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say that a Count might have found more suitable society than at such a place; and that, if the author had ever soared beyond such a sphere, he would not have failed to inform us of it. It is, however, one of the many incidents throughout the book upon which we have formed a conclusion not very favorable to the magnificence of this person's station, nor very exalted as to the company he keeps.
Boarding-houses at Brighton may be very quizzical places-we cannot speak from any practical knowledge, because, when we are so unfortunate as not to be indebted to the hospitality of some of our friends, we prefer the indolent luxury and independence of such inns as Brighton affords to the dull constraint of those convenient establishments. But it is unmerciful and unfair to hold up their occasional inmates as examples of national manners. These are frequently, perhaps for the most part, persons who take the slender opportunities which in this commercial town of our's is afforded them, of enjoying the sea breezes, and the dolce far niente, of a watering-place during some of the summer months. They are not so sprightly (Heaven be thanked) as the French, nor are their lives passed, like the author's, in a series of unceasing efforts to appear what they are not; they simply seek to enjoy rest, and, for aught we can see, they succeed eminently. The imputation upon the delicacy of English females is too manifestly false and slanderous to need a word of refutation; the author has put in a sort of apologetic note, which only shows that his courage falls short of his malignity, while the meanness of such a contrivance is offensively apparent :
'The usual hour of rising is about nine. Perhaps an hour or two before this, two or three of the party,-young ladies more new to the place than the rest, and glad of an opportunity of looking about them unchecked by the Argus' eyes of their mammas or aunts,-will stroll to the sea-shore, and dip their fingers into the water to taste "how salt it is!" or try how near they can put their not very pretty feet to the little waves that come rippling over each other, without being caught by them; or wonder at the ocean, and confess that “it is not near so large as they thought it was!" About nine they return; seldom without trophies of their enterprise,-such as a "curious" stone with a hole in it, a dry star-fish, or a long wet sea-weed dangling to their fingers' ends. By this time the rest of the company begin to drop in, in parties of three or four, to the public eatingroom, where a breakfast is prepared of tea, coffee, eggs, &c. This lasts about an hour; during the course of which each seldom fails to inform all the rest who are within speaking distance, that "it's a fine” or "a dull morning ;" as if each fancied that all the others wanted the faculty to find it out. This generally forms the sum and substance of the conversation during breakfast; after which the females retire. Some of them go to their chambers to read for an hour or two: not, however, the works of any of the authors we are acquainted with in France-such as Milton and Pope, or Steele and Addison, or Richardson and Fielding: these appear to have gone quite out of fashion. Nothing is to be seen but novels, written by no matter who-anybody or nobody-provided they have attractive titles, such as "the Victim of Sentiment," or "the Recluse of the Forest ;" or romances in VOL. 1, May, 1823, Br. Mag.
verse, and others in prose, written by a living author named Scott, who has lately become extravagantly popular among them. Others sit down to a piano there is in the public sitting-room, and amuse themselves by playing and singing; in both of which accomplishments I have as yet been able to discover nothing remarkable, except a total want of feeling either for their instrument, their music, or their hearers. Others are walking on the sea-shore to pick up shells, or, if the weather is favorable, taking a dip in the sea;-for some cannot get leave of their papas to come here, without promising to pay this tax at the shrine of health. For the convenience of bathing they are provided with wooden boxes, which go on wheels, and are drawn a short distance into the water by a horse. From this little moving house they descend down steps; and, if they are afraid to go by themselves, they are assisted by women, who attend for the purpose; and sometimes by men.* By the bye, a tolerable specimen of the boasted delicacy of English females! Those who are not occupied in any of these ways will perhaps be found driving about the town or the neighbourhood, in little wooden machines a foot from the ground, drawn by one or two donkies ;-or riding upon the backs of those animals, attended by a little boy behind to flog them on-I mean the donkies. I suppose you are putting on an incredulous smile at all this; but it is literally true, I assure you. During this time the men are employed in reading the newspapers, or playing at billiards, (which they have no notion of) or sailing out in a filthy fishingboat, and coming back sick ;—or such as keep horses ride up to the Downs, where they exhibit their boasted skill in horsemanship, by trying who can gallop fastest, or leap in the best style over a ditch a yard wide, or a hedge a foot high! All this fills up the time till about three; when they return and dress for dinner, which takes place about half past four. This is the only meal at which the English eat; and the wonder is that, with their execrable cooking, they can eat at all. The whole is put on the table at once, except the pastry, which they never dine without. The cloth is then re
moved, and the wine and dessert put on the bare table. They take scarcely any wine with their dinner; and the females all leave the room a short time after it is over. The men remain about an hour; when most of the party assemble in the drawing-room, and the mistress of the house prepares tea. During this operation some of the men amuse themselves by talking what I suppose they call gallantry, to the ladies; to which the latter appear to listen with exemplary patience. But, generally speaking, the men-and particularly the young ones-crowd together in one corner of the room, and recount the adventures of the day; embellishing the relation every now and then by a loud general laugh, which, for any thing the rest of the company know to the contrary, may be directed at them.'
If this really be the state of society at Brighton boarding-houses, which, however, we disbelieve, we should regret it; we are quite cer
'I believe the writer has been misinformed on this point, with respect to Brighton, at least. In several other parts of the country it is not uncom mon.-TR.'
tain that it is confined to Brighton, and we cannot help pitying the unfortunate author who has never been able to find better company.
This manifest fault and ignorance runs through the work; the author speaks every where of the limited circle of his own acquaintance, and of the irritability and folly of his own small mind, while he fancies he is giving a picture of those of his countrymen in general. The following is an instance of this:
The crying fault of the French character is egotism, arising from open self-satisfaction; that of the English is gloom, arising from secret self-discontent. A Frenchman cannot have too much of himA Frenchman con
self an Englishman cannot have too little. stantly feels himself to be a part of his country, and his country to be a part of himself; so that he never cares to quit it: an Englishman feels that he has a country only from the particular ties that bind him to it, so that, when they are broken, the world becomes his country, and he wanders from one part of it to another, without end or aim.'
We had made two guesses with respect to this author; the first, that he is a renegado from some trade (we think the haberdashery line), who has thrust himself into the ranks of literature; and the second, that he is a disciple of the cockney school. On the first point, the following is, we think, conclusive; it breathes all the angry loathing which a small dealer, with a soul above buttons,' may feel when he looks back upon the ignominious pursuits he has relinqnished for ever. It is speaking of London:
( In one word, I hate London already! The filth of the streets, and the eternal din of the carts and coaches in them, are execrable;→→ the general aspect of the people you meet there-hard, heavy, coarse, vulgar, awkward-the antithesis of every thing spirituel-is execrable; their ungraceful and tasteless costume is execrable; the endless succession of plain brown dirty-looking bricks piled up for houses, with plain square holes for windows and doors, are execrable;-to me— who loathe commerce in its beginning and its end, its object and its effects the shops, superb as some of them are, are execrable; and, above all, the atmosphere (for London has one of its own) is execrable,'
For the second point, if we met a man in the deserts of Arabia, or in the unexplored wilds of the new world, who should pronounce such words as these, we should know him at once by the shibboleth of Cockaigne:
'One cannot stand for an hour before the Apollo, without becoming wiser, better, and happier, for the rest of his life.'
If any one should still doubt, we add, the author discovers that St. Paul's, as seen from Blackfriars' Bridge, looks grand and beautiful. Is this not enough?
We have not got half through our task, and we are abundantly fatigued we never travelled with so unadulterated a coxcomb as this Count Soligny. His vanity and his ignorance are insufferable: he talks about subjects of art, which he takes the unnecessary pains of informing us he knows nothing of, with a dogmatical air that would surprise us if these things were any longer to be wondered at in persons of the clique to which he belongs. He pretends not to under
stand the technicals, while his whole discourse contains nothing beyond them. But we feel that we have held him long enough, and shown enough of him, thoroughly to disgust our readers. We shall shortly proceed to dismiss him. He treats of "things in general;" Seneca is not too heavy, nor Plautus too light; but, with the same pert dulness, he scribbles on about the theatres and the actors, and retails in affected phrases all that sickening small talk which is heard in fourth-rate evening parties. He then handles the painters, and here he is marvellously communicative. He makes the stupendous discovery that Haydon has puffed himself; that Sir Thomas Lawrence prefers distinction and a splendid income, gained from portraits, to the obscurity and starvation which would attend any other more exalted efforts; and thus, with proportionate originality, he runs through the list of modern exhibitors. Sculpture and music by turns claim his attention, and it would be unjust not to say, that he shows about equal knowledge and tact on each of these subjects, and even talks about the state of science, from the Royal Society, down to (save the mark!) the Surrey Institution. He recurs, however, to that which seems to be his most congenial subject, the despicable and offensive parts of the English character. He says
The most distinguishing feature of the English character, as it is observable in the general intercourse of society, (and it is this view of it alone that I am about to take) is a dead, dreary selfishness, which shows itself in a total seclusion within its own thoughts, feelings, and habits, and a total disregard to those of other people, added to an entire carelessness about letting that disregard be seen. Selfishness is the main spring and principle of an Englishman's actions, from the most insignificant to the most important. If, in the street, he relieves a beggar, it is to get rid of him; if he gives way to a stranger or a female, it is because it vexes him to be run against; if he stops to speak to a friend, it is because he recollects that he has something to ask of him; if he pulls off his hat at the theatre, it is for fear of having it pushed off for him; if he invites you to his house, it is because he can afford it; and if he treats you handsomely when you go there, it is that you may remember it, as he does not fail to do; -in short, not to multiply examples, if ever he looks up, on passing, at his own city's cathedral, which is the noblest work of art in the world, it is to see what o'clock it is, that he may not be too late for dinner: not that he cares about keeping his family waiting; but he likes his roast meat underdone.
Next in intensity to an Englishman's selfishness is his personal vanity; of which he has an infinitely greater share than the native of any other nation of civilized Europe. I sincerely believe that the love of virtue, of country, and of human nature, have less share in his character than in that of almost any other people of modern or ancient times; and that the excellent political institutions of England, and the noble public charities, which are deservedly her boast and glory, owe their rise and stability infinitely less to a general diffusion of patriotism, public spirit, and benevolence, than to an universal prevalence of intense personal vanity, which is cherished and turned to account by the skill and sagacity of statesmen, and by that true Christian charity,
that really disinterested benevolence, which will always be found among individuals in every age and country. These institutions stand firm, and flourish, because the English pride themselves upon their existence, and on the comparative national superiority which results from them. If they refused to support them, they would not have them to boast of."
A man who thinks, and dares write thus, saves a critic a world of trouble; he makes out his own iniquity; he pleads guilty, and the joint opinion of all honest men passes sentence upon him.
He proceeds to give an essay on the comparative state of poetry in England and France, and presents sketches of the principal modern poets. It is here, and in his notices of painters, that he is less offensive than in any other parts of his book; and for this reason—that his ignorance is less profound. Painters, and such literary men as those of whom he speaks, possess perhaps higher conversational powers than any other persons in the community; they speak frequently and willingly on the subject of their respective arts; and a man even duller than the pseudo Frenchman could not listen to them without picking up knowledge. He has been an indefatigable listener; scattered upon the dunghill of his own thoughts, are every where seen the jewels of some other man's brains; but then they are such as have now become almost common-places, and are as familiar as household words.
The noble Count regales his readers with an account of his walk from St. Paul's to Petty France, including both sides of London, and expatiates on the way, with prodigious eloquence, on the number of stage-coaches which stop at the Elephant and Castle! Then he gives an account of the manner in which Christmas is observed, still showing beyond question how little he knows of certain classes of society; he touches upon periodical literature, for the purpose, as far as we can see, of showing that the New Monthly Magazine is, or ought to be, the most eminent among its periodical peers. He talks about the state of education; and, although he seems deep in the mysteries of boardingschools, he flounders in unintelligible stupidity when he comes to talk of the public schools and the universities. He shows the lions at Oxford, and makes a golden set' by describing the coronation, as if he was writing about the last scene in a pantomime. At length, having followed him through the palpable obscure' of his course, we arrive at the termination: we willingly leave him, with the assurance that we hope never again to be teased by his impertinence, nor disgusted with his unmanly and unpatriotic calumnies against English women and English men.
INTEGRITY, A TALE, BY MRS. HOFLAND.
THE numerous works of which Mrs. Hofland has already been the author, and the amiable and useful spirit which has always characterized them, have placed her in the highest rank among the writers of her own class; and have, moreover, generated a feeling of affectionate respect in the minds of her readers.
Knowing no more personally of Mrs. Hofland than we do of writers who died before we were born, we feel as if she was an old and valued