Слике страница

folks. I recollected, that about a year The Table d'Hôte, and French Cochery. before, on returning to town from the I passed into the Salle a Manger

, country, I wondered, as I walked and waited with some anxious curios along the streets, what had become of ity for dinner, as I had never ret dined all our young women. They used to at a table d'hôte, or in a French house. look so lovely. Now, however, I Both, therefore, particularly awoke my found none but dames with hunch- attention as a view.hunter. The room backs and rumps sticking out, bent was spacious. It had a paper of a almost double, and saw nothing but great staring pattern, in squares, with puffs, and plaits, and fiounces, and vivid colours in the French style. grandmothers' bonnets. On my word, The squares contained four different unless I had looked more nicily into groupes. Two were of Highlanders. the faces hidden under these tremen- Among the various expectants

, I dous bonnets, than was becoming ei- found an English gentleman, whora

, ther in a bachelor or married man, I from his frankness and ease, I took to must have set down all I met, on an be an officer out of regin-entals, average, at fifty and upwards.

else a tourist who had seen much of Even at assemblies, and other dress the world. He gave me some useful parties, old age was by no means aban- information. He was going to meke doned. Not a dress that did not seem à tour in France in a gig with a set in its colouring to have been imitated vant. On my expressing my anxiety from Harlequin's. Not a colour of about receiving back, in time, my pass the rainbow but crowded and glowed port, which the officer had obtained in every part of it. As for the heads, from me at the quay, he begged me to which, when adorned only in the style be quite at my ease, as it would be of nature, form so beautiful a portion forthcoming when it was wanted. He of the females of the island, they seem- advised me to leave all these things to ed to have exhausted all the fower- the French themselves, and let thema gardens at Chelsea, and indeed round take their own way. I should fint

, town. There were tiers of every kind he said, they would not disappoint of gawdy flower, heaped up, and The only information I received squeezed so close, that the flower-wo- was from this gentleman. It is es man's basket, about the end of May, tonishing how little most tourists can on her first sallying forth with her or will give of the intelligence ruddy bouquets at a penny a-piece, is want, unless we know as much of a scarcely better stored. Old age was country ourselves as to ask the questa the ton-old fashionedness the rage- tions we wish to have answered. and grotesque deformity quite the We sat down to dinner at four o'clock thing. But this is rather a dangerous About sixteen of us of both sexes subject for a view-hunter, and I pass More than one half British. The from it.

guests seemed to be of various ranks: Calais is said to contain 7600 souls. Some of them appeared to be residents It is of importance, by the way, for a of Calais. A little man, on the left of traveller to state the population of a the person at the head of the table, place, when it is known, and whether evidently a priest, particularly attract this be increasing or decreasing. Ac- ed my attention. He ate with great cording to the genuine principles of complacency, constancy, and perseter statistics, when the number of the in- ance, without saying any thing, Shoes habitants of a town, and their state as seeming to notice the company, for he to increase or decrease, are given, we looked neither to the right hand mer can form a guess at the quantum of to the left. There was a kind of fixed employment--the style of living--the smile on his countenance, containing rate of prices, and other circumstances; mixture of satire and benevolence: It particularly, if it have fewor no manu- was doubtful which prevailed. He factures. These connect it with an was a Corsican, as I afterwards learnt

. external population ; and when a town The dinner was abundant, but I is of the manufacturing class, the re- in the French style of cookery. Ste sults will be of the combined number ing and frying with butter, or oil and of the latter, and the residents. Calais vinegar, seem the basis of the style has scarcely any manufactures. It The object of the French cook, as of seems to be in a stationary condition. all French artisans; is not to follow Saw no new buildings. 2110 but to excel nature; or, as our crities


of the coxcombical genus (a numerous or stewed out of the meat, still, howone), whether of the literary, the ever, it is found in the sauce or gravy. painting, or musical tribes, express To this, I should reply, only a very themselves, the ideal nature which small portion of it in most cases. By they imitate is a nature above nature: far the greatest part of it has evaporatthat is, in this case, as in all other ed, and is lost. cases of the sort, it is a nature that is Overdoing his meats, and depriving unnatural

them of their natural juices, he is obThe French seem to plume them- liged to have recourse to artificial selves as much on being the first cooks, juices or sauces. Here again he as esas on being the first soldiers, in Eu- sentially offends against nature as in rope; and certainly, Europe in gene- the former case. T'he various sorts of ral, at least her rich and epicurean flesh, poultry, and fish, have naturally folks, rather concede the former palm each their peculiar flavour. And these to them. That is nothing to me. I are almost uniformly agreeable, though must, and I will, think for myself in some are more or less pleasing to the this as in all other cases, let the num- generality. The natural intention of bers against me be what they may. the cook must be to render each of Though not affecting to know much these different natural flavours as poigof the practice of the pleasing art of nant in their own case as art can make cookery, I conceive I know a little of them. This must be, by adopting the general theory of it. And if the sauces which tend to heighten those French cook would allow those legiti- peculiar flavours. It is meant, when mate authorities, and the only legiti- these are necessary. For, in some wate ones that I acknowledge, nature sorts of food, all artificial sauce is unand reason, to decide, I should have necessary, and injures the pleasing no objection to break a lance with him. flavour of the meat : take, for examBut the nature which he, in common ple, the beef-steak and the roasted with all Frenchmen, acknowledges, sirloin. But the French cook, so far is French custom ; and his reason, with from being guided by this fundamenrespect to any changes in it, is French tal law of the art, almost uniformly fashion. To his argument, decisive acts on the principle of opposing it. with him and Frenchmen, it is the In this he is so successful, that it is

French custom and the best, I can only frequently difficult to tell whether the reply, I admit the fact, but I reject dish he presents you with consists of the authority. And therefore, if I fish, flesh, fowl, or game. Butter, oil, mean to reason on the subject, it must milk, vinegar, and sugar, are the man be with others,

terials of the common French sauces ; 7. The intention of food is to recruit and these are applied so copiously, the strength of man, and to keep him that it is almost immaterial which is in sound health. Nature has also the meat you bespeak. All are so benevolently rendered the various foods smothered with the thin pudding formwhich are useful for this purpose, ed by those ingredients, that they have

though differing greatly in flavour, the same luscious indiscriminate flaagreeable to his palate. The proper intention of the cook, therefore, is so And yet further, the French cook

to prepare those foods as to make them not only completely spoils the flavour, as nutritive and palatable as possible. but also the appearance of his foods. as It is trund, that flesh meat, when Instead of that elegant and varied show barely done, is more strengthening which the different kinds of Nature's

than when it is much done ; for, in food yield on the table, when properly the former state, it possesses more of prepared, every thing in France, with what tends to enrich the blood, and the exception of the gigot, and a few communicate a due supply of the other articles, has the same unvarying various juices of the human body to inelegant appearance of a whitish (every part. On this head the French hash, or pieces of solids plunged in a cook uniformly errs. All his meats

mass of butter. are so much overdone, that scarcely 5. In short, French cookery, like alany of this natural juice is left in most all other productions of the them. They are all nearly in a state French, whatever be their kind, exai caput mortuum. It may be alleged, hibits the same contempt of the elethat though the juice has been fried gance of nature, and the same fone?


[ocr errors]

ness for artificiality and gawdy frip before in Germany,

and mix wine with pery. It has, indeed, attained to high water for my beer. The wine is brought fame throughout Europe ; and among in long necked bottles; and they do many of the leading families of the not use decanters. This renders their different nations it has been in some wine-drinking much less elegant in points imitated and adopted, particular- appearance than ours. However, I ly in made dishes ; but, if the laws of became reconciled to it. nature are to decide, with as little good Towards the close of the dime, reason as in most other cases; instead which consisted of three remores, inof ranking it the first in Europe, I cluding the dessert of pastry and fruit, should be disposed to rank it nearer a male and female musician entered, the bottom. It is true, that as Par- and, without saying any thing, as soon tridge, and numberless others, have as they had taken their station, struck said, de gustibus non est disputandum. up. The man played the flute, and Every man for himself. I certainly the woman a kind of hurdy-gurds, will never choose a French cook for to which she sang. She was of the my kitchen.

middle age, not very pretty, but we Yet though I by no means think decently dressed, and wore immense French cookery a good species, I have ear-rings. In the size of this ornsno antipathies in the case. In travel- ment, by the way, the lower women ling, I have never allowed my native of Calais seem prodigiously to excel custom, or squeamishness, to prevent She sung in a very tolerable styłe

. me from yielding to the custom of Some of the gentlemen asked for other countries. I ate heartily, though vourite airs; and, at my request, she few of the dishes suited my palate. sang the national air, Vive Henri I must, however, except from this Quatre. Fond of whatever tends u charge their broth with bread, which promote cheerfulness and innocent en I found excellent. Some persons joyment, I was much delighted with may reckon it poor, but I consider it this trait of manners, which I after. by far the best dish I met with in wards found to be a common one France. It is not rich; but it has The female at length came round the the real flavour of the meat, and it is table with her tambourine. Each per not spoilt

with any of the unpleasing son put in a sous or two. I thought flavours of their sauces.

the tribute, though the usual one

, But to return to our table d'hôte: somewhat small; and, pleased with The British part of the guests, both the agreeable treat, as well as com male and female, seemed to be the ge- sidering that I was an Anglais for the nuine children of John Bull, though first time in France, for the honour of they had come, like the rest, to spend our country, I gave her half a franc their money in France. They criticised I received, in return, a very grateful every thing with the most unbounded courtesy. freedom, and, generally, with severity: The company sat a very short wbike Many a comparison was instituted, after dinner. I called for coffee. and, of course, always ended in favour had often heard how superior abse of the island.

French were at making this delight I had frequently heard that the vin ful and exhilarating, without intoxiordinaire was for the most part just as cating, beverage. i found, from the good as any wine to be had at inns in first cup, that their fame was not un the country, and that if we called for justly won. They make it extremely any other sort, the only difference, in strong and black. They use hot milk, general, would be a higher price. I which seems an improvement. The meant to act upon this information. garçon, without being asked, brought Some of the gentlemen entertained me the usual accompaniment, sorge other ideas, and called for wine at five chasse café, or a small glass of eau de and six francs the bottle. They did vie ; in plain terms, brandy. This not like it; and they owned that the did not choose to touch. It was white, vin ordinaire, which we were drink and looked well, but I did not try its ing, seemed to be quite as good. I flavour; and if I had, I am no judge. found it agreeable ; and as their beer A small glass is a sous and a half, or is abominable, I resolved to adopt the three farthings. It is astonishing how custom of the country, as I had done much of this is drank in France by

[ocr errors]

people of all ranks ; and yet we sel- numberless legends connected with the doma meet with a drunkard in that Trojan war. Philoctetes, who had country.

been the associate and friend of HerMy bill, including coffee and wine, cules, was present at his death, and for in general they do not make a se received from him, as a legacy, his parate charge for wine when the vin bow, and the arrows dipt in the gall ordinaire is used, was three francs and of the Hydra, After this event he a half, or about three shillings. The joined the fleet of the Greeks assemhalf franc was for the coffee. I thought bled at Aulis for the expedition as this very reasonable. A similar din- gainst Troy; but so disturbed the ner with coffee, in Kent, exclusive of chiefs by his lamentations, which arose wine, would have cost me at least from the pain of a wound in his double the sum.

foot, occasioned by the bite of a serpent, that they set hing on shore on the desart island of Lemnos, where he

remained ten years in solitary wretchL. REMARKS ON GREEK TRAGEDY. edness. About the end of that period,

Helenus, a Trojan prophet who had No IV.

been made prisoner by Ulysses, declar

ed to the Grecian leaders, that Troy (Philoctetes Sophoclis.) could not be taken but by Philoctetes

armed with the bow of Hercules. - The complaint that is sometimes Ulysses and Neoptolemus were deputmade, that a poet has been unfortunate ed by the Greeks to bring him from in the choice of his subject, is saying the island, and the stratagems used little more than that he has written à by them for that purpose form the bad poem. The truth is, that any whole fable of the play. theme, into which the feelings, and In the first scene, Ulysses, with the passions, and the sufferings, of some difficulty, reconciles the mind of men can be introduced, becomes in- Neoptolemus to the deceit which he teresting in the hands of genius. It deemed necessary to the success of is these that lend a charm to the their designs. Philoctetes, though lame wildest extravagancies of fiction, that and infirm, was formidable by means redeem the absurdities of the Odyssey of his bow; and as he detested Ulysses and the Arabian Nights, and render more than all mankind, it was reThalabas with all its deviations from quisite to proceed with caution. It nature, one of the most seductive was agreed, therefore, that Neoptoler poems in our language. Nothing is mus should at first appear alone to sa interesting to man as man ;--the Philoctetes, and tell him, that in conaffections of the heart are the part of sequence of injuries which he had rehis nature the most suitable to the ceived from the Greeks, and chiefly purposes of poetry; and where these from Ulysses, he had deserted the armay be introduced, the author must my, and was on his way home, that blaine something else than his subject he might, by common tales and comif he is unsuccessful. In true history, mon enmities, insinuate himself into as well as in the works of fiction, it is his favour and confidence. In this he the simple expression of these that is succeeded to his wishes. Philoctetes, most delightful to all classes of men who had lived ten years on a desart It is owing to these that the story of island, cut off from the society of man, Joseph has been the favourite of 'wa- is easily led into the snare, and is tions for three thousand years; and greatly delighted with the hopes of bethese; wrought into an endless variety ing again restored to his home and kinof forms and combinations, render the dred. After so long a period, to meet Sliad to this day the most popular with men and with Greeks, and once book in any language. It has seldom more to listen to the music of his nahappened, however, that any author tive language, awakens all the sensie has trusted to these feelings, so ex- bilities of his heart; and he gives an clusively of incident, as Sophocles in affecting recital of the manner in which the play of Philoctetes.

he had been exposed on this inhospit. The situation, for it can hardly be able shore, and his sufferings during called story, on which this drama is ten long years of solitude. It is not founded, arises out of one of these easy to conceive human calamity more VOL. I.

4 G

[ocr errors]

aggravated or more hopeless than what Where I may never more behold the smile, appears in the following description. Nor hear the music of the voice of man; The fleet had sailed and left him as- But bear me to my home and to my kindred, leep.

And to the much loved mansions of my fa** What, think'st thou, were my feelings of have I sent to him by those who touched

ther. when I woke ? What were my lamentations, what the tears At this lone Isle, that he would take me I shed when I descried the Grecian fleet,

hence; And my own ships, already far at sea ?

But he is either dead, or those I trusted Deserted, on a solitary Isle,

Neglected me, for still I sorrow here. Without a human being near to aid me,

Son of my friend, son of a glorious father, To grant me food or water, to apply

Oh! hear my prayer, and pity me and sease A balm to sooth the anguish of my wound.

me. I looked around me, and in all I saw Neoptolemus complies; and a muI found new cause of sorrow. Time rolled on, riner arrives, and informs them, the But slow and melancholy were the hours. Within this little cave I found a shelter,

Diomed and Ulysses had taken » And with my trusty bow I got me food.

oath to carry Philoctetes to Troy, When the wild pigeons flew within my shot, either by persuasion or by force With certain aim did I arrest their flight;

This throws him into a paroxysm But painful were my steps, when forth I rage, and brings on a violent attack on halted

pain. Neoptolemus requests that he To fetch my prey, or water from the foun- may be permitted to bear his bow, and tain,

have the pleasure of handling so cele Or gather wood to kindle me a fire. brated a weapon. When winter shed its hoar-frosts o'er the never before quitted it, he can refes

Though he had earth, From the hard fint I struck the living spark, nothing to so generous a benefactar

. Te light the flame that warmed my shivering But let him speak for himself hands,

“ Take it, my friend, for it is but thy de And shed a kindly feeling thro' my frame; Thou grantest me to look upon the sun, Yet even then my agonies assailed me, And to revisit the Etean fields, Amid a pause of pain and glimpse of joy. My native land, scenes of my infancy, Here is no station for the passing ship, That absence has made dearer to my soud. No place of refuge for the mariner And to embrace my father and my friend Tossed by the storm, no hospitable roof And triumph over all mine enemies." Where he may rest him after toil and danger, No mart to tempt him with the hopes of gain;

Here the Poet has endeavoured to Or if the adverse winds bring strangers

hither, excite sympathy by the exhibition of All that I can obtain from them is pity ; bodily pain; and, hopeless as the uPerhaps a little food or single garment. tempt may seem, not without success

. But all my supplications have been vain, That they would bear me to my native land, cessive,

and he utters loud lamenta

The sufferings of Philoctetes are exThat land for which I've sighed for ten long tions, 'till, overcome by torture, Exposed to all the miseries of famine,

falls asleep. In real life, fortitude is And torture caused me by a cureless wound.” this species of affliction, the most te

After a dialogue, in which Philoc- rible to which our nature is subject, tetes inquires for several of his friends excites sympathy mingled with admiamong the Grecian chiefs, Neoptole- ration; but complaints, if they do not mus wishes that the Gods may cure disgust us, lower the character of the his disease, and insinuates that he sufferer in our esteem. There is! must sail without delay, whom, feare point, however, at which the fortitude ing that he was again to be deserted, of the strongest mind fails

, and the he addresses in this pathetic passage :' patient is not more accountable for his

“Oh! by thy father's and thy mother's love, cries than for any spasmodic affection; Vi By all that is most dear to thee at home, but nothing save a sense of duty, and

Leave me not here in solitary sorrow. the desire of affording relief to a fellow Igrant thee, I may be a heavy burden, mortal, could induce us to witness such Yet, oh ! my friend, be generous and save me; sufferings. Even here Sophocles bas Place me beside the pump, or prow, or stern, shewn judgment ; for it is not so much

Or any where, where I may give least hin- d by the lamentations of Philoctetes that -31 d'tránce like you bui 911 By the Great Sotereign of the University, the spectators; as by his struggles to

he aims at awaking the compassion af 91»nd bow me to the earth, and clasp thy knees he can no longer tefrain, by the water

suppress them, till, overcome by agony, Leave me hot here abandoned by my kind, helplessness of his staté,bánd, abore


[ocr errors]
« ПретходнаНастави »