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guineas," was the answer. So may our men of taste reply when asked what brought them to Bayonne ?-the hams. To Lyons?-the sausages. To Strasbourg ?—the goose livers. To Alençon ?—the truffles. To St. Germain ?—the game—all of which, with accompanying wines and liqueurs, seem to be crying "come eat me," from the dinner-table map of Mons. A. B. de Perigord.
Before we proceed to give any further extracts from his book, which must form the subject of a future article, it may bespeak the attention of our readers, if we reveal to them the happy influences under which it was written, as exemplified in the engraved portrait prefixed to the volume, and entitled "L'Inspiration du Gourmand." Annexed to it is the following explanation of the happy moment in which the author has chosen to be represented." Shut up in his cabinet, he has been profoundly meditating upon culinary science. His library surrounds him; it is in disorder; he has just been examining its cases, scrutinizing the shelves on which are huddled together the young fat pullet of Mans, the pâté d'Amiens, the ham of Mayence, the potted meats of Nérac, the sucking-pig, the preserves, the wines and liqueurs of every province. His writing-table is loaded with various specimens: the oysters of Etretal, boar's head from Puits-Certain, turkey from Perigord, sweetmeats from Achard, game from Chêvet, are all on the point of being examined and conscientiously adjudged. A vast Chartres-pie supplies him an elegant and solid desk; a champagne glass is his inkstand, and salt serves him for sand. He has seized his pen, and all inspired by his subject, prepares to dictate the oracles of Epicurism."
ADVENTURE OF A LONDON TRAVELLER.
"Take heed-have open eyes, for thieves do foot by night."-SHAKSPEARE. ALTHOUGH it may not occupy any very exalted rank in public estimation, there are perhaps few modes of active life more cheerful and pleasurable than the occupation of a commercial traveller. I mean the personage strictly and literally so termed, who, with a brace of saddle-bags, or a couple of dromedary-like bumps, traverses the country on horseback from one extremity to the other, exhibiting samples, procuring orders, and collecting debts for some substantia! house in the city of London. Such has been my occupation for many years, and I would not change situation with my employers, though I believe them to be as opulent and as much respected as any firm upon 'Change. We travellers are the only representatives of your ancient knights-errant ; the only trading amateurs who combine business with pleasure; variety, air, exercise and health, with debts and day-books, samples, shipping, and shopkeeping. If a man of this sort be fond of natural scenery, who can enjoy it in such diversity, and with so leisurely a luxury? If he delight in studying human nature, who has more pregnant opportunities? He passes not through the country like a stage-coachman, conversant only with its external features, but dives into the heart of its society in his daily negociations with its natives, and in his cosmopolitan and comprehensive views is enabled, much better than the philosopher in his closet, to compare, contrast, and relish the never-ending diversities of individual and collective character. Collision and observation make him, even in spite of himself, a citizen of the world. His
VOL. IX. No. 51.-1825.
Cockneyism, if he had any, forsakes him after the first journey; his views become general and elemental, and he looks down upon the high table-land of his own calm mind upon the moral as well as the material landscape, both of which seem to be outspread before him for his special observation and amusement. I assume his mind to be calm, for he is only an agent; he has the stimulus of business and the excitement of hope, without the constant cares of the one, or the painful disappointment of the other.
He is not, however, the constituent of an unimportant brotherhood, for the Travellers' Society is a respectable and wealthy body, whose occasional dinners may vie with those of the proudest corporation in elegance and hilarity. Individually we have most of us a horse of our own, (I would not sell mine for a hundred guineas,) and collectively we have not only our own newspaper, the circulation of which depends upon its adopting our name, but in every town we have our own tavern, whose landlord, knowing that his success depends upon our countenance, will at any time fly from the coronetted coach with its two outriders, to wait upon the mounted traveller with his two saddle-bags. Many a merry meeting is witnessed, and many a wayfaring joke is launched in the "Traveller's Room," exclusively so called and appropriated, of which I may, perhaps, hereafter present some not unpleasant specimens; but as candour obliges me to confess that our wandering mode of life occasionally exposes us to encounters of a very different and perilous nature, I shall at present proceed to relate one in which it was my misfortune to be the principal sufferer.
Whenever I have an idle hour upon my hands, I love to devote it to billiards, which I consider a healthy and delightful recreation. In one of our great manufacturing towns of the North, I had entered a publichouse for this purpose, which, as I afterwards found, was frequented by characters of the worst description, and incautiously mentioning that I was going to walk to Mr. M'B's, who resided two or three miles off, for the purpose of receiving a sum of money, I enquired the shortest road to his residence. One of the parties present told me there was a way across the fields which would save half a mile, and gave me particular instructions how to find it, adding that it was a common thoroughfare, and I should doubtless see some of the men going or returning from the manufactory. Interested in my play, I pursued it rather longer than usual, but at length hurried away, discovered the footpath across the fields, received the bank notes, which, according to my invariable practice, I concealed in the lining of my waistcoat, and was returning briskly by the same path, just as the evening began to close around me; when, as I crossed a stile, I heard a rustling in the hedge, and on looking round beheld a villain advancing towards me with an uplifted bludgeon. I raised a stout stick with which I was provided, to repel the assault, but at the same moment received a tremendous blow upon the head from a second ruffian, which stretched me senseless upon the grass.
The villains, as it afterwards appeared, rifled my pockets of my watch, loose cash and papers, but without discovering my hidden treasure, and in this state of insensibility I was soon after found by some good Samaritans of the lower orders, who having ascertained that my pockets were empty, generously contented themselves with my hat
and coat, as a fair remuneration for the trouble of carrying me to the hospital of a large suburban poor-house at no great distance. In this miserable establishment I fell into the hands of two occasional nurses then in the place, who, upon exercising a more rigorous scrutiny into my habiliments, with a view to those strays and waifs of plunder which such callous practitioners usually claim as their perquisite, discovered the hidden bank notes, and divided them upon the spot as the best security for mutual secrecy.
My wound was shortly examined and dressed by the hospital surgeon, but the severity of the blow, combining with a violent cold caught by lying upon the wet grass, produced a brain fever, which deprived me of my faculties for several days. In this state the nurse removed me from the public ward to a small detached room, under the pretext of my disturbing the other patients, but in reality that she might have a private chamber in which to give little suppers to her friends with the bank notes which she had pilfered from my person. It was in this small chamber, that on awaking to recovered consciousness, I found myself lying upon a miserable truckle-bed, and felt that my arms were pinioned to my sides by a strait-waistcoat, while I heard the hospitalclock toll the hour of midnight, accompanied by the hollow howling of the wind through the two long wards into which the building was divided. At first my faculties seemed but slowly to recover their power; and the attempt to arouse my memory to a recollection of the past only served to mix it up in one confused mass with the present. By degrees, however, beginning to suspect that I had suffered under a temporary privation of reason, I endeavoured without speaking or moving, to divine the meaning of the scene before me, which was well calculated to confound and puzzle apprehension.
Close to the blazing hearth was a large round table, whereon were flaring three unsnuffed tallow-candles, and in centre of which fumed a brimming and capacious bowl, surrounded by a profuse display of viands, liquors, lemons, sugar, bottles, and glasses. On the mantelpiece were phials, boxes, lint, rags, cataplasms and surgical instruments; and on the fire beneath, a kettle of goodly dimensions was singing its quiet tune to two female figures who completely filled a couple of wide arm-chairs beside the board, eating, drinking, and chuckling with infinite perseverance and complacency. As one of them had her back to the bed, I could not catch a glimpse of her face; but I observed a pair of red Atlantean shoulders, the flesh of which, heaving up on either side of the shoulder-strap, seemed anxious to escape from the restraint of its bandages. This, as I found by their conversation, was Mrs. Potts, a visitant to my appointed nurse, and Mrs. Greaves, who sat opposite to her in all the dignity of voluminous and undulating fat; and I was enabled to make the further discovery that they were carousing upon the spoil which had been ferreted from the lining of my waistcoat. Falstaff typifying Mother Pratt, the fat woman of Brentford, was not a whit more corpulent and cumbersome than these triple-chined harpies, and as their dialogue proceeded I was more than once tempted to wish that I had Ford's cudgel in my hand, and Ford's vigour and good will for its exercise.
"Come, Mrs. Potts," quoth the worthy nurse," you don't drink ; fill your glass, fill your glass. Here have I been drinking Madeira
ever since this lucky Godsend, to see if I could fancy it as well as Booth's best, but it's sad watery, washy stuff, compared to blue ruin or heavy wet. Howsomever I put a bottle into this here bowl of punch, and I don't think it's much the worse."
"Hark! there's the gentleman awake," cried Mrs. Potts, as I gave an involuntary groan at this appropriation of my money." Well, never mind if he is," replied Mrs. Greaves. "Lord love you, he's as mad as a March hare; knows no more what he's talking about than the Pope of Rome."—"Oh, ay, cracked in the upper-story is he?— they're rummish customers to deal with, those crazy chaps ; but I don't dislike 'em, for one's not bound to pay any attention to their freaks and fancies. It isn't as if one had Christians to deal with. One on 'em played me a slippery trick though some years ago. I was dosing away in my chair, not much caring to get up and notice his clamour for water, when, would you believe it, Ma'am, he jumps out of bed, and, ere you could say Jack Robinson, whips me up in his arms, and claps me right slap upon a great blazing fire!"
"C- "exclaimed Mrs. Greaves, shrieking with laughter till her whole system swagged with repeated undulations, "how shocking! but it was monstrous comical though, warn't it ?"-" Not so comical neither, Ma'am, if I hadn't happened to have a thick stuff gown on, and a couple of flannel petticoats, so that I got off for this here burn upon my arm and the loss of my clothes. Business runs shameful slack now, Mrs. Greaves; no good jobs stirring, though to be sure the little bundle of flimsies done up so knowing in this chap's waistcoat was a famous hawl; but we have no nice fevers; a terrible time since we had a good measles among the children, and no influenzy this here season as there was last. People are scandalous healthy to what they used to be. Then that unlucky vaccine spoils trade shamefully. Old mother Tibbs remembers when she used to lay out eighteen or twenty children every year, all dead of the small-pox, and come in for all their clothes, besides pickings and perquisites."
“Very true, very true, Mrs. Potts, ours is a starving business; we must make the most of jobs now, so fill t'other glass, and pick a bit more of the pigeon pie. Here's to you, Ma'am. Howsomdever I have no great reason to complain, for what with gentlemen's broken limbs from gigs, and their shooting themselves, or one another, in the sporting season, there's always some lucky misfortune or another turning up. "Twas but last month I set a chap of this sort upon his crutches, who had eighty-three shots lodged in his calf by his friend Capt. Blinkensop, when taking aim at a hare—”
66 Eighty-three shot! that's a large lot, ain't it?"
"Yes, but one wouldn't be niggardly with a friend, you know. Ha! ha! ha!"
Ay, ay, you will have your laugh, Mrs. Greaves; but you were always a wag. Well, my last job was with Lady Psha! I shall forget my own name next. Lady What-d'ye-call-she as had the fine funeral t'other day; it's no odds for her name, and a pretty plague she was! Always grumbling cause I took snuff. Will you have a pinch, Mrs. Greaves? What odds if a little did fall into the broth or gruel now and then? I warrant it's as good as pepper any day in the year. That's the second lady of quality as I had the job on. Last
Michaelmas was a year (I remember it by the famous goose my nevvy sent me out of Yorkshire,) that I laid out Lady Augusta Yellowley, at last, after she had gone on shilly-shallying for seven or eight weeks; and would you believe it, Ma'am, they were shabby enough not to let me have an Ingey shawl, though she died in it, pretending I wasn't entitled to nothing but the body-linen."
"Well, Mrs. Potts, that's the very way they served me when Alderman Sowerby's lady hopped the twig. Howsomever, they got nothing by it, for in packing up my box, a large white lace veil slipped in by mere accident; and as they never sent for it, of course I warn't bound to give it up."
"These accidents will happen to the most careful of us, Mrs. Greaves. Ha! ha! ba! and really they shouldn't look too closely into these matters, for our perquisites now-a-days are no great shakes. What's peck and perch, and a pound a-week? Why, I got as much twenty years ago when I was in the wet line, and went out a suckling. I've known the day, too, when a hint of a good subject to a resurrection man was worth a couple of guineas; but Lord love you! they make such a fuss about the matter now-a-days, that the poor fellows can hardly get salt to their porridge. And then folks dies such shabby shrivelled atomies of late, that they're scarcely worth the cutting up. If one could get hold of a nice proper young man, now, shot in a duel.”
"Ay, Mrs. Potts, or this here gentleman that's lying on the bed; he's in the prime of life, stout and healthy, just the proper age and subject for dying; but somehow my mind misgives me strangely that the chap will recover."
"Let us hope not, let us hope not; it would be a monstrous shame : -here's to you, Mrs. Greaves."
"It would really be a pity," replied the latter, refilling her glass; "for what with the flimsies in his waistcoat, and what with the body, he might be one of the prettiest jobs we have had a long while."-In this strain the conversation continued some time longer, and as I knew my helpless state, and really apprehended that these harpies might strangle, or make away with me if they suspected my recovery, I remained perfectly still, pretending to be asleep, until the huge bowl of Madeira punch being completely emptied, my two companions began to nod at one another, and finally snored so unmercifully, that I was effectually prevented from joining in the chorus. Waiting impatiently the arrival of the medical attendant next morning, I communicated to him the recovery of my senses, imploring that I might be instantly sent to a friend's house in the town, as I felt quite able to bear the removal. Here my health was in a few days perfectly re-established, and it was my first care to obtain the dismissal of the nurses, and compel them to refund the remainder of their plunder. As to the scoundrels who had attacked me, although I had no doubt they were the same with whom I had been playing billiards, I had no means of identifying them, so I left them for the present uninterrupted in their progress to the gallows; and mounting my nag and companion, for he deserves both appellations, I joyfully turned my back upon this unlucky town.