day was, of all things, what she disliked most in the world; besides, she had an uncle who had died from drinking water when he was hot; and then, as to crossing the river in a boat, she had an aunt who, on a similar expedition, had narrowly escaped drowning in short, whatever expedient we proposed, was set aside by the relation of some domestic calamity. At last, the coachman consented to carry her back to London without de. manding any additional fare;—and so, after a morning's excursion, which would have been more appropriate to the first of April than the first of May, I hope she finally succeeded in reaching the place of destination.

May 15. It is a common reproach against America to say that she is a new country, and, therefore, without any of those retrospective associations which exercise so powerful an influence over the inhabitants of the Old World. But how far is this from the truth! An American approaches the shores of England with all that veneration which is due to the country from which he has derived every thing that distinguishes him from the naked savage of the desert;-his religion, his philosophy, his laws, his literature, and his language:

Salve magna Parens frugum, Saturnia tellus,
Magna virum, tibi res antiquæ laudis et artis
Ingredior sanctos ausus.-

We experience, indeed, a more vivid pleasure than the English themselves, from visiting those scenes which are consecrated to both alike, by the memory of the departed great and good that are associated with them. For instance; there is something in the daily familiarity of a Londoner with Westminster Abbey, which must necessarily blunt the edge of his enthusiasm, and prevent his ever feeling the same glow of excitement, which the sight of this venerable relic of our common ancestors awakens in the bosom of an American visiter, who gazes at it

"Till the place

Becomes religion, and the heart runs o'er
With silent worship of the great of old!—
The dead but sceptred sovereigns who still rule
Our spirits from their urns!"

It was under the influence of similar feelings that I entered for the first time into the gallery of the House of Commons. There is certainly nothing here in the "architecture," outside or inside, to excite admiration; for it is a small inconvenient room, very inadequate to the accommodation of its members, since the accession to their numbers from the union with Ireland. Still less is the appearance of the members themselves calculated to inspire respect; for with the exception of the Speaker, who is handsomely arrayed in a black gown and long wig, and three

attendant clerks, who are also begowned and bewigged, the house exhibits nothing more than some ranges of green benches, sparingly occupied with a few straggling members, lounging about in the most unceremonious postures, some with coloured cravats, others with dirty boots, and almost all (as if it were a Jewish synagogue) with their hats on. And yet, in spite of all this, there was something in the place that was overpowering. The "bauble" on the table conjured up the figures of Cromwell and Vane; and the mind glanced back in a moment to the days of Hampden and Pym, and Sidney and Russell; and I could not help giving way to a growing sentiment of self-importance at feeling myself within the same walls that had so recently echoed to the glorious eloquence of Pitt, and Fox, and Burke, and Sheridan. A printer was called to the bar to be examined; and my imagination immediately drew a picture of our own Franklin in the same place, defending the rights of mankind, while he advocated the cause of America. The Speaker takes the chair at four o'clock, but public business does not begin till six. One of my neighbours seemed desirous of whiling away the interval with a book; but this recreation was immediately interdicted by the guardians of the gallery, as disrespectful to the House. For my own part I was sufficiently amused with the novelty of the scene. The members, I observed, only wore their hats as long as they retained their seats; and even in getting up to change their places, which they are perpetually doing, they make an obeisance as they cross the floor of the House, to the Speaker's chair; which, raised as it is some steps from the ground, and surmounted with the king's arms, might almost pass for a throne. In the course of the evening a message was brought from the House of Lords, by two stately personages, whose heads were enveloped in the flowing honours which, in this country, always denote the higher orders of legal dignity. The whole parade of their reception, with the measured prostrations of person that marked each step of their advance and retreat, presented a ludicrous picture of extravagant ceremonial. And yet the English are remarkable for their quick sense of the ridiculous; and their travellers delight to laugh and jeer at what they call the "mummery" of other countries. Let me tell them that their masters in chancery bearing a message from the Lords, are much more like Noodle and Doodle than any thing that can be found within the Pope's chapel. I was disappointed in the oratory of the House; but I am aware how difficult it is to form a correct judgment from a single experiment. The prevailing fault seemed to me to be of the same kind with that which is imputed in Scripture to the prayers of the heathen-" who think they shall be heard for their much speaking." There was one speaker in particular, "which was a lawyer," who

dealt unmercifully in that figure of rhetoric which has been called triptology; which consists in a continual repetition of the same thing under different synonymes three times over.

May 30. I have lately seen rather more than I wish of what is called life in London. It would be difficult to imagine a more heartless state of society, than that which now prevails in this overgrown metropolis; consisting as it does, for the most part, of crowds without company, and dissipation without pleasure." I do not, of course, mean to include in this sweeping censure those select cheerful companionable meetings, which form the peculiar boast of London hospitality. Of all the places in the world,-commend me to a dinner in London. To feed were best, perhaps, at a Restaurateur's in Paris, but there is no nation that understands how a dinner should be given like the English; where table-tactics and table-talk-conserves and converse-wit and wine-and all the happifying pleasures of social enjoyment, are carried to their highest point of gratification, The maxim of Lord Chesterfield seems still in force, who said that such a party should never be less than the number of the Graces, nor more than that of the Muses! The same ideas of comfort, indeed, seem to have prevailed at a much earlier period; and accordingly we find in Homer, that eight was the number of those illustrious compeers, whom Agamemnon invited to eat bull-beef with him;-to wit, Menelaus, Nestor, Idomeneus, Diomed, the two Ajaxes, and Ulysses.

But to return from this digression. What can be more intolerably dull and stupid than the whole system of evening parties? A crowd of people, composed of a motley mixture of all degrees and conditions, is collected together, and squeezed into a suite of rooms, utterly insufficient to accommodate above one half of them; where they stand and stare at one another for three or four hours;-and thus begins and ends an evening party! As the greater part of the assembly are not known to one another, no interchange but that of looks takes place between them; and even amongst those who are mutually acquainted, in such a crowd, chairs and conversation are almost equally out of the question. I shall never forget the sensation of surprise that I felt in accepting the first invitation of this kind. For how was it possible that a card inscribed Mrs. * * * * at home, with the words a very small party carefully inserted in the corner, should prepare me to meet an overflowing multitude of three hundred persons, where the great object of the lady seemed to be to fill her house fuller than it could hold. My friend, Mrs. ****, stood at the door of the first room, acknowledging me, as I passed, with a bow of recognition,-and this was all I saw of my hostess. I was told there was dancing in a room to which I would willingly have forced my passage, in

order to avoid hearing some very indifferent singing in the room where I was immovably planted during the greater part of the evening. Being a perfect stranger, I had little to say to any body, and therefore could not be much surprised that nobody had any thing to say to me; but I own I was somewhat amazed at the almost universal silence around me. Gregarious without being sociable, no one seemed to know their next neighbour. Having endured this standing penance till my strength and patience were exhausted, I ventured at last to take a French leave; which I found, to my cost, that I might have done at an earlier period, without any violation of etiquette. For as I was searching in vain for my hat at the bottom of the stairs, a servant came to my assistance, asking, "What sort of a hat was your's, Sir?" "Quite a new one," replied I. "Ah, Sir, then," said he," you had better take your choice at once of those that are left, for all the new hats have been gone, at least, these two hours.


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Breakfasting the next morning with my friend ***, who is reckoned one of the best diners-out, and the pleasantest partyman in town, I poured out the full measure of my spleen, on describing the scene of the preceding night. "Why, all that," said he, "may be very true; and yet, when once entangled in the vortex of fashion, you would find it difficult to escape, even though every day's experience should tend to impress you more strongly with your present conviction. This, I confess, has been my own case for some time. Almost in spite of myself, I am carried round and round the same dull circle of invitations. Let in every where, and cared for no where, I feel that no one is estimated according to his real merits, but only according to the station he may happen to occupy in the calendar of fashion. It is fashion which stamps a man's value and gives him currency,—and to be the fashion, he must be either new or notorious. As long as novelty or notoriety last, he will, in the slang phraseology of the day, continue to be a lion; and no lady will think her party complete without him; but when these attractions are worn off, he must give place to the next nine-day wonder of the town, and be content to sink into the number of those whose attendance is less sought than permitted." "But you, my dear, ***,” said I," you cannot surely be afraid of ever sinking into the shadow of an eclipse." "Oh, yes," answered he, " my hour must come at last." "And what then?" asked I. "What then?" said he," why then,

-Explebo numerum reddarque tenebris!"


tell me, ***,” said I, "you who know so well the art of pleasing, let me beg you to give me a lesson. I


want to know how to behave myself at these parties. I would fain make myself agreeable if I knew how; and I cannot be content to follow the example of the silent starers who surrounded me last night." "Nothing in the world is more simple," said he; "you shall hear the account of my own début, and then judge for yourself. I have endeavoured to explain to you, that in the world of fashion nothing is valued for its own sake. A man is invited out, as I told you before, not for the pleasure that his company affords, but for the credit which his company confers. Acting upon this maxim, I took care to inform myself, on the evening of my first party, what other assemblies were held on the same night; and boldly fixing upon the modish Lady ****'s masquerade, I resolved to have it supposed that I was one of the privileged swarm attendant upon the Queen-bee of fashion. Accordingly all I said to any body was, "How d'ye do, I hope you are very well, Are you going to Lady ****'s to-night?" The general answer was in the negative, with the addition of a similar inquiry addressed to me: to which I answered,"Perhaps I may drop in by and by." I dare say I uttered the same formulary a hundred times, and upon the capital of this single phrase,How d'ye do, I hope you are very well, Are you going to Lady ****'s to-night?" I was immediately set down for one of the most polite, agreeable, witty, well-bred young men about town; I sowed winter-cards, and reaped springdinners, and invitations flocked in upon me from all quarters;— so you see what a queer thing fame is."

Some time after this conversation with ***, I received a card of invitation to a ball and supper at the Argyle Rooms, which displayed a splendid scene of luxury and magnificence. It was impossible not to do homage to the blaze of British beauty that shone forth on all sides; though perhaps I saw nothing that might not have been surpassed at New York, except in some few particulars where the superiority was rather due to the milliner and the dancing-master.

We espied *** among the dancers, his cravat fashionably starched, his waist tightly screwed; in short, the same Lothario gallant and gay as ever. He soon joined our party. "So," said he, "I find in spite of your preaching you cannot keep out of the vortex." 66 Why," said I, "I was persuaded to come, thinking that, as a foreigner, I ought to see one of your best balls, among the rest of your national curiosities." "How lightly you seem to think," said he, " of the honour conferred upon you by the invitation. It is well you are not to settle in London, for you would certainly never get on in the world. Little do you think of the pains and patience, the wriggling, and creeping,

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