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upon making a speech, which was neither understood by M. Gouache nor admired by me. All I remember of it is, that the D-ke of W-1l-ngton and Hearts of Oak” were more than once mentioned, and that, in allusion to the Cap of Liberty, he said he hoped “the cap would fit.” It was a low, common-place oration, and at last I succeeded in frowning him down, pulling him back into his chair at the same time by his coat tails.
If we had not previously arranged our plans for the evening, it is possible that our banquet might have been prolonged to a late hour, but, with that brilliant impulsiveness and versatility which form such striking features in our lively neighbours' dispositions, and which envious people characterise as the impossibility to be quiet, -Gouache, as soon as we had finished about six bottles of champagne, all at once broke out into a fit of enthusiasm about the spectacle, and reminded me that it was nearly time to adjourn to the Français. After steadying ourselves with coffee and petits-verres de cognac, we called for the bill, which Gouache at first insisted on paying, but when he saw that I was resolute on that point, he gave way. As I bad only a few pieces of silver about me, and the score was not a very light one, I took a five-hundred frong note out of my pocket-book and tendered it in payment. The waiter took it up with an air of surprise, and then laid it down again, saying that they never, in these times, took any thing but hard cash.
“On ne prend pas du papier ici, monsieur ; il faut payez en argent, ou bien en or."
“Commong dong," said I, with a perfect Parisian shrug, "vous ne prenny par, mong billy,-mong bank-note!"
“A la bonne heure, monsieur,” he replied, “ si vous m'aviez offert une banque-note Anglaise, mais cette chose là c'est de la Banque de France, -on ne les escompte pas ici."
“The devil,” I exclaimed, “what, not take Fr—nch money in Fr—nce ! This is a pretty go! Why, I've nothing else, and had to pay a good deal in London for getting that.”
“ Et vous aurez encore plus à payer à Paris, monsieur, pour avoir de l'argent ! Quel est le cours de change aujourd'hui, Felix ?" continued he, turning to another waiter. “Je ne sais pas au juste,” replied his fellow serv“, I mean labourer
; “mais les billets sont toujours en baisse.”
At this juncture, Gouache generously came forward. He would not offend me by again offering to pay the bill, but he would take the note to a money-changer's just outside and get me as much for it as it would fetch, more, he said, than I could get if I took it myself, as the mere fact of my being recognised for an Englishman would make a difference of ten per cent. This, though unguardedly uttered is, I believe, perfectly true, and accounts in some degree for a few heavy payments, which Í formerly made in P—ris, so I handed him the note, and he disappeared with it. In about ten minutes he came back with a canvass bag in his hand, out of which he counted 420 frongs, having had, he said, no less than eighty deducted by the money-changer for the accommodation. This certainly was a very heavy discount, more indeed than I could have believed possible if I had not witnessed the result with my own eyes, but I congratulated myself on the fact that I had saved money by sending Gouache ; there is no doubt that I should have found a considerable difference if I had gone myself. I resolved, however, to give it soundly to the fellow from whom I had bought the notes in London when I got back again.
This difficulty over, I paid the bill and we proceeded to the theatre, called indifferently the Français, or, "La Comedie Française" the first is the term more generally used, but the latter is the most correct, as they play nothing but comedies in it. I did not see the bill, but Gouache told me the piece to be represented was “ The Sinner," a title admirably in keeping with Fr-nch morals, and that Rachel played the part of Emily.
My time when last I was in P—ris was so taken up with other affairs that to tell the truth, I never once thought of going to the play, and as I was not so skilful in the language then as I am now, my
loss was not so great as in a Frắnchman's estimation it would have been. It was therefore with some little surprise that I found the scene of the comedy was laid in ancient Rome (out of compliment, perhaps, to M. Rollin whom Gouache pointed out to me with other members of the g—v—rnm—nt, of whom more hereafter) and that all the actors wore Roman costumes. It struck me, and Podder too, though we might be wrong, that it was a particularly heavy comedy, and this I think the audience must have felt also, for though I looked round the house very frequently I could not see a smile on a single face. Podder and I laughed once or twice at Rachel but the people about us, and Gouache amongst the number, scowled at us so uncomfortably that we put a restraint upon our feelings and forebore to pay any further open tribute to the merits of that accomplished actress. The fact is, between ourselves, that the Fr—nch are in public a very serious nation. If this were not the case, why I should be glad to know do they sit out such a very serious comedies as “ The Sinner,” which like all the translations from the Greek that ever I heard of are so remarkably dull. After the play was over, however, the long suppressed hilarity of the nation broke forth in loud shouts, and in a minute up went the curtain again, and on rushed Mademoiselle Rachel with a tri-colour scarf across her Roman dress, and a tri-colour flag in her hand. It was an odd thing, but the Fr-nch are full of incongruities, but it had become the fashion to make this fine comic actress sing that very solemn hymn the M-r--5-llaise, which I had already heard in the morning when Podder made the mistake about the tree of Liberty. Under such circumstances it may be readily imagined how she sang it; the best notion I can give of it is by desiring the reader to imagine Keeley singing the 100th Psalm, or the Dead March, in Saul, or any production similarly opposed to his genius. In point of fact she did not sing, it was a kind of chaunt, the nearest approach she could make, I suppose, to what was required, and I think I may without vanity say that if I had known the words and the air I could have done it a great deal better myself; perhaps one of these days I may try and astonish my friends at Peckham. Nevertheless, the audience were loud in their applause, and Rachel gracefully acknowledged their attention by embracing the tri-colour flag, at which every man in the house took the compliment to himself, and another uproar of enthusiasm burst forth. I have said that several members of the Pr
---pal G-V-rnm-nt were present at the entertainment, and I was much pleased with their intellectual physiognomies. The Pr-s-d-nt of the C-nc--1,
M. Dup-nt de l'E-re, a respectable old gentleman of eighty, had what the Fr-nch call that remarkable air bête which gives such expression to the countenance. M. L-dru R—llin, who holds
his head like & British grenadier, seemed to be thinking of the “row, row, row-dowdow” which is likely to accompany his onward march. M. L-is Bl-nc I could not see, though I was assured he was present, but this might very easily have been the case. Of M. Lam-rt-ne, I shall only observe that he is a poet as well as a statesman, and that he resembles two personages known to the British public-our own Byron--and unless my lookingglass deceives me-your own Jolly Green.
“ What's the name of that place,” whispered Podder to me, as we were leaving the theatre; " where Mr. Hogwash is going to take us to now ?"
“ It's only his club," replied I.
“ You don't say so,” almost shrieked Podder, “ why you are not such a fool, Green, as to rush into a den of cut-throats ! I'll be hanged if I'll go, and, what's more, I'll be hanged if you
either ! You brought me here to be amused, and now you're going to get your throat cut. D-n'em, I must say I hate 'em all, every man-jack of 'em.”
At the first moment, I felt disposed to rebuke Podder severely for his ignorant, not to say cowardly, suspicion; but reflecting that the poor fellow's motive was chiefly attachment to my person and dynasty, I calmed his apprehensions, by telling him that, if he positively insisted on it, I would decline being sworn in that night, a ceremony which Gouache had previously told me at dinner was invariably accompanied by quaffing a goblet of blood. This quieted him, and, in a few words, I stated my intentions to Gouache, who appeared sorry to lose sight of us so soon. However, he consented to the arrangement, and after seeing us safely to our hotel, he left us, with a promise to call the next day after we should have returned from the H-tel de V—lle, when, he hinted, if it suited my convenience, he should be happy to touch (toucher was the word he used) the sum, or a part of it, which I was disposed to pay for the Salvator.
We were up betimes next day, for besides the preparation for our interview, I had some work for my secretary. It will be remembered that when I was last in P-ris, I purchased the marquisate of Cornichon, in the commune of Fanfreluches, in the Pyr-nees, and although I was cheated out of the title by the Viscount de Vieux-Rusé, I still had the title-deeds of the estate in my strong box at home. I had not brought them with me, not being aware of the rights which they conferred, till on taking up Galignani's Messenger, I saw in it a paragraph stating that a certain noble and learned lord (whom I will not particularise further than by saying that his name begins with B and ends with m, and that he was formerly L-rd H-gh Ch-nc-11—r of Engl-nd), had applied to the M-n-ster of J-st-ce for letters of naturalisation, in consequence of his possessing an estate in the south of Fr-nce. As the noble lord in question has all his life been held to be an acute lawyer, I May.VOL. LXXXIII. NO. CCCXXIX.
could not, of course, do wrong in following his example. I therefore set Podder to work, and under my dictation he composed a very forcible letter to M. Cr-m-x, in which I stated that having acquired the Cornichon property by purchase under the late dyn-sty, I was desirous that an act of naturalisation should be passed " with the shortest possible delay," as it was my intention to offer myself as a candidate for a seat in the approaching N-t-nal Ass—mbly, by coming forward to represent the dep-tm-nt in which my property was situated. This letter off my mind I despatched it by my Savoyard messenger to the M-n-stry of J-st--ce, and waited the issue.
I then resumed my preparations for the interview with M. L-mrt-ne. It took Podder and myself full two hours to prepare the address, which we modelled, as well as we could, upon those which had been already presented by the P-lish patriots and the D—bl-n demonstrators, pith, vigour, and sublimity being its principal characteristics. We then arrayed ourselves in tri-coloured scarfs, worn cross-wise as Mademoiselle Rachel had done the night before, and as the mutes also wear them at funerals, put on our c-ps of 1–b-rty, into which we had pinned tri-coloured rosettes, and with a tri-coloured flag in each hand mounted on the ends of our walking-sticks and umbrellas, we set out for the H-tel de V-lle, I taking the lead, of course, and Podder, as my secretary, following at a respectful distance. The procession was a very imposing one, and attracted a great deal of attention ; we took the route of the Pl_cé du C-rr-sel and along the quays, and were repeatedly cheered as we passed along, the people exclaiming “Vive la deputation de Peckhang," as I from me to time halted to inform them who we
It wanted about five minutes to one when we arrived at the H-tel de V-lle, and on sending up my card, we were immediately admitted. M. Lam-rt-ne was the only m-n-ster present, but there were several other official personages beside him. An expression of surprise, perhaps at the small number composing the deputation, was on their countenances, but with a smiling aspect they welcomed us. I then handed my two flags to Podder, who had much ado to hold them as well as his own, letting them fall down two or three times, with a tremendous clatter, and moving three steps forward, in slow military time, pointing my toe well as I advanced, I drew up in front of the m-n-ster, took the address out of my pocket, and read as follows :
“ Citizens,—Peckham casts off her blood-stained shroud, and, amid the groans of tyrants and the yells of frantic liberticides, hastens, with a giant's stride, to fold you in her embrace. Yes, at this supreme moment, we offer you the sympathy of hearts corroded for centuries by the chains of oppression ; the Saxon and the Gaul again encounter each other, not with the deadly weapons invented by modern despotism, but with the outstretched arms of primæval and eternal brotherhood ; once more the mingled shouts of liberated nations ascend like a holocaust to the womb of fate. For this cause we have left the shady recesses of our own green bowers; for this cause we are prepared to shed our hearts' dearest blood. Decus et tutamen. Nemo mortalium omnibus horis sapit. Vive la R-p-bl-que Fr-nçaise! Vive les habitans de Peckham !"
The reading of this address produced a tremendous sensation, especially the latter part of it, where I had thrown in the classical quotations (they were purely my own idea); and when the emotion of the auditory had subsided, though they still kept their handkerchiefs to their faces, M. Lam-rtine rose and replied :
“ Citizens of Peckham, If we should require a fresh proof of the pacific influence of the proclamation of the great democratic principle we should assuredly discern this proof of the omnipotent action of an idea in the visits spontaneously paid in this city to r-p-bl-can Fr~nce by fractions of the nations of Europe. We are not astonished to see to-day a deputation from Peckham. Peckham knows how deeply her destinies, her sufferings, and her successive advances in the path of liberty, of unity, and of constitutional equality with the other suburbs of London, have at all times moved the heart of Europe. Be assured, that you will find in Fr—nce, under the r-p-bl-c, a response to all the sentiments which you express towards it. Tell your fellow-citizens that the name of Peckham is synonymous with the name of liberty, courageously defended against privilege, that it is one common name to every Fr—nch citizen. As regards other encouragements, it would neither be expedient for us to hold them out nor for you to receive them. The policy and well-being of the nations of Europe will not admit of the isolation of Peckham, that bright link in the vast suburban chain, which stretches out the right hand of fellowship towards Deptford, and fraternally salutes Brixton with the other. No! We cordially accept the sentiments of Peckham, but we seek not to add a single inch to the territories of Fr-nce. Return, therefore, to your own green spot at Camberwell, improve your workhouse, cultivate your peaceful gardens, water your winding-roads, extend your sewers, and disseminate your gas-pipes. These are the great truths of civilised life, and in the earnest endeavour to appreciate these high sublimities Peckham will never be wanting.”
Here M. Lam-rt-ne closed his oration, which, I must confess, had deeply affected me, and it was with a holy satisfaction I reflected how fully he had comprehended my own imperfectly expressed ideas. I had no conception that I had intimated a tenth part of what he recognised in the address, so true it is that a few pregnant words act like a spark upon a mass of gunpowder. When he had done speaking I gave him three cheers with the usual salutations, and was in the act of retiring, when M. Lam-rt-ne, beckoning me to advance, said that he had a few words for my private ear. The officials on both sides, his secretaries and mine, fell back a little, and in a low, but impressive, voice, the minister thus addressed me:
“ Monsieur Green,” said he, “ you will shortly return to Peckham. I should be very much obliged to you
would look me out a nice, quiet lodging in your neighbourhood. A second-floor will be all we shall want, and of course the people of the house will do for us. Adieu."
I grasped his hand, but my heart was too full to speak; the deputation left the hall of audience, and we returned to the hotel in the order in which we had set out.