LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Fifty Years’ Recollections, Literary and Personal

Vol. I Contents
Chapter I.
Chapter II.
Chapter III.
Chapter IV.
Chapter V.
Chapter VI.
Chapter VII.
Chapter VIII.
‣ Chapter IX.
Chapter X.
Vol. II Contents
Chapter I.
Chapter II.
Chapter III.
Chapter IV.
Chapter V.
Chapter VI.
Chapter VII.
Chapter VIII.
Vol. III Contents
Chapter I.
Chapter II.
Chapter III.
Chapter IV.
Chapter V.
Chapter VI.
Chapter VII.
Chapter VIII.
Chapter IX.
Chapter X.
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It was now nearly ten years since I had been afloat in life. I had in that time no reason to congratulate myself on what the world calls good fortune. I had not made money. I had lost it by a chain of circumstances over which I had no control. I did not go to the West of my own accord, because I knew London would be more eligible to my views, and thus I lost early years out of it irretrievably. I doubted if my nature admitted of that attention to trifles, that utter devotion of body and soul, those thoughts by night, and disguises of thoughts by day, those concealments and over-reachings, which constitute the general road to pecuniary accumulation. I had not to blame myself for extravagance. I had no expensive follies, but I had that vice in the sight of the multitude, that I never employed my mind upon schemes of profit. I was content to labour for a stipulated reward, and think no more about gain, until the time for labour returned again. The idea of books and of the acquirement of knowledge, still more a love for them, has long been pronounced the bane of success in life. Fortune, therefore, was not to be my lot. People, we
are told read little but newspapers now. They may soon read nothing else, and the nation will thus become richer than ever, no matter whether it become wiser or better. But there will always be a few who will not suffer the better order of literature to perish.

I had paid no attention to these differences, and had regarded almost wholly the expression of just principles, and kept to them, or what I thought to be such. Time has confirmed my judgments, but unhappily, I thought reasonable pecuniary profit would follow honest exertion, and that “the public” as it is styled, was a discriminating tribunal, neither to be bribed nor hoaxed, where the end was discovered to be honourable, and all was plain and above board. This is the great error of young and ardent minds. The public is ruled by accidental circumstances, in its rewards and neglects, by some collateral event, by fashion, by the cry of multifarious ignorance, and by the arts of the trader. I thought its dicta not to be impugned in place of its being the result of a false, as often as of a true direction. The road of the many is not the narrow way in any pursuit. I looked for success in the avoidance of error, and suffered my labours to speak, when I ought to have intrigued to get myself trumpeted. This I found to my cost. I gained little wisdom from experience, none of my organization ever will, who do not bend with the willow. It is the broad way traveller who sees but one point in the horizon, who fills his purse by trucking the humanities if needful. Such are the worldly wise, consigning knowledge and science to the winds, or only purchasing of them as much as may be useful to assist their own selfishness. I committed the unfortunate mis-
take of not proceeding with the many in the broad straight line like that by which mathematicians tell us they are to reach heaven. I deviated out of the road, trod the wild, rambled into fragrant gardens, along flowery lanes, and through groves of verdure, independent in spirit, and, therefore, I was not to be of the favoured, among the jog-trotters on life’s highway.

Napoleon having set sail for St. Helena, I went to France, I had an object in view which it is not of moment to state. A short delay in setting out, enabled me to visit the West of England. How sad and contracted all there appeared, though not less beloved than before, perhaps more beloved from its less pretension. The rivulet had diminished to a thread; the streets once so broad in appearance and so long, now appeared short and narrow with houses over which I could vault. The ocean alone maintained its mighty aspect, as it had done “from creation’s dawn.” The new marvels that had succeeded the old, did not occupy the same space in the heart, they had only raised the worth of the more insignificant. They had ministered to surprise, but generated no affection. I visited the house where many of my early years had been passed, it was tenanted by strangers. I did not venture to ask leave to go over it. Five miles away I entered the dwelling of my mother’s family—not one survived. The rooms fit for Brobdignag in my youth, seemed now only adapted for the citizens of Lilliput. I explored the ground and found enclosures demolished, trees cut down that I well remembered before. I reluctantly admitted that change was the law of nature. It was the time of day when the bat begins to flap his leathern wings, that I roamed
through the garden for the last time, memory steeping my thoughts in sadness. Melancholy are the recollections of youth in later life. They come back in shadowy garb as if to mock us with repeated convictions that they have passed away for ever, in place of leaving more than the solitary conviction of the fact of their doomed termination before long, with all our cherished memories of them.

How I trudged along over scenes of perished joys and sorrows, thinking on departed relationships, merry-meetings, happy hours, when care was a stranger. The past which the wise man said God had required, came up vividly and painfully in a succession of places hallowed by recollection, often generating holy emotions. Evil surely cannot attach to such moments. Sometimes and it was thus here—so near in my mind did bygone things seem to approach me, that I was almost incredulous as to the separation of the past from the present—could it be eternal. My heart seemed ready to break, until reason intruded and whispered the duty of resignation to the universal law. What consolation was that? There was no refuge save in the question. “Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?” Even to my vivacious and restless spirit, there was peace in this conclusion from one’s own thoughts.

As I rambled over heaths, and near the verge of deserted ancient mines, there came to memory of the accidents that I had heard of in my youth. The stories of miners, who declared they had heard the cocks crowing in China, and voices that, at two hundred and forty fathoms deep, had warned them of the Lisbon earthquake, to which paying no attention by
going up “to grass,”* thunder was heard beneath their feet, and the sides of the drivings (galleries) shook, to their great terror. Then we had visitation of spirits, which were universally credited, as well as omens and dreams. A man who had set out to return home, was one night missing. A second night came, and there was no appearance of him. Twenty descents were made into as many deserted mines, in vain. At last, one of his comrades dreamed that he had fallen into a particular shaft, which he named, and there his body was found, dreadfully mangled. A jury might, on circumstantial evidence, as justly have found the dreamer guilty of the murder, as it might find a man guilty of murder upon the evidence alone of medical men, on the symptoms exhibited in the act of dying, as described by second parties. People are prone to credit a probable falsehood sooner than an improbable truth.

A Mr. Chapman was proceeding homewards on horseback, attended by his servant. He had taken too much of “inspiring bold John Barleycorn,” and perhaps the servant had followed the example of the master. They were sufficiently sensible to know that their horse-path lay among deserted mines, where a couple of yards off the road would plunge them down fathoms into the bowels of the earth. On each side was an open heath. It was dark. The master bade his servant dismount, and he followed the example, the servant going ahead as pioneer. Mr. Chapman must soon have got off the path. The servant went on, until, not hearing his master behind him, and shouting

* The terms for going up to the surface of the ground above.

without a response, he thought he might have taken another way home. When he himself arrived there, he was surprised to learn that there were no tidings of his master. The horse his master led was found, in the morning, grazing near the spot where the servant imagined he had left him. A body of miners was at once assembled to descend the old mines in the vicinity, and they were thus employed in vain until four o’clock the next day, when one of the miners thought he heard a moaning sound ascend from a particular shaft, down which he was looking at the moment. He shouted, and a low desponding murmur was heard in reply. A man descended with a lanthorn, and there found the missing gentleman, secured him with ropes, and he was drawn up by the men above, without a broken bone or any serious injury, after seventeen hours of the most painful suspension between life and death. He had fallen fifteen fathoms, when his fall was suddenly arrested by a cross drift. Below this there was a farther descent to the level of water, many fathoms in depth. Thus he had remained on the cross piece of timber suspended over fathoms of water, amid horrible silence, without a hope of relief from his fellow men, fearful of slipping off his support and being drowned. He lived in good health many years afterward to tell this tale.

I have often wondered how I escaped some of those yawning gulfs when a boy, and visiting in the country, heedless where I ran. My mother, when young, was remarkably active and lively, and was nearly a victim to one of these accidents. One gate of her father’s house opened upon the down I was now traversing.
Starting from her companions to evade observation, she ran as fast as she was able among the hillocks and heaps of heath-covered rubbish thrown out of the workings of a mine, the shafts of which had been deserted for half a century before. Not thinking of a forsaken shaft in her youthful heedlessness, she rushed on to the brink with too much rapidity to recoil, and had no choice left but to spring over it with her utmost strength. She succeeded and cleared the horrible gulf by a few inches only, the shaft being oblong, and she having the narrowest sides only to cross. About four feet by eight. She only said how thankful she ought to feel that her clothes were wide enough to permit her to leap so far! A man had been taken out of the same mine but a few days before, whose skin hung from his limbs torn by the rocky sides of the orifice, and sodden in the water at the bottom. The earth afterwards fell in funnel fashion around the mouth, in which state, as a boy, I used to tremble to look down into it. I found it now filled up, the surface levelled, and a smooth sod covering all, having been enclosed and the surface round it forming a green meadow. All the foregoing tale about it lives in my recollection, that only existing, it is probable, which retains this portion of its history—how many such histories exist among individuals, and how many have passed away. I should be charged with romancing in stating the foregoing facts to the present residents on the spot.

I prolonged my tour to what the great chymist, Humphrey Davy, called,
“The dark Bolerium seat of storms;”
vulgarly the Land’s End, a grand spot, thrusting its granite front into the Atlantic. I visited the Lizard after ascending to the chair of St. Michael in Mount’s Bay, in which I dared not sit, but ventured to stand a few moments. Many delicate females have sat in the seat of the archangel, which after all is no seat, but the remains of a gothic lanthorn which occupied the place of one of the pinnacles of the church tower. It is of granite three feet high, and no doubt once held a light which the charitable monks placed there as a guide to shipping. Let the half of a common lanthorn be supposed broken away longitudinally. Here it would be the external half. The place for the light or the bottom of the lanthorn is the pretended seat, the legs hanging down from the angle of the tower, which stands on the edge of a perpendicular rock at a great height above the sea breaking below. As the back part of the lanthorn remains, it being the part next the platform, those who sit in it must needs get round that part, kneel and turning from their kneeling position seat themselves as I have described. To get out of the seat again, they must repeat the process of getting upon their knees on the seat, and then on their feet with nothing of which to take hold, and the height over the thundering sea below quite sufficient to shake the strongest nerves. The sitter must then step in over the battlements, and so upon the tower platform. Yet the story that all who sit in that chair, if husbands, shall rule their wives, and vice versa, has made females risk themselves in an idle operation, which it makes me tremble to think upon. Beneath that fabled abode of the archangel, lived a family once dear to me, of which
I know not of one survivor. Their dwelling I have seen since, but it is tenanted by strangers, no one could imagine that a numerous family, more than commonly amiable and happy, had been born and passed out of the world there within a few years, and with them delightful remembrances—a painful event too commonly witnessed in life.

The Lizard, a noble promontory of beautiful serpentine rock, has double lighthouses, the first and last of England’s main seen by the parting and returning vessel. Over the serpentine, and nowhere else in England, grows the beautiful variety of heath called erica vagans. There is some fine rocky scenery here where I luxuriated. Returning to the mining districts, I descended into an adventure of lead and silver, in which the vein of galena shone prettily by the candle light, the vein, about a foot square, being cut transversely. None of the mines here at all resemble coal mines. Coals lie in floors and may be worked out. The metallic veins run downward in branches, like the veins or arteries in the human body. Their depth is unknown, as they are only followed as far as it will pay the cost of draining off the water, and bringing the product to the surface. In seven years in the parish of Gwennap alone, copper had been raised to the value of £1,920,000. In 1827 no less than £357,000 value in copper and tin was raised in that parish alone. A depth of four times the height of St. Paul’s Cathedral is nearly as far as the mines penetrate, or from a fourth to a third of one mile, and four thousand miles are required to reach the earth’s centre. It is not the penetration of the eggshell in thickness compared to the
semi-diameter of the egg. The tin and copper mines do not exhibit anything worth the labour of the descent. With a felt hat on, flannel jacket, and two or three candles, one lighted, the ladder perpendicular to the walls, the mine is descended to a platform, where another ladder commences. Galleries branch off to the different veins wide enough for two men to pass each other. The mines are so deep in some places and the galleries so prolonged, that a miner will require the best part of an hour to descend and to come up. I was tired of the burrowing, and found the ascent of the ladders fatiguing enough. The workings and galleries in the Consolidated and United copper and tin mines extend sixty-three miles under ground, and employ three thousand two hundred persons. The timber used in the Cornish mines is Norwegian pine, of which trees of one hundred and twenty years’ growth are required, and the annual consumption demands the growth of a hundred and forty square miles of Norway forest. I made numerous notes, since superseded by printed works upon the subject. I can only say that after my descent into the earth’s entrails, it was most grateful to me to leave the heat below, and see the heaven again. So much for the metallic wealth near my birth-place.

I spent two or three days on my return with a family inhabiting a fine old place near Lostwithiel, called Pelyn. The lady of the house was in her eighty-sixth year, lively, good looking, full of information about old times, and in full possession of her intellects. She was the daughter of Humphrey Cotes, the friend of Wilkes, Beckford, Churchill, and Hogarth. She was pleased at finding I could converse a little about those whom she
had known personally so long before, though only through books. She had been in the ball-room in Bath with
Pope, the lion of her girlish day, when she was then only sixteen or seventeen years of age. She recollected that he was a little ill-made man, upon whom the eyes of the company were turned. She had visited at Prior Park, but did not recollect Pope being there at the time. She asked me what I thought of the Chevalier d’Eon, who had died in Millman Street, four or five years ago, I think in 1810, and who had made so much noise in her time forty years before. She seemed surprized at the little interest I felt about the nondescript. She spoke much of Charles Churchill, who used to be frequently with her father. “Charles Churchill,” she observed, “nobody could ever dream he was able to write such fine poetry, who knew him as well as I did. He was such a heavy, dull man. He had little to say in company. He often dined with my father, and had a great name with the players.” Wilkes, she told me, generally came to her father’s with Churchill, and he had all the conversation, having something to say to everybody and about everything, but he was so ugly. Charles Churchill, for so she always spoke of the poet, seemed to have had little power of impressing his friends with the idea of the talents he possessed from his personal bearing, nor was he much of a talker, although after dinner the visitors used to converse much over her father’s wine. I found that Mrs. Kendal, for that was Miss Cotes’ name by marriage, did not think much of her father’s friend as a gentleman, though as a poet, the world, she said, was full of his praises. I told her I had read of her father in Wilkes’
correspondence. She mentioned that her father lived in St. Martin’s Lane, when Wilkes made a noise all over the country; and observed that she had forgotten many things about her earlier days, because after her marriage and retirement into Cornwall, she met with few who knew or could talk about the characters that in London were once of so much interest. All she had known there, too, were now long dead, and she should be a stranger where she first drew breath. I encountered, a little man on this tour, whom I remembered in my boyhood. He was of a passionate disposition, persevering, and obstinate. He had a share in a mine which involved him in debt, but he would not part with it, because he had great faith in the adventure. He was sent to prison, but he would not resign the property. At length the concern which had Wrecked him, turned round and became profitable. He got out of prison, having paid all his creditors, and realized besides one of those small competencies of which there are said to be more in Cornwall th’an in any other county of its size in the kingdom, from three to five thousand pounds each. He kept a farm for his amusement, much of which he had enclosed from the waste around, and although of little value, he extolled it highly, and boasted of his land in terms a little too exaggerated, while his disposition to inferiors was somewhat despotic. There was an old hare-finder, known to me in boyhood, a tall, gaunt man, one Abel George, attached to a neighbouring hunt called the Four Barrow. I met him on this tour, the last time I ever saw him, “Well, Abel, do you remember me?”

“O yes, very well.”


“How does the Four Barrow Hunt go on now?”

“Bad enough; all the gentlemen you remember are moved away, or dead and gone. Mr. Vivian, Mr. Harry Vivian, Mr. Hussey Vivian, (afterwards Lord Vivian.)

“What news have you here—how goes on the mining!”

“Don’t know much of that but I am all out with Mr. H. I was looking for a hare on his farm this morning, never thinking he was out of the town so early. So he says to me, ‘what business have you here on my estate you scoundrel. Get off directly come be off.’ So I said, I be going as fast I can over your stony land—cost me a new pair of shoes before I get clear of it yet. I did not like to be called names.”

This was true enough as to the character of the land, which its owner deemed of the first quality. Old Abel knew the little gentleman’s weak side—abuse my land, abuse me.

“Get off you d—— rascal,” said the little man, foaming with anger. “I’ll send you to jail for tresspass, I will.”

“Then I hopes you’ll give me a letter to commend me to your ould apartment there, for I have not got a single friend in the place,” said old Abel walking off leisurely.

“You scoundrel, I’ll send you to hell,” rejoined the little man half-choked with rage.

“Then I’ll tell your father for you,” said Abel as he took a long stride to get clear out of the forbidden territory. He was a singular character, a great favourite with the hunt, and something of a knave. The magistrates and others that belonged to the Four Barrow
Hunt, were good honest country gentlemen, of urbane manners and much given to kindness. I see the hare-finder, Abel, among them now, as of old, round shouldered, with his pole in his hand.

I visited Plymouth, as I have mentioned before, remaining two or three days with Mr. John Collier, to whom I owed so many acts of kindness during my former residence there, he afterwards represented the town in parliament. I deeply respect his memory. He died possessed of great opulence at the age of eighty. I stayed a day or two at Taunton, with the proprietor of the paper, a hospitable and well-informed man. I remember we made an excursion to Ilminster. Dining at the inn there, and recollecting that the Duke of Monmouth a little more than a century before had made it his head-quarters, where, too, he had many followers, the conversation turned upon the difference between the inhabitants of most continental towns and those of England. Abroad, if an individual lived in a place famous for any historical event of moment, it was known to the inhabitants rich or poor, though ignorant of general history, and in other respects no better informed than the people of this country. My friend was of an opposite opinion. The Duke of Monmouth had made the town his head-quarters, after landing—that could not well be forgotten. Here is the waiter, I will ask about it.

“Pray did the Duke of Monmouth take up his quarters here, after he landed at Lyme, before the battle of Sedgmoor?”

“I don’t know, Sir, I will ask my master.” The master and mistress did not know anything about the
Duke of Monmouth. I had not disputed about the superior intelligence of any class in or out of England, but simply of what was local in its nature. Thus at Rouen, every inhabitant knows it was the birth-place of Corneille, and that poor Joan of Arc was burned there. Jean Hachette is well known at Beauvais to have been its heroine. In England, there is no feeling for such reminiscences, except among well-educated persons. Abroad it is believed among the masses, that important events and being the birth-place of a great man confer honour on a locality. It is not so in England.

I visited Burton Pynsent and the column erected by Lord Chatham to the memory of Sir William Pynsent, who left the great minister the estate. The late Lord Chatham as he was nick-named, because when Master of the Ordnance he came to his daily duties when most people began to think about leaving theirs—the hero, too, of the Walcheren expedition, gambled away this estate, left a precious legacy to his father. The column would have gone too, and been pulled down for the materials had not a private subscription been made to purchase that, and the ground on which it stands, under the auspices of some of the neighbouring gentlemen. This is all remaining on that spot of the name or family of the greatest of England’s statesmen.

The Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte had arrived in the ‘Bellerophon,’ while I was at the Lands’ End. Not thinking he would remain more than twenty-four hours I did not deem it worth while to go to Plymouth at a hazard. That he was transferred to the ‘Northumberland,’ I did not know. The ‘Northumberland’ contained officers of my acquaintance, that would have given me
facilities for seeing this great man. Some of the commanders of other vessels in attendance were well known to me—among them was
Lillicrap of the ‘Eurotas.’

Lillicrap, who, like too many of that time, imagined because hatred to Bonaparte was carefully inculcated by church and state, that he was the beast with seven heads, and ten horns mentioned in scripture, and that all to be superlatively loyal could never abuse him enough in society. Lillicrap declared he detested the fellow, he held him in contempt, and what not.

“Why Lillicrap, you do not mean all this, it is impossible.”

“It is true I vow to heaven.”

“Nonsense, Lillicrap, if Napoleon came into this room now, you would bow to him—if your hat were on your head, you would take it off.”

“Not I, to such a fellow, you mistake me—you do not know your man.”

It was singular that the first boats ordered to attend the removal of Napoleon from the ‘Bellerophon’ to the ‘Northumberland,’ were those of the ‘Eurotas.’ Lillicrap mounted to the quarter-deck of the ‘Bellerophon,’ with two or three of his brother officers, he being foremost. No sooner was he on the deck, where Napoleon stood, than his hat was in his hand before the Emperor’s, the first of the party. When the ceremony was over, and they had returned on shore, some of them dining with Mr. Collier that day, and the commander of the ‘Eurotas’ among them, the question was put,

“Why, Lillicrap, you were the first to salute Bonaparte, to-day—how was that, after what you said.”


“I don’t know how it was—but when I saw him before me, to save my soul I could not help it—my hat got into my hands—I do not know how it got there.”

Such was the moral influence of the great man’s presence. A still more remarkable trait of the power of Napoleon over minds, in no way likely to be influenced by any other consideration than the momentary impression, who had never heard of Marengo, Austerlitz, or Eylau, was exhibited by a young female on seeing him. I cannot well place it on record. Such instances are but a part of that natural superiority which strong-minded men and their actions produce upon the small actors on the stage of life. All, more or less, feel the influence of greatness of character.

I was taking leave of the West, and was walking with a lady in a garden on one side of her house, laughing at something she said, when she changed the topic, and struck down my momentary hilarity by pointing out a green and flourishing sprig of a tree, which she remarked to me my mother had planted there a year or two before, adding the remark she had made, that when they saw that sprig, it might recal her to their recollection. It was a yard high, green and flourishing. Where was the planter, while the frail twig was full of life and vigour!
How hast thou fallen while thy green oaks stand?
said a poet to his depressed country. It was the same kind of sentiment I felt at that moment. My mind was no longer levigated. I hurried my departure, longing to be away from a spot I have never seen again
—to be where all should be new to me. I loved my mother intensely. “I have discovered a thing very little known,” says the poet
Gray, “which is that in one’s whole life, one can never have any more than a single mother.” Obvious it may be, trite—but how true! The scenes of youth revisited, many altered and strange faces there did not affect me so much as the recollection of both does now, because I see them, as they were, in the mirror of memory, every old portrait in its place, every character in wonted action, which the real scene cannot exhibit. Oh! that inexorable time!

I prepared to leave London, after a short visit to Brighton. The blood that saturated the clay-field of Waterloo was scarcely cold. The continent had exchanged one tyranny for another, far more contemptible—tyranny without talent. The time had arrived to cross the channel. I had completed a tale called “The Exile.” I left it with a friend to get published; he died, and with him perished the only copy of my work, lost with some other papers by his executors. Returning three years afterwards, I could get no tidings of it. I was disheartened, I never attempted to re-write it. The labour bestowed upon it went to the waste of life.

It cost an entire day to reach Dover from London over the dearest road in England, because most travellers and strangers arrived that way from the continent. It was cold weather. I mounted the coach, and had for a companion in front, a fine fellow of a seaman, who had been pressed into the navy, and so ill-used that he was going away with a resolution never to return home again, but to serve any foreign state. I was sorry to
learn that he had served in the ‘Eurotas.’ I never heard any complaints of
Lillicrap, but it might have been before his appointment to that vessel. I did not ask, because I did not wish to know. I see from some notes written at the time, that I met a number of convalescents wounded, just coming from Waterloo. Some belonged to the Blues. At Canterbury, we took up a Serjeant. He told me his squadron charged four times. Our light dragoons were good for nothing. The French cuirassiers, he thought, were much too heavy for their horses, taking their complete equipment. The horses wanted power. The men were fine. He saw none that were not better men than himself, and far beyond what he expected to see. He was himself a fine likely fellow.

We reached Dover about nine o’clock just eleven hours travel from London. My luggage was sent to the custom-house to be searched, the real object being to extort a fee. A mob of hungry porters surrounded us like flesh-flies, patronized by the corporation. I paid half-a-crown, a town fee, for a board to cross from the shore to the packet—it was the custom. There were all sorts of claims, now mercifully swept away, thanks to an improved condition of things. The wind being contrary all the next day, I scrambled to the Castle, looked at Queen Elizabeth’s pocket pistol as every body else did, and for Calais towers, and met parties of the 9th, 27th, and 40th regiments. Afterwards, I visited the Shakespear cliff, and trod the disagreeable pebbly beach, dirty with chalk. Then to the inn and played backgammon to beguile the time. The wind blew a gale when I went on board. We took over despatches for the
Duke of Wellington. What days of misery were spent in those sailing packets. A single cabin, beds in tiers, male and female in confusion together. I remember an elephantine dame on a sofa, much resembling Etna when the mountain has the heart-burn and can no longer be restrained by the sons of Vulcan. At the maternal side sat a slim young lady, not at all affected by the sea, her eyes fixed upon a youth in a gay uniform, sprawling in not a most fitting condition on the cabin floor. A youth tailored into a soldier, fresh from the maternal arms, and now the war was over, going to join his corps.

These and similar scenes in a cabin over-crammed, so that there was no moving without trampling upon the prostrate, even the floor occupied, induced me to look out for some more comfortable berth. What a blessed invention was steam, if it were only for crossing the channel. The deck was too cold to remain there. We had been out five hours, and were not making towards the French coast that I could discover. I found a place at last, near the cabin door, where lay a large coil of rope, over which I spread a boat cloak, wrapped myself up as well as I could, and ordered some hot brandy-and-water and biscuit. I did not stir until we found ourselves, after thirteen hours had elapsed, about a mile from Boulogne, near a circular wooden fort built upon piles in the sea, beyond low water mark. The artillery of this fort had kept our cruisers at a respectful distance during the latter preparations of the flotilla for the invasion of England. It cost two millions of francs, but was subsequently demolished by order of the French government. I was glad to enter the Hotel
de Londres, kept by a certain lively Frenchman, named Boutour.

How different from the present time was then a visit to France. All was novel and exciting. After twenty years of war, France had become a new country to Englishmen. It had cost me, including the time I was detained at Dover, three entire days to reach Boulogne. A day was lost there, the morning being devoted to passing a trunk or two through the custom-house. It was noon, there was no help for it, when, with a friend, I engaged a vehicle for Rouen, to which place we were to travel en voiture the next day, that mode affording leisure and ease. It cost us about ten-pence per mile. I strolled to the heights, examined the unfinished column of the unfinished invasion, and glanced at some mischiefs inflicted by our shells. In one case, I came across the ruins of a bakehouse, into the oven of which a thirteen inch shell from one of our vessels had fallen and exploded, scattering the dinners of the poor people far and wide, and killing fourteen persons, soldiers and others, who had assembled there in expectation of carrying home the materials of the meal, in which they were never destined to share.

The next day, proceeding viâ Montreuil and Neufchatel, I encountered a part of the army of occupation, about twenty-seven miles from Boulogne. The troops were English dragoons, with some of the German Legion. The whole force here in the north mustered a hundred and fifty thousand men.

We halted at the Tête de Bœuf at Montreuil. A heaped up fire of fir cones gave out a fragrant warmth. The master of the inn, eighty-six years old, was an
intelligent man of his class. He had weathered the storm of the Revolution on the same spot. He remembered entertaining
Sterne there for several days, and was proud of relating the circumstance, and showing the room and place where Sterne had sat writing. The active manager of the inn at that time, was a female, a Madame Leroy, a relative of the landlord. She had a son, an intelligent youth, almost twelve years of age. The little cunning fellow told me he loved the English, because they had brought back their lawful king!

“Then you must love Russians and Prussians, too.”

“O, no, they robbed us of everything—your soldiers paid for all they had.”

I found that the Russians were much more liked than the Prussians. They complained that the allied armies made the fuel dear. The English kept large fires, and though they paid, wood was rendered scarce. The conduct of Wellington, in suffering no wrong when active hostilities ceased, won much good-will from the people. Upon some of the houses where the Russians had been quartered, the uncouth characters of their names remained chalked upon the doors on the outside from the year before. The names of British officers and soldiers were chalked up in the same manner. As I passed through Abbeville, the girls were playing at battledore and shuttlecock in the street. Calling for a bottle of champagne, they said it was doubtful if one was to be had, the English officers drank it before, with, and after dinner. They brought one at last, which they said they believed was the only one to be had in the city.


I found the scarcity of men and horses, particularly of the latter, much spoken about. The loss in Russia had been enormous, not including those in subsequent battles. The horses were taken from the innkeepers to mount the cavalry; hundreds of such were in the fight of Waterloo, wholly untrained to the service. Speaking of Rouen, I saw afterwards numbers of those who had been mutilated by the Russian frost. No battle-wounds could make men half as ghastly. Denuded of noses and lips. Some without eyelids, others like grinning skulls, exhibiting the teeth without integument to cover them. Fingers, feet, and toes were frequently missing, fingers, particularly of the right hand. Never did nature appear more hideous than with these poor sufferers. Of three men who drove me from Boulogne to Rouen, two had been engaged at Waterloo. One of the postillions, a merry fellow, with features as long an sharp as decorated the visage of the lover of the Dulcinea del Toboso, said he thought himself lucky in getting away with a whole skin.

“Many, many, fell of my countrymen as well as yours,” and he shrugged his shoulders. “I was in the rear when the battle began, but I soon got into the front from filling up the gaps in the line, made by the dead and wounded. Many of my comrades had never before been in battle, and became unsteady, some, at the commencement, shewing marks of fear, and giving their officers trouble enough to keep them in the line. When there happened to be an old regiment near to serve as an example, they did better, but our raw soldiers did not do as they ought.”

He soon broke off his tale of the war to relate a
love story. He had been cruelly treated by the lady, and declared himself inconsolable. Evidently without thought of the morrow, he shifted the subject from one topic to another, like a schoolboy of fourteen on a holiday. Happy temperament! What is gravity, deep-thinking, and care, but
“Heavier toil, superior pain!”

I was struck with the name when we passed the forest of Crecy. Here two days before an English commissary attached to the army had been murdered and robbed. Patrols of mounted gendarmerie were every moment encountered. The care of the peace of the district was entirely in the hands of the French military police, and not of the allied armies.

While journeying towards the old capital of Normandy, I heard that Louis XVIII., or Louis le Cochon, as the Bonapartists called him in derision of his eating propensities, had just prohibited the introduction into France of our newspapers. This was in unison with his subsequent conduct. It was reported, that when placed upon the throne he ought never to have occupied, he did not even condescend to repay England the large sum advanced to him, to enable him to enter France. Charles X. in like manner is said not to have paid the debts he incurred when a refugee in Edinburgh. Such were the men whom the Duke of Brunswick set out for Paris to replace on the throne, and was ignominiously driven back, and whom England entered upon a twenty years war to serve.

After passing through Blangy and its forest to
Neufchâtel, the clear trout streams around the last mentioned place attracted my attention, a most inviting spot for the devotees of old
Isaac Walton. Renowned for small cheeses, less than a tea-cup in size, as its namesake in Switzerland is renowned for large, one of the old French ministers being in the Norman town, was so delighted with the flavour of these productions, that he wrote from Paris ordering a stock of several hundred to be sent to him, as they grew better for keeping, but misdirected his letter. Great was his surprise one day at seeing a number of large waggons draw up at his door, and to be told that his cheeses were come from Neufchâtel. Unluckily they were the Swiss kind, which had travelled all the way from Swiss-Prussian canton to add to the variety of his table. From their great size his hotel could hardly contain them. How the affair was finally arranged was not said, but no doubt the Swiss had the best of it. None but a Yankee or the devil, outwits a Swiss in a bargain, fully justifying the old French proverb. “If a Swiss jump out of a three pair of stairs window, don’t hesitate, something is to be got by it; follow him!”

I found at one place that the porter at the hotel had been beaten by an English dragoon, to whom he refused entrance at a late hour. I asked why he did not complain to the man’s commanding officer, and he would have got redress. The poor fellow replied that the troops marched early the next day, and it was of no use. It was the only instance I ever heard of any complaint against the English. The porter was acting in pursuance of his duty. Here as well as elsewhere they gave the English due praise. At Blangy an old woman, keeper
of an auberge told me she had forty English dragoons on her premises for two months, and she lost nothing. The Russians took what they wanted, but the Prussians destroyed, and wasted what they could not use, the poor suffering fearfully. Every where the last bore an ill-name, and I believe deservedly. A conscript told me that he escaped wounded from Waterloo, into a wood some distance away, and could go no farther. A British dragoon saw his miserable state, made him mount behind him, and conveyed him to a place of safety.

“Had a Prussian found me,” he said, “he would have sabred me, wounded and helpless as I was,” he could never forget the kindness he received. He told me that the new conscripts had not time to learn how to put on their accoutrements before they marched to the field, thus confirming what I had been told before. Many did not like the noise of the artillery. Their drink was generally wine or water on a campaign, but brandy was now served out to them instead, and many took so much they dashed on heedless of danger.

Neufchâtel, though a poor town in those days, had a mean looking inn externally, but within there were good wines, excellent cookery, and clean and comfortable beds. Just opposite my window, a ruined convent was the only dilapidated place of the kind I had yet seen. I had passed through the forest of Blangy before entering the town. The forest was three or four miles across, and when about half way through, it formed a kind of amphitheatre of trees, with eight directing posts leading away by as many divergent avenues. Woodmen were at work, the smoke of their fires
curling up among the trees, and the sound of the axe alone breaking the sweet tranquillity that reigned around. It was a beautiful sylvan scene, quite new to me.

I met a cotton manufacturer at the inn, who came from Rouen. I found the cotton manufacture was doing well, and that there were many English workmen. I told him that we did but little with the hand compared to what we did with steam power, working a large extent of machinery, by which we were enabled to manufacture cheaper, an advantage arising from our coal and steam-engines. I heard here, for the first time, that they had coal in Normandy, but that the habits of the people were opposed to risking their capital in working it. He said he did not at all dislike the English people, and hoped there would be no more war, for which he said, he could see no reason, and then he added with a shrug of his shoulders.

“I do not see how we can go to war, you have got all our cannon.”

I found rich corn land most of the way. Orchards too abounded. The country increased in interest after leaving Neufchâtel. Normandy far exceeded my expectations, the land was well farmed, in some places lime was seen, in others stable dressing. The ploughs, though uncouth enough in appearance, appeared to do their work well. I speak of forty years ago. The harness, the harrows, and carts to be sure, were divertingly heavy and awkward. For iron work they seemed a century behind us. On descending a steep hill, I saw a waggoner unloose all his horses but one out of six. He then hooked five behind, and they exerted themselves to retard the waggon in place of a
drag going down hill, the animals clearly understanding what they were about. I must confess, I liked to see those vast sweeps of corn land, and roadside apple trees, studded with islands of arborage having a farm-house in the centre. Before entering the Norman city, for several miles, the châteaux stood at the road sides, the summer retreats of the merchants and manufacturers. They were mostly shut up as if their owners had retired to the town to pass the winter.

The view of the most faithful of his cities, as Richard Cœur de Lion called it, I thought imposing from the Amiens road, the more so as I had never anticipated it. The Seine is indeed a lovely river, running along the chord of the fine crescent beneath, and studded with green islands, bright as so many emeralds. Crossing the Boulevards, I alighted at the Hotel de France, Rue de Carmes, kept by a M. Marc, a host having a very good opinion of himself—c’est moi. The next day I got a lodging in the Boulevard Cauchoise, an agreeable site, very different from the dingy narrow streets of the older parts of the city.

There was little prejudice visible against the English. If the feeling existed in some, which can hardly be doubted, it was repressed by the civil manner of the larger number. I encountered in “M. Pomme de Terre,” or “M. Godam,” all the insult I ever received, and that did not occur half a dozen times. The country people displayed much kindness, and were often not sparing of their hospitality. This might have been owing to the conduct of the British troops as contrasted with that of their allies, but it is only fair to remark that it was displayed in places where the foot of the
British soldier had never trod. The people declared they were tired of war. Both nations seemed as if they felt a desire to know something more of each other. Some English crossed the water, and got no farther than Calais, others reached Abbeville, and returned home full of complaints of the state of things in France, which had the sin of differing from that to which alone they had been accustomed. The
Duke of Wellington’s arrival in Paris, with every means at his command for speed, occupied nearly forty hours. Thus the rate of travelling now and at that time may be tested. I met no travelling Englishmen on the road. They generally took the broadest, shortest and most frequented way, in order to ‘see the country,’ being always in a hurry. A brother of the poet Campbell superintended a manufactory at Rouen, but I did not know this until I had quitted the city.

Rambling along the fine quay on the bank of the Seine, I observed a news-room or estaminet open. One person there was an Englishman. He proved to be Mr. Roper Curzon afterwards Lord Teynham. He had taken a house there for his family, and had lived unmolested with all his children except his eldest son, during Napoleon’s Hundred Days after the return from Elba. I found few or no English had arrived in the city recently, except Sir Henry Blackwood, so well known in our naval annals. He did not like a large manufacturing place, and quitted for Paris. I heard many stories of the insolence of the Prussians while in Rouen. They kept guns on the quay loaded, and matches lighted. If an unlucky Frenchman came too near an artilleryman, the latter would give him a kick
and bid him get out of the way, in his German jargon. The barriers were occupied by Prussian troops. One of the officers quartered himself in a fine house in the Boulevards, belonging to a single lady. He took possession of the best rooms, in which he received his dirty men on all occasions. He made the servants wait upon him, and if they did not bring what he wanted, though he could only converse by signs, he smashed an expensive mirror with his cane, or knocked a glass chandelier to pieces. The poor lady was kept in continual fear. The faithless Prussians well merited all they got from the French in return for the duplicity of their perfidious court, both towards England and France, prior to the battle of Jena.

M. Marc, the hotel keeper, died soon after I was domiciled. He once charged six francs for mutton chops at breakfast. On remonstrating, he said he should not charge his own countrymen so much, but the English generally paid what he asked. I begged in future he would consider me a Frenchman. His table-d’hôte was excellent. He used to divide a turkey athwart with one movement of the knife, and send one of the halves to the other end of the table. I could never discover how he managed the matter so dexterously. I believe his talents were concentrated in that solitary operation.

Two royalist officers whom I met at dinner, had both been emigrants. One of them was busy in raising a regiment for the service of Louis XVIII. He belonged to the cavalry, and had brought over eighty fine English horses, having grooms of the same country. Both were gentlemanly men, but could not tolerate
Napoleon. I used to annoy them by speaking of his great talents. They admitted he was a man of some ability, but he could not be a legitimate monarch—he was a usurper like our Cromwell.

“You must admit that Cromwell was a most useful man to his country,” I observed.

“They would admit no such thing. No one had a right to oppose those set over them by God.”

“Why then, gentlemen, the larger part of your countrymen must be reprobate; they were attached to Bonaparte.”

“We do not say that; it was a misfortune.”

“But, if divine authority appointed monarchs, it must have appointed the first king of France, and of all countries. I believe that
‘Le premier des rois fut un soldat heureux.’
We must go to the origin of things.”

“And what happens without divine permission? The first of kings must have been appointed of God, or he could not have reigned.”

“True,” I replied, “and the second too. Napoleon, emperor of France, must have been equally appointed of God, or he could not have reigned.”

They were a little staggered by this, and in reply, said he could not have been legitimate if he did reign. I replied, in that case, “illegitimacy was sanctioned as well as legitimacy.”

“O!” they replied, “we see you are one of the philosophers, and acknowledge no legitimate authority.”

“Not so, gentlemen, I bow to reason, not tradition.”

“Then you are not a Catholic—one of our church.”


“I am not; but I respect all creeds.”

“No, no, that cannot be, if you are of none yourself.”

“The very reason why I am the more impartial judge. No creed tolerates another while it is avoidable; look at the history of France!”

When we met afterwards, these officers were always polite in conversation; but I could see I was down in the scale of their good opinion. Never, surely, were there such unmitigable bigots as the Bourbons and their supporters.

I visited, several times, the theatre of the native city of the great Corneille. I traced historically and locally the footsteps of our forefathers in the older edifices, and was presented with a sketch of the old fort erected by Henry V., destroyed a few years before to make room for barracks. I explored the antiquities since rendered so familiar by tourists, such as St. Maclou, the Abbey of St. Ouen, and the cathedral. I grieved, in the stillness of the night, over the fate of la Pucelle, at the foot of her statue. Examined the fountain of the Stone Cross, the Abbey of Jumièges, and the amphitheatre of Lillebonne, taking notes of things since become more familiar. I made nearly all my excursions on foot, sometimes walking for seven or eight successive hours.

There, too, I heard a tribute of praise paid to my countrymen. When forty thousand of the allied troops, with corresponding artillery, entered the city, the mayor who was a staunch Bonapartist, declared he should never forget the honourable conduct of the English to the citizens. If a pound of meat more than
the supply ordered to be furnished by the city was weighed out, it was always sent back. Nothing violent marked the steps of our soldiers on the march. Though all hostilities had ceased, the Prussians stole poultry, eggs, and similar things, from the poorest cottagers—all, in fact, they could lay their hands upon, and that too when fully supplied by the proper authorities. The populace showed their feeling towards the Prussians most unequivocally; and blood would have been shed but for the activity and incessant watchfulness of the police in keeping order. One specimen of John Bullism I cannot forget. An English dragoon, on guard at his officer’s quarters near the Place de la Pucelle, was insulted by a carter smacking his whip at him, under the idea that the soldier could not move from his post. Depositing his sword and gloves in the sentry-box, the dragoon went up to the fellow, and gave him a severe drubbing with his fists, and then resumed his duty. The people wondered he did not punish the affront with the flat of his sabre. The story flew all over the city. The boys came up squaring their fists in a ludicrous way, “Vous boxie, Monsieur Anglais.”

The Duke de Castries was at this time governor, a returned emigrant, and a polished man of the true Bourbon school—one who as Dumouriez said, would have thought all France ruined if an individual came to court with ribbon in place of buckles in his shoes. He was not popular, but then Rouen was not much attached to the dynasty just restored. The citizens said they had had enough of blood and enough of the Bourbons. They wanted to follow their occupations in
peace, being as tired of
Napoleon’s wars as of the pretensions of those of whose rule they had still too many inerasable and painful recollections. This feeling was deep-rooted. There was no equality of class with the Bourbons as under Bonaparte. This alone was sufficient in memory to make the Bourbon race hateful. The citizens boasted of their Corneilles, Fontenelles, Bocharts, and other great men; but the breed seemed extinct among the Rouenese when I sojourned there. Cotton manufactures are not an atmosphere congenial to art or genius. The air is too heavy to permit the heaven-gifted spirit to pierce through the denseness into the region of light and glory that can alone sustain them.

I saw the tomb of Agnes Sorel, of which some sacrilegious hand had shaped out a balcony, having stolen it from the Abbey of Jumieges. It bore the date 1449. How little in the character of good taste to carry from its resting-place the memento of the Gentille Agnès.”

At Molineux, above the village of Bailly, stood the Château of Robert le Diable. There were still subterraneous passages extant communicating with the cliffs at the side of the Seine. There was then, too, the agreeable park of Belbœuf situated on a hill, with extensive gardens and fine forest scenery, about a league on the east of the city. Excursions in the vicinity will ever be the most pleasing amusements of those who sojourn in Rouen. There was a General Knowles, an Englishman, who lived in a château near Duclair, a village on the Seine, the scenery round which was delightful.

My notes on Normandy would be antique to Englishmen of the present day. The same remark will
apply to the institutions, but I cannot omit the pleasure I derived, almost daily, from access to the fine library in the Abbey of St Ouen, or from exploring the churches, from thirty-seven, once filled with lazy ecclesiastics, now reduced to twelve Catholic and one Protestant. Besides the thirty-seven churches, there were seventeen chapels, seven hospitals, five lazarettoes, and forty-eight monasteries or convents, to eighty thousand souls, a goodly proportion of Levites. One church was used as a smithery, another as a foundry, and a third, became a diligence receptacle. The painted glass windows, some richly painted too, remained most of them in their places, and the hammer resounded or carriage rolled over inscribed gravestones. It was painful but right, for an overgorging religion must be medicined, or it will eat up its supporters. St. Ouen’s Abbey, afterwards applied to municipal purposes, contained, before the revolution, the following precious relics, of which the list was given me with the assurance of its accuracy. The ‘
Times’ paper, in a leading article, called the Mohammedans of the East ‘Pagans.’ Now if there be any creed free from the taint of idolatry, and image, or symbol worship, it is that of Mahomet. The Mosaic was not more inimical to idolatry. Christianity, as it was promulgated by its founder, was not more so. Mahomet was an impostor, but the faith he founded is not Paganism. Half of those who call themselves Christians, bow down to images and pictures, and are much more of Pagans. These trumpery objects of sacred regard, to which I allude, a Mahommedan would have scorned as superstitious fooleries. A bit of the Holy Cross set in gold—a piece of the basin in which Christ washed the feet of his
disciples—a piece of the column to which Our Saviour was bound—a part of the sponge used by Our Saviour—a stone, part of Calvary, where Christ was crucified—the bones of St. Anne and St. George—the top of the rod of Moses—the head of St. Benite, one of the eleven thousand virgins—the hand of St. Sebastian—some relics of the four Evangelists, and other trumpery. The Huguenots scattered them, but they were replaced and not utterly destroyed till 1793.

There was an excellent collection of paintings here, but some of the best had been carried to Paris, to fill up the vacancies left on the walls of the Louvre by the Restoration of those taken off by the allies.

An English commissary on half-pay, who had not been in France before, made Rouen in his tour, coming from Dieppe. Like most of his countrymen, the first wine he called for was champagne. The weather was hot, the wine agreeable, and one bottle did not suffice. Intoxication from the gas in this wine, though its effects are more transient, is much more violent than that from alcohol alone. He went intoxicated to the theatre, and seeing a box nearly empty, though told it belonged to the governor, forced his way into it. An aide-decamp, who occupied it, remonstrated and opposed his entrance. He was knocked down for his pains. Two or three gendarmes came to the rescue, and the offender not without difficulty, was lodged in prison. By the interference of his countrymen, the authorities permitted him to be released on giving security to the extent of seventeen hundred francs to stand his trial. The money was duly lodged, but the culprit preferred forfeiting his cash to taking his trial, and bolted off to
England, not to visit France again in a hurry. I went to the prison, and a miserable place it was. There were then but too many such disgraceful examples shown by Englishmen.

After six months’ residence, it was requisite for my objects that I should be nearer the French capital. I visited Elbœuf and its manufactories, pleasantly situated at an elbow of the river Seine, flowing down from Pont l’Arche, renowned in the time of Henry IV. I visited the Convent of Les Deux Amants, and the Château of Pont St. Pierre, the last famous for its connection with Gabrielle d’Estrées. I passed a couple of days in the two Andelys, situated close to a beautiful sweep of the Seine at the foot of some chalk hills, no great way from Vernon sur Seine, where the first vines appear, and a meagre produce is obtained. Unless in a fine season, it is no better than an ordinary ordinaire.

While here I had news of Sheridan’s death. It struck me like the removal of an old landmark. His name I had heard spoken of as well as his eloquent speeches before I could know their merits—even before I could read them. When I heard him speak subsequently, I was delighted, so ready and eloquent, so much to the point. He used to visit the Northumberland coffeehouse, which stood near where Wyld, the map-seller lives now, and I often went there to take a glass of wine. Not formally introduced, it was enough to make his acquaintance, to join in conversation with a friend of his, whom I knew, and thus slide into it. The papers had been rendering certain stories of his pecuniary difficulties. On one occasion, I wrote the following, which was put into his hands, not knowing the author—
Sheridan our pity’s given that thou
Art not more wealthy if less witty,
Though then alas! but few had gain’d
And thousands must have had our pity.
Mike Kelly, whose manners were so much after the taste of that time as those who knew him many years after Sheridan’s death can vouch, was an enthusiastic trumpeter of Sheridan’s virtues and defects, and had a complete collection of anecdotes about him. The portraits in the magazines of Sheridan in his earlier or middle life, bear no resemblance to him at the period I first saw him. Rowlandson and Dighton hit him off well in their caricatures, with his rubicund visage, flushed nose, and a cast of feature which spoke of his resolute convivialities, and obliterated the expression which won the heart of Miss Linley. He was wonderfully quick at repartee, despite Moore’s statement that he prepared so much of it beforehand. Neither Pitt nor Fox could move the passions of their auditors like Sheridan. His voice, in his addresses to the electors in Covent Garden, I think I should recognize even now, if I were blindfolded.

I was on the point of removing to Gisors, when I received a letter from my old friend Demaria at Naples, whom I have mentioned as making one of the party on many of our excursions with Turner. He always thought he should prefer the sunny clime of Italy to that of England, and at last took up his abode there. He detailed his adventures in the following letter, in which his allusions to Englishmen picture the time.

Naples, 1816.
“My dear Redding,

“You can little imagine the pleasure your letter gives me, dated Rouen, February 17. The best way to answer your letter is to give you my history.

* * * * *

“Now you shall hear of myself, and wherefore and why at Naples.

“A singing chevalier in London, of whom I think you have heard, the Chevalier de Canea, a man protected by the Prince Regent, wished to be made consul at Nice. He spoke to Lord Castlereagh and Lady Castlereagh, for whom he used to sing. He prayed to be sent to Nice, knowing there was nothing to do. It was settled he should go. The said Chevalier promised I should act as vice-consul, as I knew the two or three languages requisite, and had some idea of business. He told me it was a great port, with a considerable trade. Intoxicated with the idea, I foolishly accepted his offer, and away we drove to Turin and Nice, a small pretty town, thirteen miles from Antibes, and three only from the Var, dividing Piedmont from France, the port about the size of an English horse-pond, almost all the vessels feluccas of fifteen or twenty tons burthen. A vessel of a good size seldom enters, a very large merchantmen cannot, a poor prospect of making a fortune. However, being in another’s house and table, my expences were not considerable. I was determined to try what my income might be. Nice is recommended by the faculty in pulmonary cases, and the English are very partial to the climate. It is a
perpetual spring, summer, or autumn. We arrived on the first of October, and in the course of a little time, to pass the winter, came
Lord and Lady Sandwich, Lord and Lady Glenbervie, Lady Charlotte Lindsay, Lady Charlotte Campbell, and names enough to fill up the side of my paper, but of no use to me.

“The winter was delightful—dinners, balls among the English every night, and the Piedmontese nobility, by the by, a set of poor contemptible, intriguing tricksters, were often invited to the balls, and musical parties. Your humble servant did not pass unnoticed, in consequence of his ability in the French and Italian languages, and when it was known that I could draw a little, I was looked upon as a white wonder. I drew for one, sketched for another, walked and talked ‘sighed and looked, and sighed again.’

“I think I see you laugh, as of old, at supposing me in love, but if you knew me better, you would know that has been my case for the last twenty-five years, particularly with every ‘pretty’ woman, and I hope to continue the same for three hundred years to come, but to return. One Sunday evening, I think the 5th of March, (about this time twelvemonth) several vessels were seen passing the town of Nice, and the next morning the country people bringing their oil and wine to the market, raised a hue and cry ‘Bonaparte is landed with twelve hundred men!’ It caused as much surprize at Nice as it did in London, or anywhere else, but the consternation and confusion amongst the English was wholly indescribable. Every day and hour they greedily swallowed the news of his progress. His having had a battle, wherein he was routed the next day
was certain—the next day he was slain, they only waited to hail, as the saviour of the world, the courier that would confirm the news. Intelligence really did come that Bonaparte had fled in disguise, and that two thousand out of the twelve hundred he had brought with him, were either taken, slain or fled, the remainder seeking a passage through the mountains! If they could not succeed, as the Niceards were sure they could not get through the mountains, then they must march back again to the Island of Elba—they were all anxiously expecting to see them, either walk across the sea, or brought to Nice dead or alive. They found at last that Bonaparte had entered Paris, and their surprise was over—then they discovered that the climate of Nice, all at once got too hot for them, and I was busily employed in getting feluccas, or anything else that would secure their departure for Genoa. They all left, and I an Englishman, could not stay at Nice, having nothing to do. The consul was the first to hurry his own departure, the most ignorant, contemptible, singing prig I ever met with or anybody else; a fellow full of pride and conceit, a consul who did not know what a bale of goods was from a cobbler’s green bag—the case with many of our consuls, I fear. Some of the English gentlemen told him it was his duty to see the English all safe before he went, that if he dared to go away, they would instantly inform the ambassador at Turin. This stopped him. A gentleman of Yorkshire, named D——, with a large family, who came to Nice for his son’s health, entreated I would go with them to Genoa. I joined their party. We rode across the mountains, and arrived safe. It is
a most beautiful city, with a great deal of traffic. The
Pope was there, the King of Sardinia, the Queen of Etruria, Lord William Bentinck, &c. After the files and ceremonies were over, the English went, some to England, others to Switzerland, and here and there. The D—s went to Switzerland. I began to reflect I was a tolerable Italian—I must see this famous Italy.

“I went to Rome, but it is modern not ancient Rome. You see thousands of fat, contented, ignorant priests and monks, a few palaces, which occupy much ground, a number of ‘things’ called ‘princes,’ few gentlemen, and hundreds of poor wretches called ‘Romans!’ After enjoying myself there as much as I could, I thought I might as well go on and see Naples, a hundred and fifty miles further. Something might be done there in a sea-port town. I should have told you that this is no longer the country of the arts and sciences, though pride makes a love of them be affected. From my experience, I could get more by selling fat brawn, than by all the finest pictures that could be painted for a century, or by writing the most meritorious work, unless I were taken very strongly by the hand. ‘Ask Turner or Redding if I am not right?’ I think I am. Now I am still at Naples, without friends or fortune. I had a few letters of introduction to some noblemen at Naples, from princes and dukes at Rome.”

These letters enabled my old friend to become a monied agent, by a special permission of Ferdinand II., and there he has continued to reside, if alive. The appointment of the squeaking consul by Lord Castlereagh, out of gratitude for the assistance he afforded
to that nobleman in his glee singing, was not without precedents and sequents. That appointment might tally with some others which could he mentioned. It is true, one of these gentry was manufactured out of a horse by a Roman emperor. If we have selected more ignoble animals for such offices, we have not yet seen our parliament convened to decide on the disposal of a first-rate turbot, as was done in the good old times.

I have spoken of the town of Pont l’Arche and Les Deux Amants, the former a rustic-looking country place, reached by a fine bridge over the Seine, near Louviers. It was a noted place in the time of Sully and his master. Entering a rustic inn, and obtaining some refreshments, I was surprised to find the humble innkeeper well acquainted with the history of France. He related traditions extant there of Henry IV. and his times. In England an innkeeper of his class, would have talked of post-horses, steeple-chasing, fox-hunting, and the stables, if he conversed at all. The French Boniface was a lean man, malt drink had not enlarged his girdle, nor shortened his breathing. He was not the only petty innkeeper whom I encountered, thus historically well-informed, within the former domains of old Rollo.

Setting out to visit the noted convent of ‘Les Deux Amants,’ I re-crossed the Seine, and proceeded up a broad valley, keeping the Seine upon the right hand. In front, about three miles off, there rose a bluff chalky hill of considerable height, upon the summit of which a large building was visible. The Seine washed the base of the hill, making an elbow there to the southward. On the north side of the same hill flowed down the
pretty little river of Andelle, uniting itself with the larger stream. A zigzag road led to the top, exceedingly steep. The scenery was charming. The green islands studding the Seine beneath, and reflected in its glassy waters, the birds singing among the trees, which shaded those pretty islets, as cheerfully as if they had never been molested by an intruder, rendered the walk delightful. On ascending, the path grew steeper and steeper. Halting for breath and looking beneath, and around, the sight wandered over a great extent of country, beautiful and varied. Wood, water, and meadow, combined to increase the attraction of the scenery under a bird’s eye glance. The priory or monastery owed its foundation to an incident often related of a different locality. The valleys beneath with their rivers, the distant forests, the village of Fleurey sur Andelle, and the forest of Longboil, where the Château of Pont St. Pierre reared its head, coeval with the days of the northern
Rollo, gave historical or rather legendary interest to the scenery; all this was new, and I threw myself into the past at once. The priory was entire and spacious. The views from the windows truly noble. The tale ran that the daughter of the owner of the Château of Pont St. Pierre, won the heart of a gallant but penniless chevalier, to whom no objection but his poverty could be made. The father, after much opposition, at last consented to the marriage of the young couple, if the lover could carry his mistress, without halting, to the summit of the hill on which the priory stands, a thing which any one but such a lover would deem impossible. He made the attempt and succeeded, but fell dead from the exertion. The mistress in those
days of “fierce war and faithful love,” pined away into a premature grave, a custom since gone out of fashion with the fair. The repentant father erected the priory on the spot, and entering it, spent there the remainder of his days as in honesty bound to do.

I had a letter of introduction to the owner of the property, who purchased it at the revolution for the small sum of sixteen thousand francs. He had been a schoolmaster. He received me hospitably in the fine old edifice, sufficiently spacious for the accommodation of three or four families without interfering with each other in the slightest way. A large jack from the Seine was added to the usual dinner-fare, and it was insisted upon that I should remain and sleep. My host apologised for his wife’s absence, by stating her severe illness. I retired to rest at the extremity of a long vaulted passage leading into a chamber, for height and size truly noble. I approached the window, and never did the full orbed moon enlighten a lovelier landscape. I observed some excellent folio editions of the Fathers on a table in a recess, which had, no doubt, belonged to the religious of the priory before the revolution.

I was awoke in the night by footsteps, echoing along the arched passage which led to my room. It seemed as if something unusual was going forward. I fancied on getting out of bed and opening the door, that I heard moaning sounds, then voices, then all became still. Rising early, for I slept little after this incident, intending to walk before breakfast, I found it ready laid out for myself only. A domestic appeared and told me that his master trusted I would excuse him,
and hoped I would act as if the place were my own. His wife had died in the night, and the sounds I had heard were those of expiring nature. I left as soon as I had breakfasted, writing my thanks for the hospitality I had received, and at once descended into the valley of Andelle. There I found some copper works, carried on by an English manager. I went to them, and met a countryman, a native of Shropshire, who had been there before the revolution. I went over the works, which were conducted with much order and regularity. The superintendant told me that the Priory of Les deux Amants which I had just left, he remembered full of corpulent brethren, who did nothing but eat and play bowls. The priory had been rich, and was made the place of banishment or seclusion from the Bourbon court, for those whose pecadilloes would have consigned others to the prison, or to undergo a severe sentence. I asked what had become of them. He said that some publicly obnoxious had lost their heads, and the others were turned out upon the world to live as they could. Several of them were so fat that they could not have gone out of the door of the room in which we were sitting. He was a strong Catholic, and his daughters, three or four in number, handsome girls, were still more bigotted. He told me that the purchase of the priory took place when the revolution had caused an enormous depreciation of property, and that it was one of the best bargains ever made by a private individual—it was worth ten times what was given for it.

I visited Pont l’Arche several times afterwards and met there a sort of country esquire, fond of every thing
English. He inhabited an old house with a porte cochère, probably as old as the days of Henry IV. The door of the court-yard and remise, had not owned paint for half a century. Agricultural implements of rude shape, and fractured waggons and wheels filled the yard. Skins of wild animals, among them, those of the wolf and fox, trophies of his sporting propensities hung in different places. M. Louis was one of the old Bourbon school, who passed quietly through the revolution by using his tongue with discretion, and being too poor to make his property attractive. He was every way an original. His sporting in the English mode, once or twice with the
Count d’Artois in that prince’s early days, he was never tired of repeating. He had bought a cast off horse of the Scotch Greys, for a hunter, of which he seemed proud. He wanted to know whether he could not visit Newmarket, and return home for twenty napoleons. He was anxious to see an English horse-race. He had seen our hunting, as followed up by some of our officers who hunted foxes, wolves, cats and wild boars. Of the wolves they could make no hand. That animal knocked up, the hounds and took his rest. The horse of the Greys, this rustic squire had used on one or two of these occasions, when he rode in a grey frock coat and a sort of cap that was more like the barber’s bason of Cervantes than anything else, a genuine Mambrino helmet. He had resumed the de, as a prefix of which no one was regardful at the revolution. This recalls what was once told me of Martinville the author, who being cited before the revolutionary tribunal in Robespierre’s day, and being asked his name by the sanguinary Fouquier Tinville replied, “Ci-
tizen Martinville.” “De Martinville?” observed the miscreant lawyer with a sneer.

“I came here to be lopped shorter, not lengthened,” replied Martinville coolly.

This answer in that moment of life or death so tickled the jury, that they laughed outright and declared the accused a good citizen, at the moment he expected to have heard the words “à la mort!

I got a friend to give the Pont l’Arche esquire a letter to an acquaintance of his at Newmarket, stating that he was a simple minded original character, and requesting an eye upon him, that he should not be plundered. I told him that he must be a great economist to make twenty napoleons pay his expenses, though he only wanted to see the races.

“Ah, your races are wonderful—superb.”

The notes of my tours were out of date on my return home. Those on Normandy I destroyed. When I went over, France was as little known to Englishmen as Palestine itself. Some of the fruits of my observations will be found in my “History of Wines.” It was my custom not to drag in the heavy diligences from town to town, but to make the centre of a department my head-quarters for a time, and then walk eight or ten miles towards each point of the compass, from the auberge or lodging I made my home, returning to a late dinner and simple fare cheered with the light wine of the country. By this means, shifting my quarters as occasion required, I really saw the country, and not the prospect alone from each side of the high road. Many little adventures I encountered of no interest now, though I cannot refrain from relating one remarkable
incident. I was in the South, not far from the Rhone, at a village called Estephe. In all parts of France, there were then vacant châteaux, relics of the revolution. Some wholly dilapidated, others having the roof entire but untenanted, the garden still attached, but the lands passed into different hands. I was offered a place, quite a palace in extent, for a thousand francs a year, taxes included. Besides their châteaux, I found many conventual buildings, some wrecks, others near large towns, converted into workshops or manufactories. If not applicable to rural or manufacturing purposes, they were left for the hand of time to waste. One of these, not far from the miserable village I have named, attracted my attention at a distance from its deserted and picturesque appearance. I had a long walk of four leagues at least, to the quarters from whence I had set out in the morning, and there was no shelter on the road in the event of a storm which the sky portended. The wind blew in that sad and gusty way among the trees which augurs rain. Presently it fell in torrents, and I was glad of my humble shelter. The storm cleared up at so late an hour, that I did not like to return in the dark a great part of the way, the road by no means easy to follow. I asked for a bed, and there was none to be had; but I could have clean straw, and excellent linen laid upon it. I determined to remain. The grilled leg of a turkey, and some Vienne wine satisfied the call of appetite. The evening was fresh but warm. The clouds unfolding disclosed, here and there, the pale light of an atmosphere, which closes with a bright promise for the morrow. I sallied forth disregarding the effect of the rain under foot, determined to examine
the picturesque building of which I have spoken. The distance was not a third of a league. There was a clump of wood in my way, the trunks and boughs of which darkened my path and rustled in the breeze as if greeting “some passing night-mare that alone comprehended their language.” I reached a shattered wall apparently that of a garden, and then passed an opening, where from the remnants of rusty hinges, a gate must once have hung. An aged bay here and there overshadowed the rank weeds beneath, and all shewed it was a long time since the hand of man had laboured there. I came next into a square court, then passed under a pointed arch into a passage which arched in like manner, ended in a square room with long narrow windows one or two closed up with boards. The others looked into a second court where the hand of art had evidently been at work in the disposition of a few flowers, and an orange-tree or two in boxes. I passed out of the room vaulted with great strength, and came at once upon one of the most singular looking beings I ever beheld seated in an apartment a dozen feet square, and before an oaken table of homely make. In one corner was a reposoir in a niche, and in a window an ugly black crucifix. He seemed surprized as much as myself. His corrugated brow, aquiline nose, peaked chin, and shrunken cheeks, his large dark eyes, hair, and beard, with an expression of settled melancholy over all were sufficiently striking. He was habited in a loose sort of frieze coat, perfectly clean in person, with an air so peculiar that I never saw any resembling it. I, at once, addressed him saying, I had no intention of intruding upon his retirement.

“’Tis well, ’tis well, young man. Fate leads us into
strange paths too often. For more than twenty years I have dwelt here, and never before seen a stranger. Two or three villagers hard by are the only faces I have encountered. Some fancy these ruins inhabited by evil spirits. This is all the better, for I thus escape their impertinences. Are you hungry?—will you eat—dried fruit, bread, wine, I have no more?”

I thanked the strange looking gaunt man, whose port was not at all vulgar, but declined his cheer. He then said:

“I knew you not unsent. I dreamed a stranger would break my solitude. You are the man. After this visit from you within a year’s compass, I shall be no more—have you no faith in visions?—you were not unexpected.”

I assured him it was the impulse of the moment brought me there.

“Be seated—we will converse.”

I placed myself on a sort of stool, the only seat in the room but that which its owner occupied.

“Be ever respectful towards heaven young man, never mind this world where our sojourn is short and painful. Dreams speak truth, respect them. They are fate’s index. You know the world—the great world?”

“I have hitherto lived in it—in England, in your country a short time, in London, Paris, Rouen.”

“Then my seclusion must surprize you—all alone as I am. Out of that world of rock and quicksand, my life may be as worthy as the best in crowded capitals which I shall see no more. Yes, I dreamed of you. Do not be surprized. I dreamed a stranger would visit me, and after that, I should not be suffered to linger a
year more in this distempered existence—this destiny led life, where fate leads us into a succession of shipwrecks. I shall soon be changed. Wherefore have I breathed to track dangerous paths, born innocent, to accumulate crime with knowledge, sorrow with years, experience with inutility.”

“I do not comprehend you,” I observed.

“How should you, when I cannot comprehend myself. When a mortal load presses on my bosom, when all forebodes evil, when nothing gladdens. Why is life such a veiled picture? But I speak in enigma. Excuse me. I think of myself alone in all I say, or do, or imagine. I have now no other world in this but myself. Your world and mine are severed; yet fate governs both.”

“Rather God!”

“Fate is God’s agent, young man, in uniting men and things. Why am I in this solitude? Hear me. I dreamed of a stranger, it was you I dreamed of. I was born in Lyons. I was well educated by parents of the noblesse. I was reared to manhood in principles of honour, like a matured thought radiant with truth. In sport or study I was the foremost. I became enamoured of a young lady who returned my passion, but she was forced by her friends to marry a cousin of mine, an ill-favoured, sordid fellow. He treated his wife with great severity. Her heart was vacant; and a void in the heart of woman, under such circumstances, could not long co-exist. I resisted the eloquence of her eyes. I reasoned upon the guilt of such a connection. One soft glance would have dashed my reasons and resolves to pieces. I rushed into the wild woods,
I hunted to fatigue myself. I leaped across ravines of fearful depth. I rode with eagle speed down craggy rocks, and plunged into rapid torrents, the violence I used, seeming to calm my heated feelings. I escaped all hazard, because fate had misery in store for me. How it might have ended, I know not, but my cousin, thrown from his horse, died of the injury he received, and his wife was free to be mine. The hatred I bore him, was no doubt strengthened by his ill-treatment of a wife who had no affection for him. We soon understood each other as to the time of our marriage. We drank deep of love. At length we were wedded, and my wife would have been happy, but she saw I was not happy—why not?”

Here the speaker paused for a moment, seeming to struggle with his feelings.

“My conduct to my wife seemed strange. Not that I loved her less, but rather more than before, but that I was at war with myself. I was constrained to keep from her the situation in which we were both placed, by the scenes acting in Paris, and beginning to spread into the provinces. I knew her late husband was hated by the people among whom he resided, and my wife was obnoxious upon his account. I dared not reveal my fears to her, and she began to think I was withholding my confidence, a fearful error which I dared not dispel. A thousand phantoms of evil crowded upon her imagination. Love sometimes does love irreparable mischief, and sleeps only to awaken renovated strength. I still reserved the tale of my fears. The guillotine was doing its work of blood in Paris; some of my relations there had fallen. The fatal in-
strument was soon at work in Lyons. My wife, obnoxious as the widow of my cousin, was hurried from my side among the first victims, and I had only the consolation of informing her that the reason of my reserve was to spare her feelings and fears. She bade me travel continually from place to place, as the only expedient to prevent sharing her fate. I did not at first take her advice. I wished to die too, remained, and even courted death in vain. No one accused me, I had no great property to be envied. My father and elder brother held that of the family, and their deprivation, and my wife’s urgent command that I should travel, with a returning desire to live, kept me continually moving from place to place, with no more display of property than the most frugal livelihood required me to exhibit. I have escaped the fate of all my relatives, and of my unfortunate wife. The storm of the Robespierrian period passed away: I returned to Lyons. Our old mansion I found had been ruined by the revolutionary cannon. I wept over the wrecks of the home of my early years, and came to this vicinity where there was an estate which had once belonged to the family—that had been partitioned and sold. This priory, which I remember filled with religious, and now so wasted, presented itself to me. A fourth of it is still waterproof, and the thick walls, as you see, will long defy time. Here I took up my abode, and here I shall die—die within a year.”

The poor man seemed much affected, and the motion of his features shewed the combat going on within. He resumed:—

“I dreamed of you and you came, and I shall soon
die. I am not lonely here beyond what I should be in the world. I have my thoughts that minister to me, and sleep gives me revelations of the old time again. Yes, I have seen you before—where are you journeying?”

I replied to the southward.

“Visit me as you return.”

I promised to do so, but was afterwards induced to go to Toulouse, and return more to the westward.

It began to grow dark. The solitary man escorted me to the outer wall, repeating:

“Yes, I knew you by my dream—dreams are not to be despised, young man, remember that—profit by the knowledge.” We then bade each other adieu. I should like to know if his prediction were verified.

I returned to my resting-place, where I slept as soundly on my humble bed as I ever slept on one of feathers. The people of the auberge told me, that the recluse never came as far as the village, but that one of the villagers took him what he wanted regularly, and was paid for his trouble. They said he was not in his right mind, for no Frenchman that was would live without society.

The truth was, that he spoke reasonably enough about everything but his dreamy revelations, as in case of his asserted knowledge of myself. He was no more than a monomaniac, as Swedenborg was, sane upon every topic but supernatural visitations.