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precursor, sauntering from the boulevard Mont Parnasse, and wishing to take a peep at another scene in the environs of the metropolis !

"I had now three waiters about me; one asked me if I was of the wedding party? Not a principal,' answered 1, nor a party concerned in any way;' the second now winked at his fellow waiters, and said, in a low tone,

the gentleman is waiting for some lady ;' then, addressing himself to me, 'you can have this cabinet,' pointing to a pigeon-hole, where a brace of cooing doves might have been conveniently caged. “You are wrong, quoth I, showing the garçon that I understood him; I mean to dine in the garden, taking at the same time a chair and laying my cane across it. Attendez, Monsieur,' said the last speaker, you must not occupy that place, it is for the dancers. And that large room?' enquired I. That is for the mar, riage party, and here the fiddlers are to sii; but are you really alone?' Comme vous voyez.'— Then, observed another, “I will get you a snug corner; will

you have du bifsteck aux pommes de terre? (What a proof that he held my taste cheap.). However, I begged leave not to have bifsteck, but called for the bill of fare, and chose a little dinner à la française, and a bottle of château margot.

A la bonne heure,' muttered a trio of waiters, as much as to say, this n'entends pas has not so bad a taste.

“ The marriage party now arrived, sixty in number, of all ages, and whilst they sat down to a late déjeuner, I began to reflect on their wanting to get me into the cabinet (a thing I am not fit for), or to join the party in the grand saloon; or why the wondered at my sober, solitary visit. 1 now perceived that every face but mine was lit up with a smile, that snug tête-à-têtes moved together through the serpentine walks, that comfortable couples peeped through the lattices of closets, that the young and gay tripped it lightly in the dance, whilst veterans smoked their pipes under the bay or olive, and either went over the past campaigns again, or ogled their fat landlady or some buxom widow who might afford a solace after the rigours of war. A serious Englishman alone was a rarity in the place, and they seemed to pity me for not mingling in the surrounding mirth, for not belonging to some party or person, for not having some pursuit or other like the rest of the frequenters of the Chaumière. The dance now began, and I sat with my hat off reading the outlines of pretty faces, and watching the activity of well-turned ankles. I could easily make out the bride by her dress, and by the place which she occupied, as well as by the degree of attention which she gained. I could also discover bride-maids, relations, connexions, and mere acquaintances. The bride-maids had an arch look, not free from a feeling which, although not envy, was something like it'; the sisters and near relations were discoverable by a warm look of regard thrown on the bride, meaning, May you be happy, but, ah! we are sorry to lose you!' The connexions Airted it through the dance, and hung out for a partner after it; brothers looked anxiously, parents had a tinge of melancholy overclouding hope, whilst the mere acquaintances gamboled and pranced, and clearly proved that they came there merely for amusement and good cheer. The bride and bridegroom had a difficult card to play in endeavouring neither to seem too distant nor too familiar. When the dance was over, the party retired to dinner, and I wondered on looking at my watch and discovering how many hours I had been engaged in a scene with which I had no connexion or interest: • No interest or connexion !' seemed to whisper an invisible being; ' No interest in the felicity of your fellow creatures ! no connexion with the chain of humanity, although only a small link thereof! fie, fie ! This monitor explained to me, that when we take pleasure in seeing others happy, we cannot be lonesome or forlorn ourselves ; that the innocent diversion of a surrounding circle includes us in its sunshine ; that, without having an assignation or intrigue, a party to join, or a festival to attend, there is no more rational pleasure than ihat of being a looker-on when youth and airth form a party together.

“ The selfish and cold-hearted man wil turn aside from what he may proudly and unfeelingly term folly, from the relaxations of the people; but ihey will never be indifferent to

THE WANDERING HERMIT."

ST. PAUL's.

Happy is the man who on a fine bright morning steps forth from an hotel in a part of London which admits some of the charming fresh= ness of early day, and full of health and strength and cheerfulness, feeling himself in good nerves, and dressed to his perfect satisfaction, unclogged with any ponderous, unmanageable, and inelegant companion, has London “all before him where to choose” pleasing occupation or rational amusement for the day. Happier still, if, for his companion in these feelings and these pursuits, he has some friend of similar taste, some man who hates the mere business and gravity, and all the pervading hypocrisy of life, and loves to partake of its allowable pleasures and advantageous elegancies when he can. With such a man there is no fear of being deluded into the city, or decoyed into the baleful outskirts of the town; he loves the western air, and doats on the growing magnificence of the capital; and whether in the morning, or afternoon, or night, lives only for the best parts of the great world of the metropolis. On such a morning, and with such intentions, and in such a happy state of mind and body, and above all, with such an enlightened and beloved friend, did I set forth on the second day of my stay in town; but we had not reached the bottom of St. James'sstreet before the provoking chances of the place clashed us with a man fresh from Lincolnshire, with all the odour of its fens about him; a man who from his youth upwards had passed his inglorious days in that pleasing part of England. It would have been cruel, heartless, utterly despicable, to meet the honest joy with which he greeted us by any coldness or affectation; and, not knowing how to avoid it, we allowed all our bright visions to be dissipated at once, and the whole design of the day to take its form and colour from our worthy but somewhat rustical companion. There was no time for reflection, and it was not without disappointment that I found in a few moments I had promised, or rather was sentenced, to see St. Paul's that very day, and already bending my steps away from the Eden of the West. The Tower itself, with all its armour and its beasts, was darkly hinted at; but happily for me that scheme Providence averted; for no suspected traitor ever visited that strange old pile of barbarous times and barbarous taste, that monument of regal crimes and monstrous, tyranny, with more reluctance than myself, when "for some sin” I have been dragged thither by a sight-seeing friend.

The approach to St. Paul's, in spite of buildings which have no association with it, is a grand thing, and its aspect from Ludgate-hill full of magnificence. The passenger has scarcely time to catch more than a glimpse of this, such is the hurry of the corner of the church-yard. Of all thoroughfares this is the most crowded, bustling, and thought-interrupting ; and to those who are fond of contrasts, I know none which may be more strongly recommended than that of which we are sensible, when, ascending by the broad steps of the Cathedral, a moment elevates us above the struggling and the racket of the city, and shrouds us in the silence of that vast and solemn sanctuary. Fifteen years had elapsed since I had before ascended those steps, and the events of them, their good and evil things, passed before me by some mental magic in

a single moment, all distinct and vivid and independent of time and distance; but London is not a place to indulge sentiment in, and abstractions, however flattering to human pride, are but follies after all. Fifteen years had made a difference in St. Paul's. Not that in that petty space of time its everlasting dome had shown symptoms of decay, or any feature of its aisles had mouldered into dust, but there was a rejuvenescence that startled one. It dwelt in my recollection a gloomy, dusty, and immeasurable place, and I found it enlivened in culour, with marks of care and attention about it, and all its proportions visible at once.

The vastness of the church, as seen from the centre of the floor, is most imposing; it is impossible not to be struck with its extent, its length, its width, and the unbroken loftiness of the dome above, into the recesses of which the eye ascends and penetrates until respiration is thickened and the brain grows giddy, and we seek relief in the contemplation of objects nearer the surface of the earth and immediately around us, the monuments of the illustrious dead. It is disagreeable to have to say that the general effect of these works of art in this building is unpleasant, few of them being in good taste, and many of them so overloaded with allegory as to be quite absurd. The monument to Picton can never be seen, without interest, by those to whom the most devoted courage of a soldier is dear; and there are many more to proud names in military annals which revive the almost forgotten glories of the stirring years so lately past. The simple inscription under the organ, to Sir Christopher Wren, is a happy instance of taste; and although I am far from disputing the propriety of its being in Latin, it is still a pity that four-fifths of those who gaze

and wonderat St. Paul's should be unable to profit by it, and thus be reminded of a tribute of gratitude to a name which should never be forgotten. It would be painful to enumerate the monuments disfigured by angels and by wild beasts (howling "in dull cold marble,") and by Britannias and by trumpets and all the noisy extravagancies which frantic allegory has associated with the silent grave. The monument to the immortal Nelson is rather less unhappy in this respect than some of the rest ; but I confess that to me the statue of the man, with its likeness to the figure which he bore while on earth, would be more interesting and more affecting without that undefinable female and the two little schoolboys, and yet more without that huge and very unconcerned looking lion, which we are left to suppose means England. Nay, I am so fastidious that I cannot admire the keys in the hand of Howard; by a strange opposition to the will of the sculptor, they give the philanthropist a sort of jailor-look, and sometimes cause him to be oddly mistaken for St. Peter : his statue and his name would be sufficient, the keys and the trickery about him are superfluous. Every one must feel more pleasure in contemplating that monument, in which an officer is seen falling from his horse with a fatal wound into the arms of a sol. dier, than in beholding others in which dying heroes have some fairy nymph about them, some goddess or equivocal female, standing amid the dying and the dead, half-armed like a soldier and half-clothed like a woman, sprung or dropt from nobody knows where to do nobody knows what. It is high time indeed that a purer taste should prevail

in these respects, Let those who have contemplated some unadorned figure of a child by Chantrey, represented with all the loveliness of early death, uniting all that is sweet on earth with something borrowed from that purer world whither the spirit of the little innocent has fled ; let any one look at such a figure of a child sleeping in simple and unfanciful attire upon its marble tomb, and say, whether figures of angels, or of all the birds of the air and beasts of the field could add to its touching interest, or make it more affect the heart. It is in the want of this species of interest, and in the interruption of these sacred feel ings, that we find the utter folly and emptiness of elaborate allegory.

The eyes of most people are so little accustomed to making an accurate admeasurement of heights, that the loftiness of St. Paul's can perhaps only be estimated justly from below. If we ascend to the whispering gallery, a height far above the habitations of the people of London, the view downwards is overpowering, affecting various heads in various ways-producing vertigo in some, sickness in others, and an awful feeling of overthrow-itiveness in a few; a sort of propensity to drop through the passive air upon the hard marble below, a thought full of madness and horror : but when we ascend far above this point, and even to more than double its elevation, the fearful height does not seem proportionably increased, the feeling it inspired before seeming scarcely to admit of aggravation. The whispering-gallery is indeed to many a fearful place. The surpassing altitude of dome and tower above, the yawning and immense abyss below, the stern marble spread out to dash the mortal frame to instant dust, the narrowness of the circular gallery, the overshadowing of the superincumbent vault, the appalling loudness of every common sound, and the loud wind heard ever sweeping round the dome itself, produce an incredibly alarming effect on some individuals. I am one of those happy and composed people who could look down from a balloon in its most ambitious ascent without a shudder ; and I could eat, drink, and sleep in the whisperinggallery as pleasantly as in any other prison from which the view of the sweet world was in the same way utterly excluded; for confinement there would be a dreadful punishment on this last account, although I suppose the sage who many times a-day does there repeat his story of the birth, education, and extravagance of the church, feels his daily durance mitigated by the conscious pleasure of continually accumulating property.

It gave me much pleasure to see the banners, taken from many a vaunting foe, and among others the proud tri-color itself, by the mariners of England, all which were formerly scattered about the western division of the cathedral, ragged, black, and neglected, now ranged round within the dome, which has thus become, without any

formal preparation, a receptacle of trophies, as the space below has become a vast mausoleum to worth, learning, and bravery.

The young, the aspiring, the new to London, can seldom be restrained from ascending to the airy gallery above the dome, and there, in describing a most limited circle, the eye takes in ten thousand histories. London, with all its vicissitudes, with all its generations, with all the present and all the past about it, is stretched beneath us, and almost every house visible. Even from that height the eye cannot, in all

directions, overleap the colossal city, and what is seen of green fields and hills is seen with the indistinctness of another world. The wind storms for ever round the cupola, blowing the fair and adventurous ladies about (“ a chartered libertine !") to the greatest advantage; whilst the spectator feels almost disposed to lose his confidence in the secure and eternal pedestal on which he stands, and breathlessly enjoys the sublimity of apparent danger without the reality.

It is when we begin to descend from this immense elevation that we feel the fatigue which our over-excitement has caused us to incur; and that man may be considered the favourite of fortune who begins to retrace the never-ending steps when the organ is pealing in the afternoon service; for at such a time fits of melody will burst upon him at unexpected turns, and the piercing voices of the “ full-voiced choir below" will penetrate the intricate recesses of the vast structure, and vibrations of harmony will meet

him suddenly in unexpected angles and sinuosities of the building. Sweet sounds will be heard now near, now distant, as if borne to him by the soft and fitful breeze, and every thing will conspire to shorten his journey downwards. On leaving the building, and descending the broad steps which lead almost into the celebrated, and as it seems, perpetual pastry-cook's shop opposite, we again feel the contrast between the calm and silence of the solemn temple we have left, and the bustling, restless, and money-making world. Turning to its western grandeur as we descend the hill and re-plunge into all the hurry of London, it stands lofty, singular, and sublime, silent, unchangeable, impenetrable to all the noise which agitates the air around it, and is to the city what a towering mountain is to the plain beneath ; its grandeur unapproachable by the indolent vulgar, its atmosphere uninfected by commerce and turmoil; -a place sacred from all the ordinary wretchedness of common-place life, presenting itself fearlessly and uninjured to the storm, the tempest, the lightning, and ever and anon holding mysterious and " dark communion with the cloud.” Thus too, at night, seen from the river or the bridges, it rests in its gloomy vastness over the subsiding activity of the city, like some presiding and superior power, whilst its deep-toned bell sounds along the line of river

“ Swinging slow with sullen roar," and awakening the imposing echoes of Westminster. Thus too, in approaching the capital, as in sailing up the Thames, long before arriving within the sounds of London, its awful dome and brilliant cross are often beheld lifted up as it were in mid air, floating on the thick and murky vapours in which the vast and invisible city is enveloped.

The opinion of my Lincolnshire friend on these subjects I may perhaps be induced to communicate at another opportunity.

C.

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