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talan yourself; yet so difficult is it Now, notwithstanding these varied
to say .91 61001 person SKETCHES OF SOCIETY AND MANNERS IN LONDON
AND PARIS. Nb : 3 best
LETTER.11. The Marquis de Vermont in London, to Sir Charles Darnley, Bart., at Paris.
You English are such ramblers region, inhabited by human beings, that, perhaps, of all places home is will no similar imperfections be disthe last where your friends have any covered ? In general, I believe, it is chance of finding you. Deeply, true, that in your favoured island therefore, as I share the disappoint- more pains are taken to preserve ment, my dear Darnley, which you a corresponding propriety in all have had the kindness to express at you do or undertake, than elseour separation, I confess I am more where ; but even in England, do grieved than surprised at your ab- you think there are no inconsisten:
You are very philosophical cies? in discovering, that we may both I have, as yet, only spent one derive some advantage from the sin week in this proud Albion, yet I gular coincidence, which sent you have not done so, without perceivby one road to Paris, while I took ing that, in spite of its freedom, the other to London. This kind of moral rectitude, and diffused knowmoralizing, and drawing good from ledge, this country has still its conevil, is quite characteristic of your tradictions. national disposition. I cannot be To begin with the Inns, which so reasonable, nor shall I ever cease are generally, and perhaps justly, to regret the loss of your valuable considered as superior to those on assistance, in viewing this interest the Continent, and which some traing country. But as Fate has de- vellers have compared to the Palaces prived me of so able a conductor of Princes, I confess that, in many well as I can; and, after having which have been lavished on them. done
SO, I shall avail myself of your The civility of the landlords, and permission, and submit my remarks the almost troublesome attention of to the examination and correction the waiters, the well-carpeted and of your superior judgment. Nor well-aired rooms, into which the shall I hesitate when I perceive, in fatigued stranger is conducted on your observations on France, any his arrival,—the blazing fire,—the error which my local knowledge close-drawn curtains, — the handcan set right, to point out to you some and easy sopha, - the sidethe supposed mistake.
board covered with glass and plate, In reading, your letter, I could and the general cleanliness of all not help smiling at some of your around, are circumstances well calcritiques. No one is more liberal culated to justify such encomiums.
divest oneself of early prejudices, conveniences, your most celebrated that even you seem to consider all Inns are deficient in many things those incongruities which drew your essential to the comfort of a person notice on the road to Paris, as pe accustomed to the manners and haculiar to the country which you are bits of the Continent. visiting; forgetting what a modern When after a boisterous though writer observes, with equal truth rapid voyage I landed at Dover, and neatness, " that inconsistency (after having been much indisposed is the grand characteristic of man. on the passage) I took up my quarI do not pretend to assert, that no ters in one of the best hotels of that absurdities can be found in our town, I was no less surprised than usages and manners ; but in what delighted at the manner in which
* Translated from the original French.
I was welcomed to this house of that the dinner was ready, I begged public entertainment. The master that the soup might be brought in, of the establishment met me as I I found, to my great disappointleft the packet; and, hearing that ment, that that usual, and almost I intended to be his lodger, insisted from habit necessary article in a on being my guide, and walked Frenchman's meal, had been omitted. before me to his dwelling, promis- “Then,” said I, “ let me have what ing, at the same time, that he would you have substituted.” A slice of himself see my luggage conveyed to boiled cod, with a very insipid sauce the Custom-house, and would super- made of oysters (which I happen intend the examination of its con particularly to dislike) was followed tents.
by a plate of mutton chops, which At the door of the inn I was re were so hard and so raw, that I ceived by his wife, a smiling and could with difficulty persuade mywell- dressed young woman, who self to taste them; and the potatoes, conducted me into a small but com which filled another dish, were fortable apartment; and in less than scarcely more inviting. I requested, five minutes I found myself quite at therefore, to have some other vegethome, while half a dozen waiters ables, when some greens were placed busied themselves in anticipating on the table--but they, too, were my wishes. One stirred the fire, underboiled. One of the waiters, a second drew down the curtains, perceiving that I did not seem to a third placed on the polished table relish the dinner which he had set a pair of wax candles, a fourth before me, said, very civilly, “Sir, lighted them, a fifth brought a news would you choose something else? paper, and a sixth, on my enquiring ---Perhaps you would prefer a beefabout dinner, ran for a bill of fare. steak, a veal cutlet, or a slice of cold
Well,” thought I, “ this Eng- ham ?” land seems, indeed, a most delight “Oh, no:-cannot I have a parful place, and a simple traveller is tridge--some pigeons -a poulet art better treated here than an Ambas- ris-africandeauora vol-au-vent?” sador or reigning Prince in other (mentioning some of the articles countries. Nor did I forget to con
which in France are met with in the trast all these civilities with the commonest inns.) His answer 'concold and haughty manner in which vinced me that nothing of the kind you and I were so often received at was here to be had without several similar houses in America. When hours previous notice. In despair I the bill of fare, which was as long called for pastry; when an ill-made as la carte ata French restaurateur's, apple-tart and some tasteless jelly was produced, some of my miseries were brought in;—and when I asked began.---It contained a list of every for a desert, a few oranges, a dry kind of butcher's meat, every kind biscuit, and a dish of sour apples, of poultry, every kind of fish, and were all which I could obtain. In every kind of vegetables ; but all respect to wine I was equally unforthese things were to dress, and no tunate : I first tried the port, but it thing was ready, though the hour at appeared so very strong to my pawhich I arrived was precisely that late, that I seemed to be swallowing at which I know the generality of liquid flames of fire and ether: Englishmen are in the habit of din. changed it for claret; the beverage ing. The necessity of waiting, while thus denominated proved so adultemy meal was preparing, did not rated, that I could scarcely recogvery well accord with the ravenous nise in its taste the most distant reappetite of a man who had not eaten semblance to my favourite Bordeaux. since sun-rise, and who, in the inter- But to conclude the tale of mes petval, had crossed the Channel : but its malheurs, my next demand was compelled to do so I requested, for coffee :---after I had waited half without making any selection, that an hour, a silver salver was placed my landlady would have the good. before me, containing an elegant ness to order for me whatever could vase of the same metal; and by its be most expeditiously cooked. No side a china dish, with a well-buttertime was lost in executing my or ed muffin, and a cut-glass jug full ders; but when, on being informed of the richest cream. All these pre
parations promised weil; but when yon discovered some inconsistencies, I began to pour out the coffee from before I had passed twenty-four hours the ornamental pot which held it, I in this island, I had sufficient-cause found it so ill-made, and so diluted to make a similar complaints: My with water, that it was not without bill, too, for these wretched accommo disgust that I swallowed a cup-full. dations amounted to something more
Little refreshed by my dinner, and than two guineas; for which sum at exhausted with the fatigues of the Paris, after eating the most luxuriday, I expressed, at an early hour, ous dinner at Beauvilliers' or Romy intention of retiring to rest: as bèrts', you may sleep at any of the soon as I told the waiter that such most
expensive hotels, in such a bed was my wish, a pretty and well as a Roman emperor would not have dressed young woman, who said she disdained. - Nor were the circumwas the chamber-maid, made her ap- stances which I have mentioned pepearance; and carrying a wax ta, culiar to Dover--wherever I stopped per in a silver candlestick, led me on the road I found similar adyan. through the intricate mazes of an tages, and similar disadvantages. At old staircase, which seemed to run every inn I enjoyed on my arrival from one end of the house to the the comforts of a good fire, and a other, into a low-roofed room, where wellaired room; and in all of them a small but neat bedstead, with fur- the charm of extreme cleanliness, niture of snowy-white linen, acccom- and great civility :--but when wish panied with every other apparenting to satisfy my appetite I called comfort, seemed to promise that if I for the bill of fare, 1 uniformly rehad not dined very luxuriously, I ceived a long list of mutton, veal, should be indemnified by the enjoy: beef, lamb, poultry, and fish to dress; ment of a good night's repose: think and I soon learnt that, unless I was then of my disappointment, when disposed to wait three or four hours on lying down that, instead of the for the preparation of a dinner, and pile of mattresses to which we are to treble the already heavy charges accustomed in France, there was of my travelling expenses, that the nothing here but a down feather-bed, only real choice was between a tough the heat of which was intolerable; mutton-chop and a hard heef-steak, while the sheets had been so highly between an ill-cooked veal cutlet and mangled, that I could not find a a raw leg of roast lamb, and between resting place. After tossing about stale pastry and insipid jelly. for several hours in a state of feyer Having thus spoken frankly of įsh irritation, I had at last sunk into the inconveniences which I have exan uneasy sleep, when I was sud- perienced, it gives me great pleasure denly roused by the sound of a horn, to reverse the picture, and to speak which announced, as I was informed to you of the satisfaction which my the next day, the arrival of the Lon- journey has already afforded me, don mail-coach. Again I attempted In going from Dover to London, to tranquillize myself; and, after an I was delighted with the rapidity of interval of some time, fell again into the posting, the beauty of the horses, an imperfect slumber, when I was a and the civility of the drivers--the second time disturbed by a still loud- excellence of the roads--the rich vaer noise than that which had at first riety of the landscapes--the ornaawakened me: it was occasioned by mented grounds and elegant villas some late trayellers, who finding the of the gentry--- the white cottages gate of the inn closed, which was and neat gardens of the peasantrydirectly under my windows, were the picturesque villages--the appearknocking at it, and demanding post ance of comfort so generally dishorses.
played in the dresses and dwellings Such was my first night at an Eng of all orders of the people—and lish inn; and such my experience of with the first sight of your renownthe comforts, the much yaunted como ed Thames, flowing majestically beforts of a country which, in this res tween the counties of Kent and Espect, is said to be superior to all the sex; and so crowded with vessels, world.
that I seemed to behold a forest of You will acknowledge that, if be masts. I was also much surprised fore you had been a week in France at the multitude of travellers, whom
I met in private and public carriages we, who do not generally possess of all descriptions. You are, indeed, the advantage, have invented the a wandering nation, par eminence. only appropriate name, did not esI am persuaded that, between Dover cape my notice. On these trottoirs and London, I saw twice as many
crowds of well-dressed pedestrians persons as will be found at any time of both sexes were hastening to in the road between Paris and Gene their respective avocations, in spite va; though the latter journey is at of the unfavourable state of the least four times longer than the atmosphere, and of the approaching former.
night.---Nor did I fail to remark the As I approached London, I en- · numberless elegant carriages and deavoured to discover the dome of loaded carts, which impeded our way St. Paul's. It was at last pointed when we came to Charing-Cross, out to me, but it was so enveloped while the richness and variety of the in a cloud of smoke, that with dif shops, which were just lighted, dazficulty I perceived its mighty top. zled my eyes, and distracted my In driving over Westminster-bridge, attention, I lamented, that a nearer view of But more of all this hereafter. the river was impeded by the lofty I have, for the present, taken up parapets; but what I did see ex my quarters at Brunet's, in Leicescited my admiration. In entering ter-square; for though I hope, by the town, I confess I was disap and by, so to accustom myself to pointed. After traversing a shabby your usages as to feel perfectly at street, formed almost entirely of my ease in an English hotel, I think, shops, I perceived, it is true, a hand for the moment, I shall be more some opening to the left, the striking satisfied at the house of a countryfeature of which is the Abbey; but man, where I shall be able to comits ancient magnificence seems little mand all those conveniences which to accord with the modern garden early habit has rendered indispensaadjoining it, and still less with the ble. For my next letter, I Hatter low and jetty buildings which we myself I shall find a more interestpassed in approaching it. Evening ing topic than that of soups and was coming in at the moment of my waiters, to which this has been nearrival, and a dense and yellow fog cessarily confined. Adieu, threw a gloom on all around. The And believe me ever your's, convenience, however, of your trot
LE MARQUIS DE VERMONT. toirs, for which it is curious that
That I shall e'er forget!
The day when first we met.
But I shall ever hear,
My fond, attentive ear,
But I would fain fulfil;
Till l've obey'd your will.
But has my anger fired;
But, fondly, I've admired.
You mine distinctly see;
Conlarino. Why sits that cloud of sadness on your brow?
Sforza. Venice, sayst thou ?
Contarino. But why distract
Sforza. Think not, friend,
Contarino. And such, indeed,
Contarino. Returning from the palace yesternight,
Sforza. I know it well: