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able circle of titled aristocrats, not one of whom I had ever seen, the Duke himself a stranger to me, except through tho kind letter of introduction lying upon the table.
I was sitting by the fire imagining forms and faces for the dif. ferent persons who had been named to me, when there was a knock at the door, and a tall, white-haired gentleman, of noble physiognomy, but singularly cordial address, entered, with the broad red riband of a duke across his breast, and welcomed me most heartily to the castle.
The gong sounded at the next moment, and, in our way down, be named over his other guests, and prepared me in a measure for the introductions which followed. The drawing-room was crowded like a soirée. The Duchess, a very tall and very handsome woman, with a smile of the most winning sweetness, received me at the door, and I was presented successively to every person present. Dinner was announced immediately, and the difficult question of precedence being sooner settled than I had ever seen it before in so large a party, we passed through files of servants to the dining-room.
It was a large and very lofty hall, supported at the ends by marble columns, within which was stationed a band of music, playing delightfully. The walls were lined with full-length family pictures, from old knights in armor to the modern dukes in kilt of the Gordon plaid; and on the sideboards stood services of gold plate, the most gorgeously massive, and the most beale tiful in workmanship, I have ever seen. There were, among the vases, several large coursing-cups, won by the duke's hounds, of exquisite shape and ornament.
I fell into my place between a gentleman and a very beautiful woman, of perhaps twenty-two, neither of whose names I remembered, though I had but just been introduced. The duke probably anticipated as much, and as I took my seat he called out to me, from the top of the table, that I had upon my right Lady "the most agreeable woman in Scotland.” It was innecessary to say that she was the most lovely.
I lave been struck everywhere in England with the beauty of the higher classes, and as I looked around me upon the aristocratic company at the table, I thought I never had seen “heaven's image double-stamped as man and noble” so unequivocally clear. There were two young men and four or five young ladies of rank—and five or six people of more decided personal attrac: tions could scarcely be found; the style of form and face at the same time being of that cast of superiority which goes by th# expressive name of "thoroughbred."
There is a striking difference in this respect between England and the countries of the Continent—the paysans of France and the contadini of Italy being physically far superior to their degenerate masters; while the gentry and nobility of England differ from the peasantry in limb and feature as the racer differs from the dray-horse, or the greyhound from the cur.
The contrast between the manners of English and French gentlemen is quite as striking. The empressement, the warmth, the shrug and gesture of the Parisian, and the working eyebrow, dilating or contracting eye, and conspirator-like action of the Italian in the most common conversation, are the antipodes of English high breeding. I should say a North American Indian, in his more dignified phase, approached nearer to the manners of an English nobleman than any other person. The calm repose of person and feature, the self-possession under all circumstances, that incapability of surprise or dereglement, and that decision about the slightest circumstance, and the apparent certainty that he is acting absolutely comme il faut, is equally “gentleman-like” and Indian-like.
You cannot astonish an English gentleman. If a man goes into a fit at his side, or a servant drops a dish upon his shoulder, or he hears that the house is on fire, he sets down his wine-glass with the same deliberation. He has made up his mind what to do in all possible cases, and he does it. He is cold at a first introduction, and may bow stiffly (which he always does) in drinking wine with you, but it is his manner; and he would think an Englishman out of his senses who should bow down to his very plate and smile as a Frenchman does on a similar occasion. Rather chilled by this, you are a little astonished when the ladies have left the table, and he closes his chair up to you, to receive an invitation to pass a month with him at his country-house, and io discover that at the very moment he bowed so coldly he was thinking how he could contrive to facilitate your plans for getting to him or seeing the country to advantage on the way.
The band ceased playing when the ladies left the table, the gentlemen closed up, conversation assumed a merrier cast, coffee uud chasse-cise were brought in when the wines began to circulate
more slowly; and at eleven there was a general move to the drawing-room. Cards, tea, and music filled up the time till twelve, and then the ladies took their departure, and the gentlemen sat down to supper. I got to bed somewhere about two o'clock; and thus ended an evening which I had anticipated as stiff and embarrassing, but which is marked in my tablets as one of the most social and kindly I have had the good fortune to record on my travels.
“However full of beauty, and wit, of rich paintings of natural scenery, and delicate and humorous touches of the various phases of social life, Mr. Willis's prose writings are, it is by his poetry, and especially by his sacred poetry, that he will be most known and prized by posterity. There is a tenderness, a pathos, and a richness of description in it which give him a rank among the first of American
. Inasmuch as we presented in our first selection a speci. men of his sacred poetry, we here offer, as an example of his more impassioned verse,
THE DYING ALCHYMIST.
THE night wind with a desolate moan swept by;
The fire beneath his crucible was low;
* Cleveland's Compendium of American Literature.
The silent room,
I did not think to die
With this my mortal eye;
And yet it is—I feel,
And something seems to steal
And this is death! But why
Would it not leap to fly
Yet thus to pass away!-
To waste the light of day,
Grant me another year,
I would know something here!.
Break for me but one seal that is unbroken!
Vain-vain!—my brain is turning With a swift dizziness, and my heart grows sick, And these hot temple-throbs come fast and thick,
And I am freezing-burningDying! Oh God! If I might only live! My phial-Ha! it thrills me-I revive!
Ay, were not man to die,
Could he but train his eye-
Earth has no mineral strange-
And fire no power to change-
Oh, but for time to track
To hurl the lightning back-
And more, much more—for now
To clear the godlike brow
This were indeed to feel
And death—Aha! I reel