, conductor, or coachman was between the fore-wheels: the carriage was drawn by three horses. When three horses were proposed to me by the master voiturier, I started with amazement. "Why not four?"—"That would be too many."—"Why not two?"—"That would be too few." He gravely assured me[Pg 187] that such was the practice, and he spoke truth. English travellers and readers of travels are, by this time, well acquainted with voitures drawn by three horses; but in 1818, I believe many of my compatriots shared my surprise at so odd a number.

I engaged this voiture to convey me to Avignon for eight hundred francs. For forty-eight francs a day, the coachman was to pay my expenses at the inns: the price was rather extravagant, as four of my six children might, as the master himself calculated, be rated as two grown persons: but I insisted on coffee in the morning before we should set off, my family being not yet accustomed to travel till ten or eleven o'clock in the morning without any breakfast, though such is the usual practice on the continent. Besides, this part of the agreement was revocable at my pleasure. I was also at liberty to quit my carriage at Chalons-sur-Saône, paying a proportionate share of the price.

I had seen, at the master's stables, three very good horses which I engaged for my journey. The day before my departure, he told me these horses were gone in another direction, but that I should have three others equally good. As I[Pg 188] saw no reason why he should prefer another customer to me, I assented. He supplied me with two stout horses and a very weakly one. Louis, my coachman, told me, afterwards, that his master had found an opportunity of selling the three horses I had first seen, and to make up my number had been obliged to buy one from a fiacre the very day of my departure. It is impossible to be aware of all the oblique means and motives of men of the character of this voiturier. All the defence that can be prepared against them is, to see every thing, write down every thing, and, above all, to have time at command.

This mode of travelling by the voiturier is now generally adopted by travellers of the first respectability, and where the whole voiture is engaged, differs in no respect from travelling in a private carriage, except that the right of property in the horses and carriage is but temporary, and the coachman does not wear a livery. I am acquainted with persons, who would not choose to be considered otherwise than as persons of distinction, who have travelled in this way. I have seen attestations of the good conduct of the coachman or voiturier signed with names, some of which were known to me, and[Pg 189] sealed with armorial bearings, according to the English use abroad. I dwell on this point, because voituriers are unknown in England, and the mode of travelling is in low repute abroad, where, from the way in which it is practised, it is impossible it should be creditable.

In France and Italy there are but few stage-coaches, and no good ones but between the towns on the channel and Paris. The post-houses furnish no carriages, but horses only. In every great town there are persons whose trade is to keep carriages ready for those who want to take journeys, but have no carriage of their own. Two or three places being engaged, the voiturier, now afloat, makes up his cargo as he can: rather than have any vacant space in his carriage, he will sell it at a low rate to such as can afford to pay but low prices; he then makes up with dead lumber what is wanting in weight of live stock; and the good people, thus assembled, thus encumbered, proceed as they can under the auspices of the conductor, who presides at their meals. All this accounts very well for some English making a difficulty in avowing their having travelled by the voiturier, and for the French aubergistes and others confounding, at first, all inmates of carriages of the same denomination. I do not suppose that any[Pg 190] respectable English family has travelled in the manner above described. I do not know that any single persons have done so. It is evident that a voiture, engaged for the sole use and service of him who hires it, is "quite another thing."

I would have purchased a berline at Paris, and travelled post,—a plan not more expensive, as I could have gone twice as far in the day as with the same horses it was possible to do,—but the regulations of the post not only require six horses for six persons, but make no provision for any number more than six in the same carriage,—a case as little contemplated as parricide among the ancient Romans. I must therefore have had two carriages, or disputed the question at every post-house. Add to this, that a travelling carriage is not well-suited for a town, nor a town carriage for travelling.

The places in the cabriolet were a perpetual subject of contest among my children, and I had enough to do to arbitrate who should ride outside. Louis, the coachman, was very good-natured to them, and never complained of the frequent interruptions and trouble which they caused him. This was the more laudable in him, as he was a Breton; and the Bretons, like those from whom they derive their origin,—the[Pg 191] ancient Britons of Wales,—are said to have la tête chaude:[25] Louis, on several occasions, was hot-headed enough. He had served, as had almost every man at this time in France, and had been a sous-officier; and, while my eldest son and I walked by his side in mounting the hills, regaled us with accounts of his military exploits, amongst which he seemed to consider his duels as giving the most indisputable proof of personal and individual courage. He said that there had been a great deal of coquinerie[26] in the revolution,—an opinion in which he was by no means singular; and that, if it should break out again, there would be more assassination than ever. Neither was he singular in his apprehension of new troubles: a priest, whom I met at Paris, told me, "la révolution ne fait que commencer."[27] His wish assuredly was not "father to that thought." All this was pleasant hearing to a man who had embarked his family in an expedition like mine. The event proves the wisdom of the king, whom his party declared not to be a royalist.

The horse, that had passed the morning in the streets of Paris in his quality of hackney-coach [Pg 192]horse, was in no condition for a journey. Louis said he was tired with waiting so long in the street: he seemed to allude to the time employed in verifying the inventory; he explained afterwards how and why the expression was equivocal. I had made, on this subject, useless because tardy reproaches to the master. The horse had, however, time to recover his strength, as I would not quit Paris till the afternoon of the first day of my journey, it being Sunday, and had planned to pass the evening of the second, and morning of the third day, at Fontainebleau. We arrived by the light of the full moon at Essonne, where a good supper, with a fine dessert of fruit, and the air of the country, gave us high expectations of the pleasures of a journey to the south of France.


[25] To be hot-headed.

[26] Roguery.

[27] The revolution is only just beginning.

[Pg 193]


The son of the aubergiste at Essonne was, as almost every Frenchman is, a conversable man: he talked to me, while I waited to set off in the morning, of the English who lived or had lived near Essonne; among others, of the Duc de Fitzjames, who, if I understood him right, had a country house in the neighbourhood. "Why do you call him English?" said I. "The name is English."—"The family has been French for more than a century." He wished for an explanation. "It is descended from James II. of England, whom we chased away because he was an honest man, as you put to death Louis XVI. because he was Bienfaisant." He answered, with much discretion, "On s'oublie quelquefois."[28]

The fine old oaks and the green rocks of the forest of Fontainebleau pleased us much: at intervals and openings of the wood we caught very agreeable views of the distant country. We descended into the town, by no means a[Pg 194] handsome one; but our business was to see the palace.

It is in a low situation, surrounded by hills, not bold or romantic, but of pleasing forms; at a sufficient distance, so that it is sheltered without being straitly enclosed. It is a convenient and very large house, with ample space for the display of all the pomp of royalty, The chapel is equal in size, though not in ornament, to that of Versailles. There is a handsome gallery which Napoleon furnished with busts of great men, whose pretensions to the title of "great" are so different, that they certainly would never have met except as busts in a gallery. There is a theatre, a banquetting room, and several suites of fine apartments. One apartment, or set of rooms, had been inhabited successively by the Comte d'Artois, now King Charles X. by the Pope Pius VII. and by his grace the Duke of Wellington. The Indian fable says, that a palace is a caravansera; but such a succession of guests surpasses fable in strangeness.

In the chamber of the king was a state bed of suitable magnificence: passing into a second chamber, in which was a very low bed, I remarked to our conductor that this bed would be more convenient for his majesty; and the conductor, after a little hesitation, allowed that, as[Pg 195] I suspected, the king did, in effect, sleep on this bed. George III. inhabited the Queen's palace in London, and the lodge near the castle at Windsor: he was said to live always next door to himself. The king of France, at Fontainebleau, sleeps in the next room to his own; at least, Louis XVIII. did so.

A small, ordinary, round table was pointed out as a curiosity: it was that on which Napoleon signed the act of his abdication in favour of Napoleon II. The cession was enforced; the condition was of course neglected. Napoleon retired to Elba, an emperor without empire, a father of a family deprived of the company of his wife and son; too weak to be safe, yet too great not to be feared: disgusted with the anomalies, of his situation, he made an effort that, in its consequences, plunged him into one, in which there were, at least, no inconsistencies to be complained of: all was plain and intelligible: the high blood of Europe avenged itself on the Avocat's son, who, if he had been Monsieur le Comte de Bonaparte, would have been treated with more consideration.

The garden of Fontainebleau is handsomely laid out in straight walks, square pieces of water, and abundance of shade, at this season very desirable. As we left the garden, my younger son ran off in pursuit of a water rat,[Pg 196] and we followed, in pursuit of him, the course of one of those beautiful fountains from which the place derives its name. As I looked round for him, I observed an elderly man, decorated with one or more orders, who accosted me with much politeness, and asked what I was looking for. Wishing to obtain information respecting any further object of curiosity, I began:—"Monsieur, je suis étranger, et—" He interrupted: "Je le vois bien, Monsieur, et c'est pourquoi je veux vous être utile."[29] He asked if we had seen the château; and, on my replying in the affirmative, expressed his regret that he had not met with us sooner. I learned afterwards that he was the Maréchal Duc de Coigny, at that time gouverneur du château de Fontainebleau.

He directed me to a treillis which ran the whole length of a garden wall exposed to the south. The situation was even too favourable for the vines that covered the treillis; as, though very fine and healthy, they had pushed out many large branches without fruit. Grapes however, there were in abundance; and, had they been ripe, no doubt M. le Gouverneur would have invited us to eat of them. At any rate, the fox's reasoning had here no place.

[Pg 197]

The next day we arrived at Sens. In the cathedral of this place is a very fine piece of sculpture, the tomb of the Dauphin son of Louis XV. It will hardly be believed that, during the revolutionary fury, the populace were only restrained by force from breaking in pieces the statues of this tomb, out of hatred to royalty. I observed to the sacristan:—"Le bon peuple de Sens n'est pas apparemment un peuple de bon sens."[30] In a chapel, under the invocation of St. Thomas of Canterbury, is a painting representing his interview with the pope at this place, to which he retired during his unjust exile. The memory of Thomas a Becket has been unmercifully slandered by our philosophical and protestant historians. It is their way.

At Auxerre we found an inn very pleasantly situated on the banks of the Yonne with the vine-covered hills of Burgundy in full view. It was fortunate that the inn was agreeable, and the people of the house very good-humoured, the chances being very much against both the one and the other; for here we were detained one day by the illness of Mrs. ——. A physician[Pg 198] attended, who, on his second visit, recommended the use of the hot bath, which removed the cause of the complaint, and all was well again.

Hot baths are to be found in every great town in France, at a very moderate price,—a circumstance which proves that they are much in use, as it is the number of customers only that renders the article cheap. The French are in general cleanly in their persons, whatever their streets may be: they are also cleanly in their houses, though they have not the fastidious and troublesome neatness of the English, nor the perpetual scrubbings and polishings of the Dutch. Household linen, both for bed and table, is plentiful amongst them. I began at Auxerre the use of the hot bath, which I have continued every summer that I have not passed on the sea coast. In winter it is too cold,—not to go into hot water, but to come out of it.

As we travelled neither with great speed, nor far in one day, nor in the heat of the day, the physician, on calling to take leave, said we might continue our journey without any risk of inconvenience to his patient. We ascended therefore that range of hills among which are found the sources of those rivers which flow into the ocean by the Seine and the Meuse, and of those which, however slowly they glide at[Pg 199] first, are precipitated into the Mediterranean by the Rhone. This tract of country continued for two days, and is a very interesting one. Let those who fancy all riches to be derived from commerce only, compare this broad ridge with the plain on each side of it, and they will perceive that a fertile soil ought to enter for something into the computation of the wealth of nations. This mountainous region, in the part where we crossed it, and, by parity of reasoning, in every part of it, is cultivated with the greatest care and industry: it produces wine that ranks in the highest estimation both at home and in foreign countries: yet the inhabitants seem poor, the towns are large villages, the villages are collections of ruinous huts. Yet had this poverty not found its way into the inns, it would have been a most pleasing country to travel through.

The summits of the hills were covered with wood, wherever there was a sufficient depth of earth to admit a tree to be planted; the sides were overspread with vines ranged in order, well pruned, and glowing with fruit now nearly ripe. At the lowest declivities of the hills were corn fields; in the valleys, through almost every one of which ran a stream of the purest water, were pastures; and here was seen, what is so[Pg 200] much wanted in southern landscape,—verdure and cattle.

It may be remembered that, in the year 1816, large masses of ice detached themselves from the coasts of the Arctic regions, where they had been accumulating for centuries, and that huge mountains of ice were met with at a very low latitude in the Atlantic, where it finally thawed, and mingled with the waters of the ocean, but not without having spread cold and moisture over almost every country of the west of Europe. I grew my own corn at this time; but was obliged this year to buy corn of the preceding harvest, as, of my own, could be made nothing better than an unwholesome paste instead of bread. The three vintages before this season of fusion of icebergs, and diffusion of humidity, had been but indifferently good: perhaps the god Mars has been more worshipped than the god Bacchus, and thence, notwithstanding the well-known confidence of Napoleon in the principle of population, hands were wanting to prune and hoe the vines. The vintages of 1816, and of the following year, had almost entirely failed. France was now absolutely threatened with a dearth of wine: the stock in hand was nearly exhausted. But the promise of the present vintage put every one in high spirits: I was[Pg 201] assured by the delighted Burgundians that it would equal in produce, and far surpass in quality, those of the five preceding years. In effect, the wine of 1818 was afterwards compared with that of the year of the comet, still cited at this time in advertisements of sales of wine.

At every step, we met with long cars laden with barrels or staves of barrels; the coopers were all in full activity at the doors of their shops; all the world was in high expectation; and our sympathy with their pleasure was heightened by the cool refreshing air, bringing with it cheerfulness, health, and elasticity.

Something in very deed was required to put or keep us in good humour, for the inns were bad enough to try the patience of that old patriarchal exemplar of patience more frequently cited than imitated. Of eatables indeed there was enough, and the beds were not bad; but the wine was sour; the peaches as hard as those found on the chimney-piece of a lady's boudoir; and the grapes, though very pretty to look at, wanted a month's longer exposure to the sun: the apples even were not ripe. When any thing was asked for beyond objects of the first and most obvious necessity, the answer, was, "il n'y en a point."[31] I asked for an[Pg 202] extinguisher. "Il n'y en a point."—"How do they put out candles in this country?"—"Ma foi, Monsieur, mais on les souffle."[32]—"Not always," said I, pointing to black and greasy spots on the wall. Of the seven ways of putting out a candle which Dean Swift has taught, I prefer, in cases of necessity, that by which the light and the odour are extinguished at once; and here the floor was the better for it.

To account for the poverty of a country, in which is found, in abundance, so rich a product as wine, it must be recollected how small a proportion the land covered with vines bears to the whole tract. This reasoning may be usefully applied to other countries similarly circumstanced.

On the third day after leaving Auxerre, we arrived, by a very steep descent, on the plain of the Saône;—a plain at some time covered with water, which, depositing a loamy and fertile sediment, retired gradually into beds of rivers. The surface of the earth clearly indicates that it has once been sea without shore; the rivers that are still supplied by perennial sources in the higher elevations, hold on their course; many[Pg 203] are dried up, leaving valleys to be watered by the dews and the clouds of heaven.

The plain of the Saône continues below Macon: its products are such as may be expected on strong land in such a climate; among others, bled de Turquie, as the French call maize or Indian corn. Arthur Young, in his admirable Tour, divides France into four agricultural regions: in the first the vine is not; in the second maize is not; in the third the olive is not; in the fourth, Minerva, Ceres, Bacchus, Pomona, all conspire and dispense their united gifts. I was pleased to hear some French speak highly of Young's Tour: they said it had told them many things they did not know before, and had been of great service to them. It is thus that, while nation wars against nation, man may communicate good to man.

The coche d'eau, as it is whimsically called, is a passage-boat which plies between Châlons and Lyons: places are reserved in it for those who may arrive by the diligence from Paris. It is roomy enough, but I found it very dirty: to remain under the deck, at this season of the year, would have been stifling, and on the deck there was no tent or awning. I determined to proceed in my berline.

We made our noon-tide repast at Tournus,[Pg 204] where I walked into the church; for in France the churches are open every day, and all day long; and there I saw an image of the Blessed Virgin in the dress of a lady of the court of Louis XIV. I talked afterwards with a well-meaning Catholic on the absurdity of this costume: he observed, that if the Blessed Virgin were exhibited in the dress of a carpenter's wife, the people would not respect her. The people are not so silly: they, at least, are "not ashamed of the cross of Christ," whatever the great may be: why should the poor be ashamed of the poverty of the mother of the Redeemer?

Macon, where we slept, is a flourishing town: we left it at sun-rise, as we were to pass a steep and lofty hill in our road to Lyons. From this height we descried the mountains of Switzerland and Savoy, amongst which Mont Blanc was seen with his snow-topped summit. The view was indistinct, but imagination supplied the defects of the "visual nerve." The Alps are in the domain of history and poetry.

We alighted, or descended as the French say, at Lyons, at the Hôtel du Parc. It was the fête de St. Louis; the city was illuminated: of these splendors we had a good view, as the Hôtel de Ville was opposite our windows. The people danced in the Place Terreaux all night, and all[Pg 205] night we listened to the sound of their rejoicings, for the bugs hindered us from sleeping. In the morning I complained of them to the femme de chambre, who positively denied that there were any in the house. I showed her five that lay slain on the sheet: she still positively denied that there were any in the house. A modest assurance is certainly very becoming. I laughed in anger, which, though not quite so poetical as laughing in tears, is equally natural, when unqualified anger avails nothing. I complained to the mistress of the house: she admitted the fact without requiring ocular demonstration,—a superfluous motive of credibility; and promised other beds: but, as probably no change could be made for the better, we changed not.

The cathedral church of Lyons is worthy of the metropolitan see of France; it is in the style of the florid or latest Gothic, and highly ornamented: it is very large; a word that may be here taken in its French sense of broad; for it is in breadth that it exceeds other churches equally long. It had been much injured during the revolution; but what is most beautiful in it could not be destroyed without the destruction of the building itself. The chapel of St. Louis is superbly decorated.

Place Bellecour, or Place Louis XIV. or Place[Pg 206] Bonaparte, by the pertinacity of prescription, retains its first name, and is indeed a square which great men might be ambitious of having named after them. It is almost too vast: that is, the distance of the sides from each other destroys its unity: its extent, however, makes it an agreeable promenade; on the south side are rows of trees. The streets in the neighbourhood of this square are handsome and well built: the rest of the town is what an old manufacturing populous city may be supposed to be: the quay on the majestic Rhone is a striking sight. Following the course of the river along a raised road or dike, we arrive at the piece of ground recovered from the river by means of this dike; which ground was given by the municipal authorities to Napoleon, who intended to build a palace on this spot, at the junction of the Saône and Rhone. I talked with a labourer who had been employed in levelling the land: further than this, the work was not proceeded in. The situation is admirable: a lofty edifice,—and can one suppose that the palace of Napoleon would have been any other than a lofty edifice?—would have commanded a view of Lyons and of the surrounding hills and country: besides all this, the river presents here the appearance of a large and[Pg 207] beautiful lake, its stream being hidden, at a little distance from the point of confluence, by intervening ground. Whether Paris, Lyons, or Constantinople was destined to be the capital of the French empire is a doubt, for the solution of which we must now interrogate the grave.

The cathedral of Vienne is a very fine church, and the loftiest within of any I have ever seen, and I have seen all the cathedrals in England. In the earliest age of Christianity, at Vienne, Lyons, and Tournus, those whom the church honours under the common name of the martyrs of Vienne, sealed their faith with their blood.

We passed the Isere by a ferry; the bridge, destroyed four years before, during the war, not having been yet rebuilt; and this on the high road from Paris to Marseilles.

Valence was the last prison of Pope Pius VI. for here he died. Philosophers and protestants flattered themselves that he was the last of the popes: they forgot the reasoning of Gamaliel.

At an indifferent inn where we rested at mid-day, at the sign of the Grand Monarque, among other scribblings on the wall of our apartment, I observed a note to the following effect:—"Englishmen, beware of the Grand Monarque! I paid five francs for my bed,—a bed in this chamber!!![Pg 208] I paid seven francs for my supper." The writer states of what dishes his moderate supper consisted, complains of the wine, and concludes with some indignant and patriotic effusions.

We were now in the country of the olive, and the flat roofs indicated that we were to pass a winter very different from any that we had hitherto experienced; a winter without snow. The whole road from Lyons to Avignon may be considered as beautiful: we rarely quitted the banks of the Rhone, and always with regret: on each side of the river are fine hills, surmounted with châteaus, many of which had the picturesque advantage of being in ruins.

The heat did not incommode us, except in the beginning of the afternoon of two days out of the five employed in this journey from Lyons, where, as an Avignonais observed, the north begins, and where, of course, the south began to us. Madame de Staël says—"Le vrai midi commence à Naples."[33] Ask where's the north?

The badness of the inns would have been, at this season of the year, but a trifling inconvenience, but for the bugs; at the last inn at which we slept on the road they were in swarms. I[Pg 209] complained to the innkeeper: he said there might, perchance, be one or two, "mais cela doit être une espèce de miracle."[34] Almost every one has poor relations or friends of whom he is ashamed, but of whom he cannot get rid without adopting the ingenious expedient of the Vicar of Wakefield,—an expedient unfortunately not applicable to bugs, "non missura cutem nisi plena cruoris;" although their hosts and entertainers are sufficiently unwilling to acknowledge their presence.

At Orange we passed under a triumphal arch, called of Caius Marius, much finer and better preserved than any edifice of the same kind at Rome. Here are also the remains of an amphitheatre encumbered with buildings. Here we saw the process of winding the silk from the worm: the cocon or egg is thrown into boiling water to dissolve the gum. At Skegness, on the Lincolnshire coast, I have seen panier-fulls of living shrimps treated in the same manner.


[28] People forget themselves sometimes.

[29] "Sir, I am a stranger."—"So I perceive, Sir, and for that reason I wish to be of service to you."

[30] The good people of Sens are, apparently, not a people of good sense.

[31] There is none.

[32] Faith, Sir, they blow them out.

[33] The true south begins at Naples.

[34] That must be a sort of miracle.

[Pg 210]


The entrance into Avignon prepossesses a stranger in its favour: he passes through a gate of modern construction into a square in which are several well-grown trees; in front is the theatre, on each side a large inn and other houses: this is called the Place de la Comédie. We were set down at the Palais Royal, where we found good chambers and beds. Hot baths, à l'instar de Paris, as the sign expressed it, were opposite our inn, and the next morning some of the family took advantage of them. I paid Louis, my coachman, the balance of his account, for I had advanced him money on the road; and gave him such a generous bonne main, that he was, I saw, ashamed of having once or twice made us fare ill on the road. The sum of the expenses of my journey from Paris, not including the bonne main, was a little more than sixteen hundred francs.

A banker, or dealer in money only, is not to be found, except in the largest commercial towns of France, and provincial notes are unknown. The Parisian banker had referred me to a négociant[Pg 211] and manufacturer of silk, who, during my stay at Avignon, supplied the absence of a regular priest of Plutus; loading me, at my pleasure, with heavy five-franc pieces, for which he required only good bills on Paris, or on London, where also he had a correspondence. I am obliged to call him a négociant, as marchand means a shop-keeper; nay, a dealer in the pettiest wares is called a merchant: a seller of milk is a marchand de lait. As for shops, they have disappeared: every shop is a magasin, so that France is not a nation boutiquière, whatever England may be. I called on my banker this morning, and consulted him on my establishment.

We retired to rest early in the evening, but were soon after disturbed by the noise of loud voices below: it ceased after a short hubbub. On inquiring the cause next day, the waiter told us that the English prince had descended at the Palais Royal, but that the authorities had presented themselves, and had engaged him to pass to the Hôtel d'Europe, where they had prepared for his reception; and that the noise was caused by the passage of the prince and his suite, attended by the authorities.

This was a very prudent, but rather an imperfect statement: it was the truth, but not the[Pg 212] whole truth. The fact was that the Duke of Gloucester, in his tour through France, arrived at Avignon: he had sent forward a courier, who had given orders for his reception at our inn, where he was set down; but, while he was taking tea, the prefect of the department and the mayor of the city waited on him to request that he would accept of the hospitality of the town, and representing that preparations had been made accordingly at the Hôtel d'Europe. His Royal Highness thought proper to accede to this polite invitation. Madame Moulin, the mistress of our inn, enraged at the loss of the honour and profit of the prince's company, and transported beyond the bounds of discretion, broke out into violent invectives against M. le Préfet and M. le Maire, who, to punish an insult offered to them in the presence of the English prince, committed Madame Moulin to prison. Moulin told me this story, adding, "Ma femme est très sensible."[35] If her sensibility provoked her to make all the clamour we heard at ten o'clock the evening before, she certainly merited, and was probably benefited by, the restraint imposed on her, which, by the intercession of the prince, lasted only twenty hours.

[Pg 213]

Moulin has as much the appearance of a bon vivant as if he were an English landlord, but with a cast of French manners. A very pretty young English lady (so she was described to me,) admired his great Newfoundland dog, but said, "M. Moulin, I am afraid of him: will he bite me?"—"Non, Mademoiselle; mon chien ne vous mordera pas: fût il un tigre, il lêcheroit une si belle main."[36]

I called on the Préfet, who received me with much politeness; and, when I announced my intention of settling at Avignon, felicitated the city on the acquisition it was about to make. It is regulated that no one shall be prefect of a department of which he is a native, or to which his family belongs. This rule proceeds on the principle, recognised amongst us by the circuits of the twelve judges, which supposes that justice will be more impartially administered by strangers than by those who may be liable to the influence of local connexions. The prefect of Vaucluse was of the department of the Rhone, and member of the chamber of Deputies for that department.

I called on the Mayor, and was much surprised[Pg 214] to find, invested with that office, not a man resembling an English alderman or a good bourgeois, but a meagre, old noble, adorned with the croix de St. Louis, and with the manners of his caste. In the American war he had been captain of a ship of the line; he had emigrated, and been despoiled of his property during the revolution; had passed three years of his emigration in London, where he had learned to admire tea and tost. On his return, he had married a rich wife who had just left him a widower; he showed me the weepers on his coat sleeves as an excuse for not returning my visit. He had recovered some of the wrecks of his fortune, and had repurchased his house; part of which had been pulled down by him who had bought it as national property, that, when compelled to restitution, as was expected, on the return of the king, he might secure at least the price of the materials. M. le Maire had built a house for himself on the ruins of the part pulled down: of the part left standing he had already made a detached house, which he offered to me. I promised to look at it.

And now began my search for a house, which I conducted according to my English notions and prepossessions. In the south of France, or in Italy, a man of twenty thousand francs a year[Pg 215] lives in a larger house than a man of an income of as many pounds sterling inhabits in London. In England, a nine months winter, an enormous tax on windows, a duty on bricks, timber, and glass, reduce us to content ourselves with small houses; but in these countries, large rooms, lofty ceilings, wide staircases, are required by the climate, and by no means astonish the minds of those who are used to them. Things on this scale of vastness I had frequently seen in England, particularly in country-houses, but had not been, as yet, familiarized with them.

I visited an hotel in which Charles IV. of Spain had been lodged on his journey from Paris to Rome, after his abdication at Bayonne. I was desired, by the man of affairs, to determine what apartments I should want, and then the rent might be fixed. The house was an agreeable one, but appeared in too grand a style for me: I told the man of business it might do very well for a prince, or, par occasion, for a king of Spain, and declined all further treaty. I have no doubt, I might have been as cheaply lodged here as I was in the house I afterwards rented. There occurred besides another English prejudice: I was to have but a part of the house: who might they be who should inhabit the other part? An Englishman[Pg 216] likes to have his house to himself; it is his castle: a privilege, by the by, which the present chancellor of the exchequer has restored to him, by taking off the tax on internal windows. Another apartment I visited; but here the proprietor, who lived on the rez-de-chaussée, or ground floor, had, as well as myself, a family of young children: besides, he refused me the privilege of walking in his garden. From this refusal, and from the intercourse of the children, I anticipated future misunderstandings. The use of a garden in this climate is, that, in the shade, or after sunset, it serves as an additional room, loftier than any in the house. In winter, a town garden, surrounded by high walls, or houses, is absolutely useless.

At length I took the house of M. le Maire. It consisted of a vestibule, a small dining-room, servants hall, kitchen, and offices: on the first floor was a salon, twenty-four feet square; on one side of this salon was a space partitioned off, about six feet wide: at half the height of this room, a floor had been laid, and thus two cabinets were procured: there was a second salon twenty-one feet by fifteen; there were three chambers with two cabinets, three servants rooms, and on the second floor two chambers for my sons. I had besides a small stable,[Pg 217] and coach-house for a cabriolet, but no garden. The house was built on three sides of a small court. My lease was for four years, at a thousand francs a year, determinable by me at the end of each year on two months notice, determinable also on payment of a quarter's rent in case of war, or any event of a public nature that might affect my personal security. This last clause I copied from a lease I had seen at Paris; a prudent, and, at that time, no one could say, a superfluous caution. I paid no taxes.

This house I furnished, as one furnishes a house which he is to quit in three or four years. It was curious to observe how, from want of money or of confidence, some of the tradesmen followed their goods to my house, and required payment on delivery. I had even a sort of run upon me one morning, performed by some one who had not taken the above-mentioned precaution. The run was probably caused by some silly report. I have known a run on a country bank to originate with a farmer's declaration that such run existed; the question then being only who should run fastest. I dissipated the alarm by giving, with great tranquillity, bons on my banker: yet some tradesmen were careful to[Pg 218] give a receipt, not for the amount of the bill, but for the bon: this, indeed, I suggested.

Seven years later, I have found the merchants of a provincial town, in which I am utterly unknown, ready to give me credit for my orders without the least symptom of suspicion or anxiety. In seven years I believe the wealth of France to have increased by one half; in seven years, the funds have risen from sixty-five to ninety-five: money might have been invested in land, seven years ago, at four and a half per cent; now, not more than three, or three and a half, can be obtained: but I am going beyond the limits of my four years residence.


[35] My wife has a great deal of sensibility.

[36] No, Miss, my dog will not bite you; if he were a tiger, he would lick such a beautiful hand.

[Pg 219]


Avignon is surrounded by walls, as are most of the cities of France, and of the countries of the continent: a very great evil and inconvenience. These walls hinder the influx of fresh air from the country, and thus make the cities more unhealthy; give to those who want to enter or go out of the town the trouble of going first to a gate; and crowd and embarrass the inlets and outlets, by diminishing their number. Indeed, after sunset, this number, in order to save porters, is reduced to two; the two principal gates only, at opposite sides of the town, being attended by their guardians to watch and ward during the night. Often have I been obliged, at Avignon and at Florence, to shorten my evening walk, for the sake of arriving at the nearest gate before the Ave Maria of the evening. If I still continued without the walls, I was obliged to perform a circuit, first along a dusty road to a distant gate; and then, accompanied, it may be, by the females of my family, through the main street to my own habitation,[Pg 220] more distant from this gate than from that by which I had gone out.

All this mischief, all this restraint, is endured, because, instead of a tax on the houses in which food is consumed, a duty is levied, at the gates, on the food itself; a duty, partial, because not paid by the inhabitants of the country; vexatious, because descending to so many and so minute objects; and expensive in its collection, because requiring perpetual superintendence. It is to be hoped the Chamber of Deputies of France will take some lessons, on the art of taxing, from the House of Commons, by whom that art has been so long and so successfully practised. Part of these tolls defray municipal expenses.

The walls of Avignon are about three miles in circumference. A good road, bordered by trees, goes round the town; and, on the western side, is a public walk near the Rhone. The river is here divided into two branches by a long, narrow island: over each branch is carried a bridge on wooden piers, with a causeway across the island, uniting the two bridges into one road from bank to bank. The tolls, on this bridge, are let, by the city, at about fifty thousand francs a year; a large sum, and indicating an active intercourse in the direction of Bordeaux[Pg 221] and Toulouse. There is a barrier at each end of the bridge, and the passengers pay on setting foot upon it, but go off from it scot-free. Why there are two receivers of one toll I know not, except that one may be a check on the other; but, as every "receiver is as bad as a thief," this expedient amounts only to "setting a thief to watch a thief."

That in the twelfth century,—an age of Cimmerian darkness, according to the Protestants,—a poor shepherd should have conceived the project of building a bridge over the Rhone; that he should have been prompted to this undertaking by motives of Christian charity, on observing how many were drowned in attempting the passage by boats; that he should have devoted his life to the collection of alms for his purpose;—all this might procure for St. Benezet more favour than he will ever meet with in our dis-enlightened country. I leave it to my reader to judge of my reasons for not saying un-enlightened. The mischief is, they made the poor man a saint, instead of knighting him, like Sir Richard Arkwright. A punster might have entitled him Pontifex Maximus; but this would have been still worse for his reputation.

The Reverend Alban Butler, in his learned, discreet, and pious work, "The Lives of the[Pg 222] Saints," relates, that the building of this bridge was attended by many miracles. Part of these may have been contrived to encourage those to the enterprise who would not have been moved by the single consideration of its utility; as the liberation of the Holy Sepulchre, and "Deus vult," roused those who would never have made a common effort to defend Christendom against the Saracen. In part also, these miracles may have been real, notwithstanding the bold assertion that miracles have ceased. This assertion may be easily made, while every fact proving the contrary is rejected with supercilious incredulity; but it is an assertion in its own nature incapable of proof: the denial of the possibility of miracles would be inconsequent in the mouths of those who, by affirming them to have ceased, admit them to have existed. These men are not Deo a secretis.

Butler tells us also that, on occasion of part of the bridge falling down by the impetuosity of the waters, in 1669, nearly five hundred years after the death of St. Benezet, his body, which had been buried in a little chapel on the bridge, was taken up, and found entire, without the least sign of corruption: even the bowels were sound, and the colour of the eyes lively and sprightly, though the bars of iron around[Pg 223] the coffin were much corroded by rust, on account of the dampness of the situation. Butler did not know that animal muscle is changed by moisture into a substance resembling spermaceti, as proved by the experiments of Lavoisier, and Sir George Gibbes. The substance is called by the French chymists adipocire. The philosopher will, I hope, allow his obligation to me for having attempted to account for one miracle in a natural manner. Let him say, "The man is reasonable, quand même."[37]

The remains of the bridge of St. Benezet still bestride the eastern branch of the Rhone, and are an object of great picturesque beauty. The arches are very lofty: under the first of them, the great public road is now carried; a circumstance which seems to show that the river has formed for itself a narrower, it may be, a deeper bed. Inundations however are not unfrequent, particularly in the beginning of summer, on the melting of the snows of the Alps; and I am told at this time, December 1825, that there has lately been five feet depth of water in the town of Avignon. I have seen the water wash the walls of the city.

The Rock, as it is called, of Avignon, has[Pg 224] every appearance of having been separated by the Rhone from the hills on the other side of the river. How or when this separation was effected, is a question that might puzzle a writer of theories on the formation of the earth. If we can believe, what philosophers would readily enough believe were not the fact asserted in the Bible,—that the earth was at one time covered with water, even the tops of the mountains,—and if we can suppose also that currents existed in this deluge;—then, on the subsiding of the waters, these currents might meet with the summits and ridges of hills, and work and wear for themselves a passage, the waters of the deluge gradually retiring, but, in the mean time, sustaining the currents at the requisite height. But humility in Scriptural interpretation is recommended by the remark, that the very first word of Scripture, "In the beginning," is incomprehensible and inexplicable.

On the southern slope of this rock is built the Palace of the Popes; as its roof is continued in one horizontal line, the height of the building at the southern extremity is enormous: its principal front is towards the west, overlooking a part of the city and the hills of Languedoc: it is now in a ruined and neglected state, as far as a building can be so which is still in use: part[Pg 225] of it serves for a prison: another part is a caserne, of which the pope's chapel is the dormitory. Close upon the northern end of the palace is the cathedral; a church which, at the beginning of the revolution, was plundered of an immense quantity of silver and some gold plate, which was sent off to the national crucible at Paris; amongst other treasures was a silver bell of no very diminutive size. The tombs even were ransacked; a skull was brought to my house by my children's drawing-master, from which my younger son designed an admirable and edifying death's head. The model, I was assured, had been the cranium of a pope. They were beginning to repair this church, with the purpose of restoring it to its former destination. On one side of it is a little chapel with a dome, which served as the model for the dome of Ste. Geneviève. The copy is sufficiently exact.

Behind the palace, on the east, rises a tower, which, from having been used as an ice-house, was called the glacière; and the glacière of Avignon is a name ever memorable in the annals of horror. From the top of this tower five hundred, according to those who exaggerate; thirty, according to those who extenuate,—of the principal inhabitants of the city, after receiving a stunning blow on the head, were thrown down[Pg 226] on the ice within, and their bodies immediately covered with quick lime.

Such was the vengeance of the people on those who, without trial, from the notoriety of the fact, were convicted of the crime of aristocracy. The Revolution had been quietly accomplished: the people declared that it was their will to unite themselves to France; sent a deputation to the national assembly; and cried "Vive le Roi." The vice-legate, who governed the city for the pope, addressed the people from his balcony; told them he had no force to oppose this their movement, that they had his prayers for their happiness, and that he would retire. This was all on his part. The national assembly accorded to the Avignonais their wish; and formed of this papal territory and that of Orange, (formerly a patrimony of the princes of that house,) the department of Vaucluse.

The summit of the rock commands a very beautiful view. The eye traverses a fertile plain, bounded by the hills of the Venaissin, among which are distinguished those of the vallis clausa, where the far-famed fountain has its source: between the trees are caught glimpses of the Durance, which throws itself into the Rhone two miles below; almost under your feet, are seen the windings of the Rhone with[Pg 227] its islands: on the opposite bank rises the château and little town of Villeneuve, surmounted by hills covered with the vine and the olive: immediately beneath, to the south, and west, lies Avignon, with its population of five and twenty thousand souls, which number still remained to it after massacres, confiscations, and proscriptions. By these revolutionary measures, it had suffered more perhaps than any other city in France except Lyons, the "ville affranchie" of the Convention. "How would you have us be gay?" said a noble to me: "we see every day, we live in the midst of the assassins of our relations, and the possessors of our property." Virgil describes his Jove as viewing, from Olympus' height, the earth, "hominumque labores:" the rock of Avignon is but one of many elevated spots from which we look down on the bounty of Providence and on the misery of man.

The city contains a great many handsome hotels or family houses, but is not generally well-built; the streets, all but one,—the Rue Calade,—are narrow: the pavement is of small sharp-pointed pebbles. Here is a public library, formed out of the libraries of the suppressed convents; a Museum, in which, among other objects,[Pg 228] a valuable collection of coins deserves particular mention, as containing some very rare specimens of the coins of the Greek cities anciently founded in this part of France. There is also annexed to the Museum a small botanical garden. Here is a good infirmary or hospital for the sick. A large convent has been turned into a succursal or subsidiary house to the invalids at Paris, insufficient to receive the increased number of disabled soldiers. The seven parishes of Avignon have been revolutionized into four, with churches not large enough for the congregations. I entered a fine Pantheon-like building, and found it to be a church, with vast Ionic columns supporting large galleries; the whole capable of containing two thousand people: it was used as a manufactory of saltpetre. The Jesuits' college is become a collège royal: thus it retains its destination as a place of instruction; but its handsome church has been spoiled by laying a floor across it at mid-height: for this there was no reason, but that an administrator thought, as my informant said, that it was a clever thing to cheat the Almighty of a church, escamoter une église au bon Dieu.

The walls of the town are particularly well-built[Pg 229] and handsome, if walls can ever be handsome: they are of the same sort of stone as the palace, and it is said that each contains precisely the same quantity of stone. They both date from the fourteenth century, when the popes sat, as the phrase is, at Avignon.


[37] Notwithstanding.

[Pg 230]


Thirty English families, it was calculated, were settled, before the Revolution, in Avignon and its territory. The grandson of James II. had lived here for some time. I used to enter, with some little feeling of Jacobitical enthusiasm, the house of the Marquise D. which he had inhabited. The Pretender was accompanied by some who "thought his pretensions well-founded:" others were attracted by the sort of court, held here by the vice legate, and by the attentions which it was then the usage of the court of Rome to pay to foreigners, particularly to the English. It was convenient also that a war between England and France did not affect a subject of the former country at Avignon. The intercourse betwixt this city and Italy had caused more attention to be paid to literature and the fine arts than is usual in provincial towns: that these flourished here, the names of Vernet, Flechier, Poole, and others bear honourable testimony.

Avignon was now become French, and as[Pg 231] such, on a par with other French towns. I chose it as a place in which to live for a few years, and superintend the education of my children: it was in my way to Italy, my ulterior object. I determined on the south of France on account of the health of Mrs. ——, who, though subject to violent coughs, which had more than once threatened her life, has not suffered from them since we have been to the southward of Lyons.

But the wounds inflicted by the Revolution, and during the reign of terror, were hardly stanched; the recollection of the evils they had endured was still recent,—still afflicted the spirits of those who formed the first class of society at Avignon. I have already mentioned the feeling with which one of them expressed himself on this subject. The most fortunate amongst them,—at least he told me he so considered himself,—was the Marquis ——, who, after being obliged to fly and absent himself for fifteen years, recovered his estate with the loss only of the rents during those years. Almost every lady, at that time old enough to have been an object of persecution, had been put in prison, and there, with her companions, had discussed the question whether the guillotine was an easy mode of death. One of them said[Pg 232] to me, "You see us tristes; but sometimes we forget ourselves, and then le caractère national perce."[38]

In 1795, almost every large house in Avignon bore on its walls a notice,—"Propriété nationale à vendre;"[39] and even houses not confiscated, as well as other property, were sold to relieve the immediate distress of their owners. A house, which I considered as the best in the town, which had been but lately built at an expense of two hundred thousand francs, was sold for thirty thousand to the father of my banker: its noble proprietor gave as a reason for acceding to so disproportionate a bargain, that his wife and daughter had nothing to eat.

Great wealth was a crime as well as royalism or nobility. Two persons, in authority at Avignon during the reign of terror, were making out a list of emigrants: a third was present, who, having nothing else to do, was holding the candle to the two municipal revolutionists. "Shall we set him down in the list?" whispered one of them to the other, meaning the third, the candle-holder.—"Ce seroit un peu trop fort, puisqu'il est [Pg 233]présent."[40]—"Qu' importe? il n'osera pas réclamer, et il est riche."[41] Danton, who by the by, was minister of justice, said "La révolution est une mine qu'il faut exploiter."[42]

A revolutionary tribunal held its permanent sitting at Orange, and every day carts full of victims were sent off thither from Avignon. My friend the Marquise —— was then a child of six years old; a plan was laid to take her in the cart and throw her into the Rhone by the way: she could not be convicted of incivisme, but she was an heiress. The plot was defeated by her bonne or nurse-maid, who took care that the child should be out of the way at the time of the departure of the cart.

The trials at Orange were the pleasantest scenes imaginable. "Tu n'es pas royaliste? Tu n' as pas conspiré contre l'état?"[43] or some such questions, in an ironical tone, decided the fate of the prisoner. "Voilà des hommes qui tranchent sur tout,"[44] said I to my narrator. He forgave the pun.

[Pg 234]

An elderly woman,—her understanding childish through age, and who was deaf withal,—was put in accusation with her son. "Tu as pleuré la mort du roi,"[45] said the judges to the mother, charging her also with having put on mourning on the occasion. "O yes," said the old woman, "I was very sorry for the king, poor, dear, good man; and I put on a black silk apron and a black ribbon round my cap." The judges, seeing the people inclined by this simplicity to a sentiment of compassion, advanced to something more serious. "Tu as conspiré contre l'état."[46] Here the son put himself forward: "Messieurs, do what you will with me; but my mother—you see her imbecillity; she is deaf: how can she have conspired against the state?" "Elle est sourde?" said the judge: "écris, greffier, qu'elle a conspiré sourdement contre l'état."[47] This pun is not to be forgiven. Arrived at the place of execution, the mother, seeing the assembled crowd, asked her son the meaning of it; whether it was a fair, or some fête. He obtained as a favour from the executioner, that his mother might be the first to suffer death.

[Pg 235]

A noble had a conversation with a man who, though known as one of the chief assassins of that æra, lived quietly at Avignon. "I should imagine that, since you have failed of your purpose, you must feel some regret at having uselessly shed so much blood."—"Au contraire, our regret is that we did not shed more: mais ce sera pour une autre fois."[48]

In expectation of this autre fois, some of the few nobles to whom any wealth was left were making up a purse in readiness for a second emigration:—let it be remembered this was in the year 1818. Others of them lived economically, indifferent as to the consideration in which they might be held after so many mortifications; or disgusted with the law of equal partition of inheritance, which reduced all their children to mediocrity of wealth,—an evil they wished to remedy by their savings. I recollect, in passing, that I was well acquainted with a noble, an aristocrat, who detested every act of the constituent assembly, but thought this law of partage perfectly just and reasonable: he was a younger brother.

From all that has preceded, it will be inferred[Pg 236] that the public mind at Avignon was not in a state to abandon itself unreservedly to the pleasures of society. Yet fêtes were occasionally given; balls, with, now and then, a petit souper, were not uncommon during carnival; and every evening might be passed in company, in the salon of some lady who had taken her day of the week for receiving. At these parties cards were supplied, but paid for by those who used them, at a price which, though moderate, covered the expense both of cards and wax candles. This practice, pretty well established in England, was defended by the example of the court, where it is permitted. We could not do better than follow the practice of the court. Ordinarily no refreshments were given: one conscientious lady, however, told her friends that her surplus card-money enabled her to treat them with ices and petits gâteaux. No invitation was sent after the first notice, which was considered as good so long as the weekly reception should continue.

Besides these reunions, to which all the acquaintance of the mistress of the house were of course admitted, there were sometimes parties by invitation, when the refreshments were sufficient and decorous. I endeavoured to set the fashion of tea, and gave a thé, as much in conformity,[Pg 237] as to the mode of it, with the notions of the country, as my imagination could make it out. A large table, covered with a cloth as at dinner time, bore upon it not only the tea equipage, with its usual accompaniments of tartines and toast, but also fruits, and cakes, and an immense round flat tart, showing preserve through a gridiron of pastry, with wine and syrups for those whom tea would deprive of sleep. The Marquise —— followed my example, and gave a thé, of which she condescended to ask my opinion: I told her, that in order that the tea should be good, it was indispensable that the water should be not only hot, but boiling; excusing at the same time the boldness of my counsel, on the ground that it was not obtruded, but demanded. She tried again, and succeeded to admiration. Tea is now in pretty general use at evening parties in the north of France.

While my elder children even were yet too young to bear their part in soirées, I contented myself with entertaining, now and then, a few Messieurs at dinner, after consulting a friend on the enterprise, with a declaration that I could not invite ladies, as their taste would require more research and delicacy of preparation than I could hope to arrive at. He admitted the difficulty[Pg 238] would be lessened by this restriction however ungallant, and proceeded to tell me, that a dinner invariably begins by soup and bouilli: as this latter however must be insipid if the the soup is good, it is well to accompany it by a sausage, or some high-tasted meat: then come the entremets, then the rôti with its salad: after which, said he, "tout naturellement on fait monter le poisson."[49] Nothing could appear to me more unnatural than fish after meat; but I was in such a complaisant disposition, that I agreed to every thing. The douceurs terminate the repast, succeeded by the dessert.

So many English travel in France, and so many write their travels, that these matters are well known: the repetition may be endured as a part of a family history; I speak of them with a due sense of their importance:

—————qualia vincant
Pythagoram, Anytique reum, doctumque Platona.

Having discovered what might be considered as a good French dinner, en province, I set to work, not neglecting the improvements suggested by an English education, by no means so useless, on this head, as the French imagine.

[Pg 239]

It will be seen, that the arbitrary parts of a French dinner are the made dishes and the sweets: the bouilli and rôti are obligatory; the former because you are hungry, the latter, lest you should still be so. I approve of the order in which the fish appears, having seen many persons choke themselves in England by eating of it with an appetite as yet unsatiated. Even to the fried fish I ventured, contrary to usage, to add a sauce, (in a sauce-boat be it well understood,) which those who partook of it admitted to be an improvement. A stuffed turkey, with sausage balls, was allowed to be better than a dry rôti: a hare, with a pudding and currant jelly, was declared to be delicious. I obtained permission to serve the cheese, as a thing of mauvaise odeur, by itself, recalling only the salad, instead of making it a part of the dessert. By these means, and by the help of stuffed loins of mutton, roasted tongues, or boiled, with but little flavour of salt, new college puddings, and other unknown luxuries too tedious to mention, (a phrase I ought to have employed long ago,) I have the patriotic consolation of thinking that I gave a favourable idea of the English kitchen, which, in defiance of popular opinion, I affirm to be better than the French, though their artists in this line are superior. The chief differences [Pg 240]are, that the French make prepared and high-seasoned dishes of their vegetables, and think it barbarous to eat them, au naturel, along with their meat; and that they will not believe that their meat contains any juice, or gravy, or flavour, till they have extracted it by culinary process, and laid it beside the meat in the dish. Indeed their climate, which provides for them so many excellent things, refuses them pasture to fatten beef; but they have fine artificial grasses and hay: of every other object of gourmandise, except fat beef, they have all that the most voracious, or the most delicate appetite can demand.

An invitation to dinner is always taken au pied de la lettre; it never trenches on the evening parties;—all retire immediately after coffee.

Nothing can be more easy than the entrance into society in a provincial town in France: you have only to send billets of invitation, taking care first to make a general visit to all whom you invite; which visit is returned by those who mean to accept that or any future invitation. In the second winter of my residence, we took an evening for weekly reception, beginning by an invitation to a ball. Dancing was, for this time, prevented by the arrival of the news of the death of King George III. On[Pg 241] occasion of another ball, I observed that those who, from whatever reason, had been prevented from assisting at the ball, took particular care to present themselves at the following weekly soirée, when, as on other soirées, no refreshments were given, as we thought it right to conform to the usage of the place. Indeed this mode of visiting has its advantages: the visited is thus the obliged party; insomuch that those, who themselves do not receive, make no scruple of repeating their visits. Those who do thus receive, expect of course to be visited in their turn.

It is perhaps in consequence of this mode of receiving, that the custom is established, that the newly-arrived shall make the first call. However agreeable it might be to a stranger to be invited to cards and conversation only, the inhabitants of a town cannot know that it would be agreeable, till they are, by implication, told so. One exception to the rule confirms my opinion of its origin. The Duc—, who, in my first winter, gave a ball every week, called on me to invite my family. The rule was, nevertheless, so far observed, that the Duchesse did not call till after we had accepted the invitation. The practice, from whatever it may arise, is very embarrassing to the mauvaise honte of an Englishman:[Pg 242] this may easily be surmounted, when it is perceived that the first visit is always considered as a polite attention.

But the only serious social embarrassment I experienced, arose from my imperfect use of the language: I had learned French when a boy; when I left England I had long read it, almost as easily as English; arrived in France, I found I had two studies to perform, two difficulties to encounter; to make myself understood, and to understand: the first I could do indifferently well; but I passed a twelvemonth in France before I could understand what was said by the men, and two years before I could understand what was said by the ladies. I found that not to understand was more disadvantageous than not to be understood; since those who endured my bad French with patience were, very naturally, displeased on discovering that they had been throwing away their words on one who could not fully comprehend their meaning. I seriously advise every Englishman who purposes to establish his family for some years in France, if he is not competent to follow a conversation in the language of that country, to go thither first himself alone, and establish himself for a few months in French society: he will thus make more progress in a month, than afterwards,[Pg 243] with his family, in a year: for the frequent use of an old language indisposes the organs of speech to the acquisition of a new one. The ears too require their lesson.

I will also repeat the counsel given to me by a friend, a détenu, whose son, at the age of seventeen, spoke English like a foreigner; it was, constantly to talk English in the family. Notwithstanding my exact compliance with this advice, my youngest child, from having learned three languages before entering her tenth year, speaks English less perfectly than the others: she left England when but three years old, and, a year after, said, somewhat boastingly, "J'ai oublié mon Anglois." In truth, seven or eight years absence has produced in all the family some little forgetfulness of our native tongue; nay, I fear that my reader may find some Gallicisms in the writing of one, who did not quit his native land till far advanced in the fiftieth year of his age.

No parent will be content that his children should forget their native language: whether it may be necessary, in order to avoid this inconvenience, to enjoin the use of it within the family, will depend on circumstances, on the age of the children, on the length of the intended stay or residence abroad. The means will,[Pg 244] so far forth, hinder and delay the attainment of the language of the country, without which both improvement and amusement are utterly hopeless, as social intercourse is impossible. The French are not the less impatient of bad French, on account of the imperturbable politeness with which they hear it.


[38] The national character pierces through.

[39] National property to be sold.

[40] That would be a little too bad since he is here present.

[41] What does it signify? he will not dare to appeal, and he is rich.

[42] The revolution is a mine that must be worked.

[43] Thou art not a royalist? Thou hast not conspired against the state?

[44] See the men who cut through every thing.

[45] Thou hast wept for the death of the king.

[46] Thou hast conspired against the state.

[47] She is deaf?—write, clerk, that she has conspired in a secret way against the state.

[48] But that will be for another time.

[49] The fish is served quite naturally.

[Pg 245]


I found a very good drawing-master at Avignon, an élève of David, one who had studied in Italy, an intelligent man; his conversation pleased and instructed me. I had much difficulty to meet with a master of the French language: no one here wanted to learn French; they were contented with such as they talked: there was no demand for institutors in this branch of education. At last I found a professor of the royal college, an ingenious man, but utterly unpractised in the art of teaching French, which he might suppose "came by nature;" and being besides unacquainted with English, he was unable to explain to his scholars of my family, any rules of grammar, whether general or particular. That I may dismiss him with honour in this my mention of him, I will recite an epigram of his composition at the beginning of the Revolution:

O liberté chérie! en vain je te poursuis:
Par tout je vois ton arbre, et nulle part tes fruits.[50]

[Pg 246]

Of dancing-masters and music-masters I need not speak; their art is at the end of their fingers or of their toes. I had some trouble in managing the temper of the professor of the first of these arts, who was a Gascon; and the natural pride of the professor of music, who was a noble: but, by the help of some tact united with good-will, I obtained my end, which was, that they should depart contented. The climate did not permit dancing lessons to be taken, except in the winter.

I do not advise any one, habituated to the climate of England, and in good health, to come abroad for the sake of climate. Charles II. was certainly right when he said, one may in England be out of doors more days in the year, and more hours in the day, than in any other country. I quoted this saying to a friend, who replied, "Mais c'est toujours en souffrant;"[51] and, being accustomed to heat, he reckoned all suffering from that cause as nothing: he had been in England, and recollected how his nose was bitten, and his fingers benumbed by the frost. A friend at Avignon called on me in the middle of the day, having crept along the shady side of the streets. It is there the custom in summer to keep the windows shut during the heat of[Pg 247] the day. I complained to my visitant of this practice, as depriving one of air when gasping for it. "Mais que voulez-vous? l'air est en feu."[52] I put the thermometer out at a north window, and it rose two degrees. During the greatest heat of the hot summer of 1820, I observed the thermometer pretty regularly at midnight, and found it to stand at 80 Fahrenheit.

One may rise early, and enjoy the coolness of the morning: true; but for this end it is necessary to go to bed early, and be deprived of the coolness of the evening. I knew, however, one man who had the good-sense and resolution to dispose of his day during summer in the following manner: he went to bed at midnight, rose at four in the morning, took his exercise, transacted his affairs, eat his déjeuné à la fourchette, as may be supposed, with a good appetite, and went to bed again at mid-day: at four p. m. he rose again, made his toilette, eat his dinner, and went into society, till the end of the second of the two days which he thus contrived to form out of twenty-four hours. I have been told that such is the practice of the English in the East Indies.

The plague of bugs may be avoided by care[Pg 248] and cleanliness: the defence against gnats is a gause net surrounding the bed; but wo be to those who find one or more gnats enclosed within the net itself, as happens not unfrequently from the carelessness of the femme de chambre: the hum of the insect, and the dread of his attack, deprive you of sleep: there is no remedy but to wait till he settles upon the face; and then, while he is busy with his first bite, with an expectant and prepared hand to crush him. Flies are also very troublesome in these envied regions of the south; but flies are not like those Cassiuses, the gnats;—"they sleep o'nights."

The bise or north wind, coming from the frozen Alps, following the course of the Rhone, and spreading wide to right and left, is very delightful and refreshing during the summer at Avignon: but, in the winter, it penetrates even to the marrow of the bones, and sometimes, for several days together, blows with such violence, that people are afraid to walk the streets, lest they should be knocked on the head by falling tiles or chimneys. This bise is supposed to render the climate healthy: the Avignonais have a proverb:—"Avenio ventosa; si ventosa, fastidiosa; si non ventosa, venenosa." How far it is "venenosa," I have but too much reason to know.

[Pg 249]

The Rhone is sometimes frozen over at Avignon: I have seen people walk across it on the ice. The cold during part of the winter is sometimes greater than that of Paris; and I have seen the cold of the hyver moyen[53] of Paris marked, on a French thermometer, as two degrees of Reaumur lower, that is stronger, than the cold of the hyver moyen of London. All the world knows that in summer it is much hotter at Paris than at London: the vine bears witness to it; but both heat and cold are tempered to England by passing over the sea.

To sum up all that I have to say at present on the subject of climate, I believe lat. 45, half way between the pole and the equator, to be, all other circumstances being equal, the best of the climes that are "mortalibus ægris Munere concessæ Divôm." Habit reconciles both to cold and heat. One consideration may not be unimportant to families that wish to economize: cold is costly. Returning into France from Italy, I find the difference between the rent of a house in Naples and that of a house in a country town, to be filled up by the expense of firing; and, at the beginning of my first winter,[Pg 250] am almost ruined in manteaus, great coats, pelisses, blankets, and other flannels.

A country town in France is better supplied with society than a country town in England, inasmuch as the French country gentry do not disdain to live in a country town. All of them have an hotel, an apartment, or at least a pied à terre, as they called it, in the largest country town in their neighbourhood, and resort thither during the winter. From the time of the wheat harvest, which in the south is towards the end of June, till the time for planting is ended, they not only live, but are very busy in the country. The practice of letting land for the half of the produce compels them to be on the spot to take charge of their own share: but, in bad weather, and during the long evenings, they seek shelter in the town. Here the members of the ancient noblesse, now without fortune, without privilege, still viewed by the many with sentiments of political dislike,—maintain their superiority over men, their equals in moral honesty, more wealthy and better instructed than themselves. And how do they maintain it? By manners. It is admirable to see with what grace and ease, without arrogating any thing to themselves or derogating from others, without art or design,—they assert their dignity, and contrive that it be[Pg 251] recognised by those with whom they have to do. Some of those who have not the advantage, if such it may be called, of noble birth, endeavour to imitate, while others affect to despise, these manners, which throw such a charm over society; but it is impossible to despise, and very difficult to imitate them: they seem to result from an early, an almost perpetual consciousness of self-importance, corrected by a constant intercourse with others entitled to equal respect and deference. The manners of military men, more frank, and open, and manly than those of the noblesse, want the polish attained by the latter: for military men, while they derive confidence from the glory of their profession, are chiefly conversant with those whom they command or obey. "The depôt of good manners is to be found with the nobles of ancient families," said one of them to me.

Before the revolution there were in France twenty-seven thousand families of the noblesse. By the charte the nobles of imperial creation preserve their titles, the ancient nobles resume theirs. Of titles, however, very little use is made in conversation; the little particle de answers all demands of noble self-love; and even a Duc or Duchesse is contented to be addressed, in familiar parlance, as Monsieur de —— or Madame de ——.[Pg 252] This little particle de multiplies itself with astonishing rapidity, like the English addition Esq.; and the act by which it is assumed is no more contested in France, than that which, with us, niches a man of merit between knight and gentleman. Three or four de were brought into the world at Avignon, during my stay there.

What shows the practice of unauthorised assumption of the de to be by no means so novel as its censurers pretended, is, that I found the de sometimes to precede names which signified trades: of these there are many in all countries; whereas the de ought only to indicate the terre, or estate, like the d'Igby of my maternal ancestors, and can with propriety be used for no other purpose.

But the ambition of nominal distinction was not always thus cheaply to be gratified, if I may believe the feeling lament of an old noble, that is a noble of old family, "Such an one fancies, some fine morning, that he is a count or marquis: he calls himself so: the world laughs."—"But the title passes current?" A shrug of the shoulders gave me to understand that the subject was too distressing to be further pursued. O chivalry, thou act fallen on grievous,—on money-loving times!

[Pg 253]

The title of Baronet is insignificant, having its origin too in a paltry sum of money paid to a needy king. The list (for it is not an order,) contains names that do honour to it: yet I heard in my youth a young man of one of the first families in Ireland, afterwards Marquess of ——, talk peevishly of "a parcel of d——d baronets." In endeavouring to be superior to their equals, or equal to their superiors, they undertake a task which must make them unacceptable to both parties. The ancient noblesse of France has neither feudal rights nor political power; but it has its origin in what may be called the heroic ages of Europe: the peerage of France must look up to the nobles with respect; and the people, that it may honour them, asks only to rank them among its friends.

It is a pity that the nobles should be generally reproached with want of instruction: many of them plead in excuse that they are enfans de la revolution, born at a time when their education was of necessity neglected. I mentioned this excuse to an avocat. "Bah! they well know that their fathers were as ignorant as themselves." The avocat's argument was not conclusive; the nobles of the present day might, but for the unsettled time of their youth, have partaken of the gradual improvement in knowledge[Pg 254] which pervades all classes; and the remark, "je suis meilleur gentilhomme que mon père, parceque j'ai une génération de plus,"[54] might have applied to other advantages than that of counting one generation more. The French nobles have now no longer that which, according to Juvenal, makes ignorance tolerable: let us hope they will avail themselves of their diminished wealth to acquire that learning, which, according to the proverb, though I do not believe it, is better than house and land.

The practice of letting farms to a métayer, who retains a share of the produce, and pays his rent with the remainder, is resorted to and continued from necessity. The farmer has not capital enough to stock a farm. If the proprietor, after having made the necessary advances for the occupation of the land, were to let the whole for a money rent, the farmer would soon be in arrears, and would end by running away. Métairie I suppose to be derived from the Italian metá, which signifies half. The landlord's share is however not always in this proportion: on fertile soils, and on account of rich products, he receives more than where[Pg 255] more labour is required to reap an equal or less benefit. I believe the half to be the minimum.

After having passed through nearly the whole length of Europe, with a taste prepared by a youth passed, as Gibbon says, "in port and prejudice;" and in the same college too, I venture to assert, that wine is good in proportion as the country in which it is produced is near the all-enlivening sun. The wine of Champagne, which cannot remain for a minute and a half in the glass without growing flat; that of Burgundy, which is hardly ever found but in an acid state; that of Bordeaux, "claret for boys;"—not any one of these wines is to be compared (not for strength only, but for flavour also,) to the wines of the Rhone and of Provence. Such is my opinion: experto credat who will.

It may amuse my reader to learn that he may perhaps have been drinking French wine, when he little suspected that it lay concealed in "humble port." A trade, which in its first stage is not contraband, whatever it may be in its second, is carried on between the French shores of the Mediterranean and Portugal: wines are shipped off to Oporto, which, by the help of brandy and other manipulation, become good port wine for the London market.

I was told by a négociant, an intelligent man,[Pg 256] not a wine-merchant, that it was the wish of the wine-growers of France, that wine imported into England should pay a duty ad valorem, on the price, not on the quantity. He did not expect that the English government should be content to receive a less amount of duty on the same quantity of wine, the mean quality supposed the same: but he asserted that wines of inferior quality, which could not be imported in the face of the duty per gallon, would then find their way; that the consumption of wine would be much increased; and the English government, as well as the French wine-dealer and proprietor of vineyards, would both be benefited. As fiscal regulations have spoiled our malt liquor, it would be but fair to allow to those who are now ruining their health with rum and water, the pleasure of drinking sometimes a bottle of small French wine. What? A bottle of Burgundy at a farmer's ordinary? Gentlemen travellers drinking claret? So much are men the slaves of habit, that the supposition appears extravagant; and, after a twelvemonth, the thing itself would be no more astonishing than it is now in France.

The French, who have seen the atmosphere of smoke in which London is enveloped, and the sea-coal pouring its volumes of smoke up the[Pg 257] chimney, have disseminated throughout France a certain horror of coal fires. There are, near Lyons, mines of coal of a quality superior to any I have yet seen, like the Wednesbury, but better. I had some difficulty in making the blacksmith comprehend what ought to be the form of such machines as grate, poker, fender. "Things by their name I call;" though to my blacksmith I was obliged to use every sort of periphrasis. My poker was made with a hook at the end of it; the fender had a handle to it; the bars of the grate were too small and too near each other. The hook of the poker was soon straightened in the fire: of the fender handle I was contented to declare, "il n'y a pas de mal à cela:"[55] as the bars of my grate, though near, were not thick; they did not intercept more heat than usual.

Taking the precaution to have a wood fire in my second salon, I ventured to invite my friends to see my fire de charbon de terre. They were much surprised and pleased. "Il n'y a pas de mauvaise odeur: ce feu se fait respecter: quelle chaleur!"[56] The combined advantages of [Pg 258]greater heat and less cost, (for the coal fire was maintained at about half the expense of a wood fire,) procured imitators. The general commanding the department had a grate set up: the smith made it after his own faulty model, declaring, no doubt, that it was à l'Anglaise: the general was, however, well satisfied, telling me that the coal fire warmed the three rooms of his apartment as well as a wood fire in each and every one of them. The woods have been especially ravaged during an æra of insecure possession; and fire-wood, always an expensive article, is generally, throughout France, become dearer than formerly, except in the neighbourhood of great forests.

I will endeavour to enable any one to judge how far it may be worth his while to come to reside in France from motives of economy. With his motives for being economical I have nothing to do: any one may be economical at home who pleases; but it does not please some people to be economical at home: others wish to have more for the same money. The French are sometimes puzzled to make out why the English come abroad; perhaps the English are sometimes equally puzzled themselves: but, with reference to economy, sometimes the English[Pg 259] seem to them to be travelling for the sake of spending money; sometimes to be staying in France for the purpose of saving it: the riches as well as the high prices of England are exaggerated; the latter to a degree that would make the riches to be merely nominal: then, the difference between French and English prices is supposed to be so great, that the saving, by living in France, must be enormous. Many English have, at first, no clearer notions than the French on these subjects.

The price of almost every article, the produce of agricultural or manufacturing industry, has been increased one-third, some say two-fifths, in France since the beginning of the Revolution: the taxes have been trebled. We know that, within the last thirty years, prices and taxes have been augmented in England at about the same rates; so that, on both sides of the water, the proportion has been preserved: but the English knew very little of France during the war; whereas the French knew England by their emigrants, who reported truly the high prices then prevalent: thus some unsettled or erroneous opinions on domestic economy may be accounted for. I left England while paper currency was still in force, and before prices[Pg 260] were lowered as since they have been: my estimate must be corrected accordingly.

The result of between three and four years experience is, that about one-sixth is saved by living, not in Paris, but in a provincial town in France, or that a franc will go as far as a shilling. Set against this saving the expenses of the journey, and the saving will not be great to those who do not retrench in their mode of life, but live in France in the same style as at home. The exchange on bills drawn on England may be favourable; but some little money sticks in every hand through which money passes, which balances this advantage.

House-rent is higher in France than in England; fuel much dearer: some manufactured articles, as woollen cloth for coats, and linen or cotton for shirts, are equally dear: colonial produce, as sugar and coffee, is of a variable price, but not much cheaper: tea is cheaper, as the Americans supply it, or England with a remission of the duty. But there are no assessed taxes, no poor-rates: provisions I found to be cheaper by about one-third than I had left them in England; and my younger children, instead of small beer, with half a glass of wine each after dinner, now drank wine, with discretion indeed, but[Pg 261] at discretion. The more numerous my family, the greater was the advantage to me of this diminution of the daily expense of food.

Yet I calculate that at the end of forty-two months, including what the journey to Avignon cost me, and the difference between the price at which my furniture was bought, and that at which it was sold,—I had spent, within one twentieth, as much as it would have cost me to live in my county town in England with the the same establishment and in the same manner. The smaller the income annually expended, the greater in proportion will be the saving; because it is chiefly on the necessary articles of living, that expense is spared; but a man of large, or even of moderate fortune, will hardly think it worth his while to dwell many years in a foreign country merely for the sake of saving five pounds in a hundred. The less the distance to which he travels, and the longer his stay; the more he becomes acquainted with the mode of dealing, and learns what are just prices;—the greater proportionably will be the savings of the economizing resident. A saving of five per cent is at least not a loss. Wise men should not entertain extravagant expectations, and prudent men should know what they are about to undertake. Those who are neither wise nor prudent had[Pg 262] better stay at home: I do not write for such; but to give to family men such advice as I found no one capable of giving me; but which, through much toil and cost and peril, I had obtained the faculty of offering to others.



O cherished liberty! in vain I follow after thee:
I see thy tree every where, and thy fruits no where.

[51] But it is in suffering continually.

[52] But what would you have? the air is on fire.

[53] A mean or medium winter.

[54] I am a better gentleman than my father, because I have one generation more.

[55] There is no harm in that.

[56] There is no bad smell. This fire makes itself respected. What a heat!

[Pg 263]


Excepting only Rome and its immediate neighbourhood, no part of Italy can exhibit so many remains of Roman antiquity as are to be found within a short distance of Avignon. The Romans seem to have united Provence to Italy, as the French have since united Piedmont to France. Our English travellers, who, according to the plan mentioned in the first chapter, pass one summer in going to Italy and another in returning from it, will do well to make Avignon their head quarters for some time, and visit the curiosities around. There is Nismes with the Pont du Gard, Arles, St. Remy, Orange, already mentioned, and other places. There is also the far-famed fountain of Vaucluse. A commission of antiquarian research is established within the department; at Nismes also much attention is paid to these objects, and with good reason; for no town in Europe, Rome excepted, possesses such precious remains.

In the beginning of the month of September of my second year, I hired a coach with three[Pg 264] horses again, (for no god of them all is so fond of an uneven number as these coach-masters,) and, with part of my family, took the road to Vaucluse. It passes first over a fertile alluvial plain, formed, in remote ages, by the Rhone and Durance when they overflowed their banks, as the Oby and Tobol do now. Then we traversed a country of corn, wine, and oil, and descended to Lisle, a little town on the Sorgues, the river of Vaucluse, from whose fountain it is distant about four miles. For three of these four miles as far as the village, we were able to proceed in our carriage; but, from this point, the Naiad requires to be reverentially approached on foot. We ascended a gentle steep, the Sorgues on our right-hand,—a stream, which, even here, so near its head, has force to turn several mills that harmonise well with the landscape. Above the mills it began to assume more and more a torrent-like appearance; the rocks approached nearer on each side, and confined us within a still closer valley. Whither has the nymph of the stream retired? At length the termination of the valley appeared before us; a lofty curtain of rock, at half the height of which was seen a wide and dusky arch, overshadowed by a fig-tree growing out of the precipice above.[Pg 265] Over a shelving rock, at the foot of this arch, the water throws itself.

But there was at this time no cascade; the fountain was more than ordinarily low; streams gushed through fissures at the foot and sides of the rock below the arch, and indicated their source. The shelf or lip, at the mouth of the cavern, forms a natural bridge over these streams: we ascended to this shelf, and went down into the cavern a considerable depth before we arrived at the water: here, a rock projecting into the water prevented us from going into a second cavern; but we could see, (for the opening above afforded sufficient light,) that this second cavern was the last.

I thought it very fortunate that the fountain was so low: had it been full, we should have seen a water-fall; but I had now seen the Helicon of Petrarch,—had penetrated to the source of his inspiration,

———atque sacri libamina palleo fontis,

as was written by a young man of genius at Oxford, in my time, whose name I do not remember, though I have not forgotten this striking and beautiful expression. In sober sadness, I think it an advantage to understand the nature and situation of the fountain better than I should[Pg 266] have done had I seen only a picturesque cascade. I do not believe the immediate source of the fountain to be within the cavern, but that its waters are supplied in subterranean courses by the surrounding country: this is proved, I think, by their quantity being so much affected by rain or drought. St. Winifred's well at Holywell, in Flintshire,—a fountain as copious as that of the Sorgues,—is not at all increased or diminished by any change of the seasons.

We loitered for two hours on the bank of the tumbling torrent, sat under the shade of walnut trees, and eat of their fallen fruit; drank water from the fountain, talked about Petrarch and Laura, and refused, from incredulity, and on account of the heat of the sun, to mount a hill to a house which, we were assured, had been inhabited by the bard. At the village of Vaucluse, we took into our carriage some delicious grapes, and returned to Lisle, where we dined on eels and trout, the boasted fare of the place, prepared in three several ways. As the landlord at Lisle is said sometimes to over-charge, I will do his reputation the justice to observe that, for a déjeuné à la fourchette, and dinner for five persons, with good vin du pays, he demanded twenty-five francs,—perhaps ten sous a head too much. We got into our coach as the sun set and[Pg 267] the moon rose, and our three horses took us back to Avignon in two hours.

In the very heart and centre of the romantic scenery of the Vallis Clausa, a little to the right of the cavern out of which issues the fountain, on the ledge over which it falls, is stuck a mean ugly pillar, put there by somebody to commemorate something. I mention this pillar only in the hope that good taste will command its demolition. Even if it were fine and rare, it would be there misplaced: "fortasse cupressum scis simulare," but what has that to do with a shipwreck?

My younger son had accompanied to Vaucluse the lady whose visit of fifteen days had so much astonished the Avignonais a few months before. Our excursion thither was made under the conduct of my elder son, and was rendered more agreeable by his frank manners and cheerful attentions. As the fate of this young man, now in his nineteenth year, is the occurrence the most important to me, and, I am persuaded, the subject most interesting to my readers in the contents of this narrative,—I will give some account of the infancy of this son, that he may be introduced to their acquaintance, and the last scene of his life in some sort prepared for. Alas! within two years, on the anniversary of[Pg 268] our journey to Vaucluse, the delirium of his fever deprived me for the remainder of my life of the comfort of his society, excepting only one short and consoling conversation immediately before his death. I trust, in the divine mercy, to rejoin him in the abodes of the just.

His birth was announced to me at three o'clock in the morning of the 5th of May 1801. In anxious expectation of this news I had forborn to retire to rest. It was still necessary for me to wait some little time before I could be admitted to see my first-born. I then lived at Bath, in the west wing of Lansdown Crescent: behind each house of this building is a long strip of garden, of the breadth of the house. In the tumult of new affections I went out into my garden: the twilight of the morning was visible: I offered to God this child, who, by the ancient law, would have been consecrated to him, to serve at the altar, if such were the divine will; praying that, in whatever state, he might so live as to secure his own salvation, and contribute to the edification of others: that if he were not to fulfil this only worthy purpose of existence, he might now die in infancy; but that rather his days might be prolonged, if that were to the glory of God, and the increase of his own merit and reward. My prayer was heard:[Pg 269] I returned into the house, and gave a father's blessing to the stranger.

He received in baptism the names Henry Kenelm; the former adopted in his family for the last four generations, the latter derived from my maternal grandfather. His sponsors were Sir Thomas Fletewood, the last of an ancient and pious family of Cheshire; and his lady, afterwards married to the Count St. Martin de Front, Sardinian ambassador at London. To her it is no doubt a source of Christian consolation to know, even in this life, that her godson fulfilled the engagement contracted in his name.

They who have attentively observed the early years of children must be convinced that each and every one of them is born with a distinct and individual character. Two men of fifty, "stained with the variation of each soil," will differ from each other in manners and opinions more than two children of the same family: but two children of the same family will, in character, differ from each other as much as two men of fifty. Pascal suggests a doubt whether, as custom is called a second nature, nature itself may not be a former custom. This profound thought leads to the question whether human souls have existed previously to their imprisonment in this "body of our humiliation."[Pg 270] That they have so existed I think extremely probable for many very cogent reasons: it is an opinion which I could defend, merely as an opinion, by many powerful arguments. I am contented "not to be wise beyond what is written." Yet it is written that, when the disciples asked our Lord, "Did this man sin or his parents, that he was born blind?" our Lord, without reproving the supposition that the man might have sinned before his birth, simply answered, "Neither did this man sin, nor his parents."

Henry Kenelm manifested, as early as the natural character can be manifested, a proud, impetuous, obstinate, angry temper: that he wanted any thing was, with him, a reason why he should have it; that any other child was younger or weaker than himself, entitled him, as he thought, to domineer. He had also the good qualities usually opposed to these faults in the same character; he was generous, grateful, confiding, compassionate. As no one, in so short a life, ever more completely subdued than he did the faults of his natural temper, I record them for the sake of doing homage to that religion by the aid of which he was enabled to correct them.

His understanding was quick and lively, and[Pg 271] he learned readily and with pleasure. A cause of hindrance and delay that occurred to him in learning to read shall here be mentioned as a caution to parents, institutors, and governesses. To play at learning to read is regarded as a great improvement on the "Reading-made-easy," of less enlightened times. A lady made him a present of a cylindrical ivory box containing counters, on which were inscribed the letters of the alphabet. He trundled the box on the carpet, he threw the letters on the carpet, and viewed them in all directions, sometimes sideways, sometimes topsy-turvy; so that he no longer knew them again when he saw them upright in a book: b and q and d and p more especially puzzled him: besides, the place of letters in words is of great use towards learning their power, and this help his counters did not afford him. To impose on him the task of arranging the letters in verbal order, would have included all the restraint of a formal lesson. The conclusion is, that if children play, they do not learn; and while they learn, they must not play: there is a time for all things: their lessons must be short on account of the softness of the brain, but attention must be insisted on; they cannot be cheated as to the nature of the occupation,[Pg 272] but they have sense enough to find pleasure in the consciousness of improvement.

When Kenelm was little more than five years and a half old, his elder sister died: she was thirteen months younger than himself. Never was child more lovely in death than this little girl. I gazed on her with the feeling, since portrayed in the inimitable lines of the Giaour, beginning

He who hath bent him o'er the dead.

These lines I read fourteen years afterwards at Avignon; they thrilled and electrified me: the touch of genius recalled the scene I had witnessed. Yet it should seem that associations supplied by reason and experience are requisite to the contemplation of such an object with the sentiments described by Lord Byron. I led Kenelm to see his sister two hours after her death: terror was his predominant emotion; the immobility of what still so much resembled life appalled him. He burst into tears. "If I had thought she would have looked so, I would not have come to see her;" nor could he for some time pass the door of that chamber without shuddering.

When he was twelve years old, I placed him at Stoneyhurst college in Lancashire. This[Pg 273] society of English Jesuits, the dreadful Jesuits of St. Omers, of the Popish plot, had, within half a century, suffered three removes or déménagemens, which both the French and English proverb says are worse than a fire. They had been expelled from St. Omers by the French government, had been obliged by Joseph II. to quit Bruges, and had been driven from Liege by the approach of the French armies. They had now been established for some years in a country-seat of the family of Lulworth castle. Mr. Weld had given them a beneficial lease of the house and domain of Stoneyhurst, for which they expressed much gratitude. It is good to be grateful: gratitude is a Christian virtue, and well-becoming those who by their missions, their literary labours, and their institutions for education, have acquired so much glory to themselves, and rendered such signal services to the Christian world. Let them always be grateful.

An account of their plan of education may not be unacceptable, and may furnish some hints to the heads of our great schools. I am inclined to think that the Jesuits, though as much spoken against, are very little more known in England than at the time when I left it.

The whole number of boys, about two hundred[Pg 274] and fifty, is divided into six schools or classes, to each of which a master is appointed, who, in the course of six years, conducts his set of boys, from the elements of grammar in the French, Latin, and Greek languages, to rhetoric, or the reading of the best classical authors. The fifth year, or that before rhetoric, is set apart for the study of the poets only. After this course of six years, lectures are given by the professors of moral and natural philosophy.

The masters have no intercourse with their scholars except during the holding the class or saying the lesson: prefects are appointed to superintend them at all other times. They study in a large room destined to this use only: a prefect, in a lofty tribune, enforces application: a prefect attends them while at play to prevent violence, quarrelling, or indecorous language: a prefect sleeps in a little room with a glass door at the end of the dormitory.

The play-ground is divided into two equal portions, one of which is allotted to the boys of the three higher, the other to the boys of the three lower schools, and no one is allowed to cross the bisecting line. Thus the tyranny of the great boys over the little ones, and the requisition of petty, irregular, or mischievous services[Pg 275] is prevented: thus also the years and strength of those who play together are generally more equal.

No master or other superior, who conceives that a boy has deserved punishment, is allowed to inflict that punishment himself, but is obliged to send such boy to the prefect appointed for the time administrator of the ferula: the boys, either from custom or the point of honour, or the fear of worse, always ask for the number of strokes of the ferula which they may be ordered by the superior to receive. A whimsical result of subordination, that a lad of seventeen shall go to a man of five and twenty, and say, "Please, Sir, to give me nine ferulas." Horace talks of the ferula; he does not say that he petitioned for it himself; and I saw, by an al fresco at Portici, that boys were flogged, two thousand years ago, just as they now are in our country schools.

The dormitory is a lofty room, in which each boy has his bed-place to himself, separated from his neighbours by a wainscot partition six feet high; a curtain, with a number upon it, is drawn at the foot of the bed-place, which is open at the top. During the day-time the dormitory is locked, and none but the servants[Pg 276] of the house are, on any account, permitted to go into it.

The élèves of Stoneyhurst wear an uniform: this regulation, I am persuaded, has a better moral influence on their minds than ferulas and disciplines: "their feet are accommodated," as a fine writer once expressed it, with very thick shoes; "and their heads are protected" by a leathern cap: this cap is made to shade the face or to be turned up at pleasure; it is trimmed with fur, and, while fresh, looks very smart: but it is soon degraded, as the French phrase is, by the various uses to which caprice or convenience induces the boys to apply it: they sit upon it; they kneel upon it; they blow, or rather fan the fire with it; they use it for a bag, and perhaps sometimes, when unseen by the prefect, they give each other slaps on the face with it;—a trait d'écolier for the which its form, when folded, is admirably well adapted. A blue jacket and red waistcoat of coarse cloth, dark velveteen pantalon, and worsted stockings, a black velvet stock round the collar of a very coarse shirt, complete the habiliments of the Stoneyhurst collegian. "Forsan et hæc olim," &c.

The boys rise at half past five in the morning[Pg 277] and go to bed at half past eight in the evening. Prayers in the chapel begin and end every day, and they assist at mass daily. Those who are of sufficient age confess and communicate once a fortnight.

Such are, in the main, the regulations of this Jesuits' college. During their unsettled state, the society had admitted but few new members; in consequence, the education of their youth was, at this time, conducted chiefly by old men without activity, and young men without experience. The course of a few years has remedied this evil.

When Kenelm arrived at Stoneyhurst, his heart bounded within him at the sight of the spacious buildings, and of between two and three hundred playfellows: he immediately procured a cap and black collar, and was as vain of them as a young ensign of his cockade and sword. The superior led me over the college; Kenelm followed and considered all as provided for his use and convenience. I tried to persuade him that his visits to the library, the academy-room, the strangers' apartment, and the garden of the superiors, would not hereafter be very frequent; that his repasts in the refectory, though sufficient and wholesome, would not be luxurious. I was unable to moderate[Pg 278] his transport: hardly could I prevail on him to show some signs of regret at parting from me. I appealed to "Philip when sober."

The next summer, I found him sober enough: he had discovered that he was only one of a crowd; he felt the want of domestic affections, and of those comforts which home only can supply. I consoled him however, and left him, after three days spent at Whalley, in a disposition to endure all that his duty and the destined course of his studies might require.

"O Athenians," said Themistocles, "how much do I suffer to gain your applause!" Children have but too much reason to exclaim, "O Themistocles, how much do we suffer to be able to read your history!"

The next summer, I sent for him to Park Gate, where he rejoined his brother and sisters after two years absence. To the number of his sisters was added one, whose infancy, unsuited for travelling, delayed my journey to France. At this time he was gay and cheerful: he did not know the world, and was not afraid of it; yet his behaviour was directed by an ever sure sense of propriety. I was pleased and satisfied with him:—he passed five weeks with us. I had given him the meeting at Liverpool, whither he had been conducted by a prefect: I now[Pg 279] took him back to the same town, where we found a prefect with whom he returned to his college.

In the month of July of the following year, 1816, I received a letter from one of the superiors of the college, informing me that my son, with thirty-six other boys, had fallen ill of the measles; that my son had recovered, but, having been allowed to go out too soon, had again fallen ill. The letter was couched in terms so ambiguous, and implying so much doubt of the event, that it caused great alarm. I set off immediately: no other letter was written, and Kenelm's mother was kept in a state of fearful anxiety, till I wrote to her from Stoneyhurst that her son was recovered from the relapse. He was however so much weakened, that I thought it advisable to take him to the sea-coast. I passed ten days with him alone, and had an opportunity of appreciating his character, of observing his unaffected good sense, his gentle and amiable manners, his watchfulness over his conscience, his dutiful affection to his father, his piety towards God.

We returned to college to be present at the academy-day, and the distribution of the prizes. Kenelm had been assured that, but for his illness, one of these prizes would have fallen to[Pg 280] his share. I comforted him as well as I could, quoting—"satis est potuisse videri."

In the spring of the following year, I took my younger son to Stoneyhurst, in the hope that the brothers would find present pleasure in each others' company, and hereafter talk over together the scenes of their boyhood. I observed that Kenelm's spirits appeared depressed: I questioned him; he assured me he had nothing to complain of: I interrogated the master: he spoke of Kenelm with great regard, and knew not that any cause of uneasiness existed for him. I passed three days with my sons, during which time Kenelm's cheerfulness returned, or seemed to return; and I left them together.

Towards the end of this year, I finally resolved to put in execution my long-projected, long-delayed, continental plan. I advised the brothers of my purpose, who were, of course, delighted with the news. A kind and much-esteemed friend, who wished to see Stoneyhurst college, brought them back with him into Lincolnshire at the end of March following.

In the month that intervened between the return of my sons and our arrival in Paris, the expectation of the journey, the preparation for the journey, and the journey itself, so far occupied[Pg 281] the mind of Kenelm, that I had not remarked in him any extraordinary want of gaiety: I perceived only that he was more serious, that his manner was less frank, and even his carriage less easy than heretofore. At Paris, the first discovery I made respecting him was that he was become short-sighted. As we were viewing the statues of the Louvre, he exclaimed, "I see nothing but blocks of marble;" and he went off immediately to Chevalier's, the optician, to buy himself a lorgnette. I sympathized with him, knowing by experience that a short sight deprives us of a great part of the pleasure of existence, besides being an incalculable disadvantage in society. He imputed his short-sightedness to his having imprudently given himself up to study, before his health was fully re-established after the measles, in the hope of gaining, at the next academy-day, the medal which he had lost by his illness; that he had read a great deal by the flaring gas lights with which the college is illuminated.

Something remained behind, a reserve, a sadness even, which I entreated him to account for. He gave me his full confidence; and I learned, with very great sorrow, that, for the last eighteen months of his stay in college, his mind had been a prey to scruples. This "pious awe, and fear[Pg 282] to have offended," carried to excess through inexperience and a want of due apprehension that it is by the will only that we offend,—had destroyed his gaiety, retarded his improvement, and doubtlessly much injured his health.

I asked him, "What advice did your director give you?"—"None."—"Any other superior?"—"None." Yet his state was sufficiently evident: he joined in no play; he did not seek the company of his brother. Alone, or with one or two companions, he employed the time allowed for play in walking up and down, indulging the workings of his own mind. I regretted that I had not taken him home when he requested, after his illness: I regretted that, instead of taking his brother to college,—a measure so inefficient for his consolation,—I had not come to France a twelvemonth sooner: I regretted the time lost, and the time that was still to be lost in regaining it. But Kenelm's mind was now at ease; feelings, originating probably in a weak state of health, and continued only through want of good counsel and sympathy, were at an end, when he found himself with those whom he loved, by whom he was beloved: his understanding was too clear for him to persevere either in inadequate notions of the divine goodness, or in false judgments respecting duty.

[Pg 283]

Scruples are, by no means, of the nature of religious melancholy; they are not inconsistent with the Christian grace of hope: they suppose innocence; for the sinner may be hardened, may be penitent, may be wavering, but cannot properly be said to be scrupulous: scruples not only preserve from sin, but have also the good effect (the gift of divine mercy,) of purging the heart from all affection to sin, as was manifested in the future life of Kenelm.

Yet this fear, "the beginning of wisdom," acting on an ill-informed conscience, is hurtful, as it indisposes to a cheerful energetic performance of duty. I said to Kenelm, "If there are beings, (and we are told that such there are,) who are interested that man should do ill, they could by no other means so effectually obtain their purpose as by fixing our attention on that by which we may offend." A priest, whom I had known in England during his emigration, and whom I had the advantage of meeting again at Paris; a man whose sanctity inspired Kenelm with respect and confidence,—said to him, "Unless you shall be as sure that you have offended God in the way in which you apprehend, as you would be sure of having committed murder, I forbid you to mention it even to me in confession." I will own that the vigour and prudence[Pg 284] united in this counsel struck me with awe. The saints are men of great minds: philosophers are mistaken in thinking them fools.

A kind and discreet priest, at Avignon, talked to Kenelm in the same sense, reminding him of the saying of St. Francis of Sales, "that scruples are the worst things in the world except sin." Kenelm's mind recovered its wonted cheerfulness and activity: family affections, change of scene, and new occupations soon completed what good advice had begun. He was yet too young to enter into society: he laboured to perfect himself in the French language; he was delighted with drawing, declaring that, were it consistent with duty, he could pass the whole day in that amusement. He continued his classical studies from the point at which they had been interrupted by his leaving college, where he was in his fifth or poetical year. I read with him Homer and Virgil.

Of the Iliad he said, that, a few well-known sublime passages excepted, the rest, was vulgar: and when I mouthed forth the Greek, in order to impose on him the conviction that it was very fine,—"I grant you that Homer has the advantage of a sonorous language and the hexameter line; but there is very little grace in the expression, nor is the thought deserving of[Pg 285] it." He admired the delicacy of sentiment in the Æneid: he discovered in it traces of more advanced civilization and more improved knowledge than are to be found in Homer, as well as a more correct and refined taste. I recommended the Odyssey to him, not only on account of its varied fable and "specious wonders," but for the justness with which human character and natural feeling are there rendered. We also read together that Machiavel of historians, Tacitus, who, as I endeavoured to persuade Kenelm, has treated the fame of Tiberius with great injustice, by representing him, on every occasion, as a cunning and cruel tyrant; whereas he was always wise, habitually just, and often beneficent. Let any one fairly and impartially analyse the actions of this sovereign and the comments of the historian, and he will perhaps be inclined to allow that my opinion is not altogether unreasonable. Concerning the personal vices of Tiberius there is here no question.

I was delighted with one of the results of my continental plan,—that my children were now all of them under my own care. To what purpose subject boys to all the privations, restraints, and severities,—all the consequences of the ignorances and negligences of the[Pg 286] managers of great schools,—that they may acquire a very moderate knowledge of two dead languages, which they generally neglect during the rest of their lives; and this for six years or more? Who doubts but that he could learn to read French in six months? And why should he not be equally capable of learning Latin in the same space of time? And in six months more he may learn to read Greek, which is rather the easier language of the two: he may thus obtain admission to the treasures of wisdom and good taste contained in those languages, in one-sixth of the time now usually thrown away in a vain attempt to that purpose; for, I repeat it, boys are compelled to employ the time of their education in not learning what is of no use to them.

Latin is no longer the language of literary composition, diplomatic intercourse, or epistolary correspondence. It is sufficient that a few men, in every generation, write Latin, like Bishop Louth, or Dr. Martin Joseph Routh. The principal nations of Europe have their classics, formed indeed upon the ancient classical model; and these, therefore, will be better understood and more enjoyed by those who cultivate an acquaintance with that model. Still, however, such previous acquaintance is not indispensable:[Pg 287] its advantage consists chiefly in being able to note allusions and institute comparisons.

Let me not be understood to express a wish that the Greek and Latin authors were less read than they are at present; on the contrary, I hope that they will always be considered as an essential part of the studies of a literary man. That the Greek especially should be so little known as now it is, is to me a cause of regret. This language has the singular privilege of having been, during twelve centuries, the language of the most ingenious and enlightened people of all that existed during that long æra. We have their authors from Hesiod to Photius, and still lower down; a library superior to that of any modern nation; for the trash has been swept away.

Far, very far from me, be the desire, that it should be said of such a people in any sense, literary or political,

'Tis Greece, but living Greece no more.

I have been led into this train of reflection, on recording the contentment with which I saw my children under my own superintendence at Avignon. How far it may be reasonable to continue to inflict on our sons all the suffering which they endure, when banished from the[Pg 288] paternal roof, and consigned to the coarse, undiscriminating care of strangers for the sake of the instruction acquired by this plan, I leave every one to determine for himself.

[Pg 289]


Three days after our excursion to Vaucluse, I went with my sons to the Pont du Gard and Nismes. Our coach stopt, for three hours, at Foix; we took our déjeuné, at which we had delicious grapes and execrable wine: one instance amongst a thousand of the ingenuity of man in spoiling the gifts of Providence, and its agent, Nature. We walked to the Pont du Gard, about a mile from our inn. As it is at an equal distance from Avignon and from Nismes, parties, from each of these towns, make it a point of rendezvous, establish a pic-nic, and pass the day together. When we arrived near the Pont, we saw a large company from Nismes, regaling themselves in a spacious, dry cavern, well situated for their purpose, and affording a most agreeable shade. We passed them to go nearer to the bridge: one of them followed us; his accent announced him to be an Irishman, and his uniform to be an officer in the French service. He conversed with us a few minutes, and promised to call on me at Nismes.

At the side of the lower part of the Pont du[Pg 290] Gard and forming part of it, is a bridge over the Gardon: this bridge has been widened in modern times, but the ancient wheel-track is still seen on the side nearest to the aqueduct. Above the bridge rise three tiers of arches, each tier diminishing in the size, and increasing in the number, of its arches. Along the top is the canal, through which flowed the water for the supply of Nematia at the distance of seventeen miles. The whole has the appearance of a magnificent screen of arcades, thrown across the narrow and rocky valley through which the Gardon forces its way. Both the sides of this screen are beautiful, but the lower side is most to be admired. The ground falls away before it, and gives it the appearance of being loftier: it is in a quite secluded scene, in which no road or bridge appears.

This precious remain of antiquity is sufficiently ruined and touched by time to harmonize well with the landscape, but yet so fresh and entire as to call up no idea of decay or desolation. The aqueducts of Frejus and of Rome are curious, but they possess no beauty in themselves, and derive none from the surrounding scenery. Suppose the Pont du Gard in a plain, it would still be beautiful as a piece of architecture: see it, where it is, enclosed by the sides of a deep[Pg 291] valley and bestriding a rapid river, you will admit it to be an object at once grand and picturesque.

We arrived at Nismes at three in the afternoon, tired and overpowered by the heat and dust. We gave up three hours to rest and cool ourselves, and at six set down to dinner; we then walked out by the moon-light of a southern clime. We passed several handsome buildings; at length I beheld one which immediately arrested my attention: "that shall be the Maison Quarrée," exclaimed I. Never had I seen, nor have I since seen any thing in architecture so graceful: it seemed by the "uncertain moon-light" rather to be descending from the skies than standing on the earth.

We returned the next morning. The portico, from its having been in the shade the preceding evening, we had then been hardly able to distinguish: this, with the interior and every part of this exquisitely beautiful building, and all its fine proportions and finished ornaments, filled us with delight and wonder.

The amphitheatre is close by the Maison Quarrée: the site of the larger building may very fairly be indicated by that of the smaller, when the smaller edifice is the more interesting of the two. Milton, without any such excuse, talks of "the earth close by the moon;" though his critic [Pg 292]Bentley has indeed corrected the punctuation, "the earth, close by, the moon." This is what may be called punctilious. Had I not since seen the Coliseum, I should consider the amphitheatre of Nismes as indestructible: luckily no builders of palaces have tried the experiment. It is composed of enormous stones, large in all the three dimensions, length, breadth, and thickness, which must have required powers of mechanism, known to the Romans, but now lost, to raise them to the height at which they now are seen. This amphitheatre is said to be rather less in size and rather more ruined than that of Verona: it is entire, however, all but the lower ranges of seats: the arena is occasionally used for a spectacle somewhat resembling bullfights.

In the gardens are found remains of ancient baths, many pieces of mosaic pavement, and the ruins of the temple of Diana, in which are shown other objects found in digging in the neighbourhood. They were blowing up rock on the side of the hill near the garden, to improve and extend it still further, and to facilitate the approach to the Tour Magne, or great tower of Roman construction. To this tower we ascended; the tower itself we could not ascend: it is a hollow cylinder, without staircase, or roof, or platform; the view, however, even at the bottom[Pg 293] of the tower is sufficiently extensive all around. Southward, it reaches to the Mediterranean; and though I do not believe that the sea reached to Nismes, though such is the popular notion;—yet its shores have much receded on this coast. Aigues Mortes, where St. Louis embarked for the crusades, is now three leagues from the sea. Frejus, Forum Julii, is no longer a port: it is probable, then, that the Tour Magne was once a light-house or a land-mark.

Nismes, like almost every other ancient town, is ill-built, ill-paved, and ill-pierced; but then, in compensation, it has a Boulevard all around, or broad road lined with trees; and houses and buildings are continued all along with very few intervals of interruption. The city being in the centre, here, on these Boulevards, are united the accommodations of a town with the fresh air and promenades of the country: indeed, of fresh air there is rather too much; it often amounts to wind, and then the dust becomes inconvenient; but the gardens are delightful. In this town are thirteen thousand protestants. I know not that English protestants can choose a better town than Nismes for a retreat in the South of France: they will find places of public worship, the want of which many of them regret when abroad: there are also schools kept by protestants. The protestantism is Genevan; but n'im[Pg 294]porte; all protestantism is, to a protestant, equally true: we have seen a Calvinist and a Lutheran King become good members of the Church of England at the end of the seventeenth, and beginning of the eighteenth century.

In the evening we rambled among the vineyards on the slopes, and reached the summits of the hills at the foot of which Nismes is situated at the edge of a vast plain. A locality like this seems favourable to a great town. It draws its supply of wood, wine, and water, from the one sort of country, and its corn, meat, and forage, from the other.

We supped in the salon of our inn, the Louvre: there were several tables. At one of these was seated a party of Spaniards, who vociferated and gesticulated in a manner which they meant perhaps to impose on us for dignity, but which I thought inconsistent with Castilian gravity. At the time, it did not occur to either party that our opinion of each other was perfectly insignificant to both. At our table, besides other persons, we met a gentleman with whom I was acquainted at Avignon; and another who, after supper, (for he economized his time for eating,) began a political tirade, which, though addressed to the French, derived its chief zest from the presence of the English. He asserted that the Duke of Wellington was surprised by[Pg 295] the approach of Napoleon to Brussels, quitted the ball-room in silk stockings, and went to lose the battle of Waterloo, which battle was gained by the Prussians. As a sort of appeal was made to me to defend the military reputation of my Irish countryman, I objected the improbability of a surprise, as two battles had just been fought in the neighbourhood. He reverted to the conclusion to be drawn from the silk stockings: I replied "Puisqu'il y a des improbabilités des deux côtés, il faut demander au Duc lui-même."[57] En attendant, (for the answer, though, no doubt, it would have been satisfactory, could not be quickly obtained,) the politician began a discussion on the wealth of England, the existence of which he questioned on account of its debt and paper currency. Again appealed to, I admitted that the taxes raised for the payment of the interest of the debt made every individual by so much the poorer, but that the national wealth was not diminished, as the taxes passed into the hands of the fund-holders. He then went off to paper money, on which he talked with great good sense: "Reste à savoir si l'Angleterre est véritablement riche;[Pg 296] pour moi je crois que la chose représentée n'équivaut pas ce qui la représente."[58] I quote the purport of his words, and the words as nearly as I can remember them.

He hit, I think, upon the cause of late and present commercial embarrassments: wealth is over-represented. The quantity of paper in circulation at any given time is not a sufficient criterion whether this be or be not the case. Every re-issue or new issue of a bank note is in fact a new coinage: in this, as well as in the facility of their creation, bank notes differ from metallic currency, and this difference is, to the state, the more important of the two. Representation is continually "pressing on the limits" of real wealth, and is from time to time regorged. "Pay your bank notes in money," said Napoleon in answer to some boasting statement of the wealth of England. This too is the only security against bankruptcies.

Our politician was evidently seeking a quarrel. In this purpose he was by no means encouraged by the rest of the company, who, every now and then, threw in some qualifying, temperate[Pg 297] remark. At the pressing instance of Kenelm, who, not having sufficient experience to be impartial, felt his choler rising, we retired to rest. The next day, after a farewell view of the Maison Quarrée, we returned to Avignon, which we reached in six hours.

A protestant friend, being at Avignon, wished to see the Maison Quarrée, and inquired of me if it was safe to go to Nismes. "Will not the papists murder me?" The cause of this dread is curious; the explication of it may amuse the impartial, that is, almost nobody; but I will venture. The protestants of Nismes had all been favourable to the Revolution. The ancient royal government of France had not indeed, like the queen and parliament of England, insisted on every man's changing his faith, but it had resisted the introduction of a new religion: these two cases are very different, though perpetually confounded both by the tolerant and intolerant amongst us. However, the protestants of Nismes very naturally threw their weight into that balance, the preponderance of which promised them the assurance of their civil rights and political consideration. The catholics on the contrary, not having these motives, and carrying into politics that love of stability, the principle of which they find in their religion, disliked political[Pg 298] change, and were well pleased with the return of the king.

"C'est là le beau côté de la religion catholique; elle n'approuve pas les révolutions,"[59] said a protestant minister of a protestant king. He regarded the matter like a statesman, and no further.

During the republican and imperial governments the protestants were the stronger party at Nismes, and had made the catholics feel that they were so. On the restoration, a scuffle took place between the parties, in which some half dozen protestants were killed. Of this unlucky affray great advantage was taken in England: committees were appointed and subscriptions raised for the purpose of succouring "our distressed brethren, the protestants of the south of France." The "no popery" cry being once well set up, it was thought right to inquire into the extent of the mischief. A letter was returned from France, reporting nearly what has been stated above; this letter the noble person to whom it was addressed kept in his pocket some days before he sent it to the committee, that the "no popery" cry might not go down[Pg 299] too soon. The fear entertained by my friend of being murdered by the papists at Nismes need not now be wondered at: it was only three or four years since such things had happened; and it is well known, that what has happened once, may happen again.

Hatred of popery is, in England, an amiable sentiment originating in a love of religious truth and confirmed by political wisdom. In such a sentiment, so pure in its source, so wise in its direction, heroes of all sorts may glory. In them it is distinguishable from poperyphobia: they are not afraid of popery: popery is afraid of them.

Shakspeare's Hotspur cries out, "A plague o' this quiet life: I want work." For myself, being no hero, I love a quiet life; but I cannot refuse to heroes the tribute of admiration that is due to them and their laurels.

For the catholics of Nismes, I believe them to be more devout and more decorous than those of the rest of France. The circumstances in which they are placed render this probable. The catholics of England are the most zealous and the most decent of all Christendom: an Italian nobleman, who knew them well, said to me, in speaking of them, "ce sont des saints:"[60]

[Pg 300]

a papal nuncio to the Brazils, thrown by a sort of shipwreck on the English coast, and going to chapel in London, was delighted to find what he called "so precious a portion of the church of Christ." I went into some of the churches of Nismes, and found, on the inner door of one of them, an écriteau requesting the faithful not to allow their dogs to follow them to church. At Avignon the dogs made love, or war, and barked in the churches at pleasure.

Reluctant to approach to the catastrophe of my residence in France, I loiter on my way, and turn aside into by-paths. Yet a little more of detail, I hope neither tedious nor uninstructive,—yet a few more notices respecting the principal personage in this drama of woe;—and I will proceed to fix the reader's admiration of the character of that person, to call forth his compassion for my sufferings, and his indignation at the conduct of those medical men, whom, though I have described their conduct as it deserves, I endeavour to pity and to pardon.


[57] Since there are improbabilities on both sides, it is necessary to ask the duke himself.

[58] It remains to be known if England be really rich; for me, I believe that the thing represented is not equal in value to that which represents it.

[59] That is the fair side of the catholic religion; it does not approve of revolutions.

[60] They are saints.

[Pg 301]


During the forty months that I resided at Avignon two capital executions only took place; one at Avignon, which I did not witness, and one at Carpentras, at which town, on account of its being in the centre of the department, the tribunals or assizes are held. During the last year that I passed in Lincolnshire four criminals were hanged. Lincolnshire is smaller and much less populous than the department of Vaucluse. The disproportion is enormous. This subject has frequently been brought before the public, and before the public I leave it.

In the second year of my sojourn, a mission was preached at Avignon. On the expediency or prudence of these missions, concerning which so much difference of opinion prevailed among the French themselves, a stranger is hardly competent to decide. Many were offended that catholic France should be treated like a country that had never heard of the gospel; but this view of the matter was formed rather on a strict and somewhat captious interpretation of the word mission, than from any thing in the scheme[Pg 302] itself justifying such an interpretation. The gospel was not preached by the missionaries as new, but as having been neglected. Yet this supposition of neglect threw a blame somewhere; and these extraordinary means taken to repair it excited animosity.

Six thousand parishes throughout France were said, at this time, to want pastors; and it was regretted that funds should be diverted from the maintenance of the seminaries or their more effectual support, to supply the expense of desultory efforts, of evanescent enthusiasm.

On the other hand it was argued that, for a quarter of a century, religion had been discouraged; for one year of that time it had been proscribed, and the churches closed; during all that time Christian education had been notoriously neglected; so many clergy had been banished, that the remainder had been insufficient to the various functions required of them; that to recover from such a state, extraordinary remedies were called for.

After all, there was nothing so very extraordinary in these missions: from three to six priests, men of some talent, zeal, and eloquence, arrived in a town, stayed there a greater or less number of days according to the population, or, it may be, the spiritual wants of the place,[Pg 303] preached, and heard confessions. Yet let any one suppose what would be the effect of the presence of half a dozen methodist teachers in any town in England, and he will be able to form an idea of the state of Avignon, pending the mission which lasted, as well as I can remember, about a fortnight.

The churches were crowded; those who wished to have seats to hear the sermon at six in the evening, were obliged to take their places at mid-day; these were chiefly women: men, who could bear the fatigue of standing during the sermon, occupied every space large enough for a pair of feet.

The lessive, so the washing is called from the wood ashes employed in it, was neglected; dirty shirts and sheets were too common to be complained of: the men were obliged to cook their own dinners; children were grouped together by scores under the care of some one contented or paid to stay at home. Then came the general confessions, which occupied some days; then one day for the communion of the male and another for that of the female penitents; lastly, the procession of the cross, which was to be set up as a perpetual memorial of the mission, and a mean of recalling to every one the good resolutions he had then made.

[Pg 304]

An ill-carved crucifix, larger than life, borne on the shoulders of the devout, was followed by the missionaries and people singing cantiques, and was finally placed on the terrace near the great door of the cathedral, to which it gives the appearance of a place of public execution.

I venerate the images of Christ and his saints; they are, as St. Austin calls them, the books of the illiterate, and they speak to the heart even of those who can read. But they should be so made and so placed as to inspire, not terror, but sentiments of peace, hope, and gratitude.

The missionaries turned many from the evil of their ways: some sums of money were deposited in their hands to be by them restored to those who had been robbed or defrauded of them; these sums, so unexpectedly recovered, were in general given to the poor. I have read an account of the conduct of these missionaries to the galériens at Toulon, which was very interesting and edifying. On leaving Avignon they were accompanied for several miles by the people, who, by way of taking leave, tore the cassock off the back of the chief missionary and divided it into shreds, that all or as many as possible of their zealous admirers might have[Pg 305] a relic. In this procédé there was a little too much of the fougue du midi,[61] and the missionary by no means liked the process of popular canonization. How long the good effects of the mission may last is doubtful. It seems as if it were necessary that some strong excitement should exist in order that religion should be present to the mind. Holy men create this excitement to themselves by the aid of divine grace, and by prayer, a powerful mode of self-persuasion: for the multitude, this excitement must be created for them. I was assured by a very worthy and experienced curé, who remained in France during the whole of the revolution, that, in the reign of terror, when the churches were shut up, many followed the clergy into caverns and hiding-places, who afterwards could not be persuaded to go to church.

I formed an acquaintance with an old gentleman of eighty-five years of age, who had served in the seven years war: he had been present at the affair of St. Cas. Two brothers, of a Lincolnshire family, every member of which I have always esteemed as a friend, were officers in the regiments landed on this occasion. I remember when a boy to have heard one of them[Pg 306] relate how his brother called to him, when they were both driven back into the sea, to share a bottle of wine which chance had supplied. They were waiting for the boat to take them to their ship: there was no cork-screw; he broke off the neck of the bottle with his sword. It was pleasant to me, at such a distance of time and place, to meet with one whom this trifling anecdote could amuse. He spoke with respect, as does all the world, of English valour, but said, no one could conceive why they disembarked their troops on the coast, as it was utterly impossible for them to penetrate ten miles into the country: in this he was in accord with the English public at that time. He is dead; the brothers are dead: very few survive, who fought in the war concluded by the peace of Paris, in 1763.

I was also acquainted with two young men of celebrated names, officers of a regiment in garrison at Avignon. One of them was grand nephew of that archbishop of Marseilles, whose conduct, when the plague raged in that city, in the year 1720, has ever been spoken of with justly-merited eulogium; the other was grandson of the author of the "Esprit des Lois." This latter made me much ashamed, not of my country, she is too great for that; but for my country.[Pg 307] Talking of military discipline, he said, "Vos soldats sont des braves gens,[62] but you vippe dem; you vippe dem." I was, as I have said, ashamed, and knew not what to answer, but that such punishments were not so frequent since certain debates in the Parliament. "Den you vippe dem," and forgetting the word sometimes, "quelquefois," twirling his hand as if brandishing a cat-o-nine tails; then added with a serious look, "quelquefois; c'est trop."[63] Sir Francis Burdett's endeavour to place the representation of the people in the Commons House on a rational basis, will meet with the fate of my proposal to establish the Catholic religion in Ireland; but his efforts to rescue the soldier from a cruel and degrading punishment deserve the thanks of every friend of mankind. He has relieved human nature from more suffering than a legislator who should abolish the question; for there are, or were, more soldiers flogged than, in any equal time, state-prisoners tortured. If the sentiment of reproach and contempt with which young Montesquieu spoke of our military punishments,—a sentiment in which he is joined by every man of sense and honour [Pg 308]throughout Europe,—may contribute to abolish the odious practice, he too may share in the praise of the "législateur du genre humain."[64] The great object of all legislation is to prevent evil, injustice, and misery. Alas! Alas! How much does it itself inflict!

An election of a deputy to the chamber was held while I was at Avignon. Of this election I can give but a negative account. There was no ringing of bells; no flags displayed; no parading the streets by day-light or torch-light; no canvassing; no kissing the women; no rioting; no drunkenness. The town was as quiet as if no election had been going on. The number of electors for the department was about six hundred. What influenced their votes I cannot say; certainly not those glorious concomitants of an English election in all towns large enough to enjoy them,—festive noise and indecent tumult.

In the spring of the year 1820, my elder son set off for England, which was to him an unknown land, as he had been immured in college from his thirteenth year, and with which he was anxious to become acquainted. At his departure, he asked and received on his bended[Pg 309] knee the blessing of his parents. This may seem strange to some; yet Sir Thomas More, when Chancellor of England, began the day by kneeling at the bed-side of his aged father, to implore, through him, the blessing of God, and then went and served at mass in his own chapel. Sir Thomas More was a wise and amiable man, whose life and death are beyond all praise. The act of submission above-mentioned might, however, for reasons that may easily be divined, be more laudable in a young man of nineteen, than in a Lord High Chancellor of England. Besides other considerations, the one acted in conformity, the other in contradiction, to the spirit of his age.

From Lyons, where he passed two days, Kenelm took the road to Paris by Moulins, in order to see a different country from that by which he had come to Avignon. He passed five days in Paris, three of which he dedicated to the Museum of the Louvre, which he now saw with advantage, derived from the progress he had made in drawing. He spent ten days in London. A friend who had known him two years before in Paris, good-naturedly bore testimony to the improvement which two years had produced: "You were then a great boy; you are now a fine young fellow." He passed also[Pg 310] ten days, at Bath, at the house of his mother's sister.

I know not whether it may have been remarked that, in my chapter of Paris, I have said not a word of the theatres. The fact is, we never once were present at any of them. The opinion of Catholics as to the lawfulness of attending the theatrical representations of the present day, is by no means uniform. The English Catholic clergy in general advise to abstain from them: the pious and excellent priest at Paris, to whose counsels Kenelm owed so much, gave the same injunction. Our kind and prudent director at Avignon rather requested than required us to abstain from attending the theatre at that place. "It is no great loss, considering the merit of the performance: when you shall be in Italy, I give you up to my successor."

Kenelm, on this journey, made some stay in Paris, London, and Bath, without going to a theatre. This must be considered as no slight sacrifice for a young man of nineteen; master, for the time, of his own actions; solicited by his curiosity and by the invitations of friends, who regarded the stage as a source of innocent amusement, and even of instruction.

Following the lights, such as they were, of my own common sense, I had occasionally, even[Pg 311] after becoming a Catholic, assisted at theatrical representations both in Bath and London, when the inducement was in accord with good taste and good morals. I could see no harm in allowing those "purifiers of the affections," terror and pity, to be administered by those masters of the scenic art, Kemble and Siddons. There were others, second to these, but of great merit, whom I saw with pleasure: amongst them Cooke, when he was sober; Elliston, at all times. Arrived in France, I refrained from going to the theatre as the safer line of conduct, seeing I was now no longer alone. Besides, I was told that comedians, so they call all actors, were in a state of excommunication; that they could not accomplish the sacrament of penance without promising to renounce their profession; and that if they died comedians, their right to Christian burial was at least disputable.

I cited the example of the capital of the Christian world. "In Rome itself there are theatres." "The holy Father is under the necessity of permitting, as sovereign, what, as head of the church, he condemns." This reminded me of Sir Jonathan Trelawney, sometime Bishop of Winchester, who was much given, according to the custom of his time, to profane cursing and swearing—a custom which he adopted perhaps[Pg 312] to show that he was no puritan, as men neglected days of fasting and abstinence to prove that they were no papists. This reverend prelate being reproved for this mal-practice, declared that he swore as Sir Jonathan Trelawney, not as Bishop of Winchester. He was asked how he would hereafter make a distinction in his personal identity, or divide what Sir Kenelm Digby calls "a man's numerical self;"—a phrase which my friend Sir —— was so good as to translate for me into "number one."

In fact, the argument drawn from the double character of the Pope to justify the permission of what was bad in itself, excited my indignation. "The Pope," said I, "is no hypocrite." "True: the Pope is no hypocrite; but sovereigns are in some cases obliged to permit evils which they palliate and diminish by superintendence and regulation." I understood the allusion, but felt a strong repugnance to class actors, many of them persons of exemplary morals, and none of them necessarily otherwise, with those unfortunate outcasts, so well watched in France and Italy, and so piously allowed to roam at large in London: neither could I be all at once persuaded that stage-plays were of the nature of a violation of one of the ten commandments. I alleged the example of all, or almost all the[Pg 313] Catholic sovereigns of Europe, who assisted at them without scruple. I was answered, that the example of sovereigns could not justify what was wrong in itself. The great Bossuet was quoted, who replied to Louis XIV., by whom his opinion was asked on the lawfulness of stage plays which the monarch himself frequented, "Sire, il y a de grands exemples pour, et de grandes autorités contre."[65]

"Reste à savoir," said I to myself, with the disputant at Nismes. The question did not press: we abstained from plays in France. I resolved, if possible, to reconcile these contradictions in Italy.

In Italy I was instructed, that there exists no excommunication of actors by the universal church, but only by the decrees of some particular dioceses, in remote ages, when the scenic art was reputed infamous on account of the representations, then almost always contrary to good morals: that they who exercise the profession of actors are guilty of great sin, if they exhibit on the stage any thing shameful or obscene, but not otherwise: that there exist indeed sentences of the holy see and of general[Pg 314] councils against scenic representations, but that they refer always to such as may be indecent and contrary to sound morality: that the Fathers condemn the theatres of their time, not only because of the indecencies there represented, but also because, as the pagans acted plays in honour of their false gods, the Christians could not assist at them without the stain of idolatry: that a decent play cannot be called absolutely a proximate occasion of sin, but may become such relatively to certain individuals on account of their personal fragility; and that such, admonished by their own experience, are bound to fly a danger which, though it may be remote to others, is to them proximate: finally, that there cannot be any positive judgment nor any fixed or constant rule respecting theatres; since the lawfulness or unlawfulness of them may vary at every moment, according as scenic representations are agreeable or repugnant to good morals.

Priests go to plays in Italy, generally retiring before the ballet. I have seen a cardinal at a private theatre: that it was a private theatre, was a circumstance of some importance in point of decorum, but of none in point of morality, concerning which it is fair to presume that his eminence entertained no doubt or scruple.

Kenelm, however, abstained all his life from[Pg 315] going to the theatre: in this he acted according to the information which his conscience had received. Conscience is not the rule of action: the rule is THE LAW divine or human; conscience is the measure which each individual applies, first to the rule, then to his own actions. He who does a bad action, thinking it a good one, is not excused; it is his duty to inform his conscience: he who abstains from that which is innocent because he thinks it wrong, has merit in conforming his actions to his sense of duty, as well as he who, from a motive of duty, performs an action in itself indifferent.

Kenelm proceeded from Bath to the country-house of his mother's father in Somersetshire, where he passed three or four months, making short excursions and visits in the neighbourhood. Towards the end of September he returned to Bath, his native place, visited Bristol and the shores of the Severn. He then went through the midland counties into Lincolnshire, where his family, originally from Yorkshire, had been settled for four generations. Here visits and business detained him some time: he returned to London: the theatres were again opened; but not for him.

During his former stay in London he had received the sacrament of confirmation on the feast[Pg 316] of Pentecost: he wrote to me, that that day had been the happiest of his life. On this occasion he took the name of Aloysius or St. Lewis of Gonzaga, whom a conformity of character seems to have induced him to regard with peculiar sympathy. Is it fanaticism or imbecility to hope and believe, as I sincerely believe, that these two happy souls, after their short trial, now enjoy the society and converse of each other in a state of unchangeable felicity?

After a short visit in the neighbourhood of Southampton, Kenelm once more embarked at that port and returned to France. He was desirous of following a route, not unusual with English tourists, by Orleans, Bordeaux, and the line of the Garonne, to Avignon; but the season was too late: in truth he complained that he suffered from cold in his journey from Paris. His family had the satisfaction of receiving him again on the eleventh of November.

The judgment formed of him by those who became acquainted with him during his stay in England, may be known by the following extract from a letter written by his mother within a short time after his death, that is, within a twelvemonth after his return to France.

"Your son was perfect, as far as human nature can be so: so much self-denial, tenderness to[Pg 317] the feelings of others, such strict attention to his religious duties, whatever pleasures might be offered him, I never met with in any character; and in so young a man, at a distance from all who had a right to control him, it was most extraordinary, and bespoke a mind whose every feeling was governed by religion. Could you have heard the general regret for his loss, and the remarks made on his conduct and manners by all who knew him, you would have been gratified; but you have a higher source of comfort," &c.

I will cite another testimony; that of the priest who was his director during his visit to his native land:—"I was much affected by the news of the death of the amiable Henry Kenelm; and yet I cannot but regard it as a great mercy in Almighty God to snatch him in his innocence from the horrid corruptions and impieties of the world. Now he is gone, it is not unlawful for me to say that I thought him one of the most innocent, watchful, and mortified souls I had ever met with of his age."

On the morrow of his return he began a drawing of an infant Jesus from an engraving of a picture by Raphael in the Palazzo Pitti: it was to be finished in the French style, with much exactness and labour. He said, "the infant[Pg 318] shall be ready for his birth-day;" and in effect he concluded his work on Christmas eve. I saw the features of this infant Jesus with an astonishment, the motive of which I explained to Kenelm; it is not yet time to reveal it to the reader.

This winter Kenelm took lessons in fencing, and, after having acquired some skill in the noble science of defence, he engaged a sous-officier to come daily to the house to teach him the manual exercise. He had learned dancing in his college, where masters attended for that purpose. During his first winter at Avignon he refused to take dancing lessons, from scruples suggested to him by a devout person, who also endeavoured to engage me to forbid my children to learn to dance, supporting his opinion of its unlawfulness by the usual topics. I replied, "I should be ashamed for my children, if I thought they could not dance without finding in it a proximate occasion of sin: the thing is innocent in itself; let those who find it, or make it otherwise, avoid it." In his second winter Kenelm surmounted the scruples of our devout friend, and resumed his dancing lessons, and now continued them, not so much out of a desire to perfect himself, as for the sake of joining in the amusement of the family party.

[Pg 319]

The summer which Kenelm passed in England had been excessively hot in the south of France. I was in the habit of observing my thermometer at midnight, and, during July and August, usually found it, at that hour, at 84 Fahrenheit. The autumn was very mild: we were to give a ball on new year's day, and there was no ice in the town, as the master of the café, who was to furnish ice creams, announced to me in a tone of due despondency. He proposed to send a cart to Mont Ventoo, a lofty and remarkable mountain fifteen miles off, where there was ice at all times; this carriage would cost thirty francs. I asked him if he would bear a part of the expense, as the ice would be of use to him for his other customers. He said, if it should freeze, his share of the load would become useless; moreover that, if there should be ice of the thickness of a ten-sous piece, that would be enough for my purpose. That very night, the last of the year 1820, a frost set in, so severe, that almost all the olive-trees of Provence and of the east of Languedoc were destroyed to the root. The preceding open weather had sustained the sap; so that this sudden and violent check was fatal. It was a great calamity: the government came in aid of the more indigent of the sufferers; but four years must pass[Pg 320] ere the olive-trees could be in full bearing as before.

Besides the "fatness" of the olive, they reckon in this country four other récoltes or harvests: the hay of the artificial grasses, of which lucerne is the chief; with this hay they fatten cattle and make a great deal of manure: indeed I saw at Avignon a symptom of covetousness of dung, much to the credit of their agricultural management; those who sweep the streets bring straw, cut into little bits about three inches long, which they throw into the kennels and dirty puddles to suck up the fertilizing moisture. Manure must be in great demand, and an article of the first necessity in a country, where, besides extensive gardens, they intercule, after the wheat, reaped usually at the end of June, a crop of haricots or French beans,—a standing dish, during the winter, at all tables. I remembered at how high a price I had formerly bought a few of these beans for seed, that I might have this vegetable, young and green, as a side-dish or in pickle: yet these haricots secs, or the dried grain of the French bean, is the cheapest food at Avignon, cheaper even than bread; and it was without cause that I was alarmed at my own extravagance, when I saw them spread in such abundance on the table in my kitchen. Gar[Pg 321]rence, or madder, is another récolte, and a source of great wealth. Add to these harvests, their wine, which, by the help of the climate and good manipulation, is, in my opinion, the best in the world, except perhaps that of Xeres and Madeira. Melons and pastecs, or water-melons, are here delicious, and the food of the common people. Bread is excellent, light, white, and nutritious; many degrees whiter than that which I made of my own wheat in England, though not so white nor so quickly dry and tasteless as the adulterated bread of London.

I consider French agriculture, as far as I was able to observe it in the south, to be in a flourishing condition. They have not the grand cultivation: the subdivision of property and the nature of the products forbid it. They have no "expensive plans For deluging their dripping-pans." They would regard almost as thrown away, a rich plot of land given up to the fattening sheep and bullocks. In the southern moiety of France, indeed, they have no choice: there are water meadows, where irrigation is possible, but no pastures. Their cattle are fed on the mountains and hills and poorest lands, during summer, and brought home in winter.

The end of agriculture is to obtain the greatest value of produce from land at the least[Pg 322] expense, and that for ever; and in this end the French, the spirit of calculation coming in aid of their soil and climate, succeed in a great degree. The chattels (the word is French), the stock, both live and dead, belongs to the proprietor; he superintends; the land is not worse managed on that account. Indeed, as Pythagoras or Plato said, that states would never be well governed, till philosophers were kings or kings were philosophers; so it may be said, that land will never be well cultivated, till proprietors shall be farmers or farmers shall be proprietors: their interests are opposite, and not to be reconciled by leases or conditions of obligation; one desires immediate, the other continued, profit: but the interest that a French proprietor has in his share of the produce, is not great enough to induce him to diminish his capital by deteriorating the land, which the tenant always will do if he can: even the matériel of the farm, no unimportant part of its value, is better cared for by the landlord than by a tenant. In short, France, in the southern part of it, is rapidly advancing towards garden culture, the perfection of all cultivation; since the more a farm is cultivated like a garden, the more will the management of it be applauded, and the greater will be its produce in proportion to its extent.[Pg 323] The spade and hoe are very much used in fields, especially where, as is often the case, these fields are traversed by rows of mulberry or other trees; and the vines trimmed into the form of bushes, and the garence, and haricots, and lucerne in rows and drills, and the slight fences, occupying the least possible space, and set rather as limits than as guards, give, to a rich tract, as much of the appearance as it really has of the nature of a garden.

The silk-worm, though silk is a most valuable récolte of this country, has no connexion with agriculture, except that this worm feeds on the leaves of the mulberry tree. These leaves are plucked as soon as they have attained their full spread, and before they are at all dried or even hardened by the sun. While nature is preparing the food of the silk-worm, art is forcing into existence the worm itself. The eggs are hatched by artificial warmth, and, from the time that the worm can eat till it becomes a cocon, this savoury food is administered. The mulberry is of the white sort; but the fruit is hardly known to the Avignonais; it is of course destroyed by plucking off the leaves. I surprised my friends by telling them I had eaten excellent black mulberries in England, and, as is usual in such cases, they gave no credence to my word.[Pg 324] These trees look very miserable without leaves under so fine a sky: by the end of summer a second crop of leaves is plucked off, and given to cattle.

It was pleasing to me, as carrying memory back into former ages, to see the threshing-floors of the Avignonais: they are on the outside of the building that serves for the granary: the sheaves are laid in a circle, in the centre of which stands a man who drives two or more horses round, over the ears of corn: another man stands without the circle to correct any irregularities in the work. The moral meaning of the command, not to muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn, is evident; and it is to be hoped that, in practice, it was interpreted according to its moral meaning: otherwise the work would not have proceeded very quickly, and would soon have been stopped altogether by the strangulation of the beast.

They built, while I was at Avignon, a very good abattoir near one of the gates of the town. I saw here the process of skinning an ox: air is thrown in under the skin by a pair of bellows, which air is then forced forward by beating the inflated hide with clubs. A beast, whose turn it was to be killed next, was standing by with his nose fastened to a ring in the floor. How[Pg 325] far did his intelligence enable him to presage the fate that awaited him?

French agriculture has made rapid strides within twenty years: they procure and disperse improved machinery: in the breed of their sheep they pay attention to the quality of the fleece. They call the English their masters in the science of agriculture, but entertain confidence, I hope well-founded, of soon equalling those masters.


[61] The impetuosity of the south.

[62] Your soldiers are brave people, but you whip them.

[63] Sometimes—that is too much.

[64] Legislator of the human race.

[65] Sire, there are great examples for, and great authorities against.

[Pg 326]


There was a very great difference in the ages of my elder and younger children; it was impossible for me to suit my plan to them all: for the sake of the younger it would have been advisable to stay some time longer in France; but for the advantage of the elder I thought it right to hasten my journey to Italy. I fixed the time of my departure from Avignon for the month of October following, 1821.

No master of the Italian language was here to be found. Kenelm soon acquired the use of it, as far as books, without conversation, could teach him; and, in the evenings of the spring and summer, after our promenade, gave lessons to his sisters and brother, whom he required to prepare themselves in the morning: he also gave them lectures in geography. In this employment he gratified his kind affections, and derived pleasure from the performance of what he imposed on himself as a duty.

In truth his whole life seemed to be regulated by a sense of duty: he endeavoured to please others from a principle of benevolence: in[Pg 327] speaking of others he was careful to avoid all censure or rash judgment, all contemptuous or angry expressions; he followed after that charity, which "beareth all things, hopeth all things;" it was evident that, without excluding the innocent and laudable motives of action, he endeavoured to sanctify all he did by referring it to the glory of the Author of all good. His mind had been cultivated as far as his years and opportunities had allowed. The love of God had supplied to him the principle of true sensibility, and his judgment of moral objects was correct and delicate. His reading had been chiefly of French literature and of history. In England he had passed much of his time in society and other engagements, and he had not had leisure for reading: he regretted that he could not stay another twelvemonth there for the purpose of going through a course of English literature.

I had always encouraged him to discuss with me whatever questions arose, to enter into argument and try the ground of his opinions: in criticism, in politics, in religion even, he had followed this method. I held it useful thus to call forth and exercise his powers; I wished to establish his judgment on a surer basis than that which can be laid by authority alone; a basis so liable to be shaken, so likely to be removed by[Pg 328] an intercourse with the world, which surprises, enchants, and often fatally deceives those who are unprepared for it.

I was conversing one day with him and his brother on the subject of the massacre at Thessalonica, in the reign of the emperor Theodosius,—and of the father who, being arrested with his two sons going out of the amphitheatre, entreated the soldiers, who were about to put them both to death, at least to spare him one of them; the soldiers consented, leaving the choice to the father: he, in an agony of grief, ran from one son to the other, unable to resign either of them: the soldiers, becoming impatient, at length slew them both.

Kenelm's remark was, "the father was more happy afterwards than he would have been had he decided. If he had saved one son, he would have continually reproached himself, during the rest of his life, with the death of the other."

Within a few short months I was myself to witness the death of one son, and to pass some weeks in dreadful suspense as to the fate of the son that remained to me. The Father of Mercies inflicted not on me the horrible necessity of choosing between them. He spared one, to alleviate and repair the loss of him whom he took to himself.

[Pg 329]

If I seem to any to have dwelt too long on the praise of Kenelm, let this be allowed to the remembrance of his kind, confiding, and grateful affection to me, his gentle and amiable manners towards the rest of his family, the well-grounded hope of virtuous and meritorious conduct in his passage through life. All this is now only in remembrance; but "the remembrance is sweet."

I had said to Kenelm on his return from England, "You have behaved in such a manner during the time that you have been your own master, that I may now trust that your character and principles are fixed and established: you have acquired an entire right to my confidence."

The trial of the ground of this confidence was short, and, towards the end, most painful; but it was conclusive and satisfactory.

In the spring of 1821, arrived the news of the beginning and end of what was called for a time the revolution of Piedmont, and of the insurrection of the garrison of Alexandria.

The difficulty of obtaining protection or employment in diplomacy, the career to which, in his own purpose, he had destined himself, and to which he had in some degree directed his studies, offered itself at this time so forcibly to[Pg 330] the mind of Kenelm, that he inclined to enter into the military profession. He said, "The King of Sardinia must, at this time, want soldiers. I will go to him at Nice: I shall see you all again in your way to Italy." He added, "I cannot choose the French service, as I should run the risk of being employed against my own country: a great variety of circumstances shows that the English service must be at least unpleasant to a catholic: there remain only Austria and Sardinia." On inquiry, however, we found that no commission was granted in the army of this latter power, unless to those who had been educated in the military academy, or who had served four years in the ranks as private soldiers. Kenelm retained the purpose of making inquiries concerning the Austrian service when he should arrive in Italy. Austria, though now removed to a distance from England by the cession of the Low Countries, had been for more than a century its almost constant ally. I was not sorry that inquiries, and any measures to be adopted in consequence, were delayed for some time, and advised that the interval should be employed in reflecting how far the military profession might suit a character of great vivacity indeed, but thoughtful and given to literary pursuits. I could account[Pg 331] for this sudden ebullition of Kenelm's warlike ardour, only by the delight which he took in reading the "Victoires et Conquêtes," which publication began about this time; and by his intercourse with some of the officers in garrison. He asserted too that the trade of a soldier is the most independent of any, and brought in defence of his assertion some very specious arguments. His ardour, though restrained, was by no means extinguished: he was steady to his purpose, and never relinquished it.

In the month of July a fair is held at Beaucaire, on the Rhone, a small town twelve miles from Avignon, opposite Tarrascon. This is one of the few fairs in Europe that are still the scene of great commercial operations; commis, travellers, and the post office are rapidly causing the disparition of less convenient institutions. To Beaucaire, however, as yet, resort merchants from Germany, Italy, and Spain; and to Beaucaire also resort the idle and curious of the district for many leagues around. The Avignonais wondered that we could pass two summers without visiting it; and, as I could now no longer say "I will go next year," I was obliged to avow that my real reason for absenting myself from a scene which they thought so interesting, was my unwillingness to subject any of the females[Pg 332] of my family to the inconvenience of finding, or, what would have been worse, not finding beds in so crowded a town; and to stay all night was indispensable, as the finest sight of all was the illumination of the streets of booths erected as a supplement to the insufficient buildings of the town. One friend proposed to me his example. He had left Avignon, with ladies in company of course, three hours before sunset; arrived at Beaucaire in time to lead his ladies about, both by owls-light and lamp-light; supped in a room which, he allowed, had not the recommendation of being either retired, or cleanly, or free from the fumes of tobacco; and brought his ladies home again at three in the morning.

Men are but children of a larger growth,

said some one without suspecting that he was launching any thing but a sarcasm: it is however a profound reflection. Children must be amused because they cannot know any thing of the world into which they are about to enter; and men must be amused on account of their unwillingness to think of a future state of existence. The childish mortal is however less silly than the manly mortal immortal.

I recommended to my sons to visit Arles,[Pg 333] taking Beaucaire in their way at the time of the fair, at which they might stay as long as they pleased, and no longer. They got into a boat early in the morning, and descended the Rhone as far as Tarrascon; passed four hours, including repast and repose, at the fair; then again took to their boat, which conveyed them to the ancient and once important city of Arles. From Avignon to Tarrascon they found the banks of the Rhone varied and picturesque: lower down, the river displays a great spread of water, but its shores are flat. They slept at Arles, viewed its ancient monuments, obelisk, amphitheatre, sarcophagi, and walked to St. Remy. In the evening of the next day they returned home, and regaled us with a pleasant account of their "voyage par mer et par terre."[66] They were particularly pleased with St. Remy, and we resolved on a family party to that place: the excursion was, however, deferred for a month, on account of a visit to a friend's campagne or country house.

St. Remy is four leagues from Avignon: at the end of the second mile, we crossed by a ferry the Durance, a mighty Alpine torrent. I[Pg 334] had before observed that its waters are colder and more turbid than those of the Rhone at the point of their confluence. The Rhone deposits in the Leman Lake a part of the soil it brings with it in its course through the Valais. The Durance is so impetuous, that its bridge on the road to Marseilles is almost always insecure. A company of Dutchmen undertook to confine this river to a certain bed by embanking, on condition of receiving all the land they should recover: but though they could, no doubt, deal very well with placid and stagnant canals, they found the Durance so impatient of dykes, as the Araxes was indignant at a bridge, that they abandoned the enterprise.

My sons, who were our stewards and ciceroni, had ordered a basket of provisions to be brought by the carriage, that we might dine au frais near the monuments, the objects of our visit. We took café au lait, however, on arriving at the village, supplying the place of milk by beating the yolks of fresh eggs into a liquid foam here called lait de poule, and well known as a substitute for an article, the want of which is not much felt by those who are used to be without it. We had no butter: beurre frais de Lyon is sent down the Rhone to Avignon, and sometimes contains maggots. I paid ten sous a day for a[Pg 335] small quantity of beurre du jour made on purpose for our family breakfast,—the only demand for it in all the town.

The want of butter, and the scarcity of our four pleasant early fruits, gooseberries, currants, raspberries, and strawberries, a rare and short-lived luxury in the south of France,—are great privations; and this must be added to the inconveniences of a hot climate. Even cherries quickly become uneatable, breeding worms within them as soon as ripe.

We walked to the Mausoleum and triumphal arch at half a league's distance. They are situate near the side of the road now leading from Nismes to Marseilles, which probably, at the time even of the erection of these monuments, led from one to the other of these ancient cities. We had risen by a very slight ascent to a great height, and now enjoyed a fine prospect all around, except that, for about one fourth of the horizon, the view was bounded by a range of rocks of most curious and fantastic forms. Not far from the foot of this range, and very near to each other, are placed the arch and Mausoleum. The arch itself and all below it, is still perfect; but all above it has been pulled down and carried away: the vault of the arch is highly ornamented. The Mausoleum [Pg 336]is a most elegant structure. If I say that it resembles a detached campanile of a church of Grecian architecture, it is more for the sake of indicating its form, than from having seen any thing in that kind resembling or equal to it. On a lofty basement rises a square building surmounted by a circular colonnade, of the Corinthian order, supporting a dome or cupola. At the four corners of the square building are Corinthian pillars; on each side, the wall is pierced by an arch, and, on the frieze above, is the inscription

Sex. M. Julii C. F. parentibus suis.

In the centre under the cupola stand two statues: there is no door or opening below.

My sons amused themselves with taking drawings of the objects before them. The air, notwithstanding the season of the year, was cool and fresh at the elevation at which we were placed; and we took our dinner under the arch, having brought from the café of St. Remy some beer, which, in the spirit of contradiction, is much liked in this country of the vine. I thought it vile stuff, and preferred our wine from Avignon: those of my children who had not tasted or forgotten the taste of home-brewed, thought it a luxury: it is rather dearer than[Pg 337] wine, being, very justly, equally taxed. It is called bière de Mars;—a proof that the right season is known for "corrupting barley into a certain similitude of wine." Cæsar's word corruptum ought to be translated "fermented," but it is happily ambiguous.

My servant told me that while he was waiting with the basket of provisions for our coming from the village, a gentleman, whom he took for English, followed by his groom, came up to the monuments, walked his horse once quietly round them, looked at him, Antoine, without saying a word, and then rode away.

There is not a single house near these edifices except a Maison des Fous, an extensive establishment, and celebrated for good management. I visited a house of this sort at Avignon, where the patients seemed to have every comfort their situation permitted. Several of them were amusing themselves in the large court: we passed by them in going out. One of them addressed himself to the gentleman who accompanied me: "Sir, I entreat you to interest yourself for me; it is horrible for me to live amongst these unhappy mad people. You see I am not mad; I am placed here by my relations that they may keep possession of a little estate that belongs to me." My friend asked, "Why[Pg 338] do you not speak to the administrators?"—"I have done so often, but all to no purpose; ce sont des ours."[67] I do not know the end of the affair.

We returned in the cool of the evening. On repassing the ferry, I did not get into the carriage again, but walked with my sons to the town. The carriage had some difficulty in passing the gate, owing to a piece of cheese and some other remains of our dinner, which the gate-keeper perceived at the bottom of the basket. Antoine laughed at him: "C'est mon souper:[68]" but it was no laughing matter; it was a question of the droits réunis. The coachman explained that the provisions had been taken out of the town in the morning, and the carriage passed on.

We were much pleased with our excursion, and I promised my family to take them to Nismes before we should set off for Italy; but we had found the day, 18th of August, too hot, and determined to wait till the weather should be somewhat cooler.


[66] Voyage by sea and land.

[67] They are bears.

[68] It is my supper.

[Pg 339]


Saturday, the twenty-fifth of August, the fête of the king was celebrated with sports and rejoicings. A joûte d'eau was held on the Rhone; that is to say—two boats row as fast as possible in opposite directions bearing each of them a man, standing on the prow, armed with a long pole. At the moment that the boats pass by each other, each of the two men strives to push the other with his pole into the water. If both parties fail, the assistants are, for that time, disappointed; if one of the two tumbles in, they laugh and are delighted. Sometimes it happens, from the unsteadiness of their position and the effort which each makes to overturn the other, that both fall in, and, in that case, the joy of the standers and sitters-by is increased, as Malthus would say, not in an arithmetical, but in a geometrical proportion: it is not merely doubled; it is augmented a hundred-fold. Flags, and bells, and music, and the presence of the authorities and of a vast concourse of spectators, leave not the least doubt in the mind of any one but that[Pg 340] he has been well amused. In the evening there was a ball at the prefecture.

Being somewhat indisposed, I did not stir out on this day. Kenelm had for some time past complained of languor and want of appetite, which he attributed to the heat of the summer. At St. Remy he had been in excellent spirits, passing on before us to hinder us from seeing the monuments till arrived at the right point of view; and, on the fête of St. Louis, he had been gay with the gay. No symptom of illness appeared till the following evening at the house of the general commanding the department; he then complained to me of a sensation of cold. I desired him to remove from the open window; he soon felt himself better, and joined in the dance with which the party concluded. This visit is to be remarked as the last he made.

During the three following days he was tolerably well, and, on the alternate days, took his bath in the Rhone, as it had been his custom to do during the summer, in a retired place at a small distance from the town. While bathing the last time, he cried out to his brother, "My pulse is gone." A sensation of cold had induced him to feel his pulse, and he was somewhat alarmed at this symptom of its intermission. He appeared to wish to make light of it[Pg 341] when he came home, but it must be supposed that his own feelings made him apprehensive of illness. Afterwards it became evident that the predisposition to the fever, of which the chilliness three evenings before had been a symptom, had again manifested itself by this intermission of the pulse.

He now reposed in me a confidence, the purport of which ought perhaps to be numbered among the symptoms of the coming malady, though I was as yet unable to account for it in this way. He said his scruples, such as he had combated and surmounted three years before, had returned and had distressed him of late, beginning from a time to which he referred; since which time, and, as he believed, from the efforts he had made, he had suffered from a head-ache and pains in his chest and limbs. Not aware that an illness was at hand which would account for the sensations of which he complained without reference to any mental uneasiness, I endeavoured by reproaches and praises to restore his tranquillity. "You are indebted for your head-ache and other pains to allowing your mind to dwell on useless and groundless apprehensions. Cheerfulness, hope, and gaiety are the best things in the world to make the blood circulate and distribute equally the animal[Pg 342] heat. Enough has been said to you on the subject of scruples, and you have admitted the reasonableness of what has been said: I had hoped they were gone for ever. You are a great comfort and blessing to me: be satisfied with yourself. You were at confession and communion five days ago: has any thing occurred since, on which you would consult your director?" He replied, "No, nothing." This we afterwards remembered with great comfort.

In the evening we went to the promenade, and walked till it was dark. I then asked if he would go home and play a game at chess: he said playfully, "Yes, if you will let me rest my head on my hands, and stick up my shoulders." This posture he had been used to take sometimes in the study-room in college, where it was permitted, being neither a mortal sin nor false grammar: of course he had since avoided and corrected the habit.

The next day the annual distribution of prizes took place at the Royal College. This scene had some attraction for Kenelm as reminding him of Stoneyhurst. He did not stay to the end of the ceremony, complaining of a sense of fatigue. In the evening he walked out again for the last time: we stopt to listen to some music on the walk, when I observed that he was excessively[Pg 343] chill. He said to his mother, "I hope my father will be satisfied with my obedience; I have dragged myself along, cold and tired." I had urged him to walk, in the hope of diverting him. We went home; there was no question of chess; he retired early to rest.

The day following, the last of the month of August, he appeared to be well, and recovered from all sense of fatigue: he announced his intention of bathing in the Rhone as usual. I requested him to give it up, till it should be seen whether the chilliness, that seemed to renew its attacks like the fits of an ague, should again come upon him. To this he assented. He took his lesson of drawing without complaint; but, almost immediately after the departure of the master, was seized with a violent shivering: he put on a great coat; then wrapped himself in blankets, lying on the sofa. The sense of cold still continuing, he took soup, and afterwards tea. Towards evening he desired to have his bed brought down from his chamber, and placed in the inner salon: this was done. He soon broke out into a violent perspiration. Nothing more was apprehended, than that he had taken cold at his last bathing in the Rhone.

His malady was however the dreadful typhus, so fatal in crowded hospitals, in camps and prisons.[Pg 344] To an insulated patient, well taken care of, the danger is much diminished; and, but for error, and worse than error, of the medical men who attended, my elder son had probably not fallen a victim to it, and the younger would have been kept out of the way of contagion.

In the first spring that I had passed at Avignon, my children, owing to the change of climate, all of them, beginning with the youngest, at short intervals from each other, fell ill of the scarlet fever. At that time I had sent for a physician, who treated them with much care, and, as I judged from the event, with sufficient skill. In the course of three years he had occasionally attended when his advice was wanted. His practice was among the best families of the town; he was a middle-aged man, married, and father of a family. He was entrusted by the municipality with the place of physician to the hospital, in which quality he gave lectures on anatomy, at which, so long as the dissected subject was fresh, I had allowed my sons to attend.

The typhus is an universal prostration of the forces of the body; it is no wonder then that Kenelm felt no inclination to leave his bed. For two days he remained there without seeming to himself to have any illness to complain[Pg 345] of. M. le Docteur Roche was sent for: he pronounced the disorder to be a catarrhal fever; the symptoms nothing unfavourable; the perspiration beneficial, but excessive; and ordered the removal of some of the bed-clothes. He prescribed at this time no medicine.

As this man was considered as devout, and had frequently conversed with us on religious subjects, Kenelm, on account of the effect which he supposed his scruples to have had on his health, and assured that they would not be a subject of ridicule to a pious man, thought it right to confide them to him. The doctor coincided entirely with the reasoning of his patient: he said, "For some time past you have been forming unwholesome chyle: the bowels must be relieved; perspiration, so as not to weaken you, but to carry off the fever, probably caused by the cold bath, must be sustained: all will soon be well again." Kenelm had talked of his scruples in so edifying a manner, as to inspire the devout doctor with great respect for his piety and humility: returning into the first salon, he said to the mother: "Madame, votre fils est un ange:" she replied, "Pas encore."[69] This is one of those prophetic expressions launched at[Pg 346] hazard, of which so many examples are on record.

On the fourth day of the malady, the delirium commenced. Roche was one of those physicians who never find out that they are in the wrong: he added the epithet "nervous," to his former definition of the fever, and ordered a calming draught at night. He called three times a day: he felt the pulse of his patient: if the delirium had failed to alarm him, the pulse might have indicated the typhus, by the "subsaltus tendonis," a weak tremulous motion in the wrist, close by the pulse. From this fourth day of his illness, I began to watch every night by the bed-side of Kenelm till two o'clock in the morning: for several years past I had been accustomed not to retire to rest till after midnight; to sit up an hour or two longer was therefore no great fatigue. Antoine, who was directed to go to bed at eight in the evening, then relieved me for the rest of the night. We adopted this arrangement, not foreseeing how long the illness would last, though the period of the typhus is well known to be thirty days. Kenelm's brother and sisters attended and served him during the day, without fear of contagion, the existence of which was positively denied by Roche, and which indeed was not to be apprehended in a[Pg 347] case of "nervous catarrhal fever." The care of his mother extended to every moment of the day and night: her chamber was the next room to the salon in which her son lay: on the least noise she was at his bed-side. What she endured of toil, seemingly beyond human strength, and how her maternal feelings were tortured, will appear in the sequel.

One of the symptoms of the malady was the induration of the belly: it became hard and tight like a drum or inflated bladder; this proceeded from the meteorized state of the bowels; and the vapour or fumes, ascending thence to the brain, as in the case of drunkenness, caused delirium. It was attempted to relieve this induration by emollient fomentations. Kenelm's delirium was not so entire, but that his attention might be directed by those around him to any object that might require it: he spoke French or English, according to the nation of the person whom he addressed; and it was remarkable, that he talked French without hesitating or correcting his phrases, as he was wont to do in health: the delirium in this also resembling drunkenness, which, in its earlier stage, gives a firm and ready elocution.

This mental alienation continued till within a few hours of his death: it was the touchstone[Pg 348] of his character: he talked much, even when alone, or when, as in the watches of the night, by the faint light of a lamp, he thought himself alone; and his talking was thinking aloud; so that, had his mind or disposition concealed any thing inconsistent with piety, purity, or charity, it must have been then revealed: if his self-love had been excessive, it would have burst forth in vain-glorious expressions: if he had entertained inordinate desires of any kind, they would then have betrayed themselves. But there was nothing of all this. He recited frequently and for a length of time together the prayers of the church, or those used in the family: he uttered sentiments of piety and devotion: "O my God, I love thee with my whole heart and soul, and I beg rather to die than offend thee by any mortal sin;" with many other aspirations of holy fervour. So little fear existed of his saying any thing unfit for chaste or virgin ears to hear, that, not till after his death, did it offer itself to my mind that this danger had actually been incurred. It is worthy of remark, that he never said any thing on the subject of those scruples which had given him uneasiness during his health; a presumption that they were unfounded, and had their source in timidity and inexperience. The charity "which thinketh[Pg 349] no evil," did not now forsake him; he spoke of the several persons of his acquaintance, but not in dispraise of any. Of one who, as I knew, had lately given him offence, he said, "M. de —— is a very good, a very pious man." It may be conjectured that he made an effort to say something in this person's favour, as the sort of eulogy by no means suited the character of him to whom it was given.

His patience was admirable. On the twelfth of September, sinapism was applied to the soles of his feet: it produced no good effect, being taken off four hours after it was put on; but, during those four hours, it caused excessive torture: he said, "it is a fire that burns without consuming." Two days after the removal of the sinapism, Roche ordered blisters on the legs, and insisted, in token of his good-will, on putting them on himself: he put them on as one unaccustomed to the work: the patient, unconscious of what he was doing, tore them off in the night, and spread the blistering drug on different parts of his body. The surgeon who attended to dress the blisters, advised that these slight excoriations should be let alone, fearing to draw them by any healing plaster, and hoping that they might heal of themselves. The restlessness of the patient prevented this: plasters were[Pg 350] then applied, but four or five of these wounds situated on the parts on which he rested in bed, continued till his death. By these wounds Kenelm was urged to exclaim, "O why do I suffer so much?" but immediately corrected himself: "I am very wrong—very impatient." He refused to take any thing to remove the nauseous taste of the medicines: he once asked for a piece of an orange for this purpose, and then rejected it. On some few occasions he complained, as one suffering indeed, but not as without resignation, or unwilling to suffer: he seemed at all times sensible of the duty of bearing his illness in the spirit of penance: even his delirium did not destroy the virtuous habits of his mind.

About this time my younger son began to be ill; the predisposition to the typhus manifested itself in listlessness and languor. Roche said, "Il est triste à cause de son frère: il faut l'amuser; il faut le promener."[70] He was still able, for some days longer, to amuse himself with his pencil or at chess with me, and to walk out with the servant or some of the family; but the malady gained upon him.

After the event, I can blame myself, and may[Pg 351] be blamed by others, for allowing my confidence in Roche to continue so long. After the event, I received hints, and more than hints, that he was not of skill enough for a serious case; while he was still retained, no one spoke against him. Besides, he had served me well in the serious case of the scarlet fever. I did not place more reliance on him on account of his devotion, knowing that devotion is but too often another mode of self-deceit: but I thought him incapable of acting like a villain. The patient showed an appearance of great strength, and Roche's daily promises of his speedy recovery did not as yet bear the semblance of improbability.

The silence of the surgeon, who came every morning and evening to dress and keep open the blisters, also tended to deceive me. He might have been the means of saving a valuable life, of rescuing the family from the danger of contagion, all except the younger son, who had already taken the infection; and for him might have procured timely aid: but he prudently held his tongue, except to assure us that there was no danger.

At length came the grand conspirator, he who set his seal to the deceit, rendered the discovery of Roche's error impracticable, and assured its result.


[69] "Your son is an angel."—"Not yet."

[70] He is melancholy on account of his brother; he must be amused; he must be taken out.

[Pg 352]


On the seventeenth of September, I proposed to Roche to call in another physician, naming M. Guerard, a man of acknowledged ability, but old and deaf. On account of these natural defects of Guerard, and out of friendship for Roche, I did not discharge this latter. Roche said, "I will call myself on M. Guerard, and bring him to the house." I saw nothing in this proposal, but an act of civility towards Guerard. I have since understood that this man sheltered himself, under the character of consulting physician, from the reproach of a treacherous abuse of my confidence in him. It is possible that Roche called him in as such, from unwillingness to seem to be superseded. But on his second visit, when he came alone, on his observing, "M. Roche est votre médecin," I replied, "vous l'êtes aussi,"[71] and explained to him, that I expected from him the service of a physician[Pg 353] just as much as if Roche was not in attendance; adding that, if I had been perfectly satisfied with Roche, I should not have called in another. Besides he received his fee; a circumstance which, if I understand aright, technically nullifies a technical defence of a conduct too atrocious for me to suspect at the time, and including too much cruelty to be justified by any considerations.

He came, accompanied by Roche. He said, "M. Roche has explained to me in detail your son's illness and the treatment of it: we will go and see him." He examined his patient with great attention. On leaving the room he said, "this is a very serious malady, but I see no immediate danger." He prescribed musk and bark: these medicines being proper for the typhus, prove what indeed has never been questioned, that he knew, from the first, the nature of the complaint. The languid state of my younger son was mentioned to him; he smiled on him good-naturedly, took his hand, but made no remark, giving at the same time a significant look at Roche.

The servant met them descending the stairs; Guerard wringing his hands, and Roche looking, as the man expressed himself, like a scolded child, "un enfant grondé." By some fatality,[Pg 354] Antoine did not speak of this till some days after the death of Kenelm: had it been mentioned at the time, it might have changed the whole state of things.

The next morning, Antoine asked Roche on his first visit, "Is M. Kenelm worse, Sir? M. Guerard seemed much disturbed yesterday." Roche said, "O no: all is going on well: he is better."

Guerard did not even order Roche's treatment, though contrary to the malady, to be discontinued; and Roche went on with his barley-water and calming potion conjointly with Guerard's prescribed medicines. After visiting four days, Guerard fell ill of the gout and was confined to his house: it was then agreed that Roche should report to him daily the state of the patient, and consult with him on the treatment.

My eldest daughter, subsequently to Guerard's first visit, was ill of a sore throat: had she taken the infection of the typhus, would these medical men still have persevered in their silence? A good providence was merciful. She recovered; we were less alarmed, as unaware of the extent of the danger; and it is not proved that the medical men were willing to assassinate more than two of the family.

[Pg 355]

Kenelm appeared to be somewhat benefited by Guerard's medicines; and the external application of camphor, now prescribed by Roche, mitigated the delirium, though it did not remove the cause. His brother said one day, "Let us try how far his mind is free:" and, taking the drawing before-mentioned of the infant Jesus, which had been framed and hung up in the first salon, he placed it at the foot of his brother's bed. Kenelm looked at it for a short time with seeming pleasure, and then said, "Perhaps that may hereafter do me some little honour." Other indications he gave, that he thought his end to be near: he said to me, with a pensive and composed look,—"Monument? what monument shall I have?" He heard the bell of the church of St. Agricol, and cried, "Why do they ring that bell? I am not dead yet." On the twenty-fourth of September he said to his mother, "I dreamed last night that Mr. Roche took me into a church, and left me there, promising to bring me every day bread and water. He did so for some time; but one day he failed of coming, and I died. I thought in my dream that I made a very happy death: I am certain it is a very easy thing to make a happy death."

This dream evidently tranquillized and spoke peace to his soul: it was a merciful dispensation,[Pg 356] when other means of spiritual comfort were rendered impossible by the delirium, which however left to his pious thoughts their direction and energy.

He had been, for some days before, a little better. The delirium was somewhat abated, and he seemed to have more strength; but on the twenty-fifth these favourable symptoms disappeared; this lightening before death vanished. On the evening of that day, the surgeon took upon himself to apply healing plasters to the blisters, without asking the opinion of Roche, who was present, and who, though unasked, to keep himself in countenance, gave his assent, saying, "C'est très bien fait de M. Busquet."[72] Roche had evidently now lost all presence of mind: he knew not what to do; and no confidence could longer be placed in one who ceased even to affect to have any in himself. The next morning I sent him his discharge: he wrote me a letter full of respect and sensibility, complaining of this measure, and returning the fee. The custom of France is, that the physician is not paid till the termination of the malady: had Roche retained the fee, he would have acceded to his own dismissal, which he earnestly wished[Pg 357] to be recalled, foreseeing that all must inevitably be known on the arrival of another physician. Guerard too, who was still confined by the gout, made strong objections to the calling in another physician, whom I named to him, and who had studied with credit at Paris. He requested me to be contented that the surgeon, an able man, should make his report as Roche had done, and promised to call the next day in a "chaise à porteurs"—sedan-chair.

I had taken with me my younger son, intending to consult Guerard about him. In my confusion and anxiety, I forgot to do so; but Guerard, who knew the nature of the malady, and that I had been kept in the dark concerning it;—who knew that my younger son, ten days before, had been ill for some days—must have apprehended his state, even from his looks, and to this state consigned him. Roche, during his latter visits, had sedulously avoided paying attention to the younger son; and so slow at first was the advance of the illness, that we had neglected to call his attention that way. Roche too knew all. Had he continued his visits, I cannot tell what he would have done: perhaps he could not tell himself. He could hardly have talked of a second "catarrhal nervous fever;" nor could Guerard have borne him out in it.

[Pg 358]

The next morning, the 27th, I called again on Guerard. On seeing me, he cried out, "Sir, I should have come to your house yesterday, but for the difficulty of mounting the stairs."—"You might have been carried up in an armchair by the porters."—"That shall be done to-morrow, if I am not strong enough to mount by myself: at any rate I will come to-morrow." He now, by my desire, felt my younger son's pulse. "He has some fever: he must be taken care of: I will come to-morrow." He well knew, though I did not, how urgent the case was: though regularly called upon to prescribe for my younger son, he thus evaded his duty. He added, referring to the elder son,—"M. Busquet is a clever man: he has my method, and will treat your son according to it. Another physician will, very likely, wish to try experiments."

If I admitted with such credulous facility the delays of this cold-hearted man and the fear of empiricism, which he artfully threw in, it was because I foresaw not the calamities that awaited me: could I even have foreseen them, I should not have suspected any one capable of thus trifling with a father of a family, who, in that quality, had thrown himself on his good faith, and, in his quality of stranger, in some sort on the good faith of his nation.

[Pg 359]

I acted even worse on the morrow. Guerard failed to come; I waited for him the whole day, and then did not even send to inquire after him. I do not pretend to excuse a conduct so inconsistent with my principles and feelings; yet be it remembered, sorrow and perturbation of mind are bad counsellors. Desponding and sick at heart, overcome by lassitude—I speak not of corporeal fatigue, for a messenger would have ascertained the failure of Guerard, and brought a physician in his stead—but overborne by the disappointment of the efforts I had made, and, later in the day, becoming sensible of the danger of Kenelm, I felt as if, like the father of Thessalonica, I could not help one son without abandoning the other. I acted wrong: it is some consolation to reflect that, whereas, on the following day, I found the physician who saved the life of my younger son; had I this day sent for one, that one might not have had the same success. For Kenelm, the delay imported not; his days were numbered. It may also be a palliation that, when his mother asked the surgeon what news she might send to her friends in England, he replied,—"You may tell them, Madam, that there is no danger."

In the evening of the same day, this same man said to me, "Your son is worse: your[Pg 360] younger son also requires attention: I will go immediately to M. Guerard, and tell him it is absolutely necessary that a physician should visit them." He said also, "It would be better that the young ladies should not stay in their brother's chamber." I said, "We have been assured that there is no danger of contagion."—"There is always some danger." He spoke of the sisters who were present, and whose presence had always seemed to give pleasure to Kenelm. His brother was so weakened by the now rapid progress of his own malady, that, for two days, he had hardly passed into this room, and had gone early to bed. It was now with him, as was known afterwards, the twelfth day of the fever. He himself, from his own feelings asserted that his disorder was the same as his brother's. The medical diagnosis was the same; yet to me, who could judge by appearances only, it seemed a perfectly different illness; the prostration of all the strength of the body was the only visible symptom, and this had come on gradually and quietly, had brought with it loss of spirits and of appetite, had even affected the eye-sight, but without any occasional excitement, without delirium.

Towards midnight I took my station to watch by the bed-side of Kenelm with a presentiment,[Pg 361] very naturally to be accounted for, that it was for the last time. He passed the night in tolerable tranquillity, but, at day-break, he began to disturb and alarm us by loud and continued talking. At the same time his understanding seemed to be returning, as, amidst the extravagancies he uttered, he spoke of an occurrence in the life-time of his eldest sister, (little Mary he called her,) "but that was a long time ago; she has been dead fifteen years:" this was exact. He said also, "I would give the world to be able to hold my tongue, but I seem to have something within me that forces me to talk." He talked in fact incessantly for six hours, till his voice even became hoarse. This was the last effort of the victorious typhus: the gangrene of the bowels was now in operation; sickness came on.

Guerard had not rendered himself to the summons of the surgeon the evening before, nor to the repeated summons of the same messenger this morning. I hastened to his house: at eleven o'clock he was sitting in his arm chair: he had not even sent word that he could not come. I addressed him in a hurried manner:—"Is my son to take the bark, since he is vomiting?" Guerard, being deaf, and supposing my question to be a reiterated[Pg 362] invitation, or complaint of his absence, declared his utter inability to visit me, concluding his excuses, with "Voici le médecin que je vous recommande,"[73] pointing to a person sitting near him, whom I had before met with, but did not recognise. Suspecting that Guerard's recommendation might proceed from jealousy of the other physician whom I had once named to him, I requested the stranger to give me his address, which he did; M. Breugne. I then repeated my question to Guerard, who, not hearing to the end, advised that the bark should be continued. M. Breugne said, "Puisqu'il vomit?"[74] Guerard then said the bark must be suspended. I asked him what opinion he had formed on the report of the surgeon: to this a vague answer was given. M. Breugne said, that a physician could not judge of a patient's case by report: he gave some reasons for this opinion, concluding, "the pulse cannot be described." I took leave hastily and without explaining my intentions as to the successor to Roche and Guerard. This latter had no claim to know them. I wished to inform myself respecting M. Breugne.

[Pg 363]

The physician whom I had in my mind, had a high reputation, but was young, and consequently as yet had but little practice. I went up to my younger son's chamber, "Who is this M. Breugne?" said I. "He is the physician of the family of M. de R. of whom they all speak so highly."

Had the question been proposed to him an hour later, he would have been incapable of answering it, for then the stupor of the fever was fully come upon him. Had the stupor come upon him twelve hours later, he must have known of the death of his brother; and the effect of that knowledge, in his weak state, would most probably have been fatal to him.

I now recollected, concerning M. Breugne, what was amply sufficient to decide me in his favour. By way of making amends for my reserve, I went to his house myself. He promised to come in ten minutes: that space of time I employed in helping my younger son to dress, and come down stairs: the fatigue of these operations was to him excessive; arrived at the door of the first salon, he looked at the sofa, as if he wished it to come to meet him, made a few hasty and tottering steps, and threw himself upon it, quite exhausted. He desired that it might be turned with its back to the windows,[Pg 364] as the light importuned him: this was done, and the large round table was pushed from the centre of the salon towards one side, that there might be space between it and the sofa. This trifling circumstance is not mentioned idly; it will be seen hereafter to have its meaning.

Who can deny the existence of a superintending, a particular Providence, when he observes, that the mental faculties of my younger son were continued to him, as if on purpose that he might assist me in determining on the choice of the physician who rescued him from death, and that they were then temporarily suspended precisely at the time when it became necessary that he should be kept in ignorance of what, if known, would have retarded or prevented his restoration to health? Is it presumption in me to think, that even my negligence of the former day, when I waited so long for Guerard without taking any steps to replace him, may have been regulated, that the merciful dispensations of a good Providence might have their way? I advance this conjecture in all humility, and corrected by a sense of my own unworthiness.


[71] "M. Roche is your physician."—"You are my physician also."

[72] It is very well done of M. Busquet.

[73] Here is the physician whom I recommend to you.

[74] Since he is vomiting?

[Pg 365]


M. Breugne, entering the room and seeing his younger patient stretched on the sofa, went first to him: after a short examination, he said: "Il a la fièvre typhus, et, à en juger par la gravité des symptômes, il l'a eu depuis huit à dix jours: il doit l'avoir gagnée de M. son frère aîné, que je n'ai pas encore vu."[75] I led him into the inner salon. He felt the pulse of the elder son; his mother was standing by the bed-side: he looked at what Kenelm had thrown from his stomach: the mother asked if it was the bark; "Non, Madam, ce n'est pas cela;" and, with a look of dreadful import, he led me out of the room, and, with a hurried under voice, said, "C'en est fait de lui: sauvons l'autre: qu'il soit monté au second; que ses sœurs ne mettent pas même le pied sur l'escalier."[76] All was now at once [Pg 366]revealed. Breugne, overcome by the impetuosity of his own feelings, did not give himself time to reflect with how little preparation or management he made known to me the certain death of one son, the uncertain fate of the other, and the danger of all the family. I was stunned, but not surprised.

He prescribed for the two brothers; "With respect to the elder, we will do our duty; but it is useless, and may torment him; he has not two days to live; indeed I fear he will not pass the night: for the younger, I can assure you of nothing; I have hope: I have followed, as physician, the armies of Italy, and have attended, it may be, a thousand persons under this disorder; I have lost but two or three, and then only through some fault of the patient; but here, in the case of your younger son, this fault exists,—he has been ten days without treatment, without medical aid." He returned at five o'clock in the afternoon, and gave more particular directions concerning him, confirming his opinion, that Kenelm could not live over the night. Two hours later, the surgeon called as usual, but proposed not to dress the blisters till next morning. How we cling to the possession of a beloved object! Notwithstanding what she had heard and what she saw before her, the mother was alarmed, and cried out, "You think[Pg 367] he will not live till morning?" Not less grieved, but more resolute, I touched the sole of Kenelm's foot, and said to the surgeon, "He is already cold here:" the surgeon, touching the upper part of the foot, said, "There is warmth here:" "Yes," said I, "the natural heat is retiring." The surgeon made no reply. To calm the mother's fears, he seemed to dress the blisters; and so the work of these medical men was ended.

Our director had called in the course of the morning: he pitied the affliction of the family, and conversed with the excellent youth now approaching to the close of a virtuous life. Kenelm wished to make a general confession; the priest knowing this to be, in his case, superfluous, and doubting if his mind or bodily strength were sufficient to such a purpose, consoled him, and persuaded him to defer it. In the evening he called again, and proposed to me the administration of the sacrament of extreme unction; undertaking to prepare the curé of St. Agricol, the parish-church. The viaticum was, of necessity, to be omitted on account of the vomiting. Kenelm, though exhausted by this discharge, yet on account of the movement which it occasioned, and from painful and uneasy sensations, was unable to sleep: he called[Pg 368] aloud several times the name of his brother, recollecting perhaps that he had not seen him during the day, adding, "He is playing alone in the field." His three younger sisters had retired to their chambers, just before the arrival of the priest with the holy oils.

I said to him, "You will be glad to see M. l'Abbé:" he assented. The priest, addressing him, said, "You see this is the crucifix?" he answered, changing his language immediately into that of the priest, "Oui, Monsieur;" and devoutly kissed the sign of salvation. The expression of his countenance, during the extreme unction, was that of joy mingled with surprise; as of one delighted with the approach of death, and understanding now, for the first time, that it was near. No doubt was entertained but that he knew what was going forward, and, in hope, set the seal to his faith. The priest and his attendant retired. Kenelm's mother approached the bed: "Will you pray for me———" she had not force to add, as she wished, "when you are in heaven?" He said, "Yes, I will, if you will not cry: why do you cry?"—"To see you so ill."—"That is the reason; yes, I am very ill:" he expressed a wish to repose himself, but could not sleep; the fermentation of the gangrene was consuming his bowels.

[Pg 369]

I sent for M. Breugne again at ten o'clock. "I am giving you an useless trouble; but can any thing be done to relieve him?" Breugne looked at him attentively, and turning away, said, "He has not two hours to live." My eldest daughter, in a movement of grief and despair, cried out, "Sir, you abandon him; you have not even felt his pulse." Breugne, in a compassionate and placid manner, said, "If it will be a satisfaction to you, Mademoiselle,—" and felt the wrist: "he has no pulse that can be counted." I went up with Breugne into my younger son's chamber: "Il dort; laissons-le; je viendrai demain de bonne heure."[77]

Notwithstanding Kenelm's satisfactory behaviour during the religious ceremony of which he had been the subject, I wished for more positive assurance that his reason was restored to him, and that he was aware of his state: I wished, as far as I might, to comfort him, and prepare him for his end. The task was most difficult: thirty days before, youth and the expectation of a long life were his: a month had been passed in a dream from which he was now awakened but to die. In his weak state, how enter on[Pg 370] such a topic? I endeavoured to lead to it. "Do you love me, my dear son?"—"Yes, I love you; as I ought; you have great virtues."—"And great faults."—"It is not for me to judge of that."—"Do you forgive me the faults I may have committed in regard to you?"—"Assuredly I do." He signified that he should be obliged to vomit, and I withdrew; nor could I afterwards excite him to speak, though I frequently drew near the bed for that purpose, and, at times, gently called him by his name.

His last words were words of charity, of pardon, and of peace. His father and mother took one of his hands in theirs; it was cold, colder than afterwards in death: he seemed unwilling to be thus disturbed; they laid the hand down, and, with their eldest daughter, awaited the end in painful and trembling anxiety: he appeared to suffer, but to be so oppressed as to be unable to give expression to the sense of what he suffered. The hour of midnight sounded: his last agony came on; and, within ten minutes, he expired on Sunday morning, the thirtieth of September, aged twenty years, four months, and twenty-five days.

The affliction of his parents and sister, who were fully sensible of the value of what they had lost, needs not to be described. The exclamation [Pg 371]of Antoine Leturgé, the domestic, the other witness of this scene of woe, was simple and expressive: "Il est mort, lui, qui étoit si bon!"[78] As they gazed on the awful object before them, the sister said, "His eyes ought to be closed;" the mother, without due recollection at the moment, made a sign to the servant: he, with right feeling, gently said, "C'est au père à faire cela:"[79] and the father did it.

After attending to the due arrangement of the chamber, and of the precious remains, I went up stairs: the doors of the chambers of my two sons were close to each other; I was strangely struck by the sight of the open door of the untenanted chamber, and stopt a moment to recover force to enter into the other. I saw the flushed face of my only surviving son through the gauze that surrounded the bed; I heard his breathing, too full, but tranquil and equal. I withdrew, and took a few hours troubled sleep on the couch on which both my sons had commenced their dreadful malady.

In the morning, a table was placed, according to the usage of the country, at the door of the court of the house, with paper and pens for those who wished to signify their condolence [Pg 372]with the family, to write their names. The list of names was numerous: among them some one wrote, "Tous les honnêtes gens de la ville d'Avignon."[80] It was never known who paid this tribute to the virtues of the deceased. I cannot forbear to mention, that the man who had given him lessons in fencing, a hardy soldier who had seen much military service, was so shocked by the news of his death, that he fainted in the street, and was led home in a weak state: this man was not advanced in years, but of the middle age, stout, and of high spirit.

Before mid-day, the body in its coffin was taken to a room on the ground floor: a shirt and sheet served, according to the custom of France, the purpose of the woollen shroud: the head was raised on a pillow: the hands were fixed, as we still see them on some ancient tombs, in the posture of prayer: a small crucifix, the same which he had pressed to his lips the evening before, was placed on the breast: wax tapers and incense were burnt; the latter in more than ordinary quantity as a preservative from infection. The lid of the coffin is not, at any time, fastened in the south of France, not even at the time of interment: it is then laid evenly upon it; till then it is placed obliquely,[Pg 373] so that the upper part of the body and the feet are seen. The face of the deceased now bore no sign of suffering; the features were composed, and seemed to indicate a tranquil state. Owing to the excessive cold which, before death, had gradually spread itself over the body, the muscles had become instantly rigid, and it had been impossible to close completely the eyes and mouth: so that the separated eye-lashes, and a fine set of teeth, white and regular, added to the illusion produced by what seemed an expression of thoughtfulness. Death looked like sleep: it required an effort of reflection to be convinced of the mournful reality.

On the morning of the first of October, the clergy of the cathedral came to the house to convey the body to the church: they were requested not to begin their chant of the office for the dead, till at such a distance as not to be heard by the surviving brother. The church was filled by a crowd whom divine charity, or the best feelings of humanity, brought to assist at the solemn rite, and to witness a scene which the early youth, the well-known virtues, the afflicted state of the family of him who lay before them, conspired to render interesting. High mass was celebrated: the body was then carried to the cemetery to the north of the city, and interred[Pg 374] towards the middle of the wall enclosing the cemetery on the north; the head resting near the wall, the feet turned towards Avignon. Eighteen masses, without chant, were said for the repose of the soul of the defunct. On Friday following, high mass was again sung, when, according to custom, the friends of the family were invited to be present: a great concourse again attended to join their prayers to the powerful intercession of the spotless victim, and testify their sympathy and compassion.

On a tablet of white marble, inserted in a sepulchral stone from the quarries of Barbentanne, is inscribed, in the Latin language, his name, his country, his religion, his age, and the date of the day and year of his death. Henry Kenelm was tall, more than five feet ten inches in height, strong and well-made, but not large-limbed; with light hair, dark blue eyes, and dark eye-lashes, and a fair complexion. The expression of his countenance was, like his mind, benevolent, frank, cheerful, and intelligent. When we were at Florence, a year after his death, a cast, from a statue in the public gallery, was sent to our lodging as a model for drawing. All of us were struck by the resemblance of this bust to him whom we regretted, whose features were still so fresh in our recollection.[Pg 375] Antoine was called; the bust was shown to him; nothing was said: "It is like M. Kenelm," said he. My son took two copies of this bust: the original is an athleta, as it is called, bearing and looking down upon an urn: it is the third or fourth statue from the entrance of the gallery on the left hand. We showed the bust to a friend: "It is like the son whom we have lost."—"Your son was a very fine young man." The face of the statue is certainly handsome: that of Kenelm had more animation. His manners were those of good society, wanting nothing but that ease and confidence which time and experience would have given.

The friends who endeavoured to console me, employed, among other topics, that of the danger of the world to youth. The argument proves too much. A father is not reconciled, by the apprehension of a danger, uncertain, and (in this case it may not be presumption to say) improbable, to the loss of a son whom he has reared with careful and anxious thought, to whose future life he looks forward with pleasing hope. The Greek proverb indeed says, "He, whom God loves, dies young;" but we trust that many who do not die young are beloved by God. More effectually did the priest[Pg 376] at Avignon console me: he knew, as confessor, the interior and the conscience of Kenelm: "Je vous reponds de son salut; c'étoit un fruit mûr pour le ciel: Dieu l'a cueilli, et l'a mis dans son grenier."[81] The Almighty Father of all, whose wise providence sends afflictions, who knows when those whom he is pleased to call to himself have well finished their course,—he can give assured comfort, and this assured comfort he was graciously pleased to impart to the parents of Henry Kenelm.

Mean time let me hope that this example of faith and piety, of filial submission and fraternal love, of application to study, of patience, mortification, chastity, will not be lost; that some will be reclaimed, and many edified.

To my children especially, I recommend this memorial, written with tears of mingled joy and grief: they have lost a brother, but they possess the remembrance of his virtues, the knowledge of his felicity, the benefit of his intercession. May they ever bear in mind that "every good, every perfect gift cometh from above;" that to

[Pg 377]

"Him alone is glory," who "in crowning our merits crowneth his own work."

Δωρον τοι και εγο, τεκνον φιλε, τουτο διδωμι.

I will now relate an occurrence, on which I request the reader to exercise his judgment temperately. He will readily believe that I have not invented it: this is not an age in which credit is given to visions or honor to visionaries.

In the night between the 30th and 31st of October, thirty entire days after the death of Kenelm, his parents retired late to rest; in fact, at one o'clock of the morning of the 31st. As they were composing themselves to sleep, they heard a noise as of the breaking of a small stick. To me this noise seemed to proceed from the cabinet or dressing-room behind the bed; my wife heard it as from the commode or drawers opposite the foot of the bed. We asked each other what the noise might be, and compared what we had heard. Within a minute, my wife, who had raised herself in her bed, asked me, "What light is that?" I saw no light, and asked, "Where?"—"On the drawers, brighter than any candle." She proceeded to describe what she saw: "Now it rises and grows larger. How beautifully bright! brighter than the most brilliant[Pg 378] star. What can it mean? it is very strange you don't see it." I thought so too; but, to encourage her, said, "Compose yourself; it can mean no harm." She went on: "It still rises and grows larger: now it turns towards the window—it takes the form of a dove with the wings spread but—it has a bright glory all around it—it looks steadily at me—it speaks to my heart, and tells me that my dear Henry is happy—it fixes a piercing look on me, as if it would make me feel what it means. Now I know he is happy, and shall lament no more for him. There—now it has disappeared." Though I had not seen the light, I could see the face of my wife while she was looking at it, and the tears glittering as if a bright light passed through them while they fell down her cheeks. The French word would be ébrillantées. There still remained a suffused light in the room, particularly on the wall above the drawers, as of the reflection of a nearly extinguished fire. This was observed by both of us. It lasted about five minutes, growing gradually fainter, and at length failing entirely. While looking at this suffused and darkish red light, and reasoning with myself how or why the bright light had not been seen by me, I remarked, on the floor, by the open door of the cabinet, the reflection of a[Pg 379] veilleuse, or small night-lamp. These lights are made of a single thread of cotton half an inch long, steeped in melted wax, and, when dry, inserted in little flat pieces of cork, which are floated, while the cotton is burning, in a small quantity of oil. This night-lamp was placed in the remotest corner of the dressing room, which went the whole length of the bed-room. I saw its reflection on the floor only, and only so far as the open door permitted it to be seen. "This" said I, "cannot be the cause of the suffused light; still less can it have been the cause of the bright one." While I was looking, first at the suffused light, then at the reflection of the lamp, the former disappeared; it was plain, therefore, that it had not been caused by the latter.

In the morning we visited the tomb of our departed son, and returned thanks to God. During the whole of the scene which I have described, which lasted about half a quarter of an hour, my wife's behaviour was sufficiently composed and recollected, was consistent and rational, free from affectation or enthusiasm. A sudden and transient apparition of an illuminated dove with a glory might be considered as the work of fancy; but here this appearance was prepared for and followed by circumstances, in[Pg 380] which the imagination could have no part. The attention of her who was to see the vision was directed, by the noise preceding it, to the place where it first appeared; while I was roused by the same noise, but heard by me in a different part of the chamber, as if I were to be, as in the main I was, a witness only. I repeat, the suffused light was seen by us both for four or five minutes. Besides the form which the bright light assumed to the eyes of my wife, the circumstance of its being seen by one of the parties only, without weakening the force of her testimony, is conclusive against its being either a natural or artificial light; and her testimony, aided by mine, as to the concomitant circumstances, proves it to have been a supernatural one. The house looked into a court; there was no house opposite from which lamp or candle could be seen; the moon, whatever witty people may be inclined to say of the influence of the moon in this case, was but four days old: besides, the window shutters were closed, and excluded all lights, artificial or natural.

To use the words of a learned, rational, and respectable old man, the curé of St. Agricol, to whom I related the matter, "Ce qu'on voit, on voit." True,—what one sees, one sees; but[Pg 381] the scripture, with that intimate knowledge of human nature evident in its every page, speaks of some who "will not be persuaded even though one rose from the dead."

The term of thirty days has been observed in the catholic church as that at the end of which revelations have sometimes been made of the happiness of departed souls.

I will now proceed in order with my narrative, but will first, to conclude this subject, transcribe the affecting prayer for the dead in the canon of the mass, which, not having found its way into "The Book of Common Prayer," will be new to many of my readers:—

"Memento, Domine, famulorum famularumque tuarum N. et N. qui nos præecesserunt cum signo fidei, et dormiunt in somno pacis: ipsis, Domine, et omnibus in Christo quiescentibus, locum refrigerii, lucis, et pacis, ut indulgeas, deprecamur; per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen."


[75] He has the typhus fever; and, to judge by the gravity of the symptoms, he has had it for eight or ten days: he must have taken it from his elder brother, whom I have not yet seen.

[76] It is all over with him: let us save the other; let him be taken up to the second story, and let his sisters not even set a foot on the staircase.

[77] He sleeps: we will leave him alone: I will come again early to-morrow.

[78] He is dead; he that was so good!

[79] It is for the father to do that.

[80] All the worthy people of the city of Avignon.

[81] I answer to you for his salvation; it was a fruit ripe for heaven: God has gathered it, and placed it in his granary.

[Pg 382]


On the morning of the funeral, M. Breugne called a little before ten o'clock, the time appointed to the clergy, led me up into my son's chamber, made there a long visit, gave me to understand the hour to be earlier than it really was, returned into the salon, and kept me there for some time in conversation. When he had retired, I went down to the room where the body of Kenelm had lain: it was gone. I stood some time lamenting the disappointment of my purposed farewell; blaming the well-meant and successful efforts of Breugne to deprive me of this sorrowful satisfaction, and renewing the impression of the view I had taken the preceding evening of that which I was to behold no more. The crucifix lay on the table; I took it up; and, before leaving the room, was preparing to extinguish the tapers which were, by chance as I thought, left burning. The femme-de-chambre called out to me, "Monsieur, il ne faut pas faire cela: les cierges lient la famille à ce qui se fait dans l'église."[82]

[Pg 383]

It is easy to call this arrangement superstitious: there was good sense, and a sense of decorum in thus declaring, by external signs, our participation in the office in which we had so dear a concern. Whatever man loves or esteems highly, he endeavours to represent to himself by symbols. Friends set a great value on those tokens of friendship which they may have received as presents; even to become accidentally possessed of any object, however trifling, that belonged to a friend, is a cause of pleasure. Portraits are precious, not merely as works of art, but as reminding us of those whom we delight to remember; and none refuse to venerate the images of saints, but those who make no account of the saints themselves. In Italy, in the salons of ambassadors, I have seen the thrones of their several sovereigns, to connect by these emblems the representatives with the represented,—ceremonial so necessary to the maintenance of authority, that the Spanish minister told his king, "Your Majesty's self is nothing but a ceremonial;"—etiquette so essential to the good order of society, that not even the most unpolished réunion subsists without it: these are but modes of expressing meaning by signs. In war, in politics, in civil contracts, in common life, men universally thus express themselves; and why not[Pg 384] in religion? Those who quarrel with the shadow are angry with the substance that throws it.

I said to M. Breugne, "Have compassion on me. It is not my fault that I did not know you sooner, but a great misfortune it has proved to me: you might have saved my elder son. You would not have allowed the younger to perish under your eyes." Breugne said, "What you have suffered is horrible. On the second day of my visit to your younger son, I met at the door the coffin of the elder. Do not let us despair as long as your dear boy has life. I will not deceive you; you shall know of his state all I know myself." He gave me to understand that he wished me to determine the number of his visits each day, being unwilling, as I supposed, to appear desirous of making up by their frequency for the smallness of the fee usually given to French physicians. I said, "Save my son; spare no pains that may be necessary to that end: come as often as your visits may be of use to him." He said, "From the first I have fixed on a plan in regard to him, which I shall not have occasion to change: that plan will succeed, or nothing will. So many days have been lost, that he must have as much both of nourishment and medicine as he can take with advantage; but I must watch him very attentively to[Pg 385] find out the quantity of both, that he may be able in his weak state to bear and to profit by."

Never was greater zeal, activity, and judgment exerted than by this worthy man: all was not more than enough; for never had human being such a struggle for life as had this youth. His delirium inclined to stupor. Fomentations of aromatic herbs were applied to the head; sinapism was applied to the soles of the feet and kept on for eight and forty hours; blisters were laid on the back and on the legs; yet it was with difficulty that he could be awakened or excited to take nourishment or medicines. In truth they were, for the most part, especially towards the conclusion of his illness, poured into his mouth and swallowed instinctively, without an effort of the will. In this manner he took, by dessert-spoonfuls, more than a bottle of Malaga wine a day, and this for several days following. On the last three days of his illness, the quantity of musk administered was, fifteen, twenty, twenty-five grains. I mention these particulars for the purpose of showing how perilous was his state. I have not medical knowledge enough to do justice to M. Breugne's treatment by any detail I could give of it.

During these last three days the anxiety of Breugne was extreme. "I suspect by her uncertain[Pg 386] answers to my questions, that the old garde malade sleeps in the night: let Antoine sit up and watch the nurse. We do not know precisely when the fever began, but it must soon end: the least negligence may be fatal." At his first visits, early in the morning, he used to ask the servants, "Où en sommes nous?"[83] before he would enter the chamber of the patient. Every thing portended his death. His mother afterwards said to me, "I had taken out the sheet to bury him in; it was as well for it to be ready." Breugne, though he could neither feel nor give hope, would not despair, nor relax his efforts. An unfavourable symptom occurred,—the breaking out of red spots on the skin. "It is all over," said I to Breugne; "the little girl, whom I lost fifteen years ago, had the same appearance the day before she died."—"Il ne mourra pas pour cela;"[84] and he did not die. On the sixteenth of October, in the evening, the fever left him. At this time, Breugne, after a careful examination, said, "Il n'a rien—there is nothing the matter with him: but wait till to-morrow morning; it is too soon yet for me to assure you of his safety."

[Pg 387]

On the morrow, Breugne pronounced him out of danger. It was pleasant to see with what delight, with what affectionate exaltation, he contemplated his patient, standing by his bed-side, taking snuff, and hardly refraining from tears. The patient, who had been too weak to say any thing the evening before, had now recovered a little strength and a little spirit of fun. "Why does he not go away? He has made his visit." This was said to me in English. Breugne asked the meaning: I told him, and then said in French, "Let Mr. Breugne enjoy the view of the good he has done." He did enjoy it most cordially and disinterestedly.

Now came the difficulty to conceal from my restored and surviving son the death of his brother. Our mourning dress was accounted for, by telling him that an aunt of his mother's had died and left her a large legacy; and he was amused by discussing and settling how the legacy should be spent in Italy. Often has his mother turned aside to hide her tears while answering his inquiries after his brother, and while entering into details to make her accounts more credible. Such traits of heroism have been admired in a Roman matron: but heroism is more common than is usually supposed. I said to him, "Really we[Pg 388] are very much obliged to you; but for our waiting for your recovery, we should now be on our road to Italy."—"And my brother? is he well enough for the journey?" I was stupified, and unable so far to recover myself as to tell a falsehood. "He will be no hindrance."

A new alarm succeeded. Convalescence after such a malady, uncured for during more than the first third of its period, was no easy matter. "He will die after all," said Breugne, "of what the English physicians call phthisis in toto corpore. I order for him exactly the quantity of food that may nourish him; for it is not by what we eat, but by what we can turn into nutriment, that the body is supported. The nurse has given him more than enough, and the organs of nutrition cannot do their office with what surcharges them. We must have him down stairs: that old witch must not be left alone with him." He had in fact asked Goody Grope, as he called her, to give him to eat; and she, after discharging her conscience by refusing, ended by complying. Breugne made me observe that his pulse intermitted. I counted thirty-nine pulsations; the fortieth failed. "If he were descending into a malady,"—I cannot well translate his French, as he hesitated in the choice of his words,—"I[Pg 389] should call the symptom fatal; but as he is rising from one, it may not be of such evil omen—mauvais augure."

An inference may hence be drawn of no small import in the conduct of life. How pernicious it must be, even in health, to eat too much; since, a case of debility supposed, a little quantity more than enough hindered the nutritive effect of the food, and in truth very nearly proved fatal!

My son was now about to become again one of the family. Two days before this took place, I told him that his brother was gone into the country, for change of air, to the house of a friend whom I named. I anticipated by two days, lest the story should seem invented for the occasion. On the first of November, he was carried down stairs on a mattress, and laid on a sofa, while his bed was prepared in the cabinet by the side of the salon. "I will have him again put into bed as soon as possible," said Breugne; "le lit est la force du malade."[85] His sisters were shocked at his appearance; terror overcame their joy; they seemed to doubt whether he too had not died and come forth again from the grave: for myself, I wondered where his[Pg 390] muscles, veins, and arteries had retired, so complete seemed the adhesion of the skin to the bones. Three days afterwards, asses milk was ordered and found to agree with him; and Breugne cried out exultingly, "J'ai cinq sur sept pour moi."[86] This was, however, but little more than two to one in his favour.

Many awkward circumstances might have led him to suspect the death of his brother. The secret was now to be kept by six or seven persons whose looks betrayed it, although their tongues were silent: nay, silence was itself of all circumstances the most suspicious. I dictated a message to Antoine as from the Marquis de ——, with whom Kenelm was supposed to be living in the country. This message was to convey a favourable account of his health, and Antoine was ordered to deliver it in the salon. He had not courage to speak loud enough, and I made a sign to him to talk so as to be heard by him in the cabinet: this gave him the air of one acting a part. The Marquis and Marquise entered soon after. This was unlucky: they could not have sent a message from their country-house while they were in the town. They approached the[Pg 391] door of the cabinet. I said, "Madame, you bring us good news from your campagne?" Through pity or astonishment at my resolution, she had not the force to give any answer.

I said to M. Breugne, "What am I to do? He suspects his brother's death: he asked me yesterday, 'Why does he not write? is he not well enough to write?' The suspicion will irritate his feelings, and do him more harm than the certainty." Breugne said, "I will not take on myself the responsibility of advising you; you must judge for yourself: you know his character better than I do."

On the tenth of November I said to him, "You have had the same illness as your brother, and have recovered from it. Your present illness is excessive weakness owing to your having been so long neglected; there is no reason to fear the same—" Incautiously in my perturbation I had gone further than I had intended to do at first. This was enough: the secret was revealed, and we were relieved from this cruel embarrassment.

Four weeks after the fever had left him, he was able to walk a few steps. A month is sufficient for complete convalescence after the typhus in ordinary cases. On the twelfth of December he went out in a carriage. On the[Pg 392] twentieth I left my house for the purpose of selling my furniture by auction, and went to the Hôtel d'Europe for better air, and to be near the promenade. At this inn we staid ten days, till the strength of the convalescent should be sufficiently restored to enable us to set out on our long-delayed journey. At length I engaged a voiture, having most happily found one, as if made on purpose for my service, new, well-built and warm, with stout horses, and a respectable coachman.

To obtain a passport to quit France is a matter, not of difficulty, but of many formalities. The demandant must first make his application to the municipality, stating his reasons for leaving the kingdom, the country to which he is going, and the point at which he means to quit France. The municipality notifies these particulars to the prefect, who addresses himself to the minister for foreign affairs, who, after due perquisition at the legation of the country of the demandant, if a foreigner, (for the same formalities, this inquiry excepted only, are observed in regard to the French themselves,) authorizes the prefect to grant the passport required. I stated that I was going to Nice to restore the health of my son and of my afflicted family. All that family had made frequent visits to the tomb of[Pg 393] Henry Kenelm, except his brother, whose visit was to be one of farewell on the day before our departure from Avignon, which was now fixed for the last of the year. On the 30th of December, a funeral was to take place at two in the afternoon: the hour suited, and we were willing, as requested, to take that opportunity of finding the gate of the cemetery open. We went to the cemetery at the appointed hour; the funeral was delayed till after sunset: it would have been dangerous, for one whose health was so imperfectly established, to wait longer, and expose himself to the cold of the evening; and he quitted this city of death without being able to pay his last duties at the tomb of a beloved brother.


[82] Sir, you must not do that: the tapers connect the family with what is doing in the church.

[83] Whereabouts are we?

[84] He will not die for that.

[85] Bed is the strength of a sick person.

[86] I have five to seven for me.

[Pg 394]


I have mentioned the strong emotion which I felt in passing through the village of St. Clair betwixt Rouen and Pontoise, as also the surprise excited by the view of the features of an infant Jesus drawn by my departed son immediately after his return from England. It is now the proper time to explain to what I then referred. In saying that I alluded to a dream, I know that I expose myself to ridicule: to pay regard to dreams is justly considered as a sign of imbecillity of mind, and generally condemned as superstitious: how far I may be exempted from these censures by the prophetic nature of my dream, I leave to be determined by those who shall compare it with the events lately narrated, which seem to me to form a striking and full interpretation of it. I no more affect the character of a dreamer, than that of a visionary: but I am not deterred, by the fear of being laughed at, from believing, in the case of the vision, the evidence of my senses, and that a dream, portraying things future, ought to be distinguished from the ordinary phenomena of that[Pg 395] inexplicable faculty, (if that which is involuntarily exercised may be called a faculty,) of our fearful and wonderful nature.

On Thursday, the 27th of November, 1817, being then at Lincoln, I dreamed that I was in a large, lofty room, which was entirely unknown to me.

In the month of October, 1818, I hired a house at Avignon in which was a salon, exactly resembling that of the dream; the situation of the doors, windows, and chimney, and the appearance of them just the same.

A person came out of the cabinet by the side of this salon, with whom I was unacquainted, but whom I supposed to be an English catholic priest: he wore a black coat, and had boots on: I did not observe that he had with him any hat: he was of rather less than the middle age of life.

This person resembled in features and expression of countenance the infant Jesus drawn, three years afterwards, by my elder son: my recollection did not serve me to recognise the likeness till after I had seen my son's drawing from the engraving: in the cabinet, before-mentioned, was usually hung a small crucifix.

This priest approached me in a serious, but[Pg 396] civil and friendly manner: two chairs were near us, not far from one of the windows: I invited him to be seated.

The chairs were like those I had at Avignon; they were placed near the window: had this scene been represented as in the winter season, they would have been near the fire: it was in the summer season that the events occurred, which I suppose to have been now presignified. As it was I who invited the other to sit down, it seems that I thought myself to be in my own house.

The priest then said to me, in a slow and distinct voice, "You are to found a new order in the church, to be called 'The Society of the Penitents of St. Clair;' you know under what rule; but not sub peccato;" he repeated "not sub peccato," and, rising from his seat, took out his watch, an ordinary silver watch with small seals, looked at it, and returned it to its place: then taking leave of me, he passed, not through the door of the stairs, but into the second salon.

When the priest said, "You know the rule," I understood to what he referred, without further explanation oh his part. When much younger than I was at this epoch, I had thought of a rule of life, on the observance of which it might be useful and desirable to form a[Pg 397] society: but I never had the presumption to conceive the idea of founding a new order in the church. I will confess, so little were my dispositions at this time penitential, that when the word "penitents" was pronounced, it was to me displeasing and repulsive. I had regarded the rule which the priest said, "you know," with a view to bodily health and temporal convenience, not with any reference to religious mortification. I had not thought of the rule for many years past, and had always considered the formation of a society on the rule as an impracticable project. St. Clair's name was unknown to me till I referred to "Butler's Lives of the Saints." I had read of Sta. Clara, but was perfectly sure it was not she that was intended.

When the priest had left the room, I saw, seated and eating at a large round table, placed, not in the centre, but towards one side of the room, a young man, whom I went up to, and conversed with: he talked to me of his sins, and his penitential dispositions, and wept much: I asked him if he would observe the rule of the society, not telling him what it was, but supposing him to know it: he answered in the affirmative, but hesitatingly, as if he knew he should be prevented. His dress perplexed me; it was white, loose over his shoulders and[Pg 398] before him; without coat, vest, or waistcoat; he seemed to have nothing on but this shapeless white mantle, and his shirt. He rose suddenly from the table at which he had continued to sit while talking with me: his long white robe flowed behind him: he gathered it up round his knees as he went away, and passed through the door, and hastily down stairs.

I had no such table in England as this here described, but I had such an one at Avignon. I have remarked in my narrative, that, on the day of my son's death, this table was pushed aside to make room for the sofa turned from the light by desire of my younger son. I have spoken of the scruples of my elder son, and of the distress and uneasiness they caused both to him and to me. The dress of the young man with whom I conversed in my dream, was, in truth, (though then I knew it not, and had been accustomed to see another sort of mortuary clothing,) the habiliments of the dead in France.

I followed this young man to the top of the stairs: my family, or persons whom I considered as such, were behind me: the staircase was winding in such a manner that we could not see to the bottom of the stairs; where we stood was a staircase to the second floor on the[Pg 399] left hand; a window to the right: all this as at Avignon.

As I stood looking down the stairs, my younger son said to me, "I'll go after him:" accordingly he went quickly down the stairs. At this interval, looking through the window, I saw a most beautiful garden, with fruit-trees, and a light as of the reflection of the brightest sunshine: it was reflected sunshine; the window is to the north. My younger son came up stairs again, and standing by me, but turning to look down stairs, and then turning to look at me, said, "He is gone."

I have related that, on the day of the death of my elder son, the younger took to his bed, ill of the same typhus fever; and that, during his illness, that supernatural light was seen which assured us of the happy state of the elder. The face of my younger, when he spoke to me in the dream, was nearly on a level with mine: at the age at which he was at the time of the dream in 1817, he was not higher than my shoulder; soon after his illness, he grew to be taller than me, but in 1821 his stature was such as it appeared in my dream.

We returned into the room: those who had followed me to the top of the stairs were in deep mourning, and it was understood we were[Pg 400] about to undertake a long journey. We set off for Italy at the end of the year, the eventful year 1821.

I awoke, and found it was near eight o'clock in the morning.

The scenes exhibited in this dream, and the events prefigured by it, according to my interpretation, are here set in juxtaposition: the impression it made on my apprehension was lively and distinct as reality itself. I relate it, because it is immediately connected with the subject of my narrative. In the rule referred to by my imaginary interlocutor there is nothing that I desire to keep secret, but to explain it at this time might be foreign to my purpose: besides, quicquid recipitur, recipitur ad modum recipientis; and I should be loth to intrude on any what they may not be willing to read. Dr. Johnson said, "There is often more in the title than in all the rest of the book;" but it may be unfair to put into a book what cannot in any wise be augured from the title. Yet, as the rule was enjoined in a dream which had relation to my story, as the knowledge of the rule may help to form an opinion of the nature and character of the dream itself, and as moreover it may be told in very few words, I will here declare it.

[Pg 401]

The three great enemies of youth and of mankind,—the three chief sources of moral evil, of intellectual debility and derangement, and of corporal sufferance—are, sins against chastity, drunkenness, and gaming. Early in life, I made this observation; let any one, who doubts the truth of it, cast his eyes on the world. Dr. Cheyne's works "on health" and "on regimen," had persuaded me that animal food was pernicious to health and to all the faculties and dispositions which depend on health: it excites and gratifies the appetite to such a degree, that few, very few, feed upon it without gluttony. Let any one then observe chastity—abstain from animal food, and from wine and vinous spirits, renounce all play for money, or engaging stakes on hazard, and he will conform to the rule "of the penitents of St. Clair."

When the priest said, and repeated, "not sub peccato," I of course understood him to mean, not that chastity was not of precept and obligatory on all as a Christian and moral virtue, but that sins against it should not be aggravated by being an infraction of the rule. The other parts of the rule regard things in themselves indifferent: among the several persons whom I have known that abstained from animal food, some there were who did so as believing it unlawful to take away life: I[Pg 402] admired their practice, but disapproved their reasoning; the Author of Life has himself permitted it: on that ground it is justifiable; though it might be an amusing question, whence they who disbelieve all revelation derive authority to put to death these creatures except in case of self-defence, as when attacked by a bear or a tiger. The moderate use of alcohol is lawful, medicinal even; to interest and amuse ourselves by engaging a moderate stake on hazard is perfectly innocent; but he who renounces vinous spirits and gaming, strikes at the root of many mischiefs and many perturbations.

What I have related, I have related as it happened: the dream and the reference in the dream to my opinions, could neither be sought for, nor procured, nor prepared by any act of mine: my opinions here recorded have this merit, that, according to our Lincolnshire phraseology, "they won't do nobody no harm," and this is merit enough; merit, not negative, but positive; for the phrase always implies the expectation of a great benefit. In the hope that they may do somebody some good, I leave the matter to favourable or unfavourable acceptation; and prepare to narrate my journey to Nice,—that delicious climate, where is,

——ver perpetuum atque alienis mensibus æstas.

[Pg 403]


We drove out of the western gate of Avignon, and immediately turned to the left hand. I said mentally, "Adieu, my dear son! may I and all this family be reunited to thee in a better world." During the last six weeks we had in some degree recovered from the terror and affliction of the preceding period; but a final separation from him we so tenderly and deservedly loved struck us with a feeling of depression, which we endeavoured to surmount and disguise from each other lest the grief of one should be the grief of all. "Are you well seated? do you feel any cold?" and soon after, "How far is it to the bridge of the Durance?" by such questions we tried in vain to conceal what the looks of all betrayed. It was a relief to us to arrive at a country we had not yet seen.

Antoine accompanied us: in the year 1813, the year following the campaign of Moscow, being then of the age for military service, he had been summoned to leave his native plains[Pg 404] of Picardy to fight under the banners of Napoleon in the campaign of Dresden. "Vous l'avez vu, l'Empereur?" he was asked. "Oui."—"Où donc?"—"Sur le champ de bataille sans doute."[87] Antoine was one of those raw recruits, who, as Napoleon declared, fought more bravely than any men he had ever seen to fight during seventeen years, that he had commanded the armies of France. After the battles of Lutzen and Bautzen, Antoine was taken prisoner by the Austrians in an affair near Dresden, and sent into the interior of their country. "Into what part of their country?" I inquired of him. "I do not know." I, in my quality of inquisitive traveller, expressed surprise at his want of curiosity, and asked the names of the principal towns he had past through. "Obliged to climb great hills, loaded like a mule, huddled with my comrades at night, into a grenier, I had something else to do than to amuse myself with inquiring the names of towns: I do, however, remember that one town we were taken to was called Pest." It may be inferred that the hills he climbed were the[Pg 405] Carpathian mountains. If the English public should find that they are overwhelmed by "Tours," and "Travels," and "France," and "Italy," they have nothing to do but to send us all abroad with knapsacks on our backs. Fiat experimentum. Antoine was headstrong and full of jests, but faithful, honest, and attached. I think I pay him a great compliment when I say he resembled in character a Milesian Irishman.

On account of our invalid, we were to travel by easy journeys: Aix was too far off for one day. We slept at Orgon, the half-way house, an ill-built inn, where we found good fires, good cooking, and good beds. The next morning the frost had set in: I hurried the invalid into the coach, and we turned our backs on the bise. Where we stopt at mid-day my children began to show some little expansion of good spirits: it was New-year's-day, and this calculation seemed to make the day different from those that had gone before. Their attempts at renewed hilarity manifested themselves in fantastical disputes about their repast. We had taken tea and coffee in the morning: I required a repetition of it: some disliked the same thing over again; some wanted fruit and their usual mid-day dessert; others "would have a déjeuné[Pg 406] à la fourchette." It ended by ordering all that was asked for by all.

At Orgon we passed through a room of the inn, of which the windows were broken. The door of our room could neither be shut nor opened without trouble and loss of time: such are "the miseries of human life" in a fine climate: in England these inconveniences would not be endured for an hour in the winter: the glazier would be sent for in case of a broken pane as surely as water would be called for if the house were on fire. I have been assured that, if one could be contented to pass the winter without stirring out of doors, he would feel less cold at St. Petersburgh than any where else in Europe. Where nature does least for man, man does most for himself. Ananas or pine-apples are reared at Archangel: I saw none in the south of France or Tuscany. Our anomalous repast detained us too long, and it was almost dark when we arrived, at five o'clock, at a handsome, palace-like-looking inn, on the Corso at Aix.

It is a pleasant, airy, well-built town, so surrounded by hills, that, in our walks next morning, we felt no cold. I expected to find hot baths here, but was somewhat surprised to see[Pg 407] a great basin of hot water in the Corso, at which, as well as at other fountains in different parts of the town, the washer-women ply their trade without the expense of fuel: clean linen may here be called, by a perverted application of Burke's phrase, "the unbought grace of life." The public baths are not so convenient nor on so large a scale as I expected. We took a cursory view of Roman remains of Aquæ Sextiæ. To the cathedral, a fine old structure, is annexed a curious and perfect ancient temple which serves as the baptistery.

In the afternoon of this day we proceeded to Marseilles. I drove to the Hôtel Beauveau: they showed me two handsome salons, one of them with two beds in it: I wanted more beds in the other salon, which they promised to put up: I doubted what sort of beds these might be, and, in an unlucky moment of distrust, went away to the Hôtel des Empereurs. Every thing at the Hôtel Beauveau bespoke civility and good management; at the Hôtel des Empereurs every thing was quite the reverse. I had intended to pass a week at Marseilles: the badness of this inn determined me to stay but one whole day. That day was excessively cold; the bise had followed us, and had established itself in full force: I trembled for my invalid;[Pg 408] he was in high spirits, and would not stay within doors; he was in the right, for it would have been impossible to make the atmosphere within doors warmer than it was without, unless we had made fires of all the fine pieces of mahogany furniture which garnished our apartment.

I endeavour to make my accounts of towns and objects of curiosity ample enough for those who are not acquainted with them, and not too long for those who are: I may fail of both the ends proposed; a common result of mean measures: but I proceed, though I well know that a writer more frequently meets with censure than indulgence: if self-love prompts him to write, woe be to the poor author. My motive for writing may perhaps by this time be guessed at, and will form an item of additional reproach.

Marseilles, except that it is built of stone, (a circumstance hardly necessary to be particularized in a country where bricks are almost unknown,) is very like Liverpool, a nucleus of trade and dirt, surrounded by handsome, airy, well-built streets: it is more populous than Liverpool, but does not cover so much ground. The port is admirably secure: a few days before our arrival, a tremendous storm had committed very great ravages along the whole coast from Spain[Pg 409] to the gulf of Spezia. The shipping in the harbour of Marseilles had continued perfectly sheltered and unhurt, while, on the Genoese coast, vessels had been driven from their anchors, and stranded. On one side of the port are lofty warehouses; on the other, rich and splendid shops. The Hôtel de Ville is a very handsome building, with a magnificent marble staircase, too grand indeed for the rooms to which it leads. The celebrated picture of the plague seems to have derived its fame from the interest excited by its subject: it is well executed, but without perspective; the people are dying all up the wall of canvass; the archbishop, M. de Belzunce, is, of course, a prominent object. His nephew, chief of the department for provisioning Paris, was, at the beginning of the revolution, the first victim of the fury of the Parisian mob, and "Belzuncer quelqu'un," was for some little time a favourite form of menace, or of boast; but the name was soon lost in a crowd of followers. They showed us, what they thought it would give us great amusement to see, the room in which is performed the civil contract of marriage before the municipality: what pleasure they expected us to derive from the sight I cannot tell. In another room is a portrait of Louis XIV at full length, in armour, with a[Pg 410] fine flowing wig: this costume did not then appear so absurd as now it does; besides his wig was, to Louis XIV, essential and individual; he never was seen without it; at night he gave it to his page, in the morning he received it from his page, through the curtains of his bed. An academy of painting and sculpture had lately been instituted, which seemed prosperous; as much so as such an institution is likely to be in any other town than the capital. More attention seems to be paid in France to the fine arts than to literature. The members of the five hundred book-clubs of England will be surprised to learn that, as far as my information reaches, no similar establishment exists in France.

We were told, as usual in such cases, of other objects of curiosity; but some were too distant. Of those which we had visited, some had not been worth the pains, and we feared that others might disappoint us equally. We had put off hunger by eating some excellent confectionary, but our dinner was ordered to be ready as soon as it should be dark, and the mistress of the Empereurs,—there is no scandal in the title; she was not such for her beauty. In plain English, our landlady, had promised us a good dinner to make amends for the bad one of the day[Pg 411] before, for which she had offered an excuse, which I had rejected as unworthy of a great inn in a great city,—that she was not prepared. We now hoped to benefit by her preparations. The fish was excellent, thanks to the sea at hand: the meat, had it made part of our hesternal meal, would not have advanced so near to putridity: besides, it was raw. Say what you will, you cannot persuade a foreign cook but that the English like raw meat; so that we were obliged to accept it as a mark of deference to our national taste. The fowls—this day there had been time to search the market for the worst. A dish of douceur followed, which made me regret the batter pudding and Lincolnshire dip, composed of coarse sugar, melted butter, and vinegar, which I had enjoyed when a school-boy. The wine was sour; they told me it was vin ordinaire; I asked for some extraordinaire; it was extraordinarily bad: it is good logic in this case, as well as in others, to argue from universals to particulars. Indeed, it is as rare to meet with good wine at an inn in France, as at an inn in England; in which latter country, as a Frenchman told me, they got drunk with "vins étrangers."[88] On this occasion, I blinked the question[Pg 412] of English ebriety, by saying that if they got drunk with wine, they must do so with "vin étranger," as they had none of their own: but foreign wine is as much a luxury in France as if that country was not under the patronage of the jolly god.

At the Hôtel des Empereurs,—for, notwithstanding this digression, I am, to my sorrow, still there,—I asked in the evening for pen and ink: they brought me a pen and some ink in a little phial, with an intimation that it cost three sous.

My reader will, I hope, do me the justice to observe that I have arrived at the shores of the Mediterranean without having made any complaint in detail of grievances endured at any inn. I flatter myself that I am in this respect a singular instance of patience and moderation. I have been desirous of giving one example of my talent in this way, and promise henceforward to forbear. Cuges was our next sleeping place, Toulon, like Aix, being too far for a day's journey. Cuges is a little town with a tolerable inn. Here the weather changed to rain; the air became mild, and, for this season, we took leave of winter on the third of January.

We were now on the road to Toulon. I have travelled over the Highlands of Scotland, over[Pg 413] the hills of Derbyshire, and those which separate Lancashire from the counties to the eastward of it; countries well worth visiting by those who seek for the wonders of nature further from home; but in this day's journey, all that I had before seen in the same kind was exceeded. The picturesque rises into the romantic, and the romantic into the savage. We passed through gullies, where the torrent-river that ran by the side of the road seemed not merely to have formed, but to have scooped out for itself a passage under rocks which, at a great height above, overhung the road and the torrent, and threatened to fall in and fill up the narrow space below. Day-light descended to us through an irregular ragged fissure, which seemed as if broken through expressly for the purpose, so nearly did this defile resemble an under-ground passage. At last we emerged from clefts and chasms into an open space, and had a view of Toulon before us. As we entered the town, we saw, in some sheltered spots, orange-trees, in full bearing, in the open earth: in the open air they are seen in Paris; planted in boxes, they bear fruit at Avignon; here they are children of the soil.

We were pleased with Toulon, and loitered here two whole days. The town, though a fortress,[Pg 414] is a pretty and a cheerful-looking place. The streams of water conducted through the streets, give it an air of healthiness and cleanliness. In the evening we braved on the promenade the cannon of the fortifications, and, our love of science being equal to our courage, visited the botanical garden, very wisely provided here by the government: it is much smaller than that of Paris; but, by the help of the climate, surpasses it in the possession of rare exotics. Some traveller (I think Eustace,) says that palm-trees are not to be found in the open air any where to the north of Rome, and that at Rome there are but two, remarkably placed on a hill visible to the whole city: these two I saw not, and I saw palm-trees in the botanical garden at Toulon.

The next day was Sunday: it was passed in viewing the town and its immediate environs, and in pour-parleys about a visit to the arsenal: a ticket for this purpose was offered on condition that we should pass ourselves for French. Besides the disagreeable consequences that might justly have followed the discovery of such an imposition, the trick itself appeared to me dishonourable.

The next morning my convalescent, now rapidly recovering health and strength, mounted[Pg 415] the heights above Toulon, and, placing himself under the shelter of a ruined building, sketched the scene before him. The elevation gave us almost a bird's-eye view of Toulon and its ports: islands or promontories that, on account of the winding of the shore, looked like islands, were seen at a distance. Nothing ever called up to my imagination and memory such a crowd of ideas and recollections, as did the view of this great inland sea which washes the shores of Greece, into which the waters of the Nile discharge themselves, and which reposes at the foot of Lebanon and Carmel. We were at this time

Fill'd with ideas of fair Italy,

and it lay but a little on our left-hand. In a few months we shall be there.

I had purposed to visit Hyeres, about six miles distant, but was deterred by what was told me of the badness of the road: it is a winter colony planted by the English, a sort of succursal to Nice. It has not the advantage of being near the sea, but is at three miles from it. I have met with those who have wintered there with much satisfaction. Many lodging-houses had lately been run up for visitants.

In the afternoon of the third day we left Toulon.[Pg 416] The next day brought us to the point where the cross-road from Toulon joins that which leads directly from Aix to Nice. The inns were better, but the roads were still bad. "It is not for want of money," said they; "government supplies that in plenty; mais l'ingénieur donne à manger à l'inspecteur, et tout est fini."[89] At Frejus I wished to take a hasty dinner, as we had to pass the forêt d'Estrelles: they kept me waiting for it two hours and a half; in this time I might have examined the aqueducts and other antiquities, which I saw only in passing. The aqueducts seemed more ruined than those of Rome, but in other respects as like as one arch is to another arch of the same span. The forêt d'Estrelles exhibits all the grandeur of the Alps united with all the beauty of cultivation, every variety of prospect, hill and dale, and wood, and rock, and the distant sea.

So much did we enjoy the scene before and around us, that we thought but little of the danger that awaited us. A river was to be crossed before we could reach Cannes; we had received some intimation that it was probable the bridge was broken down by the swell occasioned by[Pg 417] the late rains: our coachman was well aware that the bridges of this country were usually insecure; "When they tumble down," said he, "they build them up again." On descending the forêt d'Estrelles, which it had taken us three hours to mount and to pass, certain information was given us, that the bridge had been carried away; "but, if your horses are stout, there will be no danger in fording the river." We had lost time at Frejus, as always happens when time is wanted, or as is always then observed to happen, and were too late by half an hour. It was so nearly dark when we arrived at the river, that the coachman, following the road, hardly perceived when he reached the place where the bridge had been; the horses stopped however of themselves.

We got out of the carriage, while it was turned off the road, towards the ford. At this moment Antoine launched some jest or other, which provoked me to say, "Vous plaisantez tout à votre aise: vous êtes seul."—"Moi seul? Ai-je mérité cela?"[90] He felt the reproach as unjust, and so did I, and made my excuses; he admitted that his pleasantry was unseasonable; and we proceeded[Pg 418] to cross the ford, having got some peasants to help us. My eldest daughter and I were in the cabriolet, the rest of the family in the coach, Antoine on the coachman's seat. The bank by which we went down into the river was not steep; but, in ascending the opposite bank, I felt the carriage to be balanced in such a way that I fully expected it to fall sideways before it could get clear out of the water; it required all the force of Antoine and the peasants, pulling at a rope tied to the carriage, to prevent this, and keep it on all its wheels. It was a fearful moment. It was not likely that any lives would be lost, so much help was at hand; but what evil might be the consequence of an overthrow in the water,—especially to one who had but just recovered from three months' illness!

When we had got on solid ground and reached the road again, we found large blocks of stone, for the reparation of the bridge, lying in the way: we were again obliged to dismount and thread our way through the midst of these as well as we could, while the carriage went over uneven ground by the side of the road. The moon rose as we reached the inn at Cannes, thankful to that good Providence which had delivered us from danger. This danger was not in crossing the stream, for the waters had abated[Pg 419] since they had carried away the bridge, and did not come up to the bottom of the coach: the bed of the river too was good road; a cart came across just before we went in; but in climbing the steep bank, had not Antoine, who had leaped from his seat over the horses' backs, and the peasants who had waded through the river, held the rope very steadily in the direction opposite to that to which the coach inclined, it must inevitably have fallen. When the fore-wheels got on the bank, I was so satisfied, though still alarmed, that I would almost have compounded for an overturn on dry land; the coachman, however, who conducted himself perfectly well, "as a man and a minister," had the pleasure of saving from scaith and harm both his fare and equipage.

The sea dashed on the shore close under the windows of our apartment at Cannes; we saw the reflection of the moon-light on the rippling waves; the climate seemed still to improve; after mutual congratulation, and a cheerful meal, we retired contentedly to rest.


[87] "Have you seen the Emperor?"—"Yes."—"Where?"—"On the field of battle, of course."

[88] Foreign wines.

[89] But the engineer gives a dinner to the inspector, and all is ended.

[90] "You are joking very composedly; you are alone."—"Me alone? have I deserved that?"

[Pg 420]


It had been my plan to make this journey resemble as much as possible an excursion of pleasure and curiosity, in the hope of doing away the melancholy impression of our sufferings and prison at Avignon. I said to my family at Cannes, "It is ten leagues to Nice, but we will not make a toil of it; we will divide the rest of our journey into two days, taking an airing of fifteen miles each day before dinner." My agreement with my coachman admitted of this arrangement; I was to pay him thirty francs a day for each day of journey; eighteen francs for a day of rest; and twenty-five francs a day for the six days required for his own return, by the direct road to Avignon. He agreed to consider the two days to be employed in going ten leagues, as one day of advance and one of repose.

After breakfast we basked on the sunny sandbank that rises from the shore, and gathered sea-shells. By the by, Scipio and Lælius must have had very bad sport in this way; for the Mediterranean, having no tide, brings up very few of these pretty baubles; no wonder that[Pg 421] they took to ducks and drakes, as a supplementary recreation. We went to the little town of Cannes, and saw a rope tied to the bell in the tower of the church, and, most commodiously for the priest, conducted into his house close by: "With that," said Antoine, "M. le Curé sonne les sourds."[91] I met a very old man who asked for alms; I was in a disposition, not only to grant his request, but to enter into conversation with him, and inquired of him how old he was: "Quel âge avez-vous?"[92] The words were perfectly unintelligible to him. A lad of twelve years old, who had heard the question, volunteered as interpreter: "Quanti anni ai?" said he to the old man; and yet we were not in Italy. I have had frequent occasion to remark that the language of France, as that country draws near to Germany, Italy, or Spain, is shadowed off into the dialect of those three great limitrophe nations: on the frontiers of every continental nation, the same gradual melting of the languages of neighbouring people into each other must necessarily take place. In England, I believe the patois of the several districts to have been derived from the [Pg 422]divisions of the Saxon Heptarchy; the midland counties, or kingdom of Mercia, have nearly the same dialect; but the language of Oxfordshire begins to resemble that of the west; while that of Lincolnshire, (a proof of my skill in which I have already given,) is like that of Yorkshire, except in the pronunciation of the vowels. We set off at mid-day.

Our road lay on a low cliff near the sea. Antoine, who had crossed the Rhine, the Elbe, the Danube, and the Rhone, had never seen the sea till he came on this journey: he persisted in calling it the Rhone, and "this Rhone," said he, "goes to England." "Yes," said I, "and to the other side of France: you may embark on this Rhone, and land at Calais in Picardy, your own country." He called it the Rhone, by the name of the last great river he had seen; as I have read somewhere that the dispersed tribes after the Deluge called every great river they came to, "Phraat," "Euphrates." I know not what idea was working in Antoine's mind: perhaps it is natural to man to regard the sea as a river: it is to be presumed that Homer so considered it, since, after mentioning the names of a few of the great rivers known in his limited geography, he adds,

Ουδε βαθυρρειταο μεγα σθενος ωκεανοιο.

[Pg 423]

I remember mentioning this opinion of Homer to Archdeacon Paley. "Why," said he, "that is the modern theory of the tides; that the ocean is nothing else but a great river, and that the tides are the current of this river, which, having no where else to flow, flows into and upon itself."—"Strange," said I, "that the extremes of ignorance and science should thus meet!" I made an objection to the theory on account of the increase and decrease of the tides according to the age of the moon: I forget his reply: he had not proposed the notion as his own, and had no need to defend it as such.

After proceeding about two miles, we perceived a large stone reared upright on the beach: this rude pillar marked the landing-place of Napoleon from Elba.

I care nothing about politics: I am of the opinion of Plato, that mankind are not worthy that a wise man, (meaning himself or me,) should meddle with their affairs: the history of the last war I read with theΟυδε βαθυρρειταο μεγα σθενος ωκεανοιο.Ουδε βαθυρρειταο μεγ same temper as I should read that of the three Punic or the Peloponnesian: I will remark only that, if Napoleon was not to be trusted, it was very silly to leave him at Elba; and, if he was to be trusted, he should have been treated as trust-worthy,[Pg 424] and every vestige of resentment against him effaced, and nothing done that would make him feel as if relegated into a little island, or give him reason to dread further restraint: that the importance of leaving to him the title of Emperor was not duly weighed; as it ought to have been evident, that, if not honestly recognised by his enemies, this title would serve as a sign of rallying to his friends.

This Emperor on landing summoned the fortress of Antibes: the officer commanding the garrison for the time, in the absence of his superior, returned an answer that he had received no orders. I was personally acquainted with this officer; he was the general commanding the department of Vaucluse during the former part of my residence at Avignon. Failing in this attempt on Antibes, Napoleon immediately struck into the country over the hills covered with olive trees, the high land that rises above the beach. We proceeded to Antibes, which opened its gate to us without any difficulty. We found a good inn, walked on the fortifications and about the town till sunset, and, after an English breakfast the next morning, (for we carried tea with us,) on the thirteenth day after our departure from Avignon, set off for Nice: we passed through a pleasant country,[Pg 425] and soon arrived at the right bank of the Var, the political, but not the natural limit of France.

I had some thoughts of making an apology for calling my book a narrative of four years residence in France, when four months of that time were to be passed out of that kingdom; but any one who will give himself the trouble of coming to the banks of the Var, will see that all explanation on this head is superfluous: or, if he does not like so much personal fatigue, let him place himself there in imagination: he will see the stony bed of a torrent half a mile broad, not a twentieth part of which bed is covered with water. At two thirds of the distance from the right bank he will see a stream large enough to be called a river, of no great depth, but of great force and violence. Immediately beyond the left bank he will see a fertile country resembling that he has just past, and uniting with it but for the expanse of white stones. Let him then cast his eyes on the awful, frowning barrier of Italy,—those Alps with their rugged sides and lofty snow-covered tops, a barrier to all appearance impervious to any thing but the flight of an eagle; he will allow that it would be as easy to bring the Alps themselves to the left bank of the Var, which, though they are but[Pg 426] six miles off, would be an enterprise of toil, as to imagine that he had left France on entering the county of Nice.

We had time given to us to enjoy this magnificent spectacle, and to feast our minds with the expectation of what we should see beyond those "perpetual hills," those "everlasting mountains," which we already wished to pass. We waited for the douanier, the custom-house officer, a civil and intelligent man, who had nothing to do with us but to countersign our passport: the more we took out of France, the better for its manufacturers. It would not be difficult to prove,—Adam Smith has proved it,—that it would be as wise to permit unrestricted, I do not say untaxed, importation as exportation, nor to show that the prohibition of it is an act of injustice towards the community at large; but governments are balloted about by contending interests, and compelled to interfere in things out of their province, alien from those objects for which they are constituted.

While the French were in possession of the Department des Alpes Maritimes, they began a stone bridge over the Var. The wall from which the first arch was to spring is seen on their bank, and bears testimony to their zeal for improvement. We went on the wooden bridge,[Pg 427] and passed a pallisade guarded by French sentinels.

We were now in the dominions of the King of Sardinia. The first man I met was an intendant or surveyor of the carpenters, whom I saw in great numbers at work on the bridge. He accosted me: "Monsieur, il faut descendre de voiture, décharger la voiture, faire porter les malles et mener les chevaux, et traverser à pied le pont; il est en l'air, suspendu par des cordes."[93] The invitation, though very civilly given, and with due regard to our safety as well as that of the bridge, was somewhat alarming. The fact was that the storm of the twenty-seventh of December had come in time to make us regret that the bridge of stone, undertaken by the French had been left incomplete. This storm had broken the wooden bridge, the parts of which were now tied together by cords while undergoing reparation; so that it was necessary to divide and lighten as much as possible the weight of our carriage. This was done; and, with this measure of precaution, each portion of our[Pg 428] load got well over: yet I cannot help, in defiance of the proverb, speaking ill of the bridge. The Var is not a military barrier: why do not the two governments revive the abandoned enterprise of a stone bridge with a tête de pont and toll at each end?

The approach to Nice on this side is through a quarter consisting almost entirely of villas or country-houses let to visitants. The quarter is called "de la Croix de Marbre," from a large marble crucifix placed at the side of the road about a mile from Nice: it is situated lower, and is, in consequence, warmer than the town; but the ground floors of the houses are sometimes flooded by rains. Here we began to see all the pride, pomp, and circumstance of an English watering-place;—carriages open and close; ladies riding on donkies; parties on foot and on horseback; footmen lounging at the doors of the houses; and grooms dressing horses at the doors of the stables. We saw also orange trees laden with fruit. We arrived at a bridge over another white and stony bed of a torrent, in which we could hardly perceive any water; there was a stream however over which people on foot were crossing by stepping-stones. We were set down at the Hôtel des Etrangers,—an excellent inn.

[Pg 429]

The next day I went to the police to take my carte de sureté, or séjour, and was informed that there were at this time at Nice seventy foreign families, of which forty families were English. I left my card at the commandant's: he returned his card with a note, containing an invitation to a weekly ball at the Hôtel du Gouvernement. A certain sum is allowed by the king for frais de réception. The acts of the government are in the Italian language; but French is universally spoken, not only in society, but in the shops and in the streets. In truth, I did not hear a word of Italian spoken while I was at Nice, except by my children's Italian master. The people have a patois, not quite such pure Italian as I heard at Cannes.

Not liking the quarter of the Croix de Marbre on account of its distance from the town, I took a house in an airy situation, looking towards the sea, and into the great square, at one time called Place Napoleon, but now Place Victor. The usual price for a house or lodging for a large family for the whole of the season, from the first of November to the first of May, is a hundred louis. I agreed to pay for mine twelve hundred francs from the sixteenth of January to the end of the season. Its proprietor was a French general, who had served with[Pg 430] great reputation in Italy and Egypt, had lost an arm, and had been appointed commandant of Nice, where, second only to the préfet of the department, he had given fêtes and balls in this house, which he now found it convenient to let, and live in a small one by the side of it. When the French troops evacuated Nice, a party of them wanted to pillage the town; he had prevented this evil, and, as a reward for the service thus rendered, the King of Sardinia had permitted him to live in the city, when other French officers were, of course, obliged to leave it. He told me, "I am not ashamed to say, that all that I have gained, I have gained on the field of battle." That all was not much,—his half-pay as general, and the appointment annexed to the cross of the legion of honour. When colonel, he had received a sabre d'honneur, to which a pension of six thousand francs was attached; but the pension had been withdrawn. He still was able to show the sabre; it was an ordinary arm, with an inscription on it. He was an Alsatian by birth, and talked with the accent of his country, saying of his former commander, whom he enthusiastically admired, "Ponaparte étoit un crant shénéral." His conversation and anecdotes were amusing.

It was now the beginning of Carnival. Our[Pg 431] recent loss left us no disposition, and our mourning dress made it unsuitable for us, to appear in large societies. I used to go, without any of my family, and stay for about an hour at those parties to which we were invited, that I might not be wanting to attentions thus paid us. Promenades in the delightful environs of Nice, lessons in music and Italian, and small companies in the evening, occupied and amused us till the beginning of Lent. Balls were then succeeded by concerts: even the gay were serious, and sadness might partake of the sober diversions then going forwards. The daily improving health and increasing strength of our convalescent gave us continual satisfaction; and, though our abode at Nice was as dull as a sojourn under such a sky can be supposed to be, yet we were contented to perceive that we did not fail of the main purpose for which we had fled the rough blasts of the north, and sought the soft breezes of this sheltered situation and genial climate.


[91] With that M. le Curé calls the deaf.

[92] How old are you?

[93] Sir, you must all leave the carriage, unload it, and go over on foot; your trunks must be carried over after you; and the horses will be led gently across: the bridge is suspended in the air by cords.

[Pg 432]


The town of Nice is in the form of a triangle, of which the base rests on the sea; one of its sides is a rampart or raised road against the Paion, the other is a road from Place Victor to the Port. One side of Place Victor forms part of the line of the third side of this triangle; but the Place itself is an excrescence from it: it is a large handsome square with arcades. Within this triangle, to the south-east corner, is a high rocky hill, fortified and commanding the port and town; commanding also, what interested me more than its artillery, most superb points of view. Here my landlord, the general, had a garden to which he climbed daily; and I used to see him coming down the steep with lettuces in his only remaining hand, and his cane suspended to the button of his coat.

Many improvements were at this time carrying on at Nice: a new bridge was building over the Paion, the torrent river, which, though I never saw it fuller of water than I have at first described, bears with it the "horned flood" on the melting of the snows and the descending of[Pg 433] the rain from the Alps. The galley slaves were employed in blowing up the bottom of the rock on its east and south sides to obtain space for continuing the line of houses from Place Victor to the port, and from the port to the Corso. This Corso is a short, dark, damp promenade, from which the view and the air of the sea are excluded by the terrace. The terrace is nothing more than a flat roof of a line of shops and stables, on which you may walk, at the height of about fifteen or twenty feet from the ground, exposed to the heat of the sun, which, even in winter, is too powerful to be agreeable, and blinded by the reflection of its rays from the sea. In the evenings of winter it is too cold to walk on this terrace: in the evenings of summer, that is, in April, it is pleasant, but not so pleasant as would be a gravel walk on the beach, which will, I hope, in due time replace it. By taking away the terrace, the value of the houses on the Corso would be doubled: en attendant, you have the choice of walking on the Corso without sea air, or on the terrace without shade.

I have spoken at some length on the subject of this terrace, because I know it to be much admired. I am always most happy to be of the same opinion as the "enlightened public," when I think this public to be in the right, and in[Pg 434] this, as in other cases, hold myself bound to give my reasons for differing from it.

The centre of Nice consists of very narrow streets and very lofty houses. The square of St. Dominique however is large and handsome, and there are some good, well-built streets in its neighbourhood.

From the side or from the end of very many of the best houses of Nice jut forth little square buildings at the height of the several stories: these buildings would seem as if suspended in the air, but that the fourth side of each is formed by that of the house itself; and in this fourth side, that is, in the wall of the house, there is, no doubt, a door of communication with these cabinets: from the bottom of each of these closets proceeds a tunnel or pipe, which is attached to the side or inserted into the wall of the house, and so conducted to a reservoir below. These reservoirs are small, and, by consequence, must be frequently opened: their contents form an article of precious and of tasteful commerce to the gardeners of Nice. The word "tasteful" is not to be understood in a metaphorical sense; as I was assured by an eye-witness of the fact that he had seen a gardener put his finger first into the article offered for sale, and then into his mouth, that a third of his five senses might bear[Pg 435] witness to its strength, in addition to the testimony of his eyes and nose. The gardeners of Nice, to their credit be it spoken, are so profuse in the dispersion of this fertilizing substance, that some sensitive English, who remained there during the summer, complained of the odour as an intolerable nuisance.

The Nissard plan for having these conveniences at once within and without the house, and for giving to each story or flat, as it is called in Edinburgh,—a city to which one's thoughts cannot but revert while engaged on this subject,—the Nissard plan, is ingenious enough: there is nothing against it but the look of the thing: and qu'est ce que cela fait?[94] All the world knows, both in France and England, that such things must be; the only difference is, that in England nobody allows it, while in France nobody denies it. The French seem to me in this respect to be the nicer people of the two. An English friend told me that, being at Toulon, after breakfast he inquired of the femme de chambre, (for in France no one scruples mentioning such things to a female,) the way to No. 100. She told him there was none in the house; "Mais dans la rue là, vis-à-vis, près du port il y a une[Pg 436] commodité: cela vous coûtera un sous: mais si vous resterez ici quelque tems, on peut s'abonner."[95]

Strange that none of the great cities of civilized Europe have yet adopted the plan of Pekin, which probably is also that of other cities of China! One cannot wonder that the proportion of mortality between the town and the country is as seven to six; the wonder is that it is not greater: for every twentieth inhabitant of a great town, the calculation is moderate; a reservoir, perpetually to be supplied, must be provided. Fifty thousand for London! At Pekin the treasures of each day are carried away early in the morning of the day following, by carts that come from the country for that purpose; and the valet-de-chambre of the Mandarin and the Mandariness's lady's-maid quarrel for the perquisite, while the skill of the Chinese artisan is taxed to the utmost to make close stools, nay, very close stools.

I hope it will be granted that I have acquitted myself in this delicate investigation with all possible decorum, and that Dean Swift himself could not have done better. His affected[Pg 437] naiveté and matter-of-fact simplicity, in telling of the labour of the Lilliputians, in carrying away the ordure of Quinbus Flestrin, and numberless passages of his works, show how little he prized "the drapery furnished from the wardrobe of a moral imagination, which the heart owns and the understanding ratifies as necessary to cover the nakedness of our weak shivering nature, and raise it to dignity in its own estimation."

I am well aware, as well as any one who may reproach me therewith, that my book contains many things disparate; but such is the real history of human life: by this reality I am justified: and, in discussing this last subject, I have endeavoured to preserve decency, while avoiding fastidiousness.

The English have a notion that the Carnival in catholic countries is instituted to make amends, by anticipation, for the austerities of Lent: it is no institution; it is merely that season of the year in which society can most conveniently be reunited; and, as this season is interrupted and curtailed by Lent, parties, and balls, and fêtes come more nearly on each other than they need do in countries where Lent is but little observed. In France, the Carnival makes very little difference in the amusements of the common people: at Nice they parade the[Pg 438] streets in masks, with music, and dance, and play fools' tricks. I was looking at a party of these: an Anglican clergyman stood near me, and took occasion to observe, "This does no great honour to the catholic religion." I replied, "It has no more to do with the catholic religion, than with the discovery of the longitude." These people were all sober, and each one was diverting himself innocently, for the same cause that induced Lady A. to go to Naples at a certain season; that is, because others did so at that time.

Here first I saw Franciscans and other religious, walking about in their proper habits. I had seen but one in France, a Carthusian or Trappist, at the house of the bishop of Avignon: he was taking leave as I entered. The bishop, an old man of fourscore and four years old, said to him pleasantly, "Je vous souhaite beaucoup de richesses."—"Monseigneur vous souhaite," said I, "ce que vous ne souhaitez pas pour vous-même."—"Ah, non,"[96] said he, with an air of placid and unaffected content. I judged him to be full of pious resignation to the austerities of his state.

[Pg 439]

Devotional exercises are appointed on each of the five Sundays of Lent, at different churches, within a short distance from Nice, which are called, for the occasion, stations: people of all ranks resort thither in crowds: fruit, wine, and provisions, are exposed to sale, and the scene has the appearance of what would be called in England a pleasure fair: but the church of the station is filled during the whole time by a succession of those whom one of our tourists would assuredly represent as mere revellers. I know that it is not superfluous to observe, that the Sundays of Lent are not reckoned in the forty days of that season. One of these stations is at the Croix de Marbre, to the great entertainment of the residents in that quarter. Another, is at the convent of Simia: no description can give an idea of the varied beauties of the site of this convent, and of the view which it commands. Another station is held at a convent four miles from Nice, situated on a fine and lofty elevation. A Nissard of our acquaintance had a villa or country-house a little above the convent: we called on him to take refreshments, and afterwards walked in his garden. The very handsome façade of this villa looks to the south; the garden is laid out in terraces lined with orange[Pg 440] trees, bearing, at this time, both blossom and fruit.

The blossom of the orange is a valuable part of the produce of the tree; it is sold to those who make of it orange-flower water. The blossoms, according to the usual prodigality of nature, are in such profusion, that, were all to be allowed to become oranges, the tree would be unable to support them. Another thinning takes place of the oranges themselves: if all were to be allowed to ripen, the tree would be exhausted: most of them are cropped at different stages of maturity, and made into conserves: this is the case indeed even with those oranges that are suffered to stay on the tree till fully ripe: they are not good enough to be exported in their natural state: even in the market of their own country they find rivals in the oranges of Naples and Majorca, sweeter, heavier, and thinner of skin.

The protestant English at Nice, with the permission of the government, had caused to be erected for themselves a chapel, or, as it was here called, a temple; but, as they had been unable to settle among themselves what mode of faith should be admitted as orthodox, and preached in this place of worship,—it was supposed[Pg 441] that the undertaking would of necessity be abandoned, and that the banker who had advanced the funds on the security of the ground and building, would be obliged to foreclose the mortgage, to save himself from the loss of his principal and interest. According to some interpreters, the Tower of Babel was abandoned for the same reason; the settlers of Sennaar had fallen into the worship of the material agents of nature; their "tops to the heavens," were to have been a temple or temples to the host of heaven; and the confusion of tongues was nothing else but a dispute concerning their confession of faith.

The port of Nice has a handsome and strong pier, but is small and shallow. On the other side of a promontory, about two miles distant by land, is Villefranche, a commodious harbour, in which large vessels remain, and send goods in boats to Nice. A party, in which my family was included, took a pleasure-boat with a tent or awning to shade us from the sun in March, which, though not engendering agues, as Shakspeare says it does in that month, would have very much annoyed us: we doubled the cape, and landed at Villefranche, saw the galley of the King of Sardinia, and conversed with some of the galériens, one of whom was within eight[Pg 442] days of the termination of his ten years of service, and seemed but moderately delighted with his approaching liberation. We then dined on the beach under the shade of olive trees, and enjoyed the vernal breeze, and afterwards, having nothing else to do, returned, having duly complied with all that constitutes a party of pleasure.

The cathedral and several other churches of Nice are handsome and spacious; the appearance of the town is, on the whole, rich and busy and cheerful: it might be a good place for sea-bathing in the summer, if accommodations were provided. I described to a person whom such an undertaking might suit, the bathing machines used at Weymouth and Brighton: he said it would be necessary to have the permission of the government;—the permission of the government for two cart wheels to go ten yards into the sea, and out again! No doubt the permission of the government would be granted, but it seemed to me strange that it should be wanted: it is lucky that governments leave us the independent enjoyment of the non-naturals. I had thoughts of spending the summer here, but impatience to see Italy prevailed: the last day of my abode at Nice was the fifth of May, on which day my departed son would have completed his[Pg 443] twenty-first year: on the morrow we set off for the Col de Tende.

Nice is called, in Italian, Nizza maritima, to distinguish it from other towns of the same name: νιχη, victory, was a name of good augury for a city. Massena, the "enfant gaté de la victoire," was born at Nice: I saw the house and shop in which he employed his youth in the useful art of making and retailing vermicelli.


[94] What does that signify?

[95] But there, in the street opposite, near the port, there is one: it will cost you a sous; but, if you remain here for any length of time, you may subscribe.

[96] "I wish you a deal of riches."—"His lordship wishes you what you do not wish for yourself."—"Ah! no."


Printed by A. J. Valpy, Red Lion Court, Fleet Street.[Pg 444]

Just published by HENRY COLBURN, New Burlington Street.

1. THE HISTORY OF THE COMMONWEALTH of ENGLAND: from the Commencement of the Civil War, to the Restoration of CHARLES THE SECOND. By William Godwin. Volume the Second, 8vo.

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The miscellaneous writings of the Philosopher and Naturalist, Evelyn, (most of which are extremely rare) are here presented to the public in a quarto volume, to range with his "Diary and Correspondence." These works, with his noble discourse on Forest-Trees, under the title of "Sylva," (of which an edition in two vols. 4to. with Notes, has also just appeared) comprise the whole body of Evelyn's productions. The tracts forming the present volume are, more or less, on subjects of great interest, including lively pictures of the manners and amusements of his time; memoirs, political, domestic, and religious: treatises on Morals, Horticulture, Art, Science, Commerce, &c.; in all of which the sound intellect of this "amiable and high-minded English Gentleman" will be traced.[Pg 446]

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The Count de Segur was connected by ties of friendship or consanguinity with all the remarkable personages of the Courts of Louis XV. and XVI., and was engaged in the intercourse of Affairs and Society with Catherine II., Frederic the Great, Potemkin, Joseph II., Gustavus III., Washington, Kosciusko, La Fayette, Mirabeau, and Napoleon, as well as with the Chiefs of the Aristocratical and Democratical Parties, and the most illustrious Writers of the times; of whom he records the most interesting particulars.

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Contents:—Mr. Jeffery, Mr. Gifford, Mr. Southey, Sir Walter Scott, Lord Byron, Mr. Campbell, Mr. Thomas Moore, Mr. William Godwin, Mr. Jeremy Bentham, Mr. Cobbett, Mr. Coleridge, Mr. Leigh Hunt, Mr. Wordsworth, Sir James Mackintosh, Mr. Brougham, Sir F. Burdett, Rev. E. Irving, Lord Eldon, Mr. Wilberforce, Mr. Malthus, Mr. Crabbe, the late Mr. Horne Tooke, &c. [Pg 447]&c.

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