+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

them with an annual Christmas dinner of roast
beef and plum pudding, for which he wrote out
a very good receipt in the codicil to his will.

Moreover, he desired his executors to see
that the vault, in which the vicars of
Hanbury were interred, was well aired, before his
coffin was taken in; for, all his life long, he
had had a dread of damp, and latterly he
kept his rooms to such a pitch of warmth
that some thought it hastened his end.

Then the other trustee, as I have said,
presented the living to Mr. Gray, Fellow of
Lincoln College, Oxford. It was quite natural
for us all, as belonging in some sort to the
Hanbury family, to disapprove of the other
trustee's choice. But when some ill-natured
person circulated the report that Mr. Gray
was a Moravian Methodist, I remember my
lady said "She could not believe anything so
bad, without a great deal of evidence."


IN spite of that dim, forewarning smithy
light seen through the chinksnay, showing
itself luridly through gaping crevices in the
floor, with crackling sound and hot sulphuric
vapour, surely sufficient to have scared any
sane mortalsthe mad revel went on.* A
revel with eyes shut, and that obtrusive
crackling drowned and swallowed up in
the music from the gallery. Nothing nearly
so like to it could be conceived as that
awful break of day in the great Opera
Theatre, when the few debauched masquers
left, being busy with their last bacchanalian
round, cast one drunken look aloft, and see a
hot, glowing waste of flame preying on all the
slides and tackle above. Terribly sobering
thatwith instantaneous rout of pale, scared
masquers, bearing their paint and tawdry
dressings into the broad daylight! Remains
now to see what species of entertainment
our French masquers were busy with, when
news was brought that their orgie-house was
on fire. Unhappily those noble revellers,
with their Bacchantes of quality, did not
find their way to the street so easily. The
great roof, fire and all, was down upon the
stupefied crew before they could compass
that. It proved a complete cul-de-sac for
them! Nayto fit the parallel even closer
all their fine appliances for extinguishment,
that huge tankful of lits de justicedivinity-
edged kingsl'état c'est moiancient
noblesseand the rest of their potent jargon, was
proved quite useless, out of gear, and rusted.
* See No. 428, page 589.

This, then, is to be text for the present
paperthe fiddling, and drumming, and
dancing; the sports, the shows, and
pastimes our noble Paris quality were so
hopelessly engrossed with, as to be heedless of all
other concerns whatever.

In the earliest of this brace of papers,
mention has been made of the little Royalist
Notebook, wherein is set down with such
pride and satisfaction those glorious red-
letter days on which had been held those
Versailles receptions. Poor royalist himself
had been bidden pretty often: no wonder
that he makes entry of it with satisfaction.
This Versailles business, and all connected
with itthe Assembly (of two qualities,
majeur and mineur, immeasurably superior
distinction to be bidden to smaller)—
presentationsante-room attendanceand the
restis beyond the grandest show of the
time. The show by excellence! The show
on which our Paris man and woman's heart
rested with the deepest yearning! Where
his treasure was, there naturally enough was
his Parisian heart: that is with his divine
sun-god: his ineffable majesty: his august
eldest son of the church! It always lay
somewhere along the track of that Versailles
roadthat precious four leagues of travel
which led to the awful presence. Even the
shopkeeperbourgeois of good bodily
condition took his way out there with his
family on Pentecost day, going cheaply by
boat as far as Sèvres, and thence on foot to
the Palace. There, he was allowed to see the
state coaches, and the rich furniture; the
Swiss guards; and, above all, the King and
Royal family passing by to mass. Still more
precious privilege, he might stand afar off,
and look on at his Royal family while they

That Versailles road had need to be as
handsomely paved and lighted as it was: for
every hour of the day and night it was
crowded with vehicles on the one errand.
The whole of the four leagues was illuminated
with fine reflecting lamps, all at the
State's charge. My Lord Duke's heavy
Berline and six trundled along without
impediment: but how was it to be with such
as could not compass vehicles of their own?
And here was another wretched sign and
token, outspeaking in the highest degree, of the
utter rottenness of all things then existing.
Your courtier, expectant of savoury crumbs,
may not stay away: yet means must be got
somehow to set him down at the Palace. To
take a chaise out and post it down, would fall
with terrible heaviness on his purse: post-
masters being privileged along that road to
levy extra monies. For a daily attendance,
such as his must be, this would be too
grievous a burdennay, one wholly impossible
to carry. Fiacre, fourgon, cabriolet,
and such light vehicles of the city, these
are altogether forbidden the road: this
being a matter of what is called "exclusive
privilege"—a bit of Royal wind-raising,
that is, and bringing in a handsome sum.
Courtier dancing attendance must elect
betwixt huge carrabas omnibusheaving
swinging machine, that takes full six hours
to do the six short leagues; and a lighter
conveyance, which however has the drawback
of a questionable name. Carrabas