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first-named gentleman, and tha phlegmatic “Sir Brown” of the (notwithstanding the appellation) last-named lady. The “Mysteries of London,” by a certain “Sir Francis Trollop” was also a rich jumble of the most glorious nonsense; and Soulie’s “Richard Darlington,” a fine drama in other respects, might have reference to the people and the customs of Nova Zembla as much as to those of the “borough :” it won't be found on the map of Northumberland, where the scene is laid. No doubt, France has had, and has yet, many writers who appreciated and understood, as Charles Nodier did—Leon Faucher does,—but the herd of popular authors across the Channel, the novelists and the dramatists, whose pens furnish forth the mental food upon which ninety-ninehundredths of the reading French public from day to day depend, know as much about England, English society, and English manners and customs, as they do about the regions in the vicinity of the centre of gravity. Accost an honest French bourgeois, at his usual evening haunt, his well beloved café. Wait until he has diligently spelt through first the Feuilletons, then the “Premiers Paris,” then the “Faits Diverses" of every journal on the table, from the Débats to the Guépes; be patient until the usual demitasse be duly sipped, the invariable never-changing partié at dominos be satisfactorily completed, and then try to fish from him his notions of England and the English. They are a strange chaos. England is a nasty, indefinite, cold, unpleasant place. He calls it, in general terms, la bas. There are no grapes there, and the sun never shines. Mists, damp brooding fogs rest drearily upon it. The people pass their time shivering over sea-coal fires—the air is one curtain of dismal black smoke. There are no amusements—no lightheartedmess—nothing of the kind exeept what comes at second hand, and spoilt in the transport, from France. Then the English are the most ambitious people in the world, and the most moneymaking. They would sell their fathers and mothers if they could make decent bargains of the old people. They are for ever playing naughty tricks with other nations; cheating them out of their colonies, and underselling them in foreign markets. They wish. to be the monopolists of the world's commerce. He will admit, however, that the English make the best razors, and bind the prettiest books, and have the finest horses, and the biggest newspapers in the world. But then, mon Dieu what a frumpish, puritanical, proud, formal, people they are How they would lord it over poor France if they dared How they would run off with all her remaining colonies if they could ! First, sending out ship-loads of missionaries and bibles; and then, just as poor unsuspecting France was dancing and singing, and amusing itself, thinking not the least harm in the world—bang! coming down—that Perside Albion —on the hapless island, just like a cat on a mouse. And, then, what an ungenerous people you are, you insulaires. Didn't you burn poor Joan d'Arc, and imprison that innocent unambitious hero “le grand empereur,” upon a nasty barren rock in the sea. Not that you gained Waterloo, par exemple—the affair at Quatre. Bras, I mean—it was a mistake, somehow—a misunderstanding, which you took a shabby advantage of. For, mon Dieu ! You are not an amiable people. You are so cold and phlegmatic, and so given to drowning yourselves in November ; and you can only amuse yourselves by riding steeple chases and breaking your necks; and—and—en fin, you are a nation of nasty shopkeepers, and you drink, oh! horridly; particularly brandy; and oh! mon Dieu ! so do your ladies, too ; and then, worse than all, the crowning. abomination—quelle coutume infäme, brutale!—Oh! horreur—you sell your wives ''' “You sell your wives.” The English sell their wives. 'Tis a known fact—an old institution of the country—women are brought: every market morning along with bullocks and sheep, to be knocked down to the highest bidder. The sale is strictly legal—it is, resorted to by the highest personages—it breaks the bonds of marriage. The altar joins a couple, the halter separates them. As the purchase-shillings are reckoned over, the wife loses her liberty—the husband his rights. The free woman is sold, and a slave Perhaps many of my readers start when I affirm that this is the firm creed of millions of French men and women, with respect to our customs and lives. They reckon up a long and visionary list of our failings, and the wife-selling part of the story is sure: to be the climax of the tale of horror. 'Tis the grand bugaboo of our good neighbours. 'Tis like our old frog-eating, wooden shoe, hate the French and the devil sort of feeling. But they are dead and gone, while the wife-selling humbug still flourishes in the most pristine vigour. And it is difficult to blame the great mass of the ignorant badauds who believe these cock and bull stories. They are taught them, and encouraged in them, by those who ought to know better. The newspaper essayist, the

popular romance weaver, and, particularly, the popular dramatist, make copious use of these ingenious fictions, and serve them up in articles, novels, and melodramas, in such profusion, and with such regularity, that the Epicier of the Rue St. Honoré, the ouvrier of the Faubourg de Temple, the grisette of the Quartier Latin, would as readily give up their belief in the geographical and physical existence of London, as in the astounding fact that in England a husband sells his wife exactly as he sells his horse or his dog. I have before me a drama, entitled, Le Marché de Londres produced about three months ago, at atheatre which holds a similar rank in Paris to the Adelphi here—L'Ambigu-Comique. It is a five act piece, the joint composition of a M. Adolphe Dennery, a very noted and very prolific Parisian dramatist; and M. Paul Fenal, a gentleman who, in a novel, the scene of which he laid in Ireland, made “Paddy” a female name—and isintended to convey to the good people of Paris some motions of London life and habits. Now I dare say we make many blunders in laying the scene of a drama in Paris, but I should blush for the intelligence of England, were such a farrago of trash served up and accepted for a specimen of French manners—as the Parisian audience seems to have swallowed with the utmost complaceney—as a represensation of how we manage matters in England. The plot of Le Marché de Londres is very long—very complicated and very extravagant. My readers would hardly thankme for an analysis of its vagaries, but a few random notices of the scenes which particularly turn upon French notions of English affairs may be curious and not uninstructive. The play, then, opens in a vast steam-engine manufactory, and in the course of the badinage proceeding amongst the workmen—one of them, Peterpatt, the type of low English life, characteristically observes that all he cares for in the world is “roast beef, porter, and Miss Kitty.” The proprietor of the engineering establishmentis a Lord Ashton. We do not hear how his lordship came by his rank; but he treats it with great contempt, and avowing the strongest democratic feelings, allows himself only to be ealled Sir George Maurice in one scene, and Sir Maurice in another. This species of compromise between the Peer and the Commoner would be curious, but the dramatist evidently believes, the English: “Sir,” to be equivalent to the French, “Sieur,” and to signify simply “Mister.” Well, this steam-engine-making nobleman—I wish we had more of them—has just returned to London from his “Mines of Glascow,” and visits his manufactory bringing with him his two wards—Anna and Lucy—whom he solemnly makes over in marriage to his two foremen in the engineering department ; two brothers, Richard and Simon Davis: Miss Kitty having in the meantime jilted a certain Tom Bob (observe the name), a tiger in the service of Sir Maurice, for her admirer Peterpatt, the discarded lover incontinently leaving England in the “Fulton,” a ship which Sir Maurice, who it seems is a merchant as well as a boiler-maker, despatches to the East Indies, and with the departure of which the first act closes. Two years elapse ere we arrive at Act the Second. And here let me observe for the sake of intelligibility that Lucy, Richard's wife, is a good meek creature, exposed to calumny on account of a faux pas of her mamma's, and persecuted by the licentious addresses of a roué, Sir Edgard, the Don Juan of the piece; while Anna, the spouse of Simon, the second brother, gets credit for being everything, while in reality she is nothing but what she should be. The second act opens in a tavern at Blackwood, evidently meant for Blackwall; and with the arrival of a mysterious Sir Harry, who bringing the expatriated Tom Bob in his train, comes to champion from calumny the memory of Lucy's mother. The tiger arrives in good time, Peterpatt has got tired of Miss Kitty, she is advertised for sale, and Tom Bob determined to buy her. - “What "exclaims Sir Harry, who does not seem au fait to our customs, “do the English laws permit such a sale ; " Mark his servant's reply. “Oh certainly. It's the simplest thing in the world. You tire of your house ; you sell your house. You tire of your horse ; you sell your horse. You tire of your wife; you sell your wife : that's English civilisation.” Sir Harry still in doubt appeals to Sir Edgard, who has come to see the auction. “The sale of a wife,” replies that authority, “is one of our most ancient customs.” “Which ought,” rejoins Sir Harry, “to be abolished by law.” There is a sad mixture of truth in the reply. “With us, Sir," says Sir Edgard, “with us custom is stronger than law. It is mainly by its old feelings of use and wont that England is governed. We respect even our worst customs in order to preserve our best. Our fathers sold their wives: their right is our privilege.” Meantime the sale goes on. The husband produces a list of the good NO. XXII.-WOL. IV. Z

and bad qualities of his wife, naïvely remarking that the abundance of the latter amply make up for the scarcity of the former ; and the lady is knocked down for seven shillings. “A glorious bargain!” as her new proprietor exclaims; “such eyes, such hands, such feet, such a mouth, and all for seven shillings I’’ . I pass over a long series of plot and intrigue carried on between Sir Harry and Sir Edgard, the latter attacking, the former defending the reputation of Lucy. The result is a duel; and where is it to be fought ! In St. James's Park! reader ; in St. James's Park, at four o'clock of a summer afternoon | And it is fought; poor Sir Harry receives a severe wound, and is left bleeding and deserted in a remote thicket of that solitary spot, until he is discovered by Miss Alice, a sister of the Brothers Davis, who has gone out in her carriage for an evening drive in that favourite locality for equestrian exercise of all kinds, and conducted by her to the “Hotel, '' in the French sense of the word, where her brothers with their wives reside. Meantime, Richard is about to become an M.P., and for where, does the reader think? For Wolverhampton perhaps, or Stockport, or Ashton-under-Lyne, or Staley Bridge, or some other manufacturing town of the North, Not a bit of it; for Canterbury, of all the towns in England. Well, during his absence, Sir Edgard, who is actually carrying on an intrigue with Anna, and trying to get one up with Lucy, enters, the house in the middle of the night, is foiled in his purpose by Sir Harry, and a series of ropeladder exploits—forcible abductions in mysterious boats upon the Thames, masked bravoes and so forth, ensues—all of which would do very well for a mediaeval Venetian story, but sounds somewhat strange in the London of 1846. The upshot is, that Richard Davis, Esq., millionaire, and M.P. for the cathedral town of Canterbury, believes that his wife has betrayed his honour, and determines to sell her in Smithfield Market! This is the second wife sold in the piece. The first was disposed of by a mere brutal uneducated fellow ; the circumstance of the auction of the second, however, teaches us that all ranks in England, all degrees of enlightenment, follow the same good old fashion. Smithfield, as I have said, is the scene of the second sale. The dramatist places its locality in the neighbourhood of Blackwall, or as he calls it, Blackwood, and of course quite close to the fashionable part of London; the East, the middle, and the West End all jumbled toge

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