The Project Gutenberg EBook of Tour in England, Ireland, and France, in
the years 1826, 1827, 1828 and 1829., by Hermann Pückler-Muskau

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Title: Tour in England, Ireland, and France, in the years 1826, 1827, 1828 and 1829.
       with remarks on the manners and customs of the inhabitants,
              and anecdotes of distiguished public characters. In a
              series of letters by a German Prince.

Author: Hermann Pückler-Muskau

Release Date: July 8, 2014 [EBook #46223]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


Produced by Chuck Greif and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at (This file was
produced from images available by The Internet Archive)


Every attempt has been made to replicate the original as printed.

Some typographical errors have been corrected; a list follows the text. Archaic spellings (i. e. visiters, wo, scissars, apalling, recal, mattrass, etc.) have been retained.

A few misspellings in French and German have not been corrected.

The footnotes have been moved to the end of the text body.

(etext transcriber's note)





THE YEARS 1826, 1827, 1828, AND 1829.









THE following work being the genuine expression of the thoughts and feelings excited by this country in the mind of a foreigner whose station, education, and intelligence seem to promise no common degree of aptitude for the difficult task of appreciating England, it has been thought worth while to give it to the English public. The Translator is perfectly aware that the author has been led, or has fallen, into some errors both of fact and inference. These he has not thought it expedient to correct. Every candid traveller will pronounce such errors inevitable; for from what class in any country is perfectly accurate and impartial information to be obtained? And in a country so divided by party and sectarian hostilities and prejudices as England, how must this difficulty be increased! The book is therefore given unaltered; except that some few omissions have been made of facts and anecdotes, either familiar to us, though new to Germans, or trivial in themselves.

Opinions have been retained throughout, without the least attempt at change or colouring. That on some important subjects they are not those of the mass of Englishmen, will, it is presumed, astonish no reflecting man. They bear strong marks of that individuality which characterizes modes of thinking in Germany, where men are no more accustomed to claim the right of thinking for others, than to renounce that of thinking for themselves. This characteristic of the German mind stands in strong contrast to the sectarian division of opinion in England. The sentiments of the author are therefore to be regarded simply as his own, and not as a sample of those of any sect or class in Germany: still less are they proposed for adoption or imitation here. The opinion he pronounces on French and German philosophy is, for example by no means in accordance with the popular sentiment of his country.

The Letters, as will be seen from the Preface, were published as the work of a deceased person. They have excited great attention in Germany; and rumour has ascribed them to Prince Pückler Muskau, a subject of Prussia, who is known to have travelled in England and Ireland about the period at which these Letters were written. He has even been mentioned as the author in the Berlin newspapers. As, however, he has not thought fit to accept the authorship, we have no right to fix it upon him; though the public voice of Germany has perhaps sufficiently established his claim to it. At all events, the Letters contain allusions to his rank, which fully justify us in ascribing them to a German Prince. They likewise furnish internal evidence of his being a man not only accustomed to the society of his equals, but conversant with the world under various aspects, and with literature and art: of fertile imagination; of unfettered and intrepid understanding; and accustomed to consider every subject in a large, tolerant, and original manner.

The author of the ‘Briefe eines Verstorbenen,’ be he who he may, has had the honour and happiness of drawing forth a critique from the pen of Göthe. None but those incapable of estimating the unapproachable literary merits of that illustrious man, will be surprised that the Translator should be desirous of giving the authority of so potential a voice to the book which it has been his difficult task to render into English.

The following extracts from Göthe’s article in the Berliner Jahrbuch will do more to recommend the work than all that could be added here:—

“The writer appears a perfect and experienced man of the world, endowed with talents, and with a quick apprehension; formed by a varied social existence, by travel and extensive connections; likewise a thorough, liberal-minded German, versed in literature and art.

* * * “He is also a good companion even in not the best company, and yet without ever losing his own dignity. * * *

“Descriptions of natural scenery form the chief part of the Letters; but of these materials he avails himself with admirable skill. England, Wales, and especially Ireland, are drawn in a masterly manner. We can hardly believe but that he wrote the description with the object immediately before his eyes. As he carefully committed to paper the events of every day at its close, the impressions are most distinct and lively. His vivacity and quick sense of enjoyment enable him to depict the most monotonous scenery with perfect individual variety. It is only from his pictorial talent that the ruined abbeys and castles, the bare rocks and scarcely pervious moors of Ireland, become remarkable or endurable:—poverty and careless gaiety, opulence and absurdity, would repel us at every step. The hunting parties, the drinking bouts, which succeed each other in an unbroken series, are tolerable because he can tolerate them. We feel, as with a beloved travelling companion, that we cannot bear to leave him, even where the surrounding circumstances are least inviting; for he has the art of amusing and exhilarating himself and us. Before it sets, the sun once more breaks through the parted clouds, and gives to our astonished view an unexpected world of light and shadow, colour and contrast.

“His remarks on natural scenery, which he views with the eye of an artist, and his successive and yet cursive description of his route, are truly admirable.

“After leading us as patient companions of his pilgrimage, he introduces us into distinguished society. He visits the famous O’Connell in his remote and scarcely accessible residence, and works out the picture which we had formed to ourselves from previous descriptions of this wonderful man. He next attends popular meetings, and hears speeches from O’Connell, Shiel, and other remarkable persons. He takes the interest of a man of humanity and sense in the great question which agitates Ireland; but has too clear an insight into all the complicated considerations it involves to be carried away by exaggerated hopes. * * *

“The great charm, however, which attaches us to his side, consists in the moral manifestations of his nature which run through the book: his clear understanding and simple natural manners render him highly interesting. We are agreeably affected by the sight of a right-minded and kind-hearted man, who describes with charming frankness the conflict between will and accomplishment.

“We represent him to ourselves as of dignified and prepossessing exterior. He knows how instantly to place himself on an equality with high and low, and to be welcome to all. That he excites the attention of women is natural enough,—he attracts and is attracted; but his experience of the world enables him to terminate any little affaires du cœur without violence or indecorum.

“The journey was undertaken very recently, and brings us the latest intelligence from the countries which he viewed with an acute, clear, and comprehensive eye.

“He gradually affords us a clue to his own character. We see before us a finely constituted being, endowed with great capacity; born to great external advantages and felicities; but in whom a lively spirit of enterprise is not united to constancy and perseverance; whence he experiences frequent failure and disappointment. But this very defect gives him that peculiar genial aimlessness, which to the reader is the charm of his travels. * * *

“His descriptions are equally good in the various regions for which talents of such different kinds are required. The wildest and the loveliest scenes of nature; buildings, and works of art; incidents of every kind; individual character and social groups,—all are treated with the same clear perception, the same easy unaffected grace. * * *

“The peculiarities of English manners and habits are drawn vividly and distinctly, and without exaggeration. We acquire a lively idea of that wonderful combination, that luxuriant growth,—of that insular life which is based in boundless wealth and civil freedom, in universal monotony and manifold diversity; formal and capricious, active and torpid, energetic and dull, comfortable and tedious, the envy and the derision of the world.

“Like other unprejudiced travellers of modern times, our author is not very much enchanted with the English form of existence: his cordial and sincere admiration are often accompanied by unsparing censure. * * *

“He is by no means inclined to favour the faults and weaknesses of the English; and in these cases he has the greatest and best among them—those whose reputation is universal—on his side.”—Göthe.




Since it has been suggested that I ought not to suffer several glaring, though (as I think) unimportant, errors to pass unnoticed, as if I were not aware of them, I mention the most conspicuous. The Author says the Royal Exchange was built by Charles II.; that the piece of water at Blenheim covers eight hundred acres, whereas I am told it covers only two hundred and fifty;—he calls the great Warwick Beauchamp, and not Neville:—alluding to Sir Walter Scott’s ‘Kenilworth,’ he calls Varney, Vernon; and he lays the scene of Varney’s murder of his wife at Kenilworth, instead of at Cumnor.—There may be more such mistakes for aught I know. Such are to be found in every account of a foreign country I have ever seen, with the exception of some two or three works of faultless correctness and veracity, which nobody reads. Of these Carsten Niebuhr’s may be taken as a representative. Whoever has had the good fortune to see a work on Germany, which was considerably accredited here, commented with marginal notes by an intelligent and veracious German, may have had a fair opportunity of comparing the sum of misstatements between the two countries. Of our ‘natural enemies’ I say nothing, nor of our irritable child, whom so much has been done to irritate, across the Atlantic. Of Italian travellers, Eustace is given up as nearly a romance-writer; Englishmen believe Forsyth to be extremely correct, but instructed Italians point out errors grosser than any of those here noticed. After all, errors of the kind are (except to tourists) comparatively unimportant, when they relate to countries which are not explored with a view to science, but merely for the purpose of giving the general aspect, moral and physical, of the country. Whoever succeeds in doing that with anything like fairness, may be regarded as having effected as much as the extreme difficulty of obtaining accurate information, even on the spot, will admit; and, in a work like the present, which makes no pretension to any higher character than that of chit-chat letters to an intimate friend, will have accomplished all that it is fair to look for.

It has also been suggested that I ought to have given the names of the persons alluded to at length, instead of merely copying the initials given in the original. To this I can only reply, that had I the inclination, I am totally without the power. I know nothing of any of the persons or incidents recorded; nor have I any means, which are not equally at the command of all my readers, of guessing to whom the Author alludes in any case. Inquiries of the kind are as foreign to my tastes and pursuits as the society in question is from my station in life. I have regarded these incidents solely in the light of illustrations of national manners; and the applying them to individuals is a matter in which I should take not the slightest interest. But since it is obvious that this is not the common taste, I have rather thought to obscure than to elucidate those parts of the book which are objectionably personal. If I could have done this still more, without entirely changing the character of the work, I should have done it. But by any such material change I should have made myself, in some sort, responsible for its contents: which, as a mere translator, I can in no way be held to be. Whenever I find that the English public are likely to receive, with any degree of favour, such a German work as it would be my greatest pride and pleasure to render into my native tongue to the best of my ability, I shall be too happy to share with the illustrious and humanizing poets and philosophers of Germany any censure, as I should feel it the highest honour to partake in the minutest portion of their glory.


Hitherto I have found no encouragement to hope that any such work as I should care to identify myself with, would find readers.


The Reviews and other Journals (which, for the most part, have been divided between excessive praise, and censure equally excessive, of this slight but clever work) have, of course, not been sparing in allusions to the personal character of the Author. Of that, and of all that concerns his residence here, I am utterly ignorant. When I projected the translation of the book, I believed it to be, what the title announces, The Letters of a deceased Person. All that I now know of the Author’s personal history while in England, (if information from such sources may be called knowledge,) is gained from the writings of his reviewers. Whether their representations be true or false, I have not the slightest interest in discussing. Even if every several anecdote related by him were a lie, it would remain to be considered, whether or not his remarks on England and English society tallied in the main with those of other instructed foreigners, and with those of the more impartial and enlightened portion of Englishmen.


THE Letters which we now lay before the public have this peculiarity,—that, with very few and unimportant exceptions, they were actually written at the moment as they appear in these pages.

It may, therefore, easily be imagined that they were written without the most distant view to publicity. The writer, however, is now numbered with the departed. Many scruples are thus removed: and as his Letters contain not only many interesting details, but more especially internal evidence of a real individuality; as they are written with no less uncoloured freedom than perfect impartiality,—we thought that these elements are not so abundant in our literature as to render such a work a superfluity.

It was, I must confess, an infelicity which attended the deceased author during life, that he set about everything in a manner different from that pursued by other men; from which cause few things succeeded with him. Many of his acquaintances thought that he affected originality. In that they did him injustice. No man was ever more sincere and genuine in his singularities; none, perhaps, had less the appearance of being so. No man was more natural, in cases where everybody thought they saw design.

This untoward fate still, in a certain degree, pursues the appearance of his Letters. Various circumstances, which cannot be explained here, compel us, contrary to all usage, to begin with the last two volumes, which the public must accept as the first. Should these meet with approbation, we hope soon to be able to publish that preceding sequel which will be found no less independent than these. For the convenience of the reader, we have annexed a short table of contents, as well as occasional notes, ad modum Minellii; for which we beg pardon and indulgence.

B——, October 30, 1829.



Departure. Madame de Sevigne. Dresden. Homœopathic disposition. The art of
travelling comfortably. Reminiscences of youth. Weimar. Grand Duke’s library.
The Court. The park. Dinner at Court. Duke Bernhard. Anecdote. Visit to
Göthe. A day in the Belvedere. Late Queen of Wurtemberg. Granby. English
abroad and at home.



Gotha. Old friends. Eisenach. The wedding. Hasty flights. The banks of the
Ruhr. Wesel. Fatherlandish sandbanks. Beautiful gardens of Holland. Foreign
air of the country. Culture. Utrecht. The cathedral at Gouda. Houses built
aslant. Fantastic windmills. Rotterdam. The civil banker. Pasteboard roofs.
The golden gondola. Ætna. The lovely girl. L’adieu de Voltaire.



The passage. The planter. The English custom-house. The lost purse. Macadamized
roads. Improvements of London. Specimens of bad taste. National
taste. The Regent’s Park. Waterloo bridge. London Hotels. The bazaars.
Walks in the streets. Shops. Dinner at the —— Ambassador’s. Johannisberg.
Chiswick. Decline of taste in the science of gardening. Favourable climate. The
menagerie. Life in the City. The universal genius. The exchange and Bank.
The gold cellar. Court of justice of the Lord Mayor. Garroway’s Coffee-house.
Rothschild. Nero. Exeter ‘Change. Wurtemberg diplomacy. Theatre in the
Strand. The ingenious man. Too much for money. Hampton Court. Dangerous



Climate. British Museum. Its guards. Strange Mischmasch. Journey to Newmarket.
English scenery. Life there. The races. The betting-post. Visit in the
country. English hospitality. The Dandy. Englishmen on the continent. National
customs. Order of dinner. Hot-houses. Audley end. The Aviary. Short
Grove. Sale of Land in England.



Advice to travellers. Clubs. Virtue and Umbrellas. Arrangement of Maps. English
wine. How an Englishman sits. Comfortable customs. Rules of behaviour.
Treatment of Servants. The higher classes. Rules of play. Pious wishes for
Germany. Good-breeding of a Viscount. The actor Liston. Madame Vestris.
‘Manger et digerer.’ Sentimental effusion. Inconvenient Newspapers. Drury-lane.
Braham the everlasting Jew. Miss Paton. Vulgarity of the theatre. Coarseness
of an English audience.



Barrel organs. Punch. His biography. Ruined Houses. The King in Parliament.
Contrast. George the Fourth. The Opera. Figaro without Singers. English
melodies. Charles Kemble. Costume of old times. Prince E——. A diplomatic
‘bon mot.’ Sir L—— M——. Practical Philosophy. Falstaff as he is and as he
should be. The King in Hamlet. The intelligent actor from Newfoundland. Little
circle in the great world. How the day passes here. Learning languages. The
author of Anastasius. His antique furniture. Oberon. The chorus of rocks.
Presentation to the King. Incidents at the levee. Dinner with Mr. R——. Real
piety. His fashionable friends. State carriage of the King of the Birmans. Mathews
at home.



The auctioneer. The Napoleonist. French theatre. A rout. Lady Charlotte B——.
Politics and conversation. English Aristocracy. The foggy sun of England. Extraordinary
testamentary dispositions. Modern knights of St. John. Sion House.
Richmond. Adelphi. Admirable drunkard. Alexander Von Humboldt. King of
Prussia. The Diorama.



Journey of business. Gothic and Italian villa. Stanmore Priory. English country
inns. Breakfast. Cashiobury Park. Tasteful magnificence. Drawings by Denon.
Flower-Gardens. Ashridge. Modern Gothic. Woburn Abbey.



Warwick Castle. Feudal Grandeur. The baronial hall. Portraits. Joan of Arragon.
Machiavelli. Leamington. Guy’s Cliff. His cave. Gaveston’s cross. Tombs of
Warwick and Leicester. The ruins of Kenilworth. Elizabeth’s balcony. The past.
Birmingham. Mr. Thomasson’s manufactory. Aston Hall. Cromwell. Chester.
The town prison. The rogue’s fête.



Hawkestone Park. Uncommonly beautiful scenery. The red castle and New Zealander’s
hut. More manufactories. Dangerous employment. The room in which
Shakspeare was born. His grave. Various parks. The Judith of Cigoli. Blenheim.
Vandalism. Pictures. Oxford. Its Gothic aspect. The Sovereigns as Doctors.
The Museum. Tradescant and his bird Dodo. The blue dung-beetle in the character
of a knight. Elizabeth’s riding gaiters, and her lover’s locks of hair. The library.
Manuscripts. Stowe. Overloading. Louis the Eighteenth’s lime trees. Valuables
behind a grating. Decoration for Don Juan. Portrait of Shakspeare. Ninon de
l’Enclos. Balustrade. Christmas pantomimes.



Conversational talents of the French. Death of the Duke of York. Adventure at his
house. English mourning. Excerpts from my journal. Lady Morgan’s Salvator
Rosa. ‘What is conscience?’ Cosmorama. Skating on the Serpentine. The
blacking-manufacturer’s ‘sporting match.’ Visit to C—— Hall. Life there.
Lord D——’s recollections of M——. Pictures. The most beautiful woman. The



Brighton. Sunset. Oriental baths. ‘Gourmandise’ and heroism. Count F——.
Ride on the sea-shore. Almack’s ball. English notions of precedence. The
romantic Scot. Sermon and priests. Duties of a clergy. The windmill. Party
at Count F——’s. Highland Costume. Private balls. Wanderings of the garden
Odysseus. Innocent politics.



Beggar’s eloquence. Tea-kettle pantomime and jugglers. Dream Superstition. The
fancy ball. Miss F——. Mrs. F——. Remarks on society, ‘Nobodies.’ Pleasures
of a ball. Pictures in the clouds. The French Physician. Amateur Concerts.
Chinese feet. Italian Opera. Hyde Park. English horsemanship.



Technicalities of English Society. ‘Bonne chere.’ Captain Parry and his ship. The
Guards’ mess. Play. ‘Le Moyen age.’ Monkeys and Poneys. ‘Le Grand
Seigneur dentiste.’ Lady Hester Stanhope in Syria. Adam still alive. Tippoo
Saib’s shawl. Homeward flight. Lord Mayor’s dinner. Lord H——’s and the
Banker’s houses. Inaccessibleness of Englishmen. Persian Charge d’affaires.
Courtesy of the English princes. Ride in the suburbs.



Correspondence. Lord Mayor’s feast. Speeches. Caricatures. Dangers of a fog.
English society. Middle classes. Critical position of the Aristocracy. Freedom
of the press. Newspaper extracts. Dinner at Mr. Canning’s. Concert. Easy
manners. Liston. The Areopagus. Rev. R. Taylor. Almack’s. Rapid travelling.
Prince Schw——. House of Commons; Messrs. Peel, Brougham, Canning. House
of Lords; Duke of Wellington, Lords Goderich, Holland, Lansdowne, Grey. Value
of a ticket for Almack’s. Lady Politicians. Indian Melodrame. Sir Thomas
Lawrence. Portuguese eyes. Prince Polignac. London season. Duchess of
Clarence. Countess L——’s ball. English horsewomen. Breakfast at the Duke of
Devonshire’s. The new Venus. Crush of Carriages. Dinner at the Duke of
Clarence’s. Fitzclarence family. English-French. Dinner at Mr. R——’s. Marchioness
of L——. Marquis of L——. Bishops’ aprons. Concerts of ancient music.
Ambulating advertisements. Mr. R——. Aristocracy in Religion. Dream.



Mr. Hope’s collection of pictures and statues. Toilette-necessaries of a Dandy.
Ladies’ conference. Style of invitations. Duke of Sussex. Major Kepple. Ascot
races. S—— Park. The charming fairy and her country-house. Windsor Castle.
Disaster. Greek boy. British cavalry. Absence of military pedantry. Balls.
Disenchantments. Horticultural breakfast. Colossal pines. Tyrolese singers.
Northumberland-house. Sir Gore Ousley. Persian anecdotes. Flower-table.
Children’s balls. Art and nature. Greenwich. Execution. Contrasts. Party
at the Duchess of Kent’s. Marie Louise. King of Rome. Heat. King’s-bench
and Newgate prisons. The unconscious philosopher. Vauxhall. The battle of
Waterloo. Ball at Lady L——’s. Phrenology. Mr. Deville’s character of myself.
Mr. Nash’s library. Dinner at the Portuguese Ambassador’s. St. Giles’s. Exhibition
of English pictures. Pounds and thalers. ‘Excerpts’. Gossip. Visions
of the past. The Tunnel. Astley’s Theatre. Parody of the Freischutz. Bedlam.
The last of the Stuarts. Funerals. Omens. Barclay’s brewery. West India
docks. Amusing charlatanerie. Westminster Abbey by night. Dinner at Sir
L—— M——’s. Practical Bull. English Opera. New organ. Miss Linwood.
Solar Microscope. Panoramas. Death of Canning. ‘Vivian Grey.’ St. James’s
Park. Respect for the public. Propensity to mischief in the people. Exclusiveness
of the great. London in autumn. Newspaper facts.



Descent in a diving-bell. Obliging fire. College of Surgeons. The false mermaid.
The sagacious ourang-outang. Extraordinary recovery. The living skeleton.
Fortune. The desperate lover. Salthill. Stoke Park. Dropmore. Windsor
Castle. Eton. St. Leonard’s Hill. Windsor Park. Habits of George the Fourth.
The giraffe. Virginia Water. Lord and Lady H——. Character of Lord Byron.
Windsor Terrace. St. George’s Chapel. Day dreams. English promptitude.
Military men of England. Frogmore. Anecdote of Canning. Egham races.
Dwarf trees. Moonlight walk. Respect for the law.



What a park should be. Horses. Lady ——. Hatfield and Burleigh. Doncaster
Races. Pomp in the country. Duke of Devonshire’s equipage. Madame de
Maintenon. Useless talents. York Minster. Library. Walk in the city. Skeleton
of a Roman lady. Clifford’s Tower. The county jail. Thieves’ wardrobe. Ascent.
Town-hall. Armorial bearings of citizens. Madame de Maintenon. Archbishop’s
palace and kitchen-garden. Singular absence of mind. Castle Howard.
Pictures. The three Mary’s. Painted memoirs. English habits. Bad climate.
Equine sagacity. Scarborough. The rock-bridge. Light-house on Flamborough-head.



Whitby. What is remarkable in a Duke. The ruin. The Museum. Alum mines.
Lord Mulgrave’s castle and park. Singular accident. Fountain’s Abbey. Studley
Park. The Catacombs at Ripon. Harrowgate. The End of the World. The
old General. Aristocratical influence. Harewood park. Kennel. Horses.
Wooden curtains. Lord Harewood. Leeds. Reform in Parliament. Cloth manufactory.
Templenewsome. Rotherham. Disappointment. Wentworth House.
Portraits. Sheffield. Knives and scissars. Nottingham. Wild beasts. Lord Middleton’s
seat. St. Albans Abbey. Duke of Gloucester’s tomb. Return to London.



Excursion to Brighton. Arundel Castle. Petworth House. Portraits. Hotspur’s
sword. Old ‘Whalebone.’ The fortunate duchess. ‘Prognostica.’ Continuation
of Don Juan. The year 2200. ‘Etourderie.’ Rules of behaviour. English
politicians. Charles Kemble’s Falstaff. License of English actors. Young as
Hotspur. German and English stage. Wonders of the age. ‘Flirtation.’ Singular
ball. Macready’s Macbeth. Thoughts on the tragedy of Macbeth. Der
Freischutz. ‘Liaison’ with a mouse. Street mystifiers. Nights in London. Visit
to Woolmers. Ball at Hatfield. Pansanger. Grand Signor. Persian valuables.



Billy, the Rat-destroyer. English amusements. The newest Roscius. Fancy. Freewill.
Original sin. Austrian philosophy. Colours of the days. Friday. Don
Miguel. American Anecdote. English ‘tournure.’ Unpleasant Christmas-box.
Portuguese etiquette. Ludicrous incident in the theatre. English flints. Parties in
honour of the infant. Baroness F——. The charming aid-de-camp. Anecdote
told by Sir Walter Scott. B—— Society. Disadvantages of a sandy soil. India
House. Tippoo Saib’s amusements. Shawls. Ride in the Steam-carriage. Ride
in a carriage drawn by kites. Fox-hunt. Clerical fox-hunters. Thoughts on
death. Recommendation of Blotting-paper. The Atlas of life. Bellows. Advantages
of illness. Instruction. Convalesence.



The Thelluson will. The Dandy in the back settlements of America. English justice.
A Chancery suit. Dramatic juggler. Fall of the Brunswick theatre. Party at Mr.
Peel’s. ‘Chapeau de Paille.’ Mr. Carr’s collection of pictures. General Lejeune’s
battle-pieces. The courtier. Mina, Arguelles, and Valdez. On the acting and
translating of Shakspeare. Kean, Young, and Kemble, in Othello. Character
of Iago.



Aristocracy and liberalism united in one person. Fête at the Duchess of ——’s.
Wonderful tale of Mr. H——. Toads. The menagerie in Regent’s Park. Marshal
Beresford. Rural dinner in H—— Lodge. Zoological Garden. The patient
witling. Uncomfortable customs. Dinner at H—— Lodge. Sir Walter Scott;
his appearance and conversation. A charming girl. Tailors, butchers, and fishmongers.
Crockford’s. Spring-festival. Rural pleasures. Musical indigestion.
Strawberry-Hill, the seat of Horace Walpole. German customs in England.
Epsom races. Soirée at the King’s. Historical portraits. Paintings in watercolour.
The little paradise. The branch from Birnam Wood. Bonneau the Second.
The Empress Josephine’s Fortune-telling book. Introduction to the
Duchess of Sachsen Meiningen. The Pigeon Club. The aquatic theatre. The
Doomed. The new Ninon de l’Enclos. Another déjeuné champetre. The two



A rout ‘par excellence.’ English squeeze. Visit to Cobham. Lord D——’s birthday.
Mr. Child’s speech. Rochester Castle. The most natural camel. The downfall.
The water party. Return to London. The Exhibition of Arts and Manufactures.
The nursery-garden. ‘Apperçu’ of English fashionable society.



Departure from London. Cheltenham. English comfort. Mineral waters. Promenades.
Sources of the Thames. Lackington Hill. The village in the wood.
Ancient Roman villa. Tea-garden. Avenues. Master of the Ceremonies. Field
of Tewksbury. Worcester. Cathedral. King John. The Templar. Prince
Arthur’s tomb. Enjoyments of travelling. Picture in the mist. Vale of Llangollen.
Churchyard, and view from it. Mountain breakfast. Celebrated ladies.
Visit to them. Lofty mountains. Comparison with those of Silesia. The road.
The stone bishop. The indefatigable. Jest and Earnest. German titles. German
placemen. German nobles. Romances. Feudal opinions. English domestic architecture.
Penrhyn Castle. The slate quarry. Operations there. Reflections
of a pious soul of Sandomir, or Sandomich. Conversions. Missions. Extracts from
Berlin journals.



Bangor. Welsh driving. Lake of Llanberris. Fish-hunting dogs. Storm. Shelter
in the old castle. Hut, and its inhabitants. Ascent of Snowdon. Mountain poney
and sheep. Veiled summit and my double. Libation. Rocky path. View. Region
of birds of prey. Return on the lake. Caernarvon Castle. Edward’s birth. King’s
stratagem. Origin of the English Motto. Contrast in the ruins. Eagle Tower.
Sea-bath. Billiard table. Weather and eating. The Hebe of Caernarvon. Extracts
from the “Lammszeitung.” Intolerance of Berlin Saints. Church and King sole
guides of faith. Duties of rich and poor contrasted. Promenade round Bangor.
Bath at Bangor. Beaumaris. The castle. Craig y don. Menai Straits. Chain
bridge over the sea.



Plague of flies. Project for a Park. Plas Newydd. Cromlechs. Druid’s cottage.
New kaleidescope. Journey into the interior of the mountains. Unworthy views of
Providence. Protestant Jesuits. Destinies of man. Cars. Lake of Idwal. Path
at the foot of the Trivaen. Welsh guide. Wearisome ascent. Rose-coloured light.
Valley of Rocks. The eagle. “The bad pass.” Bog. Capel Cerig. Valley of
Gwynant. Elysium. Dinas Emris. Merlin’s rock. Dangers. Pleasant inn at
Bedgellert. The blind harper and his blind dog. The Devil’s bridge. Tan y
Bwlch. Beautiful Park. Gigantic dam. Tremadoc. Reminiscences of sand, dirt,
and father-land. Evening fancies. Crumbs of philosophy. Possessor of Penrhyn
Castle. Road over Penman Mawr. Conway Castle with fifty-two towers. “Contentment”
villa. The Queen’s closet. Hooke and his forty-one sons. Gothic mania.
Truly respectable Englishman. Fashion-hunting.



‘Vie de Château.’ Cathedral at St. Asaph. Tabernacle. True faith. Denbigh Castle.
Meeting of Harpers. Romantic Valley. Pretty Fanny. Her dairy and aviary.
Paradise of fowls. Ride through romantic country. Short stay at Craig y Don.
Newspaper article. Irish dinner. Happy condition of the middle classes. Opinions
on England. The Isle of Anglesea. Paris mines. Copper smelting. New inventions.
Holyhead. Light-house. Terrific rocks. Sea-birds. Hanging bridge. Stormy
passage to Ireland. First Impression of the country. Dublin. Exhibition of fruits
and flowers. Walk in the city. Sight-seeing. Palace of the Lord Lieutenant, and
modern Gothic chapel. University. My Cicerone. Organ of the Armada. Archimedes’
burning glass. Portraits of Swift and Burke. Battle of Navarino. Phœnix
Park. Characteristics of the people. Lady B——. The meaning of “character”
in England. The Liffy. W—— Park. Charming entrance. “The Three Rocks.”
Beautiful view. Irish peasant women. Wooden Capuchin. The Dandy. Comfortable
arrangements for the English aristocracy. Country visit. First interview
with Lady M——. Unfortunate end of a ride. Further particulars concerning the
Muse of Ireland.



Ride on horseback into the county Wicklow. Bray. Student’s equipment. English
piety. Kilruddery. Glen of the Downs. Summer-house. Vale of Durwan. The
giant. The Devil’s Glen. Küleborn. Rural repast in Rosanna. The tourists.
Avondale, an Eden by moonlight. Avoca Inn. The meeting of the Waters. Castle
Howard. Beautiful portrait of Mary Stuart. Bally Arthur. The ha-ha. My horse
at blind-man’s buff. Shelton Abbey. The negro porter. Loss of my pocket-book.
What is a gentleman? Valley of Glenmalure. Lead mines. Military road. The
sun behind black masses of clouds. The seven churches. Mysterious tower without
an entrance. The black lake of St. Kevin. The giant Fian M’Cumhal. The
enamoured Princess. Her tragical end, and the saint’s excessive rigour. Irish toilet.
Walter Scott and Moore in the mouth of a peasant. Morass and will-o’-the-wisp.
A night upon straw. Hedge of Mist. First peep of sun over the lake and valley
of Luggelaw. Romantic solitude. The statue of rock. P—— Park. Intolerance,
cant, and abuse of the Sunday. Sugar-loaf. Rich country. Repose by the brook.
Lord Byron.



Donnybrook fair. The lovers. Powerscourt. The Dargle and The Lover’s Leap.
The waterfall. Galopade, with the guide behind me. Inn at Bray. Sketch of
English manners. Grand Duke of S—— W.——. Advantages of a humble mode
of travelling. Activity of beggars. Kingston. Construction of the harbour. Machinery.
The Spectre ship. Tasteless and appropriate monument in honour of
George the Fourth. Fine road to Dublin. Catholic association. English horse-riders
and admirable clowns. The dance of Polypi.



The young parson. Journey with him to the West. Connaught. Singular country.
Visit at Capt. B——’s. Life of a true Irishman. They are not over fastidious.
Divine service in Tuam. Service of the Church of England. Galway race.
Resemblance of the Irish people to savages. The town of Galway. Want of books
there. The race. Accident of a rider. Indifference of the public. The fair African.
Athenry, a bathing place, like a Polish village. King John’s castle. The abbey.
Popular escort. Whisky. Castle Hackett. The fairy queen. She carries off a
lover. Splendid sunset. Definition of ‘Good temper.’ Cong. Irish wit. The
Pigeon-hole. Subterranean river. Meg Merrilies. Illuminated cavern. Enchanted
trout. Lough Corrib, with its three hundred and sixty-five islands. The monastery.
Irish mode of burial. Hearty kindness of the old captain.



‘Hors d’œuvre.’ German Character. Adventure with a gipsy. How we acquire a
soul. State of the Irish peasantry. Stupid rage of an Orangeman. Beautiful
park and disposition of water. Picture gallery at M—— B——. St. Peter with a scarlet
wig, by Rubens. Winter landscape, by Ruisdael. Magnificent Asiatic Jew, by
Rembrandt. Irish hunters. Departure by the Postman’s cart. The obliging Irishman.
Desert country. Poverty and light-heartedness of the people. Sure revelation.
“The cross bones.” The Punch-bowl. Lord Gort’s park. Desire of my
horse to stay there. Irish posting. Its characteristics.



Limerick. Antique character of that city. Catholics and Protestants. Deputation,
and offer of the Order of the Liberator. O’Connell’s cousin. Cathedral. I am
taken for a son of Napoleon. I substitute my valet and make my retreat. Conversation
in the stage. The Shannon. Its magnificent size. New sort of industry of a
beggar in Lisdowel. Twelve rainbows in a day. Killarney. Voyage on the lake in
a storm. The dandy and the manufacturer. Some danger of drowning. Inisfallen
island. O’Donaghue’s white horse. His history and apparition. The old boat,
man and his adventure. Journal des Modes of the infernal regions. Mucruss Abbey.
The large yew-tree. Influence of the Catholic priests. O’Sullivan’s waterfall. Young
Sontag. The wager. Ross Castle. Two Englishmen ‘de trop’. Bad taste of quizzing.
The Knight of the Gap. The “madman’s rock.” Brandon Castle. A bugleman.
The eagle’s nest. Coleman’s leap. The dinner. Fresh salmon boiled on
arbutus sticks. Voyage back. Melancholy thoughts. Christening with whisky. Julia
Island. Journey to Kenmare. Shillelah battle. Ride to Glengariff by night. Extraordinary
road. The intelligent poney. Beautiful bay of Glengariff. Colonel
W——’s park a model. Family of the possessor. Lord B——’s hunting seat. Bad
weather. Rocks, storm and apparition of ——.



Kenmare. Irish messenger. Road to Derrinane. Bridge of the black water. Chaos.
Terrific coast. Perplexities. Aid from a smuggler. Mountain pass at night.
Derrinane Abbey. O’Connell the great Agitator; Father L’Estrange his confessor.
O’Connell as chieftain giving laws to his subjects. His intolerance in matters of
religion. Departure from Derrinane. Danish forts. Leave-taking. Irish modes of
conveyance. Amiable character of the lower Irish. Example of it. Sorrows of
Werther. Opinion of it. Faust. The Innkeeper’s daughter at Kenmare. Hungry
Hill and its majestic waterfall. O’Rourke’s eagle. The modern Ganymede. Seals
under my window. Their love for music. English family worship. Theological
discussion on the deluge, the day of judgment, and the Apocalypse. Extraordinary
beauties and advantages of this spot.



Wild honeycomb. Egyptian lotus. Visit to an eagle’s nest; their romantic dwelling,
and wonderful instinct. The wild huntsman of the South of Ireland. The
caves of the Sugar Loaf. Track of the fairy queen’s carriage wheels. Dangerous
hunting in these mountains. The fogs, bogs, and wild bulls. Manner of taming



Idolatry of Sunday in England. Wonderful conversion of a Protestant to Catholicism.
Riding in a car. The Whiteboys. Macroom. The naïve mamma and the
spoiled child in the gingle. The strong king of the Danes. Cork. Voyage to
Cove: beautiful entrance from the sea. Folko’s sea castle. Monkstown. Remarkable
appearance of two perfect rainbows at once. The amphitheatre of
the town of Cove. Disappointed expectation of fish. Illuminated night-scene.
The stars. Departure in the Mail. Mitchelstown and Castle. Materials for novels.
Lord K——. Extraordinary weather for Ireland. The soldier of O’Connell’s
Militia. The Galtees. Cahir. Another of King John’s castles. Lord Glengall’s
beautiful park. The Prince’s equipage at Cashel. Force of habit. Secret of all
educations. Club dinner.



The rock of Cashel. One of the most curious ruins in Ireland. The Devil’s Bite.
Old Saxon architecture. Bell of the Inquisition. The statue of St. Patrick, and
throne at Scone. Hore and Athassil abbeys. Lord L——. Condition of the
Catholics in Tipperary. Church of Ireland. Laughable article in the newspaper
concerning myself. My speech.



The swan. Holy Cross and its monuments. Irish Catholic clergy. Dinner with
eighteen clergymen. Conversation at it. Comparison of the Wendish and the
Irish. List of the Catholic and Protestant parishes in Cashel. Curious details
and remarks upon them. Well-meant exorcism. Irish breakfast. Breakneck hunt.
The wandering bog. Feats of horses. Country gentleman’s life. The Castle in
the air. Potheen enthusiasm. Irish gentry. Lord H——.



The brothers. Animal life. Devils. The pretty hostess. The piper. The robbers.
The lawyer cheated. The murder of Baker. The motionless cock. Fitzpatrick
and his bag-pipe.



Killough Hill. The fairy garden. Romantic sentry-box. Return to Dublin. Madame
de Sevigne. Lord Byron’s tempest. Dinner with the Lord Lieutenant.
The Marquis of Anglesea. Catholic worship. Invisible music. St. Christopher.
Comparison of the Catholic and Protestant divine service. Allegory. Journal
of a London life. Difference between English and German modes of thinking.
Remarks on English Women. Malahide. Furniture seven hundred years old.
Duchess of Portsmouth. Charles the First at the court of Spain. Howth Castle.
Ducrow’s living statues.



Evening at Lady M——’s. Her nieces. Curious conversation. More theology.
The nightingales. All the corn of Europe. National scene. Domestic pictures.
The authoress’s boudoir. The miniature Napoleon. The Catholic Association.
Shiel, Lawless, and others. Artificial resolution. Ride in the mountains. Sentimentality
of a dandy.



B—— H—— on modern piety. O’Connell in a long-tailed wig. The Don Quixote
and the Dandy of the Association. Acting charades at Lady M——’s. ‘Love me
love my dog.’ Miss O’Neil. Her acting.



Dead-letter office. £3000 incognito. The doctor. New surgical instrument. The
bank. Bank-note metal. Gymnastics. Parlour philosophy. Paradoxes.



Favour of Neptune. The dream. Voyage across the channel. The young heir.
Night in the mail. Shrewsbury. The tread-mill. Yellow criminals. Church.
Curious old houses. Street curiosity. The little scholar. Ross. The river Wye.
Goderich Castle. Varied prospects. Three counties at once. Childhood of
Henry the Fifth. Grotesque rocks. Unfortunate tourist. The Druid’s Head.
Monmouth. Birth-place of Henry the Fifth. A poultry-yard. The bookseller
and his family. Theft. Kind, simple-hearted people. Tintern abbey. The ivy
avenue. The Wind Cliff. Sublime view. Chepstow Castle. Cromwell and
Henry the Eighth improvers of the picturesque. Discovery. Penitence.



Chepstow. Marten the Regicide. The girl’s explanation. Taxes imposed by English
lords and gentlemen on travellers. The possessor of Piercefield. Crossing the
Bristol Channel. Men and horses pèle mèle. Recapitulation. Natural pictures.
The most beautiful building. Bristol. The feudal churches. Disinterested piety
of English clergymen. The mayor’s equipage. Cook’s Folly. Lord de Clifford’s
park. Russian fleet. The model of a village. Clifton. The black and white
house. Sensibility of surgeons. Bath. The king of Bath. The Abbey church.
Singular decoration. King James the Second’s heroic feat. The eccentric Beckford.
The tower. Strange cortege. The visit over the wall. Gothic architecture.
Christmas-eve market. Walks by day and night. The conflagration.



The widow. Love of the English for horrors. More agreeable travelling companion.
Examinations, and learned examiners. Stonehenge. Sinister meeting and accident.
Salisbury Cathedral. Monuments. The spire. Frightful ascent. The
hawk on the cross, and the bishop’s pigeons. His Lordship’s functions. Pious
wish for my Country. Mirror of the past and future. Wilton castle. The Chatelaine
antiques. Pictures. Temple built by Holbein. Talent and taste of English
ladies. Entrance by stratagem. Langford park. Fine pictures. Egmont. Alba.
Orange. Emperor Rudolph’s throne. Boxing-match, the betting coachman.
Modern English aristocratic morality. March of intellect. Military school.
Fox-chace. National duty. The new year. London. Canterbury cathedral.
The Black Prince. Splendour of colouring. The archbishop. The damaged
boiler. Dover fortress. Short passage. The air of France. The jetty. English
children. Unequal contest between a French bonne and a resolute little English
girl. The chief and father of dandies. Anecdotes.



French diligence. The conducteur. An old soldier of Napoleon’s garde. German
Plinzen. La ‘mechanique.’ Value of freedom. Paris. Revision of the old acquaintance.
Bad new one. Theatre de Madame Leontine Fay. Virtuous Uncle
Martin. ‘La charte pour les cafes.’ Rosini the tamer of wild beasts. Cheapness
of Paris. Burlesque exhibition of the death of Prince Poniatowski. Praiseworthy
‘ensemble’ of French acting. Gleanings in the Louvre. The sphinx out of place.
The Mephistophiles Waltz. Heaven and Hell.



Ascetic walk. Anecdotes of the Buonaparte family. Spanish courtesy. Theatre
Français. Omnibus. Thoughts in a Dame Blanche. Il Diavolo. Singers. Agrémens
of Paris. La Morne. Polar bear. Desaix’s monument. Disappointed hope.
The Amas. Departure.






Dresden, Sept. 8th, 1826.

My dear Friend,

The love you showed me at our parting in B—— made me so happy and so miserable, that I cannot yet recover from it. Your sad image is ever before me; I still read deep sorrow in your looks and in your tears, and my own heart tells me too well what yours suffered. May God grant us a meeting as joyful as our parting was sorrowful! I can now only repeat what I have so often told you: that if I felt myself without you, my dearest friend, in the world, I could enjoy none of its pleasures without an alloy of sadness; that if you love me, you will therefore above all things watch over your health, and amuse yourself as much as you can by varied occupation.

As I resolved to combat the melancholy which gives so dark a colouring to all objects, I sought a kind of aid from your Sevigné, whose connexion with her daughter has, in fact many points of resemblance to that which subsists between us, only with the exception, ‘que j’ai plus de votre sang,’[1] than Madame de Grignan had of her mother’s. But your resemblance to the charming Sevigné is like the hereditary likeness to the portrait of an ancestor. The advantages which she possesses over you are those of her time and education; you have others over her; and what in her appears more finished and definite—classic,—in you assumes a romantic character; it becomes richer, and blends with the infinite,—I opened the book at random: it was pleasant enough that I lighted upon this passage—

“N’aimons jamais, ou n’aimons guères,
Il est dangereux d’aimer tant.”

On which she remarks with great feeling, “Pour moi, j’aime encore mieux le mal que le remède, et je trouve plus doux d’avoir de la peine à quitter les gens que j’aime, que de les aimer médiocrement.”

It is a real consolation to me to have already written a few lines to you: since I have conversed with you, I feel as if I were nearer to you. I have no adventures to relate as yet. I was so entirely engrossed by my own thoughts and feelings, that I scarcely knew through what places my road lay.

Dresden appeared to me less cheerful than usual, and I was thankful when I found myself quietly established in my room at the inn.

The storm which blew in my face during the whole day, has heated and fatigued me; and as I am, you know, otherwise unwell, I want rest.

Heaven send you also a tranquil night, and affectionate dreams of your friend!

Sept. 10th.—Morning.

‘Vous avez sans doute cuit toutes sortes de bouillons amers, ainsi que moi.’ Nevertheless I rose in better health and spirits than yesterday, and immediately set to work making all the little arrangements necessary at the beginning of a long journey. In the evening I felt extremely depressed, and as I dreaded an attack of my nervous hypochondriacal disorder, which you christened my ‘maladie imaginaire,’ I sent for Hofrath (Court-counsellor) W——, the favourite physician of the strangers who pass through Dresden, because, independently of his skill, he is an amusing and merry companion. You know the use I make of physicians. Nobody can be of a more homœopathic nature than I am; for the mere conversing with a medical man on my complaint and its remedies, generally half cures me; and if I take any of his prescriptions, it is only in thousandth parts. This was the case to-day; and after some hours, which W—— passed by my bedside, and seasoned with many a piquant anecdote, I supped with better appetite, and slept tolerably till morning. On opening my eyes, they lighted on a letter from you, which the honest B—— had laid upon my bed, well knowing that I could not begin the day so joyfully. Indeed, after the pleasure of hearing from you, I have only one other—that of writing to you.

Do but continue thus unrestrainedly to give utterance to all your feelings, and fear not to wound mine. I well know that your letters must long resemble a sad and dreary landscape. I shall be tranquil, if I do but see an occasional gleam of sunlight throw its rays across it.

Leipsig, Sept. 11th.

In a very pretty room, with well waxed parquet, elegant furniture, and silken curtains, all in their first ‘fraicheur,’ the waiter is now laying the table for my dinner, while I employ these few minutes in writing to you.

I left Dresden at ten o’clock this morning, in tolerably good spirits,—that is, painting fancy pictures for the future. But my lingering regrets at leaving you, dear Julia, and the comparison of my insipid and joyless solitude with the exquisite pleasure I should have had in taking this journey under more happy circumstances, with you, fell heavily upon my heart.

Of the road hither, there is not much to be said; it is not romantic,—not even the vineyards, which extend to Meissen, and which present to the eye more sand than verdure. Yet the country, though too open, sometimes excites agreeable feelings by its freshness and fertility: this is the case at Oschatz, where the pretty bushy Culmberg looks down upon the plain, like the rich-locked head of youth. The ‘chaussée’ is good, and it appears that the post is improving even in Saxony, since the excellent Nagler created a new post-era in Prussia. Nothing amuses me more than the energetic zeal with which B—— drives on the willing as well as the phlegmatic: he behaves to them as if he had already made the tour of the globe with me, and had—of course—found things better everywhere than at home.

In the delicate state of my health, the comfortable English carriage is a real blessing. I rather hug myself on understanding the art of travelling better than my neighbours; particularly as far as the maximizing of comfort is concerned: in this I include the taking the greatest possible number of things (often dear, accustomed memorials) with the least possible ‘embarras’ and loss of time,—a problem which I have now perfectly solved. In Dresden, before I packed up, you would have taken my room for a broker’s shop. Now all my wares have vanished in the numerous receptacles of the carriage: yet without giving it that heavy, overloaded look, at which our postilions so readily take fright; and which marks a man, to the discriminating eye of innkeepers, as one embarked on the grand tour. Every article is at hand, and yet perfectly distinct, so that when I reach my nightly quarters, my domestic relations are quickly re-established in a strange place. On the road, the transparent crystal windows of the largest dimensions obstructed by no luggage or coach-box, afford me as free a view of the country as an open ‘calèche,’ while they leave me lord of the temperature.

The men on their lofty seat behind overlook the luggage and the horses, without the power of casting curious glances into the interior, or of listening to the conversation which may be passing there; if, perchance, on our arrival in the country of the Lilliputs or the Brobdignags, secrets of state should come under discussion. I could deliver a course of lectures on this subject,—one by no means unimportant to travellers; but I have been thus diffuse here only for the sake of furnishing you with a complete picture of myself as you are to think of me, wandering over the face of the earth, while my nomadic dwelling and the ever changing post-horses daily bear me further from your sight.

The host of the Hotel de Saxe, unquestionably one of the best inns in Germany, is an old acquaintance of mine, and established many strong claims on my gratitude when I was a student at Leipsig. Many a joyous and sometimes rather riotous repast was given at his house; and I now invited him to partake of my solitary one, that he might talk to me of the past, and of the wild days of my youth. The present times are, alas! become more serious everywhere. Formerly, pleasure was almost raised into a business,—men thought of nothing else—studied nothing else; and feet, so ready to dance, were lightly set in motion. Now-a-days, people find their pleasure only in business, and stronger excitements are required to make us merry—if that ever be the end proposed.

Weimar, Sept. 13th.—Evening.

I will not weary you with any ‘tirades’ on the battle-fields of Leipsig and Lützen, nor with a description of the ‘chétif’ monument to Gustavus Adolphus, or of the meagre beauties of the environs of Schulpforte. In Weissenfels, where I wanted to buy a book, I was surprised to learn that not a bookseller was to be found in the residence of the great Müllner. They were most likely afraid that he would saddle them with a law-suit, at first hand.

I trod the plains of Jena and Auerstadt with just such feelings as a Frenchman of the ‘grande armée’ might have had in the years 1806 and 1812, when he marched across the field of Rossbach;—for the last victory, like the last laugh, is always the best. And as the seat of the Muses, the cheerful Weimar, received me in its bosom after all these battle reminiscences, I blessed the noble prince who has here erected a monument of peace; and has helped to light up a beacon in the domain of literature, which has so long illumined Germany with its many-coloured flames.

Next day I presented myself to this my old commander, and to the rest of the illustrious family, whom I found little altered. The Court had, however, received the agreeable addition of two amiable princesses, who, had they been born in the humblest sphere, would have been distinguished for their external charms and their admirable education. A stranger is received here with a politeness and attention now completely out of fashion in other places. Scarcely was I announced, when a ‘laquais de cour,’ waited upon me to place himself and a court equipage at my disposal during the time of my stay, and to give me a general invitation to the Grand Duke’s table.

In the morning, the Grand Duke had the kindness to show me his private library, which is elegantly arranged, and remarkably rich in splendid English engravings. He laughed heartily when I told him that I had lately read in a Paris journal that Schiller had been disinterred by his order, and that the skeleton of the illustrious poet was to be placed in the Grand Ducal library. The truth is, that his bust, with some others, decorates the room, but that his skull, if I was rightly informed, is enclosed in the pedestal;—certainly a somewhat singular token of respect.

I visited the park with renewed pleasure. The ground is not, indeed, rich in picturesque beauty, but the laying out is so skilful, the several parts are so well imagined and executed, that they leave on the mind a feeling of satisfaction which such combinations, even under more favourable natural circumstances, seldom produce in an equal degree.

Among the new improvements I found a small botanic garden, laid out in a circular plot of ground, in the centre of which stands a majestic old tree. The garden is arranged according to the Linnæan system, and exhibits a single specimen of every tree, shrub, and plant which will stand abroad, and is to be found in the park and gardens. It is impossible to conceive a more agreeable spot for the living study of botany than the seat under this tree, which, like a venerable patriarch, looks down upon the surrounding youthful generations of every form, foliage, blossom, and colour. Continuing my walk, I saw a model farm of the Grand Duke’s, where gigantic Swiss cows give little milk,—for transplantations of this sort seldom answer. Further on, I found the pretty pheasantry, which is rich in gold and silver pheasants and white roes. The great ladder on which from seventy to eighty heavy turkeys are drilled by the gamekeeper to climb in company is curious enough; and the old lime-tree, completely loaded with such fruit, has a strange exotic aspect.

As the Court dines at a very early hour, I had scarcely time to put myself into costume, and arriving late found a large company already assembled. Among them I remarked several Englishmen, who very wisely study German here, instead of first learning, with great trouble, the ungraceful dialect of Dresden: they are most hospitably received here. The conversation at table was very animated. You know the joviality of the Grand Duke, who in this respect completely resembles his friend, the never-to-be-forgotten King of Bavaria. We recapitulated many a laughable story of the time when I had the honour of being his adjutant; after which I was compelled to ride my grand ‘cheval de bataille’—my expedition in the air-balloon.

Much more interesting were Duke Bernard’s descriptions of his travels in North and South America, which I understand we shall soon have an opportunity of reading in print, with remarks by Göthe. This prince, whom the accident of birth has placed in a high station, occupies a still higher as man: no one could be better fitted to give the free Americans a favourable idea of a German prince than he, uniting, as he does, frank dignity of deportment with genuine liberality of thought, and unpretending kindness and courtesy.

In the evening there was a grand assembly, which, in virtue of its nature and quality, was not particularly rich in enjoyment. Every agreeable feeling however revived within me, when I found myself seated at cards opposite to the Grand Duchess. Who has not heard of this noble and truly excellent German woman, before whose serene and clear spirit Napoleon himself, in the plenitude of his power, stood awed, and who is beloved by every one who is permitted to enjoy her gentle and heart-cheering society? We sat indeed at the card-table, but gave little heed to the laws of whist; while time fled amid animated and delightful conversation.

In a court like this, visited by so many foreigners, there cannot fail to be originals who afford matter for piquant anecdotes, even those least given to scandal. Some very diverting stories were related to me when, on rising from table, I mingled again in the crowd. Among other things, a visiting card, ‘in naturâ,’ was showed to me which apparently owed its existence to a well-known anecdote concerning an Englishman. This example suggested to the mad-cap Baron J—— the thought of re-acting the affair with one of his table companions, a ci-devant captain, who was tolerably ignorant of the world and its usages. With this view, he hinted to the poor man, who had been leading a secluded life in D——, that politeness required of him to make a round of visits in the town; to which the unsuspecting captain patiently replied, that he was not conversant in these matters, but would willingly put himself under J——’s guidance. “Well then,” said he, “I will provide the cards, which must be written in French, and in three days I will call you in my carriage. You must put on your uniform, and your cards must express to what service you formerly belonged.” All was done according to agreement; but you may imagine what laughing faces greeted our visitors, when you learn that the following ‘carte de visite’ was sent up before them in every house:—

“Le Baron de J——, pour présenter feu Monsieur le Capitaine de M——, jadis au service de plusieurs membres de la Confédération du Rhin.”

September, 14th.

This evening I paid my visit to Göthe. He received me in a dimly lighted room, whose ‘clair obscure’ was arranged with some ‘coquetterie’; and truly, the aspect of the beautiful old man, with his Jove-like countenance, was most stately. Age has changed, but scarcely enfeebled him: he is perhaps somewhat less vivacious than formerly, but so much the more equable and mild; and his conversation is rather pervaded by a sublime serenity, than by that dazzling fire which used occasionally to surprise him, even in the midst of his highest ‘grandezza.’ I rejoiced heartily at the good health in which I found him, and said with a smile, how happy it made me to find our spiritual King in undiminished majesty and vigour. “Oh, you are too gracious,” said he, (with the yet uneffaced traces of his South German manner, accompanied by the satirical smile of a North German,[2]) “to give me such a title.” “No,” replied I, truly from my very heart, “not only king, but despot, for you have subjugated all Europe.” He bowed courteously, and questioned me concerning things which related to my former visit to Weimar; then expressed himself very kindly with regard to M——, and my efforts to improve it, gently remarking, how meritorious he ever thought it to awaken a sense of beauty, be it of what kind it may, since the Good and the Noble unfolded themselves in manifold ways out of the Beautiful. Lastly, he gave me some gleam of hope that he might comply with my earnest request that he would visit us there. Imagine, dearest, with what ‘empressment’ I caught at this, though perhaps but a ‘façon de parler.’

In the course of our conversation we came to Sir Walter Scott. Göthe was not very enthusiastic about the Great Unknown. He said he doubted not that he wrote his novels in the[3] same sort of partnership as existed between the old painters and their scholars; that he furnished the plot, the leading thoughts, and skeleton of the scenes, that he then let his pupils fill them up, and retouched them at the last. It seemed almost to be his opinion, that it was not worth the while of a man of Sir Walter Scott’s eminence to give himself up to such a number of minute and tedious details. “Had I,” added he, “been able to lend myself to the idea of mere gain, I could formerly have sent such things anonymously into the world, with the aid of Lenz and others—nay, I could still—as would astonish people not a little, and make them puzzle their brains to find out the author; but after all they would be but manufactured wares.” I afterwards observed, that it was gratifying to Germans to see what victories our literature was achieving in other countries; “And,” added I, “our Napoleon has no Waterloo to dread.”

“Certainly,” replied he, disregarding my ‘fade’ compliment, “setting aside all our original productions, we now stand on a very high step of culture, by the adoption and complete appropriation of those of foreign growth. Other nations will soon learn German, from the conviction that they may thus, to a certain extent, dispense with the learning of all other languages; for of which do we not possess all the most valuable works in admirable translations?—The ancient classics, the master-works of modern Europe, the literature of India and other eastern lands,—have not the richness and the many-sidedness[4] of the German tongue, the sincere, faithful German industry, and deep-searching German genius, reproduced them all more perfectly than is the case in any other language?”

“France,” continued he, “owed much of her former preponderance in literature to the circumstance of her being the first to give to the world tolerable versions from the Greek and Latin: but how entirely has Germany since surpassed her!”

On the field of politics, he did not appear to me to give into the favourite constitutional theories very heartily. I defended my own opinions with some warmth. He reverted to his darling idea, which he several times repeated;—that every man should trouble himself only thus far,—in his own peculiar sphere, be it great or small, to labour on faithfully, honestly, and lovingly; and that thus under no form of government would universal well being and felicity long be wanting:—that, for his own part he had followed no other course; and that I had also adopted it in M—— (as he kindly added), untroubled as to what other interests might demand. I replied frankly, but in all humility, that however true and noble this principle were, I must yet think that a constitutional form of government was first necessary to call it fully into life, since it afforded to every individual the conviction of greater security for his person and property, and consequently gave rise to the most cheerful energy, and the most steady trust-worthy patriotism, and that a far more solid universal basis would thus be laid for the quiet activity of each individual in his own circle: I concluded by adducing,—perhaps unwisely,—England in support of my argument. He immediately replied, that the, choice of the example was not happy, for that in no country was selfishness more omnipotent; that no people were perhaps essentially less humane in their political or in their private relations;[5] that salvation came not from without, by means of forms of government, but from within, by the wise moderation and humble activity of each man in his own circle; that this must ever be the main thing for human felicity, while it was the easiest and the simplest to attain.

He afterwards spoke of Lord Byron with great affection, almost as a father would of a son, which was extremely grateful to my enthusiastic feelings for this great poet. He contradicted the silly assertion that Manfred was only an echo of his Faust. He confessed, however, that it was interesting to him to see that Byron had unconsciously employed the same mask of Mephistophiles as he himself had used, although, indeed, Byron had produced a totally different effect with it. He extremely regretted that he had never become personally acquainted with Lord Byron, and severely and justly reproached the English nation for having judged their illustrious countryman so pettily, and understood him so ill. But, on this subject, Göthe has spoken so satisfactorily and so beautifully in print, that I can add nothing to it. I mentioned the representation of Faust in a private theatre at Berlin, with music by Prince Radzivil, and spoke with admiration of the powerful effect of some part of the performance.—“Well,” said Göthe gravely, “it is a strange undertaking; but all endeavours and experiments are to be honoured.”

I am angry with my vile memory that I cannot now recollect more of our conversation, which was very animated. With sentiments of the highest veneration and love, I took my leave of the great man,—the third in the great triumvirate with Homer and Shakspeare,—whose name will beam with immortal glory as long as the German tongue endures; and had I had anything of Mephistophiles in me, I should certainly have exclaimed on the step of his door,

“Es ist doch schön von einem grossen Herrn
Mit einem armen Teufel so human zu sprechen.”[6]

I was invited to dine with the Grand Duke to-day at the Belvedere, and at two o’clock set out on the pleasant road thither. Ever since I have been here the weather has been wonderful:—days of crystal, as your Sevigné says, in which one feels neither heat nor cold, and which only spring and autumn can give.

The Hereditary Grand Duke and his wife live at Belvedere quite like private people, and receive their guests without etiquette, though with the most perfect politeness. The Grand Princess (Grossfürstin) appeared still much depressed in consequence of the Emperor’s death, but when the conversation grew animated, she gave us a very affecting description of the floods at St. Petersburg, of which she had been an eyewitness. I have always admired the excellent education and the various attainments which distinguish the Russian princesses. The late Queen of Wurtemberg was even learned. I had once to deliver a letter to her in Frankfurt, and remained by her desire standing in the circle after I had given it to her, till the other persons of whom it was composed were dismissed. A professor of a Pestallozian school was the first in turn, and appeared to know less about his system than the Queen, then Grand Princess (Grossfürstin) Katharine, who several times corrected his diffuse and inaccurate answers with singular acuteness. A ‘diplomate’ followed, and he also, in his sphere, received the most dextrous and well-turned replies. She next entered into a scientific discussion with a celebrated economist from A——; and lastly, profound and brilliant reflections, in a lively controversy with a well-known philosopher, closed this remarkable audience.

After dinner, the Hereditary Grand Duke took us into his conservatories, which, next to Schönbrunn, are the richest in Germany. You know, dear Julia, that I lay little stress on mere rarity, and, in plants, as in other things, delight only in the beautiful. Many treasures were therefore thrown away upon me; and I could not share in the raptures into which several connoisseurs fell at the sight of a stalk, which was indeed only six inches high, and had not above five leaves, and no flowers, but, on the other hand, had cost sixty guineas, and is as yet the solitary specimen of its kind in Germany. I was, however, greatly delighted by a Cactus grandiflorus in full flower, and many other splendid plants. I looked with great reverence at a magnificent large Bread-fruit tree, and pleased myself with dyeing my fingers crimson from the cochineal insects which inhabited a Cactus. The varieties of plants exceed sixty thousand. The orangery is beautiful, and contains a veteran with a trunk of an ell and a half in circumference, which has safely weathered five hundred and fifty northern summers.

I spent the evening at Herr V. G——’s, a clever man, and an old friend of Madame Schoppenhauer, who is also a kind patroness of mine. Frau V. G——e came in afterwards, and was a very agreeable addition to our company. She is a lively, original, and clever woman, on whom the incense strewed upon her with so much justice by her father-in-law, has not been entirely without its influence. She evinced great pleasure at the arrival of a first copy of Granby, which she had just received from the author, who had studied German in Weimar. The offering did not strike me as anything very considerable; and I told her I could only wish the author might be more interesting than his work. Perhaps I said this from ‘dépit,’ for here, as all over the Continent, it is the fashion to flatter the English inordinately, and God knows how ‘mal à propos.’

September 16th.

After taking my leave this morning of all the illustrious family, I devoted the rest of the day to my friend Sp——, who, together with his family, affords a proof that a life at court and in the great world is perfectly compatible with the simplest domestic habits and the most attaching kindness of heart. A young Englishman, secretary to Mr. Canning, who spoke German like a native, entertained us with some humorous descriptions of English society, and was exceedingly bitter upon the discourtesy and want of good-nature which characterize it. This gave him, at the same time, a good opportunity of saying handsome things of the Germans, particularly those present. It is only while they are abroad that Englishmen judge thus: when they return, they quickly resume their accustomed coldness and haughty indifference, treat a foreigner as an inferior being, and laugh at the German ‘bonhommie,’ which they praised as long as they were the objects of it; while they regard the truly laughable veneration which we cherish for the very name of Englishman, as the rightful tribute to their superiority.

This is the last letter, dear Julia, which you will receive from hence.

Early in the morning,—not at cock-crow, that is, but according to my calendar,—at about twelve o’clock,—I intend to set out, and not to stop till I reach London.

Take care of your health, I beseech you, for my sake, and tranquillize your mind as much as you can by the aid of that wondrous self-controlling strength with which the Creator has endowed it. Love me nevertheless—for my strength is in your love.

Your faithful L——.


Wesel, Sept. 20th, 1826.

Beloved Friend,

After taking leave of Göthe and his family, and paying a last visit to a distinguished and charming artist in her ‘atélier,’ I quitted the German Athens, stored with pleasant recollections.

I staid only just so long in Götha as was necessary to visit an old friend and comrade, the minister and astronomer (heaven and earth in strange conjunction) Baron Von L——. I found him still suffering from the consequences of his unfortunate duel in Paris, but bearing this calamity with the calmness of a sage, which he has displayed in every circumstance of his life.

It was dark when I reached Eisenach, where I had a message to deliver to another old comrade from the Grand Duke. I saw his house brilliantly lighted up, heard the music of the dance, and was ushered into the midst of a large company, who looked astonished at my travelling costume. It was the wedding-day of my friend’s daughter, and heartily did he welcome me as soon as he recognized me. I apologized to the bride for my unbridal garments, drank a glass of iced punch to her health, another to that of her father, danced a Polonaise, and disappeared, ‘à la Française.’ Very shortly afterwards I made my night toilet, and laid myself comfortably to rest in my carriage.

When I awoke, I found myself a stage from Cassel, at the very place where, ten years ago, we made our strange ‘entrée,’ with the pole of our carriage standing erect, and the postilion apparently mounted upon it. I breakfasted here, and thought over many circumstances of that journey; drove through the pretty, melancholy little capital without stopping; then through a noble beech wood, which gleamed in the sunshine with a gold-green lustre; made romantic observations on a curious hill covered with the moss-grown ruins; and hurrying on through this monotonous district, reached the ancient see of Osnabruck at dinner-time.

One always sleeps better in a carriage the second night than the first; the motion acts upon one like that of a cradle upon children. I felt well and in good spirits next morning, and remarked that the whole face of the country began to assume a Dutch character. Antique houses, with numerous gables and windows; an unintelligible Platt Deutsch, which nowise yields in harmony to the Dutch; a more phlegmatic people; better furnished rooms, though still without Dutch cleanliness; tea instead of coffee; excellent fresh butter and cream; increased extortions of innkeepers;—all presented a new shade of this many-coloured world.

The country through which my road lay had a more agreeable and softer character, especially at Stehlen on the Ruhr, a place made for a man who wishes to retire from the tumult of the world to cheerful seclusion. I could not gaze my fill on the fresh succulent vegetation, the magnificent oak and beech woods which crowned the hills on the right and left, sometimes growing down to the very road, sometimes going off into the distance; everywhere skirting the most fruitful fields, shaded with red and brown where they had been newly ploughed, clothed in deep or tender green where they were covered by the young winter crops or the fresh clover. Every village is surrounded by a belt of beautiful trees, and nothing can exceed the luxuriance of the meadows through which the Ruhr winds in fantastic meanderings. Towards evening, as I was comparing this smiling landscape with our gloomy pine forests, a tongue of homelike land suddenly appeared as if by enchantment, with its sand, shingle, and arid stunted birch-trees, stretching across the road as far as the eye could reach. In ten minutes the green meadows and proud beeches greeted us again. What revolution was it that threw this tract of sand here?

A few miles from Wesel, however, the whole country becomes ‘tout de bon’ fatherlandish, and, as the ‘chaussée’ ends here, one wades once more through Berlin loose sand. I arrived unfortunately a day too late to sail from hence by the steamboat, otherwise I might have reached London from Weimar in four days and a half. Now I must travel by land to Rotterdam, and there wait the departure of the first vessel.

Rotterdam, Sept. 25th.

My journey from Wesel to Arnheim was tedious enough. The horses toiled slowly on, through a dull country, amid endless sands. There was nothing interesting to be seen but the great brick-kilns by the roadside, which I looked at attentively on account of their superiority to ours. The more agreeable, and really magical in its effect, is the contrast of the extensive garden which lies between Arnheim and Rotterdam. On a ‘chaussée’ constructed of clinkers, (very hard-baked tiles,) and covered with a surface of fine sand—a road which nothing can excel, and which never takes the slightest trace of a rut—the carriage rolled on with that soft unvarying murmur of the wheels so inviting to the play of the fancy.

Although there is neither rock nor mountain in the endless park I traversed, yet the lofty dams along which the road sometimes runs, the multitude of country-seats, buildings and churches grouped into masses, and the many colossal clumps of trees rising from meadows and plains, or on the banks of clear lakes, gave to the landscape as much diversity of surface as of picturesque objects of the most varied character; indeed its greatest peculiarity consists in this rapid succession of objects which incessantly attract the attention. Towns, villages, country-seats, surrounded by their rich enclosures; villas of every style of architecture, with the prettiest flower-gardens; interminable grassy plains, with thousands of grazing cattle; lakes which have gradually grown merely from turf-digging to an extent of twenty miles; countless islands, where the long reed, carefully cultivated for thatch, serves as a dwelling-place for myriads of water-birds;—all join in a gladsome dance, through which one is borne along as if by winged horses; while still new palaces and other towns appear in the horizon, and the towers of their high Gothic churches melt into the clouds in the misty distance.

And even in the near-ground the continually changing and often grotesque figures leave no room for monotony. Now it is a strange carriage, decorated with carved work and gilding, without a pole, and driven by a coachman in a blue jacket, short black breeches, black stockings, and shoes with enormous silver buckles, who sits perched on a narrow board; or women walking under the load of gold or silver ear-rings six inches long, and Chinese hats like roofs upon their heads: then yew-trees cut into dragons and all sorts of fabulous monsters; or lime-trees with trunks painted white, or many-coloured; chimneys decorated in an Oriental style, with numbers of little towers or pinnacles; houses built slanting for the nonce; gardens with marble statues as large as life, in the dress of the old French Court, peeping through the bushes; or a number of brass bottles or cans, polished like mirrors, standing on the grass by the roadside, glittering like pure gold, yet destined to the humble purpose of receiving the milk with which the lads and lasses are busily filling them. In short, a multitude of strange, unwonted and fantastic objects every moment present to the eye a fresh scene, and stamp the whole with a perfectly foreign character. Imagine such pictures set in the golden frame of the brightest sunshine, adorned with the richest vegetation, from giant oaks, elms, ashes and beeches, to the rarest hot-house plant, and you will have a tolerably perfect and by no means exaggerated idea of this magnificent part of Holland, and of the high enjoyment of my day’s ride.

There was only a part of it which, as to vegetation and variety, formed an exception; but in another point of view was, if not so pleasant, equally interesting. Between Arnheim and Utrecht you come upon a tract, four miles long,[7] of the sand of the Luneberg heath, as bad as the worst plains of the Mark; nevertheless—such is the power of intelligent cultivation—the finest plantations of oak, white and red beech, birch, poplar, &c., flourish by the side of the stunted thorns and heather, which are the only natural productions of the soil. Where the ground has too little strength to grow trees, it is planted with brushwood, which is lopped every five or six years. The magnificent road is skirted the whole way on each side with rows of well-kept flourishing trees; and to my surprise I found that, spite of the arid sand, oaks and beeches seemed to thrive better than birches and poplars. A number of the exquisitely neat Dutch houses and villas were built in the midst of the dreary heath: many were only begun, as well as the laying-out of pleasure-grounds around them. I could not understand how people could have pitched upon this inhospitable soil upon which to found expensive establishments: but learned that the Government had been wise enough to grant out the whole of this hitherto unprofitable tract of land to the neighbouring proprietors and other opulent persons, free of all charges for fifty years, with the sole condition that they must immediately either plant or otherwise cultivate it. Their heirs or successors are to pay a very moderate rent. I am persuaded, from what I here saw, that the greater part of our hungry heaths might in a century be converted by a similar process, and by continued cultivation, into thriving fields and woods, and the whole district thus change its character.

Utrecht is prettily built, and, like all Dutch towns, a model of cleanliness. The painted exterior of the houses and their various forms, the narrow winding streets, and the old-fashioned ‘ensemble,’ are much more pleasing to my eye than the so-called handsome towns, the streets of which, like mathematical figures, invariably intersect at right angles, and the whole weary line of each street is to be seen at a glance. The environs are charming, the air very healthful, Utrecht being the highest town in Holland, and, as I was assured, the society in winter and spring very lively and agreeable, as all the wealthiest nobles of the country make it their residence. The trade is inconsiderable, and the whole air of the town and its inhabitants rather aristocratical than commercial.

From thence I proceeded to Gouda, the cathedral of which place is celebrated for its painted glass. Eighty thousand gulden[8] was lately bidden in vain by an Englishman for one of these windows. In execution it is equal to a miniature picture, and the splendour of the colours is indescribable;—the gems and pearls in the garments of the priests emulate real ones. Another, half of which was lately shattered by lightning, was presented to the church by Philip II. There is a portrait of him in it, dressed in a mantle of genuine purple; not the usual reddish colour, but a lustrous violet, between the deepest blue and crimson, more beautiful than anything I ever saw in glass. A third contains a portrait of the Duke of Alva. All the windows are of extraordinary dimensions, and with few exceptions in exquisite preservation. They are all of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries except one, which was not painted till the seventeenth, and which betrays the decline of the art, both by the inferiority of the colours and of the conception and drawing.

He who has seen Gouda may spare himself the trouble of a journey to the leaning tower of Pisa, for here the whole town seems to have been built on the same principle. Though the Dutch, who have been on many accounts not inappropriately called the Chinese of Europe, might very fairly be believed capable of preferring so extraordinary a style of architecture, yet it is probable that the really alarming aspect of the buildings here is to be attributed chiefly to the unsteady boggy soil.[9]

Almost all the houses stand with their gable ends to the street, every one of which is differently ornamented. In very narrow lanes they almost meet, and form a triangle, under which one walks with some solicitude.

As it was Sunday I found the town extremely lively, though with a quiet and decent gaiety. Most of the people stood idle, gazing about. They took off their hats very politely as I passed.

Before you reach Rotterdam you ride through a long series of country-houses with flower-gardens, separated from the road on either side by a narrow canal. The entrance to each of the houses is over a mighty drawbridge, which contrasts oddly enough with the insignificance of the water, over which a good leap would carry you. Just as ‘baroque’ are the tower-like windmills outside the town: they are gilded, and ornamented with the wildest carvings, besides which, the walls of many of them are so finely covered with thick rushes that at a distance they look like fur; others resemble the skin of a crocodile; some are like Chinese pagodas; but, in spite of all this extravagance, the whole group produces a very striking effect. Interspersed among them are seen the rising masts of the vessels in the harbour, and the great glass roof under which the ships of war are built, announcing a maritime and commercial city.

I soon entered a long street thronged with people, at the end of which a high black clock tower, with flaming red figures and hands, served as ‘point de vue;’ and it was a good quarter of an hour before I reached the Hotel des Bains, on the quay, where I am now very well and comfortably lodged. From my window I look down upon a broad expanse of water, and the four steam-vessels, one of which is to convey me the day after to-morrow to England. Boats row swiftly to and fro, and the busy crowd hurry along the quay, the edge of which is adorned with lofty elms, probably cotemporaries of Erasmus. After a little walk under these trees, I ate a good dinner, and then added to this ell-long letter, which alas, will cost more than it is worth. My health is not entirely as I wish it, though daily improving. Perhaps the sea will cure me.

September 26th.

The manner of living here approaches to that of England. They rise late, dine at ‘table d’hôte,’ at four o’clock, and drink tea in the evening. ‘Au reste,’ there is little amusement or variety for strangers, in this great city: there is not even a stationary theatre; the company from the Hague give occasional performances in a miserable house. Everybody seems occupied with trade, and finds his recreation after it only in domestic pleasures, which are indeed the most appropriate and the best, but in which a traveller can have no share. I went into the counting-house of a Jewish banker to change some English money: notwithstanding the insignificance of the sum, he behaved in the most respectful manner, and after carefully counting out the money for me, accompanied me to the door himself. I was not a little astonished to learn from my ‘laquais de place’ that this man’s fortune was estimated at two millions of guilders (gulden). It seems, therefore, that wealth has not yet made bankers so haughty and insolent here as at other places. I visited the arsenal, which, compared with English establishments of the like kind, appeared to me insignificant. Many of the large buildings are covered with pasteboard, which is said to be very lasting, and looks very well. Square sheets of pasteboard, of an ordinary thickness, are dipped several times into a cauldron of boiling tar, till they are thoroughly saturated with it: they are then hung up to dry in the sun. They are laid on a very flat roof, like sheets of copper, one over another, and nailed to planks underneath, which they thus preserve from the wet for many years. The officers of the yard assured me that a roof of this kind would last much longer than shingle, or than the best tarpauling. I was much interested by a very detailed model of a ship of war, which could be entirely taken to pieces. It was made for the naval school at Delft, and gives a perfect illustration of the instruction they receive. The King’s golden barge, or gondola, though probably not quite equal in magnificence to that of Cleopatra, was shown to me with great self-satisfaction by the Dutchmen. It is rotting away on dry land, being very seldom used.

The country round Rotterdam is famous for its pretty girls and excellent fruit, which (the latter I mean) forms a considerable article of export to England. Nowhere are such enormous grapes to be found. I saw some exposed to sale in the market, which had the appearance and the size of plums. Sauntering idly about, I saw an advertisement of a panorama of Ætna,—entered, in the train of a party of ladies,—and alas! lost my heart. The loveliest girl I ever saw, smiled upon me from the foot of the volcano, with eyes which must have borrowed their glow from its eternal fires, while her lips smiled archly with a bloom equal to that of the oleander at her side. The prettiest foot, and most exquisite symmetry of person,—all were combined to form an ideal, if not of heavenly, at least of the most seductive earthly beauty. Was this a Dutch woman? Oh no, a true Sicilian; but alas, alas! only painted. The glances she cast at me from her viny bower as I went out, were therefore those of triumphant mockery; for since Pygmalion’s days are over, there is no hope for me.

To-morrow, instead of the glowing sun and subterranean heat of Sicily, the cold wet sea will be around me; but I shall not say, with Voltaire, on quitting pleasant Holland,

‘Adieu Canards, Canaux, Canailles.’

I shall not write again till I reach London. I will tell you whether I determine to make a long stay there, which I shall decide on the spot. ‘En attendant,’ I send you a lithographic print of the steamboat in which I sail. A † marks, after the fashion in which the knights of old signed their names, the place where I stand, and with a little help from your imagination you will see how I wave my handkerchief, and send you a thousand affectionate greetings from afar.

Your faithful L——.


London, Oct. 5th, 1826.

I have had a most disastrous passage. A squall, constant sea-sickness, forty hours instead of twenty,—and, to crown the whole, striking on a sandbank in the Thames, where we had to lie six hours, till the tide set us afloat again;—such were the disagreeable incidents of our voyage.

It is ten years since I quitted England; and I know not whether I saw all things before with beautifying eyes, or whether my imagination had unconsciously brightened the colouring of the distant picture; but the views on the banks of the Thames appeared to me neither so fresh nor so picturesque as formerly, though superb groups of trees and cheerful pretty villas were frequently in sight. But here, as in North Germany, the lopping of the trees often spoils the landscape; only that the quantity of them in the numerous hedges which enclose the fields, and the preservation of at least the topmost branches, render the effect less melancholy here than in the otherwise so beautiful Silesia.

Among the passengers was an Englishman who had just returned from Herrnhut, and had also visited the baths of M——. It diverted me highly, unknown to him as I was, to hear his opinions of the plantations there. How much tastes differ, and how little, therefore, anybody needs to despair, you may conclude from this,—that he expressed the highest admiration for that gloomy district, solely on account of the immensity of the ‘evergreen woods,’ as he called the endless monotonous pine-forests, which appear to us so insufferable, but which are a rarity in England, where fir-trees are carefully planted in parks, and commonly thrive but ill.

An American was extremely incensed at being sea-sick during this trumpery passage, after having crossed the Atlantic to Rotterdam without being at all so; and a planter from Demarara, who was in a continual shiver, complained even more of the “impolitic” abolition of the slave-trade than of the cold. He thought that this measure would speedily bring about the total ruin of the colonies; for, said he, a slave or a native never works unless he is forced; and he does not need to work, because the magnificent country and climate afford him food and shelter sufficient. Europeans cannot work in the heat, so that nothing remains but the alternative,—colonies with slaves, or no colonies;—that people knew this well enough, but had very different ends in view from those which they put forward with such a parade of philanthropy. He maintained that the slaves were, even for their owners’ interest, far better treated than the Irish peasants,—far better than he had often seen servants treated in Europe:—an exception might be found here and there; but this was not worth considering in a view of the whole subject.

I tried to turn the conversation from a subject so distressing to every friend of humanity, and got him to describe to me the mode of life in Guiana, and the majesty of its primeval woods. His descriptions filled me with a sort of longing after these wonders of nature, in a country where all is nobler, and man alone is baser, than with us.

The ridiculous element of the voyage was an English lady, who with unusual volubility seized every occasion of entering into conversation in French. Though no longer in the bloom of youth, she carefully concealed this defect even on ship-board, by the most studied toilet. At a late hour in the morning, when we all crawled on deck more or less wretched, we found her already seated there in an elegant ‘negligée.

In the middle of the second night we anchored just below London Bridge, the most unfortunate circumstance that can happen to a man. In consequence of the severity of the Custom-house, he is not permitted to take his things on shore before they are inspected; and the office is not opened till ten in the morning. As I did not choose to leave my German servants alone with my carriage and effects, I was compelled to pass the night, almost dressed as I was, in a miserable sailors’ tavern close to the river. In the morning, however, when I was present at the examination, I found that the golden key, which rarely fails, had not lost its efficacy here, and saved me from long and tedious delays. Even a few dozen French gloves, which lay in all innocence open upon my linen, seemed to be rendered invisible;—nobody took any notice of them.

I hastened as quickly as possible out of the dirty city, swarming like an ant-hill, but had half a stage to travel with post-horses before I reached the ‘West end of the town,’ where I put up at my old quarters, the Clarendon Hotel. My former host, a Swiss, had exchanged England for a yet unknown country. His son, however, occupied his place, and received me with all that respectful attention which distinguishes English innkeepers, and indeed all here who live by the money of others. He very soon rendered me a real service; for I had hardly rested an hour before I discovered that, in the confusion of the night, I had left a purse with eighty sovereigns in a drawer in my bed-room. Monsieur Jaquier, ‘qui connoissait le terrain,’ shrugged his shoulders, but instantly sent off a confidential person to the spot, to recover the lost purse if possible. The disorder which reigned in the miserable inn, stood me in good stead. Our messenger found the room uncleared; and to the, perhaps disagreeable, surprise of the people, the purse where I left it.

London is now so utterly dead as to elegance and fashion, that one hardly meets an equipage; and nothing remains of the ‘beau monde’ but a few ambassadors. The huge city is, at the same time, full of fog and dirt, and the macadamized streets are like well-worn roads; the old pavement has been torn up, and replaced by small pieces of granite, the interstices between which are filled with gravel; this renders the riding more easy, and diminishes the noise; but, on the other hand, changes the town into a sort of quagmire. Were it not for the admirable ‘trottoirs,’ people must go on stilts, as they do in the Landes near Bourdeaux. Englishwomen of the lower classes do indeed wear an iron machine of the kind on their large feet.

London is, however, extremely improved in the direction of Regent Street, Portland Place, and the Regent’s Park. Now, for the first time, it has the air of a seat of Government (Residenz), and not of an immeasurable metropolis of ‘shopkeepers,’ to use Napoleon’s expression. Although poor Mr. Nash (an architect who has great influence over the King, and is the chief originator of these improvements) has fared so ill at the hands of connoisseurs,—and it cannot be denied that his buildings are a jumble of every sort of style, the result of which is rather ‘baroque’ than original,—yet the country is, in my opinion, much indebted to him for conceiving and executing such gigantic designs for the improvement of the metropolis. The greater part too is still ‘in petto,’ but will doubtless soon be called into existence by English opulence and the universal rage for building. It’s true, one must not look too nicely into the details. The church, for instance, which serves as ‘point de vue’ to Regent Street, ends in a ridiculous spire, while every part seems at variance with every other. It is a strange architectural monster. There is an admirable caricature, in which Mr. Nash, a very small shrivelled man, is represented booted and spurred, riding spitted on the point of the spire. Below is the inscription “National (sounded nashional) taste.

Many such monstrosities might be mentioned. Among others, on a balcony which adorns the largest mansion in the Regent’s Park, there are four figures squeezed flat against the wall, whose purpose or import is extremely mysterious. They are clad in a sort of dressing-gown, whence we gather that they are at least designed for human figures. Perhaps they are emblems of an hospital; for these apparent palaces, like that at Potsdam, have unity and grandeur in their façade alone. They are often, in fact, only a conglomeration of small houses dedicated to the purposes of trade, manufacture, or what not.

Faultless, on the other hand, is the landscape-gardening part of the park, which also originates with Mr. Nash, especially in the disposition of the water. Art has here completely solved the difficult problem of concealing her operations under an appearance of unrestrained nature. You imagine you see a broad river flowing on through luxuriant banks, and going off in the distance in several arms; while in fact you are looking upon a small piece of standing, though clear, water, created by art and labour. So beautiful a landscape as this, with hills in the distance, and surrounded by an enclosure of magnificent houses a league in circuit, is certainly a design worthy of one of the capitals of the world; and when the young trees are grown into majestic giants, will scarcely find a rival. In the execution of Mr. Nash’s plan many old streets have been pulled down, and during the last ten years more than sixty thousand new houses built in this part of the town. It is, in my opinion, a peculiar beauty of the new streets, that, though broad, they do not run in straight lines, but make occasional curves which break their uniformity.

If ever London has quays, and St. Paul’s Church is laid open, according to the ingenious project of Colonel Trench, she will excel all other cities in magnificence, as much as she now does in magnitude.

Among the new bridges, Waterloo Bridge holds the first rank. The proprietors are said to have lost 300,000l. feet in length, and enclosed between solid balustrades of granite, it affords an agreeable and almost solitary walk, and commands the finest river view, in so far as the fog will permit it to be seen,—in which palaces, bridges, churches, and vessels, are proudly blended.

The contrivance for checking the toll-receivers was new to me. The iron turnstile through which you pass, and which is in the usual form of a cross, is so contrived that it describes each time only a quarter of the circle, just as much as is necessary to let one person through; and at the moment when it stops, a mark falls in an enclosed case under the bridge. There is a similar contrivance for carriages; and the proprietors have only to count the marks in an evening, to know accurately how many foot and horse-passengers cross the bridge daily. The former pay a penny, the latter three-pence, by which it was expected that three hundred pounds a day would be taken, instead of which the receipts seldom exceed fifty.

October 7th.

What would delight you here is the extreme cleanliness of the houses, the great convenience of the furniture, and the good manners and civility of all serving people. It is true that one pays for all that appertains to luxury (for the strictly necessary is not much dearer than with us), six times as high; but then one has six times as much comfort. In the inns everything is far better and more abundant than on the Continent. The bed, for instance, which consists of several mattrasses laid one upon another, is large enough to contain two or three persons; and when the curtains which hang from the square tester supported on substantial mahogany columns, are drawn around you, you find yourself as it were in a little cabinet,—a room, which would be a very comfortable dwelling for a Frenchman. On your washing-table you find—not one miserable water-bottle, with a single earthen or silver jug and basin, and a long strip of a towel, such as are given you in all hotels and many private houses in France and Germany; but positive tubs of handsome porcelain, in which you may plunge half your body; half-a-dozen wide towels; a multitude of fine glass bottles and glasses, great and small; a large standing looking-glass, foot-baths, &c., not to mention other anonymous conveniences of the toilet, all of equal elegance.

Everything presents itself before you in so attractive a guise, that as soon as you wake you are allured by all the charms of the bath. If you want anything, the sound of your bell brings either a neatly dressed maid-servant, with a respectful curtesy, or a smart well-dressed waiter, who receives your orders in the garb and with the air of an adroit valet; instead of an uncombed lad, in a short jacket and green apron, who asks you, with a mixture of stupidity and insolence, “Was schaffen’s Ihr Gnoden?” (What is it, your Honour?), or “Haben Sie hier jeklingelt?” (Was it you, here, that rung?), and then runs out again without understanding properly what is wanted. Good carpets cover the floors of all the chambers; and in the brightly polished steel grate burns a cheerful fire, instead of the dirty logs, or the smoky and ill-smelling stoves to be found in so many of our inns.

If you go out, you never find a dirty staircase, nor one in which the lighting serves only to make darkness visible. Throughout the house, day and night, reign the greatest order and decency; and in some hotels every spacious set of apartments has its own staircase, so that no one comes in contact with others. At table, the guest is furnished with a corresponding profusion of white table linen, and brilliantly polished table utensils; with a well-filled ‘plat de ménage,’ and an elegance of setting out which leaves nothing to wish for. The servants are always there when you want them, and yet are not intrusive: the master of the house generally makes his appearance with the first dish, and inquires whether everything is as you desire;—in short, the best inns afford everything that is to be found in the house of a travelled gentleman, and the attendance is perhaps more perfect and respectful. It is true the reckoning is of a piece with the rest, and you must pay the waiters nearly as much as you would a servant of your own. In the first hotels, a waiter is not satisfied with less than two pounds a-week for his own private fees. Such gifts or vales are more the order of the day in England than in any other country, and are asked with the greatest shamelessness even in the churches.

I visited the bazaars to-day. These establishments have come very much into fashion within the last few years, and afford great facilities to buyers. The so-called horse bazaar is built on a very large scale, and daily draws together a very motley assemblage. It includes several extensive buildings, where hundreds of carriages and harness of every kind, new and old (the latter made to look like new), are exposed to sale, at all prices, in a very long gallery. In other rooms are porcelain wares, articles of dress, glass mirrors, ‘quincaillerie,’ toys, and even collections of foreign birds and butterflies, all for sale. At length you reach a coffee-room in the centre of the establishment, with a glazed gallery running round an open space. Here, while comfortably seated at breakfast (in rather mixed company it is true), you see a number of horses led out from the extensive stables where they are well taken care of, and to which any one who has a horse to sell may send it for a certain fee. They are then put up to auction. When a horse is warranted sound by the auctioneer, you may buy it with tolerable safety, since the proprietor of the establishment is responsible for the warranty. The best are certainly not to be found here, but the cheapest are; and to many this is a great recommendation: perhaps a still greater is the being able to get all one wants in the same place. There are already, as I said, several of these bazaars, and they are worth a visit. The convenient walking on the excellent ‘trottoirs,’ the gay and ever-changing groups, and the numerous splendid shops, make the streets of London, especially in the evening, a very agreeable walk to a foreigner.

Besides the brilliant gas-lights, there are large globes of glass in the druggists’ shops, filled with liquid of a deep red, blue, or green colour, the splendid light of which is visible for miles, and often serves as a beacon, though sometimes as an ‘ignis fatuus,’ if you are unlucky enough to mistake one for another.

Of all the shops, the most attractive are those in which the beautiful English crystal is sold. Real diamonds can scarcely glitter more dazzlingly than the far-gleaming collections of some manufacturers. I observed too some articles of rose or other coloured glass, but I was surprised to see how little the forms were changed. The crown lustres, for instance, are just the same as ever; and yet I should think that they might be made in the form of suns with diverging rays, or of bouquets of flowers, instead of this eternal crown; or that small lustres of gay colours, set like ‘bijous’ of various gems, and fixed against the walls of rooms of appropriate, perhaps oriental, decorations, would produce a new and striking effect.

Other very interesting shops contain all the newest implements of agriculture and the mechanic arts, from huge drilling machines and an apparatus for uprooting old trees, to small delicate garden shears, all set out in extensive premises, all arranged with a certain elegance, which is universal, even among the dealers in meat, fish and vegetables. The shops of ironmongers and dealers in lamps well deserve a visit; affording, as they do, a display of the new and the useful, which it would not be easy to find on the whole Continent, either to the same extent or in the same exact perfection. The traveller, however, who confines himself to the ‘salons’ and the like, and who wants to see only genteel sights, had better stay at home.

I closed the day with a walk to Chelsea, the hospital for invalid soldiers, where one rejoices to see the old warriors well taken care of, inhabiting a palace, and enjoying gardens with the most beautiful smooth-mowed ‘bowling-green’ and lofty avenues of horse-chestnut trees, of which a little sovereign might be proud.

I dined at the —— ambassador’s at eight o’clock. The dinner was remarkable not only for the amiability of the host, but for genuine Metternich-Johannisberg; for which nectar, even the most inveterate liberal must allow justice to be done to the great minister. At table I found friend B——, the youth of forty, who charged me with abundance of compliments to you. He is the same as ever, and entertained me with a long conversation about his toilet; he declared that he had grown dreadfully thin in England from ennui.

I must here give you notice that I can say nothing about London society till a longer residence and ‘the season’ have enabled me to speak with more confidence on the subject. So long as London remains desert as Palmyra, as to the fashionable world, I shall confine myself to a description of places.

October 10th.

A few days ago I took advantage of rather brighter weather to visit Chiswick, a villa of the Duke of Devonshire’s, which is esteemed the most elegant specimen of garden decoration, of its kind, in England. I had seen it some years ago at a fête given by the Duke but only superficially. I could not, even now, see the pictures, as the house was inhabited by a visitor.

I found the garden much altered, but not I think for the better; for there is now a mixture of the regular and the irregular which has a very unpleasant effect. The ugly fashion now prevalent in England, of planting the ‘pleasure-ground’ with single trees or shrubs placed at a considerable distance almost in rows, has been introduced in several parts of these grounds. This gives the grass-plats the air of nursery-grounds. The shrubs are trimmed round, so as not to touch each other, the earth carefully cleared about them every day, and the edges of the turf cut into stiff lines, so that you see more of black earth than of green foliage, and the free beauty of nature is quite checked. Mr. Nash, however, adheres to a very different principle, and the new gardens of Buckingham Palace are models to all planters.

The most favourable circumstance to English gardeners is the mildness of the climate. Common and Portuguese laurels, azaleas, and rhododendrons are not injured by the frost, and afford the most beautiful luxuriant thickets, summer and winter, and, in their respective seasons, the richest blossoms and berries.

Magnolias are seldom covered, and even camellias stand abroad in peculiarly sheltered spots, with only the protection of a matting. The turf preserves its beautiful freshness all winter; indeed at that season it is usually thicker and more beautiful than in summer, when I remember, in dry weather, to have seen it worse than ever I saw it in the Mark. The present is just the season in which the whole vegetation is in its utmost magnificence.

A pretty effect is produced at Chiswick by a single lofty tree, the stem of which has been cleared up to the very top, and from beneath which you command a view of the whole garden and a part of the park;—a good hint to landscape gardeners, which I advise you to profit by at M——. The cedars here (which unfortunately will not thrive with us) are celebrated, and grow to the size of old fir-trees. Colossal yew hedges also show how long this estate has been an object of extraordinary care. The new conservatories do more credit to the taste of the present possessor than the pleasure-ground. It is strange enough that orange-trees nowhere reach any great size in England. They are very ‘mésquin’ here. On the other hand, the flower-gardens are magnificent. The beds are so thinly planted that each separate plant has room to spread, excepting in those beds which are entirely filled with one sort of flower. In them, the chief aim is the perfection of the whole, and they are consequently by far the most beautiful. In the pinery I saw, for the first time, the great Providence pines, specimens of which have been produced of twelve pounds weight.

There is a menagerie attached to the garden, in which a tame elephant performs all sorts of feats, and very quietly suffers anybody to ride him about a large grass-plat. His neighbour is a lama, of a much less gentle nature; his weapon is a most offensive saliva, which he spits out to a distance of some yards at any one who irritates him; he takes such good aim, and fires so suddenly at his antagonist, that it is extremely difficult to avoid his charge.

Chiswick has unfortunately only stagnant slimy water, which is sometimes so low that the elephant, if he were thirsty, might drink it up at a draught.

Passing through a continued series of pretty villas and country-houses of every kind, amid the whirl of horsemen, stage-coaches, travelling-carriages, and coal-wagons drawn by gigantic horses, with occasional pretty glimpses of the Thames, I reached Hyde-Park Corner, after an hour’s quick driving, and buried myself anew in the labyrinth of the huge town.

The next day I visited the City, accompanied by my ‘laquais de place,’ a Swiss, who had travelled in Egypt, Syria, Siberia, and America; had published a Russian Post-book; brought the first intelligence of the taking of Hamburg, together with an actual specimen of a live Cossack, to London; bought Napoleon’s coronation robes at Paris, and exhibited them here; and speaks almost all the European languages. I think all this is not dear at half-a-guinea a day. He may be useful, too, as a physician, for he has collected so many secrets and recipes in his travels, that he has a domestic remedy for every disorder, and moreover, as he maintains, is in possession of a thousand different receipts for making punch. Under the conduct of this universal genius, I entered the Royal Exchange for the first time.

In other cities the Exchange has merely a mercantile air—here it has a completely historical one. The imposing statues of English sovereigns around, the most remarkable among whom are Henry the Eighth and Elizabeth, combined with the antique and stately architecture, excite a poetical feeling, to which the thought of the boundless commerce of which London is the centre gives a still deeper significancy. The men, however, who animate the picture soon draw one back into the region of common-place, for selfishness and avarice gleam but too clearly from every eye. In this point of view, the place I am describing, and indeed the whole city, have a repulsive sinister aspect, which almost reminds one of the restless and comfortless throng of the spirits of the damned.

The great court of the Exchange is surrounded by covered arcades, on which inscriptions point out to the merchants of every nation their several places of assembling. In the centre stands a statue of Charles the Second, who built this edifice. Its port and bearing precisely express the man whom history describes; not handsome, but somewhat graceful, and with an inveterate levity of features, composed, as if in mockery, to seriousness: a levity which nothing could correct, because it sprang from mediocrity, and which made this king as agreeable and careless a ‘roué’ as he was a worthless ruler. In niches above stand the busts of other English sovereigns. I have already mentioned Henry the Eighth and Elizabeth. They would be striking, independently of all associations;—- Henry, fat and contented, and with an expression of wanton cruelty: Elizabeth, with an air of masculine greatness, and yet of feminine spite. The busts are doubtless copied from the best originals by Holbein. On this story is the celebrated Lloyd’s Coffee House, the dirtiest place of the kind in London, which exhibits few traces of the millions daily exchanged in it.

Close by is the vast and beautiful building, the Bank of England, containing a number of rooms of various dimensions, generally lighted from above, and destined to the various offices. Hundreds of clerks are here at work, and mechanically conduct the gigantic business, at which the ‘nil admirari’ becomes a difficult matter to a poor German; especially when he is admitted into the Bullion Office where the ingots are kept, and gazes astounded on the heaps of gold and silver which appear to him to realize the wonders of the Arabian Nights.

From hence I proceeded to the Town-House (Guildhall), where the Lord Mayor was just in the act of administering the law. The present Lord Mayor is a bookseller, but cut a very good figure in his blue gown and gold chain, and assumed a truly monarchical dignity. I do not think that he acquitted himself at all worse than a regular officer of justice;—ever since Sancho Panza’s time, it is admitted that a sound understanding often discerns the right more truly than learned subtlety.

The scene of action was a moderate-sized room, half-filled with the lowest populace. The matter in hand was the most frequent and ordinary theme in England—a theft; and as the culprit, who appeared equally indifferent and ‘ennuyé’, after a little hesitation, confessed the offence, the drama soon came to a close.

Further still did we wander on in the tumultuous ‘City,’ where you may be lost like a flitting atom, if you do not pass on to the right or left according to rule; where you seem to be in continual danger of being spitted on the shaft of a cabriolet driving too near the narrow ‘trottoir,’ or crushed under the weight of an overloaded and tottering stage-coach edifice. At length we reached an extremely dark and mean-looking coffee-house, called Garroway’s, where estates and houses of enormous value are daily put up to sale. We took our seat with great gravity, as if we had been desirous of making some important purchase, and admired the uncommon suavity of manner and incredible address with which the auctioneer excited the desire to purchase among his audience. He was very well dressed in black, with a wig, and stood with all the dignity of a professor in his chair. He pronounced a charming oration on every estate, and failed not to season it with various jokes and witticisms, at the same time eulogizing every object in so irresistible a manner that one would have sworn that all the property went for an old song.

How could I leave the city without visiting the true ‘Lion,’ (the English expression for anything extraordinary)—the sovereign—in a word, Rothschild?

I found him, too, in a poor obscure-looking place, (his residence is in another part of the town,) and making my way with some difficulty through the little court-yard, blocked up by a wagon laden with bars of silver, I was introduced into the presence of this Grand Ally of the Holy Alliance. I found the Russian consul in the act of paying his court. He is an acute, clever man, perfect in the part he has to play, and uniting the due respect with a becoming air of dignity. This was the more difficult, because the very original aristocrat of the city did not stand much on ceremony. On my presenting my letter of credit, he said ironically, that we were lucky people who could afford to travel about so, and take our pleasure; while he, poor man, had such a heavy burthen to bear. He then broke out into bitter complaints that every poor devil who came to England had something or other to ask of him. “Yesterday,” said he, “here was a Russian begging of me” (an episode which threw a bitter-sweet expression over the consul’s face); “and,” added he, “the Germans here don’t give me a moment’s peace.” Now it was my turn to put a good face upon the matter. After this, the conversation took a political turn, and we both of course agreed that Europe could not subsist without him;—he modestly declined our compliment, and said, smiling, “Oh no, you are only jesting—I am but a servant, who people are pleased with because he manages their affairs well, and to whom they let some crumbs fall as an acknowledgment.”

All this was said in a language quite peculiar to himself, half English, half German—the English part with a broad German accent, but with the imposing confidence of a man who feels such trifles to be beneath his attention. This truly original language struck me as very characteristic of a man who is unquestionably a person of genius, and of a certain sort of greatness of character.

I had begun my day, very appropriately for England, with the Royal Exchange, the resort of merchants, and ended it with Exeter ‘Change, where I saw the representatives of the colonies,—the wild beasts. Here I found another lion, and this time a genuine one, called Nero, who besides his tameness, has the rarer merit in our northern latitude, of having presented England with six generations of young lions. He is of enormous size and dignified aspect, but now rests upon his laurels and sleeps royally nearly all day long. If he wakes in an ill humour, however, he makes the old wooden house and all the herd of subject beasts tremble. These consist of elephants, tigers, leopards, hyænas, zebras, monkeys, ostriches, condors, parrots, &c. It is curious that they are not upon the ground floor, but up one or two pair of stairs, so that one can ride on a tame elephant which stands always ready saddled, and enjoy a fine extensive prospect. The variety is great, and the price moderate. The ambassador of the late King of Würtemburg had, as I well remember, more occupation here than in St. James’ and Downing Street; and, indeed, I know that he was for a considerable time in fear of losing his post on account of a strange enormous dead tortoise.

On the way home to my hotel we passed a house which furnished my cicerone with an occasion of telling the following interesting story. If it is ‘brodé,’ I beg of you to blame him and not me.[10]

October 13th.

Fatigued by my tour the day before yesterday, I passed the following morning in my own room. In the evening I visited the English Opera. The house is neither large nor elegant, but the actors very good. There was no opera, however, but hideous melo-drames; first, Frankenstein, where a human being is made by magic,—a manufacture which answers very ill; and then the Vampire, after the well-known tale falsely attributed to Lord Byron. The principal part in both was acted by Mr. Cooke, who is distinguished for a very handsome person, skilful acting, and a remarkably dignified, noble deportment. The acting was, indeed, admirable throughout, but the pieces so stupid and monstrous that it was impossible to sit out the performance. The heat, the exhalations, and the audience were not the most agreeable. Besides all this, the performance lasted from seven to half-past twelve,—too long for the best.

The next day I drove to Hampton Court to visit the palace, the stud, and my old friend Lady ——. Of all three I found the first the least altered, and the celebrated vine laden as usual with grapes. It had considerably above a thousand bunches, and completely covered a hot-house of seventy-five feet long by twenty-five wide. In a corner stood, like the dim progenitor of a haughty race, its brown stem, as lost and obscure as if it did not belong to the magnificent canopy of leaves and fruit which owe their existence to it alone.

Most of the rooms in the palace have still the same furniture as in the time of William the Third. The torn chairs and curtains are carefully preserved. The walls are hung with many interesting and admirable pictures;—above all, the celebrated Cartoons of Raphael, which, however, are soon to be transferred to the King’s new palace. I must only mention two fine portraits,—that of Wolsey, the haughty founder of this palace, and that of Henry the Eighth, his treacherous master. Both are admirable and highly characteristic. You remember that fat lawyer whom we had such difficulty in getting rid of; with an animal expression of countenance, sensual, bloodthirsty as far as the present times render it possible to be so, clever, subtle, full of talent and of craft, with boundless haughtiness, and yet a resistless tendency to the vulgar, and, lastly, utterly and frankly devoid of all conscience;—give the picture of Henry a green frock-coat and pearl buttons, and you have a most faithful portrait of him.

Nature continually repeats herself in different ‘nuances,’—they vary according to the state of mankind and of the world.

In the night I was very nearly suffocated. The Jocrisse I imported, who had probably been too hospitably entertained by some English acquaintance, thought proper to take the coals out of the fireplace while I was asleep, and left them standing in my room in a lackered coal-scuttle. A frightful smoke and infernal smell fortunately awoke me just as I was dreaming that I was a courtier of Henry the Eighth, and was paying my court to a French beauty at the Champ du Drap d’Or; otherwise I should have gone to meet the fair one of my dream in heaven.

Almost like that heaven, as distant and as lovely, appears to me the place where you are dwelling, my truest friend: and thus I send you the kiss of peace across the sea, and close my first English letter, wishing you health and every blessing.

Your devoted L——.


London, Oct. 15th, 1826.

It seems to me that I shall never get accustomed to this climate, for ever since my landing I have felt perpetually unwell. However, so long as I am not confined to my chamber, I do not suffer it to depress me much; I ride a great deal in the lovely cultivated environs of London, and do not abstain from my walks about the town.

The turn of the British Museum came lately, where a strange “Mischmasch” of works of art, natural curiosities, books, and models, are preserved in a miserable building.

At the top of the staircase, as you enter, stand two enormous giraffes, in the character of stuffed guards, or emblems of English taste! There is, doubtless, much that is interesting in the various apartments. I confess, however, to my shame, that I must be in a peculiarly favourable state of mind not to have an attack of indigestion after such a surfeit of sights. Among the antediluvian remains I saw an enormous and remarkably perfect pair of stag’s antlers, at least six times as large as the largest of those which friend C—— keeps in the stag-gallery of his castle. In a huge shed are deposited the noble Elgin Marbles, as they are here called.

A bust of Hippocrates struck me as being so perfect a representation of the physician by profession, that here in England one can hardly look at it without putting one’s hand in one’s pocket.[11] I looked at the celebrated Portland Vase with all the enthusiasm it is calculated to excite. I send you two little works on the Vase and the Elgin Marbles, with very tolerable outline engravings. But I must now quit you to give orders about packing; for to-morrow I mean to start for Newmarket races.

Newmarket, Oct. 19th.

The beauty of the country, and the extraordinary neatness and elegance of every place through which my road lay to-day, struck me anew in the most agreeable manner. These fertile and well-cultivated fields; these thousands of comfortable and pretty farm-houses and cottages scattered over every part of the country; this incessant stream of elegant carriages, well-mounted horsemen, and well-dressed foot-passengers, are peculiar to England. The beautiful picture has but one fault,—it is all too cultivated, too perfect; thence always and everywhere the same, and consequently, in the long run, wearisome:—indeed I can even conceive that it must become distasteful in time, like a savoury dish of dainties to the stomach of a sated man. This may explain the great taste of the English for travelling on the Continent. It is just so in life,—the thing men can the least bear is undisturbed good fortune, and it may be doubted whether father Adam would not have died of ennui in paradise.

To-day, however, a due proportion of shadows was provided for me. In consequence of the great resort to the races, I found at every stage only miserable overdriven horses, sometimes none at all, so that, according to the English standard, I travelled wretchedly, and did not reach Newmarket till late at night.

There was no room in any of the inns; and I thought myself happy at last to get one small room in a private house, for which I paid five guineas a week. Fortunately I met an old acquaintance in the same house,—the son of a little Hungarian Magnate, who seems formed to please himself and others by his unpretending good-nature and joyous temper. I revere such natures, precisely because they have all that I want.

Next morning I rode about with him to reconnoitre the ground a little. One day here is precisely like another. At half-past nine in the morning you see some hundreds of race-horses, carefully clothed, taking their morning promenade on a rising ground. The bare, wide-spread heath is covered with them as with a herd of cattle; some are walking at a foot pace, others galloping, some slower, some quicker, but none at full speed. An inspector on a little poney generally accompanies the horses which belong to the same gentleman, or which are under the care of the same training-groom. The horses are all ridden without a saddle by little half-dressed lads, one of whom is every now and then thrown for the amusement of the spectators. After this exhibition, certainly a most interesting one to every amateur of horses, people breakfast, and in half an hour go to the sale, which takes place almost every day in the open street, under the auspices of the far-famed Mr. Tattersall. They then ride or drive to the races.

These begin pretty punctually at twelve o’clock. An interminable grassy plain covered with a thick short turf is the ground, where various distances, from a full German mile as maximum, to an eighth or tenth, as minimum, are marked for the course in a perfectly straight line. Near the end, this course is enclosed between ropes, on the outside of which rows of carriages three and four deep are drawn up, generally without horses, and covered within and without, from top to bottom, with spectators. At the goal itself is a wooden house on wheels, very like those the shepherds have in many parts of Germany, so that it can be moved about in case the course is lengthened or shortened: in this sits the judge. Just opposite to him is a post fixed in the ground, by means of which he determines which horse’s nose first appears exactly on a line with it; for an inch often decides the race: and it is a very skilful piece of policy and jockeyship of the riders here, to betray the real speed of their horses as little as possible, and to display only as much of it as is necessary to win the race. If they see they have no chance, they immediately give up; so that those who contend for victory to the last, are always very nearly together at the goal. The grotesque spectacle of a rider a mile in the rear, belabouring his horse with whip and spur, like a steam-engine, is exhibited only in France and Germany. If two horses reach the post exactly at the same moment, (which frequently happens,) they must run again. The judge is upon oath, and there is no appeal from his decision. The English jockeys (who are not, as foreigners think, little boys, but often dwarfish men of sixty,) form a perfectly distinct class, and are the best practical riders I know of. You remember that I kept race-horses myself, and had a Newmarket jockey for a time in my service, who won a considerable bet for me at Vienna. It amused me greatly to see this fellow ‘training’ himself. After dosing himself severely, he would go out in the greatest heat, dressed in three or four great-coats, ride a certain distance at a hard trot, till the sweat streamed off him in torrents, and he almost sank from exhaustion; ‘mais tel étoit son plaisir,’ and the more completely good-for-nothing he felt, the better he was pleased.[12]

But there are bounds to this: for the man, by excessive training, may reduce himself below the weight which the horse is bound to carry, and thus subject himself to the inconvenient necessity of carrying lead in the girths. At a certain distance from the goal, about a hundred paces to the side, stands another white post called the betting-post. Here the bettors assemble, after they have seen the horses saddled in the stables at the beginning of the course, thoroughly examined into all the circumstances of the impending race, or perhaps given a wink to some devoted jockey. The scene which ensues would to many appear the most strange that ever was exhibited. In noise, uproar, and clamour, it resembles a Jews’ synagogue, with a greater display of passion. The persons of the drama are the first peers of England, livery-servants, the lowest ‘sharpers’ and ‘blacklegs;’—in short, all who have money to bet here claim equal rights; nor is there any marked difference in their external appearance. Most of them have pocket-books in their hands, each calls aloud his bet, and when it is taken, each party immediately notes it in his book. Dukes, lords, grooms, and rogues, shout, scream, and halloo together, and bet together, with a volubility and in a technical language out of which a foreigner is puzzled to make anything; till suddenly the cry is heard, “The horses have started!” In a minute the crowd disperses; but the bettors soon meet again at the ropes which enclose the course. You see a multitude of telescopes, opera-glasses and eye-glasses, levelled from the carriages and by the horsemen, in the direction whence the jockeys are coming. With the speed of the wind they are seen approaching; and for a few moments a deep and anxious silence pervades the motley crowd; while a manager on horseback keeps the course clear, and applies his whip without ceremony to the shoulders of any intruder. The calm endures but a moment;—then once more arises the wildest uproar; shouts and lamentations, curses and cheers re-echo on every side, from Lords and Ladies, far and wide. “Ten to four upon the Admiral!” “A hundred to one upon Madame Vestris!” “Small Beer against the field!” &c. are heard from the almost frantic bettors: and scarcely do you hear a “Done!” uttered here and there, when the noble animals are before you—past you—in the twinkling of an eye; the next moment at the goal, and luck, or skill, or knavery have decided the victory. The great losers look blank for a moment; the winners triumph aloud; many make ‘bonne mine à mauvais jeu,’ and dart to the spot, where the horses are unsaddled and the jockeys weighed, to see if some irregularity may not yet give them a chance. In a quarter of an hour the same scene begins anew with other horses, and is repeated six or seven times. “Voilà les courses de Newmarket!”

The first day I was gifted with such a prophetic vision, that twice, by the mere exercise of my proper observation and judgment, I betted upon the winner at the saddling, and gained a considerable sum. But I had the usual fate of play,—what I won that day I lost the next, and as much more to boot. Whoever is a permanent winner here, is sure of his game beforehand; and it is well known that the principles of many of the English nobility are remarkably wide and expansive on this head.

Among the company present, I found several old acquaintances, who gave me permission to see their running horses in the stable, which is regarded as a signal favour. They also offered to introduce me into the Club here;—an honour, however, which I declined. It is purely a gambling Club,—which a man should beware of in England, more than in any other country.

It may be regarded as a part of the national costume, and highly characteristic of the general tradesman-like spirit, that beforehand all advantages are fair; but that after a bet is once taken, though often amidst the greatest hurry and confusion, it is scarcely ever disputed. On the other hand, a man who has lost more than he can pay, before reckoning-day becomes invisible, that is, commits an act of bankruptcy, and betakes himself to the Continent, either for ever, or till he can pay.

On the first day of my visit to Newmarket, my Hungarian friend introduced me to the family of a rich merchant of this neighbourhood, who with his visitors, among whom were some very pretty girls, came daily to the races, and returned home after them. They invited us to dine with them the next day, and stay the day after, which we accepted with much pleasure.

About five o’clock we set out on horseback. A newly planted, very broad double avenue of beeches marked the beginning of our host’s property, and led us through about half a mile of road to the entrance of his park,—a sort of triumphal arch between two lodges, to which the park paling joined. This was however concealed in the plantation for some distance on either side the lodges, so that they appeared to stand in the midst of wood, and thus produced a very good effect. For some time our way led us through a thick plantation, till we reached the lawn, studded with groups of trees, which invariably forms the chief feature of an English park. Here we caught sight of the house, behind which lay the high trees and ‘shrubberies.’

Some cows lay on the grass just before the door of the house, so that we were obliged almost to ride over them—a strange anomaly, which even Repton animadverts upon. It is the custom here to have the park, that is the ornamented pasture land, extend on one side, if not on both, to the very house; but surely it would be in better taste to have the garden and pleasure-ground around the house. It seems to me, that however agreeable the distant view of cattle may be, their immediate vicinity, with all its accompaniments, is not very pleasant.

We found a pretty numerous company, consisting of the master and mistress of the house, both of middle age, their eldest married daughter with her husband, two younger daughters, a neighbouring Baronet with his pretty wife, and her very pleasing but very melancholy sister, Miss ——, a much courted lady who frequently moves in higher circles, three gentlemen not remarkable for anything, the son of the house, and lastly, a London beau of the second class,—a study of an aspiring City dandy.

The Baronet had served in Germany, and had, as he told us, obtained the cross of Maria Theresa. He did not wear it, because he thought the thing very well for a young man, but not at all suitable to the quiet country gentleman’s life he now led. He was a simple, kind-hearted man, who appeared to have been invited to meet us as best acquainted with the Continent. We however preferred taking lessons in English manners of his wife and her sister.

According to this system of manners, as it appeared, a visit from two ‘Noblemen,’ (even foreign ones, though these are full fifty per cent. under natives,) was an honour to a house of the ‘volée’ of our host’s. We were therefore amazingly ‘fêtés;’ even the dandy was—as far as the rules of his ‘métier’ permitted—civil and obliging to us. It is an almost universal weakness of the unnoble in England, to parade an acquaintance with the noble: the noble do the same with regard to the ‘fashionable’ or ‘exclusive;’ a peculiar caste, an emperium in imperio, which exercises a still more despotical power in society, and is not influenced by rank, still less by riches, but finds the possibility of its maintenance only in this national foible.

It is therefore a great delight to the English of the middle classes to travel on the Continent, where they easily make acquaintance with people of rank, of whom they can talk as of intimate friends when they come home. A merchant’s wife once gave me a specimen of this: “Do you know the Queen of ——?” said she. I replied that “I had had the honour of being presented to her.” “She is a great friend of mine,” added she,—exactly as if she had been talking of her husband’s partner’s wife. She immediately exhibited, among the numerous trinkets which hung about her, a portrait of the Queen, which, as she said, Her Majesty had given her.

It was very likely true, for her daughter produced a letter from Princess ——, a married daughter of the Queen, containing the most confidential communications concerning her marriage and domestic affairs, which has probably been made to serve for some time as ‘cheval de parade’ to gratify the vanity of the possessor. Is it not most extraordinary that our German great people, many of whom are by no means wanting in pride and ‘morgue’ towards their own countrymen, should treat every little English Squire or Miss, however utterly deficient in intellectual pretensions, almost as an equal, without in the least inquiring whether this person occupies a station at home which warrants such a reception?

Nothing lets us down more in the eyes of the English themselves than this obsequious worship of foreigners; the meanness of which consists in this, that its true foundation generally lies in the profound respect which high and low have for English money.

It requires a considerable fortune here to keep up a country-house; for custom demands many luxuries, and, according to the aspiring and imitative manners of the country, as much (in the main things) at the shopkeeper’s house, as at the Duke’s;—a handsomely fitted-up house, with elegant furniture, plate, servants in new and handsome liveries, a profusion of dishes and foreign wines, rare and expensive dessert, and in all things an appearance of superfluity,—‘plenty’ as the English call it. As long as there are visitors in the house, this way of life goes on; but many a family atones for it by meagre fare when alone: for which reason nobody here ventures to pay a visit in the country without being invited, and these invitations usually fix the day and hour. The acquaintances are generally numerous; and as both room and the time allotted to the reception of guests are small, one must give place to another. True hospitality this can hardly be called; it is rather the display of one’s own possessions, for the purpose of dazzling as many as possible. After a family has thus kept open house for a month or two, they go for the remainder of the time they have to spend in the country, to make visits at the houses of others; but the one hospitable month costs as much as a wealthy landed proprietor spends in a whole year with us.

As you never were in England, I must say a few words on the routine of an English dinner, which, as I have said, is, ‘à peu de chose près’, everywhere alike.

You like the details of daily life, and have often told me that you feel the want of them in most books of travels, and yet that nothing gives you a more lively conception of a foreign country. You must therefore forgive me if I go into trifles.

The gentlemen lead the ladies into the dining-room, not as in France, by the hand, but by the arm; and here, as there, are emancipated from the necessity of those antiquated bows, which even in some of the best society in Germany, are exchanged every time one hands out a lady. On the other hand, there is a most anxious regard to rank, in the midst of all which the strangest blunders are made as to that of foreigners. I execrated mine to-day, as it brought me to the head of the table; while my friend very cleverly slipped himself in between the pretty sisters. When you enter, you find the whole of the first course on the table, as in France.

After the soup is removed, and the covers are taken off, every man helps the dish before him, and offers some of it to his neighbour;[13] if he wishes for anything else, he must ask across the table, or send a servant for it;—a very troublesome custom, in place of which, some of the most elegant travelled gentlemen have adopted the more convenient German fashion of sending the servants round with the dishes.

It is not usual to take wine without drinking to another person. When you raise your glass, you look fixedly at the one with whom you are drinking, bow your head, and then drink with great gravity. Certainly many of the customs of the South Sea Islanders, which strike us the most, are less ludicrous. It is esteemed a civility to challenge anybody in this way to drink; and a messenger is often sent from one end of the table to the other to announce to B—— that A—— wishes to take wine with him; whereupon each, sometimes with considerable trouble, catches the other’s eye, and goes through the ceremony of the prescribed nod with great formality, looking at the moment very like a Chinese mandarin. If the company is small, and a man has drunk with everybody, but happens to wish for more wine, he must wait for the dessert, if he does not find in himself courage enough to brave custom.

At the conclusion of the second course comes a sort of intermediate dessert of cheese, butter, salad, raw celery, and the like; after which ale, sometimes thirty or forty years old, and so strong that when thrown on the fire it blazes like spirit, is handed about. The tablecloth is then removed: under it, at the best tables, is a finer, upon which the dessert is set. At inferior ones, it is placed on the bare polished table. It consists of all sorts of hot-house fruits, which are here of the finest quality, Indian and native preserves, stomachic ginger, confitures, and the like. Clean glasses are set before every guest, and, with the dessert plates and knives and forks, small fringed napkins are laid. Three decanters are usually placed before the master of the house, generally containing claret, port, and sherry, or madeira. The host pushes these in stands, or in a little silver wagon on wheels, to his neighbour on the left. Every man pours out his own wine, and if a lady sits next him, also helps her; and so on till the circuit is made, when the same process begins again. Glass jugs filled with water happily enable foreigners to temper the brandy which forms so large a component part of English wines. After the dessert is set on, all the servants leave the room: if more is wanted the bell is rung, and the butler (Haushofmeister) alone brings it in. The ladies sit a quarter of an hour longer, during which time sweet wines are sometimes served, and then rise from table. The men rise at the same time, one opens the door for them, and as soon as they are gone, draw closer together; the host takes the place of the hostess, and the conversation turns upon subjects of local and everyday interest, in which the stranger is pretty nearly forgotten, and must content himself with listening to what he can take very little part in. Every man is, however, at liberty to follow the ladies as soon as he likes,—a liberty of which Count B—— and I very quickly availed ourselves. We had the singular satisfaction of learning that this was in accordance with the latest mode, as much drinking is now ‘unfashionable.’ Accordingly the dandy had already preceded us. We found him with the ladies, who received us in a ‘salon,’ grouped around a large table on which were tea and coffee.[14] When the whole company was re-assembled, all fell off into groups, according to their pleasure. Some entertained themselves with music; here and there a couple whispered in the recess of a window; several talked politics;—the dandy alone remained solitary: sunk into a large easy chair, he had laid his elegantly shod right foot over his left knee, and in that attitude became apparently so absorbed in Madame de Stäel’s ‘Allemagne’ that he took not the slightest notice of any one present.

‘A tout prendre,’ I must do this pretty young fellow the justice to say that he was not at all a bad copy of higher originals. Perhaps I was bribed into this favourable opinion by his talking much at dinner about the great Göthe, and praising his ‘Fost;’ both of whom (Göthe and Fost) Lord Byron has brought into fashion in England. Fost seemed to please him, particularly on account of what he conceived to be its atheistical tendency, for he had, as he informed us, spent half his life in Paris, and avowed himself an ‘esprit fort.’

The following day, after all breakfasting together, we rode with the ladies in the park, which contained nothing remarkable except a canal of stagnant and slimy water, which had cost five thousand pounds in the digging;—an expense better spared. The fruit-gardens and hot-houses were admirable: the latter, a hobby of the proprietor, were heated by steam on a very ingenious plan of his own, and the heat increased or diminished at pleasure by simply turning a cock. Three-and-twenty different sorts of pines,—above which, pendent from the glass roof, hung gigantic purple grapes,—fill these spacious, elegant houses; and in the fruit-garden we admired pears on the wall seven inches in length, sixteen in circumference, and of an excellent flavour.

Several of the gentlemen went hunting; but we preferred the society at home. The gay amusing B—— was become the favourite of the ladies, and was evidently greatly regretted by them when the post-chaise arrived at one o’clock in the morning to take us back to Newmarket. I must confess that we took rather a laughing review of some things that struck us as ridiculous, though I was really ashamed that we were such genuine B—— ‘s[15] as to make ourselves merry at the expense of our host and his company, instead of feeling hearty gratitude for our hospitable reception.

But now-a-days the world is spoiled; and besides, hospitality which springs from ostentation cannot expect the same hearty requital as that which is the offspring of the heart. Probably we guests fared no better in the house we had just quitted.

At the races the next morning we saw the young ladies again, betted gloves with them till we lost, and delighted them with some Paris ones. We declined a second invitation, as we were engaged to a gentleman’s dinner, and Count B—— was going to a fox-hunt at Melton. I shall leave Newmarket too, and continue my letter in London.

Epping-place, Oct. 20th.

I have travelled as far as I wished, and must pass the night here, as the inspection of two parks has fully occupied my day.

My trouble has been richly rewarded. The first, Audley-End, belonging to Lord Braybrooke, claims a place among the finest in the country. The road lies through the middle of it, with a deep ha-ha on each side, which secures the park and yet leaves a full view into it. You see, at first, an extensive green landscape, in the centre of which is a broad, river-like, and beautifully formed piece of water, which unfortunately, however, has too little motion to prevent its being covered with duckweed. Near to the opposite shore stands the splendid Gothic castle, which was originally built by the Duke of Suffolk, and was then three times as large as it is now. The multitude of its towers, projecting angles, and lofty many-formed windows, still give it a very imposing and picturesque appearance.

Although Lady Braybrooke was at home, I obtained the uncommon permission to view it. I entered a wide and very simple hall, ornamented only with some gigantic stag’s horns of great antiquity, and furnished with a few massive benches and chairs, on which the arms of the family were painted; some very old paintings; a Gothic lamp; a large table, consisting of two pieces of serpentine, of which only the upper side was polished, the rest quite rough; and a dozen leather fire-buckets, also painted with the family arms. The ceiling was of wood, with deeply-carved compartments and old faded paintings. One saw at the first glance that it was no house of yesterday one had entered. A high door of heavy carved oak led from hence into the baron’s hall, a large room whose enormous windows reached from the ceiling to the floor, and afforded a free view of the landscape. Several family pictures, as large as life, partly painted by Vandyck, hung on the opposite wall; and between them rose the huge marble chimney-piece, with the richly-coloured arms of the Suffolks executed upon it in stucco. The third side of the room,—that on which we entered,—was entirely covered with very fine and highly relieved carvings, figures half the size of life, like those one sees in the choirs of Gothic churches. Opposite were large folding doors which opened into the eating-hall, and on each side an open staircase leading to the first story. The dining-room contains a portrait of Suffolk, and one of Queen Elizabeth. Her red hair, ‘fade’ complexion and false look, and her over-done finery, gave no advantageous idea of the vain and gallant ‘Maiden Queen.’

On the first floor is a long narrow gallery full of pretty knick-knacks and antique curiosities. In the centre is a large chart of the winds, connected with the weather-cock on the tower, and destined to show the sportsman every morning which way the wind sets.[16] This serves as drawing-room, for most English country-houses and mansions are judiciously made to contain only one principal entertaining room; which is much more convenient for the reception of a large company.

The chapel is modern, but richly and tastefully ornamented; and here, if the chaplain is absent, the lord of the house, according to ancient usage, reads divine service at ten o’clock every morning, at which all the family and servants must attend.

The park is of considerable extent, but intersected by a troublesome number of fences, which serve to allot to the sheep, cows, horses and deer, their several territories. Of the latter, there are from four to five hundred head, which generally graze pretty near together like a herd of tame cattle, and do not answer at all to our idea of game.[17] The flesh too has a totally different flavour from that of the animals which roam free in our woods, just as they say the flesh of wild oxen differs from that of tame.

The preserves for partridges and hares are also fenced in to protect the low copse from the cattle, in consequence of whose presence, the greater part of an English park consists, as I have already remarked, only of groups of high trees whose branches the cattle cannot reach.

These extensive views, grand and striking as they are at first, become tiresome in time from their uniformity. Nor can I see that the numerous enclosures are advantages to the landscape. Almost every young tree has a fence round it to protect it from the cattle.

Two temples and an obelisk, to which there is no other way than across the turf, have a very heterogeneous appearance in the midst of these pasture-grounds. The distant Gothic tower of Walden church, rearing its head picturesquely over the summits of the oaks, was in much better keeping.

On the other hand I greatly admired the flower-garden and pheasantry. The first describes a large oval, surrounded with a thick natural evergreen wall of yew, laurel, rhododendron, cedar, cypress, box, holly, &c.; a brook, adorned with a grotto and water-fall, flows through the velvet turf, on which the rare and splendid plants and flower-beds of every form and colour group themselves most beautifully.

The pheasantry, which is nearly two miles from this spot, is a thick shady grove of various sorts of trees, of considerable extent, and surrounded by a high wall. We could only get to it over the wet grass, as the gravel-walk commenced from the entrance-gate. This is from economy, for roads are excessively expensive both to make and to keep up in England. There is generally but one carriage-road to the house, and even the footpaths cease with the iron fences of the pleasure-grounds. The English ladies are not so afraid of setting their feet on wet grass as ours are.

After many windings, the path brought me, under a most lovely leafy canopy, unexpectedly before the ivy-covered door of a little building, adjoining to which, still more buried in the wood, was the gamekeeper’s house. This door opened from within, and most enchanting was the view that it disclosed to us. We had entered a little open saloon, the isolated pillars of which were entirely covered with thick monthly roses;—between them was seen a large aviary filled with parrots on the right, and on the left an equally extensive habitation for canaries, goldfinches, and other small birds; before us lay an open grass-plat dotted with evergreens, and behind this a background of high woods, through which small peeps at a distant village and a solitary church-tower had been cut with singular taste and skill.

On this grass-plat, the keeper now called together perfect clouds of gold, silver, and pied pheasants, fowls, of exotic breeds, tame rooks, curious pigeons, and other birds that were accustomed to be fed here, and thronged together in the most gay and motley crowd. Their various manners and gestures, rendered more lively by their passionate eagerness, afforded an amusing spectacle. The behaviour of a gold pheasant who, like a beau of the old school, seemed trying to make his court to all the assembled hens with the most ludicrous struts and airs, was so excessively comic that my old B—— burst into an immoderate fit of laughter; whereat the English servants, who are accustomed to observe an exterior of slavish reverence in the presence of their masters, looked at him with a consternation at his boldness, which amused me as much as the ‘Pantalonnade’ among the fowls.

There are above five hundred gold and silver pheasants. They have all one wing cut as soon as they are hatched, which for ever prevents their flying. They inhabit these woods winter and summer, without wanting even the shelter of a shed,—so mild is this climate.

Not to weary you, I omit the description of the second park, Short Grove, which had nothing remarkable to boast, and appeared much neglected. The house, park, hot-houses, &c., the former completely furnished, were to let for the moderate rent of four hundred a-year,—a very common custom here when the possessors are travelling.

We should not like to imitate it; while on the other hand, a part of our town-houses are almost always let, the proprietors inhabiting only the ‘bel étage.’ This again appears very strange to the English, and certainly is extremely inconvenient, for the presence of several families in one house is not favourable either to order or cleanliness.

The house-door at Short Grove was covered on the outside with looking-glass,—a very pretty idea: as you enter the house you have a beautiful picture of the country.

The great wealth of the landholders of England must always strike people from the Continent, where the landed proprietors are the poorest class, and the least protected by laws and institutions. Here everything conspires for their advantage. It is very difficult for the fundholder to acquire the free and full possession of land. Almost the whole soil is the property of the aristocracy, who generally let it only on lease; so that when a great man calls a village his, this does not mean, as with us, merely that he has the lordship (Oberherrschafft) over it, but that every house is his absolute property; and only granted to the actual inhabitants for a certain time. You may conceive what enormous and ever increasing revenues this must bring them, in a country where trade and population are continually on the increase; and may admire with me the concert and address with which this aristocracy has contrived for centuries to turn all the institutions of the country to its own advantage.

The free sale of a portion of land is attended by many difficult conditions, and at so high a price that it is out of the reach of small capitalists, who find it more advantageous to hire it on lease. Leases here are, however, of a very different nature from ours. The piece of land is let to the tenant for ninety-nine years on payment of a certain yearly rent, which varies from a few shillings to five and ten pounds yearly per foot of the frontage, if it be for building on; in large portions, it is so much per acre. The tenant now does with it what he likes, builds where he pleases, lays out gardens, pleasure-grounds, and so on: but after the lapse of the ninety-nine years, the whole reverts just as it stands, sound and tight, to the family of the original lord of the soil: nay more; the tenant must keep the house in perfect repair, and paint it every seven years. During his allotted term he may sell or let it to others, but of course only up to that period when it reverts to the original proprietor. Almost all the country-houses, villas, &c., that one sees, thus belong to great land-owners; and although the tenants at the expiration of their term generally re-establish this sort of precarious property in them, yet they must double or treble their rent, according to the increased value of land, or the improvements they themselves have made upon it. Even the greater part of London belongs, on such terms, to certain noblemen, of whom Lord Grosvenor, for instance, is said to derive above 100,000l. a year from his ground-rents. Scarcely a single inhabitant of London, therefore, except a few members of the high aristocracy, is the real owner of his house. Even Rothschild’s is not his own: and when a man buys one, as it is called, people ask him for how long. The price varies according as the house is taken at first hand, commonly then for a rent; or at second or third, and then more usually for a sum of money. The greater part of the profits of industry thus inevitably falls into the hands of the aristocracy, and necessarily increases the enormous influence which they already exercise over the government of the country.[18]

London, October 21st.

This afternoon I got home safe and well through the incessant rain, refreshed myself with a good dinner at the Club, and in the evening, let me tell you, won just six times my travelling expenses. I am well and in good spirits, and find that I want nothing but you.

Let me finish my letter at so favourable a conjuncture. It is already swelled to a packet.

Ever your faithfully devoted L——.


London, Nov. 20th, 1826.

Beloved Friend,

I advise travellers never to take servants out of their fatherland into strange countries, especially if they imagine they shall save by it,—now-a-days always a prime object. This piece of economy belongs to the class of those, one of which costs more than four pieces of extravagance; besides which, one hangs a load round one’s neck which is burthensome in various ways.

These wise reflections are excited in me by my old valet, who seems inclined to fall into the English spleen because he finds so many daily difficulties here;—above all, in getting soup for his dinner, the thought of which beloved aliment of his home calls tears into his eyes. He reminds me of the Prussian soldiers, who, amid streams of Champagne, beat the French peasants for not setting Stettin beer before them.

True it is that the English of the middle classes, accustomed to substantial flesh diet, are not acquainted with the Northern broths and soups: what goes under that name in England is an expensive extract of all sorts of peppers and spices from both Indies, like that brewed in a witches’ cauldron. The face of my faithful liegeman, at the first spoonful of this compound he put into his mouth, would have been worthy to figure in Peregrine Pickle’s antique repast, and turned my anger into loud laughter. Yet I see beforehand that his devotion to me will be wrecked on this rock; for our Germans are, and ever will be, curious beings; holding longer than any others to the accustomed,—be it faith, love or soup.

In the absence of society, the various Clubs, (to which, contrary to former custom, a stranger can now gain admittance,) are a very agreeable resource. Our ambassador introduced me into two of them,—the United Service Club, into which no foreigners are admitted except ambassadors and military men,—the latter of the rank of staff-officers: and the Traveller’s Club, into which every foreigner of education, who has good introductions, is admitted; though every three months he is made to undergo the somewhat humiliating ceremony of requesting a fresh permission, to which he is held with almost uncivil severity.

In Germany, people have as little notion of the elegance and comfort of Clubs, as of the rigorous execution of their laws which prevail here.

All that luxury and convenience, without magnificence, demand, is here to be found in as great perfection as in the best private houses. The stairs and rooms are covered with fresh and handsome carpets, and rugs (sheepskins with the wool nicely prepared and dyed of bright colours) are laid before the doors to prevent drafts; marble chimney-pieces, handsome looking-glasses (always of one piece,—a necessary part of solid English luxury), a profusion of furniture, &c. render every apartment extremely comfortable. Even scales, by which to ascertain one’s weight daily—a strange taste of the English—are not wanting. The numerous servants are never seen but in shoes, and in the neatest livery or plain clothes; and a porter is always at his post to take charge of great-coats and umbrellas. This latter article in England deserves attention, since umbrellas, which are unfortunately so indispensable, are stolen in the most shameless manner, be it where it may, if you do not take particular care of them. This fact is so notorious that I must translate for your amusement a passage from a newspaper, relating to some Society for the encouragement of virtue, which was to award a prize for the most honourable action. “The choice,” continues the author, “was become extremely difficult; and it was nearly determined to give the prize to an individual who had paid his tailor’s bill punctually for several years; when another was pointed out, who had twice sent home an umbrella left at his house. At this unheard-of act,” adds the journalist, “the company first fell into mute wonder that so much virtue was still found in Israel; but at length loud and enthusiastic applause left the choice no longer doubtful.”

In the elegant and well-furnished library there is also a person always at hand to fetch you the books you want. You find all the journals in a well-arranged reading-room; and in a small room for maps and charts,[20] a choice of the newest and best in their kind. This is so arranged that all the maps, rolled up, hang one over another on the wall, thus occupying but a small space; and each is easily drawn down for use by a little loop in the centre. A pull at a loop at the side rolls up the map again by a very simple piece of mechanism. The name of each country is inscribed in such large letters on the mahogany staff on which the map is rolled, that it may be read with ease across the room. By this contrivance a great number of maps may be hung in a very small closet, and when wanted, may be found and inspected in a moment, without the slightest trouble, or derangement of the others.

The table,—I mean the eating,—with most men the first thing, and with me not the last,—is generally prepared by a French cook, as well and as cheaply as it is possible to have it in London. As the Club provides the wines, and sells them again to each member, they are very drinkable and reasonable. But ‘gourmands’ must ever miss the finest wines, even at the best tables in London. This arises from the strange habit of the English (and these people, too, stick faster to their habits than an oyster to its shell,) of getting their wines from London wine-merchants, instead of importing them from the places where they grow, as we do. Now these wine-merchants adulterate their wine to such a degree, that one who was lately prosecuted for having some thousand bottles of port and claret in his cellars which had not paid duty, proved that all this wine was manufactured by himself in London, and thus escaped the penalty. You may imagine, therefore, what sort of brewage you often get under the high-sounding names of Champagne, Lafitte, &c. The dealers scarcely ever buy the very best which is to be had in the native lands of the several wines, for the obvious reason that they could make little or no profit of it; at best they only use it to enable them to get off other wine of inferior quality.

Excuse this wine-digression, which to you, who drink only water, cannot be very interesting; but you know I write for us both, and to me the subject is I confess not unimportant. “Gern fuhre ich Wein im Munde.

But let us back to our Clubs.

The peculiarity of English manners may be much better observed here, at the first ‘abord,’ than in the great world, which is everywhere more or less alike; whereas the same individuals, of whom it is in part composed, show themselves here with much less restraint. In the first place, the stranger must admire the refinement of convenience with which Englishmen sit: it must be confessed that a man who is ignorant of the ingenious English chairs, of every form, and adapted to every degree of fatigue, indisposition, or constitutional peculiarity, really loses a large share of earthly enjoyment. It is a positive pleasure even to see an Englishman sit, or rather lie, in one of these couch-like chairs by the fire-side. A contrivance like a reading-desk attached to the arm, and furnished with a candlestick, is so placed before him, that with the slightest touch he can bring it nearer or further, push it to the right or the left, at pleasure. A curious machine, several of which stand around the large fire-place, receives one or both of his feet; and the hat on his head completes the enchanting picture of superlative comfort.

This latter circumstance is the most difficult of imitation to a man brought up in the old school. Though he can never refrain from a provincial sort of shudder when he enters the brilliantly lighted saloon of the Club-house, where dukes, ambassadors and lords, elegantly dressed, are sitting at the card-tables, yet if he wishes to be ‘fashionable’ he must keep on his hat, advance to a party at whist, nod to one or two of his acquaintances; then carelessly taking up a newspaper, sink down on a sofa, and, not till after some time, ‘nonchalament’ throw down his hat (which perhaps has all the while been a horrid annoyance to him); or, if he stays but a few minutes, not take it off at all.

The practice of half lying instead of sitting; sometimes of lying at full length on the carpet at the feet of ladies; of crossing one leg over the other in such a manner as to hold the foot in the hand; of putting the hands in the arm-holes of the waistcoat, and so on,—are all things which have obtained in the best company and the most exclusive circles: it is therefore very possible that the keeping on the hat may arrive at the same honour. In this case it will doubtless find its way into Paris society, which, after being formerly aped by all Europe, now disdains not to ape the English,—sometimes grotesquely enough,—and, as is usual in such cases, often outdoes its original.

On the other hand, the English take it very ill of foreigners, if they reprove a waiter who makes them wait, or brings one thing instead of another, or if they give their commands in a loud or lordly tone of voice; though the English themselves often do this in their own country, and much more in ours, and though the dining-room of the Club is in fact only a more elegant sort of ‘restauration,’ where every man must pay his reckoning after he has dined. It is regarded not only as improper, but as unpleasant and offensive, if any one reads during dinner. It is not the fashion in England; and, as I have this bad habit in a supreme degree, I have sometimes remarked satirical signs of displeasure on the countenances of a few Islanders of the old school, who shook their heads as they passed me. One must be on one’s guard, generally, to do things as little as possible unlike the English, and yet not to try to imitate them servilely in everything, for no race of men can be more intolerant. Most of them see with reluctance the introduction of any foreigner into their more private societies, and all regard it as a distinguished favour and obligation conferred on us.

But of all offences against English manners which a man can commit, the three following are the greatest:—to put his knife to his mouth instead of his fork; to take up sugar or asparagus with his fingers; or, above all, to spit anywhere in a room. These are certainly laudable prohibitions, and well-bred people of all countries avoid such practices,—though even on these points manners alter greatly; for Marshal Richelieu detected an adventurer who passed himself off for a man of rank, by the single circumstance of his taking up olives with his fork and not with his fingers. The ridiculous thing is the amazing importance which is here attached to them. The last-named crime is so pedantically proscribed in England, that you might seek through all London in vain to find such a piece of furniture as a spitting-box. A Dutchman, who was very uncomfortable for the want of one, declared with great indignation, that an Englishman’s only spitting-box was his stomach. These things are, I repeat, more than trivial, but the most important rules of behaviour in foreign countries almost always regard trivialities. Had I, for example, to give a few universal rules to a young traveller, I should seriously counsel him thus:—In Naples, treat the people brutally; in Rome, be natural; in Austria, don’t talk politics; in France, give yourself no airs; in Germany, a great many; and in England, don’t spit. With these rules, the young man would get on very well. What one must justly admire is the well-adapted arrangement of every thing belonging to the economy of life and of all public establishments in England, as well as the systematical rigour with which what has once been determined on is unalterably followed up. In Germany, all good institutions soon fall asleep, and new brooms alone sweep clean; here it is quite otherwise. On the other hand, every thing is not required of the same person, but exactly so much, and no more, as falls within his department. The treatment of servants is as excellent as their performance of their duties. Each has his prescribed field of activity; in which, however, the strictest and most punctual execution of orders is required of him, and in any case of neglect the master knows whom he has to call to account. At the same time, the servants enjoy a reasonable freedom, and have certain portions of time allotted to them, which their master carefully respects. The whole treatment of the serving classes is much more decorous, and combined with more ‘égards,’ than with us; but then they are so entirely excluded from all familiarity, and such profound respect is exacted from them, that they appear to be considered rather as machines than as beings of the same order. This, and their high wages, are no doubt the causes that the servants really possess more external dignity than any other class in England, relatively to their station.

In many cases it would be a very pardonable blunder in a foreigner to take the valet for the lord, especially if he happened to imagine that courtesy and a good address were the distinguishing marks of a man of quality. This test would be by no means applicable in England, where these advantages are not to be found among the majority of persons of the higher classes; though there are some brilliant exceptions, and their absence is often redeemed by admirable and solid qualities.

In the men, indeed, their arrogance, often amounting to rudeness, and their high opinion of themselves, do not sit so ill; but in the women, it is as disgusting and repulsive, as, in some other of their countrywomen, the vain effort to ape continental grace and vivacity.

I once before praised the admirable spirit of adaptation and arrangement which pervades all establishments here. As a sample, I will give you the organization of the card-room in the Traveller’s Club-house. This is not properly a gaming club, but, as its name denotes, one expressly for travellers. Such only can become actual members of it as have travelled a certain prescribed number of miles on the Continent, or have made yet more distant expeditions. In spite of this, one does not perceive that they are become less English, which, however, I do not quarrel with. At the Travellers’ Club, then, short whist and ecarté are played very high, but no hazard.

In our Casinos, ‘Ressources,’ and so on, a man who wishes to play must first laboriously seek out a party; and if the tables are full, may have to wait hours till one is vacant. Here it is a law that every one who comes may take his seat at any table at which a rubber has just ended, when he who has played two consecutive rubbers must give up his place. It is pleasant, too, to a man who has lost, and fancies that the luck goes with the place, to quit it and seek better fortune in another.

In the centre of the room stands a ‘bureau’ at which is posted a clerk, who rings whenever a waiter is wanted; brings the bill;[21] and, if any contested point occur, fetches the classical authorities on whist; for never is the slightest offence against the rules of the game suffered to pass without the infliction of the annexed punishment. This is rather annoying to a man who plays only for amusement; but yet it is a wise plan, and forms good players. The same clerk distributes the markers to the players to obviate the great annoyance of meeting with a bad payer, the Club is the universal payer. Actual money does not make its appearance, but every man who sits down to play receives a little basket of markers of various forms, the value of which is inscribed upon them, and which the clerk enters in his book; as often as he loses, he asks for more. Each player reckons with the clerk, and either proves his loss, or, if he has won, delivers up the markers. In either case he receives a card containing a statement of the result, and the duplicate of the reckoning in the account-book.

As soon as any one is indebted more than a hundred pounds, he must pay it in the following morning to the clerk; and every man who has any demands can claim his money at any time.

None but a nation so entirely commercial as the English can be expected to attain to this perfection of methodizing and arrangement. In no other country are what are here emphatically called ‘habits of business’ carried so extensively into social and domestic life; the value of time, of order, of despatch, of inflexible routine, nowhere so well understood. This is the great key to the most striking national characteristics. The quantity of material objects produced and accomplished—the work done—in England, exceeds all that man ever effected. The causes and the qualities which have produced these results have as certainly given birth to the dulness, the contracted views, the routine habits of thought as well as of action, the inveterate prejudices, the unbounded desire for, and deference to, wealth, which characterize the mass of Englishmen.

It were much to be wished that in our German cities we imitated the organization of English Clubs, which would be very practicable as to the essentials, though our poverty would compel us to dispense with many of their luxuries. In this case we ought to repay the English like for like, and not prostrate ourselves in puerile slavish admiration of their money and their name; but while we treated them with all civility, and even with more courtesy than they show to us, yet let them see that Germans are masters of their own house, particularly as many of them only come among us either to economize, or to form connexions with people of rank, from which their own station at home excluded them, or to have the satisfaction of showing us that in all arrangements for physical comfort we are still barbarians compared with them.[22]

It is indeed inconceivable, and a proof that it is only necessary to treat us contemptuously in order to obtain our reverence, that, as I have remarked, the mere name of Englishman is, with us, equivalent to the highest title. Many a person, who would scarcely get admission into very inferior circles in England, where the whole of society, down to the very lowest classes, is so stiffly aristocratical, in the various states of Germany is received at Court and fête by the first nobility; every act of coarseness and ill-breeding is set down as a trait of charming English originality, till perhaps, by some accident, a really respectable Englishman comes to the place, and people learn with astonishment that they have been doing all this honour to an ensign ‘on half pay,’ or a rich tailor or shoemaker. An individual of this rank is, however, generally, at least civil, but the impertinence of some of the higher classes surpasses all belief.

I know that in one of the largest towns of Germany, a prince of the royal house, distinguished for his frank, chivalrous courtesy, and his amiable character, invited an English Viscount, who was but just arrived, and had not yet been presented to him, to a hunting-party; to which His Lordship replied, that he could not accept the invitation, as the prince was perfectly unknown to him.

It is true, that no foreigner will ever have it in his power so to requite a similar civility in England, where a grandee considers an invitation to dinner (they are very liberal of invitations to routs and soirées, for the sake of filling their rooms) as the most signal honour he can confer upon even a distinguished foreigner,—an honour only to be obtained by long acquaintance, or by very powerful letters of introduction. But if by any miracle such a ready attention were to be paid in England, it would be impossible to find a single man of any pretensions to breeding, on the whole Continent, who would make such a return as this boorish lord did.[23]

November 21st.

I called yesterday morning on L—— to execute your commission, but did not find him at home. Instead of him, I found to my great joy a letter from you, which I was so impatient to read, that I set myself down in his room, and read it attentively two or three times. Your affection, which strives to spare me everything disagreeable, and dwells only upon those subjects which can give me pleasure, I acknowledge most gratefully. But you must not spare me more than you are convinced you can do without detriment to our common interests. You estimate my letters far more highly than they deserve; but you may imagine that, in my eyes, it is a very amiable fault in you to overvalue me thus. Love paints the smallest merit in magic colours. I will, however, do myself the justice to believe that you, who have had such ample opportunities of knowing me, may find in me qualities which shrink from the rude touch of the world. This consoled me,—but your expression “that all you wrote appeared to you so incoherent, that you thought the grief of parting had weakened your intellects,” gave me great pain. Do I then want phrases? How much more delightful is that natural, confidential talk, which flows on without constraint and without effort, and therefore expresses itself admirably. I am particularly delighted at your sentiments concerning what I tell you; they are ever exactly such as I expect and share.

Accompany your friend to the capital:—it will amuse you, and at the same time you will find many opportunities of promoting our interests. ‘Les absens ont tort;’ never forget that. I must disapprove B——’s levity. He has no solicitude about his reputation, though he be in fact an angel of virtue and benevolence; he who cares not what is said of him,—perhaps even laughs at it,—will soon find that the malignity of men has left him in the same condition as to reputation as Peter Schlemil was with regard to his shadow. At first he thought it nothing to forego a thing so unsubstantial: but in the end he could scarcely endure existence without it. Only in the deepest solitude, far from all the world, striding restlessly with his seven-league boots from the north pole to the south, and living for science alone, did he find some tranquillity and peace. At the conclusion of your letter I see but too clearly that melancholy gains the upper hand,—and I could say something on that subject too,—‘mais il faut du courage.’ In every life there are periods of trial, moments when the bitterest drops in the cup must be drained. If the sun do but illumine the evening, we will not murmur at the noontide heat.

But enough of these serious subjects: let me now turn your attention from them, by leading you to the Haymarket Theatre, which I lately visited, when the celebrated Liston enchanted the public for the hundred-and-second time in Paul Pry, a sort of foolish lout. The actor, who is said to have made a fortune of six thousand a-year, is one of those whom I should call natural comic actors, of the same class as were Unzelmann and Wurm in Berlin, and Bösenberg and Döring in Dresden; men who, without any profound study of their art, excite laughter by a certain drollery of manner peculiar to themselves, an inexhaustible humour, ‘qui coule de source;’ though frequently in private life they are hypochondriacal, as it is said to be the case with Liston.

The notorious Madame Vestris, who formerly made ‘furore,’ was also there. She is somewhat ‘passée,’ but still very fascinating on the stage. She is an excellent singer, and still better actor, and a greater favourite of the English public even than Liston. Her great celebrity, however, rests on the beauty of her legs, which are become a standing article in the theatrical criticisms of the newspapers, and are often displayed by her in man’s attire. The grace and the exhaustless spirit and wit of her acting are also truly enchanting, though she sometimes disgusts one by her want of modesty, and coquettes too much with the audience. It may truly be said in every sense of the words, that Madame Vestris belongs to all Europe. Her father was an Italian; her mother a German and a good pianoforte player; her husband, of the illustrious dancing family of France, and herself an Englishwoman: any chasms in her connexion with other European nations are more than filled up by hundreds of the most ‘marquant’ lovers. She also speaks several languages with the utmost fluency. In the character of the German ‘broom girl’ she sings

“Ach, du lieber Augustin,”

with a perfect pronunciation, and with a very ‘piquant’ air of assurance.

To-day I dined with our ambassador. This prevented my visiting the theatre, which I have too much neglected. I have resolved to attend it with more constancy, in order that I may gradually give you a tolerably perfect report of it, though in detached descriptions.

We were quite ‘en petit comité,’ and the company unusually animated and merry. We had a certain great ‘gourmand’ among us, who took a great deal of joking, ‘sans en perdre un coup de dent.’ At last Prince E—— told him that whenever he went to purgatory his punishment would undoubtedly be to see the blessed eat, while he was kept fasting. * * *

Lord —— was there too. He treats me in the most friendly manner to my face, but, I am told, loses no opportunity of injuring me in society. * * *

A man of warmer heart would have spoken to me face to face of this supposed wrong. ‘Diplomates,’ however, have too much fishes’ blood in their organization. * * *

Happily, I can laugh at all such ‘menées:’ for a man who seeks nothing and fears little, who interests himself in the great world only in so far as it affords him opportunities for making experimental observations on himself and others; who is, as to necessaries at least, independent, and has a few but faithful friends,—such a man it is difficult seriously to injure. Experience too has cooled me;—my blood no longer flows with such uncontrollable impetuosity; while my lightheartedness has not deserted me, still less the capacity of loving intensely. I therefore enjoy life better than in the bloom of youth, and would not exchange my present feelings for that early tumultuous vehemence. Nay, in such a frame of mind, I feel not the least dread of old age, and am persuaded that when that period of life arrives, it will turn to us many a bright and beautiful side whose existence we suspect not, and which those only never find who want to remain youthful for ever.

I lately met with some pretty English verses which I translated, after my fashion, with a thought of you, my best friend, who too often regret departing youth. These are the delightful lines:

Ist gleich die trübe Wange bleich,
Das Auge nicht mehr hell,
Und nahet schon das ernste Reich,
Wo Jugend fliehet schnell!
Doch lächelt Dir die Wange noch,
Das Auge kennt die Thräne noch,
Das Herz schlägt noch so warm und frei
Als in des Lebens grünstem Mai.
So denk’ denn nicht, dass nur die Jugend
Und Schönheit Segen leiht—
Zeit lehrt die Seele schönre Tugend,
In Jahren treuer Zärtlichkeit.
Und selbst wenn einst die Nacht von oben
Verdunkelnd Deine Brust umfängt,
Wird noch durch Liebeshand gehoben
Dein Haupt zur ew’gen Ruh’ gesenkt.
O, so auch blinkt der Abendstern,
Ist gleich dahin der Sonne Licht,
Noch sanft und warm aus hoher Fern’,
Und Tages-Glanz entbehrst Du nicht.—[24]

Yes, my beloved Julia, thus has time taught us, in years of tenderness, that nothing can have so genuine a value as that. We have now before us an evening star, whose mild light is far more delightful than that mid-day sun which often rather scorches than warms.

I drove home with L——, and we had a long conversation by the snug fireside on the affairs of our country. * * *

L—— is very kind to me, and I am doubly attached to him; first, for his own amiable and honourable character; secondly, for the sake of his excellent father, to whom we owe more real gratitude than to ——, though he had no other motive than his own impartial love of justice.

November 23d.

A strange custom in England is the continual intrusion of the newspapers into the affairs of private life. A man of any distinction not only sees the most absurd details concerning him dragged before the public,—such as where he dined, what evening party he attended, and so forth, (which many foreigners read with the greatest self-complacency,)—but if anything really worth telling happens to him, it is immediately made public without shame or scruple. Personal hostility has thus ‘beau jeu,’ as well as the desire of making profitable friends. Many use the newspapers for the publication of articles to their own advantage, which they send themselves. The foreign embassies cultivate this branch with great assiduity. It is easy to see what formidable weapons the press thus furnishes. Fortunately, however, the poison brings its antidote with it. This consists in the indifference with which the public receives such communications. An article in a newspaper after which a Continental would not show himself for three months, here excites at most a momentary laugh, and the next day is forgotten.

About a month ago the papers made themselves extremely merry about the duel of a noble lord here; who, according to their representation of the matter, had not cut a very heroic figure. They made the most offensive remarks, and drew the most mortifying inferences as to the calibre of his valour; and all this had not the smallest perceptible effect in disabling him from presenting himself in society with as much ease and unconcern as ever. They have tried to give me too a ‘coup fourré.’ * * *

But I have served under an old soldier, and learned from him always to have the first and loudest laugh at myself, and not to spare an inoffensive jest at myself and others. This is the only safe way of meeting ridicule in the world: if you appear sensitive or embarrassed, then indeed the poison works; otherwise it evaporates like cold water on a red-hot stone. This the English understand to perfection.

This evening I spent, true to my determination, in Drury Lane, where, to my infinite astonishment, old Braham appeared, still as first singer, with the same applause with which I saw him, even then an old man, perform the same part for his own benefit the day before my departure from England, twelve years ago. I found little difference in his singing, except that he shouted rather more violently, and made rather more ‘roulades’ in order to conceal the decline of his voice. He is a Jew, and I am firmly convinced the everlasting one,[25] for he does not seem to grow old at all. ‘Au reste,’ he is the genuine representative of the English style of singing, and, in popular songs especially, the enthusiastically adored idol of the public. One cannot deny to him great power of voice and rapidity of execution, and he is said to have a thorough knowledge of music: but a more abominable style it is impossible to conceive.

The Prima Donna was Miss Paton, a very agreeable, but not a first-rate singer. She is well-made, and not ugly, and is a great favourite with the public. What would appear extraordinary among us,—she is married to Lord W—— L——, whose name she bears in her own family and in private.[26] On the stage, however, she is Miss Paton again, and paid as such, which is not unacceptable to her lord.

The most striking thing to a foreigner in English theatres is the unheard-of coarseness and brutality of the audiences. The consequence of this is that the higher and more civilized classes go only to the Italian opera, and very rarely visit their national theatre. Whether this be unfavourable or otherwise to the stage, I leave others to determine.

English freedom here degenerates into the rudest license, and it is not uncommon in the midst of the most affecting part of a tragedy, or the most charming ‘cadenza’ of a singer, to hear some coarse expression shouted from the galleries in stentor voice. This is followed, according to the taste of the bystanders, either by loud laughter and approbation, or by the castigation and expulsion of the offender.

Whichever turn the thing takes, you can hear no more of what is passing on the stage, where actors and singers, according to ancient usage, do not suffer themselves to be interrupted by such occurrences, but declaim or warble away, ‘comme si rien n’était.’ And such things happen not once, but sometimes twenty times, in the course of a performance, and amuse many of the audience more than that does. It is also no rarity for some one to throw the fragments of his ‘gouté,’ which do not always consist of orange-peels alone, without the smallest ceremony on the heads of the people in the pit, or to shail them with singular dexterity into the boxes; while others hang their coats and waistcoats over the railing of the gallery, and sit in shirt-sleeves; in short, all that could be devised for the better excitement of a phlegmatic Harmonie Society of the workmen in Berlin, under the renowned Wisotsky, is to be found in the national theatre of Britain.

Another cause for the absence of respectable families is the resort of hundreds of those unhappy women with whom London swarms. They are to be seen of every degree, from the lady who spends a splendid income, and has her own box, to the wretched beings who wander houseless in the streets. Between the acts they fill the large and handsome ‘foyers,’ and exhibit their boundless effrontery in the most revolting manner.

It is most strange that in no country on earth is this afflicting and humiliating spectacle so openly exhibited as in the religious and decorous England. The evil goes to such an extent, that in the theatres it is often difficult to keep off these repulsive beings, especially when they are drunk, which is not seldom the case. They beg in the most shameless manner, and a pretty, elegantly dressed girl does not disdain to take a shilling or a sixpence, which she instantly spends in a glass of rum, like the meanest beggar. And these are the scenes, I repeat, which are exhibited in the national theatre of England, where the highest dramatic talent of the country should be developed; where immortal artists like Garrick, Mrs. Siddons, Miss O’Neil, have enraptured the public by their genius, and where such actors as Kean, Kemble, and Young, still adorn the stage.

Is not this—to say nothing of the immorality—in the highest degree low and undignified? It is wholly inconsistent with any real love of art, or conception of its office and dignity. The turbulent scenes I have described above scarcely ever arise out of anything connected with the performance, but have almost always some source quite foreign to it, and no way relating to the stage.


Ever your L——.


London, Nov. 25th, 1826.


It is sometimes a perfect want with me to spend a day entirely alone in my own room. I pass it in a sort of dreamy brooding. I go over the past and the future,—all that I have felt and suffered,—till, by the mixture of so many colours, one misty grey tint overspreads the whole; and the dissonances of life melt away at length, in a soft objectless melancholy.

The barrel-organs which resound day and night in every street, and are at other times insufferable, are favourable to such a state of mind. They too mingle a hundred different airs, till all music loses itself in an indistinct dreamy ringing in the ears.

A much more entertaining thing is another sort of street performance,—a genuine national comedy. It afforded me great amusement from my window, and is well worth a somewhat particular description.

The hero of this drama is Punch,—the English Punch,—perfectly different from the Italian Pulcinella. I send you a faithful portrait of him in the act of beating his wife to death;—for he is the most godless droll that ever I met with; and as completely without conscience as the wood out of which he is made;—a little, too, the type of the nation he represents.

Punch has, like his namesake, something of rum, lemon and sugar in him; he is strong, sour and sweet, and withal pretty indifferent to the confusion he causes. He is, moreover, the most absolute egotist the earth contains, ‘et ne doute jamais de rien.’ He conquers everything by his invincible merriment and humour, laughs at the laws, at men, and at the devil himself; and shows in part what the Englishman is, in part what he wishes to be, in one composite picture;—on the native side, selfishness, perseverance and high spirit, and, wherever it is called for, reckless determination;—on the foreign, unconquerable levity, and ever ready wit. But allow me to paint Punch to you by his own proper words, and to take my further account of him from his biography.

As a descendant of Pulcinella of Acerra, he is, in the first place, unquestionably a nobleman of ancient stock. Harlequin, Clown, the German Casperle and others are his near of kin;—but he, for his great audacity, stands best as head of the family. Pious, alas! he is not: being a true Englishman, he doubtless goes to church on Sundays; though, may be, would beat any parson to death who bored him with attempts to convert him. It is not to be denied that Punch is a wild fellow,—no very moral personage, and not made of wood for nothing. No man can be better fitted for a boxer,—other men’s hits he feels not, and his own are irresistible. With that, he is a true Turk in his small respect for human life; endures no contradiction, and fears not the devil himself. On the other hand, we can but admire his great qualities in many respects. His admirable insensibility, and his already-commended invariable good humour; his high heroic egotism; his unalterable self-complacency; his exhaustless wit, and the consummate cunning with which he gets himself out of every scrape, and triumphs victoriously over every antagonist,—throws a bright lustre over all the little freedoms which he is apt to take with human life. In him has not inaptly been observed a compound of Richard the Third and Falstaff. Even in his outward man he unites the crooked legs and hump-back of Richard, with the portly rotundity of Falstaff; to which are added the long nose and the fiery black eyes of Italy.

His dwelling is a box, with suitable internal decorations, set on four poles,—a theatre which can be erected in a few seconds in any place; a drapery falling over the poles, or legs, conceals Punch’s soul, which animates the puppets and lends them the needful words. The drama in which he daily appears in the streets, varies, therefore, with the talents of the person who acts as interpreter between Punch and the public. The course of the incidents is however always essentially the same, and pretty nearly as follows:

As the curtain rises, Punch is heard behind the scenes trolling the French ballad ‘Malbrooke s’en va-t-en guerre,’ and presently appears dancing, and in high good humour, and in droll verses tells the spectators what manner of humour he is of. He calls himself a gay merry fellow, who loves to give a joke, but is not very ready to take one; and if he is ever gentle, it is only towards the fair sex. With his money he is frank and free; and his grand object is to laugh his whole life long, and to grow as fat as he can. He declares himself a great admirer and seducer of the girls, and, as long as he can get it, a friend of good cheer; when he cannot, however, he can live on cheese-parings, and if he die—why then there’s no more to be said, than that’s all over, and there’s an end of Punch and the play. (This latter avowal unquestionably smells a little of atheism.)

After this monologue, he calls behind the scene for Judy, his young wife, who will not come, but at last sends her dog instead. Punch strokes and caresses him, but the spiteful cur seizes him by the nose, and holds him fast, till after a laughable fight, and various rough jokes of the not too discreet Punch, he at last beats off the dog and gives him a sound drubbing.

His neighbour Scaramouch, hearing the noise, here enters with a large stick, and calls Punch to account why he beat Judy’s favourite dog, “that never bit anybody.” “And I never beat a dog,” replied Punch; “but,” continues he, “what have you there in your hand, my dear Scaramouch?” “Oh, nothing but a fiddle; will you hear the tone of it? Do but come and hear what a fine instrument it is.” “Thank ye, thank ye, my good Scaramouch,” replies Punch modestly, “I can distinguish the tone of it very well here.” Scaramouch, however, is not to be so put off, and while he dances about to the sound of his own singing, and flourishes his stick, he gives Punch, as if by accident, a great knock on the head. Punch affects not to heed it, but begins to dance too, and watching his opportunity suddenly snatches the stick out of Scaramouch’s hand, and in a trice gives him such a blow with it that poor Scaramouch’s head rolls down at his feet,—for where Punch lays about him the grass does not grow. “Ha! ha!” cries he, laughing, “did you hear the fiddle, my good Scaramouch? What a fine tone it has! As long as you live, my lad, you’ll never hear a finer. But where is my Judy? My sweet Judy, why don’t you come.”

Meanwhile Punch has hidden the body of Scaramouch behind the curtain, and Judy, the ‘feminine’ pendant of her husband, with the same monstrous nose, enters. A comically tender scene ensues, after which Punch asks for his child; Judy goes to fetch it, and Punch breaks forth into an ecstatic monologue on his happiness as a husband and father. The little monster arrives, and now the parents can hardly contain themselves for joy, and lavish upon it the tenderest names and caresses. Judy, however, called away by her household duties, soon departs, and leaves the infant in its father’s arms, who somewhat awkwardly tries to play the nurse and to dandle the child, which begins to cry piteously, and to behave very naughtily. Punch at first tries to soothe it, but soon grows impatient, beats it, and, as it screams all the more violently, he flies into a rage, and throws it out of the window, with curses, plump into the street, where it falls among the spectators and breaks its neck. Punch leans over the edge of the stage and looks after it, makes a few grimaces, shakes his head, and begins to laugh, and then dances about, singing merrily.

Meantime Judy returns, and asks with alarm for her darling. “The child is gone to sleep,” replies Punch carelessly; however, after a long investigation he is forced to confess that while he was playing with him, he let him fall out of the window. Judy is out of herself, tears her hair, and overwhelms her cruel tyrant with the most dreadful reproaches. In vain does he try to soothe her; she will not hear him, and runs away uttering vehement threats. Punch holds his belly for laughter, dances about, and for very wantonness, beats time with his own head upon the walls. But Judy now comes behind him with a broomstick and belabours him with all her might.

At first he gives her good words, promises never to throw another child out of the window; begs her, however, not to take the joke so seriously;—but finding that nothing will avail, he loses his patience at last, and concludes the affair as with Scaramouch;—he beats poor Judy to death. “Now,” says he drily, “our quarrel is over, dear Judy, and if you are satisfied, so am I. Come, stand up again, Judy. Oh, don’t sham, this is only one of your tricks. What, you won’t get up? Well, then, off with you!” So saying, he flings her after her child into the street.

He does not even trouble himself to look after her, but bursting into one of his usual fits of loud laughter, cries out, “’Tis a fine piece of luck to lose a wife!”

In the second act we find Punch at a rendezvous with his mistress Polly, to whom he pays his court, not in the most refined manner, and assures her that she alone can drive away all his cares, and that if he had as many wives as Solomon, he could kill them all for her sake. A courtier and friend of Polly’s then pays him a visit; this time he does not kill his man, but only thrashes him well: he is then ‘ennuyé,’ and declares that the weather being fine he will take a ride. A wild horse is brought, upon which he capers about for some time in a ludicrous fashion; but at last, from the dreadful plunging of the untameable animal, is thrown. He calls out for help, and happily his friend the doctor happens to be passing, and comes immediately. Punch lies like dead, and groans piteously. The doctor tries to tranquillize him, and feels his pulse: Punch, to be short, makes so uncivil a return for the doctor’s attentions, that the latter exclaims, “Here, Master Punch, I bring you a wholesome medicine, the only one fit for you,” and begins to thump him soundly with his gold-headed cane.

“Oh dear!” cries Punch, “many thanks to you; I want none of your physic, it gives me the headache.” “Ah, that’s only because you have taken it in too small doses,” says the doctor; “take a little more, and it will cure you.”

Punch at last feigns himself conquered, falls down exhausted, and begs for mercy; but when the credulous doctor bends down over him, Punch darts upon him like lightning, wrests the stick out of his hand and lays about him as usual.

“Now,” cries he, “you must take a little of your charming physic,—only a little, respected friend;—there—there!”

“Oh Lord, you will kill me!” cries the doctor.

“Not worth talking of—only what’s usual—doctors always die when they take their own physic. Come, only one last pill:” and so saying, the ruthless Punch runs him through the body with the point of his stick. The doctor dies. Punch, laughing, exclaims, “Now, my good friend, cure yourself if you can.”

[Exit, singing and dancing.

After other adventures, which have almost all the same tragical end, justice is at length awake, and the constable is sent to arrest Punch. He finds him, as usual, in the highest glee, and just busied, as he says, in making music with the help of a dustman’s bell (a very ‘naïf’ confession of the musical capacity of the nation.)

The dialogue is brief and important.[27] It ends with the constable showing Punch the warrant for his arrest: “And,” says Punch, “I have a warrant for you, which I will soon execute.” Hereupon he seizes the bell, which he has held concealed behind him, and gives the constable such a blow on the occiput, that, like his predecessors, he falls lifeless; whereupon Punch springs off with a ‘capriole,’ and is heard singing behind the scenes.

The magistrate, who comes after the death of the constable, has no better fate. At length the hangman, in proper person, lies in wait for Punch, who in his joyous recklessness runs upon him without seeing him. For the first time he seems somewhat embarrassed by this rencontre, is very slightly cast down, and does his best to flatter Mr. Ketch; calls him his old friend, and inquires very particularly after the health of Mistress Ketch. The hangman, however, soon makes him understand that all friendship must now have an end; and sets before him what a bad man he is to have killed so many men, and his wife and child.

“As to them,” says he, “they were my own property, and ’tis hard if a man may not do what he likes with his own.” “And why did you kill the poor doctor, who came to help you?” “Only in self-defence, good Mr. Ketch; he wanted me to take his medicine.”

But all excuses and evasions are useless. Three or four men spring forward and bind Punch, whom Ketch leads to prison.

In the next scene we behold him at the back of the stage, trying to look out from behind an iron grating, and rubbing his long nose against the bars. He is very wroth and miserable, yet, according to his use and wont, sings a song to drive away time. Mr. Ketch enters, and with the assistance of his helpers erects a gallows before the prison-door. Punch becomes sorrowful, but, instead of feeling repentance, has only a fit of greater fondness and longing for his Polly. He however mans himself again, and makes various ‘bon mots’ on the handsome gallows, which he compares to a tree planted, as it seems, for the adornment of his prospect. “How beautiful it will be when it bears fruit!” cries he.

Some men now bring the coffin, and place it at the foot of the gallows. “What have you there?” says Punch. “Ah ha! that is no doubt the basket to put the fruit in.”

Meanwhile Ketch returns, and greeting Punch, and opening the door politely, tells him that all is ready,—he may come when he likes. You may think that Punch is not very eager to accept the invitation. After a good deal of discussion Ketch calls out, “It’s of no use, Master Punch, you must come out and be hanged.”

“You won’t be so cruel.”

“Why were you so cruel as to kill your wife and child?”

“Is that any reason for your being cruel too?”—(argument against capital punishment.)

Ketch appeals to no better principle than that of the strongest, and drags out Punch by his hair, begging for mercy and promising amendment.

“Now, my good Punch,” says Ketch, coolly, “do but have the goodness to put your head into this noose, and all will soon be over.” Punch affects awkwardness, and can’t get his head right into the noose.

“Good God! how awkward you are!” exclaims Ketch; “you must put your head in so”—showing him. “Ay so, and then draw it tight,” cries Punch, drawing up the unwary hangman in a moment, and hanging him on the gallows; after which he hides himself behind the wall. Two men come to take away the body, lay it in the coffin, believing it to be that of the criminal, and carry it out, while Punch laughs in his sleeve, and dances away as usual.

But the shrewdest battle is yet to come, for the devil himself ‘in propriâ personâ,’ now comes to fetch him. Vainly does Punch lay before him the most acute observations; that he is a very stupid devil to wish to carry off the best friend he has on earth, and the like. The devil will not hear reason, and stretches out his long claws horribly at him. He appears just about to fly away with him, as erst with Faust, but Punch is not so easily to be dealt with; manfully he grasps his murderous staff, and defends himself even against the devil. A fearful fight ensues, and—who would have thought it possible?—Punch, so often in uttermost danger, at length remains universal conqueror, spits the black fiend on his stick, holds him up aloft, and whirling about with him with shouts of triumph, sings, while he laughs more heartily than ever.

I leave it to you to make all the philosophical reflections; of which Punch’s career is fitted to excite not a few. Above all interesting would be the inquiry, how far the daily repetition of this favourite popular drama for so many years has influenced the morality of the lower classes.

To conclude,—for the sake of tragic justice, I sketch on the margin of my sheet a second portrait of Punch, as he appears sitting in prison, when the gallows is just brought before him.

In my next letter you will have all the details you desire concerning B——, which pious personage I have to-day forgotten for the more interesting sinner Punch.—Adieu for to day!

December 1st.

You remember what I told you of the mode of letting land in this country. As the builders of houses have only ninety-nine years to reckon on, they build as slightly as possible; the consequence of which is that one is not very sure of one’s life in some of the London houses. A house, by no means old, fell last night in St. James’s street, close by me, just like a house of cards, carrying the half of another with it. Several persons were severely hurt, but the greater number had time to escape, as there were threatening warnings. Such is the rapidity with which they build here, that in a month the whole will doubtless be standing again, though perhaps not much safer than before.

A few days ago I attended the interesting ceremony of the opening of Parliament by the King in person; a ceremony which has not taken place for several years.

In the centre of the House of Lords were assembled the Peers, their scarlet mantles negligently thrown over their ordinary morning dress. Near the wall opposite to the entrance stood the King’s throne; on benches on the left sat a number of ladies in full dress; on the right the diplomatic corps and foreigners. In front of the throne was a bar, and behind it the members of the Lower House, in the common dress of our day. The house without, and the staircase, were filled with servants and heralds in the costume of the fourteenth century.

At two o’clock discharges of cannon announced the arrival of the King in state. A number of magnificent carriages and horses composed the procession, a sketch of which I have taken in my book of reminiscences,[28] and have placed it in contrast with a drawing of one of Cæsar’s triumphs. At the sight of these pictures one involuntarily asks oneself, whether mankind have really made any progress. Scarcely, as it seems, in as far as art is concerned; especially when we look at the two prominent personages,—those who occupy the highest seats at the respective ceremonies,—the King’s body-coachman, and Cæsar.

At about half-past three the King made his appearance, he alone being in full dress, and truly covered from top to toe with the ancient kingly decorations; with the crown on his head and the sceptre in his hand. He looked pale and bloated, and was obliged to sit on the throne for a considerable time before he could get breath enough to read his speech. During this time he turned friendly glances and considerable bows towards some favoured ladies. On his right stood Lord Liverpool, with the sword of state and the speech in his hand; and the Duke of Wellington on his left. All three looked so miserable, so ashy-gray and worn out, that never did human greatness appear to me so little worth; indeed the tragic side of all the comedies we play here below, fell almost heavily on my heart; and yet it excited in me a strong feeling of the comic, to see how the most powerful monarch of the earth was obliged to present himself, as chief actor in a pantomime, before an audience whom he deems so infinitely beneath him. In fact, the whole pageant, including the King’s costume, reminded me strikingly of one of those historical plays which are here got up so well; nothing was wanting but the ‘flourish of trumpets’ which accompanies the entrance and exit of one of Shakspeare’s kings, to make the illusion complete.

In spite of his feebleness, George the Fourth read the ‘banale’ speech with great dignity and a fine voice; but with that royal ‘nonchalance’ which does not much concern itself what His Majesty promises, or whether or not he is sometimes unable to decipher a word. It was very evident that the monarch was heartily glad when the ‘corvée’ was over, so that the conclusion went off somewhat more rapidly than the beginning.

Since my last letter I have been twice to the theatre, which the late hours of dining render it impossible to do when one has any engagement.

I saw Mozart’s Figaro announced at Drury-lane, and delighted myself with the idea of hearing once more the sweet tones of my fatherland:—what then was my astonishment at the unheard-of treatment which the master-work of the immortal composer has received at English hands! You will hardly believe me when I tell you that neither the Count, the Countess, nor Figaro sang; these parts were given to mere actors, and their principal songs, with some little alteration in the words, were sung by the other singers; to add to this, the gardener roared out some interpolated popular English songs, which suited Mozart’s music just as a pitch-plaster would suit the face of the Venus de’ Medici. The whole opera was moreover ‘arranged’ by a certain Mr. Bishop (a circumstance which I had seen noticed in the bill, but did not understand till now),—that is, adapted to English ears by means of the most tasteless and shocking alterations.

The English national music, the coarse heavy melodies of which can never be mistaken for an instant, has, to me at least, something singularly offensive; an expression of brutal feeling both in pain and pleasure, which smacks of ‘roast-beef, plum-pudding, and porter.’ You may imagine, therefore, what an agreeable effect these incorporations with the lovely and refined conceptions of Mozart must produce.

‘Je n’y pouvais tenir’—poor Mozart appeared to me like a martyr on the cross, and I suffered no less by sympathy.

This abominable practice is the more inexcusable, since here is really no want of meritorious singers, male and female; and, with better arrangement, very good performances might be given. It is true, even if the stage were in good order, a second Orpheus would still be required to tame English audiences.

Far better was the performance in Covent Garden, where Charles Kemble, one of the best English actors, gave an admirable representation of the part of Charles the Second. Kemble is a man of the best education, and has always lived in good society; he is therefore qualified to represent a king royally;—with the ‘aisance,’ that is proper to all exalted persons. He very skilfully gave an amiable colouring to the levity of Charles the Second; without ever, even in moments of the greatest ‘abandon,’ losing the type of that inborn conscious dignity, so difficult to imitate. The costume, too, was as if cut out of the frame of an old picture, down to the veriest trifle; and this was observed by all the other actors, for which Kemble, who is also manager, deserves great praise.

I must, however, confess that in the next piece, in which Frederick the Great plays the principal part, there was not the same intimate knowledge and perfect imitation of foreign costume; both the king and his suite seemed to have borrowed their wardrobe from that of a pantomime. Zieten presented himself in a high grenadier’s cap, and Seydlitz appeared in locks ‘a là Murat,’ and with as many orders as that royal actor used to wear; a profusion of which were by no means the fashion in Frederick’s day, nor were they then worn as mere appendages of the toilet.

December 2nd.

I often dine at Prince E——’s, who exhibits a perfect model to ‘diplomates’ how dignified ‘représentation’ may be combined with agreeable facile manners; and how a man may please every body if he understands the art of placing himself ‘à sa portée,’ yet without suffering his own dignity to be forgotten for an instant:—‘un vrai Seigneur,’—such as are every day becoming rarer. Never too did a foreigner succeed so perfectly in England; and yet, most assuredly, without the slightest concession to English arrogance. This implies infinite tact; the lighter, more vivacious character of a South German; and the most astute intellect concealed beneath the most unpretending ‘bonhommie;’ the whole backed and set off by a great name and a splendid fortune.

The other members of the diplomatic corps, with few exceptions, are left by him quite in the back-ground, and most of the plenipotentiaries here disappear completely in the crowd. Among the ambassadors there is, however, one of the female sex who plays a great part * * * But more of this another time. I entered upon the subject of Diplomates, only for the sake of repeating to you a very pretty ‘bon mot’ of one of them whom you know. I heard it to-day at dinner. Count H—— was ambassador at a German court renowned for its economy (‘pour ne pas dire mesquinerie,’) and on some solemn occasion received a snuff-box with the portrait of the sovereign; which, however, was set round with very small, paltry diamonds. Shortly afterwards, one of his colleagues asked him to show him his present. “Vous ne trouverez pas le portrait ressemblant,” said the Count, giving him the snuff-box,—“mais les diamants.”

I occasionally see, with great satisfaction, the venerable Elliot, who, together with the dry but very interesting Lord St. Helens, whom Ségur so often mentions in his Memoirs, belongs to the ‘Doyens’ of English diplomacy, and still dwells with extraordinary pleasure on the recollection of his residence at Dresden. He has several very charming daughters, and finds it difficult to live in a style befitting his rank, for his long services have not been rewarded with English liberality.[29]

Another very interesting person is Sir L—— M——, who was formerly in high favour with the king, then Prince of Wales, and deserves mention, first, because he is a most agreeable Amphitryon and entertains his friends admirably, and secondly, because he is one of the most original of men, and one of the few truly practical philosophers I have ever met with. The prejudices of the many seem for him to have no existence; and nobody could be more difficult to impose on by mere authority, whether on matters of heaven or earth. Although sixty years old, and a martyr to the most unheard-of tortures with which gout and stone can rack an unhappy mortal, no one ever heard a complaint from him; nor is his cheerful, nay merry humour ever saddened by it for a moment. It must be confessed that there are dispositions and temperaments which are worth a hundred thousand a year.

When I was first introduced to him, a short time since, he had just undergone the terrible operation for the stone. The surgeon refused to undertake it, on the ground that the weakness of the patient rendered it too hazardous, but was at length almost compelled by him to perform it. At that time he kept his bed, and looked like a corpse, and at going in I involuntarily made ‘une mine de doléance,’ upon which he instantly interrupted me, and told me to lay aside all grimaces. “What cannot be cured,” said he, “must be endured; and better gaily, that sadly:” for himself, he said, he had certainly abundant cause to laugh at his physicians, who had given him his passport with the utmost certainty at least ten times, but had almost all gone to the d—l before him. “Besides,” said he, “I have enjoyed life as few have, and must now learn the dark side.” In spite of all his pleasures, and all his pains, the gay-hearted man is still in such good preservation, that, since he is about again, with his artist-like peruque, he does not look much above forty, and exhibits a spirited and ‘rayonnante’ physiognomy, whose features must once have been handsome.

December 3rd.

Kemble gave me a high treat this evening as Falstaff. It is certain that even the greatest dramatic poets stand in need of the actor’s aid to bring out their work. I never so fully understood the character of the mad knight; never was it so manifest to me what his outward deportment must have been, as since I saw him new-born in the person of Charles Kemble. His dress and mask were striking indeed, but by no means such a caricature as on our stages. Still less had he the air of a man of low rank and breeding, visibly a mere ‘farceur,’ as Devrient, for instance, represented him in Berlin. Falstaff, although a man of vulgar soul, is still by habit and inclination a practised courtier; and the coarseness which he often assumes in the prince’s company is at least as much intentional acting, employed by him to amuse the Prince (for princes often love vulgarity from its very contrast with the gloomy elevation of their own station,) as to gratify his own humour. Mr. Kemble caught the finest shades of the character; for, although he never lost sight of the natural, invincible humour, the witty presence of mind, and the diverting drollery which made Falstaff such an agreeable companion,—nay, which rendered him almost a necessary of life to those who had once associated with him,—he is quite another man when he appears at Court in the presence of the king and other dignified persons; or when he plays antics with the Prince and his companions; or, lastly, when he is alone with the latter. In the first case, you see a facetious man, somewhat like the Maréchal de Bassompierre, ludicrously fat, but a man of dignified and gentleman-like air; always a joker, it is true, but in a good ‘ton,’ never forgetting the respect due to the place and the presence in which he is. In the second stage, he allows himself to go much further; takes all sorts of coarse freedoms; but ever with observable care to exalt the Prince, and to assume only the privilege of a Court fool, who, apparently, may say all that comes into his head. In the last stage, we see Falstaff in complete ‘negligé,’ after he has thrown off all regard to appearances. Here he wallows delightfully in the mire, like a swine in a ditch; and yet even here he still remains original, and excites more laughter than disgust. This is the supreme art, the last triumph of the poet: he alone can give, even to the most horrid monsters of sin and shame, something like a divine impress; something which awakens our interest and attracts us, even to our own astonishment. This is the high dramatic truth, the creative power of genius, speaking of which Walter Scott so prettily says, “I can only compare Shakspeare with that man in the Arabian Nights, who has the power of passing into any body at pleasure, and imitating its feelings and actions.”

I must here remark, that there is but one character in this immortal poet’s works which always appeared to me ill-drawn and unnatural, nor does any excite less interest in general. This is the king in Hamlet. To mention only one trait, it appears to me quite psycologically false, when the author makes the king kneel down, and then exclaim, “I cannot pray.” The king is never represented as an irreligious man, a subtle sceptic, but merely as a coarse sensual sinner; now we daily see that a man of this cast cannot only pray regularly and zealously, but even pray that his crimes may prosper: like that woman who was found alone in a robber’s cave, after the capture of the gang, on her knees, praying earnestly to heaven that the expedition in which she believed them then engaged might be successful, and that they might return laden with booty.

Nay even public pre-appointed prayers have often no better aim. What examples of this kind does not history afford! No, the sinful king can pray,—the person in this tragedy who cannot, is Hamlet. For it is only the unbelieving; the man who wants to fathom everything; the spiritual chemist who sees one apparently firm substance after another melt away; this man—till he is enabled by the divine influence to construct one,[30] inward and indestructible, (and this point Hamlet has manifestly not reached) this man alone, I say, cannot pray, for the Object fails him. He cannot deny it to himself,—when he prays, he is only acting a part with himself. This is a melancholy process to pass through, and is imputed to unhappy mortals as a crime by those who first place the poor child on the bed of Procrustes, and by that means often render it impossible for the cramped and shortened limbs ever to extend themselves again to their natural length.

But back to the play. It concluded with a melo-drama, in which a large Newfoundland dog really acted admirably; he defended a banner for a long time, pursued the enemy, and afterwards came on the stage wounded, lame, and bleeding, and died in the most masterly manner, with a last wag of the tail that was really full of genius. You would have sworn that the good beast knew at least as well as any of his human companions what he was about.

I left the theatre in such good humour that I won eight rubbers at whist after it at the Club, for luck at play goes with good spirits and confidence.—But good night.

December 4th.

In consequence of the opening of Parliament, society begins to be more lively, though London ‘en gros’ is still empty.

The most elegant ladies of the first circles now give small parties, access to which is far more difficult to most Englishmen than to foreigners of rank; for the despotism of fashion, as I have already told you, rules in this land of freedom with iron sceptre, and extends through all classes in a manner we on the Continent have no conception of.

But without indulging too early in general observations, I will describe to you my own way of life in London.

I rise late; read, like a half-nationalized foreigner, three or four newspapers at breakfast; look in my ‘visiting-book’ what visits I have to pay, and either drive to pay them in my cabriolet or ride. In the course of these excursions, I sometimes catch the enjoyment of the picturesque; the struggle of the blood-red sun with the winter fogs often produces wild and singular effects of light. After my visits are paid, I ride for several hours about the beautiful environs of London, return when it grows dark, work a little, dress for dinner, which is at seven or eight, and spend the evening either in the theatre or at some small party. The ludicrous ‘routs,’—at which one hardly finds standing-room on the staircase,—where one pushes and is pushed, and is kept for hours in a hot-house temperature,—have not yet commenced. In England however, except in a few diplomatic houses, you can go nowhere in an evening except on special invitation. In these small parties there is not much ‘géne,’ but general conversation has no place: each gentleman usually singles out a lady who peculiarly interests him, and does not quit her for the whole evening. Many fair ones are thus frequently left sitting alone, without an opportunity of speaking a word; they however do not betray any dissatisfaction, even by a look or gesture, for they are of a very passive nature. Every body of course speaks French, as with us, ‘tant bien que mal,’ but this continued ‘géne’ annoys the ladies so much after a time, that a man has no little advantage who can speak English tolerably.

You see this life is pretty much a ‘far niente,’ though not a very sweet one to my taste, for I love society only in intimate circles, and attach myself with difficulty,—indeed now scarcely at all,—to new acquaintances. The ennui, which seizes me in such an indifferent state of mind, is too clearly written on my undiplomatic face not to extend to others as contagiously as yawning. Here and there I find an exception:—to-day for instance I made the acquaintance of Mr. Morier, the clever and very agreeable author of Hadji Baba; and of Mr. Hope, the imputed author of Anastasius, a work of far higher genius. This book is worthy of Byron: many maintain that Mr. Hope, who is rather remarkable for his reserve than for anything poetical in his appearance, cannot possibly have written it. This doubt derives considerable force from a work which Mr. Hope formerly published on furniture, the style and contents of which certainly contrast strangely with the glowing impassioned Anastasius, overflowing with thought and feeling. An acquaintance of mine said to me, “One thing or the other: either Anastasius is not by him, or the work on furniture.” But matter so different brings with it as different a style; and as I observed Mr. Hope, perhaps with involuntary prepossession, he appeared to me no ordinary man. He is very rich, and his house full of treasures of art, and of luxuries which I shall describe hereafter. His furniture theory, which is fashioned on the antique, I cannot praise in practice:—the chairs are ungovernable; other trophy-like structures look ridiculous, and the sofas have such sharp salient points in all directions, that an incautious sitter might hurt himself seriously.

On my return home at night I found your letter, which, like everything from you, gave me more pleasure than aught else can. Say not, however, that the pain of parting occasions you such deep depression,—let it not be deeper than a joyful meeting can at once remove; and that is probably not very distant.

That you point to another life, as soon as things do not go precisely according to our wishes in this, seems to me, dearest, to show a want of Christian patience and confidence. No, I confess it, spite of transient fits of melancholy, I still feel the attraction of earth; and this ‘span of life,’ as you call it, has strong hold on my heart. If indeed you, my affectionate tutelary goddess, were also Fortuna, I should fare better than any mortal living: ‘et toutes les étoiles pâliraient devant la mienne;’—but since you love me, you are my Fortuna, and I desire no better.

Do not suffer your own melancholy, or mine, to deceive you. As for me, you know that a nothing raises the barometer of my spirits, and a nothing often depresses it. This is certainly too delicate a nervous organization, and little fitted for every-day, home-baked (hausbacknen) happiness,—which requires strong nerves.

December 5th.

Oberon, Weber’s song of the swan, has occupied my evening.—The execution of both the instrumental and vocal parts left much to desire; but on the whole, the opera was extremely well performed, for London. The best part was the decorations, especially at the conjuration of the spirits. They appear, not, as usual, in the standing costume,—scarlet jackets and breeches, with snaky locks and flames on their heads,—but in the form of huge rocky caves, which occupy the whole stage; every mass of rock then suddenly changes into some fantastic and frightful form or face, gleaming with many-coloured flames and lurid light, out of which here and there a whole figure leans grinning forward, while the fearful thrilling music re-echoes on every side from the moving chorus of rocks.

The opera itself I regard as one of Weber’s feebler productions. There are beautiful parts, especially the introduction, which is truly elf-like. I am less delighted with the overture, though so highly extolled by connoisseurs.

I ought to have begun by telling you that I was presented to the King to-day, at a great levée.—I give you as a proof of the extraordinary voluntary seclusion of the present sovereign, that our Secretary of Legation was presented with me for the first time, though he has been here in that capacity for two years. His Majesty has a very good memory. He immediately recollected my former visit to England, though he mistook the date of it by several years. I took occasion to make my compliments to him on the extraordinary embellishment of London since that time, which indeed is to be ascribed in great measure to him. After a gracious reply, I passed on, and placed myself in a convenient station for seeing the whole spectacle. It was odd enough.

The king, on account of the feeble state of his health, remained seated;—the company marched past him in a line; each made his bow, was addressed or not, and then either placed himself in the row on the other side of the room, or quitted it. All those who had received any appointment kneeled down before the king and kissed his hand, at which the American Minister, near whom I had accidentally placed myself, made a rather satirical face. The clergymen and lawyers in their black gowns and white powdered wigs, short and long, had a most whimsical masquerading appearance. One of them was the object of an almost universal ill-suppressed laugh. This personage had kneeled to be ‘knighted,’ as the English call it, and in this posture, with the long fleece on his head, looked exactly like a sheep at the slaughter-block. His Majesty signed to the great Field Marshal to give him his sword. For the first time, perhaps, the great warrior could not draw the sword from the scabbard; he pulled and pulled,—all in vain. The king waiting with outstretched arm; the duke vainly pulling with all his might; the unhappy martyr prostrate in silent resignation, as if expecting his end, and the whole brilliant court standing around in anxious expectation:—it was a group worthy of Gilray’s pencil. At length the state weapon started like a flash of lightning from its sheath. His Majesty grasped it impatiently,—indeed his arm was probably weary and benumbed with being so long extended,—so that the sword, instead of alighting on a new knight, fell on an old wig, which for a moment enveloped king and subject in a cloud of powder.

December 6th.

Mr. R—— had long ago invited me to visit him at his country-house, and I took advantage of a disengaged day to drive out with my friend L—— to dine there. The royal banker has bought no ducal residence, but lives in a pretty villa. We found some Directors of the East India Company, and several members of his own family and faith, whom I liked very much. I extremely respect this family for having the courage to remain Jews. Only an idiot can esteem a Jew the less for his religion, but renegades have always a presumption against their sincerity, which it is difficult to get over.

There are three cases in which I should unconditionally allow Jews to change their religion. First, if they really believe that only Christians can be saved; secondly, if their daughters wish to marry Christians, who will have them on no other terms; thirdly, if a Jew were elected king of a Christian people,—a thing by no means impossible, since men far below the rank of Jewish barons, and notorious for the absence of all religion, have frequently ascended the throne in these latter days.[31]

Mr. R—— was in high good-humour, amusing, and talkative. It was diverting to hear him explain to us the pictures around his dining-room, (all portraits of the sovereigns of Europe, presented through their ministers,) and talk of the originals as his very good friends, and, in a certain sense, his equals. “Yes,” said he, “the —— once pressed me for a loan, and in the same week in which I received his autograph letter, his father wrote to me also with his own hand from Rome to beg me for Heaven’s sake not to have any concern in it, for that I could not have to do with a more dishonest man than his son.” ‘C’était sans doute très Catholique;’ probably, however, the letter was written by the old ——, who hated her own son to such a degree, that she used to say of him,—everybody knows how unjustly,—“He has the heart of a t—— with the face of an a——.”

The others’ turn came next. * * *

He concluded, however, by modestly calling himself the dutiful and generously paid agent and servant of these high potentates, all of whom he honoured equally, let the state of politics be what it might; for, said he, laughing, “I never like to quarrel with my bread and butter.”

It shows great prudence in Mr. R—— to have accepted neither title nor order, and thus to have preserved a far more respectable independence. He doubtless owes much to the good advice of his extremely amiable and judicious wife, who excels him in tact and knowledge of the world, though not perhaps in acuteness and talents for business.

On our way there we had been tempted to alight to see the state-carriage of another monarch of Asiatic origin, the King of the Birmans. It was taken in the late war. It is crowded with precious stones, valued at six thousand pounds, and has a splendid effect by candlelight: its canopy-like pyramidal form seemed to me in better taste than that of our carriages. The attendants sitting on it were odd enough,—two little boys and two peacocks, carved in wood and beautifully painted and varnished. At the time it was taken, it was drawn by two white elephants; and fifteen thousand precious stones, great and small, all unpolished, still adorn the gilded wood of which it is made. A number of curious and costly Birman arms were placed, as trophies, round the spacious apartment, which gave a doubly rich and interesting effect to the whole exhibition. As people always give a great deal for money here, there was a Pœcilorama in an adjoining room, consisting also of Birman and Indian views, over which the light is ingeniously thrown so as to produce very lively and varied effects.

I don’t know why such things are not used as decorations for rooms. At a fête, for instance, a room thus fitted up would surely be a much greater novelty than the hackneyed ornaments of gay draperies, orange trees, and flowers.

December 8th.

On my way home from a dinner at M. de Polignac’s, a very agreeable but highly orthodox representative of ‘l’ancien regime,’ I was in time to find the celebrated Mathews “At Home” at his theatre. The curtain was dropped, and Mr. Mathews sitting in front of it at a table covered with a cloth.

He began by discursively relating to the public that he was just returned from a journey to Paris, where he had met with many original individuals and droll adventures. Imperceptibly he passed from the narrative style to a perfectly dramatic performance, in which, with almost inconceivable talent and memory, he placed before the eyes of his audience all that he had witnessed; while he so totally altered his face, speech, and whole exterior, with the rapidity of lightning, that one must have seen it to believe it possible. His outward helps consist only of a cap, a cloak, a false nose, a wig, &c., which he draws from under the table cover, and with these slender means produces an entire and instant transformation. The applause was tumultuous and the laughter incessant. The principal persons (who were introduced in various situations,) were an old Englishman, who found fault with everything abroad and praised everything at home; a provincial lady who never walked in the street without a French dictionary in her hand, worried the passers-by with incessant questions, and seized every opportunity of assisting other English people with her superior knowledge, in doing which, as may be imagined, she stumbled upon the most perverted, burlesque, and often equivocal expressions; a dandy from the city, who affected ‘le grand air;’ and his opposite, a fat farmer from Yorkshire, who played pretty much the part of farmer Feldkümmel. The most amusing thing to me was an English lecture on craniology by Spurzheim. The likeness to that person, so well known in England,—to his whole manner and his German accent,—was so perfect, that the theatre shook with incessant laughter.

I was less pleased with some other imitations; particularly that of Talma, who is far above the reach of any mere mimic, be his talents what they may. Besides, his death is too recent, and sorrow for his irreparable loss too great in the mind of every lover of art, to render such a parody agreeable.

The performance concluded with a little farce, for which the curtain was drawn up, and in which Mathews again played alone. He filled seven or eight different parts, exclusive of those of a dog and a child, which were indeed personated by puppets, but which he barked and prattled, in as masterly a manner as he spoke the others. At first he is a French tutor, who is going to travel with a little lord ten years old, whom he shuts into a guitar-case that he may save the fare of the diligence, and at the same time charge it to the papa. At every stage he takes him out, to give him air and make him say his lesson. He carries on the conversation with infinite drollery, and surprising skill as a ventriloquist. The boy’s resistance to being shut up in his box again,—the way in which his murmurs and complaints die away, like the waltz in the Freischütz, till at length the lid is clapped to, and the last tones come from the shut case like a faint echo,—are inconceivably comic.

After many adventures which beset the diligence and its passengers, an old maid (again Mathews) makes her appearance. She has a favourite lapdog, which is not suffered to travel inside, but which she is trying to smuggle in, and fixes her eye on the guitar-case as a fit hiding-place for her darling. In her hurry to accomplish her purpose she does not observe that the place is already occupied. But hardly has she laid the case out of her hand, when the dog begins to growl and bark, the boy to howl, and she to scream for help; which trio made the gallery almost frantic with delight.

The whole affair is, as you perceive, not exactly æsthetic, and rather fitted to an English stomach than to any other. It is, indeed, almost painful to see such skill devoted to such absurd buffooneries; the talent, however, is still most remarkable; and even the physical powers wonderful, which can support these efforts of acting and continual speaking, with all these fatiguing disguises, without a single slip or stumble, for hours together.

Not to require as great an exertion of patience from you, I will now conclude. I wish heartily that my display of the meagre peep-shows of the town may not tire you too much. You asked for pictures of daily life; you expect from me no statistical work, no topography, no regular enumeration of the so-called sights of London, and no systematic treatise on England; nor am I in any condition to afford you such.

Receive, therefore, the unpretending humble fare I send you, in good part. It is at all events now and then seasoned with a grain of pepper.

Your faithful L——.


London, Dec. 9th, 1826.

Dearest Friend,

It is not uninteresting to attend the auctions here; first, on account of the multitude of extremely rare and valuable things, which form the wonderful activity of life and the constant vicissitudes of fortune are daily brought into the market, and often sold very cheap; and secondly, for the ingenuity and eloquence of the auctioneers, of which I have already made honourable mention. They embroider their orations with more wit gratis, than ours would be willing to furnish for ready money.

This morning I saw the sale of an Indian cabinet, the property of a bankrupt Nabob, which contained some curious and beautiful works of art. “The possessor of these treasures,” said the orator, “has taken much trouble for nothing; for nothing to himself, I mean, but a great deal to you, gentlemen. He had once doubtless more money than wit, but has now, as certainly, more wit than money.” “Modesty and merit,” observed he afterwards, “go together only thus far,—both begin with an m.” And in this style, and with such ‘jeus de mots,’ he continued. “What enables the poor to live?” concluded he. “Charity or liberality do but little towards it. Vanity, vanity is the thing,—not theirs, poor devils, but that of the rich. If you then, gentlemen, will but display a little of this praiseworthy vanity, and buy, you will earn a blessing even without meaning it.”

Yes, truly, thought I, there you are right, old jester, for so admirably is the world contrived, that good must ever arise out of evil; and the existence of evil only serves to render the good which succeeds it more conspicuous.

One must moralize everywhere.

I dined at the house of a lady of distinction, who talked to me the whole time we were at table about Napoleon, and, with true English exaggeration, was so enamoured of him, that she thought the execution of the Duke d’Enghien, and the betrayal of Spain, laudable acts.

Though I do not go quite so far, I am, as you know, an admirer of this man’s colossal greatness, and delighted my neighbour highly by describing to her Napoleon’s former magnificence, of which I was an eyewitness,—those brilliant days in which Cæsar himself stood amazed at his splendour;

“Quand les ambassadeurs de tant de rois divers
Vinrent le reconnoître au nom de l’univers.”

For his own fame, I do not wish otherwise any of his later misfortunes; nor for the tragic interest, any of his errors and faults. He bore ‘coups d’épées’ and ‘coups d’épingles’ with equal fortitude and dignity; and left an epitaph worthy of his life in the words, ‘Je lègue l’opprobre de ma mort à l’Angleterre.’

Thus much is certain, he is still too near us for impartial judgment; and experience has amply taught us that it was less his despotic principles than his personal aggrandisement which provoked such inveterate hostility. The principles exist still; but, God be praised, the energy with which he put them in practice, is utterly wanting, and that is a great gain for human nature.[32]

There is now a French theatre here, which is attained only by the best company, and nevertheless is like a dark little private theatre. Perlet and Laporte are its great supports, and play admirably. The latter also, with true French assurance, acts on the English stage, and thinks, when the audience laughs at his accent and French manners, that it is merely a tribute to his ‘vis comica.’

I went to the theatre with Mrs. ——, wife of the well-known minister and member of parliament, and accompanied her after the play to the first genuine rout I have attended this time of my being in England,—what is more, too, in a house in which I was entirely a stranger. It is the custom here to take your friends to parties of this sort, and to present them, then and there, to the mistress of the house, who never thinks you can bring enough to fill her small rooms to suffocation: the more the better; and for the full satisfaction of her vanity, a ‘bagarre’ must arise among the carriages below; some must be broken to pieces, and a few men and horses killed or hurt, so that the ‘Morning Post’ of the following day may parade a long article on the extremely ‘fashionable soirée’ given by ‘Lady Vain,’ or ‘Lady Foolish.’

In the course of the evening I made a more interesting acquaintance than I expected on the staircase, (I could get no further,) in Lady C—— B——, who has some reputation as an authoress. She is the sister of a Duke, and was a celebrated beauty.

The next morning I called on her, and found everything in her house brown, in every possible shade;—furniture, curtains, carpets, her own and her children’s dresses, presented no other colour. The room was without looking-glasses or pictures; and its only ornaments were casts from the antique. * * *

After I had been there some time, the celebrated bookseller C—— entered. This man has made a fortune by Walter Scott’s novels, though, as I was told, he refused his first and best, Waverly, and at last gave but a small sum for it. I hope the charming Lady C—— B—— had better cause to be satisfied with him. I thought it discreet to leave her with her man of business, and made my bow.

December 10th.

The affairs of Portugal are now much discussed in all circles; and the Marquis P—— read us the just printed English Declaration to-night, in a box at the French theatre. Politics are here a main ingredient of social intercourse; as they begin to be in Paris, and will in time become in our sleepy Germany; for the whole world has now that tendency. The lighter and more frivolous pleasures suffer by this change; and the art of conversation as it once flourished in France, will perhaps soon be entirely lost. In this country I should rather think it never existed, unless perhaps in Charles the Second’s time. And, indeed, people here are too slavishly subject to established usages; too systematic in all their enjoyments; too incredibly kneaded up with prejudices; in a word, too little vivacious, to attain to that unfettered spring and freedom of spirit, which must ever be the sole basis of agreeable society. I must confess that I know none more monotonous, nor more persuaded of its own pre-excellence, than the highest society of this country,—with but few exceptions, and those chiefly among foreigners, or persons who have resided a good deal on the Continent. A stony, marble-cold spirit of caste and fashion rules all classes, and makes the highest tedious, the lower ridiculous. True politeness of the heart and cheerful ‘bonhommie’ are rarely to be met with in what is called society; nor, if we look for foreign ingredients, do we find either French grace and vivacity, or Italian naturalness; but at most, German stiffness and awkwardness concealed under an iron mask of arrogance and ‘hauteur.’

In spite of this, the ‘nimbus’ of a firmly anchored aristocracy and vast wealth, (combined with admirable taste in spending it, which no one can deny them,) has stamped the Great World of this country as that ‘par excellence,’ of Europe, to which all other nations must more or less give way. But that foreigners individually and personally do not find it agreeable, is evident by their rarity in England, and by the still greater rarity of their desire to stay long. Every one of them at the bottom of his heart thanks God when he is out of English society; though personal vanity afterwards, leads him to extol that uninspiring foggy sun, whose beams assuredly gave him but little ‘comfort’ when he lived in them.

Far more loveable, because far more loving, do the English appear in their domestic and most intimate relations; though even here some ‘baroque’ customs;—for instance, that sons in the highest ranks, as soon as they are fledged, leave the paternal roof and live alone; nay actually do not present themselves at their fathers’ dinner-table without a formal invitation. I lately read a moving instance of conjugal affection in the newspaper: The Marquis of Hastings died in Malta; shortly before his death he ordered that his right hand should be cut off immediately after his death, and sent to his wife. A gentleman of my acquaintance, out of real tenderness, and with her previously obtained permission, cut off his mother’s head, that he might keep the skull as long as he lived; while other Englishmen, I really believe, would rather endure eternal torments than permit the scalpel to come near their bodies. The laws enjoin the most scrupulous fulfilment of such dispositions of a deceased person; however extravagant they may be, they must be executed. I am told there is a country-house in England where a corpse, fully dressed, has been standing at a window for the last half-century, and still overlooks its former property.

Just as I was going to entertain you with more English originalities, my long-desired head-gardener entered my room, bringing your letters. What a pity that you could not put yourself into the large packet, (of course in all your ‘fraicheur,’ and not like Lord Hastings’ hand,) or inhabit a pretty box, like Göthe’s delightful Gnome, so that I might call you out and share with you every enjoyment, fresh as it arises, without this long interval! As it is, you are melancholy, because I was so a fortnight before; or your sympathizing answer to a cheerful letter of mine arrives just as I am labouring under a fresh attack of ‘spleen.’ As you say, such an old letter is often like a dead body which, after being forgotten, is fished up out of the sea.

I must laugh at you, and scold you for one thing—that you write me, as is your way, scarcely any details about what is passing at my beloved M——, and send me, instead, long extracts out of a book of Travels in Africa, which I have read here ages ago in the original. I will certainly pay you in your own coin the next time you do so. I am just studying a very interesting work, Dass Preussische Exercier-Reglement von 1805, out of which, when other matter fails me, I shall send you the cleverest and most entertaining extracts. O you gentle lamb! you shall often be ‘shorn’ with these African novelties of yours; the more so, as the last shearing took place a long time ago, and you must be sitting as deeply imbedded in your wool as the Knights of St. John in B——, when, displaying their double crosses, they await the highest bidder on their Woolsacks. The seat of the Lord Chancellor here is also a Woolsack, but of rather a more aristocratical sort, more nearly allied to the Golden Fleece.

I now make almost daily park-excursions with R——, to render his visit to England as useful as possible; for a good gardener will learn more here in his profession during a short stay, than in a study of ten years at home. There are indeed in the immediate neighbourhood of London a great number of very interesting seats, all of them situated on very pleasant and animated roads. Amongst these may particularly be mentioned a villa of Lord Mansfield’s, the decorations of which do much honour to the taste of his lady. Sion House, belonging to the Duke of Northumberland, and laid out by Brown, is also extremely worth seeing, on account of its remarkable green-houses, and the multitude of gigantic exotic trees in the open air, none of which would bear our climate. Here are also to be seen whole groves of rhododendrons, camellias, &c., which are but partially covered in winter; and all kinds of beautiful evergreens thrive luxuriantly in every season.

The green and hot-houses, which form a front of three hundred feet, consist only of stone, iron and glass; a style of building which has here the additional advantage of being cheaper than that with wood.

I was interested by a kind of chain, the links of which consisted of scythes, for the purpose of clearing the large standing waters (a defect in most English parks): by merely drawing it, like a drag-net, along the bottom, it entirely removes the weeds. In the vast pleasure-ground twelve men are daily mowing from five till nine o’clock. By this means high grass is never to be seen there, and at the same time the disagreeable general mowing is avoided, which destroys the neatness of the garden for some days. It is true that they can do only a part daily; but it is so managed that they finish a certain allotted portion, and they come round so often that the difference in the turf is not perceptible. This short grass is, indeed, quite lost to economy; but beauty and utility cannot always be combined, and the latter must certainly be subordinate in a pleasure-ground, or it is better to relinquish all pretensions to one. Kew, which is on the opposite bank of the river, unquestionably possesses the most complete collection of exotic plants in Europe. The park has also a great advantage in its beautiful situation on the Thames, but is in general rather neglected. Yew trees are found here of the height of our firs, and very fine specimens of holly and evergreen oak; in other respects the old Queen’s plantations are not very tasteful.

Wimbledon Park, stretching over several hills and full of beautiful groups of trees, present fine views, but the effect of the whole is spoiled by some degree of monotony.

—— House is very near, and almost in the suburbs of London: its architecture is not without interest.

I tell you nothing of the enchanting valley of Richmond. Every traveller falls into an ecstacy about it, and with justice; but he does not always excite a similar feeling in the reader by his descriptions. I therefore avoid them, and remark only that the excellent aristocratic inn (the Star and Garter,) from which one overlooks this paradise, whilst one’s corporeal wants are admirably provided for, enhances the pleasure. Solitude and tranquillity joined to every comfort of life, in a country beautiful above all expression, powerfully invite to enjoyment.

In the evening I took R—— to the Adelphi Theatre. It is small and neat, and distinguished for the goodness of its machinery; just now, too, it possesses several excellent actors. One of them played the drunkard more naturally than I ever saw it. It is true that he has more facilities here for the study of that state of mind,—for the same reason that the ancients represented the naked figure better than our artists,—namely, because they saw it more frequently. An excellent trait of real life was, that the drunkard, who cherished a tender passion for a young and poor girl in the house where he lodged, when sober formed other projects, but in his drunken fits invariably returned with tears ‘à ses anciennes amours,’ and in that state of mind was at length happily brought to marry her.

December 23d.

Many thanks for the news from B——. I am particularly pleased that Alexander Von Humboldt is employed by Government. It must give pleasure to every patriot to see a man like him at length fixed in his native country, which is so justly proud of his fame in all parts of the world. It must be a happy occurrence too for many circles there, in which the salt will at length be mingled, the want of which has so long rendered them quite unpalatable.

How much I lament the accident which has befallen our good and noble King, (and I had already learned it from L——,) you can easily imagine, as you know my feelings on that subject; but I hope to God that his strong constitution, and the help of such skilful men, will remove every remaining evil. How rare, and how beautiful, to hear a whole nation exclaim with one heart and mind, “May heaven preserve to us our beloved Monarch!”[33]

My own state of spirits is, ‘au reste,’ somewhat of the same melancholy cast, probably from the everlasting fogs, which are often so bad that one is obliged to light candles in the middle of the day, and yet cannot see. ‘Le pire est, que je suis tantôt trop, et tantôt trop peu sensible á l’opinion et aux procédés des autres.’ In the former disposition, (and dispositions unfortunately govern me with despotic power,) they not only make me sad or cheerful, but, what is worse, wise or foolish. I sometimes appear to myself like a person who has climbed up a ladder of ropes, where his hands have grown benumbed; and after hanging for a long time near the top, and endeavouring to get still higher, is now on the point of being obliged to let go, and fall down again to the bottom. And yet, perhaps, when once arrived on the level plain of common-place and obscurity, he may be more tranquil than in the stormy breezes; and though his hopes be less, he may be surrounded by a happier, though a more simple reality. But a truce to such vain speculations. They are unprofitable, and even fears of a threatening real misfortune ought always to be forcibly banished; for why torment ourself with anxieties about that which may come, and yet perhaps never does come; yet, as a mere dreamy phantom, has embittered so much of a present which might otherwise have been cheerful?

In all such states of mind, your image is my best comfort; and to you, my only and unchanging friend, I turn at length with tearful eyes, and tender gratitude for all your manifold love, kindness and indulgence. In your faithful bosom I deposit my grief as well as my joy, and all my hopes; the most brilliant fulfilment of which would, without you, lose all value for me.

But now I must leave you, as my duty requires, (for otherwise I would not,) to go to a large party; where I am destined, as in life, to lose myself in the multitude. It is, I think, my last visit to the gay world, as I am preparing to set out on a park-and-garden journey with B——, which probably will take us a month. The present season is indeed just the best for him who wishes to make landscape-gardening a study, for the leafless trees afford a clear and free view in all directions; one can thus see the whole artificial landscape in a single tour, understand the effects produced, and judge of the whole like a plan on paper; as well as distinguish the parts of every plantation in their intended order.

Yesterday we visited, ‘en attendant,’ the parks in town,—Kensington Gardens;—Regent’s park, ‘en détail,’ &c., on which occasion we did not omit to look in at the Diorama exhibited there. This far surpassed my expectations, and all that I had formerly seen of the same kind. It is certainly impossible to deceive the senses more effectually; even with the certitude of illusion one can hardly persuade himself it exists. The picture represented the interior of a large abbey-church, appearing perfectly in its real dimensions. A side door is open, ivy climbs through the windows, and the sun occasionally shines through the door, and lightens with a cheering beam the remains of coloured windows, glittering through cobwebs. Through the opposite window at the end you see the neglected garden of the monastery, and above it, single clouds in the sky, which, flitting stormily across, occasionally obscure the sunlight, and throw deep shadows over the church—tranquil as death; where the crumbled but magnificent remains of an ancient knight reposes in gloomy majesty.

As our departure is fixed for to-morrow, I send off this letter, although it has not yet grown to the usual corpulence. How slender are yours in comparison! Certainly, whenever our descendants find the dusty correspondence of their ancestors in a corner of the old library, they will be equally astonished at my prodigality and at your avarice, ‘A propos,’ do not be too dissipated in B——, and forget not, even for the shortest time,

The most faithful of your friends, L.


Watford, December 25, 1826.

Dear Friend,

This morning we started,—unluckily in bad rainy weather. Ten miles from London we commenced operations with the inspection of two villas and a large park, near the pretty little village of Stanmore. The first villa was thoroughly in the rural Gothic style, with ornamented pointed gables; a ‘genre’ in which English architects are peculiarly happy. The interior was also most prettily fitted up in the same style, and at the same time extremely comfortable and inviting. Even the doors in the walls surrounding the kitchen-garden were adorned with windows of coloured glass at the top, which had a singular and beautiful brilliancy among the foliage. The little flower-garden, too, was laid out in beds of Gothic forms surrounded by gravel walks, and the fancy had not a bad effect.

Very different was the aspect of the other villa, in the Italian taste, with large vases before it, filled not with flowers but with green and yellow gourds and pumpkins. A superabundance of wooden statues, painted white, decorated, or rather deformed, the gardens. Among them a roaring rampant lion vainly sought to inspire terror, and a Cupid hanging in a bush threatened, as abortively, the passengers with his darts.

The Priory, formerly a religious house, now the seat of Lord Aberdeen, has many beauties. The number of magnificent firs and pines in the park give it a singularly foreign air. The simple beautiful house is almost concealed amid trees of every size and form, so that one catches only glimpses of it glancing between the shrubs, or overtopping the high trees. This is always very advantageous to buildings, especially those of an antique character. One seldom sees here those unbroken views over a long and narrow strip of level grass, but which have no other effect than that of making distance appear less than it really is. We walked about the grounds for a considerable time, while a bevy of young ladies and gentlemen of the family came around us, mounted on small Scotch poneys; and one of the latter, a pretty boy, attached himself to us as guide, and showed us the interior of the house, whose dark walls were most luxuriantly clothed, up to the very roof, with ivy, pomegranate and China-rose. It was twilight before we quitted the park, and in half an hour we reached the little town of Watford, where I am now reposing in a good inn. R—— takes this opportunity of commending himself most respectfully to you, and is writing very busily in his journal, which makes me laugh.

I must just remark, that at Stanmore Priory we saw (I steal it out of the fore-named journal) a single rhododendron standing abroad, fifteen feet high, and covering a circumference of at least twenty-five feet with its thick branches. Such vegetation is more inviting to ‘parkomanie’ than ours.

Woburn, December 26th.

We have made a calculation, dear Julia, that if you were with us (a wish ever present to the minds of your faithful servants) you could not, with your aversion to foot-exercise, see above a quarter of a park a-day; and that it would take you at least four hundred and twenty years to see all the parks in England, of which there are doubtless at least a hundred thousand, for they swarm whichever way you turn your steps. Of course we visit only the great ones, or look, ‘en passant,’ at any little villa that particularly strikes and pleases us. Notwithstanding this, we have seen so many proud and magnificent seats to-day, that we are still in perfect rapture at them. For I, you know, never could subscribe to the rule of the ‘nil admirari,’ which cramps and destroys our best enjoyments.

Before I begin my description, I must, however, give the excellent inns their meed of praise. In the country, even in small villages, you find them equally neat and well attended. Cleanliness, great convenience, and even elegance, are always combined in them; and a stranger is never invited to eat, sit and sleep in the same room, as in the German inns, in which there are generally only ball-rooms and bed-chambers.

The table-service generally consists of silver and porcelain: the furniture is well contrived; the beds always excellent; and the friendly, flickering fire never fails to greet you.

A detailed description of this morning’s breakfast will give you the best idea of the wants and the comfortable living of English travellers.

N. B. I had ordered nothing but tea. The following is what I found set out when I quitted my bed-room,—in a little town scarcely so extensive as one of our villages. In the middle of the table smoked a large tea-urn, prettily surrounded by silver tea-canisters, a slop-basin, and a milk-jug. There were three small Wedgwood plates, with as many knives and forks, and two large cups of beautiful porcelain: by them stood an inviting plate of boiled eggs, another ‘ditto’ of broiled ‘oreilles de cochon à la Sainte Ménéhould;’ a plate of muffins, kept warm by a hot water-plate; another with cold ham; flaky white bread, ‘dry and buttered toast,’ the best fresh butter in an elegant glass vessel; convenient receptacles for salt and pepper, English mustard and ‘moutarde de maille;’ lastly, a silver tea-caddy, with very good green and black tea.

This most luxurious meal,—which I hope you will think I have described as picturesquely as a landscape,—is, moreover, in proportion very cheap; for it was charged in the bill only two shillings (16 Gr.). Travelling is however, on the whole, very expensive,—especially the posting (which is exactly four times as much as with us,) and the fees which you are expected to be giving all day long, in all directions, to every species of servant and attendant.

At ten o’clock we reached Cashiobury Park, the seat of the Earl of Essex. I sent in my name to him; upon which his son-in-law, Mr. F——, (whom I had formerly known in Dresden, and with whom I was happy to renew my acquaintance,) came to conduct me about. The house is modern Gothic, and magnificently furnished. You enter a hall with coloured windows, which afford a view into an inner court laid out as a flower-garden: leaving the hall, you go through a long gallery on the side, hung with armour, to the rich carved oak staircase leading to the library, which here generally serves as principal drawing-room. The library has two small cabinets looking on the garden, and filled with rarities. Among these I was particularly pleased with two numerous sketches by Denon, representing the levée of Cardinal Bernis at Rome, and a dinner at Voltaire’s, with the Abbé Maury, Diderot, Helvetius, d’Alembert, and other philosophers,—all portraits.

I was much interested too by a complete toilet of Marie Antoinette’s, on which the portraits of her husband and of Henry the Fourth were painted in several places. From the library you go into an equally rich second drawing-room; and from thence into the dining-room. Near to both these rooms was a green-house, in the form of a chapel; and in every apartment windows down to the ground afforded a view of the noble park and the river flowing through it. On a distant rising ground you look along a very broad avenue of limes, exactly at the end of which, during a part of the summer, the sun sets: its horizontal rays passing along the whole length of the green-house must afford the most splendid natural decoration, heightened by the reflection of its beams from a large mirror at the end. The walls of the dining-room are covered with oaken ‘boiserie,’ with beautiful cornices and carving; the furniture is of rose-wood, silk and velvet; and valuable pictures in antique gilded frames adorn the walls. The proportions of the room may be called hall-like, and the whole is regularly heated to a temperature of fourteen degrees of Reaumur.

The somewhat remote stables and all the domestic offices, &c., are on the left, connected with the house by an embattled wall; so that the building extends along an uninterrupted length of a thousand feet.

The flower-gardens occupy a very considerable space. Part of them are laid out in the usual style; that is, a long green-house at the bottom, in front of which are several ‘berceaux’ and shady walks around a large grass-plat, which is broken with beds of all forms, and dotted with rare trees and shrubs. But here was also something new;—a deep secluded valley of oval form, around which is a thick belt of evergreens, and rock-plants planted impenetrably thick on artificial rockeries; a background of lofty fir-trees and oak, with their tops waving in the wind; and, at one end of the grass-plat, a single magnificent lime-tree surrounded by a bench. From this point the whole of the little valley was covered with an embroidered parterre of the prettiest forms, although perfectly regular. The egress from this enclosure lay through a grotto overgrown with ivy, and lined with beautiful stones and shells, into a square rose-garden surrounded with laurel hedges, in the centre of which is a temple, and opposite to the entrance a conservatory for aquatic plants. The rose-beds are cut in various figures, which intersect each other. A walk, overarched with thick beeches neatly trimmed with the shears, winds in a sinuous line from this point to the Chinese garden, which is likewise enclosed by high trees and walls, and contains a number of vases, benches, fountains, and a third green-house,—all in the genuine Chinese style. Here were beds surrounded by circles of white, blue, and red sand, fantastic dwarf plants, and many dozens of large China vases placed on pedestals, thickly overgrown with trailing evergreens and exotics. The windows of the house were painted like Chinese hangings, and convex mirrors placed in the interior, which reflected us as in a ‘camera obscura.’ I say nothing of the endless rows of rich hot-houses and forcing-beds, nor of the kitchen-gardens. You may estimate the thing for yourself, when I repeat to you Mr. F——’s assurance that the park, gardens, and house cost ten thousand a-year to keep up. The Earl has his own workmen in every department; masons, carpenters, cabinet-makers, &c., each of whom has his prescribed province. One has, for instance, only to keep the fences in order, another the rooms, a third the furniture, &c.; a plan well worthy of imitation in the country.

I paid my visit to the venerable Earl, who kept his chamber with the gout, and received from the kind friendly old man the best information, and some (highly necessary) cards of admittance for my further journey.

Our road lay for a long time through the park, till we reached one of the principal features in it, called the Swiss Cottage, which stands in a lovely secluded spot in the midst of a grove on the bank of the river. We drove over the turf; for, as I have told you, many parks here are quite like free uncultivated ground, and have often only one road, which leads up to the house and out on the other side. Having regained the high road, we drove along twenty miles of country, all equally beautiful, equally luxuriant in fertility and vegetation, and at five o’clock reached Ashridge Park, the seat of the Earl of Bridgewater. Here you can follow me better, dear Julia, if you open Repton’s book, in which you will find several views, and the ground-plan of this charming garden, which old Repton himself laid out. Remember the ‘Rosary,’ and you will immediately know where to look for it. This park is one of the largest in England, for it is nearly three German miles in circumference; and the house which, like Cashiobury, is modern Gothic, is almost endless, with all its walls, towers, and courts. I must, however, frankly confess, that this modern Gothic (‘castellated’) style, which looks so fairy-like on paper, in reality often strikes one not only as tasteless, but even somewhat absurd, from its overloaded and incongruous air.

If in the midst of the most cultivated, peaceful fields, amid the mingled beauties of countless flowers, you see a sort of fortress, with turrets, loopholes, and battlements, not one of which has the slightest purpose or utility, and, moreover, many of them standing on no firmer basis than glass walls (the green-houses and conservatories connected with the apartments,)—it is just as ridiculous and incongruous, as if you were to meet the possessor of these pretty flower-gardens walking about in them in helm and harness. The antique, the old Italian, or merely romantic[34] style, adapted to our times, harmonizes infinitely better with such surrounding objects, has a more cheerful character, and even, with smaller masses, a much grander and more majestic air.

The interior of this house has certainly the most striking effect, and may truly be called princely. The possessor has very wisely limited himself to few, but large, entertaining-rooms. You enter the hall, which is hung with armour and adorned with antique furniture. You then come to the staircase, the most magnificent in its kind that can be imagined. Running up three lofty stories, with the same number of galleries, it almost equals the tower of a church in height and size: the walls are of polished stone, the railings of bright brass, the ceiling of wood beautifully carved in panels and adorned with paintings, and around each landing-place or gallery are niches with statues of the Kings of England in stone. Ascending this staircase we reached a drawing-room decorated with crimson velvet and gilded furniture, lighted in front by enormous windows which occupy nearly the whole side of the room, and disclose the view of the ‘pleasure-ground’ and park. Sidewards, on the left, is another room as large, in which are a billiard-table and the library. On the other side, in the same suite, is the dining-room; and behind it a noble green-house and orangery, through which you pass into the chapel, which is adorned with ten windows of genuine antique painted glass, and with admirable carvings in wood. All the benches are of walnut-tree, covered with crimson velvet.

In the rooms are some fine and interesting pictures, but most of them by modern artists. The pleasure-grounds and gardens are still larger than those at Cashiobury. You will find a part of them in Repton, viz. the American garden, the Monk’s garden, and the Rosary; to which I must add, first, the very elegant French garden, with a covered gallery, on one side; a porcelain-like ornament with flower-pots in the centre; and a large parterre, every bed of which is filled with a different sort of flower: secondly, the Rockery, in which are to be found every kind of rock and creeping plant. Nothing but the long habit of great luxury could enable people even to conceive a whole so manifold, so equally exemplary in all its parts, and in such perfect order and condition; for we must confess that even our sovereigns possess only fragments of what is here found united. Some thousand head of deer, and countless groups of giant trees, animate and adorn the park, which with the exception of the road leading through it, is left wholly to nature, and to its numerous grazing herds.

Accept it as a small sacrifice, dear Julia, that I send you all these minute details. They may not be useless in our own plans and buildings, and are at least more tedious to write than to read.[35]

For better illustration, I take sketches of everything interesting, which will stand us in good stead, as furnishing new ideas. In the morning we are going to see Woburn Abbey, the seat of the Duke of Bedford, one of the richest peers of England, which is said to exceed Ashbridge in extent and grandeur, as much as that does Cashiobury; a very agreeable climax.

The inn whence I write is again very good, and I purpose, after all my fatigues, to do as much honour to my principal meal as I did to my breakfast; though the former is here far more simple, and consists of the same dishes day after day. The eternal ‘mutton chops’ and a roast fowl with ‘bread sauce,’ with vegetables boiled in water, and the national sauce, melted butter with flour, always play the principal part.

Leamington, Dec. 21st.

I am now in a large watering-place, of which, however, I have as yet seen but little, as I only arrived at eleven o’clock last night. The greater part of the day was spent in seeing Woburn Abbey. This beautiful palace is in the Italian taste; the design simple and noble, and infinitely more satisfactory than the colossal would-be-Gothic ‘nonsense.’

Its stables, riding-school, ball-rooms, statue and picture galleries, conservatories and gardens, form a little town. For three centuries this estate has been transmitted in a direct line in this family,—even in England a rare instance;—so that it is not to be wondered at, if, with an income of a million of our money, an accumulation of luxury and magnificence has been formed here, far exceeding the powers of any private person in our country: and indeed even were money here and there forthcoming in like profusion, yet the state of society adapted for centuries to the providing of the materials for a luxury so refined, and so complete in all its parts, exists not among us.

The house, properly speaking, is a regular quadrangle; and the ‘bel étage,’ which is always ‘de plein pied’ in country-houses, forms an unbroken suite of rooms, occupying the whole superficial extent. These rooms are hung with valuable pictures, and richly furnished with massive and magnificent stuffs; the ceilings and the ‘embrasures’ of the doors are of white plaster with gold ornaments, or of rare carved wood,—all equally simple and massy. In one room was a remarkable collection of miniature portraits of the family, from the first Russell (the name of the Dukes of Bedford) to the present Duke, in an unbroken line. Under such circumstances, a man may be permitted to be a little proud of his family and his noble blood.[36] These miniatures were arranged in a very tasteful manner on crimson velvet, in a long narrow gold frame, and set like medallions. The stoves are mostly of gilt metal, with high marble chimney-pieces; the chandeliers of bronze, richly-gilded; everywhere the same magnificence, yet nowhere overloaded. The library is at the end, divided into two rooms, and opening immediately on the delightful garden with wide glass doors.

The gardens appear to me peculiarly charming, so admirably interwoven with the buildings and so varied that it is difficult to describe them adequately.

To give you at least a general idea of them, let me tell you, that all along the various buildings, which sometimes project, sometimes retreat, form now straight and now curved lines, runs an unbroken arcade clothed with roses and climbing plants. Following this, you come to a succession of different and beautiful gardens. Over the arcade are partly chambers, partly the prettiest little green-houses. One of them contains nothing but heaths, hundreds of which, in full blow, present the loveliest picture, endlessly multiplied by walls of mirror. Immediately under this, Erica-house was the garden for the same tribe of plants; a glass-plat with beds of various forms, all filled with the larger and hardier sorts of heath. In one place the bowery-walk leads quite through a lofty Palm-house, before which lie the most beautiful embroidered parterres, intersected with gravel walks. Adjoining this house is the statue-gallery, the walls of which are covered with various sorts of marble; there are also very beautiful pillars from Italy. It contains a number of antique sculptures, and is terminated at either end by a temple, the one dedicated to Freedom, and adorned with busts of Fox, &c., the other to the Graces, with Canova’s exquisite group of the tutelary goddesses. From this point the arcade leads along an interminable plantation, on a sloping bank entirely filled with azaleas and rhododendrous, till you reach the Chinese garden, in which ‘the Dairy’ is a prominent and beautiful object. It is a sort of Chinese temple, decorated with a profusion of white marble and coloured glasses; in the centre is a fountain, and round the walls hundreds of large dishes and bowls of Chinese and Japan porcelain of every form and colour, filled with new milk and cream. The ‘consoles’ upon which these vessels stand are perfect models for Chinese furniture. The windows are of ground glass, with Chinese painting, which shows fantastically enough by the dim light.

A further pleasure-ground, with the finest trees and many beautiful surprises,—among others pretty children’s gardens, and a grass garden in which all sorts of gramineous plants were cultivated in little beds, forming a sort of chequer-work,—led to the Aviary. This consists of a large place fenced in, and a cottage, with a small pond in the centre, all dedicated to the feathered race. Here the fourth or fifth attendant awaited us, (each of whom expects a fee, so that you cannot see such an establishment under some pounds sterling,) and showed us first several gay-plumed parrots and other rare birds, each of whom had his own dwelling and little garden. These birds’ houses were made of twigs interwoven with wire, the roof also of wire, the shrubs around evergreen, as were almost all the other plants in this enclosure. As we walked out upon the open space which occupies the centre, our Papageno whistled, and in an instant the air was literally darkened around us by flights of pigeons, chickens, and heaven knows what birds. Out of every bush started gold and silver, pied and common, pheasants; and from the little lake a black swan galloped heavily forward, expressing his strong desire for food in tones like those of a fretful child. This beautiful bird, raven black with red feet and bill, was exceedingly tame, ate his food ‘chemin faisant’ out of the keeper’s pocket, and did not leave us for a moment while we were sauntering about the birds’ paradise, only now and then pushing away an intrusive duck or other of the vulgar herd, or giving a noble gold pheasant a dig in the side. A second interesting but imprisoned inhabitant of this place was Hero, an African crane, a creature that looks as if it were made of porcelain, and frequently reminded me in his movements of our departed dancing Ballerino. The incident of his history which had gained him his lofty name was unknown to the keeper.

The park, which is four German miles in circuit, does not consist merely of heath or meadow-land and trees, but has a fine wood, and also a very beautiful part fenced in, called the ‘Thornery,’ a wild sort of copse intersected with walks and overgrown with thorns and brushwood; in the midst of which stands a little cottage with the loveliest flower-garden.

Here terminate the splendours of Woburn Abbey. But no—two things I must still mention. In the house, the decorations of which I have described to you ‘en gros,’ I found a very ingenious contrivance. Round all the apartments of the great quadrangle runs an inner wide gallery, on which several doors open; and a variety of collections, some open, some in glass cases, and here and there interspersed with stands of flowers, are set out. This affords a walk as instructive as it is agreeable in winter or bad weather, and is rendered perfectly comfortable by the ‘conduits de chaleur,’ which heat the whole house.—The second remarkable thing is a picture of the Earl of Essex as large as life. He is represented as of a fine and slender person, but not a very distinguished face; small features without much expression, small eyes, and a large red beard with dark hair.

But I have written off a quarter of an inch of my finger, and must conclude. To-morrow another step in the ascending scale, for I must see Warwick Castle, which is spoken of as England’s pride. I am curious to see if we can really mount higher; hitherto we have certainly ascended from beautiful to more beautiful.

As the mail is just going off I enclose this to L——, who will have the kindness to forward it to you more quickly than it would otherwise go.

Think of the wanderer in your tranquil solitude, and believe that if fate drove him to the antipodes, his heart would ever be near you.

Your L——.


Warwick, Dec. 26th, 1826.

Dear Julia,

Now, indeed, for the first time, I am filled with real and unbounded enthusiasm. What I have hitherto described was a smiling country, combined with everything that art and money could produce. I left it with a feeling of satisfaction; and, although I have seen things like it,—nay, even possess them,—not without admiration. But what I saw to-day was more than that,—it was an enchanted palace decked in the most charming garb of poetry, and surrounded by all the majesty of history, the sight of which still fills me with delighted astonishment.

You, accomplished reader of history and memoirs, know better than I that the Earls of Warwick were once the mightiest vassals of England, and that the great Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, boasted of having deposed three kings, and placed as many on the vacant throne. This was his castle, standing ever since the ninth century, and in the possession of the same family since the reign of Elizabeth. A tower of the castle, said to have been built by Beauchamp himself, remains unaltered; and the whole stands colossal and mighty, like an embodied vision of former times.

From a considerable distance you see the dark mass of stone towering above the primæval cedars, chestnuts, oaks and limes. It stands on the rocks on the shore of the Avon, and rises to a perpendicular height of two hundred feet above the level of the water. Two towers of different forms overtop the building itself almost in an equal degree. A ruined pier of a bridge, overhung with trees, stands in the middle of the river, which becoming deeper just at the point where the building begins, forms a foaming waterfall, and turns a mill, which appears only like a low abutment of the castle. Going on, you lose sight of the castle for awhile, and soon find yourself before a high embattled wall, built of large blocks of stone covered by Time with moss and creeping plants. Lofty iron gates slowly unfold to admit you to a deep hollow way blasted in the rock, the stone walls of which are tapestried with the most luxuriant vegetation. The carriage rolled with a heavy dull sound along the smooth rock, which old oaks darkly overshadow. Suddenly, at a turn of the way, the castle starts from the wood into broad open daylight, resting on a soft grassy slope; and the large arch of the entrance dwindles to the size of an insignificant doorway between the two enormous towers, at the foot of which you now stand. A still greater surprise now awaits you when you pass through the second iron gate into the court-yard: it is almost impossible to imagine anything more picturesque, and at the same time more imposing.

Let your fancy conjure up a space about twice as large as the interior of the Colosseum at Rome, and let it transport you into a forest of romantic luxuriance. You now overlook the large court, surrounded by mossy trees and majestic buildings, which, though of every variety of form, combine to create one sublime and connected whole, whose lines now shooting upwards, now falling off into the blue air, with the continually changing beauty of the green earth beneath, produce, not symmetry indeed, but that higher harmony, elsewhere proper to Nature’s own works alone. The first glance at your feet falls on a broad simple carpet of turf, around which a softly winding gravel-walk leads to the entrance and exit of the gigantic edifice. Looking backwards, your eye rests on the two black towers, of which the oldest, called Guy’s Tower, rears its head aloft in solitary threatening majesty, high above all the surrounding foliage, and looks as if cast in one mass of solid iron;—the other, built by Beauchamp, is half hidden by a pine and a chestnut, the noble growth of centuries. Broad-leaved ivy and vines climb along the walls, here twining around the tower, there shooting up to its very summit. On your left lie the inhabited part of the castle, and the chapel, ornamented with many lofty windows of various size and form; while the opposite side of the vast quadrangle, almost entirely without windows, presents only a mighty mass of embattled stone, broken by a few larches of colossal height, and huge arbutuses which have grown to a surprizing size in the shelter they have so long enjoyed. But the sublimest spectacle yet awaits you, when you raise your eyes straight before you. On this fourth side, the ground, which has sunk into a low bushy basin forming the court, and with which the buildings also descend for a considerable space, rises again in the form of a steep conical hill, along the sides of which climb the rugged walls of the castle. This hill, and the keep which crowns it, are thickly overgrown at the top with underwood, which only creeps round the foot of the towers and walls. Behind it, however, rise gigantic venerable trees, towering above all the rock-like structure. Their bare stems seem to float in upper air; while at the very summit of the building rises a daring bridge, set, as it were, on either side within trees; and as the clouds drift across the blue sky, the broadest and most brilliant masses of light break magically from under the towering arch and the dark coronet of trees.

Figure this to yourself;—behold the whole of this magical scene at one glance;—connect with it all its associations;—think that here nine centuries of haughty power, of triumphant victory and destructive overthrow, of bloody deeds and wild greatness,—perhaps too of gentle love and noble magnanimity,—have left, in part, their visible traces, and where they are not, their vague romantic memory;—and then judge with what feelings I could place myself in the situation of the man to whom such recollections are daily suggested by these objects,—recollections which, to him, have all the sanctity of kindred and blood;—the man who still inhabits the very dwelling of that first possessor of the fortress of Warwick, that half-fabulous Guy, who lived a thousand years ago, and whose corroded armour, together with a hundred weapons of renowned ancestors, is preserved in the antique hall. Is there a human being so unpoetical as not to feel that the glories of such memorials, even to this very day, throw a lustre around the feeblest representative of such a race?

To make my description in some degree clear, I annex a ground-plan, which may help your imagination. You must imagine the river at a great depth below the castle-plain, and not visible from the point I have been describing. The first sight of it you catch is from the castle windows, together with the noble park, whose lines of wood blend on every side with the horizon.

You ascend from the court to the dwelling-rooms by only a few steps, first through a passage, and thence into the hall, on each side of which extend the entertaining-rooms in an unbroken line of three hundred and forty feet. Although almost ‘de plein-pied’ with the court, these rooms are more than fifty feet above the Avon, which flows on the other side. From eight to fourteen feet thickness of wall forms, in each window-recess, a complete closet, with the most beautiful varied view over the river, wildly foaming below, and further on flowing through the park in soft windings, till lost in the dim distance. Had I till now, from the first sight of the castle, advanced from surprise to surprise,—all this was surpassed, though in another way, by what awaited me in the interior. I fancied myself transported back into by-gone ages as I entered the gigantic baronial hall,—a perfect picture of Walter Scott’s;—the walls panelled with carved cedar; hung with every kind of knightly accoutrement; spacious enough to feast trains of vassals,—and saw before me a marble chimney-piece under which I could perfectly well walk with my hat on, and stand by the fire, which blazed like a funeral pile from a strange antique iron grate in the form of a basket, three hundred years old. On the side, true to ancient custom, was a stack of oak logs piled up upon a stand of cedar, which was placed on the stone floor partially covered by ‘hautelisse’ carpets. A man-servant dressed in brown, whose dress, with his gold knee-bands, epaulets and trimmings, had a very antique air, fed the mighty fire from time to time with an enormous block. Here, in every circumstance, the difference between the genuine old feudal greatness and the modern imitations was as striking, as that between the moss-grown remains of the weather-beaten fortress and the ruins built yesterday in the garden of some rich contractor. Almost everything in the room was old, stately, and original; nothing tasteless or incongruous, and all preserved with the greatest care and affection. Among them were many rich and rare articles which could no longer be procured,—silk, velvet, gold and silver blended and interwoven. The furniture consists almost entirely either of uncommonly rich gilding, of dark brown carved walnut or oak, or of those antique French ‘commodes’ and cabinets inlaid with brass, the proper name of which I have forgotten. There were also many fine specimens of mosaic, as well as of beautiful marquetry. A fire-screen, with a massy gold frame, consisted of a plate of glass so transparent that it was scarcely distinguishable from the air. To those who love to see the cheerful blaze without being scorched, such a screen is a great luxury. In one of the chambers stands a state bed, presented to one of the Earls of Warwick by Queen Anne; it is of red velvet embroidered, and is still in good preservation. The treasures of art are countless. Among the pictures, there was not one ‘mediocre;’ they are almost all by the first masters: but, beyond this, many of them have a peculiar family interest. There are a great many ancestral portraits by Titian, Van Dyk, and Rubens. The gem of the collection is one of Raphael’s most enchanting pictures, the beautiful Joan of Arragon,—of whom, strangely enough, there are four portraits, each of which is declared to be genuine. Three of them must of course be copies, but are no longer distinguishable from the original. One is at Paris, one at Rome, one at Vienna, and the fourth here. I know them all, and must give unqualified preference to this. There is an enchantment about this splendid woman which is wholly indescribable. An eye leading to the very depths of the soul; queenlike majesty united with the most feminine sensibility; intense passion blended with the sweetest melancholy; and withal, a beauty of form, a transparent delicacy of skin, and a truth, brilliancy and grace of the drapery and ornaments, such as only a divine genius could call into perfect being.

Among the most interesting portraits, both for the subject and the handling, are the following.

First, Machiavelli, by Titian.—Precisely as I should imagine him. A face of great acuteness and prudence, and of suffering,—as if lamenting over the profoundly-studied worthless side of human nature; that hound-like character which loves where it is spurned, follows where it fears, and is faithful where it is fed. A trace of compassionate scorn plays round the thin lips, while the dark eye appears turned reflectingly inward.

It appears strange, at first sight, that this great and classic writer should so long have been misunderstood in the grossest manner. Either he has been represented as a moral scarecrow (and how miserable is Voltaire’s refutation of that notion!); or the most fantastic hypothesis is put forth, that his book is a satire. On more attentive observation, we arrive at the conviction that it was reserved for modern times, in which politics at length begin to be viewed and understood from a higher and really humane point of view, to form a correct judgment of Machiavel’s Prince.

To all arbitrary princes—and under that name I class all those who think themselves invested with power solely ‘par la grace de Dieu’ and for their own advantage,—all conquerors, and children of fortune, whom some chance has given to the people they regard as their property,—to all such as these, this profound and acute writer shows the true and only way to prosper; the exhaustive system they must of necessity follow, in order to maintain a power radically sprung from the soil of sin and error. His book is, and must ever be, the true, inimitable gospel of such rulers; and we Prussians, especially, have reason to congratulate ourselves that Napoleon had learned his Machiavel so ill;—we should otherwise probably be still groaning under his yoke.

That Machiavel felt all the value and the power of freedom, is plain, from many passages in his book. In one he says, “He who has conquered a free city, has no secure means of keeping it, but either to destroy it, or to people it with new inhabitants; for no benefit a sovereign can confer will ever make it forget its lost freedom.”

By proving, as he incontestably does, that such a degree of arbitrary power can be maintained only by the utter disregard of all morality, and by seriously inculcating this doctrine upon princes, he also demonstrates but too plainly, that the whole frame of society, in his time, contained within itself a principle of demoralization; and that no true happiness, no true civilization, was possible to any people till that principle was detected and destroyed. The events of modern times, and their consequences, have at length opened their eyes to this truth, and they will not close them again!

The Duke of Alva, by Titian.—Full of expression, and, as I believe, faithful;—for this man was by no means a caricature of cruelty and gloom;—earnest, fantastical, proud, firm as iron; practically exhibiting the Ideal of an inflexibly faithful servant, who, having once undertaken a charge, looks neither to the right nor to the left in the execution of it; is ready blindly to fulfil the will of his God and of his master, and asks not whether thousands perish in torture; in a word, a powerful mind, not base but contracted, which lets others think for it, and works to establish their authority.

Henry the Eighth and Anne Boleyn, by Holbein.[37]—The King in a splendid dress,—a fat, rather butcher-like man, in whom sensuality, cunning, cruelty, and strength, rule in a frightfully complacent and almost jovial physiognomy. You see that such a man might make you tremble, and yet somehow attach you. Anne Boleyn is a good-natured, unmeaning, almost stupid-looking, genuine English beauty, like many one sees now, only in another dress.

Cromwell, by Van Dyk.—A magnificent head: somewhat of the bronze gladiator-look of Napoleon; but with much coarser features, through which, as behind a mask, is seen the light of a great soul: enthusiasm is, however, too little perceptible in them. There is an expression of cunning in the eye, combined with something of honesty, which renders it the more deceptive; but not a trace of cruelty,—with that, indeed, the Protector cannot be reproached. The execution of the King was a cruel act, but one which appeared to Cromwell’s mind in the light of a necessary political operation, and in no degree sprang from a delight in bloodshed. Under this picture hangs Cromwell’s own helmet.

Prince Rupert, by Van Dyk.—Completely the bold soldier! Every inch a cavalier! I do not mean in the exclusive sense of an adherent of the King, but in that of an accomplished gentleman and knight: a handsome face, as dangerous to women as to the enemy, and the picturesque garb and port of a warrior.

Elizabeth, by Holbein.—The best and perhaps the most faithful picture I have ever seen of her. She is represented in her prime, almost disgustingly fair, or rather white, with pale red hair. The eyes somewhat Albino-like, and almost without eyebrows. There is an artificial good-nature, but a false expression. Vehement passions and a furious temper seem to lie hidden under that pallid exterior, like a volcano under snow; while the intense desire to please is betrayed by the rich and over-ornamented dress. Quite different,—stern, hard, and dangerous to approach,—does she appear in the pictures of her at an advanced age, but even then extremely over-dressed.

Mary of Scotland.—Probably painted in prison, and shortly before her death: it has the air of a matron of forty.—There is still the faultless beauty; but it is no longer the light-minded Mary, full of the enjoyment of life, and of her own resistless charms; but visibly purified by misfortune,—with a sedate expression;—in short, Schiller’s Mary,—a noble nature, which has at length found itself again! It is one of the rarest pictures of the unhappy Queen, whom one is accustomed to see depicted in all the splendour of youth and beauty.

Ignatius Loyola, by Rubens.—A very beautifully painted and grand picture; but which immediately strikes one as a fiction, and no portrait. The sanctified expression, common to so many pictures of saints and priests, is unmeaning. The colouring is by far the finest thing about the picture.

But I should never have done, were I to attempt to go through this gallery. I must take you for a minute into the furthest cabinet, which contains a beautiful collection of enamels, chiefly after designs by Raphael, and a marble bust of the Black Prince, a sturdy soldier both in head and hand,—at a time when the latter alone sufficed to secure the highest renown.

Many valuable Etruscan vases and other works of art, besides the pictures and antiques, decorate the various apartments, and with great good taste are arranged so as to appear as harmonious accessories, instead of being heaped up in a gallery by themselves as dead masses.

It was pointed out to me as a proof of the perfect and solid architecture of the castle,—that, in spite of its age, when all the doors of the suite of rooms are shut, you see the bust placed exactly in the centre of the furthest cabinet, through the keyholes, along a length of three hundred and fifty feet;—a perfection, indeed, which our present race of workmen would never think of approaching. Though, as I told you, the walls of the hall are hung with a great quantity of armour, there is also an armoury, which is extremely rich. Here is the leathern collar, stained with blood blackened by time, in which Lord Brook, an ancestor of the present Earl, was slain at the battle of Litchfield. In one corner of the room lies a curious specimen of art, very heterogeneous with the rest,—a monkey, cast in iron, of a perfection and ‘abandon’ in the disposition of the limbs which rivals Nature herself. I was sorry the ‘châtellaine’ could not tell me who had made the model for this cast. He must be an eminent master who could thus express all the monkey grace and suppleness with such perfect fidelity, in an attitude of the most enjoying laziness.

Before I quitted the princely Warwick, I ascended one of the highest towers, and enjoyed a rich and beautiful prospect on every side. The weather was tolerably clear. Far more enchanting than this panorama, however, was the long walk in the gardens which surround the castle on two sides, whose character of serene grandeur is admirably adapted to that of the building. The height and beauty of the trees, the luxuriance of the vegetation and of the turf, cannot be exceeded; while a number of gigantic cedars, and the ever-varying aspect of the majestic castle, through whose lofty cruciform loop-holes the rays of light played, threw such enchantment over the whole scene that I could hardly tear myself away. We walked about till the moon rose; and her light, as we looked through the darkening alleys, gave to all objects a more solemn and gigantic character. We could therefore only see the celebrated colossal Warwick Vase by lamplight. It holds several hundred gallons, and is adorned with the most beautiful workmanship. We also saw some ancient curiosities which are kept in the Porter’s Lodge; particularly some cows’ horns and wild boar’s tusks, ascribed to beasts which Guy,—a hero of Saxon times, the fabulous ancestor of the first Earls of Warwick,—is said to have destroyed. The dimensions of his arms, which are preserved here, bespeak a man of such strength and stature as Nature no longer produces.

Here at length I took a lingering farewell of Warwick Castle, and laid the recollection, like a dream of the sublime and shadowy past, on my heart. I felt, in the faint moonlight, like a child who sees a fantastic giant head of far distant ages beckoning to it with friendly nod over the summit of the wood.

With such fancies, dear Julia, I will go to sleep, and wake to meet them again in the morning, for another scene of romance awaits me,—the ruins of Kenilworth.

Birmingham, Dec. 29th: Evening.

I must continue my narrative.—Leamington (‘car il faut pourtant que j’en dise quelque chose’) was only a little village a few years ago, and is now a rich and elegant town, containing ten or twelve palace-like inns, four large bath-houses with colonnades and gardens, several libraries, with which are connected card, billiard, concert and ball-rooms (one for six hundred persons,) and a host of private houses, which are almost entirely occupied by visitors, and spring out of the earth like mushrooms. All here is on a vast scale, though the waters are insignificant. The same are used for drinking as for bathing, and yet it swarms with visitors. The baths are as spacious as the English beds, and are lined throughout with earthenware tiles.

Not far from Leamington, and a league from Warwick, is a beautiful enchanting spot called Guy’s Cliff; part of the house is as old as Warwick Castle. Under it is a deep cavern, in the picturesque rocky shore of the Avon, into which, as tradition says, Guy of Warwick, after many high deeds at home and abroad, secretly retired to close his life in pious meditation. After two years of incessant search, his inconsolable wife found him lying dead in his cave, and in despair threw herself down from the rocks into the Avon. In later times a chapel was built in the rock to commemorate this tragic event, and adorned by Henry the Third with a statue of Sir Guy. This has unhappily been so mutilated by Cromwell’s troops, that it is now but a shapeless block. Opposite to the chapel are twelve monks’ cells hewn in the rock, now used as stables. The chapel itself, which has been entirely renovated in the interior, is connected with the dwelling of the proprietor, part of which is Gothic some centuries old, part in the old Italian style, and part quite new, built exactly to correspond with the most ancient part. The whole is extremely picturesque, and the interior is fitted up with equal attention to taste and comfort. The drawing-room, with its two deep window-recesses, struck me as uncommonly cheerful. One of these windows stands above a rock which rises fifty feet perpendicularly from the river, in whose bosom lies a lovely little island, and behind it a wide prospect of luxuriant meadows, beautiful trees, and, quite in the background, a village half buried in wood. At a short distance on the side is an extremely ancient mill, said to have been in existence before the Norman invasion. A little further off, the picture was terminated by a woody hill, also within the enclosure of the park, on which a high cross marks the spot where Gavestone, the infamous favourite of Edward the Second, was executed by the rebellious lords Warwick and Arundel. All these recollections, united with so many natural beauties, make a strong impression on the mind.—The other window afforded a perfect contrast with this. It overlooks a level plain laid out as a very pretty French garden, in which gay porcelain ornaments and coloured sand mingled their hues with the flowers, and terminates in a beautiful alley overshadowed with ivy cut into a pointed arch. In the room itself sparkled a cheerful fire; choice pictures adorned the walls, and several sofas of various forms, tables covered with curiosities, and furniture standing about in agreeable disorder, gave it the most inviting and home-like air.

I returned back to the town of Warwick to see the church, and the chapel containing the monument of the great King-Maker, which he placed there in his life-time, and now reposes under. His statue of metal lies on the sarcophagus; an eagle and a bear at his feet. The head is very expressive and natural. He does not fold his hands as is the case in most statues of knights, but only raises them a little to heaven, as though he would not pray, and could greet even his Maker only with a gesture of courtesy: his head is slightly inclined, but with no air of humility. Round his stone coffin are emblazoned the splendid bearings of all his lordships, and an enormous sword lies threatening by his side. The splendid painted windows, and the numerous well-preserved and richly gilded ornaments give to the whole a stately, solemn character.

A family of the town most unfortunately got permission, about a hundred and fifty years ago, to erect a monument to some country ‘squire or other, immediately under the large central window. It occupies the entire wall, and destroys the beautiful simplicity of the whole by this hideous, disgraceful modern excrescence.

By the side-wall lies another intruder carved in stone, but one of better pretensions;—no less a man than the powerful earl of Leicester: he is represented of middle age, a handsome, high-bred and haughty looking man; but without the lofty genius in his features so strikingly portrayed on the metal countenance of the great Warwick.

A few posts from Leamington, in a country which gradually becomes more solitary and dreary, lies Kenilworth.

With Sir Walter Scott’s captivating book in my hand I wandered amid these ruins, which call up such varied feelings. They cover a space of more than three-quarters of a mile in circumference, and exhibit, although in rapid decay, many traces of great and singular magnificence.

The oldest part of the castle, built in 1120, still stands the firmest, while the part added by Leicester is almost utterly destroyed. The wide moat which formerly surrounded the castle, and around which stretched a park of thirty English miles in circuit, was dried up in Cromwell’s time, in the hope of finding treasure in it. The park, too, has long disappeared, and is now changed into fields, on which are some scattered cottages. A part of the castle, standing isolated and almost hidden under creeping plants, is transformed into a kind of out-work; and the whole surrounding country has a more barren, deserted and melancholy aspect than any part we have travelled through. But this harmonizes well with the character of the principal object, and enhances the saddening effect of greatness in such utter decay.

The balcony called Elizabeth’s Bower is still standing; and the tradition goes, that in moonlight nights a white figure is often seen there looking fixedly and immovably into the depth below. The ruins of the banqueting-hall, with the gigantic chimney-piece, the extensive kitchen, and the wine-cellar beneath, are still clearly distinguishable; and many a lonesome chamber may still be standing in the towers, to which all access is cut off. The fancy delights in guessing the past by what still remains; and I often dreamed, while climbing among the ruins, that I had found the very spot where the infamous Vernon traitorously plunged the truest and most unhappy of wives into eternal night. But equally lost are the traces of the crimes and of the virtues which lived within these walls; Time has long since thrown his all-concealing veil over them; and gone are the eternally-repeated sorrows and joys, the mouldering splendour, and the transient struggle.

The day was gloomy; black clouds rolled across the heavens, and occasionally a yellow tawny light broke from between them; the wind whistled among the ivy, and piped shrilly through the vacant windows; now and then a stone loosened itself from the crumbling building, and rolled clattering down the outer wall. Not a human being was to be seen; all was solitary, awful;—a gloomy but sublime memorial of destruction.

Such moments are really consolatory:—we feel more vividly than at any other that it is not worth while to grieve and trouble ourselves about earthly things, since sorrow, like joy, lasts but for a moment. As an illustration of the eternal mutation of human affairs, I found myself transported in the evening from the mute and lifeless ruins to the prosaic tumult of a multitude, busied but in gain; in the reeking, smoky, bustling manufacturing town of Birmingham. The last romantic sight was the flames which at night-fall illuminated the town on all sides from the tall chimneys of the iron-works. Here is an end to all sport of the fancy till more fitting time and place.

December 30th.

Birmingham is one of the most considerable and one of the ugliest towns of England. It contains a hundred and twenty thousand inhabitants, of whom two-thirds are doubtless workmen, and indeed, it presents only the appearance of an immeasurable workshop.

Immediately after breakfast I went to the manufactory of Mr. Thomasson, our consul here,—the second in extent. The first,—where a thousand workmen are daily employed, and an eighty-horse power steam-engine is applied to innumerable uses, even in the manufactory of livery buttons and pins’ heads,—has been hermetically sealed to all foreigners ever since the visit of the Austrian princes, one of whose suite carried away some important secret.

I passed several hours here with great interest, though in hideous, dirty, and stinking holes, which serve as the various workshops; and made a button, which R—— will deliver to you as a proof of my industry.

In a better room below are set out all the productions of the manufactory, in gold, silver, bronze, plated, and lackered wares, the latter surpassing their Japan originals in beauty; steel wares of every kind;—all in a profusion and elegance which really excite amazement. Among other things, I saw the copy of the Warwick Vase, of the same size as the original. It is cast in bronze, and cost four thousand pounds. I saw also magnificent table-services in plated ware, brought to such perfection that it is impossible to distinguish it from silver. The great people here often mix it among their plate, as the Paris ladies mix false stones and pearls with their real ones.

I made acquaintance with a multitude of new and agreeable inventions of luxuries in great and small, and could not quite resist the temptation to buy, which is here so powerful. The trifles I bought will soon reach you in a well-packed box.

The iron-works, with their gigantic steam-engines, the needle manufactory, the steel works,—where you find every article from the most delicate scissars to the largest grate, polished like mirrors, with all the intermediate ‘nuances,’—afford agreeable occupation for a day:—but pardon me any further description of them; ‘Ce n’est pas mon métier.’

December 31st:—Sunday.

As the manufactories are at rest to-day, I made an excursion to Aston Hall, the seat of Mr. Watt, where, indeed, there is little to be seen in the way of gardening, but the old house contains many curious portraits. Unfortunately an ignorant porter could give me but little information about them.

There was an extremely fine picture of Gustavus Adolphus, as large as life. The good-nature, dignity and prudence; the clear honest eyes, which yet express much more than honesty; and the gentle, but not the less firm, assurance in his whole aspect,—were in the highest degree attractive. Near to it stood an excellent bust of Cromwell, which I should think a better likeness than the picture at Warwick. It is more consonant with his historic character;—coarse, and, if you will, vulgar features; but a rocky nature in the whole countenance, clearly allied to that dark enthusiasm and demoniac cunning which so truly characterize the man. Two cannon-balls which Cromwell threw into the house, then fortified, and which broke the banisters in two places, are carefully left on the very spot where they fell, and the railing not repaired,—though it has since most stupidly been painted white even in the broken part.

Not to lose a day, as there is nothing to see here but workshops, I intend to set off this evening and travel through the night to Chester. There we shall spend to-morrow in seeing Eaton, Lord Grosvenor’s celebrated seat, of which I wrote you word that Bathiany gave me such a magnificent description, and which, according to all I hear, contains whatever gold can procure. The day after to-morrow I shall return hither, visit some more manufactories, and then go back to Oxford, in the neighbourhood of which are two of the largest parks in England, Blenheim and Stowe.

Chester, January 1st, 1827.

Another year gone! None of the worst to me, except for the separation from you. I lighted the lamp in the carriage and read Lady Morgan’s last novel with great pleasure, while we rolled swiftly over the level road. As soon as the hand reached twelve o’clock, R—— congratulated me on the new year, for myself and for you. In twelve hours more we reached Chester, an ancient ‘baroque’ city.

Though we had gone nineteen German miles in thirteen hours, I find that in England, as well as in France, as you go further from the metropolis you find a general deterioration;—the inns are less excellent, the post-horses worse, the postilions more dirty, the dress of the people generally less respectable, and the air of bustle and business less. At the same time, the dearness increases, and you are subjected to many extortions which, nearer to London, are prevented by the great competition.

The new year set in with unfavourable weather. It rained the whole day. As soon as we had made a little toilet, we hastened to see the wonders of Eaton Hall, of which, however, my expectations were not very high. Moderate as they were, they were scarcely realized. The park and the gardens were, to my taste, the most unmeaning of any of their class I had seen, although of vast extent; and the house excited just the same feeling in me as Ashbridge, only with the difference that it is still more overloaded, and internally far less beautiful, though furnished still more expensively, in patches. You find all imaginable splendour and ostentation which a man who has an income of a million of our money can display; but taste not perhaps in the same profusion. In this chaos of modern Gothic excrescences, I remarked ill-painted modern glass windows, and shapeless tables and chairs, which most incongruously affected to imitate architectural ornaments. I did not find one single thing worth sketching; and it is perfectly inconceivable to me how M. Lainé, (to whose merits in the embellishment of his country all must do justice,) could, in the Annals of the Berlin Horticultural Society, prefer this to any he had seen; at which indeed his English critics have made merry not a little. M. Lainé imitated this garden in the one in front of the palace at Potsdam. In his place I should, I confess, have chosen another model; though this style is certainly far better suited to the palace in question than to a Gothic castle. Treasures of art I saw none: the best was a middling picture by West. All the magnificence lay in the gorgeous materials, and the profuse display of money. The drawing-room or library, would, for size, make a very good riding-school. The large portraits of the possessor and his wife, in the dining-room, have little interest, except for their acquaintances. A number of ‘affreux’ little Gothic temples, deface the pleasure-ground, which has, moreover, no fine trees: the soil is not very favourable, and the whole seems laid out in comparatively recent times. The country is rather pretty, though not picturesque, and too flat.

As we had time to spare, we visited the royal castle of Chester which is now converted into an excellent county gaol. The whole arrangement of it seemed to me most humane and perfect. The view from the terrace of the ‘corps de logis,’ in which are the Courts of Justice, down upon the prisoners in their cells, is extremely curious and surprising.

Imagine a high terrace of rock, on which stands a castle with two wings. The ‘corps de logis’ is, as I said, dedicated to the courts, which are very spacious; and the wings, to the prisoners for debt. The court-yard is laid out as a little garden, in which the debtors may walk. Under the court are cells in which the criminals are confined; the further end on the right is appropriated to the women. The cells are separate, and radiate from a centre; the little piece of ground in front of each is a garden for the use of the prisoner, in which he is permitted to walk; before trial his dress is gray; after it, red and green. In each division of the building behind the cells is a large common-room, with a fire, in which the prisoners work. The cells are clean and airy; the food varies with the degree of crime,—the lowest is bread, potatoes and salt. To-day, being new-year’s-day, all the prisoners had roast-beef, plum-pudding, and ale. Most of them, especially the women, became very animated, and made a horrible noise, with hurrahs to the health of the Mayor who had given them this fête.

The view from the upper terrace, over the gardens, the prison, and a noble country, with the river winding below, just behind the cells;—on the side, the roofs and towers of the city in picturesque confusion; and in the distance, the mountains of Wales,—is magnificent, and ‘a tout prendre’ our country counsellors of justice (Oberlandes gerichtsrathe) are seldom lodged so well as the rogues and thieves here.

Thank Heaven, we set out on our return to-morrow, for I am quite weary of parks and sights. I am afraid you will be no less so, of my monotonous letters; but as you have said A you must say B, and so prepare for a dozen parks before we reach London.

Meanwhile I send my epistle thither, to afford you at least an interval, and pray God to have you in his merciful and faithful keeping.

Your ever devoted L——.


Hawkestone Park, Jan. 2nd, 1827.

Beloved friend,

Though I felt perfectly ‘blasé’ of parks yesterday, and thought I could never take any interest in them again, I am quite of another mind to-day, and must in some respects give Hawkestone the preference over all I have seen. It is not art, nor magnificence, nor aristocratical splendour, but nature alone, to which it is indebted for this pre-eminence, and in such a degree that were I gifted with the power of adding to its beauty, I should ask, What can I add?

Turn your imagination to a spot of ground so commandingly placed, that from its highest point you can let your eye wander over fifteen counties. Three sides of this wide panorama rise and fall in constant change of hill and dale, like the waves of an agitated sea, and are bounded at the horizon by the strangely-formed jagged outline of the Welsh mountains, which at either end descend to a fertile plain shaded by thousands of lofty trees, and in the obscure distance where it blends with the sky is edged with a white misty line—the ocean.

The Welsh mountains are partly covered with snow, and all the cultivated country between so thickly intersected with hedge-rows and trees, that at a distance it has rather the appearance of a thinly planted wood, here and there broken by water or by numberless fields and meadows. You stand directly in the centre of this scene, on the summit of a group of hills, looking down over the tops of groves of oaks and beeches alternating with the most luxuriant slopes of meadow-land, upon a wall of rock five or six hundred feet high, which forms numerous steep precipices and pretty valleys. In one of the gloomiest spots of this wilderness arise the venerable ruins of ‘the Red Castle,’ a magnificent memorial of the time of William the Conqueror.

Now imagine this whole romantic group of hills, which rises isolated from the very plain, to be surrounded almost in a perfect circle by the silver waves of the river Hawke. This naturally bounded spot is Hawkestone Park, a spot whose beauties are so appreciated even in the neighbourhood, that the brides and bridegrooms of Liverpool and Shrewsbury come here to pass their honeymoon. The park seems indeed rather the property of the public than of its possessor, who never resides here, and whose ruinous and mean-looking house lies hidden in a corner of the park, like a ‘hors d’œuvre.’ There is, however, a pretty inn, in which visitors find all that is needful to their comfort. Here we passed the night, and after a good breakfast ‘á la fourchette,’ set out on our long excursion on foot; for the roads are so bad that we could not drive. Our scrambling walk, almost dangerous in winter, lasted four hours.

We crossed a grassy plain, shaded by oaks and covered with grazing cattle, to the rocks I have mentioned, in which the pale green veins show the existence of copper. They rise out of a lofty hanging wood of old beeches, and are crowned at their summits with black firs, the whole effect of which is most striking. In this natural wall is a grotto, which, after climbing wearily along a zig-zag path in the wood, you reach through a dark covered way more than a hundred feet long, hewn in the rock. The grotto consists of numerous caverns incrusted with all sorts of minerals. There are small openings in which are set pieces of coloured glass cut like brilliants; in the dark they gleam like the precious stones of Aladdin’s cave. An old woman was our guide, and excited our wonder by her unwearied walking, and the dexterity with which she climbed up and down the rocks in slippers. The irregular steps of stone were as smooth as glass, and so difficult sometimes to pass over, that our good R——, who had iron heels to his boots, complained bitterly of the efforts he had to make to keep himself up. We reached a summer-house, built of trunks and branches of trees and covered with moss, which commanded a picturesque view of a fantastic hill called the Temple of Patience. Our way then led us to the so-called Swiss Bridge, which is boldly thrown from one rock to another. As the railing is partly broken down and the passage rather a dizzy one, my good Julia, if it were possible for her to have come thus far, would have found an end to her expedition. How fortunate it is to have such an unwearied guide through the regions of imagination—one who bears you in an instant across the giddy bridge, and now places you before a black tower-like rock projecting out of the glittering beeches, overgrown with thorns and festooned with garlands of ivy! This was long the abode of a fox, who lived secure from pursuit in his castle of Malapartus; it is still called Reynard’s House. We went on, up hill and down dale, and at length, rather tired, reached the terrace, an open place with beautiful peeps at the country cut in the wood. Not far from thence, behind very high trees, stands a column a hundred-and-twenty feet high, dedicated to the founder of the family,—a London merchant and Lord Mayor of London in the time of Henry the Third,—whose statue crowns the pillar. A convenient winding staircase in the inside leads to its summit, whence you overlook the panorama of fifteen counties already mentioned. You pass through still wider chasms between the rocks to a lovely cottage, standing in complete seclusion at the end of a green valley, where formerly various beasts and birds were kept, which are now preserved stuffed in a room of the cottage. A young woman showed them to us, with the strange announcement,—‘All these animals that you see used to live formerly.’ I spare you the green-house built of masses of rock and branches of trees, and the Gothic tower—a sort of summer-house, and lead you a long, long way through wood, then over green hills and through a narrow defile to the magnificent ruin, the sublimely situated Red Castle. The decayed walls and the hewn rocky sides are of great extent. You can reach the interior only through a winding passage blasted in the rock, so utterly dark that I found myself obliged to use my guide’s petticoat as an Ariadne’s clue, for I literally could not see my hand before my eyes. Out of this tunnel you emerge into a picturesque alley of rock, with smooth high walls overarched with mountain-ashes. On the side you perceive a cavern, the mouth of which is still closed with a rusty iron gate. Climbing rude steps in the rock, you reach the upper part of the ruin—a high roofless tower, in whose walls, fifteen feet thick, many trees centuries old have struck their roots, and in the interior of which is a well, which appears to sink down to the entrails of the earth. The massy and unshaken barrier around it, the lofty tower through which the sky appears above, and the bottomless depth beneath, where reigns eternal night, produce an effect I never remember to have experienced. You see Hope and Despair allegorically united in one picture before you. The tower, and the rock on which it stands, look down from a giddy height, in a perfectly perpendicular line, upon the valley, in which the huge trees appear like copse-wood.

By a somewhat considerable leap of the imagination you reach a New Zealander’s hut on the banks of a little lake, built many years ago from a drawing of Captain Cook’s, and furnished with arrows, spears, tomahawks, skulls of eaten enemies, and such-like pretty trifles, the innocent luxuries of these children of nature.

Here we closed our walk, leaving unseen several devices which deform the place, and which, as well as (alas!) the paths, are somewhat in decay. But these defects are slight, in a whole so full of sublime and wondrously-varied natural beauty.

Newport, Jan. 3rd.

It is winter in good earnest;—the earth covered with ice and six inches of snow, and the cold in the rooms, so insufficiently warmed by open fires, almost insufferable. As I passed the greater part of the day in the carriage, I have little to tell.

Birmingham, Jan. 4th.

To-day too we saw nothing remarkable on our road but a newly laid out park through which we drove, with a small but elegant garden, with very pretty flower-stands of various sorts, and baskets, all of fine wire, and clothed with creepers. R—— was obliged to draw them with stiff fingers.

The inn at which we ate our luncheon bore the date 1603 carved in stone, and is the prettiest specimen of a cottage in an antique style, with brickwork in various patterns, I have met with. Towards evening we reached Birmingham, where I am reposing comfortably after the excessive cold.

January 6th.

The whole day has been, as in my last visit, devoted to the manufactories and warehouses. The poor workmen, however, have a bad time of it. Their earnings are sufficient, it is true; but many of their occupations are of such a kind that the slightest neglect or carelessness may be productive of the most dreadful consequences. I saw a man whose business it is to hold the piece of metal out of which livery buttons are stamped. He has had his thumbs twice shattered, and they are now only little formless lumps of flesh. Wo to those whose clothes approach too near to the steam-engines or other hideous machines! Many a one has this inexorable power seized and crushed, as the boa crushes its helpless prey. Some occupations are as unhealthy as those of the lead-works in Siberia; and in others there is a stench which a stranger can scarcely endure for a minute.

Everything has its dark side,—this advanced state of manufacture among the rest; but that is no reason for rejecting it.

Even virtue has its disadvantages when it oversteps the bounds of moderation; while on the other hand the greatest evil, crime itself not excepted, has its bright spots.

It is remarkable that, in spite of this wonderful progress in all discoveries, the English have not yet been able, as Mr. Thomasson assured me, to rival the iron-castings of Berlin. What I saw of this kind were immeasurably inferior. I am sometimes tempted to think that we are arrived at that point at which, far as the English now excel us, they will begin to descend, and we to ascend. But as they have to fall from such a height, and we to rise from such a depth, a long time may elapse before we arrive at the meeting-point. However, as I said, I think we have started on the road. Deutschland, Gluck auff! if thy sons obtain but freedom, their efforts will succeed.

Stratford-on-Avon, Jan. 6th.

This day’s journey was not long, but full of interest; for the place whence my letter is dated is the birth-place of Shakspeare.

It is profoundly affecting to see the familiar trifles which centuries ago stood in immediate and domestic contact with so great and beloved a man; then to visit the place where his bones have long been mouldering; and thus in a few moments to traverse the long way from his cradle to his grave. The house in which he was born, and the very room hallowed by this great event, still stand almost unchanged. The latter is perfectly like a humble tradesman’s room, such as we commonly find them in our small towns; quite suited to the times when England stood on the same step of civilization which the lower classes still occupy with us. The walls are completely covered with the names of men of every country and rank; and although I do not particularly like the parasitical appendages on foreign greatness, like insects clinging to marble palaces, yet I could not resist the impulse of gratitude and veneration, which led me to add my name to the others.

The church on the Avon (the same river which washes the noble walls of Warwick,) where Shakspeare lies buried, is a beautiful remnant of antiquity, adorned with numerous remarkable monuments; among which, that of the chief of poets is, of course, the most conspicuous. It was formerly painted and gilded, as was the bust; but through the stupidity of a certain Malone, was whitewashed over about a century ago, by which it lost much of its singular character. The bust is far from having any merit as a work of art: it is devoid of expression, and probably, therefore, of resemblance. It was not without a considerable outlay of trouble and money that I succeeded in getting a little engraving of the monument in the original colours,—the last copy the clerk’s wife had, as she assured me. I send it with my letter.

I also bought in a bookseller’s shop several views of the place, and of the objects I have mentioned. In the town-house there is a large picture of Shakspeare, painted in more recent times; and a still better one of Garrick, which has some resemblance, not only in the features but the ‘tournure’ to Iffland.

Oxford, Jan. 7th.

After having given the ‘parkomanie’ two days rest, we revived it to-day, having visited no less than four great parks, the last of which was the famous Blenheim. But in order:—‘Exécutez vous.

First we passed through Eastrop Park, remarkable in as far as it is of the time in which the French style had just begun to decline; but at this transition period the change was as yet so slight, that avenues of clumps, of different but regularly alternating figures, replaced avenues of single trees; and hedges were planted in serpentine lines. The whole appeared in great decay.

Ditchley Park is more beautiful. Unfortunately, the English climate played us a sad trick to-day. In the morning (for the second time since we left London) the sun shone, and we were triumphing in our good luck, when suddenly there fell such a fog that during the whole remaining day we never could see a hundred steps before us,—often scarcely ten. In the house we found a number of good pictures, especially very fine portraits, but no creature could tell us whom they represented. We learned nothing new in our art, but we found a novelty in another department. In the gamekeeper’s lodge, in default of spoils of nobler beasts, were about six dozen rats nailed up, their legs and tails displayed with great taste.

Our third visit was to Blandford Park, belonging to Lord Churchill; very inconsiderable as a park, but the house contains some noble pictures. Two, I particularly envied the possessor. The first, a female figure, attributed, no doubt falsely, to Michael Angelo. The drawing is certainly bold, but there is a truth and elasticity in the flesh, a Titian-like colouring, and a lovely archness of expression, which betray no Michael Angelo,—even suppose the assertion to be false, that we possess no oil-paintings of that great master.

The second riveted me still more;—a Judith ascribed to Cigoli, a painter whose works I do not remember to have seen. The subject is common enough: the triumphant virgin, with the trunkless head in her hand, has always appeared to me rather disgusting than attractive; but here the artist has diffused an expression over Judith’s elevated and captivating face, which appears to me to be conceived in the very spirit of poetry.

I had rather possess good copies of such exquisite pictures, than less interesting originals by great masters:—it is the poetical not the technical part of a work of art that has charms for me. I pass over a fine collection of drawings by Raphael, Claude, and Rubens, and many interesting portraits.

The horrid fog was thicker and thicker, and we saw Blenheim as if by twilight. In grandeur and magnificence it is doubtless extraordinary; and I was much pleased with what I saw, or rather divined; for it was all shrouded in a veil, behind which the sun appeared rayless, like the moon. The house is very large and regular, built, unhappily, in the old French style, and truly royal in magnificence. The park is five German miles in circumference, and the piece of water, the finest work of its kind existing, occupies alone eight hundred acres. The pleasure-grounds are on an equally vast scale; forty men are daily employed in mowing. Opposite to the house the water forms a cascade, so admirably constructed of large masses of rock brought from a great distance, that it is difficult to believe it artificial.

One cannot help admiring the grandeur of Brown’s genius and conceptions, as one wanders through these grounds: he is the Shakspeare of gardening. The plantations have attained to such a height that we saw a single Portugal laurel growing out of the turf, which measured two hundred feet in circumference.

The present possessor, with an income of seventy thousand pounds, is so much in debt that his property is administered for the benefit of his creditors, and he receives five thousand a year for his life. It is a grievous pity that he spends this little in pulling in pieces Brown’s imposing gardens, and modernizing them in a miserable taste; transforming the rich draperies which Brown had thrown around Nature, into a harlequin jacket of little clumps and beds. A large portion of the old pleasure-ground is thus destroyed; as the old gardener, almost with tears in his eyes, remarked to us. Many noble trees lay felled around; and a black spot on the turf showed the place where a laurel, nearly as large as the one I mentioned, lately stood in all its pride and beauty. I thought with grief how vain it is to attempt to found anything lasting, and saw in imagination those of my successors who will destroy the plantations which we have designed and tended together with so much fondness. Blenheim is chiefly situated on the spot where stood the ancient royal park of Woodstock (which you remember from Walter Scott’s last novel). A great part of the oak wood which existed in the time of the unhappy Rosamond is still alive, and dying in an agony of a century’s duration. There are perfect monsters of oaks and cedars, both as to form and size. Many are so entirely enwreathed with ivy that it has killed them, but at the same time clothed them with a new and more beautiful evergreen foliage which enwraps the decayed trunk, like a magnificent shroud, till it falls into dust.

Deer, pheasants and cattle, people the park, whose green plains seemed, in the uncertain mist, boundless as the sea; in some places, bare as a Steppe, in others thickly planted.

The interior of the house looks rather neglected, but contains a number of valuable works of art. It must be confessed that never did a nation bestow a richer reward on one of its great men than Blenheim, which is princely even in its minutest details.[38]

As we entered, there was such a smoke that we thought we had to encounter a second fog in the house. Some very dirty shabby servants—a thing almost unheard-of here—ran past us to fetch the ‘Chátelaine,’ who, wrapped in a Scotch plaid, with a staff in her hand and the air of an enchantress, advanced with so majestic an air towards us, that one might have taken her for the Duchess herself. The magic wand was for the purpose of pointing more conveniently to the various curiosities. As a preliminary measure, she required that we should inscribe our names in a large book: unhappily, however, there was no ink in the inkstand, so that this important ceremony was necessarily dispensed with. We passed through many chill and faded rooms, decorated with numerous and fine pictures, though among them are many inferior ones, on which the names of Raphael, Guido, &c. are liberally bestowed. The gallery is extremely rich in fine and genuine Rubens’; the most attractive among which, to me, was his own frequently repeated but excellent portrait. I was also much interested by a whole length portrait of the wild Duke of Buckingham, by Van Dyk,—a roué of a very different sort, both in the delicate turn of the features, the chivalrous dignity, and the tasteful dress, from our modern ones. Further on is a beautiful Madonna, by Carlo Dolce, less smooth and ‘banale’ than most of those by the same master; and an excellent and most characteristic portrait of Catharine of Medicis. She is very fair, with exquisitely beautiful hands, and a singular expression of cold passion (if I may use the words) in her features, which yet does not excite the feeling of repulsion one would anticipate. Ruben’s wife hangs opposite to her,—a handsome Flemish housewife, somewhat vulgar, but beautifully painted and admirably conceived. Philip the Second, by Titian, appeared to me unmeaning:—two beggar boys, by Morillo, admirable. Lot and his daughters, by Rubens;—the female figures somewhat less vulgar and coarse than most of his beauties, who generally have too much in common with the chief produce of his native country: Lot is admirably painted: the picture is however a very unpleasing one. In the bedroom was hung, oddly enough, a disgusting, fearful picture of Seneca’s death in the bath,—Seneca already a livid corpse.

The portrait of the Duke’s mother by Sir Joshua Reynolds is extremely pleasing. Her beauty and sweet child-like look were worthy of a Madonna; and the little boy is a perfect Cupid, full of archness and grace.

The library is a magnificent room, containing seventeen thousand volumes, decorated on the one side with a marble statue of Queen Anne; on the other, a strange pendant—a colossal antique bust of Alexander; a model of youthful beauty, in my opinion excelling the Apollo Belvedere. It is more human, and yet the god-like nature appears through the human,—not indeed in the christian, but the pagan sense of the word.

It is but fair to notice the portrait of the great Duke of Marlborough, to whom this whole splendid edifice owes its existence. His history is remarkable in many points of view: I especially advise every man who wishes to make his fortune to study it attentively; he may learn much from a character so formed to get on in the world.—The following anecdote has always appeared to me remarkable, insignificant as was the incident.

The Duke was one day overtaken by a violent shower of rain while riding with his suite. He asked his groom for his cloak; and not receiving it at the instant, repeated his order in a rather hasty tone. This provoked the man, and he replied with an impertinent air, “Well, I hope you will wait just till I have unbuckled it.” The Duke, without evincing the slightest irritation, turned smiling to the person next him, and said, “Now would I not for all the world be of that fellow’s temper.”

The more well-known story of the ‘petulance’ of the Duchess of Castlemaine, which Churchill turned to such good account, and which in the strangest way laid the basis of his great career, showed an entirely similar ‘disposition,’ and power over himself.

In night and fog we reached Oxford, where I alighted at the Star, and refreshed myself with an admirable dinner prepared by a French cook from London. Though I do not, like the ancients, regard cooks as objects of religious veneration, I cannot deny that I have singular respect for their art: ‘Il est beau au feu’ may be said with as much justice of a virtuoso of this kind, as of the most dashing soldier; and in the field of politics and diplomacy, every minister knows how much he is indebted to his cook.

My excursion draws to a close, and in three days I hope to send off B—— with all the materials he has collected, like a bee laden with honey.

January 8th.

Oxford is a most singular city. Such a crowd of magnificent Gothic buildings, from five hundred to a thousand years old, can nowhere else be found collected in one place. There are spots in which you can imagine yourself transported back to the fifteenth century. You see nothing around you but monuments of that period, without a single incongruous object. Many, nay almost all, of these old colleges and churches are also very beautiful in detail, and all of a most picturesque character. I have often wondered why we do not adopt many of the details of this style of architecture; for instance, the broad light windows in two or three divisions, sometimes diversified with large bows and irregularly divided; only habit could make us endure the uniform rows of square holes which we call windows.

I went first to the so-called Theatre, which was built by a bishop three hundred years ago. The iron railing which surrounds it has, instead of pillars, a sort of ‘termini’ with the heads of the Roman Emperors, a strange fancy, but the effect is not bad. In this theatre—which, as might be expected from its origin, is more like a church—the Emperor of Russia, the King of Prussia, and the Prince Regent were made Doctors, and were obliged to appear in scarlet robes. The portraits of all three have since been placed here. The King of England in his coronation robes—an admirable picture by Lawrence, worthy of ancient times—hangs in the centre, in a most splendid frame; on either side, in far simpler frames and simpler garb, hang the Emperor of Russia, and the King of Prussia, also by Lawrence. The King is not like: of the Emperor Alexander I never saw a better portrait.

At the University Stereotype Press, where the printing of a sheet on both sides is accomplished in five minutes, I again displayed my activity, and had the honour to print a sheet, which I send you as companion to the Birmingham button: it contains some interesting incidents concerning the Maccabees.

A great deal of the printing for the Bible Society is done here; and if it goes on at this rate, the time will soon arrive concerning which a periodical called ‘The Catholic,’ of the year 1824, prophesied in this wise: “If it comes to that, that all read the Bible, the world will be a fit abode only for wild beasts.” If “the Catholic” means that all will understand it, he may be right, for then the whole human race will be ripe for another world. Nevertheless I am so far of “the Catholic’s” mind, that I think the indiscriminate diffusion of the Bible among all,—even the rudest savages,—is throwing pearls before swine.

I next went to the Museum, which contains a very heterogeneous mixture of things. On the staircase as you enter is a picture of the battle of Pavia, in which the principal figures are portraits painted at the time, as is expressed on the canvass. It is precisely in the style of the old miniatures, and very interesting for the accuracy of the dresses and armour: under it is the inscription “Comen les gens de Lempereur deffirent les francoys en lan 1525.” Portraits of Cardinal Wolsey and Cardinal Richelieu also adorn the staircase. Under them was that of Tradescant, a noted gardener of Charles the First, from which it was impossible to tear his colleague R—— away; he looked at the picture with a sort of protecting air, and was specially delighted with a garland of mulberries and cucumbers which picturesquely surrounded this father of gardeners. The most interesting thing in the picture, to me, was the portrait of a strange large bird; worthy of the Arabian Nights, called Dodo, which belonged to the gardener when alive, and whose like has never been seen in these parts since. As a proof that this is no fable, they showed us the genuine head and beak—wonderfully odd.

In the collection of natural history were a great many rare parrots, and a curious bird with spikes on its wings, with which it spears fish as with a lance. The diminutive warrior, who is only six inches high, looks uncommonly fierce and bold; he is like a miniature crane, only much more cunning and pugnacious. Here is the duck-billed platypus, that strange animal from New Holland. The productions of that part of the globe are so unlike those of all the others, that they almost make one imagine it belongs to another era of creation, or that it dropped on our earth from some wandering star.

The colours of a picture made of humming-bird’s feathers seemed something unearthly. Equally curious was a bas-relief of a knight in splendid gold-green armour made of beetles’ wings. Our modern knights might be very handsomely represented in steel-blue armour, made from the wings of the dung-beetle. I cannot attempt to give you an inventory of the cabinet of curiosities; I confined myself, as I always do, to what struck me, which was not always the most celebrated;—a jewelled glove of Henry the Eighth’s;—an autograph letter of Queen Elizabeth’s to Lord Burleigh, beautifully written;—a pretty riding-cloak and shoe of the Maiden Queen, which latter proves the extreme beauty of her foot; lastly, her watch, with a tasteful chain consisting of five medallions in a row, each containing hair of a different colour—probably of her chief favourites. Far more curious and sacred is a medallion with a portrait rudely executed in mosaic, and an inscription signifying that it belonged to the great Alfred. This precious relic was found ten years ago in ploughing a field in the island of Athelney, where Alfred lay hidden from the Danes.

I must now conduct you to the picture-gallery built by Elizabeth, and preserved exactly ‘in statu quo.’ The roof is of wainscot panelled, and in each panel a coat-of-arms, which has a most antique and magnificent effect. Very good models of the principal temples of antiquity stand in the ante-room. There are some excellent pictures. The one which charmed me the most was an authentic portrait of Mary of Scotland, by Zuccaro, painted just after her arrival from France, and brilliant in all the indescribable radiance and fascination of her youth and freshness. It is easy to understand how it was that this woman had only passionate adorers and devoted partisans, or furious enemies. A face more, in the true sense of the word, charming,—seductive,—can scarcely be imagined: with all its French graces, it however betrays the selfishness of the beauty, the recklessness of unbridled passion; but of malignity or vulgarity, such as we see, the former in Elizabeth, the latter in Catharine of Medicis, not a trace;—in short, a perfectly womanlike, and therefore perfectly captivating character of countenance, with all the virtues and all the weaknesses and vices of her sex in their fullest proportions. I should think the possession of such a picture a real happiness,—that of the original might give one too much trouble. The same artist painted a portrait of Elizabeth, precisely like that at Warwick. The Earl of Leicester, taken shortly before his death, is extremely interesting. His face is as elegant and high-bred as it is handsome; and though not indicative of genius, has the expression of a sagacious, dignified, and powerful man. There are no remains of the brilliancy of youth, but a proud complacent consciousness of secure unalterable favour. In a copy of the School of Athens by Giulio Romano, I admired once more the exquisite face of the young duke of Urbino,—that ideal of soft youthful beauty:—the loveliest girl might be more than satisfied with the possession of it. Garrick’s portrait, by Raphael Mengs, did not answer my idea of that great actor so perfectly as the one at Stratford-on-Avon. I was delighted with a picture of Charles the Twelfth, by Schröter,—every inch a grand Don Quixotte: and with a very characteristic Charles the Second, by Sir Peter Lely. Charles’ aspect, like his age, seems to me entirely French, even to his features, which are strikingly like those of Bussy Rabutin. His father hangs near,—a more attractive picture than usual. He has unquestionably a fine face, with very speaking eyes; but the soft, melancholy, ideological expression too plainly shows that the bearer of such features was little fitted to encounter such a man as Cromwell, or such an age as that he lived in. It is the greatest calamity for a prince to fall upon an ill-suited time, unless he be strong enough to impress his own stamp upon it. The great Locke, by Gibson, is a pale attenuated student. Near him is a handsome portly Luther, by Holbein;—the stately Handel, by Hodson;—and Hugo Grotius, with his acute, crafty, and yet high chivalrous face, more that of an energetic man of the world than of a man of letters. These are the subjects that struck me the most.

January 9th.

To-day I have walked all over Oxford; and I cannot express with what intense delight I wandered from cloister to cloister, and refreshed myself at this living spring of antiquity.

There is a magnificent avenue of elms, which like the buildings around it, dates from the year 1520. From this queen of avenues, in which not a single tree is wanting, and which leads through a meadow to the river, you see on one side a charming landscape, on the other a part of the city, with five or six of the most beautiful Gothic towers,—ever a noble view, but to-day rendered almost like a picture of fairy enchantment: the sky was overcast, the wind drove the black fantastic clouds, like a herd of wild beasts, across it; at length the most beautiful rainbow, vaulting from one tower and descending on another, spanned the whole city.

From this ancient seat of the Muses of England, from all its colleges,—each different from the other,—each enclosing a spacious court, and adorned with noble towers,—each with its own more or less beautifully ornamented church, its library and picture-gallery, all in their kind of new and varied interest,—I carry away the most agreeable recollections. If you can bear to drink again and again from the old cup, you shall accompany me in my rambles.

My first walk was to the Ratcliffe Library; a round and modern building,—erected, that is, in the last century, at Dr. Ratcliffe’s cost,—nearly in the centre of the town. The interior is simply a rotunda in three stages or stories, with a cupola and two open galleries, whence side-rooms radiate from the inner, to the outer circles. Below are casts of the best antiques. A small winding staircase leads to a side tower, from the roof of which you have a splendid view of the Gothic palaces pointing to heaven with their hundred spires. The surrounding country is cheerful, fertile, and well wooded. There are four-and-twenty colleges (a sort of cloister for education,) and thirteen churches in this small town, containing only sixteen thousand inhabitants.

From hence we proceeded to Henry the Eighth’s Library, preserved, externally and internally, in nearly its original state, and containing not less than three hundred thousand volumes. The ‘locale’ is like no other of the kind, and transports one completely into past ages. The cruciform room; the strange shelves; the iron gratings, half blue, half gilded, and of a form no longer seen; the enormous windows, as broad as three church windows together and ornamented with beautiful coloured glass; the gay gilded ceiling, with numberless panels, each containing the picture of an open Bible with four crowns; even the Doctors sitting at the tables in the dress of Luther, which they still wear,—how strangely is the fancy excited by such a scene! A gallery runs round midway of the high shelves, for the purpose of reaching the books above. On the railing of this gallery are hung the portraits of the various librarians, from the first to the last; some, unhappily, in modern dresses, who look like apes among their venerable predecessors. In the middle of the room the shelves are so arranged on either side, that they form a long alley of enclosed closets, in which every man who wishes to use the library can work completely undisturbed,—an old and most exemplary arrangement. There are also books in the rooms which occupy the whole ground-floor of this quadrangular edifice. Here are some very curious manuscripts and specimens of early printing. I saw with sorrow how large a tribute the poverty of Germany has been compelled to pay to the wealth of England; among other things, a magnificent copy of Faust’s first Bible, of the year 1440, which I think belonged to our Doctor Barth, and is inscribed with a number of notes in his handwriting. I was delighted to find a manuscript so exactly like a volume of Froissart in our library, (that with the miniatures in every leaf,) embellished with the same arabesques of fruit and flowers on a gold ground, the style and colouring of the figures so precisely the same, that it is scarcely to be doubted they are by the same painter. Unfortunately there is neither name nor date. The text is Quintus Curtius,—all the figures exactly in the costume of the time of the illuminator: Alexander, cased in iron from head to foot, breaks a lance with Darius, and throws him from his saddle, just in the style of the French and English Knights in Froissart.

A very curious French manuscript, the subject of which is an heroic poem, contains the name of the writer with the date 1340, (an extremely rare occurrence,) and under it the name of the painter with the date 1346; this gives reason to conclude that the latter had spent six years in the illuminating, which is almost all executed on a very unusual design, in gold, blue and red in squares, like a carpet. This manuscript is peculiarly interesting from the circumstance that the painter, instead of enclosing the text within a border or arabesque, has surrounded it with a representation of the trades, sports, and pastimes of his time. A cursory glance showed me, together with many games and occupations which we have lost, so many which are still so precisely the same, that I was really surprised. For instance, a masked-ball; Kammerchen vermiethen;[39] the Handespiel, or ‘gioco di villano;’ the same with the feet, which we boys often used to play in winter to warm ourselves; throwing at cocks, and cockfighting; rope-dancers and conjurors; horse-riders and trained horses, whose feats are more wonderful than ours; rifle-shooting at a man who (‘mille pardons’) turns himself in unseemly wise to the company, like one still existing on a gate at Lausitz; a smithy, where a horse is shoeing; a wagon, with three large cart-horses harnessed out at length, with harness, &c. all in the present form, even the driver’s costume,—a blue slop—the very same; and many other things which I have not time to notice,—showed that though many things change, yet an infinite deal remains unaltered, and perhaps, ‘à tout prendre,’ human life is more the same in different ages than we generally imagine.

A Boccacio, with exquisitely beautiful miniatures, is one of the show-pieces of the library. A copy of the Acts of the Apostles, of the seventh century, in Greek and Latin, is shown as a great curiosity: each line contains only one word in each language. Considering its great antiquity, it is in very good preservation.

In the beautiful court of All Souls College—which moreover is carpeted with the finest turf—there is a spot whence you have a most magnificent view of spires, towers, and façades of ancient buildings, rising in unbroken series, one behind another, without the least mixture of modern houses. Here is another noble library. In the middle is an orrery, which illustrates our solar system very clearly, and keeps equal course with the sun and planets through the year.

Christ’s College is a beautiful building of modern times; a part of it only is very old. The church is of Saxon architecture; round and pointed arches intermingle, but do not at all offend the eye. Here is the famous shrine of St. Frisdewilde, a most magnificent and tasteful Gothic monument of the beginning of the eighth century, and still in good preservation. It was enriched with silver Apostles and other ornaments, which were plundered in Cromwell’s time. That unhappy religious war did irreparable damage to the antiquities of England; till then, all these sacred relics were in perfect preservation.

Attached to this college is that most charming walk I described to you above. It leads us to Magdalen College, which has been in part newly restored. The restoration is perfectly in the ancient style, and renders this part of the building secure for five hundred years to come; it has already cost forty thousand pounds, though but a small part is completed:—it may be imagined what enormous sums the execution of such works from the foundation would cost. Nothing great in art can be executed now, for the money it would cost is absolutely unattainable. The sum which formerly purchased a god-like work of Raphael’s, would now (even allowing for the difference in the value of money) scarcely buy a moderate portrait by Lawrence. The Botanic Garden, which closed our walk, contains nothing worth describing. I therefore release you for the present, my dear Julia; ‘mais c’est á y revenir demain.’

Buckingham, Jan. 10th.

It is a sin how long my private journal has been neglected. The more my letters to you swell, the more does my unhappy journal shrink. If you were to burn these letters, I should have no trace of what had become of me all this time. Imagine how unpleasant to vanish from one’s own memory!

My imagination is so ‘montée’ by the many vestiges and echoes of past times, that I dream of a distant future, in which even ruins will be no more,—in which we shall lose not only these shadows of humanity, but human nature itself, and begin a new life in new spheres. For in remembrance, say what you will, we entirely lose that which we actually were;—even here, the old man nearly loses himself as a child. We may indeed find ourselves again, my best friend, and then will the tie that binds us necessarily re-unite. Let this satisfy us.

‘Mais revenons à nos moutons;—c’est à dire, parlons de nouveau de parcs.’

Dreadful weather—rain and darkness, detained me at Oxford till three in the afternoon, when it cleared sufficiently for me to set out. The postilion missed the road, which is not a main one, and drove us a long way about, so that we arrived very late. While the fire was lighting in my room, I sat down in mine host’s, where I found a very pretty girl, his niece, and two doctors of the place, with whom I talked away the evening very pleasantly.

Aylesbury, Jan. 11th.

Stowe is, like Blenheim, another specimen of English grandeur and magnificence. The park embraces a large tract of undulating ground, with fine trees; the house is a noble building in the Italian style. The grounds were laid out long ago; and though in many respects beautiful, and remarkable for fine lofty trees, are so overloaded with temples and buildings of all sorts, that the greatest possible improvement to the place would be the pulling down ten or a dozen of them. There is a charming flower-garden, thickly surrounded with high trees, firs, cedars and evergreens, and flowering shrubs. The parterre forms a regular pattern like a carpet, in front of a crescent-formed house filled with rare birds. In the middle of this carpet is a fountain, and on either side are two pretty ‘volières’ of wire.

In the park stands a tower called the Bourbon Tower, from the circle of limes around it which Louis the Eighteenth planted during his long residence at Hartwell in this neighbourhood. The tower, though modern, is half fallen in. I wish this be no ill omen for the Bourbons in France, where even the sage Charter-giver could obtain no better titles from his subjects than ‘Louis l’Inévitable,’ and ‘Deux Fois Neuf.’

Here is a monument deserving of mention, dedicated to the great men and women of England, with very appropriate inscriptions, and busts modelled after the best pictures.

The façade of the building is four hundred and fifty feet long, and as long is the unbroken ‘enfilade’ of rooms in the ‘bel étage,’ which you enter from the garden by a fine flight of steps. You pass through a bronze door into an oval marble hall with a beautiful dome, whence alone it is lighted. A circle of twenty pillars of red scagliola marble surrounds it, and in the niches between them are ten antique statues. The floor is paved with real marble, and a gilded grating admits heated air. I will not weary you with further description of the rooms;—they are very rich, and all more or less decorated with pictures and curiosities. The state bed-room, which is not used, is crowded with fine porcelain, and contains a curious old bed of embroidered velvet with gold fringe.

In a boudoir near were many other curiosities, which we were only permitted to see through a grating. The loss of a ruby necklace formerly belonging to Marie Antoinette, is the very sufficient reason for this prohibition, which is never removed but in the Duke’s presence.

The library is a long gallery covered from top to bottom with shelves, with a light and elegant gallery in the middle. An adjoining room, fitted up in the same way, contains nothing but maps and engravings, probably one of the richest collections in the world. This seems the peculiar taste of the present Duke.

The hall on the other side of the house, looking on the park, commands a view which struck me as quite peculiar. You see a large open grassy plain, skirted on either side by an oak wood, and in the middle and back ground meadows and wood interspersed. In the centre of the plain, about sixty or seventy paces from the house, stands, perfectly isolated, a colossal snow-white equestrian statue, of admirable workmanship. The pedestal is so high that the horseman seems to rest on the top of the wood behind him. Not a building, nor any other object than trees, grass, and sky, are visible; and the whole scene so utterly still and inanimate, that the white spectral image rivets the attention:—no finer decoration for Don Juan could be imagined. It happened, too, by a fortunate chance, that the sky on that side of the house was perfectly black with a threatening snow-storm, so that the dazzling white statue stood out in almost fearful grandeur. At the moment, it looked alive, and every muscle seemed to rise in the sharp lights.

Among the pictures is a treasure which seems to be unknown to our German travellers, at least I never saw it noticed:—a genuine portrait of Shakspeare, painted during his lifetime by Barnage. The hypercritics of England will have it there is no genuine portrait of Shakspeare; but it seems to me almost impossible to invent a physiognomy carrying on it such a triumphant air of truth, so fully expressing the grandeur and originality of the man; furnished with all the intellectual elevation, all the acuteness, wit, delicacy, all the genuine humour, whose exhaustless treasures were never so lavished on any mortal. The countenance is nowise what is vulgarly called handsome; but the sublime beauty of the mind within beams from every part. Across the lofty forehead gleam the bright flashes of that daring spirit; the large dark brown eyes are penetrating, fiery, yet mild; around the lips play light irony and good-natured archness, but wedded to a sweet benevolent smile, which lends the highest, the most heart-winning charm to the lofty, awful dignity of the intellectual parts of the face. Wondrously perfect appears the structure of the skull and forehead; there are no single prominences, but all the organs so capacious and complete that we stand astonished before such a glorious pattern of perfect organization, and feel a deep joy at finding the man in so beautiful a harmony with his works.

Two excellent Albrecht Dürers—a pair of female saints in a fantastic landscape—attracted me, particularly by their primitive German character. They are two genuine Nürnberg housewives, dressed in their fatherlandish caps, and taken from nature itself; good-natured, and busied about their saintly affairs.—A picture of Luther, by Holbein, is more intellectual and less fat than usual.

There is a remarkable picture, by Van Dyk, of the Duke of Vieuxville, ambassador from the Court of France to Charles the First, who with chivalrous devotion followed the King into the field and was killed at Newbury. The dress is old, but picturesque;—a white ‘juste-au-corps, à la Henri Quatre,’ with a black mantle thrown over it; full short black breeches falling over the knee, with silver points; pale violet stockings with gold clocks, and white shoes with gold roses. On the mantle is embroidered the star of the Holy Ghost, four times as large as it is now worn, the blue riband ‘en sautoir,’ but hanging down very low, and the cross worn in the present fashion, on the side; it is narrower and smaller than now, and hangs by the broad riband almost under the arm.

The Duke de Guise was not such as I had pictured him to myself:—a pale face with reddish beard and hair; with the expression rather of an ‘intriguant’ than of a great man.—A picture which corresponds better with the character of the person it represents is Count Gondemar, Spanish ambassador to the Court of James the First, by Velasquez; he ingratiated himself with the King by his dog-Latin, in which burlesque form he made free to say anything. He brought the gallant Sir Walter Raleigh to the scaffold by his Jesuitical intrigues.

A picture of Cromwell, by his Court painter Richardson, has a double interest for the family. It was painted expressly for one of the Duke’s ancestor’s, who appears in the same picture as page, in the act of tying the Protector’s scarf. This portrait is not much like the others of the same personage I have seen; it represents him as younger, and of a more refined nature, and is therefore probably flattered. From the hand of a Court painter this is to be expected.

I must only mention two fine and large Teniers’, one of which represents three wonderfully characteristic Dutch boors, meeting in a village and gossiping with their pipes in their mouths; an excellent Ruysdael; six famous Rembrandt’s, and Titian’s lovely mistress. I admired, too, a new specimen of art,—two Sèvres cups with miniatures after Pétitot, by that admirable porcelain-painter Madame Janquotot. The one represents Ninon de l’Enclos, of whom I had never before seen a picture that answered to my idea of her. This expressed her character fully, and is of the most attractive beauty,—genuine French, lively as quicksilver, bold almost to impudence, but too generous and too truly natural to leave any other than an engaging impression on the mind. The other—a gentle, placid, and voluptuous beauty—- was inscribed, Françoise d’Orleans de Valois. As thoroughly initiated in French genealogies and memoirs, you will know who she is. ‘Je l’ignore.’ Each cup cost a thousand francs.

In a beautiful moonlight we drove to Aylesbury, whence I now write.

Uxbridge, Jan. 12th.

This evening I hope to be in London again. While the horses are putting-to I write a few words. We saw Lord Carrington’s park this morning,—for your comfort be it said, the last, at present at least. The garden is nothing remarkable: the house is in the beloved modern Gothic style, but, being simple and unpretending, looks less affected. It is built of stone, without ornament. A good portrait of Pitt hangs in the library. This great man has anything but the face of a man of genius,—and who knows whether posterity will think his deeds betray more than his face?

One thing pretty I observed in the garden,—a thick massy wreath of ivy planted on the turf. It looks as if negligently dropped there. Our excursion was to be closed by the sight of Bulstrode, which Repton describes at such length as the model of parks; but this drop is spared you, my poor Julia, for the Duke of Portland has sold it, and the present owner has felled the trees about which Repton is so enthusiastic, ploughed up the park, and pulled down the house to sell the stone. It was a miserable scene of desolation,—made more miserable by the strange dress of the women at work; they were wrapped from top to toe in blood-red cloaks, and looked like an ill-omened assemblage of executioners.

London, Jan. 13th.

By bright gas-light, which is always like a festal illumination here, we drove into town, and as I wished to have an instant contrast with my park-and-garden life, I alighted at Covent Garden to see my first Christmas pantomime. This is a very favourite spectacle in England, particularly with children; so that I was quite in my place. Playwrights and scene-painters take great pains to make every year’s wonders exceed the last. Before I bid you good-night I must give you a rhapsodical sketch of the performance. At the rising of the curtain a thick mist covers the stage and gradually rolls off. This is remarkably well managed by means of fine gauze. In the dim light you distinguish a little cottage, the dwelling of a sorceress; in the back-ground a lake surrounded by mountains, some of whose peaks are clothed with snow. All as yet is misty and indistinct;—the sun then rises triumphantly, chases the morning dews, and the hut, with the village in the distance, now appear in perfect outline. And now you behold upon the roof a large cock, who flaps his wings, plumes himself, stretches his neck, and greets the sun with several very natural Kikerikys.[40] A magpie near him begins to chatter and to strut about, and to peck at a gigantic tom-cat lying in a niche in the wall, who sleepily stretches himself, cleans his face, and purrs most complacently. This tom-cat is acted with great ‘virtuosité’ by an actor who is afterwards transformed into Harlequin. The way in which he plays with a melon, the lightness and agility with which he climbs up the chimney and down again, his springs, and all his gesture, are so natural that they could only be acquired by a long study of the animal himself. Happily the scenic art is come to that, that it no longer suffers men to be excelled by poodles and monkeys, but has actually raised them to the power of representing those admired animals to the life.

Meanwhile the door opens, and Mother Shipton, a frightful old witch, enters with a son very like herself. The household animals, to whom is added an enormous duck, pay their morning court to the best of their ability. But the witch is in a bad humour, utters a curse upon them all, and changes them on the spot into the persons of the Italian comedy, who, like the rest of the world, persecute each other without rest, till at last the most cunning conquers. The web of story is then spun on through a thousand transformations and extravagances, without any particular connexion, but with occasional good hits at the incidents of the day; and above all, with admirable decorations, and great wit on the part of the machinist. One of the best scenes was the witch’s kitchen. A rock cleaves open and displays a large cave, in the midst of which more than a cart-load of wood forms the fire, before which a whole stag with its antlers, a whole ox, and a pig, are turning rapidly on the spit. On a hearth on the right side is baking a pie as big as a wagon, and on the left a plum-pudding of equal calibre is boiling. The ‘chef de cuisine’ appears with a dozen or two assistants in a grotesque white uniform, with long tails, and each armed with a gigantic knife and fork. The commandant makes them go through a ludicrous exercise, present arms, &c. He then draws them up ‘en péloton’ to baste the roast, which is performed with ladles of the same huge proportions as the other utensils, while they industriously fan the fire with their tails.

The scene next represents a high castle, to which the colossal ‘batterie de cuisine’ is conveyed like a park of artillery. It appears smaller and smaller along the winding path, till at length the pie disappears in the horizon like the setting moon.

Next we are transported into a large town, with all sorts of comical inscriptions on the houses, most of them satires on the multitude of new inventions and companies for all manner of undertakings; such as, “Washing Company of the three united kingdoms;” “Steam-boat to America in six days;” “Certain way of winning in the lottery;” “Mining shares at ten pounds a share, by which to become worth a million in ten years.” The fore-ground exhibits a tailor’s workshop, with several journeymen busily stitching away in the ‘rez de chaussée; a pair of shears six yards long are fixed over the door as a sign, with the points upwards. Harlequin arrives, pursued by Pantaloon and Co., and springs through the air with a somerset in at a window on the first story, which breaks with a loud crash. The pursuers drawing back from the ‘salto mortale,’ tumble over and thump each other with artist-like skill and wonderful suppleness. Ladders are now brought, and they climb into the house after Harlequin: but he has made his escape through the chimney, and runs off over the roofs. Pantaloon with his long chin and beard leans out of the window before which the shears are placed, to see which way Harlequin is gone. Suddenly the parted blades shut to, and his head falls into the street. Pantaloon, not a whit the less, runs down stairs and rushes out at the door after his rolling head;—unluckily a poodle picks it up and runs off with it, and Pantaloon after him. But here he meets Harlequin again, disguised as a doctor, who holds a consultation with three others as to what is to be done for the unhappy Pantaloon. They at length decide to rub the place where the head is wanting with Macassar oil; and by means of this operation a new head happily grows under the eye of the spectators.

In the last act, Tivoli at Paris is well given. A balloon ascends with a pretty child. While he floats from the stage over the heads of the audience the earthly scene gradually sinks, and as the balloon reaches the lofty roof, where it makes a circuit round the chandelier, the stage is filled with rolling clouds through which a thousand stars shine and produce a very pretty illusion.

As the balloon sinks, town and gardens gradually rise again. A rope is next stretched, on which a lady drives a wheelbarrow to the summit of a Gothic tower, in the midst of fire-works; while other ‘equilibristes’ perform their break-neck feats on level ground.

At the conclusion, the stage is transformed, amid thunder and lightning, into a magnificent Chinese hall with a thousand gay paper lanterns; where all spells are dissolved, the witch banished to the centre of the earth by a beneficent enchanter, and Harlequin, recognized as legitimate prince, marries his Columbine.

On our way home we had another and more terrible spectacle, gratis. A lofty column of lurid smoke poured from a chimney, and soon became tinged with blue, red and green;—the nearer we came the thicker and more variegated it ascended, like one of the Chinese fireworks we had just seen. “Probably,” said I to R——, “a chemical laboratory, if it be not indeed a fire in earnest.” Hardly had I said the words when my fears were fulfilled. Cries resounded from all sides, the flames streamed wildly forth towards heaven, the people flocked together, and fire-engines soon rattled through the streets. But the huge city swallows up all particular incidents,—five hundred steps further, and the fire in the neighbourhood excited no interest whatever; the guests in an illumined mansion danced merrily, the play-goers walked quietly home, and all traces of alarm or sympathy were lost.

But, my dear Julia, ‘il faut que tout finesse’—and so must my long narrative, which certainly furnishes you with a sheet for every year of my life. That it ends with fire you must take as an emblem of ardent love,—and here it is not necessary, as your superstition requires, to exclaim “In a good hour be it said.” Every hour, even the most unfortunate, is good—where love is.

Your L——.


London, Jan. 19th, 1827.

Dearest Julia,

R—— left London to-day for Harwich, and will be with you in a fortnight. I know how glad you will be to have a living witness of the sayings and doings of your L——; one whom you can question about so many things which, even with the best intentions cannot always find place in letters.

I have now settled myself into a town life again. Yesterday I dined with Prince E——, where the—— secretary of legation kept us in an incessant laugh. He is a kind of agreeable buffoon, and although of very mean extraction, a superlative ultra; (‘tel le maitre, tel le valet.’) I have often admired the talent of the French, and envied it too, for making the most amusing stories out of the most common-place incidents;—such as lose all their salt coming from any mouth but theirs.

Nobody possesses this talent in a higher degree than Monsieur R——. He affords another proof that it is entirely the result of a language so admirably adapted to produce it, and of an education which springs from the same source; for Monsieur R—— is a German—I think a Swabian; but was brought to France when only two years old, and educated as a Frenchman. Language makes the man, more than blood;—though ’tis true, blood has first made the language.

‘Au reste,’ one must acknowledge that however brilliant such agreeable chatter may be at the moment, it goes out like a fusee, and leaves nothing on the memory; so that the pedantic German feels a sort of uneasiness after listening to it, and regrets having spent his time so unprofitably. Had it been possible to that element of Germanism which formed our language, to give it that lightness, roundness, agreeable equivocalness, and at the same time precision and definiteness,—qualities which are called into full play in society by French audacity,—the conversation of the German would certainly have been the more satisfactory of the two, for he would never have neglected to connect the useful with the agreeable. As it is, we Germans have nothing left in society, but that sort of talent which the French call ‘l’esprit des escaliers;’—that, namely, which suggests to a man as he is going down stairs, the clever things he might have said in the ‘salon.’

Of this Frenchman’s fireworks and crackers I retain nothing but the following anecdote. A diplomatic writer, who passed as authority in the time of Louis the Fourteenth, concluded a treatise on the great privileges pertaining to foreign envoys, with the following words;—‘mais dès qu’un ambassadeur est mort, il rentre dans la vie privée.’

January 22nd.

The poor Duke of York is at length dead, after a long illness, and lay in state yesterday with great magnificence. I saw him in October, and found him, even then, the shadow of the robust stately man whom I had formerly so often seen at Lady L——’s, and at his own house, where six bottles of claret after dinner scarcely made a perceptible change in his countenance. I remember that in one such evening,—it was indeed already after midnight,—he took some of his guests, among whom were the Austrian Ambassador, Count Meerveldt, Count Beroldingen, and myself, into his beautiful armoury. We tried to swing several Turkish sabres, but none of us had a very firm grasp; whence it happened that the Duke and Count Meerveldt both scratched themselves with a sort of straight Indian sword, so as to draw blood. Count Meerveldt then wished to try if it cut as well as a real Damascus, and undertook to cut through one of the wax candles which stood on the table. The experiment answered so ill, that both the candles, candlesticks and all, fell to the ground and were extinguished. While we were groping about in the dark, and trying to find the door, the Duke’s aide-de-camp, Colonel C——, stammered out in great agitation, “By God, Sir, I remember the sword is poisoned!” You may conceive the agreeable feelings of the wounded at this intelligence. Happily on further examination it appeared that claret and not poison was at the bottom of the Colonel’s exclamation.

The Duke seems to be much regretted, and the whole country wears deep mourning for him, with crape on the hat, and black gloves, ‘ce qui fait le désespoir’ of all shopkeepers. People put their servants into black liveries, and write on paper with a broad black edge. Meantime the Christmas pantomimes go on as merrily as ever. It has a strange effect to see Harlequin and Columbine skipping about on the stage in all conceivable frivolities and antics, while the coal-black audience, dressed as for a funeral procession, clap and shout with delight.

I this minute received your letter from B——. Really so merry, I might almost say so pungent a one, you have not written of a long time. The B—— originals seem to have quite electrified you, and though I rejoice at it, I can’t help being a little jealous. But you will soon come back to your original. I say with Cæsar, I fear not the fat, but the lean; and so long as you tell me that you preserve your charming ‘embonpoint,’ I am easy. I had a great mind, however, to plague you a little in return; but I know you don’t bear jesting ‘par distance’ well, so I abstain. To vent my humour in some way, I send you a bit out of my journal,—a ‘pendant’ to your African Travels; for the poor meagre journal is still alive, though it has received no nutriment by the month together, and the little it has had, has not the least ‘haut gout.’ Don’t expect, therefore, anything facetious or satirical, but something quite serious. It is laid upon you as a punishment.


I was lately reading a review of Lady Morgan’s Salvator Rosa. A passage in it touched me deeply, ‘et pour cause.’ It is the very original description of her hero, nearly as follows.

“With a thirst for praise, which scarcely any applause could satisfy, Salvator united a quickness of perception that rendered him suspicious of pleasing, even at the moment he was most successful. A gaping mouth, a closing lid, a languid look, or an impatient hem! threw him into utter confusion, and deprived him of all presence of mind, of all power of concealing his mortification.... Abandoned by the idle and the great, whom his delightful talents had so long contributed to amuse, he voluntarily excluded himself from the few true and staunch friends who clung to him in his adversity, and shut himself up equally from all he loved and all he despised.... His reference to this journey is curious, as being illustrative of those high imaginations, and lofty and lonely feelings, in which lay all the secret of his peculiar genius: while his pantings after solitude, his vain repinings, exhibit the struggles of a mind divided between a natural love of repose and a factitious ambition for the world’s notice and the eclat of fame,—no unusual contrast in those who, being highly gifted and highly organized, are placed by nature above their species in all the splendid endowments of intellect; and who are, by the same nature, again drawn down to its level through their social and sympathetic affections.... His fine but fatal organization, which rendered him so susceptible of impressions, whether of good or evil, and which left him at times no shelter against ‘horrible imaginings,’ or against those real inflictions, calumny and slander, plunged him too frequently into fits of listless melancholy, when, disabused of all illusion, he saw the species to which he belonged in all the nakedness of its inherent infirmity.

Yes, this picture is copied from the very soul; and it is no less true, that a man born with such a disposition can never feel at ease or happy in the world which surrounds him, unless he be placed very much above it, or live in it entirely unnoticed.

So far I was led by the thoughts of others. Now I must conclude for to-day with a few of my own, the subject of which lies far nearer to our inmost hearts; and discuss a question, the full investigation of which must interest every one, be he ever so little a philosopher by profession.

What is conscience?

Conscience has unquestionably a twofold nature, as it has a twofold source. The one flows from our highest strength, the other from our greatest weakness; the one from the spirit of God dwelling in us, the other from sensual fear. Perfectly to dissever and distinguish these two kinds of conscience, is necessary to that serenity of mind which can arise only out of the utmost possible clearness: for man, when he has once got beyond the original dominant instinct of feeling, attains to the Permanent, even the recognition of truth, only by mental labour and conflict,—the moral ‘sweat of his brow.’

Man, however, is a whole, compounded of countless parts; and it is only in the perfect equipoise of these parts, that, as man—that is, as a being at once sensual and spiritual—he can obtain perfect happiness and contentment. It is the common, ever-recurring error, to strive to cultivate one side predominantly:—with one man it is the province of religion; with another, that of severe reason; with the man of the world, those of the understanding and the senses alone. But all these together, exercised, enjoyed, and blended, so to speak, with artist-like skill, can alone produce the most perfect Life for this earth, and for our destinies while upon it,—the complete, entire Truth.

Under this point of view, then, must that which we call Conscience be considered, and the true distinguished from the false.

Under the head of the True, I understand the infallible suggestions of the divine spirit in us; which restrains us from evil, generally, as from the wholly one-sided, inconsistent, and negative: and this requires no further explanation. By the False, I mean that which arises only from the Conventional; from custom, authority, from subtleties which have grown out of these foundations, and from overstrained anxiety;—in a word, from fear. Delicate, excitable natures, in whom the cerebral system predominates, in whom, therefore, the head and the fancy are more powerful and active than the heart: in whom the distributing intellect too easily breaks up and scatters the depth and intensity of the full feelings, are most subject to this kind of error. It is, however, so difficult to follow these subtle ramifications and secret counter-workings, that we often take that for a primary feeling, which is only the retro-action of a sophistical intellect.

Now, as right and wrong, applied to the individual actions of human life with all their various conditions and intricacies, must obviously be relative; nothing remains but that every man should, with the help of all the powers of his soul, make quite clear to himself, sincerely and faithfully lay down to himself, what he can reasonably regard as right and what as wrong; and having ascertained it, thenceforward tranquilly apply that standard; and not trouble himself further about his so-called conscience; that is, the inward uneasiness and uncertainty which disturb the mind under new and conflicting circumstances. These cannot possibly be avoided; since the distinctions we have heard of right and wrong, reasonable and absurd, in our childhood and early youth, will ever exercise an irresistible influence.[41]

To give a few exemplifications.—A man of gentle temper, educated in the fear of God and the love of man, who becomes a soldier, the first time he has to take deliberate aim at human life will hardly do it without a strong pang of conscience. So, at least, it was with me. Nevertheless it is his duty; a duty which may be justified on higher, although worldly grounds; so long at least as mankind are not further advanced than they now are.

In like manner, he who after a long struggle forswears the religion of his fathers—the daily repeated lesson of his youth,—and embraces another on full conviction that it is better, will generally feel a slight, but difficultly subdued inquietude; and it is with that, just as it is with the most absurd fear of ghosts in those who have been educated in the belief of ghosts. They have a ghost-conscience, which they cannot get rid of. Nay, even more; with irritable characters, the mere persuasion that others hold them guilty of an evil action will give them so much the feeling of an evil conscience, that it appears in all its usual outward signs—embarrassment, blushing, and turning pale.

This may be carried so far as to lead to insanity. For instance: A man universally believed to have killed another, or one who really, though quite innocently, has killed another, may never enjoy a moment’s tranquillity or happiness again. We even read of a Bramin, whose religious creed makes the murder of an insect as criminal as that of a man, who killed himself because an English ‘savant’ told him that he never drank a glass of water without destroying thousands of invisible creatures. ‘Il n’y a qu’un pas du sublime au ridicule.’

Ugoni, in his Life of one of the most conscientious of men, Passaroni, relates that as he was one day going over the bridge of the ‘Porta Orientale,’ he saw a man lying fast asleep on the broad stone parapet, whence, if suddenly waked, he would probably have fallen into the river. He seized him by the arm, with difficulty aroused him, and with still greater made him understand why he had waked him. The porter, in a passion, requited his trouble with a hearty curse, and bid him go to the devil. Passaroni, greatly mortified and grieved at being the innocent cause of the man’s wrath, pulled out a handful of coin, and gave it to him to drink the giver’s health. Thereupon he left him quite satisfied; but had scarcely reached the end of the bridge, when it struck him that his gift would probably produce even worse consequences than his waking of the man had done; for that it would very likely lead the poor fellow into the crime of drunkenness. He immediately hurried back in great anxiety, found the man fortunately at the same spot, where he had laid himself down again exactly in his old position, and begged him, with some embarrassment, to give him back so much of the money as he did not want for his most pressing necessities. But as the rage of the porter, who thought himself fooled, now boiled over more furiously than ever, Passaroni devised another expedient: “Here, my friend,” said he, “as you will not give me anything back, take another scudo, and promise me solemnly, that if you spend all the rest of the money in drink, you will buy something with that scudo to eat with it.” Having received this promise from the ‘fachino,’ Passaroni’s conscience was at length at rest, and he went contentedly home.

We must, I repeat,—if we would not be either unhappy, or ridiculous, and like a reed shaken with every wind,—educate our consciences as well as all the other faculties of our souls: that is, while we preserve them in all their purity, prescribe to them due limits; for even the noblest are otherwise liable to deterioration and perversion. The simplest and most universally applicable and universally intelligible guide is the precept of Christ, “Do not unto others (nor, we might add, to yourselves) what ye would not that others do unto you.”

But as there exist, as yet, no true Christians, certain exceptions to this rule are, and, in the present state of society, must be, permitted, as for instance, the case of the soldier above cited; or that of a man who obeys the laws of honour, which in certain stations it is utterly impossible to brave. And then there remains no other solution of the difficulty, than to allow to others the same liberty of making exceptions that we find ourselves compelled to claim;—in this way we just manage to preserve charity, and, at all events, that justice which is called the ‘lex talionis.’

That man has a happy, an enviable existence, to whom nature and surrounding circumstances have made it easy or possible to walk constantly in a beaten track; to be, from youth upwards, kind and loving, moderate in his desires and pure in his actions. The first fault is pregnant with sorrow and evil; for, as our philosophical poet so truly says,

“Das eben ist der Fluch des Bösen
Dass es fortwuchernd immer Böses muss gebahren!”

And regeneration in this life is not always to be attained. May it not, then, be the last and highest act of mercy of Eternal Love, to have appointed death as a means of wiping out the confused and blotted scrawl, and restoring the troubled, misguided, soul to the condition of a pure white sheet, ready for happier trials? For that upon which the Holy has already been written here, must far higher bliss be in store. All-loving Justice punishes not as weak man punishes; but it can reward only where reward is due,—where it follows as an inevitable consequence of the past.

January 21st.

It is become very cold again, and the fire-place, ‘wo Tag und Nacht die Kohle brennt,’ is unhappily quite insufficient to produce a warm room, such as our stoves—which, spite of their ugliness, I now think of as admirably efficient—procure us. To set my blood in motion I ride the more, and to-day, on my way home, saw one of the many Cosmorames exhibited here, which certainly affords a very agreeable chamber journey, as they call it in B——. The picture of the Coronation of Charles the Tenth in the Cathedral at Rheims, doubtless gave me a far more commodious view of it than I should have had in the crowded church. But what tasteless costume, from the King to the lowest courtier! New and old mixed in the most ludicrous and offensive manner! If people will perform such farces, the least they can do is to make them as pretty as those at Franconi’s. The ruins of Palmyra lay outstretched in solemn majesty in the boundless Desert, which a caravan in the distant horizon is slowly traversing under a torrid sun.

The most perfect illusion was the great fire at Edinburg:—it actually burned. You saw the flames stream upwards; then clouds of black smoke ascend; while the view of the whole landscape incessantly changed with the changes of this fearful light, just as in a real fire. Probably the proprietor’s kitchen was behind the picture, and the fire which heated the fancy of credulous spectators like myself, roasted the leg of mutton which our shillings paid for.

January 28th.

For some days I have vegetated too completely to have much to write to you about. This morning I was not a little surprised to see R——, whom I thought almost with you, enter my room. He had been shipwrecked on his way to Hamburg, and driven back by the storm to Harwich; had passed a whole night in imminent peril, and is so heartily frightened, that he will hear no more of the sea as long as he lives. I therefore send him by Calais, and only write that you may not be uneasy. He has unfortunately lost some of the things he took for you.

Hyde Park afforded a new spectacle this morning. The large lake was frozen, and swarmed with a gay and countless multitude of skaters and others, who enjoyed these wintry pleasures, so rare here, with true child-like delight. A few years ago, in weather like this, a strange wager was laid. The notorious Hunt deals in shoe-blacking: a large sort of wagon filled with it and drawn by four fine horses, which the young gentleman his son drives ‘four-in-hand,’ daily traverses the city in all directions. This young Hunt betted a hundred pounds that he would drive the equipage in question at full speed across the ‘Serpentine,’ and won his wager in brilliant style. A caricature immortalized this feat, and the sale of his blacking, as is reasonable, increased threefold.

My house is grown very musical, for Miss A——, a newly-engaged opera-singer, has come to live in it. The thin English walls give me the advantage of hearing her every morning gratis.

I have not been well for some days. The town air does not agree with me, and compels me to follow a ‘régime’ like that in your song:—

“un bouillon
d’un roguon
de papillon.”

C—— Hall, Feb. 2d.

Lord D——, to whose wife I had been introduced in London, invited me to visit him for a few days at his country house. I accepted his invitation with more pleasure because C—— Hall is the place of which Repton says that he had laboured at its embellishment, together with its proprietor, forty years ago. Indeed it does him the greatest honour; though, from all I saw and heard, it appeared to me that the admirable taste of its Lord was entitled to the largest share of the merit; especially in sparing old trees which Repton would have removed. Nevertheless an honourable feeling of gratitude has dedicated an alcove, commanding a wonderfully beautiful prospect, to the man to whom landscape-gardening is so much indebted. Repton’s son, who was with us, had told Lady D—— a great deal about M——; and as she is almost as good a ‘parkomane’ as myself, we had a very attractive subject in common, and walked about for some hours in the flower-garden, which is still more tasteful than splendid, and is adorned with some graceful marble statues by Canova.

I did not see the master of the house, who was suffering from gout, till we came down to dinner, when I met a large company; amongst others Lord M——, who had just been to inspect the ships of war lying in the Thames.

Lord D—— was lying on a sofa, covered with a Scotch plaid, and embarrassed me a little by his first address.

“You don’t know me,” said he, “and yet we saw each other very often thirty years ago.” Now as I was in frocks at the time he spoke of, I was obliged to beg for a further explanation, though I cannot say I was much delighted at having my age so fully discussed before all the company,—for you know I claim not to look more than thirty. However, I could but admire Lord D——’s memory. He remembered every circumstance of his visit to my parents with the Duke of Portland, and recalled to me many a little forgotten incident. What originals were then to be found, and how joyously and heartily people entered into all sorts of amusement in those days, his conversation gave me new and very entertaining proof of.

He mentioned among others a certain Baron, who believed as firmly in ghosts as in the Gospel, and held Cagliostro for a sort of Messias. One day when he went out alone, to skate on the lake near our house, the whole party dressed themselves in sheets and other things borrowed from the wardrobe of the theatre, and presented to the eyes of the terrified Illuminatus the awful appearance of a party of ghosts, in broad daylight, on the ice. In mortal terror he fell on his knees, spite of his skates; and with a volubility which the venerable Lord could not think of, even now, without laughing, uttered “Abracadabra,” and bits of Faust’s incantations, interspersed with fragments of quavering psalms. During this, one of the ghosts, who, with the help of a long stick under his sheet, made himself sometimes tall and sometimes low, slipped and fell, stripped of all disguise, directly before the knees of the praying Baron. His faith was too robust, however, to be shaken by such a trifle. On the contrary, his terror was increased to such a pitch, that he sprang up, fell again, in consequence of his unlucky ‘chaussure,’ but soon scrambled up, and with a dexterity no one gave him credit for before, vanished like the wind, amid the cheers of the whole company.

Even the confession of the whole joke by the actors in it never could convince him that he had been hoaxed, and no power on earth could ever induce him to see the frightful lake again as long as he remained at M——.

You know I cannot avoid the reflections which often fill me with melancholy even on the most joyous occasions. So was it with me now, as Lord D—— thus conjured up before me the picture of departed times;—as he eulogized my grandfather’s amiable character, described my mother’s high spirit, and what a wild child I was: ‘Hélas, ils sont passés ces jours de fête.’ The amiable man has long lain mouldering in his grave; the high-spirited young woman is old, and no longer high-spirited; and even the wild boy is more than tamed—nay, not very far from those days in which he will say, “I have no pleasure in them:” the mad-cap young Englishman who played the ghost on the ice, lay before me, an old man, tortured with gout, stretched helpless on a sofa,—the tale of the merry pranks of his youth interrupted by sighs extorted by pain; while the poor fool whom he so terrified as ghost has long been a ghost himself, and the good Lord would be not a little alarmed if his visit happened to be returned. “Oh world, world!” as Napoleon said.[42]

February 3d:—Evening.

Lord D—— possesses a fine collection of pictures, among which are Titian’s celebrated Venus; the death of Regulus, by Salvator Rosa; a large picture of Rubens, which has frequently been engraved; and a very fine Guido. In the two latter indeed, a not very agreeable subject, a lifeless head, is the principal object; in the one that of Cyrus, in the other that of John the Baptist. But Guido’s Herodias is another of those figures instinct with the genius of poetical, divine beauty, uniting the most lovely womanliness with the deepest tragic expression, which leave so indelible an impression, and are so seldom found in reality. There is a lady of your acquaintance who corresponds with this ideal, Countess A—— of B——. She was, when I knew her,[43] the most beautiful and richly dressed woman I ever beheld. Perfect symmetry, absolute harmony, reigned in her person and in her mind; so that the most heterogeneous things equally became her. Majestic as a queen, when she was ‘en representation;’ distinguished by the most easy and graceful manners, the most exquisite knowledge of the world, when doing the honours of her own house; and by the most ‘naïve,’ touching kindness and sweetness in the circle of her family;—but under every aspect rendered more interesting and impressive by a trace of thoughtful melancholy never wholly effaced, allied to that perfect feminine tenderness which gives to woman the highest and most resistless charm in the eyes of men;—her resemblance to this picture of Guido’s was striking. Two very pretty attendants of Herodias are in admirable contrast with the main figure. They are perfect ladies-in-waiting, who have no soul for anything beyond their court and their service; and their beauty receives from its very unmeaningness a certain rather animal character, which we can contemplate with an agreeable carelessness—a sort of repose to the mind after the profound and thrilling impression made by the main figure. The one is watching the glance of her mistress with an unmeaning smile; the other looks at the head of the Martyr in the charger with the same indifference as if it were ‘a pudding.’

I must describe to you, once for all, the ‘vie de château’ in England; of course only the common canvas, on which the Special is in every case embroidered by each man according to his fancy. The groundwork is in all the same, nor did I find it at all altered from what I formerly saw here. It forms, without any question, the most agreeable side of English life; for there is great freedom, and a banishment of most of the wearisome ceremonies which, with us, tire both host and guest. Notwithstanding this, one finds not less luxury than in the town; this is rendered less burthensome by the custom I mentioned of receiving guests only during a short period of the year, and on invitation.

The ostentation which, doubtless, lies at the root of such customs, we may well forgive, for the better reception it procures us.

Strangers have generally only one room allotted to them, usually a spacious apartment on the first floor. Englishmen seldom go into this room except to sleep, and to dress twice a-day, which, even without company and in the most strictly domestic circle, is always ‘de riguer;’ for all meals are commonly taken in company, and any one who wants to write does it in the library. There, also, those who wish to converse give each other ‘rendezvous,’ to avoid either the whole society, or particular parties, in the formation of which people are quite at liberty. Here you have an opportunity of gossiping for hours with the young ladies, who are always very literarily inclined. Many a marriage is thus concocted or destroyed, between the ‘corpus juris’ on the one side and Bouffler’s Works on the other, while fashionable novels, as a sort of intermediate link, lie on the tables in the middle.

Ten or eleven is the hour for breakfast, at which you may appear in ‘negligée.’ It is always of the same kind as that I described to you in the inn, only of course more elegant and complete. The ladies do the honours of the table very agreeably. If you come down later, when the breakfast is removed, a servant brings you what you want. In many houses he is on the watch till one o’clock, or even later, to see that stragglers do not starve. That half-a-dozen newspapers must lie on the table for every one to read who likes, is, of course, understood. The men now either go out hunting or shooting, or on business; the host does the same, without troubling himself in the least degree about his guests (the truest kindness and good breeding;) and about half an hour before dinner the company meet again in the drawing-room in elegant toilette.

The course and order of dinner I have already described to you.

* * * * * * *

England is the true land of contrasts—‘du haut et du bas’ at every step. Thus, even in elegant houses in the country, coachmen and grooms wait at dinner, and are not always free from the odour of the stable. At the second breakfast, the ‘luncheon,’ which is served a few hours after the first, and is generally eaten only by the women (who like to make ‘la petite bouche’ at dinner,) there are no napkins, and altogether less neatness and elegance than at the other meals.

This as parenthesis:—I now return to the ‘order of the day.’ When the men have drunk as much as they wish, they go in search of tea, coffee, and the ladies, and remain for some hours with them, though without mixing much. To-day, for instance, I observed the company was distributed in the following manner. Our suffering host lay on the sofa, dosing a little; five ladies and gentlemen were very attentively reading in various sorts of books (of this number I was one, having some views of parks before me;) another had been playing for a quarter of an hour with a long-suffering dog; two old Members of Parliament were disputing vehemently about the ‘Corn Bill;’ and the rest of the company were in a dimly-lighted room adjoining, where a pretty girl was playing on the piano-forte, and another, with a most perforating voice, singing ballads.

I cannot help remarking here, that Lord and Lady D—— are among the most enlightened, unpretending, and therefore most agreeable, of the people of rank here. He is of the moderate Opposition, and desires the real good of his country, and nothing else; a patriot wholly devoid of egotism,—the noblest title that a cultivated man can bear. She is goodness, cordiality, and unpretendingness itself.

A light supper of cold meats and fruits is brought, at which every one helps himself, and shortly after midnight all retire. A number of small candlesticks stand ready on a side-table; every man takes his own, and lights himself up to bed; for the greater part of the servants, who have to rise early, are, as is fair and reasonable, gone to bed. The eternal sitting of servants in an ante-room is not the custom here; and except at appointed times, when their services are expected, they are little seen, and one waits on oneself.

At night I found a most excellent chintz bed with a canopy. It was so enormously large that I lay like an icicle in it,—for the distant fire was too remote to give any sensible warmth.

February 5th.

Between ourselves be it said, however agreeable, however unconstrained may be one’s abode in another’s house, it is always too constrained, too unaccustomed, above all too dependent for me, proud and fond of ease as I am, ever to feel perfectly at home. This I can be nowhere but within my own walls, and, next to that, in a travelling carriage or an inn. This may not be the best taste in the world, but it is mine. There are so many men who have no taste of their own, at all, that I am delighted with myself for having one, though it be not of the best. I shall therefore not exhaust the term of my invitation, but evacuate my large bed to-morrow, and proceed to Brighton, a watering-place now in great fashion.

I have ridden all over the park here, in company with Lord D——’s very kind and polite son. It is less remarkable for features of striking beauty, than for the absence of all defect. Some views through wooded valleys, of the distant Thames, the town of Gravesend and its rising masts, have however a grand character; but nothing can exceed the incomparable skill with which the walls of wood within the park are planted, in masterly imitation of nature. As a study, I should recommend Cobham, in some respects, more than any of the parks I have described; though in extent and costliness it is surpassed by many. It is very modest, but to the admirer of nature its character is only the more delightful and satisfactory. It has also a great variety of hill, valley, and wood.

I took leave of Lady D—— in her own room; a little sanctuary, furnished with delightful disorder and profusion:—the walls full of small ‘consoles,’ surmounted with mirrors and crowded with choice curiosities; and the floor covered with splendid camellias, in baskets, looking as if they grew there.

Among these flowers, dear Julia, I take my leave of you. I entreat you to send me an answer of equal length, that your conscience may not reproach you with loving me less than I love you.

Your hearty Friend, L——.


Brighton, Feb. 7th, 1827.


I travelled these sixty miles yesterday with great rapidity, and in the most charming state of indolence, without even the exertion of looking up;—for one must once in a while travel like a fashionable Englishman.

It seems that here is a better atmosphere than in any other part of the land of fog; the bright sunshine waked me this morning as early as nine o’clock.

I soon went out;—first on the Marine Parade, which stretches to a considerable extent along the sea; then made a tour through the large, clean, and very cheerful town, which with its broad streets is like the newest parts of London; and concluded with visits to several London acquaintances. I then rode out, for I had sent my horses here before me. Vainly did I look around for a tree. The country is perfectly naked: nothing is to be seen but hilly downs covered with short turf; and sea and sky are the only picturesque objects:—even this first day of my visit they greeted me with the most beautiful sunset. The majestic orb was veiled in a rosy transparent mist, so that it darted forth no rays, but was like a ball of massive gold, glowing with the most fervid heat: as it touched the water, it appeared slowly to dissolve, and to spread itself over the surface of the blue deep. At length Ocean swallowed the fiery globe; the burning hues faded from red to violet, then gradually to whitish gray, and at length the waves driven by the evening wind, dashed murmuring on the shore in the dim twilight, as if in triumph over the buried sun.

A distinguished old Minister enjoyed this noble spectacle with me, and was fully alive to its beauty. Lord Harrowby is an amiable man, of mild refined manners, and of great experience of the world and of business.

February 8th.

Public rooms, lists of visitors (Badelisten), &c., do not exist here. Brighton has only the name of a bathing-place in our sense of the word, and is chiefly resorted to by the inhabitants of London for recreation and pure air. People who have no country-house, or who find London too expensive, spend the winter, which is the fashionable season, here. The King was formerly very fond of Brighton, and built a strange Oriental Palace, which seen from the adjoining heights, with its cupolas and minarets, looks exactly like the pieces on a chess-board. The interior is splendidly though fantastically furnished. Although it has cost enormous sums, its possessor, long sick of it, is said to have shown a desire to pull it down, which indeed would be no great subject of lamentation.

The only large trees I have seen in the neighbourhood are in the gardens of this Palace. But the walks by the sea are so ageeable that one does very well without; especially the large Chain Pier, which extends a thousand feet into the sea, and from whose extremity the steam-vessels sail for Dieppe and Boulogne.

Not far from thence an Indian has established Oriental baths, where people are shampooed after the Turkish fashion, which is said to be very healthful and invigorating, and is in great favour with the fashionable world. I found the interior arrangements very European. The treatment is like that in the Russian vapour-baths, only I think not so good. I cannot help thinking the sudden cold after such profuse perspiration very dangerous.

I thought the method of drying linen more worth imitating. It is laid in a sort of wardrobe lined with tin, and kept at an equal heat by means of steam.

February 9th.

The sun has disappeared again, and the cold has returned with such force that I am writing to you in gloves—for the better preservation of my white hands, to which I, like Lord Byron, attach great importance. I honestly confess I don’t see that a man is ‘un fat’ merely for trying to preserve the little beauty God has given him; at all events chapped hands are a horror to me and always were.—Talking of this, I remember that I was once in the boudoir of a very beautiful woman in Strasburg, where I met Field-marshal W—— (then only General), who in eulogizing Napoleon laid a peculiar stress on his temperance, adding in a contemptuous tone, “A hero could not be a ‘gourmand.’” Now the fair lady, who was otherwise a very kind friend of mine, knew me to be not quite insensible to ‘bonne chére,’ to gratify her malicious pleasure in teasing me, made the General repeat his observation. Though I never set up for a hero, (except in a little romance or two, here and there,) I felt that I blushed; one of those stupidities of which I never could break myself, even on many occasions where there was no ground for it. Provoked at myself, I said with some pique, “It is fortunate for the lovers of a good table, General, that there are a few brilliant exceptions to your rule. Remember Alexander:—it is true that a too luxurious feast led him into the burning of Persepolis;—but I think you will allow him to have been a hero for all that: and ‘gourmandise’ did not prevent Frederick the Great from acquiring immortal renown, both as a warrior and ruler.—You, General, who have fought with the French with so much glory, should not attack a good ‘cuisine;’ for that nation, however, distinguished be her generals, will obtain a wider and perhaps more lasting fame from her cooks.” This last sentence was doubtless inspired by a prophetic spirit; and how would the enthusiastic eulogist of Napoleon have wondered, had I told him that in a little while he would stand opposed to the great ‘non-gourmond’ himself, and would receive one of the last effectual ‘coups de griffes’ of the sick lion.

You think, I dare say, dear Julia, that this anecdote is as much in place here as one of our friend H——’s ‘a-propos.’ But you are mistaken. I now go to adduce Alcibiades and Poniatowsky, as examples of men distinguished for attention to dress and to their persons; thus proving from experience that neither sensibility to good cheer, nor a little ‘fatuité,’ are any obstacles to heroism, if other qualities be not wanting.

A visit from Count F——, one of the most agreeable and respectable representatives of Napoleon’s time, who carried into the Imperial Court ‘les souvenirs de l’ancien regime,’ and into the present one the reputation of spotless integrity and fidelity, (a most rare instance!)—here interrupted me. He came to invite me to dinner to-morrow. This has detained me:—it is too late to ride; I am not in the humour to seek Club society: I shall put on a second dressing-gown, dream about you and M——, read over your letters, and patiently freeze in my room,—for more than eight degrees of heat I find it impossible to procure by means of an open fire in my airy and many-windowed room.—’Au revoir,’ then.

February 10th.

It was fair that I should indemnify myself to-day for my confinement to my room, so I wandered about in the neighbourhood for many hours. I enjoyed my freedom the more, as I was to execute myself in the evening at a great subscription ball.

The country all around is certainly very remarkable; for in a four hours ride I did not see a single full-grown tree. Yet the numerous hills, the large town in the distance, several smaller ones scattered about, the sea and ships—all under rapidly changing lights, sufficiently diversified the landscape; and even the contrast with the generally well-wooded character of England was not without its charms. The sun at length retired to rest incognito, the sky cleared, and the moon rose cloudless and brilliant over the waters. I now turned my horse’s head from the hills down to the sea, and rode five or six miles, about the distance to Brighton, hard on the edge of the waves along the sandy shore. The tide was coming in, and my horse sometimes shyed when a wave, crowned with snowy foam, rolled under his feet and quickly retreated as if in sport.

I love nothing better than to ride alone by moonlight on the wide shore,—alone with the plashing and roaring and murmuring of the waves;—so near to the mysterious deep, that my horse can only be kept within reach of its rolling waters by force, and as soon as his rein is loosened darts away with redoubled speed towards the firm land.

How different from this poetical scene was the prosaic ball!—which moreover so little answered my expectations that I was perfectly astonished. A narrow staircase led directly into the ball-room, which was ill-lighted and miserably furnished, and surrounded with worsted cords to divide the dancers from the spectators. An orchestra for the musicians was hung with ill-washed white draperies, which looked like sheets hung out to dry. Imagine a second room near it, with benches along the walls, and a large tea-table in the middle; in both rooms the numerous company raven black from head to foot, gloves inclusive; a melancholy style of dancing, without the least trace of vivacity or joyousness; so that the only feeling you have is that of compassion for the useless fatigue the poor people are enduring;—and now you have a true idea of the Brighton Almack’s, for so these very fashionable balls are called. The whole establishment is droll enough. Almack’s balls in London are the resort of people of the highest rank during the season, which lasts from April to June; and five or six of the most intensely fashionable ladies (Princess L—— among the number), who are called Patronesses, distribute the tickets. It is an immense favour to obtain one; and, for people who do not belong to the very highest or most modish world, very difficult. Intrigues are set on foot months beforehand, and the Lady-patronesses flattered in the meanest and most servile manner, to secure so important an advantage; for those who have never been seen at Almack’s are regarded as utterly unfashionable—I might almost say disreputable; and the would-be-fashionable English world naturally holds this to be the greatest of all possible calamities. So true is this, that a novel was lately written on this subject, which contains a very fair delineation of London society, and has gone through three editions. On nearer observation, however, one sees that it betrays more of the ante-chamber than of the ‘salon,’—that the author is one, as the Abbé de Voisenon said, ‘qui a écouté aux portes.’

How admirably well-informed the English are concerning foreigners is seen in a passage in this novel, in which the wife of a foreign ambassador, born however in England, is extremely facetious on the ignorant Londoners who assigned a higher rank to a German Prince than to her husband the Baron, whose title was far nobler. “But the word Prince,” adds she, “whose nullity is well known to everybody on the Continent, dazzled my stupid countrymen.” ‘C’est bien vrai,’ says a Frenchman, ‘un Duc cirait mes bottes à Naples, et à Petersbourg un Prince Russe me rasait tous les matins.’ As the English generally mis-spell and mis-quote foreign words and phrases, I strongly suspect that a slight mistake has crept in here, and that it ought to be printed, “un Prince Russe me rossait tous les matins.”[44]

You may partly conceive the burlesque effect such a fashionable novel produces on people in the middling society of London, who are continually groping in the dark after ‘le bel air,’ are consequently in perpetual terror and agony, lest they should betray their acquaintance with the great world, and thus generally make themselves exquisitely ludicrous. I had a very amusing example of this a few weeks before the publication of the book in question.

I was invited, with several other foreigners, to dine with a very rich * * *

* * * * * * *

Among them was a German Prince, who had visited at the house before, and, luckily for the farce, a German Baron also. When dinner was announced, the Prince advanced, as usual, to the lady of the house to hand her out, and was not a little amazed when she turned her back upon him with a slight curtesy, and took the arm of the most agreeably-surprised Baron. A laugh, which I really found it impossible to suppress, almost offended the good Prince, who could not explain to himself the extraordinary behaviour of our hostess; but, as I instantly guessed the cause, I soon helped him out of his wonderment.

Regardless of rank, he now took the prettiest woman of the party; while I, for my part, made haste to secure ——, that I might be sure of an amusing conversation during dinner. The soup was hardly removed, when I expressed to her as politely as I could, how much her nice tact and exact knowledge of the usages of even foreign society had surprised me. “Ah,” replied she, “when one has been —— so long, one becomes thoroughly acquainted with the world.” “Certainly,” replied I, “especially in ——, where you have all that sort of thing in black and white.” “You see,” said she, speaking rather low, “we know well enough that ‘a foreign Prince’ is nothing very great, but to a Baron we give the honour due.” “Admirably distinguished!” exclaimed I; “but in Italy you must be on your guard, for there ‘barone’ means a rascal.” “Is it possible?” said she; “what a strange title!” “Yes, madam, titles on the Continent are mysterious things; and were you the Sphinx herself, you would never fathom the enigma.” “May I help you to some fish?” said she. “With great pleasure,” answered I, and found the turbot, even without a title, excellent.

But, to return to Almack’s:—The oddest thing is, that one of these tickets, for which many English men and women struggle and strive, as if for life and death, are, after all, to be paid for with the sum of ten shillings; for Almack’s are neither more nor less than balls for money. ‘Quelle folie que le mode!’ We are sometimes forced to conclude that our planet is the mad-house of the solar system.

In Brighton we find the copy of London in little. The present Lady-patronesses are * * * When I entered, I saw no one of my acquaintance, and therefore addressed myself to a gentleman near me to show me the Marchioness of ——, from whom I had received my ticket, through the ‘entremise’ of Countess F——. I was obliged to present myself to her, to return my thanks; and found her a very kind, amiable, domestic woman, who had never quitted England. She introduced me to her daughters, and also to a certain Lady——, who spoke very good German. That is the fashion now, and the young ladies labour hard to accomplish it.

I afterwards found a gentleman of my acquaintance who introduced me to several very pretty young ladies, among whom Miss W——, a niece of Lord C——, was peculiarly distinguished. She was brought up in Germany, and is more German than English,—of course an advantage in my eyes. She was by far the prettiest and most graceful girl in the room, so that I was almost tempted to dance once more; though from vanity (for I always danced badly) I renounced that so-called pleasure years ago. I might safely enough have attempted it here, for God knows, nowhere do people jump about more awkwardly; and a man who waltzes in time is a real curiosity. But it seems to me too ludicrous, to join the worshippers of the tarantula so far on my way towards forty. ‘Il est vrai que la fortune m’a souvent envoyé promener, mais danser—c’est trop fort!’

I was told that the chief of a Highland clan, with a name as long as a Spaniard’s,—a descendant of some island king, and proud as Holofernes of a thousand years of noble ancestry,—wished to make my acquaintance. I had reason to congratulate myself on making his; for I found him a living model of one of Walter Scott’s pictures. A genuine Highland Scot, hanging with body and soul on ancestry and ancient customs, having great contempt for the English, full of fire, good-natured, loyal-hearted, and brave; but childishly vain, and, on that side, as easy to wound as to win. I very gladly took refuge from the tedium of the crowd in conversation with a man of so original a character. I sat down by him on a bench in the tea-room, and got him to tell me of all the glories of his ancient heritage, all the battles of his forefathers, and his own travels and adventures. The worthy man described to me at great length his Highland dress, to which he evidently attached immense importance; and told me a long history of the effect his appearance in it had produced on the Court of Berlin. There was doubtless enough to excite a smile in his account of the astonishment of the King and Queen, and of the signal attentions his striking dress commanded; yet there was a fire and a simplicity in his manner of relating the triumphs of his national costume, that touched me extremely.

February 11th.

This morning I went to church, with a full intention of being pious; but it did not succeed. Everything was too cold, dry, and unæsthetic. I am an advocate for a more imaginative worship, though it be addressed rather more to the senses. If we did but follow Nature, we should find her the best instructress in religion, as in other things. Is it not by her most magnificent and sublime spectacles that she awakens our hearts to emotions of piety? by the painting of her sunsets, by the music of the rolling deep, by the forms of her mountains and her rocks? Be not wiser, my brethren, than him who created all these wonders, and formed the human heart to feel them; but imitate him, according to the measure of your feeble powers.

But on this matter I should preach to deaf ears, except to yours, dear Julia; they have long listened, with me, to the heavenly song of the spheres, which ceaselessly resounds in the eternal, beautiful creation, if men did not stop their ears with the cotton of positive dogmas and traditions, through which they cannot hear it.[45]

The sermon too which I heard, though prepared beforehand, and read, was stony and unprofitable. Preachers would do much more good if they would lay aside the old mechanical custom of taking texts only out of the Bible, and take them from local life and circumstances, and from human society as it now exists; if they would rather seek to foster the in-dwelling poetical religion, than the mere spirit of dogma; if they would treat morality not only as the Commanded, but as the Beautiful and the Useful,—the Necessary, indeed, to the happiness of the individual, and of society. If more pains were taken to instruct the working-man from the pulpit,—to form him to think instead of to believe,—crime would soon become less frequent; he would begin to feel a real interest in what he heard,—a positive want of the church and of the sermon, for his own guidance and information: whereas he now attends them mechanically and without reflection, or from some motives equally unprofitable. The laws of the land, too, and not the Ten Commandments alone, should be declared and expounded to the people from the pulpit;—they should be made perfectly conversant with them, and with the grounds of them; for, to use the words of Christ, how many sin without knowing what they do![46]

The best practical receipt for a universal morality is, without doubt, to ask oneself whether an action, or course of action, if adopted by every man, would be useful or injurious to society. In the first case, it is of course good,—in the second, bad. Had Governments, and those upon whom devolves the sacred and neglected duty of instructing the people, habituated them to the constant application of this test or measure of conduct, and then demonstrated to them, directly, ‘ad oculos,’ the inevitable, ultimate reaction of evil conduct on themselves, they would, in the course of a few years, have improved not only the morality of the country, but its physical condition and commercial prosperity; whereas the ordinary priestly wisdom, which sets faith, authority, and dogma above everything, has left mankind in the same state for centuries,—if indeed it have not made them worse.

It would, perhaps, do no harm occasionally to choose teachers who have been converted to virtue by experience of the evil consequences of vice (as, for instance, the late Werner,) and who are therefore best informed on the subject. Not only is there more joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth than over ninety-and-nine just men, but such a man is more firm in his convictions and perceptions, and generally more zealous in reclaiming others, as the examples of many holy men prove.

Above all, in every well-organized society all clergymen, be they of what persuasion they may, must, in my opinion, be paid by fixed salary, and not be permitted to take money for every separate consolation of real, or ceremony of conventional, religion;—a meanness which necessarily destroys all true reverence for the priest, and which must degrade him in his own eyes, if he have any delicacy. It is really dreadful to see the poor man stick his two groschen behind the altar for the holy elements he has just received; or crowd a fee into the reverend gentleman’s hand when his child is christened, just as if he were giving him a shilling to drink. But when we hear the parson storm and scold from the pulpit, because his offerings and tithes decrease; when we hear him announce such a falling-off in his revenues as a proof of the decline of religion; then, indeed, we feel distinctly why there are so many parsons, and what they themselves regard as their true and proper vocation. Soldiers naturally love war, and in like manner priests love religion,—for their own advantage. But patriots love war only as a means of obtaining freedom; and philosophers, religion only for its beauty and its truth.

That is the difference.—But, as the author of the Zillah so truly says, “Establishments endure longer than opinions; the church outlasts the faith which founded it; and if a priesthood has once succeeded in interweaving itself with the institutions of the country, it may continue to subsist and to flourish long after its forms of worship is regarded with aversion and contempt.”

The afternoon was more satisfactory.—I climbed the hills around the town, and at last crept up to the top of a windmill in order to see the whole panorama of Brighton. The wind turned the sails of the mill with such force that the whole building rocked like a ship. The miller’s lad, who had shown me the way up, went to a flourbin and took out a telescope. Spite of its soft bed, it was unhappily broken. I was however well satisfied with the general view, enlivened as it was by hundreds of fishing-boats which seemed struggling with the storm, and hastened back with the sinking sun to my social duties.

The party at Count F——’s was small but interesting; it was rendered so in the first place by the host himself; then by a lady celebrated for her beauty; and lastly, by a former well-known leader of ‘ton’ in Paris. In his youth he played a considerable part there, and was at the same time constantly implicated in political affairs. He now passes a great part of the year in England, probably still not without political views. He is one of that sort of men, daily becoming more rare, who live in great style, one knows not how; contrive to acquire a sort of authority everywhere, one knows not why; and under whom one always expects to find something mysterious, one knows not wherefore. —— is very agreeable, at least when he chooses: he narrates admirably, and has forgotten nothing of his eventful life which can give zest to his conversation. For adventurers of this high order, whose consummate knowledge of the world affords continual matter for admiration, (though generally employed only to make dupes,) the French character is better suited than any other. Their agreeableness in society smooths their way; and their not over warm hearts and œconomical understandings, (if I may use the expression,) admirably enable them to keep all the ground they have won, and to maintain a firm footing on it for ever.

The clever man of whom I am now speaking plays also very agreeably; and jestingly declares, like Fox, that after the pleasure of winning, he knows no greater than that of losing.

We talked a great deal about Napoleon, of whom our host, like all who lived long in immediate intercourse with him, could not speak without veneration. He mentioned a circumstance which struck me. The Emperor, he said, was so incredibly exhausted by the violent excitement of the Hundred Days and the events that succeeded them, that on his retreat from Waterloo, in the early part of which he was protected by a batallion of his ‘Garde,’ he proceeded very slowly, and without any precipitation (quite contrary to our version of the affair.) Two or three times he fell asleep on his horse; and would have fallen off, had not Count F—— himself held him on. But the Count declared that, except by this complete corporeal exhaustion, he never exhibited the slightest mark of internal agitation.

February 14th.

My original friend, the Scot—who, I am told, has killed two or three men in duels—visited me this morning, and brought me his genealogy, printed, with the whole history of his race or ‘clan.’ He complained bitterly that another man of his name contested the rank of chieftain with him; and took great pains to prove to me, from the work he had brought, that he was the true one: he added, that “the judgment of Heaven between them would be the best way of deciding their respective claims.” He then called my attention to his arms, of the origin of which he related a curious history,

* * * * * * *

* * * * * * *

It was, like most of these traditions, poetical enough, and a striking picture of those rude but vigorous ages. I did not fail to relate to him a ‘pendant’ to his story, from the Nibelungenlied, concerning my own ancestors;—probably both were equally true. We parted over the ghosts of our forefathers, the best friends in the world.

There are now private balls every evening: and in rooms to which a respectable German citizen would not venture to invite twelve people, some hundreds are here packed like negro slaves. It is even worse than in London; and the space allotted to the quadrilles allows only the mathematical possibility of making something like dancing demonstrations. A ball without this crowd would be despised; and a visitor of any fashion who found the staircase empty, would probably drive away from the door. This strange taste reminded me of one of Potier’s characters, a ‘ci-devant jeune homme’ who orders a pair of pantaloons of his tailor which are to be ‘extraordinairement collant:’ as the ‘artiste’ is going away he calls after him, “Entendez vous?—extraordinairement collant; si j’y entre, je ne le prends pas.” In like manner an English dandy would say of a rout, “Si j’y entre, je n’y vais pas.”

When you are once in, however, I must confess that nowhere do you see a greater number of pretty girls, against whom you are squeezed ‘bongré malgré,’ than here. Some of them have been educated for a year or two in France, and are distinguished for a better ‘tournure’ and style of dress; many of them speak German. A man may have as many invitations to ‘soirées’ of this sort as he likes; but he may go away as perfect a stranger as if he had been uninvited; for if he does not stay long, he does not so much as see the hostess, and certainly she does not know half the people present. At one o’clock a very ‘recherché’ cold supper is served, with ‘force champagne.’ The supper-room is usually on the ground-floor, and the table of course cannot contain above twenty persons at a time, so that the company go down in troops, and meet, pushing and elbowing, on the narrow staircase. If you succeed in getting a seat, you may rest a little; and many avail themselves of this privilege with small regard to their successors: little attention is paid to giving place to the ladies. On the other hand, the servants are very active in continually replacing the dishes and bottles, as fast as they are emptied, on the side of the table to which the guests have no access.

In order to see the whole of the thing, I stayed till four in the morning in one of the best houses, and found the end of the fête, after three-fourths of the company were gone, the most agreeable; the more so as the daughters of the house were remarkably pretty amiable girls. There were some famous originals, however, at the ball; among others, a fat lady of at least fifty-five, dressed in black velvet with white trimmings, and a turban with floating ostrich feathers, who waltzed like a Bacchante whenever she could find room. Her very pretty daughters tried in vain to rival their mamma. My curiosity being excited by such a display of Herculean vigour and pertinacity, I found the lady’s large fortune had been made by speculations in cattle. The music in most of these balls was extremely meagre and bad. The musicians, however, contrive to produce such a noise with such instruments as they have, that you cannot hear yourself speak near them.

February 16th.

I read yesterday that “strong passions are increased by distance.” Mine for you must be very strong then—though indeed tender friendship is ever the surest of any—for I love you better than ever:—but this is intelligible enough. If we truly love a person, we have, when absent from him, only his good and agreeable qualities before our eyes; the unpleasant little defects which exist in every man, and which, however trifling they may be, annoy us when present, vanish from our recollection,—and thus love naturally increases in absence. And you—what do you think on this subject? How many more faults have you to cover with the mantle of Christian love in me!

I am going to London to-morrow, expressly to deliver this letter to our ambassador with my own hands, since the last was delayed so long. Probably it fell into the hands of the curious, for we shall not soon get rid of the ‘infamie’ of opening letters. In two days I shall return, and shall be happy enough to miss three or four balls in the interval.—I took a long walk this morning, and this time not entirely alone, but with one of the many agreeable girls I have met with here. When young unmarried women are once ‘lancées’ in the world, they enjoy more rational freedom in England than in any other country in Europe. The young lady ‘quæstionis’ was just seventeen, and polished in Paris.

On my return home I found, to my no small astonishment, a letter from the luckless R——, who has been again driven back to Harwich, and despairingly implores money and help. Contrary to my desire, as I now learn for the first time, he did not go by Calais. These wanderings of the Garden-Odysseus are as ludicrous as they are disagreeable, and you will doubtless think the adventurer ‘malgré lui’ is eaten by the fishes, till you have ocular proof of the contrary. I recollect that twelve years ago, about this same season, I was going to embark for Hamburg, from which I was fortunately dissuaded by my old French valet. He said, with rather an odd turn of expression; “Dans ces tems ci, il y a toujours quelques équinoxes dangéreuses, qui peuvent devenir funestes.” He was right; the vessel was wrecked, and several lives lost.

London, Feb. 18th.

Honour to Mr. Temple!—Your letter, which he forwarded, reached me in ten days, while those which come through our diplomacy are three weeks on the road. Give him my best thanks. I laughed heartily at the news H—— sends me so humourously. The little Criminal-rath (‘conseiller criminel’) whom the jester calls ‘le Rat criminel’; the ‘Renvoyé extraordinaire,’ and the ‘Diplomate à la fourchette,’ are admirably painted; so is The Fortunate house-court-state-and body-servant. Don’t wonder at his success: it is indisputable that there is a sort of narrowness which almost always succeeds in the world; and a character of mind which never succeeds. Mine is of this latter sort—a fantastic picture-making mind, that fashions its own dream-world anew every day, and thence remains for ever a stranger in the actual world. You tell me that if Fortune had offered herself to me, I should have slighted her, or at most, playfully taken her by the finger, instead of clutching her earnestly;—that I never valued the present till it stood as a picture in the far distance;—that then indeed it was often a picture of repentance and regret; the future, a picture of longing and aspiration; the present, never anything but a misty spot. ‘A merveille.’ You say all this most charmingly; and I must acknowledge that nobody understands better how to moralize impressively than you.—If it were but of any use to me! But tell me,—if you could convince the lame man that it were far better for him not to be lame;—as soon as the poor wretch tries to set one foot before the other, does he limp the less? ‘Naturam expellas furca,’ &c. Vainly do you desire your stomach to digest better, your wit to be sharper, your reason to be more efficient:—things go on in their old train, with a few modifications.

The decisions of the Ministers on the S—— affair, which you communicate to me, also remain after the old sort, in spite of the extreme politeness of those gentlemen. Is it not strange, however, that our inferior functionaries distinguish themselves as much by their ‘tracasseries,’ and by their ill-bred, and I might say contemptuous style, as the higher do (with a single exception) by their care in using none but the most refined and polished forms? Do not these on this very account wear the appearance of the bitterest irony? You may give this as a subject for a prize-essay to our G—— dilettante academy.

‘A propos,’—who is that very wise Minister of whom H—— speaks? Ah ha! I guess—but all Ministers are now-a-days so wise ‘ex officio,’ that it is difficult to know which he means. The other, however, I guessed instantly—as well as the pure horizontal individual, whose illness grieves me heartily; for when he is well, he stands, in my opinion, most singularly perpendicular, towering above disfavour or envy, by the dignity of his character, and by his experience and talents for business. There are, to be sure, some official persons in our country whom one might fairly ask, with Bürger’s Lenore, every time one sees them, “Bist lebend, Liebster, oder todt?”[47]

Heaven preserve us both in better health of body and mind! And, above all, may it preserve to me your tender friendship, the most essential element of my well-being!

Your faithful L——.


Brighton, Feb. 19th, 1827.

Dear Julia,

‘To make the best of my time,’ (as the practical English say,) before I left town yesterday I visited three theatres in succession. In the first piece I saw, the principal person was an Irish servant. According to all I have been able to learn from plays and novels, these Irish must be an odd people,—of a fresh originality very unlike the English. Irish beggars are very common in the streets of London, where they are easily recognized by their Gascon-like manner and dialect. A modern author remarks with equal drollery and truth: “The English beggar whines out the same monotonous words in a drawling tone, ‘Give a poor man a halfpenny, Give a poor man a halfpenny.’—What an orator is his Irish colleague! ‘O your honour, give us a penny, only one blessed penny, your honour’s honour, and God’s blessing be upon your children, and your children’s children! Give us only one little penny, and may Heaven grant you a long life, and a quiet death, and a blessed resurrection!’” Who can withstand entreaties so humorously moving?

In the next theatre we were regaled with a pantomime, in which was a quadrille of birds, and another of tea-things; after which the tea-pot, milk-jug, and cup, executed a ‘pas de trois,’ while spoons, knives, and forks danced around them as ‘figurantes.’ The birds were ‘à s’y méprendre,’ and I recommend something of the same kind, with parrots which might speak too, to be arranged for the S—— Court theatre by Mephistophiles. A clever account of it would be a still further novelty, and a tea-kettle and accompaniments would be very suitable additions to the society.

I saw the Indian jugglers for the third time. They exhibited something quite new. Instead of balls, they threw up and caught short burning torches. This produces a curious sort of fire-work, a continuous developement of burning figures,—wheels, serpents, triangles, stars, flowers, &c., as if in a kaleidescope. The immovable steadiness and accuracy of these people never misses.

The fantastic absurdities of the pantomimes probably affected my imagination in the night, which I dosed away between London and Brighton; for I had the strangest visions in my carriage. At first I was mounted on my beautiful gray, whom for once I could not manage: he constantly resisted my will; and when at last I mastered him, shook his head with such fury, that it broke from his neck and flew to a distance of twenty paces, while I plunged down a precipice on the headless body.—I was next sitting on a bench in my park, and watching the devastations made by a frightful hurricane, which tore up the old trees far and near, and threw them together like faggots.—At last I quarrelled with you, dear Julia, and in despair went for a soldier. I forgot you (which is possible only in sleep,) and found myself in my new sphere, once more young and brilliant, full of fresh spirit, and not less full of wanton pride. It was the day of battle. The thunder of the cannon rolled magnificently; noble martial music accompanied it, and animated our spirits; while, with the prerogative of a dream, we sat quietly breakfasting on a ‘pâté aux truffes et champagne,’ in the midst of a fire of musketry. A spent cannon-ball now came ‘en ricochet’ towards us; and before I could spring aside, carried off the head of my comrade, who was sitting on the ground by my side, and both my legs, so that I fell groaning with pain and horror. When I recovered my senses, the storm was roaring around me, and the sea howled in my ears. I thought myself on the voyage, when, behold my carriage stopped at the door of the inn on the Marine Parade at Brighton! To-morrow perhaps I shall dream out the rest. But are the waking fancies of life much less confused? Castles in the air, for good and for evil;—nothing but castles in the air. Some stand for minutes, some for years, some for tens[48] of years; but they all fall at last, and palace, just as easily as a miserable hut, a grave or a dungeon. But you are ever by, my Julia, either sharing the palace, adorning the hut, weeping over the grave, or consoling me in bonds. At this moment I am floating midway, without any determinate abode: I am, however, all the more ethereal and light-hearted for that; but, I must confess, with a very sleepy ‘physique,’ for it is three in the morning: and so I kiss your hand, and bid you good-night. But I beg you to look in your dream-book what these adventures of mine portend.

You know my favourite superstition, which I set too high a value upon to have it torn from me by chaffy reasonings. As, for instance, when an ‘esprit fort’ shrugs up his shoulder, (if he does not venture to turn up his nose in my face,) or a well-anointed priest says, “It is extraordinary to see how inconsistently many men refuse to believe in religion, (by which parsons always mean their Church and its ordinances,) and yet give way to the utmost credulity in the greatest absurdities.” “But, reverend Sir,” I ask in reply, “in what then do these absurdities consist?” “Why, the belief in sympathies, in dreams, in the influence of the stars, and so on.” “But, most respected Sir, I see no inconsistency in the matter. Every reflecting man must confess that there are a number of mysterious powers in nature,—influences, and attractions, both of our earth, and of the system to which it belongs, of which many that formerly passed for fables have been discovered; others that as yet we do but suspect or divine, and cannot ascertain. It is therefore by no means contrary to reason to make one’s own hypothesis concerning them, and to believe in these more or less. I do not, therefore, contest your miracles, nor your symbols;—I contest only certain other things, which many of you teach, and which are equally incomprehensible to the understanding and repugnant to the heart: for instance, a God more passionate and partial than the frailest man; infinite torments appointed by infinite love, for finite sins; arbitrarily-predestined forgiveness or damnation,—and so on. Such things can be possible only when two and two shall make five, and no superstition can approach the insanity of such a belief.”

February 22nd.

I am just returned from a grand Almack’s fancy ball, where everybody was either in some fantastic outlandish dress, or in uniform,—a ‘mélange’ which does not seem to me in very good taste, nor very respectful to the latter. You may imagine that my friend the Highland chieftain did not fail to appear in his national costume. It is really very handsome; in the highest degree rich, picturesque, and manly: the only thing that does not please me is the shoes with the large buckles. The sword is just in the form of one of our student’s rapiers; and besides that, there is a dagger, pistols, and cartouche-box. The arms are set with precious stones; and an eagle’s feather, the badge of a chieftain, adorns the cap.

I escorted two ladies to the ball,—the one a good-natured and sensible woman, still very pretty at five-and-thirty, who likes the world and is liked by it, and nurses an invalid husband with the most unremitting care. Her ‘tournure’ is agreeable, her disposition kind and good,—so that she is just the person ‘pour en faire une amie dans le monde.’ The other lady, her intimate friend, is a young and very pretty widow; not a very considerable only seem realities. Nobody can furnish a greater abundance of plans to architects of such castles than I. On the slightest inducement I can build a fairy person, but a good-tempered friendly little creature, who is perfectly contented if you tell her that her teeth are pearls and her eyes violets.

I had no reason to be ashamed of my ladies, either as to person or dress; but they, and all present, were eclipsed by the youthful Miss ——. She is really one of the most beautiful girls I have seen,—a little sylph,—who must have stolen her exquisite foot and her graces from another land. She is only sixteen,—wild, and mobile as quicksilver; unwearied in dancing as in frolic. I was so fortunate as to gain her good graces to-day by a lucky offering. This consisted in a ‘cornet’ of remarkably well-made ‘bonbon’ crackers, in the distribution of which she had found infinite diversion at the last ball. This indecorum had been strongly reprobated by the mammas; so that there were no more to be had at supper, as heretofore. I had providentially laid in a stock at the confectioner’s, and now presented them to her unexpectedly; and I doubt whether the gift of a million of money would give poor me half the pleasure I now bestowed by such a trifle. The little thing was in an ecstacy of delight, and immediately prepared her batteries, which were the more successful, as the enemy thought themselves secure. At every explosion she laughed as if she would kill herself; and every time I met her she smiled upon me with her sparkling eyes, as sweetly as a little angel. Poor child! this perfect innocence, this overflow of happiness and joy, touched me deeply—for, alas! she will soon, like all the rest, be undeceived.

There were many other very pretty young women; but they were too ‘dressées’; some were loaded with jewels and trinkets, but none were comparable to this girl.

February 24th.

I spent this evening at Mrs. F——’s, a very dignified and delightful woman, formerly, as it is affirmed, married to the King. She is now without influence in that region, but still universally beloved and respected,—’d’un excellent ton et sans prétension.’ I there heard some interesting details concerning Lord Liverpool: a man who, an hour before, ruled half a world with energy and sagacity, becomes an ‘imbecile’ from the neglect to open a vein! His predecessor, Lord Castlereagh, from the same cause commits suicide!—On how frail a tenure hangs the human intellect!

In this house one sees only ‘beau monde.’ Indeed there is not much of the very emptiest, the exclusive society here; or they live completely retired, that they may not come into collision with the persons they call ‘Nobodies,’ whom they shun with greater horror than Brahmins shun Parias. Though my station and connexions allow me to enter the sanctuary, I do not on that account disdain the world without. As a foreigner, and still more as an independent man, I take the liberty to seek enjoyment wherever I can find it, unfettered by such restrictions,—nor do I always find the most in the highest places. Even the vulgar and laughable ‘singerie’ of the ‘parvenus’ is sometimes extremely amusing, and has a much more burlesque character in England than in any other country; since wealth, establishment, and luxury,—in a word, all their ‘entourage,’—are essentially the same as those of the great and high-bred; only the persons wander among them as if stripped bare.

Here occurred a long pause in my correspondence. Pardon,—I was eating my solitary dinner; a snipe stood before me, a ‘mouton qui rêve’ by my side. You guess who is the latter. Don’t be distressed about the place on the left, for on the right is a blazing fire, and I know how much you fear that.

I shall spend the evening again at Count F——’s, who is of the Brahmin class. Have I described him to you? He is no insignificant person. Uniting French agreeableness with English solidity, he speaks both languages with nearly equal ease and fluency. Though no longer young, he is still a handsome man, and his external appearance is rendered more striking by a very noble, dignified air. Simple, and thoroughly polite, cheerful without sarcasm or malignity, his conversation amuses and satisfies, even when it is not brilliant at the moment. His wife is neither remarkable for beauty nor the contrary. She has sense, ‘l’usage du grand monde, et quelque fois de la politesse;’ no inconsiderable talent for music, and ten-thousand a-year. With all these materials, I need not tell you the house is an extremely pleasant one.

February 25th.

There is a delightful custom for the men at English balls. After the conclusion of a dance, each takes his partner on his arm, and walks about with her till the next begins. Many a man has thus time to conquer his timidity, and nothing is wanting but our large and numerous rooms to make it more agreeable. Here there is no wider field to expatiate in than down the stairs to the eating-room, and up again; still many a gentle word may be whispered in the crowd, for nobody heeds what his neighbour does.

As I am tormented on all sides to dance, (a German who does not waltz appears incomprehensible here,) and do not like it, I have given out that I am restrained by a vow, and leave it to be inferred that it is a tender one. The ladies do not know how to reconcile this with the persuasion that I came here in search of a wife, which they stoutly maintain. Thank Heaven! I find my tranquillity quite undisturbed. * * *

A poor Englishman here is in much worse plight. He threw himself off the pier to-day, being, as the English say, ‘crossed in love,’ and only yesterday he was dancing as if stung by a tarantula. The poor fellow must have been like the turkeys that are made to dance ballets in Paris by being set on a metal plate, under which a fire is lighted. The spectator who sees their convulsive bounds, thinks they are very merry, while the poor things are burning by inches.

I have often complained that Brighton has no vegetation; but the sun sets in the sea, and the cloud-pictures by which they are accompanied, exceed all I ever beheld in variety. To-day it had rained all day, and in the evening, when it cleared up, a dark range of mountains formed itself above the watery mirror, gradually acquiring a firmer consistency as the sun reached the highest peak, and broke through the black masses as if with clefts of flaming gold; I thought I saw Vesuvius again, streaming with lava. After I had attended this magnificent ‘coucher’ of the monarch of the heavens till its last moment, I wandered about the bare downs till it was perfectly dark, scouring hill and dale on my swift steed. Probably he too had pictures in his fancy which urged him to greater speed,—enticing visions of oats and hay.

March 14th.[49]

These everlasting balls, concerts, dinners, and promenades, I cannot call exactly tedious, but time-killing. Meanwhile a poor dying man has taken up his abode in my house; and his groans and complaints, which all night long reach me through the thin walls, form too sharp and melancholy a contrast with this abode of frivolity and dissipation. I can do nothing for him, so I shall leave the house to-morrow for London.

I have received both your letters, and am heartily grieved to hear that both cook and doctor are wanting at your baths. You must do everything you can to get both these important chemists, (destined by Nature to play into each other’s hands,) as soon as possible, and of the best quality.

You know that a celebrated French physician, the first time he was called into a house, always began by running into the kitchen, embracing the cook, and thanking him for a new patient.

When Louis the Fourteenth grew worse and worse, and, distrusting his own physicians, consulted our Esculapius, the latter made representations to the first ‘homme de bonne bouche’ that he should provide fewer and simpler dishes for the King. “Allons donc, Monsieur,” replied the heroic cook, embracing the physician, “mon métier est de faire manger la Roi, le votre de lui en ôter les suites. Faisons chacun le notre.”

Before I left Brighton I was forced to be present at a musical ‘soirée,’ one of the severest trials to which foreigners in England are exposed. Every mother who has grown-up daughters, for whom she has had to pay large sums to the music-master, chooses to enjoy the satisfaction of having the youthful ‘talent’ admired. There is nothing therefore but quavering and strumming right and left, so that one is really overpowered and unhappy: and even if an Englishwomen has the power of singing, she has scarcely ever either science or manner. The men are much more agreeable ‘deletanti,’ for they, at least, give one the diversion of a comical farce. That a man should advance to the piano-forte with far greater confidence than a David, strike with his forefinger the note he thinks his song should begin with, and then ‘entonner,’ like a thunder-clap, (generally a note or two lower than the pitch,) and sing through a long ‘aria’ without rest or pause, and without accompaniment of any sort, except the most wonderful distortions of the face,—is a thing one must have seen to believe it possible, especially in the presence of at least fifty people. Sometimes the thing is heightened by their making choice of Italian songs; and, in their total ignorance of the language, roaring out words, which, if they were understood by the ladies, would force them to leave the room. It did not appear to me that people constrained themselves much in laughing on these occasions: but some vocalists are far too well established in their own opinion to be disturbed by that;—once let loose upon society, they are extremely hard to call off again.

London, Feb. 17th.

I am once more in Albemarle Street, and after my long absence I yesterday paid no fewer than twenty-two visits; dined at a Club dinner;[50] went to a ball at the house of the above-mentioned fair Napoleonist, and closed the day with a ‘soirée’ at Mrs. Hope’s, a very fashionable and pretty woman, wife of the author of Anastasius.

To-day I visited ‘in another quarter’ two Chinese ladies who also receive company here, and in a very original style too,—only one must pay one’s ‘entrée.’ Even from the very staircase everything is arranged as if in China itself; and when you enter, and see the ladies reclining, with outstretched feet five inches in length, under an illumination of paper lanterns, you may almost fancy yourself in Canton. They claim to be of high descent,—to which their feet bear witness; for the lower classes, of course, have not this distinguishing mark. The small-footed women have so little centripedal power, that they can hardly totter from one ottoman to another without a stick.

I am a passionate admirer of small feet in women; but these are too small, and horrible to behold naked: the toes, doubled under from infancy, are literally grown into the sole. This practice is nearly as absurd as the stays of our ladies, though perhaps not quite so injurious to the health.

I bought a new pair of shoes of these princesses, which I made them try on before my eyes. I send them to you, together with several other Chinesiana, silk hangings, pictures, &c.; among others, portraits of the Emperor and Empress. The good creatures seem to me, spite of their quality, to have brought a complete warehouse with them, for the moment a thing is sold it is replaced by another. Though they have been for some time in England, they have not learned a single word of English. Their own language appeared to me very heavy and dragging; and their faces were, to a European taste, more than ugly.

February 18th.

The Italian Opera has commenced,—the only theatre ‘du bel air,’ except the French Play. As people cannot appear there but ‘en toilette,’ even in the pit, the effect is very brilliant. The opera however was bad, orchestra as well as singers, and the ballet likewise. The lighting of the theatre is better adapted for being seen than for seeing: in front of every box hangs a chandelier, which dazzles one very offensively, and throws the actors into the shade. The opera lasts till one o’clock, so that you have ample time to visit it without giving up other engagements. The ‘trouble’ has now begun in good earnest; one seldom gets home before three or four o’clock in the morning: and a man who chooses to be very ‘répandu’—which the exclusives indeed do not, but which is amusing to a foreigner—may very well accept a dozen invitations for every evening.

The great world is consequently not alive before two o’clock in the afternoon. The Park hours are from four till six, when the ladies drive about by thousands in their elegant equipages and morning dresses, and the gentlemen on their beautiful horses ‘voltigent’ about from flower to flower, displaying all the grace Heaven has bestowed upon them. Almost all Englishmen, however, look well on horseback, and ride better and more naturally than our riding-masters, who certainly understand admirably, when they are on a horse trained to every sort of pace and speed, how to sit like a clothes-peg on a linen-line.

The green turf of the Park swarms with riders, who can ride faster there than in the ‘corso.’ Among them are many ladies, who manage their horses as skilfully and steadily as the men.

But Miss Sally is now led out before my door, and snorts impatiently on the macadamized pavement. My letter is long enough:—a thousand greetings to all who are good enough to remember me, and the most affectionate farewell to you!

Your friend L——.


London, March 25th.

Dearest and best,

It would be too tiresome if I sent you a daily list of the parties I go to: I shall only mention them when anything strikes me as remarkable; and perhaps hereafter, if I feel the inclination and the power, I shall give you a general ‘apperçu’ of the whole. The technical part of social life—the arrangements for physical comfort and entertainment—is well understood here. The most distinguished specimen of this is the house of the Duke of D——, a king of fashion and elegance.

Very few persons of rank have what we, on the Continent, call a palace, in London. Their palaces, their luxury and their grandeur, are to be seen in the country. The Duke of D—— is an exception;—his palace in town displays great taste and richness, and a numerous collection of works of art. The company is always the most select; and though here, as everywhere, too numerous, is rendered less oppressive by the number of rooms: still it is too much like a crowd at a fair. The concerts at D—— House, particularly, are very fine entertainments, where only the very first talent to be found in the metropolis is engaged, and where perfect order combined with boundless profusion reigns throughout. Among other things, the arrangement of the suppers and ‘buffets,’ which are excellent in such crowded parties, is most recommendable. In a separate room is a long table, with the most delicate and choice refreshments of every kind, so placed that it is accessible to the guests only on one side. Behind it stand maid-servants, in a uniform of white gowns and black aprons, who give everybody what he asks for, and have room enough to do their ministering conveniently: behind them is a door communicating with the ‘offices,’ through which everything needful is handed to them without disturbance to the company;—the disagreeable procession of troops of men-servants balancing great trays and pushing about the ‘salons’ with them, always in danger of discharging their contents, cold or warm, into the laps or pockets of the company, is thus avoided.

The supper is served at a later hour, by male attendants, in another room, which communicates with the kitchen. The waiting is far better, with much fewer people, than on the Continent, and accomplished without the least confusion.

I must observe, by the by, as to ‘bonne chère,’ that the very best in the world is to be found at the first tables in London: they have the best French cooks and the best Italian confectioners, for the very simple reason that they pay them best. I am told there are cooks who receive twelve hundred a year here;—to merit, its crown!

Sometimes, after concert and supper, at two in the morning dancing begins, and one drives home by sunlight. This suits me admirably, for you know I always had the taste of Minerva’s bird. In such a night-morning I often enjoy a drive in the Park; for, thank heaven! Spring is visibly coming, and the tender green of the young leaves and the pink almond blossoms peep forth over the garden-walls and amid the dark net-work of the swelling branches.

March 26th.

I devoted this morning to an excursion to Deptford, to see Captain Parry’s ship, the Hecla, which is to sail in a few days for the North Pole. Whether she will reach it, is another matter: I wish it may not fare with Parry as with poor Count Zambeccari, who to this hour is not returned from his last ærial voyage.

Captain Parry did the honours of his singular vessel with great politeness; his air and manner perfectly bespeak the frank, determined, gallant seaman he is known to be. Some curiously formed boats, which were likewise to serve as sledges, lay on the deck. The ship herself has double sides, filled with cork, to keep in the heat; she is also warmed by ‘conduits de chaleur.’ The provisions consist of the strongest extracts; so that a whole ox in his quintessence can be put in a man’s coat-pocket, like the stereotype editions of the ‘chef d’œuvres’ of the whole literature of England in one volume. All the officers seemed picked men. I found Captain Ross, who has accompanied Captain Parry in all his voyages, a very polished and agreeable man. The ship was thronged with visiters, climbing in a continual stream up the rope-ladder. It was impossible to look without intense interest on a crew who were going to confront such toils and dangers, in the light-hearted and enterprising spirit of their class, solely for the advancement of science and the satisfaction of a noble curiosity.

I was invited to dine in barracks by a Major of the Horse Guards. There is a most advantageous custom prevalent throughout the English army,—I mean the so-called ‘Mess.’ Each regiment has its common table, to which every officer is bound to contribute a certain sum, whether he choose to avail himself of it or not. By this he is entitled to the privilege of dining at it daily, and of bringing an occasional guest according to some established regulations. A committee superintends the economical part. Each officer presides at table in turn, from the colonel down to the youngest lieutenant, and is invested, so long as he is ‘en fonction,’ with the requisite authority. The ‘ton’ of the officers is excellent; far more ‘gentleman-like’ than that commonly to be found on the Continent; at least so I am bound to conclude from this sample. Although the strictest subordination prevails in service, yet when that is over, they meet as gentlemen, so entirely on an equality, that it were impossible for a stranger to discover from their deportment the superior from the subordinate officers. The table was admirably served. There was not wanting either an elegant service of plate, or champagne, claret, or any of the requisites of luxury. The dinner was followed by no excess; and the conversation, though perfectly unconstrained and cheerful, was confined within the bounds of decorum and good breeding. To crown all, the whole did not last too long; so that I had still time to pay some visits at the opera, which is convenient enough for that purpose.

March 28th.

In most companies pretty high play is the order of the day, and the ladies are the most eager players. The crowding to the ‘écarté’ table, which is almost out of fashion at Paris, is incessant; and the white arms of the English beauties appear to great advantage on the table-covers of black velvet embroidered with gold. But if their arms are dangerous, their hands are still more so, ‘car les vieilles surtout trichent impitoyablement.’ There are some old maids whom one meets in the first society who make a regular trade of play, so that they carry off fifty pounds at a stroke without changing a feature. They have small parties at their own houses, which are as ‘like tripots’ as possible.

In no country can the admirer of ‘le moyen age,’ ‘fair, fat and forty,’ meet more women in high preservation than in England. Even still more mature years do not obliterate all pretensions.

* * * * * * *

I closed my day with reading and whist at the Club. My party was most curiously composed;—the Portuguese Ambassador, who is strikingly like Napoleon; a Neapolitan ex-minister, brought hither by the failure of the revolution; the Frenchman whom I described to you at Brighton; and my German insignificance, who however this time gained the victory; for I won eight rubbers and two ‘Monkeys.’ What is a ‘Monkey?’ you ask. Fashion has given strange names to the markers. One for twenty-five pounds is called a Poney; and one for fifty, a ‘Monkey.’

April 3rd.

You are accustomed to follow me from the palace to the cottage, and from the decorated room to more beautiful nature. To-day I must introduce you to my dentist, the celebrated Mr. Cartwright. This gentleman is said to make ten thousand a year by his profession, and exercises it in the most ‘grandiose’ style. In the first place he goes to no one, excepting the King: every subject, male or female, must wait on him. But this is not all;—you must announce yourself a week or fortnight beforehand, and solicit an audience: you then receive a card containing the following answer:—

“Mr. Cartwright will have the pleasure of receiving N—— N—— on such a day and such an hour.”

You appear at the appointed time, and are ushered into an elegant room, where a piano-forte, prints, books and other helps to pass time are placed; a very necessary attention, as you often have to wait an hour or more.

When I entered, I found the Duchess of Montrose and Lady Melville and her daughters, who were called away ‘gradatim,’ so that at length my turn came.

When you have once reached this point, you find indeed infinite reason to be satisfied; for Mr. Cartwright is the most skilful and scientific man of his profession I ever met with,—perfectly devoid of all trace of ‘charlatanerie,’ which the difficulty of access might lead you to anticipate. He has also a settled price, and not an exorbitant one,—‘mais c’est un Grand Seigneur dentiste.’

In the evening, after wandering to four or five places in search of something interesting, I at last fixed myself at Lady ——’s where I was riveted by the conversation of a Captain ——, a half German who is just returned from the East, and gave a very interesting account of his travels. Among other things he told me the following strange anecdotes of Lady Hester Stanhope, a niece of Pitt’s, who left England many years ago, turned Arab, and has established herself in Syria.

She is now honoured by the Arabs as a prophet, lives with all the state of a native princess, and seldom allows Europeans to see her.

After a great deal of trouble Captain —— gained access to her. The first thing she required was his promise that he would not write anything about her. This vow being made, (luckily I am bound by none such,) she was cheerful and conversable, and talked with equal ease and cleverness. She made it no secret that she had renounced the Christian faith, and at the same time that she still looked for the appearing of the true Son of God, before whom she was appointed to prepare the way. Hereupon she showed the Captain a noble Arab mare, which had a curious bony excrescence on the back exactly in the form of a saddle. “This horse,” said she,—with a look of which Captain —— declared he was still in doubt whether to ascribe to madness or to a desire to hoax him,—“This horse God has saddled for his own Son, and wo to the man who shall dare to mount it! Under my protection it awaits its true master.”

She afterwards assured him, ‘en passant,’ that Adam was still living, and that she knew perfectly the place of his concealment, but would not reveal it.

The lady of the house listened to his narration, and assured him that Lady Hester had been only ‘quizzing’ him; for that she had known her well, and that never had woman a clearer, more determined, and at the same time more astute mind. For a person of such a character, she has made a good exchange in renouncing Western for Eastern life. She rules; she is free as bird in air; while in the centre of civilization she would never have been able to subtract herself from the slavery which must ever remain, more or less, the dark side of civilized life.

April 4th.

Sir Alexander Johnston, a great Orientalist, but in another sense of the word, invited me to dinner, and seasoned the repast by his intelligent and learned conversation. He has effected many important things in his department; but we, dear Julia, are both of us too ignorant on the subject for me to attempt to give you an account of them. One thing however will interest you. He told me of a cachemir shawl of Tippo Saib’s, embroidered in gold, and silks of all colours, ten ells long and worth a thousand pounds—a thing well calculated to set a female imagination on fire.

April 6th.

Can you tell me why all objects reflected by art give us only pleasure, whereas all realities have at least one defective side? We see the torments of Laocoon in marble with undisturbed delight,[51] while the actual scene would excite simply horror. A Dutch fish-market, represented with perfect fidelity by a humorous painter, charms us, and our pleasure increases as we follow out the details; in the real market, we should pass along rapidly with averted eyes and nose. The joys and sorrows of the hero of a poem or work of imagination affect us in like manner with deep pleasure, while we feel only pain at actual sufferings, and actual joys ever appear incomplete and imperfect. Even happiness, supposing it to be attained, always brings with it the bitter thought, How long will it last? Well, therefore does Schiller say, “Ernst ist das Leben, heiter ist die Kunst.” (Serious, or stern, is life, cheerful is art.) Art alone,—the creation of fancy,—procures unmingled pleasure; and therefore let us, dear Julia, never cease to rejoice that an active creative fancy is stirring within us, and sometimes procures us enjoyments which reality cannot bestow. Shall I then prepare for myself such an innocent festival, and fly across the sea to you? we have been but too long asunder.

How beautiful does everything appear to me! It is spring;—the violets send forth enchanting fragrance after the heavy shower; swallows are twittering in the air, and pretty little water-wagtails are running merrily round the lake. And now the sun breaks from behind the last lingering dark cloud, in all his majesty, and draws strange characters on the distant mountains. The old limetrees around us gleam like emeralds; gay butterflys try their light wings, and frolic, as if drunk with joy, over the grassy carpet. Bees hum busily around the thousand fresh flowers, and green beetles glitter in the sunlight. But now a splendid bow arises out of the west, spans the blue sky above the castle, and sinks on the black pine-forest. Now is the cheerful white-covered table set, and decked with polished utensils. The juicy fruits of the hot-house, hyacinthine Xeres in crystal cups, and champagne covered with thick mist, from the ice, await the guests:—and see who advances slowly and gravely among the shrubs, with that dignified air?

Ah, it is you, dear Julia, I exclaim enraptured—fly towards you, and

* * * * * * *

Thus does fancy paint. What however in reality unhinges me is, that it is a long time since I had a letter from you, and I really want one to restore my nerves. But I must dress for a couple of ‘Russian steam balls’ as they ought to be called.

April 7th.

As the Lord Mayor has invited me to his great dinner, I rode into the city this morning to call on him: this is rather a perilous enterprise, with a fidgetty horse. Once I got so entangled in the crowd, that I was absolutely forced to turn my horse on the ‘trottoir.’ This the people regarded as an invasion of their rights; and not observing that necessity drove me thither, began to abuse me, and some to strike my horse: a huge gigantic carter held up his fist and challenged me to box with him: as however I felt no inclination to make this practical application of the lessons I have taken in the ‘noble art of self-defence,’ I pressed forward to a small gap which happily offered itself, and made my escape.

I dined with Count Munster, a noble representative of Germany, who has endeavoured as far as possible to preserve German simplicity in his household. Everybody knows his distinguished qualities as a statesman: he is not less remarkable for his agreeable manners and talents in social and domestic life.

Since his residence in England, he has designed and painted the decorations for his castle in the Harz, with great taste and skill; and his wife’s paintings on glass are very beautiful: in a few years all the windows of the castle chapel will be adorned with her own works. The German housewife however is no mere modern bel-esprit, or artist, but, like one of the knightly dames who are the subjects of her pencil, she takes care to have excellent beer brewed in her own house:—she gave me some, which I drank with all the gratitude of a guest in the hall of Valhalla.

In the evening a great fête at Lord Hertford’s, with concert, ball, French-play, &c., assembled the fashionable and half-fashionable world[52] in a magnificent and tastefully furnished house. The singularity in it is, that all the rooms are decorated in the same manner,—flesh-coloured stucco and gold, with black bronze, very large looking-glasses, and curtains of crimson and white silk. This uniformity produces a very ‘grandiose’ effect. One room alone (of extraordinary size for London) is white and gold, carpeted with scarlet cloth, and with furniture and curtains of the same colour.

The company, ‘c’est a dire la foule,’ was not more vivacious than usual, and the whole affair ‘magnifiquement ennuyex.’

Another house worth seeing is that of the great banker ——, especially on account of the fine collection of pictures. Here is also that triumph of modern sculpture, Thorwaldson’s Jason, and some valuable antiques. On a sort of terrace on part of the house are hanging-gardens; and though the shrubs have only three feet of earth, they grow very luxuriantly.

The lady of the gardens is however no Semiramis; ‘il s’en faut,’ whatever she may think * * *

* * * * * * *

I could not help comparing her with her far more wealthy rival Madame R——, and remarking how far the Jewish golden queen surpassed the Christian one in cordial amiability and external dignity and good-breeding.

April 8th.

What contributes much to the ‘dullness’ of English society, is the haughty aversion which Englishmen (note well that I mean in their own country, for ‘abroad’ they are ready enough to make advances) show to addressing an unknown person; if he should venture to address them, they receive it with the air of an insult. They sometimes laugh at themselves for this singular incivility, but no one makes the least attempt to act differently when an opportunity offers.

There is a story that a lady saw a man fall into the water, and earnestly entreated the dandy who accompanied her, and who was a notoriously good swimmer, to save his life. Her friend raised his ‘lorgnette’ with the phlegm indispensable to a man of fashion, looked earnestly at the drowning man, whose head rose for the last time, and calmly replied, “It’s impossible, Madam, I never was introduced to that gentleman.”

I made the acquaintance of a man of very different manners this evening; the Persian Chargé d’Affaires, an Asiatic of very pleasant address, and whose splendid costume and black beard were only deformed, in my eyes, by the Persian peaked cap of black sheepskin. He speaks very good English, and made very acute observations on European society. Among other things he said, that though in many respects we were much further advanced than they, yet that all their views of existence were of a firmer and more composed character; that every man reconciled himself to his lot; whereas he remarked here an incessant fermentation, an everlasting discontent, both of masses and of individuals; nay, he confessed that he felt himself infected by it, and should have great trouble, on his return to Persia, to fall back into that old happy track, in which a man who is unfortunate consoles himself, exclaiming, “Whose dog am I then, to want to be happy?”

This indeed furnishes ample matter for reflection to the pursuers of the ideal, to which secret association I, alas! belong.

A ball at Mrs. Hope’s was very splendid, ‘mais c’est toujours la même chose.’ In a party to which I went before this, I was presented to the Duke of Gloucester. I only mention the fact for the sake of remarking, that the English Princes of the Blood observe a much more courteous sort of etiquette than most of those on the Continent: the Duke, who was playing whist, rose from the table, and did not sit down again till our short conversation was ended.

But let me go back for a moment to the beginning of the day.

The gardens of the neighbourhood are now in full bloom, the weather is fine, and my ride this morning brought me about thirty miles from town. In variety and richness the suburbs of London surpass those of any other capital; which here and there display natural beauties, but never that exquisite mixture of nature and the highest cultivation,—never at least in any considerable masses.

I should have gladly ridden further and further, and returned at length with great regret. The meadows around me were so luxuriant, that it was only at a distance they looked green; when you were near them they were embroidered with blue, yellow, red, and lilac, like a carpet of Tournay. The cows were wading up to their bellies in the gay flowers, or resting under the shadow of huge domes of foliage, impenetrable to every ray of sun. It was magnificent, and adorned with a richness which art can never reach. In an hour’s riding I reached a hill where the ruins of a church stood in the midst of a garden. The sun darted its rays from behind a cloud athwart the whole sky, like a huge torch, the centre of which rested directly on the metropolis of the world,—the immeasurable Babel which lay outstretched with its thousand towers, and its hundred thousand sins, its fog and smoke, its treasures and its misery, further than the eye could reach. It was in vain! I must plunge into it again, from the spring and its bursting blossoms, from the green meadows—again into the macadamized slough,—into the everlasting dead monotony,—into dinners and routs.

Accept my farewell—my next letter will go on to tell what became of Daniel in the lion’s den.

Your faithful friend



London, April 15th, 1827.

Dearest Friend,

At length the long-desired letter is arrived, and another in its company. Why was it so long on the road?—‘Quien sabbe?’ as the South Americans say. Probably the official reader was lazy, and let it lie by him some time before he would take the trouble to re-seal it dexterously.

But, dear Julia, how pretty and tender is your poem—a new talent, which I never discovered in you before. Yes, may God grant that “all your tears may turn to flowers, to adorn us and refresh us with their fragrance!” and that this beautiful and loving prophecy may soon be fulfilled! And yet the fairest flowers would be too dearly bought, for me, at that price. Your tears at least ought not to flow to produce them.

What you say of H——, “qu’il se sent misérable parcequ’il n’est fier que par orgueil et libéral que par bassesse” is striking, and will unfortunately suit too many liberals.

I wrote to you on the occasion in question, that you should think only of yourself; and you reply, that I am yourself. Best and kindest! yes, one self we will remain wherever we may be; and had men guardian spirits, ours must act in common: but here we have no other tutelary genius than that moral strength which Heaven has given us.

And is it really so melancholy in M——? You tell me of storms and torrents of rain that threaten destruction. But a fortnight has passed since that was written—before this reaches you it will be a month. I shall hope therefore that you are reading it in the midst of the green spring, with every thing blooming around you, and with the zephyr fanning you instead of the furious wind. I told my old B——dt that there were terrible storms in M——. “Ja, ja,” replied he, “those are the Brighton ones.” If you had known that, dearest Julia, you would have thought them more agreeable, for they would have brought you the latest news of your friend. I beg you to give my most sincere and heartfelt thanks to our honoured Premier. Were all of his class like him, how much more popular would government be! Were all Ministers as high-minded and as upright, how would the universal discontent be diminished! and how much more free and independent would they themselves be of those many weights which drag them down, just when it is most necessary they should soar!

All goes on here as usual. This evening, a splendid fête at Lord H——’s closed the Easter festivities. Most fashionable people now make another short stay in the country, and in a fortnight hence the season proper begins. I am going back to Brighton for a few days, but shall wait for the Lord Mayor’s dinner.

April 16th.

This took place to-day in Guildhall; and now that I have recovered from the fatigue, I am extremely glad I went.

It lasted full six hours, and six hundred people were present. The tables were set parallel from the top to the bottom of the hall, with the exception of one which was placed across it, at the top. At this the Lord Mayor himself and his most distinguished guests were seated. The ‘coup d’œil’ from hence was imposing;—the vast hall and its lofty columns, the tables extending further than the eye could reach, and the huge mirrors behind them, so that they seemed prolonged to infinity. The brilliant illumination turned night into day; and two bands of music, in a balcony at the end of the hall opposite to us, played during the toasts, which were all of a national character. The Lord Mayor made six-and-twenty speeches, long and short, well and truly counted. A foreign diplomate also ventured upon one, but with very bad success, and had it not been for the good-nature of the audience, who called out ‘Hear, hear!’ every time he was at fault, till he had collected himself again, he must have stuck fast, and so remained.

At every toast which the Lord Mayor gave, a sort of master of the ceremonies decorated with a silver chain, who stood behind his chair, called aloud, ‘My lords and gentlemen, fill your glasses!’ The ladies were frightfully dressed, and with a ‘tournure’ to match. I was seated next to an American, the niece of a former President of the United States, as she told me,—but I really forget which. It is to be presumed that her red hair and Albino complexion are not common among her countrywomen, or their beauty would not be so celebrated. Her conversation, however, was very clever, and had something of the humour of Washington Irving.

At twelve o’clock the ball began. It must have been curious enough, from the motley character of the company: I was, however, so tired with sitting six mortal hours at dinner, in full uniform, that I drove home as fast as I could, and for once went to bed at midnight.

Brighton, April 17th.

In this morning’s paper we read the speech of the diplomate I mentioned to you:—N. B. not what it was, but what it ought to have been,—which is often the case.

Immediately after breakfast I drove out with Count D——, a very merry, amusing Dane, and spent the evening at Lady ——’s, where I met many of the persons I had seen here before: and Lady ——, whom you remember at Paris as the object of the Duke of Wellington’s adorations.

A propos of him,—do you read the newspapers? Here is a great crisis in the political world. Canning’s appointment as Premier has given such offence to the other Ministers, that seven have resigned, and only three remain in place. It is said that the party will find it difficult to go on without some of them,—for instance, Lord Melville. The Duke of Wellington also loses considerably by the change. He who was all in all, is now declared, with the usual exaggeration of party spirit, “politically dead.” There is, however, something magnanimous in thus sacrificing one’s personal views to one’s opinions. Caricatures rain upon the defeated, and some of them are very witty. The old Lord Chancellor Eldon, who is very unpopular, is particularly ill-treated. So is Earl W——, a singular old man, who has the most preposterous aristocratical haughtiness, looks like a mummy, and spite of his eighty years, is daily to be seen crossing St. James’s park on a fast-trotting horse, with the velocity of a bird.

Brighton, April 20th.

To-day I have had full experience how dangerous the fogs here may become. I had not thought of this in London, where the scenes they occasion are generally only ludicrous.

An acquaintance had lent me his hunter, as I had left mine in London, and I determined to ride, in a direction as yet unknown to me, towards what is called the Devil’s Dyke. I had already ridden some miles over the smooth turf, when suddenly the air was obscured, and in a few minutes I could not see ten steps before me. Thus it remained; nor did there appear the least hope of its clearing. I passed an hour in riding to and fro in search of a tracked road;—my light clothing was soaked through, the air ice-cold, and had night overtaken me, the prospect was not the most agreeable. In this extremity, wholly unacquainted with the country, it happily occurred to me to give my old horse, who had often hunted over these downs, completely his own way. In a few paces after he felt himself perfectly free he turned short about, and set off at a pretty brisk gallop directly down the hill upon which I was. I took good care not to disturb him, spite of the obscurity around me, even when he broke through a field of high prickly broom and furze, over which he leapt like a hare. A few inconsiderable hedges and ditches of course retarded him still less; and after half an hour’s pretty hard running, the good beast brought me safely to the entrance of Brighton, though on the opposite side to that from which I had set out. I was heartily glad to get off so well, and seriously determined to be more prudent in this land of fog for the future.

I generally spend my evenings at Lady K——’s or Mrs. F——’s, and play écarté and whist with the men, or loo with the young ladies. These small circles are much more agreeable than the great parties of the metropolis. There, every art is understood but the art of society. Thus, for instance, musicians, artists, poets, and men of talent generally, are invited merely as fashionable decorations; to live with them, to extract enjoyment from their conversation, or from their genius, is a thing utterly unknown. All real cultivation has a political character and tendency; party spirit, and the fashionable spirit of caste pervade all society. Hence arises not only a universal ‘décousu,’ but a rigorous division of the several elements; which, combined with the naturally unsocial temper of Englishmen, must render a residence among them unpleasant to every foreigner, unless he either has access to the most intimate family circles, or can take a lively interest in political affairs.

The happiest and the most respectable class in England is, without all doubt, the middle class, whose political activity is confined to the improvement of their own immediate province, and among whom tolerably just views and principles generally prevail. People of this unfashionable class are also the only truly hospitable, and are wholly devoid of the arrogant airs so disgusting in their superiors. They do not run after a foreigner; but if he comes in their way, they treat him with kindness and sympathy. They love their country passionately, but without any view to personal interest,—without hope of sinecures, or intrigue for place. They are often ridiculous, but always deserving of respect, and their national egotism is restricted within more reasonable bounds than that of their superiors.

It may now be said with equal truth of England as it formerly was of France, ‘que les deux bouts du fruit sont gâtés,’—the aristocracy and the mob. The former unquestionably holds a most noble station: but without great moderation, without great concessions made to reason and to the spirit of the times, they will perhaps not occupy this station half a century longer. I once said as much to Prince E——; he laughed in my face,—‘mais nous verrons.’

I send you a few excerpts from the newspapers, to give you an idea of the freedom of the press.

1st. “Every ship in the Navy ought to hoist her colours; for Lord Melville was an incubus that weighed down the service. Meritorious officers may now have a chance,—under Lord Melville they had none.”

2nd. “We hear from good authority that the Great Captain takes extraordinary pains to get into the Cabinet again, but in vain. This spoiled child of fortune ought not to have imagined that his resignation could for a moment have embarrassed the government. We believe, however, that he is not the only ex-Minister who already bitterly repents his folly and arrogance.”

3rd. “The Ministerial Septemvirate who wanted to extort power, are much indebted to Mr. Hume’s new Act. According to the old law, servants who tried to extort higher wages from their masters were very properly sent to the tread-mill.”

4th. “We are assured that a great Septemvir has offered to re-enter the service, on condition that he be made Directing Minister, Grand Constable, and Archbishop of Canterbury.”

Our Ministers would stare not a little if our blotting-paper journals were to make as free with them.

To-morrow I return to town: for as the Romans formerly called Rome “the city,” so do the English call London “town.”

London, April 22nd.

I arrived just in time to be present at a dinner-party at the new Premier’s, to which I received an invitation in Brighton.

This distinguished man is as remarkable for the grace and charm with which he does the honours of his house, as for the eloquence with which he carries away his auditors. ‘Bel esprit’ and statesman by turns, he wants nothing but better health: he seemed to me very unwell and suffering. Mrs. Canning is also a very intelligent woman. I have been assured that she holds the newspaper department, i. e. that she reads them, and informs her husband of all the important matter they contain; nay, even that she has occasionally written articles herself.

A concert of Countess ——’s was very fully attended. Galli and Pasta, who are arrived, and will greatly raise the state of the Opera, sang. The rooms were choke-ful, and several young men lay on the carpet at the feet of their ladies, with their heads luxuriously reclined against the cushions of the sofas on which their fair ones were seated. This Turkish fashion is really very delightful; and I wondered extremely that C—— did not introduce it in Berlin, and deposit himself for once at the feet of one of the ladies in waiting. The Berliners would have thought this ‘charmant’ (as they call it) in the English Ambassador.

April 25th.

After a long interval I re-visited the theatre. I was in good luck, for Liston acted ‘à mourir derire,’ in a little farce the scene of which is laid in Paris in the time of Louis the Fifteenth. A rich English merchant, tormented with the spleen, goes to that city for amusement. Scarcely is he fairly settled in his hotel when the minister of police is announced, and presently enters, admirably dressed in the costume of the time. He discloses to the astonished citizen that the police is on the track of a notorious gang of thieves, who, suspecting that he had a great deal of money with him, had laid a plan to break into his house that night, and to rob and murder him. The minister adds, that every thing now depends on his own behaviour; that if he shows the slightest consciousness, if he appears less cheerful than usual, or does any thing unwonted betraying anxiety, he will probably hasten the proceedings of the robbers, and in that case that the police could not be answerable for his safety—indeed that his life would probably be in the greatest danger, for that it was not sure that the people of the house were not in the plot;—he must therefore go to bed at ten o’clock as usual, and let matters take their course.

Mr. Jackson, more dead than alive at this intelligence, wants instantly to leave the house. But the minister gravely replies that this can by no means be suffered, and would be no security to him; for that the robbers would discover his new residence, and then make more sure of their prey. “Make yourself perfectly easy,” concludes Monsieur de Sartines, “all will be well if you do but put a good face upon the affair.”

You may easily imagine what ludicrous scenes are produced by the continual efforts of the old merchant to conceal the horrible fright he is in. Meanwhile his servant, a true Englishman, always thirsty, finds some wine in a closet and eagerly drinks it. It turns out to be antimonial wine, and in a few minutes he is seized with violent sickness; his master instantly concludes that the plan is to poison, instead of shooting or stabbing him. At this moment the hostess comes in with a cup of chocolate. In a transport of rage and terror, Liston seizes her by the throat, and forces her to drink the chocolate; which, after some surprise at the oddness of English manners, she very willingly does. Liston’s by-play during this, and the manner in which, suddenly recollecting his promise, he bursts into a convulsive laugh, and tries to turn it off as a jest, is unspeakably droll. At length ten o’clock arrives; and after many burlesque incidents, Mr. Jackson goes to bed in his velvet breeches, lays a sword and pistols by his side, and draws the curtains quite close. It unfortunately happens, that the daughter of the host has a love-affair, and had given her lover ‘rendezvous’ in this very room before the stranger had engaged the lodging. To avoid discovery she glides softly in, puts out the light cautiously, and goes to the window, at which her lover is already climbing in. As soon as he springs into the middle of the room, and begins to speak, groans of terror are heard from the bed: first one pistol falls down with a clatter, then another; the curtain opens; Liston makes a feeble thrust with the sword, which falls from his trembling hand, throws himself out of bed, and in his curious costume falls on his knees before the girl, who is as terrified as himself, and pitiously implores mercy, while the lover slily conceals himself behind the bed. The door is thrown open, and the minister of police enters with torches, to inform the trembling Jackson that the band of robbers is taken; and adds, with a smile, as he looks at the group, “I congratulate you that you have found so agreeable a way of passing the time.”

April 26th.

A strange place I have visited to-day! A church called the Areopagus, in which a clergyman, the Rev. Robert Taylor, preaches against Christianity, and permits anyone publicly to oppose him. He has retained only one thing of the Anglo-Christian church—to make you pay a shilling for your seat. Mr. Taylor has some learning, and is no bad speaker, but as passionate a fanatic for the destruction of Christianity as some others are for its support. He says strong things—sometimes true, often false; sometimes witty, and sometimes utterly indecorous. The place was thronged with hearers of all classes.—In a nation which is at so very low a point of religious education, it is easy to understand that a negative apostle of this sort may attract a great concourse. In Germany, where the people are far advanced in the rational path of gradual reform, an undertaking of the kind would fill some with pious horror, would attract nobody, and would justly disgust all,—even if the police did not render such an exhibition impossible.

The first Almack’s ball took place this evening: and from all I had heard of this celebrated assembly, I was really curious to see it; but never were my expectations so disappointed. It was not much better than at Brighton. A large bare room, with a bad floor, and ropes around it, like the space in an Arab camp parted off for the horses; two or three small naked rooms at the side, in which were served the most wretched refreshments; and a company into which, spite of the immense difficulty of getting tickets, a great many ‘Nobodies’ had wriggled; in which the dress was generally as tasteless as the ‘tournure’ was bad;—this was all. In a word, a sort of inn-entertainment:—the music and the lighting the only good things. And yet Almack’s is the culminating point of the English world of fashion.

This overstrained simplicity had, however, originally a motive. People of real fashion wished to oppose something extremely cheap to the monstrous ‘faste’ of the rich ‘parvenus;’ while the institution of Lady-patronesses, without whose approbation no one could be admitted, would render it inaccessible to them. Money and bad company (in the aristocratic sense of the word) have however, forced their way: and the only characteristic which has been retained is the unseemly place, which is not unlike the ‘local’ of a shooting ball in our large towns, and forms a most ludicrous contrast with the general splendour and luxury of England.

May 1st.

At E——’s this morning I found Prince S——, who is just come from the coronation at Moscow by way of Brazil; (such is the ease and rapidity of travelling in our times.) For natural beauty, he gave the preference to the island of Madeira, over every country he had seen. He was but just eight days in coming from thence to London, which has set me longing to make the excursion as soon as the season is over.

From four o’clock in the afternoon till ten, I sat in the House of Commons; crowded, in horrible heat, most uncomfortably seated; and yet with such eager, excited attention, that the six hours passed like a moment.

There is something truly great in such a representative assembly! This simplicity of exterior; this dignity and experience; this vast power without, and absence of all pomp within!

The debate this evening was moreover of the highest interest. Most of the former Ministers have, as you know, resigned; among them, some of the most influential men in England, and (since Napoleon’s and Blücher’s death) the greatest Commander in Europe. Canning, the champion of the liberal party, has defeated this Ministry, and is, spite of all their efforts, become head of the new one, the formation of which was left to him, according to the usual custom here. But the whole power of the exasperated ultra-aristocracy and their dependants presses upon him; and even one of his most particular friends, a commoner like himself, is among the resigning Ministers, and has joined the hostile party. This gentleman (Mr. Peel) to-day opened the attack, in a long and clever speech, though full of repetition. It would lead me too far, and greatly exceed the bounds of a correspondence like ours, were I to go into the details of the present political questions. My object is only to give you an idea of the tactic with which on the one side, the leader of the new Opposition headed the attack, and was followed by several more obscure combatants, who planted a stroke here and there; while on the other, the old Opposition, the Whigs, (who now support the liberal ministry with all their might,) more skilfully commenced with their musketry, and reserved the heavy fire of their great gun, Brougham. In a magnificent speech which flowed on like a clear stream, he tried to disarm his opponent; now tortured him with sarcasms; now taking a higher flight, wrought upon the sensibility, or convinced the reason of his hearers. I must attempt to give you a specimen of this extraordinary piece of eloquence.[53]

The orator closed with the solemn declaration, that he was perfectly impartial; that he could be impartial; for that it was his fixed determination never, and on no terms, to accept a place in an Administration of these kingdoms.[54]

I had heard and admired Brougham before. No man ever spoke with greater fluency,—hour after hour, in a clear unbroken stream of eloquence,—with a fine and distinct organ,—riveting the attention,—without once halting, or pausing,—without repeating, recalling, or mistaking a word; defects which frequently deform Mr. Peel’s speeches. Brougham speaks as a good reader reads from a book. Nevertheless, it seems to me that you perceive only extraordinary talent, formidable pungent wit, and rare presence of mind:—the heart-warming power of genius, such as flows from Canning’s tongue, he possesses, in my opinion, in a far lower degree.

Canning, the hero of the day, now rose.—If his predecessor might be compared to a dexterous and elegant boxer, Canning presented the image of a finished antique gladiator. All was noble, refined, simple;—then suddenly, at one splendid point, his eloquence burst forth like lightning—grand and all-subduing. A kind of languor and weakness, apparently the consequence of his late illness and of the load of business laid upon him, seemed somewhat to diminish his energy, but perhaps increased his influence over the feelings.

His speech was, in every point of view, the most complete, as well as the most irresistably persuasive;—the crown and glory of the debate. Never shall I lose the impression which this, and that other celebrated speech of his on the affairs of Portugal, made upon me. Deeply did I feel on each of these occasions, that the highest power man can exercise over his brother man,—the most dazzling splendour with which he can surround himself, before which that of the most successful warrior pales like the light of phosphorus in the sun,—lies in the divine gift of eloquence. Only to the great master in this godlike art is it given to affect the heart and mind of a whole nation with that sort of magnetic somnambulism, in which nothing is possible to it but blind and absolute surrender and following; while the magic rod of the magnetiser is equally absolute over rage and gentleness, over war and peace, over tears and smiles.

On the following day the House of Lords was opened under the same remarkable circumstances as the House of Commons had been, though there are no men of talents equal to Brougham, nor, above all, to Canning. Lord Ellenborough rose first, and said that the late Ministers were accused of having resigned in consequence of a combination, and of having thus been guilty of the great offence of endeavouring to abridge the constitutional prerogative of the King to change his ministers entirely at his own free will. For the preservation of their honour he must therefore claim for them to be heard fully in their own justification.—Here I saw the great Wellington in a terrible strait. He is no orator, and was compelled, ‘bongré, malgré,’ to enter upon his defence, like an accused person. He was considerably agitated; and this senate of his country, though composed of men whom individually, perhaps, he did not care for, appeared more imposing to him ‘en masse’ than Napoleon and his hundred thousands. There was, however, something touching to me in seeing the hero of this century in so subdued a situation. He stammered much, interrupted and involved himself; but at length, with the help of his party, who at every stumbling-block gave him time to collect himself by means of noise and cheers (exactly as it was with the Ambassador’s speech at the Lord Mayor’s feast,) he brought the matter tolerably to this conclusion,—that there was no ‘conspiracy.’ He occasionally said strong things,—probably stronger than he meant, for he was evidently not master of his stuff. Among other things, the following words pleased me extremely.—“I am a soldier and no orator. I am utterly deficient in the talents requisite to play a part in this great assembly. I must be more than mad if I ever entertained the insane thought (of which I am accused) of becoming Prime Minister.”[55] All the Lords who had resigned made their apology in turn, as well as they could. Old Lord Eldon tried the effect of tears, which he has always at hand on great occasions: but I did not see that they produced any corresponding emotion in the audience. He was answered by the new Peer and Minister, Lord Goderich, formerly Mr. Robinson, for himself and the Premier, who, being a commoner, cannot appear in the House of Lords, though he governs England, and is become too illustrious, as Mr. Canning, to exchange that name for a title.

The new peer’s speech was a very good one, but the beginning excited an universal laugh. True to long habit, he addressed the speaker of the House as “Sir.” He was so ‘décontenancé’ at his blunder, that he put his hand to his forehead, and remained for a time speechless; but recovered his self-possession with the help of the friendly “Hear, hear!”

Lord Holland distinguished himself as usual by sharp and striking exposition; Lord King by a great deal of wit, not always in the best taste; Lord Lansdowne by calm, appropriate statement, more remarkable for good sense than for brilliancy. Lord Grey far excelled the rest in dignity of manner, a thing which English orators, almost without exception, either neglect or cannot acquire. The want of decorum, remarkable in the lower house, which is like a dirty coffee-house, and where many of the representatives of the people lie sprawling on the benches with their hats on, and talking of all sorts of trifles while their colleagues are speaking, seldom appears here. The place and the deportment are, on the contrary, suited to the senate of a great nation.

When I question myself as to the total impression of this day I must confess that it was at once elevating and melancholy;—the former when I fancied myself an Englishman, the latter when I felt that I was a German.

This twofold senate of the People of England, spite of all the defects and blemishes common to human nature which are blended in its composition, is yet something in the highest degree grand; and in contemplating its power and operation thus near at hand, one begins to understand why it is that the English nation is, as yet, the first on the face of the earth.

May 3d.

To-day, for a change, you shall follow me from the serious business of Parliament to the theatre.

The piece was a mere spectacle:—dramatic exhibitions of that sort are more beautifully and skilfully executed here than in any other country. I shall confine myself to describing the ‘scenery.

In a wild mountain district of Spain, a Moorish castle rises amid rocks in the distance. It is night, but the moon shines brightly in the blue heavens, and mingles her pale light with the brilliant illumination of the windows of the castle and the chapel. A road winding among the mountains is visible at many points; and at length, supported on arches of masonry, leads to the foreground.

A band of robbers now glide stealthily forth from the thicket, and conceal themselves by the road-side.—You discover from their conversation that they are lying in wait for a rich prize.

Their handsome young leader is distinguished by his commanding air and his splendid dress, in the style of the Italian banditti. After a short interval you see the castle-gates in the distance unclose, a drawbridge is let down, and a state-carriage drawn by six mules rolls along the road. Sometimes you lose it behind the mountains;—it approaches, growing larger and larger (an effect admirably produced by figures of various dimensions,) and at length comes on the stage at a brisk trot. A few shots are immediately fired by the robbers, the coachman is killed, and the plunder of the carriage goes forward amid noise and confusion. In the midst of the tumult the curtain falls.

At the beginning of the second act you see the same scene, but it excites quite different emotions. The lights in the castle are extinguished,—the moon is veiled behind a cloud. In the dim light you imperfectly distinguish the carriage, with the doors rent from the hinges. On the box lies the murdered driver; the pallid head of one of the fallen robbers is seen above a stone trench; and the handsome captain leans dying against the trunk of a tree, while his boy Gilblas is vainly trying to check the flight of the departing spirit. This half-dead, half-living picture, is extremely powerful and touching.

My morning calls were useful, for they procured me three tickets for the next Almack’s; and I prevailed upon one of the most rigorous and dreaded of Patronesses to give me a ticket for a little obscure ‘Miss of my acquaintance,’—an immense ‘faveur!’ I was, however, obliged to manœuvre and entreat a long time to obtain it. The young lady and her party nearly kissed my hands, and behaved as if they had gained the great prize in the lottery.

After Almack’s, there is no way of approaching an English lady so good as politics. There has been nothing to be heard lately, whether at dinner or at the Opera, nay even at balls, but Canning and Wellington from every pretty mouth; nay, Lord E—— complained that his wife disturbed him with politics at night. She frightened him by suddenly calling out in her sleep, “Will the Premier stand or fall?”

If I improve myself in nothing else here, I shall in politics and cabriolet-driving; the latter one learns to perfection. You wind along at full speed, among carts and carriages, where you would have thought you must have stopped for minutes. A residence in such a metropolis of the world certainly tends to correct all one’s small views of things: one regards them in a broader manner, and more ‘en bloc.’

May 10th.

The eternal uniformity of the season goes on for ever. A soirée at Lady Cowper’s, one of the gentlest of Lady-patronesses; another at Lady Jersey’s, one of the handsomest and most distinguished women in England,—both preceded by an Indian mélodrame,—filled my evening very agreeably. The scene of the mélodrame lay in an island whose inhabitants were endowed with the delightful gift of flying. The prettiest girls came floating in in masses, like flights of cranes, and when very pressingly courted just let their wings sink; but if you were emboldened by this,—a nod—and the graceful, many-coloured folds expanded, and away they went; nor could one so much as see the slender cords by which they were drawn up.

At a dinner and soirée at Prince Polignac’s there were several interesting persons; among them the Governor of Odessa, one of the most agreeable Russians I have seen, and Sir Thomas Lawrence, the celebrated painter. I was told that he regularly loses at billiards (of which he makes the great mistake of fancying himself a master) the enormous sums he gains by his art. He is a man of interesting appearance, with something ‘du moyen age’ in his features, strongly reminding one of the pictures of the Venetian school.

Still more was I attracted by the Portuguese eyes of the Marchioness ——: Portuguese and Spanish eyes eclipse all others.

Prince Polignac’s niece told me that her uncle’s hair, which is perfectly white, while the rest of his appearance is youthful and agreeable, had turned gray at the age of five-and-twenty, in the course of a few weeks, from the anxiety and horror of a revolutionary dungeon.[56] He may well find the present contrast agreeable; but, alas! the Restoration cannot restore the colour of his hair. I was interested by this circumstance; for you know, my good Julia, mine has also patriotically begun to assume our national colours, white and black.

A curious foreigner who wishes to see all the gradations of social life, can hardly hold out a London season. More than forty invitations are now lying on my table,—five or six for each day. All these fête-givers must be called upon in a morning; and, to be courteous, one must go in person. ‘C’est la mer à boire;’ and yet on my way to parties I continually pass ten or a dozen houses which I don’t know, where the same mass of carriages is standing before the door.

A ball at which I was lately present was peculiarly brilliant, and was attended by some of the Royal Princes. When this is the case, the vanity of the host has introduced the fashion of mentioning it on the card: “To meet his Royal Highness,” &c. &c. is the laughable phrase. The whole garden belonging to the house was built over, and divided into large rooms, which were hung with draperies of rose-coloured and white muslin, ornamented with enormous mirrors and numerous chandeliers, and perfumed with the flowers of every zone.

The Duchess of Clarence honoured the entertainment with her presence; and all pressed forward to see her, for she is one of the few Princesses whose personal character inspires far more respect than their rank, and whose infinite goodness of heart and amiable disposition have gained her a popularity in England of which we Germans may be proud; the more so as she is probably destined to be Queen of these realms.

The person who gave this ball was, however, far from being fashionable; a quality which is susceptible of the strangest ‘nuances.’ But every one, fashionable or not, refines upon his neighbour’s entertainment as he can.

The next day Countess L—— gave a ball, at which I was obliged to alight at least a thousand steps from the house, as it was utterly impossible to get through the crowd of carriages. Several equipages that had tried to force their way were fast locked together, and the coachmen were swearing the most terrible oaths. At this ball the hot-houses were tapestried with moss of various hues, and the ground thickly strewed with new-mown grass, out of which flowers seemed to grow freely here and there; the stalks were illuminated, which doubled the splendour of their colours. The walks were marked by coloured lamps, glittering like jewels in the grass. Gay arabesques were described among the moss on the walls in the same manner. In the background was a beautiful transparent landscape with moonlight and water.

May 15th.

Riding out to-day with several ladies, the question arose which way we should take, the best to enjoy the beautiful spring evening. Just then we saw an air-balloon floating in the sky, and the question was answered. For more than ten miles did the untired ladies follow their aerial guide, as if on a ‘steeple chase,’ but it vanished at length from our sight. The evening was devoted to a grand diplomatic dinner, at which several of the new Ministers were present; and to a ball in a German house, whose solid and tasteful magnificence equals the best English ones, and excels most in the agreeable qualities of its possessors; I mean Prince Esterhazy’s.

My journal will soon be like Bernouilly’s Travels, which mainly treat of invitations, dinners, and evening parties. But you must take the thing as it comes. Liken this journal to a stuff upon which are very different embroideries, some rich, some poor. The strong lasting stuff is my unalterable love for you, and the wish to make you live with me, as far as it is possible, my distant life; the embroideries are only copies of what I see or experience, and must therefore take the same character, be the colours sometimes glowing, sometimes faint. And it were not to be wondered at if they faded altogether in the choking city, which never can afford such lovely hues as beautiful nature.

May 21st.

I give you notice beforehand that I must remain true to the same theme, and record a breakfast at the Duke of Devonshire’s at Chiswick.

This is the prettiest sort of fête given here; they are given in the country, and the company are dispersed through the house and the beautiful gardens. Though called breakfasts, they begin at three and do not leave off before midnight. Prince B——, brother-in-law of Napoleon, was there,—another of those whom I formerly saw in that splendour which they borrowed only from the Sun of the world,—a splendour which so quickly vanished with its source.

But the great ornament of the fête was the beautiful Lady Ellenborough. She came in a small carriage drawn by poneys not larger than Kamtschatkadale dogs, which she drove herself. From henceforward the doves may be unyoked from the chariot of Venus, and poneys harnessed to it instead.

All sorts of equipages fare worse here than any where. At last night’s Almack’s there was such a ‘bagarre’ among them, that several ladies were obliged to wait for hours before the chaos was reduced to any order. The coachmen on these occasions behave like madmen, trying to force their way, and the English police does not trouble itself about such matters. As soon as these heroic chariot-drivers espy the least opening, they whip their horses in, as if horses and carriage were an iron wedge; the preservation of either seems totally disregarded. In this manner, one of Lady Sligo’s horses had its two hind-legs entangled in such a manner in the fore-wheel of a carriage, that it was impossible to release them, and one turn of the wheel would infallibly have broken both. Notwithstanding this, the other coachman could hardly be prevailed on to stand still. When the crowd dispersed a little, they were forced to take out both horses, and even then it was with some difficulty they extricated the entangled one. All this time the poor animal roared like the lion in Exeter ‘Change. At the same time a cabriolet was crushed to pieces, and ‘en révanche’ drove both its shafts through the window of a coach, from which the screams of several female voices proved that it was already full: many other carriages were damaged.

After this description, you, dearest, with your ‘poltronnerie,’ will scarcely trust yourself here in a carriage. It were certainly safer to adopt the fashion of the time of Queen Bess, when all, even the most delicate court-maidens, went a-visiting on horseback.

May 27th.

I had the honour of dining with the Duke of Clarence to-day. The Princess Augusta, the Duchess of Kent, her daughter, and the Duchess of Gloucester were present. The Duke is a very kind, friendly host, and always does me the favour to remind me of the various times and places at which we have met before. He has much of the true Englishman, in the best sense of the word, and the English love of domestic life. This dinner was given in celebration of the birthday of Princess Carolath.[57] He gave her health; at which the gentle Emily, spite of her intimacy with the amiable Duchess, her relation and friend, blushed over and over.

Among the guests I must mention Sir George Cockburn, who took Napoleon to St. Helena. He told me many circumstances which proved Napoleon’s extraordinary power of winning those whom he had any desire to win. The Admiral likewise admired the sincerity with which Napoleon spoke of himself, as of an indifferent historical personage; and among other things, openly declared that the Russians had so completely outwitted him in Moscow, that up to the very last day he was continually in hope of peace, till at length it was too late. ‘C’était sans doute une grande faute,’ added he coolly.

The Duke’s daughters are ‘d’un beau sang,’ all remarkably pretty, though all in a totally different style. Among the sons, the most distinguished is Colonel Fitzclarence, whose travels overland from India, through Egypt, you read with so much interest. He has also written on the German Landwehr, of which he is no partisan. Seldom does one find a young officer of such varied accomplishments. I have known him a long time, and have frequently had occasion to be grateful for his obliging and friendly manners.

His eldest sister is married to Sir Philip Sidney. I heard from her that not only has the series of portraits been preserved unbroken in that illustrious family from Lord Leicester’s time downwards, but also a lock of hair of every successive head of the family. Among other curious documents they have also a list of the guests at the feast at Kenilworth, and some very remarkable household accounts of that time. I believe Sir Walter Scott has used these papers.

In the evening Pasta warbled at Countess St. A——’s, and two or three balls closed the day.

May 26th.

This morning in the Park I could not restrain a hearty laugh at a young lord, who has not profited much by his residence at Paris, and whose beautiful horse attracted more admiration than himself. “Quel beau cheval que vous avez là!” said I. “Oui,” replied he, with his English accent; “je l’ai fait moi même, et pour celà je lui suis beaucoup attaché.” Is not this almost as good as the deaf Russian officer in B——, to whom the King said, on the entrance of a surgeon, “Ce poisson là est bien fréquent chez vous.” “Oui, Sire,” replied he, with a profound bow, “je l’ai été pendant quinze ans.”

‘Rex Judæorum’ gave a magnificent dinner, the dessert of which alone, as he told me, cost a hundred pounds. I sat next to a very clever woman, Mrs. A——, the friend of the Duke of W——, a very characteristic, acute, un-English physiognomy,—you may think what an ‘enragée’ politician. I must have annoyed her excessively; in the first place I am a great Canningite; in the second, I hate politics at dinner. We had a great exhibition of splendour. The table service was of vermillion and silver; that of the dessert, I think, all gold. Under the portrait of Prince Metternich (a present from the original) in an adjoining room, was a large gold box, perhaps a copy of the Ark of the Covenant. A concert succeeded the dinner, at which Mr. Moschelles played as enchantingly as his wife looked. It was not till two o’clock that I got away to a rout at the Duke of Northumberland’s, a small party of about a thousand persons. Music was performed in an immense picture-gallery, at thirty degrees of Reaumur. The crowd and bustle was however so great that we heard little of it. The atmosphere was like that of the black-hole at Calcutta. Are these really the amusements of civilized nations!

May 31st.

The rich Lady L——, with whose ‘black diamonds’ her complexion forms the most agreeable contrast, and whose ‘air chiffonné’ is quite original, showed me her bazaar this morning. It is no common one, for it contained jewels to the amount of three hundred thousand reichsthalers. The whole boudoir full of perfumes, flowers, and rarities, the ‘clair obscur’ of rose-coloured curtains, and the Marchioness herself in a dress of yellow gauze, reclined on her chaise longue ‘plongée dans une douce langueur;’—it was a pretty picture of ‘refinement.’ Diamonds and pearls, pens and ink, books, letters, toys and seals, and an unfinished purse, lay before her. Among the seals, two were piquant, from their contrast,—the one from Lord Byron:

“Love will find its way
Where wolves would fear to stray.”

The other says, with true French ‘philosophie,’ ‘Tout lasse, tout casse, tout passe.’ Nothing, however, was so common in the house as portraits of the Emperor Alexander who had paid great attention to the Marchioness at V——, and whose image had been thus multiplied by gratitude. Her husband was ambassador there, and used his English prerogative to its full extent. Once he boxed with a ‘fiacre’ driver: another time he presented the Archduchess, and, if I mistake not, the Empress herself, to his wife, instead of the reverse;—then he ran into the kitchen to stab his cook for having offended the Marchioness: ‘enfin, il faisant la pluie et le beau tems à V——; ou plutôt l’orage et la grêle.’

Just conceive how ‘disappointed’ the poor lady must be, after so long ruling on the Continent, ‘malgré ses diamans, son rang, et sa jolie mine,’ not to be able to be really and truly fashionable. But this aristocracy of fashion is more difficult to attain to than the highest rank of freemasonry, and much more capricious than that venerable institution, though both alike make something out of nothing.

I dined at Lord Darnley’s, where I met Lord Bloomfield, formerly a conspicuous man, and great favourite of the King’s ‘du tems de ses frédaines.’ There was also the Archbishop of York, a majestic old man, who began life as a private tutor, and has reached this elevated station by the patronage of his pupils. Nothing can be at once more ugly and more laughable than the demi-toilette of an English Archbishop. A short schoolmaster’s wig ill-powdered, a black French coat, and a little black silk ladies’ apron hung over the inexpressibles in front, just as our miners hang theirs behind.

We were extremely well entertained with game and excellent fruits from Cobham; and after dinner drove to a concert, which was very different from any I had heard here. These concerts were set on foot by several noblemen and distinguished persons, admirers of the music of Handel, Mozart, and the old Italian masters, whose compositions are here exclusively performed. It’s long since I had such a treat! What is the modern Trilliliren compared with the sublimity of that old church music? I felt transported back to the days of my childhood, a feeling which always strengthens the soul for days, and gives it a fresher, lighter flight. The singing was excellent throughout, and often of an unearthly beauty in its simplicity; for it is inconceivable what a power God has given to the human voice when rightly employed, and poured forth in a simple and sustained flow. Handel’s choruses in the Oratorio of Israel in Egypt, make you think you feel the night which overshadowed Egypt, and hear the tumult of Pharaoh’s host, and the roaring of the sea that engulfs them in its waters.

I could not bring myself to listen to ball-fiddling after these sacred tones, and therefore retired to my own room at twelve o’clock, willingly leaving Almack’s and another fashionable ball unvisited. I shall carry the echo of this music of the spheres into my dreams, and, borne on its wings, shall take a spiritualized flight with you, my Julia: ‘Are you ready? Now we fly.’

June 1st.

My old B—— waked me very early, which he never does unless he has a letter from you to give me. On all lesser occasions he lets me sleep on, however particularly I may have desired him to call me. His apology always is, “You were so sound asleep!”

It is really lucky that I have not that sort of vanity which is intoxicated by praise, otherwise you would make a complete fool of me. Alas! I know myself too well, and a hundred faults which your love but half perceives. The little devil whom you attack certainly often possesses me. But he is tolerably innocent, often a poor foolish, honest little devil, of a sort that stands midway between angel and devil, as to the morality of the business;—in a word, a genuine weak child of man. But as he displeases you, poor little imp, I shall put him into a bottle, like Hofmann, and cork him down with Solomon’s seal. From this time I shall produce only the Herrnhüter before you:—you know I passed my youth among that sect, ‘et si je m’en ressens, je ne m’en ressens guères.’

I shall certainly be present at the fancy-ball you mean to give in imitation of that at Brighton. Nobody will know me, for the good reason that I shall be invisible: I shall only imprint a kiss on your forehead, and then be off like a thought:—be on the watch therefore!

June 3d.

I wandered yesterday from the regions of the gay world once more into the city, and observed the toiling industry which is continually producing some fresh article of luxury. Every day sees some new invention. Among them may be reckoned the countless advertisements, and the manner of putting them ‘en evidence.’ Formerly people were content to paste them up; now they are ambulant. One man has a pasteboard hat, three times as high as other hats, on which is written in great letters, “Boots at twelve shillings a pair,—warranted.” Another carries a sort of banner, on which is represented a washerwoman, and the inscription, “Only three-pence a shirt.” Chests like Noah’s ark, entirely pasted over with bills, and of the dimensions of a small house, drawn by men or horses, slowly parade the streets, and carry more lies upon them than Münchausen ever invented.

I arrived at Mr. R——’s very tired, and accepted an invitation to dine with him at his counting-house. During dinner we philosophized on the subject of religion. ‘R—— est vraiment un très bon enfant,’ and more obliging than most men of his class,—whenever he thinks he risks nothing by it, which one cannot blame him for. In our religious discussion he had somewhat the best of it, for he is of the ancient nobility in matters of faith: they are the true aristocrats in this subject, and will hear of no innovation or reform. I wound up by saying, with Göthe, Alle Ansichten sind zu loben; and drove in a crazy hackney-coach back to the ‘West End of the Town,’—where there are neither Jews nor Christians, but only Fashionables and Nobodies,—to hear Pasta sing at Mrs. P——’s, and to play écarté, de moitié with Lord H——’s friend.

I came home at four o’clock, fell asleep by rosy day light, and fancied my bed was the moss of a forest. I was waked by a piteous cry: I looked around, and saw a poor devil come plump down through the air from the top of a high tree, and fall on the ground near me. Groaning, and pale as ashes, he crawled up, and cried out that it was all over with him. I was hastening to help him when a creature like an inkstand with a stopper came up, and, with heavy curses, gave the half-dead man several blows with his stopper. I watched my time, pulled out the stopper; and as the ink streamed forth, he changed himself into a Moor in a splendid silver jacket and elegant costume, who cried out laughing, that if I would only let him alone, he would shew me such things as I never saw before. Now began such conjurations as left all the Pinettis and Philadelphias in the world far behind. A large closet changed its contents every minute; and all the treasures of Golconda, with unheard-of curiosities, were presented to my view.

My dream went on increasing in extravagance. Did you ever hear of such mad visions as haunt me here? It’s the melancholy fog, the suffocating air of London, which clouds my senses. I send them to you therefore, that you may let them out in our own sunshine, and on their heavy wings I lay a thousand affectionate greetings of your faithful Friend,



London, June 5th, 1827.

This morning I paid a visit to Mrs. Hope, and saw her husband’s collection of works of art more in detail. A very beautiful Venus by Canova was peculiarly interesting to me, having seen it some years ago, unfinished, in the ‘atélier’ of that delightful artist in Rome; it then left a more agreeable impression on my mind than any of his works.

Among the pictures, I was particularly struck with the infamous Cesare Borgia, by Correggio. What a sublime villain! He stands in the most intrepid manly beauty; vigour and loftiness of mind beam from every feature; in the eyes alone lurks the ferocious tiger. The collection is peculiarly rich in pictures of the Flemish school; many of them are of inimitable truth, which I freely confess has often a greater charm for me than even the perfect representation of an Ideal, if that does not happen to hit some kindred conception in my own mind.

Thus a fine stately old Dutch burgher’s wife, drinking down a glass of wine with great ‘délice,’—her husband wrapped in his cloak with the bottle out of which he has just helped her still in his hand, while he looks at her with good-natured pleasure,—was to me a very attractive subject.

So, likewise, some officers of the sixteenth century in their handsome and appropriate dress, carousing after their hard and bloody toils: and several others, equally true to nature. Among the landscapes I made acquaintance with a Hobbima, which has the greatest resemblance to the manner of Ruysdael. Fruit, which almost deceived the sense, by Van Huysum and Van Os. Houses, in which every tile is given, by Van der Meer. Several Wouvermans, Paul Potters, &c. &c.—nothing was wanting to complete the richness of the collection. Only the modern English pictures were bad.

The rest of the day I staid at home, to hallow the birthday of my good mother, alone and in quiet.

June 7th.

As a sample of the necessities of a London dandy, I send you the following statement by my ‘fashionable’ washerwoman, who is employed by some of the most distinguished ‘élégans,’ and is the only person who can make cravats of the right stiffness, or fold the breasts of shirts with plaits of the right size. An ‘élégant,’ then, requires per week,—Twenty shirts; twenty-four pocket-handkerchiefs; nine or ten pair of ‘summer trowsers;’ thirty neck-handkerchiefs (unless he wears black ones;) a dozen waistcoats; and stockings ‘á discretion.’

I see your housewifely soul aghast. But as a dandy cannot get on without dressing three or four times a day, the affair is ‘tout simple,’ for he must appear,—

1st. In breakfast toilette,—a chintz dressing-gown and Turkish slippers.

2nd. Morning riding dress,—frock coat, boots and spurs.

3rd. Dinner dress,—dress coat and shoes.

4th. Ball dress, with ‘pumps,’ a word signifying shoes as thin as paper.

At six o’clock the Park was so full that it was like a rout on horseback, only much pleasanter; instead of carpets or chalked floors there was the green turf, a fresh breeze instead of stifling heat and vapour; and instead of tiring one’s own legs, one made the horse’s do all the work.

Before I rode thither I called on Princess E—— and found three young and handsome ‘ambassadrices en conférence, toutes les trois profondement occupées d’une queue;’ namely, whether it was necessary to wear one at the queen of Würtemberg’s, or not.

At a ball this evening, at the forementioned Marchioness of Londonderry’s, I saw the Polonaise and the Mazurka danced here for the first time,—and very badly. We supped in the Statue Gallery. Many ladies had hung shawls and other articles of dress on the statues, which dreadfully shocked one’s feeling for art. At six I came home, and am writing to you while they are closing my shutters to make an artificial night. The valets here have a sad life of it, and can only sleep out of hand, if I may say so, or like watchmen, in the day.

June 13th.

I have already told you that one is invited here to a Royal Prince, just as in some other places, among intimate friends, to a dainty dish. I was thus invited yesterday to dine with the Duchess of Gloucester, and to-day with the Duke of Sussex. This Prince, who is ‘brouillé’ with the King, has gained great popularity by his liberal opinions, and quite deserves it. He has been much on the Continent, and likes the German mode of life. Our language is perfectly familiar to him, as indeed it is to most of his brothers. In compliment to him, after the ladies left the table, cigars were brought, and more than one smoked, which I never before saw in England. Monsieur de Moutron told a great many droll stories, with genuine French address. But the most amusing person was Major Keppel, the Persian traveller, who related some rather ‘scabreuses’ but amazingly ‘piquantes’ anecdotes, which he would not commit to print, and which I reserve till we meet. In the morning I drive to Ascot with young Captain R——, and shall visit Windsor, to make some break in this life of uniform dissipation. It is supposed that the races will be unusually brilliant, as the King is to be present, and his horses are to run.

Windsor, June 14th.

After a rapid drive of twenty-five English miles,—partly through Windsor Park, behind which the Castle, the residence of so many kings, rears its head,—we reached the wide and barren heath of Ascot, where the races are held. The place presented a perfect picture of pleasuring encampment. Endless lines of tents for horse and man; streets of carriages along the course, chiefly filled with pretty women; high stands, consisting of three or four stages one above another, with the King’s stand at the goal;—all this enlivened by twenty or thirty thousand people, of whom many have been encamped here five or six days:—such are the leading features of the motley picture. One part forms a sort of fair, where among the other booths and tents,—like a Liberty or Free Quarter[58] in the middle ages,—are to be found various games of hazard, elsewhere severely forbidden.

The ladies in the carriages are provided with excellent breakfasts, and champagne, which they distribute with great hospitality. I found many old friends, and made some new acquaintances; among others, an extremely agreeable woman, Lady ——, who invited me to dine at her cottage. As the races ended for to-day at six o’clock, we drove to T—— Park, through a most beautiful country, so thickly studded with trees that spite of its ploughed fields it had the appearance of a cultivated wood. We arrived before the family, and found the house open, but without a servant or any living creature in it. It was like the enchanted dwelling of a fairy, for a more lovely abode cannot be conceived. Could you but have seen it! On a rising ground, half-concealed by the most magnificent old trees, stood a house whose various jutting parts, built at different periods, and here and there hidden by the shrubberies, never permitted the eye to catch its entire outline. A sort of colonnade of rose-trees, covered with flowers, led directly into the hall; and passing through some other apartments and a corridor, we reached the dining-room, where a table stood richly covered,—but still no human being was visible. The garden lay before us, a perfect paradise, lighted by the glow of the evening sun. Along the whole house, now projecting, now receding, were verandas of various forms, and clothed with creeping plants. These formed a border to the gayest flower-garden, covering the whole slope of the hill. Close upon the edge of it was a deep and narrow green valley; behind which the ground rose again and formed a higher line of hill, the side of which was clothed with huge beeches. At the end of the valley the near view was terminated by water. In the distance, above the crown of trees, was seen the ‘Round Tower’ of Windsor Castle, with the majestic royal banner floating in the blue air. This was the only object to remind us that Nature, or some beneficient fairy, did not reign alone here; but that man, with his pleasures, his pomps, and his necessities, was near at hand. Like a beacon-tower of ambition it looked down upon the peaceful cottages; alluring the gazer to a higher but more deceitful enjoyment, which he who obtains buys only with his own grievous loss. Peace and contentment abide in the valley.

My poetical ‘extase’ was interrupted by my fair hostess, who was greatly amused at our description of her enchanted palace, and immediately took care that we should be shown to our rooms, to make our toilet, which the dust and heat rendered very necessary. An excellent dinner, with iced champagne and delicious fruits, was very grateful, and we remained at table till midnight. Coffee and tea, with music, occupied two hours more, the latter of which, I must in all sincerity confess, we could willingly have dispensed with.

After our agreeable evening a rather disagreeable incident awaited me. As I was going to bed B—— began to exclaim that ill-luck followed him everywhere.

“Why, what has happened?”

“O Lord! if I could help it I would not tell, but it must come out.”

“Now, Devil take you, make an end; what is it?”

The confused-headed old fellow had put a purse with five and twenty pounds I gave him into the pocket of the carriage, instead of into the seat; and, like Kotzebue’s stupid country squire, took it out in the tumult of the booths to pay for a glass of beer, changed a sovereign, because as he said he had no small money, and then carefully put the purse in the same place again. It followed, as a matter of course in England, that when he returned to the carriage it was gone.

Richmond, June 13th.

This morning we visited the Castle, which is now completing according to the old plan, and is already the vastest and most magnificent residence possessed by any sovereign in Europe. The time was too short to see the interior, which I therefore deferred to another opportunity. I only paid a visit to the Duchess of C——, who lives in the great tower and enjoys a delicious view from her lofty balcony. Among her attendants was a beautiful Greek boy in his national costume, scarlet, blue, and gold, with naked legs and feet. He was saved from the massacre of Scio by being hidden in an oven. He is now become a perfect Englishman, but has retained something inexpressibly noble and foreign in his air. At one o’clock we returned to the race-ground; and this time I received my breakfast (luncheon) from the hands of another beauty. At the close of the races we drove to Richmond, where R——’s regiment is quartered, and passed a very joyous evening with the officers. The universal competence of England permits a far more luxurious life than military men enjoy with us. These gentlemen deny themselves nothing, and their mess is better served throughout than many a princely table in Germany.

In the morning this regiment of Hussars and a regiment of Lancers are to be reviewed by an Inspecting General, which I shall stay to see.

June 16th.

The regiment went through its business very well; with less affectation,—perhaps with less precision,—than our marvellously trained three-year horse-soldiers; but with more true military coolness, and with the steadiness and ease resulting from long habit: all their evolutions too were more rapid, from the excellence of their horses, with which those of the Continent are not to be compared. The English cavalry has gained immensely in command of the rein, and in military seat, since the last war, which is mainly to be ascribed to the care and attention of the Duke of Wellington: the men had their horses as well in hand as the best of ours. The extraordinary thing, according to our notions, was to see the perfect ease with which fifty or sixty officers in plain clothes,—several General officers among them, some in undress jackets and top-boots, some in frock-coats and coloured cravats,—took part in the review, and thronged around the Inspecting General, who with his two aids-de-camp were the only men in uniform, except the regiment. Nay, even some supernumerary officers of the regiment itself, not on actual service, rode about with him in civil dress and shoes,—a sight which would have given such shock to the nerves of a —— general, as would have endangered his intellects for ever. In a word, one sees here more of the reality; with us, more of the form. Here, ’tis true, the clothes do not make the man; and this simplicity is sometimes very imposing.

R—— told me that this regiment was originally formed by the Tailors’ Company, at the time of the threatened French invasion, and at first consisted entirely of tailors. They are now transformed into very sturdy martial hussars, and fought with great distinction at La Belle Alliance.

June 18th.

Since the day before yesterday I have returned to the old track. I ‘débutai’ with four balls, and a dinner at Lord Caernarvon’s, where I met Monsieur Eynard, the celebrated Philhellenist, whose pretty wife manifests an equal enthusiasm for the Greek cause. Yesterday I dined at Esterhazy’s, and met a young Spaniard whom I could not help wishing an actor, that he might play Don Juan, for he seemed to me the perfect Ideal of that character. With the tones of the dramatic Pasta, whom one hears every evening, ringing in my ears, I went to bed.

This evening there was a concert at the tall Duke’s, where every body was in raptures at old Velluti, because he sang well once upon a time. He lives here upon his ancient fame. From thence I went to one of the prettiest balls I have seen in London, at the house of a Scotch woman of rank. The largest room was entirely decorated with paper lamps made in the forms of various flowers, very tastefully grouped.

As we got into our carriages at six o’clock, by sunshine, the ladies had a most strange appearance. No ‘fraicheur’ could stand this test: they changed colour like chameleons. Some looked perfectly blue, some mottled, most of them death-like, their locks hanging about, their eyes glassy. It was frightful to see how the blooming rosebuds of lamplight were suddenly changed by the sunbeams into faded withered roses.

June 23rd.

What say you, dear Julia, to a breakfast given to two thousand people? Such an one took place to-day in the ‘Horticultural Gardens,’ which are extensive enough to accommodate that number of persons conveniently. Not that there was any deficiency of horrible crowding in the tents in which the provisions were placed,—especially where the prize fruits were exhibited. As soon as the prizes were distributed, they were devoured in the twinkling of an eye, in the coarsest and most unseemly manner. There was one Providence pine which weighed eleven pounds; deep red and green ones of not much smaller dimensions; strawberries as big as small apples; and the rarest choice of delicious fruits of all kinds. The fête, on the whole, was gay, and of an agreeable rural character.

The smooth turf, and the well-dressed company that trod it; the tents and groups among the shrubs; perfect masses of roses and flowers of every kind, produced the most cheerful, agreeable scene. I drove there with our Ambassador, with whom I returned at seven in the evening. We could not help laughing at the strange industry of an Irishman, who affected to light us to our carriages, with a lantern in which there was, of course, no light, as it was broad day. By this piece of manual wit he earned a shilling from the merry and good-natured. One of his English comrades called out to him, “You are showing the way to liberal people.” “Oh!” said he, “if I did not know them for such, I should not go with them.” Odd enough too were the Tyrolese singers, who are in great fashion; they call every body, even the King, who talks German with them, ‘Du’ (thou), and are strangers to all false shame or fear of man. It is comical enough to see one of them go up to Prince Esterhazy, to whose patriotic favour they are chiefly indebted for their great vogue, put out his hand to him and exclaim, “Nun, was machst Du, Esterhazy?” (literally, “Well, what art thou about, Esterhazy?”) The little female in this party of wonderful animals came up to me to-day and said, “I have been looking at thee a long time, for thou art so like my dear John, that I must give thee a kiss.” The offer was not very tempting, for the girl is ugly; but as His Majesty himself has kissed her (of which there is a good caricature in the shops), the proposal is now esteemed flattering.

June 26th.

The Duke of Northumberland had the kindness to show me his fine palace to-day in detail. I here found what I had long vainly desired to see,—a house in which not only the general effect is that of the highest splendour and elegance, but every thing, the greatest as well as the smallest, is executed with equal exactness and perfection,—‘ou rien ne cloche.’

Such an Ideal is in this instance completely realized. You do not find the smallest trifle neglected, not a line awry, not a speck of dirt, nothing faded, nothing out of fashion or keeping, nothing worn out, nothing sham, not an article of furniture, not a window, or a door, which is not, in its way, a model of workmanship.

This extraordinary perfection has indeed cost several hundred thousand pounds, and doubtless no little trouble; but it is perhaps unique in its kind. The richest embellishment from works of art and curiosities is also not wanting. The arrangement of the latter on terrace-formed shelves covered with violet velvet, behind which are looking-glasses in one piece, is very tasteful. One of the most striking things is the marble staircase, with a railing of gilded bronze. The hand-rail of polished mahogany at the top is a curious piece of workmanship: by some contrivance, which remains a secret, the wood is so put together that it is impossible to discover a single joint from top to bottom. The whole seems to be made of one piece, or is so really. Another remarkable thing is the false ‘porte cochère’ in the outer wall, which is only opened on occasion of a great press of carriages; and when closed, cannot be detected in the façade. It is of iron, and so completely masked by a coating of composition stone and a false window, that it cannot be distinguished from the rest of the house.—Of the pictures another time.

At the Duke of Clarence’s, in the evening, I made the acquaintance of a very interesting man,—Sir Gore Ouseley, late ambassador to Persia, who was accompanied by Mr. Morier, the author of Hadji Baba, as his secretary of legation. I must tell you two or three characteristic anecdotes of that country, which I heard from him.

The present Shah was held in such a state of dependence by his prime minister, Ibrahim Khan, who had placed him on the throne while yet a child, that he had little more than the name of a ruler. It was impossible for him to make any resistance, since every province or city throughout the empire was governed, without exception, by relations or creatures of the minister. At length the Shah determined to withdraw himself at all risks from such a bondage, and devised the following energetic means, which bear the genuine stamp of Oriental character. According to the ancient institutions of the country, there exists a class of soldiers, thinly scattered through all the principal towns, called the King’s guard. These obey no order that does not proceed immediately from the King himself, and bear his own private signet: this guard has thus remained the only body independent of the minister, and the sole sure support of the throne. The King now secretly despatched orders, written by his own hand, to the chief of this faithful band, requiring them on a particular day and hour to put to death all Ibrahim’s relations throughout the kingdom. On the appointed day the Shah held a Divan, sought to bring on a dispute with Ibrahim, and when the latter assumed his usual lofty tone, commanded him immediately to retire to the state prison. The minister smiled, and replied, “that he would go, but that the King would be pleased to consider that the governor of every one of his provinces would call him to account for this act.” “Not now, friend Ibrahim,” exclaimed the King gaily,—“Not now.” Then drawing out his English watch, and casting a withering glance at the perplexed minister, he coolly added, “At this minute the last of your blood has ceased to breathe, and you will soon follow.” And so it happened.

The second anecdote shows that the Shah acts on the principle of the French song, which says, “quand on a dépeuplé la terre, il faut la répeupler aprés.”

At Sir Gore’s audience of leave, he begged the Shah graciously to tell him what was the number of his children, that he might give his own monarch correct information on so interesting a subject, provided, as was probable, he should make any inquiry. “A hundred and fifty-four sons,” replied the Shah. “May I venture to ask your Majesty how many children?” The word daughters, according to the rules of Oriental etiquette, he dared not to pronounce, and indeed the general question was, according to Persian notions, almost an offence. The King, however, who liked Sir Gore very much, did not take it ill. “Ha ha! I understand you,” said he laughing; and called to the chief of his eunuchs, “Musa, how many daughters have I?” “King of kings,” answered Musa, prostrating himself on his face, “five hundred and sixty.” When Sir Gore Ouseley repeated this conversation to the Empress-mother in Petersburg, she only exclaimed, “Ah, le monstre!

June 29th.

As the season, thank Heaven, now draws near its close, I project a tour to the north of England, and Scotland, whither I have received several invitations, but had rather preserve my liberty in order to scour the country ‘à ma guise,’ if time and circumstances permit.

To-day we had the finest weather I have seen in England; and as I returned from the country in the evening, after an early dinner at Count Münster’s, I saw, for the first time, an Italian light on the distance,—shades of blue and lilac as rich and as soft as a picture of Claude’s.

‘A propos,’ among the notabilia for imitation I must mention a flower-table of the Countess’s. The top is a crystal-clear glass, under which is a deep box or tray filled with wet sand, with a fine wire net over it, in the interstices of which fresh flowers are closely stuck. The tray is pushed in, and you have the most beautiful flower-picture to write or work over. If you wish to regale yourself with the fragrance, you may open the glass cover, or remove it entirely.

Children’s balls are now the order of the day, and I went to one of the prettiest this evening at Lady Jersey’s. These highborn northern children had every possible advantage of dress, and many were not without grace; but it really afflicted me to observe how early they had ceased to be children;—the poor things were, for the most part, as unnatural, as unjoyous, and as much occupied with themselves, as we great figures around them. Italian peasant-children would have been a hundred times more graceful and more engaging. It was only at supper that the animal instinct displayed itself more openly and unreservedly, and, breaking through all forms and all disguises, reinstated Nature in her rights. The pure and lovely natural feeling, however, was the tenderness of the mothers, which betrayed itself without affectation in their beaming eyes, made many an ugly woman tolerable, and gave to the beautiful a higher beauty.

A second ball at Lady R——’s presented the hundredth repetition of the usual stupid throng, in which poor Prince B——, for whose corpulence these squeezes are little adapted, fainted, and leaning on the banister, gasped for air like a dying carp. Pleasure and happiness are certainly pursued in very odd ways in this world.

July 3rd.

This afternoon I rode by a long circuitous way to eat a solitary fish dinner at Greenwich. The view from the Observatory is remarkable for this,—that almost the whole surface of ground you overlook is occupied by the city of London, which continually stretches out its polypus arms wider and wider, and swallows up the villages in its neighbourhood, one after another. Indeed, for a population equal to that of half the kingdom of Saxony some space is wanted.

I went into the Ship tavern, gave my horse to the hostler, and was shown into a very neat little room with a balcony projecting over the Thames, under which the fish were swimming which I, merciless human beast of prey, was about to devour. The river was enlivened by a hundred barks; music and song resounded cheerfully from the steam-boats passing by; and behind the gay scene, the sun, blood-red, and enveloped in a light veil of mist, declined towards the horizon. As I sat at the window, I gave audience to my thoughts, till the entrance of various sorts of fish as variously prepared, called me to more material pleasures. Iced champagne, and Lord Chesterfield’s Letters, which I had put into my pocket, gave zest to my repast; and after a short siesta, during which night had come on, I remounted my horse and rode the German mile and a half to my home through an unbroken avenue of brilliant gas lamps, and over well-watered roads. It was just striking midnight when I reached the house, and a coffin hung with black passed me on the left like an apparition.

July 5th.

B—— gave me your letter at Almack’s, and I immediately hastened ‘home’ with it. How greatly have your descriptions rejoiced me! I was near weeping over the venerable trees that called to me, through you,—“Oh, our master and lord, hearest thou not the rustling of our leafy tops, the home of so many birds?” Ah, yes, I hear it in spirit, and shall have no true enjoyment till I am once more therewith my truest friend, and the plants that are to me as loving children. I thank you cordially for the leaf of cinq foil; and as the horse of the accompanying Vienna postillion, the bearer of a thousand blessings, has lost his tail on the road, I have replaced it by this leaf, which gives him a genuine Holy Alliance look.

Here my old B—— interrupted me with the question whether he might stay out for the night, promising to be back by eight in the morning. I gave him leave, and asked, laughing, what adventure he had in hand? “Ach!” said he, “I only want for once to see how they hang people here, and at six o’clock in the morning five men are to be hanged at once.”

What a discord rang through my whole being, just filled with joyous tumult! What a contrast between the thousands, wearied with the dance, and sated with multiplied amusements, returning home at that hour to their luxurious couches, and those wretched beings who are condemned to pass through anguish and pain into eternity! I exclaimed again with Napoleon, “Oh, monde, monde!” and for a long time, after a day wasted in frivolity, could not go to sleep; I was pursued by the thought that at that very moment perhaps these unhappy ones were called to take so fearful a leave of the world and its joys; not excited and elevated by the feeling of being martyrs to some good or great cause, but the victims of vulgar, debasing crime. Men pity those who suffer innocently: how much more pitiable do the guilty appear to me!

My imagination when once excited always outstrips wisdom and expediency; and thus did all vain pleasures, all those refinements of luxury which mock at misery and privation, now appear to me in the light of real sins: indeed I very often feel in the same temper with regard to them. A luxurious dinner has often been spoiled to me when I have looked at the poor servants, who are present indeed, but only as assistant slaves; or thought of the needy, who at the close of a long day’s ceaseless toil can hardly obtain their scanty miserable meal; while we, like the epicure in the English caricature, envy the beggar his hunger. Yet spite of all these good and just feelings, (I judge of others by myself,) we should be greatly incensed if our servant played the Tantalus and removed the dishes from our tempting table, or if the poor man invited himself to share our feast without the wedding garment. Heaven has ordained that some should enjoy, while others want; and so it must remain in this world. Every shout of joy is echoed, in some other place, by a cry of grief and despair; and while one man here breaks the cord of existence in phrensy, another is lost elsewhere in an ecstasy of delight.

Let no one therefore fret himself vainly concerning it, if he neither deserve nor understands that it should fare better or worse with him than with others. Fate delights in this bitter irony—therefore pluck, O man! the flowers with child-like joy so long as they bloom; share their fragrance and beauty when you can with others, and manfully present a breast of steel to your own misfortunes.

July 7th.

I return to my daily chronicle.

After dining with the epicurean Sir L——, I passed the evening very agreeably in a small party at the Duchess of Kent’s. The Court circles here, if they may be called so, have no resemblance whatever to those of the Continent, which once led the absent Count R—— into such a strange scrape. The King of B—— asked him how he enjoyed the ball that evening; “Oh,” replied he, “as soon as the Court is gone I think it will be very pleasant.”

At a very late hour I drove from thence to a ball at Princess L——’s, a lady whose entertainments are perfectly worthy of her Fashionableness ‘par excellence.’ A conversation I accidentally fell into with another diplomate procured me some interesting particulars. He told me about that difficult mission, the purpose of which was to induce the Empress of the French voluntarily to quit an army still devoted to Napoleon, and consisting of at least twelve thousand picked men. Contrary to all expectation, however, he found in Marie Louise scarcely a disposition to resist, and very little love for the Emperor (which indeed the sequel has sufficiently proved.) The little King of Rome alone, then only five years old, steadfastly refused to go, and could only be removed by force;—just as on a former occasion, led by the same heroic instinct, he had resisted the Regent’s pusillanimous flight from Paris. His account of the parts which many distinguished men played on this occasion I must omit: I can only say that it confirmed me in the persuasion that the French nation never sunk to so low a pitch of baseness as at the time of Napoleon’s abdication.

July 10th.

It is now more oppressively hot than I had imagined possible in this misty country. The turf in Hyde Park is of the colour of sand, and the trees dry and sear; the squares in the town, spite of all the watering, do not look much better. Nevertheless the grass-plots are as carefully mowed and rolled as if there were really grass upon them. No doubt, with equal care and labour, even more beautiful turf could be obtained in South Germany than here; but we shall never get to that,—we love our ease too well.

As the heat increases, London empties, and the season is nearly over. For the first time I found myself without an invitation to-day, and employed my leisure in sight-seeing. Among other things I visited the King’s Bench and Newgate prisons.

The former, which is principally appropriated to the reception of debtors, is a perfect isolated world in miniature;—like a not insignificant town, only surrounded by walls thirty feet high. Cookshops, circulating libraries, coffee-houses, dealers, and artizans of all kinds, dwellings of different degrees, even a market-place,—nothing is wanting. When I went in, a very noisy game at ball was going on in the latter. A man who has money lives as well and agreeably as possible within these walls,—bating liberty. Even very ‘good society,’ male and female, is sometimes to be found in this little commune of a thousand persons; but he who has nothing fares ill enough; to him, however, every spot on the globe is a prison. Lord Cochrane passed some time in the King’s Bench, for spreading false intelligence with a view to lower the Funds; and the rich, highly respected, and popular Sir Francis Burdett was also imprisoned here some time for a libel he wrote. The prisoner who conducted me about had been an inhabitant of the place twelve years, and declared in the best possible humour, that he had no hope of ever coming out again. An old French-woman of very good air and manners said the same; and declared that she did not intend ever to acquaint her relations with her situation, for that she lived very contentedly here, and did not know how she might find matters in France. She seemed perfectly persuaded ‘que le mieux est l’ennemi du bien.’

The aspect of Newgate, the prison for criminals, is more apalling. But even here the treatment is very mild, and a most exemplary cleanliness reigns throughout. The Government allows each criminal a pint of thick gruel in a morning, and half a pound of meat or a mess of broth alternately for dinner, with a pound of good bread daily. Besides this, they are permitted to buy other articles of food, and half a bottle of wine a day. They employ themselves as they please; there are separate courts belonging to a certain number of rooms or cells: for those who like to work there are work rooms; but many smoke and play from morning till night. At nine o’clock they must all attend divine service. Seven or eight generally inhabit one room. They are allowed a mattress and two blankets for sleeping, and coals for cooking, and, in winter, for warming the cells. Those condemned to death are put in separate less convenient cells, where two or three sleep together. By day, even these have a court-yard for recreation, and a separate eating room. I saw six boys, the eldest of whom was not more than fourteen, all under sentence of death, smoking and playing very merrily. The sentence was not yet confirmed, however, and they were still with the other prisoners; it was thought it would be commuted for transportation to Botany Bay. Four of a maturer age, in the same predicament,—only that the enormity of their crimes left them no hope of pardon,—took their fate still more gaily. Three of them were noisily playing whist with Dummy,[59] amid jokes and laughter; but the fourth sat in a window-seat busily engaged in studying a French grammar. ‘C’était bien un philosophe sans le savoir!’

July 12th.

Yesterday evening I went for the first time to Vauxhall, a public garden, in the style of Tivoli at Paris, but on a far grander and more brilliant scale. The illumination with thousands of lamps of the most dazzling colours is uncommonly splendid. Especially beautiful were large bouquets of flowers hung in the trees, formed of red, blue, yellow, and violet lamps, and the leaves and stalks of green; there were also chandeliers of a gay Turkish sort of pattern of various hues, and a temple for the music, surmounted with the royal arms and crest. Several triumphal arches were not of wood, but of cast-iron, of light transparent patterns, infinitely more elegant, and quite as rich as the former. Beyond this the gardens extended with all their variety and their exhibitions, the most remarkable of which was the battle of Waterloo. They open at seven: there was an opera, rope-dancing, and at ten o’clock (to conclude) this same battle. It is curious enough, and in many scenes the deception really remarkable. An open part of the gardens is the theatre, surrounded by venerable horse-chesnuts mingled with shrubs. Between four of the former, whose foliage is almost impervious, was a ‘tribune,’ with benches for about twelve hundred persons, reaching to the height of forty feet. Here we took our seats, not without a frightful squeeze, in which we had to give and take some hearty pushes. It was a warm and most lovely night: the moon shone extremely bright, and showed a huge red curtain, hung, at a distance of about fifty paces from us, between two gigantic trees, and painted with the arms of the United Kingdom. Behind the curtain rose the tops of trees as far as one could see. After a moment’s pause, the discharge of a cannon thundered through the seeming wood, and the fine band of the second regiment of Guards was heard in the distance. The curtain opened in the centre, was quickly drawn asunder; and we saw, as if by the light of day, the outwork of Houguemont on a gently rising ground, amid high trees. The French ‘Gardes’ in correct uniform now advanced out of the wood to martial music, with the bearded ‘Sapeurs’ at their head. They formed into line; and Napoleon on his gray horse, and dressed in his gray surtout, accompanied by several marshals, rode past them ‘en revue.’ A thousand voices shout ‘Vive l’Empereur!’—the Emperor touches his hat, sets off at a gallop, and the troops bivouac in dense groups. A distant firing is then heard; the scene becomes more tumultuous, and the French march out. Shortly after, Wellington appears with his staff,—all very good copies of the individuals,—harangues his troops, and rides slowly off. The great original was among the spectators, and laughed heartily at his representative. The fight is begun by the ‘tirailleurs;’ whole columns then advance upon each other, and charge with the bayonet; the French cuirassiers charge the Scotch Grays; and as there are a thousand men and two hundred horses in action, and no spare of gunpowder, it is, for a moment, very like a real battle. The storming of Houguemont, which is set on fire by several shells, was particularly well done: the combatants were for a time hidden by the thick smoke of real fire, or only rendered partially visible by the flashes of musquetry, while the foreground was strewed with dead and dying. As the smoke cleared off, Houguemont was seen in flames,—the English as conquerors, the French as captives: in the distance was Napoleon on horseback, and behind him his carriage-and-four hurrying across the scene. The victorious Wellington was greeted with loud cheers mingled with the thunder of the distant cannon. The ludicrous side of the exhibition was the making Napoleon race across the stage several times, pursued and fugitive, to tickle English vanity, and afford a triumph to the ‘plebs’ in good and bad coats. But such is the lot of the great! The conqueror before whom the world trembled,—for whom the blood of millions was freely shed,—for whose glance or nod kings waited and watched,—is now a child’s pastime, a tale of his times, vanished like a dream,—the Jupiter gone, and as it seems, Scapan only remaining.

Although past midnight it was still early enough to go from the strange scene of illumination and moonlight to a splendid ball at Lady L——’s, where I found a blaze of diamonds, handsome women, dainty refreshments, a luxurious supper, and gigantic ennui; I therefore went to bed as early as five o’clock.

July 13th.

I had often heard of a certain Mr. Deville, a disciple of Gall; a passionate craniologist, who voluntarily, and only with a view to the advancement of his science, gives audience every day at certain hours. He carefully examines the skulls of his visitors, and very courteously communicates the result of his observations.

Full of curiosity, I went to him this morning, and found a gallery containing a remarkable collection of skulls and casts, filled with ladies and gentlemen; some of whom brought their children to be examined with a view to their education. A pale, unaffected, serious man was occupied in satisfying their curiosity with evident good-will and pleasure. I waited till all the rest were gone, and then asked Mr. Deville to do me the favour to grant me an especial share of attention; for that, though it was unhappily too late for education with me, I earnestly wished to receive from him such an account of myself as I might place before me as a sort of mirror. He looked at me attentively, perhaps that he might first detect, by the Lavaterian method, whether I was ‘de bonne foi,’ or was only speaking ironically. He then politely asked me to be seated. He felt my head for a full quarter of an hour; after which he sketched the following portrait of me, bit by bit. You, who know me so well, will doubtless be as much surprised at it as I was. I confess that it plunged me into no little astonishment, impossible as I knew it to be that he could ever have known anything about me. As I wrote down all he said immediately, and the thing interested me, as you may believe, not a little, I do not think I can have mistaken in any material point.[60]

“Your friendship,” he began, “is very difficult to win, and can be gained only by those who devote themselves to you with the greatest fidelity. In this case, however, you will requite their attachment with unshaken constancy.”

“You are irritable in every sense of the word, and capable of the greatest extremes; but neither the passion of love, of hatred, nor any other, has very enduring consequences with you.”

“You love the arts, and if you had applied, or would apply to them, you would make great proficiency with little difficulty. I find the power of composition strongly marked upon your skull. You are no imitator, but like to create: indeed you must often be driven by irresistible impulse to produce what is new.”

“You have also a strong sense of harmony, order, and symmetry. Servants or workmen must have some trouble in satisfying you, for nothing can be complete and accurate enough for you.”

“You have,—strangely enough,—the love of domestic life and the love of rambling about the world (which are opposed,) of equal strength. No doubt, therefore, you take as many things about with you as you can find means to convey; and try in every place to surround yourself with accustomed objects and images as quickly as possible.” (This, so strikingly true, and so much in detail, astonished me particularly.)

“There is a similar contradiction in you between an acute understanding (forgive me, I must repeat what he said,) and a considerable propensity to enthusiasm and visionary musing. You must be profoundly religious, and yet, probably, you have no very strong attachment to any particular form of religion, but rather (his very words) revere a First Cause under a moral point of view.”

“You are very vain,—not in the way of those who think themselves anything great, but of those who wish to be so. Hence, you are not perfectly at ease in the society of your superiors, in any sense of the word,—nay, even of your equals. You are perfectly at ease only where, at least on one point, either from your station, or from some other cause, you have an acknowledged preponderance. Contradiction, concealed satire, apparent coldness, (especially when ambiguous and not decidedly and openly hostile,) paralyze your faculties; and you are, as I said, perfectly unrestrained and ‘cheerful’ only in situations where your vanity is not ‘hurt;’ and where the people around you are, at the same time, attached to you, to which your good-nature—one of your strongest characteristics—makes you peculiarly susceptible.”

“This latter quality, united to a strong judgment, makes you a great venerator of truth and justice. The contrary incenses you; and you would always be disposed to take the part of the oppressed, without any individual interest in the matter. You are ready to confess your own injustice, and to make any reparation you can. Unpleasant truths concerning yourself may vex you, but if said without hostile intention, will incline you to much higher esteem for the sayer. For the same reason, you will not rate distinctions of birth too highly, though your vanity may not be wholly insensible to them.”

“You are easily carried away, and yet levity is not one of your characteristics: on the contrary, you have ‘cautiousness’[61] in a high degree. It is indeed the wormwood in your life; for you reflect far too much upon everything; you conjure up the strangest fancies, and fall into distress and trouble, mistrust of yourself and suspicion of others, or into perfect apathy, at mere trifles. You occupy yourself almost always with the future, little with the past, and less with the present.

“You continually aspire (streben); are covetous of distinction, and very sensitive to neglect; have a great deal of ambition, and of various kinds; these you rapidly interchange, and want to reach your object quickly, for your imagination is stronger than your patience; and therefore you must find peculiarly favourable circumstances in order to succeed.”

“You have, however, qualities which make you capable of no common things, even the organ of perseverance and constancy is strongly expressed on your skull, but obstructed by so many conflicting organs, that you stand in need of great excitement to give room for it to act: then the nobler powers are called forward, and the meaner ones recede.”

“You value wealth very highly, as all do who wish to accomplish great objects,—but only as means, not as end. Money in itself is indifferent to you, and it is possible that you are not always a very good manager of it.”

“You want to have all your wishes gratified in a moment, as with an enchanter’s wand: often however, the wish expires before the fulfilment is possible. The pleasures of sense, and delight in the beautiful, have a powerful influence over you; and as you certainly incline to the imperious, the ambitious, and the vain, you have here a cluster of qualities, against which you have need to be upon your guard not to fall into great faults; for all propensities in themselves are good; it is only their abuse that renders them a source of evil. Even the organs so erroneously designated by the father of our science the organs of murder and theft, (now more correctly termed organs of destructiveness and acquisitiveness) are only marks of energy and of desire to possess, which, when united with good-nature, conscientiousness and foresight, form a finely constituted head; though without these intellectual qualities they may easily lead to crime.”

He also said, that in judging of a skull it was necessary to regard not the separate organs, but the aggregate of the whole; for that they respectively modified each other in various ways; nay, sometimes entirely neutralized each other; that therefore the proportions of the whole afforded the true key to the character of the man.

As a universal rule, he laid down, that men whose skulls, if divided by a supposed perpendicular line drawn through the middle of the ear, presented a larger mass before than behind, were the higher portion of the species; for that the fore part contains the intellectual, the hind part the animal propensities.

All the skulls of criminals who had been executed, for instance, which he had in his collection, confirmed his theory; and in one distinguished for the atrocious character of his offence, the occiput was two-thirds of the whole head. The busts of Nero and Caracalla exhibit the same proportions.—Where the contrary extreme prevails, the individual in question is deficient in energy: and here, as in every thing, a balance is the true desideratum.

Mr. Deville affirmed that it was possible, not only to enlarge organs already prominent by the exercise of the qualities they denote, but by that very process to diminish others; and assured me that no age was excepted from this rule. He showed me the cast of a skull of a gentleman who, when near sixty, devoted himself intensely to the study of astronomy; and in a few years the appropriate ‘bosse’ became so prominent as to project considerably beyond all others.[62]

July 14.

I have paid several visits to Mr. Nash, to whom I am indebted for much valuable instruction in my art. He is said to have ‘erected’ an enormous fortune. He has a beautiful country-house, and no artist is more handsomely lodged in town. I was particularly pleased with his library. It consists of a long and wide gallery, with twelve deep niches on each side, and two large doorways at the ends, leading into two other spacious rooms. In each niche is a semicircular window in the roof, and on the wall a fresco painting, copied from the ‘Logge di Rafaelle;’ and below these, casts of the best antique statues, on pedestals. The remaining space in the niches is occupied by books, which, however, rise no higher than the pedestal of the statues. Arabesques, also copied from those of the Vatican, admirably executed in fresco, adorn the broad pilasters between the niches.

All the space on the walls or pilasters not covered with paintings is of a pale red stucco, with small gold mouldings. The execution seems thoroughly finished and excellent.

I dined at the Portuguese Ambassador’s. Our dinner was very near ending like Prince Schwartzenberg’s at Paris. One of Rundell and Bridge’s beautiful brilliant silver girandoles came too near the curtain, which immediately blazed up. The flames were extinguished by the Spanish Ambassador; a fact which may afford matter for witticisms to the newspapers, in the present political conjuncture.

I drove half a post further in the streets, late at night, to see the tower of St. Giles’s church, whose new bright-red illuminated clock-face shines like a magnificent star in the dark.

I found your letter at home, with all sorts of affectionate reproaches for my neglect of our own interests for indifferent things. Even were this sometimes the case, you must not think that my heart is the less filled with you. The rose, too, sometimes yields a stronger, sometimes a weaker perfume; nay, sometimes there is not a flower on the bush; in their season they bud and blossom again—but the nature of the plant is always the same.

Herder’s prayer is beautiful—but it is not applicable to this earth; for though it is true that God’s sun shines on the evil and on the good, it is equally true that His thunderbolt strikes the good and the evil. Each must protect himself from calamity, with all the wisdom and the courage he is endowed with.

Men are wearisome to you, you say. Oh, Heaven! how wearisome are they to me! When one has lived so long in the interchange of all feelings and all thoughts, the intercourse with the ‘banal’ unsympathizing world is more than empty and tasteless.

Your hypothesis, that two kindred souls will, in another world, melt into one existence, is very pretty—but I should not like to be united to you in that manner. One being must, indeed, love itself; but the mutual love of two is voluntary, and that alone has value. Let us therefore hope to meet again, but to be one, as we are now,—one only in mutual love and truth.

One of the many currents of this great stream carried me into the Annual Exhibition of Pictures. In historical pictures there was little to delight the lover of art. Some portraits by Sir Thomas Lawrence showed, as all his do, his great genius, and at the same time his carelessness. He finishes only particular parts, and daubs over the remainder in such a manner that it must be looked at from a distance, like scene-painting. The great masters of the art painted not so, when they devoted their talents to portrait painting.

In landscapes, on the other hand, there was much that was attractive.

First, The Dead Elephant.—The scene is a wild mountain-district in the interior of India. Strange gigantic trees and luxuriant tangled thickets surround a dark lake. A dead elephant lies stretched on its shore, and a crocodile, opening its wide jaws and displaying its frightful teeth, is seen climbing up the huge body, driving away a monstrous bird of prey, and menacing the other crocodiles which are eagerly swimming across the lake to their repast. Vultures are poised on the branches of the trees, and the head of a tiger glares from the jungle. On the other side are seen three still more formidable predatory animals,—English hunters, whose guns are pointed at the great crocodile, and will soon excite more terrific confusion among this terrific group.

Another view is on the sea-shore of Africa. You see ships in the far distance. In the foreground a palm-grove slopes down to the clear stream, where a boat is lying at anchor, in which a negro is sleeping—but in what a fearful situation! A gigantic boa-constrictor has issued from the wood, and, while its tail rests in the thicket, has twined itself in a loose ring around the sleeper, it now rears its head aloft hissing with rage at his companions, who are hastening with their axes to his assistance. One of them has just fortunately succeeded in scotching it, and has thus saved the negro, who wakes, and stares in wild terror on the serpent. It is said that as soon as the muscles of the back of the boa are divided in any part it loses all its power. The picture is taken from an incident which really occurred in the year 1792.

We are still in a distant part of the globe, but in more remote ages. A wondrously beautiful moonlight gleams and glitters on the Bay of Alexandria. Majestic monuments and temples of Egyptian art lie in the strongly contrasted light and shadow; and from the steps of a hall of noble architecture, Cleopatra, surrounded by all the luxury and pomp of the East, is descending to the golden bark which is to bear her to Antony. The most beautiful boys and girls strew flowers under her feet, and a chorus of old men with snowy beards and clad in purple, are seated on the sea-shore, singing a farewell song to their golden harps.

Have you not enough of this yet, dear Julia? Well then, look at the Travelled Monkey, who returns to his brethren in the woods, in the dress of a modern ‘exclusive.’ They throng around him in amazement; one pulls at his watch chain, another at his well starched cravat. At length, one whose jealousy is excited by his finery gives him a box on the ear: this is a signal for an universal pillage. In a few minutes he will be reduced to appear once more ‘in naturalibus.’

Here I close my exhibition. Dear Julia, confess that if you were the editor of the ‘Morgen Blatt,’ you could not have a more indefatigable correspondent. Whether I be well or ill, merry or sad, I always fulfil my duty. Just now I am by no means at my best: I am ill, and I have lost a great deal of money at whist. It is really extraordinary how soon one comes to regard a pound as a ‘thaler.’ Though I know the difference full well, and often find it not very agreeable, yet the physical effect of the ‘sovereign’ here, is constantly the same upon me as that of the ‘thaler’ at home, for which I often laugh at myself. I wish fate would make a similar mistake, and convert our ‘thalers’ into pounds. I, for one, should certainly not bury mine. Yet we should put our gains to good interest; for when one tries to make a beautified living creation out of dead money, as we have done, and at the same time to increase the comfort of those around one,—as I did by employing them, and you by the more direct means of bounty,—surely one has gained usurious interest.

Prudence, however, is not our ‘forte,’ and if you have shown rather more than I, it is only because you are a woman, and have therefore the habit of being on the defensive. Prudence is far more a weapon of defence than of attack.

You have now a good opportunity for the exercise of it in the S—— society, and I already see you in thought taming the refractory, and speaking the words of peace with dignified serenity. Here is your portrait on the margin, ‘à la Sir Thomas Lawrence.’ You will doubtless recognize that strong bent for art which the Gallite discovered on my cranium. The surrounding caricatures you must ascribe to my somewhat sulky humour.

As a mind in this flat depressed tone is little fertile in thoughts, permit me to supply the place of them by some passages out of a singular book I have met with. You will think that it must have flowed not only from my pen but from my most inmost soul.

“It is incalculable,” says the author, “what an influence the objects which surround our childhood exercise over the whole formation of our character in after life. In the dark forests of the land of my birth, in my continual solitary wanderings where nature wears so romantic an aspect, arose my early love for my own meditations, and, when I was afterwards thrown among numbers of my own age at school, rendered it impossible to my disposition of mind, to form any intimate companionships, except those which I first began to discover in myself.

“In the day my great pleasure was lonely wandering in the country:—in the evening, the reading of romantic fictions, which I connected in my mind with the scenes I was so familiar with; and whether I sat in winter in the chimney corner poring over my book, or in summer lay stretched in luxurious indolence under a tree, my hours were equally filled with all those misty and voluptuous dreams which were perhaps the essence of poetry, but which I was not gifted with the genius to embody. Such a temper is not made for intercourse with men. One while I pursued an object with restless activity,—another I lived in perfectly supine meditation. Nothing came up to my wishes or my imaginings, and my whole being was at last profoundly imbued with that bitter, melancholy philosophy, which taught me, like Faust, that knowledge is but useless stuff, that hope is but a cheat; and laid a curse upon me, like that which hangs on him who, amid all the joys of youth and the allurements of pleasure, feels the presence of a spirit of darkness ever around him.

“The experience of longer and bitterer years makes me doubt whether this earth can ever bring forth a living form which can realize the visions of him who has dwelt too long absorbed in the creations of his own fancy.”

In another place, he says of a man who was much praised:

“He was one of the macadamized Perfections of society. His greatest fault was his complete levelness and equality; you longed for a hill to climb;—for a stone, even if it lay in your way. Love can attach itself only to something prominent, were it even a thing that others might hate. One can hardly feel what is extreme for mediocrity.”

‘C’est vraiment une consolation!’

Further: “Our senses may be enthralled by beauty; but absence effaces the impression, and reason may vanquish it.”

“Our vanity may make us passionately adore rank and distinction, but the empire of vanity is founded on sand.”

“Who can love Genius, and not perceive that the feelings it excites are a part of our own being and of our immortality?”

July 18th.

Would you believe, dearest Julia, that although annoyed in various ways, and almost ill, I have found these days of solitude, in which I have been occupied only with you, my books, and my thoughts, much more satisfactorily,—how shall I express it?—much more fully employed, than that comfortless existence which is called society and the world. Play forms an ingredient, for that is a mere killing of time without any result, but has at least the advantage, that we are not conscious of the time we are wasting during its lapse, as we are in most so-called amusements. How few men can rightly enter into such a state of mind! and how fortunate may I esteem myself that you can! You are only too indulgent towards me, and that makes me place less confidence in your judgments.

Now for a secret:—When I send you any extracts from books, you are never to swear whose they are; for, thanks to my boasted organ of composition (you see I am still busied with Mr. Deville,) exact transcribing is almost an impossibility with me. A borrowed material always becomes something different, if not something better, under my hands. But as I am so excitable and mobile, I must often appear inconsistent, and my letters must contain many contradictions. Nevertheless, I hope a genuinely humane spirit always appears in them, and, here and there, a knightly one; for every man must pay his tribute to the circumstances with which birth and existence have surrounded him.

Ah, if we did but live together in the old knightly days! Many a time has the enchanting picture of the castle of our fathers,—such as they inhabited it, in the wild Spessart, frowning from rocks surrounded by old oaks and firs,—stood like a dim recollection before my fancy. Along the hollow way in the valley, I see the lord of the castle with his horsemen riding to meet the morning sun, (for as a true knight he is an early riser.) You, good Julia, lean forward from the balcony, and wave your handkerchief till not a steel breastplate glitters in the sunbeam, and nothing living is in sight, save a timid roe that darts out of the thicket, or a high-antlered stag that looks proudly down from some crested crag on the country beneath.

Another time we are seated, after some successful feud, at our goblets. You pour out the wine, which I quaff like a brave and true knight, while the good chaplain reads the wonders of a legend. Now the warder’s horn is heard on the turret, and a banner is seen winding up to the castle gate. It is your former lover returned from the Holy Land—‘Gare à toi.’[63]

July 19th.

A cheerful ray of sun enticed me forth, but I soon exchanged the clear air of heaven for subterranean gloom. I went into the famous Tunnel, the wonderful passage under the Thames. You have read in the papers that the water broke in some weeks ago, and filled the part that was completed, five hundred and forty feet in length. Any event, lucky or unlucky, is sure to give birth to a caricature in a few days. There is one representing the Tunnel catastrophe, in which a fat man on all-fours, and looking like a large toad, is trying to save himself, and screaming ‘Fire!’ with a mouth extended from ear to ear. With the aid of the diving-bell the hole has been so stopped, that it is asserted there is no fear of a recurrence of the accident. The water has been pumped out by a steam-engine of great power, so that one can descend with perfect safety. It is a gigantic work, practicable nowhere but here, where people don’t know what to do with their money.

From hence I went to Astley’s theatre, the Franconi’s of London, and superior to its rival. A horse called Pegasus, with wings attached to his shoulders, performs wonderful feats; and the drunken Russian courier, who rides six or eight horses at once, cannot be surpassed for dexterity and daring. The dramatic part of the exhibition consisted of a most ludicrous parody of the Freischütz. Instead of the casting of the bullets, we had Pierrot and Pantaloon making a cake, to which Weber’s music formed a strangely ludicrous accompaniment. The spirits which appear are all kitchen spirits, and Satan himself a ‘chef de cuisine.’ As the closing horror, the ghost of a pair of bellows blows out all the lights, except one great taper, which continually takes fire again. A giant fist seizes poor Pierrot; and a cook almost as tall as the theatre, in red and black devilish costume, covers both with an ‘extinguisher’ as big as a house.

These absurdities raise a laugh for a moment, it is true; but they cannot make a melancholy spirit cheerful, and you know I have so many causes for gloom which I cannot forget * * *

* * * * * * *

Some evil constellation must now reign over us; for certainly there are lucky and unlucky tides in man’s life, and to know when they set in would be a great assistance to the steersman. The star which you tell me burns so brightly over your residence must have a hostile influence. One star, however, shines benignly upon me, and that is your love. With that, would my life be extinguished.

Change of scene seems to become more and more necessary to me, especially as there is little here to amuse or interest. After rain, sunshine:—forward then,—and do you rouse me by your letters. Let them be cheering and invigorating by their own cheerfulness, for that is more important to me than all the intelligence, bad or good, they can contain. Nothing is so terrible to my imagination as to think of you, at a distance, distressed or out of spirits. It is so great an art to suffer triumphantly—like a martyr; and it is practicable when one suffers innocently, or for love of another. You, my dearest Julia, have known few other sufferings than these. Of myself I cannot speak so proudly.

July 23rd.

This morning I visited Bedlam. Nowhere are madmen—confined ones, that is—better lodged. There is a pleasure-ground before the door of the palace, and nothing can be cleaner and more conveniently fitted up than the interior. As I entered the women’s gallery, conducted by a very pretty young girl, who officiated as keeper, one of the patients, a woman of about thirty, looked at me for a long time very attentively,—then suddenly coming up to me she said, “You are a foreigner: I know you, Prince! Why did you not put on your uniform to come to see me? that would have become you better. Ah, how handsome Charles used to look in his!”

You may imagine my painful astonishment. “Poor thing!” said my guide, “she was seduced by some foreign prince, and every foreigner she sees she fancies is one. Sometimes she cries the whole day long, and will let nobody go near her: after that she is quite sensible again for weeks. She was very pretty once, but fretting has spoiled all her beauty.”

I was greatly struck by a young man, evidently of respectable station and education, who was possessed by one fixed idea,—that he was a Stuart, and had therefore a lawful claim to the throne. I conversed with him for half an hour without being able to get him upon this subject. He always broke off cautiously, nay cunningly, and talked in a very interesting manner of other things, particularly of America, where he had travelled for a considerable time; nor did he exhibit the slightest trace of insanity. Speaking of Walter Scott’s novels, I several times mentioned the Pretender, which I thought would excite him to speak; and at length said in a confidential tone, “I know you are a Stuart yourself.” This seemed to alarm him; and laying his finger on his lips, he whispered, “We must not speak of that here; the triumph of justice can be brought about by time alone, but the light will soon shine forth.” “I am going into Wales,” replied I, (he is a native of the Principality,) “will you give me your father’s address, that I may carry him your greetings?” “With the greatest pleasure,” said he; “give me your pocket-book, and I will write it.” I gave it him, and he wrote his real name, —— ——; then pointing to it with a smile, he added, “That’s the name under which my father passes there.—Adieu!” and with a gracious motion of the hand he left me.

What a dreadful spectacle! One single inveterate idea converts the most agreeable man into an incurable lunatic, costs him his freedom, and condemns him to the society of vulgar madness for life. What is unhappy man in conflict with physical evil,—and where, then, is the freedom of his will?

There was a foreign patient, whose conceits were more ridiculous,—if those of madness can ever be so;—a German pedant and writer of tours, who joined me in looking about the house, of which he was a constant inmate. He was incessantly taking notes. He addressed each of the patients at great length, and carefully committed their answers to paper, though they were often any thing but complimentary to him. Scarcely had he observed my conversation with the young man I have mentioned, when he came up to me, and besought me pressingly to let him see what that gentleman had written in my pocket-book. I told him. “Oh excellent—singular,” said he, “perhaps a real Stuart! I must inquire into it immediately,—a secret of state perhaps,—who knows? Very remarkable. Ich empfehle mich unterthänigst.” So saying, he strutted away, with an awkward, silly air, yet perfectly satisfied with himself.

On my way home I met a number of funerals, which indeed in a gulf like London, where Death must be ever at work, is no wonder; and yet I must always regard it as a bad omen, even though the superstition that deems it so belong rather to Bedlam than to a reasonable head.—With me it has some foundation.

When I was very young I was once driving in a curricle through the town of J—— where I then resided. A long funeral procession met me: I was forced to stop; and as my horses were shy and restive, I had some difficulty in holding them in, and at length became infected with their impatience. I broke through the train, and inconsiderately exclaimed, “The D—l take all this absurd funeral pomp; I can’t be detained by it any longer.” I drove on; and had scarcely gone fifty paces further, when a little boy darted out of a shop door, and ran with such rapidity between the horses and the carriage that it was impossible to check them till the wheel had passed over the whole length of the poor child’s body, and he lay lifeless on the pavement. You may imagine my mortal terror. I sprang out, raised the little fellow; and a number of people were already gathered around us, when the mother rushed forward, rent my heart with her cries, and excited the people to take vengeance on me. I was obliged to harangue the crowd to allay the rising storm; and after relating the manner of the accident, giving my name, and leaving money with the mother, I succeeded, not without some difficulty, in regaining my carriage and escaping from the tumult. I was near the gate, to which you descend by a tolerably steep hill. I was so absorbed by the thought of the accident which had just occurred, that I did not attend to the reins,—one slipped out of my hand. The horses, already hurried and alarmed by the confusion, set off, and came in contact with a wagon, with such force that one of them was killed on the spot, and my curricle smashed to pieces. I was thrown out with great violence, and for a moment rendered senseless by the shock. On recovering, I found myself lying with my face pressed so close to the ground that I was almost stiffled. I felt, however, the plunging of a furious animal above me, and heard the thunder of blows which seemed to strike my head, and yet gave me but little pain. In the midst of all, I clearly distinguished the cries of several persons around, and the exclamation, “He is a dead man—shoot the horse instantly!” At these words I received a blow on the temple which entirely deprived me of sense.

When I opened my eyes again, I was lying on a mattrass in the middle of a miserable room: an old woman was washing the blood from my head and face, and a surgeon, busied with his instruments, was preparing to trepan me. “Oh, let the poor gentleman die in peace!” cried the woman compassionately: and as I thought I felt distinctly that, spite of my external wounds, I had received no internal injury, I happily found strength to resist the operation; though the young man, who was an hospital pupil, was extremely eager to prove his skill—which, he encouragingly added, he had not yet had an opportunity of trying—upon my skull. I exerted all my remaining strength, ordered a carriage, asked for water and a looking-glass, in which, however, I could scarcely recognize myself, the greater part of the skin of my face being left in the high road. It was not till nature had replaced it by a new one, that my groom,—who was sitting by me at the time of the accident, and was thrown into a field by the road-side and but little hurt,—told me what strange circumstances had attended the accident. The pole of the curricle had splintered like a lance against the wagon: the light vehicle fell forwards, and I with it. The stump of the pole had stuck into the earth, and had fastened down my head. Upon me laid the horse entangled in the traces, making the most furious efforts to get free, and continually kicking with his hind feet against the broken pole, which thus became my sole preserver, by receiving the blows which would otherwise have dashed my head into a hundred pieces. This lasted almost a quarter of an hour before they could disengage the horse.

From that day I never liked meeting funerals.

As postscript to these reminiscences of my past life, I must add one comical incident. The boy I ran over recovered completely, and six weeks after his accident and mine, his mother brought him to me with rosy cheeks and dressed in his Sunday clothes. As I kissed him and gave his mother a parting present, the poor woman exclaimed with tears of joy, “Oh, Sir, I wish my boy could be run over so every day of the week!”

July 28th.

It was a long time since I had visited the City, and I accordingly devoted yesterday to it. As I am, in my quality of Teutonic knight, a beerbrewer, I turned my ‘cab’ to Barclay’s brewery, which the vastness of its dimensions renders almost romantic, and which is one of the most curious sights in London.

From twelve to fifteen thousand barrels, that is about twenty thousand quarts[64] of beer, are brewed here daily. Every thing is done by machinery, which is all set in motion by a single steam-engine. The beer is boiled in four vats, each of which holds three hundred barrels. The hops are first put into the vat or cauldron dry, and kept stirring by a machine, that they may not burn. During this process the sweet-wort flows in upon them. There is a curious apparatus for cooling the beer in hot weather;—it is made to pass through a number of pipes like those of an organ, through which a stream of cold water is then let to flow, and so on, alternately. At last the beer flows into a barrel as high as a house, of which there are ninety-nine under gigantic sheds. You can’t conceive the strange effect of seeing a vessel holding six hundred thousand quarts tapped for you to drink a glass of porter, which, ‘par parenthèse,’ is excellent, and cold as ice. These barrels are covered with a little hill of fresh sand, and preserve the beer fresh and good for a twelvemonth. It is drawn off into smaller casks, and sent out to the consumer. The drawing off is effected with great rapidity by means of leathern pipes, as the smaller casks are arranged in readiness under the floor on which the great ones stand.

A hundred and fifty horses, like elephants, one of which can draw a hundred hundred-weight, are daily employed in carrying out the beer.

A single enormous chimney devours the smoke of the whole establishment; and from the roof of the principal building you have a very fine panoramic view of London.

I next proceeded to the West-India docks and warehouses,—an immeasurable work; one of those at the sight of which the most cold-blooded spectator must feel astonishment, and a sort of awe at the greatness and the might of England. What a capital lies here in buildings, wares, and vessels! The admirably excavated basin, which it took me half an hour to walk round, is thirty-six feet deep, and surrounded by sheds and warehouses, some of which are five or six stories high: some of them are built entirely of iron, the foundations only being of stone. This mode of building has however been found to be dangerous, from the contraction and expansion of the metal. In these boundless depositories there was sugar enough to sweeten the whole adjoining basin, and rum enough to make half England drunk. Two thousand artisans and overseers are commonly employed daily, and the value of the goods here collected is estimated at twenty millions sterling; exclusive of the stores, which are kept in great quantities in a storehouse, so that the breaking or spoiling of any of the tools delays the work only a few minutes. The number of well-contrived tools and machines is wonderful. I looked on with great pleasure while blocks of mahogany and other foreign woods, many larger than the largest oak, were lifted up like feathers, and deposited on drays or wagons as carefully as if they had been the most brittle ware. Everything is on a colossal scale. On each side of the basin lie rows of ships, most of them newly painted. There are two basins, one for import and the other for export. I was obliged to leave this interesting place sooner than I wished, as the entrance-gate and all the warehouses are closed at four o’clock. The gatekeeper does not take the slightest trouble to ascertain whether there is any one in the yard, so that it appeared to me one would have to bivouac there for the night if one missed the hour. The man very coolly assured me that if the King were there he would not wait a minute; I made my escape therefore as quickly as I could.

On my way home I passed a booth where a man was calling out that here were the famous German dwarf and his three dwarf children; the living skeleton; and, to conclude, the fattest girl that ever was seen. I paid my shilling, and went in. After waiting a quarter of an hour, till five other spectators arrived, the curtain was drawn up, and the most impertinent ‘charlatanérie’ exhibited that ever I witnessed. The living skeleton was a very ordinary sized man, not much thinner than I. As an excuse for our disappointment, we were assured that when he arrived from France he was a skeleton, but that since he had eaten good English beef-steaks, it had been found impossible to check his tendency to corpulence.

The fattest woman in the world was a perfect pendant to the skeleton. She was not fatter than the Queen of Virginia Water.

Last came the so-called dwarfs—which were neither more nor less than the little children of the ‘Impressario,’ stuck into a sort of bird-cage, their faces shaded, and only their hands and feet left free. With the former the little wretches made a horrible noise with great bells.—Here closed the exhibition:—an English hoax, which no Frenchman could have executed more burlesquely nor with more effrontery.

July 29th.

Since I became Mr. Deville’s pupil I cannot help measuring the skulls of all my acquaintances with my eye, before I open myself to them; and to-day, like the man in Kotzebue’s comedy, I examined an English servant I was hiring, ‘in optima forma.’ Let us hope the result will not be similar,—for the line drawn through the ear gave good promise. And here it struck me that the common proverb (and how much popular truth do such often contain!) is perfectly in accordance with Deville’s principle—“He has it behind the ear, beware of him!” (Er hat es hinter den Ohren, hütet euch vor ihm!)

Joking apart, I am perfectly convinced that, as with magnetism, so with craniology, people throw away the good with the bad[65] when they treat it as a mere chimera. It may admit of many modifications: but I have so fully proved the justice of the leading principles upon my own skull, that I should not think people at all ridiculous for paying some attention to it in educating their children—nor even for using it to aid their own self-knowledge. I, at least, have gained a more clear idea of myself by this means than I had before.

As I had been writing all day, I took advantage of the mild and clear moonlight for my ride.

The night was quite Italian, and the roads lighted to a great distance with lamps, within the region of which I remained, and rode for several hours in the town and suburbs. The view from Westminster-bridge was most striking. The numerous lights on board the vessels danced like Will-o’-the-Whisps, on the surface of the Thames; and the many bridges spanned the noble stream as with arches of light. Westminster Abbey alone was without any artificial illumination. Only the loving moon, the betrothed of ruins and Gothic temples, caressed with her pale beams the stone pinnacles and ornaments, sought every deep nook with eager fondness, and silvered the long glittering windows; while the roof and towers of the lofty building reared themselves, still and cold, in black colourless majesty, above the lights and the tumult of the city, into the deep blue firmament.

The streets remain busy till midnight: nay, I even saw a boy of eight years old at the utmost, perfectly alone in a little child’s carriage drawn by a large dog, driving along full trot, and without the slightest fear, among the latest carriages and stage-coaches. Such a thing can be seen only in England, where children are independent at eight, and hanged at twelve.

But good morning dear Julia; it is time to go to bed.

August 1st.

The heat is still very oppressive—the earth is like an ash-heap; and if the macadamized streets were not kept watered by a continual succession of large water-carts, the dust would be insufferable. But this makes driving and riding pleasant still; and though the fashionable time is over, shopping is very amusing: one is greatly tempted to buy more than one wants; and as I have very little money just now, I am obliged to call in fancy to my aid to procure me all I covet for you and for myself.

I sent you some time ago a description of a very original man, Sir L—— M——. I was invited to his house to-day, to a most luxurious dinner, fixed so long beforehand that a diplomatic guest had been summoned across the seas, from Baden, by courier, a month ago. He arrived punctually on the very morning, and seemed to have brought a “British and foreign” appetite with him. He had not forgotten to load himself with continental delicacies, to which, as well as to the numerous excellent wines, the most exemplary justice was done. One had need have a strong head to withstand such things, but the air really makes a great deal of food and strong drink more necessary than with us. A man who could at first hardly drink a glass of English claret, (that is, mixed with brandy,) after a time finds a whole bottle of port agree very well with his health, and with the English fogs. But if our palates were especially consulted at this repast, there was no want of salt in the conversation. An officer who had served in the Birman war told us many interesting details of that people.

Another man related an Irish bull, which appeared to me the best I had heard—inasmuch as the blunder was no less than a man’s cutting off his own head. The fact is, however, as he asserted, authentic, and occurred as follows:—

The peasants of Ulster use an enormous scythe, with the end of the handle sharpened to a point, that they may stick it into the ground. When they go home from work, they carry these formidable weapons over their shoulders, in such a manner that the edge of the scythe lies round their neck. Two peasants were sauntering home by the side of a river, when they spied a large salmon with his head hidden under the roots of an old tree, and his tail lying out into the stream. “Look, Paddy,” said one, “at the stupid salmon! he thinks because he can’t see us that we can’t see him: if I had but my pike I would let him know the difference.” “Och!” said the other, creeping down the bank, “sure the scythe-handle will do for that—here goes!” And so saying, he struck at the salmon; and hit him truly enough,—only, unfortunately, with the same stroke he took off his own head, which fell plump into the water before the eyes of his astonished comrade. For a long time he could not understand how it was that Paddy’s head fell off so suddenly, and still maintains that there was something not quite as it should be in the business.

I closed the day with the English Opera. At the end of the first act a mine falls in and buries the principal persons of the piece alive. In the last scene of the second act they reappear in the bowels of the earth, nearly starved indeed, having lain there three days, and utterly exhausted. This, however, proves no impediment to the prima donna singing a long Polonaise air, to which there is a chorus with trumpets, “Ah, we are lost, all hope is gone!” but, oh miracle! the rocks fall asunder again, and open a wide entrance to the light of day. All distress, and with it the distressing nonsense of the piece, was at an end.

August 2nd.

Yesterday’s debauch called my attention to an organ which Mr. Deville did not include in his list—the organ of ‘gourmandise,’ which immediately confines on that of murder, and is in fact, like that, a species of destructiveness. I find I possess it in a considerable degree, and I only wish all the bumps and knobs on my skull gave as innocent and agreeable results. It indicates not the mere vulgar desire for eating and drinking, but enables its possessor to estimate the delicate fragrance of wine, or the inventive genius of a cook. It is inimical to human happiness only when found in conjunction with a sentimental stomach,—which happily does not appear to be the case with me.

To-day I saw an exhibition of an entire gallery of pictures embroidered with the needle, and the work of one person: their excellence is really surprising. The name of the artist, the most patient of women, is Miss Linwood. At a little distance the copies are very like the originals, and the enormous prices she gets for them shows that their merit is recognized. I heard that one such piece of tapestry, after Carlo Dolce, sold for three thousand guineas. There was a portrait of Napoleon during the Consulate, which must have been very like him at that time, and was regarded by some Frenchmen present with great admiration.

I next went to see the solar microscope, the magnifying power of which is a million. What it shows is really enough to drive a man of lively imagination mad. Nothing can be more horrible,—no more frightful devilish figures could possibly be invented,—than the hideous, disgusting water animalculæ (invisible to the naked eye, or even to glasses of inferior power,) which we daily swallow. They looked like damned souls darting about their filthy pools with the rapidity of lightning, while every motion and gesture seemed to bespeak deadly hate, horrid torture, warfare, and death.

I was seized with a sight-seeing fit, and wished to efface the shocking impressions of that infernal world by something more agreeable. I visited three panoramas,—Rio Janeiro, Madrid, and Geneva.

The first is a singular and paradisaically luxuriant country, differing completely from the forms and appearances of that which surround us. The second, in its treeless sandy plain, looks the picture of blank stationariness and of the Inquisition: burning heat broods over the whole scene like an ‘auto da fè.’ The third appeared to me like an old acquaintance; and with a full heart I looked long at the immoveable and unchangeable fatherlandish friend,—the majestic Mont Blanc.

August 8th.

Canning is dead. A man in the plenitude of his intellectual power, who had but a few weeks ago arrived at the goal of his active life, who had risen to be the ruler of England, and, in that quality, unquestionably the most influential man in Europe; endowed with a spirit of fire that would have guided the reins he held with a mighty hand, and a soul capable of embracing the good of his species from a station more elevated than any to which human ambition could raise him.

One shock has overthrown this proud structure of many years. And this high-spirited man was doomed to end his days by a sudden and tragic death, amid fearful sufferings, the victim of a relentless Destiny, who steps on with iron foot, treading down all that comes in her way, heedless whether it be the young seedling, the swelling blossom, the lordly tree, or the withering plant, that she crushes.

What will be the consequences of his death? Years must elapse before that will be seen; perhaps it will hasten on a conclusion which seems to threaten us on many sides, and to which only a large-minded, liberal, and enlightened statesman, like Canning, were capable of giving unity and a favourable direction. It is not impossible that the party which now so indecently and unfeelingly triumphs at his untimely death, may be the first to be placed in real and imminent peril by that very event; for not in vain has Lord Chesterfield said, with a far-seeing prophetic eye, “Je prevois que dans cent ans d’ici les métiers de gentilhomme et de moine ne seront plus de la moitié aussi lucratifs qu’ils le sont aujourd’hui.”

But what do I care about politics? Could I but always preserve the due equipoise in myself, I should be content. Meantime Canning’s death is now, of course, the talk of the town, and the details of his sufferings are truly afflicting. The Saints, who hated him for his liberal opinions, try to set it abroad that during his physical torments he was converted—what they call converted. One of his friends, on the other hand, who was by his bed-side for a considerable time, knew not how sufficiently to eulogize his stoical courage, and the serenity with which he bore his cruel fate;—occupied to the last moment with plans for the weal of England and of humanity, and anxiously desiring to impress them once more on the heart of the King.

As the grave and the gay, the tragic and the frivolous, shake hands here below, a very curious novel divides attention with this great calamity. It is remarkable for its rather ‘baroque,’ but often witty and faithful delineations of continental manners. I give you the description of the beginning of a ball at Ems, as a sample of the observations of Englishmen on our manners and customs.

“The company at the Archduke’s fête was most select: that is to say, it consisted of every single person who was then at the baths: those who had been presented to His Highness having the privilege of introducing any number of their friends: and those who had no friend to introduce them, purchased tickets at an enormous price from Cracowsky—the wily Polish intendant. The entertainment was most imperial; no expense and no exertion were spared to make the hired lodging-house look like an hereditary palace; and for a week previous to the great evening, the whole of the neighbouring town of Wisbaden,[66] the little capital of the duchy, has been put under contribution. What a harvest for Cracowsky!—What a commission from the restaurateur for supplying the refreshments!—What a per-centage on hired mirrors and dingy hangings!

“The Archduke, covered with orders, received every one with the greatest condescension, and made to each of his guests a most flattering speech. His suite, in new uniforms, simultaneously bowed directly the flattering speech was finished.

“‘Madame von Furstenburg, I feel the greatest pleasure in seeing you. My greatest pleasure is to be surrounded by my friends. Madame von Furstenburg, I trust that your amiable and delightful family are quite well.” [The party passed on.]—‘Cravatischeff!’ continued His Highness, inclining his head round to one of his aid-de-camps; ‘Cravatischeff! a very fine woman is Madame von Furstenburg. There are few women whom I more admire than Madame von Furstenburg.’”

“‘Prince Salvinski, I feel the greatest pleasure in seeing you. My greatest pleasure is to be surrounded by my friends. Poland honours no one more than Prince Salvinski.’—‘Cravatischeff! a remarkable bore is Prince Salvinski. There are few men of whom I have a greater terror than Prince Salvinski.’”

“‘Baron von Konigstein, I feel the greatest pleasure in seeing you. My greatest pleasure is to be surrounded by my friends. Baron von Konigstein, I have not yet forgot the story of the fair Venetian.’—‘Cravatischeff! an uncommonly pleasant fellow is Baron von Konigstein. There are few men whose company I more enjoy than Baron von Konigstein’s.’”

“‘Count von Altenburgh, I feel the greatest pleasure in seeing you. My greatest pleasure is to be surrounded by my friends. You will not forget to give me your opinion of my Austrian troop.’—‘Cravatischeff! a very good billiard-player is Count von Altenburgh. There are few men whose play I’d sooner bet upon than Count von Altenburgh’s.’”

“‘Lady Madeleine Trevor, I feel the greatest pleasure in seeing you. My greatest pleasure is to be surrounded by my friends.—Miss Fane, your servant—Mr. Sherborne—Mr. St. George—Mr. Grey.’—‘Cravatischeff! a most splendid woman is Lady Madeleine Trevor. There is no woman whom I more admire than Lady Madeleine Trevor;—and, Cravatischeff! Miss Fane, too! a remarkably fine girl is Miss Fane.’”

Stinging enough, is it not, Julia? I have met with few descriptions that have amused me more: and my translation,—extremely good, is it not? There are few translations that please me more than my own.

In a serious style, too, the Author is not amiss.[67]

More practically does the celebrated Smollett write to a friend: “I am old enough to have seen and convinced myself that we are all the playthings of Destiny, and that it often depends on a trifle not more important than the toss-up of a halfpenny, whether a man should raise himself to riches and honours, or pine away in misery and want till he dies.

August 15th.

I daily inspect the workmen in St. James’s Park, formerly only a sort of meadow for cows, and now converted into beautiful gardens, according to a plan of Mr. Nash’s. The water is also much better distributed. I acquire a great deal of technical information here, and admire the judicious division and series of the work, the ingenious modes of transport, the moveable iron railways, &c.

It is characteristic, that while the laws which protect private property are so strict that a man who climbs over a wall into a garden runs the risk of being hanged, or otherwise grievously punished; that if it occurs in the night the proprietor may shoot him dead;—with the public, wherever they have the shadow of a claim, it is necessary to go to work as gingerly as you would with a raw egg. This park is the property of the Crown, but has been open to the public from remote ages; and Government does not dare to close it, even temporarily, notwithstanding the improvements which the King is now carrying on, (at the nation’s cost, it is true.) A board is put up on which is inscribed literally as follows:—“The public are most respectfully requested, during the operations which are designed for the increase of their own gratification, not to injure the carts and tools of the workmen, and to avoid as much as possible the part where the men are at work.” Very little attention, however, is paid to this respectful and reasonable petition, and the carts and barrows which lie empty when the men leave work are often used by the boys to wheel each other about, and to play all sorts of tricks with. The girls seesaw on the long planks, and many little wretches amuse themselves with throwing stones in the water just at the very spot where ladies are standing, who are of course so splashed as to be obliged to hasten home. This brutal love of mischief is quite peculiar to the English people, and forms the sole apology for the grudging inhumanity with which the opulent classes shut up their charming pleasure-grounds. It is worth inquiring, however, whether the moroseness of the rich was not the cause, instead of the effect, of the mischievous temper of the poor. It is difficult for people on the Continent to imagine to what a pitch it goes.

The anxiety with which the rich English shut up their property from the profaning eyes of the stranger is sometimes truly amusing, but may chance to be painful. I was riding one day in the neighbourhood of London,—and attracted by the sight of a fine house and grounds, I asked the porter who stood at the lodge, whether he would allow me to look at the gardens? He had many scruples, but at last he opened the gate, taking charge of my horse during the time. I might have walked about for a quarter of an hour, and was just looking at the neatly-kept pleasure-ground, when a somewhat fat personage in his shirt appeared at a window of the house; he seemed to be running about in great distress, but at last threw open the window with great vehemence, and whilst I heard the violent ringing of a large bell, cried out to me with half-suppressed rage, “Qui êtes-vous, Monsieur? que cherchez-vous ici?” I thought it too ridiculous to shout back the answer from such a distance, and soon found it unnecessary; for a number of servants, alarmed by the ringing of the bell, flocked together from all directions, one of whom now repeated to me the question ‘ex officio.’ In a few words I let the proprietor know by him that I was a foreigner who had been attracted by fondness for gardening; that I had not climbed over the wall, as he seemed to believe, but had entered through the usual entrance, where my horse was still waiting; that I was heartily sorry for having caused him such a shock in his illness, and only wished that it might have no serious consequences, at the same time assuring him of my best respects, and that I would immediately leave the forbidden garden. I soon reached my horse, and rode off laughing, for this was the gay side of the affair. About a fortnight after, I passed by chance near the same house: I approached the lodge again, and rang the bell; another man appeared; and in a mischievous fit I inquired after the health of his master, and whether I could be permitted to see the garden? “God forbid!” was the answer, “on no account!” I now heard from the servant, to my sincere grief, that the poor fellow, his predecessor, had been dismissed with his wife and children, though he had been in the service of the family for many years, merely for having let a stranger enter without permission. Nevertheless this severe gentleman is one of the patent liberals of England. What would an illiberal one have done?

The walks and rides in the neighbourhood are now very inviting again, for autumn has set in early. The scorched grass has resumed its coat of bright green, and the trees hold their foliage longer and fresher than with us, though they begin to change their colour earlier. Winter comes late, often not at all, to throw its broad white mantle over them. The mowing of the grass, and cleaning and sweeping of the gardens and grounds never cease; indeed, as autumn and winter are ‘the seasons’ in the country, that is just the time when most care is bestowed upon them.

London is deserted by the fashionables; and that with such affectation, that many who are obliged to remain on business positively conceal themselves. The streets in the west end of the town are like those of a deserted city. * * *

* * * * * * *

They are still infested with beggars, and with that most affecting sort of beggars who ply their melancholy trade in the night. Not only English women, but foreigners here contract this shocking custom. I was really made almost desperate by a withered French woman, of whom I could not get rid, even by the usual shilling:—“Encore un moment,” exclaimed she; “je ne demande rien, c’est seulement pour parler Français, pour avoir une conversation raisonnable, dont ces Anglais ne sont pas capables.”

In the present solitude one has at least as much time to oneself as one likes; one can work, and read the legion of newspapers at one’s leisure. The absurdities which daily appear in them on foreign affairs are almost incredible. To-day I found the following article: “The admiration of the Emperor Alexander for Napoleon was for a long time boundless. It is well known that at the theatre at Erfuth, when Talma uttered the words

‘L’amitié d’un grand homme est un bienfait des Dieux,’

Alexander leaned over to Napoleon and said, ‘Ces paroles ont été écrites pour moi.’—The following anecdote is probably less known. We can vouch for the truth of it. Alexander one day expressed to Duroc the intense desire he had to possess a pair of breeches of his great ally the Emperor Napoleon. Duroc sounded his master on this very extraordinary subject. Napoleon laughed heartily. ‘Oh,’ cried he, ‘donnez lui tout ce qu’il veut, pourvu qu’il me reste une paire pour changer.’ This is authentic. We are also assured that Alexander, who was very superstitious, never wore any other breeches than Napoleon’s in the field, during the campaigns of 1812-13.”

The day ended very pleasantly for me with the arrival of my friend L——, for whom I now leave you, and close this letter (which is far enough from being amusing or instructive in proportion to its dreadful length,) with the old assurance, which to you I know will want no charm of novelty, that, far or near, you are ever next to my heart.

Your faithful L——.


London, Aug. 20th, 1827.

Dear and faithful friend,

CURIOSITY led me again to-day to the Tunnel. I went in the diving-bell down to the bed of the river, and spent half an hour there, looking at the process of stopping the breach with sand-bags and earth. Excepting a rather violent pain in my ears, I found it more comfortable in our metal box, the deeper we sank. It has two thick glass windows at the top: and near them two leathern pipes which admit fresh air. The bell has no floor,—only a narrow board on which to set your feet, and two strong benches on the sides. It is lighted by lanterns. The workmen had capital water-boots, which resist the wet four-and-twenty hours; and I was particularly delighted at writing the address of the maker in my pocket-book among the fishes, “auf des Stromes tiefunterstem Grunde.”

After having escaped safe and sound from the water, I was near suffering a sad calamity from fire. I had gone for a minute into another room, and a candle which had burned down in the socket set fire to the papers on my writing-table: before I could extinguish it, many things very interesting to me were destroyed. Copies of letters, prints and drawings, an unfinished novel, (what a pity!) numberless addresses, a part of my journal,—all became the prey of the flames. I could not help laughing when I saw that all the receipts were left untouched, while the unpaid bills were consumed to the last vestige. That’s what I call an obliging fire. The great packet of your letters is burnt round the edges, so that they look as if they were written on mourning paper:—right again, for letters between people who love each other, always mourn over the necessity for writing them. The Vienna courier you wot of, who came charged with a hundred thousand blessings, is turned negro; but his life is happily saved, and his cinq-foil leaf is in full preservation. I send him back to you as a witness and a messenger of the fire.

August 21st.

There is such an extent and variety of ‘terra incognita’ in this illimitable London, that with no other guide than chance one is sure to fall upon something new and interesting. In this way I found myself to-day in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, a noble square, almost a German mile from my lodging, surrounded with fine buildings, and adorned with lofty trees and beautiful turf. The most considerable edifice is that of the College of Surgeons, and contains a very interesting museum. One of the gentlemen showed me the establishment with great civility. The first thing which claimed my attention was a very pretty little mermaid which had been exhibited here for money some years ago, and was afterwards sold for a thousand pounds, when it was discovered that she was a deceptive contrivance made out of a small ourang-outang and a salmon, joined together in a most workmanlike manner. The existence of such creatures remains, therefore, as much a problem as ever. Near to it stood a real large ourang-outang, who lived here for a long time, and performed many domestic services in the house. Mr. C—— (so my informant was called) assured me that he must regard this animal as of a distinct genus, nearer to man than to the ape. He had long and attentively observed this individual, and had found in him the most certain proofs of reflection and combination, evidently far beyond the reach of instinct. Thus, he remarked that Mr. Dick (as he called him) felt in gentlemen’s pockets, if he were permitted, for eatables; but if his search was unsuccessful, carefully replaced every thing that did not answer his purpose, instead of throwing it away or letting it fall, as all other monkeys do. He was so sensitive to the slightest mark of displeasure, that he was depressed and unhappy for days after being unkindly spoken to. He was observed, too, to try of his own accord to assist the servants, if he saw them unusually oppressed with work.

There were some preparations exhibiting almost incredible cases of recoveries from wounds. The most extraordinary among them was the breast of a man (which Mr. C—— showed me, preserved in spirits,) who had been so completely spitted by the shaft of a carriage, that he could only be dragged from it by the efforts of several persons. The shaft had passed close to the heart and lungs, which, however, it only gently forced aside, without doing them the least injury, and had broken the ribs before and behind. After the man had been extricated from his horrible situation, he had strength enough left to walk up two flights of stairs, and to lie down on a bed. He lived fourteen years after the accident, sound and well; but the surgeons had kept their eye upon him, and got possession of his body as soon as he was dead. They have placed him in their museum, together with the shaft, which had been kept in his family as a relic.

I was struck by a small, beautifully-formed greyhound, which was built up in a cellar, and was found, after the lapse of many years, perfectly dried. He looked as if carved out of gray sandstone, and presented an affecting image of resignation,—rolled up as if in sleep, and with such a mournful expression of his little head, that one could not look at it without pity. A cat, starved and dried in the same manner, looking on the contrary savage and fiendish. Thus, thought I, is gentleness beautiful even in suffering! It was a picture of the good and the wicked in a like situation; and yet how different the effects!

I must mention the skeleton of the Frenchman who was exhibited here as ‘the living skeleton,’ his bones being really covered with little more than skin. His stomach was smaller than that of a new-born child; and the unhappy creature was condemned to a prolonged starvation, for he could not eat more than half a cup of broth a-day. He was twenty years old,—died in London, and sold himself, while yet alive, to the museum.

As I was driving home, I had taken a quantity of small money in change at the turnpikes, and I amused myself in an odd humour by letting a penny fall quietly out of the carriage every time I saw a poor, ragged person. Not one of them perceived it; all passed over it. And just so does Fortune with us! She drives continually through the world in her chariot, and throws out her gifts blindfold. How seldom do any of us see them, or stoop to pick them up! We are generally seeking elsewhere at the lucky moment.

On my return home, I found a real gift of fate, and a very precious one,—a long letter from you * * *

Herr von S——, whom you mention as one of the recent arrivals at the baths, is an old acquaintance of mine, a strange original whom we all liked, and yet could not resist making a butt of, and who was continually meeting with adventures the most ludicrous and the most serious. You have seen what a caricature he looks, and that he is of all men the least formed to be a man ‘à bonnes fortunes.’ When a young lieutenant, however, he was madly in love with one of the most beautiful women of her time, Baroness B——; and one evening, on her torturing him to the utmost by some biting jest, he ran a sword through his body before her eyes. The weapon went through his lungs, so that a candle held to the wound was blown out. Nevertheless our tragic madman was cured, and Frau von B—— was so touched by this proof of passion, that she became less cruel to so desperate a lover. * * *

Salthill, August 25th.

I have at length left town with L——, who will accompany me for some days, after which I shall continue my travels alone. The first resting place is a delightful inn, like a gentleman’s villa, in the neighbourhood of Windsor. The prettiest veranda festooned with roses and all sorts of creepers, and adorned with a quantity of flowers in pots, covers the whole front; and a pleasure-ground and flower-garden, in exquisite order, stretch before my window. From hence I have a noble view of the gigantic Castle in the distance, which, set in a frame of two massy horse-chestnut-trees, gleamed like a fairy palace in the evening sun. The long rain had painted every thing emerald-green, and the sweet fresh country has the most benign influence on my mind and spirits. I can talk of you too, my good Julia, to L——, whose society is very agreeable to me. To-morrow we mean to see a multitude of things. This evening, as it was late, we contented ourselves with a ramble in the fields.

August 26th.

Early in the morning we drove to Stoke Park, the residence of a grandson of the celebrated Quaker, William Penn. In the house is preserved a bit of the tree under which he concluded the treaty with Indian chiefs. The park is fine, and contains the greatest variety of deer either L—— or I had ever seen,—black, white, striped, mottled, black with white spots on the forehead, and brown with white feet. The park and garden, though beautiful, presented nothing remarkable.

This we found in Dropmore, the seat of Lord Grenville, where the most extraordinary trees and an enchanting flower-garden excited all our attention. It was more properly two or three gardens;—in richness of flowers, really unique; the beds partly cut in the turf, partly surrounded with gravel. Each bed contained only one sort of flower, which threw an indescribable richness of colour over the whole picture. Countless geraniums of every sort and colour, with many other flowers we hardly know, or of which we possess at most only single specimens, were arranged in large and splendid masses. The colours too were so admirably grouped that the eye rested on them with extreme delight.

Yet a great part of the park consisted only of barren soil with heather,—just like that of our woods. The turf was dry and scorched, yet the high cultivation gave to the whole an air of great beauty, and confirmed me in my persuasion that with money and patience every soil may be overcome,—climate alone cannot.

After we had seen another park, which commanded some remarkably fine views, we drove to Windsor to see the new part of the Castle ‘en detail.’ Unfortunately, almost at the same minute the King came up with his suite, in five phætons drawn by poneys; so that we were obliged to wait more than an hour till he drove off again, and we were permitted to enter.

In the interval we visited Eton College, an old establishment for education founded by Henry the Sixth. Its exterior is that of a vast and handsome Gothic building with a church attached to it; its interior, of a simplicity hardly exceeded by our village schools. Bare white walls, wooden benches, carved with the names of the scholars who have studied here, (among which are those of Fox, Canning, and other celebrated men,) are all that distinguish the room in which the best born youth of England are educated. According to the rules of the foundation, the King’s scholars have nothing day after day but mutton. What could the royal founder propose to himself by this singular law? The library is very handsomely decorated, and contains some interesting manuscripts.

On our return from Eton the King had driven away, and Mr. Wyatville his architect, under whose direction the new part of the Castle is erecting, had the kindness to give us detailed information about every part. It is a vast work, and the only one of its kind in England, which is executed not only at a great cost and with technical skill, but with uncommon taste, nay genius. The grandeur and magnificence of the Castle, which, though not half finished, has cost three millions of our money, are truly worthy of a King of England. Situated on a hill above the town, and commanding a beautiful view, while it presents a noble object from every side, its position gives it an immense advantage. Its historical interest, its high antiquity, and its astonishing vastness and extent, unite to render it single in the world.

The magnificence of the interior corresponds with the exterior. Each of the separate panes of glass in the huge Gothic windows cost twelve pounds sterling, and the eye is dazzled with velvet, silk, and gilding. A high terrace on the side of the king’s chamber, which forms hot-houses in the inside, and on the outside looks only like a high abrupt wall in the stern character of the rest of the building, encloses the most charming garden and pleasure-ground. The four great gates into the castle yard are so admirably contrived, that each encloses one of the most interesting points of the landscape as in a frame.

All the recent additions are, as I have already mentioned, so perfectly executed, that they are hardly to be distinguished from the old part; and I cannot blame the architect for having faithfully imitated even the less tasteful details. On the other hand, I must confess that the internal decorations, spite of all their gorgeousness, appeared to me to leave much to wish for. They are enormously overloaded in parts, and are not always either in keeping with the character of the building, or calculated to produce an agreeable effect.

August 28th.

L—— left me yesterday,—sooner than he had intended. I am extremely sorry for it; for so agreeable and friendly a companion doubles every pleasure. I afterwards drove with an acquaintance of the Guards, to St. Leonard’s Hill, belonging to Field-marshal Lord H——, to whom E—— had given me a letter.

The weather, which had been overcast, and from time to time rainy, was splendid; scarcely a cloud in the sky. On no more beautiful day could I see a more beautiful place than St. Leonard’s Hill. These giant trees; this fresh wood, full of variety; these enchanting views, both far and near; this delightful house, with the most lovely of all flower-gardens; this luxuriant vegetation, and this delicious retirement, from which, as from behind a curtain, you look out upon a world of diversified beauty lying in the valley beneath,—form a whole which has not its equal in England. The possessors are a very agreeable old couple, unfortunately without children to whom to transmit this paradise. The old lord seemed much pleased at my enthusiasm for the beauties of the place, and invited me to spend the following day, which I accepted with great pleasure. To-day I was engaged to dine with my friend Captain B—— at the Guards’ mess at Windsor, where I passed the evening, from six o’clock till midnight.

At an early hour in the morning I was summoned by Lord H——, who is Ranger of Windsor Park, and wished to show it me before the King made his appearance. As soon as he rides out, the private part of the ground is hermetically sealed to every one, without exception, who does not belong to his own invited company. I was rather late; the kind-hearted old lord scolded me a little, and made me instantly get into a landau drawn by four noble horses, in which we rolled rapidly through the high beech woods.

The King has had several roads cut, for his own special and peculiar use, through the most interesting parts of his immense park of Windsor. We drove along one of them; and in half an hour reached the royal stables, where the celebrated giraffe is kept. Here, unhappily, we heard that the King’s carriages had been ordered, and indeed they stood already harnessed in the yard. There were seven, of various forms, but all with very low wheels, almost as light as children’s carriages, and drawn by little poneys; the King’s with four, which he drives himself,—the others with two: most of the poneys were of different colours. Lord H—— beheld these equipages with dismay. He was afraid the King might meet us, and feel ‘mal à son aise’ at the sight of unexpected strangers—for the monarch’s tastes are singular enough. It is unpleasant to him to see a strange face, or indeed a human being of any kind whatsoever, within his domain; and the Park is consequently (with the exception of the high road which crosses it,) a perfect solitude. The King’s favourite spots are, for further security, thickly surrounded by screens of wood, and plantations are daily laid out to add to the privacy and concealment. In many places where the lay of the ground would enable you to get a glimpse of the sanctuary within, three stages of fence are planted one behind the other.

We hastened accordingly to secure a sight of the giraffe, which was led out before us by two Moors who had accompanied her from Africa. A wonderful creature indeed! You know her form; but nothing can give an idea of the beauty of her eyes. Imagine something midway between the eye of the finest Arab horse, and the loveliest Southern girl, with long and coal-black lashes, and the most exquisite beaming expression of tenderness and softness, united to volcanic fire. The giraffe is attached to man, and is extremely ‘gentle’ and good-natured. Her appetite is good, for she daily sucks the milk of three cows who were lying near her. She uses her long bright-blue tongue like a trunk, in which way she took from me my umbrella, which she liked so much that she would not give it up again. Her walk was somewhat ungainly, from having sprained her leg on board ship; but the Africans assured us that when in perfect health she is very swift-footed. Lord H—— hurried off, for fear of the King; and after passing through a thickly-planted part of the pleasure-ground attached to the ‘Cottage,’ which we only saw from a distance, we directed our course to Virginia Water, the King’s favourite haunt. It is a large, artificial, but very natural-looking lake, on which His Majesty almost daily fishes.

I was not a little surprised to see the whole country here assume a new character, and one very uncommon in England,—that of my beloved Fatherland:—fir- and pine-wood intermingled with oaks and alders; and under foot our heather, and even our sand, in which this year’s plantations were completely dry and withered. I could have given the King’s gardeners some useful hints about planting in sand, for I convinced myself that they do not at all understand the treatment of that sort of soil.—A little frigate lay rocking on the lake, on whose banks were various little devices,—Chinese and Moorish houses executed with taste and not caricatured. The haste with which we drove along rendered it only possible to see things in a transient, and for the most part distant manner. I was, however, very glad to have gained at least a general idea of the whole.

My venerable host climbed up on the seat of the carriage, and stood there, supported by his wife and me, to look about whether the King might not be somewhere in sight; nor was he perfectly tranquil till the gate of the sanctuary closed upon us.

On our way back we saw the King’s hunters—beautiful animals, as you may suppose,—and a peculiar breed of small elegant hounds, which are not to be met with out of England. We returned with good appetites for dinner, where I found several guests. Our hostess is a very agreeable woman, and as ‘parkomane’ as myself. All the noble trees in front of the house, between which glimpses of the distant landscape appear like separate pictures, were planted by herself forty years ago, and from that time to this only two have been removed. Every day convinces me more and more that the wide unbroken prospects which are here almost prohibited, destroy all illusion. With the exception of some few very old parks, you find hardly a house in England the view from which is not broken by scattered trees. Drawings deceive you, because the main object of the draftsman generally is to show the architecture and size of the building, and he consequently leaves out the trees.

A most useful contrivance in this garden was a gigantic umbrella as large as a little tent, with an iron spike at the bottom to stick into the ground. You could thus establish yourself in any spot shaded from the sun.

I gladly accepted an invitation from my friendly host for the following day, to meet the ladies of honour (Hofdamen[68]) of the Queen of Würtemburg. After dinner we walked again, to see a cottage in the low ground of the park. Enclosed on every side by hill and wood, it forms a charming contrast to the handsome villa on the height. Rode home (B—— and I) by brilliant star-light.

August 29th.

After paying a visit to Mrs. C—— in Windsor, I returned to Lord H—— ‘s, enjoying with new delight the noble oakwoods of his park, at the entrance of which, the prettiest lodge, tastefully built of trunks and branches of trees, and overgrown with roses, is a sort of index to the lovely character of the whole. I found a large party assembled;—the principal lady of honour (Oberhofmeisterin,) two ladies in waiting (Hofdamen,) and two equerries of the Queen of Würtemburg,—all German: le Marquis de H——, a Frenchman, with two sons and a daughter, (the latter a true ‘Parisienne;’) an English clergyman, and another foreign nobleman.

The French party have judiciously put forward their cousinship with the childless Peer, are very kindly received, live in the cottage in the valley which I described yesterday, and have expectations of inheriting this noble property,—so that the little French girl is already regarded as ‘a good match.’

The most interesting person to me in the whole company, however, was the Countess herself. She is a most amiable old lady, full of dignified courtesy, united to a very agreeable turn of mind. She has seen much of life, and relates what she has seen in the most interesting manner. She told me many particulars concerning Lord Byron, who passed much of his boyish time in her house, and was then so untameable that she said she had had unspeakable trouble with the daring, mischievous boy. She did not think him base, but ill-tempered; for she observed that he always took a sort of pleasure in giving pain, especially to women; though when he chose to be amiable, she confessed that it was hardly possible to resist him. She added, that whatever were the defects of his wife, he had certainly treated her very ill, and had exercised a refinement of torture towards her; probably because she had formerly refused him, for which he swore never-ending vengeance even on the day of his marriage.

I did not put implicit faith in this account, in spite of my great respect for the narrator. The soul of a poet like Byron is hard to judge;—the ordinary standard is quite inadequate to it, and very few people have any other to apply.

Where one is much pleased, one generally pleases; and accordingly I was pressingly invited to spend a few days in this little paradise. My restlessness is, however, as you know full well, equal to my indolence: and as I am difficult to move from a place where I have once fixed myself, (‘témoin’ my long unprofitable abode in London,) I find it equally difficult to bring myself to remain where the immediate interest is exhausted. I therefore gratefully declined the invitation, and returned to Salthill.

August 30th.

The terrace of Windsor Castle forms a delightful promenade for the people of the town, and is frequently enlivened by the band of the Guards. I walked there this morning with the pretty and amiable Misses C——, and paid a visit with them to the ‘châtelaine’ of the Palace, an old unmarried lady.

It is impossible to have a more delightful residence. Every window commands a beautiful landscape. The venerable lady showed me a stone in the wall of her bedroom, on which was a decayed inscription. “This,” said she, “was carved by a charming young knight who pined here in captivity, just before his death; he was suffocated under this very stone.” “Good God!” said I, “are you not afraid to sleep here—suppose the young knight’s ghost should appear!” “Never fear!” exclaimed the sprightly old lady, “at my time of life one is not so timid; I am safe from all young knights, living or dead.” We proceeded to the noble chapel, where divine service was going on. The banners, swords, and coronets of the Knights of the Garter proudly ranged around; the melancholy light of the coloured windows; the beautiful carvings in stone and wood; the reverential groups of hearers,—formed a fine picture only defaced by some few objects: for instance, the ridiculous monument of the Princess Charlotte, in which the four subordinate figures turn their backs completely on the spectator; while on the other hand the Princess appears in a twofold character,—extended as a corpse, and ascending to heaven as an angel.

Lulled by the music, I gave myself up, in the quiet nook in which I had niched myself, to my fancies, and, absorbed in the kingdom of sound, soon forgot all around me. At last I thought myself dead, and yet I fancied myself a visitor of that Gothic chapel we wished to build, dear Julia, and standing before my own tomb. In the centre of the church, on a white marble sarcophagus, lay a figure wrapped in thick folds of drapery, with a wolf and a lamb at his feet. Another pedestal of the same form was vacant. I approached, and read the following inscriptions on the marble. On the end under the head of the recumbent figure were the following words,

In thy bosom, O God!
Rests his imperishable spirit,
For the eternal law of life
Is death and resurrection.

At the opposite end was written;

His childhood was deprived of its greatest blessing,—
Loving education in the paternal house.
His youth was stormy, and vain, and foolish,
But never estranged from Nature and from God.

On the one side,

Serious and melancholy was his manhood;—
It would have been shrouded in night,
Had not a loving woman,
Like the sun, with clear benign beams,
Oft changed the dark night into cheerful day.

On the other side,

Length of days was denied him:
What were his works and his deeds?
They live and bloom around you.
What else he strove for, or attained, on earth,—
To others it availed much, to himself little.

And now I thought much of you, and of all I love, and I felt a sort of pious sorrow for myself;—and as the sudden pause of the music awoke me from my dream, the silent tears were actually upon my cheek, so that I was almost ashamed to be seen.

August 31st.

One is well served in England,—that is certain. I was invited to dine at six at the Guard’s mess which is very punctual, and sat writing till late. The barracks are three miles from my inn, which is, as usual, a post-house. I therefore told my servant to call for ‘horses’ instantly. In less than a minute they were harnessed before the door, and, in fifteen, driving like the wind, I was at table as the clock struck six.

The military profession is on a far more social footing here than with us, for the simple reason that the members of it are richer. Though the service is as far as possible from being neglected, there is not the slightest trace of pedantry; and, out of service, not the least distinction between the colonel and the youngest lieutenant. Every man takes as unrestrained a part in conversation as in any other society. In the country the officers are all in uniform at mess, but not in London,—with the exception of the officer ‘du jour.’ After dinner, however, they all take their ease; and to-day I saw a young lieutenant sit down in dressing-gown and slippers to play whist with his colonel in uniform. These gentlemen have given me a general invitation to their table as long as I remain in the neighbourhood, and are extremely friendly and cordial to me.

I had passed the morning in seeing Frogmore, and the pictures in Windsor Castle. In the hall of the throne are several tolerable battle-pieces, by West: the subjects are the feats of Edward the Third and the Black Prince,—a throng of knights, snorting horses, ancient armour and caparisons, lances, swords and banners, which form a very appropriate decoration for a royal hall. In another room I was struck by the very expressive portrait of the Duke of Savoy,—the true Ideal of a ruler. Luther and Erasmus, by Holbein, are excellently paired, and yet contrasted: the acute and sarcastic countenance of the latter looks as if he were just about to utter the words he wrote to the Pope, who reproached him with not keeping his fasts: “Holy Father, my soul is Catholic, but my stomach is Protestant.”

The beauties of the Court of Charles the Second, who adorn a whole wall, are well suited to lead a man into transgression of another kind. There is nothing remarkable at Frogmore.—The piece of water is now only a swamp for frogs, though surrounded by hedges of rose and hew. A complete encampment of light moveable tents on the turf had a pretty effect.

September 3rd.

I have been prevailed upon to devote some days to the enjoyment of a country life at the beautiful Lady G——’s, a relation of Canning.

At breakfast she told me that she was present some months ago when Canning took leave of his mother (both being then in perfect health) in these words: “Adieu, dear mother! in August we shall meet again.” In July the mother died suddenly, and in the beginning of August her son followed her.

Yesterday and the day before we drove to Egham races, which are held on a plain surrounded by hills. I met many persons I knew; was presented by the Duke of Clarence to the Queen of Würtemberg; betted successfully; and in the evening went to a pic-nic ball in the little town, which, as with us, was fruitful with country dandies and other amusing provincialisms.

To-day I walked nearly the whole day long with some young ladies. Young Englishwomen are indefatigable walkers, through thick and thin, over hill and dale,—so that it requires some ambition to keep up with them.

In the park of a nabob we found an interesting curiosity; two dwarf trees, transplanted from China,—elms a hundred years old, with completely the shrivelled look of their age, and yet scarcely two feet high. The secret of rearing such trees is unknown in Europe.

At last the high-spirited girls climbed over a fence of Windsor Park, and disturbed the shades sacred to royal solitude with their merry laugh. By this means I saw several forbidden parts of the lovely scenery round Virginia Water, into which the anxious Lord H—— had not ventured;—had we been caught, it surely would not have gone very hard with us in such company.

Windsor, Sept. 5th.

During the four days of my stay we had become such cordial friends, that I felt almost sad at parting. The ladies accompanied me two or three miles before I got into the carriage. I drove away somewhat ‘triste,’ and directed the post-boy to the barracks of the Guards, where I arrived just in time for dinner. With the aid of much champagne and claret, (for my long walk had made me thirsty,) I consoled myself for the parting with my fair friends as well as I could, and then drove with Captain B—— to a ‘soirée’ at Mrs. C——’s. After tea, at about eleven o’clock of a splendid night, in compliance with the wishes of the ladies, it was determined to take a walk in the Park, to see the gigantic castle by moonlight from a peculiarly favourable point. The walk was certainly rather long, but it well rewarded us. The sky had flocks of sheep scattered over its deep blue fields, (one of the officers, with more exactness than poetry, compared it to curds and whey,) over which the light of the lustrous moon was beautifully diffused. Our delight was soon rather rudely interrupted by two sentinels with muskets, who challenged and prepared to arrest us as trespassers and breakers of the peace. (N. B. A company of twenty persons, principally ladies, and at least seven officers of the Guards in full uniform!) At last they consented to be satisfied with two officers whom they immediately took into custody. How different from our manners! With us, officers would have felt themselves dishonoured by the hard words the sentinels used, and perhaps have thought it their duty to run them through on the spot. Here, it appeared quite in order, and not the slightest attempt at resistance was made. The rest of us went home; and in about an hour the two prisoners returned, having had to encounter many delays before they could obtain their release. One of them, Captain F——, laughed heartily while he told us that the gamekeeper had reproved him severely, and said “it was a shame that officers, who were bound by their profession to repress all disorders, should not have abstained from committing a trespass,” and so forth. “The man was not so much in the wrong,” added he; “but ladies’ wishes must always be complied with, ‘quand même.’”

On returning to my inn I found my old B——, who came to receive my orders in person before his final departure. I am very well pleased with the Englishman whose character I investigated craniologically, and therefore shall not miss my old countryman so much.

He is the bearer of a large plan of a garden, on which I lay outstretched for an hour before I went to bed, to finish it; as Napoleon used to lie on his maps and plans. He, however, with his rough pencil drew blood; I, only water and flower-beds;—he fortifications, I summer-houses;—he soldiers, and I trees.

In the sight of the All-seeing it may be the same whether his children play with cannon-balls or with nuts; but to men the difference is considerable:—in their opinion, he who causes them to be shot by thousands is far greater than he who only labours to promote their enjoyment.

A long index will illustrate my plan. Go hard to work to execute what I lay before you, and gladden my return with the realization of all my garden-dreams which have your approbation.

My intention is now to return to London for a few days, for the purpose of seeing my horses embarked, and then to set out on my long tour in the country. The Journal will therefore have a long time to swell before I can send it you. Do not think, however, that I grow negligent; for, as the illustrious and brilliant prince says, “There are few things I enjoy more than writing to you.”

Your L——.


London, Sept. 7th, 1827.

Dear friend,

I am, as you know, not strong in remembering anniversaries and the like; but I know full well that to-morrow is the day on which I left my poor Julia alone in B——. A year has rolled over us, and we insects are still creeping on in the old track. But we love each other as much as ever, and that is the main thing. We shall work our way in time through those great heaps under which we are now forced to toil so wearily; and perhaps reach the fresh grass and the beautiful flowers on which the morning has scattered her diamonds, and the gay sunbeams dance glittering in the wet crystal. ‘Soyez tranquille, nous doublerons encore un jour le Cap de bonne espérance.

For some days I have written nothing about my sayings and doings, because they amounted only to this,—that I worked and wrote daily with B——, dined with L—— at the Travellers’ Club, and went to bed. Yesterday we had the company of another German at dinner, Count ——, who is come to buy horses. He seems to have a good deal of money, and is young enough to enjoy it; ‘au reste,’ the perfect picture of a good-natured country gentleman (Landjunker,)—of a truth, a most happy sort of man:—I only wish I were one.

As to your opinion about parks, I must remark that the extent of them, especially when properly rounded, can never be great enough. Windsor park is the only one which has fully satisfied me as a whole, and the reason for that is its enormous size. It realizes all I would have;—a pleasant tract of country, within the bounds of which you can live and do what you like, without privation or constraint; hunt, fish, ride, drive, without ever feeling cramped; in which you never see a point, except just at the entrance-gates, at which you remark, Here is a boundary; and to which all the beauties of the surrounding country to the remotest distance have been rendered tributary by a cultivated taste.

In other respects you are right: one must not throw away good and bad together; and it is better to conceal many defects and limitations of the ground by skilfully-planned paths and plantations, than to make disproportionate sacrifices to them.

My horses are safe on board, and sail to-day; though the beautiful Hyperion behaved like mad, dashed the box in which he was enclosed into pieces like glass, and burst all the halters and straps that confined him. He was within an inch of falling into the river, and will probably give them a good deal of trouble on the passage, though we have bound him like a wild beast. One can’t blame the poor animal for being frightened when the crane, like a giant’s arm, seized him and bore him into the air. Many, however, take it very quietly, for even among horses there are Stoics.

There is nothing which needs really detain me now in London; but Lady —— is still here in the solitude,—and she is so attractive. To quit such a friend were a sin,—the more so, as I have not the least idea of falling in love with her. But is not the true unmixed friendship of a charming woman something very sweet? I have often remarked how men destroy all friendship with women, because they always think it incumbent on them to play the adorer; they thus alarm their delicacy, and check at once that unsuspecting confidence and ease which might otherwise subsist between them. I am well contented with the mere friendship of an amiable woman, especially when I can read it in her soft blue eyes, hear it from a mouth of pearl and coral, and feel it in the kind pressure of a velvet hand. To this portrait you have only to add the innocent look of a dove, long dark-brown curling hair, a slender form, and the most beautiful English complexion, and you have Lady —— before your eyes.

Doncaster, Sept. 16th.

I might almost have dated from London, so rapidly have I skimmed over these hundred and eighty miles; and yet I have had time to get a sight of two celebrated houses of the time of Elizabeth, though a transient one.

The first, Hatfield, which belonged to herself, and which she frequently inhabited, is less magnificent than the second, Burleigh House, which was built by her great minister Cecil. Hatfield is built of brick; only the eyebrows of the windows, the corners, &c. are of stone. The proportions are good and grand. There is nothing remarkable in the park and garden, but a fine avenue of oaks, which are reported to have been planted by the Queen herself.

I could only see the outside of Burleigh House; for though the family were all absent, the ‘châtelaine’ was in no way to be moved to desecrate the sabbath by showing the house to a foreigner. I regretted this the more, because there is a fine collection of pictures. The ancient park is full of the finest trees; but the water, both here and at Hatfield, stagnant and muddy. The house itself is in a confused style, Gothic below, and with chimneys like Corinthian pillars. The great statesman must have had a very corrupt taste in art.

York, Sept. 17th.

Doncaster races are the most frequented in England, and the course is far preferable to any in the country for elegance, fitness, and commodious sight of the whole. The view of the race is more agreeable, and less brief and transient; for from the lofty and elegant stand you distinctly overlook the whole course from beginning to end. The horses run in a circle, and the same point serves as starting-post and goal. The concourse of people, of handsome women and fashionable company, was extraordinary. All the great neighbouring nobility came in their gala equipages,—a very interesting sight to me, because I thus learned one sort of state observed here in the country, which is very different from that in town. The most distinguished equipage was that of the Duke of Devonshire, and I describe his train to you as a notice for M——. The Duke’s party were seated in a full-bodied carriage drawn by six horses, the harness and hammercloth of moderate richness, and the coachman in intermediate livery, flaxen wig, and boots. The carriage was escorted by twelve outriders: namely, four grooms mounted on horses of different colours, with light saddles and bridles, four postillions on carriage-horses exactly like those in the carriage, with harness-reins, and postillions’ saddles; lastly, four footmen in morning jackets, leathern breeches and top-boots, with saddle-cloths and holsters embroidered with the Duke’s arms. The order of the train was as follows: first, two grooms; then two postillions; then the carriage with its six beautiful horses which the coachman drove from the box, a postillion riding the leader. On the left rode a footman; another somewhat further back on the right; behind the carriage two more postillions, then two grooms, and lastly, two more footmen. The little fellow who rode the leader was the only one in full state livery,—yellow, blue, black and silver, with a powdered wig,—rather a theatrical dress, with the arms embroidered on his left sleeve.

The St. Leger race, which took place to-day, has probably caused many a sleepless night, for enormous sums have been lost. A little mare, which was so lightly esteemed that the bets were fifteen to one against her, was in first of twenty-six horses that ran. An acquaintance of mine won nine thousand pounds, and had he been unsuccessful, would have lost hardly as many hundreds. Another is said to have lost nearly every thing he had, and, as it is asserted, through the trickery of the owner of one of the horses.

Immediately after the races, which with their animated crowd and thousand equipages afforded me a most striking exhibition of English wealth, I drove further north, towards some object yet unknown to myself, and arrived at one o’clock in the morning at this city of York. During the whole ride I read by my lamp Madame de Maintenon’s Letters to the Princess des Ursins, which entertained me extremely. Many passages are remarkably illustrative of the manners of her age. The incognito Queen of course understands court-life to the very bottom; and often reminded me strongly of a good friend of yours, especially by her manner of affecting complete ignorance of all that was passing, and of undervaluing her own influence. She however shows great mildness and prudence, and such extraordinary tact and good-breeding in all she says and does, that one is constrained to think her more amiable than history represents her. It is indeed always a bad thing to let an old woman govern, whether in petticoats or breeches; but it was easier then than now, for all ranks of people were obviously far more like great ‘naïfs’ children. They even made war in that spirit. Nay, they regarded Almighty God as a Louis the Fourteenth in the highest ‘potenz;’ and, like true courtiers, when they were ‘in articulo mortis,’ they left their earthly king in a moment,—taking no further notice of him,—to devote themselves exclusively to that mightier Ruler, whom they had hitherto neglected as too distant. One can distinctly perceive in these old ‘Mémoires,’ that those who had been tolerably successful at Court went out of the world with considerable confidence in their ‘savoir faire’ in heaven; while those who were in disgrace suffered much greater fear of death, and severer stings of conscience. It is quite impossible, now, to represent to oneself such a Court or such an existence, faithfully; but perhaps for our particular class, it was not such a bad state of things. I fell into many reflections on this eternal change in human affairs; and at length breathed upon by that invisible spirit which pervades the Whole, turned with loving greetings to the brilliant star of eve, which from endless years had looked down upon all this struggle with pitying tolerance and untroubled peace.

September 19th.

There are certainly some talents in me which it is a pity to think of

* * * * * * *

Now all this is lost and thrown away (for one always serves oneself badly,) like many better things:—for example, a wondrously beautiful tree in some American wilderness, which every spring decks itself in vain with the richest foliage and the most fragrant blossoms, where no human being can gladden his senses and his spirit by its sweetness. Such an existence we call useless. What amiable egotism!—and under its unjust sentence I too must suffer, for those above-mentioned virtues of mine are just as useless;—nay, my whole person would probably be so, were I not of substantial use to the post-boys and waiters, who take my money; and valuable to you, my kind friend, (‘je m’en flatte au moins,’) on other grounds. So that I do not live in the world absolutely and utterly for nothing; and, as on the other hand I hurt nobody, my account stands tolerably fair after striking a balance.

This whole day I have been wandering about the town. I began with the cathedral, which may be compared to that of Milan for the richness of its ornaments, as well as for its size. The founder was Archbishop Scrope, (one of Shakespeare’s personages,) whom Henry the Fourth beheaded as a rebel in 1405. He lies buried in the church; and in the chapter-house is a table covered with a piece of tapestry belonging to him, and embroidered with his arms. It is still in tolerable preservation. The windows in the church are chiefly of old stained glass, only here and there repaired with new. The carving in stone is everywhere admirable, and has all the delicacy and elegance of carved wood, representing all sorts of foliage, animals, angels, &c. One of the great windows is not less than seventy-five feet high and thirty-two broad. That at the other end represents, by its strange stone ramifications, the veins of the human heart, and, with its blood-red glass, produces a curious effect. One of the side windows is remarkable for being painted in imitation of embroidery; it is like a gay carpet. In the choir is an old chair in which several Kings of England were crowned. I sat down in it, and found it, for stone, very comfortable; I dare say I should have thought it still more so if it had been the preparation for a throne.

Near the church is a very pretty Gothic library, the arrangements of which appeared to me very well contrived. Every book has three numbers on the back. At the top, that of the shelf, then that of the compartment, and below, its own number; so that it can be found in a moment. The numbers are on pretty little labels, and do not at all deform the books. In one corner is a very light and convenient staircase leading to the gallery, which runs about midway round the room.

The alphabetical catalogue is arranged as follows:

Page 20.

Letter C.
8vo.Cosmo, &c.Verona 1519 II. 7 189-192
4to.CavendishLondon 1802 I. 5 52-55
FolioColleyLondon 1760 XI. 31080-1082
12moCorneilleParis 1820 X. 6 920-930

This will suffice to make it clear to you; and as I know by experience what a difficult matter the arranging of a library is, and how many are the ways of doing it, I send you this scheme, as very well suited to a small collection of books.

I could not get a sight of any of the rare books or manuscripts kept here, as the librarian was absent. In a corner I found a very curious drawing of the procession at the great Marlborough’s funeral. It is almost incredible how totally the dresses and customs have altered even since that time. The aged clerk who conducted me about, said he remembered when a boy to have seen soldiers with long bag-wigs like those in the picture.

About three-quarters of a mile from the Minster, on a hill near to the town, are the romantic ruins of St. Mary’s Abbey, overgrown with trees and ivy. The people here have the not very praiseworthy project of erecting a public building on the same hill: they have even begun to dig the foundation; in doing which they have come upon some of the most beautiful remains of the old abbey, as perfect as if executed yesterday. I saw several exquisite capitals still in the earth, and in a neighbouring house, admirable bas-reliefs which have been deposited there while the work is going on. We crossed the river Ouse in a boat, and continued our walk along the top of the old city wall,—a picturesque but rather impracticable way. The surrounding country is very fresh and green; and the numerous Gothic towers of the town give great diversity and beauty to the prospect. After a quarter of an hour’s walk, we reached the Micklegate, from which the old barbican has been pulled down, but which has otherwise retained its original form. The gorgeous arms of York and England glittered upon it with knightly splendour.

In an adjoining field a Roman tomb was discovered fifteen years ago, and the owner who found it, now exhibits it in his cellar. The arch, of Roman brick, is perfectly fresh: the skeleton, lying in a stone coffin beneath, is pronounced by anatomists to be that of a young woman; and, (which is saying a good deal at the end of two thousand years,) she has still ‘des beaux restes,’—splendid teeth, and a beautifully formed skull. I examined the organs carefully, and found all the most desirable qualities; to such a degree, indeed, that I could not help regretting making her acquaintance two thousand years too late, or I should certainly have married her. A better organized cranium I shall never find—that’s certain. She does not seem to have been rich, for nothing was found in her coffin but two glass bottles,—very curious things in themselves, more perfect and more like our glass than any I ever saw, except at Pompeii. It is distinguishable from ours only by its silvery shine, and exhibits no mark of having been blown, though no means have been discovered of concealing such marks in any of our uncut glass. The British Museum has offered the possessor a large sum for these glasses. He finds it, however, more advantageous to show the curiosities himself, at a ‘thaler’ of our money a-head.

We returned to the Micklegate, and proceeded with still more difficulty along the crumbling wall, till, after half an hour’s scrambling, we came to a beautiful ruin called Clifford’s Tower. This ancient fortress plays a part in English history. On one occasion a thousand Jews were burnt alive in it,—having no Rothschild then to save them. At last, about a century ago, being used as a magazine for gunpowder, it was blown up, and has ever since been abandoned to the eating tooth of Time. But time not only destroys, but builds up: and thus as the ruins decayed, ivy, in which thousands of sparrows nestle, curled itself around them like thick tresses; and in the centre of the tower is a large nut-tree, which overtops the roofless walls. The hill or mound on which the ruin stands, was constructed by the Romans; and a man who lately dug to a considerable depth in search of treasure, found almost the whole foundation of it composed of bones of men and horses. Such is the earth—the universal grave and cradle.

From ruins and death I proceeded to the living dead, who pine at the foot of the hill—the poor prisoners in the county jail. Externally their dwelling appears a palace. The interior has a very different aspect; and my heart ached for the poor devils who were to sit the whole winter through till March, in cells, which are clean, it is true, but chill and damp, only on suspicion; with the pleasant prospect, perhaps, of being hanged at the end. If they are acquitted, they have no indemnification to expect. In the court in which the debtors were allowed to walk, were two horses, a she-goat, and an ass. In all the rooms and cells I visited, I observed the greatest cleanliness and order. But the strangest peculiarity of this prison, was a sort of thieves’ wardrobe, arranged with real elegance, like the wardrobe of a theatre. A jailor, whose head was considerably overloaded with drink, stammered out the following explanation:

“Here you see the wigs of the famous Granby, which disguised him so, that for ten years he could never be caught. He was hanged here in 1786.—Here is the stake with which George Nayler was knocked down two years ago on the road to Doncaster. He was hanged here last spring.—Here is Stephen’s ‘knock-down,’ with which he killed six people at once. He was hanged here likewise two years ago.—Here are the enormous iron leg-bolts, the only things that would hold Fitzpatrick. He escaped seven times out of the strongest prisons: but these leg-bolts, which I fastened on him myself, were a little too heavy for him. (They were complete beams of iron, which a horse could hardly have dragged along.) He did not wear them long, for two months afterwards, on the first of May,—a beautiful morning ’twas,—he was sent to another world.—Here are the machines with which Cook coined false money. He was quite the gentleman—hanged in 1810.”

“Pray,” interrupted I, “what sort of a weapon is this immense wooden mallet?”

“Oh!” grinned the old fellow, “that’s innocent enough; that’s only what I break sugar with when I make negus, He, he, he!—only I put it here ready.”

The wardrobe was immediately adjoining his room, and seemed an amateur collection, which owed its rise entirely to his own taste and zeal. How various are the hobby-horses of men!

I am afraid you are already tired of this long walk, dear Julia; but you must follow me a little further; nay, you may even consent to climb from the depth to the highest height. I wished to see the whole panorama of my walk at a glance, and selected for that purpose a Gothic tower of the finest proportions. It is of the most beautiful, elaborate architecture from top to bottom; and behind the transparent tracery I had espied from a distance, with the aid of my opera-glass, ladders which extremely tempted me to mount.

After a stout walk,—in the course of which we came to another old gate, called the Nobles’ Gate, which was built up fifty years ago and is now re-opened to serve as a passage to the new cattle-market,—we at length reached the desired tower, a part of the oldest church in York. I had some trouble in finding the clerk, a black man, more like a coal-heaver than a servant of the church,—but full of goodwill. I asked him if one could get up to the fine galleries at the top. “That I don’t know,” replied he, “for I never went up, though I have been clerk these ten years. There are only old ladders, and some are broken at the top, so that I don’t think it possible.” This was enough to fire my adventurous soul; and I hastened up the worst, darkest, narrowest, and most decayed winding staircase you can imagine. We soon reached the ladders; we climbed them without halting, and came to the first landing-place. But here the clerk and the ‘laquais de place’ hesitated to proceed. A high and certainly very frail-looking ladder, wanting many staves, led to a small square hole at the top (where, for a space of about six feet, the staves were entirely gone;) through this you reached the roof. I was determined not to go back ‘re infectâ,’ so I scrambled up, reached the edge of the opening with my hands, and swung myself up with some little difficulty. The view was indeed magnificent, and I exactly attained my chief end,—to see the noble Minster, (which is so miserably encumbered by houses below,) perfectly free in all its colossal majesty, like a line-of-battle ship among boats. The wind, however, blew so terribly around my elevated post, and all seemed in such a decaying state, that I could almost fancy the whole tower rocked in the blast. By degrees I grew uncomfortable in this continued storm. I began my descent, but found that far more difficult than the ascent, as is generally the case in such places. But one must not stay to think, if one begins to feel what the English call ‘nervous.’ Holding fast by my hands, therefore, I let my feet drop like feelers in search of the highest stave, and very glad was I when I found it. On my arrival at the bottom I was as black as the clerk.

Meanwhile it was the time of evening service in the Minster, where a fine organ and well-selected music in so noble a building, promised me a delightful resting-place. I hastened thither, and dreamed away a delicious half-hour under the influence of sweet sounds and melancholy; while this vast organ,—the tyrant of music, as Heinze calls it,—rolled pealing through the immense aisles, and the sweet voices of children, like the breath of spring, lulled the awe-struck soul again to peace.

Almost in the twilight I visited the town-hall, where the Lord Mayor (only London and York have Lord Mayors) holds his court three times a week, and where the sessions are held every three months. It is an old and handsome Gothic building. Near it are two rooms for the barristers and attorneys (obern und untern Advocaten.) In the upper room the Lord Mayor’s arms are emblazoned in modern painted glass,—for every tradesman has arms here. One can generally discover from them what is the calling of the possessor. The mottos, however, are less business-like, and seem to me to affect too noble an air.

I have now established the proper balance, that is to say, my hands are as tired of writing as my feet of walking. It is time to give the stomach some work to do. If I were Walter Scott, I would give you the bill of fare; but as it is, I don’t venture. Instead of it I shall subjoin a word upon my after-dinner reading, which will be furnished again by Madame de Maintenon.

It really touched me to see how vividly the poor woman paints the melancholy uniformity, the bitter ‘gêne’ of her life: and how often and heartily she longs, with a force and a sincerity that cannot be mistaken, for her dismissal from this stage, which, as she says, “worse than all others, lasts from morning till night.” Amidst all her power and splendour, she still seems to regard death as the most desirable of things: and indeed, after the long endless void,—after the sacrifice of every personal feeling and inclination year after year, one can imagine the mortal weariness of the spirit, longing for its release. This explains the religious mania that took possession of her, which was also characteristic of the childishness of the age. Had a woman of Madame de Maintenon’s talents lived at a later period, Molinistes and Jansenistes would hardly have succeeded in extorting a smile of contempt from her; but in her time it was otherwise. Still she is in her way a great woman, as Louis the Fourteenth is, in his, a great king—in a little age. It was precisely because it was little that it formed little things,—Court, society, &c.—to far greater perfection than ours; and thence to the imaginative mind, which contemplates with pleasure the Perfect in every thing, great or small, must ever present an attractive picture.

Sept. 20th.

This morning I devoted to the gleanings, and visited the ancient church of All Saints, where I found some admirable painted glass, though in very bad preservation. There was a Virgin and Child, of a beauty and sweetness of expression of which Raphael would not have needed to be ashamed. I then went to another old church, St. Mary’s, where there is a strange gateway on which a number of hieroglyphics and the signs of the zodiac are beautifully carved in stone. As I had been introduced to the Archbishop of York in London, I wrote him a note yesterday, and begged to be allowed to pay my respects to him. He returned a most polite answer, begging me to pass some days at his house. I however declined his invitation to more than a dinner, and drove to his country-house at five o’clock. I found a beautifully kept, luxuriant pleasure-ground, and stately old Gothic structure in a peculiar style, which pleased me much. It was not very large, but perfectly elegant; and at the four corners of the flat roof stood four colossal eagles with out-stretched wings. Instead of the heavy battlements, which have a good effect only in enormous masses, a beautiful sort of open-work ornament in stone, at once rich and light, ran round the roof as a parapet. That the interior corresponded in magnificence with the exterior you may conclude from the ecclesiastical rank and wealth of the possessor. The venerable Archbishop, still a very hale active man, conducted me about, and showed me his kitchen-gardens and hot-houses, which are remarkably fine. They were as neat as the most elegant drawing-room,—a thing which it would be impossible to make our gardeners understand. Not a trace of disorder or dirt, of boards and tools lying about, dunghills near the paths, or the like. On the walls were the choicest fruit-trees arranged in symmetrical lines; among them currant-bushes which had attained to such a growth by the removal of all the small under-branches, that they were twelve feet high, and loaded to excess with bunches like small grapes. In the hot houses, in which pines and grenadillas (a West-Indian fruit in the form of a little melon, and with a flavour like that of a pomegranate,) grew luxuriantly, was a different sort of vine in every window: all were thick-hung with fruit. The fruit-trees on the walls were covered with nets, and at a later season are matted, so that one may pluck ripe fruit till January. One part of the garden was full of ripe strawberries of a peculiar kind, and His Grace assured me he had them in the open air till January. He pointed out to me the Norman cress as a new vegetable of remarkably fine flavour, and told me it might be cut in the snow.

The multitude of flowers still in blossom which edged the beds of the kitchen-garden was striking. I know that this climate is favourable to gardeners, nevertheless they must excel ours in the management of flowers.

In the pleasure-ground I saw larches not only of enormous size, but as thick in foliage as pines, and their pendent branches extending twenty feet over the turf. I heard here, for the first time, that it is thought very beneficial to trees of this tribe[69] to touch the moist earth with their branches, for that they draw great nourishment in that way.

A dinner worthy of an Archbishop closed this agreeable evening. I have told you that the wives of English Bishops do not share their husband’s titles. The wife of the Archbishop of York is however, a ‘Lady in her own right;’ and what is more, a very agreeable woman. She has ten sons and three daughters.

Scarborough, Sept. 21st.

I forgot to tell you a droll story that was related yesterday; the strongest instance of ‘distraction’ (except that of the self-decapitating Irishman,) you ever heard. Lord Seaford said, that his uncle, the old Earl of Warwick, who was famous for fits of absence, travelled up to London one evening from Warwick Castle on important business, which he settled to his satisfaction the following day, and returned again in the night. He had hardly reached home, when he fainted. All the family were alarmed, and asked his valet if his Lord had been ill in London. “No,” replied the man, “he has been very well: but I really believe that he has forgotten to eat ever since he was away.” This was actually the case, and a plate of soup soon restored His Lordship to his accustomed health.

I write to you from a sea bathing place that has the reputation of being very beautiful. As yet I know nothing about it, for it was pitch dark when I arrived. In the morning I hope to enjoy the best possible view, for I am lodged in the fourth story, the house being choke-full.

On my journey I visited Castle Howard, the seat of Lord Carlisle. It is one of the English ‘show places,’ but does not please me in the least. It was built by Vanbrugh, an architect of the time of Louis the Fourteenth, who built Blenheim in the same bad French taste. That, however, imposes by its mass, but Castle Howard neither imposes nor pleases. The whole park, too, has something to the last degree melancholy, stiff, and desolate. On a hill is a large temple, the burial-place of the family. The coffins are placed around in cells, most of which are still empty; so that the whole looks like a bee-hive, only indeed more silent and tranquil. In the castle are some fine pictures and antiques. Among the former, the celebrated Three Marys of Annibal Carracci is particularly remarkable. This picture represents the dead Christ, behind whom his mother has sunk fainting; the elder Mary hastens to her with a gesture of lamentation, while Mary Magdalene throws herself despairingly on the body. The gradation from actual death to fainting, thence to the subdued grief of age, and lastly, to the living despair of youth, is given with inimitable truth. Every limb in the body of Christ appears truly dead: you see that the vital spirit has utterly quitted this form, so motionless, cold, and stiff. On the contrary, all is life and motion in the beautiful Magdalene, even to the very hair; all is the vigour and fulness of life, excited by the bitterest grief.—Opposite hangs Annibal’s portrait by himself. It has very striking features, but looks more like a ‘highwayman’ than an artist. You, dear Julia, would have been most attracted by a collection of drawings of the Lords and Ladies of the Court of Francis the First,—fifty or sixty portraits: they were painted memoirs. Among the antiques I was amused by a Goose of the Capitol in bronze, which you fancy you hear cackling with its outstretched wings and open bill. A picture of Henry the Eighth, by Holbein, in admirable preservation, is worth mention;—otherwise nothing particularly struck me. The well-known St. John by Domenichino is here, and given out to be an original. If I mistake not, the real one is in Germany.

The park, planted in large stiff masses, is remarkably rich in archways: I passed through about seven before I reached the house. Over a muddy pond, not far from the Castle, is a stone bridge of five or six arches, and over this bridge—no passage. It is only an ‘object;’ and that it may answer this description thoroughly, there is not a tree or a bush near it or before it. It seems that the whole grounds are just as they were laid out a hundred and twenty years ago. Obelisks and pyramids are as thick as hops, and every view ends with one, as a staring termination. One pyramid is, however, of use, for it is an inn.

Sept. 22nd.

If colds and consumptions are frequent in England, it is more to be attributed to the habits of the people than the climate. They have a peculiar predilection for walks on the wet grass; and in every public room there are open windows, so that it is hardly possible to bear the drafts. Even when they are shut the wind whistles through them; for they are seldom substantial, and never double. The climate too, however favourable to vegetation, is dreadful for men. This morning at nine o’clock, I rode out on a hired horse, in beautiful weather and a cloudless sky, and before I had been out an hour the most soaking rain wetted me through and through. At last I reached the village, where, in despair at not finding even a gate-way under which to take shelter, I sprang from my horse, and seeing a cottage door open, went in, and found two old women cooking something over a fire. In England, everything domestic is held so sacred and inviolable, that a man who enters a room without having cautiously announced himself and begged pardon, instantly excites alarm and displeasure. Although the cause of my intrusion ran in pretty obvious streams from my hat and clothes, I was not very cordially received by the old ladies. But what was the rage and horror of my hostesses ‘malgré elles,’ when my steed, whose sagacity would have done honour to Nestor himself, walked in at the door, and before anything could be done to stop him, took his station in the most quiet and decorous manner before the chimney-piece, and with a look of sly, affected stupidity, began to dry his dripping ears at the fire. I thought the women would have died of rage, and I of laughing. I had such compassion for my poor comrade in misfortune, that I did not like to turn him out by force; and so,—they scolding and storming, I trying to appease them with gentle words, and the more approved eloquence of other silver sounds,—we staid, half by force, half by entreaty, till the storm was a little over, and we were a little dried. The drying, however, was of small avail; for, at the entrance to the romantic Forge Valley, storm and rain began afresh. I surrendered myself to my fate, though wholly without defence, and consoled myself with the beauties of the surrounding spot,—a deep, narrow valley, clothed with rich wood, through which a rapid, foaming streamlet took its way. By the side of the brook was a good road. I remarked a pretty and simple way of enclosing a spring between two large blocks of stones set upright, and a third laid across. Through this rude portal the water gushed forth, and bounded on its course.

To avoid catching cold, if possible, I took a warm salt bath as soon as I arrived, and then proceeded to the ‘Sands,’—that is, the part of the beach left by the tide; a very singular promenade. Saddle-horses, and carriages of all kinds, stand in numbers for hire; and you may ride for miles on the very brink of the waves, over ground like velvet. The old Castle of Scarborough on the one side, and a fine iron bridge connecting two hills on the other, increase the picturesque character of the scene. I rode by the light of the evening sun up to the Castle, from which the view is magnificent, and which is itself an imposing object.

On the highest point of the ruin is an iron machine like a kibble, which serves as a beacon. A large tar-barrel is placed in it and set on fire. It burns like a flaming torch the night through. The Castle stands on a projecting rock, which rises to the height of a hundred and fifty or two hundred feet perpendicular from the sea. Around the Castle its summit is like a bowling-green.

Sept. 23rd.

To-day I rode along the sea-coast to Filey, where there is a celebrated bridge of rocks built into the sea by the hand of Nature. The sea was blue, and covered with sails. At Filey I took a guide. We passed along many strangely-shaped rocks, and came at length to this bridge, which is in fact only a broad reef, running out about three-quarters of a mile into the sea. The detached blocks were thrown about in fantastic groups, and it was necessary to take some care not to slip over their smooth-washed sides. The tide was coming in, and already covered a part of the reefs. After satisfying my curiosity I scrambled back, and took my way through a pleasant field to the nearest inn.

Flamborough Head, Sept. 24th:—Evening.

Distances are calculated quite otherwise here than with us. My respectable old mare, a hired one, brought me here very well, five German miles in two hours. As soon as I arrived, I hired another horse to ride a mile and a half (German) further, to see the light-house and cavern which render Flamborough Head remarkable. The weather was most brilliant, with a good deal of wind, so that I hoped this time to escape a wetting; but I was deceived; for I had scarcely reached the cliffs when I was regaled not only with the ‘obligato’ drenching rain, but also with the accompaniment of a violent tempest. This, however, was an agreeable variety; for thunder and lightning beheld from beetling cliffs overhanging a foaming sea are worth encountering some inconvenience for. The custom-house officer who accompanied me, very civilly brought me an umbrella, seeing the lightness of my dress; but the storm, and the slippery and perilous path at the edge of the precipice rendered it useless. The sea has washed away the rocks in such a manner that many stand like solitary towers or columns in the waves. They looked like huge sea-spirits,—their whiteness rendered more glaring by the inky sky. There are many caverns, to which there is access at low water. It was now high-tide, however, and I was obliged to hire a fishing-boat to take me to the largest of them. Inspired by the fresh breeze, I took an oar for the first time in my life, and rowed heartily: I find the exercise so pleasant that I shall certainly take it as often as possible. The sea was so rough that I could not help thinking we were in some danger, and expressed as much to my companion. He answered me very poetically; “O Sir! do you think life is not as sweet to me as it is to you, because I am only a poor fisherman? As far as the mouth of the cavern there is no danger, but we can’t go in to-day.” I was therefore obliged to content myself with casting a glance into the huge arch-way, whence the foam flew up like smoke, amid the howling and bellowing of the waves. As the fisherman assured me that sea-water never gave cold, I mounted my horse, still dripping from the salt wave, and rode to the light-house. This was the more interesting to me, as I had till now but a very imperfect conception of the construction of these buildings.[70]

An opportunity, which has presented itself, of sending this letter safely to the Embassy, enables me to share my travels with you thus far.

I therefore close it for the present,—always with Scheherezade’s condition of beginning again to-morrow.

‘Sans adieu,’ therefore,

Your L——.


Whitby, Sept. 25th.

Dear Julia,

I slept rather late after my yesterday’s fatigues, and did not leave Scarborough till two o’clock. The road to Whitby is very hilly, and the aspect of the country singular. As far as the eye can reach, neither tree, house, wall, nor hedge;—nothing but an endless sea of wavy hills, often of a strange regularity of form, like heaps of rubbish shot down, thickly overgrown with heather, which at a near view presents the most beautiful shades of purple and red, but at a distance sheds one uniform dingy brown over the whole landscape, promising a rich harvest to grouse-shooters. Nothing breaks the uniformity but a number of white spots moving slowly here and there—the down sheep, with their black faces and fine wool. About three miles from Whitby, as you descend from the hilly country, the scene gradually changes, and near the town becomes very romantic. Meanwhile English cleanliness and elegance sensibly diminish. Whitby is exactly like an old German town; without ‘trottoirs,’ equally dirty, and with as narrow streets.

Probably few strangers of any ‘apparence’ visit this miserable place; or whether they took me for somebody else I know not,—but so it was, that they besieged me like some strange animal, and did not let me depart without an escort of at least a hundred people, who crowded round me, very good-naturedly indeed, but rather too pressingly, and examined me from head to foot. I could not help thinking of a droll anecdote the Duke of Leeds told me. This nobleman was very affable with his tenants and people; one of them came up to him one day when he was riding, and told him he had a great favour to beg of him. The Duke asked him what it was. The man replied, after some hesitation, that he had a little boy who plagued him day and night to let him see the Duke, and that as His Grace was now close to his cottage, he would perhaps do him the great favour to let his son look at him. The Duke readily consented, and rode laughing to the cottage, where the delighted father ran in and fetched his child. The boy stood amazed, looking at the middle-aged gentleman of not very commanding exterior before him, of whose greatness and power he had heard so much; gazed at him a long time; then touched him; and suddenly asked, “Can you swim?” “No, my good boy,” said the Duke. “Can you fly?” “No, I can’t fly neither.” “Then I like father’s drake better, for he can do both.”

Whitby has a harbour shut in between very picturesque rocks, with a handsome granite pier stretching far into the sea, from which you have a fine view of the town. The ruins of the celebrated abbey, standing on an abrupt crag, are peculiarly beautiful. It was founded by a King of Northumberland in the sixth century, and is now the property of some private individual, who does nothing for the preservation of this sublime memorial of ancient greatness. His cattle feed among its mouldering walls, which are so choked with dirt and rubbish that I could hardly approach to see them. I alighted by the light of the young moon, and was enchanted by the romantic effect,—lofty columns, darting up into the air like the slender trunks of pines; long rows of windows in good preservation, and many finely executed ornaments about them, still as perfect as if the wind of the first autumn now played among their ample arches. Other parts were quite altered and decayed, and many a frightful face lay scattered about, grinning at me in the moonlight. Near the abbey is a very ancient church, which is still used, and is surrounded by hundreds of moss-grown gravestones.

I am lodged in a humble but very comfortable country inn, kept by two sisters, whose civility is of that sort which springs from real good-nature and zeal, and not from regard to pelf alone. As I asked for a book they brought me the Chronicle of Whitby, which I turned over, while the wind roared as loudly without, as it does round our good castle of M——. In this Chronicle is a valuation of lands in the seventh century, in which Whitby, with its appurtenances, is rated at sixty shillings!

I find from it, that the vast and magnificent abbey has been destroyed neither by fire nor by violence, but was delivered over by more silent tyranny to the tooth of time. Henry the Eighth confiscated this with the rest, and sold it, even to the stones of the building. Fortunately, after several houses in the town had been built of the materials, an ancestor of the present possessor bought what remained, which has ever since been left ‘in statu quo.’


I had written a note to Lord Mulgrave, the proprietor of a great alum-work, and of a beautiful house and park on the sea-shore, begging permission to see them. He sent me a very polite answer, and a groom on horseback to conduct me. This aggravated the yesterday’s misery; and the chief magistrate of the little town now though fit to becompliment me by the mission of two of his colleagues, who were also secretaries of the Museum, which they proposed to show me. As it contains many very curious fossils found in this neighbourhood, I accepted their offer. Half the town was collected again, and followed us, with an ‘arrière garde’ of a very noisy ‘jeunesse.’ In the Museum I found a number of the members assembled, and a blooming company of ladies, from whose attractive faces I was continually forced to turn away my eyes to look at a crocodile or a petrified fish. The two secretaries had divided the duties between them:—one did the honours of the fish and amphibia; the other of the quadrupeds, birds, and minerals: and both were so zealous that I should see everything in their respective departments, while some dilettanti were no less eager to show me other things, that I had need of the hundred eyes of Argus to take in all. The thing which interested me the most was an Esquimaux canoe with the fishing apparatus complete, presented by Captain Parry. It is made entirely of whalebone and seal-skins, and so light that one can scarcely conceive how it can encounter the sea. It is tolerably long; but in the centre, at its greatest breadth, scarcely a foot across; the whole is enclosed like a box, with the exception of a round hole in the middle, in which the Esquimaux sits and balances his little bark with a double oar. The petrifactions of all kinds, as well of existing as of antediluvian animals and plants, are extremely numerous and fine, and the large crocodile, almost perfect, is certainly ‘unique’ in its kind. The gentlemen insisted on accompanying me back to my inn, whither we were attended by the usual ‘cortège.’ As I drove off, a dreadful hurrah resounded, and several of the children of both sexes did not quit me till they found it impossible to keep pace with the horses.

I now drove slowly along the beach, conducted by Lord Mulgrave’s servant. I alighted to walk, and amused myself with picking up little stones of the most brilliant colours which covered the beach. In an hour we reached the alum-work, which lies in the most romantic situation, between the abrupt cliffs overhanging the sea. I examined it all very minutely, as you will see by the accompanying letter to the A—— D——.

I had to go back along a path which seemed fit only for goats, and of the inconveniences of which the overseer had advertized me. Sometimes it was scarcely a foot broad, and at its sides rose a smooth alum rock of two hundred feet perpendicular height. Along such paths, many of which intersect the rocks, the men work, and hew away the alum ore which lies near the surface. This affords the strangest spectacle you can imagine: the men appear to hang to the wall of rock like swallows, and are often obliged to be pulled up by ropes. Below, in the valley, are large cars for carrying away the ore, which is incessantly heard clattering down the rocks. It took me two hours to see all; and I then drove to the house, where Lord Mulgrave’s son (the earl himself being ill of the gout) regaled me very hospitably with an excellent luncheon, and conducted me about the park. It is indebted for its greatest beauties to Nature, to whose rocks, brooks, and wooded glens, you have access through very judiciously-cut roads, some German miles in length. From the house you look from under high oaks and beeches along a velvet turf, upon the sea, covered with a hundred sails. One of the greatest ornaments of the park is the old castle,—a ruin believed to have been originally a Roman fort, and afterwards the castle of the Saxon prince Wanda. At a later period it was given to the ancestor of the present family by King John, as a reward for the murder of the young prince, so touchingly described by Shakspeare. The view from the old battlements is wild and picturesque. In the new castle, which was built fifty years ago in the Gothic style, I was much struck with the portrait of a female ancestor of the present earl, who must have been lovely and no less original; for she is painted in deep mourning, and yet she sits smiling at a window with this inscription in old English: “Since my husband’s love was but a jest, so is my mourning but a jest.”

Young Mr. Phipps told me that a strange accident occurred on a ridge of slate-rocks which run into the sea near the house.—Two girls were sitting on a cliff with their backs to the sea; a sharp fragment of the slate split off from the rock high above them, and falling with increasing velocity cut off the head of one of them, (who was earnestly talking to the other,) so clean, that it rolled to a distance on the sand, while the trunk remained unmoved. The parents are still living in the village.

Ripon, Sept. 27th.

I slept through the night very well in my carriage, breakfasted in the garden of a pretty inn, and then hastened to Studley Park, which contains the famous ruins of Fountain’s Abbey, esteemed the largest and most beautiful in England. They far exceeded my expectation, as did the park.—I must describe them to you as I saw them.

The way leads through a majestic wood, first to a steep hill, and then, at an abrupt turn, to a green valley about three or four hundred feet wide, in the centre of which is a little river broken into various natural waterfalls. On one side of the valley is a considerable chain of hills, overgrown with venerable ashes, beeches, and oaks; on the other, an abrupt wall of rock overhung with trailing plants, and also crowned with old trees. The whole end of the valley is closed by the ruins and the lofty towers of the abbey. You will easily form some conception of the vastness of these ruins, when I tell you that the buildings belonging to the abbey, when entire, covered fifteen acres of ground, and that the ruins now cover four. The nave of the church, great part of the walls of which are still standing, is three hundred and fifty-one feet in length, the oriel window fifty feet high, and the tower, though partly fallen down, a hundred and sixty-six feet high. The architecture is of the best period—the twelfth and thirteenth centuries—as simple as it is grand. A gateway leads from the church to the cloister, three hundred feet long and forty-two wide; a second to the cloister garden, which is cultivated as a flower-garden by its present possessor, and surrounded by various picturesque ruins,—the library, court and chapter-house. The vaulted ceiling of the latter, like the Römer in Marienburg, is supported by a single pillar in the centre. The groined roof of the kitchen is constructed, with consummate skill, without any support. Near it is the magnificent confectory, a hundred and eight feet long and forty-five wide:—this was, of course, the crown and glory of the abbey, which was famed for its luxury and dissoluteness. In the church are many monuments—one of Lord Mowbray in full chain armour, carved in stone; further on, several abbots; and lastly, a stone coffin, which contained the mortal remains of Harry Percy. Above it is an angel, in good preservation, and beneath it the date 1283, very distinct. At the top of the tower is a Latin inscription in gigantic Gothic letters, which proclaims from on high these beautiful and appropriate words, “Glory and praise to God alone through all ages!” The whole ruin is hung with draperies of ivy and creeping plants, and majestic trees here and there wave their tops above it. The river winds by, and a few steps further on, turns the old abbey-mill, which is still in use; as if to teach the lesson, that when power and magnificence pass away, the useful retains its modest existence. At a short distance behind the abbey stands the old dwelling of the proprietor, which was built out of the fallen stones of the ruins in the sixteenth century. This, too, is highly picturesque, though of course in a far less noble style. Its walled gardens with their high-cut yew hedges, and regular, trim flower-beds; and the mixture of objects comparatively modern, yet now fast acquiring a claim to antiquity, give the fancy an agreeable and spacious field to expatiate in. Here are perhaps the oldest yews in England. One, which is thought to be a thousand years old, is thirty feet in circumference in the thickest part of its stem. Among the carvings in the house are those of two old knights taken from the abbey, with the inscription, probably modern, ‘Sic transit gloria mundi.’ The decay of Fountain’s Abbey, too, is to be attributed to the suppression of monasteries under Henry the Eighth.

Leaving the abbey, in half an hour you reach a beautiful and finely kept pleasure-ground, which is rendered peculiarly delightful by its diversity of hill and vale, noble trees, and well-placed clumps; though rather encumbered with a multitude of old-fashioned summer-houses, temples, and worthless leaden statues. In one of these temples, dedicated to the Gods of antiquity, stands a bust of—Nero! But these slight defects might easily be removed, while such a combination of natural beauty can rarely be met with. At the end of the deer-park stands the house of the proprietress, an elderly single lady of large fortune. I met her in the garden, and was invited by her to luncheon, which I gladly accepted, as my long walk had made me very hungry.

To return to the ruin.—Giving way to my critical vein, I must add one thing,—which is, that while too little care is bestowed upon Whitby, too much is bestowed upon this. Not a loose stone lies on the ground, which is mowed as smooth as a carpet. The old cloister garden is laid out in a too modern taste; and were this poetic structure mine, I would immediately set out about creating a little more artificial wildness about it; for the whole ought to partake of that air of half-decayed grandeur which has the greatest power over the imagination.

After my return to Ripon I visited the church there—another beautiful remnant of antiquity, with a choir full of the richest carvings. There is a subterranean arched room—a sort of catacomb, adorned with skulls and bones,—in which I busied myself a long while with my favourite craniological researches. Among these human ruins was a skull so strikingly like my own, that it even struck the clerk. What may the old boy have been?—perhaps myself in another garment? Nobody could give me any account of this house of bone. There was the genuine French skull of an emigrant priest, which the clerk himself had smuggled in. He looked so polite and so talkative, that I fancied he would have said, ‘Monsieur, j’ai l’honneur de vous présenter mes respects; vous êtes trop poli de venir nous rendre visite. Nous avons si rarement l’occasion de causer ici!’ It was a well bred skull—that you saw at the first glance; my portrait, on the other hand, looked very thoughtful and silent. It would be odd enough if one thus stood over one’s own old bones.

Harrowgate, Sept. 28th.

This bathing place is much after the fashion of ours, and more social than most of the English ones. People meet at ‘table d’hôte,’ at tea, and at the waters, and thus easily become acquainted. The place consists of two villages, both pretty and cheerful, and situated in a beautiful fertile country. Unfortunately, the weather is now dreadful: it rains incessantly; and the sulphureous water I drank to-day has made me so ill that I cannot leave my room.

September 29th.

These waters do not agree with me at all; nevertheless, I made my way to-day to the World’s End, a short walk here,—‘The World’s End’ being only a neighbouring village, with a pretty view into—the world’s beginning; for as it is round, you may make it begin and end where you will. At ‘table d’hôte’ I met about seventy other persons. Though the season is nearly over, there are still about a thousand visitors, most of them of the middle classes; for Harrowgate is not one of the fashionable watering places, though it seems to me far more pleasant than the most fashionable Brighton.

An old General of eighty, who was my neighbour at dinner, interested me extremely. He had met with Frederick the Great, Kaunitz, the Emperor Joseph, Mirabeau, and Napoleon, on various occasions of his life, and told me many interesting particulars about them. He had likewise been Governor of Surinam, and of the Isle of France; had commanded for a long time in India, and was now what we call General of Infantry, (next rank to a Field-Marshal.) All this would give him a high station with us:—here, no such thing; and this he remarked himself. “Here,” said he, “the aristocracy is every thing: without family influence, without connexion, without some person of rank by whom a man may be pushed, he may indeed attain a high rank in the army; but, except under some very peculiar circumstances, this gives him no consideration. I am only a baronet,” added he; “yet that empty and trifling hereditary title gives me more consideration than my long services or my high military rank; and I am not called General,—or, as I should be with you, ‘Euer Excellenz,’—but Sir Charles.”

After dinner the company re-assembled to tea, which ended with a little dance.

Leeds, Oct. 1st.

I remained in Harrowgate so long, chiefly in expectation of letters from you, as I had given L—— that address. To-day, then, I found one on my return from my walk: you can think the joy it gave me.

I have accompanied you in thought to Dresden, and drunk your health before the illuminated letters of your name. It is one of my strange peculiarities, that though I was four years in garrison at D——, I never saw either Pillnitz or Moritzburg; so that your description of the latter, with the old Landvoigt, was very interesting to me.

You reproach me with liking better to write than to speak upon certain subjects. You are right on the whole. But this affair,—and indeed all sorts of petitioning,—is so contrary to my nature, that I speak awkwardly and ill, and do better if I write. Besides, failure is not so disagreeable.—But back to my journey.

The magnificent seats in England are really almost countless. One must confine oneself to the most remarkable. Ten miles from Harrowgate I found Harewood Park, a delightful residence;—fine natural wood, with glens, rocks, a copious mountain stream, the ruin of an old castle on a hill,—all situated in the richest country, and with distant views of the Cumberland mountains.

The scene was enlivened in a striking manner. Just as I drove past the house, I saw the possessor, Lord Harewood, with his pack of a hundred hounds, his red-coated huntsmen, and a number of high-mettled horses coming down a hill, on their return from a fox-hunt. I could not avoid going up to him to explain the cause of my being here. I found a tall handsome man, of remarkably winning air, in appearance and manner young and active, in years (which one must be assured of to believe it,) sixty-five. He received me with singular courtesy, said he had had the pleasure of seeing me several times in London, (‘je n’en savais pas un mot,’) and begged me to allow him to show me his park. I entreated him not to give himself the trouble, after the toils of the chase (in which men generally ride five or six German miles full gallop, and leap fifty or sixty hedges and ditches:) but all my entreaties were vain; and this fine old man accompanied me, up hill and down dale, over the whole of his princely domain. What interested me most, as being new to me, was the kennel. Here I saw a hundred and fifty dogs in two perfectly clean rooms, each containing a large bed for seventy-five dogs, and each having its own enclosure in front. There was not the slightest offensive smell, nor the least dirt. In each yard was a tub with running water, and a man armed with a broom, whose whole business it is to keep the ground continually washed, for which purpose he can let the water flow over it at pleasure. The dogs are accustomed to perfect obedience, and keep their bed and room very clean. It is a great art to feed them properly; for to sustain their great exertions, they must be kept very lean, and yet their flesh ought to be as firm as iron. This was perfectly accomplished here; and there could not be a more beautiful sight than these slender, obedient, and happy-looking animals, half of whom were just returned from the chase, and yet seemed quite unwearied. They all lay however on their huge common bed, and looked at us affectionately, wagging their tails; while the other half sprang eagerly and wildly forward, into their court. The stables too, built in a quadrangle at a little distance from the house, were very fine, and contained about thirty noble horses. My carriage had followed, and Lord Harewood now gave the postillion instructions which way to drive through the park, that I might see the most beautiful points, and then sauntered home accompanied by two great water-dogs and a jet-black spaniel. He was in fox-hunting costume,—a scarlet coat that looks like a livery.

I forgot to say that we had first made a tour through the house, which is richly and handsomely furnished, and contains family pictures by Vandyk, Reynolds, and Lawrence, the three best painters of England in their several centuries. There was one work of art in the principal apartment quite peculiar,—red curtains painted on wood, so admirably executed that Rauch himself would have been astounded at the flow of the drapery. Though I was told what they were, I could scarcely believe it till I convinced myself by the touch, so completely deceptive was the imitation of the silken stuff. Another uncommon decoration consisted in having the ceilings of all the rooms of the same designs as the carpets; a very expensive thing, if, as I imagine, the carpets were all woven after the pattern of the ceilings.

The long drive through the park, a good league, was very delightful. The road lay at first along the lake, with a majestic view of the house, and then through the wood to the river, which forms various cascades and little lakes. The wood itself was full of variety,—now thick and almost impervious to the view; then grove-like; then open patches with a dense enclosure; or young copse from which deer were peeping out; or anon a long and narrow vista to the distant mountains.

A nobleman thus situated is a dignified representative of his class; and it is very natural that, thus favoured by nature and by fortune, he should appear kind, benevolent, respectable, and happy, like this noble Earl, whose image will always afford me as delightful and refreshing a subject of recollection, as the beautiful landscape it graces.

Very different from the impression of the day, and yet not less agreeable, was that of the evening. I reached the great manufacturing town of Leeds just in the twilight. A transparent cloud of smoke was diffused over the whole space which it occupies, on and between several hills; a hundred red fires shot upwards into the sky, and as many towering chimneys poured forth columns of black smoke.

The huge manufactories, five stories high, in which every window was illuminated, had a grand and striking effect. Here the toiling artisan labours far into the night. And that some romantic features might not be wanting in the whirl of business and the illumination of industry, two ancient Gothic churches reared their heads above the mass of houses, and the moon poured her silver light upon their towers, and seemed to damp the hard glare of the busy crowd below, with her serene majesty.

Leeds has near 120,000 inhabitants, and yet no representatives in parliament,—because it is a new town: while, as it is well known, many a wretched ruined village sends two members, who are, of course, the creatures of the proprietor. Glaring and monstrous as is this nuisance, the statesmen of England have not yet dared to abate it; perhaps because they fear that any change in so complicated a piece of machinery may be a dangerous operation, to which recourse should be had only in extreme necessity.

Late in the Evening.

I have adapted myself to many English customs,—among others, to cold dinners. As a change they are sometimes wholesome, and, being completely national, are almost always of excellent quality. To-day my solitary table was covered with no less than the following varieties; a cold ham, an awful ‘roast beef,’ a leg of mutton, a piece of roast veal, a hare pie, a partridge, three sorts of pickle, cauli-flowers cooked in water, potatoes, butter, and cheese. That this would have been meat enough to feed a whole party of German burghers, ‘saute aux yeux.’

October 2nd.

The first thing I saw this morning before my windows was the refined contrivance of a grocer, who had not been satisfied with exhibiting, like most of his brethren, a number of Chinese tea-chests, mandarins, and vases, but had put a piece of clockwork in his window, a stately automaton Turk diligently grinding coffee. From hence I proceeded on my further tour. First I visited the Market-hall, a beautiful building, in which the market is held under a glass roof; then the Cloth-hall, an immense room entirely filled with cloth of all sorts and colours; and lastly, the largest cloth manufactory of the place, which is worked by three steam-engines. Here you begin with the raw material (the sorting of the wool,) and finish with the perfect cloth; so that if you took a tailor with you, you might bring your wool in the manufactory in the morning, and come out with a coat made of it in the evening. Our friend R—— actually performed this feat, and wore the coat for a long time with great predilection. The various machines are ingenious in the highest degree; but the stench and the unwholesome air, as well as the dust in many of the operations, must be very unhealthy to the poor workmen, who moreover were all of a dark blue colour. The young man who showed me the manufactory said, however, that the cotton manufactories were much more unhealthy, from the fine and subtle dust; that in them a workman seldom reached his fiftieth year, whereas here there were instances of men of sixty. The Gothic churches which yesterday produced such an effect at a distance, presented nothing remarkable on a nearer inspection; and the town itself, enveloped in an everlasting fog produced by the smoke, which never ceases day nor night, is the most disagreeable place you can imagine.


Continuing my journey, I made the first halt at Templenewsome, a house of Elizabeth’s time, belonging to the Dowager Marchioness of Hertford. This edifice has a great singularity; instead of battlements, a stone gallery surrounds the roof, consisting of letters which compose a sentence from the Bible. The park is melancholy, and the furniture of the house old-fashioned, without being interesting. I found nothing remarkable in the picture-gallery, but in the other rooms there were some interesting portraits: both the Guises, the uncles of Mary of Scotland; General Monk, who is strikingly like our old friend Thielemann; and Lord Darnley (Mary’s husband,) to whom this castle belonged; it hangs in the room in which he was born. I had a very bad headache; for which reason, perhaps, a second park, Stainbrook, appeared to me dreary and uncomfortable, nor could I admire the pictures. The road then led me through a series of manufacturing places, which looked like burning towns and villages. Rotherham itself, where I now am, is celebrated for its great iron-works, and I intend to see some of them to-morrow, if my illness goes off.

October 3rd.

After having walked half a German mile to the largest iron-work, I unluckily found the engine stopped, in consequence of the furnace having received some damage yesterday. I could therefore see but little, and went a mile further on to the steel-works. Here the steam-engine had just got out of order, and the operations were likewise suspended. So I wandered on again to the thread and linen manufactory; and my own astonishment, as well as that of my guide, was not small, when we perceived no signs of working here also, and heard that the great spindle had been broken in the morning. With this extraordinary ‘guignon’ ended my useless efforts to instruct myself for to-day; indeed there was no time to make any more.


I rode from Rotherham to Wentworth House, the seat of Lord Fitzwilliam, another truly regal domain, for extent, richness, and splendour; but (like many English parks) melancholy and monotonous; the immense tracts of grass, with a few scattered trees, and the tame sheep-like deer grazing upon them, in time become intolerable. Certainly, it is a most tasteless custom to have these green deserts extend on one side up to the very houses; it makes them look like enchanted palaces, inhabited by deer instead of men. It is easier to give oneself up to this notion since there is seldom a human being to be seen outside the house, which is usually shut up, so that you are often obliged to ring at the door for a quarter of an hour before you can get admittance, or the Lady ‘Chátelaine’ appears to play the cicerone, and receive her fee. Wentworth House is adorned with many valuable statues and pictures. Amongst others, a beautiful picture by Vandyk, representing the builder of the castle, Lord Strafford, just as sentence of death has been announced to him: he is holding the fatal scroll in his hand, and dictating to his secretary his last will. Another picture represents his son, a beautiful boy of sixteen, in a most becoming mourning dress,—black, with rich lace, fawn-coloured boots, a tight enamelled collar, a short cloak, a rich sword, and a scarf ‘en bandoulière.

The picture of a race-horse as large as life, painted on gray linen, and placed in a niche without a frame, really deceived me; I thought it alive. This horse won so much, that the former lord built a quadrangle of magnificent stables, the most complete I have seen in this country, with the money. In these stables, which contain also a riding-school, stand sixty beautiful and picked horses.

An excellent portrait of the vain and ambitious Cardinal Wolsey, and one of the fickle Duke of Buckingham, are very interesting. The housekeeper, pointing to the portrait of Harvey, said: “This is the man who invented the circulation of the blood.” One would like to make that man’s acquaintance.

In the flower-gardens I found some beautiful parts; amongst others, an enclosure made of wire-fence, running along the gay parterres, peopled with foreign birds, a clear brook flowing through it, and planted with evergreens, on which the feathered inhabitants could sport at pleasure.

Several black swans, which have already reared four young ones, were swimming on a small pond near it. They seem to be completely accustomed to this climate. I was struck by a common beech on the banks of the water, which, by early polling, had completely changed its character. It was very low, but its branches stretched out on all sides, so as to cover an immense space, and form a regularly leafy tent of unequalled beauty. A fir, polled in the same manner, had attained a beauty far greater than that of its natural growth.

I arrived in good time at Sheffield, where, from the quantity of smoke, the sun appeared shorn of his beams. I looked at the astonishing productions in cutlery; as, for instance, a knife with a hundred and eighty blades; scissors which cut perfectly and can be used, though hardly visible with the naked eye, &c. &c. In defiance of superstition, I bought you needles and scissors enough for your whole life, with some other newly-invented trifles, which I am sure will please you.

Nottingham, Oct. 4th.

I rode the whole night, and saw only from a distance, and by moonlight, Newstead Abbey, Lord Byron’s birth-place and family seat, now much neglected.

Besides the Gothic church (of which nearly every English town possesses one, more or less beautiful,) there is not much to be seen in Nottingham; a remarkable manufactory of net excepted, where the steam-engines do all the work, and only a single man stands by the machinery to take care that nothing goes wrong.

It is most strange to see the iron monsters begin to work, as if moved by invisible hands, and the most beautiful lace, stretched in a frame, comes slowly forth at the top, neat and finished; while the spindles, with the raw thread wound round them, keep on their perpetual motion below; the whole unaided, as I have said, by a single human hand.

It was just the time of the Fair, which had drawn together a great number of curiosities; among others, a beautiful collection of wild beasts. Two Bengal tigers, of an enormous size, were so perfectly tame, that even ladies and children were allowed to enter their cage, or the animals were let out in the riding school where the collection was exhibited. No dog could be more gentle; but I doubt whether our police would have suffered such experiments. A remarkable animal was the horned horse, or Nyl Ghau, from the Himalaya mountains,—handsome and fleet, and in some respects very strangely formed. The beautiful wild ass of Persia, which they say is swifter and more untireable than a horse, and can live for weeks without food, was new to me. There were also here, as in the collection of animals on the Pfaueninsel near Berlin, a giant and a dwarf.

London, Oct. 6th.

Before I left Nottingham I visited the neighbouring seat of Lord Middleton, which is worth seeing. The park offered little remarkable. There was a curious old picture—a faithful portrait of the house and gardens as they existed two hundred years ago. It is very interesting; the more so, as you see the family in the strangest dresses, with a great company and numerous attendants, walking in the garden, and as the noble owner therein represented is the same who is so often mentioned in connexion with the celebrated ghost story. Every one ought to have pictures of this kind painted for his successors: the comparisons they suggest are always amusing, and sometimes instructive.

I reached St. Albans in the night, and saw the celebrated Abbey by the light of the moon, and of lanterns. The clerk was quickly awakened, and conducted me thither. I first admired the exterior of the building, built by the Saxons, in the eighth century, of indestructible Roman bricks, and then entered the imposing interior. The nave of the church is doubtless one of the largest in the world; it is more than six hundred feet long. There are many beautiful stone carvings; and although little could be distinctly seen by so feeble a light, the general effect by this strange and uncertain illumination, with our dark figures in the middle, and the sounds of the midnight bell from the tower, was most romantic and awful.

This was still more the case when we descended into the vault where, in an open leaden coffin, lies the skeleton of the Duke of Gloucester who was poisoned six hundred years ago by Cardinal Beaufort. Time has rendered it as brown and smooth as polished mahogany; and curious antiquarians have already robbed it of several bones. The clerk, who was an Irishman, seized one of the leg-bones without ceremony, and brandishing it in the air like a cudgel, he remarked that this bone had become so beautiful and hard with time, that it would make an excellent shillelah. What would the haughty Duke have said, if he could have known how his remains would be treated by such ignoble hands? The magnificent oak ceiling, more than 1000 years old, is a glorious proof of the solid architecture of those times. It is still as beautiful and perfect as if there were no cyphers after the unit. The painted windows, with the golden tomb of St. Alban, were unhappily almost entirely destroyed in Cromwell’s time.

I reached London early enough to repose half the night; and my first business in the morning was to finish this letter, already swollen to a packet. In a few hours I hope it will be on its way.

Do not be impatient therefore; and receive this letter with the same affectionate indulgence as its numerous predecessors.

Your faithful L——.


London, Nov. 1st, 1827.

A Frenchman says; “L’illusion fut inventée pour le bonheur des mortels; elle leur fait presqu’autant de bien que l’espérance.” If this is true, happy man is my dole, for I am never at a loss for illusions or hopes.

Some of these have certainly been thrown to the winds by your letter; but be of good courage, there is already a fresh crop of new ones springing up as fast as mushrooms.—More of them anon.

Concerning the intolerable, sleepy President, I cannot possibly write from hence. Besides, as a dandy would say, the man is not ‘fashionable’ enough. And indeed you manage all these affairs so admirably, that it were a shame not to leave them entirely to you. This is selfishness on my part, but of a pardonable sort, since it is advantageous to us both * * *

* * * * * * *

During the last few days I have made a little excursion to Brighton, taking a circuitous route back. Arundel Castle, the seat of the Duke of Norfolk, was one of the objects of my curiosity. It has some points of resemblance to Warwick, but is far inferior to it, though of equal antiquity. Here also is an artificial mound and keep, at the eastern end. The view from the top of the round ruined tower must be magnificent, but to-day the fog rendered it impossible to see it; indeed I could not even distinguish the terrace gardens surrounding the castle: I therefore consoled myself in the company of a dozen large tame horned owls, which inhabit what was once the warder’s room. One of them has been here these fifty years, is very amiable, and barked when he wanted any thing, exactly like a dog. The English are great lovers of animals,—a taste in which I entirely sympathize. Thus, in many parks you find colonies of rooks, which hover round the house or castle in vast flights, and are in very good keeping with an ancient castle and its towering trees; though their cawing is not the most agreeable music in the world. The interior of Arundel Castle has nothing very distinguished. The numerous painted windows are modern; and among the family pictures only one struck me,—that of the accomplished Lord Surrey, put to death by Henry the Eighth, the costume of which was very singular.

The library is small, but very magnificent; wainscoted with cedar, and ornamented with beautiful carving and painting; in short, it wanted nothing but books, of which there were not more than a few hundreds.

A very large but very simple hall, called the Baron’s Hall, has a great number of painted windows, the merit of which is not remarkable.

In the apartments there was a quantity of old furniture, preserved with great care to prevent its falling to pieces, in its frail condition. This fashion is now general in England. Things which we should throw away as old-fashioned and worm-eaten, here fetch high prices, and new ones are often made after the old patterns. In venerable mansions, when not destructive of convenience, they have a very good effect. In modern buildings they are ludicrous.

The old part of the castle is said to have been a Roman fort, and many Roman bricks are found in the walls. In later times it was still a place of defence, and sustained several sieges. The modern part, in the style of the ancient, was built by the predecessor of the present duke, and cost, as I was told, eight hundred thousand pounds. The same thing might certainly have been done in Germany for three hundred thousand reichsthalers. The garden appeared to me diversified and extensive, and the park is said to be very noble and picturesque, but the horrid weather hindered me from seeing it. In the evening I drove to Petworth, where there is another fine house. I write from the inn, where I was settled in a few minutes as if at home, for my travelling arrangements and conveniences have been greatly perfected since my residence in England.

Petworth House, Oct. 26.

Colonel C—— came to my inn early in this morning, and reproached me with not driving straight to the house of his father-in-law, Lord E——, the owner of Petworth House. He pressed me so kindly to spend at least a day there, that I could not refuse. My luggage was soon transported thither, and I as quickly installed in my room. It is a fine modern palace, with a noble collection of pictures and antiques, and a large park which contains a celebrated stud. I was peculiarly struck with three of the pictures,—Henry the Eighth, a full-length, by Holbein, remarkable for the exquisite painting of the dress and ornaments, and the fresh masterly colouring: a portrait of the immortal Newton, which is far less distinguished for its expression of intelligence, than for its pre-eminently elegant and gentlemanly air; and one of Maurice of Orange, so like our poet Houwald that it might pass for him. The mixture of statues and pictures which is common here, is disadvantageous to both.

Among the curiosities is a family relic,—the great sword of Harry Percy, an ancestor of Lord E——’s. The library served, as usual, as drawing-room,—a very rational and agreeable plan. It was fitted up according to your taste,—only the best modern books, in elegant bindings; for all others there was another room upstairs.

The freedom in this house was perfect, which rendered it doubly agreeable to me. One really feels not the slightest ‘gène.’ There were many guests of both sexes. The host himself is a learned and accomplished connoisseur in art, and at the same time a very conspicuous and successful man ‘on the turf.’ In his stud I saw a horse about thirty years old, (‘Whalebone’,) who was obliged to be supported by several grooms when he attempted to walk, and whose foals still unborn, fetch enormous sums. That’s what I call a glorious old age. ‘Au reste,’ the regulations of the stud are very different here from ours. With all your appetite for knowledge, however, this ‘thema’ might interest you little, so that I shall go on to other matters.

On the following day, arrived the Duchess of St. A——, a woman whose ever ascending fortunes have been remarkable enough. The earliest recollections of her infancy are those of a deserted, starving, shivering child, in a solitary barn in an English village. Thence she was taken by a band of gipsies;—quitting them, she entered a strolling company of players. By her agreeable person, high spirits, and original humour, she gained some reputation in her new profession, gradually secured patronage and friends, and lived in long and undisturbed connexion with a rich banker, who at length married her, and at his death left her seventy thousand a year. This enormous fortune afterwards promoted her to be the wife of the third English Duke, and (by a curious coincidence) the descendant of the celebrated actress Nell Gwynne, to whose charms the Duke owes his title, in the same manner as his wife has acquired hers.

She is a very good-natured woman, who is not ashamed to speak of the past—on the contrary, alludes to it perhaps rather too much.

* * * * * * *

After an agreeable visit of three days, I returned hither, and now celebrate my birth-day in the profoundest solitude, with closed doors. Three-fourths of my melancholy fits I may certainly ascribe to the month in which I first saw the light. May children are far more cheerful: I never saw a hypochondriacal son of the Spring. A song called Prognostica once fell into my hands: I am very sorry I did not keep it; for it told a man’s fortune according to the month of his birth. I only remember that those born in October were to have a melancholy temper, and that the prophecy began thus:—

“Ein Junge geboren im Monat October
Wird eim Critiker, und das ein recht grober.”[71]

I leave you now for a great dinner at Prince E——’s, for I will not devote the whole day to solitude; I am too superstitious for that. Adieu.

November 4th.

In my quality of Chevalier de St. Louis, I was invited to-day to a great dinner at Prince P——’s, in commemoration of the Saint’s day, or the ‘jour de fête’ of the king of France,—I really don’t know which. After it, I went to see the Continuation of Don Juan at Drury Lane. ‘Of course’ the first act was laid in hell, where Don Juan immediately seduces the Furies, and at last even the devil’s grandmother, for which offence he is forcibly ejected by His Satanic Majesty. Just as he reaches the picturesque shores of the fire-rolling Styx, Charon is in the act of ferrying over three female souls from London. While they are landing, Don Juan occupies the old ferryman’s attention with changing a bank-note (for paper money is current in the infernal regions,) seizes the moment to make off with them from the shore, and conducts them back to earth. Arrived in London, he has his usual adventures,—duels, elopements, &c.; the equestrian statue at Charing Cross invites him to tea; but his creditors carry him off to the King’s Bench, whence he is delivered by marrying a rich wife, in whom he at length finds that full punishment for all his sins which hell could not afford. Madame Vestris as Don Juan is the prettiest and most seductive young fellow you can imagine, and, it is easy to see, does not want practice.

The piece amused me. Still more amusing was a new novel which I found on my table, the scene of which is laid in the year 2200,—not a very new idea, certainly.

It represents the religion of England as once more Catholic, the government an absolute monarchy, and universal education so diffused, that learning is become the common property of the lower classes. Every artisan works upon mathematical or chemical principles. Footmen and cooks, with such names as Abelard and Heloisa, speak in the style of the Jenaer Literaturzeitung. On the other hand, it is the fashion among the higher classes, by way of distinguishing themselves from the ‘plebs,’ to use the most vulgar language and expressions, and carefully to conceal any knowledge that goes beyond reading and writing. There is some wit in this idea, and perhaps it is prophetic. The habits of life of this class are also very simple. Few and homely dishes appear on all their tables, and luxury is to be met with only at those of the servants. That air-balloons are the common conveyances, and that steam governs the world, are matters of course.

A German professor, however, makes a discovery in galvanism, by which he is enabled to bring the dead to life; and the mummy of King Cheops, recently found in a pyramid which had remained unopened, is the first person on whom this experiment is tried. How the living mummy comes to England, and how horribly he behaves there, you may read when the novel is translated into German. ‘Au reste,’ I often feel like a mummy myself,—bound hand and foot, and eagerly waiting my release.

Nov. 5th.

Such a fog covered the whole town this morning that I could not see to breakfast without candles. Going out till evening was not to be thought of. I was invited to dinner at ——: P—— was there too, to whom she generally shows great hostility, I know not why. To-day, with his usual ‘étourderie,’ he ruined himself for ever. The lady has, as you may remember, rather a red nose, which the malicious have ascribed to the custom with which General Pillett reproaches Englishwomen. P—— probably did not know this, and remarked that she mixed a dark liquid with her wine. In the innocence—or the wickedness—of his heart, he asked her whether she was so much of an Englishwoman as to mix her wine with Cognac. It was not till he remarked the redness diffuse itself over her whole face, and the embarrassment of those who sat near, that he was conscious of his ‘bévue;’ for the innocent beverage was toast and water. This suggested to me the ludicrous directions given by a book of Rules for Good Behaviour, written in our pedantic national manner. “When you go into company,” says the author, “be sure to inform yourself accurately beforehand concerning the persons you are likely to meet; their parentage, connexions, foibles, faults, and peculiarities; so that you may not, on the one hand, say any thing unknowingly which may touch a sore place, and on the other, may be able to flatter in an easy and appropriate manner.”

Laughably expressed enough, and difficult to accomplish, but not a bad precept!

There was a great deal of political talk, particularly of this dashing commencement of a war, by the destruction of the Turkish fleet.

How inconsistent is the language of Englishmen on this subject! But ever since the fall of Napoleon the leading politicians do not seem to know rightly what they would be at. The miserable results of their Congresses do not satisfy even them; but yet there has appeared no original mind capable of making these meetings conduce to more important consequences; no master-will to guide them; and the fate of Europe depends no longer on its leaders, but on chance. Canning was but a transient vision; and how are his successors employed? The destruction of the fleet of an old and faithful ally, without a declaration of war, is the best proof; though, as man and Philhellene, I heartily rejoice at it.

But amid all these political abortions, this tottering and vacillating of all parts, we shall certainly live to witness still more extraordinary things;—perhaps combinations which have hitherto been deemed impossible. This is partly to be ascribed to Canning himself,—for his plans were not matured; and a man of eminent genius is always detrimental to his successors when they are pygmies. The present Ministers have completely the air of wishing to lead England slowly into the pit which Canning dug for others.

Even the very storm which they have been gathering on the boundaries of Asia, will perhaps burst most furiously over the centre of Europe. I hope however the God of the thunder will be with us. The future prospects of Prussia appear to my anticipations far higher and more glorious than any fate has yet granted her; only let her never lose sight of her motto, “Vorwärts.”

On returning home I found your letter, which amused me much; especially K——’s sallies, vainly bottled up in Paris to be let loose in S——, where they find so little success; for indeed you are right,

“Rien de plus triste qu’un bon mot
Qui se perd dans l’oreille d’une sot.”

And that he may experience often enough.

Oct. 29th.

As one has now time to go to the theatre, and the best actors are playing, I devote many of my evenings to this æsthetic pastime. Last night I saw with renewed pleasure Kemble’s artist-like representation of Falstaff, about which I once wrote to you. I must however mention, that his dress of white and red,—very ‘recherché,’ though a little worn, combined with his handsome curling white hair and beard,—gave him a happy mixture of the gentleman and the droll, which in my opinion greatly heightened, and, so to say, refined the effect.

Generally speaking, the costume was excellent;—on the other hand it must be admitted to be an unpardonable destruction of all illusion, that as soon as Henry the Fourth, with his splendid Court, and his train of knights, brilliant in steel and gold, quit the stage, two servants in theatrical liveries, with shoes and red stockings, come on to take away the throne. I found it just as impossible to reconcile myself to hearing Lord Percy address the King, who was sitting at the back of the stage, for a quarter of an hour, during the whole of which time I never could catch sight of anything but his back. It is remarkable that the most celebrated actors here regularly affect this offensive practice; while with us they run into the contrary fault, and the ‘primo amoroso’ during the most ardent declaration of love, turns his back on his mistress to ogle the audience. To hit the right medium is certainly difficult, and the stage arrangements ought to assist the actor.

Of the character of Percy, German actors generally make a sort of mad calf, who behaves both towards his wife and towards the King as if he had been bitten by a mad dog. These men don’t know when to soften, and when to heighten the effects of the poet. Young understands this thoroughly, and knows perfectly how to unite the stormy vehemence of the youth with the dignity of the hero and the high bearing of the prince. He suffered the electric fire to dart in lightnings from the thunder-cloud, but not to degenerate into a pelting hail-storm. They appear to me, too, to act together here, better than on the German stage, and many of the scenic arrangements seemed to me judicious.

To give you one example:—you remember (for we once saw this play together at Berlin) the scene in which the King receives Percy’s messengers. You thought it so indecorous that Falstaff should be continually pressing forward before, and up to, the King, and rudely interrupting him every moment with his jokes. The cause of this was, that our actors think so much more of their persons than of their parts. Herr D—— feels himself ‘every inch a King’ in comparison with Herr M——; and forgets whom they severally represent at the moment. Here Shakspeare is better understood, and the scene more appropriately represented. The King stands with the ambassadors in the front of the stage; the Court is scattered in groups; and midway on one side are the Prince and Falstaff. The latter cracks his jokes, as a half-privileged buffoon; but rather addresses them in an under voice to the Prince than directly to the King: when addressed by him, he immediately assumes the respectful attitude suited to his station, and does not affect to fraternize with his sovereign as with an equal.

In this manner you can give in to the illusion of seeing a Court before you; in the other, you think yourself still in Eastcheap. The actors here live in better society and have more tact.

Nov. 23d.

It is curious enough that men regard that alone as a wonder which is at a distance from them, in time or space; the daily wonders near them they pass by unheeded. Yet we must be now living in the days of the Arabian Nights, for I have seen a creature to-day far surpassing all the fantastic beings of that time.

Listen what are the monster’s characteristics. In the first place, its food is the cheapest possible, for it eats nothing but wood or coals. When not actually at work, it requires none. It never sleeps, nor is weary; it is subject to no diseases, if well organized at first, and never refuses its work till it becomes incapable by great length of service. It is equally active in all climates, and undertakes every kind of labour without a murmur. Here it is a miner, there a sailor, a cotton-spinner, a weaver, a smith, or a miller;—indeed it performs the business of each and all of them; and though a small creature, it draws ninety tons of goods, or a whole regiment of soldiers packed into carriages, with a swiftness exceeding that of the fleetest stage-coaches. At the same time it marks its own measured steps on a tablet fixed in front of it. It regulates, too, the degree of warmth necessary to its well-being: it has a strange power of oiling its inmost joints when they are stiff, and of removing at pleasure all injurious air which might find its way into its system;—but should any thing become deranged in it, it immediately warns its master by the loud ringing of a bell. Lastly, it is so docile, spite of its immense strength (nearly equal to that of six hundred horses,) that a child of four years old is able in a moment to arrest its mighty labours, by the pressure of his little finger.

Would people formerly have believed that such a ministering spirit could be summoned by anything but Solomon’s signet? or did ever a witch burnt for sorcery produce its equal?

Now a new wonder. Only magnetise five hundred gold pieces with a strong will to change them into such a creature, and after a few preliminary ceremonies, you will see him established in your service. The spirit ascends in vapour, but never vanishes. He remains your lawful slave for life. Such are the miracles of our times, which perhaps surpass many of the most extraordinary of former ages.

I spent the evening at the house of Lady C—— B——, who has just finished a new novel, called “Flirtation.” I talked very frankly to her about it, for she is a clever and a good woman.* * *

* * * * * * *

I don’t know whether I told you that I lodge at the house of a dress-maker in Albemarle-street, who has collected around her a perfect garland of English, French, and Italian girls. All is decorum itself; but there are many talents among them which can be turned to account—among others, that of a French girl, who has a genius for cooking, and has thus enabled me to entertain my kind friend L—— in my own little home. Dinner, concert (droll enough it was, for the performers were all ‘couturières’), a little dance for the young ladies, a great many artificial flowers, a great many lights, a very few intimate friends;—in short, a sort of rural fête in this busy town. The poor girls were delighted, and it was almost morning before they went to bed, though the duenna kept faithful watch and ward to the last moment. I was greatly praised and thanked by all; though in their hearts they no doubt liked my young friend L—— much better.

Nov. 28th.

A great actor,—a true master of his art, certainly stands very high. What knowledge and power he must have! How much genius must he unite with corporeal grace and address!—how much creative power, with the most perfect knowledge of wearisome ‘routine!’

This evening, for the first time since my residence here, I saw Macbeth,—perhaps the most sublime and perfect of Shakspeare’s tragedies. Macready, who has lately returned from America, played the part admirably. The passages in which he appeared to me peculiarly true and powerful, were, first, the night-scene in which he comes on the stage after the murder of Duncan, with the bloody dagger, and tells his wife that he has done the deed. He carried on the whole conversation in a low voice, as the nature of the incident requires;—like a whisper in the dark,—yet so distinctly, and with such a fearful expression, that all the terrors of night and crime pass with the sound into the hearer’s very soul. Not less excellent was the difficult part with Banquo’s ghost. The fine passage—

“What man dare, I dare.
Approach, then, like the rugged Russian bear,
The arm’d rhinoceros, or Hyrcanian tiger;
Take any shape but that, and my firm nerves
Shall never tremble. Or be alive again,
And dare me to the desert with thy sword;
If trembling I inhibit, then protest me
The baby of a girl. Hence, terrible shadow!
Unreal mockery, hence!” &c.

with great judgment he began with all the vehemence of desperation; then, overcome by terror, dropped his voice lower and lower, till the last words were tremulous and inarticulate. Then, uttering a subdued cry of mortal horror, he suddenly cast his mantle over his face and sank back half-lifeless on his seat. He thus produced the most apalling effect. As man, you felt tremblingly with him, that our most daring courage can oppose nothing to the terrors of another world;—you saw no trace of the stage-hero, who troubles himself little about nature; and playing only to produce effect on the galleries, seeks his highest triumph in an ascending scale of noise and fury. Macready was admirable, too, in the last act; in which conscience and fear are equally deadened and exhausted, and rigid apathy has taken the place of both; when the last judgment breaks over the head of the sinner in three rapidly succeeding strokes,—the death of the Queen, the fulfilment of the delusive predictions of the witches, and Macduff’s terrific declaration that he is not born of woman.

What had previously tortured Macbeth’s spirit—had made him murmer at his condition, or struggle against the goadings of his conscience,—can now only strike him with momentary terror, like a lightning flash. He is weary of himself and of existence; and fighting, as he says in bitter scorn, ‘bear-like,’ he falls at length, a great criminal—but withal a king and a hero.

Equally masterly was the combat with Macduff, in which inferior actors commonly fail;—nothing hurried, yet all the fire, nay, all the horror of the end,—of the final rage and despair.

I shall never forget the ludicrous effect of this scene at the first performance of Spiker’s translation at Berlin. Macbeth and his antagonist set upon each other in such a manner, that, without intending it, they got behind the scenes before their dialogue was at an end; whence the words “Hold—enough!” (what went before them being inaudible,) sounded as if Macbeth was run down and had cried, (holding out his sword and deprecating any further fighting,) “Leave off—hold—enough!”

Lady Macbeth, though played by a second-rate actress,—for, alas! since the departure of Mrs. Siddons and Miss O’Neil there is no first rate—pleased me better in her feeble delineation of the character, than many would-be-great ‘artistes’ of our fatherland, whose affected manner is suited to no single character in Shakspeare.

I do not, however, entirely participate in Tieck’s well-known view of this character. I would fain go still deeper into it. Scarcely any man understands how the love of a woman sees every thing solely as it regards or affects the beloved object; and thence, for a time at least, knows virtue or vice only with relation to him.

Lady Macbeth, represented as a furious Megæra who uses her husband only as an instrument of her own ambition, is wanting in all inward truth, and, still more, in all interest. Such a woman would be incapable of that profound feeling of her own crime and misery so fearfully expressed in the sleeping scene; it is only in the presence of her husband, and in order to give him courage, that she always seems the stronger; that she shows neither fear nor remorse; that she jests at them in him, and seeks to deafen herself to their voice in her own heart.

She is certainly not a gentle, feminine character; but womanly love to her husband is nevertheless the leading motive of her actions.

As the poet reveals to us her secret agonies in the night scene, so likewise does he suffer us to perceive that Macbeth had long ago betrayed to her those ambitious wishes lurking in his breast, which he had scarcely confessed to himself: and thus it is that the witches choose Macbeth as their own,—as worms and moths attack what is already diseased and decaying,—only because they find him ripe for their purpose. She knows then, the inmost desires of his heart; to satisfy him, she hurries with passionate vehemence to his aid, and, with all the devoted impetuosity of a woman, far outstrips even his thoughts. The more Macbeth falters and draws back—half acting a part with himself and with her,—the more is her zeal quickened; she represents herself, to herself and to him, more cruel, more hard-hearted than she is; and works herself up by artificial excitements, only that she may inspire him with the courage and determination necessary to accomplish his ends. To him she is ready to sacrifice not only all that stands between Macbeth and his wishes, but herself; the peace of her own conscience—nay, all womanly thoughts and feelings towards others; and to call the powers of darkness to aid and strengthen her.

It is only when viewed in this manner that her character appears to me dramatic, or the progress of the piece psychologically true. Viewed in the other light, we find nothing in it but a caricature—a thing impossible to Shakspeare’s creative spirit, which always paints possible men, and not unnatural monsters or demons of the fancy.

And thus do they mutually urge each down the precipice; for neither, singly, would have fallen so far;—Macbeth, however, manifestly with greater selfishness; and therefore is his end, like his torment, the more painful.

It is a great advantage to the performance of this piece when the part of Macbeth, and not that of the Lady, falls to the actor of genius. Of that I was strongly convinced to-day. If Lady Macbeth, by superiority of acting, is converted into the principal character, the whole tragedy is contemplated in a false point of view. It is something quite other than the real one, and loses the greatest part of its interest, when we see a ferocious amazon, and a hero under her slipper who suffers himself to be used as a mere tool of her projects. No,—in him lies the germ of the sin from the beginning; his wife does but help him: he is by no means a man of originally noble temper, who, seduced by the witches, becomes a monster;—but, as in Romeo and Juliet the passion of love is led from the innocent childishness of its first budding, in a mind too susceptible of its power, through all the stages of delight, to despair and death,—so in Macbeth the subject of the picture is self-seeking ambition fostered by powers of evil, passing from an innocence that was but apparent, and the fame of an honoured hero, to the blood-thirstiness of the tiger, and to the end of a hunted wild beast. Nevertheless, the man in whose soul the poison works is gifted with so many lofty qualities, that we can follow the struggle and the developement with sympathy. What an inconceivable enjoyment would it be to see such a work of genius represented by great actors throughout, where none were a mere subordinate! This however could be accomplished only by spirits, as in Hofmann’s ghostly representation of Don Juan.

You will perhaps find much that is incongruous in these views; but recollect that great poets work like Nature herself. To every man they assume the garb and colour of his own mind, and thence admit of various interpretations. They are so rich, that they distribute their gifts among a thousand poor, and yet have abundance in reserve.

Many of the stage arrangements were very praiseworthy. For instance, the two murderers whom Macbeth hires to murder Banquo, are not, as on our stage, ragged ruffians,—by the side of whom the King, in his regal ornaments and the immediate vicinity of his Court, exhibits a ridiculous contrast, and who could never find access to a palace in such a dress; but of decent appearance and behaviour,—villains, but not beggars.

The old Scottish costume is thoroughly handsome, and is probably more true to the times, certainly more picturesque, than with us. The apparition of Banquo, as well as the whole disposition of the table, was infinitely better. In this the Berlin manager made a ludicrous ‘bévue.’ When the King questions the murderers concerning Banquo’s death, one of them answers,

“My lord, his throat is cut.”

This was taken so literally, that a most disgusting pasteboard figure appears at table with the throat cut from ear to ear. The ascent and descent of this monster is so near akin to a puppet-show, that, with all the good-will in the world to keep one’s countenance, one can hardly manage it. Here the entrance of the ghost is so cleverly concealed by the bustle of the guests taking their seats at several tables, that it is not till the King prepares to sit down that the dreadful form seated in his place, is suddenly visible to him and to the audience. Two bloody wounds deface his pale countenance (of course it is the actor himself who played Banquo), without rendering it ludicrous by nearly severing the head from the body; and when he looks up fixedly at the King from the festive tables, surrounded by the busy tumult of the guests, then nods to him, and slowly sinks into the earth, the illusion is as perfect as the effect is fearful and thrilling.

But, to be just, I must mention one ridiculous thing that occurred here. After the murder of the King, when there is a knocking at the door, Lady Macbeth says to her husband—

“Hark, more knocking!
Get on your nightgown, lest occasion call us,
And show us to be watchers.”

Now ‘nightgown’ does indeed mean dressing-gown; but yet I could scarcely believe my eyes, when Macready entered in a fashionable flowered chintz dressing-gown, (perhaps the one he usually wears,) loosely thrown over his steel armour, which was seen glittering at every movement of his body, and in this curious costume drew his sword to kill the chamberlains who were sleeping near the King.

I did not observe that this struck any body; indeed the interest was generally so slight, the noise and mischief so incessant, that it is difficult to understand how such distinguished artists can form themselves, with so brutal, indifferent, and ignorant an audience as they have almost always before them. As I told you, the English theatre is not fashionable, and is scarcely ever visited by what is called ‘good company.’ The only advantage in this state of things is, that actors are not spoiled by that indulgence which is so ruinous to them in Germany.

The Freischütz was performed the same evening—after Macbeth. Weber, like Mozart, must be content to be ‘travaillé’ by Mr. Bishop, with his abridgments and additions. It is a positive affliction and misery to hear them: and not only the music, but the fable, is robbed of all its character. It is not Agatha’s lover, but the successful marksman, who comes to the wolf’s glen and sings Caspar’s favourite song. The Devil, in long red drapery, dances a regular shawl-dance before he carries off Caspar to hell, which is very pleasingly represented by cascades of fire, scarlet ‘coulisses,’ and heaps of skeletons.

Here then the comparison with Germany is as much to our advantage as it is the contrary in tragedy. I wish, however, the matter were reversed.

Dec. 2nd.

I wrote you word lately, that I was better; since that time I have been almost constantly unwell. One ought never to boast of anything, as the old women say; for, adds Walter Scott, “it is unlucky to announce things which are not yet certain.” This indeed I have often experienced. As to my health, it is as unintelligible as all the rest of me.

You doubtless wonder that I remain in London in this thankless season; but I have still friends here—besides, I have settled into this quiet life, which is only interrupted by the noise and clatter of the little troop of ‘couturières’ in the house; the theatre too has begun to interest me, and the serenity of this seclusion refreshes me after the former tumult. It is indeed so quiet and solitary, that, like the celebrated prisoner in the Bastille, I have formed a ‘liaison’ with a mouse,—a darling little creature, and doubtless an enchanted ‘lady:’ when I am at work, she glides timidly out of her hole, looks at me from a distance with her little eyes twinkling like stars, becomes tamer every day; and enticed by bits of cake which I regularly deposit six inches from her residence, in the right corner of my room.—At this moment she is eating one with great grace—and now she frisks about the room quite at her ease. But what do I hear? an incessant loud cry in the street! Mousey has fled in terror to her corner.

“What is the matter?” said I; “what an infernal noise!” “War is proclaimed—a second edition of The Times is cried about the streets.” “War, with whom?” ‘I don’t know.’ This is one branch of trade among the poor devils in London: when they can contrive nothing else, they cry some ‘great news,’ and sell an old paper to the curious for sixpence; you seize it in a hurry, you understand nothing clearly, you look at the date, and laugh at finding you have been taken in.

As is always the case when I live alone, I have unfortunately so completely turned day into night, that I seldom breakfast before four in the afternoon, dine at ten or eleven after the play, and walk or ride in the night. It is generally not only finer but (‘mirabile dictu’) brighter in the night. The days are so foggy that even if there are lamps and candles you can’t see them a yard off; but in the night the gas-lights sparkle like diamonds, and the moon shines as bright as in Italy. As I galloped home last night through the wide and quiet streets, white and coal-black clouds coursed each other swiftly over her face, and afforded a singularly wild and enchanting spectacle. The air was serene and mild; for the late cold has been succeeded by almost spring weather.

Except L—— and the standing dishes at the clubs, I see few persons but Prince P——, who is accused here of great haughtiness and brusquerie. They likewise whisper that he is a very Blue Beard to his poor wife, and that he shut her up for six years in a solitary castle in a wood, so that at last, wearied by ill treatment, she was obliged to consent to a separation. What say you, good Julia, to this unhappy fate of your best friend.

How strangely, however, do rumours and calumnies sometimes arise! How little can we foresee the inconceivable heterogeneous consequences of human actions! What quite unexpected rocks peril our course! Nay, in the moral as in the physical world, we often see tares arise where wheat was sown, while beautiful flowers and fragrant herbs spring out of the dunghill.

I have received your long letter, and give you my heartiest thanks for it. Do not be displeased that I so seldom answer in detail, but in some sort pay off the sum of the passages, the neglect of which you reproach me with. Be assured that not a word is lost upon me. Remember that one gives no other answer to the rose for its precious fragrance, than to inhale it with delight. To dissect it would not enhance our pleasure. ‘Au reste,’ I regret that I have now neither the materials nor the disposition to send you such roses in return. The wall is as bare before me as a white sheet—no kind of ‘ombre Chinoise’ will appear upon it.

Woolmers, Dec. 11th.

Sir G—— O——, formerly English ambassador to Persia, had invited me to his country house, whither I drove this morning.

I arrived late, in darkness and rain, and was obliged to dress instantly to go to a ball at Hatfield, which Lady Salisbury gives on a certain day of the week to the neighbourhood, during the whole time of her residence in the country. The going there is therefore received as a sort of call, and no invitations are sent. Sir G—— took his whole party, among whom was Lord Strangford, the well-known ambassador to Constantinople.

You remember that on my return from my northern excursion I saw Hatfield ‘en passant.’ I found the interior as imposing and respectable, from its air of antiquity, as the exterior. You enter a hall hung with banners and armour; then climb a singular staircase, with carved figures of apes, dogs, monks, &c., and reach a long and rather narrow gallery, in which the dancing was going on. The walls are of old oak ‘boiserie,’ with curious old-fashioned silver chandeliers fixed to them. At one end of this gallery is a library, and at the other a splendid room with deep metal ornaments depending from the panels of the ceiling, and an enormously high chimney-piece surmounted by a statue of King James. The ‘local’ was very beautiful, but the ball dull enough, and the company rather too rural. At two o’clock all was over, and I very glad; for, weary and ‘ennuyé,’ I longed for rest.

The next morning I delighted myself with a review of the various Persian curiosities which decorated the rooms. I was particularly struck by a splendid manuscript, with miniatures, which excelled all the illuminations of the middle ages in Europe, and were often more correct in drawing. The subject of the book is the history of Tamerlane’s family, and is said to have cost two thousand pounds in Persia. It is a present from the Shah. Doors inlaid with precious metals; sofas and carpets of curious velvet, embroidered with gold and silver; above all, a golden dish splendidly enamelled, and many finely-worked ‘bijoux,’ show that if the Persians are behind us in many things, they surpass us in some.

The weather has cleared a little, and enticed me to a solitary walk. Noble trees, a little river, and a grove, under whose thick shade a remarkably copious spring gushes forth as if from the centre of the earth, are the chief beauties of the park. When I returned, it was two o’clock, the hour of luncheon; after which Sir Gore showed me his Arabian horses, and some of them were quickly saddled for a ride. The groom had little else to do than to jump off and on his horse to open the gates which interrupted our course every minute. This is the case in most English parks, and still more in fields, which makes riding, except on the high roads, somewhat troublesome. In the afternoon we had music. The daughter of the house and Mrs. F—— distinguished themselves as admirable pianistes. The hearers were, however, perfectly unconstrained; they went and came, talked or listened, just as they felt inclined.

When the ladies had retired to dress, Sir Gore and Lord Strangford told us many anecdotes of the East—a theme of which I never tire. Both these gentlemen are great partisans of the Turks, and Lord Strangford spoke of the Sultan as a very enlightened man. He was probably, he said, the first ambassador from any Christian power who had had several private conferences with the Grand Signior. At these a singular etiquette was observed: the Sultan received him in the garden of the Seraglio, in the dress of an officer of his body-guard, and in that character always addressed Lord Strangford with the greatest deference in the third person; Lord Strangford did not venture to let it appear that he recognized him. He declared that the Sultan was better informed about Russia than a great many European politicians, and knew perfectly well what he was undertaking.[72]

After dinner, at which we had some Oriental dishes, and I drank genuine Schiraz for the first time in my life, (no very pleasant wine, by the by, for it tastes of the goat-skins,) we had music again, and ‘des petits jeux.’ As these latter were not remarkably successful, the whole party went to bed in good time.

December 12th.

I have bought a coal-black horse, a thing as wild as a roe, of my host’s Arab breed; and to give him a longer trial, we rode over to pay a visit to Lady Cowper, who lives in the neighbourhood. The park and house of Pansanger are well worth seeing, especially the picture-gallery, which contains two of Raphael’s early Madonnas; and a singularly fine portrait of Marshal Turenne on horseback, by Rembrandt. Lady Cowper received us in her boudoir, which led immediately into a beautiful garden, even now gay with flowers, on the other side of which are green-houses, and a dairy in the form of a temple.

Pansanger is celebrated for the largest oak in England. It is nineteen feet and a half in circumference six feet from the ground, and is at the same time very straight and lofty, though its branches reach to a great extent on all sides. We have larger oaks than this in Germany.

To reconnoitre the country still more fully, we afterwards made a second visit to Hatfield, which I viewed more accurately.

The whole house, including kitchen and wash-house, is heated by one steam-engine. The Dowager Marchioness, the most active woman in England of her age, did the honours herself, and led us about into every hole and corner. The chapel contains some admirable old painted glass,—buried in Cromwell’s time, to which it is indebted for its escape when the frantic iconoclasts destroyed all the church windows. In one of the rooms was a fine portrait of Charles the Twelfth,—that ‘Don Quixote en grand,’ who, but for Pultawa, would perhaps have become a second Alexander. In the present stables (formerly the house,) Elizabeth lived a captive during the reign of her sister Mary. The Queen ordered a very lofty pointed chimney, surmounted with an iron rod, to be built on a gable opposite to her sister’s window, and caused it to be insinuated to her that this rod was destined to receive her head. So the Marchioness told us. The chimney is still standing, and is thickly overgrown with ivy; but Elizabeth, to feast on the delightful contrast in after years, when she could contemplate the threatening pinnacle with more agreeable feelings, built the new palace close to it. The house is poor in works of art, and the park rich only in large avenues of oaks and in rocks; otherwise dreary, and without water, except a nasty green standing pool near the house.

December 13th.

In my host’s house is a singular picture gallery,—a Persian one, which contains some very curious things. The portraits of the present Shah, and of his son Abbas, are the most interesting. The yellow dress of the former, covered with precious stones of every kind, and his enormous black beard, form a very characteristic picture of this Son of the Sky and of the Sun. His son, however excels him in beauty of feature; but he is almost too simply dressed, and the pointed sheepskin cap is not becoming. The late Persian ambassador to England completes the trio. He was a very handsome man, and fell into European manners and customs with such ease, that the English speak of him as a perfect Lovelace. On his return home he proved himself nowise ‘discret,’ but compromised several English ladies of rank in a shameful manner.

Some large dressed dolls gave a faithful idea of the fair sex in Persia, with long hair painted red or blue, arched and painted eyebrows, large languishing eyes of fire, pretty gauze pantaloons, and gold rings round the ankles.

Lady O—— told us many amusing details of the Harem, which I reserve till we meet, that I may not exhaust all my resources.

Many things in Persia seem to be very agreeable, many the very reverse; among them the scorpions and insects.

These things we are free from in our temperate climates. Let us all therefore be contented in them; a wish which I cordially form for you and me.

Your L——.


London, Dec. 16, 1827.

Dear Julia,

After writing some verses in the W—— album, in which Arabian steeds, Timour’s magnificence, Cecil, Elizabeth, and the fair beauties of Teheran, met in agreeable confusion, I took leave of my kind hosts, and returned to London. The same evening L—— took me to a singular exhibition.

In a suburb, a good German mile from my lodging, we entered a sort of barn; dirty, with no other ceiling than the rough roof, through which the moon peeped here and there. In the middle was a boarded place, about twelve feet square, surrounded by a strong wooden breastwork: round this was a gallery filled with the lowest vulgar and with perilous-looking faces of both sexes. A ladder led up to a higher gallery, for the patrician part of the spectators, which was let out at three shillings a seat. There was a strange contrast between the ‘local’ and a crystal lustre hanging from one of the balks of the roof lighted with thick wax candles: as well as between the ‘fashionables’ and the populace among whom they were scattered, who—the latter I mean—were continually offering and taking bets of from twenty to fifty pounds. The subject of these was a fine terrier, the illustrious Billy, who pledged himself to the public to kill a hundred rats in ten minutes. As yet the arena was empty, and there was an anxious, fearful pause; while in the lower gallery huge pots of beer circulated from mouth to mouth, and tobacco smoke ascended in dense clouds. At length appeared a strong man, bearing a sack, looking like a sack of potatoes, but in fact containing the hundred live rats. These he set at liberty in one moment by untying the knot, scattered them about the place, and rapidly made his retreat into a corner. At a given signal Billy rushed in, and set about his murderous work with incredible fury. As soon as a rat lay lifeless, Billy’s faithful esquire picked him up and put him in the sack; among these some might be only senseless, or perhaps there might be some old practitioners who feigned themselves dead at the first bite. However, be that as it may, Billy won in nine minutes and a quarter, according to all the watches; in which time a hundred dead, or apparently dead, rats were replaced in their old quarters—the sack. This was the first act. In the second, the heroic Billy, (who was greeted with the continual shouts of an enraptured audience,) fought with a badger. Each of the combatants had a second, who held him by the tail. Only one bite or gripe was allowed; then they were separated, and immediately let loose again. Billy had always the best of it, and the poor badger’s ears streamed with blood. In this combat, too, Billy was bound to seize the badger fast in a certain number of minutes,—I don’t recollect how many. This he accomplished in brilliant style, but retired at last greatly exhausted.

The amusements ended with bear-baiting, in which the bear treated some dogs extremely ill, and seemed to suffer little himself. It was evident through the whole, that the managers were too chary of their animals to expose them in earnest; I therefore, as I said, suspected from the beginning some hidden talents for representation—even in the rats.

In a few months, cock fights will be held in the same place. I shall send you a description of them.

Dec. 21st.

There are unquestionably three natures in man,—a vegetable one, which is content merely to exist; an animal, which destroys; and an intellectual, which creates. Many are satisfied with the first, most lay claim to the second, and a few to the third. I must confess, alas! that my life here belongs to Class I., at which I am often discontented enough: ‘but I can’t help it.’

You have heard of the English Roscius. A new little wonder of this kind has appeared, and the maturity of his early talent is really astonishing. Master Burke (so this little fellow is called) acts at the Surrey Theatre. Though only ten years old, he played five or six very different parts, with a humour, apparent familiarity with the stage, ‘aplomb,’ volubility of utterance, accurate memory, and suppleness and power over his little person, which are perfectly amazing. What struck me most, however, was, that in a little interlude he acted his own natural part,—a boy of ten years old,—with such uncommon truth that the genuine ‘naivété’ of childhood he represented, could be nothing but the inspiration of genius,—it is impossible it could be the result of reflection in such a child. He began with the part of an Italian music-master, in which he displayed extraordinary mastery of the violin, and that not only in acquired dexterity, but in the good taste of his playing, and a fulness and beauty of tone seldom equalled. You perceived in his whole performance that he was born a musician. Next followed a learned pedant; then a rough captain of a ship; and so on;—every part admirably filled, and the by play, in which so many fail, peculiarly easy, clever, and appropriate. His last character was Napoleon,—the only one in which he failed; and this failure was exactly the thing that put the crown to my admiration. It is characteristic of true genius, that in the meagre, absurd, and foolish, it appears foolish too; and this part was the quintessence of bad taste and stupidity. It is the same in life. Turn Lessing into a courtier for instance, or Napoleon into R—— Lieutenant, and you will see how miserably each will fill his part.

Generally speaking, the important thing is that every man should be in his right place. If he is, some excellence will scarcely ever fail to be developed in him. Thus, for instance, my genius consists in a fancy, so to say, practically applicable; I have nothing to do but to wind it up like a watch, not only to find myself immediately at home in every actual situation, but employing it as a stimulus, to throw myself headlong down any conceivable precipice. If I get hurt in the fall, I can use it again as a restorative, by the unexpected discovery of some wonderful piece of luck or other. Now is this the consequence of an accidental physical organization, or of an acquired power,—acquired perhaps through a hundred preceding generations? Had this spiritual individual whom I call myself, any previous existence connected with another form? and does it endure independent, or does it lose itself again in the universal Whole, after the bursting of that bubble which the eternal fermentation of the universe throws up?

Is—as many will have it—the history of the world (or what passes in time), as well as of nature (or what passes in space,) predetermined through its whole course, according to the immutable laws of a guiding will? and does it end like a drama in the victory of good over evil?—or does the free power of the spirit fashion its own future, uncertain in all its incidents, and only subject to the conditions necessary to its existence?—‘That is the question!’ Meantime, thus much appears to me clear;—that, by the adoption of the former hypothesis,—turn it which way we will,—we are all, more or less, mere finely-constructed puppets: it is only according to the second, that we remain free spirits. I will not deny that there is in me an unconquerable, instinctive feeling, like the deepest consciousness of self, which impels me to the latter belief. This may possibly be an inspiration of the devil! Yet he does not lead me so far astray, as that I do not, with profound humility and gratitude, ascribe this, our mysterious being, to that great incomprehensible Creator, the object of my highest and deepest love. But forasmuch as our origin is god-like, we must live on, independently, in God. Hear what Angelius Silesius, the pious Catholic, says on this subject.

“Soll ich mein letztes End, und ersten Anfang finden,
So muss ich mich in Gott und Gott in Mir ergrunden;
Und werden das, was Er, ich muss ein Schein im Schein,
Ich muss ein Wert im Wort, ein Gott im Gotte seyn.”[73]

For this very reason is the doctrine intolerable to me, that man was formerly in a more exalted and perfect state than now; but has gradually degenerated, and must labour up again, through sin and misery, till he reach his pristine perfection. How much more accordant with all the laws of nature,—how much more consistent with the character of an eternal, most high, all-pervading, all-ruling Love and Justice, is it, to imagine that the human race (which I regard as one) advances, from a beginning necessarily imperfect, onward and onward towards perfection, by its own energy; although indeed the germ of that energy be implanted by the love of the Most Highest! The golden age of mankind, says the Duke de St. Simon, very justly, is not behind, but before us. Our age might be called (rather for the will than the power) the mystic age. True mysticism is indeed rare; but it must be confessed that it is a most skilful and profitable invention of the worldly-wise, to throw a cloak of titular mysticism over absurdity itself. Behind this curtain, unhappily, lurk many things,—even that original sin which our modern mystics dwell upon so much.

Some years ago I was in a very intelligent party, though small in number,—consisting only of a lady and two gentlemen. An argument arose concerning original sin. The lady and I declared ourselves against the doctrine,—the two gentlemen, for it, though perhaps, more for the sake of letting off some intellectual fireworks than from conviction. “Yes,” said our antagonists at length, “the doctrine of original sin is doubtless true: like the new French Charter, it was the impulse towards knowledge forcing its way. With the gratification of this impulse came evil into the world; which, however, was also necessary to our purification,—to our own merit, the only thing truly meritorious.” “On this interpretation,” replied I, turning to my ally, “we may be content to admit it; for this is only our own meaning in other words,—a schooling—the necessary transition from bad to better, by the help of our own experience and acquired wisdom.” “Certainly,” added the lady; “only then you ought not to call it hereditary sin.”[74] “‘Gnädige Frau,’” answered one of our antagonists, “we will not quarrel about the name; if you like it better, we will call it hereditary nobility for the future.”

After all these profound and subtle reflections, I made the discovery to-day that the most frivolous people in the world do actually reflect on their own minds and characters. An Austrian of rank who has been here some time, did me the favour to give me the following counsels of practical philosophy, which I must record literally for the sake of their originality.

“I hold nothing to be more silly,” said he, “than to annoy oneself about the future. Look ye,—when I came here it was just summer, and the season was over. Now another man would have been annoyed at having arrived just at such a bad time; but I thought it would pass over, and—just so—you see we’re got to November. In the mean time Esterhazy took me into the country, where I enjoyed myself amazingly; and now there is one more month bad, and then ‘twill be full again: the balls and the routs will begin,—and what can I wish better? Should not I have been a perfect fool, now, to distress myself without a cause? Am I not right? We must live in the world just like a H——, and never think too much of the future.”[75]

I admit, indeed, that this practical gentleman and I are of very different natures; and doubtless many a philosopher by profession must regard my lucubrations with about as much pity as I do the Austrian’s. And yet the result is, alas! the same with all: the only uncertainty is, which is the majority. Probably they who think themselves the cleverest.

Dec. 28th.

I have received the unpleasant intelligence that the vessel on board which I sent you all the seeds and flowers I had bought, has been wrecked off Heligoland, and but few of the hands saved. Friend L—— has also lost a great part of his effects. This is the only vessel that has been lost in those seas this year, and has doubtless the folly of sailing on a Friday to thank for it. You laugh; but that day has a peculiar quality, and I too have a dread of it; for in the inexplicable embodied picture of the days of the week, which my fancy has involuntarily painted, that is the only one coal-black. Perhaps you’d like to know, now I am upon the subject, the colours of the others. It is a mystical sort of secret. Well then; Sunday is yellow, Monday blue, Tuesday brown, Wednesday and Saturday brick-red, Thursday ash-gray. All these day-persons have also an extraordinary and appropriate spiritual body,—that is, transparent, without any determinate form or size.

But to return to Friday.—The American Secretary of Legation lately told me what follows.

“The superstition that Friday is an unlucky day,” said he, “is firmly rooted in the minds of our seamen to this hour. An enlightened merchant in Connecticut conceived the wish, a few years ago, to do his utmost to weaken an impression which has often very inconvenient results. He therefore had a new ship laid on the stocks on a Friday: on a Friday she was launched; he named her Friday; and by his orders she sailed on her first voyage on a Friday. Unhappily for the effect of his well-meant experiment, nothing was ever heard of the vessel or crew from that day to this.”

Yesterday I received your letter.

That your jewel, as you affectionately call him, should be not only overlooked by many in the world, but with great satisfaction trodden under-foot, arises naturally enough from this,—that he is polished only on some few sides; and if one of these does not happen to strike the eye of the passer-by, he is ‘comme de raison,’ regarded as a mere common pebble; and, if it happens that one of his sharp points gives pain, is trodden down as much as possible. He is valued only by here and there a connoisseur, and by the possessor,—who overvalues him.

Your description of the English family in B—— made me laugh; the originals for such portraits are common enough in the world of London. The ‘tournure’ of the ladies, with few exceptions, is indeed as awkward as what you have seen in B——; but long enjoyed and boundless wealth, old historic names, and stately invincible reserve, give to the aristocratical society of England something imposing—especially to a North-German nobleman, who is so small a personage. Do not take to heart the little disaster you tell me of. What are these but insignificant clouds, so long as the sun of the mind shines clear in our inward heaven? You should seek more amusement. Go to W——, to H——, to L——. We ought not to visit people only when we stand in need of them: if we do, they cannot believe that we love and value them, but only that we use them;—and yet could these three but see our hearts, they would learn to know and to love us better, than by words or visits. As to the park, I’m afraid you have murdered venerable age in cold blood, like a cruel tyrant as you are. So then, limes that had seen three centuries fell unwilling martyrs to a clear view. That is certainly in the spirit of the age. Henceforward, however, I give you my instructions only to plant; plant as much as you like, but remove nothing that is there. By-and-by I shall come myself and sever the tares from the wheat.

Dec. 31st.

Don Miguel of Portugal is arrived, and I was presented to him this morning. No body was present but the ‘corps diplomatique’ and a few foreigners. The young Prince is not ill-looking, and indeed resembles Napoleon; but his manner was rather embarrassed. He wore seven stars, and seven great orders over his coat. His complexion is like the olive of his fatherland, and the expression of his countenance rather melancholy than otherwise.

Jan. 1st, 1828.

My best wishes and a hearty kiss at the beginning of a new year. Perhaps this is the good year which we have been so long expecting, like the Jews their Messias, in vain. I ushered it in at least very cheerfully. We spent yesterday at Sir L—— M——’s, who had invited five or six very pretty girls, and at midnight we drank a toast to the new year. L—— and I took occasion to introduce the German mode of saluting the ladies, to which, after the prescribed quantity of resistance, they consented.

To-day I ate part of an Hanoverian roe (there are none in England) at Count Münster’s country-house. Somebody, by way of Christmas present, fired a blunderbuss into the large window of his sitting-room at the very moment the Countess was distributing her Christmas gifts to her children.[76] The shot had pierced the looking-glasses like pasteboard, in a hundred little holes, without breaking one of them. Fortunately the Christmas presents were placed so far from the window that the shot did not reach the spot. Nobody can guess who was the perpetrator of this horrid act.

Don Miguel’s arrival makes London alive. To-night there was a soirée at the Duke of Clarence’s, and to-morrow there will be a great ball at Lady K——’s. The Prince seems to be a universal favourite; and now that he is more at home here, has something very calm and gentleman-like in his ‘tournure;’ though it strikes me that in the back-ground, behind his great affability, lurks more than one ‘arrière pensée.’ Portuguese etiquette is so rigorous, that our good Marquis P—— is obliged to kneel down every morning when he first sees the Prince.

Jan. 3rd.

I pass over yesterday’s fête at Prince E——’s to tell you about this evening’s pantomime, which Don Miguel honoured with his presence. He was in a more awkward predicament than the late Elector of Hessen Cassel at Berlin, when, at the opening chorus of “Long life to the Amazon Queen,” he got up and returned thanks.

The people here, to whom Don Miguel had been represented as a ferocious tyrant, and who saw the formidable monster appear in the shape of a pretty young fellow, have passed from aversion to fondness, and receive the Prince everywhere with enthusiasm. So it happened to-day in the theatre: Don Miguel immediately rose with his Portuguese and English suite, and returned thanks most courteously. Shortly after the curtain drew up, and now arose a fresh violent clapping at the beautiful scenery. Again Don Miguel rose and bowed his thanks: surprised and somewhat perplexed, the audience, however, overlooked the mistake, and greeted him with fresh cheers. But now appeared the favourite buffoon, in the person of a great ourang outang, with all the suppleness of Mazurier. Louder than ever resounded the enthusiastic applause; and again Don Miguel arose and bowed his thanks. This time, however, the compliment was only answered by a hearty laugh; and one of his English attendants, Lord M—— C——, without ceremony seized the Infant by the arm and motioned to him to resume his seat. No doubt, however, Don Miguel and the favourite actor will long remain involuntarily associated in the public mind.

Jan. 6th.

We float in a sea of fêtes. Yesterday the beautiful Marchioness gave her’s; to-day was the admired Princess L——’s, which lasted till six o’clock. People are busied from morning till night in amusing the Prince. It is agreeable enough to be this privileged sort of person, whom the highest and the lowest, the wisest and the silliest, are all doing their utmost to please.

In the midst of this ‘trouble’ I received another letter from you through L——, and rejoiced in the hundred-thousandth assurance of your love, an assurance of which I shall certainly not be tired before the millionth, and shall then exclaim, ‘L’appétit vient en mangeant!’ Just as little tired, it seems, are people here with these fêtes. While the dark clouds are gathering heavier and heavier around their horizon, our diplomates dance and dine, and meet the threatening storm with jests and laughter; and the great and the elevated are mingled with the vulgar and the common place, as in Shakespeare’s faithful mirrors of life.

My own spirits are favourably excited by all this, and my mind is in a healthy and vigorous state. My masculine soul (for I have a feminine one of my own, besides yours, which belongs to me) is just now ‘du jour;’ and when that is the case, I always feel more free and independent, and less sensitive to external influences. This state of mind is quite the right one for a residence here, for Englishmen are like their flints,—cold, angular, and furnished with cutting edges; but the steel succeeds in striking live sparks out of them, thus producing light by a friendly antagonism.

Generally speaking, I am too indolent, or rather, too little excited by them, to be either willing or able to act as steel to any of the individuals who surround me; but I have, at least, opposed to their pride still greater pride, and thus softened some and repulsed others. Both were just what I wished; for the craniologist said of me very truly, that I was endowed with a strong tendency to creativeness; and such minds can only love those which act with the same elective affinities as themselves; or those which, in a subordinate station, are useful instruments on which to play the melodies of their own composition. All others are either opposite to, or remote from them.

Jan. 11th.

The last party given in honour of Don Miguel took place to-night at the Dutch Ambassador’s, to which little incident one might hang all sorts of interesting historical reminiscences. Both Portugal and Holland, though so small in territorial extent, were once great powers. The one took the road of freedom, the other that of slavery, and yet both are become equally insignificant; nor does their internal prosperity and happiness seem very greatly to differ. But I will leave these considerations, and substitute for them a few words in praise of the amiable Ambassadress, whose French vivacity has not yet given place to the melancholy, ponderous follies of English fashion. Her house, too, is one of the few which one may visit in an evening in the Continental fashion, uninvited, and be sure to find conversation. When Madame de F—— was living in Tournay before her marriage, my beloved ‘chef,’ the old Grand Duke of W——, lived in her parents’ house for some time during the war of deliverance,[77] and used jestingly to call the charming daughter his favourite aide-de-camp. As I had filled that post, I had to plead a sort of comradeship, an honour I am the less disposed to forego my claim to, as her husband is a very agreeable man, equally distinguished for the goodness of his heart and the soundness of his head.

I ate a German dinner to-day at Count Münster’s, who from time to time regales us with a wild Hanoverian. To-day it was a noble boar, with that royal sauce invented by George the Fourth, of which it is written in the Almanac des Gourmands, ‘qu’avec une telle sauce on mangérait son père.’ Over and above this delicacy, we were treated with a good anecdote by Sir Walter Scott. He said he one day met an Irish beggar in the street, who asked him for six-pence; Sir Walter could not find one, and at last gave him a shilling, saying, with a laugh, “But mind now, you owe me six-pence.” “Och, sure enough!” said the beggar, “and God grant you may live till I pay you.”

Before I went to bed I read over your last letter again. You have entered completely into my view of the character of Macbeth, and the few words you say about it and about the performance of our actors are masterly. It is strange, but true, that acting is every where degenerated. Surely this lies in the selfish, mechanical, unpoetical spirit of our times.

Equally true is your remark on the high society of B——; that the wit, and even the learning, which display themselves so ostentatiously there have nothing of that good-humoured attaching character which is necessary to give to both the true social charm. The warm heart’s pulse is wanting in that arid soil;—the people can’t help it:—and when they hunt after Fancy, she always appears to them, as she did to Hofmann, in the form of a horrible lay-figure, or of a spectre. Your friend, who does not fare much better, was also, unhappily, born in the sand: but I think the metallic exhalations which issued from the shafts, the flaming breath of the gnomes from beneath, the dark solitude of the pine-forests above, and the whisper of the Dryads from amid their thick branches, surrounded his cradle, and shed over the poor child some foreign and beneficent influences.

The ‘parforce’ members of the new Parforce hunt[78] made me laugh heartily. They are the best contrast to the volunteers of the Landwehr. I am myself a sincere advocate of the latter, because I love our King from my heart; and to serve him is not only a duty, but a real enjoyment, in my estimation. When I return, therefore, I shall very willingly suffer ‘une douce violence,’ and accompany the ‘parforce’ hunt, were it only from respect and attachment to the elegant and amiable Prince who is the leader of it. The field horsemanship, almost forgotten among us, will thus be revived; and England daily teaches me, that habit and amusements connected with danger and hardship have a very favourable effect on the youth of a nation, and consequently on its whole character.

January 14th.

I drove into the City this morning with Count B—— and a son of the celebrated Madame Tallien, to see the India House, where there are many remarkable curiosities. Among them is Tippoo Saib’s dream-book, in which he daily wrote his dreams and their interpretation with his own hand, and to which he, like Wallenstein, might mainly ascribe his fall. His armour, a part of his golden throne, and an odd sort of barrel-organ are also preserved here. The latter is concealed in the belly of a very well represented metal tiger, of natural colours and size. Under the tiger lies an Englishman in scarlet uniform, whom he is tearing to pieces; and by turning the handle, the cries and moans of a man in the agonies of death, terrifically interspersed with the roaring and growling of the tiger, are imitated with great truth. This is a highly characteristic instrument, and greatly assists our judgment of that formidable foe of the English, who took the stripes of the tiger as his coat of arms, and was wont to say that he would rather live one day as a tiger going out to seek his prey, than a century as a quiet grazing sheep.

Daniel’s magnificent work on the celebrated temple of Ellora, hewn in the solid rock, interested me uncommonly. The age of these majestic remains is completely unknown. It is highly curious, and in full conformity with Merkel’s hypothesis, that the most ancient civilization of the earth originated with the negro races, that the statue of the deity in the sanctuary of the oldest temple of Buddha, distinctly exhibits the peculiar features and woolly hair of a negro. A large stone from the ruins of Persepolis, entirely covered with the yet-undeciphered arrow-writing; large Chinese paintings; huge Chinese lanterns; a very large plan of the city of Calcutta, and some beautiful Persian illuminated manuscripts, are among the greatest curiosities of this collection. We then visited the warehouses, where you may buy all sorts of Indian goods uncommonly cheap, provided you ship them immediately for the Continent, in which case they pay no duty to the Government. Shawls, which with us would cost at least a hundred louis d’ors, are here to be bought in abundance for forty. The most beautiful I ever saw, and of a fineness and magnificence which would make it a most enviable possession in the eyes of our ladies, was only a hundred and fifty guineas: but shawls are not much worn in England, and are thought little of; so that nearly all these are sent abroad.

January 16th.

The new steam-carriage is completed, and goes five miles in half an hour on trial in the Regent’s park. But there was something to repair every moment. I was one of the first of the curious who tried it; but found the smell of oiled iron, which makes steam-boats so unpleasant, far more insufferable here. Stranger still is another vehicle to which I yesterday entrusted my person. It is nothing less than a carriage drawn by a kite,—and what’s more, a paper kite very like those which children fly. This is the invention of a schoolmaster, who is so skilful in the guidance of his vehicle, that he can get on very fairly with a half wind, but with a completely fair one and on good road, he goes an English mile in three-quarters of a minute. The sensation is very agreeable, for you glide over the little unevennesses of the road as if carried over them. The inventor proposes to traverse the African deserts in this manner, and with this view has contrived a place behind, in which a poney stands, like a footman, and in case of a calm can be harnessed in! What is to be done for forage, indeed, is not thoroughly clear, but the schoolmaster reckons upon regular trade winds in those regions. As a country diversion, the invention is, at all events, greatly to be recommended; and I therefore send you herewith a ‘brochure’ announcing it, with explanatory plates, after which you can commission some amateur among your own schoolmasters to make a similar attempt.

I devoted the evening to a pantomime, the strange extravagance of which was sustained by such admirable scenery and machinery, that you could think yourself in fairy-land, without any great effort. Such pretty nonsense is delightful. For instance, an immeasurable rushy bog in the kingdom of the Frogs, the inhabitants of which are most accurately represented by clever actors; and a temple of glow-worms, which in wildness of fancy, and wonderful brilliancy, surpasses any Chinese firework.

Brighton, Jan. 23rd.

Fashion is a great tyrant; and however clearly I see this, I suffer myself to be ruled by her as others are. She led me hither a few days ago, to the agreeable Miss J——, the discreet Lady L——, the charming F——, &c. &c.

I am already wearied again with balls and dinners, and have resumed my coquetry with the sea, the only poetical object in this prosaic place. I walked just now, after leaving a ‘rout’ at the further end of the town, for half an hour on its shore, amid the thundering and foaming of the coming tide. The stars looked down in all their brightness; eternal repose reigned above; and wild tumult and ceaseless agitation below;—heaven and earth in their truest emblems. How beautiful, how beneficent, how fearful, how perturbing, is this universe!—this universe, whose beginning and end we know not; whose extent is illimitable; before whose infinite series, on every side, even Fancy sinks to earth, veiling herself with reverential awe. Ah, my dear Julia! Love alone finds an exit from this labyrinth. Does not Göthe, too, say,

“Glücklich allein ist die Seele die liebt!”

Jan. 24th.

We have had a fine day’s hunting here. The weather was remarkably clear and sunny, and at least a hundred red coats took the field. Such a sight is certainly full of interest; the many fine horses; the elegantly dressed huntsmen; fifty or sixty beautiful hounds following Reynard over stock and stone; the wild mounted troop behind; the rapid change of wood and hill and valley; the cries and shouts—it is a miniature war.

The country here is very hilly, and at one time the hounds ran up so steep and long a hill, that most of the horses were unable to follow them, and those that did, panted like the bellows of a smithy. But when we had once reached the top, the ‘coup d’œil’ was glorious; you looked down upon the whole, from the fox to the last straggler, all in full movement, with one glance; and besides that, over a rich valley to the left, which extends to London, and to the right over the sea gleaming like a mirror beneath the bright sun.

The first fox we took; the second reached Malapartus[79] in safety, and thus escaped his pursuers. Almost all these hunts are maintained by subscription. The pack here, for instance, consisted of eighty dogs and three huntsmen, with their nine horses, costs 1,050l. a year, which is divided among five-and-twenty subscribers. Any man who has a mind may ride with them. Thus it costs each subscriber not more than forty-two pounds a year. The shares, however, are by no means equally divided. The rich give much, the poor little, according to their means. Some give as much as two hundred a year, some not above ten; and I think this scheme would be a very good one to introduce into Germany, especially for poor men. The most striking thing, however, in the whole business, to German eyes, is the sight of the black-coated parsons, flying over hedge and ditch. I am told they often go to the church, ready booted and spurred, with the hunting-whip in their hands, throw on the surplice, marry, christen, or bury, with all conceivable velocity, jump on their horses at the church-door, and off—tally-ho! They told me of a famous clerical fox-hunter, who always carried a tame fox in his pocket, that if they did not happen to find one, they might be sure of a run. The animal was so well trained that he amused the hounds for a time; and when he was tired of running, took refuge in his inviolable retreat—which was no other than the altar of the parish church. There was a hole broken for him in the church wall, and a comfortable bed made under the steps. This is right English religion.

Feb. 6th.

I caught a cold which brought on a violent nervous fever. This has confined me to my bed for a fortnight, and weakened me to an extraordinary degree. It has not been wholly unattended with danger; but my physician assures me that is quite past; therefore do not be alarmed. Strange that, in a complaint so exhausting, one should be so indifferent to the thought of death! It appears to us only like rest and slumber; and I fervently wish myself such a slow and gradual approach of my dissolution from the body, whenever my time comes. As one that delights in observing, I would fain, so to say, see and feel myself die, as far as that is possible; that is, watch my own sensations and thoughts with full possession of my faculties, and thus taste existence up to the very last moment. A sudden death appears to me something vulgar,—animal; a slow one alone, with perfect consciousness of its approach, refined, noble,—human. I hope moreover to die very tranquilly; for although I have never attained to sanctity of life, I have held fast to the Loving and the Good, and have loved mankind, though not perhaps many individual men. Thus, though not yet ripe for heaven, I wish extremely, according to my doctrine of metempsychosis, to become once more an inhabitant of this beloved earth. The planet is beautiful and interesting enough to like to rove about in it in ever-renewed human shape. But if it be ordered otherwise, I am content. From God and his universe we cannot be cut off; and it is not probable that we shall become more foolish or more wicked; but rather, wiser and better.

The sting of death to me would be the thought of your sorrow; and yet perhaps, without the certainty of your love I could not die so happy and resigned:—it is so sweet a feeling in death, that we leave some one behind who will cherish our memory with tenderness, and in and with whom we shall live, so long as his eyes remain open to the light. Is this selfishness?

As we are talking of dying, I must mention a melancholy incident. Do you remember a Scottish chieftain, of whom I told you during my last visit to Brighton?—a somewhat fantastic, but powerful and original Highlander. In the full pride of manly strength he has ceased to live. He was on board a steamboat with his two daughters, and shortly before landing received such a blow on the head from one of the yards, that he fell into a fit of delirium on the spot, sprang into the sea, and swam to shore, where he soon after expired. This end has a certain kindred tragic character with the history of an ancestor he told me of with such pride, to which he traced the origin of his arms—a bloody hand on a field azure.—This is the tradition:

Two brothers who were engaged in an expedition against some Scottish island had entered into an agreement, that he who should first touch the land with flesh and blood (a Scotch expression) should remain undisputed lord of it. Approaching the shore with all the force with which they could ply their oars, they came to a part where the projecting rocks barred all nearer approach; and both brothers, with their followers, dashed into the sea to swim to the island. As the elder saw that the younger was getting before him, he drew his short sword, laid his left hand on a point of rock, cut it off with one stroke, took it up by the fingers and threw it bleeding, past his brother on the shore: “God is my witness,” cried he, “that my flesh and blood have first touched this land.” And thus was he king of the island, which his descendants ruled for centuries with unlimited sway.

Feb. 8th.

The doctor finds me very patient—Good God! I have been taught patience—and to be just, adversity is an admirable school for the spirit. Adversity, however, if we look deep enough, arises only from these faults in us, which are corrected by it; and we may unconditionally affirm, that if men began and persevered in an undeviating course of reasonable and virtuous conduct, they would scarcely know suffering:—but their pleasures must then become so subtle and ethereal, that they would set but little value on any thing earthly. No more dinners,—at which to get indigestions. No more fame,—which they hunt after with such delighted vanity: no more of love’s sweet and perilous risks: no pomp or show for the sake of surpassing others: it would be at last—God forgive me for saying so!—a very humdrum life—a dead calm, under an outward show of perfection. The essence of life, on the contrary, is motion and contrast. It would therefore be the greatest derangement and annoyance if we were all to become perfectly reasonable. But I don’t think the danger very pressing.—You see my illness has not altered me: I should not have told you anything about it, but that this letter must go before I am quite recovered. You may, however, read it with perfect tranquillity of mind, and be assured that I mean to enjoy everything that a benevolent Creator has bestowed upon us, to my very latest breath; whether halfpence, or guineas; houses of cards, or palaces; soap-bubbles, or rank and dignities,—as time and circumstance present them;—and at last even death itself, and whatever here or elsewhere may follow it. The severer virtues just show their beautiful roots. Thus, for instance, I really enjoy my present temperance; I feel an ethereal lightness from it, and am more elevated than usual above all that is animal. Other égarements are wholly out of the question; and all this gives me a foretaste of that purer pleasure to come—old age. For in certain things—let us but confess it frankly and freely—the wicked Frenchman is half in the right:—‘que c’est le vice qui nous quitte, et bien rarement nous qui quittons le vice.’

Feb. 9th.

I never had a physician who was so kind—to the apothecary;—two doses a day. I live upon nothing else; but, as I am unhappily ill in earnest, I take what is sent me with great resignation. I miss terribly such a nurse as you are; and my dry, hard landlady, who has frequently offered her services very civilly, would be a poor substitute. Meanwhile I read a great deal, and am in very good spirits. If I were disposed to give myself up to melancholy self-tormentings, I could find negative as well as positive grounds for them. Now that I am confined to the house, the weather is uniformly most beautiful: but as I have set the hands of my spiritual watch in a quite other direction, I am on the contrary, very thankful to see the bright sun daily;—very thankful that, spite of his glory and majesty, he disdains not to warm my room from early morning; to greet me all day with friendly beams, which clothe everything in a robe of gold; and in the evening, that he takes the trouble to paint the wildest pictures in the clouds that hang over the sea, deep blue, flaming amber, or purple,—for me, poor invalid! who sit wrapt up at a large window: and at length, when taking leave, shows himself in such splendour, that the remembrance of it long afterwards robs the dusky shades of night of that gloomy impression which they are wont to leave on the spirit of the solitary and the suffering. And thus has everything two sides. There is nothing at which the fool may not fall into despair, or the wise man feel satisfaction and enjoyment.

Feb. 10th.

A letter from you always causes me the greatest delight, as you know; but how much more in my present state! Judge, therefore, with what delight yours was received to-day.* * *

* * * * * * *

* * * * * * *

F—— is very wrong to refuse what was offered to him. It were madness for a shipwrecked man, struggling with the waves and nearly exhausted, to disdain a fishing-boat which presented itself to save him, that he might wait for a three-decker. It is certainly possible that such an one is already coming round that point; and at the moment when the boat has borne him away to some meaner destination, may heave in sight with all her canvass set. But we are not omniscient; we must treat the chances which the concatenation of events offers us, according to probability, not to possibility.

My presents please you, then? Now God bless them! Little pleasures are as good as great ones; and we ought diligently to study the art of creating to ourselves such, far oftener than we do; there is abundance of cheap materials for the purpose: but no superstition must intrude—like that which you express about the scissars. Good Julia, the scissars are not yet invented which can cut our love;—they must be crab-like, and with a backward action cut away all memory of the past. Now I must scold you for another thing. To what end did I send you all that beautiful coloured ‘blotting-paper,’ if you relapse into the horrid fashion of strewing sand on your paper, which is as unknown in England as sanded floors? Several ounces of this ingredient in your correspondence flew in my face when I opened your letter. Will you, too, throw dust[80] in my eyes, dear Julia? and has Jeremiah brought you a new serious sand-box for the purpose from B——?

I am very industrious, and employ my leisure in putting in order several volumes of my life-atlas. The whole day long I arrange, cut, write, (for you know there’s a commentary to every picture)—in short all that a poor sick man can do to pass time. Behold, with your mind’s eye, twenty folio volumes of the classic work standing in our library, and ourselves, grown old and bowed, sitting before them, rather doting, but still triumphing in the glorious old times. Young shot-up things are laughing by stealth behind our backs: flying out and in; and when one of them asks “What are the old people about?” another answers, “O! they are sitting poring over their picture-bible, and have no eyes nor ears for anything else.” Now this is what I should like to live to see, and it always seems to me as if it must come to this. What lies between, however—that indeed God only knows.

Bellows now cut a great figure in the newspapers. An ass, poisoned by way of experiment, was restored to life by continual blowing into his lungs; and the Houses of Parliament are going to be furnished with pure air during the whole sessions by means of a great pair of bellows. As an infallible remedy against suffocation, nothing more is necessary than to hold the patient by the nose, and blow common atmospheric air into his lungs, with the bellows out of the chimney corner. There will therefore be a greater number of puffed-up people in England now than ever.

Feb. 12th.

My illness has hindered me from going to Scotland, for which I had prepared every thing, and received many invitations; and now the expected arrival of W—— and the beginning of the season will keep me in London. To-day for the first time my doctor let me go out: and I took my way to Stranmore Park, which is at no great distance, that I might enjoy fresh air and the pleasure of a romantic walk. I was, however, not permitted to enter the garden, though I sent in my card. We are more liberal, indeed,—but this stern repulsiveness has its advantages:—it gives more value both to the thing itself, and to the permission to see it, when you do obtain it. ‘A propos,’ this reminds me of your new steward. It is desirable for us to keep him; nevertheless I beg you to behave to him a little as the lady of Stranmore did to me. Don’t be too ‘empressée’ in your kindness; that, if he deserves it, you may leave yourself the power of increasing it. Be kind, but with dignity; always shading off the superior station which you must necessarily maintain with regard to him. Don’t try to attach him by indulgence or over-civil behaviour, but by confidence, which does him honour; and also by substantial advantages, which in the end never fail to have their effect upon people, let them say, or even think, as they will. But you must address yourself no less to his ambition: keep it always awake by discreet concessions, by gratitude for proofs of zeal, and no less by gentle reproof whenever you think it necessary; that he may see you have a judgment. As an honourable man, he will then not fail to conduct our affairs with the same interest as if they were his own. Lastly, take care not to fatigue him, in his province of supervision, with details: don’t attempt to exercise control over him in every trifle, and keep vigilant watch to support his authority over those under him, no less than your own over himself;—in those cases only where you see reason to fear that something important is amiss, do not delay an instant to require a full explanation. In very weighty cases that admit of delay, you will of course consult me. Herewith does Polonius conclude his exhortations.

Feb. 15th.

The short flight was premature, for it did not agree with me. The charming weather, too, is become horrible. A snow-storm now flogs the sea under my windows, so that it foams and roars again for rage, and its billows dash over the high pier up to the houses.

In the midst of this thunder I yesterday began to write my memoirs, and finished eight sheets, which I send you herewith.

I have also taken advantage of this time to go through Lesage’s historical Atlas again; and I cannot say that during my whole illness I ever felt a moment’s ennui. Indeed the perfect repose and passionless calm of such a period refreshes my soul. My body will soon be restored also; and then, as soon as the sky clears a little, I think to return once more to the haunts of men. A——,[81] to whom I sent your letter, desires her best love to you. From her great intimacy with the future Queen, she is treated quite like a ‘Princesse du Sang.’ She begins to feel her own importance a little; her former shy, timid ‘tournure’ is altered much to her advantage, and she has learnt to assume a certain air without losing her affability. The sun of fortune and favour changes a human being, as the sun of heaven does a plant which faded in darkness, and now raises its drooping head in his bright beams, and penetrated by the genial warmth opens fragrant blossoms to the light. We, dear Julia, still lie in the cellar, like hyacinth roots; but the gardener can place us in a more favourable soil and brighter sun in the spring—if it please him.

Feb. 20th.

I have been out—and behind every thing is become strange wherever I went. My acquaintances were almost all gone, and in the houses and promenades new faces met me. The bare country alone I found in its former state, except that the green fields were manured—with oystershells. Miss ——, a not very young, but rich and ‘agreeable’ lady, told me that the papers here had spoken of me as lying at the point of death, while the London ‘Morning Post’ introduced me as dancing at Almack’s, which certainly looks rather spectral. This good-natured Miss —— is still full of acknowledgments for a ticket I once got her for Almack’s, and played and sang her thanks to me rather more than the weak state of my nerves could bear. I took my leave, but soon fell into the hands of two other Philomels who are also belated here.

As soon as my strength is quite restored I shall return to London, and can now, with a good conscience, and without fear of causing you anxiety, despatch this long letter.

The short meaning of many words is ever the same—the hearty love of

Your L——.


London, Feb. 28th, 1828.

I must go back to mention to you an acquaintance I made at Brighton, which in one point of view is interesting. You have no doubt heard that an ancestor of the Thelluson family made a will, according to which his property was to accumulate for a hundred and fifty years, interest upon interest, and the then existing young Thelluson to come into possession of the whole. In twenty years this term will expire; and I saw the present Mr. Thelluson, a man of forty, who has very little; and his son, a pretty boy of eight, who is probably destined in his twenty-eighth year to be master of twelve millions sterling,—ninety four millions of our money. An act of Parliament has prohibited all such wills for the future; but could not invalidate this, though great efforts were made to do so. So enormous a fortune certainly invests a private man with a very unnatural degree of power. However, I could not help heartily wishing good luck to the little fellow, with his splendid hopes. There is really something grand in having such enormous wealth; for it cannot be denied that money is the representative of most things in the world. What marvellous objects might be attained by such a fortune well applied!

Next to this young Crœsus ‘in spe,’ I was interested by a man of very original character, Colonel C——, who was here some days. Lady M—— directed my attention to him, and told me as follows: “When I was young, the elegant middle-aged man you see there, was one of the most admired beaux of the metropolis. After he had run through all his fortune, with the exception of a few thousand pounds, chance one day led him before a map of America, and the thought suddenly struck him that he would go there and turn backwoodsman. He examined the map, and fixed on a solitary spot on Lake Erie, sold all his effects the same week, married his servant to a pretty young girl, embarked with them, and arrived in safety at the spot he had chosen in the primeval woods, where he lived for a few days by hunting, and slept under the leafy canopy: with the help of some backwoodsmen he soon built a log-house, which he still inhabits. He acquired a considerable influence over the settlers scattered around him, which he employed in encouraging them to their joint labours, and rendered himself peculiarly agreeable to them by playing the part of cook, and preparing palatable food, instead of the half-raw meat they used to eat. He sees an increasing and attached population spring up around him, is proprietor of a little principality in extent, calculates his income at ten thousand a year, and comes regularly every tenth year, for ‘one season,’ to England, where he lives, as formerly, with all the ‘aisance’ of a fashionable man of the world, and then returns to his woods.”

My first visit in the metropolis was to Countess M——, who, ‘malgré ses quarantes ans,’ has added another child to her dozen during my absence. I dined there, and admired a beautiful present of plate from the King, the workmanship of which is finer here than anywhere, so that the cost of the labour is often ten times that of the metal. At dinner the Count told a curious anecdote, characteristic of the administration of justice in this country.

“A man whom I know,” said he, “had his pocket-handkerchief stolen in the street. He seized the thief, and, being the stronger, held him fast, though not without receiving several violent blows; and at length gave him into the charge of a police officer who came up. The transaction was perfectly clear, and passed in the presence of many witnesses; and the delinquent, if prosecuted, would have been transported. His wife went to the gentleman, begged for mercy on her knees: the thief himself, who was not an uneducated man, wrote the most moving letters,—and who will wonder that he at length found pity? On the appointed day the prosecutor staid away, and the criminal was accordingly acquitted.

“The gentleman paid dearly enough for his ill-timed compassion. A fortnight after this transaction, he was prosecuted, by the very man who picked his pocket, for an assault, which was proved on the testimony of several witnesses. The defendant replied, that it was certainly true that he had seized the man, but that he had done so only because he had caught him in the act of picking his pocket. But as the criminal had already been acquitted of this, and no man can be twice tried for the same offence, no notice was taken of the justification. In short, it cost the too generous sufferer about a hundred pounds, which he had to pay partly to the man who robbed him, and partly to the Court.” The whole company thought this sort of justice monstrous; but an old Englishman defended it with great warmth and pertinacity. “I think,” exclaimed he earnestly, “that the incident just related, exactly goes to illustrate the wisdom of our laws in the most striking manner. All laws and judicial authorities are instituted solely for the purpose of preventing crime. This is also the sole end of punishment. The receiver of stolen goods is therefore, in the eye of the law, nearly as guilty as the thief; and he who knowingly tries to rescue a criminal from the grasp of the law, is almost as pernicious to the community as the criminal himself. That man who, perhaps, began his career of crime with the stealing of this pocket-handkerchief, and therefore ought to have been withdrawn from society for penitence and amendment, now, emboldened by success, is probably planning a larger theft,—perhaps a murder. Who ought to bear the blame? This very gentleman,—who has been deservedly punished for his illegal pity. He who thrusts his hand uncalled for and inconsiderately between the wheels of a useful machine, must not wonder if he breaks his fingers.”

The English are, it must be confessed, most skilful sophists, whenever their usages are called in question. The most distinguished man among them, however, Brougham, lately made a speech of six hours long, which treated entirely of the defects and abuses of English law. The most stupendous of these seemed to be, that there is now in ‘the Court of Chancery’ the enormous sum of fifty millions sterling, which has no actual determined owner. A suit in this Court is become proverbial for something interminable; and there is a very diverting caricature, which bears the inscription, ‘A Chancery Suit.’ At first a young man handsomely dressed, and in high blooming health, fills the hat of a starved skeleton of a lawyer with guineas, by way of retaining fee. A long, long procession of men and things follows; and at last we see the young man as a ragged broken-down beggar, asking alms of the lawyer, now grown fat as a tun, which the latter scornfully refuses. ‘Hélas, c’est encore tout comme chez nous,’ only in more corpulent proportions.

On many things, however, which appear to foreigners most exasperating, they ought to take care not to form too hasty a judgment, since abuses and even obvious original defects are often only the inevitable shadows of a far greater light;—as, for instance, bribery at elections,—perhaps even the ‘rotten boroughs,’ and the acknowledged dependence of a considerable portion of the members of parliament on Government, by means of ‘patronage,’ and so forth. It seems to be quite a question whether any Ministry could stand without these means, apparently so pernicious. It is, however, something gained, that a Government should not have that conceded in theory (as it is in despotic states) which nevertheless, perhaps, they cannot quite dispense with in practice;—as the preacher’s life never quite comes up to his doctrine. We must not forget that an approach to perfection is all that can be expected from human things; and therefore reformers ought carefully to keep in mind ‘que le mieux est l’ennemi du bien.’ Nevertheless, I think I see many indications that England is advancing towards a reform; and indeed, that it is, from various causes, quite inevitable. Whether it will end advantageously for her, or not, is another question. Perhaps the very necessity is a proof that she has outlived her highest greatness, and is already declining.

In the evening I visited the Adelphi Theatre, where a juggler exhibited his feats of art in a very new manner, under the title of ‘Conversazioni.’ He stood surrounded by various tables and machines on the stage, and began with a history of his journey in the Diligence: into this he introduced various characters and anecdotes, sang songs, and interspersed his narrative with tricks, or optical deceptions, or phantasmagoria, as appropriate incidents,—a good idea enough, which increases the interest of such exhibitions. His dexterity and certainty as a juggler were moreover as remarkable as his good dramatic acting and his memory. He concluded with playing on the musical glasses; not only in the harmonica style, but waltzes and the like; and even introduced long shakes, which he executed admirably.

March 9th.

The season already asserts its prerogative. The streets swarm with elegant equipages; the shops spread forth fresh treasures; all the houses are full, and all prices raised doubly and trebly. Mr. Peel the Minister gave a brilliant soirée this evening to the Duchess of Clarence. His house is decorated with many fine pictures, among which is Rubens’ famous ‘Chapeau de paille.’ Mr. Peel gave fifteen thousand reichsthalers for this picture—a half-length.

I went with Prince E—— yesterday to see the small private collection of a clergyman (Mr. Carr,) which consists of not above thirty pictures, has cost him twenty thousand pounds, and is quite worth it. There are as many master-pieces as pictures,—the only true sort of collection for a private man, who does not use his gallery for instruction in the art, but for enjoyment.

Here is a Garoffolo, of such unearthly transparency and brightness, of so holy and deep a poetry, that you think you behold a picture of Eden, not of this earth; and a large Claude, also of the highest order of beauty, in which the smallness of the means employed are as wonderful as the extraordinary effects produced. In an adjoining room were some beautiful landscapes by Domenichino and Annibal Caracci. The richness of composition, the deepness and freshness of invention, were adorned with such a fantastic charm and such variety of details, that I could have lost myself all day long in these strange regions, with their broad watery mirrors; their islands, groves and pretty huts; their deep blue mountains, and forests of spectral darkness. In a third room you reach the crown of the whole collection, a picture by Leonardo da Vinci, in which he has represented, in the three persons of the Saviour, Peter and John, the Ideal of youth, manhood, and old age; all of a beauty, truth, and perfection, which leaves nothing to desire. It is the only head of Christ, of all I ever saw, which fully satisfies me; it is as strikingly expressive of grandeur and force of mind, as of purity and meekness; while at the same time it unites this speaking expression with perfect ideal beauty. The grouping of the whole, too, is so satisfactory to the eye; the colouring so brilliant and so fresh; the execution, down to the smallest details so masterly,—that one feels a fulness of delight such as few works of art bestow.[82] But nothing remains of the exquisite pleasure of contemplating such a work, save a cold dissection of it by words. I will therefore quit the subject; only I wish to make connoisseurs better acquainted with this choice collection.

There is an exhibition of battles by Generat Lejeune, which he first fought, and then painted. They show great talent and power. In the battle of the Moskwa, the theatrical Murat and his suite form the principal group; he, streaming with feathers, ringlets, fringe, and embroidery,—standing, with his self-satisfied air, under a fire of musketry; he is in the act of giving the order to the French and Saxon cuirassiers for that murderous attack, and the storming of a battery of forty guns, which cost so many their lives, and among them my beloved friend H——. The King is just about to put himself at the head of them. Who could then have predicted that he would so soon be ignominiously beaten by a mob, and shot as a criminal?

Deeply affecting, though too horrible for art, is the figure of an Austrian staff-officer at the battle of Marengo, who has been shot through the belly, so that the bowels are lying on the ground. The unfortunate wretch, to escape from his insufferable torture, has entreated a French ‘gens d’arme’ to lend him his pistol, which he is putting to his mouth with a look of despair, while the owner of the weapon turns away shuddering.

In another picture is the onslaught of a party of Spanish guerillas on a French detachment. You see a most romantic pass in the mountains of Catalonia, remarkable for four stone oxen, the erection of which is ascribed to Hannibal. At their feet lie two or three skeletons of French cuirassiers, still in full armour. Not a soul escaped this slaughter except General Lejeune himself, and this only by a half-miracle;—three of the guns aimed at him missed, which the Empecinado superstitiously took for a warning, and commanded the men not to fire at him again. You see General Lejeune stripped naked; one murderer has caught him by the hair, another is treading on his body, and the arms of the others are pointed against him; while his servants and a soldier, pierced through and through by pikes and swords, breathe their last at his side.

The battle of the Nile,—where the Mamelukes, in half-frantic flight, spur their noble Arabian horses from a high hill down into the river, whence but a few reach the opposite bank,—has also a very romantic effect.

March 13th.

I forgot to tell you that about a fortnight ago the elegant little Brunswick Theatre, scarcely finished, fell in during the rehearsal of a new piece, and destroyed a great many lives. I went to look at the ruins yesterday; the carcasses of two cart-horses, which had been crushed in the street were still lying under the rubbish. It was a fearful sight. Only one single box remained standing; in this, Farren the actor saved himself, by his coolness in not stirring from the spot.—Thence he saw the whole horrible catastrophe,—only too real and unexpected a tragedy.

In the whirl of the season it’s all forgotten. Yet this tumultuous life furnishes far less stuff for thought than might be imagined; and what it does furnish, is soon forgotten in the confusion.

A family dinner at the great R——’s, who has been likened to the Sultan, because the one is the Ruler of all Believers, and the other the Believer in all Rulers, occurred as a variety. This man has really something very original about him. He was peculiarly merry to-day; ordered the servant to bring his new Austrian consular uniform, which “his friend M——ch,” as he said, had sent him from Vienna; showed it to us, and even suffered himself to be persuaded to try it on before the looking-glass, and to walk about in it. And, as virtuosi when they have once begun never know when to stop, he now sent for other magnificent Court dresses, and changed his toilette several times, as if he had been on the stage:—and that with such child-like good-nature and naïveté, that I could only compare such a golden hero with Henry the Fourth, found by the foreign ambassadors acting as horse to his little son.

It was, ‘au reste,’ rather droll to see how this otherwise serious tradesman-like man tried to assume the various bendings and bowings, and the light and gracious air, of a courtier; and, not in the least disconcerted by our laughing, assured us, with as much confidence as joviality, that N—— M—— R——, if he liked, could act any part; and, with the help of five or six glasses of wine extra, could make as good a figure at Court as the best of them.

An acquaintance I made a few days ago had a very different sort of interest for me,—I mean that of General Mina. You have seen several portraits of him, all of which represent him with huge mustachios and wild features, like a ferocious captain of brigands. Think then of my astonishment at seeing, in the hero of Spain, a mild, simple, and singularly modest man, without the slightest trace of what is called a military ‘tournure;’ on the contrary, like a country schoolmaster or farmer, with an open good natured countenance, and blushing at every compliment paid him, like a girl. When he grew animated with conversation, I, however, remarked a change in his features and a lightning of his dark eye, which betrayed the spirit within.

He is in very good preservation, and has scarcely the air of a man of forty, though his short hair is quite white; but this by no means makes him look old,—it only gives him the appearance of being powdered. He said, in the course of conversation, that he never had that luxuriant bush of hair to boast, which people are so fond of bestowing upon him, and that he had often laughed at the caricatures which he saw of himself in the shop-windows.

There were two other distinguished Spaniards present: Arguelles,—Minister under the Constitutional Government, and the most celebrated popular orator of Spain—a man of most prepossessing appearance and polished manners; and General Valdez, Commandant of Cadiz during the last siege. It was he who took the beloved Ferdinand on board his ship, (he being then senior Admiral of the Fleet) to the French camp. Though as he said, before and during the voyage the King overwhelmed him with caresses, repeatedly expressed his thanks for the treatment he had received in Cadiz, and made great promises for the future, the fate of poor Valdez was already sealed. “The moment the King quitted my ship,” continued Valdez, “his behaviour suddenly changed; and as soon as he felt himself secure, he cast a piercing look of triumph and of long suppressed rage at me. I knew this look, and instantly took my resolution. Without waiting to deliberate or take leave, I sprang on board my ship, and set sail instantly for Cadiz. I thus probably escaped death: but my exile here, in poverty and wretchedness,—far from my unhappy country,—is, for a man of sixty, accustomed to wealth and greatness, perhaps a greater evil.”

I must now take you again to the theatre, and in the company, too, of the celebrated Lord L——, an old acquaintance of mine, who, after his varied and busy career, now preserves himself by daily washing with vinegar; whereas he used formerly to pickle others in a sauce as sour and pungent as that of the former ‘Confiseur’ of the Elegante Zeitung, both in writing and by word of mouth. We talked of past times; and as we reached the door of Drury Lane, he recited some wild but beautiful verses of Moore’s.[83]* * *

* * * * * * *

They are nearly as follows, in my usual halting verse—translations of the moment.[84]

* * * * * * *

* * * * * * *

No bad motto for Desdemona, which awaited us; though truly the Moor’s was a fearful return for such devoted love.

Before I go to the performance itself, let me make a few general remarks.

It is a constantly contested point in Germany, whether Shakspeare should be given in a literal translation, in a free one, or in a still freer paraphrase. I decide for the second; premising that the liberty should be restricted to this,—unfettered scope in the spirit of the German tongue,—even though a play of wit or words should occasionally be lost by the means. But to alter in any considerable degree the course of the play; to omit scenes; to give to Shakspeare words and ideas perfectly foreign to him,—can only deform and mutilate him, even when done by the greatest poet. People say Shakspeare is better to read than to see, and cannot be performed in a literal translation without carrying us back to the infancy of the scenic art; since, as they maintain, theatrical representations in Shakspeare’s time were no more than stories in dialogue, with some attempt at costume. I will not go into the question of the accuracy of this assertion; but thus much I know,—that the representation of Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Hamlet, and Othello, on the English stage,—all which pieces are given with slight omissions, and in which things generally supposed the most shocking to taste and probability, even the obligato king’s trumpeters, are not wanting,—nevertheless leave a feeling of such full and untroubled satisfaction on my mind, as reading or hearing read (even by Tieck, the best reader I know of,) never had the power to produce in the most distant degree;—nay, still more, I confess that it is only since I have see them here, that I have been sensible of all Shakspeare’s gigantic proportions in their full amplitude. It is true, that to produce this, a degree of concert on the part of all the actors and an excellence in those who support the chief characters are necessary, which are wholly wanting in Germany;—for Macbeths in Berlin, (as Clauren would say,) and Macbeths in London, are as different sort of people as Shaskpeare himself and his excellent commentator Franz Horn. The first actors here, such as Kean, Kemble, Young, &c., are, as I have elsewhere remarked, men of great cultivation, who have seen the best society, and devoted their lives to the earnest study of their great national poet. They seldom act any other characters than his, and do not mix up a tragic hero with one of Iffland’s Geheimenräthe (privy councillors,) nor Talbot with Herr von Langsalm, nor appear to-day in Othello, and to-morrow in Wollmarkt.

It strikes one as very singular, that in appearance, and to a great extent in reality, the public before whom these distinguished artists have to present themselves is so rude, ignorant and unmannerly. Yet perhaps this very thing may produce a good effect on them. As the truly virtuous love virtue, so must an English actor love his art,—for its own sake alone,—and trouble himself little about his reception: in the end, he is thus most sure to obtain universal applause. And indeed I must confess that, spite of all this roughness, there is a portion of English audiences which has at bottom sounder taste and sense than the feeble, hyper-refined people of our German metropolitan towns; nay, even among the vulgar crowd there is an invisible church of the initiated, whose existence never suffers the sacred fire in the breast of the actors to be wholly extinguished; it is not very busy in public criticism, but has a mighty effect in society.

Many Germans don’t like to be told that other nations excel us in any thing: and truly I perceive the fact with great regret: but that must not prevent my speaking out my conviction, that, as we have no dramatic poet of Shakspeare’s calibre, so we possess no actor capable of making his characters live before our eyes in their full significancy. It was not always so, as it is asserted; and I myself have retained impressions received in my earliest youth from Fleck and Unzelmann, which have never been renewed in Germany. Schröder and Eckhof seem to have stood yet higher; and I remember with singular pleasure the enthusiastic descriptions given me of them by old Archenholz, who had also seen Garrick. He thought Schröder at least Garrick’s equal.

That in order to form anything like a correct judgment of foreign actors, we must first in some degree throw ourselves in thought into their nationality;[85] must accustom ourselves to many of their manners and usages, which, like many turns of their language, always affect us as strange, however well we may understand them,—will be admitted by every thinking man. At first, these causes always more or less distract the attention; and I never saw more than one individual who, (if I may use the expression,) had a perfectly cosmopolitan organization,—the perhaps never-equalled, certainly never-surpassed, Miss O’Neil. In her it was only the pure abstract human mind and soul that spoke;—nation, time and external appearance, vanished from the thoughts in an ecstacy which carried all before it.

But back to the present.

We saw Othello, then; in which the combined acting of the three greatest dramatic artists of England afforded me a high intellectual treat, and has elicited this somewhat long ‘expectoration;’ but caused me to feel most painfully the want of the above-mentioned heroine. Had she been there, I should have witnessed the highest point of all theatrical representation. Kean, Young, and Kemble, compose the ruling triumvirate of the English stage. The first has without doubt the most genius; the second is brilliant and sustained in his acting; the third, though less distinguished in the highest tragedy, uniformly dignified and intelligent. This representation of Othello was the first time of their playing together. It was indeed a rare enjoyment! Othello and Shylock are Kean’s greatest parts. It is amazing with what profound knowledge of the human heart he not only portrays the passion of jealousy,—first slumbering, then gradually awaking, and ending in madness; but with what wondrous accuracy he catches the Southern nature of the Moor,—the peculiar characteristics of the race, and never for a moment loses sight of them. In the midst of the high and noble bearing of the hero, something animal occasionally peeps forth that makes us shudder, while on the other hand it gives force to his agonizing torment, and places it bodily before our eyes. The simplicity of his acting at first, the absence of all bragging about his past achievements, and his intense love for the woman of his choice, win the hearts of the spectators as they have won that of Desdemona: the ugly Moor is forgotten in the complete, heroic man; till, amid the torments of lacerating jealousy, that hidden fierce nature slowly reveals itself to our eyes; and at length we think we see before us a raging tiger, rather than a being of like nature with ourselves. I was here confirmed anew in my persuasion, that a great poet, still more than a moderate one, stands in need of a great actor to make him perfectly understood and estimated. In Berlin, for instance, the strangling scene was not only ludicrous, but really indecent. Here, the blood froze in one’s veins; and even the boisterous and turbulent English public was for a time speechless, motionless—as if struck by lightning. Nay, I must acknowledge that sometimes during the tragedy, Othello’s long torment, which the fiend-like Iago with such devilish calmness doles out to him drop by drop, was so painful, and the terror of what I knew was to follow grew upon me so involuntarily, that I turned away my face as from a scene too horrible to contemplate. Young’s Iago is a master-piece, and his acting first made this character thoroughly clear to me. It is, perhaps—and here I must recant, at least in this one case, an assertion I made before—Iago is perhaps, contrary to Shakspeare’s usual custom, not a character quite founded in nature, but rather a brilliant conception of the poet:—but then with what astonishing consistency is it carried through! He is an incarnate fiend; a being nourished with gall and bitterness, capable neither of love nor joy; who regards evil as his element; the philosophizing on himself, the contemplating and full and clear setting forth of his own atrocities, is his only enjoyment. The tie which binds him to human kind is feeble; it is only revenge for the suspected injury done him by the Moor: and even this seems but a sort of pretext which he makes to himself with the last expiring breath of moral sensibility, and his genuine delight in torture and distress ever the real and leading motive. And yet even this monster is not utterly revolting. His intellectual superiority, his courage, his consistency, and, at the last, his firmness in extremity, never suffer the consummate villain to sink into abject, vulgar degradation. Iago is a hero, compared to Kotzebue’s models of virtue. Completely in this sense Young played the character: his manners are gloomy and morose, but noble; no smile passes over his lips, and his jests lose nothing by this dryness: certain of his power, he treats all with calm superiority, but with well-defined ‘nuances:’ to his wife he is simply rough and domineering; to Roderigo, authoritative and humorous; to Cassio, polite and friendly; to the Moor, reverential and attached, but always serious and dignified. Kemble, on his part, played Cassio as admirably; and perfectly as Shakspeare describes him; “a man, framed to make women false;” young, gay, gallant, of a noble mein, good-natured character, and polished manners.—Desdemona, unhappily, was but moderately represented; and yet the touching contrast of her gentle, patient, womanly devotedness, with the Moor’s burning passion, was not utterly lost.

Kean played Othello in the dress of a Moorish King out of the Bible,—in sandals, and a long silk talar, which is manifestly absurd. But one soon forgets his dress in his glorious acting.

Your faithful



London, March 24th, 1828.

Beloved Friend,

Among the most aristocratical parties are to be numbered the concerts of one of the most liberal members of the Opposition,—an anomaly often to be found here; where a certain vague general liberalism goes hand-in-hand with the narrowest pride and most arrogant conceit of class; and where the haughtiest man in his own house possesses the reputation of the most liberal in public life.

Very amusing parties are also given by a Duchess, whose brevet is so new that she is reckoned a plebeian by the exclusives:—such an one took place to-day. On the second floor there was an excellent concert, on the first a ball, and on the ground-floor constant eating.

At the dinner which preceded, the servants waited in white kid gloves, an imitation of another fashionable Duke. This almost disgusted me, for I could not get out of my head the lazaretto, and other disagreeable cutaneous associations.

More rich in intellectual enjoyment was my yesterday’s dinner at the Duke of Somerset’s, a man of very various accomplishments. At table, a celebrated parliamentary orator told some strange things: among others, he said that he had lately been a member of a Commission for investigating the connexion between the police and the thieves, about which so many complaints have been made. It came out, that a Society existed in London, completely organized with ‘bureaux,’ ‘clerks,’ &c., which directed thefts and coining on a large scale, supported those who were taken, and afforded powerful assistance both offensive and defensive, &c. He asserted, that at the head of this association were not only several people in respectable stations, and members of Parliament, but even a well-known Peer of the realm. The proofs were of a kind that left no room for doubt; but to avoid the dreadful scandal, the Ministry had determined to let the matter drop. One sees that in free countries things go forward which we don’t so much as dream of.

A lover of natural history afterwards read us a lecture on toads, which, in their sphere, seemed to me as odd sort of people as the foregoing.

March 27th.

I am just come back from the Levée, which was very numerously attended. The King was obliged to sit, on account of his gout, but looked very well. The Duke of Wellington returned thanks for his elevation to the Premiership by falling on both knees, whereas it is usual only to kneel on one. His gratitude was probably double, on account of his double quality of Prime Minister and former Commander-in-Chief, as the caricatures represent him,—the left half of his body dressed as a courtier, the right as field-marshal, but laughing on both sides of his face. As, with the exception of the ‘Grande entrée,’ almost everybody is admitted to these levées if they can but appear in the prescribed dress, there cannot be better sport for the lovers of caricatures. The unaccustomed dress, and no less unwonted splendour of royalty, raise the national awkwardness and embarrassment to their highest pitch. Our charming well drilled court-ladies would often distrust their own eyes.

As soon as I had changed my dress, I rode in the most delightful spring weather in the still solitary Regent’s Park, where hundred of almond-trees are in blossom; and visited the ménagérie lately established there, which presents a model worthy of imitation. There is nothing over-done, and at the same time a neatness, which assuredly can be attained nowhere but in England. Here I saw a tiger-cat, a creature which seemed to me a perfect model of beauty and elegance among quadrupeds.

I afterwards went to a grand dinner at the Marquis of Thomond’s, an Irish peer, at which I met one of the most conspicuous Tories in England, the Duke of N——. I must confess he has not much the look of a genius; and the whole party was so stiffly English, that I heartily rejoiced at being seated next to Princess P——, whose lively good-natured ultra prattle appeared to me, to-day, as agreeable as if it had been the most intellectual conversation in the world.

I concluded the evening with a ball at the Marquis of Beresford’s, in honour of the Marchioness de Louly, sister of Don Miguel, who however seemed not a little bored. She speaks only Portuguese, and therefore could converse with scarcely any body but the host.

The Marshal himself is a striking soldierlike-looking man, against whom party spirit has been very unjustly directed. He is a man of resolute character, as well as of attractive manners, such as many Governments, beside the Portuguese, might employ to advantage; strong as a lion, and prudent as a serpent. He considers Don Miguel’s claim to the throne of Portugal as better founded than that of his brother; and maintains, that in judging of persons and events in other countries, we must resort to a totally different standard from that which we employ in our own. He says that Don Miguel’s education was so neglected, that in his three-and-twentieth year he could not write; that much therefore could not be expected from such a prince; but that he had some brilliant natural qualities, and that the newspapers were not to be implicitly believed. This latter assertion, at least, I am not inclined to doubt.

April 7th.

I thought it a real blessing to-day to dine in the country, quite ‘sans gêne’ at H—— Lodge, the pretty villa of the Duchess of St. A——. In front of the house, which stands on the slope of a hill, bloomed a splendid star of crocuses and other early flowers, in the midst of the bright green turf, surrounding a marble fountain; while over the tops of the trees the giant city lay dimly seen in the valley, like a ‘fata montana’ of the New Jerusalem in a gauze mist. The dinner was, as usual, excellent; and after dinner we had a concert in a beautiful green-house filled with flowers and fruits. I sat at table next to a lineal descendant of Charles the Second, a relation of the Duke’s,—for about half a dozen English Peers spring from mistresses of the merry monarch, and bear the royal arms quartered with their own, of which they are not a little proud.

It is still very cold, but yet leaves and flowers break forth vigorously,—a sight that would enrapture me at home, but here gives me a heart sickness that is often hardly endurable. Nevertheless I do not choose to sit down again on the old golden seat of thorns, but will rather seek out a smooth and comfortable common stool, on which I may repose in freedom.

—— Park, April 9th.

I came here yesterday, and am with a large party at the house of a very ‘fashionable’ lady. The house is as tastefully and richly adorned as possible, but too stately and too portentous in its beauty to be truly agreeable, at least to me. Besides, there is a certain L—— here, a patent witling, whose every word the extremely good-natured company holds itself bound to admire: people affect great liking for him, from fear of his evil tongue. Such intellectual bullies are my mortal abhorrence; especially when, like this, to a repulsive exterior they unite all the gall and acrimony of satire, without any of its grace. They appear in human society like venomous insects, whom, from some pitiable weakness, we assist in feeding on the blood of others, so that they do not suck our own.

The still life about me speaks more to my heart than the human beings; especially the sweet flowers which are placed in pretty vases and receptacles of all sorts in all the apartments. Among the pictures, I admired a Joseph leading the little Jesus, by Morillo. In the beautiful child lies the germ of the future greatness and god-like nature of the Redeemer: as yet it slumbers dimly, but is wonderfully expressed in the prophetic beaming of the eye. Joseph appears a plain simple man, in the full vigour of middle age, betraying dignity of character though not of station:—the landscape is wild and original, and cherubs’ heads peep sweetly forth out of the dark clouds. The picture, the owner told me, cost him two thousand and five hundred pounds.

I was much pleased with a conservatory for palms, built almost entirely of glass,—so transparent that it looks like a house of ice.

The country life here is in some respects too social for my taste. If, for instance, you wish to read, you go into the library, where you are seldom alone:—if you have letters to write, you sit at a great common writing table just as much in public; they are then put into a box with holes, and taken by a servant to the Post. To do all this in your own room is not usual, and therefore surprises and annoys people. Many a foreigner would like to breakfast in his own room; but this he cannot well do, unless he pleads illness. With all the freedom and absence of useless ceremonies and tedious complimenting, there is yet, for a person accustomed to our habits, a considerable degree of constraint, which the continual necessity of speaking in a foreign tongue renders more oppressive.

London, April 12th.

I took my leave of —— Park this morning just as an April storm was clearing off, breathed the spring air with delight, and looked with ecstacy at the brilliant green and the bursting buds,—a sight of which I am never weary. Spring indemnifies our northern climes for all the discomfort of their winter; for this awakening of young Nature is accompanied with far less coquetry on her part in the South.

I was invited again to dinner at the Duchess of St. A——’s country-house, where a very agreeable surprise awaited me. I arrived late, and was placed between my hostess, and a tall very simple, but benevolent looking man of middle age, who spoke broad Scotch,—a dialect anything but agreeable; and would probably have struck me for nothing else, had I not soon discovered that I was sitting next to—the Great Unknown. It was not long ere many a sally of dry, poignant wit fell from his lips, and many an anecdote, told in the most unpretending manner, which, without seeming brilliant, was yet striking. His eye, too, glanced, whenever he was animated, with such a clear, good-natured lustre, and that with such an expression of true-hearted kindness and natural feeling, that it was impossible not to conceive a sort of love for him. Towards the end of dinner he and Sir Francis Burdett told ghost-stories, half-terrible, half-humorous, admirably, one against the other. This at last encouraged me to tell your famous key story, which I embelished a little in the ‘dénouement.’ It had great success; and it would be droll enough if you were to find it in the next romance of the prolific Scotchman.

He afterwards recited a curious old inscription which he had recently discovered in the churchyard of Melrose Abbey. It was as follows:

“The earth goes on the earth, glittering in gold,
The earth goes to the earth sooner than it would;
The earth builds on the earth castles and towers,
The earth says to the earth—All this is ours.”

When translated, something like this:

“Erd’ geht auf Erde glänzend in Gold,
Erd’ geht zur Erde früher denn wollt’;
Erd’ baut auf Erde Schlösser von Stein,
Erd’ sagt zur Erde—Alles ist mein!’

True enough; for earth we were, are, and shall be.

A little concert concluded the evening; in which the very pretty daughter of the great bard,—a healthy-looking Highland beauty,—took part; and Miss Stephens sang nothing but Scotch ballads. It was not till late in the night that I reached London and enriched my book of memoranda with a sketch of Sir Walter Scott—very like, for which I am indebted to the kindness of my hostess. As none of the engravings I have seen resemble him, I shall send you a copy with this letter.

April 27th.

The ‘trouble’ of this day was very monotonous; only a dinner at the Spanish ambassador’s furnished me with one agreeable recollection. A Spanish girl, full of fire and beauty, sang boleros in such a manner that they awakened a completely new musical sense in me. If I may judge from them, and from a fandango I once saw danced, Spanish society must be very different from ours, and far more ‘piquante.’

Yesterday I was invited ‘to meet the Dukes of Clarence and Sussex,’ declined the honour for the sake of meeting Mademoiselle H—— at our friend B——’s. I had not seen her, and great and small are now at her feet.

She is indeed an enchanting creature, and very dangerous to all who are either new in the world, or who have nothing to think of but their own pleasure. It is impossible to conceive a more unstudied and yet effective inborn coquetry, (if I may use the expression,) so child-like, so engaging, ‘et cependent le díable n’y perd rien.’

She seemed to seize my weak side as well as that of every other man, immediately, and talked to me, though without the slightest apparent design, only of what was likely to be appropriate and agreeable to me. The tones of my fatherland, too, fell from her pretty mouth in the stream of conversation, like pearls and diamonds, and the loveliest blue eyes lightened upon them like a spring sun behind a thin veil of clouds.

“To-morrow Kean plays Richard the Third,” said she carelessly. “The Duke of D—— has offered me his box;—would you like to accompany me?” That such an in invitation will supersede all others, follows of course.

April 28th.

Never did I see or hear less of a play than this evening, and yet I must confess never did one appear to me shorter. Spite of the presence of a ‘gouvernante,’ and a visit from Mr. Kemble between the acts, there was scarcely a pause in our conversation, which so many reminiscences of home rendered doubly interesting.

This agreeable ‘excitement,’ too, lasted, on my side, during the ball which followed at the fashionable Lady Tankerville’s; for I felt less ‘ennuyé’ than usual at these heartless wooden parties. Forgive me if I write only these few words, for Helios is leaving his bed, and I must go to mine.

April 29th.

Everything here is in colossal dimensions, even the workshop of my tailor, which is like a manufactory. You go to ask about the fate of a coat you have ordered; you find yourself surrounded by hundreds of bales of cloth; and as many workmen;—a secretary appears with great formality; and politely asks the day on which it was ordered. As soon as you have told him, he makes a sign for two folios to be brought, in which he pores for a short time. “Sir,” is at last the answer, “to-morrow at twenty minutes past eleven the ‘frac’ will be so far advanced that you can try it on in the dressing-room.” There are several of these rooms, decorated with large looking-glasses and ‘Psyches,’ continually occupied by fitters, where the wealthy tailor in person makes a dozen alterations without ever betraying the least impatience or ill-humour.

As soon as justice was done to the ‘frac,’ I continued my walk, and came to a butcher’s shop; where not only are the most beautiful garlands, pyramids, and other fanciful forms constructed of raw meat, and elegant vessels filled with ice give out the most delightful coolness, but a play-bill hangs behind every leg of mutton, and the favourite newspapers lie on the polished tables.

A few houses further on, a dealer in sea-monsters competes with him, and sits, like King Fish in the fairy tale, between the marble and the fountain. He would however find it difficult to rival his celebrated colleague Crockford, who understands how to catch something better than common fish.

This person is a man of genius, who has raised himself from the estate of a poor fishmonger, to that of the scourge, and at the same time the favourite, of the rich and fashionable world. He is a gambler, who has won millions,[86] and with them has built a gaming palace on the plan of the ‘salons’ at Paris, but with a truly Asiatic splendour almost surpassing that of royalty. Everything is in the now revived taste of the time of Louis the Fourteenth; decorated with tasteless excrescences, excess of gilding, confused mixture of stucco painting, &c.,—a turn of fashion very consistent in a country where the nobility grows more and more like that of the time of Louis the Fourteenth.

Crockford’s cook is the celebrated Ude, practically and theoretically the best in Europe. The table and attendance are in the highest perfection, combined with ‘un jeu d’enfer,’ at which twenty thousand pounds and more has often been lost in one evening, by one man. The company forms a club; admission is very difficult to obtain; and although games at hazard are illegal in England, most of the Ministers are members, and the Duke of Wellington, the Premier, one of the managers of this gaming club.

May 2nd.

Yesterday, the wedding day of the Duchess of St. A—-, was celebrated by a very pleasant rural fête at her villa. In the middle of the bowling-green was a Maypole decorated with garlands and ribands, and gaily-dressed peasants in the old English costume danced around it. The company wandered about in the house and garden as they liked; many shot with bows and arrows; others danced under tents, swung, or played all sorts of games, or wandered in the shade of thick shrubberies; till at five o’clock a few blasts of a trumpet announced a splendid breakfast, at which all the delicacies and costly viands that luxury could furnish, were served in the greatest profusion.

Many servants were dressed in fancy dresses as gardeners; and garlands of fresh flowers were hung upon all the bushes, which produced an indescribably rich effect. The day, too, was so singularly fine that I was able, for the first time, to see London quite clear from fog, and only slightly obscured by smoke.

As night drew on, the effect of the garlands of flowers was renewed by many-coloured lamps, tastefully distributed amid the trees, or half hidden among the thick shrubs. It was past midnight when breakfast ended.

There was a concert, and then a ball, at which the lovely German waltzer outshone all her rivals,—and with the most unpretending air, as if she did not perceive one of her conquests. Perhaps there never was a woman who had the art of appearing more innocent and childlike; and certainly this captivating sort of coquetry is the greatest charm, though not, perhaps, the greatest merit, of women.

May 8th.

For a week past two or three concerts have resounded in my ears every evening, or, as they here more properly say, every night. They are all on a sudden become a perfect rage, from the highest and most exclusive down to the herd of ‘nobodies.’ Mesdames Pasta, Caradori, Sontag, Brambilla, Messrs. Zuchelli, Pellegrini, and Curioni, sing for ever and ever the same airs and duets; which, however, people seem never tired of hearing. They often sing—doubtless tired themselves of the eternal monotony—very negligently, but that makes no difference whatever. The ears that hear them are seldom very musically organized, and are only awakened by ‘fashion;’ and those who are in the centre of the crowd certainly can often hardly distinguish whether the Bassist or the Prima Donna is singing, but must fall into extacies like the rest, notwithstanding. For the performers, this ‘furore’ is profitable enough. Sontag, for instance, in every party in which she is heard at all, receives forty pounds, sometimes a hundred; and occasionally she attends two or three in an evening. Pasta, whose singing is, to my taste, sweeter, grander, more tragic, rivals her; the others, though their merit is considerable, are in a subordinate rank.

Besides these, Moschelles, Pixis, the two Bohrers, ‘enfin’ a herd of virtuosi, are here, all flocking to English gold, like moths around a candle. Not that they burn themselves; on the contrary, the women, at least, kindle fresh flames, right and left, which are sometimes even more profitable than their art.

The concerts at Prince Leopold’s are generally the most agreeable, and the insufferable squeezing is somewhat avoided in his large rooms. This Prince is less popular than he deserves; for the English can’t forgive him for being a foreigner.

May 9th.

Riding with M——, we accidentally came through a charming country to Strawberry Hill,—the house built by Horace Walpole, which he mentions so often in his letters, and which has been wholly unaltered and little inhabited since his death. It is the first attempt at modern Gothic in England—quite in the ‘clinquant’ taste of that time; the stone-work imitated in wood, and a great deal more that glitters without being gold. There are, however, many real treasures of art and curiosities. Among them is a magnificent prayer-book set with jewels, filled with drawings by Raphael and his pupils; Cardinal Wolsey’s hat; a very expressive portrait of Madame du Deffant, Walpole’s blind and witty friend; and a picture of the celebrated Lady Mary Wortley Montague, in a Turkish dress.

As every thing is to be found in England, I met with an Englishman of rank, to-day, who has endeavoured to introduce German habits, German domestic arrangements, and a German tone of society into his house. This is Earl S——, who lived in our fatherland for a long time in rather narrow circumstances, and suddenly came into a very large fortune. The only thing in the English taste was the crimson liveries of his people, with canary-coloured inexpressibles and stockings;—all the rest was German; even the hour of dining was an approach to ours. The length of the dinner was in the highest degree wearisome to me; I sat upon thorns, especially as I was expected elsewhere.

In spite of my ill-humour, however, I could not help laughing at the Wienerisch (Vienna dialect) of my Austrian neighbour.

May 16th.

I have been spending some days in the country at the Epsom races. The scene was very lively; all the roads full of swiftly-rolling equipages; and a large green hill in the middle of the plain, around which the races are held, so thickly covered with a thousand unharnessed carriages, and a motley crowd of horsemen and foot-passengers, that I never saw a more picturesque popular festival.—Now set this picture in the frame of a pretty cultivated landscape, with a sky full of dark clouds, much rain, and rare but hot gleams of sunshine.

I returned yesterday, that I might not miss a party at the King’s to-day, to which I was invited—an event here looked upon as an extraordinary ‘bonne fortune.’—You must not associate any idea of Court with it: but it is certain that the Ideal of a fashionable house cannot be more completely realized. Every comfort and every elegance of a private gentleman is united in the most tasteful and substantial manner with royal magnificence; and the monarch himself is, as is well known, prouder of nothing than of the title of “the first gentleman in England.”

May 30th.

Though the everlasting whirl leaves little leisure, (and once drawn into the vortex it is not easy to extricate one’s-self, even though one may find no pleasure in it,) I yet find a moment, from time to time, for more quiet and more durable enjoyment.

In one such, I lately visited a most interesting collection of pictures;—all portraits of persons eminent in English history. It was remarkable how frequently most of them corresponded in features and expression with the picture history has left us of them. The celebrated Lord Burleigh had moreover a striking resemblance to the great State Chancellor (Staats Kanzler) of Prussia, though he is greatly disguised by his head-dress, which is like an old wife’s cap. James the First was divertingly true to his character; as was also his ambassador, the eccentric knight who so delightfully declares in his memoirs, that wherever he went, he charmed both men and women; and that his nature was like that of no other man, for that both he and all descended from him sent forth an atmosphere of the most agreeable natural fragrance.

I then went to another collection, consisting of modern paintings in water-colours, in which branch of art the English have certainly attained to a singular perfection. One is astonished at the glow and depth of colouring they produce. The Scotch landscapes were remarkably fine: there was a Sunset in the Highlands which rivalled Claude in truth; and a twilight on Loch Lomond, a poem full of romantic beauty. I had still time for a long ride, in the course of which, committing myself as usual to the guidance of chance, I came upon a most enchanting park, such as only the climate of England can produce. The gardens lay, in all their indescribable glow of beauty, in a narrow and fertile green valley full of high trees, under which three silver springs gushed forth, and flowing away in meandering brooks, took their course in all directions amid impervious thickets of blooming rhododendrons and azaleas.

My delight in such scenes is ever saddened by the regret that you cannot behold them with me: your fine and accurate taste would draw from them a thousand ideas of new and lovelier creations; either by the skilful grouping of colours, or by graceful forms, or by the distribution of light, the effect of which may be so greatly enhanced by judicious thinning or massing of the foliage.

The pleasant remembrance of this morning must diffuse itself over the rest of the day, which was filled by a dinner at Lady P——’s, distinguished for her love of good cheer; two balls at residences of British and foreign diplomacy; and a concert at Lord Grosvenor’s. This was given, it is true, in a gallery of fine pictures; but on such an occasion they hardly give one more pleasure than any other hangings.

June 6th.

One of the most interesting houses to me is that of a noble Scot, the Earl of W——, a lineal descendant of Macduff. In his armoury is a branch of a tree said to be of Birnam Wood; probably a relic of the same quality as most others. Blessed is he who can believe in them! The family is most accomplished, and the Scotch mind is more nearly akin to the German than the English is. The amiable daughters taught me a new manner of preserving faithful and lasting portraits of feathered favourites:—the feathers are pulled off, and pasted on card-board or varnished wood, together with the legs and beak; this produces a bas-relief of great truth, and not exposed to destruction.

Charles the Tenth spent some time in Scotland, at Lord W——’s and left him an old maitre d’hotel, who, drolly enough, is called Bonneau, like him of the Pucelle; and is one of that nearly extinct domestic race of ‘hommes de confiance’ who are now never seen but on the stage, and hardly there. As such, and having been twenty-five years ‘en fonction,’ he is allowed occasionally to put in a word,—quite contrary to English manners, which do not permit servants to make the slightest approach to their masters, except in the way of their service. I have really found few things more amusing than this old Frenchman’s stories about Court and society; his world, in fact, terminated with those times of which we can now scarcely form an idea. That the singular old man is only a ‘a maitre d’hotel’ detracts nothing from the interest; for he has seen more of the great world, and observed it better, than many of higher rank.

When I paid my visit to Lady W—— this morning, she had just received a great cargo of curiosities from one of her sons, who is travelling in South America. Among them was a lion-monkey, with a tail and mane like those of the king of beasts, on a body not larger than that of a rat. Instead of the disagreeable smell of most of his tribe, this little fellow exhales musk and cinnamon; and, like the knight I lately mentioned, perfumed the room like a pastile. A very complete collection of serpents, and another of butterflies, exhibited colours such as are only painted by the rising and setting sun.

I dined at Lady F——’s, where a curious incident occurred. Her husband was formerly Governor of the Isle of France, where a black-woman sold her a fortune-telling book, which, as she asserted, had belonged to the Empress Josephine before her departure for France, and in which she had read her future greatness and subsequent fall. Lady F—— produced it at tea, and invited the company to interrogate Destiny according to the prescribed method.—Now listen to the answers it gave, which are really remarkable. Madame de Rothschild was the first: she asked, whether her wishes would be fulfilled? She received for answer, “Weary not Fate with wishes; one who has received so much ought to be satisfied.”

Mr. Spring Rice, a distinguished member of Parliament, and one of the most zealous champions of Catholic emancipation, (a subject in which everybody here takes a strong interest, either for or against,) next asked if this Bill would pass the Upper House, in which it was to be finally debated on the morrow?—I must interrupt my narrative to tell you that it is well known that it will not pass, but it is as universally believed that next session the desired object must be attained. “You will have no success this time,” was the laconic reply. A young American lady was now urged to inquire whether she would soon be married. The answer was, “Not in this hemisphere.” Next came my turn, and I asked whether what now so strongly agitated my heart were for my happiness. “Let the inclination drop,” replied the magic book, “for you will find it is neither real nor permanent.” The company who of course had no guess at my real meaning in this question, made themselves very merry about the answer I had received, and insisted upon my proposing another. I therefore asked, “Will Fortune be more favourable to me in more serious projects?” “Seek,” was the reply, “and you will find; persevere, and you will obtain.”

Without seeking, I found this evening something very agreeable; for I was presented by the Duchess of Clarence to her mother, the Duchess of Meiningen; a most amiable woman, of true German character; whom neither years nor rank have been able to rob of her ‘naïf’ natural manners,—perhaps the surest proof of a pure and lovely mind. This worthy mother of an honoured daughter must be a welcome guest to the English, who are much attached to their future Queen, and accordingly they pay her the greatest attentions. Pity, that high as well as low are generally too deficient in grace of manners, or felicity of address, to be able to act the drama of society on such occasions, so as to render the whole a pleasing or elegant spectacle! a drawing-room and a presentation at Court here are as ludicrous as the levée of a Bürgermeister of the ancient Free Imperial cities of our fatherland; and all the pride and pomp of aristocracy disappears in the childish ‘embarras’ of these ‘ladies,’ loaded,—not adorned,—with diamonds and fine clothes. In ‘negligé,’ and when they move at ease in their own houses and their accustomed circle, young Englishwomen often appear to great advantage: in ‘parure’ and large parties, scarcely ever; for an uncontrollable timidity, destructive of all grace, so paralyses even their intellectual powers, that a rational conversation with them would certainly be a most difficult matter to obtain.

Of all the women of Europe, I therefore hold them to be the most agreeable and ‘comfortable’ wives; and at the same time the most incapable of presenting themselves with grace, address, or presence of mind; and the least fitted to embellish society. In this judgment the praise manifestly far outweighs the censure.

June 16th.

To-day I was present at an interesting breakfast, given by the Pigeon Club. This title by no means implies that the members are gentle and harmless as doves:[87]—on the contrary, they are the wildest young fellows in England, and the poor pigeons have nothing to do with the matter but to be shot at. The arena was a large grass-plat surrounded by a wall. On one side was a row of tents; in the largest of which a table was spread with viands, from one o’clock till six, and furnished with a constant supply of iced moselle and champagne. About a hundred members and some guests were present; and they shot, ate and drank, by turns. The pigeons were placed in a row, eight at a time. Cords are fastened to the doors of their houses, which meet at the shooting-stand; when one is pulled it opens the door, and the pigeon flies out. The man who shot last pulls for his successor,—but standing behind him, so that the latter cannot see which cord he pulls, and is therefore uncertain which of the eight pigeons will fly out: if the pigeon falls within the wall after his fire, it is reckoned his; if not, it does not count. Every man has a double-barrelled gun, and may use both barrels.

The two most famous shots in England, are Captain de Roos and Mr Osbaldistone. They shot for a wager of a thousand pounds which is not yet decided. Neither missed once; and Captain de Roos’s birds never fell twelve paces from the spot, and scarcely fluttered, but dropped like stones almost the moment he fired. Never did I see such admirable shooting. A pretty little spaniel belonging to the Club fetched every pigeon, and performed his duty like a machine, without either delay, neglect or hurry. At last the whole party shot for a golden vase of two hundred pounds value, (the annual prize of the Club,) which was won by Captain de Roos.

I did not get away from this jolly breakfast till seven o’clock, when I went to a little theatre, as yet unknown to me, called Sadler’s Wells, which is a good three-quarters of a mile (German) from my dwelling. I went in a hackney coach. When I wanted to go home, towards one o’clock, I could find no coach in this out-of-the-way place, and all the houses were shut. This was the more disagreeable, as I had really not the least idea in what part of the town I was.

After wandering about the streets in vain for half an hour in search of a coach, I resigned myself to the idea of finding my way home on foot, with the aid of a watchman, when a stage coach came by which was going my way, and with which I happily regained my Penates about two o’clock.—The peculiarity of this theatre is that it contains real water, in which element the actors splash and dabble about by the hour together, like ducks or water rats: ‘au reste,’ nothing can surpass the nonsense of the melodrame, nor the horror of the singing by which it was accompanied.

June 20th.

I have been to another fancy ball, which has left only a melancholy impression on my mind. I remarked a pale man wrapped in a plain black domino, on whose countenance indescribable traces of the bitterest mental suffering were imprinted. It was not long before I asked L—— about him, and he told me as follows:

“This truly pitiable man might serve as the hero of a fearful romance. If it can be said of any one that he was born to misfortune, that is the man. Early in life he lost his large property by the fraudulent bankruptcy of a friend. A hundred times since has Fortune approached him, but only to mock him with hopes which were invariably dashed from him at the decisive moment: in almost every case it was some insignificant trifle—the delay of a letter—some easy mistake—some indisposition, slight in itself but disastrous in its consequences, that wrecked everything; apparently, always by his own fault, and yet, in fact, a tissue woven by mocking, malignant spirits.

“For a long time past he has made no more attempts to alter his condition; he seeks no improvement of his lot, persuaded beforehand, by long and cruel experience, that nothing can ever succeed with him. I have known him from youth up. Though guileless and unoffending as a child, the world in general deems him malignant; though one of the most upright of men, false and intriguing; he is shunned and dreaded, though never did a heart beat more warmly for the weal of others. The girl he adored committed suicide in consequence of his suspected infidelity. He found himself, by a series of unheard-of circumstances, accused of the murder of his brother, near whom he was found bleeding, having risked his life in his defence:—he was saved from an ignominious death only by the King’s pardon; and it was not till some time afterwards that the proofs of his innocence came to light. Lastly, a woman with whom he was betrayed into marriage by an infamous and long protracted system of deceit, ran away with another man, and artfully contrived that, in the eyes of the world, the greater portion of the blame should rest with him.—All confidence in himself thus utterly crushed and blighted, every hope in destiny or in men annihilated, he lives among them like an unsympathizing, unconnected ghost,—a heart-rending example that there are beings who (as far as this life is concerned) seem to be sold to the Devil before their birth; for when the curse of destiny has once scathed a man, it not only raises up to him enemies at every step, but robs him of the confidence and, in time, of the hearts of his friends; till at length the unhappy one, crushed, rejected, and trodden under foot on every side, lays down his weary, wounded head, and dies; while his last sigh appears to the pitiless crowd an assumption and an intolerable discord. Wo to the unlucky! Threefold wo to them. For to them there is neither virtue, nor wisdom, nor skill, nor joy! There is but one good for them; and that is—death.”

June 25th.

There is certainly something pleasant in having so many invitations at your disposal every day; and, if you are not pleased in one place, in being able immediately to seek out company that suits you better. Here and there, too, one finds something new, piquant, and interesting. Yesterday, at Prince L——’s, for instance, I met with a second Ninon de l’Enclos. Certainly nobody would take Lady A——, to be more than forty, and yet I was assured she is near eighty. Nothing in her appears forced or unnatural, but every thing youthful; figure, dress, air, vivacity of manners, grace and elasticity of limb, as far as this is discernible at a party,—all about her is perfectly young, and scarcely a wrinkle in her face. She has never made herself anxious, and has lived a very gay life from her youth up: she ran away from her husband twice, on which account she quitted England for a long time, and spent her large fortune in Paris. Altogether she is a very ‘amiable’ person, more French than English in her deportment, and quite ‘du grand monde.’ The science of the toilet she has studied profoundly, and has made some important discoveries in it. From all I could see of the results, I should be very glad to impart them to you and my other fair friends.

Next day the Duke of S—— gave a ‘déjeuné champêtre’ at his villa, at which invention was racked for something new in an entertainment of the kind. His whole house was hung with beautiful ‘hautelisse’ and gay Chinese hangings;—a multitude of sofas, easy chairs, ‘chaises longues,’ mirrors, &c., in all parts of the garden as well as of the rooms; besides a little encampment of tents of white and rose-coloured muslin, which had a beautiful effect, set in the emerald-green of the grounds.

In the evening, followed, as usual, an illumination, consisting chiefly of single lamps, half-hidden in tree and bush, like so many ruddy fruits or bright-glow worms, enticing the loving or the lonely. Those who preferred noisy to quiet pleasures also found their heart’s desire. Here, a large part of the company was dancing in a wide tent, the way to which lay under a bowery archway of roses, brilliantly illuminated;—there, resounded a delightful concert, executed by the best performers from the Italian Opera. Italian weather, too, happily shone on this fête from beginning to end; any little mischievous spirit of air might have totally ruined it.

I have now so disposed my affairs that I shall be able to quit England in a month at furthest, to make a longer tour in Wales, and more especially in Ireland; which latter country, according to all I hear of it, excites my interest much more than even Scotland. Yet I am sorry that illness first, and the distractions of the metropolis afterwards, have robbed me of the sight of that country. It is an omission I must enter in my book of sins, which, alas! contains so many under the same head—Indolence—that terrible foe of man! Certainly that French Marshal in Louis the fourteenth’s time,—a time so unfavourable to ‘parvenus,’ answered rightly, when he was asked, how it was possible that he could have raised himself to the highest dignities of his profession from the condition of a common soldier, “Only by this means,” said he; “I never deferred till to-morrow what I could do to-day.”

Almost under the same head may be classed Indecision, that other hereditary foe of the species, which another celebrated Marshal, Suvaroff, hated so much, that, with the usual exaggerations of his character, he instantly withdrew all favour from a man who replied to any question he asked him, “I don’t know.”

‘Non mi ricordo’ does better; and according to my principles I apply this to all the above-named sins, when once they are committed. We ought daily to repeat to ourselves, The past is dead, the future only lives. May it smile upon us, dearest Julia!

Your faithful L——.


Cobham Hall, June 30th.

Beloved Friend,

After I had sent away my letter to you, and made an excursion into the country with some ladies, I drove to a party at the Duke of Clarence’s, where there was, this time, such a genuine English squeeze, that I and several others could by no means get in; and went away, after waiting half an hour, ‘re infectâ,’ to console ourselves at another ball. The mass in the first room was so jammed together that several men put on their hats, that they might have their arms more at liberty for active service. Ladies, covered with jewels were regularly ‘milled,’ and fell, or rather stood, fainting: cries, groans, curses, and sighs, were the only sounds to be heard. Some only laughed; and, inhuman as it was, I must accuse myself of having been among these latter; for really it was too droll to hear this called society. To say truth, I never saw any thing equal to it before.

Early the next morning I rode to Cobham Hall, to spend a few days there on occasion of Lord D——’s birthday, which was celebrated to-day in a rural and unpretending manner. Excepting myself, there was no one but the family, which was increased by the presence of the elder son and his beautiful and charming wife, who usually reside in Ireland. All was ordered for domestic enjoyment. We dined early, in order that we might be present at a supper in the open air, which Lord D—— gave to all his labourers, about a hundred in number. It was managed with the greatest decorum. We sat next to the iron fence in the pleasure-ground, and the tables for the people were placed on the new-mown grass. First, about fifty young girls, from the Lancasterian school which Lady D—— has established in the park, were regaled with tea and cakes. They were all dressed alike, and very prettily too; they were children of from six to fourteen. After them came the labourers, and seated themselves at a long table plentifully furnished with enormous dishes of roast beef, vegetables, and pudding. Each brought his own knife and fork and earthen pot. The servants of the house set on the dinner, did the honours, and poured out the beer from great watering-pots. The village musicians played all the while, and were really better than ours; they were also better dressed. On the other hand the labourers did not look so well or so neat as our Wends in their Sunday clothes. No one was invited except those who constantly worked for Lord D——. The health of every member of the family was drunk with nine times nine; on which our old coachman Child, (now in Lord D——’s service,) who is a kind of English improvisatore, got upon the middle of the table, and delivered a most comical speech in verse, in which I was introduced, and truly with this wish,—

To have always plenty of gold,
And never to become old;

the double impossibility of which sounded rather ironical.

During all this time, and till it was dark, the little girls danced and skipped about incessantly, with great gravity, on the grass, without any sort of plan or connectedness, like puppets,—whether the music played or not. Our party in the pleasure ground was at length attacked by the dancing mania; and I myself constrained to break my vow, for I could not possibly refuse to dance with such a partner as lady D——.

July 4th.

I have not been so happy and amused for a long time as here. In the morning I make excursions in the beautiful country, or drive in lady D——’s little one horse phæton about the fields and park, without road or path; and in the evening I, like the rest, take only just so much part in the conversation as I like. Yesterday after dinner we all sat (nine persons) at least a couple of hours together in the library, reading,—each, of course I mean, in his own book,—without one single word being spoken. At which peripatetic silence we at last, all by common consent, laughed. We thought of the Englishman at Paris, who maintained ‘que parler c’étoit gâter la conversation.’ After visiting the Lancasterian school I mentioned,—where one person teaches sixty girls, some of whom come from the remotest parts of Lord D——’s estate, many miles, daily—I rode to Rochester to see the fine ruin of the old castle. What has not been destroyed by violence stands like a rock, from the time of William the Conqueror. The remains of the eating-hall, with its colossal pillars united by richly ornamented Saxon arches, are singularly fine. The stone ornaments were all carved in Normandy, and sent hither by water. I mounted the highest point of the ruin, whence I had a noble view of the union of the Thames and the Medway, the towns of Rochester and Chatham, with the dockyards of the latter, and a richly cultivated country.

At dinner our company received an addition,—Mr and Mrs P——, Mr M——, and a nephew of Lord D——’s. Mrs P—— told a good anecdote of Kemble the actor. On a professional tour in the provinces, he acted in a piece in which a camel is introduced. He told the ‘décorateur’ that, as he had just seen, there was a camel actually in the town, and that he had better therefore go and look at it, that he might make his artificial one as like it as possible. The man seemed extremely annoyed, and replied, he was sorry gentlemen in London thought people in the country were so ignorant; for his part, he flattered himself that, without going to look at any thing, he should produce a more natural camel this evening than any that was walking about the streets.

The following day we rode out, and this time in company with the ladies, after which we went on the water in Lord D——’s elegant yacht. I was to drive the party down to the Thames, four-in-hand, in which I have had so little practice of late years, that at a crossway the leaders, in spite of my efforts, ran their heads against a stage-coach driving across us:—this occasioned a scream in both the carriages, which greatly incensed old Child, who looks upon me as his pupil.

Thus, like the great Corsican, in one day I lost all my renown in the high art of guiding the reins—from the throne, ycleped ruling,—from the box, driving. I was therefore obliged to abdicate the latter, since the ladies maintained that my possession of this exalted seat was attended with too much danger to them. This mortified me so sorely, that when we got on board the yacht I climbed up the shrouds, and seated myself at the mast-head, where, fanned by a mild zephyr, I admired at my ease the ever-changing prospect, and philosophized on my downfall.

July 5th.

After I had vigorously assisted in hewing out some new prospects in the thicket, (at which we all lent a hand,) and planned a road through the park which is to be so far honoured as to bear my name, I took a cordial leave of this most estimable family, (who might serve as a pattern to the nobility of any country,) and returned to London, provided with many letters of introduction for Ireland.

July 8th.

As before I depart I mean to send you all sorts of things, with my horses, carriage and birds, (of the latter you will receive a complete cargo of the rarest sorts), I have had enough to do to-day to complete my purchases. In the course of this occupation I fell upon an exhibition of machinery and manufactures, among which are many interesting things; as, for instance, a machine which draws of itself, (if I may say so,) all the objects visible within its horizon, in perspective: a piano-forte which, besides serving the usual purpose, plays (extra) a hundred pieces by itself, which you may accompany with extemporary `fantasie’ on the keys: a very compendious domestic telegraph, which spares the servants half their labour, and us nearly all their burdensome presence: a washing machine, which requires only one woman to wash a great quantity of linen: a most elegant churn, with which you can make butter on your breakfast table in two minutes; and other novelties of the like kind.

From hence I drove to the greatest nursery garden in the neighbourhood of London, which I had long wished to see. The multifold wants of such a number of rich people raise private undertakings to a magnitude and extent in England which they reach nowhere else. On such a scale I found a collection of green-houses in this garden. In many were small leaden tubes, carried along the edges of the glass roof,—three or four on each side: the tubes are perforated with very small holes: by only turning a cock, a stream of water is carried through them; and in one moment the whole house is filled with a thick shower, just like natural rain. This makes the labour of watering almost unnecessary, has a much more powerful and uniform effect, and only requires some aid where the leaves are too large and thick to allow the rain to penetrate.

Without going into the details of the innumerable sorts of pines, roses, &c., I must only remark, that in the department of esculent vegetables, there were four hundred and thirty-five sorts of salad, two hundred and sixty-one of peas, and two hundred and forty of potatoes,—and all other articles of garden commerce in the same proportion.

On my way back I met the Tyrolers, who had been making holiday, and asked my old acquaintance (the girl) how she was pleased with her stay here. She declared with enthusiasm that her Saint must have brought her here; for that they had made 7000l. sterling in a few months, which they had earned—hard money—only with singing their dozen songs.

Prince Esterhazy has made this Gejodle[88] the fashion here, and fashion in England is every thing. Sontag and Pasta, with their wonderful talents, have chiefly this to thank for their success—they were the fashion; for Weber, who did not understand the art of making himself fashionable, gained, as is well known, almost nothing;—the two Bohrers, Kiesewetter, and other men of real genius, were not more fortunate.

While I am talking of fashion, it seems a suitable occasion, before I quit England, to enter a little more at large on the subject of the structure and tone of English society, which is certainly rather more striking to a stranger in this admired land, than fog, steam-engines, or stage-coaches. It is not necessary to remark here, that in such general descriptions only the most prominent and reigning peculiarities are taken into consideration, and that, in the censure which is passed on the whole, the hundred honourable exceptions which exhibit the praiseworthy contrast in such full perfection, are left wholly out of the account.

England is now—viewed, certainly, with relation to a totally different universal spirit of the age—in a similar state to that of France thirty years before the revolution. And it will fall out with her as with her great rival, if she does not avert the storm by radical but continuous reform. Nearly-allied fundamental evils are present here, as there. On the one side, the undue preponderance, misused power, inflexible stony arrogance, and heartless frivolity of the great; on the other, selfishness and rapacity are grown into the national character of the mass of the people. Religion no longer dwells in the heart and spirit, but is become a dead form; notwithstanding the most unenlightened spirit of Catholicism,—with fewer ceremonies, indeed, but combined with like intolerance, and a similar hierarchy; and which besides the bigotry and the pride of Rome, has this over and above, that it possesses an enormous share of the property of the country.[89]

Like causes have also given an analogous tone and direction to what is pre-eminently called, Society. Experience will confirm this to every man who has access to what is called high life in England; and it will be highly interesting to him to observe how different a growth and aspect the same plant has assumed in France and England, in consequence of the original difference of the soil; for in France it grew rather out of chivalry and poetry, combined with the dominant vanity of the nation, with levity of character, and a real delight in social existence:—in England, out of a brutal feudal tyranny, the commercial prosperity of later years, an ill-humour and moroseness innate in the nation, and a cold stony self-love.

People on the continent generally form to themselves a more or less republican picture of English society. In the public life of the nation this is certainly very observable,—as also in their domestic habits, in which selfishness is strangely prevalent. Grown-up children and parents soon become almost strangers; and what we call domestic life[90] is therefore applicable only to husband, wife, and little children living in immediate dependence on their father; as soon as they grow up, a republican coldness and estrangement take place between them and their parents. An English poet maintains, that the love of a grandfather to his grandchildren arises from this—that in his grown-up sons he sees only greedy and hostile heirs,—in his grandchildren, the future enemies of his enemies. The very thought could never have arisen but in an English brain!

In the relations and tone of society, on the other hand, from the highest step to the very lowest, not a trace of any element of republicanism is to be found. Here, everything is in the highest degree ultra-aristocratic—it is caste-like. The present so-called great world would probably have taken a different form and character if a Court, in the continental sense of the word, had given tone and direction in the highest instance.

Such a one, however, does not here exist. The Kings of England live like private men; most of the high officers about the Court are little more than nominal, and are seldom assembled except on occasions of great ceremony. Now, as somewhere in society a focus must be organized, from which the highest light and the highest authority in all matters connected with society must emanate, the rich aristocracy seemed here called to assume this station.

It was, however, spite of all its wealth and puissance, not yet qualified to maintain such a station unquestioned. The English nobility, haughty as it is, can scarcely measure itself against the French in antiquity and purity of blood (if any value is to be attached to such things), and in no degree against the higher German nobility, which is for the most part intact.[91] It dazzles only by the old historic names so wisely retained, which appear through the whole of English history like standing masks; though new families, often of very mean and even discreditable extraction, (such as descendants of mistresses, and the like), are continually concealed behind them. The English aristocracy has indeed the most solid advantages over those of all other countries—from its real wealth, and yet more from the share in the legislative power allotted to it by the Constitution: but as it is not upon these grounds that it chooses to assert or to justify its supremacy, but precisely upon its assumed noble blood and higher extraction, the pretension must, unquestionably, appear to the rest of the world doubly ludicrous. The members of the aristocracy probably had an instinctive feeling of this; and thus, by a tacit convention—not nobility, not wealth, but an entirely new power was placed upon the throne, as supreme and absolute sovereign—Fashion: a goddess who in England alone, reigns in person, (if I may so express myself), with despotic and inexorable sway,—though always represented to mortal eyes by a few clever usurpers of either sex.

The spirit of caste, which, emanating from this source, descends through all stages of society in greater or less force, has received here a power, consistency and full development, wholly unexampled in any other country. The having visited on an intimate footing in a lower class is sufficient to ensure you an extremely cold reception in the very next step of the ladder; and no Brahmin can shrink with more horror from all contact with a Paria, than an ‘Exclusive’ from intercourse with a ‘Nobody.’—Every class of society, as well as every field, in England is separated from every other by a hedge of thorns. Each has its own manners and turns of expression,—its ‘cant’ language, as it is called, and, above all, a supreme and absolute contempt for all below it. Of course every reflecting person sees at a glance, that a society so constituted must necessarily become eminently provincial (kleinstädtisch, i. e. small-townish) in its several coteries; and this strikingly distinguishes it from the large and cosmopolitan society of Paris.

Now, although the aristocracy, as I have remarked, does not stand as such on the pinnacle of this strange edifice, it yet exercises great influence over it. It is indeed difficult to become fashionable without being of good descent; but it by no means follows, that a man is so in virtue of being well born—still less of being rich. It sounds ludicrous to say, (but yet it is true), that the present King for instance, is a very fashionable man; that his father was not in the least degree so, and that none of his brothers have any pretension to fashion;—which unquestionably is highly to their honour:—for no man who has any personal claims to distinction, would be frivolous enough long to have either the power or the will to maintain himself in that category. On the other hand, it would be a doubtful and critical matter to affirm decidedly what are the qualities which secure the highest places in that exalted sphere. You see alternately the most heterogeneous qualities occupy a post in it; and political motives, in a country like this, cannot be entirely without influence: yet I believe that caprice and luck, and, above all, women, here, as in the rest of the world, do more than anything else.

On the whole, fashionable Englishmen, however unable they may be to lay aside their native heaviness and pedantry, certainly betray the most intense desire to rival the dissolute frivolity and ‘jactance’ of the old Court of France in their fullest extent; while in exactly the same proportion the French now seek to exchange this character for old English earnestness, and daily advance towards higher and more dignified purposes and views of existence.

A London Exclusive of the present day is in truth nothing more than a bad, flat, dull impression of a ‘roué’ of the Regency and a courtier of Louis the Fifteenth: both have, in common, selfishness, levity, boundless vanity, and an utter want of heart; both think they can set themselves above everything by means of contempt, derision and insolence; both creep in the dust before one idol alone—the Frenchman of the last age, before his King—the Englishman of this, before any acknowledged ruler in the empire of fashion. But what a contrast if we look further! In France, the absence of all morality and honesty was at least in some degree atoned for by the most refined courtesy; the poverty of soul, by wit and agreeableness; the impertinence of considering themselves as something better than other people, rendered bearable by finished elegance and politeness of manners; and egotistical vanity in some measure justified, or at least excused, by the brilliancy of an imposing Court, a high-bred air and address, the perfect art of polished intercourse, winning ‘aisance,’ and a conversation captivating by its wit and lightness.—What of all this has the English ‘dandy’ to offer?

His highest triumph is to appear with the most wooden manners, as little polished as will suffice to avoid castigation; nay, to contrive even his civilities so, that they are as near as may be to affronts:—this indeed is the style of deportment which confers upon him the greatest celebrity. Instead of a noble, high-bred ease,—to have the courage to offend against every restraint of decorum: to invert the relation in which our sex stands to women, so that they appear the attacking, and he the passive or defensive party;—to treat his best friends, if they cease to have the stamp and authority of fashion, as if he did not know them,—“to cut them,” as the technical phrase goes; to delight in the ineffably ‘fade’ jargon, and the affectation of his ‘set;’ and always to know what is ‘the thing:’—these are pretty nearly the accomplishments which form a young ‘lion’ of the world of fashion. If he has, moreover, a remarkably pretty mistress, and if it has also happened to him to induce some foolish woman to sacrifice herself on the altar of fashion, and to desert husband and children for him, his reputation reaches its highest ‘nimbus.’ If, added to this, he spends a great deal of money, if he is young, and if his name is in the ‘Peerage,’ he can hardly fail to play a transient part; at any rate he possesses in full measure all the ingredients that go to make a Richelieu of our days. That his conversation consists only of the most trivial local jests and scandal, which he whispers into the ear of a woman in a large party, without deigning to remark that there is anybody in the room but himself and the happy object of his delicate attentions; that with men he can talk only of gambling or of sporting; that, except a few fashionable phrases which the shallowest head can the most easily retain, he is deplorably ignorant; that his awkward ‘tournure’ goes not beyond the ‘nonchalance’ of a plough-boy, who stretches himself at his length on the ale-house settle; and that his grace is very like that of a bear which has been taught to dance,—all this does not rob his crown of a single jewel.

Worse still is it, that, notwithstanding the high-bred rudeness of his exterior, the moral condition of his inward man must, to be fashionable, stand far lower. That cheating is prevalent in the various kinds of play which are here the order of the day, and that when long successfully practised it gives a sort of ‘relief,’ is notorious: but it is still more striking, that no attempt is made to conceal that ‘crasse’ selfishness which lies at the bottom of such transactions,—nay, that it is openly avowed as the only rational principle of action, and ‘good-nature’ is laughed at and despised as the ‘comble’ of vulgarity. This is the case in no other country: in all others, people are ashamed of such modes of thinking, even if they are wretched enough to hold them. “We are a selfish people,” said a favourite leader of fashion, “I confess; and I do believe that what in other countries is called ‘amor patriæ’ is amongst us nothing but a huge conglomeration of love of ourselves: but I am glad of it; I like selfishness; there’s good sense in it;”—and he added, not satirically, but quite in earnest, “Good-nature is quite ‘mauvais ton’ in London; and really it is a bad style to take up, and will never do.”

It is true that if you choose to analyze and hunt down every feeling with the greatest subtlety, you may discover a sort of selfishness at the very bottom of everything; but in all other nations a noble shame throws a veil over it; as there are instincts very natural and innocent, which are yet concealed even by the most uncivilized.

Here, however, people are so little ashamed of the most ‘crasse’ self-love, that an Englishman of rank once instructed me that a good ‘fox-hunter’ must let nothing stop him, or distract his attention when following the fox; and if his own father should be thrown in leaping a ditch, and lie there, should, he said, ‘if he couldn’t help it,’ leap his horse over him, and trouble himself no more about him till the end of the chase.