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of classical form. ' A man on horse- those of which I have been speakback next presented himself, carry ing, but on Sundays, and indeed ing in his arms a boy, accoutred as on the evenings of every day in the Cupid appears on the stage of the week, when the weather bears a Opera-house, and, lastly, the long smiling appearance, I meet persons expected beuf gras or fatted Ox; his of all ages, and often in family parhorns were gilt, and he was led by ties, hastening to the Boulevards, four men, each of whom wore the the Thuilleries, or the Champs Elycostume of a Hercules, and carried sés, and throwing off all recollecin his hand a colossal club. On the tion of their cares and professional back of the Ox, and reclining on a labours, in the interchange of friendvelvet cushion, sat a young child, ly conversation, and the enjoyment and a second detachment of soldiers of harmless mirth. completed the cavalcade. I cannot At the gardens of Tivoli, Frescati, even conjecture what this ceremony and St. Cloud, I witness similar is meant to represent; though. I scenes; and though I acknowledge suppose it is of heathen origin. that I have sometimes laughed at seeAnd, if so, it is not the least curious ing grave gentlemen and full-grown part of the business that it should ladies mounted on rocking-horses, or be revived in the 19th century, and on those round-a-bouts, which are on one of the festivals of the Catholic here not exclusively confined to the Church.
diversion of boyhood, but shared by However absurd it may appear in persons of all ages, perhaps my the judgment of a phlegmatic Eng- ridicule was ill-timed; for the peolishman, that an exhibition so pal- ple of this country are rather to be try as the one which I have just envied than censured for retaining, described, should bring together so even to old age, a passion for hobbylarge a.proportion of the citizens of horses; and if we, who presume to this great city, I must confess, that look down with an eye of contempt if it is wise to lose no opportunity, on such amusements, instead of however tifling, of making ourselves blaming those who indulge in them innocently happy, and if the merry would condescend to do the same, faces which I met in such vast we should act a wiser part: for cernumbers on this occasion did not tainly it is better to spend a fine deceive me with false appearances, evening under the canopy of heaven, the Parisians are rather to be envied staring at a beuf gras, or whirling than censured for being so easily round on a swing, than, like our amused. Indeed, one of the best higher ranks, to waste those cheerful traits in your national character is hours in a heated dining-room; or, the facility with which you find as the inferior classes of Englishagreeable pursuits, and the good men are too fond of doing, in drunksense you display in welcoming plea- enness and gross revelry, amidst the sure wherever it presents itself, no fumes of punch and tobacco, at a matter how humble may be the at public-house. Adieu, tire which it assumes. Not only on
C. DARNLEY. such periods of peculiar festivity as
From the MARQUIS DE VERMONT to Sir CHARLES DARNLEY, Bart.
London. that whenever an expression is ad. MY DEAR DARNLEY,
dressed to a Frenchman of equivoPRAISE and censure are so cal meaning, and it is doubtful whemixed together in your last letter, ther a compliment or a censure is that it is not quite evident whether meant to be conveyed, he always the "
merry faces” which are said puts on it the most agrecable interto abound in our Parisian streets on pretation'; I shall do so on this days of festival, please or offend occasion, and conclude that you you most. It has been observed, really think us wise in being amused
with trifles. ' Indeed, so large a' pro- unimpaired health and redoubled portion of human happiness depends spirits. How differently do your on the enjoyment of cheap plea- good citizens of London conduct sures," that those who retain a taste themselves on similar occasions ? for them, (particularly amidst the Here the ideas of amusement and corruptions and dissipations of a expense are inseparable; and it never great city) are rather to be envied, occurs to an Englishman, whatever than laughed at, or condemned. his situation in life may be, that he Viewing the question as one in po- can give himself the slightest gratilitical economy, there can be no fication without a considerable drain doubt that the observance of fre- on the contents of his purse. quent holy-days is extremely inju- I lately overheard a mechanic conrious to the industry, and therefore versing in barbarous English with to the wealth and independance of a brother of the same trade, and I the community; on that account I noted down the following words: lament that our government has re- " I spends as much on a Sunday as vived so many of those fêtes, which I gets on all the days of the week the revolution had abolished; but besides.” Now this speech seems there is a trait in the French cha- to express very accurately, if not racter which renders the idleness, very elegantly, the feelings and which such gay moments occasion, habits, not only of the poorer class less injurious to my countrymen of people, to which this man bethan to your's; I mean the extreme longed, but of many of a higher sobriety of all classes, generally ac- order. I am assured that jourcompanied by a natural cheerfulness neymen tailors, journeymen shoeof disposition, and early acquired makers, and all other persons of habits of the strictest economy. similar description, who receive the
When a Bourgeois of Paris gives price of their weekly exertions on a his family and himself a holy-day saturday night, seldom return home he only loses the time so devoted to to their wives and families till they relaxation, while he often redeems have wasted a considerable portion its value by greater exertion on the of what they had just received at preceding, or following, days. A some neighbouring pot-house : the loaf of bread, a bunch of grapes, a expense of the Sunday dinner, and little cold meat, (the relics of a for- concomitant punch or porter, makes mer meal) and a bottle of 10 sous another heavy deduction from their wine, packed up in a light basket, little stock; and when the following and carried by la fille (his only fe- day appears (which is technically male servant, who accompanies and called "St. Monday) they are too in. shares the pleasures of her em- nervated, by the excesses committed ployer) affords a delicious repast, in the interval, to return to work. after their morning's walk, to the Four and twenty hours more are merry little party, seated under the devoted to idleness and barbarous shade of an ancient oak in the Bois excess; and while scarcely any of de Boulogne, or in the Parc of St. them begin their professional laCloud. And if the master of the fa- bours till Tuesday, not a few postmily can afford to take his compa- pone their accustomed tasks till the nions in the evening to one of those week is far advanced. If holy-days merry salons or public rooms, over are less frequent in London than at the entrance to which appear those Paris, and if, at such times, your words, so tempting to a Frenchman's streets assume a less cheerful apeye, “ Ici on danse,” and where for a pearance than our's, I must beg leave few pence they may enjoy for several to remind you that Exhibitions, and hours this innocent and favourite exhibitions of no very rational kind, amusement, he makes himself and have their attractions even in Engthose around him as happy as if he land. Your Lord Mayor's-show, had spent ten louis in an expensive with the barges and their flags on entertainment; and returning home the river, and the gilt coaches in the by moonlight, well pleased with his street; the man in armour and the day's excursion, he resuines his la- rest of the absurdities of that annual bours on the following morning with ceremony collect no less a crowd
in this capital than does the beuf ing spirits and smoking tobacco; gras at Paris; and I think you will when, after spending tlie morning confess that, to the eye of reason, the in this manner, they adjourn to one ene pageant is just as interesting as of the theatres in the evening, where, the other.
instead of listening to the play, they The religious rites of Christmas amuse themselves by interrupting are performed with becoming res- the performance with loud vociferapect; but the custom of giving on tions, by pelting, the actors with that day a plentiful dinner of roast- orange-peel, or by insulting the ed beef, plum pudding, and mince more respectable part of the audi. pies, accompanied by copious libations of punch, ale, porter, and port May-day, * which I shall next wine, is not less generally or less mention, receives honours of a pestrictly observed.
culiar kind in England, and again The Jour de l'An at Paris does affords an apology for idleness and not bring more people into our dissipation. There is such a charın shops, of all descriptions, than the in the appearance of Spring and in morning of Twelfth-day attracts the ideas connected with it, that I into those of your London pastry- was not surprised at remarking that cooks; and so numerous are they, on this occasion your countrymen and so ample is the provision of threw off much of the gravity which frosted cakes, covered with orna. they commonly mix up with their mental figures, that I really believe pleasures. The chimney-sweepers, more money is wasted in the pur- decked out with pieces of gilt paper, chase of such indigestible articles, with faded flowers and other fineries than we spend in procuring those of some lady's cast apparel, playing elegant etrennes, new year's a barbarous tune with their brushes gifts, which friends exchange in and shovels, and dancing round a France, and which often consist of portable May-pole, presented indeed jewellery, china, or lace. Allow me a most grotesque appearance in the also to remark, that British curio- centre of a civilized capital. Nor sity on these occasions is fully equal did I witness without a considerable to our’s, and that the crowds of idle degree of interest that singular kind gazers at the windows of your con- of charitable hospitality, which a fectioners, on Twelfth-day, are not lady of great wealth, and distinless numerous than those which you guished literary talent, first instiobserved in the Palais Royal on the tuted, and which her son continues 1st of January.
to observe : I mean the dinner, al · Easter Monday is another festival fresco, given on the occasion, in a on which the lower ranks of this garden attached to one of the most great city delight to make holy-day; splendid mansions in the British and on which,
not satisfied with ab- metropolis, to the younger members staining from work, they indulge of that sooty community, who are in the most wanton excesses. Be- thus allowed to enjoy, once a year, sides the indecent scenes exhibited the luxuries of the great. by both sexes in tumbling down The smart and self-satisfied apGreenwich-bill, and the aukward pearance of your stage-coachmen and often dangerous zeal of your pleased me much when, in entering citizens in joining the jovial chase London, they displayed on their own on that occasion, when a stag is bosoms, and on the heads of their turned out for their amusement, the horses, those numerous nosegays, public houses of London, and the which the belles of the rustic inns, numerous inns of its environs, are at which they are in the habit of thronged with riotous parties, drink- stopping, make it a practice to
May day seems always to bave been a day dedicated to gaiety in England. Miss Benger, in her late very interesting Life of Ann Boleyn, tells us, that on May-day it was King Henry the Eighth's pride to rise with the lark, and with a train of Courtiers, splendidly attired in white and silver, to hasten to the woods, from whence be bore home the fragrant bough in triumph. Eur. Mag. July, 1823.
present to them on that day. If the lic house, (to repeat the phrase of inorning of Spring was only wel- my friend the mechanic) spend comed in this manner by its proper twice as much as they get all the emblem of beautiful flowers, one week beside.” But when no pubshould scarcely complain of the idle- lic solemnity occurs, a bull-bait, or ness which it occasions; but May- a boxing match is quite sufficient to day, like every other festival in draw half the population of London England, is celebrated not only in to one of those barbarous sights ; the open air, and with innocent pas. and whenever an Englishman goes times, but also (and much oftener) abroad he never thinks of returning in public houses, amidst smoke, till the day is spent and his money drunkenness, and noisy riot. exhausted. It grieves me to add
The fairs in the neighbourhood of that, though bull-baiting and boxing London, particularly that of St. are both forbidden by your laws, Bartholomew, (which is kept in means are found of evading them, Smithfield, and consequently in the and that such unchristian sports are centre of the commercial part of this not only attended and enjoyed by great city,) are not only the occa- the lower orders of your people, but sion of lost labour; but likewise of often sanctioned by the presence of every possible excess, of every vice, peers and other persons of importand frequently of bloodshed.
I am aware that a distinBut in addition to the holy-days guished statesman, now dead, who indiscriminately observed by all the was fond of exercising his great tanatives of Great Britain, I find that lents in the defence of paradoxes, the Scotch have their St. Andrew's; used to contend that the continuance the Welsh their St. David's; the of pugilism was necessary to the Irish their St. Patrick's day; and maintenance of your national couthat every good patriot thinks it rage; but all that his ingenuity necessary on the return of his na- could prove was, that it is better tional festival, not only to put a that two angry Britons should vent thistle, a leak, or a shamrock, in their fury in an exchange of blows, his bat, but also to get drunk in than that they should, like the fiery honour of his patron saint. But, natives of a more southernly climate, besides these appointed periods, I seek revenge in the cowardly pracperceive that your people, in spite of tice of assassination. But surely all their industry, greedily seize on this negative kind of defence, if alevery opportunity of giving them- lowed at all, cannot justify the cusselves a holy-day. On the day kept tom of encouraging, by pecuniary in honour of the King's Birth-day rewards, professional combatants to loyalty requires that they should try their comparative strength in cease from labour, and spend some pitched battles, which often end in hours at the public house, either in the loss of life; a custom no less dedrinking long life to his Majesty, rogatory to the honour of the 19th or d-n to his ministers, accord- century, than contrary to the clear ing to their respective politics.- precepts of that religion which we Apropos, on the last anniversary I all profess. know not which I most admired, the Let it be remembered also, that it brilliant display of elegant carriages, was only in the decline and fall of which conveyed the great and rich Rome, that her tyrants taught a to the Court of their Sovereign, or servile people to take delight in the the equally splendid string of mail. effusion of human blood, by exhicoaches, drawn by the finest horses biting frequently before them the in the world, which in the evening horrid feats of hireling gladiators. paraded St. James's-street.
Your races in general, and partiWhen the King meets his parlia- cularly those of Epsom and Egliam, ment, when the anniversary of a in consequence of their vicinity to battle gained, or a proclamation for the capital, are in their effects very a fast in humiliation of your sins, injurious to your morals. I shall offers an excuse, your labouring not go the length of saying that classes throw aside their work, and there is a want of humanity in teachmaking their appearance in the ing the generous horse to exhaust street, in the Park, or at the pub- his vigour in overstrained competition, for it seems the nature of that bouilli
, a roast fowl, or a plate of noble animal to feel the love of fame cutlets. Now contrast this fare with and to struggle for victory; but this the nominal family dinner of a man diversion, like every other in Eng- of small fortune in England, to land, is attended with ruinous ex- which he invites those with whom penses.
While your noblemen and he lives on terms of the closest intigentry spend vast sums in rearing macy. Though he knows they are all and training these beautiful but de- acquainted with his circumstances, licate creatures, and are sometimes and are aware how ill he can afford tempted to risk the full value of a the expense, he loads his table with large estate, which has descended to every costly rarity, while, in doing them from a long line of ancestry, so, he exposes himself to very serion the hazardous achievements of a ous difficulties, and is perhaps obfavourite colt, others, who are not liged, a few days afterwards, to ask rich enough to keep horses them- a temporary loan of one of those selves, are still fond of being pre- very guests, in receiving whom so sent on these occasions as spectators; extravagantly he wasted a larger and after cheating, or being cheated sum than that which he is now comon the ground, spend the rest of the pelled to borrow. Nor is this fault day at some of the neighbouring confined to their higher classes;inns in jovial parties, or in gaming your tradesmen are scarcely less at the Ě O. tabses. In short, I think prodigal than your nobility and the English are just as fond of holy- gentry. Even your mechanics are days as the French; but while they occasionally forgetful of the golden pay more dearly for them, they en- rules of economy and moderation. joy them less. A similar remark is Scarcely a shopkeeper is to be found applicable to all the convivial habits in London who, on a Sunday, does of the two countries : with us so- not either give a handsome dinner ciety is so essential a part of our at home, partake of a similar one at happiness, that it requires no adven- a friend's house, or take a country titious charm. We seek it for its excursion, conveying his wife or his self, and are led to the pursuit by no mistress in a gig, for the driving of secondary consideration. You ac- which one or two horses are regucuse us of vanity, yet, in your man- larly kept; while some persons of ner of receiving company, you shew no higher station think themselves that that passion has a much greater rich enough to change this humble influence on you than on us. In- vehicle for a barouche and four.deed, according to the usages of Such follies certainly contribute to England, it seems that a man has those frequent bankruptcies which but one alternative; to live in soli. your Gazette announces, but their tude, or to squander immense sums existence shews how difficult it is for in giving sumptuous banquets. an Englishman to separate his ideas Need I tell you how differently we of pleasure from those of expense. feel and act in these respects. Not But, lest I should tire you, I will only in our chateaux and provincial now take my leave. I think I have towns, but also in the capital, the shewn pretty clearly, that if the proudest noble is not ashamed to Parisians spend too much time in see his relations and intimate friends the observance of public festivals, at his ordinary and frugal meal; they share that weakness with their and could you come unseen into the graver neighbours; who, not content dining-rooms of our finest hotels you with wasting their hours in this would find many a cheerful party manner, are equally lavish of their assembled round the social board, health and money. though perhaps the only dishes
De VERMONT. it contains are the usual soup and