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No wonder !—for we have seen pumpkins in France, that would make Ossa like a wart !" There is a wildness of fancy about this one, like the night-mare. What an overwhelming idea in the last line!-
We're all in the dumps, for Diamonds is trumps,
And the kittens are gone to St. Paul's :
And the houses are built without walls ! But yet there is another, finer than all, of which we can only recollect a few words. The rest is gone with other visions of our youth ! We often sit and think of these lines by the hour together, till our hearts melt with their beauty, and our eyes fill with tears. We could probably find the rest in some of Mr Godwin's twopenny books; but we would not dissolve the charm that is round the mysterious words. The “ gay ladye” is more gorgeous to our fancy than Mr. Coleridge's “ dark ladye !
London bridge is broken down-
-with a gay ladye. The following is “perplexed in the extreme"-a pantomime of confusion!
Cock-a-doodle-doo, my dame has lost her shoe ;
The cat has lost her fiddle-stick-I know not what to do. There is “infinite variety” in this one : the rush in the first line is like the burst of an overture at the Philharmonic Society. Who can read the second line without thinking of Sancho and his celestial goats—“sky-tinctured ???
Hey diddle, diddle, a cat and a fiddle,
The goats jump'd over the moon ;
And the cat ran away with the spoon. But if what we have quoted is fine, the next is still finer. What are all these things to Jack Horner and his Christmas-pye ? What infinite keeping and gusto there is in it !-(we use keeping and gusto in the sense of painters, and not merely to mean that he kept all
the pye to himself, like a Tory,) or that he liked the taste of it—which Mr. Hunt tells us is the meaning of gusto.) What quiet enjoyment ! what serene repose ! There he sits, teres et rotundus, in the chiar oscuro, with his finger in the pye! All is satisfying, delicious, secure from intrusion, “solitary bliss !" ,
Little Jack Horner sat in a corner,
Eating bis Christmas-pye :
And said, “ What a good boy am I!" What a pity that Rembrandt did light, and the green plum held up not paint this subject ! But perhaps over it, dropping sweets We think he did not know it. If he had painted we could paint it ourselves ! it, the picture would have been worth We are unwilling that anything any money. He would have smeared from our friend, C. P., Esquire,* all the canvass over with some rich, should come in at the fag-end of an honeyed, dark, bright, unctuous oil- article ; but, for the sake of enriching colour ; and, in the corner, you
this one, we add a few lines from one would have seen, (obscurely radiant) of the Early French Poets, communithe figure of Jack ; then there cated to C. P., by his friend Victoire, would have been the pye, flashing Vicomte de Soligny, whom he met in out of the picture in a blaze of golden Paris at the Caffée des Milles Colonnes
Alias Wictoire, Wicomte de Soligny. This Cockney wrote (as few but Mr. Colburn the bookseller have the misfortune to remember) Letters on England, under this title, which we demolished. We had then occasion to show that this impostor did not even know how French noblemen signed their names ; and we might have added, that his title-page proved he did not know a man's name from a woman's Victor being evidently the word which C. P. Esq. was vainly endeavouring to spell. Victoire, Vicomte de soligny, sounds to a French ear just as Sally Lord Holland, would to an English one.
BY GEOFFREY CRAYON, GENT. GEOFFREY CRAYON, alias will write one.” Never was there a
Washington Irving, is a popular more lucky idea ; it at once gave me writer, and some of his papers have occupation and amusement. been so highly estimated as to cause 66 The writing of a book was considhis name to be mentioned along with ered, in old times, as an enterprise of those of Britain's most distinguished es- toil and difficulty, insomuch that the sayists. The Sketch Book and Brace- most trifling lucubration was denominabridge Hall are the foundations of this ted a "work, and the world talked celebrity; and the former especially with awe and reverence of the labours continues to be read with undiminish- of the learned.' These matters are ed pleasure; while the latter hardly better understood nowadays. Thanks sustains its ground, and Knickerbock- to the improvements in all kinds of er's history with all its quaint humour) manufactures, the art of book-making is, wé fancy, oftener dipped into than has been made familiar to the meanest thoroughly perused. The present pub- capacity. Every body is an author. lication, though light and agreeable, cer. The scribbling of a quarto is the mere tainly falls short of our expectations. pastime of the idle; the young gentleThere are indeed many sparks of talent man throws off his brace of duodecimos scattered over its pages, and the dic- in the intervals of the sporting season, tion generally is felicitous. But some and the young lady produces her set of of the tales are strangely destitute of in- volumes with the same facility that her terest; and we find that a neat style great-grandmother worked at a set of and occasional touches of fancy are in- chair-bottoms. sufficient to bear us unflagging through “ The idea having struck me, theretwo octavo volumes.
fore, to write a book, the reader will Having stated thus much in candour easily perceive that the execution of it and justice, we shall nevertheless en- was no difficult matter. I rummaged deavour to exhibit as much of the mer- my portfolio, and cast about, in my its of the Tales of a Traveller as the recollectton, for those floating materials reputation of Mr. I. claims, and our which a man naturally collects in travlimits will admit.
elling ; and here I have arranged them The Introduction is playful and in this litile work. amusing Confined by sickness at 6 As I know this to be a story-telling Mentz, unsuceptible of any enjoyment, and a story-reading age, and that the and even incapable of reading, Geoft world is fond of being taught by aporey Crayon at length exclaims in des- logue, I have digested the instruction I pair
would convey into a number of tales. “Well, if I cannot read a book, I They may not possess the power of † Quære, antic.-- Printer's devil.
amusement which the tales told by ma
ny of my contemporaries possess; but comfort to shift one's position and be then I value myself on the sound moral bruised in a new place.” which each of them contains. This The Tales are divided into four may not be apparent at first, but the parts : 1st, ghost stories, entitled reader will be sure to find it out in the “Strange Stories, by a Nervous Genend. I am for curing the world by tleman;" 2d, literary and common gentle alteratives, not by violent doses ; life stories, headed “ Buckthorne and his indeed the patient should never be con- Friends;" 3d,“ Stories of Italian Danscious that he is taking a dose. I have ditti ;” and 4th,“ Stories of American learnt this much from my experience Money-diggers.” under the hands of the worthy Hippo- The ghost stories are neither very crates of Mentz.
novel nor very good : some of them “ I am not, therefore, for those bare are complete baulks, an offence to the faced tales which carry their moral on lovers of real unrealities not to be forthe surface, staring one in the face; given. The following picture of a they are enough to deter the squeamish French chateau, the scene of one of reader. On the contrary, I have often them, is, however, cleverly sketched :hid my moral from sight, and disguis- 6 You have no doubt all seen French ed it as much as possible by sa eets chateaus, as every body travels in and spices, so that while the simple France nowadays. This was one of reader is listening with open mouth to the oldest ; standing naked and alone a ghost or a love story, he may have a in the midst of a desert of gravel walks bolus of sound morality popped down and cold stone terraces ; with a coldhis throat, and be never the wiser for looking formal garden, cut into angles the fraud."
and rhomboids; and a cold leafless “ These matters being premised, park, divided geometrically by straight fall to, worthy reader, with good ap- alleys ; and two or three cold lookpetite, and, above all, with good hu- ing noseless statues; and fountains mour, to what is here set before thee. spouting cold water enough to make If the tales I have furnished should one's teeth chatter. At least such was prove to be bad, they will at least be the feeling they imparted on the winfound short ; so that no one will be try day of my uncle's visit ; tho', in hot wearied long on the same theme. summer weather, I'll warrant therewas * Variety is charming,' as some poet glare enough to scorch one's eyes out." observes. There is a certain relief in But it may be more agreeable to our in change, even though it be from bad readers, and generally more fair in the to worse; as I have found in travel- way of review, if we select, for our ling in a stage coach, that it is often a first Notice, the best tale of this division.
"On a stormy night, in the tempes- so often bewildered German students. tuous times of the French revolution, a His secluded life, his intense applicayoung German was returning to his tion, and the singular nature of his lodgings, at a late hour, across the old studies, had an effect on both mind and part of Paris. The lightning gleamed, body. His health was impaired : bis and the loud claps of thunder rattled imagination diseased. He had been through the lofty narrow streets-but I indulging in fanciful speculations on should first tell you something about spiritual essences, until, like Swedenthis young German.
borg, he had an ideal world of his own “Gottfried Wolfgang was a young around him. He took up a notion, I man of good family. He had studied do not know from what cause, that for some time at Göttingen, but being there was an evil influence hanging of a visionary and enthusiastic charac- over him ; an evil genius or a spirit ter, he had wandered into those wild seeking to ensnare him and ensure his and speculative doctrines which have perdition. Such an idea working on his melancholy temperament produced of melancholy men, and are at times the most gloomy effects. He became mistaken for madness. haggard and desponding. His friends “ Such was Gottfried Wolfgang, and discovered the mental malady that was such his situation at the time I menpreying upon him, and determined tioned. He was returning home late that the best cure was a change of one stormy night, through some of the scene; he was sent, therefore, to finish old and gloomy streets of the Marais, his studies amidst the splendours and the ancient part of Paris.
11 ATHENEUM VOL. 2. 2d series.
The loud gaieties of Paris.
claps of thunder rattled among the “ Wolfgang arrived at Paris at the high houses of the narrow streets. He breaking out of the revolution. The came to the Place de Grève, the square popular delirium at first caught his where public executions are performed. enthusiastic mind, and he was capti- The lightning quivered about the pinvated by the political and philosophical nacles of the ancient Hôtel de Ville, theories of the day: but the scenes of and shed flickering gleams over the blood which followed shocked his sen- open space in front. As Wolfgang sitive nature; disgusted him with so- was crossing the square, he shrunk ciety and the world, and made him back with horror at finding himself more than ever a recluse. He shut close by the guillotine. It was the himself up in a solitary apartment in height of the reign of terror, when this the Pays Latin, the quarter of students. dreadful instrument of death stood ever There in a gloomy street not far from ready, and its scaffold was continually the monastic walls of the Sorbonne, he running with the blood of the virtuous pursued his favourite speculations. and the brave.
It had that very day Sometimes he spent hours together in been actively employed in the work of the great libraries of Paris, those cata- carnage, and there it stood in grim arcombs of departed authors, rummaging ray amidst a silent and sleeping city, among their boards of dusty and obso- waiting for fresh victims. lete works in quest of food for his un- “ Wolfgang's heart sickened within healthy appetite. He was, in a man- him, and he was turning shuddering ner, a literary goul, feeding in the from the horrible engine, when he becharnel-house of decayed literature. held a shadowy form cowering as it
“ Wolfgang, though solitary and re- were at the foot of the steps which led cluse, was of an ardent temperament, up to the scaffold. A succession of but for a time it operated merely upon vivid flashes of lightning revealed it his imagination. He was too shy and more distinctly. It was a female figure, ignorant of the world to make any ad- dressed in black. She was seated on vances to the fair, but he was a pas- one of the lower steps of the scaffold, sionate admirer of female beauty, and leaning forward, her face hid in her in his lonely chamber would often lose lap, and her long dishevelled tresses himself in reveries on forms and faces hanging to the ground, streaming with which he had seen, and his fancy would the rain which fell in torrents. Wolfdeck out images of loveliness far sur- gang paused. There was something passing the reality.
awful in this solitary monument of wo. 66 While his mind was in this excited The female had the appearance of be. and sublimated state, he had a dream ing above the common order. He which produced an extraordinary effect knew the times to be full of vicissitude, upon him. It was of a female face of and that many a fair head, which had transcendent beauty. So strong was once been pillowed on down, now the impression it made, that he dreamt wandered houseless. Perhaps this was of it again and again. It haunted his some poor mourner whom the dreadful thoughts by day, his slumbers by night; axé had rendered desolate, and who in fine he became passionately enam- sat here heartbroken on the strand of oured of this shadow of a dream. This existence, from which all that was lasted so long, that it became one of dear to her had been launched into those fixed ideas which haunt the minds eternity.'
“He approached, and addressed her dingy hotel which he inhabited. The in the accents of sympathy. She rais- old portress who admitted them stared ed her head and gazed wildly at him. with surprise at the unusual sight of What was his astonishment at behold- the melancholy Wolfgang with a feing, by the bright glare of the light- male companion. ning, the very face which had haunted * On entering his apartment, the him in his dreams. It was pale and student, for the first time, blushed at disconsolate, but ravishingly beautiful. the scantiness and indifference of his
“ Trembling with violent and con- dwelling. He had but one chamber ficting emotions, Wolfgang again ac- an old fashioned saloon-heavily carvcosted her. He spoke something of ed and fantastically furnished with the her being exposed at such a hour of remains of former magnificence, for it the night, and to the fury of such a
was one of those hotels in the quarter storm, and offered to conduct her to of the Luxembourg palace which had her friends. She pointed to the guillo- once belonged to nobility. It was tine with a gesture of dreadful signifi- lombered with books and papers, and cation.
all the usual apparatus of a student, 66. I have no friend on earth !' said and his bed stood in a recess at one she.
end. “But you have a home,' said Wolf
“ When lights were brought, and gang.
Wolfgang had a better opportunity of Yesin the grave !!
contemplating the stranger, he was “ The heart of the student melted at more than ever intoxicated by her the words.
beanty. Her face was pale, but of a “If a stranger dare make an offer,' dazzling fairness, set off by a profusion said he, without danger of being mis- of raven hair that hung clustering aunderstood, I would offer my humble bout it. Her eyes were large and brildwelling as a shelter; myself as a de- liant, with a singular expression that voted friend. I am friendless myself approached almost to wildness. As far in Paris, and a stranger in the land; as her black dress permitted her shape but if my life could be of service, it is to be seen, it was of perfect symmetry. at your disposal, and should be sacri- Her whole appearance was highly ficed before harm or indignity should striking, though she was dressed in the coine to you.'.
simplest style. The only thing ap66 There was an honest earnestness proaching to an ornament which she in the young man's manner that had wore was a broad black band round its effect. His foreign accent, too, was
her neck, clasped by diamonds. in his favour; it showed him not to be “ The perplexity now commenced a hackneyed inhabitant of Paris. In- with the student how to dispose of deed there is an eloquence in true en- the helpless being thus thrown upon thusiasm that is not to be doubted. his protection. He thought of abanThe homeless stranger confided herself doning his chamber to her, and seekimplicitly to the protection of the stu- ing shelter for himself elsewhere. dent.
Still he was
so fascinated by her “ He supported her faltering steps charms, there seemed to be such a across the Pont Neuf, and by the place spell upon his thoughts and senses, where the statue of Henry the Fourth that he could not tear himself from her had been overthrown by the populace. presence. Her manner, too, was sinThe storm had abated, and the thun- gular and unaccountable. She spoke der rumbled at a distance. All Paris no more of the guillotine. Her grief was quiet ; that great volcano of hu- had abated. The attentions of the man passion slumbered for a while, to student had first won her confidence, gather fresh strength for the next day's and then, apparently, her heart. She eruption. The student conducted his was evidently an enthusiast like himcharge through the ancient streets of self, and enthusiasts soon understand the Pays Latin, and by the dusky each other. walls of the Sorbonne to the great,
6 In the infatuation of the moments