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There is a fouth o' auld nick-nackets;
A townmont guid;
Afore the flood.
A broom-stick o' the witch of Endor,
Weel shod wi' brass.
Forbye, they'll shape you aff, fu' gleg,
They'll prove you fully,
Or lang-kail gully.'
Of these vast collections, those which present us with the implements and utensils, and generally, the domestic antiquities of ancient Egypt, awaken, perhaps, the most startling sensations of novelty and delight.
The feeling of pleasure arising from the beanty and unapproachable grace of the Greek sculptures—which, indeed, we never look upon without a feeling of despair for modern art—is more refined and more permanent, and, what is a great matter, is intensified, instead of being weakened, by familiarity and frequent contemplation. But we question whether they can impart, when first seen, a pleasure so startling as that produced by the spectacle of the Egyptian domestic antiquities. There are not only pots, pans, and platters, that look as well as if they had just been taken down from the dresser in Pharaoh's kitchen; but the most perishable articles are still in a state of perfect preservation. This, indeed, is the chief source of the superior pleasure which the domestic antiquities of Egypt impart, when compared with those of Greece and Rome. We do not wonder that metal and stone should be durable, and the interest they awaken depends upon a very different class of associations. But the Egyptians seem to have possessed the singular power of rendering the most perishable substances durable ; and of making them last as long as brass and marble; of reversing the great law of nature, and giving perpetuity to what is transient; nay, of fixing objects in the very process of dissolution—of giving permanence to rottenness-of reproducing (like nature) what is crumbling into dust in a more stable form- in the shape of petrifactions. Their art was a great antiseptic, a more than Kyan's patent against the fungus of time and change. This wondrous art reached its perfection in their mummies—in those singular processes by which they stamped even death with immortality. In these rooms we not only see these last and certainly most wonderful exemplifications of their skill; mummies in every stage of unswathing, some in the gorgeously painted and hieroglyphed coffins in which they were first taken from the sarcophagus, and others with almost the last rags of the curious complication of bandages torn off; but the most perishable remains of the domestic arts and of every day life.
There are carpenter's tools, with the handles just as good as the blades; and what is more strange, baskets, in which the said tools were carried, just as good as new, and putting utterly to shame, both in shape and texture, the carpenters' baskets of these degenerate days. There is a chair which might have borne the honored hinder parts of some ancient citizen of Thebes, and only now requires a little mevding, to fit it for securely doing the same kindness for a citizen of London. Then there is a wig, yes, a wig, as glossy and briglit as it was the first day it appeared in some fashionable perruquier's shop, at the west end of Memphis; and as a young friend of ours remarked, looking as well as if it had had a dressing of Macassar oil on it yesterday morning.'
Such are some of the principal wonders and curiosities with which the ingenious keepers of the raree-shows of this great city conjure the sixpences and shillings out of the pockets of visitors. But these are very far from exhausting the catalogue.
The Colosseum alone has three or four distinct sights'-a submarine cave, a collection of statuary and painting, a Swiss cottage, and we know not what. Then there is the • Exhibition' of the Royal Academy, which yearly attracts many thousands of visitors. To the lover of paintings, however, a far higher treat is afforded in the · British Institution,' where may be seen a collection of the works of the old masters, and formed by the splendid paintings from the galleries of certain liberal noblemen and other wealthy amateurs.-Pall Mall is generally the scene of pictorial exhibitions.
At the Surrey Zoological Gardens, as at the Colosseum, the public interest is maintained by a combination of amusing spectacles. Besides their beasts, there is one kind of exhibition which, to the generality of the people, is of far more interest than all the beasts that ever went into Noah's ark. We refer to the very popular exhibition, a volcano,in a state of eruption-as of Vesuvius last year, or of Hecla this. The former we did not see; the latter we have seen ; and a very respectable imitation of a volcano it is. It roars, and bellows, and shakes under its painted canvass, in very
See Horace Smith's spirited lines to the Mummy in Belzoni's Exhibitions.
successful mimicry of its gigantic namesake, while the eruption itself certainly forms the grandest display of fireworks we have ever witnessed. We believe the mimicry of Vesuvius was equally successful, several villages, if we mistake not, having been destroyed in the course of the season by the burning lava, in imitation of the freaks of the original.*
It would be quite beyond our present purpose to mention the many other objects of interest with which London abounds. To the lover of the arts, however, even the public buildings and public places, the churches, bridges, docks, markets, and parks afford a continual source of cheap gratification ; while the inside of many as, for example, of the houses of Parliament, courts of law, the bank, the post-office, the museum of the India house, present still greater attractions. We cannot quit this subject, however, without remarking that the vicinity of London is remarkably rich in those objects which attract the regard of sight-seers, and which, by the aid of steam-boats and rail-roads, may be said not only to be contiguous to the great city, but to form a part of it. A ten minutes trip by the Greenwich railway, or half an hour's steaming down the river, brings us to Greenwich Park, and, what is still better to the sight-seer, to Greenwich Hospital, with its magnificent Painted Hall and Chapel. A few minutes steaming further brings us to Woolwich, with its dock-yard and arsenal, the most convenient place of the kind in the kingdom for visitors from all the central and northern counties. About as much steaming up the river carries us to Hampton Court and the Cartoons, and to the Botanical Gardens at Kew: while the Great Western railway brings within little more than half an hour's ride the magnificent scenery and not less magnificent castle of Windsor.
* We cannot omit this opportunity of hinting to the proprietor or proprietors of these gardens, that it would well answer the purpose to alter and widen the approaches. At present, they are excessively inconvenient; far too long and narrow, and seem to have been constructed on the principle of a mouse-trap or a long-necked bottle. It is easy enough for the people to get in, entering as they do by driblets; but not so easy to get out, departing as they do in crowds. On the evening we were there, there could not have been less than ten thousand persons present, and our exit consequently most tedious, and at some parts even dangerous.
# It must certainly be gratefully acknowledged, that government has of late years done much to render our public establishments accessible to the people. There used to be many tedious formalities before admission could be obtained to the dock-yards; and, if we mistake not, no very trifling gratuities to warders who were appointed to go round with the visitors. Now, any one may obtain admission unaccompanied by a warder; nor is any fee allowed to be paid. At least this is the case at Woolwich, and, we believe, in the other dock-yards. The visitor receives a ticket at the gates, and all that he is required to do is to produce it when challenged.
We now propose to offer a few general observations on the subject of sight-seeing. And the first shall be respecting the prices at which this species of luxury is supplied by various parties. We have already remarked, not only that there are many new exhibitions, but that many old ones have been but recently made accessible to the public on reasonable terms.
It is curious to see, that here as on other points, the last place to which improvements extends—the last place which is willing to surrender anything for the gratification of the people—is the church. She is animated by an equal enmity to all reforms, whether the point in dispute be respect. ing tythes or fourpenny offerings-splendid endowments or sixpenny sights. It is in our great cathedrals, St. Paul's and Westminster Abbey, strictly the property, as they are the pride of the nation, and to which every one should have easy access, that the old spirit of extortion is most rigorous and grasping: In visiting the former, some old cicerone, who holds a 'vested in“terest' in abuses, pops out at every corner, and demands a sixpence or a shilling for exhibiting his fraction of the curiosities of the place; at Westminster Abbey, you pay at once a high rate for seeing the whole. It is curious to see that not only are all our public secular establishments shown to the people upon much more moderate terms and in a much more liberal spirit, but even the collections which are the fruit of private enterprize, which are maintained at a vast expense, and which are instituted for the very purpose of fair gain, are cheaper, much cheaper. It is true, as before said, that we may see the best part of St. Paul's for nothing—and that is the outside ; for this we are not indebted to those who have the showing of it. It is true also, that we may get a view of the inside for two-pence, a mean and miserable impost, which ought to be immediately abolished. The doors of such a place ought to stand open every day, and all who please permitted to enter and look round, certain persons being paid a proper, and no more than a proper, salary from the revenues of the cathedral itself, or if necessary, from the public purse, for seeing that no mischief is done.—But though a peep into the interior is comparatively cheap, the moment you wish to see any thing more, to look at any of the few rarities it contains, the work of extortion begins. A sixpence is asked here, and a shilling there; at every turn there is some new demandtill what with the whispering gallery, the ascent to the ball and cross, the visit to the tombs, the permission to gaze at a few tattered and crumbling standards, (how indignant would Nelson be could he know that it cost his countrymen six-pence even to take a peep at the trophies of his glory !) you have to pay no less than four shillings and sixpence, or five shillings, we forget which ; that is to say, nine or ten times as much as for seeing
the infinitely more varied and curious rarities of the Tower. We believe that matters are somewhat better at Westminster Abbey, though the system is still very bad. In accordance with the usual practice of the Church, she serves the public with the worst goods at the highest price; her commodities are indifferent, and not cheap; her curiosities are not half so well worth seeing as those of many other places, while she makes us pay three times as dear for the sight.
There is not a shadow of reason for this extortion, except the desire of gain, and an indolent lazy disposition to let things remain as they are. If the rulers of the Church allege that they are anxious to guard what is valuable from theft or wanton mischief by keeping the company comparatively select, the reply is ready; at the British Museum there is no such barrier at all, and at the Tower there is only a sixpenny one, and yet it is found easy enough to guard both against fraud and mischief. If it be said, that the remuneration, extortionate as it may seem, is no more than sufficient to pay the trouble of the showman, we reply that what is found sufficient for the Tower ought to be sufficient for Westminster Abbey or St. Paul's. If it be said, that it can hardly be expected that the cicerones should accompany every visitor or party to the top of a building like St. Paul's for one sixpence, we admit it; but then we ask, who requires them to do it? During the period at which the edifice is open to the public let men be stationed at those points at which directions should be given or rarities are to be exhibited, and then let the visitors take care of themselves. The man who shows the monument is not expected to trot up and down the staircase with every visitor who pays his sixpence to do it.
St. Paul's and Westminster Abbey, like the British Museum, are identified with the national glory, and should be open to the people for nothing ; proper persons being appointed for showing them, who should be paid out of the ample revenues of these churches, or if it must be so, receive moderate salary at the public expense. Or if this be impossible, at least no more should be demanded for showing these places than is demanded for showing the Tower. Those to whom these magnificent piles are entrusted, should be ashamed thus to repress the interest of the people in edifices so associated with our national grandeur and so rich in historical recollections.
That a very small charge would be not only sufficient, to remunerate the trouble, but that the showmen themselves would be great gainers by the change, (a point of far more importance to them,) we have no manner of doubt. In cases of a like kind, it has hitherto been invariably found, that the sums derived from the vast increase of visitors when the terms of admission have been lowered, more than makes up for