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the only woman who ever understood him ; and bewildered him by her grand words into a prodigious opinion of her capacity. You would laugh, too, to see how Puritanism and prudery have "waned on the horizon, as she would say herself, in the preparations she is making for dashing to the utmost extent of their seven hundred a year. After all, she is a good-natured creature, and diverts Mr. Niblett and myself exceedingly. Her tales of the Peckers' meanness, and her triumph in the manner in which she mystified her so-called serious friends, are as good as a comedy. We think that she bridles and rolls her eyes more than ever. They join us at Rome for the winter. With
husband's regards, faithfully yours,
AWAY WITH THE SWORD!
Away with the sword ! it is red to the hilt
With the blood of the free, which its bright steel hath dyed;
Unto earth and to heaven for pity hath cried !
The hand that had raised it was stain'd with his gore;
Hath become the worst sceptre a tyrant e'er bore;
And although we may blame not the swords of the free,
Yet battles more glorious the future shall see.
For the rape of the maid, and the hamlet burnt o'er,
And tyrants shall fall though the sword is no more !
C'OLUMBINE AT COURT.
A CHRISTMAS FAXCY.
BY PAUL BELL. Time was, sir,- and that not so many years ago,—when, comfortably hating the French, (which was every free-born Briton's duty) we got on very well in IIalcyon Row, without any very choice or correct knowledge of foreign affairs. There was little intercourse : there was less sympathy. Some idea that “ Werter” was a vicious book, excused worthy IIeads of Families from considering the state and prospects of Germany. We knew that there was an individual called The Pope in Italy, and Signor and Signora Squallinis (so ran the liberal nickname of the time) by the dozen :—and that was enough, and too much for some of us. The Peninsula had not been brought home to our wives and families by fighting Parsons' journals, or novels made up of a sabre-tash, a lance, a droll Irishman for camp-follower, and an explosion at the end of each volume. It was merely (so far as our precise notion of its works and wants was concerned) a sort of huge Astley's, where the “ Combat of Two," betwixt Wellington (not then. The Duke") and “Boney, was being perpetually played out. In short, when my Mrs. Bell and I came together, “ least said and soonest mended
was the motto with regarıl to the Continent, in many a respectable provincial English house ;—which would have “ lifted its eyebrows till the roof came off, had it been told that this silence and averseness—not to say avcrsion-only meant so much ignorance and ill-feeling which we were better rid of as citizens and Christians.
Gone and over are those days! “ Darkness," as it has been pleasantly said by one of the sanguine men of science who hang iron tunnels over seas, and thunder and lighten messages from Pole to Pole, in the twinkling of an eye,---" will soon be as great a curiosity as high-heeled shocs, or sedan chairs." Ignorance of the Stranger will no longer be patted on the back, nor Misapprehension fed with the tit-bits of self-love. Your celebrated London Wit, Sir, of whom I was hearing the other day, at our Athenæum party, who, for some fifty years entirely managed to conceal his want of
knowledge of French, will prove the last clever man of his race ! Even the Le Grands sit, as it were, in a sort of twilight of curiosity and desire to learn what is going on abroad ; not content, like the old women before them, to profit by foreign fashions, without a single kind word or friendly nod to their inventors. Ever since our young ladies of quality have taken to marrying Austrian and Roman princes, my neighbours have laid proud and pleased
the foreign relations of our nobility. They know better, I doubt not, than H.M. the Queen herself, what she and Louis Philippe settled about the Spanish match (pray Heaven it set fire to no train !) in the bathing-machine. They think the present Pope “low :". -a sort of Cobden in a tiara :-like his Lancashire prototype, too fond of bringing out "new patterns ;” and betwixt their terror of Father Darcys, and their dislike of innovations, are sadly disturbed : having too little objection to communicate their disturbances at No. 1. I would rather hear these troubles, however, than the old stories of washing-days, flaunting housemaids and their “ followers,” which used to make the staple of tea-table talk. And sometimes the manner in which the Ladies get into what my Mrs. Bell calls “ a state,” about mere trifles, is truly diverting to one who has not to live in the house with them.
The other evening, for instance, as I was sitting in my own corner, planning a Christmas whim or two for the amusement of my children, I was called down from decorating my Tree (another foreign fancy, Sir! with its toys and curiosities, and candles, and what
smallest Bell calls 66 Dickens' books”) by Miss Martha's. sharp voice.
“Well, Sir, what have you to say for your Friend, The Pope,
Why, Ma'am, I hope he has not been drinking chocolate; but even if the Jesuits do get rid of him, I think we must have another of the same kind !”
“ Another of the same kind ; the Libertine !” screamed she. “ No: there are no people so bad as those Bachelors when once they take to badness! He must not be married, forsooth ; but he can sit up on his throne there—a shameless old thing ! and receive actresses. And, as if that was not enough, who must come first to kiss his toe but that Fanny Elssler ?”—and out came a bead-roll of authentic information touching that dancer and her lovers, of a quality and quantity such as, I will make bold to assert, you receive from no one, save elderly gentlewomen of unim
NO. XXIV, VOL. IV.
peachable character. 'Tis mysterious, indeed, how much they contrive to know about “ruturs" they are perpetually insisting shoull never be spoken of in decent company.
“Well," returned I, meaning to appease Miss Vartha's wrath, “ woulil you have had the l'ope kiss Mademoiselle Fanny's toe ?”
“I never heard anything like you, Mr. Bell! Reason is reason ; and that's what you are not ! Or you do it merely to provoke
I am for having every body kept in liis proper place ; and not for sering Columbine at ('ourt,—what ever you liberal gentlcmen may think of me, Mr. Bel!"
* l'olumbine at ('ourt!" Whether it was that the half-sipped glass of punch beside me had disposed me to a benevolent and dreamy serenity; or whether it was merely my own thoughts, previous to Miss Martha Le Grand's outbreak, which now beckoned me up my Christmas Tree again.—(ertain it is, that I lost the rest of our neighbour's sharp and convincing harangue; and said “yes and no," I have been since told, at most uncivil places, whereby she was exasperated into a speely departure--being presently (and pleasantly) in the clouds, amoniy shapes and figures which her contemptuous expression had evokeil. The spell uttered by Disdain has sometimes nu Weil'se effect than that of calling up Good Spirits in those who were meant to be proroked or crushed flat hy it.
“Columbine at Court !" Why, since the world began, Ilarlequin has been there : in ('abinets out of war offices : breaking scals, mystifying papers, turning the merchant's bags of money into chatl, and tricking out the Beggar in a laced coat so gay, that neither Beadle nor Bumble dare walk on the same sunny side of the street with him. And Pantaloon, too-when, since the days of Polonius babbling his wisdom to the youth of Denmark, has a ('ourt lacked lis .. lean and slippered ” figure ? Very mcagre hath he become of late, let us confess; and his slippers once tagged with spangles, grown too old for Monsieur Soyer himself to rugout, were the siege of Reform Club ever so cruel. Ile rises, too, betwixt thump and thump, “confrontment and confrontment more lamely than formerly -- and the time cannot be very far distant, when the practicable wheelbarrow which carts the old man off, “ to Arthur's bosom” (as AIrs. Quickly hath it) will not return-neither its shabby ancient burden ! The Clown has probably a longer lease of Court favour, since sometimes he is still to be found, in its most august places, with the crown on his
head, taking out his privileges of rude wit and stupid inanity and insatiable greediness, to the full. But, even when the clown-hood is unmistakeable, our striated friend, with his huge and hungry pockets, is somehow or other more rueful and better educated than he used to be. The Schoolmaster has knocked into his dull and frivolous brain, that impudence, blundering, and venality are no longer the laughing matters they were when Pantomime was young.
Now as to Columbine - is this her first appearance at Court ? Bless you-Mr. Historiographer, over your mouldy parchments ! Mr. Herald, knowing by heart every blot and bend sinister on every one's escutcheon! Bless you, grave Ladies, who write about female Sovereigns; and gay ones, who philosophise touching “ Man and his Mistress ?” What need of wry faces,--what profit in your winkings and blinkings, as you look round to see that no tattler or tender child is listening at the door ?
Of how many a demure and solemn Sovereign may not be said, what gravely said of — when recounting the provisions of the latter's will, “ He was fond of young housekeepers : principally Columbines. Think of the Pompadours and the Paraberes, the Clevelands and the Castlemaines — think of the letters in Thomas Brown the Younger's “Twopenny Post-bag”--think what romances could be told by the old Palace at Avignon, and whispered by the reeds of Elbe, Rhine, and Danube ! Even if we abstain from the naughty Rabbinical scandals about King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba (who is said to have “ tumbled for the edification of the wisest of monarchs), even if we leave the thousand-and-one Tales of the East-think of
but what has an elderly bagman, even after his third glass of punch, to do with thinking of such toys? The wonder is not Columbine at Court—but Columbine there, in her own place!
And what is that place? As Sultana? No. pliant ? Surely not. The Actress “ kissing away kingdoms, and the Actress cringing for patronage on occasion of her benefit, seem to me alike figures out of place. Not so the actress recognised as a woman of genius ; and as such eligible to honourable notice by Pope or Pagan! I am not meaning to decide whether his Holiness has chosen well or ill, in the subject of his first reception ; but the spirit of his innovation is good—for Italy, very good—and as it is sure to be handsomely abused by all caste (and cast-iron) people-I will say a few words explanatory and defensive.