Page images


hundred of mutton. A piece of each of these meats is kept simmering in a stew.pan, and a copper of universal gravy with a few handfuls of sliced vegetables are always at hand. You order, for example, "gigot mouton avec sauce piquante," that sounds well, and probably you may think it will eat as well as it sounds: a scrap of meat is immediately cut from the shapeless junk in the stew-pan, is then well slopped with universal gravy, and a dash of the vinegar-cruet supplies the sauce piquante." If, haply, you prefer "bœuf à la sauce Tomate,' or "à la Jardinière," it is all the same: a little red-lead or brick-dust colours the universal gravy for the former, and a pinch of dried sage gives a refreshing verdure to the latter. Veal is treated in a manner precisely similar: whether you order "veau à l'oseille," or any of the other ninety-nine variations that are played upon the subject in the stew-pan, it is all the same,--the sorrel, spinage, anything green will do, is plastered over the bit of meat, and served up to order. 'Tis the universal gravy that does it.'


[ocr errors]

Muggins-Muggins,' thought I on hearing all this, 'what a hopeless old ass you must be!'

Having enjoyed ourselves sufficiently at the Artichoke, and paid our not unreasonable bill with the readiness of guests who have been welltreated, and wish to come again, we made the best of our way to the Brunswick Wharf, where places were to be taken for our journey by railway to town. A train was that moment about to start; we got into one of the carriages, and, in less time than I take to chronicle the event, were deposited at the town terminus, where we got a hackney coach, and drove off at full speed for the Zoological Gardens, regretting very much that time did not permit us to take the Tower and the Docks in our way. We reached the gardens in good time, and had another opportunity of admiring the extraordinary way in which the co-operative wealth and intelligence of mighty London procures mate. rials of knowledge and enjoyment. We had seen in the earlier part of our excursion the creative genius of art in various ways elicited for purposes of profit, glory, or pleasure,--here, as Tom Taylor observed, Nature herself, coy and reserved Nature, is called from her wild retreats to be made tributary to man's enjoyment. The monarch of Afri can wilds; the denizens of the sandy deserts of Arabia; the grisly tyrant of the Polar ice; nay, the very inhabitants of air, are brought familiarly before our eyes, and the student of animated nature may lay aside his books, and in this place become intimate with the animals that formerly he must have journeyed thousands of miles amid dangers and privations innumerable, to have looked upon.'

When we had paid our customary tribute of biscuits to the bear, apples to the elephant, and twigs of hawthorn to the giraffes, and examined the other curiosities of the place, we thought it high time to retire; and, getting into our coach, we desired the coachman to drive us as near as possible to the foot of Primrose Hill. Here we got out; and, taking advantage of a footpath, were speedily at the summit, where a delightful view more than rewarded us for the toil of our ascent. The sun was sinking in the west, and its horizontal rays glancing along the thousand roofs of smoky London, and lighting up as in flame the giant dome of St. Paul's, towering in bulky eminence over the wide-extended city; behind us, in deep and harmonious shade were the richly-wooded and luxuriant sister hills' of Hampstead and Highgate, and at our feet was the Regent's Park, and the

Gardens we had just quitted. Mrs. Taylor was in ecstasy; and Tom declared it was the finest thing we had seen that day.

'I have heard,' said I, addressing my reverend friend, inquiringly, a great deal of Montmartre, and think they call it the Primrose Hill of Paris.'

Primrose Hill!-if they call it Rubbish Hill, or Mount Misery, my dear fellow, the name would be more appropriate; a naked rock, with a few stone quarries, and a dilapidated windmill on the top, are its whole attractions, I assure you.'

We now descended the hill, and drove as rapidly as possible to Fladong's Hotel, where, while we were indulging ourselves with a cigar and glass of sherry and water, Tom Taylor happened to take up a newspaper; and casting his eye over the public amusements, proposed that, as Mrs. Taylor had gone to rest, we might finish our grog, and employ the remainder of the evening in going to the play. What is there to-night?' I inquired.


Hamlet the part of Hamlet by a gentleman, his first appearance on the Metropolitan boards,' replied my friend.

"That will do,' said I. We can't be wrong.'

"Twill be either tragical or comical, I suppose,' rejoined Taylor, 'as the case may be.' Whereupon off we went together to the play.

The house was tolerably filled; the boldness of the aspirant to histrionic fame having attracted a sprinkling of critics prompt to squabash' the unfortunate delinquent, who, neither having the accent of Christian, nor the gait of Christian, pagan, or man,' might have, in the simplicity of his heart, essayed the enactment of a part so difficult of comprehension, even to the all-illumined critics themselves, as that of Hamlet the Dane. To the great astonishment, and probably disappointment of the critics, the aspirant did not break down in the ghost scene, nor yet in the soliloquy-in addition to a complete knowledge of the conventionalities of his art, and of stage business generally, he never lost for a moment that deep feeling that exhibits the man of mind in the actor; there was soul in every tone. and with much art he so carried himself in his performance, that he might have truly said with Polonius, Madam, I swear I use no art at all' The play went off exceedingly well. I would have waited for the afterpiece; but my friend, Taylor, told me that there was nothing to see after Hamlet.


What do you think of the French tragedy, Tom?' 'Did you ever see a hornpipe in fetters, Twig.'

To be sure,' replied I; in the Beggar's Opera; but what has that to do with it?

'What has that to do with it? Why that is it.'—' Is what?'
Why, that same French tragedy of which you spoke.'
'Nonsense; you're joking.'

Not I, upon my life; a hornpipe in fetters, or tragedy upon stilts.' As we went home together I opened by degrees my heart to the excellent Tom Taylor, and told him all the history of my being crowed over by the Mugginses simply because I had the misfortune of not having been to Paris. I also hinted my suspicions that if I had been a travelled man, and could say that I had been on the Continent, I thought it was possible that Philadelphia Muggins-a very nice girl, by the way-would have no objection to change the inharmonious name of Muggins for the softer sound of Twig; that she had the reputation of twelve thousand pounds, and might possibly be

good for three; that I was very fond of her, and did not want her money (of course not!) and finally implored Tom Taylor, for old apprenticeship's sake, to give me a wrinkle how I might circumvent the enemy, and take Philadelphia!


Come down to the country with us to-morrow,' replied my hos pitable friend, and we can see what is to be done. Town is a bad place for giving advice, and a worse for taking it.'

'Oh! I see; and when I come up to town again, put a bold face on the matter, and say I've been to Paris. Eh?'

Down to the country we went together the following morning, the Reverend Thomas Taylor, Mrs. Thomas Taylor, and myself. At the expiration of three happy weeks I returned to town with a stock of health and spirits sufficient to last me at least a twelvemonth.

My first visit was to Camomile Street to the Mugginses. On entering the drawing-room, who should meet my embarrassed eyes but Philadelphia, and alone. It was with difficulty that I repressed the quick throbbing of my palpitating heart, and forced my trembling lips to utter, 'How's your mother?'


Quite well, I thank you, Mr. Twig.'

'And the governor ?'

'Laid up with the face-ache. Shocking, isn't it?'

Ah! very-very glad-very sorry, I mean.'

'But, bless me, Mr. Twig, where have you been hiding these three weeks?'


Ya!-eh ?-why-the-fact-is-on the Continent,-grand tour, you know, Paris, and all that'


Have you, really? Delightful, isn't it !'-' Delightful, indeed.' 'And the Louvre,-isn't it sweetly pretty? You may say that.' And the statues and pictures, ain't they darlings?'-'Ducks!'

[ocr errors]


And the Palais Royale ?'- Don't mention it.'

'And the Tweeleries?'- Uncommon natty.'

'And the beautiful Seine ?- Say no more!'


Oh, dear!' exclaimed the sentimental girl, 'is there any thing in this world more sweetly pretty than dear delightful Paris?'

'There is there is,' said I in a tremulous tone, drawing the hand of Philadelphia gently within mine, and gazing intently on her-there is something in this world more beautiful than Paris, with all its beauties that is, to me; something that surpasses all the-I mean everybody that ever I————

'In the name of goodness, Mr. Twig, what is it? tell us!' exclaimed Miss Muggins, colouring to the tips of her fingers.

'Can you ask?-can you ask?' exclaimed I impassionately. "Tis the loveliest of earthly creations,-'tis Philadelphia !'

Oh, Twig!' ejaculated the lovely girl, and sank upon my bosom. My business was done. The Governor's face-ache precluded him from coming to close-quarters with me about the sights and lions of Paris: and, by carefully keeping to the windward of Mrs. Muggins, and talking generalities out of my guide book, (which I had got by rote while at Tom Taylor's,) I effectually bamboozled the old lady, and even Emmeline declared that she thought I travelled to some purpose.

I thought so too when I went to the bank yesterday to touch three thousand pounds sterling-Philadelphia's fortune. To-morrow -(for the family are as cracked as ever about travel,) Mrs. Muggins, Emmeline, my wife and I, are off, per steamer, to Rotterdam and the Rhine!




'Unasy is the head that's got a crown!'-SHAKSPEARE, O'Neil loquitur.

THOSE who have ears to hear must be aware that, every now and then, the concatenation of public events brings into fashion some noun substantive, more guarded than its fellows,' which is bruited from club to coterie, kept in pica by correctors of the press for the use of leading articles, and stereotyped for the pamphlets of budding politicians. Enter the gallery of the House of Commons, and within five minutes you will be struck by the pellet of the word in authority. One session it is 'NON-INTERVENTION; the next, the INTEGRITY' of the Ottoman Empire. Of late, the crack word has been 'ABDICATION.'


During the present year, all the thrones in Europe appear to have been thrown over, just as in Napoleon's time they were overthrown. Royalty has been at a discount; crowns have been going a begging; scarcely a sovereign but has been in want of change!

There is something strangely ad captandum in the magnanimity of such an act. Ever since, in our days of birchhood, we inclined our little schoolboy eyes over the frontispiece of Robertson's History of Charles V., instead of 'minding our book,' we have retained a fond impression of the very great superiority of that Emperor, standing awful and imperious in his cuirass and tin pantaloons, over the pale pitiful Philip, in his ermine tippet, kneeling before his father, and about to be translated to a higher see; the abdicator looking exceed. ingly like "possum up a gum-tree;' and the abdicatee like 'racoon in a hollow,' watching below. Abdication, for the use of schools, could not have been more edifyingly set forth.

But we own we fancied this regal sacrifice in five syllables one of the heroics of the middle ages. We had the weakness to imagine, that, unless like Napoleon at Fontainbleau, with a hundred thousand bayonets at his throat, and fifty pieces of cannon at his gates-modern princes were fonder of laying down the law than laying down the sceptre—that is, laying down the law instead of the profits. It never occurred to us, that in this matter-of-fact century-this age of calculating machines--this era, of which Josephus is the historian, (meaning Hume, not Adam but Joseph,)-this epoch of utilitarianism and go-a-headism-potentates could be found sufficiently soft to quarrel with their bread and butter, and indulge in the amiable weakness of ABDICATION.

Nothing else, however, is heard of among the capitals of civilized Europe. Scarcely have we opened a paper since January last, but the word ABDICATION has occupied an honourable station in the Foreign Intelligence, or own correspondent' department. Week after week, Kings have been accepting unattached majorities on half pay; and Queens going out, receiving the difference!



In more than one instance, it appears that 'All for love, or the throne well lost,' should have been the title of these singular performances. All for love,' in the nineteenth century-A very great writer has observed, that were honour driven from the earth



its refuge should be the breast of Kings;' and romance appears to have taken shelter in the same retreat :-Romance is marked with the broad arrow-romance is regalized! Cupid, on finding his torch broken by the rollicking spirit of the times, as though it were a watchman's lantern, has thought fit to lighten his darkness with a royal spark; for his Majesty King William is said to have flung aside the flats of Holland in favour of a maid of honour, 'fat, fair, and forty,' unquestionably deserving to be made titular King of Cyprus, by way of compensation.

The universal acclamations lavished upon this truly royal action began at length to fill our minds with alarm, lest the example should become contagious. The epidemic of ABDICATION was raging, and by the simplicity of Venus' doves!' we trembled lest our own little throne of England should be weighed in the balance and found wanting by those who honour it with all the graces and virtues of royalty. We looked out with anxiety in every Saturday's Gazette, and our breath came short whenever her most gracious Majesty's First Lord of the Treasury opened his lips as if he had something to say. A mere hint of the word ABDICATION from such a quarter, would have put three kingdoms into crape and bombazine, and the colonies into weepers!

Judge, therefore, oh! sympathizing public! what was our consternation, when one day last summer, as we panted our way up the steep ascent of St. James's-street, while the clubs sneered at our peripatetic philosophy from under their cool awnings, a general buzz and murmur issuing from the portals of those temples of gossipry, concentrated in appalling accents the fatal word ABDICATION!-It was not of William those idlers were talking. It was not of Christina. Neither King nor Kaiser occupied their minds; or if Kings and Queens mingled in any degree in their calculations, it was as regarded the odd tricks of a pack which hath no record in the Almanack of Saxe Gotha. There was a sound of lamentation; but its ohs! and ahs! were under no sort of control from the pursuivants of the Herald's Office.

'What will become of us?' cried one.

'Where shall we hide our diminished heads?' exclaimed another. 'Where shall we breakfast?' sighed a third. Where shall we dine?' a fourth.

'Where sup?' a fifth.

What shall I do with my mornings?' said A. What shall I do with my evenings?' said B. 'What shall I do with my nights?' yawned C.

'I shall have twelve hours of the twenty-four thrown on my hands!' swore his Grace.

I, fifteen simpered his Lordship.

I, twenty!' lisped Sir Henry.

'Decidedly, if he persist in his project of abdication I will break up my establishment, and fly the country!' faltered one, who shall be nameless.

In horror-struck suspense, we gazed upon this new Caius Marcius, listening anxiously to the murmurs of the ingenuous youth and middle age of Britain, till our souls grew still more and more disquieted!

'What can he mean, pray?' resumed the first speaker. 'What

« PreviousContinue »