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BY A SERIOUS PARTY.
My last was expedited. When brimful with the flush of nascent impressions, I first set foot upon this deluded ground, alive to the fatal enormities which are precipitating it rapidly towards bottomless ruin, but awake, with all the pristine ardour of innocent energy, to the sights, and sounds and scents which remind me. “that more storied shrines detain my wondering feet” (as Akenside's “Traveller” found it also in his time) than my own dear flower-plot at Tinglebury: or, the school-house, where week after week, I initiated the lowly dwellers of the hamlet into precepts beyond all price : a singular circumstance has been raised up, to give adequacy to my desires. Your Diana, my dear, travels with many eyes upon her! An announcement in “The Fiery Furnace,” penned by Mr. Pecker's powerful pen, with valedictory haste, of our intention to sow true principles where guilty compliance has too often wandered,—was worded, I fear, somewhat more ambiguously than his lucid wont. Known to have stood for some years in the light of fraternity to an heiress, and the tidings of Mrs. Niblett's marriage having insufficiently transpired (with such Jesuitical mystery do these hasteners towards perdition complicate their simplest transactions !) it is announced that he has sacrificed his own Christian privileges, in ministration to the health of a young and lovely heiress under his care. -What a faux temps, my dearest friend, for your Diana 1—To contradict the mistake would be to rivet curiosity upon the pilgrim, and bid “the blushing primrose top the poppy's idle part"—to succumb, elevates me to a position of conspicuosity which cannot be hid. Brilliantly does Mr. Pecker's wit strike out all the possible conjunctions liable to arise from an error so curiously calculated to give the zest of adventure to my already excited nerves. Once a day, am I requested to select among foreigners—to apportion, presuming that my hand and my heart must be left in the
stranger's land—which would be your Diana's choice. But no modest woman will tamper: even in support of infantile sportiveness. To observe—to draw my own auguries—to disclaim the complications of compliment—while no aperture is closed to the frank intercourse, which only Prudery's self (be it far from me!) can stigmatize—is my part: but not, even in jocosity, to fancy, my destinies commingled with those of Gallic or German origin. Mr. Pecker's aim, however, as always, is upright and noble: to make his partner smile—and to draw out powers, which have now an ample field, in your poor friend. It were most ungrateful, then, to remind him that in the matrimonial wisdom of the heart, your Diana has never owned a guide, “save Delicacy's kindred self.” I mention this, because, possibly, Wailford may ere this— proceeding on shapeless tongues' — have awarded me to one or other of those whom courtesy has attracted to me. The solicitude of yourself and the Blackadders must not be abused. Pass off whatever you may hear as a jest of Mr. Pecker's; his sportive mood will be sufficiently explanatory. I am still unattached. On the curiosities of Antwerp I could dwell for pages—to divaricate to less thrilling topics. Reubens, my dear, is here the reigning spirit: and I have stood on the spot, within his mansion, where the Queen of Navarre picked up his pencil, saying, “Let me salute the hand which has declared to the world I am beautiful!” The water-well of Rembrandt (you may correct your Lindley Murray on Mr. Pecker's more certain authority) lies somewhere on the Scheldt—a short excursion—hence: but we forewent this, owing to a slight seizure of Mrs. Pecker's, whom the cornichons (or chimes—I am not a Lady Morgan, my dear, to assail you with erroneous foreign phrases 1) of the cathedral, disturbed in her light sleep : and imagining that custom-house officers were about to enter her chamber in quest of our brother's bells, was attacked by the hysterical terrors which are only to be soothed by anodyne administrations. The churches built by Van Eyck (architect also of Strasbourg) and Hemlinck the Younger, are vast rather than symmetrical. Of the mummeries we witnessed there, Mr. Pecker's indignant quill shall speak to the “Fiery Furnace.” It was fine, and English, to see his manly form towering amongst the genuflexions of the poor ignorant creatures, who “fed on husks, no purer sapience know,”—and turning neither to the right or to the left, as he read aloud from his guide book for us—never prouder of him than at that instant I Would you believe it that Britons are to be found venial enough to express uneasiness at such overt testimony! An individual of our country, approaching Mr. Pecker, in an under tone, was so audacious as to request his forbearance. “The English,” he asseverated, “gave great offence when abroad, by disturbing the rites of others' dogmas.” “I hope," replied our brother, “that such offence will never cease in this darkened land—You are not aware, sir, whom you are setting to rights. My name, sir, is Pecker: of Tinglebury.” “And mine,” replied the other, with a timid smile, “is Lord ; ” and he turned away, abashed. Think of our meeting this celebrated traveller, this pillar of our constitution, in an aspect so revolting ! Shall foreign travel ever bring Us so low ! I answer in the negative. It was sweet of Mr. Pecker, after such a pronunciation of insult, (a foreign idiom, my dear, imbibed from our instructress) to waive animosity by leaving his card on the unworthy Peer, at the latter's hotel. It was not reciprocated: but no stone should fail to be turned on these occasions... I inclosed “Culpable Compliances with Continental Customs,”—penned ere we quitted England: but neither of this came any acknowledgment: as gentlemanliness towards a shrinking female might have dictated. Mr. Pecker showed an unusual amount of disheartenment. “Single handed,” he says, “how shall one frail mortal wrestle with Babylon 2 ” Do not afford Mr. Podd matter for triumph—by revealing the unworthy fact. It craves more weighty dealing than my light pen controls. In her own simple way, dear Mrs. Pecker has not shrunk from testimony.—After long and anxious consultations, dining at the public table being agreed upon, (my unworthy voice turning the scales) it was gratifying to see the same unspoiled creature as ever. No gew-gaws of foreign cookery, my dear, will ever gain her verdict! “Plain roast and boiled,”—to use her own unambitious phrase, “were all she aimed at.” Nor was she satisfied till Mr. Pecker had interpreted her wishes to the waiters: whose conviction assumed an aspect of perplexity, from which it was your friend's mediating part to relieve them, by announcing our country. The subsequent sounds of “Oui 1–une dame Anglaise” made it evident that she had struck deep. “But how she is to live in the meantime,” she says, touchingly, “she cannot tell.”—Our brother, ever fertile, proposed eggs; till corrected by her well-known exclusive fidelity to her own poultry at Tinglebury:—a joint of meat in slices, to be divided amongst our packages, was the next expedient: sighingly accepted : a provision to that effect, was laid in, by Sophie : who also superintended the cookery: Mrs. Pecker having wished herself to attend to this indispensable feature in our preparations. The helplessness of these foreign women is recurrently brought before us, a source of gratulation, dear friend, to those * * * * and whose oil is ever burning. Will you believe it, that tears were shed, ere so simple a comfort could be assured to us—on the part of our attendant } Her ascribance of them, to the culinary incivilities she met with in the process, was but one of the deviations from truth—here, alas! organical : since, “when the fire was once made up,” as Mrs. Pecker pointed out to her—“there was nothing but to see that it did not burn: and was neither over—nor under—done.” More of this, however, when discussing the treatment of women abroad. A prolific theme. It was necessary to render her reducible to order, by adverting to the terminability of her engagement in accordance with our inclination. For discipline, let us all recollect, is the sinew, while Faith is the soul of practice My own share has been more flattering. I had long been pained with the instantaneous laxity, as regards the proprieties of dress, which Englishwomen manifest, when abroad. Besides the discomfort of dining in matinal toilette—I felt that when my beloved brother and sister were so earnest in assertion, should my little part be declined, how great the turpitude Accordingly, at Liege, whither we were wafted by the railroad's iron pinion—I appeared at table as I should at Tinglebury. Your pale blue gift, dearest friend, was worn: and I sighingly thought—as I donned the cerulean robe—of the leagues which sunder us. Pleased murmurs of surprise accosted my entrance—nor was the confusion tranquillised by Mr. Pecker whispering aloud, “Here, at least, is our sister Diana a liege Lady 1"—My lot cast me next a son of Mars: and the historical promptitude of chivalry to exhibit loyalty to the fair, has rarely received a more agreeable manifestation. He spoke English : with an elegance predominant over exactitude: toilette the topic : in which, as you know, your friend is no novice. When I think, indeed, of the hours of anxious care I have, in fond foolish days, bestowed on the ungracious task of decking Mrs. Niblett; and call to mind Life's futility, I blush! But weak I was born, and weak I shall die : a thrall to my affection. You will be interested to be acquainted with one fact illustrative of a land, where costume yet lingers, and the Peninsular mantilla has still (fancifully to characterize) a surviving progeny. Captain Van Bommel (inquire not of woman's ingenuity how I developed the name) after more eomplimentary advertence to my robe than it befits Christian simplicity to repeat, turned to me animatedly during a cessation in the repast, with the startling inquiry, “Why you not put flour in your hair to-day ?” We thought powder was extinct: and that the effort made towards its revival, by the French ladies some springs ago, was fabricated by Miss Podd–ever eager to boast the accuracy of her foreign sources among the untravelled; and to throw dust in the organs of those who doubted the amount to which she had mingled, when in the Parisian metropolis. Here, however, seemed traces. It is not mentioned in Mrs. Trollope's record of her divarications in Belgium :: but the criterion of accuracy applied to her statements, would “leave but a baseless wreck behind.” Thus women travel, and more exquisite still – publish You may rely on the fact, and diffuse it in the Wailford circles, as derived from a visual witness. Mr. Pecker desires me to request that you will turn it in this form : his own, as its Doric salt bespeaks. “A Belgian receipt how to dress Hair with flour.” When you see his conundrums rising on the horizon, you may know, by this, that all is well with us, beyond the power of Latitudinarianism to intermeddle ! - Liege is full of interest. Walloon is the staple manufacture of the place, and engineery. The town is built on several hills, like ancient Rome—and the basin is filled with the principal streets and the river Meuse. Captain Van Bommel enables me to insist on the Cimmerian papistry, which inundates this manufacturing district: the nuptial abstinence of the Romish clergy, naturally conducing to the subject. The composer Grétry, who, from a scullion in Louis Quatorze's kitchen, rose to be the companion of the Bassompierres and Richelieus of France, was born here. A statue was erected to his honour some years ago. You are aware that he was Handel's model. Many inventions, too, proceed from Liege. But this is Mr. Pecker's province, not your friend's. Few are the illusions which a delicate female can' discover in the dust of manufactories.—We perceive that the Nibletts have been before us here. No doubt. Wherever Jezebel shines confest—there will they be gathered together. I ought, ere this, to have entranced upon our railroad journey. The carriages are not convenient; greater plenitude of stuffing * NO, XXII,-WOL, IW. A A