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It is noway a delightsome sight to gaze on Beau Brummel at Calais, at five o'clock precisely (for he was methodical in the extreme), ascending the staircase to his rooms, and dressing for dinner, which is sent from Dessin's at six; dining daintily,"wetting his whistle" with a bottle of Dorchester ale, which potent stuff is followed by a liqueur glass of brandy, and the rear brought up by a bottle of Bordeaux; "a pretty comfortable refection," observes his biographer, “ for a man who lived entirely on the charity of his friends." It is said to have been after one of these niggardly repasts that he wrote to Lord Sefton to describe himself as “ lying on straw, and grinning through the bars of a gaol; eating bran bread, my good fellow, eating bran bread."'*
The dilapidated, expatriated Beau had been a well-seasoned Diner-out. And what is the butcher to the Diner-out? a satirist has asked ; himself supplying the answer, No other than the executioner to the cook, the cut-throat to the kitchen ; while the fishmonger is a kind of benevolent Triton; a creature bringing the treasures of the deep to the earth, for the capital gratification of the Diner-out: he vends turbot, crimped skate, for the palate of that fortune's-favourite, who eats in happy ignorance of a future call. “ The wine-merchant is to him the genial and generous vassal of Bacchus—the cup-bearer deputed by the glorious god-calling men to drink and never bringing in the score. The gardener, who raises peas at only five guineas per quarter-peck, and flings pineapples at the head of holly-crowned Christmas, what is he to the Dinerout, but the servitor of plenty-of plenty in her most luscious and delightful aspect ?”+ A first-class graduate in this free school of indulgence, a master of arts in this university of good living, a foundation fellow in this college of convives-no wonder that Beau Brummel in his exile took his meals and made his complaints in the manner above mentioned.
His temperament may have been as remote as possible from the poetical. Bat extremes meet. And in Harold Skimpole a soulless dandy and a self-worshipping poetaster, all sensibility and gush and effusion, may alike find themselves represented.
To the same type we may refer a young Angoleto,& given up to eager impulses, greedy of pleasure, loving only what promotes his happiness, hating and avoiding whatever opposes his gratifications ; "at heart an artist—that is to say, feeling and revelling in life with surpassing intensity." Or again, young Hardress Cregan, ß who “was not without the peculiar selfishness of genius, that selfishness which consists not in the love of getting, or the love of keeping in cupidity or avarice; but in a luxurious indulgence of one's natural inclinations, even to an effeminate degree.” Nay, quitting the realms of romance, and lighting on the dusty ways of this worky-day world, and dealing with comparatively upright and estimable men, is there not the order exemplified in poor William Sidney Walker, who profited so unprotestingly by the ingeniously delicate largesse of Mackworth Praed, and contrived to believe, in the matter of an annuity, that “ so far from receiving, he had himself conferred an obligation;" and who, though he was almost incessantly occupied in a series of critical and philological researches, and from time to time produced a sonnet or fragment of a poem, could never be induced to turn any of his labours to pecuniary profit, or to contribute in any way, directly or indirectly, to his own support.* One of William Roscoe's biographers reckons it greatly to the credit of Liverpool, that its merchants continued to employ and confide in a literary man of business, proving themselves superior to the vulgar prejudice that a man of any occupation must be ruining himself and all who are concerned with him, if his mind, heart, and soul are not absorbed in the working-day means of his livelihood; a prejudice, it is added, “which authors have contributed very much to cherish, not only by gross neglect of their positive duties, but by avowedly ascribing that neglect to their refined studies.”+
* Jesse's Life of George Brummel, Esq. † Jerrold's Works, V. 289 sq.
I Consuelo, t. i. ch. üi. In Gerald Griffin's “ Collegians"—to which Mr. Dion Boucicault owes, who shall say how much?
For it is generally held, according to Professor Masson, that poets and artists are and ought to be distinguished by a predominance of sensibility over principle, an excess of what Coleridge called the spiritual over what he called the moral part of man. “Mobility, absolute and entire destitution of principle properly so called, capacity for varying the mood indefinitely rather than for retaining and keeping up one moral gesture or resolution through all moods—this, say the theorists, is the essential thing in the structure of the artist.”I While Professor Kingsley makes a mock of the “poets" for getting disgusted with this hard-hearted prosaic world, which is trying to get its living like an industrious animal as it is, and demand homage-for what ? For making a noise, pleasant or otherwise ? For not being as other men are? For pleading “the eccentricities of genius” as an excuse for sitting like daughty children in the middle of the schoolroom floor, in everybody's way, shouting and playing on penny trumpets, and when begged to be quiet, that other people may learn their lessons, considering themselves insulted, and pleading "genius" ?
“Genius!— hapless byword, which, like charity, covers now-a-days the multitude of sins, all the seven deadly ones included! Is there any form of human folly which one has not heard excused by he is a genius, you know—one must not judge him by common rules. Poor genius! to have come to this! To be when confest, not a reason for being more of a man than others, but an excuse for being less of a man, less amenable than the herd to the common laws of humanity, and therefore less able than they to comprehend its common duties, common temptations, common sins, common virtues, common destinies.”
So writes the Regius apostle of muscular Christianity in one essay;8 and in another he wages renewed war on this same spurious notion of artistic genius which has spread among us of late years, just in proportion as the real amount of artistic genius has diminished ; till we see men, on the mere ground of being literary men, too refined to keep accounts, or pay their butchers' bills; giving themselves credit for being unable to bear a noise, keep their temper, educate their own children, associate with their fellow-men, and a thousand other paltry weaknesses, self-indulgences, fastidiousnesses, vulgarities-for all this, the Professor contends, ls is essentially vulgar, and demands, not honour and sympathy, but a chapter in Mr. Thackeray's Book of Snobs.
* Memoir of W. S. Walker, by Rev. J. Moultrie, pp. cxvi. sq. † Northern Worthies, III. 34. Masson, Life of Milton, I. 279. ♡ Alexander Smith and Alexander Pope, 1853. | Thoughts about Shelley and Byron.
A VISIT TO DENMARK AND SWEDEN IN THE AUTUMN
By MRS. BUSHBY.
PART II. On returning to Gothenburg, as on first arriving at it, we would have liked much to have spent a few days in becoming acquainted with its objects of interest, and should have had a very able cicerone in the Mr. R. we had met at Trollhätten, but the equinox was close at hand. We found that the land journey to Helsingborg, on the Sound, just opposite to Elsineur, or Helsingör, as it is called in Denmark, would be very tedious and inconvenient, as well as expensive, and we were anxious to get across the dreaded Kattegat before the equinoctial gales had commenced. We therefore left Gothenburg after a very short stay, but not until we had seen and admired its excellent shops, handsome houses, and wide, airy streets, and also not until we had renewed our acquaintance with Mr. R., who was so kind as to come to see us off. Happily the Kattegat was in a quiet mood, and we had a very smooth passage across to Elsineur, where we were landed in a little row boat between five and six in the morning.
We merely passed in and out of the custom-house, for nothing was opened, and then we made the best of our way to the Öresund, a quaint old hotel, but much more comfortable than the Gotha Kallar on the opposite side of the water.
We did not propose remaining in Elsineur itself, but had wished to take apartments at Marienlyst, now a bathing establishment, much frequented in summer. Marienlyst is only a walk from Elsineur, but is perfectly in the country, surrounded by gardens, woods, and green fields sloping down to the very edge of the shore of the Sound. The palace of Marienlyst was built on the site of an ancient convent, by Frederick II., but the buildiog and the grounds were much improved by Queen Juliana Maria, who made it her summer palace, and after whom it was called Marienlyst.
After the war in Schleswig-Holstein, when the Prussians and other Germans so unjustifiably attacked the Danes, the King of Denmark generously gave his palace of Marienlyst to be converted into an asylum for the Danish soldiers who had been disabled in the war, but the generality of them did not wish to reside there; they preferred returning to their relatives and to their homes, however humble. It was therefore determined, with the king's consent, to sell the palace and the extensive grounds, and thus create a fund for maintaining the recipients of the royal bounty in their own abodes. Marienlyst was accordingly sold, not to one proprietor, but in shares to gentlemen and others at Elsineur, and thus it is held by a sort of joint-stock company. To turn the purchase to good account, the palace has been converted into a kind of hotel, or boardinghouse, with bathing-houses attached to it. A handsome ball-room has been built, in which dancing takes place on certain evenings in the week, and concerts are held on others. Under this roof are billiard-rooms, reading-rooms, music-rooms, drawing-rooms, &c., and a very large hall
where the table d'hôte is served. The kitchen and store-rooms are also here. In another house recently built, nearer the sea, are the bedrooms and private apartments of the visitors staying at Marienlyst; these apartments are divided into separate suites of rooms, larger and smaller, higher and lower in price, to suit the convenience and means of the different guests. For instance, there would be a large, handsome sitting-room, with four or five bedrooms belonging to it, a very nice, well furnished sitting-room, with two or three bedrooms, and a neat little parlour with one bedroom. These various suites of rooms are all airy and cheerful, and have nothing to do with each other. The visitors can dine at the table d'hôte, or in their own apartments, as they please, and the communication is instantaneous between the two houses by means of an underground telegraph.
The season at this establishment was just over when we went to Elsineur; the Danish, Swedish, and German visitors had almost all gone, only a few lingered on, and the establishment was about to be closed for the winter, so we could not be received there ; but we obtained lodgings in the neighbourhood. And a charming neighbourhood it is ; the quandum palace stands on rising ground near the foot of a sloping wooded hill; the walks, extending to a considerable distance, are like terraces, one above the other, and are furnished with numerous seats, some placed in shady nooks, almost impervious to the rays of the sun, others where an opening in the trees affords a beautiful view over the blue waters of the Sound, covered with innumerable vessels of all sizes, and the opposite coast of Sweden.
Many of the consuls, who, with their families, form the best society at Elsineur, reside near Marienlyst. The English consul and his lady were absent when we were there, but we received much kind attention from the portion of his family who were at home, from the English vice-consul, and from the good old gentleman who is consul for Oldenburg.
In the grounds of Marienlyst there is a mound called “Hamlet's Grave." If Hamlet required all that space for his bones, he must have been of colossal size; but it is now believed or ascertained that the real Hamlet was a prince of Jutland, and that the Hamlet of Shakspeare's very fine tragedy was a hero of romance.
There is nothing attractive in Elsineur itself; it is a rambling town, with narrow confined streets, but its situation on the Sound is very good, and it has one great ornament—the castle of Kronborg. This fortressthe walls of which are exceediogly thick and massive—is surrounded by strong fortifications, and stands quite on the brink of the Sound, which its guns command entirely. The court-yard is spacious, and the pretty chapel is worth visiting. Kronborg Castle was built in the sixteenth century, by Frederick II., to ensure the payment of the Sound dues, which formed a source of considerable revenue to the Danish crown. It was in this castle that the interesting and unfortunate English princess, Caroline Matilda, was confined for a time, before being removed to Celle, in Hanover. She was the victim of the malignity and love of power of her atrocious mother-in-law, and the wickedness and vice of her husband, Christian VII. The rooms in which she was imprisoned are now allotted to the commandant. He does kindly permit them to be seen sometimes by strangers, but we did not think it worth while to intrude on him and his family.
What interested me most in Kronborg Castle, I confess, was its connexion with the legendary hero, Holger Danske, who is said to inhabit one of its capacious and mysterious vaults. I stood wistfully gazing at the low crescent-shaped windows, close upon the ground, or rather upon the paved court-yard, which probably admitted a very small portion of air, if they were ever opened, to the deep casements below.
“How I should like to go down into these vaults!" I exclaimed.
“ Why?" asked the gentleman who was kindly acting as our guide. * There is nothing in them but foul air.”
“Holger Danske dwells down yonder, in his enchanted sleep,” I
My friend shrugged his shoulders and laughed, not scornfully, he was too good natured for that, but as if he thought me a great goose.
Among the stories told of this Holger Danske, there is one in connexion with Kronborg Castle. It says: “For a long time was heard, every now and then, the clang of weapons under the fortress of Kronborg. No one could imagine the cause of it, and there was not an individual to be found, throughout the land, who would venture to descend to these lowest passages. At length a slave, who had been sentenced to death for some erime, was promised pardon and freedom if he would go down to the lowest depth beneath the castle and bring back tidings of what he found there. He accepted the offer, and proceeded, until at length he came to an iron door, which opened of itself when he knocked at it, and then he beheld before him an immense vault. Suspended from the roof hung a lamp, the light in which was almost expiring, and beneath it stood a very large stone table, around which some mail-clad warriors were sitting, leaning forwards, and resting their heads upon their crossed arms. Then arose one of those who sat at the table. It was Holger Danske. But at the moment when he raised his head from his arm, the stone table broke asunder, for his beard had grown into it. • Reach me thy hand! he said to the slave; but the visitor, not daring to do so, held out to him an iron bar, which Holger Danske grasped so powerfully that the iron was marked and indented. When he let it go, he exclaimed, “Well! I am rejoiced that there are still men in Denmark !'” Another story tells that Holger Danske said to the slave, “ Salute thy lord and king, and tell him, when the times require it, we shall come without fail.”*
This Holger Danske, so prominent in the wild chronicles of ancient Danish romance, is said to have been an historical character, and not entirely a myth; but he is best known as a giant connected with magic. History affirms him to have been the son of a certain King Godefred, commonly called Götrick, the powerful opponent of Charlemagne. This King Godefred and his wife Queen Danemunda had a son, of whom it was predicted, while he lay in his cradle, that he should become a warlike and victorious king, a favourite of the female sex, and that he should live for ever with a charming fairy named Morgana, who dwelt in an enchanted palace.
While still a child he was sent by his father as a hostage to Charlemagne, and afterwards joined that monarch against the foes of Christianity. Holger visited Denmark after his father's death, but soon returned to the service of the emperor, and assisted him in his wars with
* Danish Traditions, collected by J. M. Thiele.